Free In Christ Jesus!

Romans 8 1

Romans 8:1 NKJV There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus, who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit.

Condemnation comes from the evil one, the devil, Satan, also known as the accuser of the brethren. He accuses us to ourselves, to others and to the Father.

Revelation 12:10 NKJV Then I heard a loud voice saying in heaven, “Now salvation, and strength, and the kingdom of our God, and the power of His Christ have come, for the accuser of our brethren, who accused them before our God day and night, has been cast down.”

You can tell which voice you are hearing by the tone and message of the voice. If it is condemnation, accusation, and offers no hope for redemption, then it is the voice of the enemy, the accuser of the brethren. If it convicts you of sin and gently prompts you to repent then it is the voice of the Holy Spirit and needs to be heeded. God paid the price for our sin through the precious body and blood of Jesus so that we could be free from the accusations of the enemy!

Romans 2:4 NKJV Or do you despise the riches of His goodness, forbearance, and long-suffering, not knowing that the goodness of God leads you to repentance?

The Holy Spirit woos us to repentance with God’s goodness, not with words of our unworthiness or condemnation for what we have done. The presence of the Holy Spirit within us has set us free to be ourselves, to be free from the dominion of sin and the accusations of the enemy.

Romans 8:2-4 For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has made me free from the law of sin and death. For what the law could not do in that it was weak through the flesh, God did by sending His own Son the likeness of sinful flesh, on account of sin: He condemned sin in the flesh, that the righteous requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us who do not walk according to the flesh but according to the Spirit.

The life that Christ Jesus died to give us sets us free from the principle, or law, of sin and death. We no longer are tied to sin. Before Jesus died for our sin we couldn’t help but sin. We were controlled by sin and had no other way out. But Jesus died that we might be set free from sin’s control. Now when condemnation comes to a child of God it is an immediate indication that the enemy is working in his/her life. Conviction is from the Holy Spirit and always comes with a way out of the situation; He always gives hope and a solution to the problem. If you have sinned, confess the sin to God, ask Him to forgive you and receive His forgiveness and cleansing. If it is condemnation, rebuke the enemy, resist the condemnation and know that God sees you through the blood of His Son. He sees you as the righteousness of God in Christ Jesus! Hold your head up high and go on with your life. The devil has no hold over a child of the King! We have the power within us by His Spirit to win over sin!

Seed from God’s word for today: Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new. For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him. 2 Corinthians 5:17; 21

Jesus was made sin for us. He didn’t just carry our sin on His back; our sin permeated His whole being! He BECAME sin that we might BECOME His righteousness! Sin in its entirety was crucified with Him so that we could become dead to sin and alive to God in Christ Jesus! (Romans 6:1-14) Now when the devil comes with condemnation that you are no good or what you’ve done cannot be forgiven, tell him to go back to hell where he belongs! That is a lie from the pit of hell! Jesus took our sin and gave us His righteousness! The only time sin can have control over us is when we yield to it. We have the power within us, through the Holy Spirit, to resist sin and win!

Prayer for today: Father, I thank You for Jesus who was made sin that I might be made Your righteousness in Him! Thank You for the blood that You shed for me, Lord Jesus, and the price that You paid that I might go free! I choose today to rest in Your salvation; to know that I am free from the dominion of sin that I might live to You; that I might say “no” to the temptations of the enemy and “yes” to walking in the fullness of Your Spirit. Holy Spirit, I invite You to lead me through this day. Have Your way in my life and show me those areas that need Your special touch in my life. I am free in Christ Jesus to be all that Father has created and called me to be. Thank You for the power of Your Spirit within me to enable me to walk in Your ways, according to Your Spirit today, Father! In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.

I am free in Christ Jesus

There Is Power In The Name

There is power in the name of Jesus

Mark 16:17, 18 “And these signs will follow those who believe: In My name they will cast out demons; they will speak with new tongues; “they will take up serpents; and if they drink anything deadly, it will by no means hurt them; they will lay hands on the sick, and they will recover.”

There is POWER in the NAME of JESUS! We’ve been looking at the name of Jesus and what that word “name” really means by Biblical definition. The Greek noun for “name” is onoma and we saw yesterday that it has several different meanings according to its use in the verse and content of the passage of Scripture. In Mark 16:17 where it says “In My name” Jesus was referring to what would happen when the disciples or followers of Christ Jesus would represent Him to those who were needing salvation in their lives. The phrase “in My name” in this verse of scripture falls under the definition of “in the power of” meaning that when a believer in Christ Jesus speaks or acts in the power of the name of Jesus the results that He spoke of would happen: demons would be cast out, they would speak with new tongues, they would take up serpents and not be hurt, they would encounter deadly poisons and even though they drank them they would not be hurt and they would lay hands on the sick and they would recover. When we represent Jesus we are His ambassadors and speak for Him through the authority that He has placed within us. We are not operating in the power of our own name, but of His. We are doing His work, not ours, and thus He has equipped us as His representatives to continue the work that He did on the earth.

Another example of the definition of “in the power of” when using the name of Jesus is in Luke 10:17:

Then the seventy returned with joy, saying, “Lord, even the demons are subject to us in Your name.”

Jesus responded to that statement made by His disciples with this:

Luke 10:19 “Behold, I give you the authority to trample on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy, and nothing shall by any means hurt you.”

Jesus wasn’t talking about snakes and scorpions, He was referring to the demonic realm. The disciples had said that even the demons were subject to them in the power of His name. One of the names of the devil is “serpent”. He was identified as a serpent in the Garden of Eden when he tempted Eve to eat the forbidden fruit and he was still being identified as a serpent in Revelation 12:9:

So the great dragon was cast out, that serpent of old, called the Devil and Satan, who deceives the whole world; he was cast to the earth, and his angels were cast out with him.

Satan is a defeated foe and when we come up against a person who is demonized and in need of deliverance we have the name of Jesus to use in bringing them into freedom. Jesus has given us the power in His name to rule over the demonic realm that oppresses people! We do not have to fear what the devil might do to us when we know who we are in Christ Jesus. In Mark 16:18 when Jesus said they would take up serpents He was not talking about snake handling! He was saying that demons would not be able to continue harassing people when a believer comes against it in the name of Jesus! All power in the Name has been given to His disciples or followers to do the work of ministry.

Acts 3:6 Then Peter said, “Silver and gold I do not have, but what I do have I give you: In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, rise up and walk.”

Another example is shown us here in this verse of scripture. This is the first recorded miracle performed by the disciples and in it is a key for all believers in using the authority of the name of Jesus in ministering the healing that is in the salvation that Jesus died to give us. When commanding healing to come forth in the lame man Peter employed the full name/title of our Lord: “Jesus Christ [Messiah] of Nazareth. “Jesus”, the name Yay-soos, meaning “He shall save”, Christ, His title meaning the Messiah, the anointed One, of Nazareth, denoting who He was in His humanity by the city that He was from. The declaration of His whole name and title professes His lordship as the Christ (Messiah), and His name as Jesus (Savior) over sickness, disease, or demons. As we saw yesterday in Philippians 2:9 that God has highly exalted Jesus and given Him the name which is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those in heaven, and of those on earth, and of those under the earth. Evidently, as the name of Jesus was used in its power over the lame man’s illness, sickness and disease is a name that is under the name of Jesus and must respond to the order to be gone, when commanded by the power that is in His name!

The name of Jesus breaks chains

Acts 16:16-18 Now it happened, as we went to prayer, that a certain slave girl possessed with a spirit of divination met us, who brought her masters much profit by fortune-telling. This girl followed Paul and us, and cried out, saying, “These men are the servants of the Most High God, who proclaim to us the way of salvation.” And this she did for many days. But Paul, greatly annoyed, turned and said to the spirit, “I command you in the name of Jesus Christ to come out of her.” And he came out that very hour.

This girl was demonized and that demon that was influencing her was mocking Paul and Silas by following them everywhere they went saying they were servants of God who came to tell them the way of salvation. The demon wasn’t saying that to influence people to come to Paul and Silas to learn of salvation in Jesus, but in a mocking, belittling way to make fun of them. Paul finally spoke the command for the spirit to come out of the girl in the name of Jesus Christ and it had to obey! That spirit met the power that was in Paul through God’s Spirit and when Paul exerted his authority through the name of Jesus the demon had to do what he said!

Using the name of Jesus in speaking to the sick for healing to come forth or for demons to leave is not a formula for success because we see a lot of times that healing and deliverance does not come happen as a result of a Christian ministering to someone who is sick or demonized. Why are people not always healed or delivered when we speak life to their bodies and command sickness and disease to leave? That question has stopped a lot of believers from ministering healing or deliverance to people in their need. The fault does not lie in the power that is in the name of Jesus because that power is ALL-POWERFUL, nor does it lie in the faith or lack of faith that the person might have who is sick, nor is it in the faith or lack of faith in the person who is ministering prayer for healing; it is simply a question that we will only know the answer to when we get to heaven and can ask the Lord. Only God knows why some are healed and some aren’t. But, we should not shy away from ministering healing or deliverance in the name of Jesus because we can clearly see that Jesus intended for His followers to carry on His work that He came to do that His kingdom might be furthered on this earth until His return. We simply must do our part to fulfill the Great Commission and expect God to confirm His word with the accompanying signs.

Mark 16:20 And they went out and preached everywhere, the Lord working with them and confirming the word through the accompanying signs. Amen.

God was right there with them as they preached the word and ministered in His name to confirm His word with the accompanying signs. We are co-laborers with Christ; He is the Head, and we are His body. He gives the orders and we do as He says in ministering through the power of His name!

There are more examples of the definition of “in His name” or “in the power of” His name. I have just given you a few to show some verses that use that particular definition so that you can get a better understanding of the authority and power God has bestowed upon His children to carry out His word in this world around us. We are ambassadors for God as stated in 2 Corinthians 5:20 and as such He has equipped us to do His work in our world!

Father, I thank You for the name of Jesus and the power that is resident in the authority that You have given us as Your ambassadors to minister through His name. Thank You for empowering us to do the work of ministry as Your ambassadors on this earth. Father, I pray this morning for those who may not understand the authority and power You have given them in Your name and ministering through it. I ask You to open the eyes of our understanding to see clearly what You have given us to do in continuing the work that You began on this earth when ministering to the sick and hurting. I pray that we each will take our rightful places as Your body, listening to Your commands to minister in the way that You would have us to, not under our own power and ability, but through Yours at Your direction. Thank You, Father, for confirming Your word with the accompanying signs when we are faithful to minister Your healing word to those who are sick. Thank You for confirming Your word through the accompanying signs for setting those free who are under demonic influence. Thank You for confirming Your word through the accompanying signs when we minster to those who need to come to know Jesus as Savior and Lord. You are working in each person’s life as they have need and as we follow Your leading to minister salvation to them You have promised to confirm the word that we minister through the accompanying signs of salvation! Thank You, Lord! These things I pray in the Name of Jesus! Amen!

 

The Bread Of Life

Bread 2

Matthew 4:4 But He answered and said, “It is written, ‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God.’”

Jesus, when He was tempted by the devil in the wilderness, quoted scripture to him in order to defeat him. This is a key element to our walking in victory over the attacks of the enemy. The word of God is vitally important in our exercising authority over the devil when he comes to attack our minds. In this first attack that the devil threw at Jesus he challenged Him regarding His physical need for food. Jesus had fasted for forty days and forty nights. He was hungry. This was a primary need in His life at that very moment. There are certain times in our lives when we are more vulnerable to the enemy’s attacks than others. It is at those weak times that we will be more apt to have the enemy attack us. This was a time in Jesus’ life when He knew He must rely heavily upon the word of God to defeat the attack of the enemy on His life.

Satan, described as the “tempter” came to Jesus and said, “If You are the Son of God, command that these stones become bread.” (Matt. 4:3) The “tempter” is one of the names of Satan because it describes him by what he does. He tempts people to go against the word of God thereby taking things into their own hands to try to accomplish God’s will in their lives. Jesus was drawing close to the Father through fasting and prayer. He was seeking God’s will in His life for the plan that God had to free mankind from the dominion of sin to which they had been held in bondage. The “tempter” came to draw Him away from the plan that God had for His life by tempting Him to do things His own way.

 

Sword of fire

The response that Jesus had towards the temptation of the devil serves as an example to us in how we can defeat his attacks in our lives. Jesus said, “It is written”! The Word of God is living and powerful and sharper than any two-edged sword according to Hebrews 4:12. It is described as the sword of the Spirit in Ephesians 6:17 where Paul is speaking to us about the armor of God and it’s place in enabling us to be able to fight and stand against the wiles of the devil during times of spiritual warfare. Jesus quoted scripture, used like a sword, to the devil to defeat his attack against Him. When He was attacked regarding hunger He applied the word of God to that particular attack by saying, “It is written”, ‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God.’” To nourish the physical man you must eat. Likewise, to nourish your spirit man, the inner person, you must eat of the Word of God. Food is necessary in both instances, but physical nourishment will not strengthen the spirit man, only the Word of God will do that. You can’t fight a spiritual battle with physical food. The spirit of man will only be strengthened through eating or ingesting the Word of God.

Word – Greek word “rhema” which means the communication of the message. It is a verse taken from the Word of God and spoken to us by the Holy Spirit when needed to defeat the devil in his attacks against our lives. Rhema – the spoken Word of God.

Jesus was being attacked in His hunger. The Holy Spirit spoke the scripture needed to counter the attack upon His physical being. A Rhema word from God’s Word will be given to you by the Holy Spirit as you need it to counter an attack upon your life. The key to having the Holy Spirit speak that scripture to you is through you putting the Word of God into your heart. That’s why Jesus said, “’Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God.’” The spirit man within you cannot live and be strong enough to counter the attacks of the enemy without feeding on the Word of God.

Jesus said that when the Holy Spirit would be given to us, after He ascended back to heaven, that He would be our Helper and would teach us all things and bring back to our remembrance all things that Jesus had said.

John 14:26 “But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all things that I said to you.

The Holy Spirit brings back to our remembrance the Words of Jesus, or the Word of God, when we need them to fight the attacks that Satan arrays against us and to help us in our walk of faith. If we are not ingesting the Word of God, reading, studying and acting on it, the Holy Spirit does not have anything to help us with when the attack comes from the enemy.

God told Joshua that he should not let the Book of the Law, the Word of God, depart from his mouth, but that he should meditate in it day and night, that he might heed it and do all that was written in it so that he might be prosperous and successful in all that he did.

Joshua 1:8 “This Book of the Law shall not depart form your mouth, but you shall meditate in it day and night, that you may observe to do according to all that is written in it. For then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success.”

Success in standing against the enemy comes through knowing and speaking the Word of God to him in each attack. God told Joshua that he need not be afraid but to be strong and courageous for He was with him wherever he went. God goes with us through His Word and His Spirit within us. When we are filled with His Word and His Spirit we can effectively stand against the attacks that Satan throws at us. We have no need to fear because our God has empowered us to win. He has given us His Word and His Spirit to enable us to fight and win. Are you prepared for the battle? Does the Word of God hold a high priority in your life? Are you eating of the Word of God as often as you are feeding your physical man?

Father, I thank You for Your Word and Your Spirit who gives us the victory. Thank You for giving us the Word to defeat the devil when he attacks our lives. I thank You for Your Spirit who never leaves us nor forsakes us to fight under our own power. Thank You for helping us to strengthen our spirit man so we can stand against the wiles of the devil. Father, I pray for those who are struggling in a battle this morning. I pray that You will give them the Rhema Word that they need by Your Spirit to fight and win against their enemy. I pray that my friends will eat of Your Word every day to strengthen them for upcoming battles. Father, I know that in these last days the attacks of the enemy will increase as he knows that his time is shortened so I ask You to make us aware of the importance of giving Your Word pre-eminance in our hearts and lives. Thank You for equipping us to win the battles of life. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.

The Word of God as a sword

Today’s confession: The Word of God is in my heart and in my mouth. I defeat the devil’s attacks through speaking the Word of God into that situation.

Are You Shining?

You can't shine without Jesus

2 Corinthians 4:3, 4 NLT If the Good news we preach is veiled from anyone, it is a sign that they are perishing. Satan, the god of this evil world, has blinded the minds of those who don’t believe, so they are unable to see the glorious light of the Good News that is shining upon them. They don’t understand the message we preach about the glory of Christ, who is the exact likeness of God.

Have you ever wondered why people don’t understand about Jesus dying on the cross to purchase their salvation? Why is it so complicated to them? They often will say they believe in God, but believing in God does not purchase salvation. James 2:19 says that even the demons believe that there is one God.

James 2:19 You believe that there is one God. You do well. Even the demons believe—and tremble.

We know that believing in God, or simply having a mental assent to the existence of God, does not make a person a Christian because the demons believe in God and they are doomed to an eternity separated from Him, in a place of darkness, where there is gnashing of teeth and tormenting fire.

The Greek word for “believe” in James 2:19 is pisteuo and it means to have faith (in, upon, or with respect to, a person or thing) i.e. credit; by impl. To entrust (espec. one’s spiritual well-being to Christ):–believe, commit (to trust), put in trust with.

So to believe in God for salvation, you would have to put your trust in Christ to save you, not just have a mental assent in His existence. This is one of the things that has been blinded to the minds of those who are perishing that Paul was talking about in 2 Corinthians 4:3, 4. They have trouble separating the “belief in” God and the “belief upon” Him for salvation. To believe or have faith in Christ for salvation is to entrust one’s spiritual well-being to Him, to commit to Him, to trust in Him to save you.

The god of this age, or Satan, has blinded the minds of those who are perishing so that they cannot see or understand that the way to salvation is through the finished work of Jesus Christ, who died on the cross for their sins. They are blinded by a veil that hangs over their minds.

In the Old Testament when Moses would come down off the mountain after having been communing with God his face would be aglow with the glory of God so much that he would have to hang a veil over it so the people would not be frightened by the glow of the glory of God. The people didn’t understand God and were frightened by Him.

2 Corinthians 3:7-9 NLT That old system of law etched in stone led to death, yet it began with such glory that the people of Israel could not bear to look at Moses’ face. For his face shone with the glory of God, even though the brightness was already fading away. Shouldn’t we expect far greater glory when the Holy Spirit is giving life? If the old covenant, which brings condemnation was glorious, how much more glorious is the new covenant, which makes us right with God!

The Old Covenant that people lived by was a covenant of keeping the law. The New Covenant is a covenant of living by grace. The law was keeping a set of rules and in order to be right with God you had to keep the rules and offer animal sacrifices for your sins. The New Covenant is based on placing your trust in Christ Jesus who was the sacrifice given once and for all the sins of mankind. Jesus took the place of the animal sacrifices in the Old Testament to remove a person’s sin.

Hebrews 9:28 NLT so also Christ died only once as a sacrifice to take away the sins of many people. He will come again but not to deal with out sins again. This time he will bring slavation to all those who are eagerly waiting for him.

That glorious gospel of His payment for our sins is what Satan has blinded to people who are perishing so that they can’t see how Jesus paid the payment that was required for the removal of sin that would make a person right with God. Satan has hung a veil over people’s minds to cloud and confuse their thinking.

2 Corinthians 3:16-18 NLT But whenever anyone turns to the Lord, then the veil is taken away. Now, the Lord is the Spirit, and wherever the Spirit of the Lord is, he gives freedom. And all of us have had that veil removed so that we can be mirrors that brightly reflect the glory of the Lord. And as the Spirit of the Lord works within us, we become more and more like him and reflect his glory even more.

Whenever a person comes to Jesus for salvation and is born again, or places their trust in Him for salvation, the veil is removed and they then shine brightly with the glory of God. Have you ever seen a Christian that just seemed to shine with a glow that was undeniably not of their own works? They just radiate the glory of God! Once that veil is removed we then shine as we draw close to Him. As the end of verse 18 says: “And as the Spirit of the Lord works within us, we become more and more like him and reflect his glory even more”. If people can’t tell that you are a Christian then maybe you need to draw closer to the Lord Jesus and allow Him to change you into His likeness.

2 Corinthians 4:7 calls the glory of God within us “precious treasure”:

But this precious treasure—this light and power that now shine within us—is held in perishable containers, that is in our weak bodies. So everyone can see that our glorious power is from God and is not our own.

It becomes evident as a person goes through trials and tribulations, the ups and downs of life that the glory of God within them is not something they are manufacturing on their own. It is God’s glorious power within that causes a person to shine even though them may be going through extreme hardship. His power within gives them the ability to shine whether they are experiencing good or bad times.

Do you have loved ones that are blinded by the enemy this morning so that it seems that they can’t see or understand what you are talking about when you try to talk to them about Jesus? Do they become hardened in heart at the mention of the gospel? If so, then pray that the veil that Satan has hung over their minds would be removed so they can see the light of the glorious gospel of Jesus Christ and come to salvation. Saturate them in prayer before you attempt to talk to them about the Lord.

Father, I thank You for providing salvation through the sacrifice of Jesus on the cross of Calvary. I know that He was the ultimate sacrifice that paid the penalty for the sin of mankind. I thank You for making it possible for all men to come to the saving knowledge of Jesus Christ. This morning, I pray for those who are perishing that the veil that Satan has hung over their minds would be torn down so they can see the light of the glorious gospel of Jesus Christ and be saved. I ask that You would place people in their paths that would be able to share Jesus with them in ways that they will understand and receive. I pray that their hearts would be softened and prepared to receive Your word to them about their need for Jesus as Savior, for without placing their faith in Him there can be no salvation for them. Father, I pray that You will create divine appointments for them to interact with Christians who shine with the glory of God in their faces. Let them see the difference in the lives of those who have spent time with You allowing You to change them to reflect Your glory. Father, I thank You for hearing and answering my prayer. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.

(If you have never received Jesus as your own personal Savior and Lord please go to my page “The road to salvation–How can I be born again?”.  There you will find information about how to appropriate the salvation that God offers into your own life.)

 

Two Ears And One Mouth

I was praying recently about a situation in my life and as I prayed about it I immediately heard the Holy Spirit speak this verse to me in answer to my problem:

James 1:19, 20 NLT My dear brothers and sisters, be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to get angry. Your anger can never make things right in God’s sight.

Since I have quieter, more passive type of personality it usually isn’t too difficult for me to hold my tongue and think before I speak. But there are times when it gets the best of me and, as a person once said about the little boy when told to sit down and be quiet, he said, “I may be sitting down on the outside, but I’m standing up on the inside”. The person on the inside of me sometimes cries out over what is happening on the outside. And I have had to pray that God would set a guard over my mouth and keep watch over the door of my lips. (Psalm 141:3) It is a lot easier for me to deal with my own emotions than to have to go back to a person and apologize for something that I said in haste that hurt their feelings. Words cannot be retracted and always hang out there waiting for the devil, who is the accuser of the brethren, to bring them back to remembrance when they will once again bring the sting of hurt and disappointment to the person to whom they have been spoken. It is with regret that I’ve thought so many times that I wish I could take back the words that I have spoken in haste or anger.

God, through the writings of James, instructs us in being quick to listen and slow to speak and especially when angry because, as my mother used to say, two wrongs do not make a right. What may have been said to me could very well be wrong, but my angry response to it does not produce God’s right way of living; it doesn’t make my angry response any more right than the one who hurt my feelings with what they said to me. In being quick to listen we give ourselves time to gain discernment to understand the underlying reason for what is being said to us, rather than just taking the words at face value. We are more apt to understand the other person’s heart rather than just reacting to the words that are spoken. Time between what is said and the response always gives an avenue whereby we are able to reflect and respond rather than react.

 

Romans 12:18 If it is possible, as much as depends on you, live peaceably with all men.

Relationships can be really challenging. Human nature compels us to feel that we are right and the other person is wrong. And since we are all human none of us is perfect so we are not right all the time, but we are not always wrong either. However, God’s way, the higher road, is to relinquish our rights in order to live in peace with the other person. He says, “if it is possible”…..unfortunately, sometimes it’s not possible to live in peace with another person, but our part is to do what He asks of us in trying our best to live in peace with them.

Proverbs 27:17 As iron sharpens iron, So a man sharpens the countenance of his friend.

I have often heard that this scripture says that God places some people in our lives as sandpaper to smooth down our rough edges! Different opinions within our relationship cause us to think about our own position, whether we are right or wrong. If there are no challenges there is no room for growth; our countenance will remain the same. We will not ever be changed. The key to good relationships, then, is not that one opinion overrides the other, but that in presenting our opinion, spoken in love, we offer room for growth. By so doing we are each giving and receiving input by which we may reflect and understand another’s point of view in order to meet in agreement and be changed through the peaceable exchange of opinions. It is in working with the other person that we learn to live peaceably with them.

And once again we have come full circle back to the first scripture in James 1:19, 20 where we are instructed to be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to anger. I guess there is some truth in the saying that God gave us two ears and one mouth so we could listen twice as much as we speak.

Father, I thank You for the wisdom that You give us through Your word. You are always working with our best interest in mind and I thank You for instructing us in how to live peaceably with others. Thank You, Father, for purchasing our redemption and for placing us in the body of Christ. May we all think of the other person more highly that we think of ourselves, yielding to them and learning from them. Thank You, Father, for those that You place around us to sharpen our countenance. May we treat them with understanding and love as we interact with them. Father, I pray that we will always walk in love towards the other person and give them the opportunity to speak what is on their heart without fear of rejection. Thank You, Father, for hearing my prayer. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

 

 

The Monster Within

Romans 6:16-19 Do you not know that to whom you present yourselves slaves to obey, you are that one’s slaves whom you obey, whether of sin leading to death, or of obedience leading to righteousness? But God be thanked that though you were slaves of sin, yet you obeyed from the heart that form of doctrine to which you were delivered. And having been set free from sin, you became slaves of righteousness. I speak in human terms because of the weakness of your flesh. For just as you presented your members as slaves of uncleanness, and of lawlessness leading to more lawlessness, so now present your members as slaves of righteousness for holiness.

We all have battles that we fight that often seem to be won and then we find them raising their ugly heads up once again. Paul fought for victory over sin and told about it in Romans chapter 7. After Jesus had won His battle with the devil in the wilderness the Word tells us in Luke 4:13 that the devil “departed from Him until an opportune time”. Our enemy knows our weaknesses and watches us to see when the “opportune” times are that he can come back and tempt us again. He thinks maybe this time he will win. I was praying one time about overcoming the temptation to eat simple carbohydrates that seem to set off a ravenous monster within me that only desires more, more MORE. This is what the Holy Spirit spoke to my heart.

Child, whatever you yield yourself to will control you. If you yield yourself to Me I will have control over you; but when you present your members to those things that are bad for you then they take control of you and lead you in the way that they want you to go; the way of death. I lead you in the way of life. It’s your choice; you choose this day whom you will serve. That which leads you to life or that which leads you to death. The controlling right comes as you make the choice.”

The thing that made the most impact on me in my response from the Lord is “the controlling right comes as you make the choice”. We are all presented with temptations, but we are not controlled by the temptations; we are controlled when we yield to the temptation and allow it to take over and lead us in the direction it wants us to go. When we make the right choices then we are lead in the right direction. The choice is the turning point in every temptation.

Paul experienced a problem with re-occurring sin in his life and wanting to do what he knew was right but having to fight the desires of his flesh.  The principle for victory that he describes over sin is found in Jesus Christ. It is the same for each one of us as we battle the temptations that arise in our lives. The flesh always wants self-gratification, but the Spirit will lead us to make wise choices that please the Father.

Romans 7:24, 25 NLT Oh, what a miserable person I am! Who will free me from this life that is dominated by sin? Thank God! The answer is in Jesus Christ our Lord…

He later said in Philippians 4:13 NLT For I can do everything with the help of Christ who gives me the strength I need.

Paul again described the way to live free from the lusts of the flesh in Galatians 4:16:

I say then: Walk in the Spirit, and you shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh. For the flesh lusts against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; and these are contrary to one another, so that you do not do the things that you wish.

So what does Paul mean by “walk in the Spirit”? He means to walk yielded to the Holy Spirit’s direction in your life; always being aware that what you yield your flesh to will produce either good or bad in your life. He went on to explain that the works that the flesh produce are totally opposite to the good that the Holy Spirit brings into our lives.

So, as I continued to pray about the temptation placed before me this is what I heard the Lord say:

If you do not choose the food then it has no power over you, but when you open the door through your choice it will come in to accommodate your desire. Depend on Me for the strength to overcome and I will help you close the door on the addictive power of food. See yourself as the winner that I have created you to be. Make healthy choices and drive food addictions out of your life. I will help you for I know what foods your body needs to be healthy. Do not depend solely on your own understanding for I know the hidden additives in the food that trigger your own food sensitivities.”

God cares about the things that we care about. He is here through His Spirit to help us make right choices that will produce the desired results in our lives. But many times we try to win the battles on our own terms, through our own abilities. That’s not God’s way. He wants us to fight in the strength that He provides because that’s the only way to defeat the enemy for good.

Ephesians 6:10, 11 Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might. Put on the whole armor of God that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.

It is through God’s power that we win the battles. He knows exactly what type of weapons we need to fight effectively. But if we never consult Him for the strategy that will bring the victory we will continue to fight ineffectively and struggle with the attacks that the enemy brings against us.

Father, I thank You for showing me that the victory lies in staying in close contact with You regarding the food choices that I make. Thank You for giving me the victory through Your Spirit within me. I know that I can do all things through Your strength. Father, I pray for my friends this morning who may be struggling with temptations in their lives. I ask You to fill them with the wisdom and knowledge that they need to know how to win the battle before them. Father, by Your Spirit, give them the victory and show them how to fight effectively to win. Thank You, Father. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.

 

Who Is The Thief?

There are so many things in this world that I do not understand. But this one thing I know: that God is good all the time and the devil is bad all the time. Many times, unknowingly, people credit God with the devil’s activity in their lives. But the word says in John 10:10 that the devil has a plan for your life, just like God has a plan for your life. The devil’s plan is to steal, kill and destroy and God’s plan is to give you abundant life.

John 10:10 “The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly.”

Again, James tells us in James 1:17 that God is the giver of good gifts.

James 1:17 Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and comes down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow of turning.

God gives good gifts! There is no “variation or shadow of turning” with God. That means that He doesn’t “change like shifting shadows” (NIV). He is not a Dr. Jekyll, Mr. Hyde, type of personality.

So, why would we think that something bad that has happened to us is from the Lord? Well, quite simply because we don’t understand that we live in a fallen world where the devil is the prince of the power of the air who goes about looking for people whom he may devour with his evil plans.

1 Peter 5:8 NLT Be careful! Watch out for attacks from the Devil, your great enemy. He prowls around like a roaring lion, looking for some victim to devour.

As long as we live in this fallen world there will be a war against the enemy of our souls. God created us as free moral agents with a will to choose to love and serve Him. But he does not force us to do that. Likewise, we are not puppets on a string controlled by Him as we go about our lives. We are given the freedom to choose how we want to live. When we live by our own standards and desires we often open the door for the enemy to move into our lives. The decisions that we make are not always in our best interests and because of the desires of the flesh we sometimes make choices that lead us to sickness and disease, unhealthy lifestyles and dysfunctional relationships. And then God gets the blame for what we as individuals have brought upon ourselves. Our choices affect the quality of our lives.

Deuteronomy 30:15-20 NLT “Now listen! Today I am giving you a choice between prosperity and disaster, between life and death. I have commanded you today to love the LORD your God and to keep His commands, laws, and regulations by walking in His ways. If you do this, you will live and become a great nation, and the LORD your God will bless you and the land you are about to enter and occupy. But if your heart turns away and you refuse to listen, and if you are drawn away to serve and worship other gods, then I warn you now that you will certainly be destroyed. You will not live a long, good life in the land you are crossing the Jordan to occupy. “Today I have given you the choice between life and death, between blessings and curses. I call on heaven and earth to witness the choice you make. Oh, that you would choose life, that you and your descendants might live! Choose to love the LORD your God and to obey Him and commit yourself to Him, for He is your life. Then you will live long in the land the LORD swore to give your ancestors Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.”

God gives us the choice to choose “life and blessings or death and cursing” (NKJV). It’s our choice. But oh, how He desires for us to choose the life of prosperity or blessings! He doesn’t want us to experience the heartache that not walking according to His ways brings. That doesn’t mean that everything that happens to us is a result of disobedience or selfish choices. It simply means that God has planned a good life for us, filled with His blessings, and our choices often determine the outcome of our lives. We still live in a fallen world where the devil has freedom, for a time, to move about trying to steal, kill, and destroy. But God’s will for us is for good, not evil. When we experience the bad things, God will turn them around for our good if we will trust Him. He uses those things that we experience that are bad to help us learn how to overcome the attacks of the enemy.

Will you choose life today? Will you decide to close the door on the devil’s activities in your life by walking according to God’s ways? He is waiting for you to choose! He wants to bless you with the good life that He has planned for you.

Jeremiah 29:11 For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the LORD, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope.

Father, I thank You for the good life that You have planned for each one of us. I pray that we may see Your goodness in our lives and choose to live according to Your ways so we can close the door on the enemy’s plan for destruction. Father, give us wisdom to choose the right paths to walk, the best decisions to make and the most healthy choices for our lives each day. Thank You for the Holy Spirit that lives within me who helps me choose a healthy lifestyle. May each of us continue to seek Your will before making decisions that affect the quality of our lives. Thank You for Your blessings! In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.

 

 

 

 

 

The Soldier’s Attire

Ephesians 6:14, 15 Stand therefore, having girded your waist with truth, having put on the breastplate of righteousness, and having shod your feet with the preparation of the gospel of peace;

 

We’ve been looking at God’s word on spiritual warfare. Yesterday we talked about being able to “stand therefore”, and today we will begin looking at the actual armor, it’s purpose and reason of use.

 

Paul wrote the book of Ephesians as well as Philippians, Colossians, and Philemon while he was imprisoned in Rome, confined and awaiting trial. Many times Paul was chained to a Roman soldier and during those times he got a very up close and personal view of the armor of that soldier. God used his surroundings to give him an analogy of the armor of God. God’s word is inspired of God, written to us for our profit, for doctrine, for reproof, for correction and instruction in righteousness and God used Paul’s time in a Roman prison to give us a description of what a believer’s armor should resemble.

 

2 Timothy 3:16,17 All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work.

 

God wants us to be complete in Him, perfectly suited to fight the enemy and win. It is as we put on His armor that we will be properly equipped for battle.

 

Ephesians 6:14 “….having girded your waist with truth…..”

 

The Roman soldier had a belt around his waist that bound all of the armor together and gave him freedom of movement. He fought every day regardless of whether there was an actual battle or not because he had to be ready to fight and win when he was up against his enemy.

 

The belt that is the piece of the armor of God that holds all our other pieces of armor together is the belt of truth. Jesus said in John 17:17, when He was praying for His disciples and those of us who would follow after them, that God’s word is truth.

 

John 17:17 “Sanctify them by Your truth. Your word is truth.

 

Sanctify – Greek word “hagiazo” in John 17:17 means “the separation of the believer from the world in his behavior—by the Father through the Word”. To sanctify is to set apart from something unto something else; to separate from something so you can draw close to another.

 

Jesus said God’s Word separates the believer from the world in his behavior. The belt of truth, or God’s word in the life of a believer while in battle, separates him from acting in a worldly fashion that would deter him from his focus of standing strong in the Lord to win the battle. The world would have us fight a spiritual battle with worldly weapons, but we’ve already ascertained that the weapons of our warfare are not worldly, but they are mighty in God and are powerful to pull down strongholds and bring thoughts and arguments into captivity to the obedience of Christ. (2 Corinthians 10:3-5)

 

The truth of God’s word is what the believer uses to secure all the other parts of the armor. Jesus said in John 14:6: “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.” When we look at how Jesus handled the attack of the devil while He was in the wilderness we see that He spoke the Word to the devil and it stopped the attack. God’s word is powerful!

 

Hebrews 4:12 For the word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.

 

The center of our armor is truth. Everything that we hear is to be judged by the word of God. If it doesn’t line up with the word, pitch it out! God’s word is truth; Jesus is the Living Word and the Word of God when spoken by the Holy Spirit is the Sword of the Spirit which we will discuss in an upcoming blog. The word of God when taken into our spirits prepares us to fight and win. We must be ready for the actual battle when it comes by daily feasting on the word of God. To wait until the enemy is in front of you to start preparing for the battle is too late.

 

Ephesians 6:14 “….having put on the breastplate of righteousness….”

 

The breastplate of the Roman soldier protected his heart and other vital organs. The righteousness of God worn as a breastplate is what protects our hearts.

 

1 John 3:21 Beloved, if our heart does not condemn us, we have confidence toward God.

 

If we stand in God’s righteousness we have a heart that believes that what we ask of God we will receive because we stand not based on our own efforts but the righteousness of Jesus Christ.

 

Isaiah 59:17 For He put on righteousness as a breastplate, And a helmet of salvation on His head; He put on the garments of vengeance for clothing, And was clad with zeal as a cloak.

 

God Himself wears a breastplate of righteousness. When we look at the definition of righteousness we will be able to see it’s purpose as our protection and the reason why He wants us to wear it.

 

Righteousness – Greek word “dikaiosyne”- the character or quality of being right or just. It is spoken of as being “right with God” and is the position that we believers have in Christ Jesus. This righteousness is unattainable by obedience to any law, or by any merit of man’s own, or any other condition than that of faith in Christ Jesus.

 

We are right with God because we are in Christ Jesus according to 2 Corinthians 5:21:

 

For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.

 

So when we stand, ready for battle, with the righteousness of God as our breastplate, the enemy cannot throw any fiery darts at our hearts that will knock us off balance because we are right or just not because of anything we have done, but because of what Jesus has done! We stand based on God’s righteousness, not our own. The enemy might try to say things that would convince us that we can’t stand and fight because we are not worthy in our own works of righteousness, but the truth is that we are righteous because of Jesus! It is then that we can rightfully say, “Get thee behind me, Satan; I am worthy because of Jesus!”.

 

Ephesians 6:14 “….. and having shod your feet with the preparation of the gospel of peace;”

 

The Roman soldier’s boots were more like heavy leather-layered sandals. They had hollow-headed nails imbedded in the soles so when the soldier took a stand the nails in the soles of his shoes enabled him to stand firmly planted on the ground. His feet didn’t slip because the nails gripped into the ground and strengthened his stance.

 

The word “gospel” simply means “good news”. The peace of God is the good news on which we as believers firmly plant our feet. Ephesians 2:14 says that Jesus Himself is our peace.

 

For He Himself is our peace, who has made both one, and has broken down the middle wall of separation, having abolished in His flesh the enmity, that is, the law of commandments contained in ordinances, so as to create in Himself one new man from the two, thus making peace, and that He might reconcile them both to God in one body through the cross, thereby putting to death the enmity.

 

We stand firmly in the midst of the battle because Jesus is our peace. He, through His sacrifice, united us with the Father and made it possible for us to be “one” with the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. We stand in peace, with no strife or enmity between us and the Father. It is our right as His children to stand firmly planted, ready to fight, secure in who we are in Christ Jesus!

 

My friends, every piece of armor that God has given us is effective for us to use in spiritual warfare because it is based on the covenant of peace that we have with God through Christ Jesus. It is given by God’s grace and received through our faith. When we stand in His righteousness and use the weapons of His warfare and armor, we can be assured that the victory is ours!

 

Thank You, Father, for providing all that we need to fight the good fight of faith! Thank You for the armor that protects us and provides success for us in spiritual warfare. Thank You for Your righteousness that gives us the authority to fight as a believer in Christ Jesus. Thank You, Lord Jesus, for securing our peace with the Father, breaking down that wall of separation that sin caused between us. Thank You, Lord, for Your gospel of peace; Your good news to us. And thank You, Lord, for Your word of truth. Truth that supersedes fact. The truth of Your word that when wielded as the Sword of the Spirit pierces the enemy and stops him in his attacks against us. Thank You, Lord, for equipping us to fight and win! In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.

 

The Wrestling Match

Ephesians 6:11-13 Put on the whole armor of God that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places. Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.

 

We talked about the armor of God yesterday and today I want to talk about the battle that we encounter with the devil. The first word I want to explore is the word “wiles” in verse 11.

 

Wiles – schemings; methodology; plans

 

The devil has a plan for your life. Jesus calls him a thief who comes only to steal, kill and destroy.  (John 10:10)  Satan’s plan for your life is to steal from you, kill you and destroy your effectiveness for the kingdom of God.

 

The next word that I want to discuss is the word “wrestle” in verse 12.

 

Wrestle – Webster’s 1828 dictionary, which often lists definitions with reference to scriptures, lists the definition of “wrestle” as to strive with arms extended, as two men, who seize each other by the collar and arms, each endeavoring to throw the other by tripping up his heels and twitching him off his center. To struggle; to strive; to contend.

 

The picture that we ascertain from this definition of “wrestle” is that of a match between two opponents, up close and personal, with no more than an arm’s length between them, each trying to knock the other one off balance so as to win the match against him. A wrestler strives or contends against his opponent. So, to wrestle means to engage actively in one-on-one combat. The word says that our opponent in this wrestling match is principalities, powers, rulers of the darkness of this age, and spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places. Does that sound like people to you? No, we are told in the first part of that scripture that it is not flesh and blood, or human beings that we strive against. Satan has a hierarchy of demonic hosts that are strategically placed in his army just like we have different levels of military offices in our armed forces. The battle that we fight against with these spiritual entities is not a physical battle; it is referred to as a wrestling match to give us an illustration of the type of warfare that it is in the spirit realm. Jesus often spoke to people in parables which where earthly stores that had a spiritual meaning. The Bible continues that type of illustration here as we look at the warfare we become involved with as we wrestle with Satan’s army of demons.

 

The next word I want to discuss here is the word “withstand”. The Greek word for “withstand” is anthistemi. Strong’s #436: From anti, “against”, and histemi, “to cause to stand”. The verb suggests vigorously opposing, bravely resisting, standing face-to-face against an adversary, standing your ground. Just as an antihistamine puts a block on histamine, anthistemi tells us that with the authority and spiritual weapons granted to us we can withstand evil forces.

 

What the word is saying in Ephesians 6:13 is that when we are suited up in the armor of God we will be able to vigorously oppose and bravely resist the up close and personal attack that comes to us from the enemy. We will be able to stand our ground, blocking his every move. To stand against means to hold at bay aggressively or to stand in front of and oppose. “Having done all, to stand” means that we will be found standing after an active battle and taking our stance for the next battle. From this illustration I get a clear understanding that God intends for us to fight and win!

 

The Old Testament stories of physical encounters with the enemies of Israel are a type and shadow of the spiritual battles that we, as believers, encounter with our adversary, the devil. In looking at the battle between David and Goliath we see how David suited up with the weapons that he had tried and tested, and found to be effective. His weapons were a slingshot and five smooth stones. He told Saul that it wasn’t the weapons per say that brought the victory between the lion and the bear while he was caring for his father’s sheep, but the Lord was the one who had delivered him in his battles and that His God would deliver him from the hand of the Philistine as well. (1 Samuel 17:37) It is our God that is backing the armor that He provides for us and when we apply the weapons as instructed by the Lord we can know that He is fighting the enemy through us. Just as Goliath started fighting against David by challenging him through words of disdain, trying to cause him to fear, so Satan comes against the believer through thoughts of doubt, unbelief, discouragement, discontent, fear and accusation.

 

2 Corinthians 10:3-5 For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war according to the flesh. For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds, casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ,

 

The battle that we fight against the devil is in our thought processes. God calls them thoughts, arguments, strongholds, and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God. A stronghold is a fortified place that Satan builds to exalt himself against the knowledge and plans of God in a person’s life. Strongholds often leave the person feeling that their situation is hopeless and there is no way out. A stronghold begins as a thought and as you mull that thought over and over in your mind it reinforces it every time it is thought until it eventually becomes “reality” to you. It is an up close and personal encounter with Satanic forces because many times he is so convincing that you receive the thought as your own, when in actuality, anything that is in opposition to God’s word is a lie, regardless of how good it sounds. Satan is a deceiver, and is described in John 8:44 as a liar and the father of it.

 

John 8:44 “You are of your father the devil, and the desires of your father you want to do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth, because there is o truth in him. When he speaks a lie, he speaks from his own resources, for he is a liar and the father of it.”

 

Satan cannot read a person’s mind, but he can interject thoughts into a person’s mind. He usually begins his attack by speaking to your mind thoughts that counter what God’s word says. Take for example the serpent speaking to Eve in the Garden of Eden.

 

Genesis 3:1 Now the serpent was more cunning than any beast of the field which the LORD God had made. And he said to the woman, “Has God indeed said, ‘You shall not eat of every tree of the garden’?”

 

Remember that we said earlier that the stories in the Old Testament of physical battles or encounters are types and shadows of the spiritual encounters that we as believers have with the enemy. So, in this instance, notice that the serpent, or to us the devil, in conversation with Eve, questioned what God had instructed them to do about eating of the trees of the garden. He started with causing her to doubt God’s word. Satan will come with a thought placed in your mind that God’s word really doesn’t apply to your situation and that there really isn’t any hope for you; you will have to take control of this situation yourself and figure out how to overcome on your own. It is at this point that we must stand against, or wrestle with the thought bringing it into captivity to God’s word. Many times in years past I have had a thought and had to stop myself and say, “wait a minute; what does God’s word say about this situation?”. I would have to stop and get the proper perspective through knowing the word of God to be able to stand against the wiles, or strategy of the devil at that point in my life. Just as Jesus battled the devil with the word of God when he tempted Him in the wilderness, so you will have to speak the word of God to the enemy when he brings those thoughts and temptations to your mind.

 

God gives us some instructions in Philippians 4:8 about what we are to think about or meditate on to keep our thought processes in line with His word.

 

Philippians 4:8 Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy—meditate on these things.

 

God is a positive God; He is not negative in His thoughts and He doesn’t want us to dwell on the negative and feel as if there is no hope for us in our warfare against the enemy. Nothing is impossible for God according to Luke 1:37: “For with God nothing will be impossible.” God is for us; He has equipped us to win, to be more than conquerors through Him.

 

Romans 8:31 What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us?

 

Romans 8:35 Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword?

 

Romans 8:37 Yet in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us.

 

Strongholds can be brought down through changing what we think about, speak about and act on. Every action begins with a thought and is followed by what we say and then acted out. It is in the beginning thought that we need to bring it to a stop! It is at that point that the wrestling is the most effective. The longer we go dwelling on it the more intense the battle becomes and the more fortified is the stronghold.

 

Father, I thank You for giving us the weapons that we need to defeat the enemy. Thank You for causing us to be over-comers through Christ Jesus. Please show us the fortified areas in our minds that need to be brought into captivity to the obedience of Christ. Help us to fight a good warfare; one that wins every time. Father, I pray for my friends that You will show them the areas that Satan has used as thoughts that exalt him in their minds instead of Your word. Father, grant them the victory over the enemy. Lord, strengthen their spirits to do battle. Empower them to win and show them that You are right there with them, fighting through them. Thank You, Father, for leading us to triumph in Christ Jesus. In Jesus name I pray. Amen.

 

 

 

 

Still Standing?

1 Corinthians 16:13 Watch, stand fast in the faith, be brave, be strong.

There are two parts to spiritual warfare. One is the prayer of intercession that we talked about yesterday where we stand in the gap before God on behalf of our loved ones, friends and nation. We talked about the importance of prayer. This morning I want to talk with you about the other part of spiritual warfare, which is standing against the enemy on behalf of yourself, a loved one, a friend, a ministry or a country.

Matthew 4:1-11 Then Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. And when He had fasted forty days and forty nights, afterward He was hungry. Now when the tempter came to Him, he said, “If You are the Son of God, command that these stones become bread.” But He answered and said, “It is written, ‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God.’” Then the devil took Him up into the holy city, set Him on the pinnacle of the temple, and said to Him, “If You are the Son of God, throw Yourself down. For it is written: ‘He shall give His angels charge over you,’ and, ‘In their hands they shall bear you up, Lest you dash your foot against a stone.’” Jesus said to him, “It is written again, ‘You shall not tempt the LORD your God.’” Again, the devil took Him up on an exceedingly high mountain, and showed Him all the kingdoms of the world and their glory. And he said to Him, “All these things I will give You if You will fall down and worship me.” Then Jesus said to him, “Away with you, Satan! For it is written, ‘You shall worship the LORD your God, and Him only you shall serve.’” Then the devil left Him, and behold, angels came and ministered to Him.

In this portion of scripture we see a perfect example of the other part of spiritual warfare. When we look at how Jesus handles the devil we see five main principles that we can follow to defeat the enemy in our own lives or the lives of another.

The first thing we notice is that Jesus was totally committed to the Father. He had fasted and prayed for forty days and nights. His will was to do the Father’s will. He was totally in tune with the Holy Spirit. The Word says in 1 John 3:8 that the Son of God was manifested to destroy the works of the devil.

The second thing that we see is that He coupled fasting with his prayers. Fasting while praying builds you up and strengthens you for the battle. We gain the power and anointing to win our battles and victories for Him through prayer and fasting. However, fasting by itself doesn’t do anything but waste your time. You must couple the two together to get the desired results. Jesus said in Matthew 6:16-18 “when you fast”. He didn’t say “if”, He said “when” so fasting is a normal part of a disciple’s life.

The third thing we see in the example of Jesus is that He persevered until He saw the manifestation of the victory. He didn’t give up before the enemy was defeated. Sometimes when we are in the heat of the battle against the devil we get tired and quit before we win the fight. Jesus gives us the perfect example of fighting to the end! 1 Timothy 6:12 says to “fight the good fight of faith, lay hold on eternal life”. The devil comes only to steal, kill and destroy (John 10:10) and if we are going to experience all that Jesus died to give us, we will have to fight when the enemy comes trying to steal, kill or destroy our lives and the lives of those around us.

The next thing that we see is that Jesus had an intimate knowledge of the Word of God and He used it as the Sword of the Spirit. He spoke not what He saw, felt or thought, but what God’s Word said. He used the Word to defeat the enemy. Hebrews 4:12 says that the word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword. It pierces and divides and is a powerful weapon to use against the enemy. Ephesians 6:17 refers to the Word of God as the Sword of the Spirit; that which the Holy Spirit has spoken to us to use in fighting against the enemy.

The last thing that we see in this example is that He spoke directly to the devil. He didn’t beat around the bush, He addressed Satan with the Word of God. He didn’t carry on a conversation with the devil but He spoke the Word that was a Rhema Word from the Holy Spirit to address the problem He was encountering. James 4:7 says that when we submit ourselves to God and resist the devil that He will flee from us.

2 Corinthians 10:3-5 For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war according to the flesh. For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds, casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ,

Jesus showed us several of the weapons that God has given us to defeat the devil and tear down strongholds in our lives. A stronghold is a fortified thought process that Satan erects in a person’s life that exalts itself against the knowledge of God. It is a battle in the mind. Satan will speak to a person’s mind things that are totally against God’s word and have a person convinced that nothing will ever change even though God’s word tells us that nothing is impossible with God. Jesus applied the Word of God to His situation and won the battle. We can petition the Father on our behalf or on behalf of someone else, but we must also fight the good fight of faith to defeat the enemy. Both are necessary parts of spiritual warfare. Many times we beg God to do something for us when we need to be standing strong in the power of His might to overcome the devil and enforce the victory of the covenant that Jesus purchased for us. He defeated the devil on the cross, but it is our job as the Church to enforce that victory. We do that through spiritual warfare.

Father, I thank You for showing us how to properly fight and win the victory over the devil. Thank You for the example, Lord Jesus, that you gave us! Father, help us to seek you for just the right plan that will give us the victory. I pray, Father, that we will seek Your face and ask You for the scriptures that we need to pray and speak to the devil to defeat him. Father, help us to guard our hearts and minds and to keep our focus on You, Lord. Show us the plan that You have for every battle that we encounter. Thank You for empowering us by Your Spirit and for speaking clearly to us what we need to do to overcome. To You be the glory, Father! In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.

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