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Archive for the ‘Spiritual Warfare.’ Category

Discerning Demonic Strategies Against Your Life.


demonic strategies

Lately, I’ve been thinking about what I’ve been thinking about. In other words, I’ve been listening closer into the spiritual realm to discern the demonic activity trying to come against my mind and trying to come against people in my region.

When I was driving to church last week, for example, I suddenly heard thoughts like, “I’m so discouraged.” When I got in the car and started driving, I was happy as a lark, listening to classical music and praying. But when I crossed the line into Fort Lauderdale, Fla., thoughts of discouragement suddenly started bombarding my mind.

Although I’ve experienced this before, I almost fell for it. I started thinking about discouraging things going on in my life and in the world. By the time I pulled into the church parking lot, I was deflated. And then the Holy Spirit broke in and reminded me, “That’s not your thought.”

I called a friend and asked her if she was sensing discouragement in the spiritual climate, and she offered a confirmation. As a church, we prayed against a spirit of discouragement, loneliness and oppression, and we felt something break. The joy of the Lord fell on the congregation, and we had a lovely service.

What Are You Thinking About?
Of course, it’s not always something in the city I’m hearing. Sometimes the enemy is targeting my mind with destructive or seductive thoughts. Yes, Satan does put thoughts in our minds. Consider Luke 4:3, where “the devil said” things to Jesus. The devil is a spirit—a fallen angel—who moves in the spirit realm. He doesn’t need a body to talk to you any more than God needs a body to talk to you. Just as the devil talked to Jesus, he’s still talking to people today.

Lately, I’ve been thinking about what I’ve been thinking about. In other words, I’ve been keener on discerning the thoughts that are floating around in my mind and their origin. Did you know that you could go throughout much of your day on autopilot? You can get dressed for work in the morning, drive to the office, drive home, cook dinner and watch television at night while your mind is reasoning through all sorts of thoughts.

We need to start paying attention to what we’re thinking about and the origin of those thoughts. We need to be quicker to listen to the inner talk going on in our souls. When we do, we’ll start to discern the demonic strategies against our lives. For example, you may hear thoughts like, “No one appreciates me.” If you reason that thought out in your mind, you’ll end up a little angry, maybe resentful and eventually bitter. That thought will eventually drive your behavior toward the people you feel underappreciate you.

God’s Thoughts Versus Satan’s Thoughts
Where are your thoughts coming from? God’s thoughts are higher than our thoughts (Is. 55:9). Satan’s thoughts are lower than God’s thoughts. Which way our internal thought life sways depends, in part, on our reasoning. God’s thoughts toward us are of peace and not of evil, to give us a future and a hope (Jer. 29:11). Satan’s thoughts toward us are of war and not of goodness, to give us a future without hope. Which way our internal thought life leans depends, in part, on our reasoning.

Although our thoughts will never reach the height of God’s thoughts—the Creator is all-knowing—our thoughts need not reach the lows of Satan’s thoughts. In other words, God gave us the ability to reason and a free will to choose what we think about—whether thoughts of peace and hope or thoughts of evil and hopelessness. So, stop and think about what you’re thinking about.

And know this: Many of the negative words we speak and the ungodly actions we take originate from the seed of a thought Satan whispers to our souls. That seed can grow into demon-inspired weeds as our minds reason out the thought. That seed can spark a fire in our souls, so to speak, that fuels more wrong thoughts, wrong words and wrong deeds.

When the enemy plants a vain imagination in our minds, we have two choices: cast it down or meditate on it. When we meditate on vain imaginations, we tend to connect demonic dots that create skewed pictures of reality. Believing what we see in our thought life is real, we talk ourselves into taking action based on a wrong perception. That action could be a negative attitude toward people, an angry outburst that hurts someone you love, or a sinful behavior that leads you into bondage. But believe this: It all starts with a thought.

There’s a war in your mind whether you discern it or not. I urge you to start discerning what is going on in your mind, will and emotions and to bring your mind into submission to the mind, will and emotions of God by His grace. Paul put it this way: “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, and being ready to punish all disobedience when your obedience is fulfilled” (2 Cor. 10:3-6). Amen.

Be sure to check out the video below for more of my teaching on this topic.

Source: CHARISMA NEWS.

JENNIFER LECLAIRE

Jennifer LeClaire is news editor at Charisma. She is also the author of several books, including The Spiritual Warrior’s Guide to Defeating Jezebel. You can email Jennifer at jennifer.leclaire@charismamedia.com or visit her website here. You can also join Jennifer on Facebook or follow her on Twitter

Spiritual War, Spiritual Battlefield.


Now when they began to sing and to praise, the LORD set ambushes against the people of Ammon, Moab, and Mount Seir … and they were defeated.
2 Chronicles 20:22

Recommended Reading
Ephesians 6:10-20 ( http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Ephesians%206:10-20&version=NKJV )

When enemies of Judah came against her, King Jehoshaphat called the people to fast and pray. And he led the prayers, beginning with praise: “O Lord God of our fathers, … do You not rule over all the kingdoms of the nations … ?” (2 Chronicles 20:5-6) He went on with further praise before making a simple request: “O our God, will You not judge them?” (verse 12a) And he concluded: “Nor do we know what to do, but our eyes  are  upon You” (verse 12b).

Listen to Today’s Radio Message ( http://www.davidjeremiah.org/site/radio.aspx?tid=email_listenedevo )

There is only one being who would motivate a massive attack on the people of God: Satan (1 John 5:19). Regardless of what Jehoshaphat knew about spiritual warfare, he did the right thing. Instead of looking at the enemy, he put his eyes on God: “Our eyes are upon You.” The majority of his prayer was spent in praise to God, a minority in requests (Matthew 6:8). When Paul concluded his instructions on spiritual warfare, he said to pray “with all prayer and supplication” (Ephesians 6:18).

Spiritual warfare is won in the spiritual realm — and begins with prayers of physical praise.

Let earth and heaven combine, angels and men agree, to praise in songs divine the incarnate Deity.
Charles Wesley

Read-Thru-the-Bible
Acts 22-23

By David Jeremiah.

4 Ways to Overcome a Spirit of Terror.


woman looking up
Second Timothy 1:7 says, “For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power, and of love, and a sound mind.” (Sorinus-StockFree)

Have you ever been on a roller coaster? Do you remember your emotions right before going over the first hill? Your heart races, your muscles are clinched and regrets are probably running through your mind.

Have you ever been sound asleep and awakened by a sudden noise? Do you recall the physiological response you had? When that happened to me years ago, I was scared spitless.

Do you remember being in a car with someone who was driving fast and recklessly? Did you press imaginary brakes, with one hand on the doorknob while praying silently? I have.

If you are human, you have undoubtedly experienced fear at one time or another. This type of fear operates as our “spidey sense” when danger is imminent. It allows our fight-or-flight response to kick in at a moment’s notice.

But there is another type of fear that is not natural, called terror. This kind of fear or terror is a gripping force that seeks to paralyze its victims into submission to its will. Terror is not of God.

Second Timothy 1:7 says, “For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power, and of love, and a sound mind.” The enemy of our souls, Satan, uses terror to create fear within the individual as well as among the masses. He aims to stunt personal growth and contradict our faith.

Terrorists (either spiritual-like demons or natural, as in human) generate small attacks and events that act as catalysts in creating huge fear among the masses and individuals. The United States spans more than 3.79 million square feet with a population of roughly 315 million people. Despite the vastness of our country, acts of terror can carry such an impact that people in remote areas change their daily routines.

The tragic terrorist attack at the Boston Marathon that injured hundreds and killed three shut down a city because of terror. Reporters interviewed runners who were encapsulated by fear and vowed to never run a race again.

Do you realize that our country has spent the last 12 years without a successful terrorist attack? I don’t believe any American will ever forget 9/11. The attacks in New York, Pennsylvania, and Washington, D.C., resulted in a catastrophic loss of life. I can remember flights being grounded because of fearful passengers canceling plans. But I chose not to allow that spirit of terror to enter my heart.

On Sept. 12, I was on a flight and about the business of the Lord. I remembered that God had not given me a spirit of fear. We must not allow the enemy’s threats to veer us from the will of God.

Fear will hinder and bind your personal growth. In 1933, President Roosevelt stated, “Nor need we shrink from honestly facing conditions in our country today. This great nation will endure as it has endured, will revive and prosper. … Let me assert my firm belief that the only thing we have to fear is fear itself—nameless, unreasoning, unjustified terror which paralyzes needed efforts to convert retreat into advance.”

Simply stated, don’t allow yourself to be consumed by thoughts of the unknown. Fear of being fearful is nothing more than anxiety. Scripture tells us that we should not be anxious for anything (Phil. 4:6).

Fear or terror is a direct contradiction to our faith. Where faith builds, terror destroys. Where faith provides hope of an expected end, fear declares there is no hope left.

The enemy is going to hit you with situations on a personal level. You may receive a prognosis or even a diagnosis, and fear will try to seize you. But remember that diagnosis is a small assault to stifle the Word of God that says, “God is your healer.” Trust me; you will not leave this earth a minute before the Lord is ready to receive you.

Financial troubles may have you in a state of fear of how bills will be paid. Be reminded that God is your supplier according to His riches, and He won’t allow you to beg for bread.

Whatever may arise in your life, be confident in knowing that God has your back! Don’t be scared! Dwell in your secret place! Psalms 91:4-8 reads, “He will cover you with his feathers. He will shelter you with his wings. His faithful promises are your armor and protection. Do not be afraid of the terrors of the night, nor the arrow that flies in the day. Do not dread the disease that stalks in darkness, nor the disaster that strikes at midday. Though a thousand fall at your side, thought ten thousand are dying around you, these evils will not touch you.”

So, here’s how you should begin to overcome a spirit of terror:

  • Be vigilant and aware of God’s promises—they are sure!
  • Ask God to break the stronghold of fear over your life.
  • Confess God’s Word when life’s unpredictability strikes you.
  • Live! Mountain climb, skydive and keep on running—or at least walk if you don’t run. But by all means, live!

Learn the difference between natural fear and enemy-induced fear in your life. Don’t waste time; eradicate it immediately. Unnatural fear has no place in the heart of the believer. God has not given you a spirit of fear!

Source: CHARISMA MAGAZINE/ NEW MAN.

KYLE SEARCY


Kyle Searcy has a passion for developing a new generation of leaders. He serves as senior pastor of Fresh Anointing House of Worship in Montgomery, Ala., and Norcross, Ga. Learn more atKyleSearcy.com.

Spiritual Warriors, You Really Don’t Need to Scream at the Devil.


frustrated
How should you engage in spiritual warfare? (Stock.xchng)

Have you ever been so frustrated with your kids that you raised your voice in frustration? Have you ever yelled and screamed because you were just plain worn out after a hard day of work and fed up with the kids not submitting to your God-given authority?

Parenting experts say screaming at your kids is one of the worst parenting mistakes you can make for several reasons. First, when you resort to yelling, you’ve just demonstrated your lack of self-control—and you lose your power by losing control. Second, the kids usually tune you out when you yell. Third, children often grow more hostile toward you as you holler threats at them that you may or may not be willing or able to carry out.

Ultimately, when you scream at your kids, they lose a measure of respect for you because you’re not confident enough in your authority to handle an attack on that authority without fleshing out.

Now let’s translate that into spiritual warfare. Some spiritual warriors seem to equate volume with power. They scream at the devil as if he’s deaf, but the devil’s not deaf, and screaming doesn’t convince him to bow. When results elude them, some spiritual warriors grow louder and begin to moan and groan and make threats against the enemy they don’t have the authority to enforce.

Jesus Didn’t Scream at the Devil

I am not against fervent spiritual warfare prayer—or even getting loud. What I’m after here is the yelling that comes from frustration or just out of a wrong mindset that louder is more powerful. One of my mentors once said spiritual warfare skills aren’t taught, they are caught. There is some truth to that. I believe some spiritual warriors scream and holler and make threats against the devil because that’s what they have seen modeled. But that’s not what the Bible models. That’s now how Jesus did it.

I’ve searched diligently, but I can’t find any passage that shows Jesus losing His voice because He screamed and hollered at the devil for so long. When Satan confronted Jesus in the wilderness with all manner of temptation, Jesus simply wielded the sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God (Eph. 6:17). The Bible indicates that “Jesus said, ‘It is written …’” (Matt. 4:4-10, emphasis added)—not that Jesus yelled, Jesus hollered, Jesus screamed or Jesus shouted in frustration. Jesus said God’s Word and let the Word cut through Satan’s lies.

Likewise, when Jesus cast out devils, He didn’t scream at them. It was the demons, rather, who were screaming. When Jesus cast out the demons from the two men in the Gadarenes, He simply said, “Go!” (Matt. 8:32). When Jesus cast out a demon in the synagogue, He calmly said, “Be quiet, and come out of Him!” (Luke 4:35). And when Jesus cast the demon out of the epileptic boy, He just rebuked the demon and it took off (Matt. 17:18).

We Don’t Need to Scream at the Devil

So, Jesus didn’t have to scream at the devil—and neither do we. A few weeks ago, I wrote an article entitled “You’re Resisting the Devil, So Why Won’t He Flee?” It’s easy enough to get frustrated with the enemy when it seems like you’ve done everything you know to do and he just keeps attacking. It’s tempting to scream at the devil and make idle threats, just like some parents do with their disobedient kids. But, my friends, I’ve tried it, and I can tell you the devil doesn’t respond to it any better than your kids do. He probably just laughs at us as we strain our vocal chords.

We don’t need to scream at the devil—and more volume doesn’t equal more power. We just need to stand in our authority in Christ. That means, first, understanding our authority in Christ. Remember when the 70 returned with joy and told Jesus, “Lord, even the demons are subject to us in Your name” (Luke 10:17)? Obviously, they just experienced victory in spiritual warfare. But I assure you we have the victory in spiritual warfare whether we see it with our physical eyes or not.

So when we exercise our Christ-given authority, we should immediately rejoice whether we see the devil flee or not. In other words, when we engage in spiritual warfare, we should act as if we believe we have the victory rather than screaming louder because nothing appears to have changed. When we continue screaming, hollering and yelling at the devil, it merely demonstrates our lack of faith in our authority. We’re putting our faith in our ability to shout loud enough to intimidate the devil. The devil is not intimated by us, but he will bow to the name of Jesus.

So as you engage in spiritual warfare, don’t resort to yelling. Don’t get frustrated and abandon the fruit of self-control. Don’t start acting like the devil! Remember what Jesus said and rejoice: “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” (Luke 10:19). Amen.

Source: CHARISMA NEWS.

JENNIFER LECLAIRE

Jennifer LeClaire is news editor at Charisma. She is also the author of several books, including The Spiritual Warrior’s Guide to Defeating Jezebel. You can email Jennifer at jennifer.leclaire@charismamedia.com or visit her website here. You can also join Jennifer on Facebook or follow her on Twitter.

Going to War Over Your Life’s Prophetic Promises.


Bible and cross
There is a time for war. (© damianeva/Flickr/Creative Commons)

War is a word that most people do not like. The events of Sept. 11, 2001, thrust the United States and the world into an ongoing season of war. Whether we liked war or didn’t, we were under a terrorist attack. A response to the attack was to preserve the security and well-being of the citizens of the United States.

Life changed that day not only for the United States but for the world. War has become a way of life for many years. Like it or not, our nation became engaged in war.

In our nation, the purpose of war is to preserve the promises made by the forefathers of this great nation, who stated in the Preamble of the Constitution: “We the people of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.”

For those promises to be realized in the days ahead, citizens have been required to battle. My father was a machine-gunner on the front line of the Battle of the Bulge during World War II. Most of his comrades were killed during several battles. The Battle of the Bulge was the bloodiest and yet most decisive battle of the war. My dad told us how he would often be the only person left alive during some of the most intense fighting. Our family experienced the trauma and effects of war that left my dad emotionally scarred throughout the remainder of his life.

When my husband, Dale, and I were first married, he was an officer in the U.S. Air Force. At that time the United States was involved with the war in Vietnam. Several of my friends lost husbands during that conflict. Although I have never enjoyed war, I understand the necessity of it. Some things such as freedom, security, promises and many other benefits are obtained only through victory in war. Our blessings and promises as citizens are a result of battles that were not only fought but also won by previous generations.

The Lord has made promises for the citizens of His kingdom. His promises include safety, healing, provision, deliverance and numerous other blessings. Many of these prophetic promises are realized only as a result of victory in spiritual war.

Too often believers think that the promises of God are automatic. Many people who receive prophetic promises think that if the Lord has given a prophetic word, then the word will come to pass. These Christians often do not understand the war involved before they experience the fulfillment of that word. For prophetic battles to be won there must be a revelation of governing authority in the spirit realm.

The apostle Paul described his authority to govern in the spirit (see 1 Cor. 5:3).  His goal was to extend the kingdom of God and to represent Christ fully. Demons knew his influence. He affected entire cities and regions. He fought for prophetic promises and the blessings of God everywhere he went.

Several things happened as a result of his ability to war in the spirit:

  • Those who practiced magic through books repented and burned the books (Acts 19:18-19).
  • Supernatural miracles occurred. Handkerchiefs or aprons carried from Paul’s body produced miracles, signs and wonders (Acts 19:10-12).
  • The business world was greatly impacted. A great uproar occurred and no one wanted to buy idols sold for worship of Artemis (see Acts 19:25-17).

No demonic power could stop Paul! He was God’s weapon of war to advance the kingdom of God and secure prophetic promises for the earth!

We are facing situations today much like the apostle Paul faced so long ago. Like Paul, you and I have been given governing authority so we can win the prophetic wars we are facing.

My books, Praying with Authority and Prophetic Intercession, will help you reach new levels of governing authority. They will help you win the war to secure your prophetic promises.  I have also written a new book called Fighting for Your Prophetic Promises, which helps the readers know how to receive, release and test a prophetic word.

Whether you like war or don’t, this is a season of intense warfare. Yet, you have the promise of victory. God has not changed His mind concerning His promises for you. War with new authority. War until your promise manifests. Now, continue to smell the sweet scent of victory as you advance in this season of war.

Source: CHARISMA NEWS.

BARBARA WENTROBLE

Barbara Wentroble is a gifted apostolic and prophetic minister and the founder of International Breakthrough Ministries and Breakthrough Business Network (internationalbreakthroughministries.org). She has written several books, including Praying With Authority and Rise to Your Destiny, and lives in Irving, Texas, with her husband, Dale.

How to Avoid the Spiritual Dangers of Service.


Whitney Hopler

Editor’s Note: The following is a report on the practical applications of Peter Greer and Anna Haggard’s book, The Spiritual Danger of Doing Good (Bethany House, 2013).

Doing good work to serve God is a noble cause. But, ironically, serving God can actually be spiritually dangerous if you go about in the wrong ways.

Too many well-meaning Christians have fallen victim to burnout, pride, moral lapses, ruined relationships, and disillusionment while working hard on service that God led them to undertake. You don’t have to be one of them. When you learn how to love God and serve well, your work in God’s kingdom will lead to healthy results rather than unhealthy ones.

Here’s how you can avoid the spiritual dangers of service:

Check your motives. Why do you really want to serve God? Is it because of what you can get it out of it, or is it simply a way to respond to God’s love? Trying to earn God’s love or blessings through service will backfire, because the focus is a selfish one. But if you’re motivated by expressing love back to God, God will work through you to bring about great results from your service.

Avoid giving leftovers to loved ones. Give more time and energy to your relationships with family and friends than you do to your service work, since relationships are ultimately more important than the work you do. Set boundaries around your work schedule – focusing only on what’s most important and what you do best – so you still have plenty of time and energy left to invest in your relationships.

Avoid doing instead of being. Shift your focus from what you’re doing to the kind of person you’re becoming. Remember that the reason why you’re serving in the first place is to grow closer to Jesus, and that Jesus is much more concerned about who you are than He is about what you do. Rely on the Holy Spirit to work through you to do service, rather than trying to do it on your own – and in the process, you’ll grow as a person.

Avoid justifying minor moral lapses for a good cause. If you allow yourself to justify small sins (such as embellishing the facts when telling a story or misrepresenting how you’ve spent money), you can easily move up to larger sins because you’ll start to believe that you’re above the rules and deserve guilty pleasures because of all the sacrifices you’ve made for a good cause. Make a daily habit of confessing and repenting of small moral lapses and asking God to deliver you from temptation.

Avoid using the wrong measuring stick to define success. God’s perspective on success is far different from the world’s perspective on it. Don’t get caught up in the delusion that you’re successful simply because you happen to reach more people or raise more funds than others. You’re a true success only when you’re doing your best to be faithful to God and when you’re developing a more holy character as you serve – whether or not you seem to be successful to other people.

Avoid friendship superficiality. Invest in some deep friendships with people you can trust, who will love you enough to challenge you when you’re making wrong decisions, and who will hold you accountable and encourage you to live faithfully.

Avoid elevating the sacred over the secular. Realize that every type of job is equally important in God’s kingdom, so God isn’t somehow more pleased with you if you’re involved in full-time Christian ministry than if you’re working in a secular job. Feel free to serve God in whichever aspect of society you’re most gifted to serve.

Avoid thinking you’re the superhero in your story. When something great happens as a result of your service work, don’t take credit for what God has done through you as if you were doing it on your own. Remember that you’re dependent on God for everything – even your next breath. Rather than aiming to be a superhero through your service, aim to give God glory, and you’ll discover that you’re part of a much bigger story than you could have dreamed.

Avoid not having ears to hear the uncomfortable truth. It’s crucial to your accountability while serving in ministry to allow people you trust to challenge you by pointing out issues they notice in your life that could be hindering your ministry and/or your relationship with God. Instead of making excuses or minimizing the issues, welcome loving critiques as valuable invitations to repent and change.

Avoid forgetting your true identity. Although fulfilling work is a gift from God, it’s not nearly enough for you to base your identity on. Keep in mind that your true identity lies in something much greater: your relationship with Jesus Christ, which (unlike your work) is eternal.

Avoid thinking good things always happen to good people. Reject the myth that if you do good work for God, you’ll receive guaranteed blessings from God in return. The truth is just like Jesus warns in the Bible: in this fallen world, we’ll all have trouble. When you suffer, realize that God can use your experiences to accomplish good purposes in your service work, such as giving you more compassion for people in pain.

Avoid seeing everyone’s sin but your own. Focusing on other people’s sins while ignoring your own does no good other than to inflate your ego and increase your self-righteousness – which will only hinder your service work. Avoid that danger by inviting people to share your blind spots with you and seriously considering what they tell you.

Avoid being obsessed with what others think. Stop trying to please other people through your service work (which often leads to wasted time and energy). Instead, work to please the only One whose opinion of you ultimately matters: God.

Avoid disconnecting knowledge from action. Rather than simply gaining more knowledge, apply that knowledge to your life as the Holy Spirit leads you. God doesn’t care as much about what you know as He does about what you’re doing with the knowledge you have.

Avoid pretending to have it all together. When you stop pretending to be perfectly holy while you serve, you become free to pursue the healing and spiritual growth you need, which will make you much more effective in your service work than you could be otherwise.

Adapted from The Spiritual Danger of Doing Good, copyright 2013 by Peter Greer with Anna Haggard. Published by Bethany House Publishers, a division of Baker Publishing Group, Minneapolis, Mn., bakerpublishinggroup.com/bethanyhouse.

Peter Greer is president and CEO of HOPE International, a global nonprofit focused on addressing both physical and spiritual poverty through microfinance. He has a master’s degree in public policy from Harvard’s Kennedy School. Peter coauthored The Poor Will Be Glad, speaks at conferences, including Catalyst and Passion, and has been featured by media outlets such as CNN, Christianity Today, and World. Peter lives in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, with his wife, Laurel, and three children. Learn more at www.peterkgreer.com.

Anna Haggard is the executive writing assistant at HOPE International, where she collaborates with the president and the marketing department to share HOPE’s message to donors through print and social media. Anna is a graduate of Asbury University and lives in Lancaster, Pennsylvania.

Whitney Hopler, who has served as a Crosswalk.com contributing writer for many years, is author of the new Christian novel Dream Factory, which is set during Hollywood’s golden age. Visit her website at: whitneyhopler.naiwe.com.

Publication date: October 14, 2013

One Question Every Believer Should Ask Before Engaging in Spiritual Warfare.


spiritual warrior
(xc.hu)

“Shall I go up?” David, a mighty warrior for God, asked Jehovah this critical question before running to the battle line—and we would be wise to do the same.

Although we war from a place of victory, rushing into spiritual warfare outside of God’s timing can lead to defeat. Although we are taught to remain on the offensive, presuming to enter a battle God has not called us to fight can be a dangerous mistake. And although we’re in a spiritual war, the battle really is the Lord’s.

“Shall I go up?” Every spiritual warrior needs to ask this question before engaging the enemy. In other words, we need to be led by the Holy Spirit into battle if we want God to lead us into triumph. If we lose a battle, it could very well be that the Holy Spirit didn’t lead us into the spiritual skirmish in the first place.

‘Shall I Go Up?’

Again, David was a mighty warrior for God. He officially started his military career by defeating a giant named Goliath that terrified the entire Israeli army (1 Sam. 17). Talk about coming onto the warfare scene with a flare!

David built quite a reputation for warfare. In fact, after David defeated Goliath, Saul set the brave teenager over his men of war. When David was coming home from his big win, the women came out of all the cities of Israel. They were singing and dancing and said, “Saul has slain his thousands, and David his ten thousands” (1 Sam. 18:7).

David could have gotten puffed up in the midst of the honor. He could have taken pride in his hand-to-hand combat skills. But he didn’t get prideful, and he didn’t get presumptuous. And soon enough, David would have the opportunity to play hero again when the Philistines were fighting against the city of Keilah and robbing the threshing floors (1 Sam. 23:1).

Clearly, there was an injustice underway, but David didn’t take it upon himself to bring justice. Rather, he asked his just God this critical question: “’Shall I go and attack these Philistines?’ And the Lord said to David, ‘Go and attack the Philistines, and save Keilah’” (v. 2).

Seeking God’s Confirmation

When David’s men admitted they were afraid to go to battle, he wasn’t prideful and presumptuous enough to think he could save the whole city with a sling and a stone just because he did it once before. And he didn’t pooh-pooh their fears. Instead, David inquired of the Lord a second time. The Lord gave David the confirmation he was looking for:

“And the Lord answered him and said, ‘Arise, go down to Keilah. For I will deliver the Philistines into your hand.’ And David and his men went to Keilah and fought with the Philistines, struck them with a mighty blow, and took away their livestock. So David saved the inhabitants of Keilah” (vv. 4-5).

There’s a good lesson here. Even though God initially told David to go up, he was cautious—and humble enough—to continue seeking the Lord for confirmation when it appeared the circumstances could be changing. He was concerned for the welfare of his men, who were afraid. Instead of rebuking them for flowing in fear, he went back to the Lord to make sure he heard right.

I believe this careful, caring approach is one of the reasons David’s men trusted his leadership so much. If you want to be an effective general in God’s army, you need to pray about your team’s legitimate concerns before heading into battle. That doesn’t mean you cower in the face of a challenge. It just means you make doubly—even triply—sure that you are in God’s will and that you’ve counted the costs of waging war before leading others into dangerous territory.

King David Stays Humble

Later, when David was anointed king over Israel, he once again faced the prospect of war. The Philistines heard he was officially installed as king and went down to the stronghold, ready to attack.

David asked the Lord, “’Shall I go up against the Philistines? Will You deliver them into my hand?’ And the Lord said to David, ‘Go up, for I will doubtless deliver the Philistines into your hand’” (2 Sam. 5:19). David defeated the Philistines and gave God the glory, saying, “The Lord has broken though my enemies before me, like a breakthrough of water” (v. 20).

Last week, I wrote a column headlined “You’re Resisting the Devil, So Why Won’t He Flee?” I talked about how pride in our spiritual warfare skills can cause us to stumble before our enemies because God resists the proud and gives grace to the humble. David didn’t make that mistake. But King Ahab did. And it’s one we need to avoid.

Ahab, Jezebel’s husband and a mighty warrior who posted many victories, was certainly full of pride. God’s prophet Micaiah clearly told him what no other false prophet on his payroll dared: that he would lose if he went to battle in Ramoth Gilead (1 Kings 22:17-23). Instead of heeding the voice of God’s prophet, proud Ahab arrested the man of God and ran to the battle line anyway. He was killed in battle.

Before you run to the battle line, ask the Holy Spirit, “Shall I go up?” Then obey what He tells you. It could be He’s assigned someone else to “go up” and defeat the enemy. It could be that God is taking the battle into His own hands. Or it could be that you aren’t yet skilled enough in battle to take on the enemy that’s rising up. The reason doesn’t matter. What matters is being in the will of God, even in our spiritual warfare. Amen.

Source: CHARISMA NEWS.

7 Keys for Spiritual Warfare.


woman soldier
(© Vojta/www.istockphoto.com)

It is amazing how God will use natural tools to make a spiritual difference in our lives. Before I was saved, I could not relate to the spiritual, so God used the military to put me on the right track. Enlisting in the service was part of my destiny. And the Lord has blessed me with the experience of an extensive military background. While in the United States Army, I moved through the ranks at an incredible pace.

However, initially, because of my background, my transition from the streets to basic training was quite drastic. When the recruiter picked me up to go to the processing center to be inducted into the Army, I was smoking cocaine. The recruiter waited in the car as I took my last hit.

Upon my arrival at basic training, the Army’s first challenge in turning me into a soldier was making me look like one. New recruits were taken to a big warehouse that had an assembly line. We were given everything we needed to be clothed as a soldier: boots, hats, belts and uniforms.

Before we went to the assembly line, orders were given to us to authorize uniform pickup. In the same way, believers are given spiritual orders in Ephesians 6:11: “Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil” (NKJV).

Holokleros, the Greek word for whole, means “complete in every part, leaving nothing out, or to be perfectly sound.” Our warfare cannot be perfectly sound unless we use every part of the armor of God.

Clearly stated, the armor of God gives us the power to stand against the wiles of the enemy in the midst of evil days. The Bible speaks of wiles in both the Old and New Testaments.

The Hebrew word for wiles is nekel. Among other things, it means treachery, conspiracy, beguilement, trickery and deception (Num. 25:18). To be subject to the wiles of the enemy means to be deceived.

Few people willingly worship the devil. But worship is what the warfare is all about. God desires our worship, but the devil wants to be worshipped as well.

When we accept the things of the world from the devil, it is the highest form of worship, and it opens demonic doors in the spirit realm. Worship is not just what we do but what we abstain from doing. Most believers are trying to serve God, so the enemy has to use deceiving methods to make them worship him instead.

In the New Testament, the word wiles is methodeia in the Greek. Though it is related to the English word method, it actually means “to operate under a traveling cover and to lie in wait.” This is the foundational truth of the wiles of the devil—to lie behind the scenes and watch a person until a vulnerable moment arises. Then through various means, all designed by the satanic kingdom, the man is attacked and deceived.

The Whole Armor
Ephesians 6:10 says, “Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might.” This verse indicates the armor of God is for the “brethren”—all those who are saved and blood-bought.

Ephesians 6:12 says, “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 place.”

Ephesians 6:14-18 explains every part of the armor and its purpose. The passage begins by telling us to put on the armor in order to stand. This word stand is histemi in the Greek, and it means “to abide in established covenant.”

When we stand, we abide in the covenant promises of God. Putting on the whole armor of God is a part of this covenant. God’s covenant promise to us is that no matter how mad the devil gets and how evil times get, He will keep and protect us.

Personally, I find it easier to go from the top of my head to the bottom of my feet when I put on my armor. After I am spiritually dressed (head to toe), I take up the sword of the spirit and the shield of faith and go forth equipped for the evil day.

Each Part Has a Purpose
Every individual piece of the armor covers a vital part of the body, such as the head, heart, loins or feet. The armor also covers our offensive and defensive positions against the enemy in the spirit.

The helmet. The word helmet in our armor of salvation is perikephaiaia in the Greek, and it means “to encircle and protect the head.” When we wear the helmet of salvation, it empowers us for continual renewal of the mind. The mind is a spiritual battlefield, and without the helmet of salvation it is impossible to have a victorious life in Christ Jesus (Eph. 6:17).

In the military, going outside without a head covering was unheard of. I was brainwashed to believe this was unacceptable. If your head was not covered in wartime, the enemy could easily detect you from above and target you for attack. This is why our caps and helmets were made to fit in with the scenery so that enemy forces flying above us could not identify us.

The prince of the power of the air can easily identify believers who do not wear the helmet of salvation. I am convinced that people who end up in backslidden states took their helmets off at some point.

The breastplate. The breastplate of righteousness covers the chest. In the days of the Roman soldiers, true warriors wore a breastplate for battle. This part of the armor is very important because it covers the heart. To be righteous means to be in right standing with God. To do this we must guard our hearts (v. 14).

The word breastplate is thorax in the Greek. It means “a breastplate or corset consisting of two parts and protecting the body on both sides from the neck to the middle.”

I have a sister who is a police officer in Jacksonville, Fla. I can easily relate the breastplate to her bulletproof vest. When she is on duty, she is never without it. At any time, she can walk into a dangerous altercation and be under fire.

Because we do not know when the enemy will attack, we should put on the whole armor of God every day. Surely we need the breastplate daily to guard our hearts. Witchcraft flows freely through dirty hearts. A dirty heart is a heart that is not right with God. Dirty hearts create wrong spirits. I have met prayer warriors who were powerful but had wrong spirits. They got off course by allowing the wrong seeds to be planted in their hearts.

David was a great prayer warrior, and he prayed, “Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me” (Ps. 51:10).

The belt. The Bible says our loins should be girt about with truth (Eph. 6:14). Oh, how we need loin truth in the church today! This word girt in the Greek is perizonnumi, and it means “to be fastened with a belt.”

I do not think that it is by chance that this part of the armor covers our private parts. It is only the truth that can keep even a believer sexually pure. I have met with some of the greatest men and women of God, and they have admitted either to being trapped or almost trapped by seducing spirits.

Let’s look at the fall of mankind. The death that Adam and Eve experienced was not natural death. They lived hundreds of years after the fall.

In Genesis 2:25 (before the fall), Adam and Eve were both naked. It is interesting that after they fell, the Bible declares their nakedness as if they never were earlier (Gen. 3:7). Apparently this was a different kind of nakedness.

In Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance, the Hebrew word translated naked in Genesis 2:25 is arawm, and it simply means “to have no clothes on.” However, in Genesis 3:7, after the fall, the original word fornaked is eyrom, which comes from awram but means “to be made bare.” That is, “to be removed from under the covering of God.”

We do not have to be uncovered in the private areas of our lives, especially when it comes to sexual purity. God gave us a way out before the enemy ever laid his snare. If you are a man or a woman bound by sexual impurity, repent and go the other way!

Girt your loins about with truth, and walk out of the enemy’s stronghold. Just as the enemy had a tailor-made trap, God has a tailor-made deliverance for you.

Pray, and then contact someone whom you can trust. You will need support, and God has someone for you. Seek counseling, deliverance and accountability. If you attempt to walk out your deliverance alone, the enemy will snuff you out.

The shoes. It is important that our feet are shod with the gospel of peace (Eph. 6:15). The steps of a just man are led by the Lord (Ps. 37:23). This is the covenant that we have with God concerning covering our steps. We may make some mistakes, but God ultimately delivers us into victory.

When the book of Ephesians speaks of the gospel of peace, the word peace is the Greek word eirene. When our feet are shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace, it prepares a path for our way to be prosperous. There is also a rest released, and we are at one with the will of God for our lives.

The sword. Here, the sword is both an offensive and defensive weapon. The word sword is machaira in the Greek, and it is defined as “an instrument of war for judicial punishment.”

It is related to the Greek word mache, and this word is used to convey controversy, fighting and striving. The sword of the spirit is a weapon used for war.

Source: CHARISMA MAGAZINE/ SpiritLed Woman.

KIMBERLY DANIELS

Rebuking Demons and the Danger of Playing Holy Ghost.


rebuking devils
(© Bellemedia | Dreamstime Stock Photos & Stock Free Images)

When Paul and Silas were on the mission field, a slave girl possessed with a spirit of divination started following the team, declaring, “These men are the servants of the Most High God, who proclaim to us the way of salvation” (Acts 16:17).

The Bible says the girl did this for many days before Paul finally cast the devil out of her. For years, I was taught that Paul waited “many days” (v. 18) because he was trying to discern the spirit that was operating so he could cast it out. I believe that teaching is in error—and the truth holds a key lesson for us all.

It’s clear that Paul already knew the spirit the servant girl was flowing in. Scripture reveals, “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” (v. 16).

Hindering God’s Work

Essentially, she was the town witch—and everybody knew it. Indeed, it didn’t take any discernment to understand what spirit she was tapping into. This servant girl was widely known in the city as one who had demons that could tell fortunes.

The Matthew Henry Commentary says, “She was actuated by an evil spirit, that dictated ambiguous answers to those who consulted her, which served to gratify their vain desire of knowing things to come, but often deceived them. … Many came to consult this witch for the discovery of robberies, the finding of things lost, and especially to be told their fortune, and none came but with the rewards of divination in their hands, according to the quality of the person and the importance of the case.”

By following the apostles and proclaiming to the city who they were, this servant girl was actually hindering God’s work—even though what she was saying was absolutely true. Of course, it didn’t take Paul “many days” to figure out she was a distraction. They could not make a move without being noticed because she announced their coming. Doubtless, this caused some—especially those who stood against spirits of divination—to put their guards up against the gospel message that could bring salvation to their households.

I believe Paul discerned quickly—not after many days—that a spirit of divination possessed the servant girl. Why, then, did Paul wait many days to cast it out? Clearly, the girl was in error. Clearly, she was deceived and deceiving others in the city with her fortune-telling. Clearly, she was merchandising people for the sake of sordid gain. Clearly, she was in bondage to this demon and also to her human oppressors who profited off her false prophecies. It seems he would be doing everyone a favor by rebuking this devil straight away.

So why did Paul wait many days to rebuke the spirit? I believe the apostle was waiting on God’s timing. In other words, Paul knew what spirit he was dealing with but he was seeking understanding from the Holy Spirit about how to handle it. The Bible says Paul was “greatly annoyed” (v. 18). I’m sure it didn’t take “many days” for this servant girl to annoy him. But he waited on the Lord’s timing to take action.

Don’t Get in the Holy Spirit’s Way

Here’s the lesson, especially for prophetic types who tend to see the error everywhere: Just because we see error, deception or even heresy doesn’t give us a license to rush in with guns blazing and fire bullets of rebukes. Just because someone is hindering God’s plan doesn’t mean it’s our job to set them straight. Just because the Word of God speaks against a certain sin, for example, that doesn’t give us the right to play Holy Ghost in the person’s life.

Am I saying that we tolerate sin? Am I saying that we ignore devils? Am I saying that we tolerate Jezebel? God forbid! But there’s balance in all things. When we discern an enemy working in someone’s life, the first response should be prayer. When we are faithful to pray for a person or situation, it helps us keep a right spirit. Lord knows, it’s easy enough to become like the sons of thunder and want to call down fire from heaven. But remember, Jesus rebuked John and James for being so quick to rebuke.

We need to pray, and when the Holy Spirit—who is far more patient than we are—leads us to speak to the person, then and only then should we speak. We only know in part—and we don’t know if the Holy Spirit is on the verge of a breakthrough with the one in error. We don’t know if that person is on the edge of repentance. And we don’t know if our correction will push them further away from the God who is actively wooing them. Again, we can’t play Holy Ghost. That job belongs to One and only One.

As we keep praying, if the Holy Spirit wants to use someone as an instrument of correction, you are first in line to serve God’s purposes because you kept a right spirit. So, again, don’t be so fast to issue a harsh rebuke to a brother or sister. Don’t get in the Holy Spirit’s way. For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, these are the sons of God (Rom. 8:14).

Source: CHARISMA NEWS.

Jennifer LeClaire is news editor at Charisma. She is also the author of several books, including The Spiritual Warrior’s Guide to Defeating Jezebel. You can email Jennifer at jennifer.leclaire@charismamedia.com or visit her website hereYou can also join Jennifer on Facebook or follow her on Twitter.

Become a Threat to the Enemy.


woman with gun
(http://www.stockfreeimages.com)

Do you want to be a woman of authority? Do you want to have the kind of spiritual power that changes things around you, that takes dominion over evil in the name of Jesus?

Usually when Christians talk about dominion and authority, they are referring to the acts of “binding and loosing,” “casting and dismissing,” “releasing and getting.” These are a real part of our Christian lives, as the Bible says: “But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you” (Acts 1:8).

But not all of us manifest that power. In fact, many of us live in fear, discouragement and defeat. We want to live our lives in the authority and power of the Holy Spirit, but we fail time and time again.

Something is missing! Fortunately, the Bible introduces us to one person who can teach us what that “something” is: the woman who washed Jesus’ feet at the home of Simon the Pharisee.

“And behold, a woman in the city who was a sinner, when she knew that Jesus sat at the table in the Pharisee’s house, brought an alabaster flask of fragrant oil, and stood at His feet behind Him weeping; and she began to wash His feet with her tears, and wiped them with the hair of her head” (Luke 7:37-38).

At first glance you might ask, “What does this woman know about dominion and authority?” We don’t see her binding and loosing, casting out devils or tearing down walls. Yet she caught the attention of Jesus at the table that night—and if you can catch the attention of the Master of the universe, you have power.

What this woman knew is how to worship Christ with everything she had in her. She knew how to give her all in worship to her Savior. And in that kind of abandoned worship, she found the power to do something that no one else—not even Jesus’ closest disciples—had the wisdom and foresight to do.

Courage Through Worship

Now Scripture says that a woman’s hair is her glory (1 Cor. 11:15). I suppose that’s why we women spend so much time on our hair. We feel our best when we’re having a good hair day!

The woman in Luke 7, however, used her hair to wipe Jesus’ feet after she had washed them with her own tears. She took her hair—her glory, her most important cosmetic, the thing that made her feel complete and feminine—and wiped His dirty, sweaty, calloused feet.

In that act, it was as if she was saying: “Nothing I have, nothing I am, nothing I hope to be, is more important than loving You. I’m going to use everything I am and everything I have—even the precious things, the ‘glory’ things—to worship You.”

She washed His feet without hesitation or apology. All around her sat sneering Pharisees and disapproving disciples, yet she threw herself with total abandonment into worship of her Savior.

She didn’t care what the others thought of her. She didn’t care whether they considered her worship appropriate. She simply worshiped—and that gave her the courage to approach Jesus in the midst of a hostile crowd. She wasn’t out to impress people; she wanted to impress God!

Like this woman, you and I can find courage through worship. We must simply set aside our self-consciousness and give our all to draw near to Jesus. As we abandon ourselves in the presence of God—as we refuse to worry about who may be looking, what they may be thinking—we are set free from the fears that hold us back from being who we really are in Christ. We become confident; we gain spiritual authority. We get the attention of Jesus!

That kind of abandoned worship requires emotion. The woman in Luke 7 showed her emotions through her tears and kisses. It is no coincidence that the Greek word for “worship” means “to bow and to kiss.” Yes, it is right to be reverent; but it is also important to worship with emotion.

Kissing is an intimate act. It stirs our feelings. It requires a total release of ourselves. And in the case of this woman, she didn’t kiss simply Jesus’ hands or His cheek. She kissed his rough, dusty feet. And not just once or twice; the Greek word for “kiss” is in the imperfect tense, meaning that she kissed them continuously.

It is almost as if she was out of control. In worship, that’s not such a bad thing.

Now, no one would approve of worship that is wild or vulgar or promiscuous, but being in His control means being out of ours. We must come to the point where we make no apologies for loving and worshiping Him with every fiber of our being. When we do, we make a connection with Jesus that all the theological learning in the world can never accomplish.

Did you know you can be filled with Bible knowledge and still be separated from the Lord? Consider the host of the dinner in Luke 7, Simon. He was a learned man who knew the Pentateuch. He knew the Law of Moses. He could no doubt have run rings around all of us in terms of his knowledge of the Bible of his time.

But in spite of Simon’s intellectual knowledge, he was separated from God. He was not connected to Him in spirit.

The fact is, you may have gone to Bible college and seminary. You may know Greek and Hebrew. But what’s the use if you don’t know how to get in touch with Jesus?

We need to know how to reach Him—how to forget about ourselves, concentrate on Him and worship Him. After all, He is all our righteousness; we stand complete only in Him. That’s our power!

It doesn’t matter how much we preach and teach. Unless we know how to enter into the presence of God and get His attention, our efforts are fruitless.

Overcoming Guilt 

The worshipping woman in Luke 7 gave Jesus her all. She held nothing back. And as a result, she gained the attention of the Lord.

She needed that attention. She needed the power of God in her life. She needed to hear Jesus’ words to her: “Your sins are forgiven. … Your faith has saved you. Go in peace” (Luke 7:48, 50).

After all, she was known in town as a “sinner.” She had been dramatically transformed by her relationship with the Savior, but she still had to walk that out before people who would scoff and criticize and try to pull her back into her old way of life.

She couldn’t afford to worship Jesus halfheartedly. She needed courage and power to face the challenges that lay before her.

How about you? Many of us worship as if we have it all together. We don’t need anything from the Lord. We don’t need His forgiveness as much as the next person.

But Jesus told the Pharisees at that dinner, “Therefore I say to you, her sins, which are many, are forgiven, for she loved much. But to whom little is forgiven, the same loves little” (Luke 7:47). Are we worshiping as ones who “love little”?

Jesus perceived this woman’s faith through her loving worship. In response, He offered her forgiveness of her sins. No longer would she be held back, as so many of us are, by a sense of her own unworthiness and guilt.

Guilt is a thief—it steals our confidence and weakens our spiritual authority base. It keeps us from using our spiritual gifts and speaking out boldly. Just as we get up enough courage to begin to sing or pray or preach, the devil whispers in our ear: “Who do you think you are? You can’t do that—you’re a failure and a fraud.”

And usually he is right! We have all made bad choices. We all “fall short of the glory of God” (Rom. 3:23). We are all sinners in need of hearing Jesus say, “You’re forgiven.”

The Word tells us, “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:9). When we worship with the kind of abandon that says, “Here I am, warts and all; take all of me,” Jesus is faithful to tell us, “I love you just the way you are. Your sins are forgiven.”

Whenever we feel down on ourselves, whenever we find ourselves sinking into a “pity party,” we have only to worship to hear the voice of our loving, forgiving Savior—and we will emerge from that experience fresh, guiltless and new in Him.

A Prophetic Act 

Because of this woman’s wholehearted worship, she was given a special gift that not even the disciples who walked daily with the Lord had received: She caught a glimpse of the glory of God and the true nature of Jesus’ mission on behalf of mankind. Though the disciples looked at Jesus and saw a conquering hero and political leader who would overthrow Roman rule in Israel, this woman saw a suffering Savior who would soon give His life for sinners on a brutal and lonely Roman cross.

After drying Christ’s feet with her hair, she took a flask of expensive oil and began to anoint Him with the same loving, worshipful abandon. The disciples protested, “‘Why was this fragrant oil wasted? For it might have been sold for more than three hundred denarii and given to the poor'” (Mark 14:4-5). But there is no waste in worship to Jesus.

“‘Let her alone,’ He responded. ‘She has done what she could. She has come beforehand to anoint My body for burial'” (Mark 14:6, 8).

What happened? In worship, this woman became perceptive. She became prophetic. Judas had not yet gone to betray Jesus, and yet she knew what lay ahead. Jesus would die, and He would need to have His body anointed in preparation for burial.

Source: CHARISMA MAGAZINE/ SPIRITLED WOMAN.

JACKIE MCCULLOUGH

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