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Posts tagged ‘Kingship and kingdom of God’

How to Break Free From the Enemy’s Stranglehold.


We’re called to fight the good fight of faith (1 Tim. 6:12). But our adversary the devil roams around like a roaring lion intent on devouring your faith (1 Pet. 5:8).

One way the devil does this is by trying to choke you, or put you in a stranglehold. In the wrestling world—and remember, we’re wresting against principalities, powers, rulers of the darkness of this world and spiritual wickedness in high places, according to Ephesians 6:12—a stranglehold is an illegal hold that chokes the opponent. Merriam-Webster calls it a “force or influence that chokes or suppresses freedom of movement or expression.” If the wrestler doesn’t break free from the stranglehold, the lack of blood or air can cause him to black out.

Translating this to our spiritual realities, the enemy wants to choke the Word of God out of your mouth so you can’t wield your sword of the Spirit or pray. The enemy wants to choke your revelation of who you are in Christ and your authority over him. The enemy wants to counter the work of the blood of Jesus and the Holy Spirit in your life so you’ll sideline yourself. We need to learn how to prevent the enemy from getting us into a stranglehold in the first place—but if we’ve fallen into the devil’s trap, we can break free with one simple prayer.

Worry: The Devil’s Stranglehold
What is this stranglehold I’m talking about? Worry. Did you know that one definition of worry is “to harass by tearing, biting or snapping especially at the throat” and “to shake or pull at with the teeth” or to “to assail with rough or aggressive attack or treatment”?

This is one of the enemy’s so-called roaring lion tactics. He magnifies our circumstances to get us to worry. Once we begin to worry, he moves in position to engage us in a stranglehold that makes us feel powerless to do anything about that which we’re worrying. It’s a clever strategy that plays on internal cares that we haven’t cast on the Lord—or that we continue taking back from His able hands.

Jesus understood the danger of worry. In His Sermon on the Mount, Jesus went off on a bunny trail about worry in Matthew 6:25-34 that goes like this:

“Therefore I say to you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink; nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds of the air, for they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? Which of you by worrying can add one cubit to his stature?

“So why do you worry about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin; and yet I say to you that even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. Now if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is, and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will He not much more clothe you, O you of little faith?

“Therefore do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For after all these things the Gentiles seek. For your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about its own things. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.”

Breaking Free From Satan’s Stranglehold
Jesus warns us repeatedly not to worry, but He also tells us what to do instead. He inspires our faith for provision by telling us to look at nature and assuring us of our value to Him. Then He instructs us to get our mind off what we need—and that could be anything, from provision to healing to protection to relationship-mending and beyond—and seek the kingdom of God and His righteousness.

In His infinite wisdom, Jesus knows that if you focus on what the enemy shows you—the lack, the symptoms, the trial, the trouble—you’ll worry and fall into Satan’s stranglehold. But if you focus on the kingdom and His righteousness, you’ll build your faith to overcome any circumstance. If you seek first the kingdom and His righteousness, Satan can’t get you into a stranglehold.

If you’ve already fallen into the enemy’s trap, you can do what Peter suggested before he warns us to be vigilant, “because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour” (1 Pet. 5:8): You can cast all your worry on Him, because He cares for you (v. 7). And when you feel that anxiety and worry rising up in your soul, you can take Paul’s advice:

“Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus” (Phil. 4:6-7).

When you do these things, the enemy can’t keep his grip on you. Amen.



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 or visit her website here. You can also join Jennifer on Facebook or follow her on Twitter.

You’re invited…

By Pastor Bobby Schuller

“The kingdom of heaven is like a king who prepared a wedding banquet for his son. He sent his servants to those who had been invited to the banquet to tell them to come, but they refused to come. ” 
Matthew 22:2-3

In the Bible (Matthew 22), we can read Jesus’ “Parable of the Wedding Banquet.” In it, he tells of a king who invites friends to a wedding banquet, but they make ridiculous excuses for why they cannot come. Eventually the king invites everyone in the kingdom, not just the chosen few.

The question we’re supposed to ask when we’re reading this text is why would somebody not go to that wedding? Why would someone make an excuse not to attend the most fun, exciting, interesting, joy-filled, expensive celebration ever? How would anyone make an excuse not to attend?

Do you know what Jesus is saying in that parable? He’s saying that this banquet is going on right now. This festival is going on right now. It’s the kingdom of God. It’s the fullness, the joy, the life, the flourishing of the ongoing pervasive presence of God all around us that is available right now in Him, Jesus Christ.

I think that what he’s saying is that many of us, especially those who have grown up religious, are refusing to attend even through we’re invited every single day. That, like the Pharisees, it is so easy to get caught up in the monotonous humdrum, busy, day-in-and-day-out things of life that we forget completely that today is important and special and valuable – an extraordinary gift from God.

It’s so easy to be caught up in paying bills and driving through traffic and checking our e-mails that we forget that today is a special, wonderful gift from God. We forget that the festival, the banquet of the kingdom of God is happening right now and we’re invited. We are!

Prayer: Dear God, thank you for your kingdom here on earth. Help me to remember each day as I rise that I’m invited to your banquet of life. Amen.

Devotion: What do you do each morning as you arise? How might you better greet the day as one might enter an exciting event hosted by the Lord, himself?

Repent and Change.

Jesus began to preach, and to say, Repent: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand. —Matthew 4:17

God’s demand on us to become standard bearers requires us to leave the night and look forth to the morning. “Who is she who looketh forth as the morning?” She is a church filled with standard bearers who refuse to return to the night as soon as they leave the church parking lot or the mission trip. “Fair as the moon and clear as the sun” is not just for the altar or the service or the times with other Christians. Repentance, conversion, and becoming fair and clear are not for a moment but for a lifetime.

Leave sin behind at the altar once and for all! Get real about repentance. Sorrow may accompany repentance but sorrow is not repentance.

Repentance is change! Repentance involves a total change of life.

Jesus came preaching repentance. To the religious He says repent. In other words change your minds, get a new concept of God’s kingdom in your hearts. To those with wealth and power He says repent. Change where you deposit your treasures. Instead of putting treasures where moth and rust corrupt, lay up treasures in heaven (Matthew 6:19-20). Instead of seeking things, seek first God’s kingdom and His righteousness (Matthew 6:33).

Jesus, change me. Make me today more like You.
Transform me into Your glory. Use my
repentance as the tool to break
and remake me. Amen.


Why The Church Depends On Israel.


Israeli flag
What does the destiny of the Church have to do with Israel?

The fullness of God is found in Yeshua (John 1:16, Colossians 2:9); and passed on to mankind through Yeshua until we become the fullness as well (Ephesians 3:19, 4:13). The word for “fullness” in these passages in Greek is “Pleiroma.”

Yeshua taught a parable that the kingdom of God comes in stages of development as a plant comes to its “fullness” only at the end of the harvest season.

Mark 4:28 – The earth bears fruit of itself, first the blade, then the ear, then the full grain in the ear.

As the full fruit comes at the end, so the full purpose and goal of the kingdom of God comes at the end.  This process takes place across history until the “fullness” of the times and seasons (Ephesians 1:10).

Since Yeshua is both the Head of the Church (Ephesians 1:22) and the King of Israel (John 12:12-13), the process of the kingdom of God coming to its fullness is divided into two halves: one through the Church and one through Israel. The word “fullness” is found twice in Romans 11, once referring to Israel and once to the Church.

Concerning Israel:

Romans 11:12 – If their loss… is riches for the Gentiles, how much more their fullness?

Concerning the Church:

Romans 11:25 – I do not want you to be ignorant of this mystery…, partial hardening has happened to Israel, until the fullness of the Gentiles has come in.

We believe in the dual restoration of Israel and the Church. They will both come into their fullness. In a mysterious way, the fullness of Israel is dependent on the Church, and the fullness of the Church is dependent on Israel. Although on different paths, they will both reach their fullness at the same time.

The path for the fullness of the Church ends up with a revelation about Israel (Romans 11:25). The path of fullness for Israel ends up with a revelation about Yeshua (Romans 11:26).  When both come into their fullness, they are united into one. Then together they invite Yeshua to return (Matthew 23:39, Revelation 22:20), the dead are raised, and the kingdom of God is established on the earth.


Blessed are they…

By Pastor Bobby Schuller

“Blessed are the poor in spirit…those who mourn…the meek…those who hunger and thirst for righteousness…the merciful…the pure in heart…the peacemakers…those who are persecuted because of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.”
-Excerpts from Matthew 5:3-10

In the part of the Bible commonly referred to as the Beatitudes (Matthew 5:3-12), Jesus is speaking to an audience of people who are overcome with incredible sadness and suffering. He says to them that they are blessed in the midst of terrible suffering and horrible lives, because the kingdom of God has arrived. Jesus is saying that he has come in the midst of our terrible cries to God to bring hope and life and renewal and joy. Jesus is not saying we’re blessed when we are poor in spirit. He’s not saying we’re blessed because we mourn. He’s saying we’re blessed in spite of it because the kingdom of God has come.

Believe it or not, it’s through Paul Simon’s song, “Blessed,” that Simon and Garfunkel share the best interpretation of the Beatitudes when they sing, “Blessed are the sat upon, the spat upon, and the ratted on.” That’s actually much closer to what Jesus was getting at when he was talking to people who had been beat up by religion, people that were starving, people that were sick, people that had no hope, people that were told they were going to die in a week because of some illness.

Jesus is saying to them – and to us in our infirmities and troubles – that “You are blessed.”

Prayer: Dear Lord, when I’m feeling at my worst, without the resources or the love I desire, it is then that I am truly blessed for you are closer…you are with me…I am yours…always. Amen.

Reflection: When you have felt at your worst, have you ever felt God’s blessing? Explain.

Truly blessed…

By Pastor Bobby Schuller

“But even if you should suffer for what is right, you are blessed.”    
1 Peter 3:14a

There were two views in Jesus’ day and there are two views today about who is truly blessed, and they’re the same today as they were then.

Who is blessed? If you were to go around and read people’s minds to get the honest answer, the honest opinion would be based on the way people live their lives. People essentially would say that the blessed are those who are famous, those who are healthy, and those who have lots of money.

Think about the way you live your own life. Do you live your life for these material things more than anything else does? If so, you believe that these are the things that make a person blessed. Of course, it’s not bad to be famous, healthy, and rich, but if you believe that they are what make us blessed, then I hope you are these things.

However, my greater hope is that you know that it has nothing to do with the thriving, fulfilling, life-giving kingdom of God, which is the greater blessing and is available to everyone.

Prayer: Lord, help me keep my “blessings” in order. The world tells me one thing about being blessed in life, and you tell me another. I believe you. I am truly blessed to live in your kingdom on earth. Amen.

Reflection: Who in your circle of friends and family do you believe is the most blessed? Why?

The way-better life…

By Pastor Bobby Schuller

“…let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.”
Matthew 5:16

When we look at the Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5-7), Jesus’ thesis on what it’s like to live in the kingdom of God, we may assume that this it describes a difficult way of living. We look at all of the things that Jesus commands us to do and we think that it’s impossible, too hard. We’re lost because we think that obedience to what Jesus says means doing what we don’t want to do only because it’s the right thing to do.

That’s not what the Sermon on the Mount is. The Sermon on the Mount is an invitation to a life that’s way better. It’s an invitation to give up being an angry person to become a person of peace. It’s an invitation to stop wearing masks. It’s an invitation to stop lying to people, and to relieve the burden of trying to remember those lies and having to patch up things with people once they lose trust. It’s living a life where we can smile because it’s not our job to judge people; it’s not our job to tell it like it is. It’s a life in which we don’t have to worry, and where money doesn’t matter as much as we think it does.

This kind of life that Jesus invites us to in the Sermon on the Mount is an eternal life. Rather than being difficult, it is the great gift of an uncomplicated, way-better life.

Prayer: Dear Lord, I want to live the way-better life that you have designed for me. Thank you for outlining all aspects of that life for me to follow. May the Holy Spirit guide me in your ways. Amen.

Reflection: The first time you read the Sermon on the Mount, what was your reaction to Jesus’ words?

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