Know the Enemy

spiritual-warfare-rurfbattle

The devil is out to get you.  Why is this concept so hard for many to believe?  Why do our churches rarely ever address the power in the darkness and how it brings havoc to our lives?  Why don’t they teach us how to fight Satan?  I’m going to leave that question for you to address with your pastors, elders and leaders.  I would like to share some discoveries I have made through experience as well as the inspired writing of John Hagee.

The older I get the more blessed I feel.  I look back on my life and I now can recognize the battle fought for me in the heavens. God has sent His angels to war for my life many times when I didn’t deserve saving.  Jesus saw something in me, something I couldn’t see and He rescued me for His plan.  Because of His love I am a vessel used by Him to bring glory to His kingdom.  Now at 61 years young I am discovering my place in His kingdom and the true meaning found in this scripture…

“For You formed my inward parts; You wove me in my mother’s womb.  I will give thanks to You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; Wonderful are Your works, and my soul knows it very well.  My frame was not hidden from You, when I was made in secret, and skillfully wrought in the depths of the earth; Your eyes have seen my unformed substance; and in Your book were all written the days that were ordained for me, when as yet there was not one of them.”  Psalms 139 13-16

Jesus love me first and I was precious to Him and His intention for me was there from the beginning.  As I devote time to studying His Holy Word, worshipping Him in a community of like minded believers and attending meetings lead by Godly people who speak truth my faith and love for Jesus Christ grows in passion and strength. Knowing God is key in doing battle for His Kingdom. As I position my life as a servant to Jesus Christ…I am changed.  Let me be perfectly clear I am not without sin.  I still make mistakes, bad decisions, Satan and sin still know me and call me by name.  However, I can fight this battle because I have Jesus on my side.

Satan sends his demons and spirits to disrupt God’s plan.  Understanding him and how he operates will help you win the battle.  When you identify his lies and method you can use the power God has given you to destroy the devil’s attempts to keep you captive.  The more you study the Word of God, the more the Holy Spirit reveals the areas in your life that need to come under the total authority of God’s Word.  Once revealed, it is essential that you take action.  However, if you choose not to separate yourself from these destructive influences, you allow the evil forces to grow stronger.

“Then it goes and takes along with it seven other spirits more wicked than itself, and they go in and live there; and the last state of that man becomes worse than the first. That is the way it will also be with this evil generation.”  Matthew 12:45

Battle Truths 

  • Do not be deceived; the devil’s forces are active in and beyond the walls of the church.
  • Underestimating the devil is suicide; it is akin to becoming an ally with the opposition for your own defeat.
  • Rationalizing sin is Satan’s substitute for confession and repentance.
  • Satan’s primary target is our mind, we must guard against thoughts that are contrary to Scripture and submit them to the directives found in God’s Word.

“For the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh, but divinely powerful for the destruction of fortresses. We are destroying speculations and every lofty thing raised up against the knowledge of God, and we are taking every thought captive to the obedience of Christ.”  2 Corinthians 10:4-5

Satan takes pleasure in using demonic spirits to influence people serving in ministry and involved in church because he uses them to spread his doctrine of strife, doubt and discord like a deadly virus.  You must ask yourself…Where is my thought life taking me?

“Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, dwell on these things.”  Philippians 4:8

“Truly I say to you, whoever says to this mountain, ‘Be taken up and cast into the sea,’ and does not doubt in his heart, but believes that what he says is going to happen, it will be granted him.”  Mark 11:23

Satan uses doubt to bring distrust into any situation.  He will sow seeds of doubt in our belief in the supernatural power of Jesus because he knows if he can hinder our ability to fully grasp hold of God’s power through His Holy Spirit…Satan loses.  The devil’s ultimate goal is to stop your ability to accomplish your divine destiny.

SATAN’S DEMONIC SPIRITS

Spirit of WORRY

“For this reason I say to you, do not be worried about your life, as to what you will eat or what you will drink; nor for your body, as to what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing?  Look at the birds of the air, that they do not sow, nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not worth much more than they? And who of you by being worried can add a single hour to his life?  And why are you worried about clothing? Observe how the lilies of the field grow; they do not toil nor do they spin, yet I say to you that not even Solomon in all his glory clothed himself like one of these.  But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which is alive today and tomorrow is thrown into the furnace, will He not much more clothe you? You of little faith!  Do not worry then, saying, ‘What will we eat?’ or ‘What will we drink?’ or ‘What will we wear for clothing?’  For the Gentiles eagerly seek all these things; for your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things.  But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.” Matthew 6:25-33

Anxiety attacks you emotionally and physically.  Worry is faith in fear not in God.  When you sense the spirit rises up within you seek God and the truth in His Word. You cannot change what you will not confront.  What you will not conquer will conquer you.

Spirit of FEAR

“When I saw Him, I fell at His feet like a dead man. And He placed His right hand on me, saying, “Do not be afraid; I am the first and the last, and the living One; and I was dead, and behold, I am alive forevermore, and I have the keys of death and of Hades.            Revelations 1:17-18

“Do not fear, for I am with you; Do not anxiously look about you, for I am your God.  I will strengthen you, surely I will help you,  surely I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.”  Isaiah 41:10

Fear paralyzes the mind; it weakens the will and destroys the dream within you.  Once the spirit of fear has a hold in your life it sets a course to destroy your life and future.

Spirit of RESENTMENT

The definition of the word resentment is a feeling of indignant displeasure or persistent ill will at something regarded as a wrong, insult, or injury.  Anger towards any person whom you perceive has offended you.

King David cried out to the Lord to be healed from those that offended him.  I believe the feelings brought by being offended was far more dangerous than the actual offense.    Being offended leads to resentment which in turn leads to bitterness which is emotional poison.

Read Psalms 17, 27, 35, 109 and 143 for help and healing.

“No mature Christian who is seasoned in the Word has any reasonable excuse to live their life offended.”  Brian Houston – Hillsong

Once you are held captive by this evil spirit relationships are destroyed, it takes the joy and peace out of your life.  You will find yourself continually finding reason to begrudge those around you.  Something as simple as not being invited to a social event when you thought you should be can stir up jealousy and bitterness.  It also gives way for pride to distort your self worth.  Being passed over, losing a contest, missing an opportunity for a bonus or promotion.  Cain fell victim to this spirit and killed his brother Abel.  King Saul chased David across the hills of Israel in an attempt to prevent him from becoming king.  Satan’s plan is to fill your mind with this emotional poison.   It is said that resentment is cyanide of the soul.

Spirit of REBELLION

God has a definition for this spirit,

“For rebellion is as the sin of divination, and insubordination is as iniquity and idolatry. Because you have rejected the word of the Lord, He has also rejected you from being king.”  1 Samuel 15:23

“You shall follow the Lord your God and fear Him; and you shall keep His commandments, listen to His voice, serve Him, and cling to Him.  But that prophet or that dreamer of dreams shall be put to death, because he has counseled rebellion against the Lord your God who brought you from the land of Egypt and redeemed you from the house of slavery, to seduce you from the way in which the Lord your God commanded you to walk. So you shall purge the evil from among you.”  Deuteronomy 13:4-6

This spirit resists or defies any form of authority.  Our churches today have allowed this spirit to corrupt society like never before.  Their watered down sermons focus on        self-pleasing, instant gratification rather than God-pleasing and sacrifice to serve.  Our leaders are failing to teach basic precepts found in the Word of God.  One essential precept is submission to righteous authority.  This lack of submission or obedience has caused truth to become a blurred gray area in which people make up their own belief, truth, and identity.

Our children turn to gangs to find the boundaries they are not receiving at home.  There is a generation that is quick to loot and burn, they partake in acts of violence against those who have take an oath of service to protect us all in the name of “right to protest”.  Many times they cry racism as an excuse for their behavior.

This vicious spirit uses domination, intimidation and manipulation to undermine us.  They are strongholds that have infiltrated our lives and the lives of our love ones.

  • Domination: sole purpose is to control others, it demands attention and power,
  • Intimidation: forces people to do things they don’t want to do, uses bullying and exploitation,
  • Manipulation: managing someones actions or emotions in an unfair manner, manipulators force or seduce others to achieve their own end results, it is motivated by self-gratification.

The spirit of Rebellion makes idols of our wills, opinions and lusts.  God will not share His throne with any other man or spirit.  Only through repentance and submission to the will of God can we be free from rebellion’s grasp.

Be a Warrior not a Victim

How can we become God’s warriors?  Acknowledging the existence of demonic spirits and their master Satan is the first step.  Knowing that we are all victims in some way.  We must identify the weak points in our armor.  All of us are unique therefore everyones armor is different.  Know yourself through honesty and humility, submit yourself to Jesus Christ.  Spend time understanding His love, coming to Him totally surrendered, heart and mind open, asking for forgiveness…God can break the bondage you are captive in.

We must be mindful of the battle which is raging between Satan and his demonic spirits and our Heavenly Father.   God created us for His pleasure and divine purpose, Satan destroyed that prefect union in the garden through lies and temptation.  God came to earth in Jesus Christ His son, to make a way to repair our brokenness, bring atonement for our sin and infuse us with His supernatural power through the Holy Spirit.  His love for us is greater than any weapon Satan can muster.

“For you shall not worship any other god, for the Lord, whose name is Jealous, is a jealous God.”  Exodus 34:14

“You shall have no other gods before Me.”  Exodus 20:3

Our Heavenly Father gives several warnings to His people about worshipping other Gods, this warning is as important today as it was in the old testament because Satan has learned how to disguise himself today among social and political issues distracting us from our true purpose.  Unfortunately, it’s working…we are in end times as spoken of in the Bible, we as believers must arm ourselves and use all the supernatural power available to us through God’s Word and the Holy Spirit.

It’s only through repentance and submission to the will of God that we can be freed from these spirit’s evil grasp.  We all are suffering under one or more of these spirits, our emotions must be carefully guarded to protect our supernatural peace…what the Bible describes as “the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding.”

“And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”  Philippians 4:7

My prayer for you and for myself is that God would give us discernment and reveal any area of our life that would invite a demonic spirit in and through His grace remove it from us.  Giving us the wisdom to see with His eyes the devil’s lies before they can bring harm to us and those we love.

Thank you to John Hagee for his insightful writing. Much of this post is from his book “The Three Heavens”.   I strongly suggest you purchase this book there is so much to grasp, such amazing insight and wisdom!

Be Blessed, Laurie

The Road We Travel – Part II “In the Eye of the Beholder”

in the eye of the beholderFor ladies young and old our appearance plays a huge part of who we are.  In a world so caught up in how the physical body looks the road to feeling comfortable in your skin is difficult.  Every form of media tells us we have to look like a A&F models.  In fact some of you may not know but when A&F launched one of their first catalogs the young men were shirtless.  Their catalog looked more like a glamour magazine than advertising clothing.  In their stores they put large screen TVs with videos running of young people scantily clad with clothing that looked two sizes to small.  This has been going on for decades.  During my time braless halter tops and mid-drift blouses with one inch zippers on jeans were the rage.  Bathing suits had less fabric than underwear.  Today, plastic surgery to increase or decease your body is common.  Products that will help you lose weight, grow your eye lashes, hide wrinkles are billon dollar industries.  Satan wins this battle everyday.  All of this creates insecurity, low self-image and unworthiness.  To further complicate things the devil has us believing we need to look like a princess to catch and keep the prince.  Unfortunately, how we look often determines whether doors will open or close in life as well.  So in all of this how do we as Christian Women find our truth, our identity and value.  How do we balance obsession with a healthy view of self?  

“Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and that you are not your own? For you have been bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body.”  1 Corinthians 6:19-20 NASB

First, I want to address your appearance.  I believe it is important to take care of yourself.  Eat healthy, moderate exercise and take care of your physical body.  I truly believe everyone has an optimum weight that is not so much a number or size but how we feel and how our body functions.  We need to find a balance, a comfortable place one that can be maintained without obsessing.  I guarantee this will be a life long challenge, maybe as a woman your greatest…to keep how you see yourself from becoming an obsession.  I can prove this with one example.  Have you ever been shopping for clothing and nothing you try on looks good or fits? Be honest for me that’s most of the time! If you are young finding your unique comfort zone now will help you as your life unfolds.  Learning how to love and feel good about yourself is not the true solution to overcoming how you see yourself. Your identity MUST be found in Jesus Christ, only when you find it in Him will you be able to discern and fight the devils traps.  It is vital for you to understand how precious you are in God’s sight…so valuable. Loved and valued so much that Jesus went to the cross for you.  You also should value your life because you were made in His image; you are His most precious creation. His love for us is truly unmeasurable. And as a Christian woman, you are the daughter of the King; redeemed and made into royalty through the work of the Cross. But when you make “feeling good about yourself” a focal point, you quickly take your eyes off Christ and become wrapped up in self. Unhealthy behavior will feed a continuing cycle of obsession and balance.  Sometimes in an effort to find yourself the devil will speak lies to you causing destructive behavior.  Getting help is essential, please don’t let Satan use self-inflicted physical abuse to destroy you. 

Scripture tells us that you are not to have confidence in yourself but in Christ only.  It’s important for you to focus on how our Lord sees you, how what’s in your heart is the measure of who you are in Jesus. Your confidence and strength must come from the heavenly Father.  Any other source is fueled in pride.  You will walk a fine line in this as well.  You need to continually be asking Jesus to refine away your prideful thoughts and realize that you are who you are inside and out because of who created you.  You must believe that God created you in love and that He loved you first. 

 “For we [who are born-again have been reborn from above—spiritually transformed, renewed, set apart for His purpose and] are the true circumcision, who worship in the Spirit of God and glory and take pride and exult in Christ Jesus and place no confidence [in what we have or who we are] in the flesh.”  Philippians 3:3 AMP

Paul tells us that he counts all his personal accomplishments “as rubbish” compared to the surpassing greatness of knowing Christ.  This must be your priority as well. When you understand that it’s not about you but about how you can serve a God who loves you.  When you make your life pursuit in knowing God and loving Him as He loves you freedom is found. 

“But more than that, I count everything as loss compared to the priceless privilege and supreme advantage of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord [and of growing more deeply and thoroughly acquainted with Him—a joy unequaled]. For His sake I have lost everything, and I consider it all garbage, so that I may gain Christ.”  Philippians 3:8 AMP

Jesus could not be more clear when He says, “If anyone desires to come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow Me” 

 And Jesus was saying to them all, “If anyone wishes to follow Me [as My disciple], he must deny himself [set aside selfish interests], and take up his cross daily [expressing a willingness to endure whatever may come] and follow Me [believing in Me, conforming to My example in living and, if need be, suffering or perhaps dying because of faith in Me].”  Luke 9:23 AMP

It may seem hard to believe that self-denial, rather than self-esteem, could actually be the solution to female insecurity. But when you let self fade into the background and become consumed with Jesus Christ, your personal insecurities will melt away. You no longer look to yourself…your talent, beauty, or uniqueness to find confidence. You must not depend on others for accolades because gratification through objects and people don’t last but are just a momentarily.  Instead, you learn to find your confidence in who He is, rather than in who the world says you are.

Charles Spurgeon said, “If a soul has any beauty, it is because Christ has endowed that soul with His own, for in ourselves we are deformed and defiled! There is no beauty in any of us but what our Lord has worked in us.”

The world would lead you to believe that you have “beauty within you” and that if you could only learn to love yourself “just the way you are” you would be confident and happy. The TRUTH, as Spurgeon so plainly put it, “We do not actually possess any beauty or goodness of our own accord.” 

“Every one of them has turned aside; together they have become corrupt; There is no one who does good, not even one.”  Psalms 53:3 NASB

The only beauty, confidence or worth you can ever have is in Jesus Christ. And His loveliness will only come shining through in your life when self has gotten out of the way. 

As John the Baptist declared, “I must decrease, but He must increase.”  John 3:30 NASB

Rather than trying to build up your self-esteem and “feel good about yourself” (which doesn’t produce lasting confidence anyway) you are to let thoughts of self fade completely into the background. Remember that to “deny yourself” according to the Bible literally means to lose sight of yourself and your own interests. You will only gain lasting security when you look away from yourself and toward Jesus Christ. 

God’s Word is full of information about your identity and position as a believer in Jesus Christ. Let the wonder of God’s perspective on you soak in. Do you fully realize what it means to be:

The question “who am I?” is not nearly as important as the question, “who is He?”  Learning to see yourself through God’s eyes is key for He is the Beholder.

Be Blessed,  Laurie

I AM DEVOTIONAL – Part 3 Our Enemies Along Our Christian Journey

The third enemy that we will face immediately is the lust of the flesh…

The flesh is without a doubt the toughest enemy, it’s that evil tendency of our inward self. Accepting Christ as our Savior and surrendering our all to Him does not ensure that sometimes our old, sinful cravings will not return. The Bible teaches that the old nature, with all its corruption, is still there and that these evil temptations come from nowhere else. In other words, we are our own worst enemy. War has been declared!

“For the flesh desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the flesh. They are in conflict with each other, so that you are not to do whatever you want”
Galations 5:13

It is the battle of the self-life and the Christ-life. This old nature cannot please God. It cannot be converted, or even patched up. Thank God, when Jesus died He took us with Him, and the old nature can be made inoperative and we can …“In the same way, count yourselves dead to sin but alive to God in Christ Jesus.” Romans 6:11. This is done by faith.

This is a life long process, because all sin begins as a thought in our mind! We cannot fight the inward self without “knowing the Word” I’m not talking about memorizing scripture…I’m talking about hearing God speak to us through His Word! Pressing into Jesus will bring freedom, the Holy Spirit will bring the power to destroy that “old nature”. Paul warns us…“Rather, clothe yourselves with the Lord Jesus Christ, and do not think about how to gratify the desires of the flesh.” Romans 13:14

Now the Bible says in Matthew 10 “we have been given the authority over unclean spirits, to cast them out and to heal every kind of disease and every kind of sickness”! So with that authority we can speak to our flesh and tell it “no more”. With that authority we can destroy anything that will prevent us from completing the work set before us by Jesus Christ therefore the devil, the world nor our own sinful nature can separate us from our Lord when we confess to Him and seek His forgiveness and love!

Be Blessed, Laurie

Seek Peace

Scripture: Turn from evil and do good; seek peace and pursue it. Psalm 34:14 NIV

Observation: This is a good follow-up to yesterday’s SOAP. If we will seek peace we will stop doing evil. We will not delay justice and we will no longer call good bad and bad good.

Application: As I desire to allow God to reign I will automatically seek peacefulness with others and justice will result.

Prayer: Father, help me to desire your will for my life so that evil will not prevail. I ask this in Jesus’ name. Amen

Doug

Let God Reign

Scripture:  When the sentence for a crime is not quickly carried out, people’s hearts are filled with schemes to do wrong.  Ecclesiastes 8:11 NIV

Observation:  When justice is delayed, injustice becomes the order or more precisely disorder of the day.  All we have to do is look at our society and see the truth in this scripture.    Delayed justice has led to a complete flip-flop and the inmates seem to be running the asylum.  Isiah 5:20a says, “Woe to those who call evil good and good evil…”  We have forsaken our Lord and his truth and our upside-down world is evidence of that!

Application:  I must pray for God and his justice to reign in my life and our world today.

Prayer:  Father, we have caused there to be great injustice in this world. I must take responsibility for my part in allowing it to happen. Reign in my life and help me to be bold in the face of injustice and to speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves.  I ask this in Jesus’ name. Amen

Doug

I Have Drill Today

Scripture:  I will exalt you, lord, for you lifted me out of the depths and did not let my enemies gloat over me.  Psalm 30:1 NIV

Observation:  I have to go to drill today. That’s periodically reoccurring school for firemen to hone our skills. I’m old fashioned and my glory days as a strapping young fireman with all of the answers have long-since passed. To put it bluntly, all of us firemen nearing retirement need to hurry up and get there and get out of all of the young guy’s way. As I left for work today, Laurie prayed for me that the Lord would protect my crew and me as we are put through our paces. Psalm 30:1 confirmed for me that God heard her plea and I am protected, “…and did not let my enemies gloat over me.” Psalm 30:1b NIV  Thank you Lord!

Application:  I must accept the truth and carry on. I’ve done my job for many years. I know my job and I must trust in the knowledge and training that I’ve accumulated over the years to complete today’s exercises. Thank you Lord!

Prayer:  Thank you Lord for having my back. I pray that I honor you today. Amen

Doug

Thank You Lord

Scripture: He who finds a wife finds what is good and receives favor from the lord.  Proverbs 18:22 NIV

Observation: This proverb says it clearly. I can’t add to or take away from it.

Application: I must understand and appreciate the wife that God has given me. I sure don’t deserve her. One more evidence to me that God loves me unconditionally.

Prayer: Father,  thank you for giving me Laurie. Help me to be worthy of her. I ask this in Jesus’ name. Amen

Doug

Help Me to Know

Scripture: If you forgive anyone’s sins, their sins are forgiven; if you do not forgive them, they are not forgiven.” John 20:23 NIV

Observation: I remember having this piece of scripture given to me before. It must mean that God really wants me to understand this truth. It’s pretty powerful and comes with a lot of responsibility. Through the power of the Spirit, we can or cannot forgive sin.

Application: I’m not sure how to apply this truth. I know that it’s not to be taken lightly. If anyone can help me with this I’d appreciate it.

Prayer: Father, help me to know. I ask this in Jesus’ name. Amen

Doug

Be Humble

Scripture: Pride goes before destruction, a haughty spirit before a fall. Proverbs 16:18 NIV

Observation: This proverb instructs that the arrogant fail and fall.

Application: Take it from me, arrogant people get humbled. It’s not a source of pride for me to admit but I’ve dealt with this myself. I pray for humility from God so that he never has to humble me again.

Prayer: Father, help me to be humble and consider others before myself. I ask this in Jesus’ name. Amen

Doug

Consider Others First

Scripture: “Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves…” Philippians 2:3 NIV

Observation: Consider the welfare of others more important than your own welfare.

Application: The observation is the application. We must consider others before ourselves.

Prayer: Father, help me to consider others first. I ask this in Jesus’ name. Amen

Doug