Thursday, August 28, 2014

It's A Done Deal





Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us.  
(Romans 8:37)







What a wonderful God we serve who has equipped us with everything we need to be victorious over the enemy; Satan, the cares of this world, and in many cases, ourselves.  He has given us His word, power and authority, prayer, fasting, the name of Jesus and the keys to the kingdom!  He has also given us the perfect example to follow. 

Jesus faced every temptation of the enemy which we face, but He overcame these temptations without sin. Because He entered the arena of spiritual warfare, He understands our battles and He strengthens us:

For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin. (Hebrews 4:15)

Because He emerged victorious, we can also be a victor:

For in that He Himself hath suffered being tempted, He is able to succor them that are tempted. (Hebrews 2:18)

Succor means to assist, to aid, to support, to comfort - Jesus does all these things and so much more!

Read the account of the death and resurrection of Jesus in Matthew 26-28; Mark 14-16; Luke 22-24; and John 18-21. The death and resurrection of Jesus Christ was the greatest confrontation that ever occurred between the power of Satan and the power of God.

Through the death of Jesus, Satan thought he had destroyed God's plan. He had killed God's only Son. He had destroyed the King who was to reign over God's Kingdom. But Jesus said:

Thinkest thou that I cannot now pray to my Father, and He shall presently give me more than twelve legions of angels?  But how then shall the Scriptures be fulfilled, that thus it must be?  (Matthew 26:53-54)

Jesus answered, My Kingdom is not of this world: if my Kingdom were of this world, then would my servants fight, that I should not be delivered to the Jews: but now is my Kingdom not from hence. (John 18:36)

Jesus answered, Thou couldest have no power at all against me, except it were given thee from above:  therefore he that delivered me unto thee hath the greater sin.
(John 19:11)

Jesus did not die because His power was less than that of the enemy. His death did not end the plan for God's Kingdom. It was not time for His Kingdom to be visibly established in the world.

What Satan meant for evil, God had already settled that it was for the good!  The death of Jesus actually fulfilled the plan of God. Men could now be saved from the bondage of sin and the penalty of the "second death" (eternal separation from God because of sin).

Great though it was, salvation from sin was not the only victory gained by Jesus through His death on the cross. Through His death and resurrection, Jesus defeated all the power of the enemy:

Wherefore he saith, When He ascended up on high (was resurrected) He led captivity captive, and gave gifts unto men. (Now that He ascended, what is it but that He also descended first into the lower parts of the earth?  He that descended is the same also that ascended up far above all Heavens, that He might fill all things.) (Ephesians 4:8-10 )

And having spoiled principalities and powers. He made a shew of them openly, triumphing over them in it. (Colossians 2:15)

Jesus defeated every power of the enemy, including death. He also passed judgment upon Satan:

Now is the judgment of this world: now shall the prince of this world (Satan) be cast out. (John 12:31)

>      Jesus made a way of salvation.
>      He defeated death and the principalities and powers of the enemy.
>     He restored to man dominion over all things.
>      He pronounced judgment on Satan which will be fulfilled in the future.

Our present situation is similar to conditions which have existed in certain countries in the natural world. The powers of rebel forces will be overthrown by the government. The rebel leader will be under judgment, but still at large. Resistance forces under his direction still war in the land.

Jesus has conquered Satan and set his judgment. But Satan is still at large and his forces of demonic powers, the flesh, and the world are still at war in the land. They attempt to control territory that is rightfully that of the Conqueror. They try to blind men to the fact Satan has been defeated and is under judgment. They try to control homes, churches, and nations.

That is where the warfare of the believer comes into focus. Jesus has defeated the enemy but Satan remains at large in the world. It is our task to open the eyes of men and women to his deception and regain control of territory that is rightfully ours. Your personal battle will continue until judgment on Satan is executed or until you go to be with Jesus through death, whichever comes first:

To the intent that now unto the principalities and powers in heavenly places might be known by the church the manifold wisdom of God. (Ephesians 3:10)

Through Jesus, we are a victor over the enemy rather than a victim of the enemy:

And hath put all things under His feet, and gave Him to be the head over all things to the Church. Which is His body, the fullness of Him that filleth all in all.       (Ephesians 1:22-23)

All things are "under the feet" of Jesus. This means He has conquered them. He is the head of the Church, and we are the body. It is stated that all things are under His feet, which means under His body, the Church. This means we are victors, not victims. You can be kept from the power of Satan. Jesus Himself prayed for us to be kept from the power of the enemy:

I pray not that thou shouldest take them out of the world, but that thou shouldest keep them from the evil.  Neither pray I for these alone, but for them also which shall believe on me through their word.   (John 17:15,20)

You are a conqueror, not through your own power, but through the powers of a greater One:

Nay, In all these things we are more than conquerors through Him that loved us. (Romans 8:37)

When the spiritual battle gets rough, just remember that the Bible assures that God's purposes will be accomplished:

The Lord of hosts hath sworn, saying, Surely as I have thought, so shall it come to pass; and as I have purposed so shall it stand. (Isaiah 15:24)

This is the purpose that is purposed upon the whole earth; and this is the hand that is stretched out upon all the nations. For the Lord of hosts hath purposed and who shall disannul it? and his hand is stretched out, and who shall turn it back? (Isaiah 15:26-27)

The Lord of Hosts has a purpose, and no force of the world, flesh, demons, Hell, or Satan himself will dis-annul it. Following God’s strategy will assure your spiritual victory!



(Biblical Studies)


07/02/15
09/22/16


Wednesday, August 27, 2014

God's Strategy - Part 4: Fasting




As it is written, For thy sake we are killed all the day long; we are accounted as sheep for the slaughter. Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us.  (Romans 8:36-37)




Thus far we have looked at the following tools in our arsenal against the enemy of God: 

  Ø       The Word of God
  Ø       Power and Authority through the Holy Spirit
  Ø       Prayer

Today’s tools are fasting’, the keys to the kingdom and the name of Jesus.  They are the final aspects to our battle plan.

Fasting

Fasting is combined with prayer to wage effective warfare in the spirit world.

People fast for different lengths of time and go on many different types of fasts.  The one thing that is basic about fasting and the importance of it is that if we can discipline our self to fast; regardless to rather it is food or an activity, we are a step closer in the battle against Satan.   

Fasting, in its most simple definition, is going without food. (I've included abstaining from other activities for a particular period of time also as I've found that there are some areas that, at times, also need to be brought under subjection)


According to the Bible there are two types of fasts. The total fast involves in not eating or drinking at all for a particular period of time.   

And he was three days without sight, and neither did eat nor drink.  Acts 9:9 

The partial fast is when the diet is restricted.  

I ate no pleasant bread, neither came flesh nor wine in my mouth, neither did I anoint myself at all, till three whole weeks were fulfilled.  Daniel 10:3

 One of the most important things that we should walk away knowing is:

            We do not fast to change God, because God does not change.

Fasting is a personal matter between an individual and God. It is to be done in private and not boasted about:

Moreover when ye fast, be not as the hypocrites, of a sad countenance; for they disfigure their faces, that they may appear unto men to fast. Verily I say unto you, they have their reward. But thou, when thou fastest, anoint thine head, and wash thy face; That thou appear not unto men to fast, but unto thy Father which is in secret and thy Father which seeth in secret shall reward thee openly.   (Matthew 6:16-18)

Leaders may call a corporate fast and request the whole church fellowship to fast:

Blow the trumpet in Zion, sanctify a fast, call a solemn assembly.
    (Joel 2:15)

There are definite spiritual purposes for fasting. It is important that we understand these, for if we fast for the wrong reasons it will be ineffective.

Look at each of the following references regarding the purposes of fasting. They reveal the great power of fasting in spiritual warfare. We fast:

            -To humble yourself:                   Psalms 35:13; 69:10
            -To repent of sin:                         Joel 2:12
            -For revelation:                            Daniel 9:2; 3:21-22
            -To loose bands of wickedness, lift heavy burdens, set the oppressed free, and break every bondage:                                              Isaiah 58:6
            -To feed the poor, both physically and spiritually:       Isaiah 58:7
            -To be heard of God:                   II Samuel 12:16,22; Jonah 3:5,10

Fasting does not change God. It changes us. God relates to us on the basis of our relationship with Him. When we change, then the way God deals with us is affected. But fasting does change how He deals with us. The book of Jonah is an example of how this happened in the city of Ninevah.


How long you fast depends upon what God speaks into your spirit. He may lead you to fast a short or lengthy time.   Despite the length, discipline is the key; denying yourself; becoming weak in the flesh in order to grow stronger in the kingdom.  Fasting and meditation go hand in hand.  While fasting, think on God, study his word, pray to Him and don’t be distracted by what is going on around you.  If possible, don’t be involved with television, social media, unnecessary conversations person to person or via phone or any other extracurricular activity as this is a time that should be dedicated, consecrated and shared with God.





(Biblical Studies)

04/27/16

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Communing With God







But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.  (Matthew 6:33)






There is just so much to be said on the importance of and benefits of prayer; our communication with God.  Not only is it our direct line of communication with God, but it is a powerful weapon in God’s strategic battle plan against the Kingdom of Satan.  The most powerful tool is the word of God followed by the power and authority that comes with the Holy Spirit.  Following those two powerful tools is prayer!

During the earthly ministry of Jesus His disciples once came to Him with an interesting request:

. . . one of His disciples said unto Him, Lord, teach us to pray. . .
 (Luke 11:1)

The disciples did not ask how to preach or perform miracles. They did not seek lessons on how to build lasting relationships. They did not inquire regarding the wonders of physical healing. They asked to be taught how to pray.

What created this desire? It was the visible effects of prayer in the life and ministry of Jesus. The disciples had witnessed the powerful results of this spiritual strategy in action.

Jesus gives us the parameters in which we should communicate our prayers.  Observe the various types of  prayer we communicate with God:

Praise and worship                     Our Father, which art in Heaven, Hallowed be thy name.

Commitment                                   Thy kingdom come.
                                                                 Thy will be done in earth, as it is in Heaven.                     

Petition                                             Give us this day our daily bread.                                      

Confession and Intercession    And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors.         

Petition                                             And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil;

Praise and worship                      For thine is the Kingdom, and the power  and the glory, forever. Amen.  (Matthew 6:9-13)

God gives us so much in His word on How to pray:
- Prayer is to be made to God:                                                           Psalms 5:2
- Empty repetition is forbidden, but earnest repetition is not:    Matthew 6:7; Daniel 6:10; Luke 11:5-13; 18:1-8
- You sin by neglecting to pray for others:                                        I Samuel 12:23
- Pray with understanding (in a known tongue):                            Ephesians 6:18
- Pray in the Spirit:                                                                                Romans 8:26; Jude 20
- Pray according to the will of God:                                                    I John 5:14-15
- Pray in secret:                                                                                       Matthew 6:6
- Quality rather than quantity is stressed.
   Prayer is not successful because of "much speaking":                 Matthew 6:7
- Pray always:                                                                                          Luke 21:36; Ephesians 6:18
- Pray continually:                                                                                  Romans 12:12
- Pray without ceasing:                                                                          I Thessalonians 5:17
- Pray to the Father in the name of Jesus:                                        John 15:16
- With a watchful attitude:                                                                   I Peter 4:7
- According to the example of the model prayer:                            Matthew 6:9-13
- Pray with a forgiving spirit:                                                               Mark 11:25
- Pray with humility:                                                                              Matthew 6:7
- Sometimes accompany prayer with fasting:                                  Matthew 17:21
- Pray fervently:                                                                                      James 5:16; Colossians 4:12
- Pray with submission to God:                                                           Luke 22:42
- Use the strategies of binding and loosing in prayer:                    Matthew 16:19

God also lets us know in His word What you should pray for:

- The peace of Jerusalem:                                              Psalms 122:6
- Laborers in the harvest:                                              Matthew 9:38
- That you enter not into temptation:                         Luke 22:40-46
- Them that despitefully use you (your enemies):    Luke 6:28
- All the saints:                                                                 Ephesians 6:18
- The sick:                                                                         James 5:14
- One for another (bearing each others burdens):   James 5:16
- For all men, kings, and those in authority:             I Timothy 2:1-4
- For daily needs:                                                            Matthew 6:11
- For wisdom:                                                                  James 1:5
- For healing:                                                                   James 5:14-15
- For forgiveness:                                                            Matthew 6:12
- For God's will and Kingdom to be established:     Matthew 6:10
- For relief from affliction:                                            James 5:13

There are promises of God revealed in His word.  We are to Pray the promises:

Ye ask, and receive not, because ye ask amiss, that ye may consume it upon your lusts. (James 4:3)

God answers prayer according to His promises. When we do not ask on the basis of these promises, our prayer is not answered. It is similar to how a father relates to his children. No parent commits to give his children anything they want or ask for. He makes it clear that he will do certain things and not do other things. Within these limits the father answers his child's requests.

It is the same way with God. He has given promises and they form the proper basis for prayer. Learn what God has promised and pray according to the promises of God. One way to do this is to go through the Bible and mark all the promises God has made. Use your Bible as you pray and base your prayers upon these promises.

Just as there are ways to pray, there are also Hindrances to prayer:

- Sin of any kind:                                                  Isaiah 59:1-2; Psalm 66:18; Isaiah 1:15; Proverbs 28:9
- Idols in the heart:                                              Ezekiel 14:1-3:
- An unforgiving spirit:                                       Mark 11:25; Matthew 5:23
- Selfishness, wrong motives:                            Proverbs 21:13; James 4:3
- Power hungry, manipulative prayers:           James 4:2-3
- Wrong treatment of marriage partner:         I Peter 3:7
- Self-righteousness:                                            Luke 18:10-14
- Unbelief:                                                              James 1:6-7:
- Not abiding in Christ and His Word:            John 15:7:
- Lack of compassion:                                         Proverbs 21:13
- Hypocrisy, pride, meaningless repetition:   Matthew 6:5; Job 35:12-13
- Not asking according to the will of God:      James 4:2-3
- Not asking in Jesus' name:                              John 16:24
- Satanic demonic hindrances:                         Daniel 10:10-13; Ephesians 6:12
- Not seeking first the Kingdom - It is only when you seek first the Kingdom of God that you are promised the "other things":                                                                                 Matthew 6:33
- God has a higher purpose in denying your request:                                  II Corinthians 12:8-9
- When you do not know how to pray as you should, prayer is hindered. This is why it is important to let the Holy Spirit pray through you:                                                    Romans 8:26

God lets us know through His word When not to pray:

It is important to learn how to wait before the Lord in prayer for His guidance and direction before acting. But it is equally important to know when not to pray. When God calls us to action, we must act, not continue to pray.

For example, at the bitter waters of Marah when Moses cried unto the Lord, God showed him exactly what to do to sweeten the waters. There was no need to wait further on the Lord in prayer. Moses was to act upon what God had revealed. The same was true of Joshua when he prayed about the terrible defeat of Israel at Ai. God revealed there was sin among the people of Israel. He actually told Joshua...

Get thee up; wherefore liest thou thus upon thy face?Israel hath sinned...Up, sanctify the people...     (Joshua 7: portions of 10, 12, and 13)

It was not the time to pray. It was the time to act upon the direction given in prayer. Some people use prayer as an excuse to avoid involvement and acting upon what God has told them to do.

Others continue to pray when God has already answered but they did not like the answer. Review the account of Balaam in Numbers 22. Note especially verses 18-19. Balaam had no right to go to God with the same matter for God had clearly forbidden him to have anything to do with what was being requested of him. (see verse 12).

Our communication with God is a conversation; a two way exchange.  Be sure to take the time to listen as God in return speaks to you.



(Biblical Studies)

04/26/16

05/19/17

Monday, August 25, 2014

God's Strategy - Part 2 - Prayer



Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints;  (Ephesians 6:18)


God has given us every thing we need to live successful and victorious lives in Him.   In the spiritual realm, there is no neutral territory; we must choose a side.  When we give our lives to God, He has a plan for us that allows us to be victorious against the enemy – God’s Strategy.  God’s Word and power and authority through the Holy Spirit is given to us to not only be successful in God but to arm us for the journey of following Christ.  He has also given us a channel of communication, Prayer, which is also a powerful tool.  

Prayer is a crucial part of the basic battle plan. God gives us many accounts to assist us in our prayer life:

Prayer is communion with God. It takes different forms, but basically it occurs when man talks with God and God talks with man. Prayer is described as:

  • Calling upon the name of the Lord:     Genesis 12:8
  • Crying unto God:                                      Psalms 27:7; 34:6
  • Drawing near to God:                              Psalms 73:28; Hebrews 10:22
  • Looking up:                                                Psalms 5:3
  • Lifting up the soul:                                   Psalms 25:1
  • Lifting up the heart:                                 Lamentations 3:41
  • Pouring out the heart:                             Psalms 62:8
  • Pouring out the soul:                                I Samuel 1:15
  • Crying to Heaven:                                     II Chronicles 32:20, Exodus 32:11
  • Seeking God:                                              Job 8:5
  • Seeking the face of the Lord:                  Psalms 27:8
  • Making supplication:                               Job 8:5; Jeremiah 36:7

Prayer was an important strategy of the Lord Jesus.  Jesus made prayer a priority:

     -  He prayed any time of the day or night:            Luke 6:12-13
     -  Prayer took priority over eating:                         John 4:31-32
     -  Prayer took priority over business:                    John 4:31-32

Prayer accompanied any event of importance:

     -    At His baptism:                                         Luke 3:21-22
     -    During the first ministry tour:               Mark 1:35; Luke 5:16
     -    Before the choice of the disciples:         Luke 6:12-13
     -    Before and after the feeding of the 5,000:         Matthew 14:19,23; Mark 6:41,46; John 6:11,14-15
     -    At the feeding of the 4,000:                    Matthew 15:36; Mark 8:6,7
     -    Before the confession of Peter:               Luke 9:18
     -    Before the transfiguration:                      Luke 9:28,29
     -    At the return of the seventy:                    Matthew 11:25; Luke 10:21
     -    At the grave of Lazarus:                           John 11:41-42
     -    At the blessing of the children:              Matthew 19:13
     -    At the coming of certain Greeks:           John 12:27-28
     -    Before the hour of His greatest anguish:           Matthew 26:26-27; Mark 14:22-23; Luke 22:17-19
     -    For Peter:                                                     Luke 22:32
     -    For the giving of the Holy Spirit:            John 14:1-6
     -    On the road to Emmaus:                          Luke 24:30-31
     -    Prior to His ascension:                             Luke 24:50-53
     -    For His followers:                                      John 17

The prayer Jesus taught is recorded in Matthew 6:9-13.

Apostle Paul calls for believers to pray always with "all prayer":

Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints;  (Ephesians 6:18)  

Another translation of the Bible reads "praying with every kind of prayer"  (Goodpseed Translation). This refers to the various levels and types of prayer.

Ø  LEVELS OF PRAYER:

There are three levels of intensity in prayer: Asking, seeking, and knocking:

Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you:  For every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth, and to him that knocketh it shall be opened.   (Matthew 7:7-8)

Asking is the first level of prayer. It is simply presenting a request to God and receiving an immediate answer. In order to receive, the condition is to ask:

...ye have not, because ye ask not. (James 4:2)

We have this powerful spiritual weapon of prayer, and yet many do not use it. They do not ask, and because of this, they do not receive.

Seeking is a deeper level of prayer. This is the level of prayer where answers are not as immediate as at the asking level. The 120 gathered in the upper room where they "continued" in prayer is an example of seeking. These men and women sought fulfillment of the promise of the Holy Spirit and continued "seeking" until the answer came. (Acts 1-2)

Knocking is a deeper level yet. It is prayer that is persistent when answers are longer in coming. It is illustrated by the parable Jesus told in Luke 11:5-10. The knocking level is the most intense level of spiritual warfare in prayer. It is illustrated by the persistence of Daniel who continued to knock despite the fact he saw no visible results as Satan hindered the answer from God. (Daniel 10)

There are various types of prayer illustrated in the model prayer given by the Lord (Matthew 6:9-13). Types of prayer include:

     ®    Worship and praise:

You enter into God's presence with worship and praise:

Enter into His gates with thanksgiving, and into His courts with praise; be thankful unto Him, and bless His Name. (Psalms 100:4)

Worship is the giving of honor and devotion. Praise is thanksgiving and an expression of gratitude not only for what God has done but for who He is. You are to worship God in spirit and in truth:

But the hour cometh, and now is, when the true worshippers shall worship the Father in Spirit and in truth: for the Father seeketh such to worship Him.   God is a Spirit, and they that worship Him must worship Him in spirit and in truth. (John 4:23-24)

Praise and worship can be with:

     -  Singing:                                                Psalms 9:2,11; 40:3; Mark 14:26
     -  Audible praise:                                   Psalms 103:1
     -  Shouting:                                             Psalms 47:1
     -  Lifting up of the hands:                    Psalms 63:4; 134:2; I Timothy 2:8
     -  Clapping:                                             Psalms 47:1
     -  Musical instruments:                        Psalms 150:3-5
     -  Standing:                                             II Chronicles 20:19
     -  Bowing:                                                Psalms 95:6
     -  Dancing:                                               Psalms 149:3
     -  Kneeling:                                              Psalms 95:6
     -  Lying down:                                         Psalms 149:5

    ®     Commitment:

This is prayer committing your life and will to God. It includes prayers of consecration and dedication.

    ®     Petition:

Prayers of petition are requests. Requests must be made according to the will of God as revealed in His written Word. Petitions may be at the levels of asking, seeking, or knocking. Supplication is another word for this type of prayer. The word supplication means "beseeching God or strongly appealing to Him in behalf of a need."

     ®    Confession and repentance:

A prayer of confession is repenting and asking forgiveness for sin:

If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. (I John 1:9)

     ®    Intercession:

Intercession is prayer for others. An intercessor is one who takes the place of another or pleads another's case. The Bible records that at one time God looked on the earth and saw there was no intercessor:

And He saw that there was no man, and wondered that there was no intercessor: therefore His arm brought salvation unto Him, and His righteousness, it sustained Him.  (Isaiah 59:16)

When God saw there was no intercessor He supplied the need. He sent Jesus:

For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus. (I Timothy 2:5)

...It is Christ that died, yea rather, that is risen again, who is even at the right hand of God, who also maketh intercession for us. (Romans 8:34)

Wherefore He is able also to save them to the uttermost that come unto God by Him, seeing He ever liveth to make intercession for them. (Hebrews 7:25)

My little children, these things write I unto you, that ye sin not. And if any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ, the righteous.  (I John 2:1)

An advocate in a court of justice is a legal assistant or counselor who pleads another's cause. Intercession in spiritual warfare is prayer to God on behalf of another person. Sometimes this intercession is made with understanding. You intercede in your own native language:

I exhort therefore, that first of all, supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks, be made for all men. For kings, and for all that are in authority... (I Timothy 2:1-2)

At other times, intercession is made by the Holy Spirit. It may be with groanings resulting from a heavy spiritual burden. It may be in an unknown tongue. It may be intercession for another or the Holy Spirit making intercession for you. When this happens, the Holy Spirit speaks through you praying directly to God and according to the will of God. You do not understand this type of intercession:

Likewise the Spirit also helpeth our infirmities; for we know not what we should pray for as we ought; but the Spirit itself maketh intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered. (Romans 8:26)

This is the deepest level of intercessory prayer and the most effective in spiritual warfare.



(Biblical Study)

12/10/15

01/30/17