Category Archives: Spiritual Warfare

Earnestly Seek The Lord To Reveal His Gifts And Purpose For Your Life

Those of us who are true followers of Christ are all part of one body. We are to work together for the glory of His kingdom, not fight amongst ourselves to each scratch out our own kingdom by our own strength.

1 Corinthians 12:12-13

      12For even as the body is one and yet has many members, and all the members of the body, though they are many, are one body, so also is Christ. 13For by one Spirit we were all baptized into one body, whether Jews or Greeks, whether slaves or free, and we were all made to drink of one Spirit.

It is a wonderful and awesome thing to watch when we see our fellow Christians living out the gifts and purposes that God has created them for and working together as a body of Christ to bring glory to God’s kingdom instead of creating our own selfish kingdoms. We see such an example in Romans 13:1-12.

      1Now there were at Antioch, in the church that was there, prophets and teachers: Barnabas, and Simeon who was called Niger, and Lucius of Cyrene, and Manaen who had been brought up with Herod the tetrarch, and Saul. 2While they were ministering to the Lord and fasting, the Holy Spirit said, “Set apart for Me Barnabas and Saul for the work to which I have called them.” 3Then, when they had fasted and prayed and laid their hands on them, they sent them away.

      4So, being sent out by the Holy Spirit, they went down to Seleucia and from there they sailed to Cyprus. 5When they reached Salamis, they began to proclaim the word of God in the synagogues of the Jews; and they also had John as their helper. 6When they had gone through the whole island as far as Paphos, they found a magician, a Jewish false prophet whose name was Bar-Jesus, 7who was with the proconsul, Sergius Paulus, a man of intelligence. This man summoned Barnabas and Saul and sought to hear the word of God. 8But Elymas the magician (for so his name is translated) was opposing them, seeking to turn the proconsul away from the faith. 9But Saul, who was also known as Paul, filled with the Holy Spirit, fixed his gaze on him, 10and said, “You who are full of all deceit and fraud, you son of the devil, you enemy of all righteousness, will you not cease to make crooked the straight ways of the Lord? 11“Now, behold, the hand of the Lord is upon you, and you will be blind and not see the sun for a time.” And immediately a mist and a darkness fell upon him, and he went about seeking those who would lead him by the hand. 12Then the proconsul believed when he saw what had happened, being amazed at the teaching of the Lord.

It was through fasting and prayer and ministering to the Lord that Saul and Barnabus received their guidance from the Holy Spirit. They were not busy going about their own pursuits, but rather actively seeking and honoring God when they heard from Him.

A group of believers gathered together in prayer and fasting and laid hands on them to send them on their way. Their mission was one appointed from the Holy Spirit and that was important as they encountered spiritual resistance along the way. It was the power of God that allowed Saul (also Paul) to overcome the enemy who was coming against them… and what a powerful sight that must have been for those who saw it! It was enough for the proconsul to believe in Christ Jesus.

When God appoints you on a mission and you faithfully seek to fulfill it, He will provide the path and power to successfully complete it!

Have you heard from God what your gifts and purpose are? Have you earnestly sought after Him in prayer and fasting? Have you taken time to even ask Him and then listen for a response? Do you study His word and apply it to your life? Do you come humbly before Him in prayer? If not, challenge yourself to start today. Do not wait for tomorrow. Make time for prayer with our Creator consistently as if it is as important as the very physical food we eat… because it is that important.

Do not dismiss to easily the possibility that Satan is coming against you when you try to obey God’s commands and live for Him. Satan will absolutely come against you. With God’s help you will overcome! Gather together with other believers in fasting and prayer to seek God’s guidance and blessing for your life.

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Have you submitted your life to Jesus Christ? If you die today, do you know for sure that you would be with God in heaven? Learn more about salvation through The Message of the Cross.

Prayer For Him Was Being Made Fervently By The Church To God

Have you ever experienced some breakthroughs in your life in terms of living for God only to find that the resistance and obstacles increase? Indeed that is common. Often when Satan sees a Christian or Christians having a significant breakthrough or possibly on the verge of reaching many for Jesus, he steps up his opposition. So, too, do men who reject Christ. Sometimes you face both at the same time.

In Acts 11, the early church was growing, reaching out to Gentiles and receiving them in large numbers. Fellow believers were helping one another, even across different geographies… not just home town help. Then Herod stepped up his resistance to followers of Christ, much to the pleasure of the Jewish religious leaders of the time. Herod killed James, brother of John, and then arrested Peter.

The followers of Christ were not strong enough on their own to resist or overpower the government at the time. Instead, they turned to the power which God provided. The believers responded with fervent, intercessory prayer on his behalf. Prayer is a powerful weapon and brings about mighty things from God. Do not underestimate it and do not limit yourself to half-hearted, “when it is convenient and I have nothing else to do” prayer. Fervent prayer for a righteous purpose made by those who submit to Jesus can be very powerful.

Acts 12:1-19

Peter’s Arrest and Deliverance

      1Now about that time Herod the king laid hands on some who belonged to the church in order to mistreat them. 2And he had James the brother of John put to death with a sword. 3When he saw that it pleased the Jews, he proceeded to arrest Peter also. Now it was during the days of Unleavened Bread. 4When he had seized him, he put him in prison, delivering him to four squads of soldiers to guard him, intending after the Passover to bring him out before the people. 5So Peter was kept in the prison, but prayer for him was being made fervently by the church to God.

      6On the very night when Herod was about to bring him forward, Peter was sleeping between two soldiers, bound with two chains, and guards in front of the door were watching over the prison. 7And behold, an angel of the Lord suddenly appeared and a light shone in the cell; and he struck Peter’s side and woke him up, saying, “Get up quickly.” And his chains fell off his hands. 8And the angel said to him, “Gird yourself and put on your sandals.” And he did so. And he said to him, “Wrap your cloak around you and follow me.” 9And he went out and continued to follow, and he did not know that what was being done by the angel was real, but thought he was seeing a vision. 10When they had passed the first and second guard, they came to the iron gate that leads into the city, which opened for them by itself; and they went out and went along one street, and immediately the angel departed from him. 11When Peter came to himself, he said, “Now I know for sure that the Lord has sent forth His angel and rescued me from the hand of Herod and from all that the Jewish people were expecting.” 12And when he realized this, he went to the house of Mary, the mother of John who was also called Mark, where many were gathered together and were praying. 13When he knocked at the door of the gate, a servant-girl named Rhoda came to answer. 14When she recognized Peter’s voice, because of her joy she did not open the gate, but ran in and announced that Peter was standing in front of the gate. 15They said to her, “You are out of your mind!” But she kept insisting that it was so. They kept saying, “It is his angel.” 16But Peter continued knocking; and when they had opened the door, they saw him and were amazed. 17But motioning to them with his hand to be silent, he described to them how the Lord had led him out of the prison. And he said, “Report these things to James and the brethren.” Then he left and went to another place.

      18Now when day came, there was no small disturbance among the soldiers as to what could have become of Peter. 19When Herod had searched for him and had not found him, he examined the guards and ordered that they be led away to execution. Then he went down from Judea to Caesarea and was spending time there.

There is no about how Peter got out. There can be no credible “conspiracy theory” that someone bribed the guards or such. The guards surely would have revealed it and brought Peter back … they were led away for execution due to their failure!

Trust in the power of God to protect us. Of course we must also trust in God’s decision about whether or not He does so and how. Remember that James was killed at Herod’s hands.

Perhaps the principle lesson we should focus on from this scripture is the power of wholehearted, fervent, righteous prayer on someone’s behalf, especially when a team of believers come together in this prayer.  This is specifically highlighted in this scripture and is pivotal in the situation with Peter.

Do you know of some specific individuals or situations which could use the kind of help that Peter received in Acts 12 from God? Gather together with other followers of Christ and pray fervently for God to act in this situation for the glory of His kingdom! Expect Him to answer and keep praying. You just might be amazed by the response you see from our Creator and Lord.

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Have you submitted your life to Jesus Christ? If you die today, do you know for sure that you would be with God in heaven? Learn more about salvation through The Message of the Cross.

Prepare for Battle – Know The Enemy

In Ephesians 6:10-18 Paul provides us important guidance about the reality of spiritual warfare.  Too often Christians dismiss spiritual warfare and focus only on the things we can see and touch. This leaves us vulnerable to Satan’s attacks. If we do not recognize the true enemy, we will struggle to win against him.

      10Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of His might. 11Put on the full armor of God, so that you will be able to stand firm against the schemes of the devil. 12For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places. 13Therefore, take up the full armor of God, so that you will be able to resist in the evil day, and having done everything, to stand firm. 14Stand firm therefore, having girded your loins with truth, and having put on the breastplate of righteousness,  15and having shod your feet with the preparation of the gospel of peace; 16in addition to all, taking up the shield of faith with which you will be able to extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. 17And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.

      18With all prayer and petition pray at all times in the Spirit, and with this in view, be on the alert with all perseverance and petition for all the saints, 19and pray on my behalf, that utterance may be given to me in the opening of my mouth, to make known with boldness the mystery of the gospel, 20for which I am an ambassador in chains; that in proclaiming it I may speak boldly, as I ought to speak.

Some key points upon which to reflect:

  • Our strength comes from the Lord, not ourselves
  • The devil is real and he has strategies he uses to lie, cheat and destroy. He will use more than one strategy against us.
  • Warfare does not always take place in physical world, sometimes it is in the spiritual world. Don’t believe me? Read the book of Job.
  • Just putting on one or two pieces of the armor of God is not enough, we need to put on all of them.
  • Prayer and a relationship with Jesus is necessary! Jesus tells us to pray daily and to pray specifically to not let us yield to temptation, and to be rescued from the evil one. Matthew 6:9-13
  • We are to stay alert and pray for others in addition to ourselves. Pray for those preach the gospel that they would preach boldly!

Let’s explore what it really means to put on the full armor of God.

Truth can simply be defined as the real facts about something.  Surprisingly the world today proposes that truth is relative when it comes to God or how we live… “True for you but not for me”, etc. This is no more accurate than saying “If I do not believe in gravity, I will not fall off a ladder.” Gravity is true whether or not I believe in or accept it. God lovingly and in great detail shares truth in the Bible and reveals it in the world around us. There is absolute truth.

Righteousness is characterized by living consistently with God’s standards of morality, justice, virtue, etc. As God’s standard is Himself, it is a lofty bar. We will never achieve it to perfection but He is the standard and reference point none the less. We should keep our eyes on Jesus and keep changing to be more like Him.

The peace that comes from knowing the good news is not a promise that we will avoid conflicts and trials, but rather an affirmation that when we have relationship with Jesus Christ we know He is with us in this life and that we have eternal life on the other side of this world. We can have peace through the mightiest storms.

Faith is the confidence that what we hope for will actually happen; it gives us assurance about things we cannot see. Hebrews 11:1. In this context Paul reminds us that we must trust in God even when we are under attack by Satan. Just because we can not recognize how God is working in the situation does not mean that He is not there. We can be confident He is with us.

Salvation is deliverance from sin and its consequences, which is death. It is not enough to know or acknowledge Jesus Christ. Even Satan and his demons due that. By asking and accepting Jesus into our  lives and repenting from our sinful ways we receive salvation through grace.

The sword of the spirit, or word of God, is what Jesus Himself used to defeat Satan when He was tempted in the wilderness. Matthew 4:1-11. We must know the word of God before the attack comes just as a soldier must train and be prepared before he goes to battle.

To be effective we must understand and use all of this equipment daily. It ceases to become “something we do” and becomes “how we do everything” in our lives.

Remember to heed Paul’s warning and guidance for prayer. The battle is not ours alone, but the Lord’s!

      18With all prayer and petition pray at all times in the Spirit, and with this in view, be on the alert with all perseverance and petition for all the saints,

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Have you submitted your life to Jesus Christ? If you die today, do you know for sure that you would be with God in heaven? Learn more about salvation through The Message of the Cross.

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Am I Hearing From Jesus? or Satan?

As Jesus’ followers we must learn over time to recognize the voice of our shepherd and distinguish it from the voice of the evil one, Satan. God allows Satan to tempt and lie to us.

Satan wants to separate us from God. God wants us to study and know God through His word so as to easily recognize when Satan is at work and choose instead to honor God and reject Satan’s lies.

Satan was allowed to tempt Eve in the Garden of Eden. She choose to trust Satan instead of God, with grave consequences.  Satan tempted Jesus in the wilderness. Jesus knew and trusted the word of God and thus recognized the lies and deceit… the trap Satan was trying to lure him into.

Satan continues today to try to trick and deceive people in an effort to separate them from God. Sadly, he is very successful because people are not prepared as Jesus was with a strong foundation of understanding God’s word as truth.

There are key differences, or tells, that can help us distinguish between God’s voice and that of Satan.

  • God speaks clearly and directly about the truth of what is good and what is wrong. There is not much “gray” area. Satan lies and rationalizes why wrong behavior is really acceptable.
  • God’s will never contradicts what He has already revealed to us in His holy scriptures. Satan’s lies contradict or twist scripture out of context. They are easier to spot for those who have taken the time to study and know God’s word.
  • God calls us to admit we are sinful, repent wholeheartedly and change our behavior in pursuit of a holy standard. Satan tells us the Bible is wrong or inaccurate or no longer applies. He tells us that we are like many others or better than most, we are good enough, we don’t need to change our behavior.
  • God’s path is typically harder, takes longer… it requires discipline and conviction. People will mock you and try to stop you. Satan’s path is easy and comfortable. People do not mock you. You blend in with the world.
  • God warns us that there are negative consequences to our sin. Satan tries to convince us there are no negative consequences.
  • God leads us to have a humble spirit, knowing who we are in Christ and giving glory to Him. Satan fills us with pride, focusing our thoughts on how good we are by ourselves.
  • God cares not only about “what we do” but also cares about “how we do it” and “why”. Satan says “the ends justify the means”.  Satan suggests you can act in a way that is against God’s word so long as you have a good cause.
  • God provided a way through Jesus Christ to atone for our sins and reconcile with God. Satan tells us we do not need God…that we are good enough on our own.

As followers of Christ we must acknowledge that Satan is real and is working to trap us and lead us into sin and away from God. Then we must study God’s word and focus on developing a relationship with Him through consistent prayer. We must listen carefully and test what we hear to ensure it lines up with God’s will and character. Only by doing this can we live the life that God wants for us.

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Jesus Heals and Casts Out Demons

We often face hardship in this world including sickness, and yes… demon possession, though many today reject that concept. However, scripture is clear… it differentiates between Jesus’ healing of sickness and His casting out of demons. Jesus demonstrates His power through a series of miracles in Matthew 8:1-17.

Large crowds followed Jesus as he came down the mountainside. Suddenly, a man with leprosy approached him and knelt before him. “Lord,” the man said, “if you are willing, you can heal me and make me clean.”

Jesus reached out and touched him. “I am willing,” he said. “Be healed!” And instantly the leprosy disappeared. Then Jesus said to him, “Don’t tell anyone about this. Instead, go to the priest and let him examine you. Take along the offering required in the law of Moses for those who have been healed of leprosy.[a] This will be a public testimony that you have been cleansed.”

When Jesus returned to Capernaum, a Roman officer[b] came and pleaded with him, “Lord, my young servant[c] lies in bed, paralyzed and in terrible pain.”

Jesus said, “I will come and heal him.”

But the officer said, “Lord, I am not worthy to have you come into my home. Just say the word from where you are, and my servant will be healed. I know this because I am under the authority of my superior officers, and I have authority over my soldiers. I only need to say, ‘Go,’ and they go, or ‘Come,’ and they come. And if I say to my slaves, ‘Do this,’ they do it.”

10 When Jesus heard this, he was amazed. Turning to those who were following him, he said, “I tell you the truth, I haven’t seen faith like this in all Israel! 11 And I tell you this, that many Gentiles will come from all over the world—from east and west—and sit down with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob at the feast in the Kingdom of Heaven. 12 But many Israelites—those for whom the Kingdom was prepared—will be thrown into outer darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.”

13 Then Jesus said to the Roman officer, “Go back home. Because you believed, it has happened.” And the young servant was healed that same hour.

14 When Jesus arrived at Peter’s house, Peter’s mother-in-law was sick in bed with a high fever. 15 But when Jesus touched her hand, the fever left her. Then she got up and prepared a meal for him.

16 That evening many demon-possessed people were brought to Jesus. He cast out the evil spirits with a simple command, and he healed all the sick. 17 This fulfilled the word of the Lord through the prophet Isaiah, who said,

“He took our sicknesses
    and removed our diseases.”[d]

Jesus makes no promise of healing everyone physically in this world. We live in a fallen world based on our own sin nature. Sometimes it may even serve God’s bigger plan to allow sickness or death in some circumstances for the furthering of His kingdom. God allowed Satan to torment Job, a faithful servant of God’s,  with physical illness and pain… not to mention a long list of other suffering.

In most of the examples above… people who had demons or were ill sought out Jesus. They came to him humbly and in faith that He could and would heal them. It is clear that neither illness nor demons are a difficult problem for Jesus to solve.

Unfortunately quite a few pastors twist this scripture and others like it. They would have you believe if you come to Jesus with faith you are guaranteed a healing and if you are not healed then you failed in your faith. Though a lack of faith may certainly block you from receiving healing from Jesus, the fact that you were not healed does not always mean you did not have enough faith or that God did not hear your prayers. Sometimes He wants us to glorify Him even in our illness or suffering. Sometimes it is just a result of a fallen world and He has chosen not to intervene to provide healing. We may never know why He chooses not to intervene at times, but we are to trust God as His followers.

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Help us to share the good news of the gospel! Please visit our Support Us page at HearingFromJesus.org to find out more.

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What is the full armor of God?

In a recent post we reviewed Paul’s guidance about the reality of spiritual warfare in Ephesians 6:10-18 [NLT].  Now we will comment a little deeper with regards to what it really means to put on the full armor of God.

13 Therefore, put on every piece of God’s armor so you will be able to resist the enemy in the time of evil. Then after the battle you will still be standing firm. 14 Stand your ground, putting on the belt of truth and the body armor of God’s righteousness. 15 For shoes, put on the peace that comes from the Good News so that you will be fully prepared.16 In addition to all of these, hold up the shield of faith to stop the fiery arrows of the devil. 17 Put on salvation as your helmet, and take the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.

Truth can simply be defined as the real facts about something.  Surprisingly the world today proposes that truth is relative when it comes to God or how we live… “True for you but not for me”, etc. This is no more accurate than saying “If I do not believe in gravity, I will not fall off a ladder.” Gravity is true whether or not I believe in or accept it. God lovingly and in great detail shares truth in the Bible and reveals it in the world around us. There is absolute truth.

Righteousness is characterized by living consistently with God’s standards of morality, justice, virtue, etc. As God’s standard is Himself, it is a lofty bar. We will never achieve it to perfection but He is the standard and reference point none the less. We should keep our eyes on Jesus and keep changing to be more like Him.

The peace that comes from knowing the good news is not a promise that we will avoid conflicts and trials, but rather an affirmation that when we have relationship with Jesus Christ we know He is with us in this life and that we have eternal life on the other side of this world. We can have peace through the mightiest storms.

Faith is the confidence that what we hope for will actually happen; it gives us assurance about things we cannot see. Hebrews 11:1 [NLT]. In this context Paul reminds us that we must trust in God even when we are under attack by Satan. Just because we can not recognize how God is working in the situation does not mean that He is not there. We can be confident He is with us.

Salvation is deliverance from sin and its consequences, which is death. It is not enough to know or acknowledge Jesus Christ. Even Satan and his demons due that. By asking and accepting Jesus into our  lives and repenting from our sinful ways we receive salvation through grace.

The sword of the spirit, or word of God, is what Jesus Himself used to defeat Satan when He was tempted in the wilderness. Matthew 4:1-11. We must know the word of God before the attack comes just as a soldier must train and be prepared before he goes to battle.

To be effective we must understand and use all of this equipment daily. It ceases to become “something we do” and becomes “how we do everything” in our lives.

Help share the good news of the gospel! Click the links below to subscribe to daily devotionals by email or share us on social media.

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Put on God’s armor to stand firm against the devil

In Ephesians 6:10-18 [NLT] Paul provides us important guidance about the reality of spiritual warfare.  Too often Christians dismiss spiritual warfare and focus only on the things we can see and touch. This leaves us vulnerable to Satan’s attacks.

10 A final word: Be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. 11 Put on all of God’s armor so that you will be able to stand firm against all strategies of the devil. 12 For we are not fighting against flesh-and-blood enemies, but against evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world, against mighty powers in this dark world, and against evil spirits in the heavenly places.

13 Therefore, put on every piece of God’s armor so you will be able to resist the enemy in the time of evil. Then after the battle you will still be standing firm. 14 Stand your ground, putting on the belt of truth and the body armor of God’s righteousness. 15 For shoes, put on the peace that comes from the Good News so that you will be fully prepared.16 In addition to all of these, hold up the shield of faith to stop the fiery arrows of the devil. 17 Put on salvation as your helmet, and take the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.

18 Pray in the Spirit at all times and on every occasion. Stay alert and be persistent in your prayers for all believers everywhere.

Some key points upon which to reflect:

  • Our strength comes from the Lord, not ourselves
  • The devil is real and he has strategies he uses to lie, cheat and destroy. He will use more than one strategy against us.
  • Warfare does not always take place in physical world, sometimes it is in the spiritual world. Don’t believe me? Read the book of Job.
  • Just putting on one or two pieces of the armor of God is not enough, we need to put on all of them.
  • Prayer and a relationship with Jesus is necessary! Jesus tells us to pray daily and to pray specifically to not let us yield to temptation, and to be rescued from the evil one. Matthew 6:9-13
  • We are to stay alert and pray for others in addition to ourselves.

I will come back again in a future post to expand in more detail on each component of the full armor of God.

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