DO YOU EVER JUST WANT TO SAY “BEAM ME UP NOW GOD”?
In the old Star Trek TV series, crew members would go off ship to visit or explore some alien planet but when their exploration was done or they were suddenly faced with danger they would hit their com (communication) badges and cry out to the on-board engineer, “Beam me up Scottie!” at which point their molecular bodies turn into TV screen snow while being transported back aboard The Enterprise.
Okay, sure we all have said or at least felt like making that BEAM ME UP NOW plea to God. But then He speaks in that silent voice to our inner spirit…
“I’M NOT FINISHED WITH YOU YET, IT’S NOT TIME! THERE IS STILL MUCH TO DO AND YOU’RE NOT PREPARED.”
Ouch…what does He mean I’m not prepared? What more am I supposed to do?
Well, if we know our Bible at all – and believe it, we know that God has given us a purpose in life. Yours may not be the same as mine and mine is not the same as Brother Joe’s, but we all have some God-given gift to serve His purpose.
The point is that UNTIL we are “beamed up” we are to prepare ourselves and be about our purpose on earth. This line of thought brings to my mind the parables in Matthew. In chapter 24 Jesus says, “Watch therefore, for you do not know what hour your Lord is coming. But know this that if the master of the house had known what hour the thief would come, he would have watched and not allowed his house to be broken into.” Good point right?
But chapter 25:1-13 in particular speaks clearly regarding our being ‘prepared’ for the coming of the Lord, or as this parable refers to Him, ‘the bridegroom’.
“The the kingdom of heaven shall be likened to ten virgins who took their lamps and went out to meet the bridegroom. Now five of them were wise, and five were foolish. Those who were foolish took their lamps and took no oil with them, but the wise took oil in their vessels with their lamps. But while the bridegroom was delayed, they all slumbered and slept.”
“And at midnight a cry was heard; ‘Behold, the bridegroom is coming; go out to meet him!’ Then all those virgins arose and trimmed their lamps. And the foolish said to the wise, ‘Give us some of your oil, for our lamps are going out.’ But the wise answered saying, ‘No, lest there should not be enough for us and you; but go rather to those who sell, and buy for yourselves.’ And while they went to buy, the bridegroom came and those who were ready went in with him to the wedding; and the door was shut.”
“Afterward the other virgins came also, saying, ‘Lord, Lord, open to us!’ But he answered and said, ‘Assuredly, I say to you, I do not know you.’ Watch therefore, for you know neither the day nor the hour in which the Son of Man is coming.”
Since no one knows exactly when our bridegroom comes for us, we are to be prepared for his arrival at all times. This brings me to another thought: The Church today provides little or certainly inadequate preparations to their members. It proves ignorance of the Bible and eschatology, erratic and erroneous date settings, and a largely general disinterest on the topic. The church has become dangerously lethargic and apathetic on the subject of Christ Jesus’ Second Coming. Thus, the ‘unwise’ are unprepared will find the door shut to them. He will say “I do not know you!” What a terrifying reality.
Matthew 25:6 began with “And a midnight cry was heard. Behold…” Behold signaled to ‘look up’; we are to be actively and constantly watching for Him. The cry was a signal or warning that the bridegroom was indeed, finally, on his way. But how often do we pay attention to the warnings right in front of us every day, proving us desensitized to the signals of His promised return. The midnight cry is to wake up those waiting. But few seem to be listening or hear the cry.
The fulfillment of Bible Prophecies and their signs are rapidly coming together. As bad as the world looks, this is a time to be filled with joy! 1 Thessalonians 4 says “The Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of an archangel, and with the trumpet of God…Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And thus we shall always be with the Lord. Therefore, comfort one another with these words.”
Looking toward His coming to wed us is exciting and telling each other is to be a comfort! In the darkness around us, what a comfort to tell others of our coming groom and the marriage that He has planned for us. Think about it, as much as we mere humans may be able to think back about our own blissful wedding day with the one we love… How much more exciting is it to anticipate the Holy Marriage and Feast with Jesus?
We are betrothed to our groom and the wedding procession is waiting. The Jewish wedding symbolizes this with simple but elegant perfection. Royalty is always escorted by an entourage, and on their wedding day the engaged couple is treading liked a queen and king. Picture it, it is dusk and the lamps for the wedding procession need to be lit. Our lamps are to be burning while we wait, for however long it takes. Do we have extra oil to last? Are your lamps filled to the brim?
BEWARE OF THE HAWK
Most have us have viewed these large and graceful birds soaring and gliding high above the highways, woodlands or perhaps even over our own residential areas. A pair of these majestic creatures have recently occupied the air space around my neighborhood. Curiously, they decided to construct a nest in the stately old oak tree that stands at the far corner of my own back yard.
At first I found it fascinating just to watch them gracefully ride the air currents up and down. and occasionally land far above human grasps. Then I was curious as to what drew them to my tree and began wondering about their habits. I began to watch them more closely, every day, through my handy-dandy binoculars. Occasionally, I would see them briefly on the ground gathering twigs to further build and pad their nest. They had definitely established a residence in my mighty oak.
I became more and more enthralled by waiting and watching their activities, when I should have been busy with my normal activities (like writing).
The scriptures speak of hawks in Leviticus, Deuteronomy, and Job. The Strong s Concordance says the English translation of the word comes from the Hebrew word meaning a strong, rapid, and unclean birds of prey. One commentary even said they are an abomination (not to be a food source for humans).
These descriptions got me thinking. Aren’t those characteristics much like those of Satan? Like the hawks had hooked me, little by little, God’s enemy tries to do the same. It is subtle at first isn’t it? But before we know it, we might be lured into his activities instead of doing what we are supposed to be doing in service to the Lord. We must not get distracted and not be sucked in by our curiosities.
So, Beware of the hawks of distractions that come along in your life.
Benjamin Franklin said this: “God governs in the affairs of man. And if a sparrow cannot fall to the ground without his notice, is it probable that an empire can rise without His aid? We have been assured in the Sacred Writings that “except the Lord build the house, they labor in vain” that build it. I firmly believe this. I also believe that, without His concurring aid, we shall succeed in this political building no better than the builders of Babel” –at the Constitutional Convention of 1787
I would say that statement applies to both our nation and the church. God is the one who governs all our affairs. It is He who supplies through His Holy Spirit the guidance and directions in all our affairs of life. When we allow Him to be in control He will mount us up with wings like eagles. We will run and not be weary and walk and not faint. He will enable us to endure with strength and resolve.
HE’S THEIR WORST FEAR
He’s who pastors fear most. He was the king’s worst fear. The man was friendly, intelligent, and one of the most sincere people you would ever meet. More importantly, he loved the Lord with all his heart and had an eagerness to serve God that is more uncommon than a tree of juicy peaches in the middle of a desert. His eagerness was to live righteously and to be obedient and pleasing to God. But for this he was ridiculed and discredited.
His deep passion to live his life according to the Word and Spirit of God rubbed even the most fanatical church goers the wrong way. “Why is that?” he often pondered. In many ways he was much like the Old Testament prophet Elijah, the king’s worst fear.
Elijah was a man whom God called to preach, prophesy and call out the wickedness present in his day. Many times he confronted the most corrupt king Israel ever had, Ahab and battled the evil Queen Jezebel. God gave Elijah warnings to issue to Ahab who ignored and rejected them. But Elijah continued to teach the people of this kingdom and prophesy to King Ahab. Their rejection of Elijah and God, would lead them into senseless destruction; in the meantime Elijah became a socially detached and discouraged man. However, with faithfulness, Elijah stayed true to the messages, mission and miracles with which God had anointed him.
God chose this man because He knew the man was true and faithful, much like Elijah. Stan grew up in a denomination that practiced strict religion rather that genuine relationship with Christ Jesus. However, as a young adult he discovered the difference. As a young sailor in the Navy, he began looking for the meaning of his life in the one place that spoke deeply into his soul, the Bible. God’s Holy Spirit guided Stan to verses that came to life and offered the answers he needed. People like the Apostle Paul in particular, wrote about the same things Stan had been asking.
He had found great disappointment in churches. The bottom line was that mankind has corrupted the Word of God and those like Stan who live righteously (not by law [religiousness] but by grace), are a threat to those with a ‘man’ agenda. God’s word is true! God’s way is the way, the truth and the life through Christ Jesus. There is no other way!
Be warned, too many church leaders have distorted what God says, or plainly disregarded it. These are the ones who change God’s message to fit changes in society or toward the worldviews of the deceived. When someone like Stan declares the Truth of the Word, feathers are ruffled. It is not what they want to hear; it does not fit into their corrupted agenda for control, power, or political correctness. It does not fit the declined morals of a fallen nation, or a blinded congregation who have been lured into progressive, socialistic and humanistic ideologies. A watered down gospel is a false gospel!
However, there are Godly men and women like Stan who stand firm on God’s Word. Who among you, like Stan, are willing to stand on Godly Truth, and who is willing to speak it forth? These people must be warned though; they may end up like Elijah and Stan – ignored, rejected and possibly persecuted. But great is the reward in eternity to stay strong and faithful to our Lord and Savior. It is on that foundation that we must keep our focus if we are about real relationship with Christ and growing His Kingdom.
THE AWESOME GOD
God is so awesome. Not a new revelation to believers, right? However, even as a long-standing believer can God ever stop amazing us and illustrating His awesomeness? It is infinite and we haven’t seen the half of it!
After a somewhat lengthy illness I found myself emotionally, physically, and even spiritually drained. My illness was affecting every facet of my being. Therefore I was missing a lot of church services in a two month period and drying up like an old sponge. I needed a good re-soaking.
Well I realize some (many) churches are as dried up and useless as that hardened, old sponge – but not my church. It is alive with the Holy Spirit and anointing that make you know you have truly been in the presence of God. I am so blessed to have leadership who are obeying God’s will and only want to follow God’s agenda. So, I went in expecting when I felt well enough to return. I needed restoration and God did not let me down. He never will when we truly seek Him and are open to receive all He has for us.
Scripture says we are to stir up the gifts in us. I was stirred up, ready and raring to go. I believe many people make the mistake of going into service frumpy, with a nonchalant attitude about “doing their duty” or “making an obligated appearance” to attend church. But if we are already stirred up and expecting to be blessed we will get so much more out of it and the Lord will not let us down.
He wants us to seek Him. He has never wanted little robots to operate only as programmed. We too really don’t want someone to love us, seek us, or visit us out of their feelings of obligation. It means so much more if they do those things out of a truly loving heart because they want to.
So before the next time you enter the doors of your church, be stirred up, expecting and willing to listen to what God has for you. He will replenish, restore, and give you exactly what you need.
Wearing the Sackcloth of Repentance
During a recent Bible reading, I began a word study on the 2nd meaning of ‘sackcloth’ (Strong’s G4526). This application is found only in the New Testament. It is defined as a garment of black mohair (usually made from goat hair), worn as a sign of grief and repentance and showed humility.
Interestingly, Revelation 11:3 states this sackcloth is what the “two witnesses” wear in the first 3 ½ years of the great tribulation. As representatives of the Lord, could their apparel be a statement of grief during this time of evil and God’s sadness for those who have rejected Him?
Jesus also speaks of the sackcloth in Matthew 11:21 (and Luke 10:13) concerning those who were unrepentant. “Woe unto thee, Chorazin! woe unto thee, Bethsaida! for if the mighty works, which were done in you, had been done in Tyre and Sidon, they would have repented long ago in sackcloth and ashes.”
God destroyed them both because of their evil (Genesis 18, 19, & Ezekiel 27). Now the people of Chorazin and Bethsaida (New Testament cities) had seen Jesus in person – but still willfully rejected Him; therefore, they would experience fatal judgment.
Joel is a book of prophecy warning of God’s judgment because of the people’s sin. Joel calls for them to come to repentance before God in sackcloth in chapter1 verse 13 saying, “Gird yourselves, and lament, ye priests: howl, ye ministers of the altar; come lie all night in sackcloth, ye ministers of my God…”
Many countries and most western cities today are filled with churches and Bible access, having no excuse to be ignorant about repentantance. We wonder how our nation has so seemingly fallen into such moral decay so quickly or how our children are so easily falling into temptations and how tragedies such as the recent massacres in Colorado and Connecticut can happen. Our nation’s leaders have corrupted America’s Christian foundation and ignored the Constitution while many churches condone abominations and distort God’s word. It is as Christ said in Matthew, we should “have repented long ago”.
Repentance must begin in the church!
Stand Firm in the Face of Ridicule and Rejection
It’s not easy to stand firm when our family, friends or others in our lives ridicule us for our beliefs and/or actions. There is an old saying about not judging someone else unless we have walked a mile in their shoes. But that perspective has been long forgotten because nowadays, most people think they are right and know better than anyone else. If you walk a different path, you of course have to be wrong, and they are quick to pass judgment on things they can’t understand from another perspective.
In today’s culture, it is not popular to be a Christian – I mean a Spirit-led committed one – not one that just says “I am Christian”. To stand firm on God, His Written Word, and more importantly, profess Salvation through the Messiah Jesus the Christ, puts you in the minority of many circles. If you are among those Christians who stand (in action) for these beliefs, you have probably experienced scoffing, ridicule and rejection to some degree. Prepare for it to get worse.
If we study the Bible, we see in the Old and New Testaments that ridicule and rejection have always been. However, what do you do when God has told you to do something that everyone else thinks is bizarre, wrong, or certainly not what they would do? But sincere Christians understand you love the Lord and value your Salvation and must be obedient to Him.
Two such examples come to mind.
Job faced trials of extreme suffering that emphasized God’s great omnipotence. He was a righteous and faithful man who was challenged beyond belief to remain so through the loss of everything in his life. He lost his children, home and friends. They thought he was crazy to stay so faithful to God. However, in the end and by remaining steadfast, God rewards Job by not only replacing all he lost but it was greatly multiplied.
If your children died, you lost your job, your spouse begged you and your friends scoffed and deserted you, what would you do? Would you still obey God or would you cave in to those who beg you to do otherwise?
Jeremiah often used symbolism to relay his message but it seemed no one wanted to listen. Thus, Jeremiah felt like a failure during his 40 years of ministry. He was very poor, thrown into prison, and lived a depraved life. This prophet suffered extreme loneliness and rejection. He has been called the ‘weeping prophet’ and sometimes as the ‘reluctant prophet’. Jeremiah suffered much opposition, but remained faithful to God with humble obedience.
Has the Lord led you in a direction that seems unwise or strange to most everyone else? I imagine many who have dedicated their lives to missionary work have experienced this. Whatever God has purposed you for, pleasing Him is most important. It is He that is your judge and your creator; it is He that has gifted and guided you to do what He has designed for you. There will always be those who judge, ridicule and reject but God will reward you for your faithfulness to Him.
I was recently reminded of the story of an Old Testament ruler from which we should take heed. His name was Abimelech (Judges 8:30 – 9), the son of Gideon who was Israel’s 5th Judge and great military strategist. I believe Abimelech is an example of types and shadows used in the Bible.
1 Corinthians 10:11 expounds upon types and shadows by saying, “Now all these things happened to them as examples, and they are written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the world are come.”
To summarize his story, after his father’s death, Abimelech wanted control and rule over Israel. Gideon had 70 sons with his wives; but Abimelech’s mother was a concubine. With a power-thirsty desire to replace his father and seize sole authority, he enlisted the help of his mother’s brothers and uncles to have his own brothers murdered. Abimelech convinced his mother’s people that it was better to have one man rule them rather than having many judges as had always been the practice by Israel as God designed. After finagling the office Abimelech surrounded himself with worthless and reckless men who would follow him without challenge.
We can easily see these kinds of oppressive and autocratic rulers today. They encircle themselves with ‘yes men’ since these egotistical tyrants will not allow their sovereignty to be challenged. Their agenda is to conquer and have total control with the least amount of resistance.
In 1826, John Adams said “There are two ways to conquer and enslave a nation…One is by sword, the other is by debt.” I see the latter taking place in America today. How long might it be that control of the nation is achieved by the first way in Adam’ quote? We might recall that disarming the citizenry of Germany was at the beginning of Hitler’s rule.
Now what do these examples have to do with Abimelech’s story and types and shadows? Jotham, the youngest and sole surviving brother lived only due to his escape after hiding. He warned the men of Shechem about their inevitable destruction for choosing to put Abimelech in power. After all, a man of this character didn’t hesitate to kill his own brothers.
Jotham said they risked being devoured by “fire from Abimelech”. Jotham also used a parable of three trees, the fig tree, the olive tree and the vine. He pointed out the error of choosing the prickly bramble bush over those trees which bore good fruit. The comparison fell on deaf ears.
How many times are we issued a warning but it falls on deaf ears?
Jotham cared for the people as did his father. However, their foolish choice to follow Abimelech was not made because it was right or morally good, but because of a skewed loyalty by kindred relationship. There is a great parallel here between the men of Shechem and the mindset of many voters in today’s elections.
The men of Shechem had turned back to their old false god’s and idol worship after Gideon’s death. Today our nation has forsaken its Godly foundation and worship via their votes and support of immoral administrative policies made in these times.
God’s judgment will come! – Just as it did for the city of Shechem and for Abimelech. After 3 years of Abimelech’s rule God sent a “spirit of ill will (KJV-evil)” between Abimelech and the men of Shechem. He removed the confidence and artificial feelings of peace between them creating a sense of unrest and rebellion. With another false hope, these men put confidence in a new leader without turning first to repentance and to God for leadership.
Once again, their denial to see what was happening and selfish new allegiance led them into their ultimate destruction in a battle at Shechem. Abimelech did not escape God’s judgment either. His evilness and anti-Christ spirit resulted in a fatal blow to the head by a woman who threw a millstone down from the tower above during Abimelech’s attack on Thebez. It crushed his skull.
Jotham’s warning from God for the people of Shechem to be destroyed by “the fire from Abimelech” was fulfilled in Judges 9:52. God’s warning against following an anti-Christ will bring destruction to all who deny and reject Him. This is as true today as it was then. The people of Shechem were told they would be destroyed. Shouldn’t we consider that God is warning us of destruction in these present times as well?
Abimelech’s story shows us that God’s promises and warnings come true. I believe Abimelech is a type and shadow of an anti-Christ still to come. Just as they were told about Abimelech’s demise (crushed skull), we are told in Revelation 13 that the anti-Christ will suffer a fatal head injury. Just as they were told of destruction by fire for those who were evil and followers of evil, we too are warned of fire that will swallow up followers of evil and Satan.
The people of Shechem had a choice; so do we. Remember 1Corinthians 10:11 - these events are shown to us as examples and consequences. Learn from them and be watchful.
Stand faithful! Time is short. Like Jotham, if we remain firmly true to the Lord, we too will be spared – no matter what lies ahead. Choose you this day who you will follow (Deuteronomy 30 and Joshua 24). Matthew 6:24 says we cannot serve two masters. So, “As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord” (Joshua 24:15).
A Man named Elijah
His Unpopular Voice for Freedom Still Echoes Today
“What do you want here?” he asked the crowd.
“The press!” was the shouted reply.
Elijah Parish Lovejoy was first a Christian. That was the basis of his beliefs in right and wrong. He was born to die a martyr for freedom. However, many of the historical commentaries, records and articles on this man only casually mention that aspect of his noble life.
Lovejoy was known as a Presbyter, newspaper editor and an abolitionist. The latter was what led him to be called the first casualty of the Civil War – decades before it officially began. Elijah was born in Maine, November 9, 1802, to Congregational minister Daniel and his devout Christian wife Elizabeth Pattee Lovejoy.
Daniel reportedly had little opportunity for formal education in his upbringing. So Elijah’s parents raised him on reading the Bible and other religious writings from a very young age. After his primary public schooling, he attended the Academy at Monmouth and then went on to study at Waterville College (now Colby College of Waterville, Maine) in 1823.
Elijah P. Lovejoy academically excelled so he not only earned high faculty praise, but was granted a teaching position in the school’s preparatory division. However, despite this success, Elijah was not always a popular person due to his religious beliefs. Due to his upbringing, he viewed religion as the most important part of life and believed that alienated others.
After a time of teaching he became unsettled and his search for employment away from the northeast led Lovejoy to Illinois. His journey westward led him to walk and work his way across the country until he arrived in Hillsboro (Montgomery County), Illinois. Believing that his potential was not being realized there after a time, Elijah headed for nearby St. Louis, Missouri in 1827.
Soon after arriving in St. Louis, Lovejoy began work as headmaster of a private school and as the editor of the St. Louis Times. In 1832 Lovejoy decided to become a preacher. He returned east and studied at the Princeton Theological Seminary. Afterward, he went to Philadelphia as an ordained minister of a Presbyterian church for a short time in 1833. After returning to St. Louis, Lovejoy became editor of the St. Louis Observer and married Celia French with whom he later had two children.
Over the next couple of years, Elijah, as editor of the Observer, wrote several pieces expressing his agreement with social reform movements. He criticized certain denominations and pro-slavery advocates in his writings. This stand was supported by many in favor of freeing and emancipating slaves while it provoked intense anger in others. As a result, many threats came against the newspaper and its editor. Lovejoy maintained that he was expressing his right for freedom of speech.
The situation continued to relentlessly escalate. In 1836 a free black man named McIntosh, was hanged by an angry mob. Lovejoy was enraged and said so in his newspaper. The judge and jury for the trial declared mobsters innocent. This seemed to signal to those same mobsters that they could become more violent; the next day they destroyed Lovejoy’s printing press by throwing it in the river.
Elijah P. Lovejoy then moved from St. Louis across the Mississippi River to Alton, Illinois. There again he established an abolitionist newspaper called the Alton Observer, where he continued to express his views. His adamant stand would eventually earn him the label of “A martyr for the free press”. Occurring time after time, angry pro-slavery mobs stole Lovejoy’s printing presses and their replacements then throwing them in the river.
The Ohio Anti-Slavery Society gave Elijah another press, but the word spread quickly of this new acquisition. Lovejoy was finally asked to leave Alton by the cities leaders but Lovejoy refused. He argued that he had as much right to be there as anyone else.
On November 7, 1837, pro-slavery supporters gathered at the warehouse where the press was hidden. Shots were fired though the windows, according to the Alton Observer, then some of the angry trespassers set fire to the warehouse. Shots were exchanged and one in the crowd was killed. The reports said a young boy with a torch was sent to set the wooden roof on fire when Lovejoy and one of his supporters thought they could stop him.
The two men slipped outside, hiding in the dark recesses from the crowd; they toppled over the protester’s ladder then ran back into the warehouse. But the ladder was put back for another attempt. Once again, Lovejoy and the other man made another try to topple the ladder but were spotted.
Elijah Parish Lovejoy was hit five times with slugs from the shotgun. The other man was wounded and survived, but Elijah did not. The printing press was again taken to a rear window and thrown onto the river bank. It shattered into pieces and was washed into the river.
Lovejoy was buried in an unmarked grave in the Alton Cemetery on his thirty-fifth birthday. A monument was funded by some of the citizens of Alton in 1890. The tribute is a seventeen foot high bronze winged Victory Angel that is supported by a ninety-three foot high granite column. Guarding each side of the monument are two bronze eagles mounted on two thirty foot high granite columns. It stands in Alton, Illinois today, overlooking the Mississippi River, proudly proclaiming Lovejoy to be “A martyr for the Free Press”.
I am an Alton native. As I read the reports and listen to the news today, I wonder if the attacks on our free press might have Elijah P. Lovejoy turning in his grave. No doubt, if he could, he would still take a stand against the silencing of freedom of speech, freedom of press and freedom of religion that is being attempted.
Like Lovejoy, I am first a Christian and secondly an American who is enraged by loss of freedoms through tyranny.
My comments are not because I am either Republican or Democrat. My comments are because I strongly uphold the basis of the U.S. Constitution that says we have freedom of press and freedom of speech, as well as freedom of religion. I also adhere to the God of the Bible that says God is not a respecter of persons. He is a God that loves and beckons to all mankind.
POWER RANGERS OF THE MIND
The other day, seemingly out of nowhere, my 5 year granddaughter said, “I know how to fight evil”. When I asked her how to do that she said “If I’m outside, I fight like the Power Rangers [children’s program]”. Hmmm… I seized the opportunity to stretch her understanding to include that outdoors or in the house, when evil comes around you can simply say “In Jesus’ name go away”. James 4:7 made simple right? How many of us don’t declare those simple words or even recognize when it is evil we are dealing with?
This is an important topic and we hear a lot about spirits. We hear of the spirit of infirmity, spirit of control, spirit of antichrist (1 John 4:3), spirit of fear (1 Tim.1:7) or any unclean spirit of the devil (Luke 4:33). Just what are they? (They are just as real as the Holy Spirit, the spirit of joy, and the spirit of love or giving.) These ungodly spirits are the opposing forces from the enemy of God. They are the imitation of the powers of God. Satan sends his demonic forces to” kill steal and destroy” that which is God’s – you! But we have a say in that by the authority of Jesus Christ. (1 John 4:4)
One of the toughest spiritual battlefields is within our own minds. The mind needs to encounter every thought whether it from God or Satan. Paul said “test the spirits”. Why did he say that? Because he knew first hand that the enemy of God wanted to destroy the work of the Lord, confusing people, creating doubts and unbelief in them, making them think they were not worthy or forgivable. Satan was and is out to destroy the work of the cross. We must remember too that Lucifer did not fall from heaven by himself. He has an army whom he sends out to do battle. But we are warned to be on the outlook for such wiles of the devil, since he can be a subtle sly and deceiving spirit that comes in obscure ways. That is why the Lord has given us gifts like spiritual discernment, words of knowledge and spiritual authority.
People encounter spirits every day. How so? They may come in many ways but the embodiment is not as important and they are not always physical. Spiritual influences are not always ‘possession’ but ungodly powers that can tempt you through visions, thoughts or dreams, and vain imaginations.
Our mind is a battlefield. In both Matthew and Mark, Jesus says ‘from what is within come evil thoughts’. Know that the believer’s mind is not immuned to ungodly whispers. We are very familiar with the verse in 2 Corinthians 10:4 that says the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty to the pulling down of strong · holds … now let’s look as verse 5. “Casting down imaginations and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ.” Paul is talking to believers. He was saying he was prepared for battle, for spiritual warfare. However, his weapons were not the ones valued by the fallen world and fashioned by human pride and arrogance – strong holds of the human mind.
Some spirits are referred to as familiar spirits. These are generational, traditional, passed on spirits. Most often we are unaware that they are there and having an effect. However, as the poem goes, a child will live what they learn. Have you known people that seem to always view things negatively? How often might we say ‘No, I don’t think you’re qualified’? Those are not godly words of encouragement to someone. The Godly thing to say would be ‘That’s great, God can give you whatever it takes’. Do you see the difference? What is in our mind comes out our mouths and we make the choice of what we utter, (but we don’t know what God has in mind). Think before you speak; battle ungodly thoughts and words because discouraging words are destructive.
Those generational spirits can affect behaviors, worldviews, and certainly spiritual direction. How do we know what influences (even generational church influences) have been passed through to us? We must look and ask if something in us is contrary to the Word of God! Or ask ourselves if our behaviors and directions are bearing Godly, Spiritual fruits.
How many churches might be doing whatever they do because of tradition, or generational influences? (Remember the Jezebel came from within) They may be afraid to tackle the topics of spiritual warfare and spiritual influences. But until we understand that a battle is going on in the church and in our minds we cannot move on. We are not talking about Casper or some horrible horned creature or even weird table shaking. We are talking about the ones that are so subtly battling within our own minds. We tend to shove aside that notion but we are to take every thought and vain imagining captive. We are to stand on the Word against what is not right and battle the evil of the spirit of deception, secretiveness, manipulation, depression/ oppression, discouragement and unrepentance.
Know where these things come from. Who knows our hearts – God does, so give control to him! At some point, we have to relent and repent. Without accountability and repentance these spirits and their warring are not exposed. We will cover them in secrecy but they are meant to be exposed (Mark 4: 22). Examine your thoughts and mind for “A double minded man is unstable in all his ways.” (James 1:8)
If we don’t deal with spiritual matters, Satan succeeds. He keeps us in doubt, fearful, deceived, arrogant, pious, haughty, controlling, angry or whatever our battle of sin. If we don’t apply scripture and give control to the Lord we cannot cast them out. It can be as simple as saying “In the name of Jesus go away.” And if you deny they are there, you are denying the Words of the Lord. We all have our spiritual battles.
God is with us; He has equipped us to fight evil and our weapons are not carnal. We have the armor of God and a Spirit of Authority in Christ Jesus. Whose Power Rangers do you want to call on to fight with you?