Tag Archives: spiritual warfare

2 Chronicles 34-35; 2 Corinthians 6

I took a Saturday self-defense workshop recently. I learned a lot (I’ve forgotten a lot, too!). Our group had hands-on practice and drills. At the end of the session, we formed a circle, and one by one, each of us took a turn in the center to “battle” those of us forming the outside ring with kicks and punches. It was a simulation of a situation where one stood against several. The instructor had a way of encouraging us to take action when we hesitated. He bellowed loudly, forcefully, and commanded, “GO!”

I think on moments in life when I had felt uncertainty, fear, hesitation, intimidation. Moments (at a table instead of encircled in an alley) where I had to face a foe–whether human or situational: to take on a responsibility, to address a conflict, to speak truth, to be accountable. In some of the most stressful moments of my life, I can practically guarantee that I wouldn’t have wanted to be there. But want or not, there I was.

Paul found himself in situations I could only describe as outrageous. How many times had he stared death in the eye? How many times did he go head-to-head with evil? He spoke from experience and reality. I read his words in The Message:

Companions as we are in this work with you, we beg you, please don’t squander one bit of this marvelous life God has given us. God reminds us,

I heard your call in the nick of time;
The day you needed me, I was there to help.

Well, now is the right time to listen, the day to be helped. Don’t put it off; don’t frustrate God’s work by showing up late, throwing a question mark over everything we’re doing. Our work as God’s servants gets validated—or not—in the details. People are watching us as we stay at our post, alertly, unswervingly . . . in hard times, tough times, bad times; when we’re beaten up, jailed, and mobbed; working hard, working late, working without eating; with pure heart, clear head, steady hand; in gentleness, holiness, and honest love; when we’re telling the truth, and when God’s showing his power; when we’re doing our best setting things right; when we’re praised, and when we’re blamed; slandered, and honored; true to our word, though distrusted; ignored by the world, but recognized by God; terrifically alive, though rumored to be dead; beaten within an inch of our lives, but refusing to die; immersed in tears, yet always filled with deep joy; living on handouts, yet enriching many; having nothing, having it all.

11-13 Dear, dear Corinthians, I can’t tell you how much I long for you to enter this wide-open, spacious life. We didn’t fence you in. The smallness you feel comes from within you. Your lives aren’t small, but you’re living them in a small way. I’m speaking as plainly as I can and with great affection. Open up your lives. Live openly and expansively! (2 Corinthians 6:1-13, MSG)

Paul didn’t waste words. There’s a lot he wanted to share, and his message is concise and urgent.

Don’t become partners with those who reject God. How can you make a partnership out of right and wrong? That’s not partnership; that’s war. Is light best friends with dark? Does Christ go strolling with the Devil? Do trust and mistrust hold hands? Who would think of setting up pagan idols in God’s holy Temple? But that is exactly what we are, each of us a temple in whom God lives. (2 Corinthians 6:14-18, MSG)

Lord, help me to carry your word with me every day of the week.

Courtney (66books365)

Leave a comment

Filed under 5 day reading plan, 66 Books, Bible in a year reading plan, Uncategorized

2 Chronicles 19, 20; Revelation 8; Zechariah 4; John 7

“Don’t you know?” the angel asked.

“No, my lord,” I replied. (Zechariah 4:5, NLT)

A battle awaits. So does an Army.

13 As all the men of Judah stood before the Lord with their little ones, wives, and children, 14 the Spirit of the Lord came upon one of the men standing there. His name was Jahaziel son of Zechariah, son of Benaiah, son of Jeiel, son of Mattaniah, a Levite who was a descendant of Asaph.

15 He said, “Listen, all you people of Judah and Jerusalem! Listen, King Jehoshaphat! This is what the Lord says: Do not be afraid! Don’t be discouraged by this mighty army, for the battle is not yours, but God’s. 16 Tomorrow, march out against them. You will find them coming up through the ascent of Ziz at the end of the valley that opens into the wilderness of Jeruel. 17 But you will not even need to fight. Take your positions; then stand still and watch the Lord’s victory. He is with you, O people of Judah and Jerusalem. Do not be afraid or discouraged. Go out against them tomorrow, for the Lord is with you!” (2 Chronicles 20:13-17, NLT, emphasis added)

There is a question. There is an Answer.

Then he said to me, “This is what the Lord says to Zerubbabel: It is not by force nor by strength, but by my Spirit, says the Lord of Heaven’s Armies. Nothing, not even a mighty mountain, will stand in Zerubbabel’s way; it will become a level plain before him! And when Zerubbabel sets the final stone of the Temple in place, the people will shout: ‘May God bless it! May God bless it!’” (Zechariah 4:6-7, NLT, emphasis added)

In destruction, there is a Purpose.

12 Then the fourth angel blew his trumpet, and one-third of the sun was struck, and one-third of the moon, and one-third of the stars, and they became dark. And one-third of the day was dark, and also one-third of the night.

13 Then I looked, and I heard a single eagle crying loudly as it flew through the air, “Terror, terror, terror to all who belong to this world because of what will happen when the last three angels blow their trumpets.” (Revelation 8:12-13, NLT)

From the familiar, there is the Divine.

28 While Jesus was teaching in the Temple, he called out, “Yes, you know me, and you know where I come from. But I’m not here on my own. The one who sent me is true, and you don’t know him. 29 But I know him because I come from him, and he sent me to you.” 30 Then the leaders tried to arrest him; but no one laid a hand on him, because his time had not yet come. (John 7:28-30, NLT)

All throughout the reading, two realms: an earthly one; a spiritual one.

Lord, I fix my eyes on you. My thoughts on you. My strength in you. My hope in you.

Courtney (66books365)

1 Comment

Filed under 66 Books, Bible in a year reading plan, M'Cheyne Bible reading plan

1 Kings 9; Ephesians 6; Ezekiel 39; Ps. 90

“A final word: Be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on all of God’s armor so that you will be able to stand firm against all strategies of the devil. 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. Therefore, put on every piece of God’s armor so you be able to resist the enemy in the time of evil. Then after the battle you will still be standing firm. Pray in the Spirit at all times and on every occasion. Stay alert and be persistent in your prayers for all believers everywhere.” Ephesians 6:10-18 NLT

My new favorite song is the Battle Belongs, by Phil Wickham. “When I fight, I fight on my knees, with my hands lifted high. Oh God, the battle belongs to you.” It reminds me to hand over my trials to the Lord. So much of the time, I try to carry them myself. I get weighted down by burdens. Why is it so hard for me to stop and pray? It sounds simple, but so often I worry instead. When I pray about it and give God praise in the middle of it, I feel lighter and more free. I am reminded that God already has the victory. Satan is always feeding me lies. Sometimes I am too tired to engage in battle. I am thankful for other believers who are intercede on my behalf.

“So now, this is what the Sovereign Lord says: I will end the captivity of my people; I will have mercy on all Israel, for I jealousy guard my holy reputation! When I bring them home from the lands of their enemies, I will display my holiness among them for all the nations to see. Then my people will know that I am the Lord their God, because I sent them away to exile and brought them home again. I will leave none of my people behind. And I will never again turn my face from them, for I will pour out my Spirit upon the people of Israel. I, the Sovereign Lord, have spoken!” Ezekiel 39:25-29 NLT

I am so encouraged by these verses. Especially that none of God’s people will be left behind. If I am feeling left out or discouraged, I am reminded that God never forgets me. I am on His mind. And His Spirit is inside of me.

“Lord, through all the generations you have been our home! Before the mountains were born, before you gave birth to the earth and the world, from beginning to end, you are God. For you, a thousand years are as a passing day, as brief as a few night hours. Teach us to realize the brevity of life, so that we may grow in wisdom. Satisfy us each morning with your unfailing love, so we may sing for joy to the end of our lives. Give us gladness in proportion to our former misery! ” Psalms 90 NLT

Dear Father, I can so easily get bogged down by the worries of this world. Help me to have an eternal perspective. Thank you for your grace and forgiveness. Thank you that you fight for me. Amen.

Amy(amyctanner)

Leave a comment

Filed under 1 Kings, Ephesians, Ezekiel, Psalms

Exodus 8; Luke 11; Job 25,26; 1 Cor 12

“One day Jesus cast out a demon from a man who couldn’t speak, and when the demon was gone, the man began to speak.  The crowds were amazed, but some of them said, “No wonder he can cast out demons.  He gets his power from Satan, the prince of demons.” Others, trying to test Jesus, demanded that he show them a miraculous sign from heaven to prove his authority.  He knew their thoughts, so he said, “Any kingdom divided by civil war is doomed.  A family splintered by feuding will fall apart.  You say I am empowered by Satan.  But if Satan is divided and fighting against himself, how can his kingdom survive?  And if I am empowered by Satan, what about your own exorcists?  They cast out demons, too, so they will condemn you for what you have said.  But if I am casting out demons by the power of God, then the Kingdom of God has arrived among you.” Luke 11:14-20 NLT

I can get so caught up in what I can see that I forget there is an unseen world around me.  It is a mystery to me that can be hard to wrap my mind around.  But, it’s a subject that keeps coming up.   And when I feel like God is wanting to teach me something, I’m paying attention.  Especially when my husband came home from bible study and said they talked about spiritual warfare. He wanted to go through each room in our house and pray out demons in Jesus’s name. So, we did.  We felt silly, but obedience sometimes does.  I wish I could say that I sensed the oppressive spirit lifted out of our house right away. And while we didn’t see any demons leave, I know they did.  Because there is power in Jesus’s name.  I’ve come to realize that I have to keep calling on His name. And ask for the Holy Spirit’s guidance.

“So, if  you sinful people know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him.”  Luke 11:13 NLT

“Now, dear brothers and sisters, regarding your question about the special abilities the Spirit gives us.  I don’t want you to misunderstand this.  You know that when you were still pagans, you were led astray and swept along by worthless idols.  So I don ‘t want you to misunderstand this.  You know that when you were still pagans, you were led astray and swept along in worshiping speechless idols.  So I want you to know that no one speaking by the Spirit of God will curse Jesus, and no one can say Jesus is Lord, except by the Holy Spirit.” 1 Corinthians 12:1-3 NLT

Thank you Father, that you already have the victory over the enemy of my soul.  Thank you for your promise to give me the Holy Spirit if I ask.  That I am more than I conqueror through you. Help me to live in that truth every day. Amen.

Amy(amyctanner)

 

 

Leave a comment

Filed under 1 Corinthians, Exodus, Job, Luke

Song of Solomon 7-8; 1 Kings 12

I think on key themes: influence, leadership, power. But there’s more: fear, insecurity, desperation, intimidation. At the core of all, it’s heart.

Rehoboam seeks counsel over a situation and is offered two different pieces of advice. He is influenced by his peers, but on a deeper level, there’s more.

12 Three days later Jeroboam and all the people returned to hear Rehoboam’s decision, just as the king had ordered. 13 But Rehoboam spoke harshly to the people, for he rejected the advice of the older counselors 14 and followed the counsel of his younger advisers. He told the people, “My father laid heavy burdens on you, but I’m going to make them even heavier! My father beat you with whips, but I will beat you with scorpions! (1 Kings 12:12, NLT, emphasis added)”

It speak of his heart. These scriptures also glimpse the spiritual realm.

15 So the king paid no attention to the people. This turn of events was the will of the Lord, for it fulfilled the Lord’s message to Jeroboam son of Nebat through the prophet Ahijah from Shiloh (1 Kings 12:15, NLT, emphasis added).

And this:

24 ‘This is what the Lord says: Do not fight against your relatives, the Israelites. Go back home, for what has happened is my doing!’” So they obeyed the message of the Lord and went home, as the Lord had commanded (1 Kings 12:24, NLT, emphasis added).

Jeroboam battles fear and insecurity in his heart. He feels his safety and very life are on the line.

26 Jeroboam thought to himself, “Unless I am careful, the kingdom will return to the dynasty of David. 27 When these people go to Jerusalem to offer sacrifices at the Temple of the Lord, they will again give their allegiance to King Rehoboam of Judah. They will kill me and make him their king instead.”

In the meanwhile, his actions may temporarily protect his physical body, but his spirit has trespassed into unsafe territory.

28 So on the advice of his counselors, the king made two gold calves. He said to the people,“It is too much trouble for you to worship in Jerusalem. Look, Israel, these are the gods who brought you out of Egypt! (1 Kings 12:26-28, NLT, emphasis added)”

When I feel afraid, uncertain, overwhelmed; when I need direction and wisdom; when I feel alone or targeted–I recognize these are moments when my heart is vulnerable. The advice I seek or follow can lead me closer to God or farther away. If I keep my eyes focused on what’s in front of me, I risk reacting from a worldly perspective of here and now–but if I lift my eyes, I see a kingdom and an eternity–and that, indeed, changes everything.

Lord, I pray that I would keep your kingdom my focus. I recognize the things that poke and stoke my heart can be distractions and stumbling blocks. I realize too that these distractions and stumbling blocks provoke a reaction that reveals my heart. Oh that these occasions would provide cleansing and healing, to draw me closer to you and not distance me from you.

Courtney (66books365)

1 Comment

Filed under 1 Kings, 66 Books, Bible in a year reading plan, Old Testament