Find out God’s mind towards you. Focus on His thoughts and plans. Know the difference between facts and truth. Know that if God is for you no one can be against you. Obstacles will turn out to be triggers for triumph. Opposition will turn out to be pillars and platforms for your promotion, because His thoughts towards you are not evil. And regardless of the ploys and diabolical strategies of the devil, as you fix your eyes on Jesus-the Author and Finisher of your faith-you will come out victorious. Yes, troubles do come; they come to all and sundry. Man’s days are full of trouble. But He delivers him from them all. Weeping may endure for the night, but joy comes in the morning. That should be the mind-set of a child of God. “God is for me. He has good plans for me. My enemies will not triumph over me. The will of God will prevail. Angels are on assignment on my behalf. All things are working together for my good. My light affliction, which is just for a moment, are working for me, an exceeding weight of eternal glory. They are partners for my progress and upward mobility.”
Joseph’s opposition caused him to dream some more. So when you’re opposed, say,” I will keep on dreaming big dreams.” Joseph’s pit experience and being sold into slavery were ladders for the fulfilment of God’s purpose for his life. His brothers meant it for evil but God meant it for good, to save many in the Day of Severe Famine in Egypt. He saw the end from the beginning and allowed the injustice to prepare Joseph for his ministry
He had given a promise to Abraham and His word will not fall to the ground:
13 And He said unto Abram, Know of a surety that thy seed shall be a stranger in a land that is not theirs, and shall serve them; and they shall afflict them four hundred years; 14 And also that nation, whom they shall serve, will I judge: and afterward shall they come out with great substance. Gen15:13-14
Because, Jacob, had either forgotten this promised or prophetic word, or was not told, he panicked and despaired when Simeon was held in Egypt and they wanted to take Benjamin. 36 And Jacob their father said unto them, Me have ye bereaved of my children: Joseph is not, and Simeon is not, and ye will take Benjamin away: all these things are against me. You and I will also come to this place in life at various times-whether in relation to our relationships, finance, ministry, health, business etc where, looking at it naturally it will seem as if everything is against you. This is when you need to go back to the promises of God that are ‘yes and amen in Christ Jesus.’ If it was a prophecy, take it back to God and stand your ground. Say, “Lord, You said…” and you are not a man that you should lie. If you do not have a specific word, at least know the will of God as revealed in His word. The word of God is the will of God and the will of God is the word of God. Pray in the spirit and let Him quicken His word for you. Pray with the spirit and you will be praying in line with God’s perfect will. Let the Holy Spirit unveil to you His mind for you.
9 But as it is written:
” Eye has not seen, nor ear heard,
Nor have entered into the heart of man
The things which God has prepared for those who love Him.”
10 But God has revealed them to us through His Spirit. For the Spirit searches all things, yes, the deep things of God.11 For what man knows the things of a man except the spirit of the man which is in him? Even so no one knows the things of God except the Spirit of God.12 Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, that we might know the things that have been freely given to us by God.
Know that the enemy of your soul wants you to doubt God so as to prevent you from obtaining the promise. Doubts and unbelief can short-change us.
We have our path to play even if God has made a promise to us. If we keep speaking doubt and defeat, we are taking sides with the devil and calling God a liar.
6 But let him ask in faith, nothing wavering. For He that wavereth is like a wave of the sea driven with the wind and tossed. 7 For let not that man think that He shall receive any thing of the Lord. James1:6-7
So we can be our own worst enemies when we agree with negativities and seeds of doubt that satan sows in our minds. It is a bait of satan and once you bite the bait you’re ensnared, caught and imprisoned by the words of your mouth.
Why not start speaking God’s word of His grace that is able to establish you and build you up and give you an inheritance amongst those who are sanctified. Start speaking the word of life that will bring life back to your life, your vision, dreams and God-given purpose. Regardless of the obstacles, say to yourself: “I know whom I serve. I know whom I have believed. It shall be to me as He said unto me.” Remember, 6 But without faith it is impossible to please him: for He that cometh to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him. Heb11:6 In Num13 the ten spies who brought a negative report to the camp courted God’s displeasure and anger. But Joshua and Caleb were of a different spirit. They held on to the mind of God regardless of the giants they saw. Others focused on the giants (obstacles, difficulties, walls, challenges). They minimised the goodness of God and the little mercies they saw-giant grapes that were so huge that it required two people to carry. They maximised the problems, obstacles, difficulties and barriers. They saw themselves as grasshoppers in their eyes and in the eyes of the giants. They had faith to imagine the -worst and even seeing through the eyes of the giants but could not see through the eyes of God. “We went to the land where you sent us. It truly flows with milk and honey, and this is its fruit.28 Nevertheless the people who dwell in the land are strong; the cities are fortified and very large; moreover we saw the descendants of Anak there.29 The Amalekites dwell in the land of the South; the Hittites, the Jebusites, and the Amorites dwell in the mountains; and the Canaanites dwell by the sea and along the banks of the Jordan.”
30 Then Caleb quieted the people before Moses, and said, “Let us go up at once and take possession, for we are well able to overcome it.”
31 But the men who had gone up with him said, “We are not able to go up against the people, for they are stronger than we.”32 And they gave the children of Israel a bad report of the land which they had spied out, saying, “The land through which we have gone as spies is a land that devours its inhabitants, and all the people whom we saw in it are men of great stature.33 There we saw the giants (the descendants of Anak came from the giants); and we were like grasshoppers in our own sight, and so we were in their sight.”
On the contrary Caleb and Joshua said “they are our bread.” We are able. If the Lord delights in us, He will bring us into the land and give it to us the land. Only do not rebel against the Lord.”
6 But Joshua the son of Nun and Caleb the son of Jephunneh, who were among those who had spied out the land, tore their clothes;7 and they spoke to all the congregation of the children of Israel, saying: “The land we passed through to spy out is an exceedingly good land.8 If the LORD delights in us, then He will bring us into this land and give it to us, ‘a land which flows with milk and honey.’9 Only do not rebel against the LORD, nor fear the people of the land, for they are our bread; their protection has departed from them, and the LORD is with us. Do not fear them.”
This is how God wants you to speak when you see those “giants in your land, in your mind’s eye”, say, “I am able to drive them out. Through my God I can do valiantly. All things are working together for my good. If God be for me, who can be against me? I am more than a conqueror. God is working in me, both to will and to do according to His good pleasure. He will fight for me and will hold my peace. All things are working together for my good. Every place that the soles of my feet shall tread belongs to me. I shall see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living-in my life time. No weapon fashioned against me shall prosper. I am an overcomer and have overcome them. If God did not withhold Jesus, but delivered Him to die for me, how will He not, even with Him, freely give me all things?” The kingdom of God suffers violence, but the violent take it by force.
Stand your ground. Be strong in the Lord and in His mighty power. Put on the whole armour of God as to stand in the evil day. There are more with you than are against you. Speak in agreement in consonance, in sync and in agreement with God and angels will be galvanised into action on your behalf.
Guard your heart diligently. For out of it are the forces of life. Cast down every imagination that is contrary to the revealed will of God. Don’t work against yourself with your mouth. Renew your mind with the word. Spend more time in the word and in prayer. Avoid association with people who do not have the mind of Christ.
33 Be not deceived: evil communications corrupt good manners. 1Cor15:33
Birds of the same feathers flock together. Iron sharpeneth iron. Fellowship with people who will give you godly counsel –not worldly ungodly counsel.
1 Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful. Ps1:1
Do not say “everything is working against me,” like Jacob. That is a lie from the pit of hell. Do not say “I am a grasshopper.” Grasshoppers don’t eat grapes. Do not say, like Naomi, “Call me Marah.”
20 And she said unto them, Call me not Naomi, call me Mara: for the Almighty hath dealt very bitterly with me. Ruth1:20
Yes, calamity struck. She had misfortunes but that was not the end of the story. But for the faith of Ruth and the mercies of God her words and attitude would have stopped the great blessing of God and mind-blowing turning of the table. We know how the story ended. The foreigner was grafted into the lineage of Christ and Ruth was married to a billionaire of her time and one of the finest gentlemen-Boaz. So think God’s thoughts towards you. Where do you find His thoughts?
You find His thoughts in His word. That goes without saying. And unless you know His word, you will not know His thoughts.
11 For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the LORD, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end. Jer29:11
8 For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the LORD. 9 For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts. Isa55:11
So, my friend, cast down every imagination and thought contrary to God’s word. Say to yourself, “If God said it, I believe it and that settles it, regardless of how I feel or what people say. As for me -my spirit, soul and body, I will take sides with God. God has a good plan for me. Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil. For God is with me and in me and for me. He will enable me leap over walls, run through troops, and maul any Goliath or giants. If I go through the fire, like Daniel’s friends, it will only refine me to grow and glow brighter and become better and not bitter. God will not leave me in the fire, even one second more than is necessary. When He sees His glory reflected in me, He will bring me out like He did Daniel’s friends. I trust in His faithfulness and wisdom. He will not allow me to be tempted above what I can bear, but will, with the temptation, also make a way of escape that I will be able to bear. “
17 Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new. 2Cor5:17
27 To them God willed to make known what are the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles: which is Christ in you, the hope of glory. Col1:27
3 as His divine power has given to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of Him who called us by glory and virtue,4 by which have been given to us exceedingly great and precious promises, that through these you may be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust.
20 I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me. Gal2:20
5 Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus,6 who, being in the form of God, did not consider it robbery to be equal with God, Phil2:5
2 And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God. Ro12:2
8 Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy — meditate on these things. Phil4:8
7 For as he thinks in his heart, so is he. Prov23:7
Three dogs in everyone: persevere in your training for reigning
There is the story of a man who performed tricks with two dogs. He will take them to a park and there instigate a fight between them. On lookers were to bet and guess who will win the dog-fight.
Now, this may sound distasteful to animal lovers, but the truth is that people have different tastes.
The owner of the dog usually predicts who will win the dog- fight and his prediction was always right, to the amazement of onlookers.
Someone in the audience was curious and enquired how he could predict the winner each time with such precision.
He was hesitant initially to let out the secret, but the spectator kept insisting. Then he told him, ‘It’s easy. The day before the fight I feed one of them and starve the other and the one I feed wins the battle.’
So what has that got to do with you and I ?
There are three dogs in everyone:
The spirit, the soul and the body.
And they are at war with each other.
But how do we know who will win?
That’s a very good question!
The one you feed more wins the war.
So let your spirit be the dominant dog.
Feed him fat with the word of God.
Give him a good walk-exercise in prayer.
Let him socialise, else he will be selfish.
So be wise and take him to church
There he will see the bigger picture
And will find out that iron sharpens iron.
As for the other dog, called the mind
My advice is that you mind your mind
He was awake in the world long before the spirit
Was woken up or regenerated- born again.
He walked in the way of the world
And thought in the way of the world
He needs rewiring, renewing, retuning;
He needs complete transformation.
You do this by exposing him to the word,
No just when you feel like it, but daily.
You chew it, digest it, meditate on it
Until it permeates you and propels you.
Yes, without a doubt it is hard work!
But you cannot afford to let the mind reign
He has to be subject to the spirit-man.
Believe me, it’s a struggle and a doddle
From the day you become a New Creature.
‘So, what about the third dog?’Good question!
This is the most unruly one amongst the three
So, should we just get rid of him by casting him out?
Unfortunately, that option is not available to us.
You need the body and all its ‘embodiments’
This dog has a place but he has to be subordinate.
Whereas in some people, the mind is stronger,
In others the flesh is the dominant force.
However, the spirit has to be the top dog
Therefore, the flesh has to be starved to death.
I know it sounds cruel, but this is the gospel truth.
The body remains with you, but for the spirit to reign,
He has to die daily like Paul said. That is the way out.
So, when you wake up in the morning
And your body is craving a cup of coffee
And tells you, ‘Coffee, please! I want it now, it’s urgent!
Tell him, ‘In this house, the spirit rules
And the agenda is: the word and prayer first,
Coffee can take a back seat, ok?’
The flesh may be cross, have withdrawal syndromes.
Never mind, know that you are training the old dog
And it will take some time before he learns a new trick.
It will not be days or weeks but many, many years.
But you have to persevere in your training for reigning.
Walking in the Spirit
16 I say then: Walk in the Spirit, and you shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh.
17 For the flesh lusts against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; and these are contrary to one another, so that you do not do the things that you wish.
18 But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law.
19 Now the works of the flesh are evident, which are: adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lewdness,
21 envy, murders, drunkenness, revelries, and the like; of which I tell you beforehand, just as I also told you in time past, that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.
22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness,
23 gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law.
7 But when he saw many of the Pharisees and Sadducees coming to his baptism, he said to them, “Brood of vipers! Who warned you to flee from the wrath to come?
8 Therefore bear fruits worthy of repentance, Matt3:7-8
I Never Knew You
21 “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven.
22 Many will say to Me in that day, ‘Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?’
23 And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!’Matt7:21-23
The Truth Shall Make You Free
31 Then Jesus said to those Jews who believed Him, “If you abide in My word, you are My disciples indeed.
32 And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.” John8:31-32
Striving for a Crown
24 Do you not know that those who run in a race all run, but one receives the prize? Run in such a way that you may obtain it.
25 And everyone who competes for the prize is temperate in all things. Now they do it to obtain a perishable crown, but we for an imperishable crown.
26 Therefore I run thus: not with uncertainty. Thus I fight: not as one who beats the air.
27 But I discipline my body and bring it into subjection, lest, when I have preached to others, I myself should become disqualified. 1Cor9:24-27
Teens charged with killing man over cigarette January 29th 2013
Two teenage boys were charged with the December beating death of a man on the West Side after an argument over a cigarette, prosecutors said.
Derrick Burns, 15, and William Davis, 16, were initially charged with aggravated battery as juveniles but the charges were upgraded to first-degree murder with the two now being charged as adults, prosecutors said in court today.
There is a story of a lady who was having a heavy row with another woman on a Sunday. One of them was a Christian. She looked her watch and saw that she was getting late, so she told the other woman: ‘ I am going to the service now, but when I come back we will continue from where we left off.’
There was recently another story of a man who shot another dead because he refused him a cigarette.
Not long ago, it was reported that two men decided to feed their flesh to the full by going to a restaurant which offered: ‘eat as much as you like’
They descended on the restaurant like eagles and wanted to come as elephants. They ate and ate and ate until the restaurant owners were furious and threw them out.
Text Sermons : Classic Christian Writings : Victors Through Christ! By Ruth Paxson
While it is foolish to underestimate the devil’s power, it is fatal to overestimate it. However great and powerful he is, he has been overcome by the mighty Lord, whose victory is our victory (1 John 4:4). Let us now see how that victory is made ours.
The Assurance Of Power In Christ
Ephesians 6:10 says: “Be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might.”
“Be strong.” Never fear nor falter nor faint, but always be prepared through an enduement with fresh strength which enables you to be victorious from the start to the finish. The devil says, “Be fearful, look around at difficulties and dangers. Be cowardly and give up, for you can never win out against such hindrances and opposition. Be discouraged; look in at your own weakness.”
But God says, “Be strong!” Victory is ours when we realize that strength lies first of all in our inward attitude. To assume power we must be assured of power. But that assurance will never come if we look in at ourselves or out at the enemy. If we try to match our power against his, we will succumb in ignominious defeat. We may raise up all kinds of sandbag defenses of our own making, but the master strategist will make a surprise attack on our blind side, or drop a fiery dart from the air, and we are overcome.
“Be strong in the Lord.” Our strength lies in a Person, and oh, what a Person! Note His Name. THE LORD. Ponder that name until it stands out before you in all its singular glory and solitary grandeur. Not “Jesus,” His personal, human name that indicates His Saviourhood, sweet and precious as that name is. Not “Christ,” His official meditorial name, The Anointed One, indispensable as that is to us.
But “LORD,” His sovereign, kingly name that stands for His rulership over the universe and all in it. “The Lord, the mighty God, the blessed and only Potentate, the King of kings and Lord of lords.”
“IN.” Yes, capitalize, italicize, and underline this two-lettered word. But why give it such emphasis and importance? Because herein lies hidden the secret place of victory over the devil. Where we are determines our victory, because it determines our strength and power of resistance.
“In the Lord” we are both strong and secure. Our Victor envelops us, for “we are hid with Christ in God.” So, as someone has said, “Before the devil can touch you, he must get through God and Christ.”
“And in the power of His might.” Our strength lies not only in what He is, but in what He has. Our power is in a Person whose power is extraordinary, for “it is the power of His might.” This is exactly the same word used in Ephesians 1:19, when describing the quality of the power used in raising Christ from the dead. In the strength of the mighty power of the Lord we are equipped to fearlessly meet Satan and all his hosts, confident that we shall be “able to stand,” “able to withstand,” and “able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked one.”
Our part, then, is calm, confident assurance of power over all the power of the enemy. We enter the warfare victors through faith in the victorious Lord, upon whom we keep our eyes fixed. Dear reader, do you know in your daily experience the conquering power of His might?
The Assertion Of Our Position In Christ
Ephesians 6:11: “That ye may be able to stand against all the wiles of the devil.”
6:13: “Having done all, to stand.”
6:14: “Stand therefore, having…”
6:13: “That ye may be able to withstand.”
“That ye.” Every Christian, even the least and the lowliest, is included. Not one need fear the enemy, for there is victory for every Christian who has heard the call to arms and offered himself as a warrior.
“May be able.” What intense relief and courage these words, used three times in this passage on warfare, bring to the warrior! They are God’s pledge of perfect provision for victory. God cannot lie and will not mock us, therefore, “ye shall be able.”
“To stand.” Do not fear, falter, faint, fall nor flee before the foe. Never expect defeat or plan retreat, but wait to see the devil depart from you as he did from Christ in the wilderness. Do not even fight. The battle is not ours, but the Lord’s. Our part is to “stand still and see the salvation of the Lord, for the Lord shall fight for you, and ye shall hold your peace.”
“Stand” in the perfection of Christ’s finished work and in your divinely-appointed position in Him. Seated in Christ in the heavenlies, far above all principality, power, might and dominion, we are able to stand against Satan. In Christ the enemy is under our feet. We do not wrestle for a position of victory, but from one. Therefore standing in Christ we may reckon on the battle won before it is begun. Calmly, confidently, take your position in Christ and assert it courageously. Stand unafraid.
“Stand against the wiles of the devil.” Note it does not say “the power,” but “the wiles” of the devil. He is a practiced strategist who has been in warfare against God and His people for many millenniums, and there is no art, no craft of cunning, no machination in warfare of which he is not the master. He can out-maneuver us completely by his deceptions and devices. But Christ, the wisdom of God, is Victor over Satan, the master of wiles. So in Christ we stand undaunted.
“Having done all, to stand.” Having fully equipped ourselves according to God’s directions, and having nothing more we can do to prepare ourselves for battle, then during an especial attack of the enemy we must stand unmoved. However fiery the trial of faith may be, however long it may last, we must stand in faith, refusing all doubt and depression, knowing that all is by the Father’s permission and in the fulfillment of His purpose.
The Lord of hosts anticipates no cowards or deserters in His army. It is not enough for us to resist sometimes and to gain occasional victories, then, when some peculiarly hard trial or severe affliction comes, to go under in defeat. However fierce or often the attack, or however many the forces massed against us, let us never give in, nor retreat one step, but in the thickest of the fight and in the darkest hour, let us see the enemy overwhelmed and overthrown, the battlefield covered with victor’s spoils, and ourselves standing in the midst as overcomers.
Stand unconquered. “Stand your ground in the day of battle, and having fought to the end, come off victors on the field.”
“Stand, therefore, having…” After one attack, do not be worried or worn out, but stand firmly holding your ground, fully equipped for the next assault. Stand without flinching or faltering, but joyously and peacefully when all is pitch-dark before you, when you cannot see a step ahead, when the enemy seems to be in the ascendant and to have complete control over your circumstances. Stand with a victor’s spirit, faith, courage, assurance, conviction. Stand invincible.
“That ye may be able to withstand.” The believer’s exalted position in Christ is not one only of high privilege, but also of great responsibility, for Christ shares with him His authority over all the power of the enemy, as well as His victory, So it is not enough that, as a member of Christ’s body, we stand in victory in our personal conflict with Satan. We must also resist his attacks against the corporate Body and against individual members of it.
We must withstand Satan in his efforts to block world evangelization and the deliverance of individual souls from his kingdom, and in his opposition to revival within the Church. There is an offensive as well as a defensive warfare to be waged. Christ’s victory over Satan must be enforced and the spoils must be claimed.
We rejoice exceedingly that on Calvary’s Cross the Lord spoiled the principalities and powers and triumphed over them. But the practical part of that victory involves stripping these evil powers of all the authority they previously exercised over us and, instead, exercising authority over them.
Just before our Lord’s ascension He said, “All authority hath been given unto Me in heaven and on earth.” He assumed that authority when He sat down at the right hand of God in the heavenlies and was exalted as Lord over all created things and beings. He shared that authority with the Church, His Body, when He was made Head over it. Therefore, every saint in Christ is the possessor of the authority of Christ.
This is a staggering fact which we hesitate to accept and from which we consciously shrink. The responsibility for such a possession is simply overwhelming, and most of us would gladly shirk it. The failure of the Church to assume and exercise this divinely-imparted authority accounts in large measure for its impotence today before the massed hosts of evil.
Let us understand clearly just what this authority is and involves. Authority should not be confused with power. The distinction is made clear in the following quotations:
“Authority is not power, it is only the imparted right to bring the power of another into operation.”
“One stands at the crossing of two great thoroughfares. Crowds of people are surging by; multitudes of high-powered vehicles rush along. Suddenly a man in uniform raises a hand. Instantly the tide of traffic ceases. He beckons to the waiting hosts on the cross street, and they flow across in an irresistible wave. What is the explanation? The traffic officer has very little ‘power.’ His most strenuous efforts could not avail to hold back one of those swiftly-passing cars. But he has something far better. He is invested with the ‘authority’ of the corporation whose servant he is. The moving crowds recognize the authority and obey it. Authority, then, is delegated power. Its value depends upon the force behind the user.”
The Authority Illustrated
Having authority defined, now let us have it illustrated. Paul was an ambassador of Christ, sent into Satan’s domain to rescue sinners from his power and kingdom. On his first missionary journey he met two men in Paphos. One was Sergius Paulus, deputy of the country; the other, Elymas, the sorcerer, a false prophet. The deputy desired to hear the Word of God through Paul, but the sorcerer withstood Paul, “seeking to turn away the deputy from the faith.”
He is the picture of a man, filled with the devil, withstanding a man filled with the Spirit. One has behind him the authority of Satan, the other of the Lord. Which would be the victor? Let Scripture answer.
Acts 13:9-12: “Then Saul, (who also is called Paul) filled with the Holy Ghost, set his eyes on him, and said, O full of all subtlety and all mischief, thou child of the devil, thou enemy of all righteousness, wilt thou not cease to pervert the right ways of the Lord?…And now, behold the hand of the Lord is upon thee, and thou shalt be blind not seeing the sun for a season. And immediately there fell on him a mist and a darkness; and he went about seeking some to lead him by the hand…Then the deputy, when he saw what was done, believed, being astonished at the doctrine of the Lord.”
Note the three-fold expression of authority. In Paul’s look: “set his eyes on him.” Did not Elymas know he was defeated the moment his eyes met Paul’s? Did he not see in every expression of Paul’s face fearlessness, conviction, courage, victory?
In Paul’s words: “Thou child of the devil, thou enemy of all righteousness.” What man would dare or would have the right to say such words to another man? Paul was only bringing the power of the Lord into operation against the power of Satan.
In Paul’s act: “Thou shalt be blind.” How awful for one man to inflict such a punishment upon another! But no; a man did not do it. “The hand of the Lord is upon thee.” Paul was the Lord’s agent in the administration of punishment. But even acknowledging that the authority is the Lord’s and Paul was merely the channel for its exercise, who is sufficient for such a task? Only he who is “filled with the Holy Spirit.”
Satan sought and found entrance into the early Church through Ananias and Sapphira, through whose sin he aimed to destroy the purity and power of the Church, thus dishonoring and defeating Christ, its Head. Peter used his God-given authority in discipline and in the destruction of Satan’s work (Acts 5:7-14).
The spiritual condition of the Church would be vastly different today if such authority had been exercised during its history by those responsible for its leadership. God calls His warriors fearlessly to bind the strong man and his spiritual hosts of wickedness and of darkness in all parts of the world, as through the Spirit’s enlightenment they are made aware of their working.
The Acceptance Of Our Protection In Christ
As our power and position are in a Person, so also is our protection. This is fully consonant with the whole truth of Ephesians in that all our wealth which is deposited in Christ is sufficient for the requirements both of our walk and our warfare.
God gives persuasive reasons why we should accept this protection: “For we wrestle against” a foe so powerful in himself, in the hosts united with him, in the strength of his organization, in the cleverness of his wiles that, if unprotected, we will meet certain defeat.
“Wherefore” we need an armor that is sufficient to protect our whole being and that will equip us for both defensive and offensive attacks. “Therefore” be prepared, either in an emergency or in ordinary circumstances, for any kind of an attack. Never knowing where, how or when Satan will attack us, we should never be unprotected or unprepared. His attacks may come at the most unexpected time and from wholly unlooked-for quarters. There will not be time when the attack comes to put on our panoply. “Therefore” it is well to anticipate that “evil day,” and to stand every moment fully protected by our divinely-provided armor.
Ephesians 6:11: “Put on the whole armor of God that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.”
6:13: “Wherefore take unto you the whole armor of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and, having done all, to stand.”
“The whole armor.” There are six pieces of armor, each of which is a source of strength and security in warfare. Five are for defensive and one for offensive warfare. No part of the life must be exposed, for even one vulnerable place would mean defeat. So we cannot pick and choose what parts of the armor we wish to wear. We need to wear the whole armor all the time.
“Of God.” What a relief to know that we do not need to provide the Armor! How ignorant we are of the strength and the stratagems of the enemy! How inadequately we gauge our own inability and impotence! But our omniscient God, who knows all about our foe and about us, has provided armor both suitable and sufficient.
“Put on.” Clothe yourself with this armor for defensive protection against every wile of Satan to despoil you of your wealth, to decoy you from your walk, and to disable you in warfare. The armor is not a museum piece, but for the battlefield. “Take unto you” the whole armor as protection in offensive warfare. God makes the armor, but we must take it. Note that God has provided no protection for the back, for He expects no deserters.
“Stand – Having Your Loins Girt About With Truth”
We have seen that Satan comes to us first as the liar and deceiver, so we can understand why God provides first of all the girdle of truth for our protection. Christ, the Truth and the true God, is our armor against the attacks of Satan, the liar and deceiver.
John 14:6: “I am the truth.”
Revelation 3:7: “These things saith He that is holy, He that is true.”
The soldier’s girdle was no mere ornament. It went around the body, holding other pieces of armor in place and giving the soldier freedom in movement. So this divine girdle of truth must encompass our whole life. The whole circle of truth should wholly encircle us, leaving no gaps.
This will really mean the two prayers of Ephesians answered in us; the revelation of God’s truth to our minds through the Spirit’s enlightenment, realized in our experience through the Spirit’s enablement. Truth apprehended will be applied. This involves a very intimate dealing of truth with every department of our lives, which the apostle John described as “a walk in truth.”
Third John, 4: “I have no greater joy than to hear that my children walk in truth.”
Such a walk implies a stern, strict dealing with sin and self; allowing no conscious hypocrisy or insincerity; no compromise with known sin; no excuse or vindication for wrongdoing; no condoning of sins such as temper, irritability, worry or depression on the ground of physical causes or domestic circumstances. It compels us to face things just as they are and call them by their right names. He who is the truth encompasses our whole being, making every part true, beginning with the inward character, and ending with the outward conduct.
“Stand – Having The Breastplate Of Righteousness”
Satan comes to us as accuser and tempter, so God provides for us the breastplate of righteousness.
1 Corinthians 1:3: “Christ is made unto us righteousness.”
1 Corinthians 4:24: “Put on the new man which is created in righteousness.”
“Having on.” Righteousness is not a day a week luxury, but a seven days a week necessity, if we are to resist Satan’s temptations. “Wear integrity as your coat of mail.” “The breastplate” – covering the vital organs where a wound would be fatal. “Of righteousness.” Being right because adjusted to God’s will, and doing right because acting according to God’s Word.
This breastplate of righteousness is ours when we live according to the pattern of Christ and the precepts of the Word in our relationship to men. We can then stand before Satan’s accusations with a good conscience and without self-reproach. We can also stand before his temptations without yielding.
But there must be no flaw in the breastplate in the form of permitted wrong habit or practice. In all things, large and small, there must be strictest integrity up to our knowledge of God’s Word and ways. A lustful desire allowed to rest in the heart can result in adultery; a love of money can lead to theft or to dishonesty in securing or handling funds. “Nothing exposes a saint in conflict more readily than a bad conscience in his ways.”
“Stand – Your Feet Shod With The Preparation Of The Gospel Of Peace”
We have seen how Satan is the destroyer of peace between man and God and the instigator of discord between men: how also he will rob the saint of the peace of God through all kinds of inward distress of spirit, mind and heart, that he might hinder him from being the messenger of peace. But Christ our peace is our protection against all such attacks.
Ephesians 2:14: “For He is our peace.”
John 14:27: “My peace I give unto you…Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.”
“Your feet shod.” For progress in our daily walk or for protection in our warfare we need to be well shod. No warrior would think of entering a battle in dancing slippers. If you ever noticed a soldier’s shoes you know they are substantial and suitable for any kind of road, weather, or hardship.
“With the preparation of the gospel of peace.” God has told us we would have temptations, trials, testings, so we must be prepared to stand the strain of slippery paths of temptation and of the stony hills of adversity and affliction. Only the peace of God is sufficient for the heart in the midst of life’s losses, infirmities and tragedies. As we walk through this disordered world there are a thousand things to bruise and wound us, but “the peace of God that passeth all understanding shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.”
Stand – “Above All Taking Up the Shield Of Faith, Wherewith Ye Shall Be Able To Quench All The Fiery Darts Of The Evil One”
Satan’s very first work with man was to create doubt of God Himself and then of His love, in order that man might be separated from God. On the manward side faith is the first necessity, for it is the cable that links us with Christ and keeps us united with Him. But even this faith is not our own; it is the gift of God, and is the creation of Jesus Christ.
Ephesians 2:8: “By grace ye are saved through faith; and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God.”
Hebrews 12:2: “Looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith.”
“Above all.” All other parts of the armor are put on or taken by faith, so faith really equips one for warfare. “Taking up” – as a gift, faith must be appropriated, as are all other gifts, and then used. Faith is not faith unless it is at work. True faith is always active.
“The shield of faith.” In olden times the shield protected all parts, and had to be movable so as to repel attacks from any quarter. Faith has but one value for a warrior. It connects him with the Victor, the all-powerful, all-sufficient Lord, whose victory over Satan is his victory.
“Wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the evil one.” Oh, how many of Satan’s darts are fire-tipped, hellish balls of fire with but one purpose – to produce distress of mind, depression of spirit, disappointment in our relationships or in our work or in ourselves.
“Of the evil one.” It is sometimes hard for the child of God to distinguish between a dart from Satan and discipline from God. The Lord tests, but He never tortures. The Lord’s discipline is for the purpose of making us a partaker of His holiness, while Satan’s dart is to make us a partner in his hellishness.
“Able to quench.” The shield in olden times was made of skins and saturated with water. As the fiery darts of the enemy came against it, they were quenched. As we daily take our shield of faith, that enables us to rest fully upon the faithfulness of God, the finished work of Christ and the fulness of the Spirit, we shall be able to quench every fiery dart of Satan.
Stand – “And Take The Helmet Of Salvation”
Satan wages a real battle for the possession, control and use of the mind of the saint. He tries in every possible way to corrupt or confuse it through his false teachings and teachers. The Christian has but one safeguard against his attacks.
1 Corinthians 2:16: “We have the mind of Christ.”
Philippians 2:5: “Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus.”
Philippians 4:23: “Being renewed in the spirit of your mind.”
“Take the helmet” – the covering for the head. There is tremendous need of protecting the mind of the Christian, for Satan finds an undiscerning mind a ready prey to deception and delusion, and an undisciplined mind an easy mark for his defiling thoughts and suggestions.
“Of salvation.” This is the great all-inclusive Gospel word that gathers into itself the exceeding riches of God’s grace, and then gives out those riches in election, predestination, adoption, acceptance, redemption, enlightenment, inheritance, sealing and security. Salvation covers the whole range of the work of God, the Father, Son and Spirit in creating a saint out of a sinner and making him an heir of God and joint heir with Christ.
The experimental knowledge of full salvation in Christ is absolutely essential for the Christian warrior, for if he has any doubt of his own salvation, how can he confidently meet the foe, or how can he effectually win a sinner to Christ? And in these days of manifold satanic counterfeits, how can he discern the false from the true?
Stand – “And Take The Sword Of The Spirit, Which Is The Word Of God”
Five pieces of armor were given for our defense against satanic attacks upon us. But God provides one piece for offensive, aggressive warfare, that we may be able to deal deathblows to the enemy, and gather spoils from the battlefield.
“Take the sword of the Spirit,” which God Himself defines “which is the word of God.” The sword is God’s own utterance given to us in His written Word, inspired by the Spirit, revealed to us by the Spirit (1:17,18), used by the Spirit in us to sanctify and cleanse (5:20), and then wielded by the Spirit through us to defeat the devil (6:17).
The Word of God was the one weapon used by Jesus in the wilderness when, as the Representative Man, He won not only His victory, but ours too, over the devil. Each of Satan’s three attacks was met with a sword of the Spirit – “It is written,” and three times Satan was repulsed. Only as we use this mighty weapon with intelligence and skill will we be able to withstand Satan successfully. This will require of us a constant, systematic study of God’s Word, that our sword may be easily and quickly unsheathed, and that just the needed part of it may be used at the right time and in the right way.
With such power, position and protection ours, should not our battlecry ever be “able to stand” and our battle song, “the Lord hath given me the victory!”
So far has He removed your transgression from You.
He forgave you of all your sins,
He healed you of all you diseases,
Redeemed your life from destruction,
Crowned you with love and compassion,
Satisfies your mouth with good things,
So that your youth is renewed as the eagle’s.
He daily loads you with benefits to enjoy.
No weapon fashioned against you shall prosper.
Greater is He that in you than he that is in this world.
Because you are in Christ,
the old has gone and the New has come.
Your life is hidden in Christ in God.
God is your light and your salvation
Of whom shall you fear?
He has not given you a spirit of fear
but that of Love power and sound mind.
God is the strength of your life.
He has called you to be the head and not the tail.
As you obey Him fully,
whatever you lay your hands to do
will prosper to the glory of God.
When you go through the river
You will not drown.
When you go through the fire,
the flame will not kindle upon you.
Like Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego,
you will come out shining like gold
and radiating the glory of the Lord.
When the world throws you into the lion’s den,
God will send His angel to protect you.
Like the three Hebrew children,
Your opposition will bring promotion.
Your rejection will bring your celebration.
You will not go under for going over.
The favour of God will be upon you
Like Nehemiah and Joseph.
Your vision shall be accomplished
Regardless of the opposition
And the tribulation that you go through.
You may laugh last but you will laugh best.
If God is for you
No one can be against you.
Neither death nor life
Nor principalities nor powers
Nor height nor depth
Nor things present nor things to come
Nor any other created thing shall
Be able to separate you
From the love of God which is in Christ Jesus.
Nay in all these things
You are more than a conqueror.
Thanks be to God who always causes you to triumph.
God is for you, with you and in you.
Your light afflictions are working for you
An exceeding weight of eternal glory.
You may be hard-pressed
but you will not be crushed.
You may the perplexed but
you need not be in despair.
You may be persecuted
But your are not abandoned;
Knocked down but not knocked out.
God will fight for you and your will hold your peace.
Because the battle is not yours but His.
You are the redeemed of the Lord;
Redeemed from the curse of the Law.
You are the righteousness in Christ Jesus.
Jesus has been made onto you:
sanctification and righteousness.
God has given you beauty for ashes,
the oil of joy in place of mourning
the garment of praise
in place of the spirit of heaviness
that you may be a tree of righteousness
the planting of the Lord, that He might be glorified.
If you are barren, sing, O barren.
Enlarge the place of your dwelling
stretch out, spare not.
Lengthen your cords and strengthen your stakes.
For more shall be the children
of the desolate than the married wife.
Have you dug wells that gave been blocked again and again?
Keep digging and the Lord will make room for you, like Isaac.
Has your dream brought contention and rejection and opposition?
Dream again like Joseph.
Your dream which came from the Lord shall come true.
They may forcibly take your coat or steal your coat
But they cannot steal your anointing.
Let them make you a scapegoat.
It will only assuage your anointing.
God will make your feet like the hind’s,
in Jesus’ name. Amen.
11 For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the LORD, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope.
12 Then you will call upon Me and go and pray to Me, and I will listen to you.
13 And you will seek Me and find Me, when you search for Me with all your heart.Jer29:11-13
Watch what you say about yourself. Words are powerful. Speak God’s words and think God’s thoughts concerning you. Agreed with God despite what you see or feel. You need to renew your mind before you can start thinking God’s though and this takings discipline, dedication, devotion, dwelling in the word, meditating on it day and night.
It does not happen overnight but you must invest your time and effort before it can pay off.
The Israelites who focused on what they saw and spoke fear and unbelief died because of what they spoke which was contrary to what the mind of God for them. Only Joshua and Caleb took sides with God and they were the only ones amongst the adults who survived and entered the Promised Land.
2 And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.Rom12:2
7 For as he thinks in his heart, so is he. ” Eat and drink!” he says to you, But his heart is not with you.Prov:23:7
8 Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy — meditate on these things.Phil4:8
21 Death and life are in the power of the tongue, And those who love it will eat its fruit.Prov.18:21
20 My son, give attention to my words; Incline your ear to my sayings.
21 Do not let them depart from your eyes; Keep them in the midst of your heart;
22 For they are life to those who find them, And health to all their flesh.
23 Keep your heart with all diligence, For out of it spring the issues of life.
24 Put away from you a deceitful mouth, And put perverse lips far from you.Prov.4:21-24
14 Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart Be acceptable in Your sight, O LORD, my strength and my Redeemer.Ps19:14
63 It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh profits nothing. The words that I speak to you are spirit, and they are life.John6:63
2 You are snared by the words of your mouth; You are taken by the words of your mouth.
3 Set a guard, O LORD, over my mouth; Keep watch over the door of my lips.Ps141:3
29 Let no corrupt word proceed out of your mouth, but what is good for necessary edification, that it may impart grace to the hearers.
37 For by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned.”
27 Then they told him, and said: “We went to the land where you sent us. It truly flows with milk and honey, and this is its fruit.
28 Nevertheless the people who dwell in the land are strong; the cities are fortified and very large; moreover we saw the descendants of Anak there.
29 The Amalekites dwell in the land of the South; the Hittites, the Jebusites, and the Amorites dwell in the mountains; and the Canaanites dwell by the sea and along the banks of the Jordan.”
30 Then Caleb quieted the people before Moses, and said, “Let us go up at once and take possession, for we are well able to overcome it.”
31 But the men who had gone up with him said, “We are not able to go up against the people, for they are stronger than we.”
32 And they gave the children of Israel a bad report of the land which they had spied out, saying, “The land through which we have gone as spies is a land that devours its inhabitants, and all the people whom we saw in it are men of great stature.
33 There we saw the giants (the descendants of Anak came from the giants); and we were like grasshoppers in our own sight, and so we were in their sight.”Num13:27-33
36 Now the men whom Moses sent to spy out the land, who returned and made all the congregation complain against him by bringing a bad report of the land,
37 those very men who brought the evil report about the land, died by the plague before the LORD.
38 But Joshua the son of Nun and Caleb the son of Jephunneh remained alive, of the men who went to spy out the land. Num14:36-38