Weapons of Our Warfare (WOOW): PRAISE

power-of-praise_

Thanksgiving expresses gratitude to God while acknowledging Him as our all in all, which in turn invites His presence to dwell in us. Often following closely on the heels of Thanksgiving is Praise. It is difficult to truly thank God without praising Him for all that He is and does. As we invite His presence with our thanksgiving, our praise prepares room or accommodation for the Most High, which He finds most pleasing as we see in Psalm 22:3, “But You are holy, enthroned in the praises of Israel.” (NKJV). The KJV says the God inhabits the praises of His people, as in He actually dwells in the accommodation of our praise – WOOW!!!

No wonder the Bible exhorts us multiple times to Praise the Lord! God hears those wonderful declarations of His greatness, awesomeness, power, beauty, majesty, glory, kindness, faithfulness and holiness and He smells a sweet smelling savor that just draws Him in – Halleluyah!

When Moses was instructing the Israelites with God’s commandments and encouraging them to fear the Lord and serve Him, this is what he said about God: “He is your praise, and He is your God, who has done for you these great and awesome things which your eyes have seen.” (Deuteronomy 10:21, NKJV).

As God inhabits our praises, He becomes our praise and begins to manifest those amazing things we’re honoring Him for in our lives – Double WOOW! Do we need victory over the enemy? Praise the King of Glory, the Lord Strong and Mighty, the Lord Mighty in battle, who vanquishes our foes and delivers our souls as birds from the snare of the fowler. Do you need financial breakthrough? Praise JEHOVAH JIREH, the Lord our Provider. How about peace? Praise JEHOVAH SHALOM, and well – you get the picture.

The confession is in our mouth and what an awesome weapon it is. Thank you, Jesus for this awesome privilege.  PRAISE THE LORD!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Be blessed,

R

Image Attribution:

https://wholetruthhelp.com/category/spiritual-warfare/

2 Chronicles 20:14-24 – The Power of Praise on Display

14 Then the Spirit of the Lord came upon Jahaziel the son of Zechariah, the son of Benaiah, the son of Jeiel, the son of Mattaniah, a Levite of the sons of Asaph, in the midst of the assembly. 15 And he said, “Listen, all you of Judah and you inhabitants of Jerusalem, and you, King Jehoshaphat! Thus says the Lord to you: ‘Do not be afraid nor dismayed because of this great multitude, for the battle is not yours, but God’s. 16 Tomorrow go down against them. They will surely come up by the Ascent of Ziz, and you will find them at the end of the brook before the Wilderness of Jeruel. 17 You will not need to fight in this battle. Position yourselves, stand still and see the salvation of the Lord, who is with you, O Judah and Jerusalem!’ Do not fear or be dismayed; tomorrow go out against them, for the Lord is with you.”

18 And Jehoshaphat bowed his head with his face to the ground, and all Judah and the inhabitants of Jerusalem bowed before the Lord, worshiping the Lord. 19 Then the Levites of the children of the Kohathites and of the children of the Korahites stood up to praise the Lord God of Israel with voices loud and high.

20 So they rose early in the morning and went out into the Wilderness of Tekoa; and as they went out, Jehoshaphat stood and said, “Hear me, O Judah and you inhabitants of Jerusalem: Believe in the Lord your God, and you shall be established; believe His prophets, and you shall prosper.” 21 And when he had consulted with the people, he appointed those who should sing to the Lord, and who should praise the beauty of holiness, as they went out before the army and were saying:

“Praise the Lord,
For His mercy endures forever.”[c]

22 Now when they began to sing and to praise, the Lord set ambushes against the people of Ammon, Moab, and Mount Seir, who had come against Judah; and they were defeated. 23 For the people of Ammon and Moab stood up against the inhabitants of Mount Seir to utterly kill and destroy them. And when they had made an end of the inhabitants of Seir, they helped to destroy one another.

24 So when Judah came to a place overlooking the wilderness, they looked toward the multitude; and there were their dead bodies, fallen on the earth. No one had escaped.

WOOW!!

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Weapons of Our Warfare (WOOW): Thanksgiving

power-thanksgiving

Now that we know there is a spiritual battle being waged over our vessels, and that both internal and external forces come into play, what next? How do we protect ourselves from unseen agents of the enemy whose influence we may not even be conscious of? I’m glad you asked!

2 Corinthians 10:3-4 says “For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war according to the flesh. For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds, casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ.” (NKJV). I love that translation, but for plainer speaking, we can also review this principle in the NLT: “We are human, but we don’t wage war as humans do. We use God’s mighty weapons, not worldly weapons, to knock down the strongholds and to destroy false arguments. We destroy every proud obstacle that keeps people from knowing God. We capture rebellious thoughts and teach them to obey Christ.” (NLT).

Praise God! Even though we reside in the human realm and may be at the mercy of happenings in the spiritual realm, God has provided us with mighty weapons of warfare; thus we are empowered to wage war on any realm and manifest the victory we have in Christ.

One such weapon is THANKSGIVING. While giving thanks might seem benign at first glance, let us see what God’s word has to say about it.

1 Thessalonians 5:18 “In everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.”

Philippians 4:6-7 “Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.”

Psalm 50:23 “But giving thanks is a sacrifice that truly honors me. If you keep to my path, I will reveal to you the salvation of God.”

WOOW!! Thanksgiving is God’s will for us (walking in His will ensures that we enjoy His favor); it calms our anxieties and brings peace (anyone in need of peace? Want to bring those wandering thoughts that cause fear and stress captive to the obedience of Christ?); it is a sacrifice that truly honors God, and will trigger a revelation of His salvation (who wants to be in this place? I do!). Hmmm…does Thanksgiving still seem so benign?

Thanksgiving requires a posture of mind, heart and soul that is humbled before God and acknowledges Him as our all in all, which in turn invites His presence to dwell in us. No enemy can withstand that. May we cultivate an attitude of gratitude today and always. Now, go forth and be thankful!!

Happy Thanksgiving 😊

R

Image Attribution:

http://thoughts-about-god.com/blog/gr_power-thanksgiving/

Battle for the Vessel

 spiritual warfare

Man is a vessel created to show forth the glory of our Creator, by whose breath we live and move and have our being. Seems straightforward, right? So, why is there such evil permeated in man’s society? Surely this is not the outcome of God’s breath!

It isn’t. From the beginning of time, there has been a colossal battle waged between those who would see the manifestation of God’s glory in man, and those who would distort that manifestation. Our very first glimpse of this struggle is in the garden of Eden, where Eve is tantalized by the words, did God really say…? (Gen 3:1) Beware anything or anyone that prompts you to rationalize or question God’s word to you – that is an attempt to corrupt your destiny.

We were created to have perfect fellowship with our Father, but sin separates us from Him. Simply put, sin is a distortion or corruption of God’s perfect purpose.

Man’s nature can be corrupted by both internal and external forces. James 1:14-15 says “Temptation comes from our own desires, which entice us and drag us away. These desires give birth to sinful actions, and when sin is allowed to grow, it gives birth to death.” Most of us are familiar with the concept or principle of our internal desires causing us to fall into sin. This is why Jesus advised that we should deal ruthlessly with those things in our lives that entice us to sinful behavior (Matthew 5:29-30).

What most of us are not aware of is that there could be external factors influencing our behavior. These externals are agents of the devil, unclean spirits, principalities and powers, spiritual wickedness in high places (Ephesians 6:12). They sound like the stuff of legend, but are only too real. As believers, we would do well to educate ourselves on the insidious influence these unclean beings have on people and the world today.

Have you ever wondered why you did what you just did, or why you can’t seem to stop that thing you hate? When we encounter depravity and degradation in humanity that takes our breath away, we need to look beyond what is seen or can be comprehended by our senses. Conversely, the influence of these invisible beings may not be so obvious – that is why we must pursue knowledge, so that we may not be destroyed for lack of it (Hosea 4:6).

Be blessed,

R

Suggested resources: books and recorded teachings by Derek Prince.

 

Image Attribution:

https://www.pinterest.com/pin/306315212129553097

Treasure in Earthen Vessels

 treasure in earthen vessels

There is a popular chorus in my home country, which contains the following lyrics:

All glory must be to the Lord

Only He is worthy of all praise

No man on earth should give glory to himself

All the glory must be (2x)

All glory must be to the Lord

We recall from last time that “Surrender is the ultimate act of worship, for it requires the understanding that God is our All, and without Him we are nothing.”

The point here is not to devalue humanity, but to recognize the true source of our value. God created man in His image (Gen 1:27), and in doing so, breathed into his nostrils the life that allowed man to become a living person (Gen 2:7).

Let’s absorb that truth for a moment. Without the breath of God, man is dust. Therefore, man’s personality, talents, achievements, his very essence can be defined as the treasure of God’s breath contained earthen (dust) vessels (2 Cor 4:7). Man is designed as a vessel to contain and project the treasure of God’s glory.

So, we give back to Him that which has belonged to Him from the very beginning – all glory must be to the Lord. Not because God is an egomaniac, but because this is the essence of man’s design; humanity cannot handle God’s glory without becoming corrupted, for that would be operating outside the blueprint of our design. Life is God’s gift to us, to know and walk with Him; we are not intended to experience life outside of God; any such experience is corruption.

Join me next time as we explore this concept further.

Be blessed!

R

Image Attribution:

https://yesterdaysprophecy.com/treasure-in-earthen-vessels/

A Study in Surrender

surrender

So, the Be Attitude of God’s Kingdom is Surrender. But what exactly does that mean? Is it the waving of a white flag? The raising of hands to signal defeat and despair? Or maybe the act of simply giving up because we know we can’t win and what’s the use in fighting?

According to the Online Etymology Dictionary, the word Surrender has its roots in Old French and combines ‘Sur’ (which means over) and ‘Rendre’ (which means to give back). So, stripped down, Surrender can technically be defined as handing over back. This implies a return of some kind.

When the Pharisees and Herodians (who actually were bitter enemies, but united that one time in an act of common hatred) said to Jesus, “Teacher, we know that You are true, and teach the way of God in truth; nor do You care about anyone, for You do not regard the person of men. Tell us, therefore, what do You think? Is it lawful to pay taxes to Caesar, or not?” (Matthew 22:16-17). Jesus, fully understanding their trickery, said, “”Why do you test Me, you hypocrites? Show Me the tax money.” So they brought Him a denarius. And He said to them, “Whose image and inscription is this?” They said to Him, “Caesar’s.” And He said to them, “Render therefore to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s.”” (Matthew 22:18-22).

If the coin belonged to Caesar because it had his image on it, then we who are created in the image of God (Genesis 1:27) belong to God. The problem of the Fall was that man took himself into his own hands when he decided to disregard God’s command. In surrendering, we give ourselves back to God, who has righteous claim to us.

Rather than a desperate last resort, Surrender is the ultimate act of worship, for it requires the understanding that God is our All, and without Him we are nothing. This is the definition of meekness or humility. By contrast, Pride insists on defining itself independently of God. It may sound benign, but pride is at the very root of sin itself, for it separates us from our Creator.   Is it any wonder then, that “God resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble”? (James 4:6).

Be blessed,

R

Image Attribution:

http://www.ltocz.com/surrender

The Be Attitude of God’s Kingdom

Beatitudes

Like most Christ followers (and pretty much anyone who goes to church with a fair amount of regularity), I knew about the Beatitudes. And even though I found them slightly confusing, I also knew that they represented a high bar or standard that I had to strive to attain as a good Christian.

Then, one day, the Bible teachers I listen to were talking about the Beatitudes at the same time. Intrigued, I decided to pay closer attention to what the Holy Spirit might be trying to teach me about these (what I considered) somewhat vague golden Christian standard principles found in Matthew 5:3-10.

Blessed are the poor in Spirit, for theirs is the Kingdom of Heaven. Interpretation: Blessed are those who realize that without God, they are nothing; He is our All in All. This understanding is what prompts us to accept Christ as our Savior and enter His kingdom.

Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted. Interpretation: The only thing that causes sorrow in God’s Kingdom is sin or separation from our Father. We are blessed when we mourn our sin and turn to God, who is ever ready to comfort and welcome us back into His fold.

Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth. Interpretation: Blessed are those who humble themselves before God, for they shall receive the inheritance of God’s favored.

Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be filled. Interpretation: Blessed are those who hunger for God, who makes us righteous, for He will come and fill us with His Holy Spirit.

Blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy. Interpretation: Blessed are those who extend the same mercy God has shown us, for it keeps us in the center of His mercy.

Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God. Interpretation: Blessed are those who never fail to confess their sin, for they shall be cleaned from all unrighteousness and stand before God.

Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall see God. Interpretation: Blessed are those who follow Jesus’ example to bring peace between God and His creation (no matter the cost), for they are truly God’s children.

Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the Kingdom of Heaven. Interpretation: Blessed are those who suffer for God’s sake, for they will be received into His kingdom.

Paying attention did bring me some additional clarity into these principles. But it was something one of the teachers said that opened a burst of light in my understanding. He said, these beatitudes are not about what you can or cannot do; they represent what God is doing in and through you.

Philippians 2:13 says it is God who works in us both to will and to do His good pleasure. Only God can bring a soul to repentance, and only God can stir us up to show mercy, work for peace and suffer for His Name.

So, those high and mighty golden standards? All I have to do is let go and let God have His way in me. Not the easiest thing, I agree. But I think easier to focus on than all those golden principles.

The Be Attitude of God’s Kingdom is Surrender.

Be blessed,

R

 

Image Attribution:

http://easter.org/wordpress/?page_id=5232

The Heart of the Matter

The-Old-Testament-vs.-the-New-Testament-590x295

I love the Old Testament. In it, the Red Sea parted (Exodus 14), walls came tumbling down (Joshua 5-6), the Sun and Moon stood still (Joshua 10) and a giant was slain (1 Samuel 17). Still in its pages, we see fire falling from heaven (1 Kings 18) and men saved from a burning furnace (Daniel 3). What’s not to love? It’s all so much larger than life!!

Yet, while the Old Testament contains thrilling accounts of divine intervention, the New Testament explodes with a new revelation. Jesus’ appearance on the scene turned life upside down as he challenged long held beliefs/traditions and demonstrated a new way of life. Even His miracles served to underscore His overall message and mission. While religious leaders focused on behavior and keeping up appearances, Jesus delved into the heart of the matter. For, as Samuel was told centuries before, “man looks at the outward appearance, but [God] looks at the heart” (1 Sam 16:7).

In Matthew 15:20, Jesus astonished his listeners by declaring the ceremonial washing of hands unnecessary. After all, the things that we put into our bodies tend to come out as waste. Instead, he urged the disciples to focus on the things which proceed from the heart – words, evil thoughts, murder, adultery, all sexual immorality, theft, lying, slander – as these have the power to defile a man (Matthew 15:17-19).

By human nature, the heart abounds in deceit and desperate wickedness (Jeremiah 17:9). But through the Holy Spirit it overflows with, “love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control” (Galatians 5:22-23). How do we get from one state of heart to the other? Jesus tells us in the Sermon on the Mount.

Join me next for a walk through the Beatitudes.

Be blessed,

R

Image Attribution:

http://www.projectinspired.com/a-closer-look-at-the-old-testament-vs-the-new-testament/