If we’re living in obedience to the Lord, doing all that we know we ought to, by His grace; praying, reading the Bible, being kind to ourselves and others, confessing our faults, and we find ourselves in a season of storms, what we’ll need is encouragement to keep pursuing God and His righteousness. What we’ll need at the time reminding ourselves of our identity in Him and declaring His power. And we need friends who’ll propel us there.
If we’re living it up in sin, or wronged someone, as we unpack our story, what we’ll need is correction. What we’ll need is to say we’re sorry. What well need is to repent.
To everything there is a season. That’s why in a post earlier I said I will not join the “bash the Joel Osteen bandwagon”. Because to the obedient Christian, his message and messages like his applies. And even to the person who’s about to take their life, they need to be strengthened to not give up. It’s like that emergency sugar water you give your dying pet so that they can live long enough to get further medical attention.
Obviously we cannot live on sugar all day. If we live contrary to the Word of God, we need 1 Corinthians 6:9-11. The Bible says “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness …” 2 Corinthians 12:9
The same Bible says “we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us” Romans 8:37.
It is important for us to understand when to unpack what. Otherwise, dishing “repent” when the person needs encouragement, can make us, while probably having good intentions, come across as the friends of Job. And we all know how God felt about what Job friends said to Job. Job 42:7-17
I have noted, some believers who preach on “hell fire” and “our wretched-ness” all day long can come across very critical. In the same way, all the time about how “wonderful we are”, is just as dangerous.
The Bible is not linear, and has never been. Scripture explains Scripture. So let’s not cherry pick and apply. We must also carefully allow the unpacking of people’s stories before we go stamping verses around, calling people heretics etc.
There are many types of prayers. Prayers of thanksgiving, prayers of repentance, prayers of intercession, prayers of forgiveness, broadly speaking. Most of us Christians have no problem engaging in these types of prayers. Yet, many of us neglect or reject altogether another very important type of prayer, these are warfare type prayers. These types of prayers, Christians take their authority in Christ to combat the forces of darkness.
Luke 10:19 “I have given you authority to trample on snakes and scorpions and to overcome all the power of the enemy; nothing will harm you.”
I believe these are specifically targeted against demons, principalities and the forces of darkness. Many Christians do not want to engage in the pulling down of stronghold type of prayers as it can be exhausting, some believe that if they avoid these, the enemy will avoid them too. But I would like to encourage Christians to not avoid this weapon of warfare. For one, the enemy doesn’t avoid those who avoid him. He’ll just subtly put you in a place of compromise such that when trouble does come your way, and it will because we live in a broken world, we have little fire to fight back. Don’t fall prey to this enemy tactic. Pray without ceasing. Pray all types of prayers, including warfare prayers. And I believe the Spirit of God will lead us in how we are to pray. For starters, you should first be a Christian, that you may inherit sonship authority. While we are all created by God, we are not all His children. (John 8:44) Don’t bother with anything else, unless you have first given your life over to Christ. Afterwards, the Bible tells us to not be anxious for anything, but let all our requests and petitions be made known to God. (Phillipians 4:6)
Prayer of thanksgiving
It is important to be thankful. Thankfulness is attractive to blessings, complaining attractive to curses. Why? Because unthankfulness was a major concern in the livestyle of the ungodly.
Romans 1:21-22 Because that, when they knew God, they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened. Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools,
God later (verse 24) gave those kinds of people up to their debauchery. Being unthankful is a slippery slope to foolishness and ultimately destruction (Job 2:9). So let’s give thanks always (1 Thessalonians 5:18), that we may walk in humility which God embraces, but pride He resists (James 4:6). If man gives up on another man, then the abandoned can turn to God. But if God gives a man over to his evil, where can that man go? There is no good apart from God. And no salvation in any other, apart from Christ Jesus. (Acts 4:12)
Prayer of intercession
These involve praying on behalf of others or even a nation. When Peter was jailed, the church prayed for him. Peter was released by an angel. Herod was also killed by an angel. Intercessory prayers can involved warfare type prayer language. It depends on the situation.
Acts 12:5 Peter therefore was kept in prison: but prayer was made without ceasing of the church unto God for him. 8 And, behold, the angel of the Lord came upon him, and a light shined in the prison: and he smote Peter on the side, and raised him up, saying, Arise up quickly. And his chains fell off from his hands. 23 And immediately the angel of the Lord smote him, because he gave not God the glory: and he was eaten of worms, and gave up the ghost.
Prayer of forgiveness & repentance
As mentioned, I believe the Spirit will lead us. So if we have something against our brother or sister, we should deal with that too. (Matthew 5:24) Why? Because grudges/offenses are hindrances to our boldness to the throne of grace. And oftentimes there is pride at work. I do believe the right way forward is to talk to God first about the situation and His guidance on how to handle it. Oftentimes, He will keep that person, if another person is involved, on our minds, that could suggest a need to ask for forgiveness if we are the offending party or even discuss if we were the ones offended because sometimes talking over things greatly helps.
Husbands love your wives (Ephesians 5:25). Wives respect your husbands (1 Peter 3). Children honor your parents (Ephesians 6:2). And parents do not exasperate your children (Ephesians 6:4). Employers treat your employees well (this include paying their wages – 1 Timothy 5:18). Employees do your best work. (Ephesians 6:5-9) Do unto others as we would have done unto us. (Matthew 7:12) When we fall short in any of these areas, we ought to ask for forgiveness and if we were the ones hurt, we ought to forgive. This kind of prayer is very important.
Should we always pray that God forgive someone? I believe the Bible is very adamant that we ought to forgive, that we likewise may receive forgiveness. And we should forgive, no doubts about it.
Genesis 50:21 Now therefore fear ye not: I will nourish you, and your little ones. And he comforted them, and spake kindly unto them.
I also believe there comes a time when a believer becomes so close to God, that He guides on when we are to take a different direction in our response to evil offenses. The key here being, close to God. This leads to further discussion of warfare prayers, especially when the situation involves other humans beings.
Warfare prayers are prayers (or one liners / decrees) that a believer makes against forces of darkness, even if that force is being manifested in another human being. Some might say, surely this type of prayer is forbidden, because of Luke 9:54-55 and even Matthew 5:44. But I would like to offer up a suggestion as to why disqualifying this prayer type is not a good choice.
Luke 9: 54 And when His disciples James and John saw this, they said, Lord, wilt Thou that we command fire to come down from heaven, and consume them, even as Elias did? 55 But He turned, and rebuked them, and said, Ye know not what manner of spirit ye are of. 56 For the Son of Man is not come to destroy men’s lives, but to save them. And they went to another village.
“Ye know not what manner of spirit ye are of. “ appears to suggest the disciples were speaking ignorantly. If we don’t know on a topic, we are obviously ignorant on a matter. “For the Son of Man is not come to destroy men’s lives”. This coincides well with Ezekiel 18:32. I do not believe though this means that we cannot engage in targeted prayers against evil workers. Why? Because Jesus Himself cursed a fig tree. (Matthew 21:19) And I don’t believe He was cursing the fig tree for the kicks of it. He was making a great spiritual point. Additionally, David many times prayed such prayers. (Psalm 35:1, Psalm 55:15, Psalm 109:6) And Queen Esther, when her people were targeted by Haman, made it clear to the king who was the perpetrator, she named Haman to the king! (Esther 7:6) And in the end, the same gallows Haman built for Mordecai he was hung on. (Esther 7:10) Likewise, the same lions den that Daniel was thrown into, his adversaries were also thrown into and crushed (Daniel 6:24). Some often call these “back to sender” prayers, Biblically the Bible says we reap what we sow. (Galatians 6:7)
Acts 5:5 And Ananias hearing these words fell down, and gave up the ghost: and great fear came on all them that heard these things.
Acts 8:20 But Peter replied, “May your silver perish with you, because you thought you could buy the gift of God with money! 21 You have no part or share in our ministry, because your heart is not right before God. 22 Repent, therefore, of your wickedness, and pray to the Lord. Perhaps He will forgive you for the intent of your heart. 23 For I see that you are poisoned by bitterness and captive to iniquity.”
Acts 13:11 Now look, the hand of the Lord is against you, and for a time you will be blind and unable to see the light of the sun.” Immediately mist and darkness came over him, and he groped about, seeking someone to lead him by the hand.
“For the Son of Man is not come to destroy men’s lives” then suggests that it means God’s first order is to see the sinner turn and repent, but there comes a time when a person’s heart or a nation becomes so debased, that God destroys them (like Sodom and Gomorrah).
Another thing we note in many of the examples in the Bible are that the people involved are often specific, the information is clear and comes after much warning or chances to change. We may not always see these warnings written, but based on who God says He is and His attitude to see a sinner repent, surely the correct exegesis is to deduce there was opportunity. Romans 1 tells us that none are without excuse, therefore we all have the opportunity to know God and walk in His ways.
The other thing is that those praying such prayers (David, Daniel, Paul …) have a very intimate relationship with God. It is imperative that we have a close relationship with God that we may pray according to His will. And don’t in ignorance call fire on people, when God’s will is for their deliverance and/or salvation. Or moreover, when we are the ones in error and are overly sensitive requiring change and healing in our own hearts.
So why is it important to pray warfare type prayers? Because while we may be able to dodge some of the attacks of the enemy, we won’t be able to wield hits to his kingdom unless we ourselves engage in the war. We pray the Word of God, which is our Spiritual Sword that allows for the cancellation of enemy attacks.
Have you ever seen the movie Top Gun: Maverick? In the final dog fight of this movie, Maverick ran out of ammunition to attack the enemy jet. He could only dodge for so long. Right before the enemy was able to make a lock on his jet, another jet on his team fired a missile at the enemy. Maverick was saved from destruction.
So you see, just like the natural, in the spiritual there comes a time (Ecclesiastes 3:1) when we must fire or be fired. This does not mean we aren’t loving. It means we are operating in wisdom. God leads, we speak, God acts. If Esther didn’t speak up things would have been very different for the Jews. What if Paul permitted Elymas to continue in his sorcery (Acts 13)?
Job 22:28 Thou shalt also decree a thing, and it shall be established unto thee: and the light shall shine upon thy ways.
And no, this is not saying that every little “itsy bitsy” thing we ask for we get. Sometimes, we ask amiss, that is, contrary to God’s will. That’s why it all boils down to intimacy with Jesus and our motives. In order to know His will we must know Him personally, and read His Word to understand His character. The more we obey, the better we are able to recognize His voice. The more we recognize His voice, the better we will be able to walk in His will, and that includes praying according to His will.
We see God determining the fate of the individuals. Again, let me emphasize, this doesn’t mean we go looking for trouble, calling fire on people in ignorance, as Jesus will just rebuke us as He did in Luke 9. But there comes a time when righteous people are to take by force spiritually things of the Kingdom of Heaven.
Matthew 11:12 And from the days of John the Baptist until now the kingdom of heaven suffereth violence, and the violent take it by force.
And finally, why should we pray all these prayers? Because I believe everyone of them can be found in the model prayer Jesus taught us. The blueprint prayer found in Luke 11.
And He said unto them, When ye pray, say,
Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name.
Prayer of thanksgiving / acknowledging who God is
Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done, as in heaven, so in earth.
Prayer of intercession
3 Give us day by day our daily bread.
4 And forgive us our sins; for we also forgive every one that is indebted to us.
Prayer of repentance & forgiveness
And lead us not into temptation; but deliver us from evil.
Prayer of warfare / deliverance
Some Christians may still be convinced to not engage in warfare prayers. I understand. Many movements sometimes pervert what is of God and in our quest to stay holy, unspotted or not carried away in cults and false doctrine, we throw out the baby with the bath water. This throwing out then creates a bit of a new not so correct doctrine, to put it nicely. I would suggest all of us to carefully look into warfare type prayers for ourselves in the Scripture. Holy Spirit did it and we cannot be holier than Him. If He instructs us to tear down, tear down the forces of darkness we must.
In computer science, the more algorithms you understand and can implement or the more efficient ones you can derive to solve problems, the more powerful of an engineer you are. There are other forms of power. Some of evil, others of good. But none as powerful as Holy Spirit Himself. For it is through Him wisdom is gained, even to understand many matters in science and the natural. It is through Him men are born again, healed, delivered and sanctified for His good work. Will you receive His power today by surrendering your life to Christ?
I am telling you the truth. Prayer is one of the most underused activities in the kingdom of God. After we are done reading His Word, we need to pray so that Holy Spirit may apply the Word to our lives. Holy Spirit knows how to properly suit us up that we may be able to shield from and resist the enemy, causing him to flee. Prayerlessness is like going to war without first talking to the army general, God. Don’t let your prayer bowl be empty. Talk to God daily, bind on earth, use your authority in Christ Jesus.
This topic has been on my mind for some time now. And I feel free/released to talk about it openly now. So let’s begin …
People will use Colossians 2:16 to justify their celebration of halloween. And some will claim that “hey, if you celebrate Christmas, you cannot judge me for celebrating halloween, as both have pagan origins. If you can celebrate Christmas for Jesus, I can celebrate halloween for Jesus.“ Really?
Yes, much commercialism surrounds the season of Christmas. Santa Claus can be distracting, for some, plain old of the devil. I won’t expound on this, as it is not the point of this post.
“But Jesus wasn’t born on the 25th. The decoration is paganism…” Probably true I say, yet I think even if we chose another day, the enemy would still follow the time around with clutter and distractions, and yes, paganism. I believe it is up to us to sift through all of that, abandon some even and stick to remembering the actual story behind it all.
Personally for me, I don’t need the tree 🌲, or much of the decor that comes with Christmas. Though not against them. I will admit, I do quite like the lights. As a Christian, of course I like lights! 🙂 Yes, yes, I know the enemy does transform as an “angel of light” in order to deceive. Anyhow, taking away all of that and reading the Bible, we would still have a point where we celebrate CHRISTmas, that is, the sending of Jesus, every time we read the first chapters of Matthew. And we who are Blood bought certainly give thanks for His coming.
With halloween, what remains when we take away all the “spooky”? Even if someone says they are doing it onto the Lord and dressing as something good, the Bible says we are to put on the armor of God, we are to take on the identity of Christ. So putting on the identity of anything else but that of Christ I think is stepping into muddy waters. There are consequences of putting on things even in innocence. (Hosea 4:6) Some have been left baffled by personality changes not knowing that they took on the identity of something sinister during “times of festivity, tricks and treats”. That should be enough reason. But if that’s not enough, there’s always the testimonies of ex-witches and ex-warlocks who make it well known that satanists delight in the fact that there are Christians participating in halloween.
In conclusion, both holidays are surrounded with things that are not of God. For halloween, people go missing. There is a celebration of darkness and death, the movies released in cinemas are dark and horrific. For Christmas, people over eat, focus on materialism, Santa Claus, jingle bells and end up in unnecessary debt. But when we clear the clutter of both, what do we find? Well we find that Christmas still stands with a tiding that brings great joy. A Savior who loves mankind so much that He left His throne, was born of a virgin, died on a Cross and 3 days later rose again. He conquered death! The same death which is glorified in halloween. The Christmas story climbs up to Life overcoming death.
My thoughts are similar for Easter but I hope we’d stop calling it that and say Passover or Passion Week or something. The root of the word Easter is in fact pagan. (Story for another day.) Not true for the word Christmas though, obviously. As we can see, some are so not in favor of Christ, they deduce it to “X-mas”. Others I reckon probably think it’s a cool short code. Again Hosea 4:6.
Let’s not feel guilty for enjoying the season of Christmas, for indeed when we strip away all the clutter that tries to stifle the true meaning of the season, we are still left with the account of His coming in the Holy Scriptures. And that’s enough reason to rejoice, certainly all year round, and appreciate the ultimate Gift, that is the Lord Jesus.
That message from the White House is one of pure witchcraft. The prophets of Baal have forecasted their intent. Lots of people often use 2 Chronicles 7:13 to claim God directly sent COVID. I don’t think He did. Obviously, He allowed it because what the enemy means for evil He can turn around for good. So He is is not freaked out by any of it. The data and circumstances surrounding COVID is only of confusion. God is not the author of confusion (1 Corinthians 14:33). God expects us to come to Him in this time. We learned from Solomon that in times of conflicting stories what we need is wisdom. We read that “The LORD by wisdom founded the earth; By understanding He established the heavens;” (Proverbs 3:19) and we also read “All things were made through Him, and without Him nothing was made that was made.” (John 1:3) We know that John 1 speaks of the Lord Jesus, it is then therefore clear that if it is wisdom we need in confusion and Jesus Himself is wisdom, we can conclude that we need to seek the LORD more fervently in times of confusion.
These guys finishing the hospital in a matter of days reminds me of the Tower of Babel and what man can do together when united. Lots of people have figured it out. You’ll often hear there’s no “I” in team. Speaking of which you may have heard of United Airlines, Manchester United, United Health Care…to name a few.
When there is some conflict in my life, I am propelled to find a resolution because there are two things that are very dear to me, probably my most important “ambitions”, if I can call them that.
To imitate Christ
To hear from God
I like to speak often on the subject of love because of the examples God illustrated throughout the Bible. And I want to imitate Godly love as much as I can while on earth. The Bible says the greatest of these is love, and that God is love (1 John 4:8). God is holy (Revelation 4:8, 1 Samuel 2:2). I cannot imitate Christ in His holiness and ignore His mercy, ignore His long suffering etc. Then I would have no holiness at all (James 2:10). In my understanding, they are all involved with one another; God’s holiness, love, mercy, long suffering, justice (Galatians 5:22-23)… You try to keep from sin and forget to show others mercy and love without prejudice, can make you come across as self-righteous (Luke 18:11). We all know how God spoke to self-righteous people, particularly in the New Testament. See John 8:44. Yikes.
I am convinced that harboring ill against people in our lives is one of the quickest way to our own down fall. God told us specifically if we have something against our brother to go solve that issue first then come back to the altar (Matthew 5:23-24). That would seem that such emotions can hinder our interaction with God. And if we fail to follow that command then how can we do what He is about to say next? Or at least do it with a peace of mind without the anxiety/concerns of the broken relationship. You might say easy to say. Of course it is easy to say but hard to do. Easy to say that I want to build a company, but building one is very hard to do. Anything worthwhile hardly ever comes easy or without cost (2 Samuel 24:24). Except for the free gift of salvation to us. Except for Jesus, it costed Him a lot. So still, costly.
I sort of made it my business to pursue peace, even when the other person appears wrong or is wrong. It isn’t my job to punish anyone (Romans 12:17-19). I can let them know they have hurt me and pray for God’s strength to move on. After all, as long as l am here in this body, I will from time to time fall short of the glory of God (Romans 3:23). And I will in turn need the other person to show me mercy. Don’t wait for an apology. I know, it is rough. When someone hurts us, we want them to come make the first move. But they may never. Our part is to protect our relationship with God at all costs; protect what He has blessed us with from being stolen from the enemy. Strife makes us more susceptible to sin. Sin can lead to a foothold, and a foothold can lead to a stronghold (Solomon 2:15). Let other people be responsible for their part. Don’t let your part be dependent on someone else first fulfilling their part. I am not talking about “forgiving and forgetting” in a situation like this. I am just talking about forgiving. Forgetting part has to do with trust. And trust once broken can only be rebuilt when both parties do their part. At least so it appears to me, as we do not have the ability to read hearts and unless we see a different pattern of actions or attitude from the one who wronged us, trust is very hard to regain. But we can forgive and we ought to in fact. Joseph forgave his brothers (Genesis 50:20). Jesus forgave us.
Once we have done our part, God gives us the peace to move on even if the other person still hasn’t made amends (Matthew 10:14). But we will never get that peace unless we complete our part.
The more each of us strive for protecting our relationship with God by doing our part to live peaceably and so keeping with our quest to imitate Him, the more unity we can attain. The more unity we attain, the more we can do together for each other, and for others “outside our circle” who also need help. We can build/sustain our “hospital”, the Church, faster when we are united in thought and purpose; when we are united in love. And love isn’t just saying ‘I love you’, or giving gifts when times are good. Love involves sacrifice. And a relentless pursuit to bring about healing, even when the coughs of sickness seek to devour, kill and destroy. The sickness may have been brought about by bad diets, and an appetite for what may not be good. But get the hospital up and running anyways. Pursue peace, healing, forgiveness and in doing so, fulfill the ultimate purpose in being imitators of Christ.
“Be imitators of God, therefore, as beloved children, and walk in love, just as Christ loved us and gave Himself up for us as a fragrant sacrificial offering to God” – Ephesians 5:1-2
“For I want you to know what a great conflict I have for you and those in Laodicea, and for as many as have not seen my face in the flesh, 2 that their hearts may be encouraged, being knit together in love, and attaining to all riches of the full assurance of understanding, to the knowledge of the mystery of God, both of the Father and of Christ, 3 in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.” – Colossians 2:1-3
I don’t watch a lot of sports. I am aware of some of the stars through the tele, internet and even through my elder brother.
I was wondering what was the purpose of Kobe’s death at this very time. We are all appointed to die and then a judgment (Hebrews 9:27). But what was the point? It occurred to me that because he was so popular it must be because through it, people will consider eternity. There’s tragedy in various parts of the world. When tragedy occurs in what’s important to us, it’s more than likely to cause us to think deeply. If one tragedy doesn’t affect us, another most definitely will. We’re all going to die at some point. In Kobe’s, what seems to us early death, he’s still going out with a final grand act. If I may say so.
May God comfort all those who are mourning because of his death and the death of the others on the chopper with him, as well as others who are mourning/hurting for other reasons in life. And may that grief drive us closer to Christ or into a relationship with Him. At the end of the day, the most important legacy we can make for ourselves is the one which drives the question “what did you do with Christ?”. Hopefully the answer that will be given based on our fruits and the confessions of our mouths is “(S)He lived for Christ”.
I am not going to get deep into the why Jesus over other faiths debate. I think it is obvious that it’s either Jesus or nothing at this point. No other faith is as attacked and ridiculed as Christianity. One might say that’s because it is the most popular faith in the world, but it is attacked in regions where it is not even popular. It is attacked in television shows, in real life, and on a daily basis. Satan doesn’t spend time fighting what’s false. He’s not going to fight against his own projects. They are distractions, filled with confusion. If he gets you caught in one of them, then his purpose fulfilled.
So don’t get caught up in the distractions.
Consider your eternity. Consider Christ. And if you have already done those, good for you. Keep on with the upward press towards the goal of that high calling in the one and only Lord, God and Savior Jesus Christ. It’s not easy, but more than worth it!