SPIRITUAL WARFARE IS REAL

The Bible tells us that we have an enemy and one that’s more dangerous because he is invisible.

The Christian needs the armor of God more today than ever because “we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places” (Ephesians 6:12). 

“My shield is with God, who saves the upright in heart” (Psalm 7:10)

God offers Himself as a shield to those who trust in Him. It is up to us to “take up” and “put on” the whole armor of God, but once we have, we can say with confidence: 

“My shield is with God, who saves the upright in heart” (Psalm 7:10).

“Every word of God proves true; he is a shield to those who take refuge in him” Proverbs 30:5

Prayer is a key to the armor of God as we take up the helmet of salvation, which guards our minds and thoughts and keep it from being taken captive. The sword of the Spirit helps us fight off the enemy the way Jesus did during His temptation, and that’s with the Word of God. Three times Jesus rebuked the Devil by using the Word of God, and there’s more. We need to “Stand therefore, having fastened on the belt of truth, and having put on the breastplate of righteousness” (Ephesians 6:14). What we need is the truth of God’s Word that secures us in our stand against the enemy, and then the breastplate of righteousness which we attain once we trust in Christ (2 Corinthians 5:21), but we’re not quite done yet since we need “shoes for your feet, having put on the readiness given by the gospel of peace” (Ephesians 6:15). Once equipped, we can now be ready for spiritual warfare.

Are you ready to face the coming end-times tribulation that Jesus told us Christians will endure prior to His return to put things right? You will not be unless you understand who your enemy really is and put on the full armour of God.

Extracts from the article Shielded by God by Jack Wellman May 8th, 2019

DEMONIC OPPRESSION IS REAL

Demonic oppression is a spiritual attack from a demonic spirit that seeks to influence a person’s thoughts, emotions, and actions. Since a demon cannot possess a Christian to control them, then oppression is the next best option. Because of the way we are created as humans, these attacks will often begin in our minds because this is the central hub that dictates what we think about, how we feel, and ultimately what we do. The goal of demonic oppression is to keep a person trapped and bound. The desire is to paralyze the Christian believer so they become ineffective.

From Job, we know that God allows demonic spirits to attack the body so the following story is possible.

Actress Joey King, who played a little girl afflicted by the supernatural in the demonic-themed horror film, “The Conjuring,” recently shared strange details from her time making the movie that still makes her “shudder.”

King, 22, said earlier this month in an appearance on “The Drew Barrymore Show” that she developed a strange blood disorder while playing Christine, one of the Perron children in “The Conjuring.”

“It was pretty intense. Some weird stuff happened on the set, along with the movie being scary,” she told fellow actress Drew Barrymore. “It’s true, I developed this bizarre, rare, out-of-nowhere blood disorder, and basically, my body, like all the red platelets from my body were like drained out.

“In the [movie], when the mother gets possessed, she gets all these bruises on her,” King said. “And so during the filming of those particular scenes, I started having a lot of bruises show up on my body.”

The bruises in strange places like her chest and stomach were so pervasive that makeup artists thought she stole their supplies to create fake bruising. They only realized this wasn’t the case when they tried to remove the bruising to no avail.

“It was so dramatic,” she said. “So I had to, every day before work and after work, go to the hospital, get my blood taken.”

But something truly bizarre happened once King finished filming “The Conjuring.” “Then, all of a sudden, I got home, and I’ve never had a problem with my blood since,” she said, sparking a shocked reaction from Barrymore. “Every time I think about it, I just shudder a little bit.”

It’s a truly bizarre story, but regardless of the veracity of the claims, scripture does tell us that evil is very real. Satan cannot possess Christians but he can oppress them. Scripture reveals that in the end times this will escalate.

Do not fear what you are about to suffer. Behold, the devil is about to throw some of you into prison, that you may be tested, and for ten days you will have tribulation. Be faithful unto death, and I will give you the crown of life. He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.” Revelation 2:9-10

Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you.James 4:7-8

BE PREPARED: “LAST DAYS” SPIRITUAL WARFARE IS INTENSE

Jesus tells us that in the “last days” before He returns to rule and reign there will be false apostles, deceitful workmen, disguising themselves as apostles of Christ. They are under the power of Satan and we know he disguises himself as an angel of light. So it is no surprise that his servants, also, disguise themselves as servants of righteousness.

For such men are false apostles, deceitful workmen, disguising themselves as apostles of Christ. And no wonder, for even Satan disguises himself as an angel of light. So it is no surprise if his servants, also, disguise themselves as servants of righteousness.” 2 Corinthians 11-15

“I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content. I know how to be brought low, and I know how to abound. In any and every circumstance, I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and need. I can do all things through him who strengthens me.” Philippians 4::11-13

We need to recognise that the true battle is in the heavenly places and it is against the spiritual forces of evil which is why we are told to put on the full armour of God daily. Are you being obedient to your Lord and Saviour?

For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places.Ephesians 6:12

Stand therefore, having fastened on the belt of truth, and having put on the breastplate of righteousness, and, as shoes for your feet, having put on the readiness given by the gospel of peace. In all circumstances take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming darts of the evil one; and take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God, praying at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication. To that end, keep alert with all perseverance, making supplication for all the saints,Ephesians 6:14-18

Our job with the lost is to preach the Good News as directed by the Holy Spirit knowing they cannot understand the word of God without the Spirit of God.

For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit set their minds on the things of the Spirit. For to set the mind on the flesh is death, but to set the mind on the Spirit is life and peace. For the mind that is set on the flesh is hostile to God, for it does not submit to God’s law; indeed, it cannot. Those who are in the flesh cannot please God.Romans 8:5-8

We are also called to love them, pray for them, and return good for evil but also to be sensitive to what the Holy Spirit may be doing in their lives. The Holy Spirit may prompt you to use one of the nine Holy Spirit gifts that He expects us to operate in. He distributes them according to His will.

Love your enemies, and do good, and lend, expecting nothing in return, and your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High, for He is kind to the ungrateful and the evil. Be merciful, even as your Father is merciful.Luke 6:35-36

God also bore witness by signs and wonders and various miracles and by gifts of the Holy Spirit distributed according to His will. Hebrews 2:4

POWERFUL TESTIMONY BY DENZEL WASHINGTON

Actor Denzel Washington does not mince words when it comes to his faith in God. And in a recent interview with the New York Times, Washington reiterated that he is a “God-fearing man” while also warning people to not become too self-focused. 

“This is spiritual warfare. So, I’m not looking at it from an earthly perspective,” he said in the interview. “If you don’t have a spiritual anchor you’ll be easily blown by the wind and you’ll be led to depression.”

As CBN News has reported, Washington gave his life to God early on, but it took a few years for him to understand the weight of that decision. 

“Three times…I think we all go through that. I was filled with the Holy Ghost and it scared me,” he said. “I didn’t want to go this deep…I want to party. It was a supernatural, once in this lifetime experience that I couldn’t completely understand at the time.”

Now, the 64-year-old actor lives out his tenets of faith daily. 

“I’m a God-fearing man,” he told NYT. “I try not to worry. Fear is contaminated faith.”

Washington goes out of his way to help others and encourage them.

Actor Corey Hawkins, who plays opposite of Denzel in “The Tragedy of Macbeth,” told the New York Times the actor prays with him. “Sometimes we get talking and you see the preacher in him,” he said. “He’s just a natural-born charismatic leader who is not afraid to talk about his own faults or misgivings or shortcomings.”

Washington has become more outspoken about the pitfalls of social media. “The least we can do is consider what we have done and think about the young people,” the two-time Academy Award-winning actor said. He also recently shared scripture encouraging people not to get too focused on social media. 

“The Bible says in the last days — I don’t know if it’s the last days, it’s not my place to know — but it says we’ll be lovers of ourselves,” he said. “The No. 1 photograph today is a selfie, ‘Oh, me at the protest.’ ‘Me with the fire.’ ‘Follow me.’ ‘Listen to me.’”

“We’re living in a time where people are willing to do anything to get followed. What is the long or short-term effect of too much information? It’s going fast and it can be manipulated obviously in a myriad of ways. And people are led like sheep to the slaughter,” Washington added.

His focus has become more heaven-bound. 

“There are going to be two lines, the long line, and the short line, and I’m interested in being in the short line.”

During his American Film Institute Life Achievement Award acceptance speech, he was outspoken about His faith in God. Hopefully, it impacted some of the Hollywood stars present. He also warned against the “twitter-tweet meme-mean world that we’ve created for our children.” Be encouraged and challenged.

LITTLE DISCIPLINE, LITTLE COURAGE – COURAGE IS CAUGHT MORE THAN TAUGHT

The situation in 2 Chronicles 15:5-7 seems eerily similar to our situation today: “In those times there was no peace … but great turmoil was on all the inhabitants of the lands. King Jehoshaphat was King of Judah at the time.

One key principle we learn from King Jehoshaphat is that he prepared his heart to seek God (2 Chronicles 19:3). Build courage by strengthening yourself in the Lord … by spending time reading and obeying His Word, as well as praying, fasting, and worshiping.

Enter His gates with thanksgiving Enter His courts with praiseEnter His presence with worship

We play like we practice. Or said another way, we fight like we prepare. Courage is the outflow of inner disciplines — little discipline, little courage

If we take our focus off of Christ, we can easily become discouraged. Jehoshaphat said, “But our eyes are upon You” (2 Chronicles 20:12). He knew that focused attention is critical in battle.

Our God, will You not judge them? For we are powerless before this vast number that comes to fight against us. We do not know what to do, but we look to You. 2 Chronicles 20:12

Why would you walk willingly into the enemy’s camp? Why would you feed wrong desires and thoughts when they do nothing but war against the soul? If you’re losing the battle and becoming discouraged, look at your media diet. Is it instilling courage? If not, refocus your sights on Christ.

 God’s battle plan always involves courage: “Act courageous and the Lord will be with you” (2 Chronicles 19:11). Courage is important because it’s undergirded by trust and faith. In essence, we are saying, “Lord, I trust You so I’m going to step out in faith. I’m not going to fear. What can man do to me?” Courage meets fear with faith.

A Christian Call For Courage
Spiritual warfare requires spiritual weapons

We see an incredible event happen in 2 Chronicles 20:22:

When they began to sing and praise the Lord,” God defeated the enemy. Spiritual warfare requires spiritual weapons.

Exchange social media binges with worship marathons. Turn to prayer, worship, and the Word, rather than Facebook, YouTube, and TikTok. We cannot fill our minds with the world and expect to develop courage. We cannot fill our minds with darkness and expect the light of Christ to shine in our lives  

The Lord tells us to stand firm — don’t go backward and don’t run ahead in your own strength — but hold the line through obedience, trust, faith, and courage: “Do not be afraid. Stand firm and you will see the deliverance the LORD will bring you today” (Exodus 14:13).

When difficulties come, let your children see you praying and seeking God rather than being upset or frightened. Our children are watching. If we are angry or scared, we’re subtly telling them, “God can’t get us through this; we can’t really trust Him.” Courage is caught more than taught. 

When we worship and walk in obedience, God fights for us, but when we stray, we become easy prey. Repentance and obedience reposition you back in the centre of God’s will … back to victory. Cowardliness and disobedience cost us far more than we realize.

Seeking God with our hearts must be a price we are willing to pay. Are you? It all begins here.

What made these O.T. prophets so bold? How was God’s Word burning in their hearts? It was because the Holy Spirit came upon them and filled them with boldness as they surrendered their entire life to God. You have the Holy Spirit but full surrender is the key ingredient that most Christians are missing. Are rivers of living water flowing out of you  — are you spiritually alive? The more you seek Him the more you find Him: “He is a Rewarder of those who diligently seek Him” (Hebrews 11:16).

Extracted from an article by Shane Idleman, The Battle for Courage – A Hill to Die On. The Christian Post.

HOW SATAN WORKS

John Cooper of the successful band Skillet described the man, who was an agent of Satan, as well as a music agent, a promoter and a businessman who was a “mover and shaker.” 

“And he said, ‘It’s your time, John, but you have got to disassociate from Christianity. You’ve got to stop talking about Jesus so much. … Don’t do Christian interviews. Don’t do Christian music festivals. If people ask you what your songs are about, I’m not telling you to lie. Just don’t offer up the information about Jesus,’” he continued.

Then he said something else. And this is what got me, and this is what I think is interesting,” Cooper continued, he said, ‘But John, think about the good you could do for your faith. If you got rich and famous, think about what you could do for Jesus, if you stop talking about Jesus.’

Cooper said that phrase was the “turning point” of his career.

“I went to the bus. I told my wife about the conversation. We prayed about it. And it was … almost instantaneous. I knew that that is not the Lord. It was from the enemy, Satan. He was trying … to get me to be quiet, and it had the opposite effect.”

A decade later, Skillet is now a Grammy Award-nominated, multi-platinum band. Cooper has a popular YouTube series in which he is very outspoken about his faith and shares his thoughts about current events.

In an episode of Abby Johnson’s podcast “Politely Rude” released in August, Cooper revealed the motivation behind his boldness. He said he was shocked to find that many people no longer believe in absolute truth and called the changes unfolding in culture “scary.” 

“We need to be extremely vigilant about the Word of God,” he emphasized. “We need to be extremely vigilant about what the Bible says because if we are not, then we will begin to read the Bible with that same sort of relativism. And when you do that, you’re not starting from a premise that the Word of God is absolute, that God’s Word is supreme.

“What happens in relativism is you say, ‘No, I am supreme. My feelings are supreme. My experience is the brain. I can find truth in my heart,’” Cooper added. “Then I look through that filter at the Word of God, and then I shape the Word of God to meet my needs. So we need to be extremely vigilant about this because it is wrecking Christianity.

FUTILITY OF THEIR MINDS

Now this I say and testify in the Lord, that you must no longer walk as the Gentiles do, in the futility of their minds.Ephesians 4:17

It is a modern futility of the mind that sexual identity is now a matter of personal preference and is disconnected from the body God has given us as demonstrated by our sexual organs, chromosomes and DNA.

The problem is not just mental or cultural but spiritual. They believe the lies, the falsehoods of the evil one, having no knowledge of the spiritual battle that is taking place. They are literally under the control of Satan and his demons. Satan hates us because we are the image bearers of God. and he will do his utmost to destroy us.

They are darkened in their understanding, alienated from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them, due to their hardness of heart. They have become callous and have given themselves up to sensuality, greedy to practice every kind of impurity.Ephesians 4:18-19

These are harsh words: because of the ignorance in them, they are darkened in their understanding, have hardened hearts, and are alienated from God. Thereby they become callous and given up to every kind of impurity.

What is to be our reaction? This scripture makes it clear our response is to be twofold.

Take no part in the unfruitful works of darkness, but instead expose them.” Ephesians 5:11

Christ must be our model of how we expose and address gender and sex issues. Invariably they will call us bigots and haters but others who know us will say, “No, they disagree with us, but I think they love me and want what is best for me.”

Finally be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might. Put on the whole armour of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil. For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places.Ephesians 6:10-12

Jesus healing the sick. Jesus must be our model for how we treat others

OUR JOB AND KNOWING IT IS SPIRITUAL WARFARE

Jesus tells us that in the “last days” before He returns to rule and reign there will be false apostles, deceitful workmen, disguising themselves as apostles of Christ. They are under the power of Satan and we know he disguises himself as an angel of light. So it is no surprise that his servants, also, disguise themselves as servants of righteousness.

For such men are false apostles, deceitful workmen, disguising themselves as apostles of Christ. And no wonder, for even Satan disguises himself as an angel of light. So it is no surprise if his servants, also, disguise themselves as servants of righteousness.” 2 Corinthians 11-15

“I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content. I know how to be brought low, and I know how to abound. In any and every circumstance, I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and need. I can do all things through him who strengthens me.” Philippians 4::11-13

We need to recognise that the true battle is in the heavenly places and it is against the spiritual forces of evil which is why we are told to put on the full armour of God daily.

For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places.Ephesians 6:12

Stand therefore, having fastened on the belt of truth, and having put on the breastplate of righteousness, and, as shoes for your feet, having put on the readiness given by the gospel of peace. In all circumstances take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming darts of the evil one; and take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God, praying at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication. To that end, keep alert with all perseverance, making supplication for all the saints,Ephesians 6:14-18

Our job with the lost is preach the Good News as directed by the Holy Spirit knowing they cannot understand the word of God without the Spirit of God

For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit set their minds on the things of the Spirit. For to set the mind on the flesh is death, but to set the mind on the Spirit is life and peace. For the mind that is set on the flesh is hostile to God, for it does not submit to God’s law; indeed, it cannot. Those who are in the flesh cannot please God.Romans 8:5-8

We are also called to love them, pray for them and return good for evil but also to be sensitive to what the Holy Spirit may be doing in their lives. The Holy Spirit may prompt you to use one of the nine Holy Spirit gifts that He expects us to operate in. He distributes them according to His will.

Love your enemies, and do good, and lend, expecting nothing in return, and your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High, for He is kind to the ungrateful and the evil. Be merciful, even as your Father is merciful.Luke 6:35-36

God also bore witness by signs and wonders and various miracles and by gifts of the Holy Spirit distributed according to His will. Hebrews 2:4

NINTH OF AV IS PROOF GOD IS IN CONTROL

Yesterday the 9th of Av began, Tisha B’Av, a sad day in Jewish history, but surely evidence for the fact that God is in control of history on His planet and that He judges nations.

  1. On the ninth of Av day 1445 BC, ten of the twelve spies sent by Moses to search the Promised Land came back with a negative report resulting in the Jews wandering 40 years in the wilderness.
  2. On the 9th of Av 586 BC the first temple was destroyed by the Babylonians.
  3. On the ninth of Av 70 AD the Second Temples was destroyed by the Romans.
  4. On the ninth of Av 1290 AD the Jews were expelled from England.
  5. On the Ninth of Av 1492 AD was the date designated for all Jews to leave Spain.
  6. On the ninth of Av 1941 AD, SS Commander Himmler formally received approval for the Final Solution.

If only the Jews, and our leaders for that matter, would read and obey the following Scripture:

When I shut up the heavens so that there is no rain, or command the locust to devour the land, or send pestilence among my people, if my people who are called by my name humble themselves, and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and heal their land.2 Chronicles 7:13-14

The Expulsion of the Jews from Spain (in the year 1492) by Emilio Sala Francés

Whilst the date these events occurred (ninth of Av) demonstrates God is in control of history. It also demonstrates the spiritual warfare that is raging on this planet as Satan strives to destroy God’s nation.

CHRISTIANS MUST EXPECT PERSECUTION TO ESCALATE

It is important to remember that persecution come with the territory for Christians doing what God has called us to do. You are a Kingdom warrior in a spiritual war so expect demonic attacks. Moreover, Jesus tells us we should rejoice and be glad for we are blessed and our reward will be great in heaven.

Indeed, all who desire to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted, while evil people and impostors will go on from bad to worse, deceiving and being deceived.2 Timothy 3:12

If you are insulted for the name of Christ, you are blessed, because the Spirit of glory and of God rests upon you.1 Peter 4:14

Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. “Blessed are you when others revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account. Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you.Matthew 5:10-12

Many times demons work through unbelievers to insult, attack, degrade and persecute believers. This should be expected and how we respond is of course key to our ability to influence them for God. We know that they cannot understand the word of God without the Spirit of God. All we can do is love them, pray for them and return good for evil

The natural person does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are folly to him, and he is not able to understand them because they are spiritually discerned.” 1 Corinthians 2:14

bless those who curse you, pray for those who abuse you.” Luke 6:28

It is also important to remember that Satan is a created being under God’s control. He is limited by God as to what he can do to you. Read the story of Job again.

Demons do know your weaknesses, particularly long standing addictions and will challenge you again and again to exploit that weakness. The Holy Spirit will convict you and hopefully repentance is quick in response. Make sure you have a mentor with whom you are committed to confess your sins and will hold you accountable to the path of righteousness.

As we approach the last days before Jesus returns, He has told us that spiritual warfare intensifies. Satan knows his time is short. God uses the time of tribulation to purify His church. Many people who call themselves Christians will fall away and compromise with the world and its changing values.

Then they will deliver you up to tribulation and put you to death, and you will be hated by all nations for my name’s sake. And then many will fall away and betray one another and hate one another. And many false prophets will arise and lead many astray. And because lawlessness will be increased, the love of many will grow cold. But the one who endures to the end will be saved.Matthew 24:9-13

But just as Satan intensifies his effort to deceive and destroy, God likewise intensifies His efforts in the natural and supernatural. Joel testifies to this “prior to the great day of the Lord comes”

And it shall come to pass afterward, that I will pour out my Spirit on all flesh; your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, your old men shall dream dreams, and your young men shall see visions. Even on the male and female servants in those days I will pour out my Spirit.” Joel 2:28-29

And I will show wonders in the heavens and on the earth, blood and fire and columns of smoke. The sun shall be turned to darkness, and the moon to blood, before the great and awesome day of the Lord comes. And it shall come to pass that everyone who calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved. Joel 2:30-32