Posts Tagged ‘warfare’

More than the civil wars that have ravaged the continent of Africa, the Muslim terrorist attacks against Western culture, the genocides that continue to plague human history, we are engaged in a very real and ongoing spiritual battle. The devil has waged war against God and anything related to God.  That would certainly include His creation. This means you!  No one is off limits.  The devil comes to kill, steal and destroy everything God has for you.  Kill, steal and destroy your life, dreams, joy and peace of mind—all of the blessings of God. You can’t win this war with natural weapons.  Bombs, AK 47’s and hand grenades won’t help you here.  To win this war you have to tap into supernatural weapons.  Access those  weapons that God has granted us coupled with His limitless power.   Thus far I have mentioned praise/worship and discernment as mighty tools available in our arsenal against the powers of darkness.  Next up for discussion:   the power of prayer.

What is prayer?  In simple terms, it’s just communicating with God.  For most of us the majority of the time we communicate through spoken words.  But keep in mind, we can interact with God through our thoughts.  I loved the answer the great evangelist Billy Graham gave when someone asked if God hears our silent prayers .  He wisely said:

“Yes, God hears our prayers on all occasions, whether we’re praying out loud or praying silently in our hearts and minds. After all, He knows all about us and knows what is going on inside us—both good and bad. The Bible says that God “judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart” (Hebrews 4:12). The Bible also says, “The Lord detests the thoughts of the wicked, but those of the pure are pleasing to him” (Proverbs 15:26). (http://www.billygraham.org/articlepage.asp?articleid=3828)

God really does have it all covered.  Sometimes life becomes so heavy that we don’t know how or what to pray.  But we have an all-knowing God who sees and knows the words of our hearts and the words of our thoughts.  Though most of us most frequently pray aloud and some would argue that verbal prayer is better, know that God “hears you” in your silence.

P= Praise, Persistence,

In prayer take time to praise God.  Everyone likes a compliment.  God is no different.  Tell God how awesome He is.  Thank Him for His goodness, His love and His mercy.  Bombard Him with sweet, adoring words from your mouth—what the popular bible verse says is the “fruit of your lips” (Proverbs 12:14) . The more you do it, the more you will begin to feel and connect  to His presence and power.  And we know praise and worship moves God to fight our battles and give us victory over the Enemy.

It is common practice that people set aside time alone to pray in a quiet place.  It may be early morning before confronting the day, late at night before going to sleep  or any other set time.  However, the bible instructs us to “…pray without ceasing(Thessalonians 5:7).  In addition to that quiet time, know that you can and should talk to God all the time.   Need help with a challenging situation? “Lord help me to resolve this.”  Did the Lord show you favor at work? Thank him right then and there.  Something heavy on your heart? You don’t have to wait until you get home to tell God.  Even in the midst of a crowd you can share your concerns. The more we talk to God, the more we grow in relationship with Him and vice versa. Get in the habit of talking to Him all the time and before you know it, it will become second nature.

Persistent prayer also comes in handy when we are enlisting God’s help or looking for God’s guidance.  A wonderful example I’ve heard of this was a preacher describing how his little girl would latch on to his leg and not let go until he moved to get the cookie she politely asked for.  In her simple act, the Lord revealed to him that the same tenacity and persistence that this little girl showed in getting what she desired, is the same way we have to latch on to God and pray until He moves on our behalf one way or another.  God may not always answer by giving   exactly what you want, but persistent prayer encourages Him to move in the way that He knows is best for you.  So after you pray, and after you’ve prayed, pray, pray again.

R=requests

“Be anxious for nothing, but in EVERYTHING by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, make your requests known to God (Philippians 4:6, NKJV). No matter how big or seemingly insignificant, God wants to be included in every aspect of our lives.  Just take a look at yourself and everything around you. The make-up and complexity of something as simple as an eyelash is astounding, much less our entire human bodies and  all the things of nature.   The phrase “spare me the details” doesn’t apply to God. God is a God of intricacy and intimacy.  He wants to hear about, be involved in and orchestrate every detail of our lives.

I love the example the biblical character Nehemiah represents for presenting our requests before God.  He went to God for anything and everything.   When he needed pardon from the king of Persia to go to Jerusalem to rebuild the destroyed walls of the city, what did he do? He asked that God let him “ prosper this day, I pray, and grant him mercy…” (Nehemiah 1:11, NKJV) in the sight of the king.  Not only was Nehemiah given pardon without hesitation, but the king went a step further and  gave him extra assistance in going.  Through our prayers we can call down the favor of God.

Got haters or opposition causing trouble in your life?  Check Nehemiah again.  When his enemies tried  different tactics to prevent him from rebuilding the wall, Nehemiah didn’t curse, didn’t physically retaliate, didn’t  lose his cool.  Just like a child who tells their parents about the bully at school, Nehemiah simply went to Father God in prayer.   His simple request was this: “…O God strengthen my hands….” (Nehemiah 6:9, NKJV)  and “My God, remember Tobiah and Sanballat, according to these their works…”(Nehemiah 6:14, NKJV).  And voila!  Checkmate!  The very next verse,  the  words of Nehemiah’s victory:  “The wall was finished on the twenty-fifth day of Elul, in fifty-two days”(Nehemiah 6:15).   You see the devil just can’t win when a child of God cries out and He decides to step in. So the next time Satan comes and tries to step to you, brandish your weapon! Kaboom! Hit him  with your prayers!

 

A=Answers

The beauty of prayer?  It’s an exchange not one one-sided.  It’s a dialogue not a monologue.  It’s collaborative not selfish.  When we speak, God speaks back.  When we speak God delights in our act of worship through prayer.  When He speaks He speaks life into our being.  Yes..it is important to praise and present your petitions before God.  But also take time to hear what God is saying to you.  Open your spirit and tune your senses to see how God is leading.  He may speak through a person, His Word, your thoughts, a feeling, a song…anything.  Trust that the enemy will always try to hinder you from praying because he knows how powerful of a weapon it is.   Without it you are extremely open and vulnerable to attack.  Just like soldiers must stay connected to their generals for guidance, so we must stay connected to God Almighty for all that we need.  It is through prayer that God will dispatch his Holy angels to fight on our behalf.  It is through prayer that God moves the obstacles in our lives. It is through prayer that God heals, delivers, blesses, empowers, guides, defends and protects us.  So pray and simply trust God. Pray and believe God to answer (in different ways—another topic) in His perfect way, according to His perfect will and in His perfect timing.  I guarantee He will never steer you wrong.

Y=Yes

Prayer is indirectly a sign of worship.    When you pray to God you are saying God I acknowledge you, God you are real and God I am dependent on you.  You wouldn’t pray to something or someone you didn’t believe in. In essence you are saying yes, You are God.  The lie?  A good prayer has to be fancy, eloquent and have a barrage of big words.  The truth—the beauty of prayer is that you simply do it.   That you intentionally reach out to God.  God doesn’t look at the details of the eloquence of words.  He looks at the genuineness of your heart. The amazing thing is as you grow with God and spend time in His holy Word, you will learn to allow his Spirit to guide your prayers and naturally begin to pray according to the promises of the scriptures.  When we pray in obedience to God and declare our yes to Him, this opens the door for God to partner with us in overcoming the forces of darkness.  So if the devil  insists on riding your tail, have no fear! TKO him with your prayers!

This post does not begin to scratch the surface that is the vastness of prayer.  Minister Maurice Belfonte, youth minister at Shekinah Youth Church/Greater Allen AME said it best in this facebook post:   “Prayer redirects, reconnects,  reorders,  recovers,  reinvigorates, refocuses,  reveals, reduces, restores, reactivates,  reminds, replaces,  reforms, recommits.  Just a few things that Prayer has done for me.  I could go on and on. The moral of the story is:  #PRAY.”

So after you pray and after your pray, pray..pray again…and  yet still I rise

With peace and blessings may you continue to rise always,

Stillirise323

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Atencion! Atencion! Wake up and realize that we are in a constant war.  A war that is far more devastating than the natural or physical wars that have plagued human history.  Far more dangerous than bombs, grenades, mind-fields and semi-automatic weapons.  I am talking about spiritual warfare.   Whether you believe or accept it, the devil is out to get you.  But not just harass you, not just torment you—but literally to steal, kill and destroy you and everything in your life.   The bottom line is Satan and his kingdom are constantly trying to oppose anything relating to God and His kingdom.  And I mean everything!  Saved or unsaved, Christian or non-Christian, love God or hate Him Satan is still out to attack you.   Why?  Because we are all God’s creation although we are all not God’s children.  So even if you are not a child of God (i.e. someone who has accepted the gift of salvation and made Jesus Lord and Savior of your life), the mere fact that you exist and are a creation of God, makes you a target of Satan and his antics.  Even those who side with him.  Because in the end he blinds us to the fact that he is leading us away from eternal life with God and into eternal damnation and torment with him.

Thinking about all of this can really be overwhelming and even scary.  Why does it have to be like this?  If God is all powerful can’t He just end all of this sin and suffering and wipe out the devil now?  These questions have come to my mind and undoubtedly to the mind of many.  I personally don’t profess to know these answers and honestly I don’t believe anybody fully does.  There are just some secret things, some mysteries that we won’t understand in this life because we do not have the mind of God and His ways are so beyond our understanding.  Things  we will never know until we meet God and if He chooses to reveal these things to us.  Honestly, sometimes the way God operates and the ways of the world don’t always make sense to me.  But this is where faith and trust come in.  Trusting that God is in control and that in the span of eternity all things will be made right.  No more sickness, suffering, trials or difficulties.  That divine justice for the injustices and difficulties we suffer will be served if not now in this life, then later through the course of eternity and after the ending of this  corrupted world as we know it.  Since constantly complaining about it , arguing with or being angry with God will not change how He chooses to run His world (believe me we all have our times—we are after all human beings and God understands), why not take heed and use the tools God has equipped us with to navigate this war we are in and be victorious in the context of where we are now.

To win this war knowledge is of the upmost importance:

The devil attacks through 3 main vehicles:  through you of yourself, through other individuals (i.e. family, friends, coworkers, strangers) and through circumstances and situations. Many times these things work in conjunction or overlap.  The second thing is that he uses  the weapons of DOUBT, DECEPTION and DIVISION .  I hope to share more on these things in another post. But the amazing thing is that we have the authority to overcome every attack of the enemy.   That is, if you accept the Lord Jesus as your personal savior and become adopted into the family of God.

The bible says  after being  raised from the dead that:

“… Jesus came and spoke to them(the disciples), saying “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth (Matthew 28:18)

As believers:

“Therefore you are no longer a slave but a son, and if a son, then an heir of God through Christ (Galatians 4:7) 

and furthermore

“…if we are children, then we are heirs—heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in his sufferings in order that we may also share in his glory (Romans 8:17, NIV)

So really what does all this mean?  It means that being an heir of God and a co-heir with Christ we stand to receive  the supernatural and substantial benefits of God’s kingdom now and through eternity.

To name a few we are:

1) Heirs to peace—peace in the midst of chaos, trials and seemingly impossible circumstances

-Peace I leave with you, My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you.       Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid (John 14:27, NKJV)

-You will keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on you, because he trusts in You (Isaiah 26:3, NKJV)

-“..the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus (Philippians 4:7, NKJV)

2) Heirs to God’s  strength 

-It is God who arms me with strength, And makes my way perfect (Psalm 18:32, NKJV)

-For You (God)  have armed me with strength for the battle (Psalm 18:30, NKJV)

3) Heirs to God’s unspeakable  joy

“….Do not grieve, for the joy of the Lord is your strength.”  (Nehemiah 8:10, NKJV)

“ You will show me the path of life; In Your presence is fullness of joy; At Your right hand are pleasures forevermore” (Psalm 16:11, NKJV)

4) Heirs to the God’s impenetrable protection and defense 

 -I will say of the Lord , “He is my my refuge and my fortress

My God, in Him I will trust (Psalm 91:1, NKJV)

-“for the Lord your God is He who goes with you, to fight for you against your enemies, to save you. (Deuteronomy 20:4, NKJV)

-No man shall be able to stand before you all the days of your life; as I was with Moses, so I will be with you.  I will not leave you nor forsake you (Joshua 1:5, NKJV)

5) Heirs to immortality and eternal life

-For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life (John 3:16, NKJV)

-Most assuredly, I say to you, he who hears My word and believes in Him who sent Me has everlasting life, and shall not come into judgment, but has passed from death to life (John 5:24, NKJV)

This doesn’t begin to scratch the surface of the benefits of being a co-heir with Christ. However, in regards to spiritual warfare, it means that we have the power to live in victory and authority like Jesus did on earth and still does in the heavens.  That God’s very Spirit, the Holy Spirit  works in us and through us to overcome the devil and the demons that operate under him. It was under the teaching of Reverend Eugene Harris, while taking an intercessory prayer class at Greater Allen Cathedral that I really had a better understanding of these concepts as he presented them.  To summarize, remember God has established His kingdom.  And the Kingdom  of God is ever advancing, invincible and has ultimate power.  God and His kingdom reigns and rules over every aspect of existence:  the components of the universe, the earth,  the natural world and the spiritual realm including angels, Satan and demons.  When Christ died and was resurrected, he was given authority and power over God’s kingdom, which essentially means power over any and everything.  As children of God we are citizens of that great Kingdom.  Yet not just average citizens, but figures of authority because, ” God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly places… “(Ephesians 2:6).  In other words, as Reverend Eugene so clearly put it:  we have been established in government with Christ.  Just like any high-ranking citizen in any government seat, we have certain privileges, benefits, rights and jurisdictions in the Kingdom and when we claim jurisdiction for God’s kingdom, the old rules no longer apply.

For example when Columbus or other explorers of old landed on new land and planted the flag for Spain, England or whatever country they represented,  the old rules of that conquered land no longer had application. The new land is now under the jurisdiction of the conquering country.  In the same way when we go representing the kingdom of God and establish jurisdiction, Satan and his demons are limited to and must submit to the laws of God kingdom.  Satan can do nothing without God’s allowance and demonic forces are limited to the rules and regulations of God’s kingdom.  Hence, in this fallen world, cancer wrecks bodies, people are lame and the blind can’t see. But when you walk with the power of God and take authority as a citizen of God’s kingdom those old rules no longer apply.  In the kingdom of God at our command and in our authority through the power of God, the blind see, the lame walk, cancer must die,  demons must flee and miraculous things  take place.  Jesus performed great signs, wonders and astounding miracles here on earth. Yet he tells us that “whoever believes in me will do the works I have been doing and they will do greater things than these…” (John 14;12, NIV).  Imagine we have the power to do greater things than Jesus did.  Now that’s astounding and maybe even hard to believe. But believe it!   He has given us “authority to trample on serpents and scorpions and over all the power of the enemy…” (Luke 10:19, NKJV)

So beloved, take authority over depression, sickness, debt, anxiety, distractions.  Tear down everything that dares to oppose God’s will for your life.  Arise in God’s power! Arise in  your authority! Arise as the royalty you are and as a child of the Most High!

Because Jesus rose in power on the third day….and yet still I rise.

With peace and blessings may you continue to rise,

stillirise323

Man to man is so unjust, you don’t know who to trust….  Those were the famous first words in Bob Marley’s “Who the Cap Fits.  Where were you when you first heard the verdict in the Trayvon Martin Case?  I was leaving a celebratory BBQ at a friend’s house– her completing her Masters degree in Public Health.  A wonderful time of joy, fun and laughter celebrating this commendable achievement. Then suddenly the words rang out “George Zimmerman not guilty”!

A feeling of heaviness and sadness came over me. Not so much anger, but sadness and a deep disappointment.  The friend who shared the news said she felt the same.  She was the first I heard echo the sentiment that it seems America is sending the message that the lives of black people have no value. The contrast of the moment was overwhelming.  My friend as a young black woman, already a medical doctor, now with another accolade of Master’s degree in public health. The doors for great potential and endless possibilities of success now wide open for her life.    The life of Trayvon Martin cut suddenly at age 17,  never to realize his full potential on earth.  Never to earn a degree, master a craft, father his own children, travel the world .  Who knows what his journey would have been or where life would have taken him?  Now we will never know.  It hurts people, it hurts.  Even though I don’t know him, we don’t know him…it hurts.

 Why?  Because as a black woman and part of a black heritage, Trayvon represents and could be anybody I love…my brother, son, husband, father, uncle, friend.  I am sure I speak for many when I say that at the back of  my mind is that slight twinge of concern and the burning question:  Are we as black people in America, especially our black men really safe?  It is not something I sit and lose sleep over.  I have faith that the blood of Jesus was not shed in vain.  That Jehovah Saboath (Lord of the living armies) hears my prayers and protects me and my loved ones.  But the human side of me says, who’s to say that could never be me or someone I love. It is not impossible for me to walk out my door and my life cut short because of the melanin in my skin.  As much as we try not to make things about race, the blatant fact is this episode is about race, just like so many things in the United States of America.  Unless you are a black person in America you will never understand what it’s like to be stopped and terrorized on the highway just because of the  color of your skin, to be walking on the street and have a racial slur hurled at you for no apparent reason, to live in a mostly white neighborhood and see your Caucasian neighbor say hello to their white counterparts but ignore you as you offer a greeting. How as black physician in training you have to give 150%–100% is not good enough; the shock and the grimace on a patient’s face that says “the doctor is black” when you enter the exam room  and the bombardment of questions fired at you simply because your clinical judgment is not trusted. The feeling of “she couldn’t possibly know what she is talking about.”  It hurts people, it hurts….. You see it, you feel it and you know it.  But you do your job and you move on.  Over and over again, American society continues to suppress and condemn black people and minorities in general.  But this is beyond race.  I don’t consider myself racist and I could never condemn a whole race of people because of the ignorance of a few.  There is good and bad in all segments of society and evil knows no color, gender or nationality.  But ladies and gentleman we can’t be surprised anymore.  The bible is the infallible truth.  Even God himself said in Genesis that “…the imagination of man’s heart is evil from his youth…(Genesis 8:21, NKJV) after he destroyed everything on the earth with the exception of Noah, his family and a few selected  animals. So if God, who is the supreme Creator and ruler of the earth, holy, righteous and untainted could become frustrated with the corruption of man’s heart enough to just wipe them out, imagine how we as human beings must feel.  We are in a fallen world and injustice and sin are rampant.  Whether you accept it or not times are dread.  In an earlier post, I wrote about spiritual warfare.  This Trayvon Martin case and the injustices in America are examples of spiritual warfare at it’s height.   As I said before, the bottom line is Satan and his kingdom are constantly trying to oppose anything relating to God and His kingdom.  We are all God’s creation although we are all not God’s children.  So even if you are not a child of God (i.e. someone who has accepted the gift of salvation and made Jesus Lord and Savior of your life), the mere fact that you exist and are a creation of God,  makes you a target of Satan and his antics regardless of whether you are for or against God.   The Enemy continues to use race, social status, religion, nationality, gender and all kinds of labels to bring division and dissension among the people of the world.  Whether it is a Muslim believer being automatically labeled as the Taliban, a gay man being beaten for his sexual orientation, white man being called a cracker or a Hispanic man being profiled because of his culture, discrimination at any level is wrong.  And when we walk in disunity and disharmony, we only end up destroying one another and the Enemy wins.  He has satisfied his agenda.  Yet despite it all we overcome the kingdom of darkness with love.  The love of God does not discriminate and God is not a a respecter of persons.  He loves the murdered and the murderer, the raped and the rapist, the thief and the victim. He doesn’t love their sinful acts, but he loves the person.  Make no mistake–it is hard or unnatural to love like this.  Quite frankly, some people make it hard to love them.  Yet we can do it with the help and grace of our supernatural God. When you allow God to fill you with His love, you will love others like God loves…even the unloveable. 

Furthermore, we are called to be the light in the dark places and to reflect God’s glory.  Even in the stench of sin, evil and wickedness, we are to shine our light and reflect the goodness of God. 

In situations like this Travyon Martin case, it is so natural to ask why?  Why Lord did you let Zimmerman get away?  Why wasn’t justice served?  I hear the Lord saying “Beloved, do not avenge yourselves, but rather give place to wrath; for it is written, “Vengeance is Mine, I will repay….”(Romans 12:19, NKJV).  It feels natural to want to fight and  make this wrong right. To act out in rage. I don’t believe we are suppose to just sit back and not rally for justice.  It’s ok to protest peacefully, to make our voices heard and to bring about change in flaws in our justice system.  But in the end we leave it in God’s hands. We serve a sovereign God who sits on the throne; whose power is limitless; nothing escapes him–not even the Travyon Martin trial;  If you think within the limits of this life, it seems that the evil and wicked, especially in this case are literally  getting  away with murder. But in the span of eternity, judgment will come at some point and all scales will be balanced.   Do we trust God enough to know we don’t have to make things even?  That God will vindicate if not now, then  in the realm of eternity and that His righteous judgment will prevail and His will has to be done?

 Lastly, the Lord as a way of making all things work together for the good. God is not a God of waste.  He takes even the biggest mess and recycles it into something meaningful.  Even in Trayvon’s death there is a purpose.  Just like our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, sometimes one must be crucified to save many.  We don’t know what the full impact of this murder trial will bring. But already it has caused people from all walks of life around the world to unify in the name of justice, it could perpetually bring about reform in self-defense and gun laws and you never know how God could change Zimmerman’s heart for the better. For me it really highlights how much I really need to draw near to, rest in and trust God because truly we are prey to the wolves without His love and protection.  

 So let us lift up Travyon, Zimmerman and all involved in prayer and let God’s glory be seen even in this.  God is saying can you stand on your faith and still walk in love as a true disciple of Christ in the face of injustice.  Yes–stand up and protest in  righteous indignation, but walk in love and  don’t stoop down to worldly ignorance….and yet still I rise….

 With peace and blessings may you continue to rise always,

stillirise323