Surrender. Obedience. Attack.

 

I’ve decided that you can learn a lot if you’re willing to pay attention to detail. Especially in the Bible. Recently, I read through Psalm 40. It’s an amazing Psalm, but I noticed something this time that I’d never noticed before. There’s an order in how it is written. Specifically throughout verses 6-13, as we see David’s heart poured out before God. 


“Sacrifice and offering thou didst not desire; mine ears hast thou opened: burnt-offering and sin-offering hast thou not required. Then said I, Lo, I come: in the volume of the book it is written of me, I delight to do thy will, O my God; yea, thy law is within my heart.” (Psalms 40:6-8) 



Surrender:  It is almost impossible for God to do anything with someone who isn’t surrendered to do His will. David knew this. God didn’t want Sacrifice and burn-offerings. He didn’t even want sin-offerings. He wanted complete surrender. God is not a tyrant. He won’t force Himself upon you. Does He allow things in our lives to get our attention? Absolutely. He lovingly draws all men. But forced love is not love at all. Forced obedience is not service, but slavery. The surrender of our wills to His lordship is not something He demands…but something He asks. It is given. And when we get real with God, when we humble ourselves, when we repent before Him, when we realize just who we are and who He is, we can say like David, “Lo, I come…and…”I delight to thy will“. 


 After the first nuclear bombing on Japan, near the end of World War II, Japan sought for “conditional surrender”. However, these terms were not accepted and the United States of America insisted upon “unconditional surrender” or further destruction. This was proven by the 2nd nuclear bomb that hit Japan, for which afterward, Japan unconditionally surrendered. I think sometimes this is like us with God. The Bible says that we cannot serve two masters. But we try to. We come to God with “conditional surrender”. (Lord, I surrender, but _________.)  But conditions with surrender are not acceptable terms to God. He desires “unconditional surrender”. 



Obedience: To say that we are surrendered to God, and yet, we do nothing that He says… means, in fact, we truly aren’t surrendered to God. We are most certainly lying. We may not know that we are lying…but in truth, we are. The book of James makes this very clear. We may very well be self-deceived. This is why it is important to ask God to search our hearts continually.


And after David came in surrender to Christ, after he told the Lord that he delighted to his will… God took him up on it. And what do we see?


“I have preached righteousness in the great congregation: lo, I have not refrained my lips, O LORD, thou knowest. I have not hid thy righteousness within my heart; I have declared thy faithfulness and thy salvation: I have not concealed thy lovingkindness and thy truth from the great congregation.” (Psalm 40:9-10)


I am amazed by the things David declares in these verses. He preached righteousness. (As woman, we aren’t given the liberty to “preach” exactly, but proclaiming righteousness isn’t necessarily just seen through what we might consider “traditional preaching”, but also through our actions and daily lives.) David refrained not his lips. He spoke out. He witnessed. He was bold in proclaiming truth. He declared the faithfulness of God. He declared the salvation of God. He concealed not the Lord’s lovingkindness. In other words, he loved people. David also said that he had not “hid the Lord’s righteousness within [his] heart.” He extended it to others. This really stood out to me. A lot of Christians today are content to keep God for themselves. They “hide Him”, if you would, within their own comfort-ability and houses. But not David. And this is all said of the person God said before, was a “man after his own heart“. This is all said, right after David surrendered to do the Lord’s will. 



Attack: 


Withhold not thou thy tender mercies from me, O LORD: let thy lovingkindness and thy truth continually preserve me. For innumerable evils have compassed me about: mine iniquities have taken hold upon me, so that I am not able to look up; they are more than the hairs of mine head: therefore my heart faileth me. Be pleased, O LORD, to deliver me: O LORD, make haste to help me.” (Psalm 40:11-13)


When you submit yourself to God. When you set out to do His will. When you are serious about righteousness. When you set out to actively obey Him. Be sure of it. You WILL be attacked. Sometimes, it takes us by surprise…but it shouldn’t. Satan is a deceitful and ruthless enemy. He sets out to destroy. He isn’t interested in playing games. He isn’t okay with you being a light in darkness. He isn’t happy about sincere and real Christianity. But, this shouldn’t stop us. We shouldn’t allow it to discourage us! God is so much greater! 


I’ve never experienced more spiritual attack in my whole life than I have this past year. It is a very REAL thing and it can take many different forms. David describes some of them here in these verses. Innumerable evils. Iniquities (sins), to the point that he isn’t even able to look up to God. This one is the most subtle and shocking when it comes. Also known as, condemnation. I’ve seen over and over again, when you step out in obedience to serve God, your past sin creeps in to haunt you, to condemn you, to discourage you. Sometimes, it is just seeing your flesh for what it truly is (wretched) …and allowing it to make you feel worthless and hopeless and unable to be of any use to God. This isn’t the spirit of Christ. God already KNEW who you were before you suddenly became aware of it yourself. Your sin isn’t shocking to Him. He knew. He knows. But sometimes it is shocking to us. Maybe because we are self-deceived into thinking that we really weren’t as bad as the Bible made us out to be. But your sin isn’t the biggest problem to God. He already paid for it on the cross of Calvary. He has already forgiven you, if you accept that forgiveness. But Satan loves to back us into a corner that cripples us to any action. He wants you to give up. He wants you to feel worthless. He wants to, as he subtly did to Eve, get us to doubt that God really loves us and has the best in store for us. Satan, in any way he can, wants to distract you from looking towards God. If he can simply get you to take your eyes off Christ and place them on yourself…he’s won a victory. Because it’s when we look at ourselves, we either become proud or discouraged and are therefore hindered in our work for God. David knew what it was to have your heart fail you. And it came after he set out in obedience to God. Don’t be surprised when the enemy sneaks in to attack you in any way he can. Instead, be ready. Seek God. Through submission and resistance, he will flee. David said, “make haste to help me“. If we are on God’s side…than it stands true that He is on our side too. 


God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. Therefore will not we fear, though the earth be removed, and though the mountains be carried into the midst of the sea; (Psalm 46:1 and 2)


I’m learning to be encouraged, instead of discouraged, when attack comes beating down. Because, it means God is doing something. That Satan has a reason to be afraid. And God certainly won’t leave you alone. He wants you to submit to His good will. He wants to use you for His kingdom, more than you know. 

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The War We Forget

This is a longer post, but I know I was allowed to write this for a reason and for specific people.  I hope it is a blessing.

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If we are followers of God, and walk in love, as Christ has loved us, redeeming the time, submitting ourselves one to another, and obeying Jesus in the details of our life, we can be sure of this – the devil seeks us, to devour us, as a roaring lion. Us personally.

 

Lately my family, as well as church family, have been confronted by the enemy. I am convinced in my heart that right now a spiritual battle is being fought, desperately against us. Our adversary is prepared to take on his prey.

 

He is a murderer from the beginning. John 8:44. He hates those that open their mouth for the dumb in the cause of those that are appointed to destruction. If you are an abolitionist against human abortion, the devil hates you. You are now a target.

 

If you are a innocent, if you have committed to purity of heart, you are a target. If you are a parent, and seek to train up your children in the way they should go, you are a target. If you are a willing channel, and walk in the Spirit, you are a target. If you influence souls, you are a target.

 

This is reality, not just a spiritual phenomenon. Whether we are prepared or not, our enemy is skilled and cunning. He seeks to take advantage over us. (2 Corinthians 2:11.)

 

And yet, our enemy is predictable. We are not ignorant of his devices. And Jesus has given us armor against him. Our part is to be sober and vigilant and to take on that armor. This is an evil day (Eph.6:13) and we must stand. Principalities, powers, rulers of darkness, and spiritual wickedness stand at your gates.

 

Our Armor

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Truth

 We are to be girt with truth. There is no truth in our enemy. When he speaks he lies, for he is a liar and the father of it. (John 8:44). He will lie to us. He will tempt us to lie. He would have us in bondage to lies and sin and fear.

Jesus is Truth. He says he is the way, the truth and the life. (John 14:6). And that the truth will set us free. (John 8:32). We have not received the bondage of fear but the true Spirit of adoption whereby we cry “Abba Father”. (Romans 8:15). Truth will shield us.

 

Breastplate of Righteousness

We are born sinners. In a wretched state. But Christ in his mercy stole our earthly heritage and made us his joint heirs by His righteous blood. He is not only truth, but He is righteousness (1 John 2:29) and any righteousness through us, is Him. Our righteous stand before God gives us peace (Rom 5:1-5). We can stand in quiet confidence because before God we are righteous. Righteous instruments that He can now use. (Rom 6:13). With His breastplate of righteousness, sin no more has dominion over us.

 

He that walketh righteously, and speaketh uprightly; he that despiseth the gain of oppressions, that shaketh his hands from holding of bribes, that stoppeth his ears from hearing of blood, and shutteth his eyes from seeing evil; He shall dwell on high: his place of defense shall be the munitions of rocks: bread shall be given him; his waters shall be sure.” Isaiah 33:15-16

Preparation of the Gospel

The Bible says that the gospel of Christ is the power of God unto salvation. (Rom. 1:16). Paul was unashamed of the gospel and was ready to preach the gospel, knowing that righteousness is revealed through it. All of mankind is seeking peace; they hold truth in their unrighteous hands and don’t know what to do with it. “For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who hold the truth in unrightesouness.” And we should be prepared to give every man an answer to that which lieth in us. (1 Peter 3:15). And that answer is the gospel of peace. (Eph. 6:15).

Shield of Faith


Shield 


1. To cover, as with a shield; to cover from danger; to defend; to protect; to secure form assault or injury.
2. To ward off; to defend against; as clothes shield one from the cold.

 

The Bible says we can resist and remain stedfast against the devil in faith. Why? Because faith believes that “the God of all grace, who hath called us…after we have suffered a while, make you perfect, stablish, strengthen, settle you.” 

(2 Peter 5:9-10)  

Faith can cast all it’s care upon Him and trust Him and know that He cares. (2 Peter 5:7).  Faith dares to ask anything of her Father. 

Matthew 21:22 

“And all things, whatsoever ye shall ask in prayer, believing, ye shall receive.”


 Faith can move mountains. Faith believes and knows the love God has toward us. Faith boldly dwells in love and Love dwells in her. Faith does not fear, but enables the heart to love. And perfect love casts out fear. (1 John 4:16-18.)  Faith is a shield of confidence. (1 John 5:14-15). Faith secures us against assault. The fiery darts of the wicked.

 

…faith is not a once-done act, but a continuous gaze of the heart at the Triune God. …While we are looking at God we do not see ourselves– blessed riddance. The man who has struggled to purify himself and has had nothing but repeated failures will experience real relief when he stops tinkering with his soul and looks away to the perfect One. While he looks at Christ, the very things he has so long been trying to do will be getting done within him. It will be God working in him to will and to do. …Faith looks out instead of in and the whole life falls into line.” A.W. Tozer (Pursuit of God, 83)

The Helmet of salvation

All would be null and void without the saving blood of Jesus Christ on our account. By grace and faith are we saved, (Eph 2:8-9) in Jesus Christ alone.  There is no other salvation in anyone else, “for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.” (Acts 4:12).

 

The Sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God

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I was standing, alone, out in a field, trying to pray. And they surrounded me on every side. Demons. I was terrified, too scared to run back home – what if they just followed me? Only a few weeks ago my brother was confronted by them as well. So I started praying aloud. I still felt desperate. So I started quoting Scripture, and the strain melted away. They were gone.

 

I don’t know how common spiritual attack is in different families, but my family has definitely had our fair share. Whether in sudden fear, battles with depression, evil imaginations, or direct attack, we’ve experienced it. Through it all, we have learned that those who rule the darkness hate scripture.

Hebrews 4:12 says that the word of God is quick and powerful and sharper than any two edged sword. It pierces and divides asunder the soul and spirit and discerns thoughts and intents of the heart. God asks – “Is not my word like a fire…and like a hammer that breaketh the rock in pieces? (Jer.23:29)

 

We can only be thoroughly furnished by knowing His word. (2 Tim. 3:16-17).

Prayer

Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints…” Eph. 6:18

 

I am convinced that we, and others, suffer because we forget to ask.

We hope God will work in our behalf. Sometimes desperately hope. Or we feel like we just need to “take it on the chin” and bear it all cheerfully. Or trials weigh us down, the enemy beats down,we are surrounded so we whimper. And our Father, with baited breath, waits for us to call on Him. He wants to prove himself. And then when we finally resort to prayer, we ask him for a sip — when He’s ready to pour out the ocean.

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I’ve asked many people if they know whether they will go to heaven or not when they die. And many answer. “I hope so.” We know that that person’s eternity is at stake. How about us who “hope” God will work in us and for us?

 

When is the last time we sincerely persevered in prayer for something or someone? Have we recently asked God for something and knew He would answer? If we ask anything according to His will, he hears us. And if He hears us we can know for certain that we have whatever petition that we desire. God says so. (1 John 5:14-15).

 

I recently have been praying very specific things for certain people. And these people have told me (without any clue that I’ve been praying for them) how God has taught them this, or done this thing for them, or helped them in this area. God loves to work specifics. He loves to work outside the box. He enjoys proving Himself and getting glory. But He chooses to use channels. We’ve got to be available and willing.

 

When is the last time we came together, as siblings in Christ, and prayed for something? God says that that we can ask anything and it will be done for us. Where two or three are gathered together in His name He is in the midst of them. (Matthew 18:19-20.)

 

Image result for armor of godOver and over He asks (and commands) us to come to Him and ask. I wonder how many times we have grieved Him because He waited to give us a blessing, and we never came to receive it? How many times has He desired to bless someone else through us as a channel but we weren’t there…we never asked, we didn’t come.

 

If ye abide in me, and my words abide in you, ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you.” John 15:7

 

Mark 11:24 Therefore I say unto you, what things soever ye desire, when ye pray, believe that ye receive them, and ye shall have them.

 

And I say unto you, Ask , and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you.” Luke 11:9

 

James 5:16 “Confess your faults one to another, and pray one for another, that ye may be healed. The effectual prayer of a righteous man availeth much.

 

Call unto me, and I will answer thee, and shew thee great and mighty thing, which thou knowest not.” Jeremiah 33:3

Psalms 34:17 “The righteous cry, and the LORD heareth, and delievereth them out of all their troubles.”  

Trained to War

This morning Jesus showed me that He has conquered demons through me.  And it isn’t me at all — HE has girded me with strength to battle, He spread them abroad.  He avenged me.  He lifted me up on high above them that rose against me.  He has delivered me from the violent.  (2 Samuel 22)


My burden hasn’t gone away.  I am still on a battle front.  The devil still seeks me out.  These won’t change.  But!  He has given me supernatural acceptance and compassion.  He has given me a spiritual mission.  One that involves pain.  But He has supplied me with all I need to face them.  He conquers demons through helpless, vulnerable, weak channels.  He loves working through incompetent channels; He enjoys using the weak.  I am amazed at how simple it is.  Painful, but simple.  


I wonder how much we limit Him and His angles because we choose to be blase’ and silly on the battle field.  There is a cost to following Him.  There is a cost to allowing Him to love through us.  There is a battle.  A war.  And no matter our distracted state, our adversary is full-time employed. The devil’s only stumbling block – the warrior Christian. Those who are sober and vigilant. Who pray – believing behind their shield of faith. Those who use the word of God. The demons are only conquered by believing, willing, helpless Christians. Jesus is teaching my hands to war. Praise Him! He has given me peace. He has answered specific prayers. He loves answering specific prayers. The Spirit world is so real; so important. I am amazed at how joined the spirit world is with the physical. My work, my home, they are both battlefields. Like a friend so recently said, there is no such thing as a non-combatant in this war. We are all players, whether we want to be or not. When we fall asleep, we are not normally the devil’s priority, but he has no qualms of slaying us then. But jump into the fray and we are lighted targets. We shine in a dark place and he will try to take us out.

Our Weaknesses

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I’ve wondered why evil seems to know our weaknesses so well. I remember a pastor telling me that he wouldn’t mention his weaknesses aloud for fear the enemy would hear. They already know. How – I have no idea. But they know the secret unmentioned weaknesses. Yet, it doesn’t matter. Because it’s our weaknesses God can so greatly use. The very thing that haunts us about ourselves is the most powerful link to His power. Because there is absolutely nothing we can do with it. Weakness is difficult to rely on. Which is perfect for Him, because we can’t get in the way. God knows our weakness better than we do. If He molded our strengths, it is not too long of a stretch to believe that He has given us our weaknesses. Where we are weak we can be sure that there is the place He intends to use us the most.

 

The greater our weakness, the greater His glory. The more abnormal our weakness, the more supernatural He will prove. Guilt is something to shun. Our weakness in not an accident. We are not broken. There is nothing to fix. Our weakness in not a crutch but a sword!

 

Loneliness may be a companion, if so we must learn to embrace it. God works miracles in lonely places. The enemy has bows of steel. We have our weaknesses. Satan’s archers have had thousands of years of experience, but we have the Creator God who is Forever, that moves and lives through us.

 

You are godly with God in you. You are righteous with Christ’s blood atonement. We are joint-heirs, children of God, pure and holy – nothing less. Christ doesn’t see us as less because we aren’t less. He has trusted us with our weakness. The greater our weakness the more proof of His trust and great expectations. We are exactly what He intended. Accept it, and we will find an incredible journey before us. It doesn’t matter if we choose to go through it with open alertness and armor, or asleep and hateful – either way is painful. But with one we are not to be used, misery will depress us – or, we can be channels in which He receives glory, and demons are conquered, and our scars will be for Him.