Archive for the ‘ Spiritual Warfare ’ Category

Giving in Worship

In the last three weeks we have looked at the Word and prayer as it relates to spiritual warfare. 2 Corinthians 10:4 KJV “For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strongholds;” Ephesians tells us that we do not wrestle with flesh and blood but with principalities, powers, and rulers of darkness. Part of our warfare is worship and giving. Many times we have a tendency to separate these two things, yet Scripture says God loves a cheerful or worshipful giver. In the Jewish culture, giving was a very intentional part of worship.

The Church also sees giving as worship but in many cases giving has been removed as a part of actual worship, through online giving, boxes in the back and other things, I think we have lost a worshipful expression in giving. Look at Malachi 3:11 KJV “And I will rebuke the devourer for your sake…” When we give, God Himself does battle on our behalf. This is a key element of our warfare.

Worship defined in the Noah Webster 1828 Dictionary is extreme submission. Yes, worship is singing, clapping, raising our hands, etc. it is also giving and much more. James 4:7-8 KJV ” submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. 8 Draw nigh to God, and he will draw nigh to you. Cleanse your hands, ye sinners; and purify your hearts, ye double minded.”

Part of our warfare is submitting to God. We cannot resist the devil if we are not first submitted to God. Part of that submission, our worship to God is found in Malachi chapter 3:8-11 KJV “Will a man rob God? Yet ye have robbed me. But ye say, Wherein have we robbed thee? In tithes and offerings. Ye are cursed with a curse: for ye have robbed me, even this whole nation. 10 Bring ye all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be meat in mine house, and prove me now herewith, saith the Lord of hosts, if I will not open you the windows of heaven, and pour you out a blessing, that there shall not be room enough to receive it.11 And I will rebuke the devourer for your sakes, and he shall not destroy the fruits of your ground; neither shall your vine cast her fruit before the time in the field, saith the Lord of hosts.”

Before we break this down, notice it is tithes and offerings. When we give our tithe so that the house of God is taken care of but it is our offerings that open the windows of heaven and get the devour rebuked. many of us have wondered why we give but are not prospering, the key of prosperity is not found in the tithe but the offering. Each of us will walk in a level of blessing when we tithe, giving offerings take us to another level.

The Lord works with each of us where we are at; if you’ve never tithed to your church, start there. If you’ve tithed but have never consistently given offerings, begin to give. If your church has a missions program, begin giving to it. If a particular ministry is a blessing to you, sow into them. If your city has a food bank, take some can goods. Giving is not always money. We can give of our time, our talents and monetarily. Giving, true giving from the heart and not out of compulsion is joyful, we will enjoy giving if it’s in our hearts to do so. When we give out of guilt or pressure there will be no harvest that comes from that. If we are giving with no joy but only to receive, there will not be anything coming back to us.

Worship and giving are weapons in our warfare but in order for them to be effective we must use them properly and that means worshiping and giving with a right heart. Let’s take a moment today and examine our motives in giving and in our worship. Let’s look at the regularity of our worship, is it a church thing or a daily thing? Is our giving regular, are we praying about what and where to give? are we doing both of these things with joy in our hearts?

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Prayers That Produce Results

The last couple of weeks I have been praying/telling allergies to leave me and I have continued to deal with them. This morning the Holy Spirit said, the reason you are still dealing with these allergies is because you address them once a day and you are not in the Word concerning your healing. Needless to say, I paused after hearing this and the verse from James, the effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much came to mind. I wondered what the words effectual and fervent really meant so I a grabbed my concordance to look them up.

The word effectual is Strong’s #154 and means to be active, efficient, to be mighty, and to show forth self. The word fervent is Strong’s #2205/2204 to be hot. It wasn’t heard to see that my believing for allergies to be gone was not falling into this category. I share this story because it is easy for our prayers to become routine and to actually lack any faith being behind the words we are speaking. To be active and efficient in prayer means not to give up, to constantly speak the Word over a situation. To show forth yourself is to continue believing and speaking no matter what things may look like.

Prayer is a spiritual weapon that many of us don’t use. many are familiar with the armor of God in Ephesians chapter six but many times we stop with the sword of the Spirit but Ephesians 6:18 KJV says, “Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints;” The heading in my Old Scofield says, “The warrior’s resource”. Prayer is a resource in our life. The Amplified Bible says praying with all types of prayers. There are different levels of prayer and different ways to pray. We shouldn’t pray the same way over our food as we wood someone believing for healing of an incurable disease. We don’t use the same Scriptures believing for finances as we do family. The verse also says praying in the Spirit. Many of us don’t use the gift of praying in tongues as we should.

So how do we keep from having a mundane prayer life? One thing I suggest is having a designated time of prayer that is separate from your morning prayer time which for most is during your ride to work and that is great. Along with that we need a time set aside for deeper and more concentrated prayer. I’m not saying you have to start off with an hour start with thirty minutes, which is split with fifteen minutes; five spent in worship, five spent in reading a couple verses and five praying. Pretty soon your fifteen minutes will become thirty, becomes forty-five, becomes an hour.

The reason I suggest worship and reading as part of our prayer time is because worship slows us down and gets our minds set on God. Reading a few verses refreshes our minds and puts us in a place of faith which lends to more faith filled praying.

I know I have caught myself even when I have put specific time aside when I pray that at times I will ramble and not know the direction I need to be going. It helps to focus our prayers by having Scriptures that pertain to that area so we can pray the Bible. James says we can pray amiss, when we are basing our prayers from the Scripture it guards against that as well as helps provide direction in our prayers.

I want to close out this post by talking about a form of prayer that is not utilized among many of us as believers. Jude 20 KJV “But ye, beloved, building up yourselves on your most holy faith, praying in the Holy Ghost”.

Praying in tongues and speaking in tongues are two totally different things. Speaking in tongues requires an interpretation and is meant as edification and instruction for the church. Praying in tongues is personal, private and builds up our own faith. When we pray in the Spirit we are causing the Word in us to be built up and come alive.

Have you ever found yourself in a situation not knowing what to pray or how to pray? Romans 8:26-27 in the Amplified Classic has the answer, “So too the [Holy] Spirit comes to our aid and bears us up in our weakness; for we do not know what prayer to offer, nor how to offer it worthily as we ought, but the Spirit Himself goes to meet our supplication and pleads in our behalf with unspeakable yearnings and groanings  too deep for utterance. 27 And He Who searches the hearts of men knows what is the mind of the [Holy] Spirit [what His intent is], because the Spirit intercedes and pleads [before God] in behalf of the saints according to and in harmony with God’s will.”

For us, prayer should never become mundane, boring or “routine”. Our prayer lives should always be fresh, praying in the Spirit helps keep a freshness to our prayer lives. As the Holy Spirit reminded me today, there has to be faith behind prayer. My prayer for healing of allergies was just words, I didn’t have my eyes on the Word, I wasn’t feeding on healing Scriptures. As Brother Jesse Duplantis says, “faith doesn’t store up, once you use it for a situation, you have to get back in the Word and get more.” Romans 10:17 says faith comes by hearing and hearing comes by God’s Word. In order to have a producing prayer life we must have faith and there is great faith, little faith and no faith. To have great faith we must be in the Word.

This all sounds so simple because God made it so, it’s just at times we forget the simplicity. Let’s be reminded of basing our prayer on the Word, being in the Word so the Word can come out of us and produce prayers that see answers.

 

Resources to develop your prayer life:

Prayers that Avail Much by Germaine Copeland

The Power of Your Words by E. W. Kenyon and Don Gossett

Putting The Word to Work

Last week we talked about how the Word will work for us in any situation and how it is important that it is a revelation in our own hearts and minds and not just something we heard from someone else or read in a book. I enjoy listening to good Bible teaching and reading books but unless I am in reading and studying the Word for myself, taking what I learn from others and studying it out it hasn’t become revelation it’s just information and it’s revelation not information that leads to transformation.

Ephesians 1:17-18 KJV says, “That the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give unto you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of him: 18 The eyes of your understanding being enlightened; that ye may know what is the hope of his calling, and what the riches of the glory of his inheritance in the saints,”

Let’s break this down. The spirit of wisdom and revelation – In the knowledge of Him.

Why? That the eyes of our understanding would be enlightened.

For? That we know the hope of our calling and our inheritance.

This is a snapshot of the Christian life. We grow in wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of Jesus who is the word of God (John 1:1, 14; Revelation 19:13) and in knowing the Word and applying it in and to how we live we can know our calling, fulfill our destiny and have an inheritance now and in eternity.

The Greek word for revelation in this verse means an uncovering, a manifestation, a coming to light. As we read and study there needs to be an uncovering of truth that produces light in our lives that causes transformation which leads to the manifestation of the goodness of God in every area of our lives.  Many believers though can have a hard time knowing where to start, what to do and how to apply what they read. This is the reason why so many of us at times have tried to copy our favorite teachers and wonder why it doesn’t work. Copying what someone else did does not necessarily mean we have a revelation of what we’re doing, we could be doing something without understanding the why behind it.

The Apostle Paul commended a particular church group for studying out what he taught. Paul would come in and preach but in turn the congregation would review their notes, study and apply the teaching to their lives. We can be great note takers but unless we’re reviewing our notes and studying them out during the week it does us no good. Today I want to help us put the Word to work in our lives by talking about how to read, study, confess and pray the Word of God. I also want to end with an ancient secret in the Bible about a very special portion and promise in the Word of God.

Reading a chapter a day

The easiest way to develop the habit of Bible reading is to make a quality decision to read a chapter of the Bible every day. Proverbs is a great place to start; it has thirty-one chapters and can be read through each month. There are many daily Bible reading programs available on the Bible app you use. While it is good to read through the Bible at least once, I personally do not encourage it yearly because if you miss a day or more it can get frustrating and often times we can tend to hurry through the reading.

Reading and studying are not synonyms, when reading make note of things you would like to study later.  It is also good to read through the gospels, Paul’s epistles (excluding First and second timothy), and first five books of the Bible, this gives you 364 readings.

The benefit of developing and maintaining a daily reading habit is found in Proverbs 3:-2 AMPC “My son, forget not my law or teaching, but let your heart keep my commandments; for length of days and years of a life [worth living] and tranquility [inward and outward and continuing through old age till death], these shall they add to you”. And Proverbs 4:20-22 AMPC “My son, attend to my words; consent and submit to my sayings. Let them not depart from your sight; keep them in the center of your heart. For they are life to those who find them, healing and health to all their flesh.”

Studying the Bible

In the summer we will do a series covering each Bible study method, today, we will do an overview of how to study the notes we take from a message and/or study the message of a book or devotional you may be reading. Many pastors provide outlines of their messages so it makes studying a bit easier. if your Pastor does not give out outlines make note of the title/topic, each Scripture reference and main points.

To study read the chapter of each text. It is important to note that studying isn’t done in one day but it is done continually over several days. Some studies will be short and others will take more time based on the interest you have in the subject. It’s important not to rush studying but take your time and allow yourself to dig in to the material.

To help you study I recommend:

A Bible with cross-references, if not a study Bible

Concordance (Strong’s Concordances come available in many translations

Pen and highlighter(s) – I color code by subject.

As you read write down words that stick out to you and look them up in the concordance (find the word and the verse, and look up the number next to it in the back of the concordance, Old Testament is Hebrew and the New Testament is Greek. Example: (Faith – Mark 11:22 – 4102, I’ll flip back to the Greek and look for 4102). This helps understand the deeper meaning of words in the Bible, the Amplified Bible is also a good tool to help you dive deeper.

Bible study can sometimes feel like you are chasing rabbits with going from verse to verse using cross references and looking things up in a concordance but we are actually following the thread of Scripture connecting one verse to another and one promise to another. You can study a chapter, a verse, a book, a character, or a subject and we will go over all of these in the summer. Using your pastors notes or a devotional to base your study off of will help guide you in what to study and give you deeper insight into the message, so take the verses and look up key words and find others that relate to it. This brings us to the next area.

Confessing and Praying God’s Word

When something sticks out to you in a message, relates to something in your life, or just encourages you, take that verse and make it into a confession.

Psalm 107:20 says that God sent His word to heal and deliver us. Mark 11:23 and 24 says we have what we say and what we pray. It is important for us to speak the Word over our lives and pray the Word of God into situations. If you don’t know where to find a verse on a particular situation look up the subject or word in your Bibles concordance, get a book of Bible promises at your local Christian bookstore or visit the Real Help section of Kenneth Copeland Ministries website .

find a verse or two and make it part of your prayer life and confess it over yourself. For example if you need healing take Isaiah 53:4-5 in the Amplified and make a confession like this, “Jesus bore my sicknesses and weaknesses, He carried my sorrows and by His stripes I am healed and according to Mark 11:24 I am praying in faith and I believe I receive my healing and I call it done.” no matter what the situation is you can find some verses to pray and make a confession with. When we speak God’s word instead of negative things we get good results.

An Ancient Secret, An original Bible Teaching  

All the Bible is available to us but like we talked about in the beginning there are things that must be revealed to us. Just as Jesus taught in parables because it was given to the disciples to know mysteries, they had to search out the meaning of the parables. many things in Jesus day were understood so Jesus didn’t go into a lot of detail but we have a Western-Greek mindset while Jesus and his listeners had an Eastern-Jewish mindset so much of what was known then has become lost to us, so many of us are rediscovering the Bibles original teachings for the first time. One of those teachings is the Mezuzah.

In Deuteronomy chapter six the Hebrews were instructed to teach the Word to their children at home, on the road, when they wake up and when they go to bed. They were also instructed to put the Word on their doorposts. Today this is observed with the use of a Mezuzah a container that is attached to the door frame of the doors of the home (all except the bathroom). The Mezuzah contains a parchment with the words of the Sh’ma of Deuteronomy 6:4 CJB “Sh’ma Yisra’el! ADONAI Eloheinu, ADONAI echad (Hear, Israel! ADONAI our God, ADONAI is one).

Moses received the Torah (first five books of the Bible) on Mount Sinai, this is the written Torah, but there was also the Oral law which taught how to live the Torah which was not officially written until the destruction of the Temple, these writings are known as the Talmud. The teaching is, the home is a mini sanctuary and by placing the Mezuzah on your doorpost your home is dedicated to God and the enemy is not allowed to enter. It is also customary to put the Mezuzah on every door frame inside the home except the bathrooms. this is a reminder of the Word and presence of God in the home. You attach it slanted as a sign of love, compromise, and that differing opinions are both correct in some manner.  Think about this, if every time we walked in and out of a room we paused for a second and honored the Word (you do this by touching your fingers to your lips and then touching the Shaddai), how much more peace would we experience in our home? How much less strife and anger would be present if we were constantly reminded of the Word and presence of God?

This is not a legalistic thing, God intended for this to help remind His people of His Word and presence not just in the Synagogue but in their homes as well. Just as the blood stopped death at the door during Passover, so dedicating our homes, placing Mezuzah’s and making the quality decision for God to be the center of our homes stops the enemies plans in his tracks. All this because we devout time to reading, studying, speaking and praying God’s Word.  

The Word Works

Today we’re beginning a new series on spiritual weapons. 2 Corinthians 10:3-5 KJV “For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war after the flesh:(For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds;)Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ;”

Since the Scripture says our weapons are not carnal that means we have spiritual weapons, our first thoughts probably include the Bible, prayer and worship; all these are weapons that we will be talking about in the coming weeks along with some others.

Let’s look at a few Scriptures about the Word;

2 Timothy 3:16-17 KJV “All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness:17 That the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works.”

Proverbs3:1-2 AMPC “My son forget not my law or teaching, but let your heart keep my commandments; 2 For length of days and years of a life [worth living] and tranquility [inward and outward and continuing through old age till death], these shall they add to you.”

John 15:7 NKJV “If you abide in Me and My words abide in you, you will ask what you desire, and it shall be done for you.”

There are many more verses we could get into but for the sake of length we won’t. Many of us have probably heard messages on these Scriptures, have confessed Scriptures, take copious amounts of notes in church but don’t see the Word working for us, I want us to address that for a moment. I truly believe the title of this post, the Word works, but honestly, sometimes we don’t work it correctly.

I listen to some really good preachers, I go to a good church and I read books but that can’t be my word supply. If I am not in the Word for myself, if I’m not reading and getting my own Scriptures to stand on the Scriptures aren’t going to work for me. Almost all of us have probably heard the verse, you shall know the truth and the truth shall make you free. This is a false statement because the Scripture is out of its context.

John 8:31-32 NKJV “Then Jesus said to the Jews who believed Him, “If you abide in My word, you are My disciples indeed 32 And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.””

We cannot know the truth if we are not abiding in the word. The word abide in the Amplified Classic is defined as, hold fast to my teachings and live in them. The word know means to own the truth, to apply it in every instance and area of life. There was a moment when I realized that just because I listened to someone, took notes and quoted the verses they gave didn’t mean it was a revelation to me. The Word has to be alive to us, we need to dig out the deeper things from notes we take. Devotionals and reading plans are good but unless we develop our spirit man to come to a place to be able to make our own reading plans, finding verses on our own to pray from we are not abiding in the Word. if I rely on my pastor for all my daily reading material I’m only alive (and even then, just barely, only because of him). Many of us have done things we have heard taught that just haven’t worked for us, I submit to us that it didn’t work simply because, yes, it is true, but, no, we didn’t own it.

I believe the Word works, it’s just that many times we don’t work the Word. So how do we get the Word to work for us? I have a challenge for each of us, let’s take the notes we’ve taken over the years find some that really speak to us, read the Scriptures slowly, take them in and study them out. If you don’t have a concordance (a dictionary of Hebrew and Greek words) I would encourage you to get one from a Christian bookstore or online. Most people use the Strong’s Concordance, it is available in many translations. You will look up a word and it will list all the Scripture references, next to every reference is a number that either goes with a number in the Hebrew (Old Testament) or Greek (New Testament) in the back of the concordance. Look for the number and it will give you the definition. You don’t need to do this for every word, just the ones that stand out to you.

If you need healing, a financial breakthrough, family restoration, whatever you need just do a search and go through the Scriptures that come up. We know the Word is alive, but it is truly only alive in us if we are spending time in it.

This may sound very basic to some but I think after a few years of walking with God we can forget the basics and need to be refreshed. We can get in the routine of doing church and see that as our relationship with God, when it is actually our relationship with the rest of the body of Christ.

The Word works, sometimes we don’t work the Word, sometimes we just don’t know what we need to know. Hosea 4:6 says my people are destroyed for lack of knowledge. Just as ignorance of the law won’t get us out of a ticket, ignorance of the Word does not get us out of the issues of not obeying it. We are also responsible for what we are taught, if we are taught a truth and do not obey it, we can hold up the blessing in our lives until we walk in the truth. yes there is grace, but grace does not excuse disobedience. Like the Scripture says, the truth, the truth that you own and do makes you free.

I Know I have made some hard statements in this post, before I write them, I get it for myself. Proverbs says the ones God loves He corrects, let’s take what’s been said and examine our lives and our doings. Many of us have faith, but James says faith without works is dead.

Ask yourself this week, am I working the Word or am I hoping it will work by osmosis?

Next week we will specifically look at how to put the Word to work in our lives.

Battle at the Gates

warriorOver the last several weeks I have written on believing for the supernatural, specifically, the direction we will be going on this blog and in teaching in 2015. Two weeks ago on a Tuesday I began having issues with a sore throat and a cough.

I know we will never obtain something or go to the next level without a fight. When the cough began I immediately began to pray the cough has persisted. I have had friends come into agreement with me concerning my healing and I continue to battle through this cough.

Last night the phrase “battle at the gates” came to my mind and the Holy Spirit spoke and said, “Casey if you are going to contend for the supernatural and the miraculous, this is your battle at the gates. It is a small battle, but it must be won, you must always contend to go through the gates.”

The word contend means to strive for, to compete for a prize, to contend against falsehood.

I realized if I was not willing to spiritually battle this cough I would not see the greater healings and miracles in the coming months. If we allow the enemy to knock us out on small matters of faith how will we stand for big ones like the healing of cancer or the raising of the dead?

If we are so easily moved to accept something as little as a cough and say it will run its course how will we stand against the bigger attacks?

I also noticed something else in these last two weeks. Many of us would have prayed one time to be relieved of the cough and when we immediately don’t receive relief we quit praying for and declaring healing for our bodies. This is the very reason why many of us don’t see the miraculous in our everyday life.

I know this may sound trivial and even ridiculous to some but to the measure we are willing to accept defeat is the measure we will receive it and be trained in our minds for it.

If I am willing to accept a cough my mind will be forced to accept cerebral palsy, cancer, or death, because after all, those things are much bigger than a cough.

For me, in front of the gates of the supernatural life of miracles is a cough. If I am willing to stand in prayer and declaration for its defeat my faith will be built to see greater things. If I cower at a cough I just built my doubt reservoir.  

What “little” thing are you facing today that will either be the seal of doubt or the stepping stone of faith to the “bigger” supernatural in your life?

Today, I encourage you to pull out those healing scriptures, declare those prosperity scriptures, declare the Word concerning the small stuff so faith is built for the big stuff.

The battle at the gates is always a smaller one, for inside the gates are bigger ones. the more small ones we win the more confidence we have when going to face the “bigger” ones.

We all remember Mark eleven, have faith in God. We all remember, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed. But we also remember the where is your faith stories too. It is the small stories that lead to the big stories.

It was the lion and the bear that prepared David for Goliath. If we cannot contend against the little we will not be able to contend against the big.

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