The First Open Door

Pride was the “First Door” Satan opened, but this study is about the first door that Adam and Eve opened.

1 John 2:16 – For all that is in the world – the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of this world.

Those are the three major doors that the enemy comes in through. Pride of life was covered in the past studies, so this study is the “Lust of the Eyes.” Hopefully, we learn how to deal with this. When we saw that we began to trust in our own strength, righteousness, and wisdom, pride will develop and hopefully we will see how the lust of the eyes can manifest in three different ways.

1) Greed

Genesis 3:1 – Now the serpent was more cunning than any beast of the field which the LORD God had made. And he said to the woman, “Has God indeed said, ‘You shall not eat of every tree of the garden’?” (The first thing that Satan did was to cast doubt on the Word of God.) (Verse 2) And the woman said to the serpent, “We may eat fruit of the trees of the garden; (Verse 3) “but of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden, God has said, ‘You shall not eat it, nor shall you touch it, lest you die.’ ” (Verse 4) And then the serpent said to the woman, “You will not surely die. (Verse 5) “For God knows that in the day you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.

Satan directly contradicted the Word of God. Implying, God didn’t mean what He said. (Verse 6) So when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree desirable to make one wise, she took of its fruit and ate. She also gave to her husband with her, and he ate.

Satan’s strategy is to simply get us to doubt what God has said. Does he do the same today? You bet he does because it always works when a person doubts God’s word to be true. This tree was not the only tree that was pleasant to the eyes. Genesis 2:9 – And out of the ground the LORD God made every tree grow that is pleasant to the sight and good for food. Satan convinced Eve that there was something different, more pleasant about this tree. The word “pleasant” can mean greed, lust or desire. Eve thought that something else would bring her pleasure, more than what she already had. Satan made Eve think that God was holding out on her – Greed.

So why would God put a tree that no one could touch in the midst of the garden? According to Deuteronomy 8, it is to test us so that He can bless us. God blesses us when we believe; He blesses us when we live by faith. When He tells us to do something and we do it, then we are blessed.

All through Scripture the number 10 represents a test. Tithe is a tenth; 10 plagues; 10 commandments; Jacobs wages were changed 10 times, and so on. Every time we should tithe, it is a test of whether we give a tenth or not. Do we believe the 90% that is left is enough for our things we need to pay?

There were two trees: The tree of life and the tree of knowledge of good and evil. The tree of life and the tree of death. God said this one tree is not good for you to eat of, but Satan said, “Oh yes it is!”

And then Cain does the same thing. The tithe was also represented through the “first-born” and the first fruits.” Exodus 13:2 – “Sanctify to Me all the first-born, whatever opens the womb among the children of Israel, both of man and animal; it is Mine.” Exodus 23:19 – “The first of the first fruits of your land you shall bring into the house of the LORD your God…

When the Bible talks about the tithe, it always uses the word “bring” not “give, because we can’t give what doesn’t belong to us. It is a return to God.

2) Unbelief

There are Christians today that do not believe that we are supposed to tithe. However, this is one of God’s principles that goes all through Scripture. It goes all the way back to Cain and Able. The word tithe, appears 8 times in the New Testament. It doesn’t mean that because it only appears 8 times that its alright to ignore it. We are most like God when we give, and most like Satan when we steal.

Malachi 3:7 – Yet from the days of your fathers you have gone away from My ordinances and have not kept them. Return to Me, and I will return to you,” says the LORD of hosts. “But you said, ‘In what way shall we return?’ (Verse 8) “Will a man rob God? Yet you have robbed Me! But you say, ‘In what way have we robbed You?’ In tithes and offerings. (Verse 9) You are cursed with a curse, for you have robbed Me, even this whole nation. (Verse 10) Bring all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be food in My house, and prove Me now in this,” says the LORD of hosts, “If I will not open for you the windows of heaven and pour out for you such blessing that there will not be room enough to receive it. 

Look what God will do for us if we do what He says: (Verse 11) “And I will rebuke the devourer for your sake’s, so that he will not destroy the fruit of your ground, nor shall the vine fail to bear fruit for you in the field,” says the LORD of hosts; (Verse 12) “And all nations will call you blessed, for you will be a delightful land,” says the LORD of hosts.

God uses the word “rob.” There is a difference between thievery and robbery: God says robbed, because God was in the house when they stole from him. A thief takes when no one is home. Everything is not going to go perfect in our life just because we tithe, but God will rebuke the devourer. And the last open door:

3) Fear

Luke 22:3 – Then Satan entered Judas, surnamed Iscariot, who was numbered among the twelve. (Verse 4) So he went his way and conferred with the chief priests and captains, how he might betray Him to them. (Verse 5) And they were glad, and agreed to give him money.

There is a good possibility that fear opened the door to the enemy in Judas’ life. John 12:1 – Then, six days before the Passover, Jesus came to Bethany, where Lazarus was who had been dead, whom He had raised from the dead. (Verse 2) There they made Him a supper; and Martha served but Lazarus was one of those who sat at the table with Him. (Verse 3) Then Mary took a pound of very costly oil of spikenard, anointed the feet of Jesus, and wiped His feet with her hair. And the house was filled with the fragrance of the oil. (Verse 4) Then one of His disciples, Judas Iscariot, Simon’s son, who would betray Him, said, (Verse 5) “Why was this fragrant oil not sold for three hundred denarii and given to the poor?” (Verse 6) This he said, not that he cared for the poor, but because he was a thief, and had the money-box; and he used to take what was put in it.

Judas would take money out of the offering box. That money in the offering box belongs to God. So, is it the same when we don’t put money in the offering box, as if we took some out? Are we when we don’t tithe, becoming thieves and giving Satan the right to enter us?

Judas was afraid that Jesus wasn’t going to set up an earthly kingdom. People don’t tithe a lot of times because of fear of the future: “Will I have enough?”

Matthew 26:15 – And (Judas) said, “What are you willing to give me if I deliver Him to you?” And they counted out to him thirty pieces of silver.

Matthew 27:3 – Then Judas, His betrayer, seeing that He had been condemned, was remorseful and brought back the thirty pieces of silver to the chief priests and elders, (Verse 4) saying, “I have sinned by betraying innocent blood.” And they said, “What is that to us? You see to it!” (Verse 5) Then he threw down the pieces of silver in the temple and departed, and went and hanged himself. (Verse 6) But the chief priest took the silver pieces and said, “It is not lawful to put them into the treasury, because they are the price of blood.”

Do you know where the priests got the thirty pieces of silver in the first place to give Judas? Out of the treasury! They wouldn’t put it back so they went and bought a field with it. They took the tithe money to betray Jesus with. Thirty pieces of silver was the price of a slave.

Not too long ago I had a tremendous fear that if I tithed the 10% I wouldn’t have enough to pay the rest of my bills. Money kept getting tighter and tighter. I had to either trust God that He would supply all my needs or continue in this fear, which I was sick of. When I started to be obedient, little by little that fear of never having enough started to disappear. Little by little, week after week that door I had opened to the enemy was closing.

If we trusted the Lord for our salvation, why would we not trust Him to provide? Do you know that if every single believer would tithe the 10% in their local church, there would be no need for the government assistance.

Malachi 3:10 – “Bring ye the whole tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in My house! Don’t leave a door open for the enemy to come in.

 

 

 

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Believers In Bondage

In order for a Christian to be in bondage, there has to have been an open door in some area: Pride is one way a door is open and we studied that previously concerning Peter and Job, but there are three more ways we open a door to the enemy:

Continuing In Iniquity

John 8:31 – Then Jesus said to those Jews who believed Him, “If you abide in My word, you are My disciples indeed, (Verse 32) “and you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.” (Jesus is talking to Jewish believers.) (Verse 33) They answered Him, “We are Abraham’s descendants, and we have never been in bondage to anyone. How can you say, ‘You will be made free’?”

This is one of the best illustrations of people being in bondage and being blind to it. They were missing what He said first, “If you abide in My word, you are My disciples indeed.” Then the Jews answered Him that they had never been in bondage. That’s laughable. That is not true, which is what most people do when confronted with their bondage. All we have to do is read the Old Testament and see how many times they were taken captive and made slaves. Why won’t people just be honest with themselves? And when the Jews made this statement they were under the Roman rule. Jesus decides to make it very clear who is in bondage.

(Verse 34) Jesus answered them, “Most assuredly, I say to you, whoever commits sin is a slave of sin. (He covered every one of us on that statement.) (Verse 35) “And a slave does not abide in the house forever, but a son abides forever. (Verse 36) “Therefore if the Son makes you free, you shall be free indeed.

Jesus is not talking about salvation, but as believers we can choose to walk in the “Son-ship” that He’s given us or we can choose to go back into “Slave-ship.” He’s also saying that whoever chooses to continue in sin is a slave in bondage. This is whoever formulates or plans to sin on purpose with full intentions. They are in bondage to sin. This is not just a weakness in an area, it’s sin!

Here is another verse written to believers concerning this: Romans 6:16 – Do you not know that to whom you present yourselves slaves to obey, you are that one’s slave whom you obey, whether of sin to death, or of obedience to righteousness?

As believers we decide which one we are going to serve; whether we serve sin, which leads to death; or we are going to serve obedience to God which leads to righteousness.

Look at this Ole Testament Scripture: Jeremiah 7:8-11 – “Behold, you trust in lying words that cannot profit. (Verse 9) “Will you steal, murder, commit adultery, swear falsely, burn incense to Baal, and walk after gods whom you do not know, (Verse 10) “and then come and stand before Me in this house which is called by My name, and say, ‘We are delivered to do all these abominations’? (Verse 11) “Has this house, which is called by My name, become a den of thieves in your eyes? Behold, I, even I, have seen it,” says the LORD.

People were still walking in their sin in Jeremiah’s day, as they are today. But when they went to the house of God, they are singing, “We are free!” Then God asked them, “Are you free to do these things?” Paul said not to use our freedom for an occasion for the flesh; make no provision for the flesh; don’t make plans to sin for lustful pleasure. We should be making plans to “get out of sin.” We also are to confess our sins to one anther so that we might be healed. Admit to the sin and get rid of it.

When a person continues in their sin, they are cracking the door for the enemy to come in to steal, kill, and destroy! Satan is just waiting for people to “crack that door!”

A Continued Illness

Not always, but a continued illness can be a sign that a door has been opened, that the enemy has come in and brought an illness with him. I wouldn’t say this if I didn’t have Scripture to back it up. Look at Luke: Luke 13:11 And behold, there was a woman who had a spirit of infirmity eighteen years, and was bent over and could in no way raise herself up. (Verse 12) But when Jesus saw her He called her to Him and said to her, “Woman, you are loosed from your infirmity.”

This was very unusual, because most people cried out to Him. (Verse 13) And He laid His hands on her, and immediately she was made straight, and glorified God. (Verse 14) But the ruler of the synagogue answered with indignation, because Jesus had healed on the Sabbath; and he said to the crowd, “There are six days on which men ought to work; therefore come and be healed on them, and not on the Sabbath day.” (Verse 15)The Lord then answered him and said, “Hypocrite! Does not each one of you on the Sabbath loose his ox or his donkey from the stall, and lead it away to water it? (Verse 16) “So ought not this woman, being a daughter of Abraham, whom Satan has bound – think of it – for eighteen years, be loosed from this bond on the Sabbath?”

The true children of Abraham believe in Jesus. When we accept Jesus, we become a son or a daughter of Abraham, spiritually.

Galatians 3:7 – Therefore know that “ONLY” those who are of faith are sons of Abraham. Galatians 3:29 – If you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise. By Jesus calling this woman a daughter of Abraham, she was a woman of faith!

I’m not saying that every person that gets sick, has opened a door to the enemy, but it is possible. There are many times in the Bible that demons do bring sickness. It makes sense that if they are going to steal, they will steal our health. That’s why when we go through difficult times or even an illness so look at all areas of your life and see if maybe a door was opened and a spirit of infirmity came in. If that is the case, there is good news, because it is spiritual and it can be dealt with. Jesus takes care of spiritual “roots” that take hold that affects us in the natural. If you need healing, just read the Gospels.

I am not talking about the horrible diseases that come out of the blue on people. All I’m saying is, check the areas in your life where you might have left a door open and a spirit of infirmity has come in and brought an illness.

Do you know an open door doesn’t necessarily have to be a particular sin. It can be believing a lie. Believing anything contrary to God’s word. For instance: You are never going to get well: that pain will never go away: they are always going to act like that; or the best one yet, “That person will never be saved!”

There are too many people that believe that “sickness is normal for them.” Continued illness could be a sign of demonic influence.

Continued Influence

Mark 7:24 – And from there He arose and went to the region of Tyre and Sidon. And He entered a house and wanted no one to know it, but He could not be hidden. (Verse 25) For a woman whose young daughter had an unclean spirit heard about Him, and she came and fell at His feet. (Verse 26) The woman was a Greek, a Syro-Phoenician by birth, and she kept asking Him to cast the demon out of her daughter. (Verse 27) But Jesus said to her, “Let the children be filled first, for it is not good to take the children’s bread and throw it to the little dogs.” (Verse 28) And she answered and said to Him, “Yes, Lord, yet even the little dogs under the table eat from the children’s crumbs.” (Verse 29) Then He said to her, “For this saying go your way; the demon has gone out of your daughter.” (Verse 30) And when she had come to her house, she found the demon gone out, and her daughter lying on the bed.

This woman is a Greek, not a Jew. She is a Syro-Phoenician, a mixture. I don’t think God is talking about an interracial mixture. She’s half Phoenician. Tyre used to be Phoenicia and this was the “seat” of paganism, known by most theologians. Jezebel was born in Phoenicia. Jezebel was married to Ahab and brought the occult and witchcraft and false gods into Israel. This woman was also half Syrian which is “Pride representative of pride and witchcraft.

There are many believers that have this mixture in their life: They are prideful because they believe that they can dabble in the occult and it not affect them. Bull! Pride is knowing and believing that a believer can do small things that they know are cultish and it never affect them.

So this woman that went to Jesus had a background in the occult and it was already affecting her daughter. She had an open door in her house and a demon came into the little girl.

Deuteronomy 18:9 – “When you come into the land which the LORD God is giving you, you shall not learn to follow the abominations of those nations. (Verse 10) “There shall not be found among you anyone who makes his son or his daughter pass through the fire, or one who practices witchcraft, or a soothsayer, or one who interprets omens, or sorcerer, (Verse 11) or one who conjures spells,or a medium, or a spiritualist; or one who calls up the dead. (Verse 12) “For all who do these things are an abomination to the LORD, and because of the abominations the LORD your God drives them out before you.

So back to this woman: When Jesus said, “Let the children be filled first, for it is not good to take the children’s bread and throw it to little dogs,” this sounds rude to us when we read this but Jesus was simply using Biblical language. Revelation 22:14 – Blessed are those who do His commandments, that they may have the right to the tree of life, and may enter through the gates into the city. (Verse 15) But outside are dogs and sorcerers and sexually immoral and murderers and idolaters, and whoever loves and practices a lie. Dogs represent the lost.

Philippians 2:2, the Apostle Paul said, “Beware of dogs, beware of evil workers.” Beware of evil workers. This woman was telling Jesus, “Lord, I need deliverance from this demon!” And He tells her that it’s not for the lost, it’s for the children of God. He’s not talking about deliverance for salvation. He is referring to this demon that is in the child. You have to believe in the Messiah in order to get set free from a demonic spirit. He’s the One that brings deliverance, and you have to believe in Him. I’ve tried to talk to people when they have been sick a long time, but they refuse to believe and be born again. They just want me to pray and think everything will be fine.

The woman then said, “Even dogs get crumbs. What an amazing statement! And Jesus told her because of what she just said, He set her daughter free. She had to humble herself and stop being selfish and rebellious.

Bottom line: If we humble ourselves, give Him control, and believe in Him, He will set us free indeed!

Permission Granted

This is a long one, so buckle up!

What opens the door for the enemy to come in? When a believer relies on their own strength, righteousness, and wisdom, get ready for an attack. Satan does not want anyone to learn how to be free in areas that hinder or bind. He wants to keep God’s people in bondage so they won’t accomplish what God wants for their life.

The next question is: Do we as Christians, grant Satan permission to take us bondage in an area? Or, does God grant Satan to take us bondage in an area?

Take the Old Testament for instance, God’s people sinning and then God granting the enemy to take them in bondage; then His people crying out to Him and Him releasing them, but teaching them through it.

Satan is a thief, always looking for ways to get in; windows; open doors; and then climbs over walls. One open door most often used in a believer’s life that will give him access is “Pride!” Most people will not admit that they have a spirit of pride though. Before we dismiss this thinking that we don’t have a spirit of pride, look at some definitions of what pride is:

Pride Is Trusting In Your Own Strength

Luke 22:31 – And the Lord said, “Simon, Simon! Indeed, Satan has asked for you, that he may sift you as wheat. (Verse 32) “But I have prayed for you, that your faith should not fail; and when you have returned to Me, strengthen your brethren.”

Plain as day, New Testament, Satan has asked permission to sift Peter a believer. However, Jesus tells him, “I prayed for you, and once you come back to Me, strengthen your brethren.” In other words, Peter, you’re going to fall.

The Greek definition for the word “ask” is, “To ask for something and to receive what one has asked for – to ask for with success, to ask and to receive. In other words: Satan asked and received permission to sift Peter like wheat.

Satan had a right to enter an open door in Peter’s life. Perhaps Peter was trusting in his own strength with pride. Why? Because of the conversation that takes place before this passage.

Matthew, Mark, and John, record the conversation, but Luke doesn’t. See if you can hear pride in Peter: Mark 14:27 – Then Jesus said to them, “All of you will be made to stumble because of Me this night, for it is written: ‘I will strike the Shepherd, and the sheep will be scattered.’ (Verse 28) “But after I have been raised, I will go before you to Galilee.” (Verse 29) But Peter said to Him, “Even if all are made to stumble, yet I will not be.”

(Verse 30) And Jesus said to him, “Assuredly, I say to you that today, even this night, before the rooster crows twice, you will deny Me three times.” (Verse 31) But he spoke vehemently, “If I have to die with You, I will not deny You!” And they all said likewise.

Jesus had told them, “All” and “all” means “all” of you. But Peter arrogantly says, “Not me!” Jesus even quoted a Scripture from the Old Testament that the sheep will scatter. But Peter says, “Nope, the Bible’s wrong.” That’s pride!

Matthew 16:21 – From that time Jesus began to show to His disciples that He must go to Jerusalem, and suffer many things from the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and be raised again the third day. (Verse 22) Then Peter took Him aside and began to rebuke Him, saying, “Far be it from You, Lord; this shall not happen to You!” (Verse 23) But He turned and said to Peter, “Get behind Me, Satan! You are an offense to Me, for you are not mindful of the things of God, but the things of men.”

Jesus looked right at Peter and said, “Get behind Me Satan!” He addresses Satan in the man. If you will recall: Peter cut the ear off of a soldier because he was trying to split the soldier’s head wide open. He was still trying to stop Jesus from what He said must happen. That’s arrogance! Peter was going to take a whole garrison on with one sword. That was trusting in his own strength. Then later on this same Peter that was going to take on all these soldiers, denies Jesus three times in the same night.

Many mature believers fall into this trap: They walk with the Lord a long time and they begin to trust in their own strength in order to resist temptation. Is it possible that this is why King David fell? 1 Corinthians 10:12 – Therefore let him who thinks he stands take heed lest he fall.

Pride Is Trusting In Your Own Righteousness

Job 1:6 – Now there was a day when the sons of God came to present themselves before the LORD, and Satan also came among them. (Did you catch that? The sons of God are fallen angels and they went before the Lord and Satan came also.) (Verse 7) And the LORD said to Satan, “From where do you come?” So Satan answered the LORD and said, “From going to and fro on the earth, and from walking back and forth on it.” (Verse 8) The the LORD said to Satan, “Have you considered MY servant Job, that there is none like him on the earth, a blameless and upright man, one who fears God and shuns evil?” (Verse 9) So Satan answered the LORD and said, “Does Job fear God for nothing? (Verse 10) “Have You not made a hedge around him, around his household, and around all that he has on every side? You have blessed the work of his hands, and his possessions have increased in the land.

(Verse 11) “But now, stretch out Your hand and touch all that he has, and he will surely curse You to Your face!” (Verse 12) So the LORD said to Satan, “Behold all that he has is in your power; only do not lay a hand on his person.” Then Satan went out from the presence of the LORD.

If you read the rest of Job, you will find that these verses are not that hard to understand. The three friends that show up to comfort Job, but they don’t really, keep asking him, “Are you sure there is not an open door in your life where you have allowed this evil to come in?” Job keeps telling them no, over and over.

In Chapter 32, there is a young man named Elihu that has been sitting there listening the whole time. He starts talking and tells the others that none of them “Old dudes” have figured this out, so he’s going to tell them what the problem is.

Job 32:1 – So these three men ceased answering Job, because he was righteous in his own eyes. (Verse 2) Then the wrath of Elihu, the son of Barachel the Buzite, of the family of Ram, was aroused against Job; his wrath was aroused because he justified himself rather than God. (This young man saw what was wrong in everything that Job had said.)

Job 33:8 – “Surely you have spoken in my hearing, and I have heard the sound of your words, saying, (Verse 9) ‘I am pure, without transgression; I am innocent, and there is no iniquity in me. Job would have had to have been Jesus for that to be true. Then Elihu concludes this in Job 36:3 – I will fetch my knowledge from afar; I will ascribe righteousness to my Maker.

Here is the open door in Job’s life: He thought he was righteous because of what he did, not because of who he knew. Job’s whole discourse is about, “I’ve done this…I haven’t done this…” Mature believers fall prey to pride in this area. “I, I, I, have done all this for You Lord, why then is this horrible thing happening to me? Haven’t I been good?”

When we first get saved, we know that our righteousness comes from God, and God came by His grace and saved us. We also know we didn’t do anything to deserve His goodness and mercy. But ten years later and more, now a leader in a church; leader of prayer meetings; we do all these good works, we begin to feel we’re righteous because of what we do.

We are not righteous by what we do, we are righteous by the blood of Jesus Christ the Son alone! When we begin to believe and trust in our own righteousness, that’s pride! How about this prayer the Pharisee prayed, “Thank You Lord that I’m not like others!” That’s exactly what Job does for 31 chapters. “Compare me to anybody, Lord.” The God showed up and put him straight. Here’s just a few things God tells Job.

Job 38:1 – Then the LORD answered Job out of the whirlwind, and said, (Verse 2) “Who is this who darkens counsel by words without knowledge? (Verse 3) Now prepare yourself like a man; I will question you, and you shall answer Me. (Verse 4) “Where were you when I laid the foundation of the earth? Tell Me, if you have understanding. (Verse 5) Who determined its measurements? Surely you know? Or who stretched the line upon it? (Verse 6) To what were its foundations fastened? Or who laid its cornerstone, (Verse 7) when the morning stars sang together, and all the sons of God shouted for joy?

(Verse 12) Have you commanded the morning since your days began, and caused the dawn to know its place,” (Verse 22) “Have you ever entered the treasury of snow, or have you seen the treasury of hail,” (Verse 24) By what way is light diffused, or the east wind scattered over the earth? (Verse 34) “Can yo lift up your voice to the clouds, that an abundance of water may cover you? (Verse 35) Can you send out lightnings, that they may go, and say to you, ‘Here we are’?

Job 39:26 – “Does the hawk fly by your wisdom, and spread its wings toward the south? (Verse 27) Does the eagle mount up at your command, and make its nest on high? 

Job 40:8 – “Would you indeed annul My judgment? Would you condemn Me that you may be justified?

And of course, Job repents, as we should when questioning God. Or when we start telling all the good things we have done in His name and these things should not be happening. Are we trusting in our own righteousness?

Please don’t misunderstand: We are to live righteous lives, but we don’t do it in our own strength. The righteous life we live is from Christ and it is all based on what He did.

Pride Is Trusting In Your Own Wisdom

This next passage in 1 Kings 22, is about Ahab who was married to Jezebel. Jezebel had 850 prophets, but they lost their heads to Elijah. Ahab had 400 prophets on his payroll, so they would prophesy good things only. There are leaders today that keep people around them that won’t tell them “No.” Those are not wise leaders. Ahab is the king of Israel and Jehoshaphat the king of Judah. Ahab was a bad king and Jehoshaphat was good. One day King Ahab says to King Jehoshaphat, “Lets go attack the king of Syria and get back Ramoth in Gilead.” King Jehoshaphat says, “Let’s ask a prophet.” Ahab calls his 400 prophets together and they say, “Yes, go!” Jehoshaphat wanted to know if there were any other prophets.

1 Kings 22:7, 8 – And Jehoshaphat said, “Is there not still a prophet of the LORD here, that we may inquire of him?” (Verse 8) So the king of Israel said to Jehoshaphat, “There is still one man, Micaiah the son of Imlah, by whom we may inquire of the LORD: but I hate him, because he does not prophesy good concerning me, but evil.” And Jehoshaphat said, “Let not the king say such things.!” (Ahab had put Micaiah in prison three years earlier.)

(Verse 15)Then he came to the king; and the king said to him, “Micaiah, shall we go to war against Ramoth Gilead, or shall we refrain?” And he answered him, “Go and prosper, for the LORD will deliver it into the hand of the king!” (Verse 16) So the king said to him, “How many times shall I make you swear that you tell me nothing but the truth in the name of the LORD?” (Verse 17) Then he said, “I saw all of Israel scattered on the mountains, as sheep that have no shepherd. And the LORD said, ‘These have no master. Let each return to his house in peace.’ ” 

(Verse 18) And the king of Israel said to Jehoshaphat, “Did I not tell you that he would not prophesy good concerning me, but evil?” (Verse 19) The Micaiah said, “Therefore hear the word of the LORD: I saw the LORD sitting on His throne, and all the host of heaven standing by, on His right hand and on His left.

The host of heaven refers to angels, but it can also refer to “the fallen angels. The angels are standing on His right hand and on His left! Remember Jesus said that when He comes, the sheep will be on His right and the goats on His left! Here is a Scripture that proves this:

2 Kings 21:1 – Manasseh was twelve years old when he became king, and he reigned fifty-five years in Jerusalem. His mother’s name was Hephzibah. (Verse 2) And he did evil in the sight of the LORD, according to the abominations of the nations whom the LORD had cast out before the children of Israel. (Verse 3) For he rebuilt the high places which Hezekiah his father had destroyed: he raised up altars to Baal, and made a wooden image as King Ahab king of Israel had done’ and he worshiped all the host of heaven and served them. (Verse 4) He also built altars in the house of the LORD, of which the LORD had said, “In Jerusalem I will put My name.” (Verse 5) And he built altars for all the host of heaven in the two courts of the house of the LORD. (Verse 6) Also he made his son pass through the fire, practiced soothsaying, used witchcraft, and consulted spiritist and mediums. He did much evil in the sight of the LORD, to provoke Him to anger. 

Manasseh worshiped demons, fallen angels that were standing on the left of God’s throne. They also showed up concerning Job with Satan, but they must have permission to do anything. Now back to what Micaiah was saying about seeing the host of heaven.

1 Kings 22:20 – “And the LORD said, ‘Who will persuade Ahab to go up, that he may fall at Ramoth Gilead?’ So one spoke in this manner and another spoke in that manner. (Verse 21) Then a spirit came forward and stood before the LORD, and said, ‘I will persuade him.’ (Verse 22) The the LORD said to him, ‘In what way?’ So he said, ‘I will go out and be a lying spirit in the mouth of all his prophets.’ And He said, “You shall persuade him, and also prevail. Go out and do so.’ (Verse 23) “Now therefore, look! The LORD has put a lying spirit in the mouth of all these prophets of yours, and the LORD has declared disaster against you.”

First of all, look who is in control. There is not a battle between God and the devil. The devil is a creative being and God is the Creator. God is in charge, always. And God will use the enemy to fulfill his purpose. God gave this lying spirit orders! God is totally in control and when we sin and don’t repent, we open a door to the enemy to come in. And God just might grant the enemy permission to come and sift us like wheat. When we think we’re smarter than everyone else, including God, and won’t listen to warnings, there is going to be trouble!

James 3:14 – But if you have bitter envy and self-seeking in your hearts, do not boast and lie against the truth. (Verse 15) This wisdom does not descend form above, but is earthly, sensual, demonic. 

People who trust in their own wisdom, will swear its God talking to them, but it’s a demon instead. So, would God ever grant permission for Satan to attack a believer? Absolutely! We read with Peter, Satan asked to sift him; we saw it with Job; and we saw what happened with Ahab.

But why would God give permission for Satan to do that? Because it’s always for our good! Would a parent spank a child? Sure, for their good because they don’t want them going the wrong way.

Look at the most miss-quoted Scripture: Proverbs 16:18 – Pride goes before destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall. Most people will quote, “Pride goes before a fall.” No, wrong. It says, “A haughty spirit goes before a fall.” It says, “Pride goes before destruction!”

So when a person has pride in their life, they are going to be destroyed! So what does God do? He sends His grace and the enemy comes when they don’t repent, then they go into bondage, so that in that bondage, they cry out, “God set me free,” and God sets them free, if they cry out to Him! However, if the person continues in their pride, destruction is coming. God doesn’t want us destroyed and sometimes He will use the enemy and harsh measures to get us to turn! Peter and Job had Satan come against them, but they repented.

Peter became one of the greatest preachers in the New Testament, and Job was restored double of everything Satan had stolen! However, Ahab never repented and he died! Ahab thought he could out-smart God. Ahab put his kingly garments on Jehoshaphat, thinking they’ll kill Jehoshaphat, and he would be the ruler of them all. Jehoshaphat got away though, when the soldiers found out it wasn’t Ahab.

1 Kings 22:34 – Now a certain man drew a bow at random, and struck the king of Israel (Ahab) between the joints of his armor. So he said to the driver of his chariot, “Turn around and take me out of battle, for I am wounded.” And Ahab died!

Do you not think God guided that arrow? But in God’s grace, He had warned Ahab, it s going to happen if he didn’t listen to Him.

Pride is trusting in your own strength; your own righteousness; and your own wisdom! Pride is a trap that the strong, the righteous, and the wise can fall into. If we don’t trust in the Lord’s strength, righteousness, and wisdom we will definitely fall.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Beware Of Unclean Spirits

As a Christian, we can be in bondage, but we need to recognize when we are in bondage and how to get out of it. We need to know how to get “free” and stay free indeed!

Beware Of Chaldeans

In Acts Chapter 13, Paul is in Antioch, and this is where the greatest missionary Christian Church was. Paul preaches a message and ends the message with a strong caution.

Acts 13:40 – “Beware therefore, lest what has been spoken in the prophets comes upon you: (Verse 41) “Behold, you despisers, marvel and perish; for I work a work in your days, a work which you will by no means believe, though one were to declare it to you.

Paul is referring to when the prophets spoke of God becoming a man, to die on a cross for the world’s sin, which is salvation; and that the Messiah has come. He’s telling them they won’t believe this even though someone tells them its true. He tells them there is an enemy who is trying to blind them to the truth. Paul is quoting from the book of Habakkuk, Chapter 1:

Habakkuk 1:5 – “Look among the nations and watch – be utterly astounded! For I will work a work in your days which you would not believe though it were told you. (Verse 6) For indeed I am raising up the Chaldeans, a bitter and hasty nation which marches through the breadth of the earth, to possess dwelling places that are not theirs. 

The first part of this verse is about the Messiah, but the enemy will blind many in the second part.

In that day, when Paul quoted this Scripture, if the people had gone back and read this chapter, where it said, “Beware, lest it come on you,” the doubters of that day would have said, “I think Paul is out of his mind, because there are not any more Chaldeans!” But they missed it entirely. The Chaldeans had been utterly destroyed in 539 B.C. The Chaldeans were never again referred to as a nation or as a people. They were completely destroyed. They didn’t understand that Paul was not talking about the Chaldeans literally, but spiritually what they represented.

In the same way that the skeptic’s in Paul’s day didn’t understand about the Chaldeans, the skeptic’s today would say, “There are no more demons!” But yes there are! They are still trying to possess dwelling places that are not theirs. The Chaldeans represent demons in many passages:

They Are Thieves

Satan comes only to steal, kill, and destroy, but many times in Scripture, it refers to “the work” of Satan, not Satan himself. Satan is not omnipresent! Omni means all. Only God is present everywhere, all-powerful, and holds all knowledge.

Satan came to Jesus to tempt Him and that was really Satan not a demon under his command. When people say that they saw Satan, it was more than likely a demon. Satan has an army of demons and we need to be aware of them.

Psalm 83:1 – Do not keep silent, O God! Do not hold Your peace, and do not be still, O God! (Verse 2) For behold, Your enemies make a tumult; and those who hate You have lifted up their head. (Verse 3) They have taken crafty counsel against Your people, and consulted together against Your sheltered ones. (Verse 4) They have said, “Come, and let us cut them off from being a nation, that the name of Israel may be remembered no more.” (Verse 12) Who said, “Let us take for ourselves the pasture (houses) of God for possession.”

If you are going after God, the enemy is coming after you! Too many think demons are going after the unbelievers, no they are not! They already have them. They want what God possesses! You! Their job is to keep the believers defeated so they don’t win other people to Christ.

The Exhaustive Dictionary of Bible names, says it like this: Chaldeans: as it were demons; (root = to lay waste; to destroy). Wanderers. 

Look what Jesus said about demons: Matthew 12:43 – “When an unclean spirit goes out of a man, he goes through dry places, seeking rest, and finds none. (Verse 44) “Then he says, ‘I will return to my house from which I came.’ And when he comes, he finds it empty, swept, and put in order. (Verse 45) “Then it goes and takes with him seven other spirits more wicked than himself, and they enter and dwell there; and the last state of that man is worse than the first. So shall it also be with this wicked generation.”

When the demon comes back to the house, he finds it swept clean and in order, but it’s empty! How many times do people come to Christ, get saved; their behavior is cleaned up and put in order, but don’t fill their house with the Word of God? How many people can you think of that their “cleaning up” only lasted a short time and before you know it, they are right back into bondage, but it is worse than before they became a believer?

When the Bible spoke of the Chaldeans, they were never a big nation. It was only about 40 miles wide; they were about the size of New Jersey; and they were actually never conquered. They were destroyed when God’s purpose was finished with them. God used the enemy all through the Old Testament to teach His children to call out to only Him.

Too many times we don’t think we need God until we are in trouble and then we call out to Him. Think about this: The Chaldeans actually took over Babylon. Nebuchadnezzar was a Chaldean. When Nebuchadnezzar took over, he took the same two things that Satan is trying to take today.

Daniel 1:1 – In the third year of the reign of Jehoiakim king of Judah, Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon came to Jerusalem and besieged it. (Verse 2) And the Lord gave Jehoiakim king of Judah into his hand, with some of the articles of the house of God, which he carried into the land of Shinar to the house of his god; and he brought the articles into the treasure-house of his god. (Verse 3) Then the king instructed Ashpenaz, the master of his eunuchs, to bring some of the king’s descendants and some of the nobles, (Verse 4) young men in whom there was no blemish, but good-looking, gifted in all wisdom, possessing knowledge and quick to understand, who had ability to serve in the king’s palace, and whom they might teach the language and literature of the Chaldeans.

(The future young leaders) (Verse 5) And the king appointed for them a daily provision of the king’s delicacies and of the wine which he drank, and three years of training them, so that at the end of that time they might serve before the king.

So, Satan is trying to steal the “tithe” and the “next generation!” Nebuchadnezzar took the gold and the silver from the temple that had been dedicated to God and he took the future leaders. The world is trying to train this young generation in their language and their literature, instead of being trained in the Word of God. Have you ever lived in a time when every word is defined to mean something else and it becomes offensive?

Do you realize that a lot of young people, and some older people cannot even find a certain book in the Bible without having to use their phone. They are not familiar with the Bible at all. Satan wants what is in our mind; wants to dictate what we put in our body; and wants to control what we do with what belongs to God. It becomes the pride of life; the lust of the flesh; and the lust of the eyes, says 1 John.

Any Christian that doesn’t want to tithe, is arrogant, because they think they that their money is their’s and they earned it and God didn’t have anything to do with it. When we don’t tithe, we open a door to demons. Satan wants us to steal from God. We have to learn to “Kick the squatters,” demons, out of our house.

Chaldeans Are Vicious

Satan never, ever, uses mercy! Habakkuk 1:7 – They are terrible and dreadful; their judgment and their dignity proceed from themselves. (Verse 8) Their horses also are swifter than leopards, and more fierce than evening wolves. Their charges charge ahead; their cavalry comes form afar; they fly as the eagle that hastens to eat. (Verse 9) They all come for violence, their faces are set like the east wind. They gather captives like sand. 

They are like wolves: Ezekiel 22:27 – “Her princes in her midst are like wolves tearing the prey, to shed blood, to destroy people, and to get dishonest gain.”

Wolves feed at night! Demons also will attack at night. They want to attack our sleep with thoughts. They try to get our thoughts to go the wrong way or to worry. Acts 20:29 – “For I know this, that after my departure savage wolves will come in among you, not sparing the flock.”

The Lord did not teach us about predators so that we could learn “animal control,” or to believe in “children’s fables.” He wants His children to be warned of what is coming. Wolves and sheep cannot co-exist. Wolves will show up acting all casual and innocent and they are even interesting to watch, but they are studying their prey. They size them up before they attack. The more indifferent they act, the bigger the danger. Then the pack shows up and they circle their prey and then attack. Demons do the same thing by listening to what people say and get their state of mind. They go after the weak and isolated ones, the one that is off to themselves.

Sheep have to stay in the fold next to the Shepherd. Satan is the accuser of the brethren. He never gives up and is constantly surrounding God’s children to see when is a good time to attack.

They Are Cunning

The Chaldeans will try to become your friend, crafty, and then they take over. Chaldeans are also called magicians and sorcerers: Daniel 2:2 – Then the king gave the command to call the magicians, the astrologers, the sorcerers, and the Chaldeans to tell the king his dreams.

A magician distracts us so we only see what they want us to see. They deceive us. A sorcerer deceives by actual spirits that can “tell the future.” An astrologer tells the future by using natural events that we don’t have any control over. Instead of saying that God tells our future, he says the “stars’ will determine it. (This has nothing to do with Astronomy, two different studies.) Don’t read your horoscope. It’s demonic. I remember the woman named Silvia Brown who was on all the talk shows years ago, saying her gift was a gift from God. Bull!! It was sorcery. She was just too blind to see it. The devil had convinced her that contacting the dead was fine with God, but it is not!! If you are a believer, stay away from that mess!

Habakkuk 1:15 – They take up all of them with a hook, they catch them in their net, and gather them in their dragnet, therefore they rejoice and are glad. 

They basically try to figure out what “bait’ we like, and then figure out to put that “bait’ in front of our faces. When Satan was tempting Jesus in the wilderness, he put “bread” in front of Him, because Jesus had nothing to eat for 40 days. However, Jesus didn’t take the bait, and the devil departed from Him.

Look what happened to David when he saw Bathsheba taking a bath on the roof of her house. Who else but a master-mind could have set that up with perfect timing for David to see her? Satan is cunning and a master-mind at what he does.

Ephesians 6:11 – Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand the wiles of the devil. We have to stand against the plots and plans of the enemy.

The world mocks the devil by dressing him up in red underwear and carrying a pitchfork. However, Satan has an entire army and they are organized, like locus that come in and devour everything in sight. They know exactly where they are going and what their orders are.

There are times in Scripture that demons are called by another name: 1) Thrones (2) Lordships (3) Rulers (4) Authorities (5) Principalities and powers (6) Rulers of darkness (7) Evil and Unclean Spirits.

It helps when reading the Bible to understand this because it will make more sense if we keep it in context of the passage we are reading. Not all thrones in Scripture, obviously, but there are times when this word is used to represent places of demonic possession of certain areas.

Satan will make the saints weary, beat them down, compile crises after crises. Daniel 7:25, (ESV) – He … shall wear out the saints of the Most High. 

The Chaldeans are the one’s that stole from Job and Satan had God’s permission to do so. Abraham was born and raised in Ur of the Chaldeans and God pulled him out and told him to go to Canaan. So don’t think that you can’t be pulled out by the hand of God because nothing is impossible for God.

Warnings are all through God’s Word: 1 Peter 5:8 – Be sober, be vigilant, because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour.

Being sober simply means to be in control. Be under the control of the Holy Spirit. Why do you think alcohol is also called “spirits?” Be vigilant – be watchful. But remember, Jesus pulled Satan’s teeth, as an old lion has none, when He defeated him at the cross. He is a defeated foe. Revelation 5:5 – …the Lion of the tribe of Judah has prevailed.

His rod and His staff comfort us – He uses His rod to beat off the wolves, not for beating the sheep. Do you want the Chaldeans to flee?

Stay in the fold and close to the Shepherd!!

 

Under The Influence

This teaching is based on John 8:36, which says, “Therefore if the Son makes you free, you shall be free indeed.

Satan will do anything he can to keep us from knowing this. He doesn’t want to get caught, because when a “thief” is caught, he has to “restore” what he has stolen seven fold. Most believers are not “free indeed!” Why? Because they don’t believe that they can actually be in bondage. When Jesus made that statement in John, he was speaking to believers.

Mark 5:1 – Then they came to the other side of the sea, to the country of the Gadarenes. (Verse 2) And when He had come out of the boat, immediately there met Him out of the tombs a man with an unclean spirit, (demon-possessed) (Verse 3) who had his dwelling among the tombs; and no one could bind him, not even with chains, (Verse 4) because he had often been bound with shackles and chains. And the chains had been pulled apart by him, and the shackles broken in pieces; neither could anyone tame him.

(Verse 5) And always, night and day, he was in the mountains and in the tombs, crying out and cutting himself with stones. (Verse 6) But when he saw Jesus from afar, he ran and worshiped Him. (He bowed down.) (Verse 7) And he cried out with a loud voice and said, “What have I to do you You, Jesus, Son of the Most High God? I implore You by God that You do not torment me.” (The demon is talking through the man.)

(Verse 8) For He said to him, “Come out of the man, unclean spirit!” (Verse 9) Then He asked him, “What is your name?” And he answered, saying, “My name is Legion; for we are many.” (This is a Roman term meaning 6,826 soldiers.) (Verse 10) And he begged Him earnestly that He would not send them out of the country. (Demonic spirits like to stay where they already have a stronghold.)

 

(Verse 11) Now a large herd of swine was feeding there near the mountains. (Verse 12) And all the demons begged Him, saying, “Send us to the swine, that we may enter them.” (Verse 13) And at once Jesus gave them permission. Then the unclean spirits went out and entered the swine; and the herd ran violently down the steep place into the sea, and drowned in the sea.

(Verse 14) Now those who fed the swine fled, and they told it in the city and in the country. And they went out to see what it was that had happened. (Verse 15) Then they came to Jesus, and saw the one who had been demon-possessed and had the legion, sitting and clothed and in his right mind. And they were afraid. (Instead of being glad.)

(Verse 16) And those who saw it told them how it happened to him who had been demon-possessed, and about the swine. (Verse 17) Then they began to plead with Him to depart from their region. (Verse 18) And when He got in the boat, he who had been demon-possessed begged Him that he might be with Him. (Verse 19) However, Jesus did not permit him, but said to him, “Go home to your friends, and tell them what great things the Lord has done for you, and how He has had compassion on you.”

(Verse 20) And he departed and began to proclaim in Decapolis all that Jesus had done for him; and all marveled. (Decapolis is not just one city, its ten cities, ten Greek cities.)

Demons Are Real

Sixty-one times the word demon is in the Gospels. Maybe the reason they are mentioned so much is because no one had ever taken authority over them until Jesus came. He began to confront strongholds and bondage’s. Demons are fallen angels; one-third of the angels fell with Lucifer when he fell.

Demons are “disembodied spirits.” They are always looking for a body to possess. However, there are cultures filled with people that do not believe demons are real. Some have even went so far to say that Jesus only pretended to cast them out so people would follow him.

Here is one commentary that thinks demons are not real: “These are persons, afflicted with especially severe diseases, either bodily or mentally, whose bodies in the opinion of the Jews, demons had entered, and their cure was thought to require the expulsion of the demon.” 

They believe that this opinion of demons was made-up by the Jews. That’s heresy! Why would our Bible say Jesus cast out demons if the demons weren’t actually there? However, there are people who see a demon in everything and there are people who say that demons simply don’t exist. Both of these types, Satan loves to hold in bondage. They are both in deception. If you are in ether of these two groups thinking, you need to move to the middle! We should neither be skeptics or superstitious.

A person will never be set free if they don’t believe they can be in bondage. You can’t cast out the flesh and you can’t disciple a demon. Do people need discipleship or deliverance? Yes, they need both. People do possess demonic bondage in their lives, but they have to recognize it.

People can be saved and love the Lord and still be in bondage to lust, immorality, anger, and so on. But, they have to know this is a demonic spirit and what kind it is. So, yes, demons can take Christians into bondage. Christian’s activity and behaviors can be influenced by demonic spirits. The only ones that can’t be set free are the ones that refuse to admit they are in bondage.

Demons Do Enter People

john 10:1 “Most assuredly, I say to you, he who does not enter the sheepfold by the door, but climbs up some other way, the same is a thief and a robber. John 10:10 – ” The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy.

The thief can get in! The thief, and we know who that is, can enter the sheepfold and the sheepfold are the believers. The enemy will do everything he can to get into the sheep – Christians, some other way.

The Scripture says, “He does not come “except”… And, every time he comes, he comes to steal from us, to kill us, and to destroy us! So, can a Christian really be possessed by a demon?

Demon-possessed in the Greek is actually two words: Daimonizomai; di-mo-ne-zo-mi. Demon zomai, means to possess – demonized. There are also two Greek words for possession. One is “ownership – to gain mastery over; to gain control over; to have power over.

We give our souls to Jesus, which is our mind will, and emotions, and were bought with a price, so we don’t possess our souls after being born again. Jesus tells us to “gain the mastery over our soul,” get control. So no a Christian cannot be owned by a demon. This becomes clear after knowing what the word possessed mean. We are owned by Jesus! But can a Christian be under the control of a demonic spirit? Yes.

Thayer’s definition: To be under the power of a demon. This happens in certain areas of people’s lives; in lust, unforgiveness, bitterness, anger, and son on. 

Louw Nida’s definition: One cannot speak of a person being possessed by a demon. A more appropriate expression may be “the person possesses (has) a demon. In other word: “The demon rides the person or the demon commands the person.”

If there is a sin that a person just can’t seem to overcome, then they are in bondage, under the influence of a demonic spirit. People will make the excuse, “I have a weakness in that area,” but have had it 20 years or all their life! Its bondage. If a person is in bondage in any area of their life, there is One who can set them free. His name is Jesus! But He can’t set you free unless you know and admit you’re in bondage!

Here is a good illustration: You leave your house and you leave a window open. When you return you find a thief in your house. Does that thief own your house? No! But he is in your house. He has control over your house until he is arrested and taken out in handcuffs. You have the authority to arrest him and throw him out of your house.

Lamentations 1:10 – The adversary has spread his hand over all her pleasant things; (talking about Israel) for she has seen the nations enter her sanctuary, those whom You commanded not to enter Your assembly. Lamentations 4:12 – The kings of the earth, and all inhabitants of the world, would not have believed that the adversary and the enemy could enter the gates of Jerusalem (but they did).

Joel 2:9 – They run to and fro in the city, they run on the wall; they climb into the houses, they enter at the windows like a thief.

When a Christian that is under the influence of drugs or alcohol, they usually end up doing or saying something they are very ashamed of afterward. Do those drugs or alcohol own that person? No, they are owned by God, but these influences have entered into his house, like a thief, to steal, kill, and destroy them. Christians who are under a demonic influence will end up doing something totally out of character, if they don’t get set free from that influence.

Luke 10:17 – Then the seventy returned with joy, saying, “Lord, even the demons are subject to us in Your name.” (Verse 18) And He said to them, “I saw Satan fall like lightning from heaven. (When Satan fell, he was out of there faster than lightning could strike.) (Verse 19) “Behold, I give you the authority to trample on serpents and scorpions, and over all power of the enemy, and nothing shall by any means hurt you. (Verse 20) “Nevertheless do not rejoice in this, that the spirits are subject to you, but rather rejoice because your names are written in heaven.”

(Verse 21) In that hour Jesus rejoiced in the Spirit and said,“I praise You, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that You have hidden these things from the wise and prudent and revealed them to babes. Even so, Father, for so it seemed good in Your sight.

The “wise,” are those that don’t believe there are demons, so “these things” are hidden from them by the Father. They also don’t believe that believers have authority over them. We have two choices, either leave the demons in, or cast them out! The enemy will enter in through our history and our weakness, by telling us, “You think you can get free, but you really can’t. Not true.

Satan does not have the power to stop you or anyone else from coming to Jesus. Mark 5:6 – When he saw Jesus from afar, he ran and worshiped Him. Even the man that had a legion of demons in him ran to Jesus and worshiped him. Wow!

 

 

 

 

Are You Under Attack?

When people go through spells of sadness, you would think that the enemy would give them a break, but he doesn’t. He will attack, even when people are at their lowest and hardest times. Thoughts will flood people’s minds that are cruel and without mercy. Satan will put the “what if’s” in our mind: “What if I had done that, or what if I had not done that?” We would think in our hardest times, that there would be some kind of relief. So, when the enemy keeps attacking, how do we overcome?

Psalm 42 and 43 were written at the same time. They are divided in our Bible, but more likely were not when they were written. David wrote these when he was running from Absalom, his son that organized a takeover of David’s kingdom. It looks like David is losing everything; his family, his friends, and his position. David doesn’t think it could get any worse, but it does.

In 2 Samuel 16, when David is leaving Jerusalem, he runs into a man named Shimei, that is acting like the devil: 2 Samuel 16:7 – Also Shimei said thus when he cursed: “Come out! Come out! You bloodthirsty man, you rogue! (Verse 8) “The LORD has brought upon you all the blood of the house of Saul, in whose place you have reigned; and the LORD has delivered the kingdom into the hand of Absalom your son. So now you are caught in your own evil, because you are a bloodthirsty man!” (Verse 13) And as David and his men went along the road, Shimei went along the hillside opposite him and cursed as he went, threw stones at him and kicked up dust.

That is exactly the way Satan does toward us! He tells us that everything that is happening is our fault; we brought it on our-self; we should have done things differently and son on.

David flees to the wilderness and writes this Psalm: Psalm 42:1 – As the deer pants for water brooks, so pants my soul for You, O God. 

David is writing this while under attack. Deer will pant when they are being chased by an enemy. And, when deer are being chased and panting, they use up to 80% of their water reserve. If they are chased long enough, they will die. The first thing a deer does after getting away, is find water.

David writes, “My soul is tired of running!” And, “My soul is panting for God!” He knows that God is the only One that can refresh him. There are certain things we can do when under attack from the enemy:

We Need To Recognize We Are Under Attack

We are not just sad or depressed because things are going bad, we are in a battle: Psalm 42:3 – My tears have been my food day and night, while they continually say to me, “Where is your God?” 

I have had people say that to me whom are not believers when going through a hard time; “Why would God allow that to happen to you? Where is He when you need Him?” And, it usually comes from family or a close friend and that makes it hurt even worse.

Psalm 42:9, 10 – I will say to God my Rock, “Why have You forgotten me? Why do I go mourning because of the oppression of the enemy?” (Verse 10) As with a breaking of my bones, my enemies reproach me, while they say to me all day long, “Where is your God?” ( and “they” are the enemy)

David had literal enemies and we have spiritual enemies. People will look at you and say, “Look what you’re going through. Where’s your God now?” We can’t think of anything that we have been doing wrong, things will just begin to turn in a bad way. Recognize that is an attack from the enemy and we need to say, “The Lord rebuke you, Satan!”

We can’t ever forget that Satan is a liar! He will put thoughts in our head that we are not going to make it, and we won’t without God! Satan will attack us when we are most vulnerable and tells us “You blew it!” It is a spiritual battle that usually goes on in our mind. Some will feel sorry for themselves and slip further into depression.

Satan will often produce the evidence to prove his lie. I’ts false evidence, but evidence just the same. Are we going to believe what God says about us, or are we going to believe a lie from someone who wants to destroy us?

Do you remember when Joseph’s brothers brought his coat to Jacob and Jacob believed a wild animal had killed him? That was a lie, Joseph wasn’t dead!

Don’t Listen To Yourself

Psalm 42:4 – When I remember these things, I pour out my soul within me. For I used to go with the multitude; I went with them to the house of God, with the voice of joy and praise, with a multitude that kept a pilgrim feast.

David has been run out of Jerusalem and is talking to himself when he says, “My soul within me.” Woe is me! He then remembers going to the house of God with the multitude. When things get tough, we need to surround ourselves with fellow believers that can encourage us. Get in God’s Word and let the Holy Spirit speak, and put on some worship music. We can refuse to be depressed by attacking back!

Start Talking To Yourself In The Right Way

Our soul is our mind, will, and emotions. It’s the thoughts we have a problem with; it’s the emotions and feelings that will affect our decisions when in a spiritual battle. Stop listening to your feelings and start talking to your soul: Psalm 42:5 – Why are you cast down, O my soul? And why are you disquieted within me? Hope in God, for I shall yet praise Him for the help of His countenance.

Cast down, literally means depressed. David is not listening to those thoughts of depression anymore. He starts to talk to his soul, knowing God will help him. When people get depressed, they are being “pressed down,” but people have to recognize who is doing this to them – the enemy! When people get depressed, all kinds of bad things can happen, including suicide.

David talks to his soul again: Psalm 131:2, which says, “Surely I have calmed and quieted my soul, like a weaned child with his mother, like a weaned child is my soul within me. Like a bay when the bottle is taken away, our soul will cry out when under attack.

We have a spirit and we have a soul, and the spirit should rule over the soul, our emotions. However, when the soul, our emotions, want to rule over our spirit, depression can set in and tell us that everything is going wrong and nothing will work out and it’s not going to get better.

Before we are saved, our soul is in charge of all decisions. For some, that can mean for years their soul has been making all decisions and some not so good. But when we get saved, the Spirit comes in and says, “Nope, you are not going to do that anymore,” and then the battle begins. Always remember, the spirit is stronger. Our spirit is dead in our trespasses before being born again, but once saved, it is made “Alive!” When under attack, let your spirit tell your soul to, “Shut up!”

God To God

Just as the deer pants for water, we need to get to God as fast as we can when under attack. Our look on our face will tell others our countenance. We expose a lot with our expressions, but look what David says in Psalm 43:5 – …”the help of my countenance and my God.

When David looked at God’s  face, it changed “my face.” If we look to God’s countenance, it will change ours. David realized he didn’t have to be in Jerusalem or in the house of God to be near Him.

Here is another thing that will help when in a battle: When we begin to pray, enter His gates with thanksgiving and enter His courts with praise. Think about what all God has done for you and be grateful for it. Don’t let the enemy tell you how you should feel. And we certainly don’t start our conversation with God by griping and complaining.

When under attack, get to some water, and the water is the Living Word of God!

How Should We Respond To Culture?

We live in a major cultural shift. If the church is asleep, it will not be able to handle the things that come against her in these last days. The best Biblical example I can use of someone that was in a corrupt culture is Daniel. What happened in Daniel’s life is a play-book for us today. He had to navigate a Jewish faith in a Babylonian culture. He not only survived it, he had influence in it and he did it without ever compromising his faith.

If we look at Daniel, we will see how to live in a society that hates God and keep our faith and influence at the same time without compromise:

Daniel 1:1 – In the third year of the reign of Jehoiakim king of Judah, Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon came to Jerusalem and besieged it. (Verse 2) And the Lord gave Jehoiakim king of Judah into his hand, with some of the articles of the house of God, which he carried into the land of Shinar to the house of his god: and he brought the articles into the treasure-house of his god.

(Verse 3) Then the king instructed Ashpenaz, the master of his eunuchs, to bring some of the children of Israel and some of the king’s descendants and some of the nobles, (Verse 4) young men in whom there was no blemish, but good-looking, gifted in all wisdom, possessing knowledge and quick to understand, who had an ability to serve in the king’s palace, and whom they might teach the language and literature of the Chaldeans.

(Verse 5) And the king appointed for them a daily provision of the king’s delicacies and of the wine which he drank, and three years of training for them, so that at the end of that time they might serve before the king. (Verse 6) Now from among those of the sons of Judah were Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael and Azariah.

Gathering young minds to dictate every aspect way of thinking to adapt to their culture, is exactly what is happening in our schools today. Teachers are indoctrinating this generation how they should speak and think. Certain words are offensive, which never used to be and getting them to think everything should be free at the expense of someone else paying for it. Over half of the college students are so confused, they don’t even know what gender they are or what they want to be called.

However, God did not call us to reflect this culture, He called us to set it and influence it with His teachings and principles. That is why it is so important what a child is taught at home. But if a child is not prepared beforehand, they will be tremendously impacted by the culture they live in.

How has our culture today impacted the church? It always starts with a small erosion from within the body of believers, the church. For instance: “Maybe we don’t need to be so strict on sin and preach repentance.”

Culture Will Try To Rename You

This is going on right now in our society today. Maybe not in changing your literal name, but changing your identity, in how you see yourself! Oh, and if we Christians disagree, we are the ones that have a “phobia.” Look what they did to Daniel and his three friends:

Daniel 1:7 – To them the chief of the eunuchs gave names: he gave Daniel the name Belteshazzar; to Hananiah, Shadrach; to Mishael, Meshach; and to Azariah, Abed-Nego.

Names were always a sign of ownership. When God puts a new creation, a new heart, in us through belief in His Son, we have a new identity. But the Babylonians, by changing these young men’s names, wanted to obliterate anything God had put inside of them – change their identity! On some of the college campuses today, if you call a person by the wrong gender, you can be reprimanded.

The enemy will always try to put a “label” on you which is not what God calls you. For instance, Daniel’s name means “God is my Judge.” Belteshazzar means “lady, protect the king.” They were even trying to create “gender confusion” back then! If you study pagan religion, there was always gender confusion. That is straight from the devil.

Hananiah means “Yahweh has been gracious.” But Shadrach means “I’m afraid of God.” Mishael means “Who is, what God is.” Meshach means “I’m despised, contemptible and humiliated.” They changed their names from “confidence” to cowards. The enemy will try to change the redemptive name we have from God.

Azariah means, “Yahweh has helped.” Abed-Nego means “I’m a servant of Nebo.” The enemy has a label for each one of us, and for many they have bought into that thinking that strips their real identity and it is defining their lives. That’s why when someone stops drinking alcohol, is born again, they are no longer called an alcoholic, but society says they are always an alcoholic. Not so, and neither is a drug addict once they stop, still a drug addict. If you are born again, you are a child of the Most High God not what you used to be!

When Culture Shifts, We Must Know Who We Are

Culture will try to change our standards also. Culture will try to get us to compromise what we once believed was wrong! Tells us its “out-dated” thinking. This takes the church into the forbidden. For instance: “You don’t have to be married, just live together. The marriage license is just a piece of paper.” And the worse one yet is: “It’s my body and I will do what I want with it!”

Daniel 1:8 – But Daniel purposed in his heart that he would not defile himself with the portion of the king’s delicacies, nor with wine which he drank; therefore he requested of the chief of the eunuchs that he might not defile himself. Daniel didn’t start preaching to them that this was from the devil, he simply asked if he could not defile himself. He was polite, as we should be. Daniel had already purposed in his heart not to compromise his standards. 

In this day and time, we better know what we believe, settle our core beliefs, and know what is compromise and what is not. Just how much of today’s culture do we really let into our lives? When we see culture shift, we need to reaffirm our convictions.

Culture Will Test Us

Many today will be tested in a lot of areas, and some only a few, but we all will be tested in today’s society. How much we tolerate to enter into our lives is up to us.

Daniel 1:9 – Now God had brought Daniel into the favor and good will of the chief of the eunuchs. (Verse 10) And the chief of the eunuchs said to Daniel, “I fear my lord the king, who has appointed your food and drink. For why should he see your faces looking worse than the young men who are your age? Then you would endanger my head before the king.” (Verse 11) So Daniel said to the steward whom the chief of the eunuchs had set over Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah, (Verse 12) “Please test your servants for ten days, and let them give us vegetables to eat and water to drink. (Verse 13) “Then let our countenance be examined before you, and the countenance of the young men who eat the portion of the king’s delicacies; and as you see fit, so deal with your servants.” (Verse 14) So he contended with them in this matter, and tested them ten days.

When the culture we live in starts to shift, we have to respond in the right way. We can’t fall into the two ex-streams: God didn’t call us to just be right! He called us to be effective. The goal is not to prove our point and that person be told, “You’re going to hell if you don’t change.” The goal is to be a good witness and win them over to understanding our God.

The other ex-stream is by telling a person that “you” love that person, that needs salvation, more than God does. Example: “I know the Bible says that, but God doesn’t really mean that for you.” When the truth is: God loves us so much that He calls us out of our sin and wants us to live for Him.

Jesus gives us the perfect balance of how we are to respond: John 1:14 – And the word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth.

When Jesus loved people, He did it with both grace and truth. Grace comes first. We connect before we correct. Love people first and then show them grace. Truth without grace is just plain mean. It’s right, but it’s mean. We can be right but also helpful.

Grace without truth is “meaningless!” The truth is what’s sets us free, so if there’s no truth with all that love, then its all meaningless. But when we put grace and truth together, we get good medicine.

Jesus gave us an example of this in Chapter 8 of John, when a woman is caught in adultery:

John 8:1 – But Jesus went to the Mount of Olives. (Verse 2) But early in the morning He came again into the temple, and all the people came to Him; and He sat down and taught them. (Verse 3) Then the scribes and Pharisees brought to Him a woman caught in adultery. And when they had set her  in the midst, (Verse 4) they said to Him, “Teacher, this woman was caught in adultery, in the very act. (Verse 5) “Now Moses, in the law, commanded us that such should be stoned. But what do You say?” (Verse 6) This they said, testing Him that they might have something of which to accuse Him. But Jesus stooped down and wrote on the ground with His finger, as though He did not hear. (Verse 7) So when they continued asking Him, He raised Himself up and said to them, “He who is without sin among you, let him throw a stone at her first.”

I want you to notice something: Jesus is in the temple and the floor in the temple is not dirt, it is stone. They brought the woman directly into the temple and sat her down in the midst of all these men, including Jesus. Jesus wrote on the ground, hard stone, with His finger and He does it again.

(Verse 8) And again He stooped down and wrote on the ground. (Verse 9) Then those who heard it, being convicted by their conscience, went out one by one, beginning with the oldest even to the last. And Jesus was left alone, and the woman standing in the midst. I don’t know what He wrote, but He wrote it on that hard stone on the floor of the temple, because it says they “went out one by one.” They went out of the temple! Nowhere does it say that Jesus went out to meet these accusers because they had interrupted His teaching in the temple. Wow!

(Verse 10) When Jesus had raised Himself up and saw no one but the woman, He said to her,  “Woman, where are those accusers of yours? Has no one condemned you?” (Verse 11) She said, “No one, Lord.” And Jesus said to her, “Neither do I condemn you; go and sin no more.”

Grace first, then truth! Grace invites us to be free, so that the truth can literally set us free. Jesus loves us but loves us too much to leave us the way we are. God will give us the confidence we need to stand firm in the middle of a shifting culture! He will prepare us for every test!