WRESTLING WITH THE DEVIL

Be-Strong-in-the-Lord“So now we can tell who are children of God and who are children of the devil. Anyone who does not live righteously and does not love other believers does not belong to God.” (1 John 3:10). 

Sometimes we need to be reminded that we are engaged in spiritual war until the day we die. When I was a young convert I had a dream that has stayed with me to this day. I was wrestling with the devil himself. He was mean, ugly and strong. I wanted to beat him, badly.

I felt pure hatred for this destroyer of souls.

The dream was detailed and in slow motion.

We both ending up choking each other at once. I could feel my arms straining to subdue him and he was not able to choke me. While engaged in this battle I looked up and I saw the handle of a sword in a low cloud cover. It was a pearl handle covered with precious jewels and gold.

I yelled, “I need that.”

At that moment I had to strength to push my enemy a few feet back. I looked up and to my surprise the sword was within my grasp. The devil rushed me and I took the sword and I split him down the middle head to toe. The dream was over and I woke up worshiping the Lord! A short time later I read the passage of scripture that said, “For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.” (Heb 4:12). God had introduced me to the most powerful weapon in our arsenal -the spoken Word of God.

There is no doubt in my mind we are engaged in a fierce, bloody warfare.  War is fraught with danger. It is no joke. It is no game. It is not a movie or a book. It is real. People live or die in battles. There will be near escapes and exciting adventures. There will be incredible victories and terrible defeats. Some will escape death by the skin of their teeth and others will be casualties.

Spiritual war does not stop because you are a child or senior citizen. It does not stop if you get sick or if you are healthy.  There is no cease fire whether you are rich or poor. He does not care if you are free or you are in prison. It does not matter whether you sit in the pew or stand in the pulpit. It does not matter whether you have served the Lord a few days or many years. It does not care about the color of the skin.  It does not matter whether you are married or single.

In this battle there will be people who are heroes and people who are villains. There will be loyal friends and there will be traitors. There will be honor and there will be disgrace.  There will be medals and there will be courtmartials. There will promotions and there will be executions.

When you became a Christian you changed sides. You find this the day you get saved. There is a grim truth many preachers won’t tell you today, you used to serve the devil (John 8:44). Now your Father is God (Gal. 3:26). With all the flowery, sugary preaching today you would think once you become a Christian everything will be a paradise. It will not. You will be on hell’s hit list. Satan has assigned assassins to sabotage your Christian life. He wants to steal from you, kill you and destroy you.

When you decide you are going to get more serious about God, it is not just consecration but a declaration of war.  As Christ was Satan’s enemy, now YOU are Satan’s enemy. He is determined to discourage and deceive you. That is what Satan does (Rev 12:9).

One thing must be clear: you cannot win this in your own strength. “Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes.” (Eph. 6:10-11NIV). All you are: your intelligence, verbal skills, physical strength, knowledge and influence are absolutely impotent and useless in spiritual warfare.  God has secured his strength, might and power for us who are his children.

©2015 Rev. Stephen S. Gibney give credit where credit is due

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THE GOSPEL CAN BREAK THE SATANIC BLOCKADE

gospel_unleashed“Wherefore we would have come unto you, even I Paul, once and again; but Satan hindered us.” (1 Thess 2:18).

In this verse you see the apostle Paul himself was hindered from being able to minister to the the saints for a period of time. He literally says that Satan cut in front of him impeding the ministry of the gospel. Satan will stop at nothing when it comes to hindering the message of the gospel. Satan blinds the minds of unbelievers (2 Cor. 4:3-4) and he takes them captive at his will (2 Tim. 2:26).  Only the gospel of Jesus Christ can break open the prison cells of those captive to sin and remove the darkness of their hearts by its all-powerful light. The gospel has power in and of itself; Paul calls it, “the power of God unto salvation.” (Romans 1: 16).

Satan is an enemy of Jesus Christ and anyone who serves him and many Christians today are being hindered by the devil especially those in ministry. The obstacles for unbelievers is one thing but hindrance of believers in Jesus is a much longer list. Today, divisions in churches, distractions of this world and depression of the emotions block the furtherance of the gospel. I also believe the gospel is being hindered because people are getting “spiritual” feeding from false ministers who have distorted the gospel rather than the personal study of the Bible under the illumination of the Holy Spirit (Gal 1). The gospel is an awesome power against the forces of darkness. Many people look at the armor of God in Ephesians 6:10-18 as something for personal protection but they forget that the armor has shoes that are called “the gospel of peace.” (Eph. 6:15). So what we stand upon; what we move in, what we walk in, what we run in-is the gospel.  This understanding gives great clarity to our mission. Everything we live for is Christ and his gospel. As I’ve said before to others it’s time for us to use the weaponized version of the Bible (Heb. 4:12). This means to unleash the gospel in all its force and full strength by speaking clearly and forcefully the truths of the gospel and letting the Holy Spirit have his way.

I believe that The Lord whispered in my heart a few weeks back something to the effect that if we are going to stop the tide of evil that is sweeping across this land we are going to have to have the attitude “All for the gospel. All for Christ.” Only those that have surrendered to the gospel can call for the surrender of others to the gospel. And no doubt the gospel is an unconditional surrender of the sinner to the demands of the gospel.

Our strength, our fortunes, our very lives must be offered as a sweet smelling savor in sacrifice in order for the gospel to take its full affect. There is no other way. You don’t have to read the Bible for long to see that the men and women of the first century church were deeply and radically committed to Christ. The apostle Paul had a motto, “to live is Christ and to die is gain.”  (Phil 1:21).  And I say, it is impossible for the gospel to be spread without a complete and total willingness to give everything for the gospel by every individual who calls himself a Christian.

The gospel is not just an idea but it is the idea of God. It is the genius of God that seems like foolishness to the world (1 Cor.  1:18, 25). There is nothing that can be compared to the gospel. The reason for the rise of Islam in the world today is because of the reasons that I’ve stated above. If the plain gospel is not preached it is giving Satan liberty and license by both spiritual and natural enemies to terrorize the world.  Satan is a master at religion.

The Bible says he has his own ministers he even has his own churches. They appear to be Christian but they are not (2 Cor. 11:13-14). One man said years ago the one thing that’s worse than a world without the knowledge of God is a world with a perverted knowledge of God. We cannot defeat the foes of the gospel through the methodologies of man. It is ridiculous at best and satanic at worst! When Peter thought like men think he was called Satan (Mt 16:23). Jesus would say no less of those who garble and mangle the preaching of scripture and the gospel. This world system dominated by sin and Satan are much too powerful and only the Son of God could defeat them when he died on the cross and rose from the grave.  We cannot lay claim to his promise, “I have overcome the world.” if we do not preach the gospel (John 16:33).  We will be hindered and miserably defeated. May God help us today.

Experienced Soldiers Wanted

The Bible speaks of the, “men of Zebulun, experienced soldiers prepared for battle with every type of weapon, to help David with undivided loyalty.” (1 Chr. 12:33).

You may have been wondering why Christians, God’s very own children, go through so many difficulties in life. You would think there would be some level of immunity some perks for the Christian. While there are many advantages in being a child of God we are not free from trials and dangers.  I think that is why the Bible has so many battle scenes within its pages. In a way it is a comfort knowing that life has battles, so as Peter says to, “not be surprised at the painful trial you are suffering, as though something strange were happening to you.” (1 Peter 4:12). God’s plan for your life is still on track despite your problems, this is nothing extraordinary or odd.

All these things are taking place to make you an experienced soldier. You have gained skill through practice. Do not think because you have scratches, bruises or wounds that you somehow have failed as a solider. This only is proof that you have been in some battles and you are prepared. We are at war and you are one of God’s seasoned fighters, “an instrument for noble purposes, made holy, useful to the Master and prepared to do any good work.” (2 Tim. 2:21).

Christ your General deploys you in his gospel campaigns because you are prepared for battle. All of your trials have been monitored by God (1 Cor 10:13) and are part of a special process to make you more like Christ (Rom. 8:28-30). How can you lose, when Jesus is walking by your side through the mud and grime of the battle field? You are a well armed, intelligent, trained soldier. You are a solider in the army of the Lord God who owns the grid iron of the universe (Ps. 24:1-2). God always has home field advantage and only uses the best on his team,his called, chosen and faithful followers.” (Rev. 17:14). 

You are a royal soldier and God has raised you up for his special purposes. That is why the Christian has at his disposal a heavenly arsenal with every type of weapon (Eph. 6:10-18). God gives you his strength to fight, Christ’s mind for strategy, and the Spirit’s illumination to detect your enemies. William Gurnall said, “Humble souls are fearful of their own strength.”  When you know the Lord you cringe from your abilities because they are flesh and have no advantage at all (John 6:63). It is not our human tactics, carnal abilities and worldly talents that win the day! It is humble dependence  on the strength of Jesus Christ that overcomes the world system of evil. Oh that we would open the Bible and treat it as a cache of weaponry designed to foil the enemy at every turn.

You have an undivided loyalty to the royalty of Christ.  Here is where you great strength lies! You do not have an allegiance to this world system and to God’s ways. It is your love for God and more than that his love for you.  Your power and ability is in the covenant Christ has made with you and part of that covenant is giving you the desire and power to do his will (Phil 2:12-13).  We love him because he loved us first (1 John 4:19) AND he directs our hearts into His love (2 Thess. 3:5) AND He pours his love into our hearts (Rom. 5:5). Christ is our covenant (Isa. 42:6; 49:8) and he is our strength and power and makes our way perfect (Psa. 18:32) because his way was perfect (Heb. 5:9). We have a spirit inspired undivided loyalty through the power of the blood of Jesus, the authority of his spoken Word on our lips and the ability of His Spirit burning in our hearts.

© 2012 Soul Health Care Ministries, If you share this article just let them know about us and where it came from.

Here Comes Christ the Warrior King!

“Open up, ancient gates! Open up, ancient doors, and let the King of glory enter. Who is the King of glory? The Lord, strong and mighty; the Lord, invincible in battle. Open up, ancient gates! Open up, ancient doors, and let the King of glory enter. Who is the King of glory? The Lord of Heaven’s Armies—he is the King of glory.” (Psalm 24:7-10NLT).

This psalm demonstrates clearly who is the rightful Owner, Ruler and Creator of the universe! The earth and all that is in it belongs rightfully to the thrice Holy God (24:1)!  We live our lives for the glory of God and the crown rights of King Jesus. “Yours, O LORD, is the greatness and the power and the glory and the majesty and the splendor, for everything in heaven and earth is yours. Yours, O LORD, is the kingdom; you are exalted as head over all.” (1 Chr. 29:11). 

Jesus Christ is King of Glory is the Lord strong and mighty, the Lord mighty in battle seen in a human being (John 1:14). He only had clean hands and a pure heart. He only could ascend into God’s hill and stand in his holy place (24:3-4). He comes to open up gates that were barred to men and women since the fall of Adam. God was coming to earth in Christ opening up the gates that false religion and sin had closed. When John baptized Christ, “he saw heaven being torn open and the Spirit descending on him like a dove. (Mk 1:10).  The Warrior King’s battle cry was, “Open for me the gates of righteousness. ” (Psa. 118:19).

Charles Spurgeon says, “We know the might of Jesus by the battles which he has fought, the victories which he has won over sin, and death, and hell…”  The disciples saw Christ the Warrior King and even touched his wounds after his death in battle yet who rose again for them victorious over death (Luke 24:39; John 20:24-26). You also see Christ the warrior King coming to you by the reading of scripture and witness of the Holy Spirit. There you see his wounds and scars proving that He is your King of Glory, your Lord strong and mighty, your Lord who is mighty in battle who says, “Do not be afraid. I am the First and the Last. I am the Living One; I was dead, and behold I am alive for ever and ever! And I hold the keys of death and Hades.” (Rev 1:17-18).

What are these ancient doors? These gates are the everlasting doors, the eternal gates of heaven.  Like the old portcullis gate and doors as seen in this article, so the doors burst open wide and the gate was lifted for Jesus Christ the overwhelming Victor. Here comes Christ the Warrior King back from Mount Calvary’s bloody hill of battle, the silence of the borrowed tomb, the earth shattering power of his resurrection and then his triumphant ascension to heaven to take the highest seat in the universe that only the God-man could keep without being dethroned.  He went out weeping and he went to plant the precious seeds of Calvary but came back with singing as he returned with the harvest, bringing back in chains those who enslaved the souls of people and disarmed the spiritual rulers and authorities. He publicly embarrassed them by his victory over them on the cross (Eph. 4:8; Col. 2:15). 

Your warrior King has opened up heaven for you.  Right now a door is standing open for you in heaven. Christ opened it up for you and left it ajar (Rev. 4:1). The heavens are opened for you and God is waiting. “These gates lead to the presence of the LORD, and the godly enter there.” (Psa. 118:20).  Jesus says he is that door (John 10:9). Take his offer now, that door will not remain open forever.

© 2012 Soul Health Care Ministries, If you share this article just let them know about us and where it came from.