Tag Archives: enemy

Our Invisible Shield

psalm 31 8 invislbe shield2aTeaching 6th graders has been so exhilarating! Each week we get to know these kids better and better and it is exciting to see how much they retain. But the grandest gift of all is when they leave saying ‘I can’t wait to hear what happens next.” Smile, Smile, Smile on these teacher’s faces! Last week as we walked through Acts 22-23 with Paul we really saw the truth of an invisible shield about him when the whole world was in an uproar just because he said he was going to take the gospel to the Gentiles! Yet, God in His way protected Paul step by step because as He said: “you are going to  Rome to testify of me.”

Have you ever experienced God’s invisible shield? David did. In Psalm 31-33 we find one word repeated. Like an echo, we hear “protector.”  He certainly could look back over his life and see instances where God lovingly covered over him in and from danger. In Saul’s palace, God placed his invisible shield to protect David when Saul threw his spear at him. Or again as Saul entered the cave and David could have taken Saul’s life but God’s invisible shield protected him from committing sin.

Obviously, David, as the author, realizes he has been seeking shelter from King Saul. Only God could put His invisible shield about him to blind the eyes of Saul and give David peace in the midst of the storm.

We wonder how often David stood out in the open overlooking the hills of Judea, looking for Saul as his enemy to surface. In those times he shares “you do not deliver me from the power of the enemy, instead “you enable me to stand in a wide open place.” Although vulnerable, God had his invisible shield about him and he sensed that presence.

Stop here and think, where did you see or “feel” God’s invisible shield about you recently? Did you stop and say thank you God for protecting me? Did you or would you share your experience below?


How to Pray for the Wicked

psalm 58 59 pray boldly2aToday as we watch the news our hearts are filled with much sadness by the many atrocities around our world. But God wants us to see that it is at times like this that we must be bold in our prayers for those who are blinded by the enemy and do NOT know the truth so that they may come to the knowledge of who Jesus really is and who God is.

TRUTH: The Holy Word presents the case of the righteous vs the wicked (the ungodly) from Genesis to Revelation that we may be discerning of the ways of Satan.

TRUTH: But there is also another reason and it is so that we may confidently approach God with weeping and praying for their lost souls. We know from history that the words of Paul have come true in more than one century: “fierce wolves will come in among you, not sparing the flock.” The why is clear: “the one who kills you will think he is offering service to God.” [Jn 16] because “the god of this age has blinded the minds of those who do not believe so they would not see the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God.” [2Co 4:4]

TRUTH: We must  bow before the Father and pray that their eyes of their heart be enlightened so that they may know the hope that is true and everlasting; that they may come to the knowledge of the true God; that the blindness that Satan has passed over their eyes may be removed and they see with their eyes and understand with their heart and turn to God and be healed. [John 12].

TRUTH: Beloved we are blessed to know the truth. Be bold before the Father and pray with boldness for the lost.

War Ain’t Pretty But….

Nope, war is ugly and there are more victims than victors. but, spiritual wars are even uglier. Let me explain:

Here’s what it looked like. Ephesians 6 battle mind2

Before I began this post I experienced an onslaught of the powers of darkness overshadowing me. It was more powerful than I have experienced in a long time. That is what happens when you come against these strongholds of the “enemy” Satan. But, just as Paul prayed for the Ephesians I began to pray: Strengthen me Holy Spirit in my inner man for Satan is my enemy and he does not want me to write this nor to share it. Just as quickly as the forces of darkness began to diminish. How often do we not utilize the tool of prayer in such strong words. But, Jesus and the Holy Spirit were interceding for me and I must believe that this is why Satan’s or his demon’s powers were thwarted. And now precious ones to the post!

This is War and It Ain’t Pretty!

ephesians 6 armor2This is the truth regarding a believer’s battle! This is real war Beloved lest we think otherwise!

Paul was all too familiar with walking in the flesh as well as walking in the Spirit and what lay ahead for the Ephesians. Recall what he told the Ephesian elders: “after I am gone fierce wolves will come in among you, not sparing the flock.” Jesus said “I am sending you out like sheep surrounded by wolves.” Who better than Peter to remind us that Satan himself roams about seeking whom he may devour and audaciously demands that we be sifted as wheat for he experienced it in real life. BUT, just as Christ prayed for Peter that his faith not fail, he sits at the right hand of God interceding for us. In addition, the Holy Spirit “intercedes for us with inexpressible groanings.”

Take heart Beloved and prepare for the spiritual battle you will face daily moment by moment. Pray boldly that God would “grant you to be strengthened with power through his Spirit in the inner person” because the real battle begins in the mind.[See above for my real life experience today!] Our real enemy is not flesh and blood but spiritual forces that are invisible to the naked eye. Yet, Satan cannot vanquish: truth, righteousness, the good news of peace, faith, salvation and the word of God. Be conscious that a spiritual battle is raging; be knowledgeable of Satan’s schemes of deception and untruths. To be forewarned is to be forearmed.

Imitate Christ, put on your armor!

Praying for Leaders of the Flock

1peter 5 pray 4 pastoraAs a fellow elder, Peter exhorts the elders to be shepherds of their dispersed flock. They need to be shepherds that are alert, watching over and leading the flock step by step away from the adversary the devil who is busily prowling around seeking whom he can devour. They are to be exercising their position voluntarily and doing it eagerly as well as be an example. Pray for them to be humble, sober and that they can resist the devil whose allure of the world is tossed before them.

Beloved, if ever there was a time it is now that we must be praying daily for our church leaders as they work to fulfill these huge tasks. Pray for their study time that it be quiet and undisturbed. Further the 23rd psalm gives us ideas on how to pray:

Pray for them as they seek those green pastures where they can lead their flock to find respite from the cares of the world; to have wisdom to help the flock find the quiet waters where they can be refreshed; and pray that they know how to guide the flock in the paths of righteousness. The enemy has placed lions in the road and seeks to undermine the elder’s work and ours as well. That is why we must be interceders and in a mode of prayer for our elders and leaders of our flock.

Today’s Devotional: From One Wilderness to Another….

ImageOne thought grabbed my attention in preparing the summary reading for today. We remember that Jesus began his public ministry after being in the wilderness for 40 days being tempted by the evil one, Satan himself. After 11 chapters of John’s observations of what transpired after that moment in time we find that the evil one is once again “ on the prowl looking for someone to devour.” [1Pet 5:8]. This time it is Jesus himself. Satan wants to destroy the very Son of God and will use the blind unbelieving Pharisees as his instruments to carry out his will, but before the Savior is brought to the cross, Jesus is once again seeking the wilderness where he can be nourished by the ones nearest and dearest to him, the disciples and His Father. 

Where do you/I seek nourishment when we know a trial is ahead? With whom do we receive refreshment?

We seem to busy ourselves but not so our Lord. He is being refreshed there for his heart is heavy. Some saw the miracle of the raising of Lazarus and gave God glory but some returned to tell the Pharisees. Why did they go? Was it purely unbelief? We may never know the true heart reason but we do then read of the prophecy given by the high priest Caiaphas: “You know nothing at all! You do not realize that it is more to your advantage to have one man die for the people than for the whole nation to perish.” Later in chapter 12 we find that the religious leaders compounded their sinful intentions by planning to kill the risen Lazarus as well.

“Oh what a tangled web we weave, when we first practice to deceive” [Sir. W. Scott] This is the setting in Chapter 12 as we see the web being woven to entrap and murder the miracle worker, Son of David, Son of God as well as Lazarus. In the midst of this we hear the Savior say: ““The time has come for the Son of Man to be glorified.” Although Jesus had performed and offered many signs to authenticate Himself, they still refused to believe in him. Isaiah wrote about these unbelievers saying that God has blinded their eyes, hardened their heart so that they would not see, understand with their heart, and turn to God for healing. “Jesus said in John 3:18, “Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only Son of God.” The unbelief of Israel is a guilty unbelief. Our unbelief is a guilty unbelief.” [Piper]

After this John notes: 12:42/43 “Nevertheless, even among the rulers many believed in him, but because of the Pharisees they would not confess Jesus to be the Christ, so that they would not be put out of the synagogue. For they loved praise from men more than praise from God.”

Beloved Reader, There are several unanswered questions before us: (1) Where do we find ourselves in the time of trial?  Do we retreat to the wilderness to be refreshed? (2) What about our decision to follow? Is it in a closet for fear of men or do you openly proclaim? (3)Where do we find our heart today? Are we like those who saw and believed or like the blind Pharisees and other unbelieving Jews?

Waiting on God!

ImageDevotional for Ps 129-131 There is a familiar hymn many have sung whose first lines go as follows: Speak, Lord, in the stillness, while I wait on thee; Hushed my heart to listen, in expectancy. Little is known about the author, E. May Grimes, other than in 1893 she traveled to S. Africa as a missionary and married Dr. Crawford of the Christian Missionary  Society in British East Africa. Since she wrote this hymn many have clung to it in times of travail and trouble Her words have resonated with many across the many years for it reminds us of our posture when we want to hear from God.

The psalmist wrote in these three psalms of the struggles the Israelites had with bordering nations who harassed them often. It is in this frame of reference that he wrote that he wanted his people to wait on God. To help them he reminds them of God’s character which is righteousness; he alone has the power to vanquish their enemies and he is just.  A principle was brought forth from this psalm by C. H. Spurgeon: “Never has God used a nation to chastise his Israel without destroying that nation when the chastisement has come to a close: he hates those who hurt his people even though he permits their hate to triumph for a while for his own purpose.” This is a good reminder when we face struggles and onslaughts from the enemy himself. Satan is our foe but he is only allowed a certain time and then God will remove his power and his pointed lance.

In the meantime, the psalmist reminds us in Ps 130 that we are to wait upon Him. Other biblical authors have had the same refrain and we would be wise to heed these words. Why should we wait on the Lord? When we step in and seek to corral the enemy we only stop God from accomplishing His purposes and we find that the battle is far more challenging than we had realized. Eph 6:12 For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world rulers of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavens.

Today, Beloved Friend, follow the principles given in these psalms: 130:5 I wait for the LORD, my soul doth wait, and in his word do I hope. His Word is as it says: Heb 4:12 For the word of God is living and active and sharper than any double-edged sword, piercing even to the point of dividing soul from spirit, and joints from marrow; it is able to judge the desires and thoughts of the heart.

May our prayer be “I Will Wait on Him.” May our posture be: Ps 131:2 “Indeed I am composed and quiet,”

Anointed Ones Abide! (1John 2)

ImageThey say opposites attract but is that really true? We usually use the standards of how we are attracted by one’s physical appearance, by their status, by their education. We oppose those who are different than us.  But, Jesus said we will attract others not by how they look, by how much money they have in the bank etc. but by a character quality and that quality is love for one another. In fact it was so important that on his last night after the Judas left, Jesus gave this commandment:  “I give you a new commandment – to love one another. Just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. Everyone will know by this that you are my disciples – if you have love for one another.”

Yesterday, John told us that God is Light. Today he bridges that concept to say that if we know and have experienced God’s Light illuminating our being we will be marked by three qualities: love, abiding, anointing. Each of those qualities marks the believers/followers of Jesus.  How then do we know if we are loving, abiding, and are anointed and what are the warning signals that we are not? That is the question he poses. First John addresses the children, having just become a new born believer; the fathers; that is we are seasoned, mature; or we are young men; we are in between, not yet fully mature but no longer children. Where are you? Where am I?

First we know Jesus, who is our Advocate. Because we have a propensity to sin, we run to him when we sin and know that if we confess our sin he is faithful and just to forgive us. We have chosen to keep his commandments, we walk in the same manner as he did and we love one another; that is our brothers and sisters in Christ.

Secondly, we are more aware of the enemy’s strategies and now because we are anointed by the indwelling Holy Spirit we should be able to detect his entrance. To help us, John offers three avenues the enemy uses which are no different than he used in the Garden and with Jesus in his temptation. First is the problem of the world: our flesh; that is our perceived wants. Secondly our eyes are our perceived views. Lastly is our pride of life or how we perceive our status.  John says DO NOT love these three for if we do then we should doubt our walk  with God for these are not from the Father. Here’s how you can tell. When one of those perceived enemy attacks comes do you flee (1Tim 6:11, 2Tim 2:22) or stay? Do you deny (Rom  6:12-13, 8:13) or accept? Do you resist (1Pt 5:9) or conform?

Thirdly, as a believer you have the indwelling Holy Spirit to assist you in abiding. Abiding is our intimate relationship with Jesus, our Advocate and Blessed Redeemer/Savior. It has the essence of how we respond to Jesus and His commandments. We allow Him to fill our minds, direct our wills, and transform our affections. Jesus takes up residence within us through the Holy Spirit as He promised. As our intimate teacher the Holy Spirit (John 14:26, 16:13) will bring thoughts to our mind, direct our steps if we are yielding, and will give us understanding.

Blessed Beloved Ones, remain steadfast, immovable, always abounding lest you be led astray. Test the spirits to know if they are of God or not. Check and see if you are abiding, loving, anointed. Abide anointed ones for you are blessed beyond measure.

The Battle is in the Mind! 2Cor 10

ImageDavid Mathis, Ex Editor for Desiring God wrote in his blog yesterday: “In communicating the gospel, one of the essential things we must at least imply, if not make explicit, is the most offensive truth possible: you are powerless precisely where it matters most. You are dead to what truly is life.” When we come to grips with that statement and yield to Christ then we know the truth: “So you too consider yourselves dead to sin, but alive to God in Christ Jesus.” [Rom 6:11] The heart of the matter is this: the gospel is offensive and the gospel workers are as well. Paul of all people faced it head on when he became aware of the charge: “some” were saying Paul was living by the world’s standards. Paul may have lived in the first century but the same charges are leveled today. It seems that although our enemy is strong and he has been honing his skills, his tactics remain unchanged. We are called hypocrites, complainers, judgmental and the list goes on and on. But, in godly wisdom Paul gives us some idea of how to face our foes and his ideas come straight from the book of Joshua. God is unchanging and His ways are unchanging. What worked then works now.

God told Joshua that He was about to defeat the enemies of Jericho, but there was a condition that must be obeyed scrupulously. They were not to take any of the riches of the city lest they make the Israelite camp subject to annihilation and cause a disaster. The same is true for us. We are not to take any of the riches of the enemy we face: “all that is in the world (the desire of the flesh and the desire of the eyes and the arrogance produced by material possessions) is not from the Father, but is from the world” [1John]

In 2Cor 10 Paul tells us more: the riches of this world are the enemy’s stronghold: the arguments or reasonings that are hostile to Christ and His Word. These are the philosophies, reasonings, schemes of the world. The battle is in the mind and therefore we must take captive these enemies to the obedience of Christ. God has given us the weapons. We are but jars of clay and He wants to fill our jar with His promises and power.  Here are a few.


  1. 2Cor 10:6 take every thought captive.  Bind them and destroy them just as Joshua was to do to Jericho.
  2. Eph 6/Ps 119:11 we have the sword of the Word, thus hide it in our heart. Memorize it and use  it when the enemy comes
  3. Is 41:10/Matt 28/Heb 13:5  I am with you and will never leave you nor forsake you. This is God’s promise just as it was with Joshua and the Israelites.
  4. Ps 50:15 Call upon me in the day of trouble. That is our weapon of prayer.
  5. Ph 4:19 I will supply all your needs. Whatever the battle is before you, God has what you need.

Today wherever the enemy has you in his stronghold, apply these to your situation and see the walls that he has erected come tumbling down so you can walk freely from the enemy’s camp into the newness of life that God has for you. You are the Rahab that God has saved, now go forth and proclaim the victory.  

Remember the Battle is in the Mind!




Living Righteously in the Body of Christ.

ImageRomans 14 always brings to forefront tears for me as I see the Body of Christ being torn asunder with differing opinions. I have to step aside and ask is there a grain of truth in this ounce of criticism and if so in light of eternity is this something I need to alter in my life so that the enemy will not use as his tool to divide the fellowship of my church/fellowship of believers? Maybe that is the question we must all ask ourselves as there are many in the church and outside the church that cry: Hypocrite! Hypocrite! We could all share from our experiences family members, friends, co-workers, etc. that have said this to us and it causes us to cringe. Could it be that in some respects they are right? Let’s dig in and see what we are to learn and then more practically what we are to apply.

Paul addresses this full head on in chapter 14 but does not use the word hypocrite but rather bluntly says “do not condemn” and “do not judge.” Yesterday we talked about how to live righteously in an unrighteous world. Today Paul asks us the same question but in regards to how we live in the Body of Christ. Again we need to come back to our premise of yesterday: we are to love our neighbor and sometimes loving comes at a price, comes when we are face to face with those who differ with us. How do we do that lovingly? That is the question.

First off, Paul addressed two situations that the church in Rome was experiencing and which we find are the same two that are still with us today: food/drink and days on which we worship. Some say it is ok to eat certain foods, another says no. Some say it is ok to drink alcohol and another says no. Some say you must worship only on Saturday and others say not so, worship on Sunday or any other day is ok. Oh the tools that Satan uses to divide and he will use whatever he can to destroy the Body of Christ.  We must remember that our enemy, Satan, is wily, and he knows where we are weak and where we are strong. (2Co 2:11 Satan… (for we are not ignorant of his schemes); and in fact he often disguises himself as an angel of light (2Cor 11:4). He will seek to divide and cause disunity and what better place than within the Body of Christ? Let’s get practical here and see what the Word of God says.  

Paul uses very strong language in this situation: vs 4 “Who are you to pass judgment on another’s servant?” Then he also reminds us that we are “not to condemn” nor are we to “judge.” And if we didn’t get those phrases he adds another: DO NOT to be a stumbling block for another. So if we are not to do that, then what key elements should be a part of our life?

Beloved, the key is found in vs 7: “righteousness, peace, and joy in the Holy Spirit.”


14:19 “So then, let us pursue what makes for peace and for building up one another.” Did you note that the word peace seems to be cropping up over and over from chapter 12 to 14? Did you also note that he inserts peace between righteousness and joy? If you do a search you will find that Paul used that word 13 times in this book.

Today may we seek peace above all else. May this be our mandate for today, Rom 12:18 If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all people. And if we disagree on the points of food/drink and days–remember that Satan is lurking, waiting and looking for ways to divide us. Ecc 4:12 Although an assailant may overpower one person, two can withstand him. Moreover, a three-stranded cord is not quickly broken. Let’s keep the three strand:

          J – Jesus O- Others Y- Yourself = Jesus righteousness, peace, joy

Is Life Fair? Find the Answer in Ps 73.

ImageIn Matthew 18, Jesus took time to quell the bickering of the disciples using the illustration of a child’s humility. He also gave them a stern warning to not be a stumbling block for ones who are new in their faith or just beginning to grow. Today we meet a man who long ago faced this same struggle. The musician and seer Asaph wisely teaches us how to handle temptations to be a stumbling block which is one of the enemy’s tools.  This is one of the wisdom psalms from which we learn practical points of life.

Asaph begins with extolling God for His goodness and purity of motives. But, he is struggling as he sees those who are wicked who are prosperous, proud, and popular. We too face that struggle when we look about us rather than looking at God. Asaph personalizes his struggles with his perspective on life for us and in it teaches us some wise principles.

Life is not fair. Asaph as a paid religious worker in Temple worship just didn’t seem to cut it. It is not fair. Others are materially prosperous also are proud and pompous, while I am poor and suffer adversity. They lack for nothing and live life with a “God owes me this” mentality. I am a man of integrity and yet like Job or Joseph I am facing problems. Where is my material prosperity God? Why do I face problems? If you are God why am I suffering? Today we see and hear the same refrain. It seems that this is a point that is ages old. The problem is failing to see life through the lens of the eternal perspective.

There are three keys we want to note: vs 3 “I envied” Envy is a sin that began in the Garden of Eden and is alive and well today. Secondly, notice how Asaph pondered what to do:  73:15 “If I had publicized these thoughts, I would have betrayed your loyal followers.” Translation: I would become a stumbling block! Today:  How often do we share via prayer requests our struggles without considering what those might do to a young believer’s faith? Thirdly, 73:17 Then I entered the precincts of God’s temple, Asaph came to the sobering reality that first he harbored the sin of envy for which he needed cleansing. Secondly, Asaph pondered the consequences of being a stumbling block to others so wisely he sought the counsel of God.  Lastly in God’s presence he saw the reality: We are here for one purpose: to behold His beauty and to worship Him in all of His fullness. I think Lazarus might have had that perspective right and the rich man had the “God owes me mentality” in Luke 16. In the end, who was really blessed? Asaph comes to this same conclusion.

There is a praise hymn which seems to sum up our thoughts for today: “In the presence of Jehovah, God Almighty, Prince of Peace, Troubles vanish, hearts are mended, in the Presence of the King. Through His love the Lord provided….

That is the key. It is in the presence of Jehovah we find all our answers to life’s problems.