Sunday, 8 March 2015

The Enemy ~ Rabqa

Now that you know who your Heavenly Father  & His will for your life. It is important that you understand some of the characteristics of the enemy-satan. This will help you recognise when he has been at work. Remember that satan has been defeated by Jesus, & so as a child of God you don't have to allow him to influence your life.

The Apostle John explains the difference between the purpose of God & that of the devil.

Jn 10:10 ( N L T) the thief’s purpose is to steel & Kill & destroy. My Purpose (Jesus) is to give them (you) a rich & satisfying life.

Have you ever had anything stolen? Even if you have replaced the article that was stolen it probably a trying experience. As difficult as that might have been, however, satan,-the thief-wants you to do even more damage in your life. He does not want to steel your bicycle or sound equipment or even your car-he wants to rob you of the joy peace & hope that you have found in God. BUT be encouraged: Jesus your good Shepherd, has saved you & gives you abundant life. Ask Him to restore anything satan has robbed from you & to teach you how to walk in the abundant life He has promised you.

Satan has one goal & that is destruction. He comes to kill, steel & destroy everything good that God has in mind for you. Jesus said that He has come that we might enjoy our lives.

Are you enjoying life? Are you enjoying every facet of life? Or just what you consider to be the fun fun parts? I truly believe that through the power of the Holy Spirit we can enjoy EVERYTHING. We can enjoy our work & times of waiting. We can enjoy the journey & not just the destination. Life is really all about the journey. Even when a train arrives at whatever station it is headed for, it soon leaves again for another station. We spend more time waiting then we do arriving. God created us to be goal-oriented. Once we reach the goal, it is not long before we are setting another one. we must learn to enjoy where we are- on the way to where we are going.

One of the ways satan steels from us by making us think we can only enjoy certain things & not other things. BUT the truth is that we can get a new mind set & DECIDE to enjoy everything in life. We need to learn that when circumstances change we do not have to change with them. We must refuse to allow satan to upset us. When he steals from us or aggravates us he really does not want our goods BUT our joy.

Life is wasted if we allow ourselves to be miserable all the time. Jesus said in JN 14:27 that He left us His peace & we are to stop allowing ourselves to be upset. He has given us gifts & responsibilities. We are partners with God. His part is to provide peace & joy, our part is not to let the devil steal it. Decide today to start enjoying your life.

Satan is also know as the thief, the devil & Lucifer. The Bible is so clear that he does exist, & that he his able to operate here on earth. 

2 Corn4:4 (N L T) Satan, who is the god of this world, has blinded the minds of those who don't believe. They are unable to see the glorious light of the good news. They don't understand this message about the glory of Christ, who is the exact likeness of God.

Satan is the god of this age & he binds the minds of the people, they choose not to believe resulting in their inability to see the Glory of Christ.

Jn 12:31 (N L T) The time for judging this world has come, when satan, the ruler of this world, will be cast out.

We used to live in sin, just like the rest of the world, obeying the devil-the commander of the powers of the unseen world. He is the spirit at work in the hearts of those who refuse to obey God.

In Ezk 28:12-19  we see some of the details that God gives about the devils life as an angel & his demise.

In Gen 3:10-15 we see that Adam had been clothed with God's glory before he sinned. as soon as Adam & Eve sinned, they realised they were naked. We might say that they lost their covering. As long as they obeyed God they were protected from everything the devil wanted to do to them-& ultimately, through them. Seeing what the devil had done, God immediately announced satans's doom & told him how it would occur.Satan did not really understand what God was saying; nevertheless, God said it & it had to come to pass: He said in Gen 3:15 NKJ) "& I will put enmity between you & the woman, & between your offspring & her offspring; He shall your head underfoot, & you bruise His heel".

To bruise the heel symbolises a weakening of authority, God said that the woman's offspring (Jesus) will take a way satan's authority. Satan will bruise Jesus' heel (that is afflict) His body-on both the cross & by afflicting mankind.

Through Jesus' death on the cross, God took satan's authority  (which Adam gave him) & gave it first to Jesus & then to every person who will believe-not only that Jesus died for them, but also that satan lost his authority over them. We need to understand not only that Jesus died for us, but also that He has redeemed us.

No matter what the devil tries to do to you, he is doomed to defeat, & you are redeemed & victorious over him.

In Isa 14:12-15 Self will destroyed Lucifer in exalting himself, he said " I will five times: I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God, I will sit on the mount of the congregation, I will ascend above the heights of the clouds, &I will be like the most High, BUT God has an answer for him, He said "you shall be brought down to Sheol (Hades) to the innermost recesses of the pit (the region of the dead)"In other words satan you will be cast into hell".

We need to guard against self-will by following Jesus' example. Sooner or later God will ask you to do something contrary to your will, & you will need to remember what Jesus said, "My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass away from me; nevertheless, not my will but Your will (Matt 26:39)

Not getting our own way is one of the most painful things we ever go through in life. When we want something, we really want it, & we do not give up easily. We certainly do not like to vote against our own desires! It takes a lot of humility & brokenness to bring us to the place where we are pliable in the hands of God, to the point where we can say "Well, God I'd rather not do this, but I am willing to do whatever you want.
The lesson here is we must be willing to do what God says & not what we think, feel or want. We must deny ourselves if we are going to follow Him. We need to say "your will God be done in my life" & We must really mean it.
We are afraid that we will never get the things we want if we deny ourselves, but God will give us what we desire, & even better, in due time. Do not be afraid to delay gratification & trust God to give you what you really need.
In Rev12 satan is called the accuser of the brethren. He tries to make us feel guilty & condemned. When we feel unhealthy, guilty, & condemnation, we must remember that God does not make us feel that way. He wants us to experience His love & feel the power of His forgiveness. Guilt depresses us & make us feel as though we are under a heavy burden. Jesus came to lift us up, to bring good news that our sins are forgiven & the penalty of them removed. Resist guilt & condemnation by embracing the salvation authority of Christ in your life.

In Lk 10:18 Jesus says "I saw satan fall like lightening from Heaven.

This was not a vision that Jesus had seeing satan cast out of Heaven, but rather He saw the ultimate defeat & doom of satan.

Satan was created as an angel & is therefore limited to the abilities of an angel, & does not possess the same characteristics of God. Satan is NOT omniscient (all knowing) or omnipotent (all powerful) or omnipresent (everywhere).

Col 1:13 NLT) says Jesus has delivered us from the power of darkness, & has transferred us into the kingdom of His dear Son.     

We should be thanking the Lord for delivering us out of the control of the dominion of darkness & transferring us into the kingdom of the Son of His love, in whom we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins.

1 jn 4:4 (N K J) You are of God little children, & have overcome them, ( the agents of the Antichrist) because He that is in you is greater then He that is in the world.

We can be assured that the victory is ours now that we are in Christ, therefore we can be bold & fight against any attack of the enemy.

In Eph 6:10-12 the apostle Paul explains the weaponry & armour we have to stand firm against the devil, we call this the armour of God.
(N L T) A final word be strong in the Lord & in His mighty power. Put on all of God's armour so that you will be able to stand firm against all strategies of the devil. For we are not fighting against flesh & blood enemies, but against evil rulers & authorities of the unseen world, mighty powers in this dark world, & against evil spirits in the heavenly places.

God's armour is found in Eph 6: 14-18 (N K J) Stand therefore having girded your waist with  truth, having put on the breastplate of righteousness, having shod your feet with the preparation of the gospel of peace; above all talking the shield of faith with which you will be able to quench the fiery darts of the wicked one. & take the helmet of salvation & the sword of the Spirit which is the Word of God. Praying always with all prayer & supplication in the Spirit being watchful to this end with all perseverance & supplication for all the saints.

Verse 12 gives insight into the spiritual war that all believers are in. Our enemies are not natural but spiritual. We can never win our battles if we fight against the wrong source in a wrong way. We tend to think that people or circumstances are our problem, but the source of many of our troubles is satan & his demons. We cannot fight him with carnal (natural) weapons, but only with supernatural ones that God gives us for the destruction of satan's strongholds which is anything opposing God's will.

Would you ever leave home half dressed? No of course not! BUT many of us often forget to put on our spiritual clothing. Every day the forces of satan wage war against both you & me, & it is important to be protected with this spiritual protection & authority, you can stand against evil forces. Learn about your Spiritual armour in (Eph 6:10-18), & as you put on your clothes on each day, also put on your armour & pick up your sword which is the Word of God. For example, walking in peace is equivalent to putting on your shoes of peace, or walking in righteousness is equivalent to putting on the breastplate of righteousness which protects your heart from condemnation. God supplies the armour you need to defeat all the attacks of the devil BUT you must put it on.

Many of us fight battles in the realm of our emotions, but as we see from these verses  that our battle is not just with our emotions, but with the spiritual forces that play on our emotions.

 We are told in the NKJ that we do not war with flesh & blood, but against principalities & powers, rulers of darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places. This means we war against strong entities.

It is important for us to know that we cannot fight darkness with darkness. I believe the best way to resist & overcome our powerful spiritual enemy is not by venting our anger & frustration in some fleshly manner. Rather we need to put on our spiritual armour as described in verses 13-17 & yield ourselves to the power & presence of the Holy Spirit within us & we pray according to V 18.I know some do not speak in tongues, but those who don't can worship in their own understanding (your own language) & put on praise & worship music, if you don't have your own there is always the internet, U Tube has all you need. 

In 1 Tim 6:12 Paul encourages us to fight the good fight (N L T) Fight the good fight for the true faith. Hold tightly to the eternal life to which God has called you, which you have confessed so well before many witnesses.
Notice Paul didn't say fight if you feel like it or have that sort of personality. Every believer must fight the good fight of faith, satan will wage on believers & he doesn't fight fair.

One part of fighting the good fight of faith is to recognise our enemy. As long as we are passive, satan will torment us. Nothing is going  to change about our situation if all we do is sit & wish things were different. We have to take action. All too often we do not move against the enemy when he comes against us with discouragement,  fear, doubt, & or guilt. We believe his lies when we should stand against them with the truth of God's Word.

You & I are not supposed to be punching bags for the devil; instead we are called to be fighters & respond aggressively to his attacks.
The devil tries to trick us into fighting with others around us. BUT God wants us to forget all the rubbish that satan stirs up within us to get us offended toward other people. Instead He wants us to fight against the spiritual enemies who try to war over our lives & steal out peace & joy.

I encourage you to take Paul's words to heart. Lay hold of the eternal life you have been called to receive & fight the good fight of faith.

James 4:7 tells how deal with the enemy (N K J)  Therefore submit to God. Resist the devil & he will flee from you. 

This verse teaches to renounce all rebellion, Submit yourself to God. Renounce the devil & reject all his suggestions.

We must remember that the devil is NOT going to sit back & allow us to take new ground without putting up a fight. Any time we make progress in building the kingdom of God, our enemy is going to come against us. BUT this verse tell us that if we submit to God  & resist the enemy he will flee from us.

In Mk 16:17 Jesus explained to His disciples ...& these signs will follow them that believe; In my name they shall cast out demons...

Mk 16:15 records what we commonly refer to as the great commission & He said to them "Go into al the world preach & publish openly the Good News (the gospel) to every creature of the whole human race". People from every Christian Church accept & attempt to carry this verse. Yet two verses later Jesus says that believers will cast out demons, speak in tongues, & lay hands on the sick. Some Churches do not practice these things, & sadly many teach against them.
I honestly believe that a few moments of sincere thought will reveal to the seeking soul that if Jesus meant for us to carry Mk 16:15  then He intended for us to carry out verses 17 & 18 as well. It is dangerous business to pick & choose Scriptures. If we are going to follow the full Gospel, we cannot take the Scriptures we are comfortable with & ignore the rest. We need the whole counsel of God's Word, not just bits & pieces of it.

Lk 10:17 NKJ) Then the seventy returned with joy, saying "Lord even the demons are subject to us in Your Name."

The name of Jesus signifies His authority. Satan will attempt to deprive you from God"s best for your life. DO not give him any place in your life.

1 Pet 5:8(N LT) Stay alert! Watch out for your great enemy the devil. He prowls around like a roaring lion, looking for someone to devour.

Maintaining a healthy balance in all things is so important! that we do not open the door to satan who roams around hungrily seeking to devour us. I want to share with you some thoughts that will help you stay balanced. I want to focus on self image as it such a foundational issue.

1) know that God created you, & He loves you.

2)  I have faults & weaknesses, & I want to change. I believe God is working in my life. He is changing me bit by bit, day by day. While He is working on me I can still enjoy my life & myself.

3) Everyone has faults, so I am not a failure just because I am not perfect.

4) I am going to work with God to overcome my weaknesses, but I realise that I will always have something to deal with; therefore I will not become discouraged when God convicts me of areas in my life that needs improvement.

5)I want to make people happy & have them like me , but my sense of worth is not dependent upon what others think of me. Jesus has already affirmed my value by His willingness to die for me.

6) I will not be controlled by what others think, say, or do. Even if they totally reject me, I will survive. God has promised me never to reject or condemn me as long as I live as I keep believing (Jn 6:29)

7) No matter how often I fail, I will not give up because  God is with me to strengthen & sustain me. He has promised never to leave or forsake me(Heb13:5)

8) I like myself. I do not like everything I do, & I want to change-but I refuse to reject myself.

9) I am right with God through Jesus Christ.

10) God has a good plan for my life. I am going to fulfil my destiny & be all I can be for His glory.  I have God given gifts & talents, & I intend to use them to help others.

11)I am nothing & yet I am everything! In myself I am nothing, & yet in Jesus I am everything I need to be.

12) I can do everything God calls me to do, through His son Jesus Christ (Phil4:13).

If we do not maintain balance in our lives satan will take advantage of the door we have opened. I encourage you to check your life & if you find any areas out of balance, ask God to help you make the necessary adjustments.

Eph 4:26&27 tell us to let go of our anger before going to bed. There is a problem here as we might become angry just before going to bed. If we get angry in the morning we have all day to get over it. Becoming angry just before bedtime means we have a quick decision to make about what to do with our anger.
You may be wondering why it is unwise to go to bed angry. I think it is because while we sleep, what we are angry about has time to fester in us. & the Word admonishes us not to leave room for the devil to gain a foothold through our anger. If we refuse to get over our anger, we open the door for the devil & give him a foothold. Once he gets a foothold in our lives, he sees an opportunity to move on to another stronghold.

I encourage you today to deal with any anger quickly & decisively so the devil sees no opportunity to take advantage of the situation. No matter how you feel you can choose to forgive & walk in love.

Lk 10:19 NLT) God says "Look I have given you authority over all the power of the enemy, & you can walk on among snakes & scorpions & crush them. Nothing will injure you".
Snakes & scorpions are symbols of spiritual enemies & demonic power, over which Jesus has given His followers (you) power.
Remember satan is a defeated enemy, & his ultimate punishment has already been decided. His time is limited to impact the earth, & as a child of God you have authority to overcome his attacks.  

Acknowledgement I Believe An Introduction to Christian Living. Rhema Family Church.
Joyce Meyer.

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