Month: September 2014

September 28: Personal Protection – The Whole Armour Of God

armor-of-god 2Therefore put on God’s complete armour, that you may be able to resist and stand your ground on the evil day [of danger], and, having done all [the crisis demands], to stand [firmly in your place]. Stand therefore [hold your ground], having tightened the belt of truth around your loins and having put on the breastplate of integrity and of moral rectitude and right standing with God, And having shod your feet in preparation [to face the enemy with the firm- footed stability, the promptness, and the readiness produced by the good news] of the Gospel of peace. Lift up over all the [covering] shield of saving faith, upon which you can quench all the flaming missiles of the wicked [one]. And take the helmet of salvation and the sword that the Spirit wields, which is the Word of God. Pray at all times (on every occasion, in every season) in the Spirit, with all [manner of] prayer and entreaty. To that end keep alert and watch with strong purpose and perseverance, interceding in behalf of all the saints (God’s consecrated people). [Eph 6:13-18]

In-keeping with the intent of this entire section of Paul’s Letter to the Ephesians (Chapter 6 verses 10 to 19) the selection above reminds us that there is a need to ensure that before we enter the prayer battle we concern ourselves with an appropriate level of preparation.

The call for those in Christ to take their place in the battle to ensure that the Good News, the Gospel of Jesus, for all people, is able to continue to be spread throughout the world is an imperative in this part of Paul’s letter. He wants all believers to recognise that there is a warfare of super-natural dimensions that must be fought, not only to make it possible for hearts and minds to be able to receive the Truth, but to make it possible for those, called to bear that truth, to have the way made clear for them to do so; that all obstacles be removed, or at least kept at bay.

angel-warrior

Before the sharing, the preaching of the “Good News”, the Evangelisation of the Gospel of Salvation through Our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ can take place there is a whole work of intercession and intercessory prayer that must be done as a precursor

19th century, would have whole cities and towns shut down to attend his meetings and a great swathe of people came to a personal relationship with Christ through his public ministry. However, weeks before Finney would arrive in town an unassuming man known only as “Father Nash” was known to precede him. Nash, a quiet man by nature, would spend his time in prayer and intercession for the hearts and souls of the people of the town in preparation for the public proclamation that Finney would bring.Charles Finney, one of the greatest revivalists of the 

Nash, much like the gardener who spends time and effort preparing the soil, tilling the ground, clearing the weeds and removing the rocks before sowing the precious seed, was doing the same thing for the work that Finney became famous for. Finney never balked at acknowledging the essential work “Father Nash” did, in going before him, to prepare the way when asked if he knew him.

Many know of the name and work of Charles Finney. But, only those who actually take the time to look more deeply at his wonderful work will also know about the mighty warrior Father Nash.

I have said before that The call to be an actual intercessor is a high calling. However, as I have also said, every believer is called to the work of intercession, standing in the gap, to pray in the behalf of another person; be they a family member, friend, or even a stranger you know to be in trouble.

For this reason it is important that each of us knows that the enemy will take whatever opportunity he can to attack and undermine us in the battle. But, more importantly, there is the need to know what is available to you for your personal protection before going into that battle; the Whole Armour of God.

Put on the Armor of GodIn this week’s message we look at the importance of each of the individual  pieces of what Paul describes as essential equipment before entering the fray. We consider what spiritual protection is required for the spiritual battle we face and what each element does to fulfil that task.

Too many Christians are either unaware of, or are ill-advised about what equates to being their uniform for a spiritually successful life. Many face the struggles and attacks from the enemy, in their life, and are effectively naked in the field (the majority of those don’t even know they’re in a spiritual battle and have been ‘taught’ to take the struggles as lessons sent by God; or, the punishment from God for past behaviour). Most of them either only know the basic bible stories, or have a very sporadic knowledge of their bibles. That is the main reason for the level of deception and unbelief in the church today.

This is essential teaching for the whole church, especially at this time, to ensure that we can take our place in the field of battle, as mature believers, in this time of unrest. We are charged to ensure that we get involved so that, as Paul says to Timothy: that [outwardly] we may pass a quiet and undisturbed life [and inwardly] a peaceable one in all godliness and reverence and seriousness in every way. [1Tim 2:2b]

The question is: Will you take your part?

To download this important Spirit-Filled message click on the following links and save the linked file to a directory of your choice on your computer. Otherwise your browser will open up with a player to simply listen online.

Personal Protection – The Whole Armour Of God

September 14 & 21: Know You Enemy (Part 1&2)

As we continue our examination of Spiritual Warfare there is a serious need to remind ourselves of the what we are faced with.

In Ephesians 6:12 Paul tells us that we need to remember that our battle is not with other human beings. That Our war is in the spirit realm, the realm from which the things that we feel, see and touch (that world we encounter with our five senses) was made from that same spirit realm. That by coming to an understanding of that reality we can begin to see that we are called to a higher, a more effective and a more important battle than any warfare being performed by any physical army.

Heavenly Battle

Heavenly Battle

Instead of attacking the men and women that are used as pawns in the greater battle, we go into battle with the forces, the rulership, the ideologies, the governing powers behind the move to distract from the real agenda being played out. In 2Cor 10: 4 Paul reminds us that the weapons of our warfare are spiritual in nature. They are not weapons that are aimed at flesh and blood referred to as ‘Carnal’ in the King James. Instead Our weapons are mighty, weapons provided by God himself, that can affect the required defeat of those aimed in what is truly a spiritual attack.

We are commanded to turn away from those thoughts and agenda and ideologies that would set themselves up as a substitute for God; or as a denial of the very existence of God; or, for that matter the presentation of a false god. But, to be able to do that with any certainty we need to understand how our enemy works.

There is a much clichéd saying: “Know thy enemy!” But, the fact that it is a cliché does not change the truth behind it. The best way to understand what an enemy does is by understanding how and why they act (their motivation). How they react and respond to certain stimuli. If you know what sets your enemy off, or you know what effect a move you make will have either on their actions or thinking, you are in a much better position to be able to anticipate their next move


teen-devil-costume G
Satan has allowed himself to become a cliché in the minds of the majority of churchgoers across the globe. Little devils associated with fun and being kinky. Angels as weak little babies with wings and a bow and arrow firing love darts. So much so, that it is not uncommon to see ‘christian’ youth in devil costumes and horns for Halloween. One poor old churchgoer is quoted as saying “The devil has been after me. Bless his holy name!”

They either believe that he devil, or Satan doesn’t exist, or that he is capable of doing them harm, so much so, that some of them will fight you if you begin to talk disparagingly about him; they start to talk in whispers, as if they’re afraid he might hear themteen-devil-costume B

Add to that the incredible global lust for horror films that depict devils and demons as powerful entities. I read this as a yearning of the human spirit for the supernatural. A recognition that there is more to this life and to this world than what we can see feel and touch.

This obsession with Satan though is more due to the lacklustre display of churches more interested in their religious displays and affectations than any reliance on the importance and the reality of the supernatural; Christ’s body, here on the earth is called, in fact commissioned to walk as a world-changing supernatural force for good in this world.

Instead of hero, Christ is seen as a wimp. Instead of changing the circumstances church goers are controlled by them. Prayer, even among many members of churches, is seen as the last resort, the action of the desperate. With those that say they are Christians accused of needing a crutch.

Instead of acts of healing churchgoers have come to believe that God has made them sick to teach them something (yet come Monday morning they are off to see the nearest doctor, or attend their local pharmacy to avoid the lesson). Instead of welcoming those whom Christ himself declared he came to save.

Churches have become “members only” clubs that have dress and behaviour codes that place unreal expectations on the sick, the lame, the drug addicted street kid, the young teenage girls and boys caught up in prostitution and any of the homeless and unwashed. Their acts of piety take precedence over service. The poor are an afterthought and the pantry shelves are filled with tins of baked beans.

The wars and battles around the globe fill the newspapers, television RSS feed and Facebook with ‘christians’ calling for the worlds armies to go in and decimate whichever group “Our Team” is against, this time. The suggestion, that the work of the church is on its corporate knees and face before God in intercession, is greeted with aggression, accusations of cowardice; greeted with disdain as the last bastion of the weak and impotent.

Religion, in fact it’s more a case of ‘Religiosity’ has blinded the minds of the church and the body of Christ, in general, to the true nature of their Authority, their power and their position of victory here in this world. Religiosity has taken the fundamental act of Prayer and disempowered it through repetition of childhood prayers and rote rituals that mock the very dynamic nature of the most effective weapon that the church, as the very Body Of Christ, has at its disposal.

Religiosity has taken the force of Righteousness in the life of a believer and diminished its effectiveness by tying it directly to the individual’s actions alone. The suggestion that it is the measure of your behaviour, rather than the declaration of your standing, as a child of the living God, has robbed so many Christians of the very force that would have helped them to become the living examples of that relationship they profess to be in, yet fall short of at every turn.

It is no wonder the rest of the human race, those outside of the church, have regarded us as a laughing-stock for so long; that they want no part of what ‘religion’ has to offer.

These are the very wiles of the Devil, the very deceptions that beset the members of the body of Christ who do not know who they are as a result of their relationship with Jesus. It is also the reason why Paul calls us to renew our minds, to bring our thought life into captivity, to “Put on the mind of Christ.” In the process of doing just that the believer’s awareness of how they have been deceived grows and a familiarity to the tools and deceptions of the enemy become apparent.

We were NEVER promised a life of ease, floating on a graceful cloud of life without trouble. We were warned that we would face tribulation, attack and have to learn to avoid the traps that the enemy has placed in our paths. If you were told otherwise someone either lied to you.

Satans_Defeat

Satan’s Defeat

Or, assumptions were made that were unrealistic. Jesus himself said: “Don’t worry about tomorrow, there’s nothing you can do about the troubles that it has in store. Instead, concentrate on the task you have at hand today.” Matt 6: 34 (paraphrased)

You are a supernatural creature (1Cor 5:17), you operate in a physical world and can be bound to only operating within your own strength reserves. But, you are also capable, as a human being, of operating in that super-natural world.

In that world you, as a Christian, as a believer in Christ Jesus, filled with the Holy Spirit and guided by the Word of God are capable of so much more than your limited human resources. When you learn to rest into that power, that anointing, that you have on your life, as a part of the Body of Christ, you will discover how effective and powerful your prayer life has the potential to be.

It simply takes a decision, on your part, to believe that it is so and to act on that belief. A decision to accept that you are more than your limited imagination has the capacity to contemplate until you take that step.

To download these important Spirit-Filled messages click on the following links and save the linked file to a directory of your choice, on your computer. Otherwise your browser will open up with a player to simply listen online.

Know You Enemy (Part 1)

&

Know You Enemy (Part 2)

September 7: The Heart of the Intercessor, The Father’s Heart

Intercessory Prayer is a truly honourable role for any member of the body of Christ to be involved. In fact at some stage  in our life in Christ we will find ourselves in the position of interceding for someone; praying for those unable to pray for themselves. Intercessory prayer requires strong faith and a strong knowledge of the Word of God.

Faith, because on many occasions you may never actually see the outcome of the prayer you’ve been praying; especially if you are praying for the lost, or you find yourself praying for someone you’ve never even met, on the other side of the globe.

A strong, working knowledge of the Word of God is needed, because God will Never contradict himself, or his word. Since we are all in the school of learning what the word has to say we can be confident that we will never be challenged above our Word level. As Jesus said “His Yoke is easy and his burden is light.” Matthew 11:28. In truth though he will give you a burden to the extent that you will need to rely upon him.

Over the coming weeks as we look at the role, the task and the work of the intercessor we will discover the wonders that God has in store for those who will be attentive and supple to the gentle promptings of the Holy Spirit in this work.

However, before we even begin to venture into that space, it is essential that we spend appropriate time in preparation. We MUST get our priorities right first.

For the Christian called to intercession the first priority Must be to seek an intimate relationship with God; to know him, in the way Jesus himself knows him and modelled for us when the disciples asked him “Lord, teach us HOW to pray.” Luke 11: 1. Jesus’ response was to introduce the approach of a child to its Father.

The word he chose to use was not one of a rigid dictatorial “FATHER;”  the image Baby in his handof an Edwardian parent who believes in the adage that “Children are to be seen, not heard.” Instead we understand that the word translated, from the Greek work ABBA, would better compare with the term “Daddy” in English. It is that simple, loving, intimate, endearing image of a child full of Love and a very approachable parent.

In fact Jesus made that quite apparent when he was asked whether God gives evil or good. His response would have created a silence so deafening that the sound of the crickets would have been enough to bowl yoou over. He said:

“Which of you, if your son asks for bread, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a snake? If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask Him!” Matthew 7:9-11

So the first priority is that intimacy with God, much like the relationship that Jesus so often repeated when he was asked why he did what he did. He responded saying:

I only say what I hear the Father say” John 12:49 and “I only do that which I see the Father do.” John 5:19.

For Jesus to be able to say these things demonstrates the intimacy and the intensity of his prayer life. It is recorded numerous times throughout the 4 Gospels that Jesus took himself aside to pray and by the results we can see that they were by no means ‘ritual prayers’.

IMG_0025You may well exclaim “well that was Jesus, he was God after all.”  However, you would be wrong in two areas there. Jesus did not operate as God while he was in his ministry on the Earth.

Instead, as we study the life of Jesus, the prophecies about him and also the writings about him in the Epistles we discover that Jesus came to show all of humanity how they could get to the Father AND how they were to act as his representatives in the Earth until he returns as the Living Christ.

But, seriously, Jesus did tell his disciples:

“the works that you see me do, you will do and greater than this, because I go to be with the Father.” John 14:12.

He instructed the disciples that he would no longer be with them, but IN them. That the comfor
ter, counsellor, teacher, guide, standby and Intercessor that he would send them (paracletos) would show them things to come and lead and guide them into all truth. Add to this one of the most essential descriptions of Jesus in the Book of Acts

“How God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and with power; who went about doing good and healing all those oppressed of the devil.” Acts 10:38.

Jesus operated in all 5 of what we now refer to as the 5-fold Ministry Gifts of Apostle, Prophet, Evangelist, Pastor and Teacher, as he was required to by the Father.

I digress only to help you realise that Jesus NEVER did anything without first of all knowing the Father’s heart. His intimate relationship with the Father helped him to know how the Father would respond in any situation. What words of comfort, instruction, or rebuke would be needed, in what time, as well as just How to deliver them.  And, as he said on numerous occasions, “I have come to show you the Father.”  As well as: “If you have seen me, you have seen the Father.”

Even if we were never called into a time of intercession, in and on the behalf of another person, or a situation, our life in Christ, as Children of God would be so much better for the lived experience of that intimate relationship with the Father; with Daddy God.

As Andrew Murray taught, for so many years, we need to learn to “Practice the Presence of God.” and as St Paul reminds us in his letter to the  Ephesians: “Like children learn to imitate your Father.” You can’t imitate a Father that you don’t actually know.

To download this important message click on the following link and save the linked file to a directory of your choice, on your computer. Otherwise your browser will open up with a player to simply listen online.

The Heart Of The Intercessor, The Father’s Heart

August 31: Spiritual Warfare: Taking Up the Real Battle

Our senses are pummelled daily by an onslaught of information from Facebook; from Twitter; eMail; telephone; news programmes and even newspapers. It is no wonder that we often have a sense of being weighed down. In the majority of cases it is, in reality, a matter of information overload.

In recent weeks and months we have been confronted with images of churches in Iraq and other, mainly moslem countries, being burned down. or ransacked and people being slaughtered, even crucified and beheaded simply for believing in, or following a different religion, or sect to their oppressors.bigstock-network-17645951

We are asked to listen to commentators promoting their latest take on a situation that many of them, in fact the majority of them, have little or no real knowledge about. Most simply want to have their voices heard and their message listened to and forget about facts, or truth, as long as they are being listened to. The incessant round of ‘journalists’ and ‘news commentators’ (and I use those terms very loosely) interviewing or chatting with other so-called journalists, just to fill the airtime, is enough to drive even the sanest person to the brink.

News is no longer reported, instead a story is written and a position, liked, or disliked is posited, in news programmes that were once called news reports, or bulletins. The slow news day must have a feel-good story to take up the slack; what used to be called the “Dead Donkey”; hence the famous British BBC comedy show entitled “Drop the Dead Donkey.”

Don’t get me wrong, I am not suggesting that the church, the body of Christ’s believers, in this world, hide its head in the sand and ignore what is going on around the world, by any stretch of the imagination. Instead. I am suggesting that we need to choose our sources carefully and avoid getting caught up in the hype, the rhetoric and the hyperbole that accompanies a lot of the information we receive.

Instead of watching, or reading the news with the belief that what is happening, or what is predicted to do will happen, we should be actively involved in making the news. Changing the circumstances to ensure that God is given the right to be involved in those very same circumstances. The question asked is “How do we do that?” “How do we get involved in determining the circumstances; instead of always being under the circumstances?” In truth a one word answer should suffice: P-R-A-Y-E-R!

Intercession1

The response I have received regarding this position has been sadly mixed. Particularly from those who wear their ‘faith’ (and I use that term very loosely here) on their sleeve. Armchair warmongers who want to eradicate the enemy and wipe them from their very existence. Their response is full of contempt for Christians that they see as weak, impotent, huddling, just waiting to be plundered by the enemy. They instead will take up the challenge and react with force and destruction.

My greatest concern has been raised when this is the response I have received from ‘ministers’ who are positions of pastor and teacher. These are the reckonings of the unsaved; those who do not promote a belief in a god of any kind.

In fact I believe that it demonstrates a number of things about what they really know about prayer. It demonstrates:

  1. a lack of belief in the ability of God to answer prayer.
  2. a sad lack of knowledge regarding what prayer actually is.
  3. A life, of a Christian that is controlled by and lived under the circumstances.
  4. If they do have a relationship with God and a ‘prayer-life’ of sorts, their prayers are not based on the Word and thereby the Will of God and so they are asked amiss (James 4:3).    Or,
  5. Prayers prayed without any faith in God’s ability to fulfil his word and answer prayers.

As a result they end up believing that everything in their life, or the world around them, has to be done by either themselves, or someone else with the power, authority, or the ability that they lack. It has to be done in basic human strength; denying God the ability to work in their lives and change things for the better.

Faith and prayer require corresponding action. But, what is that action? and where does the instruction about which action to take come from? At a basic human, fleshly level we all deal with rage and anger that rises because we do not like what we see before us. But, it is when this temptation arises that we can either choose to follow our fleshly, carnal and devilish senses; that are subject to deception. or we can use the wisdom that comes from God.

As Christians we are called to be ‘Little Christ’s’ to the world; we are the body of Christ in this world. It therefore follows that it is incumbent upon us to look at How Jesus acted, When Jesus acted and Why Jesus acted. As well as looking to what he actually taught us, his disciples, to do in relation to attacks by other human beings.

Throughout the Synoptic Gospels we find Jesus constantly reminding those that came seeking answers, particularly for healing or deliverance, that it was Not he that was good. But, that “it is the Father that is good.” He often responded that “I only Say what I hear the Father say.” As well as saying that “I only Do what I see the Father do.”

Jesus is reported to have taken time to separate himself from everyone to spend time in prayer, in conversation with the Father. It is at these times that I believe he heard what he was to say and saw what he was supposed to do; as well as walking in a constant understanding of the reality of the “More Real” spiritual world from where all things originate (Heb 11:3).

intercessorJesus taught that we are to Love our enemies, Pray FOR them that abuse us and use us. For Christians to operate outside of this reemit is rebellion, pure and simple. If we allow our hearts to become full of hatred and we act on that hatred then we are not hearing and doing what the Father either says or does.

St Paul reminds us that our battle is not with other humans, but with the principalities, the powers, the ideologies that battle against the cause for peace in the heavenlies above the natural realm; that if we ignore that battle for a fleshly fight we are doomed to failure.

The story of Daniel reveals the effects that this battle in the Super-Natural realm actually has. It also teaches us the need for persistence when nothing seems to be happening.

The REAL battle for the body of Christ is NOT with flesh and blood. Our battle is based on Spiritual Warfare. A warfare of world changing proportions that is not weak, or passive. But, on the contrary, is effective; changes circumstances and brings the power of God into the environment where he has previously been denied access.

Intercessory prayer is not a game. But, it is in fact the most selfless of all forms of prayer; it is one of the best ways for you to “Love your enemy”. Intercession is a matter of taking up our position to make up the fence around people and situations where the real enemy has had free access.

It is to join forces in the spiritual realm with other “pray-ers” around the world to allow God access and the right to act where previously he could not. The Church, as a whole, has the responsibility to be on its collective face before the Father pleading the case for those in danger.

Over the next weeks we will look at the work of Intercessory prayer. The need to be properly dressed for prayer. The power that the Intercessor has and is able to bring to the battle. Awareness of what is and is not the leading of God. The central importance of ministering to The Lord. As well as the need to know how to minister to one another at times of rest.

To download this important message click on the following link and save the linked file to a directory of your choice, on your computer. Otherwise your browser will open up with a player to simply listen online.

Taking Up The Real Battle