Mental Illness and the church

Psalm 34:17-20 (ESV)When the righteous cry for help, the Lord hears and delivers them out of all their troubles. The Lord is near to the brokenhearted and saves the crushed in spirit. Many are the afflictions of the righteous, but the Lord delivers him out of them all. He keeps all his bones; not one of them is broken.

The Bible teaches that every human being is totally depraved. This doesn’t mean that every person is as absolutely wicked and evil as they could possibly be. That would be utter depravity. Total depravity simply means that sin has affected every facet of the being, including both the soul and the body. Total depravity means that nothing works as God originally intended. Our spiritual desires are affected and distorted by sin. Our intellect is distorted by and affected by sin. And, most importantly, our body has been affected and distorted by sin.

Why do we get colds, headaches, backaches, indigestion and infections? Why do you have migraines, heart problems,kidney stones and glaucoma? We experience these things because we inhabit bodies which have been marked and marred by sin. Paul spoke directly to this when he said: 2 Corinthians 4:16(ESV)16 So we do not lose heart. Though our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day.

Our outer self is wasting away. Our bodies don’t work correctly. They fall apart and fail us at the worst times. While we live in this fallen world, we live in bodies that are wasting away.

Paul wrote: Romans 8:22–23(ESV) 22 For we know that the whole creation has been groaning together in the pains of childbirth until now. 23 And not only the creation, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies.

Mental and spiritual matters seem more inseparable than physical and spiritual matters. The fine line between the soul and spirit is hard to navigate. Can our souls be saved, while our minds are “lost”? That doesn’t even make sense. We are whole beings. Yet, just as the Apostle Paul prayed for his tormenting illness to disappear, God offered grace instead of healing. 2 Corinthians 12:7-10(ESV)So to keep me from becoming conceited because of the surpassing greatness of the revelations, a thorn was given me in the flesh, a messenger of Satan to harass me, to keep me from becoming conceited. Three times I pleaded with the Lord about this, that it should leave me. But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. 10 For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong.

Along with the rest of creation, we eagerly await for the day when Christ will return and we will receive our new, redeemed, resurrection bodies.

Until the day Jesus returns, we will live in a body which does not function as God originally intended. Our brain, which is a key, central, integral part of our body, will not function correctly. Chemicals will become imbalanced. Serotonin will not be properly absorbed. Norepinephrine will be unevenly distributed. Synapses won’t fire correctly. The brain, just like every other part of the body, is prone to illness.

I would argue that if we truly believe in total depravity, then we must accept mental illness as a biblical category. If I believe that sin has affected every part of my body, including my brain, then it shouldn’t surprise me when my brain doesn’t work correctly. I’m not surprised when I get a cold; why should I be surprised if I experience mental illness? To say that depression, anxiety, bipolar, and every other disorder, are purely spiritual disorders is to ignore the fact that we are both body and soul.

Mental illness is not something invented by secular psychiatrists. Rather, it is part and parcel with living in fallen, sinful world.

Philippians 4:6-7 (ESV) Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

Treating mental illness as purely a spiritual disorder is very hurtful to those who struggle with mental illness because it points them to the wrong solution. People deal with chronic physical anxiety.They regularly experience a clutching sensation in their chest, shortness of breath, adrenaline surges, and a sick feeling in the pit of their stomach. On rare occasions, the anxiety is tied to something they are worried about, but 90% of the time the physical symptoms they experience aren’t at all connected to worry. Sometimes you may be working away on your computer, not thinking about anything, when a feeling of anxiety suddenly descends.

In those moments,people don’t need to be told not to worry. They don’t need to be told to exercise more faith in the promises of God. They don’t need to be told to snap out of it. What they need is encouragement to persevere. They need to be reminded that, even in the midst of suffering, Jesus is near. They need to be reminded that light and momentary afflictions are producing an eternal weight of glory. They need to be encouraged to press into Jesus.

And… They need to be connected to someone who can help them deal with the physical aspects of anxiety.
Isaiah 41:10 (ESV)Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.

Here’s the unfortunate reality: even if their thinking is biblical, faith-filled, and God-honoring, the physical symptoms of anxiety probably won’t go away. Why? Because most of the time the problem is primarily physical. Something isn’t working correctly in the brain, which in turn causes people to experience the physical symptoms of anxiety.

When interacting with Christians who experience anxiety, depression, PTSD, or any other form of mental illness, we need to treat them as whole people. We need to treat people as both body and soul. Do they need to exercise faith in the wonderful promises of God? Sure. But they also need to deal with the physical aspects of mental illness as well. Doctors are a wonderful gift from God who can offer help to those who struggle with mental illness.

We need to place mental illness in the same category as every other form of illness. When a person experiences chronic migraines, they most certainly will be tempted to doubt the goodness of God. We can serve them by encouraging them that God is good, and that he cares for them. But we also can serve them by taking them to the best migraine specialists in the country.

If we’re going to effectively care for fellow Christians who struggle with mental illness, we need to recognize that mental illness is a real thing. We aren’t only souls. Rather, we are a complex composition of soul and body. Let’s make sure we address both the soul and the body.

2 Timothy 1:7 (ESV)For God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control.

Finding Jesus is NOT the Cure for Depression.

God can heal physical and mental diseases. No doubt. Many physical illnesses are incurable. Mental illness is also incurable. While mental illness can be managed and treated, it never goes away.

For some reason, especially in the church, we often judge people who are mentally ill as making poor choices in their lives or somehow not fully trusting in God. It’s almost as if physical impairments can’t be helped, but mental impairments just require people to simply try harder. If trying hard cured mental illness, then mental illness would be cured, because I don’t ‘know of anyone who tries harder to fit in or just function than people who struggle with these diseases.

There are plenty of Christians who love Jesus with all of their hearts and have committed their entire lives to him, yet they are Schizophrenic, Bipolar, Clinically Depressed or smitten with another illness. There are also Christians who love Jesus, and they struggle with diabetes, heart disease, obesity and a number of other mostly preventable conditions which are actually within their control. Their deaths may not be imminent, but they certainly will come sooner than they should.

A 2008 Baylor University study found the following among church attendees with professionally diagnosed mental illness(es):

• 41% were told by someone at their church that they did not really have mental illness.

• 28% were told by someone at their church to stop taking psychiatric medication.

• 37% were told by someone at their church that their mental illness was the result of personal sin.

• 34% were told by someone at their church that their mental illness was the result of demonic involvement.

The Church is not yet willing to universally embrace what should already be common sense.

3 Myths the Church Perpetuates Mental Illness:

1 Myth: Depression is a choice. | Truth: Depression is not a choice. We need to stop talking about mental illness like it is a choice whether that language is explicit or implicit. In fact, Northwestern University has just developed the first blood test to diagnose major depression in adults. The test identifies depression by measuring the levels of nine RNA blood markers. Unfortunately, many Christians think that all depression is a consequence of sin and often they do not get the professional help they need.”

2 Myth: Faith means prayer is enough. | Truth: Faith and seeking medical help are not mutually exclusive. We seek medical help for physical ailments so why not mental ailments?

3 Myth: Taking medication is a sin. | Truth: Getting medical help is taking care of one’s self. Taking prescribed medication is not a sin. The Church does not shame cancer patients who undergo chemotherapy. Likewise, it should not shame people who get treatment for mental illness. Getting help is a wise decision for any sick person regardless of her belief system.

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Ephesians Pt27 Praying for Boldness

Ephesians 6:18-20(ESV)18 praying at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication. To that end, keep alert with all perseverance, making supplication for all the saints, 19 and also for me, that words may be given to me in opening my mouth boldly to proclaim the mystery of the gospel, 20 for which I am an ambassador in chains, that I may declare it boldly, as I ought to speak.

Romans 12:12-13(ESV)12 Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer. 13 Contribute to the needs of the saints and seek to show hospitality.

Paul is writing to the church at Rome to encourage them and explain to them the characteristics of a true Christian. One of the characteristics that is recurring through most of his letters is prayer. Prayer is communication with the Father. If we do not pray how will we every communicate with Him?

If we live with our spouse and only communicate when we need something from them how great of a relationship we would have?

How come most of the time when we pray it is because we are someone we know is in a bind?

Philippians 4:6-7(NLT) Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus. 

This tells us to pray without being anxious, to pray about everything, and to pray with thankful hearts. God will answer all such prayers with the gift of His peace in our hearts. The proper way to pray is to pour out our hearts to God, being honest and open with God, as He already knows us better than we know ourselves. We are to present our requests to God, keeping in mind that God knows what is best and will not grant a request that is not His will for us. We are to express our love, gratitude, and worship to God in prayer without worrying about having just the right words to say. God is more interested in the content of our hearts than the eloquence of our words.

Ever had an awkward moment where a fellow Christian asks you to pray for him and you’re not sure that what he wants you to pray is a good idea? Here’s something that’s never out of place to pray in those situations—that God would be glorified in the matter.

In John 14:13(ESV) Jesus promised, “Whatever you ask in my name, this I will do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son.” In every circumstance, it’s appropriate to pray “that the Father may be glorified” in it.

Let’s “pray for one another,” and pray biblically.

Prayer for one another is a Christian responsibility.

Believers are commanded in James 5:16(ESV)16 Therefore, confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person has great power as it is working. From verse 13-16 it is a paragraph about praying in faith for those who are sick.

The rest of the New Testament makes it clear that the responsibility for Christians to pray for one another isn’t limited to prayers for the sick. Repeatedly, the Apostle Paul pleads, in 1 Thessalonians 5:25(ESV)“Brothers, pray for us” 2 Thessalonians 3:1(ESV) Finally, brothers, pray for us, that the word of the Lord may speed ahead and be honored, as happened among you,

One of the four chief characteristics of the church in Jerusalem after Pentecost was that “they devoted themselves to … the prayers” (Acts 2:42(ESV)42 And they devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers. Can anyone doubt that these corporate prayers included much prayer for each other?

While intercession for others may have become more common among believers after Pentecost, it wasn’t unusual in the Old Testament period. For instance, the prophet Samuel assured his fellow Israelites: 1 Samuel 12:23(ESV) “Far be it from me that I should sin against the Lord by ceasing to pray for you”

The main point is Paul is asking for prayer for boldness to speak the mysteries of the gospel. Ephesians 6:19-20(ESV) 19 and also for me, that words may be given to me in opening my mouth boldly to proclaim the mystery of the gospel, 20 for which I am an ambassador in chains, that I may declare it boldly, as I ought to speak.

John Calvin in his Institutes of Christian Religion states “Since then he arms and equips us by his power, adorns us with splendour and magnificence, enriches us with wealth, we here find most abundant cause of glorying, and also are inspired with boldness, so that we can contend intrepidly with the devil, sin, and death. In fine, clothed with his righteousness, we can bravely surmount all the insults of the world: and as he replenishes us liberally with his gifts, so we can in our turn bring forth fruit unto his glory.”Such boldness springs only from confidence in the divine favor and salvation. 

The single term that best describes the way God wants his gospel given is boldness. And because it’s translated various ways, even faithful students of Scripture might overlook its frequency. Boldness (parrhesia) is used forty-two times in the New Testament. It is translated “openly,” “freely,” “plainly,” “with confidence” but most commonly some form of the word “bold.” A bold witness is not a pushy witness. A bold witness is not a loud witness, unless it needs to be. Boldness is not obnoxiousness. It’s not rude or demanding. Boldness is the furthest thing from some wild-eyed preacher screeching in the streets, “You’re going to hell!” Boldness is clear, direct communication in the face of potential opposition, nothing more or less. According to Proverbs 28:1(ESV), it is a characteristic of the God’s children: “The wicked flee when no one pursues, but the righteous are bold as a lion.” Are you bold for Christ?

Acts 4:23-31(ESV)23 When they were released, they went to their friends and reported what the chief priests and the elders had said to them. 24 And when they heard it, they lifted their voices together to God and said, “Sovereign Lord, who made the heaven and the earth and the sea and everything in them, 25 who through the mouth of our father David, your servant, said by the Holy Spirit,“‘Why did the Gentiles rage, and the peoples plot in vain?26 The kings of the earth set themselves, and the rulers were gathered together, against the Lord and against his Anointed’—

27 for truly in this city there were gathered together against your holy servant Jesus, whom you anointed, both Herod and Pontius Pilate, along with the Gentiles and the peoples of Israel, 28 to do whatever your hand and your plan had predestined to take place. 29 And now, Lord, look upon their threats and grant to your servants to continue to speak your word with all boldness, 30 while you stretch out your hand to heal, and signs and wonders are performed through the name of your holy servant Jesus.” 31 And when they had prayed, the place in which they were gathered together was shaken, and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and continued to speak the word of God with boldness.

We live in a lukewarm society at best. It’s filled with “feel-good” churches and false teachers. Satan tells us these problems are small and shouldn’t matter to us. Satan tells us, “As long as they believe in Jesus, it doesn’t matter what else they do.” It’s not true. We can open the word of God and see there is a proper way for everything, whether it’s how we worship in church or how we live our every day lives.

The fact is, not every church is doing right. We have so many different denominations in today’s time. Obviously not everyone can be right if our beliefs are so different. The need for boldness is real. This world needs truth straight from the Bible, and boldness is required to teach this. Sometimes as Christians we are made to feel like the minority. In situations like this, it’s tough to stand against the crowd, but God will reward us for defending the truth.

1 Corinthians 9:16-18(ESV)16 For if I preach the gospel, that gives me no ground for boasting. For necessity is laid upon me. Woe to me if I do not preach the gospel! 17 For if I do this of my own will, I have a reward, but if not of my own will, I am still entrusted with a stewardship. 18 What then is my reward? That in my preaching I may present the gospel free of charge, so as not to make full use of my right in the gospel.

The simple fact is we should never be ashamed of our beliefs if they are correct. These beliefs come from God himself. God wants us to boldly stand up for the truth. Don’t beat around the bush and make light of your beliefs. Be bold! Show scriptures to show answers, and leave it at that. In a world filled with so many lies and so much evil, God needs bold Christians to stand up and fight for His truth. God makes the rules, not us, so it’s not up to us to change or pervert them. We can bring others to Christ if we are bold and show the truth.

To proclaim the gospel, we must exalt the Lord Jesus, confront sinners with their guilt and the danger of judgment, and offer God’s grace to those who repent.

  1. To proclaim the gospel, we must exalt the Lord Jesus.
  1. TO EXALT THE LORD JESUS, WE MUST DEFLECT ANY GLORY AWAY FROM OURSELVES.

B. TO EXALT THE LORD JESUS, WE MUST TELL PEOPLE WHO HE IS AND WHAT HE HAS DONE.

2. To proclaim the gospel, we must confront sinners with their guilt and warn them of impending judgment.

3. To proclaim the gospel, we must tell of God’s grace to the repentant.

So whenever you get an opportunity to talk to someone about spiritual matters, seek to exalt the Lord Jesus Christ. The sinner needs to know who Jesus is and what He did. Don’t hesitate, out of fear of giving offense, to confront the sinner and warn him of impending judgment. He needs to feel his guilt so that he realizes his need for a Savior. And, don’t fail to offer God’s grace and forgiveness to everyone who will repent.

Ephesians Pt 26 Praying in the Spirit

Ephesians 6:18(ESV)18 praying at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication. To that end, keep alert with all perseverance, making supplication for all the saints,

Prayer is Communication with the Father, our Creator. Before Salvation we have no communication with the Father. Just the fact that People like us can speak to the Creator of the universe is itself an amazing thing. Even more astounding is the fact that He hears us and acts on our behalf! The first thing we need to understand about effective prayer is that our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ had to suffer and die on the cross to even make it possible for us to approach the throne of grace to worship and pray.

Praying in the Spirit is mentioned three times in Scripture.
1 Corinthians 14:15 (ESV)15 What am I to do? I will pray with my spirit, but I will pray with my mind also; I will sing praise with my spirit, but I will sing with my mind also.
Ephesians 6:18(ESV)18 praying at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication. To that end, keep alert with all perseverance, making supplication for all the saints,
Jude 20 (ESV)20 But you, beloved, building yourselves up in your most holy faith and praying in the Holy Spirit,
So, what exactly does it mean to pray in the Spirit? First of all you have to be saved. The indwelling of the Holy Spirit is the action by which God takes up permanent residence in the body of a believer in Jesus Christ. Jesus revealed to His disciples the new role the Spirit of Truth would play in their lives: John 14:16-17 (ESV)16 And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Helper, to be with you forever, 17 even the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees him nor knows him. You know him, for he dwells with you and will be in you. John Bunyan – There is no man nor church in the world that can come to God in prayer, but by the assistance of the Holy Spirit. Without the indwelling of the Holy Spirit, man is so weak that he cannot think one right saving thought of God, of Christ, or of his blessed things; and therefore the Word of God declares about the man without the Spirit, Psalm 10:4(ESV)In the pride of his face the wicked does not seek him;all his thoughts are, “There is no God.”; unless it is that they imagine God to be basically like one of them (Psalm 50:21). For “every inclination of the thoughts of [unsaved man’s] heart is only evil all the time” (Genesis 6:5; 8:21). Thus, since unbelievers are not able to correctly conceive who God is, the very God to whom they pray, the Christ through whom they pray, nor of the things for which they pray, as was shown before, then how will they be able to address themselves to God, without the help of the Holy Spirit?

The acceptable prayer to God must, in the outward expression, and as well in the inward intention, come from what the soul understands by the illumination of the Holy Spirit; otherwise the prayer is condemned as a vain abomination, because the heart and tongue do not agree, neither can they, unless the Spirit help us in our weakness.

Without Jesus the only prayer God hears is that of repentance. If you are not saved God is not obligated to listen to any of your prayers. 

Isaiah 59:1-2(HCSB) Indeed, the Lord’s hand is not too short to save, and His ear is not too deaf to hear. 2 But your iniquities have built barriers between you and your God, and your sins have made Him hide His face from you so that He does not listen.

Psalms 66:17-19 (HCSB)I cried out to Him with my mouth, and praise was on my tongue.18 If I had been aware of malice in my heart, the Lord would not have listened. 19  However, God has listened; He has paid attention to the sound of my prayer.

Fortunately, 1 John 1:9 (HCSB)if we confess our sins, He is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness

The Greek word translated “pray in” can have several different meanings. It can mean “by means of,” “with the help of,” “in the sphere of,” and “in connection to.” Praying in the Spirit does not refer to the words we are saying. Rather, it refers to how we are praying. Praying in the Spirit is praying according to the Spirit’s leading. It is praying for things the Spirit leads us to pray for. Romans 8:26 (ESV)26 Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness. For we do not know what to pray for as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words.

Jesus taught his disciples how not to pray before teaching them how to pray.

Matthew 6:5-8(ESV)5 “And when you pray, you must not be like the hypocrites. For they love to stand and pray in the synagogues and at the street corners, that they may be seen by others. Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward. 6 But when you pray, go into your room and shut the door and pray to your Father who is in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you. 7 “And when you pray, do not heap up empty phrases as the Gentiles do, for they think that they will be heard for their many words. 8 Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask him.

Some, based on 1 Corinthians 14:15, equate praying in the Spirit with praying in tongues. Discussing the gift of tongues, Paul mentions “pray with my spirit.” 1 Corinthians 14:14 states that when a person prays in tongues, he does not know what he is saying, since it is spoken in a language he does not know. Further, no one else can understand what is being said, unless there is an interpreter (1 Corinthians 14:27-28). In Ephesians 6:18, Paul instructs us to “pray at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication. To that end, keep alert with all perseverance, making supplication for all the saints,” How are we to pray with all kinds of prayers and requests and pray for the saints, if no one, including the person praying, understands what is being said? Therefore, praying in the Spirit should be understood as praying in the power of the Spirit, by the leading of the Spirit, and according to His will, not as praying in tongues.

1 Corinthians 14:14(ESV)14 For if I pray in a tongue, my spirit prays but my mind is unfruitful. In both cases they have misrepresented the intention of those verses. The first verse they assume, speaking in an unknown tongue, builds someone up, when in fact; Paul was saying it in a negative sense. It puffs your ego, or it, at best, if you do it in private, would benefit you, which would be selfish and contrary to any proper use of spiritual gifts and the second one, “If I pray in an unknown tongue, my spirit prays, and my understanding is unfruitful,” is a way to say, “Don’t do that, because what’s the point in having an unfruitful understanding?”

The gift of tongues is viewed as a holy, mystical ability that somehow operates in a person’s spirit and comes out the mouth and bypasses the mind. Many Charismatics are even told they have to purposefully switch off their mind to enable the gift to function, that’s pretty much the pattern. I’ve sat in on a number of sessions where people were endeavoring to teach someone how to speak in tongues, and they always follow that same format. Usually they say something like this, “Don’t think of anything, try to empty your mind of any conscious thought, then start to just babble like a baby”

Charles and Francis Hunter, who travel all across the world in healing explosion meetings, have as a part of their curriculum the seminars in which they teach people how to speak in tongues. They have as many as 50,000 people in some of their meetings. Charles Hunter tells people, and I quote, “When you pray with your spirit you do not think of the sounds of the language. Just trust God, but make the sounds when I tell you too. In just a moment, when I tell you, begin loving and praising God by speaking forth a lot of different syllable sounds. At first make the sounds rapidly so you won’t try to think as you do in speaking your natural language. Make the sounds loudly at first so you can easily hear what you are saying.”

That’s an interesting contradiction. Hunter doesn’t explain what point there is in hearing what you are saying since your mind isn’t engaged anyway, but he continually reminds his audience they’re not supposed to be thinking. He says, “The reason some of you don’t speak fluently, is that you try to think of the sounds so when we pray this prayer and you start speaking in your heavenly language don’t try to think,” end quote. Later he adds, quote, “You don’t even have to think in order to pray in the Spirit,” end quote.

If it’s the spirit then why you have to be taught?

Now remember, all of this is a occurring with absolutely no understanding of what you’re saying. You have no comprehension of what it is you’re saying, and yet it is supposed to bring you into the deep understanding and intimate communion with God.
You might ask the question, “What then is wrong with such an experience?” Well, on the one hand, there really isn’t anything particularly evil or immoral about it if you just disassociate it from the Bible and disassociate it from Christianity, and if you get some pleasure out of standing in a corner all by yourself or sitting in your room alone and talking gibberish to yourself and that does something for you, then I suppose in and of itself, from a psychological standpoint, that it’s not a moral issue, it may be harmless. If something makes you feel good or makes you feel somehow better in control of your life, or like you’ve had some warm experience, so be it, but don’t call it intimacy with God. Don’t say it makes you spiritually stronger. Don’t say it makes you delirious with spiritual joy.

Then ask yourself the question, could I, through this means be deceived? Could this be dangerous? The answer to that question has to be yes.
The problem I have with the tongues is that people have used that as a spiritual pinnacle and if you don’t speak in tongues then you don’t have the Holy Spirit.I even heard this” when you speak in tongues the devil can’t understand you” Really?! If tongues is a “language of the angels” what was Satan? A cherub He was higher than the angels, he was the most beautiful of all the angels, you don’t think he knows the language? Some counter that with well after he fell he lost his ability? Really?! Satan gets summoned to Heaven to speak with God. Job 1:6-7(ESV)6 Now there was a day when the sons of God came to present themselves before the Lord, and Satan also came among them. 7 The Lord said to Satan, “From where have you come?” Satan answered the Lord and said, “From going to and fro on the earth, and from walking up and down on it.”
If we say those things we are stating incorrect unbiblical statements, and we are saying God doesn’t understand English or that God will hear my prayers because its in a heavenly language, that statement is so prideful!!

I personally heard and know of people who have severe PORN addictions but can speak and pray in Tongues!!!!! I was told multiple times “Brother if you don’t learn how to speak in tongues your will never have a powerful prayer life” My answer was always “What Verse?” But I have a couple for them….

James 5:15-16(ESV)15 And the prayer of faith will save the one who is sick, and the Lord will raise him up. And if he has committed sins, he will be forgiven. 16 Therefore, confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person has great power as it is working.

1 Peter 3:7(ESV)7 Likewise, husbands, live with your wives in an understanding way, showing honor to the woman as the weaker vessel, since they are heirs with you of the grace of life, so that your prayers may not be hindered.

1 Peter 3:10-12(ESV)10 For “Whoever desires to love life and see good days, let him keep his tongue from evil and his lips from speaking deceit; 11 let him turn away from evil and do good; let him seek peace and pursue it.12 For the eyes of the Lord are on the righteous, and his ears are open to their prayer. But the face of the Lord is against those who do evil.” 

1 Peter 4:7(ESV) 7 The end of all things is at hand; therefore be self-controlled and sober-minded for the sake of your prayers.

Statement made by John Wesley. He understood something about prayer that we must understand: “It seems that without God, man cannot – and without man, God will not.”

What did he mean by that?

– It seems that on earth, man can do nothing without God – but there is another reality: God will not do anything on earth without man.

The principle is: There has to be a partnership between man and God in order for things to be happening on earth.

– So what happens on earth depends on you!

– To understand prayer, here is a simple definition of prayer:

Prayer is the earthly license for Heavenly interference.

Therefore: Nothing on earth can happen without the cooperation between God and humans.

– That is how powerful you are.

– God Himself cannot interfere in this planet without your license and permission that

He gave you.

-This sounds un-believable – but if you don’t believe this – it is why your prayers

aren’t answered, you don’t see results, you are still sick, don’t have what you need,

you are just performing a religious exercise in your prayer life.

“We get the mind of God about His will, we pray it. When we pray it, we give him legal right to perform it” (BENNY HINN).

“Yes. Let me define prayer for you in this show. Prayer is man giving God permission, or license, to interfere in earth’s affairs. In other words, prayer is earthly license for heavenly interference….God can do nothing on earth, nothing has God ever done on earth without a human giving him access….Always looking for a human to give him power of permission. In other words, God has the power, but you got the permission. God got the authority and the power, but you got the license. So even though God can do anything, he can only do what you permit him to do” (MYLES MUNROE).

We can create barriers to effective prayer with the Father

1. Praying with selfish desires and wrong motives. James 4:3(ESV) When you ask you do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, that you may spend what you get on your pleasures”.

2. Rejecting God’s call or ignoring His advice Proverbs 1:24-28 (HCSB)24 Since I called out and you refused, extended my hand and no one paid attention, 25 since you neglected all my counsel and did not accept my correction, 26 I, in turn, will 27  when terror strikes you like a storm and your calamity comes like a whirlwind, when trouble and stress overcome you.28  Then they will call me, but I won’t answer; they will search for me, but won’t find me. 

3. Worshipping idols (Jeremiah 11:11-14(ESV)11 Therefore, thus says the Lord, Behold, I am bringing disaster upon them that they cannot escape. Though they cry to me, I will not listen to them. 12 Then the cities of Judah and the inhabitants of Jerusalem will go and cry to the gods to whom they make offerings, but they cannot save them in the time of their trouble. 13 For your gods have become as many as your cities, O Judah, and as many as the streets of Jerusalem are the altars you have set up to shame, altars to make offerings to Baal.14 “Therefore do not pray for this people, or lift up a cry or prayer on their behalf, for I will not listen when they call to me in the time of their trouble.

4. Turning a deaf ear to the cry of the poor Proverbs 21:13(HCSB) The one who shuts his ears to the cry of the poor will himself also call out and not be answered.

Effective Prayer

Although the Bible offers a great deal of guidance on how we can deepen our communication with the Creator, effective prayer has more to do with the one doing the praying than it does with “how” we are to pray. Indeed, Scripture says in James 5:16 (HCSB) 16 Therefore, confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, so that you may be healed. The urgent request of a righteous person is very powerful in its effect., and in

1 Peter 3:12(HCSB)because the eyes of the Lord are on the righteous and His ears are open to their request. But the face of the Lord is against those who do what is evil. 

Psalm 34:15 (HCSB)The eyes of the Lord are on the righteous, and His ears are open to their cry for help. and, again in Proverbs 15:8(HCSB) The sacrifice of the wicked is detestable to the Lord, but the prayer of the upright is His delight. Prayer saved the righteous Daniel from the lion’s den (Daniel 6:11), and in the wilderness, God’s chosen people benefitted from Moses’ right standing with God (Exodus 16–17). The barren Hannah’s steadfast and humble prayers resulted in the prophet Samuel (1 Samuel 1:20), and the apostle Paul’s prayers even caused the earth to shake (Acts 16:25-26). Clearly, the passionate prayers of God’s righteous children can accomplish much (Numbers 11:2).

We also need to make sure that our prayers are in line with God’s will.

1 John 5:13-15(HCSB) 13 I have written these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, so that you may know that you have eternal life.14 Now this is the confidence we have before Him: Whenever we ask anything according to His will, He hears us. 15 And if we know that He hears whatever we ask, we know that we have what we have asked Him for. Praying in accordance with God’s will is essentially praying in accord with what He would want, and we can see God’s revealed will throughout Scripture.

Additionally, prayer is something believers should do “constantly”
1 Thessalonians 5:17(HCSB)Pray constantly. When we present our requests to God, we are to pray with faith, with thanksgiving, with a spirit of forgiveness toward others in Christ’s name, with a heart that is right with God. It’s the strength of our faith, not the length of our prayers that pleases Him to whom we pray, so we don’t need to impress God with our eloquence or intelligence. After all, God knows what our needs are even before we ask. Also, we should make sure we have no unconfessed sin in our hearts when we pray, as this would certainly be an impediment to effective prayer.

Jesus is pretty serious when it comes to his Father’s house and prayer. Jesus’ first cleansing of the temple is described in John 2:13–17(HCSB) 13 The Jewish Passover was near, so Jesus went up to Jerusalem. 14 In the temple complex He found people selling oxen, sheep, and doves, and He also found the money changers sitting there. 15 After making a whip out of cords, He drove everyone out of the temple complex with their sheep and oxen. He also poured out the money changers’ coins and overturned the tables. 16 He told those who were selling doves, “Get these things out of here! Stop turning My Father’s house into a marketplace!” 17 And His disciples remembered that it is written: Zeal for Your house will consume Me. This cleansing occurred just after Jesus’ first miracle, turning of water into wine at the wedding in Cana. This is the first of the two times Jesus cleansed the temple. The second cleansing of the temple occurred just after Jesus’ triumphal entry into Jerusalem during the last week of His life.
Matthew 21:12-13(HCSB)12 Jesus went into the temple complex and drove out all those buying and selling in the temple. He overturned the money changers’ tables and the chairs of those selling doves. 13 And He said to them, “It is written, My house will be called a house of prayer. But you are making it a den of thieves!” Think of this: Jesus doesn’t call the temple a home for God, a beautiful establishment, a country club, a social gathering, nor a hospital, He calls it a “House of Prayer”. Jesus got so fired up about His Father’s house not being a house of prayer, he fashioned a whip and went after it. He cleansed the temple not once but twice!

Far too often, prayer is viewed as a “magic formula.” Some believe that if we do not say exactly the right things, or pray in the right position, God will not hear and answer our prayer. This is completely unbiblical. God does not answer our prayers based on when we pray, where we are, what position our body is in, or in what order we word our prayers. We are told in 1 John 5:14-15 (HCSB)14 Now this is the confidence we have before Him: Whenever we ask anything according to His will, He hears us. 15 And if we know that He hears whatever we ask, we know that we have what we have asked Him for. We are to have confidence when we come to God in prayer, knowing that He hears us and will grant whatever we ask as long as it is in His will. Similarly,
John 14:13-14 (HCSB)13 Whatever you ask in My name, I will do it so that the Father may be glorified in the Son. 14 If you ask Me anything in My name, I will do it. According to these and many other Scriptures, God answers prayer requests based on whether they are asked according to His will and in the name of Jesus (to bring glory to Jesus).

The revelation about prayer, is that prayer is a 100% spiritual ministry. We all want our prayers to be “effective,” so much so that when we focus on the “results” of our prayers, we lose sight of the incredible privilege we have in prayer.

The closest the Bible comes to giving a “pattern” for prayer is the Lord’s Prayer in Matthew 6:5-13 (ESV)5 “And when you pray, you must not be like the hypocrites. For they love to stand and pray in the synagogues and at the street corners, that they may be seen by others. Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward. 6 But when you pray, go into your room and shut the door and pray to your Father who is in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you.

7 “And when you pray, do not heap up empty phrases as the Gentiles do, for they think that they will be heard for their many words. 8 Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask him.  9 Pray then like this:

“Our Father in heaven,hallowed be your name.10 Your kingdom come,your will be done,on earth as it is in heaven.11 Give us this day our daily bread,12 and forgive us our debts,as we also have forgiven our debtors.13 And lead us not into temptation,but deliver us from evil.
Please understand that the Lord’s Prayer is not a prayer we are to memorize and recite to God. The Lord’s Prayer should be understood as an example, a pattern, of how to pray. It gives us the “ingredients” that should go into prayer.
Here is how it breaks down:
“Our Father in heaven” is teaching us whom to address our prayers to—the Father. “Hallowed be your name” is telling us to worship God, and to praise Him for who He is.
The phrase “your kingdom come, your will be done on earth as it is in heaven” is a reminder to us that we are to pray for God’s plan in our lives and the world, not our own plan. We are to pray for God’s will to be done, not for our desires. We are encouraged to ask God for the things we need in “give us today our daily bread.” “Forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors” reminds us to confess our sins to God and to turn from them, and also to forgive others as God has forgiven us.
The conclusion of the Lord’s Prayer, “And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one” is a plea for help in achieving victory over sin and a request for protection from the attacks of the devil.

This is an example of the things that should go into a prayer—worship, trust in God, requests, confession, and submission. We are to pray for the things the Lord’s Prayer talks about, using our own words and “customizing” it to our own journey with God. The proper way to pray is to express our hearts to God. Sitting, standing, or kneeling; hands open or closed; eyes opened or closed; in a church, at home, or outside; in the morning or at night—these are all side issues, subject to personal preference, conviction, and appropriateness. God’s desire is for prayer to be a real and personal connection between Himself and us.

Philippians 4:6-7(ESV) 6 do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. 7 And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. This tells us to pray without being anxious, to pray about everything, and to pray with thankful hearts. God will answer all such prayers with the gift of His peace in our hearts. The proper way to pray is to pour out our hearts to God, being honest and open with God, as He already knows us better than we know ourselves. We are to present our requests to God, keeping in mind that God knows what is best and will not grant a request that is not His will for us. We are to express our love, gratitude, and worship to God in prayer without worrying about having just the right words to say. God is more interested in the content of our hearts than the eloquence of our words

Prayer must submit to the will of God. – Paul Bunyan

As Christ has taught us, prayer must say, Matthew 6:10(ESV)Your kingdom come. Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.; therefore the people of the Lord in humility are to lay themselves and their prayers, and all that they have, at the feet of their God, to be disposed of by him as he in his heavenly wisdom sees best. And never doubting that God will answer the desire of his people in a way that will be most advantageous for them and for his glory. Therefore when the saints pray with submission to the will of God, they are not to doubt or question God’s love and kindness to them. But because they are not always wise, and sometimes Satan may take advantage of them, so as to tempt them to pray for that which, if they had it, would neither be to God’s glory nor for his people’s good.

Ephesians Pt25 Sword of the Spirit

Ephesians 6:17(ESV) and take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God,  To be a Christian is to be a warrior. The good soldier of Jesus Christ must not expect to find ease in this world: it is a battle-field. Neither must he count upon the friendship of the world; for that would be enmity against God.
James 4:4(ESV)4 You adulterous people! Do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God? Therefore whoever wishes to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God.

His occupation is war. As he puts on piece by piece of the armor provided for him, he may wisely say to himself, “This warns me of danger; this prepares me for warfare; this prophesies opposition.”

It is clear from our text that our defense and our conquest must be obtained by sheer fighting. Many try compromise; but if you are a true Christian, you can never do this business well. The language of deceit does not fit a holy tongue. The adversary is the father of lies, and those that are with him understand the art of deceit;

The sword used by Roman soldiers was known as a gladius; and in the hands of a skilled man, it was a fearsome weapon. In fact, it became known as “the sword that conquered the world.” It was sharpened on both sides, making it lethal against an unarmored foe. The point was also sharpened, enabling it to pierce armor. An infantryman in the Roman legions would also go into battle with a dagger, a few spears and possibly a few darts. But the gladius was the only offensive weapon listed by Paul, and it was the main weapon in the soldier’s arsenal. Paul defines the sword of the Spirit as the “word of God” (Ephesians 6:17). This isn’t the only place where God’s Word (the Bible) is described as a sword. The author of Hebrews also makes reference to it: Hebrews 4:12-13(ESV)12 For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart. 13 And no creature is hidden from his sight, but all are naked and exposed to the eyes of him to whom we must give account.

The Word of God is even sharper than the gladius! Here the Word is described as living and active and sharper than a double-edged sword. The Roman sword was commonly made in this manner. The fact that it had two edges made it easier to penetrate, as well as to cut in every way. The idea is that of piercing, or penetrating; the Word of God reaches the “heart,” the very center of action, and lays open the motives and feelings of those it touches. It is capable of piercing to the deepest levels of one’s heart and attitude, and it is also a tool of discernment in the hands of the skilled user.

The all-powerful sword of the living God is able to cut through every defense our enemy can raise—down to the very division of bone and marrow. When wielded by a servant of God, nothing can withstand its ability to cut straight to the core of a matter and uncover the truth. As soldiers in God’s army, it is our responsibility and duty to use His Word to discern the truth and then follow it. When God’s Word shows us something wrong in ourselves, we can use this spiritual weapon to “surgically” remove the offending thoughts and actions.

Unlike all other pieces of the armor of God, which are solely defensive, the sword is uniquely suited for both defensive and offensive roles. A solid defense is invaluable, but the sword is the only way we can complete the work we have been given to do.

The sword is both an offensive and defensive weapon used by soldiers. In this case it is a weapon belonging to the Holy Spirit. Swords were used to protect oneself from harm or to attack the enemy to overcome or kill him. In both cases it was necessary for a soldier to get rigid training on the proper use of the sword to get maximum protection. All Christian soldiers need the same rigid training to know how to properly handle the Sword of the Spirit, “which is the word of God.” The sword that Paul refers to here is the Holy Scriptures.
2 Timothy 3:16–17(ESV)16 All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, 17 that the man of God[a] may be complete, equipped for every good work. We know from that the word of God is from the Holy Spirit and written by men. Since every Christian is on the spiritual battle with the satanic and evil forces of this world, we need to know how to handle the Word properly. Only then will it be an effective defense against evil, but it will also be an offensive weapon we use to “demolish strongholds” of error and falsehood
2 Corinthians 10:4–5(ESV)4 For the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh but have divine power to destroy strongholds. 5 We destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ.

Notice that Jesus Christ used the Bible to counter Satan’s attacks in His temptation in the wilderness. Matthew 4:4-10(ESV) But he answered, “It is written,“‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.’”5 Then the devil took him to the holy city and set him on the pinnacle of the temple 6 and said to him, “If you are the Son of God, throw yourself down, for it is written,“‘He will command his angels concerning you,’and“‘On their hands they will bear you up,lest you strike your foot against a stone.’”7 Jesus said to him, “Again it is written, ‘You shall not put the Lord your God to the test.’” 8 Again, the devil took him to a very high mountain and showed him all the kingdoms of the world and their glory. 9 And he said to him, “All these I will give you, if you will fall down and worship me.” 10 Then Jesus said to him, “Be gone, Satan! For it is written,“‘You shall worship the Lord your God and him only shall you serve.’”We must also learn to live “by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God”
Satan tried to uses scripture against Jesus,but Jesus countered with scripture in CONTEXT! Context of scripture means everything, 2 Timothy 2:15-18(ESV) 15 Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who has no need to be ashamed, rightly handling the word of truth. 16 But avoid irreverent babble, for it will lead people into more and more ungodliness, 17 and their talk will spread like gangrene. Among them are Hymenaeus and Philetus, 18 who have swerved from the truth, saying that the resurrection has already happened. They are upsetting the faith of some.

Do Not Be deceived–the Bible can easily be twisted to support false doctrines.

If you need proof of this claim, just look at Christendom today! Among those who profess Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior there are as many conflicting doctrines as there are denominations and sects. Everybody claims they have the “market cornered” on doctrinal truth, but obviously all cannot possibly be correct. So where does that leave us? The sad fact is that millions are in the grip of demonic deception and blissfully ignorant of their perilous state. Hordes of apostate preachers are building fan clubs around their personal charisma and ability to persuade–with many genuine saints falling for their sales pitch. Remember Character over Charisma, many a preacher can get excited but they ain’t saying nothing. Find a church, a preacher that can rightly handle the Word of God in context.

The purpose of the sword of the Spirit—the Bible—is to make us strong and able to withstand the evil onslaughts of Satan, our enemy.

Psalm 119:9-11(ESV)How can a young man keep his way pure? By guarding it according to your word. 10 With my whole heart I seek you; let me not wander from your commandments!11 I have stored up your word in my heart, that I might not sin against you. The Holy Spirit uses the power of the Word to save souls and then to give them spiritual strength to be mature soldiers for the Lord in fighting this corrupt and evil world we live in. The more we know and understand the Word of God, the more useful we will be in doing the will of God and the more effective we will be in standing against the enemy of our souls.

Psalm 119:103-105(ESV)How sweet are your words to my taste, sweeter than honey to my mouth! 104 Through your precepts I get understanding;therefore I hate every false way.105 Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path.

Only the Word of God can discern the thoughts and intents of the heart. The Scripture clearly indicates that the heart is beyond our knowing.
Jeremiah 17:9-10(ESV):The heart is deceitful above all things,and desperately sick; who can understand it? 10 “I the Lord search the heart and test the mind, to give every man according to his ways, according to the fruit of his deeds.”
The word heart can mean different things depending upon the context. Most often, the heart refers to the soul of a human being that controls the mind, will and emotions. The prophet Ezekiel makes several references a “new heart” Ezekiel 36:26(ESV)26 And I will give you a new heart, and a new spirit I will put within you. And I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh. An oft-quoted verse is Ezekiel 11:19(ESV)19 And I will give them one heart, and a new spirit I will put within them. I will remove the heart of stone from their flesh and give them a heart of flesh,

Evangelism is one of the most important things a church can do.

“I thought we were reformed and reformed people do not evangelize, I thought only the elect go to heaven. “
Acts 13:(ESV)47 For this is what the Lord has commanded us: I have made you a light for the Gentiles to bring salvation to the ends of the earth.” 48 When the Gentiles heard this, they rejoiced and glorified the message of the Lord, and all who had been appointed to eternal life believed. 49 So the message of the Lord spread through the whole region.
The preaching of the gospel is the primary way God decided for the elect to respond to the call of repentance. We do not know who the elect are, so we evangelize and preach the gospel. The elect will respond and the non-elect will not respond. The elect will have  heart change and respond to the call. The non-elect do not care that they are non-elect, if you are wondering if you are elect then you probably are. Reprobates don’t care that they are enemies of God. God has not put a visible mark on the elect, so we are to treat all men as if they are among the elect, and are to share the Gospel far and wide. We need to share it with a sense of urgency.
Acts 14:21-22(ESV)21 When they had preached the gospel to that city and had made many disciples, they returned to Lystra and to Iconium and to Antioch, 22 strengthening the souls of the disciples, encouraging them to continue in the faith, and saying that through many tribulations we must enter the kingdom of God.
The importance of living a spirit filled life is to make an intentional engagement with any open heart at every appropriate moment to share the Gospel of Jesus Christ. It’s not about who you are or where you are from, it is about Jesus and what He will do through you, He is looking for a willing vessel.

Evangelism is a natural result of hearts being turned from stone to flesh from hearing the Word. When Jesus is on your mind and in your heart he will come out of your mouth. You cannot effectively witness to people if you have no general concern for them. We will never seek to engage a lost world if we never care for them.

*Life stations Parable*

On a dangerous seacoast where shipwrecks often occur there was a once a crude little life-saving station. The building was just a hut, and there was only one boat, but the few devoted members kept a constant watch over the sea, and with no thought for themselves, they went out day or night tirelessly searching for the lost.

Many lives were saved by this wonderful little station, so that it became famous. Some of those who were saved, and various others in the surrounding areas, wanted to become associated with the station and give of their time and money and effort for the support of its work. New boats were bought and new crews were trained. The little life-saving station grew.

Some of the new members of the life-saving station were unhappy that the building was so crude and so poorly equipped. They felt that a more comfortable place should be provided as the first refuge of those saved from the sea. So they replaced the emergency cots with beds and put better furniture in an enlarged building. Now the life-saving station became a popular gathering place for its members, and they re-decorated it beautifully and furnished it as a sort of club.

Less of the members were now interested in going to sea on life-saving missions, so they hired life boat crews to do this work. The mission of life-saving was still given lip-service but most were too busy or lacked the necessary commitment to take part in the life-saving activities personally.

About this time a large ship was wrecked off the coast, and the hired crews brought in boat loads of cold, wet, and half-drowned people. They were dirty and sick, and some of them had black skin, and some spoke a strange language, and the beautiful new club was considerably messed up. So the property committee immediately had a shower house built outside the club where victims of shipwreck could be cleaned up before coming inside.

At the next meeting, there was a split in the club membership. Most of the members wanted to stop the club’s life-saving activities as being unpleasant and a hindrance to the normal life pattern of the club. But some members insisted that life-saving was their primary purpose and pointed out that they were still called a life-saving station. But they were finally voted down and told that if they wanted to save the life of all the various kinds of people who were shipwrecked in those waters, they could begin their own life-saving station down the coast. They did. As the years went by, the new station experienced the same changes that had occurred in the old. They evolved into a club and yet another life-saving station was founded.

If you visit the seacoast today you will find a number of exclusive clubs along that shore. Shipwrecks are still frequent in those waters, only now most of the people drown.

It is very easy to forget we are a life saving station not a club house. When people forget their purpose in a church, the church becomes a club. The Gospel and your Testimony are all you need to evangelize the lost. The Word of God is the only thing that will break through a stony heart and turn it into a heart of flesh.

Matthew 13:3-9(ESV)3 And he told them many things in parables, saying: “A sower went out to sow. 4 And as he sowed, some seeds fell along the path, and the birds came and devoured them. 5 Other seeds fell on rocky ground, where they did not have much soil, and immediately they sprang up, since they had no depth of soil, 6 but when the sun rose they were scorched. And since they had no root, they withered away. 7 Other seeds fell among thorns, and the thorns grew up and choked them. 8 Other seeds fell on good soil and produced grain, some a hundredfold, some sixty, some thirty. 9 He who has ears, let him hear.”

Matthew 13:18-23(ESV)18 “Hear then the parable of the sower: 19 When anyone hears the word of the kingdom and does not understand it, the evil one comes and snatches away what has been sown in his heart. This is what was sown along the path. 20 As for what was sown on rocky ground, this is the one who hears the word and immediately receives it with joy, 21 yet he has no root in himself, but endures for a while, and when tribulation or persecution arises on account of the word, immediately he falls away. 22 As for what was sown among thorns, this is the one who hears the word, but the cares of the world and the deceitfulness of riches choke the word, and it proves unfruitful. 23 As for what was sown on good soil, this is the one who hears the word and understands it. He indeed bears fruit and yields, in one case a hundredfold, in another sixty, and in another thirty.”

The parable speaks of the soil as the conditions of the hearts of the people who are hearing the Word of God. This is proving that not everyone who hears the Word will respond correctly.

Titus 3:3-7(ESV)3 For we ourselves were once foolish, disobedient, led astray, slaves to various passions and pleasures, passing our days in malice and envy, hated by others and hating one another. 4 But when the goodness and loving kindness of God our Savior appeared, 5 he saved us, not because of works done by us in righteousness, but according to his own mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewal of the Holy Spirit, 6 whom he poured out on us richly through Jesus Christ our Savior, 7 so that being justified by his grace we might become heirs according to the hope of eternal life.

Regeneration is the spiritual transformation in a person, brought about by the Holy Spirit, that brings the individual from being spiritually dead to become a spiritually alive human being. Regeneration is another way of speaking about the new birth or the second birth or being born again.

When we are born again, God performs a heart transplant, as it were. He gives us a new heart. The power of the Holy Spirit changes our hearts from sin-focused to God-focused. We do not become perfect 1 John 1:8(ESV)8 If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. We still have our sinful flesh and the freedom to choose whether or not to obey it.

Roman soldiers could not be sent into battle without having extensive training in the use of the gladius. As Christians, we also must train and be skillful in the use of the sword. The author of Hebrews tells us that we must become gradually more knowledgeable and skilled in the Word of God, until we are able to use it to discern good from evil.

Hebrews 5:12-14(ESV)12 For though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you again the basic principles of the oracles of God. You need milk, not solid food, 13 for everyone who lives on milk is unskilled in the word of righteousness, since he is a child. 14 But solid food is for the mature, for those who have their powers of discernment trained by constant practice to distinguish good from evil.

The desire to become knowledgeable in God’s Word—skilled in the use of the sword—has to come from within. Do you see how valuable it is, and do you desire to have a high level of skill? This is the attitude and approach to God’s Word that can make a skilled spiritual warrior. The training and skill levels are up to you! Swords are used for close combat, not long-range warfare therefore the fight will be close, close to your heart, close to the things that can get you tripped up and deceived.

James 1:2-4(ESV)2 Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, 3 for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. 4 And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.

At first glance, that might not seem like such a bad thing. But when we stop to consider that without trials, there is no growth, and without growth, we will not be able to enter God’s Kingdom, we see that trials, however uncomfortable, are essential in our journeys as Christians.

Paul only lists one weapon because we only need one weapon: There is no enemy the Word of God, coupled with His Spirit, cannot defeat. And so, armed only with our sword, we step out to fight our enemies head-on. The struggle is real. It is immediate, and it is in front of us. Our future in God’s Kingdom is on the line, and we take up the battle so that we may hold fast to the future He has promised us.

Ephesians Pt26 Praying in the Spirit

Ephesians 6:18(ESV)18 praying at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication. To that end, keep alert with all perseverance, making supplication for all the saints,

Prayer is Communication with the Father, our Creator. Before Salvation we have no communication with the Father. Just the fact that People like us can speak to the Creator of the universe is itself an amazing thing. Even more astounding is the fact that He hears us and acts on our behalf! The first thing we need to understand about effective prayer is that our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ had to suffer and die on the cross to even make it possible for us to approach the throne of grace to worship and pray.

Praying in the Spirit is mentioned three times in Scripture.
1 Corinthians 14:15 (ESV)15 What am I to do? I will pray with my spirit, but I will pray with my mind also; I will sing praise with my spirit, but I will sing with my mind also.
Ephesians 6:18(ESV)18 praying at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication. To that end, keep alert with all perseverance, making supplication for all the saints,
Jude 20 (ESV)20 But you, beloved, building yourselves up in your most holy faith and praying in the Holy Spirit,
So, what exactly does it mean to pray in the Spirit? First of all you have to be saved. The indwelling of the Holy Spirit is the action by which God takes up permanent residence in the body of a believer in Jesus Christ. Jesus revealed to His disciples the new role the Spirit of Truth would play in their lives: John 14:16-17 (ESV)16 And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Helper, to be with you forever, 17 even the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees him nor knows him. You know him, for he dwells with you and will be in you. John Bunyan – There is no man nor church in the world that can come to God in prayer, but by the assistance of the Holy Spirit. Without the indwelling of the Holy Spirit, man is so weak that he cannot think one right saving thought of God, of Christ, or of his blessed things; and therefore the Word of God declares about the man without the Spirit, Psalm 10:4(ESV)In the pride of his face the wicked does not seek him;all his thoughts are, “There is no God.”; unless it is that they imagine God to be basically like one of them (Psalm 50:21). For “every inclination of the thoughts of [unsaved man’s] heart is only evil all the time” (Genesis 6:5; 8:21). Thus, since unbelievers are not able to correctly conceive who God is, the very God to whom they pray, the Christ through whom they pray, nor of the things for which they pray, as was shown before, then how will they be able to address themselves to God, without the help of the Holy Spirit?

The acceptable prayer to God must, in the outward expression, and as well in the inward intention, come from what the soul understands by the illumination of the Holy Spirit; otherwise the prayer is condemned as a vain abomination, because the heart and tongue do not agree, neither can they, unless the Spirit help us in our weakness.

Without Jesus the only prayer God hears is that of repentance. If you are not saved God is not obligated to listen to any of your prayers. 

Isaiah 59:1-2(HCSB) Indeed, the Lord’s hand is not too short to save, and His ear is not too deaf to hear. 2 But your iniquities have built barriers between you and your God, and your sins have made Him hide His face from you so that He does not listen.

Psalms 66:17-19 (HCSB)I cried out to Him with my mouth, and praise was on my tongue.18 If I had been aware of malice in my heart, the Lord would not have listened. 19  However, God has listened; He has paid attention to the sound of my prayer.

Fortunately, 1 John 1:9 (HCSB)if we confess our sins, He is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness

The Greek word translated “pray in” can have several different meanings. It can mean “by means of,” “with the help of,” “in the sphere of,” and “in connection to.” Praying in the Spirit does not refer to the words we are saying. Rather, it refers to how we are praying. Praying in the Spirit is praying according to the Spirit’s leading. It is praying for things the Spirit leads us to pray for. Romans 8:26 (ESV)26 Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness. For we do not know what to pray for as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words.

Jesus taught his disciples how not to pray before teaching them how to pray.

Matthew 6:5-8(ESV)5 “And when you pray, you must not be like the hypocrites. For they love to stand and pray in the synagogues and at the street corners, that they may be seen by others. Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward. 6 But when you pray, go into your room and shut the door and pray to your Father who is in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you. 7 “And when you pray, do not heap up empty phrases as the Gentiles do, for they think that they will be heard for their many words. 8 Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask him.

Some, based on 1 Corinthians 14:15, equate praying in the Spirit with praying in tongues. Discussing the gift of tongues, Paul mentions “pray with my spirit.” 1 Corinthians 14:14 states that when a person prays in tongues, he does not know what he is saying, since it is spoken in a language he does not know. Further, no one else can understand what is being said, unless there is an interpreter (1 Corinthians 14:27-28). In Ephesians 6:18, Paul instructs us to “pray at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication. To that end, keep alert with all perseverance, making supplication for all the saints,” How are we to pray with all kinds of prayers and requests and pray for the saints, if no one, including the person praying, understands what is being said? Therefore, praying in the Spirit should be understood as praying in the power of the Spirit, by the leading of the Spirit, and according to His will, not as praying in tongues.

1 Corinthians 14:14(ESV)14 For if I pray in a tongue, my spirit prays but my mind is unfruitful. In both cases they have misrepresented the intention of those verses. The first verse they assume, speaking in an unknown tongue, builds someone up, when in fact; Paul was saying it in a negative sense. It puffs your ego, or it, at best, if you do it in private, would benefit you, which would be selfish and contrary to any proper use of spiritual gifts and the second one, “If I pray in an unknown tongue, my spirit prays, and my understanding is unfruitful,” is a way to say, “Don’t do that, because what’s the point in having an unfruitful understanding?”

The gift of tongues is viewed as a holy, mystical ability that somehow operates in a person’s spirit and comes out the mouth and bypasses the mind. Many Charismatics are even told they have to purposefully switch off their mind to enable the gift to function, that’s pretty much the pattern. I’ve sat in on a number of sessions where people were endeavoring to teach someone how to speak in tongues, and they always follow that same format. Usually they say something like this, “Don’t think of anything, try to empty your mind of any conscious thought, then start to just babble like a baby”

Charles and Francis Hunter, who travel all across the world in healing explosion meetings, have as a part of their curriculum the seminars in which they teach people how to speak in tongues. They have as many as 50,000 people in some of their meetings. Charles Hunter tells people, and I quote, “When you pray with your spirit you do not think of the sounds of the language. Just trust God, but make the sounds when I tell you too. In just a moment, when I tell you, begin loving and praising God by speaking forth a lot of different syllable sounds. At first make the sounds rapidly so you won’t try to think as you do in speaking your natural language. Make the sounds loudly at first so you can easily hear what you are saying.”

That’s an interesting contradiction. Hunter doesn’t explain what point there is in hearing what you are saying since your mind isn’t engaged anyway, but he continually reminds his audience they’re not supposed to be thinking. He says, “The reason some of you don’t speak fluently, is that you try to think of the sounds so when we pray this prayer and you start speaking in your heavenly language don’t try to think,” end quote. Later he adds, quote, “You don’t even have to think in order to pray in the Spirit,” end quote.

If it’s the spirit then why you have to be taught?

Now remember, all of this is a occurring with absolutely no understanding of what you’re saying. You have no comprehension of what it is you’re saying, and yet it is supposed to bring you into the deep understanding and intimate communion with God.
You might ask the question, “What then is wrong with such an experience?” Well, on the one hand, there really isn’t anything particularly evil or immoral about it if you just disassociate it from the Bible and disassociate it from Christianity, and if you get some pleasure out of standing in a corner all by yourself or sitting in your room alone and talking gibberish to yourself and that does something for you, then I suppose in and of itself, from a psychological standpoint, that it’s not a moral issue, it may be harmless. If something makes you feel good or makes you feel somehow better in control of your life, or like you’ve had some warm experience, so be it, but don’t call it intimacy with God. Don’t say it makes you spiritually stronger. Don’t say it makes you delirious with spiritual joy.

Then ask yourself the question, could I, through this means be deceived? Could this be dangerous? The answer to that question has to be yes.
The problem I have with the tongues is that people have used that as a spiritual pinnacle and if you don’t speak in tongues then you don’t have the Holy Spirit.I even heard this” when you speak in tongues the devil can’t understand you” Really?! If tongues is a “language of the angels” what was Satan? A cherub He was higher than the angels, he was the most beautiful of all the angels, you don’t think he knows the language? Some counter that with well after he fell he lost his ability? Really?! Satan gets summoned to Heaven to speak with God. Job 1:6-7(ESV)6 Now there was a day when the sons of God came to present themselves before the Lord, and Satan also came among them. 7 The Lord said to Satan, “From where have you come?” Satan answered the Lord and said, “From going to and fro on the earth, and from walking up and down on it.”
If we say those things we are stating incorrect unbiblical statements, and we are saying God doesn’t understand English or that God will hear my prayers because its in a heavenly language, that statement is so prideful!!

I personally heard and know of people who have severe PORN addictions but can speak and pray in Tongues!!!!! I was told multiple times “Brother if you don’t learn how to speak in tongues your will never have a powerful prayer life” My answer was always “What Verse?” But I have a couple for them….

James 5:15-16(ESV)15 And the prayer of faith will save the one who is sick, and the Lord will raise him up. And if he has committed sins, he will be forgiven. 16 Therefore, confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person has great power as it is working.

1 Peter 3:7(ESV)7 Likewise, husbands, live with your wives in an understanding way, showing honor to the woman as the weaker vessel, since they are heirs with you of the grace of life, so that your prayers may not be hindered.

1 Peter 3:10-12(ESV)10 For “Whoever desires to love life and see good days, let him keep his tongue from evil and his lips from speaking deceit; 11 let him turn away from evil and do good; let him seek peace and pursue it.12 For the eyes of the Lord are on the righteous, and his ears are open to their prayer. But the face of the Lord is against those who do evil.” 

1 Peter 4:7(ESV) 7 The end of all things is at hand; therefore be self-controlled and sober-minded for the sake of your prayers.

Statement made by John Wesley. He understood something about prayer that we must understand: “It seems that without God, man cannot – and without man, God will not.”

What did he mean by that?

– It seems that on earth, man can do nothing without God – but there is another reality: God will not do anything on earth without man.

The principle is: There has to be a partnership between man and God in order for things to be happening on earth.

– So what happens on earth depends on you!

– To understand prayer, here is a simple definition of prayer:

Prayer is the earthly license for Heavenly interference.

Therefore: Nothing on earth can happen without the cooperation between God and humans.

– That is how powerful you are.

– God Himself cannot interfere in this planet without your license and permission that

He gave you.

-This sounds un-believable – but if you don’t believe this – it is why your prayers

aren’t answered, you don’t see results, you are still sick, don’t have what you need,

you are just performing a religious exercise in your prayer life.

“We get the mind of God about His will, we pray it. When we pray it, we give him legal right to perform it” (BENNY HINN).

“Yes. Let me define prayer for you in this show. Prayer is man giving God permission, or license, to interfere in earth’s affairs. In other words, prayer is earthly license for heavenly interference….God can do nothing on earth, nothing has God ever done on earth without a human giving him access….Always looking for a human to give him power of permission. In other words, God has the power, but you got the permission. God got the authority and the power, but you got the license. So even though God can do anything, he can only do what you permit him to do” (MYLES MUNROE).

We can create barriers to effective prayer with the Father

1. Praying with selfish desires and wrong motives. James 4:3(ESV) When you ask you do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, that you may spend what you get on your pleasures”.

2. Rejecting God’s call or ignoring His advice Proverbs 1:24-28 (HCSB)24 Since I called out and you refused, extended my hand and no one paid attention, 25 since you neglected all my counsel and did not accept my correction, 26 I, in turn, will 27  when terror strikes you like a storm and your calamity comes like a whirlwind, when trouble and stress overcome you.28  Then they will call me, but I won’t answer; they will search for me, but won’t find me. 

3. Worshipping idols (Jeremiah 11:11-14(ESV)11 Therefore, thus says the Lord, Behold, I am bringing disaster upon them that they cannot escape. Though they cry to me, I will not listen to them. 12 Then the cities of Judah and the inhabitants of Jerusalem will go and cry to the gods to whom they make offerings, but they cannot save them in the time of their trouble. 13 For your gods have become as many as your cities, O Judah, and as many as the streets of Jerusalem are the altars you have set up to shame, altars to make offerings to Baal.14 “Therefore do not pray for this people, or lift up a cry or prayer on their behalf, for I will not listen when they call to me in the time of their trouble.

4. Turning a deaf ear to the cry of the poor Proverbs 21:13(HCSB) The one who shuts his ears to the cry of the poor will himself also call out and not be answered.

Effective Prayer

Although the Bible offers a great deal of guidance on how we can deepen our communication with the Creator, effective prayer has more to do with the one doing the praying than it does with “how” we are to pray. Indeed, Scripture says in James 5:16 (HCSB) 16 Therefore, confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, so that you may be healed. The urgent request of a righteous person is very powerful in its effect., and in

1 Peter 3:12(HCSB)because the eyes of the Lord are on the righteous and His ears are open to their request. But the face of the Lord is against those who do what is evil. 

Psalm 34:15 (HCSB)The eyes of the Lord are on the righteous, and His ears are open to their cry for help. and, again in Proverbs 15:8(HCSB) The sacrifice of the wicked is detestable to the Lord, but the prayer of the upright is His delight. Prayer saved the righteous Daniel from the lion’s den (Daniel 6:11), and in the wilderness, God’s chosen people benefitted from Moses’ right standing with God (Exodus 16–17). The barren Hannah’s steadfast and humble prayers resulted in the prophet Samuel (1 Samuel 1:20), and the apostle Paul’s prayers even caused the earth to shake (Acts 16:25-26). Clearly, the passionate prayers of God’s righteous children can accomplish much (Numbers 11:2).

We also need to make sure that our prayers are in line with God’s will.

1 John 5:13-15(HCSB) 13 I have written these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, so that you may know that you have eternal life.14 Now this is the confidence we have before Him: Whenever we ask anything according to His will, He hears us. 15 And if we know that He hears whatever we ask, we know that we have what we have asked Him for. Praying in accordance with God’s will is essentially praying in accord with what He would want, and we can see God’s revealed will throughout Scripture.

Additionally, prayer is something believers should do “constantly”
1 Thessalonians 5:17(HCSB)Pray constantly. When we present our requests to God, we are to pray with faith, with thanksgiving, with a spirit of forgiveness toward others in Christ’s name, with a heart that is right with God. It’s the strength of our faith, not the length of our prayers that pleases Him to whom we pray, so we don’t need to impress God with our eloquence or intelligence. After all, God knows what our needs are even before we ask. Also, we should make sure we have no unconfessed sin in our hearts when we pray, as this would certainly be an impediment to effective prayer.

Jesus is pretty serious when it comes to his Father’s house and prayer. Jesus’ first cleansing of the temple is described in John 2:13–17(HCSB) 13 The Jewish Passover was near, so Jesus went up to Jerusalem. 14 In the temple complex He found people selling oxen, sheep, and doves, and He also found the money changers sitting there. 15 After making a whip out of cords, He drove everyone out of the temple complex with their sheep and oxen. He also poured out the money changers’ coins and overturned the tables. 16 He told those who were selling doves, “Get these things out of here! Stop turning My Father’s house into a marketplace!” 17 And His disciples remembered that it is written: Zeal for Your house will consume Me. This cleansing occurred just after Jesus’ first miracle, turning of water into wine at the wedding in Cana. This is the first of the two times Jesus cleansed the temple. The second cleansing of the temple occurred just after Jesus’ triumphal entry into Jerusalem during the last week of His life.
Matthew 21:12-13(HCSB)12 Jesus went into the temple complex and drove out all those buying and selling in the temple. He overturned the money changers’ tables and the chairs of those selling doves. 13 And He said to them, “It is written, My house will be called a house of prayer. But you are making it a den of thieves!” Think of this: Jesus doesn’t call the temple a home for God, a beautiful establishment, a country club, a social gathering, nor a hospital, He calls it a “House of Prayer”. Jesus got so fired up about His Father’s house not being a house of prayer, he fashioned a whip and went after it. He cleansed the temple not once but twice!

Far too often, prayer is viewed as a “magic formula.” Some believe that if we do not say exactly the right things, or pray in the right position, God will not hear and answer our prayer. This is completely unbiblical. God does not answer our prayers based on when we pray, where we are, what position our body is in, or in what order we word our prayers. We are told in 1 John 5:14-15 (HCSB)14 Now this is the confidence we have before Him: Whenever we ask anything according to His will, He hears us. 15 And if we know that He hears whatever we ask, we know that we have what we have asked Him for. We are to have confidence when we come to God in prayer, knowing that He hears us and will grant whatever we ask as long as it is in His will. Similarly,
John 14:13-14 (HCSB)13 Whatever you ask in My name, I will do it so that the Father may be glorified in the Son. 14 If you ask Me anything in My name, I will do it. According to these and many other Scriptures, God answers prayer requests based on whether they are asked according to His will and in the name of Jesus (to bring glory to Jesus).

The revelation about prayer, is that prayer is a 100% spiritual ministry. We all want our prayers to be “effective,” so much so that when we focus on the “results” of our prayers, we lose sight of the incredible privilege we have in prayer.

The closest the Bible comes to giving a “pattern” for prayer is the Lord’s Prayer in Matthew 6:5-13 (ESV)5 “And when you pray, you must not be like the hypocrites. For they love to stand and pray in the synagogues and at the street corners, that they may be seen by others. Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward. 6 But when you pray, go into your room and shut the door and pray to your Father who is in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you.

7 “And when you pray, do not heap up empty phrases as the Gentiles do, for they think that they will be heard for their many words. 8 Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask him.  9 Pray then like this:

“Our Father in heaven,hallowed be your name.10 Your kingdom come,your will be done,on earth as it is in heaven.11 Give us this day our daily bread,12 and forgive us our debts,as we also have forgiven our debtors.13 And lead us not into temptation,but deliver us from evil.
Please understand that the Lord’s Prayer is not a prayer we are to memorize and recite to God. The Lord’s Prayer should be understood as an example, a pattern, of how to pray. It gives us the “ingredients” that should go into prayer.
Here is how it breaks down:
“Our Father in heaven” is teaching us whom to address our prayers to—the Father. “Hallowed be your name” is telling us to worship God, and to praise Him for who He is.
The phrase “your kingdom come, your will be done on earth as it is in heaven” is a reminder to us that we are to pray for God’s plan in our lives and the world, not our own plan. We are to pray for God’s will to be done, not for our desires. We are encouraged to ask God for the things we need in “give us today our daily bread.” “Forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors” reminds us to confess our sins to God and to turn from them, and also to forgive others as God has forgiven us.
The conclusion of the Lord’s Prayer, “And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one” is a plea for help in achieving victory over sin and a request for protection from the attacks of the devil.

This is an example of the things that should go into a prayer—worship, trust in God, requests, confession, and submission. We are to pray for the things the Lord’s Prayer talks about, using our own words and “customizing” it to our own journey with God. The proper way to pray is to express our hearts to God. Sitting, standing, or kneeling; hands open or closed; eyes opened or closed; in a church, at home, or outside; in the morning or at night—these are all side issues, subject to personal preference, conviction, and appropriateness. God’s desire is for prayer to be a real and personal connection between Himself and us.

Philippians 4:6-7(ESV) 6 do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. 7 And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. This tells us to pray without being anxious, to pray about everything, and to pray with thankful hearts. God will answer all such prayers with the gift of His peace in our hearts. The proper way to pray is to pour out our hearts to God, being honest and open with God, as He already knows us better than we know ourselves. We are to present our requests to God, keeping in mind that God knows what is best and will not grant a request that is not His will for us. We are to express our love, gratitude, and worship to God in prayer without worrying about having just the right words to say. God is more interested in the content of our hearts than the eloquence of our words

Prayer must submit to the will of God. – Paul Bunyan

As Christ has taught us, prayer must say, Matthew 6:10(ESV)Your kingdom come. Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.; therefore the people of the Lord in humility are to lay themselves and their prayers, and all that they have, at the feet of their God, to be disposed of by him as he in his heavenly wisdom sees best. And never doubting that God will answer the desire of his people in a way that will be most advantageous for them and for his glory. Therefore when the saints pray with submission to the will of God, they are not to doubt or question God’s love and kindness to them. But because they are not always wise, and sometimes Satan may take advantage of them, so as to tempt them to pray for that which, if they had it, would neither be to God’s glory nor for his people’s good.

Ephesians Pt24 Helmet of Salvation

Ephesians 6:17(ESV)17 and take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God, This instructs us to put on the whole armor of God and to “take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.” When a soldier suited up for battle, the helmet was the last piece of armor to go on. It was the final act of readiness in preparation for combat. A helmet was vital for survival, protecting the brain, the command station for the rest of the body. If the head was badly damaged, the rest of the armor would be of little use.

Since Paul is addressing believers, putting on the helmet of salvation cannot refer to receiving Christ as Savior. The only ones who can take up any piece of God’s armor, and the only ones who are involved in this supernatural struggle against Satan and his demon forces, are those who are already saved.

The fact that the helmet is related to salvation indicates that Satan’s blows are directed at the believer’s security and assurance in Christ. The two dangerous edges of Satan’s spiritual broadsword are discouragement and doubt. To discourage us he points to our failures, our sins, our unresolved problems, our poor health, or to whatever else seems negative in our lives in order to make us lose confidence in the love and care of our heavenly Father.

The assurance of salvation is our impenetrable defense against anything the enemy throws at us. Jesus said, Matthew 10:28(ESV) And do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather fear him who can destroy both soul and body in hell. The idea in this verse is that, as we prepare for Satan’s attacks, we must grab that helmet and buckle it on tightly. Salvation is not limited to a one-time act of the past or even a future hope. God’s salvation is an ongoing, eternal state that His children enjoy in the present. It is daily protection and deliverance from our sin nature and Satan’s schemes.

The fifth piece of God’s armor is represented by the Roman soldier’s helmet, without which he would never enter battle. Some of the helmets were made of thick leather covered with metal plates, and others were of heavy molded metal. They usually had cheek pieces to protect the face.

Trusting in Jesus Christ, immediately saves from the penalty of sin. For believers, this first aspect of salvation, which is justification, is past. It was accomplished the moment we trusted in Christ, and that particular act of faith need never be repeated, because we are secure in our Father’s hands—from whom, as we have just seen, we can never be snatched. John 10:27–30(ESV)27 My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me. 28 I give them eternal life, and they will never perish, and no one will snatch them out of my hand. 29 My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all, and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father’s hand. 30 I and the Father are one.” The blood of Jesus saves every and exactly everyone He wanted it to save and those that it was meant to save, not one less and not one more. Notice it says “My Sheep” not the goats, not the wolves, but the sheep. Not everyone who sits in the church and claims to know Jesus is a sheep. We are forever saved from condemnation. Romans 8:1(ESV)There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.

When people come to know Christ as their Savior, they are brought into a relationship with God that guarantees their eternal security.

God’s power is able to keep the believer from falling. Our eternal security is a result of God keeping us, not us maintaining our own salvation. Because if we had to “MAINTAIN” our Salvation then it would be a works based salvation, not a grace based salvation. Ephesians 2:8-9(ESV). What sin is so big that Jesus’ death could not atone for it? Every sin that man can commit against God and his fellow man, even the most heinous sin was dealt with at the cross. What sin can be so bad that it would cause God to “unforgive” that which He has already paid for?  2 Corinthians 1:21-22(ESV)21 And it is God who establishes us with you in Christ, and has anointed us, 22 and who has also put his seal on us and given us his Spirit in our hearts as a guarantee.

The Lord Jesus Christ proclaimed, John 10:27-29(ESV) 27 My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me. 28 I give them eternal life, and they will never perish, and no one will snatch them out of my hand. 29 My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all, and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father’s hand. Both Jesus and the Father have us firmly grasped in their hand. Who could possibly separate us from the grip of both the Father and the Son? Jesus tells us that he gives eternal life to the sheep, the Christians.  He clearly and definitely states that they shall never perish.  There is no qualifier here.  There is no statement such as, “they shall never perish if they remain faithful.”  There is only the clear declaration that they shall never perish.  This inability to perish is a result of the Lord Jesus giving them eternal life. Furthermore, Jesus says that no one shall snatch them out of his hand, which further emphasizes the idea that those who have eternal life will never perish.  But, can we snatch ourselves out of Jesus’ hand?  No, we can’t because the term “no one” includes the person who is saved.  Therefore, you cannot snatch yourself out of Christ’s hand. Why would you want to? If you were “saved” then didn’t want to be “saved” you were never saved to begin with.

Ephesians 4:30 (HCSB) And don’t grieve God’s Holy Spirit. You were sealed by Him for the day of redemption. tells us that believers are “sealed for the day of redemption.” If believers did not have eternal security, the sealing could not truly be unto the day of redemption, but only to the day of sinning, apostasy, or disbelief. John 3:15-16 (HCSB) so that everyone who believes in Him will have eternal life.16 “For God loved the world in this way: He gave His One and Only Son, so that everyone who believes in Him will not perish but have eternal life. This tells us that whoever believes in Jesus Christ will “have eternal life.” If a person were to be promised eternal life, but then have it taken away, it was never “eternal” to begin with. If eternal security is not true, the promises of eternal life in the Bible would be in error.

Our eternal security is based on God’s love for those whom He has redeemed. Our eternal security is purchased by Christ, promised by the Father, and sealed by the Holy Spirit.

1 Corinthians 1:18(ESV)For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but it is God’s power to us who are being saved.

2 Corinthians 2:15(ESV)15 For to God we are the fragrance of Christ among those who are being saved and among those who are perishing.

These two verses state we are being saved? Yes, we were saved, we are being saved and we will be saved.

You were justified, you are being sanctified and you will be glorified.

Romans 8:30(ESV)30 And those He predestined, He also called; and those He called, He also justified; and those He justified, He also glorified.

Justified  – You are saved from the penalty of sin

Sanctification – you are being saved from the power sin has over your life

Glorification – you will be saved from the presence of sin

The second aspect of salvation, which is sanctification, involves our life on earth, during which time we experience a measure of freedom from the dominating power of sin. Being now under God’s grace, sin no longer has mastery or dominion over us; we are no longer sin’s slave but God’s slave.
Romans 6:14(ESV)14 For sin will have no dominion over you, since you are not under law but under grace.

Romans 6:22(ESV)22 But now that you have been set free from sin and have become slaves of God, the fruit you get leads to sanctification and its end, eternal life.

Paul shows these first two aspects of salvation side by side in the previous chapter of Romans 5:10(ESV)10 For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, now that we are reconciled, shall we be saved by his life. Christ’s death saved us once and for all from sin’s penalty, and His life within us now is saving us day to day from sin’s power and mastery.

The third aspect of salvation is future, the aspect of glorification, when we shall one day be saved altogether and forever from sin’s presence. Looking forward to that glorious time, John says, 1 John 3:2(ESV)2 Beloved, we are God’s children now, and what we will be has not yet appeared; but we know that when he appears we shall be like him, because we shall see him as he is.

It is this final aspect of salvation that is the real strength of the believer’s helmet. If we lose hope in the future promise of salvation, there can be no security in the present. This, no doubt, is why Paul calls this same piece of armor “the helmet” which is “the hope of salvation” (1 Thessalonians 5:8(ESV)8 But since we belong to the day, let us be sober, having put on the breastplate of faith and love, and for a helmet the hope of salvation.. “Having the first fruits of the Spirit,” Paul explains in Romans 8:23–24(ESV)23 And not only the creation, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies. 24 For in this hope we were saved. Now hope that is seen is not hope. For who hopes for what he sees?
The helmet of salvation is that great hope of final salvation that gives us confidence and assurance that our present struggle with Satan will not last forever and we will be victorious in the end. We know the battle is only for this life, and even a long earthly life is no more than a split second compared to eternity with our Lord in heaven. We are not in a race we can lose. We have no purgatory to face, no uncertain hope that our own continued efforts or those of our loved ones and friends will perhaps some day finally make us acceptable to God. We know that whom God called He predestined,
Romans 8:28-30(ESV)28 And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose. 29 For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn among many brothers. 30 And those whom he predestined he also called, and those whom he called he also justified, and those whom he justified he also glorified. There is not the loss of a single soul from predestination to justification to sanctification to glorification. That is God’s unbroken and unbreakable chain of salvation. John 6:39–40(ESV)39 And this is the will of him who sent me, that I should lose nothing of all that he has given me, but raise it up on the last day. 40 For this is the will of my Father, that everyone who looks on the Son and believes in him should have eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day.”;

If the Christian has no future element of salvation to look forward to then this life is useless and Christians need to be pitied for their sacrifices of worldly pleasure.
1 Corinthians 15:19(ESV)19 If in Christ we have hope in this life only, we are of all people most to be pitied. To the worldly, fleshly Corinthians who were self–centered, divisive, and confused about the resurrection, Paul said,1 Corinthians 15:32(ESV)32 What do I gain if, humanly speaking, I fought with beasts at Ephesus? If the dead are not raised, “Let us eat and drink, for tomorrow we die.” Paul’s own spiritual helmet was his firm hope in the completion of his salvation, glorification.
2 Corinthians 4:17–18(ESV)17 For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, 18 as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal. The faithful believer does not “lose heart in doing good,” because he knows that “in due time we shall reap if we do not grow weary” (Galatians 6:9).

1 Thessalonians 5:23(ESV)23 Now may the God of peace himself sanctify you completely, and may your whole spirit and soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. Because of the power of the cross, our enemy no longer has any hold on us,the enemy knows that, but he also knows that most of God’s children do not live as if they know. We must learn to keep our helmets buckled so that his fiery missiles do not lodge in our thoughts and set us on fire.

2 Corinthians 5:1-10(ESV)For we know that if the tent that is our earthly home is destroyed, we have a building from God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens. For in this tent we groan, longing to put on our heavenly dwelling, if indeed by putting it on we may not be found naked. For while we are still in this tent, we groan, being burdened—not that we would be unclothed, but that we would be further clothed, so that what is mortal may be swallowed up by life. He who has prepared us for this very thing is God, who has given us the Spirit as a guarantee.So we are always of good courage. We know that while we are at home in the body we are away from the Lord, for we walk by faith, not by sight. Yes, we are of good courage, and we would rather be away from the body and at home with the Lord. So whether we are at home or away, we make it our aim to please him. 10 For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each one may receive what is due for what he has done in the body, whether good or evil.

There are several actions a believer can take to keep this helmet fastened and functioning:

1. Renew our minds. Our minds are battlefields. The outcomes of those battles determine the course of our lives. Romans 12:2(ESV)2 Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect. instructs us to renew our minds by allowing the truth of God’s Word to wipe out anything contrary to it. Old ideas, opinions, and worldviews must be replaced. We must allow God’s truth to continually wash away the world’s filth, lies, and confusion from our minds and adopt God’s perspective.

2. Reject doubts that arise from circumstances. Human beings are sensory creatures. What we cannot fathom with our five senses, we tend to disregard. If we allow them to, circumstances may convince us that God does not really love us or that His Word is not true. It is impossible to have faith and doubt at the same time. God rewards our faith. With the helmet of salvation firmly in place, we can choose to believe what appears impossible.

3. Keep an eternal perspective. When life crashes in around us, we must remember to look up. Our salvation is the most precious gift we have received. Keeping our eyes on that can help us weather life’s storms. We can choose to live our lives by the motto “If it doesn’t have eternal significance, it’s not important” Matthew 6:20(ESV)20 but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal.

4. Remember that victory is already accomplished. When we consider ourselves “dead to sin but alive to God” Romans 6:11-14(ESV)11 So, you too consider yourselves dead to sin but alive to God in Christ Jesus.12 Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body, so that you obey its desires. 13 And do not offer any parts of it to sin as weapons for unrighteousness. But as those who are alive from the dead, offer yourselves to God, and all the parts of yourselves to God as weapons for righteousness. 14 For sin will not rule over you, because you are not under law but under grace., we eliminate many of the opportunities Satan uses to entrap us. When choosing sin is no longer an option for us because we recognize ourselves to be “new creatures”
2 Corinthians 5:17(ESV)17 Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away, and look, new things have come., we effectively cut off many avenues of failure.

5. Find all our hope in Him. Psalm 73:25(ESV)25 Whom have I in heaven but you? And there is nothing on earth that I desire besides you. Our helmet is most effective when we treasure what it represents. The salvation Jesus purchased for us cannot share the place of importance in our hearts with earthly things. When pleasing the Lord is our supreme delight, we eliminate many of Satan’s lures and render his evil suggestions powerless.

As we wear the helmet of salvation every day, our minds become more insulated against the suggestions, desires, and traps the enemy lays for us. We choose to guard our minds from excessive worldly influence and instead think on things that honor Christ. Philippians 4:8(ESV)8 Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. In doing so, we wear our salvation as a protective helmet that will “guard our hearts and minds in Christ Jesus”. The Holy Spirit and His teachings confirm that we are sealed until the day of redemption. Because we have the seal of the Spirit in our hearts, we can live joyfully, confident of our sure place in a future that holds unimaginable glories. We are sealed for the day we will be in the presence of God worshipping Him forever!

Ephesians Pt23 Shield Of Faith

Ephesians 6:16(ESV)16 In all circumstances take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming darts of the evil one;

Faith is not something we conjure up on our own, nor is it something we are born with, nor is faith a result of diligence in study or pursuit of the spiritual. Ephesians 2:8-9(ESV)8 For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, 9 not a result of works, so that no one may boast. this makes it clear that faith is a gift from God, not because we deserve it, have earned it, or are worthy to have it. It is not from ourselves; it is from God. It is not obtained by our power or our free will. Faith is simply given to us by God, along with His grace and mercy, according to His holy plan and purpose, and because of that, He gets all the glory.

The Roman shield of the time was called a scutum. This type of shield was as large as a door and would cover the warrior entirely. Such a shield was not just defensive but could also be used to push opponents. When fighting as a group, soldiers could position their shields so as to form an enclosure around themselves, called a testudo (In Latin meaning “tortoise shell”). This was especially helpful to protect against arrows launched from the walls of cities they were attacking. Shields, often made of wood and then covered in hide, when wet, could extinguish flaming arrows.

Clearly, a shield is vitally important to a soldier. It provides a blanket of protection. It is meant to be taken up in all circumstances. It is the first barrier against the enemy’s attack. Often, shields were painted with identifying marks; a Christian who takes up the shield of faith identifies himself as a foot soldier who serves the Commander of the Lord’s army.

2 Timothy 2:3-4(HCSB)3 Share in suffering as a good soldier of Christ Jesus. 4 No one serving as a soldier gets entangled in the concerns of civilian life; he seeks to please the recruiter.

As soon as we confess Jesus as our Lord and Savior we are drawn into a spiritual battle. It is a battle where eternal death or eternal life is at stake. It is a battle with one who is 100% committed to drawing us away from God. It is a battle that calls us to make the spiritually lost a priority as we stand in unity with Jesus. Is this the battle that we are winning? Are we truly concerned that there are real people that will die and go to Hell? Are we concerned with it? Do we know that we are in a battle, even though it is invisible and spiritual it is real and it is eternal.

Hebrews 10:38(ESV)38 but my righteous one shall live by faith, and if he shrinks back, my soul has no pleasure in him.”

Hebrews 11:1 (HCSB)Now faith is the reality of what is hoped for, the proof of what is not seen.

Hebrews 1:6(HCSB)6 Now without faith it is impossible to please God, for the one who draws near to Him must believe that He exists and rewards those who seek Him. This verse stresses the importance of faith: “Without faith it is impossible to please God.” Satan’s attacks can sometimes cause us to doubt God.You start asking yourself, “Did God really say? Can I really trust God? Isn’t that just your interpretation?” Faith prompts us to believe God.

Romans 1:16-17(ESV)16 For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek. 17 For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith for faith, as it is written, “The righteous shall live by faith.”

There is a saying and even a song that says “God said it, I believe it, that settles it.” It may be a nice sentiment, but it’s bad theology. The truth is, “God said it, and that settles it — whether I believe it or not.” God’s truth isn’t based on whether you believe it or not. It’s still true even if you don’t believe it, because God can’t lie.

You need that kind of certainty in difficult days. With the Shield of Faith, you have certainty that God’s promises are true even when they don’t appear to be true in your life. God comes to the Garden of Eden, creates a perfect environment, creates a perfect man and perfect woman – perfect in the sense of sinlessness, not in the sense of an accomplished perfection.  And there they are, and here comes Satan, and what does he say?  “Has God really said?”  And then he says, “You know, God doesn’t want you to know good and evil because you’ll be like Him, and He doesn’t like competition.  You can’t trust God He has ulterior motives.  You can’t always believe exactly what He says.”  Satan was tempting them to doubt God and believe him.  Eve was a sucker, Eve was a fool, she believed the devil, and you know what happened.  Every temptation that ever came to you came on the tack of “believe me, not God.”

Watch this, Christ has been fasting forty days and forty nights, led into the wilderness by the Spirit of God as God prepared Him for His ministry.  At the end of that time, Satan comes to Him to tempt Him.  And how does he tempt Him? He tempts Him to not believe God – same old deal.  “Don’t believe God, believe me.”
Matthew 4:1-11(HCSB)Then Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the Devil. 2 After He had fasted 40 days and 40 nights, He was hungry. 3 Then the tempter approached Him and said, “If You are the Son of God, tell these stones to become bread.” 4 But He answered, “It is written: Man must not live on bread alone but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.”5 Then the Devil took Him to the holy city, had Him stand on the pinnacle of the temple, 6 and said to Him, “If You are the Son of God, throw Yourself down. For it is written: He will give His angels orders concerning you, and they will support you with their hands so that you will not strike your foot against a stone.”7 Jesus told him, “It is also written: Do not test the Lord your God.”8 Again, the Devil took Him to a very high mountain and showed Him all the kingdoms of the world and their splendor. 9 And he said to Him, “I will give You all these things if You will fall down and worship me.”10 Then Jesus told him, “Go away, Satan! For it is written:Worship the Lord your God, and serve only Him.”11 Then the Devil left Him, and immediately angels came and began to serve Him.

We give in to temptation when we believe what it has to offer is better than what God has promised. It’s seducing temptations, that’s all. Satan fires arrows of impurity, arrows of selfishness, doubt, fear, disappointment, lust, greed, vanity, covetousness – it all comes down to this: 1 John 2:16(ESV)16 For all that is in the world—the desires of the flesh and the desires of the eyes and pride of life—is not from the Father but is from the world. The lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life.

Christians have always been, and will always be, lured by the same three temptations Eve and Jesus experienced. Satan doesn’t change his methods; he doesn’t have to because his methods continue to be successful. He tempts us with the lust of the flesh—sexual gratification, gluttony, excessive alcohol consumption, and drugs, both legal and illegal, as well as the ones which Paul warned the Galatians about, Galatians 5:19-21(ESV)“sexual immorality, impurity, sensuality, idolatry, sorcery, enmity, strife, jealousy, fits of anger, rivalries, dissensions, divisions, envy, drunkenness, orgies, and things like these”. He tempts us with the lust of the eyes—the endless accumulation of “stuff” with which we fill our homes and garages and the insatiable desire for more, better, and newer possessions, which ensnares us and hardens our hearts to the things of God.

But perhaps his most evil temptation is the pride of life, the very sin that resulted in Satan’s expulsion from heaven. He desired to be God, not to be a servant of God Isaiah 14:12-15(ESV)2 “How you are fallen from heaven, O Day Star, son of Dawn! How you are cut down to the ground, you who laid the nations low! 13 You said in your heart, ‘I will ascend to heaven; above the stars of God I will set my throne on high; I will sit on the mount of assembly in the far reaches of the north; 14 I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will make myself like the Most High.’15 But you are brought down to Sheol, to the far reaches of the pit. The arrogant boasting which constitutes the pride of life motivates the other two lusts as it seeks to elevate itself above all others and fulfill all personal desires. It is the root cause of strife in families, churches, and nations. It exalts the self in direct contradiction to Jesus’ statement that those who would follow Him must take up their cross (an instrument of death) and deny themselves. The pride of life stands in our way if we truly seek to be servants of God. It is the arrogance that separates us from others and limits our effectiveness in the kingdom. The pride of life “comes not from the Father, but from the world.” And, as such, it is passing away with the world, but those who resist and overcome the temptation of the pride of life do the will of God, and 1 John 2:17(ESV)17 And the world is passing away along with its desires, but whoever does the will of God abides forever.

In other words the arrows are, “Don’t believe God, He doesn’t keep His word, He didn’t give You the whole picture, He didn’t tell You the truth.  Believe me, do it my way.”  And that’s the way every temptation comes to every believer every time.  Satan comes along and says, “Oh yeah, I know the Bible says you’re not supposed to have sexual relationships with somebody outside of marriage, but it’s fun.” Who do you believe when you sin?  You believe the devil.  It’s the bottom line, people; it’s so simple.  When you sin, you believe Satan; when you obey, you believe God.  That’s the bottom line.  And the shield is the double protection.  “I will believe God,” said Christ.  “Get away, Satan.  God will feed Me when He’s ready, and God will anoint Me as Messiah when He’s ready, and God will give Me the kingdoms of the world when He’s ready, on His terms.  I will not believe you.”
Titus 1:1-2(HCSB)Paul, a slave of God and an apostle of Jesus Christ, to build up the faith of God’s elect and their knowledge of the truth that leads to godliness, 2 in the hope of eternal life that God, who cannot lie, promised before time began.

God isn’t lying.  And yet every time you sin, you believe Satan and his lies and so do I; we’ve been suckered again. Satan comes along and says, “Do it my way, and you’ll like it.” It’ll be fun. It’ll fulfill you. You’ll gain what you desire” – it’s a lie. He is a liar, John 8:44(HCSB)44 You are of your father the Devil, and you want to carry out your father’s desires. He was a murderer from the beginning and has not stood in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he tells a lie, he speaks from his own nature, because he is a liar and the father of liars.

Whenever you sin, you’re saying, “I really don’t believe God knows best, Satan knows best.” We say, “My God shall supply all your needs according to His riches and glory” and we all say, “Amen, brother, preach it.  Yes, He’ll supply all your needs according to His riches in Christ Jesus, no question about it.”  And then when we lose a job, “Ohh, God what are You doing to me? Why did you do this – see?  There’s Satan “The Lord has forsaken you,” see?

Matthew 6:33(HCSB)33 But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things will be provided for you.  And we run through life seeking all the things that should be added and missing the Kingdom of God.  You see, you can’t just go around saying, “I believe God, I have faith in God, the just shall live by faith,” and then grab everything you can grab that is worldly.

So the only way to extinguish the arrows of Satan is to believe God.  The Bible says, “Abraham believed God and it was counted to him for righteousness.”  Who do you believe?  Abraham believed God.  Who do you believe?  Do you believe God?
In other words, what God said is true.  If you believe it and obey it, it’ll be a shield; if you mess with it, you’ll suffer, see?  Satan comes along and says, “Oh well, I know God said that, but let me add this.”  No.  No, “He is a shield to those who put their trust in Him.”

Psalm 12:6(HCSB)The words of the Lord are pure words, like silver refined in an earthen furnace, purified seven times.

He literally bombards the believer with the arrows, the fiery darts of seductive temptation, to elicit out of us ungodly, non-Christlike, evil responses.  And the only defense we have at this point, Paul says, is the shield of faith, because sometimes it just rains temptation. We live in a world where it really does rain temptation, all around us, and we must have the shield of faith. Faith reminds us that, though the fulfillment of God’s promises may not be readily visible to us, God is true to His Word. When Satan attempts to plague us with doubt or entice us with instant gratification, faith recognizes the deceptiveness of his tactics and quickly extinguishes the arrows. When Satan accuses us, faith chooses to believe that Jesus has redeemed us and that there is no more condemnation. Romans 8:1(HCSB) Therefore, no condemnation now exists for those in Christ Jesus,

Romans 8:34(HCSB)Who is the one who condemns? Christ Jesus is the One who died, but even more, has been raised; He also is at the right hand of God and intercedes for us.

The term “faith” means believing God, and that is the bottom line of the Christian faith. That is the bottom line of everything we believe, everything we hold to, everything we have our confidence in. The whole of Christianity is an act of believing that God is, and that He is a rewarder of them that diligently seek Him.  Believing that He wrote the Bible, believing that Christ is God, believing that He died, believing that He rose, believing that He’s coming, believing that by believing we can enter into His Kingdom – the whole thing.  That’s why in Habakkuk 2:4 (HCSB)Look, his ego is inflated; he is without integrity. But the righteous one will live by his faith.

Romans 1:17(HCSB)“17 For in it God’s righteousness is revealed from faith to faith, just as it is written: The righteous will live by faith.

Galatians 3:11(HCSB)11 Now it is clear that no one is justified before God by the law, because the righteous will live by faith.

Hebrews 10:36-38(HCSB)36 For you need endurance, so that after you have done God’s will, you may receive what was promised.37  For yet in a very little while, the Coming One will come and not delay. 38 But My righteous one will live by faith;and if he draws back, I have no pleasure in him.39 But we are not those who draw back and are destroyed, but those who have faith and obtain life.

Faith is our life; it is a matter of believing God.  Now, everybody lives by something, everybody has faith in something.

Faith is one of the greatest gifts, and it is the means by which we receive grace and come into right relationship with God.

Ephesians 2:8–9(HCSB)8 For you are saved by grace through faith, and this is not from yourselves; it is God’s gift— 9 not from works, so that no one can boast. It is because we have been justified through faith that we belong to God and have peace with Him. Romans 5:1(HCSB)Therefore, since we have been declared righteous by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.

Faith is the doorway to hope in God.

Romans 5:2(HCSB)2 We have also obtained access through Him by faith into this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in the hope of the glory of God. Because we have faith in God, our suffering need not faze us; in fact, we can persevere under it.
Romans 5:3–5(HCSB)3 And not only that, but we also rejoice in our afflictions, because we know that affliction produces endurance, 4 endurance produces proven character, and proven character produces hope. 5 This hope will not disappoint us, because God’s love has been poured out in our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us.

The things Satan attempts to use to discourage us can actually become tools in the hands of God.

All believers have this promise:1 John 5:4(HCSB)4 because whatever has been born of God conquers the world. This is the victory that has conquered the world: our faith. Faith is a protective barrier between us and the schemes of Satan. When we believe God and take Him at His word, we remain grounded in truth, the lies of the enemy lose their power, and we become overcomers. In that way, faith is our shield.

1 Peter 5:8-9(HCSB)8 Be serious! Be alert! Your adversary the Devil is prowling around like a roaring lion, looking for anyone he can devour. 9 Resist him and be firm in the faith, knowing that the same sufferings are being experienced by your fellow believers throughout the world.

We win when we believe God, we win when we trust God.  You may go through doubts, and anxieties, and fears, and worries, and concerns, and problems, and struggles, and trials, and tribulations, and persecution.  As long as you believe God, as you believe His sustenance, you believe His Word, you believe His power, you believe His promise, that doesn’t have to be a point of loss; it can be a point of strengthening, a point of gain.

The shield of faith is the consistent application of what we believe about God to the issues of life.  Now, if you don’t trust Him then you don’t know Him well enough, right – because if you really knew Him, you’d trust Him.  Oh, the more you know God, the deeper you get into the heart of God, the more you know about His truth, and the Word of God, and the more you meditate upon His person in your prayers and meditating times, the more you know God, the greater you’ll trust God, and the greater you trust God, the less likely you will be to not believe Him.

And so it all goes back, as everything does in the Christian life, to your relationship to God.  It’s there; it’s down deep in the heart.  If you love God with all your heart, soul, mind and strength, if you believe that God is who He claimed to be, if you believe all that God’s promises that He gave to you are really true, then you’re not going to sin, because you’re going to stand in the place of the greatest blessing.  Everybody wants to be blessed, everybody wants the best.  God says, “I’ll give it to you if you do it My way.”  If you do it Satan’s way, you just disbelieved God.  But the more you know Him, the more you’ll trust Him, the more you’ll believe Him.