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Baptism in Water


Baptism in water is something Christ commanded. To obey, it helps to know the meaning of the word baptism and who Christ said should be baptized.

Introduction

The subject of water baptism has been historically perhaps one of the least understood doctrines of the New Testament. Much false teaching based on the traditions and reasonings of men has obscured the meaning of this important doctrine. Some teach that water baptism is really not important at all. According to Hebrews 6:2, the doctrine of baptisms is part of the foundation which must be laid in the Christian life. We will therefore take time to see what the Bible has to say on this matter.

WHAT IS WATER BAPTISM?

The word "baptism" is in Greek "baptisma" while "to baptise" is in Greek "baptizo". It is obvious that this word has not really been translated but simply copied into the English language. In Greek "baptizo" means "to immerse, cause to be dipped, to submerge, to overwhelm". To baptise something in water means to put it under the water. Therefore in the Biblical sense, to baptise a person in water literally means to put that person wholly under the water.

Water baptism for the Christian symbolises and appropriates our death, burial and resurrection with Christ. It means identification with Christ.

"Therefore we were buried with him through baptism into death, that just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life." (Romans 6:4).

It is clear then that the tradition of sprinkling people or pouring water on them is true neither to the clearly understood meaning of the Greek Word, nor to the symbolism of burial. Only immersion in water shows a burial.

The practise of water baptism appears in the Bible first with the appearance of John the Baptist. "John came baptizing in the wilderness and preaching a baptism for the remission of sins. And all the land of Judea, and those from Jerusalem, went out to him and were all baptised by him in the river Jordan, confessing their sins." (Mark 1:4,5)

Baptism in those days was understood to be a rite of initiation into something new. To be water baptised was a sign of adherence to the teachings of the respective teacher. John taught repentance for the remission of sins. Those who received his teaching had to repent (turn from sin), confess their sins (Mark 1:5) and "bear fruits worthy of repentance" (Luke 3:7,8). Their had to be a change of heart before John would willingly baptise the people coming to him for baptism.

Christian baptism is a dedication to follow the Lord Jesus Christ and to be His disciple. (Mathew 28.19). To be baptised you must do something practical. You must humble yourself. In Christian baptism you must identify yourself with Jesus Christ. As He dedicated himself "thus to fulfil all righteousness" (Matthew 3:15) so must you when you are baptised in water. You make a covenant with God to submit yourself to obey the Spirit of God to the point of death, dying to the deeds and lusts of the body and all that is old, to let the past be buried and to rise up to live to fulfil all righteousness - not through your old life but in the new life given by God.

In order to make this dedication, it is obvious that first there must exist real repentance in your heart. You must also have confessed your sins to God. With this baptism you commit yourself through the power of the new life of Jesus within you to "bear fruits worthy of repentance".

WHO IS WATER BAPTISM FOR?

Baptism is for those who have now come to a place where they have repented of their sin and believe with all their heart in the Lord Jesus Christ. We see this clearly both from the teaching and the example of the New Testament.

"Now as they went down the road, they came to some water. And the eunuch said, "See, here is water. What hinders me from being baptised?" Then Philip said, "If you believe with all your heart, you may." (Acts 8:36,37).

Baptism is not for those who believe half-heartedly the gospel. To believe with all the heart implies firstly sincerity. To be baptised simply to please a priest or a preacher is not what God wants. God only wants baptised those who have a sincere trust in Jesus as Saviour and Lord, who really want to die to the world, the flesh and the devil and live for God. Before baptising people, we must be confident that this is their desire.

However, this does not mean we should be so cautious in baptising people that we refuse to do it until a person's character in Christ is well proven. No. Even Simon the Magician was baptised by Philip the evangelist and continued with Philip for some time until Peter, to whom God gave greater discernment, rebuked the foolishness of the magician, who wanted to buy the ability to impart the Holy Spirit with money (Acts 8:13, 19-24). Simon still needed to repent, to humble himself more deeply. Church history tells us that he did not do this - but rather became the author of many heresies which plagued the church in the years to come.

Nowhere in the book of Acts is it recorded that people were made to wait or to sit through week-long courses before they were allowed to be baptised. Wholehearted faith, genuine repentance and the intention to live for Jesus was all that was required. It was not the understanding of the doctrines of faith or repentance that was required, but the real presence of faith and repentance that was necessary in the hearts of those who were to be baptised.

Water baptism is for those who believe. "He who believes and is baptised shall be saved." (Mark 16:16). No promise is made to those who are baptised without believing. Many people are "baptised" as babies, by immersion in the Orthodox Tradition or by sprinkling in the Catholic, Anglican and Reformed traditions. However, there is no example in the New Testament of babies being baptised. A baby, as yet without understanding, cannot believe the gospel, cannot repent, cannot confess its sin. It is not yet responsible for its actions, and God, who is infinitely just, does not condemn to damnation babies who die. "Let the little children come to me, and do not forbid them, for of such is the Kingdom of Heaven." (Matthew 19:14). Innocent babies and very small children belong to God. "Take heed that you do not despise one of these little ones, for I say to you that in heaven their angels always see the face of my Father who is in heaven." (Matthew 18:10).

Some argue that sincere Christian parents should have their babies baptised, since God's covenant extends to natural families. But Jesus said, "Whoever does the will of God is my brother and sister and mother." (Mark 3:35). Jesus did not even recognise his own natural family at that time, since they did not have faith in Him at that time.

But what about the Philippian Jailor? He was baptised with all his family! Yes, but from a careful examination of the passage (Read Acts 16:30-34) we observe the following:

1. Paul's instruction was first, "Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and you will be saved, you and your household". (Acts 16:31). Believing on Jesus had to precede water baptism.

2. Paul then preached to the whole household the word of the Lord. (Acts 16:32). There had to be a foundation for faith in Jesus. All the household heard the word of the Lord.

3. There were fruits of repentance. "And he took them the same hour of the night and washed their stripes." (vs 33)

4. Next they were all baptised. It says nothing of babies here. Rather, in verse 34, it says, "having believed in God with all his household." It is clear then that ALL BELIEVED before they were baptised. Since babies cannot believe, it is clear that here is no example of the baptism of babies. We see rather a model for the salvation of whole households. This is the way God would like to work today!

In the first and most significant day of the church, Peter, having preached the gospel to the people, was asked, "What must be do?" And the response?

"Repent, and let every one of you be baptised in the name of the Jesus Christ for the remission of sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost." (Acts 2:38). Repentance had to precede baptism. And clearly, faith in Jesus also preceded this baptism, since no-one would have allowed himself to be baptised in the controversial name of Jesus if he did not indeed believe the message of Peter and put his trust in Jesus for salvation.

Once again we see that repentance and faith preceded baptism. The same thing can be seen in all the following passages from the book of Acts:

Acts 8:12,13: The conversion of the Samarians.
Acts 8:37 The Ethiopian eunuch
Acts 9, Acts 22:8,16 The conversion of Saul (Paul).
Acts 10:44-48: The conversion of Cornelius, his relatives and close friends. *
Acts 16:31-34 The conversion of the Philippian jailor and his household
Acts 19:1-6 The case of the Ephesian disciples.

* In the case of Cornelius, we can know that these people believed the message of Peter about Jesus, since God sovereignly poured the Holy Spirit out upon them and they were baptised in the Holy Spirit. These people, especially Cornelius were already god-fearing people and obviously God had prepared their hearts to receive the Holy Spirit. Other Jewish believers recognised what God did as proving that these Romans had been granted "repentance unto life" (Acts 11:18). It is clear from this passage that someone who is genuinely baptised in the Holy Spirit is a candidate also for water-baptism. The order of baptisms is not consistent in the Bible. It is possible to be baptised in water before being baptised in the Holy Spirit. The reverse is also possible.

WHAT DOES WATER BAPTISM MEAN?

As we have begun to see, Christian water baptism means a dedication to fulfil all righteousness (Matthew 3:15). It is the biblical expression of a commitment to die to the world, the flesh and the devil and live for God alone.

It is a death, burial and resurrection. (Romans 6:4; Colossians 2:11,12). Death to the old nature, the old ways, habits and lifestyle. Burial of all these things. A new life in the power of the Holy Spirit. This is what baptism is about.

It is identification with Jesus Christ, and a recognition of Him as your master and you as his disciple (Matthew 28:19). It means you commit yourself to obey Jesus Christ. If you have never been baptised in water as a believer and you do not want to be, it shows that you are either ignorant of the nature and meaning of water baptism, or that, more simply, you do not wish to humble yourself and obey the Lord Jesus Christ. Water baptism is a separation between the old life of disobedience and the new life of obedience through the Spirit.

Water baptism is commanded. Jesus commanded it (Matthew 28:19, Mark 16:16). Peter commanded it. (Acts 2:38). "And he commanded them to be baptised in the name of the Lord." (Acts 10:48). We see that the apostles acted with far greater authority than the average preacher of today in this regard. This is because they knew it was the Lord's will for those who believed to be baptised. Paul baptised believers (Acts 19:1-5), and he himself was commanded to be baptised (Acts 22:16). Even Jesus Himself submitted to baptism. (Matthew 3:13-17). If you wish to be a disciple of Jesus and have never been baptised as such, NOW is the time for you to DO IT. Find a mature Christian who is willing to baptise you.

Water baptism for the Christian also means that we have died to the world, that we belong to God, that we put away the things of the old life, and that we have a new life from God. Water baptism, when rightly understood and practised, is a part of our salvation. (1 Peter 3:21). The actual performance of the act, done in faith, breaks the power of sin and the world over the believers life.

Just as the people of Israel were said to be baptised into Moses in the sea when they crossed the Red Sea (1 Corinthians 10:1,2), and were thereby delivered from the power of Egypt (the world), so the Christian who submits himself to water baptism will find himself in a real way delivered from the power of the world. Satan will challenge this and test the consecration that is made at baptism, just as he did in the life of Jesus (see Matthew 4:1-10). That is why we must have our minds made up to be faithful to Jesus before we are baptised.

Baptism in water also shows forth the idea that our sins are washed away. (Acts 22:16; Acts 2:38). Just as baptism is a washing, it declares to the world that our sins have been washed away. In itself it does not wash away our sins, but only inasmuch as it expresses our faith in the working of the blood of Jesus, shed for us (Ephesians 1:7; Colossians 1:14). It is the blood of Jesus that does the real purifying work. Baptism shows forth not only a death, burial and resurrection in Christ, but also a washing away of our sins through the blood of Jesus

. IN WHAT NAME ARE WE TO BE BAPTISED?

Jesus commanded that disciples be baptised in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit (Matthew 28:19). All things we do are to be done in the name of the Lord Jesus, however (Colossians 3:17). The early church baptised in the name of Jesus Christ (Acts 2:38), in the name of the Lord (Acts 10:48), in the name of the Lord Jesus (Acts 19:5). How do we reconcile this? Not once is the same wording of the name used in these passages! The answer is simple. All these names have one and the same significance. It shows we are baptised in the name of Jesus, not simply in the "name of God". Jesus, or the Son, must be recognised in the wording of our baptism. The Scriptures confound any attempt to impose a formula of wording for baptism. This is because water baptism was never intended to be something merely formal, but rather a real identification INTO a person - Jesus Christ. God did not want all this arguing about how to say the name in baptism.

FALSE DOCTRINES ABOUT WATER BAPTISM

Once we know the truth about water baptism, as declared and shown forth in the New Testament, we should be equipped to discern many of the false doctrines on this subject which have plagued the church almost since its beginning. Refer to the teaching above to see why these doctrines are false. Here are a list of some of them:

1. Baptism can be sprinkling, pouring or anything you like as long as it is done with water.

2. Babies should be baptised because this is what makes them Christians. If they die unbaptised they will go to hell.

We have refuted this idea earlier in the section on "Who Should Be Baptised?" There we saw that the whole teaching of the Bible is that water baptism must follow repentance and faith.

3. You cannot be saved or forgiven unless you are baptised in water.

This might be true in a situation such as in the early church where water baptism was understood as an a essential part of obedience to Christ. Then, to refuse to be baptised was a refusal to submit to Christ. However, in many situations today and in protestant church history the same cannot be said. In situations where ignorance or false doctrines have confused the issues, it will be seen that water baptism was not essential for salvation. The salvation army in England for example, which brought many alchoholics to living faith and genuine change in England, and did much to glorify Christ and destroy the works of the devil, did not practise water baptism, for reasons I do not know. However, repentance and faith in God have always been the two fundamental and essential conditions for the receiving of salvation. These must precede baptism, and then, when they do, and the Scriptural doctrine of baptism is clearly presented, the person will always submit to the requirement of baptism.

Those who teach this idea of salvation through baptism try to draw support from the statement of Jesus, "Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God." (John 3:5). They want to say that being born of water is being baptised in water. But this is not what it means. Abraham, Isaac and Jacob were never baptised in water yet Jesus said they entered the kingdom of heaven. Born of water probably refers to being born of the Word of God, since to be born again is to be born of the word and of the spirit (1 Peter 1:23). The Word of God is compared to water in Ephesians 5:26 also, no doubt because, like water, it has cleansing power. Real faith comes by the Word. Therefore one needs to be born of the seed of the word in order to be saved. The alternative idea, that "born of water" refers to natural birth, is possible, although it might seem to say that all unborn babies cannot enter the Kingdom of Heaven, which seems inconsistent with the idea of God's justice.

We cannot agree with those who condemn to damnation all Christians such as Luther, Wesley, Booth, Finney and others who showed a manifest repentance and faith in Christ and yet did not completely practise the Biblical idea of baptism as it is found in the New Testament.

However, this should not be taken as an excuse for those who do not wish to humble themselves and submit to the Biblical practise of water baptism. Now that light on the issue has come, to refuse baptism as a believer and disciple is to refuse to do the will of God and to fulfil all righteousness (Matthew 3:15; 28:19; 7:21)

4. Baptism is not important. (It is optional)

Neither can we agree that the practising of this foundation doctrine is unimportant (Hebrews 6:2). This false idea would imply that obedience to Christ's commands is not important - something which a true disciple of Christ could never accept. Jesus clearly commanded water baptism in Matthew 28:19, and so did Peter (Acts 2:38).

5. If you are not baptised with the words "In the name of the Lord Jesus Christ" your baptism is not valid. You must then be re-baptised with this formula.

This false doctrine is popular especially amongst those who deny the doctrine of the Trinity and believe that Jesus is at the same time the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. We have seen that throughout the book of Acts the wording of the name is different. The emphasis is not on a formula of words, but a person. Since it is argued that the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit is the name of the Lord Jesus Christ what difference does it make which form is used? And if we baptise as Peter did in the name of the Lord Jesus, does that mean we have failed to baptise in the name of the Holy Spirit, as Jesus commanded? All this doctrine is rooted in a foolish argument about words, which promotes division and strife, rather than the faith and love which is in the Lord Jesus.

6. Baptism in water is baptism into a local church.

Those who teach this idea often require those wishing to be baptised to sign papers stating that they agree with all the doctrines of their respective local church. Neither Jesus nor the apostles ever insisted on this sort of thing. Baptism is in the name of Jesus Christ, not into the name of a local church or denomination. It is true that every serious Christian must belong to a local church if one exists where he lives. However, being baptised by a particular pastor or elder does not obligate the person being baptised to remain in that particular local church. Nor is it right for pastors to demand such a commitment at the time of baptism, since this confuses the nature of the commitment of baptism, which is to Christ and not to a particular local church.

7. Only Pastors have the right to baptise.

This cannot be so, since there is no record in the New Testament of anyone except apostles or evangelists performing Christian baptism. Philip was an evangelist and not a pastor when he baptised the believers at Samaria. (Acts 8:12; Acts 21:8). This idea is related to the doctrine mentioned above, that baptism is baptism into a local church. Yet the believers in Samaria did not as yet have a local church when they were baptised, but only the informal gatherings around an evangelist. Yet when Peter and John, apostles, came down, they did not rebaptise the believers in water but rather prayed for them that they might receive the Holy Ghost. These apostles knew that the baptism of the Holy Spirit was what these new believers needed. It is not recorded how the church in Samaria was later organised.

We should release that Jesus gave the command to baptise to the original apostles, and yet they were instructed to teach DISCIPLES to obey all that Jesus had commanded the apostles, including the instruction to baptise and teach the same things further on so that every generation of disciples would have the same instruction (Matthew 28:18-20). From this we can see that every baptised disciple who is following the teaching of the Lord has the right to baptise new disciples in water. However, such disciples should submit in this matter to their pastor and elders so as not to create disunity in the church. If the pastor of a church insists on baptising all the converts in that church, he should not be opposed by church members. However, if he neglects to baptise those who should be baptised, a real disciple who desires to follow the Lord in the waters of baptism should find someone who will baptise him according to the will of God. If the pastor lacks the wisdom of Jesus and Paul who both knew they were not sent primarily to baptise (John 4:2; 1 Corinthians 1:14-17), then in time of revival he may well wear himself in his efforts to baptise all converts.


Repentance -- Critical, Yet Often Misunderstood

by Marnie Pehrson

The essential and critical principle of repentance is probably one of the most misunderstood by many today. What is repentance? Is it simply saying you're sorry? Is it stopping an offensive activity? What is it and is it really necessary?

Is Repentance Necessary?

John the Baptist and Jesus both taught, ''Repent for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.'' (Matt. 3:2 and Matt. 4:17) John the Baptist preached ''the baptism of repentance for the remission of sins'' (Mark 1:4, Luke 3:3). Through repentance and baptism, he taught we could be acquitted, cleansed or forgiven of our sins. Without repentance, we cannot progress. ''For all have sinned and come short of the glory of God.'' (Romans 3:23) And no ''unclean person'' hath an inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and of God.'' (Ephesians 5:5) Paul taught the Corinthians that they must repent of the uncleanness that they had committed (2 Corinthians 12:21). Thus, we see that this cleansing is absolutely necessary if we are to enter the kingdom of heaven. John 1:7 teaches us, ''But if we walk in the light, as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin.'' Thus, through repentance and the atonement of Jesus Christ, we can be cleansed and enter the kingdom of heaven.

What is Repentance?

Repentance is more than saying, ''I'm sorry.'' It's also more than just not sinning anymore. Many people in the world break bad habits with no thought for Jesus Christ or believing in Him. Repentance involves change and applying Christ's atonement to our life. The Greek word from which repentance is translated ''denotes a change of mind, a fresh view about God, about oneself, and about the world. Since we are born into conditions of mortality, repentance comes to mean a turning of the heart and will to God, and a renunciation of sin to which we are naturally inclined.'' (Bible Dictionary).
Repentance is not a one-time event. It is an ongoing process, something that is best done daily to help us through Christ to ''be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works.'' (2 Timothy 3:17)

How Do We Repent

1. Faith in Jesus Christ

First and foremost we must have faith in Jesus Christ and His ability to cleanse us from our sins. We must come to Him with a broken heart and a contrite spirit, willing to love and follow Him and His ways. Paul taught the people, ''repentance toward God and faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ'' (Acts 20:21). We must be ever mindful that it is only through His great sacrifice that we can hope for a place with God.

2. Godly Sorrow

There is a difference in being sorry because you can't do wrong and get away with it and experiencing genuine sorrow for your sins and a desire to change. Paul explained that ''godly sorrow worketh repentance to salvation … but the sorrow of the world worketh death.'' (2 Cor. 7:10) He told the members of the Church, ''ye sorrowed after a godly sort, what carefulness it wrought in you, yea, what clearing of yourselves, yea, what indignation, yea, what fear, yea, what vehement desire, yea, what zeal, yea, what revenge! In all things ye have approved yourselves to be clear in this matter'' (2 Cor. 7:11). Godly sorrow is a critical step in the process of repentance and true change.

3. Change in Behavior

John the Baptist taught the people to ''Bring forth therefore fruits worthy of repentance.'' (Luke 3:8) The word fruit in the New Testament is used to denote actions, behavior or works. So a change in our behavior is an essential part of repentance. James explained it this way, ''Even so faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being alone. Yea, a man may say, Thou hast faith, and I have works: shew me thy faith without thy works, and I will shew thee my faith by my works. Thou believest that there is one God; thou doest well: the devils also believe and tremble. But wilt thou know, O vain man, that faith without works is dead?'' (James 2:17-20) A change in behavior is evidence of our faith – evidence of our conversion to Jesus Christ and of our sincere repentance.

4. Confession

Not only must we turn to the Lord and forsake our sins, but we must also confess them. Proverbs 28:13 explains, ''He that covereth his sins shall not prosper but whoso confesseth and forsaketh them shall have mercy.'' The Psalmist confessed his transgressions to the Lord and the Lord forgave the iniquity of his sin. (Psalm 32:5). The people who came to be baptized of John, came to him ''confessing their sins.'' (Matt. 3:6, Mark 1:5). It can't be said any plainer than in John 1:9, ''If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.''

5. Restitution

The Bible teaches us that if we have harmed another, we must make restitution where possible. For example, if a person steals, he must make restitution unto the owner (Exodus 22:12). With some sins, no restitution can be made. For example, how does one give back the chastity of another? How does one give back the life of another? But, where possible, one should try to make amends as part of the repentance process. Jesus taught that if we are going to worship and take a gift to the Lord and remembered that our brother has something against us, we should leave our gift before the altar, go and first be reconciled to our brother, and then come and offer our gift (Matthew 5:24).

6. Forgive Others

Jesus plainly taught, ''If ye forgive men their trespasses, your Heavenly Father will also forgive you; But if ye forgive not men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses'' (Matthew 6:14-15). Thus we see that forgiving others is a critical part of being forgiven. How can we expect God to show us mercy when we are unwilling to show it to others?
Through the infinite and powerful atonement of Jesus Christ, we can find hope no matter what our faults. Through these six steps of the repentance process, we can find forgiveness and be found clean before God. As stated earlier, repentance should be a daily event. It is much easier to stay on the straight and narrow path if we continually correct our course daily rather than waiting until the end of a month or a year or even a lifetime to make amends and repent. Through daily repentance, we can find the happiness that comes to those who do their best to follow the Lord's commands. For truly, wickedness never was happiness; true happiness is found in following the Lord's commands as best we can and repenting as needed.

Written by: Marnie Pehrson

The author may be contacted at http://www.shelovesgod.com/book/webmaster@shelovesgod.com.

What is Repentance?

by Catherine Booth

You love him intensely. Probably you are more conscious of you love for him than for any other of you children. Your heart yearns over him, you pray for him, you dream of him, your bowels yearn over him. Why are you not reconciled? Why are you obligated to hold him at arms's length and not have him come in and out, and live with you on the same terms as the affectionate, obedient daughter? "Oh!" you say, "the case is different, I cannot. It is not, I would not, but I cannot". "Before that can possibly be, the boy's feeling must be changed toward me."

"I have done all a father could do, but he will go on in defiance of my will." You say, "As a wise and righteous father I must insist on a change in him. He must confess his sin and ask me to forgive him. Then I should run to meet him and put my arms around his neck!" But there is a "cannot" in the case.

Just so. It is not that God does not love you, sinner, or that the great benevolent heart of God has not, as it were, wept tears of blood over you. It is not that He would not put His loving arms around you this moment if you would only come to His feet, and confess you wrong, and seek His pardon. He cannot. The laws of His universe are against His doing so. He dare not and cannot until there is a change of mind in you. You must repent, "Except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish."

Well, if repentance be an indispensable condition of salvation, let us try to find out what repentance really is. How full of confusion the world and the Church are upon this subject! Repentance is not merely conviction of sin. If it were, what a different world we should have, for there are tens of thousands in whose hearts God's Spirit has done His work of convincing them of sin. We should be perfectly astounded if we had any conception of the multitude whom God as convinced of sin, as he did Agrippa and Festus. They are convinced of sin, but they go no further. They live this week as they did last. That is not repentance.

Neither is repentance mere sorrow for sin. I have seen people weep bitterly and writhe and struggle, yet hug their idols, and vain as it been to try to shake these from them. If Jesus Christ would have saved them with those idols, they would have had no objection at all. If they could have got through the strait gate with one particular idol, they would have gone through long since, but to part with it is another thing. Some people will weep like your stubborn child when you want him to do something which he does not want to do. He will cry, and when you apply the rod he will cry harder, but he will not yield. When he yields he becomes a penitent, but until he does he is merely convicted sinner.

When God applies the rod of His Spirit, of His providence, and His word, sinners will cry, wince, and whine and make you believe they are praying and want to be saved, but all the while they are holding their necks as stiff as Iron. They will not submit. The moment they submit they become true penitents and re saved. There is not mistake more common than for people to suppose they are repentant when they are repentant when they are not. Repentance, therefore, is not mere sorrow for sin. A man may be ever so sorry and all the way down to death be hugging some forbidden thing, as the young ruler hugged his possessions. But that is not repentance. Neither is repentance a promise that you will forsake sin in the future. It if were, there would be many more penitents. There is scarcely a poor drunkard that does not promise, in his own mind, or to his poor wife, or somebody, that he will forsake his cups. There is scarcely any kind of a sinner who does not continually promise that he will one day give up his sin and turn to God, but he does not do it.

What then is repentance? Repentance is simply renouncing sin, turning round from darkness to light, from the power of Satan unto God. This is giving up sin in your heart, in purpose, in desire; resolving that you will give up every evil thing, and that you will do it now. Of course this involves sorrow; for how will any sane man turn himself round from a given course into another if he does not repent? it implies, also, hatred of the course he formerly took, and from which he turns.

He is like the prodigal who, when he sat in the swine yard amongst the husks and the filth, fully resolved, and at last acted. He went, and that was the test of his repentance. He might have sat resolving and promising till now, if he had lived as long, and he would never have got the father's kiss, the father's welcome, if he had not started. Yet, he went, and went to his father honestly and said, "I have sinned" which implied a great deal more in his language then than it does in our now. Then comes the proof of his submission, "and am no more worthy to be called thy son: make me as one of thy hired servants" -put me in a stable, or set me to clean the boots, so that I can be in thy family and have thy smile. That is Jesus Christ's own beautiful illustration of true repentance. Sub mission is the test of true repentance. My child may be willing to do a hundred and fifty other things, but if he is not willing to submit on the one point of controversy he is a rebel and remains one until he yields.

Here is the difference between a spurious and a real repentance. I am afraid we have had, in our churches thousands who had a spurious repentance: they were convinced of sin - they were sorry for it; they wanted to live a better life, to love God in a sort of general way; but they skipped over the real point of controversy with God; they hid it form their pastor, perhaps, and from the deacons, and from the people who talked with them. Abraham might have been willing to give up every other thing he possessed, but if he had not been willing to give up Isaac, all else would have been useless. It is your Isaac that God wants. You have an Isaac, just as the young ruler had his possessions. You have something that you are holding on to, that the Holy Spirit says you must let go, and you say, "I can't" Very well, then you must you must stop outside the Kingdom.

Then another difficulty comes in, and people say, "I have not the power to repent." There is a grand mistake. You have the power, or God would not command it. You can repent!

You can this moment lift up your eyes to Heaven and say, with the prodigal, "Father, I have sinned, and I renounce my sin." You may not be able to weep. God nowhere requires or commands that. You are able, this very moment, to renounce sin in purpose and in resolution. Mind you do not confound the renouncing of the sin with the power of saving yourself from it. If you renounce it, Jesus will come and save you from it, like the man with the withered hand whom Jesus intended to heal. Where was the power to come from to heal him? From Jesus, the benevolence, the love, that prompted that healing all came from Jesus; but Jesus wanted a condition, and that was the response of the man's will. So He said, "Stretch forth thine hand." If the man had been like some of you he would have said, "what an unreasonable command! You know I cannot do it." Jesus wanted that "I will, Lord" to be inside the man, the response of his will. The moment he said that, Jesus supplied strength. He stretched forth his hand and you know what happened.

Stretch out your withered hand, whatever it may be, and say, "I will, Lord." You have the power and mind, you have the obligation, which is universal and immediate. God "now commandeth all men every where to repent" and to believe the gospel. What a tyrant He must be if He commands that and yet knows you have not the power!

Now, do not say, "I do not feel enough." Do you feel enough to be willing to forsake you sin? That is the point. Any man who does not repent enough to forsake his sin is not a penitent at all. When you repent enough to forsake you sin, that moment your repentance is sincere and you may take hold of Jesus with a firm grasp. Then "believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved".


Introduction to the Gifts of the Holy Spirit

There is much discussion today regarding the gifts of the Holy Spirit.  Some believe the gifts are for today, while others believe they passed away with the apostles.  Who is right?  What does the Bible say about this issue? 

The word of God should always have the final say if we are genuinely seeking truth. People may say one thing, but the Lord's words are the "right thing".  We must take heed lest we be deceived by the winds of false doctrine and prophetic utterances that are blowing throughout the body of Christ.  Some winds are very destructive, but the wind of the Holy Spirit will bring life, truth and refreshing to God's people.   

I believe the gifts of the Holy Spirit are for the church today.  We would be a powerless church if the gifts were not in operation.  The Lord Jesus himself operated in the gifts of the Holy Spirit on a regular basis.  He was continually opening the eyes of those who could not see, opening the ears of those who could not hear, healing the lame and the sick, casting out devils, raising the dead, speaking words of knowledge and wisdom to all who heard him speak.  As Christians, we must follow in the footsteps of our Lord and learn how to operate in His gifts.   

1 Cor. 12:1-12 - Now concerning spiritual gifts, brethren, I do not want you to be ignorant….  There are diversities of gifts, but the same Spirit.  There are differences of ministries, but the same Lord.  And there are diversities of activities, but it is the same God who works all in all.  But the manifestation of the Spirit is given to each one for the profit of all: for to one is given the word of wisdom through the Spirit, to another the word of knowledge through the same Spirit, to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healings by the same Spirit, to another the working of miracles, to another prophecy, to another discerning of spirits, to another different kinds of tongues, to another the interpretation of tongues.  But one and the same Spirit works all these things, distributing to each one individually as He wills.  

Paul says, "I don't want you to be ignorant..."  He didn't want the believers to be uninformed or misinformed regarding the gifts.  He wanted them to have wisdom, knowledge, and an understanding of the gifts so they could minister effectively for the kingdom.  The Corinthian church was continually abusing and misusing the gifts.  As a result, this brought a lot of unnecessary confusion to the believers.  Paul addressed this issue in his letters to the Corinthians. 

Verse 4 says, “There are ‘diversities’ of gifts,” or differences of gifts.  All the gifts are different, but they all operate and function by the same Spirit.

Paul goes on to say, "The manifestation of the Spirit is given to each one..."  The Lord doesn't believe in short changing anyone.  He desires to manifest His gifts through each person.   Paul continues by saying, “The Spirit distributes to ‘each one’ individually as He wills.”  He gives His gifts to whomever He chooses.  The Lord is not a respecter of persons.  He may choose to use a new believer to minister healing to a pastor or leader in the church, or He may use an uneducated street person that just received salvation to prophesy words of encouragement to the body of Christ on a Sunday morning.  The Lord chooses whom He wills. 

When the gifts operate and function properly within the church, the whole body is edified.  It profits everyone. 

The Nine Gifts of the Holy Spirit:

1) The Word of Wisdom

2) The Word of Knowledge

3) Gift of Faith

4) Gifts of Healings

5) Working of Miracles

6) Prophecy

7) Discerning of spirits

8) Tongues

9) Interpretation of Tongues 

There must be a balance between the fruit of the Spirit and the gifts of the Spirit. 

1) The fruit of the Spirit is for character and holiness. 
2) The gifts of the Spirit are for power. 

Have you ever known those in the church who love to indulge themselves in sin on Saturday night and prophesy in the church on Sunday morning?  Their lifestyle does not line up with the will of God for their lives.  Why does the Lord allow His gifts to flow through them?  Shouldn't they lose the gift? 

Scripture says the gifts and callings of God are without repentance (meaning they are irrevocable).  There is no guarantee that the men and women using these gifts will be faithful and honorable in using them.  The Lord will deal with these individuals as He sees fit.   We must pray for them. 

If we want the gifts of the Spirit to flow freely through us, we must allow the fruit of the Spirit to be manifested in our lives.  We must learn how to "walk in love".     

1 Cor. 13:1 - Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I have become sounding brass or a clanging cymbal. 

If the fruit of the Spirit is not present in our lives, and we prophesy in church on Sunday morning, our words will sound like clanging cymbals to the congregation.  Would the sound of clanging symbols cause those present to be edified, or would it just give them a headache? 

We must be spiritually in tune with the Holy Spirit.  We must not bring reproach to the Lord by the way we live our lives outside the four walls of the church.  We must "get right" with the Lord.  If we choose not to repent of sin, we are deceiving ourselves.  Many have been playing church, but God is going to judge the sin that is rampant in our midst.  God hates sin, because sin separates us from Him.   

The nine gifts of the Spirit can be divided into three groups: 

   I. Utterance Gifts
       Tongues
       Interpretation of Tongues
       Prophecy 

 II.  Revelation Gifts
       Word of Knowledge
       Word of Wisdom
       Discerning of Spirits 

III.  Power Gifts
        Gift of Faith
        Gifts of Healings
        Working of Miracles 

The purpose of the gifts is that they will always be a sign pointing to Jesus Christ.  The gifts should NEVER be used to draw attention to us or to “our” ministry.  The gifts of the Spirit are the ministry of the Holy Spirit. 

One of the main hindrances that hold us back from operating in the gifts is fear. 1) Fear hinders us from stepping out into the fullness of what God has for us, 2) Fear will cause us to fail, and 3) Fear causes us to be disobedient.  Fear is the opposite of faith. 

Fear is:
F - False
E – Evidence
A - Appearing
R - Real 

How do we combat fear?
1) Face your fear.
2) Combat fear with faith. 

John 14:12 - Jesus said, "Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on me, the works that I do shall he do also; and greater works than these shall he do; because I go unto my Father." 

We cannot do the "greater works" without the operation of the gifts of the Holy Spirit operating in our lives.  We must press on to know Him more and hunger for all that He has for us.  We cannot afford to pick and choose which gifts we want operating in our lives.  We must allow the Holy Spirit to distribute His gifts according to His will.

 Copyright 2001 Donna Kazenske



Spiritual Gifts: The Gift of the Word of Wisdom

1 Cor. 12:8-10 – “…The manifestation of the Spirit is given to each one for the profit of all: for to one is given the word of wisdom through the Spirit, ….” 

The Word of Wisdom is supernatural revelation, by the Spirit of God, concerning the divine purpose in the mind and will of God. It is the God-given ability to receive, from the Holy Spirit, a revelation of what to do about a particular situation, once you know the facts. 

All of the gifts of the Holy Spirit are supernatural. We cannot figure them out with our human mind and human reasoning. These gifts operate and function by the power of the Holy Spirit. They have been given to the body of Christ for encouragement, comfort and edification.  

The word of wisdom is a word of wisdom, a fragment of God's wisdom. It's not human wisdom that comes from the human intellect. It’s wisdom that comes directly from God.  

The word of wisdom is not a "gift" of wisdom. It is a gift of the word of wisdom. 

The word of wisdom always speaks of the future.  

Let’s look at some of the purposes of the gift of the word of wisdom and see how these gifts operated in the New Testament church.  

God reveals His purpose and plan through the word of wisdom: 

Acts 16:9-10 - And a vision appeared to Paul in the night. A man of Macedonia stood and pleaded with him, saying, “Come over to Macedonia and help us.” Now after he had seen the vision, immediately we sought to go to Macedonia, concluding that the Lord had called us to preach the gospel to them. 

The Lord spoke to the Apostle Paul in a night vision. He saw, by the Spirit, into the realm of the Spirit.  

It’s time for the church of Jesus Christ to get out of the natural realm and begin to walk in the realm of the Spirit.  

I’m sure that most of you reading this article are very familiar with the Macedonian call that is mentioned in the above Scripture. Macedonia was not on Paul’s list of places to go and preach, nor was it listed on his “things to do list.” Paul and his traveling team were headed in one direction, but the Lord intervened and stopped them dead in their tracks. Paul and his companions were trying to go to Bithynia, but the Spirit of God would not permit them to do so. Thank God for His mighty hand of direction and protection upon our lives. Thank God that He still speaks, reveals and supernaturally intervenes on behalf of His people. We might have a particular plan or strategy all sketched out in our little finite minds, but God’s plans and strategies are so much better and higher than ours. Our agendas mean absolutely nothing if they are not God’s agendas.  

In Acts 16:10, we see how Paul and his team immediately responded to the vision that was given to the Apostle Paul. They didn’t allow human reasoning to kick in and cause them to walk in doubt or unbelief. They didn’t ask God 101 questions concerning the vision that was given to Paul. They just responded to the call! They chose to respond to the supernatural revelation that had been given to their appointed leader for that particular time. Oh, that God would cause all of us to respond immediately to the call. 

The word of wisdom revealed God's purpose and plan to the Apostle Paul:  

In Acts 9:15-16, the Lord told Ananias to go and minister to Paul, for he was a chosen vessel of God. He also said, "I will show him how many things he must suffer for My name’s sake” (speaking of the future). 

The word of wisdom revealed God’s purpose and plan to Philip: 

Acts 8:26-"Now an angel of the Lord spoke to Philip, saying, "Arise and go 

toward the south along the road which goes down from Jerusalem to Gaza.”
 

The angel of the Lord gave Philip specific instruction because He had a divine appointment awaiting him along the road that went down from Jerusalem to Gaza.  

How many divine appointments have we missed, because we were not listening to the Holy Spirit? How many times have we been disobedient to the heavenly vision given to us by God? We could save ourselves a lot of frustration, hassle, trial and tribulation, if we would only learn to listen and obey the voice of our Lord.  

The word of wisdom tells us the best thing to do in a given situation

2 Kings 5:9-10 Then Naaman went with his horses and chariot, and he stood at the door of Elisha’s house. And Elisha sent a messenger to him, saying, “Go and wash in the Jordan seven times, and your flesh shall be restored to you, and you shall be clean.” 

Is this the way Naaman wanted things to happen? Of course not! He wanted Elisha to come to the door and personally lay hands on him and fix his problem. He didn’t want to speak to Elisha’s messenger! He wanted to speak to the prophet himself. He didn’t want to hear what the messenger had to say regarding him dipping in the Jordan River seven times. How ludicrous! Naaman’s reaction probably went something like this: “You’ve got to be kidding me! He wants me to go dip in the dirty Jordan River seven times? Give me a Pentecostal break! Don’t you have any idea who I am?” Have you ever had something similar to this happen to you?

Elisha had been given all the facts concerning Naaman’s leprous condition. God spoke to His prophet and told him exactly what to do. Why did God choose the Jordan River and why seven times? Scripture doesn’t give us an answer to this question, but one thing is certain, God was requiring faith and obedience from Naaman. He may not have understood why he had to go through this particular process in order to receive his healing, but because he finally chose to respond to the word of the Lord by faith and obedience, his health was completely restored.


The word of wisdom and the word of knowledge often operate together: 

The word of knowledge gives us the facts, while the word of wisdom shows us what to do with those facts.  

While John was on the Isle of Patmos, the Lord revealed the present condition of the seven churches to him. This was the word of knowledge in operation. The Lord also gave John the word of wisdom, which revealed His purposes and plans for those churches.  

The word of wisdom is used to warn people of future judgment and peril: 

In Genesis chapter six, we find the story of how the Lord gave specific instruction to Noah regarding the building of the ark. The Lord told Noah that He was going to destroy man whom He had created from the face of the earth, both man and beast, creeping things and birds of the air, because He was sorry that He had ever made man (word of knowledge). The earth was filled with violence. After the word of knowledge was given, God then gave Him a word of wisdom which not only revealed God’s purpose and plan, but it also warned Noah of the coming judgment and peril. The word of wisdom saved the lives of Noah and his family.  

The Word of Wisdom can be given by: 

  1. Audible voice - Moses received the law.
  2. Visions – Acts 16:9 – Paul’s vision (Macedonian call).
  3. Dreams – Gen. 37:5 - The Lord spoke to Joseph through dreams concerning his own future.
  4. Prophecy – Prophets prophesy future happenings. In Acts 11:27-28, the prophet Agabus prophesied of a drought (famine) and in Acts 21:10-14, he prophesied to Paul of some of the things he would suffer.

The word of wisdom is a wonderful gift of the Holy Spirit. The Lord desires to bring forth both the word of knowledge and the word of wisdom to inform us, instruct us, and prepare us for future happenings. May the Lord give us greater understanding concerning His gifts.

Copyright 2001 by Donna Kazenske


Posted with Permission Christian Online Magazine
Spiritual Gifts: The Gift of the Word of Knowledge

1 Cor. 12:7-10 "But the manifestation of the Spirit is given to each one for the profit of all: for to one is given the word of wisdom, through the Spirit, to another the word of knowledge through the same Spirit, to another the gift of faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healings by the same Spirit, …..."

The word of knowledge is one of the three revelation gifts as discussed in earlier lessons. The "revelation gifts" are our spiritual eyes and ears. They allow us to see and hear things by the Spirit. 

Revelation Gifts:

  1. Word of Knowledge
  2. Word of Wisdom
  3. Discerning of Spirits

The word of knowledge is supernatural revelation, by the Holy Spirit, of certain facts in the mind of God. It is the God-given ability to receive from God, by revelation, the facts concerning something that is humanly impossible for us to know anything about.

Important note: It is a gift of the "word" of knowledge. It is not the gift of knowledge.

A word is just a fragment or part of a sentence. A "word" of knowledge is just a fragment or a part of God's knowledge. He gives us a “piece” of His knowledge regarding a particular circumstance or situation.

Even though it is true that the Lord has all knowledge and knows everything about absolutely everything, He does not always reveal everything to us. Revelation comes only as He wills it to come. He has always proven Himself to be faithful to speak to His people at the proper time (fullness of time). However, it’s become quite obvious that many of us do not enjoy the waiting process in God’s precious timetable. We want to know everything, right now! The truth of the matter is that the Spirit of God usually doesn’t function in this manner. Normally, we find that revelation comes to us as we begin to seek the truth, not because we have a desire for more knowledge, but because we have a desire for more of Him in our lives.  

Thousands of believers have been entrusted with much knowledge, wisdom, and revelation from the Holy Spirit. However, there are some who have been guilty of quietly keeping all of this life-giving information carefully stored away in the memory banks of their own hearts and minds. They have failed to see and experience the wonderful benefits that could be made available to them, because they have neglected to pass the blessing on to others.  

The Lord brings revelation to His people for specific purposes and reasons. What has been freely given to us must also be freely given to others as the Spirit of God leads. It’s our responsibility to ask the Lord what He wants us to do with the revelation knowledge that He has given to us. If we have a tendency to keep all that He has graciously given to us locked away in the corridors of our hearts, it could possibly hinder any further working of His Spirit in us. His initiative is to bless us so that we, in turn, might be a blessing to others.

1 Cor. 13:9 – For we know in part and we prophesy in part.

Have you ever been around someone who had a fear of being around the “true” prophets of God? Maybe you have been one of those who have been afraid to be in close proximity with a true prophet. What would cause us to fear those who are walking in the truth of God’s word? Could it be because we are not measuring up to the standards of holiness that God has called us to walk in? Could it be because there is some sort of blatant sin in our lives, and we don’t want it to be exposed? The Lord does not want His people living in fear, yet at the same time, He does want us living holy and blameless lives before Him. If there is sin in our lives, we must repent and turn back to the Lord.  

Prophets only prophesy in part. They don’t see the whole picture. They see only that which the Lord would have them see at any given moment in time. If the Lord chooses to expose sin in our lives, we must receive the word that is given to us so that we can be set free from the enemies power.

Two Important Factors To Remember: 

1. The word of knowledge and the word of wisdom often work together.

2. The word of knowledge brings revelation regarding the past and present.  

Some purposes of the Word of Knowledge:

1. To lead souls to Christ. 

2. To reveal sickness or to be used in the ministry of healings.  

3. To build up faith in someone for healing or whatever ministry they have  

come forward to receive. 

4. To restore the believer back to fellowship with God. 

5. To provide encouragement. 

6. To reveal demon possession or oppression.

The Word of Knowledge may come in a dream or vision:


Spiritual Gifts: The Gift of Faith

1 Cor. 12:8-10 – “But the manifestation of the Spirit is given to each one for the profit of all: for to one is given the word of wisdom through the Spirit, to another the word of knowledge through the same Spirit, and to another faith by the same Spirit…” 

There are two principle kinds of faith:

  1. Natural faith
  2. Supernatural faith

 

The gift of faith is not natural faith. The gift of faith is supernatural faith. 

Natural faith is much like the faith a farmer has when he sows seed into the soil of a freshly plowed field. He plants a seed of corn believing it will produce corn.  

Natural faith is faith that we put into action on a daily basis without even realizing it. Example: When we sit down at the breakfast table to eat, we usually sit down in a chair. We have faith that the chair we are sitting in will hold us up and not crash beneath our body weight.  

Supernatural faith is faith that comes from the Lord in a supernatural way. It extends exceedingly, abundantly above and beyond natural faith. 

There are different kinds of faith: 

  1. Saving faith:

Ephesians 2:8: “For by grace you have been saved by faith….”

    Romans 10:17: “So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the  

    word of God
    .”
     

  1. Fruit of the Spirit faith:

Galatians 5:22-23: “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace,  

longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness….” 

  1. Gift of faith:

Mark 11:22: “So Jesus answered and said to them, “Have faith in God.”  

Jesus was not speaking about natural faith. He was speaking about the  

gift of faith (supernatural faith). 

Saving faith (general faith) comes before salvation.

Fruit of faith or faithfulness comes after salvation.

The gift of faith (special faith) generally comes after the baptism in the Holy Spirit. 

What is the gift of faith?

The gift of faith is the God-given ability to believe for the impossible to come to pass at your word and to impart that faith to others. 

When I look at the lives of some of the healing evangelists in the past century, such as Smith Wigglesworth, Kathryn Kuhlman, A. A. Allen, Jack Coe, John G. Lake and countless others, it causes my heart and spirit to leap up knowing that the gift of faith is still in operation today. It didn’t pass away with the apostles. The same Spirit that raised Jesus from the dead is the same Spirit that gives the gift of faith to those who ask Him for it.  

Our Father God in heaven has placed a beautifully arranged banqueting table, full of luscious spiritual food, right before our very eyes. From the moment we give our lives to Jesus, He offers us a place to sit at His table so that we can dine with Him and partake freely of every good and perfect gift from heaven. What I see happening in the body of Christ today is basically a lack of knowledge on our part regarding the gifts of the Spirit. Most of us have decided to pick and choose the gifts that we want from God’s table. We don’t believe in speaking in tongues, so we choose the working of miracles instead. We shove the unwanted gifts away, therefore cutting off the blessings of God from our lives. It’s not His will that we pick and choose only those gifts that seem good and pleasing to us. It’s His will that we accept all that He has made available to us. As Christians, we must all learn to walk in the fullness of the Holy Spirit. If we don’t, we will be a weak, powerless, handicapped church. What good is a church without power? 

I’m looking forward to the day when Christians will be true followers of Christ and imitate Him. I’m looking forward to the day when I will see missing legs grow back to their normal position right before my natural eyes. I’m looking forward to the day when I will be preaching from the pulpit and people will get out of their wheelchairs and start running around the church leaping and dancing with joy because the Lord just gave them a miracle.  

When was the last time you raised someone from the dead? Is even the very thought of this too much for your finite mind to comprehend or imagine? Of course it is! What we must understand is that our God is a supernatural God who enjoys doing supernatural things through a people who are operating in His supernatural miracle working power. He’s the same God today that He was yesterday. He never changes. What He did yesterday, He will also do today. Will we have the faith to believe God to use us in ‘greater’ ways? 

All three of the power gifts (gift of faith, gifts of healings and working of miracles) work together when raising someone from the dead: 

  1. Gift of faith – it takes faith to speak to a dead man.
  2. Gifts of healings – if they aren’t healed when you raise them up, they will die again.
  3. Working of miracles – if someone is raised from the dead, it is a miracle.

Some Scriptural examples of the gift of faith in action: 

1) Mark 11:14-24 – Jesus curses the fig tree.

Nothing happened at that particular moment, but the next day when they  

passed the fig tree again, it was withered away. There are times when no  

physical evidence will be seen when the gift of faith is in operation.  

  1. 1 Kings 18:33-35 – Elijah on Mt. Carmel.

    Elijah was so confident that he told those who were with him to pour water on the wood. 

There’s absolutely nothing too difficult for our God! I believe that the church needs to repent because of our lack of faith, doubt and unbelief. He has called us into His Kingdom for such a time as this.  

Will we pass up the opportunities that He will place before us, or will we “go for it” in the power of His Spirit? Will we pull our chairs up to the banqueting table and partake of everything that He has placed before us or will we just pick and choose only those things that we would like to have? If we partake and eat, we will be transformed and changed. We will be filled with the fullness of the glory of the Lord and we will do “greater” works that will bring Him “greater” glory. 

Copyright 2001 by Donna Kazenske


Posted with Permission Christian Online Magazine
Spiritual Gifts: The Gifts of Healings

1 Cor. 12:7-9 – But the manifestation of the Spirit is given to each one for the profit of all: for to one is given the word of wisdom through the Spirit…..to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healings by the same Spirit. 

The gifts of healings are still functioning in and through the body of Christ today. God is still raising up His anointed ones for the purpose of bringing wholeness and healing to the body, soul and spirit of man.  

The gifts of healings operate supernaturally to heal diseases and infirmities without any natural means whatsoever. It is the power of the Holy Spirit that comes upon a person’s body, dissolving their disease and driving out their pains to heal them.  

Some of the purposes of the gifts of healings are 1) to deliver the sick, 2) to destroy the works of the devil in the human body, 3) to confirm the word of God and 4) to bring glory to God. 

The original reading of the “gifts of healings” is plural. The use of the plural nouns illustrate that there are gifts of healings for different diseases. Jesus bore the stripes of every disease on the cross at Calvary. 

Some who have the gifts of healings operating in their lives may have great success with a particular disease or sickness such as blindness, tumors or deafness. Others might be very successful with cancer or lung conditions. Through our study of God’s word, we see that Jesus had the ability to heal all manner of sickness and disease. 

Have you ever been asked the question, “If Christians have healing power, why don’t they go to the hospitals and empty them out?” My response to this question is this, “I’m looking forward to the day when we will do just that!” However, the gifts of healings do not give individuals the ability to heal all the sick all the time. Even Jesus did not do this. There were multitudes of sick people at the pool of Bethesda, yet He healed only one of them. 

Matthew 10:7-8 – “And as you go, preach, saying, ‘The kingdom of heaven is at hand.’ Heal the sick, cleanse the lepers, raise the dead, cast out demons. Freely you have received, freely give.” 

This Scripture verse is written in “red” in my Bible. This tells me that Jesus is the one who spoke these words to His disciples. What He said in this verse was not a suggestion, but a command to those who were followers of Him. Jesus is speaking these very same words to us today. Every one of us are called to heal the sick. Every one of us are called to cleanse the lepers. Every one of us are called to raise the dead and cast out demons. This supernatural ability is not just available for the pastor or assistant pastor. It’s made available for the entire body of Christ! It’s not some special anointing that just comes upon evangelists. It’s available to all those who have the Spirit of God abiding on the inside of them!  

What Jesus was really saying to His disciples was this, “If you boys are going to have church, you may as well do it the right way. Now, here is what you need to do. First you go, then you preach, then you heal the sick, cleanse the lepers, raise the dead and cast out demons!”  

Jesus lived in a continual state of revival and reformation. The life He lived was not abnormal, but normal. The things He did were an example to us of normal everyday Spirit filled Christian activity.  

How could He do these things? Was it politically correct? Was He well received by those He ministered to?  

When we read through the Gospel accounts of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John, we see that Jesus paid a great price for doing what He saw the Father doing and for speaking what He heard the Father speaking. He was a man of no reputation. He was not consumed with the fear of man and what man could do to Him. He knew that His times where in the hands of His Father. When we know that our times are in the hands of our Father, we have no need to fear anyone or anything. Oh, that God would bring this revelation to each and every one of us. 

Acts 10:38 – “…how God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and with power, who went about doing good and healing all who were oppressed by the devil, for God was with Him.” 

God is with us too! He has anointed us to do His work. He has anointed our hands so that we can lay hands on the sick and see them recover. He has anointed our feet with the preparation of the Gospel of peace that we might have the privilege of bringing the Gospel to those who have never heard it! He has anointed our voices that we might preach His word and declare His goodness in the morning and His faithfulness at night! What a mighty God we serve! There’s no greater privilege than living for Jesus and doing what He has called us to do.  

I don’t understand Christians who continually mope around saying they are bored with Jesus and Christianity. They must be serving a different Jesus than the One whom I serve, because my Jesus brings peace and joy in the Holy Ghost. My Jesus heals, saves, sanctifies and delivers! My Jesus gives me a reason to live and rejoice in the fact that I have eternal life and will one day see Him face to face! I often find it almost impossible to restrain myself from shouting, dancing, leaping, speaking in tongues and giving God glory for His awesome presence in my life. What would I ever do without Him? 

We will never have the privilege of seeing anyone healed if we never take the opportunity or time to pray for someone who is sick. If we are full of doubt and unbelief, the Holy Spirit will not be able to flow through us to accomplish His perfect work in the earth.  

God has been speaking to me personally about prayer and fasting. He gave me a vision of a power drill. This drill had a long cord on it, yet it was not plugged into the power source. The Lord spoke to my heart and said, “Many in my church are not plugged in. Others are plugged in, but they have not yet flipped the power switch to the ‘on’ position.” He then told me that I was plugged into the power source, but I did not have the power switch on yet. I said, “Lord, what do you mean? How can I get the switch on? What will it take?” He replied with these words, “prayer and fasting.” He then told me there was a price to pay if I wanted to see and experience the ‘greater things’ in ministry.  

Are we willing to pay the price that is necessary to fulfill the ‘greater works’ that God is calling us to do? If so, it’s time for us to get with the program, God’s program, and be about the Father’s business. The gifts of healings are still available today for all who will say ‘yes’ to the Holy Spirit. 

Copyright 2002 by Donna Kazenske


Posted with Permission Christian Online Magazine
Spiritual Gifts: The Gift of Working of Miracles

1 Cor. 12:8-10 – "…for to one is given the word of wisdom through the Spirit….to another the working of miracles……."

It has been such a tremendous blessing for me to be able to minister in America and in various nations all over the world. Lately, I have sensed a real stirring in the hearts of God’s people for true manifestations of His glory, healing and miracle working power. Many are seeking to know the Lord on a more intimate level and are becoming quite bored with the "church as usual" syndrome. Hearts are being touched and eyes are being continuously opened to the supernatural power of God as He sweeps through our assemblies and causes us to know that there is so much more to Christianity than what we have previously experienced.

Believers are becoming more and more dissatisfied with their church’s so-called "Revival Meetings" that have been revival in name only. Deep is beginning to call out to deep as we begin to turn our hearts once again toward God and seriously pant for Him as the deer pants for the water brooks. Most of the church world today knows that God has so much more in store for them, yet few are truly pressing in for the continuation of His revelation and saturation.

I have thoroughly enjoyed studying the lives of the great apostles in the book of Acts. I have found their lives to be a wonderful statement and representation of how the Lord uses ordinary people from ordinary backgrounds to do extraordinary things. Although these men were "ordinary" in the natural sense of the word, they had a burning desire within them for more of Jesus.

In Acts chapter four, we find the apostles speaking the word of God with holy boldness. In Acts 4:29-30, we find them assembled together in one accord praying for more boldness. They were not satisfied with the level of boldness that they currently found themselves operating in. They were crying out for more boldness, more healings, more miracles, more souls, more signs and wonders! Did the Lord enjoy their prayer meeting? You bet He did!

In Acts 4:31, the word says, "And when they had prayed, the place where they were assembled together was shaken; and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit, and they spoke the word of God with boldness."

There was an instantaneous response from the Holy Spirit to their heartfelt cries of "more Lord!" Why? Because He loves to pour out His Spirit upon those who are desperate for more of Him! They were not assembling together as a result of selfish gain, glory or ambition. They had given up everything they had so they could follow Jesus. They were meeting together because they had a single eye for the vision that God had birthed within them. Their spiritual eyesight was fully focused upon those who were lost and in need of a Savior. Their spiritual eyesight was fully focused upon the blind, the deaf, the dumb, the lame, the lepers and the demon possessed. Their God ordained plans and purposes caused them to speak the word of God with holy boldness and set the captives free so that Jesus would be glorified in the earth.

Acts 4:31 says they were all filled with the Holy Spirit! Hadn’t Peter and John already been filled with the Holy Spirit in Acts chapter 2? Of course! Yet they knew, deep within themselves, that there were more fillings, more anointings, more supernatural encounters with the forces of darkness, and more times of spiritual refreshing and instruction from the Holy Ghost. They wanted to do everything possible to make their lives count for Christ! They wanted everything that God had available for them.

Oh, that the church of the Living God would cry out for all that God has for them today! We are missing out on so much because we have been so consumed with the distractions and pleasures of this world. We have neglected to sit at the Master’s feet and receive impartation and revelation from Him. We have neglected to live our lives in the reverential fear of the Lord. We have allowed ourselves to become dull of hearing and hardened in our hearts because of our disobedience and selfish heart attitudes. The church must repent and get back to its first love.

The anointing of God carries with it a costly price tag. The price is not always right or politically correct in the eyes of man, but in God’s eyes the price is absolutely right. The price that I am referring to is none other than a "crucified life." Not all are willing to live and walk according to this pattern specifically designed and fashioned by the Lord Jesus Christ Himself, but this is where the victory prevails. There is truly a mystery in knowing that death is swallowed up in victory, because death prepares the way for resurrection. Resurrection is the miracle working power of God in action bringing life to that which is dead.

Just as we have seen in our previous studies, the gifts of healings and the working of miracles often work together.

What is a miracle?

A miracle is a supernatural intervention in the ordinary course of nature.

Some examples of the working of miracles:

  1. When God delivered His people from Egyptian bondage.
  2. When the Lord told Moses to stretch forth his rod and the sea parted.
  3. When the widow’s cruse of oil didn’t fail, but kept flowing out like a fountain until every vessel in the house was full.
  4. When Jesus took the little boy’s lunch and fed the 5,000.
  5. When Jesus spoke to the storm and said, "Peace, be still."
  6. When someone born without a foot suddenly sees a new foot appear.
  7. When broken bones are instantly knit together.
  8. When people are raised from the dead.

The gift of the working of miracles is not some far-fetched idea that was made up by man and his infinite wisdom. The working of miracles is a gift of the Holy Spirit for the body of Christ today.

When the Lord performs creative miracles, it catches the attention of both the saved and the unsaved. Five-fold ministers, especially evangelists, who are truly appointed by the Lord, will quite frequently operate in the gift of the working of miracles. Open-air crusades have the capacity to draw thousands and sometimes millions of unsaved individuals into the realm of the supernatural arena of the Holy Spirit. When the supernatural manifestation of God’s miracle working power is released, the result is usually a Holy Ghost explosion of faith and salvation.

If you have ever done a study of the miracle working power of God in the Old Testament, I’m sure that two of your favorite selections for this particular subject would be the prophets Elijah and Elisha. We are all familiar with both of their lives and miracle working ministries. It is said that Elisha performed twice as many miracles as Elijah. This speaks to me of increase!

I believe very strongly in the manifestation and restoration of the gifts of the Holy Spirit. The Lord God of Elijah desires so much to place His mantle upon each and every one of us. He has called us to do mighty exploits in His name.

Copyright 2002 by Donna Kazenske


Posted with Permission Christian Online Magazine
Spiritual Gifts: Discerning of Spirits

1 Cor. 12:8-10 - ...for to one is given the word of wisdom through the Spirit, to another the word of knowledge through the same Spirit, to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healings by the same Spirit, to another the working of miracles, to another prophecy, to another discerning of spirits, to another different kinds of tongues, and to another interpretation of tongues. 

Discerning of spirits is such a vital gift to the body of Christ. The enemy has gotten away with a lot of demonic manifestations in our church services because the gift of discerning of spirits was not functioning in the leadership. This kind of spiritual ignorance has the potential to destroy a church if their eyes are not opened to the truth of God’s word. The gifts of the Holy Spirit are for the body of Christ today, and we must accept His gifts so that the church can prosper and function according to His purpose and plan. 

What is the gift of discerning of spirits?

Discerning of spirits is the God-given ability to detect the presence of and the identity of spirits. It gives supernatural insight into the realm of “spirits.” It’s not just a discerning of devils or evil spirits, but a discerning of both good and evil spirits.  

Many times when I'm ministering, the Lord will speak to me and give me the name or names of demonic spirits that are operating within an individual’s life. He doesn’t do this to embarrass the person, but He reveals specific things so that the individual can be set free from the control or power of those spirits. It’s not God’s will that His people live in spiritual bondage when He has made a way of escape.  

Discern means to see or perceive. 

Isaiah 6:1 - “…I saw the Lord sitting on a throne, high and lifted up, and the train of His robe filled the temple.”  

How was Isaiah able to see the Lord? He saw the Lord by the gift of discerning of spirits, the ability to see into the spirit realm.  

John, on the Isle of Patmos, saw the Holy Spirit as seven spirits before the throne. 

As Christians, we must be able to see into the realm of the spirit and discern between good and evil. Our ability to discern by His Spirit will cause our spiritual perception to be quickened and sharpened.  

We must be careful that we do not confuse suspicion with perception or discernment. Suspicion is from the mind, not from the Spirit of God. We cannot be led by our “suspicions.” We must be led by the power of the Holy Spirit. 

The gift of discerning of spirits reveals the "kind" of spirit behind a supernatural manifestation. 

If somebody is crawling around on the floor during a church service, barking like a dog, the pastor better have the ability to discern what spirit is operating in that individual, because his congregation is waiting to see what he is going to do.  

As leaders, we must cry out to God for the gifts of the Holy Spirit to operate in our lives. People in the world are looking for answers. Thousands are involved in the occult, New Age, Hinduism, witchcraft and many other demonic forms of deception. We must be able to introduce Jesus to them with the God-given ability to perform signs and wonders, bringing deliverance to those held captive by these evil forces of darkness. God has given us power over all the power of the enemy. It’s time for us to tap into that power and allow it to be released in the world. 

Important note: The discerning of spirits is not the "gift of discernment." 

Have you ever heard someone say, “I have the gift of discernment”? Biblically, this person is incorrect, because the word of God makes no mention of the gift of discernment; however, it does mention the gift of discerning of spirits.  

Discerning of spirits is not the gift of discerning the faults in other people.

This gift discerns spirits, not people. 

Have you ever been around those people who seem to have a calling for exposing people’s faults? We need to pray for these people, because fault finding is not from God. These people need to confess their own sins and get right with the One who has extended His hand of mercy to them. Whenever we point a finger at someone, there are always three fingers pointing back to us.  

Acts 16:16-19 - Now it happened as we went to prayer, that a certain slave girl possessed with a spirit of divination met us, who brought her masters much profit by fortune-telling. This girl followed Paul and us, and cried out, saying, “These men are the servants of the Most High God, who proclaim to us the way of salvation.” And this she did for many days. But Paul, greatly annoyed, turned and said to the spirit, “I command you in the name of Jesus Christ to come out of her.” And he came out that very hour. 

The Lord revealed to Paul and his companions, by the discerning of spirits, that the slave girl in their midst was possessed with a spirit of divination. 

I want you to notice that Paul did not speak to the woman, but he spoke directly to the spirit that had possessed her. He commanded the spirit of divination to come out of her, and that evil spirit obeyed his command. Why? Because Paul was anointed with the power of the Holy Spirit. He wasn’t just a hearer of the word; he was a doer of the word.  

It’s time for the Church to dig their heels into God! We must put away the complacency, the backbiting, the deception, the evil speaking, the gossiping, and the slandering and get on with what God is calling us to do. God is not pleased with those who do such things. This type of behavior grieves the Holy Spirit and must be rooted out of us. The Church must repent and refocus. Our focus must be on the Lord, not the faults in one another.  

What is a "spirit?"

A spirit is a living personality, whether it is the Spirit of God, the human spirit (which is the spirit of man), or an evil spirit. 

There are many voices speaking today. We must be able to discern which voice is the voice of the Holy Spirit. The enemy is very subtle in his tactics and wiles against Christians. He doesn’t come knocking on the door of our homes waiting to introduce himself when we open the door. “Hey, how ya doing? I’m the devil and I’ve come to destroy your life!” He doesn’t operate like that. He often comes as an angel of light. He uses people to fulfill his evil purposes. This is why we must spend quality time in the presence of the Lord, hearing His voice, knowing His voice and responding to His voice. We must allow the gifts of His Spirit to operate and function in us.  

The gifts of the Holy Spirit are for today! They didn’t pass away with the original apostles. God is still moving, still healing, still performing miracles and still bringing deliverance to thousands of people! Our God is alive and well. He wants to use us in His Kingdom. Let’s get back to the word of God and believe what is written within its awesome pages. 

Copyright 2001 by Donna kazenske


Posted with Permission Christian Online Magazine
Spiritual Gifts: The Gift of Prophecy

1 Cor. 12:8-10 - ...for to one is given the word of wisdom through the Spirit, to another the word of knowledge through the same Spirit, to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healings by the same Spirit, to another the working of miracles, to another prophecy, to another discerning of spirits, to another different kinds of tongues, and to another interpretation of tongues.

The gift of prophecy is one of the three utterance gifts that we have studied in the previous teaching. Of these three gifts, prophecy is the most important. It takes both tongues and interpretation of tongues to equal prophecy. The gift of tongues is dependent upon the gift of interpretation of tongues in order for it to be effective.

The gift of prophecy is a supernatural utterance in a known tongue. We can also say that it is the God-given ability to give forth, in your own language, a message direct from the heart of God.

The Hebrew word for "to prophecy" means to flow forth. It also implies "to bubble forth like a fountain, or to spring forth". The Greek word that is translated prophecy means to speak for another. It means to speak for God or be His spokesman.

When someone prophesies to us, it’s God speaking to us. It’s not the words of a man or woman, but words from God. When someone prophesies to the entire church congregation on Sunday morning, it's God speaking to the church to bring edification, exhortation, and comfort.  

We could say that prophecy is the merging of the divine and the human. Prophecy is God speaking through us to us.

The Holy Spirit is perfect, and He never makes mistakes. However, we are human and many times we find ourselves making mistakes because we try to reason things out with our finite minds. We cannot do this when it comes to the things of God, because He is infinite. When the word of the Lord begins to flow through us, we must not allow that word to become tainted by our soulish nature or tendencies.

I've heard many stories and testimonies of how prophecy has been used to manipulate and control people in the body of Christ. God’s precious gifts were never intended to be used in this manner. We must be very careful not to abuse the gifts.  

1 Cor. 14:5 - I would that ye all spoke with tongues, but rather that ye prophesied; for greater is he that prophesieth than he that speaketh with tongues, except he interpret, that the church may receive edifying.

The whole church is edified or lifted up when the prophetic gift begins to function and operate freely in a service. The Lord loves to encourage and minister to His people as they seek to worship Him.

When we pray in the Spirit, we edify ourselves. The baptism of the Holy Spirit is a wonderful gift from the Lord, but it is not the same as the gift of prophecy.

Prophecy edifies the whole church body.

We must be careful not to confuse the simple gift of prophecy with the ministry office of a prophet. The fact that someone prophesies does not make him or her a prophet. Anyone can prophesy according to 1 Cor. 14:31. Let me give you a good example of what I am trying to say. A rich man has money. We all have money, but that doesn't make us all rich. When a prophet prophesies, he will also have at least two, if not all three of the revelation gifts in operation in his life as well. The three revelation gifts are: 1) word of knowledge, 2) word of wisdom, and 3) discerning of spirits. The simple gift of prophecy has no revelation involved in it. It speaks to men to edification, exhortation, and comfort (1 Cor. 14:3).

Edify means to charge up; to build up or to strengthen.

Exhort means to encourage someone to "come up" higher.

Comfort means to console.

If prophecy doesn't lift up, build up or cheer up, it's not prophecy.

Timing is very important when bringing forth a prophecy. We must be obedient to bring forth the prophecy at the proper time. This comes with much practice and sensitivity to the Holy Spirit.

1 Thess. 5:19-21 - Quench not the Spirit. Despise not prophecies. Prove all things; hold  

fast that which is good.

If we hold back the prophetic word of the Lord, and we are not obedient to bring it forth to the body, we are quenching the Spirit of God. We must allow Him to flow through us as He directs and wills.

Do not despise prophecies. Have you ever been in a church or service somewhere that does not allow people to prophesy? They are quenching the Holy Ghost! They are not allowing the people of God to be obedient to His Spirit.

The Bible tells us to covet to prophesy. That means earnestly desire it.

The gifts of the Holy Spirit are not necessarily a sign of character. I've seen people who are living in blatant sin prophesying in church services. How can this be? The Bible says that the gifts and callings of God are irrevocable. He will not take them back once He has given them. He is a merciful God, but that does not condone a sinful lifestyle.

Sometimes, prophecy is conditional. If we don't do our part, it will hinder or possibly nullify the prophetic word that has been spoken to us. 

Seven Steps for Judging Prophecy:

1. Judge the fruit. 

2. Does it glorify the Lord Jesus Christ? 

3. Does it agree with Scripture? 

4. Are the prophecies of those who prophesy fulfilled? How's their track  
record? 

 5. We need to realize that some prophecies are not necessarily of God, but they  
still come to pass. Read Deut. 13:1-5. If it doesn't line up with the word of  
God, it's not right. If it comes to pass, but it leads you away from Jesus, it's  
not right.

 6. Do the prophecies produce liberty or bondage?

 7. When a prophecy is "right", there should be a "yes" and "amen" in your spirit  man. There should be an inner witness or "knowing" on the inside that lets  you know the prophecy is accurate. 1 John 2:20 - But you have an unction  
(anointing) from the Holy One, and you “know” all things.

 

If you've never prophesied before, begin to seek the Lord for this wonderful gift. Please don’t abuse it! Use it correctly so that Jesus will be glorified.

Copyright 2001 by Donna
Posted with Permission Christian Online Magazine


The Gift of Tongues

1 Cor. 12:7-10 - "But the manifestation of the Spirit is given to each one for the profit of all: for to one is given the word of wisdom, through the Spirit, to another the word of knowledge through the same Spirit, to another the gift of faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healings by the same Spirit, to another the working of miracles, to another prophecy, to another discerning of spirits, to another different kinds of tongues, to another the interpretation of tongues."

The gift of tongues is the God-given ability to speak in different and varied languages. It is supernatural utterance by the Holy Spirit in languages never learned by the speaker, not understood by the mind of the speaker nor necessarily always understood by the hearer. We could say that the gift of tongues is a "vocal miracle" of God.

1 Cor. 14:1-5 - Pursue love, and desire spiritual gifts, but especially that you may prophesy. For he who speaks in a tongue does not speak to men but to God, for no one understands him; however, in the spirit he speaks mysteries. But he who prophesies speaks edification, exhortation and comfort to men. He who speaks in a tongue edifies himself, but he who prophesies edifies the church. I wish that you all spoke with tongues, but even more that you prophesied; for he who prophesies is greater than he who speaks with tongues, unless indeed he interprets, that the church may receive edification.

Do not confuse the gift of tongues with the baptism in the Holy Spirit, as these are two separate gifts. When we pray in the Holy Spirit using our personal prayer language tongue, it causes us to be lifted up or edified. When the gift of tongues comes forth, it edifies (lifts up or builds up) the whole body. When we speak in our prayer language tongue, we are speaking to God. When we allow the gift of tongues to flow through us, it is God speaking to man.

 1 Cor. 14:26 - How is it then brethren? Whenever you come together, each of you has a psalm, has a teaching, has a tongue, has a revelation, has an interpretation. Let all things be done for edification.

According to this verse, we all have something to contribute in our church services. The Scripture says, "each of you" has a psalm, a teaching, a tongue etc. When the church is functioning in the proper manner according to God’s plan and design, there will be no lack whatsoever in the church body. The Spirit of God will be able to flow freely and effectively through every part of the body, and every joint will bring forth the needed supply.

1 Cor. 14:27-28 - If anyone speaks in a tongue, let there be two or at the most three, each in turn, and let one interpret. But if there is no interpreter, let him keep silent in church, and let him speak to himself and to God.

This verse has sometimes been misinterpreted by saying that only three tongues should be given in a church service. I tend to disagree with this interpretation because I have been in many services where there have been more than three messages in tongues given with interpretation following each tongue. The service was conducted decently and in order, and God's people were edified as the word of the Lord penetrated into the very depths of their beings.

Paul could have been giving the Corinthians some much-needed instruction regarding "order" in the church. The Corinthian church was known for its misuse and abuse of the gifts of the Holy Spirit. It is a good possibility that the Corinthians were giving messages in tongues without allowing the interpretations of these tongues to come forth. This would have caused confusion in the church instead of edification and comfort.

If there are three utterances in tongues given and no interpretation is given for those tongues, no further utterances in tongues should follow. The Scripture goes on to say, "If there is no interpreter, let him keep silent in church, and let him speak to himself and to God."

If the gift of tongues operates in our lives, the Scripture says that we should also pray for the gift of interpretation of tongues. The reason being, if we give a tongue in a church service and no one interprets the tongue, we should be prepared to give the interpretation of that tongue. If we cannot give the interpretation, and no one else has the ability to bring it forth, we must then keep silent or just speak to ourselves. Without the interpretation, the gift of tongues will not benefit the church, because no one will be able to understand what the Lord has spoken.

The gift of tongues is the only gift of the Spirit that is totally dependent upon another gift regarding its complete operation. The gift of tongues is useless without the gift of interpretation of tongues. These two gifts must operate together in order for the prophetic word to be understood by those who are hearing it.

Key Note: Tongues + Interpretation of Tongues = Prophecy

All the gifts of the spirit operate by faith. If we don't have faith, we will not be obedient to speak forth His messages, thereby causing us to quench the moving of His Spirit.

Have you ever seen a fire ignited as a result of someone throwing down a cigarette or maybe a towel in a kitchen caught on fire because of the carelessness of the person in the kitchen? Normally if this happens, the individual who dropped the cigarette will vigorously attempt to stomp out the fire before it spreads to the nearby forest, and the person in the kitchen will grab the closest fire extinguisher, pull the pin and start spraying! This is what we do when we quench the Holy Spirit by our disobedience. He begins to burn inside of us like a flame, and we grab the fire extinguisher. He begins to give us the prophetic word of the Lord for the church, and we push it down because of fear, intimidation or just plain old ignorance regarding His gifts. God wants that flame to burn in us! He wants His Spirit to consume us, in such a manner, that nothing will hold us back from speaking His heart to His people. He wants His fire to be ignited within us like it was inside of the prophet Jeremiah. He couldn't hold back the word of the Lord no matter how hard he tried. It was like FIRE shut up in his bones. He couldn't help but prophesy. He couldn’t help but speak out what the Lord had put in His heart. He was a man on fire! When the fire of God begins to consume us, there’s no turning back.

Allow the Holy Spirit to flow through you today. Don't quench the Holy Spirit when He starts burning on the inside of you. Allow the flame to burn brightly so that all may see Jesus in you. Allow the fire of God to spread to those around you. Allow the quickened word of the Lord to flow through you like a mighty river. Don’t try to stop the flow. The church desperately needs to hear what the Spirit of God is saying.

Copyright 2001 by Donna Kazenske


Posted with Permission Christian Online Magazine
The Gift of Interpretation of Tongues

1 Cor. 12:7-10 - "But the manifestation of the Spirit is given to each one for the profit of all: for to one is given the word of wisdom, through the Spirit, to another the word of knowledge through the same Spirit, ………to another the interpretation of tongues."

The gift of interpretation of tongues is the least gift of all the utterance gifts because it has to depend upon another gift in order for it to operate. It cannot function unless the gift of tongues has been in operation.

The gift of interpretation of tongues is the supernatural showing forth, by the Spirit, the meaning of an utterance given in tongues. It's not a translation of tongues; it's an interpretation of tongues.

The word translate means: word for word, or as near to exact meaning as is spoken.

The word interpret means: to paraphrase the meaning; to give the sum and substance of; or to bring out the gist (main theme or central idea of a matter) of the meaning of what is being said.

Have you ever heard someone give a very short message in tongues, and when the interpretation was given it seemed to be so much longer? Your mind probably began to work overtime trying to figure out if the person giving the interpretation "missed it". We must remember that an interpretation is a paraphrased meaning of what has been spoken forth. It's not a word for word translation.  

We must also realize that our personalities and character traits will be manifested through us as we bring forth prophetic words.  Those who are very intelligent and use big fancy words when they speak will more than likely do the same when they are bringing forth a word from God.  Those of us who are more “country type” folk, will tend to keep the messages simple, brief and to the point.  That’s one thing I enjoy so much about the ministry of Jesus.  He kept His message simple, clear and to the point.   As a result, multitudes followed Him just to hear what He had to say.

Have you ever been around someone who is a "detail" person?  I mean they give you every single detail of their grocery shopping experience, and it usually takes them about 30 minutes just to get you inside the store.  Other people are very quick, brief and to the point.  They don't mess around with details; they get straight to the point.  I like these kinds of people.   

God has supernaturally formed every one of us with different personalities, qualities and character traits that make up who we are.  Our personality and character will be both seen and heard when we interpret a message from the Lord.  If we are very demonstrative when we talk, we will be demonstrative when we give the word of the Lord.  If we are very loud and fired up for Jesus, this will also come forth in the message.  If we are a detail type person, the interpretation that we give might be longer than the tongue that was given because we are giving the nitty gritty details that will help the listeners understand more fully.  So, the final interpretation of the message given will depend upon who interprets the message. It won't change the meaning of the message, because it's the Lord who is giving it, but it will come forth through each interpreter in different ways according to their personality type and makeup.

If you are used quite frequently to give messages in tongues, you should also ask the Lord to give you the gift of interpretation of tongues because you never know when God will give you a message in tongues, and you will be the only one in the church service who has the capability to interpret. If there’s no one available who can interpret, then you are responsible to bring forth the interpretation.   

1 Cor. 14:13- Therefore let him who speaks in a tongue pray that he may interpret. 

1 Cor. 14:27-28 - If anyone speaks in a tongue, let there be two or at the most three, each in turn, and let one interpret. But if there is no interpreter, let him keep silent in church, and let him speak to himself and to God.

In the Scripture passage above, Paul was speaking some needed instruction to the believers at Corinth. The Corinthian church was misusing and abusing the gifts of the Holy Spirit, and as a result, this was bringing much confusion and strife into their midst.  Paul was writing this letter to give them clear instructions regarding the proper use and function of these gifts.  In verse 33 of this same chapter, Paul says, "For God is not the author of confusion but of peace, as in all the churches of the saints." He was explaining to them that their misuse and abuse of the gifts was creating confusion instead of peace. There are times when we all need to be corrected and instructed by those who are more knowledgeable regarding spiritual things. We shouldn't allow their words to offend us, but we should receive their instruction with a teachable heart and a right attitude. What they speak could have the capability to change our lives for eternity.

The main purpose of this gift is to make the gift of tongues understandable to the hearer, so that the church will be edified (built up).

1 Cor. 14:12 - Even so you, since you are zealous for spiritual gifts, let it be for the edification of the church that you seek to excel.

The gifts of the Holy Spirit are to be used to bring edification, comfort and encouragement to the body of Christ. They are not to be used to bring glory and honor to those bringing forth the message or manifestation of the gift. The gifts of the Holy Spirit are not "our ministries", but they are the ministries of the Holy Spirit.

Another purpose of the gift of interpretation of tongues is to lay the groundwork and set the theme for the service and the ministry of the word.

I've been in many services when a prophetic word had been given, and as a result of that word, the Lord changed the whole direction of the service.  Instead of the minister continuing on with his plan (sermon), he was liberated enough by the Holy Spirit to be obedient to what God wanted Him to do.  Because of his obedience and flexibility, the Lord was able to move mightily through this minister and the people of God were greatly blessed.   

I cannot stress how important it is for Christians to learn how to be sensitive to the moving of the Holy Spirit. I believe our sensitivity level grows and matures when we spend quality time in His presence communing with Him on a daily basis.  When our sensitivity level increases, we won’t be afraid to go with the flow of God’s program if He directs us to do something different than what was already planned.  We won’t be frustrated when this kind of thing happens, but instead we will be pleased knowing that God has a specific plan for that specific group of people. 

We have much to learn regarding the gifts of the Holy Spirit. My prayer is that we will continue to ask the Lord to use us and allow the gifts of His Spirit to flow through us in powerful ways always bringing glory and honor to Him.   The church needs to remember that it’s all about Jesus, not about us.

Copyright 2001 by Donna Kazenske


Posted with Permission Christian Online Magazine
Four Fasting Weapons


Excerpt from FASTING TO FREEDOM

Be strong and courageous, because you will lead these people to inherit the land I swore to their forefathers to give them. Joshua 1: 6

There are pitfalls carefully set by the Enemy to sabotage any who have the audacity to attempt a fast. On top of his attacks, your mind can be your worst enemy. A battleground where thoughts are being waged against one another.Before you can begin to experience the new life you need to grow a renewed mind. Thinking that is controlled by faith, a memory that is filled with the Word, being able to quote scripture at need, and an imagination inspired by the sure promises of God. A mind that is fit to house the Holy Spirit, freed from stinking thinking from your stinking past. Christ crucified that destructive rubbish on the cross.Yes, but you don't know my past! No, but you know the Word, and have made a quality decision to believe in His Word with every breath you take. The Word has power to change the mind, besides, who wants all that fear, doubt and guilt anyway? It's useless trash, useless to you and useless to God. I hate to say it, but I know godless men who are getting more accomplished than many hide in their church Christians. We have been empowered by the Most High God! It's time we get aggressive with our thinking. The cross was an aggressive act.There are two types of people in this world, those who see giants and those who see the land flowing with milk and honey. Yes, there are giants inside which will rise up against a fast. Be strong! God is on your side. Fast with His promises, and inherit the land. We are going to give you some nuggets of truth while you're fasting. Put them in your sling of faith, and take your stand against your enemy. The battle is yours for the taking!

Stone1
God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, sto that in him we might become the righteousness of God. 2 Corinthians 5.21

You are the righteousness of God.When the giant of guilt starts spewing out all your failures, past, and judgmental words of your friends, place this little stone in your sling of faith, take aim, and fire! I'm the righteousness of God.It will create chaos in the spiritual realms and an ugly old giant will be laying dead at your feet. You are the righteousness of God, is a proclamation from heaven, it's how God sees you. Every thought about yourself that contradicts that truth is a lie.When you start to believe that you are His righteousness, you will begin to see evidence of it in your living. Don't try to act as if you are righteous. The only act of obedience that you are called to perform, under the new covenant, is to believe. The righteous live by faith. Besides, getting this truth down into your soul, will keep you busy enough.The amazing thing is that when you begin to believe that you are God's righteousness, you won't want to sin. You won't need to sin because you will find His righteousness fully satisfying.

Stone 2
Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit of life set me free from the law of sin and death. Romans 8:1-2

This is more like a rock than a stone so let's break it up into bite-sized pieces so that we can force-feed our next giant. First, there is no condemnation for those who are in Christ. Do you believe that Jesus is the Son of God, sent in the flesh, died on the cross, bearing your sin, rose from the dead and is seated at the right hand of God, interceding for His church? Have you prayed and asked for forgiveness of your sins and invited Jesus to come into your life? If you answered yes to these questions then you are in Christ, and you are free from fear forever. The God of the Universe thinks you're perfect, and is pleased with you. In fact, He is so deeply in love with you that He is now in the process of building a home in heaven so that you can always be close to Him. You have become an object of His grace, never being able to out-sin the Father's love. You might as well just believe it, you'll be far happier. But the giant of fear will say, be careful not to get too cozy with God's grace, you might use it as a license to sin. Through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit of life set me free from the law of sin and death. Put this little stone in your sling of faith, aim and fire! Those who are born of the Spirit are earnestly trying to get the sin out of their life, not looking for a license to sin. Confidence in who you are in Christ will always result in holy living. Fear and guilt always lead to rebellion--the church needs to learn this and stop using these two demons to control their people!Jesus set the captives free, we preach a gospel of freedom not condemnation. You are free from the law of sin. Law + sin + guilt + sacrifice = forgiveness; this Old Covenant system has been nailed to the cross because you are no longer a sinner. When you sin you are acting out of character. And all sin comes from unbelief. Fix your faith on the wonder of the cross. Take Communion while fasting, to remind you of the New Covenant God has made with you. Once and for all put religion to death and learn to do everything by faith and you will begin to experience a Promised Land of freedom, joy and peace all the day long.

Stone 3
... do not worry about tomorrow. Matthew 6.34

I remember visiting friends who were living right beside railway tracks. When a train came in the midst of eating supper, I thought the world was coming to an end. The entire house shook. As I looked up from the meal to see if my friends were sharing my discomfort, I was greeted with the strangest sight. While the house threatened to shake to the ground, they ate peacefully, oblivious to the chaos around. Even their child, eating in the high chair showed no signs of fear. They seemed amused at my great concern and said something that I would never forget. You get used to it.Most of us are plagued with worry. It easily becomes the background of our thinking. Worry is an incredibly, powerful giant, but like my friends, you get used to it, desensitized to its wicked pressure.Worry is a twisted form of hope. Hope projects the sovereign faithfulness of God into the tomorrows of concern. Worry projects a godless future where we become helpless victims of a foreboding tomorrow.Be still, and know that I am God (Psalm 46:10). Take the stone of stillness, place it in your sling of faith, aim and fire!Worry and stillness do not live well together. One will destroy the other. But I have so much on my mind. You don't understand the responsibilities I have before me. I need to clear my schedule. Then I can begin to practice fasting and stillness. That kind of thinking is an illusion. You will always be busy and stillness was made by God to be exercised in the midst of incredible responsibility. The command to be still and know that I am God, is meant to be obeyed immediately, this moment, today.I want you to put this book down and try something. Close your eyes and focus your mind on this single truth, He is God. Every time a thought comes to try to distract you don't push it away, embrace it in the truth, He is God.I've got to do six loads of laundry by tomorrow night. He is the God of my laundry.I've got an exam, I need to study. He is the God of my exam. I'm angry at my husband for being so insensitive last night. He is the God of my marriage. Every worry or care that crosses your mind you place within the absolute Sovereignty of God. He is in complete control of every nuance, breath and situation in your life. Your life is His life, because to live is Christ (Php 1:21). Stop trying to be God. Be still and let God be God. He is better at it than you are. It comes naturally to Him because it's His nature. He can handle the stress of holding the universe together, you can't. Your body wasn't built for the stress of sovereignty. People are dying of stress.Kill the giant of worry with stillness. A stillness that shouts, He is God! Watch him writhe in the death throws of utter silence. Starve worry with a soul that has been quieted before the awesome Sovereign control of a loving God.

Stone 4
For we know that our old self was crucified with him so that the body of sin might be done away with. Romans 6. 6,7

Self is the biggest giant of all, and he doesn't like to go hungry. During a fast, Self will raise his ugly head, and he won't be happy. He is going to try to demand all your attention, bawling and whining about how much he's suffering. The world is against me. I'm always being hurt, they're so insensitive to my needs. People just don't understand me. They don't know what I've been through. In this death-trap of self-focused thoughts, the presence of God will dim.Take the stone of servant hood; place it in your sling of faith, aim and fire! Deny your-self. Lay all your needs and pain at the feet of Jesus, then turn your back and walk away, not giving them a second thought. But how can I do that! My mind is always filled with my problems. This world is lost and needy. We invest so much of our time in useless selfish pleasure. Imagine if you were to spend as much time reaching out to others as you do watching the garbage on TV. Some of the most emotionally healthy people I have ever met are those who are vigorously involved with people.Most of our problems stem from living such incredibly self-centered lives. The giant of Self has done very well on a diet of North American Materialism.Self loves to be god with everything under control. The latest toys at the fingertips. Meanwhile, grubby hands search for a piece of crust. A lonely abused boy needs a friend. Strange, dangerous people that you can see when you drive in your warm car. If you look closely you might catch a glimpse of Jesus. But when self is center, there is nothing that will pull the heart to action. All you see are your own interests. The lost sheep become meaningless faces in a dreary landscape.Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others (Phi 2:4). During your fast, see those around you through the eyes of Christ. Feel His compassion for them. Seek His heart, His interests, His goals. Deny your needs and you will experience the child-like freedom of God.

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Hearing God's Voice


Faith comes from hearing God's words through His Holy Spirit. Faith is accomplished by actions of obedience with patience and perseverance.

Every true Christian has heard God's voice. It was God's voice that called you to Him; it was His Holy Spirit that drew you with chords of love to receive His salvation message, the gospel of Jesus Christ. You heard God's voice say in your heart ''I have chosen you, and ordained you, come unto Me.'' Jesus says, "No one can come to Me unless the Father who sent Me draws him.'' (John 6:44). So then your Christian walk began with faith, and you received that faith from God through His Holy Spirit communicating with you.

Faith is a gift from God; it is a part of God's grace that is at work in your life. For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God (Eph 2:8). True faith, true hope, and true love, all come from God and not from your self they are gifts from God. The Bible says, ''God has given a measure of faith to each Christian, (Rom 12:3). Jesus is the author and perfecter of our faith, (Heb 12:2).

God imparts faith to people through the hearing of His words. So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word rhema of God, (Rom 10:17). In the New Testament when the word of God is mentioned there are two main words for the word, word; they are rhema and logos. They both have a similar definition that is spoken words. But in studying the Bible I noticed an important difference, rhema has to do with hearing the voice and sensing the spirit by which the words are spoken. Logos are recorded words, which have been spoken.

Jesus the Christ is also called The Logos, the Word of God. In the beginning was the Word logos, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. (John 1:1) The Words that the Father spoke through Jesus created the universe and all life. By the word of the LORD the heavens were made, And all the host of them by the breath of His mouth. (Psa 33:6) The Bible is logos, the recorded words of God. All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work. (2 Tim 3:16-17)

I love the Holy Bible and I accept without doubt that it contains the infallible words of God from Genesis to Revelation. But faith does not come from the Bible; faith comes from God through the Holy Spirit. Rhema is the word of God that is associated with faith; faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word (rhema) of God. So unless a person hears God's voice and senses His Spirit when receiving the words from God, there is no rhema, there is no faith, there is no life, and there will be no good fruit produced. In fact when people quote scriptures with out being led by the Holy Spirit they produce death not life. Remember even Satan can quote scriptures, Mat. 4:6. People in the New Age movement quote scriptures, Muslims accept some scriptures, and many cults will use some scriptures from the Bible, but there is no true faith produced when they quote the Bible.

Because of the blood that Jesus Christ shed on the cross He made available to us a new covenant between God and man, a new relationship. Everything about the new covenant has to do with the Spirit, not the law. He has made us competent as ministers of a new covenant--not of the letter but of the Spirit; for the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life. Now if the ministry that brought death, which was engraved in letters on stone, came with glory, so that the Israelites could not look steadily at the face of Moses because of its glory, fading though it was, will not the ministry of the Spirit be even more glorious? If the ministry that condemns men is glorious, how much more glorious is the ministry that brings righteousness! (2 Cor 3:6-9)

Because of the blood that Jesus shed on the cross God is able to give us His spirit in us, and not just with us. "And I will pray the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may abide with you forever "the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees Him nor knows Him; but you know Him, for He dwells with you and will be in you. (John 14:16-17)

So now we have a new nature in us that is God's laws written on our hearts, God's Holy Spirit in us. "For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, says the LORD: I will put My laws in their mind and write them on their hearts; and I will be their God, and they shall be My people. "None of them shall teach his neighbor, and none his brother, saying, 'Know the LORD,' for all shall know Me, from the least of them to the greatest of them. (Heb 8:10-11) We know God and have intimate fellowship with Him through the Holy Spirit. For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God. (Romans 8:14)

The Pharisees and Sadducees used the scriptures to bring death, as do some religious leaders today, but when Jesus quoted scriptures it brought life. Jesus says ''It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh profits nothing. The words that I speak to you are spirit, and they are life.'' (John 6:63) Too many pastors and Bible teachers are bringing death to people instead of life by speaking un-anointed words, that is words that the Holy Spirit has not led them to speak.

Too many people are teaching the written word without teaching the Spirit, which is how to hear God's voice in you, the Holy Spirit. "A good man out of the good treasure of his heart brings forth good things, and an evil man out of the evil treasure brings forth evil things. "But I say to you that for every idle word men may speak, they will give account of it in the day of judgment. (Mat 12:35-36) Idle words are dead words that do not carry the anointing of the Holy Spirit, which means that they do not carry God's voice and His spirit to penetrate the heart of the hearer bringing life and faith.

Pastor, if the Lord has not given you a word to speak then stand behind the pulpit and keep silent, waiting on God until He does. One anointed word from God spoken through your mouth can bring a revival in your church that will touch the world. But great swelling words of emptiness produce death; don't be a cloud without water that passes over the desert; see 2nd Peter chapter 2.

Too many Christians do not know how to witness to others because they are trying to follow a formula taught by man instead of being led by God's Holy Spirit in them. Even in your Bible reading you need to be led by the Holy Spirit otherwise it can be dry and boring, but when the Holy Spirit leads you to a passage it brings life and joy because you hear the voice of God and sense His Spirit while you are reading it. You then know that those words were written for you even though they were written thousands of years before. In praying you need to also be led by the Holy Sprit so that you can speak God's words from your mouth and bring God's will upon earth.

Everything about our relationship with God has to do with the Holy Spirit. He is our bond and unity with God, and He is our source of communion and communication with God. Jesus says, ''I still have many things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now. However, when He, the Spirit of truth, has come, He will guide you into all truth; for He will not speak on His own authority, but whatever He hears He will speak; and He will tell you things to come.'' (John 16:13) It is the Holy Spirit that guides us into all truth, the Bible contains truth but only when the Holy Spirit guides us do we know how to apply Bible truth. The Holy Spirit tells us how to do God's will, God's way, and in God's timing.

There are seven influences that the Holy Spirit has upon the believer found in Isaiah chapter 11. The first is that He is to rest and remain with you forever, He will be with you your whole life, He will be with you through death, and He will be with you in the next life also, forever. The Holy Spirit is the One who is called along side of us; He is our Helper, our Comforter, and our Counselor. There are times when the Holy Spirit's communication with us is beyond words that we can understand, but we will sense the divine message anyway

.

The Holy Spirit will communicate to you wisdom, understanding (discernment), counsel, power (faith), knowledge, and the fear of the LORD. He will cause you to delight in the fear of the LORD walking in obedience and righteousness because the joy of a clean heart will be yours. The Holy Spirit is such a great treasure in the true Christian, what a privilege that God has given us who are of the new covenant. But how often have we neglected, ignored, and allowed ourselves to become distracted from His influence in our lives.

Jesus says, ''It is written, 'Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God'', (Mat 4:4). The Bible does not contain all the words of God, but we are to live by all the words of God, that can only happen by living a life led by the Holy Spirit. For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God. (Rom 8:14) God's children that have His Spirit also hear His voice. Jesus says, ''My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me.'' (John 10:27) The people that hear God's voice are the people that He knows.

There are many people who call themselves Christians and they may even do great things in Jesus name but they are not being led by God's Holy Spirit. Jesus says, ''Many will say to Me in that day, 'Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name? And then I will declare to them, 'I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!''(Mat 7:22-23). These people made two fatal mistakes; first they took credit for, and trusted that the works would get them into heaven instead of God's grace given through the blood that Jesus shed on the cross. The second fatal mistake was not being led by God's Holy Spirit, which is practicing lawlessness and disobedience.

The just shall live by faith, faith is hearing and obeying, so the righteous people live by hearing and obeying God's words given to them through the Holy Spirit. Whatever is not of faith is sin. The Christian's spiritual journey begins with faith and continues with faith. Your faith increases as you become more sensitive to the Holy Spirit, hearing God's words spoken in your heart, and then through obedience and perseverance see the great results of walking in faith. When you are sensitive and obedient to God's words there will be evidence of your faith. For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also. (James 2:26)

When you receive a word from God there are four possible reactions that you can have to the Word of Truth that God speaks to you through the Holy Spirit.

1. A hard heart does not receive the word and then the devil can easily steal it.

2. A shallow heart receives the word with joy and it begins to grow, but when persecution comes it withers because it does not have deep roots in a persons heart.

3. A heart that has other priorities receives the word but it is chocked out by the cares and distractions of this world.

4. A good and humble heart receives the word, and holds on to it, and thereby produces much spiritual fruit through perseverance and obedience to God.

(Luke 8:11-15 NIV) "This is the meaning of the parable: The seed is the word of God. {12} Those along the path are the ones who hear, and then the devil comes and takes away the word from their hearts, so that they may not believe and be saved. {13} Those on the rock are the ones who receive the word with joy when they hear it, but they have no root. They believe for a while, but in the time of testing they fall away. {14} The seed that fell among thorns stands for those who hear, but as they go on their way they are choked by life's worries, riches and pleasures, and they do not mature. {15} But the seed on good soil stands for those with a noble and good heart, who hear the word, retain it, and by persevering produce a crop.

When you first receive a word from God you feel the joy of receiving God's word in your heart because you are hearing His voice and you sense His Spirit while you receiving the word. That is a rhema word from God. Your words were found, and I ate them, And Your word was to me the joy and rejoicing of my heart; For I am called by Your name, O LORD God of hosts. (Jeremiah 15:16) But after receiving a word from God it is no longer rhema, it becomes logos, a received word from God.

You may not continue to feel the joy and sense God's Spirit from the word that has been received; this is why perseverance is required to produce fruit from a word received from God. You will go out in joy and be led forth in peace; (Isaiah 55:12) Even if you do not have the joy you can hold on to the word received and be led by God's peace. At discouraging times when you turn your attention back to God the Holy Spirit will remind you of the promise and you will be able to hang on to it, and sense God's peace and comfort.

For we walk by faith, not by sight. (2 It is possible to receive a word from God and then not go on to see it fulfilled in the physical realm. Many people get discouraged when circumstances make it look like it is impossible, some will let go of the word and go no further. There will be a time of testing after you receive a word from God, you may even question if you really heard from God, thinking that it could have just been your emotions or imagination. But if you hold on to the promise and persevere you will see it fulfilled and it will produce fruit that glorifies God. Corinthians 5:7)

Therefore do not cast away your confidence, which has great reward. {36} For you have need of endurance, so that after you have done the will of God, you may receive the promise: {37} "For yet a little while, And He who is coming will come and will not tarry. {38} Now the just shall live by faith; But if anyone draws back, My soul has no pleasure in him." (Hebrews 10:35-38)


STRONGHOLDS
SEARCHING FOR THE ROOT - BASIC PRINCIPLES

Every pattern or attitude in our lives has a spiritual root--either good or bad. In the case of bad patterns or attitudes, unless the spiritual root is addressed, there can be no deliverance, although "on the surface" it may be possible to "cover up" before men. Jesus said "unless you first bind the strong man, you cannot plunder his goods" (Matt. 12:29).

Every demonic influence has gained its access by appealing to our selfish nature (the "flesh") in some way. Since demons do not "play fair", they often gain their controlling influence over our behavior when we are totally unaware of the deception which is taking place, even as a result of the "generational curse" principle, passed down from the preceding generation (Ex. 20:5,6). At some point, there has been a choice of our own free will in order for the demonic influence to have authority in our lives. In the case of the "generational curse", an opportunity is presented for the "victim" to make a freewill choice, which gives the demon double authority - Ex. 20:5, 6 & Rom 6:16.


STEPS TO HEALING AND DELIVERANCE

As with any problem, the first step toward victory is to realize a problem exists. There is no record of Jesus casting out demons unless they were first recognized, either by the person being victimized, or by an authority over them (a parent, for example).

The second step is to embrace the blood of Jesus. His blood is sufficient! Jesus won the victory for us when he hung on the cross, and "by His stripes we are healed" (Isaiah 53:5). There is no victory apart from the blood of Jesus.

The third step: remembering that Satan can only gain influence over us through the flesh, we must learn to lay down the "old man", the carnal nature - "die to self". Then, in submission to God, let Him bring forth the new creature we became when we accepted Jesus as savior and Lord, thereby truly begin to "walking in the Spirit". Satan has no access when we are "possessed" by the Spirit of God. This may be the most important step, and one not widely taught.

There is a difference between "patching up the "old man", and "renewing the mind". Forgiveness, repentance and spiritual warfare is required to bring forth the renewing of the mind. Forgiveness is just as important as warring against demonic forces, because it destroys the "gate", or point of access the enemy uses to gain a foothold (stronghold) in the victim's life. The past must be put behind to allow the Lord to heal. A deep emotional hurt, which can even be a perceived one and not a factual one, is usually at the root of the problem. To forgive the hurt at the root of the problem takes the "axe to the root" (Luke 3:9). Forgive the person (ourselves included) involved, and forgive God. This may sound strange, but anger toward God for what has happened to us to hurt us may be the actual root of the problem!

Repentance is necessary, for allowing Satan controlling access to the soul, and for the hurt caused to ourselves and others. Though usually not a conscious decision, more faith and trust has been put in the demonic stronghold than in God. The damage caused to ourselves and others by acting under the control of this spirit is a sin against man. The lack of trust and faith in God is a sin against God. Jesus said "You shall love the Lord your God above all else, and your neighbor as yourself" (Matt. 23:37-40). I John 1:9 says: "If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and cleanse us of all unrighteousness". Repentance brings God's forgiveness, which brings cleansing and healing.

Warfare through intimacy with God, praise and worship, and direct confrontation of the enemy is also needed. The enemy is not going to give up his stronghold without a fight--he must be resisted. His influence must be renounced. James 4:8 says "draw near to God, and He will draw near to you". And James 4:7 says "submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you". When submitted to God, we have authority over the devil.

2 Cor 10:3-5 For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war after the flesh:
(For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds;) Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ; (KJV)

When you draw near to God in intimate fellowship, the enemy must leave, for it is written: "no evil dwells with Thee" (Psalm 5:4).

Praise and worship releases God's power to do battle for you (II Chron 20:20-30). This is especially critical when wrestling with principalities and powers.

Finally, in a step often overlooked in many teachings, the Holy Spirit must be sought to "renew the mind" completely in this area (Rom 12:2). Old habit patterns which were established while in bondage must be removed and replaced with a godly pattern. There is usually a period of "reconstruction" after deliverance, while the mind is being renewed. Recognize that this period must take place, and may require a lot of time. Yes, God can and does instantly deliver, but for us to stay in victory, there is more often a progressive work - the transforming work of the Holy Spirit.

This step "fills the void" left by the enemy, preventing a future attack even worse than the original problem:

Matt 12:43-45 "When an evil spirit comes out of a man, it goes through arid places seeking rest and does not find it. Then it says, 'I will return to the house I left.' When it arrives, it finds the house unoccupied, swept clean and put in order.
Then it goes and takes with it seven other spirits more wicked than itself, and they go in and live there. And the final condition of that man is worse than the first" (NIV)


PROGRESSION TO STRONGHOLDS


The progression to a character controlled by a demonic stronghold (here referred to as the "victim") frequently runs as follows:


AN UNHOLY ALLIANCE

The demonic spirits below work interactively to feed and strengthen each other, and prepare the way for other demonic spirits to gain access. Each one constitutes its own stronghold, comprised of many servant spirits; however, they are all allies: they strengthen each other, and often function together as a single stronghold in the victim's life. Remember, all demonic spirits are "flesh feeders"--they gain their foothold and their strength by feeding our carnal nature ("flesh").


REJECTION

This is the point of access most frequently used by the enemy for establishing a demonic stronghold. The spirit of rejection attaches itself to that part of our nature which desires love and acceptance and the need for self-worth. The need for love, acceptance and self-worth is the strongest need of our nature. However, ONLY the love of God can fully satisfy this God-created need for love within each of us. To seek to meet this need by any way other than God makes us vulnerable to demonic attack. In order to gain influence, or to strengthen its influence upon us, the spirit of rejection distorts everything that occurs in our lives into feelings of acceptance or rejection, to keep our focus on ourselves, instead of turning to God for the love we need. It opens the door to many other spirits to gain controlling access to our souls. Paranoia and self-pity are common servants of rejection, and are usually present to some degree.


WITCHCRAFT/REBELLION AND PRIDE

We are all born rebellious and prideful - characteristics of our Adamic or "sin" nature. The spirits of witchcraft, rebellion and pride attach themselves to our natural rebellion and pride to make them stronger. Rebellion often masquerades as "independence", especially in America, which prides itself on "freedom and independence". Pride feeds our ego by telling us we have our "rights", or that we deserve to get our own way. The two work together. Pride causes "wounded spirits" when we are hurt. It works with rejection to change those "wounds" into feelings of rejection. These "wounds" can be intentional or unintentional hurts inflicted by someone, or something these spirits have successfully distorted into a perceived hurt. Please note that witchcraft is a part of this, according to scripture: "Rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft". (I Sam. 15:23).


FEAR

This spirit has always been one of the most powerful in operation in the world. At its root is the fear of death. It has many servants, such as "fear of man", "fear of failure", "fear of authority", "fear of intimacy", etc. (Doubt and unbelief are distrusting spirits of fear.) Its primary purpose is to keep us incapacitated so we will not draw near to God and begin to operate our lives by faith. It works hand in hand with other spirits to strengthen and be strengthened.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

These are the primary tools Satan uses to establish strongholds in our lives. He has been doing it for a long time, and has gotten very good at it. But God has revealed the truth that sets us free, and we have victory over every evil through the blood and the name of Jesus. We are not defenseless!

"No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us.
For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord. (ROM 8:37-39, NIV)



This article was graciously written by and shared with us by Niki. You can visit her website at www.ephraimproject.com


Healing: Objections Answered


The failure of many to receive divine healing over the years have given rise to a whole slew of traditional explanations for why we should not really expect divine healing to happen today. These objections are answered in this article.

Part I - Traditions and Objections

Its pretty clear when you consider certain Scriptures that God wants us well. Healing is part of one of God's own names (Exodus 15:26), and Jesus is the same yesterday, today and forever (Hebrews 13:8). Jesus consistently showed God's mercy and compassion by healing all who came to Him with even a little faith, and the apostles and early church continued this ministry. The prophet Isaiah talked about Jesus bearing our sicknesses and carrying our diseases in his substitutionary atonement for us, and that with his stripes we are healed (see Isaiah 53:4,5). This makes healing part of our salvation purchased at the cross. It makes sense because the words for salvation and healing are the same in the New Testament. David said that the Lord "forgives all your sins and heals all your diseases" (Psalm 103:3) while John wrote that "I wish above all things that you prosper and be in health, even as your soul prospers" (3 John 2). James promised in the case of sick people "the prayer of faith will heal the sick" while Jesus promised that in His name, believers "shall lay hands on the sick and they shall recover" (Mark 16:18). Jesus said that we could speak to any mountain (including sickness) and it will move if we don't doubt. Peter identified sickness clearly as the work of the devil in Acts 10:38, while John said that Jesus came to destroy the works of the devil (1 John 3:8). Taken together, these and other Scriptures make it pretty clear that God wants people well. We have already dealt with the objection that the fact that people don't get healed after prayer proves that it is not God's will to heal in every case. But if all this be so, why do so many still fail to receive healing, even amongst those who seek it through Jesus Christ. There are answers to this question. When we consider them all, it is remarkable that so many do receive healing at all!

It should be pointed out that God can and does act in spite of these barriers to healing. Some are healed without exercising faith themselves - others are healed through God's mercy in spite of lots of factors being against it. God is both Sovereign and Almighty. This means He can and does heal even when people are not really expecting it, or at times when the sick person needs major change in their life or attitudes. We should just praise God and thank Him for the good things He does for us even when its clear we don't deserve it, and we aren't even meeting God's conditions. Truly the Lord IS merciful, and delights in showing favors.

The First Major Reason why Some People Fail to Receive Healing
The Healing Part of the Gospel is hindered and even made void by the traditions of men.
"making the Word of God of no effect through your traditions which you have handed down" (Mark 7:13)

Those who find fault with the phrase "the healing part of the gospel" are amongst those ones who are making the word of God concerning divine healing of absolutely no effect.

God wants to "send his word and heal" people (Psalm 107:20) but instead, and it is very sad, many Bible teachers make void the Word of God through their traditions on the subject, and their skewed interpretations of a few isolated passages of Scripture. They use these interpretations to veto the plain declarations and promises of God concerning healing found in quite a number of passages throughout the Word of God. And as long as people are left with doubts in their minds concerning God's attitude to their diseases, they cannot have steadfast faith to be divinely healed by the direct action of the Holy Spirit. While people "waver between two opinions" on this subject, let them not think that they will receive anything from the Lord, being "double-minded men, unstable in all their ways" (James 1:7,8).

The effect of these traditions is to destroy people's confidence that the Lord will be gracious to them, and that it is really God's desire for them to be healed. They may dare to hope that God will heal them, but if the doctor has said there is no hope, they generally believe what the doctor says. If the Bible said nothing at all about healing, it would not make a scrap of practical difference to such people. Some may hold out hope that somehow, God may sovereignly choose to do some unusual miracle, perhaps by someone with a special gift of healing. However, they have no assurance that God WILL do something, because their theology tells them that God has promised nothing concrete. They believe they will have to wait and see what happens before they know for sure what God's will in their particular case was. This has come about because of the traditions of men which make the word of God of no effect. Here are some of these traditions:

Tradition Number One: The Age of Miracles is past

Conservative evangelicals disagree as to when the Holy Spirit stopped working miracles. Some say it was with the death of the apostles, while others say it was when the canon of Scripture was put together and people could get the entire Holy Bible. This is based on an interpretation of 1 Corinthians 13:8-12 which sees the Bible as "the perfect". When "the perfect comes", that which in part will be done away with. So tongues and prophecy will cease. But so will partial knowledge (vs 8). If any conservative evangelicals are willing to say their knowledge is not partial but is complete, I would be interested to ask them a few questions of my own! But if it is partial, then "the perfect" has still not come, despite the fact that we can now line our bookshelves with various different translations of the Word of God, with all their alternate readings.

Another thing about when the perfect comes: We shall then see "face to face" (vs 12). We are not all seeing Jesus face to face now. We get glimpses of who He is - through the Word, by the Spirit, in fellow Christians - but we don't generally see Him face to face. It is clear that "the perfect" in the context of 1 Corinthians 13 has nothing to do with the Canon of Scripture, but rather with the consummation of the Kingdom of God at the time of the Second Coming of Christ. Only then will we see "face to face". Only then will we know fully, and only then will tongues and prophecy (and partial knowledge) cease. In the meantime, thank God for your Bibles and continue to eagerly desire spiritual gifts, as the Word of God commands you (1 Corinthians 14:1).

It was unbelief and sin in the ecclesiastical hierarchy that caused the gifts of the Spirit and the working of healings and miracles to be almost, but not entirely crushed. If they managed to totally obscure the doctrine of salvation by their traditions, it is no wonder if they obscured and confused the truth about divine healing and the use of the gifts of the Holy Spirit. Let the teachings and practices of the Reformers themselves also be judged by the Word of God! It is clear that they did not go all the way. It has been a long road back to the restoration of apostolic Christianity, and we are still not totally there.

Historically, God has continued to work miracles through people who believe that He will. The writings of the early church fathers confirm that many healings and exorcisms were taking place well into the 5th century and beyond. You can now search these writings by computer and quickly verify that this is the case, if you so desire. Other bright lights in church history, such as the Waldensians or even St. Francis of Assissi show that God was still willing to use consecrated people to show his mercy and power.

Any time God answered a prayer with a result that would not have happened otherwise, a miracle took place. The whole idea that the Age of Miracles has passed away is an insult to the Holy Spirit. It is to mock prayer today. This particular tradition of men, that the Age of Miracles has passed away, should be treated by all thinking people with the contempt it deserves. It is neither historically nor biblically accurate.

Tradition Number Two:

While patience in suffering is certainly commendable, this passage tells us what the "thorn in the flesh was". Paul himself says that it was "a messager [Gk: angelos] of Satan to buffet him". This means Paul's "thorn in the flesh" was really a person - most likely a fallen angel of Satan.

The use of the word "thorn" is obviously symbolic. We can see that also in the book of Joshua it referred to a harassing person or people. When Joshua told the Israelites that if they make peace with the Canaanites they would be "scourges on your sides and thorns in your eyes" (Joshua 23:13) he meant that they would be harassed and attacked by them. We should not make too much of the fact that the thorn was "in the flesh", just as we would not draw too many conclusions about the location of the problem if we heard someone being described as "a pain in the neck", or, to use the Old Testament expression "a thorn in the eyes".

Therefore the most likely conclusion is that Paul was at some time in his ministry under intense demonic attack. These attacks may at times have produced physical discomfort and weakness, since Paul mentions "infirmities" in 2 Cor. 12:10. But he also mentions "reproaches", "needs", "persecutions" and "distresses" - all of which were likely also to be the results of this demonic angel stirring up trouble for Paul.

This view is in line with the text itself. The thorn was given lest Paul be exalted above measure by the abundance of the revelations. God did not want Paul to become haughty, arrogant or puffed up by the great revelation knowledge he received. Therefore he permitted Paul to get into circumstances where he would need to continue to depend on God and His power, and not on what Paul already knew and understood. Our true wisdom is to humble ourselves before the Lord and receive His help against our spiritual enemies who can stir up much trouble for us at times.

One thing is clear. Paul's "thorn", however distressing it may have been at times, did not prevent him from engaging in "labours more abundant" (2 Cor. 11:23). Are some of those who are claiming to have a thorn like Paul's using their thorn as an excuse for not being able to work hard for the Lord? Are the exhortations to "be prepared for every good work", to "be careful to maintain good works" and to be "always abounding in the work of the Lord" only applicable to Christians without "thorns"?

Paul's thorn did not cause those on the island of Malta to have doubts concerning divine healing (Acts 28:8,9). While teaching on Paul's thorn by many modern preachers has destroyed the confidence and expectation of believers that God shall heal them by his power, it was not so in Paul's day. The words and works of Paul were doubtless in line with the testimony of the whole of the Word of God, which we are told is "medicine for all our flesh" (Prov. 4:22).

If a Christian is convinced that God has given him a sickness, a "thorn" for character development or any other purpose, then surely it would be wrong for them to go to the doctors to seek to have the "thorn" removed!

God wanted Paul here to humble himself and get more grace from God, so that he could overcome these demonic assaults. Indeed, the Christian life will have many battles with evil spirits. By humbling ourselves we receive grace from God to not only live patiently and righteously in these trials, but also to rebuke them and eventually clear the demonic opposition out of our path, no matter how strong and persistent it may seem to be.

In conclusion, Paul's thorn was a fallen angel, not a sickness as such. And although there may be various demonic attacks on our bodies and our situation, this does not change the fact that God's intention for us is to overcome these things through faith and patience and receive the fulfillment of the promises He has made to us concerning healing and every other problem. In the midst of these attacks we are supposed to gain spiritual strength. We are not supposed to just let the devil walk all over us.

Tradition Number Three:

The will of God is shown by what happens, since nothing and no one can resist God's will. But since many are not healed, it is obviously NOT God's will to heal all

.

I have dealt with this insidious tradition here in my article "How Can We Know the Will of God in Divine Healing".

Tradition Number Four:
The Promises of Healing were only for the Old Testament - We Cannot Claim them Today

When Paul wrote to the Corinthians, "For all the promises of God in Him are Yes, and in Him Amen, to the glory of God through us." (2 Corinthians 1:20) very little of the New Testament had as yet been written. Paul could not have been referring strictly to the New Testament. The use of the Word 'all' is very inclusive - it has to include the Old Testament promises. The apostles frequently quoted the Old Testament in their councils and teachings. So all the promises in the Old Testament ARE for believers today. As long as you are "in Christ", you qualify. Further, when you receive the fulfillment of these promises, it will be "to the glory of God". People will glorify God when they see evidence of Him doing what His Word promises.

It is true that we are no longer under the Old Testament Law of Moses. But not one of God's promises have been abrogated. So if God said, "If you diligently hearken to the voice of the Lord your God … I will not put on you … diseases … for I am the Lord who heals you" (Exodus 15:26) , then this verse is the voice of God to us today, if only we will believe it. Of course, if you don't believe it, you can't really expect it to work for you.

Tradition Number Five:
God Sometimes Wants to Chasten His Obedient Children with Sickness and Disease

"For whom the Lord loves, he chasteneth, and scourges every son whom He receives" (Hebrews 12:6)
''not discerning the Lord's body. For this reason many are weak and sick among you, and many sleep. For if we would judge ourselves, we would not be judged. But when we are judged, we are chastened by the Lord, that we may not be condemned with the world." (1 Corinthians 11:30-32)

An obedient Christian pays attention to the Word of God. God does not train his obedient children with sickness, but rather with His Word. He teaches by His Spirit and by His Word wherever possible. If a human parent administered a deadly infection to their child as a punishment for disobedience, they could be reported to the government and locked up for child abuse. God is not a child abuser.

Sometimes our ignorance of God's Word can leave us especially exposed to negative things like sickness. God said that His "people are destroyed for lack of knowledge". (Hosea 4:6).

When it comes to God's scourging, God does not scourge us for our obedience, but for our disobedience. God promised healing to the Israelites if they would hearken to His Word and obey Him (Exodus 15:26). If Christians refuse to do that, if they refuse to listen to the Word of God, or if they dishonor the sacrifice of Jesus, as the Corinthians did in the way they abused the Lord's Supper, then God may permit his own children to be exposed to the attacks of the devil, including sickness, as a kind of judgment. God himself does not directly afflict his children but may permit Satan to attack them, as happened in the case of Job.

But if a Christian is sincerely seeking God, he should not be tempted to see his sickness as God's method of chastisement, but rather, as an unwelcome invasion of satanic power. The Christian should take hold of the Word of God and use faith to rebuke the devil, just as the Israelites, after turning to God, were able to drive out their enemies. Disobedience against God, however, shuts down real faith.

God will not permit sickness on a believer for just any reason. The Corinthians were guilty of not discerning the Lord's body. Since it is "by his stripes we are healed" the Corinthians were undermining their own position to receive healing from God. Just as the blood of Jesus washes away our sin, the Body of Christ broken for us makes a provision of divine healing. Let us not ignore that fact.

If anyone prefers to hold onto their sin, including the sin of unbelief, it will be painful enough. In any case, its not God's desire for people to be sick - but for them to turn and be healed.

Another tradition that is responsible for thousands dying a premature death after years of physical agony is:

Tradition Number Six:
We can glorify God more by remaining sick and exhibiting patience than we can by being divinely healed.

Without a doubt those who spread this idea are well-intentioned, seeking to find some sort of meaning in what would otherwise seem like the senseless suffering of God's children. It follows on pretty naturally from the idea that since God is omnipotent, He must have a good reason for not stepping in and helping His own children who are lying there in agony. As long as we believe there is nothing we can do about it, and that "what is" is an expression of God's will, this tradition seems to make sense. However, the idea that God planned these things for His own greater glory is not biblical. In the New Covenant, and under the ministry of Jesus, it was divine healing, not human patience in sickness that caused God the greatest glory.

In the words of F.F. Bosworth:

"An honest but unenlightened minister will often kneel at the bedside of one suffering with arthritis or cancer or some other dangerous disease an pray, 'Lord, since in Thy loving providence Thou hast seen fit to lay Thine afflicting hand upon our dear sister, give her fortitude and patience to bear this affliction.' This he does instead of obeying the plain command to anoint 'any sick' in the church and to pray 'the prayer of faith' for their healing (James 5:14)."

"Now, if it is true, as many are taught, that one can glorify God more by remaining sick than by being healed, then Jesus did not hesitate to rob His Father of all the glory He possibly could by healing everyone that appealed to Him for help during His entire earthly ministry."

And when you think about it, Paul must have robbed God of a lot of glory by healing all the sick on the island of Malta in Acts 28. Why did he do that, if he could have taught the people to remain sick for the greater glory of God? And why did God allow Peter to minister healing to the multitudes on the streets of Jerusalem (Acts 5:15,16) if people could glorify God better by remaining in their sickness. It just doesn't make sense.

Another question to ask is this: if people really believe they can glorify God better by remaining sick, why do they go to the doctors to try to get well? They spend a lot of God's money on medical treatments, when it could have been given to missions! Why do this, if God can be glorified more through our sickness than through our health? We should love and prefer the glory of God to our own comfort, should we not? You see that people are not really consistent in this matter - they accept this tradition to comfort themselves when they see no alternative to staying in their sick condition.

It is not sickness, but rather miraculous healing that causes people to glorify God, and the Scriptures make this clear in several places.

An example of this could be found in the story of the healing of the paralytic in Mark 2:1-12, where "all were amazed and glorified God, saying, "We never saw anything like this!". Similarly in Acts 3, where Peter and John ministered healing to the man at the gate of the temple, not only he (vs 8) but also "all" glorified God for what was done (vs 21). There are plenty of examples to show that God gets lots of glory when people are healed. Sickness is a common to fallen man and you will find plenty of Hindus and Muslims who bear it pretty patiently, because really, they don't have a lot of choice after a while. I don't see anything amazing in a Christian doing the same thing - and it certainly won't startle the world into considering the claims of Christ. Miraculous demonstrations of the power of God in healing, on the contrary, do cause people to consider Christ. And if they don't there is something wrong with the way we are doing it.

Objections to the Doctrine of Divine Healing
Objection Number One:
Paul and his team were sickly - so this is what God wants.

It is true that Paul at times was physically weak (Galatians 4:13; 2 Corinthians 12:10). Epaphroditus, a co-worker of Paul was sick at one stage, but God had mercy on him and healed him (Php 2:25-30). Timothy was instructed to "use a little wine for his stomach's sake and his frequent infirmities" (1 Timothy 5:23) and Trophimus Paul left in Miletus sick (2 Tim. 4:20). What can we make of all this?

These passages were included in the word of God to guard us against extreme positions and harsh judgments against those who at some points in their lives may have battles with sickness. The fact is, we live in a fallen world and the Kingdom of God has not been fully manifested. At times Christians, especially front-line missionaries may have to battle with sickness brought on by such factors as overwork, poor quality nutrition or water supplies, or demonic attack. God never guarantees that our prayers for the healing of others will have immediate visible results. In the case of Trophimus, Paul could not wait until the manifestation of healing came, because he had kingdom work to do and it was time to move on. God healed Epaphroditus and none of these men died of sickness as far as we know.

We must look after our bodies in the natural sense and not abuse them even in times of revival. Otherwise they may wear out and we will die before the time. God expects us to use wisdom and not to work ourselves to death or eat poorly if we have the opportunity to protect our health by eating well in moderation.

There may still be times when Christians, even spiritually advanced Christians, will struggle with demonic attacks on their health. But God has given us His word and His promises concerning healing. So we have a "sword" to fight with and God expects us at times to fight. The reality is that battles are not always won instantaneously, but that is no reason to give up the fight, to give up hope or to cast away our confidence or the confession of our hope.

The truth is that Paul often exprerienced the supernatural strengthening of God in his body in order to complete his mission. How else could he have got up and preached in the city immediately after he had been left for dead by those who stoned him outside the city (Acts 14:19,20)? After so many beatings with rods in which the bones of his feet were likely broken in many places, how could he continue his travels? Paul also knew the supernatural intervention of God in divine healing - and we should expect it too if we are serving the Lord

. Objection Number Two:
But 'so-and-so' died believing that God would heal him.

This objection has power with people who base their theology more on what they observe than what they read in the Bible. We should not judge the Word of God by experiences of others. Better to judge the experiences by the Word of God.

Who is to say that a sincere and godly Christian person cannot have doubts in respect of some promise of God? Even John the Baptist doubted that Jesus was the Messiah, after being thrown into prison for some time. Bad circumstances can and often do quench the faith of even the strongest believers. Only God knows what is in the heart of any person. There can be real trust in God, combined with a hope for healing, but this does not imply a steadfast faith for healing based on a conviction of God's promise. With all the good will in the world, there may be other factors at work that we do not understand. We cannot say for sure what was happening. The secret things belong to the Lord our God. What is revealed, the promises and declarations of God on the subject - these belong to us. (see Deuteronomy 29:29). We are supposed to act on our faith regardless of the disappointments some have had.

Objection Number Three:
If Divine Healing were true, no Christian would ever die

There are plenty of ways to die besides sickness. Martyrdom is one. Sometimes accidents happen. A leading preacher here in India died of a motorcycle accident a few days before the time of writing of this article. God is well able to take someone's spirit when their allotted days are over, without them first succumbing to the ravages of disease.

The ideal situation is that the Christian experiences total victory over sickness until death. The reality is, not many achieve it. But this is not the greatest tragedy. Neither is the battle for health the most important battle we could fight. Far better to aim our struggles against pride, unbelief and sin, than to aim simply to maintain our own health.

This objection is another one that is based on observations of common human experience. It isn't based on the Word of God.

Objection Number Four:
It is Offensive to Imply that People are Sick because of their Own Lack of Faith

It is important to note that very sincere and godly people sometimes succumb to extended periods of sickness, often chronic sickness they take with them to their graves. It has been noted above that Christians are not immune to attacks on their health - even Paul's team had them. But this does not abrograte the Scriptures indicating God wants people well.

There are many reasons why some fail to receive healing - some of which are covered in this article. It is not the purpose of God that anyone take the doctrine of divine healing and turn it into a kind of club with which to condemn people who are sick. It is regrettable where this is done. The sick are generally no more guilty of unbelief in this regard than those who are well. Furthermore, it is possible to have very strong faith in one area of God's promises and to have little or no faith in another. This could be due to the kind of teaching a person has received over the years.

Let the issue about divine healing be decided on the basis of the Word of God first, not emotionally laden arguments. If ministers of the gospel had enough faith to raise even those with no faith at all to a state of perfect health, the objections would vanish. The objective of teaching divine healing is to lay a solid foundation for faith. Would those who take offense be happier if all the Scriptures indicating that healing is God's will be taken out of the Bible, so they can feel better for those who are sick? Would such an attitude please the Holy Spirit?

Throughout the New Testament record, we see that Jesus Christ was not afraid to rebuke people for their lack of faith. In Matthew 17, the disciples failed to cast a demon out of a boy. Now if some conservative evangelicals of today were there, they probably would have said that this failure on the part of the disciples proves it was not God's will for the boy to be healed. They would have taken sides with the Pharisees and teachers of the Law who were arguing there with the disciples. But when Jesus came down from the mountain and healed the boy, he proved that it was God's will by getting the boy healed! Why not make theology out of this? The fact is, it is God's will to heal even those whom we fail to effectively minister healing to.

In the case in point, Jesus first he had to challenge the father of the boy with respect to his own unbelief (see Luke 9:37-42, Mark 9:14-29). Wanting to believe and hoping for a good result are not enough. Jesus put some responsibility on the father of the boy to express faith for his own son. The same applies today where people bring people to the Lord for help, who are unable to help themselves.

Furthermore, in that particular incident, Jesus is on record as calling those present "an unbelieving and perverted generation" (Matthew 17:17). Jesus told the disciples the root cause of their failure was "unbelief" (vs 20). They did not pray and fast enough to have the faith to deal with that kind of demon (vs 21 - N.B. this verse was taken out of the NIV). So Jesus rebuked unbelief then. Now if Jesus Christ wanted to rebuke unbelief in his disciples today, would we all be justified in taking offense? The fact is, plenty of Christians ignore the whole example of Jesus Christ when it comes to healing, and prefer rather to believe the false traditions of the Church which make the Word of God on the subject of none effect. How all this must grieve the heart of God.

Michael Fackerell

This article was graciously shared by Mike Fackrell and you can visit his site at: Christian - Faith.com


Strategic Intercession


All of us are called to pray without ceasing (1 Thessalonians 5:17). We are called to pray always and not lose heart (Luke 18:1). Yet God is ALSO interested in the quality and effectiveness of our prayer lives.

All of us are called to pray without ceasing (1 Thessalonians 5:17). We are called to pray always and not lose heart (Luke 18:1). Yet God is ALSO interested in the quality and effectiveness of our prayer lives.

Jesus taught us to pray, "Thy Kingdom come. Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven." The most effective prayers then are those that bring a manifestation of God's will as revealed in the Scriptures to the situations on earth.

God wants none to perish and be lost. The Scriptures says that God "desires all men to be saved and come to a knowledge of the truth" (1 Timothy 2:4). The Lord is "not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance." (2 Peter 3:9)

People do perish however for lack of heart knowledge of God. Even in places where the gospel is broadcast, such as America, Satan operates by blinding the minds of unbelievers so they cannot see perceive the truth.

"But even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing, whose minds the god of this age has blinded, who do not believe, lest the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine on them." (2 Corinthians 4:4).

Remember that the weapons God has given us are "to cast down every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought captive to the obedience of Christ".

Strategic intercession then pursues God for the lost, seeking that the major barriers in people's thinking, the spiritual powers that people have yielded to which are against Christ, be removed. We can only hope to do this by following God's instructions, which the Bible gives us concerning these matters.

"Therefore I exhort first of all that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks be made FOR ALL MEN, for kings and all who are in authority, that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and reverence. For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior, who desires all men to be saved and come to a knowledge of the truth." (1 Timothy 2:1-4)

This passage gives the strategy for taking a community for God. To mobilise the church for this task however, requires that the leadership unite around Christ and a passion for his glory. Intellectual strivings must give way to spiritual strivings in prayer against demonic power.

We all told to pray for ALL MEN. I submit that this is not telling us to pray generally, but specifically, and individually, for all men.

Let's say we live in a community where 3% of the population are true Christians. What is needed is to mobilise this 3% to pray for all the other 97% by name. The 3% would have to pray for about 33 different people each to have everyone covered by prayer. Before long, 5%, 8%, 10%, 15%, 25% of the population will be born again, since prayer is powerful. If the prayer movement continues, the 25% can bombard heaven persistently for the remaining 75% continuously. Each person would only have to pray for another 3 different unsaved people and they would be covered in prayer, and get a real opportunity to respond to God's message. The satanic powers which normally bind their minds would be bound themselves by the prayers of the saints.

To achieve this goal, Christian leaders must embrace it and promote it. Everything that grieves the Spirit of God must be given up. In particular, we have to give up the love of money to be involved in this vision. The love of money is one major reason church groups cannot co-operate effectively. Money represents power and influence by natural ability. Churches with lots of money can construct bigger facilities, invite more popular speakers who attract crowds, operate more programs to help the community, and attract more attention to themselves. Church leaders will sometimes subtly fight for property, money, and influence over the existing pool of Christians in the community. Church leaders are often wanting to get to the position where "one day they will come to me". This kind of thinking needs to be given up if we are to major on doing what the Bible says - praying for and then talking with everyone in our communities, including the civic leaders.

We should pray for the unity of church leaders and pastors in a city. When they unite, they can then go to the civic authorities as a united voice and ask them what problems they are having in government that need God's intervention. God delights to get involved in answering such prayers, and it can open many effective avenues into a city.

Identifying Key Strongholds in an area

This can be done simply by getting out, noticing what the people are reading and looking at in mass popular culture, and identifying how these influences might be hindering people from knowing God and wanting to do His will. In prayer, God can reveal the spiritual strongholds over a community of people.

Binding the devil

Jesus gave his people the authority to bind the works of the devil (Matthew 18:18). To do this we must be in unity with one another, having dealt with issues between us according to Matthew 18:15-17. This is more difficult than it sounds. But to the extent that our unity is compromised there will be holes in our own armour through which satanic fiery darts can penetrate.

We must also renounce the works of the devil in our own lives, especially in the areas where we seek to bind the devil off the lives of others. For example, I cannnot bind the spirit of lust in a community if I am reading pornography. I cannot bind the spirit of violence if I hate those who have wronged me in the church. You cannot bind the spirit of apathy concerning spiritual things while you remain committed to wasting a few hours per day watching the television, playing computer games or listening to music that distracts you from what God is saying.

We need to humble ourselves and obey Christ from the heart before our prayers can have influence to neutralise satanic power within our community. The Spirit of God will lead us in our own journey of repentance as we seek to intercede strategically for others. Sometimes, we may be led to confess the sins of our community as the prophet Daniel did, not saying "they have sinned", but rather, "we have sinned". Daniel did this even though he himself seems to have lived a very blameless life of devotion to God and faithfulness in his responsibilities.

Scriptural Strategies

Apart from these fundamentals, the Lord may lead groups of intecessors to do what seems like strange things - for example, walking around the city, praying over various places, praising God, declaring certain Old Testament passages out loud as prophetic judgments over the dark powers at work in a city. We must be willing to be led by the Lord in these things. However, all this becomes meaningless if we aren't committed first to living a consistent life in the presence of the Lord, where we pray for others - calling upon the Lord both for our Christian brethren and for those who are yet to know the truth about Jesus Christ. We ourselves would achieve far more if we restrained our tongues from speaking evil of other Christians who may have wronged us, or who don't agree with us, and instead, seek to walk in mercy towards others as Christ encourages us to do. Amazing things happen to those Christians who seek to remain conscious of the presence of God and wait on Him for instruction.

Be a man or woman of prayer. And please pray for spiritual leaders in your city.

This and other articles like this can be found at Spiritual-warfare.net

Shake your fist at God?

There is an accusation from the members of the Body of Christ asserting "contempt" to those who preach that you should "demand" your rights from Heaven by quoting a Bible verse in the face of God and demand He fulfill His promise. I agree. You cannot "demand" the Hand of God move, but you can understand He wants to move His Hand on our behalf. Corrie Ten Boom often raised her Bible to the Lord, pointed at a verse, a promise, and reminded the Lord of His promise. He answered.

There are conditions that must be met before God will answer on request. One must abide in Christ. That means to live in Him. Not in the world part of the day and in Him part of the night. We must live in Him day and night, moment by moment. You must become one with Him, where His breath is your breath. If He does not breath, neither do you. This is abiding in Him. We cannot do it on our own. He has to bring us to Him. He calls us, and we yield to Him. Casting our whole lives, thoughts, and heart onto Him. Then, one can understand the relationship between Jesus and His Beloved. The Beloved does not have to "demand" from a willing Master. It is the Master's joy to respond.

Some of the most wonderful experiences of seeing the Lord move on behalf of His children are missed by over-Skeptical and fearful Christians who do not like what they hear from hyper, sweating, prancing preachers shaking their fist into the air and bellowing war threats at the devil. For a fundamentalist to turn on the TV and see this type of preacher, they are turned off after just a few minutes. It is a culture shock. It is a culture that is not accepted as being valid. The group of "holy rollers" appear repulsive the "pew sitters." It is a culture war. Look at Benny Hinn. He prances; he won't allow people to talk freely on the stage, and he is very controlling. People come up onto the stage and fall down. How strange to someone who is not familiar with this type of meeting.

But, what if....

What if there is something of God in these ministries. Are all those people, averaging 20,000 people per month per city where Benny does a crusade, are they all wrong? Might we look a little deeper into these ministries?

Try recording the Benny Hinn shows all week. Set it up with the VCR and tape them. Mute the TV. Fast forward through the teaching. Keep the music off during the miracle services so that "emotions" cannot be played upon. Watch the actual healings. Watch those who fall down. Rewind. Watch the groups of teenagers fall down. Watch Benny's hands. He does not touch them. He does wave, and the people fall down. Watch more. Watch the feet lift from the floor. No way a man is doing this. It is a spirit. A powerful spirit. You can see the evidence. See it again. The man's feet went two feet up as he was thrust backwards. A spirit is affecting the natural. You cannot see the spirit, but you can see the evidence.

What spirit?

Now is the time to go and review the teaching. Open your Bible and test the scriptures Benny teaches. Go back and review the tapes of the miracle services again. Listen to the people who are healed. Test their testimonies.

Have your pastor explain why Benny Hinn is so evil.

Are the reported healings the result of emotionalism?

What of the ones that have doctor reports and testimonial proof of those who know them in everyday life?

People will testify they are healed and then die. Why? What was their whole story?

Some preachers illud to accusing that if you are not healed then you don't have enough faith. Who are these people?

Many preachers preach healing is for today.

Many Christians testify healing is for today. Just as many people say healing is past. Who is right?

You are going to have to seek that answer. You are going to have to know for yourself. I know you love your pastor, but, you are going to have to do your own homework and praying and studying. You are not being honest to your pastor if you just accept his teaching without testing it for yourself. What if God does heal today? What if your pastor is sick and the Lord wants him to continue preaching for more years on this earth.

Do you know what it is to be a pastor and have the issue of healing put on your desk. You are forced into a whole bunch of issues all at once. Pressures rise at the speed of tidal wave.

If you are a skeptic and he is the one who taught you that miracles are not for today, then you will be the first one to reject him if he was to announce he believes healing is for today. Rejection is an awful thing. If you reject him, so will most of the church, including the deacon board. Soon, the whole convention will reject him. Sometimes it would easier to die a slow death with the promise of Jesus on the other side of the Jordan than to bring up the issue of "maybe God heals today."

Nevertheless, what if...

What if God does heal today at the touch of His ministers?

What if the touch of a minister upon a single head would cast the sickness out of the body?

What if people do rise up and walk?

What if people are cured from blindness by the prayer of a single person who "claims" to have the gift of healing?

Maybe you are fine in your beliefs. Maybe sickness is just a part of life for you and you have learned to accept it as a part of living on this earth. But ... what if those in your family could be cured in the years to come. What if your grandchild becomes sick with no hope and you are watching you son or daughter be tormented day and night with the pain of it all.

Ever whisper quietly, "God, you are so good. Why does all this evil hurt Your children?" Be still. Listen. Might He lead you to test the spirit of healing?

What if God heals today? What are you and those you love missing?

Jesus said in John 10:38, "...though ye believe not me, believe the works: that ye may know, and believe, that the Father is in me, and I in him."

Believe the works...
... that you may know.

What if Jesus is still saying this today? Why wouldn't the gift be for you too?


War in the Ranks ... The Rambo Spirit

The rambo spirit attaches itself to a "super-duper" Christian (filled with pride) and uses that Christian to assault you. How? This spirit appears to 'leap over tall buildings in a single bound," tear down strong holds that no one else has been able to touch, and cast out any demon at a moment's notice. All these are great -- except if in the wake of a rambo spirit you are left feeling like a peon, insufficient in your faith, a worthless warrior... etc. I want to share with you some characteristics of the rambo spirit.

Authority and Responsibility

As we are growing in the Lord, if we refuse the responsibility the Lord assigns for us, we refuse the authority He would give with the responsibility. If we do not pay our dues, we are not a member. If we do not walk the walk, our words will only be empty and vain, and likely to used against other Christians.

The Lord says that He has called many, but few are chosen. His desire is for many to walk in the authority He desires to give, but too often, the authority we think we have is nothing more than a "pea shooter" in a spiritual world of nuclear weapons. We must know our sphere of authority.

There is a lie within the Body of Christ, a delusion spread across the ranks. Privates in the army of God think they are Captains. Cooks think they are strategists. These soldiers take the Words of Christ, "I give you all authority" and spread them into every area. Sometimes they spread them into your area and assault you with their super spirituality by appearing to cast out demons in your life that you have not been able to cast out

They come into your church or home, shut demonic doors that have plagued you for months, and act as if it was as easy as one, two, three. Where indeed, there is a real authority to do this for you, there is also a false authority that counterfeits the real. The counterfeit always leaves its victims feeling less than spiritual, inadequate, and does nothing to help you grow in your own God ordained place of authority. Then later, the 'mighty spiritual deliverer' can be heard boasting about how he or she shut the demonic doors at such and such church, but then , the congregation failed to keep them shut.

How does the rambo spirit attack?

Imagine yourself being in a fox hole facing the enemy day and night. You are weary and it seems like you are losing ground. You have been wounded over and over again. Each wound seems to heal a little slower. You get to the point where you feel that if you could have the enemy cleared off for just one time, you could take over and keep the enemy off the front you are assigned to keep clean. In walks rambo, saves the day, and then goes on to fight the war for other weaker Christians.

In appearances, for a time, it may seem that rambo has indeed saved the day. The enemy is silent and peace appears to surround your circumstances. But then, you begin to ask yourself, "Why couldn't I do that?" "What is wrong with me?" "Will I ever have that level of authority?" "Maybe I will always have to be rescued." These questions are the second wave of the rambo spirit.

The goal is the set you off track from your original battle. If you climb back down into your foxhole and take out your binoculars to scan the area, you will find the enemy is crouched behind a rock, reading off of a list the things that are wrong with you. Very impersonal, just a list that has been read down the centuries to many faithful Christians. It just whispers into the air and the vague small voice is picked up as your own.

Take a closer look at the list. Zoom in and examine the rote sentences. These are the same words that were whispered to our great leaders in the faith. They, at one time, also zoomed in and saw the writings. About this time, anger should begin to rise inside of you. You are now just about ready for the real war.

Let's review and take an honest look at your situation.

You were assigned a fox hole by the Commander. He said to take courage, that He has overcome the world. He also tells you that you will have tribulation. So, you eagerly take your post. Over time, the floor of your foxhole is filled with the tears of your pain, the blood from your back, and the walls are covered with your sweat. The Commander has been watching your every move. He has seen you rise up and continue watching when you thought you had no more strength to give. Then He gave you His strength.

When you thought you were going to be overrun this time for sure, at the last moment, the enemy turned and receded back for a day. Some days were so long that you panted for the sun to set so you could get just a little rest. Maybe there was a time of relief, when you went on R and R (Rest and Relaxation.. leave) for a few days, but the thought of returning to duty was almost too much to bear.

You cry to the Commander for help and He issues His command to 'trust Him and to take courage.' But, these Words give little peace. It takes every effort to respect the Commander and not stomp the Words into the ground. But, instead, you respectively post them on the wall.

Hey, warrior, let me tell you, the Commander is building inside of you a true Rambo. On His command, one day soon, He will lead you out of that foxhole and into a charge against the enemy that will unleash all the passion of your spirit ... destroying the whole enemy camp. You will have gained the Commander's authority. You will have paid the dues. You will have accepted the responsibility and accepted the authority. You will not be yelling, "I have the authority," You will be the authority.

The enemy may have come against you as a single unit, and may have set up a stronghold against you. But when the command came to advance, you were able to rise up in the authority the Lord has given you with the passion of your spirit that has been toned and strengthened into His Character ... then the enemy will flee from you seven ways to Sunday.

Now what?

Now that your enemy is wiped out, and this assignment is complete. You close up your foxhole and move on toward your next assignment. On the way, you come across another soldier in a foxhole. This soldier exhibits that same symptoms you have just lived through. Your heart melts with compassion. You know the battle. You climb down into the foxhole and begin to ask questions about the other person's assignment, about the victories and the losses. The two of you analyze and seek the Commander's evaluation records to see where there might be a weakness. The two of you dive into the Soldier's Manual to see what strategies the Commander has written for this type of battle.

You are sensitive. You watch the other soldier's eyes and test the strength of the soldier's inner man. You know when they are ready to rise up and assault the enemy, not too soon, and not too late. And then, at that right moment, when the Commander shouts "Go," you both rise and storm the enemy. You took the responsibility and also took the authority offered by the Lord to assist your buddy. You know the game, you assisted in the pain.

Here are some questions for you to consider...

Why would our Commander give one soldier the single handed authority over the enemy when He is in the process of training another soldier how to battle?

Wouldn't our Commander want the soldier walking by to help the warring soldier by lift up their feeble knees and assisting instead of taking over? By this, all are strengthened and grow.

One of the key elements we have to watch for is compassion. The rambo spirit does not walk with a compassion for you. If it means climbing down into your sweaty foxhole... forget it, or sharing your tears... no way. Even though there appears to be a change after the rambo spirit has come and left, it is just an illusion.

It is in the spirit of a man where the Lord places Himself and His authority. True compassion is found in the spirit. "And Christ had compassion on them and healed them all." Compassion unlocks the power He gives. That is one reason we fight the "cold heart," so that we may remain effective for our Master.

Please do not be moved by the rambo spirit. It is important to recognize when this spirit has afflicted you. It is also important not to partake in its agenda. If you are in a battle now, take courage, our commander will strengthen you to do battle. Please do not take any imitations of His deliverance. There will come a day when the Commander will awe you by coming to your rescue and then give you a taste of His cool, clean, and clear water where you will never thirst again.



The mind is a great battle field. Thoughts are something that some may never pay attention to, which will often give the enemy free access to this "land" and he will seek to overtake it. It is in our thoughts that the enemy plants seeds of doubt, unbelief, and any thoughts that will turn your eyes from our Lord Jesus.

Are you sometimes in prayer and struggle with keeping your thoughts focused on what you are reading and talking with the Lord about? Do you sometimes have thoughts that horrify you and you ask where did that come from? Know this, having thoughts that are "terrible" does not make you terrible. After learning the truth in His Word about your thoughts and what you should do, and you still fail to take them captive, that is when you begin to come into disobedience.

What do you do? First, you must ask the Lord to help you to bring your attention to the thoughts. Then ask Him to give you the ability to discern your thoughts as to whether they are given from God, or sent by the adversary to turn you away from Him.

All thoughts that go against the Word of God, are not from God. When you ask God to begin to show you your thoughts, He will begin to show you, not only the ones that glorify Him, but the ones that oppose Him such as thoughts of pride, selfishnes, lust, greed and others. Bad thoughts are like a "worm virus" in a computer. If allowed to stay and not brought under subjection to God and His Word, the whole system will begin to shut down, little by little. At first you may have a thought that "it is okay that I don't pray today. I am in a hurry. God will understand."

The path is started and if you allow it to continue, each day, something more will be added to that and before long the thought of not praying at all will not bother you. You have allowed the enemy to turn you from your very source of communication with the Master.

Once the adversary gets the hint that you have submitted your thoughts to the Lord, he will do everything in his power to bombard you. But this is something you should not fear. Look at this as a great opportunity to watch the power of the Word of God work to subdue all the thoughts that oppose God. God is the Victor. Yield yourself to Him. He wins.

The verse of scripture that this is based on is in 2 Cor 10: 4,5.

"For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds, (5) casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ."

The following is a weapon to use in the battle. Speak this out loud. By doing this you are asking the Lord to wash your thoughts of all that is not His. By His Name we are given the authority to bring our thoughts under the submission of God.

In the Name of Jesus I bring every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of Christ and bring it into captivity to the Lord Jesus Christ. I bring all vain and unfounded opinions of myself and others and any thought that says that I do not need the provision of God into captivity. By doing this, all strongholds of pride and sin will be demolished like the throwing down of a city wall. All my plans, purposes of my soul, reasonings, imaginations and all the powers of the mind will be taken captive and led into triumph by the good news of salvation of Jesus Christ. Jesus you are the great Captain. In Your Name the battle is waged and in Your power the victory is won. For every power of thought, pupose of the soul, powers of reason, memory, and judgment, I bring under the obedience of Christ. For all things are made for You, under Your authority, and subject to your control. I bring all the plans I have for my life, all my emotions and feelings I bring under subjection to You, my all-conquering Redeemer.

(Prayer based on Barnes commentary of 2 Cor 10:5)


Why Doesn't God Tell Us BeforeHand?

Acts Chapter 12:1
King Herod stretched his hand forth to afflict, oppress, and torment the church.

1 Chron 21:1
"Satan stood up against Israel and stirred up David to number Israel."

The devil was the force behind King Herod, stirring him up to move against the church. In 1 Chron 21, we see how David, a godly king, could be stirred and moved by the devil's suggestions and passions to destroy God's people, how much more so the devil able to stir up and ungodly king?

War -- out and out war is what it is! Joe Beam, in Seeing the Unseen, suggests that Acts 12:7 shows an Angel striking Peter in his side to wake Peter quickly. Mr. Beam suggests the angel was on a commando mission from the Lord to get Peter out quickly and without alerting the enemy. I agree. We're talking about a high ranking force in chapter 12 of Acts. A group of adversaries assigned to the Kind and assigned to stop the church Jesus had started. Peter was a key player in the Lord's church.

I personally have noticed a change in the things and ways the Holy Spirit has been talking. Even a year ago, I would hear the Lord speak of His plans and His desires for the week, but now, He speaks only a short time before He tells us something He wants done.

At first this change was unsettling. I would be in prayer seeking for His agenda of the day but hear nothing. Then at specific times during the day. I could hear Him say go this way or that way. I didn't trust the voice at first, and hedged on moving out. Then, over time, (what seemed like a lot of time) I began to trust His spontaneous speaking. This did take some adjusting because I was also thinking that I had offended Him and that He was refusing to speak to me anymore. Oh, we, of might trust. But by His faithfulness, He was able to bring me to the understanding and trusting of His change. (Or at least a learning to trust Him through this change).

But why the change? Why the silence? Did Peter know he was going to be released from prison? No, I don't see any hints of his knowing before hand that he would be released.

There he was, all chained up, bound between the guards. I am sure they had waited till Peter was sound asleep before they dozed off themselves. If Peter knew he was to be released by an angel, would he have slept? Probably not. And there is more -- what of the enemy -- the unseen enemy? They know mankind pretty well, wouldn't they have sensed the excitement in Peter and gotten suspicious? Yes, they would.

These eyes that watch our every move, were aware of Peter's ability to receive revelation from above. They were trained to watch Peter's expression. It is obvious when the Lord's people receive a revelation, a "rhema" from Heaven, we get a glow about us. We have heard from God. We have heard from the Most High. Truly, one word from Heaven does change our lives.

It brings great joy to our Father to see our eyes light up, but, He is also the great strategist warrior -- Great and Master of the army of the Host of Heaven. He has a plan in action. Sometimes He just does not dare reveal to us what His next move is. He know He would be setting us up for an ambush. But still, His promise is to guide us step by step. So, we must walk step by step. This makes it all the more important to keep the things of the world in their proper place.

Don't thing that just because you are not hearing Him the same way you did a month ago that He has abandoned you. He hasn't. Don't loose hope.

Know this: as you profess and advance in the Kingdom of God, you are being watched all the more. As you are watched more, our Father begins to change some things to keep us safe. As our Father begins to change some things and seems more silent than normal, and as we slow to listen more, the enemy begins to stir things up to hinder us. Things around us get busy, making it more difficult to stay focused. But -- stay focused anyway.

All these things only make it more obvious, if you keep your faith eyes open, know that you are advancing in the Kingdom. Praise the Lord. And if you are not convinced of this -- your Father will confirm this to you soon enough.


Jezebel, part 1
The Black Widow Spider Spirit
A Primer for the Individual & the Intercessor
... by Nita Botzenmayer

[For more information regarding the Jezebel spirit, see the Biblical account of the original Jezebel, beginning in I Kings 14. Also, refer to Francis Frangipane's book "The Three Battlegrounds" and his booklet "The Jezebel Spirit", Fuschia Pickett's "The Next Move of God", and Rick Joyner's "Overcoming the Religious Spirit."]

[Also see "Spiritual Strongholds" Teaching]

The Jezebel spirit is born of witchcraft and rebellion. She is one of the most common spirits in operation today, and is a powerful enemy of the body of Christ. She operates freely on sincere believers whose hearts are for God individually, and has also attained positions of power as powers and principalities within the Church. This spirit establishes its stronghold primarily in women; however, many men have been victimized by it as well, where it functions as a "controlling" spirit.

The Deception - "Protector"

Jezebel masquerades as a "protector" spirit to gain access, using the inroads already made by spirits of rejection and fear. She promises her victim protection if they will submit to her. She promises them the recognition and self-worth they desire (and "deserve"). She promises them complete control of their lives and those around them. The key word here is control.

Usually using a hurtful event in the victim's life (most frequently abusive treatment by a man or authority figure, either physically or verbally, or treatment by another Jezebel), she promises "If you let me handle this (submit to me), I'll never let that happen to you again." On the "surface", the goals of this spirit appear to be control and power. However, the Jezebel has more complex characteristics. She is extremely vicious and dangerous--ultimately to her victims more than those she hurts through them.


Mission

As Fuschia Pickett points out in her book The Next Move of God, Jezebel's mission is to kill the prophets.

The goal of the victim is usually quite different: to gain identity, glory, recognition, power, and satisfy the need for acknowledgment of worth from others (in other words, the "praises of men" Matt. 6:2,5,16). This is an outgrowth of the desire for love and self-worth we all have - with the wrong focus - self.

As a secondary mission, the Jezebel spirit seeks to emasculate all men, or divest them of their authority and power over others. It fosters a distrust and/or hatred of men in general, and nurtures motives of vengeance on the victim toward some men in particular - usually as a result of abuse or neglect by a significant male in the victim's life.

Personality, Characteristics, and "Modus Operandi"

The following are some of Jezebel's main characteristics, manifestations and methods of operation. For brevity and clarity, the term "Jezebel" is used here to refer to a person controlled by the Jezebel spirit.

Since women are primarily victims, most of these examples refer to manifestations as exhibited in women. However, especially in the "power and control" areas, men exhibit these same manifestations. Please keep in mind the following cautions when seeking discernment of a stronghold, either in yourself or others.


Cautions

This spirit may not be dominant at all times within the victim, giving the victim the illusion of being "two-faced", even schizophrenic, or "double-minded", as the book of James calls it (James 1:8), to those around her. The victim may not exhibit all of these attributes when the Jezebel spirit is in control. Just because a person exhibits one or more of these characteristics does not automatically make them a "Jezebel". One must be careful to use the gift of discernment prayerfully before concluding that a person is controlled by the Jezebel spirit.

Types Of Jezebel

There are two main personality types of the Jezebel spirit: The high-profile type is generally gregarious, outspoken and highly visible. She is often seen as the "woman who wears the pants in the family". The low-profile type is just that--generally soft-spoken, giving the illusion of being solicitous, motherly, protective, even very submissive. The low-profile type may be the most dangerous, as she is the most difficult to discern. She relies heavily on manipulation for her power, but it is extremely subtle.


Manifestations OF Types

Within these two main types are two manifestations: the SEDUCER and the FRIGID.

The SEDUCER uses any type of seduction available to gain control and power, as a method of manipulation. The Jezebel commonly uses flirtation to seduce; however, she is not above sexual seduction if it suits her purposes. She uses a spiritual seduction which operates on both males and females. The aim of the spiritual seduction is to convince the person being seduced that the Jezebel is spiritually mature, trustworthy, worthy of being given authority and power, and taken into their confidence. Although Jezebel usually dislikes other women, often lacking lasting friendships with women, she will seduce women in positions of authority, or women close to men of authority (such as their wives) in order to gain power from them, or defuse opposition from them. Her seduction usually uses subtle flattery, but may also include perverted expressions of "agape" love. Her seduction is spiritual fornication. Men are particularly blind to the subtleties of this seduction, as she flatters them with her attention. Women seduced by the Jezebel are blinded to their own seduction, as they do not expect it, or are not aware such a thing exists.

A good example of the FRIGID Jezebel personality can frequently be seen as the efficient (and often plain) executive assistant at the side of a powerful businessman or church leader. This Jezebel often lacks a gregarious personality, but may be very outspoken and aggressive.


Masterful At Concealing True Identity

Much of Jezebel's negative or manipulative behavior is "behind the scenes", in private, where her destructive work is done. Therefore, people outside her immediate family often have no idea this spirit is in operation, and may be unwittingly manipulated by her.


Intelligent

Perhaps because the Jezebel spirit weaves such a masterful web of deceit, most of her victims are very intelligent, which she transforms into deceitfulness and cunning. The person controlled by the Jezebel spirit is also very good at deceiving herself.


Man-Hater

As mentioned above, Jezebel hates men and distrusts women. She cannot have a true godly relationship with men, because her underlying desire is to strip them of all their perceived power and then destroy them--to emasculate them emotionally and spiritually. She is generally distrustful of or indifferent toward women, unless they are useful to gain power, or are themselves powerful, so lasting friendships are rare. The Jezebel often ends up friendless when friends are needed.


Power-Hungry

Jezebel is power-hungry, respecting only power stronger than her own. She disdains or considers herself superior to anyone she perceives as having no power, or power less than hers.


"Eager Beaver"

The Jezebel seeks preeminence and recognition. She is often a frequent volunteer, even as a young child, as a stepping stone toward more power. The Jezebel, like so many of us, needs a sense of self-worth, which she erroneously perceives to be connected to her performance. She connects her identity with what she does, rather than in the person of Jesus. Sadly, she often succeeds well enough to stay in pursuit of her own performance. In the process, she hinders others from learning to operate in the gifts and talents God has given them, because she "jumps in" before anyone else can. Jezebels are frequently "super-achievers", which sadly is admired both in the church and business world.

Self Worship

Jezebel worships herself (keeps the focus on herself, except where a false attitude of compassion or humility serves her purposes). She has difficulty talking at length about anyone but herself, even when "counseling" others. She is very proud, and often extremely vain. Many Jezebels are reasonably attractive, and some very beautiful; however, much of the seduction and attractiveness is actually demonically derived.


Jealous

The Jezebel is often extremely jealous when others receive any attention. She will stand in the way of anyone else receiving attention or recognition, if possible. Sometimes this is done consciously, but is usually done instinctively. This is one of the biggest dangers to the Body of Christ, according to James 3:16, because it opens the door to "every evil thing" to enter in - not just to the Jezebel, but to the entire congregation.


Uses Others

The Jezebel uses other people as objects, where it suits her need, to gain control, influence and power. Once she has gained the control desired, she generally rejects and tosses the people aside. If they are in her family, she does this emotionally.


"Queen Bee"

Jezebel demands worship from others ("queen-bee" syndrome). She must have dominance and control in her home. Other family members must exist to please her.


"Bossy"

The Jezebel is extremely authoritarian ("bossy") by nature, though subtly with the low-profile type. She is easily offended if her authority is questioned, and will often respond in anger at even the slightest offense.


Unrealistic Expectations From Others

Her expectations from others are always unrealistic, because others cannot meet her demand for complete submission. If they do try, she despises them and casts them aside, when she has what she wants out of them. Anyone attempting to relate to a person with this spirit is literally in a no-win situation. Nothing pleases this spirit.


Perfectionism

Perfectionism is a common characteristic of the Jezebel - generating self-hatred in the victim, and a despising of others around her who fail to meet her exaggerated standards. This is part of the "unrealistic expectations" she has toward herself and others, and an excuse for disrespect toward others, especially those in authority - they don't "measure up", so she doesn't have to show respect.


Control and Manipulation

Control and manipulation are the strongest parts of the Jezebel nature. These are spirits of witchcraft, and extremely dangerous. Nearly everything the Jezebel does utilizes one or both spirits to attain her goal.

As previously mentioned, she seduces her victims where possible. However, the Jezebel will use any tool available to manipulate those around her to do her will.

She uses faults or weaknesses she perceives in the person she is attempting to control to create feelings of shame or guilt, and therefore submission to her will.

She uses fear to manipulate into submission.

She uses self-pity and her own weaknesses to manipulate another into submitting to her out of compassion or pity.

She will even use prayer to manipulate the one she is attempting to control, especially prayers prayed audibly over that person to create the illusion that doing Jezebel's will is actually obeying God, or to generate fear or other emotion within the person, which the Jezebel can use for manipulation.

Even though often powerfully gifted of the Lord, the Jezebel will frequently operate in the false discernment of the enemy by speaking words of knowledge gained from familiar spirits, and not from the Spirit of God - this is witchcraft. The power of witchcraft is derived from Satan himself. Every attempt at manipulation or control "sells out" more and more to the enemy and strengthens the deception the Jezebel is under.


Attracted to Power

Jezebels are attracted to people of power like moths to flames. Often, a very intelligent, efficient, attractive, and even blatant Jezebel can be found serving "at the feet" of prominent leaders, even in the church. The deception and/or seduction of the Jezebel is often so successful that the leader does not recognize who is at his right hand. The Jezebel's true desire is to wrest the power from the person being served. If that person is prophetic in nature, the actual mission is to destroy him by any means available (destroy his credibility, undermine his authority, discredit his ministry, cause him to fall into sexual temptation, etc.).


Ambitious

Jezebels are desirous of "moving up the ladder" wherever they are. The Jezebel spirit is very active among career women in the business world, and in the "women's lib" movement.

Jezebel, part 2
... by Nita Botzenmayer

CHARACTERISTICS AND MANIFESTATIONS, Continued

Deep Convictions

Jezebels are usually people of deep convictions. As mentioned earlier, many people controlled by the Jezebel spirit have a true heart for God and earnestly desire to serve Him. The original Jezebel was devoutly religious - but was at total enmity with God. She worshipped at the altar of Baal (worship of the flesh). Modern-day Jezebels may indeed believe they are serving the one true God; however, the true hidden agenda is self-worship.


Murmuring, Complaint, and Criticism

Jezebels utilize the spirits of murmuring and complaint and criticism, which are "servant spirits" in her stronghold. She uses criticism of perceived faults in others to build up her own self-esteem, and to justify her disobedience of, or lack of respect for, others. Because she tends to perfectionism, as mentioned above, any fault she finds in others is grounds for disobeying their authority. She uses criticism as a tool to manipulate those around her, and along with murmuring and complaint, causes divisiveness to weaken her opposition and thereby gain control over or destroy them.


Lustful

Jezebels are lustful spirits with lust for power being primary; however, as mentioned earlier, their lust may be manifested sexually, if it will bring the desired result. The manifestation varies from a wife withholding sexual union from the husband for manipulative purposes, to utilizing sexual temptation to draw one more powerful into a compromised position that will cause his destruction or downfall.


Angry Display

Jezebel displays angry, vicious and sometimes violent behavior when opposed. She will turn on the one who refuses to do her will or submit to her (especially if she has been successful in manipulating this person in the past), frequently with a vicious, berating verbal attack aimed at humiliation. The emotional damage caused by these outbreaks can be devastating to the one at whom she directs her wrath. This is often the source of terrible emotional wounds for her children and spouse.

When this angry behavior happens in public, it often exposes the true spirit in operation to others who may have been previously deceived.


Infirmities and Disease

Jezebels frequently ENJOY poor health, especially the "low-profile" type. For them, it is a tool for attention, sympathy and other forms of manipulation. It usually has one of two purposes - to manipulate others into serving them, or to avoid doing something they do not wish to do.

Although this manifestation is not limited to the Jezebel personality, it is often a strong trait displayed. As each complaint is discovered by those around her not to be as serious as she claims, she must develop still other infirmities, more serious and/or more bizarre than the previous ones, to maintain her control or attention.

The Jezebel personality will frequently develop debilitating illnesses that are hard to diagnose or treat, or a combination of illnesses which cannot be treated together. For example, I have seen one Jezebel who now has ulcerative colitis and arthritis. Treatment of the arthritis with anti-inflammatory medications makes the colitis flare up, and some of the colitis treatments appear to exacerbate the arthritis - putting this Jezebel in a "catch 22" worthy of much sympathy. Other common afflictions are fiber-myalgia and lupus, both considered incurable (though not life-threatening).

Note: these afflictions are not limited to the Jezebel spirit's victim; they may be manifestations of the self-pitying rejectionist attempting to garner attention, as well as other spiritual influences utilizing this form of manipulation, or they may be unrelated to a demonic stronghold altogether.

The tragedy is that this form of "invited infirmity" eventually leads to real physical problems, and becomes a part of the destruction wrought on the victim by this spirit.

Revile Authority

Jezebels revile (despise and show no respect for) authority. Building on "fear of authority" (especially since men are frequently the authority figures who originally hurt them) coupled with rebellion, she hates anyone placed in authority over her, and seeks to destroy them and take their power. An early manifestation in childhood is a lack of respect for self or others, and no respect for possessions, either theirs or others'.

Destruction

In addition to destroying those around her, Jezebel especially hates the victim she is controlling (remember the mission of Jezebel--to kill the prophets: the victim is often herself anointed of God to be prophetic), and will ultimately cause her victim to self-destruct. This is the "black widow spider syndrome" of the Jezebel spirit. Black widow spiders kill their mates. In the spirit realm, there are two applications: 1)the Jezebel seeks to kill the male authority figure (or prophet), 2)she seeks to kill her victim (which is mated to her when Jezebel takes control).


Cursing

Jezebels curse everyone, bringing a curse upon themselves, most of the time unwittingly. Criticism is a form of cursing, both of the person being criticized, and of God their Maker. Murmuring and complaint is a cursing of circumstances, which also curses God for allowing them. Jezebel is a master of criticism, murmuring and complaint, as mentioned previously.


Superiority Complex

Jezebels frequently perceive themselves as intellectually and/or spiritually superior to others, and "talk down" to others. This attitude is actually despising others.


Hates Repentance and Humility

Because the Jezebel spirit is prideful and rebellious, she hates repentance and humility. These are two mighty weapons which can be used against her. This is also a key in discerning this spirit.


Bitterness and Resentness

Bitterness and resentment against past hurts and offenses are nurtured in the victim by the Jezebel spirit, because she knows a root of bitterness will grow like a cancer and manifest itself in all sorts of physical ailments, which she can use as tools of manipulation, as noted above. Of course, this cancer of bitterness is also slowly destroying the victim.

In many cases, the countenance of the victim gradually grows more and more unattractive, and in the end, victims controlled by the Jezebel spirit may resemble the witch?like crones which symbolize witchcraft, where this spirit is birthed. The victim rots from the inside out, physically and spiritually.


Jezebel Covens

Perhaps because they are all drawn to power, many Jezebels will be drawn to the most influential Jezebel in operation in a local church setting. Though done unconsciously, it has the effect of a full-fledged witches' coven, with a high priestess in charge, sitting in the local church body, often with harmful or devastating results.

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FINDING THE WAY OUT
Guidelines for Intercession

Cautions

Although mercy and deliverance is available from God, until the person being controlled by the Jezebel spirit is fully delivered, Holy Spirit-guided caution should be exercised in dealing with this person. Care should be taken in giving a place of recognition or authority to the victim, as it feeds this spirit. This warning is derived from Revelation 2:20-23, and should not be taken lightly. Remember the stated mission of the Jezebel spirit: to kill (destroy) the prophets of God.

Use Discernment and "Test the Spirits"

The victim controlled by Jezebel may exhibit many gifts and have a true heart for God. One reason she is a victim is that Jezebel is out to kill HER.

The gifts and callings are without repentance (Rom. 11:29). In other words, the gifts are given by the Holy Spirit without regard to "merit" - you can't earn them.

We are commanded to "test the spirits" (I Jn. 4:1). To test for Jezebel, with the guidance of the Holy Spirit, remember:

1)"You shall know them by their fruit" (Matt. 7:16), not their gifts.

2) Jezebel hates humility and repentance. She will refuse or dodge a call for either one of these to be done in her life, or fake it if "boxed in", even by "falling out in the Spirit".

3) The characteristics, personality, and methods of operation will usually manifest themselves openly at times. The seducer is often blatantly obvious to everyone except the person being seduced.

The Word admonishes us to "walk circumspectly" - to be observant of what's going on (Eph. 5:15). Defiance of and lack of submission to genuine authority will usually manifest itself clearly, giving the force behind it away. The key is to be sensitive to the Holy Spirit's guidance and discernment, being careful not to become critical or judgmental yourself.


Denial is Routine

Much intercessory warfare may be required for the victim to be delivered. Victims must first recognize deliverance is needed. It is rare that a person, if directly confronted and told Jezebel is the problem, will believe and accept it. Denial is routine. There is always some other reason for their behavior, and it is true that other spiritual influences may be actively in operation.

Often, a Jezebel will have gone through a "deliverance" ministry earlier, and been told they were totally and completely delivered. However, because doors were not properly shut in the spirit realm, the Jezebel spirit was able to return, unbeknown to the victim, with free rein and multiplied in power (Luke 11:24-26).

The victim now believes a lie: that they are fully delivered, and cannot be deceived by the enemy since they are now completely Holy-Spirit controlled. I have heard this type of "confession" from two Jezebels, even after reminding one of them of the warning of Jesus in Matthew 24:24. The Jezebel now operates freely in her victim, masquerading as the Holy Spirit, with the victim (and many of those around her) fully deceived.

Use Compassion and Understanding

Jezebels generally have a deep lack of self-worth and understanding of God's love for them personally, regardless of the amount of knowledge of the Word. There is such a desperate need of fulfilling self-worth they are ruthless to gain any measure of recognition, even if they already have it. They will step on whoever gets in their way, and many times not be aware they are.

Because of rejection and Jezebel, they cannot properly understand the principle of identity in Christ, though they may believe it intellectually. Indeed, there may be a fear of loss of identity associated with "identity in Christ".

There is also a fear of loss of blessing ("what will I lose in giftings, control, etc.?") if they turn and renounce their stronghold. This is another manifestation of lack of trust in God that His blessings cannot far exceed those which are already there, or that He would take away blessing He has already bestowed.

The Lord gave me a vision to illustrate a person victimized by the Jezebel spirit. It was a picture of a huge, ugly, strong "alien"-like being with a metallic-looking body, as in the movie, "Alien". The Jezebel spirit was a "superstructure", or "exoskeleton", like the hard body of a beetle. Inside was the victim, a "puddle" of bloody, gelatinous mass lying on the ground (the Lord gave me "X-ray vision" ). The victim was lonely, afraid (particularly of being abandoned), forlorn, and in terrible spiritual pain. With that vision, the Lord gave the understanding that deliverance from the Jezebel spirit with the victim in that condition would destroy the victim entirely.


Strengthen the Inner Man

The first step in intercession and in the victim's gaining deliverance from the Jezebel spirit, then, requires that the inner man be strengthened by the Lord (Eph 3:16).

This is the first principle of deliverance from any demonic stronghold. If you are interceding for the victim, begin to call forth strength in the inner man for them.

Be aware that God may give the victim some recognition in order to build up their inner man for deliverance. It may appear that the Jezebel spirit is being fed, when in actuality, the victim's inner man is what is being nurtured. This is why those dealing with the Jezebel-controlled victim must be careful to obey the leading of the Holy Spirit toward them. The goal is for the victim to become strengthened by the Lord to the degree that the stronghold can be exposed and the victim will choose to turn to the Lord, turning her back on the Jezebel and renouncing it in her life.


Maintain an Attitude of Repentance and Humility

These are two mighty weapons against the Jezebel spirit. She hates them both, as mentioned before. If you display these qualities before her, you may even be despised and reviled by her openly. However, they disarm her weapons against you, serve to expose the Jezebel spirit, and are critical for you if you are interceding for her, your local body, or your region.

Jezebel, part 3
THE STRONGHOLD OF JEZEBEL
Suggestions for Intercessory Warfare
... by Nita Botzenmayer


Cleanse Your Own Temple

In preparation for warfare, God instructed the Israelites to be circumcised and to sanctify themselves before they marched against Jericho (Joshua 5:2-9). Jesus said "first remove the log from your eye, and then the mote from your brother's" (Matt. 7:5). Spend time with the Lord. Put on your whole armour (Eph. 6:13-18), and declare war against the strongholds of the enemy in your own life first. Intercessors are not "sinless perfection", but must be willing to be "cleaned up" themselves, if they want to pray the same for others.


Declare War on Behalf of the Victim

Intercession is a key to deliverance from Jezebel. The victim's spiritual eyes must be opened to the influence of Jezebel in their lives, in order for deliverance to occur. Seek the Lord, and obey as directed to intercede for your sister or brother. (God almost always gives us discernment so that we can intercede.) Intercede in praise and worship, pray in the spirit, and intercede on an individual, specific basis, as the Lord leads.


"Plead The Blood"

Make declaration in your prayer that the victory is complete by the blood of Jesus. "Plead the blood" over the victim regularly.


Binding & Loosing

Jesus said "whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven" (Matt 16:19b).

Bind the strongman. In order to bind Jezebel off the victim, you must first bind the strongman. Who is the strongman? (Matt. 12:29). Seek the Lord for specific instructions in each case. Do not apply "blanket bindings" without confirmation from the Spirit of God. You may need to bind the "unholy alliance" mentioned in the introduction to Spiritual Strongholds before you bind Jezebel, and in the same order as described for her below. Then be obedient to the Lord. Do not "cast out" the spirits at this time. The goal of your intercession is to see your sister strengthened so she can make the decision for deliverance.

Prayerfully consider the following "tactics". I have heard many teachings in "reverse" order, but since Jesus said to first bind the strongman, I am using that approach.

You do warfare against principalities and powers differently - we wrestle against them (Eph 6:12). Since the Jezebel is also a principality, you may need to first bind the principality of Jezebel off your geographical region, and the "power" off your local church body. Then bind Jezebel off your sister. Remember the power of praise in spiritual warfare. Remember the power of agreement (see below).

Jesus said "whatever (that includes principalities and powers) you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven" (Matt 16:19, Matt 18:18). Forbid the Jezebel to use her power in any way--deafening, blinding, lying, etc.

If you do not use this Biblical order of first binding Satan (the ultimate "strongman"), then principality, then power, and then individual Jezebel, you may be in danger of serious attack, for the power and principality may turn and attack you if you bind only the demon from your sister. Their power is connected to and drawn from hers. You have the authority from the Word of God. You are seated with Jesus in the heavenly places (Eph. 2:6), which is far above all principalities and powers (Eph. 1:21).

Loose the power of the Holy Spirit. When you have bound the power of the enemy, it is important to ask the Holy Spirit to be loosed upon your region, local church body, and your sister. The idea is to ask the Holy Spirit to fill any voids left by the enemy, and to speak into the life of your region, your local body, and your sister now that they can hear Him without hindrance. Use the weapons of praise and worship in your intercession. Pray in the Spirit.


Be Warned, Armed and Prepared

As Francis Frangipane explains, the Jezebel spirit will send demons of fear and discouragement against anyone who confronts her. She will "put a contract out on you" if you go to war against her. She will not take defeat "lying down". Arm yourself by staying close to the Lord, putting on your "whole armor of God", and use the Sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God. Be persistent in your battle. Don't forget humility and repentance when needed. Pray Psalm 91 over yourself as well as those for whom you are praying.


Corporate Intercession

There is strength in numbers, according to the Word: "one can put a thousand to flight, and two can put ten thousand..." (Deut. 32:30). Allow the Holy Spirit to guide you to corporate intercessory prayer with other believers who are called to war against this spirit.

But use caution! Do not gossip or discuss the "victims" publicly. That would be "uncovering their nakedness". Remember: "let him know that he who turns a sinner from the error of his way will save a soul from death and cover a multitude of sins." (James 5:20)

If you are unsure how to pray, ask yourself how you would like to be prayed for if you had this problem. Pray in the Spirit.


Help Pick up the Pieces

Be ready, when God reveals the truth to the victim, to help her pick up the pieces and build a "new life in Christ". The victim's life may have fallen apart before deliverance. Deliverance may be painful, and the victim needs the Love of Jesus without condemnation to heal and walk free (Rom. 8:1,2).

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Summary

Remember, the Jezebel spirit is extremely wicked and dangerous, and her influence is widespread. Do not take your warfare against her lightly.

However, we as believers have the authority through Jesus Christ over every wicked force. The blood and the name of Jesus has won the victory over every evil.

We must balance a strong offensive against the enemy with the compassion of Jesus toward the one in bondage. A sensitivity and obedience to the leading of the Holy Spirit is essential in defeating this foe and bringing deliverance to the captive (Is. 61:1-3).




This article was graciously written by and shared with us by Niki. You can visit her website at www.ephraimproject.com

[For more information regarding the Jezebel spirit, see the Biblical account of the original Jezebel, beginning in I Kings 14. Also, refer to Francis Frangipane's book "The Three Battlegrounds" and his booklet "The Jezebel Spirit", Fuschia Pickett's "The Next Move of God", and Rick Joyner's "Overcoming the Religious Spirit."]


Spirit of Leviathan

Written by:
Evangelist Todd Bentley


I believe this prophetic article and teaching on the Spirit of Leviathan will be of great help in prayer for the intercessors, to alert and bring understanding to this latest onslaught against the church.


CONFRONTING THE SPIRIT OF LEVIATHAN


In the last few weeks in prayer, I have come up against a spirit called Leviathan. I have recently heard other ministries talk about this spirit. One pastor recently in a vision saw this serpent crawling into the church basement. I believe this demonic power works hand in hand with the spirit of Jezebel. Some have even had a vision of them both hand in hand. When we get victory over Jezebel we need to watch out for this Leviathan spirit. There are only a few direct references to this spirit in the scripture, but as I have studied out these passages I have received some revelation on how this spirit attacks. Who is Leviathan? How do you expose and counter attack his assaults?

We have in the book of Job 41 and the first 6 verses of Job 42 a large portion of scripture on this spirit. The first thing I want to establish in this article is, who is Leviathan? I believe that this spirit is a principality not just a demon and primarily attacks ministries.


DEFINITION OF LEVIATHAN

The transliterated Hebrew word for Leviathan (livyathan) means, "twisted," and "coiled." In Job 3:8, (Revised Version, and marg, of Authorized Version), it denotes the dragon which, according to Eastern tradition, is an enemy of light.

In Job 41:1 the crocodile is meant; in Psalms 104:26 it denotes any large animal that moves by writhing or wriggling the body, the whale, the monsters of the deep." This word is also used figuratively for a cruel enemy, as some think "the Egyptian host, crushed by the divine power, and cast on the shores of the Red Sea" (Psalms 74:14) As used in Isaiah 27:1 "leviathan the piercing [RSV 'swift'] serpent, even leviathan that crooked [RSV marg, 'winding'] serpent."


LEVIATHAN IS NOT A DEMON BUT A PRINCIPALITY

When we read Job 41 and other passages that we will look at in this teaching, it will be clear that unlike popular belief, that maybe this Leviathan was a dinosaur, or as the scripture describes in Ps 74:14 and in Job 41:1: as a large sea monster of unknown identity. I believe that this creature is more than Ogo Pogo or some Lock Ness monster.

Leviathan is a demon principality not just a demon spirit. Lets look at a few verses;

Job 41:1 Can you draw Leviathan out with a hook?

Job 41:10 No one is so fierce that they would dare stir him up.

Job 41:26-32 If one lay at him with the sword, it cannot avail; nor the spear, the dart, nor the pointed shaft. He counteth iron as straw, and brass as rotten wood. The arrow cannot make him flee; sling stones are turned with him to rubble. Clubs are counted as stubble; he laugheth at the rushing of the javelin. His under parts are like sharp potsherds; he spreadeth as it were a threshing wain upon the mire. He maketh the deep to boil like a pot; he maketh the sea like a pot of ointment. He maketh a path to shine after him.

It is clear that natural weapons cannot destroy him. Isaiah 27:1 In that day the Lord with his severe sword, great and strong, will punish Leviathan the fleeing serpent, Leviathan the twisted serpent, and he will slay the reptile that is in the sea.

It will take the sword of the Lord to overcome this Leviathan; it is more than just a natural large sea mammal.

I believe that the primary purpose of the spirit it to attack ministries.

PS 104:25-26 This great and wide sea, in which are innumerable teeming things, living things both small and great. There the ships sail about; there is the Leviathan which you have made to play there.

When the scripture speaks about the Leviathan, it is always in the sea or in the rivers. The Egyptians both feared and worshiped this creature. They feared him in ancient Greek mythology as the God of Chaos and also worshiped him as the great serpent in their rivers responsible for prosperity and good business. The Egyptians believed they had created the rivers just because they learned to use it. This pride was one of Egypts greatest sins.

I asked God about this verse in Psalm 104 and He showed me the sea is a picture of the

Sea of humanity the world. In Isaiah 27:1 it is clear that when God is speaking about Leviathan in the sea He is speaking about the enemy nations of Israel in the world. This serpent like creature or as some believe crocodile that lived in the Nile, is seen along side of the ships.

Psalm 104:26 There the ships sail about; there is the Leviathan. Ships are prophetic of merchants and business.

I believe ships are ministries those who are at labor in the sea of humanity. This spirit wants to destroy ministries, especially those at labor in the harvest. This spirit wants to destroy and bring down ministries and as we will see he will do it with his greatest weapon, his tongue.


WHO IS LEVIATHAN?

It is clear in the bible that Leviathan is a serpent snake like creature. Isaiah 27:1 In that day the Lord with his severe sword, great and strong, will punish Leviathan the fleeing serpent, Leviathan the twisted serpent, and he will slay the reptile that is in the sea.

Psalm 74:13-14 You broke the heads of the sea serpents in the waters. You broke the heads of Leviathan in pieces.

I also believe that Leviathan was like or even was a crocodile (Job 41:2) because of his crashings they are beside themselves, (Job 41:14-15) who can open the doors of his face, with his terrible teeth all around? His rows of scales are his pride.

It is interesting that not only did Egypt worship this Leviathan but also that Pharaohs crown had the emblem of a large serpent with a ruby in it. There is a connection in Ezekiel to this principality, Egypt and Pharaoh.

Ezekiel 29:3-5 Thus saith the Lord Jehovah; behold, I am against thee, Pharaoh king of Egypt, the great monster that lieth in the midst of his rivers, that hath said, My river is mine own, and I have made it for myself. And I will put hooks in thy jaws, and I will cause the fish of thy rivers to stick unto thy scales; and I will bring thee up out of the midst of thy rivers, with all the fish of thy rivers which stick unto thy scales. And I will cast thee forth into the wilderness, thee and all the fish of thy rivers; thou shalt fall upon the open field; thou shalt not be brought together, nor gathered; I have given thee for food to the beasts of the earth and to the birds of the heavens.

In Job 41: 2 the scripture speaks about hooking the jaw of Leviathan. In Ps 74:14 it speaks about Leviathan being food for the people and the inhabitants of the wilderness. In Ps 104:26 it is clear that Leviathan is living in the sea and rivers.

I believe that this principality worked through Egypt and Pharaoh and even helped to make Egypt what it was. What is clear in Ezekiel 29: 3-5 is the connection between Pharaoh and Leviathan. We will look a little bit later at the connection between Egypt and Leviathan in helping us understand how the spirit gains access, attacks and what we can do to overcome him.


LEVIATHAN'S SEVEN HEADS

Ps 74:13-14 You broke the heads of the sea serpents in the waters. You broke the heads of Leviathan in pieces. You broke the heads of Leviathan in pieces.

It was recently pointed out to me in my studies on Leviathan that the seven heads of Leviathan are found in Proverbs 6:16-19 There are six things which Jehovah hateth; Yea, seven which are an abomination unto him; haughty eyes, a lying tongue, and hands that shed innocent blood; a heart that deviseth wicked purposes, feet that are swift in running to mischief, a false witness that uttereth lies and he that soweth discord among brethren.

I have seen the way Leviathan attacks and how this spirit works, but I found the seven heads to be great revelation. As I studied this out further on my own I found the connection between Leviathan and the dragon in Rev 12:3 A great red fiery dragon having seven heads and 10 horns.

Like Jezebel this spirit is anti-Christ and against the anointing on ministries.

It is interesting to note in the Hebrew and Greek translations of the word Leviathan, we will see clearly as it is and will be established in this article that Leviathan is translated: serpent, crocodile and even more clear that the dragon, satan himself is all these in one. I believe that Leviathan is either or definitely carries the very nature and works of the accuser of the brethren.


CONFRONTING THE SPIRIT OF LEVIATHAN


1. The First Way That This Spirit Will Attack Is With His Tongue

Job 41:1 Can you draw out Leviathan with a hook, or snare his tongue with a line?

The lying tongue: This spirit attacks out of his mouth with lies, gossip, accusation, criticism, faultfinding and slander. Job 41:19 Out of his mouth go burning lights, sparks of fire shoot out.

I asked the Lord about this and He showed me Rev 12:15 So the serpent spewed water out of his mouth like a flood after the woman, that he might cause her to be carried away with the flood.

This Leviathan wants you to be destroyed and carried away with the lies, gossip, slander and accusations he will bring against you and if he can he will carry your friends and those who labor with you in the ministry away in the lie and deception. He wants people to believe the lie and accusation against you. Number one, he wants to slander your character and bring reproach on your name.

I believe that Leviathan is behind lies and deception. One time early in my marriage the devil was looking for a way to accuse me and stir up mistrust in my new marriage. Shonnah, my wife, knew that before I was saved that I had been involved in many immoral relationships and had many girlfriends. A young woman who had a crush on me before I was married, unknown to me, starting spreading a rumor that I asked her to have an immoral relationship, of course this never happened, but it stirred up a lot of mistrust and fears in a new marriage. It was my word against hers. My wife and I saw it as the worker of the accuser of the brethren and we had a great victory. In the future I wanted to be sure that every area of life was covered and accountable, so today years later and now in the ministry I rarely if ever travel alone, I will not find myself alone with another woman or in a compromising situation.

If the devil cannot get you in sin, he will accuse you or even make up a lie against you when you are innocent. Proverbs 6:19 A false witness that uttereth lies. is one of his heads. We need to be sure to respond to these demonically inspired attacks that even can come from those closest to you, being used by the devils purpose, that we do not wrestle against flesh and blood. We must also remember to respond in a right spirit. We cannot afford to allow Leviathan to operate in us, as we can become offended at the lie and accusations, criticisms or judgments spoken of us and strike back. To strike back or lash out is what Leviathan wants. It is with his tail in Rev 12:4 that he withdrew a third of the angels in heaven.

Leviathan is working today through the body of Christ and we see many churches, ministers and organizations bringing accusation against one another. There is a critical, faultfinding spirit at work in church today judging and speaking against moves of God, ministries and denominations different from one another. We do not need faultfinders and those who feel to be the watchdogs of Christianity. We do need those who will restore the body of Christ. Galatians 6:1 Brethren, if a man is overtaken in any trespass, you who are spiritual restore such a one in a spirit of gentleness, considering yourself lest you also be tempted.

Let us not forget how many have been quick to judge harshly and criticize the body of Christ, find fault and publicly publish Christian dirt. Lets not let Leviathan work through us but lets operate in the anointing of Galatians 6:1.

Another way we can counter attack this demonic assault of the tongue and lies, gossip and slander is by claiming Gods promise. The mouth of the lies shall be stopped and

Isaiah 54:17 No weapon formed against you shall prosper and every tongue that rises against you in judgment you shall condemn. This is the heritage of the servants of the Lord.

We need to start speaking this verse out and acting on it in prayer.

We also want to be sure this spirit has no truth in what it says. We dont want to give him a foothold by living in a lie in our lives. We can only effectively counter attack this spirit by living in truth in every area of our lives.


2. Miscommunication

Job 42:3 Who is this that hideth counsel without knowledge? Or in the amplified: Who is this who darkens or obscures counsel without knowledge? Or as in another translation; Who is this who seals up counsel?

In Job 42:3 Job also declares, Therefore have I uttered that which I understood not, I had heard of thee by the hearing of the ear, but now mine eye seeth thee.

Job is trying to understand why what is happening to him is happening? God has this lengthily discussion with Job in Job 41 and reveals this principality Leviathan. Job repents in Job 42 and confesses that counsel and true understanding were kept from him. This spirit wants to get between you and the revelation of God and distort the word of the Lord.

Leviathan will seek to hide from you true revelation and confuse the true meaning of things.

This Leviathan spirit will hide the meaning behind what is said and cause there to be miscommunication and misunderstanding. Thats how this spirit can sow discord among brethren. Have you ever been at the office or maybe in your marriage and something you say is taken the wrong way, someone will say, you said this and you say no I said this and you both think your right, or you say one thing and they hear it as another i.e.: you said it is black and they hear blue. Leviathan wants to get in between your conversation and hearing and distort or mutter what one is really saying. This can happen between friends, ministry and even children and parents.

When you become aware of this attack on your ministry or in your relationships it is important to simply say Leviathan I bind you in Jesus name.

Recently we had a small misunderstanding in our ministry. A woman had given a large donation to our ministry. We sent a thank you letter to the donor but we were unable to specifically mention the amount given. The enemy worked on this womans mind and the accuser that he is, told this woman that maybe we could not be trusted as a ministry or that because we did not specifically mention the size of her donation in the thank you letter that maybe the church only gave me a honorarium and not the full amount which I said would be entirely used for missions.

This individual who was previously working in another church had seen the church hold back on offerings. Leviathan works in suspicion and mistrust. This woman contacted our ministry and inquired about the gift she gave. The woman also believed I said I would use the entire missions offering specifically for Sudan. The devil in his lie nearly had this woman convinced that maybe I was truly not up front with my word and cast doubt, mistrust and questions on our ministry.

I never said that I was using any money for Sudan and the tapes and transcript of that nights service also verified we had never said that. The seeds of mistrust, lies of the enemy, and misunderstanding nearly cost me a dear partner. I met with the lady later and we prayed together and cut the devil out of our business. I knew when I was in India and I received this bad report that this was the work of Leviathan and we began to pray immediately. There was opportunity for us and this lady to be offended and accuse one another and the devil nearly cost me money for souls and a crusade but the Lord showed me in the midst of this attack the spirit of Leviathan and his accusation.

Leviathan will attack a prophetic word

In Gen 3:1-5 the serpent (leviathan) is wanting to distort and hide the true word of the Lord from Eve. Leviathan wants to cast doubt, mistrust and suspicion on Gods word.

Now the serpent was subtler than any beast of the field, which the LORD God had made. And he said unto the woman, Yea, hath God said, you shall not eat of every tree of the garden? And the woman said unto the serpent, we may eat of the fruit of the trees of the garden; but of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden, God hath said, Ye shall not eat of it, neither shall you touch it, lest you die. And the serpent said unto the woman, Ye shall not surely die; for God does know that in the day you eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened, and you shall be as gods, knowing good and evil.

The famous Has God said? Or is that really what he meant? Leviathan wants to twist Gods truth and rob us of our promise. When this happens just simply bind this spirit from your prophetic promises.

I believe it was the spirit of Leviathan that was keeping Job from the true counsel of the Lord and hiding from Job his own small areas of pride and self-righteousness in is life.
When God brings Job to chapter 42 he is no longer the one who justifies himself but confesses that he had not really known God by revelation. Lets be sure to give all these areas of any pride or self-righteousness to the Lord and ask for the Spirit of Wisdom and Revelation in our life and ministry.


3. Sons of pride

Job 41: 34 He beholds every high thing; He is king over all the children of pride.

This spirit carries an attitude of superiority, haughtiness, boasting and arrogance. He not only works in this kind of environment but also attacks ministries and individuals with the temptations of pride. Can you hear this spirit smooth and deceptive whispering in your ear? Who do they think they are? They do not move in the power like you do. Who gives them the right to speak into my life? The bible says not to think of ourselves more highly than we ought to. This spirit promotes self and self-serving agendas. We need to watch out for a false confidence, and keep a humble trust in the Lord. When God is using you mightily there is a constant temptation to play the name game or measure yourself with another and feel like we are more successful because of how much money we raise or how many come to our church or how many miracles we see. How big are your meetings? Power, numbers and what looks like Gods favor based on power, miracles or healing and success in casting out demons do not always mean we are always right with God. We need to guard ourselves from the well I am to good for that attitude. I will only do this or that. This spirit wants to set you up with a false confidence and getting your identity out of what you do, rather than who you are.

Egypt and Leviathan

Lets look at Egypt for some insight on how Leviathan operates and what he did in that nation. In Ezekiel chapter 29-32 we have a series of prophetic utterances against Egypt and pharaoh. One of the first sins of Egypt was its pride and boasting out of a false confidence in things rather than intimacy with God. Egypt puts its trust and confidence in its wealth, how many horses and chariots it had and the numbers of its people. This Leviathan spirit wants to promote you ahead of the Lords leading, and move you into a place, where you no longer totally depend on the Holy Spirit but on your gifting, charisma, finances, or denomination, traditions or programs. There can come a place in ministry where we can get it done with out Him; email lists, mail outs, websites, who you know, or monthly partners, lets go to the investors. We can begin to lose sight of Jesus and hearing His voice and getting our inspirations, visions, initiative or new ideas from His presence. Sometimes the devil will give you a ministry machine if he knows it will move you out where it all started in the secret place, if he can distract you and keep you busy and feeling like all is well because the marketing tools and infrastructures are in place, God is blessing me, the machine is running well.

There is nothing wrong with all these things that God uses, our ministry is a large ministry with all the tools, many staff, partners, huge infrastructure and we are growing more every day. All these are vehicles to help fulfill the blessing of God, but I need to keep my eyes on Jesus and remain broken daily before Him. There can be a place where we put our trust in the wrong things and this spirit will be your best cheerleader. In

Rev 12:4 it was with his tail that he withdrew a third of the stars, the angelic hosts who cast their lot with the devil we need to watch for the tail of leviathan.


Pride attitudes

Here is a small list of attitudes we can ask the Lord to show us any of these in our lives.

Condescending Attitudes towards Others in the Body: We are to esteem others as higher than ourselves. If we catch ourselves thinking of another as less than ourselves in any way, especially in regards to spiritual gifting, understanding, etc. we must repent quickly.

Independent Attitude: We are to be united in heart as one, although we may all have different functions. If we ever feel "out there like we are just wanting to do our own thing" while maybe we are forgetting the fuller purpose of the Kingdom which is to embrace the whole body of Christ.

Self-Glory: Although it is good for one to enjoy the workings, dealings, gifting and blessings that the hand of the Lord brings to us, we must be careful not to think that it is because of our own greatness. All things are given to us as a gift of grace (undeserved, unmerited favor) and all the worship and delight in these blessings must be returned to Him who authored them. Remembering our helpless and humble estate without Him. We can never glory in our own righteousness; it is as filthy rags.

Self-Confidence:When we begin to feel a confidence in our own abilities to produce the anointing and the fruit of the Kingdom, we must be alert to the tempter.

Lack of Time in His Presence:
Often times this is a sign that a temptation to pride has come. It indicates a possibility that we have become self sufficient and self ruled and no longer need all that we have and all that we are to flow from His Presence and Counsel. This is dangerous in that it can produce a mindset of "self rule" that subsequently asks God to bless and serve what man has initiated.

Critical and Condemning Attitudes and Thoughts: The heart of a "critic or accuser" is postured above others. The heart of a savior is postured in servant hood.

Boasting Over Achievements and Revelation: Often times this is not an outward action but an inward attitude. (Note: this is of the sin nature, not the "boasting in the Lord" as Scripture speaks of.)

Dishonor of Authority: We are to esteem and honor those in authority (even if they are NOT under Holy Spirit control, i.e. David's attitude towards Saul). Attitudes of dishonor towards leaders often indicate pride in the heart.

Desiring to be served: Jesus did not come to be served but to serve. This is the posture of humility.

Desire for Reputation: Jesus was a man of no reputation in heart. He emptied Himself. If we have inner desires to be esteemed by others, we need to be watchful. Pride could be lurking.

Desiring to Control Others: Use of a Position of Authority or Gift to Fulfill Selfish Ambition and Vision.

The only way we can effectively counter attack this assault is to live in humility.

Jam 4:10 Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord and he will lift you up.

Do you notice it says, humble yourselves, this is something we chose to do daily and in every moment we feel the attack of Leviathan in pride. Choose to go low, take the position of (Phil 4).


This article was graciously written and shared by Todd Bentley. You can visit this site at: