5 Steps to Become a Prayer Warrior

The title “prayer warrior” describes a Christian who has a strong affinity for and gifting in this area. Though all believers are called to pray, certain people turn to God more quickly and confidently in response to the ups and the downs of life. And they are willing to ask for others as well as themselves.

I’ve been blessed to know several prayer warriors in churches I’ve attended over the years. Each of them made lifting up praises and concerns a priority and a habit that was as natural as breathing. They all ended up doing a unique kind of ministry in and beyond the church walls.

What Does it Mean to Be a Prayer Warrior?

The word “warrior” usually conjures up an image of someone in a military uniform of some type, whether armor or fatigues. We picture them carrying offensive and defensive weapons. And we assume the person has been trained in fighting and hopefully in strategic thinking as well.

It might not seem like this image could be associated with prayer. But the Apostle Paul dedicated a section of his letter to the Ephesians to this analogy. He wanted us as followers of Christ to understand that we are indeed engaged in a war.

“Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power.Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes.For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand” (Ephesians 6:10-13).

Paul goes on to list the pieces of armor and the weapons we have in Christ to overcome the enemy’s attacks. Then he finishes with an appeal for us to use prayer as a way to gain victory in battle.

Characteristics of a Prayer Warrior

The prayer warriors that I have known share a few similar traits:

– They are worshipful, seeking to glorify the Lord.

– They are God-centered, focused on His greatness and mercy.

– They are empathetic, able to meet and accept people where they are.

– They are persevering, determined to repeatedly lift up requests.

– They are loving, wanting to help bring about God’s will for others.

I’ve also noticed a mindset that these warriors tend to have:

They are alert and ready, being sensitive to needs and acting quickly.

“And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people” (Ephesians 6:18).

They trust in God’s goodness, lifting up requests knowing He always answers.

“This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us. And if we know that he hears us—whatever we ask—we know that we have what we asked of him” (1 John 5:14-15).

They submit to God, calling on Him with a sense of awe and expectation.

“Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective” (James 5:16).

Prayer Warriors in the Bible

King David

“Answer me when I call to you, my righteous God” (Psalm 4:1).

King Jehoshaphat

“Our God, will you not judge them? For we have no power to face this vast army that is attacking us. We do not know what to do, but our eyes are on you” (2 Chronicles 20:12).

Jeremiah

“You who are my Comforter in sorrow, my heart is faint within me. Listen to the cry of my people from a land far away: ‘Is the Lord not in Zion? Is her King no longer there?’” (Jeremiah 8:18-19).

Jesus

“Very early in the morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up, left the house and went off to a solitary place, where he prayed” (Mark 1:35).

Paul

“…we constantly pray for you, that our God may make you worthy of his calling, and that by his power he may bring to fruition your every desire for goodness and your every deed prompted by faith.We pray this so that the name of our Lord Jesus may be glorified in you, and you in him, according to the grace of our God and the Lord Jesus Christ” (2 Corinthians 1:11-12).

5 Ways to Become a Prayer Warrior

God may be calling you to become more of a prayer warrior in your church or family. Ask Him to confirm that in your heart. Let Him change your spirit and shift your attitudes to align with Him. Then, be obedient to do your part in the process:

1. Have More of a Hunger for God

“‘Call to me and I will answer you and tell you great and unsearchable things you do not know’” (Jeremiah 33:3).

Warriors I’ve known absolutely love being in God’s Word and seek to be in His presence daily. They want to gain knowledge of Scripture to be able to speak it in their prayers. And they base their confidence partly on their own experiences with the Lord.

2. Have a Greater Desire to Be Used by God

“Devote yourselves to prayer, being watchful and thankful” (Colossians 4:2).

I’ve seen people who were natural prayer warriors, and people who in time grew into the role. But all of them started with a love of prayer, and an eagerness to serve God. They didn’t have to know everything – they just had a stirring in their spirit to follow the Lord’s call.

3. Seek More of God’s Holy Spirit

“In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us through wordless groans” (Romans 8:26).

Even the most seasoned Christians find themselves not knowing what or how to pray on occasion. Warriors rely on the Holy Spirit to lead them. Even when they do have something in mind to lift up, they have the wisdom to ask the Spirit to join with them.

4. Feel a Greater Sense of Concern for Others

“Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God” (1 John 4:7).

Prayers are impactful when they are motivated by love. True warriors approach every request with care and respect. And they see the value in lifting up needs, whether they know the person being prayed for or not.

5. Learn How to Rely More on God for Strength and Endurance

“I can do all this through him who gives me strength” (Philippians 4:13).

A former pastor used to call prayer one of the “front line ministries” of our church. Those who become warriors learn quickly that it is both satisfying and demanding. So, to avoid burnout, they acknowledge God as the source for their ability and energy to do the work, and lean on Him rather than themselves.

God calls us to see prayer as a powerful tool – a way to relate with our Heavenly Father, a way to express our need for Him, a way to show the Lord devotion and trust, and as a tangible way to support others.

In addition, prayer warriors learn how to use prayer as an effective weapon in spiritual warfare. They make a lifestyle of turning to God, lifting up requests, waiting in expectation.

“Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer” (Romans 12:12).

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***By Heather Adams at Bible Study Tools. Her book, Bow Down: The Heart of a True Worshipper is a practical, 30-day devotional about worship based on the writings of King David. Heather’s blog, Worship Walk Ministries, offers weekly Scripture passages and insights to ponder. A native New Englander, Heather is settling into her home in the South, trying out local foods and watching for the alligators that live nearby! You can connect with her on her website: heatheradamsworshipwalk.com

The Spiritual Warfare Prayer

Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.” Ephesians 6:10-13 

Heavenly Father,

I bow in worship and praise before You. I cover myself with the blood of the Lord Jesus Christ as my protection during this time of prayer. I surrender myself completely and unreservedly in every area of my life to Yourself. I do take a stand against all the workings of Satan that would hinder me in this time of prayer, and I address myself only to the true and living God and refuse any involvement of Satan in my prayer.

Satan, I command you, in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, to leave my presence with all your demons, and I bring the blood of the Lord Jesus Christ between us.

Heavenly Father, I worship You, and I give You praise. I recognize that You are worthy to receive all glory and honor and praise. I renew my allegiance to You and pray that the blessed Holy Spirit would enable me in this time of prayer.

I am thankful, heavenly Father, that You have loved me from past eternity, that You sent the Lord Jesus Christ into the world to die as my substitute that I would be redeemed. I am thankful that the Lord Jesus Christ came as my representative, and that through Him You have completely forgiven me; You have given me eternal life; You have given me the perfect righteousness of the Lord Jesus Christ so I am now justified. I am thankful that in Him You have made me complete, and that You have offered Yourself to me to be my daily help and strength.

Heavenly Father, come and open my eyes that I might see how great You are and how complete Your provision is for this new day. I do, in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, take my place with Christ in the heavenlies with all principalities and powers (powers of darkness and wicked spirits) under my feet.

I am thankful that the victory the Lord Jesus Christ won for me on the cross and in His resurrection has been given to me and that I am seated with the Lord Jesus Christ in the heavenlies; therefore, I declare that all principalities and powers and all wicked spirits are subject to me in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ.

I am thankful for the armor You have provided, and I put on the girdle of truth, the breastplate of righteousness, the sandals of peace, the helmet of salvation. I lift up the shield of faith against all the fiery darts of the enemy, and take in my hand the sword of the spirit, the Word of God, and use Your Word against all the forces of evil in my life; and I put on this armor and live and pray in complete dependence upon You, blessed Holy Spirit.

I am grateful, heavenly Father, that the Lord Jesus Christ spoiled all principalities and powers and made a show of them openly and triumphed over them in Himself. I claim all that victory for my life today. I reject out of my life all the insinuations, the accusations, and the temptations of Satan.

I affirm that the Word of God is true, and I choose to live today in the light of God’s Word. I choose, heavenly Father, to live in obedience to You and in fellowship with Yourself. Open my eyes and show me the areas of my life that would not please You. Work in my life that there be no ground to give Satan a foothold against me.

Show me any area of weakness. Show me any area of my life that I must deal with so that I would please You. I do in every way today stand for You and the ministry of the Holy Spirit in my life.

By faith and in dependence upon You, I put off the old man and stand into all the victory of the crucifixion where the Lord Jesus Christ provided cleansing from the old nature. I put on the new man and stand into all the victory of the resurrection and the provision He has made for me there to live above sin.

Therefore, in this day, I put off the old nature with its selfishness, and I put on the new nature with its love. I put off the old nature with its fear and I put on the new nature with its courage. I put off the old nature with its weakness and I put on the new nature with its strength. I put off today the old nature with all its deceitful lusts and I put on the new nature with all its righteousness and purity.

I do in every way stand into the victory of the ascension and the glorification of the Son of God where all principalities and powers were made subject to Him, and I claim my place in Christ victorious with Him over all the enemies of my soul. Blessed Holy Spirit, I pray that You would fill me. Come into my life, break down every idol and cast out every foe.

I am thankful, heavenly Father, for the expression of Your will for my daily life as You have shown me in Your Word. I therefore claim all the will of God for today.

I am thankful that You have blessed me with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ Jesus. I am thankful that You have begotten me unto a living hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead. I am thankful that You have made a provision so that today I can live filled with the Spirit of God with love and joy and self-control in my life. And I recognize that this is Your will for me, and I therefore reject and resist all the endeavors of Satan and of his demons to rob me of the will of God.

I refuse in this day to believe my feelings, and I hold up the shield of faith against all the accusations and against all the insinuations that Satan would put in my mind. I claim the fullness of the will of God for today.

I do, in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, completely surrender myself to You, heavenly Father, as a living sacrifice. I choose not to be conformed to this world. I choose to be transformed by the renewing of my mind, and I pray that You would show me Your will and enable me to walk in all the fullness of the will of God today.

I am thankful, heavenly Father, that the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strongholds, to the casting down of imaginations and every high thing that exalted itself against the knowledge of God, and to bring every thought into obedience to the Lord Jesus Christ.

Therefore in my own life today I tear down the strongholds of Satan, and I smash the plans of Satan that have been formed against me. I tear down the strongholds of Satan against my mind, and I surrender my mind to You, blessed Holy Spirit.

I affirm, heavenly Father, that You have not given us the spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind. I break and smash the strongholds of Satan formed against my emotions today, and I give my emotions to You. I smash the strongholds of Satan formed against my will today, and I give my will to You, and choose to make the right decisions of faith. I smash the strongholds of Satan formed against my body today, and I give my body to You, recognizing that I am Your temple; and I rejoice in Your mercy and Your goodness.

Heavenly Father, I pray that now through this day You would quicken me; show me the way that Satan is hindering and tempting and lying and counterfeiting and distorting the truth in my life. Enable me to be the kind of person that would please You. Enable me to be aggressive in prayer. Enable me to be aggressive mentally and to think Your thoughts after You, and to give You Your rightful place in my life.

Again, I now cover myself with the blood of the Lord Jesus Christ and pray that You, blessed Holy Spirit, would bring all the work of the crucifixion, all the work of the resurrection, all the work of the glorification, and all the work of Pentecost into my life today. I surrender myself to You.

I refuse to be discouraged. You are the God of all hope. You have proven Your power by resurrecting Jesus Christ from the dead, and I claim in every way Your victory over all satanic forces active in my life, and I reject these forces; and I pray in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ with thanksgiving.
Amen!

**Excerpt from “The Adversary”, Mark I. Bubeck Reprinted by permission Moody Press.

Dr. Mark I. Bubeck is the founder and president emeritus of ICBC, inc. A pastor for over 40 years, Dr. Bubeck is the author of The Adversary , Overcoming the Adversary, The Rise of Fallen Angels, and Raising Lambs Among Wolves .

**How to become a child of God

**Prayer

8 Reasons Why Obedience to God Is Important

8 Reasons Why Obedience to God Is Important

1. Jesus Calls Us to Obedience: If you love me, you will keep my commandments. (John 14:15, ESV)

2. Obedience Is an Act of Worship: And so, dear brothers and sisters, I plead with you to give your bodies to God because of all he has done for you. Let them be a living and holy sacrifice—the kind he will find acceptable. This is truly the way to worship him. (Romans 12:1, NLT)

3. God Rewards Obedience: Jesus replied, “But even more blessed are all who hear the word of God and put it into practice.” (Luke 11:28, NLT) But don’t just listen to God’s word. You must do what it says. Otherwise, you are only fooling yourselves. For if you listen to the word and don’t obey, it is like glancing at your face in a mirror. You see yourself, walk away, and forget what you look like. But if you look carefully into the perfect law that sets you free, and if you do what it says and don’t forget what you heard, then God will bless you for doing it. (James 1:22–25, NLT)

4. Obedience to God Proves Our Love: By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God and obey his commandments. For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments. (1 John 5:2–3, ESV)Love means doing what God has commanded us, and he has commanded us to love one another, just as you heard from the beginning. (2 John 6, NLT)

5. Obedience to God Demonstrates Our Faith: And we can be sure that we know him if we obey his commandments. If someone claims, “I know God,” but doesn’t obey God’s commandments, that person is a liar and is not living in the truth. But those who obey God’s word truly show how completely they love him. That is how we know we are living in him. Those who say they live in God should live their lives as Jesus did. (1 John 2:3–6, NLT)

6. Obedience Is Better Than Sacrifice: But Samuel replied, “What is more pleasing to the LORD: your burnt offerings and sacrifices or your obedience to his voice? Listen! Obedience is better than sacrifice, and submission is better than offering the fat of rams. Rebellion is as sinful as witchcraft, and stubbornness as bad as worshipping idols. So because you have rejected the command of the LORD, he has rejected you as king.” (1 Samuel 15:22–23, NLT)

7. Disobedience Leads to Sin and Death: For as by the one man’s [Adam’s] disobedience the many were made sinners, so by the one man’s [Christ’s] obedience the many will be made righteous. (Romans 5:19, ESV)For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ shall all be made alive. (1 Corinthians 15:22, ESV)

8. Through Obedience, We Experience the Blessings of Holy Living: Joyful are people of integrity, who follow the instructions of the LORD. Joyful are those who obey his laws and search for him with all their hearts. They do not compromise with evil, and they walk only in his paths. You have charged us to keep your commandments carefully. Oh, that my actions would consistently reflect your decrees! Then I will not be ashamed when I compare my life with your commands. As I learn your righteous regulations, I will thank you by living as I should! I will obey your decrees. Please don’t give up on me! (Psalm 119:1–8, NLT)This is what the LORD says—your Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel: “I am the LORD your God, who teaches you what is good for you and leads you along the paths you should follow. Oh, that you had listened to my commands! Then you would have had peace flowing like a gentle river and righteousness rolling over you like waves in the sea. Your descendants would have been like the sands along the seashore—too many to count! There would have been no need for your destruction, or for cutting off your family name.” (Isaiah 48:17–19, NLT)

Because we have these promises, dear friends, let us cleanse ourselves from everything that can defile our body or spirit. And let us work toward complete holiness because we fear God. (2 Corinthians 7:1, NLT)


**By Fairchild, Mary. “Why Is Obedience to God Important?” Learn Religions, Aug. 28, 2020, learnreligions.com/obedience-to-god-701962.

22 Questions John Wesley’s Holy Club Asked Themselves Every Day

These are the questions that members of John Wesley’s Holy Club asked themselves every day in their private devotions over 200 years ago:

1. Am I consciously or unconsciously creating the impression that I am better than I really am? In other words, am I a hypocrite?

2. Am I honest in all my acts and words, or do I exaggerate?

3. Do I confidentially pass on to another what was told to me in confidence?

4. Can I be trusted?

5. Am I a slave to dress, friends, work, or habits?

6. Am I self-conscious, self-pitying, or self-justifying?

7. Did the Bible live in me today?

8. Do I give it time to speak to me everyday?

9. Am I enjoying prayer?

10. When did I last speak to someone else about my faith?

11. Do I pray about the money I spend?

12. Do I get to bed on time and get up on time?

13. Do I disobey God in anything?

14. Do I insist upon doing something about which my conscience is uneasy?

15. Am I defeated in any part of my life?

16. Am I jealous, impure, critical, irritable, touchy, or distrustful?

17. How do I spend my spare time?

18. Am I proud?

19. Do I thank God that I am not as other people, especially as the Pharisees who despised the publican?

20. Is there anyone whom I fear, dislike, disown, criticise, hold a resentment toward or disregard? If so, what am I doing about it?

21. Do I grumble or complain constantly?

22. Is Christ real to me?

5 Sins Jesus Hated Most

He who has ears to hear, let him hear.

As we grow spiritually, we will discover that the righteousness of God is not primarily external, and that sin too is not primarily external. When we talk about righteousness, most people think of the standard mentioned in the ten commandments. But righteousness under the new covenant is measured by the life of Jesus and not by any written Law. When we consider the sins that Jesus spoke against the most, we will discover what He hated the most. As we consider five such sins, we will see that none of them are listed in the ten commandments!!

1. Hypocrisy

To be a hypocrite is to give others the impression that we are holier than we actually are. It is the same as being false, or telling a lie. Jesus pronounced a curse on hypocrites seven times in Matthew 23:13-29. It is possible to tell a lie without even opening our mouths. Ananias lied to the Holy Spirit without saying a word – when he pretended to be a wholehearted disciple of Jesus (Acts 5:1-5).

Jesus told the Pharisees that their inner life was “full of self indulgence” (Mt. 23:25) – which meant that they lived only to please themselves. Yet they gave others the impression that because they knew the Scriptures well and fasted and prayed and tithed their income, they were very holy. They appeared very pious externally. They prayed lengthy prayers in public, but they did not pray at length in private – just like many today. It is hypocrisy if we praise God only on Sunday mornings, but do not have a spirit of praise in our hearts at all times. God looks at our hearts. The wise virgins had a hidden reserve of oil in their vessels while the foolish ones had only enough to light their lamps externally and have a good testimony before men (Mt. 25: 1- 4). When we hear of a Christian leader suddenly falling into adultery, we must realise that that was no sudden fall but the final result of a long period of unfaithfulness in his inner life. He was a hypocrite for long!

2. Spiritual Pride

Spiritual pride is the most common sin to be found among those who pursue after holiness. We all know the parable of the self-righteous Pharisee who despised others even in his prayer (Luke 18:9-14)! It is more than likely that 90% of all prayers offered in public by believers are primarily meant to impress others who are listening and not prayed to God at all. The Pharisee in the parable may not have been evil like other sinners in his external life. But Jesus hated the pride with which he thought of his spiritual activities and with which he despised others. It is spiritual pride that makes believers constantly judge other believers.

The tax collector however, who saw himself as THE sinner – worse than all others – was accepted by God. All who have come face to face with God will have seen themselves at some time, as the chief of sinners. Jesus taught that the greatest person in heaven would be the humblest (Matthew 18:4). The greatest virtue found in heaven is humility. We see in the book of Revelation that all those who receive crowns in heaven are quick to cast them down before the Lord acknowledging that He alone deserves every crown (Revelation 4:10,11).

Jesus said that even if we managed to obey EVERY SINGLE commandment of God, we would still be unprofitable servants who had not done anything more than what was expected of us (Luke 17:10). Then what shall we say about our condition when we fall so often!

3. Impurity

Impurity enters into our hearts mainly through our eyes and our ears. This impurity then comes OUT from our hearts and expresses itself through the various members of our bodies – primarily through our tongues and our eyes. Anyone who seeks to be pure must therefore be especially careful about what he sees and what he hears. Jesus hated impurity so much that He told His disciples that they should be willing to pluck out their right eye and cut off their right hand rather than sin with those members (Matthew 5:27-29).

When do doctors recommend the amputation of the right hand or the surgical removal of an eye? Only when things have become so bad that without the removal of these organs, the whole body would die. This is what we need to understand in relation to sin as well. Sin is so serious that it can imperil our very life. Most believers have not realised this and that is why they are careless in the way they use their tongues and their eyes. We must be as blind men and as dumb men when tempted to sin with our eyes and our tongues. This is the implication of Jesus’ words.

4. Indifference To Human Need

Jesus was angry when the leaders of the synagogue did not want Him to heal a man, just because it was the Sabbath day “He was deeply disturbed by their indifference to human need” (Mark 3:5 – Living).

We are commanded to do good to all men, especially to the children of God (Galatians 6: 10). Jesus taught that those who did nothing to help their brothers who were in need of the basic necessities of life, would be cast out of His presence in the final day (Matthew 25:41-46). We may not have the gift of healing to heal sick believers. But we can all certainly visit those who are sick and encourage them. That’s all the Lord asks of us.

The rich man went to hell because he did not care for his brother Lazarus, who was a fellow Jew and a fellow son of Abraham. The priest and the Levite in the parable of the good Samaritan, were exposed as hypocrites by Jesus because they did not show compassion on their fellow- brother- Jew who was lying on the roadside wounded. The Bible says that those who see their brothers in need and who are not moved to help them do not really have saving faith (James 2:15-17). They are only deceiving themselves when they say that they are born again; they are not. Those who do not help their brothers in need cannot possibly have the love of God dwelling in their hearts (1 John 3:17) . Jesus spoke out strongly on such matters because He hated the attitude that many religious people had who were concerned only with religious activities but not with helping their needy brothers.

5. Unbelief

The four sins that we have already mentioned can easily be identified as sins by all believers. But when it comes to unbelief, almost all believers think of it, not as a sin but as a weakness. And therefore they don’t learn to hate unbelief as they hate other sins.

But the Bible speaks of an unbelieving heart as an EVIL heart (Hebrews 3: 12) Jesus rebuked His disciples seven times for unbelief. (See Matthew 6:308:2614:3116:817:17-20Mark 16:14Luke 24:25). It seems that He almost never rebuked His disciples for anything else!!

Unbelief is an insult to God, because it implies that God does not care or provide for His children even as much as evil fathers on earth care and provide for their children.

There is also a counterfeit faith being preached these days, as a means of getting things from God. But that is not the faith that Jesus preached. He wanted us to have faith to live by, in our daily life. Victory over depression, bad moods and discouragement can come only as we have faith in a loving Father in heaven and in the wonderful promises He has given us in His Word.

Twice we read of Jesus being amazed – once when he saw FAITH and once when He saw UNBELIEF!! (Matthew 8:10Mark 6:6). Jesus was excited whenever He saw faith in people. And He was disappointed when He saw people unwilling to trust in a loving Father in heaven.

Now That We Know

Now that we have understood what Jesus hated the most, it should be our aim to hate these five sins too. As we discover these sins in our lives, we must crucify them ruthlessly.

Many preachers read articles like this regularly, only in order to get points for their sermons. Let me warn all such: Satan will tempt you to use this article just to get five points for a sermon! But what you need to do, first of all, is to hate these sins thoroughly in your own life.

Then you will be able to proclaim God’s Word with authority. Otherwise you will only be a Pharisee like many other preachers in the world.

He who has ears to hear, let him hear.

 

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**By Zac Poonen © Copyright – Zac Poonen. No changes whatsoever are to be made to the content of the article without written permission from the author. https://www.cfcindia.com/ 

Picture by Magda Ehlers at pexels

Jesus Said “In The World You Will Have Tribulation”

“Indeed, all who desire to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted…”
2 Timothy 3:12

Jesus said in John 16:33 “In the world you will have tribulation. But take courage; I have overcome the world”. He never promised that we would escape tribulation – whether small tribulations or the great one. But He did say that we could overcome even as He overcame. He is far more interested in making us over-comers than in saving us out of tribulation, because He is far more interested in our character than in our comfort. Neither did Jesus ever say that escaping the great tribulation was a reward for faithfulness, as some teach. On the contrary, He said that those who forsook everything to follow Him would have even more tribulations than others who didn’t follow Him (Mark.10:30). When He prayed to His Father for His disciples, He said, “I do not ask Thee to take them out of the world, but to keep them from the evil.” (John.17:15). He did NOT want His disciples to be raptured out of the world at that time, just because they were going to face tribulation.

” Perseverance is a great virtue that is emphasised throughout the New Testament.”
In the 3rd-century when Christians were being thrown to the lions in the Roman amphitheatres and being burnt at the stake in different parts of the Roman empire, the Lord did not rescue them from such tribulations. The God Who shut the lions’ mouths and took away the power of the fiery furnace in Daniel’s day, did NOT do such miracles for these disciples of Jesus – for these were new-covenant Christians who were going to glorify God through death. Like Jesus their Master, they neither asked for, nor expected twelve legions of angels to come and protect them from their enemies. From heaven, God watched the Bride of His Son being torn to pieces by lions and being burnt to ashes; and He was glorified in their testimony – for they had “followed the Lamb, wherever He went”, even unto a violent physical death (Rev.14:4). The only word that the Lord spoke to them was, “Be faithful until death and I will give you a crown of life” (Rev.2:10). Even today, when the disciples of Jesus are being tortured and persecuted for His Name in many lands, the Lord does not take them away from the earth. And He will not rapture us to heaven before the great tribulation either. He will do something far better. He will make us overcomers in the midst of the great tribulation.

Jesus is far more interested in saving us from evil than in saving us from tribulation. He permits us to go through tribulation because He knows that, that is the only way that we can become spiritually strong.

Such a message is strange teaching indeed to a comfort-loving Christendom that has been coddled in their pews every Sunday for years by ear-tickling preachers. But this is the message that the apostles preached to the early churches. “They (the apostles Paul and Barnabas) strengthened the souls of the disciples, encouraging them to continue in the faith, saying, ‘Through many tribulations we must enter the kingdom of God'” (Acts 14:22).

The little trials that we face at home and at work now, are but a preparation for the greater ones that will come in the days to come. That is why it is essential that we are faithful now. For God says, “If you have run with footmen and they have tired you out, then how can you compete with horses?” (Jer.12:5).  In Revelation Chapter 1:9,10 John refers to himself as a “fellow-partaker in the tribulation which is in Jesus”. Every wholehearted disciple of Jesus should be prepared to partake in the “tribulation which is in Jesus”, as long as he is in this world. John did not get this unveiling while living in comfort. He received it, while experiencing tribulation at Patmos, because he had been faithful to “the word of God and the testimony of Jesus” (Rev.1:9). He had to experience tribulation himself in order to be able to write about the saints experiencing the great tribulation from the Antichrist in the last days. God takes us through trials and tribulations first before giving us a ministry to others who are facing tribulation. Perseverance is a great virtue that is emphasised throughout the New Testament. Jesus Himself said “They will deliver you to tribulation. But the one who endures to the end shall be saved” (Matt.24:9,13).

By Zac Poonen © Copyright – Zac Poonen. No changes whatsoever are to be made to the content of the article without written permission from the author. https://www.cfcindia.com/

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Prayer Binds Satan’s Hands, but a Spirit of Negativity Binds God’s Hands

Beware, brethren, lest there be in any of you an evil heart of unbelief in departing from the living God;” – Hebrews 3:12


INTRODUCTION

BINDING SATAN’S HANDS

So Satan is desiring to cause disaster in in our homes, in our marriages, in our churches, and in our own hearts – but we have the power to bind his works by praying, and by praying in unity. Husband and wife can bind things in their children’s lives, members in the church can bind things when they pray with one another, etc. See again in Matthew 18 verse 19, “Again I say to you, that if two of you agree on earth about anything that they may ask, it shall be done for them by My Father who is in heaven.” So that’s binding Satan’s hands. But there’s another verse which is very interesting in Matthew 13:58, and also similarly in Mark 6:5-6 – that says that the Lord was not able to do many works for His own hometown because they had such unbelief: Matthew 13:58 “And He did not do many miracles there because of their unbelief.” Mark 6:6:5-6 “And He could do no miracle there except that He laid His hands on a few sick people and healed them. And He wondered at their unbelief…”

BINDING GOD’S HANDS

We say we want to bind Satan’s hands, but I believe we read in this verse itself that we by our unbelief may be tying ropes instead around God’s hands in our life!  Maybe He’s able to work in many other people’s lives the way He wants, but with regard to my own life His hands may be tied if I have unbelief! Wow. Imagine the Father reaching down from Heaven to (figuratively) lift up a boy and care and comfort and encourage him.  And as the Father is reaching down from Heaven to help this boy, the boy reaches up to His Father’s hands… but he doesn’t take His loving hands and hold them and receive His loving care; instead the boy places handcuffs on His Dad’s wrists, and then takes a rope and wraps up the wrists and hands that were reaching down to lift him up!  I believe this is exactly what we do when we don’t trust our Father, and we don’t believe He can help.  When we focus not on the hope and promises we have in Christ, and His power, but instead on how bad the situation is. 

NEGATIVITY

I think one word for this which often sums up unbelief is: “Negativity”. A spirit of negativity is the spiritual equivalent of tying ropes around the hands of the Father who is trying to reach down to pick me up and love me. I sometimes had to repent of and ask God to forgive me for my ‘sighs’ of negativity. I don’t always use words, but have often let out a ‘sigh’ of unbelief that with my groan was actually in reality saying “Oh great I have to deal with this again.” And when I think about what it implies I have to admit that it is saying that what God has chosen to allow is bad. It’s not for my good (it denies the plain truth of Romans 8:28). Or at least, with my negativity I’m confessing that the trouble/hassle of the trial is not worth the good that it would bring. But there’s something important about faith: Faith is not just believing that what God says is true, but it’s also believing that it’s as valuable as He says it is! It’s not only believing His Word, but believing it to the point that we’re enthusiastic about it (I believe we see this in the parables of the treasure / pearl of great price Matthew 13:44-45). And so I’ve seen I have to repent of negativity. We have to have a constant attitude of faith that just as the Lord turned the worst thing that ever happened in the universe (the death of Jesus) into the best thing (Jesus dying for us, rising again and saving us forever) – we have to be confident every ‘bad’ thing is not bad, it’s actually good if we love the Lord, and if it’s fully submitted to Him so that He can do something with it. And it’s not just ‘good’, but it’s REALLY REALLY good! A faith filled Christian MUST be an optimistic Christian. Always hopeful, always patient, exulting in tribulation instead of cursing it. Romans 5:3-4 “And not only this, but we also exult in our tribulations, knowing that tribulation brings about perseverance; 5:4 and perseverance, proven character; and proven character, hope;” “Rejoicing in hope, persevering in tribulation” (Romans 12:12), Be “imitators of those who through faith and patience inherit the promises” (Hebrews 6:12)

CONCLUSION

So I see now more of the seriousness with which I need to take unbelief, when I see what it is – unbelief actually is tying up the hands of God so that He cannot work. Unbelief is not an ‘innocent sin’, committed by poor unlucky people who deserve pity from a God who has been too hard on them!  It’s tying ropes around the very One who’s loved us from the beginning, and Who wants to help us even more than we want to help ourselves.  But accepting every single situation that comes our way (both good, and difficult) as from His loving hand is what frees Him up to work mightily in our life, and also is the very thing we can do which pleases Him (Hebrews 11:6).


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**By Bobby McDonald © Copyright – Bobby McDonald. No changes whatsoever are to be made to the content of the article without written permission from the author at NCCF Church / Photo by Jan Antonsen from Pexels

The Breaking of Bread Covenant


When Jesus instituted the ‘breaking of bread’, He used a word that He never used before – the word ‘covenant’. A proper understanding of this word is essential if we are to partake in the Lord’s table meaningfully.

A Covenant Relationship with God

The first mention of the word ‘covenant’ is found in Genesis 6:18, where God promises to establish a covenant with Noah (Genesis 9:9, 11). God had judged the whole world because of man’s sin and now He made a covenant with Noah that He would never again judge the world with a flood as He had just done. God gave a sign to mark the covenant that He then made. It was what we now call the ‘rainbow’. God, however, called it ‘My bow in the cloud’ (Genesis 9:13). The word used for ‘bow’ there is exactly the same word as is translated elsewhere in the Bible for the weapon, the bow. A bow is always aimed in the direction of the one who is to be shot with the arrow. The significance of the bow in the cloud pointing upwards (instead of downwards) is that God who dwells in the heavens was Himself going to receive the arrow released by that bow and take the judgement for man’s sin. The bow would not be aimed at man but God Himself. The world has never since been judged by a flood. Psalm 69:1, 2 states that the floods of God’s judgement went over Jesus on the cross. This was the fulfilment of the sign of the bow in the cloud.

The next person in the Scriptures with whom God made a covenant was Abram. This is first mentioned in Genesis 15:18. Notice there, how God entered into the covenant with Abram. Abram was told to bring three animals and two birds, to slay them and spread them out on the ground (15:9, 10). The animals were to be cut into two and laid each half opposite the other. At night, God came down and as a smoking fire-pot and a flaming fire passed between those halves of the dead animals. Thus it was that the Lord made a covenant with Abram. The significance was again clear – that God Himself would lay down His life (as those dead animals) for Abram. As in the case of the sign of the covenant with Noah, death was the way that the covenant was established – a death in which God Himself took the initiative.

This method of establishing and confirming a covenant later became a practice in Israel (as is seen from Jeremiah 34:18, 19). Whenever two people entered into a covenant, they would slay a calf, divide it into two and walk between the two halves, thus symbolically stating that each was prepared to lay down his life for the other in being true to the covenant. It was a serious offence to make such a symbolic vow and not to keep it. Hence God told the people of Judah through Jeremiah that He would judge them severely for making such a covenant and then breaking it.In Genesis 17, we find God re-confirming the covenant with Abraham. Again God gave a sign to mark the covenant – this time, circumcision. Circumcision is a cutting off of the flesh and symbolises (as Philippians 3:3 and Colossians 2:11 make plain) death to the flesh.

We notice that the symbol of the covenant is again something that speaks of death. This time, it was Abraham and his seed who had to signify their willingness to be faithful to the covenant unto death. The external circumcision was but a sign of God’s desire to circumcise the hearts of the Israelites to love Him wholeheartedly (See Deuteronomy 30:6; Romans 2:28, 29). This teaches us that there can be no wholehearted love for God apart from death to the flesh.The next time we read of a covenant is when God made a covenant with the nation of Israel through Moses – what we call the ‘old covenant’ or the ‘Old Testament’. We read this is Exodus 24:4-7. Moses wrote God’s words in a book (the book of the covenant), slew young bulls as a sacrifice to the Lord and sprinkled the blood of the bulls on the people saying, “Behold the blood of the covenant which the Lord has made with you” (Exodus 24:8). The covenant was sealed by the blood of the slain animals.

This is the first time in the Bible that the phrase ‘the blood of the covenant’ occurs. This is the same phrase that Jesus used when passing the cup around, at the last supper, to His disciples (Matthew 26:28). Under the old covenant, the blood was only sprinkled on the people. Under the new covenant, Jesus invites us to drink of the cup. This symbolises the fact that under the old covenant, the law could only cleanse a person’s external life whereas under the new covenant, we can be purified inwardly.

Again, the covenant is entered through death. In Hebrews 9:13-22, this contrast between the blood of bulls and the blood of Christ is brought out; and we are told there that “where a covenant is, there must of necessity be the death of the one who made it. ….it is never in force while the one who made it lives” (verses 16, 17). This is why every symbol of every covenant that God made with any man symbolised death.The only way that Jesus could establish the new covenant with us was through His own death; and the only way that we can enter into that covenant and its privileges is through death to ourselves. This is the meaning of eating the bread and drinking the wine at the ‘breaking of bread’.

In Hebrews 13:20, we are told that God brought up Jesus from the dead through the blood of the eternal covenant. What does this mean? The blood shed by Jesus on Calvary’s cross was shed as a result of resisting sin unto death (Hebrews 12:4). Jesus was determined to obey the Father and never to sin. His attitude to His Father was, “Father, I would rather die than disobey You in one small point” (See Philippians 2:8 – “obedient unto death”). This was Jesus’ covenant with His Father.

Now Jesus invites us at His table to drink of the cup which is the blood of this new covenant. Are we willing? Can we drink of the cup which He drank of? Do we long, like the apostle Paul, to know “the fellowship of His sufferings being conformed to His death in order that (we too) may attain to the resurrection from the dead” (Philippians 3:10, 11).

Most believers come to the Lord’s table so lightly, without any understanding of what it implies and what the covenant is all about. Only one who is determined to strive against sin even unto blood can take part of the Lord’s table worthily.The word ‘covenant’ could be likened to a solemn agreement signed in a court. No one would sign an agreement in a court, without carefully reading and understanding the terms of the agreement. But how lightly believers take part of the bread and wine at the Lord’s table! No wonder, as in Corinth, even today many believers are weak (physically and spiritually), sick (physically and spiritually) and a number of them die before God’s appointed time (1 Corinthians 11:30) – all because they come to the Lord’s table lightly.

In Leviticus 26:14-20, God had warned the Israelites that if they made a covenant with Him and then broke it, they would become sick and diseased and defeated and there would be no profit in their labours or in their businesses.It is a serious thing to break a covenant. “Do not be hasty in word in the presence of God. When you make a vow to God, do not be late in paying it. ….It is better that you should not vow than that you should vow and not pay it” (Ecclesiastes 5:2-5).Anyone who is repeatedly plagued by sickness and weakness should carefully consider whether he has carelessly broken his covenant with God. This is why James tells us to confess our sins in order to be healed (James 5:16).

The bread that we break symbolises the body of Christ. First of all it symbolises that physical body that Jesus took when He came to earth, in which He never did His own will but His Father’s (see Hebrews 10:5-7). Thus His body was a broken, yielded body all through His earthly life. His body was like bread – easily broken when touched even slightly. Such was His yieldedness to His Father’s will at all points. When we break the bread and partake of it, we are testifying thereby, very solemnly, that we too desire to go the same way of yieldedness and brokenness. It is a serious thing therefore to say that to the Lord at the Lord’s table, and then live as though we never made a covenant with God. We may not be perfect, but the Lord expects even the newest believer to have a willingness to go the way of death to self, no longer to live for oneself, but for Him alone (2 Corinthians 5:15). Otherwise we partake of the bread unworthily, not discerning the Lord’s body rightly.

A Covenant Relationship in the Brotherhood:

The bread that we break symbolises not only the physical body of Christ but also the church, the body of Christ (1 Corinthians 10:16, 17), for there is but one loaf, and we who are many are one body. Those who “eat the sacrifices are sharers in the altar” (1 Corinthians 10:18). If we eat at the Lord’s table, we are to share His death on the cross (the altar) – death to our self – not only in our relationship with God, but also in our relationship with others in the body of Christ.”We ought to lay down our lives for the brothers” (1 John 3:16). This is another aspect of our testimony at the Lord’s table. It is not only with the Lord that we enter into a covenant, but also with our fellow believers. And here too the covenant is entered through death to self.

As the two parties entering into a covenant in Israel passed between the two halves of the slain (‘broken’) calf, even so today we enter into a covenant with one another through the broken bread. This is just as serious a matter as the first aspect that we considered earlier, of making a covenant with God.In 1 Samuel 18:1-8, we read of Jonathan entering into a covenant with David. This is a beautiful picture of what the covenant relationship should be like in the body of Christ. It says there that Jonathan’s soul was knit to the soul of David. The ‘knit’ used here is the same word used in Nehemiah 4:6 where it refers to the wall being built in such a way that there was no gap at all in it. So too was Jonathan’s heart was knit with David’s – there was no gap between their hearts for the enemy to come through. It says further that Jonathan loved David as himself. This is our calling in the body of Christ too – to be joined together as ONE, such that there is no gap between us (no gap of misunderstanding, jealousy, suspicion, etc.) whereby the enemy can come through and bring a division.

Jonathan should have been the one person in Israel who should have been most jealous of David, for he was a threat to Jonathan succeeding Saul as the next king of Israel. Yet he overcame jealousy and loved David as his own self. How Jonathan puts New Testament believers to shame!

Jonathan then made a covenant with David; and as a symbol of the covenant, he took off his royal robe and put it on David. This was symbolic of Jonathan’s desire to die to himself as the next king of Israel and to make David king. We are commanded in the body of Christ to “outdo one another in showing honor” (Romans 12:10 – margin). We are to so die to ourselves that we sincerely and earnestly long that our brothers will be greater and higher and more regarded than ourselves. And we take our robe, if necessary, to cover a brother’s nakedness wherever it is seen. Thus we can make our brother glorious in the eyes of others. This is what it means to enter into a covenant relationship with the brothers in the body of Christ.

It is impossible to enter into such a covenant without dying to self persistently. All the problems that riddle almost every assembly of believers arise because the believers therein have not entered into such a covenant relationship with one another. Everyone seeks his own. The net result of this is that Satan triumphs. But such assemblies are not the church that Jesus is building, for Jesus said that the gates of hell would not be able to prevail against the church that He builds (Matthew 16:18).

Jesus is building His church in this world today. If we are to be a part of that church and to have a part in building that church, then we need to take to heart covenant relationships and should seek to learn with all our hearts what it means to make our brother glorious.

Then we read that Jonathan also took his armor, his sword, his bow and his belt and gave them to David. Entering into a covenant with our brothers, we surrender every possible weapon with which we can harm them in any way. This is the meaning of Jonathan’s action. The weapon with which the maximum damage has been done in Christendom is the tongue. Are we willing to lay down this weapon in a covenant relationship with our brothers in such a way that we will never again speak evil or backbite or gossip against another, even once.

This surrender of our weapons also implies a trust in our brother such that we can afford to be defenseless before him, because we know that he will never harm us. It is through such trust and confidence that the brotherhood is built.

In 1 Samuel 19, 20, we see Jonathan’s steadfast loyalty to David even at the cost of having to stand against his own father. Jonathan stood by his brother David in the presence of carnal relatives. Truly he is a worthy example for all of us to follow. We are to love the brotherhood more than our blood relatives.In Amos 1:9, 10, we see how seriously God viewed a breaking of the covenant of brotherhood. Tyre had made a covenant with Israel in the days of Hiram. Yet in the moment of Israel’s need, they betrayed Israel and delivered them over to their enemies and thus broke the covenant that they had made. God told Amos that He was going to judge Tyre severely for this.

In 2 Samuel 21:1, 2, we read another example of this. For three years there had been a famine in Israel. When David sought the Lord for the cause of this, the Lord told him that it was because Israel had broken the covenant that they had made with the Gibeonites in the days of Joshua. King Saul had killed the Gibeonites, disregarding that solemn covenant. Years later, long after Saul had died, judgment caught up with Israel. God may delay His judgments, but where He does not see repentance, those judgments will surely come. One may ask why God delayed so much in sending the famine. No doubt it was because He gave Israel time to repent. When they did not repent, judgment fell on them.

Paul told the Corinthians that if they judged themselves, God would not judge them. But since they had not judged themselves, therefore many of them were sick and weak and many died before their time (1 Corinthians 11:30, 31). All believers who are perpetually weak and sick should seek God to see if the reason for it is perhaps a broken covenant of brotherhood – taking part in the table of the Lord and then betraying their brothers and sisters, behind their backs, by slander, gossip, etc. This was the chief crime of Judas Iscariot – that he had partaken of the covenant meal with Jesus and then gone out and betrayed Him. As the psalmist prophesied, “Even my close friend, whom I trusted, who ate my bread, has lifted his heel against me” (Psalm 41:9).

May the Lord enable each one of us to examine ourselves and partake of the Lord’s table meaningfully in future. Let us repent wholeheartedly of the sin of breaking covenant with the Lord and with our brothers and sisters; and let us take heed to the voice of the Spirit that has come to us.

**By Zac Poonen excerpt from his book: New wine for new wineskins

Zac Poonen © Copyright – Zac Poonen. No changes whatsoever are to be made to the content of the article without written permission from the author. https://www.cfcindia.com/

Shall We Sin So Grace May Abound?

Sin. It’s something most of us would rather not think about. For the unsaved person, sin is something that separates them from God, due to his perfect holiness. Yet for the Christian, their sin has been paid for. When God looks at them, he doesn’t see their sin, but instead righteousness.

How can that be? The answer is Jesus.

Jesus took the place of us on the cross. He paid the price of our sins with his very life and his holiness was accounted to us (2 Corinthians 5:21). God made it possible for us to be with him through the blood of his holy Son. Instead of condemnation, we receive grace. Instead of rightful punishment for our sins, God sees us as his sons and daughters. Indeed, this is the miracle of the Christian faith for all who believe.

But this brings up an important question. If our sin is already paid for, why should we stop sinning? In fact, doesn’t the vastness of our sin just make his grace more beautiful? Shall we sin that grace may abound?

Shall We Continue in Sin?

Paul demolished this dangerous line of thought in Romans 6. Christ died to free us from sin, not enable us to sin. When Jesus died, he was releasing us from our bondage to sin, because that is what sin is — slavery. Sin is what separates us from God. It’s damaging, and for the unredeemed, it is damning (Romans 6:23).

 

“For we know that our old self was crucified with him so that the body ruled by sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves to sin — because anyone who has died has been set free from sin.” – Romans 6:6-7 

So, shall we then continue in sin that grace may abound? Paul replies with a resounding “God forbid” (Romans 6:2). To desire to continue in sin shows a misunderstanding of this abundant grace and a contempt for Jesus’ sacrifice. Either we believe what God says is true or we don’t. Either we take him at his word when he equates sin to death, or we do not believe him at all (Ephesians 2:1).

What is the point of the Christian faith if we get to pick and choose what we want to believe? Do we think God is that small, insignificant or somehow uninformed? Do we trifle with the very thing that God sent his Son to save us for? Do we misuse the grace that he gifted us with in his death and resurrection? Surely not.

Sin and Grace

Grace is a gift. Forgiveness of sins and his salvation are gifts. Grace is not, however, a license to sin. Throughout the Bible, fathers of our faith are seen distressed, tormented by their sin.

Consider David after his adultery with Bathsheba or Peter after denying Christ (Psalms 51:17 and Matthew 26:75). They did not discount their sin as simply something atoned for. Just because the Christian’s sin is paid for by Jesus, sin is still damaging to the believer and their relationship with God.

When David tried to ignore his sin, his “bones wasted away through my groaning all day long” (Psalms 32:3). He did, however, find freedom in confession.

 

“Then I acknowledged my sin to you and did not cover up my iniquity. I said, ‘I will confess my transgressions to the LORD’ – and you forgave the guilt of my sin.” – Psalms 32:5 

A Christian who pursues sin despite claiming Christ as their Savior is living outside the blessing and fullness of the relationship that comes with an obedient life. We cannot equate grace with freedom to sin. Instead, we should be thankful that grace provides freedom from sin and its eternal consequences.

Doesn’t that kind of grace make you want to obey the one who set you free?

What Is Sanctification?

 

“If you love me, you will obey my commandments. I will ask the Father, and he will give you another helper who will be with you forever. That helper is the Spirit of Truth. The world cannot accept him, because it doesn’t see or know him. You know him, because he lives with you and will be in you.” – John 14:5-17

The Christian’s spiritual journey doesn’t begin and end at a one-time prayer of confession. When we truly see our need for God, his grace and Christ’s sacrifice for us, we will want to obey him. Why? Because we will overflow with love and gratitude that the God of all creation cares enough to save us from ourselves. And if we love him, we trust him when he calls us to higher things. This pursuit toward Christ, and refining of our faith, is sanctification. Sanctification is progressing toward Christlikeness. A Christian cannot pursue both Christlikeness and sin.

So Christians, remember his abounding grace toward you. Turn from sin and embrace your new life as a vessel of light. You are dead to sin, alive in Christ.

Now go live it.

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***By Lizzie Hoover at Grand Canyon University: gcu.edu / By Mike Waters at Joyful Toons