Monday, July 1, 2013

Binding and Loosing 2

I have posted about binding and loosing before, but I just found this cool website called First Fruits Of Zion.  

The teaching of Matt 16:19 and Matt 8:18,19 about binding and loosing is still very problematic for the church.  Truly, Jesus is not teaching us to bind and loose Satan.  In this sense, these passages are not about spiritual warfare.  We have much authority over the demonic realm, but that is not what these passages are about.

On the other hand, there is an aspect of binding and loosing that is related to spiritual warfare and that is the power of our words.  Our words hold the power of life and death.  What we come into agreement with (believe in our heart) and confess with our mouth can either bind us to the truth of the Word or loose us from it.  Our words can either bind us to the power of life and healing or it can loose the power of death and destruction.  We must bind our minds to what is true and right and loose our minds from lies and deception by taking every thought captive to the obedience of Christ.

If you have a moment to watch this video or poke around this website, I think you'll find it interesting.

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Legalistic Abuse

Acts 18:5-11, 13
When Silas and Timothy came from Macedonia, Paul devoted himself exclusively to preaching, testifying to the Jews that Jesus was the Christ.  But when the Jews opposed Paul and became abusive, he shook out his clothes in protest and said to them, "Your blood be on your own heads!"  I am clear of  my responsibility.  From now on I will go to the Gentiles."

Then Paul left the Synagogue and went next door to the house of Titius Justus, a worshiper of God.   Crispus, the synagogue ruler, and his entire household believed in the Lord; and many of the Corinthians who heard him believed and were baptized.

One night the Lord spoke to Paul in a vision: "Do not be afraid; keep on speaking, do not be silent.  For I am with you and no one is going to attack and harm you, because I have many people in this city."  So Paul stayed for a year and a half, teaching them the word of God.

The Jews made a united attack on Paul and brought him into court.  "This man," they charged, "is persuading the people to worship God in ways contrary to the law."

Religious legalism is one of the most difficult strongholds to overcome.  When God reveals something contrary to the "the way it's always been taught", you can be sure the legalists will start to attack.

The law of God is perfect, reviving the soul. (Ps.19:7)  The Jews of Paul's day rejected his message because it was prophetic in nature.  It did not contradict scripture, it brought it to life.  Paul's message appeared new to them, but in reality it was written in the scriptures long before.  God is even now revealing what has been hidden in scriptures up to this point.

Over 100 years ago, Dr. C.I. Scofield said in his notes on Revelation in the Scofield Reference Bible, "Doubtless, much which is designedly obscure to us will be clear to those for whom it is written as the time approaches."  

The closer we get to the end of the age, the more God will reveal "new mysteries" that have been there all along.  I like to refer to these mysteries as things hidden in plain sight.  Since Noah's day, God has chosen to reveal truths through His prophets. Even today, God is using those with the gift of prophecy to bring the mysteries of scripture to life.

Be fore-warned if you think you have the gift of prophecy!  Down through history, God's prophets were hated, stoned, beheaded and crucified for their message.  On a less severe note, the prophets were laughed at, scoffed and told to stop preaching their message as is was considered false and heretical.  A prophet's message always has been and always will be, "repent, for the kingdom of God is at hand".

Believe you me, that message is not well-received - especially by those who believe they are already religious, those who are "law-keepers",  by that I mean those who by all outward appearances are righteous and well-versed in the scriptures...just like the legalistic Jews!

Do not be afraid; keep on speaking, do not be silent.  For I am with you and no one is going to attack and harm you, because I have many people in this city.

Saturday, May 18, 2013

Everybody Needs a Nehemiah

Looking back I now realize that everyone needs a Nehemiah – someone who will pray, mourn, fast and weep until your strongholds are demolished and the beautiful walls of the City of God are rebuilt in you.

Ecclesiastes 3:1,3
There is a time for everything… a time to tear down and a time to build.

I sat in a heap; utterly broken with everything I knew crumbling down around me.  “How much longer, Lord?  How much further must I fall?  My life is in ruins, yet it continues to crumble!”

“Until it’s all down”, He replied.  “It must all come down.  All your false beliefs and expectations about your marriage, your home and financial security even the expectations you have for your children.  All the things you hold higher than Me must come down.  Everything that has exalted itself up against the knowledge of God (II Cor 10:5) must come down.”

I was an absolute disgrace as I sat in the rubble of my life and cried.  For seven long years the enemy had out-witted me and I was totally unaware of his tactics.  Did I know I was to keep watch so I would not be caught unaware? Did I know I had armor and weapons at my disposal to defend and protect myself from the enemy’s merciless onslaught?  No.  And so my unpreparedness led to my swift and sure defeat and I was carried off into exile, so to speak– captive to my own bitterness and failure to forgive.

I began to questions God’s goodness.  I questioned His ability to deliver me.  Was God’s arm too short to save?  My soul hung in the balance between belief and unbelief.
Then word came to Nehemiah, “Those who survived the exile and are back in the province are in great trouble and disgrace.  The wall of Jerusalem is broken down and its gates have been burned with fire.” (Neh. 1:3)  When Nehemiah heard these things, he wept, and mourned and fasted.  And he prayed to the God of heaven and asked the king, “If it pleases the king and if your servant has found favor in your sight, let him send me to Jerusalem so that I can rebuild it.” 

So, Nehemiah went to Jerusalem and found a few good men and he said to them, “You see the trouble we are in: Jerusalem lies in ruins and its gates have been burned with fire.  Come, let us rebuild the wall of Jerusalem and we will no longer be in disgrace.”

I don’t know who my Nehemiah was, but somebody stood in the gap for me.  Somebody who had more faith and more strength to pray stood at my portion of the wall, spiritually, and held me up until I was able to stand on my own.

At first, I didn’t even realize the wall was mine to rebuild.  I didn’t see any design or purpose in my suffering.  I couldn’t see that this was part of God’s plan, but God had made it clear to me that my old wall had to come down first.  It was weak and crumbly; yet, I held onto all the crumbling pieces hoping that somehow I could put them back together again.  But the more I held onto the pieces, the more they just disintegrated and slipped through my fingers. 

My wall was built on pride, rebellion, stubbornness, self-reliance, performance, control and the list goes on.  I thank God for sending a messenger into my life who helped me identify these strongholds of the enemy and for teaching me these words from scripture:
The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world.  On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds.  We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.  (II Cor 10:4-5)

The strongholds came down with one final nudge, but the enemy plotted to stir up trouble and fight against the good work that was being done.  The enemy, Satan, became aware that I had plans to rebuild my portion of the wall and he was very disturbed.  He hurled insults at me, “Can you bring stones back to life from those heaps of rubble?  Look what you are building, if even a fox climbed upon it, he would break down those walls of stone!” (Neh 4:2-3)

From that day on, I did my work with one hand and held a weapon with the other. (Neh 4:17).  And so the wall was rebuilt as I bound myself to the truth of the Word.  Immeasurably more than just my marriage was saved.  God’s faithfulness and goodness toward me was never-failing.

Thank you, Lord, for my Nehemiah, whoever it was.  Remember with favor my Nehemiah, O God, for all he has done for me.  Send a Nehemiah to the next person on the wall.  Station him at the lowest points where there are exposed places and families. You, O Lord, are the God of all mankind and nothing is too difficult for you! (Jer. 32:17)

Sunday, March 10, 2013

So What's The Big Deal About Marriage?

Marriage is under attack today like no other time in history.  As state after state puts forth legislation to redefine marriage as no longer between one man and one woman, it's important to know how God views marriage.

The reason marriage is fully under attack is that if Satan can paint marriage as difficult, painful and doomed to failure - if he can deceive some into believing that men and women are incompatible, then he has succeeded in putting a foul taste in our mouths for a relationship with the God of Heaven who has chosen us as his bride.

I am the only female in a house of five males and my six year old son asked me a funny question the other day.  He said, "Mom, what would happen if the whole world was 'boys only'?"  I said, "Well, life on earth would end in less than 100 years, because there would be no women to have babies and so the earth would become desolate when the last man died."  He said, "Oh, I never thought of that."

Did you know that the whole Bible from Genesis to Revelation is about marriage - marriage between a man and a woman.  In the Old Testament, Israel is depicted as God's bride.  He made a marriage covenant with Israel saying if you will agree, I will be yours and you will be mine.  Is. 54:5  says that God is Israel's husband.  In fact, the whole book of Song of Songs is about God (the husband) and His beloved, Israel.

For your Maker is your husband - the Lord Almighty is his name. Isaiah 54:5
As a bridegroom rejoices over his bride, so will your God rejoice over you.  Isaiah 62:5
"Return, faithless people", declares the Lord, "for I am your husband."  Jeremiah 3:14

Author and preacher, Perry Stone, said it well, "The Old Testament is the New Testament concealed and the New Testament is the Old Testament revealed."  So, if the New Testament is the Old Testament revealed, then we know that the New Testament is also a picture of marriage.  There are two parallel stories running through Scripture.  God uses the story of Israel in the Old Testament to foreshadow the story of the church in the New Testament.  Israel is the bride of God, while the church (worldwide) is the bride of Christ.

From the ancient days of Abraham up to the present time, God is painting a picture of a bride and a groom and their wedding.  There are stages in a wedding from the engagement (betrothal) to the wedding feast.  Some of these events have already taken place in the course of Israel's history and in church history, some have yet to happen.  For the Church of Jesus Christ, our marriage has not been consummated   We are still in the betrothal stage waiting for our bridegroom to come and get us.

God's whole message throughout Scripture is about marriage.  That is the story and the illustration He chose to show us how much he loves us and desires to have a relationship with us.  It is just like our enemy, Satan, to wage an all-out war on marriage - to destroy the story and the illustration.  God defined marriage when he created Adam and Eve - not Adam and Steve.  Who are we to re-define what God created?  Only God has the right to define what He has created.  He is the author and illustrator - the final authority.

Revelation 19: 7-10
"Let us rejoice and be glad and give him glory!  For the wedding of the Lamb has come, and his bride has made herself ready.  Fine linen, bright and clean, was given to her to wear. (Fine linen stands for the righteous acts of the saints.)  Then the angel said to me, "write: Blessed are those who are invited to the wedding supper of the Lamb!"

As followers of Jesus Christ, we have a battle before us on two fronts:  1)  the battle for marriage in our nation and 2)  the battle for marriage in our homes.  We can be sure of this - that God is for marriage!  He desires for your marriage to be a beautiful illustration of His love for his bride.  If your marriage is feeling hopeless, don't give up my friend, God is for you not against you.  Please read my post  You Gotta Have Hope.

The Spirit and the Bride say "Come!" Rev. 22:17

A Prayer for you:
Almighty God, maker of heaven and earth, you have made man and woman in your image.  You have ordained marriage as the story and illustration of your relationship with us.  There is an enemy who is out to destroy my marriage and the marriages of my countrymen.  Show me, Father, what true marriage is supposed to look like.  Soften my heart towards my spouse that I may freely forgive him and love him as you have forgiven and loved me.  Restore what has been broken so that it will bring glory to your name.  In the name of Jesus, my savior, Amen!

Grace and Peace be yours in abundance today!