Spiritual Warfare in the time of coronavirus

10 Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. 11 Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. (Eph. 6:10-11)

The old joke goes something like this:

There are those who make things happen. There are those who see things happen. There are those who wonder what happened.

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Spiritual leprosy

Prayerlessness in the body of Christ is akin to leprosy. I learned some things about leprosy from Paul Brand, a surgeon to lepers. He says that in leprosy the nerves stop functioning properly, no longer sending signals of pain to the brain. Lepers will begin to lose fingers and toes in accidents because they cannot feel pain when they are hurting themselves.

Drawing a spiritual analogy from that, when the church does not feel pain with other suffering believers, it indicates the presence of “spiritual leprosy.” The church’s nerves are dead. What happens next is the church begins to lose body members. — Bob Sorge,  Secrets of the Secret Place

Intercession is key. We must be people of the presence. We must have our lives in tune with the Spirit so we don’t lose sight of those around us. Allow 2017 to become a renewed call to prayer. A renewed call to walk with God. A renewed call to his presence.


Do NOT Quit

12 Then he continued, “Do not be afraid, Daniel. Since the first day that you set your mind to gain understanding and to humble yourself before your God, your words were heard, and I have come in response to them.13 But the prince of the Persian kingdom resisted me twenty-one days. Then Michael, one of the chief princes, came to help me, because I was detained there with the king of Persia. (Dan. 10:12-13)

10 The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full. (John 10:10)

Too many prayers are abandoned far too quickly. We do not know the war that may be going on in spiritual places where if we would just stay at it, victory would come.

The enemy has a vested interest in keeping you from prayer. He battles with discouragement, weakness, fatigue, doubt, and so much more. Anything to keep you from prayer. 

Do NOT quit. One more day. One more hour. You do NOT know… but if you quit, the results may be far too predictable: the answers may not come and the enemy robs the desire of prayer from yet another believer.

Persist in prayer. Heaven hears.

Through the battle into abundance

Praise be to the Lord my Rock,
    who trains my hands for war,
    my fingers for battle. (Psalm 144:1)

There always battles the Lord will take us through. We are never going to be “battle free” in some sense as we walk in this life. That does not mean exhaustion or weariness.

But if we understand the training of the Lord we can move from a mentality of “battle weary” to “battle tested“.

The periods of testing are necessary. The promises the Lord gives are powerful. The enemy wants those promises undelivered so he battles. Often we may not understand that, so when the promises don’t seem to come, we ask God why he didn’t come through.

Battles are present because there is an enemy bent on stealing the promises. If we will understand the war and get into the battle we will find the place of abundance. David comes through this battle into that place of provision:

12 Then our sons in their youth
    will be like well-nurtured plants,
and our daughters will be like pillars
    carved to adorn a palace.
13 Our barns will be filled
    with every kind of provision.

David also knew that didn’t mean he would be “battle free” for the rest of his life. He just knew what it was to be battle tested. 

This is a crucial weekend for me and our church. We have a time of worship and intercession Sunday night and in my spirit is a sense of “labor and delivery.” We are needing a final “push” so to speak to see some battles won. It is a testing time. Our hands are ready. We need that final movement of prayer to bring in the answers of abundance.

Lord, let me know the toughness of battle. Remind us that all that has come before has prepared us for this moment. All that we will see in battle will also test us and ready us for all that is ahead. Let us be warriors in your Kingdom. Amen. 

Spiritual power

I am meditating through the temptation of Jesus in Luke 4 again. I am continually challenged with the thought of Jesus being full of the Spirit, then led BY the Spirit into spiritual battle.

We pray for spiritual power, but we don’t want the battles. Miracles don’t happen in calm times. Jesus didn’t walk on water when the sea was calm. The miracles, the victories, come out of the storm.

David’s Mighty Men

I am prayerfully walking through 2 Samuel now as I look at spiritual warfare. In Chapter 23 there is the story of David’s mighty men. Amazing heroes who would go the distance for David. They caught his heart, loved him, and would battle anyone anywhere on his behalf.

I think of that and am deeply thankful for not only mighty men, but mighty WOMEN I have around me. We are going through a huge transition as a church. We are selling our current property and looking for new locations. We are preparing to change up everything we do about ministry, AND we are gearing up to set up a coffee shop.

I have a staff of women and a board with men and women on it. I have mighty men AND women. I am so thankful.

My wife is incredible. She is a mighty woman of prayer, of faith, of care… looking to see what God is up to and believing for incredible things.

I am thankful for the incredible warriors God has put around me. They are tenacious and full of faith. It has blessed my life beyond measure.

David and Goliath

“Kids stories” are the best stories. I can remember them. The details may get more full as we grow older, but if I heard a Bible story as a kid, I can remember the basics.

David and Goliath is such a main stay. And then to have it told in King James English… even better. There was a whole sermon preached at a youth convention off a phrase in the KJV and has an entirely different meaning from what the text really says. The sermon was titled: “Is there not a cause?” It was a great sermon. It missed the nuance of the question, but it was a GREAT sermon.

The story is also a great devotional read on spiritual warfare. As I am praying through the OT narratives right now, I am listening again to lessons on the spiritual warfare, so this lesson from David and Goliath brings back all those thoughts on prayer.

1. Sometimes we let the enemy dictate the terms of battle. We get to the battle field and rather than moving ahead as the Lord commands, the enemy lays out a new rule and somehow we think, “Oh, well I guess I better play by that rule.”

Israel was paralyzed because Goliath set the terms of battle. No one was going onto that field to take on one guy twice their size. In the heat of hand to hand combat it was possible to overwhelm the big guy, but one on one? “Fuhget about it!”

There are times when we need to step back and ask, “WHY am I battling this way?” Or, “WHY is the enemy getting away with this in my life?” Maybe it’s because you’ve allowed the enemy to dictate the terms of the battle and now you’re finding out he doesn’t even play by his own rules.

2. Saul had no idea who he was in God. Goliath taunted and Saul laid back in fear. David came in knowing who he was in God.

3. David had no fear because he was clear on the problem. GOLIATH was the problem. The enemy was taunting the people of God and the people of God were simply far more able than an enemy of God. That was a settled issue in David’s mind.

4. Use the weapons familiar to you.

Saul tried to put the armor on David to fight the conventional way. David had weapons he was familiar with… and thankfully stuck to them. There would be a time he would be trained in the sword. This was not that day.

We keep thinking, “Well, when I get enough training. When I get through seminary. When I finish this book on prayer. When I…”

And here comes a battle.

What’s in your hand? Use it. God has an amazing way of empowering what we offer up. Moses had a staff. David had a sling. The boy had five loaves and two fish. Offer it up. See what happens.

5. One man, Saul, held a whole nation back out of his own fear. One man, David, led a nation into victory because of his faith.

It’s a great story with some great reminders. Don’t pass by the old stories!

Crazy faith and foolishness

My journey in prayer and Scripture currently has me reading prayerfully through the Old Testament narratives beginning in 1 Samuel. The prayerful journey is to think in terms of spiritual warfare.

1 Samuel 14 is a story that draws me because of the contrast between Jonathan and Saul. I remember youth speakers really embellishing this story when I was in high school and college. It’s a lot of fun to preach.

But it IS a story of faith. Crazy faith.

Saul sits with 600 men doing nothing while Jonathan takes his armor-bearer out looking for a fight. He finds an impossible place. A garrison sits on a cliff and Jonathan figures of the Philistines invite them UP to the garrison, which would require a stiff climb, then God would give them the victory. 

While Saul sits in anxiety, Jonathan takes on the garrison. In exhaustion, he fights and wins with his armor-bearer. THEN the Philistines are routed. Panic ensues and Saul finally wakes up to the reality that the Philistines are in panic. They are literally turning on each other. Saul has actually walked into a victory.

Jonathan flirts with that line of crazy faith and just foolishness. It’s a line that is so easy to jump over I’m more likely to be Saul sitting under a pomegranate tree, full of anxiety, not knowing what to do next… so I do nothing.

This is not that time.

It is time to walk in faith in a way I’ve never known. For the past two plus years I have attempted to learn prayer in a new way, like I’ve never known. Now, I am called to walk out that prayer life in a new way… a way I’ve never known.

It’s like look up and two cliffs and saying, “Well, that’s an impossible route. It MUST be God!”

Those steps of radical faith involve TRUST. It’s not about just foolishly leaping ahead. It is trusting the voice of God that has been developed over time. I can trust that voice now.

Time for sitting under the pomegranate tree has long passed. It is time to take on the impossible and move higher. When Jonathan took the radical leap… or climb… the enemy was panicked. There is an enemy relying on me to sit under a pomegranate tree and take it easy. If I take a flying leap listening to the voice I trust, victory can come.