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Sleepy In Seattle

seattle-skyline

On April 13, baggage handler Willa Junior dozed off in the cargo hold of a Boeing 737 while working his job at a Seattle airport. Junior was awakened abruptly when a piece of baggage hit him in the head, and he was faced with darkness, engine noise, and the feeling that the plane was ascending.

He tried to call his company, but they thought it was a prank call.

He tried to call 911, but his call was cut off.

He then began banging on the ceiling of the cargo hold, which was heard by the plane’s passengers directly above him.

The plane was forced to return to the Seattle airport to release its sleep-deprived captive from the cargo hold — alive, and probably quite embarrassed.

On March 24, 1989, the oil tanker Exxon Valdez ran aground in Prince William Sound, Alaska, spilling approximately 11 million gallons of crude oil into the sea. At the time, this was the worst oil spill in United States history (eclipsed in 2010 by the Deepwater Horizon spill). Allegedly, the Valdez spill was caused by the ship’s third-mate falling asleep at the helm, causing the tanker to leave the shipping lanes, and run aground on Bligh Reef.

In the Bible, we find the story of Jonah. In his attempt to run from God, he boarded a ship. While asleep in the hold, God sent a mighty storm to stop the fleeing prophet. Being awakened, and realizing the storm was on his account, Jonah instructed the crew to throw him into the sea (see the book of Jonah).

We find the disciples asleep in Jesus’ hour of need, at the very time He needed them to watch and pray (see Matthew 26:36-46).

SleeperSleep deprivation can have horrific results. These stories are just a miniscule sampling of the thousands of instances of someone falling “asleep at the wheel”, and being met with tragedy. Countless car accidents, plane crashes, and other disasters have been caused because someone dozed off at their post, with tragic results.

In our nation and our world, the Church is suffering from spiritual sleep deprivation…

We have forsaken the diligent study of God’s Word for entertainment and lullaby religion.

We have allowed our prayer-times to devolve into blessings at dinner time, and fox-hole, final exam, and health-crisis pleadings.

We have fallen asleep in the Watchtower of Righteous-Indignation, and allowed the voices of immorality, narcissism, self-indulgence, and anti-Christianity to storm the walls and drown out the sound of the Good News of Jesus.

We who are alive in Christ must engage this culture if we are going to change it. The liberal agenda in our nation is making no bones about changing the fabric this country was built on, making room for no dissenting opinions, and taking no prisoners. As those who have come out of darkness and into the light of God’s love, it is up to us to make our voices heard, in the churchhouse, the schoolhouse, and the statehouse. We must put feet to faith, reach the ears of our detractors with truth, and reach their hearts with love-based action. As the late Keith Green pointed out, “God bless you, be at peace…’ just doesn’t cut it with a world that is starving for truth, looking for love, and dying from self-inflicted misery.

For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Walk as children of light (for the fruit of the Spirit is in all goodness, righteousness, and truth), finding out what is acceptable to the Lord. And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather expose them. For it is shameful even to speak of those things which are done by them in secret. But all things that are exposed are made manifest by the light, for whatever makes manifest is light. Therefore He says:

“Awake, you who sleep,
Arise from the dead,
And Christ will give you light.” 

See then that you walk circumspectly, not as fools but as wise, redeeming the time, because the days are evil. ~ Ephesians 5:8-16

So how do we do this? How do we stand against the waves opposition and persecution we are seeing today?

  • Come together. There is an old adage that there is strength in numbers. It’s time for the church to pull together, cross denominational and cultural barriers within the Body, and stand on the truth of God’s Word. It’s time we stop “forsaking the assembling of ourselves”, and stand side-by-side against the tide of public perception and political correctness.
  • Speak the truth in love. Anyone can be a shrill voice of dissention. It takes well-grounded, Spirit-filled minds and hearts to thoughtfully, intelligently, and truthfully vocalize Biblical opposition to the deception overtaking our nation and give an answer for the hope we have.
  • Live it. Talk is cheap, and costs nothing. It is in living out our convictions, particularly when it is uncomfortable or costs us something, that our critics take notice, our adversaries are silenced, and we make a difference in the world. It’s not enough to simply talk about Jesus’ love if we are not going to put feet to faith, and make our presence known in a very real, very tangible way in our neighborhoods, communities, counties, and world.

So get involved! Find a way to make a difference. Open your eyes to those around you, and touch the life of someone who has no way to repay you. Let that be a start… the seed to greater things for the Kingdom of God.

Every great oak began as an acorn.

Every great idea began in the mind of someone brave enough to dream, and bold enough to think they could succeed…

And with the God of the universe in your corner, you can too!

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No One Believes In Me Anymore

Now the Spirit expressly says that in latter times some will depart from the faith, giving heed to deceiving spirits and doctrines of demons. ~ 1 Timothy 4:1

The last days will be characterized by a departure from the faith.

Ladies and gentlemen… we’re there.

DemonFrom well-known pastors speaking out against Biblical values to entire denominations abandoning sound Biblical truth for the sake of political correctness and societal relevance, we are seeing the prophecy of 1 Timothy 4:1 play out in all it’s real-time, full color, live-action reality. In Matthew 24, Jesus said that, when He returns again, the societal climate would be “as it was in the days of Noah“. In order for that to be the case, it would make sense that some form of influence from Noah’s time would be present at the time of Christ’s return.

An ancient evil, as it were.

We live in a society that, for all of it’s animosity toward God and His commands, is fascinated with the supernatural. Because of this fascination, the idea of angels and demons is quite popular, being the subjects of books, movies, video games, music, and more. But like so many things in politically-correct pop-culture, we want to believe as long as we can do so on our terms. This is EXACTLY what the enemy prefers… an unrealistic, cartoonish view of demons that takes the edge off who they really are, how they really work, and the danger they REALLY pose. As the late Keith Green so accurately penned…

Oh, my job keeps getting easier
As time keeps slipping away
I can imitate your brightest light
And make your night look just like day
I put some truth in every lie
To tickle itching ears
You know I’m drawing people just like flies
‘Cause they like what they hear

I’m gaining power by the hour
They’re falling by the score
You know, it’s getting very simple now
‘Cause no one believes in me anymore.

~ from the song, No One Believes in Me Anymore
from the album For Him Who Has Ears to Hear
©1977 Sparrow Records

In order to face our enemy in a realistic fashion, we must first clear up some misconceptions about the enemy and spiritual warfare. Let’s dive in…

Misconception #1: Demons, Alive During Biblical Times, are Only Active Today in Pagan Cultures.

Nothing in the Bible restricts demonic activity to certain times and cultures. On the contrary, the Bible states that we are in a constant battle (2 Corinthians 2:11). The devil would like nothing more than for people to deny his existence.

Misconception #2: Demons Cannot Bother Believers.

While a Christian cannot be totally taken over (possessed) by a demon, Christians can be oppressed, harassed, and dominated by demonic activity. Unrepentant believers can open themselves up to demonic oppression (Acts 5:3, 1 Corinthians 5:4-5). Ephesians 6:10-15 speaks of our wrestling against the powers of darkness, questions the enemies fiery spears, and stands firm against his assaults. The enemy can attack the mind and body of a Christian. Christians need to embrace deliverance as a part of their salvation. In Matthew 6, Jesus Himself commands us to pray daily, “Deliver us from the evil one.”

Misconception #3: Only Occult Involvement Leads to Demonic Difficulties.

Occult involvement leads to demonization. However, occult involvement is not the only avenue to oppression by the enemy. Every believer is subject to temptation, deception, oppression, and strongholds.

Misconception #4: Demonic Operation Incites only Extreme Behavior Such as Violence and Gross Sin.

It is true as is seen in Mark 5 that total demonization can lead to extreme behaviors. However, look at Mark 1:23-24. We have a man in the synagogue who cries out in his oppression. There is no violence here at all.

Also in Luke 13:10-16 we find a woman called “a daughter of Abraham” (Luke 10:16) bound by “a spirit of infirmity.” The name infirmity is “asthenia” in Greek. It means feeble, lack of strength, weak, disability. Jesus says to her, “Thou are loosed.” That word “loosed” is apoluo, which means “to free fully and set at liberty.” This woman was sick and helpless by demonic oppression for l8 years. She was a church-going believer but bound by Satan for 18 years. Jesus set her free on the day of worship.

Misconception #5: Christians Are in Personal Danger in Dealing with Demons

I often hear people say in fear, “I do not want to stir up anything by getting involved in warfare.” My friend, Jesus laid hands on this poor woman and she was delivered. Demons are under the authority of believers and can only affect us if we give them place.

What kind of surgeon would not operate because of the fear of inflicting pain? What kind of doctor would not treat a disease for fear of exposing himself? The doctor would put on protection and do his job. Likewise we can suit up in God’s armor and help others to freedom.

Misconception #6: It Is Dangerous to Touch or Be Around Someone Who Is Demonically Afflicted.

Fear invites the attack of the enemy. However, other believers are not transmitters. A person right with God has nothing to fear from the enemy.

Misconception #7: For Deliverance, You Can Plead the Blood of Jesus Without Having Understanding and Faith.

The blood of Jesus cannot be “plead” like some good luck charm! We honor the blood of Jesus and trust its cleansing, protection and delivering power. The blood pleads itself when applied to the life of the believer. Revelation 12:11 speaks of the blood’s overcoming power against Satan.

“And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony, and they did not love their lives to the death.

The blood speaks of forgiveness and cancels the enemy’s right to attack. The blood does not “plead to Satan” for anything. The blood’s plea is to the Father. The blood rebukes Satan.

Misconception #8: Spiritual Warfare Instruction is Unnecessary.

Some time back, a pastor and a former longstanding member of a church informed me that their church had gotten along without this teaching for years. I replied, “look at your church and mine.” Half their membership did not attend. Sin was rampant in their body. Depression and oppression dominated many of their people’s lives. Ignoring the truth leads to disaster. 2 Corinthians 2:11 warns us not to be “…ignorant of Satan’s devices.”

MIsconception #9: One Can Make Light of Satan and the Truth of Spiritual Warfare With Impunity.

I had an evangelist tell me that Satan is a toothless tiger! That cliché sounds good, but is it true? Look at 1 Peter 6:8-9.

“Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary, the devil, walks about like a roaring lion seeking whom he may devour. Resist him, stand fast in the faith…”

The word “devour” means “to gulp down.” We are to realize our enemy is defeated but still dangerous.

Misconception #10: It Is Enough Just To Resist the Devil Over a Period of Time.

Resisting the devil is necessary and important. Yet this is defensive. There is an offensive side to spiritual warfare whereby ground gained by the enemy must be retaken. Ephesians 4:27 warns us about “giving place” to the Devil. In Matthew 12:43 demons seek “places.” It is the same word found in Ephesians 4:27.

We must come to the rescue of those captured by the enemy. Colossians 1:13 speaks of salvation as being “…delivered from the kingdom of darkness…” Matthew 16 Jesus said of the church, “…the gates of hell shall not prevail against the church.” This text speaks of the church attacking the very gates of hell’s strongholds.

In John 12:31 Jesus spoke of the cross as a place where the enemy would be “cast out.” Every lost person lives under the domain of “…the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now works in the children of disobedience.

When Paul stood before King Agrippa he stated his mission in Acts 26:18…

“To open their eyes, in order to turn them from darkness to light, from the power of Satan to God that they might receive forgiveness of sins and an inheritance…”

Salvation is a rebirth of those in darkness, under the rule of Satan.

Misconception #11: Freedom From Multiple Attacks is Instantaneous.

Sometimes it takes intensive warfare to get rid of all the invaders in your life. Years after his entry in the ministry, Timothy battled a stronghold of fear. (2 Timothy 1:7) God will do a complete work if we let him. For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind. (NKJ)

Misconception #12: Freedom Gained is the End of Spiritual Warfare.

No, it is only the beginning of a life of discipleship. Ground retaken in one’s life must be defended. Sin must be purged, and a life of commitment continued. We must wear our armor until that day we exchange it for a robe of white.

~ Today’s blog was adapted from my book
Everyone’s Guide to Demons and Spiritual Warfare