Are you a Pearl Harbor?

A Letter to a Friend (Are you a Pearl Harbor?)

You are in a war, whether you realize it or not, whether you want to believe it or not. It’s a spiritual war, and you can’t see the enemy but you definitely feel his presence.

Our God is a God of war. Practically the entire Old Testament is about wars. Even though they were physical wars, they are a type and shadow of the spiritual war that people – Christians and non-Christians alike – are engaged in with the enemy (Satan, the Hebrew word for the accuser, the adversary, also originally named Lucifer by God) whether they know it or not.

The modern church has depicted God as a God of love, which is true, but they have omitted that He is also a God of war. Look up all the scriptures that depict God as a God of war. He is also a God of righteousness and justice, and in order for Him to be those things, that means there has to be good and evil, right and wrong. The wrong things need to be corrected, which is where the war comes in. Look up all the scriptures in the New Testament where Jesus went to war with demons, casting them out of people. Read Revelation. Look at the war that is going to happen – the war of wars.

Think of yourself as Pearl Harbor. When Japan attacked Pearl Harbor, the US was not officially in WWII. We were just staying neutral, staying out of it, minding our own business, etc. The Japanese planned a surprise attack to maximize the devastation they could achieve. Why were the so successful? Because the US blithely thought they were not in the war, therefore why would there be any reason to be attacked? So here come the bombs from the Japanese on sitting ducks, taking our good men by complete surprise, demolishing the lives of hundreds of young men and their families forever.

So, what happened next? The US got ANGRY. ANGRY. Righteous anger rose up first. The second thing that happened is that the nation probably went to pray (back in the ’40s I suspect the US was much more Godly than it is today). Then #3, the US formed a strategy to attack the enemy, cripple them and hopefully end the war. It took us several years before the attack was actually executed because we wanted to make sure it would not fail. In the end, of course, you know that the dropping of the nuclear bomb on Japan worked and devastated Japan in even larger numbers and ended the war.

So you are Pearl Harbor and the enemy has you zeroed in on his scope. He keeps dropping bombs because you have not done all three steps as described above. You’ve gotten angry and frustrated and you’ve prayed. But what is your strategy of counterattack?

That is where spiritual warfare comes in. Satan wants you to believe you are powerless, you are defeated. He wants you to believe the doctor’s report that you have clinical depression. You can believe that if you want, and that’s what you will have. Or you can reject it and fight it in the name of Jesus.

Here are the two most often quoted scripture regarding our responsibilities as Christians in spiritual warfare:

10 Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might. 11 Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. 12 For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places. 13 Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand. 14 Stand therefore, having girded your waist with truth, having put on the breastplate of righteousness, 15 and having shod your feet with the preparation of the gospel of peace; 16 above all, taking the shield of faith with which you will be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked one. 17 And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God; 18 praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit… (Ephesians 6:10-17)

3 For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war according to the flesh. 4 For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds, 5 casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ, 6 and being ready to punish all disobedience when your obedience is fulfilled. (II Corinthians 10:3-6)

So the first thing you need to do is get into the mental exercise, the mental discipline to start rejecting the negative thoughts because those thoughts and words come from Satan. If God has something correctional to tell you or teach you, He does it in a non-condemning way. Fear and guilt and condemnation come from Satan, not from God.

So the first exercise is to start saying, “I rebuke or reject that thought in the name of Jesus” and then you replace that thought with a scripture like, “My God will supply all my needs according to His riches in Glory by Christ Jesus!” (Phil. 4:19). This might be used, for example, if a fear comes over you that you cannot make the car payment or something like that.

Another example might be the doctor’s report of your clinical depression. “I reject that in the name of Jesus. For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind!” (2 Tim. 1:7)

Another example might be anxiety over some other problem. Satan comes to give you the bad news. You say, “Satan I rebuke you in the name of Jesus. The Lord God Most High is my Rock, my fortress, my shield, my deliverer. I abide under the shadow of the Almighty and I rest under the shadow of his wings. He’s my provider, my comforter, my shelter from the storm and my shade from the heat.” (Psalms)

And so forth and so on. You make this a HABIT EVERY DAY OF YOUR LIFE. You do NOT let Satan defeat you in your private thought life.

Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy—meditate on these things. (Phil. 4:8)

The next thing you do is study, memorize, understand and work the following scripture. I found this commentary on a blog (and I agree with it):

And I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven; whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven. (Matthew 16:19)

Now looking at this in the context written we see that Jesus was not just speaking to Peter but to the entire Church Body at this point. When he says “whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven”, He reveals to us (the church) that we are the connecting bridge between Heaven and Earth…not just heaven as paradise but when he compares Heaven to Earth, He is comparing the spiritual realm to the physical. We are responsible for bringing the kingdom of God to the Earth. Hence, why He entrusted us with the “keys.” And what exactly do keys do? They lock and unlock (bind and loose). The word for bound in this passage is the word deo in Greek. Meaning in this context, “to pronounce or determine.” This, to me, doesn’t sound passive. Not something that is just automatically happening because we exist, but something that we must do…a verb.

When we pronounce to bind things on earth (i.e. disease, demons, depression, etc.) they are also “pronounced” and bound in heaven (or in the spirit). The word loose in this passage is the Greek word luo. Meaning the direct opposite of deo, and to pronounce or determine, not to be bound. So when we pronounce to loose things on earth (i.e. addictions, demonic influences, spirits of infirmities etc.) they are also pronounced and loosed in heaven (or the spirit). We are the bridge between Earth and God, just as Jesus was. This passage clearly directs us as Christians to be Christ’s hands and feet, and voice, here on earth. We now must act on it. Bind (deo) and loose (luo) are both verbs. Meaning we have to do something in order for them to take place. People aren’t just gonna be set free from addictions, and demons aren’t going to be silenced simply because we are AROUND them. Jesus’ name is powerful! It is our weapon and strength as a Church. USE IT!

We have to take action. We have to bind evil spirits and loose the Spirits of God in our lives. Get your head into the war against Satan because you’re in it whether you know it or not or like it or not.

Father, I pray in the name of Jesus, that for my friend and for whoever else reads this writing, that the word of God will cut them to the core and they will hear the Holy Spirit speaking to them that it’s time to take action – to be transformed by the renewing of their mind. To call upon the God of Heaven and Earth to help equip them for battle and not be afraid to fight the enemy. I pray for boldness like a lion. Amen.

Principles of Military Strategy

The Principles of Military Strategy

Somewhere on the Internet many years ago, I found a website that listed principles of military strategy. I was looking for this because I was comparing spiritual warfare to earthly warfare. Although much of the Bible is a historical recording of the many battles of the Israelites, could this not also serve as an allegory of our life as believers? We are supposed to engage in daily spiritual warfare with our enemy. The scripture says that we are not ignorant of Satan’s devices (II Corinthians 11:2). Is that really true in your life?

We have heard so many Christians tell us things like, they don’t pay attention to Satan, or deliverance ministers find a demon under every rock, or deliverance ministers give Satan more glory than they do God, etc. Of course, we disagree with all of this. Here are some scriptures, and I am sure there are many more, that we should know regarding the warfare we are in, whether one chooses to accept this truth or not.

The principle of mass – all things being equal, sending a single tactical allied unit to combat a single tactical enemy unit will result in 50% chance of victory. But when you have God on your side, you have a 100% chance of victory.

When the servant of the man of God got up and went out early the next morning, an army with horses and chariots had surrounded the city. “Oh, my lord, what shall we do?” the servant asked. “Don’t be afraid,” the prophet answered. “Those who are with us are more than those who are with them.” And Elisha prayed, “O LORD, open his eyes so he may see.” Then the LORD opened the servant’s eyes, and he looked and saw the hills full of horses and chariots of fire all around Elisha. (II Kings 6:15-17)

Selecting decisive objectives (by knowing your enemy). Do you really know your enemy and his devices?

My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge. (Hosea 4:6)

Lest Satan should get an advantage of us: for we are not ignorant of his devices. (II Corinthians 2:11)

Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour. (I Peter 5:8)

Taking the initiative away from your foe. Take the offense, rather than the defense – use our God-given authority.

Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. (James 4:7)

For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds, 5 casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ… (II Corinthians 10:4)

Concentrating your resources at the decisive point. Who is your “resource”?
Who is this King of glory? The LORD strong and mighty, the LORD mighty in battle. (Psalm 24:8)

The LORD is my rock, my fortress and my deliverer; my God is my rock, in whom I take refuge. He is my shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold. (Psalm 18:2)

Be strong and courageous; do not be afraid nor dismayed before the king of Assyria, nor before all the multitude that is with him; for there are more with us than with him. With him is an arm of flesh; but with us is the LORD our God, to help us and to fight our battles. II Chronicles 32:7-8

Coordinating the movement of your resources to meet your objective. God is our resource.

Come near and rescue me; redeem me because of my foes. (Psalm 69:18)

Maintaining unity of command. When the commander-in-chief speaks, you’d better obey.

Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go. (Joshua 1:9)

Coordinating your tasks to achieve maximum effectiveness. Your #1 task is to pray.

The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective. (James 5:16)

Maintaining secrecy until it is too late for your opponent to react. Go to the secret place of the Most High to get your battle plans.

But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you. (Matthew 6:6)

Employing unexpected elements such as deception, speed, creativity, and audacity. Turn the tables on Satan, he’ll never know what hit him.

The wicked man flees though no one pursues, but the righteous are as bold as a lion. (Proverbs 28:1)

Behold, I send you out as sheep in the midst of wolves. Therefore be wise as serpents and harmless as doves. (Matthew 10:16)

Keep your plans as simple as is needed to accomplish the task. KISS: Keep it simple, saint!

But I fear, lest somehow, as the serpent deceived Eve by his craftiness, so your minds may be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ. (II Corinthians 11:3)

For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. 12 Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. (Jeremiah 29:11)

Choose a flexible strategy so you can adapt to changing conditions. Employ all of the spiritual disciplines.

Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, in everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. (I Thessalonians 5:16-18)

Organize for maximum efficiency. Here is an example of efficiently organizing an army for success and following God’s instructions to a T.

Now Jericho was tightly shut up because of the Israelites. No one went out and no one came in. Then the LORD said to Joshua, “See, I have delivered Jericho into your hands, along with its king and its fighting men. March around the city once with all the armed men. Do this for six days. Have seven priests carry trumpets of rams’ horns in front of the ark. On the seventh day, march around the city seven times, with the priests blowing the trumpets. When you hear them sound a long blast on the trumpets, have all the people give a loud shout; then the wall of the city will collapse and the people will go up, every man straight in.” So Joshua son of Nun called the priests and said to them, “Take up the ark of the covenant of the LORD and have seven priests carry trumpets in front of it.” And he ordered the people, “Advance! March around the city, with the armed guard going ahead of the ark of the LORD.” When Joshua had spoken to the people, the seven priests carrying the seven trumpets before the LORD went forward, blowing their trumpets, and the ark of the LORD’s covenant followed them. The armed guard marched ahead of the priests who blew the trumpets, and the rear guard followed the ark. All this time the trumpets were sounding. But Joshua had commanded the people, “Do not give a war cry, do not raise your voices, do not say a word until the day I tell you to shout. Then shout!” So he had the ark of the LORD carried around the city, circling it once. Then the people returned to camp and spent the night there. Joshua got up early the next morning and the priests took up the ark of the LORD. The seven priests carrying the seven trumpets went forward, marching before the ark of the LORD and blowing the trumpets. The armed men went ahead of them and the rear guard followed the ark of the LORD, while the trumpets kept sounding. So on the second day they marched around the city once and returned to the camp. They did this for six days. On the seventh day, they got up at daybreak and marched around the city seven times in the same manner, except that on that day they circled the city seven times. The seventh time around, when the priests sounded the trumpet blast, Joshua commanded the people, “Shout! For the LORD has given you the city! The city and all that is in it are to be devoted to the LORD. Only Rahab the prostitute and all who are with her in her house shall be spared, because she hid the spies we sent. But keep away from the devoted things, so that you will not bring about your own destruction by taking any of them. Otherwise you will make the camp of Israel liable to destruction and bring trouble on it. All the silver and gold and the articles of bronze and iron are sacred to the LORD and must go into his treasury.” When the trumpets sounded, the people shouted, and at the sound of the trumpet, when the people gave a loud shout, the wall collapsed; so every man charged straight in, and they took the city. (Joshua 6:1-20)

Maintain a positive morale even in the face of set-backs. Be of good cheer, for He has overcome the world.

Though the fig tree does not bud and there are no grapes on the vines, though the olive crop fails and the fields produce no food, though there are no sheep in the pen and no cattle in the stalls, 18 yet I will rejoice in the LORD, I will be joyful in God my Savior. (Habakkuk 3:17)

Nehemiah said, “Go and enjoy choice food and sweet drinks, and send some to those who have nothing prepared. This day is sacred to our Lord. Do not grieve, for the joy of the LORD is your strength.” (Nehemiah 8:10)

Maintain momentum until success is accomplished. Fight the good fight of faith.

Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. 11Put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. 12For 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. 13Therefore 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)

And let us not grow weary while doing good, for in due season we shall reap if we do not lose heart. (Galatians 6:9)

Be of Good Cheer

Be Of Good Cheer

One of the most curious things in the Bible to me is the story of Lot’s wife in Genesis 19:

15 When the morning dawned, the angels urged Lot to hurry, saying, “Arise, take your wife and your two daughters who are here, lest you be consumed in the punishment of the city.” 16 And while he lingered, the men took hold of his hand, his wife’s hand, and the hands of his two daughters, the Lord being merciful to him, and they brought him out and set him outside the city. 17 So it came to pass, when they had brought them outside, that hesaid, “Escape for your life! Do not look behind you nor stay anywhere in the plain. Escape to the mountains, lest you be destroyed.”

18 Then Lot said to them, “Please, no, my lords! 19 Indeed now, your servant has found favor in your sight, and you have increased your mercy which you have shown me by saving my life; but I cannot escape to the mountains, lest some evil overtake me and I die. 20 See now, this city is near enough to flee to, and it is a little one; please let me escape there (is it not a little one?) and my soul shall live.”

21 And he said to him, “See, I have favored you concerning this thing also, in that I will not overthrow this city for which you have spoken. 22 Hurry, escape there. For I cannot do anything until you arrive there.”

Therefore the name of the city was called Zoar.

23 The sun had risen upon the earth when Lot entered Zoar. 24 Then the Lord rained brimstone and fire on Sodom and Gomorrah, from the Lord out of the heavens. 25 So He overthrew those cities, all the plain, all the inhabitants of the cities, and what grew on the ground.

26 But his wife looked back behind him, and she became a pillar of salt.

I have often wondered if she literally became a pillar of salt, or if this is some kind of expression to describe what she looked like when she died due to looking back. The scripture says that God rained fire and brimstone on Sodom and Gomorrah. I looked up brimstone and it means “sulfur”, which also happens to be a substance which comes out of volcanoes (in addition to fire and gray ash). I wonder if some kind of hot ash fell on Lot’s wife killing her as she lagged behind the rest of the family, thus she turned into “salt”.

Nevertheless, whatever happened, the scripture says she turned into salt because, and only because, she looked back, after being sternly warned NOT to do so. Even Jesus warned about not looking or turning back in Luke 17:31-32 and in Luke 9:62:

31 “In that day, he who is on the housetop, and his goods are in the house, let him not come down to take them away. And likewise the one who is in the field, let him not turn back. 32 Remember Lot’s wife. 33 Whoever seeks to save his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life will preserve it.

62 But Jesus said to him, “No one, having put his hand to the plow, and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God.”

In Genesis 19:26 it seemed to imply that Lot’s wife lingered, as the scripture says she was “behind” him. It appears she really didn’t want to move on, even after the miracle of the angels taking them by the hand and out of the city, and their warnings of the danger of being “consumed” and “destroyed”. She STILL looked back. I guess the temptation was too great to see what was happening to her home, her town. Maybe she was sentimental. Maybe she didn’t like change. Maybe she had a rebellious heart. Maybe curiosity just overwhelmed her. It must have been quite a sight to see fire and sulfur from heaven falling on a city.

My point is the temptation for us to look back is great, great, great. And I do speak for myself. I have a weakness that I need God’s help with, and that is to look back at my life with regret. Regret for decisions I’ve made or not made, regret for sins committed, regret for relationships lost, regret for unfairness done to me, etc. Oh, I could have some kind of pity party, but Jesus told us to “remember Lot’s wife” and NOT look back, in order to preserve life.  Remember, the angels said the same thing: “Do not look behind you….lest you be destroyed.”

So, what causes us to look back? Who causes us to remember all our failures, our weaknesses, our mistakes, our stupid decisions, our acts of evil or hatred that we regret? It might be the Lord, so that we will repent and ask Him for his forgiveness. But if we have done this, and we are still plagued with regrets, what is going on? Maybe we have a little help from the enemy. And we know we must FIGHT the enemy, who is a spirit, through spiritual means.

One of the best spiritual warfare scriptures in the Bible is found in 2 Corinthians 10:3-6:

For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war according to the flesh. For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds, casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ, and being ready to punish all disobedience when your obedience is fulfilled.

For this article, let’s just consider the underlined passage above.  We must bring every thought into captivity to the obedience of Jesus. So, if Jesus said, “remember Lot’s wife”, in other words, “don’t look back, don’t look behind you, so you can preserve your life and be fit for the Kingdom”, then we had better bring the thoughts into captivity that are making us do the OPPOSITE of what Jesus said. It is time for warfare, and we’d better get busy. We cannot be LAZY about not fighting the enemy, or we will be CONSUMED and DESTROYED.

There is another interesting passage in Jeremiah chapter 7 about going backwards. And notice how angry the Lord is about it, again referring to burning a place, hearkening back to Sodom and Gomorrah:

20 Therefore thus says the Lord God: “Behold, My anger and My fury will be poured out on this place—on man and on beast, on the trees of the field and on the fruit of the ground. And it will burn and not be quenched.”

21 Thus says the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel: “Add your burnt offerings to your sacrifices and eat meat. 22 For I did not speak to your fathers, or command them in the day that I brought them out of the land of Egypt, concerning burnt offerings or sacrifices. 23 But this is what I commanded them, saying, ‘Obey My voice, and I will be your God, and you shall be My people. And walk in all the ways that I have commanded you, that it may be well with you.’ 24 Yet they did not obey or incline their ear, but followed the counsels and the dictates of their evil hearts, and went backward and not forward. 25 Since the day that your fathers came out of the land of Egypt until this day, I have even sent to you all My servants the prophets, daily rising up early and sending them. 26 Yet they did not obey Me or incline their ear, but stiffened their neck. They did worse than their fathers.

So, once again, we find a warning of not listening and not obeying (like Lot’s wife), and going backwards as a result.  This thing of lagging behind, looking back and going backwards is serious stuff in God’s eyes, and it all has to do with not listening and not obeying to God’s voice, but to the voice of the enemy instead.

So, if Jesus said “remember Lot’s wife”, we should remember Lot’s wife, not look back, and not have a pity party, because if we don’t, we will be going backwards, and that is abhorrent to God. Oh, and there is something else Jesus said that we need to remember every day, though sometimes it’s hard. He said in John 16:33:

These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.”

So, here is yet another command from our God: to be of good cheer.  He’s not saying, if you feel like it, cheer up. No, he is giving a command. Be of good cheer, be of good courage, be encouraged, be cheerful. Be peaceful with a smile. “I have overcome the world.”

So, if we don’t obey what God told us to do, that is to be of good cheer, we are in sin. It’s as simple as that.

So to sum up this lesson:

  • Don’t look back, don’t go backwards. Listen to the voice of God and obey Him only.
  • Take every thought into captivity, especially the ones that make you look back.
  • Then be of good cheer. He has overcome the world.

Just as you have gotten into the habit of looking back and wallowing in self-pity, you can get into the habit of squashing those thoughts by saying, “Stop! Stop! Cancel! Cancel! I am NOT going to think about that! I am going to take that thought into captivity right now! I remember Lot’s wife, and I am NOT going to look back! I am going to be of good cheer, because Jesus told me too! And I want to be FIT FOR THE KINGDOM!”

Then as a wise man once told me, you PUT a smile on your face, even if you have to take your fingers and pull your cheeks up to make yourself smile!  Ask Jesus to put His peace in your heart and before you know it, those nagging memories will stop plaguing you. And now you’re ready to share the peace and joy that only Jesus gives with a broken world.