Tag Archives: spiritual war

How To Fight Impossible Battles


In II Chronicles 20, a huge army invaded southern Israel. The king and all the people were terrified because they defeated several strongholds easily. He begged God for help and asked others to pray with him. It sounds a lot like any one of us when we are facing something that seems impossible to beat. Fear is our first response, then we beg God for help. I believe what follows in this story is something we can all learn from in these moments in life. 

The first thing that happened was King Jehoshaphat got like minded people together, fasted and prayed. We are not to fight these battles alone. Fear’s goal is to intimidate you and to push you into seclusion. Don’t let it! There is strength in numbers and in fasting. Get a group of people around you who can fight on their knees and touch God for you. This first step is critical if you’re going to win an impossible battle.

In verses 15-17, God answered those praying. The Word of the Lord came back saying, “Do not be afraid! Don’t be discouraged by this mighty army, for the battle is not yours, but God’s” (NLT). Things only seem impossible when God is not in the equation. The battles we face are not our own, but they are God’s. We don’t have to be afraid or discouraged at the sheer impossibility of anything that comes our way because God goes before us.

As the army of Israel approached the battlefield, Jehoshaphat spoke in verse 20 and reminded them, “Believe in the Lord your God, and you will be able to stand firm. Believe in His prophets and you will succeed.” Faith will help us to stand firm when standing is all we can do. We can trust in God, and in His Word, to get the courage to keep standing in the face of impossibilities. Sometimes we have to remind ourselves to continue to trust God and His Word so we can see the victory.

Finally, the king appointed singers to praise God and he sent them out in front. At the very moment they began to sing, the Lord gave victory. We need to be able to praise God in advance of victory. We need to honor Him when all else seems to be going wrong. Praise is powerful. It activates our faith and moves our God. If you can’t find it in you to praise, play praise music until you do. Victory is dependent on God, not us. We can praise Him for that. Our impossible battles are no match for a God who says all things are possible. 

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Battling Resistance


When you are called by God to do something, and you begin doing it, you can expect resistance. Sometimes it comes in the form of people, and other times it is in the form of the elements. In April of this year, I went to Washington, D.C..to pray with Church leaders from across the nation. I expected people to try to prevent us, but it was really the weather that did its work. Once we started praying, the temperature dropped. It began to rain first, then came hail. After that, it started snowing, which got very heavy unlike anything I’ve seen. Then the wind started blowing and got up to 50 mph. When the time of prayer and fasting was over, the sun came out immediately. 

Through all of that, most people stayed to pray. When I think of resistance to the work of God, I think of the book of Ezra. While the Jews were in captivity in Babylon, God put it in the king’s heart to send the Jews back to Jerusalem to rebuild the temple. Several years later, and under the rule of another King, people tried to intimidate the Jews and wrote to the new king to stop the work. They were successful. What the Jews did next, we can all learn from when we face resistance.

The first thing they did was surround themselves with people who would pray for them and over them. Ezra 5:1 says. “At that time the prophets Haggai and Zechariah son of Iddo prophesied to the Jews in Judah and Jerusalem. They prophesied in the name of the God of Israel who was over them” (NLT). When we surround ourselves with God’s people, we receive encouragement to continue the work. God often speaks to us through others when we get distracted. It’s important to have people around you who allow God to speak through them.

Next, you need to begin the work again and accept help from godly people. If you’ve been pressured into quitting, and you were called and reminded by God to do it, start doing what He called you to do. Ezra 5:2 says, “Zerubbabel son of Shealtiel and Jeshua son of Jehozadak responded by starting again to rebuild the Temple of God in Jerusalem. And the prophets of God were with them and helped them.” No work of God is done alone. He places people in your path to work with you. Don’t push them away and try to carry the burden yourself. Look around, see who God has placed in your life, invite them to help you, and begin working.

Lastly, they were bold. Ezra 5:3-5 says, “But Tattenai, governor of the province west of the Euphrates River, and Shethar-bozenai and their colleagues soon arrived in Jerusalem and asked, “Who gave you permission to rebuild this Temple and restore this structure?” They also asked for the names of all the men working on the Temple. But because their God was watching over them, the leaders of the Jews were not prevented from building until a report was sent to Darius and he returned his decision.” Remember, there is no higher authority than God. When He calls you to do something, no one else has the authority to stop you. Be bold, keep working, and trust God.

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Spiritual Eyes

  
When I was in high school, I played basketball. We had a great team every year except for my senior year. We had a sophomore on the team who was 6’8″ tall. The problem was, he wasn’t very good either. Before every game though, while the other team was warming up, I would send him out to the court. I would say, “Here’s what I want you to do. Go out there to our side of the court, reach up as high as you can on the net, hold it, and just stare down the other team with a mean face. Do that for about a minute, then walk back in here.”

I knew that the other team would judge him by his size and not his ability. That’s just how we are wired. God knew that when He sent Samuel to Jesse’s house to find a new king for Israel. I Samuel 16:6 says, “When they arrived, Samuel took one look at Eliab and thought, ‘Surely this is the LORD’s anointed!’” (NLT) He was looking for a person who looked like a king. God was looking for someone who would act like one.

In verse 7 the Lord said, “Don’t judge by his appearance or height, for I have rejected him. The LORD doesn’t see things the way you see them. People judge by outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart.” He wanted Samuel and us to learn to see people the way He does. He doesn’t look at the brand of clothes we wear, the car we drive, the job we have, the neighborhood we live in, or the people we are connected with. God looks at our ability to serve Him and to be obedient to His voice.

In the next chapter, when the Israelites faced Goliath, they made the same mistake. When they looked at him, they saw a mighty warrior. When they saw David, they saw an inexperienced boy. David won the battle not because of who he was on the outside, but because of who he was on the inside. He had spent time with God in prayer and in worship. He had been on his knees long before this battle began. In the spirit realm, their size was flip flopped. David was the giant and Goliath was merely a little boy.

Whatever you’re facing today, let me encourage you not to be discouraged by what you see. It is not as it appears. Quit looking at it through your physical eyes, and learn to see it with your spiritual ones. You are more than a conqueror. You are a child of the King of Kings. You have the One who is greater than anything living in you. Rise up with the confidence of knowing who you are inside, fight, and win your battle. If God is for you, who can be against you?

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The Jonah Effect

  
I’ve known many people in my life who have followed the call of God only to return when hard times hit them. I call it the Jonah effect. The thought process goes like this. If they really were following God’s call then they would see whole cities saved as Jonah did when he finally went to Nineveh. They go, they show up, and everything works out perfectly. However, when they’re faced with constant obstacles and apparent set backs, they feel like they went the opposite direction from God’s will. Therefore, they feel they need to quit and go back to square one.

Think about Moses for a minute. I think we can all agree that in Exodus 3 and 4, God called him to go to Egypt and set His people free. So why didn’t Pharaoh just release them the first time Moses asked? Why did Pharaoh make their workload harder? Why did the people whom Moses was trying to get set free urn on him? Because there will always be resistance when you’re in God’s will. The enemy is unwilling to just surrender territory he has built strongholds in.

When you and I face obstacles and challenges while following God’s voice, we shouldn’t turn around and go back home. We should stay and fight the spiritual battle in front of us. We need to put on the spiritual armor that God laid out for us in Ephesians 6. We need to be prayed up and dressed for battle expecting a fight whenever we are following God’s call. We shouldn’t expect an easy road just because we are following God’s call.

More often that not, those obstacles in our way tend to be people. Moses had Pharaoh, David had Saul, Elisha had Jezebel, and you may have someone too. I think it’s important to remember that Ephesians 6:12 tells us, “For we are not fighting against flesh-and-blood enemies, but against evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world, against mighty powers in this dark world, and against evil spirits in the heavenly places” (NLT). The people who stand in our way are not the enemy. We must fight the enemy who is behind the scenes if we are going to win the victory. It may take some time and a lot of effort, but God called you to that particular battle for a reason.

Don’t be like so many who run when there’s trouble. Don’t fall for the Jonah Effect. If you’re facing resistance, and it appears that people are blocking you from accomplishing God’s will, look behind the scenes. Your battle is not with that person or people. Your true battle is with the enemy behind the scenes. Fight on your knees, but still show up to accomplish God’s will day in and day out like Moses did. When he faced resistance, he went back to God each time looking for help. Moses fought his way to victory and so will you if you don’t get discouraged and turn around.

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Victory In The Valley

  
When reading the story of David and Goliath recently, I noticed something I had read over. I Samuel 17:3 says, “So the Philistines and Israelites faced each other on opposite hills, with the valley between them” (NLT). I had never picked up that there was a valley between the two sides. Then verse 40 says, “He (David) picked up five smooth stones from a stream and put them into his shepherd’s bag. Then, armed only with his shepherd’s staff and sling, he started across the valley to fight the Philistine.” David had to go into the valley to win the victory.

You won’t win victory standing where you are. You are going to have to make the first move. For 40 days, the Israelites were paralyzed by fear. Each day Goliath invited them to fight him, but they stayed put. When David heard Goliath’s taunts, he didn’t get fearful, he got a righteous anger. He knew that this was a spiritual battle that had to be handled in the physical as well. To win the spiritual battle, he’d have to enter the valley and trust God.

Fast forward 14 generations, Jesus was fighting a spiritual battle that required Him to enter a valley as well. John 18:1 says, “After saying these things, Jesus crossed the Kidron Valley with his disciples and entered a grove of olive trees.” The battle He was fighting was to have the courage to do what God wanted while facing the fear of dying a torturous death on a cross. He could have stayed where He was, but He entered the valley to pray that God’s will be done.

Both David and Jesus recognized that the battle was the Lord’s. They both knew who was fighting on their behalf. That gave them the courage to walk into what seemed like certain death in order to obtain the victory. You and I have to have the same tenacity in prayer and desire to go into the valley if we are going to win our spiritual battles. We are going to have to let go of fear and embrace what God wants to do, enter the valley in front of us, and fight on our knees for victory.

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Winning Spiritual Warfare (Video)

It is true that we live in the world, but we do not fight from worldly motives. The weapons we use in our fight are not the world’s weapons but God’s powerful weapons, which we use to destroy strongholds.

II Corinthians 10:3-4 (GNB)

If you are having trouble watching this video, click here.

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From Defeat to Victory

I used to worry a lot. There were things going on in my life that I couldn’t control. Things were happening faster than I could react to them. That worry lead to stress. That stress then lead to high blood pressure. My doctor put me on blood pressure meds, but they didn’t work. I’m thinking she probably should have put me on anxiety meds. I’m glad she didn’t because medicine wasn’t the answer I needed. My answer came through a friend who wasn’t scared to say something.

She asked me some questions that got me to thinking. She asked, “Are the things that are happening to you a surprise to God? Is God worried about them? Or is He still on His throne and in control?” Well I knew the answers to those questions, but didn’t want to say it. They did make me think about how I was looking at things. I had gotten so caught up in the problems and things popping up in my life that I allowed God to be taken out of the equation.

I don’t think I’m alone in this. I think many of us get caught up in our daily life and the problems that catch us unaware. We allow them to consume us to the point that it dominates how and what we think. When that happens to us, it’s easy to make our problems bigger than the God we serve. It doesn’t happen over night either. It comes from a constant bombardment of things that attack us. It’s a war technique that is happening to you.

Think back to Desert Storm. Our initial operations there had a code name of “Shock and Awe”. Most war plans, game plans and plans of attack begin with some type of shock and awe. They do it because if you aren’t expecting it, it will throw you off course, force you to make poor decisions and it gives the attacker the upper hand. It is designed to break your will and to keep you from fighting back. Submission is its goal.

I had submitted to the things that were coming at me faster than I could handle. I left the fundamentals that I had been taught. Once I did that, I began to be defeated. Defeat is the ultimate goal of our attacker. Once we are defeated, we are no longer a threat. Defeat breeds worry and depression which are cyclical and keep you from fighting. They take our mind out of the war that is going on and eventually remove the thought that God still cares and is our path to victory.

My friends questions caused me to put God back in the equation. When God is added in to the battles in your life, victories are multiplied. God cares deeply about where you are. He is not unaware of the things that are plaguing your mind right now. He is silently waiting for you to remember Him and to get back to the fundamentals which are praying and reading His Word. Romans 10:17 says that faith comes from hearing and hearing by the Word of God. If you need a faith boost this morning, get into God’s Word. Read it out loud. Speak the promises of God and reclaim your mind. Victory is at stake.

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