Spiritual Warfare by Pastor Don
We had a great Bible study today as well as a Thanksgiving Lunch. I was able to get a picture of most of the people who were at Bible study today.
Pastor Don is in the blue shirt on the right. I am in the front row, second from the right.
Today Pastor Don talked about Spiritual Warfare. He started by saying that the body of Christ runs into trouble if they look for a demon under every chair. Not every thing that causes us trouble is caused by demons.
Genesis 4:4-7 Abel also brought of the firstborn of his flock and of their fat. And the LORD respected Abel and his offering, but He did not respect Cain and his offering. And Cain was very angry and his countenance fell. So the LORD said to Cain, “Why are you angry? And why has your countenance fallen? If you do well, will you not be accepted? And if you do not do well, sin lies at the door. And its desire is for you, but you should rule over it.
So often the Body of Christ is looking for an excuse for what they are going through, so the devil gets blamed, but he hasn’t shown up in the particular situation yet. Satan can’t show up until we invite him in.
We need to discern how things operate in the two kingdoms, how they operate with good and evil.
If you look at the above passage you will see that Cain was on his own, satan did not show up until later. Cain had presented an unacceptable sacrifice to God, and God did not respect the offering. Cain’s response was to get angry and his countenance fell (depressed). These reactions were all Cain’s flesh and carnality. The carnality of Cain’s heart, and our carnality is what leaves the door open for satan to oppress us. But when Cain got angry and his countenance fell satan wasn’t present yet, he is lying at the door waiting for a way to get in.
When God gives us a calling, often the ability to perform that calling does not show up until we need God’s provision for the ability. We usually want God to give us the power before we take a step in fulfilling our calling, but that is not how God works. He won’t give us the power until we start doing and recognize the need for God’s help. We need to know that God did it, so that He gets the glory and we are not puffed up in our flesh.
(Heather’s note, I used to have a problem with this idea until I realized that the reason God needs to get the glory is He doesn’t have insecurities. He can handle the glory and do well with it. If I managed to gain the glory, I would in my flesh, misuse the glory or get sidetracked. It is far safer for me to give God the glory that He deserves than it is to hold onto it for me.)
In Verse 7, God tells Cain that if he would do well, he would be accepted. At this point, Cain could have repented, brought God an acceptable sacrifice and God would have been pleased. Instead, Cain nursed his anger and depression, and satan was lying in wait at the door. Cain had to do something to make the sin manifest, it couldn’t force it’s way into Cain’s life without him opening up the door to sin. God is showing Cain that he has to rule over that demon waiting at the door. Instead, Cain chose to respond to his fleshly feelings and murder Abel.
When we come across people who are in need of spiritual warfare, we know that they have already opened up that door. They have gone through the process and have already fallen for the demonic. They have made a decision based on their flesh and carnality, and refused to take authority over the demonic. Thus the demonic is activated because they permitted it. There is a line to cross in order to sin, to be in lust, or perversion.
Pastor Don asked us how many of us have been in a hotel room with the clicker for the TV. When you go through the choices, you can have ordinary TV, new movies, older movies, and then there are the X-rated movies. If we take the clicker and select the X-rated movie, then we have opened the door for the demon of lust. We have crossed that line. And often the decision to give way to the demonic is just a split second decision.
What happens when we give way to one of the demonic forces is that at first we have a choice, but as we give way more and more times, the demonic forces begin to take over in us. We often have to work ourselves into the spirit of rage, starting out with being upset, and then feeding those upset feelings, mulling over them until they emerge as full blown rage.
We have to remember that the devil is a defeated foe and he needs permission to impact us. That is why God told Cain that he should rule over it.
Pastor Don had us raise our right hand and say, “All my thoughts are not my thoughts.” Then he explained by saying haven’t you been driving down the road and gotten a sudden urge to crash into a tree? That thought was not from you, but from satan trying to get you to do something that decreases your efficiency. Or have you done something, and then spent a lot of time undermining what you did, worrying about things that you ordinarily don’t worry about? We are not to claim every thought that is in our brain, for all thoughts do not originate from us.
Pastor Don talked about a recent experience he had on the thruway. He was driving and saw a huge truck trying to merge onto the road, but a pickup truck refused to give way to give the truck a chance to get onto the highway. The pickup truck could have either slowed down, or moved over a lane to give the trucker a chance to merge. Instead the pickup held its ground and the trucker ended up scraping against the guard rail. The trucker, once he got on the highway raced after that pickup and forced it off the road before speeding on. (When Pastor Don was asked what he did, he said when he saw what was going on he decreased speed to put great distance between the two trucks).
Pastor Don said that there was a point where that driving situation opened the door for a reaction that allowed satan to influence it, when the anger overtook rationality.
There is a split second moment when we realize a desire is not of God, and we have to discern in that split second moment and make a choice – do we go with God or do we open the door for the demonic? That split second moment is in the realm of my responsibility to decide.
We all have stuff in our flesh that we need to discern in a split second so we don’t open up the door. When the door opens the demonic presence brings thoughts our flesh wants to believe.
Kenneth Hagin says that an evil thought if it is not repeated will die from lack of activity.
Thoughts can’t hurt us, can’t harm us if we watch words and are aware of the fact that what we say affects what we get. We need to be cognizant of what we are saying.
Pastor Don pointed out that not everyone likes him, and he had to learn that their dislike of him often has nothing to do with him. For example, some people do not like authority figures, others might have had a bad day and chose to take out their feelings on Pastor Don. Pastor Don said that he cannot control who likes him, but he can control how he reacts to that person. If he acts from a point of Christ’s love or if he reacts in the flesh. He chooses to act from a godly point of view. One example was a angry email that he received from a new visitor to the church who did not like something that affected his daughter. The person writing the email wasn’t even present, but heard about the situation from his daughter. Pastor Don responded to the email, apologized, explained the situation so the person had the whole story and saw that it wasn’t what it seemed. The person who wrote the email responded back immediately surprised that Pastor Don would care enough to answer such an angry email, the situation was diffused, they were impressed by Pastor Don’s loving response, and the door was left open for that person to come back to church. But Pastor Don pointed out that he also had a reaction to the angry email that was not a godly reaction, but he chose to do what was right, not what his flesh wanted to do. He could have gotten up in the pulpit and preached against the situation, or he could have fired back a nasty email to the person, or he could have let it affect his dealings with others. Instead, Pastor Don kept the goal of the harvest of souls in mind and responded correctly.
(Heather’s note, I feel such empathy for pastors, because I suspect that they get lots of negative responses, and not enough positive responses for the good that they do. Just from my time as a Girl Scout leader or president of a few organizations, I know that people jump on any little thing you do wrong, and forget all the thousands of right things that you do.)
In Genesis 4:8 we see “…sin lies at the door. And its desire is for you, but you should rule over it.”
There are different types of demonic oppression. There is the kind Cain experienced, reaping what he sowed and then refusing to rule over his fleshly impulses. Then there is the Job kind of oppression, where God permitted satan to oppress Job, and Job went through the experience. In order to know which is which, we have to ask ourselves if our heart is right or is God allowing something. God has a plan for us. When God lets us go through an experience that is uncomfortable there is a growing for us, and a preparing for a new position. One example is that it took 11 days to walk from Egypt to the Promised Land, but God led the Israelites around the wilderness for 40 years until they reached a level that they could be successful in the Promised Land.
Pastor Don gave us two-word pictures for how the devil seeks to oppress us.
1. A scab. When we get a cut, the cut scabs over, and that area is tender, sensitive, and still healing. The devil looks for scabs on people, wanting to irritate the scab. If we have the scab of rejection in us, we look for others to reject us, so satan sends someone our way who will reject us. Or we spend our time rehearsing what we will say when we are rejected, end up working ourselves into a bad attitude which causes people to reject us, and then it becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy. People have different scabs in their lives, many of which are not obvious to the outside observer. But satan is there ready to make a mental suggestion to someone, who might unknowingly come over and address us in the area of our scabs. Some people do not want to acknowledge their scabs, they pretend they don’t exist, or feel that they have to be perfect. If a person attacks you and you discern it is from a scabbed area of their lives, it is important not to take it personally, for that attack comes from their emotional baggage.
2. One of our members has a dog. If she brings the dog to Bible study and the dog comes into the room, Pastor Don, pointed out that the dog would come around smelling our scabs, and then the owner tells the dog to go lay down. The dog lays down, and doesn’t move and we can continue our Bible study. But then when would the dog move? When the owner called it. The dog would remain quiet until the owner calls, then the dog has permission to move. It is the same with the demonic forces in our lives, we call them into action, before we call them they do not have permission to move. That is why Pastor Don is careful what subjects he allows to be preached from the pulpit, not wanting to stir up the demonic influences. Some subjects when brought up in the pulpit would have the capacity to take the focus off of the main issue of Bible teaching and Jesus. One such subject is politics. If Pastor Don took a particular political point of view, it could alienate other members who did not agree, and all of a sudden there would be division in the congregation. Far better to teach God’s view of the world and the world’s situations and let people make intelligent, Biblical choices.
Carnal things feed the old man in us, but God’s plan is for us to move beyond the old man, to die to self, and live in the power of the anointing.
We then looked at this process in the life of King Saul. Remember God warned the Israelites that the idea of a king was not desirable, but they kept insisting, so God gave them the desires of their hearts, and later they would regret the choice.
I think I will save the discussion of King Saul for tomorrow so that this post is not too long.
I hope you have a wonderfully blessed weekend.
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