IN THIS ISSUE:
Our Choices Create our Future — Betty Miller
Covenant — Taking Possession of Covenant Blessings — R.S. “Bud” Miller
Spiritual Warfare — Angelic Domains
— Fallen Angels and Good Angels
Exposing Satan’s Devices — Prayer Overcomes
End Times — The Meaning of the Number 666
Prophecy — He That Hath An Ear
— Maryiann Sitton
Book Review — Loving Monday Great Book for Businessmen
Poetry and Story Corner — Christmas Giving
Little Foxes (Little Compromises) — Keeping a Good Conscience
Prayer Focus Spotlight — Winter Update 2000
Counselor’s Corner — America’s No. 1 Spiritual Problem?— Alfred H. Ells
Personal Word From the Millers — Winter Greeting
Purpose and Vision — Ministry Information
Our Choices Create Our Future
By Betty Miller
The freedom to make our own choices is a very important issue in our society. Every day, each of us chooses to do the things that we do, unless we are in a situation where we have been stripped of our freedom and then we must do as those who have control over us command us to do. This would be the case of those in prison or those who are enslaved by force in repressive societies. Even in these circumstances one still has freedom to make certain choices although they may be limited. For example, one can choose as to what kind of attitude and response one would have to his or her oppressors. Those in prisons can still experience freedom when they have Christ, because true freedom is an act of the soul and therefore we each can make choices in our soul. Other men cannot force us to think wrongly unless we choose to agree with them.
There are other circumstances that can limit our choices because of the authority that exits in the world. One of these would be the choices of school children are limited to the authorities’ decisions and rules. This is also true of the military. These are just two of many circumstances that can limit one’s own personal choices.
However, no matter what our choices are today, they are ultimately creating our future because every choice that we make will either cause us to be blessed or cursed. Another way to put it, is that things will get better or worse for us. All choices have consequences. These consequences will be for our betterment or will work to destroy us. We are also responsible for our choices. The Bible challenges us with this admonition in Deuteronomy 30:19: “I call heaven and earth to record this day against you, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing: therefore choose life, that both thou and thy seed may live”
Messages going forth in our society today have stressed our “right to choose” but have not balanced it with the message that our choices also have consequences (especially in the area of lust and selfishness.) For instance, most movies have glamorized many things that are bad for us and have not generally shown the destructive results of smoking, drinking, adultery, fornication, gambling, abortion, etc.
These things do not often hit home until —-
- A loved one gets lung cancer and is dying.
- A child is killed by a drunk driver
- Close friends divorce because of the unfaithfulness of a mate
- A teen is infected with a venereal disease she will have for life
- A family loses their home because of gambling debts
- A baby is aborted because of the lust and selfishness of it’s parents leaving them struggling with guilt
Our Daily Choices
We face choices on a personal level daily:
What shall we eat? —- We can choose to eat healthy or just “pig out” on junk food.
Who should we vote for? —- We can take the time to pray and study the candidates positions and vote accordingly or we can refuse to vote. When we do not vote, we are actually making a choice to allow others to choose who shall rule over us.
Who shall we marry? —- This is a serious life-time commitment and should never be gone into without God’s guidance. Making this choice foolishly or based on emotion has brought much heartache to many a person.
What occupation should we pursue? —- Those making this decision strictly based on need or money issues will regret not seeking God about this issue. God has gifted every person with certain talents to adapt to the jobs that are suited just for them at the right times in their lives.
Should I return the money that was credited to my account by accident? —- Remember the Golden Rule: “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” When only God is watching, what kind of choices do we make? He is looking for people He can trust, as He desires to use us in His work.
Should I purchase this item on credit? —- Do I really need this item or is it something I want, even though I cannot afford it?
These are just some samples of choices that we face. We also face temptations that we must resist with the Word of God. The consequences of some choices are more deadly than others. When we rebel against God and choose our own way, we are choosing a path of destruction that will ultimately end in hell. Because of God’s love and mercy to humanity, most of our choices do not have immediate results. We are all given a time to repent and find the Lord and His ways. We may all get away with sinning for awhile; however in time we will reap what we have sown.
2 Peter 3:9 says “The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.”
Galatians 6:7 “Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap. 8 For he that soweth to his flesh shall of the flesh reap corruption; but he that soweth to the Spirit shall of the Spirit reap life everlasting.”
Wrong Choices Cause Soul Sickness
Many people are sick in their souls because they have not known the ways of the Lord, and therefore have made wrong decisions. God wants to heal us in every area of our souls and bodies, as well as give us a new life in the spirit. To receive healing of the soul, however, we must understand it and why it needs to be healed, restored, and renewed.
The Greek word psuche (pronounced “sue-kay”) is the word Bible writers used when talking about things of the natural man, which in English is called “the soul.” The soul of man is comprised of the mind, the will, and the emotions. Our emotional patterns tend to formulate our personalities.
The soul, or personality, is formed through a person’s reactions to the information the mind takes in. The way each person chooses to react to the things he hears, the things that happen to him, and the things he chooses to receive as truth causes each soul to become what he, or she, is. However, when a person is born again, he becomes a new creature in Christ (2 Corinthians 5:17; Galatians 6:15), and the soul can be changed and renewed through the Holy Spirit.
As Christians we are to develop the attributes of Christ and become like Him. Because much of our personalities are formed through our choices, we have to make new choices to let go of the old nature and receive the new. Our new natures are formed by the truths from the Word of God. The healing of the soul, which is a cleansing process, takes place as we learn to study the Word and develop a close fellowship with the Lord through prayer.
The Mind, the Will and the Emotions
We might look upon human beings in this way: each of us is a spirit who has a soul and lives in a body.
The will is how we exercise our freedom of choices. God gave man this freedom when He created Adam. God will not violate our free wills and make us do the right thing, nor will He make choices for us. We can choose His way, “the law of the Spirit of life in Christ” (Romans 8:22:”For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death.”), or we can choose the way of self — which really is the devil’s way or “the law of sin and death.”
There are only two ways: God’s or the devil’s. What man thinks is his own way is really Satan’s way and puts him under the authority of the enemy. If someone is not for God, he automatically is against Him (Matthew 12:30). There is no possible way man can just do his own thing and think he is not making a choice. That choice is choosing Satan’s way. Even “no choice” on man’s part is a choice, because when we refuse to choose, others will make our choices for us. Satan causes men to follow him by encouraging apathy, laziness, or lack of responsibility.
The mind is the intellect, with reasoning being the “voice” of the mind. If the mind remains unrenewed, not “healed,” it will continue to think carnal thoughts, believe false information, and result in fleshly speaking and living.
The emotions were designed by God to express His characteristics, which are placed in our spirits when we become born again. Those are the “fruits” written about in Galatians 5:22,23, and other places. If we do not yield to the renewal process, we continue to act like our “old father,” the devil.
Put on the Nature of Jesus
Much of the Church considers sanctification or “conforming to the image of Jesus” (Romans 8:29) to be optional. It is not taught or preached as much as it was in former generations. Many Christians born since World War II are as much a part of the “Me Generation” as the world. Self-will and rebellion are more a part of society today than at any time previously in the history of the United States. It is no surprise that much of today’s American Church operates in carnality, and it should be no surprise to us that God has finally set out to expose this evil and clean up His Church.
When Paul wrote to the Ephesians about “crucifying” the old man, this is exactly what he meant (Ephesians 4:18-24). When something is crucified, it is put to death. Every Christian needs the things of his old nature (which are part of his unregerated soul), to be put to death in order for the life of God to permeate the whole person. We have been given the power through the Holy Spirit to overcome sin in our lives. We can choose to obey God and He will empower us to overcome every sin.
Romans 6:12 Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body, that ye should obey it in the lusts thereof.
13 Neither yield ye your members as instruments of unrighteousness unto sin: but yield yourselves unto God, as those that are alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness unto God.
14 For sin shall not have dominion over you: for ye are not under the law, but under grace.
15 What then? shall we sin, because we are not under the law, but under grace? God forbid.
16 Know ye not, that to whom ye yield yourselves servants to obey, his servants ye are to whom ye obey; whether of sin unto death, or of obedience unto righteousness?
Instead of pursuing holiness, many Christians have just allowed Christ to dwell in their spirits, but have not allowed Him to renew their souls and heal their bodies. As soon as a person is born again, he should begin to make the choices that will put to death his old ways of thinking, talking, and acting, and allow the Holy Spirit to replace them with God’s ways.
Overcoming Through Faith
Renewing the soul will cause negative habits and emotions to change. The key to that change is faith. Through our wills we must choose to change. However, it is only the work of the Holy Spirit who can actually bring permanent change in us. We cannot do it in ourselves. We choose to let go of the negative and that allows the Holy Spirit to do the changing. But doubt and unbelief can keep a person from receiving this kind of healing as much as it does healing of the body. A Christian must make the choices for God’s way and against his own way in absolute faith that the Holy Spirit will do His part and make the needed changes in us.
If we allow our bodies to be lazy and undisciplined, they will suffer the consequences. Bad physical habits can hinder God’s work in us. The Holy Spirit wants to help us overcome these ungodly ways. In the soul, if we choose to be resentful, hateful, angry, unkind, discouraged, worried, fearful, impatient, lustful, greedy, etc., we will allow these things to rule us instead of calling on the strength of Christ to help us to overcome these negative attitudes.
Many habits or addictions of the soul and body can be broken with a three-day fast. Certain desires or feelings of the body are perfectly legitimate, such as hunger, sleep, and so forth. Through the five senses, the body is the receiver of information from the world around it. The senses were given to us by God to protect us, and under the direction of the Holy Spirit, they work perfectly to serve us. However, under Satan’s influence, or self-will, the senses are perverted to fulfill the lusts of the flesh which can bring destruction.
Changing Old Habits
Every sinful habit in our lives gained its foothold through our thoughts and choices. We can gain victory over those habits by thinking God’s thoughts. A person who feels unworthy and unacceptable can replace those negative feelings with the truth that through Jesus, he or she has become worthy and acceptable. The process of conforming to the image of Jesus will be successful as we choose to replace negative thoughts with positive ones.
The way to change a habit of negative thinking is to choose to change that negative thought for its opposite. The Bible calls that “overcoming evil with good” (Romans 12:19-21). For example, if a Christian finds himself ready to repeat some negative gossip about a brother or sister, he should choose to say something nice about that person instead. Very quickly, the habit of repeating negative things about other people will be broken.
The Lord wants to save us from tragedy, sickness, fear, anxiety, and the turmoil of this world. These things come upon us because of our bad choices or through ignorance or chains of iniquity. Instead, God wants us to walk in the Spirit of life so we may have His love, joy, peace, and victory (2 Corinthians 7:1) over every trial and temptation.
Bible Choices Bring Blessings
Our future is determined by all the choices we are making today. Let us bring God into helping us make our decisions. In doing that it will determine whether our future will be secure and will have God’s blessing on it. Let us be as Joshua was and declare: “As for me and my house, we will serve the LORD.” God promised Joshua good success if he obeyed the words of the Bible and chose to follow Him. Joshua and his family were blessed because he made the right choices even though he went through many battles God was with him. He was an overcomer!
Joshua 1:8: “This book of the law shall not depart out of thy mouth; but thou shalt meditate therein day and night, that thou mayest observe to do according to all that is written therein: for then thou shalt make thy way prosperous, and then thou shalt have good success.”
Joshua 24:14: “Now therefore fear the LORD, and serve him in sincerity and in truth: and put away the gods which your fathers served on the other side of the flood, and in Egypt; and serve ye the LORD. 15 And if it seem evil unto you to serve the LORD, choose you this day whom ye will serve; whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the flood, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land ye dwell: but as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD.”
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COVENANT: GOD’S GUARANTEE FOR VICTORIOUS LIVING
By Pastor R.S. “Bud” Miller
Taking Possession of Covenant Blessings
Through the past issues of the Digest, we have studied the Covenant blessings of God, for those who are Believers in Christ. In conclusion, let us look at some of the ways that we can take possession of the Covenant promises that God has provided for us. The covenant blessings belong to us as much as they did to the first Israelites–if we know how to possess them.
“But now in Christ Jesus ye who sometimes were far off are made nigh by the blood of Jesus. . . . Now therefore ye are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellow-citizens with the saints, and of the household of God” (Ephesians 2:13,19).
To receive the blessings of God, the most important thing we must do is trust Him. This principle was illustrated perfectly in the life of our forefather, Abraham, who with full faith and trust came to the altar of sacrifice with his son, Isaac. Like Abraham, we must be willing to say, “God, whatever it is, whatever I am to do, I am willing to do it, or to give it up, because I know I am in covenant with you. I know I can trust you to restore more than I give up.”
The reason it is so hard for most of us to trust God is because we cannot believe He has our best interests at heart. However, once we understand that the relationship God had with Abraham is the same relationship He wants with us, it will change our thinking. As we get the knowledge into our spirit that the blood covenant with Abraham is the core, or seed, of the blood covenant cut by Jesus, then our inner man will be strengthened to stand through anything! The confidence will come from knowing that, because God never broke the Old Covenant, He certainly will not break the new one. His Promises are absolutely trustworthy.
“My covenant will I not break, nor alter the thing that is gone out of my lips” (Psalm 89:4).
God’s covenants cannot be broken, because God does not lie and never changes (Hebrews 6:18; Malachi 3:6). God will never break His covenant. Though the world may be crumbling around us, we can walk securely in the everlasting covenant between God and man. Every promise God made to Abraham has already come to pass in Jesus (Galatians 3:17), and every promise He made to us will come to pass. Through Christ, the blessings of Abraham are ours!
Even if we do not see the absolute fulfillment of everything that God has promised us, we can be sure that they will indeed come to pass. Some of the promises to Abraham were fulfilled in his lifetime, some in the lifetime of his natural descendants, and the rest in and through Jesus. Through Christ, Abraham has many more spiritual descendants than he has natural descendants.
“Know ye therefore that they which are of faith, the same are the children of Abraham. . . So then they which be of faith are blessed with faithful Abraham” (Galatians 3:7,9).
The birth of Isaac was a pledge of things promised to Abraham that he would not see, except in his spirit (Hebrews 11:13). Though he did not see them come to pass in his lifetime, yet they were all fulfilled. There is an assurance that if we will receive what God has promised by faith, we will certainly see His promises come to pass. However, we must not lose heart because of our circumstances, but rather we are to rest on what the Word of God says.
To claim the covenant promises, we must get a breakthrough in our thinking so that we are not limiting God by our circumstances or by our expectations. If we limit God by what we believe or expect, then His promises become of very little effect in our lives. The first generation of Israelites to leave Egypt limited God and missed the Promised Land. God gave them great promises and performed mighty signs and wonders. Yet, they had more faith in their fears than in God’s Word. We must be like Abraham and refuse to let go of the promises, no matter how long it takes. We must patiently endure, and continue standing until the promise is fulfilled (Ephesians 6:13,14).
“Inheriting the land” is a position in Christ for New Covenant believers, a place in the spirit that the Promised Land of the Old Covenant portrayed in the natural realm. God truly wants us to be blessed so that we can bless others! The curse that came on the earth through Adam and Eve will not be removed until God’s children through “the last Adam,” Jesus (1 Corinthians 15:43), come into their own inheritance and blessings.
Like Abraham, we must take hold of the covenant promises by faith and appropriate them daily. God must be grieved when He sees His children living so far beneath what He has provided for them. Many are barely making it, living from paycheck to paycheck, hand to mouth, suffering sicknesses and diseases and expecting life to always be like this. Others live in fear and worry, with no peace or joy. They do not know which way to turn and beseech God continually to do something for them which He already has done. He is just waiting for them to receive His blessings by faith. Many are looking to outside sources to get their needs met, or they are depending on their own abilities and resources. Jesus clearly displayed the heart of the Father, when He spent most of His ministry healing the sick and casting out demons. The Lord wants us to be whole and our needs met.
Obviously, the blessings that any sincere Christian is seeking are not material objects, but rather spiritual fruitfulness, freedom from the dominion of sin, and intimacy with the Lord. To claim the blessings, God must come first in our lives. We must ask Him to set our heart on the things that He wants to bless us with, rather than everything that our flesh desires. In some ways it is harder to walk as a Christian in an affluent society because it is so easy to give into the materialism around us. We face a strong temptation to live by the lust of the eyes and the pride of life (1 John 2:16).
Some of us need a new definition of what material prosperity is. Prosperity simply means having enough to meet all of our needs and to give to God’s ministries and to others who are in need. The blessings are not defined as God’s making everyone a millionaire. Being blessed “going in and coming out” in some cultures might be simply having enough to eat and give to others, and owning a donkey or camel, or perhaps a bicycle. Some people encourage unrestrained greed all in the name of the “blessings of God,” but the Bible makes it clear that we are to trust Him to supply our needs with a thankful heart.
We were ministering in Uganda right after Edi Amin was run out of the country. He was such a wicked ruler that he had left the country in shambles by his edicts. The banks were closed, food was at a premium, hundreds of thousands of Christians had been murdered and most of the doctors were killed. One of the churches in Kampala where we were preaching, met seven days a week. We attended one of the mid-week services that met from 5 to 6 p.m. with more than a thousand people there. When we asked the pastor how he was able to get that many people to attend services every night of the week, he said, “They have to come to survive.” Through their tribulation they had all learned that their only answer was to seek God with their whole hearts. He did not fail them, as they even witnessed their dead being brought back to life. Since there were no doctors to help, they would simply lay hands on their sick and God would heal them. The pastor of this church asked all of those who had been raised from the dead to stand as a witness of God’s power. Twelve people stood up. At first, I thought perhaps he meant they were dead in their sins and they were just newly saved and received the life of Christ. However, that was not the case. All of these had physically died and through the faith of these believers they were raised from the dead. What a mighty God we serve!!
Whatever they needed had to come from God, so every single day, they came together to fellowship, pray, and hear His Word. Food, clothes, medicine, whatever else they needed, had to come from God. He was their only source. We were so blessed by the faith of the Ugandans. James 2:5 says, “Hearken, my beloved brethren, Hath not God chosen the poor of this world rich in faith, and heirs of the kingdom which he hath promised to them that love him?”
However, God does not want us to have to become destitute to get into that position in Him. His desire is that we come to Him no matter what our circumstances are! Poor or rich, we all need the Lord equally. Some are just able to recognize their neediness more than others. Many can not yield to God because their trust is in their material blessings. Because the U.S.A. is a nation of wealth, we have drifted from our God and as a whole, now depend on our riches. We pray that this nation will repent and will not have to lose its wealth before we turn back to God. Mark 10:25 says, “It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God.”
The Faith of Abraham
Sometimes we think, “Oh, if I just had faith like Abraham!” However, Abraham did not have a complicated faith. He simply believed God and received the promises. His assurance was in the blood covenant that God made with Him. He knew from his culture how binding that covenant was. Once a blood covenant was cut, there was no way either party was not going to fulfill his part without forfeiting his honor, his integrity, and even his life. Abraham knew God was not a man that He should lie (Titus 1:2). So he had no doubt whatsoever that God would keep His Word.
“For when God made promise to Abraham, because he could swear by no greater, he sware by himself, Saying, Surely blessing I will bless thee, and multiplying I will multiply thee. And so, after he had patiently endured, he obtained the promise” (Hebrews 6:13-15).
To God, the blood covenant is just as binding and just as much in effect, as it was in Abraham’s day. Once we grasp this truth, we will have no problem believing that He will fulfill His promises. In fact, the new covenant is even more binding, because it was cut in the blood of His own Son, not the blood of bulls or goats (Hebrews 9:12,13).
As Christians, we must rise up and walk in these things if we are to survive in today’s world. We must appropriate the blessings, if we are to take the Gospel to the ends of the earth. We must catch hold of the truth that we are in an everlasting, eternal, forever covenant with the Creator of the Universe, who cannot lie and will not fail. He will never break His covenant! May God bless you as you seek His face!
Note: This is the conclusion of this series.
(Excerpt from the book entitled: COVENANT God’s Guarantee for Victorious Living by R.S. “Bud” Miller)
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By Betty Miller
Satan is the master over the kingdom of darkness with its fallen angels. This evil master is our enemy. In any war, it is essential to identify the enemy. Satan actually started out as a good angel. God created him as perfect. Originally named Lucifer (light-bearer), he was the archangel in charge of praise and worship. As music director in heaven, he led the angels in their worship before the throne of God. The Bible describes him as the “anointed cherub” having “tabrets” (small drums) in him. (Descriptions of Satan are found in Ezekiel 28 and Isaiah 14.) Much of the world’s music today has become increasingly perverted and depraved. Because Satan once oversaw that realm in heaven, he seeks to rule over it in the earth. Upon losing it, Satan has tried to gain the praise and attention here in this world through controlling the earth’s music. Many are falling into the snare of listening to his evil music.
What happened to Lucifer? How did he become Satan, an adversary? Lucifer changed from good to evil when pride entered him. He boasted, “I will exalt my throne above the stars of God…I will be like the most High” (Isaiah 14:13b,14b). When he decided to exalt himself above God, iniquity was found in him.
Ezekiel 28:15-19: “Thou wast perfect in thy ways from the day that thou wast created, till iniquity was found in thee.
16 By the multitude of thy merchandise they have filled the midst of thee with violence, and thou hast sinned: therefore I will cast thee as profane out of the mountain of God: and I will destroy thee, O covering cherub, from the midst of the stones of fire.
17 Thine heart was lifted up because of thy beauty, thou hast corrupted thy wisdom by reason of thy brightness: I will cast thee to the ground, I will lay thee before kings, that they may behold thee.
18 Thou hast defiled thy sanctuaries by the multitude of thine iniquities, by the iniquity of thy traffic; therefore will I bring forth a fire from the midst of thee, it shall devour thee, and I will bring thee to ashes upon the earth in the sight of all them that behold thee.
19 All they that know thee among the people shall be astonished at thee: thou shalt be a terror, and never shalt thou be any more.”
At this point, Lucifer became Satan. He was cast down to the earth, and in his fall, he took with him a third of the angels.
Revelation 12:3-4b: “And there appeared another wonder in heaven; and behold a great red dragon, having seven heads and ten horns, and seven crowns upon his heads.
4 And his tail drew the third part of the stars of heaven, and did cast them to the earth.”
Revelation 12:7-9: “And there was war in heaven: Michael and his angels fought against the dragon; and the dragon fought and his angels,
8 And prevailed not; neither was their place found any more in heaven.
9 And the great dragon was cast out, that old serpent, called the Devil, and Satan, which deceiveth the whole world: he was cast out into the earth, and his angels were cast out with him.
These fallen angels are now evil invisible spirits that, along with Satan, harass the people of God. They are all part of the spiritual kingdom of darkness.”
These fallen angels are now evil invisible spirits that, along with Satan, harass the people of the earth. They are all part of the spiritual kingdom of darkness.
Satan’s kingdom of darkness is, of course, totally opposite to God’s kingdom of light. In God’s kingdom, the angels are good. They are invisible servants that help God’s people. “Are they not all ministering spirits, sent forth to minister for them who shall be heirs of salvation?” (Hebrews 1:14).
Even though we do not see them, the angels are ever present to help and protect us. These angels especially love to be around praise. As we enter into worship, angels come on the scene eager to join in. That is why many battles are won simply by singing praises to God. The presence of the angels who have come to join in the praise drives away Satan’s evil spirits. Looking in the Bible in 2 Chronicles 20:15-22 we find a story of a battle that was won by a people who were simply singing praise to God.
“And when he had consulted with the people, he appointed singers unto the LORD, and that should praise the beauty of holiness, as they went out before the army, and to say, Praise the LORD; for his mercy endureth for ever. 22 And when they began to sing and to praise, the LORD set ambushments against the children of Ammon, Moab, and mount Seir, which were come against Judah; and they were smitten.”
Note that the moment the Israelites “began to sing and to praise” (v. 22a), they gained the victory over their enemies. Though the angels are given to help us, we cannot directly command their assistance. Note Jesus’ words: “Thinkest thou that I cannot now pray to my Father, and he shall presently give me more than twelve legions of angels?” (Matthew 26:53). Jesus Himself did not command the angels; He said the Father could send them. No Scripture supports the idea that we can directly command angels. Indirectly, though, we can have an effect upon their activity. As we pray to the Father and confess the Word of God, He may send us angelic assistance. Their assistance is in response to our prayers, but it is directed by God’s command, not ours.
The fallen angels, however, are subject to the authority of Christ within us. These demons must submit as we use the name of Jesus, and that name alone. Jesus said, “In my name shall they cast out devils” (Mark 16:17b). In Jesus’ name, we do have the authority to command the demons to leave. But nowhere are we given authority to command the good angels.
While there are a myriad of angels, the Bible names only three: Lucifer (now Satan), Gabriel, and Michael. These three are named because they are archangels originally placed over different areas of God’s kingdom. As already mentioned, Lucifer was the music director in charge of praise and worship (Ezekiel. 28:13-14). Gabriel has been placed over communication; He is the messenger angel (Luke 1:19). And Michael is the warrior angel, responsible for guarding heaven and fighting God’s battles (Revelation12:7).
When we are engaged in a specific battle in spiritual warfare, Michael is on our side. Note in chapter 10 of the book of Daniel: As Daniel was fasting and praying, the prince of Persia (an evil angel) battled against him, determined to keep the Word of the Lord from reaching him. It was only when Michael entered the warfare that the answer came through. An angel told Daniel that his prayers had been heard from the first day, but warfare in heaven had delayed the answer for 21 days. Daniel 10:12-13: “Then said he unto me, Fear not, Daniel: for from the first day that thou didst set thine heart to understand, and to chasten thyself before thy God, thy words were heard, and I am come for thy words. 13 But the prince of the kingdom of Persia withstood me one and twenty days: but, lo, Michael, one of the chief princes, came to help me—.”
This is an example of spiritual warfare. It is the same today as it was in Daniel’s day. God hears our prayers the moment we pray, but sometimes there is a battle in the spirit realm holding back that answer. We must stand in faith as we enter into spiritual warfare until our prayer answer is manifested in the natural realm. God will send His angels to assist us as we continue to pray and stand in faith.
(Continued next issue)
Excerpt from the book Personal Spiritual Warfare; Click here to order from the CHAPEL BOOKSTORE
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EXPOSING SATAN’S DEVICES
By Betty Miller
The Armor For Our Protection
“Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand. 14 Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness; 15 And your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace; 16 Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked. 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, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints.”
After putting on the armour of God listed in Ephesians 6, we are then given our “marching orders.” Ephesians 6:18 says, “Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints.” Prayer is a necessary key to overcoming the devil. This verse says to pray with all prayer and supplication “in the Spirit.” This is referring to “praying in tongues” or “praying in the Spirit.” “For he that speaketh in an unknown tongue speaketh not unto men, but unto God: for no man understandeth him; howbeit in the spirit he speaketh mysteries” (1 Corinthians 14:2). We are to use both kinds of prayer to overcome Satan: the prayer “in the Spirit” (tongues) and the prayer of understanding. Paul was an overcomer and he said, “I thank my God, I speak with tongues more than ye all” (1 Corinthians 14:18).
Many times as we pray we become quite loud as we rebuke the devil and command him to leave. War is not quiet. We must be strong and aggressive against the devil because he does not like to give up territory he has had. We should use wisdom, however, when we battle in the Spirit since unbelievers and those that are not acquainted with speaking in tongues might be offended. “If therefore the whole church be come together into one place, and all speak with tongues, and there come in those that are unlearned, or unbelievers, will they not say that ye are mad?” (I Corinthians 14:23).
One of Satan’s current devices is to discount the power of praying in tongues. He tells people this gift is not for today. The nine spiritual gifts in 1 Corinthians 12 are just as valid today as they were then, and just as needed. How can we believe these are not for us, when we need healing today, wisdom today, and knowledge today? We also need the gift of speaking in tongues today. God does not want us to walk in spiritual ignorance concerning the gifts. “Now concerning spiritual gifts, brethren, I would not have you ignorant” (1 Corinthians 12:1). We must search the Word of God to see what the Scripture says about the gifts, not just believe what man has to say about them. If we keep a proper heart attitude before God and desire to know the truth about the gifts of the Spirit, the Lord will reveal it to us. Should you be one who is seeking the truth, I would urge you not to seek out man’s opinions because if you ask fifteen different people about the gifts of the Holy Spirit (especially the gift of speaking in tongues), you will receive fifteen different opinions.
If we seek the Heavenly Father and search His Word with an open heart and mind, He not only will reveal to us the truth, but also will lead us into all truth. It is only when we hold on to our traditional ideas and maintain an air of spiritual pride, that we become unteachable. Let us come before the Father as little children, trusting Him to give us only good and beautiful gifts. Luke 11:13 says, “If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children: how much more shall your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to them that ask him?”
We are told to persevere in our prayers. We are not to give up, but are to maintain our position in Christ and hold fast to His Word. We do not have to continue to battle after we have “prayed through” on a certain thing, but we must continue to stand and believe until that prayer is answered. The Lord may also reveal other ways in which we are to pray for certain situations.
We are not only to be persistent in prayer, but also disciplined in our prayer life. Ephesians 6:18 says, “Praying always…” We must ask God to help us have good prayer habits. A careless prayer life can leave room for the devil to get the victory. Notice too, we are admonished to have “supplication for all saints.” We must not just be concerned for “me” and “mine,” but reach out to all the family of God with our prayers. As we stand for one another in unity, we will see the enemy flee from all of us. We must continue in steadfastness until we get the victory we are promised. If we have put on all this armor, yet still have not overcome, we need to ask the Lord for the key that will bring our victory.
Excerpt from the book Exposing Satan’s Devices; Click here to order from the CHAPEL BOOKSTORE
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MARK OF GOD OR MARK OF THE BEAST
Much has been said on this subject of the mark of the beast, but little said about the mark of God. Will there be a literal mark tattooed on people’s foreheads and/or their hands in these end times to make it possible to buy and sell in a one-world monetary system that is being set up by an antichrist?
We can certainly see the possibilities of this becoming a literal reality in our day with the technology of laser beam tattoos and our president speaking of a “new world order.” Even now, pets can be tracked by tiny computer chips about the size of a grain of rice which have an identification number programmed into it that can be injected under the skin with a hypodermic needle. A special scanner generates a radio signal that reads the number through the skin of the animal when it is found.
This book is not disputing the possibilities of a literal tattoo, but rather exposing the spiritual implications behind that plan of Satan. How will this come about? Will it be one of the above new technologies or something yet to come? Personally, I find it hard to believe that men are going to be tattooed or branded with a literal set of three sixes on their foreheads or hands or that the letters J-E-S-U-S will be literally on the foreheads of God’s servants as spoken of in Revelation 22: 3-4: “And there shall be no more curse: but the throne of God and of the Lamb shall be in it; and his servants shall serve him: And they shall see his face; and his name shall be in their foreheads.”
How will the beast mark those who follow him, and what is the mark of God set upon those who follow Christ? Let us begin with the mark of the beast, then look at how we are to receive God’s mark which protects us from destruction in these end times.
Throughout the Scriptures, the word beast refers to a system, and not to a man. The beast is a system that rules the world; it’s an antichrist system. Daniel 7 speaks of beasts and identifies them as earthly kingdoms. So the beast in Revelation is a beastly system that’s ruling the world (it’s a dictator beast). This beast is not just one human being, rather it is a system that has infiltrated every area whether it be politics, medicine, art or science; the beastly system is everywhere. This system is typically overseen by a powerful government with those in power making decisions that perpetrate the worldly system throughout mankind. When Revelation 13:1 speaks of the beast rising up out of the sea, what is meant by the sea? The Scriptures speak of the sea as “masses of humanity.” This beastly system is rising up out of humanity, out of all the people on the earth. When John, the author of Revelation, stood upon the sand of the sea, he was standing upon that which could not be numbered, among all the people of the earth.
The Corporate Body of Satan
(The Meaning of the Number 666)
“Here is wisdom. Let him that hath understanding count the number of the beast: For it is the number of a man; and his number is Six hundred threescore and six” (Revelation 13:18).
Remember, “six” is man’s number. Men have always looked for that “man” (the Antichrist) throughout history. Some have thought this man was a religious leader or a political figure such as Nero, Hitler or Mussolini. While some named other world figures such as Mikhail Gorbachov, a former Russian president because of the birth mark on his head.
Yes, all ungodly world leaders are part of the system, but they are not “the man.” Rather, it is a corporate structure with Satan using many avenues. That word “man” in Greek is “anthropos,” which can mean “mankind,” a corporate body of men. It’s not talking about a particular individual. “Anthropos” is the word used in 2 Timothy 3:17: “That the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works.” “Man of God” is not referring to a man or one man, but rather to every man of God. Likewise, the number of the beast is not referring to one man; rather it is referring to every man under the devil’s influence and part of the beast’s system. The beast is not just one man, it is the corporate body of Satan, a corporate “man.” We find the “beast system” is in our medicine, our politics, our schools, our music — the beast system is everywhere. Satan is using many avenues to put his mark on people. Whether he can get them through music or entertainment or politics or money, it does not matter. He will mark them anyway he can. It is a spiritual mark.
The number 666 is that of man. This man is every man in the satanic world system. The man who has deceived these men is Satan, the son of perdition. He is represented by the number 666 and all who follow him get his number. So I do not believe we are going to see a world leader running around with three sixes on his head. I do believe, though, that Satan will use a very wicked leader in the last days. Satan has to enter into some human body to do his work. So he will use one extremely evil man. The devil has entered into men throughout history to do his dirty work, such as Judas Iscariot. It would not surprise me if he had entered into Hitler and some other wicked rulers in times past. As an invisible spirit he does not have to stay in one man’s body. He will pick out the person he can get the most benefit from at a particular time. He can enter into a religious leader, or he can enter into a political leader.
Satan can not accomplish all of his evil by himself. He has leagues of demonic powers in all areas already doing his work. So while people are waiting for one man to rise on the scene, Satan is already busy trapping unaware men on a daily basis. They do not realize they are being marked.
Satan, the Ultimate Beast
All in all, Satan is the one behind the beast system. The name of the beast is Satan. He is the true or ultimate beast. What happens to those who take his mark? Revelation 14: 9-11 answers that: “And the third angel followed them, saying with a loud voice, If any man worship the beast and his image, and receive his mark in his forehead, or in his hand, the same shall drink of the wine of the wrath of God, which is poured out without mixture into the cup of his indignation; and he shall be tormented with fire and brimstone in the presence of the holy angels, and in the presence of the Lamb: And the smoke of their torment ascendeth up for ever and ever: and they have no rest day nor night, who worship the beast and his image, and whosoever receiveth the mark of his name.”
In the next chapter we shall see how we can avoid such a fate. We will see how we can be marked with God’s mark which will prevent the beast from marking us.
(Continued next issue)
Excerpt taken from the book The Mark of God or The Mark of the Beast; Click here to order from the CHAPEL BOOKSTORE
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PROPHETIC VOICE TO THE CHURCH
As some may not be familiar with prophecy in the church, we want to share this short explanation of Biblical prophecy before we share an actual prophecy from God. First, what is godly prophecy? It can be summed up as words that are spoken on behalf of God. A prophet or prophetess is one who is a spokesman for God. It is a divine utterance that comes from the Holy Spirit. (Note: Just as there are prophetic words from God, there are also false prophecies that the Lord warned us about in the Bible. In Matthew 7:15-16 Jesus said, “Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves. Ye shall know them by their fruits….” We must prove the source of prophecy before accepting it as coming from the Lord).
God is raising up many prophetic voices in the earth today. His gifts of prophecy are basically of two types. One is the “simple gift of prophecy” which every believer can express under the unction or direction of the Holy Spirit after they have been filled with the Holy Ghost.
The other is the “office gift” of the spirit which is given to a prophet or prophetess who is called to the “five-fold” ministry office as outlined in 1 Corinthians 12:28 which says “And God hath set some in the church, first apostles, secondarily prophets, thirdly teachers, after that miracles, then gifts of healings, helps, governments, diversities of tongues.”
Ephesians 4:11-12: “And he gave some, apostles; and some prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers. For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ.”
The basic difference between these two types, is that the simple gift of prophecy is given to all spirit filled believers as spoken of in 1 Corinthians 14:31, “For ye may all prophesy one by one, that all may learn, and all may be comforted.”
It is for the purpose of edification, exhortation and comfort as spoken of in 1 Corinthians 14:3, “But he that prophesieth speaketh unto men to edification, and exhortation, and comfort.”
The “office gift” of a prophet or prophetess is given to speak to the body of Christ at large. The ministers who are called to the office of a prophet or prophetess will deliver messages which include edification, exhortation and comfort, but their messages can also be directive in nature and futuristic in content as well (Ephesians 4:11-15).
Presently God is leading His people with prophetic preaching and teaching. A prophetic movement is taking place in the world.
He That Hath An Ear
Prophetic Word Given through Maryiann Sitton
This is an hour to rejoice because Jesus is Lord! We do hear of the suffering, but we also know of the triumph. And this is an hour that there is to be a turning of events. Because we have come to the time when the Lord in His mercy and in his glory and in His power is going to so pour out His Spirit that the church shall rise out of every bondage that has held her–the fear, the depressions, the needs, the sicknesses. The hour has come when we shall see her rise up and shake herself from every shackle. This is the time to rejoice, this is the time to rise up and say, “Yea, the Lord hath won the battle. Yea the Lord hath triumphed and I am set free. Surely the Lord hath given me a new song and I will sing unto Him, because He is Lord of lords and King of kings.”
And know you this: that very shortly you shall see a great change of events, both in the natural and in the spiritual –for time is later than you think. Time both in the natural and in the spiritual, for God is moving, God is accelerating His pouring out of His Spirit. He is moving in a very beautiful and wonderful way in this hour It’s an hour to rejoice in, because surely the Lord has seen the darkness enveloping many areas of the earth.
But surely know this: that as the Lord Jesus Christ was the Light of the world, so is the Church the light of the world. And you are the light of the world, as you are the Church. And though you will see a great number of events–many events that shall cause great fear on the face of the earth–changes in nations, changes in people, changes in great areas. Be not overcome with fear, but stand in triumph, knowing that God is in full control. Has he not always come at the hour of greatest need? Has he not always triumphed in every moment of history? Has He not always led His people through? Has He not always had a word for you in the very moment that you needed it? And He would say unto you in this time, “Stand and sing in the face of every sudden calamity and every sudden change.”
Because God is on the scene, He’s behind the scene, He’s under the scene, He’s over the scene and He’s moving like a mighty army in His Church. He’s releasing the power of the supernatural to His people. Your will see the Church rise with healing in her wings as she never has. You will see the maimed made whole, you will see the blind see as they never have. You will see mass miracles and mass healings, you will see the dead raised. You will see the phenomena of the supernatural as the glory of God enters His church and enters His people.
Rejoice, it’s the hour, it’s the time of releasing of the children of the Lord unto the world of the supernatural where people shall say, “Even the gods have come among us.” Oh sing and dance and rejoice, because though the earth be shaken, and there will be great shakings– the Lord is on the scene and He will cause triumph and glory and honor to come unto the name of Jesus, Hallelujah!
Maryiann Sitton is an anointed handmaiden and minister of God. She has written several books and and has a weekly television show that reaches many throughout the country. She also is the founder of Shiloh Christian Ministries located in the beautiful Bitterroot Valley in Hamilton, Montana. Shiloh’s annual camp meetings have blessed many over the years. For more information about her ministry you may contact Maryiann Sitton by e-mail at: email@example.com
If you are interested in other prophetic words you may go to this link:
What Does the Bible Say About Prophecies
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by John D. Beckett
“John Beckett is one of the most remarkable men I know, whose life demonstrates the beautiful balance between spiritual maturity and business acumen.” –Bill Bright, Campus Crusade for Christ
If anyone is qualified to write this book, it is John D. Beckett, who has powerfully integrated his faith into the daily routine of his successful business–and the results are a staff and CEO who loves Monday morning as much as Friday morning.
Part philosophy and part everyday wisdom, this fast-reading book is a great introduction into understanding the call of the Christian who lives 40 hours a week in a secular arena. With the engaging manner of a storyteller, John Beckett candidly shares both his struggles and successes in the business realm. After he became a Christian, he wondered how he might integrate the two seemingly separate worlds of his faith and his everyday life. At first he assumed it was impossible.
“Increasingly, I found the Bible had become my primary spiritual life-source,” he says. “The decision to read it each day was bearing good fruit, bringing a gradual renewal in my thinking. But I still hadn’t made the connection that its great insights related directly to my work and could be instrumental in shaping our company’s policies and practices.”
However, the gentle leading and conviction of the Holy Spirit began to challenge him to seek a higher way in which he might carry the wisdom of the Bible into his work week.
As John Beckett began this exploration, he began to discern the two separate trains of thought that have shaped Western culture: Judeo/Christian and Greek. While Judeo/Christian thought emphasizes moral absolutes that are given by the revelation of God, Greek thought emphasizes moral relativism that can be reasoned and discerned within the mind of man. Additionally, Greek thought emphasizes a dualistic perspective of life, in which “spiritual” matters are rated as higher than “material” matter. This Greek mode of thinking has profoundly affected the church, creating the sense of “high” callings such as “full-time ministry” and necessary, but “lower” callings, such as business or any other secular job.
When John Beckett received the revelation that God never intended the separation of the sacred from the everyday life, his entire world was energized. As he realized that “work is a high calling, not secondary in value,” he began to view his entire life, including his business, as a ministry and a mission.
This book shares practical inspiration for implementing the Bible into the workplace. It addresses, among other things, the importance of communication with employees and creating the best possible work environment for them. It also emphasizes the importance of excellent customer service, and of giving back to the community and maximizing time spent with family. However, rather than the feel-good sound bites that are so popular these days, John Beckett takes a more thorough and long-term approach which involves the necessity of having core values that do not change with every whim of culture.
This profound paradigm shift that revolutionized John Beckett’s life, is crucial for every Christian to grasp. As I read the book, I was encouraged to view the church in a fresh way. Though I am not a businessperson, I learned a great deal through this book and would strongly recommend it not only for those in the business realm, but also for anyone who seeks to gain a better understanding of the purpose of the Christian in modern life and the ideas that shape our current culture. It is my consensus that Loving Monday will offer fresh inspiration to all who read it, to joyfully pursue their calling for the glory of God in every facet of society.
–Book Review —
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POETRY AND STORY CORNER
By Walter E. Isenhour
As you think of giving presents
To your friends on Christmas Day,
Don’t forget the poor and needy
That you meet along life’s way.
Give them something that is helpful,
That will tell them of your love,
For such giving pleases Jesus
As He watches from above.
If you cannot give abundance,
Give a little in His name;
For a little given rightly,
With His blessings on the same,
May be bread upon the waters
You will find again sometime
Multiplied to loaves of blessing
That are wondrous and sublime.
Give and help to spread the Gospel
On the mission fields of Earth
Where the natives by the millions
Have not heard of Jesus’ birth.
Give to causes that are worthy
Of your money with a prayer;
Give and help to share the burdens
That so many people bear.
Let the Christmas thought of giving
Go with you throughout the year,
Then your life will be a blessing
And you’ll have the thrill of cheer;
For in making others happy,
You will get a great supply,
As our Lord who reigns in heaven
Will then bless you from on high.
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(Little Compromises That Cause Big Problems)
By Betty Miller
Song of Solomon 2:15 says, “Take us the foxes, the little foxes, that spoil the vines: for our vines have tender grapes.” Foxes sometimes in search of food would enter into the grape orchards and devour the grapes and spoil the crop. However, the little foxes were too small to reach the grape bunches so they would chew on the vines and it would kill the whole vine. Instead of the farmer just losing his crop, he would lose his vine which was more disastrous. Spiritually some things we do or allow that we might think are little or insignificant can also be disastrous for us.
Keeping a Good Conscience
Every man is born with a conscience. It is a gift of God to mankind. However, man can quench his conscience by continually ignoring its voice over a period of time. The result is that his heart becomes hardened and seared so that it no longer speaks to him. How does this happen? Little by little. Just as the “little foxes” spoil the vines, so it happens with men ignoring the voice of their consciences over little things, then bigger things, then nothing evil bothers them at all.
Webster’s New World Dictionary defines the conscience as: “a knowledge or sense of right and wrong, with a compulsion to do right; moral judgement that opposes the violation of a previously recognized ethical principle and that leads to feelings of guilt.”
God provided a conscience even in unregenerate men to point them toward His principles and ways. All of us, before we are saved would be totally depraved if it were not for this provision of God by His grace. However, the longer people live in sin and carnality, the less the true inward conscience has any authority in their lives. Most of the time, particularly in today’s culture, we have developed “false” consciences. These are “programs” in our minds, not our spirits, as to what is right and wrong, and these things (evolution, secularism, humanism, situational ethics, and traditions and doctrines of religious thinking) control what we think is moral and ethical. The world’s thinking overrides and drowns out the inner voice of the true conscience that God put within us.
Hebrews 10:22 “Let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience, and our bodies washed with pure water.
23 Let us hold fast the profession of our faith without wavering; (for he is faithful that promised;)
24 And let us consider one another to provoke unto love and to good works.”
Because of the world’s ungodly influences, it is very important for a Christian to allow His conscience to be “healed,” or renewed, to reflect God’s standards which we find in the Bible. That is why Christians cannot be guided by their consciences in most cases. It is much safer to be guided by the Word of God and by witnesses and guidance from the Holy Spirit.
Today we are shocked by the evil acts of men who perform ghastly deeds and show no remorse whatsoever. We ask, “How can they do such things?” When the conscience is seared — burned out by constantly going against its nudgings — then men become like animals in their behavior. The Bible speaks of this in the following verses.
1 Timothy 4:1-2: “Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils; 2 Speaking lies in hypocrisy; having their conscience seared with a hot iron.”
This also happened in ancient times, according to Paul’s letter to the church at Rome (Romans 1). After a certain period of time, God will give someone with a seared or evil conscience “over to a reprobate mind.” That means the mind cannot be renewed, because the person has for so long chosen self-ways (which really are Satan’s ways) over God’s that it is not possible for them to change. This should be a warning for all who persist in sin.
Romans 1:28-32: “And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a reprobate mind, to do those things which are not convenient;
29 Being filled with all unrighteousness, fornication, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness; full of envy, murder, debate, deceit, malignity; whisperers,
30 Backbiters, haters of God, despiteful, proud, boasters, inventors of evil things, disobedient to parents,
31 Without understanding, covenantbreakers, without natural affection, implacable, unmerciful:
32 Who knowing the judgment of God, that they which commit such things are worthy of death, not only do the same, but have pleasure in them that do them.”
When we give our lives to the Lord, He begins a work in our hearts and minds and brings healing and enlightenment to the conscience.When a Christian’s conscience is renewed, it will not condemn them. When a Christian’s mind is renewed, it will not think carnal, self-centered thoughts. When a Christian’s emotions are renewed, they will no longer be negative. When a Christian’s will is renewed and submitted to God, he will no longer choose against God’s ways.
This happens on the positive just the way it does on the negative side. Our little choices to obey God and live by His Word day by day will eventually bring the changes in our lives that will cause us to be more like our Lord. While on the other side, those choices to ignore the conscience and go ahead and disobey God will bring about a hardened and unrepentant heart. We are warned against allowing this to happen. Do not allow this “little fox” of small disobedience choices to gradually harden your heart.
Hebrews 3:13-17: “But exhort one another daily, while it is called To day; lest any of you be hardened through the deceitfulness of sin.
14 For we are made partakers of Christ, if we hold the beginning of our confidence stedfast unto the end;
15 While it is said, To day if ye will hear his voice, harden not your hearts, as in the provocation.
16 For some, when they had heard, did provoke: howbeit not all that came out of Egypt by Moses.
17 But with whom was he grieved forty years? was it not with them that had sinned, whose carcases fell in the wilderness?”
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By Alfred H. Ells, M.C.
VOLUME III, ISSUE 10
America’s No. 1 Spiritual Problem?
“Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, I will help you; I will uphold you with the right hand of my righteousness”. Isaiah 41:10
Bill was driving home from the office on a warm summer evening when he was seized by panic. His chest tightened, his hands shook and he thought he would pass out. “I’d never experienced such strange feelings. I was sure I was going crazy,” shared the 28-year-old computer tech. A few days later he had another episode and then several more. Bill went to see his family physician but no physical cause was found. He has an anxiety disorder.
Pam has trouble sleeping. She awakens at 2:00-3:00 A.M. with her mind racing over all the unresolved issues of the day. “Joe is always after me for worrying so much about the kids and our finances,” she declares. “But he won’t so someone has to!” She oftentimes feels depressed, especially after talking to her worrisome mother. She has a problem with worry and anxiety but does not really admit to it.
According to the National Institute of Mental Health, Anxiety Disorders are the No. 1 mental health problem in the United States, affecting at least 19 million adults. Anxiety is also the leading mental health problem among youngsters ages 9 to 17. The cost of this disorder tops $42 billion a year in doctor bills and workplace losses. What is worse is that the problem is growing, having doubled in the past four decades.
Anxiety, however, is not just a mental health problem. It is also a spiritual one. What many do not realize is that anxiety, and its cousins fear and worry, are all enemies of faith. They weaken one’s trust in God causing doubt, unbelief and disobedience. Consider the Hebrew children who did not enter into the Promised Land because of their unbelief (Hebrews. 3:19). They were afraid of the giants and allowed their fears to dissuade them from trusting God and being obedient to his directions. The escalating prevalence of anxiety in our culture is a direct reflection of our lack of faith and trust in God as well. We are not facing the increasing pressures and complexities of life with trusting hearts and worry-free minds. Consider the following.
DEFINITIONS AND DESCRIPTIONS
FEAR is an emotional response of fright, terror or alarm, in the presence of real or anticipated danger or pain.
- The fear of God is an awesome reverence and respect for who He is, while the fear of man is a snare. Proverbs 29:25: “The fear of man bringeth a snare: but whoso putteth his trust in the LORD shall be safe.”
- Fear is the result of the fall of man and therefore all of us are prone to fear.
- Fear often begins as an inner reaction to a specific event or object and moves from a reaction to a core belief or attitude of fearfulness. This is the basis of many irrational fears.
- Anxiety and worry are fear based.
- God does not breed fear in us, instead he offer us power, love and a sound mind. 2 Timothy 1:7: “For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.”
ANXIETY is a feeling of dread, apprehension or uneasiness, often without a specific cause or object.
- Anxiety is often called “psychic pain”. It is the result of unresolved inner issues; things that we have not faced, thought through, prayed through and surrendered to God.
- Anxiety is the emotional response to the mental state of worry.
- Prolonged anxiety often results in agitation, sleeplessness, irritability, impatience, anger and depression.
- Fatigue and certain immune system and neurological problems can be associated with anxiety — chronic fatigue syndrome, multiple sclerosis, etc.
WORRY is a state of being fretful or overly concerned about something. The word comes from an old English word meaning to “choke” or “strangle”. What we worry about:
- Things that never happen — 40%
- Things past that can’t be changed — 30%
- Needless worries about our health — 12%
- Petty Miscellaneous worries — 10%
- Real legitimate concerns — 8%
- Worry is asking “what if” and answering. In worry we pre-image the future negatively.
- Worry is stewing or fretting about something without doing what is needed.
- Worry is “stinkin thinkin” – – – it is the anxious thoughts that multiply within us. Psalm 94:19: “In the multitude of my thoughts within me thy comforts delight my soul.”
- Worry is wanting to control and are not trusting God.
COMPULSIONS are repetitive behaviors (e.g. hand washing, ordering items in a certain way, checking and re-checking things) or repetitive mental acts (e.g. repeating words silently, counting objects in your mind, repetitive praying).
- Compulsive behavior is anxiety driven.
- The compulsive behavior is done to relieve, prevent or reduce anxiety, not to provide pleasure or gratification.
OBSESSIONS are persistent ideas, thoughts, impulses, or images that are experienced as intrusive and inappropriate and that cause the person much anxiety and distress.
- Obsessive thoughts are not just a reflection of spiritual warfare. They can be due to deficient brain chemistry.
- The thoughts, images or impulses are usually not related to a current real-life problem.
PANIC ATTACKSare sudden, intense attacks of apprehension, fearfulness, or terror, often associated with feelings of impending doom.
- During these attacks, symptoms such as shortness of breath, palpitations, chest pain or discomfort, choking or smothering sensations, and fear of “going crazy” or losing control, are present.
- Once a panic attack is experienced, the person becomes fearful of experiencing the fear again, thus more anxiety and more attacks.
PHOBIAS are persistent fearful reactions to clearly discernable objects or situations.
- Exposure to the phobic stimulus almost invariably provokes an immediate anxiety response. For example, some people feel instant fear when they see pictures of snakes.
- Phobias are usually learned reactions to previously threatening stimuli.
STEPS TO CHANGE
Overcoming an anxiety disorder, fear, worry or anxiety related problem, is possible. Many prior sufferers now live anxiety free lives. Consider the following:
The first step to wholeness is recognition of the problem and personal ownership for changing it. Many do not get healed because they do not clearly identify that they are fearful and anxious. Still others blame their anxiety on circumstances instead of seeing what in them needs changing.
Generally speaking, overcoming fears and anxious thoughts require admission of the fear/thought, confession of the truth and surrender of the outcome to God. If this does not work, the individual must seek out and resolve the hidden roots of the fear and utilize thought switching and thought stopping techniques (renewal of the mind).
Studies indicate that more pronounced problems with fear, anxiety and worry often have a genetic contribution. This means that the problem can be a family trait or iniquity that is generational in its expression. Pam’s mother and grandmother were both avid worriers. Pam not only came naturally by her tendency to worry but also had it reinforced daily by her mom and grandmother.
Once a person develops powerful fearful reactions, compulsions, obsessions, phobias, or panic attacks; they will need to attack the problem utilizing more than one method of treatment: counseling to deal with the empowering issues, prayer to bring freedom, peace and comfort and medical assistance to balance brain chemistry and reduce the hypersensitive bodily reactions. Bill overcame his problem by seeking out counseling, taking medication and going through a Bondage Breakers program at his church.
This article was taken from the Counselor’s Corner, VOLUME III, ISSUE 10, published by Counselor’s Corner. Used with permission.
Alfred Ells is a senior therapist with New Life Clinic, a Christ-centered counseling and educational ministry. He is a gifted marriage and family counselor, seminar speaker and author of several best-selling books, including One Way Relationships, Released to Love and Family Love.
Al has been counseling and consulting with churches, organization and individuals for over twenty years. He earned his Masters of Counseling degree at Arizona State University. He founded “House of Hope Counseling;” assisted in the establishment of “Hope Community (Rapha-Hope)” in Scottsdale; a Christ -centered residential addictions treatment facility, “Remuda Ranch;” a Christ centered program for women with anorexia or bulimia, located in Wickenburg, Arizona, and “Life Gate;” a residential treatment facility for adolescents and their families.
Al resides in Mesa, Arizona with his wife Susan. They have four children.
E-mail Al at: firstname.lastname@example.org Or write to: Alfred H. Ells, M.C., Counselor’s Corner, 2855 East Brown Road, Suite 3, Mesa, Arizona 85213, U.S.A. Phone:(480) 325-9350.
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PERSONAL WORD FROM THE MILLERS
Dear Internet Friends,
We pray that this holiday season gives you many reasons to rejoice. While global insecurity may affect all of our lives, it is good to keep our eyes on Jesus, who, in spite of the raging of the nations, remains firmly seated on the Throne.
How should a Christian respond to the international instability that we see in various places in the world? We believe that God wants us to respond with faith and confidence that He is indeed seated in all authority (Psalm 2). He has called us to pray and speak forth His will on the earth. Remember to pray for our new upcoming President here in the U.S.A. and for all the new government leaders. We also pray for leaders all over the world. We are given the privilege of partnering with Him for His purposes to be made manifest. As we all may face uncertainty, we encourage you to both stand strong, and rest well in the fact that our Lord reigns!
Personally, we have much to be thankful for this year. We thank all who have supported us and prayed for us and encouraged us. You have helped to make this the most successful year in terms of growth and answered prayer that we have yet seen in our online ministry. Thank you. We were recently able to hire additional staff in key positions, which is a true answer to many prayers. In the next year, you can expect to see many positive changes to Bible.com. The growth and development of our site has been slow and steady, but we are beginning to gain more momentum and we look forward to the mighty things that the Lord will do.
Now, more than ever, is the time to make a fresh consecration to the Lord. He has glorious plans for the days ahead and a mighty harvest of souls which He is calling all Christians to bring into the kingdom. Are you ready? He has a special place for you and is calling you to be a habitation for His praise and a light to the world. Truly this is the time to “lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and…run with patience the race that is set before us” (Hebrews 12:1b).
Truly the blessings of God are treasures that far outweigh the earthly temptations that we strive against. May the eternal riches of Heaven fill our hearts as we set our eyes on Jesus, our glorious inheritance! As we gather with our family and friends for the Thanksgiving Holidays may we all remember to thank the Lord for His goodness to us. Part of our family tradition after we finish our Thanksgiving dinner is to each share specific things that we each are thankful for over the last year.
May the Christmas season be one of blessing to you as we all celebrate the birth of our Lord Jesus Christ. Remember Jesus is the reason for the season! Many blessings and happy “holy days” from all of us!
Bud and Betty Miller
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PURPOSE & VISION
THE OVERCOMING LIFE DIGEST is published for the purpose of strengthening the Body of Christ by furnishing teaching literature and a prophetic voice to the church in these last days. CHRIST UNLIMITED is helping and working with all Bible-believing Christians regardless of their church or denominational affiliations in promoting the Gospel of Jesus Christ. CHRIST UNLIMITED believes the hour is late and we must fulfill the great commission. We, as Christians, desire to cooperate with the Lord in breaking down denominational walls, for a united front line against the kingdom of darkness and setting up the Kingdom of the Lord Jesus Christ by the power of the Holy Spirit.
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