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Category Archives: Spiritual Warfare

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PRAISE, INC
By Rev. James L. Snyder

When the Crystal Palace Exhibition opened in 1851, people flocked to London’s Hyde Park to behold the marvels.

The biggest attraction was steam. Displayed for everyone were steam plows, steam locomotives, steam looms, steam organs and even a steam cannon. Steam captured the imagination of that generation.

Of all the outstanding exhibits the first-prize winner went to a steam contraption with seven thousand parts. When turned on, its pulleys, whistles, bells, and gears made a lot of noise, but, ironically, the contraption didn’t do a thing! Seven thousand moving parts making a lot of commotion . . . but having no practical use.

It’s easy to smile at a former generation’s fascination with steam. Nobody thinks much of steam today. We have many more things to hold our attraction. In today’s high-tech age, however, it’s easy to confuse activity with accomplishment. Many are fooled into thinking that the sound of gears and pulleys is the sound of something important being done.

The latest craze in the church is directed toward worship and praise. No matter where you go these days you cannot help running into WORSHIP CELEBRATION which can mean anything from a Christian band to repetitious singing of praise choruses. To the careful observer the obvious focus in much contemporary worship is how it makes the individual feel. This represents a shift in emphasis from former Christianity. The purpose appears to leave the worshiper feeling great and uplifted. Nothing’s wrong with that. Certainly, worship should make a person feel encouraged and inspired. This is just the thing needed in many congregations.

Not all worship, however, should make us feel wonderful. The saints of another generation spoke often of the “dread of the Lord.” What they meant by that few Christians today seem to understand. Often, in times past, a terrific fear of the Lord would come on the congregation resulting in a wonderful, overpowering sense of conviction. People would line the altar pouring out their soul to God, pleading for mercy.

That holy dread is a rarity in these days of self-assertive Christianity. The lack of the fear of the Lord permeates contemporary worship to such an extent that anything goes without the slightest regard of how it sets with God who we are supposed to be worshiping. This mixed bag of worship is glibly accepted with no discerning regard for God Himself.

On becoming more familiar with God the worshiper begins to understand that some things are acceptable to Him while other things are repulsive. To go by what is in vogue these days you would think nothing offends God and He accepts everything without discrimination. Forgotten are the awesome lessons found in the Old Testament, lessons that cost the Israelites dearly in their struggle to become acquainted with Jehovah. All of the rules and regulations in the Old Testament pointed to one astonishing truth: the holiness of God. When Aaron’s sons burned “strange fire” on the altar they were consumed by a holy God, intolerant of insubordination from His people. Some things God will not tolerate and to worship Him I need to know what they are.

Worship is serious business as far as God is concerned and He wants His people to so consider it when they approach Him. A superficial attitude only reveals a basic unfamiliarity with God on the part of the worshiper. By bringing into the worship experience things incompatible with the nature and character of God can only bring reproach upon the congregation and leadership. The trend today to drag elements of our culture into a service set apart for the worship of God must displease Him. With all the detailed instruction in the Bible concerning the character and nature of God it should be easy to see what He likes and dislikes. Could this be one reason Christians suffer defeat in many areas of their life?

An atrocity affecting our assemblies today is entertainmentism. This proliferation of entertainment in churches can only point to the stark fact that we have lost the wonder and the delightful sense of God’s presence among us. Entertainment centers on some performance which has no place in the solemn and exhilarating worship of God.

According to the Scriptures, the “arm of flesh” cannot serve God.

Performance always suppresses the Presence. The goal of each worship experience should be the manifested presence of God. Therefore, anything affecting this should be rooted out of our assemblies. Those are wonderful times when the Presence of the Lord is experienced in a worship act but it is not a frequent thing among most evangelical churches. Some believe the high energy and excitement produced in some religious services is the Presence of the Lord. And, if a person does not know the real thing, the mistaken identity is understandable.

In the clatter and clutter of some worship services it is quite impossible to really get to know God. The noise is enough to give the angels around the Throne a headache. This essential acquaintance with God cannot be done in the bright lights of exhibitionism. The calisthenics and commotion created in such circumstances are rarely of God. At the core of all authentic worship is a revelation of some aspect of Deity never realized before or seen in such light. Out of that revelation comes a deep sense of admiration which leads to adoration.

The worship of God, whether private or public, centers on the Presence of God becoming increasingly apparent. This is more than just thinking about God although that is a beginning. It is being aware of His Presence right in the place where you are, not just knowing God is omniscient. God is everywhere, but the conspicuous Presence of God is something else. God delights in showing Himself to His people and the Old Testament is full of such remarkable instances. Whether it is Moses or Abraham or Isaiah or David, God delighted in surprising them with spontaneous glimpses of Himself.

This level of worship crosses the threshold of human consciousness where personality meets personality, God mingling with the individual worshiper resulting in fellowship and communion. This is not something stagnant. Rather, it is a growing and delightful sense of becoming conversant with God. Not with the intellect alone, but with the spirit, that marvelous instrument of spiritual recognition and investigation. For it is only by our spirit that we can truly come to the knowledge of God in any degree. That is why a person must be “born-again.”

This “new creature in Christ” can recognize the Presence of God. It is important to cultivate that, or Practice the Presence of God, each day. As a person is able to recognize God in the various situations of life, the greater will be his ability to express to Him the appropriate praise and worship which He rightfully deserves. As this interior life develops in the Believer he becomes less and less occupied with external things.

What is meant by the “manifested Presence” of God? It is a moment when God shows some aspect of His nature to a prepared worshiper through revelation. The human spirit then becomes aware of the Divine Spirit as actually present. This happens only through revelation and not by any exterior manipulation. This is God doing what He does best for those He loves.

To become acutely aware of the Presence of God is not the casual thing some have made it. This awareness of God not only reveals the nature and character of God it also exposes, in the worshiper, any resident sin. In other words, anything that is out of sync with the Divine nature will be exposed and often in an unpleasant manner. One person put it this way, “The more aware I become of God the more aware I am of my own imperfections and sin.” It is a glaring contrast for the worshiper.

It was Dr. A.W. Tozer who once cautioned, “To seek high emotional states while living in sin is to throw our whole life open to self deception and the judgment of God.” What God cannot cleanse and purify, He cannot allow into His Presence. What cannot stand in God’s presence cannot serve Him.

Christian worship cannot be marketed like dry-goods and yet that is what is taking place. This represents a complete misunderstanding of the character and nature of spiritual worship. Giving people what they want may get increased crowds for a time. In the end, however, it will not prepare them to face God nor worship Him as He deserves to be worshiped.

The emotional gymnastics practiced by some leave little or no room for the Holy Spirit to negotiate in the person’s life. Motion and commotion have replaced the quiet afflatus of the Holy Spirit coming on a person manifesting the Presence of Christ that is so real and wonderful and delightful. The religious props in vogue are not necessary to the humble person bent on simply worshiping God. In fact, these props hinder the true process of worship. The religious toys and joy bells are not only unnecessary but they take the focus of the individual from Christ and put it on something exterior.

Anything placed before the soul instead of Christ is an idol and will lead away from Christ. Warning must be given to those who are in danger of this idolatry. More is at stake than a simple style of worship preference.

Worship services today must get back to the simplicity of the New Testament church and again direct the worshiper to Christ. All the claptrap must be carefully eliminated so the Holy Spirit can again reveal to entire congregations the magnificent beauty of Jesus Christ in His manifesting Presence.

When Charles Finney came to a community the conspirators of hell trembled and ultimately fell under the power of God. The purveyors of PRAISE, INC. have little in common with such a man. Let’s not be fooled into believing the noise and the lights so prevalent today have any practical or spiritual significance. We may have seven thousand moving parts but accomplishing nothing.###

For years, during my itinerant ministry, when I spoke in churches on the topic of deliverance, I would commence my message by reading aloud Mark 16:15-19. Then, I would ask the congregation to raise their hand if they considered themselves a believer. Invariably, one hand per person in attendance would go up, regardless the size of the congregation. Then I would ask of those who raised their hand, those who had cast out any demons today to raise their hand. No hands would go up. Okay, then, this week, I would ask? No hands. Okay, how about this month. Still, no hands. This year? No hands. Ever? Once in a while, one or two hands went up, but most often, none. Then I would say, “I thought you all said you were believers?” And, pause for reaction. Uncomfortable snickers, would always ensue. Then I would inquire: “Jesus said that believers would cast out devils. Who lied, Jesus or you?” Continue reading “The Great Commission or Omission?” »

To many people, including many who claim to be Christians or believers in Christ, the matter of the existence and operations of the devil on earth are either basically an unknown or a spiritual conundrum. That is understandable, given the fact that unbiblical or in some cases, antibiblical, preaching and teaching on the matter is ubiquitous, even in the context of self-purported Christian churches. The central theory of that biblically-incorrect teaching to varying degrees is the somewhat misleading assertion (in whatever terms it is expressed): “Jesus defeated the devil on the Cross of Calvary.”

While that statement and the set of teachings it represents bears some truth, it nevertheless is not “the whole truth and nothing but the truth!” Rather, it is actually partial truth. Did Jesus defeat the devil on the Cross of Calvary? YES! Jesus did indeed defeat the devil on the Cross of Calvary, but the problem is: what specifically did that “defeat” entail? Was it entire and complete in the sense that the devil and his power and authority to bring adversity into people’s lives and into the world system were brought to an end, or ceased? Was the devil annihilated or eliminated, or did he cease to exist? Was the devil’s domain—the kingdom of darkness—annihilated and rendered null and void and no longer existent? Unfortunately, the answer to all those questions is a resounding “NO!” Continue reading “Is The Devil Really Defeated? Well, Yes and No!” »

Dr. Steven LambertThe JEZEBEL SPIRIT, is an evil spirit obsessed with domination and obtaining control in realms of authority, that operates through witchcraft/sorcery to achieve its goal. The covert operations of the Jezebel Spirit remains to be one of the most prevalent and dastardly problems in all of Christendom—in families and businesses of believers, churches/ministries, and every other arena of interrelations of believers—as well as in every segment of secular society where human relationships exist. In psychology, the effects produced by this demonic spirit are known as “narcissism,” or Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD) in clinical cases (see, DSM-IV). While as a deliverance counselor with Doctoral Diplomate Christian Counseling Board Certification, I personally believe effective therapeutic relief from the effects of NPD requires deliverance (casting out of demons), the Mayo Clinic has published an information-rich and enlightening article on NPD, which, due to unusual copyright restrictions I am constrained from citing, that you can read by CLICKING HERE. [See also “How To Identify A Female Narcissist” below this article.] The references in the Bible to two different women with the name “Jezebel” are portrayed by the Spirit as being classic narcissists. Continue reading “Exposing the Jezebel Spirit!” »

Only a few days after the Boston Bombings, the media has evoked a virtual cornucopia of characterizations of the tragic event perpetrated on Patriots Day during the annual Boston Marathon with its record 26,000+ participants. The one word that you will not hear them ascribe to the catastrophe, however, is the one word that is the most appropriate of all, and which identifies the true mastermind behind it. That word is: Continue reading “Who’s Really Behind The Boston Bombings” »

By Evangelist Steve Hill

This is coming to you from a man who has just passed through the valley of the shadow of death. Since my close call with eternity just a short while ago… everything has become clearer. I can hear His whisper. Unabated obedience has become my mandate. That is why I’m writing this word from the Lord.

A few days ago, after enjoying quality time with Jesus, I was surprised by an alarming vision. I saw a massive, majestic mountain covered in glistening snow. It reminded me of the Matterhorn in the Swiss Alps. Its peaks were sparkling white and I was amazed by God’s attention to detail. It was so realistic I wanted to go skiing! But I sensed that there was more that the Holy Spirit was about to reveal. As I closed my eyes, I was in a winter wonderland bustling with thousands of vacationers. The ski lodge, condos, hotels and cabins were at full capacity at this popular resort. Continue reading “WARNING: The Spiritual Avalanche That Could Kill Millions” »

For in the case of those who have once been enlightened and have tasted of the heavenly gift and have been made partakers of the Holy Spirit, and have tasted the good word of God and the powers of the age to come, (Heb. 6:4-5)

Stephen, ‘Being full of the Holy Spirit, gazed into heaven and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing at the right hand of God, and said, ‘Look! I see the heavens opened and the Son of Man standing at the right hand of God!'” Acts 7:55-56

Dr. Eben Alexander1, neurosurgeon, faculty member at Harvard Medical School and a graduate of that University, contracted a vicious E-coli bacteria that plunged him into a seven-day coma. During that time the neocortex of his brain was shut-down. Mentally, he was dead. The medical team had no hope for his recovery. While in that state Dr. Alexander experienced a journey into the afterlife. There, he saw realities he never thought possible. Other doctors have since ridiculed his claim but Dr. Alexander held fast to the truth of his Heavenly encounter. In Newsweek Magazine, he wrote1:

“As a neurosurgeon, I did not believe in the phenomenon of near-death experiences. I grew up in a scientific world, the son of a neurosurgeon. I followed my father’s path and became an academic neurosurgeon, teaching at Harvard Medical School and other universities. I understand what happens to the brain when people are near death, and I had always believed there were good scientific explanations for the heavenly out-of-body journeys described by those who narrowly escaped death.” Continue reading “Powers of the Age to Come” »

By Charles Carrin
All church failure is directly related to congregations detaching themselves theologically and experientially from the Kingdom of God. Apart from the Kingdom and the Holy Spirit’s empowering, churches, pastors, ministries, have no power. None. They may have great organizational skill, great advertising programs, and possess the best technological aid, but in New Testament terms these are not power. They are deceptive counterfeits.

The next failure most churches make is to re-organize themselves into competitive, denominational groups that treat each other with suspicion and fear. Personal ministries frequently do the same thing. Jesus loved the church and gave Himself for it. So must we! But Jesus spoke of the church (ekklesia, Gr.) only three times in the gospels. In contrast, He spoke of His Kingdom some 130 times. Unlike modern Christianity, His focus was on the Kingdom. If we are to be like Him, ours must be also! Continue reading “Why Do Pastors, Churches, Ministries, Fail When The Holy Spirit Has All-Power?” »

“PSYCHIC PREMONITIONS” IMITATE THE HOLY SPIRIT’S “WORDS OF KNOWLEDGE”
By Charles Carrin

Soon after my Baptism in the Spirit I began teaching congregations how to recognize differences between the Holy Spirit miraculous gifts and the occult world’s counterfeits. Almost immediately a young man came to my hotel room seeking advice about a troublesome “spiritual message” he had received. It was this: On a specific, named day of the week, he was told that his wife and baby would be killed in a car wreck. He was even told the city where it would occur. The message, which claimed to be from God, further warned him not to tell anyone—not even his wife. When he reluctantly shared this frightening information with me, I immediately explained that he had received a psychic-prophecy. Continue reading “Psychic Premonitions & Predictions” »

By John Piper

I would like to begin this morning with a definition of the term occult. I designate anything as belonging to the occult that involves dealings with the world of spirits or of supra-normal forces which (dealings) are not oriented on Jesus as he is revealed in the Bible. With this definition I am assuming the reality of a spirit world and of mysterious supra-normal forces. I am assuming that the church makes a grave mistake when it says that supra-natural phenomena are restricted to another age or that only godly people can work miracles. Such a mistake lays the church open to the power of evil precisely because it refuses to recognize the presence of that power. The definition is also intentionally very broad. I mean to include everything from the most blatant Satan worship to the most commonly accepted use of horoscopes. As examples I would mention séances, necromancy, and all forms of communicating with the dead, PSI, ESP, and all forms of supra-natural psychic phenomena, real magic (as opposed to simple sleight-of-hand tricks), fortune telling, the casting of spells, wearing of charms, the use of ouija boards, astrology, etc., etc. What I would like to show this morning is first, that the Scripture forbids God’s people to be involved in these practices, second, why this is so, and third, what our positive alternative should be. Continue reading “Jesus vs. The Occult” »

February 20, 1990 | by John Piper

[Editor’s Note: Though this article was originally published in 1990, it addresses a topic we wholeheartedly espouse, and contains some poignant and Scripturally valid points regarding a little understood, oft disputed or entirely rejected subject. Of further significance is the fact that the highly-regarded and widely-acclaimed author is not known to identify with Pentecostal or Neo-Pentecostal theology, demonology in particular as well as ecclesiology. The matter of “spiritual warfare” is a truth that the End-Time Remnant Church Jesus is building needs to recover, embrace, assimilate, become knowledgeable and trained in, and engage in on a broader scale in order to offensively resist the strategic battle plans (“schemes,” “wiles”) of the real, unseen Adversary, the devil (Eph. 6:10-18; Jas. 4:7; 1 Pet. 5:8,9; et al.). Unfortunately, we recognize and lament, this is one of a number truths the Holy Spirit has been restoring and re-emphasizing to those in the End-Time Church who have an ear to hear what the Spirit is saying, but which has been significantly discredited and consequently disregarded as a result of indefensible extremism and imprudence in some streams who have been its proponents. Our fervent hope is that those who do have an ear to hear what the Spirit is saying will push through the daunting and discouraging effects of the criticisms of men to embrace and engage in the sort and levels of spiritual warfare that are needed to defeat the Adversary’s wiles and schemes in order for the Church Jesus is building to advance and conquer in every place and way the Helper as well as the Head of the Church ordains.]

On February 12 of this year (1990; ed.) about 30 prayer leaders met in Pasadena at the invitation of Peter Wagner for a Post-Lausanne II Consultation on Cosmic-Level Spiritual Warfare. At least five workshops at Lausanne II in Manila last year had dealt with “territorial spirits” and their relationship to world evangelization. The Pasadena meeting was strictly ad-hoc and aimed simply to pray and brainstorm about wrestling with principalities and powers in world evangelization.

What shall we make of this new warfare strategy in evangelism? Is it the sort of thing you only read about in Frank Peretti’s novels? Or is it terribly real and strategic for finishing the great commission among “hard” and “closed” peoples of the world? Continue reading “Cosmic-Level Spiritual Warfare” »

By Charles Carrin

“For unclean spirits crying with a loud voice came out of many who were possessed and many who were paralyzed and lame were healed. And there was great joy in that city. But there was a certain man called Simon, who previously practiced sorcery in the city and astonished (bewitched) the people of Samaria…” (Acts 8:7-9).

Years ago, I received an urgent call from a young Church of Christ pastor in Tennessee who wanted time with me. He was in great distress. We met at the Nashville airport and went to his home where he shared his crisis: “The only power in my ministry was argument and debate,” he explained, “There was no manifestation of God’s presence like the early church experienced. I became so despaired with my spiritual deadness that I turned to other sources. And I made wrong choices — I went into Eastern Mysticism.” I listened as he continued. “I found real power — but power that soon became dark and frightening. The problem was that having invited it into my life, I could not make it leave. It began to dominate, control, and in a merciless way, forced its will upon me.” His story was familiar. The “spirit-guide” that had invaded his life, harassed his sleep, affected his family relationships, and succeeded in separating him from those he loved. In time, it destroyed his ministry. As we talked, depression clung to him in a merciless way.

When he finished, I explained that he had “touched the unclean thing” (Isaiah 52:11), which God forbad. The good news was that his repentance and the power of Christ could free him. I reminded him that there is no power of darkness that can successfully stand against the authority of Jesus (Philippians 2:9). Continue reading “So You Think Psychic Power Is Fun and Games?” »

There are few things more controversial in the body of Christ than the baptism of the Holy Spirit and the accompanying gifts.

Much of modern-day Christianity sees the born-again experience as all there is to salvation. Many Christians oppose the belief that there is a separate experience of being filled with the Holy Spirit, and they especially oppose the validity of the gifts of the Holy Spirit for today’s believers.

That type of belief puts them in conflict with the book of Acts and the very teaching of Jesus. Those who experience the power of the Holy Spirit today are labeled as fanatics or heretics. But what does the Bible have to say? What did Jesus say about this? Continue reading “The Holy Spirit” »

I believe that one of the biggest reasons that the body of Christ hasn’t made a greater impact on our generation today is because of our failure to operate in the gifts of the Holy Spirit. Without a doubt, Jesus and the first apostles used the gifts like a bell, calling men to their message and confirming that God was truly the One speaking through them.

Hebrews 2:3-4 says,

How shall we escape, if we neglect so great salvation; which at first began to be spoken by the Lord, and was confirmed unto us by them that heard him; God also bearing them witness, both with signs and wonders, and with divers miracles, and gifts of the Holy Ghost, according to his own will?

The Lord bore witness to the accuracy of their message through miracles and gifts of the Holy Spirit. Continue reading “How To: Flow In The Gifts Of The Holy Spirit” »

Decades ago, I was participating in an all-night prayer meeting bombarding the gates of heaven. I remember beating the wall and yelling, “God, if You loved the people in Arlington, Texas, half as much as I do, we’d have revival!” Immediately, my lightning-fast mind realized that something was seriously wrong with my theology. What was I thinking?

Did I really believe I loved these people more than God did? No, not exactly. Like many Christians, I believed God was angry with the human condition, and it was up to me to turn Him from wrath and judgment. I was interceding, or so I thought, pleading with God on the behalf of others. What could possibly be wrong with that? As I learned later, a lot. Continue reading “A Better Way To Pray” »

By Charles Carrin

In the first part of this article series, I explained how the battering-ram the Roman Army brought against the walls of Jerusalem was a prototype of the spiritual weapons we have been provided for Christian battle. I continue on that theme in this article with some particular application.

Make no mistake about it, we are at war! At this time in our nation, several states are preparing for discussions with proponents of “Sharia Law.” As I write, Christian churches in Iraq and other Islamic nations are being bombed and their congregations murdered. Not all of this is reported by America’s media; a black-out order exists. Efforts are being made to convince the American public that Islam is a peace-loving and kind religion. History, however, emphatically denies that. In spite of the propaganda put forth by its proponents and participants, Islam is judged by its own history.

An example of this history occurred in Indonesia several years ago when three Christian high-school girls were beheaded by Islamic militants as a Ramadan “trophy” for Allah. The girls’ bloody heads were dumped in plastic bags in their village with a handwritten note threatening more such murders. The note read: “Wanted: 100 more Christian heads, teenaged or adult, male or female; blood shall be answered with blood, soul with soul, head with head.” The girls’ bodies, dressed in school uniform, were left by the roadside near the execution site.

Hear me carefully: Brutality and murder has been the identifying mark of Islam since its inception and the same plans are in store for the U.S. Get ready! Continue reading “Ancient Warfare’s Message to the Modern Church (Part 2)” »

By Charles Carrin

When the Roman General Titus, son of Emperor Vespasian, laid siege to Jerusalem in 70 AD, and brought Jewish nationalism to crushing defeat, one of the principle weapons he used against the city was a gigantic battering-ram named, “Nico.” The title, Nico, was prophetic, and in a very real sense speaks to the church today. The word means “conqueror.” “Nico” is the same word used in the Greek text of Revelation 2:15, where Jesus speaks to the church in Pergamum of His hatred for the “doctrine of the Nicolaitans.” The word Nicolaitan is a combination of the words, “nico,” i.e., “conqueror,” and “laos,” meaning “laity,” or people of the congregation. The message of this combination of words is obvious. In the only instance in Scripture where Jesus is described as hating something (though God stated, Esau He hated; publisher), it is used here. He hates the doctrines and deeds that enslave the saints. He wants the saints to be free, and has fully purchased that freedom for them. Continue reading “Ancient Warfare’s Message To The Modern Church (Part 1)” »