Teaching Our Children to Fight

Last night my daughter, once again, cried as she walked past my darkened office. Once again I asked her why she was crying. Once again she told me she was terrified of the darkness. I’ve been struggling with this for weeks now, my daughter crying when we walk outside at night, or when we’re turning off the lights to go to bed. Perhaps most parents would shrug this off as “normal” child behavior, but I knew it was more.

 

 
I asked her why she was afraid. In between sobs, she replied, “I think something bad will happen to me.” Ironically (not really) this extreme fear took hold of my daughter around the time I started teaching a new class about spiritual warfare. A lot of strange things have been happening since our life group met for the first time. In fact, a few of the ladies have had a hard time even getting to the church to meet for our study. Seems *something* is blocking the way—or at least sending a lot of distractions.

 

 
It’s been no different in my life. In a conversation with my Pastor this week I shared, “If you’re feeling comfortable, if you want to throw a monkey wrench in your cozy life, just start teaching a series on spiritual warfare. That’ll shake things up.” It’s true. When the opposition is ignored, we don’t notice its effect in our lives. But when we start perking up and paying attention, we see how much of a hand the devil really has in the details. This includes our children.

 

 
Recently, a Pastor and Author whom I have grown to respect and admire (his teaching has helped me a great deal) advised me to reconsider a portion of my book manuscript where I mention Satan’s activity in the lives of children, because too many people could have a problem with that, and might not like it or agree with it.

 

 
I thought about it for a few days, until this situation with my daughter came to the fore-front. No, I can’t ignore what I know is the truth. Satan seeks to kill, steal, and destroy, and there is no age limit on his schemes! It is true that God cares for and looks after children, and there is even some evidence in God’s word to suggest that special angels are given charge over children. Yet, that doesn’t make them exempt from the tricks and manipulations of demonic activity, any more than being a Christ follower makes us, as adults, exempt from temptation, testing, and trials (see the book of Job).

 

 
So last night, as my precious five-year-old laid on my bed weeping in fear, I knew it was time to share more with her about her Enemy. My daughter has a wonderful prayer life, and has memorized a great deal of Scripture (the truth—God’s word—is the most important thing we can fill our children’s minds with!), so I knew she would understand and be able to apply the truths we were about to discuss.

 

 
“Where do you think fear comes from?” I asked her.

 
“I don’t know,” she whispered.

 
“Well, you know how God has angels watching over us? Satan has his own angels too, and they are called demons. These demons try to trick us, make us fear, and get us to think about things that go against God’s word, but Jesus is in us, and He is wayyyy more powerful than those demons.”

 
“Ohhhhh,”her eyes were widening.

 
“Because we have Jesus in us, protecting us and watching over us, we also have Jesus’ power over these evil spirits. Whenever we feel afraid we need to pray. We need to thank God for helping us and watching over us, and then tell Satan and his demons to GO AWAY!”

 
“How do I do that?”

 
“First, we thank God for beating Satan the day he died on the cross and came back to life. Jesus beat Satan already, so we always need to thank Him for that. Next we need to say, ‘In the name of Jesus, I command the evil spirit of fear to leave me alone!’ And you know what? That evil spirit has to leave; he has no choice, because Jesus has already beaten him. Sometimes, though, those spirits need a reminder. Because you have Jesus living in you, you are able to tell those spirits to leave in the name of Jesus, because they hate that name and it causes them to run away.”

 
“Can we pray now?”

 
And we did. Samantha prayed first, she even said, “In the name of the Lord Jesus, you evil spirits have to leave!”

 

 
We proceeded to talk for nearly two hours about God, the Bible, and Satan. She kept asking, “Mom, can you tell me another story?” So we talked about all the stories of angels that Mommy could remember, and we talked about Jesus’s life, John the Baptist, and Balaam and his angel-seeing donkey. After a while Samantha, relieved, said, “Mommy, these stories are really helping me feel better!”

 

 
Before closing her eyes to sleep, she asked God to replace her bad dreams (another problem she’d been having) with good dreams of Jesus and angels. And for the first night in weeks she slept soundly—with the lights off.

 

 
This morning she woke up and the first thing she wanted to do was tell me about her dream. She recounted the angels, the pink grass, and Jesus coming to our house for lunch. At the end of her dream, Jesus told her He had to leave, but would be back soon.

 

 
I sat on the couch with my coffee, smiling from ear to ear. “Thank you, Jesus, for giving that gift to my daughter. Thank you for setting her little heart free with your truth.”

 

 
My daughter is only five years old, but she is already well-equipped to continue fighting this battle. She knows Philippians 2:5 and 2 Corinthians 10:5, and she knows how to pray and how to use Scripture to fight her enemy. Most importantly, she has learned not to fear her accuser. Because as big of a bully he is, Jesus is bigger.

 

 

 

This fight is real, friends, and it’s real for our kids too. What are we teaching them? We don’t need to freak them out, but we do need to teach them the truth—all of it, not just the parts we think they can handle. You see, if we try to wait until they’re “old enough” it’ll already be too late. By the time they are teenagers, they may well have succumbed to a variety of destructive thinking patterns if they have not learned how to deal with those thoughts and emotions in a biblical way. Instead of leaving them defenseless, we need to start teaching our children to fight back.

 

(See also Discerning the Devil: In Childhood)

 

 
Instead of singing this with our kids:

 
“I may never march in the infantry,
ride in the calvary,
shoot the artillery,
I may never fly o’er the enemy
but I’m in the Lord’s army yes sir!”

 
(What exactly is the Lord’s army doing, if not fighting? Should we scratch out Ephesians 6:10-18 too?)

 

 
We need to be singing this:

 
“There is power, power, wonder working power,
in the blood, of the Lamb!
There is power, power, wonder working power
in the precious blood of the Lamb!”

 

 

And this:

 

 

“I know Who goes before me,

I know Who stands behind.

The God of Angel Armies,

is always by my side!”

 

 

(This happens to be one of mine and my daughter’s favorites!)

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profilepic3Rebecca Aarup is a redeemed prodigal, set free from over a decade of mental illness, eating disorders, addiction, and more. She now enjoys sharing her story of freedom and transformation with a lost and hurting world, as well as teaching about spiritual warfare and the importance of understanding our identity in Christ.

Rebecca is also an author and freelance writer, having written devotionals and teaching articles for a variety of publications including The Secret Place (Judson press), Evangel (Light and Life Communications), and Mustard Seed Ministries. Beyond writing, Rebecca is a wife, home-schooling mom, and Bible student at Liberty University. She lives in Glendale, Az with her husband Chris and daughter, Samantha.  You can read more from Rebecca by following her on twitter and facebook.

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You can support Rebecca’s ministry with one click! If you enjoyed this post and others, please take a second to click the FOLLOW button on the space provided on the right hand side of the computer screen (or scroll to the bottom of your screen if using a smartphone) and you will receive new posts in your email inbox. This is absolutely free and your information is never shared!

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Rebuking the Devil’s Deadly D’s (Part 1)

Rebuking the Devil’s Deadly D’s

Rebuking the Devil

 

In order to defeat the enemy we must first know our enemy. In our last post we studied the character of Satan. Knowing his character will help us understand what kind of thoughts originate from him (or his demons) compared with our own fleshly thoughts and desires.

Today we will talk about the various weapons of warfare Satan uses to attack believers. I’ll be using some references from the course I just finished at Liberty: The Doctrine of Satan. In it, my instructor lists the sixteen deadly “D’s” and I’ll be sharing his insights with you over the next several posts. I have no doubt you’ll recognize some of them in your life.

The Deadly D’s of the Devil

 

1.      Disappointment

 

What Christian (or human being) hasn’t experienced disappointment? Let’s face it; we all have expectations that are not met. We all have wants and desires that never come to fruition in our lives. Satan loves to capitalize on the demoralizing feelings of disappointment in the believer’s life. If we’re not standing guard with our weapons of war (the Armor of God—see Ephesians 6:10-18) we will be ill equipped to fight through disappointment successfully.

“To be disappointed is to forget Romans 8:28, ‘And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are called according to his purpose.’

Disappointment is God’s appointment.”¹ <<<<(Click to Tweet!)

When the fiery arrow of disappointment is aimed at our heart, we need to take the Sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God, and deflect the attack with the truth. We need to pray out loud (this is VERY important because the devil cannot read our minds, he can only place thoughts there), “Lord, I am disappointed, but I know that this disappointment is merely Your divine appointment in my life, and You are working these circumstances out for my greatest good. I choose to reject the lie that I can only be happy when I am getting my way and believe Your word that you care for me and have provided all I need to be complete.”

2.      Discouragement

 

When disappointment is left unchecked, it deteriorates into discouragement. It’s important to note that any form of discouragement has its origins in the devil. Discouragement cannot come from God. When we walk around with a sore countenance, griping and moaning about our circumstances, we give over a place of our hearts to discouragement (a spiritual stronghold for Satan to gain ground in our lives), which completely contradicts our New Life in Christ. Not only are we opening the door for Satan, but we fail to display the joy and peace of Christ to a world that needs His hope.

“To be discouraged is to forget 1 Samuel 30:6, ‘And David was greatly distressed; for the people spake of stoning him, because the soul of all the people was grieved, every man for his sons and for his daughters: but David encouraged himself in the Lord his God.’”¹

If we’ve allowed discouragement to take root in our lives, we must pray out loud, “Lord, I confess my attitude of discouragement to you. I now choose to repent of this sinful spirit and renounce the lie that my joy and peace depend on favorable circumstances in my life. I choose to believe that my joy, security, and peace can only be found in You, Lord. From this moment on I am choosing to focus on the comforting truth available to me through Your Word.”

3.      Despair

 

Despair is the final result of disappointment and discouragement left to fester in one’s spirit. The despairing believer has no joy, purpose, or peace. I know a lot about despair because I lived a decade of my life in that place. I tried to commit suicide and suffered with addiction, eating disorders, and severe mental illness. It is impossible to effectively serve God  or experience the fullness of His presence in such a state of mind. The despairing believer has willfully traded the truth of Jesus for the lies of the devil.

“To despair is to forget 2 Corinthians 4:8,‘We are troubled on every side, yet not distressed; we are perplexed, but not in despair.’”¹

If we’ve found ourselves in this destructive place, we need to pray out loud, “Lord, I confess that I have believed the devil’s lie that I am __________ (worthless, purposeless, unusable, etc.) and I now renounce that lie and replace it with Your truth. I know You love me, have created me for a specific purpose, and have assigned good works for me to do while I am here on this earth. You have a plan for my life, and I now embrace that plan and choose to trust Your Sovereign control over my life and circumstances.”

The best way to keep these first three deadly d’s from gaining ground in our lives is to recognize where they are coming from (Satan) and fight against it with the Word of God and prayer. It all starts with a little disappointment, so remember—Disappointment is God’s appointment. Give it to Him the moment it occurs and choose His truth over Satan’s lies.

How about you? Have you ever seen these deadly d’s take root in your life? What was the end result?

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1-      Dr. H.L. Willmington, Willmington’s Guide to the Bible, ©1981, 1984 by H.L. Willmington–all rights reserved.

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Check out these posts for more:

Is Spiritual Warfare real?

What’s the difference between the flesh and Satan?

Can Satan’s influence affect children?

**If you enjoyed this post and others, please take a second to enter your email address into the space provided on the right hand side of the computer screen (or scroll to the bottom of your screen if using a smartphone) and you will receive new posts in your email inbox. This is absolutely free and your information is never shared!**

________________________________________________________

profilepic3Rebecca Aarup has written devotionals and Bible teaching articles for a variety of publications including The Secret Place (Judson press), Evangel (Light and Life Communications), and Mustard Seed Ministries. She just released a new Bible Study The Word: Six Lessons from Psalm 119 which is available as a free download on her website or in print form from Amazon. Beyond writing, Rebecca is a wife, home-schooling mom, and Bible student at Liberty University. She lives in Glendale, Az with her husband Chris and 5 year old, Samantha.  You can read more from Rebecca by subscribing to her blog (it’s free) and following her on twitter and facebook.

Living Free Life Group–Notes and Quotes (From February 24th, 2013)

Remember:

“The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; Jesus has come so that I may have life, and have it to the full.” John 10:10

The Greek word for “full” is translated exceedingly abundantly above or superior in quality. How many believers are living a superior quality of life in comparison to the average non-believer? Why do you suppose that is?

God’s idea of quality living is found in Galatians 5:22-23. It is a type of lifestyle that should come naturally to the Christ-follower. The reason so few believers demonstrate this type of consistent living has to do with 1) fleshly desires and 2) spiritual warfare. Satan wants to steal our fruitful living and extinguish any quality of life we may have. Unless we take an active stance against Satan’s attacks and schemes, we will never experience life to the “full” as  we were created to.

~

“Nothing is more foundational to your freedom from Satan’s bondage than understanding and affirming what God has done for you in Christ and who you are as His child. Your attitudes, actions, responses, and reactions to life’s circumstances are greatly affected by what you believe about yourself.” The Bondage Breaker, pg. 46

~

“Since your old self has been crucified and buried with Christ, you no longer have to sin (1 John 2:1). You sin when you choose to believe a lie or act independently of God.” The Bondage Breaker, pg. 49

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“When the Bible tells us the truth about who we are already are and what Christ has already done, there is only one appropriate response—and that is to believe it.” The Bondage Breaker, pg. 50

~

Four evidences to test whether we are living by faith:

“Test #1—‘Am I doing this for the glory of God, or just to please myself?’

Test #2—‘Am I rushing ahead impetuously, or am I willing to wait?’

Test #3—‘Can I defend what I am doing from the Word of God?’

Test #4—‘As I contemplate this move, do I have joy and peace within?’” The Strategy of Satan, Warren Wiersbe

~

“We don’t make anything true by our experiences. We choose to believe what God says is true, then live accordingly by faith; and the truth works out in our experience. It is not what we do that determines who we are. It is who we are that determines what we do. I don’t labor in the vineyard with the hope that God may one day accept me. God has already accepted me, and that is why I labor in the vineyard.” The Bondage Breaker, pg. 51

~

“Unless we are motivated and directed by truth, we will be defeated by the enemy. If we permit any deception to enter our lives, we have weakened our position and cannot fight the battle victoriously.” The Strategy of Satan, Warren Wiersbe

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“Satan’s perpetual aim is to infiltrate your thoughts with his thoughts and to promote his lie in the face of truth. He knows that if he can control your thoughts, he can control your life.” The Bondage Breaker, pg. 61

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“We do not quench the darts by faith in ourselves (even our past victories), faith in faith, or faith in some creed. It is faith in Christ and his Word. We cannot stop Satan from throwing the darts, but we can keep them from starting a fire.” The Strategy of Satan, Warren Wiersbe

~

All behavior is the product of what we choose to think or believe.” The Bondage Breaker, pg. 69

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“Let’s quit kidding ourselves. There can be only one Lord of your life and mind. Jesus, Satan, or your self cannot all occupy the same throne. You must choose every day who will be God in your life.” Stand Up and Fight Back, Ken Abraham

**If you enjoyed this post and others, please enter your email in the space provided on the right hand side of your screen (or at the bottom of your screen if using a smart phone) to receive new posts in your email. It’s free and your email information is NEVER shared!**

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Rebecca Aarup is an author and freelance writer. She is a health columnist for Theprofilepic3 Christian Online Magazine, creater of S.E.R.V.A.N.T. Sisters women’s ministry, and has written devotionals/studies/articles for a variety of publications including The Secret Place (Judson Press), Evangel (Light and Life Communications), and Mustard Seed Ministries. She just released a new Bible Study The Word: Six Lessons from Psalm 119 which is available as a free download on her website or in print form from Amazon. Beyond writing, Rebecca is a wife, home-schooling mom, and Bible student at Liberty University. She lives in Glendale, Az with her husband Chris and 5 year old, Samantha.  You can read more from Rebecca by subscribing to her blog (it’s free) and following her on twitter and facebook.

Stand Up and Fight Back–Book Review

Empower-StandUpStand Up and Fight Back: How to Take Authority over Satan and Win was written by New York Times best-selling author Ken Abraham. I had heard of this author, but never read any of his material. Since I write extensively about spiritual warfare as well as teaching about it in church, the title immediately caught my attention and I knew I’d need to read it.

In Stand Up and Fight Back, the author shows us how we can recognize Satan’s constant attacks in our lives, how we can protect ourselves, and how to draw on the power of the Holy Spirit to defeat our greatest Enemy. Personally I feel as if the author delivered on most of these counts fairly well.

First of all, I was happy to see this book because I believe the topic of spiritual warfare is grossly underrated in the church community. Generally we like to talk about the armor of God with no real intent to use it daily. I believe Ken Abraham does an excellent job addressing the need for Christians to wake up and realize, whether they like it or not, they are under attack.

I was particularly pleased with the author’s insight into the familiar story of Adam and Eve. Having been in church most of my life and read an extensive amount of material on spiritual warfare, I cringed a bit when I started reading, again, about Adam and Eve. However, I was quite surprised at how much I learned from Abraham’s perspective of what happened in the Garden of Eden. He managed to take an overused story and bring it to life, shedding new light on old truths. I thought this area of the book was brilliantly written and well explained. I have to admit, I learned a great deal from it.

The author also uses thought-provoking illustrations throughout the book, many of which enhanced my understanding of familiar truths. One topic in particular stood out to me: repentance. This is something very few writers mention when dealing with spiritual warfare, but something Ken Abraham wisely addressed. In order to effectively fight against Satan and his cohorts, we must first come to God with an attitude of repentance. This is, of course, a biblical mandate (see Psalm 66:18) of which few teachers like to talk about. Before we can take authority over evil spirits, our lives must be cleansed of known sin and be in agreement with God, otherwise we can claim all the authority we want with little success. Confession should always be the first step when we approach God’s throne, whether we’re dealing with spiritual warfare or not. Thank you, Ken Abraham, for highlighting this important truth.

My only critique of this book is the author’s focus on the “big” sins: sexual promiscuity, drugs, alcohol, and involvement with the occult. Obviously these things are deadly and allow Satan a beachhead (foothold) in our lives. BUT, they are not the only areas of oppression the devil uses. Countless believers are daily living under accusation and oppression from demonic spirits who have successfully lulled them into complacency over their spiritual lives. I wish the author had offered more examples of the “every-day” battles common to most believers. I fear some may read this and get the idea that, because they have never struggled with the “big” sins, they are free and clear. This is not the case! Satan can and does attempt to deceive and mislead us in the mundane issues of life.

Overall I really did enjoy this book and learned some new things, so I would definitely recommend it to anyone wanting to understand how Satan could be working in their lives and how they can combat the Enemy with the truth.

Stand Up and Fight Back was released by Charisma House on February 5th, 2013 and is currently available for purchase. I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for my honest review. The opinions here are strictly my own.

Discerning the Devil’s Voice: Who is Satan?

 

One of the most important aspects of fighting spiritual warfare is the ability to recognize Satan’s voice when we hear it. And by voice I am not referring to an audible sound that resonates through our ear canal and bounces off our ear drum. I’m referring to a thought strategically placed in our minds. The same place where our own thoughts originate, like, “I want pizza for lunch,” or “I’m tired, I think I’ll take a nap.” (Click here for a more in-depth discussion on the Voice of the Flesh)
Satan’s voice: Incomplete truths, deceptions, schemes, tricks, lies, temptations, partial Scripture quotes taken out of context to support a view that is opposed to God (see Matthew 4:1-11).

Satan’s Bio

Liar:
“He was a murderer from the beginning and has always hated the truth. There is no truth in him. When he lies he is consistent with his character; for he is a liar and the father of lies.” (John 8:44, NLT)

Did you catch that important phrase? When he lies he is consistent with his character. In other words, it is impossible for Satan to tell a complete truth. Maybe he can spew some half-truths, but as we know, a half-truth isn’t really the truth. It is a lie or a deception. Just as God can only act according to His character (holy, loving, just…etc.), Satan can only act according to his character (lie, deceive, accuse…etc.).

Destroyer:
“The thief’s purpose is to steal, kill, and destroy.” (John 10:10, NLT)

Any thought Satan (or his demons) place in your head has this purpose, to destroy you, steal from you, or kill you (physically or spiritually). While Satan cannot snatch us from our Father’s loving hand (see Romans 8:38-39), he can render us spiritually dead, or ineffective for the cause of Christ. Nothing pleases our enemy more than seeing us stumble around in a fog of confusion over our purpose and place as children of God.

Powerful Controller:
“The world around us is under the power and control of the evil one.” (1 John 5:19, NLT)

We know from passages like Job 1 that Satan is limited in power to only what God has allowed him to have. So we need not have an exceptional, hysterical fear over what Satan and his minions can do. However, we should take note of and respect the power that he does have over world forces. Why else would Satan be able to offer Jesus the kingdoms of the world (see Matthew 4:8-9) if they did not belong to him? He controls the world (as God allows)—albeit temporarily. Nevertheless, until Jesus returns and sets up His kingdom on earth, binding Satan for a thousand years, we will continue to see the work of the devil not only in our own lives (as he tempts us, speaks to us, accuses and oppresses us) but also in the world systems controlled by unbelievers.

Deceiver:
“Satan, which deceiveth the whole world: he was cast out into the earth, and his angels were cast out with him.” (Revelation 12:9, KJV)

One of Satan’s chief purposes is to deceive. Of course, one of the subtleties of deception is the deceived usually don’t recognize that they’re being deceived—hence the term, deception! If we think it will be easy to detect demonic influence, we are wrong. It won’t always be easy, and once Satan sees in our behavior that we are on to his schemes, he will try new ways to trick us. This is one of the reasons why putting on the armor of God daily is imperative to our spiritual health.

Life is not a joke to Satan. He knows what the Bible says, in fact, having been around for thousands of years we can be certain he knows the Bible better than we do. He knows what it says about his future, and he knows what it says about us, as God’s creation. We have authority over Satan, and he knows it. Rest assured, he’s not looking at us and laughing it up. A book I read recently says this: “Satan has you in his cross-hairs, and he’s not smiling.” He wants to destroy us in any way possible.

So, the first step in recognizing Satan’s voice is in understanding what his character is. When you hear “thoughts” you can test them against what we’ve already discussed (God’s Voice, the Flesh, or Satan) and see which voice the thought seems to line up with. For example, one thing I often hear, almost daily, is a thought that goes something like this, “God can control everything, and yet He is allowing this to happen. He’s not listening to your prayers anymore. He gets pleasure in seeing you suffer.” Sometimes it is easy to entertain such thoughts because there is partial truth to them. (God does indeed control everything and certainly could stop whatever is happening even though He has chosen not to.) However, it’s not enough to ignore these thoughts—we must rebuke them and reinforce the truth in place of that lie. If we fail to take this step, we are only leaving ourselves open to new attacks of a similar nature. (More will be discussed on this in the next post.)

I’m sure you can think of similar thoughts too. What sort of deceptions has the enemy consistently hounded you with over the years, either through your own thoughts or the words of others?

Still have questions? Check out these posts for more:

Is Spiritual Warfare real?

What’s the difference between the flesh and Satan?

Can Satan’s influence affect children?

**If you enjoyed this post and others, please take a second to enter your email address into the space provided on the right hand side of the computer screen (or scroll to the bottom of your screen if using a smartphone) and you will receive new posts in your email inbox. This is absolutely free and your information is never shared!**

_____________________________________________________

profilepic3Rebecca Aarup has written devotionals/studies/articles for a variety of publications including The Secret Place (Judson press), Evangel (Light and Life Communications), and Mustard Seed Ministries. She just released a new Bible Study The Word: Six Lessons from Psalm 119 which is available as a free download on her website or in print form from Amazon. Beyond writing, Rebecca is a wife, home-schooling mom, and Bible student at Liberty University. She lives in Glendale, Az with her husband Chris and 5 year old, Samantha.  You can read more from Rebecca by subscribing to her blog (it’s free) and following her on twitter and facebook.

Living Free Life Group–Notes and Quotes

Remember:

“The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; Jesus has come so that I may have life, and have it to the full.” John 10:10

Know the Enemy:

(What do the following Scriptures say about our Enemy?)
John 8:44
John 10:10
1 John 5:19
Revelation 12:9

The Supernatural Truth:

(What do the following Scriptures reveal about the existence/relevance of a supernatural realm?)
Ephesians 6:10-12
Romans 8:38-39
1 Peter 3:22
Colossians 1:16
1 Corinthians 10:20, 21

Highlighters:
“Psychotherapeutic ministries that ignore the reality of the spiritual world don’t have an adequate answer, but neither do some deliverance ministries that see the problem as only spiritual. God is reality, and He relates to us as whole people—and His Word provides a comprehensive answer for all those who live in this fallen world.” The Bondage Breaker, pp.9-10

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“If God has given us everything we need to mature in Christ (2 Peter 1:3), then why aren’t more Christians growing in Christ? Some are no more Christlike now than they were 20 years ago. Paul says, ‘The goal of our instruction is love from a pure heart and a good conscience and a sincere faith’ (1Timothy 1:5). We should be able to say every year of Christian life, ‘I have grown in my faith, and now I love God and others more this year than I did last year.’ If we can’t say that, then we are not growing.” The Bondage Breaker, pg.10

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“The father of lies can block your effectiveness as a Christian if he can deceive you into believing that you are nothing but a product of your past—subject to sin, prone to failure, and controlled by your habits.” The Bondage Breaker, pg. 11
“We are not trying to become children of God; we are children of God who are becoming like Christ.” The Bondage Breaker, pg. 12

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“Why would Satan want to attack your mind? Because your mind is the part of the image of God where God communicates with you and reveals his will to you.” Warren Wiersbe, The Strategy of Satan

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“When [we] have an opportunity to serve the Lord in some way, [we] are brought up short by discouraging thoughts of self-doubt: ‘I’m not a strong enough Christian’; ‘I don’t know enough about the Bible’: or ‘I don’t have many spiritual gifts.’” The Bondage Breaker, pg. 18

~
“There is no inner conflict which is not psychological, because there is never a time when your mind, emotions, and will are not involved. Similarly, there is no problem which is not spiritual. There is no time when God is not present.” The Bondage Breaker, pg.21

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“The Bible [does not] refer to any time when it is safe to take off the armor of God. As long as we are living on planet earth, the possibility of being tempted, accused, or deceived is continuous.” The Bondage Breaker, pg.21

~
“If we aren’t susceptible to being wounded or trapped by Satan, why does Paul describe our relationship to the powers of darkness as a wrestling match?” The Bondage Breaker, pg. 22

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“Most deceived Christians lead relatively normal lives while experiencing personal and interpersonal problems for which no cause or solution has been found. Since they relegate satanic involvement only to cases of mass murders or violent sex criminals, these ordinary problem-plagued individuals wonder what’s wrong with them and why they can’t just ‘do better.’” The Bondage Breaker, pp.22-23

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“It is not the few raving demoniacs who are causing the church to be ineffective, but Satan’s subtle deception and intrusion into the lives of ‘normal’ believers.” The Bondage Breaker, pg.23

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“Freedom from spiritual conflicts and bondage is not a power encounter; it’s a truth encounter. Satan is a deceiver, and he will work undercover at all costs. But the truth of God’s Word exposes him and his lie.” The Bondage Breaker, pg.23

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“Man’s wisdom is no match for Satan’s cunning. Our only defense is the inspired Word of God.” Warren Wiersbe, The Strategy of Satan

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“You don’t have to outshout [Satan] or outmuscle him to be free of his influence. You just have to out-truth him. Believe, declare, and act upon the truth of God’s Word, and you will thwart Satan’s strategy.” The Bondage Breaker, pg.24

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“Power for the believer comes in knowing and choosing the truth. We are to pursue truth, because we already have all the power we need in Christ (see Ephesians 1:18-19).” The Bondage Breaker, pg.24

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“The believer’s mind should become like a ‘spiritual computer.’ It should be so saturated with Scripture that when he faces a decision or a temptation, he automatically remembers the Scriptures that relate to that particular situation. It is the ministry of the Holy Spirit to bring God’s Word to our minds when we need it.
‘But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all that I said to you.’ John 14:26 But the Spirit of God cannot remind you of something that you have not learned! You must first let him teach you the Word. You must memorize the Scripture that he opens up to you. Then the Spirit of God will be able to remind you of what you have learned, and you can use that truth to battle Satan. Please keep in mind that Satan knows the Bible far better than we do! And he is able to quote it!” Warren Wiersbe, The Strategy of Satan

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“When Paul talks about the spiritual battle of the heavenlies, he is not referring to some distant place like Mars or Pluto. He is referring to the spiritual realm, the kingdom of darkness that is all around us and governed by the ruler of this world.” The Bondage Breaker, pg.31

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“Even modern medicine proclaims that the majority of people are sick for psychosomatic reasons. To say there is no spiritual basis for those psychosomatic reasons is biblically unwarranted.” The Bondage Breaker, pg.33

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“Jesus doesn’t enter the battle; he’s already won it. He occupies the throne and graciously offers to share it with us. But for some deceptive reason, we want to be king and rule our own lives. Until we deny ourselves that which was never meant to be ours—the role of being God in our lives—we will never be at peace with ourselves or with God, and we will never be free.” The Bondage Breaker, pg.39

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“Seeking to overcome self by self-effort is a hopeless struggle. Self will never cast out self, because an independent self which is motivated by the flesh still wants to be god.” The Bondage Breaker, pg.40

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“Satan’s ultimate lie is that you are capable of being the god of your own life—and his ultimate bondage is the attempt to live as though his lie were truth.” The Bondage Breaker, pg.42

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Survey:
Please answer the following questions, not according to what you think you should answer, but according to how you have operated your spiritual life up until today.

How often do you put on the armor of God (see Ephesians 6:10-18)?
1      2      3      4      5      6      7      8      9      10
Never            Sometimes                             Daily

I need to put on the armor of God every day.
1           2           3           4           5           6           7           8           9           10
Strongly Disagree             Somewhat Agree                                  Strongly Agree

Scripture memorization is vital to my spiritual health. (Your answer should reflect your current actions regarding this belief–do you make a point to memorize Scripture consistently?)
1           2           3           4           5           6           7           8           9           10
Strongly Disagree                Somewhat Agree                               Strongly Agree

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If you would like to receive our life group notes via word document, please email me and I will send them to you: babyaarup@hotmail.com

If you enjoyed this post and others, please enter your email in the space provided on the right hand side of your screen (or at the bottom of your screen if using a smart phone) to receive new posts in your email. It’s free and your email information is NEVER shared!

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Rebecca Aarup is an author and freelance writer. She is a health columnist for The profilepic3Christian Online Magazine, creater of S.E.R.V.A.N.T. Sisters online women’s ministry, and has written devotionals/studies/articles for a variety of publications including The Secret Place (Judson press), Evangel (Light and Life Communications), and Mustard Seed Ministries. She just released a new Bible Study The Word: Six Lessons from Psalm 119 which is available as a free download on her website or in print form from Amazon. Beyond writing, Rebecca is a wife, home-schooling mom, and Bible student at Liberty University. She lives in Glendale, Az with her husband Chris and 5 year old, Samantha.  You can read more from Rebecca by subscribing to her blog (it’s free) and following her on twitter and facebook.

ATTACK!

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“Rebecca, it wouldn’t happen any other way. Satan does not want your freedom, and he will attack it. Get ready, because it will only get worse. Be prepared, stay in the truth!” My friend, Steve, reminded me recently.

I told him of an upcoming Life Group I’d be leading on spiritual warfare and again he emphasized the importance of keeping my eyes on Jesus, His word, and what was true. Attack was inevitable.  Attack was an understatement. If there is one thing Satan cannot stand, it is believers understanding their position in Christ and taking an active stand against his lies. He wants the Church to be ignorant of his plans. Sure, people can go to church, study their Bible, and teach classes, but as long as they ignore him, he’s fine with all of that other religious stuff.

On Sunday (February 10th) this new Life Group on spiritual warfare will be launched at New Life Community Church. I’ll also be sharing with you, faithful readers, our study notes and discussion topics as we go, but let me first share with you a few of the things that have happened between the time I believed God called me to lead this group, and today, just 24 hours shy of the group’s first meeting.

Distraction:

In the last two months I’ve had an unusually difficult time focusing during prayer—or even getting to prayer in the first place. For someone who talks/writes about the importance of putting on the armor of God, that might surprise you. But it shouldn’t. Satan wants to attack the area that I use to fight against him, which is putting on the armor of God through prayer. I couldn’t possibly describe each event here, but the attack on my prayer life has been a daily occurrence. I can sense a force that tries to keep me from my time with Jesus.

Fear:

Being afraid of the devil is not something I would have admitted to under any circumstances a few weeks ago. If anything, I would have blown off the devil as a nuisance and nothing more. But today I recognize more clearly his power and how desperately he really does want to destroy me (and all believers). On the same note, I understand he can only do what God has allowed him to do.

About three weeks ago, while my husband was working out of town, someone tried to break into our home at around 12:30am. A friend had taken me to see a show earlier that evening, so by the time I picked up Samantha from the sitter and arrived home it was close to 11:00pm. So, I happened to still be awake at the time of this incident. When the noise first started, I was confused. “Am I hearing what I think I’m hearing?” As it continued I knew what was happening. Fear gripped my heart. It was a fear I had never in my life experienced, and something of which cannot be described in any adequate terms. My body physically reacted with shaking, sweat, and scrambled thoughts.

“He stole my security,” I told Steve the next day in an email. But Steve was good to remind me of the truth. Satan cannot steal anything from me–he can only take what I give him.  Since this attack, fear has been a new companion in my life, one I have had to pray against repeatedly. I can almost hear the Enemy’s voice, “So you think you know about me, huh? Let me show you what I can do.”

Yes, Jesus has already defeated Satan, and yes, through Christ we already have victory. But, we still need to fight his attacks (see Eph 6:10-18, 1 Pet. 5:8)! Satan will use any means necessary to disable us, especially the things we think we’ve conquered. (In my case, physical fear had never been a major issue in my life, so I had rarely given it a second thought.)

Visions:

Yes, you read that right—visions (and if you knew my denominational background you would understand how unusual this is). Only once before had I ever personally encountered a demon in the physical realm (that’s for another post on another day, though). But in the last two months I have seen, on more than one occasion, demons appearing in my home. Now, I’m not talking about a physical thing that I could touch, but rather an image in my mind. Unlike the experience of the home intrusion, these visions did not create a reaction of fear but of doubt. Each time I would “see” a demon I would immediately pray against it and focus on God’s word. But the visions have continued not only in the form of demons but in dreams.

My sleep has often been interrupted with disturbing images from the past–sinful behaviors, etc. I wake up with waves of doubt over my calling as a Christian, my competence as a teacher, and my effectiveness as a servant in Christ’s kingdom. These thoughts, visions, and dreams have left behind a residue, a sticky film that is difficult to eliminate. It is, yet again, another attack I have had to fight off.

And there have been many other attacks (marriage, financial, relational, physical…etc), but this post is already too long to list them all. I do, however, want to make one thing clear in all of this. I have not shared these experiences to bring an unhealthy attention to Satan, but  rather to show that when we are in God’s will, when we are attempting to follow His plan, Satan will oppose it. And if you are not recognizing any attacks from your enemy, you might want to reevaluate some things in your life. If you are walking with Jesus, Satan is going to attack you. We don’t need to be afraid of him but we do need to understand his hatred towards us as we daily fight against his fiery arrows.

What type of opposition have you encountered as you’ve been led by God to serve in a ministry or in some other area?

 

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profilepic3Rebecca Aarup is an author and freelance writer. She is a health columnist for The Christian Online Magazine, creater of S.E.R.V.A.N.T. Sisters online women’s ministry, and has written devotionals/studies/articles for a variety of publications including The Secret Place (Judson press), Evangel (Light and Life Communications), and Mustard Seed Ministries. She just released a new Bible Study The Word: Six Lessons from Psalm 119 which is available as a free download on her website or in print form from Amazon. Beyond writing, Rebecca is a wife, home-schooling mom, and Bible student at Liberty University. She lives in Glendale, Az with her husband Chris and 5 year old, Samantha.  You can read more from Rebecca by subscribing to her blog (it’s free) and following her on twitter and facebook.