Why You Might Need to Stand on Your Head

 

“I was so desperate; I would have done anything they told me to do, even if they had told me to stand on my head in the corner of the room for a week straight. I would have done it—anything to be free.” My sponsor shared her own story of recovery with me the first night we met. She had been sober from alcoholism for over ten years, and here I was, a newbie to the whole thing. At the time, though, I had not quite reached that level of desperation, and it would be two more years of addiction, bitterness, depression, mental illness, and overall internal misery before I experienced freedom from such things. In other words, I had to get to that level of desperation, that level of desire, before an authentic lasting change of behavior could take place. Until I reached that point, I continued in a “double-minded” state of living, oscillating between what I knew from God’s word and what I actually experienced in my day to day life.

And I’m not the only one who has experienced this tragic tug-of-war over the mind. Often, the mind is far more willing than the heart. Unfortunately, the two must meet in agreement in order for a real transformation to take place. And by transformation I don’t mean a temporary lapse of obedience to God’s word, but a true sustained inner peace that passes all human understanding. A peace that is characterized by freedom from entanglements that exudes through one’s countenance, which brings us to:

The Countenance Test

You can learn a lot about a person through their countenance. Luke 9:28-36 recounts the events surrounding Jesus’ transfiguration, and in verse 29 we’re told, “As [Jesus] prayed, the fashion of his countenance was altered.” Even the Son of God was changed when in the presence of His Father through prayer. Much the same, when we wear the person of Jesus Christ (spending time listening to Him and believing what He says about us—experiencing life to the full) our presence (how we carry ourselves and how we express ourselves) will be affected.

When my family spent a day at Disneyland for our daughter’s fifth birthday last September, we had to cram as much in as we could in one short day. We arrived when the park opened and stayed until they closed the doors. We only sat down to eat one time during the entire day. No joke, folks, it was brutal. At first we entered the park practically skipping along with excitement. We were all smiling from ear to ear; we could hardly contain our enthusiasm. But by the time midnight rolled around we were exhausted, sore, hungry, and sunburnt. It wouldn’t have taken a psychologist to figure it out, either. One look at us would have told the story.

Most Christians have that sort of skip-a-long attitude when they first come to Christ. They’re excited and full of energy, “I’ve been redeemed! WOOOO!” But over time, as the reality of life kicks in, the believer wears down emotionally. Sometimes having to drag themselves to church through the doubt and discontentment they feel on a daily basis. The same is true for those who have experienced a personal revival or rededication to Jesus. The excitement eventually wanes and things go back to “business as usual”.

Week in and week out believers are walking into churches with saddened countenances. Their body language and facial expressions tell a far greater story than their words. And that story is not exuding peace, joy, and contentment. Instead, the countenance says, “Jesus, your burden is so heavy and your yoke is more than I can bear. You want too much from me. I want to give up. I’m tired.” How sad that Christ-followers are settling for this kind of existence!

When Truth Doesn’t Set You Free

I recently received an email from a stranger who had stumbled upon my website. This person was desperate for freedom (or so they said). But I had an uneasy feeling from the get-go, and in my correspondence I tried to pay careful attention to the responses I received. It became apparent that the struggling person was not, in fact, even a Christian (one who has trusted in Jesus alone for salvation). They were dealing with demonic interference and had dabbled in the occult/Satan worship.

When I presented this person with the gospel, their whole demeanor changed. They became angry and aggressive, even switching personalities and claiming to be someone else. At one point they told me the original author of the email was no longer allowed to communicate with me.

I assured this person that they could be set free, but only through Jesus Christ. But that wasn’t the answer they wanted to hear and submitting to Christ was not an option for them. In fact, it enraged them every time I mentioned the name of Jesus.

I’ve had experiences of a similar nature with other believers who come to me with their struggles. While they are willing to read books—especially the Bible—do studies, attend conferences, and join groups, they are unwilling to believe what God says about them or their circumstances, and they are not willing to allow God to circumcise their heart and purge the things that are holding them back from a full experience of freedom. Many times these individuals also get angry and defensive when presented with the truth. Unfortunately, they want the result (peace) without the effort (choosing to believe and live by the truth despite circumstances).

The only truth that will set you free is the truth you are willing to apply. <<<(Click here to Tweet this!)

If you want to experience a freedom that exudes through your countenance (in other words, it’s infectious to those around you), you need to reach that point where you’re willing to stand on your head to get results. You’re willing to choose not to be a victim, not to have rights (because your rights are in fact God’s, not yours), you’re willing to be humbled, you’re willing to admit your way isn’t producing the fruit you’d like it to, you’re willing to listen to truth without defensiveness, you’re willing to embrace the relationships God has placed in your life—even the tough ones (some of my biggest spiritual epiphanies have come through the voice of my accusers); in other words, you’re willing to do whatever it takes to be free. You’re willing to believe God’s word and live by faith.

Are you weary, worn, tired, fearful, anxious, depressed, despairing, discontented, embittered, angry…? Are you tired enough to let God change it? Will you stand on your head if He tells you to? You can experience life to the full but you need to ask yourself how willing are you really?

If you are willing, but need help with the “how” of all of this, feel free to email me (RebeccaAarup@mail.com) with your questions. Please, don’t settle for anything less than perfect peace.

Related articles:

If You Really Want the World to Change, it Starts with This

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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, 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 with one click! If you enjoyed this post, 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!

If you were encouraged by what you read here, please share with your friends and/or leave a comment.

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“Where are You Seated?” by Cheryl Lutz

Hello friends,

I have a special (and brief) request from you, faithful readers. My dear friend and fellow spiritual warfare warrior, Cheryl, is trying to expand her teaching ministry, and would love to have the support of others who are as passionate about sharing the truth as we are. Please read her short note below and consider taking literally a second of your time to click the “follow” button on her website. It is free and would greatly encourage her! Thank you!

~Rebecca Aarup

 

Where are You Seated?

by Cheryl Lutz

But God, being rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, 5even when we were dead in our transgressions, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), 6and raised us up with Him, and seated us with Him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus… (Eph. 2:4-6)

 

“The minute you entered the kingdom of God, you were outfitted for battle.  Each piece of your armor was provided in salvation.  And although ultimate victory is secure, you must put on each piece of the armor if you’re going to win the battle.  Not a piece can be missing.  Then, you must stand firm!” Kay Arthur

 

Please consider subscribing to my blog as we seek to overcome our fear of the ancient foe through finding peace in our identity.

 

My next post will be, “What is Spiritual Warfare?”  Please take a minute to write a question you would like to see addressed, or leave a comment stating what comes to your mind when you hear the words “spiritual warfare”.

 

All who leave a comment will be entered into a drawing to receive a copy of Chip Ingram’s book, “The Invisible War” !

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cheryl-lutz-6466-200pxCheryl Lutz is passionate for women to discover the heart of God. A pastor’s wife for twenty-three years, Cheryl possesses a vibrant love for God and how He reveals Himself through His written Word. Cheryl brings more than two decades of teaching the Bible to the women of her congregation. Her ability to glean truth from His Word in bold and engaging ways endears her to the women she leads. A robust confidence in Christ and in His healing power has emerged through her victorious battle with the enemy. Cheryl connects to the heart of women daily through her transparency and desire to help raise awareness of the intense spiritual attacks Satan launches, especially against those in public ministry.

She is elated to be a part of a ground floor outreach to women in Haiti who care for orphans. Sisters for Haiti has a heart to train these precious women to not only feed and clothe orphans, but most importantly, to disciple them spiritually.

For speaking engagements, please contact Cheryl Lutz by e-mail at clutz40@gmail.com. To read more, visit Cheryl’s website, and follow her on facebook and twitter.

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!

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!**

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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

~

“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

~

“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

~

“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

~

“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?

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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.