Living Free Life Group–Notes and Quotes (From March 10th, 2013)

Remember:

One of Satan’s chief activities is accusing the saints (you and me) before God (see Zechariah 3:1-4). Though Satan has immense power, he still does not possess the characteristics of God (he is not omniscient, omnipresent, or omnipotent). Satan cannot read our minds; therefore it is important, when rebuking him, to speak out loud.

Quotes:

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“Recognize the fact that Satan and his hosts will begin to attack you as you grow in your knowledge of their secrets. Either devote yourself to a life of battle and victory, or decide to stay behind the lines.” Warren Wiersbe, The Strategy of Satan

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 “Who we are must always take precedence over what we do; and we cannot accomplish anything apart from Christ.” The Bondage Breaker, page 77

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“Believers have both the authority to do God’s will because of their position in Christ, and the power to do God’s will as long as they walk by the spirit…In the flesh you don’t have the power to resist Satan and his demons, but in Christ you do.” The Bondage Breaker, page 78

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“Jesus charged his disciples with the responsibility to proclaim the kingdom of God. Had He now also given them authority and power over the kingdom of darkness, the demons would have scoffed at their feeble attempts and sent them running for cover.” The Bondage Breaker, Page 78

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“The army saw Goliath in relation to themselves and trembled; David saw Goliath in relation to God and triumphed.” The Bondage Breaker, page 78

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“Fear of anything (other than the fear of God) is mutually exclusive to faith in God. When Satan tries to incite fear, we are to maintain our position in Christ and exhibit the fruit of the Spirit, which includes self-control.” The Bondage Breaker, page 81

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“How are we going to fulfill our calling in the world if we don’t believe what God says about the kingdom of darkness? Some are pleading, ‘O God, please help us! The devil is roaring at us!’ And God responds, ‘I’ve done all I’m going to do. I defeated and disarmed Satan at the cross. I conferred all authority on you in Christ. Now open your eyes. Realize who you are and start living accordingly.’” The Bondage Breaker, page 85

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“Apart from Christ we can do nothing, but that doesn’t mean we’re not supposed to do something. We humbly exercise His authority—in His strength and His name.” The Bondage Breaker, page 86

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“[Satan] doesn’t curl up his tail and pull in his fangs of he fails to keep you from coming to Christ. He is still committed to foul up your life and ‘prove’ that Christianity doesn’t work, that God’s Word isn’t true, and that nothing really happened when you were born again.” The Bondage Breaker, pp. 92-93

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“If we accept the authority of the Bible, we must believe in the existence of demons. The Lord Jesus believed in demonic forces and often delivered helpless people from their power. Jesus taught that there was a definite enemy named Satan, and that he ruled over a kingdom of evil beings. Since Jesus came ‘to testify to the truth’ (John 18:37), we must believe that what he said was truth and not merely accommodation to the superstitions of the people.” Warren Wiersbe, The Strategy of Satan

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“Demons work through people. This is why Paul instructs us not to fight against ‘flesh and blood.’ Satan works in and through unsaved people (see Ephesians 2:1-3), but he can also work in and through saved people. Remember Peter (Matthew 16:21-23) and Ananias and Sapphira (Acts 5). The Christian soldier needs to be alert at all times…Demons can and do influence and use people who are saved. While we have no precedent in the Bible for casting demons out of saved people, we do have precedent for fighting demons who seek to influence saved people. Ephesians 6:10-18 was written to Christians.” Warren Wiersbe, The Strategy of Satan

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“The chief condition for the working of evil spirits in a human being, apart from sin, is passivity, in exact opposition to the condition which God requires from His children for His working in them.” Jessie Penn-Lewis, War on the Saints

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“If you are not experiencing some spiritual opposition to your ministry, there is a good chance that Satan doesn’t see you as any threat to his plans.” The Bondage Breaker, page 95

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“You are ascribing too much power to Satan if you think he can perfectly read your mind and know the future. Every occultic practice claims to know the mind (or influence it) or predict the future. But only God knows the thoughts and intents of your mind, and only He knows the future. You should never ascribe the divine attributes of God to Satan.” The Bondage Breaker, page 101

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“All too often we proclaim the virtues of Christianity to unbelievers like someone standing outside a prison compound proclaiming to the inmates the benefits of living in the outside world. But unless someone overpowers the prison guards and opens the gates, how can the prisoners experience the freedom we’re telling them about?” The Bondage Breaker, page 107

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“Satan and his hosts are organized. If only believers could be united in their defense and their warfare, Satan would not win so many victories. Sad to say, Christians too often are so busy fighting one another that they have no time for fighting the devil.” Warren Wiersbe, The Strategy of Satan

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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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Book Review: Question Everything by Tyler Ellis

question everythingQuestion Everything by Tyler Ellis is a book like no other (watch the book trailer HERE).  Initially I was struck by the detailed format, and as a writer myself, overwhelmed with the amount of work and research that must have gone in to creating such a well thought out masterpiece.

When I first opened Question Everything, my thoughts went something like, “This is it?” But as I read through the questions I gradually realized how brilliant this was. What will you find on the pages of this book? Questions! A LOT of questions! Specifically there is an obersation-type question for each verse in the New Testament.

At first you might be wondering what place such a book has on your shelf, and admittedly I wondered that myself, but as I dug in to the text I started to understand the author’s intent more and more. The point is to ask questions about what you’re reading, and uncover the answers yourself. This is precisely why the author does not include his own answers. Those answers are for you to discover. Rather than read a book that tells you what a verse means, you can go to the source (the Bible) and do the work yourself. Instead of trusting everything you hear/read from other writers and theologians, you can dig in yourself.

Second Timothy 2:15 encourages us to study to show ourselves approved unto God, workers that are not ashamed and who rightly divide God’s word. What better way to do that then to walk through the words of the New Testament, one by one, and really ask questions about each verse?

I’m a Bible student and am used to the study of Scriptures, asking questions, and uncovering the answers, but this book is different then anything I have ever seen in college or church. While I have spent a great deal of time studying passages, or even individual words within a verse, I have never gone through every verse in the New Testament, one by one, and asked myself a relevant question about it. It is a great resource for the well-trained Bible student or the new Christian. It is even a great book for someone searching for the truth. Really, anyone could benefit from it. What a great idea, I wish I had thought of it! (But I do not envy the work that had to have gone into it.)

I look forward to getting a print copy so I can work through it with my daughter, whom I home-school. I know this will be a great addition to her Bible studies!

(I received Question Everything by Tyler Ellis for review purposes only and was not required to give a positive review. The opinions expressed here are strictly my own.)

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Tyler Ellis is the author of“Question Everything: A fresh way to read the best-selling book of all time.  He serves on staff with Newark Church of Christ as a Campus Minister at the University of Delaware. He’s also an advocate in the cause of ending Bible poverty.  Hear more from Tyler on his blog, Facebook and Twitter.

Wanted: Serious Illness and Complicated Diagnosis

Prescription drugs and extravagant hard-to-pronounce scientific jargon—two things relentlessly sought by countless people in modern society. But why, you may ask, would someone want to have medical problems? Why would someone run to the doctor at the first sign of a cough, tickle, or stray hair? That’s a good question I do not have the answer to. I’ve simply observed in a great deal of personal relationships how quickly people assume a major problem exists when a simple explanation could be introduced. Often when two solutions are presented: complex medical diagnosis or behavioral issue, the former is readily accepted over the latter.

I’m no longer surprised by these occurrences. It’s merely a reflection of the society we live in. Our modern society wants answers given rather than conducting one’s own research. Our society has become too lazy to look into any issue with discernment. Our society accepts what it’s told as the gospel truth and follows willingly without further question. It’s just the way it is.

I refuse to get with the modern-day-program of society. I lived the majority of my life accepting whatever I was told as truth, believing every doctor and doctrine without question. I did little of my own research but readily accepted the opinions of those I viewed as better-educated. Who was I, anyways? I was nobody; I had no proper education. Clearly I couldn’t decipher or develop an opinion for myself. Besides, if I did, I was usually met with criticism and contempt. Better to accept what I’m being told without confrontation.

I took prescription medications for over a decade. In January, I was once again diagnosed with a new problem that would require yet another pill. Finally I did my own research into the various medical conditions I had. Through many hours of reading, studying, and praying, I decided to try something radical. I simply changed the way I ate. Risky! Insane! And even that choice was met with criticism!

But this article isn’t about doctors and prescriptions. This article wishes to address a deeper need within the Christian culture. That instant-gratification, give-me-answers now generation who refuses to be the Bereans they’ve been instructed to be (see Acts 17:17, 2 Timothy 2:15).

That brings me to the point. Do we believe every book, every manuscript, every article that we read because we place trust in the author? Do we believe their education provides them a reputation worthy of our acceptance? Atheists are educated. Evolutionary scientists are educated. Mormons and Jehovah’s Witnesses are educated. Would we believe everything they said because their education might be better than our own? If it seems absurd—it is! Each one of us, as children of God seated with Him in the heavenly realms (Ephesians 2:6), has been given a brain capable of understanding. However, becoming a Christian does not grant immediate wisdom in all things Biblical. Neither does our experience. I’m going to say that again. Our experience does not give us divine wisdom.

The only thing to test our ideas, theologies, doctrines and spiritual diseases by is the word of God. Just like my experience changing my eating habits worked for me, doesn’t mean that’s the solution for everyone. My experience is not to dictate reality. God’s word is reality. God’s word is the only trusted source of advice for social economic issues, justice, politics, and healthcare. My experience needs to be weighed through the word of God, not the word of God weighed through my experience.

Do your own research before readily accepting what you’re told. Every doctrine, opinion, experience, and idea should be held to the scrutiny of the infallible standard breathed by God Himself. You have a brain, too. If you lack wisdom, ask God, who gives generously to all who ask in complete faith (James 1:5).

Society is rapidly spiraling out of control in every area of physical and spiritual nature. It’s getting increasingly difficult to discern truth from error. The only remedy is to know God’s word, front to back. Read it, believe it, and live it. Then, as we’re confronted with experiences, teachings, and sermons promoting certain agendas, we’ll know the truth and be able to discard the rest.

 

(Explore the Bible cover to cover in 30 days, CLICK HERE for a suggested reading plan)

Godly Friendships and the Bible

Godly Friendships and the Bible

 

What does the Bible say about Godly friendships? What does the Bible say about how we are to conduct ourselves once we have found ourselves in a Godly friendship? We can be certain that there are principles to be found in the Bible relating to this important message and how we can be sure our friendships are God-honoring, personally edifying to the glory of God, and sanctifying to both individuals.

First and most importantly we are told in Ecclesiastes 4:12 that a close Godly friendship is essential in our Christian walk. It is not really an option if we want to be successful and victorious in our Christian living.

“A person standing alone can be attacked and defeated, but two can stand back to back and conquer. Three are even better, for a triple braided cord is not easily broken.” (NLT)

 

A Godly friend is necessary if we hope to stand firm against the Enemy’s attacks. Without that companionship we are made weaker. So, once we have found that Godly friend/s, how are we to act within that friendship? Will it always be perfect since all people involved are “Godly” and seeking Him first with their whole hearts? What happens in real life within the parameters of these friendships?

1-Face to Face Fellowship

“The Lord would speak to Moses face to face, as a man speaks to his friend.” Exodus 3:11 (NIV)

In this day and age this simple concept is quick to be overlooked. We text, we type, we email. Rarely do we meet face to face in real time fellowship with our friends. Can you imagine God texting Moses? Did you laugh? It sounds ludicrous doesn’t it? You might argue that this is the day and age we live in, and while there is truth in that statement, there is even greater truth in the words we read in Exodus. Friends see each other face to face. Let’s face it, when we can talk to each other and see each other’s facial expressions, hear each other’s tones, it lends itself to a lot less misinterpretation, misunderstanding, hurt feelings…etc. (Why didn’t she text me back? Why hasn’t she emailed me in 3 days? She hasn’t called me back, I know she must be mad, I better call so and so and talk about it!) Let’s commit to getting back to basics within our Godly friendships and just have some coffee (or tea or whatever!) and have some real fellowship, because that is how true Godly friendships are cultivated in a healthy way.

2-Influential

“As iron sharpens iron, so a friend sharpens a friend.” Proverbs 27:17 (NLT)

It’s very clear from this simple verse that those we choose to keep company with will influence our attitudes. Whether that’s in a Godly way or in a worldly way depends on those we spend time with. Proverbs is full of wisdom written by the wisest man on the earth, and we would do well to listen to the advice given when choosing that Godly friend. If we have our radar set on someone, we should ask ourselves, is this person going to influence me towards the character of Christ? Will this person be “sharpening” me into the fruits of the Spirit or the lusts of the flesh?

3-Openly Honest and Always Sincere

“An open rebuke is better than hidden love! Wounds from a sincere friend are better than many kisses from an enemy.” Proverbs 27:5-6 (NLT)

Sometimes even our best intentions are hurtful. The fact of the matter is this: even in the closest and Godliest of friendships, people are going to get hurt. This proverb tells us as much. It also tells us that this “friendly fire” is better than an enemy who merely pretends to be nice to your face while speaking blasphemies behind your back. I think we all know what it feels like to be betrayed in this way. You find out this person who you know and trusted has been gossiping about you, spreading hurtful rumors about you all the while pretending to be something totally different to your face. We are warned about this person, this person is double-minded, and not to be trusted. The friend who wounds us in their sincerity is much more desirable.  You can be reminded that even this wounding is a blessing! Your Godly friend is being honest and sincere as God has designed! Not that it makes the hurt any less painful…but we will deal with that.

4-Loves at All Times

“A friend loves at all times.” Proverbs 17:17

Here we have the first solution to our issue of hurts. Love. It doesn’t say “A friend loves when it feels good”, or “A friend loves until he is hurt”, it states very clearly “all times”.  Love is an action, and it is a choice. Love is not a feeling in the context of this verse. There comes a point when the hurts are going to be so deep, perhaps the pain so intense that love will not come easily, and it may not seem possible. The most logical choice may seem to move on and be done with the whole mess. It is at this moment we are faced with a crucial choice-will we love at any cost? This is the Godly friend that you want in your life! This love has no strings attached, it is unconditional, and is not related to circumstances. It is the love that Jesus has for us, and the love He tells us to have for each other.

5-Forgives First

“This is how I want you to conduct yourself in these matters. If you enter your place of worship and, about to make an offering, you suddenly remember a grudge a friend has against you, abandon your offering, leave immediately, go to this friend and make things right. Then and only then, come back and work things out with God.” Matthew 5:23-24 (The Message)

Loving through hurts must involve forgiveness. This passage could not possibly be interpreted any other way then to forgive first before bringing your worship to God. God is not interested in your lip service when you have outstanding debts of bitterness against your friends. Settle all accounts before offering your praises to God! He sees our hearts, knows our thoughts, whether or not we like it! There is no way around this one. If we are hurt by the actions or words of another, we need to speak up and be honest and sincere always of how we feel, in love. Our feelings are valid, and our friend’s feelings are valid. We need to be heard, and they need to be heard, and we need good communication in order to have Godly friendships that glorify and edify each other towards love and good works! When we fail to communicate in a timely manner we allow the hurt to fester as we turn it over in our minds, often making things bigger than they are, and further misinterpreting the situation, so by the time we do talk about it, emotions are really running high. It makes things that much harder to be made right. These are the times we are tempted by our Enemy to “end” relationships. We are whispered lies that we must give up on this friendship, that it wasn’t what we thought, it wasn’t the right person, we were wrong, we failed again, we messed up again, we better just start over with someone who agrees with us on everything we believe in or hold to so as to avoid any problems. That is when we need to hold fast to the TRUTH of God’s Word, and what He says about Godly friendships. If we have already determined that the friendship we are in is an “iron sharpening iron” friend for Godly character then we must go back to our principles laid out under such a friendship. Am I loving, am I being honest, am I forgiving. Have I laid aside all my offerings to run to this person and make things right? Have I done all I can do to bring restoration, or am I insisting on being right and is that getting in the way of peace? I think the most important question here even than all of that is: am I honoring God in my decision to end this, or would He want me to obey His own command in Matthew 5:23-24? That seems rather clear. (There are SOME exceptions where relationships do need to end because of excessive sinful lifestyles or rebellion…etc, but for the sake of our discussion, I am not referring to those specific incidences.)

6-Sacrifices

“Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends.” John 15:13 (NIV)

Jesus as our Friend made the ultimate sacrifice for our sin, the price we could never pay. He gave His life, so we could have eternal life with Him. With this He modeled His idea of the Godly friendship for us. The true Godly friend is one who sacrifices without question. I’m not just talking about the sacrifice of taking a bullet for your friend in some “what if” scenario that will likely never occur. I am talking about the much smaller things, but perhaps more difficult. The sacrifices of time: the middle of the night phone calls, the house calls, the food delivered when sick, the trips to the hospitals, the sleepless nights, the hours of Bible study when your friend has a crisis and needs an answer, calloused knees from hours of earnest prayer….on and on it goes. These are the sacrifices of life that the true Godly friend gives without a blink of an eye. This person is selfless, and giving, and authentic. This is the person you want as your Godly friend, helping you on your journey of sanctification. If you have this person in your life, thank them, and pray for them! Because you have an Enemy who wants to destroy the beautiful relationship that God has joined together. Satan knows you are stronger together, and it scares him!

Remember to keep up the face to face contact with your dear friend to avoid that confusion and misinterpretation of email and text that may occur, especially in the early stages of a growing relationship. Ask God to help you have the Christ-like influence on your friend that you desire them to have on you, and commit to always being openly honest and sincere no matter how difficult that may be. Ask the Holy Spirit to guide you in speaking the truth in love at all times. Face to face is best! Throughout everything, choose to love and forgive quickly. As you reflect on building your own character, ask God to help you continue to become the sacrificial friend that He modeled for us in His Word. Putting the needs of our friend first, and truly esteeming each other better than ourselves. In this way we can cultivate our Godly friendship deeper and draw closer to our Creator in unity.

A Godly You+ Your Godly Friend+God Himself=A Triple Braided Cord Not Easily Broken!