Spiritual Warriors, You Really Don’t Need to Scream at the Devil

Have you ever been so frustrated with your kids that you raised your voice in frustration? Have you ever yelled and screamed because you were just plain worn out after a hard day of work and fed up with the kids not submitting to your God-given authority?

Parenting experts say screaming at your kids is one of the worst parenting mistakes you can make for several reasons. First, when you resort to yelling, you’ve just demonstrated your lack of self-control—and you lose your power by losing control. Second, the kids usually tune you out when you yell. Third, children often grow more hostile toward you as you holler threats at them that you may or may not be willing or able to carry out.

Ultimately, when you scream at your kids, they lose a measure of respect for you because you’re not confident enough in your authority to handle an attack on that authority without fleshing out.

Now let’s translate that into spiritual warfare. Some spiritual warriors seem to equate volume with power. They scream at the devil as if he’s deaf, but the devil’s not deaf, and screaming doesn’t convince him to bow. When results elude them, some spiritual warriors grow louder and begin to moan and groan and make threats against the enemy they don’t have the authority to enforce.

Jesus Didn’t Scream at the Devil

I am not against fervent spiritual warfare prayer—or even getting loud. What I’m after here is the yelling that comes from frustration or just out of a wrong mindset that louder is more powerful. One of my mentors once said spiritual warfare skills aren’t taught, they are caught. There is some truth to that. I believe some spiritual warriors scream and holler and make threats against the devil because that’s what they have seen modeled. But that’s not what the Bible models. That’s now how Jesus did it.

I’ve searched diligently, but I can’t find any passage that shows Jesus losing His voice because He screamed and hollered at the devil for so long. When Satan confronted Jesus in the wilderness with all manner of temptation, Jesus simply wielded the sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God (Eph. 6:17). The Bible indicates that “Jesus said, ‘It is written …’” (Matt. 4:4-10, emphasis added)—not that Jesus yelled, Jesus hollered, Jesus screamed or Jesus shouted in frustration. Jesus said God’s Word and let the Word cut through Satan’s lies.

Likewise, when Jesus cast out devils, He didn’t scream at them. It was the demons, rather, who were screaming. When Jesus cast out the demons from the two men in the Gadarenes, He simply said, “Go!” (Matt. 8:32). When Jesus cast out a demon in the synagogue, He calmly said, “Be quiet, and come out of Him!” (Luke 4:35). And when Jesus cast the demon out of the epileptic boy, He just rebuked the demon and it took off (Matt. 17:18).

We Don’t Need to Scream at the Devil

So, Jesus didn’t have to scream at the devil—and neither do we. A few weeks ago, I wrote an article entitled “You’re Resisting the Devil, So Why Won’t He Flee?” It’s easy enough to get frustrated with the enemy when it seems like you’ve done everything you know to do and he just keeps attacking. It’s tempting to scream at the devil and make idle threats, just like some parents do with their disobedient kids. But, my friends, I’ve tried it, and I can tell you the devil doesn’t respond to it any better than your kids do. He probably just laughs at us as we strain our vocal chords.

We don’t need to scream at the devil—and more volume doesn’t equal more power. We just need to stand in our authority in Christ. That means, first, understanding our authority in Christ. Remember when the 70 returned with joy and told Jesus, “Lord, even the demons are subject to us in Your name” (Luke 10:17)? Obviously, they just experienced victory in spiritual warfare. But I assure you we have the victory in spiritual warfare whether we see it with our physical eyes or not.

So when we exercise our Christ-given authority, we should immediately rejoice whether we see the devil flee or not. In other words, when we engage in spiritual warfare, we should act as if we believe we have the victory rather than screaming louder because nothing appears to have changed. When we continue screaming, hollering and yelling at the devil, it merely demonstrates our lack of faith in our authority. We’re putting our faith in our ability to shout loud enough to intimidate the devil. The devil is not intimated by us, but he will bow to the name of Jesus.

So as you engage in spiritual warfare, don’t resort to yelling. Don’t get frustrated and abandon the fruit of self-control. Don’t start acting like the devil! Remember what Jesus said and rejoice: “Behold, I give you the authority to trample on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy, and nothing shall by any means hurt you” (Luke 10:19). Amen.

Jennifer LeClaire is news editor at Charisma. She is also the author of several books, including jennifer.leclaire or visit her website here. You can also join Jennifer on Facebook or follow her on Twitter.

10 Strategies to Help Solve Your Marriage Problems

Many good marriages slip into crisis because we don’t or won’t believe how much work it takes to keep relationships humming at optimal levels. Another reason is a simple failure in imagination.

But—if successful courting requires commitment, hard work and imagination to pull off … then why does it surprise us when neglect hurts relationships after we walk down the aisle? She wouldn’t have married you if you took her for granted—why risk everything now?

There are many good strategies if we want to restore a problematic—or “under the weather”—marriage. All Pro Dad suggests the following 10 for men who want to get the ball rolling:

1. Pray for your spouse. Chances are you launched your marriage with both promises and prayers. Pray for your spouse, and ask for guidance as you pledge to make the kind of effort that simply won’t float without turning to God every day.

2. Surround yourselves with people in healthy relationships. Some of those negative patterns involved friends. Hook up with a faith community where marriage is valued and there’s widespread support for making yours work.

3. Choose to love. Love may have come easy when it was brand new. But love over the long haul is as much a choice as it is an emotion. Choice is an act of maturity and it has a much better track record than emotion left to make its way on its own.

4. Act as if your spouse’s happiness is more important than your own. Putting our spouse first nurtures trust, gratitude, generosity and affection. It can also lead to kissing!

5. Put the relationship ahead of everything, including your children. It’s unfortunate, but time has a way of eating away at our priorities. “You’re the most important thing in my life” gives way to “My work … the family business … the children … my aging parents … even golf, football or drinking …” Marriages don’t work well when our partner plays second fiddle to anything – even the children. It’s a fact – the happiest kids are those with parents who love one-another best.

6. Start over from scratch. Ask her out. Make sure you remember why you did the first time and build from there. When did you last talk for hours, hold hands at a movie, or smooch behind a plant in the mall? Get silly about one-another. If you don’t feel like it, do it anyway- then you’ll remember why.

7. Stop taking one-another for granted. Say “thank you” for that cup of coffee. Celebrate obscure anniversaries. Tell her how much it means to you that she cooks a great meal—or vice versa. Notice the haircut. Ask her out. Clean her car. Pay attention to the little things and act like someone who values the relationship.

8. Get counseling. You say you can’t afford it? Believe us, it’s cheaper than divorce! Most counseling simply involves a few sessions to get the communication flowing again. For guys, a willingness to talk in that context sends a huge positive message to your spouse.

9. Follow the counseling with an action plan. Just like a personal fitness program, counseling comes with homework and an action plan over time. Draw up the plan, ask friends you trust to help hold you accountable, then follow through. When both spouses take responsibility, anything is possible.

10. Change the patterns. Do you always come home angry? Then stop the car a block away and pray about it first. Does she always nag you when you leave dirty clothes on the floor? Try getting changed in a different room and initiate a new reflex. Do you always fight about discipline? Try agreeing with her decisions and supporting her 100 percent—you may find the kids act better because you’re not fighting. You’ve heard the old joke:

– Patient: “Doctor, it hurts when I do that …”

– Doctor: “Well, don’t do that anymore!

All Pro Dad is Family First’s innovative and unique program for every father. Their aim is to interlock the hearts of the fathers with their children and, as a byproduct, the hearts of the children with their dads. At AllProDad.com, dads in any stage of fatherhood can find helpful resources to aid in their parenting. Resources include daily emails, blogs, Top 10 lists, articles, printable tools, videos and eBooks. From AllProDad.com, fathers can join the highly engaged All Pro Dad social media communities on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Instagram.

Mike Bickle: How I Overcame a Boring Prayer Life

God is going to fill the church with enjoyable prayer that is refreshing and invigorating.

I probably know more about boring, unanointed prayer than any other person on Earth–or I ought to. I’ve engaged in enough of it during my lifetime! Though I have felt called for more than 20 years to be a person of prayer, it was not until recently that I learned the true secret to a successful prayer life.

I started searching for the secret in my college days, but it eluded me. I read books on prayer and the deeper life in God, but when it got down to actually praying, I was an absolute failure.

I religiously scheduled time to spend alone with God. Yet my efforts at praying were frustrating and unfulfilling.

I dreaded prayer time. I’d made a vow to God that I’d pray an hour every night, and I made up my mind to stick to it, regardless. But after months of drudgery, I told Him, “Lord, I really love You, but I don’t enjoy praying.”

I still remember the awful condemnation I felt. A sense of defeat nearly overwhelmed me as I shook my head and sighed, “Lord, will I ever like talking to You?”

At the time, I was living in an apartment with three other Christian guys. Every night around 8:45, my roommates would notice that I was starting to get uptight because my prayer time, which I had designated as 9 to 10 p.m., was approaching. I hated going into my room to pray! I knew the next hour was going to be lifeless and boring.

Who would ever have guessed that eventually I would enjoy prayer so much I would resign as pastor of my church to lead a 24-hour-a-day prayer ministry?

My journey to enjoyable prayer began with a study of the tabernacle of David (see Acts 15:16-17). The tabernacle of David refers in part to a 24-hour prayer ministry that King David established. David put musicians and singers before the ark in place of the veil that Moses had used (see 1 Chr. 25:1-7). He valued the prophetic spirit (spirit of inspiration) resting on the singers and musicians that inspired the intercessors to soar in power.

David’s model for what I call “intercessory worship” grew out of his primary life desire–“to behold the beauty of the Lord” (Ps. 27:4, NKJV; see also 145:5). The desire to dwell in the beauty realm of God is a vital foundation for intercessory worship in the spirit of the tabernacle of David.

Isaiah prophesied about a paradigm of prayer marked by joy. The Lord promised, “‘I will…make [you] joyful in My house of prayer'” (Is. 56:7). Imagine the implications! God is going to fill the church with enjoyable prayer that is refreshing and invigorating.

Revelation tells us “the 24 elders around the throne fall down before Jesus, each having a harp and golden bowls full of incense, which are the prayers of the saints” (5:8). The harp speaks of worship; the bowl speaks of intercession. When the harp (worship music) comes together with the bowl (intercession), a spiritual dynamic occurs that enhances our enjoyment of prayer.

God ordained that the worship music around the throne flow interactively with intercession. God’s songs and God’s prayers flow together. This is the secret to the “enjoyable prayer” that Isaiah prophesied about.

I believe the Holy Spirit is orchestrating a global prayer strategy in these days that will far eclipse any other prayer movement in church history. He is raising up 24-hour-a-day “prayer furnaces” that are vital to the Great Commission. These full-time prayer ministries will be the key to reaching unchurched peoples all over the world and the foundation for the full restoration of the tabernacle of David in the generation in which the Lord returns.

I am now the director of one such prayer ministry, called the International House of Prayer, in Kansas City, Missouri. Much of our structure and the principles on which the ministry is based are posted on our Web site (www.ihopkc.com). We try to follow the pattern established by David, in which worship and intercession go hand in hand and are inspired by holy fascination with God.

With this model, I don’t expect prayer ever to be boring again.

Why You Must Take Dominion Over Everything

Why You Must Take Dominion Over Everything

C. Peter Wagner explains why our focus should be on advancing, not escaping.

I can still remember prophecy teachers who tacked rows of charts and diagrams on the church wall and explained spell-binding details of the past, present and future. I cut my spiritual teeth on the Scofield Bible and devoured Hal Lindsey’s The Late Great Planet Earth. My seminary professors instructed me in pre-tribulationism and premillenialism. I quickly categorized anyone who disagreed as a “liberal.”

Now I look back on those days with a strange combination of regret and amusement. How is it that I was so wrong for so long? As I analyze my change, I can sum it up by admitting that I simply did not understand the kingdom of God.

Let me explain what I mean by starting with the Great Commission. The Great Commission has been central to my life. I committed myself to missions the night I was saved when I was 19. I spent my first 16 years of ministry as a field missionary and the next 30 as a professor of missions.

My heart’s desire was to help fulfill Jesus’ mandate to “make disciples of all nations.” However, the time came when I had to make a radical shift in the way I interpreted those words of Jesus.

Formerly, I thought my task was to go to as many nations of the world as possible and save as many souls as possible and plant as many churches as possible. Now I take the Great Commission more literally when it tells us not to make as many individual disciples as we can but to disciple whole social groups—such as entire nations. This is kingdom theology.

When God created Adam and Eve, He told them to take dominion over all His creation (see Gen. 1:28). This was God’s plan until Satan succeeded in persuading Adam to obey him rather than God. The result was that Satan usurped Adam’s authority and took dominion himself.

But Jesus came as the second Adam. He brought the kingdom of God to earth and sent His disciples out to preach the gospel of the kingdom. He has now commissioned us, by the power of the Holy Spirit, to advance His kingdom, to push Satan’s kingdom back and to retake the dominion that rightly belongs to the human race.

This is the Great Commission. It still includes healing the sick, casting out demons, saving souls, multiplying churches and feeding the hungry, but it goes far beyond these activities. It is putting feet to the prayer that Jesus taught us to pray:“Your kingdom come, Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.”

How has this played out? The human race is enormously better off now than it was when Jesus died and was raised from the dead 2,000 years ago! Satan is losing ground more and more rapidly.

Those who think the world is getting worse and worse are missing the big picture of human history. I now regard my former pre-tribulationism and premillenialism as escapist eschatology.

I do not plan to give any territory back to Satan or his Antichrist.Yes, there will be setbacks, but the advances will far outnumber them. Instead of an escapist eschatology, I expouse a victorious eschatology!

My favorite term is “dominion eschatology.” Why? Because Jesus did not give His Great Commission in vain.

The battle will be ferocious, and we will suffer some casualties along the way.However, we will continue to push Satan back and disciple whole nations.

We are aggressively retaking dominion, and the rate at which this is happening will soon become exponential. The day will come when “‘The kingdoms of this world have become the kingdoms of our Lord and of His Christ, and He shall reign forever and ever’” (Rev. 11:15, NKJV)!

10 Stupid Things Ministers Should Never Do

10 Stupid Things Ministers Should Never Do

If you aspire to ministry, don’t be stupid. Decide now to avoid these obvious pitfalls.

I had the privilege of sharing a pulpit with Dr. Mary Ann Brown two times. She was bold, prophetic and painfully blunt. People who hate women preachers hated her even more because of her no-nonsense sermons—always delivered in her Texas twang. She would get her audience laughing and then skewer them with a hot blade of truth.

When this spiritual giant died last month at age 73, I remembered the last words she said to me when we were together at a conference in Chicago in 2011. After lamenting the fact that so many ministers in the United States were failing, Mary Ann locked eyes with me and said with stern, motherly authority: “Lee, please don’t ever get stupid.”

I knew exactly what she meant—and I’ve pondered her words often, especially since her death. I don’t want to be stupid; I want to finish well. So how can we avoid spiritual stupidity? We can start by avoiding these 10 mistakes that have become common in our movement during the past decade. If you are a minister, or if you aspire to be one, please decide now that you will never copy these behaviors.

1. Take illegal drugs. I know people who never got complete deliverance from their drug habit—and then when the pressures of ministry grew intense they turned to illegal substances to escape. That’s stupid! If you aren’t in control of your actions 100 percent of the time, you have no business in the ministry.

2. Reject accountability. The Lone Ranger may have been a great comic book hero, but isolation doesn’t work in real life. Lack of accountability is stupid! If you don’t answer to people smarter than you, you are an accident waiting to happen—and you’re going to hurt God’s people. You have no right to be in authority if you are not under authority.

3. Beat or abuse your wife. The Bible says in 1 Peter 3:7 that God will not listen to your prayers if you mistreat your wife. If you are an abuser (and even if you are a master at hiding your sin from others), the Lord will oppose you until you seek help.

4. Surround yourself with adoring fans. Years ago, fallen PTL founder Jim Bakker said his biggest mistake was planting “yes men” around him instead of people who had the guts to challenge his bad decisions. If you aren’t willing to invite input—including criticism—from your followers, you are a weak leader headed for disaster.

5. Fabricate spiritual gifts to impress others. In our movement there’s a lot of pressure to produce the sensational in order to keep people entertained. But if you stoop so low as to fake a healing, conjure up a false prophecy or push someone to the floor, the Holy Spirit will step aside and let you run the sideshow without His power. It’s stupid to mix strange fire and risk offending God!

6. Be lenient toward sexual sin. In our movement today we celebrate the grace message while frowning on anyone who dares to identify fornication, adultery, homosexuality or pornography as sins. If you are casual about sexual sin in your own life, or if you don’t require purity among those you lead, you are stupid.

7. Manipulate people during the offering time. Ministers often twist Scriptures and use hypnotic mind games to raise funds on Christian television. Nobody challenges their fraud, so it seems they get away with it. Be assured that these people will answer to God one day for their deception. You are stupid if you try these tactics in your church.

8. Refuse to share power. I meet many ministers who have been leading their churches or organizations for 30 years and yet have no succession plan in place. That is dumb! You are not going to live forever. Train the next generation now so they will be ready to lead in your place—and do it before you keel over from a heart attack!

9. Teach exotic doctrines rather than the core truths of the Bible. We charismatics tend to feed people a “flavor of the month” in order to satisfy the craving for angelic visitations, third-heaven visions, gold dust, gold teeth, manna, angel feathers, heavenly portals and indoor rain clouds. But history has proven that those who make spiritual manifestations a primary focus always get tricked into deception. We will be wise if we keep the main thing the main thing. Focus on Jesus!

10. Become an egomaniac. In the past 10 years some of America’s biggest religious stars have gone totally loony because of pride. They require private jets, body guards and personal chefs while maintaining a cold aloofness from the people they are called to serve. If you let Satan dupe you into becoming an arrogant ministry diva, you are stupid. Repent, get on the same level with the people, and start acting like Christ instead of a rock star.

In memory of my late friend Mary Ann Brown, I pass on her advice to you: “Please don’t ever get stupid.” Let’s grow up, reject foolishness and aim to finish well.

J. Lee Grady is the former editor of Charisma and the director of The Mordecai Project (themordecaiproject.org). You can follow him on Twitter at leegrady. His latest book is Fearless Daughters of the Bible.

Daniel: A Travel Guide by Michael Milton

The Book of Daniel is the place where prophecy and theology meet in a teenage boy named Daniel in captivity to a foreign king. Along with Daniel’s friends, the reader comes face-to-face with the realities in his own life:

How a believer must live in times of apostasy

How a believer may follow the Lord in the most secular of conditions

How a follower of Christ can trust Christ even when it seems He is not in control

How a disciple of Jesus can meet the demands of discipleship in the tough, hard places of life

This part of Daniel grips me as your pastor. So I am back to why I love travel books. Think of Daniel as your divine guide to living for God in those times when it looks like God is nowhere to be found. And if we are truly becoming the secular nation that many say we are, then Daniel is God’s guide for our lives as we stand up for Him in this generation.

Sent from my BlackBerry® smartphone

We Can Take Authority

We believers can take authority over the evil spirits that are out to destroy the nation because we are important to world affairs.

We are the ones whose prayers can change every office of authority in this land. It’s up to you and me to intercede right now, using the power God has given us.

Jesus Christ is our Lord. And that alone is enough to alter the spiritual complexion of this earth.

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