Battle for the Soul of Man
by Rick Joyner
There is a battle raging for the soul of every individual on earth. There is a battle raging for every church, for every city, and every nation. Victories are being won in many places across the earth, but the greatest are yet to come. Multitudes of new spiritual warriors are now being mobilized, trained, and will soon be sent forth. They will be entrusted with divinely powerful weapons and they will use them. They will tear down the enemy’s strongholds over the minds of men. A force is about to be released like the world has never seen. Joel had a glimpse of it:
Blow a trumpet in Zion, and sound an alarm on My holy mountain! Let all the inhabitants of the land tremble, for the day of the Lord is coming; surely it is near. A day of darkness and gloom, a day of clouds and thick darkness. As the dawn is spread over the mountains, so there is a great and mighty people; there has never been anything like it, nor will there be again after it to the years of many generations. A fire consumes before them, and behind them a flame burns. The land is like the garden of Eden before them, but a desolate wilderness behind them, and nothing at all escapes them…With a noise as of chariots they leap on the tops of the mountains, like crackling of a flame of fire consuming the stubble, like a mighty people arranged for battle. Before them the people are in anguish; all faces turn pale. They run like mighty men; they climb the wall like soldiers; and they each march in line, nor do they deviate from their paths…(Joel 2:1-11).
There is a fire in the army of God that will destroy the wood, hay, and stubble, but it will purify the gold, silver, and precious stones. It will consume what man has built and reveal what was indeed built by God. What is coming will be either terrible or glorious depending on what we have built our lives upon. The earth will literally quake at the presence of the Lord in the midst of this army that is now being mobilized. The word of God that will be in their mouths will shatter the idols of this world like a hammer shattering rocks. The Spirit that is in them will be an irresistible force.
CHOOSE YOUR WEAPON
It may seem like a paradox, but we cannot be a part of this great army until we are firmly established in the peace of God. One of the most powerful spiritual weapons that has been given to God’s people is peace. We may think that peace is not a weapon. But in fact, it is such a weapon that Paul did not write it was the Lord of hosts, or the Lord of armies, who would crush the enemy, but said “…the God of peace will soon crush Satan under your feet” (Romans 16:20). When we abide in the peace of God it is both a fortress and a weapon that the enemy has no power against.
If we abide in the peace of God in a situation it unravels the enemy’s power over that situation. That is why most of the attacks of the enemy upon believers are intended to first rob them of their peace. The peace of God is the linchpin fruit of the Spirit that must be in place to hold all of the others in their place. When we lose the peace of God we will quickly lose our patience, love, self-control, etc. This causes us to fall from our position of abiding in Christ. The fruit of the Spirit will always demonstrate our abiding in Him.
It is the peacemakers who are called the sons of God (see Matthew 5:9) and because we represent the Prince of Peace, it is the church that the world should be turning to for solutions to its conflicts. Our victory over evil is accomplished by overcoming it with good. We destroy the enemy’s power of destruction by standing in and imparting peace.
However, instead of the world turning to the church for solutions to its conflicts, the church is now viewed more as a source of conflicts. This will change. The church is called to judge the world, and as conflicts and anxieties grow in the world, peace and wisdom are going to grow in the church to such an extent that even the heathen are going to start coming to Christians for help. Through this the church’s spiritual authority will grow stronger and stronger as lawlessness erodes human authority.
The church is the “Jerusalem above,” or the spiritual Jerusalem that Paul mentions in Galatians 4:26. Jerusalem means “city of peace.” Like the earthly Jerusalem, the church is now embroiled in almost continuous strife and war within herself as well as against the forces of the world without. Even so, she is going to soon be victorious over the strife within, and will then be able to turn all of her great weapons on the forces without. The church will arise to fulfill her purpose in all that she is called to do and be. It will be as was foretold in Isaiah 60:1-2, when darkness is increasing, and deep darkness comes upon the people, the Lord’s glory will rise and appear upon His people. When human conflict and strife reaches unprecedented levels, the church will know unprecedented peace. This peace will be a fortress that will be impregnable to the enemy. The church will become the true sanctuary on earth.
Presently, just as there is no human solution to the conflict in the Middle East, there is no human solution to the conflict within the church. The solution is in God alone. The peace of God is rooted in knowing that God is God, and that Jesus is the King above all kings, rulers, and authorities. When we see that He is in control we come to understand deep in our hearts that Romans 8:28 is true, “And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.” When we know in our heart that this is true there is no power on earth that can steal our peace.
When we abide in the peace of God regardless of what the circumstances are, it crushes Satan’s attempts to use those circumstances, and it also allows us to see God’s purpose in them. The Lord is not in heaven wringing His hands over a single problem on earth. He knows the end from the beginning, and He already knows what He is going to do to make things right. If we are abiding in Him, seated with Him in heavenly places as we are called to do, we too will dwell in perfect peace. As we are promised in Isaiah 26:3, “The steadfast of mind Thou wilt keep in perfect peace, because he trusts in Thee.” That is why Paul uttered the great prayer recorded in Ephesians 1:18-23:
I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened, so that you may know what is the hope of His calling, what are the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints, and what is the surpassing greatness of His power toward us who believe…
The “eyes of our hearts” are our spiritual eyes. When they are open, we will see Jesus where He sits, “far above” all authority and power and dominion on the earth. As we begin to see Him there, and walk in this truth, living our lives in the unfathomable peace that this brings, it crushes the influence of Satan in our life. This is what King David understood when he wrote Psalm 46:10-11, “Cease striving and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth. The Lord of hosts is with us; the God of Jacob is our stronghold.”
When we really know that He is God, we will cease striving. When His people come to this knowledge and walk in it He will be “exalted among the nations,” because the peace of God will be in profound contrast to the fears that are coming upon the world. These fears will cause people’s hearts to fail, but His peace will be one of the greatest witnesses of the Lord in the midst of His people.
PRIDE COMES BEFORE THE FALL
Pride caused the fall of Satan, and has been the cause of almost every fall since. We know that, “…God is opposed to the proud, but gives grace to the humble” (James 4:6), and we are told in I Peter 5:6-7, “Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you at the proper time, casting all your anxiety upon Him, because He cares for you.” This implies that one of the ways we can humble ourselves is to cast our anxiety upon the Lord. This is because anxiety is a form of pride that actually asserts that we think the matter is too big for God so we will have to handle it ourselves. If we really believe that He is God we will cease striving, and we will also cast off our anxiety, and live in the peace that comes from knowing that He is in control.
It is no accident that “panic attacks” have now reached epidemic proportions. Anxiety is rising dramatically in the world, but peace will rise correspondingly in those who are true followers of Christ. The anxiety that is coming upon the world is the direct result of man trying to live without God and do everything on his own. That is why the original temptation of man was to get him to try to become what God had in fact called him to be, but to do it without God. The more mankind turns from God, the more striving and confusion will be found, which will result in even more fear, as we are told in Psalm 2. This increases impatience, self-centeredness, and other “works of the flesh” which cause conflict. As Christians we must not live as the world lives. We must grow in the knowledge of the Lord’s authority, and control. We must grow in the peace of God.
WALKING IN TRUTH
If we are going to crush Satan under our feet we also need to understand that this metaphor “crush Satan under our feet” is used for a purpose. This speaks of Satan’s power being broken through our “walk,” our going forth. Christianity is not static, but is always moving forward, growing. That is why the “River of Life” is a river, and not a pond or a lake. A river is always flowing, proceeding toward its destination.
When we walk in the peace of God in our homes it will ultimately crush the enemy’s influence there. If we walk in the peace of God at work, it will soon crush the enemy’s influence there. If the Christians of a city would walk in the peace of God, the church would soon come into unity, and the enemy’s influence over that city would be crushed. When Christians in any nation begin to truly walk in the peace of God they will crush the enemy’s influence over that nation.
BUILD YOUR OWN FORTRESS
Who are you now warring with? What is the source of the greatest conflict in your life? Have you cast this anxiety upon the Lord? When you do this exercise of faith, it will release Him to move in this situation. That is why we are told in Hebrews 12:14-15, “Pursue peace with all men, and the sanctification without which no one will see the Lord. See to it that no one comes short of the grace of God; that no root of bitterness springing up causes trouble, and by it many be defiled.”
There is no reason for a Christian to ever be bitter at anyone or anything. If we are bitter we are being defiled, and we will also defile others with it. As Dudley Hall once said, “Bitterness is like drinking poison and hoping someone else gets sick.” We are called to something much higher than this. We are called to the ultimate nobility of soul that is reflected in forgiveness, and the ultimate dignity that comes from walking in the peace of God.
Define the sources of conflict and agitation in your life and repent of your lack of faith and trust in the Lord in relation to them. Cast this anxiety upon the Lord, and determine that regardless of appearances or situations, you are going to trust the Lord to deal with the matters. He will do it, but usually after He has dealt with something even more important, your own heart.
The lack of peace in our lives is directly related to the lack of faith that we have in the Lord. A fundamental calling on our life is simply to trust God. That is why the Lord said, “…This is the work of God, that you believe in Him whom He has sent” (John 6:29). Simply trusting Him in our everyday lives will accomplish much more than many of the works and projects that we try to do for Him. The church and the kingdom that Jesus is building in our hearts will be manifested in our daily lives. The Lord does not judge the quality of a church by how good the meeting is on Sunday morning, but by how good the people are on Monday morning.
The peace of God is the power that will lead us to victory over ourselves and the strongholds of the enemy. We are all called to be missionaries of the peace of God. This peace is not the result of peaceful conditions, but is a profound confidence in God even in the midst of the most trying conditions. The more stressful or violent the conditions, the more the peace of God is a demonstration of the true faith of God. This faith is what moves the Lord to take action on our behalf in those conditions. Peace is therefore an accurate barometer of the true level of our faith.
God at the Supermarket
by Carol Greenwood
Does your carpet need shampooing? Have you considered vinyl windows? How long since you’ve had your chimney cleaned? Thought about aluminum siding for your home?
Sound familiar? Probably does. If you own a telephone, you’ll be solicited for charities and political causes as well as products and services. And, if your house is like our house is, more often than not, the calls hit at prime time-dinner hour. I average at least four or five such calls a week.
Typically, I’m stir-frying veggies or grating cheese for pizza when the phone rings. The interruptions, by now, have triggered a conditioned response. I wipe my hands across the sides of my apron, head for the phone and answer less than enthusiastically.
Undaunted by my lack of cordiality, the salesperson plunges ahead with the latest pitch: “This is our finest offer. Prices will never be this low again.” On and on it goes.
Like a robot, I come in on cue for this routine, “I’m sorry. We’re not interested. Thank you.”
Back at the stove, I resume dinner preparations while speculating about my caller. What’s this person on the other end of the line really like? How does she cope with the continual rejection she gets?
One Tuesday at 6:15 p.m., I received three calls back-to-back. Carpet cleaning. Vinyl windows. Pest control. (I must admit that last one was tempting.) I’d barely returned to stir the simmering soup when the phone rang again. Wooden spoon in hand, I retraced my steps, grabbed the receiver and growled, “Hello.”
“Carol, I hate to bother you at dinnertime, but I’ve gotta tell you what happened to me today. I’ll only take a few minutes.”
I recognized the voice of my friend Jackie. She sounded upbeat, almost joyful. “Our soup can wait, Jackie. Tell me, what’s up?”
“You may think this is far-out, but, believe me, it’s true. Today while I was walking behind the university stadium on the path near the lake, so help me, Carol, God spoke to me.”
What a change from hearing the pitch about clogged chimneys and aluminum siding that never needs paint! This was a call worth answering; it sounded like a breakthrough in Jackie’s long stint of illness and depression. I encouraged her to go on. “What did God say?”
“Well, it wasn’t an audible voice or anything dramatic. I was walking by where the ducks congregate at the edge of the lake. I wasn’t praying or even thinking spiritual thoughts. Out of the blue, the quiet presence of the Lord surrounded me. My ears didn’t hear it, but my heart was flooded with an indescribable wave of love accompanied by the simple message, ‘Jackie, I love you.’ Has this ever happened to you?”
I hesitated. More than once I’d been told how offensive Christians were with their insistence that God had just spoken to them. I know people, in fact, who are so turned off by the words “God told me” that they reject out-of-hand all the Holy Spirit’s works in personally communicating the reality of Jesus’ love.
The truth is we do have a God who longs to communicate with us, who works day and night getting His message out: He loves us! He is, in fact, relentless and stubborn in His persistence.
Jackie pressed me for an answer. I briefly told her of the afternoon in the supermarket several years ago when I sensed the Lord’s breaking through a long spiritually dry and emotionally discouraging season to impress me with three little words: “I love you.”
Like Jackie, I wasn’t doing anything unusual, just standing in front of the canned fish debating whether to buy tuna or splurge on crab. Also like Jackie, I heard no audible voice, yet the inner impression was so strong I whirled around to see who had spoken. While I rarely mention it, I have never forgotten it. What is more, I believe the truth of it to this day – I “heard” the Lord.
Neither of these two incidents – Jackie’s nor mine – should be used to suggest the norm for our believing God loves us. In fact, we’d best stand guard against the devastating practice of demanding an experience to justify our faith. We are only too well aware of our propensity for emotional ups and downs. Experience can be ambiguous, and we are called to be people of faith, believers of the Word.
However, there’s another side to this coin. God’s message is so much greater than the condemning ones we often give our own hearts. He is committed to override the fears, the lies and the unbelief that assail us. When He determines to speak to His people, He does it-through a burning bush, through His prophets, through His creation, through His Son, through Scripture and, yes, through a still small voice.
It’s quite possible, I believe, in a world where impersonal dinnertime phone calls intrude into our homes and where we mentally replay old negative tapes about our self-worth, that the Lord of the universe commissions the Holy Spirit to give us His message – “I love you.”
It can happen down by the lake or even in the aisle of the supermarket.
(Taken from A Rose for Nana by Carol Greenwood. McDougal Publishing. Used by permission.)
Carol Greenwood is a wife, mother of four and grandmother of ten. An author of two books and co-author of two others, she is a former editor for Women’s Aglow. Carol has a heart for women’s ministry and is a frequent speaker at churches and retreats. She is also on the Board of Lutheran Renewal.