By: Norm Rasmussen
Born again Christians are not in the least exempt from spiritual attacks by Satan and his demon hordes. In fact, of all people on this planet, Christians are the one's Satan attacks the most, if you haven't personally come to that observation yourself by now. But in this spiritual battle Christians face daily, God wants Christians understanding that they have been given all authority from God through Jesus Christ to ask God to release His power in every situation to help protect themselves from Satan's attacks against them, and Christians are to do their part to keep the effects of those attacks from gaining undue harm to them by using the spiritual weapons God has given Christians to use.
Obvious to most Christians, but perhaps not so obvious to you ' Satan's attacks against Christians is to get them into states of doubt; states of joylessness; states of uneasiness ' diminishing peace; confusion; faithless prayers; try to convince them they are out of the will of God; try to convince them God doesn't love them; God wouldn't use them; physical and emotional pain; attack their finances; create division (pain) in relationships ' the list goes on and on.
In encapsulated form, the spiritual weapons God has given Christians to fend off Satan's attacks against them is primarily found in Ephesians 6:10-18. (You can learn more about these weapons by going to this link). Every Christian will do themselves a huge favor by understanding what each weapon is, and then diligently seek the Lord in HOW to employ each weapon.
As I've mentioned in other writings, I personally like to see myself as an archer with a bow and quiver full of arrows strapped to my back. Inside that arrow quiver is an assortment of arrows all tipped with the equivalent of nuclear warheads ' spiritual nuclear warheads. Each warhead has its own purpose, and we need to learn which spiritual arrow or arrows to shoot when we are under demonic attack, or a loved one we are fighting with is under demonic attack.
Many people who have become Christians were never taught by their parents the wisdom of being thankful for what one has ' instead of constantly thinking about what they can't seem to get to make their lives more happy. For those who were never shown an example of the wisdom of being thankful growing up ' learning how to be thankful to God once they become born again is often more difficult to put into daily practice than those who were shown an example early in their life
Nevertheless, God wants born again Christians understanding that 'being thankful' is one of those nuclear tipped arrows we carry around in our arrow quiver, and it so happens to be the arrow we should use the most.
I'll be honest with you. Being consistently thankful has been one of my greatest spiritual challenges since becoming a born again Christian over 34 years ago. God knows ' and one way God has helped me to become aware of my need to keep pressing on against all the fiery darts of the devil firing into my brain is praying like Jesus prayed. Have you ever noticed that the Holy Spirit recorded for us in the New Testament Bible that when Jesus prayed publicly, He started out His prayer to the Father by saying, 'Thank you Father, '' I realize Jesus did that to show honor and respect to the Father, but some time ago it also came to me that the Holy Spirit is trying to communicate to Christians that this is an excellent way to remind ourselves DAILY that we need to use the weapon of 'Thanks Father' in our prayers until it becomes second nature to us. Personally, God wants me to START OUT with first thanking Him, and then follow with whatever I'm asking Him for so I'll constantly remind myself of the importance of being thankful for all the many things I've already been given.
Being thankful to our heavenly Father should not be something we say on occasion to God in prayer. It should become a weapon we use to guard our mind and spirit every moment we breathe. For me, that has not been so easy to DO, but God wants me to keep working with Him in that area and stop letting the devil blind me to the importance of using that weapon so it becomes as natural as breathing when I'm awake and when I'm sleeping.
'Praise to God' is an arrow that works closely with our 'thanksgiving arrow', but from personal experience and observation of others, a thankless person to God has a very difficult time emotionally praising God. Trying to praise God and then become thankful doesn't work so well. Becoming thankful to God is a vital key to understanding the value of your praise arrow.
I'll say it a little differently to try to make sure no one misunderstands the point the Holy Spirit wants to make in this writing. A thankless Christian has little desire to praise God. A thankful Christian finds it much easier to praise God. Additionally, a thankful Christian receives revelation from God much faster when they begin to understand just how powerful the weapon of praise actually is.
WHAT IS THE BULLS-EYE CHRISTIANS ARE TO SHOOT FOR?
What is the bull's-eye Christians need to constantly aim for in this battle in their mind? (Afterall ' it is primarily strongholds in our mind Satan wants to erect and control in each of us believers in Christ Jesus our Savior). Here's the bulls-eye: Ask and trust and keep on trusting the Lord to help you discipline your mind to be a thankful disciple of Jesus Christ. The measurement of how well we're doing with the weapon of thanksgiving is to honestly take a look at ourselves in the mirror (every day for some of us!) and ask ourselves if we are being thankful for what God has already given us instead of what we may not have, and/or would like to have.
If the devil should become temporarily successful in trapping you to come to a hellish conclusion you have NOTHING to be thankful for ' try to remind yourself that this life is not how you are going to live in eternity. In Christ Jesus, our next life will be the opposite of what we've lived here in this life. In our new life to come, there are pleasures and joy forevermore. Pain and sorrow will not be allowed to visit us in our next life. The Bible promises it.
And aside from the all the preachers who constantly hammer away that 'God is a good God and all He wants to do is BLESS you '' ask yourself why you are so blessed of God that your are exempt from trials to various degrees as Job was in the Old Testament? Ask yourself why you're exempt from possibly dying a painful death if God so wills like the 11 Apostles experienced prior to going to heaven. Though my unsanctified flesh doesn't like hearing it a lot of the time, I keep having to remind myself way more than I should have to by now ' that this life is my training ground to prepare me for what God has for me in eternity. God allowed Job to suffer as he did to prepare him for eternity as well. Any 'double blessings' Job was given once his trial was over in this life means nothing to Job now that he's in heavenly places in Christ Jesus, and the same applies to you and me. The point being: None of us are exempt from Mini Job-to-Maxi-Job encounters of our own.
Less repeat this: Another spiritual weapon in this battle we face needs to be the weapon of praise to our Creator. When probably is the wisest time to use your praise arrow? When you least feel like praising God. Once a person learns to praise God when they least feel like it, Satan trembles when we are in his crosshairs. Satan cannot stop you and I from thanking God nor praising God. God makes sure that Satan can only TEMP us to not want to thank and praise our Lord and Creator. The decision to be thankful and to praise Jesus Christ in the midst of our pain (discouragement; lies Satan tries to get us to believe) is only a split second decision away on our part. The Holy Spirit will ALWAYS empower us to use these two weapons any time we chose to use them. He'll empower - energize us ' when we decide to use our weapons of thanksgiving and praise.
Once a person trains their mind to be thankful to God in the midst of their pain and then begins to praise God as well simply because He alone is worthy to be praised day and night ' 24x7 ' then it becomes much, much easier to adopt thanksgiving and praise as a permanent mindset.
I feel to take this writing one step further than what I have thus far. Learning to be thankful and quick to praise our Creator are two weapons that are much MORE than just spiritual weapons to keep demons away from influencing us and creating the atmosphere for God's holy angels to help us in every way they can as the Father wills for each of us. They are two spiritual weapons of end time SURVIVAL.
Let's repeat that. Being thankful and quick to praise our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ are not going to be 'optional' weapons in these end times (as it continues to unfold) for Christians to use. They are weapons that will sustain them in the darkest spiritual jungle ' the coldest and most harsh prison one could imagine being locked up in ' staying one step ahead of the ugly monsters of faithlessness, depression and hopelessness.
Trying to back your prayers with any degree of faith and patience will be one of the most difficult things to do in the end times which is coming at us like a fast moving snow avalanche if believers refuse to use their weapons of being thankful to God and praising Him, especially when they least feel like it. Even to the point of our death, if the Father so wills.
Think about this a moment. God's leaders of the Church, the 12 Apostles, were all martyred cruelly one way or the other, with the exception of John. Some Christian historians believe he may have lived out his final days on the island of Patmos without severe persecution for his beliefs. The Bible gives us sketchy accounts of some of God's people being killed for their faith ' Stephen comes to mind as one example. Stephen considered it an honor to be put to death by being stoned for His Lord and Savior. If that is not clear demonstration of thanksgiving and praise to God, I surely don't know what is.
Heavenly Father, I ask you to drive the wisdom of this writing deep into the heart of every person reading it. Not because I was used to write it, but because as your soldiers on this planet, we want to be the MOST PREPARED.
Some would consider the following two scripture passages as commandments from the Lord. Others like myself would consider them more to be wisdom from our Commander In Chief. Do what the Commander is saying to do, and you'll be wounded a lot less quickly and a lot less frequently:
Giving thanks always for all things to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ - Ephesians 5:20
In everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you - 1 Thessalonians 1:5-18
Though many will not see any connection at the present time (Spring 2014), there are people in the future who will make the connection when there is nothing else to help them remain with Jesus Christ and His Father. Thus - a companion writing for this writing is: http://www.precious-testimonies.com/Exhortations/a-e/EndtimeWisdom.htm
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