Praying with Authority

Jesus commanded a storm to stop. The disciples feared death. Jesus said to the storm “Peace! Be still!” Jesus exercised great faith and used authority over nature and any evil spirits using the storm to drown Him and the disciples.

I hiked to the top of Guadalupe Peak with my son Timothy. It is the “top of Texas” at 8750 feet. It is June and it was 100 degrees. There were many switchbacks as we ascended 4 miles and 3000 feet to the top. About a half mile from the peak I was dehydrated and had leg cramps. I thought about returning. But I drank my electrolyte water, stretched out the cramp, and continued slowly ascending switchbacks. We scrambled up rocks and finally made it to the summit.

Tim was concerned we would not have enough water for the descent. We rationed the water and started down. There was very little shade and the sun was sucking all water out of my body. I couldn’t even make saliva! At one point I thought I would lie down and die of dehydration, burned by the sun. I saw clouds forming over nearby mountains, but the prevailing winds pushed against the clouds and they did not move to cover the sun. As I stumbled down the switchbacks, I prayed, “Father God, in the name of Jesus, move those clouds over the sun.” They seemed to slowly move toward the sun. Then I used faith and authority as Jesus did and said, “Clouds, move and block the sun!” They not only slowly moved to block the sun, the clouds released drops of rain! I felt a surge of strength. It was a blessing. We rested, drank the rest of our water, and made it to the trailhead exhausted.

I believe there are times we can pray with faith and authority like Jesus to save our lives or the lives of other people.

Confidence & Contentment

My title is “Living with contentment and confidence” but I have not written about it for a long time. There are two emotional “states of being” or attitudes I am searching for in this world: contentment and confidence. Contentment and confidence are emotional “states of being” that do not depend on circumstances. If there is an order, then confidence seems to come first. Perhaps confidence produces contentment and contentment leads to more confidence. They work together, but I will begin with confidence. When I have confidence to approach the throne of grace and speak freely then I will be content with whatever God gives me.

My primary scripture for confidence is Hebrews 4:14-16: Since then we have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus, the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession. For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin. Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.

I am not referring to self-confidence or overconfidence. Many people try to give themselves confidence with “self-talk.” People say, “I can do it! I am strong. I am smart. I am confident.”

This scripture gives me two reasons for confidence. First, the Person who sits on the throne, Jesus the Son of God. The GR word for “confidence” means “freedom in speaking, boldness of speech, frankness, openness.” This is because we are approaching a “throne of grace” with prayer requests. We can speak freely and honestly to the Person on the throne, but respectfully. Imagine a knight kneeling before his king and saying, “May I speak freely and openly with you, my king?” Jesus the Son of God can sympathize with our weaknesses. He was tested with all the temptations of the world – the desires of the flesh, desires of the eyes, and the pride of life (1 John 2:15-17). He was tempted to take the easy way and avoid the hard way of the cross. Second, it is a throne of GRACE. Nobody has confidence to approach condemnation or judgment. A supervisor calls you to his office about a problem and you anticipate condemnation and judgment. You do not approach his office with confidence. You feel anxiety. Nobody likes to approach a person, a boss, a parent, or spouse, when he/she anticipates condemnation and judgment. The confidence we have to approach the throne is not based on achievement or possessions. It is based on a relationship with the Person who loves me. Jesus the Son of God has grace toward me, and grace is “unmerited favor.” We can approach his throne with confidence because of who He is and what He has done. Our confidence is not based on what we have or do not have. It is based on a relationship.

There are demonic terrorists that try to kill confidence and contentment. The terrorists attack confidence with fear, guilt, condemnation, and feelings of inadequacy. God said there is no fear in love. Perfect love drives out fear because fear is related to judgement. 1 John 4:17-19: “In this, love is perfected with us so that we may have confidence in the day of judgment, for we are as He is in this world. There is no fear in love; instead, perfect love drives out fear, because fear involves punishment. So the one who fears has not reached perfection in love. We love because He first loved us.” This is true because God is love (v. 16). Jesus Christ proved the Father’s love when He sacrificed His life to save sinners. There is no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus (Romans 8:1).

I am confident that God finishes what He starts. Philippians 1:6: “For I am confident of this very thing, that He who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus.” The GR word for “confidence” here is assurance. We can be assured, based on past performance, God finishes what He starts. I have unfinished projects. God has no unfinished projects. God began His project at creation and will complete it at consummation – Genesis to Revelation.

My primary scripture for contentment is Philippians 4:10-13: But I rejoiced in the Lord greatly, that now at last you have revived your concern for me; indeed, you were concerned before, but you lacked opportunity. Not that I speak from want, for I have learned to be content in whatever circumstances I am. I know how to get along with humble means, and I also know how to live in prosperity; in any and every circumstance I have learned the secret of being filled and going hungry, both of having abundance and suffering need. I can do all things through Him who strengthens me.

Contentment is not based on how many things we have or do not have. Contentment is based in a relationship that will never leave us. I have left many relationships behind after serving five churches. Christ never left me.

Paul wrote, “I have learned the secret.” What is the secret of contentment? Many commercials claim to have discovered the “secret” to a problem and then sell the secret. “I have discovered the secret to effortless weight loss! It is not diet and exercise.” The GR word for “secret” refers to an initiation ceremony or just learning a practical lesson. Paul did not discover the secret of contentment and tried to sell it. He learned it as a practical lesson. He learned that Christ was able to sustain him in any and every circumstance. That means Paul had to experience any and every circumstance to know Christ. If we pray for God to immediately and miraculously deliver us from any and every anxiety-producing circumstance, then we will never know we can do all things through Christ who strengthens us.

We are content in any and every circumstance because Christ gives us strength. There is no fear in contentment, no panic, no stress. Christ gives us peace when we are poor and keeps us from pride when we have more than enough. This is true because our contentment is based in a relationship and not what we have or do not have. Contentment resists the world and the things in the world, the desires of the flesh, desires of the eyes, and the boastful pride of life (1 John 2:15-17). When contentment rules our souls, these desires have no attraction to us or pull on us.

There are demonic terrorists that try to kill confidence and contentment. I visited the big beautiful custom-built house of a friend from church. The house had many decorated rooms filled with many possessions. The terrorist of envy tried to kill my contentment. “You shall not covet your neighbor’s lifestyle, house, possessions, and cars.” Contentment protected my heart from envy. Gratitude for my blessings protected my heart from covetousness. There are people who have much more than me. There are more people who have much less than me. Discontentment would be ingratitude to God and a sin.

Confidence and contentment do not depend on what we have or do not have, but on a relationship with a heavenly Father who loves us and keeps His promises.

A LOT of Mistakes

Genesis 12: Fatherless Lot, Abram’s nephew, went with Abram to the land of Canaan. After Lot’s father died, maybe Abram adopted Lot as a son since Sarai was barren. Lot had a good start in his relationship with Abram. Lot enjoyed the blessings promised to Abram by the LORD. Lot needed to stay close to Abram. “Blessed to be a blessing.” Abraham was blessed by God to be a blessing to all nations. If God blesses you, it is not so you can selfishly soak in the blessing; it is because God wants to use you to be a blessing to others. Lot was blessed by his relationship with Abram, and he could have been a blessing to many others.
G13: What was wrong with Lot’s choice? Abram offered Lot first choice. Abram said, “The whole land is before you.” He meant Canaan. “If you go left, then I will go right. If you go right, then I will go left.” Abram has been a father to fatherless Lot. Therefore, Lot should have deferred to Abram and said, “God has blessed me because of his promise to you. I am only your nephew. You choose first and I will go the opposite direction.” This was Lot’s first mistake.
This is Lot’s second mistake: “Lot lifted up his eyes and saw…” Here is what was wrong with Lot’s choice: “The grass looks greener on the other side of the fence.” This phrase is used to describe dissatisfaction and envy or covetousness. “You shall not covet.” Lot could have moved north, south, east, or west in the land of Canaan. There was plenty of room. Lot chose to move into the Jordan valley with cities and moved close to a notoriously sinful city named Sodom (13:13). Why would a shepherd settle in the cities of the valley? Yes, the valley had abundant water and looked like the garden of the LORD (Eden) and the Nile valley in Egypt, but it was also a place of danger with exceedingly wicked sinners and warring city states (G14). The “exceedingly wicked sinners” in Sodom were worse than the Canaanites. The Canaanites engaged in idolatry and child sacrifice. What could be worse than that? Keep reading.
Have you ever made a choice because “the grass looks greener on the other side of the fence?” What were the consequences of that choice?
G14: Abram saved Lot the first time. Lot moved from tents outside Sodom to living in Sodom. G19: Abram saved Lot the second time (18:22-33; 19:29). Lot continued to live in Sodom even though he knew the wickedness of the men of the city. Lot would not allow the angels to stay in the city square because he knew what would happen to them.
Lot made a lot of mistakes, but his biggest mistake was separation from Abram which was separation from God’s blessing. Lot began his journey with great promise when he left with Abram. Lot became wealthy by God’s blessing upon Abram. Lot ended his life as a penniless incestuous drunk in a cave and became the father of the Moabites and Ammonites. (Note: As proof of God’s mercy and kindness he blessed the grandsons of Lot, Moab and Ammon. When the Israelites entered the Promised Land, God told Moses not to take the land God gave to Moab and Ammon.) Lot is a tragic figure. Lot is an example of what happens when a person separates from God’s blessing.
Where is the place of God’s blessing today? It is Jesus Christ and his church. A relationship with Jesus Christ is the place of blessing. Jesus Christ alone is Savior and Lord. If you separate from Jesus Christ, then you are following the destiny of Lot. If you have a true relationship with Jesus Christ, then you will know the church as a place of blessing. The church is the body of Jesus Christ. If you want the blessing of God upon your life, then make a commitment to the church of Jesus Christ. Become a member of a church. Serve the church where you become a member. One warning: You must commit to a church that is true to the word of God. Check the beliefs of the church on its website. The beliefs of the church must state that it believes in the inspiration and inerrancy of Scripture as the only rule for faith and practice. There are “churches” that have left the body of Christ because they have rejected the truth of God’s word and compromised with the wicked culture. There are “churches” that deny the deity of Christ. If you separate from the true church of Christ, then you are following the destiny of Lot.
Remain in the great blessing of Abraham. The greatest blessing from Abraham is Jesus Christ. Jesus had a conversation about Abraham with the religious leaders of Israel and said (John 8:56-58), “Your father Abraham rejoiced that he would see my day. He saw it and was glad.” So, the Jews said to him, “You are not yet fifty years old, and have you seen Abraham?” Jesus said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, before Abraham was, I am.” The only place to have contentment and confidence is to remain in the greatest blessing of Abraham, Jesus Christ.

Benefits of Anxiety 3

Benefits of Anxiety
I never thought I would say this: “Anxiety is not all bad. It has positive side effects.”
Benefit #3: It drives me to prayer and dependence on my heavenly Father. I know why God will not give me $1 million. I would feel safe and secure and not depend on Father for my daily bread. Even if I gave away half of the $1 million to support world missions, I would use the other half to make my life safe and secure in this world. It is not a sin to be safe and secure unless I seek first the safety and security the world offers and then I seek second God’s kingdom and righteousness.
God will use the anxiety that results from a test or trial to call me to prayer and the dependence on Him I cannot live without. Dependence on myself is an illusion. It is pride that deceives me. It is like Lot who thought he could live independent of his uncle Abram. (See Genesis 13-14.) Lot made a lot of mistakes. Lot began a journey of faith with Abram who was his uncle and ended his life as a drunk in a cave. Lot’s biggest mistake was separation from Abram and God’s blessing upon Abram. The biggest mistake anyone can make is arrogant separation from God.
We may experience a gradual separation from God without even being aware of it. We drift away from God when the wind and currents of the world push and pull us. When we drift too far away anxiety may be the alarm that wakes us up to see and feel our separation. When anxiety drives you to prayer and dependence on God it is a spiritual benefit. It is a blessing.
The house I am renting has a 2-car garage and a driveway with an approximate 5-7% grade or 8–9-degree slope. (This is my guesstimate.) I parked my Hyundai Tucson in the garage but forgot to put it in gear and pull the hand brake. I was at the bottom of the driveway where it meets the street with my motorcycle. I looked up to see my Tucson roll swiftly past me. It missed me and the motorcycle by inches. It rolled across the street and up the neighbor’s driveway. It hit the back of my neighbor’s truck and stopped. I thought the driveway was perfectly level, but it must have an imperceptible slope. My Tucson drifted slowly to the edge of the garage while I rode my motorcycle out of the garage and parked it at the bottom of the driveway. When the rear wheels of my Tucson crossed the edge of the garage and came to the 5-7% grade it was unstoppable until it hit the neighbor’s truck.
The LORD spared my life and angels protected me. If the 3000+ pound Tucson would have hit me and the motorcycle, then I would be dead. I was shocked and anxious. I prayed and thanked God for sparing my life. I realized my dependence on God to protect me when I do not even know I need protection. As far as I know this is the third time God spared my life. Remember Philippians 4:5b-7: “The Lord is at hand; do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.”

Second Benefit of Anxiety

Benefits of Anxiety
I never thought I would say this: “Anxiety is not all bad. It has positive side effects.”
Benefit #2: It makes me desire the word of God. I have studied scripture since I became a believer. I studied it for 34 years of ministry to write expository sermons. When the shockwaves of anxiety produced by the impact of a trial hit me, it drives me into the word of God for comfort. I seek comfort first and then I seek to understand. When anxiety attacks, I cling to the promises of God written in scripture. I memorize scripture. I do not take time to memorize scripture when everything is safe and secure. I memorized Psalm 91 during the COVID19 pandemic and prayed it daily. I memorized Psalm 23 during a time of fearful transition when I felt the shadow of death. The Psalms are fear-fighting scriptures. Psalms emphasize the importance of God’s word: 119:11: I have stored up your word in my heart, that I might not sin against you. 28: My soul melts away from anxiety and grief; strengthen me according to your word! 67: Before I was afflicted I went astray, but now I keep your word. 97: Oh how I love your law! It is my meditation all day. 105: Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path. (Read all Psalm 119.) “It is written” from the Psalms is the best way to resist the fear-inducing anxiety of evil spirits.
After receiving comfort from God’s word, I seek to correctly understand and apply it. Anxiety got me to exegete Philippians 4:5b-7: The Lord is at hand; do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. “The Lord is at hand,” therefore, do not be anxious. This means the Lord is near. He is close and ready to help. Confirmation from Psalm 46:1: God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. The Lord sees. The Lord saw Hagar twice when she was rejected and helped her and Ishmael (Genesis 16 & 21). Hagar gave the Lord a name, “El Ro’i,” “the God of seeing” (16:13).
Is there a difference between prayer and supplication? The GR word for prayer is a general term. The GR word for “supplication” is specific and it is used with requests (e.g. Lk 1:13). “Let your requests be made known.” Supplication is intense because it may be combined with fasting (e.g. Lk 5:33).
The peace that surpasses human understanding is a spiritual gift from God. We cannot produce it or induce it. We give our requests to God and He gives peace in exchange. The peace of God is like a security guard at the entrance to a bank. Satan wants to break in and steal our security. God’s peace stands guard at the gate to our hearts and minds. God’s peace only guards the hearts and minds of those who take refuge in Christ Jesus; that is, those who are in Christ Jesus as Savior and Lord.

Benefits of Anxiety

Benefits of Anxiety
I never thought I would say this: “Anxiety is not all bad. It has positive side effects.” The negative side effects of anxiety are physical. The positive side effects are spiritual benefits.
Benefit #1: It teaches us to resist love of the world and what is in the world and intensifies love of the Father. John 2:15-17: Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world—the desires of the flesh and the desires of the eyes and pride of life—is not from the Father but is from the world. And the world is passing away along with its desires, but whoever does the will of God abides forever.
I drive a 2008 Hyundai Tucson with over 100k miles. It is probably the only car I will own for the rest of my life. My car is not love of the world and what is in the world. It is transportation. If I desired a new more powerful SUV then it would be love of things in the world. When I watch a neighbor drive by in a flashy and throbbing Dodge Charger, Ford Mustang, or Chevy Camaro, I know that car is his idol. He loves the things of the world, the desires of the eyes, and the pride of showing off his idol. If I had the world’s best SUV then the love of the Father would take second place to the love of the things in the world.
I watched a YouTube video and flushed the power steering fluid (PSF). Air got in the system. When I started the engine, the fluid was frothy with bubbles and the power steering pump made a terrible grinding noise. I thought I failed the flush and ruined the pump. I imagined an expensive repair. I was very anxious! I could not sleep. The next day I prayed over my Tucson, “Father God, I seek first your kingdom and righteousness and you promised to supply my needs. I do not love the things in the world. I do not drive a car to show off and bolster my self-importance. I need this car. It is transportation. Heal my car, in Jesus’ name.” After turning the engine on and off, the wheels right to left, and refilling the PSF several times, the pump noise stopped, and the power steering became easy. Father God answered my request. He gave me wisdom. The anxiety I felt taught me not to love the things in the world and “drove” me to dependence on the Father. Anxiety teaches us to love Father God. Anxiety reminds us that the world and its desires are passing away. Anxiety reminds us a perfect world is coming with Christ. Anyone who does the will of God by seeking first His kingdom and righteousness will live forever.
(Additional blessing: Another good that came out of the anxious situation was I found an honest Christian mechanic a mile from my house. He drained and replaced the brake fluid and did a few other repairs the car needed after 100k miles.)

I have two more benefits which I will publish next time. God bless.

Psalm 23 Wilenghart Version

It Is Written: Psalm 23

Jesus Christ is my Good Shepherd.

He supplies all my needs in this world

when I seek first His kingdom and righteousness.

He provides green pastures where I can rest.

He leads me to clean waters where I can drink.

He restores my soul and body.

He enables me to walk in righteousness

for His name’s sake and glory.

Even when I face a trial to walk through

the valley of the shadow of death,

I will fear no evil because You walk beside me.

When I see You carrying Your rod and staff to protect me

I feel safe and secure.

You even prepare a banquet for me

in the presence of my enemies

so they can see how good You are to me.

You anoint my head with the oil of the Spirit.

You fill my cup to overflowing

so I can be a blessing to others.

I am blessed to be a blessing.

Your goodness and mercy will follow me

all the days of my life in this world.

When my time in this world comes to an end,

when I have fulfilled Your purpose for my life,

 I will dwell in Your Father’s house forever (John 14:1-2).

Christ-like Ministry

Christ-like Ministry: John 14:10-12 (5:17-20)
This word is for people who serve the church as “professional ministers.” I have been doing “professional ministry” for 34 years. I am wondering how much of that ministry was really Christ-like ministry. Did I do it with the attitude and character of Christ? Did I do it with the power of Christ? Did I do it with the anointing of the Holy Spirit like Christ? Did I do it with delegated authority from Christ? How much ministry was my own ineffective effort? How much ministry was rendered ineffective by my own sin? Did I do ministry according to my own desires or did I submit to the Father’s works through me?
Every believer, but especially all of us “professional ministers” will have to wait until Christ’s evaluation. How much ministry will stand the test of Christ’s fire? (See 1 Corinthians 3:10-15; 2 Corinthians 5:10.) My biblical sermons have been critiqued according to someone’s opinion and seminary preaching class (i.e., 3 points and a poem). My ministry has been evaluated by church members with a detailed questionnaire. (I wonder how church members would evaluate Christ if he was their pastor? Would he live up to their expectations?) Paul said being evaluated by people was a “small matter” or of the “least consequence.” The evaluation that matters most will come from Christ (1 Corinthians 4:1-5). Any evaluation of a “professional minister” should be evaluated by Christ-like ministry. Go to the Gospels to define Christ-like ministry. Does the pastor have compassion for suffering people like Christ? Is the pastor teaching with authority like Christ? Is the pastor training a small group of people to do Christ-like ministry? Is the pastor using delegated authority to proclaim the kingdom of God, heal the sick and cast out demons? Does the pastor confront false religiosity in the church? (Note: Jesus confronted the false religiosity of his time. The religious leaders of Israel, the Pharisees and Sadducees, had a harshly negative evaluation of Christ’s ministry! They hated Christ’s claims and the “works” that verified his claims so much they murdered him.)
The real concern is “Am I doing Christ-like ministry?”
The key to Christ-like ministry is obedient submission. The proper attitude for ministry is not “What can I do for God?” but “What can God do through me?” “What I can do for God” is an honorable attitude born out of gratitude, but not a correct understanding of how ministry becomes effective. “What I can do for God” may lead to a self-sufficient spirit and the trap of pride. (Could this be one reason some pastors fall into sexual sin? Proverbs 16:18.) “What God can do through me” comes from an attitude of submission and obedience. Ministry becomes empowered by the Spirit and accomplishes the Father’s purpose when it is done with a Christ-like attitude. This is becoming like Christ in ministry.
Here are a few verses stitched together to show Jesus’ relationship with the Father and how he described His ministry. “Truly, truly, I say to you, the Son can do nothing of his own accord, but only what he sees the Father doing. For whatever the Father does, that the Son does likewise. For the Father loves the Son and shows him all that he himself is doing. And greater works than these will he show him, so that you may marvel (5:19-20). I and the Father are one (10:30). Do you not believe that I am in the Father and the Father is in me? The words that I say to you I do not speak on my own authority, but the Father who dwells in me does his works. Believe me that I am in the Father and the Father is in me, or else believe on account of the works themselves. (14:10-12). And the word that you hear is not mine but the Father’s who sent me (v. 24b).”
My paraphrase: Jesus said, “I and the Father are one. I only speak what I hear the Father speaking. I only do what I see the Father doing. So, if you want to know the Father then hear what He is speaking through Me and look at what He is doing through Me.” Jesus the Son offered perfect submission and obedience to the Father. Therefore, the Father did his works through the Son.
Here is a hard ministry prayer: “Father, I offer submission and obedience. I yield to Your purpose and plan today. Let me hear what You are speaking. Show me what You are doing. Do Your work through my life. Not what I want, but Your will be done.”

Seek First God’s Kingdom

Jesus said (Matthew 6:33): “But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.” Scripture provides many examples of this truth. Here are three from the Gospels.

Example 1: Mark 8:1-10 (Matthew 15:32-39). I am impressed with the compassion of Jesus for the 4000+ people who followed him for three days. They were hungry for his teaching about the kingdom of God. They were seeking first God’s kingdom and righteousness. Jesus said, “I have compassion on the crowd, because they have been with me now three days and have nothing to eat. And if I send them away hungry to their homes, they will faint on the way. And some of them have come from far away.” Jesus supplied the people’s need for food as they sought first His kingdom and righteousness. The compassionate Jesus supplied more than enough. The disciples had seven loaves and finished with seven baskets full of leftovers. Seek first and serve Christ’s kingdom and his righteousness and he will supply your needs. It is a test of trust.

Example 2: Jesus sent out the 12 (Luke 9:1-3): When Jesus had called the Twelve together, he gave them power and authority to drive out all demons and to cure diseases, and he sent them out to proclaim the kingdom of God and to heal the sick. 3 He told them: “Take nothing for the journey—no staff, no bag, no bread, no money, no extra shirt.” The mission of the 12 to proclaim God’s kingdom with authority was seeking first God’s kingdom and righteousness. They took no backpack, food, money, or extra clothes. The disciples did not return from their mission starving and naked. As their needs were supplied it confirmed for them Matthew 6:33. 

Example 3: Jesus gave the same instructions to the 72 (Luke 10): “The harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field. Go! I am sending you out like lambs among wolves. Do not take a purse or bag or sandals. When you enter a house, stay there, eating and drinking whatever they give you, for the worker deserves his wages. When you enter a town and are welcomed, eat what is offered to you. Heal the sick who are there and tell them, ‘The kingdom of God has come near to you.’” As the 72 proclaimed and demonstrated the kingdom of God they were seeking first God’s kingdom and righteousness. I assume not one of the 72 returned to Jesus starving and naked. As God supplied their physical needs it confirmed Matthew 6:33. 

These examples show us that when we seek first God’s kingdom and righteousness He will be faithful to provide for our physical needs in this world. If we put our physical needs first then we will miss God’s blessing and experience anxiety. It is a test of trust in the faithfulness of the Son who spoke the Father’s promise. I have done mission work for God’s kingdom from Belize to Burkina Faso, from French Polynesia to Taiwan, and the Father has always been faithful to this promise.

It Is Written: Extinguishing Fiery Arrows

It Is Written: Extinguishing Fiery Arrows

Father God has graciously given me an open door and a new direction for the latter years of my life. But Satan keeps shooting fiery fear-inducing arrows at my mind and heart. (See Ephesians 6:16.) The fiery fear-inducing arrows are hypothetical situations, “What if this happens? What if that happens? You may have an open door now, but it will slam shut in your face! You will fail at it. You will be left alone.” I know these thoughts are not from heavenly Father. It is not the voice of the Holy Spirit. Any hypothetical situation that induces fear is not from my heavenly Father who loves me.

How do you fight these fiery arrows? You fight the same way Jesus did when he was tempted by Satan.

James 4:7 says, “Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.” You fight with submission and resistance. This is how Jesus fought against Satan’s direct attack. Jesus lived in perfect submission to the heavenly Father. Jesus’ submission was perfect obedience. That’s why Jesus was sinless. Jesus resisted with scripture. Jesus answered Satan’s three temptations with “It is written…” When Jesus quoted scripture, Satan had nothing more to say or do. Answering Satan’s fear-inducing arrows with scripture is both submission and resistance.

When Satan shot a fiery fear-inducing arrow at my mind I immediately prayed Revelation 3:8: “Behold, I have set before you an open door, which no one is able to shut. I know that you have but little power, and yet you have kept my word and have not denied my name.” (Note: This open door promised to the church of Philadelphia could be a ministry opportunity or an open door to heaven denied to the Jews persecuting the church.) I declared, “It is written when God opens a door no one is able to shut it. Satan, you cannot shut a door my heavenly Father has opened. Be silent, in Jesus’ name.”

Also, I think the “shield of faith” mentioned in Ephesians 6:16 is made of submission and resistance. It is like a vest made of Kevlar. The “Kevlar” of the shield of faith, the synthetic fiber of high tensile strength that coats the shield of faith, is submission and resistance. Submission and resistance are acts of faith.

Our submission to God will not be as perfect as was Jesus’ submission. However, we can obey the word of God with the assistance of the “paraclete,” the Holy Spirit, and obedience to God’s word is an act of submission. Pray and ask the Holy Spirit to reveal any part of your life not in submission to God. If the Spirit shows you something, fix it. Get yourself completely under the lordship of Christ. Then resist with scripture. Memorize scripture. Jesus had scripture memorized when Satan tempted him. Jesus quoted the perfect scripture for every temptation. Keep resisting until the fiery hypotheticals are weak and ineffective and extinguished.

“It is written” sources to quote and resist the enemy’s fear:

  • Psalm 91 for COVID19.
  • Psalm 23: I will fear no evil for the LORD is my Shepherd.
  • Psalm 37:25-26: I have never seen the righteous forsaken.
  • Psalm 46: God is a “well proved” source of help in trouble.
  • Matthew 6:25-34: Seek first God’s kingdom.
  • Philippians 4:6-7: Peace of God guards your heart and mind.
  • Philippians 4:19 (15-19): God will supply all your needs when you give. So, no fear of giving to meet the needs of others.
  • 2 Timothy 1:7: The Holy Spirit in your spirit is not a spirit of fear, but of power, love, and self-control. Fear is an evil spirit to resist.
  • 2 Corinthians 10:12-13: God is faithful and provides a way of escape when we are tempted/tested. (See explanation.)

This is not an exhaustive list of “It is written” for any occasion, but it is a good place to start.

Explanation of 1 Corinthians 10:13. The temptation for the Corinthians was idolatry – eating at pagan festivals. The common sense “escape” from this temptation is DO NOT GO. The Greek word for temptation is also the word of test. Every temptation is a test of our spiritual character. Every test also includes temptation to disbelieve or disobey God. The promise is that God, who is faithful, will provide an escape from a trap or surprise attack of Satan. The GR word of “way out” may denote a mountain pass. An army marches into a trap but manages to escape through a mountain pass. (It is like a movie when the bad guys are storming the front door and the good guy goes out the back door or a window to escape.) God also knows the limits of our endurance. God will not permit Satan to test us beyond the limit of our endurance, but God also wants to stretch the limits of our patient endurance and grow our faith stronger. God will provide the ability to patiently endure a test and then provide an escape from it. Main point: GOD IS FAITHFUL.

When I transfer money from my PayPal account to my bank account it posts a message: “Don’t see the money in your account? Don’t worry – sometimes it takes a few minutes for it to show up.” When you pray and ask for your heavenly Father’s help sometimes it takes a few days (maybe even weeks or months) for His help to show up. So do not worry. He will show up with what you need! FATHER IS FAITHFUL.