Thursday, January 24, 2013

The Keys of the Kingdom

Today while studying Scripture, I came across a verse that stuck out at me like a sore thumb.  I've always glossed over the first half of the verse to get to the second half of the verse.  But today, the Spirit made me go slower, and the words literally jumped out at me, as if Someone had shone a light upon them.  Perhaps He did indeed.

The verse in question is Matthew 16:19:

Whenever I gloss over this verse, it's always to get to the "binding and loosing".  Most folks use that phrase with regards to spiritual warfare.  But what stuck out at me today was this:

"I will give you the keys of the kingdom of Heaven...."

In my mind's eye, I pictured a ring of lovely golden keys, given to every saint of God.  Immediately, as the Spirit led my thoughts, I remembered of another set of keys -- the keys of Hell and death.

Christ says quite clearly in Revelation 1:18 that HE alone holds those keys.  Even more interesting is when you think that if Christ is the Keeper of those keys, then it is not Satan who reigns in Hell.  Our God reigns... Everywhere.  Hell might be the one place that God has removed His omnipresence, but He is still omniscient and omnipotent over all His creation.  Hell is not Satan's kingdom.  All dominion belongs to Yeshua as the Judge of the whole earth.

But what a contrast -- Christ holds the keys to Hell and death -- and His saints hold the keys to His Kingdom.  All authority has been given to Christ -- He is the Judge, the One sinners will face at the Great White Throne (Rev. 20:11-12).  By His ruling and the witness of what's written in the books, He passes sentence, and those not covered by His atoning blood are banished forevermore.  Yet, to His Bride, the one He trusts, He has given the authority to open the very gates of Heaven.  What an honor!

The keys on our ring are Prayer, Knowledge, Wisdom, Spirit, Truth, the Gospel, and Christ Himself.  The only way into Heaven is through Him.  And it is up to His Body, the Church, to proclaim Him to the ends of the earth.  Not only that, but having the keys of His Kingdom also implies a few things.  For us, the gates of Heaven are wide open.  We can come in and commune with the Almighty (Rev. 1:6).  We can ask Him to send us legions of His angels (Matt. 26:53).  We can call on spiritual blessings to rain down upon us (Eph. 1:3).  And the armies of Heaven are at our back (Luke 10:19). 

The gates of Heaven won't open for merely anyone, but only to sons and daughters of the Most High (Eph. 1:5).  Through Christ, we are now accepted into the Family of God -- but that family doesn't lump us in with the angels -- the Family of God is the very Triune Godhead Himself.

We are now accepted in Yeshua, the Beloved (Eph. 1:6).  Our lives are hidden with Christ in God (Colossians 3:3).  And Christ is the very Son of God.  When we are glorified, as He is now, we will share in His divine nature (2 Peter 1:4).  Not to become gods ourselves, but to be higher than the angels (Hebrews 1:13, Revelation 3:21).  This is why He gives us His authority and the keys to His Kingdom.

In the verse preceding the verse about the keys of the Kingdom, Yeshua tells us in Matthew 16:18:

The gates of Hell shall never prevail against His Church.  Why?  Because Yeshua Himself holds the keys to Hell and death! 

Yeshua, quite literally, has authority over the gates of Hell, and He has the keys and the power to lock them.  The gates of Hell CANNOT prevail because it is on YESHUA's authority that they remain locked.  There is no way Hell can overcome the will of GOD.

No one else has the keys but Christ!

Being a saint of Yeshua, able to open the gates of the Kingdom, is not only an enormous privilege, but a glorious power.  Once we understand those gates open by turning the key in our own hand, imagine the sway we could have in prayer if we but applied it!  As Charles Spurgeon once said, "Prayer is the slender nerve that moves the muscle of omnipotence."  Think about that for a moment.  When your will aligns with God's will, your prayer can move mountains!  Nothing is impossible for God.  An open door in Heaven means God listens to His saints.  God blesses His saints.  God provides for His saints.  And God protects His saints.

And one day, we will ourselves walk through those very gates of Glory, and smile at the ring of keys given to us at Calvary, embossed with our name, dangling earnestly, and well-used, from the unbolted pearly lock.


Monday, January 21, 2013

A Study on the First Great Commandment

Today as I was driving in my van, taking the kids to Grandma's, a song came on my iPod - twice.  It's not on my list twice, but it must have cycled through the list and played it again on shuffle.  It's a song entitled "Love the Lord your God" by Lincoln Brewster.  If you don't know the First Great Commandment, then you will after listening to this song.  :P


When something happens to me twice in the span of a few hours or on the same day, I usually take notice.  Sometimes it's God trying to get my attention.  So, I began thinking about this Great Commandment and how it ties in to abiding in Yeshua.  Abiding in Christ is one of the big themes on my blog, and therefore I wanted to tie it in with that theme.  

In Scripture, Christ gives the Two Great Commandments after someone asks Him, "What is the greatest commandment in the Law?"  Christ responds with this in Mark 12:30:

He actually responds with the Shema, which is what devout Jews recite every morning and evening -- "Hear O Israel, the Lord our God, the Lord is one" and then goes into the "Love the Lord your God..." from Deuteronomy 6:4-5

Okay, let's examine each word and what they mean, because even though we recite this, we might not really internalize what the words mean.

Love the Lord your God with all your:


With all your love, basically.  Every piece of your heart - it says "ALL" of your heart.  You put God first in your life and everything else second.  From the heart springs praise, worship, adoration, and devotion.  The heart is where your desires come from.  Loving God with all your heart makes HIM your Desire.  If the world offered you all its riches, you'd shun them - you don't love material items, you love GOD.

Love the Lord your God with all your:


The soul is your being, your life-force.  It is the seat of your morality as you were made in the image of God.  Loving God with your soul is connecting to Him in prayer by His Spirit.  Your spirit tunes in with His Spirit and you touch the eternal.  It is by the soul we are able to come into His presence.

Love the Lord your God with all your:


The mind is the center of your thoughts.  It is where you reason, how you learn, obtain wisdom and gain knowledge.  It is with our mind we seek God, and we therefore find Him with our soul.  As Scripture tells us to think on things that are pure and righteous (Philippians 4:8), that is how we love Him with our minds.  Learning of Him and thinking on holy things.

Love the Lord your God with all your: 


It is with our strength we are able to do deeds for God.  Through our strength, we serve Him.  Our strength gives us courage when our hearts fail us.  Our faith springs forth from the courage in our hearts.  Whatever our hearts' desire, the tenacity with which we want that desire determines the strength by which we obtain it.  Therefore, if we love the Lord our God with ALL our heart, our strength flows from that devotion.  Even if our flesh and our hearts may fail, GOD is the strength of our hearts, and our portion forever (Psalm 73:26).  Our strength gives us the ability to serve Him, to obey Him, and the perseverance to trust Him.

Scripture says in Ecclesiastes 4:12 that a cord of three strands is not easily broken.  This cord of the First Great Commandment has four.  If each element of this cord is in place, our close, abiding bond with Yeshua will never be broken.  This is how we abide in Him without falling away.  Most Christians who feel far from God say, "Yeah, I pray, I make time for God first thing in the morning.  I do read my Bible.  I go to church.  Why is God silent?"

Compare your walk with Yeshua against the First Great Commandment.  Do you love Him with all your heart?  Every last DROP of your devotion and praise?  Do you thank God for creating you?  Do you praise His name for saving you?  Do you marvel at His creation and see His glory wherever you turn?  

Do you love Him with all your soul?  When you pray are you mouthing words to an empty room, or truly stepping into the Throne Room of the Most High?  Is prayer a duty or a pleasure?  Does it annoy you, one more thing on your to-do list, or do you crave it as a balm to your weary soul?  

Do you love Him with all your mind, are you endlessly seeking Him (as that is what it means to "seek")?  Seeking is a continual process.  One does not merely "find" God and be done with it.  Seeking implies continual treasure-hunting, going back into the mine to find more and more gold.  One knows they are truly seeking God when one golden nugget of Truth simply isn't enough.  They must have more and more.  This treasure trove is bottomless, therefore the seeker can now only hunger after the very Bread of Life.  The treasures of the world grow strangely dim against the glorious gems of God's Spiritual wisdom.  

And finally, do you love Him with all your strength?  Do you continue to serve and obey Him, even when the road gets rough?  Do you continue to trust and have faith though you walk through the valley of the shadow of death?  Can you say to yourself, "I am merely walking *through* the valley, I am not stopping forever.  Death is merely a shadow, not an eternal darkness.  And where there's a shadow, there's a Light.  God is beside me."  Can you say that honestly?  Are you serving God with courage, and perseverance, when the sweat pours off your brow and you're tired and beaten down by those who would seek to shake your faith?  Is God alone the strength of your heart?  Is He the first place you turn when you are faced with a problem?

These four cords are braided so tightly around each other that you cannot abide if you do not have one of these cords.  If you do not have the heart, you cannot have any strength.  Without strength, your mind will fail.  Without your mind, you cannot refresh your soul.  And your soul cannot seek the Spirit of God without the heart.  Not only is the First Great Commandment a braided cord with four strands, but it is an endless circle as well.  A ring.  

Quite fitting, considering Yeshua is our Bridegroom.

As I was studying these words, I went back and read the original text in Deuteronomy our Lord was quoting.  Here is what it says in Deuteronomy 6:5:

Do you notice what's missing from this verse in Deuteronomy compared to what Yeshua told us in Mark 12:30?  I have never noticed this little gem before, because I've never bothered to look at this section in Scripture with any scrutiny.  I wonder if this is all part of the Spirit's plan for prompting me to do this study? 

Christ tells us in Mark to love the Lord our God with all our MIND.  That word is conspicuously missing in the Deuteronomy text.  And yet, the Lord quotes the Shema perfectly in Mark.  I know the Spirit doesn't whisper things to me unless He wants me to know some truth, so I asked Him why.  "Why does Yeshua add the mind in Mark, Lord?"

The answer actually floored me, and it came quite quickly.  Yeshua taught a new way of interpreting the Law.  He taught that we can break it even with our THOUGHTS.  If we look at a woman with lust, we have committed adultery with her (Matthew 5:28).  If we hate our brother, we have murdered him (Matthew 5:21-22).  Yeshua, being the Word of God, was teaching that not only should we love the Lord inwardly (heart), prayerfully (soul), and outwardly (strength), but also with our very thoughts (mind).  I have no doubt this was monumental to the Jews of the day, devout Jews who recited the Shema every morning and evening.  It was with this one amendment to the Shema that Christ blew the minds of His brethren.  

If thoughts are on the table in breaking God's Law, then no one is saved by the Law.  Christ proved many times that He could read thoughts: Matthew 9:4, Luke 9:47, John 1:45-50.

And thus, He subtly told everyone present they were guilty of sin and needed a Savior.  They needed HIM.

Hallelujah, this study is better than I'd hoped!  That's when you know the Hand of God directed it.  Thank You, Lord, for playing that song twice today, else I wouldn't have found this vein of gold.  \O/


Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Intriguing Study on The Word of God

Whenever God wants me to study something, He usually lays it on my heart until I follow through.  This study did not come about by any curiosity of my own, but rather, a nagging in my spirit whenever I came across a teaching on the Word of God -- but not just Scripture, also Christ Himself.  That "nagging" feeling is usually how I recognize the Holy Spirit telling me to pay attention, He's got awesome in mind.

Before I started this study, I prayed about it, and asked God to reveal a few things.  There are so many different references to God's Word, that one might be a bit boggled about what it truly is.  Most folks go with the knee-jerk answer -- the Bible.  But that's not the end of the story.  John 1:1 and John 1:14 clearly state that the Word was with God, the Word was God, and the Word became flesh.  Therefore, the second answer one might give to the question "What is God's Word?" is Christ Himself.  And they would be correct.

The answer to "What is God's Word?" is, quite simply, YESHUA the Messiah.  Now that we've gotten the answer out of the way, let me go in depth and show you what God revealed to me as to WHY Yeshua is the Word of God.

Late one night, with prayer (and Bible Gateway) as my only mode of communication, He gave me a list of attributes for the Word.   I studied the list, amazed at what I'd found, and I determined to find Scripture to bear witness to this list the very next day.  It wasn't hard.  The Spirit was moving.  So here we go.


"You shall not add to the word that I command you, nor take from it, that you may keep the commandments of the Lord your God that I command you." ~Deuteronomy 4:2

The Word of God is His commandments.  Rules to live by.  Laws that He has made.  The way of life that He has decreed.  God laid down the Ten Commandments for Moses in the Old Testament, and Yeshua told us of the Two Great Commandments in the New Testament; Love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, mind and strength, and love your neighbor as yourself (Matthew 22:37:40). 

God's commandments are less about oppression and following a set of arbitrary rules and more about living a life that mirrors HIM.  Therefore, the commanding Word of God reflects the likeness of Yeshua, the ultimate perfection we should strive to become.


"And when he sits on the throne of his kingdom, he shall write for himself in a book a copy of this law, approved by the Levitical priests. And it shall be with him, and he shall read in it all the days of his life, that he may learn to fear the Lord his God by keeping all the words of this law and these statutes, and doing them" ~Deuteronomy 17:18-19

Scripture is nothing more than the written Word of God.  The Word was written down to pass on to the next generation, so they will "learn to fear the Lord and keep His commandments".  Ever play a game of "telephone"?  By the time you get to the last person, the original message has been twisted to something completely different.  God didn't wish for this to happen to His commands through word-of-mouth, which is why He had scribes and prophets write down His Word.  This is why the Bible is called the Word of God.  It's God's promises written down.  It's where we go to encounter and learn of Yeshua every single day.  Without God's written Word, we wouldn't know Him.  Therefore, the written Scriptures reveal the True Word of God, Yeshua.


"Blessed be the Lord who has given rest to his people Israel, according to all that he promised. Not one word has failed of all his good promise, which he spoke by Moses his servant." ~1 Kings 8:56

In 1 Kings, we see that God's Word is also a promise, of which God keeps, not even one of His words fail.  God has many, many promises spoken throughout the Bible, promises never to abandon His inheritance (Psalm 94:14) and to hear the prayers of His children (Proverbs 15:29), among countless others, one of the most important being the promise of Messiah.  Therefore, Yeshua is the physical embodiment of the promise of the Word of God.


"Then the word of the Lord came to Isaiah:" ~Isaiah 38:4
"The word that came to Jeremiah from the Lord:" ~Jeremiah 7:1
"The word of the Lord came to me:" ~Ezekiel 25:1

All throughout the prophets, both minor and major, they have one central theme -- the word of the LORD came to them.  God chose these men to speak to, not only to tell them of the future, but also God's plan for mankind through His Son Yeshua.  God gives prophecy so that when it happens, we'll believe (John 13:19).  Therefore, prophecy fits nicely with the promise above, as God knows in advance what He will do.  Prophecy is nothing more than God's future promises that have yet to come to pass.  But all prophecy ultimately culminates in Yeshua's reign over the heavens and the earth and how we eventually end up, as sheep or goats (Matthew 25:32).  There are prophecies proclaiming both His First and Second Coming.  Therefore, the future promises of the prophetic Word of God are about Yeshua and His Kingdom.


"Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who has no need to be ashamed, rightly handling the word of truth." ~2 Timothy 2:15

God is not a man that He should lie (Numbers 23:19).  Therefore, His Word is truth.  Everything He says is true.  It's true He keeps His promises.  And if each of His promises have come true, then His prophecy (future promises) comes true as well.  God has proven Himself countless times to His people.  He brought the Israelites out of Egypt and gave them the land promised to Abraham.  He even brought the Jews back to their promised land in 1948, fulfilling Isaiah 66:7-8.  We know the truth of the Word of God relates to Yeshua, because He even called Himself the Truth in John 14:6


"And God said, “Let there be light,” and there was light." ~Genesis 1:3

God's Word speaks creation into being.  This is in perfect parallel with verses such as John 1:1-3, Isaiah 48:13, & Colossians 1:16.  We know that John calls Christ the "Word" and the Creator, through Isaiah, God Himself says He created the heavens, and Paul says Christ created everything in Colossians.  We can therefore extrapolate that CHRIST is the one releasing the power of God all throughout Scripture.  If God speaks, it is therefore CHRIST speaking.  Anywhere in the Bible when the audible voice of God is heard, it is Yeshua.  

UNTIL Christ came to live a human life on earth.  

Remember, Yeshua did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped (Philippians 2:6) and left His Throne of Glory to save us all.  Therefore, there are two times when the voice of God was heard and it was the FATHER, not the Son.  When Christ was baptized (Matthew 3:17) and when Christ prayed with the Greeks (John 12:28).  This was because when He was upon the earth, He was submissive to the Father.  However, His rightful spot is one of authority at the right hand of God.  Now that He has died for His children, was buried, then raised into glory, the Father has given all authority back to Yeshua, the Creator, through the Word of God.  


"And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me." ~Matthew 28:18  

The Word of God has always been the authority of God, especially if His authority is wrapped up in His  Command, His Promise, and His Truth. Now that Yeshua has returned to His Throne, He is the final authority of God.  The Father has stepped aside and given all authority to His right hand, which is Christ.  Now and forevermore, when God speaks, it is Yeshua, not the Father, because all authority has been given to Him.  Therefore, Yeshua is the one and only authority behind the Word of God.


"For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart." ~Hebrews 4:12

In the book of Hebrews, we learn the Word of God is ALIVE.  This verse actually has a double meaning, in my opinion.   Here, the author is likely speaking of Scripture as the Spirit-breathed Word, alive because every word in it has been anointed and inspired by the Holy Spirit.  However, the other meaning of the verse is the True Word of God, Yeshua, is ALIVE as well, resurrected from the grave, and sitting bodily glorified on the Throne of God.  Right this very moment.  And He is OFFENSIVE to this perishing world!  Nothing gets under an unbeliever's skin more than the mere mention of Jesus Christ.  Sing about God all day long, but say "Jesus", and prepare for war.  "The Word is Alive and sharper than a two-edged sword" indeed.  If He was dead, if His written Word was dead, there'd be no need to get so hot under the collar.


"and take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God" ~Ephesians 6:17

Ephesians pretty much says the same thing as Hebrews above.  The sword of the Spirit is the Word of God.  The Word of God is Yeshua.  The cool thing about Scripture is that it confirms itself.  We see in Revelation how the "sword of the Spirit" comes from the mouth of Yeshua at His Second Coming -- which is where God speaks His WORD: "Out of his mouth comes a sharp sword with which to strike down the nations. "He will rule them with an iron scepter." He treads the winepress of the fury of the wrath of God Almighty." ~Revelation 19:15


"And the word of God continued to increase, and the number of the disciples multiplied greatly in Jerusalem, and a great many of the priests became obedient to the faith." ~Acts 6:7 

The Word is the very Gospel itself.  The story of God, coming to earth to live a perfect life in Yeshua, dying upon the cross, and taking our sin to His grave so that we can have His righteousness is the very Word of God.  It was the culmination of all God's promises in the Old Testament.  Therefore, the Gospel itself is the WORD of God -- it's the work of Christ, spoken by God in ages past, yet not fully understood until His plan was revealed at the First Advent.  Therefore, the "Word of God" increased as disciples multiplied -- more people believed, the Spirit indwelt more and more believers, and God's plan began to unfold, saving men from the power of the grave!  The Gospel itself, therefore, is God's promise of His own Word fulfilled -- as the Word Himself fulfilled His own Commandments to give us His Grace.


"Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God." ~Colossians 3:16 

In Colossians, we see an amazing switch in the verbage -- I even checked multiple translations and they all say the same.  Paul clearly says "the word of Christ" instead of the word of God.  It's not a big deal to us now, because we know Christ IS God.  However, this verse proves Christ's words are God's words.  Because Paul declares the Word of Christ is the same as the Word of God, then we can go back through the Gospels and take every word of Christ as a promise, a command, a truth, with the power of creation, spoken in authority, and a living Sword able to cut through both soul and spirit.  Too cool!  Therefore, even when Yeshua was on earth, when the Father had authority, Christ still had His divine privilege as the Word of God.


"In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God." ~John 1:1
"And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth." ~John 1:14
"He is clothed in a robe dipped in blood, and the name by which he is called is The Word of God." ~Revelation 19:13 

Finally, we come to Christ Himself.  Most folks think Christ as the "Word" is only referenced in the book of John.  However, it's also mentioned in Revelation, giving two witnesses in Scripture (Deut. 19:15) of the same truth.  Yeshua Messiah is the living Word of God, who speaks for God, who has all the authority of God, the One who creates, and the One who makes all things new.  If nothing else, I hope this study has given you a new perspective on the Word of God, and an eagerness to now read the Old Testament with "new glasses".  The Word of God speaks -- and He's JESUS CHRIST.

Amen, now and forever more.  To God be the glory!  \O/

Sunday, January 6, 2013

My Experiences with Spiritual Warfare

Amen.  Ol' Scratch don't like me much.  If I forget to ask God to cover my house with His protection at night, I get attacked in my sleep - without fail - and I'm not just talking about having "bad dreams."

The enemy tries his hardest to instill fear in me, but I'm just not afraid of him.  Greater is He that is in me than he that is in the world (1 John 4:4).  I have read a few books on spiritual warfare, and while that hardly makes me an expert, I feel confident enough as a Christian to rebuke demons. 

They started paying attention to me right after I shifted gears in my life and rededicated myself to God.  When I was dormant and sitting on the sidelines, I wasn't a threat to them.  But now, I am loud and proud about storming the gates of Hell and not worried about who's watching.

I never really thought about spiritual warfare before until my children began telling me they were hearing voices in the house.  I don't believe in ghosts, I believe in demons.  I know my kids were telling me the truth due to my own experiences as a child.  I, too, used to hear voices calling my name in an empty house.  I used to hear them speak horrible, hateful things about me in a sing-song type voice, either talking really fast, like a tape recorder on fast forward, or really slow like a video on super-slow-mo.  I, too, used to feel an intense fear, see shadows, and once, even witnessed an apparition in my room.

I'm not completely "green" when it comes to the spiritual realm.

After reading a fabulous book called "I Give You Authority" by Charles Kraft, I went through my house room by room and rebuked anything that might be lurking in the mighty name of Jesus.  After that, as the spiritual authority in my home, I declared the demons were not allowed to touch my children, they could only come through me.  I've learned that demons are very legalistic.  They follow rules.  And if one in authority claims their authority, they must listen and obey that authority.

They stopped pestering my children.

Until I learned how to come before God and wield my rights as a child of God, the enemy attacked me almost every night after that.  They'd come into my dreams and pounce on me.  I don't often realize my dream is demonic until they've already pounced, as they catch me off guard.  They do this so I don't have "time" to call upon Jesus, and, without fail, they try to prevent me from doing so.

Within these dreams, I've had my voice altered, as if they're trying to change how my vocal chords work so I can't say Jesus' name.  I've been choked many times.  And once, in a particularly vivid dream, a demon jumped on my back and shoved its fist down my throat.  They've tied me up, set me on fire, made their hatred known, and even sent a "super demon" to face me once.

I call him a "super demon" because I don't know how else to describe him.  He was enormous.  He was powerful.  And he growled much like the Balrog in the movie "The Fellowship of the Ring".  In the dream, he'd slammed my son and my baby daughter against a wall.  I pretty much went "Spirit Filled Mama Bear" on him when I saw that.  I ran into the room, and immediately, I was in the center of the room, like a "cut-scene", it's the only way to describe it.  My legs were planted firmly apart and my arms were reaching toward Heaven.  I believe God put me in that posture because I could feel the Spirit of the Living God coursing through me.  It rained down on me like a waterfall, hitting the floor and spreading throughout the room like fingers of thick mist.

I screamed, "Get away from them, in the name of Jesus Christ!"  My voice was deeper and stronger than it is in the natural, more guttural, and full of power.

The demon immediately whipped around to face me and screamed "JESUS!" right back.  I'm unsure if he was taunting me, cursing at me, or genuinely surprised I could rebuke him.  I didn't tell him to leave, just to stop harming my kids, of which he immediately did.  But since he didn't immediately leave, I thought I'd have to rebuke him again.  In that moment, God woke me up.

Usually, if I don't fully rebuke a demon in my dream, I can still "feel" it in the room upon waking.  It's an odd feeling.  An oppressive feeling of darkness and fear.  But once I rebuke it in the natural, it slinks away, and one even left somewhat reluctantly, as if I was prey it wanted to play with like a cat playing with a mouse.

But there was no trace of this "super demon" when I awoke.  I felt nothing but peace in my spirit.  I believe God completely took care of it for me.  Perhaps it was bigger than I could have handled on my own.  Or perhaps it decided to leave after seeing the grand display of God's glorious power pouring out of Heaven and down through my body.  Maybe he decided it wasn't worth it, that God Almighty vehemently and jealously protects this little "nobody" housewife.

Ever since that encounter, I've had a couple of times when I'd forgotten to pray for God's protection over my house and my dreams and they've tried to get at me again.  But what I find amusing is the last time they attacked me in a dream, the demon was down the hall of a house I was in, and he only peeked his head around the corner.  He wouldn't come any closer.  I rebuked him easily, but after I woke up from that dream, I couldn't help but laugh.  It makes me joyous to know the enemy is frightened of me.  It gives me more faith in God that He is with me wherever I go.

I've learned through all this that even when they choke you or change your voice or even shove their fist in your mouth, if you just *think* your rebuke in Jesus' name, they immediately let you go.  God can hear our thoughts and He will not leave us to fight alone.  "All who call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved" (Romans 10:13).

I really don't know what prompted me to write this post -- I felt the Spirit wanted my brethren to know what I've been going through and a little of what I've learned to protect myself in spiritual warfare.  I don't talk about this at all to anyone, because it is a little uncomfortable.  Even fellow Christians don't like to talk about demons, and if one goes around talking about being attacked in their dreams, people they tell might be skeptical.  Therefore, I keep this kind of thing to myself.

But God is telling me to share my knowledge.  Perhaps more of you are being attacked as well.  So here is what I've learned during my trials of war.

Every night, I pray and ask God to protect my dreams, and the dreams of every member of my family.  I ask Him to hide my house in the spiritual realm.  Sometimes, I ask Him to hide it in the shadow of His wings, or to cover my house with His hand.  I ask for angels to be posted in every corner of my house, as well as my property, and I ask for them to sing praises to God in the spirit.  I cannot hear them, but demons can, and they won't be lurking about with the Heavenly Host singing, "Hallelujah!"

I know God honors these kinds of "creative" prayers, because once I got cocky and asked Him to shine my house like a beacon in the night with His glory so that every demon for miles around would know a Christian lived here.  I asked for angels singing loudly in the skies above my house, and basically for my house to be like a spotlight.  For about a week after that, I had to deal with some hairy spiritual stuff.  I definitely got some attention.  Therefore ever since then, I've asked God to HIDE my house in the spirit rather than advertise where I live.

And every night I pray for protection, I have it.  Peaceful, warm dreams about whatever.  But the night I forget to pray for God to cover my dreams and my house -- the demons press in.  They're looking for any chink they can find, any weakness to get at me.  But even so, the demon from my last dream wouldn't even come out from around the corner.

While this sounds scary to the average Christian, its really not.  Demons are more like cockroaches than Hollywood horror.  When one properly exercises their authority over them, they must obey.  Christ is greater and He lives within the brethren.  We are His Body, and if we call upon our Head -- Jesus -- He'll route those demons and send them packing.  "Whatever is bound on earth is bound in heaven, and whatever is loosed on earth is loosed in heaven" (Matthew 18:18).

Therefore, put on your armor, believer, and do not allow the enemy to get the better of you -- even at your most vulnerable.  They refuse to face me when I'm awake.  It's always when I'm asleep.  Demons are cowards, especially when they're trying to pester a Christian who is fully aware of their inheritance and authority in Christ.  They will not shake me.  My God is greater.  "If God is for me, who can stand against me?" (Romans 8:31)