Spiritual Warfare: Remember the Big Picture

For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places. - Ephesians 6:12 (NASB)

Have you ever stopped to think about the fact that the thing, person or circumstance you struggle with the most may not be what you are really fighting against? If there's something going on in your life that you just can't make sense of, consider that unseen spiritual forces may be at work in attempts to thwart God's plan for your life.

Be warned, friends. When you decide to take on a big work for God, the spirit world takes notice. That's why we need to be prepared.

Consider the story in Luke 8 of Jesus driving out the legion of demons from the man in the country of the Gerasenes. Satan and his comrades love to "play" with people! While I'm not insinuating that Christians can be demon-possessed, I'm using this illustration to show that the spirit world is real. In this story, we see Satan's power to harass:

  • Satan deceives - the man thought Jesus would torment him. (Luke 8:28)
  • Satan empowers - the possessed man broke free from chains & shackles. (Luke 8:29)
  • Satan schemes - Satan's demons negotiated with Jesus. (Luke 8:31-32)

How might Satan be harassing you or the people in your life? For what may he be doing it?

When something doesn't make sense after you've examined the situation and your part in it, consider the bigger picture. Look at the timing of the events. Did you just embark on a new adventure for God? Did you recommit to living for Him? If so, your circumstances may be a result of spiritual warfare. 

Stay the course. Put your spiritual armor on as described in Ephesians 6 and remember that God will win in the end. Greater is He that is in you than he (Satan and his minions) who is in the world. (1 John 4:4)

What experiences have you had with spiritual warfare? We'd love to hear from you in a comment below!


Avenging the LORD

And Moses spake unto the people, saying, Arm some of yourselves into the war, and let them go against the Midianites, and avenge the LORD of Midian. - Nu 31:3

What makes your blood boil?  What situations stir you to action?   In the above verse, God stirred up Moses to send the Israelites to war against the Midianites.  God's people had been led astray and because of it God's "name" had been dragged through the mud.  Someone needed to pay for their acts of deception. 

I was struck by the verse above in my daily reading today because of God's call for a holy war.  It is important to note here that Moses' act of gathering the people to war was not an act of petty jealousy.  God's people had been led into sexual immorality and idol worship with the Midianites' prompting.  Moses was motivated because of his closeness with God and the wrongness of the Midianites' deeds.  He walked so closely with God that he not only heard God tell him to avenge His name, but most likely felt the same anger as God did.

We too need to take up "arms" and defend what is right and true.   Today most of our battles are not literal battles as was the case in biblical times.   Today's battles are more subtle and without careful discernment, one might not even be aware of the current day fight.  Christianity is in crisis.   Our Christian blood should be "boiling" at the thought of how many partial truths are being passed off as real Truth.  Let's dust off our "swords" and get into the fray! 

Taking up arms

  • Do you know the Truth of God's Word so well that you can immediately recognize a lie or partial truth?  If not, why not and what are you going to do about it?
  • What "lies" have you been believing?
  • What truths have you been ignoring?


Janna Rust is a Professional Coach and Speaker dedicated to encouraging others towards lives God intends for them.  For more information, visit her at www.purposefulpartnerships.com.

Dangerous Wisdom

Let no one deceive himself.  If anyone among you seems to be wise in this age, let him become a fool that he may become wise.  For the wisdom of this world is foolishness with God.  For it is written, "He catches the wise in their own craftiness;" (1 Cor 3:18-19 NKJV)

UPDATED NOTE: As of mid-April 2008, I have read the Eckart Tolle book discussed below.  In addition, I have listened to a couple of the webcasts for Oprah's class.  My position has not changed.  In fact, I am concerned about how many times Mr. Tolle references Jesus and a bible verse yet misinterprets the meaning of the biblical text.


Yesterday an historic event took place on the internet.  According to a statement on Oprah's website, "more than 500,000 people simultaneously logged on to watch Oprah and Eckhart Tolle live" as they discussed Tolle's book "A New Earth" in most likely the world's largest classroom.  I can't help but wonder what would happen if Oprah picked the biblical book of Romans to teach in her "classroom"?

But what was her classroom teaching?  Could it be dangerous wisdom?  A couple of weeks ago I mentioned this classroom on this blog.  If you haven't read the post, I suggest you do so because I also reference another new age class Oprah has been involved in teaching.   I have not read Eckart Tolle's book, but I have perused his website.  In reference to his teachings, the website states:

At the core of the teachings lies the transformation of consciousness, a spiritual awakening that he sees as the next step in human evolution.  An essential aspect of this awakening consists in transcending our ego-based state of consciousness.

Also according to Eckhart's website, Tolle's partner, Kim Eng,

...sees our "God-nature" as living in and through our human bodies.  When we awaken from unconscious to fully conscious living, we are naturally aligned with our God-nature and thus bring into creation a new world.

This is indeed dangerous "wisdom".  The subtle teachings of the New Age can lead us down a slippery slope to destruction.  It is deception in its finest form, perhaps even deceiving the teachers themselves into believing a false truths.   

Friends, please know that I am not condemning Oprah.  I believe she truly thinks she is helping the world.  Tolle may be in the same position.  But the truth is the truth.  Two "truths" cannot be truth if they contradict each other (i.e. New age teachings vs. the Bible).  There is only one way to God, no matter what anyone but God says, and that is through Jesus Christ, God's son.  Stay away from dangerous "wisdom" and seek the wisdom of God.

Note: For further reading regarding the New Age influence on Oprah and how she's passed on her influence to our culture through her media empire, see this 1998 article from Vantage Point.  It is the best I've seen regarding her and New Age influences.  Be sure to read it in its entirety. 

Equipped to Stand

Christians, are you aware that just because you are who you are, being children of God, that Satan has it out for you?  What are you going to do about it?  The good news is that God has given us all of the tools to defeat our wily adversary, Satan.  Come find out more as I'm over at LWG today in my post "Equipped to Stand" at LWG today. 

I hope to see you there!  :)

Sig Tag

Diggin' Deep

I wonder how many times I zip through passages in my bible reading without digging out the true meaning of a passage. I hope I'm not the only one who does this! :)  How many times do you have questions about what you've just read, only to put the question out of your mind and go on to the next familiar passage?

These days I'm trying to dig deeper into what I'm reading during my daily quiet time with God.  Consequently, I've had to get up a little earlier to accomodate my new quest.  However it has been rewarding.  Last night's reading was interesting.  As I finished up 2 Samuel I came to the following passage:

And again the anger of the LORD was kindled against Israel, and he moved David against them to say, Go, number Israel and Judah.   2 Samuel 24:1

I had lots of questions here.  First, why was God's anger kindled again against Israel?  Hard telling.  I supposed that Israel might have been up to no good again.  Next, I was confused about it appearing that God caused David to sin by causing him to go number Israel and Judah?'.  I knew that God doesn't tempt people to sin (James 1:5) so there must have been another answer.  The answer here can't be found unless we go digging, which for once, I decided to do.  In the cross-reference of my bible, I checked out the following passage in 1  Chronicles 21:1 which further elaborated on my passage in question:

And Satan stood up against Israel, and provoked David to number Israel.

Interesting, huh?  Satan is everywhere in the bible.  While God is in control of everything, God still allowed Satan to tempt David, just as He allowed Satan to harass Job (Job 1:6-9).  Unfortunately, David succombed to the temptation, probably due to pride  and counted the people.  God's judgment on the people ensued, and David was in a way God's instrument of punishment on a nation He was angry against anyway.  Why didn't God just punish Israel instead of getting poor old David involved?  Maybe God wanted to humble David just a wee bit more.  Who knows.  But the story is interesting nonetheless.

So what lessons can we learn here in the midst of all my fun and babbling about this?

1) Sometimes bible study involves not being lazy.

2) Satan was present in Job's day.  Satan was present in David's day.  And Satan is present in our day.  Be on the lookout for his wiley ways.

3) While the bible may have apparent contradictions, there are no real contradictions.  Dig a little deeper to find the truth.

4) God is still in control.

Until next time...

Dear Child

I'm not sure who wrote this, but I was cleaning up my office today and came across this piece.  I pray that anyone who reads this who is struggling with their importance in this world may see anew how important they are to God.


Dear Child:

I just wanted to remind you today of how beautiful you are because their is a father of lies who will try to deceive you.  He will try totell you that you are not good enough, not attractive enough, not thin enough, not strong enough, not smart enough, not righteous enough, and that you are simply unimportant to Me.

He will try to tell you that you have broken one too many promises, that you have fallen one too many times, that you have lived one too many lies, and that you've been going in the wrong direction so long that it is pointless to turn back now.

But guess what?



You see, you are My creation. My workmanship. You have been borne of My though, every part of you placed together by My hands.
You have my thumbprint upon you.
You are a princess (or prince), did you know that?
You are My child, the child of THE King!
I look at you and see a precious, priceless pearl.
There is no ocean I would not swim, no mountain I would not climb, no price I would not pay to have you and to be with you and call you my own.

I already have.

I have done all that I could, given all that there is.
I desire to be with you every moment of every day.
How I long for you to talk to Me every day.
My love for you never grows cold.
My promises are never broken (contrary to what he might lead you to believe).
My character never changes.
And you, my child have been made in My image.

I love you dearly, unconditionally and completely.
I understand every emotion that you have.  I've been there.
I count every tear that you cry.
I know every hair on your head.

And do you know what? I even know your weaknesses and your failures and your fears.  I know those hidden parts of you that you wish would go away.  Those dark corners of your world that you stuff deep down, praying that no one will ever see.  I have already seen them and they will not change my love for you.

Nothing will.

I love your heart and I desire all of it.

I just wanted to remind you today of how beautiful you are and how precious you are to Me.

With Unmeasurable Love,
Your Heavenly Father

Satan Wants Us

Did you ever stop to think about how angry Satan must get when we do things for God?  As I was beginning my day today, I was having those thoughts as I reflected on all of the christians across our country giving of their time and resources to help those ravaged by Hurricane Katrina.  Satan must be "hopping" mad!  Hee...Hee...

While I rejoice over the awesome things going on, it is still sobering to realize that there really is a spiritual warfare out there.  And it is real.  In my reading this morning, I saw where Satan entered into Judas Iscariot to get him to betray Jesus. If that wasn't bad enough, I read on to see that Satan also wanted Simon Peter (see Luke 22:31).

So, why didn't Satan get Peter?  Because Jesus prayed for Him.  Jesus knew that spiritual warfare was real and covered Peter in prayer so that Peter's faith wouldn't fail. 

Luke 22:31-32  And the Lord said, Simon, Simon, behold, Satan hath desired to have you, that he may sift you as wheat:  But I have prayed for thee, that thy faith fail not: and when thou art converted, strengthen thy brethren.

Satan will do anything to stop us from doing things for God.  I know that I have felt his attacks lately. But the good news is that prayer can restore us from being "beaten" down.  Peter never left Jesus, he was just overcome by the circumstances surrounding him - Jesus' persecution - that caused him to deny his Lord and temporarily fall.  I loved the passage above because not only does Jesus pray for Peter, but I'm reminded that He also prayed for me (John 17:20-23). He knows that I will grow weary at times, but like Peter, I will rise up again and use the experience to help strengthen my "brethren".

Thank You, Lord, for not giving up on Your children.  For not forgetting me.  I love You.

P.S. Check out the following song by Michael W. Smith from his album "I'll Lead You Home".  I'll Lead You Home . We just need to leave our problems to God and He will lead us home.  Enjoy.