God of the Sword

Psalm 35: 1 – 3                 God’s Word

O Lord, attack those who attack me. Fight against those who fight against me. Use your shields, both small and large. Arise to help me. Hold your spear to block the way of those who pursue me. Say to my soul, “I am your savior.”

How many facets of Yahweh do you know personally? He has many titles He connects to people through. Whole books have been written on the “Names of God” though I would argue those aren’t His names as much as they are positions or titles. For example, your name may be Mary, but you may also be known as a CEO, a musician, mother, daughter, grandmother, etc. We all hold many positions in life and in the lives of others. God is the same. His name is Yahweh but He is God, Father, Lord, Master, King, Provider, etc. He is warm and comforting in His role as Father but He is also a proud and bold warrior, one unparalleled and He dons His armor and weapons on your behalf.

It may sometimes be hard to see God in this way if you have been relating to Him as a loving parent. It is important that we realize He is our advocate and more than that, He is our defender. If someone threatens us, then they have to deal with Him. When I have been in stressful situations before, I have thought, “My Dad is bigger than your Dad.” It is, perhaps, a childish idea but one which reframes problem situations very quickly for me. In verse 3 the Passion Translation reads, “Stand for me when they stand against me!” The essence of that idea is not only comforting but empowering also. We need not cower. We have a very strong general at the head of the column leading the way but one who will also stand shoulder to shoulder with us in the time of trouble.

These verses reveal that He has shields with which He is able to block the way. He will not allow the enemy to get to us. Surely, that is comforting. The NASB reads, “Draw also the spear and the battle-axe to meet those who pursue me.” While the spear and battle axe can be used to fend off attacks, don’t you also get the impression that He has them for offensive tactics as well? He has a buckler and a shield. We see that from verse two so why does He also draw the battle axe and the spear. I think His defensive posture with these weapons at the ready is a clear message to the enemy that should they breach the boundary, Yahweh God is ready and willing to defend His kid.

Lastly, I know we are supposed to pray for our enemies, and do, but isn’t it good to know that you have a well-armed giant at your side should those enemies not hearken to the voice of prayer and intercession? And, if you turn your eyes to the left and right, spiritually, you will see that He has legion upon legion of warrior angels arrayed in their battle armor too. Fear not my beloved. The army is at your side.

Sanctuary or Prison?

2 Corinthians 10: 3 – 4

For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war according to the flesh, for the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh, but divinely powerful for the destruction of fortresses.

Today, we hear God tell us that the weapons of the Spirit are divinely powerful and will destroy fortresses. Think of the word fortress also as stronghold. The Word of God will utterly destroy the stronghold of the enemy. But, guess who else has strongholds. Sure, all of us. We have mental and emotional strong holds that need to be defeated. The Word of God is sharp and sure and you can use it to destroy your own strongholds.

What are some strongholds that people often have? Well, we carry around all kinds of emotional baggage for starters. Strongholds can be little areas we retreat into when we are threatened. Strongholds can also be old and outdated traditions. Sometimes we adhere strictly to traditions that no longer make any sense. Maybe you lock yourself away in a fortress of fear. Even sickness and injury can be strongholds. Frankly, sometimes it is easier to be sick than to get up and fight to get well or whole. I know. Perhaps you rely on someone else to your own detriment. There is always a balance between leaning to heavily on others and being self-reliant to a fault. There are probably innumerable strongholds that we hide away in but the Word of God is strong enough to destroy all of those secret fortresses. While we have used those strongholds to protect ourselves, in truth they are keeping us from being whole. They have a high cost. They keep us disabled. They prevent us from reaching our true potential. Most importantly, they rob us of ever having healthy relationships with our Father and with others. They were convenient for a season but now it is time to break out of all those little dark fortresses we have built up within ourselves. They keep us from truly experiencing the freedom that we could have in Christ. Most of them are built out of lies and misconceptions anyway.

You no longer need a made up fortress to protect you from hurt. You are an adult in Christ now and you can take on the biggest baddie that the devil ever created because you don’t have to fight anything in your own might any longer. You don’t have to hide away in fear any more. When the light of the son shines on those old fears, you will see them for the lies they are. You will see how much greater the son is than those problems. You can truly be free and you can develop into the person that God intended you to be before those things interfered with your development. Let the light of the Word shine and vanquish those little demons that have plagued you for so long.

Halt, Thief!

Proverb 6: 31

But when he is found, he must repay sevenfold.

Restitution by a thief is what is being discussed in this passage. When the thief is discovered, he must repay seven times what he stole. There is an interesting connection from the New Testament. Jesus told us that “The thief comes only to steal, and kill, and destroy” (John 10: 10). Who is the thief? The devil, of course. He is the enemy of all who love Jesus and he would love to steal everything from you but you have the ability to stop him and even to make him repay seven times what he stole.

I wrote to you last week about how we are increasingly ignoring, or denying the existence of the devil and his minions. When we deny the existence and influence of Satan we begin to blame God for the bad things that happen. I find this tragic. Not only do we allow the devil to get off free when we hide in our denial but we don’t receive the restitution we are due. Worst of all, since we need someone to blame, we blame God. Obviously, these recriminations against God damage our relationship with Him. How can you have a close, trusting and loving relationship with someone you believe is doing you harm? Even if you try to justify the assumption that God is the one who is making bad things happen as His attempt to strengthen you, it will still destroy your relationship with Him.

I was exposed to this dangerous teaching like many of you were. I remember telling my basketball coach, “It’s too hard with God so I am going to have to be without Him.” I turned my back on God because people had me convinced that God was doing all these bad things to me. I sure wish someone had stood apart from the crowd and said, “Hey, that’s the devil who is evil doing those things, not God who is good.” I think I could have taken it from there and realized how foolish and broken my logic was.

I don’t know if people are just afraid of the devil so that is why they deny his existence or if he just has really good Public Relations people. None the less, our continual denial of his existence and his shenanigans is putting God, our beloved, right in the target sights. No one is throwing stones at Satan. They are all casting stones at God, the one who loved us so much that He sent His only child to die a horribly cruel death so that we might be saved. When you state it that way, it really defies logic but that is what so many of us do without really considering.

Look, you don’t have to be afraid of the devil. You’ve got Jesus and his victory. All you have to do is catch the thief. He has to pay back seven times if you will catch him instead of blaming God. God is the one who will make him pay restitution because He is a righteous God. There are any number of weapons Jesus has provided for you, all of them effective. Praise music, reading your Bible out loud to the devil (he loves that), giving money to a ministry (one of my personal favorites), prayer and more. Just remind the devil of the blood of Jesus. Figuratively, bathe your business, ministry or family in the blood. Dedicate everything in your life to Jesus, whatever the devil is torturing you with or messing with, see yourself go put it on Jesus’ altar. Then dare the devil to mess with it. Install Jesus as CEO, but really do it, not merely mouth the words. Let Jesus run your business for a couple of weeks and see if the devil doesn’t take his hands off of it.

Give over leadership of your family to Jesus. He never meant for you to be the leader of your family. That’s how it gets messed up. He wants to be head of the household. As long as you are, the devil is going to get in your stuff. Give it to Jesus. It really is his problem afterall, because he is the shepherd, not you. You are one of the flock.

Whatever area of your life is being challenged. Go put it on the altar and sprinkle Jesus blood on it. Remember, this is how Abraham became the Father of us all, by putting his son on the altar. Releasing control to Jesus is the quickest way (not the easiest mind) to get the devil out of it. Where ever there is the blood of Jesus, the devil will flee. He hates the Word, and he cannot bear even one drop of the blood.

I want you blessed and I am so tired of watching the devil steal from Christians. God has prepared a way for us and has given us all of the tools necessary. Put blame where it is due and make the devil pay; make him pay back seven times what he stole.


2 Corinthians 10: 4

For the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh, but divinely powerful for the destruction of fortresses.

Why is Paul talking to us about weapons of warfare after the death and resurrection of Jesus? Jesus has already won, hasn’t he? He marched in to Hades and took the keys of death and hell away from the devil. So why is Paul talking about warfare? Isn’t it done?

Well, I guess we have only to look around us to see that the war is not over. Yes, Jesus has won. He defeated the powers of hell for all time but that is almost useless if we don’t enforce it. Think of it this way. Perhaps there is a law on the books in your community. How effective is that law if it is not enforced? It is as though it doesn’t exist. You see, God gave the earth to us, therefore, we have authority in this realm. Jesus won the victory over sin, death, hell and the grave in his own flesh. He has given us this victory to employ in the earthly realm as well as in our own lives.

You have ultimate authority in your life, God does not. You can choose to go to hell if you want. Many are making that choice. God won’t stop you because He has given that right of choice, that authority to you. He has delegated His power in that area. Therefore, if Jesus’ victory is to be experienced, we must enforce it in our own lives. Failure to do so allows the devil run around free messing in people’s lives.

The Amplified version of today’s verse says that the weapons of our warfare are not physical. What are they then? They must be spiritual, wouldn’t you say? Also, I noted that he wrote about the weapons – plural. There must be more than one then. We all know about prayer and obviously that is a weapon straight from God’s arsenal. There really are many more though. Paul wanted us to be mindful of their existence, what they are and how to use them.

Don’t sit around on the couch expecting your salvation prayer to solve all of your problems. This is a process and that was only the beginning. Paul also told us to “work out your salvation with fear and trembling” (Philippians 2: 12). We have a role to play. God gives us the tools and the weapons but it is up to us to utilize them for our lives. As for me, I am choosing a spiritual bazooka. What spiritual weapon do you want?

For more about spiritual warfare and the weapons of our warfare, visit our webpage and go to the Daily Devotional page (https://iveyministries.org/word-of-the-day/). Search “spiritual warfare”.

The Surprising Arsenal

Romans 12: 21

Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.

Last week my mom called and told me that she had employed my spiritual warfare tactic of sowing into a ministry when the devil is putting up road blocks. She put today’s scripture into effect. Overcome evil with good.

The devil really, really hates it when he is trying to bother you and you write a check to God’s work. It is one of my favorite tactics and I will say that I enjoy doing it. We have learned by now that trying to get back at someone or trading blows with them is not going to yield the fruit we want. In fact, there is no spiritual weapon or spiritual warfare tactic for striking back at our enemies. Jesus said to pray for them (Matthew 5: 44).  

The weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh, but divinely powerful for the destruction of fortresses (2 Corinthians 10: 4). Besides prayer, the weapons of our warfare are love, peace, joy, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control (Galatians 5: 22). Now, if you choke on that a bit, I don’t blame you but ultimately we need to figure out what works and abandon that which doesn’t. The Apostle Paul knew more about fighting these battles than most of us ever will so when he says overcome evil with good he must have known what he was talking about. I believe an extension of what he was saying is that we will never overcome evil with evil. In order to overcome at all we must fight with the weapons of our warfare, namely that which is good.

I also believe Paul is telling us that we never have to be overcome by evil. The reason is that we have a savior. Besides just having the loving grace of Jesus, we also have his victory which has crushed ultimate evil. Jesus is good. He dwells in goodness and kindness. Therefore, the weapons of our warfare are good. Jesus defeated the devil by doing a good thing, really a great thing. He gave in order to conquer. Certainly that is not how most people strategize for battle. That is why giving is such a powerful weapon. It imitates Christ. That is also why it bothers Satan so much. It is a reminder of how he was defeated.  

Let this revelation sink into you. Our God is a good God and His overcoming is in His goodness. Overcome evil every time. It has no hold over you. Let goodness and righteousness be your banner.

Divinely Powerful

2 Corinthians 10: 3 – 4

For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war according to the flesh, for the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh, but divinely powerful for the destruction of fortresses.

How easy it is to forget that, although we are in this world, we are not to war according to the world. But wouldn’t we really rather have divinely appointed weapons anyway? Paul is reminding his readers that we are not to walk according to the flesh and we are not to fight our battles in the flesh or as we learned to do. We are to learn a new way to wage war. That is in the Spirit. We wage war in the Spirit through prayer and by speaking the Word of God. Every time we speak a verse of the Bible over a situation, we are waging Spiritual war.

If you have a mountainous challenge before you right now, set your heart and mind to use your most powerful arsenal, use the divinely appointed weapons of the Spirit. They are prayer, God’s word and love. We do not want to hear that last one but it is the nuclear bomb of spiritual weaponry. You are allowed to use this bomb. Whatever challenge or enemies you are facing today, remember to pull out the big guns. Don’t fight your battles in the flesh. Use the weapons that God Almighty has provided you.

Humpty Dumpty

Isaiah 54: 17

No weapon that is formed against you shall prosper; and every tongue that accuses you in judgment you will condemn.

This passage always reminds me of my former pastor. Some years ago when I was being challenged on almost every front he reminded me of this verse during a telephone conversation. Sure, I knew this verse before then or I should say, I knew of it but after we hung up I got out my Bible and read it anew. Something went off in me that day and I gained an entirely new perspective on my situation. I saw the verse perhaps for the first time and it changed my experience. From that time the parade of challenges began to recede. I got a revelation that I did not have to be trod upon by every wind of misfortune. I had something to say in these situations and even more importantly, my Father had already spoken. Nothing has authoritative power over us except the authority we give it and I chose to take back my power.

Jesus has already conquered every challenge, demon and obstacle. He has already won! He defeated every single weapon the devil had. The thing I so love about the prophet Isaiah is that he had such clear vision of the coming Messiah. He understood that no weapon formed against us could prosper because he knew that all authority in heaven and earth was given to the son. Father is our refuge but Jesus is our defender. He is our advocate and he will reveal the truth about those who accuse us. When someone speaks ill of you, back bites you or condemns you they have just signed their own prosecution. Since I have come to understand this verse I actually sometimes feel sorry for people who say bad things about me because I know what is coming. The conclusion is already written in the physical and spiritual laws of the universe. They are like Humpty Dumpty who had a great fall. You can see it coming; you can hear the plop as they hit the pavement.  Dad doesn’t even have to do anything.  It is already pre-programed.  Any weapon that is formed against you, that is pointed at you will back fire. It is going to blow up in the enemy’s face. You’ve just gotta feel sorry for the fools sometimes. Well, we can pray that they get a clue and step into the grace that Father has prepared for us all.

So, if someone has a bazooka leveled at you right now, just grin. Get out your book of Isaiah and read to them. Carry your 3 X 5 card with you so that you can deflect those shells all day long. They have no power over you. You have already won. Now that is what I call Good News!