Thanks to those who prayed for Debbie and I the other night. We appreciate it. We made it through Saturday night and all day Sunday with no problems but then Sunday night I had to take Debbie to the ER because something harsh was going on with her stomach. So, one of us still got sick. Please consider keeping up prayer for us as we work to reach the seasonal and international workers here at the Canyon. I am not one who is quick to see demons behind every tree – but when one begins to see certain patterns of events, like us getting sick after ministering to the Thai students, one has to wonder – I think we get attacked spiritually through sicknesses, a type of strike back for encroaching enemy lines. We are missionaries, we are going to attempt to reach the lost, especially those from the various unreached nations of the world. Because of this spiritual attacks are going to happen. But I think we can attempt to counteract these attack by calling for prayer cover.
One metaphor for the Christian life (among others) is that of the Christian life as Spiritual Warfare. Typically when people hear the term spiritual warfare they think of casting out demons, bizarre exorcism rituals, praying loudly or talking loudly to the devil, etc. However, spiritual warfare is much broader than that and in fact really a way of characterizing the Christian life and the common struggles we face to live rightly for God on a daily basis. Like it or not, a simple fact Christians need to realize is that spiritual warfare and opposition to the gospel are real. There is a real devil, who is the enemy of our souls, and there are real demons, who are agents of the devil, who seek to intimidate and oppress Christians so as to deter them from living for God as they should.
Clinton Arnold in his book, 3 Crucial Questions about Spiritual Warfare (Baker Books, 1997) writes:
Spiritual warfare is all encompassing. It touches every area of our lives-our families, our relationships, our church, our neighborhood, our communities, our places of employment. There is virtually no part of our existence over which the evil one does not want to maintain or reassert his unhealthy and perverse influence. Conversely, Jesus longs to reign as Lord over every area of our lives. This is the locus of intense struggle for all believers. And it is a power struggle. pg. 27
This is not to say there is a demon behind every tree but we need to realize there are certain spiritual realities that exist in this world whether we believe it or not. Paul tells us in Ephesians 6:12: “For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.” (I believe Ephesians to be the Spiritual warfare manual of the Bible). Peter tells us in 1 Peter 5:8 “Be self-controlled and alert. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.” Jesus tells us in John 10:10 “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.” I think it is fair to say the “thief” here is none less than Satan. John the Revelator shares a vision in Revelation 12 in which he sees that “the dragon was enraged at the woman and went off to make war against the rest of her offspring—those who obey God’s commandments and hold to the testimony of Jesus” (12:17). I think this is right now and has been since Jesus ascended to heaven and cut off Satan’s access to heaven. Since then Satan has been enraged and turned to destroy the people of God and will keep trying until he himself is destroyed in the fires of hell.
So what do we do? How might we know more intense acts of spiritual warfare is taking place? Some Christians have ignored spiritual warfare altogether and others have gone way over the top. I think we need to recognize it exist and in so doing know that no matter what, God is with us and always will be.
First, pray about it. Simply ask God if it is an act of spiritual warfare – he will confirm it to our hearts or he will not. We won’t know until we ask. Also, prayer is a key weapon in spiritual warfare. Paul tells us in 2 Corinthians 10:4-5 “The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds. We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.” This is what happens when we pray – through prayer we can demolish strongholds and those attempts that keep you from living effectively for God. So I think prayer is key. This is what we’ve been doing with our situation, we’ve been praying for discernment.
I will write more later. What do you all think about this so far?