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-- © GodSpeak International 2005 --
-- Do not republish without written permission from <copyright@godspeak.org> --

Author: Teresa Seputis <ts@godspeak.net>

Prayer-School Course #31

Thoughts From Teresa

By Teresa Seputis

Lesson 17
The Battle Rages Around Us
(Even When We Don't Expect It)

There is a spiritual battle that ranges around us, where God's forces fight and overcome the forces of the devil. Intercessors are more keenly aware of this than most believers, but all believers are part of God's army and expected to fight in this battle. The simple truth is that if you are a Christian, then you have been inducted into God's army, and at times, the Lord calls us to follow Him into the battle. As intercessors, we go with Him knowingly and willingly. But there are also times when we are caught unaware, because the devil and his forces kind of sneak up on us to ambush us. Either way, knowingly following God into battle or being ambushed in a sneak attack, we are still on the winning side. God's power and resources are so much greater that all of the power and forces of the devils.

Colossians 1:15-17 tells us "15He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. 16For by Him all things were created that are in heaven and that are on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions, principalities or powers. All things were created through Him and for Him. 17And He is before all things, and in Him all things consist."

In short, compared to God, the devil doesn't have any power or authority. God will eventually squish the devil and put him in his place. But for now, God allows the devil and his forces to actively battle against God and His forces. And we, along with God's angelic hosts, are a part of God's forces. The Bible has a lot to say about this spiritual war. Revelation 12:12 tells us that the devil has been cast down to earth, "having great wrath, because he knows that he has a short time." And Ephesians 6:12 tells us, "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."

God wants us to be aware that this battle is raging around us. That is why He tells us, in 1 Peter 5:8, 'Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour." In fact, God has given us spiritual armor for this battle, and He expects us to use it. Ephesians 6:11 tells us to "Put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil's schemes."

Yes, we are to be aware of the battle and prepared for it -- and we are also expected to overcome. James 4:7 says, "Therefore submit to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you." And Revelation 12:11 tells us "they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony, and they did not love their lives to the death." The key in this verse is that they overcame -- they were not afraid of what the devil might try to do to them; they just followed God's led and directions, and they OVERCAME.

When the enemy attacks us, we can overcome as well. Most of the time, God does not ask us to lay down our own lives in order to overcome, but God could call on any of us to do that at any time. We are to be fully committed to obey God no matter what He asks. But when an army is successful, that means it is winning the war, having less casualties than the other side. So we don't usually expect to become a casualty, we expect to overcome.

Now here is where it gets tricky. The enemy is the devil and his demonic forces, but he often uses people as his pawns to do his will on the earth. They are like puppets on a string, even though they are usually unaware of it. Our enemy is not the puppets, it is the one who is holding and manipulating the strings. We desire to snatch these puppets and pawns of the devil from his control and bring them to know and serve the Lord that we love so much. 2 Timothy 2:25b-26 talks about this. It says, "... in the hope that God will grant them repentance leading them to a knowledge of the truth, 26and that they will come to their senses and escape from the trap of the devil, who has taken them captive to do his will."

In short, the enemy is not the people who the devil uses, but the devil himself. The most ultimate and complete defeat/humiliation for him is when we are able to convert those who the devil was using and they become soldiers in God's army fighting against their former master. That is what God did in the life of the apostle Paul. Paul, known as Saul at that time, was the early church's number one enemy. Acts 9:1-2 tells us, "Then Saul, still breathing threats and murder against the disciples of the Lord, went to the high priest and asked letters from him to the synagogues of Damascus, so that if he found any who were of the Way, whether men or women, he might bring them bound to Jerusalem." Saul was seeking out and collecting believers in order that they might be martyred for their faith. In other words, he went around capturing believers and bringing them back to Jerusalem so the priests and religious leaders might murder them.

Saul sure sounded like a dangerous enemy, didn't he? But God did not see Saul as "the enemy." God understood that Saul as just a pawn of the devil and his murderous schemes. So God arranged a supernatural encounter with Saul on his way to Damascus, and Saul changed sides. Saul stopped serving the devil, his name was changed to Paul, and he became one of most key figures in establishing the same church that he once tried to destroy. God had a wonderful victory over the devil and his attacks on the early church, and He did that by converting Saul instead of destroying him. That is still God's desire and strategy today when we deal with people who the devil uses as pawns in his warfare tactics. When you are praying and engaging in spiritual warfare, remember, our enemy is not the people who the devil is using. They are captives who need to be set free and the real enemy is the devil who is manipulating them.

There are times when God tells us to follow Him into battle. When this happens we fight fearlessly and willingly, expecting to overcome. But there are also times when the enemy will sneak up on us and try to ambush us. He hopes to catch us unaware, to overcome us. We might be doing something very mundane and innocent and suddenly find ourselves in the middle of a spiritual battle. We need to be ready at all times because we never know when we will be caught in one of these sneak attacks or ambushes.

The devil tried to launch one on me last Monday. It was a little one, but it illustrates my point, so I want to share it as an example. I had been asked to speak at a Monday night service at a healing school in Sunnyvale. Traffic had been terrible the last time I'd been there and I was late for service. So I allowed myself four hours for the trip this time. But this time there was no traffic whatsoever, and it only took an hour to get there, which meant I arrived three hours early. So I decided to stop at the local Wendy's and grab a chicken sandwich and then maybe do some shopping at the Kohl's I'd passed on the way. This Wendy's had a very pleasant atmosphere and was very comfortable, so I decided to forgo the shopping and read my bible and pray for a while. I put a worship CD on my Walkman and began to have fellowship with the Lord. The Lord really met me there, and time passed quickly.

The walls were mostly made of windows. I was sitting at a corner table which meant I had large windows on both sides of me. I could see the cars drive up, but I did not pay much attention to them. It was still a slow time of day and there was not much business. I noticed a car drive up and pull into a parking spot just in front of the main entrance. I was deep in prayer at that time and did not pay much attention to it. But suddenly I felt this oppression come over the room. I suddenly felt tense and worried, and there was absolutely no reason to feel that way. Then this fear began to try to come over me.

I kind of shook my head and said, "Hey, what's going on here?" I had a sense of demonic darkness trying to enter the room. Just about then the person was getting out of the car that pulled up and was walking towards the entrance. I did not really pay them much attention because I was trying to sort out what caused this change in the spiritual atmosphere. I asked God what was going on here and He told me that a very strong demon was trying to come in and make this place him. I prayed this out loud, "Lord, we are supposed to overcome the darkness and not be overcome by it. And you said that we are your light in this world. So if I, as Your representative, am already in here, shouldn't I be able to effect this place with your light and dispel that darkness? Will You come with Your tangible presence, or else release your warring angels, and drive this demon away. Let this restaurant be a place of Your light and not a place of darkness while I am here."

The person turned around and got back in their car as I prayed that, which was a surprise to me. They pulled out of the spot and went through the drive through instead. I had not associated the demon with this person's arrival, even though the happened at roughly the same time. So I asked the Lord, "Lord, is this person carrying the demon I just sensed?" The Lord told me that they were. So I turned to look at them, trying to catch a glimpse of their face. But they'd already backed out of the spot, and all I could see was the car, not the person driving it. And the sense of oppression left the room and I could sense the Lord's wonderful nearness.

Part of me thought that was "too weird" and I wondered if it was my imagination imitating God's voice. So I began to debrief with God about this experiences. God told me it was not my imagination, that the person had not driven off, but had gone to the drive-through window and I would soon see the car again as it pulled away from the drive through window. I asked God what had happened. He replied that this demonized person was a regular at this Wendy's, stopping for dinner on the way home from work each day. So the demon considered this place it's territory. When it arrived and found a strong presence of the Lord, it was very upset and began to fight to protect it's territory. The Lord told me a few other things about the demon and about how He was going to establish His presence in this place, and that was part of why He brought me there for three hours that day.

Then God said, "The car with the demon is about to pull out now. Right then I felt another wave of the enemy's oppression come over me and the car drove by. I realized that this was parting shot by an angry demon, so I rebuked it in the Lord's authority. The oppression left immediately.

I also got a good look at the lady as she drove out of the drive-through. She was short and heavy set and had short dark brown curly hair. She looked like she was in her thirties. I asked the Lord if she knew what she was carrying or if she was an unwilling pawn, sort of like a pack mule. The Lord replied, "She is a pack mule. She has no idea what she carries and she is in bondage to it." So I spent the next little while praying for her that the Lord would set her free from enemy bondage.

I also asked the Lord to bring His presence to this place and establish it as part of His territory. It seemed to me like His presence got stronger in the room and soon I was lost in quiet worship. A little later, a different woman walked in with a little girl. As they walked in the door, the mother commented to her daughter, "Wow, this place sure has a nice atmosphere!" I am guessing that what she sensed as a "nice atmosphere" was the Lord's presence filling that place.

The point of this story is that we never know when we will find ourselves in little skirmishes or spiritual battles, so we must have our armor on and be prepared at all times. That way the enemy can never catch us unaware and waylay us. We are, after all, soldiers in the Lord's army.

-- © GodSpeak International 2005 --
-- Do not republish without written permission from copyright@godspeak.org --

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