Step 5... Arm Yourself For Spiritual Warfare
I. BE CLOTHED: Clothes is something either you put on or acknowledge that you already have on. This is true with the whole armor of God. Some we have to put on each day, and some we just have to acknowledge that we already have on. Take the Helmet of Salvation for an example. We do not need to be saved each day. However we do need to renew our thoughts each day and all day that we are saved, a child of the King, and gloriously forgiven and redeemed.
There is one thing we need to do which we might forget in clothing ourselves with the whole armor of God. When I awaken in the morning and prepare to dress myself for the day I must realize and act upon the fact that I need to put off my sleep clothes before I can put on my daily wear. So it is each day with the believer. We need to put off our old self before putting on the new self. The putting on of the new self is a change of soulish and spiritual clothes that always includes the armor of God. We cannot robe ourselves with the new man without robing ourselves with the armor of God.
Notice that when we put on the whole armor of God there is no provision for the flesh. We see the armor of soldiers in pictures likened unto the picture above we limit our thinking that the armor is to protect our flesh, our body, our outer man. Even in the sermons we hear from the pulpit we get the idea that it is to protect the flesh or body. However, the armor is for the mind, emotion, and the will or choices we make. It is to protect the soulish man. We will find that in walking in the Spirit and trusting the Holy Spirit and God's Word in our inner most man or spirit man, we are being conformed in the image of our Lord Jesus Christ and bring God's protecting our soulish (thoughts, emotions, and will) and physical man.
A. PUT ON THE WHOLE ARMOR OF GOD:
Ephesians 4:22-24 ESV to put off your old self, which belongs to your former manner of life and is corrupt through deceitful desires, (23) and to be renewed in the spirit of your minds, (24) and to put on the new self, created after the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness.
Ephesians 6:11 ESV Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil.
Romans 13:14 ESV But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh, to gratify its desires.
Colossians 3:10 ESV and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge after the image of its creator.
1. FULL ARMOR OF GOD: Recognizing that the battle belongs to the Lord
Zechariah 4:6 ESV Then he said to me, "This is the word of the LORD to Zerubbabel: Not by might, nor by power, but by my Spirit, says the LORD of hosts.
2 Chronicles 20:15 ESV And he said, "Listen, all Judah and inhabitants of Jerusalem and King Jehoshaphat: Thus says the LORD to you, 'Do not be afraid and do not be dismayed at this great horde, for the battle is not yours but God's.
2. STAND IN THE ARMOR:
Isaiah 54:16-17 ESV Behold, I have created the smith who blows the fire of coals and produces a weapon for its purpose. I have also created the ravager to destroy; (17) no weapon that is fashioned against you shall succeed, and you shall refute every tongue that rises against you in judgment. This is the heritage of the servants of the LORD and their vindication from me, declares the LORD."
We live in the most interesting times known to human history. It would seem that mankind is spinning out of control with a spirit of lawlessness driving the human passion. Everywhere we turn there are earthquakes, famines, wars and rumors of wars, sickness, ailments, afflictions, flooding, wildfires, murders, rapes, and the list could go on and on.
Within the church life we have an abundance of newly self declared Apostles and Prophets who supposedly are receiving the "new word" from the Lord about what He is up to in these end times. However, although I believe in and support the Apostolic and Prophetic gifting and ministry for today I think we need to examine those who are claiming to have such callings.
I seriously question those who claim to be Apostles and instead of rooting out and tearing down the traditions of man and laying a true Biblical doctrinal foundation they continue building on the foundations of man-made doctrines. The only thing that changes is how they dress it up and what they call it. The names used are changed to what is "spiritually correct" for the mega-media church industry. The attraction has increased based on how much money is available for promotion, live feeds, and the amount of people staffed to run it. However, the results remain the same, not much bang for the bucks, and loud music and entertainment is seen replacing the much needed anointing of God's Spirit.
I also seriously question those who claim to be Prophets and instead of speaking a "thus says the Lord", word that originated form the throne room, they are guilty of catchy clichés that are passed on from one another that is meant to stir the passions and zeal of their hearers. It is easy to look at an event of a natural disaster and make an empty proclamation that it is the hand of God judging an evil and lawless people. However, the Prophets of old, the true ones made the proclamations of God's blessings or judgments prior to the event so that the people would know that a man of God stood before them. The true Prophets are meant to stand before nations and call them to repentance. The example we have today of so-called Prophets running from church group to church to "give a word" is foreign to Biblical example of Prophetic calling.
We do need to go back to the Word of God and see what the men who stood before God received and why they received it and what they did when they received it. Such was the man Elijah. He was a true Prophet of the Most High God. The reason his ministry is so important to us today is that we will see the Spirit of Elijah fall on the church.
The first thing we see about Elijah is that the Word of the Lord came to him.
1 Kings 17:2-4 ESV And the word of the LORD came to him: (3) "Depart from here and turn eastward and hide yourself by the brook Cherith, which is east of the Jordan. (4) You shall drink from the brook, and I have commanded the ravens to feed you there."
The second thing we see about Elijah is that he did all things according to the Word he had received from the Lord. Oh how we need this today.
1 Kings 17:5-7 So he went and did according unto the word of the Lord: for he went and dwelt by the brook Cherith, that is before Jordan.  And the ravens brought him bread and flesh in the morning, and bread and flesh in the evening; and he drank of the brook.  And it came to pass after a while, that the brook dried up, because there had been no rain in the land.
What can we get from 1 Kings 17:5-7 for today in these uncertain times? I get asked almost everyday, "Pastor, what can we expect over the next couple weeks or months?" "Pastor, what is going to happen next on God's timetable?" Let's see what this passage tells us about trust and reliance.
What is God doing here? He brings the prophet to a brook, a place of security and provision, and then allows that brook to dry up! The lesson is that we are not to look to the "brooks" of life for life. We are to look to the Father of our provisions. God is preparing us for total dependence on Him, and is weaning us from everything in which we have found a false security. This includes the false security of church life. Every brook that we have worshiped and consider to be the source of our nourishment shall be, by our God's merciful hand, utterly dried up.
1 Kings 17:8-10 And the word of the Lord came unto him, saying,  Arise, get thee to Zarephath, which belongeth to Zidon, and dwell there: behold, I have commanded a widow woman there to sustain thee. So he arose and went to Zarephath. And when he came to the gate of the city, behold, the widow woman was there gathering of sticks: and he called to her, and said, Fetch me, I pray thee, a little water in a vessel, that I may drink.
How would the natural mind respond to this command? This is the Prophet of God. Surely the Lord would send him to the rich and prosperous churches and church leaders that could bless him with all he needed in exchange for ministering a word to the people. I mean this is not even a Jewish woman the Lord is sending the prophet to. It was bad enough with that raven business, but Zidon is where Jezebel comes from. Those heathen know no limits to their wickedness, and right now all are suffering in the famine that the Prophet himself proclaimed. Now, really Lord, how is that Zidonian woman going to sustain a Hebrew prophet?
Such a man of faith is not fashioned in a day, and the shaping process is not necessarily pleasant. I have a saying about ministers. "I am not sure that I can trust a minister that does not limp." I take these from Jacob and his time wrestling with the Angel of the Lord. The Angel of the Lord touched the strongest point of the human body, the hip socket, and it brought Jacob to the position that he could no longer fight against God and he could no longer run from God, all he could do was lean on God.
Every one of us has a heart itching for personal and family security and therefore are reluctant to be separated from the hang-ups and fleshly cravings upon which we have built our lives. Without spiritual heart surgery by the hand of God, there can be no standing before the Ahab's of life, and no life of sustained yieldingness to our Lord's bidding. Cutting away is never painless, but when God holds the scalpel the motive is clear and the victory is sure.
Step 5... Arm Yourself For Spiritual Warfare
Ephesians 6:10-18 / Isaiah 59:16-17
Ephesians 6:10-18 ESV Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might. (11) Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil. (12) For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places. (13) Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand firm. (14) Stand therefore, having fastened on the belt of truth, and having put on the breastplate of righteousness, (15) and, as shoes for your feet, having put on the readiness given by the gospel of peace. (16) In all circumstances take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming darts of the evil one; (17) and take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God, (18) praying at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication. To that end keep alert with all perseverance, making supplication for all the saints,
I. BE STRONG!...In the Lord and power of His might! (verse.10)
A. Know Your Position in Christ:
1. Eph. 1:18-22 He is seated in heavenly places
Ephesians 1:18-22 ESV having the eyes of your hearts enlightened, that you may know what is the hope to which he has called you, what are the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints, (19) and what is the immeasurable greatness of his power toward us who believe, according to the working of his great might (20) that he worked in Christ when he raised him from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly places, (21) far above all rule and authority and power and dominion, and above every name that is named, not only in this age but also in the one to come. (22) And he put all things under his feet and gave him as head over all things to the church,
2. Eph. 2:5-6 We are seated with him in heavenlies
Ephesians 2:5-6 ESV even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved— (6) and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus,
3. Eph. 3:10-12 To the intent to show princes & powers in heavenly places what His purpose for the church
Ephesians 3:10-12 ESV so that through the church the manifold wisdom of God might now be made known to the rulers and authorities in the heavenly places. (11) This was according to the eternal purpose that he has realized in Christ Jesus our Lord, (12) in whom we have boldness and access with confidence through our faith in him.
B. Use the Name of Jesus: Luke 10:17-20 / Acts 16:18
Luke 10:17-20 ESV The seventy-two returned with joy, saying, "Lord, even the demons are subject to us in your name!" (18) And he said to them, "I saw Satan fall like lightning from heaven. (19) Behold, I have given you authority to tread on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy, and nothing shall hurt you. (20) Nevertheless, do not rejoice in this, that the spirits are subject to you, but rejoice that your names are written in heaven."
Acts 16:16-18 ESV As we were going to the place of prayer, we were met by a slave girl who had a spirit of divination and brought her owners much gain by fortune-telling. (17) She followed Paul and us, crying out, "These men are servants of the Most High God, who proclaim to you the way of salvation." (18) And this she kept doing for many days. Paul, having become greatly annoyed, turned and said to the spirit, "I command you in the name of Jesus Christ to come out of her." And it came out that very hour.
C. Stand on the Blood of Christ - Rev. 12:11
Revelation 12:11 ESV And they have conquered him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony, for they loved not their lives even unto death.
D. Rod of Christ - Matthew 28:18 / Luke 9:1-2/ Luke 10:19-20
Matthew 28:18 ESV And Jesus came and said to them, "All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me.
Luke 9:1-2 ESV And he called the twelve together and gave them power and authority over all demons and to cure diseases, (2) and he sent them out to proclaim the kingdom of God and to heal.
Luke 10:19-20 ESV Behold, I have given you authority to tread on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy, and nothing shall hurt you. (20) Nevertheless, do not rejoice in this, that the spirits are subject to you, but rejoice that your names are written in heaven."
Step 4... Confession
1 John 1:9 ESV If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
John the beloved disciple warns us against an attitude of innocence before a holy God. To pretend that we have nothing to confess to God is to call Him a liar, and to practice lies before our maker. King David says:
Psalms 51:1-2 ESV To the choirmaster. A Psalm of David, when Nathan the prophet went to him, after he had gone in to Bathsheba. Have mercy on me, O God, according to your steadfast love; according to your abundant mercy blot out my transgressions. (2) Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin!
Why do you need to be cleansed David?
Psalms 51:3-4 ESV For I know my transgressions, and my sin is ever before me. (4) Against you, you only, have I sinned and done what is evil in your sight, so that you may be justified in your words and blameless in your judgment.
How long have you been a sinner David?
Psalms 51:5-7 ESV Behold, I was brought forth in iniquity, and in sin did my mother conceive me. (6) Behold, you delight in truth in the inward being, and you teach me wisdom in the secret heart. (7) Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean; wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow.
What is our good works or our righteousness before God?
Isaiah 64:6 ESV We have all become like one who is unclean, and all our righteous deeds are like a polluted garment. We all fade like a leaf, and our iniquities, like the wind, take us away.
The term “filthy rags” is a reference to two things. I will give one which is liken to the rags of the lepers when they cover their sores. Isaiah is a good example of the result of the proper method of intercessory prayer. In Isaiah 6 he first sees the Lord in all his beauty, high and lifted up, and glorified. The sight was so awesome that just and righteous Isaiah fell on His face before God with an acute awareness of his own sinful nature. He was seeing his own sinful nature in contrast to the holiness of God. He cried out in his own unholy state: "WOE IS ME I AM UNDONE...
Isaiah 6:5-7 ESV And I said: "Woe is me! For I am lost; for I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips; for my eyes have seen the King, the LORD of hosts!" (6) Then one of the seraphim flew to me, having in his hand a burning coal that he had taken with tongs from the altar. (7) And he touched my mouth and said: "Behold, this has touched your lips; your guilt is taken away, and your sin atoned for."
We are not just to come into God's presence presumptuously, but humbly and contritely, with a sincere perspective on our own nature. Sometimes in 2 Chron.7:14 we forget the part that says “humble themselves”.
2 Chronicles 7:14 ESV if my people who are called by my name humble themselves, and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and heal their land.
We need a vision of ourselves, our true fallen nature, our minds which are unclean, and of which God knows every passing thought.
Psalms 139:1-5 ESV To the choirmaster. A Psalm of David. O LORD, you have searched me and known me! (2) You know when I sit down and when I rise up; you discern my thoughts from afar. (3) You search out my path and my lying down and are acquainted with all my ways. (4) Even before a word is on my tongue, behold, O LORD, you know it altogether. (5) You hem me in, behind and before, and lay your hand upon me.
Until we recognize our own state of bankruptcy before a holy God we cannot truly lean upon His Righteousness, without which no man will see the Lord.
Hebrews 12:14 ESV Strive for peace with everyone, and for the holiness without which no one will see the Lord.
We would instead come into his presence as the Pharisee, proud, bragging of his kept laws, righteous deeds, his right to gain the Father's favor. We need to see ourselves as destitute, and totally depraved without the righteousness of Christ. We have nothing of which to boast. We, as the rich church of Laodicea in Revelation 3:14-22 need to see ourselves as God sees us. "Lukewarm...wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked."
Revelation 3:14-18 ESV "And to the angel of the church in Laodicea write: 'The words of the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the beginning of God's creation. (15) "'I know your works: you are neither cold nor hot. Would that you were either cold or hot! (16) So, because you are lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of my mouth. (17) For you say, I am rich, I have prospered, and I need nothing, not realizing that you are wretched, pitiable, poor, blind, and naked. (18) I counsel you to buy from me gold refined by fire, so that you may be rich, and white garments so that you may clothe yourself and the shame of your nakedness may not be seen, and salve to anoint your eyes, so that you may see.
Psalms 66:18 ESV If I had cherished iniquity in my heart, the Lord would not have listened.
TO REGARD INIQUITY means to leave it alone, to tolerate it, to know it is there and do nothing about it. It is to hide it, to cover it by excuses, to consider it unimportant, to ignore its dangers.
God considers any iniquity to be an ABOMINATION. An abomination is a horrible disgusting thing. There are no "good guy" iniquities, no little white lies, no insignificant rebellions of the heart! God calls rebellion in any form "as the sin of witchcraft, and stubbornness as idolatry."
1 Samuel 15:23 ESV For rebellion is as the sin of divination, and presumption is as iniquity and idolatry. Because you have rejected the word of the LORD, he has also rejected you from being king."
Daniel was conscious of the subtile ways in which sin surrounds us and creeps into our thoughts, actions, and inactions. In his exemplary prayer in Daniel 9 he IDENTIFIES nine faces of SIN.
Daniel 9:5-13 ESV we have sinned and done wrong and acted wickedly and rebelled, turning aside from your commandments and rules. (6) We have not listened to your servants the prophets, who spoke in your name to our kings, our princes, and our fathers, and to all the people of the land. (7) To you, O Lord, belongs righteousness, but to us open shame, as at this day, to the men of Judah, to the inhabitants of Jerusalem, and to all Israel, those who are near and those who are far away, in all the lands to which you have driven them, because of the treachery that they have committed against you. (8) To us, O LORD, belongs open shame, to our kings, to our princes, and to our fathers, because we have sinned against you. (9) To the Lord our God belong mercy and forgiveness, for we have rebelled against him (10) and have not obeyed the voice of the LORD our God by walking in his laws, which he set before us by his servants the prophets. (11) All Israel has transgressed your law and turned aside, refusing to obey your voice. And the curse and oath that are written in the Law of Moses the servant of God have been poured out upon us, because we have sinned against him. (12) He has confirmed his words, which he spoke against us and against our rulers who ruled us, by bringing upon us a great calamity. For under the whole heaven there has not been done anything like what has been done against Jerusalem. (13) As it is written in the Law of Moses, all this calamity has come upon us; yet we have not entreated the favor of the LORD our God, turning from our iniquities and gaining insight by your truth.
WE HAVE ...
1. Sinned: v 5 Missed the mark, fall short
2. Committed iniquity: v 5 Deliberate conscious sin
3. Done wickedly: v 5 Life style habitual sin
4. Rebelled: v 5 Said no to God!
5. Not hearkened: v 6 Closed our ears, ignored
6. Not obeyed voice: v 10 Grieved the Holy Spirit)
7. Transgressed law: v 11 Legal term know law & disobey
8. Departed from God: v 11 Backslidden, wandered away
9. Made not prayer: v 13 Sin of prayerlessness
DEAL WITH SIN!
Our Lord Jesus emphasized the need to deal with sin each time he spoke of prayer. In the Lord's prayer he deals heavily with the need to deal severely with sin. That is, in fact, the primary lesson of the Lord's Prayer. Immediately after citing it he pointed out the need to forgive as well as ask for forgiveness.
Luke 11:4 ESV and forgive us our sins, for we ourselves forgive everyone who is indebted to us. And lead us not into temptation."
Matthew 6:14-15 ESV For if you forgive others their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you, (15) but if you do not forgive others their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.
I WILL CONFESS MY SIN:
A man that truly enters into the presence of God cannot but help to see himself as unclean. The holiness of God cannot tolerate the presence of sin! We are exhorted to confess or sin to the Lord (I John 1:8-9), and even admit our faults one to another (James 5:16) so as to pray effectively and fervently as righteous men.
1 John 1:8-9 ESV If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. (9) If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
James 5:16 ESV Therefore, confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person has great power as it is working.
Step 3... Give Thanks To The Lord
Thanksgiving is to be as much a part of the believers life as breathing. We are exhorted to live in thankfulness to God, and to exalt him with continual expressions of thanks regardless of our present circumstances.
1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 ESV (16) Rejoice always, (17) pray without ceasing, (18) give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.
IN PRAYER we are exhorted to give thanks profusely for the goodness of the Lord, for all his benefits, for his mercy, for his faithfulness, for his stedfast love, for loads of blessings. Psalm 100 is an excellent guide for entering the presence of God.
Psalms 100:4 ESV Enter his gates with thanksgiving, and his courts with praise! Give thanks to him; bless his name!
It was Israel's ingratitude of heart, the murmuring, the complaining, the grumbling, that brought on the wrath of God. It was not that God had not blessed. He had over and over again! It is that men soon forget the goodness of the Lord. We are quick to forget his answers to our prayers, His mercies in our troubles, His healings when we are sick, His forgiveness when we fail, His provisions in our need.
Psalms 107:1-2 ESV Oh give thanks to the LORD, for he is good, for his steadfast love endures forever! (2) Let the redeemed of the LORD say so, whom he has redeemed from trouble
The Psalms are filled with expressions of thanks to God on every side. Oh, may our lives, our lips, be continual psalms of thanksgiving!
Hebrews 13:15 points out that thanksgiving is a sacrifice to God. A sacrifice of our lips, that is to be offered up to God continually. Wouldn't prayer be wonderfully transformed if we would offer 10 sacrifices of thanksgiving for every request we make of God.
Hebrews 13:15 ESV Through him then let us continually offer up a sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of lips that acknowledge his name.
GOOD MENTAL HEALTH begins with a thankful attitude of heart.
Proverbs 15:13 ESV A glad heart makes a cheerful face, but by sorrow of heart the spirit is crushed.
Proverbs 17:22 ESV A joyful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones.
DEPRESSION is the inability to see the goodness of God around you. David frequently expressed his depression, "I had fainted unless I had believed to see the goodness of God in the land of the living.
Psalms 27:13 ESV I believe that I shall look upon the goodness of the LORD in the land of the living!
Romans 8:28 ESV And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.
Jeremiah 29:11-13 ESV For I know the plans I have for you, declares the LORD, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope. (12) Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will hear you. (13) You will seek me and find me, when you seek me with all your heart.
Psalms 68:19 ESV Blessed be the Lord, who daily bears us up; God is our salvation. Selah.
James 1:17 ESV Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change.
Step 2... Praise The Lord
Proverbs 9:10 ESV The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom, and the knowledge of the Holy One is insight.
Daniel 11:32 ESV He shall seduce with flattery those who violate the covenant, but the people who know their God shall stand firm and take action.
Psalms 37:4 ESV Delight yourself in the LORD, and he will give you the desires of your heart.
David expressed so well the joy of praising and worshipping God.
Psalms 27:4 ESV One thing have I asked of the LORD, that will I seek after: that I may dwell in the house of the LORD all the days of my life, to gaze upon the beauty of the LORD and to inquire in his temple.
We all need to learn the secret of His presence in learning to worship the Lord for WHO HE IS, not just for all the things He has done. The Worship and Praise part of intercession is to BEHOLD THE BEAUTY OF THE LORD. That means to take time to meditate on who He is in all His splendor and glory, until the truth of His greatness fills us with love, awe and true adoration. It is to bow, kneel, or lay before Him offering ourselves in humble worship. David’s true desire after God was to behold His beauty and to inquire after Him with all his heart.
Have you ever been awed by a sunset so as to just sit speechless? Have you ever studied the beauties of diamonds, rubies, and emeralds under an eye piece? Have you ever savored a delicious meal savoring each bite for the taste while it saturates your palate? These are all just small examples of what it is to "behold the beauty of the Lord." It is to pause in awe of his grandeur and majesty. It is to take time to "smell" the fragrance of the Lord.
I am afraid for all of us too often our praise is not real adoration but fumbling attempts to "DO PRAISE" so that we can get on with the real business interest of our prayer time or church time. Sometimes in prayer the asking session has become the most important to us instead of the praise time.
True worship of the Father has nothing to do with getting. It is quietly, deliberately looking into the kaleidoscope of God's character, and standing in awe of His matchless beauty and being able to do nothing but bow before Him. They that do so will find Him matchless in beauty and awesome in power. "for they that KNOW THEIR GOD will be strong and do exploits."
1. Sing songs of praise to the Lord.
2. Remember (think on) His mighty works.
3. Tell of His excellent greatness. (Rehearse it to Him)
4. Exalt His different Names.
5. Read Scriptures that exalt Who He is.
6. Physically express your praise and adoration.
7. Acknowledge His Sovereignty, Power, Wisdom, Control.
Peter says we are...
1 Peter 2:9 ESV But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light.
Step 1... Be Still
God has given his people express commands governing the turbulence of their own hearts and the peace that he offers and expects. None stands out so markedly as Isaiah 30:15 which declares that the Lord's purpose is for his people to find quietness and confidence before Him. The indictment was that his people "WOULD NOT" and therefore had no peace.
Isaiah 30:15 ESV For thus said the Lord GOD, the Holy One of Israel, "In returning and rest you shall be saved; in quietness and in trust shall be your strength." But you were unwilling,
Isaiah 32:17 ESV And the effect of righteousness will be peace, and the result of righteousness, quietness and trust forever.
Psalms 46:10 ESV "Be still, and know that I am God. I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth!"
It is the mandate of God that we still ourselves before him in order to find his peace and hear his voice. So thus we have as the first and most important step in the believer's prayer life to STILL OURSELVES before the Lord. The New Testament similarly reflects the same need of mental quietness when it refers to bringing...
2 Corinthians 10:5 ESV We destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ,
We live in a busy, noisy, tumultuous society. There is noise and demands for our attention almost constantly every waking hour. There are no quiet Judean hillsides for us to retreat to daily for prayer. Therefore we must find an inner solitude in the Lord's presence.
PRACTICAL APPLICATION: HOW TO STILL YOUR MIND:
Find a quiet undisturbed place. Jesus called it a closet of prayer. That means you are to be alone. "Shut the door" refers to locking out every distraction and interruption!
Kneel in the Lord's presence. (Only under real medical prohibition should you do otherwise. Kneeling or prostrate are worship positions.) You need not be uncomfortable but neither should you be lazy in prayer. Philippians 2:10-11
Make your mind stop its commotion and noise! Listen to the din of confused voices reminding you of duties, tasks and obligations. Silence them! Your mind is not a noisy playground. It is a sanctuary. Your mind is yours. Make it obey you. 2 Corinthians 10:5 "Bring it into subjection to Christ." Prov. 25:28 "He who has no rule over his own spirit is like a city without walls." 1 Peter 1:13 "Gird up the loins of your mind." Take control of your thoughts!
Slow down! Relax! Refuse to be rushed in the presence of God Consciously loose the tension of every muscle. Begin with your neck, then shoulders, arms back, thighs, legs and finally your feet. It won't come naturally so work at learning to BE QUIET! 1 Thessalonians 4:11
Breathe slowly. Inhale slowly! Exhale slowly! (I am not speaking about nor indorsing yoga). At first take long slow deep breaths. Hold it a few seconds. Let it out slowly. Control it! You'll be amazed at how it begins to quiet your body, which in turn effect thoughts too. Remember that if you cannot control your body, you cannot expect to control you spirit either. 1 Corinthians 9:27 ."..I keep my body under, and bring it into subjection..."
Refuse to go on to the next step until the body and mind have obeyed you. If they are not subject to your will, neither will the rest of your thoughts in prayer. If you cannot exercise authority over your own body and mind how will you exercise spiritual authority in prayer. If you cannot bring your own body and mind into subjection how will you wrestle with spiritual forces and win? Proverbs 24:10 "If thou faint in the day of adversity, thy strength is small."
This step is by far the most difficult! That is because it is the most contradictory to our natural lifestyles. Is it any wonder we do not hear the voice of God, as we would like to? Though it is the most difficult, once mastered, will bring the most satisfaction. Keep at it. Three minutes is not much but it seems and eternity when we are trained by business to be TOO BUSY TO PRAY!
Mark 9:49 ESV For everyone will be salted with fire.
In the second devotional we listed the New Testament Scriptures on salt and established that salt was used (1) To Season. (2) To Preserve. (3) To Cure. (4) To Create Thirst.
Now we want to take this a little deeper over the next few devotionals. There is more to salt than meets the taste buds. Salt has been used in many cultures as a valuable commodity.
We work and we earn a salary. Have you ever studied the root of salary to discover where this word came from? The word salary comes from an ancient word meaning “salt-money,” referring to a Roman soldier’s allowance for the purchase of salt. Someone who earns his pay is still said to be “worth his salt.”
Salt has also been used to express promises and friendship between people. It was even considered by the Greeks to be divine. Today in many Arab cultures, if two men partake of salt together they are sworn to protect one another, even if they had previously been enemies. In some cultures, people throw salt over their shoulders when they make a promise. Sailors who have spent most of their lives working at sea are called “old salts.” Who knew sodium chloride was so important?
In the ancient world, ingesting salt was a way to make an agreement legally binding. If two parties entered into an agreement, they would eat salt together in the presence of witnesses, and that act would bind their contract. King Abijah’s speech in 2 Chron.13:5 mentions just such a salt covenant: Here, Abijah refers to the strong, legally binding promise of God to give Israel to David and his sons forever.
2 Chronicles 13:5 ESV Ought you not to know that the LORD God of Israel gave the kingship over Israel forever to David and his sons by a covenant of salt?
The Old Testament Law commands the use of salt in all meat offerings and makes clear that the “salt of the covenant” should not be missing from the meat offerings.
Leviticus 2:13 ESV You shall season all your grain offerings with salt. You shall not let the salt of the covenant with your God be missing from your grain offering; with all your offerings you shall offer salt.
Since the Levitical Priests did not have land of their own, God promised to provide for them by way of the sacrifices of the people. He called this promise of provision a “salt covenant.”
Numbers 18:19 ESV All the holy contributions that the people of Israel present to the LORD I give to you, and to your sons and daughters with you, as a perpetual due. It is a covenant of salt forever before the LORD for you and for your offspring with you."
Salt has always been known for its preservative properties, and it is also possible that God instructed the use of salt so that the meat would last longer and taste better and thus be of more value to the priests who depended upon it for their daily food.
So you are witnessing to someone and you ask them if they want to pray the sinners prayer. How do you know if they are ready to be saved or if they are just praying a prayer because you asked them to? Remember that it is God who saves people and not just praying a prayer. The prayer must be a prayer of faith.
In my book, "The Four Positions of the Holy Spirit", I explain the THREE evidences we can see showing that God is working on the heart of the lost person which we are speaking with. If the person prays a prayer without these three things we have created a tare, (a religious lost person), within the body of Christ.
Also in my book I give the FIVE evidences or proofs that reveal if a person is truly saved or not. Have you ever met someone claiming to be saved, a Christian brother or sister and yet you just can't get a peace about it. There are ways to know for sure. Our Lord Jesus Christ says that we judge a tree by its fruit. I list the FIVE fruit that we can look for.
Order your copy of the book today at www.amazon.com. Or order one for a friend.
1 Kings 17:2-4 And the word of the Lord came unto him, saying,  Get thee hence, and turn thee eastward, and hide thyself by the brook Cherith, that is before Jordan.  And it shall be, that thou shalt drink of the brook; and I have commanded the ravens to feed thee there.
Matthew 5:13 ESV "You are the salt of the earth, but if salt has lost its taste, how shall its saltiness be restored? It is no longer good for anything except to be thrown out and trampled under people's feet.
Mark 9:49-50 ESV For everyone will be salted with fire. (50) Salt is good, but if the salt has lost its saltiness, how will you make it salty again? Have salt in yourselves, and be at peace with one another."
Luke 14:34-35 ESV "Salt is good, but if salt has lost its taste, how shall its saltiness be restored? (35) It is of no use either for the soil or for the manure pile. It is thrown away. He who has ears to hear, let him hear."
Colossians 4:6 ESV Let your speech always be gracious, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how you ought to answer each person.
James 3:12 ESV Can a fig tree, my brothers, bear olives, or a grapevine produce figs? Neither can a salt pond yield fresh water.
I listed the New Testament verses concerning salt. As we get into the teaching you will better understand these Scriptures in light of the Old Testament “COVENANT OF SALT.”
What is salt? By definition it is: A substance used for seasoning certain kinds of food, for the preservation of meat and fish, and something in which to create thirst.
For what purpose was it made?
To season: To render palatable, or to give a higher relish to, by the addition or mixture of another substance more pungent or pleasant; as, to season meat with salt.
To preserve: To save from decay. Salt is used to preserve meat.
To cure: To dry; to prepare for preservation; as, to prepare by salt, or in any manner, so as to prevent speedy purification.
To create thirst: Salt makes us thirsty making us desire water.
Why is salt important in a Christian's life?
The Bible teaches us that we, as Christians, are to be salt in the world. We are to be a seasoning, a preservative, a cure, and create thirst in a world full of sin and hatred toward God and the things of God.
Physical characteristics of salt and their spiritual applications: You can't eat salt by itself.
Try putting a spoonful in your mouth. You couldn't swallow it. You would choke on it. Salt is not meant to be ingested by itself. You have to put it on something or in something in order for it to be useful. You have to use the right amount; just enough to make what you are eating palatable. Too little salt and it has no effect; too much salt and it spoils the taste. It must be used carefully and in moderation. Debby and I ate at a restaurant that specializes in Buffalo. It was highly recommended because of their buffalo burgers. I could not eat the burger because it was too salty.
Now, having said all this about salt, the doctrine of THE COVENANT OF SALT is far more than the characteristics I have listed above. So hold on for this should be an interesting teaching that will bless everyone who has ears to hear and a heart to follow.
Numbers 18:19 ESV All the holy contributions that the people of Israel present to the LORD I give to you, and to your sons and daughters with you, as a perpetual due. It is a covenant of salt forever before the LORD for you and for your offspring with you."
A number of years ago when Bob Dylan was claiming to be a Christian, he wrote a song called “Gotta Serve Somebody.” In this song Dylan mentions all kinds of people walking out life in their lifestyles, and professions. He stated that no matter what your lifestyle or your profession the bottom line for every person, no matter who they are or what they do, is that they must serve somebody. Everyone will either serve Satan, the enemy, or they will serve God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.
Someone can dress Satan and the doctrines of demons up with all the religious finery they desire but in the end it is still Satan and not the one True God whom is ultimately served.
1 Corinthians 8:4-6 ESV (4) Therefore, as to the eating of food offered to idols, we know that "an idol has no real existence," and that "there is no God but one." (5) For although there may be so-called gods in heaven or on earth—as indeed there are many "gods" and many "lords"— (6) yet for us there is one God, the Father, from whom are all things and for whom we exist, and one Lord, Jesus Christ, through whom are all things and through whom we exist.
1 Corinthians 10:18-23 ESV (18) Consider the people of Israel: are not those who eat the sacrifices participants in the altar? (19) What do I imply then? That food offered to idols is anything, or that an idol is anything? (20) No, I imply that what pagans sacrifice they offer to demons and not to God. I do not want you to be participants with demons. (21) You cannot drink the cup of the Lord and the cup of demons. You cannot partake of the table of the Lord and the table of demons. (22) Shall we provoke the Lord to jealousy? Are we stronger than he? (23) "All things are lawful," but not all things are helpful. "All things are lawful," but not all things build up.
Whom you serve will be seen in your thoughts, words, and actions. I believe this truth is found in the little used Biblical phrase “Covenant of Salt.” Though it is used only three times in Scripture, it has great significance to the believer in our Lord Jesus Christ today. Follow me each day in these devotionals as we journey through the meaning of this phrase “the Covenant of Salt” and explore what it means for us as we seek to serve the Father.
Charles Morris. Founder and Senior Pastor of RSIM USA.