Soul-Care Articles: Christ-centered, Spirit-led, Biblically-based, Clinically-sound, Truth-oriented

Posts tagged ‘redemption’

Lord, What Do YOU See When YOU Look At Me?

SOURCE:  John Eldredge

What God Sees When He Sees You

Your sin has been dealt with. Your Father has removed it from you “as far as the east is from the west” (Ps. 103:12). Your sins have been washed away (1 Cor. 6:11).

When God looks at you he does not see your sin.

He has not one condemning thought toward you (Rom. 8:1). But that’s not all.

You have a new heart.

That’s the promise of the new covenant: “I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh. And I will put my Spirit in you and move you to follow my decrees and be careful to keep my laws” (Ezek. 36:26 -27). There’s a reason that it’s called good news.

Too many Christians today are living back in the old covenant.

They’ve had Jeremiah 17:9 drilled into them and they walk around believing my heart is deceitfully wicked. Not anymore it’s not. Read the rest of the book. In Jeremiah 31:33, God announces the cure for all that: “I will put my law in their minds and write it on their hearts. I will be their God, and they will be my people.” I will give you a new heart. That’s why Paul says in Romans 2:29, “No, a man is a Jew if he is one inwardly; and circumcision is circumcision of the heart, by the Spirit.”

Sin is not the deepest thing about you. You have a new heart.

Did you hear me?

Your heart is good.

What God sees when he sees you is the real you, the true you, the [person] he had in mind when he made you.

(Wild at Heart , 133-34)

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God’s Word Is C-O-N-N-E-C-T-E-D To Suffering

SOURCE:  Adapted from an article at Counseling Solutions

QUESTION:   My husband is disabled and in high pain daily and on morphine to keep the pain down to a 7 on the pain scale. The Scriptures I see on suffering seem to relate the Gospel to persecution when read in context. How would I relate the Gospel to his suffering since it’s not related to persecution?

This is not only a “smart” and insightful question, but it is a question from a lady who loves God and loves her husband and she wants to think rightly about what they are going through. She is also looking in the right direction (the Gospel) for help and hope.

God was very clear to Adam that if he ate the fruit of the knowledge of good and evil he would most assuredly die. (Genesis 2:16-17) We not only know the rest of the story, but because we were born the first time “in Adam” we are experiencing the rest of the story in real and despairing ways. After Adam ate the fruit from the forbiddened tree, there was a dramatic change in his physicality. This was only part of the curse that man has experienced because of Adam’s blunder.

The Gospel Speaks Explicitly About Physical Suffering

Adam not only began a “death march” to his future grave after he disobeyed God in the Garden, but he experienced physical challenges, upheavals, changes, and deterioration regarding his overall health.

Physical suffering makes a loud and clear statement that we need the Gospel because only the Gospel can bring about a reversal of the predetermined physical death that we are living. No one escapes personal, physical suffering. Here are some other key points to remember when we think about our physical suffering:

  1. The very essence of the Gospel tells us that something is wrong. If nothing was wrong, there would be no need for the Gospel. (The Gospel is Christ: his person and his work.) Therefore, it is a logical and accurate assumption that everyone will experience physical pain and suffering.
  2. The curse that we experience as fallen people does not mean that death is the only physical suffering we will endure. Part of living under the curse means we will experience personal suffering, other than death, throughout our lives.
  3. We can logically deduce that everyone will experience personal suffering differently. Some will die young, while others will die after a long life. Some will smoke cigarettes and live to be one-hundred, while others will never smoke a cigarette and die at the age of thirty. There is a randomness, from our perspective, to the curse. But we can be assured that what appears to be random to us is set or predetermined in the wisdom of God.
  4. Physical suffering is one of the louder testimonies that rises from the human soul, appealing to God for the Gospel. Our daily physical deterioration bespeaks of our acute need for help that can only be completely satisfied outside of ourselves. (2 Cor. 4:16)
  5. And the Gospel testifies back to us that help is not only present in the here and now, but that there is help awaiting us in some future day. In that day we will be completely transformed.
  6. The Gospel inspires us, not only by reminding us that God is good, but that he will finish what he began. (Phil. 1:6) It is the Gospel that gives us hope, even in the midst of the brokenness of our lives.
  7. Physical suffering is just one of the ways the counter-intuitive Gospel can manifest itself in our lives. Our world is floundering and angry because they do not have an answer to life’s problems. But the Christian sufferer who understands the purposes and eternality of the Gospel is not only hope-filled, but he/she can make a bold statement to a world which needs to see and experience the hope the sufferer has in the Gospel.
  8. Joni Tada is one of the more remarkable testimonies of the counter-intuitive Gospel in our day. Through her weakness, God’s strength is perfected and manifest. Joni wrestled through the “is God good question” many years ago. Since that time she has inspired more folks through her personal suffering than when she had been healthy. Though she is a quadriplegic, God’s strength (not hers) is being perfected through her. Because she is weak, He is shown to be strong.

Paul understood the Gospel very well when it came to physical suffering. [He] connected his physical suffering to the Gospel. In 1 Corinthians 1:1823-25 he unpacks the Gospel and in 2 Corinthians 12:9-12 he makes a strong Gospel analogy regarding how his physical suffering models the “weakness and foolishness” of the Gospel to a Gospel-resistant world.

How Could God Let This Happen?

SOURCE:  Discipleship Journal/Gerald L. Sittser

Trusting God when you’re the victim of injustice

Sooner or later injustice happens to us all. Yet knowledge of that fact never really prepares us for the pain of unjust circumstances when we experience them.

I received a letter recently from a woman who recounted her experience of injustice. “When my son was two,” she wrote, “his father called me from work one day to let me know he would not be coming home. He had found another place to live: with his girlfriend, as I discovered later.” For several years she avoided the pain by staying busy. But eventually it caught up to her. “I began to feel angry at having been stolen from. I was angry at having to do it all by myself—raising my child, bringing home the money to pay bills, making all the decisions. I felt used up, rejected, and discarded. I felt rage on behalf of my son, who was an innocent in all of this.”

The Undeniable Reality of Injustice

Eventually, each of us will experience painful consequences caused by the foolish or malicious choices that people make. Some injustice is obvious, such as rape, robbery, or murder. At other times, it may be less dramatic. A hardworking employee is passed over for promotion because she is a woman. A young athlete sits on the bench because his coach does not like him. These mundane cases of injustice can be especially difficult because the victims receive little public sympathy and have no recourse to justice.

The issue of injustice is not simply an academic question to me. I have experienced it firsthand, and it has taken everything in me to keep my spiritual equilibrium as a result. In the fall of 1991, a drunk driver lost control of his car and collided with our minivan, killing my mother, my wife, and one of my daughters. Because of a legal technicality, he was found “not guilty.” I spent months trying to make sense out of the injustice of it all. You can imagine my surprise when a friend of mine admonished me to think less about my experience and more about the sovereignty of God. “Eventually,” he said to me, “you will have to make peace with the sovereignty of God. Either God is in control, or He is not. You must decide which you believe is true.”

All of us must decide what to believe about the sovereignty of God. Our experience with painfully unfair situations makes that decision both relevant and difficult. What we decide will in large measure determine how we respond to the unjust circumstances that force the question upon us in the first place. Is God in control or not? If He is, then we can trust Him as He works out His redemptive purpose in our lives, even in the face of injustice. If He is not, then we should abandon faith and find our own way through the hard times of life. The choice is stark and simple. But the struggle we may go through to make a decision of such magnitude is anything but simple. My friend was therefore right. I had to decide what I believed about the sovereignty of God.

Presence and Purpose

The Bible is clear: God is sovereign. He is the one who created us, provides for us, and directs the course of our lives (Psalm 139). God sees all, knows all, transcends all. As finite creatures, we are bound by space and time. He is bound by neither. “Before the mountains were born or you brought forth the earth and the world, from everlasting to everlasting you are God. . . . For a thousand years in your sight are like a day that has just gone by, or like a watch in the night” (Ps. 90:2, 4).

If a single biblical story affirms God’s sovereignty, it is the story of Joseph (Genesis 37–50). Joseph experienced terrible injustice. He was betrayed by his brothers, who sold him as a slave to a caravan of merchants traveling to Egypt. They in turn sold him to Potiphar, a member of Pharaoh’s court. Joseph served Potiphar well and won his trust. But Potiphar’s wife tried to seduce him. When Joseph resisted her advances, she accused him of attacking her. Joseph ended up in prison.

Eventually Joseph was released from prison. He was appointed second in command over all of Egypt because he correctly interpreted a dream that had troubled Pharaoh, a dream that foretold a seven-year famine. In addition to interpreting this dream, Joseph advised Pharaoh to establish a plan to avert the disaster. After Joseph’s appointment, he implemented a national project of storing surplus grain and then supervised the distribution of that grain when famine struck. The famine forced Joseph’s brothers to travel to Egypt to buy grain, where they were reunited and eventually reconciled. The story concludes with Joseph’s family settling and prospering in Egypt.

The account gives us two perspectives on the sovereignty of God. The author of the story provides the first perspective. Twice he writes, “The Lord was with Joseph.” Surprisingly, he makes the comment on two occasions when Joseph was the victim of gross injustice. The first occasion occurs just after Joseph was sold to Potiphar, the second just after Joseph was thrown into prison (Gen. 39:2, 21).

The author’s perspective was informed by his knowledge of how the story would end. He could write with accuracy and confidence that God was with Joseph in his darkest hour, though that did not appear to be the case. The author saw that God was working out a purpose that Joseph did not at the time understand.

Joseph himself provides the second perspective on God’s sovereignty. His comment to his brothers at the end of the story indicates that he believed God was with him, even after so much injustice. “You intended to harm me,” he said, “but God intended it for good” (Gen. 50:20).

God’s Redemptive Sovereignty

As Joseph made a decision to believe, so must we. But what exactly should we believe about God’s sovereignty? Should we believe that it is cold, calculated, and machine-like? Or is God sovereign in the way a good writer is, who creates characters in a novel that face enormous messes but in the end find great happiness?

God’s sovereignty is not manipulative; it is redemptive. When God created the world, He called it good. He mourns the evil that ravages the world, and He plans to restore the world to its original goodness. It is as if the world is a masterpiece, like Michelangelo’s Sistine Chapel, upon which vandals have viciously painted graffiti. Now God, the artist, has decided to restore it to its original magnificence. God wants to redeem people so that His image, as reflected in Jesus Christ, is restored in them (Ro. 8:28–30, 2 Cor. 3:18). As a result, the entire universe will be set ablaze with His glory and holiness.

If God did not act in His sovereignty to redeem us, every human being on planet Earth would be doomed. If we were left to ourselves, imprisoned by our own sin, then we would be of all creatures the most to be pitied. There are many things we can do for ourselves, but salvation from sin is not one of them. Only God in His sovereignty can redeem us.

God has, in fact, already redeemed us in Jesus Christ. As Paul wrote, if any person is in Christ, that person is a new creation (2 Cor. 5:17). Jesus won our salvation through His sacrificial death and His bodily resurrection. He became sin for us so that we could become righteous like Him (2 Cor. 5:21).

Further, God is redeeming us every day by changing our lives. God takes the stuff of daily life and wields it as His tool to make us like Jesus. He uses the circumstances of everyday life to transform us. We can assume, then, that God in His sovereignty is always working in our lives. The tools He uses are immediately at hand—the relationships we have or lack, responsibilities we are assigned by choice or necessity, opportunities we are given, suffering we did not choose but must endure, problems we face, dilemmas we encounter. God uses these occurrences to perfect us. It is not in spite of, but by means of such life experiences that we grow into the fullness of Christ. Thus, the very circumstances that we blame for our misery are the things God uses to make us like Jesus. Nothing is wasted in God’s economy.

We must learn to trust God, even when there seems to be little reason to do so. There may be times when the way God leads us can seem unjust. Take Abraham as an example. After waiting 25 years for a child, Abraham finally witnessed the fulfillment of God’s promise. Sarah conceived and gave birth to Isaac. Isaac was God’s supreme gift to Abraham and Sarah. It seemed a cruel thing when God later commanded Abraham to sacrifice Isaac, his only son and heir, to God (Genesis 22). God seemed to be violating His promise and desecrating His gift, as if He had turned against Abraham. Abraham must have been utterly bewildered. Amazingly, he still obeyed. While journeying to the place of sacrifice, Isaac became curious. “Where is the sacrificial animal?” he asked his father. Abraham’s response is telling. “God will provide the sacrifice,” he replied. And God did. The book of Hebrews teaches that Abraham had such confidence in God that he believed God could raise Isaac from the dead.

Why this test? The text tells us that God wanted to know whether or not Abraham trusted Him. Abraham did not presume to know more or better than God. Neither should we. Again, it all comes down to a decision to believe.

Hard Questions

God is sovereign and worthy of our trust. Complete trust in Him, however, does not eliminate the pain we feel in the midst of injustice. The darkness will still be dark; hardship will still be hard. It does us no good to think otherwise. If Jesus cried in anguish, so can we. However sovereign God is, injustice still hurts.

These seasons of suffering may raise difficult questions in our minds. It is entirely human and understandable to question God when we do not understand what He is doing in our lives, or to cry out in agony even if we do understand. Job, for example, was never faulted for questioning God; the book of Psalms contain many psalms of complaint (e.g., Psalm 88). Even Jesus asked in desperation, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” (Mk. 15:34).

The crucifixion of Christ is the quintessential example of the mysterious and complex way in which God works. It was obviously a horrible miscarriage of justice, and the people responsible for the deed were wrong to do it. Yet God used that unjust event to accomplish the salvation of the world.

Pursuing Justice

It’s important to remember that belief in God’s sovereignty does not excuse evil or justify wrongdoing. Bad parents are still bad parents, though God will use bad parents in His sovereignty to make us better people. God uses injustice to accomplish His greater purposes. Yet the positive outcome of suffering unjustly does not nullify the painful nature of such experiences. God’s ability to accomplish His purposes through injustice does not erase the guilt of the one responsible for the suffering.

Nor does trusting in God’s sovereignty imply that we should never seek justice as a means of righting the wrongs done to others or even to us. It is possible and appropriate to pursue the two courses simultaneously.

On the one hand, we can and should trust that God is always working in our lives and cooperate with Him as He uses even injustice to transform us and advance His work in the world. Jesus commanded His disciples to absorb the wrong done to them and do good instead (Mt. 5:38–48). The Apostle Paul restated the principle by encouraging believers to overcome evil by doing good, leaving justice to the wrath of God (Ro. 12:17–21). Paul made it clear that believers belong to Christ and can, therefore, live in peaceful contentment, in all circumstances (Phil. 4:11–13).

On the other hand, we can also appeal to earthly institutions like the state to seek justice when we have been legitimately wronged. For example, Paul appealed to Caesar when he was falsely accused by the Jews and unjustly imprisoned by the Romans (Acts 25:10–12). Paul wrote Romans 13 to show that God establishes justice on earth, in part, through the state.

How can we live in such a tension? Say, for example, that I am treated unfairly by an employer. By faith I believe that God is sovereign. I look for signs of God’s gracious work in my life. I allow God to use the experience to change me for the better. At the same time, I recognize that what my employer did was wrong and that he should be held accountable. So I decide to appeal to a grievance committee to address the unjust way my employer has treated me. My submission to God, in other words, does not excuse the faults of my employer or prevent me from seeking justice through the appropriate channels of authority.

The Triumph of Redemption

Submission to the sovereignty of God, therefore, does not have to make us passive in the face of injustice, as if we were little more than victims. We should identify injustice and resist it as best we can, but always in a spirit of humility, contentment, and peace. For we know, whatever the outcome, that God is in control, that good will triumph over evil, and that God is working out His redemptive purpose in our lives. We do not have to get our own way. We do not have to win. In the end, whether justice prevails in our immediate circumstances or not, God’s sovereignty will triumph, and we will be redeemed.

Slaves To Sin, Free From Christ – OR – Slaves To Christ, Free From Sin?

SOURCE:  John MacArthur/Grace To You

As much as we’d like to abolish slavery in practice, and even from our memories, the Bible demands that we remember. Slavery has everything to do with our relationship to Christ. We are His slaves, and our slavery to Him is the guarantee of our eternal security.

Historically, nearly every society on earth has practiced human slavery. In the Roman Empire, during the time the New Testament was written, slaves accounted for roughly one-fifth of the population. Slaves were of all ages, ethnicities, and both men and women. Some slaves engaged in hard labor, while others had an easier, domestic existence, serving in a household.

No matter what kind of slave labor they performed, every slave was owned by a master. Slaves did not have personal rights. They had to obey their master. Disobedience guaranteed severe punishment; more serious offenses could result in death.

Slaves from Birth

Not many today know what it’s like to be treated as a piece of property, forced to serve a human master. But the Bible tells us in Romans 6:17, “we were slaves to sin.” The verse before that says “we obeyed sin.” Sin was our master and we had no choice but to obey.

John MacArthur, in his recent book appropriately entitled Slave (Nashville: Thomas Nelson, 2010), gives us a picture of sin as a domineering master,

Sin is a cruel tyrant. It is the most devastating and degenerating power ever to afflict the human race, such that the entire creation “groans and suffers the pains of childbirth together until now” (Rom. 8:22). It corrupts the entire person – infecting the soul, polluting the mind, defiling the conscience, contaminating the affections, and poisoning the will. It is the life-destroying, soul-condemning cancer that festers and grows in every unredeemed human heart like an incurable gangrene. (pp. 120-21)

The Bible tells us the truth: we were not only infected by sin, it owned us. Sin was our master and we had no choice but to serve.

But we didn’t think of ourselves as “enslaved to sin,” did we? No, we thought we were free! And in a warped, twisted, perverted sense, we really were free: “For when you were slaves of sin, you were free in regard to righteousness” (Romans 6:20). But our pride deceived us about our true condition, making us think we were free when we were wrapped in the chains of our depravity.

We had no resources to free ourselves, just as a human slave can’t buy freedom from his human master. The only hope we had was if someone would purchase our freedom.

Redeemed by Christ

And that’s the good news: Jesus redeemed us from the slave market of sin—that’s the doctrine of redemption. Redemption is Jesus Christ paying a price we could never pay to deliver us from our bondage to sin through His death on the cross.

Redemption has its roots in the Book of Exodus where we read of God liberating His people, Israel, from their bondage as slaves in Egypt (Exodus 6:615:13). The picture of redemption became clearer, more specific, and more profound when Christ came to die on our behalf. His death ransomed us, purchasing us from the slave market of sin so that now we are slaves to Him (Romans 6:1822). When He died, we died too, which is what Romans 6 tells us: “Knowing this, that our old man was crucified with Him, that the body of sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves to sin. For he who has died has been freed from sin” (vv. 6, 7).

Paid in Full

When we consider Romans 6, (along with other passages in the NT), the truth of our redemption will not only fill our hearts with joy that we have been ransomed from sin, but also strengthen the confidence in our eternal security.

Our redemption has a divine origin. God is the one who initiated our redemption. “But God, being rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in our transgressions, made us alive together with Christ” (Ephesians 2:4-5). We did nothing to earn it. We could no more contribute anything to our redemption by God than an impoverished slave could contribute to his purchase by a human master.

Our redemption delivered us. Paul writes in Galatians 1:4 that we are “delivered from this evil world” and in Colossians 1:13, “He delivered us from the power of darkness.” Before we were Christians we were slaves to sin, free from Christ; now we are slaves to Christ, free from sin. “For sin shall not be master over you, for you are not under law, but under grace” (Romans 6:14).

Our redemption is complete and certain. Peter writes in 1 Peter 1:1819: “Knowing that you were not redeemed with corruptible [or perishable] things, like silver or gold, from your aimless conduct received by tradition from your fathers, but with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot.”

God did not purchase our freedom with gold or silver, the typical currency for buying human slaves, but with the blood of His beloved Son. Christ paid full price to secure our ransom from slavery to sin, to seal our salvation. He paid the price of His own precious blood, which is incorruptible.

Christ’s redemption signals an eternal change in our relationship to Him.

  • God did it, so it can’t be undone.
  • Christ delivered us—we are under a new Master now, and our old master can’t get us back.
  • God paid the full price of the precious blood of His Son. There’s no person, there’s nothing in existence that can pay a higher price to buy us back.

He bought us with His life. We are His slaves. He is our Lord.

Jesus Christ, Lord of All

Let me draw this to a conclusion by delivering what I promised. How does slavery to Christ guarantee the security of our salvation? Historically, slaves didn’t leave their human masters at will—if they tried, they were hunted down, captured, severely punished, or killed. Likewise we don’t have the liberty to walk away from our masters in the spiritual realm. It requires the power of God to part us from slave-master Sin, and once His redemption is accomplished and applied, there is no power that can break the hold our Master has over us. We belong to Christ. We are His slaves, His precious possessions forever.

Unlike the slave-owners throughout human history—from the cruel to the benevolent, and everyone in between—Jesus Christ is the greatest, most tender Master. Here are His words to all who would surrender to His lordship: “Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls” (Matthew 11:28-29).

Jesus Christ is the only Master worthy of our devotion. It is He who cements the connection between slavery, redemption, and eternal security. His redemption is perfect, final, and forever, and those who are His slaves, though they be prone to wander, can never walk away.

Warfare Praying: Various Prayer Perspectives

SOURCE:  Adapted from The Adversary & Overcoming the Adversary by Mark Bubeck

The following are various applications and perspectives of warfare praying.  Allow the Holy Spirit, who helps us know how and for what to pray (Rom. 8:26), to incorporate ways to truthfully express yourself in prayer.  Read the books from which these were taken to become more familiar with additional facets of how we can “pray in the Spirit” (Eph. 6:18).

Taking An Invincible Stance

Gracious Heavenly Father, I choose to see myself as You see me in the Person of Your Son, the Lord Jesus Christ.  I choose to see myself as one invincibly strong and able to do all that is in Your will for me to do.  I reject Satan’s accusations that I am hopelessly weak and defeated.  I accept my present great need as a call to renewed vision of the victory of my Lord.  Help me to focus my attention upon the awesome majesty, power, and sovereign greatness of my heavenly Father, who can do anything but fail.  Help me to see that in my union with Christ I am more than a conqueror.  Let the burden of my trials become an expression of the burden of the Lord.  Let that burden be expressed in tears of concern, times of fasting and prayer.  I choose not to shrink back from the burden You wish me to carry.

I recognize, Lord, that it is chiefly my own sin and failure that has brought me to this severe trial.  I am deeply sorry for my sins.  (MENTION THEM BY NAME.) Cleanse me in my Savior’s blood.  I take back from Satan all ground I have given him by my sins and transgressions. On the authority of the cross I reclaim all of that ground for the Lord Jesus Christ.

Precious Lord Jesus Christ, You have promised never to leave me nor forsake me.  I know that is true, and I boldly say, “The Lord is my helper, I will not fear.”  I resist the devil and his kingdom, steadfast in the faith.  I command Satan and his demons to leave me and to go where the Lord Jesus Christ sends them.

Heavenly Father, I accept and choose to enjoy everything inscribed upon the scroll of Your will for me.  Thank You that I can do all things through Christ who is my strength.  I will do Your will by accepting my responsibility to be strong.  I will do through Your strength the things I know to be Your will.  (TELL HIM WHAT THEY ARE.)

Thank You, loving heavenly Father, that through my Lord Jesus Christ You have heard my prayer – and You will make me to walk as one so strong in the Lord that even Satan’s most powerful strategies are already defeated.  In the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and for Your glory I pray.  Amen.

Prayer Of Victory

Loving Heavenly Father, I praise You that Satan is a defeated foe.  I rejoice that his defeat was accomplished by the Lord Jesus Christ in His sinless life, His death, burial, resurrection, and ascension into glory.  I look forward to that day when the Lord Jesus Christ rules, while Satan is bound in the bottomless pit.  I know that Satan will ultimately be forever consigned to the lake of fire prepared for him and his angels.  I rejoice that You have given to me, in my union with the Lord Jesus Christ, complete victory over Satan today.

I enter into my victory aggressively and claim my place as more than a conqueror through Him that loved me.  I refuse to admit continuing defeat by Satan in any area of my life.  He cannot and will not rule over me.  I am dead with Christ to his rule.  I affirm that the grace and mercy of God rule in all areas of my life through my union with the Lord Jesus Christ.  Grant to me the grace to affirm Your victory even when experiences of life seem to say otherwise.

I thank You for these battles and all that You are seeking to accomplish in Your wisdom and design for my life.   I accept the battle and rejoice in Your purpose.  I willingly accept and desire to profit from all of Your purpose in letting Satan’s kingdom get at me.  I reject all of Satan’s purpose.  Through the victory of my Lord and Savior, I stand resolute and strong upon the certainty of my victory.  In confidence I look to You, Lord Jesus Christ.  When Your purpose for this trial is fulfilled, I know that it shall fade into the dimness of forgotten battles and a defeated enemy.  Through the precious name of the Lord Jesus Christ, it shall be so.  Amen.

Claiming Our Union

Loving Heavenly Father, I praise Your name.  I’ve come to see that it is Your will that I be invincibly strong in my spiritual warfare.  I praise You, Lord, that You have placed me “in Christ.”  By faith I express my desire to abide in the protection and blessing of the mighty name of the Lord Jesus Christ.  I pray the omnipotent power of His name over my family and the ministry to which You have called me.  I pray the name of the Lord Jesus Christ against Satan and all that his kingdom would do to hinder God’s plan for my life.

I focus my prayer on my union with Christ in His incarnation.  I joyfully confess that Jesus Christ has come in human flesh to win my victory for me.  I pray all of the triumphs the Lord Jesus achieved in His humanity against all of Satan’s subtle wiles and crafty deceits.  I pray the victories of the incarnation over all areas of my life and ministry.

I praise You for the cross and death of the Lord Jesus Christ, desiring all the benefits of His death to focus upon my life, my family, and my ministry.  I affirm that my death with Christ can defeat the control and rule of sin, of death, and of Satan.  I desire the shed blood of Christ to be against all that Satan is doing to hinder me.

I hunger to learn more deeply what it means to experience the power of His resurrection.  Just as I desire to be dead to the reign of sin, so I long to live in accord with the fact that I am alive unto God through the power of the resurrection.  In the mighty power that raised up the Lord Jesus Christ from the dead, enable me to walk in the newness of life available to me.

Heavenly Father, it will always remain a marvel to me that You have seated me with Christ in the heavenly realm, far above all principalities and powers.  Humbly I use the authority of my ascended union with Christ to pull down all of Satan’s plans formed against me personally, all of his plans formed against my family, and all of his plans formed against God’s appointed plan for my life.

Thank You, Lord Jesus Christ, that in Your glorified position at the Father’s right hand, You are leading Your church and shepherding Your sheep.  I deliberately submit to Your lordship of my life and ministry.  I acknowledge that everything that is good about my life, home, and ministry is because of Your lordship and gracious blessing.

By faith I claim my invincible right to be strong and victorious in Your complete salvation.  I refuse to be discouraged.  I reject all emotions that make me feel defeated.  I choose to live as one who is more than a conqueror through Jesus Christ my Lord.  In the name of my Lord Jesus Christ, I pray with thanksgiving.  Amen.

A Prayer For The Spirit’s Filling

Loving Heavenly Father, I approach You again through the Person and work of the Lord Jesus Christ.  I desire to obey Your will by being invincibly strong through Your Holy Spirit’s enabling power.  I praise You for Your goodness in providing the Holy Spirit for my benefit and strengthening.  Thank You for that day when the Holy Spirit convicted me of my need of Your salvation.  I praise You that He enabled me to open my heart to the Lord Jesus Christ and Your saving grace.  I welcome the Holy Sprit’s indwelling presence.  It is with expectancy that I receive His peace, His comfort, and His illumination of my mind enabling me to understand Your Word.  I greatly rejoice in the security of His sealing work.  I delight that by His baptizing work the Spirit has put me into the Body of Christ and united me inseparably with Him.  I praise Your name that the Holy Spirit has brought me to spiritual life and that He will yet quicken my body at the resurrection day.

As I pray, I am increasingly conscious of my need of the Spirit’s intercessions in me, through me, and for me.  I pray that You will grant me the privilege of praying in the Spirit.  May my thoughts and words be directed of Him.  May He bring my petitions into Your presence with His perfect understanding of Your will.

I acknowledge Your plan and desire to fill me with Your Holy Spirit.  Forgive me for grieving the Holy Spirit by my sinning.  Enable me to appropriate more perfectly the victory You have provided for me to walk above sin and failure.  Grant to me always the awareness of my sins that I might quickly confess them to You.  I do not want to quench the Holy spirit by any reluctance to submit fully to Your will and plan for my life.

Help me to see moment by moment those things You are teaching me about Yourself and Your will for my life.  It is my constant desire to walk in the Spirit.  I ask You to fill me with His power that You might be glorified through the invincible strength You provide me to do Your will.  All of this I ask in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ for Your glory.  Amen.

DOCTRINAL PRAYER

Dear Lord and Heavenly Father:

Humbly I approach the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, the God of promise, hope, love, and grace.  I come before You in the merit, the holiness, and the righteousness of the Lord Jesus Christ.  I appropriate by faith the blessed ministry of the Holy spirit to intercede for me and in me during this time of prayer.  I desire to pray only in the Spirit.

I praise You that I am united with the Lord Jesus Christ in all of His life and work.  By faith I desire to enter into the victory of the incarnation of my Lord today.  I appropriate by faith the victory He achieved for me in living His sinlessly perfect life as a human being.  I claim all of His perfection and holy living.  I invite Him to live His victory in me today.  Thank You, Lord Jesus Christ, that You experienced all temptations I experienced and yet never sinned.  Thank You for defeating in Your incarnation all temptations and attacks that Satan and his kingdom were able to address against you. I claim Your victory over Satan as my victory today.

I enter by faith into the mighty work of the crucifixion of my Lord.  Thank You that through the blood of Jesus Christ there is not only cleansing from the penalty and guilt of sin but moment-by-moment cleansing, permitting me to fellowship with You.  Thank You that the work of the cross brings Satan’s work to nothing.  Deliberately and by faith, I bring all of the work of my Lord on Calvary directly against Satan’s workings in my life.  I will accept in my life only what comes by way of the cross of Christ.  I choose to die to the old man.  I count him to be dead with Christ on the cross.  Grant to me the discernment and wisdom to see when the old man attempts to resurrect his activity in my life.

I enter by faith into the full power and authority of my Lord’s resurrection.  I desire to walk in the newness of life that is mine through my Lord’s resurrection.  Lead me ever more into a deep understanding of the power of the resurrection.  I bring the might truth of my Lord’s victory over the grave against all of Satan’s working against Your will and plan for my life.  The enemy is defeated in my life because I am united with the Lord Jesus Christ in the victory of His resurrection.

By faith I appropriate and enter today into my union with the Lord Jesus Christ in His ascension.  I rejoice that my Lord displayed openly His victory over all principalities and powers as He ascended into glory through the very realm of the prince of the power of the air. I rejoice that He is seated in victory far above all principalities and powers and that I am seated there with Him.  Because of my union with my Savior, I affirm my full authority and position of victory over Satan and his entire kingdom of darkness.

By faith I enter into the benefit and blessedness of my union with Christ in His glorification.  It is my joy to choose to obey Him who is my Shepherd.  I ask for you to lead me in Your path today.  As my great High Priest, I appropriate your high priestly work into my life today.  Thank You, Lord Jesus Christ, for interceding for me and being my advocate with the heavenly Father. Thank You for watching over me and leading me, that Satan may gain no advantage over me.  Grant me the wisdom to discern all of the devil’s deceivings and temptations.

By faith I invite the Person of the Holy Spirit to bring the fullness of all of His person and my Lord’s work into all areas of my being.  I ask the Holy Spirit to fill my mind, my will, and my emotions with His control.  I choose for Him to bring all parts of my being into wholeness and submission to the Lordship of Christ.  I give my body in all of its parts and appetites to the Holy Spirit’s control and transformation.  I desire that He enable my spirit to be in fellowship with the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit throughout this day.  I offer up this prayer to the heavenly Father in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ with thanksgiving.  Amen.

VICTORY OVER THE FLESH

Heavenly Father, I enter by faith today into death with the Lord Jesus Christ on the cross.  I appropriate all of the benefit of the crucifixion, which is mine because of my union with Christ.  I count myself dead to my old fleshly nature and all of its workings through my union with Christ at the cross.  I recognize that my old nature always wants to resurrect itself against You and Your will for my life, but I will to let it remain dead in death with my Lord on the cross.  I am thankful that this absolute truth can be my subjective experience.  I recognize that appropriating the death of my flesh is an essential step to victory over these fleshly temptations that buffet me.  Amen.

WALKING IN THE SPIRIT

Blessed Heavenly Father, in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ I desire to walk in the Spirit today.  I recognize that only as He lives the life of the Lord Jesus Christ in me will I be able to escape the works of my flesh.  I desire the Holy Spirit to bring all of the work of the crucifixion and the resurrection of Christ into my life today.  I pray that the Holy Spirit may produce His fruit within my whole being and shed abroad in my heart great love for the heavenly Father, for the Lord Jesus Christ, and for others about me.  Forgive me, dear Holy Spirit, for all times I have grieved or quenched You. Enable me to respond to Your grace and to be sensitive to Your voice.  Grant to me the desire and enablement to be obedient to Your precious Word.  Grant me discernment to avoid being deceived by false spirits.  I desire that the Holy Spirit fill all of my being with His Presence and control me by faith.  I trust my victory over the flesh today completely into the hands of the Holy Spirit as I let Him take control of me.   In the Name of the Lord Jesus Christ, I receive all the fullness of the Holy Spirit into all areas of my being today.  Amen.

CLAIMING VICTORY OVER THE WORLD SYSTEM

Loving Heavenly Father, in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ I approach You again in prayer.  I glorify You that all of my victory and ability to walk pleasing before You has been provided by Your grace.  I desire to claim my victory that You have provided over my enemy, the world system.  I recognize its powerful appeal to my fallen fleshly nature.  I see that Satan’s deception and power in the world is strong against me.  I know I cannot overcome the world through my own efforts.  I enter into Your provided Victory.  Thank You that in His humanity, the Lord Jesus Christ overcame the world for me. Thank You that He met all of its temptations for me and defeated them.  Thank You that Jesus Christ died and shed His blood that He might accomplish His full victory over the world and its ruler.  Thank You that the blood of the Savior cleanses me of the times I have failed to overcome the world.  I enter into my Lord’s victory and bring it strong against the appeal of the world to me.

I also open my heart to the full victory of the Holy Spirit over the world.  I trust Him to put desires within my being which are above the world.  I trust Him to cause the world’s appeal to me to be blotted out.  May He keep me from being double-minded.  I don’t want to love the things of God with one part of me and the things of the world with another part of me.  May the Holy Spirit unite my heart to fear Your Name.  May He bring me all together in wholeness to love and serve You with all of my will, my mind, my emotions, my body, and my spirit.  Thanks You for providing all of my victory.  I appropriate it now in the Name of the Lord Jesus Christ. Amen.

RENUNCIATION AND AFFIRMATION

As a child of God purchased by the blood of the Lord Jesus Christ, I here and now renounce and repudiate all the sins of my ancestors.  As one who has been delivered from the power of darkness and translated into the kingdom of God’s dear Son, I cancel out all demonic working that has been passed on to me from my ancestors.  As one who has been crucified with Jesus Christ and raised to walk in newness of life, I cancel every curse that may have been put upon me.  I announce to Satan and all his forces that Christ became a curse for me when He hung on the cross.  As one who has been crucified and raised with Christ and now sits with Him in heavenly places, I renounce any and every way in which Satan may claim ownership of me.  I declare myself to be eternally and completely signed over and committed to the Lord Jesus Christ.  All this I do in the Name and authority of the Lord Jesus Christ.

(Based on Rom 6:4; Gal 2:20; 3:13; Eph 1:7; 2:5-6; Col 1:13)

RECLAIMING WHAT WAS GIVEN UP THROUGH SIN

Blessed Heavenly Father, I ask Your forgiveness for offending You by committing this sin of [NAME THE OFFENSE].  I claim the cleansing that is mine through the blood of the Lord Jesus Christ.  I address myself against Satan and all of his kingdom.  I take away from you and all your powers of darkness any ground you are claiming against me when I sinned by [NAME THE OFFENSE].  I claim that ground back in the Name of the Lord Jesus Christ.  I cover it with the blood of the Lord Jesus Christ and give all areas of my life over to the full control of the Holy Spirit.

NOTE:  It is good to keep one’s heart constantly open to the Holy Spirit, asking Him to bring to mind any offense that gave the enemy a foothold against you.  No matter what you are doing or where you are, should the Holy Spirit bring something to mind, you can immediately claim back all ground in prayer of the type just mentioned.

OVERCOMING DESPAIR: “GET UP AND DO THE NEXT THING”

SOURCE:  Oswald Chambers

Matthew 26:46

In the Garden of Gethsemane, the disciples went to sleep when they should have stayed awake, and once they realized what they had done it produced despair. The sense of having done something irreversible tends to make us despair. We say, “Well, it’s all over and ruined now; what’s the point in trying anymore.” If we think this kind of despair is an exception, we are mistaken. It is a very ordinary human experience.

Whenever we realize we have not taken advantage of a magnificent opportunity, we are apt to sink into despair. But Jesus comes and lovingly says to us, in essence, “Sleep on now. That opportunity is lost forever and you can’t change that. But get up, and let’s go on to the next thing.” In other words, let the past sleep, but let it sleep in the sweet embrace of Christ, and let us go on into the invincible future with Him.

There will be experiences like this in each of our lives. We will have times of despair caused by real events in our lives, and we will be unable to lift ourselves out of them. The disciples, in this instance, had done a downright unthinkable thing— they had gone to sleep instead of watching with Jesus. But our Lord came to them taking the spiritual initiative against their despair and said, in effect, “Get up, and do the next thing.” If we are inspired by God, what is the next thing? It is to trust Him absolutely and to pray on the basis of His redemption.

Never let the sense of past failure defeat your next step.

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