Things I Think

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227 Responses

  1. London says:

    A week long series on holiness that wasn’t interrupted by “drama” would be welcome.
    I think you may be missing the mark 😉 on what people like and dislike on here.

  2. London says:

    Oh. And FIrst!

  3. Michael says:

    London,

    You may be right…but that observation wasn’t based on here as much as talking to other pastors and looking at current book topics.
    Historically, it was a subject of great importance…today, not so much.
    Congrats on the first! 🙂

  4. London says:

    Ah. Guess I was thrown off by the words “our

  5. London says:

    Hmmm. How’d that happen?
    There were more words when I hit the “post comment” button than showed up.
    Must have installed a “snark filter” :mrgreen:

  6. Michael says:

    London,

    I might give it a shot…there’s a lot to the concept that I find fascinating.
    I got away with teaching some history in our church last night, so I’m emboldened to risk.
    🙂

  7. Kevin H says:

    1. So you mean that all those who don’t believe pre-trib/pre-mill and aren’t waiting with anxious anticipation for the next prophecy and rapture updates do not need to walk around with a Scarlet A, for Apostate, on their chests? 😉

    3. I heartily agree with London’s #1. Maybe the quantity of comments would be lower, but the appreciation level would be much higher for a series that could be drama free and absent of attacks on the faith for once.

    4. I guess my one uncertainty would come with those who teach full preterism.

    5. I agree. The sticking point is in determining or defining “logical”.

    10. At least to Syria, it would appear that evil is on all sides. Even outside of using military force, it’s hard to determine what we can or should do to help in that situation either as a country or as Christians.

  8. London says:

    “Grace should always be taken to it’s logical extreme…”

    Isn’t the whole point of grace that it’s not logical?

  9. London says:

    Also (my phone is being weird so that’s why the multiple posts today)

    There’s a difference between grace and enabling. One is healthy for all involved, the other, not so much.

  10. Michael says:

    KevinH,

    #1 and #4 share a common thought process.
    Many doctrines can be important without being salvifically important.
    We need to learn to make that separation.

  11. Rob Murphy says:

    I will add to Kevin H’s ‘derring do’ and posit in this now with relative lack of concern for my eschatological darn-nation . . . what if Isaiah 14 (like so many other Scriptures) has dual fulfillment and we’re about to see history/prophecy unfold before our very eyes? Wouldn’t that be something??

  12. Michael says:

    London,

    For the sake of discussion, I should have divided “grace” into horizontal and vertical components.
    We can always take the vertical to it’s extreme…and you make a good point about the horizontal plane.

  13. Michael says:

    Rob,

    Post the passage and tell us what we may be seeing…

  14. Reuben says:

    I am on call right now, but the phone has not rung once yet today… so short vent.

    Ding Dong! (I am watching the Life of Pi with my wife, and the doorbell rings, so I am already mad…)

    Man: Hi there, I would like to spend 4 and a half minutes talking to you about Jesus.

    Me: I believe in Jesus already, but thanks!

    Man: Oh, what church do you go to?

    Me: I am an Anglican, I go to Boulder Anglican.

    Man: Isn’t that the English Church? Well, I only care about Jesus.

    Me: (Blood Pressure @ 210 over 120) Would you argue that Anglicans do not believe in Jesus?

    Man: blank stare

    Me: Have a nice day! (Slam door)

    There is one church in town that sends out people to “find Jesus” and that is a Calvary Chapel called “The Outpost” The pastor there wont talk to me because I am a Calvinist.

    I have come to the point that I can contend that if you call yourself “of Jesus”, and your objective is to win folks to your side, you are probably going straight to the lake of fire.

    Vent over.

  15. Kevin H says:

    On #4, I wouldn’t question their teachings on salvation. But it would seem that the still return of Christ to judge the quick and the dead and to establish a new heavens and new earth has been a cardinal doctrine of the faith and I would border on whether or not somebody who denied such in their teaching should be labeled as false.

  16. Michael says:

    KevinH,

    I do believe it is aberrant teaching.
    The question is, does that aberrancy affect salvation?
    If not, we should be able to have reasoned discussions about the doctrine without condemning the people that hold it.

  17. Michael says:

    Reuben,

    I would have given them a copy of “Knowing God” for their pastor… 🙂

  18. Reuben says:

    Packer is a Calvinist from the Church Of England. They would have to drop the shingle, reading that heresy. George would surely find out.

  19. Rob Murphy says:

    Michael – I typed on my phone, should never do that. I should have posted Isaiah 17, not 14. I have once again, yet still, made a blunder, please forgive me. I can imagine you reading that going . . . uhhh, okay. Sorry. Isaiah SEVENTEEN (that’s for my benefit, because 17 is not 14)… It’s prophecy concerning destruction in Syria, specifically Damascus, and I find it interesting because of the concerns in the news headlines today, does the US intervene and how? It seems that – at least in the past – God sees the ‘thundering of many peoples’, the nations get all in an uproar and the Lord rebukes that uproar.
    Strategically, I wonder if Scripture like this plays any part in national planning and defense in that part of the world today?

    Isaiah 17

    Behold, Damascus will cease to be a city
    and will become a heap of ruins.
    2 The cities of Aroer are deserted;
    they will be for flocks,
    which will lie down, and none will make them afraid.
    3 The fortress will disappear from Ephraim,
    and the kingdom from Damascus;
    and the remnant of Syria will be
    like the glory of the children of Israel,
    declares the Lord of hosts.
    4 And in that day the glory of Jacob will be brought low,
    and the fat of his flesh will grow lean.
    5 And it shall be as when the reaper gathers standing grain
    and his arm harvests the ears,
    and as when one gleans the ears of grain
    in the Valley of Rephaim.
    6 Gleanings will be left in it,
    as when an olive tree is beaten—
    two or three berries
    in the top of the highest bough,
    four or five
    on the branches of a fruit tree,
    declares the Lord God of Israel.
    7 In that day man will look to his Maker, and his eyes will look on the Holy One of Israel. 8 He will not look to the altars, the work of his hands, and he will not look on what his own fingers have made, either the Asherim or the altars of incense.

    9 In that day their strong cities will be like the deserted places of the wooded heights and the hilltops, which they deserted because of the children of Israel, and there will be desolation.

    10 For you have forgotten the God of your salvation
    and have not remembered the Rock of your refuge;
    therefore, though you plant pleasant plants
    and sow the vine-branch of a stranger,
    11 though you make them grow[a] on the day that you plant them,
    and make them blossom in the morning that you sow,
    yet the harvest will flee away[b]
    in a day of grief and incurable pain.
    12 Ah, the thunder of many peoples;
    they thunder like the thundering of the sea!
    Ah, the roar of nations;
    they roar like the roaring of mighty waters!
    13 The nations roar like the roaring of many waters,
    but he will rebuke them, and they will flee far away,
    chased like chaff on the mountains before the wind
    and whirling dust before the storm.
    14 At evening time, behold, terror!
    Before morning, they are no more!
    This is the portion of those who loot us,
    and the lot of those who plunder us.

  20. Michael says:

    Rob,
    I assumed one of us had missed something, so I turned the floor back to you. 🙂

  21. Rob Murphy says:

    Missed it by a long mile . . . that’s an entirely different crevasse of discussion to blunder into. I prefer to blunder into this swamp. Thank you for deferring to my particular brand o’ blunder. 🙂

  22. Rob Murphy says:

    That’s where you’ve moved deep into Agape-ville . . . after all this time knowing me, you still “hope for the best”, that I’m not a hopeless blunderer. See, you ARE saved, I don’t care what anybody says about you!! 🙂

  23. Michael says:

    Rob,

    Thank you…although you may have just given proof to some that you are a heathen. 😉

  24. Michael says:

    Rob,

    To the actual text itself…
    My understanding of this text is that it speaks of events occurring after the eschatological Day of the Lord.
    Now, in my understanding of eschatology that “day” begins with the Rapture of the church sometime in the second half of the last seven years.
    Thus, we wouldn’t be here to see it.
    Where do you place this event from the text?

  25. Rob Murphy says:

    Michael – I agree with your reading, though I have friends who lump this into the “all that needs to happen” w/Ez. 38 ‘before the Lord can return’, and that little boat seems to be growing and getting more crowded with recent (like that last two week’s) events.
    I’m very hesitant to say what the Lord ‘can or cannot’ allow to transpire before His return.
    I was discussing with one guy who insisted the 1860 slaughter of the Christian section of Damascus was the fulfillment of Is. 17 , but the lack of a nation of Israel at that time is problematic… he says, ‘nope, the Balfour declaration followed that 1860 event’. I said ‘in 1917? That’s “followed”? Well, that’s a flexible timeline right there.
    I’ve noticed increased speculation on what the troubles in Syria “mean” for prophecy, especially amongst the Frantic Rapturists. I kind of thought the promise of the Lord’s return was to ease ‘frantic’, but, “people”.

  26. Michael says:

    I’d be overjoyed if the Lord returned before the bank opens tomorrow… 🙂
    So many of these texts speak of events occurring after the Day of the Lord…and they get chronologically moved to accommodate the newspaper.

  27. Michael says:

    I knew #10 wouldn’t get much traction…because we really don’t believe those passages.
    We will when we have to, I suppose.

  28. J.U. says:

    I’ve never worried too much about “pre” or “post” or “mid.” I take the “comes like a thief in the night” statement pretty seriously and so I think all calculations as to when or “where” are on shaky ground.

    Ditto trying to tie current events to the Lord’s return. Christians throughout the ages were sure that Revelations was describing their times. That part hasn’t changed. Therefore, I’m not watching the news about Syria with the Bible in one hand. Wars and rumors of wars has been our history since Christ.

    I didn’t even know about these terms for years. I was in the “Welcome to the Family” class at my current church (more on that later) and one of the “students’ asked the pastor if the church was pre- or post -or whatever. He pointed at a book on the shelf behind him, (it was a small class held in his office with about ten people) and said, “that book has explanations justifying all three views.” He then said, with a smile”I agree with that book.”

    Later I googled the terms and now I know. I don’t understand exactly, but I know.

    For explanation of the above, and off the topic, the ten week long “Welcome” class was a requirement for membership in our church. You then got a short interview with an elder and ultimately had to be voted upon by the church body (simple majority rule, no “black ball”). One requirement for continued membership is regular attendance. and we do have cards we fill out at each service to track personal attendance.

    Note you are free to attend all you want no matter what you believe, but the body of believers have a particular, although somewhat vague, statement of faith required of members. Only members get to vote in the quarterly business meetings at which we also admit new members. Again, these meetings (and all the financials in a report to the body) are available for anyone and anyone can attend. But only members get to vote and approve business items, budgets, and new members.

    We are an independent church, a member of the Evangelical Free denomination. EF churches are all independent, so we can actually adopt any statement of belief we vote for. The statement was updated in the last few years to make it more clear we don’t have an official view of pre-, post-, or whatever. We accept all those views. Our church did adopt the official EF statement, but we didn’t have to. Mostly it was just an update of the language from the last version from the 1950’s, but that was a change regarding the wording about end times.

    That’s my comment on #1 and #4 and also on the recurring theme of church abuse and church organization and even celebrity preachers.

  29. Michael says:

    J.U.

    What do you think about the process?
    It sounds reasonable and good to me.

  30. London says:

    I didn’t say anything about 10 because its too broad. Syria and my cube farm all all together two different kinds of potential battle grounds.

  31. Michael says:

    London,

    Different kinds of battle grounds that may have the same forces behind them.
    In the OT when the Israelites depended on God for victory, then victory came.
    When they relied on themselves and the might of their armies, they failed.
    The idea is that there are supernatural forces at work against the people of God in every generation…they recognized this, we don’t.

  32. J.U. says:

    Michael,

    First a point of clarification. By “pre-, post-, etc.” I mean pre- or mid-, post-tribulation.

    If by “process” you mean our method of church governance, I think it works well. An unwritten rule in our church is limited size with 400-500 considered max and we spawn new churches if we grow larger. That’s not true of some EFCA churches. Size may have a factor in what form of church governance is optimal.

    Anyway, I think our method works well. However, I previously attended a Lutheran Church and their more formal structure and churches that are very formal with hierarchical organization seem to be OK too, as long the Holy Spirit is involved.

    We Americans think democracy is the best organization, but I think recent results in the middle east with the “Arab Spring” and Egypt and even Iran may put some doubt.

    One time my pastor and I were at a gathering and someone asked him what he did for a living. He said he was a pastor. The person then said, “I don’t think much of religion.” My pastor responded, “Neither do I.” Our imperfect human structures may all have flaws and weaknesses as long as they are made up of us imperfect people.

  33. J.U. says:

    My take-away from your #10 is that we wrestle with all authorities. Give Caesar’s to Caesar. I’m sorry, I don’t think the U.S. of A. is God’s chosen nation, and I also don’t believe we are being punished for some shortcoming such as the way we treat gays.

    It is easy for Americans to think of America’s actions as God’s hand. We are so conceited.

    The events in Syria, with or without action by the US and our president and/or congress is known to the All Powerful. He may use Nations in effecting His will, but it is His will, not the will of Nations.

    Gosh that sounded poetic. Doesn’t make it correct, but it did sound good. 🙂 And, it probably had nothing to do with what you meant in #10.

  34. Michael says:

    J.U.

    Well said.
    The Bible itself is inerrant in the original autographs…our interpretations,not so much.

  35. Ixtlan says:

    I listened to a Presbyterian lecture on political systems and he cited one possible reason why some of the traditional denominations are on the decline was due to their aristocratic form of government. I tend to think another reason, at least for these conservative is a focus on holiness, which usually brings an absence of a license to the Christian. In the age of cheap grace and second chances and a church that does what they want without any consideration of the Body, the ideal of maintaining a life of holiness, and recognizing restrictions imposed (some for life) because of violating biblical standards is out of vogue. Hence we have today, some pastors (I can’t quantify, but wish someone would do a study) who violate ethics or morality, and think nothing of shoving the situation aside and continuing in pastoral ministry. More times than not, they are received with open arms by the masses who as Michael pointed out, want to embrace an image of what they hope God might do for them. The license continues, and holiness is taken to the archives. And that my friends is idolatry, as we have confused the image with the Original. An image, by its very nature, implies distance.

  36. Nonnie says:

    I have posted a couple of articles on FB that dealt with the persecution (murders and terrorising) of Christians in Syria by the rebels and stated my disbelief that our country is actually aiding the same people. I confess, I have a hard time reading some people posting more about how excited they are that what is going on in Syria might mean we are in the end times, rather than any concern for our brothers and sisters in Christ (as well as others) that are suffering over there. One friend messaged me a link to Joel Rosenburg article. I read it and I agreed that yes, we need to seek the Lord and pray when we read about things like this in the newspapers, but I also noticed he hits up the reader for money at least 2X in the article. I didn’t have the heart to point that out to my friend. I just thanked her for the article. Sigh…..

  37. Michael says:

    Ixtlan,

    That…was better than a weeks worth of my articles.
    Amen.

  38. Michael says:

    Nonnie,

    Do you think the church actually believes that those prayers have power in heavenly places ?
    Do we really believe that God affects outcomes when we pray?

  39. J.U. says:

    Continuing with the off-topic, but always on the general topic of church abuse and organization of churches, I would say an essential factor for all good church governance is complete transparency of church finances.

    The budget, in detail with annual auditing by independent group (may be church members) is essential. It is required in business and government and should be part of church organization.

    Detailed line items and no hidden budget items like the Pentagon or CIA have.

    This budget and actual should be published at least annually and available in writing to all that ask. No hidden financials. If the pastor has perks and benefits such as insurance, a car, a plane, a house, that should be included too.

    Our budget includes the salary for all staff including pastors. Our church has a retirement plan that we pay into each year. That’s on the budget too. It should all be open and disclosed.

  40. Michael says:

    I remember when Wednesday night services were prayer meetings…when no one would show up to pray, they became bible studies.
    My theory is we traded political and economic power for the power of God.
    Within a few years we’ll be having prayer meetings again…

  41. Michael says:

    J.U.,

    I think that’s part of a good system…it reinforces trust.

  42. London says:

    The “forces of evil” show up in my life when I’m dealing with pride, arrogance, gossip, laziness, gluttony and jealousy.

    I barely stay ahead of them by being submissive to that still small voice, doing the work of understanding what triggers certain behaviors and trying the best I can to be constantly aware of when I get off track (that voice again)

    If not, I treat people badly, make a mess of my finances, social life, and health (which is a mess anyway at the moment because of my own actions- or lack thereof)

    I have no idea if that daily living stuff can even begin to be compared to people bombing or being bombed with chemical weapons.

    I do know that the results are much different.

    i suspect the source of the issues, theirs and mine, is more the human ego than some random invisible source running around in the ether trying to get people to do bad things.

    Dunno

  43. WenatcheeTheHatchet says:

    I’d say the distinction between 1 and 4 is important to maintain. 🙂 I have no problem affirming that premillennial dispensationalist futurists are fellow believers. I do, however, caution that historically that eschatological view can lead to certain types of cults and cults of personality that can show up in other millenarian approaches. Being an amillenialist doesn’t preclude cults emerging, obviously, but people who don’t subscribe to millenarianism of one sort or another aren’t embracing eschatological views that were apparently specifically exploited by some financial scammers in the late Clinton years. There were a couple of scams that emerged in those years that appealed specifically to End Times/Latter Rain ideas.

    I guess I would reformulate my own version of 1 and 4 by saying that if your eschatological view is something you use as an excuse to indulge in your anxieties and fears about the future or the current political or economic situation then you are fundamentally misunderstanding both the aim and nature of what apocalyptic literature that made it into the canon was aiming at. Encouragement to perservere in difficult times isn’t the same as “Panic because the people you don’t like are prospering”.

  44. Michael says:

    WTH,

    Food for thought there…as I read the eschatological passages the main message I see is ‘endure to the end”.
    You don’t “endure” peace and prosperity…

  45. J.U. says:

    We have a prayer meeting every Sunday night. Once a quarter we have the before mentioned business meeting and it is right after the prayer meeting. We get a couple of dozen at the prayer meeting, compared with several hundred at the business meeing. Not well attended, but some come for weekly prayer.

    About once a year we have a combined service on Sunday (normally we have two services) and it is 100% prayer. We meet in several small rooms as a good prayer session should be kept to a dozen or two, not over a hundred. We all meet in the sanctuary at the start and then move from room to room.

    So it is somewhat arbitrary and mechanical, but that’s how you get a great crowd organized. There does seem to be a lot of personal embarrassment and some don’t participate, but I love a quiet session that person after person will spontaneously speak out in prayer. We would often ask for prayer requests before the start of the session and someone would always bat “clean-up” to make sure all the requests are prayed for.

    It takes somewhat of a good memory and some presence of mind, although I notice some people take notes during the prayer requests. Again, seems kind of “elementary school” in the process, but most of us seem to have never graduated beyond the sixth grade for prayer, not counting the real prayer warriors.

    Of course, silent prayer is allowed too, and our regular service often includes a silent prayer with brief comments during the time by the prayer leader.

  46. Michael says:

    London,

    I think this one of the big “misses” in the church today.
    I think I see in Scripture that there are malevolent forces to are working both on a national and personal level.
    Yes, our own sin and ego contribute…but I also believe there is something real and evil behind all of these conflicts.

  47. Nonnie says:

    Such a mystery…prayer. I pray because Jesus told me to. I pray because I can come boldly into the throne room of grace. I pray because the burdens are too heavy to bear and He told me His yoke is easy. I pray because I can cast my cares upon Him. Being a parent has taught me that God can do as He pleases and I can trust that He loves and cares for me, even if I don’t understand His ways.

    When I think of issues like what is going on in Syria,my prayers are concerned with the people who are suffering, not the end times timetable. So I think there is power and God moves on behalf of His people. John 17, Jesus prayed for His people then and in the future. The Holy Spirit intercedes through us and for us. I’m guessing that is power in the heavenly places. I don’t understand prayer, but I will obey Jesus and will pray and trust in the goodness of God, even if I can’t understand His ways in the shadows.

  48. Michael says:

    J.U.,

    That sounds good…except for the once a year part.
    If we took all the Scriptures that speak of the power of prayer and put them together, we’d have a large book…yet, as I confessed myself, we are very weak in practice.

  49. Michael says:

    Nonnie,

    I wish I’d written that…

  50. London says:

    What does “6th grade prayer” level mean?

    I think part of the reason I’m VERY hesitant to pray in front of other people is the fear of being judged for not doing it well enough.

    Maybe it’s 6th grade to you, but for that person, it’s all they can muster. It may be taking everything they have at that moment just to say “dear God…”

  51. London says:

    Michael, I think there is something evil at work somewhere in the background.
    But I don’t think it is a bunch of little imps like the toe fungus commercial dude, running around telling people to do bad things.
    I don’t believe we have a clue what we are talking about half the time (some less than others)

  52. Nonnie says:

    London’s 51: yes!!!

    I’d much rather hear a “dear God” prayer than the one who goes on and on and on and on……

  53. J.U. says:

    My reference to “sixth grade” was about the organization and structure that surrounded the event. Anyone who has taken an elementary school class on an outing would understand what I mean.

    I was not referring to individuals and how they pray. I understand the reluctance and embarrassment many have praying. That’s what I was talking about.

  54. London says:

    JU.
    Thanks for clarifying

  55. Nonnie says:

    Re your number 3 on the list: I’d be very interested in a series on holiness and the ensuing discussion that would go with it here.
    1. I know you all are a bunch of sinners and you struggle just like I do.
    2. I respect so many of you here and would really like to hear your insights on the subject and how you “flesh” out a holy life in Christ.

  56. Jim says:

    Aren’t the warfare and wrestle verses personal in nature? Seems like a stretch to apply these to nations, or even to others. For the record, I believe big sticks are important, personally and nationally. I also believe that their use should be dreaded, and that we should vow to only use them in self defense (not in the defense of “our interests”), after all else fails.

  57. uriahisaliveandwell says:

    Michael and Rob

    On Isaiah 17, when reading this passage, I see it as a prophecy within a promise. That is it speaks of what the final end result will be, but only after certain things takes place. So although it has to do with after all is said and done, it tells us what takes place before this.

  58. I am a big new testament guy. I don’t think you can read the OT without doing so through the lens of the NT – this is where the rapture theology guys get in trouble. Why don’t we see anything in the NT writings – you know, where Jesus, Paul and Peter warn “keep an on Syria.”?

    On the other hand, Syria is a reminder of the evil that exists in our world.

  59. “2. We are attracted to celebrity preachers because they model what we want God to do for us…”

    What would that be … blow smoke up our skirts?

  60. I think #1 and #4 cuts both ways. Some of us tend to look down on pre-tribs when they go on a posting spree on FB.
    As I tend not to care as much anymore about eschatological belief systems and focus on the fact that Jesus IS returning and that is my blessed hope. I find that this leads me to be a bit more tolerant when I hear people’s views.
    Although, actually my FB feed isn’t blowing up with end times pronouncements. Curious.

    As for Syria, I agree with Nonnie, we have been backing the wrong horse and now Christians are suffering because of it. All dictatorships are not to be brought down willy-nilly. Time to end our involvement there.
    Much like in Egypt, where I hope the military wins there for the sake of the Christians in that country, so I feel that I hope Assad reasserts power for the same reason in Syria.
    We are idiots for backing the same people we have fought against for 10+ years in both places.
    On a good note, I think the vote will actually be “No”, at least in the US House.

  61. Reuben and Michael,
    My CC pastor has said more than once from the pulpit that everyone needs to read Packer’s Knowing God.

  62. Michael says:

    So in between his summons to seek the Lord’s strength and put on God’s armour on the one hand (verses 10–11) and his itemizing of our weapons on the other (verses 13–20) Paul gives us a full and frightening description of the forces arrayed against us (verse 12). For we are not contending against flesh and blood, he writes, but against the principalities, against the powers. In other words, our struggle is not with human beings but with cosmic intelligences; our enemies are not human but demonic.

    Stott, J. R. W. (1979). God’s new society: the message of Ephesians. The Bible Speaks Today (p. 263). Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press.

  63. Michael says:

    The forces arrayed against us have three main characteristics. First, they are powerful. Whether ‘principalities’ and ‘powers’ refer to different ranks of evil spirits in the hierarchy of hell we do not know, but both titles draw attention to the power and authority they wield. They are also called the world rulers of this present darkness. The word kosmokratores was used in astrology of the planets which were thought to control the fate of mankind, in the Orphic Hymns of Zeus, in rabbinical writings of Nebuchadnezzar and other pagan monarchs, and in various ancient inscriptions of the Roman emperor. All these usages exemplify the notion of a worldwide’ rule. When applied to the powers of evil they are reminiscent of the devil’s claim to be able to give Jesus ‘all the kingdoms of the world’, of the title ‘the ruler of this world’ which Jesus gave him, and of John’s statement that ‘the whole world is in the power of the evil one’. These texts do not deny our Lord’s decisive conquest of the principalities and powers, but indicate that as usurpers they have not conceded defeat or been destroyed. So they continue to exercise considerable power.

    Stott, J. R. W. (1979). God’s new society: the message of Ephesians. The Bible Speaks Today (pp. 263–264). Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press.

  64. Michael says:

    Secondly, they are wicked. Power itself is neutral; it can be well used or misused. But our spiritual enemies use their power destructively rather than constructively, for evil not for good. They are the worldwide rulers of this present darkness. They hate the light, and shrink from it. Darkness is their natural habitat, the darkness of falsehood and sin. They are also described as the spiritual hosts of wickedness, which operate in the heavenly places, that is, in the sphere of invisible reality. They are ‘spiritual agents from the very headquarters of evil’ (JBP). So then ‘darkness’ and ‘wickedness’ characterize their actions, and ‘the appearance of Christ on earth was the signal for an unprecedented outburst of activity on the part of the realm of darkness controlled by these world-rulers’.8 If we hope to overcome them, we shall need to bear in mind that they have no moral principles, no code of honour, no higher feelings. They recognize no Geneva Convention to restrict or partially civilize the weapons of their warfare. They are utterly unscrupulous, and ruthless in the pursuit of their malicious designs.

    Stott, J. R. W. (1979). God’s new society: the message of Ephesians. The Bible Speaks Today (p. 264). Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press.

  65. Michael says:

    Thirdly, they are cunning. Paul writes here of the wiles of the devil (verse 11), having declared in a previous letter ‘we are not ignorant of his designs’ or (NIV) ‘schemes’.9 G. B. Caird finds the English word wiles ‘slightly disparaging’, as if Paul ‘did not take the devil seriously’, and ‘hardly in keeping with the sustained military metaphor’. Instead, he suggests that ‘ “strategems” would give the required combination of tactical shrewdness and ingenious deception’. It is because the devil seldom attacks openly, preferring darkness to light, that when he transforms himself into ‘an angel of light’2 we are caught unsuspecting. He is a dangerous wolf, but enters Christ’s flock in the disguise of a sheep. Sometimes he roars like a lion, but more often is as subtle as a serpent. We must not imagine, therefore, that open persecution and open temptation to sin are his only or even his commonest weapons; he prefers to seduce us into compromise and deceive us into error. Significantly this same word ‘wiles’ is used in 4:14 of false teachers and their crafty tricks. ‘As in Bunyan’s Holy War’, writes E. K. Simpson, the devil develops ‘a twofold infernal policy’. That is, ‘the tactics of intimidation and insinuation alternate in Satan’s plan of campaign. He plays both the bully and the beguiler. Force and fraud form his chief offensive against the camp of the saints, practised by turns.’

    Stott, J. R. W. (1979). God’s new society: the message of Ephesians. The Bible Speaks Today (pp. 264–265). Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press.

  66. Michael says:

    The ‘wiles of the devil’ take many forms, but he is at his wiliest when he succeeds in persuading people that he does not exist. To deny his reality is to expose ourselves the more to his subtlety. Dr Lloyd-Jones expresses his conviction on this matter in the following terms: ‘I am certain that one of the main causes of the ill state of the Church today is the fact that the devil is being forgotten. All is attributed to us; we have all become so psychological in our attitude and thinking. We are ignorant of this great objective fact, the being, the existence of the devil, the adversary, the accuser, and his “fiery darts”.’

    Stott, J. R. W. (1979). God’s new society: the message of Ephesians. The Bible Speaks Today (p. 265). Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press.

  67. Michael,
    So, are you now going to tie those Stott comments to Syria?

  68. Michael says:

    MLD,

    Why wouldn’t I assume that there is a demonic force behind a ruler gassing his people to death?

  69. London says:

    I love when people use that tactic….the devils biggest trick is to fool people into believing he doesn’t exist (although that’s not one of the tricks he used on Jesus so who knows where they come up with that) and so, if you don’t believe what they believe, you must be blinded by the devil.

    Sort of short circuits conversations though

  70. Jim says:

    There’s more evidence that the rebels did it. Interesting that the UN inspectors have limited their scope to the use of gas, to the exclusion of determining the perps.

  71. Michael says:

    London,

    So the text itself (without commentary) says that we do not wrestle with flesh and blood, but with spiritual forces.
    How do you then interpret that?

  72. Michael says:

    Jim,

    My point is this…and it comes from the last few years of being so immersed in the horrors in Mexico.
    Somewhere around 150,000 people have died since 2006…and as the killings continued they became more terrible in terms of tortures and mutilations.
    It went beyond professional assassination to seeing who could out horrify the other.
    I am utterly convinced there is a huge demonic component to this.

  73. uriahisaliveandwell says:

    This article passage that you cited, Michael is so important for the church to recognize and to keep at the back of their minds as each of us measure out what it is that is going on and what we must do and can do to keep ourself stedfast in the faith and our walk with Him.

    Stott, J. R. W. (1979). God’s new society: the message of Ephesians, reminds me of another book, written by Donald Barnhouse: “The Invisible War.” Ever since I read it, the invisible war has been at the forefront of my mind when going through trials, affliction, tribulation, and the testing of my faith.

    I really don’t think that people grasp the full reality of what evil there is that exists in forms that look so totally normal and like that which we ourselves would view as being that which is an example of the most gracious, humble, and loving—-yet is as evil as one can be. What more, there appears to be an increase in this type of persona that dwells among us, in the church and otherwise.

  74. Jim says:

    Michael,

    I agree. I just needed my political commentary fix….

  75. I am with Jim, there is no convincing evidence that the Assad regime was behind the gas attacks.

  76. Michael says:

    Barnhouse’s book was one of the first theology books I ever bought…

  77. Jim says:

    But I still think that the verses cited are prescriptive to one’s self. I’m not sure Paul told us how to deal with the demonic in Caesar’s life.

  78. Michael says:

    I have no idea who did what…but I know that many people have lost their lives.
    My contention…and I’ve made it here before…is that the church in general is fighting the wrong enemies.
    These are spiritual wars being fought with carnal weapons.
    You don’t have to forsake one to use the other…but if the real battle is in heavenly places, that’s where our energy should be directed.

  79. Jim,
    I think that demonic forces can be bigger and encompass whole nations, sort of like the prince of Persia in Daniel.
    I think prayer is the main weapon in battle of that circumstance, just like Daniel was doing.

  80. Michael says:

    Nations are governed by individuals.
    Stott makes a good case here…

    “The word kosmokratores was used in astrology of the planets which were thought to control the fate of mankind, in the Orphic Hymns of Zeus, in rabbinical writings of Nebuchadnezzar and other pagan monarchs, and in various ancient inscriptions of the Roman emperor. All these usages exemplify the notion of a worldwide’ rule. When applied to the powers of evil they are reminiscent of the devil’s claim to be able to give Jesus ‘all the kingdoms of the world’, of the title ‘the ruler of this world’ which Jesus gave him, and of John’s statement that ‘the whole world is in the power of the evil one’.”

  81. uriahisaliveandwell says:

    Has anyone here had a direct experience with evil? And has anyone here ever looked directly in the face of evil? I have and have no other choice but to believe what scripture and told us and what Michael is citing.

  82. Michael says:

    “Let us remember this when the injurious treatment of others provokes us to revenge. Our natural disposition would lead us to direct all our exertions against the men themselves; but this foolish desire will be restrained by the consideration that the men who annoy us are nothing more than darts thrown by the hand of Satan. While we are employed in destroying those darts, we lay ourselves open to be wounded on all sides. To wrestle with flesh and blood will not only be useless, but highly pernicious. We must go straight to the enemy, who attacks and wounds us from his concealment,—who slays before he appears.”

    Calvin, J., & Pringle, W. (2010). Commentaries on the Epistles of Paul to the Galatians and Ephesians (pp. 335–336). Bellingham, WA: Logos Bible Software.

  83. Michael says:

    “Against principalities, against powers. Still, his object in producing alarm is not to fill us with dismay, but to excite us to caution. He calls them κοσμοκράτορας, that is, princes of the world; but he explains himself more fully by adding—of the darkness of the world. The devil reigns in the world, because the world is nothing else than darkness. Hence it follows, that the corruption of the world gives way to the kingdom of the devil; for he could not reside in a pure and upright creature of God, but all arises from the sinfulness of men. By darkness, it is almost unnecessary to say, are meant unbelief and ignorance of God, with the consequences to which they lead. As the whole world is covered with darkness, the devil is called “the prince of this world.” (John 14:30.)”

    Calvin, J., & Pringle, W. (2010). Commentaries on the Epistles of Paul to the Galatians and Ephesians (p. 336). Bellingham, WA: Logos Bible Software.

  84. Michael says:

    “By calling it wickedness, he denotes the malignity and cruelty of the devil, and, at the same time, reminds us that the utmost caution is necessary to prevent him from gaining an advantage. For the same reason, the epithet spiritual is applied; for, when the enemy is invisible, our danger is greater. There is emphasis, too, in the phrase, in heavenly places; for the elevated station from which the attack is made gives us greater trouble and difficulty.”

    Calvin, J., & Pringle, W. (2010). Commentaries on the Epistles of Paul to the Galatians and Ephesians (p. 336). Bellingham, WA: Logos Bible Software.

  85. London says:

    Uriah. What did it look like.
    Serious question.
    Did you see it with your physical eyes or determine it was “evil” after you saw it.
    All serious questions.
    I’ve had two people I respect say they “saw” a demon.
    One described it in very specific terms.
    I’m curious if what you saw was similar.

  86. I believe those verses like any other, but I don’t believe they mean that we are never to confront people themselves at times and even to telling others that they are completly wrong.
    I have seen those verse misused sometimes in that way.

    As we have said before, so now I say again: If anyone is preaching to you a gospel contrary to the one you received, let him be accursed. Gal 1:9

    Strong words, not directed at demonic forces, but at people.

  87. Thankful says:

    I agree with you about a battle between Spiritual Forces, Michael. I see it marching toward a goal of Satan uniting mankind against God. When you think about what he desires, it is the world united behind one ruler (him); then he can battle God for supremacy. I see this as the root of Spiritual warfare. That is why there is a dichotomy of trusting in the arm of flesh (unbelief) versus trusting in God (belief/faith). As the Lord said you cannot serve God and Mammon. Nobody asks what Mammon is, I’ve heard god of forces, money, etc. It seems to be the world system, much of Satan’s control is through finance, a system of greed. We are simply seeing the battle personified. Our wrestling will ultimately save/assist those on God’s side. This, to me, explains much of the downward spiral in the world/nation; God’s creation must be corrupted and turned against Him. That is why the natural order of things must be broken down and attacked, so that Satan can gather souls to himself and organize the world’s around him.

  88. Michael says:

    Derek,

    I don’t think it’s an either/or, but a both/and.
    Paul also identified the source of those false doctrines…

  89. Michael says:

    Thankful,

    I don’t have the plans down, but I believe the forces exist and are behind much of what we see today.
    The fact that we often deny their existence means they have free reign unopposed…

  90. OK, so the church prays – what is the army to do?

  91. uriahisaliveandwell says:

    As for the demon itself, it is indescribable. Seemingly confident, watching and just sitting there by a person sleeping. The ugliest, most gross thing I have ever seen, that’s for sure. As for demonic activities, within others, and being able to control the temperature of a room, toss things about, lift a child off a bed, terrorize them and the parents, and other things. It is not something to mess with and you better be prayed up and walking in Him, for surely what this person who writes on this subject has shared is as true as it gets. I have aso been able to pick up on demonic activity taking place and seen how it works behind the scene to cause people to behave wickedly. Particularly while under the influence of alcohol and drugs.

  92. Thankful says:

    I think about that, as it seems there is an idea that by not fighting them or denying them it helps bring about the End or the Rapture, depending on your perspective. Kind of produces a fatalism or why wrestle outcome.

  93. Michael says:

    MLD,

    Perhaps if the church were always at prayer the army would be used far less often, could be much smaller, and wouldn’t be involved in oil wars.
    Perhaps…

  94. Michael,
    So are you saying that God allows wars and the gassing of children because we don’t pray enough? If we prayed more than we do, God would intervene and save the lives of children?

    Hmmm, perhaps Ricky Bobby is on to something.

  95. Michael says:

    MLD,

    No, you put words into my mouth to try to make me appear a fool.
    I’m simply saying what the Bible says…that we are at war with hell whether we choose to address that reality or not.
    If we’re not engaged in that process, then my expectation would be that an unopposed enemy usually wins.
    I’m not spiritual enough to know all the conditions and consequences…I do see what the text says.

  96. Michael,
    Again I think it is the lack of recognition of the 2 kingdoms. Yes the church is to pray without ceasing and fight the good fight against the spiritual foe. However, on the other side, God rules through governments and the sword, and although the 2 are not to be confused, the Christian lives in both worlds.

    So, the christian soldier can still pray as he marches to war and lop of heads once he get’s there.

    The old Luther saying, pray as if it all depends on God and work as if it all depends on you.

  97. London says:

    Uriah. I don’t doubt your sincerity.
    My friend could describe in precise detail what he saw What it looked like and how it acted.
    Most times, I read or hear stories more like yours. More about a feeling than actual description.
    Feelings are subject, I’ve had them too.
    I think for most people to believe, what Michael was originally talking about, then there has to be more description accounts.
    Again, not doubting what you say is your honest experience, just that it doesn’t jive with what I heard from him that day.
    Which btw, is the only time someone has been that descriptive so no worries

  98. Michael says:

    MLD,

    I understand 2k theology and it has nothing to do with the subject at hand.
    My concern is that the opposition can be a agent of demonic power…and warring against that power before or during a conflict may result in victory without drawing blood.
    We may get victory where defeat awaits if we do not intercede.
    My whole point is that we need to think through these issues more spiritually and with greater respect for the texts at hand.

  99. Michael says:

    “I think for most people to believe, what Michael was originally talking about, then there has to be more description accounts.’

    How do you describe the invisible?
    I’ve yet to see a demon standing behind a chief of state, but I have no doubt they are there.

  100. Michael says:

    “Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. Resist him, firm in your faith, knowing that the same kinds of suffering are being experienced by your brotherhood throughout the world.”
    (1 Peter 5:8–9 ESV)

  101. Lutheran says:

    Michael,

    Happy to see you back!

    Have you read anything by Walter Wink?

    He’s a more mainstream theologian who believes that the ‘demonic’ realm Scripture talks about transcends the personal realm — these powers are also active in larger settings.

    This whole area needs to approached with care and discernment. It’s so easy to get unbalanced — and there are individuals and groups that have become spiritually unhinged, because they’ve lost the balance, IMHO.

    http://www.amazon.com/Engaging-Powers-Discernment-Resistance-Domination/dp/080062646X/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1378169692&sr=8-2&keywords=walter+wink

  102. Michael says:

    Lutheran,

    Thank you. 🙂
    I’ll put that one on the list…

  103. Lutheran says:

    I did have something happen like Uriah mentions, one time. I’m a little reluctant to share all the details, but let’s just say that it was very real — I observed it, it didn’t do anything to me — and it was very transient. We live in an area where there’s a lot of occult activity — or that’s what I’ve been told. It made me want to stay really, really close to Jesus!

  104. Michael,
    So at what point do you say “OK, we have prayed enough – it is time we took action.”?

    I made my position clear a couple of days ago – I think action needs to be taken, swiftly and forcibly – however, not by the US – let the French take care of this problem.

  105. London says:

    Michael, to answer your earlier question.
    I think, using the text alone, it means there’s more than what our senses can recognize going on around us.
    There’s forces at work, both good and bad, that we know nothing about.
    What I disagree with, I think, is attributing all “bad” things to some inhuman evil force.
    Even Jesus told folks that the blind guy wasn’t blind because of sin (evil). That he was blind. Just happened and Jesus fixed him up.

    I think humans are completely capable of being evil all on their own. Without some little imps running around telling them to be so.

  106. London says:

    Lute, could you draw it or work with a sketch artist to do so, or was it more a “feeling” you had

  107. Michael says:

    “What I disagree with, I think, is attributing all “bad” things to some inhuman evil force.”

    I don’t recall saying that.

    “Without some little imps running around telling them to be so.”

    I don’t think that caricature fits what the Scriptures teach.

  108. Michael says:

    “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly.”
    (John 10:10 ESV)

    The thief uses human agency to do all of the above.
    God uses human agency to combat him.

  109. Michael says:

    MLD,

    Who are we taking action against as the responsibility for the gassing is uncertain?
    Kill them all and let God straighten it out?

  110. London,
    Now you have me interested.
    What was the description of what your friend saw?

  111. Michael,
    I am talking in general and in the Syrian case assuming they do figure it out. But you avoid the situation – they will not find the culprits through prayer. they will find out through intelligence and evidence.

    But say that Assad says “I did it, what are you going to do about it.?” How long do you keep praying against the evil spirits pulling his strings and actually do something (if it were your responsibility)

    I think God works through physical means … but this time I want him to use French means. 🙂

  112. MLD re: #114
    That is all assuming that God actually wants an outcome exactly like we want.

  113. Derek – then I guess we can never act.

    As for me, I will just go on assuming (perhaps wrongly) that God wants to use us to end evil acts.

  114. MLD,
    I am not always opposed to war, just this one at the moment.
    It seems to me that your 2K theology rests on the fact of both kingdoms being in agreement.
    They rarely are in IMO and to me we just gotta muddle through and hope for the best.
    I think win or lose from our perspective is always a win from God’s perspective.
    Don’t ask me how that works or to point out events in the bible to support some endtimes eschatology.
    I can’t do that and won’t worry about seeing it anymore.
    I just think that every event in the world is somehow being directed by God towards the return of His Son.

  115. I should actually say that your 2K theology, from the way you have used it so far, seems to rests on the fact of both kingdoms being in agreement.

  116. Jim says:

    I used to tell some folks I knew who were “making war in the heavenly realms”, and “praying against territorial spirits”, that their adversary could not hear them.

    I’ve been in the tangible presence of the demonic twice that I’m aware of. Like all of us, I’ve also been under spiritual attack. I’ve seen the demonic flee at the name of Jesus uttered from the mouths of believers.

    However… fallen angels are not omnipresent. Let’s say a world leader has a demon on his shoulder. You can yell all you like at the TV. The demon can not hear you.

    The warfare of which Paul speaks is close quarters combat.

  117. Jim,
    We aren’t praying so a demon can hear. We pray for the the intervention of God who is omnipresent.
    I think it is both personal and also on the larger battlefield, against princes and principalities.

  118. Gonna call it a night.
    Really am interested in hearing that description, London.

  119. uriahisaliveandwell says:

    @100 You had to be there to know that what I shared was as real as your hand is hurting if you hit it with a hammer. The demon was as real as I am. The articles being flung across the room and the room temperature going into deep freeze when the air condition is not on. All these things occurring on different occasions, with various people, and different environments. Wasn’t a feeling at all and witness by more than me. Not able to be more: names/places/dates are our considered confidential.

  120. Derek,
    “I should actually say that your 2K theology, from the way you have used it so far, seems to rests on the fact of both kingdoms being in agreement.”

    Most folks do not understand the 2 kingdoms at all. There is no condition to agree or disagree. Each kingdom, ruled by God are for 2 completely different purposes.

    1.) the church is the place where God forgives sin
    2.) the civil realm is where God keeps order so people can live their lives in peace

  121. Lutheran says:

    Lute, could you draw it or work with a sketch artist to do so, or was it more a “feeling” you had

    Hi, London.

    No, it wasn’t a feeling. It was an entity and it appeared to come out of another person. It had a very, very evil glare.

  122. uriahisaliveandwell says:

    I give a sound, “The LORD rebukes them,” and they are gone. But in the case of this small child, I referred them to those who were experts, first in psychology, then in possession. As for the demon, I would not want to come face to face with them again, but I have known of some who are beyond that which would be called “mentally ill” and just plain wicked, corrupted, and evil, yet to most they appear normal, healthy, and put together. I saw a picture that looked similar to the demon that manifested itself—-it really was the most knarly, gross, and something from another world. By the way, I don’t view material or media that has anything to do with these things. Never did and as far as I know those who were with me, didn’t either. In my mind’s eye, I don’t dwell on it, as I really don’t want to revisit it, nor need to do in order evidence the reality of this.

  123. uriahisaliveandwell says:

    I would like to ask this question to be answered. How many here believes that we are surrounded by the angels. Or that angels are in our midst at any given time?

  124. Michael says:

    “Are they not all ministering spirits sent out to serve for the sake of those who are to inherit salvation?”
    (Hebrews 1:14 ESV)

  125. uriahisaliveandwell says:

    Lutheran

    It’s the eyes, huh–they stick with you for long, long time. I see that once in awhile myself. Get space as soon as possible. It’s like a certain stare they have that penetrates right through you and if you don’t turn away, it is almost hynotic. As if you will be drawn into somewhere you don’t want or should not go. You just know that you are in the presence of evil.

  126. Xenia says:

    Q: How much prayer is enough prayer?

    A: Pray without ceasing.

  127. Lutheran says:

    #126,

    I do.

  128. Lutheran says:

    Uriah,

    Yes. What you said. Fortunately, it didn’t last very long. I went to a different aisle in the store.

  129. Xenia says:

    I believe we are surrounded by a very active spiritual world that includes angels, demons and the Saints.

  130. London says:

    Derek,
    Without giving too many specifics, since its not my story to tell.
    It had to do with the way he described this woman’s demeanor and her eyes.
    He said it was almost like something came over her eyes like the way a reptile’s eyes are and the way she acted differently.
    Honestly, can’t remember exactly every word he said, but I know at the time it struck my as very descriptive and different than a “feeling”.
    In fact, he didn’t describe feeling anything.
    Just what he saw and what he derived from that observation.
    That’s what made his story different than others I’ve heard in the past

  131. London says:

    “I don’t think that caricature fits what the Scriptures teach.”

    Me neither and that was my point all along

  132. uriahisaliveandwell says:

    What scripture passage ever describes what a demon looks like other than they were an angel at one time, then chose to follow Satan when he was cast out and given the earth to wreak havoc and to reign upon. They are able to enter into and take over a human and other animals. But as for physical description as far as I know their physical appearance is only described as they were prior to this. But the description of their character is given throughout the scriptures. Their was no doubt in my mind in what I witnessed, nor in the doubt of others. Regarding the eyes, yes there is this “watching and waiting” type of stare, as if they are in another world but specifically there to do harm. It’s not a look of hate or anger or even indifference—-just evil, ready to prey upon.

  133. uriahisaliveandwell says:

    The one I appeared to have been around for a very, very, very long time. What only able to see him from one angle as he sat on a bedpost, all crounched up. Remmeber thinking about how leathery his skin appeared and brownish in color or was it grayish. Just know it wasn’t human and that the skin was smoothe but leathery. Long nails, clawlike, boney, but not skinny with extra skin just beyond its arm. Always thought it could have been wings like a bat, but don’t know. Whatever, it was, the extra skin was attached to something protruding beyond his arm, but not part of it.

    But in a person, it’s the eyes that looks out beyond the person they are in that takes on a look as if the “person” had somehow withdrawn and this other being is now in charge.

  134. London says:

    I for one appreciate everyone’s input on the subject of evil etc.
    As I’ve said a number of times on here before, I grew up in a baptist church that went a bit wacky before I was old enough to leave it when I went a way to college.
    There was MUCH talk about all kinds of demons, devils, blah, blah, blah….Someone or another was always talking about how they “saw” or “felt” evil or a demon in this situation or that….
    I know at one point I used to have nightmares about such things and would wake up yelling (at least in my head) the name of Jesus and “chasing them away”.
    As soon as I left that church and got into some other churches in my college town, that kind of stuff disappeared and I wasn’t having those kinds of nightmares or even thinking about the possibility that there was some kind of demonic influence because of some object in my house, or some person I was around etc…
    In the past couple years, I’ve run into a couple people that I grew up with in that church that stayed involved with it much longer than I did. They both were still talking about demons, one telling me that in a certain other country, the people believed in “leprechauns”, (not Ireland, or even in Europe actually) and left food out for them etc. That person told me it was a demon (he was absolutely sincere in this thought) and freaked out because the host family he was with then had a demon in their house.
    The other person told me someone he was in a relationship with, who I knew since we were kids, was “demon possessed” and caused all kinds of issues in his life. Of course, I don’t believe that and think it was just a way to talk bad about his ex in the most horrible light he could think of while sounding ultra spiritual.
    I don’t blame either of those guys, I think it was the weird atmosphere we grew up in and that I thankfully got out of early enough not to be totally warped in this area.
    However, in the past few years, two people I respect told me they’d had encounters with demons. One while I was in the exact same room and saw or felt nothing of the sort and the other who described something that happened in the past.
    I’m sure there’s something in the shadows, as the saying goes, but, like Uriah points out, these things aren’t described in the Bible, so how do we know what they look like anyway?
    I asked Michael a while back if we could talk a bit about this on the blog, mainly to see what other people’s experiences had been to see if they matched up to my friend’s description (the other one just said he saw all kinds of demons in the public place we were, but never described what the heck that meant).
    Basically, I’m trying to sort out the fanciful stories of “boogie men” from what the scripture is really describing I suppose. Which set of my friends is “making stuff up”though they don’t know it, and which has truly had some kind of encounter.
    If we’re meant to be “fighting” these forces, isn’t it important we know what the heck they look like?
    It’s not something I think about all that often, or really at all, except for having had dinner with one of those friends, the one with the specific descriptions, recently. I was just curious about what others thought.

    Thanks to everyone who shared what they thought or experienced. it actually has helped in some way that I’m not sure I can articulate just yet.

  135. This has all been interesting.
    I myself can not claim any experiences with the demonic, but I believe in them, because of Jesus’ actions against them during the incarnation.

  136. Jim says:

    I just typed out my experience, but deleted it. I’ve told a few close friends, but I don’t want to instill fear in anyone, especially on the internet. I will say that my “close encounter”, which occurred within a couple of weeks of my conversion, erased all fear of the demonic.

    Greater is He that is within us than he that is in the world.

  137. erunner says:

    “, but I don’t want to instill fear in anyone, especially on the internet.”

    Jim, That crossed my mind as I’ve been reading through the comments. There are those in very fragile places where vivid descriptions of the demonic could be difficult to read.

  138. London says:

    I don’t think anyone has typed out any vivid descriptions of demonic anything.
    So far, I think people are being pretty cautious.

    If this is a trigger area, then maybe Michael could put a “trigger warning” up and people with those issues should stop reading it. There’s some self responsibility in areas where triggers are concerned.

  139. Michael says:

    I’ll be blunt…I think we need the crap scared out of us.
    There are times when I’m tempted to show pictures of the result of demonic influence to try to wake people up.

  140. London says:

    Personally, I don’t think we need to have graphic images of stuff like that.
    It’s available elsewhere on the internet if anyone is curious about them.

    Visual images would be a trigger for me, and I’m sure others, so, I’d take myself completely out of the mix of the conversation if there’s images shown.

  141. Michael says:

    I wouldn’t do it…but I’m tired of pleasant conversation while people are being destroyed.
    We don’t believe this stuff matters and we won’t until it hits here…and it will.

  142. erunner says:

    Michael, I have concerns for those who struggle with mental illness who have been told or where it has been implicated that their problems are demonic. As London stated it could act as a trigger for someone who is in a fragile state.

    I am all for conversation that deals with the demonic as I believe it is an area that is neglected as we look at the evil in the world. My personal experience (having someone trying to cast demons out of me) and having read the abuse the suffering have endured from those who would have them believe their mental illness is demonic causes me to be very cautious.

  143. Michael says:

    E,

    On the one hand I understand the damage done by moronic religionists.
    On the other hand, I think people are being slaughtered while we protect our sensibilities.

  144. Jim says:

    31 years ago as a baby Christian, I could have had a sketch artist draw what I saw, and it would have made grown men knees weak. I could then say, “no, don’t be afraid, here’s what happened”. At some point, a voice would whisper in their ear, telling them that they don’t have what I have. All lies from the pit.

    I’ve always felt that God wanted me to spare the details.

  145. London says:

    E-
    I agree with your concerns.
    But, I think part of the reason there’s already been so much damage to people in the name of “demon hunting” is that there’s an aura of silence about honest discussions of evil and what it truly is.
    People who are new to the religion, or not taught what to expect (mostly cause the teachers don’t really know either) or are easily swayed (like the young) are too easily duped into believing whatever the person teaching has to say.
    Some of it is absolute fantasy or wanting to be more “spiritually important” than they really are. Some if it may be true.
    How do we distinguish between the two and thus, reduce more spiritual/mental health disorders?

  146. Xenia says:

    I agree with Michael. Demons are real and they are our enemies and they pay more attention to us than we do to them.

    I think we could pretty much X out discussing most of the Scriptures if we were always worried about “triggering” something for someone. Maybe these trigger points are the very things that need to be brought out. Nothing in the Scriptures (and this goes for the other thread, too) should be put in the metaphorical drawer and shut because it might trigger something. The Scriptures heal. Sometimes the medicine tastes bad at first.

  147. Michael says:

    London,

    I would say this…and I am trying to stay as close to the Scriptures as I can.
    Whenever we see great evil being perpetrated we should assume that along with human agency that there is a demonic component.
    The Scriptures I started with tell us that it’s not enough to deal with human agency…we must war against the powers influencing it.

  148. Michael says:

    Xenia,

    I concur.
    We don’t seem to grasp how terrible the forces against us are.
    God is greater by far, but we ignore this to our peril.

  149. London says:

    Jim, I have no issue with that.
    It’s one thing to be in a one on one discussion with a person and share details about this topic and another one entirely to write about it
    On a blog where it’s up for ridicule or misinterpretation.
    I was mostly curious about whether when people say they “see” demons if they meant with their physical eyes or their minds eye.
    Hence the sketch artist question.

  150. Xenia says:

    I am tired of pleasant conversations, too.

    As I think I mentioned here recently, that photo of the Egyptian Christians (my cousins, the Copts) standing in their bombed-out church, praying, turned a corner for me. If ever there was a time to put on the whole armor of God, this is it. Even in America we are being overwhelmed by a tide of evil that requires Christians to stand firm in prayer and watchfulness. And yes, we do need to work on acquiring personal holiness. None of these things were ever optional but I see the need for extra diligence these days.

    Regarding homosexuals and wedding cakes:

    I think a bakery should sell cakes to anyone who orders one, as long as the design is not obscene. (I’ve seen obscene cakes.) I’d tell the “brides” that they can write their own names on the cake.

    As for the boy scouts, I’d let them meet at my church but I would insist that a member of the parish be present at all times for all meetings. I’d make that a rule. It should be a rule, anyway. As long as they are just braiding lanyards and talking about camping, let them stay. The moment they start talking about homosexual rights, they must leave. I might also insist on reserving the right to give the devotional for each meeting.

  151. Xenia says:

    None of these things were ever optional but I see the need for extra diligence these days.<<<

    Or maybe I should say, I've been awakened to the need, which was always there.

  152. London says:

    I absolutely disagree that we should not be sensitive to people’s triggers in this area.
    To do so would be cruel and not helpful at all.
    We have no right to decide for another person what is “best” for them when it comes to things like triggers for mental health issues.

  153. Xenia says:

    London, would that include the content of sermons and blog articles?

  154. erunner says:

    London, There has also been an absence of honest discussion concerning mental illness in the church which has opened the doors to believers being abused by the well meaning and not so well meaning. The result are scores of believers who have heard from the pulpit and elsewhere that there illness isn’t real, is a result of sin, lack of devotionals, lack of service or demonic possession.

    It’s quite a mess we’ve created for this group of suffering and needful believers. As a result they are afraid to seek help due to past experiences who fully blame themselves for their condition. These people are ripe for the ignorant, others who have an agenda (Bob Larson, etc.) as well as the demonic to further damage. Is it hard to imagine some losing hope and taking their own lives??

    I don’t want to derail this discussion as I am in agreement with what has been shared about demonic activity in the world today.

    Helping the mentally ill concerning these things is to encourage them they are not separated from the love of God and to create an atmosphere where they can come forward to be educated and to receive whatever help is necessary.

  155. Xenia says:

    The motto of American Christianity:

    Thou shall not tell the truth because it might hurt someone’s feelings.

  156. Perhaps I hold to some aberrant form of Christianity, but I do not think that Christians are to live their lives in fear or dread of demonic activity. Jesus takes care of us.

    Jesus told Peter that satan requested his soul – Jesus did the work, he didn’t compliment Peter on how well he fought off the devil.

    All I can say is Frank Perretti

    In the end, I do not doubt their is demonic activity going on around us – I just don’t know that it is our fight.

  157. Michael says:

    Over the last five years our Mexican brothers and sister have acquired a lot of mental health issues… overflowing cemeteries and horrific violence will do that to you.
    I believe the devil is having a field day…and he’s learned once again that we will ignore it until he visits us…and even then we won’t recognize his hand.
    We want to attack someone in Syria because we saw pictures death from gassing…but we won’t have the sense to attack the power behind it.

  158. Michael says:

    “I just don’t know that it is our fight.”
    Then who the hell is the “we” in these passages?

    “For though we walk in the flesh, we are not waging war according to the flesh. For the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh but have divine power to destroy strongholds.”

    “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.”

  159. London says:

    Xenia-
    There’s a world of difference between hurting someone’s feelings and triggering a mental health episode or addiction relapse.

    No one is talking about the former.

  160. Well let me toss it back to you – if it’s my fight, what good is Jesus if he allows me loose these battles – if he has left me on my own?

    Or could it be that my part is to call on Jesus to do my fighting? I personally do not throw inkwells at the devil.

  161. erunner says:

    Not living in fear? Not hurting people’s feelings?

    You think the forces of hell are ignoring the mentally ill? You think they don’t whisper into the ears of the hopeless and depressed “why not just end it all?” You ever wonder how many educated and sound believers have taken that advice?

    There is a HUGE difference between discussing evil and the demonic and having concerns for some of our brothers and sisters.

    My mistake was bringing this up in the context of what is being discussed here. It does not make my concerns any less valid. If anything they have been validated.

  162. London says:

    Erunner.
    Who was that directed at?

  163. Michael says:

    Erunner,

    I live with a mentally ill loved one every day of my life.
    I have supported your cause with everything I have.
    I don’t need a lecture and I don’t need to be treated as if it’s not an issue that I care deeply about.

  164. erunner says:

    London, It was not directed at you or Jim.

  165. Michael says:

    MLD,

    You’re not getting off this hook by redirection.
    Who is the “we” in those passages?

    Who is this passage addressed to?
    “Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.”
    (1 Peter 5:8 ESV)

  166. Michael says:

    The enemy is devouring people by the hundreds just over the border and it’s insensitive and unloving to suggest that maybe the devil can get a visa and visit us with the same.

    We have evidence that he’s already at work destroying our culture, but it might upset someone to point that out.

    Unfreaking real…

  167. erunner says:

    Michael, I’ve been taking some pretty pronounced comments for what I am saying. My mistake was interjecting my words into this particular thread. My intent was not to take away from what is being shared as I am in 100% agreement.

    I know your heart concerning the mentally ill and I couldn’t repay you for all of your help and support through the years. My words are for everyone who is reading here including those not posting. Maybe that was a mistake….

  168. Michael says:

    E,

    If anyone is stupid enough to think that mental illness is demonic, I invite them to post so I can stomp the stupidity out of them.

  169. Michael,
    I said that perhaps my part of the “we” is to call on Jesus. Are you telling me that i should be directing something at the demons directly?

    Do I need to say or do anything other than “Get thee behind me demon” and walk away?

    “The enemy is devouring people by the hundreds”

    Are you saying that Christians have no cover? When you say devoured, I look at it in an eternal sense.

  170. Michael says:

    MLD,

    Answer the question I asked.
    Who are those passages directed to?

  171. London says:

    Ok. This conversation seems to be going in a whole other direction.

    Erunner, I think you did the exact right thing us speaking about how people can be triggered by conversations like these.
    And yes, there’s perfectly intelligent and educated people who unfortunately listen to the voice telling them to end it all.

    It’s just as soul destroying as any violence in another land.

    Somehow this conversation seems to have gone down the road of comparing who has the bigger evil influence.

    Not sure that is what is of primary importance . Evil is evil no matter where it is.

  172. Michael says:

    London,

    My original point and the point I’m arguing is that evil is thriving because we are ignoring our responsibility to both recognize and fight it.
    From the bigotry against the mentally ill to the global catastrophes, there is a power behind the pain.

  173. “Who are those passages directed to?”
    I just said above that the we includes me – but you ignore the point that I make. You seem to think that we are to be in hand to hand combat with satan and his demons, and I said that my position is that we are to call on Jesus to do the fighting.

    If I have to fight satan on my own I lose everytime. If I remember correctly he almost kicked ass on both Gabriel and Michael.

  174. Michael says:

    MLD,

    Now that we’ve settled that “we” is the church, then we can proceed with the rest of the passages.
    They assume that we are warring, that we are fighting, that we are vigilant to the presence of the enemy.
    Does that describe the spiritual posture of the church in any way?
    No, it does not.
    Therein lies my issue.
    How we engage that war is a whole separate topic, but those first two points had to be established.

  175. “They assume that we are warring, that we are fighting, that we are vigilant to the presence of the enemy.
    Does that describe the spiritual posture of the church in any way?”

    I don’t know. How would you measure that?

  176. Michael says:

    Here’s a few ways I measure it.
    I get advance notice of book publications from almost all the Christian publishers.
    They send me freebies because of the blog.
    I can’t even remember the last time I saw a book on this topic…and I’m over ten years in.
    Second, I monitor Christian social media like few people do.
    This topic is never on the radar.
    Third, when was the last time you heard a sermon on the topic?
    When was the last time that your church engaged with “powers and principalities” in an intentional, direct fashion?
    When was the last time you heard a discussion about the forces of hell engaged in Iraq, Iran, Mexico, Rwanda or any other place where the carnage is so great?

  177. “Does that describe the spiritual posture of the church in any way?”

    I don’t know about you – perhaps you need to switch churches. My church is there for the sole purpose of pulling people out of the fires of hell … and an occasional pot luck 🙂

    It’s funny, but all you guys who deny infant baptism while we look at them as actual exorcisms. With the water and God’s word, we are driving demons out of people.

  178. Michael says:

    MLD,

    So the warring against principalities and powers doesn’t apply to Lutherans?
    Gotcha.

  179. Wow, I just gave an example of exorcisms that occur in our churches and you deny that we fight against principalities and powers???

    Tell us some exorcism stories from your church … or do you think that is not effective?

    I think that you just bat your arms in the air and you think that is fighting the evil one.

  180. @ 180 – That’s not fair. You are looking at things on the far marketing end of Christian culture. You asked specifically about “the church” and then mentioned publishers (who are only sending things in order to market them), and social media which is also not the church. In fact, you always have your head in a part of Christian social media which is particularly whacky. ( For instance, every time someones dies you mention all the fb posts consigning them to Hell. I always speak up and say that I saw none of those).

    AS far as the church being engaged…Yes, my church is. I would assume all churches are to some extent or the other.

  181. Michael says:

    Josh,
    My social media is full of pastors and regular church folk.
    The books I review are almost always for the academic, not consumer market.
    I refer you to MLD’s scorn of the topic for further proof of my thesis.

  182. I don’t see MLD scorning the topic. I see him describing how his church is engaged.

    Maybe you could describe what you expect to see in spiritual warring?

  183. Michael says:

    MLD,

    How foolish of me to not understand that these passages were simply referring to infant baptism.
    How lame can you possibly get?

  184. Michael says:

    Josh,

    Go read all the Christian media covering Syria or Mexico.
    Find me the references to spiritual warfare…either recognizing it or encouraging it.
    You won’t find much if any.

  185. London says:

    Michael.
    Breathe.

  186. I thought we were talking about the Church. What is Christian Media?

  187. Michael says:

    London,

    You’re right…I need to back away.
    My frustration level is at explode.
    Off to do other things.

  188. Since I had no clue what Christian news is, I googled it. It took me to Christianpost.

    Which has 4 articles on Syria on the front page.

  189. “How foolish of me to not understand that these passages were simply referring to infant baptism.”

    Well, I was talking all baptisms (I just pointed out scorn for infant baptism). Look, your goal in fighting demons seems to be for some justice cause – mine is to bring people into a saving relationship with the one who can protect from demon oppression.

    Step back a moment and let Jesus do his work.

  190. Since Michael is bailing, does someone else understand what he is talking about?

    I’m just curious. Don’t mean to be frustrating.

  191. Michael says:

    Josh,

    How many of them mention the need for spiritual warfare on behalf of the people?
    Christian media…blogs, Twitter, websites…are an expression of what the church is thinking about and talking about.
    Now, I’m out.

  192. London says:

    Josh,
    I’m not sure what “Christian media” is either so I’m no help except to say if I did know, it’d probably be the last place if be looking for unbiased news.

    Michael-
    Take a break and come back to this discussion later. I think people are agreeing a lot more than it might seem they are.

  193. Michael says:

    Josh,

    I for the life of me don’t get it.
    I posted two passages in my # 10
    They speak that the church is to war not against flesh, but against powers and principalities…that our weapons are not carnal, but powerful beyond munitions.
    I’ve spent two days trying to convince people that behind Syria, behind Mexico, behind our issues at home…there are malevolent forces at work that the Bible says we need to recognize and address.
    I can’t get anyone to engage with the text, apply the text, or even deal with the possibilities that the text presents.
    That is very upsetting to me…because I think we count the cost of this in lives.
    Going to go pick up Trey.

  194. “How many of them mention the need for spiritual warfare on behalf of the people?”

    In my view, any of them that call for prayer. You seem to be advocating something else, but I don’t know what.

    “Christian media…blogs, Twitter, websites…are an expression of what the church is thinking about and talking about.”

    Well, if that is the way it goes, you are always gonna find the most shallow, market approved voice, and you will attribute that to the church.

  195. Nonnie says:

    How do we go about “spiritual warfare” other than standing in the grace of God with our “armour” (salvation, truth, gospel of peace, righteousness of Christ, etc) and praying for the needs we see, crying out for God’s mercy and redemption in those areas.
    The evil we see in Mexico, Syria, etc, stems from people in rebellion against God, which stems from Satan. What are WE to DO? I say, love our neighbour and love God…let Him flesh that out in our lives as He will. Am I missing something?

  196. London says:

    Wow. No one is engaging?
    Seems like this had been pretty active thread to me.
    It seems that sometimes we don’t say the “right” thing and so you get frustrated and say no one is engaging because we aren’t engaging exactly like you expected us to.
    Same thing happened with the book review the other day.
    You posted about a book none of us had read then got bugged when people didn’t say the right things about the book.

    I personally have been way more engaged on this thread than most threads and thought this was a quite good discussion.

  197. Is spiritual warfare something other than prayer? I’m totally at a loss here.

  198. Michael says:

    London;

    Engaging the TEXT.
    What does it say, what does it mean?
    Took me two hours to even get MLD to admit it was speaking to the church.

  199. London says:

    Hmmm. Seemed to me the entire thread was about the text.
    I don’t get what were supposed to be talking about so I’m going to go ahead and take a break.

  200. Michael says:

    My thesis is that we’re all missing something.
    If the battles that Peter and Paul reference are simply prayer, then it seems that they have a specific kind of prayer in mind…that they want us to recognize who the enemy is and attack from that angle.
    It seems to be an active act, not a passive one.
    Where I have been trying to go with this discussion for years has been a discussion of what exactly this kind of warfare looks like…why our first instincts are to react with carnal weapons instead of spiritual ones.
    Why does it seem that we don’t recognize what these passages describe?
    Could focused prayer by the Body of Christ turn the tide in any of these situations?
    If I had all the answers I’d write a book…and I’d sell it, cause I need the money.
    Josh, your assessment of my media is rather unfair.
    I follow hundreds of regular pastors and folks on Twitter…they’re not selling anything.

  201. “Took me two hours to even get MLD to admit it was speaking to the church.”

    Because you had your question set up only one way – I will repeat myself – your view is that the church is to do the hand to hand combat with satan – where I think it is us, the church calling on Jesus to do the work.

    When we do a baptism, through God’s word we are appealing to Jesus to save the person from the evil one – we are appealing to the promises made – we are NOT baptizing and yelling at satan to get out and leave that person alone

  202. “Josh, your assessment of my media is rather unfair.
    I follow hundreds of regular pastors and folks on Twitter…they’re not selling anything.”

    I’m sorry, Michael, I just have no clue what you are looking for. I go to twitter and search “spiritual warfare” and about a billion tweets come up. I’m guessing you aren’t following any of those guys. But I still say when social media becomes the gauge by which we judge the church, we’ve probably already lost the battle.

    See, my church is surrounded by very poor neighborhoods. Ghettos and trailer parks. We go pick kids up from those places every week.

    That is spiritual warfare, right? Those places are so riddled with drugs, violence and promiscuity, that we (the church) are the only chance those kids have.

  203. Xenia says:

    Practicing spiritual warfare is one of the main purposes of monasteries. The monastics pray night and day for the entire world and really do consider themselves to be engaging in serious warfare.

    Also, Orthodox prayerbooks make considerable mention of the forces of darkness, asking for protection for ourselves and for others.

    Every person who gets baptized into the Orthodox Church gets an exorcism first, just in case.

    It’s not that we see demons under every bush, but we do see their evil effect working in the systems of the world, such as the godless Russian Revolution and in this country, the advance of the homosexual agenda, among other things. The devil works with what he can find and if there’s a weakness, he will exploit it. This is one reason to live a holy life, to give the devil less to work with.

  204. Michael says:

    I’ll drop it.
    I’m having a hell of a time with my blood pressure and this ain’t helping.
    Hopefully, someday, someone more articulate than I am will speak to these things in a way that makes sense.
    I obviously don’t.

  205. Xenia says:

    I would like to encourage Michael in his plan to really follow the words of Jesus in the Sermon on the Mount. This might cause him to be more merciful to some people than I would like to see but if it’s coming from Jesus, God will bless it.

  206. I don’t know about others but Lutherans spread out the blame. We always confess that our enemy is, sin, the flesh and the devil. Hmm – 2 of the 3 are me.

  207. Michael says:

    Xenia,

    I think those monks are on to something…

  208. Xenia says:

    There is a reason we who are still on earth make up what is called “The Church Militant.” We are not fighting Crusades or Holy Wars against flesh and blood, we are fighting the forces of darkness. For some reason, this is an activity God wants us to cooperate with him in. Synergy.

  209. Xenia says:

    MLD,

    The devil works with what he can find and if there’s a weakness, he will exploit it. This is one reason to live a holy life, to give the devil less to work with.

  210. If my life had taken a different route I could have been a monk.

  211. MLD #177 “I said that my position is that we are to call on Jesus to do the fighting.”
    Josh #201 “Is spiritual warfare something other than prayer”
    Which brings it all back to my #81, Prayer. That is how you fight demonic forces.
    Both personally and in the larger realms.
    MLD has it right, though he was obscuring it with the 2K stuff for a while.

    Look at all the Armor of God and tell me if any of that armor is actually anything you create or made for yourself to fight with.

    Nope it all rests on Jesus.

    Belt of truth- Who is truth?
    Breastplate of righteousness- Who is our righteousness?
    Shoes of readiness given by the gospel of peace- Who is the good news about?
    Helmet of Salvation- Who brings salvation?
    Shield of Faith- Who is our faith in?
    Sword of the Spirit- Who is the Word?

    Our weapons are all in Jesus.
    And it ends with:
    “praying at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication.”

  212. Xenia says:

    Derek, there does come a time when one must take action. Sometimes you have to hide the Jew from the Nazi. Sometimes you have to say “no” to someone who wants to use you to advance their sinful agenda. Sometimes you have to act.

  213. Xenia,
    I was talking exclusively about what we do against the demonic realm, not earthly forces.
    I have made it clear that I do not close my options to war at all times in the future.
    I just think our govt. is choosing the wrong side here and Egypt. I base this a lot on which side likes to kill Christians and burn their churches.
    The bad thing is, that while this administration is still in, they will never admit they were wrong and backed the wrong sides. So, the best that can be done right now is to deny support to the enemy by opposing any action that supports them.
    The only other way to fight there without actually being there is to pray.
    Really tired of fighting in the Middle East, because if we win an inch we give a mile to the enemy. Best to cut our losses and support stability, even if that means supporting someone that others tell us is a dictator.
    Christians lived in a lot better security in Egypt and Syria, before America started backing Muslim militants.

  214. Xenia says:

    I just think our govt. is choosing the wrong side here and Egypt.<<<

    That's for sure.

    I do pray but I also wrote to my Congressman and Senators to urge them to vote "no" on war with Syria.

  215. uriahisaliveandwell says:

    Hello everyone,

    Wow, reading through all the comments regarding what encompasses demonic activities and what parameters are needed in order to being able to discuss this without triggering those with mental health issues or misattributing such activities who are mentally health challenged, certainy kicked up some dust all around.

    As a clinician and one who have dealt directly with apologist who worked on a huge project with the FBI involving Satanic Ritualism involving children, I would like to offer the following.

    We have found that th is demonic spiritual activities that can be explained more fully in light of Scripture. We have also found that Scripture provide many different way of contending with such a phenomena. We have found that most mental illness is not demonically influenced in that one is possessed by a demon. At the same time, we did acknowledge that under certain conditions, circumstances, and vulnerabilities of a person, the ability of such demonic influence can and frequently does insert itself upon situation that they are able to do so in order to create chaos, confusion, fear, control, and power to cause one or more person to become unstable and a willing vessel in order to stop the terror and pain, or even to gain a degree of stability that would enable them to think they are in control of themselves and others.

    I believe as some has suggested that there is a visible and an invisable going on all about us. Some things need to be met with force to halt that which would do harm to us, while also engaging in a spiritual battle by those weapons of warfare given to us. That is, the whole armor of God. Other things can only be won by using that which is spiritual, but if we don’t know what it is that we are battling then we cannot identify it, nor can we contend with it. Not discussing these things is not going to equip us to do so and what we think may be the solution to a particular situation may be in fact, that which needs to be broken through in order to knock down the wall that is binding it.

    When we speak of these things, we can do so by being sensitive to those who have mental health issues. We can also understand that not only those who have mental health issues may be especially vulnerable due the enemy’s perchance of looking for those that are easily targeted, even by using those who are not mentally ill to persecute those who are. In this we can encourage everyone by pointing out that everyone is susceptible to being targeted and used by the demoniac activities, particularly when they lack the tools and are poorly educated on this topic.

    For those who do struggle with depression or other mood or thought disorders, it important for you to know that whether, or not that you do, Satan and his minions is roaring about to figure out who he can use in whatever way will draw that person away from doing what they need to do to maintain a healthy and supportive networks of friends who are also striving to do well for themselves, their families, and those around them.

    As for those who experience delusions, hallucinations, panic, anxiety, and a host of other symptoms having to do with the various disorders that fall within the mental health arena, it is best to keep in contact with your therapist and psychiatrist, if taking meds. At the same time, find a supportive church environment that does not freak out just because you have some sort of DSM diagnosis. As finding a support group, I understand that thenumber of Clhristian Mental Health groups are growing. If you do not have one in your church, talk to your pastor with your therapist or some other spokesperson to get one established.

    I, too have a disability, from birth and at one time they would take people like me and hide them away or housed them in asylums (nice word for what it really was). As a disabled person, I have learned that there is alot of ignorance among the general public, but just like spousal abuse, the church have not quite caught up with educating themselves beyond what keeps them safe from dealing with this part of the population and the reality that they too, are a part of the body of Christ. Being so, it is and has been a most difficult task in removing some of the paranoia, fear, and archaic beliefs that keeps such topics from being discussed or even acknowledged so that they can be discussed. In this, we who are disabled need to understand that unless one is not blind, they cannot see what the disabled person needs in order to thrive as well as they do among the body of Christ and supporting them as well as we would like them to support the disabled.

    We must understand and acknowledge that their is an invisible war that is going ont to divide, to attack, and to destroy all that is and belong to the Kingdom, including those who are in Him and those who have yet to meet Him. So, not only must we put on that which would equip us to recognise who is behind much of the evil that goes on the scene, we must also be ready to put on that which would counter anything that would or have cause a person to fall, fail, or to be harmed.

    In spiritual terms: Your Salvation and power of the Holy Spirit, and Upright Heart of truth and integrity, virtue, patience, boldness, Word, shield of faith, righteousness, Holy Spirit, and of course any other gifts that you have or are given to you such as wisdom and discernment.

    In concrete terms: Prayers, Fasting, Shelter, Tools for sowing and reaping, protecting, buying, or obtaining in order to help yourself or another to get out from under the influence of a situation that one needs to remove themselves to avoid further harm.

    Which brings me to remembrance of these 2 verses:
    Matthew 9:27
    27 But Jesus took him by the hand, and lifted him up; and he arose. 28 And when he was come into the house, his disciples asked him privately, Why could not we cast him out? 29 And he said unto them, This kind can come forth by nothing, but by prayer and fasting.

    1 Tim 1:7
    7For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.

    Luke 14:12-13
    John 9:2-7

    Friends, please understand that the battle belongs to the Lord, but this does not negate our own calling in doing battle 24/7 against the forces of evil and the impact that they will and that they do have upon us individually, as a body within our own congregation or at large. We must know the enemy—even more so, know how to contend for the faith and for those who are perishing, being persecuted, oppressed, and victimized.

    It is when we learn not to put our head in the sand out of fear or hold to the false believe that if we don’t see it or speak it, then it doesn’t exist, and it can’t hurt us, that we become weak, anemic, and just a bystander as we complain about the growing evil about us. In this, we become so tolerant that we no longer are able to recognize that which is not and what is of the Lord. And evil is then given a pass to come in to destroy that which we hold closes to our hearts, then disables us from being able to contend, in the midst of the crucible set before us.

    For everyone, it is when we know what is and what is not of the Lord, we can also cast out that which is not.

  216. uriahisaliveandwell says:

    Correction: Last paragraph

    It is when we have become complacent and choose to put our head in the sand . . . .

    By the way, don’t think for a minute that the enemy does know when to strike us. Don’t think for a minute that those that are being used by the enemy don’t know when to strike us. And certainly don’t think for a moment they don’t know that we don’t like to talk about these things, but rather we prefer to think of only those things that are pleasant, loving, and tolerant, and without conflict that would cause us to stand up and take a stand against such that would prey upon us.

    If we say we believe in angels, we must also believe in Satan’s dominion and minions. We must understand what they can do, what they have done, and how they go about accomplishing these things within and without those they prey upon. As Christians, we are in particular a prime target, for that which is an enemy of Christ is also our enemy. Being so, Satan will use anyone to use them against another within the church family and in the world as well. He will use my weakness to hurt you as much as he will use yours to hurt me. He does not need to possess either of us to do this. But when we put off the flesh and put on the spirit of Christ, it makes it a whole lot more difficult for him to do this and when we put on the armor of God and provide concretely to those who are being tested, tried, afflicted, harass, oppressed, persecuted, and victimized, it causes him to flee and to go elsewhere in this world. It is a never ending battle, for he will return after season to try it again. Will you be ready to rebuke, to speak the truth, and to expose that which is not of him. Will you be ready to say: “Not on my watch, get the behind me, Satan!” I hope so for your sake and for mine.

  217. Nonnie says:

    I seem to remember a story about Charles Spurgeon about waking up and feeling an evil presence and saw the devil or a demon and I believe the quote goes. ” I looked at him and said, ‘Oh, it’s only you,’ and I rolled over and went back to sleep . ”

    Jesus is on the throne and I will rest in Him. Jesus is victor. When I see evil, I will pray and roll my trouble upon Him and trust that He is doing what needs to be done..

  218. Lutheran says:

    I’ve heard the story but about Martin Luther. It would certainly fit his personality.

    Either way, it’s true — Jesus is Victor!

  219. 8. Pastoral care is like parenting.
    —-
    block this if you will, but this has got to be one of the most condescending things I’ve ever read that you have written. Pastors are not ‘parents’ to the people of God. they a fellow children and ‘steward leaders’ of the family of Jesus.
    the more pastors and leaders place themselves above and apart from the rest of the Body, the more they usurp the authority and position of God and the Holy Spirit in the lives of believers.
    you really should reexamine your understanding of what it means to ‘serve’ the Body of Christ ‘as one of them’
    -mike

  220. Michael says:

    It was not intended to be condescending at all.
    In my roles as a pastor and a parent my job is to facilitate growth.
    Our church and my family look to me to lead and example in that area.
    That doesn’t negate mutual growth, nor does it place me above anyone in terms of worth.
    The point of the comment was that some lead by negativity…they continually focus on what’s wrong.
    That creates the lie that you need the approval of the leader for everything and places the congregation under bondage.
    I think people grow healthier and faster if direction is as positive as possible…both children and disciples.

  221. #200
    London says:

    September 3, 2013 at 11:31 am
    .
    Wow. No one is engaging?
    Seems like this had been pretty active thread to me.
    It seems that sometimes we don’t say the “right” thing and so you get frustrated and say no one is engaging because we aren’t engaging exactly like you expected us to.
    Same thing happened with the book review the other day.
    You posted about a book none of us had read then got bugged when people didn’t say the right things about the book.
    —-
    well, good to see that brief ‘rest’ where PhxP went down did Michael some good. back to the same old Michael.
    -mike

  222. #209

    Xenia says:

    September 3, 2013 at 12:22 pm
    .
    I would like to encourage Michael in his plan to really follow the words of Jesus in the Sermon on the Mount. This might cause him to be more merciful to some people than I would like to see but if it’s coming from Jesus, God will bless it.

    I think xenia has something there… the sermon on the mount would be a good focus for Michael as well as all of us in how we treat each other… especially when we disagree… without ripping into them for having the temerity to have actually disagreed with us…

    it’s call grace and civility and good willed politeness. we should all try it more often.
    thx xenia
    -mike

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