STANDING AT THE GATES OF HELLDecember 20, 2010
Many of us can quote Ephesians 6:12 in our sleep.
“For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.”
Oftentimes we tend to respond to this truth in one of two ways; both of which are dangerous. The first is a failure to properly recognize that we are continuously engaged in a spiritual battle, which we cannot wage in our own strength. As a result, deliverance remains trapped within the confines of theology. The second is to romanticize the conflict and the victory. This is where one will often speak of the battle, but glamorize certain elements; specifically the power, and can result in more show than substance. Acts 19:13-16 is a stern reminder of what can happen if we venture into things without being prepared. Both approaches result in a distorted understanding of the battle that lies before us all. Over the past several weeks, it’s been dropped in my spirit that engagement with the eternal ones, for whom Jesus shed his blood, has to be taken to a deeper level. When we intermingle with our contemporaries, we are encountering every form of bondage imaginable; from the lifelong church member who is grounded in doctrine (be it accurate or erroneous) but not born of the Spirit, to the drug addict whose life has taken so many disasterous turns that he or she dwells in a labyrinth of utter confusion and hopelessness.
It seemed to come to the forefront one morning while in prayer. During this time before the Lord, the term “deep-captive” came forth and it has become a point of much consideration. we know that in II Timothy 2:25-26 (one of the most referred to passages in this blog) Paul instructs us to meekly instruct those who oppose themselves and are held captive by the devil “at his will.” The devil is having his way with them; short of knocking them into eternity. The timing of ones departure is in the Lords hands, but insofar as circumstances, life choices and consequences, the enemy is having a field day with his prisoners. These folks will not be reached and converted by a form of godliness; they are in need of supernatural intervention. Everyone who is born of the Spirit; whether their previous days were chaotic or uneventful, is the result of the supernatural intervention of the Holy Spirit. (I’m still amazed at how the Holy Spirit reached through layers of confusion and brought me to a place of repentance and faith in the Lord Jesus.) Concerning the deep captives, deliverance from the devices of Satan is oftentimes necessary and deliverance is not a glamourous thing. It can be intense, brutal, and exhausting. But if one truly desires to be made free, the blood of Jesus washes away all sin and he can deliver a soul from the most desperate of situations.
Luke 10:19-20“Behold, I give unto you power to tread on serpents, and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy: and nothing shall by any means hurt you.
Notwithstanding in this rejoice not, that then spirits are subject unto you; but rather rejoice, because your names are written in heaven.”
As I began to cogitate on these things, the situation at home became unimaginably tumultuous and busy. Relationships became really strained amongst the priceless souls residing at this address while financial reserves were drained by a myriad of repair needs. (vehicles, dryer, furnace replacement, etc) The mortgage company made a proposal that seemed impossible and continuance at this address was very much up in the air. (it still is, however, we have bought some time) To top it all off, Matthew began acting out very aggressively at school and at home; even to the point of choking others. A few days ago, he had me in a grip and I literally could not breathe. The chaos that he sometimes fosters is indescribable. This is further complicated by our income being considered too high for Matthew to be eligable for SSI, and subsequently, programs that would be beneficial to him. The myriad of events became so crazy that one morning last week, after taking Matthew to school, I was wanting to just go somewhere and drive the truck off a cliff. I know; that sounds horrible, and I was praying “Lord; I should not be having thoughts like this.” Later on, it became clear that these goings on weren’t “just a series of unfortunate turns.” It was an orchestrated assault from every direction and I was unprepared.
It was (and is) like a full-court press from a relentless adversary.
I returned home and came before the Lord in prayer. About an hour later, I was restored. The physical circumstances remained the same, but during this time of prayer, the Lord restored my perspective. Later on, I came to understand that this was merely a skirmish in comparison to battles to come, wherein real spiritual warfare, involving longtime deep captives may become the norm. The enemy works tirelessly to run out the clock on his subjects and he doesn’t like the prospect of losing any of them. There are people in this household who are not washed in the blood of Jesus and Satan desires to drag them into everlasting torment. As such, upheaval can be expected to continue and even increase. The same holds true for future ventures into the streets, where one must be spiritually prepared for anything. The ramifications are everlasting, and once again; even as this is being written, I wonder if I really understand the seriousness of it. There are real (eternal) souls, bound by real demons, who need a real deliverance. There is a need for labourers who are filled with the Holy Ghost, understand the perimeters of the battle and are not hesitant to enter into situations that will try them at every level.
John 15:5 “I am the vine, ye are the branches: he that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing.”
When we encounter one whose name is not yet recorded in the book of life, we are, in a way, standing at the gates of hell. Whether such a one has known the depths of satan, or has followed a much more uneventful path, we can be certain that the enemy is employing every device at his disposal to hang onto that person while doing anything within his power to render us a non-threat. We can be certain that our adversary knows what is the most effective method of distracting us from the real battle. This is an issue to which we must give continual diligence as time slips away and those without Christ draw ever closer to a point of no return. It’s sobering to be sure and it exposes the danger of being overly light-hearted. I’m known as being one who is not bothered by external circumstances; especially at work where people often ask “how does this place not get to you?” Indeed, the joy of the Lord will sustain us in any situation and I actually have a lot of fun at work. In the midst of this joy and peace, however, it’s imperative to not lose sight of what’s in play. There are souls in our ambience who are lost and headed for everlasting horror on a level that we cannot fathom.
Well I need to close for now. Despite the stretch of inactive time, I’m still minded to keep this site current; so long as words of encouragement for the saints can be offered. More importantly, however, it’s imperative to be atuned to the Holy Spirit at all times and to be in obediance to his promptings. This is a temporary venue and each of us will eventually make our final journey into cyberspace. Along with the cogitations of the past three weeks has been an urgency to spend quality time in prayer. I mean long stretches; where we set aside our personal agenda (with it’s corresponding list of petitions) and just seek the Lord Jesus. We are so bombarded by noise and the thoughts of others that it can be a real challenge to hear the still small voice of the Holy Spirit. But we must be in such a place if were to stand in the days ahead. One of the biggest struggles for me has been the non-stop flurry of activity which has made it all but impossible to set aside a large stretch of time for prayer.
If I were to ever be granted a dream vacation of my choosing, it would be a week long stay on a deserted island, to spend time in prayer. Away from all the distractions of life, with nothing but a bible….along with a strongs concordance…..and some writing material…..and maybe a Nintendo DS. (lol) I’m joking about the Nintendo DS, (I’ve never owned one) however, the non-serious portion of this comment illustrates a sad truth. Many have become enslaved by fantasy and I know of a person who has been destroyed by World of Warcraft. This is entering into another topic and I really have to go for now. Until the next time, blessings always in Jesus name.