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I’m going to tackle something today which is very difficult for lots of Christians.  We older ones, once we get a handle on this - in other words, when we REALLY UNDERSTAND WHAT’S GOING ON - can have an effect on our own lives and the lives of those around us.


This is a very difficult subject and also one which is very misunderstood.  Let me explain what I mean.  I watch a lot of Christian movies.  I don’t hardly watch anything but news on regular TV - but I pay $12.99 a month for Pure-Flix.  There’s movies that are Christian, movies without cussing, bad language, no nudity, no sexual encounters or words that are improper, and no taking of the Lord’s name in vain.  Now, the reason I mentioned that is that I cannot tell you how many times in the Christian movies, I hear the phrase, “Why does God let bad things happen to good people?”  I have discovered, just listening to Christian movies, that a huge percentage of Christians believe that God - up there in Heaven - is all powerful and that, if He wants to, He can whoosh down and keep something from happening!  Or, He can change things around so that everything is okay for the Christian.


There are also many Christians who believe that God brings the trials and tribulations on people.  The Lord has told me to speak some truth about this in as plain and simple way as possible, because when we get ahold of it down deep in our hearts, we can have an influence, not only on our own lives, but on our families’ lives, and those around us.  Now, this is a really complicated subject - but I’m going to just try to make it simple to get ahold of.


God gave authority to mankind.  Genesis 1:28 - “Then God blessed them, and God said to them, ‘Be fruitful and multiply;  fill the earth and subdue it; have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over every living thing that moves on this earth.”  That’s just about as clear as it can be.  WE HUMANS HAVE AUTHORITY.  He didn’t say, “Don’t worry, if I see something going bad, I’ll get it out of the way for you.”  That means that we can CHOOSE and, therefore, our choices will have consequences - good choices - good consequences - bad choices - bad consequences.  This also shows that we humans have a free will to make choices.  God will not violate our free will.  


Now that’s very important!  So many people have not been taught this truth and they are living in the consequences of their choices - and then they say, “Well, it must just be God’s will!”


As born-again human beings, we have become members of the FAMILY OF GOD.  Not only did we get a ticket to Heaven, for when we leave our human bodies, but, while we are in these bodies, we already have a NEW SPIRIT that has been filled with all the things from God that we need to live a GODLY life here on this earth.  Therefore, we have the ability to walk like Jesus walked on this earth.  We also have God-given authority over the wiles of the devil, as they are exercised in all kinds of ways.  Now, listen to this - therefore, through the knowledge and enlightenment in our new spirit, we can use our authority, IN JESUS NAME, to hinder the evil one from destroying.


Now, I wanted to say that first, because many, many Christians just go through life never using the authority that God has given them.  We’ll talk about that more in awhile.


So - now I want to dive into these topics of trials and troubles.  So many people believe that GOD brings the trials and troubles into our lives to teach us stuff.  They believe that God could keep them from coming if He wanted to - SO - He must want to let you go through all kinds of pain - physical, emotional, mental, and on and on, so you could learn something.  They don’t really have a clue about the authority that God has given us.  Now there are all kinds of trials, troubles, problems, and they’re often because of our own doing, but there are others that the enemy has brought into our lives.  Some of those, when we begin to understand some things and take authority over them, they actually become part of our learning process and God reveals stuff to us as we go along - and works everything out.


Now - let me remind us of all those trials that those first century Christians went through.  If you’ve read the book of Acts (as well as many of the epistles), you know how the Christians were arrested and imprisoned by the Roman government.  You talk about a trial!!!!!  Did God bring that on them?  NO - NO - NO!!!!!!!  Now, have you noticed, when you’ve read them, how the Christians reacted?  Well, of course, it wasn’t their choice to be imprisoned in the most awful conditions ever (kept in dungeon-type, dirt floor, places, with bugs on the dirt), sometimes with their feet chained, and their hands chained, and many other horrible conditions.  But, if you read carefully, you find them acting in an attitude like this - “I’m being privileged to suffer for my precious LORD JESUS CHRIST - the Roman government isn’t my master, JESUS is!”  Then, they began singing songs to praise Him!


The trial wasn’t brought on by the Lord - and the Christians going through the trial were so in love with the Lord that their attitude on the inside was, “This may mean that I’ll get to be with Him sooner than I thought.”


Now - our trials - yes - are problems - but the Lord desires that we go through them with the attitude of worshiping the Lord, and trusting Him to work everything out - and spending time praising Him and taking in His Word.


Now I’m going to read a portion of Scripture - Romans 5:1-5 - “Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom also we have access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God.  And not only that, but we also glory in tribulation, knowing that tribulation produces perseverance; and perseverance, character, and character, hope.  Now hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who was given to us.”  


Man oh Man - that’s quite a portion of Scripture.  We could spend hours talking about it - but we’re not going to.  I want to explain something.  It starts off by saying that we’ve been justified by faith.  I learned a long time ago that ‘justified’ or ‘justification’ means ‘JUST AS IF I’D NEVER SINNED’!    


Then, another phrase was, ‘we glory in tribulation’.   What it boils down to is this!  When we have bad things going on in our lives, we know that we have a relationship with the Creator of the Universe - that we are HIS child - and He loves us and we have peace with HIM.  That, in itself, makes us able to persevere and develop character and hope BECAUSE WE KNOW THAT, NO MATTER WHAT, HE IS THERE WITH US AND HE’S GIVEN US PROMISES IN HIS WORD - SO WE JUST PRAY AND SOAK IN HIS WORD!  That’s just getting down to the nitty gritty!  This wonderful God who created everything there is, who is OUR FATHER, has designed everything and us, so that, even when we’re faced with trials, troubles, problems, and on and on, we can be so at peace with Him and in communication with Him and we actually come out of it ‘smelling like a rose’.  (That’s a midwestern phrase.  Giggle.)  Now I could go on about the trials and tribulations all afternoon - and still not be done with it. The whole truth of it in a nutshell is that our Father has placed in our born-again spirit everything we need to go through anything.  Some of it can be caused by our enemy, which we’re going to talk about here in a minute, but much of it is brought on by all kinds of individual situations in our individual lives.  God knows every detail and, as we surrender to Him, He often can show us exactly what He wants us to see - and it’ll be over and we will have learned things which will be a huge help to us in the future.  


Now we’re going to tackle this other thing, which is often referred to as ‘Spiritual Warfare’!  By the way, I’ve heard this taught many times in my life, some in long series, but I’m going to make this as simple as possible for us to get ahold of.


I’m going to read a rather long portion of Scripture - Ephesians 6:10-18 - I know it’s pretty long but I’m going to read it slowly - so listen carefully.  “Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might.  Put on the whole armor of God that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.  For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places.  Therefore, take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day and having done all, to stand.  Stand, therefore, having girded your waist with truth, having put on the breastplate of righteousness, and having shod your feet with the preparation of the gospel of peace; above all, taking the shield of faith, with which you will be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked one.  And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God; praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, being watchful to the end with all perseverance and supplication for all the saints---”


Now, I know that’s very long, but I’m going to talk about each of those things which are called, “THE ARMOR OF GOD.”


First of all, let me say this - we are to put on THE WHOLE ARMOR OF GOD.  Many people are living through their entire lives here on the earth with only THE HELMET OF SALVATION on.  Yes, they’re saved and they’re going to Heaven but their lives here on this earth are mostly very difficult because they haven’t put on the rest of the armor.  They never exercise their God-given authority over the enemy because they’ve never been taught - and sometimes because they’ve rebelled against any knowledge concerning the enemy.  (That’s certainly the way it was for me in the early part of my life until I was in my early 30’s.  I had the Helmet of Salvation - but that’s all.  I never heard a sermon in all those years about the armor of God - and certainly not about ‘principalities and powers and the rulers of darkness, and spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places.’)  


Now - when you get alone later - I suggest that you read over these verses.  You’ll find that Paul never mentioned warfare against people - it’s against the spiritual powers that work through people  Just getting mad, and speaking a verse of Scripture to a person is not ‘spiritual warfare’.


Before I go through these parts of the Whole Armor of God, I want to share something that I believe is most interesting.  I want you to notice that there is no Armor for your back - it’s all for what you face.  You are to see yourself as God sees you, with HIS armor on, and, therefore, you are operating in God’s power.  You are to face the enemy!  The enemy of God sees us operating in God’s power and He hates that and is afraid of that or US.


Now, also, let me say that Satan was an angel, whose name was Lucifer - and he rebelled against God - there were many angels that followed after him.  He has always wanted to be more important than God.  You can read about that in Isaiah 14:12-14 and Ezekiel 28:13-17.  I’m not going to read those now.  His motivation is to come against all the people in this world that believe in and follow God.  BUT - GOD HAS GIVEN US AUTHORITY OVER HIM.  WE DO NOT HAVE TO FEAR HIM.  WE HAVE BEEN GIVEN THE ARMOR OF GOD TO USE AGAINST HIM!  Now - get this - THAT MEANS THAT WE ARE TO FACE HIM - THEREFORE WE DON’T NEED ARMOR FOR OUR BACK.  WHEN WE ARE WEARING THE ARMOR OF GOD, SATAN IS AFRAID OF US LIKE HE IS OF GOD!




The next is the BREASTPLATE OF RIGHTEOUSNESS.  When we received Jesus as our Savior (we believed in our hearts and said with our mouths) and were born again.  We received a brand new spirit, free from sin and, therefore, completely righteous - just as if we’d never sinned - in other words, God’s own righteousness!!!!!  It was a gift and appropriated by Christ through faith.    When we use our authority against the devil and any of his followers, it is the same as if Jesus is saying it Himself.  (Of course, we have to operate in faith - and that means that we have to believe it.)  WE BELIEVE IT AS WE READ AND PONDER ON HIS WORD!!!!!


The next is FEET SHOD WITH THE PREPARATION OF THE GOSPEL OF PEACE.  The soldiers of that day wore shoes which were designed to help them walk in long and hard walks - with outer soles which dug into the soil.  This is describing us, as new creations, who will go through anything, no matter how hard, to bring this wonderful Gospel of Peace to the world.  This peace is the PEACE BETWEEN GOD AND MAN.  But, they have to hear it - and  how shall they hear unless someone tells them, no matter how much effort it takes?!  They have to know that God’s not mad at them.  Therefore, that means that we have to equip ourselves with the Gospel and plow through the troubles of this earth to be willing at any moment to share with others.  We can’t be afraid to share the truth with others.


Next is THE SHIELD OF FAITH!!!!  Now - this shield that we walk through our life with, is keeping us from taking into our being all the fiery darts of the wicked one - because it’s for sure that he is going to try to stop us from living the Jesus Life on this earth.  That means that we have such an intimate relationship with the Lord that we think like He thinks, talk like He talks, act like He acts, and on and on.  He’s put it all right there in our spirits.  All we have to do is access it.  We access it by spending time in His Word, by talking to Him all the time - not just 10 minutes of telling Him what you need - but communicating with Him, all the time.


Next is THE HELMET OF SALVATION!!!!  Now, of course, we know what that is.  If you’ve been born again, you know that you know that you know that you are headed for Heaven - that your days here on earth will end some day and you are confident that Jesus has paid the price you couldn’t pay and you have been saved from Hell!  Your salvation is a done deal!!!


Next is THE SWORD OF THE SPIRIT!!!  This is the only offensive weapon for our warfare!  The Greek word used here for ‘sword’ is ‘RHEMA’ and, of course, it is referring to the WORD OF GOD.  [As a side note, my son went to Rhema Bible School in Tulsa, Oklahoma, started by Kenneth Hagin.]  We need to have the Word of God in our hearts because it is the SPOKEN WORD OF GOD that enters into the hearts of people that we come in contact with - and that is the WEAPON in this WAR that can make a difference.  It is also the WEAPON THAT SATAN HATES AND WHEN WE SPEAK THE WORD TO HIM AND TELL HIM WHAT HE HAS TO DO, IT TERRIFIES HIM AND HE HAS TO DO WHAT WE SAY!!!!!!!



By the way, ALL MEANS ALL.  There are many ways to pray (and I believe that’s going to have to be for another teaching) - but, let me say, and I’ve said this before, I really believe that God loves to use we older Christians to bring His will into the earth.  The younger ones are working at jobs, raising the kids, and, in some cases, making sure we older ones are alright.  Of all the people on the planet, we older Christians can have a huge impact on the rest of the world, if we will just surrender to Him and do HIS WILL WHILE WE’RE STILL HERE.  I, myself, have known some prayer warriors - and they’re all mostly older Christians.  Now, that verse does say, “All prayer and supplication in the spirit.”  I could go into this in great detail - but we’d be here way too long!  Laughing.  


Let me just say that this verse is really talking about all kinds of prayer.  It does say, “in the Spirit,” and it is not only talking about prayer directed by God’s Spirit (or His will) but it is also referring to praying in tongues.  I cannot tell you how many times, when I am praying in tongues regarding a specific thing, that God has spoken to my heart and showed me something directly about that situation.  But, that’s way too much to get into in this topic today.  That’s for another time.


We, the children of God on this earth, are the ones God wants to use while we’re here in all kinds of ways.  He wants us to take authority over the Evil One in many kinds of situations.  He wants to use us to help people see what God is really like.  He wants to use us to pray His will into the earth - in all kinds of lives.  The only way we can really be used is to take seriously what His Word tells us to do and how to do it.  


Personally, I’m not afraid of the devil!  I exercise my authority over him all the time  - not just in my life, but in the lives of people in my life - and sometimes for people I don’t even know.  I speak regarding the weather, regarding all kinds of earth and people problems.  But you can’t just do it because somebody like me said to do it - YOU HAVE TO BELIEVE IT IN YOUR HEART WHEN YOU SAY IT WITH YOUR MOUTH.  The only way that becomes a reality  is by reading the Word and believing the promises He has made to us.


Now, let me give you a little example.  When we left here after group last Tuesday, we got in the car and it was not raining (we didn’t get wet getting in).   But the minute that we closed the doors, the rain started coming down so hard and loud that, by the time we got to the highway to turn on to it, it was awful!  So-o-o-o-o immediately, while Debbie was driving, I said, outloud, something like this, “Weather Pattern, I speak to you in the name of Jesus Christ, whose I am.  I have been given authority over you by God Almighty!  Therefore, in the name of Jesus, I command you and you must obey!  You may not bring any destructive weather to where I am.  I am here!  So take your destructive weather away from here.  Go away!”  


It continued to rain - but no big problems!  I have been doing that for years.  I’ve seen a tornado turn and go another way.  Once while I was still in Kansas City, there was a horrible hurricane-type thing going on in Port St. Lucie, and Debbie and I were on the phone.  We were praying together and using our authority.  The end result was that others, in their neighborhood had their rooves all messed up - BUT NOT DEBBIE AND BUCK’S!  I could go on and on.


We have been given authority over the enemy.  The weather is just one area that he tries to mess us up.  There are many - BUT WE HAVE TO REALLY, REALLY BELIEVE THE WORD AND DO WHAT IT SAYS TO DO.


Sometimes the Christians are just begging and pleading with God to do something - when He has given the authority into our hands.  


One of my favorite verses (oh my - I have so many - giggle) is John 10:10.  It says, “The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy.  I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly.”  You can’t get more down to the nitty gritty than that!  The devil wants to do bad and hinder us and God - BUT JESUS CAME TO GIVE US AN ABUNDANT LIFE!  Fellow Believers - He’s given us the power over the devil!  It’s up to us to read it, study it, get ahold of it, use it, speak it, AND BECOME WARRIORS AGAINST THE ENEMY LIKE GOD DESIGNED FOR US TO BE.    


It’s all just right there in the Word of God.  We have the choice.  Now for a lot of people, they just think that it seems weird to actually speak outloud to Satan but I have formed an attitude deep within me like this.  “If the Word says to do, even though it feels or seems weird, then just DO IT!!!!  My family has gotten used to me taking authority over weather stuff.  They just know that I’m going to do it.  A year or so ago, when we were still in Port St. Lucie, some bad weather had formed, and I was in my bedroom, reading and praying, etc., so I wasn’t really aware of it.  I went into the dining room area, where the patio door was and I saw how bad it was.  I stood there and began to take authority over it.  As I finished and turned around, my son-in-law was standing there and said something like, “You should have gotten started on that earlier - it wouldn’t have been this bad.”  I knew he was teasing me, and we both started laughing.  I said something like, “Well, it won’t get worse - it’ll get better now!”


There are all kinds of ways that the devil tries to bring STUFF to hinder us, harm us, hurt us, and on and on BUT BROTHERS AND SISTERS - WE HAVE BEEN GIVEN AUTHORITY BY JESUS CHRIST OVER THE DEVIL.  BUT WE HAVE TO BELIEVE IT AND ACT UPON IT.




I’m going to read one more verse - it’s one of my favorites - It’s Romans 8:37 - “Yet in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us.”  


Scriptures for this lesson

Genesis 1:28

Romans 5:1-5

Ephesians 6:10-18

Isaiah 14:12-14

Ezekiel 28:13-17

John 10:10

Romans 8:37

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