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A Short Essay on Finding a Church

CS Lewis has used his gift of wisdom and knowledge in a mighty way throughout the 20th century and I think it is time to re-visit what he has to say. I have been deeply reading “Mere Christianity” and it stands the test of time, as well as looking for an effective church that follows what Jesus said and did. As more and more people get sucked into the empty promises of megachurches and deceptive revisionist doctrines, I thought I would quote what he had to say about our two biggest false teachings in America (although there are now so many now that I wonder if anyone is really preaching the truth). Note the areas in [ ] are my additions.

The first is to the Prosperity church movement, most often found in the megachurches (for this reason I flee from any church with a population where I struggle to find a familiar face). CS Lewis says, “Good actions are all the matters. The best good action is charity. The best kind of charity is giving money. The best thing to give money to is the Church…the answer to that nonsense, of course, would be that good actions done for the motive, done with the idea that Heaven [or “the good life”] can be bought, would not be actions at all but commerical speculations.”

Joel Olsteen and his ilk– you obviously did not read this book. I guess, like the souls in Harvey, it wasnt in your budget. You will be judged on a different level but it isnt too late for you. Renounce your covetousness and take on the cloak of poverty. You could do so much with less and you do so little.

The second is to the “grace is all and the Law is dead”, or Hypergrace church movement, or should I say primary 20th century church doctrine. “Faith is all that matters. Consequently, if you have faith, if doesnt matter what you do [for you have “freedom in Christ“]. Sin away, my lad, and have a good time and and Christ will see that it makes no difference in the end……The answer to that nonsense is that, if what you call your ‘faith’ in Christ does not involve taking the slightest notice of what He says, then it is not Faith at all–not faith or trust in Him, but only intellectual acceptance of some theory in Him, [for if you love Me you will keep My commandments]. Grace gets pastors out of all the difficult conversations that we need to have about sin movements that have slithered into the minds of 21st century “religious” influencers.

John Crowder I am speaking to you and your cohorts who knowingly preach this false teaching and exclude what got us into this mess in the first place. KNOW THIS: emphasizing any one part of the gospel over others is SIN. And Yehovah HATES sin. Kabbalah also wants to, how do you put it? “Practice [experience] the presence of God”. As we move into the Age of Kabbalah, you will get more that you ever imagined from that abomination.

Initially when one comes out of these two popular sets of false teachings one is quite focused on doing Jesus’ commandments with humble fear and trembling, which include all that are in the Law.  But then one realizes that the verse “work out your salvation with fear and trembling– for God works in you” is about God transforming you on the inside while you express that transformation to others with true service. This is the marriage of faith and works that Yehovah wants us to practice for this is how we will operate in the Kingdom of Heaven. Paul emphasizes that one without the other is dead, indeed he bluntly states “faith without works is dead” And as pride starts to fall away and you let Yehovah start to work within you, a new thought pattern emerges and action develops.

And then you start to experience the next phase.  The phase where you look at your slightly ratty car and realize “Hey you are working just fine let’s keep journeying together and that family with all the medical bills could use some of that money I put away for a new one”.  And you look at your pantry full of food and realize “Hey I don’t need all that look at what I throw away from old expiration dates I’m going to keep just what I need and trust Yehovah to meet my need when the time comes I think ill give some of that budget to a school lunch program”.  You realize that maybe 3 meals a day is more than you need some days and makes you sleepy anyway so you spend one meal instead in prayer for persecuted Christians around the world.

Or maybe you will be in a bad area of town and see a “gangsta dude” and instead of fear you will see how thin he is and hey he’s carrying a big gas can and it’s 97 degrees with no car in sight and you see him not with fear but love and one thing leads to another and you fill up his car with gas, his body with cold drink, and his soul with a spark of hope.  And you leave realizing his spark is your spark now and you have been blessed with a little hidden treasure.  And you start looking for other chances while you drive instead of blaring you radio and zoning out.

For this little skinny polite resilient kid was my epiphany.

I am realizing there is a much better way

than giving money to buildings

that don’t really build up people

and how much of our conversations are really

about things that our ancestors didn’t need

and neither do we really.

And I yearn for a church

without a slick pastor with super white teeth

and a car salesman’s smile

measuring me up for what I can give. 

Can I still find it in Babylon? 

I really don’t know but I do know that

when I see simple tents of refuge

and a humble others-centered ministry

that honors the poor and wretched first

I know I have found it.

I am disgusted

but I am first disgusted with myself.

I wasted my life chasing the wind

like Solomon’s warned us not to do

and that wind escalated into the vortex of

endless vanity of striving for the material.

I thought I was doing good!

I had a great and terrible and abusive job

helping children on dialysis

but I let that job get hold of me,

suck the soul out of my mind and heart

and transformed it into a god.

I dont want you to do this, so return to the old preachers of the day who didnt lust after a massive budget and were not afraid to give you the truth. It will open your eyes to a whole load of bullshit. Walk away from it.

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Loving Our Neighbor, the Sojourner

Why are there such great movements of people from the Middle East over the past six years?

Politicians will give their answers– and we know the answers are at times suspect.   But I know the Lord does not think in small terms like politics.  He thinks in terms of individual and national sin, in terms of blessing and judgment, and is moving all of creation towards a goal of restoration.  He lifts up and tears down; He approves the change in governments, He overthrows nations when the fullness of their sins move Him to righteous anger.  Daniel states:

“He [the Most High God] changes times and seasons; He sets up kings and deposes them. He gives wisdom to the wise and knowledge to the discerning. He reveals deep and hidden things; He knows what lies in darkness, and light dwells with Him.” Daniel 2:21,22

Sermons rarely mention that Yehovah uses evil motives and intentions in the heart of leaders to accomplish His will for nations who are in judgment.  This includes governments who promote evil in their lands and abroad.  But all leaders (the Just and the Unjust) are approved, authorized and subject to Him.  Yehovah is moving all of creation toward restitution, and this includes judgments performed for nations whose sinful acts have roused His wrath.  Yehovah also assures us that if he does use evil intentions for judgment He will punish those who perform the acts.  All of creation can be likened to a great board of chess movements and it is a strategy that Yehovah will win.

In 2016, He approved and moved a nation of people to elect, by a strange landmark win, a candidate with a disturbing past in America.  This candidate was full of pride yet he had high levels of certain qualities that I believe Yehovah determined effective in His plan for judgment on America, and that was fearlessness, justice and determination, as well as the ability to accomplish difficult goals without monetary bias or interference.  He was “a loose cannon”. Had the citizens in America repented fully of their abominations then I believe Yehovah would reconsider the judgement He has planned to mete out.  But they did not.  Instead, the ruling powers and princes of information dissemination imposed an all out proxy war on Mr Trump.  And all attempts at restoring justice in the land were ultimately futile.  We also saw people who claim to be Christians put their faith and trust in a man and not in Yehovah— and we created a god of idolatry and a slogan “IN TRUMP WE TRUST”.  For that, and a legion of other crimes against the Yehovah’s law, I fully believe that America’s judgement is set for a time in the near future.

In the 2020 election we saw a miraculous coup of power in the form of the now President Biden, who even in hiding displayed disturbing signs of dementia.  And in our folly and hate, a small number of people gave over our power to a person with the wisdom like a tumbleweed blowing in the wind. I believe God’s hand was behind this, again certainly not because of the righteousness of this President but because his party’s suspect desire to move large people groups into America match the Will of Jehovah, and a wall blocking the movement of these people does not.  In the end, Mr Biden’s party intentions may blow up in his face, for their motives are suspect and one cannot control the decisions of large people groups, a portion of whom hate and abhor the sins performed in this country.  Late in Israel’s judgment, God allowed hoards of people to enter the land right before they were invaded and swept from history into Assyrian lands. I believe that this again is an attempt by Yehovah to restore righteousness in America.  If we didn’t want it willingly, we will get it by humiliation and the sword, either by the turning of refugees or by an invasion–or both.  And those in power who live to feed off the innocence of humans will be culled along with everyone else.  So Mr Biden has handed his fate over to an immense force who will not serve him long term.

We have a rare opportunity.  We need to be meeting these people at the border not with hate and opposition but with the Word of the Lord, announcing Yehovah’s restoration plan and citizenship in His Kingdom of Heaven and meeting the needs of those who are physically drained and spiritually empty.  But I don’t see tent churches as far as the eye can reach.  Instead I see fear and guns and lawlessness.  I guarantee you that Yehovah would move miraculously if we went in faith, for the message of the Kingdom of Heaven is a message of hope and best heard when all hope is lost.

It may be helpful to rise above politics and consider why populations are shifting so dramatically.  I don’t know why Yehovah wants people moved out of the Middle East, but when I read about Yehovah’s movement of people in the Old Testament several reasons ring true today.

  • He moves people for THEIR blessing or judgment. This movement may herald a significant event that will threaten certain people groups. Certainly Isaiah has pronounced the eventual judgment on all nations who afflicted Israel in his Old Testament writings. As some of them are to be completely destroyed, either this movement is for their good or for this end time judgment prophecy, as they will certainly share in our fate if they stay here. As conditions continue to destabilize in the Middle East, I dont think it will be too long for Yehovah’s hand to be known either way. The Old Testament also seems to indicate prophetic announcements related to a war after Israel is re-established in the land and perhaps refugee movement is the start of Yehovah’s plan concerning this event. At the very least, for this to occur, certain countries and genetic people groups surrounding this region need to be at that level of hostility and prepped for an Israeli assault.  At the heart of this, political disasters and the movement of refugees are a likely outcome. Remember that the Lord calls people by their origins. Therefore people descended from Moab will always be Moab, yet Moab may be refugees in another land. Yehovah will still call them Moab, thus linking them genetically to the past (as He may also do with the anti-christ, who may be genetically ancient Assyrian yet possibly living in another land). So the opposite (their final judgment) could certainly be true, in that their seeking refuge in a land devoted to Yehovah’s judgment may be a step in that direction. (I certainly believe many surprises are in store related to the issue of ancient genetics, including who comprises ancient Israel today).
  • These people groups will be a harbinger of judgment OR blessing on countries who receive them and treat them as the Law commands.  According to the Law of Moses, countries hosting sojourners are to love them.  We who are grafted into the Tribe of Ephraim with our faith in Yeshua are under this requirement, as well as those who are certainly genetically part of ancient Israel and living in America.  Exodus 22:21“You shall not wrong a sojourner or oppress him, for you were sojourners in the land of Egypt”.  Deut 10:19 “Love the sojourner, therefore, for you were sojourners in the land of Egypt”.  Lev 19:33 “When a stranger sojourns with you in your land, you shall not do him wrong. You shall treat the stranger who sojourns with you as the native among you, and you shall love him as yourself, for you were strangers in the land of Egypt: I am the Lord your God

The sojourners were subject to the law of the land and Deut 23:1-8 states restrictions on certain groups who were not allowed to take part in the “assembly of the Lord” which is thought to indicate citizenship.  Because of these stipulations, I believe refugees and illegal migrators are partly moving into certain nations for purposes of judgment, as nations receiving them are not putting protections in place for their legal citizens and giving the migrators undeserved rights above what their citizens enjoy.  Lev 24:22 “You shall have the same rule for the sojourner and for the native, for I am the Lord your God.”  This is a disaster in the making.  This may represent a modern “Trojan war” strategy.

  • Due to the migration and mixing of refugees over millenia, some of these refugees are certainly part of ancient Israel.  Those who are kind to Yehovah’s People will obtain mercy.

So what is our response as Christians?  At the very minimum the OT law commands that we love them with specific action instructions and commands.  And ensuring their needs are met are the first part of loving them.   Yeshua commands in His Great Sermon that if we are compelled to give our coat to also give our cloak, or compelled to walk one mile to go two.  For the first is enforced but the second is a gift. In our situation the government may be handing over our resources but we are still required to go over and beyond this, and the greatest gift we can give to them is the Gospel of the Kingdom of Heaven. If one is a follower of Yeshua, then we need to throw open our doors in welcome.  My faith tells me that Yehovah will spiritually bless those who leave their fear behind and stretch out their hand to these people.  Our churches should have signs of “refugees welcome” with people prepared to help them get started in this new land.  For most of us also migrated here when we needed a new start.  My relatives certainly came out of the Irish famine and I am grateful that they had a chance at a new life.  These people deserve this as well.

I know that our immigration laws are in violation.  But Yahovah did not authorize immigration law in the Old Testament and He moves people where He wills.  He did authorize the original nations and national boundaries but He did not restrict people from moving around.  I am suspicious that he never authorized America and doesnt consider it as anything as this land was not part of the original 70 nations in Genesis and, more importantly, it was ruthlessly stolen from the indigenous people who lived here first. There simply isn’t time to satisfy man’s laws in a nation not recognized by Him with laws not dictated by the Old Testament Law of Moses if He needs millions moved right now. 

I understand Mr Tucker Carlson’s concerns and part of me agrees with him. I see the transports filled with young men who may not be in need of refuge, and I see the missing women and children who should be front in line.  But men and women must be transported separately as their culture dictates that, so I dont believe everything I see. If they do not meet the criteria of “sojourner” or require refuge as noted in the Bible (where sojourners are described as hearing about the great name of Israel and worshipped with them 1 Kings 8:41-43) then they could be considered an invading force. Smarter persons than I need to figure this out, as I am not called to discern whether these people are invaders.  I am called to provide the good news of the gospel of the kingdom of heaven to all, including those who mean us harm.  Yehovah loves these people as He loves you, and He is in charge of judging their intentions.  Don’t allow your suspicions and fear to cause the Mighty Hand of the Lord to come down upon you for judgment as well. 

I confess to moments of fear of the Lord’s Hand in judgment on me and my house and not leaning on Yehovah for my needs.  Perhaps this is the reason: to equip the lukewarm, wealth loving church of Laodicea with fervent faith that gives off light and is more savory than salt in the lives of all around us, no matter their status.  We who serve El Shaddai need to rise above this in faith that He has ordained this movement.  May our faith trump nationalistic fears.  Come what may, I will do all I can to remain righteous under Yehovah’s grace and in obedience to His commandments. I pray for earnest perseverance and steadfast faith along with prayer for a change in heart and repentance both in American citizens and in her refugees.

I believe there is an urgent need for us to welcome these people into our country as  I am deeply concerned that the countdown to judgment on America’s sins started on Aug 21, 2017 with Solar Eclipse #1 and will end soon after April 8, 2024 after Solar Eclipse #2, both on the day prior to the Jewish New Moon.  These signs are too specific and I believe we have been given nearly seven years to repent, and we are over halfway through this time of testing more full of hate and unforgiveness and self indulgence then the Civil War Era. I see the Great Drought, the Great Fires, the Spirit of Fear that has descended on us. These all have been seen before in the Old Testament when nations were under judgment. In the final phases of judgment, Yahovah approves silly and unwise leaders to lead lands into dangers as yet unfolded as he did in Israel when they performed abominations in their land. Famine is around the corner and is already starting, not yet in lack of food but in high prices for many people cant afford what is at the grocery store. Does this sound familiar yet? To our shame, as all can see, we are certainly not lifting a finger or shedding a tear to do what Yehovah says must be done as a result of proper repentance which at the minimum include: tearing down our idols; restoring justice; protecting and supporting the fatherless, unborn, elderly and orphans; properly punishing the wicked to remove the blood pollution of the land when innocent blood is spilled; upholding treaties and contracts with other nations (especially the First Nations in our land); returning what we have stolen.

And we are certainly disdainful of His Law, His Rulebook for Good Living, which many “Christians” have discarded in this country through a misapplication of grace in favor of what they wrongly state is freedom.  We are saved by grace from the ultimate consequence of sin which is eternal death but we are NOT free to sin, the knowledge of which is found in the Law of Moses and expounded on by Yeshua. Yeshua said “If you love me obey my commandments”.  He is Yahovah in the flesh, His commandments are the Law of Moses and given new light in the New Testament. Obeying His commandments as part of the obedient life requires all nine gifts of the Holy Spirit to accomplish, starting with LOVE. Think about how the application of Love, Joy, Peace, Patience, Gentleness, Goodness, Kindness, Faithfulness and Self Control can be exercised in the obedience to the Law commanded by Yeshua.

Grace gets us in the door, faith and obedience keep us from running back the way we came.

I knew something special was happening on Aug 21, 2017.  I have never seen or cared much about an eclipse but my spirit within me wanted to see this with my whole heart.  On Aug 21 my area was inundated with heavy clouds and rain.  I prayed again and again for Yehovah to clear out the skies.  And He did something even greater.  For exactly the time that the sun was under eclipse he created a window of open clouds around the sun only.  The last five seconds of the eclipse I was awed and humbled to see the clouds sweep over the sun like a hand wiping a board to obscure the sun as the last moment of darkness swept from its’ surface.  In those perfect moments I saw the hand of the Lord and He was telling me something important: Seven years to turn our hearts away from wickedness and back to Yehovah. Do not ignore the signs in the heavens that Yehovah sends to nations. They are not your personal horoscope, they are a message from El Shaddai and we have lost the real meanings behind them with a load of silly hogwash meant to puff us up.  While I hope I am mistaken, I believe that judgment events are ongoing in our nation.

Our ONLY recourse is to repent of our national and personal sin, accept the atoning sacrifice of Yeshua and OBEY HIS COMMANDMENTS through the return to Yehovah’s Law, which we can then follow free from its spiritual consequences!  Yehovah’s Law is freedom!  Part of the Law is loving our neighbor, whomever that may be.  Turn away from your sin and turn toward the Lord.  He is merciful to those who humbly submit to Him.

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An Answer to the Origin of the Ancient Female Goddess Fertility Cults

I have been researching fertility cults as I believe we will see a return of these practices in the years leading up to the reign of the Anti-christ in the Great Tribulation.  I continue to find these practices strange and mystifying.  Why did people think that “sacred sex” practices in the temple of a fertility goddess was beneficial?  Where did the idea of the fertility cult come from?  As I see the return of this idea seeping into our cultural and religious systems, I have become ever more curious about the initial reason for this system. 

And as always, I believe the events recorded in the Bible have an elegant and factual answer to this question.

Genesis ch 3 describes the circumstances surrounding Adam’s fall into Original Sin, and the consequences that God decrees related to his act.  One of the consequences is that the earth became resistant to man’s efforts to bring forth food, leaving a state of food insecurity on the world both– then and now.  I am sure that the difficulty harvesting food after untold years of ease and plenty was a great shock to Adam and his progeny, and I can sympathize in their desperate desire to have this burden lightened.  And that is why I believe the fertility religions started—to lighten the punishment set up by Jehovah as a consequence of man’s sin.

As Eve was duped into sin by the serpant, her punishment was that she would be fruitful at great expense to her health.  But she would be fruitful and bring forth children.  At the same time, Jehovah announced that through the seed of the woman she would crush the head of the serpant, a declaration that He would reconcile man’s sin though the fertility of the woman.  By twisting God’s pronouncements, there is a logical origin for the source of the power and authority of the female goddess fertility cult as evidenced in the Goddess Nana/Ishtar/Ashoreth etc (who are all really a single source).

God’s pronouncement could easily have been perverted over time to a belief that the woman held the key to fertility both in procreation and in the harvests. Instead of looking to Jehovah for sustenance, mankind chose to look within themselves to ensure a fertile harvest.  In a twisted way, one could take Jehovah’s words to mean that women did have fertile power.  It certainly isn’t a big leap to believe that harnessing that power included fertility and religious “sacred sex rites” to bring forth a harvest.  And I am certain Satan did reward people who succumbed to this practice with greater harvests at the expense of their souls (and continues to reward people as these acts are practiced secretly all over the word today).  God always has the harder road to salvation in order to produce the fruit of the Holy Spirit in our lives, and Satan always has the short and easy road to spiritual and physical destruction.  While the Bible doesn’t discuss this , I can imagine God allowing Satan to increase the fruits of the labors of those who were determined to get around His punishment at the expense of their relationship with Him.

I am certain that the curse that God put on the ground, and partially reduced after the flood with His new covenant with Noah, was extreme.  I have never (yet) been through a famine so I dont know the physical and moral cost that such an experience brings upon people and nations. But I can imagine that ancient man was exhausted and overwhelmed at having to work endlessly to achieve a basic sustenance that may or may not fail if drought or natural disasters destroyed the harvest.  If anyone had a “brilliant” idea for making food production more secure, I am certain that people would have been interested to hear more.  And that is the danger with ideas that are not blessed by Jehovah.  What sounds like a good idea to them—to call forth the fertile powers in women to make harvest easier and more productive, was mortally offensive to God. We see this again and again in the trials and successes of Israel recorded in the Old Testament. Their accounts were meant as a testament by God to mankind of actions that produce His rewards and actions that will produce His judgments.

What we do know from history is that whatever God decrees man will attempt to get out of, and Satan is a gleeful witness and meddler in our ideas and actions intended to lesson God’s punishments. I believe that the fertility cults were a direct response from man, through the influence of Satan, to relieve him of the burden of harsh work in relation to food supply.

I believe that the original fertility cults were man’s attempt to impose his will and oppose God’s will in relation to the uncertainty of harvests.  As we move ever closer to a return to these ancient practices, I urge you to remember that while we have free will to oppose God, it will never turn out to our benefit.

As we continue to move ever forward into the age of the Antichrist, and famine sits at the door and in the homes of many, a return to fertility cults is guaranteed. I pray that we will have the strength to refuse the easy road, and resist Satan’s easier harvest at the expense of our souls. I fear that the last century of ease and plenty will make it all the more harder to resist. As we move toward a year that may well be marked by a world wide famine, as predicted by weather scientists, I feel that God is reminding us not to re-create the mistakes of the ancient past in our attempt to exert our will. Ask God for His care and sustenance, lose the desire for self-sufficiency and lean on Him.

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Eight Beginning Elements of Effective Prayer

As horrific events continue to unfold, I wanted to encourage you in your prayers and give some insight into effective prayer that God has placed on my heart.  I am disheartened by the weakness of the body of Christ for we have the tools to fight yet we have lost our focus with all the distractions around us.

A year ago I was ready to commit suicide.  I considered myself a failed Christian.  I discovered that I was under oppression and in a mind blowing audible prayer God yanked me from the brink of psychosis and death.  I know the power of prayer and my hope is that you grow to know it too.   I have Borderline Personality Disorder and my mood dysregulation is a constant battle.  When I get distracted from daily Bible study and prayer it roars back to life again.  Over the past year I know and have lived the suggestions below.  I want you to know that you can know and live this as well.

It is essential to know that Satan is temporarily Lord of the Earth and rules this realm for the present as I discuss in my prior post.  His contractual power over mankind has been broken by Jesus but his keys and authority as Lord of the Earth will not be taken until Jesus triumphant second return to start His Millenial Reign.  We have the power through Jesus to bind Satan’s activities via prayer and request for God’s intercession.  Prayer is our tool for active and effective communication to God as well as a skill and a weapon to fight Satan’s plans to destroy your life and mankind.

Below I list 8 beginning steps to effective prayer in your life.  There are others but I find this list to be actionable and I use it in my prayer life.

  1.  Know and Love God through Jesus and accept His plan for salvation

My first suggestion is to know and love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your mind, all your will, all your soul as Jesus instructs us.  This starts with repentance and accepting God’s plan for salvation through Jesus.  The Bible says that God does not hear the prayer of sinners outside of repentance.  If you have not accepted Jesus as your Lord and Savior you are a child of Satan and your prayers are mist in the wind.  After this,  actively seek to learn God’s holy and awesome nature and desire a personal relationship with Him through Jesus as our arbiter.  This will naturally lead to more effective prayer.  The more you know and love God, the closer you get to His heart, mind and will and the easier prayer will become.  So go to school daily by studying the Bible along with great commentaries and apologetic materials.

2.  Recognize that a relationship with God is a partnership through active prayer

Next  it is crucial to understand God’s desire for a partnership with you.  The Bible is clear and consistent with regard to this.  God wants your active input and He listens to your requests.  Sometimes He changes His mind.  Jesus tells us to make ourselves a pain in Luke ch 11 through a humorous anecdote where a man wakes up a friend at night for food to feed an unexpected visitor and receives it due to his impudence.   Jesus also says that we don’t receive because we don’t ask.  But we must ask within God’s will.

3.  Desire God’s will and learn how and what to ask for in prayer

Third, God wants us to seek and desire His will for our lives and the world and our prayers must reflect this.  We need to learn what we should ask.  This is accomplished by being fed through His word.  If you know the Bible you know His heart.  Ask that God’s words will write themselves in your heart, that you will understand what you read and actively follow it.  Paul warns us that scripture reading that is like a mirror is useless, as when one looks at a mirror and walks away one forgets the visage.  Scripture reading must be active.  Prepare your heart before reading with repentance and put on a mind open to God’s message.

4.  Learn how to pray specifically

Forth, God wants specifics and this is very important.  He delights in our ideas.  Plans cannot be completed without details and prayer is hindered without them.  So, for example, if you feel led to pray that Bibles will get into China, ask God specifically that Bible shipments will be disguised as other literary works in the customs offices.  You will find a much higher rate of answered prayer if you get very specific in your requests.  I have a friend whose daughter is recovering from a devastating illness.  Michele is fantastic about asking for specific prayer in the physical therapy sessions.  Her recent request was for 3 unassisted steps and this was answered in that session.

5.  Actively prevent hindered prayer by daily repenting of all sin 

Fifth, your prayer can be hindered by sin in your life.  Idolatry, selfishness, covetousness, anxiety and unconfessed sin can all hinder the effectiveness of your prayer.  First make sure you know what God considers sin.  If you agree with the world that certain acts are not sinful, you are living in sin in your mind.  Search the scriptures for what God considers sin.  Paul is an excellent resource for knowing sin as well as for what we should work on to enhance our Christian faith and walk.  I encourage you to read him from start to finish.  It is a great document for the practicing Christian.  Note that there are factions who want to remove Paul from the Bible.  Ask daily that God will hinder this heresy.  Ask for a teachable and humble spirit and a change in mindset if you struggle to agree that certain acts are sin.  Scour your heart and mind daily and clean out the sin in it first with repentance.  You will find, as I have, that peace in your mind is one of the benefits.  Then, as Paul instructs in Philippeans 4:6-8:

Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.  And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

6.  Train your eye and heart to know when and what needs prayer

Sixth, meditate on God’s word and the following list that Paul gives in Philippeans 4:8.  For an eye that is fixed on heavenly treasure will be trained to intercede when corruption is spotted.  Spend time in it daily and make this your top priority.  The world uses mindfulness to combat anxiety and live a richer life, but they miss the point.  Our mindfulness should be trained by the word of God.

Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. 

7.  Develop a mind dedicated to unceasing prayer

God wants your whole life.  He doesnt want a 30 second synopsis of your day in a nightly litany of what went wrong.  He wants to be with you in the trenches of life.  He wants to guide your speech and actions to fulfill His will.  Quick prayers of intercession are appropriate and effective.  For example, if you are to have a difficult conversation with a fellow worker, a quick  “Jesus please work with me to regulate my mood and grant me patience and calm speech during this conversation.”

8.  Get into the battle

Christians are authorized to fight against the principalities and powers of this realm.  The tools for this is intercessionary prayer and supplication.  Paul states this awesome responsibility in Ephesians 6:12  For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places. 

Man every time I read that I get chills.  We–YOU– have the power through Jesus to ask God to bind Satan and his forces and these are a few ways that will help you get started:

State daily that you freely transfer your power and authority from Satan back to God

Ask for hedges of protection around Christians and godly authorities

Support Israel and ask that your country support Israel.  They are His unconditional covenant people and God doesnt break unconditional covenants.  This should be a crucial part of your vote in your country if you live in a place where voting determines government.  The Bible says God’s eye is trained on Jerusalem and, while this is controversial, I do believe He blesses continues to bless countries and peoples who bless and shelter the Israelic descendants of Abraham.  Genesis 12:3 says “I will bless those who bless you, and whoever curses you I will curse; and all peoples on earth will be blessed through you.”  Many Theologians think this is just for a certain period but God didnt put a time limit on this blessing, so one is best to think it still active.  Therefore, those places who have harmed God’s people are living on borrowed time, Germany being one of them.

Ask for the Jewish heart to soften towards Jesus.  Jesus states in Matthew 24 that his return is in the hands of the Jewish peoples.  In order to allow for the fullness of the Gentile races to come to salvation, all Jewish persons at this time have a partial block on recognizing Jesus.  At some point in the future they will as one have their eyes opened and recognize him as their messiah and he will immediately return to reign on earth.

Intercede for persecuted Christians.  Get on the prayer lists for organizations like Open Door and Barnabus fund, both of which are actively assisting Christians in areas closed to the gospel.  You can partner with them in their specific prayers and support them in their efforts to comfort and support them, as Jesus asked us to do.

Ask for God to open up the borders of nations closed to the gospel and to bind Satan’s authority and plans for these oppressed areas.

Ask God to hinder and bind spirits brought forth by spells, incantations, idolatry.  These spirits are strong and the Spirit of Violence and Dissension that has swept over the world through idolatry, sorcery and evil action.

Ask God to create confusion, chaos, anxiety, distress and to block and hinder all persons who participate in Satan’s activities and work to bring corruption upon the earth with the added request that God will, in His mercy, turn them to Him

Ask that God will soften the hearts of specific people you interact with on a daily basis and give you opportunities to share the Gospel.

Ask that current trials and persecutions lead to opportunities to share the gospel with others

Ask for immediate intercession when tempted by Satan and his forces.  Turn away and do not relent.  This is the danger of being part of the world for what you allow to goes into your mind will inevitably corrupt you.  So monitor what you watch and listen to.  I find that God uses music to play in my head when I am distressed and this is a comfort that I would not have if I chose other music that glorifies the world and its many sins.

Finally, I want you to recognize God’s work in my life as an example of hope.  A year ago I would not have been able to write a word of this letter to you.  I have studied and examined and repented and read and prayed my year away.  I hope that you can see the proof in this post, and know that God wants the same for you.  May God bless you and keep you, may His grace and mercy shine down on you and may you develop into an effective and useful tool to combat the darkness in Satan through the power in your prayer life.

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