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Battleground

“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.” ~ Ephesians 6:12 (KJV)

As Christians, we stand with Jesus to usher in His plan of love for the world. We stand with Him as His very name inspires a bend in our knees and awe in our hearts. We stand with Him as vessels to be used to heal, to love, to spread peace. We stand with Him simply to rejoice in His presence. We do all this and so much more. And sometimes, we stand with Him in battle.

As Christians, we do have a constant enemy. We don’t need to fear him necessarily (though he’d like us to!) because in the end Jesus is stronger. But we do need to fight him. His name is Satan and his sole aim is to kill, steal and destroy God’s plan. As stewards of this plan, we are automatically at odds with him. And he will use deception, distraction, literally any means he can come up with to keep us from fully doing our Father’s work.

Now, there are 7 main principalities that we fight, with a powerful demon at the head of each one (keep in mind though, they are not as powerful as Jesus and you can defeat them). These principalities are:

1) Spirit of Witchcraft

2) Spirit of Antichrist

3) Spirit of Infirmity

4) Spirit of Death

5) Spirit of Lying

6) Spirit of Mammon (wealth, provisions, socio-economic status, etc)

7) Spirit of Perversion

Right. Well, now that we have identified these principalities of the enemy, fighting them can seem like a daunting task. But luckily, God gives us examples throughout the Bible and a blueprint of what we need to do do defeat Satan and his minions.

Once such example, and it’s a fabulous one, is the book of Esther (which you can read here). Esther’s story at first seems nice enough, with a brave Jewish girl defeating the odds to save her people. But the more you delve into the book, the more you realize: Esther was a spiritual warrior, tried and true, who defeated the enemy and walked in victory to save her people. Here’s the thing: of those 7 principalities I mentioned above, Esther had to battle 6 of them. Six! All at once, too! Here’s the breakdown of what she was up against:

1) Spirit of Witchcraft: witchcraft was a common part of Persian culture in Esther’s time – spells, healers, divination, the works. King Xerxes himself is widely thought to have been a zoroastrian, a religion that used fire and water in its worship. To be fair, zoroastrianism forbade demon worship and consequently witchcraft, but given the use of the elements in its practice, it was a pretty short jump to make and a lot of sects practiced witchcraft anyway. One of King Xerxes’ advisers, Ostanes, was a magi and considered powerful in occult practice.

2) Spirit of Antichrist: In the book of Esther, Haman (favored by the king) makes all bow down to him to show respect. We bow as a form of worship, making this requirement full-blown idolatry. This, we can surmise, is why Mordecai refused to do so.

3) Spirit of Death: In retaliation against Mordecai, Haman’s wife and then Haman himself wanted to impale him. This escalated until Haman convinced the king to issue a decree to wipe out the entire Jewish population of Persia.

4) Spirit of Lying: This one is subtle. Still, we see a general attitude of mistrust and deception occurring in Persia: for starters, Esther did have to hide her identity, for her safety. We see false loyalties among the palace guards and a plot to overthrow King Xerxes. We see Xerxes’ notorious and borderline paranoid rage, and we see Haman overreacting to Mordecai’s slight.

5) Spirit of Mammon: Hamon wanted to not just kill the Jews, but plunder them. Take all their wealth so that no Jew anywhere would be able to recover it and recirculate it within their faith. Conversely, when the Jews retaliated they (for various reasons) refused to plunder.

6) Spirit of Perversion: This one was all over the place in the book of Esther. Queen Vashti was initially deposed due to not wanting to parade herself unveiled in front of a bunch of drunk men – 7 days drunk, to be exact. At a time when men and women were dining separately at separate banquets, the king’s request that she do this was nothing short of degrading. I applaud her for refusing, but ultimately it cost her the throne. Esther was chosen to be the new queen because of her beauty and virginity – a sort of ‘virgin pageant’. During her preparation for this she lived in a harem with the other maidens. After a night with the king they would then return but live in a different part of the harem – a part for concubines. Read between the lines here: the king of Persia, Esther’s eventual husband, had a different virgin every night. Once Esther was chosen, the king was unfaithful as a husband and even held a second ‘virgin pageant.’ So yes, I think it’s safe to say the spirit of perversion was alive and well in Persia during Esther’s time.

Knowing what she was up against, with 6 major principalities swirling around her, let’s look at what happened for her to fight them:

-First of all, Esther’s title of queen gave her no true power. Remember how easily Queen Vashti was deposed in the beginning. Esther was only chosen for the position because of her beauty – which is a superficial trait, but it’s also one that’s god-given – she was created for such a time as this, and if that meant she needed to be made pretty, well, that’s how God made her.

-Second, Esther was a non-practicing Jew. Think about that. She was hiding her identity from her husband – hiding in her own home. So she wasn’t partaking in the festivals, prayers, and was probably not following any of the dietary restrictions that the Jewish people normally follow. In short, she was doing nothing special to earn God’s favor – that just shows how merciful and faithful He is to those who petition in and stand for His will!

-What she did do, when she heard about Haman’s plot to wipe out her entire population, was to pray and fast for 3 days. She called for all the Jews in Persia to do the same thing. Now at first glance, she was fasting to prepare herself for the task at hand. And she was doing that. But if it was a matter of getting her heart right, maybe after a time of being distant from Him due to hiding who she really was, if that was all it was her time of prayer would have been between her and God. But it wasn’t. She called every Jew in Persia to fast and pray. We know that she had 6 principalities to fight. We know that the fate of her people was at stake. And we know that in Mark 9, Jesus heals someone possessed by demons. When His disciples ask why they couldn’t heal him in that, Jesus answered “that kind only comes out by prayer and fasting”. One more time: prayer and fasting casts out demons. It’s a big, big weapon we use. What was Esther doing? Praying and fasting. What were all the Jews in Persia doing? Praying and fasting. This wasn’t just a time of getting Esther’s focus together – this was a battleground. She was clearing the way, casting out these demons and making a way for God’s will to be done. She may have been in hiding up to this point, but He created her for such a time as this, and when push came to shove, she stood with Him strongly to bring His plan – the saving of the Jewish people – to fruition.

-Ultimately, God prevailed – He is stronger than these principalities and always will be! And we see His victory in the way that Xerxes extended favor to her both times that she approached him – even though her entrance to the throne room could have easily meant her death. We see His victory in how Xerxes not only agreed to listen to her but to dine with her, twice. Finally, we see His victory in Xerxes’ issuing a second decree which allowed the Jews to defend themselves and ultimately saved them. Everything Esther did after her time of prayer and fasting was met with favor – there was no more hiding, no more enemies in the way of God’s will. What a powerful God we serve!

My apologies for the super-long post. But it’s an important topic. And an important message: we were created for such a time as this. As this. You might be feeling on top of the world today – God has a destiny, a plan, and a task for you. You might be feeling like you’re under attack at this very moment – God has a destiny, a plan and a task for you. Stand with Him and you will prevail – “for if God is for us, who can be against us?” (Romans 8:31).

I invite you today to be intentional in seeking out Jesus’ plan for you. Join Him in intercession and ushering in His plan. Step onto the battleground with Him. Victory awaits – so claim it!

God bless!

Rebekah A

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Freedom from Harassment

For the past two years I have been dealing with blatant sexual harassment from a co-worker. It started when this man asked me out on a date. He was a pastor of a denomination similar to mine and had always been very friendly with me. Although not well known by the English speakers in my company, he was highly respected among the Hispanic employees (He is Latin American) and I was intrigued by him. I agreed to the date.

We had a nice time and I readily agreed to a second date. I began to wonder if it might be God’s plan for us to partner together for the work of the Kingdom. I wanted him to be the one, but I couldn’t shake this feeling in the pit of my stomach that something just wasn’t right. It was after the fourth date that I found out that he is married! He never wore a ring and had never mentioned a wife so I really had no idea. This was not even a case of him being separated, he is a fully married man! Obviously, that was the end for me.

But it was not the end. Not for him. Not by a long shot.

He refused to accept that I was no longer interested in him. He refused to back down. He would not leave me alone. He would beg me to give him a chance. He would come to my office and tell me the explicit things he fantasized about doing with me. He would tell me that I was in his heart and mind. He would plead with me to have sex with him “just one time. Just one time, por favor.”

Suddenly the man who had always seemed so friendly became aggressive and frightening. It didn’t matter how many times I said no, he wouldn’t stop. He began purposely trying to intimidate me. He would block my exit from my office. He would follow me into the women’s restroom. He would be waiting at my car when I tried to leave for the day. If I wrote all of the things he said and did over the last two years, you would be amazed (and perhaps judgmental) about the fact that I did not do more to stop it. For a while I was paralyzed by it. It was scary to me. I didn’t know how to handle it.

I determined in my heart that I didn’t want to be the reason that this man lost his job. He has a family to support. I kept praying that God would have mercy on him and grant him a heart of repentance. I prayed that he would get a revelation of God that would change his behavior. When things didn’t seem to change I began to pray that God would get this man away from me. I didn’t really care how it happened; I just wanted it to happen. I prayed he would repent and leave me alone. When it seemed he wasn’t going to do that I prayed he would transfer to another location in our company. When that didn’t happen I prayed he would find another job or quit. I just kept praying for God to get him away from me.

It took a while, but eventually I began to see things differently. God helped me to fight the battle spiritually. He helped me to recognize that this man is under the influence of Satan and he needs deliverance. He never changed his behavior, but the effect it had on me changed. I stopped being afraid. I stopped letting it linger in my mind. I just kept giving it to God. Somewhere along the way, the peace of God began to replace the negative thoughts and feelings I had. I began to focus all my prayers on his soul. He is a man who is spiritually in a very dangerous place.

Yesterday I got notice that this man is being laid off. Finally, he will be away from me. I pray that he is able to find another job quickly, but I would be lying if I didn’t tell you that I feel relief. I find it interesting that it wasn’t until I found peace in the situation that the answer to my prayer came. I’m not saying that he is being laid off because of my prayers, but it is an answer to my prayer. I could have had him fired a long time ago, but I didn’t want to be personally responsible for him losing his income.

I have mixed feelings about this. I rejoice in my deliverance, but I grieve for his continued bondage. I pray that he does not become a problem for someone else. May God have mercy on his soul.

Have you ever experienced something like this in your walk with God?

In His Love,
Rebekah L.

Be Afraid and do it Anyway

Overcoming Fear

For the last couple of years I have had recurring dreams of the same person. The dreams themselves are different every time, it’s just that this particular person happens to show up in them from time to time. It is someone I do not know in my waking life and usually when I dream of him, he has an important message to share with me or to help me understand something. I’ve come to refer to him as my “teacher” because that is the role that I most often relate to him in these dreams.

A few weeks ago I had a dream where he came to me and told me that God had a specific task for me to complete and that I was hesitating to do it. As if that wasn’t convicting enough he said, “You move in fear instead of love.” Ouch! I could not refute his claims. How often have we let fear be a motivating factor in how we act (or in what we avoid) rather than love?

I knew exactly what he was referring to. If you’ve read any of the Being Rahab series, you know that I am in contact with a woman who lives on the other side of the globe from me. Recently, she had some questions that she only felt comfortable talking to me about. She suggested doing a video chat. This is a simple solution to the problem of living so far apart and not being able to meet in person. A phone call isn’t ideal because there is a bit of a language barrier between us so we often need the help of facial expressions and hand gestures to communicate. Video was the best alternative. For me however, this was a terrifying request. The thought of being on the internet like that nearly sent me into a full blown panic. Just the thought of doing it, never mind actually going through with it.

This may come as a surprise to many of our readers since you know that I have been putting my posts on the internet for at least two years now. There is a big difference between putting words on a screen and putting your face out there. Where I could be seen. And heard. Even recognized. Or recorded. Especially recorded. You’ve never seen my face on this blog and I don’t even use my real name so making the shift to a video chat was a giant leap for me. Giant. Did I think my friend was planning to record me? No. Or worse, planning to distribute the video out into the world? Of course not. But I am paranoid and I don’t trust technology and frankly the whole idea is horrifying to me.

This paranoia is not completely without justification. I know what it is like to be involuntarily recorded. I know what it feels like to not have any control over that and to not be able to retrieve the recordings. I know the haunting fear that one day those recordings will resurface. I never want to be in that situation again so I have spent years avoiding technology that might take pictures or videos and transmit them somewhere.

But then there’s this woman half a world away. She has questions about the Lord and the church and salvation. She has past issues she needs help working through. She has fears and she needs someone to reassure her that the Lord is her shield and buckler. She needs someone to confirm that Jesus is a healer. And she wants to talk to me. Only to me.

I wanted so much to help her, but I honestly didn’t think I could get over my debilitating fear in order to do it. How could I possibly allow myself to be seen on video? The thought was unbearable.

But then I had a dream. My “teacher” came and told me that I needed to demonstrate my burden. He invited me to demonstrate my love for the Lord and for the souls I cry out for.

He asked me, “Do you love Him enough to leave your fear behind?” I could not answer the question. So he told me that God would be with me and that my calling required a giving up of self and a constant overcoming of fear.

He asked me again, “Do you love Him enough to put your own fear aside?”

Again, I could not answer him.

“Do you love Him?”

I answered with a resounding, “Yes!”

He said, “If you love Him, but cannot put your fear aside, then be afraid and do it anyway.

With that, he walked away and the dream ended. When I woke up, I knew I had to do the video chat. I didn’t know how I was going to do it, but I knew that I could. Despite my fear, I had to move in love. I had to reach out to a woman thousands of miles away in a way that was utterly terrifying to me because it was what she needed. I had to put myself aside. I had to be afraid and do it anyway.

And you know what? I did it. Through the Lord, by the Lord, with the Lord, He helped me do it. It was not easy. It took a lot of prayer. I admit I cried and threw up before the video chat started. But when the switch was flipped and there she was on a screen across from me, Jesus helped me to move in love instead of fear. As far as I know, she had no knowledge of how difficult it was for me. And God accomplished something amazing in that conversation. Two women a world apart and He helped us both overcome that day!

I often think that God has to remove a fear before I can be free to act, but I have learned through this situation that sometimes God moves in the fear. He doesn’t always take the fear away first. You have to be willing to say that your love for Him and your love for souls is more important than the fear you are feeling.

When I feel God leading me to do something that feels scary, I have a new motto: Be afraid and do it anyway.

Dear Readers: May the Lord help you to walk in love instead of fear. May you never shy away from His bidding because of fear. May you overcome by facing that fear and doing the very thing that you are afraid of.

In His Love,

Rebekah L.

By the Word of His Power

“He is the radiance of the glory of God and the exact imprint of His nature, and He upholds the universe by the word of His power. After making purification for sins, He sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high.” ~ Hebrews 1:3

I had a completely different post in mind for tonight, but something happened this evening that I just have to share. You may know from recent posts that God has been putting intercession on my heart lately. Just emphasizing that He wants us to intercede, petitions us for it in fact, and desires us to stand in the gap between His righteousness and the brokenness of the world.

Ever since He’s told me this, I’ve wanted to stand in the gap. I’ve wanted nothing else. You can test me on this – email me with whatever is going on in your life (being.rebekah.a@gmail.com), and I’ll do battle for you. I want to pray all day. By the way: if you’ve emailed me, and I haven’t responded yet (or lately), I’m still praying for you. Don’t think for a second that I’m not. Anyway. When I don’t want to do spiritual battle, I want to worship. I want more of Him and whatever I do isn’t enough. I want more of Him. And more of Him. It’s this intense desire that I just can’t quench. And I’m not trying to. It’s an amazing season where God is having me plant seeds and sow into roots, and it’s so cool to even be along for the ride and watch Him work.

I digress. Tonight I was on the phone with my friend. She was at a woman’s house, with her pregnant Christian friend. The woman was painting the Christian friend’s belly and they were taking pictures. And she texted me saying, “intercede for me right now. I’m at this ‘spiritual’ woman’s house, there are idols everywhere, she has a book of shadows in the corner”. So I started to pray. I prayed for the pregnant friend and the baby first, because I couldn’t get a read on what to pray over the woman just yet. But I switched to her quickly enough, and it was like trying to walk straight ahead with a building in your way. I just kept getting met with a huge resistant force. Like my prayers were being boomeranged back to me.

So I switched to just praising and pressing in to Him, knowing there was something happening but not knowing what, and knowing that He would guide me in what to do next. He didn’t disappoint. He gave me a glimpse of what was going on in this woman’s house in the spirit. Sure enough, there was an actual wall erected to keep Jesus out. I saw it, and it looked pretty solid, and it had certainly succeeded in keeping me out

The only thing I could do was tear it down. With God guiding my every word, I prayed for this woman and I prayed for the destruction of this wall. I claimed authority in the name of Jesus Christ. I called on Jesus to tear this thing down at its foundation. I was shaking – not with fear but with power. I could feel that I was on the winning side. I knew in my core, I knew, watching everything unfold before me I knew without a doubt that whoever was holding up this stronghold would lose his wall. He had to. He had no choice. He simply could not stand up to Jesus. So I was praying in total confidence. And sure enough, an angel had a sledgehammer type thing and started whacking away. I have to give some style points to Jesus here, who was probably just humoring because in my zeal I embellished a little on various ways they could tear down this wall. But I definitely didn’t know angels used sledgehammers as weapons of choice, but it sure worked out well. The wall cracked like it was made of clay, and crumbled. And I instantly felt a peace in my prayers. There was no more barrier. No more resistance to my prayers. Free access for team Jesus. It was a major spiritual shift.

And then I witnessed the most beautiful part of all. Jesus was before her, looking at her with such love. He was drinking her in like a long-lost lover who’d been torn away from Him that He was finally getting to see again. Her heart wasn’t even His yet, and it still isn’t, but He was loving on her anyway. Content to be beside her. Grace abounds in Him.

This progressed to the woman and my friend getting into some deeper conversation about spiritual stuff. I prayed for them the whole time. And I was mentally exhausted after – my brain literally hurt – but it was amazing. I’ve never seen a stronghold fall before. I have interceded, and I have felt spiritual shifts, but to actually get a vision of God’s power manifesting itself was beyond anything I’ve ever seen. Beautiful, beautiful MAJESTY!!!!

Bring on the victory dance. Glory to the King!

God bless!

~Rebekah A

When God Searches

“The people of the land practice extortion and commit robbery; they afflict the poor and needy, and oppress the resident alien without justice. Thus I have searched among them for someone who could build a wall or stand in the breach before me to keep me from destroying the land; but I found no one. Therefore I have poured out my fury upon them; with my fiery wrath I have consumed them; I have brought down their conduct upon their heads.” ~ Ezekiel 22:29-31

I was reading Ezekiel yesterday and this passage really stuck out at me. First of all, look at the list of sins in the first sentence. That sentence could have been written about biblical times, it could have been written a century ago, and it could easily be written about today. Easily. We see such things happening all around us. Then there’s the part that ultimately God has no choice but to pour out His wrath. Ultimately, He is too righteous to let such conduct slide, and His judgement results in action. But notice how that action was a last resort. He didn’t jump straight from observance to wrath; His fury was poured out when He was given no other option.

What was His first choice? Us. The middle sentence says that He searched for someone to step in, to stand in the breach and petition for mercy. God was searching for an intercessor.

That’s such a cool concept to me. God searches for intercessors. Many Christians think that intercession is us petitioning God to move against the forces of evil. That we seek Him hoping He’ll hear and see fit to answer. That it’s us being God’s hands and feet and voice and engaging in spiritual warfare. What so many forget is that God sees the brokenness way before we do. He sees the brokenness, sees the underlying cause of it, sees all possible end results of it. He sees it and wants to fix it, with the love and mercy He has towards us all. We might petition God when we intercede, but He petitions us first. He petitions us by putting the burden on our hearts. And then He waits, hoping, for someone to act on it – to stand in the gap and cry out to Him. To be the voice that opens the door for His mercy. To come before Him with the mustard seed of faith that He is bigger than any situation, so that He can move mountains.

It brings a whole new level to keeping God in our every moment, our every encounter. We never know when we are being asked to stand for someone we’ve just interacted with casually. If our hearts are closed to those we pass, we won’t be able to receive God’s petition.

And so I ask: Has God petitioned you today? Is He petitioning you now? So many people think that spiritual warfare is extreme. It’s radical. It’s intense. It’s something they’d rather not touch. In truth, though, it’s just what God is searching for.

And of course, if you want prayer over some of your petitions or just to say hi, feel free to email me at being.rebekah.a@gmail.com. God bless!

~Rebekah A

Getting Ready

On Januarplaney first of this year I shared with our readers that I would be going to China, Taiwan, and the Philippines through a work opportunity later in the year. That trip is fast approaching! I leave in just over a month. The last couple of weeks have been a jumble of preparation from paperwork to securing a VISA, to booking hotel rooms, setting up communications with host families, and getting vaccinations. It would seem this trip is really going to happen!

In some ways, it is a miracle that I am going at all. I have had a lot of obstacles come in my way over the months since I wrote that initial post. But through each of them, God has made a way for the trip to remain possible. Shortly after I got accepted into the program, I faced an extremely stressful situation at work that nearly caused me to quit. My godsister told me at the time that I was probably going to face a series of tests to try to keep me from being able to go on this trip. Little did either of us know how much that statement would prove to be true! Work has never been more difficult or stressful as it has been since the announcement of this trip. I even faced the possibility of losing my job altogether at one point. But through it all God has remained faithful and He has kept this door open for me. I believe there is a reason for that, but I do not yet know what it is.

To let you all know, I am setting up a separate blog to document my adventures on this trip. It will not necessarily be spiritually focused in the same way this blog is and it also won’t really be a work blog, but will chronicle my time there. I will likely keep the blog private, but if you’re interested in keeping up with me, you can send me an email at beingrebekahl@gmail.com and I will send you an invite.

I am excited to see what the Lord is going to do!

In His Love,
Rebekah L

Related Post: Choosing to Believe

P.S. For those that have prayed for my mother and have asked for updates: First, I’d like to say I appreciate all of your prayers immensely!! She is doing better. The blood clot is gone. Praise the Lord! She still has an internal infection and continues to suffer from intense nausea and shortness of breath so I covet your continued prayers. Thank you for your care and concern.

Resisting the Enemy

Here is a truth: the devil has power.resist devil

Here is a greater truth: the only power the devil has is the limited power that Jesus Christ has allowed him access to.

All power in heaven and earth belongs to Jesus Christ (Matthew 28:18).

As member’s of Christ’s family, He has given us authority over all the power of the enemy (Luke 10:19).

When we submit to God, and resist the devil, the enemy will flee from us (James 4:7).

In His Love,

Rebekah L.