Category Archives: News Updates

News and announcements




What is needed to cast out demons? One word… authority! Who has such authority? God’s children… the believers! How do we exercise our authority? Through a spoken command in faith directed at the unclean spirits. The more faith we have, the more authority we can exercise.

Spiritual authority

Jesus sent us fourth into the world as He was sent fourth (John 20:21), to do the works He did (John 14:12), and He gave us the authority to do the work at hand (Mark 13:34).

What does it take to drive out demons? Authority! As we can see in Mark 1:27, “And they were all amazed, insomuch that they questioned among themselves saying, What thing is this? what new doctrine is this? for with authority commandeth he even the unclean spirits, and they do obey him.” As we can see in Luke 4:35, Jesus was not afraid to exercise His authority either, “And Jesus rebuked him, saying, Hold thy peace, and come out of him. And when the devil had thrown him in the midst, he came out of him, and hurt him not.”

Luke 10:17-19, “And the seventy returned again with joy, saying, Lord, even the devils are subject unto us through thy name. And he said unto them, I beheld Satan as lightning fall from heaven. Behold, I give unto you power (translates to AUTHORITY) to tread on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy: and nothing shall by any means hurt you.”

Does every believer have authority over demons? Yes! We are all seated with Christ in the heavenly realm (Eph 2:6), which means we are above the demons in rank of authority! Mark 13:34 also tells us how we are given authority to carry out the work that is laid before us. Mark 16:17 tells us that them who believe will be casting out demons.

There is a teaching specifically on Your Spiritual Authority that will deepen your understanding even more on this subject.

The importance of “In the name of Jesus”

How did Jesus’ disciples go about casting out demons? Through His name. Luke 10:17 tells us, “And the seventy returned again with joy, saying, Lord, even the devils are subject unto us through thy name.”

How did the early church go about casting out demons? Through His name. Acts 16:18 tells us a story where Paul, “turned and said to the spirit, I command thee in the name of Jesus Christ to come out of her. And he came out the same hour.”

How are the believers today supposed to be casting out demons?Through His name. As we can see in Mark 16:17, “these signs shall follow them that believe; In my name shall they cast out devils.”

Authority is exercised through faith

Matthew 17:19-20, “Then came the disciples to Jesus apart, and said, Why could not we cast him out? And Jesus said unto them, Because of your unbelief…” Obviously they had the authority, but they weren’t able to use it because their level of faith wasn’t high enough to access the level of authority that needed to be exercised to drive out that particular kind of unclean spirit. Some evil spirits are stronger and harder to drive out, and sometimes prayer and fasting is necessary to build our faith up so we can drive them out, as we can see in the next verse (21), “Howbeit this kind goeth not out but by prayer and fasting.”


As believers, we have been given authority in Jesus’ name to drive out demons. We access our authority through faith and exercise our authority with a spoken command directed at the unclean spirit. As Paul clearly demonstrates in Acts 16:18, “Paul, being grieved, turned and said to the spirit, I command thee in the name of Jesus Christ to come out of her. And he came out the same hour.”

How does all this apply to us today? Mark 16:17 tells us, “These signs shall follow them that believe; In my name shall they cast out devils.”




This is an excellent companion to a couple teachings I published entitled, “It’s vital to love yourself” and “The forgiveness of sins“. If you look in the mirror and look yourself in the eyes but you don’t like the person you see, then you need to forgive yourself and learn how to love the person that God has made in you! This is what we call a stronghold, or an incorrect thinking pattern that needs to be torn down in your mind. If you have repented of your sins, and taken them before the Lord, then you are forgiven… and now you need to come to realize the power of that. You need to stop associating your failures with your “new creation” image, for God’s Word says…

2 Corinthians 5:17, “Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.”

Can you honestly look in the mirror and tell yourself, “I love you” and mean it with your heart? I’m not talking about a prideful way, but a humble means of accepting who God has formed in you. We need to love and accept the person that Christ has made in us, and forgive ourselves as Christ has forgiven us!

The importance of forgiving yourself

When you look inside, you hate yourself, you could kick yourself over and over for your past failures and choices. You’ve came to Jesus and repented, but you haven’t really accepted the truth about what Jesus has done for you yet. You still feel ashamed and guilty over your past and you keep holding it against yourself. The way you see yourself is not an accurate picture of what Christ has done for you. It is basically denying the work that Jesus accomplished for you on the cross! If your sins are forgiven, then you need to see yourself as separated from your sins… but no, the enemy will try diligently to remind you of your past and continue to beat you up over sins that were supposed to be nailed to the cross. You are wrapped up in guilt and condemnation my friend… and you NEED to forgive yourself. You can go through deliverance, but if you don’t forgive yourself for the mistakes you’ve made, you won’t experience the breakthrough that you need to be totally set free.

When the recipient of a gift receives it gladly and with joy, the giver is glorified. But when the recipient receives the gift, but ignores it, the giver is mocked, belittled and feels unappreciated. When we fail to forgive ourselves, we are like a child who is given a trip to Disney World for Christmas, yet he keeps complaining that he can’t go… even after his parents have already packed the car and are waiting on him to get in! How would would you feel if you were that child’s parents? Wouldn’t you feel sick inside, knowing that you spend all that money on this trip, the tickets, the hotel reservations, etc., and your son refuses to go because he doesn’t believe that what you gave him was real? Think how your heavenly Father feels when He looks down and sees His children walking around beating themselves up over things that He shed His blood so that they could be forgiven and set free from?

I believe it is clear that failing to forgive ourselves from our past mistakes is denying the work of the cross and the shed Blood of Christ in our live. When God’s Word tells us that we’ve been washed clean with the Blood of Christ, and our sins are removed through the atoning work that Jesus did for us… yet we still “could kick ourselves” for our mistakes, then we are basically saying, “I don’t care what the Blood of Jesus has done, I still hate myself for what I’ve done!” It’s stagging to think such a thing, but that is what really happens when we refuse to forgive ourselves.

If you don’t see yourself as a new creature in Christ, then you have a serious problem. You will be hindered and held back from freely and confidently living out who you really are in Christ! You will be hesitant and feel unworthy to approach your Heavenly Father, because you feel you’re a failure and unworthy… this is why it is vital for your conscience to be cleansed of dead works (your past failures)…

Hebrews 9:14, “How much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without spot to God, purge your conscience from dead works to serve the living God?”

Failing to forgive yourself will put blinders on your spiritual eyesight quickly. It will cause you to see things through the eyes of guilt, shame and condemnation. It will ruin your faith, and cause you to go blind spiritually:

2 Peter 1:9, “But he that lacketh these things is blind, and cannot see afar off, and hath forgotten that he was purged from his old sins.”

In the following verse, we are told to forgive one another, but did you know that the root word for the phrase “one another” actually includes yourself? The Greek root word Heautou refers not only to others, but also to ourselves!

Colossians 3:13, “Forbearing one another, and forgiving one another, if any man have a quarrel against any: even as Christ forgave you, so also do ye.”

Unforgiveness is a known door opener to torment from demonic spirits. Matthew 18:23-35 tells us how the unforgiving person is turned over into the hands of tormenters (that is, tormenting spirits). If we are unforgiving towards ourself, we open that door for tormenting spirits to come against us because we are not really accepting the work that Christ did for us on the cross. Another key to the demonic is bitterness, and when we become bitter with ourselves, we become defiled spiritually:

Hebrews 12:15, “Looking diligently lest any man fail of the grace of God; lest any root of bitterness springing up trouble you, and thereby many be defiled.”

God’s Word tells us that Jesus purged (that is, removed) our sin (Hebrews 1:3, “…when he had by himself purged our sins…”), but if we fail to forgive ourselves, we are in essence, calling God’s Word a liar! We are saying, “I hate myself because I did that sin… I won’t forgive myself of it!” when God’s Word tells us that the sin has been PURGED or REMOVED from us… who are we to say that it is still part of our past? We are in essence, calling God’s Word a LIE!

I can’t tell you how important it is to realize that when the recipient of a gift (you and I) receives a gift (of Jesus’ shed blood for the forgiveness of our sins) with joy and enjoys it to the fullness, the giver of that gift (that is Jesus) is glorified! Failing to forgive ourselves is denying or rejecting the gift of God and brings no glory (actually dishonor and humiliation) to what Jesus did for us.

What Hebrews chapter 10 has to say…

Hebrews 10:1-22, “For the law having a shadow of good things to come, and not the very image of the things, can never with those sacrifices which they offered year by year continually make the comers thereunto perfect. For then would they not have ceased to be offered? because that the worshipers once purged should have had no more conscience of sins. But in those sacrifices there is a remembrance again made of sins every year. For it is not possible that the blood of bulls and of goats should take away sins. Wherefore when he cometh into the world, he saith, Sacrifice and offering thou wouldest not, but a body hast thou prepared me: In burnt offerings and sacrifices for sin thou hast had no pleasure. Then said I, Lo, I come (in the volume of the book it is written of me,) to do thy will, O God. Above when he said, Sacrifice and offering and burnt offerings and offering for sin thou wouldest not, neither hadst pleasure therein; which are offered by the law; Then said he, Lo, I come to do thy will, O God. He taketh away the first, that he may establish the second. By the which will we are sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all. And every priest standeth daily ministering and offering oftentimes the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins: But this man, after he had offered one sacrifice for sins forever, sat down on the right hand of God; From henceforth expecting till his enemies be made his footstool. For by one offering he hath perfected forever them that are sanctified. Whereof the Holy Ghost also is a witness to us: for after that he had said before, This is the covenant that I will make with them after those days, saith the Lord, I will put my laws into their hearts, and in their minds will I write them; And their sins and iniquities will I remember no more. Now where remission of these is, there is no more offering for sin.Having therefore, brethren, boldness to enter into the holiest by the blood of Jesus, By a new and living way, which he hath consecrated for us, through the veil, that is to say, his flesh; And having a high priest over the house of God; Let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience, and our bodies washed with pure water.”

Step #1, be honest with yourself

Realize that down deep inside, you’re not happy with the person of your past. If you are in denial, then forget trying to treat the root of your problem. You need to see the problem before you can apply the solution. It might even be helpful to list all of the things that you hate about your past, and one-by-one, give them to the Lord and release yourself from each failure.

Step #2, you need to realize that your debt has been PAID

The only way that you can beat yourself up, after Jesus has paid your debt, is if you aren’t accepting the gift that He has given you. If He’s paid the debt, and you keep denying that fact, then you are rejecting the very gift that God has given you! You need to accept what Jesus has done for you by faith.

Galatians 2:16, “Knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law, but by the faith of Jesus Christ, even we have believed in Jesus Christ, that we might be justified by the faith of Christ, and not by the works of the law: for by the works of the law shall no flesh be justified.”

The blood of Jesus was shed for the payment of your sins:

Matthew 26:28, “For this is my blood of the new testament, which is shed for many for the remission of sins.”

Because of the powerful work that Christ did for us on the cross, God’s Word tells us to come boldly unto the throne of grace, so that we can obtain mercy:

Hebrews 4:16, “Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.”

The price for your redemption has been paid in full. It’s up to you receive it and realize that the blood of Jesus actually removes the sin from your record. Now you need to see yourself as being forgiven and justified (which means, “just as if you’ve never sinned”).

In Luke 7, Jesus took a very sinful woman (likely a prostitute) and freely washed her clean without hesitation…

Luke 7:47, “Wherefore I say unto thee, Her sins, which are many, are forgiven; for she loved much: but to whom little is forgiven, the same loveth little.”

The above verse is just one example of how freely Jesus would forgive a person of their sins. It is true that if we take our sin to Jesus, He will freely forgive us without hesitation:

Romans 3:24, “Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus:”

There is also no sin that you can take to Jesus, which He will not forgive… for the Bible tells us that He is prepared to cleanse us of ALL unrighteousness if we will turn to Him with our failures!

1 John 1:9, “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”

Step #3, allow the Holy Spirit to heal your soul

You need to let God heal you… as long as you keep holding something against yourself, you are blocking the Holy Spirit’s power from entering and healing that area of your mind and life! You need to open up your heart, and allow the light of Christ to shine into the darkness of your soul.

Step #4, begin to see the “new creature” of Christ within you

You are not seeing yourself as you really are. If you’ve repented of your past, and sought God’s forgiveness, then you are forgiven or justified (which means “just as if I’ve never sinned”). It’s not that you should try to forget what happened (don’t remind yourself of it either though), but the important key is to see your past through the Blood of Jesus. You need to see your past as “paid in full” by the work that Christ did for you on the cross! Seeing things with this perspective changes everything! You need to begin seeing yourself through the blood of Jesus.

One day, when the enemy was trying to beat me up over my past, the Holy Spirit spoke clearly to me and said, “You need to KNOW that you’re clean…your faith depends upon it!”

Some Bible verses to meditate on

I encourage you to repeat these scriptures out loud, for there is indeed power in the spoken confession of God’s truth. Do this on a regular (daily) bases and it will begin to renew your mind according to the truth found in God’s Word.

2 Corinthians 5:17, “Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.”

Say to yourself, “I am a new creation in Christ, old things have passed away and all things become new.”

1 John 1:9, “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”

Say to yourself, “When I confess my sin, He is faithful and just and will forgive me it, regardless what kind of unrighteousness I may have committed.”

Colossians 3:13, “Forbearing one another, and forgiving one another, if any man have a quarrel against any: even as Christ forgave you, so also do ye.”

Say to yourself, “I will love and forgive myself, as Christ has forgiven me.”

Psalms 103:12, “As far as the east is from the west, so far hath he removed our transgressions from us.”

Say to yourself, “My sins are not simply covered, but they are removed from me… taken so far from me, that there is no way that they can be considered a part of me anymore!”

Revelations 1:5, “And from Jesus Christ, who… washed us from our sins in his own blood.”

Say to yourself, “I am washed from my sins by the Blood of Christ Jesus Himself.”

Matthew 26:28, “For this is my blood of the new testament, which is shed for many for the remission of sins.” (The NT Greek tells us that the word ‘remission’ here means, “Forgiveness or pardon, of sins (letting them go as if they had never been committed), remission of the penalty.”)

Say to yourself, “Because the Blood of Christ was shed for me, I am let go as if I have never sinned.”

Romans 5:1, “Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.”

Say to yourself, “I have been justified (made right, as if I have never sinned) by faith and have peace with God through my Lord Jesus Christ.”

Galatians 2:16, “Knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law, but by the faith of Jesus Christ, even we have believed in Jesus Christ, that we might be justified by the faith of Christ, and not by the works of the law: for by the works of the law shall no flesh be justified.”

Say to yourself, “I cannot be justified by works of the law or acts of righteousness, but by my faith in Christ Jesus.”

Romans 3:22, “Even the righteousness of God which is by faith of Jesus Christ unto all and upon all them that believe: for there is no difference.”

Say to yourself, “Because I believe, the righteousness of God is upon me.”

Romans 4:3-8, “For what saith the Scripture? Abraham believed God, and it was counted unto him for righteousness. Now to him that worketh is the reward not reckoned of grace, but of debt. But to him that worketh not, but believeth on him that justifieth the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness. Even as David also describeth the blessedness of the man, unto whom God imputeth righteousness without works, Saying, Blessed are they whose iniquities are forgiven, and whose sins are covered. Blessed is the man to whom the Lord will not impute sin.”

Say to yourself, “The righteousness of God is upon me, not as a result of works of the law, but through faith in Christ Jesus, and the grace of God. I did not earn it, yet He gave it to me, and I receive it by faith in Christ Jesus.”

Galatians 2:20, “I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.” Romans 6:4, “Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life.”

Say to yourself, “The old me has been crucified and my old man has been buried with Christ. Now my life is in Christ as I have been raised to life with Him and I am free to walk in the newness of life.”

Isaiah 43:25, “I, even I, am he that blotteth out thy transgressions for mine own sake, and will not remember thy sins.”

Say to yourself, “My Heavenly Father chose to forget my past sins for HIS sake. When He looks at me, He doesn’t want to see my sin… He wants to see His precious creation which was purchased and justified with the Blood of His Son Jesus Christ.”

Hebrews 9:14, “How much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without spot to God, purge your conscience from dead works to serve the living God?”

Say to yourself, “Because of the Blood of Christ, my conscience can be purged of dead works (your past failures) so that I can serve the Living God.”

Hebrews 10:22, “…draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience, and our bodies washed with pure water.”

Say to yourself, “Not only did God chose to forget my sins, but He also wants me to forget them as well. He wants me to draw near to Him with a true heart, in full assurance of faith, being sprinkled clean from an evil conscience.”

Romans 8:1, “There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.”

Say to yourself, “I am in Christ Jesus, and therefore free from condemnation.”

Closing thoughts

Failing to see yourself as God’s Word sees you is denying the very work that Jesus did for us when He suffered and died on our behalf. Don’t let this continue in your life another day… accept the free gift of God and begin to see yourself as a new creation in Christ Jesus, who’s past failures have been purchased with the precious Blood of Jesus!

If you hate the person that you are, but God’s Word tells us that you are a new creation that’s been washed clean with the Blood of Christ, who “past” has been purchased with the work that Christ did for us on the cross… do you hate that person? Do you hate the new creation that God’s made you? Or are you still a sinner in need of salvation? Are you in Christ or not?

Romans 8:1, “There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.”

Do you want to bring glory and honor to Jesus? Then accept His gift with great joy, and begin to see yourself as that new creation… begin to see your past failures as being “paid in full” by the great sacrifice that Christ made for you. Begin to see you the same way that your Heavenly Father sees you!





The reason Satan tries to deceive us, is to get us to believe something that is simply not true. Believers who are ignorant of God’s Word are more likely to be deceived and if they begin to accept Satan’s lies as truth, the devil will start to build a stronghold in their minds. A stronghold is an incorrect thinking pattern based upon error and lies that a person has received as truth.

For example, many believers are feeling guilty and condemned because of their past. They feel dirty and unworthy to approach their heavenly Father or have a relationship with Him. The devil has setup this stronghold by continually reminding the person how badly they messed up. He keeps reminding them of their sins which should have been long forgotten. What happens? The person begins to see their sins as greater than the blood of Jesus! How Satanic of those demons to paint such a picture in a person’s mind!! If God has chosen to make us new creations, so that our pasts are no longer associated with us, then what are we doing thinking about them?? What is greater… your past sins or the Blood of the precious lamb of God without spot nor blemish?

The devil has convinced many of God’s children to believe in a lie that is making them feel just downright defeated and hopeless! Is that the way a child of the Almighty God should be thinking or feeling? Especially after the very Son of God has shed His blood to remove those sins?? Good grief!

Another common way the devil tries to deceive us is getting us to see God incorrectly. Satan wants God’s people to see their heavenly Father as a cruel dictator that is cold and distant. Why? Because it will keep them from drawing close to Him and having the intimate relationship that God so deeply longs to have with them! Many people fear God so much that they can’t even get near Him! God’s Word is clear that love casts out fear… the two are opposites:

1 John 4:18, “There is no fear in love; but perfect love casteth out fear: because fear hath torment. He that feareth is not made perfect in love.”

It is true that we are to ‘fear’ the Lord, but that’s a different kind of fear. That’s a respectful attitude and reverence for the Lord. A person who properly fears the Lord isn’t going to be out mocking His Holy name, but they will not be afraid of Him either.

As you can see, many believers are deceived and fall into a thinking mode that makes them feel hopeless and condemned… all because they accepted error as truth and allowed a stronghold to form in their minds! The devil has fed them a lie that their heavenly Father is cold, cruel and distant… and because they accepted that lie, their feelings reflect the error.

God’s Word clearly tells us to watch out, because the devil would love to get our minds muddied up concerning our relationship with God through deception:

2 Corinthians 11:3, “But I fear, lest by any means, as the serpent beguiled (deceived) Eve through his subtlety, so your minds should be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ.”

How do we counter this weapon of deception?

First, let me ask you this. What is deception based upon? Error! Lies! Untrue assumptions! How do you counter a lie? With the truth! Where do you find the truth? God’s Word!

The devil says, “God doesn’t love you anymore since you had that adultery!”

God’s Word says, “You are loved for who you are, not for what you’ve done. For even before you accepted Jesus at all, Christ gave His life for you! Just turn back to your heavenly Father, repent of your sins, for He longs to have your relationship with Him restored!”

1 John 2:1, “…if any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous.”

The devil replies, “Yeah well, God may forgive you, but you’re relationship with Him will never be the same!”

God’s Word replies, “God will not only forgive you, but He longs (deeply desires) to be gracious to you! Your heavenly Father wants to restore the precious relationship that you once had with Him!”

Isaiah 30:18, “Therefore the LORD longs to be gracious to you, And therefore He waits on high to have compassion on you…” (NASB)

Isaiah 1:18, “Come now, and let us reason together, saith the LORD: though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool.”

Stop meditating on the deception the devil has been feeding you, and start meditating on God’s Word. You will begin to tear down strongholds and as your mind is renewed by the Word of God, your feelings will reflect those changes.


Love Your Worst Enemies



It’s easy to love our friends, but much harder to love those who hate us.


Jesus said some tough things from time-to-time, but one of the hardest commands he gave his followers is found in Matthew 5:43-44…

You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven.

Of course, it’s easy to say this to other people, but when we’re asked to do it in our own lives, that’s when things get tricky. What about that bully at school? What about that girl that says mean things about you? What about those so-called ‘friends’ who keep talking about you behind your back? Does Jesus say I have to love them too? Yes, he does.

God cares for the evil

If you’re like me, and you find this teaching difficult to implement in your life, then we need to look to two examples given in the Bible. The first one continues on from the same part of the Bible, Matthew 5: 44-45..

Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven. For he makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust.

Do you see what these verses are saying? Even though people are evil and they hate God, he still cares for them! He sends them sunshine and rain, and provides food, shelter and lots of other good things. Do they/we deserve it? Of course not! But that’s what God is like, and that’s what he wants us to be like too. 

Jesus loved us while we were enemies

The other part of the Bible that’s really helpful here is Romans 5:7-8 which says..

For one will scarcely die for a righteous person—though perhaps for a good person one would dare even to die— but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.

The Bible says that when Jesus died for us we were not good people. We were sinners. In fact, verse 10 of this chapter says he died for us “while we were enemies”. So, if this is how Jesus treated us, shouldn’t that be how we treat others too?

How to love your enemies

Here’s a few ways you can show love for those people in your life that you really don’t get along with:

  • Pray for them. Ask God to save them and to give them his Spirit.
  • Ask God to help you forgive them when they hurt you.
  • Don’t provoke other people to anger.
  • Don’t retaliate. We become just like our enemies when we sink to their level. Jesus says we need to be the better person.
  • Ask for help. If you are being bullied or teased and finding it hard, get some help. Often, bullies have lots of troubles of their own & they are acting out because they can’t cope with their own problems. By seeking help from a teacher, parent or other professional, the bully can be spoken to. This could lead to them getting the help they need.
  • Be patient. People do change over time, and if you continue to show a godly attitude, you will earn the respect of others. As time goes by, they may wonder what you have that makes you so calm. It’s a great way to witness to the power of Jesus in your life.


What Does the Bible Say About the Tithe or Tithing?

Old Testament

“Tithe” means a tenth or 10 percent. The Old Testament law required that a tenth of all produce, flocks, and cattle be given to support the Levites (the priestly class in ancient Israel). In turn, the Levites were to give a tenth of that for support of the high priest (Leviticus 27:30-33, Numbers 18:21-28).

An additional tithe, collected every three years, was to be used to meet the needs of the Levites, foreigners, orphans and widows. (Deuteronomy 26:12-13). Additional tithes were taken for festival purposes.

In addition, everyone was to be generous with those in need:

If there is a poor man among your brothers in any of the towns of the land that the LORD your God is giving you, do not be hardhearted or tightfisted toward your poor brother. Rather be openhanded and freely lend him whatever he needs. (NIV, Deuteronomy 15:7-8)

The New Testament does not give any specific rules about tithing, and most aspects of the Old Testament Law do not apply to Christians. (See What Does the Bible Say About the Old Testament Law?)

However, Jesus made it clear that we are obligated to be generous to those in need (Matthew 25:31-46).

Give to the one who asks you, and do not turn away from the one who wants to borrow from you. (NIV, Matthew 5:42)

Giving is to be done cheerfully, rather than as an obligation (2 Corinthians 9:6-7), and not for the purpose of public recognition (Matthew 6:1-4). The amount to give is not necessarily ten percent (Matthew 19:21, Luke 18:22, 21:1-4, Hebrews 13:16, 1 John 3:17). Generous giving is an acknowledgment that everything we have is a gift from God, and is to be used in His service (Luke 12:33, Acts 20:35, 1 Timothy 6:17-19, James 1:17, 1:27, 1 Peter 4:10).

Rather than give a certain amount as an obligation, Christians are urged to share generously of whatever talents, abilities and wealth God has entrusted to them:

New Testament

We have different gifts, according to the grace given us. If a man’s gift is prophesying, let him use it in proportion to his faith. If it is serving, let him serve; if it is teaching, let him teach; if it is encouraging, let him encourage; if it is contributing to the needs of others, let him give generously; if it is leadership, let him govern diligently; if it is showing mercy, let him do it cheerfully. ( NIV, Romans 12:6-8)

There is nothing in the Bible saying we should give a certain amount or a certain percentage to a church.


The tithing rules in the Bible were based specifically on the religious and social system of ancient Israel and on an agricultural economy. Modern day questions about what percentage we should give and whether it should be computed on gross income, net income or wealth are not answered in the Bible. Nor does the Bible tell us how much of our giving should go to a church and how much to help the needy. In today’s world, we must pray and listen to our consciences and consider the needs of ourselves and our families (1 Timothy 5:8) when deciding how much to give and to which organizations or individuals. No one should feel pressured to give a certain amount of money to a church or other ministry.

Also, there is no requirement in the Bible to give “seed money” to a church, preacher or ministry, and no promise that any blessings of any kind will come as a result.

Many Christians struggle with the issue of tithing. In some churches giving is over-emphasized. At the same time, many Christians refuse to submit to the biblical exhortations about making offerings to the Lord. Tithing/giving is intended to be a joy and a blessing. Sadly, that is sometimes not the case in the church today.

Tithing is an Old Testament concept. The tithe was a requirement of the Law in which the Israelites were to give 10 percent of the crops they grew and the livestock they raised to the tabernacle/temple (Leviticus 27:30;Numbers 18:26;Deuteronomy 14:24;2 Chronicles 31:5). In fact, the Old Testament Law required multiple tithes—one for the Levites, one for the use of the temple and the feasts, and one for the poor of the land—which would have pushed the total to around 23.3 percent. Some understand the Old Testament tithe as a method of taxation to provide for the needs of the priests and Levites in the sacrificial system.

The New Testament nowhere commands, or even recommends, that Christians submit to a legalistic tithe system. The New Testament nowhere designates a percentage of income a person should set aside, but only says gifts should be “in keeping with income” (1 Corinthians 16:2). Some in the Christian church have taken the 10 percent figure from the Old Testament tithe and applied it as a “recommended minimum” for Christians in their giving.

The New Testament talks about the importance and benefits of giving. We are to give as we are able. Sometimes that means giving more than 10 percent; sometimes that may mean giving less. It all depends on the ability of the Christian and the needs of the church. Every Christian should diligently pray and seek God’s wisdom in the matter of participating in tithing and/or how much to give (James 1:5). Above all, all tithes and offerings should be given with pure motives and an attitude of worship to God and service to the body of Christ. “Each man should give what he has decided in his heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver” (2 Corinthians 9:7).



Abusive Relationships

There are three major kinds of abuse within a relationship: Physical abuse when someone hits, slaps, beats, burns, kicks, or stabs you. But it also includes arm grabbing, shaking or being pushed. There is sexual abuse, which is any exploitation of your body against your will. And there is emotional abuse, which is wide spread and very misunderstood.

Emotional abuse is when someone threatens or humiliates you. This includes name-calling, putting you down, insulting you, or breaking your things. Control is a huge part of emotional abuse and involves chronic anger, jealousy, accusations, and distrust. The main symptoms that you maybe experiencing emotional abuse include feeling depressed, anxious, and unhappy in your relationship, that you feel isolated and that you’re down on yourself, or even hate yourself, especially when you’re together.

So what does the Bible say about such abuse?

The Bible is completely clear that any form of abuse is unacceptable. God hates the idea of anyone being abused.

The Bible lays out how we are to treat those we love and its all about sacrificial love: a love that yearns for the absolute very best for the person. A love where we put the others needs before our own. The Bible talks of us loving our partners with care and concern and the greatest of respect.

As Colossians 3:19 reads: ‘Husbands, love your wives and do not be harsh with them.’The greek for ‘harsh’ is pikraino which means not being angry or bitter towards the partner, not causing continued pain, intense hostility and expressing hatred towards another. The passage is clear that a partner is not to be hostile or violent. Emotional, sexual and physical abuse is not acceptable behavior for a Christian husband or partner. So what is acceptable?

To truly love your spouse.

So what does the Bible mean when it talks about love? The greek for love in the Colossians passage is agapao, which is to value, esteem, manifest generous concern for, be faithful towards, and to delight in. In other words, to love another is to treat them like they are the most wonderful and amazing person in the world. As 1 Corinthians 13:4-7 states:

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.

A healthy Godly relationship is one where both partners feel protected and safe, where anger is minimal and worked through, and where serving the other is the norm. If a partner’s behavior is envious, unable to admit fault, more interested in themselves and easily angered then that person’s behavior is outside of God’s will and is sinful.

So what does the Bible say if you are trapped in an abusive relationship? The Bible is clear that reconciliation and healing is the preferred path; that the abusing partner confesses their sin and changes their behavior; and the abused partner forgives the perpetrator. But what if the abuse continues and reconciliation and change doesn’t come? Then prayerful thought and consideration should be given to divorce.

The Bible shares that there are two instances where divorce is acceptable: adultery (Matthew 5:32) and with a non-believing spouse. The second is detailed in 1 Corinthians 7:12-16 which states:   

12To the rest I say this (I, not the Lord): If any brother has a wife who is not a believer and she is willing to live with him, he must not divorce her. 13And if a woman has a husband who is not a believer and he is willing to live with her, she must not divorce him. 14For the unbelieving husband has been sanctified through his wife, and the unbelieving wife has been sanctified through her believing husband. Otherwise your children would be unclean, but as it is, they are holy. 15But if the unbeliever leaves, let him do so. A believing man or woman is not bound in such circumstances; God has called us to live in peace. 16How do you know, wife, whether you will save your husband? Or, how do you know, husband, whether you will save your wife?

The greek word for ‘unbelieving’ is apistos which literally means being unfaithful, false, and treacherous. In the case of abuse the partner is indeed being unfaithful to the calling and expectations of marriage (that of offering sacrificial love as shared above), and is being treacherous in how they treat their partner. So an abusing partner is in effect ‘unbelieving’, which is grounds for divorce within the Bible.

But the passage suggests that separation only happens when the unbeliever leaves (verse 15). How then does this apply? Well when a partner abuses the other, they are in effect leaving the bounds of expectation of a Godly marriage. And for many people who are abused, they will often share how alone they feel, even though they live in the same house as their partner. The person who is abusing in effect leaves the marriage agreement while remaining within the relationship. So the Bible is clear: sustained abuse is grounds for divorce.

So the first step should be counseling and a genuine attempt at reconciliation and healing – this is God’s preference. But if the person who is abusing refuses to change then there are Biblical grounds for leaving the marriage.

God charges us in 1 Corinthians 6:19-20 to care for our bodies: our emotions, our mind and our physical self. Our safety and the safety of our children is our responsibility. It notes:

Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your body.

We honor God with how we treat our body, so if your body, your emotions, mind and physical self are being damaged, we honor God by finding a safe place to be.


God never chose for us to be abused by our spouse. He said we were to give up our lives for the gospel’s sake, not for someone’s sickness. Allowing yourself to be abused continually is just saying that you really don’t love yourself enough to get away from it. If God loves us enough to let His precious Son die for us, then we are very valuable. I must love myself. When you stay you are also abusing yourself and all that God created you to be.

So what can you do right now if you are being abused? Approach your pastor, your doctor or a trusted friend. The key is not to go it alone but to find support people. One of the realities of someone being abused is that they often feel isolated and alone; the person abusing will do all they can to keep the abuse secret. So share it with people you trust. Please don’t keep it to yourself, in doing so you are aiding the abuse.

Healthy relationships involve respect, trust, and consideration for the other person. Sadly, some relationships can turn bad. In fact, 1 in 11 high school students report being physically hurt by a date.

People in these relationships sometimes mistake the abuse for intense feelings of caring or concern. It can even seem flattering. Think of a friend whose boyfriend or girlfriend is very jealous: Maybe it seems like your friend’s partner really cares. But actually, excessive jealousy and controlling behavior are not signs of affection at all.

Love involves respect and trust; it doesn’t mean constantly worrying about the possible end of the relationship. If you feel nervous or insecure about your relationship, it’s important to talk it through with your boyfriend or girlfriend, not try to control their behavior.

What Is Abuse?

Abuse can be physical, emotional, or sexual. Physical abuse means any form of violence such as hitting, punching, pulling hair, and kicking. Abuse can occur in both dating relationships and friendships.

Emotional abuse (stuff like teasing, bullying, and humiliating others) can be difficult to recognize because it doesn’t leave any visible scars. Threats, intimidation, putdowns, and betrayal are all harmful forms of emotional abuse that can really hurt — not just during the time it’s happening, but long after too.

Sexual abuse can happen to anyone, guy or girl. It’s never right to be forced into any type of sexual experience that you don’t want.

The first step in getting out of an abusive relationship is to realize that you have the right to be treated with respect and not be physically or emotionally harmed by another person.

What is the full armor of God?

The armor of God is described inEphesians 6:10-18. In this passage we are told that our primary battles are of a spiritual nature and that we need spiritual armor to be able to stand firm in the midst of these battles. The armor includes the following pieces: 

Belt of truth: The belt of truth is the first item in our arsenal. A belt holds the other pieces of clothing and armor together. It secures the outfit and allows a soldier to move freely. Truth both secures us and gives us freedom (John 8:32). One of Satan’s greatest offensive tactics is to deceive us; he is the “father of lies” (John 8:44). With the belt of truth around our waists, we are prepared to defend against this. This truth also applies to the way we live our lives. When we live with honesty and integrity, the other pieces of our armor – what could be considered our spiritual selves – stay intact. A life of integrity is not easily torn asunder.

Breastplate of righteousness: The breastplate of righteousness covers our hearts and other vital organs. In a sense, the breastplate covers the most vulnerable areas of a warrior.Proverbs 4:23says, “Keep your heart with all vigilance, for from it flow the springs of life.” The righteousness that guards a believer’s heart is the righteousness of Christ (2 Corinthians 5:21).

Footwear of the readiness of the gospel: Our feet are to be “fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace” (Ephesians 6:15 NIV). Because we know the good news of Christ and by that knowledge experience peace in Him (John 14:27), our feet are willing to move. In obedience to Christ, we will flee temptations (1 Corinthians 10:14;1 Timothy 6:11;2 Timothy 2:22) and walk into whatever He has called us to (Psalm 86:11;Isaiah 30:21;John 15:10).

Shield of faith: The shield of faith is used to “extinguish all the flaming darts of the evil one” (Ephesians 6:16). When Satan attacks us, our faith in Christ lessens the blow. We are able to withstand the attack because we know whom we have believed (2 Timothy 1:12).

Helmet of salvation: A helmet protects the brain, basically our minds. It is because of salvation that our minds can be sound. We are assured of our eternities, and made righteous recipients of peace, practitioners of faith, and knowers of truth. Our minds are protected because of Jesus’ work on the cross; we have been given the mind of Christ (1 Corinthians 2:12-16). A helmet can also serve as a signifier. When the enemy looks at us, he sees that we belong to Christ. We carry with us the seal of the Holy Spirit (Ephesians 1:13-14).

Sword of the Spirit: The sword of the Spirit is the Word of God. This includes God’s written Word (the Bible), God’s incarnate Word (Jesus as Logos), and God’s spoken Word (the Holy Spirit within us). The sword is the one offensive weapon in the list. We are told, “For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart” (Hebrews 4:12).Second Timothy 3:16 (NIV)speaks of Scripture as being “God-breathed.” When God spoke creation came into existence. He breathed life into man. There is power in the Word of God; this is why it is our best offense.

The phrase “full armor of God” comes fromEphesians 6:13-17: “Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.”

Ephesians 6:12clearly indicates that the conflict with Satan is spiritual, and therefore no tangible weapons can be effectively employed against him and his minions. We are not given a list of specific tactics Satan will use. However, the passage is quite clear that when we follow all the instructions faithfully, we will be able to stand, and we will have victory regardless of Satan’s strategy.

The first element of our armor is truth (verse 14). This is easy to understand, since Satan is said to be the “father of lies” (John 8:44). Deception is high on the list of things God considers to be an abomination. A “lying tongue” is one of the things He describes as “detestable to Him” (Proverbs 6:16-17). We are therefore exhorted to put on truth for our own sanctification and deliverance, as well as for the benefit of those to whom we witness.

Also in verse 14, we are told to put on the breastplate of righteousness. A breastplate shielded a warrior’s vital organs from blows that would otherwise be fatal. This righteousness is not works of righteousness done by men. Rather, this is the righteousness of Christ, imputed by God and received by faith, which guards our hearts against the accusations and charges of Satan and secures our innermost being from his attacks.

Verse 15 speaks of the preparation of the feet for spiritual conflict. In warfare, sometimes an enemy places dangerous obstacles in the path of advancing soldiers. The idea of the preparation of the gospel of peace as footwear suggests what we need to advance into Satan’s territory, aware that there will be traps, with the message of grace so essential to winning souls to Christ. Satan has many obstacles placed in the path to halt the propagation of the gospel.

The shield of faith spoken of in verse 16 makes Satan’s sowing of doubt about the faithfulness of God and His Word ineffective. Our faith—of which Christ is “the author and perfecter” (Hebrews 12:2)— is like a golden shield, precious, solid, and substantial.

The helmet of salvation in verse 17 is protection for the head, keeping viable a critical part of the body. We could say that our way of thinking needs preservation. The head is the seat of the mind, which, when it has laid hold of the sure gospel hope of eternal life, will not receive false doctrine or give way to Satan’s temptations. The unsaved person has no hope of warding off the blows of false doctrine because he is without the helmet of salvation and his mind is incapable of discerning between spiritual truth and spiritual deception.

Verse 17 interprets itself as to the meaning of the sword of the Spirit—it is the Word of God. While all the other pieces of spiritual armor are defensive in nature, the sword of the Spirit is the only offensive weapon in the armor of God. It speaks of the holiness and power of the Word of God. A greater spiritual weapon is not conceivable. In Jesus’ temptations in the desert, the Word of God was always His overpowering response to Satan. What a blessing that the same Word is available to us!

In verse 18, we are told to pray in the Spirit (that is, with the mind of Christ, with His heart and His priorities) in addition to wearing the full armor of God. We cannot neglect prayer, as it is the means by which we draw spiritual strength from God. Without prayer, without reliance upon God, our efforts at spiritual warfare are empty and futile. The full armor of God—truth, righteousness, the gospel, faith, salvation, the Word of God, and prayer—are the tools God has given us, through which we can be spiritually victorious, overcoming Satan’s attacks and temptations.


What does the Bible say about spiritual warfare?

There are two primary errors when it comes to spiritual warfare—over-emphasis and under-emphasis. Some blame every sin, every conflict, and every problem on demons that need to be cast out. Others completely ignore the spiritual realm and the fact that the Bible tells us our battle is against spiritual powers. The key to successful spiritual warfare is finding the biblical balance. Jesus sometimes cast demons out of people and sometimes healed people with no mention of the demonic. The apostle Paul instructs Christians to wage war against the sin in themselves (Romans 6) and to wage war against the evil one (Ephesians 6:10-18).

Ephesians 6:10-12declares, “Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.” This text teaches some crucial truths: we can only be strong in the Lord’s power, it is God’s armor that protects us, and our battle is against spiritual forces of evil in the world.

A powerful example of someone strong in the Lord’s power is Michael, the archangel, inJude 9. Michael, likely the most powerful of all of God’s angels, did not rebuke Satan in his own power, but said, “The Lord rebuke you!”Revelation 12:7-8records that in the end times Michael will defeat Satan. Still, when it came to his conflict with Satan, Michael rebuked Satan in God’s name and authority, not his own. It is only through our relationship with Jesus Christ that Christians have any authority over Satan and his demons. It is only in His Name that our rebuke has any power.

Ephesians 6:13-18gives a description of the spiritual armor God gives us. We are to stand firm with the belt of truth, the breastplate of righteousness, the gospel of peace, the shield of faith, the helmet of salvation, the sword of the Spirit, and by praying in the Spirit. What do these pieces of spiritual armor represent in spiritual warfare? We are to speak the truth against Satan’s lies. We are to rest in the fact that we are declared righteous because of Christ’s sacrifice for us. We are to proclaim the gospel no matter how much resistance we receive. We are not to waver in our faith, no matter how strongly we are attacked. Our ultimate defense is the assurance we have of our salvation, an assurance that no spiritual force can take away. Our offensive weapon is the Word of God, not our own opinions and feelings. We are to follow Jesus’ example in recognizing that some spiritual victories are only possible through prayer.

Jesus is our ultimate example for spiritual warfare. Observe how Jesus handled direct attacks from Satan when He was tempted by him in the wilderness (Matthew 4:1-11). Each temptation was answered the same way—with the words “It is written.” Jesus knew the Word of the living God is the most powerful weapon against the temptations of the devil. If Jesus Himself used the Word to counter the devil, do we dare to use anything less?

The ultimate example of how not to engage in spiritual warfare is the seven sons of Sceva. “Some Jews who went around driving out evil spirits tried to invoke the name of the Lord Jesus over those who were demon-possessed. They would say, ‘In the name of Jesus, whom Paul preaches, I command you to come out.’ Seven sons of Sceva, a Jewish chief priest, were doing this. One day the evil spirit answered them, ‘Jesus I know, and I know about Paul, but who are you?’ Then the man who had the evil spirit jumped on them and overpowered them all. He gave them such a beating that they ran out of the house naked and bleeding” (Acts 19:13-16). The seven sons of Sceva were using Jesus’ name. That is not enough. The seven sons of Sceva did not have a relationship with Jesus; therefore, their words were void of any power or authority. The seven sons of Sceva were relying on a methodology. They were not relying on Jesus as their Lord and Savior, and they were not employing the Word of God in their spiritual warfare. As a result, they received a humiliating beating. May we learn from their bad example and conduct spiritual warfare as the Bible instructs.

In summary, what are the keys to success in spiritual warfare? First, we rely on God’s power, not our own. Second, we rebuke in Jesus’ Name, not our own. Third, we protect ourselves with the full armor of God. Fourth, we wage warfare with the sword of the Spirit—the Word of God. Finally, we remember that while we wage spiritual warfare against Satan and his demons, not every sin or problem is a demon that needs to be rebuked.

There are two primary issues to address regarding spiritual warfare and the Bible. First, does spiritual warfare exist? Second, what does the Bible say about engaging in spiritual warfare?

The Bible is very clear on the existence of spiritual warfare. Peter warns “Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour” (1 Peter 5:8). Our adversary or enemy, the devil, refers to Satan, who is a real entity, not a mythical creature or invention. Other titles of Satan include the tempter (1 Thessalonians 3:5), the wicked one (Matthew 13:19,38), and the accuser of the brethren (Revelation 12:10).

Three of Satan’s titles indicate his authority in this world: the ruler of this world (John 12:31), the god of this age (2 Corinthians 4:4), and the prince of the power of the air (Ephesians 2:2). Satan also transforms himself into “an angel of light,” a description that highlights his capacity and inclination to deceive (2 Corinthians 11:14).

Spiritual warfare, the idea that humans battle in some way with supernatural powers, is also the testimony of the apostle Paul inEphesians 6:10-18. Here, Paul notes that believers battle against the devil’s schemes and that this is a spiritual battle, not a physical one. We are to be fully aware of Satan’s evil plans (2 Corinthians 2:11). Paul further describes the warfare in which we are engaged as we battle throughout our lives “against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places” (Ephesians 6:12). Clearly, such powers exist.

The second question—what does the Bible say about engaging in spiritual warfare?— is somewhat more controversial. The problem typically arises when we either over emphasize spiritual warfare by seeing every occurrence in life as part of it or under emphasizing it by ignoring the spiritual realm altogether.

Several biblical texts inform our understanding of this issue. First, Christians must remember we are already conquerors (Romans 8:37) and that Satan has already been defeated (Colossians 2:15;2 Peter 3:22). Second, the power of Christ within the believer is greater than the power of Satan (1 John 4:4). We have no reason to live in fear of Satan or evil spirits as believers. Satan can harm, but he cannot defeat the believer in Christ.

Third, we must not forget that Satan can be allowed to attack believers (2 Corinthians 12:7-9;James 1:2-4) in order to fulfill God’s perfect plan for His people. This was the case of Paul’s thorn in the flesh and was also seen in the example of Job’s life (Job 1–3). Satan’s power over us is limited, however, to only that which God ordains for His purposes—to bring His children to maturity and bring glory to Himself.

Fourth, Satan’s primary strategy is to blind us to God’s plan for our lives (2 Corinthians 4:3-4). Rather than a supernatural battle between angels and demons that is often portrayed in modern culture, the general tactic used by Satan is to turn our eyes away from God’s truth and toward self. However, we cannot blame every temptation on Satan, since the Bible also teaches that we are tempted and enticed by our own evil desires (James 1:13-15).

Fifth, the method to defeat Satan is to resist him and stay near to God.James 4:7-8instructs, “Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you.” A close walk with God is the best protection against Satan’s activities.

Sixth, Paul exhorts us to arm ourselves for the spiritual battle which is part of the Christian life by putting on the “whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil” (Ephesians 6:11). This armor includes truth, righteousness, the gospel, faith, salvation, the Word of God, and prayer. These weapons will enable us to “be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might” (Ephesians 6:10-18).

Ultimately, spiritual warfare is not about a technique to defeat Satan or demons, but a heart that walks closely with God. When God is first and foremost in our lives, Satan lacks power over us, despite his attempts to weaken our efforts to pursue Christ.

As a final warning, it is important that we do not take our God-given power over Satan as an opportunity to display arrogance. InActs 19:13-16, we find the account of Jewish leaders who attempted to use God’s power to overcome evil for their own benefit and received a harsh punishment for doing so. This stern warning should reveal our need to depend on a humble and personal walk with Christ to overcome evil rather than an external display to feed human pride.

In summary, spiritual warfare is a very real part of the Christian life, but should not be an opportunity for either fear or pride. Instead, the reality of Satan and his evil forces should cause us to draw near to God all the more, realizing His power can conquer any foe we may encounter.

“What does the Bible say about torture?”

Torturecan be defined as “the infliction of intense pain to punish, to coerce, or to derive sadistic pleasure.” Of course, sadism is never appropriate or just, but what about punishment or coercion? Is there ever a time when inflicting pain is justified in order to punish wrongdoing or to obtain a confession? What does the Bible say?

The Bible acknowledges the existence of torture. In a parable, Jesus spoke of a servant who was “turned . . . over to the jailers to be tortured” (Matthew 18:34). Such an allusion seems to indicate that the use of torture was common in the prisons of the day. The Bible also records the stories of many victims of torture: Jesus, Paul and Silas (Acts 16), the prophet Jeremiah (Jeremiah 20:2;38:6), and other unnamed saints (Hebrews 11:35). In every case, we see that the godly are the victims of torture, never the perpetrators of torture.

As individuals, we are not to seek revenge. Vengeance belongs only to the Lord (Psalm 94:1;Romans 12:19). Also, as individuals we have no authority to punish society’s wrongdoers or to extract confessions from them. Therefore, as individuals, we can have no license to torture; inflicting intense pain on others is wrong. God alone is able to mete out punishment with perfect justice, and it is His prerogative to make His punishment painful. Demons are aware of a future time of “torture” for themselves (Matthew 8:29). Hell is a place of “torment” and intense agony (Matthew 13:42;Luke 16:23-24). During the Tribulation, torment will be part of the plagues upon evildoers (Revelation 9:5;11:10). In any of His judgments, God is holy and perfectly fair (Psalm 119:137).

Now we’ll consider the use of torture in relation to governmental policy. We know that God has appointed civil governments and charged them with maintaining justice in this world (Romans 13:1-5). “For [the ruler] is God’s servant to do you good . . . an agent of wrath to bring punishment on the wrongdoer” (verse 4). Elsewhere, God calls judges and magistrates “gods”; that is, their authority to provide justice comes from God Himself (Psalm 82:1-4). If they fail in their duty, they will themselves be judged by the Lord, the Judge of all (verses 7-8).

So government bears the responsibility to protect the good and punish the evil. What methods may it employ in carrying out that responsibility? Beyond the endorsement of capital punishment (Romans 13:4;Genesis 9:6), the Bible does not say. The Bible neither condemns nor condones a government’s use of torture.

Many questions can and should be asked: What specific techniques should be considered “torture”? Where do we draw the line? Is the infliction of any kind of pain inherently wrong? What if there are no permanent physical effects? Is sleep deprivation torture? What about a forced change in diet? Should yelling at a prisoner be considered psychological torture?

May a government, in order to protect its law-abiding citizens, engage in “highly coercive interrogation” (the use of strongly persuasive techniques to obtain tactical information)? What if these techniques do not inflict physical pain?

What if the goal of torture is to prevent further tragedy? What if a prisoner is withholding information that could save the life of an innocent person? What if a hundred lives could be saved? A thousand lives? Should that prisoner be threatened with physical pain until he reveals the information? What, then, if his information is wrong? And what about unlawful enemy combatants who are, legally, not prisoners of war and therefore do not fall under the rules of the Geneva Convention?

These are all questions not addressed in the Bible and that are beyond the scope of this article, but they highlight the need for us to pray “for kings and all those in authority” (1 Timothy 2:2). May our policy makers have the wisdom to distinguish good from evil and to provide true justice.

The Bible really doesn’t say a whole lot about torture. While the Assyrians were masters of cruelty and torture, the Bible hardly mentions that. The only passage that really mentions torture is Hebrews 11:32-40, and there only to show that those who have had the opportunity to follow the Christ have a greater hope than those who went before.


And what shall I more say? for the time would fail me to tell of Gedeon, and of Barak, and of Samson, and of Jephthae; of David also, and Samuel, and of the prophets: Who through faith subdued kingdoms, wrought righteousness, obtained promises, stopped the mouths of lions, Quenched the violence of fire, escaped the edge of the sword, out of weakness were made strong, waxed valiant in fight, turned to flight the armies of the aliens. Women received their dead raised to life again: and others were tortured, not accepting deliverance; that they might obtain a better resurrection: And others had trial of cruel mockings and scourgings, yea, moreover of bonds and imprisonment: They were stoned, they were sawn asunder, were tempted, were slain with the sword: they wandered about in sheepskins and goatskins; being destitute, afflicted, tormented; (Of whom the world was not worthy:) they wandered in deserts, and in mountains, and in dens and caves of the earth. And these all, having obtained a good report through faith, received not the promise: God having provided some better thing for us, that they without us should not be made perfect.


“What is eros love?”

Unlike English, in which the word “love” means many different things, the Greek uses three words to describe the range of meaning that our word “love” conveys. The first word iseros, from which we get the English word ‘erotic.’Erosis the word used to express sexual love or the feelings of arousal that are shared between people who are physically attracted to one another. By New Testament times, this word had become so debased by the culture that it is not used even once in the entire New Testament.

The second Greek word for love isphileo, which forms part of the words ‘philosophy’ (“love of wisdom”) andorphilanthropy(“love of fellow man”). This word speaks more of the warm affection shared between family or friends. Whereaserosis more closely associated with the libido,phileocan be more associated with the emotions, or the heart (metaphorically speaking). We feel love for our friends and family, obviously not in theerossense, but a love that motivates us to want to treat them kindly and help them succeed. However,phileois not felt between people who are at enmity with one another. We can feelphileolove toward friends and family, but not toward people whom we dislike or hate.

Different from both of these is the third Greek word for love,agapao, typically defined as the “self-sacrificing love.” It is the love that moves people into action and looks out for the well-being of others, no matter the personal cost. Biblically speaking,agapaois the love God showed to His people in sending His Son, Jesus, to die for their sins. It is the love that focuses on the will, not the emotions or libido. This is the love that Jesus commands His disciples to show toward their enemies (Luke 6:35).Erosandphileoare not expressed to people who hate us and wish us ill;agapaois. InRomans 5:8, Paul tells us that God’s love for His people was made manifest in that “while we were still sinners [i.e., enemies], Christ died for us.”

So, moving from the base to the pure, we haveeros,phileo, andagapao. This is not to denigrateerosas sinful or impure. Sexual love is not inherently unclean or evil. Rather, it is the gift of God to married couples to express their love for one another, strengthen the bond between them, and ensure the survival of the human race. The Bible devotes one whole book to the blessings of erotic, or sexual, love—Song of Solomon. The love between a husband and a wife should be, among other things, an erotic love. However, a long-term relationship based solely on erotic love is doomed to failure. The ‘thrill’ of sexual love wears off quickly unless there areis somephileoandagapaoto go along with it.

Conversely, while there is nothing inherently sinful with erotic love, it is in this sphere of love that our sinful nature is made most manifest because it primarily centers on the self, whereasphileoandagapaofocus on others. Consider what the Aapostle Paul tells the Colossian church: “Put to death therefore what is earthly in you: sexual immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry” (Colossians 3:5). The Greek word for “sexual immorality” is the same word from which we get ‘pornography’ (Gk.porneia), which essentially covers the gamut of sexual sin (adultery, fornication, homosexuality, bestiality, etc.).

When shared between husband and wife, erotic love can be a wonderful thing, but because of our fallen sin nature,erostoo often becomesporneia. When this happens, human beings tend to go to extremes, becoming either ascetics or hedonists. The ascetic is the person who completely eschews sexual love because its association with sexual immorality makes it appear evil and therefore must be avoided. The hedonist is the person who sees sexual love without restraint as perfectly natural. As usual, the biblical view is seen in the balance between these two sinful extremes. Within the bonds of heterosexual marriage, God celebrates the beauty of sexual love: “Let my lover come into his garden and taste its choice fruits. I have come into my garden, my sister, my bride; I have gathered my myrrh with my spice. I have eaten my honeycomb and my honey; I have drunk my wine and my milk. Eat, O friends, and drink; drink your fill, O lovers” (Song of Solomon 4:16–5:1). But outside of biblical marriage,erosbecomes distorted and sinful.

Read more: