Wednesday, March 28, 2018

Shifting Atmospheres Chapter 6

Chapter 6 – Spiritual Atmospheres

The author’s definition of Spiritual Atmospheres:  Invisible (spiritual) tones or moods hovering over an individual, community, city, or region.

In this chapter we are taught how moods or attitudes (the atmosphere) can be spread between individuals and provide a feedback loop which can grow more powerful, eventually developing into strongholds.  Just as we can be emotionally pulled along while watching a movie, so too can we be affected by the spiritual atmospheres around us.  We can choose to participate “tune in” or reject “tune out” to these broadcasts, whether good or evil.  I have often wondered why it seems that evil can be more pervasive and easily spread than good…  It doesn’t take much to make one’s mood sour but seems to be much harder for it to change to the positive.  Why would this be?  First off, I think many of us are ignorant of the whole dynamics of spiritual atmospheres, how easily we can be affected, what to look for, and how to combat it.  Second, this statement from the book: “The devil works hard to implement his agendas…” shows that we are starting on the defensive without even realizing it.  I don’t doubt that God and his truths are stronger, but it seems God often waits for us to engage in this battle.  If we are ignorant of the spiritual battle we are in, that makes us an easy mark and we can end up partnering with and spreading the ungodly influences around us.

I like how the author also gives us some practical examples of things we can do to shift the atmospheres around us for God’s kingdom.  Prayer gatherings, infusing our communities with godly oversight, teachings, and community outreach.  Not just boycotting the evil, but supporting the good things.

A key chapter quote:  “As we learn to identify the atmospheres and broadcasts pervading our area, we grow in understanding how to defend or adopt them as truth.”

This chapter opened my eyes to several things, the main one being that atmospheres are broadcasts.  The first step is to quit listening to broadcasts that are sending forth lies; but then the next step is to actually seek God's broadcast of truth and join him, amplifying his frequencies.  I recently learned that frequencies that are the same seek each other out and join together, actually agitating the substances they match so much they begin to dance (because every substance has a frequency).  That's how you can break concrete with sound (if you blast the frequency that the concrete is resonating at).  So through obedience to Yahweh (God) we can join in his frequencies and shatter the darkness!

This chapter showed me how simple it actually is to resist negative broadcasts and transmit positive broadcasts instead.  I like the quote: atmospheres are "cyclical partnerings between broadcasts from the spirit realm and man's participation with them."  So atmospheres are like electrical circuits and I am the switch; I can choose to stay off and then the current can't circle back to itself so there's no power.  I invite sinful broadcasting by sin, and heavenly broadcasting by love.

I feel empowered: I don't have to submit to negative vibes!  I can declare love and truth--the Word of God--and quit bothering about what other people are listening to. Because God is more powerful than any negative broadcast; if someone is partnering with (completing) a negative message I can partner with (complete) a living, positive message.  I am excited to learn more about how to know what to counteract a sinful atmosphere with.

Wednesday, March 7, 2018

Shifting Atmospheres Chapter 5

Chapter 5 – Spiritual Authority

Although we may desire or wish for imputed spiritual authority passed on to us from Yeshua (Jesus), my observations and experience seems to indicate otherwise for the most part.  Just like authority is generally not un-earned in the physical and takes time and effort to obtain, so to it seems with the spiritual.

One major point mentioned in this chapter is that we are to stay under the umbrella of protection of being in the Father’s will at all times.  Yeshua is our example and we find in scripture that he only did what he saw and heard the Father doing.  (John 5:19)  We need to maintain a relationship and obedience to be able to know what His will is and to continue in it.  Disobedience reduces our spiritual authority.  It seems authority can be gained and increased as we prove ourselves trustworthy and walk in His will and gain experience in spiritual warfare.  The dynamic connection with the Father and Holy Spirit allows us to respond appropriately and in our jurisdiction to various situations that may arise.

KEY:  Spiritual authority is obtained through humility and acts of surrender. (James 4:6)  Contrast to the world where success is often attributed to talent and ambition.  “In God’s kingdom, however, people advance according to how much they are willing to sacrifice.”

IMPLEMENTATION:  “True humility and surrender comes as an act of love.”  “If you desire to grow in spiritual authority, you must give up everything for God and this must come as an act of love.” (Luke 14:26-28)  “Total acts of surrender lead to trust, which activates faith, which in turn results in God increasing our authority.” “Faith is paramount for wielding spiritual authority.” “When we cultivate faith, we increase our authority by placing full confidence in God.”

We also learn in this chapter that partnering with the enemy in sin causes a loss of authority and gives the enemy legal access to our lives.  To be effective we must recognize these situations and break these ties to the enemy to bring deliverance in our lives and others.

Another important key in this chapter is the concept of strength in numbers.  Group unity and prayer increases power and authority over strongholds of the enemy.  We should also ask God to release his angels over the situation.

I was struck in this chapter by the whole idea that I need to operate in my authority or covering and that sometimes it is not good for me to cast out demons, because I had always assumed that since God didn't want anyone to be bound it was my job to eradicate all darkness I met in people.  But this can seriously expose me!  And I want to stay in God's protection.  I had never realized before that I could step outside of God's protection in my spiritual warfare.  Once again, it's more work than I thought: it's an actual relationship!  Now I will ask Holy Spirit if I should pray for the things I see or feel.  God, what do you want me to pray for?

Yeshua stayed in his assignment unless promptings aligned with Abba's will directed him outside.  And that's why it's important to know my purpose, my assignment, so I can live without having to ask every second, "Is this what I should do, God?"  That would tire me out and I couldn't keep going in life.  "We have boundaries assigned to us by God that we must honor."

I liked the strength of the statement Dawna made: "When we partner with unbelief, we forfeit our God-given right to co-labor with Christ."  Wow.  I have a RIGHT to co-labor with Yeshua!  But that is gone when I choose disbelief over him.

Shifting Atmospheres Chapter 4

Chapter 4 – Weapons of Warfare

Our spiritual arsenal: (to defend or take ground from the enemy)

  • Spiritual armor – needed for protection against attacks of the enemy
  • Discernment – take every thought captive to determine its source
  • God’s Word – equips us with wisdom to outsmart the attacks of the enemy.
  • Worship / praise (of God) – defend against mind / heart attacks.
  • Prophetic declarations – proclaim God’s truths over us / others
  • Prayer (and fasting) – helps us gain God’s perspectives and strategies.
  • Tongues – builds up the spirit, disconnects the mind from trying to solve the problem and prepares us to hear the Lord’s solution.
  • The fruits of the Spirit – helps to carry us past the enemy’s attacks
  • Encouraging one’s self in the Lord (and others) – stay focused on God’s true nature so we can move deeper into our spiritual callings and remove discouragement.

The opening passage in this chapter (2 Cor 10:4) tells us that our spiritual weapons have diving power and are supposed to be used to destroy strongholds.  Not to be stored on a shelf.  A lot of what we do to wage war against the enemy is declaring what we know to be true and making utterance of what God has already done and then receive it.  I must remember that it's important to say the truth out loud because that's half if not more of the battle!  Setting our focus on the truth, that's what it's all about.

Worship is a powerful weapon we should utilize.  “Sometimes worshiping God in the midst of our trials actually creates the breakthrough we are looking for.”  A great example of the effectiveness of worship is found in 2 Chronicles 20.  Putting worship first in our lives helps to confound the enemy’s schemes against us!

Dawna mentions that the gifts of the Spirit should bear the fruits of the Spirit.  Just because something seems to be from the spiritual gifts doesn’t automatically make it from God.  Examine the fruit!

I often find myself praying in tongues when I want to hear from God or pray for someone because it relaxes me and helps me surrender to God.  I really liked how tongues keeps me from solving the problem, and I never should be the one solving a problem regarding spiritual attack.

Declaring and abiding by the Word of God changes not just us, but those around us, and specifically puts the fear of Yahweh (the Lord) in them.  The fear of God leads to so many good things (there are so many promises to those who fear God); it is the beginning to wisdom, so those around us will have insight into who God is!  Dawna said that shifting atmospheres comes when we ingrain the culture with the virtues of Scripture.  The passages in 2 Chronicles 17:7, 9-10 is quoted.  It is interesting to me that the reverence / speaking of God’s word in Judah causes the Fear of the Lord to fall on the neighboring kingdoms.  This is an obvious atmospheric change that effects the spirit realm.  Something we can emulate today!  An example from the book is declaring life into your neighborhood to shift the spiritual atmosphere.

Joy, hope, and peace are fruits of the spirit elaborated on in this chapter.  The joy of the Lord is our strength, believing God’s promises for us produces hope, and seeing our situation from His perspective gives us peace.  I feel like joy and hope go hand in hand.  Hope is the confident expectation of good, as Dawna said, and I feel that joy is the delight we have in the now (present moment) knowing our good future.  So joy is the way I live out my hope.  It was a good reminder to read that anything which does not bring love, joy, peace, patience, etc. is to be discarded from our lives.  So if I am doing something I believe will get me somewhere or help me but I am getting more frustrated as a result, then I should stop doing whatever I am doing because, at least from this moment, it is not coming from Holy Spirit.

I feel the section on peace is crucial to understand and implement in our lives.  Maintaining God’s perspective (peace) and not giving in to fear gives us the clear head needed to properly engage in any situation we may face.  “Peace is not the absence of conflict but the presence of security in God.” God should be our ultimate source of peace. A vantage point of peace is advantages for discerning attacks and hearing God’s strategies.  This peace is a supernatural gift and fruit of the spirit.  We are told to seek peace and pursue it.  (Psalm 34:14)  To do this we mustn’t give in to the spirit of fear.  Complaining also shows a lack of peace.  We are responsible for how we look at and react to every situation.  Seeking peace is seeking to abide in Yeshua (Jesus) because it's through him we receive supernatural peace.  When I read about that I immediately prayed, "God, I receive your peace."  It's not through my own doing that peace is attained.  I can prepare the soil and facilitate ongoing habitation of the gift God gives, but ultimately it's not up to me to get peace, it has to be given and received.