Our Battle Partner


Yesterday we looked at Holy Spirit’s involvement in our lives. Jesus said it was actually advantageous for Him to leave earth, in order that Holy Spirit could be sent to us. Whereas Jesus, in His human body, could be in only one place at a time; Holy Spirit can be everywhere at once, and is IN us, not just with us. I ended the post by saying that the single greatest key to biblically-defined success in any Christian endeavor is allowing the full work of Holy Spirit in and through us. This is most certainly true with prayer.


If we are to become skilled watchmen, we must become increasingly led and instructed by Holy Spirit. He was Christ’s helper, and He must be ours as well. Jesus was filled with, led, empowered, and anointed by Holy Spirit (see Luke 4). Acts 10:38 again says Christ derived His power from Holy Spirit, and our power must flow from the same source - the Holy Spirit (see Acts 1:8).


In a seminary missions class, Herbert Jackson told how, as a new missionary, he was assigned a car that would not start without a push and popping the clutch.


After pondering his problem, he devised a plan. He went to the school near his home, got permission to take some children out of class, and had them push his car. As he made his rounds, he would either park on a hill or leave his car running. He used this procedure for two years.


Ill health forced the Jackson family to leave, and a new missionary came to that station. When Jackson proudly began to explain his arrangement for getting the car started, the new man began looking under the hood. Before the explanation was complete, the new missionary interrupted, “Why Dr. Jackson, I believe the only trouble is this loose cable.” He gave the cable a twist, stepped into the car, pushed the switch, and to Jackson’s astonishment, the engine roared to life.


For two years, needless trouble had become routine. The power was there all the time. Only a loose connection kept Jackson from putting the power to work.


J.B. Phillips paraphrases Ephesians 1:19-20, “How tremendous is the power available to us who believe in God.” When we make firm our connection with Holy Spirit, His life and power flow through us. (1)


There are two references in Scripture to Holy Spirit being our Helper. One is John 16:7: “But I tell you the truth, it is to your advantage that I go away; for if I do not go away, the Helper shall not come to you; but if I go, I will send Him to you.” Here, the word is parakletos, which literally means “called to another’s side to aid, help or support.”(2) While often used to describe a legal advocate or attorney, it is not limited to this but includes any and every means of helping.


I’ve often marveled at Holy Spirit’s humility. He could demand from us, assert His dominance, or force Himself on us. However, He postures Himself as an aide, a helper, waiting for the invitation to be all that He is. And oh, how we waste His availability and offer of help!


One of the areas in which Holy Spirit wants to help us is spiritual warfare. This was another interesting use of the term parakletos. “Greek soldiers went into battle in pairs so that when an enemy attacked, they could draw together, back-to-back, covering each other’s blind side. One’s battle partner was his paraclete.”(3)


Yes, our greatest partner in battle is Holy Spirit! As Samson of old, we become more than conquerors when He is our strength. The same anointing of Holy Spirit that gave Samson physical power gives us spiritual power. Don’t waste it! Acts 1:8 says we receive power (the Amplified Bible says “power and ability”) when Holy Spirit indwells us. He wants to release His power from us into situations to heal, transform, bind demonic powers, dethrone principalities, and more.


The Amplified Bible, Classic Edition, uses no less than seven terms to describe/translate the concept of Holy Spirit as our paraclete: “Comforter, Counselor, Helper, Advocate, Intercessor, Strengthener, Standby.” Incredible! That’s a lot to meditate on. Holy Spirit has been sent to help us in EVERY aspect of our life and ministry. He is the key to success! As watchmen, we must lean heavily on Him.


The second passage that refers to Holy Spirit “helping” us is Romans 8:26: “And in the same way the Spirit also helps our weakness; for we do not know how to pray as we should, but the Spirit Himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words” (emphasis mine). The Greek word is sunantilambanomai. It is a compound word made up of three words. Sun means “together with”; anti, “against”; and lambano, “to take hold of.”(4) Putting them together, a very literal meaning of the word is, “take hold of, together with, against.”


How’s that for help?!


In situations where we’re experiencing difficulty in obtaining results, Holy Spirit wants to take hold of the situation with us, adding His strength to ours. One of the ways in which he takes hold with us is by directing us on how to pray, “for we know not what we should pray for as we ought” (Romans 8:26, KJV).


His strength is made complete in our weaknesses (2 Corinthians 12:9). When we realize our weaknesses and inability to produce results, this causes us to look to Him for help. If we allow Him to pray through us, He will take hold together with us. We must believe that when Holy Spirit takes hold, something is going to move!


Please notice that both the word “helps” and its literal definition “takes hold together with against” imply - not that Holy Spirit is doing it for us - but with us. In other words, this isn’t something Holy Spirit is simply doing in us, with or without our participation. No, we involve Him by praying as He leads, which is actually allowing Him to pray through us. His power is released through the prayers, and mountains are moved.


This reminds me of the mouse and elephant who were best friends. They hung out together all the time, the mouse riding on the elephant’s back. One day they crossed a wooden bridge, causing it to bow, creak, and sway under their combined weight. After they were across, the mouse, impressed with their ability to make such an impact, said to the elephant, “We sure shook that bridge, didn’t we?”


Yes, Holy Spirit is the source of power, the weighty One, but He allows us to participate and share in the victories. In fact, He won’t cross the bridge without us.


Pray with me:


Father, we thank You again for Your Spirit, Holy Spirit, being sent to us as our Helper. Just as Jesus was filled with, led, empowered, and anointed by Holy Spirit, we have been promised the same help. We receive this now by faith. We ask and are trusting You to bring a fresh infilling of Holy Spirit to the Ekklesia, to sharpen our discernment, to mature us in being led more accurately by our Helper. Just as Jesus was anointed by Holy Spirit (Acts 10:38), so we draw near to You and ask for a stronger anointing, in order to more effectively release Christ into the earth.


Prophets have told us through dreams and prophecies that this month of July is significant for Washington, DC. In a dream, You showed angels with battering rams tearing down the protection afforded the spirit of Baal in and around the White House. We lay hold of those words now and decree them into our nation’s capital: “America, Washington, DC, White House, be free from the spirit of Baal! His roots have been destroyed. They will no longer bring forth fruit! Washington DC, receive the significant operation spoken of by the Spirit of God this month of July.”


We trust You, Holy Spirit, as our great Paraclete. We know You are our protector in this battle. You are also the One who takes hold with us against our enemies. Take hold of our nation this month. Take hold of Baal this month. Dislodge him from Washington DC and the White House.


And Father, just as with Israel under Elijah‘s prophetic ministry, we declare that as a nation we will no longer limp between two opinions (1 Kings 18:21). We declare, “The Lord, He is God! Yahweh is God!” (1 Kings 18:39). Now, we ask You for the rain of Holy Spirit to fall upon our land, just as it did in Elijah’s day. Send a deluge of Holy Spirit life to our land. Pour Holy Spirit out on us! We ask for all of this in the holy name of Jesus, amen.


Our decree:


We decree that with Holy Spirit’s help, we are turning America back to God!



Today’s post was taken from my book Watchman Prayer.


[Dutch Sheets, Watchman Prayer (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Publishing Group, 2008), pp.137-141)


Click on the link below to watch the full video.


_____________________________________

  1. Larson, “Power, #511,” 750 Engaging Illustrations for Preachers, Teachers, and Writers, pp 409-410.

  2. Strong, The New Sgtrong’s Exhaustive Concordance of the Bible, s.v. 3875.

  3. Gordon Dalbey, Healing the Masculine Soul (Nashville: Thomas Nelson, 2003), 124-125.

  4. Strong, The New Strong’s Exhauistive Concordance of the Bible, s.v. 4878.



Christ’s Astonishing Statement


“It is better for you that I leave,” Jesus told His followers (see John 16:7). What a seemingly ridiculous, asinine statement! After watching Him raise the dead, heal lepers, walk on water, calm raging storms with His words, deliver the insane, pay taxes with fish-delivered money - the list seems endless - can you imagine the shock of the disciples at such a statement?


Of course, Jesus was forever shocking them with His words and actions. They probably thought, with surprise and astonishment, “There He goes again!” I can almost see the disciples waiting until He looked away and then rolling their eyes at one another.


A short time before, Christ had mentioned going to prepare dwelling places for them in the presence of the Father. “But then again, you know where I’m going,” He stated rather matter of factly (John 4:4, Sheets’ paraphrase).


“We don’t have the slightest idea where you’re going” (Sheets’ paraphrase of John 14:5), Thomas finally had the brass to say. Thank God for Thomas! If he could express his frustration at some of God’s words and ways, so can we. (And occasionally I do!)


Peter also vented his frustration, at times. On one occasion, he had finally heard enough confusing words about Jesus dying and decided He needed a good rebuke (Matthew 16:22-23). Unlike Thomas, Peter did NOT get away with it. “Get behind me, satan,” Jesus said. I suppose the lesson learned is: plead ignorance with God, even disagree, just don’t rebuke Him.


I’m certain that Christ’s declaration in John 16:7 that His leaving would be advantageous for them was more than simply confusing, however. It was one thing for the disciples to see and hear things beyond their comprehension. But when Jesus started talking about leaving them, I’m sure that began pushing a few panic buttons. How could His leaving possibly be advantageous for them? He was God incarnate, Immanuel, for heaven’s sake. The answer lies in two understandings.


The first has to do with a more complete meaning of the word Christ used. The Greek word translated “advantage” is sumphero, which literally means “to bring together. (1) It is translated as such because the bringing together of necessary things or people is advantageous to an endeavor. Christ was saying, in essence, “My leaving will result in a new connection for you, a joining, which will be of tremendous benefit to you, an even greater benefit than My actually being present with you.”


The second fact that made Christ’s statement true was regarding just who he was going to connect them with…the One with whom the new connection would be. Jesus was, of course, speaking of Holy Spirit. “I will bring you together with Holy Spirit. This will be even more advantageous than having Me here with you in the flesh. The bodily limitation of My being in only one place at a time will not exist with Him. And not only will He be with all of you at the same time, He’ll be in you. You will become His body - His hands, feet, and mouth! He’ll touch through you, move through you and speak through you.”


I’m not sure any of us have fully grasped the ramifications of this. But Jesus was absolutely serious when He said, “It’s to your advantage that I leave.” Consider the following facts regarding the greatness of God:


“The God dwelling within you made our solar system. Our galaxy contains hundreds of billions of stars. But the Milky Way is but one of a trillion galaxies in the universe. There are 20 galaxies in our group. The nearest cluster of galaxies, Virgo, is 50 million light years away. (A light year is the distance light travels in a year.) Astronomers estimate the distance across the universe is 40 billion light years, and contains 100 billion trillion stars!” (2)


The Creator of all this dwells in you! What could we be and do with a greater revelation of this fact?


Listen to two leading Christian voices describe the work of Holy Spirit in their lives. Jack Hayford, one of the great church fathers of the last 60-plus years, says:


  • “It is the Spirit who keeps the Word alive, and progressively being “incarnated” in me.

  • It is the Spirit who infuses prayer and praise with passion and begets vital faith for the supernatural.

  • It is the Spirit who teaches and instructs me so that the “mirror” of the Word shines Jesus in and crowds sin out.

  • It is the Spirit who brings gifts and giftedness for power-ministry to my life.

  • It is the Spirit who will bring love, graciousness, and a spirit of unity to my heart; so that I not only love the lost and want to see people brought to Christ, but I love all other Christians and refuse to become an instrument of injury to Christ’s body - the Church.” (3)


So powerful! The late Bill Bright, founder of Campus Crusade for Christ, states this about Holy Spirit:


  • “He guides us (John 16:13), empowers us (Micah 3:8), makes us holy (Romans 8:16), comforts us (John 14:16-26), and gives us joy (Romans 14:17).

  • As our teacher of spiritual truths, Holy Spirit illuminates our minds with insights into the mind of Christ (1 Corinthians 2:12-13) and reveals to us the hidden things of God (Isaiah 40:13-14).

  • As you are filled with Holy Spirit, the Bible becomes alive, prayer becomes vital, your witness becomes effective, and obedience becomes a joy. Then, as a result of your obedience in these areas, your faith grows, and you become more mature in your spiritual life.” (4)


Great stuff! Holy Spirit is all of this and more. The single greatest key to success in any Christian endeavor is allowing the full work of Holy Spirit in and through us. This is true for our personal growth and development, and it is certainly true concerning all ministry, including prayer. In spite of this, He is largely ignored and taken for granted.


Pray with me:


Father, we are in awe of Your incredible plan. From the beginning of creation Your intent was to indwell humans. We were to be more than angels or animals; we were to be Your family members - filled with, led, and empowered by Holy Spirit. Though this was temporarily lost, Jesus restored the plan. May the revelation of this truth come alive in the Ekklesia.


Release revelation of just how incredible it is to be filled with Holy Spirit. Awaken the church to this profound truth, so much so that we are continually reminded to draw on His wisdom, counsel, power and knowledge. He is our advantage! He gives us the upper hand! Teach us to partner with Him - He is all that we need.


And Father, we recall the prophetic words regarding the month of July being significant for our nation. We pray that our words become “battering rams,” used by angels against evil strongholds of Baal in our government, just as You showed Tim Sheets in a dream. We release this to occur, through the authority given to us by our Head, Christ Jesus. We declare that July is a month of breakthrough and that the summer months are months of tremendous Holy Spirit release. We do all of this in the name of Jesus. Amen.


Our decree:


We decree that we will become more aware of our great advantage, Holy Spirit.


Click on the link below to watch the full video.


Today’s post was taken from my book Watchman Prayer.


Dutch Sheets, Watchman Prayer (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Publishing Group, 2008), pp 133-137.

___________________________________

  1. Spiros Zodhiates, Hebrew-Greek Key Study Bible - New American Standard, rev. Ed. (Chattanooga, TN: AMG Publishers, 1990), p. 4851.

  2. Paraphrased from: Craig Brian Larson, Choice Contemporary Stories and Illustratios for Preachers, Teachers, and Writers (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Book House, 1998), p. 54.

  3. Robert Heidler, Experiencing the Spirit (Ventura, CA: Regal Books, 1998), p. 35, citing Bill Bright.

  4. Ibid.

During this strategic season, I feel the need to travel a little more than usual for on-location prayer, significant prayer services, etc. So today, I am using a post recorded for me by my friend, Dr. Greg Hood. I know it will be meaningful for you, and I’ll be back for tomorrow’s post. Here’s Greg:


Wrestling with God

Wrestling was a family tradition for Jacob’s family. His wife, Rachel, in Genesis 30:8, “wrestled” with her sister. He had a son named Naphtali, whose name actually means to wrestle. Jacob was tenacious and worked for 14 years for his two wives. He endured the constant scheming and trickery of his father-in-law, Laban, who changed his wages 10 times over their years together, and he constantly swapped out the good livestock with the poor livestock. Whenever Jacob would get the upper hand, which was frequently because God blessed him, Laban tried another means to rob him. Yet Jacob, through God, always prevailed.

Even though Jacob's name means “deceiver, supplanter, and manipulator,” he was able to take hold of something and hang on to it until he got what he wanted out of it. He even tricked his older brother, Esau, out of his birthright, something that would haunt him later in life.

After years of struggle with Laban, God told Jacob it was time to move on (see Genesis 31:13). Jacob’s new journey began at Bethel. The word Bethel means “house of God.” Jacob’s journey to the place of his birth was to get back to his true identity, and finding out who he was. It was also to erase his past. This would not be an easy journey; there would be many growth opportunities masquerading as challenges.

Scripture says we do not wrestle against flesh and blood (Ephesians 6:12), and this was true of Jacob on this journey. On his way to discover his identity, God spoke to him at Bethel. He heard God but had not yet encountered him. And yet, as we will see, entering the house of God was not enough for Jacob to obtain his identity, destiny, or purpose. It was not enough to qualify him to step into who God called him to be. And it is not enough for us today.

Of course, some people think that everybody is approved by God because “whoever will call on the name of the Lord will be saved” (see Romans 10:13), right? Yes, but that doesn’t always mean what we want it to mean. Scripture also says: “For many are called, but few are chosen” (Matthew 22:14). The Bible is telling us that while some choose to mature and grow up, many others want to be babies and get spoon-fed all their lives.

So yes, Jacob was on a journey through Bethel, the house of God, but there was really no change to him other than increasing his frustration and fear. His father-in-law, Laban, pursued him and Jacob had to make peace with him (see Genesis 31). He also encountered angels (Genesis 32:1). Yet there were bigger things in store for Jacob.

Wrestling With God

The house of God is a good place to find God, but finding him there in a corporate experience is not enough to change your name, find your purpose, encounter your destiny, and pull fear and religion out of your heart. You see, even at this time, Jacob was not sure who his God was going to be or what this God could do.

Genesis 28:20-22 (NASB)

Then Jacob made a vow, saying, “If God will be with me and will keep me on this journey that I take, and will give me food to eat and garments to wear, and I return to my father’s house in safety, then the Lord will be my God. This stone, which I have set up as a pillar, will be God’s house, and of all that You give me, I will surely give a tenth to You.”

Then the Lord will be my God.” Really? I’m sure God was impressed that Jacob might one day give Him permission to be his God. Little did Jacob know, he was about to meet God in a big way. As is typical of life-changing encounters with God, it happened when he was alone.

Let's read Genesis 32:24-30 (NASB),

Then Jacob was left alone, and a man wrestled with him until daybreak. When he saw that he had not prevailed against him, he touched the socket of his thigh; so the socket of Jacob’s thigh was dislocated while he wrestled with him. Then he said, “Let me go, for the dawn is breaking.” But he said, “I will not let you go unless you bless me.” So he said to him, “What is your name?” And he said, “Jacob.” He said, “Your name shall no longer be Jacob, but Israel; for you have striven with God and with men and have prevailed.” Then Jacob asked him and said, “Please tell me your name.” But he said, “Why is it that you ask my name?” And he blessed him there. So Jacob named the place Peniel, for he said, “I have seen God face-to-face, yet my life has been preserved.”

The word “blessed" means many things. For one, it means “that in blessing me, you bless everybody.” It also means “to congratulate.” Think about the exchange between Jacob and God.

Congratulate me.”

Wait a minute. Your thigh is out of the socket. You are not who you were. You were losing the fight.”

Yeah, but I am not letting you go until you congratulate me, and I get what I came for. You must bless me and bring me into a place where I am living as who I am supposed to be because I cannot go on like this any longer.”

So, “congratulate" also involves boasting. Can you imagine wrestling with God, and God says, “Look, I got to go. The sun is coming up. I am going to touch here. BOOM, You’re done.”

But you hang on and say, “I am not letting you go; congratulate me as the winner.” The passage we just read did say that Jacob prevailed.

This is amazing.

“Blessed” also means “to persist in blessing.” Jacob wanted God to speak over him. So he was saying: “I want my blessing. My grandfather had a blessing. My father had a blessing. I must have a blessing.”

Anytime you’re looking for promotion from God, He will first bring you back to your present reality before He promotes you into His reality—the place where His truth and your promotion reside.

God was asking many things of Jacob when He asked: “What is your name?” He was asking Jacob:

What are the defaming marks of your life?

What are the memorials that have been built up in your life?

What are the altars that have been built up in your life?

What are you renowned for?

Jacob had to answer some tough questions from God. Likewise, at key moments of our lives, each of us will have to answer the same questions. This is called qualification. It may not feel like it as we are shaking in our boots and wishing we brought a change of pants, but God has a purpose.

Jacob was caught between his identity, a rock, and who God wanted him to be. I can imagine his response to God’s question: “Who are you?” (Genesis 32:27)

Here’s my redneck paraphrase, “I am Jacob. I am a deceiver. I am a supplanter. I am a conman. I am a dysfunctional guy who stole my inheritance from my older brother, Esau. I deceived my father, wound up with a first wife I don’t love who is giving me more kids than the second wife who, incidentally, I do love. So, I’m spending more time with the first wife, and that is frustrating to the second wife. And just when things couldn’t get any more messed up, I took the maids of both of them and fathered children with each woman. Later, I had to run from my father-in-law, Laban, who had made cheating me an art form, and now I am running from my brother, Esau, who is seeking revenge. I am Jacob.”

Jacob was in a hard place. He had already been to the house of God - Bethel. He had already experienced God on some level, but he was still being pursued. Now, when you get to the house of God and experience God there, and those who want to kill you are still in hot pursuit, you have to get beyond the house of God and find God himself at a level that identifies your purpose. In doing so, you just may discover that it was God who orchestrated these events to bring you to the place where you sought him at a greater level—the level He wanted you to reach in Him all along.

Over the years, I have had to wrestle with God. And I looked over in the corner, but there was nobody to tag. That’s when I realized that this is not a team match. This is a one-on-one championship bout, and God had a better record than I did. But I reached a place where I could tell God: “Congratulate me. I am seeing this thing through.”

What is the lesson from this transformative event in Jacob’s life? It is that we have to hang on. We have to wrestle with God until the sun comes up and declare that we are coming back into our rightful place. So, God: bless me, congratulate me!

Pray with me:


Father, bring us to the place where we discover the Jacob within us. Give us the fortitude to hang on in this wrestling match with You until we are changed into who You have seen us be all along.

Our decree:


We decree that we are stepping past the House of God experience and we are coming into the place where we take hold of God personally, and He takes hold of us!


God Bless you, and go do business with the King today.

Most of the post today was taken from Dr. Hood’s book Rebuilding the Broken Altar, Awaking out of Chaos. You can learn more about Greg and his ministry here.


Click on the link below to watch the full video.