What To Do When I am Under Spiritual Attack ?

The key to the battle plan is found in Ephesians 6:10-18. Paul begins by saying that we must be strong in the Lord and in His power, not in our own power which is no match for the devil and his forces. Paul then exhorts us to put on the armor of God, which is the only way to take a stand against spiritual attacks. In our own strength and power, we have no chance of defeating the “spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms” (v. 12). Only the “full armor of God” will equip us to withstand spiritual attack. 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.


The first thing to do when we believe we may be under a spiritual attack is to determine, as best we can, whether what we are experiencing is truly a spiritual attack from demonic forces or simply the effects of living in a sin-cursed world. Some people blame every sin, every conflict, and every problem on demons they believe need to be cast out. 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). But whether we are truly under spiritual attack from demonic forces or just battling the evil in ourselves and that which inhabits the world, the battle plan is the same.

Ephesians 6:13-18 gives a description of the spiritual armor God gives us, and the good news is that these things are readily available to all who belong to Christ. We are to stand firm with the belt of truth, buckle on the breastplate of righteousness, wear on our feet the gospel of peace, hold up the shield of faith, wear the helmet of salvation, and wield the sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God—the only offensive weapon in the whole armory. The rest are defensive. 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 fiercely 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. Finally, we are to follow Jesus’ example in recognizing that some spiritual victories are only possible through prayer.

Jesus is our ultimate example when it comes to warding off spiritual attacks. 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” and a quote from the Scriptures. 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, a Jewish priest, who went around driving out evil spirits by trying to invoke the name of the Lord Jesus over those who were demon-possessed. 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, but because they did not have a relationship with Jesus, their words were void of any power or authority. 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.

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What Does It Mean To Be Persecuted But Not Forsaken (2 Corinthians 4:9)?

Paul defends his apostleship for the sake of the Corinthians so they can be encouraged and built up in the certainty of the gospel (2 Corinthians 12:19). In his letter Paul recounts some of the difficulties and persecution he and other apostles were facing. In this context he notes that they were “persecuted, but not forsaken” (2 Corinthians 4:9, ESV).

Paul was thankful to be proclaiming a message of grace and freedom rather than law and bondage (2 Corinthians 3), and, because of the importance of that ministry, he and the other Apostles would not lose

heart. Rather, they would be bold in their proclamation of the truth (2 Corinthians 4:1–2). They had clear consciences as they fulfilled the ministry of proclaiming that truth to everyone, even though there were many who were blinded and would not accept that message (2 Corinthians 4:3–4). They were not proclaiming this message in their own power or by their own wisdom; they were proclaiming Jesus Christ (2 Corinthians 4:5–6). They readily recognized their own weakness and limitation—they were merely Earthen Vessels for a heavenly message of grace (2 Corinthians 4:7)—and the power of the message was not of themselves. Consequently, the Corinthians could have confidence in the apostles’ message because it was true and originated from God.

The apostles were not the source of the power; they were simply ministers of it. Paul underscores their

own limitations and weakness when he explains that they are afflicted in every way, but not crushed (2 Corinthians 4:8a)—they had hardship, but that hardship could not defeat them because they were standing in the truth. They were perplexed, but not in despair. They struggled with perhaps even a degree of anxiety but would not fall into depression because of the certainty of their hope (2 Corinthians 4:8b). They were persecuted but not forsaken (2 Corinthians 4:9a)—though many had rejected their message and even did so violently at times, Paul knew they were not alone. God had not left them, no matter how severe the rejection by some. They had even been literally struck down, but they were not destroyed (2 Corinthians 4:9b). No matter the difficulty they faced, the apostles recognized it was nothing as severe as Christ had encountered, and they were simply fulfilling what He had commissioned them to do (2 Corinthians 4:10–11). Even in their weakness and the difficulties they faced, they kept in mind the reason for their ministry: that people could receive Christ by faith and have life (2 Corinthians 4:12).

Everything Paul and the other apostles faced, they did so for the sake of those who would receive their message (2 Corinthians 4:15). So, even in difficult and painful situations, they would not lose heart (2 Corinthians 4:16). They were not focused on the temporal difficulties; instead, they set their minds on the eternal value of the ministry God had given them (2 Corinthians 4:16–18).

In some ways, we also may face persecution and difficulty, but, if we are suffering for that which has eternal value, then we are not forsaken. God never deserts or forsakes those who are His (John 10:27–31; Hebrews 13:5). We can focus on Him—like the apostles did—and not lose heart (see Hebrews 12:1–3).

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What Are The Different Types Of Fasting



Usually, Fasting is the abstaining from food for a certain period of time. There are different types of

fasting in the Bible, however, and not all of them involve food. Many people in the Bible fasted, including Moses, David, and Daniel in the Old Testament and Anna, Paul, and Jesus Christ in the New Testament.

Many important figures in Christian history attested to fasting’s value, as do many Christians today.

Biblical fasting is often closely linked to repentance, as in the examples of David, the nation of Israel, and the city of Nineveh. Fasting is also related to passionate prayer, as in the examples of King Jehosphaphat and Queen Esther. Biblical fasting comes from a humble heart seeking God (Isaiah 58:3–7). John MacArthur comments on Isaiah 58: “The people complained when God did not recognize their religious actions, but God responded that their fastings had been only half-hearted. Hypocritical fasting resulted in contention, quarreling, and pretense, excluding the possibility of genuine prayer to God. Fasting consisted of more than just an outward ritual and a mock repentance, it involved penitence over sin and consequent humility, disconnecting from sin and oppression of others, feeding the hungry, and acting humanely toward those in need.”

The regular fast is done by abstaining from all food, both solid and liquid, except for water. This is the type of fasting Judah’s King Jehoshaphat called for when his country was confronted with invasion (2 Chronicles 20:3). The Lord defeated their enemies, and the men of Judah blessed the Lord (2 Chronicles

20:24–27). After the Babylonian Captivity, the people returning to Jerusalem prayed and fasted, asking God for His protection on their journey (Ezra 8:21). The Lord Jesus fasted during His forty days in the wilderness being tempted by Satan (Luke 4:2). When Jesus was hungry, Satan tempted Him to turn the stones into bread, to which Jesus replied, “Man shall not live by bread alone” (Luke 4:4).

Another type of biblical fasting is The Partial Fast. The Prophet Daniel spent three weeks fasting from certain foods. In Daniel 10, the prophet says, “I, Daniel, mourned for three weeks. I ate no choice food; no meat or wine touched my lips; and I used no lotions at all until the three weeks were over” (Daniel 10:2–3). Note that Daniel’s fast to express his grief on this occasion only omitted “choice” food, and it also involved relinquishing the use of oils and “lotions” for refreshment. Today, many Christians follow this example and abstain from certain foods or activities for a short time, looking to the Lord for their comfort

and strength.

Also mentioned in the Bible is The Absolute Fast, or the full fast, where no food or water is consumed. When Esther discovered the plan for all the Jews to be killed in Persia, she and her fellow Jews fasted from food and water for three days before she entered the king’s courts to ask for his mercy (Esther 4:16). Another example of an absolute fast is found in the story of Saul Conversion. The murderous Saul

encountered Jesus in His glory on the road to Damascus. “For three days he was blind, and did not eat or drink anything” (Acts 9:9). Immediately following that time of blindness and fasting, Saul dedicated his life to preaching Jesus Christ.

In the cases of Esther and Saul, the absolute fast only lasted three days. However, Moses and Elijah took part in miraculous, forty-day absolute fasts. When Moses met God on the mountaintop to receive the tablets of stone, he ate no bread and drank no water (Deuteronomy 9:9). And, after Elijah defeated the prophets of Baal on Mt. Carmel, infuriating Queen Jezebel, Elijah fled for his life and spent forty days of fasting in the wilderness (1 Kings 19).

The Bible also mentions A Sexual Fast, although not by that name. In Exodus 19:15, the people of Israel

were to prepare for their encounter with the Lord at Mt. Sinai, and part of their preparation was to abstain from sexual relations for three days. And in 1 Corinthians 7:5 Paul says that a married couple can mutually agree to abstain from sex for a short period of time in order to devote themselves to prayer. But then they are to “come together again so that Satan will not tempt you because of your lack of self-control.”

The purpose of fasting is not to get God to respond as a genie in a bottle to grant our every wish. Fasting, whether it is regular, partial, absolute, or sexual, is a seeking after God’s heart, all other blessings and benefits being secondary to God Himself. This is what sets apart biblical fasting from other religious and cultural practices around the world.

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How Can A Loving God Send Someone To Hell?

In order to address the question of a loving God sending someone to hell, we need to define a few terms and correct a few wrong assumptions. Our definitions must be biblical, and our assumptions must be correct.

We must first define the term loving God. This phrase assumes some things about God, and answering the question at hand according to flawed assumptions leads to wrong conclusions. Our culture defines a “loving God” as a completely non-confrontational being who tolerates anything we want to do. But that is not a biblical definition. First John 4:16 says that God is love. That means that He does not possess love as we do; He is the very definition of love and therefore cannot do anything that is unloving. The law of non-contradiction states that something cannot be both true and untrue at the same time. So, if God IS love, then He cannot be at the same time unloving.

So the first fallacy present in the question “how can a loving God send someone to hell?” is the idea that allowing people to go to hell is an unloving act on God’s part. If we humans decide that God is somehow wrong to allow unrepentant sinners to pay their deserved penalty, then we have declared that we are more loving than God is. We have set ourselves up as God’s judge and jury and in doing so have closed the door to deeper understanding. Therefore, the first step in answering this question is to agree with Scripture that God IS love; therefore, everything He does is an expression of that perfect love.

The second fallacy presented by the question “how can a loving God send someone to hell?” concerns the word send, which denotes an action only on the part of the sender. If a man sends a letter, sends a request, or sends a gift, all action was done by that man. No action was taken on the part of the letter, request, or gift. However, this understanding of the word send cannot be applied to the question at hand because God has given human beings freedom to participate in their life choices and eternal destinations (John 3:16–18). The way this question is worded implies that, if anyone goes to hell, it is the result of God’s unilateral action, and the person being sent to hell is a passive victim. Such an idea completely disregards the personal responsibility God has entrusted to each of us.

“How can a loving God send someone to hell?” The entire question is wrong. A better wording is “If God is love, then why do some people go to hell?” Romans 1:18–20 lays the foundation for the answer: “The wrath of God is being revealed from heaven against all the godlessness and wickedness of people, who suppress the truth by their wickedness, since what may be known about God is plain to them, because God has made it plain to them. For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that people are without excuse” (emphasis added).

There are several key points in this passage that give us glimpses into the heart of God. First is the fact that people actively “suppress the truth.” People have been given enough truth to know and surrender to God, but they refuse it. Self-will wants to deny God’s right to tell us what to do. So, with the truth in front of them, many people turn away and refuse to see it. Atheist Thomas Nagel has said, “It isn’t just that I don’t believe in God and, naturally, hope that I’m right in my belief. It’s that I hope there is no God! I don’t want there to be a God; I don’t want the universe to be like that.”

Second, Romans 1 states that God has “made [God’s nature] plain to them.” In other words, God has taken the initiative to make His truth known to everyone. History has proved this since time began, as every people group has sought some understanding of a Creator to whom they owe allegiance. Such knowledge is an integral part of what it means to be created in the image of God (Genesis 1:27). Romans 1:20 then says that “people are without excuse.” And to whom would they give such an excuse? The very One who says He has made Himself known to them, if they would only humble themselves and accept such revelations. God judges each of us according to the truth He has given us, and Romans 1 states that we each have enough truth to turn toward rather than away from Him.

When answering the question “how can a loving God send someone to hell?” another facet of God’s nature comes into play. God is not only love, but He is perfect justice as well. Justice requires adequate payment for crimes committed. The only just punishment for high treason against our perfect Creator is eternal separation from Him. That separation means the absence of goodness, light, relationship, and joy, which are all facets of God’s nature. To excuse our sin would require God to be less than just, and to allow sin-tainted humans into His perfect heaven would render that place less than perfect. That’s why only the perfect Son of God could go to the cross in our place. Only His perfect blood was an acceptable payment for the debt we each owe God (Colossians 2:14). When we refuse Jesus as our substitute, we must pay the price ourselves (Romans 6:23).

God gave us the freedom to choose how we respond to Him. If He forced us to love Him, we would be robots. To give us no option but obedience would be a violation of our free will. Love is only love when it is voluntary. We cannot love God unless we have the option of not loving Him. Because God honors our autonomy, He will never force surrender or loyalty. However, there are consequences for either choice. C. S. Lewis summarizes this truth in his classic work, The Great Divorce: “There are only two kinds of people in the end: those who say to God, ‘Thy will be done,’ and those to whom God says, in the end, ‘Thy will be done.’ All that are in Hell, choose it.”

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Beware Of Saul’s Armor

 

 Apostle Turner

Beware of Saul’s Armor!

I was reading Vance Havner’s message called “Growing Goliaths and Developing Davids” and it caused me to think about the story of David. Havner’s main point is instead of engineering a program or discussing the means to defeat the giant, we need people in the church who will simply do it in faith. If we only plan, we will never do: as followers of Christ we are to follow His plan.

Goliath had been taunting the Israelite’s for forty days, and at his harsh language and saul armorimposing frame the Israelite’s literally ran from him. David, a youthful shepherd boy, heard Goliath and within a day he had killed the giant, decapitated him, and Israel had been granted a stunning victory by God. Stunning that is, to everyone but God and David. David knew that the battle was the Lord’s, and that he would prevail over the enemies of the LORD. God had protected David from lions and bears, and He would protect him from Goliath.

An interesting part of the story is when King Saul heard of David saying that he would face the giant in battle and summoned David to appear before him. The first thing Saul said to David in 1 Samuel 17:33 was: “You are not able to go against this Philistine to fight with him; for you are a youth, and he a man of war from his youth.” Saul looked at David and said, “No way! You are young, untrained, and without experience.” In other words, our problems make your God small – He is not able to use someone like you! The enemy will use this same argument against us to keep us from allowing God to have victory through our hands. David explained that God had protected him as a shepherd, and God would deliver him in this fight too.

Saul finally gaputing armor does not fitve David his blessing to fight, and fit him with his own armor. He put a brass helmet on his head, a coat of mail, and his own sword. Saul and Jonathan were the only men in the whole kingdom of Israel that had swords at this juncture(1 Sam. 13:22). 1 Samuel 17:39 says, “David fastened his sword to his armor and tried to walk, for he had not tested them. And David said to Saul, “I cannot walk with these, for I have not tested them.” So David took them off.” We do not know the exact motivation that moved Saul to put his armor on David. Perhaps he thought, “You might be a shepherd boy, but at least you can Lung cancerlook the part of a warrior.” Maybe he thought that it was the least he could do for the lad, giving him the most modern protection and weaponry in Israel. But David was so encumbered by the armor that he could not even walk! Because he had not “tested” them (or “proved” them KJV), he removed this armor.

There are some people who would convince you it is fine and good for you to trust God, but to take the next step of faith you must do something in addition to faith in God to ensure victory. Saul had fought in battles and his armor had served him well. He wouldn’t go into battle without it and figured David shouldn’t either. Yet David wouldn’t wear the armor into battle because he himself had not proven it. It was foreign to his experience. God had never needed the assistance of sword and armor before to give him victory: was He hindered as if He needed them? Had God’s ability to save been reduced by the size of David’s opponent? No. If the battle is the LORD’s, the victory is the LORD’s.  King Saul ended up dying years later in a battle at his own hand and sword wearing his Armour, and it was hung as a trophy in an idol’s temple (1 Sam. 31:10).

Never allow someone else’s lack of faith dictate your decisions. We serve a God who is able to accomplish what concerns us in every aspect. Saul’s armor can take many forms and can be forced upon us by people who mean well. They have always relied on their armor: their experience, training, education, natural talents, degrees, cultural study, money, contacts, organizations, their way of doing things and on! Because they have attributed victory to their armor, God has not received the glory. They are happy to say, “Go and God be with you, but you’ll need this…” when God has said otherwise.

Was David unwise to fight the giant with sling and stone? The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom. It would have been foolish to fight in any way that deviated from God’s plan. When God tells us to wait for the sounds of marching the mulberry trees and david sling shotthen go out, we wait, listen, and then march forth (11 chronicles 14:14-15)! If our God goes before us to smite our enemies, should we huddle in fear because we don’t have state of the art weapons? Who can stand before our God? If God tells us to hold a trumpet in our right hands and a lamp in our left covered with an earthen pitcher, should we fear? We are to put on the spiritual armor of God (Eph. 6) that we may stand in the spiritual battle we face and prevail. It is God who said, “…Not by might, nor by power, but by my Spirit, saith the Lord of Hosts.” (Zech. 4:6)

Never trnever trade your faithade faith for Saul’s armor. Let me close with a passage from Vance Havner: “When our Lord fed the multitude, there was first a problem of bread: “Whence shall we buy bread, that these may eat?” (John 6:5). Then there was a proposed budget; Philip suggested that two hundred pennyworth of bread would not be enough. Finally there was the provision of a boy: “There is a lad here…” (ver. 9). Our Lord did not need a budget; He needed a boy. I will venture that the Israelites facing the Philistines wore out a lot of pencils figuring a budget. But God did not put Goliath out of business with a budget; He used a boy.” (Why Not Just Be Christians, pg. 70) God hasn’t changed. Faith in the Living God still fells giants and moves mountains. Why not go with what got us here?

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Smoking Has A Demonic Connection

 

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Smoking Has A Demonic Connection

++Apostle Ernest O Turner

Smoking has demonic connections, which is why it is so hard to stop on your own. Next time you are watching TV or a movie, and someone LIGHTS UP, you want to light up too. That is mind control, a demon to cast OUT, in the name of Jesus.

So I’m a Christian and I smoke, so what’s so wrong with that?

Imagine for a moment, The Lord Jesus stopping in at your house to visit with you personally. You have him sit in your most comfortable chair. In the course of your sharing together you offer him a cigarette. What do you think his response would be?

To consider the Lord’s response we will take liberty with scripture passages found in Colossians 3:23 and 1 Corinthians 10:31 in light of the smoking questions: “When you smoke, smoke heartily as unto the Lord.” “Whenever you smoke, smoke to the glory of God.”Image

Probably, on the merit of only these two scripture passages you will agree cigarette smoking is not compatible with the Christian experience. Let’s examine further to see what the Spirit of God reveals about tobacco and smoking.

We are responsible to God for the care of our body. When a person truly receives Jesus Christ as Savior, the Holy Spirit of God enters the human spirit making a new creature. 1 Corinthians 6:19 states that the body of the believer is a Temple, a tabernacle or dwelling, abiding place of the very Holy Spirit of God. Our willing covenant or contract with God to receive eternal life through Jesus Christ puts us in a place of responsibility. As genuine Christians we are held responsible by God, for the care and use of our physical body. 1 Corinthians 6:19 states: “What? Know you not that your body is the Temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which you have of God, and you are not your own?”

We can further see in 1 Corinthians 3:17, when we behave or perform irresponsibly and defile our body we open ourselves to our physical destruction.

“If any man defile the temple of God, him shall God destroy; for the temple of God is holy, which temple you are.”

Beyond question, it is established medically and scientifically, smoking adversely affects virtually every organic system of the human body and bodily function. The smoker opens the door to the spirit of self-destruction and commits “slow-suicide”. The heart and blood are affected. The eyes and nasal passages are inflamed and burned. The respiratory system easily falls prey to emphysema and asthma. Tobacco, nicotine and smoking attack and break down immune systems so cancers can develop unrestricted. Common to smokers are lung cancer, throat cancer and lip cancer.

The “narcotic” property in the tobacco and nicotine attacks the nervous system of the smoker and works its breakdown process, see-sawing the smokers nerves between periods of Hypertension and Depression. Mental awareness, alertness and function come under a dulling, slowing effect. This hinders our mental ability in everyday activity and restricts or cuts off our mental fellowship with the Holy Spirit speaking to our mind from our spirit. A person who has the smoking habit, in honesty, must label themselves an “addict”.

Smoking harms others. For the Christian it is to be especially noted that the smoker “forces” all these above mentioned plagues, diseases and problems on other “innocent” people in the smokers presence. Co-workers, family and especially children are victims of the smoke from the smoker and cigarettes. Christians are definitely not to be “stumbling blocks” to others. Think how God views it when a believer, by smoking, causes others, especially children, to have to endure burning eyes, clogged nasal passages, undue colds, flu, nervous disorders and hindrances to mind function! Even asthma and cancers! Yes, Christian smoker – You are guilty of these! Others are offended by smoking believers yet most endure the offense silently. The children and infants tormented by tobacco smoke have no choice but to endure silently. II Corinthians 6:3 is a command to followers of Christ to “give no offense in anything, that the ministry be not blamed”. A most serious, sobering warning from the Lord Jesus himself concerning our offending others, especially children (smoking Christian parents take special note), is written in Matthew 18: 6, 7, “But who so shall offend one of these little ones which believe in me, it were better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and that he were drowned in the depths of the sea. Woe unto the world because of offenses! For it must needs be that offenses come; but woe to that man by whom the offense cometh!”

The Smoking Believer’s Question of Stewardship

We have seen above that the smoker buys misery, destruction ” death when cigarettes are purchased. Most Christians desire to be seen of the Lord as “good stewards”. How much financial resource is “going up in smoke” from believer-smokers? What would Jesus say about this waste of funds that otherwise could go to evangelism, missionary work or the needy? Should a smoking believer even pray for God’s financial blessings? Most probably the smoking believer causes a curse to come upon his or her finances.Image

The Smoking Believer’s Question of Example

It has been well said: “you are the only Christian someone knows” or what would another person read in “The Gospel According to You”? Again, responsibility demands of the Christian we walk holy and unblamable in our behavior. Can there be any argument, smoking can in no way serve as a good example to a young Christian?

How easy a matter it is for satan to convince young boys and girls and teens it is certainly o.k. to smoke “modern” dope if parents and adults, especially Christian adults smoke “old fashioned” tobacco.

Smoking has Spiritual Effects

God is Spirit and sees things spiritually. Believers are called to be spiritually minded even though in the physical world. We note in Ephesians 6:12 our enemies are evil spirit beings in the spirit realm. We are each of us as a believer called and commanded to do personal battle against the demons and overcome them in our lives.

Satan and the unclean spirits (demons) know they have spiritual “legal right or ground” to successfully attack and harm (steal, kill, destroy) the smoking believer! Spiritually speaking (the way God sees it) cigarette smoking is “burning incense to other (demon) gods”. II Kings 22:17, II Kings 23:5; II Chronicles 28:25, 34:24, 34:25; Jeremiah 1:16, 7:9, 11:12, 19:4; Chapter 44, 48:35.

Burning tobacco originated with ancient aboriginals. The modern world learned of the use of tobacco from the Indians. ImageHistory reveals Columbus found the Indians smoking and watched with surprise and wonderment. The Grand Pipe or Pipe of Peace was first observed among the Indians of Upper Mississippi country by the French. They called these pipes “calumets”. According to the Indians the pipe possessed a supernatural power and a “charming” effect to compel the partakers of the smoke to a brotherly bond of peace (obviously not the peace of the Lord Jesus Christ).

Historically the calumet was considered a sacred pipe to offer smoke to the demon gods above and below. Tobacco was looked upon as a sacred plant and burning it brought favor in the eyes of the gods (demons). Even a member of an enemy tribe who entered a house and smoked with the host, was guaranteed protection and safe conduct when he left.

Several Indian tribes burned incense for a purifying medium or an acceptable offering to the unseen. Some eastern tribes did not smoke a pipe in a sacred ceremony but burned tobacco in a small fire. This smoke offering was believed to ascend to the power to whom they prayed.

As the use of tobacco as an offering to gods continued, it was rolled in corn husks, the predecessors of modern cigars and cigarettes. Inhaling the smoke was incorporated into the rituals and both the smoke and the aroma continued to have a serious place in the religious rituals and ceremonies.

History reference books also state the tobacco pipe was used by American Indians in ceremonies to ratify treaties. Also, some Indians smoked the tobacco pipes to their sun-god and blew the smoke to him. Indians related many sources of illnesses to “witches who flew through the air disguised as owls to poison their victims”. The protective practice against these witches was to cut their limbs and cleanse themselves of bad blood; and the use of “the old man’s tobacco” was to avert spirits of the dead.

These are processes of witchcraft prohibited by God.

The DELIVERANCE of Jesus Christ Brings Freedom

To receive complete freedom from tobacco bondage, the believer must see his “habit” or being “hooked” as a spiritually rooted problem.Image

The scriptural DELIVERANCE process of applying the power and authority given by Jesus Christ to the believer (Luke 10:19) must be implemented. It is wise for the needy believer to search out fellow believer DELIVERANCE prayer warriors at a fellowship where biblical DELIVERANCE is actively administered to the saints. Acknowledging tobacco, cigarettes and smoking as sin is prerequisite.

Confession of the sin according to I John 1:9, along with breaking associated curses, places the believer on proper ground for the unclean spirits to be cast out. Often, for DELIVERANCE to be complete, repeated sessions of prayer are necessary, but with perseverance, victory is assured!

FOR DELIVERANCE: Confess and repent and ask God’s forgiveness for burning incense to other gods. Go back at least ten generations on both sides of the bloodline and break the curse of burning incense to other gods. Also break the curse of self-destruction. Then command the demons to go in Jesus Name.

DEMONS TO CAST OUT: spirit of self-destruction, slow-suicide, heart and blood diseases, demons in the eyes, nasal passages, respiratory system, emphysema and asthma, tobacco, nicotine, break down of immune system, cancer, lung cancer, throat cancer and lip cancer, addiction to nicotine, rebellion, destroying the temple of God, undue colds, flu, nervous disorders and hindrances to mind function, asthma, Hypertension, Depression, dull mental awareness, alertness and function, sting of death, mind control, etc.

Loyalty To Your Leaders

                        Loyalty To Your Leaders                      

Apostle Turner                                        Apostle E.O.Turner

 

Loyalty is not the absence of disloyalty. It is a positive trait, not the absence of a negative one. In other words, a person is not necessarily loyal because he is not disloyal. There is some ground between loyalty and disloyalty. Perhaps we could say there is loyalty, ah-loyalty and disloyalty. Disloyalty criticizes, ah-loyalty is silent, but loyalty defends! Both loyalty and disloyalty are vocal. Ah-loyalty is silent. Loyalty never allows one word of criticism about the leader. It is complete defense and support. It not only never says, “Did you hear about … ?” but also it does not listen to, “Did you hear about … ?” It does not participate in criticism with the tongue or the ear. It does not give itself to satisfaction of criticizing nor does it give a sympathetic ear which gives others the satisfaction of criticizing.

Everyone cannot be talented; everyone can be loyal. Loyalty is one trait that is attainable by all. Disloyalty is the one trait that is not excusable! It is the unpardonable sin! It is the most detestable and deplorable trait that a follower can have. It has caused heartbreak to many leaders. It has caused heartbreak to more followers. It has ruined the reputation of many leaders. It has ruined the character of many followers. To those who possess disloyalty, it has become a terminal cancer and professional suicide.

Loyalty is the complete support and defense of a leader. There are several reasons why it should be given.

1. Respect for the work. A few days ago I received a call from a pastor whose church operates a grade school and a high school. This pastor told me a sad story about his principal becoming disloyal. He had gone from class to class announcing his resignation and giving the reasons why he was leaving.

Many years ago this pastor bought some property and began a church. He cleared off the property with his own hands and with blood, sweat and toil. Over many years he had seen the church, under his leadership, grow to a membership of several thousand, while the school had grown to an enrollment of several hundred. The pastor then employed this principal. The pastor gave the principal buildings that he had helped to build with his own hands, pupils whom he had won to Christ, supplies and equipment purchased with money that he had raised and much of which he had sacrificially given. Hence, the principal assumed responsibility over children whom he had not won in buildings he had not built using equipment he had not purchased. He had no moral right to damage the work on the altar of his own hurt feelings. If and when he felt he could no longer work happily in the situation, he should have courteously resigned and never offered or listened to any criticism of the pastor.

2. Respect for success. When one is a follower to a successful leader the very success of that leader should command loyalty. For example, I am on the board of the SWORD OF THE LORD, a weekly publication edited by Dr. John R. Rice. I have been on this board for many years. Now suppose that I disagree with Dr. Rice on some issue. I feel and have always felt that as a member of the board I should prefer his feelings above my own. I have never edited a newspaper; he has been an editor for nearly a half century. His success measured by the one-third of a million subscribers, or by almost any other criterion, should lead the wise follower to have complete confidence in the wisdom of the leader.

It is amazing how that in this revolutionary generation young people who have never built a chicken coop rebel against master builders, who have never led a squad think they can lead an army, who have never had a savings account think they can run a bank, who have never been a dog catcher think they can improve the presidency and have absolutely no respect for success!

At this writing I know of a young man who has just assumed the responsibility of becoming principal of a school operated by a church and led by a pastor who founded the school, was its first principal and has overseen the work for years. This young man who is fresh out of college feels that the diploma he holds in his hand has given him the right and equipment to know more about Christian education than this pastor of many years’ experience. He is manifesting a disloyalty which is disgraceful. Someone in school should have taught him “Loyalty 131,” and if for no other reason, this loyalty should be manifested because of respect for the success of the pastor. He should be seeking the pastor’s counsel instead of shunning it. He should be asking for the pastor’s counsel instead of abhorring it.

3. Respect for knowledge. There are some things that the leader knows that no one else can know. This not only pertains to facts, talent, etc., but it also pertains to knowledge of people and circumstances which he, for obvious reasons, cannot divulge to the followers. In other words, the follower does not always have all of the facts. There are some things that only a leader can know. Hence, it may appear to the follower that the leader is taking a wrong course of action, causing the follower to oppose him vehemently. However, if the follower knew the facts that the leader cannot divulge to him, he would no doubt arrive at the same conclusion to which the leader has arrived. This means that the follower should trust the leader even if his judgment seems unwise, realizing that the leader possesses many facts that only he knows and that if he, the follower, were acquainted with the entire case, he would probably have arrived at the same conclusion.

If, for any reason, the follower cannot give this trust and confidence to the leader, he should never under any condition rebel or revolt. He should very quietly and ethically tiptoe out. He has no right whatsoever to talk to anyone about his differences with the leader, and he should leave without causing as much as a ripple on the water.

4. Respect for the system. To be sure, we are all human beings stranded on a planet whirling through space. Since there is no one here but us we have ‘to govern ourselves. This means we have to choose leaders who will govern us. This is why in our system a country has a king or a president, a state has a governor, a city has a mayor, a family has a father, a church

has a pastor, and an employee has a boss. Someone must be at the top. The system itself should require loyalty from the follower to the leader. When this system breaks down, anarchy follows the breakdown and chaos follows the anarchy. This is why we are reminded again and again in the Bible to respect our leaders, obey those who are over us and follow those who lead us. Oftentimes the leader is not of God, but the system is of God and the position is of God. This is why God admonishes children to obey their parents, servants to obey their masters, wives to obey their husbands, citizens to obey their governments, etc. The system is God’s plan. We must not rebel against it.

5. Respect for your future. Disloyal followers are seldom given loyal followers when they become leaders. Disloyal followers make poor leaders.

I have known hundreds of assistant pastors, music directors and education directors to be disloyal and to cause trouble in the church by trying to unseat the pastor or spread rumors about him. I have known very few who have won, and in practically every case the damage is far more to the disloyal follower than to the criticized leader. Criticism always hurts the critic more than the criticized. Hatred always hurts the hater more than the hated. Gossip always hurts the gossiper more than the one about whom he gossips. The disloyal follower always stands to lose more than he takes from the accused leader.

There is also a law of sowing and reaping. In the Bible we are reminded that everything is reproduced after its own kind. Over and over again in the book of Genesis we find everything has in itself its own seed to bring forth its own kind. This is true not only in the physical but also in the emotional, in the personality and in the character. The pastor who criticizes other pastors will have people who criticize him. The teacher who criticizes the principal will have pupils who criticize him. God has a way of “letting our chickens come home to roost.”

Not only does the subordinate usually lose, but he is also forming a habit of being disloyal that will hound him the rest of his life. Look at Abraham and Lot. Lot and his herdsmen became disloyal to Abraham. Lot chose for himself the best land, but look at the life of heartache that followed. I have lived long enough to see how battles turn out. I have watched young men become disloyal to leaders. I have watched these young men become middle-aged men. I have scrutinized their careers carefully. When as a follower one is disloyal he is usually as a leader suspicious of those who work under him, for he has developed a life pattern which leads to failure and stifles success.

It has also been interesting through the years to watch the development of the children of disloyal people. It is interesting, tragic and almost unbelievable to see how disloyalty in the life of a parent affects the children. Through the years I have made surveys of the children of people who have become disloyal and have left churches that I have pastored. In not one case has a single child gone into full-time service for God, and in most cases they have become adults who do not even attend church. A part of this is because of their secret and maybe even subconscious disgust for the disloyal parents. Part of it is because the kind of churches chosen later by these people does not turn out the best product. A part of it is God’s judgment and the law of sowing and reaping doing its work.

6. Respect for the unsaved. When Abraham and Lot and their herdsmen had trouble, there is a statement which is brief but arresting which says simply, “And the Canaanite and the Perrizite dwelled in the land.” In other words, others saw the strife. They heard the bickering. They observed the disloyalty. One wonders how many people will spend eternity in Hell because of disloyalty which results in bickering, gossip, slander, criticism, vindication, retaliation and other traits spawned in Hell by Lucifer and his angels.

The Character of Loyalty

The Character of Loyalty

Apostle Turner                            Apostle Ernest O Turner

 

 

Loyalty is remaining committed to those whom God has brought into our lives and has called us to serve, even in times of difficulty. It is developing allegiance and respect in one another, and not seeking to manipulate the other person. Being loyal exhibits our commitment to Christ by our commitment–with discernment–to people and righteous causes at all times (Proverbs 17:17; Ecclesiastes 8:2-4; John 15:13; Romans 13:1-5; Titus 3:1).

Disloyalty, Betrayal, Distrusting, and Unfaithful, are the opposites. It is allowing our corrupt nature to characterize our desires, so we manipulate others rather than build them up. It is to disregard God’s Lordship and authority as well as His love for others. This mindset will quickly turn into contempt, and will cause us to disrespect and undermine our leaders as well as one another, and lead us to impertinence and blasphemy towards God.

Loyalty is like faith; it means assurance of another. In ancient times, the two words had the same meaning, and referred to one’s loyalty to a person, or trustworthiness to a promise they had made. The person receiving the promise was acting on faith and trusting in that person, and that is what loyalty is mainly about. But, loyalty has another facet to it. It is also a call that we involve other characters into, such as, forgiveness, mercy, and respect.

We are to realize this with people, even when it is underserved and unearned. It is also the knowledge that people with whom we place our loyalty will disappoint us. However, we cannot base our character and self image in their reaction, only in who Christ is. Our outlook on life and reaction to people needs to be rooted in God, not on how those people respond to us. We are not responsible for how people treat us; we are only responsible for treating them with utmost character, as a reflection of Christ. Hence, the word Christian is being “Christ like,” not “self like.”

We are never to forget what Christ did for us. So, our treatment of a person needs to be rooted in Christ, not in what they can do for us, or how they respond to us. Yes, we need to be discerning, and not be overly taken advantage of. But, real friendship is not based on who can do what, but in mutual love and respect that is freely given and freely received. God will bring people into our lives, and we cannot–due to logistics and time–be good friends with everyone. But, we can treat every one with whom we come in contact, with good character– and that means with loyalty, too. We need to realize that in order to keep relationships functional, we have to be dedicated, trustworthy, dependable, and committed. That means we do not gossip, we do not put down, we do not undermine, we do not play games; rather we model Christ and what He did for us! When we stick with our friends, we keep our friends. Long term relationships tend to be rare, but they are vital. Do not let then be rare in your life!

We are to realize that God works through people, including our church and national leaders (Proverbs 21:1; Romans 13). God uses others to carry His plan to us and those around us. Therefore, loyalty is also a demonstration of our obedience to our country, civil leaders, church, teachers, authority figures, and family (unless they give a command that goes against God’s Word). It is something we demonstrate both in public and in private. Loyalty is a character that puts a portion of love into action for those others in your life. It may be the one key aspect, seen in you by others, that will point them to God’s love!

 

Is the Character of Loyalty working in you?

 

Here is how you can find out. Take a careful look at this character and fruit of Loyalty from God’s most precious Word, by examining the passages below. Now ask yourself:

  1. How do I exhibit Loyalty in my daily life?
  2. What can I do to develop a better willingness to be Loyal and maintain a commitment to people?
  3. What blocks Loyalty from working and being exhibited in me?
  4. How can I make Loyalty function better, stronger, and faster, even in times of uncertainly and stress?

· Here are positive examples from Scripture (2 Samuel 3:6-21; Esther 8:1-2; John 11:16; 20:8; Hebrews 11:24-26)

· Here are negative examples from Scripture (1 Samuel 15:11; 1 Kings 18:18-19; John 6:66; 2 Peter 2:10;15)

Further Questions

  1. How would you define Loyalty? Are you a respectful person? If so, what about respect for your government leaders?
  1. What part does Loyalty play in your relationships with church leaders, friends, your boss, and your family?
  1. How does being Distrusting counteract Loyalty? What is the cost to others (God, family, friends, neighbors, church, workplace, etc.) when you are a person who is Disloyal?
  1. What happens to your relationship with God, with others, and with the opportunities God gives you, when you are Unfaithful or dislike to honor the people in charge?
  1. When have you been filled with Loyalty the most?
  1. In what situation did you fail to be Loyal when you should have been?
  1. What issue is in your life that would improve with more Loyalty? Do you just complain, or do you seek to be a part of the solution?
  1. Think through the steps you need to take to put Loyalty into action in a specific instance. Such as, what can I do to make sure I always treat authority figures, even the police when they are writing me a ticket, with utmost respect? Where is Loyalty improperly functioning in my life and relationships, and what can I do about it? Do I put down my church and civil leaders? If so, what can I do to be a solution and not a problem?
Categories: Uncategorized

My Name Is Gossip

MY NAME IS GOSSIP

By Apostle E.O.Turner

Apostle Turner

Many people consider gossip to be a harmless pastime. What about you?
“My Name Is Gossip. I have no respect for justice. I maim without killing. I break hearts and ruin lives. I am cunning and malicious and gather strength with age.

The more I am quoted the more I am believed. I flourish at every level of society. My victims are helpless. They cannot protect themselves against me because I have no name and no face.

To track me down is impossible. The harder you try, the more elusive I gossippbecome. I am nobody’s friend. Once I tarnish a reputation, it is never the same. I topple governments and ruin marriages. I ruin careers and cause sleepless nights, heartache and indigestion. I spawn suspicion and generate grief.

I make innocent people cry in their pillows. Even my name hisses. I AM CALLED GOSSIP.”

This eye-opening poem from an unknown author says a lot about the damage done through gossip. What about the famous phrase we all have heard. “Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me”? In our hearts, we know this is not true, even though it may be a useful attitude to take when insulted by others. Reciting those words does not take the hurt away.

Words do tremendous damage. So unless you’ve been a victim of violent crime or of a major illness or something else catastrophic, your deepest pains have probably come from hurtful words.

WORDS HAVE GREAT POWER

Words carry great power. God created the world through His words. He said, “Let there be light” and there was light. Humans also use words in producing great novels that move us and music that warms our hearts. Writers put much thought into the right selection of words so their books or songs will sell.

We listen and communicate words every day that either lift us up or bring us down. Powerful, positive words can offer great healing, while negative words contain great destructive power.

Whenever we talk negatively about people or listen to someone else talk negatively about others, we unleash that harmful power. So how do we use this power of words with others? Do our words lift and inspire, or do they destroy? Are they words of truth? Do we disclose truth in a hurtful way? If someone paid us 10 cents for every kind word we said about people, and collected five cents for every unkind word, would we be rich or poor?

Gossip and slander can ruin reputations, families, break up marriages, separate friends, destroy communities and, yes, even divide churches. Knowing that gossip is so destructive, why do we do it?gossipp

WHY DO WE GOSSIP?

We often gossip to feel good about ourselves. We get an ego boost from others’ sins and mistakes. To gossip makes us feel superior to the person we are talking about. (Pride)

We also gossip to draw people into our own hurt and anger. We want others to side with us so we must tell our side of the story. Then our friends repeat the story to their friends and on and on it goes. Even if you say the truth, it does not justify unnecessarily passing on hurtful information about someone.

FEELINGS AND EMOTIONS

Gossip is a six-letter word that produces emotions of excitement, pain or guilt, depending on if you are the gossiper, or if you are the one being gossiped about.

Excitement comes from gossip because it is human nature to want to hear dirt on others and repeat it. Look at all the tabloids sold at the grocery counters filled with dirt about the rich and famous. It is fun to read and listen to gossip about others until it is about us. Proverbs 20:19 says, “He that goeth about as a talebearer revealeth secrets: therefore meddle not with him that flattereth with his lips.”

We should realize that participating in negative conversations harms us spiritually; it creates confusion that can lead to deception.

Pain comes when we are on the receiving end of the gossip trail. Speaking ill of others is particularly bad because words, once uttered, can never be recalled. Consider the following story illustrating this point.

There was a man in a small town who went around slandering a minister. One day, feeling bad about what he had done, he went to the minister to ask for forgiveness.

“Take a pillow,” said the minister, “cut it up and shake out the feathers.” The man did as he was told and then he returned to the minister hoping to now be forgiven.

“First,” said the minister, “go collect all the feathers.”

“But that’s impossible,” said the man. “They’ve gone everywhere.”

“It’s as impossible to repair the damage done by your words as it is to recover all the feathers,” said the minister.gossipp

President Reagan’s first Labor Secretary, Raymond Donavan, resigned from his post after numerous rumors that he’d done wrong. After spending more than a million dollars in legal fees to defend himself, Donovan was cleared of all charges. Coming out of the courtroom to talk to reporters, he asked: “Where do I go to get my reputation back?”

Gossip also hurts the gossiper. According to psychiatrist Antonio Wood, when you speak ill of someone, you alienate yourself from that person. Say bad things about many people and your words will separate you from them.

Guilt is an emotion we feel when we know in our hearts that it is wrong to slander and talk about someone behind his or her back. Have you ever tried to look someone in the eye after you have talked about him or her behind his or her back?

Guilt also comes when we don’t follow the biblical principle that says, Moreover if thy brother shall trespass against thee, go and tell him his fault between thee and him alone: if he shall hear thee, thou hast gained thy brother.” (Matthew 18:15)

Gossip may be fun for a moment, but in the end it will only produce hurt, guilt and pain.

HOW CAN WE AVOID GOSSIPING?avoid gossip

  • Seek a repentant and clean heart from God so you’ll have the power to resist talking negatively about others. Take a look at the attitudes you hold and the comments you make. Examine why you are tempted to speak negatively and pray for God to give you the strength to confront and overcome those temptations. Confess the times you’ve gossiped or criticized in the past, and invite God to transform you. Release any pride or fear that is obstructing you from making the changes you would like, and be open to God’s correction and guidance.
  • Pray for people you have hurt—either purposely or inadvertently by speaking negatively about them. Ask God to heal them. Also pray for people who have hurt you in the past through their negative words about you. Forgive them and ask God to let them be aware of His loving presence with them.
  • Pray for God to give you wisdom in such situations. James 1:5 says, “If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him.”
  • We can ask God to help us resist being pulled into negative conversations. How can we do this?
  • When someone approaches us and begins talking negatively about someone, we can try to determine the speaker’s motivation and encourage accountability by asking questions such as, “Is this something I need to hear about?” “Who told you this information?” “Have you spoken to those people who are directly involved with this situation?” and “Before you share any further, what are you expecting from me?”
  • Use powerful positive words to heal when confronted with destructive, negative words. Respond to gossip or criticism with encouraging words about the person being talked about. As Ephesians 4:29 explains, ” (Ephesians 4:29) “Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but that which is good to the use of edifying, that it may minister grace unto the hearers.”
  • Think. Another key to positive communication is to subscribe to the simple formula “THINK” before speaking of any person or subject that is controversial.

 T–Is it True?
H–Is it Helpful?
I–Is it Inspiring?
N–Is it Necessary?
K–Is it Kind?

If what we are about to say does not pass these tests, we should keep our mouths shut.

  • Finally, remember the little saying that tells us what kind of minds we have: Great minds discuss ideas; average minds discuss events; small minds discuss people.

The apostle Paul provides a key for incorporating these concepts, saying, (Philippians 4:8) “Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.”

By applying his instruction, gossip can be stopped. Let us all strive to use the power of our words for healing.

Categories: Uncategorized

How To Pastor And Lead Difficult People

Apostle Turner

When John D. Rockefeller was asked what quality he was willing to pay for the most when hiring employees, he responded without hesitation, “The ability to get along with people.” It is the lack of this ability to get along with people that makes difficult people difficult. Every congregation has a few people like this. In different places, difficult people may come in different shapes and sizes, but they all share this common trait: They are difficult!

As a pastor, I found getting along with these few people to be one of my greatest challenges. Learning to deal with them effectively required me, first of all, to face my own unrealistic expectations of them.

I expected these people to be spiritual rather than carnal. However, through the years I have come to realize that believers are more likely to be carnal than they are to be spiritual. This has always been true of the church. After all, most of the books of the New Testament address carnal issues among first century Christians. Had these believers been spiritual, these books would be missing from our Bible.

Second, I expected these difficult people, along with every other person in the church, to love me. Somehow I thought I was failing in my ministry if I could not earn the love of every person in the church. This, too, was another unrealistic expectation.

There is no church where the pastor is loved by everyone. At any given moment, 10 to 20 percent of any congregation would prefer to have someone else as their pastor. Learning to accept this as normal frees the pastor from the bondage of compulsively seeking to be loved by every person in the church.

God finally brought me to the place where I realized it would be nice if everyone in the church loved me, but it is not necessary. Learning to feel comfortable with the fact that there would always be a small group of difficult people in any church I pastored who probably would never love me was a very significant, but difficult, step for me to take in my pastoral growth.

Lowering your expectations of people will make you more comfortable with difficult people, but you still must be able to manage them. Dealing with difficult people forces you to practice self-discipline. This is the practical wisdom of James 1:19-20: “So then, my beloved brethren, let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath; for the wrath of man does not produce the righteousness of God” (NKJV).

Remember, people have become difficult because being difficult has worked for them. Basically they are fearful of close personal relationships that would require them to be emotionally vulnerable. So their behavior is designed to push your buttons and pull your strings–to put distance between them and others.

As a young pastor, I naively thought these people were only difficult to get along with at church. Then one day the Lord helped me to see they were just as difficult to get along with at home and at work. I never will forget these thoughts He injected into my mind: “You only have to deal with these people a very few hours of the week. Be glad you aren’t married to them or don’t have to live with them.”

The Bible gives us some practical guidelines for managing difficult people. The first are found in Matthew 18:15-17 and Ephesians 4:15. Both of these passages instruct us to confront difficult people privately and in love. Take the initiative; but in doing so, be sure you are fair, firm and friendly.

Being fair involves treating the difficult person the way you would treat anyone else in the church. Don’t make exceptions for them. If you know you are treating them fairly, it should help you be lovingly firm in the way you deal with them.

All of us have a tendency to be flexible with others. This works well with people who are willing to be flexible with you, but, often, difficult people are difficult because they are so rigid. So once you know you are being fair with them, be firm with them.

Some people have to be angry before they can be firm, but this is unnecessary. Once you know you are being fair, you will discover people respect you more and are more likely to comply with your correction if you are pleasant in the process.

Many difficult people are basically angry people. In most cases you will be unaware of the history involved in their anger. The first three types in the following list fall into this category.

Here are nine types of difficult people along with some practical, biblical ways of managing them:

1. The Sherman tank. These are intimidating people. They are so bold and blunt in their approach that they tend to take you off guard. They must be confronted in a firm and friendly way.

After they have presented their antagonistic view, respond by saying something such as, “I have a different point of view, but let me hear more about the way the situation looks to you.”

When the person is finished, simply respond by saying, “In my opinion…” then present your view. If the person interrupts you, call the person by name and say, “You interrupted me.”

2. The sniper. Often these people will make accusing insinuations against you in meetings. Avoid the temptation to take them on in front of the group. Confront them alone.

Let them know you thought they were digging at you and ask them, “Did you mean it that way?” If they attempt to dismiss their remarks as a joke, agree that the joke was funny, but then add something such as, “But I thought I heard a dig in the tone of your voice.”

If circumstances require you to confront the person in front of the group, don’t take him or her on directly. Say something such as, “Do all of you agree with what was just said?” This relieves you of being further involved and allows others in the group to confront the person for you.

3. The land mine. These people frighten you so that you will tread softly when you are around them. Usually they themselves are frightened or frustrated.

If you find their words or tone of voice offensive, simply establish eye contact with them and say, “I want to hear what you have to say, but not in this way.” Then invite them into your office. Sit down with them. Get the facts straight and offer some practical help, if possible.

4. The waffler. These people cannot make up their own minds. They listen to what you have to say and seem to be in agreement, but they don’t follow through. In the end, you will probably have to make a decision for them by saying something such as, “It might be better if you would…”

5. The crybaby. These people are complainers. Usually they feel powerless in their personal lives.

Actively listen to them. Then paraphrase what they have said to you so they will know you have heard them–but don’t agree with them. And don’t apologize for not agreeing with them.

Get them involved with solutions to their problems. When they go on and on, don’t be afraid to say: “Look, Jim, in a half-hour I have something else I have to do. How long do you think this discussion will last?”

6. The wet blanket. These are not happy people. They feel their lives are under the control of people who can’t be trusted. You must confront their “yes, but…” attitude with a positive statement of your own.

Get them to define for you the absolute worst thing they think can happen, but don’t let them drag you there. Be ready to take positive action in spite of what they say. Remember, other people in their lives have had to learn to discount their messages of doom and gloom.

7. The clam. Their silence makes others uncomfortable. The silence may indicate a number of things going on in their lives. However, silence in a meeting can be paralyzing. So say something–engage these types of people in small talk. Talk to them about their lack of conversation and challenge them to express themselves

8. The bulldozer. These people bowl you over with their ideas. You will need to describe for them what you propose to do. Then, when they have overwhelmed you with their often accurate but irrelevant information, innocently thank them for it and ask, “Do you have any problem with what we are proposing to do?” Usually they will go along. They just want to be heard.

9. The nice guy/gal. These are people who always agree. At the time they say it, they mean it. However, they have gone along with what you have asked them to do because they are afraid to be honest with you. So you will have to make it easy for these people to raise their issues with you. They usually respond well to solutions that are free from conflict.

Many times managing difficult people can tell you as much about yourself as it does about them. To foster your own growth, write down the things about these people that annoy you. Ask yourself why you find these things so annoying. How do you usually respond to them? How would you like to respond?

Remember the guidelines in Matthew 18:15-17 and Ephesians 4:15. Don’t try to manage difficult people by avoiding them. Take the direct approach. As you put yourself more in control of situations that used to be in control of you, commend yourself for managing difficult people with less difficulty. And remember, no one does it perfectly.