Thursday, July 9, 2015

God's Love and Protection / "EVEN FROM ETERNITY I AM HE" Isaiah 43: 1-13 and Saint Patrick's Breastplate Prayer

I try and read the Bible everyday.  If I miss I just feel this hunger for the nourishing, inspiring, comforting, and yes, even the correcting word of God.  At the moment I'm reading 2nd Samuel, but I flipped forward and came to Isaiah 43: 1-13.  Here God gives us a picture of who He is.  

Heaven is My throne, and earth is the footstool of My feet... (Acts 7: 49a).  

And to quote from one of my favorite morning prayers.  St. Patrick's breast plate prayer:   

I arise today through a mighty strength, the invocation of the Trinity.  Through belief in the threeness; Through confession of the oneness of the Creator of Creation.  St. Patrick: missionary to pagan Ireland in the 4th century AD.  

You can read all of the passage in context in Isaiah chapter 43 yourself.  I'm just going to quote bits of what is revealed of God in relationship to His people Israel.  And also in relationship to all believers wherever we may live; regardless of the denomination in which we worship.  If we have trusted Jesus Christ we have been grafted into the vine; we are all one in the Lord and King, Jesus Christ; the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.  

In loving communion with His servant, God speaks through His Prophet, Isaiah.  In these passages we see how important we are to God.  Important enough that the Father sent His Son to be a sacrifice for our sins and in Jesus we are redeemed.  Lastly this passage, only 13 verses, reveal hints of the sovereign mystery and supernatural substance of who our Father is.  

God is "He who formed you" (1a)
By supernatural revelation God speaks these words to us.  
"I, even I, am the Lord; and there is no savior besides Me." (11)
It is I who have declared and saved and proclaimed, and there was no strange god among you; So you are My witnesses, declares the Lord, and I am God." (12)

By the words, "no strange god among you," (little 'g') the Father is saying that there are no demons being worshiped as a counterfeit god, via evil, satanic constructs.  

We are witnesses:  The above verse reads: So you are my witnesses...  
And also: You are my witnesses," declares the Lord, "And my servant whom I have chosen, in order that you may know and believe Me, and understand that I am He, before me there was no God formed.  (10)

The father knows His own.  As believers we are sealed and we carry this seal as a candle in a dark place.  

For thou wilt light my candle: the Lord my God will enlighten my darkness.  For by thee I have run through a troop; and by my God I have leaped over a wall (Psalm 18: 28, 29).  

In Him was life, and the life was the light of men.  And the light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it (John 1: 4, 5).  

Jesus therefore said to them, "For a little while longer the light is among you.  Walk while you have the light, that the darkness may not overtake you; he who walks in the darkness does not know where he goes.  While you have the light, believe in the light, in order that you may become sons (daughters) of the light." John 12: 35, 36

Our status as believers in Christ.  
"Do not fear for I have redeemed you" 
Each of us has a divine calling.  God speaks to us.  "I have called you by name; you are Mine!" (1b)

"Since you are precious in my sight, Since you are honored and I love you, I will give other men in your place and other peoples in exchange for your life.  
Prophetic pronouncement from God about the reunification of the Jews into the promised land after World War 11.   
Do not fear, for I am with you; I will bring your offspring from the east, and gather you from the west.  I will say to the north, 'Give them up!'  And to the south, 'Do not hold them back.'  Bring my sons from afar, and My daughters from the ends of the earth... (4,5,6)

And then, as always, the application of prophecy that includes all believers whoever we may be.  
Everyone who is called by My name and whom I have created for My glory, whom I have formed, even whom I have made." (7)

As believers, Holy Spirit carriers, sealed by the Father, redeemed under the blood in the absolute victory of the resurrection.  
St Patrick, missionary brother through faith, in his breastplate prayer articulates this theme.  

I arise today through the strength of Christ's birth with His baptism.
Through the strength of His crucifixion with His burial,
Through the strength of His resurrection with His ascension,
Through the Strength of His descent for the judgment of Doom.

I arise today through the strength of the Cherubim;
In the obedience of angels, 
In the service of archangels, 
In the hope of the resurrection to meet with reward, 
In the prayers of patriarchs, 
In the prediction of prophets, 
In the preaching of apostles, 
In faith of confessors, 
In innocence of holy virgins, 
In deeds of righteous men.

And in a widely quoted verse of scripture from Isaiah 43.  
When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; And through the rivers, they will not overflow you.  When you walk through the fire, you will not be scorched, nor will the flame burn you.  "For I am the Lord your God, the Holy One of Israel, your Savior... (2, 3b) 

Job said: But He knows the way I take; When He has tried me, I shall come forth as gold (Job 23: 10).  

Back to our passages in Isaiah 43: 1-13.
"Even from eternity I am He; and there is none who can deliver out of My hand; I act and who can reverse it." (13)

"You are my witnesses declares the Lord, and My servant whom I have chosen in order that you may know and believe Me and understand that I am He.  Before me there was no God formed (10). 

I like the translation of the Breastplate Prayer from old Irish by Kuno Meyer.  This prayer of protection is very applicable for us today.  I suggest you get a copy of the full prayer and make it your own... from your heart to God's throne.  I'm quoting it here in part.  

I arise today
Through God's strength to pilot me,
God's might to uphold me,
God's wisdom to guide me,
God's eye to look before me,
God's ear to hear me,
God's word to speak to me,
God's hand to guard me, God's way to lie before me,
God's shield to protect me, 
God's host to save me, 
From snares of devils, 
From temptation of vices,
From every one who shall wish me ill,
Afar and anear, 
Alone and in a multitude.

I summon today all these powers between me and those evils, 
Against every cruel, merciless power that may oppose my body and soul,
Against incantations of false prophets,
Against black laws of pagandom,
Against false laws of heretics,
Against craft of idolatry,
Against spells of women (witches) and smiths and wizards, 
Against every knowledge that corrupts man's body and soul,

Christ to shield me today, 
Against poisoning, against burning, 
Against drowning, against wounding,
So there come to me abundance of reward.
Christ with me, Christ before me, Christ behind me, Christ on my right, Christ on my left.
Christ when I lie down, Christ when I sit down, Christ when I arise,
Christ in the heart of every man who thinks of me, 
Christ in the mouth of every one who speaks of me,
Christ in every eye that sees me, 
Christ in every ear that hears me.

I arise today 
through a mighty strength, the invocation of the Trinity,
Through belief in the threeness,
Through confession of the oneness
of the Creator of the Creation.  

How God described Himself to Moses:
Then the Lord passed by in front of him and proclaimed, "The Lord, the Lord God, compassionate and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in loving kindness and truth (Exodus 34: 6).  

Or what agreement has the temple of God with idols?  For we are the temple of the living God; just as God said,
"I will dwell in them and walk among them; and I will be their God and they shall be My people.  Therefore come out from their midst and be separate," says the Lord.
And do not touch what is unclean; and I will welcome you.  And I will be a father to you, and you shall be sons and daughters to Me," Says the Lord Almighty.  (2nd Corinthians 16-18)  
Paul quotes Isaiah 52: 11

Now to Him who is able to do exceeding abundantly beyond all that we ask or think according to the power that works within us (Ephesians 3: 20).  

Tuesday, May 5, 2015\

Very nice interview with Eli from the Truth Squad.  I do quite a lot of interviews and don't have to agree with everyone who is willing to speak to me about my books.  I'm grateful to get the word out.  But especially enjoyed Eli who made me think of one of my own sons and is a gifted host.  

Wednesday, February 11, 2015


If you've read the first two books in the Wood's End Series you may have noticed that I began each with a poem.  Why?  I guess because I occasionally write poetry and much appreciate better poetry - King David, Robert Frost, T.S. Eliot.    

Using a poem to open the first book was accidental.  I came across something I'd written long ago at age twenty three and thought it fit what the fictional character of Andrea was going through.  The second book opens with an excerpt from a much longer poem.  

Below is the poem I plan to open the third book with; The World in the Wood.  Unless, of course, I write something else or stumble on some long forgotten verse between now and completion of the third in the Wood's End series that seems to fit better. 

Will open the third, yet uncompleted book in the series,
The World in the Wood   

by, Alexandra Clair
I could not go on.
An avalanche of minutes passed through blackest wood,
Splintered twig mercy to the tempest whim.
No foot fixed,
No life in compass,
I would not go on. 
Until the hand that loosed the comet on a path;
Throne to Spirit,
Spirit to heart God spoke.
"Ambivalent victor you shall be.
Go on."

This excerpt opens the second in the series,
The Year Between the Wood

by, Alexandra Clair
Dressed for the occasion, 
I'll lean over the casket,
Thinking of those who've known you as I have,
I'll slip this poem into the breast pocket of your human disguise,
Then I'll go back to where I am today,
In the clearing,
Free of you, 
It's warm.

Opens the first book in the series - Wood's End

by, Alexandra Clair
I'm leaving, she said, I have to go,
And he looked out the window and watched the wind blow,
The grass about and make of the trees,
Frantic dancing dolls dressed in green.
Okay, he lied and she left,
But not without taking a piece of him,
In exchange for quite a lot of her.

Monday, January 26, 2015



I'm happy to share that THE BOOKSELLERS at Laurelwood Shopping Center in Memphis, TN is now carrying both WOOD'S END and the second book in the series, THE YEAR BETWEEN THE WOOD.   Please drop in and let this helpful staff point you in the right direction.  You can also call them - 901-683-9801 - and ask them to hold you a copy until you arrive.  Additionally, I'm happy to sign any book purchased from there in advance of you picking it up. 

The Wood's End Series at: THE BOOKSELLERS at Laurelwood

387 Perkins Road, Ext. / Memphis, TN 38117

PS:  if it's been awhile since you've read Wood's End you might want to buy both books.  In the last edition of Wood's End I added a chapter and made some additional changes.  Mainly inspired by readers' comments and questions.  (I love hearing from you!)  One question, obviously from dog lovers... "What happened to Andrea's dog, Charlie, after she was placed back in lock-up?"  I'm currently working on another writing assignment, but will soon get back to the third book in the Wood's End Series called: THE WORLD IN THE WOOD.  If a few of you in Memphis want to meet and discuss the book series let's have lunch.  Where?  At the BOOKSELLERS!  Happy to meet you there.   

If you are not in the Memphis area order the books from Amazon, Create Space, or from any book store in your area.    

Tuesday, November 4, 2014 Dr. Ravi Chandran - thanks for the interview!

Had a very nice interview with very thoughtful host Dr. Ravi Chandran. 

Interview with Steve Acheson very worth listening to.  This is my second interview with Steve who has a ministry of Deliverance and Counseling with a focus on domestic violence.

Saturday, September 6, 2014


I love reading the various search questions that get people to my blog.  Someone recently searched the following: "an example of a new convert in the Bible."  Whoever you are, thanks for asking this question.  One of the most evocative examples from scripture of a salvation experience, which is the same today as it ever was except for the story that gets us there, is the Eunuch, a court official in the realm of Candace, Queen of Ethiopia.  Read Acts 8: 26-40.  This Eunuch is now a mature man, but he would have been taken in battle or sold into slavery at some time in his youth.  While still a young boy he was castrated; a brutal and barbarian practice of the time which many slaves did not survive.  Never escaping his history and the angst of this profound suffering and lingering grief, the Eunuch is drawn to the Old Testament description of Jesus' death on the cross which was predicted in the Old Testament long before it actually happened.  The historical novel, The Persian Boy by Mary Renault, describes in detail this horrific torture in the life of the main protagonist. 

Understanding what the Eunuch would have suffered we can understand why he is drawn to these words in Isaiah.  Here is a startling and powerful word picture to which he fully identifies. This man will never have children or the life that evil men stole away.  Still... by divine intervention the Holy Spirit brought this passage in Isaiah to his attention and with the help of an angel this divine, supernatural, miraculous appointment took place between two unlikely men whose paths should never have crossed.  The Eunuch, this court official met the Apostle Philip.       

Philip ran up and heard him reading Isaiah the prophet, and said, "Do you understand what you are reading?"  And he said, "Well how could I, unless someone guides me?" And he invited Philip to come up and sit with him.  Now the passage of scripture which he was reading was this:
"He was led as a sheep to the slaughter; and as a lamb before its shearer is silent, so he does not open His mouth. In humiliation His judgment was taken away; who will relate His generation?  For His life is removed from the earth." 
A messenger angel, sent from Father God, directs Phillip to share the gospel with this powerful court official and the little that is told speaks so much about this man's life and the healing that is needed and provided through faith in Jesus Christ.  At the end of the story the Eunuch prays to receive Christ and is baptized.  He says to Philip, "I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God."  This man is now reborn as a new person.  There has been a radical, supernatural heart change that has shifted and altered his conception of the world he lives in and his purpose for being just where he is.  Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come (2nd Corinthians 5: 17).  There has been an immediate healing, but now the deeper healing will be the life-process that draws this once broken man into continual and personal relationship with Jesus Christ. 

However, the story I often think of, the one that first flashed to mind when I read this search question is one of the most dramatic in scripture.  This is the story of the man possessed by legions of demons.  We are told that Jesus crosses the sea to reach this man.  Jesus has heard the cry and through the dramatic and marvelous outcome He demonstrates to his disciples and to us how an exorcism is performed.  This example is also a significant healing example of Jesus' love for those that are lost and even thought hopeless.  
It is also an example of God's immense compassion for the lost.  That even before we can utter the cry for help He hears us.  And Isaiah is very bold and says, "I was found by those who did not seek Me, and I became manifest to those who did not ask for Me (Romans 10: 20).  So perhaps you have not been crying out to Jesus Christ, but you are in fear and turmoil.  You are hurting and there are wounds that take you back in your mind.  You repeatedly revisit this pain which is the trigger that sends the destructive scripts, (self-talk) that leaves you stuck and helpless and looking in all the wrong ways for releif.  The need of your heart is poignant and raw.  You need an answer; you need a Savior and in these circumstances Jesus has provided the way out; a way to understand your need for Him.  And in this way freedom from sin is accomplished via a divine and powerful expression of forgiveness unlike any counterfeit previously relied upon.  For there is only one that can truly offer eternal life and that is Jesus Christ. 
...for, "Whoever will call on the name of the Lord will be saved (Romans 10:13).

The story begins in Luke chapter eight.  Jesus and some of his disciples were caught on the sea of Galilee in a terrible storm; "a fierce gale of wind."  Taking this little trip was Jesus' idea.  He had a plan and a foreknowledge of what would take place.  Someone on the other side of the sea needed Him and had been crying out and it was time for Jesus to show up.  Jesus knew where he was going and why, but he also needed to shatter the bias and build the faith of those that were going with him.  "Let us go over to the other side of the lake," so they launched out (Luke 8: 22b). 

Jesus fell asleep in the boat.  He had perfect peace; perfect faith.  When the fierce gale of winds and high waves threatened to swamp and sink the boat those common scripts of fear took over among his followers.  The disciples came to Jesus and woke Him up, saying, "Master, Master, we are perishing!"  And He got up and rebuked the wind and the surging waves; and they stopped, and it became calm.  And He said to them, "Where is your faith?" (Luke 8: 24, 25a). 

Those who practice intercessory prayer, deliverance, and exorcism expect to encounter opposition.  A flat tire, a distracting non emergency that masquerades as such or... as happened just now my computer screen going blank; a transitory non-problem.  In faith we pray against such opposition. 

In the wake of this terrible storm Jesus and some of his disciples continued the trip; arriving in the country of the Gerasenes; which is opposite Galilee.  As they disembarked upon the shore they were met by a man who was demon possessed.  And when He came out onto the land, He was met by a man from the city who was possessed with demons; and who had not put on any clothing for a long time, and was not living in a house, but in the tombs (Luke 8: 27). 

The demons spoke through the man and confronted Jesus.  What we notice is that they immediately recognize Jesus as the Son of God.  They cannot lie to Jesus and they cannot lie about Jesus because in another realm the war has already been won.  
Seeing Jesus he cried out and fell before Him, and said in a loud voice, "What business do we have with each other, Jesus, Son of the Most High God?  I beg You, do not torment me.  For He had commanded the unclean spirit to come out of the man.  For it had seized him many times; and he was bound with chains and shackles and kept under guard, and yet he would break his bonds and be driven by the demon into the desert.  And Jesus asked him, "What is Your name?"  And he said, "Legion," for many demons had entered him .  They were imploring Him not to command them to go into the abyss (Luke 8: 28-31).  

Jesus has arrived on the scene because this man's plight, his utter lost-ness in the context of a terrible demonic assault upon his soul; his very human-ness had come to God's attention.  The person he was, was fighting for the God-given autonomy to choose life over death.  

Jesus knew the names of the demons.  They confessed who Jesus, was acknowledging His authority as the Son of God.  They also had an awareness of Father-God's predetermined timetable which they articulated in a clever plea, trading upon this knowledge. 
And they cried out, saying, "What business do we have with each other, Son of God?  Have you come here to torment us before the time?" (Matthew 8: 29)  In the same way, demons and evil spirits today, know that time is short. 

Another bit of knowledge revealed to us from these passages in both Luke and Matthew, who recorded the same event, is this.  Jesus allowed the demons to reveal where, by Jesus' authority demons would likely end up after such a clash in the context of exorcism.  And they were imploring Him not to command them to go away into the abyss (Luke 8: 31). 
Into the abyss from where there is no escape or return. Today this same authority is among the gifts, tools, and weapons God has given us as children of the Most High God, confirming Jesus' promise that after He left planet earth for Heaven, to be seated at the right hand of God the Father in all victory, He would not abandon those left on earth... as orphans.  Truly, truly, I say to you, he who believes in Me, the works that I do, he will do also and greater works than these he will do; because I go to the Father (John 14: 12).  We know that we are of God, and that the whole world lies in the power of the evil one (1st John 5: 19). 
And because we "know the rest of the story," we additionally pray that all demonic back ups and replacements be  equally destroyed. Jesus did not actually need to ask the names of the demons.   He knows everything.  But Jesus was providing an object lesson.  He was demonstrating to his followers, among them Luke and Matthew, and then down through the ages to us as preserved in His holy word, the key elements of how an exorcism is to be performed.  So that at the name of Jesus EVERY KNEE WILL BOW, of those who are in heaven and on earth and under the earth and that every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father (Philippians 2: 10, 11). 

At the end there was a wonderful conversion told with very few words but enormously rich in the image evoked of a radical transformation.  The people went out to see what had happened; and they came to Jesus, and found the man from whom the demons had gone out, sitting down at the feet of Jesus, clothed and in his right mind and they became frightened (Luke 8: 35).  

Does that thrill you as it does me?  I can see this man sitting at Jesus feet, his head resting against His Saviors' thigh, content to be basking in the love and grace of such trans-formative healing.  

As with all true conversions the man was then ready to follow Jesus.  He wanted to share what he'd been given.  But the man from whom the demons had gone out was begging Him that he might accompany Him; but He sent him away saying, "Return to your house and describe what great things God has done for you."  This man, the least of all, by virtue of his rescue was to be a powerful witness and missionary; a testament to the power of Jesus Christ. I'm looking forward to meeting him in Heaven.  Jesus said: The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly (John 10: 10). 
Another example is the woman who was about to be stoned for adultery at a time when the Pharisees hoped to catch Jesus in such a way that he too could be condemned.  Jesus sees this woman; her heart and her regret.  He reaches out to her, knowing everything about her and loving her none-the-less.  Jesus intervenes in her circumstances to convict those that were trying to destroy her.  His healing love touched and changed her, opening the door for a fresh start.  And demonstrating that these fresh starts, new life is what He offers and what we need.  Psalm 103 says that when we confess our sins God removes our sins as far as the east is from the west and that is just what Jesus' love did for this woman.  Even at the point of death, in Jesus all things can become new. It is never too late.  NEVER.  Read John 8: 1-11.  And Jesus said, "I do not condemn you, either.  Go.  From now on sin no more (John 8: 11b).   

Another conversion.  At the point of death, in the very last moments of life, Jesus said to the one thief that acknowledged who He was, as side by side they hung upon the tortured Roman crosses, these powerful  and significant words.  Truly I say to you, today you shall be with Me in paradise (Luke 23: 43)  Read the full story Luke 23: 39-43. 

The apostle Paul is another example of a transformed human being whose life was radically altered in a supernatural Jesus-encounter.  In writing about his experience Paul quotes Jesus... a description of what happens when each of us is saved and where we then take our first steps as children of the Most High.  " open their eyes so that they may turn from darkness to light and from the dominion of Satan to God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins and an inheritance among those who have been sanctified by faith in Me."  Acts 26: 18. 

For He rescued us from the domain of darkness, and transferred us to the kingdom of His beloved Son, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins (Colossians 1: 13).

And how do we obtain this salvation?  Scripture is very clear that... Whoever will call on the name of the Lord will be saved (Romans 10: 13).  For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life (John 3: 16). 

...that if you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved; for with the heart a person believes, resulting in righteousness and with the mouth he confesses, resulting in salvation (Romans 10: 9, 10). 
Therefore there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.  For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has set you free form the law of sin and of death (Romans 8: 1, 2). 

You can pray right now and ask Jesus for this new life.  Confess your sin and tell Him you need him.  He'll be found. 

Read my book Wood's End and share your thoughts!

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Wednesday, August 13, 2014


Is it by choice that we seek to settle the question of who we are in  relationship to a Sovereign Creator?  King Solomon wrote: He has also set eternity in the hearts of man (Ecclesiastes 3: 11a). 

Settling this question, even when a person decides by default to deny the existence of God, is an imperative of the human design as embedded in our physicality as the operational need  for oxygen. Erich Fromm believed that freedom (that God-given right of free will) was a source of conflict for all human beings.  On the one hand we need freedom and long for it on many levels.  On the other, the infantile core of who we are, drives some to reject personal freedom and by our choices we narrow our world.  Embracing freedom is healthy.  Contriving life events that constrain freedom through the use of escape mechanisms is the root of what makes us unhealthy. Fear of death, that we must face the inevitable decay of our bodies and believe this is inherently unfair, moves us toward settling this question of who God is.    

 For mysterious reasons we cannot fully comprehend, Planet Earth is ground zero for God's plan to play out in great complexity; past, present, and future. The Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit decided to reveal themselves; that humanity would know and be known by God.  This was not going to be possible without freedom; the ability for human beings to make decisions for themselves, to self-determine a course of action.  God placed a homing device in the hearts of man.  That homing device is the stamp of eternity - where we came from and where we will end up - hopefully in His glorious presence.  By this imperative there are two basic choices. 
The first choice is to escape the vagaries and anxiety of the unknown. Facing the unknown is to accept the responsibilities of freedom. The mystery of what we don't know is anxiety provoking and we are repeatedly and in many ways invited to run from this imperative, to numb, deny, and construct an alternate reality.  And yet, the very core of who we are, how we were designed, calls us to recognize the conscious and subconscious need for answers.  In every sense it is a kind of responsibility we cannot escape - to reconcile, to the best of our limited ability, the inevitable end of physical life; death and decay.  As we should, we are offended by death.  Evil is to constrain life.  For life to be fully engaged our Creator bequeathed us, by right and  design, certain life-faculties.  These are autonomy, mobility, free will, sentience, awareness, the ability to grow, learn from our mistakes and acquire knowledge.  Only by God's grace does knowledge become wisdom.

So... our first choice is to run from freedom.  To ignore the great mystery of the unknown that invites us to grow.  Who is God?  If we decide we can have God on our terms, a God of our own making, we have created an alternate reality that narrows life and denies the mystery.          

The second is to embrace the unknown.  To recognize that there is a vast dimensional universe which co-exists with ours and which prayer impacts.  And... there are specific places called heaven and hell.  But we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen; for the things which are seen are temporal, but the things which are not seen are eternal (2nd Corinthians 4: 18).  

We do not turn and run from the mystery.  We draw near to Jesus Christ even though much of what we know from the hurts of life, all the bitter reality of physical death and decay, may tell us that doing so isn't safe.  Embracing Jesus Christ by faith means that the mystery of what we don't know and can't quantify deepens and opens us; providing a peace that transcends the physical. 

Describing the angst of this dynamic the Psalmist comes to understand.  You have enclosed me behind and before, and laid your hand upon me.  Such knowledge is too wonderful for me; it is too high, I cannot attain to it (Psalm 139: 5, 6).   
In the legalistic first we will adopt the form of a religion or perhaps we'll construct a kind of philosophy for navigating the unknowns of life. We fabricate a reality that tells us we will have answers that will sustain us toward the great unknowns of life after death - eternity. We would be wrong. 
In the later choice God's Son, Jesus Christ, adopts us for the very reason that we are willing to draw near to God, opening our hearts to the mystery of what we don't know and discovering a  personal and authentic relationship.  We move from crisis to knowledge.  From knowledge to wonder - revelation, sharper intuition and personal insight being willing to let His word and His presence challenge us, to change us, even when doing so makes us uncomfortable.  We are not embracing... rather we are embraced by the wonder, the manifestation, the mystery of God's love.  We let go and let God - experiencing His love because He first loved us.  We receive His gifts, and find that many times we are mercy zapped by the wonder that can't, for now, be fully understood.  Therefore, having been justified by faith we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom also we have obtained our introduction by faith into this grace in which we stand; and we exult in hope of the glory of God (Romans 5: 1, 2).    
As part of God's grand design, because grace is not possible without it, He gave us the gift to self-determine a course of action.  Even as evil seeks to enslave mankind, and we see this all about us, God guards free will and the internal filters, the guarding and checking mechanisms, that allow us to use critical thinking skills in defense of life and goodness.  In defense of the weak and the beleaguered we pray for healing; for a restoration of these necessary working attributes in those who have suffered the loss of them.  This defining empathy draws each to embrace ministry. We see that on many fronts strongholds are given over to evil and that God's goodness is the invader, the vanquisher of evil.  We take up arms.  We act.  We devote ourselves to intercessory prayer and all the while God loves and teaches us to love.     

Regardless of any "religious label" where choice and autonomy is constrained, what is experienced is the counterfeit. Father God is about setting us free from the slavery of sin and death and for this He sent His son, Jesus Christ into the world that by Him, we may have eternal life as we step into the mystery of what we don't know.  Any family, person, system or government that steels personal autonomy, attempts to destroy liberty, freedom of thought; those God-given human attributes.  These actions are evil.  Satan wants none of God's vanquishing power to work through faithful believers, inclined to pick up the torch, shinning truth into dark places.  In Him was life, and the life was the Light of men.  The Light shines in the darkness and the darkness did not comprehend it (John 1: 5).   
Scripture identifies believers as aliens on planet earth.  The church militant is the invader. Evil is the facilitator and the perpetrator, building toxic strongholds whose aim is victimization, toxic power, early death, wars etc.  Cast from heaven after the war in heaven satan is almost surprised to find itself on planet earth "ground zero" - and the Bible describes this war. 
And there was war in heaven, Michael and his angels waging war with the dragon.  The dragon and his angels waged war, and they were not strong enough, and there was no longer a place found for them in heaven.  And the great dragon was thrown down, the serpent of old who is called the devil and Satan, who deceives the whole world; he was thrown down to the earth, and his angels were thrown down with him (Revelation 12: 7-9). 
And when the dragon saw that he was thrown down to the earth, he persecuted the woman who gave birth to the male child...  (Revelation 12: 13)
Landing on planet earth was not the destination that Satan expected when he first lay the groundwork for demonic  rebellion.  Satan's massive ego told him he could be God; in fact had every right to be God.  But since this fallen angel is a created being, like us, this was never possible revealing the depth and degree of sins delusion.  We are told that a third of the angels rebelled with Satan and were cast to earth with him.   

Those good angels that won this war play three roles and are organized by God into troops and armies.  They are warriors, ministering / protecting angels, and lastly messenger angels.  The angels who won this war in heaven far outnumber those that fell to earth in a very changed condition. What a rude awakening.  It's important to remember that satan and these fallen angels rebelled amid the perfection of heaven; being in the presence of God.  When we rebel it is an entirely different scenario since we can only guess at what will be missed if we fail to love and trust Jesus Christ.  For this reason Jesus stands ready and willing to receive us when we turn to Him in repentance, desiring to know Him.   For whoever will call on the name of the Lord will be saved (Romans 10: 13).   

Because this war, transferred to Earth and is still going on, God's army of angels are actively engaged on the side of human beings. 

We know that we are of God, and that the whole world lies in the power of the evil one.  And we know that the Son of God  has come, and has given us understanding so that we may know Him who is true and we are in Him who is true, in His Son Jesus Christ.  This is the true God and eternal life.  Little children, guard yourselves from idols (1st John 5: 19, 20). 

These good, uncorrupted angels, doing the will of God and under His rule and assignment, are sent forth for our benefit.  Speaking of believers in relationship to angels the author of Hebrews asked the rhetorical question.  Are they not all ministering spirits, sent out to render service for the sake of those who inherit salvation? (Hebrews 1: 14).  And of the angels He says; Who makes His angels winds, and His ministers a flame of fire (Hebrews 1: 7). For He will give His angels charge over you to guard you in all your ways (Psalm 91: 11).   It's okay to ask God to send these angels to help you in whatever conflict you are engaged in.  We don't pray to angels, but it is perfectly okay to ask the Lord Jesus Christ for this specific kind of help.  Though we are in this war, we prefer peace, and pray for peace. (Psalm 120)    
We don't know when this war in heaven exactly happened.  It would have taken place before Genesis chapter three.  We can deduce this because, when we are first introduced to satan in the clash between good and evil, for the hearts and souls of mankind he is already in the Garden working to snare Eve by temptation and entrap Adam by greed and pride.  Now the serpent was more crafty than any beast of the field which the Lord God had made.  And he said to the woman...  (Genesis 3: 1, 2a).   
Satan will ultimately fail.  Let's not forget.  Every day, in countless ways and by numerous means, by divine calling and eternal right, men, women and children fight battles and win.  God's Light overcomes the darkness.  In the film, God's not Dead, I loved seeing the list of cases that Christian college students filed and won when they were denied free speech rights on campuses across this country. In the context of how this war is waged and won through believers there is a varied fabric that is each, according to calling and geography, what is learned from experiential suffering and loss, in the exercise of talents and gifts, in the fight to overcome at multiple levels and circumstances - each and every role is equally valid. God is creative... we need only look into the faces of a crowd to guess how much He loves diversity.  There are commonalities, but each face is different. How does he do this?  I want to ask when I get to heaven.    
The basic fear script, perhaps all fear, centers on powerlessness over the physical death of the body.   
Therefore, since the children share in flesh and blood, He Himself likewise also partook of the same, that through death He might render powerless him who had the power of death, that is, the devil (Hebrews 2: 14). 
And a verse I stand on in deliverance. 
Have this attitude in yourselves which was also in Christ Jesus, who, although He existed in the form of God, did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, taking the form of a bond-servant, and being made in the likeness of men.  Being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.  For this reason also, God highly exalted Him, and bestowed on Him the name which is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee will bow, of those who are in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and that every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father (Philippians 2: 5-11). 
About our conflicts on Planet Earth and how we might respond to them in courage and with character, I like what J.R.R. Tolkien wrote in his book: Return of the King.  I like to be reminded of this valuable point made by a talented writer who let us see his humanity in what was poured into his work.   
"It is not our part to master all the tides of the world, but to do what is in us for the succor of those years wherein we are set, up-rooting the evil in the fields that we know, so that those who live after may have clean earth to till.  What weather they shall have is not ours to rule."  J.R.R. Tolkien. 

I like to close with a verse.  So many of you are in countries that experience turmoil and so I imagine you might not have a Bible handy.  For this reason I try and put an entire passage in place in the knowledge that God's word has the power to heal and nourish your heart.  God bless all of you; now over 90,000; most in the last two years.  I may not meet you in this life, but I'll see you in that glorious place called heaven where no tear ever falls.  We love Jesus!  And so together, we'll rejoice. 
Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you at the proper time, casting all your anxiety on Him, because He cares for you.  Be of sober spirit, be on the alert.  Your adversary, the devil, prowls around like a roaring lion seeking someone to devour.  But resist him, firm in your faith, knowing that the same experiences of suffering are being accomplished by your brethren who are in the world.  After you have suffered for a little while, the God of all grace, who called you to His eternal glory in Christ, will Himself perfect, confirm, strengthen and establish you.  To Him be dominion forever and ever.  Amen (1st Peter 5: 6-11). 

Another Blog that might hold some interest...
Books by, Alexandra Clair.
For download on Nook and Kindle; soft cover Amazon
WOOD'S END (fiction)
THE YEAR BETWEEN THE WOOD (sequel to Wood's End)
DISCERNING SPIRITS: Visionary Gifts in Practice