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







IS WATER THE SPECIAL DOMAIN OF EVIL SPIRITS? I was asked this question / read my answer below and ask: What does an alarmist concept steal?


SLANDER: A Personal Perspective


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