“Dear children, the last hour is here. You have heard that the Antichrist is coming, and already many such antichrists have appeared. From this we know that the last hour has come.” 1 John 2:18 (NLT)
To impact our world for Christ we must be aware of the Antichrist. In 1 John 4:3, the Apostle John calls this the spirit of the Antichrist. This is an evil spirit of deception that is hard at work in our world. The Antichrist spirit denies and lies against key truths. It says there is no God, denies the virgin birth, denies Jesus is God, denies that Jesus is the Messiah, denies the resurrection of our Lord and denies the Bible as God's authoritative Word.
Although this spirit is working against us, we can learn to overcome it and advance God’s truth everywhere. For instance, our public schools and universities have opened the door wide to the Antichrist spirit. Once we recognize the schemes of this spirit and the influence it tries to gain over the atmosphere we can overpower it.
In prayer I received a picture of students taking authority over the Antichrist spirit each time they walked into a classroom by quietly commanding, “Antichrist spirit, go in Jesus’ name.” I shared this strategy with a group of students and encouraged them to take their authority in Christ The next week one of my students attending University of Michigan told me this incredible story.
She was taking an American literature course which was a three hour class once a week. The teacher was unceasingly antagonistic against the Bible and the Christian faith. The subject came up often because American literature is so full of Judeo-Christian influence. He often took advance to create a feeding frenzy in class.
As this class began, the subject of Christianity came up in the subject matter they we studying. As the professor began his rant against the Christian faith, this student thought, “Oh no, I have to sit through another three hours of this!” Then she remembered my challenge. She knew this was the Antichrist spirit taking control in the class. Instead of allowing this evil spirit freedom, she decided to take control. She quietly commanded the Antichrist spirit to go from the classroom in the name of Jesus.
Just a moment after her command, a student looked at her and said, “What we're studying in so full of the bible and most of us don’t understand it. I know you’re a Christian, I’m not saying I want to become one, but could you help us understand the Bible better so we can understand this author?
In an instant the whole atmosphere of the class changed. For the next three hours, this student, along with two other Christians in the class answered questions and were able to give a bold witness of Christ and share the gospel. The usual twenty minute break in the middle of class came and went unnoticed. Not one student left the classroom for the full three hours! These faithful students were able to flood the atmosphere of a U of M classroom with The Spirit of Truth after taking authority over a spirit of lies.
To advance God’s kingdom we must engage the enemy with the authority granted us by our Lord Jesus Christ. Whether in a classroom, meeting or anywhere, you have the power of God to transform the atmosphere by binding the spirit at work in the children of disobedience and losing the Spirit of Truth.
Don’t forget, have fun messing up the enemies plans.
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“And afterward I will pour out My Spirit upon all flesh; and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, your old men shall dream dreams, your young men shall see visions. Even upon the menservants and upon the maidservants in those days will I pour out My Spirit.”
Joel 2:28-29 (AMP)
When I was an associate pastor at a megachurch there was a change in the senior leadership. It was not going well. Staffers were exiting. The congregation was shrinking. There were internal conflicts, resentments between pastoral staff, and plenty of gossip. It was a mess. The best word I can use to describe our gatherings is “dry”. We tried this program and that program but all seemed lifeless. Everyone seemed only to be going through the motions.
God began to stir my heart to pray and gather together several other like minded. We began to meet at the church early in the morning to seek God.
After some time, the Lord instructing me to wash my pastor's feet during our first service on the upcoming Sunday. I tried to convince myself this thought was from the devil, but to no avail. We were all having a hard time submitting to one another. As the thought would come to me throughout the week, I would try to push it out of my mind.
On Sunday morning as I was brushing my teeth, God’s spoke to my heart. More accurately, yelled at me. His voice raised to a lever in my heart I’d never experienced as He said sternly, “Wash your pastor’s feet!”. I was shaken to the core. I knew I must obey. I called a friend to prepare the bowl of water.
As I stood before hundreds of people at our first service, during my regular slot to give announcements, I informed them I needed to obey God and to please have patience as I do. Without an explanation I approached my pastor on the platform with a bowl of water and a towel. I slowly removed his shoes and socks and proceed to wash his feet over the bowl. I finished and took a sead next to him, each of us staring silently at a bewildered congregation whose eyes were like saucers. Nobody moved. All were like statues. The awkwardness so thick it seemed you could cut it with a knife.
As the entire place lie paralyzed, I feel I needed to do something. I proceeded to the pulpit having no idea of what to say. I opened my mouth. What came out was, “I have washed my pastor’s feed physically, but all of us need to wash his feet spiritually.” As those words proceeded from my mouth, what happened next was shocking.
As I stood staring in awe from the podium, every person in the entire back row (there were about 30 rows of seats) at the very same time, fell to their knees crying out and weeping. The next row followed in the same way. And the next and the next. From the back to the front, row by row, they fell to their knees, cried out and began to weep.
It was an outpouring of the Spirit of God! Then His wave hit the platform. It was tangible. I felt it in my body and at once the entire worship team sprang to life. The entire congregation sprang to life. The Spirit of the Lord filled His body and we came to life. Healings and miraculous sign began to explode. I could tell of many more wonderful things that took place in the days that followed, but space does not permit here.
At that moment I understood. His presence is His program. Without the Anointing we can to nothing. The outpouring of the Spirit of God and the Body of Christ are inseparable like two sides of a coin. It is in the Holy Spirit the Church fulfills the purposes of God.
Oh, children of God, let our cry to Him continue to be “LORD, POUR OUT YOUR SPIRIT!” until we receive His power and glory from heaven upon the church.
“But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.” Acts 1:8 (NIV)
“When the day of Pentecost came, they were all together in one place.Suddenly a sound like the blowing of a violent wind came from heaven and filled the whole house where they were sitting. They saw what seemed to be tongues of fire that separated and came to rest on each of them. All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit enabled them." Acts 2:1-4 (NIV)
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A frequently asked question is, “How can I really know when the Kingdom of God has come?”
Jesus answered this. He revealed tangible proof of the arrival of God’s Kingdom. It can be reduced to one word - Power! Specifically God’s power overthrowing the works of Satan.
This was our Lord’s response when accused of casting out demons by the power of Satan. After countering the ignorance of the accusation he made this statement:
“But if I am casting out demons by the power of God, then the Kingdom of God has arrived among you. For when a strong man like Satan is fully armed and guards his palace, his possessions are safe--until someone even stronger attacks and overpowers him, strips him of his weapons, and carries off his belongings.” Luke 11:20-22 (NLT)
The Lord tells us we can be sure His Kingdom has come because the power of God is driving out Satan. This is tangible and observable. His Kingdom comes as Satan is confronted and overpowered. The Kingdom of God comes to replace the strongholds of the devil. We can pray all day, every day for God’s kingdom to come but until we become violent against the enemy that stands in opposition it will not.
The power of God manifest when the children of God put on the armor of God and violently attack the strongholds of Satan in our lives and others. This enemy is standing his ground between you and the land of God’s promises. Jesus has delegated His power and authority to you to overcome the enemy.
In other words, It is your privilege to bring the Kingdom through spiritual warfare. You must refuse to accept anything contrary to God’s promises in your life. For instance, if you are living in fear, you have to say, “Okay, enough! This nonsense needs to stop” If you’re addicted to pornography, alcohol, lust and other strongholds, you’ll say, “LORD, I’m going to stop this nonsense and I must do it right away. Devil, I’m done. I will live in the blessing. Enough!” If you’re always getting sick, you’ll say, “LORD, this isn’t supposed to be so. I’m not going to accept this suffering. I’m going to live in divine health.” That mindset is most important to violently laying ahold of God’s kingdom.
The reason the Son of God came from heaven to earth was to set you free. His purpose is to utterly destroy and completely dissolve the works the devil has done (John 3:8). Being passive will not release the Kingdom of God. Getting a violent attitude and praying violent prayers releases the strong arm of the the Lord to set you free from all the power of the enemy.
Be encourged. Today is the day for miracles!
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Salvation is a covenant extending beyond the individual believer to include the entire family. Due to the blood covenant made with the blood of Christ, you have tremendous authority to pray for your family to be saved.
God instructed Moses to take one lamb per household. “Announce to the whole community of Israel that on the tenth day of this month each family must choose a lamb or a young goat for a sacrifice, one animal for each household Exodus 12:3 (NLT). Today Christ is our Passover Lamb, giving His life for our redemption.
The believing member has a special place of authority for the other members of the family. It wasn’t a lamb for a person, but for the whole house. When one receives salvation, a special grace is opened to the entire family as well.
We see examples throughout the Bible of righteous people who stood in the gap for the salvation of their families. Noah’s family was spared because of Noah’s relationship with God. God spared Lot through Abraham’s relationship with God. While living in Sodom, Lot was spared from death when the city was destroyed because Abraham engaged in intercessory prayer for his nephew.
In the New Testament, Paul and Silas shared the gospel while imprisoned to the jailor. After inquiring what he must do to be saved, they gave him this promise. “Believe in the Lord Jesus and you will be saved, along with everyone in your household” Acts 16:31 (NLT).
Your position in Christ as a member of that house is able to hold Satan at bay and stir the resources of heaven on behalf of you and your loved ones. Angels now surround your family. The Bible says, “Are not all angels ministering spirits sent to serve those who will inherit salvation?”
Hebrews 1:14 (NIV)
Your prayers on behalf of your family are powerful because by faith you have applied the blood of Christ to the doorposts of your household. You have authority over the accusations of the enemy that keep your loved ones bound. Because of your presence and prayers, the Spirit of Peace moves in for the purpose of healing, deliverance and salvation of your family.
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For the next couple posts, I’d like to discuss what is required of us in order for God’s kingdom to come and what it looks like when it arrives.
For many years I have prayed the Lord’s model prayer daily, “Father, Your Kingdom come. Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.” More recently I have come to realizing my responsibility to enforce this prayer by the power invested in me by Christ.
In the following verse, Jesus reveals a vital element required for the Kingdom of God to invade earth.
“ And from the days of John the Baptist until the present time, the kingdom of heaven has endured violent assault, and violent men seize it by force [as a precious prize—a share in the heavenly kingdom is sought with most ardent zeal and intense exertion].” Matthew 11:12 (AMP)
Without a violent mindset or warfare mentality toward advancing God’s Kingdom progress will not be made. A passive attitude toward anything will achieve nothing. Too often I have found myself to passive toward laying hold of God’s promises for myself and my family.
This lack of zeal makes our prayers become vapid. We merely accept things the way they are and learn to exist with them. This is not the abundant life Jesus purchased for us with His blood on the cross. This is not the life Jesus empowered us to live by His indwelling Spirit.
He has called us to stand up and aggressively fight the enemy in order to advance His Kingdom on earth. We have a spiritual enemy ready to oppose us every step of the way. But through Christ, we are already the winners. If we wage a violent assault against the gates of hell we will destroy all the works of the devil.
A violent attitude says, “Enough is enough. I’m going to get my deliverance. I am going to get freedom. It’s time to get my breakthrough. Whatever is standing between me and receiving my promise must be destroyed. I must enter into my land of promise in Jesus’ name. I cannot continue like this!”
Let us never forget we are in a spiritual warfare. The nation of Israel battled for the blessings in the land God had promised. Today, we must be willing to engage in battle to take the land of God’s promises for ourselves and others.
All of His promises are yes in Christ (II Cor. 1:20). We have been given over 7000 in the Scriptures! We can personally lay hold of every single one. Unfortunately too many are still in layaway, potentially ours. All can become practically ours through violent faith and violent prayers.
Agree with this prayer today. “LORD Jesus, I believe and confess You died for me to have peace of mind, to be healthy and prosper. So whatever is contrary to Your promises in my life must be driven out. And they must go now.” In the name of Jesus I pray. Amen!
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A goal for the 30 days of prayer is that each sponsoring church and ministry along with thier leader would be saturated with prayer throughout the month. Satan is working to cripple these ministries and pastors. We have been given authority by Christ to enforce the kingdom of God against the kingdom of darkeness assuring a victorious church and anointed leaders.
I printed our this list, folded it in half and placed it in the middle of my prayer guide. It naturally opens to it. I have committed to speak out each church and leader by name 3x daily (morning, afternoon and evening). I am praying the prayers on page 36 over them. This only takes a minute or two each time. If hundreds of us are united each day, this will be their best year yet!
1. Accelerate Church Pastor Lester Guest
2. Congregation Zara Avraham Allen Singer
3. The Word of God Phil Tiews
4. Cross and Resurrection Lutheran Pastor Bryan Schindel
5. Ann Arbor Hope Church Pastor Joseph Bae
6. Faith Assembly Pastor Roger Brown
7. Summit International Church Pastor Mike Byrum
8. The Carpenters House Pastor Charles Kincaid
9. Covenant Community Church Val Cline
10. University Christian Fellowship – Chi Alpha EMU Pastor Sarah Jackson
11. Mt. Hermon Baptist Pastor Phil Ferrell
12. United Faith Prayer Center Pastor Ken Rochell
13. Ypsilanti Friends Church Pastor Doug Birch
14. H20 Campus Church – UM Pastor Nino Guarisco
15. International Fellowship of Everyday Saints Mert Hershberger
16. Ekklesia Fellowship International Pastor Victoria James
17. Labor of Love Pastors Charles and Donna Hawthorne
18. HOPE Clinic Cathy Robinson
Please comment below. I'd love to hear what practical prayer strategy you're implementing.
The Kingdom. The Power. The Glory!
Pastor Mike Byrum
I want encourage you to take a few minutes and decide how to position yourself for a fruitful month. I sat down personally as well as with my family to determine what changes we can make this month to establish better habits that will help us grow healthy in body, soul and spirit. We discussed removal and replacement.
They key is to not only focus on the removing part but also on replacement. Removing leaves a void that will be filled with something else. If you don’t take the step of deciding what to put in its place, you may find that void filled with something less fruitful.
I wrote two columns in my 30 day prayer journal. The first column – Remove. The Second column – Replace. As a family we decided to,
“He fills my life with good things. My youth is renewed like the eagle’s!” Psalm 103:5 (NLT)
You are blessed!
Pastor Mike Byrum
P.S. Respond below and keep the conversation going. I’d like the here what you’ve decided to “step it up” over the next 30 days. It’s wonderful to be on this journey with you for the next month.
In the comment section you can cut and paste, copy links or just write your own great ideas and prayers. Thank you for your input. It will make our prayers much more effective.