Audio: Chapter 16 "The Keys of Heaven"
Chapter 16 “The Keys of Heaven”
I will give you the keys
of the kingdom of heaven . . .
Jesus gave us the keys of heaven to “bind up” the evil and “loose” the good. “I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven; and whatever you shall bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatever you shall loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven” (Matt. 16:19).
Remove the evil. Find a verse concerning what you want to remove. When someone is “bound” in sin, you must first bind that “strong man” or sin, which has a hold of the person you are praying for. Search for the verse that you can pray. Here is the principle: “But no one can enter the strong man’s house . . . unless he first binds the strong man . . .” (Mark 3:27). Bind and break the cords of sin that is controlling the person being held captive. “His own iniquities will capture the wicked, and he will be held with the cords of his sin” (Prov. 5:22).
Replace the evil with good. This is very important! “When the unclean spirit goes out of a man, it passes through waterless places seeking rest, and not finding any, it says, ‘I will return to my house from which I came.’ And when it comes, it finds it swept and put in order. Then it goes and takes along seven other spirits more evil than itself, and they go in and live there; and the last state of that man becomes worse than the first” (Luke 11:24–26).
If you fail to replace. If you fail to replace what you have removed, it will become worse than before you prayed. You must always replace something evil with something good. This is one reason so many who go on diets actually get fatter. Experts say that they stop eating all the bad, or try not to eat at all. However, they never replace what has been taken away with something good, like prayer, going for a walk, exercising, or eating something else that is good for them. Another example might be when someone has a very oily face. She scrubs it with soap and maybe puts alcohol on it to dry up the oil. Then after a few hours it’s greasier than ever! Dermatologists will tell you that you must replace the oil you have removed with a small dab of lotion.
Replace the lies with the truth. The truth is only found in His Word. Unless what you hear, read, or what someone tells you matches up with the principles in God’s Word, it is a lie!
Replace the “arm of the flesh” with the “Lord.” Replace trusting in “the arm of the flesh” (yourself, a friend, whomever) with trusting in the Lord. “Finally, be strong in the Lord, and in the strength of His might” (Eph. 6:10).
Replace running away with running to Him! “God is our refuge and our strength, a very present help in time of trouble” (Ps. 46:1). Run to the book of Psalms! Read Psalms (and Proverbs) every day. Read the Psalm that corresponds to the day of the month plus every 30th Psalm to the end of the book, then read the chapter of Proverbs that corresponds with the date (e.g., on the 5th of the month you would read Psalms 5, 35, 65, 95, 125 and Proverbs chapter 5.) An easy way to remember is to write where to turn at the end of each Psalm (e.g., at the end of the 6th Psalm you would write “36,” at the end of 36 you would write “66.” When you get to Psalm 126 you would write “Prov. 6.”) Since Psalm 119 is so long it can be reserved for the 31st of the month.
As a member of our Restoration Fellowship, you can also go to our Daily Devotional on our website to be reminded of the Psalms and Proverbs for the day. Go to RMIEW.com to join!
Replace crying out to another with crying out to Him! He promises to hear you and to lift you up immediately! You must cry out! Don’t think to yourself, “Well, God hasn’t helped me in the past!” If He didn’t help, it’s simply because you didn’t ask. “Ask and it shall be given you; seek and you shall find” (Matt. 7:7).
Preparing for War
Put on your armor daily as described in Ephesians 6:10–18.
The schemes of the devil. “Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of His might. Put on the full armor of God, that you may be able to stand firm against the schemes of the devil” (Eph. 6:10–11). Remember who the real enemy is: Satan, not your husband.
The full armor of God. “For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places. Therefore, take up the full armor of God, that you may be able to resist in the evil day” (Eph. 6:12–13). You must resist the fear that causes you to run away or give up; stand firm, and having done everything, continue to stand firm. Psalm 37 is good to pray if you are plagued with fear.
Stand firm. “Stand firm therefore, having girded your loins with truth . . .” (Eph. 6:14). People talk about “stepping out in faith.” It may be best to stop moving and just stand firm! It may be the difference between trusting and tempting God. Sometimes we feel like we are taking a “step of faith,” but we are actually throwing ourselves off a cliff, as Satan told Jesus to do.
Many times we should not be taking a “step” of faith but rather “stand” still in our faith. Our convictions should enable us to “stand” and believe for what is right. If we move by taking a “step” of faith, we could be falling off a cliff. If God brings adversity into our lives, our stand will be the testimony. Yet, as you will see later in this lesson, sometimes we are asked to step out and walk on water, as Peter was asked to do. Discernment is needed here. One rule that may help is the amount of urgency. Usually our “flesh” brings about urgency; God usually says to wait.
His righteousness. “. . . and having put on the breastplate of righteousness . . .” (Eph. 6:14). God is talking about His righteousness, not yours. He tells us in His Word that our righteousness is nothing but “filthy rags” (Isa. 64:6).
Walk in peace. “And having shod your feet with the preparation of the gospel of peace . . .” (Eph. 6:15). You can claim the promise in Matthew 5: “Blessed are the peacemakers!” Be peaceful with everyone at all times!
The shield of faith. “In addition to all, taking up the shield of faith with which you will be able to extinguish all the flaming missiles of the evil one” (Eph. 6:16). You must have faith—not in yourself, someone, or something else like a judge or a shelter, but faith in God alone! Circumstance has nothing to do with faith. Believe His Word alone for the truth about your situation.
Helmet of salvation. “And take the helmet of salvation” (Eph. 6:17). You must be saved; you must be one of His children to really win a difficult spiritual battle. It’s as easy as talking to God right now. Just tell Him in your own words that you need Him now. Ask Him to make Himself real to you. Give Him your life, a life that is messed up, and ask the Lord to make it new.
Tell Him that you will do whatever He asks, since He is now your Lord. Ask Him to “save you” from your sins and from the eternity that is waiting for all those who do not accept His gift of eternal life. Thank Him for His death on the cross, the death that He died for you. You can now believe that you will no longer live alone; God will always be with you, and you will spend eternity in Heaven.
Sword of the Spirit. “Take . . . the sword of the Spirit which is the word of God” (Eph. 6:17). This is exactly what we have been teaching: use His Word for a battle that will be won. When the battle is the Lord’s, the victory is ours! Write down on 3x5 cards the Scriptures you need to help in your battle. Keep them with you at all times in your purse. When you feel an attack coming on, like fear, read the verses that pertain to fear. (See Romans 8:15 and Psalm 23 for wonderful verses to attack fear.) Cry out to God. Stand firm in faith. “Be still and know that I am God” (Ps. 46:10).
Pray at all times. “With all prayer and petition pray at all times in the Spirit” (Eph. 6:18). Pray from deep in your Spirit. Have designated times of prayer three times a day (as Daniel did). That was one of the reasons he was thrown into the lions’ den. Don’t worry, but remember that even if you are in essence thrown into the lions’ den, God will shut all the lions’ mouths!
Be on the alert. “And with this in view, be on the alert with all perseverance and petition for all the saints” (Eph. 6:18). Pray for another person you know each time fear overwhelms you. “Most gladly therefore, I will rather boast about my weaknesses, that the power of Christ may dwell in me. Therefore I am well content with weaknesses, with insults, with distresses, with persecutions, with difficulties, for Christ’s sake; for when I am weak, then I am strong” (Phil. 12:9–10). After you have prayed for someone, call them and tell them.
Pray for those who persecute you. God also asked that we pray for someone else: our enemies, every one of them. Pray for them and ask God to show you what He wants you to do to bless them. It wasn’t until after Job prayed for his so-called friends that God restored what Job had lost. “And the Lord restored the fortunes of Job when he prayed for his friends, and the Lord increased all that Job had twofold” (Job 42:10). “But I say to you, love your enemies, and pray for those who persecute you.” Jesus goes on to tell you why: “. . . in order that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven” (Matt. 5:44–45).
Know God’s Word
His Word will not come back void. You must know and learn God’s Word. You need to set out to find the blessed promises of God. These principles are from His Word, and when we speak His Word to Him by prayer it will not come back void.
That is His promise to you! “So shall My word be which goes forth from My mouth; it shall not return to Me void (empty), without accomplishing what I desire and without succeeding in the matter for which I sent it” (Isa. 55:11). His desire is that you may overcome the evils in this world. You must do what God Himself guarantees. Accept no imitations or counterfeits.
Search for His principles throughout your Bible. Seek understanding. God says if you seek you will find. God’s Word gives wisdom. Looking deeper into the meaning gives you a better understanding. “And I say to you, ask, and it shall be given to you; seek, and you shall find; knock, and it shall be opened to you” (Luke 11:9). And once you know what to do, then you can apply it to your life. “By wisdom a house is built, and by understanding it is established; and by knowledge the rooms are filled with all precious and pleasant riches” (Prov. 24:3–4).
Read His Word with delight. Mark the verses in your Bible. “Delight yourself in the Lord, and He will give you the desires of your heart” (Ps. 37:4). Take the time to mark verses for quick reference in times of distress (or when leading another to the truth). In Luke 4:4–10, how did Jesus answer when Satan was trying to tempt Him? “And Jesus answered him, ‘It is written . . . It is written . . . for it is written . . .’” Use a colored pencil of a specific color for different promises.
Memorize. Meditate day and night. Memorize the promises you find so that the blessed assurance of them may sink into your soul. You must learn and know God’s promises if you ever want to depend on Him alone. “But his delight is in the law of the Lord, and in His law he meditates day and night. And he will be like a tree firmly planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in its season, and its leaf does not wither; and in whatever he does, he prospers” (Ps. 1:2).
No matter how bad things seem, God is in control. Our comfort is in knowing that God is in control—we are not and Satan certainly is not. “Simon, Simon, behold, Satan has demanded permission to sift you like wheat; but I have prayed for you, that your faith may not fail; and you, when once you have turned again, strengthen your brothers” (Luke 22:31–32).
Sifting. Jesus knew the outcome, yet Peter still had to go through the “sifting” to be ready for God’s calling on his life. Will you be ready when He calls you? “And let endurance have its perfect result, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing” (James 1:4).
Take your thoughts captive. Your battle will be won or lost in your mind. “We are destroying speculations and every lofty thing raised up against the knowledge of God, and we are taking every thought captive to the obedience of Christ, and we are ready to punish all disobedience, whenever your obedience is complete” (2 Cor. 10:5–6). Don’t play into the enemies’ hands. Don’t entertain evil thoughts. Take them captive!
The Power of Three
Two or three gathered together. Find two other women who will pray with you. “So it came about when Moses held his hand up, that Israel prevailed, and when he let his hand down, Amalek [the enemy] prevailed. But Moses’ hands were heavy. Then they took a stone and put it under him, and he sat on it; and Aaron and Hur supported his hands, one on one side and one on the other. Thus his hands were steady until the sun set” (Exod. 17:11–12).
Find two other women to hold you up so you won’t become too weary. Pray and ask God to help you find two others who are like-minded. You can find an Encouragement Partner on our website.
The power of three. “And if one can overpower him who is alone, two can resist him. A cord of three strands is not quickly torn apart” (Eccl. 4:12).
To lift the other up. “Two are better than one because they have a good return for their labor. For if either of them falls, the one will lift up his companion. But woe to the one who falls when there is not another to lift him up” (Eccl. 4:9–10).
He is there with you. “For where two or three have gathered together in My name, there I am in their midst” (Matt. 18:20). “Then Nebuchadnezzar the king was astounded and stood up in haste; he responded and said to his high officials, ‘Was it not three men we cast bound into the midst of the fire?’ They answered and said to the king, ‘Certainly, O king.’ He answered and said, ‘Look! I see four men loosed and walking about in the midst of the fire without harm, and the appearance of the fourth is like a son of the gods!’” (Dan. 3:24). You are never alone!
Agreement. “Again I say to you, that if two of you agree on earth about anything that they may ask, it shall be done for them by My Father who is in heaven” (Matt. 18:19). When you are wrestling with peace about something, call someone who believes with you and pray in agreement.
Standing in the gap. “And I searched for a man among them who should build up the wall and stand in the gap before Me for the land, that I should not destroy it; but I found no one” (Ezek. 22:30).
Pray for one another. “Therefore, confess your sins to one another, and pray for one another, so that you may be healed. The effective prayer of a righteous man can accomplish much” (James 5:16). Also, confession to a like-minded woman is the best way to obtain a pure heart.
Make your confession. Ezra knew what to do when praying: “Now while Ezra was praying and making confession, weeping and prostrating himself before the house of God . . .” (Ezra 10:1). Keep confessing the truth.
When do you give up praying? Never! We have a wonderful example of the fact that God does not always mean “no” when we don’t have answered prayer.
Your faith is great. The Canaanite woman continued to beg Jesus for her daughter’s healing. The result: “. . . Then Jesus answered and said to her, ‘O woman, your faith is great; be it done for you as you wish.’ And her daughter was healed at once” (Matt. 15:2). When we pray for something that is clearly in God’s will and it seems to have gone unheard, or we think He has said “no,” God may simply mean for us to keep on asking, waiting, pleading, fasting, believing, weeping, and laying ourselves prostate before Him!
The battle for his soul. Are you unequally yoked? The real battle in your home is the battle for your husband’s soul! Are you unequally yoked? Remember that you have the promise that “. . . you will be saved, you and all your household” (Acts 11:14). Remember, a husband is sanctified through his wife. “For the unbelieving husband is sanctified through his wife . . . For how do you know, O wife, whether you will save your husband?” (1 Cor. 7:14–17).
To find a prayer partner as a part of our member benefits, go to our website, RMIEW.com.
Prayer and Fasting
Prayer and fasting. Jesus told His apostles, “But this kind does not go out except by prayer and fasting” (Matt. 17:21). If you have been praying fervently and have checked to see if your ways are pure, then fasting may be called for. There are different lengths of fasts:
Three-day fast. Esther fasted “for favor” from her husband the king. She fasted three days “for favor.” “Go, assemble all the Jews who are found in Susa, and fast for me; do not eat or drink for three days, night or day. I and my maidens also will fast in the same way” (Esther 4:16). This fast (or the seven-day fast) has another benefit for those who are contentious or who can never stop talking: you will become too weak to argue!!
Day fast. The day fast begins in the evening after your evening meal. You drink only water until the 24-hour period is complete, then you eat the next day’s evening meal. You fast and pray during this time for your petition. This fast can be done a couple of times a week.
Seven-day fast. There is a fast that is seven days (seven days seems to represent completion). “Now it came about when I heard these words, I sat down and wept and mourned for days; and I was fasting and praying before the God of heaven” (Neh. 1:4). Usually it will be during great sorrow that you are “called” to fast for seven days.
My knees are weak from fasting. When you are hungry or weak, use this time for prayer and reading His Word. “My knees are weak from fasting; and my flesh has grown lean, without fatness” (Ps. 109:24).
In order to be seen. Keep as quiet about your fast as possible. During the fast, you are to be silent, never complaining or drawing attention to yourself. “And whenever you fast, do not put on a gloomy face as the hypocrites do, for they neglect their appearance in order to be seen fasting by men. Truly I say to you, they have their reward in full. But you, when you fast, anoint your head, and wash your face so that you may not be seen fasting by men, but by your Father who is in secret; and your Father who sees in secret will repay you” (Matt. 6:16–18).
Many write me because they say they can’t fast. If it is for medical reasons or pregnancy, then fast “any good thing.” If, however, you think you can’t fast because you are working—you are selling yourself and God short!
When the battle has been won, stand and see. Once you know that you have prayed, as we have been reading throughout Scripture, then do as it says: “You need not fight in this battle; station yourselves, stand and see the salvation of the Lord on your behalf” (2 Chron. 20:17).
No one should boast. God says we are a stubborn people. When a battle is won or when the war is over, let us only boast in Him. Let us remain humble. “For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not as a result of works, that no one should boast” (Eph. 2:8–9).
“Do not say in your heart . . . ‘Because of my righteousness the Lord has brought me in to possess this land,’ but because of the wickedness . . . that the Lord is dispossessing them before you. It is not for your righteousness or for the uprightness of your heart that you are going to possess their land, but because of the wickedness of these . . . for you are a stubborn people . . . You have been rebellious against the Lord” (Deut. 9:4–7).
We all have sinned and come short of the glory of God. Let us remember this when the battle is won. Our righteousness is nothing but filthy rags. Glory in Him!
Intensity of your trials is a sign that you are close to victory. Your trials may intensify when you are close to gaining the victory. “For this reason, rejoice, O heavens and you who dwell in them. Woe to the earth and the sea, because the devil has come down to you, having great wrath, knowing that he has only a short time” (Rev. 12:12).
You must battle in the proper way. Do what God says; it will work! Don’t try to defend yourself; it creates war and hard hearts. “To sum up, let all be harmonious, sympathetic, brotherly, kindhearted, and humble in spirit; not returning evil for evil, or insult for insult, but giving a blessing instead; for you were called for the very purpose that you might inherit a blessing” (1 Pet. 3:8). Make sure you go the extra mile and bless your husband. Ask God how He wants you to bless him.
This is a spiritual battle. “Do you think that I cannot appeal to My Father, and He will at once put at My disposal more than twelve legions of angels” (Matt. 26:52). Our heavenly Father will call on the angels to battle for your behalf in the “heavenlies” where the “real battle” is waging. “For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of wickedness in the heavenly places” (Eph. 6:12).
Your husband is not the enemy. “Do you not know when you present yourselves to someone as slaves of obedience, you are slaves of the one whom you obey, either of sin resulting in death, or of obedience resulting in righteousness?” (Rom. 6:16). A person in sin is really just a slave of the devil.
We may think the one who sins is awful, but so are we, if we continue to react with vengeance. (Remember, that belongs to Him alone!) “For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war according to the flesh, for the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh, but divinely powerful for the destruction of fortresses” (2 Cor. 10:4). Let’s get at the root cause rather than just the symptom.
Be committed. Be committed regardless of the consequences and leave the results to God. “If it be so, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the furnace of blazing fire; and He will deliver us out of your hand, O king. But even if He does not, let it be known to you, O king, that we are not going to serve your gods or worship the golden image that you have set up” (Dan. 3:17).
These boys believed that God would deliver them, but regardless of the consequences, they were resolved to obey the Lord anyway. Even if they should die in the furnace, they would do what they knew God wanted them to do and they left the results with God. The boys didn’t die, but the cords that bound them were removed through their walking in the fire. Do you have cords (of sin or worry) that are binding you? God will deliver. It’s His battle! Call on the God of hosts; He is the warrior.
Personal commitment: to use the “keys” God has given me. “Based on what I have learned in Scripture, I commit to using the ‘keys’ that God has given me to fight the spiritual battle that rages before me. I refuse to fight in the flesh, but will instead use prayer and fasting that are ‘divinely powerful’ for the destruction of fortresses that are against my marriage, husband, family, and me.”
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