I am a warrior

Fighting the Right Enemy

Finally, be strengthened by the Lord and by His vast strength.  Put on the full armor of God so that you can stand against the tactics of the Devil.  For our battle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the world powers of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavens.  Ephesians 6:10-12

He made me so mad.  So stinking, hopping mad.  He did some really nasty things, things that hurt people, things that hurt me.  And this guy had a face and a name.  He was flesh and blood.

My battle wasn’t against him.

That was sure hard to remember though, because the man was right there in front of me.  I was itching to verbally tear him apart.  I was ready to go to battle against this person.

But my battle wasn’t against him.

And it isn’t against whoever you are mad at, either.  Our battles aren’t against flesh and blood.  They are against Satan and his demons.  Satan sometimes uses people as pawns in his mission to destroy families, churches, friendships, and lives.  But instead of wasting our time slashing at the humans involved, wouldn’t we be more effective warriors if we dropped to our knees in battle against the spiritual forces behind the fight?

Certainly, people sin.  And the sin is sometimes just plain old fleshly choices.  But sin often happens when person is entangled in Satan’s temptation trap again – reaching for the shiny apple that sure looks “right.” 

Just try this:  Envision the person you are hacked off at, irritated with or at odds against.  Say the name of the one who is causing you pain, making terrible choices, fracturing your family or work environment or friendship.  And now, pray for him or her.  Pray that person will be freed from Satan’s lies. 

Go to battle on his or her behalf.  Pray against the spiritual forces ensnaring her, and you, in this conflict.  Pray that God would obliterate the demonic influence, would flood the situation with His Spirit, would bring unity and peace.

Go to war, soldier.  But know your enemy.  It’s not the human you are nose-to-nose with.  It’s Satan who would love to destroy you both.

I am a warrior

I Am a Warrior for the Kingdom: A Joint Post

It was for freedom that Christ set us free; therefore keep standing firm and do not be subject again to a yoke of slavery. Galatians 5:1, NASB

From Jen

Freedom and warfare seem contradictory in our minds. We think of freedom with peace, don’t we? But the truth is freedom has a steep price tag. Our American history shows us that.

The cross shows us that.

Freedom is a precarious position. It is coveted, and sometimes it is hated. Worse, sometimes it is taken for granted. Because of its cost, and of its fragile nature, freedom must be guarded if it is to be kept.

Christ died for the sinner so that they may be free from the bondage of sin. So that I may be free. And so I am. But because I am free I must be on guard. The emancipated sinner has been given armor in which to stand firm under the banner of Christ. Laziness is not endorsed. I cannot drive a stake in the ground and then dose away my life in frivolity. Jesus calls me to be alert, on guard, ready to defend His calling, to fight against the schemes of the devil.

What on earth (and beyond) does that mean?

From Susan

It means that while I am part of a free nation (God’s Redeemed), I have been drafted into the army to protect that freedom.  I must constantly do battle against my flesh and Satan himself to keep from falling back into sin’s slavery.

The thing is, my battle to maintain my freedom isn’t fought on a bloody field with deafening cannon fire.  It’s fought silently, invisibly – in my mind.  What I choose to think about shapes my attitude and determines my emotions.  In turn, what I am feeling guides my actions.  Thought leads to feeling, which leads to action.

For example, take a slight delivered by someone I love.  I can choose to think “He/she was so inconsiderate!  I can’t believe he/she did that to me.”  That makes me feel bitter.  Bitterness makes me speak sharply.  Sharp speech starts a fight.  The fight escalates.  Yelling ensues.  The silent treatment begins as we both harbor our hurts, building up cases against each other, taking into account all those wrongs suffered, choosing not to forgive.  Sin.  Slavery.  There I am, under the yoke.

Or, consider that same slight delivered by someone I love.  I can choose to think: “He/she made a mistake, and I’ve made plenty of those myself.  If I’d done the same thing, I’d want forgiveness and grace.  So, I’m not going to hold it against him/her.  I’ll just forgive right now.”  That makes me feel peaceful. Peacefulness makes me speak kindly.  Kind speech builds up the relationship. There I am, dancing in freedom.

But it’s a battle to get there!  The first choice – the one for bitterness —  is what comes naturally to me.  Only when I consciously make the Spirit-filled choice to fight for my freedom do I get to keep it.  May I fight well in every area of my life, in every corner of my mind, this week.

I have been given a Purpose

Refocused

And he answered, “YOU SHALL LOVE THE LORD YOUR GOD WITH ALL YOUR HEART, AND WITH ALL YOUR SOUL, AND WITH ALL YOUR STRENGTH, AND WITH ALL YOUR MIND; AND YOUR NEIGHBOR AS YOURSELF.” ~ Luke 10:27, NASB

God has purposed life for me. He has had a plan since the foundation of the world. But it isn’t all about me. Life, my life is not all about me; my pursuits, my hopes and dreams. My life isn’t supposed to be centered on myself.

I need to refocus of God’s purpose.

Though all my plans and striving and frustrations, God’s purpose isn’t complicated. In writing, we talk about a hook–the pitch that boils down the entirety of our work, which can range up to three or four hundred pages. Boiling that down to one sentence is one of the hardest exercises for the writer’s brain. But it’s a must–it focuses our work, defines our efforts and refines the final product.

God’s purpose is refined in one statement as well. Love The Lord with all my heart, and love others. In this twin command we gain clear definition. It applies to every aspect of living, and makes clear God’s purpose in that life He has promised. And it defines His vision for my life, which gives me purpose. . . refocused.

I have been given a Purpose

Purpose in “No”

And He has said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness.” Most gladly, therefore, I will rather boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may dwell in me. ~2 Corinthians 12:9, NASB

I was pulling weeds yesterday with thoughts rolling around in my mind. That happens often gardening—my kids scatter (I think because they don’t want roped into that job), and it’s just me, the dirt and God. So, I asked Him about the ‘no’ in my life. It led to an interesting revelation.

People will often say that if you work hard, are persistent, do your best and keep getting better, that eventually you’ll be successful in whatever you’re after. While I don’t think that’s bad advice, I don’t believe it’s universally true, either. It implies that all the people who have unmet dreams didn’t work hard, didn’t try their best, didn’t get better. That’s not true in every case. Well, then, does that mean that whatever those failed attempts were after, that those people were not walking in the will of God? After all, I hear often that “if it is God’s will (whatever you’re trying to accomplish), He will make it happen.” Also true, right? But, as I look around me, and at history, I see it is not always so. Huh.

I presented this to my Lord. He took my mind to the prophets of the Old Testament. You’d think that having a commission from God would guarantee a willing audience, right? Not so much.

Consider Jeremiah, persecuted not only by the people, but by his own priestly kin (Jer. 11:21-23). The rejection didn’t stop with verbal assaults, they sought after his life. Jeremiah cried out to God, saying that speaking His word had caused him great difficulty, and yet he could not hold the Lord’s message inside, because it became like a fire in his heart (Jer. 20:9).

Isaiah was sawn in two.

Ezekiel was martyred in the land of the Chaldeans.

Micah was killed by the hands of Jehoram.

Amos was tortured by Amaziah.

Zechariah was killed by Jehoash.

Commissioned by God? Yes. Accepted by men? No.

Purpose and success are not the same thing. In fact, as was the case with Jeremiah, we see that God says ‘no’ to comfort and acceptance. Perhaps that’s what Paul experienced when he prayed three times for relief for some sort of ailment (we don’t know what it was—which is likely an intentional omission). Strength in weakness doesn’t always look like the underdog-success story. It might look more like persecution. But in the end, those faithful prophets were met with the approval of God. Even if, in this life, they never saw the whole purpose in His ‘no.’

I have been given a Purpose

Take My Life and Let It Be by Frances R. Havergal

This song filled my mind as I thought about purpose yesterday. My prayer for purpose, for vision. For living. If you click here, the link will take you to a youtube version of Chris Tomlin singing. Hope it blesses you today.

  1. Take my life and let it be
    Consecrated, Lord, to Thee.
    *Take my moments and my days,
    Let them flow in endless praise.
  2. Take my hands and let them move
    At the impulse of Thy love.
    Take my feet and let them be
    Swift and beautiful for Thee.
  3. Take my voice and let me sing,
    Always, only for my King.
    Take my lips and let them be
    Filled with messages from Thee.
  4. Take my silver and my gold,
    Not a mite would I withhold.
    Take my intellect and use
    Every pow’r as Thou shalt choose.
  5. Take my will and make it Thine,
    It shall be no longer mine.
    Take my heart, it is Thine own,
    It shall be Thy royal throne.
  6. Take my love, my Lord, I pour
    At Thy feet its treasure store.
    Take myself and I will be
    Ever, only, all for Thee.
I have been given a Purpose

Purpose Beyond Talent: A Guest Post by Dana Romanin

“Now all glory to God, who is able, through his mighty power at work within us, to accomplish infinitely more than we might ask or think.” Ephesians 3:20

I’m going to let you in on a little secret—I’m not a good writer. Well, at least not a good technical writer. My grammar is less than desirable. Commas totally confuse me. I won’t even mention semi-colons; they just plain frighten me. And I don’t even think I’m all that smart. The simplest thing can throw me for a complete loop. Ask anyone that knows me, I give off a “duh” vibe quite often. Of course, that may be because my mind is off in a world of make-believe most of the time. And that, my friend, is why God has chosen me to write, because that way He gets all the glory.

I know He has purpose for me in this writing adventure beyond anything I could ever imagine. Things I could never do in my own strength or knowledge. Look at Moses, he was a murderer and a bad public speaker, but God used him to lead His people out of Egypt to freedom. The Bible is full of examples of how God uses average people to do amazing things. Don’t even get me started on David, Peter, Paul, etc. The list could go on forever.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m getting better at recognizing punctuation errors (except those I may have missed in this post). God has and will continue to give me the tools I need to accomplish His purpose for me. For example, He’s guided me to Grammar Girl.  She has counseled me through many a confusing punctuation rule. So whenever I feel totally perplexed by a dangling participle (I still haven’t quite figured that one out. I think it has something to do with having a bad cold), I remember that God’s in control. His purpose is far greater than mine and as long as I follow Him I’ll be a success. Of course, that success may look differently than I imagined it would, but that’s a whole other post.

Dana lives in a small town in Virginia with rolling hills, mountains, cows, and the occasional peacock. Ever since she was a little girl she’s wanted to make God smile. Back then she read Him jokes from her 101 Bug Jokes book before going to bed. Now she wants to make Him smile by making others smile. Her true passion is to inspire teens to follow God. She enjoys writing young adult novels and serving as a youth group leader. She has three kids and a wonderful husband who all make her smile. You can find her at www.DanaRomanin.com

 

I have been given a Purpose

I Have Been Given a Purpose

 

For indeed while we are in this tent, we groan, being burdened, because we do not want to be unclothed but to be clothed, so that what is mortal will be swallowed up by life. Now He who prepared us for this very purpose is God, who gave to us the Spirit as a pledge. Therefore, being always of good courage, and knowing that while we are at home in the body we are absent from the Lord. —2 Cor. 5:4-6, NASB

Reading this gave me chills. I was doing a search to Biblically define life’s purpose. I was thinking more along the lines of the Westminster Short Catechism—“to glorify God and enjoy Him forever.” Don’t get  me wrong—I think that’s a correct statement, but this verse jolted me right out of the here and now, out of the practical applications that we all crave, and into an eternal mindset. What is God’s purpose for me? Did you see it up there? Right before the pledge, which is the Spirit, we have a statement of intent. He prepared His people to be ‘swallowed up by life.’

Isn’t that glorious? SWALLOWED up by life! LIFE! Not just pinched by it, not nipped, not tickled by it. But swallowed. Completely.

My everyday living and doing varies. Today I’m on my own, which is very rare in my busy household. But today, God’s purpose for me is life. Tomorrow, all four of my children will be around, we’ll be hanging out together at a horse show, and then we’ll come home hot, sweaty and smelling like an arena. But in all that, God’s purpose for me is life. In several days I will see a friend I haven’t seen in a decade. I’ll meet her sweet family, spend several days reacquainting our lives while we revisit sweet memories of the past. And in all that God’s purpose is life.

Not that I will fully know it. Paul said that we groan as we look forward to leaving what is mortal in exchange for the eternal. But in the days in between longing and fulfillment, I get to look forward to it. Imagine it. Rehearse it. Life. Eternal life.

Because He has prepared me for that very purpose.

Note: Please join me in continued prayer for our lovely friend Susan. The process of moving has her occupied again this week. We’ll look forward to her wisdom another week.