Ready for Battle

Battlefront – Action shooter video game based on Star Wars series of movies

Our son chooses a character (hero or villain), weapon, planet, and runs around in a battle fighting against the enemy and completing tasks…..and then, when he’s done he turns off the game and moves on.

In life, though, we’re in a real battle with real enemies, real weapons, and real casualties.  There is no turning off the battle.

Who is the enemy? Paul tells us

Ephesians 6:11-12 NLT

11 “Put on all of God’s armor so that you will be able to stand firm against all strategiesof the devil. 12 For we are notfighting against flesh-and-blood enemies, but against evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world, against mighty powers in this dark world, and against evil spirits in the heavenly places.”

Not a physical fightagainst menbut against unseen evil and powerful rulers, authorities, and spirits

What does the enemy want?

John 10:10 NLT

“The thief’s purpose is to steal and kill and destroy.”

I typically note “kill and destroy”, but a thief steals first, in secret and without using force. He hides in the shadows and the confusion waiting to question what God is doing in us.  We are prepared for the skirmish, hand to hand combat, but we don’t do well with the slow, day to day, and mundane………..But the devil does

Genesis 3:1 NLT

The serpent was the shrewdest (clever– MSG) of all the wild animals the LordGod had made. One day he asked the woman, “Did God really say you must not eat the fruit from any of the trees in the garden?

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The devils strategy from the beginning was to plant a seed of unbelief in mankind’s mind and to ultimately destroy him/her.  And that’s been his agenda throughout biblical times and still today.

He knows if he can place a seed of unbelief in your mind there’s a good chance you’ll be passive and it will take root.

But God has a strategy too to prepare us as Christians for battle.

Ephesians 6:13-18 NLT

13 “Therefore, put on every piece of God’s armor so you will be able to resist the enemy in the time of evil. Then after the battle you will still be standing firm. 14 Stand your ground, putting on the belt of truthand the body armor of God’s righteousness. 15 For shoes, put on the peacethat comes from the Good News so that you will be fully prepared. 16 In addition to all of these, hold up the shield of faithto stop the fiery arrows of the devil. 17 Put on salvation as your helmet, and take the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.

18 Pray in the Spirit at all times and on every occasion. Stay alert and be persistent in your prayers for all believers everywhere.”

  1. Belt of Truth(6:14)
  • Biblical times – Protected lower area of body/ provided support for all other pieces of armor during battle.
  • Today – As Christians we must put on His beltbelieving that God’s Truthkeeps us from giving in to the world’s beliefs and defeats Satan’s lies.

John 8:44 NLT

“For you are the children of your father the devil, and you love to do the evil things he does. He was a murderer from the beginning. He has always hated the truth, because there is no truthin him. When he lies, it is consistent with his character; for he is a liarand the father of lies.”

Devil says – You are sinful, lost and without hope.

Truth– God’s love and salvation has set me free from sin and death.

The world we live in teaches that truth is what we make of it—that good and bad are relative and that there are no absolutes, only equally valid opinions.

There is an ongoing….

  • Battle for Truth according to Scripture
  • Battle for identity
  • Battle for traditional Marriage
  • Battle for Family
  • Battle for Life

But the Bible teaches that truth is God’s Word—that good and bad are defined by Him and that there are eternal and unchangeable absolutes, uninfluenced by opinions.

2 Timothy 3:16 NLT

 All Scripture is inspired by Godand is useful to teach us what is trueand to make us realize what is wrong in our lives. It corrects us when we are wrong and teaches us to do what is right

Romans 12:2 NLT

 Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect

Regardless of the battle, the TRUTH is:

  • God is alive, omniscient, omnipotent, omnipresent and in control
  • The holy bible is without error and the inspired word of God
  • God created all of mankind with an identity
  • God created marriage between 1 man and 1 woman and they were commanded to multiply
  • God alone determines our days
  1. Breastplate of Righteousness(6:14)
  • Biblical times– Protected the heart along with the other vital organs
  • Today– As Christians we must put onHis righteousnessto protect against all of Satan’s accusations and charges.To be righteous is to do what is rightin God’s eyes (Obey God’s laws of love).

Proverbs 4:23 NLT/NKJV

23 Guard your heart above all else, for it determines the course of your life. (out of it springs the issues of life)

Once we have put on the breastplate of righteousness, we must be sure not to remove it. Wearing righteousness is not a one-time event; it requires a lifetime of action.

  1. Shoes of Peace(6:15)
  • Biblical times – Protected feet while marching into battle
  • Today –As Christians we must put onHis shoesof peace that allows us to take the good news of Jesus wherever He leads.

1 John 2:6 NKJV

6 He who says he abides in Him ought himself also to walk just as He walked.

 Satan will try to place obstacles in our path, but we can take comfort in the good news promised by God that there is nothing from outside ourselves that can trouble our hearts or give us reason to be afraid.

John 16:33 NLT

“I have told you all this so that you may have peacein me. Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows. But take heart, because I have overcome the world.”

Luke 10:19-20 NLT

“19 Look, I have given you authority over all the power of the enemy, and you can walk among snakes and scorpions and crush them. Nothing will injure you. 20 But don’t rejoice because evil spirits obey you; rejoice because your names are registered in heaven.”

  1. Shield of Faith(6:16)
  • Biblical times – Protected entire body from enemy’s fiery arrows during battle.
  • Today –As Christians we must hold up His shieldto protect against Satan’s fiery arrows of doubt and temptations.
    1. Believe that God is in control, that He is working everything out for our good, and will keep His promises. Faith turns aside doubt and temptation.

Hebrews 11:1 NLT

Faith shows the reality of what we hope for; it is the evidence of things we cannot see.

Romans 12:3 NKJV

For I say, through the grace given to me, to everyone who is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think, but to think soberly, as God has dealt to each one a measure of faith.

God gifts each of usa measure of faith. As we walk with Him that faith grows and develops until it becomes a shield, protecting us and making us victorious in Christ.

Our faith in God, can also give Satan a shove backwards. Because God tells us that faith cannot just be in our minds, it must produce actions—works of obedience and service.  The temptation of Christ.

  1. Helmet of Salvation(6:17)
  • Biblical times – Protected the head, the most vital body part, during battle
  • Today –As Christians we must put on His helmetto protect our mind and thoughts against Satan’s lies. We have been called out of this world. Though we remain in it, we are not of it and remain separate from it. Our way of living and even of thinking should differ from the worlds. We are to develop the mind of Christ.

1 John 5:11-12 NKJV

11 And this is the testimony: that God has given us eternal life, and this life is in His Son.  12 He who has the Son has life; he who does not have the Son of God does not have life.

Remember that salvation comes from God, and that God is on our side. If we commit to fully follow and obey Him, it is impossible for us to lose our battle or our salvation.

  1. Sword of the Spirit (6:17)
  • Biblical times – provided offensive and defensive weapon during battle
  • Today – As Christians we must pick up His sword (Word) to
    • destroy strongholds of temptation, anger, fear, pride, and rebellion

2 Corinthians 10:4-5 NLT

4 “We use God’s mighty weapons, not worldly weapons, to knock down the strongholds of human reasoning and to destroy false arguments. 5 We destroy every proud obstacle that keeps people from knowing God. We capture their rebellious thoughts and teach them to obey Christ.”

  • discern the truth and thoughts

Hebrews 4:12 NKJV

“For the word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.”

  1. Prayer (6:18) at all times, all occasions, all believers

Even with full armor we need continuous prayer for ourselves and other believers.  Prayer brings you into communion and fellowship with God so that His armor can protect you.

Romans 13:14 NKJV

“But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh, to fulfill its lusts.”

American Theologian Albert Barnes comments, “No matter how complete the armour; no matter how skilled we may be in the science of war; no matter how courageous we may be, we may be certain that without prayer we shall be defeated. God alone can give the victory; and when the Christian soldier goes forth armed completely for the spiritual conflict, if he looks to God by prayer, he may be sure of a triumph”.

If we equip ourselves with God’s armor, we must also be determined to keep a steady line of connection with Him. He is the commander of His spiritual army, and He alone knows how to lead it to victory.

2 Corinthians 4:8-9 NLT

8 “We are pressed on every side by troubles, but we are not crushed. We are perplexed, but not driven to despair. 9 We are hunted down, but never abandoned by God. We get knocked down, but we are not destroyed.”

DAILY:

S– Standup victorious under God’s power with confidence GOD HAS ALREADY WON;

  • Paul encouraged 3 times- Stand up, Stand firm, Stand your ground
  • Jesus commanded 2 occasions to lame men “Stand up and pick up your mat”
  • We are complacent/ passive (laying down, disengaged) political/ social

 

T– Take up (put on) God’s full armor  – RESIST the devil

A– Always pray in the Spirit at all times, for all occasions, for yourself and other believers – CONNECT to God (praise and petition)

N– Notice danger – STAY ALERT to the devil’s schemes

D– Declare the truthSPEAK OUT LOUD

  • About God…….You are good and loving and faithful and have never left me
  • About yourself……I am a child of God, Jesus is my Lord and Savior.
  • Speak about the devil……..You’re a liar and you’re defeated

STAND!!!

“When a brave man takes a stand, the spines of others are stiffened.” Billy Graham

A Prodigals Sister

Luke 15:11-32

11 To illustrate the point further, Jesus told them this story: “A man had two sons.12 The younger son told his father, ‘I want my share of your estate now before you die.’ So his father agreed to divide his wealth between his sons.

13 “A few days later this younger son packed all his belongings and moved to a distant land, and there he wasted all his money in wild living. 14 About the time his money ran out, a great famine swept over the land, and he began to starve. 15 He persuaded a local farmer to hire him, and the man sent him into his fields to feed the pigs. 16 The young man became so hungry that even the pods he was feeding the pigs looked good to him. But no one gave him anything.

17 “When he finally came to his senses, he said to himself, ‘At home even the hired servants have food enough to spare, and here I am dying of hunger! 18 I will go home to my father and say, “Father, I have sinned against both heaven and you,19 and I am no longer worthy of being called your son. Please take me on as a hired servant.”’

20 “So he returned home to his father. And while he was still a long way off, his father saw him coming. Filled with love and compassion, he ran to his son, embraced him, and kissed him. 21 His son said to him, ‘Father, I have sinned against both heaven and you, and I am no longer worthy of being called your son.[a]

22 “But his father said to the servants, ‘Quick! Bring the finest robe in the house and put it on him. Get a ring for his finger and sandals for his feet. 23 And kill the calf we have been fattening. We must celebrate with a feast, 24 for this son of mine was dead and has now returned to life. He was lost, but now he is found.’ So the party began.

25 “Meanwhile, the older son was in the fields working. When he returned home, he heard music and dancing in the house, 26 and he asked one of the servants what was going on. 27 ‘Your brother is back,’ he was told, ‘and your father has killed the fattened calf. We are celebrating because of his safe return.’

28 “The older brother was angry and wouldn’t go in. His father came out and begged him, 29 but he replied, ‘All these years I’ve slaved for you and never once refused to do a single thing you told me to. And in all that time you never gave me even one young goat for a feast with my friends. 30 Yet when this son of yours comes back after squandering your money on prostitutes, you celebrate by killing the fattened calf!’

31 “His father said to him, ‘Look, dear son, you have always stayed by me, and everything I have is yours. 32 We had to celebrate this happy day. For your brother was dead and has come back to life! He was lost, but now he is found!’”

 

Since 2011 I’ve been at home, working in my Father’s field while my man worked away from home. Let me clarify a few things from the get go: my man is a son, adopted into our Father’s family since he was a teenager. But during the last 8 years as he traveled for his job, his heart became lost.  He didn’t waste his money on wild living. He faithfully supported his family. He didn’t squander his inheritance on prostitutes. He remained faithful to his wife. But, as a self-confessed prodigal, he admits that he left his Father to pursue a life on his own.

During that time, I tilled the ground at home: managing the estate, training the kids, homeschooling, and doing the work of the ministry. I slaved away….and I was continually angry. I was angry that I was doing IT ALL alone. I was angry that my frequent flyer platinum preferred man left at the beginning of each week. I was angry that my frequent flyer platinum preferred man came home for weekend layovers. I prayed for him to come home permanently. I begged. I pleaded. I yelled. I threatened. All to no avail. He couldn’t see that he was starving in the farmers field. He couldn’t hear that I was starving for his love and his leadership. As days turned into months that turned into years, I eventually began relenting to corrections from those in the body of Christ who love me, “Jodie, LET. IT. GO. You can’t fix it.” I finally gave notice to the “Mrs. fix it” job when I surrendered to the Spirit at my annual spiritual heart exam this spring. Through the ministry of a pastor (gift, not title) in NC, the Spirit revealed that my heart was done (literally DONE; it had been boiling in a pressure cooker!). I agreed with the Spirt and declared “I’m done.” Two weeks later during a worship service in FL, the Spirit showed me the done heart again… along with a jello heart. He commanded: “choose one.”  I chose jello, and He crushed the done heart into ash.

I won’t speculate that my obedience to the Spirit helped cause a radical shift in our circumstances the following months, but I don’t believe in coincidence. God uses ALL things for our good, according to His purposes, not our own. (Romans 8:28)

Around the same season, my man came to his senses in the pig trough. He began seeing the Holy Spirit burn his hardened heart from the inside out. He started to feel again: longing for relationship with the Father, with his wife, and his children. He confessed. He repented. And a short time later, someone from his companies HR department asked him to apply for a newly created position. He applied. He interviewed. He was flown to headquarters. He was given the job. He accepted. And the location where this newly created global position would be based from? AT HOME!

Not. Kidding.

Oh, how the Father rejoiced when He saw his son come home! As my man received his robe and ring and sandals and gathered with family in celebration, I stood outside the party pouting. Me, the prodigals sister in the Lord. Me, the one who prayed for the prodigal to come to his senses. Me, the Father’s daughter who stayed at home.

Me. Me. Me!

sister.jpg

As steaming hot lava began flowing out of a volcano of emotions, I realized my sense of justice was unbalanced. From my perspective, I deserved to be praised and celebrated for staying at home the entire time! After all, I was the one who had been doing what the Father said. And now, because my brother had finally come to his senses and come back home where he belonged, the entire family was rejoicing like it was 1999…uh, I mean, 2019!!!

Yep. There it was, hidden in my Pharisaical heart: spiritual pride. Only the revelatory conviction of the Holy Spirit could give me eyes to see and ears to hear. Only deep grief through the gift of repentance could remove it. And now, this sister is rejoiceing in the celebration of her brothers homecoming, knowing that:

WE are His beloved children.

WE have been given an inheritance.

WE have the freedom to choose life or death.

WE have been lost.

WE have been found.

WE have received a robe and a ring and sandals.

WE will celebrate together, at the wedding feast with the Father and the Spirit as the Son is joined with His pure and spotless bride (Revelation 19). What a celebration that will be for the family of God, for all eternity!!!