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?

battle.jpg

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 New Year. No Resolution.

Isaiah 43:19 New Living Translation (NLT)

19 For I am about to do something new.
    See, I have already begun! Do you not see it?
I will make a pathway through the wilderness.
    I will create rivers in the dry wasteland.

2020 is almost here. A New Year. A New Decade. A New Vision. The Lord is about to do something new! This morning He revealed two old things from 2019 that could hinder me from following His new path in 2020:

Number 1: STOP throwing pearls to pigs

Matthew 7:6-8 New Living Translation (NLT)

“Don’t waste what is holy on people who are unholy.[a] Don’t throw your pearls to pigs! They will trample the pearls, then turn and attack you.

I’m not calling people pigs; the BIBLE makes the analogy! I readily admit, I’ve actedlike a pig; eating the slop of the world and rolling around in the mud. The only reason I’m no longer in the pig pen is the grace of God. By the power of His Spirit, I came to my senses and ran home to my Father 20 years ago. As His daughter, I am continually being cleansed from the mud and muck to be made holy as He is holy (1 Peter 1:16). He rescued me from death & filled me with His Spirit, giving me eyes to see, ears to hear, and a heart to understand how long, how wide and how deep His love is for me (Ephesians 3:19). Only by receiving His love am I able to love Him with all my heart, soul, mind and strength (Matthew 22:37). Only by loving Him am I able to love myself. Only by loving myself am I able to love my neighbor. Only by loving my neighbor am I able to preach the gospel & teach people how to obey Jesus.

People.

Sometimes they act like pigs.

In 2019, I received a lot of pearls from the Lord- in fact, an entire strand of them. In my impetuousness, however, I foolishly shared those pearls with people who SAID they love God, but who’s lives continued to SHOW they didn’t. Because I loved them, I ignored the fact that their words could not be trusted. Instead of guarding my heart, I received rejection as they rejected the pearls (dreams, visions, prophesy) I shared. As a result, I felt trampled (betrayed, denied) & attacked (falsely accused).

But the Lord is doing something new in 2020! He says I must forgive those people for lying, but stop wasting what is holy. He has given them the freedom to live like pigs, and I must do the same. He says I must continue to love, but I cannot wallow in the mud with them.

Number 2: STOP chasing prodigals

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!’”

As previously mentioned, I was a prodigal daughter & regrettably I’ve also acted like a prodigal sister .

But the Lord is doing something new in 2020! He’s showing me how to love prodigals as HE loves them: He gives His children their inheritance and the freedom to choose to stay at home or waste their lives on immoral living. He allows them to experience poverty, be in need with no one to help them, and be hungry for pig slop. And when a prodigal finally comes to their senses, He runs out to greet them and throws a party. The Father knows which sons and daughters will return home and which will reject His love for eternity. He says I must love them all. He says I must intercede for some. He says I must seek His will in heaven and pray it on the earth. He says I must not chase after prodigals. He says I must not beg, manipulate or control circumstances to make them return to Him.

A New Year.jpg

A New Year. No Resolution.

Instead, I confess: I’ve tried to save people who act like pigs. I’ve tried to save prodigals who ran away from home.

A New Year. No Resolution.

Instead, I repent: I’ve foolishly asked God “but Lord, what about _________?!”

A New Year. No Resolution.

Instead, I receive His rebuke: “What’s that to you? Follow Me!” (John 21:20-22).

A New Year. No Resolution.

Instead, I submit to His pathway through the wilderness.

A New Year. No Resolution.

Instead, I chose to be in the river that runs through the dry wasteland.