Quit You Like Men

I Corinthians 16:13 (DBT), “Be vigilant; stand fast in the faith; quit yourselves like men; be strong.”

Ok, so I am not a guy, but this verse always gives me courage. Most of us can start out strong, standing in faith, and vigilantly protecting our territory, but how do we finish? Do we lose faith, sit down, back down, tuck tail and run, or get lazy and let the enemy run rough shod over us?

Quit like you started, quit like a man. Other versions of this verse says, “be manly”, “be courageous”, “be men”, and “do manfully”.

A Godly man knows who he is and Who’s he is. He keeps the faith, not letting his guard down. He eat, sleeps, and lives, with the battle ever in his mind. A true warrior. He will fight to the death, and if he perchance survives, he comes out stronger with his spirit and morals still intact.

Before we can quit like men, we have to be watchful, see the enemy’s attacks for what they are, stand ready for battle, then finish the job like a man.

Psalm 31:24 (NIV), “Be strong, and let your heart take courage, all you who wait for the LORD!”

His Will, His Work, His Way

I have had this battle cry going through my head for a few months now. I really don’t even think too much about it most of the time, it’s just been there. “His will, His work, His way.” Sometimes I say it out loud, sometimes it just rolls through my noggin, and sometimes I hear it in my Spirit as that mind shattering call, with sword drawn and raised, with banners flying, heart pumping, and an assurance of victory. Occasionally, I read something that answers the call, or as in last Sunday’s service, hear something over the pulpit that causes me to voice in under my breath with a nod and an Amen.

So, what’s it all mean?

His will; not ours, we lay down what we think we want and need and instead pick up what He has to offer. It’s always better in the long run.

Ephesians 1:11-14 (NIV), “In him we were also chosen, having been predestined according to the plan of him who works out everything in conformity with the purpose of his will, in order that we, who were the first to put our hope in Christ, might be for the praise of his glory. And you also were included in Christ when you heard the message of truth, the gospel of your salvation. When you believed, you were marked in him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit, who is a deposit guaranteeing our inheritance until the redemption of those who are God’s possession—to the praise of his glory.”

His work; that’s seems pretty straight forward, and at first I thought so. We lay down our work and again pick up His. We don’t quit our jobs, unless He tells us to, but we do our work unto Him. Find His purpose for us there. We also use our gift and talents to do it, you know the ones He gave us. But, it also means letting Him work in us and through us. His work is always to do good, to bless, and to mold us into the image of Jesus Christ.

Philippians 2:13 (HCSB), “For it is God who is working in you, enabling you both to desire and to work out His good purpose.”

His way; His path, let The Spirit of God, that lives on the inside of you, lead you. Let His word illuminate the way. Find His path and walk in it.

II Samuel 22:29-40 (NASB), “For You are my lamp, O LORD; And the LORD illumines my darkness. For by You I can run upon a troop; By my God I can leap over a wall. As for God, His way is blameless; The word of the LORD is tested;  He is a shield to all who take refuge in Him. For who is God, besides the LORD? And who is a rock, besides our God? God is my strong fortress; And He sets the blameless in His way. He makes my feet like hinds’ feet, And sets me on my high places. He trains my hands for battle, So that my arms can bend a bow of bronze. You have also given me the shield of Your salvation, And Your help makes me great. You enlarge my steps under me, And my feet have not slipped. I pursued my enemies and destroyed them, And I did not turn back until they were consumed. And I have devoured them and shattered them, so that they did not rise;  And they fell under my feet. For You have girded me with strength for battle; You have subdued under me those who rose up against me.”

Now that my friends sounds like a battle cry! Shout it with me, “HIS WILL, HIS WORK, HIS WAY!”

By Many Or By Few

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I Samuel 14:6 (NIV), “Jonathan said to his young armor-bearer, “Come, let’s go over to the outpost of those uncircumcised men. Perhaps the LORD will act in our behalf. Nothing can hinder the LORD from saving, whether by many or by few.”

I Samuel 14:20-23 (NIV), “Then Saul and all the people who were with him rallied and came to the battle; and behold, every man’s sword was against his fellow, and there was very great confusion. Now the Hebrews who were with the Philistines previously, who went up with them all around in the camp, even they also turned to be with the Israelites who were with Saul and Jonathan. When all the men of Israel who had hidden themselves in the hill country of Ephraim heard that the Philistines had fled, even they also pursued them closely in the battle. So the LORD delivered Israel that day, and the battle spread beyond Beth-aven.”

It doesn’t take a great army to destroy the enemy. It does take a great God and a willing heart.
Jonathan, King Saul’s son, took it into his heart to allow God to use him, and when he told his armor bearer, the young man was willing to follow. When they did, God came through in a miraculous way. There was so much confusion in the enemy camp, that even to this day, the word “Michmash” still means utter confusion and chaos. By the time Saul showed up God had already thrown the enemy into disarray.

What happens when a few willing souls step out in faith? Others follow. They come out of the enemy’s camp and fight on the side of good. They come out of hiding, out of the dark woods. They lift their heads up out of despair and have hope. They join the battle.

Never despise small beginnings. God uses the small things and the foolish things. He uses us! That’s how He gets the glory. Nobody in their right mind would ever think that we could do it. It has to be God. It doesn’t matter what those around us are doing. Saul was a mess. He was in direct disobedience with God. He spoke curses over his troops, forbidding them even to eat. Yet, Jonathan stood up for what was right and just. No wonder he later backed David, and the two young men became fast friends. Jonathan knew in his heart that God would save by many or by few.

Never feel alone! So maybe you don’t have an armor bearer, then be one for someone else. Say to that man or woman of God, “do what seems right to you, I am with you.” Follow those who follow Christ. Be a Jonathan, or be an armor bearer. We may not know that armor bearers name, but he has been remembered all of these years. God made sure he would be written into the scriptures for our example.

We have work to do, and a battle to fight. The victory is ours, the outcome is sure. The joy of the Lord is our strength. Psalm 3:3 (NAS), But You, O LORD, are a shield about me, My glory, and the One who lifts my head. Our battle cry is “LOVE.”
Will you join us?

Jesus, You are my Mighty Warrior King. You go before me and make a way where there is no way. You set the enemy in confusion on my behalf, yet You give Your soldiers perfect peace!

Book Review for “A Warrior’s Redemption”- Christian Fiction

http://www.amazon.com/Warriors-Redemption-Warrior-Kind-ebook/dp/B00G72MF6M/ref=sr_1_3?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1388413396&sr=1-3&keywords=a+warrior%27s+redemption

I really liked “A Warrior’s Redemption.” I was given a copy by the author, Guy Stanton III, in exchange for an honest review. It is unapologetically Christian. However the beliefs and the scriptures are all part of the story and does not come across as cheesy or trite. Several places inspired me to be more open and bold about my own faith! The story about an alternate society on another planet, founded by earthlings that fled before the flood. They have forsworn modern technology and live as in medieval times. The story contains fighting and battles of an epic scale. There is espionage, love, family, loyalty and lots of evil characters. Not a “chick” book. Can not recommend for readers younger than high school due to mature content. This is the first in the series, and I am definitely reading the rest.

Sound the Trumpet

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When Nehemiah went back to Jerusalem, after getting permission from the King of Persia, Artaxerxes, he faced opposition. There were those who didn’t want the wall to that beautiful city repaired.

The people “had a heart and mind to work,” they all worked together, from officials, to perfumers, gold smiths to their daughters, priest and merchants. We all know that many people make quick work. They all worked together in family units to repair what the enemy had destroyed years ago.

Word got back to Nehemiah that their enemies planned on attacking while they worked. So he ordered the workers to work with their swords strapped to their backs. They worked with a weapon in one hand and a tool in the other. Notice- he never told them to stop working. Too many times when we are under attack, we drop everything “to do battle.” We stay home from Church, we don’t show up for the outreach we promised to help with, we stop helping our neighbors and say we are fighting the enemy. God says, do both.

Nehemiah also realized that there were gaps in the wall between families. They were separated by some distance. So he tells them, “Whatever place you hear the sound of the trumpet, rally to us there. Our God will fight for us.”

They were to “blow a trumpet” when help was needed and the others were to rally to their aide. But how many of us are too proud, too self-righteous, to even admit we need help. We think that us being in a battle somehow constitutes spiritual weakness or a lack of faith. The priests were working on that wall; the spiritual leaders were in the battle right along with the rest of them. If you think your Pastor doesn’t face opposition, invite him or her over for dinner one night and ask them about it. We all battle. It is never a lack of faith to ask for help. We are called to bear one another’s burdens. When we do “God fights for us!”

Are you facing a temptation that is threatening to overtake you?
Blow the trumpet!
Are you fighting a physical battle that has you worn down?
Blow the trumpet!
Have you made a mess of your life and feel unworthy of help?
Blow the trumpet!
Sound the alarm-help will come and God will fight for you!

Who Is My Enemy

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“For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places.” Ephesians 6:12

Our enemies are not made of flesh and blood. We all know that right? We’ve heard it preached, taught and we’ve read it ourselves in God’s word. People are not our enemies. But, honestly, that is hard to remember at times. We can be so easily irritated by that one person (or sometimes several different people). I have found myself, more times than I am comfortable admitting to, wanting to “lay hands on” someone because of their words or actions and it had nothing to do with prayer or imparting gifts! Or as my grandson likes to say “give them a five knuckle sandwich.” It’s easier to see the carrier, the messenger, than the real enemy. Our enemy is Satan. He comes to only kill, steal and destroy. He and his minions are spirit and can only operate through people. My pastor uses the term, “principalities that use personalities.” That person that antagonizes, manipulates, irritates, brings division and harm, is operating under the influence, and sometimes control, of an evil spirit and most of the time they aren’t even aware of that fact. There are those occasions that the only enemy is our own human nature, our own flesh, but we will leave that for another day.

There have been times that we have been hurt, or worse, had to watch a loved one be crushed under abusive behavior. We have all been affected by or witness to bullying, unfair treatment, discrimination and all of those other ugly behaviors, all products of the fallen world we live in. They stem from anger, bitterness, pride, selfishness and straight from the pit of hell. So how do we keep things in perspective? How do we not lash out in anger and revenge at those who have hurt, or continue to hurt us? How do we look past the flesh and blood person and see the evil lurking behind? First, we have to accept God’s love in our lives, His love for us and His love for others, including that person who has you wanting to behave in an ungodly way. We need to renew our minds, wash it out, with God’s word (Romans 12:2). When we love God’s law we aren’t easily offended (Psalm 119:165). When we stand on God’s word, write it on the tablets of our hearts and we allow God to fill us with His love we are slow to judge and quick to forgive. Love covers a multitude of sins, so it allows us to overlook some of the behavior (Proverbs 6:12). Another way that we can overlook the flesh is to remember at one time we were just like they were. There is a reason they are called “the lost”. We were unloving, backbiting, selfish children of our father, the devil.

Quite often the ones that hurt us the most are our own loved ones, family members, spouses, our Church family. Some are even professing Christians (I would say they may still have a lot of their carnal nature there, living by their senses). How do we handle that? First off remember that they are not the enemy! If someone has offended you, we are supposed to go to them. That can be harder than asking someone to forgive you, I know. Occasionally, you will find that they never intended to hurt and didn’t realize they even did. Sometimes they know they did, but refuse to admit fault or ask for forgiveness. If it’s a big deal, ask for leaders to help with the situation, if it is not a major thing, just shake the dust off of your feet and move on. Forgiveness isn’t an emotion, it’s a choice. You choose to forgive, whether they ever admit fault or not, and let your emotions catch up. When the behavior is continued, and the relationship is toxic, forgive, but don’t stay in relationship with that person. God never intended for abusive behavior to be part of a family. Sometimes we have to distance ourselves from people and their sin. Don’t be a part of sinful behavior. Forgiving isn’t saying what they did was acceptable or that you will allow the behavior to continue in your life. You are just letting the junk go out of your own heart and refusing to hold it against them. Forgive, but move on! Let go of the anger, hurt and pain and allow God to heal. Satan hates that. He loses the battle when you forgive.

I am not saying this is all easy! From time to time, we will all face the enemy with the face of a friend, or at least a human face. But look past that face of flesh and see the evil lurking behind. Rebuke the devil; arrest his plans in your life and the life of the person he is using. Our enemy is not a person with a different opinion, skin color, doctrine, faith or beliefs. Our enemy isn’t the rapist, murderer, adulterer or even that grouchy neighbor next door. Pray for those who seem to be your enemy, the person who is being used by Satan. Pray for those who despitefully use you. Be kind to those who have the enemy working in them. This heaps coals on the head of our true enemy. Love the un-loveable. Forgive those who have hurt you. Our enemy is spirit and must be fought with spiritual weapons. We use God’s word. How does he feel about that person, the situation, your reaction? Use the blood of Jesus. Plead the blood over your life and the life of that person who has hurt you. Testify of God’s goodness. What He is doing, has done, how He feels about you, and how much He loves you. Praise God, it stills the enemy and the avenger (makes him shut up and stop his attack.) Be slow to judge and quick to forgive. Satan hates that as well.

You’ll see it all gets easier. You’ll find yourself hurt and offended less. Your patience with people will be greater and your love stronger. Relationships will be restored. Families and Churches will have less division. We will be more careful of how we treat others. Life’s too short to hold grudges and allow bitterness to take over our lives. When we do that, Satan wins the battle and gains ground. None of us want that. The person you once saw as your worst enemy might just end up being a brother or sister in Christ. God want that. He doesn’t like their behavior any more than you do…but He LOVES them. He wants them found and accepted into the beloved.

“Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might. Put on the whole armor of God, that your may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places. There for take up the whole armor of God that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all to stand. Stand therefore, having girded your waist with the truth, having put on the breastplate of righteousness. And having shod you feet with the preparation of the gospel of peace; above all, taking the shield of faith with which you will be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked one. And take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God; praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, being watchful to this end with all perseverance and supplication for all the saints.” Ephesians 6:10-18