By Many Or By Few

tripleh_wallpaper_kingofkings_800x480[1]

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!

Who Is My Enemy

armorOfLight[1]
“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

First Chapter of “Mr. Topper’s Fabulous Funtown”

vintage-merry-go-round[1]Mr. Topper’s Fabulous Funtown

All that glisters is not gold;
Often have you heard that told:
Many a man his life hath sold
But my outside to behold:
Gilded tombs do worms enfold.
Had you been as wise as bold,
Young in limbs, in judgement old
Your answer had not been inscroll’d
Fare you well, your suit is cold.
~William Shakespear
Merchant of Venice

Chapter 1
All That Glitters is Not Gold
There was never a town like Funtown, and likely will never be again. It was every little boy and girl’s dream. Shiny, sparkly, noisy, flashy, extravagant and fabulous! Mr. Topper, the founder of Funtown was well spoken of in many a household. “What a marvelous man!”, some would say, “A genius!”, said others. After all he is the one who imagined Funtown, planned it, built it, paid for it, Mr. Topper was Funtown. Parents used the wonderful, beautiful town to bribe their children for weeks, months and sometime years. “You better be good, or you will not be invited to Funtown” threatened parents, or “If you are good, you may get an invitation from Mr. Popper.” So every child dreamed of Funtown, of that beautiful invitation, of lights and whirls of color, of the big merry-go-round with the music and horses, of the big top and the shows. They played ‘Funtown’ on recess, and if you listened closely, you would hear children discussing their desire to go.
“I want to live there,” said one especially young little one.
“Nobody lives in Funtown,” corrected an older little one.
“Who takes care of it?” asked another.
“Nobody takes care of it…its magic,” answered a voice filled with awe.
This was always met with “ooohs and aaaahs” by the others.
Mr. Topper knew about these outrageous stories and rumors. Of course he did, after all, he started them himself and went to great pains to make sure that they continued being told, were whispered into the ears of all little girls and boys. Sometimes he even began to believe it was magic. When things were going smoothly, when all was shiny and glittered in the night, lit by gas lamps and lights. He would walk through his town and forget about the work, the trouble, and the unpleasant tasks behind all of the sparkle. At those times, he saw himself as a friend, a benefactor to the people, a generous ‘Uncle’ to all who came to escape their dreary lives.
But there were some, a few, who knew who Mr. Topper really was, and what Funtown really was. For all that glitters is not gold…