Spiritual Battle

We cannot underestimate Satan. I recently experienced what it was like going into battle without armor. There was a particular time a couple of my friends had some very heavy things they were working through and I wanted to be there for them. I wanted to often my support and care and fight with them through their struggle. I didn’t want to take on the burden, but be a sounding board and someone to offer advice from an outside perspective and pray with them and for them. This is exactly what I was doing. However, after two days of fighting I felt off. I felt a heaviness upon me and I was on the verge of tears. I didn’t know what was going on with me. I knew my friends possibly may feel this way because this was their struggle, not mine, so what was going on with me? I felt as though I had been hit by a truck! I was exhausted! I don’t remember the last time I was this exhausted without physical activity involved.

I was fighting a battle unprepared. I came to realize I walked into this battle without armor on; without protection for myself. I was praying for protection for my friends, but I didn’t have anyone praying protection over me. And as I was praying for others, I stepped onto the battlefield and was exposed to the flaming arrows of Satan. This is like going snowboarding without any of the proper gear – jacket, pants, goggles, gloves, helmet, board, boots. I would never go on the mountain without any of these items, which is how I need to view each day as we battle against Satan.

I learned a valuable lesson that day, never start a day without putting on the armor of God because you never know what your day will bring and you must always be prepared. As my alarm goes off each morning, I pray and put on the armor of God before I even get out of my bed.  Pray, because prayer is a spiritual weapon against Satan. There is nothing he can do against prayer. It’s powerful and it ushers in the presence of God which he cannot defeat. Pray for others, but don’t forget to pray protection for yourself.

For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. Therefore put on the the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the spirit, which is the Word of God.” Ephesians 6:10-17

We Don’t Fight this War Alone

I can hear them coming. World War II era airplanes fly over our house on approach to the local municipal airport for the annual Memorial Day air show. It’s a great display of patriotism, but I get a catch in my throat every year as I think of what it must’ve been like to hear that sound during a time of war.

Imagine the tension of being set on edge by the drone of approaching engines. 

Friend or foe? It wasn’t always evident. 

War is an impossible realm of uncertainty and danger. Now our ability to see what’s going on around the world at a moment’s notice gives us a glimpse into the horrors of war. Can you imagine what it was like to feel isolated from the world when communication was cut off?

This morning God used the sound of those airplanes to remind me of another war that is waging. The constant tension of battles in the spiritual realm requires a diligent heart, always ready to fight. But unlike those in wartime who heard the planes approaching and were helpless in their defense of the outcome, we do not sit helpless.


Have you felt blindsided by the enemy lately? Even if you saw the attack coming, were you unprepared for the intensity of the battle? Were you left feeling hopeless? Helplessly wandering in the rubble that was left after the dust cleared?


We have all been there. I have been there, and I know how easy it is to think I am alone in the fight. Like any good warrior, though, I took inventory of my strategy and found this:

“But you will not leave in haste or go in flight; for the Lord will go before you, the God of Israel will be your rear guard.” Isaiah‬ ‭52:12‬ ‭NIV

And this:

“The Lord will fight for you; you need only to be still.” Exodus‬ ‭14:14‬ ‭NIV‬‬ 

Aaaand this:

“But be assured today that the Lord your God is the one who goes across ahead of you like a devouring fire. He will destroy them; he will subdue them before you. And you will drive them out and annihilate them quickly, as the Lord has promised you.” Deuteronomy‬ ‭9:3‬ ‭NIV‬‬

The battle, no not just the battle, the entire WAR belongs to the Lord. He will fight for you, and he will prepare you for battle when he wants you to fight alongside him.  This promise I know to be true: God will never leave us to fight this enemy alone.

Never. Never. Never.

Warrior

I am a warrior. I am fighting. I am fighting in a battle. The enemy is fierce. He is a stealer, killer, and destroyer. He is darkness. He is evil. He is negative. He tells lies. He wants me to loose, to give up. He tries to tear down my family. He tries put curses and chains on them, on me. He wants to rip us a part. He wants us to be alone. He wants us to think we are the only ones in this dark world. He wants us to have diseases and illness. He is trying to destroy us.

 

BUT

 

I am a warrior. I am fighting. I am fighting in a battle and GOD is on my side. He is the bringer of life. He is all-powerful. He is mighty. He is light. He is joy. He is good. He is faithful. He tells us truth. He gives us hope. He builds us up. He restores us. He is the healer. He is our rock and foundation. He sets us free.

 

We have nothing to fear with GOD on our side.

 

“For nothing is impossible with God.” Luke 1:37

 

I know the evil one wants us to be afraid, but knowing that the all powerful GOD is on my side keeps me at ease.

 

“For God has not given us a spirit of fear but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind. “ 2 Timothy 1:7
“For the Lord your God is the one who goes with you to fight for you against your enemies to give you victory.” Deut 20:4

 

The Message version of Deut 20:4 says this,
“When you go to war against your enemy and see horses and chariots and soldiers far outnumbering you, do not recoil in fear of them; God, your God, who brought you up out of Egypt is with you. When the battle is about to begin, let the priest come forward and speak to the troops. He’ll say, “Attention, Israel. In a few minutes you’re going to do battle with your enemies. Don’t waver in resolve. Don’t fear. Don’t hesitate. Don’t panic. God, your God, is right there with you, fighting with you against your enemies, fighting to win.”

 

God is fighting with us and for us! We are not alone in this battle. I am fighting but I am not fighting by myself. I have God with me, and I also have fellow believers fighting with me. We are more powerful than evil because God’s great power is inside of us.

 

The victory is ours because of GOD!

Don’t lose hope. Don’t fear. GOD IS WITH YOU!

You are a warrior.

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(Guatemala 2014 on the World Race)

The lyrics of this song remind me of how the victory has been won. Jesus died on the cross and conquered death of the evil one and rose to life in victory!

 

“For the Cross”

Bethel Music
The life You gave
Your body was broken
Your love poured out
You bled and You died for me
There on that cross
You breathed Your last as you were crucified
You gave it all for me

Hallelujah, what a Savior
Hallelujah, what a friend
Hallelujah, King forever
We thank You for the cross

There in the ground
Sealed in the darkness
Lifeless laid
The frame of the Father’s son
In agony
He watched His only Son be sacrificed
He gave it all for me

But on that day
What seemed as the darkest hour
A violent hope
Broke through and shook the ground
And as You rose
The Light of all the world was magnified
And You rose in victory

Hallelujah, it is finished
Hallelujah, it is done
Hallelujah King forever
We thank you for the cross

And though our sins are scarlet
You have made us white as snow

Do You Think I’ll Make a Soldier?

Last night I stood around a beach camp fire with a group of teenage young people. They had finished their weiner roast – they had burned their fingers on hot marshmallows, midst a great deal of shrieking and laughing… now they had begun to sing. They inched closer to the fire as their voices blended in songs of joy because Christ was abiding in their hearts and they realized the wonderful gift He had given them.

As the embers of the fire began to burn lower, a wonderful quietness enveloped them. As so often happens around an evening campfire, hearts became reflective. They began to sing in a slow, rhythmical, almost halting manner…

Do you … think I’ll … make a … Soldier?

Do you … think I’ll … make a … Soldier?

Do you … think I’ll … make a …Soldier?

Soldier … of the Cross.

Their leader was a young man just graduating from high school who came from a home where no one particularly cared if he went to church or not. He walked alone. But God had laid His hand on this young man a few months before, and now Larry had dedicated his life to the work of the Lord and had plans to be an evangelist.

I can still see the earnest faces as they sang:

Every … round goes … higher … higher;

Every … round goes … higher … higher;

Every … round goes … higher … higher;

Soldiers … of the Cross.

Between each halting phrase they seemed to be facing up to the struggles they must endure; to the battles that must be fought and won if they were to gain the victor’s crown. They sang with meaning and spirit, voices drifting out over the waters of the Pacific on this warm, spring night. Some gazed into the fire as they sang – or watched the white breakers as they rolled over and over along the shore. The stars by now had burst through the heavens and twinkled upon the scene in all their glory.

Heaven seemed so close.

LWT.Gladys_Bonfire

Impressed by the earnestness with which they sang verse after verse of the song, I was carried with them through the doubts – the fears – the questions – until, finally they burst forth with the challenge:

If you … love Him … why not … serve Him?

If you … love Him … why not … serve Him?

If you … love Him … why not … serve Him?

Soldiers … of the Cross.

In that moment, I am sure no sacrifice would have been too great to make for the cause of Christ. They had taken their stand with the soldiers of by-gone days who had given their lives for the gospels’ sake.

A challenge in song had been brought – they had accepted! Youth loves a challenge! They will accept the challenge of a dedicated life. It is we oldsters who try to make the way easy for them. We try to remove the hardships of “being different” from everyone else. Perhaps we have been guilty of making the way too easy. Christ has called: “Quit ye like men – be strong.” We have answered, “Let us help you to make the way easier.”

We have been given the commission to “go into all the world and preach the gospel…” This gospel demands a dedicated, separated life. Let’s not minimize it! Let’s give our young people the chance to “be different.”

The bonfire has gone out! The waves have washed away the embers. But the challenge of that moment lives on. God grant that it shall bring forth much fruit in the lives of the young people who stood with me there.

“Do You Think I’ll Make a Soldier?” by Rev. Gladys I. Johnson was first published in Foursquare Magazine in May, 1958  (Song lyrics from “We Are Climbing Jacob’s Ladder” Traditional African American Spiritual Hymn)

 

Editor’s Note: It warms my heart to have read this piece, written by my mother before I was even born. I hope you enjoy the challenge of it, and know that every generation has it’s own challenge to meet. I thought the video above from Rend Collective singing around a bonfire was appropriate to share with you! God Bless, Tami Romani