Best post ever Barnes.
It’s a few minutes past midnight at our home. A low, but shrill scream broke through the stillness from the room above me. It was our youngest child, experiencing a grand mal seizure. She’d forgotten her medicine before going to bed.
I flew up the stairs in an instant, flung open the door. She was laying on her bed in the throes of convulsions.
It was the icing on the cake for me – an April Fools Day where seemingly random pain leeched into the lives of those I love. As her body shook, Karen and I prayed over her. I don’t know how you deal with randomness and pain in your life. Personally, I view this as just one more attempt to steal and destroy that which God has claimed as his own. I’m not going to allow my family to be picked apart in this way. I don’t understand it, folks. Yes, a part of me feels helpless confronting something so beyond my control. But I choose to not respond as a victim. I see myself in Christ as “more than a conqueror” and this is a very practical test of the reality of that view.
Elsewhere as I write, staff members Don and Connie Rock are trying to get to Detroit, where his sister has slipped into a coma and is not expected to make it, her kidneys and liver having shut down. Don and Connie were either going to drive through the night or get on a 7 a.m. plane. More randomness and pain. Another opportunity to put our faith to the test.
And at various point during the day, I had the opportunity to pray with people and to wage war against the enemy of our souls, to, as the Bible advocates, resist him. The natural man would say I’m over-spiritualizing things, that bad things happen to everybody – that it’s best explained by an existential perspective.
But folks, I’m not a natural man. I’m a spiritual being having a temporary human experience. I believe that, like many of you, I’m God’s agent, his tool of restoration and reconciliation on this dark planet. We’re at odds with the existing order, citizens of another kingdom by identity, warriors by vocation. We’ve been dumbed down and domesticated by too many of our churches. Religion has made us nice. We need to re-discover our spiritual vocation.
Here’s another excerpt from my book, A Warrior’s Journal.
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A Warrior’s Journal
Warriors in scripture
The paradox of our spiritual battle is heightened because the Bible is full of the bloody accounts of physical battle. Wherever His Kingdom is advancing, God’s people have been willing to lay down their lives as they engage the enemy. It’s simply the price of capturing new territory. He asks us to do the same, though perhaps in a different sense: “For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me and for the gospel will save it” (Mark 8:35).
But while we are called to fight, we do not fight as others do. Take for example the Islamic jihad warriors. Their battle is a physical one. They fight to the death, while our fight brings life. They wield swords, while we turn the other cheek to our physical enemies, waging battle against spiritual principalities and powers of darkness that hold our physical foes enslaved. We desire not to strike against our enemies with violence, but to free them with love. To outsiders, it is a perplexing way to fight, but such was Jesus’ revolution.
In this study, we’ll look at examples of the Lord’s people taking territory back from the enemy.
David and his mighty men: 1 Chronicles 10-14
Because the battle for which Jesus outfits us is a spiritual one, the parallels with David and his mighty men may seem to be a stretch. After all, his battle was physical. David fought for his life with actual weapons, whereas the sword and shield that Ephesians 6 describes are metaphorical.
However, we can glean many principles that help us better understand our role as warriors and the Lord’s strategy for us. God didn’t include these passages simply in order that we might have a better sense of Israel’s history. He wants us to learn life lessons.
Saul had botched things up pretty badly. His compromises had led to the defeat of Israel, his own death and the death of his sons. His army was so thoroughly routed that the Israelites abandoned their towns and fled (1 Chr 10:7)
When they regrouped at Hebron, David was the obvious choice to lead them. He had been their general; now he would be their king. His first step was to quickly capture Jerusalem from the Jebusites. His next step was to rebuild it and to prepare his army to take on the Philistines again.
While as followers of Jesus, our battle is in spiritual realms, David’s battles were physically gory affairs. Nevertheless, David set the biblical standard for courage and for trusting the Lord for both the large-scale struggle and each individual battle’s strategy. Israel’s leaders eagerly followed him. We’ve got much to learn from him, too.
next entry to Warrior’s Journal here
Best post ever Barnes.
Both swords drawn and back-to-back!!!
Praying and standing with you my brother!
Seth, my prayer goes out to you and your family. When I lost my job in March, I wonder how to make ends meet. When I learn of my friend’s wife passed away due to cancer, I struggled to find the words to comfort him. When I have to take my mother to the hospital last week, I was concerned. This week I have to deal with my wife being angry with me when I step in during her disciplining my son. I though life is tough until I read your blog and realize that we all face similar challenges of life. All I can think of is the verse from Leaning on the everlasting arm:
What have I to dread, what have I to fear,
leaning on the everlasting arms?
I have blessed peace with my Lord so near,
leaning on the everlasting arms.
I know you are struggling for now, but I know you will get though it. Be an example for us, show us how to walk step by step in sync with Christ.
3 weeks ago I received a call from my wife telling me that the wife of one of our members was having a heart attack at that moment. As soon as Sondra told me what was happening, my gut said: call Don (her husband) immeidately. I called the husband who was hysterical, standing over the Fire Dept. EMTs as they unsuccessfully tried to revive her.
Immediately I sensed that God wanted me to treat this as a spiritual attack and was faced with a decision: Speak authoritatively to the spiritual realm and risk ruining this man’s faith if nothing happened, OR pray a safe, “God be with her, whatever your will…” mamby, pamby prayer. You know me, never back down from a fight. I said “I rebuke the spirit of death and command it to go now. Don and I agree in faith and ask you Holy Spirit to release your resurrection power into Trudy’s body and revive her.”
Within 20 seconds she took her first breath in 5 or so minutes, and, about 40 seconds after that, she opened her eyes. Come to find out that she had experienced what’s called “dead heart syndrome.” The EMTs were stunned and told her husband as he rode with her on the way to the hospital that she was flatlined, that she was dead, and that people like her don’t survive. They simply didn’t know what to make of it.
Now she’s got a back-from-the-dead testimony and an exponentially greater sense of purpose for the golden years of her life.
Great testimony Kevin!
Seth, I am praying for Leah! You know she’s my favorite!!!
A professor in college used the term naturalistic fallacy to define what “ought to be” by what “is.” Just because someone is sick does not mean they ought to be. Just because people die of sickness does not mean that is what ought to be. We need to pull in the “ought to be” and not settle for what “is.”
Lord help us believe for things not seen. Thank you for your provision of healing. Help me to renew this mind to believe the Word’s testimony and not the natural.
Amen to that! I am seeing more and more where the spirit of darkness is alive and well in our culture here in the US. My daughter is so engaged with Magic, D&D and all of the belief systems that go along with that. It has taken her from being a directed young woman to one that is now dropping out of life. I believe that she is so under the influence of Satan that she is bound by his lies. I am beseeching God on her behalf. Thank you for helping me to see that it is possible to have victory over the oppressor.
You guys, I love how the body of Christ responds and reaches out. It’s not that I’m any different than any of you. We’re all there. We’ve all got issues that people can’t see. We all need prayer.
Carol, we stand with you against the darkness, contesting for your daughter.
Steve, your analysis is right. I’m continually challenged by that concept.
Thank you all for your prayers and demonstration of care.
I want this kind of faith…I think I am coming into it. I sat in a room tonight, of depressed Christians, with random addictions. I listened for a while. I knew this is where Jesus would be…where people are hurting. I sat there and prayed to see everyone there like Jesus would…and I just started to LOVE them…and want more for them. I stood up, and just began to testify as to what the AMAZING love of God has done for me in 5 short months. I told them I couldn’t make it happen for them…they had to, but God was waiting…He wants to talk to them…to heal them. Why are we, as CHRISTIANS not able to grasp the REAL healing power of the VERY REAL love of Jesus…why is this so hard?
I think until we get this we will be on the defensive…because we have nothing REAL to offer the world…until we can SHOW them HIS REAL power in US. We HAVE to grasp this…NOW!!!
So I have started a comment SEVERAL times today. I could not condense my thoughts to an appropriate size for a comment. I mean I could have dittoed Tom D, but there seemed so much more than just that.
I finally just wrote a blog post with my reaction to the post.
In summary, it was an AMAZING, inspiring post!
Lord heal our sister, speak life where she only knows pain!
Your note was moving. May the spirit be with you, your family, your works, in times of trial and triumph.
We pray for you. Hal
I will be on my knees this morning.
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I'm motivated to join God in his global reclamation project. He's on the move, setting his sons and daughters free from their places of captivity. And he's partnering with those of us who have been freed to go and free others.