Dressed for Battle…. Now what?

“…..with all prayer and supplication praying at all seasons in the Spirit, and watching thereunto in all perseverance and supplication for all the saints.” Ephesians 6:18

Ever hear of the term ‘marching orders’. I grew up in a military town. As a child I would hear my friends talk about their dads or brothers, ‘receiving their orders’. In the military, you are trained and equipped for battle. When that battle occurs, you don’t know. But you are to be ready in season and out. Many times those orders occurred in the middle of the night or on the weekend, or a holiday. Battles are not convenient. Battles are messy. Battles are ugly. Battles are dirty. The battle that God equips us for is a battle for the life and heart of people. It means answering the phone call at 2 am from the woman that gets on your nerves, but who is struggling in her marriage.  It means rearranging your schedule to hold the hand of a sick friend in the hospital as she receives the results of tests that could change her life. It means looking at sin in all its ugliness when every part of you wants to look away.

What are our marching orders? What are we called to do?

What?  “pray and supplication…

Prayer and supplications are requests made to God from deep inside our hearts and soul.  From a childlike confidence, we know that regardless of what we see or people tell us, God can accomplish the impossible.

Are you praying for what looks like the impossible in your self? Your family? Your fellow Christians at church?

When?In all seasons…”

I noticed right away that God didn’t say, “later this afternoon if you get a minute or if you think about it, can you pray for so and so.” No! this is a fixed and definite period of time, a season. There is a reason God has called you to be a such a place and time. He sees the whole battlefield. We are to act Now!

Are you praying now for yourself? Your family? Your fellow Christians at church? Or are you putting off until tomorrow?

How?….in the Spirit, and watching thereunto in all perseverance…”

First we are to pray in the Spirit. The Holy Spirit  gives us the words to pray, and reminds of the Word of God that is sharper than a two edged sword. Remember, the Holy Spirit wields the sword to make our aim true.

Are you yielding to the Holy Spirit regarding your self? Your family? Your fellow Christians in your church?

Second, we are to be watching. Watching means to be on the alert. Ever hear soldiers talk of ‘taking the first watch’. The one on watch stays awake when others sleep. They are alert to the slightest movement, sound, smell, anything that is a change. While others sleep, they are vigilant.

Are you being vigilant regarding yourself? Your family? Your fellow Christians in your church?

Third, we are to be on alert with perseverance. The word for perseverance, ” proskarterēsis“, is a noun. This is the only time this word is used in scripture. The dictionary defines perseverance as “steady persistence in a course of action, a purpose, or state; especially in spite of difficulties, obstacles or discouragement.” It implies an unyielding holding on in following a course of action.

It has been said that endurance and perseverance combine to win in the end.When a battle is raging on, the soldier who has perseverance is what you want. By his very nature, he remains steady despite what he sees or has to overcome. He is the one who sees the mountain not as an obstacle, but as an opportunity for God to overcome and be glorified. The one with perseverance is still putting one foot in front of the other while knee deep in mud while the storm is raging. Remember battle is messy.

Are you persevering with areas of your self? Your family? Your fellow Christians at your church?

By putting on the Armor of God, we have the equipment needed to win the battle. Now we need to embrace the heart or quality of perseverance to stay the course with our fellow believers. We are called to come alongside with prayer and support, holding fast not to what the world says, but what the Word of God says.

photo from www.freepik.com
photo from http://www.freepik.com

 

 

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Describe your Battle Won!

A Time to Love….A Time to Hate

A Time to Love and a Time to Hate…A Time for War and a Time for Peace. Ecclesiastes 3:8.

A time to love and a time to hate. Hmmm. So there is a time to hate? This was confusing for me. How many times have we told our children and ourselves not to have ‘hate’ in our hearts. Leviticus 19:17 says ‘ Do not hate your brother in your heart.’  I have seen the result of this in the town my mom was raised in. In the town there is a railroad track that runs down the middle of it. Jimmy Stewart in the movie, ‘It’s a Wonderful Life’, said that the sound of a train was one of the three best sounds in the world. My grandfather would have had to agree with you. He was a railroad man. He loved trains and delighted in taking my sister and me to the little park and ride the train that was there. If there was a model train displayed, he took us to watch it go around and around through the miniature mountains and  small towns with figurines waving at the train as it chugged past. The railroad provided for his family and brought goods to the town and helped the town grow. The railroad also divided the town in half geographically and in the minds of the people. Proverbs 10:12 says ‘Hatred stirs up dissension.” That has certainly been the case here. Praise God, today He is bringing unity!

What does ‘hate’ mean?

‘Hate’ is a word that gets thrown around easily. I hate cleaning the bathrooms (when will boys ever hit the toilet, thank you very much!) I hate it when it is pretty and sunny and then rains when we go on vacation. I mostly hate it when I see people settle for second best. I hate it when people do not rise to their potential that everyone around them sees they have, but they don’t. I hate it when people can believe something for others but not believe it for themselves. I had a friend say once it is easy to believe for blessing for a business that blesses a ministry or for a ministry that is blessing other people, but not for their own family. Why not, does God not love their own family any less? Anyway, I digress. If God says there is a time to hate then maybe we need to find out what God hates.

First of all the word ‘hate’ in Ecclesiastes is the Hebrew word ‘sane’ it means to hate as in the case of an enemy; to despise, to turn against. In researching commentaries on this I found that some believe this was a ‘hyperbole’ or exaggeration. Others that it is not talking about  heart attitude but rather a ‘distancing or separating’ . Regardless, there definitely seems to be a time when God says to distance, separate from things.

What are we to hate then?

In Proverbs 6:16 the same word is used for hate.

“These six things the Lord hates, indeed, seven are an abomination to Him: A proud look [the spirit that makes one overestimate himself and underestimate others], a lying tongue, and hands that shed innocent blood, A heart that manufactures wicked thoughts and plans, feet that are swift in running to evil, A false witness who breathes out lies [even under oath], and he who sows discord among his brethren.” (Amplified version)

What I don’t see on the list is race, politics, geographical region, income level, etc. With all the latest political talk the word ‘hate’ is easily thrown around today , but are we talking about the outside of the person or the inside. Interesting that the seventh one, the one that is an ‘abomination’ to the Lord, is ‘he who sows discord among his brethren.’ God is a god of unity.

“How wonderful, how beautiful, when brothers and sisters get along! It’s like costly anointing oil flowing down head and beard, Flowing down Aaron’s beard, flowing down the collar of his priestly robes. It’s like the dew on Mount Hermon flowing down the slopes of Zion. Yes, that’s where God commands the blessing, ordains eternal life.”(Psalm 133, Message version)

Some say they are over 40 things listed in the Bible that God hates. Forty in the Bible is a number for chastisement, not judgement. It points to action of grace leading to and ending in revival and renewal. So  even if there are things God hates, His ultimate desire is to ask forgiveness and receive the His grace and have revival and renewal in our lives.

“As for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins, in which you used to live when you followed the ways of this world and of the ruler of the kingdom of the air, the spirit who is now at work in those who are disobedient. All of us also lived among them at one time, gratifying the cravings of our flesh and following its desires and thoughts. Like the rest, we were by nature deserving of wrath. But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by grace you have been saved. And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus, in order that in the coming ages he might show the incomparable riches of his grace, expressed in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus. For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— not by works, so that no one can boast. For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.” (Ephesians 2:1-10, NIV)

For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.

God made us to love and do good works. I think God hates  things that go against His nature and  against the good plan He has for each of us. If anyone has kids you know what is like to want the best for your kids. You don’t want to see them hurt, let down, disappointed, getting second best. God sees us the same way. He has things planned for us, good things. The things God hates are things that keep us from experiencing those good things, they keep us from having joy, peace, love, patience, gentleness, goodness, faith,  righteousness, and truth. (Ephesians 5:9, 22). If liking things that God hates is going to keep me from these things, keep me from the good works Jesus has planned for me, then I am going to start hating some things. Unfortunately, I don’t see cleaning bathrooms on the list God! Oh well, need to get over that one.

Here are some helpful links:

 http://www.biblestudy.org/bibleref/meaning-of-numbers-in-bible/40.html 

http://www.charismanews.com/opinion/34323-take-a-biblical-stand-at-the-polls

photo from www.freepik.com
photo from http://www.freepik.com

 

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Besides cleaning bathrooms, what is on your ‘hate’ list?