Tag Archive: battle


The Battle Begins

I have to be upfront with you before we get going on this blog topic today. Reading through the accounts of Joshua and Chapter 7 of the Story make me uncomfortable and a bit troubled. There is a lot of death, killing and utter destruction. I would really love to tell you that I have figured out ways of making myself comfortable with this or explain it away, but Christians can not avoid these pieces or simply just make them symbolic pictures.

After struggling with this topic for some time I have concluded that I am not supposed to be comfortable with this. It is true that the Bible contains graphic stories of sin, evil, and death. But it also includes the overarching grand narrative of love, redemption and grace. It showcases a God who asks us to not criticize him about his acts of justice, but instead come alongside him and grieve over a world that has misused the gift of freedom and has picked evil instead of good. When that does occur, God acts in righteousness, and the world discovers that consequences exist for evil behavior. The Prophet Isaiah speaks to this when he says:

“At night my soul longs for you, indeed, my spirit within me seeks you diligently; for when the earth experiences your judgements the inhabitants of the world learn righteousness.” (Isaiah 26:9)

As you read these difficult stories, join me in lamenting the horrific acts and the justice that demanded God to act in punishment. In the same way we can also see the wonderful picture of love and faithfulness that the Old Testament highlights as God’s foremost character.

On to the story…

Imagine for a moment that our military was going to face a battle with an enemy that was in a territory unfamiliar to them. This is their strategy: we are going to go over there and fight, but I don’t know how we are going to get there. We are not going to bring any weapons to fight with but bring along the guitar.  Does this sound like the beginnings of a plan that you would think would be successful? I don’t think so.

The strategy for the Israelites was not much different. Joshua says to the people we are going to cross the Jordan river, but I don’t know how. When we finally get to Jericho and face our first big battle, don’t bring your weapons, but instead bring the horns because that is all you will need. Would you be the first to sign up for that fight? I know I wouldn’t.

How much time do we spend on strategy? I think we spend a lot of time in strategy without ever getting to execution. We want to plan everything out, figure out worse case scenarios, map out every move and stick with the plan. If the strategy doesn’t look good or it doesn’t work out in your head you will not be willing to move forward. Planning is good and should be thought of…but our own failures can get caught up in the strategy.

We learn about a simplified version of strategy with the Israelites when the battle begins. For the first battle there is no other strategy than this – Trust God! If this battle was going to be won the people needed to know that it was going to be by God’s hand and not by their strategy, hand or weapons. It took 40 years of wandering to learn this.

We are facing battles everyday. Maybe we are not facing the huge battles everyday, but maybe we can learn in the small battles before we face the huge ones. We can learn from them today and hopefully not have it take 40 years. When you are facing a battle, let’s spend more time with God and his path and direction and less time on our strategy and direction. Could it be this easy? Let’s find out.

What have you learned through time about trusting God?

The Battle Rages On

I don’t know if this happens to you but, there are moments in time that certain songs stick in my head and will not stop playing. I have had a song stuck in my head for the last couple of weeks that I couldn’t shake. Now I know why.

God has a funny way of communicating because it wasn’t until this morning I drew the connection between the song and the theme of struggle with good and evil that we have been talking about in our most recent sermon series; My Chains Are Gone.

Yesterday I wrote a post about the struggle that we all have with the sinful nature that continues to be a part of who we are. It is a struggle that can lead to great despair if not understood in the framework of God’s Grace. Read the post “Sin Sucks!” to get a better picture of what I am talking about.

So here is the song that I am talking about. It is by an artist named Chris August, off his 2010 album “No Far Away.” The song is called Battle- Part II. I will put the Spotify link and the YouTube version. Let me know which one works better for you.

“In all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us.” Romans 8:37

Chris August – Battle – Part II

 

 

 

Last week we talked about playing to win and not playing to not lose. Once you have defined a win, a way of life which is pleasing to God and fulfilling for you then you have to defend it. Scripture says that we need to guard our heart. The devil is prowling around like a roaring lion ready to pounce on any opportunity. If we are not on our guard we will fall into old habits and redefine winning in terms of the world.

Defense is only half the game; you also have to play to win. Spiritual disciplines are the offensive line of our faith. If we want to remain strong in our relationship with God then we better be proactive in our reading, prayer, and meditation.

For an example let’s look at Jesus. When Jesus was tempted by the devil in the wilderness as he was fasting for 40 days, how did he respond to attacks by the devil?

When the devil said “If you are the Son of God, command these stones to become loaves of bread.” If I haven’t eaten for 40 days and you mention bread, if I have the power to turn the stones into bread you better believe that I would do it. But Jesus responds like this, “It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.” To read the whole story go to Matthew 4:1-11.

When confronted by the devil, Jesus responds with Scripture. He spent time studying the Word so that it would roll off his lips when confronted with a battle. (Not to mention that he is at the center of all the Scriptures)

What rolls off your lips when confronted in battle? When it comes to your faith: What does it mean to be on offense? What does it mean to play defense?

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