Posts Tagged With: Spiritual Warrior

“The Encounter III” > GOTHAM

<Do you have your Gotham?> The following events are written in fiction form, but they are real. I am living the events in this story, one day at a time. Every serious Christian should know their target, assignment from God. God has not given us a Bat-a-rang, or Batmobile. The weapons of our warfare are not carnal. But every Christian should find their Batcave and get into it until you hear a call from God saying, “Gotham needs you!” And then, with the dedication of a Caped Crusader, we should take on the evil of our day. We should be as devoted as any superhero to the cause! Maybe you need to find your Batcave. Let this real live story inspire you.

CHAPTER ONE

It was still dark as Don penned the final words into his journal, and took another sip of coffee. The house was quiet, very quiet, his wife still peacefully sleeping away. The Lord had woken him, he was sure, it was the Lord’s heart he felt breaking, causing him to rise very early from bed today.

He knew what to do. Pray.

And so he had, and when a peace finally came he knew even more of what to do, and he wrote the vision down, what an interesting challenge lay before him. His twelve month sabbatical was nearing an end. It had taken that long for him to see through all the grayness everyone was preaching. The back pain was so severe, and no one really knew how much he suffered for a couple months, until the surgery relieved the pain, and he was mostly normal now, except his truck driving days were over and he couldn’t do a lot of heavy lifting.

Yes, God yanked him out of truck driving and secluded him away for twelve months of seeking, study, praying, asking, to see clearly. It was as if God said, “You need a spiritual detox, or you will never see the evil of your day.”

“Are you tired of all the evil?” God asked him.

“Yes, Lord. You know I am, but what can anyone do?”

“The Master’s training wheel,” God said, “nothing exist for you outside this wheel until I say it does. You will detox. You will pray through. You will see clearly, and then I have a mission for you.”

The first six months of detox had been the most difficult, but after that, greater and greater revelation. In his old life of long hours and hard work, he never would have seen through the half-truths of his day. He never would have broke free of spiritual chains that still bound him. He never would have seen clearly enough to walk in what he was now prepared to walk in. He had been a sparrow flapping flapping flapping, lost in all the grayness, unable to soar. So God put the sparrow in a spiritual cocoon, reduced his flapping, and slowly transformed him to an eagle, with eagle eyes, living in high places, and seeing much more clearly.

Twelve months ago he would not have felt God’s heart breaking, it would not have woken him, stirred him from bed, and caused him to pray. Now he understood such things. He understood what put the “super” into “natural” so it became “supernatural”. Now he was ready for a mission. He had been breaking through the gray areas for many months now, and bathing everything in prayer. He understood how powerful his priesthood was. Spiritual sacrifices lifted up by a true priest of God opened portals. His days of living an ordinary life were over, God invites his children to the supernatural.

God had somehow stretched the part-time wages of a waitress, his wife, to carry them for twelve months, but now the bills were starting to add up, God was pulling the feathers from the nest, the sabbatical was over, God was on the move! He read the words in his journal one more time and then he summarized it in his mind. “I have an assignment from God, a city to invade, a target to focus on. Indianapolis is my city and they need God’s light, but how shall I enter in? How do I invade this darkness, Lord?”

Don laid the journal aside and took a long slow sip of his hot dark brew. “It’s time. It’s time to walk the streets of downtown Indy and see where God leads. There are demons to fight and people to save. You know, I have not ridden a bus since my school days, Lord. Sounds like a good place to start. Tonight. After Church. Let’s do it.”

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“Love’s Warrior”

Love has an enemy.

Why would “love” need defending? Why would love need a warrior?

Because love has an enemy!

It is a spiritual enemy, and it is a spiritual battle as much as it is a physical one. Love has an enemy and his name is Satan. Therefore, love needs its warriors who are willing to take up the Cross and follow after Love.

In I Corinthians chapter 13 you find a description of the attributes of love, and Satan is the exact opposite of all those things. Satan is love’s enemy. Satan would replace love with lust, humility with pride, charity with selfishness, and on and on the list would go. Satan is all about “I”, and the pride of “I”. “I” will exalt my throne above…”I” will…”I” will…and it is all about his desire for power and greed. Love is a path of power through sacrifice, whereas Satan only knows the power of taking by force! (And there are many who follow his path.

If you understand love, then you can understand the cross.

If you understand the cross, then you can understand love.

If you don’t understand the one, then you don’t understand the other, either.

“Hereby perceive we the love of God, ‘BECAUSE HE’ laid down his life for us: ‘WE OUGHT’ to lay down our lives for the brethren.” (I John 3:16)

BECAUSE HE…WE OUGHT.

Yes, we ought. But do we?

Love has an enemy and that enemy loves to put people in “bondage”. Therefore, love’s warriors go into the unpleasant places to seek and to save that which is lost. BECAUSE HE…WE OUGHT!

If you’re not willing to sacrifice, if you do not embrace the cross, then you are not one of love’s warriors, because the path of love is paved with sacrifice. The cross has become the greatest symbol for love. When a preacher preaches the message of the cross he is preaching about God’s love and Satan’s hate. As I told you, love has an enemy. The cross was used of the enemy to inflict much torment and pain, but now, because of Christ, the cross stands as a symbol of love! Christ, the ultimate warrior for love! We are called to follow in his steps and “champion” love!

I have seen some of whom this seems to come natural, for they are constantly putting others before themselves, and yet, if they do not have answers, if their life does not shine a light pointing people towards God’s love and God’s cross, then they still are not one of love’s warriors, for love demands real answers! It is not enough for love to “want” to help someone. Love is not satisfied unless it knows it has offered real solutions, real help, and real love. Love must have answers, and love is the answer in itself.

Of course we are talking God’s love. “Owe no man anything, but to love one another: for he that loveth another hath fulfilled the law.” (Rom. 12:8) “Love worketh no ill to his neighbor: therefore love is the fulfilling of the law.” (Rom.12:10)

What were all those commandments about? They were and are principles and precepts of love. So why is it so many people have a problem with the commandments? Evidently, love has enemies, therefore, love needs its defenders.

I was with a hand full of Christians today who feed the homeless in a local park. No, these Christians were not causing a war, or spreading hate, abusing children, or judging people, as Christians are so often accused of doing by the secular. There was seven of us. Probably thirty or so homeless and poor showed up to eat, and a few children were among them.

We served a pasta salad that was homemade and really good, along with grilled hamburgers and hotdogs. One Christian brother shared a short message as they ate, and then we all began to just mingle and talk to them. I connected with two different ones in a very strong way and I got to share with them God’s love and also his answers. Many of them will never make the effort to climb out of the situation they may live in, but that does not mean they don’t know God, and may talk to him more than we do. You know how it is when you have nothing, and do not even know where your next meal is coming from? But somehow they have lost the will to fight! And climb out of that hole. It could happen to any of us. Beware of judging, lest some worse fate befall on you.

This park ministry is one of the things I have been able to get involved with now that I am back to a normal schedule with everyone else. It felt so good to be back out there just sharing the love of Christ. One lady showed me the minivan she lives in. This was her home. She was fortunate to have it, although she missed the house she use to have. The house she had raised her children in. Now the minivan was her home. Doug, one of the others I spoke with, lives under a bridge or wherever he can find.

I spoke to Doug about “God’s ladder”, the Bible. I told him that this book was a spiritual ladder that could enable a person to climb out of any hole they may have fallen into. Doug and I talked a long time and I know God was reaching out to him. Doug was one of my assignments from God this day. A homeless guy living under bridges. God wanted me to talk with him and invite him to higher places. God said he would help him, but Doug is not yet ready to make that extra effort, join hands with God and “invest” his life.

I challenged Doug. I said, “Doug, don’t waste your life.” I know God was speaking to him, trying to make him realize that our life is too precious, and it should be INVESTED, but so many are wasting such a precious thing as life.

You do not have to be homeless or poor to WASTE your life. Many a rich and successful person is WASTING their life on riotous and selfish living.

Love’s warrior goes into the hurting places and gives God’s love. Love’s warriors also offer real answers. I once worked in a men’s prison. In a private conversation with the local psychiatrist, he told me the Church had a much higher success ratio of men with changed lives than he did. He said this with some frustration. I know this to be so. I have heard countless testimonies of such, and yet all the secular want to talk about is religion causing wars and hate. Well perhaps “religion” does, but the love of God is not religion. Religion is the enemy of love also. Jesus was very hard on the religious leaders of his day and yet treated the woman (Samaritan) at the well with kindness and respect, also the woman caught in the act of adultery he did not judge, but forgave.

I am totally indebted to love. I owe a love debt I can never repay. Today I shared the love of God and did my best to pass it forward. I was one of love’s warriors this day. Maybe Doug, while he drinks a little too much tonight will decide he should not waste this precious thing called life? Maybe he will hear God again, because God sent someone to him that did not judge him, but offered help and real answers. Maybe he will become inspired like Samson, and once again be willing to “fight” his situation, and break loose from the bondage “love’s enemy” has him in. I fought against that enemy today with light and love. God’s word will not return to me void!

Christine, the lady in the minivan, said she was ready if the Lord returned tonight. I believe her. Doug was silent. He knows. I did not need to judge him. I challenged him not to waste his life. I spoke to him about using God’s ladder to climb out of his hole. I offered him real help. I simply loved on these people today, and offered them God’s word for their problems. It was real, and it was good.

Tomorrow I will go to Church and celebrate God and his goodness along with my other brothers and sisters. We will drink of the Lord together, and feed on his pure word of truth. Some of them are starting Life Groups along with me. We are some of Love’s Warriors. There is no fat paycheck attached to what we do, but there is a cross. For most of us it will cost us money out of our own pocket, but God repays in so many wonderful ways.

BECAUSE HE…WE OUGHT.

This is not the person I would be if it were not for the love of God and his holy word. I am one of those testimonies. I never thought I could get such joy out of serving others, but God showed me different. Now, one of my favorite things to do is love on people, and destroy the works of the devil. God’s word says…

“Be not overcome of evil, but overcome evil with good.”  (Romans 12:21)

“Good”…is an attack on the devil. Attacking the devil is one of my favorite things to do, because I hate what he does to people.

Love has an enemy. It is a spiritual enemy and a spiritual battle. Love needs its warriors who delight in doing good. Those who are willing to take up their cross and follow after love. There is no greater life than one that is filled with love.

Love is its own reward. If we drink of Christ we are changed. I am not a normal person, but I am someone who has been changed by the Spirit of God, and don’t ask me to explain how this supernatural thing works. I just know that I drink of Christ and he changes me, empowers me, and love becomes its own reward.

Love is its own reward. Pass it forward.  Amen.

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“Way of the Samurai Sheep” > Page 3

Subtitle: “I’M NOT SUPERMAN”

Subtitlesub: “The Thousand Word Articles”

Why are some people extremely attracted to the good news of the Gospel, and others extremely repelled?  And two more questions that in an odd way relate to this. Do we try too hard, and in the wrong way? Have we created too many bells and whistles in our effort of trying too hard in the wrong way?

I hope you all feel sorry for me, because I am a cowboy trying to obey the Holy Spirit in embracing my sheephood. Most of you probably know that cowboys and sheep never really got along too well. I told one reader that the joke is on me! However, let me be quick to say that I am seeing such a new world between God and I that it has become my “delight” and “adventure” to pursue this trail! In other words, I’m loving it!

So…as I am seeing new things…I couldn’t help but notice a certain modus of operandi that Paul practiced!

“When I first came to you, dear brothers and sisters, I didn’t use lofty words and impressive wisdom to tell you God’s secret plan. For I decided that while I was with you I would forget everything except Jesus Christ, the one who was crucified. I came to you in weakness – timid and trembling. And my message and my preaching were very plain. Rather than using clever and persuasive speeches, I relied only on the power of the Holy Spirit. I did this so you would trust not in human wisdom but in the power of God.” (I Cor. 2:1-5 NLT)

Now he goes on to explain that with more mature believers he goes into deeper things, but I’m relating this to our efforts to evangelize. In our own personal efforts to be a witness, do we try too hard in the wrong ways? We can never try too hard in the right ways, such as prayer, worship, study, and walking in God’s anointing, but how about other things we do because we are just so sure that if we answer every question and explain every option, surely, this one will be saved! If we can just be eloquent enough in our speaking! If we can sound smart enough, and come across “cool” enough, then surely some will be saved? Or does it have anything to do with any of that?

It seems plain to me that the Gospel itself is a test. First of all, Jesus revealed in John 6: 43-44, that no matter how hard you try to be Super Witness, (2nd cousin to Superman), no one comes to Jesus unless the Father draws them!

“But Jesus replied, Stop complaining about what I said. For no one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws them to me…”

So here we are trying to be so impresive, and jumping through every hoop, when Paul said he deliberately tried to avoid impressing them, came to them in weakness, simply presented the Gospel story, and then waited to see who would be “attracted” to it, or not! We can tell the story standing on our head if we think it will help, but if the Father does not draw them, it is for nothing! So how does he do this? How is it decided who is drawn and who is not? The answer seems to lie in the Gospel message itself!

Jesus specifically commanded us to go into the whole world and preach the “Good News” (Gospel) to everyone. Anyone who believes and is baptized will be saved! (Mark 16:15-16) No fancy bells and whistles, simply tell the story of the Christ child who came to pay our price for sin on an old rugged cross, he died, and rose again! While you’re at it you might heal a few folks, cast out demons, and raise the dead! Like I said, we can never try too hard in the “right ways”, but folks, we need to relax and let the Gospel do what it is meant to do, because part of its’ function is to reveal the lovers of darkness!

If you are a born-again Christian today, can you explain why, when you heard the Gospel story, you were drawn to it and believed, but your best friend was not?

I think Paul gives us some answers in the very previous chapter of where we started.

“The message of the cross is foolish to those who are headed for destruction! But we who are being saved know it is the very power of God.” (I Cor. 1:18)

“We who are being saved”?

“So when we preach that Christ was crucified, the Jews are offended and the Gentiles say it’s all nonsense. But to those called by God to salvation, both Jews and Gentiles, Christ is the power of God and the wisdom of God.” (1: 23-24)

“Since God in his wisdom saw to it that the world would never know him through human wisdom, he has used our foolish preaching to save those who believe.” (1:21 NLT)

Paul, himself, calls his preaching foolish! And yet! Some of us when we hear it are strongly attracted to it, as silver and gold! Precious in our sight! While the world looks at it and mocks, ridicules, scoffs, and persecutes those who would believe such a stupid thing!

How do they fail to see the beauty of it? How do they fail to see the utter “LOGIC” that no man can save himself, and it only makes sense that a salvation by GRACE would be the only CORRECT answer? How do they not see it? How can they look at a scenic painting on a wall and laugh at you if you suggest it was the accidental result of an explosion in a paint factory, and yet swallow hook, line, and sinker that this whole universal cosmos is a complete freak accident?

CONCLUSION: I have written all this under the subject of embracing our sheephood, because…Paul understood that he did not have to be a Superman to get people saved. There is much more at work in the Gospel message than any mere man can manage. We need to be faithful to pray and “just tell the story”, say it in love, but then let go, and let God.

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“Samurai Sheep blip!”

Here is a quick spiritual blip that came to me as I was in prayer this morning.

Jesus is the greatest of warriors, but he is the warrior of love, a spiritual warrior, a warrior of righteousness, representing the Kingdom of God which operates by a different set of precepts and laws that are totally foreign to the ways of man. The Kingdom ways are so totally foreign to our own way of thinking, that it means a great transition in our own living and understanding for us to “follow” the Lord and produce the Kingdom in our own life.

“My thoughts are nothing like your thoughts,” says the Lord. “And my ways are far beyond anything you could imagine. For just as the heavens are higher than the earth, so my ways are higher than your ways and my thoughts higher than your thoughts.” (Isaiah 55:8-9 NLT)

So…if the Lord is to be the Master we choose to follow…then what does it mean to be samurai for Christ?

It means we must embrace humility. Pride is our enemy, and we must learn what it truly means to be the “sheep” of his “flock”. Pride is amazingly deceitful in its ability to creep in on us.

“Look, I am sending you out as sheep  among wolves.” (Matt. 10:16 NLT)

Remember , Pride is Poison to the Anointing. (Selah).

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