Soldier At War

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1 Thessalonians 5:17 (ESV) – “Pray without ceasing,”

My nephew recently enlisted in the Marine Corps. As we speak, he’s being trained (physically) in the ways of a fighting military soldier ready to defend our nation and our interests at a moment’s notice. He will receive special weapons training; learn to be proficient in hand-to-hand combat. He’ll be taught mental toughness techniques; learn to use his fear as a self-motivating tool to press forward. The military will teach my nephew to become a man ready for war.

My cousin recently made the decision to give his heart completely to the Lord. As we speak, he’s being trained (Spiritually) in the ways of a fighting Christian soldier ready to defend our beliefs and our faith at a moment’s notice. He will receive special weapons training; learn to be proficient in apologetics combat. He’ll be taught mind-renewing toughness techniques; learn to use his own fear as a catalyst to seek the help of the Lord and press forward. Jesus will teach my cousin to become a man ready for war.

I am a Christian soldier. I do not use an assault rifle; I use fervent prayer. My frontline is not a physical land border, but a spiritual realm plane. My sword is not a sharpened blade, reserved for close encounters. It’s my bible, and I use it in daily battle. I’m not trained to push my body to its physical limits through rigorous physical activity. I’m trained to push the physical limits of my aging knees, as I assume the prolonged posture of prayer.

My brothers and sisters in arms are with me–and I with them–as we stand in the gap for those in need, just as our respected veterans stand beside one another in defense of the weak and helpless. Military soldiers muster courage in the face of insurmountable odds. Christian soldiers stand fast in the face of overwhelming hostility. Although our battle is not against flesh and blood enemies–but against rulers of the spiritual realm–we are ready to fight against our adversary at any time.

I am a Christian. I believe Jesus is the son of God. I believe He died on the cross and was resurrected. I believe I am saved by grace through faith in Him. I am a saint of heaven’s army. I am a soldier at war.

 

 

God’s Creativity

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You see that photo up there? That’s my family. God took two different people, brought them together and produced two boys and two girls. What’s funny is, not one of them resemble any of the others. They each have different physical traits but, if you look close enough, you can see little hints of Ennis and Misty in each new creation.

I think that was God’s plan all along. Way back in the beginning, when He spoke the words, “Let us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness,” clearly He wasn’t talking about making clone copies. I think He was speaking on giving us all His identity and distinguishing traits that would easily separate man from beasts. One would never confuse a boy for an ape, for example. Men look different, despite sharing opposable thumbs, two arms, two legs, two eyes and a mouth just like apes.

When I was young (really young), I used to wonder what it would be like to find out there was another kid running around the world who looked exactly like me, except his skin color was white. One day I held up a picture of myself at age 21 and simultaneously looked into the photographed eyes of my 21 year old son: Nate. Although he was gifted with his mother’s eyes, he’s the spitting image of his dad, at the same age. The only difference is his fair skin. How about that for creativity? God’s amazing. My son grew up to favor my physical image and my physical likeness, while also bearing the image and likeness of Jesus. And yet he is his own man, so very different from me despite sharing similar tastes. I’m in awe watching him and his siblings grow up into their own identities. I wonder what my grandchildren will look like someday?

I’ll bet God enjoys watching his children grow in His image and become independent adults, while still leaning on Him for guidance. Not all will make wise choices. In every family, there is that one kid who goes astray. But, I’d like to think He loves us all despite our flaws.

We Are The Church

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I am the church.

I am called to represent Christ & influence others.

I am called to make a difference.

I am called to love God & serve people.

I am the church.


People often misinterpret the term “The Church”. We liken it to physical buildings or a specific meeting place, where folks congregate to talk about all things related God. However, the Lord never intended for the church to be a stationary building. His intention was to make His following body of believers the church. Each of us who proclaim the name of Jesus, and follow His commandments are a part of the body of Christ; we are the church.

A lawyer once challenged Jesus by asking, “Teacher, which is the great commandment in the law?” Matthew 22:37 records, “Jesus said to him, ‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.’” To this he added, “And the second is like it: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’” These commandments model the mission of the New Testament believer.

Everywhere we go; everything we do; every time we go in, and come out, we represent Christ. You see there is a fundamental difference in the behavior of a person who really recognizes this fact, versus someone who simply visits a building on Sunday, and then returns to “normal life” after the service is over. When we see ourselves as the living embodiment of Christ’s church, we recognize the power of every move we make. Remember this: we are called to influence others (non-believers) with the truth we believe in. That doesn’t limit us to sharing the gospel with other believers in a building or assembly. It gives us the mission assignment to share the gospel everywhere we go, no matter the crowd.

The Apostle Paul told his protégé Timothy to, “Preach the word; be ready in season or out of season,” meaning we must be ready to share our faith outside of the religious buildings and assemblies. We should never be ashamed to share the gospel with those who need to hear it. This is what the church looks like. This is the way in which the church behaves. The church is alive and in motion, not an inanimate object that only comes alive once or twice a week. We are called to represent our Lord and Savior, and introduce His message to those who have yet to believe.


I am the church.

I am called to represent Christ & influence others.

I am called to make a difference.

I am called to love God & serve people.

I am the church.

Stephen Was Not My Enemy

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Let me tell you a dirty little secret within the humanity of many Christians. The late Dr. Stephen Hawking infuriated scores of believers with his scientific views and theories. For many of us, we find comfort in our faith. Believing whole-heartedly in the one true God who created the universe, through the Lord Jesus Christ, is a blessing for the believer. But place a microphone into the hands (as it were) of a brilliant scientist, give him a platform and let him speak candidly on his mathematical discoveries of how the earth came to be, and you will soon find out just how many Christians still battle against the sin of judgment.

I know because for years, I was one of them. His theories angered me, because (in my mind) they seemed totally bent on proving the nonexistence of God. In hindsight, my problem was not with Dr. Hawking personally. No. My problem was in my own faith. Did I actually believe in the God of the Bible or not; because, if the scriptures were true—make no mistake, they are—then the LORD is eternal, omnipotent and omnipresent. He is the beginning and the end. No one or nothing will ever change or silence Him. If I can truly believe in that fact, then I would have nothing to fear from man who was created by God in the first place. Science will never disprove the existence of God.

Dr. Hawking was gifted with a brilliant mind. Despite his debilitating disease (amyotrophic lateral sclerosis), he used that gift to study gravity and its affects within black holes, among many other things. His scientific discoveries paved the way and opened the door up for new possibilities within the scientific community. Perhaps someday, his theories will reshape the very ways we travel from point “A” to point “B”.

As daunting and sophisticated as his discoveries were, one fact remains: Dr. Hawking was just a man created by God. His brilliance was a gift from God. His theories and discoveries were postulated, calculated and argued through a mind that ultimately was knit together by Yahweh. In reality, he posed no real threat to Christianity. I believe at the core of his heart, Dr. Hawking wanted to better mankind, and used his mind to try to accomplish this.

We Christians need to pray for the family of the late Dr. Stephen Hawking. His children have lost a father. His disdain for religion and God (in particular) is widely known and will be the continued subject of great debate. I once heard a self-proclaimed Christian boisterously spout, “Stephen Hawking was stricken with that disease, because he spit in the face of God”. That’s not the attitude or heart of true believers, friends. Despite his beliefs against God, he was a man gifted with intelligence and a family. His family is now grieving. They could really use our prayers.

My prayer for Dr. Hawking is that, in his final moments, he found and came to be at peace with the Lord.