Posts Tagged ‘Enemy’

SWM logo final 4-2012 Hello, May. Wow…summer is almost here. I know you’re pumped! Before I get started, I would like to remind you that this month we honor some very, very  important people: Mothers ( Mother’s Day – May 11th) and those military personnel who made the ultimate sacrifice in defense of our country (Memorial Day  –  May 26th). I cannot road picthink of two groups of people who deserve our thanks more. So to mothers everywhere, we  say “Thanks, Mom. We love you. You’re the best.” And to the families of and in memory of those men and women  who made the ultimate sacrifice to ensure our freedom and way of life, with humble adoration and the utmost    respect, “Thank you.”

Now…let’s get on with it. We are continuing the Road Trip 2014 Series this month with “What’s Under the Hood?”  I think you’re going to like it…relate to it…maybe even experience a little uneasiness as it just may hit a bit too close to home. Hey…just sharing the Truth. It’s all good…and well worth the time.

And away we go! Let me set it up for you. You and couple of buddies emerge from the local gas and guzzle with some large cups of coffee…or Mountain Dew… headed back to your monster crew cab man machine that resides next to the pump that just delivered way too much gas to your ride. You guys climb back in and get back onto the interstate. A mile or so up the road you get the fortune of getting stuck behind a beat up, two-toned, primered, late 60’s model Camaro that, from the outside, looked to be lucky to be holding together and certainly didn’t appear to be interstate worthy…not to mention it was being driven by an elderly gentleman. Of course, conversation in the truck between you and your buddies ensued that was not necessarily favorable to the machine or the driver a hundred feet or so ahead of you. Now, in an attempt to get out of your way, the older gentleman and his Camaro found themselves pulling in front of a jet black, tricked out, and super nice Mustang convertible with the top down and the 30 something who is driving, and from the way he was going at it on his cell was obviously making the business deal of his life, clearly felt as though the nice gentleman who just pulled in front of him didn’t share his sense of urgency. Unfortunately, the traffic was such that would not allow the Stang to pass the ‘Maro. So…the young buck almost found himself in the trunk of the old guy’s car a few times as he was clearly agitated.

Now, you and your buddies are watching this unfold and likely have some mixed feelings about it…some sympathy for the older gent and empathy with the young stud. Hang with me…it’s about to get good. The young guy gets the opportunity to go around the older gentleman but instead of passing him and going about his day, he feels Camaro the need to express his agitation about being held up. So, he pulls in front of the Camaro and slows down causing the  older gentleman to have to put on his brakes. The young guy revs his little rocket a few times in front of the old guy as if  to say…”Look at this machine…and look at yours. Who are you to pull in front of ME and slow ME down?”

At that  moment, you see the back end of the Camaro lower a bit and you hear the unbelievable and deafening growl of  power as  the two toned bondo and duct taped Camaro jets past the little sports car like it was sitting still. Of course, the  young  man was to have nothing of that. He revved his ride to its max but the little 4 cylinder the young man was  sporting in his  tricked out Stang just didn’t have the umph…to keep up with the seasoned hot rodder. Not to mention  the Mustang was  in need of a tune up and oil change.  His car looked super sweet on the outside but seriously lacked  fortitude on the  inside. Come to find out, the old guy in the Camaro just finished restoring the powerhouse 500HP V8 engine on his 1969 ZL1 Camaro. Even if the kid had a Shelby Cobra, he wasn’t going to catch him. But you would have  never guessed  the Camaro had that kind of engine from looking at it.

I got to tell you, I am big fan of the Star Wars movies…not so much of the new ones but definitely of the original 3 and especially the first one, episode IV: A New Beginning. One of the best quotes in the entire movie, and there were a few good ones, came from Han Solo, of course played by Harrison Ford, when he responded to Luke Skywalker’s “observation and comment” of Solo’s ship the Millennium Falcon…it’s classic!: “She’s not much to look at…but she has it where it counts, kid.” I dig that quote and have used it often myself. Yes…I’m dating myself. But that’s ok. They don’t make good movies like that anymore. But that’s a subject for another day.

“Not much to look at but has it where it counts, kid.” How many times have we heard that the heart, not the outer appearance, of a person is what is important to God? All throughout scripture, God makes it very clear that what is on the inside counts much more than what is on the outside. Think about when Samuel passed the news that David, the youngster and not one of his older more outwardly appealing brothers, would be king of Israel… What did God say? “But the Lord said to Samuel, “Do not consider his appearance or his height, for I have rejected him. The Lord does not look at the things people look at. People look at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.” (1 Samuel 16:7 NIV).

More for our conversation here was Christ’s admonishment of the Pharisee he was dining with, as told in Luke 11 and Matthew 23, regarding the vast difference between his and the other Pharisees’ outward appearance and… “what was under the hood.” Jesus said in Matthew 23:26-28, “Blind Pharisee! First clean the inside of the cup and dish, and then the outside also will be clean. Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You are like whitewashed tombs, which look beautiful on the outside but on the inside are full of the bones of the dead and everything unclean. In the same way, on the outside you appear to people as righteous but on the inside you are full of hypocrisy and wickedness.”

Too often we are more concerned with how we look to others than how we look to God. And I am going to go ahead and make a bunch of people mad but too often, our churches and those inside look, using our story from the interstate, more like the beautiful than the bondoed. Which one would you say you are? Which one would others say you are? And we wonder why our words and our actions don’t impact others…at least not in the way God would want. Here’s the harsh reality folks: People can see through the façade of playing the part of “Christian”. More times than I would like to admit I have heard the word “hypocrite” associated with Christians and the church. I have heard that both inside and outside the church. Of course, not every church body or group of believers is this way…too many are. You’ve seen them…visited them. Let’s start focusing on what God sees as important. He clearly tells us that if we clean up the inside…the outside will also be clean. If we are going to impact the lives of others for His kingdom, we must adopt an inside out focus rather than an outside in.

We’ll continue the Road Trip 2014 series next month. Until then…Keep it Real…Radical…Relentless…Relevant. Rock On…& Armor Up!

Make sure to visit the Servant Warrior® Ministries’ site and check out all of the awesome things that are going on… SWM Brand Family 2-20-14 for linkedin

Advertisements

Hello, March! Can you believe it? We’re almost through with the first quarter of 2014. Unbelievable. I hope the year is going well for you, so far. And while winter seems to want to hang around way too long for much of the US, some of the country is thawing out…Thank You, Lord! March means that baseball has begun, March Madness is upon us, 95% of us deny our actual ancestral origin and become Irish as St. Patrick’s Day and green shamrocks abound, and convertible tops are once again checked and serviced in preparation for Spring…and Road Trips! 

As we continue our Road Trip 2014 series, we’ve come to the part that is the hardest for many of us…me included. We have thought about what we would like to do and, more importantly, what we need and are called to do. Now comes the hardest part…DOING it. Literally stepping out of the boat…walking out of the door, getting in the car, starting it, putting it in reverse, actually backing out of the driveway, and then putting it into gear and hitting the road. It’s the point of no return. You know, I think of it like standing high above a body of water…any body of water. You say to yourself, “Man that water looks good. I’m jumpin’ in.” As you admire the glisten of the water below, your mind cranks up and hits warp drive immediately. “Dude, this is gonna be awesome! Wait a minute! Am I nuts? That water’s gonna be freezing! What if there’s a rock right beneath the surface? Is this really necessary? I mean…What’s it gonna prove? But I really want to. Man…what a rush it’s gonna be. Okay…I’m doin’ it.” Here it is…the decision….the point of no return. It’s time to put up or shut up. You have got do decide whether you jump, or not, knowing that once you leave your feet and you’re over the water there is no turning back. Let’s say you jump. Splash! WOW! Man, that is really cold! (Fret not, gents. I’m not going any further.) But it was really awesome! Yes, it may be a bit uncomfortable at first but after a while your body gets acclimated, and, it feels pretty good. In fact, you are glad you jumped in. It all starts with effort…action.

Anything we do in life takes effort or action, of some sort, on our part. Even breathing requires an exertion of energy. Some things are easier than others and some things we are more apt to exert more effort in doing. Let’s see. Guys, how many of us would say that more effort is made to get to the speedway, the golf course, or the ball field at 7:00 am on Saturday morning than is made to get to church at 11:00 am on Sunday? Ouch. Told you we would be hitting some truths pretty hard. Hey, most of us, if we’re honest, will admit we are guilty at some time or another. But I’m not here to throw holy bombs. I’m probably more guilty than most. Nevertheless, life requires effort and action.

God is always working on me and in my life…on all three facets – professional, personal, and private. Much of His work has come with little or no action required from me. However, there is quite a bit that requires me to do something. I pray daily that God will open and close doors as He sees fit. I pray that prayer with the full understanding that when He opens a door, He expects me to go through it. I’m really honest with you when I say there are times that I don’t. Thank goodness for grace. How often do we pray for something, for God to open a door, and then sit back and wait…and wait…and wait? While all the time the door was wide open. He was waiting for us to go through. It’s like praying day in and day out to win the lottery. Then one day we hear a voice say, “Buy a ticket.” I have never had the Holy Spirit literally pick me up by my belt loop and throw through a door that God has opened. I have to go through it myself. The cool thing about going through a God opened door is that we may go through with one perspective or expectation and what God has planned is completely different. Of course, we don’t realize how cool it is at the time. It sometimes takes a while to see it. But when you love the Lord, put your life in His hands, and allow Him to guide your steps, hindsight is pretty clear…and awesome. All those situations and circumstances that you thought were bad, painful, or completely whacked, many of them I’m sure were flat out awful, actually brought you to the exact place you needed to be…at the exact time…fully prepared and equipped to receive the blessing of your life. Now that rocks!

Let’s now take it a few steps further and from a different perspective. Up to now, all of the focus has been on us…the blessings we get from acting on God’s promptings and going through doors He opens. What about all those around us – our families, friends, coworkers, neighbors, etc…? How does our responding to God’s call impact them…or others we may never even meet? What legacy do we leave? We might never know. But think about this. What, perhaps, would have happened if Abraham had not acted on God’s calling to pack up all he had and to take his family, leave his people and his country, and set out to parts unknown (Gen. 12)? What about Noah, before that (Gen. 6)? If he had not taken action and built the ark (let us not forget that he built it in the middle of the desert) where would we be? Let me bring it a little closer to home. What if all of the pastors, evangelists, missionaries, and believers in Christ throughout history hadn’t, at some point, acted on God’s prompting and call? Would you, or I, or people around the world ever have come to know or be shown the incredible love of God? Would you and I be visiting here together, today? Makes you think, doesn’t it?

So, hit the road. Go through the doors that God opens. Regardless of whether it makes sense or not…because often times it won’t. And, what we think we want…or don’t want…may not necessarily be what God wants for us. His plan is perfect and He knows exactly what He is doing. And what He is doing is the best for us…regardless of how many times we throw a look of utter confusion heavenward. If you have any doubts, pick up His Word. He gives us countless passages of reassurance. One of my favorites, which is also our family verse, is Jeremiah 29:11(NIV), “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” What an awesome God we serve.

Road Trip 2014 continues next month. Until next time, Keep it Real…Radical…Relentless…Relevant…and between the lines. Rock On…and Armor Up!

Make sure to check out www.ServantWarriorMinistries…often. Also check out the Servant Warrior® Facebook page at www.Facebook.com/ServantWarriorMinistries.  for updates and news.

Welcome to February, the short month of the year. But, despite what every other human being on earth likely believes, February is the true beginning of the year. I can already see the wrinkles on your forehead. January, while actually the first month of the calendar year, is really the “recover from Christmas, New Years, and extended time off, trying to get back in the saddle at work as well as adopting a healthy lifestyle, again, finding myself making the  same New Year’s resolutions as last year, still writing 2013 on everything, getting the kids back in school, and taking steps to make this the best year ever and realizing I don’t have the energy or the time to revamp everything so I’ll press forward as is” month. It usually takes a full 31 days to go through the aforementioned cycle but we do get through it, by God’s grace, and usually with a much better and more realistic perspective. That brings us to February. Now, on to 2014 and “The Road Trip”.  We talked last month that in order to truly experience the divine appointments and experiences God has for us, we have to go where Jesus is…out of the boat and into the waves. We have to get out of the house and on the road. But first…we must prepare.

Whether you believe it or not, God is always at work in our lives and truly wants to be a part of every minute aspect of it. God’s word says, “In his heart a man plans his course, but the Lord determines his steps.” Proverbs 16:9 (NIV). The harsh reality here guys is that despite our best efforts and desires, we are NOT in control? Think about all the plans we make during, and for, our lives.  As many of us know all too well, a plan’s first brush with reality often ends in failure. Failure according to our perspective, that is, not God’s. For the trip, we check the weather, consider traffic patterns, etc… However, there is no way to plan for the unexpected occurrences that will inevitably happen along the way. I have hundreds of examples of things that have happened to me while “on the road”. I have no doubt you do as well. And since we cannot foresee everything that will happen to us during our trip, we have to get prepared. The key is not simply to plan. The key is to plan properly. Hint: Taking planning advice from the One who does know what is going to happen to us is the smart thing to do. More on that in a minute.

One of the many things I learned while in the Marine Corps was the concept of The 7 P’s: Proper Prior Planning Prevents P— Poor Performance. For most audiences and applications, the 6 P’s are more than adequate. You just have to love my beloved Corpsfolded-road-map and the colorful expressions…hence the 7. Back to planning. For our trip, the destination, conditions, and duration will determine the appropriate gear needed…appropriate being the operative term. Having the right gear will keep us from being forced to create some crazy, but no doubt colorful, story about why we packed what we did or didn’t pack what we should have. Been there…done that…got the t-shirt. We must be as prepared as possible in order to be able to handle whatever comes our way, both good and bad.

God has incredible things in store for us during our trip. However, not acknowledging that there are two sides to the coin is about as smart as only looking one way before stepping out into heavy traffic. In addition to the awesome experiences and blessings that happen while on the road, there are road blocks, detours, delays, potholes, accidents, and overall disappointments. God’s word is the ultimate guide to trip preparation. Through Paul’s letter to the Ephesians, God provided sound instruction on how to prepare, each day, for the trip.

The following prayer, based on Ephesians 6:10-18, was given to me years ago. And despite my search for many years, I have yet been unable to identify the author. But I truly want to thank him/her as it has impacted my life tremendously…as well as countless lives across the country and around the world. This prayer was a driving force in the creation of the Armor Up rally cry and will always be a mainstay in the Servant Warrior® ammo box. So…”Thank You”.  Nevertheless, I will continue to humbly ask for forgiveness as I distribute it and share it anywhere and everywhere.

armor of god modified“Father, today by faith in Jesus, I put on the (1) BELT OF TRUTH. I thank You today that I know who I am in Christ – a child of God whose name is written in the Lamb’s Book of Life. Lord, I want to by faith put on the (2) BREASTPLATE OF RIGHTEOUSNESS to help me react to situations and people the way You want me to, not the way I may want to. Before I wake up, Lord, put on my feet the (3) BOOTS of the GOSPEL OF PEACE that I may be used by You to share Your love with others. Father, I take up the (4) SHIELD OF FAITH knowing as I place my trust in You today, You will protect me from the devil’s attacks and not allow anything to touch me. Lord, I also put on the (5) HELMET OF SALVATION. Protect my thinking from things that don’t line up with Your will. Father, I arm myself with the (6) SWORD OF THE SPIRIT which is YOUR WORD. This is my only offensive weapon but it is also defensive so that when Satan attacks me, I am armed and ready to repel all of his arrows. The victory has already been won. I march today under that great victory flag, washed by the blood, armed with the Word, dressed in the armor of righteousness, believing and thanking You for what You are going to do. Lord, I pray today that I recognize the enemy and claim VICTORY as I am properly prepared to face every challenge by Your overcoming, almighty power. In Jesus name. Amen. Ephesians 6:10-18.”

I encourage you, daily, to pray it for yourself. You can also replace the “I’s” with “We’s” and pray it over your family, friends, co-workers, teammates, classmates, etc…

Being properly prepared allows us to experience fully and recognize God’s providence in all of the things that will happen while on the road. Rain, while difficult to drive in, fosters a rainbow when it’s finished. And detours, while usually inconvenient and annoying, can reveal a much preferable route with breathtaking scenery, unforgettable experiences, or both. Besides, how boring would it be if all our travels were filled with blue skies, warm winds, open roads, and no speed traps?  Until next time…Keep it Real…Radical…Relentless…Relevant…and Armor Up every day!

Hello, May. It’s great to see you. I’d love to visit but we’ve got an enemy to track. Oorah!

This is the fourth installment of the Spiritual Warfare series headquartered in Ephesians 6:10-18 on how the very familiar “Armor of God” passage mirrors the mission of a Marine Corps Rifle Squad which is – to locate, close with and destroy the enemy by fire and maneuver and repel the enemy’s assault by fire and close combat.

This month, we’re talking about locating, closing with, and destroying the enemy by fire and maneuver. The “fire” we use are the weapons of God mentioned in Ephesians 6…The Sword of the Spirit – God’s Word…and prayer. But what about “locate and close with”? Well…I can tell you one thing. If we want to locate the enemy…we have to go where he is. Guess what…we don’t have to go far. In fact, go anywhere…watch almost anything…and we’ll find evil and/or the handiwork of Satan. In fact, there are very few places that we will go and not “find the enemy prowling around like a lion, looking for someone to devour.” (1 Peter 5:8). To locate the enemy…go to where he is. And where is that? The world.

Now…I know it can be a powder keg subject, but there is no reason for us to avoid the things…the people…the evil of the world. In fact, I think it’s an awesome opportunity to say…”We will not back down or retreat…but will be in the world…not of it…and take the fight to the enemy with the weapons of God and power of Jesus in our camp!” Can I get an Amen?!
us-soldier-silhouette-desert-sunriseNow, I’m going to give you four reasons why it is not Biblical to avoid the things…the people…the evil of the world:

  1. We, Christians, are called to be “light”. Jesus, in His sermon on the mount, said, “You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.” (Matthew 5:14-16) If the world is a dark place, I can’t think of anywhere better to let our light shine. Can you?
  2. We are commanded to “GO”. Jesus tells us in Matthew 28:19 to, “…go and make disciples of all nations…”  You can’t “GO” if you’re staying put. Expecting people to come to you is not “GOING”. To “GO” means to meet people where they are…both literally and figuratively.
  3. We are called to be “in the world…not of it.” Jesus, praying for His disciples, said, “They are not of the world, even as I am not of it.” John 17:16.
  4. We are protected. After Jesus ate with His disciples the final time, He prayed for them…and for us. Here is part of His prayer out of John 17:11-16: “…Holy Father, protect them by the power of your name, the name you gave me. My prayer is not that you take them out of the world but that you protect them from the evil one. They are not of the world, even as I am not of it…” If the Savior of the world prays for His Father to protect His disciples, and us, from the evil one, I have full confidence that we have absolutely nothing to worry about. We can go boldly into any situation, circumstance, or environment…fully armored in His protection…with His weapons…and proclaim the name of Jesus and show a life that is being lived for Him. And all of God’s people shouted, “Amen!”

So…until next time, keep it Real…Radical…Relentless…Relevant…and every day…Armor Up!

Please take time this Memorial Day to remember those who paid the ultimate sacrifice for our freedom. We’re grateful to them all. Semper Fi.

The above article can be seen in the May edition of Power Source Magazine or viewed HERE.