Posts Tagged ‘spirituality’

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!

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Hello and welcome to February…the month that card companies, florists, and chocolatiers battle for supremacy and market share. Why can’t we just all get along? Come on…it’s about love…and Valentine’s Day.

We are continuing the Spiritual Warfare series this month and talking about real warfare. This month it’s all about the guy to your right and the guy to your left. It’s about the guys in the rear…back home…in training…and especially those who just arrived in theatre. It’s about making sure you are looking out for your battle buddy…and that he’s looking out for you. It’s about making sure you also look out for the new guys…especially the new guys…keeping them out of the danger zones…be there for them…and have their back. By the way…the danger and kill zones are not just for the newbies…seasoned warriors can end up there as well. In 1 Corinthians 10:12, Paul was telling the Church in Corinth, the spiritual studs, to make sure not to get prideful and allow themselves to look away as those before them did. He said, “Don’t be so naive and self-confident. You’re not exempt. You could fall flat on your face as easily as anyone else. Forget about self-confidence; it’s useless. Cultivate God-confidence.” (MSG)

We all know of someone…a leader in the Christian community…a friend…a family member…a brother in Christ…who has fallen…been taken out by one of Satan’s schemes…traps…one of his snipers. Remember, we’re not fighting against flesh and blood, here, but against spiritual forces. The devil is crafty…he’s the master of deception…trickery…and lies. He is the ultimate double agent who wants nothing more than to destroy lives…to destroy families…to destroy churches…to destroy warriors.

The enemy likes to divide and conquer….separate and destroy. To use an analogy from the jungle, a baby animal or an animal that is wounded is much easier prey than one that is faster, and/or experienced….or a part of a larger group. If the devil can get us away from other warriors…our battle buddies…our warrior battalion…our spiritual headquarters…we become much easier prey. I’m talking about you…me…all guys…even the stalwarts in the church. You know…the guys who could never be taken out. Hint: Refer back to 1 Corinthians 10:12…often.

Sometimes we find ourselves in situations…sometimes out of our own doing…sometimes not…that will test our mettle…our faith…our skills…even threaten our lives or the lives of those around us…our buddies. The only way many servant warriors make it through these situations is because other…more experienced…warriors…are there to help us through and keep us from getting taken out.

soldier-sunriseIn the life of a new believer in Christ, the decision to surrender their life to Christ  initiates an awesome, incredible, eternal new life. Hands down it’s the greatest decision of one’s life and a decision that can bring more freedom…peace…fulfillment… and “life” than we can possibly imagine.

The other side of that decision is equally as awesome but a bit scary, painful, and not necessarily for the marketing posters. When someone accepts Christ into their hearts, their life is changed forever. That decision also propels them right into the middle of an all out war…against them. New Christians, and even older Christians seeking to get closer to the Lord, pose a threat to the devil. And the devil will do everything he can, as quickly as possible, to stop this life direction and choice. That means he will come with everything he has, from all sides and sources. He will expel all available ammunition. That’s why we have to make sure none go down. But, again, if they do…we need to be there to patch them up…lift them up…get them out of harms way and out of the line of fire. We have to realize that we…as warriors…need each other…more importantly…we need each other to be ready, razor sharp, and “ALERT… because the enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.” 1 Peter 5:8. The cool thing here and something we all need to remember…the devil loses. Need confirmation? Revelation 20:10: “10 And the devil, who deceived them, was thrown into the lake of burning sulfur, where the beast and the false prophet had been thrown. They will be tormented day and night for ever and ever.” Forever’s a long time…can I get an Amen?!

We do a great job of congratulating folks when they come to Christ. Unfortunately…we don’t do a great job of looking out for them afterwards…to make sure none of them, or us, get splintered from each other and, as a result of our own decisions…actions…or inexperience, wind up in the middle of a trap…an enemy ambush…or even on the wrong end of a evil sniper bullet. Don’t leave your wingman. Remember, we were never meant to go on this earthly journey…alone. Until next time…Keep it Real…and Armor Up!

The above article appeared in the February 2013 Power Source Magazine. The actual article can be viewed HERE.

Make sure to check out Servant Warrior Ministries & stay tuned for new episodes of Servant Warrior Radio coming soon to ServantWarriorRadio.com.