Warrior in Chief

This is going to be long. Hope you will be patient as you read, and also pray as you read.

The other night as I prayed, I asked again, “Who are you, Lord?” He replied, “Chief Warrior. Lead Warrior.” Oh my.

A lengthy conversation ensued with images and descriptions of what those two terms mean. The next morning I did some online study on what those functions look like in the natural world. All of that brought on a great deal more prayer about these functions in the spiritual world, and the conflict going on in the heavenlies today. I began to realize that God, Jesus and the Holy Spirit are involved in spiritual warfare a great deal, more than I usually considered.

Leading the army of Israel, Joshua met a man one day who described himself as captain of Jehovah’s army. Joshua asked him, Whose side are you on, ours or theirs? It soon became obvious that this was no ordinary meeting, not an ordinary man or even an ordinary angel – if there is such a thing. It was Jehovah God himself.

“And he said, Nay; but as captain of the host of the LORD am I now come. And Joshua fell on his face to the earth, and did worship, and said unto him, What saith my lord unto his servant? And the captain of the LORD’S host said unto Joshua, Loose thy shoe from off thy foot; for the place whereon thou standest [is] holy. And Joshua did so.” (Joshua 5:14-15 KJV)

Thinking about these things, I asked myself (and the Lord) another question. Is there a difference between Chief Warrior and Lead Warrior? Yes, there is, and God is both.

The Chief Warrior is in overall control of all military branches. This work includes:

— Supporting the overall mission of national security and defense
— Information gathering
— Intelligence receiving
— Decision making
— Strategic planning
— Appointing and delegating authority
— Providing funding, people and materiel to carry out plans
— Giving orders

The Lead Warrior carries out those orders, leading and fighting alongside other warriors.

In America, “The president of the United States is the commander-in-chief of all United States Armed Forces as well as all federalized United States Militia. In this capacity, the president exercises supreme operational command and control over all military personnel and militia members, and has plenary power to launch, direct and supervise military operations, order or authorize the deployment of troops, unilaterally launch nuclear weapons, and form military policy with the Department of Defense and Homeland Security. However, the constitutional ability to declare war is vested only in Congress.” (From https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Powers_of_the_president_of_the_United_States)

One notable American Chief Warrior was President Dwight D. Eisenhower. While he had extensive military experience, he never fought in combat. A notable American Lead Warrior was Douglas MacArthur, who fought in combat but was never President.

Several American Presidents did serve in both functions but not simultaneously, including George Washington and Theodore Roosevelt. None served in both capacities at the same time.

However, King Albert I of Belgium did. “King Albert I of Belgium (during WWI) was one of the last Kings to take the risk of joining his men in battle. When Belgium entered the war, King Albert I took personal command of the Belgian army… With him in command the Belgian troops were able to hold off Germany long enough for Britain and France to prepare for their own clash with the Germans. He never stopped fighting with his men… It was said that whenever he was on the front lines the Germans refused to fire on him out of respect for him being the highest ranked commander in harm’s way… At the end of the war, King Albert I led the Army Group Flanders and liberated Belgium. Once Belgium was free King Albert and his family returned to Brussels to a hero’s welcome.” (From https://historycollection.com/7-royal-escort-kings-led-armies-battle/)

I firmly believe that God himself is involved in spiritual warfare a great deal these days, as Chief Warrior AND Lead Warrior. Who do you suppose is winning this global battle?

Warrior

Thoughts about who and what God’s warriors actually are, continued.

Esther's Petition

WarriorAssignments“If you love me, you will keep my commandments,” Jesus said. “Whoever has my commands and keeps them is the one who loves me.” “Anyone who loves me will obey my teaching.” (John 14:15, 21, 23 NIV)

If we love Jesus, we will obey his commands, his principles, precepts, injunctions. His teachings. This doesn’t say we will TRY, it says we WILL.

Including: “Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” (Matt. 28:19-20) (Everything he had commanded the disciples? That includes heal the sick, cast out demons, cleanse the lepers, raise the dead.)

And not only those things, we will do whatever he says to us personally, present tense…

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Under cover of darkness

Last night as I prayed, I asked “Who are you, Lord?” again. He replied, “Chief Warrior. Lead Warrior.” Oh my. A lengthy conversation ensued, with images and descriptions of just what those two terms meant. As I study and meditate further on all that, I thought I’d re-post an old post or two about who, and what, God’s warriors are.

Esther's Petition

FireworksIowaJimaMonumentIn recent weeks I have experienced a peculiar sadness, an unexplained grief in my spirit off and on.

No matter what else I was doing – housework, grocery shopping, reading – I would begin to feel grief-stricken, as though something really bad had happened somewhere, or was getting ready to.

I was 14 the first time this happened, June 16, 1957 when my great grandmother Mary Emily Dunnahoe Springs died. I didn’t know her really, had only visited her once or twice with my grandmother. I knew she’d been bedridden because of a broken hip for years, but had no idea she was sick otherwise.

Spending the summer at my grandparents’ farm in Effingham, I had just gone to bed when suddenly a horrible sadness come over me for no reason. I was wondering what on earth was wrong with me when the phone rang and my grandmother Mimi went…

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Lessons From a Wren

Devotional Treasures

A UK Wren, (Troglodytes troglodytes).

Look at the birds of the air, that they do not sow, nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not worth much more than they?

Matthew 6:26 (NASB)

In the 1970s my dad introduced me to the life long delight of birdwatching. He had purchased a RSPB (Royal Society for the Protection of Birds) pocket book about garden birdwatching from a newspaper advertisement. To me a bird was just a thing with feathers, but as I read about the many species and their intricacies I was hooked. I looked at our front and back gardens with new excitement, it was a haven for birds with trees and the many shrubs dad had planted. My first bird was the Blackbird that nested in the privet hedge in our front garden, but the Wren I saw in the back…

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Unbelief can kill you

Hindrances to successful prayer

Living here and now, believers in Christ have God the Holy Spirit living inside of them, interested in their daily activities, their thoughts and wishes. Instructing, explaining, giving out assignments and directions, including what to pray.

If we are inhabited by God himself, and if we are praying what God desires for us to pray, then what might hinder us from getting those prayers answered?

Unbelief, which can come from (1) a willful refusal to believe, or (2) ignorance of who God is, his character, his love, his grace, and his will. The result is the same, a lack of active, energized faith. Faith and belief are from the same Greek word, pistis.

  • Matthew 13:58, Mark 6:5-6 – Jesus could do no mighty works in Nazareth because of unbelief.
  • Matthew 9:25, Mark 5:40 – Jesus put unbelievers out of the room (case of the ruler’s daughter).
  • Acts 9:40 – Peter also put unbelievers out of the room (case of Tabitha/Dorcas). Read the passage about Aeneas first, then this passage.

Peter put the unbelievers out of the room first, before praying. He prayed not for the dead woman, but to get God’s instructions on what to do about her. Then he turned and just spoke to her, as he had done to Aeneas, telling her to do something she could not do. And she did it. There was a good reason to put the unbelievers out, unbelief can kill you.

  • In Mark 9:23-24, the father of a demon-oppressed boy came to Jesus after the disciples couldn’t help him. “Jesus said unto him, If thou canst believe, all things are possible to him that believeth. And straightway the father of the child cried out, and said with tears, Lord, I believe; help thou mine unbelief.”

Honoring the small faith the boy’s father did have, Jesus helped his unbelief – he healed and delivered the boy. (Jesus told the disciples, this kind comes only by prayer and fasting.)

Misbelief, a mistaken belief, believing the wrong thing, such as:

  • Miracles ceased with the apostles, not for today – yet more miracles occur today than ever.
  • Healing is not in the atonement, it’s not always God’s will – but Jesus healed ALL that came to him. The word for healing is the same Greek word for salvation. You can’t parse this word, it’s the same, single word: Greek sozo, soteria.
  • “Whatever will be, will be” – but that’s from Eastern religion, it’s not a Christian principle.
  • You can’t really know God’s will for sure – but He wants you to know his will more than you want to know it. See Colossians 1:9.
  • You don’t deserve answers to prayer because of past sins, or not being good enough. But salvation is by grace, it’s not deserved, it is by accepted faith. So are answers to prayer.

Hebrews 4:16 says, “Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.” Current sinful practices may hinder answers, but it’s not because you don’t deserve answers. You put up a barricade to receiving answers by believing the wrong things.

Doubt. Doubt may come before faith, and frequently does. Doubt simply means trying to decide between two things; the choice and decision is yours. This is usually from the Greek word diakrino, to examine in order to make a determination; to judge, discern, contend, waver, determine; doubt.

  • In Matthew 21:21, “Jesus answered and said unto them, Verily I say unto you, If ye have faith, and doubt not, ye shall not only do this which is done to the fig tree, but also if ye shall say unto this mountain, Be thou removed, and be thou cast into the sea; it shall be done.”
  • In Mark 11:23, he said “For verily I say unto you, That whosoever shall say unto this mountain, Be thou removed, and be thou cast into the sea; and shall not doubt in his heart, but shall believe that those things which he saith shall come to pass; he shall have whatsoever he saith.”
  • James 1:6 translates this word as wavering, “But let him ask in faith, nothing wavering. For he that wavereth is like a wave of the sea driven with the wind and tossed.”

Doubt is not bad unless you remain there, never coming to a decision.

Note: Sometimes you have plenty of time, but sometimes you have to decide quickly. Only with the help of the Holy Spirit and the Word of God can you make the right decision when you don’t have much time…

  • In Matthew 14:26-32, Peter was headed to Jesus walking on the Sea of Galilee. As the wind arose he looked at two things, Jesus and the boisterous waves. Doubting his own ability (and perhaps his survival), Peter had to make a quick decision. He made the right one. “Immediately Jesus stretched out His hand and took hold of him, and said to him, “You of little faith, why did you doubt?”

Belief problems can be solved. Hindrances to successful prayer, God-directed prayer, can be removed. Studying the scriptures and getting to know God’s character is essential to that, because active faith – belief – comes by hearing, present tense, the word of God (Romans 10:17).

(Notes adapted Class Notes, Principles of Intercessory Prayer.)

Work out… part two

Esther's Petition

Memorizing“Work out your own salvation with fear and trembling,” Part Two.

Being “occupied until Jesus comes” means some of our time must be spent learning how to spiritually feed ourselves, strengthen our faith, and learn “best practices” in living in a world that grows ever more hostile to Christians.

Books, magazines, devotionals, sermons on CD or internet sites can be added resources, but they are not our primary source for God’s life.

God’s word is.

Jesus said, ” … the words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life.” (John 6:63 NIV)

Meat and milk, our spiritual food for life, health and growth, is contained in his word. It’s also our faith producer, faith exerciser, armor and weapon against the enemy.

Having God’s word on hand in your memory isn’t just a good religious idea, it’s life-preserving. Basic survival gear. So, how to get it into…

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Work out your own salvation with fear and trembling. Really?

Esther's Petition

TwoCarpenters“Wherefore, my beloved, as ye have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling. For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure.” (Phil. 2:12-13 KJV)

Hmm. Work out your own salvation. Do so many good things, they outweigh the bad? No, that wouldn’t be grace, would it. So what does that mean, exactly?

It means work throughout the term of your salvation, from the time you were born again until the time you arrive in heaven. Work. Don’t be lazy. Don’t camp on some mountain top waiting for the rapture. Be busy doing something.

Jesus said, Occupy until I come (see Luke 19). Not occupy a city square or occupy a lounge chair, but be occupied, working at something.

Let’s look closer at these…

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Patience, perseverance and endurance

Still needed – maybe more than ever…

Esther's Petition

The following notes are excerpted from “How to Pray Less, Succeed More: Praying the Word of God,” a unit of Principles of Intercessory Prayer taught at Trinity EPC, 2016-18.

Do trials and temptations affect prayer? Short answer – Yes.

What is the purpose of temptations / trials? Think of it like strength training. Spiritual resistance training. Exercising our faith muscles, our trust muscles. Our prayer muscles.

The enemy uses trials and temptations to prevent us from living by faith, or from praying in faith. But God can and does use them to make us stronger, more effective.

Three particular areas of temptation can and do hinder a believer’s effectiveness to pray in faith: Patience, Perseverance, and Endurance.

Although the original Greek words have different meanings, they are sometimes used interchangeably in various translations. Lack or failure of patience, perseverance, and/or endurance can and do hinder effectiveness to pray in faith.

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It’s tempting…

Esther's Petition

  • That lovely slice of pecan pie, the last one left in the pan, the one you’re supposed to be saving for somebody else.
  • That gorgeous outfit on sale “One Day Only,” so absolutely right for you but not for your budget, sale or no sale. Or those cute earrings, nobody’s watching, the store can afford it, it’s not all that bad to shoplift those cheap little things, is it?
  • That temper tantrum against your children or your spouse, the one you’ve been resisting but now feel absolutely justified in throwing, “I’ve had it, they’re really going to get it!”
  • Those ugly, fuming thoughts and words, turning into ugly, fuming deeds because after all you’re right and they’re wrong, people who had the audacity to question your – (fill in the blank, your truthfulness, your honesty, your integrity, your motives, your actions. Even your faith.)

We’ve all been tempted to think…

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Wilderness training

Esther's Petition

The New Testament has lots of military words and phrases, although they aren’t obvious in most English translations. Thinking about that fact, I started meditating on the way most of us think about “wilderness experiences.” Negative, bad, depressing, to-be-avoided, painful, stressful, faith-stealing, etc., etc.

Soldiers go through weeks and months of necessary training, some of it in wilderness areas. Like it or not, we’re soldiers ourselves.

What is a wilderness? Webster’s dictionary defines it primarily as a place that is uncultivated and uninhabited by human beings. Not that it is suitable for cultivation or habitation and no-one chose to do it — wilderness is a region that is not really suitable for cultivating crops or building cities and towns. The New Testament Greek word for wilderness means “solitude,” and is used in a variety of applications. I like that.

What is missing in a wilderness? Distractions. Normal food and shelter…

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