Be moved. Be changed. Love because you are loved.

Tag: battle


Ready to Rumble

woman boxer

I realize the title being Ready to Rumble sounds contradictory to my tagline: Love Because You Are Loved. Sometimes, however, loving people means fighting for them or for ourselves. More than ever, we need to be “strong in the Lord and in his mighty power” (Ephesians 6:10), praying for God to give us a tender heart and thick skin.

In Matthew 10:16, Jesus says, “I’m sending you out like sheep among wolves. Therefore be as shrewd as snakes and innocent as doves.” This scripture always startles me because snakes are usually something I avoid, not mimic, but we’re supposed to emulate their shrewdness. Ephesians 6 reminds us that our battle isn’t against people (flesh and blood) but against spiritual forces of evil. For us to stand firm against the devil’s schemes, we need to be mentally, physically, emotionally, and spiritually prepared for battle.

Mentally – We must set our minds on the things of God, whatever is pure, noble, excellent, and praiseworthy (Philippians 4:8), but we must also be alert and ready for battle. Our feet are to be fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace (Ephesians 6:15). Peace comes with knowing the battle plan and the weapons we have at our disposal and having faith in our spiritual leaders and God who is ultimately in command.


Physically – We have to put on the full armor of God, the buckle of truth, the breastplate of righteousness, the helmet of salvation, and the shield of faith (Ephesians 6:14-17). Sometimes we can feel like David trying on King Saul’s armor. At first, we may feel clumsy when we put on and adjust our breastplate of righteousness and choose not to join in gossip or cuss at the car that cut us off. It may seem awkward to pick up the shield of faith and pray out loud in front of others, raise our hands during worship, or bring a pie to the grumpy neighbor who yells at the kids to get off his lawn.

So far, these armor pieces are for defense against attack, but to go on the offensive, we have to take up the sword of the spirit, which is the Word of God. We can hold our ground and stand firm, but if we want to take back territory and gain victories, it means picking up our Bibles and not just reading but knowing the scriptures.

Emotionally – Being strong in the Lord also means shoring up ourselves emotionally. David and his band of men had returned from battle to find the Amalekites had burned their village and taken all the women and children. 1 Samuel 30:4 says, “So David and his men wept aloud until they had no strength left to weep.” The men turned bitter and threatened to stone David to death. Verse 6 states, “But David found strength in the Lord his God.” He rallied his men and went after the Amalekites. When we are emotionally drained, and the well of our tears has run dry, we can crawl into God’s lap, collapse into His open arms, and He will renew our strength.

Spiritually – “Pray in the spirit on all occasions and with all kinds of prayers and requests,” Paul says in Ephesians 6:18. More than ever, we need to be sensitive to what the Holy Spirit tells us. Jesus said, “But when he, the Spirit of truth, comes, he will guide you into all the truth. He will not speak on his own; he will speak only what he hears, and he will tell you what is yet to come.” (John 16:13). God isn’t going to leave us in the dark. He communicates with us through His field commander, the Holy Spirit, and if we’re listening and ready, He’ll direct our steps, telling us when to move out, hold, take cover, or fire.

God gives us the armor, and the power comes from Him, but it’s up to us to put it on and be ready.

men welding weapons

Bring on the Opposition

I used to cringe when the phone rang. There was a time in my life when I was called down to my son’s school daily to discipline him. One day, weary, defeated, and overwhelmed after leaving, I had cried off all my makeup and still had to return to work, so I stopped at a CVS to buy eyeliner. I stood in the makeup section with an eye-pencil clutched in my hand and caught a glimpse of my puffy eyes and red splotchy face in the mirror. The words of Nehemiah rang in my head. “I am doing a great work and cannot come down.” (Nehemiah 6:3)

God had placed a vision in Nehemiah’s heart to rebuild the wall around Jerusalem (which had been torn down and the gates burned). While he and his men repaired the wall, Sanballat, the Governor of Samaria to the north, and his cronies heard about Nehemiah’s work and attempted to thwart him. He taunted, mocked, and scorned the men as they labored and later moved to threats, lies, and plans of harm. Nehemiah told his people, “Don’t be afraid of the enemy! Remember the Lord, who is great and glorious, and fight for your friends, your families, and your homes!” (Nehemiah 4:14) He instructed his men to keep their weapons on them at all times. They held a hammer in one hand and a sword in the other while up on ladders. They slept in their clothes, prepared and ready.

What Nehemiah said still applies. That day, at the CVS, eyeliner became my warpaint. I was ready to do battle and fight for my son, my family, and my home, and God has been faithful. Last night, that same son sat in our back yard with a group of 28+ high schoolers praying.

wooden ladder

Listen to Nehemiah’s words. Hear them in your own heart. Don’t be afraid of the enemy. Remember the Lord, who is great and glorious, and fight for your friends, your families, and your homes! When we are doing God’s work, there will be opposition. Sometimes our battle will be a visible foe like Sanballat. Sometimes it won’t be tangible. The Apostle Paul stated, “For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms (Ephesians 6:12).” Battles aren’t easy. Nehemiah prayed, then, he pressed through, stayed on that ladder, and continued his great work despite the trouble. In the end, it was Sanballat and his men who lost their self-confidence because they realized this work had been done by the hand of God.

Whether your warpaint is eyeliner, lipstick, a slick hairdo, or a knockout pair of shoes, be at the ready. A battle is waging whether we want it to or not, but we are doing a great work, and despite the opposition, we need to stay on those ladders with hammer and swords in hand until God’s work is completed.

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United We Stand

Hillsong ConcertThe base throbbed, synchronizing my heartbeat to its tempo. We had great seats with a perfect view. I stood shoulder to shoulder in the crowded auditorium alongside other concert-goers who held their phone’s high. Their flashing camera’s rivaled the onstage light show. The singers belted out a wide scale of notes to catchy choruses, with skills I could only imagine having. However, it wasn’t the singing or lyrics that impacted me the most at the Hillsong concert (even though both were amazingly good). For me seeing a room full of Christians united in worship rose the fine hairs on my arms and made my heart swell with a joy that was pressed down, shaken together and running over.

“United we stand, divided we fall,” Patrick Henry’s words roused early Americans to unite against the British and their allies.

“A house divided against itself cannot stand,” Abraham Lincoln said these famous words at the Republican conference and demonstrated his priority for preserving the union.

What most people don’t realize is that Abraham was paraphrasing the words of Jesus when Jesus stood before the Sadducees. “Any kingdom divided against itself will be ruined, and a house divided against itself will fall.”

Why does this ancient wisdom need to be reiterated over many generations? Because, we fall for the same trick year after year, century after century. The devil knows how best to weaken us: divide and conquer, cultivate disharmony, turn brother against brother.

Years ago at a marriage retreat, the speaker emphasized expressing your feelings, and that it’s healthy to argue. He did so to the point I grew worried that my husband and I didn’t argue enough. At the time, we had three kids all under the age of four, who didn’t sleep through the night, were a perpetual danger to themselves, and needed constant attention. When I told my husband of my concern, he said, “When you’re in the trenches (trying to raise 3 small boys), you don’t have time to pick the lint off each other.”  But that’s exactly what the devil tries to get us to do. He wants us to knit pick each other. He wraps us up in minor skirmishes. He disillusions us to think our loved ones are the problem so that we take our focus off the real opponent. He tricks us into elevating trivial matters to distract us from the major battle against an evil foe.

I pray today that God lead us back to the proper perspective. That we will stop attacking each other and stand united as God’s army. For as the apostle Paul stated, “Our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.”

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