Sun, 26 August 2018
In war, communication between the commander-in-chief and his troops in the field is essential. It can be the difference between victory and defeat.
In WWII the United States faced Japan in the Pacific theatre. It was a conflict marked by desperate, brutal, and costly battles in places like Guadalcanal, Iwo Jima, and Okinawa.
One key element that tipped the scales in American favor was our secure lines of communication. We had recruited scores of young men from the Navajo tribe to serve as communication specialists. The Navajo language is one of the most difficult languages in the world to learn due to its syntax and tonal features. Unless you are a native speaker, it is virtually impossible to acquire their language. The Japanese were never able to break the communication code that the Navajo “wind talkers” established.
Clear and constant communication between military leadership and boots on the ground is essential for ultimate victory.
Today a war rages about us. It is unseen but real. It is a conflict between our Commander-in-chief, the Lord God, and the Devil and the forces of evil. How this war will fare in your life and mine depends, in large measure, on the communication that we have with God.
Thankfully, we do not need a special code. He understands Navajo, English, Spanish, and every other language on earth. He even interprets the muffled cries of a broken heart. Prayer is how we communicate with our Lord and bring His inexhaustible resources to bear on the battles that we face. It is the capstone piece of our spiritual armor.
Ephesians 6:18-20 says, “praying at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication. To that end, keep alert with all perseverance, making supplication for all the saints, 19 and also for me, that words may be given to me in opening my mouth boldly to proclaim the mystery of the gospel, 20 for which I am an ambassador in chains, that I may declare it boldly, as I ought to speak.”
Let’s pray and win the spiritual battles we face!
“The Weapons of Our Warfare: Part 3”
Praying at all times in the Spirit, (6:18a).
With all prayer and supplication (6:18b).
To that end, keep alert with all perseverance (6:18c).
Making supplication for all the saints (6:18d).
Sun, 19 August 2018
Football is a tough sport. Injuries are common and it seems that players are only getting bigger, stronger and faster with each passing season. But it might surprise you to know that there was a time when it was even more brutal than it is today.
In 1905, for example, there were 20 deaths related to football injuries. Rules were few and protective gear was virtually non-existent. Here’s a picture of a game from that year. Note how few of the players had helmets or shoulder pads or anything of the sort. No wonder so many died.
It got so bad that the President of the United States at that time, Teddy Roosevelt, convened a conference at the White House with officials from schools like Harvard, Yale, and Princeton to see what changes could be made so that the sport would not be outlawed!
Gridiron gladiators need their armor! It would be foolhardy to run onto a field of play without your helmet or pads. But it would be far more foolish to engage in the skirmishes of life without the proper protective gear.
We are in a battle that is more intense and has higher stakes than any sporting event. It is war—spiritual war. Thankfully, we have a tactical manual and adequate armor so that we can win this war.
This Sunday we will tackle (no pun intended) part 2 of “The Weapons of Our Warfare.” We’ll learn about our shield, our salvation and our sword. We’ll be encouraged to strap them all on tightly as we engage in this spiritual battle.
“The Weapons of Our Warfare: Part 2”
In all circumstances take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming darts of the evil one (6:16).
And take the helmet of salvation (6:17a).
And the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God (6:17b).
Sun, 12 August 2018
The German nation was humiliated by their defeat in World War I and the resulting treaties. These dynamics created great resentment and hardship. From the shame and ashes of WWI arose the Nazis. They promised the German people a return to glory and supremacy. They were led by a crazed madman named Adolf Hitler.
They built up a vast and menacing war machine. On September 1, 1939 they unleashed it against Poland, their weaker neighbor to the east. 1.5 million well-equipped German troops poured over the Polish border. Their tanks and armies swept in like a lightning bolt supported by the superior airpower of the Luftwaffe.
The Poles were no match. In some cases they sent out mounted cavalry with swords and lances against armed, mechanized tanks. It became a complete rout.
Poland and several other European countries fell to the Nazis because they were unsuspecting and ill-equipped. They did not have the military intel nor armor to stand their ground. The price that they paid was high.
We, too, no less than they, are in a war. It is not a battle against flesh and blood, but against the Devil and the forces of evil. The stakes could not be higher. God does not want us to be caught unaware and ill-equipped. For that reason He has given us a tactical manual, the Bible. In it He details the armor that we can wear so that the victory can be ours.
This Sunday we will examine carefully the first three pieces of this armor and make sure that we’re protected by them.
“The Weapons of Our Warfare: Part 1”
Stand therefore, having fastened on the belt of truth (6:14a).
. . . and having put on the breastplate of righteousness (6:14b).
and, as shoes for your feet, having put on the readiness given by the gospel of peace (6:15).
Sun, 5 August 2018
One of the most intriguing figures from World War II is a Japanese soldier named Hiroo Onoda. He was deployed to the Philippines by his commanding officers. He was given strict orders never to surrender. He took those orders seriously.
The war officially ended in August of 1945 with V-J Day, but not for Onoda. He refused to believe it. He continued to wage guerilla warfare for 29 more years. This was no laughing matter. Estimates are that he was responsible for killing at least 30 Filipinos and wounding approximately 100 others. He finally laid down his weapons when he was “relieved of his duties” by his old commanding officer who was flown to the Philippines so that he could personally issue the order.
That is tragic—fighting when the war is over.
But there is another tragedy, equally as dangerous.
This other tragedy does not consist of fighting when there’s no war; instead, it consists of not fighting when there is a war. It is perilous not to know when you have an enemy that is bent on your destruction.
On September 11, 2001 the United States was caught half-asleep by a group that intended our destruction. Nineteen terrorists aboard 4 jet planes launched an attack that shook our country to its core. Almost 3,000 people died that day.
Some of these terrorists had been in our country for months. Some had taken flying lessons. It was a plot that was detailed and deadly. If we had but known that an attack was imminent—if we had been more alert--perhaps the course of events could have been different.
It is bad to fight when there is no war. It may be worse not to fight when there is a war.
I have a news alert for us this morning. We are at war! To ignore this reality is to add to the danger that already surrounds us. In a new sermon series beginning this Sunday, we are going to learn that, not only are we in a war, but we have been given the armor necessary to win the war!
“We’re at War!”
Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might (6:10).
Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil(6:11).
For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places. 13 Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand firm (6:12-13).