Nahum 1:15 – Stepping into battle

The title “Stepping into battle” may seems a little odd when referring to the first part of the fifteenth verse of the first chapter of Nahum, which reads “Behold upon the mountains the feet of him that bringeth good tidings, that publisheth peace! O Judah.This verse speaks of the feet that brings good tidings and peace, then where is the question of battle and warfare? Before we delve into that, let us first recognize that this verse succeeds God’s assurance of comfort to the people of Judah from the Assyrians, for God promises to afflict them no more (Nahum 1:12). God’s comfort is possible only when the Comforter is present and the Holy Spirit of God is referred to as the Comforter by Jesus himself who will testify of Jesus (John 15:26) . True peace and good tidings comes only when Jesus comes into a person’s life. So this verse in essence is a messianic prophecy of the coming of the Lord Jesus Christ as not just as God’s messenger of peace but as God’s message of peace and the God of peace (Philippians 4:9). Prophet Isaiah refers to the same analogy to describe to coming of the Lord Jesus Christ (Isaiah 40:9). When Jesus was born, the angelic host (army) sang, peace on earth and good will (tidings) to all men (Luke 2:14).

Ever wonder why an army, that to, an army of angels, sing about peace. To publish peace in a world that is sinful and under the bondage of the evil vile one (2 Corinthians 4:4) is not just a struggle but a battle and it would take an army of warriors. This is why the armor of God, which ought to be donned for victory in spiritual warfare, lists as one of its elements, the shoes of peace that comes from the Good News (gospel of Jesus Christ) (Ephesians 6:15 – NLT).

Points to ponder:
When we take the gospel of peace to people who have not yet believed in Jesus, we can take comfort, that we are being, God’s feet that brings good tidings and publishes peace (Nahum 1:15).
When we put on the shoes of peace to proclaim the gospel of peace to a world that is lost without Jesus, we are in essence stepping into battle, but we can take comfort in the fact, that by doing so, we are following Jesus’ footsteps. Jesus said, “Do not think I have come to send peace, but a sword” (Matthew 10:34) meaning that when we take the gospel of peace to the lost, it will pierce their inner core as a sword would penetrate the soul and spirit, joints and marrow (Hebrews 4:12) as we engage with spiritual warfare.

Nahum 1:15 (KJV)
15 Behold upon the mountains the feet of him that bringeth good tidings, that publisheth peace! O Judah, keep thy solemn feasts, perform thy vows: for the wicked shall no more pass through thee; he is utterly cut off.

Isaiah 40:9 (KJV)
9 O Zion, that bringest good tidings, get thee up into the high mountain; O Jerusalem, that bringest good tidings, lift up thy voice with strength; lift it up, be not afraid; say unto the cities of Judah, Behold your God!

Luke 2:14 (KJV)
14 Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.

Christian Acronym :: B.A.S.I.C

Master: You must learn to teach!
Apprentice: What must I learn, master?
Master: The needed skill
Apprentice: and what is that, master?
B.A.S.I.C. Warfare
B.A.S.I.C? What is that, master?
Master: Being A Soldier In Christ (B.A.S.I.C)
Apprentice: I don’t understand, master. What does that mean?
Master: Enlist, not Entangle!
Apprentice: I still don’t understand, master.
My son, don’t get caught up (entangled) with the affairs of this world, but fight to please The One, named Jesus Christ (The COMMANDER-in-CHIEF) who has chosen (enlisted) you into His army. Fight by submitting first to the Commander-in-Chief and put on His whole armor, buckled in Truth wearing the belt of Truth, guarding your heart with the breastplate of Righteousness, ready to defend His message of Peace wearing the right shoes,  and blocking the fiery darts of evil one with the Shield of Faith, ever cognizant in your mind of His Salvation protected by His helmet and fight with His Sword which is His word. This my son, is B.A.S.I.C. warfare; This my son is what it means to “Being A Soldier In Christ.”
Apprentice: I now understand, master. 
Now then that you have learned, you must now teach. Don’t forget – “Enlist, not Entangle”

2 Timothy 2:2-4 (KJV)
And the things that thou hast heard of me among many witnesses, the same commit thou to faithful men, who shall be able to teach others also.
Thou therefore endure hardness, as a good soldier of Jesus Christ.
No man that warreth entangleth himself with the affairs of this life; that he may please him who hath chosen [enlisted] him to be a soldier.

Christian Verbs :: Q is for Quenching

To quench is to put out or extinguish and we are asked to take up the shield of faith (above all) wherewith we shall be able to quench (put out) the fiery darts of the devil. It is however, important to recognize that we do not put out the fiery darts (trials and temptations) but instead we need to merely take up the shield of faith, that protects us against these darts. It is also important to recognize that we ought not to quench (put out) the Holy Spirit of God that dwells in us (1 Thessalonians 5:19). For when we quench the Holy Spirit, the flesh that is at war with the Spirit triumphs and makes us sin that leads to death, trampling the Son of God and nullifying his sacrifice (Hebrews 10:26-29). So as Christ Ones we ought to quench the fiery darts and also quench not the Holy Spirit.

Ephesians 6:16 (KJV)
16 Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked.

1 Thessalonians 5:19 (KJV)
19 Quench not the Spirit.

Defeating the lion

Inspired by a true story, Wisegal is the story of a single mom who gets caught in the mob for the sake of her family and in the end says no to the mob for the sake of her family. The movie starts with the son narrating the following lines “My mother always says, people are not fools. Nobody chooses the devil. The devil always chooses you” and the movie ends with the lines “When the devil shows up with a truck load of promises, it is harder than you think to say No”

The Bible counsels that the adversary, the devil is a roaring lion, seeking (choosing) whom he may devour (1 Peter 5:8). And when he does show up, he shows up with promises. He even promised Jesus the kingdoms of the world and the glory of those (Matthew 4:8). And just as Jesus did, we are to say No and let let our No be No (Matthew 5:37). We are to resist the devil (James 4:7), armed with the armor of God wielding the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God (Ephesians 6:17) for It is written. We are to be wise guys and gals for God.  

1 Peter 5:8 (KJV)
 8 Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour:

The art of fighting without fighting

Growing up learning martial arts, it was not hard to be appealed by karate or kung fu movies and one of my favorite action movies is Bruce Lee’s Enter the Dragon. In that movie, there is a quote by Bruce Lee that got etched in my mind. Bruce Lee is asked for his style (of martial arts) by a bully and he responds by saying that his style is the “art of fighting without fighting” and as the scene progresses you see that he teaches the bully a lesson without fighting with brawl but with his brains.

When questioned by Pontius Pilate, Jesus responded that His Kingdom was not of this world. He then adds on to say that if His Kingdom was of this world, then His servants would fight from Him; that He would not be delivered to the Jews; that His Kingdom is not from here (this world) (John 18:36). Note how Jesus expressed that His servants would NOT fight for Him because His Kingdom was not of this world. In other words, Jesus was saying that His style of engaging in spiritual battle was the art of fighting (Spiritually) without fighting (physically).

Although we are engaged in Spiritual warfare (Ephesians 6:11-12) we are not expected to engage in physical warfare. Many who were persecuted for the sake of Jesus Christ, chose not to retaliate in any form, because they recognized, learned and applied the art of fighting without fighting in their lives, many unto death.Their Master had taught them well. We are to be the same. We are easily angered when Christians are persecuted and I am guilty of such emotion. The Kandhamal riots against Christians or the burning of Graham Staines and his two sons in Orissa, India, makes me angry and a part of me wants not just justice, but revenge. The Scripture  now teaches me to understand that Jesus’ Kingdom is not of this world and His style is the art of fighting without fighting. This means that instead of trying to restore justice through physical means, we must be fighting on our knees (in prayer), enamored with the Armor of God, standing firm with the belt of TRUTH, the breastplate of RIGHTEOUSNESS, the feet fitted with readiness for that which comes from the gospel of PEACE (not war), the shield of FAITH, the helmet of SALVATION and the sword of the SPIRIT which is the word of God.

The litmus test would be, when I am persecuted for the sake of Jesus Christ, will I be a true follower of my Master? Will I know the art of fighting without fighting? My prayer is that I will and do. Will you?

John 18:36 (KJV)
36 Jesus answered, My kingdom is not of this world: if my kingdom were of this world, then would my servants fight, that I should not be delivered to the Jews: but now is my kingdom not from hence.

A call for warriors, not just workers

It is the eight anniversary of the infamous and heinous attacks by kamikaze terrorist groups commonly referred to as the September 11 attacks or the 911 attacks. Although superficially it may seem as if the attacks were orchestrated against the American public, when America had to surrender its innocence of the nation’s invincibility, on deeper thought, it was an attack against all those whom the terrorists deemed as ‘infidels’; those who did not belong to their faith. It came with the slaughter of many innocents and eight years later, we remember the fallen.

But in our remembrance, let us NOT just remember those fallen on the day of the 911 attacks, but let us also remember those who are under the bondage on THE fallen (Satan and his angels).

In the wake of the 911 attacks, the then President of the United States, George W. Bush Jr., said the following words in his Radio address to the nation – “This will be a different kind of conflict against a different kind of enemy. This is a conflict without battlefields or beachheads, a conflict with opponents who believe they are invisible”. While President Bush eluded this reference to the physicality of the war at that time, it is nonetheless accurate of a war that began centuries ago, when God cursed the fallen one (Satan) in the garden of Eden who had tricked God’s priceless of creation to fall from their relationship with God (Genesis 3:15).

We are in a conflict (at WAR) in spiritual realms with an enemy that is invisible to the human natural eye. But this INVISIBLE enemy is NOT INVINCIBLE as God has equipped us with an armor (Ephesians 6:10-18) and endowed us with weapons of warfare(2 Corinthians 10:4).

We are all called to work for God and sadly many of us stop at being just workers for God. We are not to be mere workers but warriors as well, engaged full time in spiritual battle, snatching those under the clutches of the fallen one so that they no longer are fallen. We are asked to beat our plowshares (workman’s items) into swords (warrior item) and our pruninghooks (fisherman’s item) into spears (warrior item) and let those who are weak proclaim that they are strong (Joel 3:10). Those who were commissioned to work and rebuild the Temple of God under the leadership of Nehemiah, held in one hand the materials for the building and in the other hand a weapon (Nehemiah 4:17). We are called not to be just workers but warriors as well.

Equipping ourselves with the armor of God, let us affirm to engage in spiritual battle this day, and when we win this day, the 11th of September will no longer be known as an American memorial day, but as the day all followers of Christ Jesus declared in one voice: “We will not go quietly into the night (darkness)! We will not vanish without a fight! We’re going to live on (abundantly)! We’re going to survive (death has no power over us)! Today we celebrate our Independence Day (by no longer staying fallen or under the bondage of the fallen one)!”

Points to ponder:
Are we engaged for spiritual warfare? Are we equipped with the Armor of God? Let not just work, but fight as well.

Joel 3:10 (KJV)
Beat your plowshares into swords and your pruninghooks into spears: let the weak say, I am strong.

2 Corinthians 10:4 (KJV)
4 (For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds;)

For your viewing pleasure, our 3 year old son telling us the Armor of God. Note how he ends it with, “the word of God, the Bible” 🙂

Dancing with unseen forces

An excerpt from Past President, George W. Bush, Jr’s radio address to the Nation in the wake of the Sept 11th twin tower terrorist attack was as follows – This will be a different kind of conflict, against a different kind of enemy. This is a conflict without battle fields or beachheads, a conflict with opponents who believe they are invisible.

A couple of years ago, I watched the movie, Van Helsing. It was a good entertainer, and one particular scene that made me reflect was a scene in which Dracula is dancing with a lady in room with mirrors. In the mirrors, you can observe the reflection of lady but not of Dracula. It seemed as if the lady was dancing with an unseen force.

The Bible records that our struggles are not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, powers, ruler of the darkness of this world, and against spiritual wickedness in the heavenly realms; in a sense, against unseen forces.

What are the unseen forces that you and I are dancing with? Le us remember to put on the full armor of God (Ephesians 6) and recognize that the battle belongs to the Lord.
Let us  submit the struggle against anything (seen or unseen) that weighs us down, with prayer and supplication, to the Lord, so you and I can complete the race, fight the good fight, and keep the faith.

Our toddler son, Reuben, telling us the Armor of God. He was a little over 2 years when he said this. Enjoy.

Ephesians 6:12-18 (KJV)
For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.
Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.
Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness;
And your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace;
Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked.
And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God:
Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints;