Are You Battle Ready?

“I may never march in the infantry

Ride into cavalry

Shoot the artillery

I may never fly o’er the enemy

But I’m in the Lord’s army!”

Growing up in Sunday School, this song was my favorite, and it is so applicable to our theme this past week. You, as a soldier in God’s army, are fighting in a different kind of war—a spiritual battle. It’s a battle of God and sin competing for your heart. It’s a battle of protecting your flag, the Gospel message that has been placed inside of you. It’s a battle of sharing the Gospel with a broken fallen world that needs to hear a message of hope.

Just as Gideon and his men shouted into battle, you, too, need a battle cry. A word to inspire you, unite your army, and intimidate your enemy. This week, I’ve proposed a few words for you to embrace throughout the year, but don’t stop there. Find words that resonate with you, hold them tight, and live by them each and every day.

Surrendered: In a society that strives for control, surrender isn’t easy, but knowing that who you are surrendering to is more powerful than any another force in this world should give you peace. Like Elijah, choose a place of vulnerability to let God blow your mind. If He can send fire to an altar drenched in water and rain to a scorched earth, just imagine what He can do in your life.

Broken: You can rejoice in your brokenness because you didn’t stay broken. Through Jesus, your wounds were healed and are now a sign of victory. You are a teacup that was shattered but has been pieced back together with gold; you are restored and you have value. God is eagerly waiting to use you in big and unimaginable ways, just like He used Rahab.

Committed: God wants His soldiers to be fully committed to battle. He is jealous for every ounce of you. When Jesus asked three men to follow him, they answered back with excuses and pre-arranged plans, leaving Jesus unsatisfied. When Jesus has a task for you, I challenge you to answer yes, leaving behind your comfort zone and things of this world.

Bold: Boldness rejects popularity for the truth, and comfort for the cross. Just as John and Peter stood up for Jesus, their Savior and friend, be unashamed of the hope that you have. You may receive opposition, but don’t fret because Jesus’ side is going to win the war in the end. Thus, go forth with confidence and boldness.

Connected: You can’t win this battle alone. Stand hand in hand with your brothers and sisters, just as the Early Church modeled for us. The depth of our connection to other believers is dependent on the depth of our connection to God. Abide in Him together with the Church, the Bride of Christ.

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~ Mackenzie McClain

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Committed

committed

You are at battle. The lines have been drawn and shots have been fired. The life of a soldier isn’t an easy one. It was never promised to be easy; instead, it was guaranteed to be difficult and requiring sacrifice.

In Luke chapter 9, as Jesus walks through Samaria to Jerusalem, a man approaches Jesus, saying that he will follow Jesus wherever he goes. Jesus is quick to qualify what really following him means, saying “foxes have holes and birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has no place to lay his head” (Luke 9: 58). A home is often seen as a place of security and Jesus requires his followers to be willing to abandon everything else that has given security. Are you more committed to your comfort zone or Jesus?

Jesus calls on another man to follow him, but the man replies “Lord, first let me go and bury my father” (Luke 9:59). Jesus answers, “Let the dead bury their own dead, but you go and proclaim the Kingdom of God” (Luke 9:60). The things of this world aren’t as important as the things of this world. As citizens of the Kingdom, your whole life should be centered around its work. Are you more committed to this life or the next one?

The third man says he will follow Jesus, but must first say goodbye to his family. Jesus replies, “no one who puts his hand to the plow and looks back is fit for service in the Kingdom of God” (Luke 9:62). Jesus wants your commitment without delay. Do you understand the urgency of the message you have been told, the gospel? God has placed his treasure, the Kingdom message, in jars of clay, that’s you (2 Corinthians 4:7). Your time on this earth is fleeting, so you must do everything you can to spread that message. Are you more committed to the distractions around you or the sharing of the gospel?

God doesn’t want to share you, He wants all of you. He is jealous for your love and devotion. The God of the universe finds deep value in your love, and in that, you should find your worth and confidence. He sent his son to die for the purpose of having a committed relationship with you. You can’t just dabble in being a Christian. Your thoughts, speech, and actions must always be a reflection of your devotion. Being a follower is a full-time job; are you ready to make that commitment?

~ Mackenzie McClain

God’s Home – My Heart (I Chronicles 17-20)

Sunday, November 20

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I am just going to be honest here. This is the fourth devotion I have written after reading through 1 Chronicles Chapters 17-20. David always intrigued me after hearing that he was a man after God’s own heart and there is so much in these chapters to learn.

Chapter 17 opens with the acknowledgement that David is no longer living in caves or sheep pens, yet is unable to be content because God is living in a tent. David wants to build God a home! Nathan, the prophet, gives the ok. God quickly sends Nathan back to tell David, “no thanks”; explaining He was content walking with his people tent to tent. In chap. 17:10 God says, “I tell you that Yahweh will build you a house” and proceeds to explain how salvation will come through David’s family and an eternal home established. That had to be David’s ultimate WOW moment. And he had plenty to choose from.

David had the opportunity to receive Gods blessing with humility or pride. He chose humility and poured out his heart before God in thankful praise. It is a beautiful moment captured in scripture of a true servant’s heart, broken in worship before his God.

After hearing God’s promise of a Messianic Kingdom, David was emboldened to conquer his own kingdom and began attacking and driving out all enemies from the Promised Land.  18:14 says that Yahweh gave victory to David wherever he went. The verse goes on to say that David “reigned over all Israel; and executed justice and righteousness to all his people.”

David was doing what he knew to do externally to display God’s power, but battles with perceived enemies do not conquer the inner enemies of the soul and do nothing to build a home for God in our heart.

Chapter 19 offers plenty of wisdom regarding the importance of choosing good friends and advisors; along with a good lesson why you should not expect the worse from perceived enemies when they come offering peace. David faces some undeserved bad treatment, no doubt, and seems to change his focus. He sets aside his covenant to honor God with his life and tries to mask over bad decisions through ill treatment of others. He began trusting in chariots and horses and leaving the fighting to others while he stayed home and lusted after another man’s wife.

In Chapter 20, when David received the spoils of war that others fought on his behalf he brutally destroys the people because they were related to the giants he fought in his youth.

So, what does all this mean for our lives? God isn’t needy. God is a provider. He loves to walk with us and will live with us in any situation. The home he desires is an inward one in our hearts.  When we try to cover up sin in our lives and believe we are able to hide our heart from God, our guilty conscience can be found on full display in our poor treatment of others.

If we are to win our personal battles and take ground for the kingdom of God within our own hearts, we have to stay committed and focused and willing to walk daily in God’s mercy and maintain a humble attitude for every victory that unfolds.

Glennis Walters