Category Archives: Spiritual Warfare

Pilgrim Warriors

Pilgrims. Whether you picture the Mayflower and a colony  in black outfits and buckled shoes, or  a religious group gathering to make a journey, I bet you see peace and harmony. I bet you do not picture a pilgrim with sword and spear, training to be a warrior.

Yet in Psalm 120 the two combine, just a little.

Psalm 120 is the first psalm, or song, in a series. Somewhere along the line of publishing the Psalms, chapters 120 – 135 became called the “Songs of Ascents” or the “Songs of Degrees” or as The Message translates it “A Pilgrims Song”. It is speculated that these psalms were songs that the Jews would sing during the stages of their pilgrimage to Jerusalem or since there are 15 songs, they would be sung on each of the 15 steps leading from the outer court of the temple to the inner.

But what does this have to do with being a warrior?

“In my distress I called to the Lord, and he answered me. Deliver me, O Lord, from lying lips,from a deceitful tongue. 3 What shall be given to you, and what more shall be done to you, you deceitful tongue? 4 A warrior’s sharp arrows, with glowing coals of the broom tree! 5 Woe to me, that I sojourn in Meshech, that I dwell among the tents of Kedar! 6 Too long have I had my dwelling among those who hate peace.7 I am for peace, but when I speak, they are for war!”

We are pilgrim warriors. The first time I read through this psalm I saw God as the warrior, waging battle against our tongues, our deceitful tongues and our sinful nature. As I read it again I saw it as God, and his children, being warriors against all of the deceit and sin in our world. And by “our world” I mean the world that we are passing through, the one that we are pilgrims in. We are making a journey through a land that hates peace, to find ourselves at peace with God.

The Psalmist, probably David, feels like he is trapped in the lands of Meshech and Kedar, two nations known for being barbarous people. Do you ever feel that way? Do you ever have days where it feels like everyone is against you, that you are being attacked from all directions, and all you are trying to do is get through your day, accomplish your job, get through school, or just order your cup of coffee.

That is our pilgrimage. Our journey to God will have us waging war on our own sinful nature, because sometimes we attack ourselves as well as others. Our pilgrimage will have us journeying through some treacherous places and meeting some malicious people. This malice, however, comes from our enemy, who is not our fellow man. Our enemy are the forces of Satan and his accomplices. They know that they closer we get to God the more powerful we are. The further along in our journey the more dangerous we become.

This song, the first song of 15 is already talking about troubles and war. Be prepared for quite a pilgrimage, it is not bound to get easier. Some days the only thing that keeps my feet moving is knowing that in the end, we win. We have already won. Jesus is already our champion, and we are called to be his warriors.

 


A Time Of Peace.

Psalm 76 – The Message

1-3 God is well-known in Judah;
in Israel, he’s a household name.
He keeps a house in Salem,
his own suite of rooms in Zion.
That’s where, using arrows for kindling,
he made a bonfire of weapons of war.

4-6 Oh, how bright you shine!
Outshining their huge piles of loot!
The warriors were plundered
and left there impotent.
And now there’s nothing to them,
nothing to show for their swagger and threats.
Your sudden roar, God of Jacob,
knocked the wind out of horse and rider.

7-10 Fierce you are, and fearsome!
Who can stand up to your rising anger?
From heaven you thunder judgment;
earth falls to her knees and holds her breath.
God stands tall and makes things right,
he saves all the wretched on earth.
Instead of smoldering rage—God-praise!
All that sputtering rage—now a garland for God!

God is a warrior and He has never been, and will never be, defeated. We are his warriors and even though we will win through God’ glory and grace in the end, we will suffer hard blows and devastating defeats. This Bible passage is an encouragement in those dark times. It is a picture of the aftermath of battle with a day of peace and praise on the horizon.

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Me, Myself, and I.

The computer screen was lit up before me, illuminating an email filled with words that were tough to swallow, let alone read. I stared, dumbfounded and angry. How dare he. What is his problem? This is his fault, not mine. His! The words, his words, said otherwise. This reply should not have come as a shock, how else was he supposed to respond? My high school girl brain thought he would take my criticisms and take my words and learn from them, accept all the blame, and apologize. How silly of me.

I had broken up with my boyfriend about a week ago and he had asked me what had gone wrong. So I told him. And then he told me. He pointed out all of the times I had used the word “I” in the email. He pointed out how good I was at pointing fingers and shifting the blame. He wrote about how egotistical and selfish I was.

He had no right to hurt me like that. He had no right to be so right.

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Warrior, Champion, Friend.

Out of the pot and into the fire. That is how I felt as I was scrolling through my Word document that contains all of the warrior verses that I have copied there. The verses get crossed off as I write about them and now more and more of my time is spent scrolling down to find the text for my next thought, and for my next enlightenment. 1 Chronicles was taking forever! That was my feeling. I learned a lot and was forced to think a lot. The posts were fun to write, but they were getting repetitive. With genealogies and the talk of David’s mighty men repeated again and again I was looking forward to what the next book would bring. What new and exciting picture, attributes, and lessons could we learn from our next set of warriors?

I knew I was close, I was pretty sure I was done with Chronicles. As I scrolled I saw the crossed out text end and a new book of the Bible appear. Job. A book that had always confused me more than inspired me. The feeling that God allows, permits, and even has a hand in the terrible things that happen to us, that is just not a feeling that is fun to wrestle with. The idea that bad things happen to us, and then God redeems them is a prettier picture.

Job brings us back to the image of our God as a warrior. An image that I do enjoy much better than the old, bearded guy sitting in the clouds. Where are the paintings of our warrior God brandishing a sword and wearing armor? Where are the pictures of Jesus sitting atop a war horse ready to take on the legions of demons lined up for battle? Job at least reminds us that God is powerful and is to be feared,

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United We Fall.

Divisions. That is what we have been talking about. God has gifted us all differently and we are to rejoice in our gifts and the gifts of others.

I have always wanted to be an amazing athlete. Growing up in small town Minnesota, sports were everything. It also did not help when your dad is your high school’s coach for boy’s varsity basketball, girls varsity volleyball, and both golf teams. My older brother got an award for playing a sport every season for every year of high school. You can find him on the pictures of the basketball team, soccer team, cross country team, track team, and golf team. And yes, some of these seasons overlapped, and he still did them all. My sister was good as well. Being the shorty of the family we watched her play guard in basketball, setter in volleyball, and run relays in track. She is playing both volleyball and basketball now in college, finishing up her senior year.

The hardest decision I had to make in high school was not to try out for basketball my senior year. I was having issues with my coach (this one wasn’t my dad) and there was no way it was going to be a good season with all of this drama. I felt like I had let everyone down. I had had dreams of storming the court and being the star of the team. I wanted the crowd to cheer my name and for my amazing skills to inspire others.

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Divided We Stand.

My hope for you, my fellow spiritual warriors, is that there are divisions among you. Yes, you heard me right. I hope that there are certain things that divide you from each other, that you are separated. Excuse me now, as I elaborate in a semi-geeky fashion.

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He Had A Great Army, Like The Army of God.

So David had his mighty men. Then he got even more. While waiting to become king a force was gathering behind him. One great thing about being a warrior for God is that if your motives are pure and true and if your strength is found in the original warrior, others will see it and gather around you.

David now has an army.

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