Tag Archives: Warrior

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.

 


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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. . . Only A Little Sling

“Only a boy named David
Only a little sling
Only a boy named David
But he could pray and sing

Only a boy named David
Only a rippling brook
Only a boy named David
But five little stones he took.”

I am not sure how David’s timeline is truly laid out, but it seems after his job banishing the evil spirit from King Saul, it was back to tending the sheep. That is where we find him when his next big battle comes around.

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There Once Was A Boy Named David. . .

So far I have talked about how we should be warriors and how we should not be warriors. We have discussed that God has called us all to be warriors at one level or another and that without him our bows are broken and we are powerless. We have talked about how we can be warriors no matter what our pedigree is or what excuses we have. We can be warriors even if we are stay at home moms (or dads).

So now what? What does a warrior of this day and age do? Do we truly pick up swords, spears, and arrows and march against the physical evils of this world? Well yes, and no. We do not need to pick up actual weapons, and some of our enemies will be physical and some will be spiritual.

The next warrior we come to in the Bible is David and his first battle. He will definitely show us how we should fight.

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We Can All Be Mighty Warriors

“My parents did not go to college, why should I?” “Look at my father, he’s an alcoholic. I am sure I will become one too.” “My family has a history of depression. I will never escape it. It will always follow me.” “My mom cannot seem to keep a guy. She sleeps around. She’s always dependent. This is life and this is what I should expect.”

In college I took two entry level psych cases. There was my mandatory general intro to psych class and then for funsies I took a social psych class. They were both really interesting and I learned a lot about myself and my fellow humans. One of the ideas we discussed in both classes was the nature verse nurture argument. What this comes down to is that psychologists agree that there are two main things that shape us into the people that we are.

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Excuses, Excuses

My last post still left us in the time of Judges in Israel. Deborah and stay at home Jael had just played vital roles in taking down some of Israel’s enemies. *Blows on knuckles, rubs on shirt* Yea, those boys needed some help. The warriors weren’t cutting it, so God sent in some women and his angel army to help. Judges 5 ended with “Then the land had piece for forty years.”

Well, times up. When Judges 6 picks up those forty years are over and God needs some new warriors.

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The First Lady Killer

You heard me right, the first lady killer. This is not about the first guy to kill a woman, but the first woman to kill a man. Why am I interested in this? Why am I writing about this? Because it is a story, and I feel that it is an intense one. (Ha, in-tents, that was a pun, but you have to read on to really get it).

Jael

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The Beginnings of A Warrior

There, in the living room, above the couch there lives a family inside a beautiful frame. Their matching outfits and smiles look out over the kitchen. The cookie jar sits on the counter, next to the ingredients that are laid out for tonight’s meal. When the meal begins the table will be set with place mats that match the plates, that match the glasses, which match the seasonal decor of the dinning room. Desert will be fluttered out with tiny spoons in small glass and frosted dishes. It ends in a reading, “Who can find a virtuous woman? for her price is far above rubies. The heart of her husband doth safely trust in her, so that he shall have no need of spoil. She will do him good and not evil all the days of her life. . . ”

Housewife

This was what I was taught that my life would be. Through school, church, and family this picture of this virtuous, and its synonym domestic, woman was brought before me time and time again. All the traits of femininity were paraded in front of me, and I was reassured that I would indeed grow out of my tomboy phase.

This 40's lady inspired me more than the housewife pictures.

This 40’s lady inspired me more than the housewife pictures.

Now all of that is fine and dandy, and I do not think less of the women who cherish the woman portrayed in Proverbs 31, or the 40’s housewife, but it was not for me. As the other girls wanted to be play princess, I wanted to play warrior. As I grew up I was torn. I did want to be a princess, but I wanted to be my tomboy, fighting self as well. As far as I knew, these where two opposite ends of the spectrum and would never be able to mesh. It was one or the other, I was constantly torn between my high heels or my chucks. Then I heard someone say it, Warrior Princess. I heard this whisper that as a female of faith, the daughter of the King, I could be called to be a warrior, but a warrior who doesn’t have to be a pure tomboy, but one who can mesh this with their femininity and become a Princess Warrior.

This idea consumed me. I researched, I read books, I thought, and prayed, and prayed, and thought. This morning, I took a chunk of my time and searched the word “warrior” in biblegateway.com, using the NIV translation. Now, let me tell you what I found.

The first time the word “warrior” is used in the NIV is in the genealogy of Genesis 10. It lists off the sons of Noah, and then their sons, and theirs sons, just names and names and names. then, in verse 8 a paragraph pops out from the one liners.

“1 This is the family tree of the sons of Noah: Shem, Ham, and Japheth. After the flood, they themselves had sons. . . .

The sons of Cush: Seba, Havilah, Sabtah, Raamah, Sabteca.

The sons of Raamah: Sheba, Dedan.

8-12 Cush also had Nimrod. He was the first great warrior on Earth. He was a great hunter before God. There was a saying, ‘Like Nimrod, a great hunter before God.’ “

Verse seven lists the sons of Cush, well all but one. Nimrod gets a special paragraph and a description. He was the first great warrior on Earth, a great hunter before God. It seems that being a warrior is something of importance, it was something special. No one else had their vocations or attributes listed behind their name, only a great warrior received that recognition. Sweet.

The next verse that was listed in my warrior search was in Exodus. After Moses and the Israelites marched from Egypt and crossed the Red Sea, they turned around, safely on the shore, and watched the waters crash down on the following Egyptians.

” Then Moses and the Israelites sang this song to the Lord:

“I will sing to the Lord,
    for he is highly exalted.
Both horse and driver
    he has hurled into the sea.

“The Lord is my strength and my defense[a];
    he has become my salvation.
He is my God, and I will praise him,
    my father’s God, and I will exalt him.
The Lord is a warrior;
    the Lord is his name.” – Exodus 15:1-3

The Lord is a warrior! The strength of our God defeated the horse and their driver. He crushed an army and destroyed its soldiers. The simple joy of these two passages drove me deeper into searching the Bible for what it had to say about warriors. There is so much more to come, be prepared to hear more about the biblical warriors I found, but this post is getting long enough, so I will end with rejoicing with Moses using the paraphrasing from The Message.

“1-8 Then Moses and the Israelites [And Me!] sang this song to God, giving voice together,

I’m singing my heart out to God—what a victory!
    He pitched horse and rider into the sea.
God is my strength, God is my song,
    and, yes! God is my salvation.
This is the kind of God I have
    and I’m telling the world!
This is the God of my father—
    I’m spreading the news far and wide!
God is a fighter,
    pure God, through and through.”


Football Wannabe, Rugby Player, Kickboxer, Warrior.

During supper I would hear the cars pull up, the doors slam, and the fans seat themselves. I could watch the bleachers start to fill up through our dinning room window. The lights would turn on and fall onto my eager face. When supper was done I would be excused and given permission to go watch the game. Eagerly I would cross the street and climb over the back fence. The football game, however, was not my main goal. There in the back corner was a patch of grass large enough for the grade school and junior high boys of the public school to assembled. There they played kill the carrier and I would join them.

Sometime during my grade school years my tomboy side came out and I wanted to be the girl to play football. There were two problems standing in my way. One was the fact that they probably would not allow a girl on the team. The second, I went to the Christian school and we only had a soccer team. The public school had the football team. So I settled with playing kill the carrier with the boys, who would soon grow up to be guys, the guys on the football team.

In college I heard that there was a rugby club forming. I was so excited. For three years we struggled to get a girl’s team going, but in the meantime I practiced with the guys. For three years my life was guys rugby. I practiced, I scrimmaged, but I could not play in their games. Again I was stuck playing only a version, playing kill the carrier, and watching the real deal from the sidelines. It took three years, and a few other dedicated girls, but during my senior year we finally got a team up and running. When I finally put on my own jersey and walked out onto the field, I was ecstatic. I ran, I passed, I tackled, I was tackled, I scored, I bled, I hurt, I celebrated, I succeeded. Too soon it was over, I graduated from college and moved to Fargo.

Now, I go to kickboxing class. Some may call me an athlete, others say I am a tomboy, even a few saw I am “butch”. I know the truth. I like to be pushed and to push myself. I like the sport I play to resemble real life, so there has to be some pain. There is excitement and failure, there is success and agony, there are times where I strike and times where I am struck at.

I am a warrior. My body has always wanted to be and now I am realizing that my spirit longs to be one too. I have chosen to ignore the spiritual warfare and the large pains of the world. I have never pushed my spirit and my faith to its limit. I never let my spirit and faith be pushed. It is time for that to change. It is time to train my soul, my heart, and my spirit as well as my legs, my arms, and my abs.

Sure, I went to church, to Sunday school, I memorized my verses and my Heidelberg Catechism. In high school it was youth group every other Wednesday night and Catechism class on the opposing Wednesday. I went to a Christian college. I sang in church, I played my flute in church, I took communion. I grew some, I experience some, I loved God and He loved me. I have been saved since age 5. All of it was good, all of it was a stepping stone, all of it was just a kill the carrier version of the real deal. I am now trying to prepare for the real game.

James and I run together. Usually my phone comes with, blasting music to help energize me. Last night, we tried something different. Last night I pulled up biblegateway.com and looked up a verse that I had felt called to a week or so ago. Psalm 119. Our goal is to use our running time to memorize this chapter, all 176 verses of it.

Now, just memorizing verses is not going to help me be a better me. It is not, in and of itself, going to help my faith to grow. As an athlete I have learned that to be truly great, you must learn proper technique. I can go into my gym, put my gloves on, and go to town on the punching bag, but if I just flail, if I just try to power through, if I just go to town, I will walk away with sore wrists, arms, and fists. If I do not use proper technique, my attack is going to be weak and I will suffer from it. Reading the Bible, memorizing verses, this is all apart of learning spiritual technique that will help me through, but I must also put it into practice.

Psalm 119

Aleph

1 Blessed are those whose ways are blameless,
    who walk according to the law of the Lord.
2 Blessed are those who keep his statutes
    and seek him with all their heart—
3 they do no wrong
    but follow his ways.
4 You have laid down precepts
    that are to be fully obeyed.

During our one mile run, we were able to memorize through verse 4, only 172 more verses to go. So ready or not, here I come.