THE NEW EWE

"What man of you, having a hundred sheep, if he loses one of them, does not leave the ninety-nine in the wilderness, and go after the one which is lost, until he finds it? And when he has found it, he lays it on his shoulders, rejoicing. And when he comes home, he calls together his friends and neighbors, saying to them, 'Rejoice with me, for I have found my sheep which was lost!'"

Luke 15:4-6

September 27, 2017

LIFE IN THE FOLD:

King David had thirty mighty warriors, who were men who fought valiantly and faithfully beside him. Out of those thirty, there are three men who are listed as being David's mightiest warriors. (2 Samuel 23)

Jashobeam was the leader of the Three. He once used his spear to kill 800 enemy warriors in a single battle.

Next in rank among the Three was Eleazar. Once he and David stood together against the Philistines when the entire Israelite army had fled. Eleazar stood his ground and struck down Philistines until his hand was weary and clung to the sword. The Lord brought about a great victory that day; and the rest of the army did not return until it was time to collect the plunder (which was to strip the weapons and armor from the dead enemy).

Thirdly was Shammah. One time the Philistines gathered at Lehi and attacked the Israelites in a field full of lentils. The Israelite army fled, but Shammah held his ground in the middle of the field and beat back the Philistines. So God brought about a great victory.

Abishai was the leader of the Thirty. He once used his spear to kill 300 enemy warriors in a single battle. It was by such feats that he became as famous as the Three; and he was the most famous of the Thirty and was their commander, although he was not one of the Three.

There was also Benaiah, who was a valiant warrior. He did many heroic deeds, which included killing two champions of Moab. Another time, on a snowy day, he chased a lion down into a pit and killed it. Once, armed only with a club, he killed an imposing Egyptian warrior who was armed with a spear. Benaiah wrenched the spear from the Egyptian's hand and killed him with it. Benaiah was more honored than the other members of the Thirty, though he was not one of the Three. David made him captain of his bodyguard.

None of those things could have possibly happened, had it not been for God. It was miraculous that a single man would kill 800 men in one battle; or that David and Eleazar could defeat an entire Philistine army, that intimidated the rest of the Israelite army causing them to run away; or the heroic deeds of Benaiah. God saw their faith, their perseverance, their tenacity and their belief that He would fight alongside them and He honored their efforts and brought about great victories.

We often read accounts such as these in the Bible and think, "Wow, that's great! But how does that apply to me? I'm not a warrior, I'm not going to go fight with a sword against enemies of our nation; in fact, I'm not really all that brave or strong." I believe that there is a spiritual significance that we can apply from biblical stories such as the above.

Many times throughout the past few years, but especially over the past few weeks, I've been awakened in the early morning hours and unable to fall back asleep. I get up and go downstairs, so that I don't awaken Jon, and pray until I'm able to fall asleep again. Sometimes it may only be 15-20 minutes, and other times it may be an hour to an hour and a half. I tend to walk back and forth from one side of the living room to the other as I pray.

A few days ago I got up at 3:40 AM and began to pray. As I was praying, I saw in the Spirit that I was doing spiritual warfare. My hands were clenched; and my left hand was held in front of me as if clutching a shield, while my right hand was wielding a sword. In the Spirit, I knew that I was not fighting alone, but there was a heavenly army fighting alongside me. I knew that this army was surrounding me, and that we were fighting principalities and powers of darkness.

Ephesians 6:11-12 tells us, "Put on all of God's armor so that you will be able to stand firm against all the strategies (schemes) of the devil. For we are not fighting against flesh and blood enemies, but against evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world, against mighty powers in this dark world, and against evil spirits in the heavenly places."

I knew that during that particular time of early morning prayer, this was what was happening. Although I couldn't physically see an enemy, nor did I have an actual shield and sword in my hands, I was symbolically holding the weapons in my hands and was fighting against Satan and his evil spirits.

I was fighting for me and Jon, fighting for our families, fighting for our church, and fighting for the health of loved ones. I have had enough of Satan stealing the salvation of my family! I have had enough of people, myself included, accepting sickness and disease and aches and pains as just being a normal part of life! I'm fed up with Satan stealing joy and peace from the children of God! I've had enough of adverse situations affecting our lives, and even though we don't like it, we accept it; not speaking with boldness and God-given authority against those things.

We need to stop being spiritual scaredy-cats! We need to stop being lazy christians, and start standing up and speaking and praying with our God-given authority! We need to stop allowing Satan to steal our family, our health, our peace, our joy, our finances, and whatever else he is stealing from us -- and say, "Enough!!"

It's time that we become mighty spiritual warriors! Stop thinking it's not our job or that we aren't strong enough or spiritual enough or that someone else will do it. Stop worrying about offending someone or stepping on toes or that we will make someone uncomfortable because they don't believe as we do. Stop being comfortable sitting on the sidelines and watching others fight. Stop thinking it's none of our business or not our responsibility. Stop being a cheerleader or a spiritual coward and start being a warrior!

We need to begin using the authority and power that God has given to us and start doing warfare against the principalities and powers of darkness. We should use our spiritual gifts and pray in the Holy Spirit. If you are filled with the Holy Spirit, then you need to boldly pray in the Spirit daily; stop utilizing it only for "special occasions" or when it's convenient or if nobody can hear you. Don't try to keep the Holy Spirit secret or hidden. God filled you with His Spirit for a reason, and if you don't use His gift, you may lose it. We are to be filled full of the Holy Spirit, at all times. We need to be spirit-filled giants, who are bold warriors in God's army!

David's mighty warriors accomplished feats that they absolutely could not have done outside of the anointing of God. When David and Eleazar fought against the Philistines by themselves, it was God who fought alongside them and brought the victory. The rest of the Israelite army had ran off in fear; which shows that they weren't fighting a handful of weak, sick, weaponless Philistines. But David and Eleazar refused to run in fear! They refused to be cowardly and allow the enemy to scare them. I'm sure it was pretty heart-wrenching when their comrades took off and left the two of them alone. But they stood their ground and fought anyway. Eleazar fought so hard and so long that his arm was weary and his hand clung to his sword. He refused to let go of his sword and his hand probably had to be pried away from it afterwards. But scripture tells us that the Lord brought a great victory that day.

Sometimes we may feel as if everyone else has given up, or have run away scared, or don't care, or have lost confidence. That's when we have to make a choice; do we run with them, or do we stand and fight even though the odds are not in our favor and it looks hopeless? If we want victories to be won and destroy the enemy, then we have to choose to be spiritually brave and not give up or run away or pay attention to what those around us are saying or doing. We stay focused on our purpose and keep our eyes on God. When we do so, we don't fight alone, but God sends His heavenly army as reinforcements to fight along our side. They may be unseen to our physical eye, but they are there, and victories are won.

I believe that is what happened that day that David and Eleazar were fighting the Philistines. God sent down warriors from His heavenly army, who fought alongside David and Eleazar, and the Philistines were astounded at how these two men were winning the battle over them. They couldn't see what David and Eleazar were possibly able to see in the Spirit.

There is a spiritual boldness that has risen up within me. It may not be socially acceptable or understood by some; but I am going to fight for the salvation of every single family member. I'm not going to make excuses for them or hope that they one day change or worry about them; but I'm going to stand up and fight the principalities and powers of darkness that is coming against them, trying to keep them in their sin. I am going to fight until they are free from their sins and are fully committed to God! I'm not going to watch loved ones suffer or be in pain or battle sickness and think, "Oh bless their heart; I feel so bad for them." I'm going to stand up and do spiritual warfare for them and speak with authority against the attack on their health! I've had enough!!

I believe that one of the reasons that we are having so much turmoil and upset in our country right now is because there are christians who have finally said, "I've had enough!" and have made the determination to do spiritual warfare and have put their armor on and have begun fighting. For too long, too many churches and christians were so afraid of offending and wanted to be people friendly, so refused to speak out against ungodliness and tolerated sin as being a part of our culture. The Holy Spirit and speaking in tongues and the gifts of the Spirit were stifled, because we didn't want to make anyone feel uncomfortable. Christians tolerated things that we had no business tolerating, and began participating in things that beforehand had been considered wrong. We became complacent and contented.

But now, many believers have regained their boldness and are hungry for revival and for change and for a move of God! They have polished their God-given armor and are becoming the warriors that God has called them to be. They have had enough and are rising up; not as a weak, intimidated, powerless, rag-tag group of people; but as a powerful, brave, Spirit-filled and Spirit-led army of God! It's stirring up the evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world, the mighty powers in this dark world, and against evil spirits in the heavenly places. They are going on a counterattack and are trying to make the christians run away in fright. They are trying to shut the christians up or make them look foolish. But God is calling men and woman to become mighty warriors, who will stay focused and will stand firm, fighting the enemy even though others around us are running away scared. He is saying, "Fight; even when your arms grow weary and your hand has clutched your sword for so long, it has to be pried out of your hand at the end of the battle! Don't give up! I'm fighting there right alongside you! I will send reinforcements." When we do so, God will bring the victory!

We have to make the decision if we are willing to get involved or if we are content to sit on the sidelines and observe. We have to choose if we're going to run away in fright and hide, only returning after the battle has been fought and won, in order to help gather the plunder, or if we are willing to rise up and be a mighty warrior.

Ephesians 6:13-17 says, "Put on every piece of God's armor so you will be able to resist the enemy in the time of evil. Then after the battle you will still be standing firm. Stand your ground, putting on the belt of truth and the body armor of God's righteousness. For shoes, put on the peace that comes from the Good News so that you will be fully prepared. In addition to all of these, hold up the shield of faith to stop the fiery arrows of the devil. Put on salvation as your helmet, and take the sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God."

We tend to concentrate on what the different pieces of armor are when reading these scriptures; and that is important. But we need to really get and understand what this entire passage is saying: Why do we need to put on every piece of God's armor? So we will be able to resist the enemy in the time of evil; then after the battle we will still be standing firm! We need to stand our ground -- not be shaken or moved.

Verse 18 says, "Pray in the Spirit at all times and on every occasion. Stay alert and be persistent in your prayers for all believers everywhere."

It's important that we pray in the Spirit! When and how often? At all times and on every occasion! This isn't just me saying this; it's the Word of God saying it. Not only do we need to pray for the sinners, but we also need to be persistent in praying for all believers. We need to pray that our brothers and sisters in Christ will stand firm and not be swayed by deceitful teachings, and not become weary and disheartened spiritually. We need to lift one another up in prayer, encourage one another, and stand together as the mighty army of God.

When I stand before God, I want Him to see me as one of His mighty warriors. I want to go marching in, and Him have to pry my spiritual sword out of my hand from me cleaving to it for so long and so strongly. I don't want to go through life as an observer, but as a participator. I want to hear my Father say, "Well done, Loretta!"

JON'S PERSPECTIVE:

I've heard several people talk about a football game they watched, and later say that "we won." Really? "We?" And other times, they might say "we lost", or more often "they lost". They seem to feel as if they had some influence if the team they watch win or lose, but seem happy to separate themselves if the team loses.

We tend to do that as christians, too. We sigh in dismay when we see how much sin is treated as good on TV, even though we just sit back and watch it. Or when a chapel wins a law suit that keeps its right to only conduct christian weddings, we cheer that "we won a victory", even if we didn't say a single prayer of support.

The armor listed in Ephesians 6 focuses on wisdom, learning, and preparation. They are all necessary to survive just getting up to a battle. But getting into a battle with no weapon is almost useless. The weapon is the Word of God, or the Bible. In my own spiritual battles, I've found that quoting the Bible, especially out loud is a great and powerful weapon. It doesn't always matter what verses you quote or read. Satan and his minions don't like it. Satan himself quoted scriptures to Jesus, so he can put up with it for a while. But if you read long enough, you can drive even Satan away. The next time you are fighting some temptation, some hatred, anger, or fear, try reading the Bible out loud. It could take a while, but it works. We are told to resist the devil and he will flee.

Just remember to keep up your shield of faith and other armor to parry the attacks coming at you.

ON THE MENEWE:

Brown Sugar Glazed Pork Chops

4 pork chops

1/4 cup light brown sugar

1/2 teaspoon garlic powder

1/2 teaspoon paprika

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon black pepper

2 tablespoons olive oil

In a small bowl combine the brown sugar and all your spices and stir until well mixed.

Rub the sugar/spice mixture on both sides of the pork chops and set them aside.

Heat the 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a skillet over medium heat. Once the pan is nice and hot, place the pork chops in the pan and cook for about 4 minutes on each side until they are cooked all the way through.

THIS, THAT AND THE OTHER:

My great-niece, Jovie, whom I babysit a couple days a week has been asking to come to my house so I brought her over recently. The church daycare she goes to the other three days was having a family field trip to a fire station that day and my niece had asked if I would mind taking Jovie. On the way to my house I asked if she wanted to go to the fire station to see some firetrucks and here was her response:

"Uh... no! I've already seen a firetruck both the inside and the outside. Have my friends from my school never seen a firetruck before... is that why they want to go?! I just want to go to your house and stay."

Come to find out she had gone to an elementary school big truck event with her siblings the night before and there had been firetrucks, a helicopter, as well as other big vehicles. That evening her mom had asked if she wanted to go on the field trip to the fire station and Jovie had said, "No. Next time I want to fly in a helicopter!"

THOUGHT TO PONDER:

Helping one person might not change the world,

but it could change the world for one person. - unknown

OUR HEARTFELT THANKS TO YOU:

We love you!

Loretta & Jon

http://www.graysheep.org