Posts Tagged ‘spiritual warfare’

Marvel not if the World hates you

December 31, 2019

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I sincerely believe that as Christians, we experience much antagonism when we are being active in the Lord’s service and as the years go by we will naturally feel increasingly like an “alien” in this world. “Marvel not, my brethren, if the world hate you.” (1John3v13) We are not to be shocked by personal vicious attacks upon us – by virtue of the very simple fact that we are on the Lord’s side.
In this world there is no middle ground; we cannot “straddle” the narrow and the broad road. “Choose you this day whom ye will serve,” (Joshua 24v15) Either we are on the Lord’s side or we are not – and when we are on the Lord’s side we can be assured that we will feel like “fish out of water” in this world and the world will most definitely hate us.
Jesus said: “I have given them thy word; and the world hateth them, because they are not of the world, even as I am not of the world.” (John 17v14) I have been guilty recently of “marvelling,” when really I shouldn’t be at all surprised. I honestly feel that many unregenerate people aren’t even aware of this antagonism within them or the fact that they serve an evil master – and that master hates those who serve the Lord Jesus Christ.
Marvelling and feeling shocked and hurt are human reactions, of course, but we must go in the strength of the Lord and continue to love those souls who are outside of Him and for whom He died. The deep wounds we sustain can be prevented from “festering” when we rest in Him, in the knowledge that He too was hated. He knows all about it and there is nothing in our lives that He is not aware of. How He cares deeply for us and looks with compassion upon us as we tread this earth, as strangers and sojourners.
Let us be encouraged, as we march on by faith to “a better country, that is, an heavenly.” (Hebrews 11v16) “By faith Abraham, when he was called to go out into a place which he should after receive for an inheritance, obeyed; and he went out, not knowing whither he went. By faith he sojourned in the land of promise, as in a strange country, dwelling in tabernacles with Isaac and Jacob, the heirs with him of the same promise: For he looked for a city which hath foundations, whose builder and maker is God.” (Hebrews 11v8-10)
Like Abraham, we may not know what the journey ahead consists of but we know that we look for “new heavens and a new earth, wherein dwelleth righteousness.” (2Peter 3v13) We set our sights on that place while on this brief journey which is sometimes fraught with trouble and we can leave our positive mark for time and eternity, in His strength. How amazing to someday meet the prophets and the apostles of old, as well as precious loved ones who have gone before us… but infinitely more marvellous will be to meet the Lord Jesus Christ who died for us and made it all possible. It will be worth it all!

On the 1000th Anniversary of the Battle of Clontarf… and Spiritual Warfare

May 9, 2014

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Some weeks ago on a sunny spring day, we had the opportunity to see the re-enactment of the Battle of Clontarf in the lovely location of St. Anne’s Park, Raheny in Dublin. Hundreds of ‘soldiers’ had arrived over from many parts of Scandinavia and even Russia for the event, while many of the stall holders were from all over Europe and even some from the U.S.A.

I found it a most fascinating event, showing many of the old arts and crafts, costumes and materials, ways of cooking and way of life in general from one thousand years ago, being demonstrated in the large area devoted to the occasion.

In the Battle of Clontarf, which took place on 23rd April, 1014 in Clontarf on the east coast of Ireland, Brian Boru (High King of Ireland) was fighting against a Viking-Irish alliance which consisted of Sigtrygg Silkbeard, king of Dublin, Mάel Mόrda mac Murchada, king of Leinster, and the Vikings Sigurd of Orkney and Brodir of Mann. That battle lasted from dawn to dusk; between 7000 and 10,000 men were killed and Brian Boru’s forces were victorious but unfortunately he was killed, as was his son and grandson.

As I thought about this significant battle in Irish history just recently, I also thought about the spiritual battle that the children of God face throughout life…

From the moment we take that stand, that first step of faith which declares that ‘we are on the Lord’s side’ we can be sure that we have a most deadly enemy. He knows our vulnerabilities, both physical and emotional and will viciously attack if he suspects that our defences are down. We can never over-estimate the deep hatred and deviousness that the evil one has towards the Lord’s people and how he will create misunderstandings and cause trouble, even between fellow Christians, given the right (or should I say ‘wrong’) conditions.

I believe that it is true to say that we face spiritual warfare every day (like the Battle of Clontarf – from dawn to dusk)… and yet I know that the battle has already been won for us by the Lord Jesus Christ. It is only in His strength that we can overcome – not by using the manmade defences and words of this world.

There are many hymns devoted to this spiritual warfare: “Forward Soldiers,” “Marching On,” “A Call to Arms,” “Am I a Soldier of the Cross?” “We Shall Win!” “Who Would True Valour See,” “Soldiers of Christ,” “Victory for Me,” “Stand up Stand up for Jesus,” “Overcomers,” “Onward Christian Soldiers…”

Day and night we stand accused by the evil one; is he not the accuser of the brethren? (Rev. 12v10)

Yet the words of the Lord to His people in 2Chronicles 20v15 are indeed for His people today: “Be not afraid nor dismayed by reason of this great multitude; for the battle is not yours, but God’s.”

“Ye shall not need to fight in this battle: set yourselves, stand ye still, and see the salvation of the Lord…” (Verse 17)

We are commanded to “Be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might. Put on 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;” (Ephesians 6v10-18)

And some wonderful day for those who are victorious in Him “God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away.” (Rev. 21v4)

Interestingly the Battle of Clontarf was fought on Good Friday (23rd April 1014)… but surely the battle that outshadows all battles in the history of this world was won over a thousand years previously! On this glorious day the victory was won over sin and death and hell for all mankind, ‘the whosoever will,’ by the shed blood of the Lord Jesus Christ at Calvary.

“O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory? The sting of death is sin; and the strength of sin is the law. But thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.” (1 Cor. 15v55-57)

Surely, if God be for us, who can be against us?” (Romans 8v31)

 

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