warfare

All posts tagged warfare

A House Divided

Published August 8, 2017 by Dawn

“I hate your house. I hate the music you’re always listening to and the way I feel when I’m there.”

He dissed my music … and my house. And the atmosphere in my home. I could have taken this personal. In fact, I might have except … well, I know it’s a spiritual thing and I am not letting the devil bait me.

I bet you want to know who said it. It hurts me to admit it, but it was my son. He hates my home. He attributes all his anger, depression and anxiety to the atmosphere of my home. That’s how I know it’s spiritual.

Ok, let’s talk for a moment very specifically about what he hates. He hates classical music. The soothing music that is scientifically proven to de-stress you. He hates it. Or, my worship music. The music that brings peace into the chaos of my life. He hates it. Why? Because Satan is trying to cause a war in him and the music I listen to is quite literally an instrument of peace!

He hates constant singing. That’s what I do. I sing … a lot. Like, all day, every day. I also laugh a lot. I also like to make him responsible for his own messes and hold him accountable for his actions and his words. He hates that. What teenager wouldn’t?

He hates it when I talk to him and my words end up being something straight out of the Bible, because the best of my wisdom comes from the Word of God. I speak to my kids in scripture form a lot. He hates that.

Do you know why this didn’t hurt me? Because I know who “he” is, and it isn’t my son. You see, Satan hates all of these things about my house. Right now, he’s managed to manipulate my teenage son into believing that everything that “he” hates about my house is making my son miserable. Perhaps it is. After all, my son is in the midst of a great battle to figure out who he is. He doesn’t know which side of the fence he’s on just yet. I’m praying for God to woo him one way, and the devil is masterfully persuading him in the opposite direction. I’m not surprised … we all have this war at some point in our lives. We all have to come into our own faith because someone else’s relationship with God won’t save us. It must be our own. So we all have a crisis of some sort, where our foundation is solidified; just us and the Lord.

I’m surprisingly calm, right? Ha! Listen, I’ve had my moments of crying out to God. This all started when my son was eleven, almost twelve. The turbulence in his heart and mind became really violent. He began struggling with depression and anger. I took it to God in panicked, ugly-crying sessions, begging him to save my son. He spoke something that was so true, though hardly comforting: “Every warrior was once a boy in training. There’s a time of preparation for the man of God, and mothers don’t get to choose when they are ready. Fathers do.”

Dear Lord.

That was the day I handed him over in my heart. I tried taking him back, but sadly, he’s not mine to coddle any more. He still runs to me like my son, leans into my hugs like he misses being a child and invents reasons to need me. But now he fights, which is something I never saw coming. He’s an untrained warrior learning how to wield a sword and sometimes, it teeters in my direction. He’s not my enemy. He never will be. I know who the enemy is. No, this emerging man of God is a warrior learning the battlefield for himself. War hurts, and so sometimes, he hurts too. Hurting people hurt people. My son doesn’t hate me. He hates the confusion. The angst. The constant struggle inside. I get it! I hate those things too.

I guess I just wanted to share this with you because, well, parenting is hard. Peopling is hard too. Sometimes, waking up in the morning is hard. You feel me? It helps to remember that “We wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities and powers of darkness, and wickedness in high places” (Eph. 6:12).

Don’t take it personal, friend. At the end of the day, it’s not even about you. It’s about so much more than you. Pray for your loved ones. Give the hurt to Jesus and love them like you always have. They need your constant, unwavering love as a safe-haven in this war-torn world. Love is truly an oasis, even if they can’t always recognize it as such. One of the first things a warrior seeks out in battle is a safe place to duck into in case of an ambush. Let your love be that place.

Remember, friend, you are at war too. Only, “the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty! For the pulling down of strongholds, the casting down of imaginations and everything that sets itself up against the wisdom and knowledge of God” (2 Cor. 10:4). As our loved ones train for their own battles, let us look past their faults and see their needs. God bless!

God of the Hills and Valleys

Published August 3, 2017 by Dawn

“Afterward, the prophet came to the king of Israel and said, ‘Strengthen your position and see what must be done, because next spring the king of Aram will attack you again.’ Meanwhile, the officials of the king of Aram advised him, ‘Their gods are gods of the hills. That’s why they were too strong for us. But if we fight them on the plains, surely we will be stronger than they.”

“The next spring … the man of God came up and told the king of Israel, ‘This is what the Lord says: “Because the Arameans think the Lord is a god of the hills and not a god of the valleys, I will deliver this vast army into your hands, and you will know that I am the Lord.’”” (1 Kings 20:22-23, 26, 28)

I was picking up around my room yesterday morning, and it was a rare moment where I really wasn’t fixated on anything in thought. My mind was quiet, which hardly ever happens. I’m glad it did, though, because I heard the Holy Spirit say something that I needed to hear, very clearly.

You over-estimate the devil, and under-estimate God.

It was a mouthful of something bitter I needed to chew on. The truth is bitter sometimes, you know. I was glad the Holy Spirit confronted me on this, even though in that moment, I was uncomfortable. I mean, I know my thoughts are laid bare before the Lord all the time, but sometimes, I put on a good enough front, I can even fool myself into believing I have rock-solid faith. It’s all a sham, I’m afraid. When the Lord spoke this to me, I knew instantly I had been called out on something He wanted to deal with.

I wrote it down on the whiteboard in my bedroom. I put my prayer requests on it, quotes I want to think about, scriptures that are doing a work in me … pretty much anything I need to ruminate on go on the whiteboard. I wrote this “word” down and went about the rest of my day, thinking back to it often because let’s be honest, when the Holy Spirit speaks so clearly, you know God is about to do some major work in you.

I sat down to read my Bible this morning and eventually ran into the above scripture, and recognized myself in it immediately. I think this is my problem: I see God as master over certain situations, but deficient in others. I also tend to look at the enemy in certain circumstances and immediately give him the victory in my heart because I’ve seen him victorious before. I also worry a lot when I don’t see the whole picture, afraid that God is not going to prevail in things that are truly important to me. You see, I have designated Him a God of the mountains. I have come to expect the mountains, strive in climbing them, meet Him there, but then I descend (as we all inevitably do) into a valley and immediately lose sight of God because I believe Him to be up on the hill somewhere above me.

I don’t expect God to be with me in the valleys. I don’t carry with me the faith that He truly will never leave me or forsake me, even though He said so and the word assures me He cannot lie. In the valley, I am often defeated in my mind before the battle even really begins, and because of that, I cannot see the victories until I am up on the next hill looking backward. He hasn’t failed me ever, but I often feel He is failing me because I allow my abandonment issues to rise up and cloud my vision.

Add to all of this, the fact that I give Satan credit where none is due, and I can clearly see why the valleys seem so deep, dark and troublesome. I feel alone in a place I know the enemy is lurking. He’s got a plan and before he even begins to work at defeating me, I’ve raised my hands in surrender, trembling at the thought of what he’s capable of. I get my eyes off the Lord because I don’t trust Him to truly be with me and deliver me. In my heart, I have believed that God is not God of the valleys.

Just like the prophet said, the enemy is preparing for battle all the time. We need to muster our courage, check our defenses and strengthen what remains. We need to strategize and have a plan (it’s not hard … my plan is to rely on God and see His victory!). We need to stand up and face life head on KNOWING that our God is God in the valleys just the same as He is God on the hills. I probably don’t have to tell you that in this story, He reaped an awesome victory. He will do this in our valleys too. While our enemy may be encouraging us to see his own strength and to fail in our faith, God is lovingly imploring us with His tender gaze to TRUST HIM. He is no less God in the bleak days. He is no less powerful in the darkness or storm. He is no less loving in our struggles to believe. He is God who cannot change. The same yesterday, today and forever. He is for us. He is victorious!

Our God is God of the hills and valleys!

The Second Day

Published November 26, 2014 by Dawn

“Now the earth was formless and void, darkness was over the face of the deep, and the Spirit of God was hovering over the waters. (Gen. 1:2)”

In the beginning, there was nothing. Nothing but darkness, and emptiness. Loneliness. And God. And then, God began creating.

His voice resonated across the vast, dark emptiness, “Let there be light.” And some sort of illumination appeared. Not the light we know, the sun, but some sort of illumination that shone over the darkness. And He called it good. And there was evening and morning, then the second day.

The second day, God created the firmament. The atmosphere. This is the air we breathe. Without this firmament, life would not be possible. Because although we need other things in varying measure, we need air every second to survive. And God spent a day preparing this air.

Had we been there, we’d probably look out across what was and wonder that He did anything that second day. The seeming simplicity of the atmosphere would tempt us to believe this was a fruitless day. I mean, compared to day three, when dry land appears, and day four when the sun, moon and stars appear, and on through the rest of that week when all that we know and enjoy today, even ourselves, came into existence, day two seems rather insignificant. Because there was nothing visually representative of God’s great work that day.

It occurred to me that we all go through this creation process in our lives. In the beginning, there is darkness and emptiness, and loneliness. And God. Always God. And if we allow him to (because we have a choice in the matter), He speaks and there comes an illumination on our lives. Not the sun, but an enlightenment that allows us to see and know our need of Him. And then begins the second day: this process of creation that seems to take longer than what we see implies. That is to say, a period of time in which we see nothing. No progress, no visual representation of what God is doing in us. And we are tempted in this time to reject what God is doing because it seems so anticlimactic. But let me offer this thought to you: It was that second day that made life even possible. The atmosphere that sustained everything that was to come was made in that second day.

So if you are in a second day, when you can’t really see what God is doing, I implore you to trust Him still. Trust that all the things He is doing, for He is always working, is creating an atmosphere for His blessings upon your life to thrive in. To live and move and have their being in. The second day is crucial. Let it be, and know that it is good.

A Polished Sword

Published January 11, 2014 by Dawn

“Before I was born, the Lord called me; from my mother’s womb he has spoken my name. He made my mouth like a sharpened sword, in the shadow of his hand he hid me; he made me into a polished arrow and concealed me in his quiver. He said to me, “You are my servant, Israel, in whom I will display my splendor.” Is. 49:2-3

I have a friend with the long-lost talent of sword making. I really admire what he can do with a chunk of ugly metal. And while I’ve never actually seen him working at one, I’ve seen the process the metal goes through just in the pictures he’s shown me of his work. I’ve seen some gorgeous swords, and been in awe of how differently the metal looks after it’s been worked over.

I have to admit, not understanding the entire process, I did have to get on youtube to become more familiar with the process, and I was really surprised at the way a sword is made. It turns out, like any great work of art, it takes time. A lot of time. I remember when we were in college, he was asked to produce six swords to be used in Macbeth, and those he made rather quickly. And they were pretty bulky and ugly, compared to the ones he’s really labored over.

The sword begins with a concept: the image in the smithy’s head of what his finished product will look like. He then traces it out on a very rectangular piece of metal. Then he cuts the metal to create a rudimentary blade. Really, just the shape of what will eventually be the blade. After cutting it, He files off some of the rougher edges and prepares the blade for it’s first firing. That’s right, it then goes into the fire.

The first time it’s heated, it’s so that the bevel of the blade can be established. This is done by heating and then beating it, so to speak. Once the blade is hot, it is taken off the fire and struck with a hammer along the edges, flipping the sword over and making sure of equal strikes on each side and equal strikes top to bottom to create a smooth edge on both side. Special care is given to the point, because it is more delicate.

Once the bevel is established, the blade is sanded and shined. It might look good at this point, but the sword is far from finished. It is in danger of breaking until it has been strengthened.

To strengthen the sword, it goes back into the fire, but this time, it is literally buried beneath intense flames and coals. It has to be heated to an unbearable 1800 degrees, during which the structure of the steel itself is changed. Once it’s reached that temp, it is then quenched in oil. Some metals can be quenched in water, but some require oil. At the end of this process, the sword is hardened, so therefore, not easily broken. Sanding and shining follow and the blade looks nice and is hard … still not finished.

The sword blade then goes back into the fire, this time at 800 degrees, in order to be softened. The crystallization that occurred during the hardening phase must be somewhat reversed so that the blade is both strong and flexible, otherwise, the blade will snap. Once it is sufficiently hot, it is quenched again in the oil. And finally, it is ready to be refined and polished through sanding.

Once that is done, the handle can be burned on and the hilt added, both of which most likely also went through a very delicate process of intricate shaping and designing. And then, viola, you have a weapon!

Holy Spirit, allow your truth to come forth in this.

Do you see it, love? The tender hand of the forger at work in you? The way He has worked patiently and carefully to bring you through a process that has refined you for use as His weapon? No doubt, you have been very aware of it: the constant fire, the brief moments drowned in His Spirit that has quenched the pain, and then back into the fire again. The heavy blows that have created your sharpened edges. The intensity of the fire that created a hardness in you, that maybe even hurt your relationships because you were in the middle of something that was literally changing you from the inside out. Have you noticed the lesser flame, softening you again? Are you aware of the Spirit, covering you? Flowing over you and quenching the heat when it seems like you can’t take any more?

Do you know what is happening? Your Maker is creating, love. Your Maker sees something in you no one else sees. He has eyes that see a quality in the metal that you are, a valuable piece of steel that He knows He can refine and use. This process was not to harm you, but to give you a future in His hands! As a weapon of might against the enemy. He conceived the sword you would be before your mother conceived the earthly vessel you are in. And He has cut away, filed down the edges, fired up the forge and gently placed you in it. And you know what? He didn’t walk away, because He can’t leave you there. The temperatures are an exact science. When the bellows blow the coals and the flame gets hotter, He is watching carefully. He is ready to pull you out the moment the work is complete.

While we cringe the moment we feel the heat and recognize the fire is coming again, He is smiling because He knows how much work is left to be done. When the sand paper comes and rubs coarsely in our lives, abrasively scrubbing away the grunge that stuck to the metal, we may hurt, but it is beautifying us. It is rubbing away filth and allowing the shine to come forth. Do not despise these times. Rejoice! Your redemption draweth nigh! While the hardening may literally change who you are because you feel rejection and you understand the word loneliness like you’ve never before, and you have to press in to God lest you literally die of the pain in your heart, be encouraged because at some point, He will soften you again, and your original qualities will bond with this new strength and make you a perfect work. And once you have been softened again, toward everyone including Your Maker, He pulls you out of that fire and pours out His spirit all over you. He holds you delicately while He polishes you once more. Then He burns on the handle, so that you will be steadfastly connected to the part He wields in battle. All the work He does in you is for this very moment: to be placed at His side, brandished at Will and victorious in battle! This is not for naught! This is for His might and the display of His splendor. You are a beautiful weapon in the hands of an Almighty God who will forever conquer! This is glorious!

*Special thanks to the guy on youtube who created the video that gave me most of the information used here, and to my dear friend, who supplied all the finer details!

Spiritual Warfare 101: Psychological Operations

Published April 6, 2013 by Dawn

“To win one hundred victories in one hundred battles is not the acme of skill. To subdue the enemy without fighting is the acme of skill.”

“The Art of War, a treatise written by the Chinese military thinker Sun Tzu in the fourth century B.C., advocates the idea that an army of superior numbers can be ‘made not to fight.’ Even General A. M. Gray recognized the “human dimension” in war and that ‘moral forces exert a greater influence on the nature and outcome of war than do physical.’”

It’s no secret that we are at war, in both the physical sense and the spiritual sense. What’s scary is the tactics being levied against us, in which we often find ourselves asking, “So, are you for us or against us?” Confusion has become the order of the day, and the enemy seems to claim way more victories than we do. But the following information will hopefully give fresh insight into this present (spiritual) war, and may you be blessed with new intelligence that will uncover the enemy’s tactics.

I was reading through a Marine manual for warfare, and came across the following dissertation on psychological operations, which is a type of warfare aimed specifically at the mind and heart of the enemy. As you read through this information, keep in mind that this information comes straight from the warfare handbook of hell, and you are the enemy spoken of.

“PSYOP (psychological operations) can reduce enemy combat effectiveness; degrade enemy morale; enhance deception operations; facilitate the occupation of enemy towns; help control enemy propaganda; assist in rear area security; and confuse and harass the enemy.” Beloved, in other words, Satan is out to reduce your ability to wage war for the Kingdom of God by degrading you. He wants to cause you such emotional turmoil that you are completely unable to move in any direction. That pain that you feel, that frustration and confusion that you live in is just a tactic to cause you to quit. I know much of this battle, and I know how hard it is to press in and move forward in prayer when you are literally falling apart inside. But notice that PSYOP also includes “enhance[d] deception operations”. Most of what you feel and seem to know is a lie! Don’t believe it! In moments like this, I literally have to plug myself into worship music 24/7 and drink in the Spirit through His Word to pull myself out of the funk. Satan’s goal is to occupy as much of you thoughts and feelings as he can, and he works through many facets. The shows you watch, the music you listen to, even the places you go and the people you see. This is war and nothing is out of bounds for him. Remember, all’s fair …

“Planned operations to convey selected information and indicators to foreign audiences to influence their emotion, motives, objective reasoning, and ultimately the behavior of foreign government, organizations, groups and individuals. The purpose of psychological operations is to induce or reinforce foreign attitudes and behavior favorable to the originators objectives. The attitudes and behaviors of foreign groups can influence situations in ways advantageous or harmful to the attainment of one’s objectives. The use of PSYOP is but one way by which foreign individual and group attitudes and behaviors can be influenced. PSYOP enhance combat power. Effective PSYOP modify the behavior of the target audience in accordance with the commander’s objectives. ” Don’t miss that. Satan is out to influence your emotions, your motives, your reasoning and ultimately, your very behaviors. With the right cunning, he can make you more of a tool for his kingdom than you’ve ever been for the kingdom of God. He’s got your flesh on his side, and to wrestle with flesh is one of the hardest things we will ever have to do this side of heaven. Satan will use circumstances and people, and all the pain or frustration involved to cause you to react in ways that are favorable to his purposes in your life and the lives of people around you.

“PSYOP are conducted during peacetime, crisis, hostilities short of declared war, and declared war. PSYOP can be executed in a national, joint, combined, or single-Service context, by unified or specified commands, by subordinate unified commands or joint tasks forces. PSYOP can be carried out as an integral part of an overall military action or independently of other military operations.” Basically, there’s never a moment when psychological operations would not be effective and will thus be used against you any time of the day or night, in any season, in literally any and every situation that Satan can weasel his way into.

“Alexander the Great perfected a method of psychological harassment which was the hidden cause of many of his victories. Alexander developed psychological procedures and his actions were similar to modern day psychological operations. He developed and put into practice the following principles: (l) Maintain good relationships with pacifistic elements within neighboring peoples in order to take advantage of favorable opinions and sentiments. (2) Use secret agents to infiltrate and spread rumors and news. (3) In moments of crisis, bury the enemy — with public opinion — under an avalanche of information, true or false, that can produce concern, demoralization and chaos.” This information goes straight to my heart. This is exactly the war coming against the church today. A war of epic proportions in which Christians, in an attempt to be politically correct, are twisting the word of God so as not to offend anyone. Watered-down messages, a system of conformity to the world system, a refusal to acknowledge sin. All such operations aimed directly at the pacifistic elements within our belief system, and most of us don’t know how to respond because the truth is unpopular and what’s popular is not sanctioned by the Holy Spirit. What ultimately happens is that we slide down the slippery slope that makes our gospel ineffective and to the world, we look like fools because we no longer know what to believe. How in the world did Satan become so affective? By “us[ing] secret agents to infiltrate and spread rumors and news.” Enter ministers who preach either a polarized gospel full of half-truths or ministers who preach that the church needs to conform it’s views to fit a world that doesn’t agree with the truth. People who from the pulpit accepts lifestyles that scripture condemns, who preach more out of books written by men than The Book written by the breath of God. What results is Christians who never wanted to be peculiar sticking out like sore thumbs because they refuse to budge on their moral and biblical beliefs. Buried under public opinion, under that “avalanche of information, true or false,” men and women of God have increasingly been bombarded with concern, demoralization and chaos.

“Today, PSYOP have become more critical as ideological and revolutionary struggles increase. When properly conducted, PSYOP can be an effective force multiplier throughout the spectrum of conflict (low, mid, and high intensity). PSYOP can reduce enemy combat effectiveness by inducing enemy forces to disengage, desert, or act less aggressively; degrade enemy morale; enhance deception operations; facilitate the occupation of enemy towns; help control enemy and friendly civilians in the combat area; counter enemy propaganda; assist in rear area protection; and confuse and harass the enemy.” Brothers and sisters in Christ are falling away left and right because of the intensity of this warfare!

“During war, combat operations may be conducted in, or on, the periphery of a single country, be limited to a single theater, or be conducted worldwide. Regardless of the extent of the area of conflict, ideological warfare in the form of PSYOP should be conducted on a worldwide basis. Three basic reasons for this are to gain support for [Satan’s] actions, to isolate enemy[s] from outside support, and to establish a psychological climate to achieve postwar goals. … PSYOP campaigns are conducted to weaken the effectiveness of the enemy’s military forces by reducing the will to fight among the enemy populace and leadership groups, and to degrade the ability of commanders and political leaders to act decisively.” So from the top down, Satan is literally dividing the church. It is imperative in this time of increased warfare for Christians, all Christians, to know the Word of God for themselves. No more following blindly a man just because he stands behind a pulpit. Remember, scripture warns us that Satan “parades himself as an angel of light.” Jesus said that even the very elect could be deceived if he had not told us all that we needed to know beforehand. But if we don’t read our bibles intently, we will never know what scriptures says that will save us from the enemy’s tactics. Satan is not a weak enemy. He is smart! He studies us and knows our weaknesses and we are not to be without knowledge of him. But our understanding only comes through the Word. It’s time we as Christians start taking responsibility for our spiritual walks with Christ because when we stand before God, we won’t be able to blame all our mistakes on our pastors. The purpose of this war is to reducing our will to fight, and Satan is so effective at this. I know I have had many days of getting on my face before God and crying out in weariness. “I don’t want to fight anymore! This is too hard and it hurts and I have had no rest!” But God is good, and He is quick to rescue us and pull us out of the battle for a little while so we can recuperate.

“Psychological operations are an important dimension of military power… everything we do or fail to do has a psychological impact on our enemies, our allies, neutrals, and even ourselves. We can [and] … must understand and be prepared to employ PSYOP throughout the levels of war and across the spectrum of conflict.” This is Satan’s Gameplan. As Paul says, “Do not be unaware of his tactics.”

*http://www.globalsecurity.org/military/library/report/1990/BJE.htm