The Weapons of our Warfare Part 2

In 2 Chronicles chapter 20 Jehoshaphat faces two formidable foes, the armies of Moab, and Ammon. He is outnumbered, and he knows it. He doesn’t know what to do or how Judah can possibly defeat them. So he calls a prayer meeting. Everyone comes, even the women and the children. They admit to God that they don’t know what to do. In verse 12 Jehoshaphat says, “For we have no power to face this vast army that is attacking us. We do not know what to do, BUT our eyes are on YOU.” Where are our eyes as we fight this vast army that is attacking the next generation? Are we looking to the talk radio voices? The politicians? The supreme court? Or are we looking to God and asking Him, how do we fight this army? How do we take on this enemy? Here’s what Jehoshaphat did; first, he prayed and asked God what to do, then he gathered others with Him to pray and seek God’s face. Then they went to the place where the armies had assembled. They went “on location” if you will. But we need to stop for a minute and pay attention to who went first. Verse 21, “After consulting the people, Jehoshaphat appointed men to sing to the Lord and to praise Him for the splendor of His Holiness as they went out at the HEAD of the army saying, Give thanks to the Lord, for His love endures forever. As they began to sing and praise, the Lord set ambushes against the men of Ammon and Moab.”  IMGP7323

Why do we go to the clinic, or to the court? What difference does the location make? Well, that is where the stronghold has taken residence. We go to fight; we go to wage war in the Heavenlies. Not with the weapons of our flesh, not with anger, or bitterness, or sarcasm. We go in a spirit of prayer, and worship because we know that it isn’t about us. It isn’t about how powerful my weak prayers are, or how much I’ve sacrificed to be there. It’s about a mighty God who goes before us, and believe it or not, is even more grieved over this loss of life than we are. We go to partner with His heart, to stand and say, Yes Lord this hurts, it hurts me too. I’m here with You. We go with a heart of joy and worship because we know how the story ends. Jesus wins.

What is the result when we face our enemy the devil with Joy, Praise, and Worship? Confusion. The enemy doesn’t know how to react. Even the other people on the sidewalk don’t know how to react. It never fails, almost every time I have been at a clinic praying, the escorts and sometimes the workers in the clinic come outside and just stare at us. Their reaction is in STARK contrast to the others on the sidewalk who are shouting or otherwise being loud in some way. This strategy of standing silent in a posture of prayer and worship has taken them by surprise. We’ve been praying confusion in the enemy camp and I believe I have seen what that looks like firsthand. You can see it on their faces, it’s like they are thinking, “who are these people?” “What are they doing?”

I believe Goliath was taken totally by surprise when the stone hit him. It was unexpected. God’s Strategies are often odd to us, and confusing to the enemy. When we don’t fight with the weapons of this world, we win! It may take time, it may take much longer than we want. We often want to give up and like an immature child throw ourselves down on the floor and kick and yell and get upset. But we have to remember like David, we are children of the Living God and He has already won this battle.  In times when it seems like we’re losing the battle, or that what we are doing isn’t making a difference we have to stop and look to Jesus.  When we seek His face and search His word for what to do, the strategy is clear, worship first.  As the worshipers we are sounding the battle cry, we are going first in the spirit and setting the stage; preparing the atmosphere for what God wants to do through the others on the sidewalk.  We all have our place, those who call out to the women have a vital purpose on the sidewalk, without us there praying and backing them up, they are much less effective.  It’s prayer and worship combined with action and outreach.  We are more powerful when we unite and each of us fulfill the mission God has called us to.  In Judges chapter 1, when the armies of Israel were preparing to go in and take the promised land, what tribe goes first?  The worshiping tribe of Judah.  In Hebrew Judah means: “I will thank/praise the Lord”.  There is power released when we go in a spirit of thanksgiving, prayer, joy and worship.  As a bonus, these things bring confusion to the enemy.  They just don’t know how to respond.  So go in the spirit of thanksgiving, and joy; giving praise to our God because we know how this story ends.  Jesus gets the victory.

                             Like David and Goliath

The Weapons of our Warfare Part 1

“The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds.” 2 Corinthians 10:4


Anger, worry, despair, control, cynicism, sarcasm, spite; these are all “weapons” we could use to fight the battle for LIFE in our nation. These are the weapons of choice of our flesh. When we forget who our real enemy is, it’s easy to get angry at the reality we face. The reality is that babies are dying every day in our nation, in our cities. In my home state last year just over 5000 babies were killed in abortions. That is such a sobering fact, but not nearly as sobering as the number lost in our neighboring state of just over 41,000! Yes! You read that right, it’s not a typo. When I first read that statistic I was brought to tears, and filled with righteous indignation at the massive loss of life so close to home. When I was growing up in a suburb of St. Louis Missouri I remember when we would drive into our city limits and pass the sign that listed the population. I’ve never been much of a numbers gal. In fact I have always HATED math. It’s a difficult subject for me and often when I am reading and there are numbers I just quickly scan them and don’t really stop to read them or really spend much time thinking about them. But growing up in my hometown and passing the population sign frequently I remember it vividly even today, the population of the little suburban town I grew up in was 46,000 at the time I was living there. So when I read the statistic this week of how many babies were killed in abortions in Illinois last year I was immediately reminded of that sign. When I read that statistic it was like I was driving past my hometown and almost everyone was gone, wiped out by some plague or terrible terrorist attack. I’m not a very emotional person, but when I put the 2 numbers together I couldn’t help but cry out to God and say, It’s not fair! God, the state right next door to where I live had as many abortions last year as almost the entire population of the town I grew up in.                                                                                                                                                                 Abortions-Decline-ChartAbortion Rates Down since 2010

We can react one of two ways when faced with this reality. Our flesh wants to act out. When I realized just how big abortion is and just how many lives have been lost, I wanted to shout and yell from the rooftops. I wanted to call every pastor I know and grill them on why this isn’t an issue they trumpet in their pulpits. I wanted to get in some people’s faces about why they don’t care. The flesh is so very weak and wants to act in all these rather immature ways that don’t get the results we want. So how should we react? If all the “weapons” of the flesh are ineffective what are our “weapons” in this fight? 2 Corinthians reminds us that our “weapons” are not the weapons of this world, i.e. the weapons of our flesh. We fight this battle on our knees. The most effective weapons we have are; joy, prayer, and worship.  Joy? I know what you’re thinking, how can I possibly have joy in the face of such blatant evil? Our joy is not because of the evil, nor is it reduced because of the evil. Our joy is in the saving knowledge of Jesus Christ who we know has already won the battle. He has defeated death and is victorious! When I remember this fact I can go to a clinic and remain joyful. I can’t help but be reminded of a Misty Edwards song where she says, I know the end of the story, and we’re only at the beginning of the beginning. We must keep our focus on Jesus and His victory over death. It is a vital part of being in this fight. Without that truth, we fall back on the weapons of the flesh, we become bitter, angry, and apathetic. Without Jesus and a reminder that we know how this story ends, we will burn out, we will stop going to the clinic because it’s too hard, it’s too depressing, it’s too heavy. Jesus is the key, a close walk with Him is the sustaining factor in this battle.

We have forgotten this over the years, but if we look back at the Old Testament we see over and over again when the armies of Israel faced very strong and powerful armies God gave them some pretty odd strategies. David faced a giant with just 5 smooth stones.  Was it because he was just such a good shot with his sling? I’m sure he was skilled with his sling, but I propose the reason he defeated Goliath with the first blow is that he walked closely with God. He didn’t approach Goliath with anger or sarcasm. He walked up to that giant with a confidence that comes only from a place of walking closely with the living God. David had a confidence not in his ability to use a sling shot to bring down a giant, but in a God who he knew would go before him on his (and the nation of Israel’s) behalf. That God is still in the giant slaying business today. It is for that reason I can stare down evil with joy and a smile on my face (often accompanied by tears). It’s almost a contradiction that I can stand outside a clinic with a heart full of prayer, praise, and love for my king, while at the same time full of grief and mourning for what is happening inside while I wait for the giant to fall. I suppose it’s something similar to how the Father felt when Jesus was hanging on the cross. Knowing the glory of what was to come, yet having to endure the pain of the present. It is that hope, that knowing of a savior that brings joy.  We can press in with joy, because we know the end of the story, and we’re only at the beginning of the beginning.  Thanks for that amazing reminder Misty!  We know the one who has victory over death, His name is Jesus.  Joy is a powerful weapon in demolishing the stronghold of abortion in our nation, let’s use it!

(This is part 1 of a 2 part series on the weapons of our warfare.  Part 2 will cover,  prayer, and worship.)

It’s Going to Be Worth it All

If I step back in my mind’s eye and look at what we’re doing, it doesn’t make any sense. Then again, flipping through scripture reveals that being used by God often takes on a form that makes no sense to men. Ezekiel lays on his side for for over a year and eats food cooked over dung, Jesus smears mud on a man’s face, and if I went on, the list of strange behavior in the bible would take too much space for this format. We’ve been standing with “LIFE” written on red tape and placed on our mouths since May of 2013 in front of a courthouse. The strategy laid out by heaven may draw the consternation of men, but I care not. I am resolved to employ the plan of God and ride with Him to victory.

“For What” you may ask, “are we seeking victory? And why a courthouse?”. In May of 2013, Arkansas and North Dakota passed laws restricting abortion at 12 and 6 weeks respectively. These are the most restrictive laws on abortion in our nation and a direct frontal attack to Roe v Wade. The ban in North Dakota would put a stop to 90% of the abortions in that state. As always in these situations, the legal battles over these laws commenced. These are likely the most significant cases on abortion in the 42 years since Roe v Wade, and we knew that St. Louis would once again be integral in determining if an entire people group will be recognized as human.

The Eight Circuit Court in St. Louis sits one step below the supreme court and our court system was the starting point of the Dredd Scott case which made it’s way to the US Supreme Court. This case tragically decided that black people were less than human. Judge Harry Blackmun was promoted from the 8th Circuit to the US Supreme Court where he authored Roe v Wade, deciding that the pre-born are less than human.

Our stand in prayer was labeled “The Gaddite Stand” after the warrior tribe of Gad who in Numbers 32 agreed to fight for the inheritance of the other tribes before receiving their own inheritance. We would war in prayer and prepare the ground for these cases to arrive in St. Louis on behalf of Arkansas and North Dakota, believing that our own inheritance of LIFE giving laws would be released in Missouri. A small band of prayer warriors stood regularly through wind, heat, soaking rain, snow, and pleasant sunny days. In August of 2014 several people were given words independently indicating that the ground of the courthouse on which we had been standing had been given to us, that the court belonged to us. With increased expectation of what God was doing we pressed in prayer, anticipating the arrival of the cases.

In December 2014 we received word that the cases would finally be heard in St. Louis on the 13th of January, 2015. Praying that day, I could feel the satisfaction of the Lord, that we had been faithful with the Gaddite Stand. In conversation with some of the lawyers in the cases, it became apparent how important our prayers had been through the process. The attorney defending the Arkansas law relayed how he was the only pro-life attorney in the office under a pro-choice attorney general and had to prepare for this case alone. He told how miraculous it was that the attorney general even allowed the law to be challenged up to the 8th circuit court. We spent time in prayer during this season in early 2014 praying for that attorney general by name.

Our assignment is not over. It has been a pleasure to partner with the Lord in prayer and see how our prayers were used to shape history, but these cases are not finished. The three judges (Benton, Shepherd, & Smith) are deliberating their decision now and we expect a decision to be released sometime in the next six months. We must continue to pray for them as they consider these cases.  As strange as we may look at times when we follow the Lord’s direction, it is going to be worth it all!