There are three cardinal virtues: faith, hope and love. Of these three I want to talk about faith because this is the virtue that can transform your circumstances from negative to positive. Hebrews 11:1 says that “faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.” We are made in the image of God. This means that like God, with his spiritual power, we can speak things into existence. Satan doesn’t want you to get a hold of this vital truth. Verse six of Hebrews says this: “But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.” Here is the rub: We all think we know what faith is but most of us don’t understand faith and that is why so many of our prayers remain unanswered. For most of us “seeing is believing.” We are hoping when we pray for a future answer and that is not faith. Faith is a now thing. When we pray we believe we have the answer and begin to thank God for the answer even though it is not manifested into the physical realm yet, but we know it is coming and thank him for it and begin to act like we have what we have prayed for. That is biblical faith. It says if God promised it in his word than if I do what he says (forgive, trust, not fear, etc) than he will do what he has promised to do. Faith is vital to victory over demons. Nothing bad has come out of heaven, but out of hell. God is for us, not against us if we have surrendered our lives to him and joined his army.


I Timothy 1:18 tells us to war a good warfare. To be prepared to fight like a soldier. God gives us supernatural tools to fight. But when it’s time to fight (Ecc. 3:8) many have no fight in them. Their response is to ask others to fight for them. Government is increasingly disfunctional and unable to help. The Affordable Care Act is just one of many recent examples in our fight against disease. Proverbs 25:19 tells us: “Confidence in an unfaithful man in time of trouble is like a broken tooth and a foot out of joint.” From nursery school on Americans are conditioned to turn to experts (authorities) for solutions to problems. Self reliance and individual responsibility seem no longer part of most vocabularies. The Bible is a believer’s source book. There “fight” is discovered 170 times. First in Exodus 1:10: “Come on, let us deal wisely with them; least they multiply, and it come to pass, that when there falleth out any war, they join also unto our enemies, and fight against us, and so get them up out of the land.” Biblical wisdom is critical in times of war. From Exodus to Zechariah we see much fighting. How to survival in troubling times? In the N.T. fight is first found in John 18:36: “Jesus answered, My kingdom is not of this world: if my kingdom were of this world, then would my servants fight that I should not, be delivered to the Jews: but now is my kingdom not from hence.” Jesus never taught us to look in this world for help. In Matthew 12:28 is one powerful fighting skill. In nine books of the N. T. fight is used. In Revelation 2:16 God says: “Repent; or else I will come unto thee quickly, and will fight against them with the sword of my mouth.” Jesus will not turn his other cheek when he comes again. He gave us examples on how to fight. There is a key promise in Luke 10:19. “Behold, I give unto you power to tread on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy: and nothing shall by any means hurt you.” Lastly there is this: “And there was war in heaven: Michael and his angels fought against the dragon; and the dragon fought and his angels, and prevailed not; neither was their place found any more in heaven.” Revelation 12:7-8. According to the Bible there is a time to fight. We are made in his image. He is head of the armies of heaven. He has given us a spiritual sword and protective body armor. Learn to weld your supernatural weapons as God has instructed us to do. God is for us. Who can stand against us? Exodus 23:22 exhorts us. “But if thou shalt obey his voice , and do all that I speak; then I will be an enemy to thine enemies, and an adversary to thy adversaries….” Don’t just rely on this world system.


What comes to mind when we hear, “Fire!” It has to do with the tone of voice: Frightened or warm? A fire on a cold night is wonderful. A raging, wind driven fire is a terrifying sight. “Fire”is found 527 times in the Bible. The military use is for destruction: Fire team, fire fight, flame thrower, fire bomb, fire for effect. Thank God fires are mostly about eating, heating and fellowship. Fire is first found in Genesis 19:24 “God rained fire on Sodom and Gomorrah.” The second use in 22:15 is about a sacrifice to God. Exodus 3:2 describes an angel of the LORD appearing in a flame of fire. Fire is used nine time in the Book of Joshua: “And they burnt the city with fire.”It is 69 times in Leviticus: priests making sacrifices to God on altars with fire. Proverbs 26:21 warns us “strife is like fire.”James 3:5-6 says the tongue can set things on fire. We see in Jude 1:7 where the half brother of Jesus describes the vengeance of “eternal fire.” Matthew talks about this “hell fire.” 5:22, “furnace of fire.” 13:42 and 13:50. and “everlasting fire” 25:41. We see in II Kings 1:10+ God destroying a threat to his prophet, Elijah in a spectacular burst of fire from heaven. My favorite verse though is Matthew 3:11 “…he will baptize with the Holy Ghost and with fire.” This is the first verse God quicken to my spirit to get my attention after I was born again. I love one passage in John 15:5-7 “I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing. If a man abide not in me, he is cast forth as a branch, and is withered; and men gather the branches, and cast them into the fire, and they are burned. If ye abide in me, and my words abide in you, ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you.” A wonderful description of Jesus is given in Revelation 1:14 “His head and his hairs were white like wool, as white as snow; and his eyes were as a flame of fire…” Considering that fire can destroy us or bless us, and it is our choice: is surrendering our lives fully to Him worth doing? Emphatically!

Footnote: These were teachings for Chaplain’s Corner of VFW monthly newsletter.

Fire and Maneuver:

An understanding of the importance of this combat action is critical to survival and overcoming power in a hostile environment. Soldiers and units move when in the presence of the enemy using “fire and maneuver.” So when one soldier gets up and rushes forward under fire his comrades cover him by firepower until he hits the ground and fires to cover others who rush forward. This makes it more difficult for the enemy to put aimed fire on their targets. At a higher level one combat unit moves while several units cover that movement by fire. Where the enemy is dominant one needs supporting arms fire (artillery, air and naval gun power) So how does this work in an environment where there is unspoken opposition, verbal hostility or open aggression that has not yet gravitated to the open spilling of blood? We Christians are “to be in the world but not of the world.” (Romans 12:2, etc.). Our firepower is prayer, using the mighty NAME OF Jesus Christ, applying God’s promises to a negative circumstance, and waiting on the LORD to act after we have done all we see to do that is within our own power. And God tells us of the power of two or three committed believers to overcome. We see in II Thessalonians 2:7 that “the Restrainer” has been overpowering the anti-christ spirit during this church age which is rapidly drawing to a close. That Restrainer lives in us. (I Cor. 3: 16 and II Cor. 6: 19). So we can call for help when we are in trouble. That is a consistent theme throughout the Bible. Are you maneuvering without supporting fire in a particular situation where you feel like you are being overcome? Call for help.


A more common word than the word fight. As danger increases at some point God tells his people to flee. Wickedness is never satisfied: enough is never enough. At some point it can become so bad escaping is no longer practical for most. Before that point is reached he tells those who are his and at risk to flee. God doesn’t expect most of us to resist evil until death. Yes, there are martyrs! But that is usually a voluntary decision. The mature in Christ who hear the voice of God are certainly expected to resist evil. But when to flee? In discussing this word, lets use an acronym: Faith, Listen, Establish and Escape. Satan uses evil to establish inroads into all communities through lies and deceit. Also he will use sheer power to overcome. Those with discernment can see this happening. The mature go to God in prayer for wisdom on how to proceed. We listen to God and resist the attacks of the enemy. With prayers we declare God’s word into the situation and take appropriate actions. We by studying history see weakness in human nature. The lying and disceit trouble us. At some point God will say enough and tell his people to leave, and give the situation over to the will of the majority. In Matthew 15:14 he says: “Leave them alone, blind guides leading the blind and both will fall into the ditch.” God’s faithful are not appointed to God’s wrath. We see over and over in throughout history and in the bible this clash between the wicked and the righteous. This is why the rapture of the church is our blessed hope. The LORD often says “Ichabod” and his glory departs. There is a time to resist. Proverbs 28:1 tells us: “The wicked flee when no man pursueth: but the righteous are bold as a lion.” “Fight” is found 170 times in scripture. There are other synonyms such as argue, clash, contest, disagree, dispute, struggle and engage. Thy also suggest a stand against evil: other legal ways to fight. But we find the word flee 264 times and the word escape 116 times! Some of the very brave who have resisted to the point of death and have the scars to prove it might see this action as somehow dishonorable. But smart generals have such contingencies. When overwhelmed it is prudent to withdraw.


We know the importance of this word from annual visits to the rifle or pistol range on active duty. We all developed a certain proficiency with weapons. A few retain this proficiency. Most of us let it die. In combat on the outer edge of the security perimeter or out on patrol our hearts beat faster when chambering a live round in our weapon. Approaching darkness increased our fears. It would be a long night with the loss of visibility. Learning to watch for and salute seniors stateside had a lot to do with developing a combat awareness of what was going on around us at all times. One’s ability to focus is important to survival. This trait is increasingly important in civilian life. With open borders and sancturary cities there are more foreigners in our land increasing dangers around us. When we were in our twenties we didn’t have to cope with the many close in distractions present now. There are more gagets than people making distracted living a lifestyle. Younger people walk or drive everywhere while texting on their cell phones. Few seem to have any awareness of what is going on around them. And they don’t seem able to concentrate for long on what is really important in life. Many of us know of someone who has lost a limb or died because of becoming overly distracted. A hard way to learn the importance of focus. Focus is not in my english Bible. But God speaks about this personal trait in many ways. Consider the word, watchman, used 30 times in ten Old Testament books. These verses speak of the importance of this ability. In this age of increasing Islamic terrorism that is effecting non-muslim societies worldwide; one’s outer awareness is increasingly important. Instant reaction can be the difference between life and death. Watchmen are important. Most of us must focus on daily routines. So we depend on others to keep us safe. We trust them to keep watch. To sound an alarm if danger approaches. These are prophetic times. Things can change suddenly. The Bible warned about the endtimes centuries ago. Sadly most are distracted, unaware and about to be blindsided by what Jesus himself warned us to be on the lookout for. (1 Thes 5:3, Luke 19:44.) Don’t be caught unaware. The Son of God warned us not to miss the time of our visitation. Most in the generation of his first coming missed out. It will be the same when he comes again. Are you living a distracted life style? Where is your focus? What are your priorities? Is God at the top of your list?


On the Front Lines. This is a phrase army field manuals called the Forward Edge of the Battle Area (FEBA) while I was on active duty. It is where those manning defensive perimeters are dug in and can expect enemy probes and attacks. It is the departure point for friendly patrols making incursions beyond friendly positions to discover what the enemy might be doing and to upset their plans. Why would a chaplain be interested in such things? It’s because there is potential for a lot of hurt and death out on the edge. Soldiers at such locations need to be spiritually prepared. A good active duty chaplain visits such positions. He doesn’t wait until troops are sent back to the rear areas. How does this knowledge apply in the aftermath of one’s military experience? Well…all of life, in a sense, is a combat zone for Satan and his evil cohort. Most of you are heads of families and in effect responsible for family security. If you are observant you will know when family members and friends come under spiritual attack. From time to time we all need backup prayer because of unseen forces of darkness. The brother of Jesus said this: “Whereas ye know not what shall be on the morrow, For what is your life? It is even a vapour that appeareth for a little time, and then vanisheth away.” James 4:14. Jesus himself said this about our spiritual enemy: “For the thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly.” John 10:10. You have been trained for battle. Most civilians have no such experience. You need to transfer what you learned about physical warfare to the spiritual realm as a civilian. Once we join the army of God we must learn how to defend ourselves and our family spiritually. Other wise you will not appropriate the victory that Jesus already secured for you and your family at the cross (Revelation 12:11). Find out about and apply the spiritual gifts he has given you. Most people are ignorant of such matters. He suffered so you wouldn’t have to suffer. The Bible is your manual of arms to teach you how to war against your unseen enemies. Don’t squander the great gift we all have been given by God. You and your family are on the front lines. Wake up spiritually and learn how to fight.