BATTLEFIELDS

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“Fight the good fight of the faith.  Take hold of the eternal life to which you were called when you made your good confession in the presence of many witnesses.”  I Timothy 6:12 NIV

We took the dogs for a walk at the Antietam Battlefield in Sharpsburg, MD.  They stood overlooking Bloody Lane.  September 17, 1862 is remembered as the bloodiest day in American History with about 23,000 casualties.  The sunken road that was later renamed Bloody Lane was home to a nearly four hour battle with some of the fiercest fighting during the Battle of Antietam, or as the confederates named it, the Battle of Sharpsburg.  Blood flowed like a river inside the sunken road that day, with bodies stacked on top of bodies.

Battlefields appear everywhere in our lives no matter how hard we try to avoid them.  Our homes are filled with discord.  Churches are filled with strife.  Our schools are not safe from bullying.  Workplaces have contention and jealousy.  We are people with differing backgrounds, opinions, and beliefs.

Our own bodies are battlefields.  We struggle against depression, negativity, and destructive thought patterns.  Illnesses come against our bodies from no fault of our own or from neglect and unhealthy habits.  Our checkbooks and bank accounts, our savings or lack thereof is a constant threat to our wellbeing and peace of mind.  The struggle is real.

Jesus said in this life you will have trouble (John 16:33).  He said he has told us that so we would have peace as he has overcome the world.  In John 14:18, Jesus tells us that he will not leave us orphans because he will come to us.  In Deuteronomy 31:6, God tells us not to be afraid or terrified for the LORD your God goes with you.  He will never leave you or forsake you.

Ephesians 6:12 tells us, “For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.”  Are you struggling spiritually?  Ephesians 6 goes on to tell us to put on the whole armor of God to protect us from the evil one.

Is your battlefield in your mind?  Fear taking over?  Negativity and depression filling your thoughts?  Romans 12:2 states, “Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.  Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is-his good, pleasing and perfect will”.  2 Corinthians 10:5 tells us, “We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ”.  Philippians 4:8 says, “Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report:  if there be an virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things”.

Having trouble with others at work, home, or church?  Romans 12:18 tells us, “If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone”.  Can you hold your tongue?  Not respond to that irritating FaceBook post?  James 4:7 states, “Submit yourselves, then, to God.  Resist the devil, and he will flee from you”.

Finally, Revelation 12:11 tells us, “And they have conquered him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony, for they loved not their lives even unto death”.  Just like the soldiers in the Civil War who gave their lives, Jesus died so that we might have freedom from the battlefields in our lives.  He shed his blood and he hung on a cross for you and me.  The victory was won at Calvary.  Love, peace, joy, and reconciliation all sprouted from the drops of blood that fell from our loving Savior, Jesus Christ.  There might be a skirmish or two left to fight, but the battle has been won and we have overcome!

My mother-in-law always wanted my husband and I to sing this song in church but we only managed to sing it around her piano with her accompaniment.  She was always encouraging and if she lost any battles with her thoughts and words, she would clasp her hand over her mouth and ask Jesus to forgive her!  This song is for you!

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