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Thursday, June 11, 2015

Assateague Island wild horses 6/8/15

Assateague Island Wild Horses

"Fighting The Good Fight"

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"So Jacob was left alone and a man wrestled with him until daybreak" (Genesis 32:24). "For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places" (Ephesians 6:12).  "I have fought the good fight" (2 Timothy 4:7).

Joe DieselWe enjoy meeting people and in our chaplaincy we visit with several hundred every week. Not surprisingly some have interesting backgrounds. Joe, who hails from Brooklyn, NY works at Smucker Laser. It's a company that uses huge laser cutting machines to cut metal parts from large, heavy sheets of metal (as seen in the background).

Joe is a former Golden Gloves national boxing champion and is presently on the Ring of Honor wrestling circuit which he calls "theatrical entertainment".
Brooksyne tells me as a teen that she and her siblings often watched this kind of wrestling which was aired on television in Tulsa every Saturday. Of course they rooted for the good guys and "gnashed their teeth" at the bad ones who didn't play by the rules. Although it's not a form of entertainment I've ever followed, I recently watched a match with Joe, AKA J Diesel, since I know the wrestler personally!

Wrestling is not a new sport, in fact, it's mentioned in ancient times. A very different form of wrestling is referred to in the Bible, the most famous match being recorded in Genesis 32, where Jacob had a most unusual all-night spiritual wrestling match,
"So Jacob was left alone and a man wrestled with him until daybreak"

Matthew Henry comments: "A great while before day, Jacob being alone, more fully spread his fears before God in prayer. While thus employed, One in the likeness of a man wrestled with him. When the spirit helps our infirmities, and our earnest and vast desires can scarcely find words to utter them, and we still mean more than we can express, then prayer is indeed wrestling with God. However tried or discouraged, we shall prevail; and prevailing with Him in prayer, we shall prevail against all enemies that strive with us. Nothing requires more vigour and unceasing exertion than wrestling. It is an emblem of the true spirit of faith and prayer."

Many of us have studied or even memorized a portion of Scripture referred to as the "Armor of God" in Ephesians 6. In referring to this type of wrestling in the Bible I told Joe that we are all wrestlers, in one way or another. The apostle Paul reminds us that our struggle is not ultimately physical in nature but spiritual. "For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places" (Ephesians 6:12).

J Diesel wrestlerI've never enjoyed fighting. I recall a period in Junior High School when the class bully put out the word that he wanted to fight me. Truth be told, I was terrified! At that time I was getting taller but was as skinny as a rail. I had no desire to get in a fight! It was likely my first experience as a child to undergo real personal stress that extended over a period of months, but thankfully the rumored fight never transpired. To this day I would rather avoid conflict than face it and am even uncomfortable reading books or viewing movies that have major conflict.

But there is an ongoing conflict in the spiritual realm that is unavoidable and we have no choice in whether or not we engage. By virtue of the fallen condition of mankind we are engaged. There is no neutrality in this conflict and in this "good fight" pacifism or non-resistance is not a virtue, but rather a surrender and an alliance with the forces of evil.

I believe this is what the Apostle Paul calls "the good fight." This ancient conflict goes back to the heavenly realms and the fall of Satan. As the great old hymn declares, "For still our ancient foe [Satan], doth seek to work us woe, his craft and power are great, and armed with cruel hate, on earth is not his equal."

Today I pray for all of you fighting the good fight, seeking to contend earnestly for the faith once for all delivered to the saints.  We indeed "
wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places". I pray that you will stand up for God's truth and righteousness in the home, the workplace, the marketplace and in some instances you might even have to take a stand in your own church. I am convinced the battle will become increasingly more fierce before Christ's return. Let us resolve in our hearts to remain faithful to our divine call no matter how great the conflict!

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Praying man Daily prayer: Father, we thank You for the spiritual armor that defends us in battle and arms us for the struggle we encounter against the devil's relentless schemes.  This armor enables us to withstand the forces of evil, no matter the means or persons the enemy works through to try to weaken or destroy our faith. In addition to the belt of truth, the breastplate of righteousness, the gospel of peace, the shield of faith, the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit we know that our prayers and petitions are heard by You who intercedes on our behalf before our Father in heaven. We use our armor for protection and we use the sword of the Spirit and prayer for weapons to reveal, attack and defeat Satan's strongholds. It is through Your name, Jesus, that we are more than conquerors.  Amen.

For inspiration regarding the spiritual armor see Ephesians 6:10-18

Assateague Island wild horses 6/8/15
This past Monday we rode our bicycles up over the long Verrazano Bridge onto the Assateague Island National Seashore, famous for the herd of wild horses easily viewed from the road or bike trail.

Assateague Island wild horses 6/8/15
We came upon the group of horses in our lead photo and chatted with a member of the park's "pony patrol" as seen on the back of his green vest. Visitors are not allowed to pet the horses, and must keep a distance of 10' or more. Since many ignore this law (which can get you a hefty fine), there are frequent injuries related to bites, kicks, etc.

Assateague Island parasailing
Parasailing on Assateague Bay

Assateague Island parasailing
I believe this is parasailing; one of the many sports we never got into!

Jackie Steudler 6/9/15
We enjoyed our fellowship over breakfast at Cracker Barrel with our good friend, Jackie Steudler, who has a summer house along with her husband Rick, in Rehoboth Beach. She and Brooksyne had a good time checking out the clearance corner of the gift shop where items with a gardening theme were 40% off. Seems like to me we just started gardening but with retail you're always planning the next season so we'll soon see fall items on the shelves.

Today's Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources

"The Battle Belongs To The Lord"  Video  Maranatha Singers

Our friend David Penley has a thoughtful series on "Protecting Your Marriage With The Armor of God"

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Scripture references are from The Holy Bible: New International Version. © 1984 by International Bible Society; NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE®, Copyright © 1995 by The Lockman Foundation, New King James Version (NKJV) Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. and the King James Version.

Personal Mission Statement: "I am created by God to bring Him glory. Through God's Son Jesus Christ I have been redeemed and make it my life's goal to please the Lord. My mission in life is to honor God through my faith and obedience and prepare myself and all whom I may influence for eternity."

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