What does the Bible teach about warfare?

Let’s take a look at what the Bible says about warfare in general. Actually, it says quite a lot. The words “war” and “battle” are found over 350 times in the Old Testament. We find God commanding war many times. In 2 Samuel 22:35, David says the Lord taught him to fight. In Joshua 3:9-10, God commands Joshua to conquer the Canaanites. In Exodus 15:3, God is called “a warrior” after defeating the Egyptian army. In many places in Scripture, the Lord uses warfare as an instrument of judgment against sinful nations (e.g., Numbers 31:1-24).

What we learn from such passages is that war is necessary at times. When the Philistines took up arms against Israel in 1 Samuel 17:1, Israel had to either fight a necessary war or capitulate to the enemy. The same was true in 1938 when the Germans marched into Austria. While war is terrible, there is nothing inherently evil with it per se. In a fallen world, war is inevitable (Luke 21:9-10).

However, the Bible does not condone war indiscriminately. Most of the scriptures we’ve cited so far have dealt with Israel in the Old Testament. To establish Israel in the Promised Land, war was necessary. At the same time, God used Israel militarily to judge the idolatrous nations of Canaan (Deuteronomy 18:12).

We need to make a clear distinction between a holy war and a just war. A true holy war is one specifically commanded by God to Old Testament Israel. The commands to do battle in the Old Testament were for a particular group of people for a particular time, for a particular purpose. That purpose has been accomplished, and no one can claim a “holy war” today.

The Christian’s battle is spiritual (Ephesians 6:12; 2 Corinthians 10:4). This means, among other things, that God’s people do not use physical means to coerce people into God’s Kingdom. However, does the Christian emphasis on a spiritual war mean that physical warfare between nations is always avoidable? Do we allow aggression to go unchecked? Should we ignore hostility and injustice? No, there is a place today for a just war.

A just (or justified) war is one that is waged on behalf of justice. The goal of a just war is peace. Romans 13:1-5 gives us the God-ordained role of government in society:

1) to govern with authority from God (v1-2)
2) to praise the good in society (v4)
3) to punish the evildoer in society (v4)
4) to bear the sword and execute wrath against wrongdoers (v4)

Just like the shepherd’s job is to protect the sheep from wolves, it’s the government’s job to protect its citizens from aggression.

Again, we make no attempt to justify war in general. There is no way to mitigate the horror and tragedy that war brings. But we do recognize that, at times, war can be justified. We list the following six guidelines to bring war under the rule of justice:

1) There must be a just cause. Bringing aggression, injustice, and genocide to a stop would promote righteousness and therefore be a just cause.

2) There must be just intention. The goal is peace and safety for all involved. The desire for ideological supremacy, geographical expansion, or economic gain does not justify a war.

3) War must be the last resort after all other methods to resolve the conflict have failed.

4) There must be a formal declaration of war. This shows that it is the government taking action on behalf of its citizenry.

5) Proportionate means are used. Weaponry and use of force must be limited to what is necessary to repel the attack and prevent future aggression. Unlimited war is wrong.

6) Noncombatant immunity. Individuals not actively involved in the conflict, including POWs and casualties, should be immune from attack.

So, what about the war against the terrorists in Iraq? We believe that it is a just war insofar as the United States and its allies are protecting its citizens and following the six guidelines, above. May we be faithful to pray for our country’s leaders and for true wisdom in these dangerous times (1 Timothy 2:1-2). And may the Lord quickly fulfill His promise to bring to an end all war forever (Isaiah 2:1-4).

Read more: http://www.gotquestions.org/war-Iraq-just.html#ixzz3SkXbN9et

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Child-like Faith

This post reminds me that many of God’s most faithful followers praised Him while IN the fiery furnace, not when they were safely delivered from it. The following scripture comes to mind: “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, which according to his abundant mercy hath begotten us again unto a lively hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, 4 to an inheritance incorruptible, and undefiled, and that fadeth not away, reserved in heaven for you, 5 who are kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation ready to be revealed in the last time. 6 Wherein ye greatly rejoice, though now for a season, if need be, ye are in heaviness through manifold temptations: 7 that the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perisheth, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honour and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ: 8 whom having not seen, ye love; in whom, though now ye see him not, yet believing, ye rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory: 9 receiving the end of your faith, even the salvation of your souls.” (1 Peter 1:3-9)

Unshakable Hope

As I’ve said in other posts, I do not believe that God causes trials. But He clearly does allow difficult times to come upon even those that are closest to Christ. (If you don’t believe this, please study the life of the Apostle Paul).

When you read the Old Testament, especially the book of Job, you’ll find that people of those times believed trials and tribulations only came upon the ungodly. Most of the book of Job is his so-called “friends” trying to figure out what Job did or didn’t do to deserve these horrible trials. Poor Job sits at their feet scraping his boils trying to defend himself against their baseless accusations.

Trials humble us and expose self-righteousness in others and in ourselves.

I’m thankful that I don’t have friends like Job. Today, when looking upon those going through difficult trials, the humbled believer will likely think,

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What are your spiritual gifts?

Inspired by Don Merritt’s recent postings on spiritual gifts (see http://lifereference.wordpress.com/), I took an online test to determine my spiritual gifts from a helpful website called SpiritualGiftsTest.com.

The test itself (for adults), which is happily free, can be found at:
http://www.spiritualgiftstest.com/test/adult

What were the results? Interestingly enough, my highest scores were for:

  1. Knowledge (ie. loves the scriptures, connects the gospel to everyday life)
  2. Teaching (ie. studies the bible regularly, loves to explain the truth)
  3. Giving (ie. good steward, cheerfully and joyfully gives).

May I encourage you to take the test if you haven’t already determined what your spiritual gifts are! It’s an interesting, edifying, and humbling experience. I say “humbling” because I discovered today that I score quite low on the gifts of mercy and evangelism, which was not what I might have hoped for as a follower of Christ. Thankfully I’m just one member of the body of Christ so can be confident that there are others who are stronger in these areas who make up for my shortfall.

Some helpful points from the FAQ section of this website on spiritual gifts:

What is a Spiritual Gift?
A spiritual gift is a supernatural ability given by the Holy Spirit to a person when they are saved.

How many spiritual gifts are there?
There is no complete list of spiritual gifts found in any single book of the Bible. Thus, we cannot conclude that what we have is an exhaustive list or that the Spirit of God has not given other gifts to the church. We do not want to limit God’s ability to give more gifts, He most certainly has, but we must be cautious when calling an ability a spiritual gift if it is not found in Scripture. SpiritualGiftsTest.com operates within the framework that there are likely many other spiritual gifts that have been given, but they should all connect categorically to those that are found in Scripture. For instance, a “gift of songwriting” could connect with the categories of exhortation, or evangelism, or a “gift of cooking” could be a form of the gift of serving and ministering.

We find lists totaling nineteen spiritual gifts in three different passages: Romans 12, 1 Corinthians 12, and Ephesians 4. There are other important passages as well. Paul seems to speak of singleness or celibacy as being a gift from God in 1 Corinthians 7, and some have also considered marriage as a gift in the context of this passage. Spiritual gifts are further mentioned in 1 Peter 4 which addresses the speaking and serving gifts in a general sense. As a note, we have listed and described the nineteen major gifts on our site, but we do not include all of them in our tests. We have excluded tongues and interpretation, miracles, and healing. The reason for this decision is that these are difficult to test for, and should be self-evident within the context of the local church body.

Who gives the spiritual gifts?
We see in the Scriptures that since the day of Pentecost The Holy Spirit has given each believer one or more spiritual gifts to serve God and His people. This is obviously why they are called “spiritual” gifts. However, in 1 Corinthians 12:4-6, we also see that the full Trinity is involved with spiritual gifts. And in Ephesians 4:7 we see that Christ gave gifts when He ascended in celebration of His triumph over sin on the cross and over death in His resurrection. Therefore, we can conclude that God distributes spiritual gifts by His Holy Spirit, but the Triune God is at work together in giving and empowering them. See Ephesians 4:7-13, 1 Corinthians 12:4-6, Hebrews 2:4

What is the purpose of the spiritual gifts?
The purpose of spiritual gifts is to glorify Jesus by testifying of Him and building up His church until He returns. A major part of this is accomplished by using our gifts to serve in love, and by bearing much fruit that lasts. See Romans 11:36, Colossians 1:16, Revelation 4:11, Ephesians 4:11-13, 1 Corinthians 1:7; 1 Peter 4:10; John 16:13-14 and John 15:8.

How many gifts do I have?
Each Christian has at least one spiritual gift given to them when they are saved. Some receive more depending upon God’s will and calling in their lives. See Ephesians 4:7, I Corinthians 12:7, 11, I Corinthians 7:7, I Peter 4:10

What gifts do I have?
Only God knows – just kidding. We have developed a Spiritual Gifts Test to help you figure this one out. When you are done with the test, ask other Christians in your church or community that you know and trust to help you in discovering them. We also suggest serving in different areas and in different capacities in the church to figure out how you can best use those gifts to glorify God.

Does anyone have all of the spiritual gifts?
Nope! Each believer is given a gift or gifts according to the will of God, but no one has all of the spiritual gifts and no single gift is given to everyone. See 1 Corinthians 12:29-30, 1 Corinthians 7:7

How do I use my gifts?
The Bible tells us to use our gifts in love and in service to others. Every church needs believers with all kinds of gifts to serve and build up the body of Christ. We suggest you start by contacting someone in your church to find out where you can serve. Check out 1 Corinthians 13:1-13 and 1 Peter 4:10.

What is the difference between a talent and a spiritual gift?
A talent is a natural ability or aptitude given by God to a person at birth. A spiritual gift is a supernatural ability given by God at rebirth. A talent can be anything from athletic ability to musical aptitude to artistic genius. God allows a person to use his or her talents for many different purposes and in many different capacities. When it comes to spiritual gifts, God opens up the ability of a person to be used by The Lord purposely and directly in His work. A spiritual gift can spring from a natural talent, or it can be a completely new ability that is “out of the ordinary” for that person. The main point is this: All talents and spiritual gifts come from God. He can use talents and spiritual gifts to fulfill His purposes and bring Himself glory. The main difference between the two is that only Christians receive spiritual gifts because only Christians have the Holy Spirit dwelling in them. As a believer in Christ, you are called to use your talents and your spiritual gifts for the glory of God.

Why don’t you test for every gift?
You may have noticed that we do not test for the spiritual gift of tongues or interpretation, as well as the spiritual gifts of healing and miracles. These four gifts are very difficult to test for in a conventional way. Merely asking a set of questions will probably not lead a person to discovering these gifts (i.e. “Have you performed a miracle?”). It typically takes exercising and experiencing them and receiving confirmation through the Holy Spirit and from other Christians to validate or confirm that a person has these gifts.

The absence of these gifts from our tests is not an indication or affirmation that we believe they have ceased. The opposite is true. We believe that the Holy Spirit distributes and empowers believers with all of the gifts as He wills (1 Corinthians 12:11). All spiritual gifts are meant for the edification of the church until Christ returns (1 Corinthians 1:4-7, Ephesians 4:11-13).

Our Prayer

My friend Karina has just had a baby boy. The following article contains a beautiful prayer for a child that was so lovely, I had to share it. May it be a blessing to you.

Karina's Thought

Our Prayer-Karina's Thought

Hello my dear blog friends, I am grateful to God today could come back to blogging after around a month not being active in the blog world. I have missed so much beautiful and awesome posts from all of you and later will try to take time to visit and reading your posts.

This evening I just want to share something that have touched my heart so deep. Three days after my baby was born, my mother asked me to talk privately and she gave me her diary book. She said that the diary contained her daily writing about my growth progress when I was a baby. She wrote in detail every growth that happened to me day after day. She said, “I hope you could learn something from this diary. You could know and learn how amazing seeing our baby grows. That is such a great and beautiful God’s…

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A person of prayer

Peaceful scene Months ago, Pastor Frank  said we should say to ourselves, “By the grace of God I will be a person of prayer.” At the time I knew my prayer life was sadly lacking but the Lord has since helped me to grow in this area and to see prayer as an essential work of faith. Prayer is in fact part of the Great Commission Jesus gave us in the book of Matthew:

“Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen.” (Matthew 28:19-21)

Prayer is a way of believing people cooperating with God’s will to draw as many people as possible to salvation. Without the love and support of fellow Christians, however, I wouldn’t be growing at all in this area. I have found National Prayer Bank, a place where believers in Christ can pray for others and post up their own prayer requests, to be invaluable in this regard. The messages of encouragement and prayer that I have received from others have been a great source of comfort, especially when ministering to and praying for unsaved loved ones. Here then for your benefit is the link to this prayer site: http://nationalprayerbank.com/ Another wonderful site featuring Spirit-lead prayers for others is the Acts 12 Movement site, which I first heard about from a fellow Christian blogger, Levi Thetford (http://levithetford.com/): http://acts12movement.com/ May you find these sites a blessing too. What prayer resources or techniques have you found helpful in your Christian walk? Feel free to post about them here. Until next time, Lord willing.

Urgent Prayer Request

http://www.notable-quotes.com/p/prayer_quote.jpg

Please add your prayers this morning for peace in Northern Iraq, for the hearts and minds of those walking in darkness (ISIS) to be transformed.

The Acts 12 Movement

This was sent in by one of our readers”

This is an urgent prayer request that was sent to me from Jews For Jesus. I have verified the information through sources. Please continue to pray for this situation until you hear that it has been stopped. I remember praying for ISIS from a post a few days ago.

please pass the
following URGENT prayer request along to everyone you can think of. This
is urgent news from Samaritans Purse. This was sent to me for prayer from
Chaplains with Rapid Response Team. Pray & pass to others.

Dear Friends,

Just a few minutes ago I received the following text message on my phone
from Sean Malone who leads Crisis Relief International (CRI). We then
spoke briefly on the phone and I assured him that we would share this
urgent prayer need with all of our contacts. “We lost the city…

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