Activating Armed Forces

            I have always been fascinated by the power, precision, and promptness of America’s military. It can respond to imminent danger or trouble on a dime. Within a matter of moments, armed forces can attack or defend from anywhere in the world. Because our military is stationed at several strategic locations across the globe, soldiers, dignitaries, and leaders know the “good guys” can come to the rescue when their security is compromised. We thank our brothers and sisters in uniform for keeping America the land of the free and the home of the brave.

            Spiritually speaking, God has a different “armed forces” that can also be activated anywhere at any time. Within a matter of moments, this band of brothers can attack or defend from anywhere in the world. Yet this powerful group does not call itself the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, or Coast Guard. There are not specialized Rangers or Seals. This community is called the church. The bride of Christ. Followers of The Way. Saints. Disciples of Christ. A spiritual family that not only dwells from coast to coast, but from hemisphere to hemisphere. From continent to continent. It is an international army with a heavenly commander, Jesus Christ. Everyday, it puts on the “full armor of God” so that it can stand against the devil’s schemes (Ephesians 6:11).

            Throughout my years of following Jesus, and specifically ministry to churches, I have watched these armed forces show up in powerful, unforgettable ways. In times of trouble, I have known of hundreds who have said they were praying for me. I have watched and listened to others give the same thoughtful testimony about their lives. I have been part of churches who have spent months praying for a brother or sister we really did not know. Someone we would probably never meet. But they were a fellow citizen of the Kingdom of Heaven needing our assistance, and so we answered without question. I have witnessed God heal patients that doctors said did not have a chance. I have watched God transform even the most stubborn and cold hearts. I have observed God strengthen an addict to overcome his vice. I have watched communities devastated by natural disasters begin to rebuild by the hands and feet of Jesus, manifested through the efforts and energy of believers. And I know that in each of these situations, the prayers, love, and support of “armed forces” around the world aided the process. As James, the brother of Jesus promises, “The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective” (James 5:16).

            How do people get by in this world without a church family? You may survive. But you will never thrive. You need fellow believers—brothers and sisters—soldiers of the cross around the world—who stand ready and willing to come to your aid. If you do not have a church family, let’s chat. If you do, join me today in thanking God for the bride of Christ. May we be people who spend our time talking about what is right, rather than wrong with the church, for dear friends—so much is!

His intent was that now, through the church, the manifold wisdom of God should be made known to the rulers and authorities in the heavenly realms, according to his eternal purpose which he accomplished in Christ Jesus our Lord. (Ephesians 1: 10-11)