“Put on God’s whole armor [the armor of a heavy-armed soldier which God supplies], that you may be able successfully to stand up against [all] the strategies and the deceits of the devil. For we are not wrestling with flesh and blood [contending only with physical opponents], but against the despotisms, against the powers, against [the master spirits who are] the world rulers of this present darkness, against the spirit forces of wickedness in the heavenly (supernatural) sphere. Therefore put on God’s complete armor, that you may be able to resist and stand your ground on the evil day [of danger], and, having done all [the crisis demands], to stand [firmly in your place]. Stand therefore [hold your ground], having tightened the belt of truth around your loins and having put on the breastplate of integrity and of moral rectitude and right standing with God, And having shod your feet in preparation [to face the enemy with the firm-footed stability, the promptness, and the readiness produced by the good news] of the Gospel of peace. [Isa. 52:7.] Lift up over all the [covering] shield of saving faith, upon which you can quench all the flaming missiles of the wicked [one]. And take the helmet of salvation and the sword that the Spirit wields, which is the Word of God. Pray at all times (on every occasion, in every season) in the Spirit, with all [manner of] prayer and entreaty. To that end keep alert and watch with strong purpose and perseverance, interceding in behalf of all the saints (God’s consecrated people).” ~Ephesians 6:14-18 (Amp)
I’ve found myself at a place in life where I’m wrestling (contending) for “the Faith”, much like Jacob wrestled with the angel. What I’m about to write is probably the most transparent view of the struggle within me that I have ever written, let alone attempted to confront. But, I’ve found the best way to “contend” with something is to first materialize it in writing. Jesus demonstrated this point by becoming “the Word” incarnate (in flesh and blood). It is by this very Word that all principalities and dark powers are destroyed in Revelation.
“After that I saw heaven opened, and behold, a white horse [appeared]! The One Who was riding it is called Faithful (Trustworthy, Loyal, Incorruptible, Steady) and True, and He passes judgment and wages war in righteousness (holiness, justice, and uprightness). [Ezek. 1:1.]
His eyes [blaze] like a flame of fire, and on His head are many kingly crowns (diadems); and He has a title (name) inscribed which He alone knows or can understand. [Dan. 10:6.]
He is dressed in a robe dyed by dipping in blood, and the title by which He is called is The Word of God.
And the troops of heaven, clothed in fine linen, dazzling and clean, followed Him on white horses.
From His mouth goes forth a sharp sword with which He can smite (afflict, strike) the nations; and He will shepherd and control them with a staff (scepter, rod) of iron. He will tread the winepress of the fierceness of the wrath and indignation of God the All-Ruler (the Almighty, the Omnipotent). [Ps. 2:9.] ” ~ Revelation 19:11-15 (AMP)
With that said, I have several obstacles in my life that, to this point, I have not been able to get around. I know I will not be able to move forward until these “contentions” are resolved. They are listed chronologically…
#1 Kurt Hocke
Sometime after college (circa 1992), I hit a fork in the road. I was seriously considering going out west to minister on a Navajo reservation when someone called me with a proposition. That “someone” was Kurt Hocke. He was forming a band for the exclusive short-term goal of competing in a “battle of the bands” concert and he wanted me to be the drummer. I had no idea at that point the apostolic role this man would play in my life. Needless to say, I went with the band option. The band turned into a tightly knit tapestry of friendship that it seems only happens in bands. When musicians work together musically there is a certain “synergy” that happens where the sum of the parts does not equal the whole. That is the closest analogy I’ve found for unity in the Spirit. Well, the battle of the bands ended up getting rained out, but the band played on! We went on to call ourselves “The Ballistics”. Our sound could be considered alternative rock at the time. We covered bands like U2, the Alarm, the 77’s, LSU, etc. Our mission was to bring the Light into the bars and clubs and dark places (much like Jesus did). A Bible study group came out of those band days that laid the foundation of who I am today. My previous theology was tried and tested in those years and out of that furnace was forged a much stronger faith. Kurt had a blunt way of challenging doubts and arguments and blowing them out of the water! Kurt and his wife Debbie became a model of a godly relationship and things were great. Life was good. Kurt and Debbie also became Kelly and my pre-marriage counselors. We would do many things together; hiking, canoeing, camping, picnics, parties. One of Kurt’s favorite scriptures was: “You shall not be afraid of the terror of the night, nor of the arrow (the evil plots and slanders of the wicked) that flies by day, Nor of the pestilence that stalks in darkness, nor of the destruction and sudden death that surprise and lay waste at noonday. A thousand may fall at your side, and ten thousand at your right hand, but it shall not come near you. Only a spectator shall you be [yourself inaccessible in the secret place of the Most High] as you witness the reward of the wicked. Because you have made the Lord your refuge, and the Most High your dwelling place, [Ps. 91:1, 14.] There shall no evil befall you, nor any plague or calamity come near your tent. For He will give His angels [especial] charge over you to accompany and defend and preserve you in all your ways [of obedience and service]. They shall bear you up on their hands, lest you dash your foot against a stone. [Luke 4:10, 11; Heb. 1:14.] “.
Kurt and Deb were instrumental in organizing my surprise 30th Birthday party. They had all my friends contribute to purchase my hand-crafted in the Ivory coast of Africa djembe that has been in constant use ever since.
Kurt died suddenly while he was at work. My foundation was rocked. Like the numbing silence after an earthquake we were left standing dazed and confused.
to be continued…