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The Unexpected Warrior

When his family heard about this, they went to take charge of him, for they said, “He is out of his mind.” Matthew 3:21

During my senior year of high school, I decided to try and live out my dream of becoming an astronaut.  I met with an Air Force recruiter and was excited to take off on this new adventure.  And then I told my parents.  It was my father that said to me, “You are a lot like your mom and your mom couldn’t handle the military. She dropped out after about a week.  You two don’t like to be told what to do.  So, it’d be best to drop this idea.”

From the outside I exuded confidence.  But on the inside, I was terrified about what people thought about me. I always obeyed my parents out of fear of the repercussions.  And so, I gave up my dream.  I assumed everything my father said was correct.

Imagine if Jesus had so little courage.

His own family thought him a little wacky.  I mean if you announced to your family that you were the Messiah…. But unlike me, He knew where His identity resided – in God.  

So often when we think about courage and courageous people we think of military and political warriors.  And while we can be eternally grateful for people that go off to war to fight for our freedoms and people like Martin Luther King who make big waves in Washington DC, if we stop there we might be inclined to not step up to the plate when it’s our turn.

Jesus wasn’t a military warrior.  He didn’t fight to change laws.  He didn’t work hard to get elected to lead a nation.  But what He did do, from the first day He declared Himself the Messiah, was choose to lay aside any and all standing with man to serve God.  He knew from that day it would be soon to die on the cross.

“His was the courage of the mind, the heroism of the heart.  It was a sober and reasoned thing.  He deliberately counted the cost and paid it.”

Charles Jefferson, The Character of Jesus

In other words, He knew without a doubt who He served and who had His back. Every single decision He made, the words He spoke were for the glory of God.  He knew people would hate him.  He knew people would misunderstand Him.  And He knew He still needed to speak.

In my BSGs study on Revelation we recently looked at chapter 11 in which two witnesses are assigned by God to give some final admonishment to the people.  A final plea to turn to God.  Throughout their 3 years on earth the world attempts to destroy these witnesses through any means possible – they are true “warriors for God.”  And until God said it was time to go, they were protected.  We were asked that week who are powerful witnesses in our present generation?  Who would you name?

Although I don’t know him personally, I do believe one such powerful witness is of the famed Duck Dynasty clan, Phil Robertson.  This rough looking, old man has been much maligned by our media and culture.  But to hear his salvation story can only show God’s grace, mercy and forgiveness. 

You see, Mr. Robertson was a child of the 60s.  When he went off to college in 1964, he had a wife and child at home.  The message proliferated at college was of the “sex, drugs and rock n roll” variety.  No rules, no obligations.  He took to that message like a duck to water and was frequently drunk, doing drugs, and cheating on his wife.  When he graduated and got a job this lifestyle continued.  He also felt his family was holding him down.  And so, they left him one day.  For two weeks he partied until the cows came home.  Then he realized he was miserable.  He had not only lost his job as a teacher but also a bar he owned.

He begged his wife to take him back.  She would, if he cleaned up his act.  God softened his heart and Mr. Robertson sought out a Christian mentor.  With the strength of God behind him he pulled himself from his old life and began a one reborn.  

“And so, I devoted my waking hours to studying the Bible.  I pored over the onion-skin pages and began to mark them up.  I consumed the Word of God as if it were food and drank deeply from its waters of wisdom.”

Phil Robertson, The Theft of America’s Soul

When I read this, what came to mind were the Navy SEALs that train not far from my house.  To be a SEAL, an elite member of the US military, you need to eat, sleep and devote every waking minute to training.  Their goal is to be the best soldier possible.  But what about us average Christians?  What is our goal?  Will we be like Phil Robertson and wholly commit ourselves to the cause of God?

Fast forward in Mr. Robinson’s life and we land in the middle of the show Duck Dynasty.  It was a reality show following around his family – a family of backwoods hunters and fishermen from Louisiana who own a duck call business.   During this show the family became warriors for God.  While their producers would almost demand they do or say things outside the morals of their faith, they would stand strong.  They were willing to lose all the money offered them.  They prayed and spoke of their faith throughout the show.  And they garnered millions of fans.  And enemies.  They were called backward, stupid, far-right crazy, mostly because of their commitment to their faith.  

“It’s been 43 years since my encounter with God and I can tell you, I’m not running from anyone or anything; I’m not enslaved to the ‘isms’ of the world.”

Phil Robertson, The Theft of America’s Soul

We can make excuses for why we won’t stand our ground and stand up for God – I might lose my job, I might lose my friends/family, I might be called any manner of names.  Doesn’t that all come from a fear of man rather than a trust in God?  Phil Robertson wasn’t famous and then got a TV show.  He was a man making duck calls who became famous for being funny, principled, a family leader, and God-fearing.  

Many of us probably aren’t ready to be a full time warrior for God.  We must practice the first two steps so they become a natural part of us.  When we can naturally say a prayer for those who would hurt us, when we anticipate and readily step forward to fill a need that Jesus places before us, only then are we certainly more prepared for this step.

I follow a Christian pastor on Instagram.  He has a series of YouTube talks where he delves into our culture’s most pressing topics.  After reading how he lovingly and with wisdom responds to some of the vitriol he receives I realized, I’m not quite ready yet for the bigger battlefield.  I need to chew and gnaw some more on God’s Word.  God has been testing me along the way with mini quizzes.  Small opportunities to stand for Him.  My training to be a Warrior for God continues.

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Amazing Truths

And as he taught them, he said, “Is it not written: ‘My house will be called a house of prayer for all nations’? But you have made it ‘a den of robbers.’”

The chief priests and the teachers of the law heard this and began looking for a way to kill him, for they feared him, because the whole crowd was amazed at his teaching.

Mark 11:17-18


Recently, during a road trip my husband and I were listening to the Robertson’s Unashamed podcast.  The topic was the concept of being “cancelled” by society.  In 2014, GQ magazine contacted the Duck Dynasty patriarch, Phil Robertson, to delve into this bearded phenomenon.  During the interview he was asked for the definition of sin.  He went on to quote 1 Corinthians 6:9-10.

Or do you not know that wrongdoers will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: Neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor men who have sex with men nor thieves nor the greedy nor drunkards nor slanderers nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God.

1 Cor 6: 9-10

And he got cancelled.  Literally.  The producers put the show on hiatus – for quoting the Bible.  Now, of course, we all can imagine the uproar.  The media quoted Mr. Robertson as though it were his own words, calling him a homophobe and all sorts of names.  Very few, in fact only a newspaper out of London, made it clear he was quoting from the Bible.  As we like to say now, it was a lot of fake news.  The truth was so easily accessed and so readily ignored.  Here was a man who had few, if any secrets – and absolutely none about his faith journey.  He was on an internationally televised show praying and preaching.  And yet amazingly enough the media seemed shocked he believed in, taught, and quoted the Bible.

Jesus, in Mark 11, walks into the temple in Jerusalem and begins driving out the street vendors.  When questioned by the chief priests He makes it clear what God expects from the people and the use of His temple.  The priests were so frightened by the truths being spoken to the people that they wanted Jesus “cancelled.”  But do you notice the last part of the sentence? “…because the whole crowd was amazed at His teaching.”  The people wanted to know the true Word of God and they listened with rapt attention.  It frightened those in charge of their probable loss of power over the people.

What Phil Robertson is comfortable with is teaching the true Word of God to the people.  Human sin is at the beginning through the end of the Bible. And much as we might like to, we aren’t to pick and choose from which sins God has spoken.  The truth of sin is written in every single book of the Bible.  When our pastors and faith leaders ignore these truths, it handicaps us in our full understanding of God’s character and His expectations of us.

My husband and I were talking about this after listening to the Unashamed podcast.  If we never hear that we are all sinners, we are left with the impression that maybe only some people sin or there’s various levels of sinfulness.  It isn’t just “those people” who are sexually immoral, who lie, who cheat, who create false idols.  It’s all of us to one extent or another.  That’s the truth.  I’ve never met someone in all the various Bible study and small groups that hasn’t admitted to some kind of sin.  But that’s only the first step to God’s amazing truths.

When the apostle Paul wrote to the church in Corinth he chastised them for their lax ways related to sin, especially sexual sin. It was being justified through false teachings. And it was tearing them apart. If we don’t learn about sin how can we then learn true grace and forgiveness?  I want to be on the “right side” of God – not making up my own understandings.  When our faith leaders avoid uncomfortable conversations like abortion, homosexuality, infidelity, etc how then are we lay people to fully understand how to treat people with grace, love, kindness and forgiveness?  All are welcome to church but what does it mean to welcome someone who is sinning right now?  What does it mean to have been sexually immoral or have had an abortion and now I want to live a Christian life?

I sin constantly.  When I make a commitment to God to not use His name in vain and then turn around and cuss and use coarse language I’m sinning.  I have a very difficult time honoring my parents and not trashing them to my inner circle (heck, even my outer, outer circle).  I encouraged a friend to have an abortion. I lived with my husband before we were married.  I’m prideful.  I covet.  I place idols above God.  None of these make me any better or worse than those who commit the sins we tend to think as the “biggies.”  And yet we dance around the truth of sin and its effects on our lives and the world.

God is the Alpha and Omega.  He is always complete.  He is always teaching us and bringing us full circle.  We need to live in that completeness.  The completeness that His amazing truths, as revealed in the Bible, tell us includes opening our eyes to sin AND our hearts to grace.  Grace without the “what and why” is almost meaningless.  It’s like a teenager tossing a snide “sooooorrrryy.”  We want that teenager to understand what was wrong about their action and why.  The apology, when spoken from the heart, means so much more.  If we run around tossing out blind acceptance, thinking it is love and grace, we miss out on the opportunity to really dig into God’s amazing plan for us.  

I want to be held to account by God.  I want to be amazed by the truths written in His Book.   And if knowing and speaking those truths to fellow Christians or people asking me what God says about a topic then so be it.  Because I am learning the complete truth.  I am learning each day how to have open eyes tied to an open heart.  His amazing truths about my sin are made complete with His amazing truths about His love.