“Speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves, for the rights of all who are destitute. Speak up and judge fairly; defend the rights of the poor and needy.”
Spiritual Warfare has been chosen as the topic because it has been the motif that has been popping up again and again lately throughout Spiritual studies here at home, at Woodland Hills Church, and on the ReKnew.org website (Greg Boyd’s blog); books I’ve been reading – some directly on this topic (“God at War” – Greg Boyd), but some not explicitly on this topic – surprisingly have a ring tone to them implying warfare – and in unexpected ways. The book, “Christ and Consumerism” is one of those books (edited by Craig Bartholomew and Thorsten Moritz).
With incidents like what happened to the little half blind white dog which last weeks blog post is about popping up more and more, it seems an urgent topic (if you have not read last weeks post, you can go here to do so). Without a doubt what happened when the police officer left this vulnerable little dog by the side of the busy highway and took away his caregiver was a part of this spiritual war we are in. It is a corrupt world. There isn’t a general all encompassing set of moral guidelines that we all follow unceasingly and in every instance, while in conjunction, is governing us by pure love behind every motive. Not yet – but this is the order that Jesus’ work on the cross was about restoring! This is the good news! This is what we are to act toward, what the goal is, what we are to stand for and insist upon as the moral compass for how we are to act within our communities – even though this world yet belongs to Satan and his rule, even though there will be many who do not see God’s highest moral order or choose to act in accordance with it. And we must not give up. There is free will – both by humans and in the Satanic Spiritual realm. The more we can act in accordance with God’s perfect will for all of His creation, the more we bring about God’s will “on earth as it is in heaven.”
The man in this incident obviously did not think about the welfare of the animal or his caregiver by leaving the dog, but instead, followed a set of rules or made a decision on his own accord of which neither were or are governed by love. It would be easy to judge this man, but that would be to join sides with Satan which would be to then participate in his tyrannic rule over this earth. Instead, in our anger, to fight on God’s side, the best choice is to practice love, and while speaking out about what would have been the right thing to do in this case with the little dog, insist on loving behavior from the powers that be over situations like this one. Leave the judgment of this man’s behavior to God (Rom 12:19, Duet 32:35). “Above all, put on love.” (Col 3:14) Love is our ultimate weapon in Spiritual Warfare.
There are also people who have been finding it difficult to continue in advocacy because of what they see – they’ve left social media sites where the photos and videos posted to raise awareness of the realities taking place can be quite disturbing. What do we do as advocates? How do we raise awareness without traumatizing the audience or other advocates? How do advocates stay involved without becoming so distressed and turning away or suffering from deep depression? Three more questions to be added to those that were asked last week.
In this post, I will list the questions; then, we’ll begin discussing them and what we can glean from scripture, prayer, and do our best to start addressing them from a Spiritual Warfare perspective. This is a war; we are caught in between the battles raging between God and Satan. Every one of us needs to cling to the Lord and ask for wisdom; all of us need to depend wholly on Him for what our responses are to be. All of us need to be praying about the seeds we sow and that they fall on fertile soil.
Roslyne’s latest posts “Listen and Speak, Parts One and Two, talk about the seeds we sow and how so much of what we sow happens out of sight of us. We may not see the fruits of what we sow for some time, maybe not at all, but we can rest assured, as Ros says “that behind all the day-to-day activity there is a hidden process at work. The seed is sown and results don’t come immediately, but they will come.” Even when we do not see the sprouts ourselves, they happen somewhere when they are planted in good soil! And Paul said: “I can do all things through Him who gives me strength.” (Phil 4:13) Satan is working overtime to break us down – to steal, lie, divide, conquer, destroy. Don’t allow him to discourage, to drive you off track from fighting to proclaim Jesus as Lord of ALL creation! And remember, “The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much.” (James 5:16)
Out of these questions, let’s endeavor to seek tools with which we can equip ourselves and support others in equipping themselves in order that together we may stand for the Lord. We are His eyes, ears, voice, feet and hands. Let’s speak up for what we know is right and biblical – to bear up under the strain of what we see and know – remember that our rewards are in heaven! Without our voices it would be far worse for the animals, let’s remember this as well! Our Lord painfully watches everything that man is doing; He sees in secret, He sees the evils – every single one of them – and in ways you and I never will; it is for His breaking heart we fight this battle as well. “The eyes of the LORD are in every place, keeping watch on the evil and the good.” (Prov 15:3 – encourage you to go to this link and read over the side margins and other scripture about God watching us; it is comforting to know this and remember He also said “I will never leave nor forsake you,” He is with us every step of the way (Deuteronomy 31:6, and this link is full of verses about such).
- How do we handle the anger we feel that is an appropriate response appropriately to all animal abuse in our industries, homes, in entertainment, on the street – everywhere we find it?
- Where do we go for help? How do we find support, leadership, other Jesus followers with whom we can form bonds who can help guide us if there aren’t leaders readily found well versed in a biblical perspective of creation care issues?
- What is inherently wrong is so Spiritually – the secular world needs the guidance of the Creator and of His viceroys in these matters. What do we do to address this?
- How are we to appropriately involve ourselves in advocacy in the secular world in light of the fact that we may not be able to find a Christian advocacy group in our locale?
- We know from hours spent in the Word or in church, or in our guts by the Holy Spirit that handling matters of animal advocacy in a loving fashion is absolutely pertinent, but how do we do that?
- What is the proper reaction as a Jesus follower and animal advocate to stories we see/read like the one in last weeks post, the little half blind white dog left on the side of a busy highway?
- How do we not react with disdain for the perpetrators we see in videos/photos or read about?
- How do we handle our grief at what is happening and not sin out of anger?
- How do we handle the silence of the church and not sin out of anger at their complacency?
- What is it that we sow?
- How is sowing part of spiritual warfare?
- How does sowing relate to the animal kingdom?
- How do we raise awareness without traumatizing the audience or other advocates?
- How do advocates stay involved without becoming so distressed and turning away or suffering from deep depression?
A lot to ponder.
We’ll close this weeks post with a couple more questions – ones we can ask ourselves and begin praying about. We are ambassadors for the Lord (Eph 6:19-20) – how am I portraying Him? In this passage in Ephesians Paul tells us that after putting on the full armor of God, we are to take a stand – “stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand.” (v13) Paul also asks for prayer, that he may “speak boldly, as [he] ought to speak,” this following the message about putting on God’s spiritual armor. So what is Paul getting at with all this talk? What exactly does it mean to “stand our ground” or to pray for each other to “speak boldly”? Though we touched on the answers to some of this earlier in this post, think on how Paul’s words might apply to your life, your animal advocacy, your voice to your church and others on the issues of proper biblical stewardship of the earth and animal kingdom….
“For God did not give us a Spirit of Fear, but of power, love, and a sound mind.”
(2 Timothy 1:7)
Again, let’s pray this prayer: Lord please speak to us, tell us how we are to respond to this world full of pain and agony within the animal kingdom – how are we to best advocate for them that reflects Your love for them and the perpetrators? How are we to fight against Satan – to stand, speak, and act in truth, to remain faithful to You, while speaking to the world and the church on behalf of You for Your animals?
Stay tuned for next weeks post as we start exploring the above questions. Your thoughts are welcome, thank you for following us! ~Kathy