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Summer Memories, Forts and Armors

Updated: Jun 20

The last time I visited India, I was so disappointed that we didn’t have enough time to visit the hillside town where my sister and I spent quite a few childhood summers with my Grandmother.  It’s been more than 20 years since she’s been gone and I’m so grateful for the time spent with her all those years ago.  

I have fond memories of summers spent at my Grandmother’s picture perfect little hillside cottage.  Carefree days filled with climbing mango trees, exploring gardens, and swinging in the playground across the street.  Endlessly reading books, enacting plays and writing stories with my sister.  Visiting and playing with friends from other families that also vacationed there from the big city.   Memories of waking up early and waiting with excitement for the other cousins and family to show up for my Grandmother’s big birthday celebration.  Enjoying a delicious and lavish birthday meal and washing it all down with sweet mangoes and jackfruit as we listened to stories from Uncles, Aunts and Grandparents.  

Along with all the memories of fun, play and celebrations, I also remember daily devotionals and nightly prayers and with my Grandmother.  Learning a few Psalms and Proverbs that she made us memorize, passages of the Word that are so etched in my memory.  Have you noticed how much harder it is to memorize anything that’s more than two sentences long as you get older? 😊   I find myself wishing I had memorized more of the Word before I got into my forties! 

Recently, we took an early summer vacation to Florida before all the crowds were out.  

We visited St Augustine, the oldest port in the continental US, established by the Spanish in the 16th century.  Gorgeous stone buildings and historic spanish style homes galore to explore. If you've been there, you probably remember visiting one of the main tourist attractions on the Matanzas Bay, the Castilla de San Marcos, the oldest fort structure in the country.

While many earlier spanish wooden forts preceded the current Castillo, these current walls made of coquina stone were impenetrable to enemy attack and also fire resistant. It was fascinating exploring the inside of the structure and walking in through the draw bridge. The large upper area contained a lot of turrets and cannons that had been used in fighting off the Bristish.

Our tour of the fort included a talk about impenetrable walls and weapons by an Park Ranger.  On our way back, my thoughts wandered in general to weapons and enemy attacks, and eventually landed in the passage in Ephesians 6 about the armor of God.  If you’ve been a believer for any length of time, you’re sure to have experienced your share of spiritual warfare.  It got me thinking a lot more about the various parts of the Roman soldier’s armor that Paul describes in the passage.  I’m sure a lot of you are familiar with this passage, and probably have done a study or two on the armor. If you're not familiar with it, it describes important parts of the the armor of Roman soldiers of the day, and weapons we can use in spiritual warfare. I was just reminded of the importance of the Word in fighting off the enemy, so am focusing on this part of the armor today. I thought about how all those childhood summers spent with my Grandmother had been part of the foundation of a love for the Word of God that is a sword in spiritual battle today.

In a recent study of Greek words, I was struck by the description for the word for sword used in this passage (Eph 6:17). Machaira was neither the usual long sword, nor the double-handed sword used by Roman soldiers in battle. This word used describes a shorter, dagger-type sword used at close range. Razor-sharp on both sides of the blade, with a tip that turned upward. The tip that a Roman soldier could thrust into the abdomen of the enemy, and twist like a cork-screw. This weapon inflicted a wound that was far deadlier than any other sword available to the Roman soldier in that era.

So, the Word of God/Sword of the Spirit in battle is likened to wielding a weapon that is frightful to the devil and his forces. It can twist and slash spiritual foes to shreds! Also, the term used for "word" of God is rhema, which describes a quickened word, or a word that is specific and appropriate for the time that the Spirit brings to our minds. Let's not hesitate to read, memorize and speak out this amazing weapon we have for spiritual warfare. Let's arm ourselves daily and brandish this sword when confronted with lies, discouragement or temptation from the enemy. Let's sharpen and hone this weapon that can be inserted and twisted to do real damage to the enemy, so he will flee. If you think your life isn't fortified, it's never too late to start arming yourself and send the enemy packing when he tries to come too close!

Knowing the Truth will arm you to spot the counterfeit, lie or deception from a distance. What does this have to do with freedom, you might ask. Growing in freedom has to do with demolishing the lies of the enemy and occupying the spaces of victory that have already been won for us on the cross by the only One who can set us all free. He whom the Son sets free is free indeed (John 8:36)

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