Saturday, March 31, 2007

Prayers in Wartime- Trevor Roberts- Fallen Soldier

I found some info on Lance Cpl. Trevor A. Roberts, 21, of Oklahoma City, Okla.
who was slain in Iraq on Saturday, March 24 while conducting combat operations in Al Anbar province, Iraq. He was assigned to Marine Forces Reserve’s 2nd Battalion, 14th Marine Regiment, 4th Marine Division, Oklahoma City, Okla.

His parents are named Chuck and Twyla Roberts.

I discovered that he was a member of Eagle Heights Church in S.W. OKC.
Here are the words I sent to his Church today:

"I learned today that your congregation has lost one of their own in the Iraq war. My heart breaks for you and for Trevor Roberts' family. I was wondering if Trevor's parents still attend church there? My own Church, The Del City Church of Christ, is starting a weekly prayer service that will pray for our countrymen that are serving, that are wounded and the families that have lost loved ones or had the returned wounded in mind, body, or soul. We also pray for all the humanity that suffers in that awful theater of war and that peace will emerge from the seemingly endless cycle of violence and revenge. Your congregation undoubtedly knows, as does ours, that our struggles are not against flesh and blood but against the spiritual forces of wickedness.
Myself and others at Church would simply like to remember Trevor's parents in our prayers and perhaps send condolences to them in care of your Church. Please just ask if there is anything else we can help with or do.
God bless."

See the Church at this link:

He has a brother Named Joey and here is his MySpace page

Here is the MySpace for Trevor himself. I believe his parents are linked to it in the comments section:

Please remember this family in you prayers and also remember to pray for all that suffer in that terrible, war torn part of the world. Pay for Peace to be established and for God's truth to take hold in the hearts and minds of the leaders on all sides of the conflict- even our enemies. Only through God can healing and peace prevail in these circumstances.


Scott Starr said...

In an e-mail response to this message I was asked,

"What particular "spiritual force of wickedness" are you referring to?"

Here is my response that I put together from a few other web sources and of course the Bible:

"For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places."
Ephesians 6:12 NAS

The apostle Paul believed that our struggle is against spiritual forces of wickedness.

These forces of darkness employ powerful weaponry-- lies, deceptions, coercion and manipulations as well as brutality, fear, intimidation, greed, arrogance, pride and the idolatry of power and domination and anything else that comes bewteen man and God. If you look at the wars and history of wars in the Middle East - you can see where the sin and guilt have had influence on every faction and every nation involved without exception. Man's general refusal to observe God's laws as explained throughout the Bible and in the words of Christ is what enables these forces to hold sway resulting in conflict, violence, strife and warfare. None are innocent.

Paul's perspective concerning this spiritual battle was remarkable.
He knew where the real battle had to be fought. On the spiritual level.
But he never became paranoid about our spiritual enemy whose very nature keeps us from seeing him directly.
Paul recognized the enemy's presence through spiritual discernment given to him by the Holy Spirit. He was able to detect the enemy's activity in the circumstances he encountered.
Paul was also able to draw upon his source of strength and protection from a close relationship with the Lord. No circumstance or enemy intimidated him.

If the Word of God is true, then we must take this spiritual warfare seriously.

Here is a passage that explains the concept pretty well:

But from a Christian perspective, the idea that this (any war) is a war of "good guys" versus "bad guys" -- is misleading at best and perhaps even altogether false.

The Bible makes it pretty clear who the Enemy is. We can explore this Enemy at length at another time. Right now, we'll look closely at Ephesians 6:12, as a reminder of who the enemy is not:

For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places.

Let's turn to the Greek Lexicon and see what we can find about the words used in this passage from Ephesians.

We can start with the Greek word transliterated "pale" (pal ay). This word is used only in this passage, and means "wrestling (a contest between two in which each endeavours to throw the other, and which is decided when the victor is able to hold his opponent down with his hand upon his neck); the term is transferred to the Christian's struggle with the power of evil." So it looks like we're not talking about a "live and let live" situation, in which our Enemy will let us be if we ignore it. We're engaged in a wrestling match in which one, and only one, can emerge victorious.

We can then look at the Greek words transliterated "sarx," indicating "flesh (the soft substance of the living body, which covers the bones and is permeated with blood)...used of natural or physical origin, ...denotes mere human nature, the earthly nature of man apart from divine influence, and therefore prone to sin and opposed to God;" and "haima" (hah ee ma), "blood." We can take this then pretty literally -- we're not fighting flesh and blood, mortal creatures, men and women like ourselves.

Well, then, what are we fighting? Here's where it really gets interesting.

The word translated here as "powers" is the Greek transliterated "exousia" (ex oo see ah). Here are some of the ways this word is defined:

power of choice, liberty of doing as one pleases

physical and mental power

the ability or strength with which one is endued, which he either possesses or exercises the power of authority (influence) and of right (privilege)

the power of rule or government (the power of him whose will and commands must be submitted to by others and obeyed)

the leading and more powerful among created beings superior to man, spiritual potentates

I find it fascinating that Paul chose this word here, a word that means not just those in authority or those with power, but free will itself. Although this idea is not, I would presume, the crux of the passage, I think we'd do well to remember that our own free will is often ready to trip us up. The very capacity for making choices which the abortion advocates hold up as the ultimate good seems here cast as a potential pitfall. This stands as a warning to all Christians no matter what side of the abortion battle they've stationed themselves on: just because we can does not mean we should. Having been given free will, and the power to make choices, we are given at every moment of our lives the capacity to rebel against God and set ourselves up as petty tyrants over our own lives and the lives of those around us.

Again, though, this is an interesting side concept. Biblical scholars point to the meaning of this word in this passage as focusing on spiritual powers having control in the world, and over people.

"World forces of this darkness" is a concept built of three words:

The word translated as "world forces" is transliterated "kosmokrator." This word is used only in this passage, and means "lord of the world, prince of this age; the devil and his demons."

The word translated as "darkness" is transliterated "skotos," meaning "darkness of night; darkness of darkened eyesight or blindness; metaphorically of ignorance respecting divine things and human duties, and the accompanying ungodliness and immorality, together with their consequent misery in hell; persons in whom darkness becomes visible and holds sway."

We can pull this together into a picture of Satan and the way he works in the world, where he has dominion. Note also, that the word translated "darkness" can refer to "persons in whom darkness becomes visible and holds sway," this doens't indicate that these persons themselves are that which we are fighting, but the darkness that is being manifested in them. This is, perhaps, a fancy way of restating, "Hate the sin, love the sinner."

The third concept of what we are fighting is translated here, "spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places."

The word translated "spiritual" is transliterated "pneumatikos," and translates as "sprit." The specific meaning that fits in this passage is "belonging to a spirit, or a being higher than man but inferior to God."

The word translated as "wickedness" is transliterated "poneria," meaning "depravity, iniquity, wickedness; malice; evil purposes and desires." That's pretty straightforward.

The word translated "heavenly" is transliterated "epouranios," which translates pretty much into our current "heavenly." We tend to think of "heavenly" as meaning "good," or "superior," but in this passage it can't be indicative of anything good or superior, and therefore must designate that we're talking about a spiritual realm, a higher reality, and not the physical world visible around us. This stands in contrast to what this passage says we do not contend against, i.e. "flesh and blood," or worldly enemies.


Scott Starr said...

I also received these comments:

"It is convenient to assume that God is always on "our side" and Satan is this sinister force guiding America's enemies."


Your list is pretty good.

* These forces of darkness employ powerful weaponry--
* lies, deceptions,
* coercion and manipulations
* as well as brutality, fear, intimidation,
* greed,
* arrogance, pride
* and the idolatry of power and domination
* and anything else that comes between man and God.

But, to it, I might have led off this list with these;

* Horse Sense
* Common Sense
* and Self-defense

What do you think?"

""Your list appears to have been compiled from the current administrations operational handbook."

If one reads my first response closely - it does address the notion that this post demonizes the enemy and glorifies US. Let me say again..none of the players in the scenario in Iraq are innocent.

Here another of my responses:

"Here is something I wrote recently that applies to this conversation as well:

"The information war we see on TV every night and day and hear buzzing on the airwaves- the war against the matrix of delusion...against the World in its biblical a spiritual war....and if we have the courage to challenge... to lay it all out and stand up for the truth in WORKS. That is what we are supposed to do. Sometimes we must correct and rebuke for truth to take hold. We defeat the world and the schemes of the Evil One by truth and love and sacrifice and the power of God...not always by being nice or non-confrontational.

There is-and this is the- DIFFERENCE between judging or condemning someone and rebuking someone and standing up for the truth. We MUST know this difference. A person will be reached by God working through us when we are guided by love, not by shouting loud enough or waving banners or throwing bricks.

I read a chapter in the book "What Jesus Demands From The World", that made the point that it is a GIFT from God when He makes room in our hearts to discern and absorb the Gospel- the truth and make sense out of it and make use of it in an everyday every moment way...not for some life down the road in the sweet hereafter but right here and right now down here in the mud and the blood and on the street and in our homes and in our relationships with everyone and everything.
John 6:44 (Amplified Bible)

44 No one is able to come to Me unless the Father Who sent Me attracts and draws him and gives him the desire to come to Me, and [then] I will raise him up [from the dead] at the last day.

John 6:65 (Amplified Bible)

65 And He said, This is why I told you that no one can come to Me unless it is granted him [unless he is enabled to do so] by the Father.

Receiving truth is a gift!

I certainly don't claim to have the market on truth cornered by any means- but I do have this sense that in the broken parts of my life when I cried out to God for understanding, wisdom and truth and beauty- that he answered me affirmatively...and he continues to do so as long as I seek those things actively. I have begun to realize this more lately and have begun to pray for God to make use of me to give others the gift of understanding and the gift of room in their heart for the truth.

I will always be praying for the gift of a broken,contrite and open heart for myself and everyone around me. Jesus is awakened in us when our hearts are broken because of our sin unlike the judgmental Pharisee. Jesus said that those who do not listen to his words are "not of God" John 8:47

The blessing everyone desperately needs is that God makes room in our hearts for the truth.

Ultimately, as said, none of us can ever be effective on our own by making persuasive enough arguments or by protesting anything. It is God that leads and God that makes room in one's heart or mind to receive truth. What we should be doing is standing up and speaking for the truth and providing voices for God to use to get his work done."

The point of this is that I have pretty much given up on using my own reasoning and my own words to convince people of the deceptions of this world and conversely the truth they are overlooking. I am now letting the Words of God speak from themselves and hoping that those who are paying attention will pick up on the thread. As you have seen before- I am not in the least bit afraid of confronting and standing up for what I am led to believe is true. I am simply changing my tactics as my own understanding and heart is transformed. I am attempting to operate out of compassion- even for those whom I despise and those with whom I disagree. The real enemy is not necessarily men- but them that tempt and coerce men to their own destruction and the destruction of others.

Note these verses from Matthew where Jesus instructed the Twelve:

Matthew 10:

16 I am sending you out like sheep among wolves. Therefore be as shrewd as snakes and as innocent as doves.

26 "So do not be afraid of them. There is nothing concealed that will not be disclosed, or hidden that will not be made known. 27 What I tell you in the dark, speak in the daylight; what is whispered in your ear, proclaim from the roofs. 28 Do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather, be afraid of the One who can destroy both soul and body in hell.

The rest of the Chapter is very enlightening as well. Check it out.

Here is a question. If you believe the Bible and/or the words of Paul to the Ephesians...what do you think are the functions and activities of the spiritual forces he talks about?"


As far as "standard operating procedure"- the spiritual weapons listed are standard tactics of the World, as "World" is biblically defined, in general. And yes,as far as the "common sense" addendum to the list of weapons often the "wisdom" of mankind is substituted for God's wisdom as revealed in the
Bible and the radical teachings of Christ.

Check these out:

Romans 12:1-2, 9-21
Living Sacrifices
1 Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God's mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God—this is your spiritual[a] act of worship. 2 Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God's will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.

9 Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil; cling to what is good. 10 Be devoted to one another in brotherly love. Honor one another above yourselves. 11 Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord. 12 Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer. 13 Share with God's people who are in need. Practice hospitality.

14 Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse. 15 Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn. 16 Live in harmony with one another. Do not be proud, but be willing to associate with people of low position.[c] Do not be conceited.

17 Do not repay anyone evil for evil. Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everybody. 18If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone. 19 Do not take revenge, my friends, but leave room for God's wrath, for it is written: "It is mine to avenge; I will repay,"[d]says the Lord. 20 On the contrary:
"If your enemy is hungry, feed him;
if he is thirsty, give him something to drink.
In doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head."[e] 21 Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.
A. Romans 12:1 Or reasonable

B. Romans 12:16 Or willing to do menial work
D. Romans 12:19 Deut. 32:35
E. Romans 12:20 Prov. 25:21,22

Matthew 5: 1-16, 38-47
The Beatitudes
1 Now when he saw the crowds, he went up on a mountainside and sat down. His disciples came to him, 2 and he began to teach them saying:
3 "Blessed are the poor in spirit,
for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
4 Blessed are those who mourn,
for they will be comforted.
5 Blessed are the meek,
for they will inherit the earth.
6 Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness,
for they will be filled.
7 Blessed are the merciful,
for they will be shown mercy.
8 Blessed are the pure in heart,
for they will see God.
9 Blessed are the peacemakers,
for they will be called sons of God.
10 Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness,
for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

11 "Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me. 12 Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.
Salt and Light
13 "You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled by men.

14 "You are the light of the world. A city on a hill cannot be hidden. 15 Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. 16 In the same way, let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in Heaven.

38 "You have heard that it was said, 'Eye for eye, and tooth for tooth.'[g] 39 But I tell you, Do not resist an evil person. If someone strikes you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also. 40 And if someone wants to sue you and take your tunic, let him have your cloak as well. 41 If someone forces you to go one mile, go with him two miles. 42 Give to the one who asks you, and do not turn away from the one who wants to borrow from you.
Love for Enemies
43 "You have heard that it was said, 'Love your neighbor[h] and hate your enemy.' 44 But I tell you: Love your enemies[i] and pray for those who persecute you, 45 that you may be sons of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. 46 If you love those who love you, what reward will you get? Are not even the tax collectors doing that? 47 And if you greet only your brothers, what are you doing more than others? Do not even pagans do that? 48Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.


1. Matthew 5:21 Exodus 20:13
2. Matthew 5:22 Some manuscripts brother without cause
3. Matthew 5:22 An Aramaic term of contempt
4. Matthew 5:26 Greek kodrantes
5. Matthew 5:27 Exodus 20:14
6. Matthew 5:31 Deut. 24:1
7. Matthew 5:38 Exodus 21:24; Lev. 24:20; Deut. 19:21
8. Matthew 5:43 Lev. 19:18
9. Matthew 5:44 Some late manuscripts enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you

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