Excerpt for The Keep of God by , available in its entirety at Smashwords

The Keep

of God

A Manual for the Christian Warrior


J. D. Jones Jr.

Copyright © 2018, James D. Jones Jr.

All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced in any form without the express, written consent of the author for any purpose, other than the inclusion of brief quotations in review.

Unless otherwise noted all scriptural references are

from the King James Version of the bible.

Smashwords Edition

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Table of Contents

Foreword by the author

Chapter 1 It’s A Battle Out There

Chapter 2 Getting Ready

Chapter 3 Always, the Attack Must Come

Chapter 4 When a Christian Answers God’s Call

Chapter 5 The Attack Comes Full Force

Chapter 6 God Will Intervene

Chapter 7 Accusers Act Like Victims

Chapter 8 The World Will Gang Up

Chapter 9 It’s a Christian’s Choice

Chapter 10 Godly Worship Attacks the Devil

Chapter 11 Because Christians are Different

Chapter 12 No Offense Offered

Chapter 13 The Keep is Mandatory

Chapter 14 Relationships Matter to God

Chapter 15 Explain to the World

A Final word from the author

All references to scripture are quoted from the King James Version


From the Author

Here you go!

You are about to enter a place I call “The Keep of God”.

In the English language there are nine separate and complete definitions of the usage for the word “keep”. Using these definitions as a starting point and the 24th chapter of Acts as an implementation guide, weaknesses are exposed in much of our current Christian walk. We can learn to overcome these weaknesses and thus, become better Christian examples and more importantly, closer to our God.

The way the apostle Paul fights his battle in Acts 24 gives us a fresh look at the way we have compromised our walk with God and taken to fighting the battles ourselves. Understanding Paul’s approach brings us back to putting God first and not trying to fight God’s battles for Him.

I believe God still wants warriors He can do His work through. Every battle has an element of warfare in it. Today’s warriors have been weakened and softened up because they have taken to seeking productive programs and rituals over seeking the presence of God. From the beginning God has only wanted to walk with His creation. He has never changed. The programs are not evil, just misleading when we come to depend too highly upon them.

This place of getting close to God I call “The Keep.” Inside the keep is where God ministers to our every need. Each area of His character is identified by one of the English definitions of the word keep. Each area of our needs can be similarly identified. God’s character perfectly matches our needs. He is the supply for our every need.

Consequently, an understanding and practical application of God’s keep can revive a stalled walk with God and bring baby warriors to mature readiness in the service for God. It is every pastor’s goal to build up and edify the people of the church they serve. It needs to become the goal of every church member to be built up by their leaders. There are too many immature Christians sitting in our pews today. This makes them vulnerable in ways that most of them are unaware.

It’s time we wake up and get in God’s keep. We will never grow outside of God’s care. As long as we are taking care of everything ourselves, God will never get the chance to show us how He would do it.

Consider this a call to arms. Not violence and destruction like man’s warfare, but to love and security like God has offered His people since the beginning of time. We may live in a violent and destructive world, but God has ordained His people to be men and women of love and compassion for others. What the world needs is what only the church can provide. The only way the church can provide it is if the members of that church possess what is needed. The only way to possess what the world needs from God’s church is for the members of that church to get into the keep of God and receive from God.

In my life I have come to view every battle so that it does not become a matter of personal victory or failure. Instead, it is an opportunity for God to draw me into His keep. We need to be reminded that the battle is not ours but the Lord’s. (2 Chronicles 20:15, paraphrased) Once reminded we need to start showing off our God as we stand securely in His keep.

The enemy of our souls is still trying to kill the church. He is working around the clock to cause damage, destruction and mayhem to any and all who dare associate themselves with God’s institution. Yet the church world muddles along, for the greater part, as though every thing is going okay. We get upset when news reports show a decided favoritism against the things of God. Abortion, marriage, family issues, all seem to be under fire. Yes, we get upset. But what are we doing about it? Not just what actions are we taking? What are we doing to prepare ourselves?

I’m not talking about activism. That’s all well and good in its proper usage. (After God has anointed the individual to carry out the action) But too often we have replaced God’s plan and structure for the Christian warrior with some watered down, loud, and publicly minded version of a Christian bulletin board, as though our very presence changes things. Face it. You and I could not save our own souls, we will never be able to save the world from itself, either. We need greater fire power than any of us has. We need God’s fire to get in the middle of our lives, and everything we are doing, and make some things happen. Not according to our agenda but according to God’s plan. Otherwise we will be found fighting against (“You’re either with me or against me,” Jesus said. Matthew 12:30, paraphrased) the very God we supposedly support.

Christians everywhere need to rally around our God. We’ve become so good at rallying around the flag pole, or at the park, or for this holiday or that holiday that the average Christian man and woman today has forgotten how to rally around their God for every day things or else they are too busy to accomplish it. The average Christian today has forgotten how to get so close to God that they can feel His actual presence in their lives. We need to reclaim that experience. Christian warriors everywhere, stand up and move back into complete union with the merciful Father in heaven who called you out in the first place.

Chapter 1

It’s a Battle Out There

Since the first day I decided to give my life to Jesus I have noticed a tug of war with the things of this world. In the beginning it was always a battle to put aside old habits and move on to the new life God had granted me in Jesus Christ. Every time I tried to live that new life something popped up to remind me of the pleasures of the old life. Granted, the old life had its share of bad times, even more than its share. But the rewards of the sinful life refused to lie down and be quiet while I learned this new way.

Every day since then I have been the recipient of what I call the world’s advertisements. Over and over again, people, corporations and even church members make offers that seem enticing on the surface but are only another well-dressed package of Satan’s lures. Credit card applications, loans, new deals for this car or that truck, special pasttimes and hobbies, relationships and friendships galore. Everything seems so innocuous on the surface. But I have established a series of questions to weed out God’s true offers from the world’s false offers.

Face it, we Christians are in a battle every day. If we do not stand up for what we believe we will fall for what the world seeks to impose upon us. It is how we stand up that makes the difference. I remember Paul Harvey, the great radio commentator, making the statement one time that a hypocrite is the person who complains about the sex, drugs and violence on their VCR. Today that would be our DVD. This statement is a sad truth of the average Christian walk today. Too many Christians are saying one thing and living another as they give in to the seemingly inevitable battles of every day life. We justify far to many excesses and overlook too many faults in one another. The battle is not in the physical attack as much as in the mental resolve of God’s people to do the right thing no matter what.

I ask myself how the things I do affect God’s church. Because I know God would never do anything to destroy His church, the body of Christ, I am also assured that God would not move me in such a way that the church would be harmed. If it is not God then I choose not to be in it, no matter how attractive or how many others desire me to. Sometimes I have been asked if I ever wondered if I had somehow missed God. How can I miss God if God is not in it?

I ask myself how the things I do affect families and parents and children who make up families. God created families as a relationship unit to bear one another up and cause each other to grow. That’s why we call the church congregation the family of God. God would never tear down the family structure or jeopardize those within it for any reason. He is the Father who wants good things for His children. (Luke 11:11,12) No offer or temptation should ever cause us to cause harm to what God is building.

It does not matter about our personal prosperity or our personal happiness when we make decisions. Matthew 6:33 is my personal scripture for how to live my life. “But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.” If I only look at whether my next decision benefits me, then I can justify most anything. A large part of God’s plan is that everyone sees themselves as a part of the bigger whole. The enemy’s attack strategy then is to separate us and make us feel as though we are being cheated or left out somehow. The enemy makes all decisions seem personal and small. God makes all decisions inclusive of things much bigger than ourselves. What we have for lunch today, where we eat it, how we eat it, and who we share it with could impact the lives of others if only we allow God to get into it.

So how do we approach these battles every day? How do we learn to follow God and put aside the offers of the world? Well, we get into the keep of God and see the world from His perspective.

God’s people have always had to fight for the things this world would seek to take from them. It is a documented fact of the very existence of God’s people. Yet, today it seems, most Christians have fallen into a pattern of belief that creates the misconception that God has supplied all they need so just go on and be satisfied. This is an outright deception of the devil and needs to be revealed as such right now.

The systems of the world were at odds with the people of God from the beginning. They will remain at odds until the deceiver has been removed from the earth. There is no peace for the Christian with the world. There is only the calm of the knowledge of God.

Even Jesus could not walk this earth with peace around Him. His peace was inside Him from God. Around Him were the anger, frustration, torment, and desperation of the world. Those He encountered needed something from Him. He was a supply of strength, wisdom, knowledge, and hope of everlasting joy. But still, the world attacked Him because He was not of the world. He was “in” the world but not “of” the world. It’s a fine distinction that has become blurred with time and adverse cultural conditions.

Today the average Christian person has very little to give to the spiritually hungry souls they meet, caught up in the cycle of world events and daily situations. To be sure, most Christians have a desperate need of their own. Finances, marriages, rebellious teens, rocky relationships with other church members, wrong pastimes, unproductive careers. All these “things” have become the mountain to be climbed for each Christian.

This is the same daily life the non-Christian faces each day. Most Christians of today have fallen into the small deceptions of the enemy, which pulls on us to be like the world instead of like Jesus. Christians have taken the fire into their bosom and have been burned. It is time for God’s warriors to come out from the world. It is time to be a separate people for a great God.

Many are called Christian. How many are called Christ-like? We Christians are in this battle together and must help each other understand it. The world attacks Christian values and Christian individuals on a daily basis as though they were assaulting the greatest fortress ever built. God tells us the reason for this intentional attack pattern is the relationship between children of the light and children of the dark. “Ye adulterers and adulteresses, know ye not that the friendship of the world is enmity with God? whosoever therefore will be a friend of the world is the enemy of God.” (James 4:4) The devil’s warfare with God’s people is an established fact.

With each deadly wave of the enemy’s forces it becomes increasingly obvious the enemy is taking the battle very seriously. As time unfolds it seems just as obvious the Christian is not taking the battle as seriously. Or, perhaps more correctly, the Christian is not acting like he/she is even in a battle. The average Christian, without even being aware of it, has accepted social compromise instead of God’s promise. The time has come to take the promise into the battle where it belongs.

Most assuredly it is a battle. We can call it whatever we want, a game, a contest, or a face off. Whatever we call it does not change what God calls it. Ephesians 6:12 says, “For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.” Literally translated it reads, ‘They are not against flesh and blood, but against chief officials, against strength of privilege, against the lesser demons of darkness in this age, against ethereal evil in celestial places’. We are against a power that wants to defeat us, an organized power capable of bringing destruction to our unprotected lives. A supernatural army follows us everywhere and awaits our moment of defenselessness.

I do not have any problem with those who prefer to think of our Christian battle as a game or contest. To describe or parallel the battle using a game or action other than warfare does not diminish the contest. All competition between humans is based on warfare in one form or another. All physical and mental contests can be explained with and ruled by biblical principles. God is all in all and nothing we can do will eliminate His importance in our lives.

In case there is still an unclear mind when it comes to God’s command in this situation we can read further. “For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war after the flesh: For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds.” (2 Corinthians 10:3,4). Not only is it a war, but God supplies the weapons. They are not our weapons. They are not wimpy, carnal weapons but they are supernatural. And it really is “our” warfare.

See it in a new light, brother and sister warrior. Review Luke 5:24,25. We have heard this preached many times to tell us of the good things Christ has for His people, but we must start thinking like warriors in all we say and do. We must see the reality of the enemy’s attack. “But that ye may know that the Son of man hath power upon earth to forgive sins, (he said unto the sick of the palsy,) I say unto thee, Arise, and take up thy couch, and go into thine house.” This is not a sign to let us merely know Jesus has power. Read it again. It is the description of how we demonstrate that we know Christ has power to forgive sins. Jesus says, ‘Change your position. Stop acting like you are defeated. Act like you are made whole in all things.’ Jesus said to the man, “Go! Possess that which is yours”.

And immediately he rose up before them, and took up that whereon he lay, and departed to his own house, glorifying God.” (Luke 5:25) Immediately! Immediately! Do we really understand what that means? This man was waiting for the instruction to complete the battle he was waging with the enemy. He was waiting, do you hear? As soon as he heard the instruction, his “immediate” response was to follow through with the given instruction.

He took possession of that which had previously had possession of him. He now took control over his own sickbed. Then he went to his own house. All this glorified God. Everyone in that room was thanking and begging Jesus for something. It is a guarantee that everyone was giving God glory and praise in order to usher in some healing or wholeness for themselves. But, look at this. The one who got up and did as he was told and took possession of what the enemy control of was the one who gave real glory to God. How many there that day did nothing and thereby missed their opportunity? The message is clear. Let the glory of God be manifested through every action of the Christian warrior. Even the newest Christian convert can give God glory for the things He has blessed them with that day by taking control, not acting like a victim, and acting like they are doing what they are doing because God has blessed them to do it.

Warriors Stand Up

Now, the sad part. Many Christian warriors do not even know, for the most part, that they are in a battle. How easy it must be for the enemy to defeat an unarmed Christian. How easy it must be to wipe out us Christians who are not even facing forward in the attack. We should not be worried about being taken advantage of by the neighbor who is blowing leaves onto our property. We should not be obsessed with catching the guy at work before he stabs us in the back over a promotion we feel belongs to us. Every day, we are being attacked and murdered by the enemy of our souls. Some a little at a time with drugs, alcohol, or pornography. Others are being wiped out in the blink of an eye by gang warfare, drive-by shootings, or suicide. Still others act as spies for the enemy recruiting others with compromised doctrines. The battle is raging and the Christian warrior has yet to take the field. The call is going out across the land, “Where is the Christian warrior today”?

Make no mistake. This book is written for the Christian. It is written for warriors and those who want to take their rightful place as warriors. The Christian who is just beginning their walk needs to know the supplier of their armor. Ephesians 6:11 tells us, “Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.” This book is written for the angry Christian and the “temporarily” defeated Christian who will not give up the fight.

These precious saints need to be equipped for battle and now is the time of their season. The totally sold-out Christian, who needs to be reminded where their fortification is coming from, will find God’s battle to be much more satisfying than the ones they have previously faced. It’s time to take back what the enemy has stolen. Every family member, every friend, every co-worker, every one God leads our way, is the booty we shall carry out of the enemy’s camp after we set the enemy to flight in the name of Jesus.

Stand up Christian warrior. It’s time for battle. It’s time for God’s warriors to take to the battlefield and retrieve that, which was stolen.

We’re In the Thick of It, Now

All Christians should recognize the animosity of the world towards anything spoken of as Christian or of God. This is not a coincidence or an accident. The ancient general of evil is orchestrating the oppression of this world upon the Christian population. His sole purpose and intent is to destroy God’s creation, to steal from God that which gives Him pleasure.

All Christians further need to be careful to understand and recognize the plans and machinations of the world which are designed to exclude the Christian. This design of the enemy is supposed to make the Christian feel left out. The left out Christian is then supposed to change their way to conform to the wants and desires of the “majority” within the culture. (Does anyone remember God asking for a vote!)

The battle can then be easily seen as with the “system” of the world, not the people. Satan runs this system with the help of his demons. (The true enemy) And the key to this victory is the feeling of being included, not left out. The difference for the Christian warrior however, is not being included with the world, but instead, being included in the family of God. In the thick of the battle the Christian warrior must know how to find the safety of the relationship with God.

The true warrior will find peace and safety with God and this will translate into inclusion in all God is doing in a local church or other community ministry. It is not just blind loyalty that drives men and women to be at church whenever the doors are open. They come expecting. Those who claim to be just fine while sitting home all the time have dubious warrior qualities. Warriors want to be, and need to be, in the middle of whatever is going on.

The good news is that God has it all under His control. “For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind. Be not thou therefore ashamed of the testimony of our Lord, nor of me his prisoner: but be thou partaker of the afflictions of the gospel according to the power of God; Who hath saved us, and called us with an holy calling, not according to our works, but according to his own purpose and grace, which was given us in Christ Jesus before the world began.” (2 Timothy 1:7-9)

The enemy would desire of us that we fear him. Satan wants the fear of God. He wants all God has, but can only steal false replicas. In the verses above Paul is telling Timothy how to live a warrior’s life. The first thing to remember is that we do not need to fear the attacks or threatenings of the enemy. Instead we should seek the power and love of God for our strength and encouragement.

Christians belong to a family far more wonderful than any fraternity of the world. There are no secret handshakes or mysterious explanations of ridiculous passwords in God’s kingdom. There are no rigorous and strictly enforced actions or rituals necessary to enter in. This does not mean God does not have requirements of us, just that no other individual has the power to judge the Christian except the Lord of heaven. Christians take comfort in their personal relationship with God and rejoice in their salvation, not the enemy’s discomfort or faulty search for truth.

Paul further explains that Christians are in this together. “For the which cause I also suffer these things: nevertheless I am not ashamed: for I know whom I have believed, and am persuaded that he is able to keep that which I have committed unto him against that day.” (2 Timothy 1:12) Now, being together is important because all people desire to be accepted. More immediate to the kingdom, however, is the surety with which the Christian warrior responds to all situations. There is no security greater than the knowledge of God and that knowledge comes when we develop a personal relationship with our Creator.

Paul makes the situation clear. “Thou therefore endure hardness, as a good soldier of Jesus Christ.” (2 Timothy 2:3) The battle must come. The warrior must face the attack. The way to endure is found in the relationship with God.

Chapter 2

Getting Ready

I can remember, growing up, that my mother would always wake me and my brothers and sisters for school. During the summer vacation time she would sleep in and let us sleep in too. But come that first day of school we could count on her loving voice calling to us from the bedroom doorway. “Time to get up.”

It’s a call that every Christian should recognize today. “Time to get up.”

I also remember asking the same question of my mother again and again, “Why?” I knew the answer why but my flesh was always looking for an opportunity to present itself and maybe latch on to a previously undiscovered excuse. Amazing how we Christians still utilize this boyhood trick to sway the opinion of others into getting our own way. It is the siren call of the world today, “Always ask why!” By asking why we can challenge everything and pick and choose what we will and will not follow in our lives. As the answers become more and more unclear to our question of why we can safely put that thing to rest behind us and move on with what our flesh wanted to do in the first place.

The truth of the matter is that my mother always answered the question the same way. She never wavered or offered my excuses any footing to perch upon. Excuses found a slippery path when they were up against my mother’s truth. She always told me the same thing. It never left room for argument or any glimmer of hope that she would change her mind. She answered quick, clean, pure and unapologetically. “You have to go to school. That’s why.”

Many Christians today are incensed to think that anyone would dare say to them, “You have to obey God. That’s why.” But the truth is that that is exactly the way it is. Many church leaders have taken to softening the message and trying to make it seem as though it is the individual’s idea to be nice and moral and ethical and all that. But the fact still remains the same. God made the rules. We follow them. Anyone who has a problem with that has a problem with God. Getting buy-in from the congregation may make things go smoothly in the church but even if they don’t “buy-in” God still made the rules His way.

Another question I always asked my mother was why, since I had to get up, did I have to get up so early? Again her answer was plain, to the point and left no room for argument. She explained that I needed the time to get ready for the school bus and to begin my day with a proper breakfast. Preparation was the key to beginning right, she taught me.

It would seem that good Christians would understand their own need to be prepared for whatever the enemy throws against us. What is incredible is that we somehow think that whenever that “thing” happens to us, somehow God is going to magically endow us with help and knowledge to conquer the situation. The premise is ludicrous. We don’t just start a business and assume that somehow God will make us prosper, do we? Then why would we assume that we would just launch into life and assume that somehow God will make everything all right?

Our only answers lie within the keep of God, where we can learn about Him and His ways. It’s a place where we can experience His presence and understand His plan for our lives. Christians are fond of the scripture that says no weapon formed against us can prosper, but we forget that it takes God’s presence to keep that weapon from doing its business on us. From a close position with God we can experience His power working in our lives every day. We can be prepared for whatever the enemy launches against us and know with a certainty that God has made us overcomers with Christ.

Too many Christians are bemoaning their circumstances today because of the attacks of the enemy that they were just not prepared for. Like my mother calling me to get ready for school, everyday God wakes us up, fresh and new, calling to us to get ready for life. Our only answer need be to accept His call and climb into the keep of God to be prepared for every day.

In the book of Acts, God spells out the relationship of the world against Christians. More importantly, He examples, through Paul, how today’s Christian warrior can partake of the endless supply offered from the throne. Studying the “battle points” of the twenty fourth chapter of Acts allows the Christian warrior to better understand the assault we must face daily to fight the spiritual battles. Be assured it is a battle. Satan hates Christians or anything else that brings glory to God.

It would appear from the text in Acts, Chapter 24, that any Christian not accepting these spiritual challenges (trying to hide from them) is destined to fail in their endeavors for God, because of a failure to accept the inevitable battles ahead. Even James spoke of the principle, “My brethren, count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations.” (James 1:2)

Most Christians are not powerless because of lack of faith, but because of lack of knowledge of how to invoke God’s strength in all situations. A Christian must first understand the fight before them, and then accept the battle as being Satan against God, for whom we fight, not the world against us. The danger here is that the Christian does not understand the fight or may not accept the battle order and thus will nullify the power of God in their life. .

Remember? “For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.” (Ephesians 6:12) For the Christian to believe the fight is their’ own is not only a sure way to defeat it also takes the glory of the victory away from God. “Yet if any man suffer as a Christian, let him not be ashamed; but let him glorify God on this behalf.” (1 Peter 4:16)

It is the warrior’s actions that glorify God. “He staggered not at the promise of God through unbelief; but was strong in faith, giving glory to God.” (Romans 4:20) The problems we Christians face when dealing with the attacks of the world are not physical battles. When the enemy attacks the Christian ethic or the Christian lifestyle, it becomes a spiritual battle that belongs to God. It is our own fleshly decision to make the battle personal. A true warrior acts on behalf of their commander, not themselves. No one has ever said that it was a battle between Pvt. Anderson and the enemy. It is always a battle to be won by the commanders.

What does God want for His people in these times when the spiritual battles manifest themselves in our lives? That’s a simple enough question. But the answer could mean the difference between a Christian who operates in all the power of God's manifested glory for victory or a Christian who operates in defeat and solitude only hoping that God won't let the enemy destroy them. Get biblical Christian warrior!

The answer is found in 2 Thessalonians 3:3. “But the Lord is faithful, who shall stablish you, and keep you from evil.” That word, “keep”, is “to isolate”. God will isolate you from the attack in this “keep”. Keep is also a word for the protective area of a castle, the medieval fortress. Inhabitants who were less able to defend themselves, or not in the immediate front-line battle would gather in the keep of the castle to be isolated from the battle during an attack. It was also used as the king’s command post, when fighting near the castle, from which he could direct battles from opposing fronts and apportion resources for the battles. At times it also held prisoners securely. The keep was a very diverse area used for whatever was necessary. As Christians we need to understand how to get into God’s “keep” during the attack. “Wherefore let them that suffer according to the will of God commit the “keeping” of their souls to him in well doing, as unto a faithful Creator.” (1 Peter 4:19, emphasis mine) Paul knew the secret because he let God fight the battle through him.

We should recognize that the world system understands this principle because they try to make sure we can’t get to the “keep” of God with all the physical attacks going on around us. (James 1:2, again) It is the enemy’s plan of attack to get the Christian’s eyes off their God. We Christians, on the other hand, must learn how to come into God’s “keep”. It is an important place for us to inhabit. There’s a lot that happens in God’s “keep”. There’s a lot we need to learn in God’s “keep”.

The Keep

The word “keep” is an interesting study on its own. First off, it means someone is holding on to something, to keep something, to retain a possession. We are the possession of Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior. He purchased us on the cross of Calvary.

A second meaning describes where something is kept, as to where it is customarily put for storage, the right spot for something. God has a right place for His people. Each Christian has a rightful relationship with God. That relationship is the place for the Christian to get into and stay there.

Another meaning explains that keep means taking charge of for a time, of temporarily holding for someone else. God keeps us through the guidance of the Holy Spirit on earth. The power of God is holding us in a temporary world while we await the permanent kingdom of God through Jesus Christ to be manifested.

A fourth meaning gives us the kind of keep that supports, as the one who keeps or supplies something or someone else. Our God is our support. Jesus supplies our salvation and kinship relationship with our heavenly Father. The Holy Spirit supplies our companionship, our guidance, the power of the Godhead on earth. And God supplies the leadership for all things in all situations. Our God keeps us in all things.

Another meaning is to keep in ready supply, to have in stock or ready to use. The Lord keeps everything for us. He is our supply. We can go to God for all our needs. He keeps all things for us. He owns the cattle on a thousand hills.

A sixth meaning explains that to keep is to manage or guide. The Lord is our guide through the power of the Holy Spirit. Our relationship with God allows us to be kept by God as He manages our life for His glory. He keeps us in line. He keeps us in His care.

Still more, we can see keep as to maintain current entries or to keep records. For instance, the Lord keeps our names written in the Lamb’s book of life. He keeps track of all we do and accomplish in His name. God keeps the records of our successes and erases the records of our sins.

An eighth meaning is to preserve and protect as in to keep safe. This is God’s idea of the perfect relationship between His creation and Himself. God wants to keep His creation in the safety of a correct relationship with Him. He wants all people to be safe or, more importantly, saved.

The last meaning is to persevere or continue, as in to keep on going. God wants all people to keep up the faith. He wants us to continue in His way along the path He has ordained for us. In this way we keep up with our end of the relationship while God keeps His. That is what a covenant is all about.

Wow, what a word! To be in God’s “Keep” covers the entire Christian walk. The Christian warrior who places himself or herself in God’s keep will partake of all God has to offer. As His possession, being in the right place with God, each Christian is a temporary citizen of this earth. We each receive support and supply from a loving Father in heaven who manages our lives for the greatest benefit and His own glory. God keeps all records of success and erases records of sin even as He protects those who continue in His care. God’s keep is the place all Christian warriors seek. It is the ultimate destination of the maturing Christian. In God’s keep is where we all want to be. But getting there is a maturing process we must all go through. Those who reach it are the true Christian warriors.

Elements of Preparation and Understanding

Too many “would-be” warriors today have placed a high value on things around them. These “things”, although not inherently evil, have become focal points in too many ways. It is a necessary action of all warriors to accept the cleansing of “things” from their life and seek to keep themselves clean. Every soldier must understand the protection they give up when they allow something to come between them and God.

The story of the widow woman in 2 Kings 4 explains the importance of the empty vessel, prepared for God and also the need to go to God for this protection from the world. The woman’s husband had died and left her the bills. She could not pay, so the creditor was going to take her two sons as slaves in place of payment.

But this woman of God knew where to go for her protection. She found the man of God and asked his advice. “And Elisha said unto her, What shall I do for thee? tell me, what hast thou in the house? And she said, Thine handmaid hath not any thing in the house, save a pot of oil.” (2 Kings 4:2)

It is very important to notice here the elements of her answer. She identifies herself as a servant of God. As Christians, we too often try to identify ourselves as friends of the world so the world will go easy on us. The fact is, in the world only the strong survive, so that tactic is useless. A wishy-washy Christian is fair game. But this woman claims to be God’s servant. She boldly asserts her claim on a relationship with God.

She also insists her house is empty. Our bodies are the temple of God. Too many Christians have their temple crowded with worldly idols. We protectively explain that these “things” are not sinful and rightly so. We collect season tickets to the football game, our bass boats, the softball teams, following our favorite teams on television, expanding the dollar amount on our credit card, rearranging the furniture every other week, or meeting the group at the mall, etc. In themselves they are not sinful. But bring them into the temple and they clutter the place up. How many of us have allowed these hobbies or past times or monetary representations of ourselves to take a focal point in our lives? Even if they are not the focus, how many of us can claim an equal number of ministry hours spent or hours with God as we can hours with our favorite past time or building our own personal empire?

We are all ministers of God. Shall we not all minister then? “This is the covenant that I will make with them after those days, saith the Lord, I will put my laws into their hearts, and in their minds will I write them; … Having therefore, brethren, boldness to enter into the holiest by the blood of Jesus.” (Hebrews 10:16,19)

What about our hours spent at work? We loudly claim we have to make a living. Do we really believe God intended for us to work all those hours to gather items for our own comfort while forsaking the things of His church? Are we really working our jobs to provide for our families or are we working those jobs to advance ourselves and to feel good about ourselves? How can God be in charge if we believe we must be the ones who provide for our advancement?

This is clutter in our temples and a worldly view. Jesus told his followers that God would supply their needs. “Therefore I say unto you, Take no thought for your life, what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink; …Behold the fowls of the air: …your heavenly Father feedeth them. Are ye not much better than they?” (Matthew 6:25,26) This doesn’t mean we do not need to work, or even relax occasionally, heaven forbid, but it does call many of our excuses into question.

We clutter our temple with worldly things because we don’t see the harm. We are convinced of the correctness of our own compromises by listening to the opinions of the world around us everyday. That’s why we need to get into the “keep” of God. It is from in the “keep” that we can really see the battles and all God has established for us in our lives. It is from in there that we can see the attacks of the enemy more clearly. Too often we have the order wrong. It’s God first, our lives afterward. “But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness.” (Matthew 6:33)

The third element of the woman’s testimony is her vessel, the pot. It is a vessel for oil. The oil is symbolic of the Holy Spirit. She is saying that she is ready to be filled with the Holy Spirit but has nothing else in her temple. She has no interest in football games, television, or trips to the mall. Her only focus is getting to God because Satan and his demons are attacking in the guise of a creditor.

She can see the attack because it has manifested itself in a physical attack against her children. One of the enemy’s favorite targets is our children. The enemy always turns our mistakes into an attack against us or those we care about. But this woman knows the Lord. She understands the protection of being in God’s care. She wants all that God has for her and nothing less.

Her temple is empty and she needs filling up. By going to Elisha she entered into the “keep” of God and asked for guidance. That was the Old Testament way into the keep of God. (Getting to God meant finding the man of God in her day and culture.) In the New Testament church we can come to God personally through Jesus Christ. We can find the keep of God from our prayer closet or the couch or the bedroom or the car, etc.

All Christians should approach God in a like manner as the woman with the oil. We need to empty ourselves of that clutter. It is high time that Christians around the world clean out their temple. We need a big broom to sweep out those fishing trips and other endeavors that get in the way of our relationship with God. (Note: It is not the things, but the priority we give the things, which displeases God.) When we empty out our temples and call for God to fill up our empty pots again, things will change for the Christian warrior seeking the keep of God.

The world says, ‘surely your God would want you to have this, so, take it for yourself.’ God’s way is clear. When the relationship is right, God will give us time to enjoy these other things with Him. We Christians have taken to making the time for ourselves and then squeezing God in. We need to clean the clutter out of our temples or else the organizational foundations of the world will consume even the time we have set aside for God.

By putting our needs ahead of God’s plans we wall ourselves off from God’s blessing and protection. It’s the same thing as calling someone for help and then telling them they can not come to help. God won’t be able to help us because we have, for all intensive purposes, put ourselves in charge by taking control with all the things we’ve surrounded ourselves with.

The Christian warrior must boldly assert their foundational relationship with God. They must clear out the clutter of things that can impede God’s power in their life because anything that comes between the warrior and God becomes the source of the warrior’s power. Think about it. What real power can be gotten from a fishing trip? Or a football game? Or a shopping trip? We must recognize the need for the in-filling of the person of the Holy Spirit in our lives. The successes and victories come from a true relationship with God, not our own actions to precipitate achievement. This true relationship is a total inundation of the Spirit of God in our lives. Without the Holy Spirit guiding and leading every step of the way, the warrior will lose their way back to the keep when they stray too far from God’s direction. (John 6:44) By allowing the Holy Spirit of God free reign in our now uncluttered lives we experience clear and concise direction from the Creator of the universe. That is the in-filling of the Holy Spirit.

Paul, A Christian Warrior

So many Christians falsely believing in the concept of peace with the enemy creates a deceptive struggle for each Christian daily. When we consider the examples of the bible, and the struggles each individual faced with the world, it is even more perplexing how a Christian today can assume things have changed for their compromised benefit, somehow.

If God is the same today as He was in the past, and He surely is, then it is true that the enemy of God is still the enemy of God’s people. Christians are at war with these unseen forces of the devil. Only God can show them in their true light. The warrior must go to the keep to understand and see as God would have them see.

In Paul’s struggle against the Jewish leaders, in Acts, Chapter 24, we see the worldly system attacking the Christian head on. The most important characteristic of this fight is not the men who play a part, but instead the forces at work behind them. Paul would have failed miserably if he had taken the fight personally. It was not his fight! The fight belonged to the Lord. He only required an empty vessel yielded to God within which to work.

The world order of the Jewish people in Acts is strongly established and the challenge from the Christian “power and authority” of Paul seriously undermined their authority. They felt God pricking them much like Paul understood on the road to Damascus. It must be seen that the Jewish focus was maintaining personal control of all godly works. They wanted to keep God in a box, so to speak, their box. In contrast, Paul preaches the power of God with no human intervention or attempt at control.

This is still the same fight today. This is still the same fight today! Hear me again. This is still the same fight today.

Consequently, it requires the same reaction by the Christian to achieve victory through God’s plan and power. But it is not, outwardly, a Christian’s power. It is the power of God working through the Christian who is nestled in the “keep”. It is a warrior’s power and it only comes from God.

The choice is a God-thing. God gives us the choice. Assuming we have chosen to work with God, we then have a choice to work in His power or to accept our own limitations and take on the worldly system ourselves. In theory it seems ludicrous that any respectable, God-fearing Christian would choose to fight God’s battles by themselves. But in reality most Christians make this choice every day without even knowing it.

That is the purpose for this study. Because so many of our Christian values and concepts are shared by the world, there has been a silent infiltration of wrong thoughts from the world into the Christian belief. We must understand the true reality of the battle and the actual plan from God in order to correct our long accepted, though clearly powerless, plan of defense. Not so we can throw out all our past ways of doing things. But instead, to realize God’s true ways and make full use of all God desires in our lives. This means getting back to our roots, the true biblical principles as found through Paul’s life as he followed after Jesus.

Warriors, Not Policemen

God meant for Christians to be warriors not policemen. Too often the Christian plan is to accept the wrongs of the world as long as they do not directly affect them. More often than not these culture changes seep into the everyday life of the Christian, through the constant media barrage and personal, worldly contacts, insidiously altering even the long held Christian belief system. God’s plan is one of conquest and victory, not one of hiding and minimizing losses.

The warrior we are designed to be must know the battle plan and the strategy of the enemy in order to operate successfully and emerge victorious from the battle. (The enemy’s plan is to steal, kill, and destroy God’s creation.) The enemy must be considered a threat at all turns. At no time in the bible does it relate an instance when the enemy of our soul becomes our friend to help us live for God and make it to heaven. “The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy:” (John 10:10)

The enemy is real, not imagined and has only one desire, to totally destroy the warrior of God. A policeman is, by design, only allowed to carry out the desires of his constituents with limited access to any information on the enemy. In the case of the policeman, it is assumed the enemy will play by the rules. The rules are there to adjust the enemy’s behavior because the enemy is not the bad guy, just misdirected. The police must discover all necessary information by themselves.

It is easy to accept this view of Christians as policemen because Christians do not want to damage anyone, just correct their wrong behaviors. But if we see the battle as God against the enemy of our soul, instead of us against another person, then we can accept a real battle, taking place around us. However, we must do it God’s way.

We must remember we are a separate people from those of the world. All people are objects of God’s desire, but Christian warriors must maintain a clear differentiation between their lives and the people of the world. “No man that warreth entangleth himself with the affairs of this life; that he may please him who hath chosen him to be a soldier.” (2 Timothy 2:4) We are chosen by God to be His warrior.

We are all soldiers and many are chosen to be front-line warriors. Even fewer will choose to accept their warrior title. “For many are called, but few are chosen.” (Matthew 22:14) No matter the status, the message is clear. The first step of the warrior is to get away from the things of the world that clutter up the view God would have them see.

The warrior who accepts his status under God has orders from headquarters. Warriors are given a battle plan that is guaranteed to succeed by their superiors because all the needed intelligence reports have gone into the plan. The warrior has been trained to act in the exact manner those in charge have decided are necessary for the battle ahead.

Each warrior is built for a specific battle action. No warrior has to do it all. No warrior is designed to do it all. The warrior must have the right orders from headquarters to be effective. The warrior must understand and operate within all these specifics in order to win the battle with God against the enemy.

Many people have likened the battle between God and Satan as a game in which people are the pawns. The only game-like similarity conceivable in this battle is in the fact that most games are based upon the rules of warfare. A game has opposing sides with rules of play and an ultimate goal, mastery of the playing field and the opponent. In this respect all games are battles in the war to control or dominate.

I believe people have taken up games as a way to express the warrior inside each of us. That’s why so many gather on Friday nights, Saturday and Sunday afternoons in the fall to root their’ favorite team on.

We need the battle. We are warriors from birth with a desire to engage the enemy. The world has tricked us Christians into believing a peaceful individual fights his battles on the playing field. The reality is that the real battle is in the spiritual realm and we must fight from the “keep” of God. We have left our first love (Revelation 2:2-4), God, who fights all battles for us and has already claimed the ultimate victory for us in the name of Jesus.

Let’s examine Paul’s classic battle with the world and understand how we can reclaim our rightful place as warriors for God. The power of our relationship with God has in many cases been damaged by wrong perceptions of God’s plan. We are not supposed to live at peace with the world. Jesus explained, “Think not that I am come to send peace on earth: I came not to send peace, but a sword.” (Matthew 10:34) There is no peace in the world. The only real peace is found in God.

Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid. Ye have heard how I said unto you, I go away, and come again unto you. If ye loved me, ye would rejoice, because I said, I go unto the Father: for my Father is greater than I. And now I have told you before it come to pass, that, when it is come to pass, ye might believe. Hereafter I will not talk much with you: for the prince of this world cometh, and hath nothing in me. But that the world may know that I love the Father; and as the Father gave me commandment, even so I do. Arise, let us go hence. (15) I am the true vine, and my Father is the husbandman. Every branch in me that beareth not fruit he taketh away: and every branch that beareth fruit, he purgeth it, that it may bring forth more fruit. Now ye are clean through the word which I have spoken unto you. Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine; no more can ye, except ye abide in me.” (John 14:27- 15:4)

If the world does not have peace, then the Christian should not be able to find any peace with the world. We must erase this worldly, idealistic, infatuation with peace and getting along with everyone from our psychological make-up. Getting along is not the focus. I do not espouse the idea of being a belligerent or argumentative people but we must recognize that peace from God among His children is the by-product of harmony amongst those traveling in the same direction. God must be the focus, not peace. The peace is found in God. We can not bear Godly fruit until we are with God. We must find the keep of God and get into it. We must abide in the Lord. We must abide in the keep. We must struggle through a non-peaceful world and seek the peace of God in His keep.

Seek God and Him Only

The Christian must be wary of the call for unity within the church or elsewhere. Unity is not a goal of God for His people. Let’s repeat that. Unity is never a goal of God for His people, except with Him. God wants us to be one with Him and this union brings about oneness in the body. Unity is a by-product the Christian warrior will enjoy when the focus of the congregation is on knowing God and having a mature relationship with Him. Those who are seeking to be like Christ will naturally begin to become more alike and thereby more compatible as they mature. Seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness and then He will add the other things to us. (Luke 12:31, paraphrased)

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