Today's encouragement comes from Psalm 144:1 & 2a, where we read these words:
"Blessed be the LORD my Rock, who trains my hands for war, and my fingers for battle--my lovingkindness and my fortress . . . "
Life as a faithful churchman is a spiritually military existence. Chris-tians are soldiers; and the church is an army. Our weapons are spirit-ual, and so, for the most part, are our enemies. Jesus, our Great Captain, has already won the war for us. Our mission is a "mopping-up" operation, designed to make us more like Christ (through the struggles of sanctification).
Note (above) that God Himself "trains" us for warfare, so that we will be good and effective soldiers. And notice (as well) that warfare and love are not contraries (in a world full of the admixture of the fall of Adam and the redemption of Christ).
[Puritan quote of the day: "The greatest men in the world are holy men. They are above all others, and without usurpation they pass censure on the state of other men, even the greatest of them."
--Richard Sibbes, in, "Glorious Freedom"]