Tag Archives: battles

July 2 – The Battle Is The Lord’s

2 Chronicles 19-23

When Jehoshaphat heard there was a great multitude headed their way, and ready for battle, he was afraid. But Jehoshaphat didn’t run. 20:3 says he turned his attention to the Lord. He asked his fellow Jews to fast and pray with him.

Then the king prayed, “God, we’re in trouble. We don’t know what to do – but our eyes are on You.” (from 20:13)

I love God’s answer to that prayer. “Do not fear. The battle is the Lord’s. Stand and see the salvation of the Lord.”

So on the day of battle, Jehoshaphat told the people to trust God. He put the choir in front of the army, and instructed them to sing praises to God. I’m sure the enemy hadn’t expected that. They had swords drawn to fight Judah’s soldiers. What were they supposed to do with the praise team?

The enemy armies, stunned and confused, began fighting each other. It was a pretty incredible victory for the Jews.

I don’t know what battle you are facing in your personal life. I do know the battle before us as a nation. Let’s learn from Jehoshaphat’s example. Instead of focusing on the problem, let’s turn our attention to the Lord. Let’s fast and pray and seek Him only.

Then, instead of complaining, or worrying, or striking out, let’s praise Him. Let’s us Christians be the examples of trust in God, confidence in His ability, the willingness to obey only Him, and the joy that is ours in our redemption through Jesus’ blood.

Oh, let’s be ready for battle. But never forget that when our focus is Him, the battle is the Lord’s!

March 8 – But I Like It Here

Numbers 31-32

What is our responsibility to each other as members of God’s family? The sons of Gad, Reuben, and Manasseh were comfortable living east of the Jordan River. They knew the land God had promised Abraham was to the west. But they liked it where they were.

Moses agreed to letting them stay there on one condition: Help your brothers take the Promised Land.

Just because they weren’t going to make their home there, it didn’t give them a free pass out of the battle.

So the question is, what is your responsibility in the welfare of your church fellowship and in the global Church? You may be comfortable in your relationship with the Savior, secure in your place in heaven. But does that mean you can put your feet up and let others fight the battles?

There is more ground to gain, more souls needing salvation, more sins to defeat. Moses told the two and a half tribes if they didn’t help win the war, “you have sinned against the Lord, and be sure your sin will find you out.”

Dear one, not putting on the armor of God and engaging in the war against Satan is sin. Not telling your neighbor about Christ is sin. Not inviting people to church, supporting missions, or praying for the lost, are sins.

What is our responsibility? To join forces with other Christians and get the job done. We need to be supporting, encouraging, praying for our brothers and sisters in Christ as we all do our part to further God’s Kingdom one soul at a time.

Who Wants To Be Considered A Slug?

Today is the birthdate of the US Marine Corps, and the anniversary of the day my Dad entered that branch of service. It must have been 1943 when Dad finally got to join the fight during WWII at the young age of 18.

Dad was proud to be a Marine, and toward the end of his life, talked about what it was like to train, and go to war. He would describe a group of fit, strong, active, and determined young men who were ready to battle 24/7. I don’t think you could be lazy and wear a Marine uniform.

Hebrews 6, and the memory of my father, challenged me today. The word “sluggish” got my attention because I am afraid that describes me too often. Sitting here this morning, I see dust on my baseboards, and a cobweb on my ceiling. I can sit in front of my computer, or the TV for hours instead of getting out to walk, or visit a friend. And that gets me thinking about my walk with the Lord.

That’s the topic the writer of Hebrews was addressing here in chapter 6. I wonder if there are cobwebs in my heart, the place I’ve invited my Savior to live. Are there opportunities to serve Him that I’ve missed because I’m slow to move?

For God is not unjust to forget your work and labor of love, which you have shown toward His Name, in that you have ministered to the saints, and do minister.” (verse 10)

Being a member of a Bible believing church fellowship means I have work to do for God’s kingdom. There are people associated with my church to pray for, to visit, to encourage, to rake leaves for or fix a meal for. There are people outside my church who need to know Jesus, who need to see Him in me. That can’t happen if I’m content to be a slug.

And who wants to be considered a slug?

I think of the training Dad endured on Parris Island, getting ready to go to war. It was hard. It was intense. It was constant. We need to prepare in such a way to do the things required of us as Christians, too. Oh, I don’t mean target shooting or running multiple miles with fifty pounds of equipment on our backs. But seriously spending time in God’s Word, searching, studying, praying, talking about it, questioning and not giving up until we find answers.

But all the training in the world is worthless unless we use it. Dad finished his boot camp, then went to war. We, too need to prepare – and go! Our world depends on us.

Being a Marine isn’t for the lazy or sluggish. And neither is being a Christian.

Our Heavenly Captain, Our Commander in Chief, we are soldiers (or Marines) in your army. May we be equipped for the battles ahead, may we be willing to serve at a moments notice. May we be intentional about our training in Your Word. And may we not hesitate when you call. Forgive our laziness. Make us fit and capable to do what you would have us do. No slugs here, Lord. We want to win this war!

Oh Give Thanks

Psalm 107 begins with these words:

Oh, give thanks to the Lord, for he is good! For his mercy endures forever.

I am reminded that we have every reason to give thanks. God is good. And the mercy he has shown us is eternal. But it seems that the author of this psalm realized that thankfulness isn’t necessarily one of our strong points. Several times these words are repeated:

Oh, that men would give thanks to the Lord for his goodness, and for his wonderful works to the children of men!

I’ve been in a funk lately. I find myself sitting alone in my home, watching TV or reading, and sighing a lot. I haven’t been motivated to walk even though the weather in my part of the world is nearly perfect this time of year. I read my Bible every day, and continue to write in my journal. I just haven’t felt led to post anything for several weeks. It seems God has been silent. Can that be? Does he have nothing of value to say to me through his Word?

Then I read Psalm 107 and recognize the problem is in me. I’ve neglected thankfulness. God has rescued me time after time, he has seen me through hard times, he’s revealed himself through victories. Every day there is evidence of his love and his presence. But I think I’m taking him for granted. I’m too busy feeling sorry for me.

So it’s time for an attitude check. I stopped this morning to consider how blessed I am, and the words of an old hymn came to mind. The lyrics are old school, but powerful:

Could we with ink the ocean fill,
And were the skies of parchment made;
Were every stalk on earth a quill
And every man a scribe by trade;
To write the love of God above
Would drain the ocean dry;
Nor could the scroll contain the whole,
Though stretched from sky to sky.

I don’t know what life is like for you right now. But if you know Jesus as your Savior, you are blessed beyond what could be recorded in the skies. I would encourage you (and me) to take our eyes off situations, other people, the challenges of life, and consider God. He is personal. He is present. And he wants you to know how much he loves you. Isn’t that reason enough to be thankful?

Here’s how my Father nudged me to read this psalm today:

Oh that Connie (you can insert your name if you are led) would give thanks to the Lord for His goodness, and for His wonderful works to her personally, lovingly, intimately.

May my life be lived out of a thankful heart to God, through whom all blessings flow.

How Much Is Too Much?

It seems a bit excessive. Sure, many people wanted Paul dead for preaching Jesus, and 40 men devised a plan to ambush and murder him. But deploying 470 troops to take him to Governor Felix might have been overkill. (Acts 23)

Yet how much is too much when protecting the Gospel? I doubt protecting the Gospel was on the mind of the commander when he went to such lengths to get Paul out of town. He was probably more concerned about his own skin should Paul be killed while in his custody.

I thank God that, when we read his Word, he nudges us at certain truths. The Bible is alive, active, powerful!

God’s nudge today finds me asking myself to what extremes am I willing to go to protect the Gospel? There are those who are planning to ambush the Church, destroy Christianity, eliminate Christians. Satan seems to be on a roll!

Am I prepared to protect the Truth of Scripture? At what cost? When I think about it, no effort can be too excessive if it will keep the truth of Jesus Christ still changing lives.

Dear Father in Heaven, once again I am amazed at how alive your Word is, how it can speak to us every time we open its pages. God, I don’t know the answer to the question you seem to be asking me this morning. I don’t know what I am willing to do to stand firm on your Truth. I’d hope that there would be no limit to what I’d be willing to do. I’d like to think I would stop at nothing to preserve the Gospel. But I don’t always reach out to my neighbor when you prompt me to. I don’t always visit or call that one who you have laid on my heart. I don’t always pray as I should. Am I waiting for the Great Tribulation or something before I begin to battle the enemy? I want to be part of the army that’s protecting the Gospel. May you find me faithful. We have some work to do, don’t we Lord?

News Flash: Life Isn’t Fair

It wasn’t fair. Paul and Silas had been severely beaten and thrown into prison and they had done nothing wrong. Now I know people say there are no “guilty” people in prison. But in this case, Paul and Silas were truly not guilty of any crime. (Acts 16)

How did they handle that? By praising God and singing until midnight. The other prisoners listened to them. And when the angel came and set them free, they stayed right there. Their example led the jailor and his whole family to the Lord.

Things happen in this life that just don’t seem fair. Cancer isn’t fair. An unfaithful spouse isn’t fair. It’s not fair when there’s no money to pay the bills, or the car breaks down, or someone lies about you. But trust me when I say people are watching how you handle it when things happen to you that aren’t fair. They wonder if you go through trials and hardships any differently than they do.

So do you complain, or praise God? Do you express anger with vulgarity, or do you sing about God’s Amazing Grace? Are you pushing people away from, or inviting them into their Savior’s embrace?

Life isn’t fair. How you handle it, however, could make the difference in someone’s life eternally.

Dear God, I don’t pretend to know what those who read this blog are going through. I don’t walk in anyone’s shoes but mine. But I pray for all of us, Lord, as we live through yet another day. Some of us are facing life threatening challenges. Some hearts are broken. Some of us don’t see the light at the end of the tunnel. Remind us, Father, that you are there in the midst, that you want to be our strength, our hope and joy. As we face these difficulties, I pray that you will be evident in our lives. And may our example, like Paul and Silas, draw someone to your saving grace. Hear our prayers. Accept our praise. And may Jesus be glorified in us today no matter how unfair our lives seem at the moment.

God Doesn’t Give you… What?

Naaman’s story from 2 Kings 5 is a pretty familiar story for those of us raised going to Sunday School. It’s the story of a little Jewish slave girl who shared her faith in Israel’s prophet, and whose master’s husband Naaman was not only healed of leprosy, but became a believer in Israel’s God because of it.

I’ve read or heard the story many times over the years, but today I had one of those laugh-out-loud moments when I read something in the story I’d never noticed before. Naaman, who was a Syrian warrior, went to Israel on the word of this little Jewish girl, with a letter to the King of Israel written by his boss, the King of Syria. In it, the Syrian King said:

“Now be advised, when this letter comes to you, that I have sent Naaman my servant to you, that you may heal him of his leprosy.”

The reaction of Israel’s King is priceless and it is what made me laugh this morning. He tore his clothes, a sign of distress and anguish and says: WHAT? Does he think I’m God? Is this a trick so he’ll have an excuse to go to war with us when I don’t heal this man? I CAN’T DO THIS! WAAAA!

Talk about a major misunderstanding by someone who was looking within himself way too hard.

I laugh because, sadly, I recognize myself in the king’s panic. Sometimes I look at the circumstances of life, feel the weight of expectations on my shoulders, fret about a situation I’m facing, and think I CAN’T DO THIS. Then someone tells me, God doesn’t give you more than you can handle.

LIAR!

Read 2 Kings 5. When the prophet Elisha heard that the king was losing his mind over this situation he sent a message to the king: Relax. God’s got this covered.

And God is saying that still. The truth is, God does allow things in our lives that are too much for us to do on our own. If he only sent things our way that we could handle, we wouldn’t need him, would we? God delights in revealing himself in every circumstance you face, good or bad. He wants you to go to him, to trust him, to depend on him, to show the world what he is able to do through you. I am convinced that God is not concerned about strengthening your ego, or teaching you how powerful you are. He wants to point you and me, and everyone around us to Himself as we allow him to handle every situation, as we trust him with every detail.

And I have found that, when I do surrender to him, I am blessed beyond what I can imagine. I believe it’s Satan’s lies that tell you you can handle things on your own, or worse, should handle things on your own. Satan certainly doesn’t want you surrendered to God.

The next time you are tempted to think God won’t give you more than you can handle, think again. Then turn the situation, your very life, over to him and see what he can do when you get out of the way.

They Hated Me Without a Cause

I am Facebook friends with a former student, a young man who loves the Lord. Very often he will post something about his struggles or his victories as he maneuvers his way through this life. This morning he posted something about wanting to live his life with so much faith that the world would have nothing against him.

At first, I wondered about that statement. Then, as God would have it, I opened my study Bible and it directed me to John 15 where Jesus is talking to his disciples right before his crucifixion. He tells his disciples, “If the world hates you, you know that it hated Me before it hated you. If you were of the world, the world would love its own… They hated Me without a cause.”

I was reminded that, in order to condemn Jesus, they had to make things up. They had to lie about him so that they could get rid of him. Then I understood what my young FB friend was saying. He wants to live his life in such a way that if someone wanted to accuse him, they would have to lie.

Isn’t that the life we are all called to live? “Be holy as I am holy.” John continues to report that Jesus, after warning his disciples about how the world would view them, promised them the Holy Spirit to help them bear witness of Jesus. God knows his children will face difficulties because we love and serve him, and he promises to be exactly what we need to face them.

Dear one, don’t lose heart. Expect the world to be uncomfortable around you, because Jesus in you is going to make them uncomfortable in their sin. We can expect the world to hate us because they hated Jesus, too. Let the Holy Spirit do his work in their lives as you are obedient to Him, remembering that it’s God’s passionate desire for those people to come to him.

I’m praying for you. May the choices you make today reflect your relationship with the Savior. And may an unsaved friend or loved one be very uncomfortable in your presence because of their sin, and because Jesus is in you. Most of the time you won’t have to say a thing. John 15:26 promises that “He (the Holy Spirit) will testify about me (Jesus).”

Have you ever heard it said that you may be the only Jesus some will ever see? Or that you may be the only Bible some will ever read? I pray that those who see my life are getting the right message, seeing the right example of a woman saved by grace through the precious blood of Jesus. May it be true in us all.

Jesus’ Answer For The “Why’s” of Life

A godly man suffers with ALS. A teenager who loves the Lord loses her battle with cancer. A baby is born with his stomach outside his body. A godly woman buries her 22 year old son who died in an auto accident. ISIS murders hundreds of people who name the name of Jesus.

Jesus met a man born blind. His disciples asked him: Who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?

John 9:3 says, “Jesus answered, ‘Neither this man nor his parents sinned, but that the works of God should be revealed in him.‘”

Sometimes we dig way too deep to find the answer to the “why’s” of life. Is there some special purpose for suffering? There certainly is! And here it is:

So Jesus can be revealed to a lost world.

Everything – E.V.E.R.Y.T.H.I.N.G – that happens in this life happens for that reason. Your best day reveals God’s blessings. Your struggles reveal his strength. Your mourning reveals his comfort. Your changed life reveals his grace.

Next time you are tempted to ask, Why is this happening to me?, read John 9:3 again. The question you should be asking is, What is it about Jesus that is being revealed through this circumstance I am facing?

Dear God, thank you for being intimately interested in everything that happens to us in this life. You are ever present, all knowing, sovereign. Forgive us when we concentrate so much on the day-to-day that we lose sight of your perfect plan. May your children, in all walks of life, in all circumstances, be faithful to reveal YOU as you would have us do. Help us to remember that this life is about You, and your passion is that every man, woman, and child will come to know you as Savior and Lord. Help us to look at our circumstances as opportunities to share you with those who are lost without you.

Stay With Me

Have you ever seen a frightened toddler? Maybe a barking, nipping dog scares the little one, or a spider crawling out of a flower he’s just put his nose into takes him by surprise. The natural reaction is to jump into Daddy’s arms. Then what? That baby climbs frantically higher to get away from that which is scaring him. And if he could, that child would crawl right into his Daddy’s skin for safety. At that moment of fright, the child just can’t get close enough to his father.

I was reading I Samuel 22 this morning and like what David told Abiathar when Saul was trying to kill them both: “Stay with me. Don’t fear. For he who seeks my life seeks your life, but with me you shall be safe.” (vs 23)

I hear Jesus saying the same to me about our mutual enemy, Satan. Jesus, whom John describes as the Word, Creator of all that is made, who came to earth in the flesh and blood body fully God, fully human. Jesus, who willingly went to the cross so that I can be forgiven. Jesus, who died, defeated death and the power of sin, and rose again. Jesus who bodily went to heaven and sits on the throne from where he whispers in my ear:

“Stay with me. Satan is my enemy, too. And if you stay close to me, you shall be safe.”

Jesus. My Protector! My Savior!

Dear Abba Father, Thank you for your protection. You’ve told us to come to you like little children, and I see that in what I read this morning in your written Word. Sometimes it feels like I can’t get close enough to you. I want to crawl right into your skin. So I thank you for reminding me that YOU are my protector. It’s not, how close can I get to you. But how much do I trust your strong arms. So as I jump into those arms through reading your Word and praying, I want to thank you for your promise for my soul’s safety. Keep me close to you where I am safe from Satan’s snarling teeth. I trust you completely.