He will fight for us!

Do you remember the story of Jehoshaphat? You may be asking who is that. Well his story is found in 2 Chronicles 20:1-30. But let me summarize. Jehoshaphat was king of Judah for 25 years. His father was Asa and the Bible says that, “he did what was right in the eyes of the Lord (I Kings 22:43).”  If you study his life you will find that many times he trusted and served the Lord, while at other times he failed the Lord. Yet in the story refered to, he finds out that the Moabites and the Ammonites are getting ready to attack. The Bible tells us that he “resolved to inquire of the Lord (2 Chr. 20:3).” In fact he led the people in praying and fasting for the Lord’s deliverance. While praying he says, “We do not know what to do, but our eyes are upon you (20:12).” The Bible tells us that the Spirit of the Lord fell on Jahaziel and he proclaimed the Lord’s message. He said, “Do not be afraid or discouraged because of this vast army. For the battle is not yours, but God‘s. You will not have to fight this battle. Take up your position; stand firm and see the deliverance the Lord will give you (vs 15;17).” We find out later in the story that God indeed fought for them and the Bible says He ambushed the men of Ammon and Moab (v 22). It’s a great story and one I recommend you to read. Yet, today I watched the Lord do just this for me.

Yesterday we were presented with a problem that we could do nothing about. I went to bed discouraged but woke up being reminded by the Lord that the battles we face are not against other people, but are against the enemy(Eph. 6). I was also reminded of this story and the fact that the Lord fights for us. The Lord led me to fast and pray about the problem we had and to trust Him to fight for us. All day I did this, and you know what, He did fight for us. He moved in the situation just as I had prayed and resolved it without any help from me.

He taught me much about His great power, He increased my faith, He answered my prayers and I give Him all the praise! I don’t know what problems you are facing, but I encorage you to take them before the Lord in prayer. Seek Him and watch Him move and work on your behalf. We do indeed serve a mighty God!

He is faithful….

“God who has called you into fellowship with his son Jesus Christ our Lord is faithful.”

1 Corinthians 1:9

Have you ever just had a bad week, I mean a really rotten week? Well, that could basically sum up this past week for me. It seems that constantly the Lord was saying no and closing doors and to be honest I got quite upset. The enemy played havoc with my emotions and fought to fill my mind with lies and got me to doubt the Lord. I’m ashamed to say for the most part he won. Though I knew the truth in my head, my heart failed to line up and I basically just wanted to lay down my cross and quit. Not a very flattering time nor a time I am proud of, but God….

After I’d had my pity parties and after I quit being mad at God for not giving me what I thought I deserved, the Lord who is faithful drew me to Himself, lavished His love on me and drew me closer than before.

Sometimes it takes going to the pit before we can see how great and awesome a God we serve. This past weekend the Lord in His kindness convicted my heart of the jealousy, the pride, the anger, the doubt and the fear I had been carrying around. In His great mercy, He helped me lay these down and when I did He poured out His love. He spoke to my heart and gave me peace like never before. He opened my eyes to see that His ways and His thoughts truly are better than my own and that He has our future planned and that I can trust Him.

For those of you who don’t know, at the present time our family of 5 is living with my parents. We have been here about 3 months and though we are grateful for this home and time with family, living in the unknown and waiting on God to reveal what He has for us next is not easy or fun. There have been other times when I have wanted to quit, when I have been filled with fear and doubt and just like recently the Lord faithfully carried me through. Last week, as I cried out to the Lord, I told Him how hard it was for me to believe, I told Him I just couldn’t take much more and that He was going to have to carry me through and prayed regularly that He would help my unbelief and you know what? He did! He faithfully carried me when I could not go on, He spoke His Word over my heart when my flesh raged against our situation and He indeed helped my unbelief by speaking plainly to my heart that not only does He know where we are and what we need, He is at work even now orchestrating the events, times and places that He has prepared since the foundation of the world.  He has spoken clearly that I can trust Him.

I can honestly say that though I’m glad this week is over and believe me I’m not so naive that I don’t think these times won’t come again.  I’m thankful for these low times, times when God who is always faithful shows up and teaches my heart great truths. I don’t know where you are or what you are going through, but I do know that He is faithful and even if you don’t think you can go on, reach out to Him and He can and will carry you through.

Denying Self…..

Now before I began on this subject, I must clarify that I do not by any means have this down as a fine art. In fact, it is something I daily must practice and have the Lord‘s help with. Many times I fail and instead of denying self, I let self rule. Yet, the Lord has put on my heart to share what He is teaching me.

They took note that these men had been with Jesus.” (Acts 4:13) This verse began my search. For as I read it I thought of different people I know who just radiate Christ. This past weekend Eric and I had the privilege to visit with one of our professors and be in service with Him. The next day as I read this verse, I thought to myself, this man and His wife are some of these people who just reflect Jesus.  As Eric and I drove home, we were talking about what makes these people so different? What do they do, not do differently? I told Eric that I believe that they saturate themselves in the Word. They think upon Christ and the things of Christ. They are filled with the Spirit and not self. Which then began my search of what does it mean to truly follow Jesus? Immediately the Lord brought to mind Luke 9:23, “ Then he said to them all: “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me.  As you can see, I couldn’t get past the first step. For the first step to following Jesus is to deny self. So then , what does this mean?

Sadly to say, we live in a culture that says put self first, do what makes you happy. Our children reflect this in their whining and complaining when they don’t get what they want. Yet, aren’t we the same way. Somewhere along the way we have forgotten the first step to following Christ. Even in church this has happened and we have taught the people that if you want to follow Jesus all you have to do is say a prayer, go to church and then live like you want. When in fact this is the opposite of what Jesus said. I once heard an illustration about the flesh versus the Spirit. The illustrator said that the one you feed will be the one that wins. Paul makes it clear that there is an inward battle going on within. That what He wants to do He doesn’t do, but that which He doesn’t want to do (Romans 7:15) The Lord makes it clear that if we want others to see Him in us, we must be filled with the Spirit and controlled by Him. Yet, we can’t be filled with the Spirit until we are empty of self, which brings us back to denying self.

So again I ask, what does this mean? I believe the answers will vary and not all be the same for everyone. Yet, the majority I believe will apply to all. Denying self then may mean going to bed early so that you can get up early to have a quiet time. It could mean not having that second helping when you know you are already full. Denying self may mean forgoing a tv show or movie that distracts your mind from the Lord, or to get personal it may mean spending more time reading books that inspire my walk with the Lord rather than just entertain. Another example would be biting your tongue and not saying what you want to even if you are right. Denying self means putting Christ first, others second and self last. Which quite honestly is about the opposite of what we usually do.

If I want others to see Jesus in me and for others to know I belong to Him, I must deny myself and allow Him to live fully in me. As I said I am a work in progress and so thankful that, “ he who began a good work in (me) will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus (Phil. 1:6).”

“Therefore, brothers, we have an obligation but it is not to the sinful nature, to live according to it. For if you live according to the sinful nature you will die, but if by the Spirit you put to death the misdeeds of the body, you will live because those who are led by the Spirit of God are Sons of God. (Romans 8:12-14).”

Hope to carry on

May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.  Romans 15:13

Have you ever had a hard time trusting God? Have you ever lost hope and just wanted to give up? If you are truthful, I’d say most everyone has felt this way at one time. So the true question is what then do you do when you feel this way?

At numerous times, I have felt all hope was gone. I’ve wanted to throw in the towel and give up. I have allowed the enemy and his lies to reign in my heart and mind and allowed him to win the battle. Yet, God who is rich in mercy it seems always, always brings a verse to my mind and helps me to establish a right perspective. Why are you downcast, O my soul? Why so disturbed within me? Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise him, my Savior and my God.”(Ps. 42:5)  If anyone had cause for despair it was King David. He had been anointed by God at a young age to be King, yet spent many years waiting on God to bring it to pass. Many days he was on the run because King Saul wanted him dead and even his own son. Yet this same person when in despair and fully discouraged chose to place his hope in the Lord. 

I have learned that when I am discouraged it is most likely because I have placed my hope in something or someone other than the Lord. When I want to give up,it is because I have allowed myself to believe the lies of the enemy, instead of standing upon the truth of God’s Word.

See, when life is hard and it is dark and you can not see, that is when you must believe and hope in God the most. I’ve learned that  when the enemy is trying to get me to doubt the Lord , that I must fight back and resist the enemy with the sword of the Spirit. Friend, at such times, there is a battle going on, a battle to see if you will trust God or allow the enemy victory. Don’t give in, fight. Stand on the truth. Trust God no matter how you feel, believe in Him. He is still on His throne, He is still sovereign and He still has plans for good for your life!

I love the old hymns and one that has been going through my mind all morning is, The Solid Rock. I leave you with it.

My hope is built on nothing less
Than Jesus’ blood and righteousness;
I dare not trust the sweetest frame,
But wholly lean on Jesus’ name.

When darkness veils His lovely face,
I rest on His unchanging grace;
In every high and stormy gale,
My anchor holds within the veil.

On Christ, the solid Rock, I stand

All other ground is sinking sand,

All other ground is sinking sand.

 

Standing Firm

Therefore, my dear brothers, stand firm. Let nothing move you. I Cor. 15:58

This has been a theme this past week for me. Over and over I have found such verses going through my mind as the Holy Spirit has spoke to my heart saying stand firm. I have found when life is good, this is easy, yet when the storms come and life get’s hard, standing  firm isn’t as easy. I began my search seeking to understand what does stand firm really mean? As I pondered this I was reminded of the story Jesus told about the wise and foolish builders(Ma. 7:24-27). One man  built his house on the sand. So, that when the storms came and the winds blew, his house came tumbling down. The other man built his house on the rock and no matter how strong the winds, nor how much rain fell, his house stood firm. I realized that when  we are told to stand firm Jesus is wanting our faith grounded in Him. I have found that if you have weak faith or no faith, you can be sure that when problems arise, you are going to question and doubt the goodness of God, you are going to worry and will be afraid. Yet, if one’s faith is strong and is placed completely upon Jesus, then no matter what happens, they can continue to stand firm, to believe, to trust because their faith is not in a circumstance, not in a job, a person etc. One whose faith is in the Lord can stand firm no matter what happens because they continue to trust, continue to serve, continue to wait on and believe in Him.

For some of us storms show us the condition of our faith. For some of us, storms reveal to us that our faith isn’t as strong as we had thought. For some, the Lord uses the storms and allows them because  He wants to grow us through them. Storms are most often considered tragic, but we must never forget that God can and will bring good out of storms if we trust Him (Rom 8:28).

Since being back from Korea, once again being placed in a place of unknown. Once again having to wait on and trust the Lord concerning the future, I’ve come to realize my faith still needs work. See, it’s easy to say I trust God, easy to say He’s in control, yet in the midst of the trials, it is also easy to give into the lies of the enemy. Easy to doubt and become afraid. Yet, the desire of my heart is to be a woman of God who stands firm. Who trust God no matter what. Who doesn’t worry about tomorrow but trust the Lord has it all worked out. A woman who seeks God and prays when faced with trials, not giving into anxiety or fear. A woman who not only says God is in control but a woman who truly believes this even when she can’t see God at work or understands what He is doing. A woman not controlled by feelings but instead who is controlled by the Lord.

Standing firm takes work, it takes prayer and discipline to reject the lies and to stand on the truth. It takes the strength and help of the Lord. If you are like me, your faith has room to grow. How about joining me on this journey. I’d love to hear your story and ways that help you to stand firm in the Lord.