Tag: battle

Jun 26 You are my God

prayer-401401_640“Praise be to You Lord!  You are my Rock.  You train my hands for war, my fingers for battle.”

And I am in a battle Lord.  A battle between good and evil rages in my country, my society, and even in myself.  Help me stand firm for godly values amidst the onslaught of evil influences that elevate greed, selfishness, lust, envy, pride, laziness, murder, and all sorts of immorality.

“You are my loving God and my fortress, my stronghold and my deliverer.  My shield, in whom I take refuge…Part the heavens, O Lord, and come down; touch the mountains, so that they smoke.  Send forth lightening and scatter the enemies; shoot Your arrows and rout them.   

“Reach down Your hand from on high; deliver me and rescue me from the mighty waters, from the hands of foreigners whose mouths are full of lies, whose right hands are deceitful.”

Father, You never promised I would not have to face difficulties, but You have promised to always be with me.  You have said “When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers they will not sweep over you…”  Help me take hold of Your hand and stand strong against the rushing waters the enemy sends to sweep me off my feet.  Let me see through the veil of lies and deceit the enemy would use against me.

Make my sons “like well-nurtured plants.”   As plants need water, light and soil, let them grow strong and walk in the light of the “Son.”   Let them be watered by the Holy Spirit to revive and refresh them.  Give them a rich faith to nourish and feed them so they will produce fruit in season as a fruitful vine in Your care.

Father, prune them to increase their fruitfulness so their lives will bring honor and glory to You.    And make “my daughters like pillars:” strong and straight, beautiful to adorn a palace, of resilient character to stand for and display godly values.

Father, in rescuing me, You have “filled my barns with every kind of provision.”  You know what I need to meet the coming challenges You allow into my life.  Meet those needs in a way that I know without a doubt that You have done it.

Prepare me to face challenges in faith and strength of character so I will be a strong witness for You.  Meet my physical and economic needs.  Bless my household out of Your abundant provision.   Show me how to share with others from the bounty You provide for me.

You have my thanks and my praise.  “I will sing a new song to You.”  You are my God.  And I am blessed.  Amen

Psalm 144:1-15; Isaiah 43:1-2

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May 21 Family Victory

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Father in heaven, as You did for David, would You do for me and my family?  Would You “protect us and hand over to us the forces that come against us.”

David was fighting a real physical enemy.  Life and death were in the balance.

They were in hand-to-hand combat to regain what had been taken from them: their families and possessions.  David “inquired of the Lord” to seek Your will before he acted, and You promised him victory.

Father, I come before You today to seek Your will for my family; to ask if You will give us victory over the forces that are at work in the world today that pull us apart and away from You.

We do not fight hand to hand with a physical enemy.  But we live in a culture where family values are going by the wayside and Biblical values are not honored.

Parental authority is being eroded, parents are disrespected, children are rebellious and often rude.  We fight against selfishness, greed, hate, violence, immorality, materialism, the occult, witchcraft, and all the schemes of satan.

Father, especially in my family, would You give me wisdom as a parent to know when to speak and when to keep quiet, so I can offer wise counsel and not destructive comments.  Set a guard over my mouth to use words that are instructive, edifying and building up according to the needs of the one I seek to help.

Show me how to pray for Your perfect will in my children’s’ lives, not simply what I think will benefit them.  Keep me from comparing them to other friend’s children, or even each other.

Lord, keep the lines of communication open so conversations between us will be effective and filled with love and respect.

Give my children discernment so they are not swept away by the vain philosophies of men and the political schemes that do not support Biblical values.

Help them recognize and turn away from temptation when it would lead to greed, immorality, the occult or anything satan would use to draw them away from You.  Block their way when others entice them into ungodly activities.

Let them seek to bless with their words, and not curse.  Draw them to Yourself and instruct them in the way they should go to be in the middle of Your will and Your  blessing.  Remind them of their need for a Savior, and the joy of having a close relationship with You.

And I will give thanks that You are with me and You are my Helper.  Because of that, I will look triumphantly upon these foes.  I take refuge in You, Lord.  You are my strength and my Victory!  Amen

I Samuel 30:1-25; Psalm 118:7, 14

May 15 Faith like David

picture by Malcolm Gladwell

painting-david-and-goliath

 

Father, let my faith be like that of David.

As a child I learned of the battle of David and Goliath.  I have seen it reenacted in pictures, on felt boards with paper figures, in Claymation, live with children or adults in costume, and in movies about the Bible.  I think most people know of it as it has been referenced in many tv shows, movies, and news stories to describe any underdog fighting an overwhelmingly huge giant, whether in sports or business, countries or individuals.

In three main ways, I ask that You would grow my faith to be like David’s.

1 – He was able to look beyond himself.  He did not just take Goliath as a personal threat the way the soldiers did, but recognized someone in defiance of You.

Like most people, I interpret things in light of how they affect me, or my family.  That limits the scope of the solutions I can perceive.  It puts the focus on me to find a solution that I can perform.

David saw an affront to You, making it Your battle.  “Who is this uncircumcised Philistine that he should defy the armies of the living God?”

2 – He trusted that You had already prepared him for the battle.  “When a lion or bear came and carried off a sheep from the flock, I went after it, struck it, and killed it.”

And because of that, was able to turn from pressure to do what others suggested – the armor, helmet and sword.

I trust that You have already brought circumstances into my life to teach me how to deal with things.  And that this has prepared me for what is to come.  You have already intentionally, purposefully, given me spiritual gifts, talents, abilities, and experiences to make me who I am.

Help me use those things instead of feeling like I have to conform to what others expect of me.  Give me confidence in Your preparation for whatever battle I face.

3 – He voiced confidence in You and gave You the glory for the victory even before it happened!  “…but I come against you in the name of the Lord Almighty.   This day the Lord will hand you over to me…and the whole world will know that there is a God in Israel.”

My confidence is not always so certain.  Sometimes I even try and do things with as little notice as possible, so if I fail, it won’t reflect badly on You.   This is another way I focus on myself, and what I can do.

Help me see that the battle is Yours.  And You can conquer all Your enemies!  You will attain the victory!

Father, let my fear shrink and my faith grow!  Let me look beyond myself to all You can do in and through me.  I trust in Your purposefulness and Your preparation.  Help me exemplify all this in the challenges I meet.  Amen

I Samuel 17:1-58

May 13 Praying Your Word

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Lord Jesus Christ, thank You that You hear and answer my prayers.  Thank You that You have and will continue to deliver me from trouble and tragedies I will never even know about because of Your divine protection.

You tell me that my struggle is not with flesh and blood.  So I pray this psalm against the rulers, powers, and world forces of this present darkness.  I claim these verses against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places.

I ask for Your victory as they exert their strength against my health, my relationships, my emotions, my faith and the work of my hands as I seek to honor and glorify You.

Lord Jesus Christ, these forces are wicked and deceitful.  They open their mouths against me and speak against me with lying tongues.  With words of hatred they surround me and attack me without cause.  They accuse me and repay evil for good.

They love to pronounce a curse – so let curses come upon them; they find no pleasure in blessings, so let blessing be far from them.  They wear cursing as a garment so let it enter into their body like water and into their bones like oil.  May their curses be like a cloak wrapped around them with a belt constantly tied around them.

Appoint an evil man to oppose them; let an accuser stand at their right hand.  When they are tried, let them be found guilty, and may their prayers condemn them.

Lord Jesus Christ, let these forces be clothed with disgrace and wrapped in shame.  Let them know that it is Your hand that has vanquished them!

They may curse me, but You, O Lord, bless me.  I will lift Your name up in praise!   I will make known that You save according to Your love.  And that You stand ready to save us from those powers who would condemn.

I praise You that Your powers are greater than any other, in heaven or on the earth.  You are Supreme!  Amen

Psalm 109:1-31; Ephesians 6:12

May 12 There is none like You

Because You can be trusted, O Lord, my heart is strong and steady.  I am secure in my faith.  I will stand steadfast and give You the praise You deserve!

I will shout and sing!  I will make music that honors You with all that is in me!  I will sing along with praise music.  Add my voice to those of others in praise and worship.  And will compose new songs that tell of Your faithfulness to me!

guitarplayI will stay up late to praise You Father!  I will even get up early when the sun is coming up to honor You!  Break out the guitars, pianos, cymbals, harps, harmonicas, drums, whatever instruments can make music that acknowledges Your love and faithfulness!

Your love is boundless!  As high as I can see with my eyes or even perceive with satellites to the farthest reaches of our galaxy – Your love goes farther still!  Beyond what is calculable or even imaginable!

I stretch out my arms to encompass all I can measure from end to end till it wraps around the earth and begins again – that’s the way Your unending faithfulness is.  You are over and above and beyond all that I can see or comprehend!  I place Your name above all others.  Your glory is limitless!

With just the power and strength in Your right arm, You can save me from any foe, rescue me from any enemy, deliver me from any calamity.  Deliver me Lord, from the lies and deceit of the evil one.  Do not let me be pulled into false philosophies, lying schemes, or political intrigues only to see the truth when it is too late and I have been corrupted.

I am Yours, Lord.  Defend me and bring me to Your fortified place.  Free me from the weaknesses of my flesh: selfishness, laziness, lust, jealousy, pride, arrogance, and greed.  Help me against all these enemies.  No one can help me like You.  There is none like You!

With You, I am victorious!  With You, nothing is impossible!  Thank You for coming to my aid.  Thank You for loving me faithfully.  And for being lovingly faithful.  Amen

Psalm 108:1-13

 

May 9 How to remember

Lord, thank You for the reminders in scripture today.  Reminders of things You’ve already shown me this year, but bear repeating so I can really get it!  I need to mark the victories in my life, and trust that You can do much with little.

elephant-1090834_640When You defeated the Philistines with Your thunder, Samuel set up a stone there and named it Ebenezer.  From the Hebrew “even” – pronounced eh-ben – meaning  stone and “ezer” meaning help: it is a “stone of help.”

Stones would last a long time, so for generations, when anyone passed by the “Stone of Help” they would be reminded that God helped and delivered them at this place in the battle against the Philistines.

I too can commemorate significant moments in my life with things that remind me of Your deliverance and impact.  It could be a piece of art, or jewelry, a song, poem or picture, something placed on my desk or walls or in my home or yard that has meaning to me.

Then when someone comments on it, I can give the reason for its significance.  That would be a fitting testimony to Your greatness.  More than that, whenever I see it, it would be an encouragement to me of Your faithfulness and power in my life.

When You took the small offering of a young boy, two fish and five barley rolls, and fed five thousand with it, with much left over to spare; it reminds me that whatever gifts I bring to You, You can bless and multiply and use for purposes to glorify Your name.

On those days when I feel like I have little to offer, I will remember that when I give it to You, the result is not dependent on the size of the gift.  Whatever I bring, You can do and accomplish much more that I can even imagine.

ebenezer

 

Thank You for these reminders today, Lord.  In remembering times and events where You impacted my life in significant ways, I will make my own “Ebenezers.” They will be reminders for me and markers for others.

And I will learn what my gifts are, and give them over to You to multiply and use to bless others.

Thank You for knowing I need help remembering.  Thank You for telling me over and over again about the things that are important, and of Your love for me.  Amen

I Samuel 7:7-14; John 6:1-13

Apr 14 Your Word over deception and lies

“O God, do not keep silent; be not quiet, O God, be not still.  See how Your enemies are astir, how Your foes rear their heads.”

enemy-God-greatI live at a time in the history of earth, when You have permitted satan to have limited power here.  With lies and deception, vain philosophies and worldly desires he confuses people and leads them astray.

He holds up the pride of accomplishment and the lusts of the eyes and of the flesh as the pinnacle of human achievement.  He elevates satisfaction and pleasure with material gain no matter the cost in human suffering.

And he stalks those who would seek to lead a godly life and bring You glory; hoping to derail their efforts and sideline them completely.

When I was born, I was automatically on satan’s team because of my sin nature.  Because Adam sinned, all sinned.  There is only one way to be reconciled to You and be on Your team:  accept the sacrifice of Jesus on the cross.

Jesus’ blood paid the price, the penalty for my sin.   Once on Your team, satan can never have me on his team again.  And because that makes him mad, he tries to ruin my team efforts or keep me off the field entirely.

I admit sometimes I am still misled by satan’s lies.  He deceives me to believe that I am not worthy, or good enough to be on Your team.  If he gets me discouraged enough, depressed, despairing, or distracted, I may just sit myself on the sideline.  He is cunning in his ways to deceive.  And he plots against Your players on all fronts: personally, professionally, physically, mentally, emotionally, socially, and spiritually.

But Lord, Your armor is the best.  Your protection: absolute.

Thank You that I can protect my mind, my thoughts, from the evil one and use my faith as a shield.

Thank You that I have a weapon: Your Word, to use against his lies and deceiving ways.

And thank You for fighting with me, to give me victory!

Father, make Your enemies like refuse on the ground; “like tumbleweeds that blow along, like chaff before the wind” that is blown and dissipates till it is no more. Consume Your enemies “like a fire consumes the forest or sets a mountain ablaze” as You “pursue and terrify them with Your hurricane power.”

“They will perish in disgrace, O Lord.  And know that You alone, are the Most High, over all the earth.”  Amen

Psalm 83:1-18

Feb 15 Me? A Disciple?

picture0223Holy Father, may I be like those You called to follow You as disciples.  May I be willing to leave my family, my occupation to go with You wherever You lead me, leaving behind the security I would lean on in place of You.

Although I was not present in Capernaum where You began teaching with such authority, let me learn from the amazing lessons in Your Word.

You have given me the Holy Spirit to teach me, correct me, guide me.  Make me sensitive to the leadings of the Holy Spirit in my life.

Help me listen to godly wisdom when it comes to opportunities and circumstances; not just take the easy way, or most logical way.  I will call on You, and seek the direction of the Holy Spirit.

Though I may not have seen You perform miracles in Galilee, You have answered prayers and done miraculous things in my life and in the lives of others I know.  Let me be bold about sharing those experiences and so spread the word as Your disciples did.

“I have the assurance that You will contend with those who contend with me and will fight against those who fight against me.  You will take up shield and buckler, arise and come to my aid.  You will brandish spear and javelin against those who pursue me.  You will disgrace and put to shame those who seek to ruin my life; and turn back in dismay those who plot my ruin.“

As David wrote these words about the men who were literally seeking his life, I seek Your deliverance from the oppression of the powers of this present darkness at work in the world today; from the spiritual forces at work against You, and so also against me as I live in Your light.

“My soul rejoices in You.  I delight in Your salvation.”  I place my complete trust in You, for there is none like You.  I know that “Your wisdom will reward me.”  Thank You for being my Savior.  Amen

Mark 1:16-28; Psalm 35:1-4,9; Proverbs 9:11

Feb 8 Praying Your words

Bibleprayerhands

 

Your Words are holy.  Sometimes I simply pray Your very own words back to You!  It’s as if You already know what I need and have prepared the prayer for me.

“I trust in You.  My times are in Your hands;” They always have been whether I acknowledged it or not – my comings and goings, my living and dying, and all the moments in between, were already determined before even one of them came to be.

“Deliver me from my enemies and from those who pursue me.”  Whether physical, emotional, mental or spiritual adversaries – You are Sovereign over them all and can defeat them all.

“Let Your face shine on Your servant; save me in Your unfailing love.”  May I feel the impact of Your illuminating presence on my body, mind and spirit and be saved from harm not because of anything I have done or earned, but because of Your benevolent generosity and grace.

“Let me not be put to shame, O Lord, for I have cried out to You; but let the wicked be put to shame and lie silent in the grave.” Let me see victory in the utter defeat of our enemies and the fulfillment of Your justice. Strengthen me to walk in Your way.  Amen

Psalm 31: 14-17

Dec 28 Wedding Feast of the Lamb

wedding-365943_1920Father, how it seems as if Zechariah and John are talking about the same thing: the end times

 “On that day when all the nations of the earth are gathered against [Jerusalem]…”  Could that be the battle of Har Meggido [Armageddon]?

In John’s description: “Then I saw the beast and the kings of the earth and all their armies gathered together to wage war against the rider on the horse and his army.”

And the result of each?  From Zechariah “On that day I will strike every horse with panic and every rider with madness” and from John “The rest were killed with the sword coming out of the mouth of the rider on the horse, and all the birds gorged themselves on their flesh.”

banquet-453799_1920Father, in that day there will be such an amazing celebration for You in the heavens!  And with the believers both in heaven and on the earth.  For the day of the wedding supper will have come!

It will be the culmination of the Divine Romance.  According to Jewish customs, the Father of the Groom chooses the Bride.  You, the Father, chose each and every believer!

Also, the Bridegroom traveled from his home to the Bride’s.  You left the majesty of heaven as Jesus and came to earth.

And the Bridegroom paid the price for the Bride – in this case, it was Your very life!  You shed Your precious blood to pay the price for me!  The Bridegroom makes the offer, but the Bride can accept or reject.  You invited me into relationship with You, as You invite each one here on earth.  I accepted the offer to become Your Bride.

Just as in Jewish wedding custom, when I accepted, we became betrothed.  As each believer is now in a state of betrothal, we are set apart, belonging to You, and have the Holy Spirit as a pledge, a seal of the relationship.

The Groom then leaves to prepare a place for them to live.  You left earth, and have gone to prepare a place for me and every believer to join You.  And at the right time, known only by the Father of the Groom, the Groom returns to take the Bride to be together.

The right time, known only to You, the Father, is this day these prophets are speaking about when they say: “The wedding of the Lamb has come.”

And what an entrance You make!  No better scene was ever directed in an epic movie!

“I saw heaven standing open and there before me was a white horse, whose rider is called Faithful and True… His eyes are like blazing fire, and on His head are many crowns. He has a name written on Him that no one knows but He Himself.   He is dressed in a robe dipped in blood, and His name is the Word of God.  The armies of heaven were following Him, riding on white horses and dressed in fine linen, white and clean.   Coming out of His mouth is a sharp sword with which to strike down the nations…On His robe and on His thigh He has this name written:

KING OF KINGS AND LORD OF LORDS.” 

What a glorious day!!  What a day of rejoicing!  I can’t wait!  Amen!

Zechariah 12:1-9; Revelation 19:1-21

 

Dec 21 Shield my head

red-dragon-revelation

Father, what an incredible vision You gave John!  As he describes the scene and the action, it sounds like a great cosmic video game!  But this one does not play out over and over with a reset button when the player fails at the quest.

The revelation John sees here: “a woman clothed with the sun, with the moon under her feet and a crown of twelve stars on her head” and “an enormous red dragon with seven heads and ten horns and seven crowns on its heads.”  These are not anime characters, but are signs that represent actual happenings.  The woman represents Israel, and the red dragon: satan.  Satan was hurled down to earth and roams here now to “lead the whole world astray.”

The bad news:  “woe to the earth and sea because the devil has gone down to you!  He is filled with fury…”.   The good news: “his time is short.”

Because satan roams the earth in his furious state, and has duped people into following him, I need You, Father, to “keep me safe from the hands of the wicked.”  It is not only the evil one, but also those under his authority who do his biding that I have seen at work.

I know sometimes I don’t make wise choices and must bear the consequences.  In those times Father, I ask for Your forgiveness and Your wisdom to learn from my mistakes.

And other times, I feel attacked; caught by surprise in situations and circumstances I did not anticipate.  I feel entrapped, tripped up, led into places, relationships, emotional states, and difficulties that feel like an oppressive force is orchestrating it all.

When I begin to feel discouraged and hopeless, when I find myself doubting Your goodness and Your love, I know there is some element of evil at work.  Thank You that You have promised to “shield my head in the day of battle.”  Your helmet of salvation protects my thoughts and reminds me of Your truth.  It helps me hold what I am feeling up against the truth of Your Word.

Thank You that I can be sure of Your love for me.  Thank You that I can know without a doubt, that Your purpose and plan for me are good.

Thank You that I know You will never, ever, leave me or forsake me.  And thank You that the devil’s time here on earth is short.  And a time will come when You will triumph over all!

In the meantime, I “will praise Your name”!  And “live [my life] in Your presence”, in safety, with You as “my strong deliverer”  awaiting Your “end game.”   Amen

Revelation 12:1-17; Psalm 140:1-13

Dec 5 Peace in the storm

“[My] help is in the Name of the Lord, the Maker of heaven and earth.”

Jesus calms sea

Father, You are the help I turn to when things are not going well.   You are the help I acknowledge when things are going right.   I love the old hymn:

“O God our help in ages past, our hope for years to come, our shelter in the stormy blast and our eternal home.”

You are my place of shelter and of rest.  I live on the earth now, and You shelter me.  One day I will have rest in my eternal home with You.

Like David does in this Psalm, I can look back over my life and see times when I was guarded and protected by Your hand.

I can say with David: “if You had not been on [my] side when people attacked [me], they would have swallowed [me] alive when their anger flared against [me]; the flood would have engulfed [me], the torrent would have swept over me, the raging waters would have swept [me] away.” 

I have faced circumstances I thought would do me in.  Times when I could see no way out to be at peace again.

Some were physical challenges or health issues with myself or loved ones.   Some were situations at work or with relationships I thought could never be reconciled.

Some were simple hardships like times of being out of work, or the basement flooding.  At times it actually felt like turbulent, raging waters pulling me down, away from my ability to cope.

But Father, You have shown up to give me hope when the world offered no hope.  You would often sing me a new song along with scripture to help me sense Your presence and be encouraged.  One such song’s chorus goes:

You calm me down, You give me peace

You make this battle inside of me cease

You give me hope to carry on

when all the hope the world can give is gone

Thank You that You are my hope, my help.  Thank You that John reminds me that You have given me eternal life.  Let me remember to focus on that when challenges come.

He reminds me that I can have confidence in approaching You: that “if I ask anything according to Your will, You hear me.”

Father, help me see and know Your will.  Align my desires with Your will.  So that when difficulties come, and they will, I will be able to ask for Your perfect will to be done, knowing that even if I have to walk through hardship, You will be my help.  Amen

Psalm 124:1-8; I John 5:13- 15

Nov 6 The One True God

What a reminder Lord, that You are in control.

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You cause and relieve famines.  The lives of every person in the world, and every animal, are in Your hands.  You also control the beasts, whether they are calm and docile, or whether they attack and kill.   You control armies, the leaders who deploy them, and the outcome of the battles – who lives, and who dies.  And You control disease, outbreaks, plagues; and who lives or dies by them.

All these things You used against the Israelites.  And it is the same today.  All these things are still in Your hands

 “Who can proclaim the mighty acts of The Lord or fully declare his praise?”  There is no one.  The full extent and measure of Your power is beyond my ability to comprehend.

I have seen great storms of such powerful strength that houses and trees are uprooted.  You are more powerful.

I have watched rushing waters tear up highways and destroy homes and shopping centers.  Your strength is greater.

I have seen the limits people will go to, to forgive a wrong that has harmed them greatly.  Yet Your forgiveness goes farther.

I have seen the deep love of a mother for her new child, willing to sacrifice all for that child.  Yet Your love is deeper and greater in every way.

I cannot measure the breadth of Your mercy.  And I cannot fathom the depths of Your wrath.    This is both reassuring and terrifying.  I am reassured that there is nothing, absolutely nothing, that is beyond Your control.  That means I have nothing to fear.

I am blessed by Your love, Your mercy, Your forgiveness, Your provision.  Even when I mess up, You have provided for that, and I can be reconciled to You.   And I am assured of my salvation.

But the depths of Your wrath will be released one day.  Because You are just, You must judge.  And the very security I have, that all things are in Your control, will be the terror of those who have rejected You.

I “give thanks to you, Lord, for You are good; Your love endures forever”.  Amen

Ezekiel 14:12-23; Psalm 106:1-12

 

Sept 28 Victory in Jesus!

Father, I desire to “be strong in You and in Your mighty power.”   And to “take my stand against the devil’s schemes.”

I realize that my battle is not with the people around me, or my circumstances, although I sometimes feel at war with these.  My struggle is “against the rulers, against the authorities, against the power of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.”  And the armor You have given me is perfectly suited to what I need.

roman shieldI wear the “Helmet of Salvation” – which bears Your insignia, letting all know in whose army I fight.  It guards my head, but also my thoughts.  It reminds me to take every thought captive and compare it to Your truth.

You have given me a “Belt of Truth” with which I can recognize the lies of the enemy.  Help me not be mesmerized by what I think I want to hear, so that I do not look deeply enough to recognize a lie when I hear it.

You have given me a “Breastplate of Righteousness” so that stabs and attacks glance off without doing harm.  With deeper protection, it is like the forerunner to the bulletproof vest which stops and arrests projectiles before they can hurt me.

You “fit my feet with the readiness that comes from the Gospel of Peace”.   People may remove their shoes when entering a home or as a sign of relaxing.  But when shoes are put on, it signifies a readiness for action.

As a believer, my action should be directed toward sharing the “Good News” or the “Gospel” with others.   My faith in the Good News of my salvation gives me traction to be able to “stand firm.”  “So that when the day of evil comes, I will be able to stand my ground.”

“In addition to all this, take up the Shield of Faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one.”  This is not some little garbage can lid with a handle!  The shields Paul was seeing were those of the Roman guard.

They covered the soldier’s body and were wide enough so when they stood together it made a formidable wall.  And thick enough to block and stop sword, spear, arrow and javelin.

Father, every time You do what You say, keep Your promise, deliver me from some trouble, or stand with me in some hardship, it builds my faith.  It strengthens my Shield!  And when I stand beside other believers in their faith, I am protected even more!

And I take up the “Sword of the Spirit” – Your Holy Word.  There is such power in Your Word!  Evil trembles and turns back at the mention of Your name.  Praying Your Words back to You by using scripture empowers my prayers.

When I am dressed in Your armor, and wielding Your weapons, I am a mighty force!

Your armor is the best.  With it I can stand firm.  I can stand against the schemes of the evil one.

When You fight with me and for me, it is You who give me the victory!  And I receive the blessing.  Thank You!  Amen

Ephesians 6:10-17

Aug 17 Your Name, Your Word is power

warfarehelmets

Father, most days I don’t feel like I’m in a battle. I don’t see people who “seek my life”, “plot my ruin”, or who are “hiding nets” and “digging pits” for me. Most of the time I live oblivious to the spiritual battles that go on around me.

But I believe there is a spiritual realm.

You speak about spiritual powers: rulers, authorities, and spiritual forces of evil, which have an effect on this world and on me. It may be a battle to control the minds and hearts of people; or it may affect actual circumstances. There are times I sense such calmness and peace in my spirit that does not come from my circumstances or the people around me. And there are other times when the atmosphere seems charged with negativity, an oppressiveness that feels truly evil; spawning confusion, disunity and fear.

It’s hard to put into words. But in those negative times, the waves of oppression are dispelled by calling on Your name: Lord Jesus Christ. I can speak scripture and am encouraged, strengthened by the power in it, as if I am wielding a sword, cutting through the darkness around me. It may seem the opposition is coming from a person or circumstance. Still, I do not pray against that person or circumstance, but against the power using or controlling them or it.

“Take up shield and armor; arise and come to my aid. Brandish spear and javelin against those who pursue me.” Psalms like this one help me actually visualize what I cannot see in this battle, which takes place in the spiritual realm.

I can see You, Father, answering my cry, sending help to take up weapons against this enemy power. You pick up Your giant shield, strap on Your belt holding Your sword. You swing Your spear and javelin back and forth to ward off the enemy while advancing to my aid. These picture words help me “see” the fight that is before me, taking place in a realm I cannot yet see.

“May they be like chaff before the wind, with the angel of the Lord driving them away”.

There is a process of removing the dry, scaly outer husks of grain after it’s been harvested. For the grain to be usable, this casing must be separated from it. Pounding the harvested grain breaks the hull. Then the sifter tosses the grain up into a light wind and the seed, the heavier, edible grain, falls free from the outer hull. The breeze blows this outer piece, the chaff, aside, so the grain can be collected for food.

So now I can imagine these spiritual enemies, these powers that come against me, as the lightweight waste material, being blown away, tossed, whirled away from me, driven with the force of a powerful wind from You and Your angels.

“May their path be dark and slippery, with the angel of the Lord pursuing them.”

When a path is dark, I usually move more slowly to be safe. And if it is slippery, I go even slower to keep from falling; trying to plant every step. So I can see the evil enemy fumbling, slipping, falling, being hurt and defeated on a dark, slippery path because Your angels are pursuing them, chasing them down.

“May the net they hid entangle them.”

I can visualize the enemy placing a net so carefully to trap me, but then getting confused, turned around, falling into it themselves, becoming tangled in the cords and held fast. Or running blindly to escape Your attack and falling into the very pit they have dug to entrap me.

When I picture these scenes as I pray, I join the battle. I feel Your power and the defeat of the enemy. Thank you for the peace You bring with Your victory! “Who is like You”? There is none. I rejoice in You! Amen

Psalm 35:1-10

Aug 12 Working together

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Father, what a lesson from Nehemiah!

Two things stand out for me that apply to Your people today.

One: that sometimes there is opposition when we are doing Your work, such that we must work with one hand on the task and one hand on the sword.

And two: that we must not take advantage of or hinder our own people.

Father, whatever task, circumstance or relationship I’m involved with, help me see spiritual opposition. It may appear as overt resistance or an obstruction to what I’m trying to do. Or be an invisible undertone of grumbling, complaining, discouragement or division. Whatever the case, remind me that Your Word is my Sword – my weapon.

Your Word has power. It can overcome discouragement and repair disunity.   It can change my focus, reveal truth and tear down the lies of the opposition; even change the hearts of those against me. Ready my mind, Lord, to prepare me to fight the battle however it presents itself.

As the Jews were hindering their brothers, I see that sometimes I work against myself and may not realize that what I am doing is preventing someone else from doing their job. Show me from Your perspective if I am in any way, hindering a brother or sister. Show me how to encourage them and free them up to do what You have called them to do. As we work alongside each other for Your purpose, free us all to do our best.

I trust that You have prepared me for whatever comes against me, and for whatever task You have purposed for me to do.   Open my eyes to see it all clearly. Strengthen my arm to do the work. Sharpen my mind to know Your Word.   Embolden my Spirit to go forward. “Instruct me and teach me in the way I should go; counsel me and watch over me.” And “I will rejoice in You and be glad. And “Shout for joy!” Amen

Nehemiah 3:15 – 5:13; Psalm 32:8, 11

Aug 2 You encourage me

photo by Joshua Earlejoshua-earleGreater is He

Father, thank You for the words of encouragement Hezekiah gave his men. The same words are encouraging to me today, because I know that no matter what hardship or battle or enemy I face, You are greater than any of them. And You are with me!

“Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or discouraged because of” (fill in the bank with my hardship) “and the vast army with him, for there is a greater power with us than with him! With him is only the arm of flesh, but with us is the Lord our God to help us and to fight our battles.”

The world will yell back at me exactly what Sennacherib said:

“On what are you basing your confidence?…Do you not know what I and my fathers have done to all the people of other lands? Were the gods of those nations ever able to deliver their land from my hand?…How then can your god deliver you from my hand? Do not believe it…”

The world and the flesh and the devil echo these words to try and make me doubt. My flesh will say that I am weak. That I am unworthy of Your help. The world will show me how many others have fallen before me – those stronger than me to begin with. The devil will try and get me to focus on my circumstances and question Your love for me.

But Your Word builds me up. It reminds me that I am Yours and You have promised never to leave me. You have given me armor, both offensive and defensive, to help me. The Helmet of Salvation bears Your insignia, in whose army I fight. And it protects my thoughts. So many battles are won and lost in the mind before even one arrow flies. It reminds me to take every thought captive so I can hold it up to truth.

The truth is, I am weak, but “Your strength is made perfect in my weakness”. I am unworthy of Your help. I can never ‘earn’ Your help. But Your help comes because of Your unchanging character, flowing from Your grace and mercy! It never was dependent on anything I could ever do.

Others may have fallen who were stronger than me, but I will be victorious because of Your strength, not my own.   And despite the devil, I will not judge Your love by my circumstance, but by Your Word. It says Your love never changes, it is everlasting, enduring forever. And I will choose to look at You, not focus only on my circumstances.

This is how I will triumph over challenges. Even in the conditions of today’s Psalm: “I am lonely and afflicted. The troubles of my heart have multiplied…my enemies have increased and hate me fiercely…” I will put my eyes on You and not my circumstances. I will answer the lies I hear from the other voices, with Your voice of truth; as You voiced it through Hezekiah: I will be strong and courageous. I will not be afraid or discouraged.

I will remember that You are a greater power. And that You are with me! Praise be to You! Amen

2 Chronicles 32:1-23; Psalm 25:16-22; 2 Corinthians 12:9

July 27 Jehoshaphat’s prayer & deliverance

sword-41036_640O Lord, may my victories be like those of Jehoshaphat’s! When I am confronted with a difficulty, let me learn from Jehoshaphat. His first response upon hearing of the dilemma? “Alarmed, Jehoshaphat resolved to inquire of the Lord, and he proclaimed a fast…” Then, when the people came together, he prayed!

This is what I should do! Rather than respond with anxiousness, confusion, anger, frustration, or discouragement.

His words began with a statement of who You are and what You can do. How encouraging, to be reminded that You, my God, are the most powerful force in all creation!

“O Lord, God of our fathers, are You not the God who is in heaven? You rule over all the kingdoms of the nations. Power and might are in Your hand, and no one can withstand You. We stand in Your presence… and cry out to You in our distress, and You will hear us and save us… For we have no power to face this vast army that is attacking us. We do not know what to do, but our eyes are upon You!” 

What a claim! I acknowledge my insufficiency, but affirm my faith in trusting You. If I look at You instead of whatever problem, my focus stays positive. It confirms that You are bigger than the problem. 

“This is what the Lord says to you: Do not be afraid or discouraged because of this vast army. For the battle is not yours but God’s. Tomorrow, march down against them…you will not have to fight this battle. Take up your positions; stand firm and see the deliverance the Lord will give you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged. Go out and face them tomorrow, and the Lord will be with you.”

Then they “bowed with their face to the ground and fell down in worship before the Lord. Some stood up and praised the Lord, the God of Israel, with a very loud voice.”

 Father, You answered them with a challenge to be courageous, and a promise to fight their battle.   I definitely feel more courageous when I am singing praise music, or praying out loud. When I connect with You in prayer, I am re-energized and empowered to go on. From my journals, it is also reassuring to read about the times You have delivered me in the past. Recalling Your faithfulness always has an inspiring and calming effect.

And the result? Jehoshaphat and his men didn’t have to fight. As they sang and praised You, You fought the battle! Then they spent three days carrying off the plunder from the victory You gave them!

They returned to Jerusalem rejoicing and praising You in the Temple.

O Father, I forget when my problems seem so big, that I have a Father who is bigger. Who can give me a victory. Who can provide me with abundant rewards. Remind me to come to You first. To seek You, to fast, to pray, and to trust. Thank You. Amen

2 Chronicles 20:1-30

 

July 25 We make choices

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Father, You give me choices, and in You I am free.   Strengthen me to make the right choices, godly choices.

Asa started out with such fervor for You. He tore down the idolatrous worship places. He led the people to seek You and worship You as they should. He sought Your deliverance from military enemies. And You gave him victory, and rest on every side.

Like Asa, I can trust in Your promise: “The Lord is with you when you are with Him. If you seek Him, He will be found by you…But as for you, be strong and do not give up, for your work will be rewarded.” Father, help me seek You in all the battles I face. In truth, there have been so many times already, when You have come through for me.

You have saved me from close calls. You have stopped calamity when it could have been much worse. You have provided resources and solutions I never could have seen without You. You have brought unique answers that I had never imagined to problems that seemed unsolvable. You have acted in my life in ways that seem nothing short of miraculous!

Yet, like Asa, I am also guilty of forgetting to seek You, neglecting to ask for Your help. When Asa was faced with another battle, he took silver and gold out of the Temple to bribe another ruler to withdraw support from the enemy. It was a foolish thing. And he paid for it by being at war the rest of his reign.

It reminds me of the words to a song You gave me:

In other times I knew Your will

And I became the vessel You would fill

Why is it hard now, to take a stand

When I have seen the power of Your hand?

You give me choices, in You I’m free, O Lord, strengthen me

 

Lead me, hold me, guide me, Lord enfold me

Cover me with the blood of Calvary, and be with me, be with me

 

Lord let me make Your strength my own

Let me feel it flowing from Your precious throne

Right by Your side, O let me be

And let me feel Your power washing over me

You give me choices, in Christ I’m free, O Lord, strengthen me

Strengthen me Father, to seek You always. Whatever the problem, whatever I face. Let me never make the mistake of thinking I can ‘handle it’ without You. I know when I seek You eagerly, I will find You. And the reward of Your peace will be mine. Thank You! Amen

2 Chronicles 14:1-16:14

July 17 Your truth delivers me

Dear Father, “How long must I wrestle with my thoughts and every day have sorrow in my heart?” It seems some days are harder than others. If even one negative thought comes into my head, it can bring me down. I glumly mull it over and the thought generates an emotional response. Very easily other negative thoughts join in and pile up on each other till I am feeling discouraged.

Helmet of Salvation

Quickly enough, discouragement heaps on even more ‘should have, would have, could haves’ until I am feeling out of control, overwhelmed and depressed and join with the psalmist in saying “Give light to my eyes or I will sleep in death”. In my own words, ‘Help me or I’ll just die.

It is surprising how quickly simple thoughts can lead to anger, fear, frustration, until I am not only emotionally upset, but also experience a physical response which can leave me with a headache or feeling sick to my stomach. It impairs my judgment and my ability to function efficiently, whether at work or at home. I can’t even relate to people normally in my agitated condition.

“But I trust in Your unfailing love; my heart rejoices in Your salvation.”   You have already given me a wonderful solution to this problem. If only I would remember to use it!

The battle begins in my mind. And You have given me a piece of armor to protect my mind – the Helmet of Salvation.   It guards my thoughts and gives me the ability to take them captive and hold them up to Your truth. It also gives me the ability to understand and memorize Your truth so I have it at the ready when I need it.

Your truth can help me stop the flow of wrong and negative thoughts. The evil one uses these, preferring that I remain sidelined in discouragement and depression, unable to defend myself. He will use these kinds of half-truths and deceiving lies to mislead and condemn me. But when held up to the truth, they are shattered and scattered.

One way I can know if a thought comes from You, is that You convict whereas satan condemns. He would make me feel like a hopeless, dirty, rotten, sinner. You may correct me, but Your words lift me up, motivate and empower me to make the needed corrections. Your words generate hopefulness. His produce hopelessness.

Lord, remind me, to use this amazing gift! When a negative thought comes, prompt me to hold it up to Your truth immediately. Help me build into my memory an arsenal of truth from Your scriptures. When I memorize scripture I can use it to combat the lies seeking to discourage me and control my thinking. Then I can confidently deal with whatever truth You show me. “I will sing to the Lord, for He has been good to me!” Amen

Psalm 13:1-6

July 12 Give me victory

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Father, I want to be like the men You sent to be with David to make up his great army. These were men described as “armed for battle…ready for battle…brave…experienced…of undivided loyalty…armed with every type of weapon.”   I want to be ready for the battles I face.

My flesh wars with me, tempting me into sin. The world around me seeks to draw me into its ungodly values. The evil one desires my destruction. Give me the discernment to know right from wrong in these confusing times and the courage to be loyal to You. Help me be prepared to stand up for what is right.

You have given me weapons: Your Word, prayer, Your promise of wisdom when I ask for it, other believers around me for support. I know the power there is real. I have seen it over and over again. I have experienced Your blessings and amazing responses to prayer time and time again.

I also desire to be like the “men of Issachar, who understood the times and knew what Israel should do.” Give me insight into the political and national issues and wisdom to understand the agendas behind the movements going on in my world today. Help me see the truth of things. Teach me to understand how to follow You and show me how to respond rightly.

Do not let me stand alone, Lord. You sent Paul “so that he might impart to you [other believers] some spiritual gift to make you strong – that is, that you and I may be mutually encouraged by each other’s faith.”   In a similar way Lord, let me encourage and strengthen other believers around me, and let them encourage my faith.

Father, thank You for the friends and all those You have sent to walk beside me. Thank You for those who have prayed for me and for the prayers I make for them.

Your armor is the best. Your plan is sure. And I have read the end of the Book – You win!! I am so glad to be on Your team! Thank You for choosing me. Amen

I Chronicles 12:19-40; Romans 1:11-12

July 5 My Defense

How amazing You are, Father. You knew what Paul was headed for and You told him to “Take courage” just when he needed it. You also worked out that a relative learned about the plot against Paul’s life. And predisposed the Commander of the barracks to be willing to listen to a boy. Because he took the boy’s story seriously, it preserved Paul’s life and gave him the opportunity for a greater testimony.

There is no doubt that You involve Yourself with life circumstances here on earth. And intercede to bring about Your purposes. Thank You that I am assured that You not only know what will come next in my life, but will prepare me for it, encourage me through it, and cause things to work together for me. I can trust this to happen, because I can trust You.

roman shield

 

“O Lord, no matter how many are against me, You are a shield around me.” You protect me from their attack. You repel the arrows fired at me. You stop the fiery darts flung at me. You deflect the blows directed at me. I can stand behind You, as I would stand behind a battle shield and be safe.

Not a flimsy garbage can lid, but a battle shield: reaching from my head to my feet. And wide enough to cover me so that when I stand next to another, our shields meet and form a wall. This shield is thick enough and covered with materials that will prevent penetration by darts or arrows. And it is shiny to reflect the sun and blind the enemy so I am a hard target to find.

“When I cry out to You, You answer me!” You speak to me through Your Word and in prayer. You have ways to reach me I haven’t even imagined. “And when I lie down, and sleep, I wake again because You watch over me. You sustain me.” When I cannot defend myself, You are there, protecting me.

So “I will not fear – even when I see my enemy drawn up against me…You will arise! You will deliver me!” Thank You Father for Your immeasurable love for me, for Your unfathomable power which You use to strike down my enemies. All praise to You! Amen

Acts 23:11-35; Psalm 3:1-8

July 1 A good king – a great prayer!

017-hezekiah-assyriansFinally Father, a good king! Hezekiah was a good king (few and far between) of the southern kingdom of Judah. He removed the high places that other kings had allowed to be used for pagan worship and smashed all the sacred stones and Asherah poles.

During one of Assyria’s attacks, Hezekiah prayed to You because the Assyrian king mocked and ridiculed You, claiming You could not save Your people. And You answered and delivered them.  I echo those powerful words.

“Lord, God of Israel, enthroned between the cherubim, You alone are God over all the kingdoms of the earth.  You have made heaven and earth.  Give ear, Oh Lord, and hear; open Your eyes Oh Lord, and see, listen to the words [of the world and the evil one], sent to insult the living God. “

“It is true, Oh Lord, that (the evil one) has attacked and laid waste (to many, winning victories over their lives).  Now, Oh Lord, our God, deliver (me and my loved ones) from the hand of the enemy “- from any plot or plan to derail me, or us from the purpose and plan You have for our lives  – from any lies or deception the world or the evil one would use to oppress us – from any harm the enemy would seek to do in our lives, whether physical, mental, emotional, psychological, intellectual, social, financial, political or spiritual – “so that all the kingdoms of the earth may know that You, alone, Oh Lord, are God. “

My loved ones and I may not have to do battle on horseback with spears, but our enemies are real.  Powers and forces come against our family, our godly values, our emotions, our finances, our life circumstances; all trying to defeat us and make us lose our faith in You.2 king

Your response to Hezekiah was positive and powerful. I desire the same victory You gave Him, Father:   “The enemy will not enter (my life or the lives of my loved ones) or launch an attack (against us).  The enemy will not come against us with shield or build a siege ramp against us (to gain a foothold in our lives or cause devastation within our walls).  By the way that the enemy came (to oppress us,) he will leave and will not enter.  You will defend us and save us, for Your own sake. “    

You were true to Your Word to Hezekiah, and I know You will be faithful to me. Father, thank You that there is nothing too big and nothing too small for me to ask of You.   You have the power, the authority and the desire to act. Thank You that You can do immeasurably more than I can ask, or even imagine, in my life, and in the lives of my loved ones – so that You will get all the glory!  Amen

2 Kings 18:13-19:37

June 26 You are my God

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“Praise be to You Lord! You are my Rock. You train my hands for war, my fingers for battle.” And I am in a battle Lord. A battle between good and evil rages in my country, my society, and even in myself. Help me stand firm for godly values amidst the onslaught of evil influences that elevate greed, selfishness, lust, envy, pride, laziness, murder, and all sorts of immorality.

“You are my loving God and my fortress, my stronghold and my deliverer. My shield, in whom I take refuge…Part the heavens, O Lord, and come down; touch the mountains, so that they smoke. Send forth lightening and scatter the enemies; shoot Your arrows and rout them. Reach down Your hand from on high; deliver me and rescue me from the mighty waters, from the hands of foreigners whose mouths are full of lies, whose right hands are deceitful.”  

Father, You never promised I would not have to face difficulties, but You have promised to always be with me. You have said “When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers they will not sweep over you…”. Help me take hold of Your hand and stand strong against the rushing waters the enemy sends to sweep me off my feet. Let me see through the veil of lies and deceit the enemy would use against me.

Make my sons “like well-nurtured plants”.   As plants need water, light and soil, let them grow strong and walk in the light of the “Son”.   Let them be watered by the Holy Spirit to revive and refresh them with Living Water. Give them a rich faith to nourish and feed them so they will produce fruit in season as a fruitful vine in Your care. Father, prune them to increase their fruitfulness so their lives bring honor and glory to You.   Make “my daughters like pillars”: strong and straight, beautiful to adorn a palace, of resilient character to stand for and display godly values.

Father, in rescuing me, You have “filled my barns with every kind of provision.” You know what I need to meet the coming challenges You allow into my life. Meet those needs in a way that I know without a doubt that You have done it.

Prepare me to face challenges in faith and strength of character so I will be a strong witness for You. Meet my physical and economic needs. Bless my household out of Your abundant provision.   Show me how to share with others from the bounty You provide for me.

You have my thanks and my praise. “I will sing a new song to You.” You are my God. And I am blessed. Amen

Psalm 144:1-15; Isaiah 43:1-13

June 19 Your Word, Your Spirit, Your Voice

God's Word 3Precept??

Father, how amazing that You sent Your Word through prophets to the kings of Israel to give them direction, instruction, correction, even advice on successful battle plans! You sent specific word to Ahab to determine that he should fight against the thirty-three kings and their armies and chariots assembled. You told him who should lead the attack, when, and who would win!

I often wish there were such easily discernable ways I could hear from You. If only You would send me an email, or write across the sky to inform me about decisions or concerns I face.

And then I realize – You have written me a letter! It’s Your Holy Word. If I take the time to read it, often, things become clear. If I had never read the Bible, I wouldn’t know that in it, You have already included instructions for godly, moral living.

You have already made Yourself very clear on many topics that relate to me today. Instead of hearing of and memorizing only scattered verses, I need to feed myself, and know the entirety of what You have to say to me.

So, reading Your word is a start. Studying it for a deeper understanding is also important. Then connecting the dots to how what You have said impacts my life, is crucial. Some Bible study methods have big words for this: observation, interpretation, application. Very simply, it is asking: What are You saying? What does it mean? What does it mean to me?

A big part of the burden to hear from You, then, is on me to listen to what You have already said. But to help me even more, You have given me, and every believer, the Holy Spirit. Part of the Holy Spirit’s job is to help me understand, apply, and live by what Your Word says to me. I need to pay attention to what it is telling me, and be obedient, not ignore, discard, or drown out what I hear.

Thank You that I can hear from You just as specifically as those who heard the prophets speak. You have given me so much more to help me in knowing You and understanding You

Thank You for Your Word.

Thank You for the Holy Spirit.

Help me make reading and studying Your Word a priority for my time and energy.

Do not let me quench the Holy Spirit.

And thank You that I can even talk to You personally in prayer. And know that You hear me. And trust that You’ll answer. What an awesome God! Amen

I Kings 20:1-22

 

 

June 13 You still and quiet my soul

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Father, how often do I come before You in prayer feeling so overwhelmed by life? There are some times when I feel like things are going well. I feel in the center of Your will and I have no concerns. I feel blessed in the sense of peace all around me.

There are times when I have small issues that are so easy for You to show me solutions. They may take time and action, but are easily handled with Your help. And then there are times when I am so anxious over circumstances that I lay my heart open for You to see and heal. I prepare for battle with Your armor and You send me out with marching orders against the enemy.

But there are still times, when I see the overwhelming personal issues: illness, death; and larger ones that ravage the world, my country, Your people: suffering, hunger, corruption, oppression, terrorism, to name a few. And I am overcome by how small I am and how helpless I feel.

These are the times I come to You and lay my head on Your shoulder. I wrap my arms around You, bury my face in Your robes and nuzzle in, breathing in Your power, and Your peace.

I am calmed, because I know that You are in control. I understand that this is not a battle You have called me to, but that You have it completely in hand. And I need not worry about it.

These verses describe what I feel:

“My heart is not proud, O Lord, my eyes are not haughty; I do not concern myself with great matters or things too wonderful for me. But I have stilled and quieted my soul like weaned child with its mother, like a weaned child is my soul within me.”

I know there are things You deal with that are too big for me to even be a part of. And like a child who no longer breastfeeds, when that child goes to its mother, there is no physical hunger to be satisfied –only a peace and calm derived from the safety and security the mother offers.

That’s what I feel in You. I know that the world is in Your capable hands, and I can rest contented. Thank You for this lovely picture.   And for being the One I can trust and rest in. Amen

Psalm 131:1-3

May 15 Faith like David

painting-david-and-goliath(picture by Malcolm Gladwell)

Father, let my faith be like that of David.

As a child I learned of the battle of David and Goliath.

I have seen it reenacted in pictures, on felt boards with paper figures, in Claymation, live with children or adults in costume, and in movies about the Bible.

I think most people know of it as it has been referenced in many tv shows, movies, and news stories to describe any underdog fighting an overwhelmingly huge giant, whether in sports or business, countries or individuals.

In three main ways, I ask that You would grow my faith to be like David’s.

1 – He was able to look beyond himself . He did not just take Goliath as a personal threat the way the soldiers did, but recognized someone in defiance of You. Like most people, I interpret things in light of how they affect me, or my family. That limits the scope of the solutions I can perceive. It puts the focus on me to find a solution that I can perform. David saw an affront to You, making it Your battle.

“Who is this uncircumcised Philistine that he should defy the armies of the living God?”

2 – He trusted that You had already prepared him for the battle. “When a lion or bear came and carried off a sheep from the flock, I went after it, struck it, and killed it.”

And because of that, was able to turn from pressure to do what others suggested – the armor, helmet and sword.   I trust that You have already brought circumstances into my life to teach me how to deal with things. And that this has prepared me for what is to come. You have already intentionally, purposefully, given me spiritual gifts, talents, abilities, and experiences to make me who I am. Help me use those things instead of feeling like I have to conform to what others expect of me. Give me confidence in Your preparation for whatever battle I face.

3 – He voiced confidence in You and gave You the glory for the victory even before it happened!

“…but I come against you in the name of the Lord Almighty.   This day the Lord will hand you over to me…and the whole world will know that there is a God in Israel.”   My confidence is not always so certain. Sometimes I even try and do things with as little notice as possible, so if I fail, it won’t reflect badly on You.  This is another way I focus on myself, and what I can do. Help me see that the battle is Yours. And You can conquer all Your enemies! You will attain the victory!

Father, let my fear shrink and my faith grow! Let me look beyond myself to all You can do in and through me. I trust in Your purposefulness and Your preparation. Help me exemplify all this in the next challenge I meet. Amen

I Samuel 17:1-58

May 13 Praying Your Word

Lord Jesus Christ, thank You that You hear and answer my prayers. Thank You that You have and will continue to deliver me from trouble and tragedies I will never even know about because of Your divine protection.

sword-790815_640You tell me that my struggle is not with flesh and blood. So I pray this psalm against the rulers, powers, and world forces of this present darkness. I claim these psalm verses against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places.

I ask for Your victory as they exert their strength against my health, my relationships, my emotions, my faith and the work of my hands as I seek to honor and glorify You.

Lord Jesus Christ, these forces are wicked and deceitful. They open their mouths against me and speak against me with lying tongues. With words of hatred they surround me and attack me without cause. They accuse me and repay evil for good.

They love to pronounce a curse – so let curses come upon them; they find no pleasure in blessings, so let blessing be far from them. They wear cursing as a garment and it enters into their body like water and into their bones like oil. May their curses be like a cloak wrapped around them with a belt constantly tied around them.

Appoint an evil man to oppose them; let an accuser stand at their right hand. When they are tried, let them be found guilty, and may their prayers condemn them.

Lord Jesus Christ, let these forces be clothed with disgrace and wrapped in shame. Let them know that it is Your hand that has vanquished them!

They may curse me, but You, O Lord, bless me. I will lift Your name up in praise!   I will make known that You save according to Your love. And that You stand ready to save from those powers who would condemn. I praise You that Your powers are greater than any other, in heaven or on the earth. You are Supreme! Amen

Psalm 109:1-31; Ephesians 6:12

Apr 13 God’s plan – not mine

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Lord God, once again You show that You have a plan and are willing to include man in it. You gave specific details of what Joshua was to do in order to gain Your victory.

First, though, the Israelites had to purge the sin from within their midst. It is the same for me. I cannot ask You for victory when I am harboring sin.

 

Then You told them “do not be afraid; do not be discouraged”.   It would have been easy to dwell on their last failure and be fainthearted in the presence of the same enemy who had routed them before. When I have tried to do something in my own strength, and failed, it is hard to get up and try again without fearing the same disastrous result.

Next they had to follow Your plan exactly, to Your specifications and in Your timing. That can be hard as well. So often I second-guess You by trying to come up with my own plan. There are ways that seem to make sense to man, but do not often yield the desired result. So I must be willing to give up the direction my own thoughts lead me and be obedient to what You tell me.

Last, they enjoy the victory, giving thanks and credit to You. They collected the spoil but went right to building an altar for offering sacrifices, acknowledging that You are the One who gave the victory. Every person involved was present and attentive to Your words, being reminded of the blessings and the curses You promised.

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When things go well, it’s easy to sit back and take the credit, not including You until I need You again. But it is vital I recognize that the victories in my life come from You. I am learning how to give credit to You without sounding false or insincere. And it strengthens me to know You are involved in my life.

What was the result of this successfully executed plan? Even more kings came together to make war against them! Sometimes the battles we face, challenging as they may be, are simply preparation for bigger battles to follow!   But we can know that having done well will lay the groundwork for the next success. Victory is ours when the battle is the Lord’s! Amen.

Joshua 7:16-9:2

Sept 28 Victory in Jesus!

Father, I desire to “be strong in You and in Your mighty power”.  And to “take my stand against the devil’s schemes.” I realize that my battle is not with the people around me, or my circumstances, although I sometimes feel at war with these. My struggle is “against the rulers, against the authorities, against the power of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.” And the armor You have given me is perfectly suited to what I need.

roman shieldI wear the “Helmet of Salvation” – which bears Your insignia, letting all know in whose army I fight. It guards my head, but also my thoughts. It reminds me to take every thought captive and compare it to Your truth.

You have given me a “Belt of Truth” with which I can recognize the lies of the enemy. Help me not be mesmerized by what I think I want to hear, so that I do not look deeply enough to recognize a lie when I hear it.

You have given me a “Breastplate of Righteousness” so that stabs and attacks glance off without doing harm. With deeper protection, it is like the forerunner to the bulletproof vest which stops and arrests projectiles before they can hurt me.

You “fit my feet with the readiness that comes from the Gospel of Peace”.  People may remove their shoes when entering a home or as a sign of relaxing. But when shoes are put on, it signifies a readiness for action.   As a believer, my action should be directed toward sharing the ‘Good News’ or the ‘Gospel’ with others.   My faith in the Good News of my salvation gives me traction to be able to “stand firm”. “So that when the day of evil comes, I will be able to stand my ground.”

“In addition to all this, take up the Shield of Faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one.” This is not some little garbage can lid with a handle! The shields Paul was seeing were those of the Roman guard. They covered the soldier’s body and were wide enough so when they stood together it made a formidable wall. And thick enough to block and stop sword, spear, arrow and javelin.

Father, every time You do what You say, keep Your promise, deliver me from some trouble, or stand with me in some hardship, it builds my faith. It strengthens my Shield! And when I stand beside other believers in their faith, I am protected even more!

And I take up the “Sword of the Spirit” – Your Holy Word. There is such power in Your Word! Evil trembles and turns back at the mention of Your name. Praying Your Words back to You by using scripture empowers my prayers.

When I am dressed in Your armor, and wielding Your weapons, I am a mighty force! Your armor is the best. With it I can stand firm. I can stand against the schemes of the evil one. When You fight with me and for me, it is You who give me the victory! And I receive the blessing. Thank You! Amen

Ephesians 6:10-17

Sept 9 Recognize Truth

O Father. I pray that I will not be “deceived by the serpent’s cunning as Eve was”, and that my “mind would not be led astray from a pure and sincere devotion to Christ.”

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The serpent used deception to lure Eve into sin. He approached her boldly, the better to distract her. He called into question what You had really said, the better to confuse her. He cunningly suggested that what You wanted for her was not enough; was even bad for her, the better to entrap her.

Father, help me avoid falling into whatever traps the evil one sets for me. Let me see through them; beyond the lure of the sound of his words, to the hook buried beneath. The answer to this ‘serpent speak’ is ‘God speak’. I need to be listening, really paying attention to all that You are saying to me. In Hebrew, the word is sh’ma. It means to listen so closely, so deeply, so diligently, that the words change the listener from the inside out. The meaning also incorporates a response to those words as being similar to that of a mother who recognizes her baby’s cry and drops everything to respond immediately to it. Father, let me sh’ma You, listen deeply and respond to You.

For my mind to be guarded enough so that I am “not led away”, I need to take some action myself. You give me, and every believer, armor: protection against the enemy. One item is the Helmet of Salvation. I believe that this helmet bears Your insignia so that all who see it will know I fight on Your side. And it protects not only my head, but my mind inside: my thoughts. In doing so, many lies the evil one would have me believe simply bounce off and never even enter my mind.

However, some lies are disguised, or they have a little bit of truth in them, and I listen to them.   But it is a twisted bit of truth, or a half truth. So before I accept it, I need to “take every thought captive to God”. This means I need to examine it and hold it up to Your truth. When I don’t, problems begin. Even the little things I accept that are not true can pull me away from a “pure and sincere devotion to Christ”. And I may not even realize it until I have strayed significantly off course.

So Father, help me remember to examine any thoughts and compare them to what You have told me. I will use Your Word as a plumb line.   That string with a metal weight at the end is pulled by gravity so that the resulting line is absolutely straight. Anything can be measured against this line to determine if it is ‘true’, or not.

Your Word is truth. Your Word is the absolute. Thank You for Your Word.   Thank You for the Helmet of Salvation. Thank You that when I sh’ma You, I will not be deceived by the serpent or led astray, away from You. Amen

II Corinthians 11:1-4

May 15 Faith like David

painting-david-and-goliath(picture by Malcolm Gladwell)

Father, let my faith be like that of David.

As a child I learned of the battle of David and Goliath. I have seen it reenacted in pictures, on felt boards with paper figures, in Claymation, live with children or adults in costume, and in movies about the Bible. I think most people know of it as it has been referenced in many tv shows, movies, and news stories to describe any underdog fighting an overwhelmingly huge giant, whether in sports or business, countries or individuals.

In three main ways, I ask that You would grow my faith to be like David’s.

1 – He was able to look beyond himself . He did not just take Goliath as a personal threat the way the soldiers did, but recognized someone in defiance of You. Like most people, I interpret things in light of how they affect me, or my family. That limits the scope of the solutions I can perceive. It puts the focus on me to find a solution that I can perform. David saw an affront to You, making it Your battle. “Who is this uncircumcised Philistine that he should defy the armies of the living God?”

2 – He trusted that You had already prepared him for the battle. “When a lion or bear came and carried off a sheep from the flock, I went after it, struck it, and killed it.”

And because of that, was able to turn from pressure to do what others suggested – the armor, helmet and sword.   I trust that You have already brought circumstances into my life to teach me how to deal with things. And that this has prepared me for what is to come. You have already intentionally, purposefully, given me spiritual gifts, talents, abilities, and experiences to make me who I am. Help me use those things instead of feeling like I have to conform to what others expect of me. Give me confidence in Your preparation for whatever battle confronts me.

3 – He voiced confidence in You and gave You the glory for the victory even before it happened! “…but I come against you in the name of the Lord Almighty.   This day the Lord will hand you over to me…and the whole world will know that there is a God in Israel.”   My confidence is not always so certain. Sometimes I even try and do things with as little notice as possible, so if I fail, it won’t reflect badly on You.  This is another way I focus on myself, and what I can do. Help me see that the battle is Yours. And You can conquer all Your enemies! You will attain the victory!

Father, let my fear shrink and my faith grow! Let me look beyond myself to all You can do in and through me. I trust in Your purposefulness and Your preparation. Help me exemplify all this in the next challenge I meet. Amen

I Samuel 17:1-58

May 13 Praying Your Word

Lord Jesus Christ, thank You that You hear and answer my prayers. Thank You that You have and will continue to deliver me from trouble and tragedies I will never even know about because of Your divine protection.

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You tell me that my struggle is not with flesh and blood. So I pray this psalm against the rulers, powers, and world forces of this present darkness. I claim these psalm verses against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places. I ask for Your victory as they exert their strength against my health, my relationships, my emotions, my faith and the work of my hands as I seek to honor and glorify You.

Lord Jesus Christ, these forces are wicked and deceitful. They open their mouths against me and speak against me with lying tongues. With words of hatred they surround me and attack me without cause. They accuse me and repay evil for good.

They love to pronounce a curse – so let curses come upon them; they find no pleasure in blessings, so let blessing be far from them. They wear cursing as a garment and it enters into their body like water and into their bones like oil. May their curses be like a cloak wrapped around them with a belt constantly tied around them.

Appoint an evil man to oppose them; let an accuser stand at their right hand. When they are tried, let them be found guilty, and may their prayers condemn them.

Lord Jesus Christ, let these forces be clothed with disgrace and wrapped in shame. Let them know that it is Your hand that has vanquished them!

They may curse me, but You, O Lord, bless me. I will lift Your name up in praise!   I will make known that You save according to Your love. And that You stand ready to save from those powers who would condemn. I praise You that Your powers are greater than any other, in heaven or on the earth. You are Supreme! Amen

Psalm 109:1-31; Ephesians 6:12