Tag: enemy

Jul 9 You are my Refuge

“Lord my God, I take refuge in You; save and deliver me from all who pursue me, or they will tear me like a lion and rip me to pieces with no one to rescue me.” 

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Father, I don’t use the word “refuge” too often.  But from the time I was young, I remember hearing about “refugees” escaping other countries because the circumstances they lived in were so bad they had to flee to even survive.

Some came on boats with nothing but the clothes on their backs.  They had no food, no other clothing, no source of help.  But they believed if they could only reach America, there would be hope and the possibility of a new, safe, good life.

So a “refuge” is the place we go when we need safety, protection, relief, shelter, help, provision.   It allows security from the pursuit of danger or trouble.  Just as these people fled the threats of their government and political and physical danger to find refuge in America, so I can come to You to find relief from the onslaught of attacks against me.

The flesh, the world, and the evil one are all influences that war against Your wisdom, Your plan and Your purpose for my life.  So I ask You to come to my aid.

Defend me against all that seeks to destroy me, my godly relationships, my adoration and worship of You, my ministry in Your name, and my freedom to read and study Your Word.

The evil one seeks to keep me fearful, discouraged, frustrated, and make my faith in You waver because of difficult circumstances.  He desires my financial ruin, the destruction of my marriage, the smearing of my reputation, and personal moral failure.  The enemy is always crouching at my door, waiting to devour me.

So I ask, “Arise, O Lord, in Your anger; rise up against the rage of my enemies… O righteous God, who searches minds and hearts, bring to an end the violence of the wicked and make the righteous secure.  My shield is God Most High, who saves the upright in heart…You will not back down from the fight, but will sharpen Your sword; and will bend and string Your bow.  You have prepared deadly weapons; and have made ready Your flaming arrows.”

And “I will give thanks to You because of Your righteousness and will sing praise to Your name: The Lord Most High.”  Thank You for being my refuge; for delivering me from the hand of the evil one who comes to harm, kill, and destroy.

You are more powerful than anything he can bring against me.  You are more powerful than all the world can throw at me, or even that my flesh can tempt me with.  I trust in You.  You are my refuge.  Amen

Psalm 7:1-17

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Jul 6 I am a sheep

CindySheep“I will lie down and sleep in peace, for You alone, O Lord, make me dwell in safety.”

This reminds me of the 23rd Psalm.  The sheep are made to “lie down in green pastures.”   And although I would much rather be thought of as an eagle or lion, I am very much like a sheep.  I’ve recently learned that sheep need four things to be able to lie down and sleep.  They need freedom from fear, anxiousness, hunger, and pests.

A sheep’s main fear is from predators.  Because they don’t have speed or cunning or defensive claws, talons or fangs; they rely on their shepherd for protection from predators.

Anything can spook them.  It is the watchfulness and skill of their shepherd that allows them to feel safe enough to put fear out of their minds.   And it is the same with me.  I know there is no enemy, real or imagined, that is too big, no foe more powerful than You, my Shepherd.

You are my shield, my fortress, my deliverer.  There is no enemy that is a match for Your power.  You can see an enemy coming from any direction, any time, because You are everywhere, all the time.   So I am safe and can rest when I am in Your presence.

 

Anxiousness in the flock comes from the rivalry and competition for status and position.  Like a “pecking order” with chickens, sheep have a “butting order.”  It’s hard to eat or sleep in peace when being rammed or butted out of the way is a possibility.   When the shepherd appears, the flock’s attention is shifted; the butting stops, and rivalries are forgotten.

Similarly, there is tension in many of my relationships.  In some, there is jealousy, in some, rivalry, hurt feelings, or a sense of being “done wrong” or not appreciated.  But in Your presence Father, none of that matters.   Those things fade.  I’m humbled.  I’m relaxed and content.  When I put my focus on You, my Shepherd, I am in a place of peace.

When sheep are hungry, they will stay on their feet and continue to wander around for one more mouthful.  Until they are satisfied, they will not lie down.  Besides physical hunger, if I am emotionally or spiritually unsatisfied, I cannot rest.  It is only You, Father, who can meet all my needs.  Rather than continue to chew on the same old issues and sins, You have shown me a “promised land” where I can live in Your victory and have all I need.  There, is peace and safety.

Sheep can be tormented and driven to distraction by all kinds of flies and ticks.  Without the care of a good shepherd who applies repellants, dips and balms, a flock will be unable to eat or sleep at all.  They can literally be ”bugged” to death.

When things “bug” me, I too need to come to You, my Shepherd.  Lying down to go to sleep, all the worries of the day return to replay in my mind.   There have been nights I hardly slept, anxious about my circumstances and what I would do.  But when I give them over to You, Lord, You give me a new perspective.  I see things differently.

You show me ways to deal with things, solutions I couldn’t have imagined.   Or tell me to stand aside and You will handle it for me.   Or help me forget about it and move on.  You give me peace, so I can sleep.

Thank You for being my Good Shepherd.  Remind me to take advantage of the peace and safety You offer me.

Remind me to spend time in Your presence.  There I find freedom from all fears, anxiousness, hunger and pests.  When my sleep is sweet, it is a gift from You.  And You alone, O Lord.  Amen

Psalm 4:8

Jul 1 A good king – a great prayer!

Finally Father, a good king!  Hezekiah was a good king (few and far between) of the southern kingdom of Judah.

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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.

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

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

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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

 

Apr 16 Your voice, not the world’s

Lord, let me and let my sons be like Caleb and Joshua.

ToHear God's Voice

They spied out the Promised Land and saw all the goodness there.   They also saw the enemy for who they were, but knew that You would give victory and deliver them according to Your Word.

They held to their convictions and lived a long life receiving all You had promised.  Even in their old age, they were strong and vigorous because they served You wholeheartedly.

I know that both goodness and enemies lie before me.  But I know if I serve You wholeheartedly, I will receive all You promise.  Your will, Your plan will not be thwarted.  Even in my old age, help me be faithful, and I will be blessed and receive an inheritance from You.

Father, let me also be like the widow who made her plea to the judge so persistently that she received the justice she wanted.  Let my faith be that I will not give up, but always lift my concerns and needs to You in prayer.

When You return, let me be found faithful, continuing in prayer, not being dissuaded by circumstances or the influences of this world.

Also, Lord, keep me mindful that my only righteousness comes from You, so I will not look down on anyone else, but remain humble.  I am ever dependent on You, on Your mercy and on Your grace for my life and all that I have.  Thank You for Your faithfulness – to warriors, to widows, to me.  Amen

Joshua 14:6-15; Luke 18:1-14

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 1 Exodus Deliverance Prayer

Father, I pray this for many who are undergoing trials which seem overwhelming right now.

I pray that according to what the Holy One did for those who left Egypt when He delivered them out of the hand of Pharaoh at the Sea of Reeds in Exodus 14:19-31, He will do for you in your time of trial, difficulty or crisis.

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[He interposed Himself between Pharaoh’s army and His people who were in the desert trapped up against the Sea of Reeds.  He kept them safe all night as He prepared their way of escape.  He threw the enemy into a panic and vanquished them.  He gave them safe passage, making a way where there seemed to be none. And He gave them a wonderful deliverance.]

May God physically place Himself between you who He loves and has redeemed and whatever threatens your safety, your security and welfare; and personally assume responsibility for your protection – not because you deserve it by anything you have done, but for the sake of the eternal relationship He has with you.

May He keep vigil over you and send His almighty spirit to make a way of escape to deliver you.  May He watch over you through the night, the dark time when you cannot see His hand at work on your behalf – may you feel His protection even in light of seemingly overwhelming circumstances when you focus on the enemy.

As in Exodus 14:21 when God sent the “Ruach kadim” generally translated as ‘east wind’ but literally meaning ‘the breath that was from before the first that was in the very beginning’ (reference to Genesis 1:2 when the earth was without form and void, and darkness was upon the face of the waters, and the Ruach [the breath or Spirit] of the Holy One moved over the face of the deep) may you feel the Ruach or Spirit of God moving in whatever challenge is facing you, as He makes a way of escape for you.

May He set panic in the heart of your enemy and send them into confusion so they may not harm you.  May none of their weapons find their targets.  May they even turn on themselves in the confusion.

May He vanquish your enemy before your eyes.  May they fall into the very pit they have dug for you and into the hands of a jealous and mighty God.  May He totally repel and defeat them on your behalf, because He loves you.

Do not underestimate the power of the Holy One, your covenant partner.  He knows what you need and will provide your safe passage to the place of fulfillment of your purpose in life.  You are His handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do the works He prepared in advance for you.  And He who began a good work in you will be faithful to complete it.  God can and will do whatever He has to do to make a way even when there seems to be no way.

And May our Lord give you an awesome aftermath, where you can tell others about the wondrous and mighty work of the Holy One on your behalf.  May He give you a heart of gratitude and thanks that acknowledges Him and gives Him the glory.  May your testimony be that in faith, you stood and saw the deliverance of the LORD.

based on Exodus 13:17-14:31

and teaching from The Rabbi’s Son, Torah Teacher

Jan 11 Be like Rebekah

rebekah_at_the_wellpainting of Rebeca by Michael Deas 1995

Father, may we be like Rebekah. For when she heard all that was “from the Lord,” how You had worked to prepare a way for her, she did not delay; but went quickly in obedience, anticipating all You would bring her.

When given a choice to go or to stay and wait, she chose to go immediately.

She gave up all she knew: the familiarity of family, of people, of a place and a style of living. She set out with a stranger, whom You had blessed and led to her.

Give me Rebekah’s courage.

Let me be willing to go when You say ‘Go.’ Let my faith and trust in You be so strong, it overpowers all other concerns, worries, or obstacles in my path.

Rebekah received a blessing before she left: “Our sister, may you increase to thousands upon thousands; may your offspring possess the gates of their enemies.”

I ask for that blessing for myself as well.

Let the words You have given me, the spiritual light and life You have placed in me go out from me and be multiplied. Let it birth a spiritual blessing to thousands upon thousands.

And let these who are spiritual offspring be empowered to be victorious against their enemies, by controlling the enemy’s impact on their lives, and possessing their gates; locking the enemy behind them.

Later, when Rebekah was confused by what was happening to her in pregnancy, she “went to inquire of the Lord.” You gave her an answer and a revelation.

May I be like Rebekah in this as well. When I am confused, let me draw close to You and seek Your perspective and explanation.

Let me not lean on my own understanding, but give me a fresh understanding of my difficulties and a revelation that directs my path and encourages me in the way I should go.

Like Rebekah, help me place all my sense of security in You. Even when there is no evidence that would give me security by the world’s standards. Even when circumstances seem radically out of control and way beyond my comfort level.

In every relationship, every decision, every circumstance, let me turn to You; because You are able and willing, and deserving of my trust. You have promised never to leave me; never to forsake me. You can handle whatever comes. I choose to trust You. Thank You. Amen

Genesis 24:52-61; 25:21-23

Dec 16 though I sit in darkness…

“Though I sit in darkness, the Lord will be my light.”  Micah 6:8

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Father, I have so often been encouraged by this verse, this affirmation of Micah’s.  He was speaking on behalf of his country, Israel.   He was assuring his enemies that although they seemed to enjoy victory over Israel at this time, You were completely in control of what was happening.

Micah understood that Israel must bear the consequences of their sin, but that ultimately, You would “plead [their] case and uphold [their] cause.  You will bring [them] out into the light;” and Your righteousness would be seen by the enemy who would be “covered with shame” and “trampled underfoot.”

Father I have called on this verse for strength when facing all kinds of enemies.  You know how many things, forces, circumstances have gotten the better of me, and I felt alone in the ”darkness” in one way or another.

There have been times when physical illness or injuries have made me feel helpless, in the dark.  No matter, for You can bring healing into any illness or injury You choose.  And if not the healing I would hope for, You bring light to help me understand and deal with it.

At times, circumstances have left me in the dark for want of a good solution.  When I cannot perceive a way out, it feels like the darkness immobilizes me.  I can go through the process of making logical choices and weighing options, but none seem right.  When I call out to You, so often You bring light to the subject in a way that shows me a solution I had never thought of!

Other times, my emotions have weighed heavily on me in a negative way.  Discouragement, anxiousness, depression, and hopelessness lead to a very dark place indeed.

In this darkness, I cannot see to help myself, and often cannot even see to reach out to a friend.  The darkness almost seems to press in on me and pull me down, keeping me isolated and out of reach from everyone else.

But You can always reach me.  You remind me that even in the dark, You placed the stars to be light in the sky.   And although they are there in the daytime too, it is only at night, in the dark, that they are visible.  For me to see those stars, it must be dark…

And there have been times of spiritual darkness, when I felt under attack by forces I could not see, but could sense were there.  Then, I am somewhat fighting an enemy “in the dark”.  But You are light.  You walk in the light.  And when I walk with You, I can see by Your light!

Thank You for Your light that lets me see in the darkness!  I praise You that there is no darkness which You cannot dispel!

Your power overcomes any darkness of any kind.

Your light brings healing and hope and life!

I praise Your Name!  Hallelu Yah!

Micah 7:8-13

Nov 26 Teach me

Father, thank You for Peter’s reminder that as the end approaches, believers must be earnest in prayer, share Your deep love with others, and use our Spiritual gifts.

Some of these sound so easy.  None of them are.  I can’t do any of them without Your help.  What I can do is come to You in prayer.  You help me in so many ways.  I love my conversations with You!

aec-1782427_640Sometimes I feel closer to You when I walk around the lake, or through the trees, or can see the mountains.  When I am surrounded by Your amazing creation, You often give me a word of instruction or encouragement.

You have taught me things by watching geese flying above, or ducks feeding in the pond, or sunlight shining through dark clouds.  You have shown me how to be humble through the faces of blossoms that track the sunlight across the sky, or sunflowers that have heads so heavy with seed that they bend low.

It is so easy to praise You in the presence of the beauty of Your creation, and when things are going well.  But rejoicing in suffering is harder to do.  Sometimes, my side of the conversation is sobbing and tears.  It is anxious pleading with pain.

You reach out to me then too.  There is nothing You cannot handle.  There is nothing too big or too small to bring to You.  Thank You for this life-saving and life-giving privilege of prayer.

Father, teach me how to show Your great love to others.  It feels easy to do with strangers.  Kindness to a stranger is short-lived.  Help me to be loving and forgiving and hospitable to those I know.

Show me how to be humble, and not grumble.   And especially to those I know well, give me perseverance to act and speak in love for the long haul.

Lord, lead me in seeking out ways to join You where You are already at work, in ways that will use my Spiritual gifts.  Give me the energy and stamina to serve.   Show me how to serve humbly so You get the credit.  And let me recognize when to step back so another can use their gifts.

In all these things, let me also be aware of “[my] enemy the devil” who “prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.”  Help me see through his lies and deceptions.  Help me avoid his traps and temptations.   Strengthen me to resist him in all his cunning ways.   Make me strong, firm and steadfast.

Yours is the power forever.  I know You will never fail me.  Thank You.  Amen

I Peter 4:7-5:14

Nov 11 Forewarned and defended by You

“So I will put an end to lewdness in the land, that all women may take warning and not imitate you.” 

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Father, these two “women” represented Your people.  So when You say “all women may take warning and not imitate you,” you mean all countries and all peoples can learn not to make the same mistake the Israelites made with idolatry.

I pray that my country will learn from Your example here and not imitate the idolatry of Samaria and Jerusalem.

Father, do not let this lesson go unnoticed. You are a just God and You judge rightly.   Those people only rejected the law of Moses and were judged.  How much more will those be judged who live now and know of Your sacrifice on the cross?

You have made a new way for people today to approach You.   It is a better way!  By Your shed blood, I have the privilege of approaching You boldly, with full assurance and confidence.

So I draw near to You with a sincere heart, and ask that You show me how to live, encouraging other believers, worshipping You, acting in love, doing good deeds, and defeating the enemy.

Father, the enemy uses all manner of evil to try to defeat me.   Help me, Lord; do not be silent.  Fight against those who are against You and who attack me and my family.

Show them that You are victorious while they are clothed with shame and disgrace.    And I will rejoice in my deliverance, extolling my Father with praise!  Amen

Ezekiel 23:1-49; Hebrews 10:18-25; Psalm 109: 1-31

Aug 27 Help me help and be helped

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Dear Father, everyone has people in their lives who are weak and need help. Help me be aware of those You have placed in my life for me to help.

Sometimes there seem to be so many I am overwhelmed and end up doing nothing, or their needs are so great I feel that the little I can do will not make a difference.

And there are those who take advantage, pretending to be in need when they are not. I rely on You, Lord, to show me what I can do and where I can help. And even if I only do something small it can make a difference in someone’s life.

Father, when I think of You and Your immense power, I am the weak one. So I ask for Your protection. I cannot deal with things more powerful than me; preserve my life. I can see some traps or obstacles but many are invisible. Yet I can trust You to know when I need Your help, even if I don’t know that I do.

Thank You for being there for me when I can see my need and call on You. And thank You for being there for me when I don’t even know I am in need.

Father, my foes are many. Because I live in a fallen world, there are disease and disaster, man’s inhumanity to man, and the evil one lurks seeking to destroy Your believers. In all these things, only You can protect. Thank You that You are my strong deliverer who rescues and restores.   Thank You that You will not let my enemies triumph.

Thank You that You are from everlasting to everlasting. Amen and amen!

Psalm 41:1-3, 13

Aug 17 Your Name, Your Word is power

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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 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 6 I am a sheep

“I will lie down and sleep in peace, for You alone, O Lord, make me dwell in safety.”

CindySheepThis reminds me of the 23rd Psalm. The sheep are made to “lie down in green pastures”.   And although I would much rather be thought of as an eagle or lion, I am very much like a sheep. I’ve recently learned that sheep need four things to be able to lie down and sleep. They need freedom from fear, anxiousness, hunger, and pests.

A sheep’s main fear is from predators. Because they don’t have speed or cunning or defensive claws, talons or fangs; they rely on their shepherd for protection from predators.

Anything can spook them. It is the watchfulness and skill of their shepherd that allows them to feel safe enough to put fear out of their minds.   And it is the same with me. I know there is no enemy, real or imagined, that is too big, no foe more powerful than You, my Shepherd.

You are my shield, my fortress, my deliverer. There is no enemy that is a match for Your power. You can see an enemy coming from any direction, any time, because You are everywhere, all the time.   So I am safe and can rest when I am in Your presence.

Anxiousness in the flock comes from the rivalry and competition for status and position. Like a ‘pecking order’ with chickens, sheep have a ‘butting order’. It’s hard to eat or sleep in peace when being rammed or butted out of the way is a possibility. When the shepherd appears, the flock’s attention is shifted; the butting stops, and rivalries are forgotten.

Similarly, there is tension in many of my relationships. In some, there is jealousy, in some, rivalry, hurt feelings, or a sense of being ‘done wrong’ or not appreciated. But in Your presence Father, none of that matters. Those things fade. I’m humbled. I’m relaxed and content. When I put my focus on You, my Shepherd, I am in a place of peace.

When sheep are hungry, they will stay on their feet and continue to wander around for one more mouthful. Until they are satisfied, they will not lie down. Besides physical hunger, if I am emotionally or spiritually unsatisfied, I cannot rest. It is only You, Father, who can meet all my needs. Rather than continue to chew on the same old issues and sins, You have shown me a ‘promised land’ where I can live in Your victory and have all I need. There, is peace and safety.

Sheep can be tormented and driven to distraction by all kinds of flies and ticks. Without the care of a good shepherd who applies repellants, dips and balms, a flock will be unable to eat or sleep at all. They can literally be ‘bugged’ to death.

When things ‘bug’ me, I too need to come to You, my Shepherd. Lying down to go to sleep, all the worries of the day return to replay in my mind.  There have been nights I hardly slept, anxious about my circumstances and what I would do. But when I give them over to You, Lord, You give me a new perspective. I see things differently.

You show me ways to deal with things, solutions I couldn’t have imagined.  Or tell me to stand aside and You will handle it for me.   Or help me forget about it and move on. You give me peace, so I can sleep.

Thank You for being my Good Shepherd. Remind me to take advantage of the peace and safety You offer me.

Remind me to spend time in Your presence. There I find freedom from all fears, anxiousness, hunger and pests. When my sleep is sweet, it is a gift from You. And You alone, O Lord. Amen

Psalm 4:8

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

May 21 Family Victory

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”.

bhwhat-makes-a-family-holy-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 to You. 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

Apr 14 You Word over deception and lies

enemy-God-great“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.”

I 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: that is to accept the sacrifice of Jesus on the cross. His 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 1 Exodus Deliverance Prayer

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Father, I pray this for ______ who is undergoing trials that seem overwhelming right now.

I pray that according to what You, the Holy One did for those who left Egypt when You delivered them out of the hand of Pharaoh at the Sea of Reeds in Exodus 14:19-31, You will do for this precious one in their time of trial, difficulty or crisis.

[You interposed Yourself between Pharaoh’s army and your people who were in the desert trapped up against the Sea of Reeds. You kept them safe all night as You prepared their way of escape. You threw the enemy into a panic and vanquished the enemy completely. You gave them safe passage, making a way where there seemed to be none. And You gave them a wonderful deliverance.]

Lord God, will You now physically place Yourself between this one You love, who You have redeemed and whatever threatens their safety, their security and welfare; and personally assume responsibility for their protection – not because they deserve it by anything they have done, but for the sake of the eternal relationship You have with them.

May You keep vigil over them and send Your almighty Spirit to make a way of escape to deliver them. May You watch over them through the night, the dark time when they cannot see Your hand at work on their behalf – may they feel Your protection even in light of seemingly overwhelming circumstances when they focus on the enemy.

As in Exodus 14:21 when You sent the ‘Ruach kadim’ generally translated as ‘east wind’ but literally meaning ‘the breath that was from before the first, that was in the very beginning’ (reference to Genesis 1:2 when the earth was without form and void, and darkness was upon the face of the waters, and the Ruach [the breath or Spirit] of the Holy One moved over the face of the deep) may they feel the Ruach or Spirit of God moving in whatever challenge is facing them, as You make a way of escape for them.

May You set panic in the heart of their enemy and send that enemy into confusion so they may not be harmed. May none of the enemy’s weapons find their targets. May they even turn on themselves in the confusion.

May You vanquish the enemy before their eyes. May the enemy fall into the very pit they have dug as a trap and into the hands of a jealous and mighty God. May You totally repel and defeat the enemy on their behalf, because You love them.

We do not underestimate Your power, Holy One, our Covenant Partner. You know what is needed.   Provide for safe passage for them to the place of fulfillment of their purpose in life. They are Your handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do the works You prepared in advance for them. And You who began a good work in them will be faithful to complete it. You absolutely can and will do whatever You have to do to make a way even when there seems to be no way.

And may You, our Lord God, give an awesome aftermath, where they can tell others about the wondrous and mighty work of the Holy One on their behalf. May You give them a heart of gratitude and thanks that acknowledges You and gives You the glory. May their testimony be that in faith, they stood and saw the deliverance of the LORD. Amen

Exodus 13:17-14:31

Nov 11 Forewarned and defended by You

“So I will put an end to lewdness in the land, that all women may take warning and not imitate you.” Father, these two ‘women’ represented Your people. So when You say “all women may take warning and not imitate you” you mean all countries and all peoples can learn not to make the same mistake the Israelites made with idolatry. I pray that my country will learn from Your example here and not imitate the idolatry of Samaria and Jerusalem.

grateful-2006926_640Father, do not let this lesson go unnoticed. You are a just God and You judge rightly.   Those people only rejected the law of Moses and were judged. How much more will those be judged who live now and know of Your sacrifice on the cross?

You have made a new way for people today to approach You.   It is a better way! By Your shed blood, I have the privilege of approaching You boldly, with full assurance and confidence. So I draw near to You with a sincere heart, and ask that You would show me how to live, encouraging other believers, worshipping You, acting in love, doing good deeds, and defeating the enemy.

Father, the enemy uses all manner of evil to try to defeat me.   Help me, Lord; do not be silent. Fight against those who are against You and who attack me and my family. Show them that You are victorious while they are clothed with shame and disgrace.   And I will rejoice in my deliverance, extolling my Father with praise! Amen

Ezekiel 23:1-49; Hebrews 10:18-31; Psalm 109: 1-31