The battles are the Lord’s

For everything that was written in the past was written to teach us, so that through the endurance taught in the Scriptures and the encouragement they provide we might have hope. Romans

Comments, thoughts and reflections welcome.

Psalm 18:37-50

I have pursued my enemies and overtaken them;

​​Neither did I turn back again till they were destroyed.

 ​​I have wounded them,

​​So that they could not rise;

​​They have fallen under my feet.

 ​​For You have armed me with strength for the battle;

​​You have subdued under me those who rose up against me.

You have also given me the necks of my enemies,

​​So that I destroyed those who hated me.

They cried out, but there was none to save;

​​Even to the LORD, but He did not answer them.

 ​​Then I beat them as fine as the dust before the wind;

​​I cast them out like dirt in the streets.

 ​​You have delivered me from the strivings of the people;

​​You have made me the head of the nations;

​​A people I have not known shall serve me.

 ​​As soon as they hear of me they obey me;

​​The foreigners submit to me.

 ​​The foreigners fade away,

​​And come frightened from their hideouts.

 ​​The LORD lives!

​​Blessed be my Rock!

​​Let the God of my salvation be exalted.

It is God who avenges me,

​​And subdues the peoples under me;

 ​​He delivers me from my enemies.

​​You also lift me up above those who rise against me;

​​You have delivered me from the violent man.

 ​​Therefore I will give thanks to You, O LORD, among the Gentiles,

​​And sing praises to Your name.

​​Great deliverance He gives to His king,

​​And shows mercy to His anointed,

​​To David and his descendants forevermore.

Pasted from <http://www.blueletterbible.org/tools/printerFriendly.cfm?b=Psa&c=18&v=1&t=NKJVP>

Do we have battles to wage today?  The Lord goes before us to guide us.  He makes us strong to fight the battles.  He gives the victory to us.  No matter what shape the battle takes, no matter who or what the enemy is, he takes pleasure in the call of his people.  The victory is his.  We can say with the psalmist:  “I will praise you among the nations, I will sing praises to your name.”

We do not have to run from our battles; we can turn and pursue– be the pro-active one.  We do not become victims; not of fear and not of the enemy.  We are victors; the enemy becomes dust under our boldness and strength and this is because we know the Lord fights for us.

Those who govern…lead and worship

Ezekiel 46:1-10

Thus says the Lord GOD: “The gateway of the inner court that faces toward the east shall be shut the six working days; but on the Sabbath it shall be opened, and on the day of the New Moon it shall be opened. 2 The prince shall enter by way of the vestibule of the gateway from the outside, and stand by the gatepost. The priests shall prepare his burnt offering and his peace offerings. He shall worship at the threshold of the gate. Then he shall go out, but the gate shall not be shut until evening. 3 Likewise the people of the land shall worship at the entrance to this gateway before the LORD on the Sabbaths and the New Moons. 4 The burnt offering that the prince offers to the LORD on the Sabbath day shall be six lambs without blemish, and a ram without blemish; 5 and the grain offering shall be one ephah for a ram, and the grain offering for the lambs, as much as he wants to give, as well as a hin of oil with every ephah. 6 On the day of the New Moon it shall be a young bull without blemish, six lambs, and a ram; they shall be without blemish. 7 He shall prepare a grain offering of an ephah for a bull, an ephah for a ram, as much as he wants to give for the lambs, and a hin of oil with every ephah. 8 When the prince enters, he shall go in by way of the vestibule of the gateway, and go out the same way.

9 “But when the people of the land come before the LORD on the appointed feast days, whoever enters by way of the north gate to worship shall go out by way of the south gate; and whoever enters by way of the south gate shall go out by way of the north gate. He shall not return by way of the gate through which he came, but shall go out through the opposite gate. 10 The prince shall then be in their midst. When they go in, he shall go in; and when they go out, he shall go out.

Pasted from <http://www.blueletterbible.org/tools/printerFriendly.cfm?b=Eze&c=46&v=1&t=NKJVP>

Those who govern are to worship apart from the people, bring the offerings listed here;  then they  go in and out with the people.

“…The prince shall enter by way of the vestibule of the gateway from the outside, and stand by the gatepost. The priests shall prepare his burnt offering and his peace offerings. He shall worship at the threshold of the gate. …”

 “…The prince shall then be in their midst. When they go in, he shall go in; and when they go out, he shall go out….”

Several things are noted here.  Government is not above and beyond the people but in touch with them, worshipping with them.  The government does worship initially apart but then returns and goes in and out with the people.

“…When they go in, he shall go in; and when they go out, he shall go out….”

Also the going and out not using the same entry to leave implies the blessing goes with us.  We do not leave it behind.  Come in on the right, pass through and leave on the left.  And the reverse is also true.  The blessing given and received is not left behind but goes with us.

“…“But when the people of the land come before the LORD on the appointed feast days, whoever enters by way of the north gate to worship shall go out by way of the south gate; and whoever enters by way of the south gate shall go out by way of the north gate. He shall not return by way of the gate through which he came, but shall go out through the opposite gate….”

However, the prince, the governing entity, does not go in and out by two different passages, but use the same one to leave that was used to come in.  What are the implications here?  The ruling body then joins the people going in and coming out.  They remain in touch with the people and are not set above them.

Take away:  in our country we have a separation of church and state in that the state cannot dictate which manner of worship shall be used by the population of this country.  However, that is not to say the people are not to worship nor does it imply that the governing men and women are not to worship.  According to this passage, it is important for those given the responsibility to govern to also remain in touch with the people they govern and they also are to seek counsel and give honor to the Lord.  Can we join in prayer as believers that our leadership will be found faithful to both be leaders in worship as well be leaders in close touch with the people they lead?

Whatever happened to separation of church and state?  It isn’t here!  What does that say to us?  What are your thoughts?

Awards Again…

It’s award time and my thanks for the encouragement goes out to those who nominated me for the following awards.

ThanksHolly Michael’s Writing Straight For the Sisterhood of the World Bloggers Award. As her Blog states, Holly writes, and  writes well.  There is inspiration and truth in her writing as well as compassion and caring.  Take the time to go there and find out.

Thank  you Holly for this award and the privilege to share the joy of writing, especially writing about our Lord.

First I’ll list the rules, and then I’ll follow through with what I was asked to do…

1) All recipients need to thank the giver 2) Post 7 things about yourself 3) Pass the award on to 7 other bloggers of their choice and let them know that they have been nominated. 4) Include the logo of the award in a post or on your blog

***

Seven things about myself:

  1. I write.
  2. I teach.
  3. I garden.
  4. I read.
  5. I knit.
  6. I paint.
  7. I craft.

It is my pleasure to nominate the following blogs:

  1. SR at Water My Flowers Lord is such a joy to visit.  She inspires and encourages. You can  visit her here: http://watermyflowerslord.wordpress.com/
  2. Faith at Faithrises is such an inspiration.  She has scripture  and photos to get your day going.  A sure blessing when you visit her here: http://faithrises.com/about/
  3. Wendy at greenlightlady  will fill your day with light, a green light of life.  Check out the photos and words on life all around us.
  4. AmberLea of Alaska’s Blog is in her words: Life was meant for caring and sharing and that is what she does.  She draws from her place, Alaska and the life there as well as from her experiences.
  5. Adele Konyndyk at  http://adelekonyndyk.wordpress.com/about/  is a freelance writer who writes about the connection between faith, art, culture and justice.
  6. Darla at ponderings of a princess…  Tells it like it is.  Deep insights drawn from life  experiences and a heart for God are what you will find here.
  7. The Lamehousewife Blog will take you on a journey  with a single mother with four boys. There is much about a faith that was built through difficult circumstances but shows victory.

Take the time to visit these blogs by sisters in the Lord who blog and be blessed.

 The second award is the thought provoking award.

I would like to thank Wendy from greenlightlady for the thought provoking blog.  Her blog is truly thought provoking and enjoyable.  For a special thrill check out how she wove pictures and a story from the Word of God together.  It is truly inspirational and thought provoking.  A House is Not a Home Without a Cat  at <http://greenlightlady.wordpress.com/2012/08/23/a-house-is-not-a-home-without-a-cat/>  It is an honor to receive this nomination.

Here are the award rules (slightly paraphrased):

1. Post the award on your blog  -done

2. Thank the one who nominated you and link back to their blog. – done

3. Nominate 7-12 other bloggers you admire and enjoy!

4. Share 7 things about yourself.

5. Inform each person that you have nominated them.

I nominate the following bloggers for this award:

  1. Biltrix  Here you will find many thought provoking blogs.  Some hopefully will inspire you to action.
  2.  Holly Michael’s Writing Straight will have you thinking.  Check out this blog at her site.Einstein and Christianity.
  3. SR at Water My Flowers Lord http://watermyflowerslord.wordpress.com/ will jump start your brain with blogs  like this one. When God Told Me, “Evil Sits At Your Dinner Table”
  4. Practical Bible Teaching is sure to provoke you to thinking with this entry in his blog:  The Illusion of Reality.
  5. Through HimWithHimInHim at http://throughhimwithhiminhim.wordpress.com/  will also have you thinking.  Check out this entry on the blog: Bus Stop Living?…
  6. Adoptingjames at  http://adoptingjames.wordpress.com/ will prove thought provoking when you read this entry: Christianity  is Like Buying a Zoo
  7. AmberLea of Alaska’s Blog has thought provoking words  to say about  Overcoming Fear at http://amberleaofalaska.wordpress.com/2012/07/01/overcoming-fear/

Have a blessed time thinking…

And one more thanks to Biltrix: 

Thank you Biltrix you are so sweet to think of me!!!!
Check out their site for a sweet variety of posts.

Rules for this award include:

  • Thank the super sweet blogger who made the nomination.
  • Nominate a baker’s dozen of other bloggers (below…)
  • And answer five questions:
  1. Cookie or cake?  Cookie – snickerdoodle
  2. Chocolate or Vanilla? Ice cream? Vanilla, candy? Chocolate.
  3. What is your favourite sweet treat? Crème Brule
  4. When do you crave sweet things the most? Late at night
  5. If you had a sweet nickname, what would it be?  Sweet tea?

And for the sweetness award, I nominate the following:  Thank you Biltrix for the suggestions.

Have a sweet day.

In spite of the warning…

Acts 21:12-16

Now when we heard these things, both we and those from that place pleaded with him not to go up to Jerusalem.  Then Paul answered, “What do you mean by weeping and breaking my heart? For I am ready not only to be bound, but also to die at Jerusalem for the name of the Lord Jesus.”  So when he would not be persuaded, we ceased, saying, “The will of the Lord be done.”   And after those days we packed and went up to Jerusalem.  Also some of the disciples from Caesarea went with us and brought with them a certain Mnason of Cyprus, an early disciple, with whom we were to lodge.

Paul was advised by the Spirit of what was to happen to him when he reached Jerusalem.  He was not advised not to go.  We misinterpret sometimes the messages we are given.  Messages meant to forewarn and prepare allowing the Spirit to complete his work in and through us are not meant to frighten and cause  us to turn away.  Christ knew what he was to face; that did not deter or hinder the completion of his task.  Are we so pampered, childish, selfish, or weak we run at the first sign of conflict or opposition to the work of God?  Or do we press on to completion; withstanding what comes our way in His strength?  Are we greater than He that we cringe and cease to do his bidding if it causes suffering?  He told us, forewarned us, suffering was a part of believing something an evil world cannot stand.  He also told us: “I will never leave you, nor forsake you.”  He did not say I will make all bad things go away.  He will carry us through those tough times and we will be better for coming through them in His wisdom and strength.

HOPE

Luke 24:50-53

And He led them out as far as Bethany, and He lifted up His hands and blessed them. Now it came to pass, while He blessed them, that He was parted from them and carried up into heaven. And they worshiped Him, and returned to Jerusalem with great joy, and were continually in the temple praising and  blessing God. Amen.

 Contrast this loss with the loss felt at the cross.  The limitations of their understanding denied the comfort of hope.  With understanding of the events surrounding the cross and Jesus’ death given to them by Jesus, along with his promise of one to come, there was hope, hope that permitted joy, daily worship, and praise to God for what had been accomplished.  The darkness and despair were defeated.  Now a forward focus was begun, an outward focus was taking shape. 

 A recent documentary on the Eastern European immigration to the US just prior to WWII gave some insight into a similar setting.  The immigrants were in a strange land, facing obstacles that would be hard to overcome and their strength came from the daily worship prior to going into the work world.  They brought their faith with them and attended church meetings (mass) each morning, reminding themselves daily of Christ’s suffering and victory, the same suffering and victory we can have.  This strength gave character, perseverance, and success in sharing the principles found in the Scriptures by living them.  This strength was passed down through the generations to today.  And that is another story.  Today… 

 There is a similarity between these two shared histories.  When people are faced with obstacles in their lives that seem overwhelming and the darkness would try to defeat them, it is God’s provision of hope through Jesus and His sacrifice that dispels the darkness.  We have to partake of it, we have to be active, we have to participate, and we have to remember.  The darkness and despair were defeated. We have something to look forward to as believers.  We have a promise of a future and a blessed present.  This spiritual promise transcends, goes beyond the natural man, natural circumstances, the physical world.  This promise goes beyond the limitations of time.  What Christ endured he endured for us all.  And he showed us we can rise above whatever comes our way in this world.  There is a plan; suffering is part of that plan but so is redemption and release.  Christ broke free of death’s curse and so will we.  Any death, be it physical, emotional, the death of relationships or dreams.  We can be free of the sting of that death.

 

                                

Who do you say I am…?

Luke 9:18-27

Now it happened that as he was praying alone, the disciples were with him. And he asked them, “Who do the crowds say that I am?”  And they answered, “John the Baptist. But others say, Elijah, and others, that one of the prophets of old has risen.”  Then he said to them, “But who do you say that I am?” And Peter answered, “The Christ of God.”
 And he strictly charged and commanded them to tell this to no one,  saying, “The Son of Man must suffer many things and be rejected by the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and on the third day be raised.”
And he said to all, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me. For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will save it.  For what does it profit a man if he gains the whole world and loses or forfeits himself? For whoever is ashamed of me and of my words, of him will the Son of Man be ashamed when he comes in his glory and the glory of the Father and of the holy angels.  But I tell you truly, there are some standing here who will not taste death until they see the kingdom of God.”

 He was shamed, rejected, tortured, killed but…rose victorious over death and all that he endured.  We have his promise we will experience the same… if we pick up our cross, deny our self, follow Him.  We have the promise that when we give up our life for him we find it, or save it.  So we face the same issue; how will we answer the question.

 That is the question;  Who do you say I am?  Jesus asks, “But what about you?”  Who do we say he is?  Are we willing to follow–if the cares of this daily life drag us down,  how can we rise above suffering as he suffered? And yet we know it is possible, because He did we can.

Everything changes; nothing remains the same…

Luke 6: 17-26

And he came down with them and stood on a level place, with a great crowd of his disciples and a great multitude of people from all Judea and Jerusalem and the seacoast of Tyre and Sidon, who came to hear him and to be healed of their diseases. And those who were troubled with unclean spirits were cured. And all the crowd sought to touch him, for power came out from him and healed them all.

 And he lifted up his eyes on his disciples, and said:

“Blessed are you who are poor, for yours is the kingdom of God.

 “Blessed are you who are hungry now, for you shall be satisfied.

“Blessed are you who weep now, for you shall laugh.

 “Blessed are you when people hate you and when they exclude you and revile you and spurn your name as evil, on account of the Son of Man! Rejoice in that day, and leap for joy, for behold, your reward is great in heaven; for so their fathers did to the prophets.

 “But woe to you who are rich, for you have received your consolation.

“Woe to you who are full now, for you shall be hungry.

“Woe to you who laugh now, for you shall mourn and weep.

 “Woe to you, when all people speak well of you, for so their fathers did to the false prophets. 

Jesus looked on his disciples.  He is teaching opposites, nothing stays the same.  He is teaching the temporary nature of our existence. He is teaching where our focus must remain.  We experience emotions attached to our present status as viewed by ourselves and others.  Those emotions change as the status changes.  Nothing remains as it is.  When we are up we say there is no way but down.  When we are down we say there is no way but up.  Jesus says that here; it is similar to what is spoken in the old testament.  Are we at the effect of our circumstances?  Yes.  How much depends upon how much weight we give circumstances.  How much depends upon the attitude of our mind.

 When we keep looking to the Lord for strength, provision, guidance we can rejoice and leap for joy no matter the circumstances.  We rest in Him and what He provides, not in ourselves and what we provide.  In all things give thanks.  Change is coming…we can count on it.

Continue in prayer…

Luke 6:12-16

In these days he went out to the mountain to pray, and all night he continued in prayer to God.  And when day came, he called his disciples and chose from them twelve, whom he named apostles:  Simon, whom he named Peter, and Andrew his brother, and James and John, and Philip, and Bartholomew,  and Matthew, and Thomas, and James the son of Alphaeus, and Simon who was called the Zealot, and Judas the son of James, and Judas Iscariot, who became a traitor.

 Jesus prayed.  He spent time in prayer.  In this passage it says all night.  Then he did the calling of the twelve to be apostles.  He set a pattern, a model for us.  Before making or carrying out a plan, spend time in prayer.  Specifically praying to God.

…he continued in prayer to God… Not a short, “Hi, how are you, will you…. Thank you, good- bye.”  Continued in prayer indicates spending time there.  How much time do we give to God?  How much time do we want Him to give to us?  Now, how much time will you spend in prayer?  We want Him more than a howdy do.  Humility recognizes who He is in relation to who we are.  If we go before an official, we can expect to spend time pleading our case, explaining our position, defining our proposal… Hmmm, are we not going before a much greater power?  How much time do we give Him?

 Then carry out the details of the task.  When praying, where is your focus?  If we want God involved in our affairs we will involve ourselves in Him.  We were created to commune with Him.  We want His touch, His blessings on what we attempt.  We gain that when we look to Him, not ourselves, when we spend time with Him, when our focus is directed to Him.  How do we get to know someone?  We spend time with them.

 When we pray, do we ask for His direction?  Do we ask for His blessings upon what we do?  Is this selfish?  Whose work do we do?  His.  Who gets the glory? He does.  Who is obedient? We are.  We stand in need of His blessings because we do not do our work, but His.  We are the obedient disciples.  We do His bidding, get our strength from Him.  Pray therefore, pray much, pray for Him to guide us.  We are told specifically to pray and when we do, we are told what He will do.  If we pray, He will hear.  If we turn from our ways, which are evil, He will heal.  2 Chronicles 7:14  – if my people who are called by my name humble themselves, and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and heal their land.

 We humble ourselves recognizing who gives direction and who gives strength.  We pray to bring about right focus.  We receive and then turn from our ways which are evil, to His ways which are good.  Now He is involved; He says He will hear us, will forgive us, will heal our land.  Now it is His work, we are His laborers.  We are obedient…

 

Led by the Spirit…

Luke 4: 1-13

And Jesus, full of the Holy Spirit, returned from the Jordan and was led by the Spirit in the wilderness  for forty days, being tempted by the devil. And he ate nothing during those days. And when they were ended, he was hungry.  The devil said to him, “If you are the Son of God, command this stone to become bread.”  And Jesus answered him, “It is written, ‘Man shall not live by bread alone.’”  And the devil took him up and showed him all the kingdoms of the world in a moment of time, and said to him, “To you I will give all this authority and their glory, for it has been delivered to me, and I give it to whom I will. If you, then, will worship me, it will all be yours.” And Jesus answered him, “It is written,

“‘You shall worship the Lord your God,

and him only shall you serve.’”

And he took him to Jerusalem and set him on the pinnacle of the temple and said to him, “If you are the Son of God, throw yourself down from here,  for it is written,

“‘He will command his angels concerning you,

to guard you,’ and

“‘On their hands they will bear you up,

lest you strike your foot against a stone.’”

 And Jesus answered him, “It is said, ‘You shall not put the Lord your God to the test.’”  And when the devil had ended every temptation, he departed from him until an opportune time.

 He went full of the Holy Spirit and the key piece of knowledge that can help us understand is, Jesus did not go alone, in the flesh.  Neither do we live this life alone, in the flesh.  Jesus was attacked at weak points of the human  nature, as are we.  He was attacked in his physical weakness of hunger, the human nature weakness of desire for selfish gain and power, and finally human nature’s desire for invincibility.  He fought these attacks with scripture, as can we.  He was attacked with scripture and the wisdom of the Holy Spirit  showed him the lie; we can ask for that.  He fought back again with scripture, as can we.  Knowledge of the Word of God and the nature of God is crucial here.  Words can be twisted and the father of lies is master of that skill.  God’s Word can be twisted as Eve found out:  Did God say….?  She fell and Adam followed.  That gave the reason for Jesus, often called the second Adam, to face the same tactics and not fall victim, but demonstrate for us the ability we also have in Christ, to defeat the attacks of the enemy. 

 A sure knowledge of the Words of God is necessary!  Without that we are vulnerable.  Do we see the reason it is vital for our spiritual and physical health and well-being to be in God’s Word, committing it to memory, reflecting on it and allowing the Holy Spirit to bring understanding and remembrance?  Are we His people, called by His name?  Then do we follow the command to humility; humble themselves and pray, the command to live life as he directs; turn from their wicked ways, selfish driven ways.  Are we listening?  Do we hear the call of the Spirit today? Are we following the Spirit’s lead?   His promise is true; he will hear and heal.

Drawn by the Word…

Luke 2:41-52

 Now his parents went to Jerusalem every year at the Feast of the Passover. And when he was twelve years old, they went up according to custom. And when the feast was ended, as they were returning, the boy Jesus stayed behind in Jerusalem. His parents did not know it, but supposing him to be in the group they went a day’s journey, but then they began to search for him among their relatives and acquaintances, and when they did not find him, they returned to Jerusalem, searching for him. After three days they found him in the temple, sitting among the teachers, listening to them and asking them questions. And all who heard him were amazed at his understanding and his answers. And when his parents saw him, they were astonished. And his mother said to him, “Son, why have you treated us so? Behold, your father and I have been searching for you in great distress.” And he said to them, “Why were you looking for me? Did you not know that I must be in my Father’s house?” And they did not understand the saying that he spoke to them. And he went down with them and came to Nazareth and was submissive to them. And his mother treasured up all these things in her heart.  And Jesus increased in wisdom and in stature and in favor with God and man.

“…all who heard him were amazed at his understanding and his answers….” Who is he?  What does he do? “…Did you not know that I must be in my Father’s house?” …”  Even after all the unusual circumstances surrounding his birth”…they did not understand the saying that he spoke to them. …”  He understood who he was and what he needed.  The Word of God was in the temple, being spoken and taught by teachers of the law. We have the Word of God, the scriptures in many forms from print, spoken to electronic.  He is saying “…I must be…,” it was necessary.  It still is.  We find ourselves in the Word, speaking it, discussing it, asking the Holy Spirit for understanding, applying it and living it.  The Word of God is active and alive within us.  We are following the model set before us.