Tag: victory

Snow Storms!

it is rare that storms come that are predictable and bring a blessing and beauty.

snowprepWhen they’re predictable we can prepare for them. We can have on hand everything we need to handle whatever the storm brings. Food, a secure shelter, the ability to cancel plans in advance so no one is inconvenienced and no one is trapped without having their basic needs met. That way we can hunker down in the storm and not have to worry about the dangers because we have already taken care of our needs.

At that point the storm is more welcome. All the more if it brings a blessing. The snow storm which we have prepared for and finally come will bring needed moisture to the grass, plants, and trees, saving us the cost of watering.

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And it comes with beauty. The soft glistening blanket of snow that covers the ground renders a quiet loveliness to the landscape, encasing the trees in a surreal, fairytale-like beauty.  We can enjoy a storm like that from our warm homes, with ample food and nowhere we need to go.

If only life were like that!

But the storms in life usually take us by surprise. The unexpected death of a loved one that shatters our world. A terrible diagnosis that turns our life upside down with surgeries, treatments, and expenses. The surprise break-up of a deeply felt relationship that we have depended on for support, encouragement, maybe even love.

people-850097_640These are the storms that we seem to be ill prepared for that take us down a road we don’t want to go: disappointment, discouragement, despair; and bring their friends: sorrow, loss, pain, grief.

When I’m in the storm, my world shrinks and is completely taken over by the ordeal.  I forget that other people aren’t going through the same thing.  And then when I see that they’re not, and simply going on with their lives, I can’t understand how they are unencumbered by my pain.

But we praise You Lord that You’ve promised to be with us in the storms. Even if they are not predictable. Even if they do not seem to bring a blessing. Even if there is no beauty in them. Thank You that You provide all we need to weather the storms that come into our lives.

clasped-hands-541849_640As I look back over the joys of my life, I can see that You were there. Forgive me for not giving You thanks and praise for the highs, the joys. And as I look at the lows, the storms, I see that You were there with me also.  Forgive me for not giving You thanks and praise for being with me then too. Without You I might not have survived

Thank You too, that when the storm has passed, there is often blessing, and beauty in Your provision.

You have told us that we will have storms in our lives.  You told Your disciples, “In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”

winner-4912049_640When the storms come, help me remember to “Take heart.”

Because You have overcome the world.  Because You are with me.  And because You share Your victories!

Through the Water

Are you in deep water?  Are you still in the boat?  Is the trip getting scary?

Did you sign up for a 3-hour tour and get Gilligan’s Island?

God’s people were familiar with rough seas. Literally and metaphorically.

hand-792920_640At a time in my life when I felt like the water was closing in over me, the Lord led me to this verse.  I found comfort, reassurance and hope. Not only did the verse speak to me, but I heard a melody and a picture formed in my mind.

Whatever you’re experiencing, I am asking God to speak to you as well, through these verses, and this song He gave me.

Begin by putting your own name into the verse Isaiah 43:1

But now, this is what the Lord says – He who created you, _____,

He who formed you _____:

“Do not fear, for I have redeemed you, _____;

I have summoned you  by name; you, _____ are mine.

Through the Water

Sometimes the sea around us gets too rough

But we think we can handle it all.  We think we’re so tough

The water deepens and we can’t make it thru

And then Jesus reaches out His hand to you

water-1013329_640Chorus   He will go with you thru the water

Though the darkness swirls around you

Do not fear it will not drown you ’cause He is with you thru the water

This world will cause you suffering and pain

Oh but God has overcome this world, His victory is your gain

So count on Jesus, He’ll always be true

And take the hand He’s reaching out to you

water-5535_640Chorus   He will go with you thru the water

Though the darkness swirls around you

Do not fear it will not drown you ’cause He is with you thru the water

waterpolo-4813899_640And though the darkness fills you with despair

Just count on Jesus He is always there

And he’ll be with you thru the water

Chorus   He will go with you thru the water

Though the darkness swirls around you

Do not fear it will not drown you ’cause He is with youjesus-christ-4676641_640

Jesus is with you

He’s always with you, thru the water

(c) 1993 Laura Fail Shaffer

Isaiah 43:1-2

Another Battle

You call me to the battle once again
enemies abound on every side
I look to see what weapons will avail
the one that speaks the loudest is: Abide

I place Your armor on, it is the best

protecting head to toe and side to side
I take my shield and sword and make my stance
And still the Spirit speaks to me: Abide

My marching orders come and in I go
once again into the battle’s fray
I have no fear of losing for I know

that at the Finish You will win the day

I do not fight alone You send me help
other Mighty Warriors by my side
It’s hand-to-hand and swords are clashing now
and still I hear the word from You: Abide

We make a strong assault and push them back
it seems the enemy faints and runs to hide
and in this show of strength our Battle Cry
continues to encourage us: Abide

The enemy was only gathering strength
and makes a mighty push that sends us back
Some are wounded and they step away
others stagger hurt in the attack

The battle isn’t over; night has come
We pitch our tents and dress our wounds inside
The wind keeps blowing fiercely through the dark
But peace commands our spirits to Abide

We will be strong to fight another day
and into Heaven’s Victory we’ll ride
our Battle Cry will strengthen all the way
For in our Mighty Savior we Abide

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John 15 is the abiding chapter that promises that the Holy Spirit, the Comforter, will abide in us forever.

It counsels us to abide in Christ as a branch is connected to the vine, giving it life and fruitfulness.

It directs is to abide in Jesus’ love and in His words so that our prayers will be answered.

 

The word Abide means to dwell, to remain or continue, or to wait in preparation.  We will receive protection and power by remaining connected to Jesus Christ. 

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This also speaks of God’s armor, given to us for the fight.  And that we do not fight alone.  We wear the armor of God through our salvation: the Helmet of Salvation, the Breastplate of Righteousness, the Belt of Truth, the Shoes of the Gospel of Peace.

And we need to daily take up the Shield of Faith and the Sword of the Spirit – the Word of God, the Bible – to stand and fight together against the fear and discouragement of the world situation now.

roman shield

We will be strengthened to be victorious.  As we stand together, we can wield the weapon of prayer against any enemy.

Even the circumstances of this crisis now!

 

 

Pray for your brothers and sisters who are sick to be healed.  Pray for those who are vulnerable to be protected.

Pray for those who are helping to remain healthy and strong and able to do their work. Pray that they would receive our gratitude and thanks for their sacrifice to work and volunteer to care for others.

Pray for needed supplies to be delivered to those who need them.  Pray that anyone hoarding supplies of any kind would have a change of heart.

Pray for those who have lost incomes to be granted grace and favor with those they owe money to, so debts can be forgiven or deadlines extended.

Pray for those in positions of authority to have godly wisdom in making decisions that affect all of us.

 

Pray for all of us to grow strong in the Lord in our time of distanced sheltering in place as this crisis blows over and away from us.  Ask God to give us wisdom in returning to our lives with more kindness and love.

Ask God for personal strength to Abide in Him.  And when victory comes, we will give Him the glory!

John 15:1-17; Ephesians 6:10-18

 

Jericho Lesson 2

Joshua_Jericho_1024We are in a short series about The Jericho Walk.  Do you have a “Jericho” in your life: a blessing you believe God wants to give you, but you feel unable to achieve on your own?

Following the example of Joshua’s battle, I completed a Jericho Walk.  Check out the last 3 posts to read more about it.

 

armor-of-god

Besides the big victory I was walking for, God met and taught me lessons along the way.  These came when our group circled the lake 7 times.

After I prayed God’s spiritual armor on, my first lesson, I felt much more protected from outside attack.  With a renewed and energetic step I began the third lap.

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But soon, discouragement arose again.  This time, not as random thoughts from without like before, but as fears from within.  What if my own body was not strong enough to walk seven times around the lake?  Had I bitten off more than I could chew?  I had never walked around the lake so many times in one day.  I should have trained for this and worked up to it.  What if I really couldn’t finish what I started?  What if I shamed and humiliated myself and disappointed God?

 

 

chalk-board-Lesson2

The baggage you carry will drag you down.  Your own thoughts, feelings, and inner fears will work against you if you let them.

 

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Ask God to remove all that is in you that does not honor or glorify Him!

 

 

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Pray that He will help you take thoughts captive and not feed your own fears of weakness, inadequacy or unworthiness.  Hold those thoughts up to the truth of scripture. Your success in this endeavor depends on God, and His strength, His might and His power.  Not your own.

I looked up Hebrews 10:23 in the Bible I was carrying, and personalized it:  “I will hold unswervingly to the hope I profess, for He who promised is faithful.”  My hope is in Jesus Christ, and it is by His hand and His faithfulness that I will take hold of what He has promised me.

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When I did that, I felt physically lighter on the next lap.  There was more spring in my step, without the heaviness of before.

I truly felt that God had given me this directive to do the Jericho Walk, just as he had told Joshua what to do to take Jericho.  So my being obedient was more important than my own physical ability.

When God directs your path, trust that He has prepared you.  Your success will not depend on your own ability, but on God, whose promise is faithful.

  • What is your Jericho?
  • Where will you walk?
  • When will you start?
  • What will you shout?

My Jericho Walk

Joshua_Jericho_1024The last post asked if you have a “Jericho” in your life; referring to a blessing you believe God wants to give you, but you feel unable to achieve on your own. And it explained how God delivered Jericho into Joshua’s hand.  Check it out to catch up if you haven’t read it yet.

Here’s how I did my Jericho walk.

Even though I felt God had showed me what to do, I felt a little silly telling anyone about it.  And was afraid of what people might think of what seemed like a crazy idea.

my-lakeFor my battle, I believe God directed to walk this lake near my home.  And not alone, He brought women to walk with me, walking for their own Jerichos.

The plan was to walk once around the lake at sunrise for six days.  And then seven times on the seventh day.

The day had come.  A friend brought her Bible and held it out in front of the group as we walked in silence.  It seemed appropriate as the Israelites had the priests with the Arc of the Covenant at the head of their line.

It gave me chills. I felt part of something larger than myself. It even seemed there was a connection to obedient believers from long ago, stretching back across time.

That day was an easy enough task, but we felt like we were truly a part of something amazing. At the end of the lap, one cried, one read a scripture, and we all hugged. They were each walking for their own Jericho. And it was remarkable!

agenda-black-calendar-273011Each day, we steadfastly walked on, holding our Bibles to our chests or in our arms, stepping silently, sensing God at work. Each day, at the beginning or at the end of our lap, we shared and prayed.

Words of support, phone calls and emails came in from friends saying they were praying for us in our walk. We were so encouraged. None of us felt silly anymore. We walked with a purpose and a passion, on a mission.

On the seventh day, we had calculated sunrise to be 6:41 am. God’s timing had allowed that it was late into Fall. The week before, we had shifted out of Daylight Savings Time, making it an even later sunrise. For a night owl like me, this was just another example of God’s grace at work. We locked our cars, bundled up, and headed out in the soft, subdued light of daybreak.

As we began to walk, our paces spread us out. We weren’t far apart, but it was clear I wouldn’t be at the head of the line. Thoughts of whether I could catch up by the end began to dissolve into fears of whether I would even be able to finish at all.

It was as if God could hear my thoughts and I could hear Him saying to me, “Go at your own pace. Take breaths! Just be with me.”

nature-2115661_640By the third lap the sun was beginning to rise.  It was uplifting and I was having a real conversation with God as I continued to walk.

Nearing the end of my fifth lap, even with the exuberance I felt, my legs were giving out. And then I heard the sound of the Shofar!  A friend had brought it and sounded it when she finished her walk.  With my legs feeling weak but my heart feeling strong, I made it to the last lap.

I felt God was with me, coaching me, and moving me little by little around the lake till the end was almost in sight.

I was plodding along pretty slowly when to my surprise, one of my walking friends came to meet me. With a big smile on her face, she met me, turned, and matched my gait to walk the last bit with me.

She had already finished her seven laps with the others, but had stayed. Even though we didn’t speak, her presence made my step lighter and helped me press on.

When we rounded the final turn I gave my loud shout. We hugged and praised God. It felt amazing to finish the walk around my Jericho!

20190526_215651I don’t know how far it was for the Israelites to walk around the city of Jericho, but they must have been in great shape to have had the energy to “go up and take possession of the city” after the wall fell. All I wanted to do was rest! Yet the feeling of victory was undeniable.

I knew in my heart that the wall had fallen. And I could claim the victory that God had given me.

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I took key chains that had little tennis shoes on them to pass out to all the women as a reminder of our Jericho Walk.

In the days that followed there was a new openness in a significant relationship.

What is your Jericho?

Where will you walk?

When will you start?

What will you shout?