Saturday, September 4, 2010

The Face of an Angel

"Now Stephen, a man full of God's grace and power, did great wonders and miraculous signs
among the people." --Acts 6:8

"...These men began to argue with Stephen, but they could not stand up against his wisdom
or the Spirit by whom he spoke."--Acts 6:10

"All who were sitting in the Sanhedrin looked intently at Stephen, and they saw
that his face was like the face of an angel." --Acts 6:15



Imagine being full of God's grace and power. It would definitely intimidate and cause others to feel anxious and unsettled as it did to the Sanhedrin in this case. What's even worse for those who are uncomfortable in the presence of the Spirit and who try to take down the power of God is that they can't. With grace and power comes wisdom.

My favorite part about this whole story is that when they put Stephen up on trial, up on display really-as if to prove to people his evil intentions, which there weren't any of course-Stephen looked like an angel. They all recognized that. They were looking at him so intently as if their stares would prove his guilt; but instead, all they saw was a face of an angel. How awesome! Even when you are not looking for God, God is looking at you.

I wonder how much more ill-at-ease they felt after realizing they had an angel on trial. A lot, I'm sure is the answer because after Stephen speaks, they stone him. The word of God spoken in the Spirit will always make people feel uncomfortable because it is a double-edged sword of truth. God's word will cut. It will penetrate, and you can either fall to your knees in surrender while allowing your old self to die, or you can run and grow hard to the wound of truth (that will continue to penetrate), persecuting those who own its healing powers.

Next time you feel uncomfortable, look to the Spirit for guidance and seek God's face. Ask Him to reveal to you the truth. Surrender to His will and find peace. God is good, holy, powerful, and righteous.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

If It's the Lord's, It Lasts


"Your word, O LORD, is eternal; it stands firm in the heavens. Your faithfulness continues through all generations; you established the earth, and it endures."
Psalm 119:89-90

Everything that is of the Lord lasts. I once heard a pastor say that if the Lord blesses it, man cannot take it away. How comforting it is to know that what God promises, He gives, and what He gives, lasts forever!

I need to know that there's something in my life that is solid, that is everlasting. So often I am standing on shaky ground. So often the world around me crashes. So often I stumble and fall. But my God is solid: "Trust in the LORD forever, for the LORD, the LORD is the Rock eternal" (Isaiah 26:4).

I cannot trust in man or machine. They don't last. I can trust in the LORD. He alone is unfailing. He alone is faithful. He alone is good. Even things that come to perfection on this earth have limits, but His commands are boundless (Psalm 119:96).

Oh, LORD, open my heart to hear your words. Open my eyes to see your divine goodness. For all things truly serve you. Give me the strength and the courage to be someone who boldly serves you always. Thank you for being my Rock eternal. Thank you for your everlasting covenant of love. Help me to hold on to what lasts and let go of what doesn't, and like the psalmist says, "Save me, for I am yours." Praise be to You forever. Amen.



Monday, May 24, 2010

Words of Wisdom VI

Something to think about...

"Of one hundred men, one will read the Bible; the ninety-nine will read the Christian."

--Dwight L. Moody


Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Opened Doors--a prayer

"...the Lord opened a door of opportunity for me."
2 Corinthians 2:12b

Based on 2 Corinthians 2:5-6:7 (NLT)...

Father in heaven, forgiveness can only be done with Christ's help (2 Cor. 2:10), and it must be done so that Satan doesn't have another way to take me down (2 Cor. 2:11). To forgive is just a small part of living a Christ-like life. It is a door we must open in order to allow Your love to cross the threshold, and it is a sweet aroma emanating from a Christ-centered heart. How I desire to be sweet perfume to all those I encounter (2 Cor. 2 :15)!

May my life be a letter recommending You to those who don't know You personally, and may I be a readable letter showing all the good You do for me (2 Cor. 3:2). Lord God, the only qualifications I ever need comes from You (2 Cor. 3:5).

May Your glory be revealed through me always! Continue to remove the veils that cover this glory (2 Cor. 3:16-18). I want to see and reflect it. I turn to You, Father, and desire your glorious image. Please keep Satan away from me and from blinding my mind (2 Cor. 4:4). I want Your glory to shine in my heart and be the power of my life (2 Cor. 4:6-7).

I want to be able to live in the face of death so that the life of Jesus may be evident in me (2 Cor. 4:10-12). May I never miss the open doors of opportunity. Help me, O Jesus, to fix my eyes on thing that cannot be seen (2 Cor. 4:18), so that I may live by believing (2 Cor. 5:7) and live by desiring to please You and You alone (2 Cor. 5:9). May I cease, then, to live for myself (2 Cor. 5:15).

Today is most definitely a new day of salvation (2 Cor. 6:2) and full of opportunities. May I prove myself, God Almighty, by Your power working in me (2 Cor. 6:6-7). Amen.


Saturday, May 15, 2010

Walls

The LORD determined to tear down the wall around the Daughter of Zion. He stretched out a measuring line and did not withhold his hand from destroying. He made ramparts and walls lament; together they wasted away.

Lamentations 2:8


When we become aware of a wall (or walls) in our lives that blocks out the Light and Love of God, we can begin work on tearing that wall down. What's so wonderful about God is that He's there to help, and He doesn't just chip away at the wall, He takes a sledgehammer to it.

The LORD detests that which separates us from Him, "Do not worship any other god, for the LORD, whose name is Jealous, is a jealous God." (Exodus 34:14) We cannot build an intimate relationship with God when we have other structures in the way. There is room only for one god, the Holy God of Israel.

There is a time for everything under heaven "a time to tear down and a time to build." (Ecclesiastes 3:3) Is it time to tear down that wall and let the God of heaven and earth in? His power is unfathomable, His goodness unmeasurable. May the LORD bless you and keep you and build for you a wall like you have never seen before of His power, might, and glory.


Thursday, May 6, 2010

Belief in His Perfect Plan

God had planned something better for us so that only together with us would they be made perfect.

Hebrews 11:40

I’ve got to stop trying to make things happen in my life. When I do that, I deny God’s plan. I deny His power and trust, and ultimately I deny Him. “‘For I know the plans I have for you,' declares the LORD, 'plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” (Jeremiah 29:11) I lack sometimes the patience to wait. Even worse than that, I lack belief.


I think that because we are limited as humans, we have an innate fear to the unknown. Therefore, belief in God with His all-knowing, all-encompassing powers is difficult for us. I trust in God and I know what He can do and I believe in Him, but do I really believe Him? I'm afraid I don't. I feel like the father in Mark 9 when he says to Jesus, "If you can do anything," and Jesus is saying to me as he did to this father, "If I can? Everything is possible for him who believes." Oh, Lord, help me to overcome my unbelief!


Do you believe God has a plan for your life? Do you believe it is perfect? Do you believe it is better than what you have planned for yourself? Then, believe God. Perfection is made known in this.


Friday, April 16, 2010

Sounds of Silence

The deafening sounds of silence
shakes my system
with volatility.
Fear and Insecurity
approach me
impishly and powerfully;
all I want to do
is cover my ears
but if I do,
that stinging sound of silence grows louder


I can’t escape


I must distract myself with noise
so I grab the remote
and turn on a life I don’t live,
I click on a computer
to search for friends
who aren’t as authentic
as the screen in front of me,
I flip open my wallet
and finger through an array
of faux Edens,
I press the button on my radio
and blast sounds of secularism
but even with all of this…


s i l e n c e


prevails.
It stalks like a jaguar in the night
for the perfect time to attack;
it skulks down low and waits.
I know of its existence,
I know it doesn’t want to devour me
but it does just the same.
Instead of becoming the hunter
I am the hunted.


I fall to my knees in defeat.


But, then,
I hear a Voice
a soundless whisper
like a gentle breeze
and suddenly I find myself
being led by quiet waters
and blanketed by peace


a different kind of silence.


No longer do I feel unsteady
in a silence that once haunted me.
Instead I welcome it with an open heart
and folded hands
because I know now
a sound of silence in my soul
resonates
a Shepherding Savior.


..AMY.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Taxes for Caesar

Then the Pharisees met together to plot how to trap Jesus into saying something for which he could be arrested. They sent some of their disciples, along with the supporters of Herod, to meet with him. “Teacher,” they said, “we know how honest you are. You teach the way of God truthfully. You are impartial and don’t play favorites. Now tell us what you think about this: Is it right to pay taxes to Caesar or not?”

But Jesus knew their evil motives. “You hypocrites!” he said. “Why are you trying to trap me? Here, show me the coin used for the tax.” When they handed him a Roman coin, he asked, “Whose picture and title are stamped on it?”

“Caesar’s,” they replied.

“Well, then,” he said, “give to Caesar what belongs to Caesar, and give to God what belongs to God.”

His reply amazed them, and they went away.


Matthew 22:15-22 (NLT)


All that we have belongs to God. It is not for us to keep or to cling to. Whether or not we pay taxes or receive a rebate, all of it belongs to God. What we do in obedience, in honesty and in honor to law, we do in obedience, honesty and honor to God. "That's also why you pay taxes—so that an orderly way of life can be maintained. Fulfill your obligations as a citizen. Pay your taxes, pay your bills, respect your leaders. Don't run up debts, except for the huge debt of love you owe each other" (Romans 13:6-8 [The Message]). Taxes to love--there's no comparison.


Saturday, April 10, 2010

Confident in Christ

"So do not throw away your confidence;
it will be richly rewarded."

Hebrews 10:35

It's so easy for us to throw away confidence because we feel so incompetent. The trust we need to have in an unseen God and an unseen future must be stronger and more complete than the trust we have in a visible world and a visible present. Often we throw away confidence because we are uncomfortable in our surroundings, in our present situations, and in our own bodies.

Comfort, confidence, and competence all come in our identity in Christ. We become less concerned with who we are not and more comfortable in who we are, "
I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well" (Psalm 139:14). The beauty of finding our identity in Christ is that He identifies with us. He knows what we are up against, "If the world hates you, keep in mind that it hated me first" (John 15:18). Therefore, do not throw away your confidence. Put it in Christ; it will be richly rewarded! Great is His victory! Great are His works! Praise God for the confidence we can have in Christ!


Sunday, April 4, 2010

HE IS RISEN!

A picture of the Garden Tomb in Jerusalem...


"'Don't be alarmed,' he said.
'You are looking for Jesus the Nazarene,
who was crucified.
He has risen! He is not here.
See the place where they laid him.'"

Mark 16:6

Saturday, March 20, 2010

A Stronger Trust

To trust God

means more than just saying,

“I trust You.”

It’s a complete surrendering

of every part

of my insecure nature

or my innate tendency

of uncertainty;

needing, then, only certainty of Him.

He will indeed calm

the raging storm once again

and reveal His glory

His peace;

I must be on the boat He provides

so that my journey is guided by His rudder

The Strength of my faith

must be stronger than any storm I’m in.



..AMY.

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Words of Wisdom IV

I came across this prayer in a poetry book and thought it was such a great reminder of Isaiah 55:8-9, which says "'For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,' declares the LORD. 'As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.'"

I needed to be reassured that God's plans are not based on the perspective of men, and this prayer just put that reassurance in my heart. God knows more than we do. He is perfect in every way. He will not fail us. He hears us, He knows us, and He does answer us. He has purpose for all He does and all He allows. Know that God is good. His ways are not our ways. He reigns in majesty and glory and for the greater good of His masterful plan. May you be richly blessed today by this prayer and by the reassurance that God cares for you, He loves you, He is with you, and He answers prayers...


Prayer of an Unknown Confederate Soldier:

"I asked God for strength, that I might achieve,
I was made weak, that I might learn humbly to obey...
I asked for health, that I might do greater things,
I was given infirmity, that I might do better things...
I asked for riches, that I might be happy,
I was given poverty that I might be wise...
I asked for power, that I might have the praise of men,
I was given weakness, that I might feel the need of God...
I asked for all things, that I might enjoy life,
I was given life, that I might enjoy all things...
I got nothing that I asked for--but everything that I had hoped for.
Almost despite myself, my unspoiled prayers were answered.
I am among all men, most richly blessed."


Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Handling Hardships

" And we rejoice in the hope of the glory of God. Not only so, but we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us."
Romans 5:2b-5

Suffering hardships is necessary for three reasons:

1) They cause us to need and rely on God.
2) They create an awareness of our state of faith.
3) They instill in us a desire for the Kingdom of God.

Many people, it seems to me, go around trying to avoid or escape hardships. I think it is very important as Christians to welcome hardships because we can be such powerful witnesses through them. But please don't misunderstand me here. I'm not saying we need to create hardships. I'm very familiar with people who like to make mountains out of molehills. So, I'm not encouraging that we go around and welcome difficulties into our lives. No, what I'm saying is that when hardships come--and if you have a heartbeat they will come--we Christians should see them as opportunities to reveal Christ, who can really show Himself in powerful ways. Hardships challenge us to grow in our faith, to learn about our strengths and weaknesses, and to use our talents to serve the Lord. "That is why, for Christ's sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong." (2 Corinthians 12:10)

Be strong in the Lord today. He has your hardships in His heavenly hands.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Monday, February 22, 2010

Deal With It!

There's something God wants me to deal with in my life, and I believe I'm currently avoiding it at all costs. "That's crazy!" you're probably thinking. "You're deliberately disobeying God!" This is true. I know. I fear the LORD; and yet, I really don't want to deal with this "something" in my life. In fact, I don't even want to ponder on it long enough for it to take shape in my mind. I definitely don't want to disobey God; and at the same time, I definitely don't want to deal with this "something." Why?

This "something" has always been a part of me. It's kinda like a security blanket. I never go anywhere without it, and if I didn't have it, I would feel lost. If I dealt with my "something", then I wouldn't have anything to blame for all the things that aren't working in my life. My "something" has always been there. Dealing with it would take away a comfort, even if it is a distorted one. Anybody with me on this?

I think many of us are afraid to deal with the "somethings" (or someones) in our lives because we think it'll be too hard, too uncomfortable and/or too painful. Yes, I believe it would be challenging, unpleasant, and painful. But I really believe the reasons we are afraid to deal with our "somethings" is that we don't want to let go of what has been the source of every failure, every problem, and every wrong thing in our life. What would we do without a reason for all the bad things that happen? Is anyone else seeing how this is twisted truth?

Satan doesn't desire for us to deal with the "somethings" because he knows when we do, we'll call on God for help and strength, we'll clear the path of righteousness, we'll begin to move forward in faith, and we'll experience love and peace, which will refuel our spirits. Satan would most certainly shrink. Therefore, he will do whatever it takes to detract and distract us from dealing with our "somethings".

This is just like God to speak truth to me when I'm trying to speak it to others. I should know better by now. I, thankfully, can't avoid the omnipresent God. I, thankfully, am learning--even now as I write--to deal with the "something" so that God won't eventually have to deal with me. Whew! Isn't that a more fearful thought? I better get to dealing!

"And when a prayer or plea is made by any of your people Israel—each one aware of the afflictions of his own heart,
and spreading out his hands toward this temple-then hear from heaven, your dwelling place. Forgive and act; deal with each man according to all he does, since you know his heart (for you alone know the hearts of all men), so that they will fear you all the time they live in the land you gave our fathers."

1 Kings 8:38-40


Sunday, February 21, 2010

Seizing Success

"Success is to be measured not so much by the position that one has reached in life as by the obstacles which he has overcome while trying to succeed."

I'm not sure who said the above quote, but I do hope that you look at your life today with a new perspective. Stop focusing on the obstacles, and begin focusing on the successes. Praise God for them; this will keep you moving. "Blessed is the man who perseveres under trial, because when he has stood the test, he will receive the crown of life that God has promised to those who love him." James 1:12

Thank God for the failures as well. For without failures, we would never know truly what it means to have success or strength. Most of all, continue to persevere through the things that are difficult. God's hand is extended. Take hold and be blessed!

"This is the day the LORD has made;
let us rejoice and be glad in it.

O LORD, save us;
O LORD, grant us success.

Blessed is he who comes in the name of the LORD.
From the house of the LORD we bless you."

Psalm 118:24-26

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Last shall be First

"Indeed there are those who are last who will be first,
and first who will be last
."
Luke 13:30

My heart is downcast at the moment. Today was my basketball team's first game of the tournament, and we lost. Which means we are now out of the tournament, and we came in last place. This team, that I've been coaching for the last four months, is not a losing team nor should they be labeled last. But alas, this is how we will be to the world.

Isn't Christianity much the same? Aren't we labeled as "losers" and made to feel that way at times? I know I have been, plenty of times. I've been called a "goody-two-shoe" more times than I can count, and somehow that has stamped me a "loser." Why do we feel that being good and doing the right thing is equivalent to being the loser in the crowd? Why are we casting out the righteous instead of encouraging them? If I choose to walk away from a group who's participating in an activity that would be displeasing to God, then why am I the loser?

Christ knew this would happen. He knew we would be labeled this way; He knew we would be last in the things of this world; and He knew we would be treated as if we are the defeated. Jesus told us, "All men will hate you because of me. But he who stands firm to the end will be saved." (Mark 13:13)

Jesus understands what it means to be a loser in this world. He, too, was labeled one. He died with that label, but He rose victorious. His defeat in this world means our victory in eternity. His sacrifice to be separate, to not fit-in with the ways of this world, and to be a "goody-two-shoe" meant our security for citizenship in heaven: "Their mind is on earthly things. But our citizenship is in heaven. And we eagerly await a Savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ, who, by the power that enables him to bring everything under his control, will transform our lowly bodies so that they will be like his glorious body." (Philippians 3:19-21) This lowly, loser body can't wait to be like His glorious body!

My heart is not feeling so downcast anymore. My beautiful team may have been defeated out on the basketball court, but I know with certainty they are not the defeated ones.
They have victory in Christ. They represented Him at every game this year, and I couldn't be prouder of them. So even though my girls will not be receiving a physical trophy this year, nothing compares with the reward that awaits them in heaven.

"Blessed are you when men hate you,
when they exclude you and insult you and reject your name as evil, because of the Son of Man.
Rejoice in that day and leap for joy,
because great is your reward in heaven."

Luke 6:22-23


Thank you ladies for a tremendous season. I'm so proud of you. You will always be champions to me. I love you.



Thursday, February 11, 2010

Words of Wisdom II

Words from George Herbert:

"He who cannot forgive another breaks the bridge over which he must pass himself."

May troubled waters not keep you from moving forward in faith. Forgiveness isn't always easy, but it is always possible.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Obedient to Death

"And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself and became obedient to death—even death on a cross!"
Philippians 2:8


"Obedient to death." These words stand out to me like a red stain on a white shirt. I can't seem to fully wrap my mind around them. To be obedient would mean to dutifully comply to death's commands. There aren't many people in this world who go willing into death.

Death, rather, is something we fear and try to avoid at all costs. Those who are willing to be obedient to death are most often viewed as heroes. Jesus is no exception. He faced death like no other human had ever and will ever face, and He became obedient to it.

His love for you and me was His willingness to pay such a price. What a response it would be from us if we loved Him in the same way; because really, if we are facing death, aren't we simultaneously facing life?

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Shipwrecked


Onto the shore
I wash up
from the wreckage.
I look down
to see wounds
some deep, some surface.
I know healing will take place
and scars will be left,
what I don’t know is
how I survived the storm
without the comfort of my boat.
Then,
above the steely waters,
the Sun begins to stretch itself.
I turn my face to it
dig my feet into the sand
and stand.
There on the shores
with the coming dawn
a newness is born

within my soul,
a separation is felt
within my mind,
a trust is rebuilt
within my heart.
Remnants from my voyage
wash up onto the shore
and crash against my feet.
They are pieces of a life
I no longer want to live.
I bother not
with picking them up
but leave them
for the birds to peck at.
Instead I walk on
toward the hills.
With the whispering wind
brushing my face
I know with certainty
the next time the ship sails,

I’ll stay behind.


..AMY. 2009

Friday, February 5, 2010

Respite for the Soul

"This is what the Sovereign LORD, the Holy One of Israel, says:
'In repentance and rest is your salvation,
in quietness and trust is your strength...'"

Isaiah 30:15

Ahh...those words from Isaiah are like a soft, fluffy bed with extra blankets for me to wrap up in. On a day like today they bring extra comfort and warmth. Outside the sky is gray, the air is ice cold, and the freezing rain/sleet seems to be dragging the earth down. A picture of what it looks like sometimes within my soul.

Isn't it wonderful to know that our Sovereign LORD wants us to have rest and quietness? He didn't design us to have a life of constant busyness of deadlines, activities, and schedules to keep. We do not find our value in that kind of a lifestyle. Our value is found in repentance and rest, in quietness and trust. "But you would have none of it" says the last part of Isaiah 30:15.

We foolishly carry on as if the busier we are, the better we are and the more we do, the more we'll have. We'll definitely have more--more stress, more stuff to keep up with, more health issues, more distractions, and more time spent away from God. If we would dedicate ourselves to one day of complete rest that included repentance, quietness and trust; then, we would discover joy, love, contentment, peace, salvation, and strength.

By the hand of God our weary, needy souls would be restored, redeemed, renewed, rejuvenated, and refreshed. More importantly, our souls would be ready to handle any gray days that come our way. For me, since I have the day off today because of the weather, I'm going to cozy up in my bed with the Good Book, wrap warm blankets around me, and pray with appreciation: "
Be at rest once more, O my soul, for the LORD has been good to you" (Psalm 116:7).

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Rock Solid


"There is no one holy like the LORD; there is no one
besides you;
there is no Rock like our God."

1 Samuel 2:2


Just a couple of months ago I traveled to Israel for the first time. I was amazed by the beauty of the land and the pride of the people. What amazed me even more was the constant presence
of rock! When I signed up for the 10-day tour through the Holy Land, I had no idea that I would be hiking up rock, crawling through rock caves, digging through rock, observing rock structures, and arriving back to my hotel at the end of each day covered with sediments of rock. As the trip came to a close, I had a whole new appreciation for rock and a whole new understanding of the phrase "the LORD is my Rock."

Rock is everywhere in Israel. It surrounds, hovers, and upholds cities over there. Rock is used to
build with, to build on, and to build out of. It is visible and plentiful. Certain rock in Israel is fought over because it is sacred. Rock is a resource familiar to all, available to all, and needed by all.

Likewise, the LORD is everywhere: "The eyes of the LORD are everywhere, keeping watch on the wicked and the good" (Proverbs 15:3). He surrounds, hovers, and upholds us: "The LORD is my rock, my fortress and my deliverer; my God is my rock, in whom I take refuge. He is my shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold" (Psalm 18:2). The LORD, knowing the purpose and lasting power of what He builds, desires for us to use Him in our building process if not be our Builder: "Unless the LORD builds the house, its builders labor in vain..." (Psalm 127:1); "For every house is built by someone, but God is the builder of everything" (Hebrews 3:4). He is visible if you have divine eyes to see, and He is plentiful in His love, His grace, His mercy, and His forgiveness. The LORD our Rock is most certainly sacred, and He is familiar, available, and needed by all: "The poor and needy search for water, but there is none; their tongues are parched with thirst. But I the LORD will answer them; I, the God of Israel, will not forsake them" (Isaiah 41:17).

There's no question about it; rock is certainty. After my first day's experience with the rock in Israel, I knew I could count on one thing: I would encounter it again and evidence of it would be on me. So it is with Christ. "Trust in the LORD forever, for the LORD, the LORD, is the Rock eternal" (Isaiah 26:4).

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

A Fighter's Faith

"With him is only the arm of flesh, but with us is the LORD our God to help us and to fight our battles."
2 Chronicles 32:8

Based on 1 Samuel 13:16-14:14

According to Ephesians six, faith is referred to as a shield. A shield is a defensive weapon. It protects, but only if used. In other words, we have to move our shield to guard ourselves from the flaming arrows of the enemy. It takes action to have protection. It takes active faith (James 2:17, 26) to conquer enemies (Romans 8:37).


Jonathan had such faith. He was proactive. He didn’t sit and hide as the other Israelites did. He didn’t lose confidence in the physical evidence that he wasn’t well equipped for battle or that he didn't he have a full army behind him. In fact, all he had was his young armor-bearer with him. If I’m not mistaken, armor-bearers were not warriors, they were more like servants. Jonathan did not allow his impulsiveness lead him, the thought of how grand he may look if it works out for him, or how everyone will marvel at his greatness when or if he overcame the Philistines. No, he let the Lord lead him. If they called for him to climb up, then he would climb because he knew that would be the sign from the Lord and he knew "nothing can hinder the LORD from saving, whether by many or by few" (1 Sam. 14:6).

The Philistines did call, and Jonathan did answer. He confidently climbed up the hillside to the ready and waiting Philistines, which in battle is suicide since the advantage goes to the ones on top. Jonathan not only successfully makes it up the cliff, he and his faithful armor-bearer successfully defeat the Philistines, the odds being 1 to 10.


So many of us want to keep quiet and stay in hiding when the enemy seems to be bigger, stronger, tougher, and more equipped than us. We forget that our God will fight for us, and His army is bigger than any other army (2 Chronicles 32:7-8). God will not hand us over to our enemy. If He wanted to do that, He would never have sent His Son to die for us. What an ultimate warrior to sacrifice His life for us!


Jonathan had an active faith. He faced and fought the enemy with the confidence and the victory of the Lord within him. Where’s your faith right now? Are you still in hiding, afraid to step-out exposed before the enemy? Do you have mountains to climb? Do you feel ill-equipped? Be assured that if you step-out in faith, the Lord and His powerful army are with you. If you begin to climb that mountain, the Lord will hand over your enemy. If you feel ill-equipped, have faith because the Lord is sufficiently equipped, and He will fight for you.


Sometimes we are called to be more "hands-on" in our faith and sometimes we need only to be still, "The LORD will fight for you; you need only to be still" (Exodus 14:14). Nonetheless, an active faith is required in these motionless moments of battle. How else will we be able to protect ourselves from the flaming arrows of the enemy?

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

"Light Shining Out of Darkness"

I love this poem by William Cowper...

God moves in a mysterious way,
His wonders to perform;
He plants His footsteps in the sea,
And rides upon the storm.

Deep in unfathomable mines
Of never-failing skill
He treasures up His bright designs,
And works His sovereign will.

Ye fearful saints, fresh courage take;
The clouds ye so much dread
Are big with mercy, and shall break
In blessings on your head.

Judge not the Lord by feeble sense,
But trust Him for His grace;
Behind a frowning Providence
He hides a smiling face.

His purposes will ripen fast,
Unfolding every hour;
The bud may have a bitter taste,
But sweet will be the flower.

Blind unbelief is sure to err,
And scan His work in vain,
God is His own interpreter
And He will make it plain.

Monday, February 1, 2010

Chained Captives

"...let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles..."
Hebrews 12:1

Sin is like a shadow in the night. It creeps up on us sometimes so unexpectedly, and then, it easily entangles us to the point we are captive to it. The chains of captivity are hard, cold, and uncomfortable. Yet, so often, we allow these chains to become a part of us until they are comfortable to us.

Hebrews 12:1 commands us to take action by throwing off everything that hinders and entangles us. This action can only come if we confess first what it is that hinders and entangles. We need to take a good look at the chains that are bound to us. Most likely at the end of these chains we'll find worldly things and self-indulgences.
These are the gods we are captive to, the gods we worship, the gods that cannot free us.

Since the beginning of time, God alone, our Maker, has desired to be the only god we serve, "Do not worship any other god, for the LORD, whose name is Jealous, is a jealous God, " (Exodus 34:14). He also knew we would become captive to other gods, which is why He sent His Son, Jesus, to free us.

There is a key to free us from these chains and these other gods we serve. It has always been within us, we just need to use it. "I [Jesus] will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven; whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven," (Matthew 16:19)


Let us , then, not only "throw off everything that hinders," but also "fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith" (Hebrews 12:2) so that we no longer live under the cold shadow of captivity but the warm Light of Freedom.

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Power in High Places

"...this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us."
2 Corinthians 4:7

Based on 2 Chronicles 28:1-27

We all have a need to feel powerful, to be raised-up on high places. To be empowered is to be recognized for something good in us. Recognition is one of life's best compliments. Therefore, we seek out ways to be encompassed in this feeling of power and recognition.

King Ahaz grew up watching how powerful his father Jotham had become. What Ahaz failed to see was Who gave his father the power. Many of us only look at the power in this physical world, but the God of the universe, the Most High God, is and will always be the ultimate source of power.

Ahaz's rapacious need for power led to not only his destruction but also a whole country's destruction. Had he listened to the LORD (Isaiah 7:10-12) and acknowledged that true power comes from Him and Him only, then he and his people would have been spared from the LORD's anger.

The more we try to seek power in this world, the more powerless we actually become. The LORD Almighty will humble those who try to make themselves more powerful than He. God does desire us to have power and to feel empowered as a people. We just have to be plugged-in to the One true Source of power--Jesus Christ.

If you want to really feel raised up, then get down low and bow before God with humility, gratitude, and a humble, open heart that is ready to receive the most exhilarating, fulfilling power of all! Nothing in this world compares to the power that comes from God.