face your giants

My Prayer for you: Opportunity

Opportunity

Joshua 8:7
Then ye shall rise up from the ambush,

and seize upon the city:

for the LORD your God will deliver it into your hand.

War is flat-out scary, dangerous, and filled with uncertainty and the unknown.  When an army engages in battle, they can’t predict how long they will have to fight, how many lives will be sacrificed, or who will win in the end.

I have heard harrowing narratives by WW2 veterans who stormed the beaches of Normandy. They speak of the gut wrenching terror that enveloped them as they approached the beach and the imposing stronghold of the German Army. As their water-crafts slid across the frothy green ocean,  they waited with dreaded anticipation for the moment when the ramp of their personnel carriers would open exposing them to the merciless torrents of enemy gunfire. In those moments, their biggest challenge was simply to clear the ramp and escape the motorized metal coffins that carried them to the front lines. Many never made it off their boats, and of those who did, thousands still paid the ultimate sacrifice , dying on the sandy shores of Normandy, painted red by their blood. Some never even fired a single shot.

Can you imagine what it would be like to ride into battle with a guarantee that you would not only win, but that the enemy would be delivered over to you by the hand of God Himself? Israel had been rescued from the bondage of Egypt, they had crossed over the Red Sea on dry ground, they drank water from a rock, were led by a pillar of fire and cloud, and they ate food sent from heaven. They personally experienced the power, wrath, and mercy of Jehovah. The God who spoke to them and cared for the like no other pagan god had or could, had given them their marching orders, but along with the command to go to battle came the guarantee of victory through Divine intervention.

Now that is the kind of battle I want to fight, and it is the kind of battle I can fight every day. Today my prayer for David is that he would see and seize every God ordained opportunity for victory. My prayer is that he preserver, endure, finish well, and revel in the wealth at the end each every battle and challenge he faces today. No temptation is too strong, no customer too unreasonable, no burden too heavy to carry. God has called him into the arena of life and through the Blood of His Son guaranteed him the victory.

Father, anoint my husband with your Spirit, the quickening Spirit of the Living God of the Universe. Be his desire, his Rock, his deliverer. Let his passion for you empower and drive him with courage and expectancy into the battles he will face today and let him seize hold of every opportunity to subdue, conquer, and overcome. Let him experience the sweet taste of victory and reap the deserved rewards of a battle well fought. Let no blessing or opportunity to fight, win, grow, and establish his faith and love for you pass him by. Amen

Credits: http://www.ddaymuseum.co.uk/d-day/d-day-and-the-battle-of-normandy-your-questions-answered
Photos: Jaws http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Into_the_Jaws_of_Death_23-0455M_edit.jpg

A to Z: Overcoming Noise

Noise

A sound, esp. one that is loud or unpleasant or that causes disturbance:

I do not like noise. My ears are sensitive to misplaced, unnecessary, intruding sounds that rudely interrupt and distract from what I’m trying to concentrate upon. As much as I detest audible noise, this is not the enemy I speak of. I am referring to the silent noises of life.

Noise doesn’t have to be audible. It can come in small voiceless accusations. It is failure ripping relentlessly upon raw hearts and vulnerable emotions. It is silent reproach “You have messed up again,” “you are a horrible mother, wife, friend,” “You call yourself a Christian, you are not better than they are.”

Noise can be a look, a cold shoulder, or indifference. It is a fractured relationship that drowns spirits. Noise strains emotions like a great storm rolling across a plain, devouring everything within the reach of its icy fingers.

Noise can arrive without invitation. It steals wordlessly into living rooms, bedrooms, and even Church auditoriums. It lashes out with silent tongues of discontent, strife, anger, greed, and jealousy. Noise invades relationships, making what was once natural, effortless, and cherished morph into something awkward, unbearable, and tormenting.

Noise is the silent anguish of a grieving mother who has buried her child. It is the suffocating feeling of failure that burns deep inside the soul of the husband who has lost his job and has no idea how he will care for his family. Noise is the guilt of a teen who has given into pressure and had their innocence stolen. Noise is condemnation, heartbreak, anger, hopelessness. Noise is absence of peace.

In a world filled with so much mind numbing and heart deafening noise, how do we find the strength, grace and power to overcome?

Overcoming Noise!

Athletes provide a great example of how to overcome noise. They stand on the free throw line, the game riding upon their shoulders. Every spectator is on their feet screaming, yelling, chanting, praying, taunting, begging. The noise is mind numbing, yet that athlete can silence every voice, becoming deaf and blind to the presence of every human in the arena. It is just him and the net. There is silence in his heart and mind.

SWOOSH, VICTORY, TRIUMPH!

FOCUS!

The only way I overcome the mind deafening, crushing noise of life is through focusing on that which truly matters and the only thing that gives purpose and makes sense of life. Eternity, Forever, Hope, Healing, Heaven, my Lord and Savior. He is present through all the noise. His will is just, loving, and with purpose. Heaven and Earth will pass away, the noise will stop, and He will be there. My life is fleeting, my trials passing. All that matters is the only thing that will last. I will endure and can endure because I know the “Ending.” It is glorious, powerful, and satisfying. Eternity makes the here and now bearable, endurable, even acceptable. The only way I can overcome the noise it to

Look to the Master and Creator.

1I lift up my eyes to the hills.
From where does my help come?
2My help comes from the Lord,
who made heaven and earth.

3He will not let your foot be moved;
he who keeps you will not slumber.
4Behold, he who keeps Israel
will neither slumber nor sleep.

5The Lord s your keeper;
the
Lord is your shade on your right hand.
6The sun shall not strike you by day,
nor the moon by night.

7The Lord willkeep you from all evil;
he will keep your life.
8The Lord will keep
your
going out and your coming in
from this time forth and forevermore.

Practical Advice:

  1. Preach to yourself don’t listen to yourself

    When that accusing voice starts whispering lies & accusations, interrupt that voice with a good ol sermon of your own. Counter each lie, accusation and hurt with truth.

  2. Claim a “mantra”

    Not an in the mystic sense of the word, but a phrase or verse of truth that specifically counters the noise. When I was single and struggle with lies like : I was missing out, forgotten, cheated… Psalm 84:11-12 was the mantra I clung to. When I felt overwhelmed by a trial, it was the Psalm “You caused men to ride over our heads, we went through fire and water but Thou broughtest us out into a wealthy place. ” I set my gaze ahead, and as I broke, fell, cried, and rose up to keep press on, I was a looking for that promised wealthy place.

  3. Meditate on truth

    It doesn’t work to try to just out noise the noise. You have to know, believe, and purpose to let truth and peace reign instead of the noise, lies…. I didn’t just recite Pslam 84, I meditated on it and I told myself why I wasn’t missing out, cheated, left behind.

  4. Accountability!

    If you struggle in an area find a trusted friend who will challenge you, encourage you, and kick you in the butt when you need it. (Do not ask a person struggling with the same thing)

    How do you overcome Noise?

Run headlong into the arms of victory

Run Headlong into the Arms of Victory-
II Chronicles 20

Beyond the base of the cliff is a nation, as thick as stars shinning in the clear night sky. The rhythmic vibrations of the encampment swell as they dance together in symphonic harmony. Vibrant notes explode from their instruments racing to unite with the voices that flood the crisp morning air. Their offerings of praise soar to the throne of heaven born on the wings of angels, who lay them at the feet of their Creator.

This assembly of has not gathered to celebrate a marriage or observe a feast. Spread just beyond their encampment is an immense army. Three nations have formed an alliance, arraying themselves for battle with the intent of slaughtering every man, woman, and child withing their camp.

Hours earlier, the realization of war had enveloped the kingdom in a thick blanket of terror. Fear had swept from house to house engulfing everyone like a plague, but dread was replaced with hope and rejoicing when they received an unexpected promise. After Jehoshaphat their king received news of the advancing armies, scripture says he “feared” and then “set himself to seek the Lord.” V3 In response to the humble reply of their King, all of Judah followed his example. Unified as a nation, they gathered together and cried out to the Lord for Help. II Chronicles 20 records the desperate yet hopeful prayer of a King, condemned to a bloody and violent defeat, unless the heavens opened and Jehovah God came down and intervened on their behalf. Jehoshaphat walked into the center of camp, fell on his face before the Lord, and cried out for mercy. The Lord heard his cry and the Spirit of the Lord came into the midst of the people and the Lord responded, “Be not afraid nor dismayed by reason of this great multitude; for the battle is not yours, but God’s….Ye shall not need to fight in this battle: set yourselves, stand ye still, and see the salvation of the Lord with you O Judah and Jerusalem: fear not, nor be dismayed; tomorrow go out against them for the Lord will be with you.” V14-17

Now in the early morning hours, Israel has respond in faith to the promise d victory. They have prepared themselves for battle and the King stands in the midst of them with final instructions. “Believe in the Lord your God, so shall ye be established; believe his prophets, so shall ye prosper.”V20 Jehoshaphat then gatheres his entire kingdom together and his next command demonstrates the empowering nature of a faith rooted in power of the true and living God. II Chronicles records that Jehoshaphat “…appointed singers unto the Lord, and that should praise the beauty of holiness, as they went out before the army, and to say, Praise the Lord; for his mercy endured forever.”V21

Did you notice to whom the king assigned the task of leading his people into battle? The army has been shuffled to the back of the military procession while those armed with nothing more than the weapon of faith have rush forward. Their battle cry is the praise and proclamation of the beauty and Holiness of the Lord. It is under this banner of faith and praise, not military might,the nation of Judah advances into battle. Fast forward now to the end of this story, one as mysterious and glorious as the beginning. “And when they began to sing and praise, the Lord set ambushments against the children of Ammon, Moab, and mount Seir, which were come against Judah; and they were smitten…and none escaped….and the people came to take away the spoil of them…more than they could carry…and they were three days in gathering the spoil, it was so much…..And the fear of God was on all the kingdoms of those countries, when they had heard that the Lord fought against the enemies of the Israel….”V22-29

Israel was thrust into a conflict they could neither escape or win. With terror in their hearts they cried out to God for mercy and he fulfilled his promise to hear the cry of a humble and contrite nation who calls out to him. He responded to their cry for mercy and gave assurance of divine deliverance. Israel responded to His words of hope with obedience, celebrating and proclaiming the glory of the Lord who would deliver them before they ever set foot onto the battle field. The Lord commanded “Sit still and see”so the king moved their only source of strength and confidence to the back of the line and for once the army was last onto the field of battle. Weaponless, venerable, and weak, those who sang led their nation and the army to the edge of the battle field. As they stood singing, watching, unmoved and empty handed, their enemies were vanquished before their eyes, the spoils of war left for the taking.

We are weak and vunerable. We face battles and enemies we can not escape from or destroy. We serve the same God who delivered the nation of judah and like them, he has a promise for us. He has said when we are weak and afraid, he will be our strength.
II Cor 12:9
And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee:
for my strength is made perfect in weakness.
Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities,
that the power of Christ may rest upon me.

When we are abandoned, left to face our giants alone, he will not leave us or fail to intervene on our behalf.
Heb 13:5
I will never leavethee, nor forsake thee.

He has promised that trials will come but when we pass through the fire and water, at the end of our struggles and we will find find a wealthy place.
Ps 66:12
Thou hast caused men to ride over our heads;
we went through fire and through water:
but thou broughtest us out into a wealthy place.

When we lack and have nothing he tells us to open our mouths wide and he will fill them.
Ps 81:10
I am the LORD thy God, which brought thee out of the land of Egypt:
open thy mouth wide, and I will fill it.

Victory is ours to claim, death has be swallowed up.
I Cor 15:55-57
O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory?
…But thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory
through our Lord Jesus Christ.

If you have no strength, if your hands are empty, He who filled the depths can fill you. If your heart quakes in fear, your body ravaged with scars from battle, He who healed the sick and made whole the lame, knows your pain and can heal every wound. If you are weary and despair life itself, you are where you need to be. Lift your voice in praise and adoration for “the beauty and holiness of the Lord.” Discard your earth bound weapons and abilities and march to the front line of battle. Sing to the Lord and gaze in wonder as He intervenes on your behalf. Grace will rain down, weary hands will be lifted up, feeble knees will be strengthened, victory is assured, and the spoils of war will be yours.

Lift your eyes to heavens, where the source of your help and strength
Resides, and RUN HEADLONG INTO THE ARMS OF VICTORY!

PSALM 121
I will lift up mine eyes unto the hills, from whence cometh my help.
My help cometh from the LORD, which made heaven and earth.
He will not suffer thy foot to be moved:
he that keepeth thee will not slumber.