Showing posts with the label Stand Strong

Ruthless people are no threat to us

But you are a tower of refuge to the poor, O Lord, a tower of refuge to the needy in distress. You are a refuge from the storm and a shelter from the heat. For the oppressive acts of ruthless people are like a storm beating against a wall, or like the relentless heat of the desert. But you silence the roar of foreign nations. As the shade of a cloud cools relentless heat, so the boastful songs of ruthless people are stilled. (Isaiah 25:4-5) A tower of refuge to the needy in distress. The more we read of God's power to protect his creation, the more it should drive us into his arms. Why? We live in a world where 'oppressive acts of ruthless people' can get us down quicker than we know. We need the protection of God's presence, but we also need the protection of his Word. The Word is a powerful tool to combat the lies of the enemy and to expose all manner of deception - the deception 'ruthless people' seem to operate under. Ruthless people operate in a realm wh

Enduring within

Let me introduce you to Peter - a brash, outspoken leader who sometimes didn't get it all right, made impetuous decisions, too afraid to admit his association with someone others didn't exactly like, and who acted rashly on more than one occasion. Even though he wasn't all that 'perfect' in many of those day-to-day decisions, he was one of the founding fathers of the New Testament Church. Nero was the ruler of his day, and his reign didn't exactly leave those who followed Christ in a comfortable position. In fact, he'd as soon persecute them than support them. He often used them as scapegoats, blaming them for some vile action he had taken himself. Toward the end of Peter's life, he pens the letters to the Church at Rome and the 'aliens scattered abroad'. Being scattered leaves one feeling a bit disconnected from others - from the 'roots' one had formed and the protections one had enjoyed. All praise to God, the Father of our Lord Jesus

Will it really matter in the long run?

Are you easy to get along with? The "characters" within the groups we interact with each day make it a little harder for us to score a perfect ten in this "getting along" category at times. According to what James tells us, a holy life is characterized by getting along with others. Uh oh - now I have gone to meddling! If we can 'get along' consistently, it must be because we are embracing this life of God's wisdom, and not living by the whim or fancy of our mood or someone else's attitude!  Real wisdom, God’s wisdom, begins with a holy life and is characterized by getting along with others. It is gentle and reasonable, overflowing with mercy and blessings, not hot one day and cold the next, not two-faced. You can develop a healthy, robust community that lives right with God and enjoy its results only if you do the hard work of getting along with each other, treating each other with dignity and honor. (James 3:17-18) "Getting along" with

Stop bullying me!

Has it been one of those seasons where no matter how hard you try to move one step forward, you feel like you are taking two steps backward? No matter what you do, you just cannot seem to break free of whatever it is that is keeping you in the muddle and trials you are in. Sometimes I think this 'muddle' is just my own doing - because I have bitten off way more than I can chew. My plate is overloaded and the only way to be clear of the pressure is to get some of the stuff off my plate which really doesn't belong there in the first place. There are other times when I just cannot tell you why I am feeling a little oppressed and pushed down, but it happens more than I'd like to admit. I think those times might just be when the enemy of my soul wants me to get distracted from what is important in life - adding muddle and mess wherever he can. How about you? Sometimes you just need to push some of the stuff back off your plate, other times you might just need to push

Not every stone is a stumbling block

While Samuel was offering the sacrifice, the Philistines came within range to fight Israel. Just then God thundered, a huge thunderclap exploding among the Philistines. They panicked—mass confusion!—and ran helter-skelter from Israel. Israel poured out of Mizpah and gave chase, killing Philistines right and left, to a point just beyond Beth Car. Samuel took a single rock and set it upright between Mizpah and Shen. He named it “Ebenezer” (Rock of Help), saying, “This marks the place where God helped us.” (I Samuel 7:10-12) Israel had allowed the unthinkable to happen - they had compromised their stand with God by taking on the worship of idols and the practices of the lands around them. This was something God had warned them not to do. As a result, they lost the help of God in the midst of their battles - to those who don't know this portion of the Old Testament, it was the Ark of the Covenant - the 'place' of God's presence. The armies of the Philistines were known fo

Help our unbelief

Some stand on the cliff-edge today - fearing the doom that awaits with just one misstep. The darkness of the vast expanse below brings swells of fear and apprehension. They might even feel a little 'hemmed in' because there appears to be no way to turn back safely. It seems like the footing once secure and rock solid is slipping away, small pieces cascading over that cliff-edge, never to be seen again. Some find the winds and waves of present circumstances rocking them to and fro, unable to sail a straight course because there is nothing but opposition in your sails. The harder they attempt to choose the correct course, the more the swells seem to pitch them this direction and that, until they are so unsteady and fearing the capsizing of all that they have come to know as their place of protection. Others feel the ground beneath them trembling, rumblings coming from deep within spaces they have never seen. The ground beneath seems to open up, separating them from what they once

A little prep now makes sense

The training a soldier receives is for one purpose - to be prepared for the battle. Not to be prepared just in case there might be a battle someday in the distant future. It is training to be prepared - regardless of the battle, foe, or challenge. There is a great deal of attention that must be paid in "being prepared" - it involves mind being ready, body being physically prepared, and gear all being in solid working order. Another important part of the soldier's training is that of learning how to use the gear and when it is the appropriate time for each piece of gear. I was issued so much stuff - winter and summer gear - combat and survival gear. Each had a purpose and I had to learn how each piece functioned. If I didn't know how to dismantle my weapon and put it back together perfectly, it could mean the loss of life! Scripture describes the fact that we must learn how to apply the various weapons / pieces of armor we are provided in this Christian walk. It s some