The Battle is the Lord’s – Training for War!

If you are fortunate, one struggle will end before another begins. Often, however, battles invade in mass. There are times when I want to raise the white flag of surrender and say, “Enough, Lord!” Battles serve a divine purpose. Ultimately every battle we face is the Lord’s while at the same time, He is training us for war.

“These are the nations the LORD left to test all those Israelites
who had not experienced any of the wars in Canaan
(he did this only to teach warfare to the descendants of the Israelites
who had not had previous battle experience.”
Judges 3:1,2

God’s intention is for us all to become mighty in battle, warriors who are thoroughly equipped and prepared for any affront. Training is developed in the battle field of experience not in the classroom of hypothesis.

We all enjoy singing the songs of victory; few relish in the throes of battle.

The Battle is the Lord’s

Whatever we are going through, whether small or great, God alone gains the victory for us. Though it is tempting to “handle” the small stuff ourselves, foundational principles are learned in the little battles of life that can be applied equally to larger attacks.

Turning our face toward God!

“This is what the LORD says:
Do not be afraid!
Don’t be discouraged by this mighty army,
for the battle is not yours, but God’s.”
2 Chronicles 20:15

Don’t wait for the marriage to fail, the diagnosis of cancer, the prodigal son to run off to a distant land, or the bank account to occupy the red zone before relying on the Lord’s help. Bring every struggle and battle to the Lord, seek His strategy, and follow His directives.

Jehoshaphat “inquired of the LORD, and he proclaimed a fast“. Then all the people around also sought “help from the LORD.”

The King, as one in authority, went first. He set the precedent. Prayer and fasting don’t twist the arm of God, rather they position hearts to trust, eyes to see, ears to hear and minds to comprehend the agendas of God.

God is Big Enough

When we learn to fearlessly trust during the “little”, trusting in the “big” comes instinctively. God dwindled Gideon’s army down to where only He would receive the glory. First God released the fearful.

“Anyone who trembles with fear may turn back and leave…
So twenty-two thousand men left…”
Judges 7:3

Fear spreads quickly! Twenty-two thousand fear-filled warriors would easily have destabilized the entire army! Once fear was weeded out, only courage remained!

Fear may help get the adrenaline pumping, but no one functions at their best when afraid. It is the solid recognition of Who God is, that solidifies fearless trust. Stepping forward in God’s authority, dominion, and power, increases strength, renews hope and builds extravagant faith.

“LORD, the God of our ancestors,
are you not the God who is in heaven?
You rule over all the kingdoms of the nations.
Power and might are in your hand,
and no one can withstand you.”
2 Chronicles 20:6

State the Problem

Don’t be afraid of calling things out! My father would say, “Call a spade a spade!” In other words, say it like it is! State the circumstance you are facing honestly and clearly. Acknowledging personal inability to overcome a battle is never a declaration of God’s inability, only ours!

When we are weak, God is strong!

“For we have no power to face this vast army that is attacking us.
We do not know what to do,
but our eyes are on you.”
2 Chronicles 20:12

The important part is knowing who you are with!

We’re not asking God to come and join us in our battle. We position ourselves with Him! Like a little child standing in our Father’s shadow, we are invincible with our God! We always win!

Paul put it this way:

“For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain.”
Philippians 1:21

We cannot assume we know how to fight our battle! “We do not know what to do, but our eyes are on you.”

Be merciful to me, my God,
for my enemies are in hot pursuit;
all day long they press their attack
When I am afraid, I put my trust in you…
in God I trust and am not afraid.”
Psalms 56:1-4

In God we trust!

Warriors Who Don’t Fight

Here comes the seeming contradiction! God allows the enemy to come close for the specific purpose of equipping and training us for battle. When we step into battle position, He fights!

“You will not have to fight this battle.
Take up your positions: stand firm
and see the deliverance the LORD will give you..”
2 Chronicles 20:17

The weapons of our warfare are not carnal!

The temptation is to pick up the weapons and run ahead of our Leader. Self-reliance and self-sufficiency must be laid down before we even begin.

We take our position in worship and adoration, standing firm on the unfailing promises of God. Our eyes are fixed on the LORD to bring victory. Positioning ourselves in Christ, we move forward.

Go out to face them
2 Chronicles 20:17

Face your battle! Even if you need to lean on others, stand and face your struggle!

The Song of Victory

Jehoshaphat was so confident of God’s victory he placed the singers in the lead! The warriors armed with physical weapons followed behind.

“What song is so powerful enemies cringe and flee at the melody?” I ask.

“His love endures forever” is the answer.

“Jehoshaphat appointed men to sing to the LORD
and to praise him for the splendor of his holiness
as they went out at the head of the army,saying:
Give thanks to the LORD,
for his love endures forever,’ ”
2 Chronicles 20:21

Now that is audacity!

Songs of worship and praise disarm the enemy camp!

The song of victory buckled the knees of the enemy before the fighting began. The joyous sound of audacious faith and trust in God caused the enemy to be thrown into confusion.

The minstrels carried the tune back to the streets of Jerusalem and into the temple. When the song of thanksgiving rises, demonic kingdoms hear and tremble.

Why? The battle is not ours; the battle is the Lord’s.

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More Reading:

Intercession – Releasing The Power of The Cross Through Prayer

Beauty Instead of Ashes! Out with the Old! In with the New!

 

The Prodigal Returns, Prayer Answered! Running No More!

The Prodigal Returns

I am writing “The Prodigal” for three reasons. First, to draw attention to the amazing grace of our Heavenly Father. Second, to honor my Christian parents and recognize their investment in my life and their prayers for Pat and I. Thirdly, to encourage parents, grandparents, family and friends to keep on praying for your loved one, no matter how hopeless things may look.

The Lord is near to all who call on him,
    to all who call on him in truth.”
Psalm 145:18

Early Days

I was a normal kid living on a farm with honest and God following parents. Our church was a small Full Gospel work in Radville, Saskatchewan. There was nothing to inspire young people.

Two negative things marked the wonderful innocent years growing up on the farm. One was sexual molestation, another was a violation of my sexual innocence by materials that were never in our home. These are not an excuse for my behavior in my early teens but they were an introduction of evil into my mind and heart.

A Prodigal’s Rebellion

I determined to experience the things my parents had warned me about: girls, rock music, alcohol, fighting, driving too fast, dancing and movies. It sounds old fashioned, like the innocent pursuits of a teenager, but I was out of control.

David Wicks - the Prodigal

I defied my parents and broke all the rules. Outwardly looking like a typical kid growing up in the 60’s, inside I was filled with conflict, self-doubt and fear. I was afraid of God, afraid of being left to perish if the Rapture occurred and ashamed of what I was doing.

As the years went by, I failed at school and was soon a high school dropout. I remember being on the verge of a sexual sin with a local girl and suddenly coming under a terrible conviction. We stopped doing what was about to happen and drove  to my parents farm. They led the young woman to Christ.

However, I could not surrender. So a wild, out of control season took a dark turn into a drunken fog. After drinking all day in Westby, Montana I wrecked my car and ended up in jail in Weyburn. I was so toxic on alcohol the police took me from the cell to the hospital. My parents came in the wee hours of the morning to get me.

Mother told me years later that she asked me that night why I was running away from God. My reply was, “If I stop running I will have to be a preacher.” I do not remember!

No Surrender

The assistant manager at Northgate Mall Safeway, where I worked, was a godly Christian man who attended Hillsdale Alliance. God showed him I was from a Christian background. He would plead with me to give my life to Christ. I just couldn’t!

Years later while attending Bible School in Eston, I connected with Bob Kinnie my boss at the Safeway. He wept with sheer joy when he heard what God had done. He told me he prayed for me all the time.

“If you see a Christian brother or sister
sinning in a way…
you should pray,
and God will give that person life.”
I John 5:16

About 1967-68 I was engaged to Pat, my one and only wife. However, I drank so much everything about me was crumbling. A girl from the past came along as a distraction. In a foolish state I walked away from everything: Pat, job, and car.

The prodigal - alcohol, drugs and parties

I hitchhiked to Calgary to “find myself“. The prodigal didn’t find anything but a drug and alcohol mess. I hitchhiked back to Regina for Pat. She was heartbroken and angry at my behavior. She had gone to live with her grandparents in Hazenmore to find her balance. I arrived looking like the lost soul I was. She slowly let me back into her life.

While walking around Hazenmore we found a closed Anglican church. The door was unlocked so we went in. Walking up to the pulpit, I stood there gazing down at a large dusty Bible. Feeling a sudden homesick melancholy, I went and sat in a pew and quietly wept. Pat came and sat down, asking what was wrong. God was tugging at my heart. The prodigal pushed it away!

A Prodigal’s Breakdown

Shortly after, Pat and I “ran away together” beginning a new life in Calgary. There we lived in a common law relationship.

All the while, my parents prayed and prayed. From time to time they would send books, Bibles or encouragement to go to a church. But we pursued a life of drinking, partying and drugs.

“Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction,
faithful in prayer.”
Romans 12:12

Pat and I were married back in Regina at a United Church. I remember my parents trying hard to smile at the wedding but all the while being haunted by our dangerous lifestyle.

In 1972, Pat and I were home for Christmas on our farm near Radville . We had drugs with us, using them all the time, even while flying on the plane. Mom told me later, she felt a real “darkness” around us.

Early in 1973 a number of events and experiences shattered my prodigal world. We had put some money together with others to send someone to Beruit to buy hashish, a strong drug you smoke. The person was arrested and put in prison in Lebanon.

Broken marriage

Our marriage began to fracture with all the drugs and the parties. I was working as an assistant manager in Loblaws. Unknown to me, I was on probation. The leadership knew I was stoned everyday at work.

We began to hang out with a motorcycle gang called the Grim Reapers. Things reached a climax with Pat back in Regina, both to escape the stress between us and to visit her folks.

I partied all night with the Grim Reapers arriving back in our apartment in the early hours of morning. I was high on “speed”. Everything in my mind and body was racing. The prodigal felt invincible!

The Lord isn’t really being slow about his promise,
as some people think.
No, he is being patient for your sake.
He does not want anyone to be destroyed,
but wants everyone to repent.”
2 Peter 3:9

A Prodigal’s Breakhrough

In the empty apartment, filled with drugs I felt a strange homesick melancholy (sound familiar). A loving voice said, “If you continue this way you will soon die.”

Suddenly sober, scared and desperate, in anguish I said “God, please help me”.

I call on you, my God, for you will answer me;
    turn your ear to me and hear my prayer.”
Psalm 17:6

A prodigal cries out, "Lord please help me!"

A deep peace came over me. Even though you never sleep on speed, I went into our kitchen, laid down on our bed and fell sound asleep. A motorcycle was in our bedroom. Don’t ask!

When I woke, there was that homesick melancholy.  That evening, Sunday, Pat flew home from Regina. My sad demeanor, which I couldn’t understand, was misconstrued by Pat. She thought I had met another woman.

For about two weeks without drugs, drinking, or listening to Rock n Roll, I just sat quietly. A series of events began to happen!

I phoned my parents, “ A friend of mine is having some struggles you should pray for him.”

Mom called everyone she knew, “Please pray! Dave and Pat are getting close.”

“Do not be anxious about anything,
but in every situation,
by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving,
present your requests to God.”
Philippians 4:6

Out of the blue, a heroin addict (who claimed to be an atheist) dropped some Hal Lindsey books off. After two weeks, I came home from work for supper with Pat. I told her I knew what I had to do.

She expected me to leave her. Instead, I got down on my knees giving my life to Christ. She did the same days later. The rest is history! God has blessed our lives from March of 1973 until this very day.

Keep praying! Don’t give up! The prodigals will come home!

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Pastor of Pastors

Pastor Dave Wicks not only became a pastor but is now a pastor of many pastors as the Regional Director of ACOP South Saskatchewan Region. Through his gentle, quiet, joyful nature and steadfastness, He is an inspiration to many people across denominational and generational lines.

Though I have know Pastor Dave and his beautiful wife Pat for only a short time, I come away from every meeting motivated by the great love and grace that lavishly flows from their lives.

They are champions in the faith!

Running for the Lord not from Him!

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More Reads:

Rebuild the Walls! Fight for Your Families, Your Sons And Your Daughters!

The New Math – A New Mindset with The Mind of Christ

Window of Faith

I have started facilitating a small bible study group. Seeking biblical answers for the questions of eager learners inspires me to dig deep. Developing the necessary kingdom mindset that can be difficult for most of us.

In class we were discussing the scriptural principles of reaping and sowing. Scriptural principles are constant whether we are aware of them or not. When I plant wheat, wheat is what I expect to harvest. The same is true in the Spirit. When I plant God’s word, from that word comes life through Jesus Christ, The Word.

Old Math

For over forty years me father was a heavy smoker, until he developed emphysema. Though he quit smoking the disease took his life. We could call this an equation that looks like this.

Old MathSmoking + Emphysema = Death

In the natural world, we see this math at work constantly.

Adding unfaithfulness to marriage produces divorce.
Drinking plus liver disease leads to cirrhosis and death.
Negligence in areas of finance leads to poverty.
and many more….

But God

Add God to any equation and the outcome changes.

“You intended to harm me,
but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done,
the saving of many lives. ”
Genesis 50:20

“David stayed in the desert strongholds and in the hills of the Desert of Ziph.
Day after day Saul searched for him,
but God did not give David into his hands.”
1 Samuel 23:14

“But God will redeem my life from the grave;
he will surely take me to himself.” 

 Psalm 49:15

Every negative in our life is a horizontal reality. But when God is added everything changes!

Horizontal Reality

“My flesh and my heart may fail,
but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.”
Psalm 73:26

“Jesus looked at them and said,
“With man this is impossible,
but with God all things are possible.”
Matthew 19:26

“But God raised him from the dead, freeing him from the agony of death,
because it was impossible for death to keep its hold on him.” 
Acts 2:24

“But God demonstrates his own love for us in this:
While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”
Romans 5:8

“For the wages of sin is death,
but the gift of God is eternal life
in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
Romans 6:23

“…for which I am suffering even to the point of being chained like a criminal.
 But God’s word is not chained.” 
2 Timothy 2:9

This list is not exhaustive. I hope it is enough for you to begin to appreciate the many “but God” verses as much as I do. As soon as I see those two words, I know that everything is about to shift. Something supernatural is about to happen!

New Math

When I reason along the natural plain of this world, 1 + 1 will always equal 2. But when I allow vertically thinking and a new mindset, there is a shift.  I consider the negative realities fully and rationally. However, human reason no longer dominates.

“Without weakening in his faith,
he faced the fact that his body was as good as dead–
since he was about a hundred years old–
and that Sarah’s womb was also dead.”
Romans 4:19

Abraham’s faith created the vertical alignment set over his horizontal reality of life. As a believer we don’t ignore the facts! We simply apply faith over every fact confronting us.

But God

Now Abraham took his number one fact, “his body was as good as dead”, with Sarah’s number one fact. One plus one! He plunked faith firmly in the middle, overlaying horizontal reality with the vertical truth of “but God“. Now fact, reality and faith were firmly connected!

Faith Plus

In the new math we stop right here. As we ask God in prayer, “God what is your purpose in this? What is your outcome? Teach me your desire? What does this equal with You?”

New Mindset

Now through the vertical dimension of faith, “2” is not the “natural” outcome to the equation.  Rather, faith creates before us a window through which light and life can flow freely.

New Mindset

 

My thoughts are nothing like your thoughts,” says the LORD.
“And my ways are far beyond anything you could imagine.”
Isaiah 55:8

To see God’s potential reached, we aim for His mindset. In becoming more and more aware of His thoughts and His character, the Lord will enlarge our thinking to creative abilities and heavenly mindsets.

One plus one may just mean a new window of opportunity, growth or direction for you and those around you! Take this moment to ask God what your one plus one equals in His sight. You might be surprised!

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Further Reading:

Don’t Give Up! Don’t Quit! Finish Strong

 

 

 

 

Intercession – Releasing The Power of The Cross Through Prayer

Intercessory Prayer

Prayer plays a strategic role in the life of every believer; intercession is only one dimension of that prayer. It is a critical tool in the spiritual arsenal available for us. Yet, it is perhaps the least understood!

“I urge, then, first of all,
that petitions, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving
be made for all people…”

I Timothy 2:1

Paul urges Timothy to utilize four distinct types of prayer because

“This is good, and pleases God our Saviour,
who wants all people to be saved
and to come to an knowledge of the truth.”
I Timothy 2:4

Intercession

Perhaps one of the best books written on the subject is “Intercessory Prayer” by Dutch Sheets. It is worth both a read and a study. I’ll just scratch the surface and leave the deep theological stuff to the pros.

The word Paul uses here for intercession is (1783 Strongs) énteuksis. It means intervention or more literally “to strike, hit the mark or the bulls-eye“.

Intercession - Strike The Mark

1783 /énteuksis (“Spirit-directed intervention“) refers to the petitions (intercessions)
of believers as they “fall in line with” God’s will –
revealing how the one intervening should get involved after drawing near to God
and agreeing with His revealed will. True intercession
(1783 /énteuksis) seeks to act only as the Lord directs,
i.e. following His will to act as His hand extended (cf. 1 Jn 4:17).

(  copyright © 1987, 2011 by Helps Ministries, Inc.
For complete text and additional resources visit: TheDiscoveryBible.com)

Intercession is the faith prayer joining God’s will in heaven and His perfect desire on earth. The mystery is He chooses to use His people as the conduit through which His power flows.

The Waiter

Therefore, the first posture of the intercessor is on our knees waiting to hear and to know what God’s perfect will is in a situation.

Waiting

In the midst of a fast paced culture where identity often rests on results, this can be a difficult position to assume. First, it requires the laying down of our own desires and longings. Then it demands perfect trust in knowing we can hear the voice of the Shepherd clearly.

My sheep hear my voice,
and I know them, and they follow me.”
John 10: 27

God’s voice will always line up perfectly with His Word. His word reflects His heart and character. Just as in any relationship, the only way to truly know His heart is by spending copious amounts of time with Him.

The Warrior

Jesus led by example when confronted by the chief of adversaries. To every attack He used the word of God as His only weapon! It is obvious that the devil also knows the word of God and from the beginning has used it in a variety of twisted and distorted forms.

¹²For we have the living Word of God which is full of energy,
and it pierces more sharply than a soldier’s sword…”
Hebrews 4:12 (Passion Translation)

Warrior

Paul commands,

Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit,
which is the word of God.”
Ephesians 6:17

The sword is part of the armour to be employed daily. It is interesting to note the word of God is our only offensive weapon. Intercession, more than any other type of prayer, is a precise instrument for offensive attack on the enemy’s onslaughts.

To know the word, here meaning the written word (logos), of God is imperative to our ability to wield the sword hitting the mark.

The Worshipper

Sometimes impossibilities become possible simply through spoken praise, adoration and worship of our Lord Jesus Christ. One of my absolute favourite passages of scripture is 2 Chronicles 20. The enemy was fierce! King Jehoshaphat goes to the temple, the place of divine strategy, and lays out the situation before God. At the Lord’s command they

Take up your positions;
stand firm and see the deliverance the LORD will give you.

Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged. 
Go out to face them tomorrow.” (vs 17)

That sounds familiar! But what is surprising is that he appoints singers to lead!

“to praise him for the splendor of his holiness
as they went out at the head of the army, saying:
Give thanks to the LORD,
for his love endures forever.’
As they began to sing and praise,
the LORD set ambushes against the men of Moab and
they were defeated.” (vs 21, 22)

Worshipper

How many volunteers would we get for that choir today? The strong guys with weapons were in the rear! Now that is faith in motion!

Under the Cross

As an intercessor, one simultaneously and interchangeably assumes all three roles: waiting on the Lord, warring on His behalf, and worshipping and adoring Him alone. Positioned under the finished work of the cross of Christ, the intercessor stands in the chasm between heaven and earth releasing the will of the Father towards the children of man.

Though God can work independently of humans, He has chosen to limit Himself to work through us by Holy Spirit. We have no ability to set captives free, but we call upon the One who has paid the ransom for freedom for all. We have no power to heal, but we seek the Healer to move bringing alignment of afflicted bodies into heaven’s order. We stand on Christ the Rock and in the authority of His Name expect

the release of the demoniac,
soundness of mind to the tormented,
restoration to the oppressed,
chains of bondage broken over captives,
eyes once spiritual blind to see the Light of Life.

Soldiers take your positions! Strike the mark!

 

Under the Cross by MaryAnn Ward
Under the Cross by MaryAnn Ward

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Prayer – A Personal Invitation None Should Refuse

There can be huge gaps between our knowing and doing when it comes to prayer. I hope we are like Jesus’ disciples honestly asking Him to teach us in this area.

“One day Jesus was praying in a certain place. When he finished, one of his disciples said to him, “Lord, teach us to pray, just as John taught his disciples.”
Luke 11:1

The disciples were not unfamiliar with praying. After all, these were Jewish boys. They would already have been taught principles and patterns for prayer. Some were originally followers of John who also taught on prayer.

So what made the prayers of Jesus so different from every other prayer they had heard to this point?

That remains my question, too!

Humble Beginnings

When I first became a Christian I wasn’t allowed the privilege of a bible or the liberty to attend a church. Without these two key elements in my life, prayer became my sustaining force. I had no “spiritual” mother or father to pattern from or teach me.

I knew God was real. Not just real from a distance, but real in my life. Instinctively I knew He wanted to be involved and connected to every part.

The Father’s Love

I heard someone say once, “The steadfast love of the Lord is your compass point.” His unfailing love is the “true north” that is the guiding light for all disciplines.

No one loves as deeply as the Heavenly Father!

The Father's Love

“Because of the LORD’s great love
we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail.
They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.
I say to myself,
“The LORD is my portion; therefore I will wait for him.
(Lamentations 3:22-23).

In the Lord’s prayer Jesus is giving us more than a verbal pattern. He is demonstrating that prayer is to be in the context of relationship to God as a loving Father and Friend. (Luke 11:1-13)

Two Ways

Have you ever had a conversation with yourself? I have! Gets boring really fast!

Prayer is simply conversation with the Father. That means there are moments of both listening and speaking when we pray. Prayer has two directions, us to the Father and the Father to us.

Listen Speak

As with most conversations, it is helpful if I listen first and speak second. Listening begins as I mediate on The Word of God. Faith rises as a scripture comes to mind and I sense Him nudge me, “Try this one“.

“For God does speak–now one way, now another – though no one perceives it.”
Job 33:14

I guess I’m not the first one to have trouble with this two-way conversation thing of prayer!

The Holy Spirit

I’m so thankful the Holy Spirit is there to help us in learning process.

“In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us through wordless groans.”
Romans 8:26

Many times we can be uncertain to know just how to pray…

when words don’t come easy or thoughts unravel,
when the heart aches
as you circle a mountain of despair
one more time…
Holy Spirit steps in both for us and with us. We’re not alone.

God Answers Prayer

I know what I have written is only the beginning concepts of prayer – simple grounding principles. Another fundamental to be added is an assurance that God delights to answer.

“So I say to you, ask, and it will be given to you;
seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you.”
Luke 11:9

My first prayer for you today is for you to have a new confidence to hear and receive from God. The second is that prayer would become so filled with special prayer moments that your life becomes a continuous flow of listening, talking and receiving from God. Lastly, may prayer become an amazing opening into a new adventure with The One who longs to spend time with you.

Prayer

Today may you hear Jesus say to you, “Come!

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Hebrews 11:1 “Now Faith Is”

Faith Substance Evidence

This verse has brewed in my heart for weeks. I learned years ago while memorizing scripture that it is often the little words in a sentence that carry immense weight. Think about it – “now faith is“!

When we think about faith we often focus on something hoped for the future. Faith is having “complete trust or confidence in someone or something”. That something for a Christian is “strong belief in God or in the doctrines of the bible, based on spiritual apprehension rather than proof.”

Faith requires a “spiritual apprehension” – to have a clear grasp of understanding of the truth.”

Hebrews is a book written to the Jews. Although they had the writings of the prophets and poetic scrolls, their spiritual understanding rested on the writings of Moses. This was their foundation of all truth.

“Now faith is the substance of things hoped for,
the evidence of things not seen.”
Hebrews 11:1

The Pentateuch

In these first five books of the bible we learn

much about the character of God,
His power and goodness,
the promises of God,
The Law,
His faithful pursuit of mankind,
the triune nature of eternal God,
and much, much, much more…..

Pentateuch

At the end of these books we read:

“There is no one like the God of Jeshurun,
who rides across the heavens to help you
and on the clouds in his majesty.
The eternal God is your refuge,
and underneath are the everlasting arms.
He will drive out your enemies before you…
He is your shield and helper
and your glorious sword…”
Deuteronomy 34:26-29

Now

God can be taken at His Word! When a Jew would read “now faith is”, he knew beyond any doubt faith rests not our circumstances or personal ability, but fully on the foundation of The Word of God.

“Now faith is… substance.”  “Now faith is… evidence.” Now! In fact, this very moment!

The substance of what we hope for in prayer is now!

The evidence of what we don’t yet see is now!

Mary also apprehended the truth when she declared,

“For no word from God will ever fail.”
Luke 1:37

Faith Now

The angel’s words made no sense. A virgin giving birth? The Holy Spirit overshadowing? The natural mind could not comprehend, but faith said “the evidence is now… the substance though unseen is!”

The literal translation for Luke 1:37 is “with God’s word is the power to fulfill it.” As God speaks it is done!

Faith

There are many things that I once needed faith to believe. I would struggle to apply some foundational truth to my life, usually because facts were confronting my path. There is a vast different between truth and fact.

Fact was the walls of Jericho were impenetrable;
truth is they fell with a shout!
Fact was the Red Sea was formidable;
truth is the wind of God lead the way!
Fact was the enemies are strong;
truth is God is Mighty!

God says everything done without faith is sin! Rather than a condemnation, it is an invitation to walk by faith.

This constant invitation to partner with Him and His Word is like a gate swung purposely open in our direction. Faith is activated upon truth.

Is

Often my hand trembles as I place it into God’s great hand. It takes faith not just to place it there, but also to keep it there. My faith rests complete, because He is………

“…I AM WHO I AM…”
Exodus 3:14

Whatever I need in faith today, He is! He never changes; His word is unfailing.

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(For more on faith check here.)

Grace to Believe

Lord grant me the grace to walk in faith
daily – moment by moment
breath by breath
knowing
now
faith
is.

 

Nothing is Impossible – With God Your Problem is God’s Opportunity!

Nothing is Impossible

I hold in my hands an amazing reminder that nothing is impossible with God. Our greatest obstacles can become stepping-stones of God’s opportunity in our lives.

What is the hardest thing you have ever faced? Multiplying it by more than you could imagine gives an idea what refugees across the world face daily!

My gift is a simple little mosaic tile with Arabic letter “n” (pronounced “noon”).Noon

“Noon” is the symbol Islamic militants used to mark Christian homes and businesses. It was the signal to “convert, pay a tax or be killed. Many Christians fled as their property was confiscated by ISIS.

Yet this very symbol has become a source of solidarity, strength and perseverance. On the back of my tile is a name of the person who created it; a gentle reminder to pray for them and others.

Nothing Is Impossible With God

Nothing is Impossible

They are a modern day example of facing impossible odds, and coming through strong. God gives us many more examples:

With God
walls crumble to dust
jail doors fling open
the weak become strong
lepers healed as they walk
a box lunch feed thousands
despised women and ignored children find their place
enemy armies flee in terror
lions shut their mouths
raging waves and winds halt
persecutors become preachers
the fearful made fearless…

When God speaks all of creation stops and obeys! Nothing is impossible! Nothing!

If God is For Us

“What, then, shall we say in response to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us?
Romans 8:31

When we are hardly capable of keeping our heads above ground, it is difficult to remember; remembrance is a powerful tool giving strength to face obstacles head on.

Remember

Jonah remembered God in the belly of a fish,

“When my life was ebbing away, 
I remembered you, LORD, and my prayer
rose to you…
I will say, ‘Salvation comes 
from the LORD.'”
Jonah 2: 7-9

In remembering came salvation and a second chance to obey.

I remember my affliction and my wandering…
Yet this I call to mind
and therefore I have hope:
Because of the LORD’s great love
we are not consumed,
for his compassions never fail“.
Lamentations 3: 19-21

The writer goes on to declare God’s faithfulness, declaring him as our Source and Sufficiency. The God who is more than enough.

At one of his most critical moments, Joseph remembered the dreams God has given him and watched as they were fulfilled before his eyes.

There is something very powerful about remembering what God has said and done; it ignites confidence for today and  births hope for tomorrow.

Thankfully, God has given us a book of remembrance – The Bible.

My “Noon”

My Impossibles

I’ve never had to flee my home, part a sea, raise the dead, face lions, or fierce armies. Consistently though, obstacles I’m not sure I can endure, let alone overcome, are in my path.

Several years ago, I was challenged to keep a journal. I struggled with it for a long time until Pastor Rod Barks showed me “S-O-A-P”scripture, observation, application and prayer. This little guideline is exactly the structure I need to keep on track.

My journal is a road map of my obstacle course of overcoming through solidarity, strength and perseverance

depression and suicidal tendencies,
addictions,
failures,
brokenness,
prolonged deserts of the soul.

In this little journal are accounts of how God

brings hope in my hopelessness
helps in my weakness
transforms courage from fear
and faith from frailty.

With God nothing is impossible! My journal like the “noon” is a reminder of how big and crazy awesome my God is. My smallness doesn’t restrict Him; the world’s madness doesn’t hold Him down, keep Him back or restrain Him in any way. Nothing is impossible with God!

All things are possible for one who believes.”
Mark 9:23

__________

***SPECIAL THANKS: To Scott Aspinall Photography for the use of title photo! You are an amazing artist with you camera! Please take a moment to check out his work. 

__________

Related Posts

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Great Trials Matched by Great Joy – James 1 Perspective

 

Does Faith Stand Alone or Does Faith Require Action?

Faith Alone

Before the sun showed its face, or birds began their song, even before my eyes fully focused, I read this penetrating verse, “…faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead!” (James 2:17) Is it faith alone or does faith require action?

Just in case I missed it the first time, verse 26 says it again,

“As the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without deeds is dead!”

Now that is dead!  Other versions expound by adding “inoperative and ineffective” or “useless“.

Inoperative Useless

I highlighted the concept this way in my journal, mainly because I sometimes just need things spelled out plainly and simply.

FAITH – ACTION = DEAD
OR
FAITH – DEEDS = USELESS

Faith is never intended on being an isolated bubble of our spiritual journey. Rather, faith is designed to be intricately and solidly merged into our conversations and actions. At the same time, the shadow of the cross lands on these truths: I am made righteous in Christ and I can do nothing to merit or earn salvation!

“For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith –
and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God..”
Ephesians 2:8

However, there is an equation that is becoming an increasing reality in my life:

FAITH + ACTION = LIVING GRACE
And
FAITH + DEEDS = POWER FILLED SYNERGY

Paul as an Example – Faith Alone?

Paul invites all to examine this principle of faith plus action in his own life:

  • a man lame from birth jumps up and begins walking (Acts 14:10)
  • a young girl freed from demonic possession (Acts 16:18)
  • such extraordinary miracles that even items that touched him “were taken to the sick and their illnesses were cured and evil spirits left them” (Acts 19:12)
  • a dead man raised to life (Acts 20:10)
  • bitten by a viper (rattlesnake relative) without any after effects (Acts 28:5)

Healing

This is not exhaustive list, but it is enough to bring me to attention. “But this is Paul an apostle! Miracles don’t happen like that today,” might be the response from most. Perfectly logical and understandable! Let’s remember Paul was just a Jewish radical defending his belief system before meeting Jesus tangibly.

Logical and Understandable?

Since when is faith logical or understandable? I have often wished it was that easy! Unfortunately, I have been unable to stuff it into either of these two hefty containers.  In fact, faith explodes all boundaries and catapults beyond human reason!

When I read the faith chapter of Hebrews 11, none of the actions of these men and women of faith were either rational or explainable. None! Yet, the volumes that have been written honouring and exemplifying their active faith continues to grow.

So I wrestle…
against my little thinking…
my compulsion to understand
to completely humble myself
walking the path of faith…
seeking grace for the moment…
to add not faith upon faith,
but rather childlike faith
baptizing every effort
releasing the life of Christ.

Childlike Faith

Reward

“It is impossible to please God without faith.
Anyone who wants to come to him must believe
that God exists and that he rewards those who sincerely seek him.”
Hebrews 11:6

The word “reward” embodies the idea of “restoring and renewing“, but the prime meaning is “to watch“. Furthermore, it is interesting that it also has a governmental or legal aspect of giving to someone what has been promised or is due – to settle an account.

I love it! God is watching and waiting for us to take Him at His word in active faith. As we do, He restores, renews, and watches over us seeking opportunity to fulfill His promises.

Faith Alone

My NKJV study note to James says, “It is one of the most practical books in the New Testament because it offers instructions and exhortations to Christians who are experiencing problems as all of us do.”

The writers of the New Testament were penning their words of encouragement to simple ordinary people like you and me, in an effort to spur them to follow the example of Jesus Christ and the apostles. I cannot find one place where we are told, “Don’t try this at home!”

The opposite is true! James calls out just a clear today, “Activate your faith breathing life into a world gasping for fresh air!”

Faith Plus Action

Lord, because You pressed these words on my heart,
may I take the leadership in
stepping, speaking, loving,
praying, contending, travailing
from a posture of faith plus action…
Forgive me for believing small!
You are watching and waiting to see
to reward simple gestures of
upward faith and outward action.
I thank You, Lord Jesus!

More on faith –

Hebrews 11:1 “Now Faith Is”

Nothing is Impossible – With God Your Problem is God’s Opportunity!

Moving and Change – Welcome or to be Avoided?

Moving is perhaps one of the most common sources of change. For some people change is marked on the calendar and celebrated with glee, like a child anticipating Christmas morning. For others change resembles opening a shuttered window overlooking a new and unknown experience. Yet for many their pace slows in purposeful delay of the inevitable. Moving and change! Welcome or to be avoided?

There is a lot of moving going on in our family these days. Just a little while ago, it was announced to the children of one family that a move was forthcoming. Each was asked for their input and thoughts into how that might look for them.

Moving

The oldest pondered the situation very carefully, weighing every angle possible in her young mind. Moving wouldn’t be easy! As a matter of fact, it would be difficult to leave a comfortable home and special friends. The final destination isn’t clear; the benefits of a move are uncertain. After a long discussion which included many questions, she set her resolve; the pros out-weighed the cons. The oldest was ready to cast an affirming vote.

The next child, who had been listening intently, had very little concern over the many options and outcomes. The family was moving together. With that fact reinforced, her world was secure here or there, now and then. A move is no big deal while being surrounded and supported by those you love.

The youngest had left the family round table of deliberation early and hastily. Just as everyone was beginning to wonder what she could be up to, she reappeared. Her oversized bags were already packed. The most prized of possessions  were in close tow already cased haphazardly. “Move now! Figure the details out later!” apparently was her motto.

Change

I’m still chuckling at the imagery! Yet, I realized most of us fit roughly into one of these three approaches to change:

  1. Positive change, in one opinion, will only occur after careful, calculated planning and preparation. Take your time and measure all possible outcomes is the best strategy. Then, and only then, proceed slowly and with caution.
  2. Change comes to us all! However, surrounded by loving support, even the most difficult adjustments can be approached confidently. Smooth change is possible when relationships are close and strong.
  3. Why sweat the small stuff? What’s the big fuss about? Pack your bags – board the bus – get with the program –  full throttle ahead! The details will work themselves out!

My wonderful husband is a #1. My poor husband is married to a #3. Fortunately, we have lots of family and friends (for whom we are very thankful) who make our life journey more of a #2.

IMG_7005

What about you? Do you fit snugly in any of these “boxes” of change or are you creating your own definition?

Ecclesiastes (not the most upbeat book of the bible) says,

“there is a time for everything and a season for every activity under the heavens.” (3:1)

At least one of those activities, I’m certain, could be classified as “change”. It is true! Change comes as certain as the seasons on the Canadian prairies – and often just as unpredictable.

“…the wise heart will know the proper time and procedure.
For there is a proper time and procedure for every matter…” (8:5-6)

There is a proper time and procedure for every matter Click To Tweet

I need a whole lot more of wisdom! Few people develop the full understanding of “the proper time and procedure” when it comes to moving and change. Often I find myself galloping up a distant hill, while my Leader, Jesus, is inviting me to lie down in green pastures and drink from quiet waters. At other times, He is patiently beckoning me forward; I, on the other hand, am far too reluctant to leave

 the familiar
the safe and secure
the comfortable or easy
and, of course, the  predictable.

But before I, or you, get too hard on ourselves, there is another verse that carries a great deal of wisdom in seasons of moves and changes:

Trust God from the bottom of your heart;
    don’t try to figure out everything on your own.
Listen for God’s voice in everything you do, everywhere you go;
    He’s the one who will keep you on track.”
Proverbs 3: 5-6 MSG

“He’s the one who will keep you on track.” With that knowledge, I take a deep, relaxed breath. He will! My position is one

trusting in Him
leaning on Him
and listening for His voice
in the shifts and
changes of life…
He will take care of the rest!

Ok! Now it’s your turn; take that deep breath… lean back… smile a little and allow Him to “keep you on track!” The pressure is off!


 Times of Change

Even though times and seasons change,
You are constant…
Your presence is more than enough
through any move or change that comes my way…
Today, I chose to trust and lean in a little closer.
You are good all the time…
Faithfully You lead me, directing my paths.
May I approach change simply by
stepping in pace with your rhythm
my hand in your hand
and my feet on your feet.


Faith or Fear? Which Will We Choose?

Faith or Fear

Like a great chasm an expanse is drawn,
polar opposites separated as east from west –
faith and fear.
Which will we choose?
This is a decision that will influence every other direction!
Will we live a life of faith or be crippled by fear?

When all is “going well”, confidence and assurance floods our thoughts and brighten our steps. However, when real obstacles loom before us and the ground shakes beneath our feet, what then is our response? I’m talking about those events that threaten to dismantle:

the terminal or incurable
the impenetrable
a key relationship shattered
financial decimation
all-hope-gone kind of events.

Faith or Fear

Where To Go?

Where do we go at times like these? Then what do we do?

“We are certainly not those
who are held back by fear and perish;
we are among those who have faith and experience true life.”
Hebrews 10:39 (PT)

God is looking for those who will fix their eyes on Him and trust Him at all times, in all seasons and through all circumstances. Faith requires one to reach beyond self. And that is the real problem! Humanity, by nature, is most self-reliant. Breaking this inert tendency requires consistent and persistent effort, which really is at the heart of faith.

Faith requires one to reach beyond self Click To Tweet

Joshua is commanded to hamstring all the horses and burn all the chariots of the enemy kingdoms he conquered. Why? Because God knew it wouldn’t be long before they would forget about the supernatural victories they won through faith and begin to trust in man-made remedies and solutions. And true enough, just a couple of chapters later we see the people paralyzed by fear. As they recognized the strength of their enemy’s military might. their personal faith felt minuscule.

Enemy Army

Faith or Fear?

What was Joshua’s response? He looked the facts in the face, threw his shoulders back and replied,

“…though they are strong, you can…”
(Josh 17:18)

That is exactly what faith declares! You can! With God you can! Through Him it is possible! When the impossible seems large, The One who makes all things possible is greater! You can!

You will know when fear is present because it will always hold you back and make you want to retreat.  ALWAYS! The result will consistently be death instead of life:

death of hopes and dreams
of relationships
and promotions
death of joy and peace
the list is endless…

But! That little equalizing word! But we are among those who have faith and experience true life!” We are! Right now, we are! Not maybe some day we will be! We are!

Mustard Seeds Wanted

Jesus said all we need is a mustard seed sized faith. Then nothing will be impossible! (Matt 17:20) I can’t tell you how reassured I am in that statement! Mustard seeds are very small. As a matter of fact, I have one taped above my work station as a daily reminder of just how small one is. When we are on a life-journey with Jesus

who is for us and with us,
whose promises toward us will never fail,
and His purposes for our lives never waver,
He is uninfluenced by times or situations,
whose declaration over us is, “You can!”
Then mustard seeds are enough;
then even small faith does
what nothing else can do!
He speaks, “You can!

blur-1867402_1920

The tiniest of faith will always draw us to drink deeply from richer, fuller life – true life!

If the choice between faith or fear is the question, my personal answer will not be fear! I’ve lived long enough on that shaky side. Today I set out with a pocket of mustard seeds anxious to see what kind of life will spring forth.

Faith, at least for me, is the best choice – the only way! How about you? Will you choose to test it out, grab a little seed and see what might happen?


Prayer for Today

Lord Jesus, may my eyes not wander from your beauty,
your power,
your majesty,
and your goodness,
for as I look to You faith stirs,
invites,
hopes,
endures,
transforms,
until I live and walk in the expression of
true and full life
where all fear is displaced by genuine faith.

_______________

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