God’s Names: God’s Nature: Why Study God’s Names

God’s names reveal God’s nature. When God reveals a new name in the Bible, He uncovers previously hidden attributes of His character. The more we know His Name, the more we know our God.

We understand names carry great significance. Businesses invest time and money in deliberation, strategically choosing and designing catchy names, brands, and logos. Parents mull over baby names for hours, carefully deciding on the perfect name their child will carry.

Recently, a young companion illustrated to me the importance of a name. She chattered non-stop as we headed toward the barnyard. Upon arrival, she proudly held fuzzy balls of purring fluff for me to see. Each meowed and purred at her attention.

“I call this one Calli, because she is a calico kitten.”

Good choice, I thought.

“Here comes Greg,” she said, as a dusty grey kitten squirmed into her lap.

“And this one?” I asked as I held up another.

“Oh! I named him Tucker, because of his tortoise shell markings.”

Pretty smart, for one so small, I thought again.

I studied the litter of kittens more carefully. Their names revealed characteristics I previously ignored. As she continued to point out details of each one, I held another soft bundle of fur, gazing closely into its bright green eyes as whiskers twitched and wet paws stretched.

At that moment, I realized again the importance of studying and valuing the things that matter to us. There in the barnyard, I remembered God’s many names and the significance of them. Over time, I have grown to know Him more clearly, love Him more deeply, and appreciate Him more fully by studying His names.

Written below you will find a few benefits from studying the names of God. God’s names really do reveal His nature.

Security and Identity

“So God created mankind in his own image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them. ” Genesis 1:27

In the first chapter of the Bible, God introduces Himself as Elohim — Creator God who spoke all things into existence. All except for mankind! Humanity He created in His own image, forming every detail personally with His hands. Then in the ultimate expression of love and intimacy, He bent low, placing His mouth upon clay-formed lips and breathed.

How amazing! God intimately filled mankind with the essence of Himself. I wonder if at the core of our insecurity and at the root of lost identity, we might find a lack of knowledge of the nature of God’s commitment to us and His loving care.

Elohim, the first name we discover, presents God as one who will not rest until He brings confusion into order, darkness into light, and dust into life! In Him we may trust and in the power of His Name we rest. We discover true security and core identity only in the knowledge of His Name.

Salvation

When Peter speaks before the Sanhedrin, he draws from the Psalmist’s words, “Then I called on the name of the LORD: O LORD, save me!” Peter boldly declared,

“Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to mankind by which we must be saved.”
Acts 4:12

What Name bears such significance? What Name, unlike any other name, rescues and saves? There is only One! Only one of God’s names reveals such excellence — the Name of Jesus!

The beautiful Name of the Lord Jesus Christ — each portion carrying deep significance — should be the first Name we learn. Lord represents the Father; Jesus identifies the Son; Christ (the Anointed One) signifies the Holy Spirit. In His Name we find salvation and the fullness of the Trinity.

Confidence in Prayer

“Because he loves me,” says the LORD, “I will rescue him; I will protect him, for he acknowledges my name. He will call on me, and I will answer him; I will be with him in trouble, and I will deliver him and honor him. With long life I will satisfy him and show him my salvation.”
Psalm 91:14-16

Whether in desperate situations or the monotony of everyday life, as we acknowledge and declare His Name in prayer, God releases power and authority through our humble words. He hears. He moves and responds. By proclaiming His Name over situations, circumstances shift. Confessing the greatness, the goodness, and the glory of His Name releases His Spirit into unseen realms, transforming the seen ones.

At times uttering His Name takes on a warrior tone, another Name spoken in hushed reverence, still another sung with joy. What assurance comes as we pray, not to a deaf and distant god, but to our Lord — our Healer, Provider, Shepherd, and Peace.

Puts All Things Into Perspective

“I love the LORD, for he heard my voice; he heard my cry for mercy. Because he turned his ear to me, I will call on him as long as I live. The cords of death entangled me, the anguish of the grave came over me; I was overcome by distress and sorrow. Then I called on the name of the LORD: ‘LORD, save me!'”
Psalm 116:1-4

Just as the small moon, at times, blocks the sun’s light from reaching earth, present reality, at times, eclipses the larger truth of who God is and the greatness of His Name. The more we study God’s names and His attributes, the clearer we see the fleeting nature of this present life and difficulty.

Limits constrain everything earthly. But nothing constrains God! He defines Himself in limitless terms: omniscient, omnipotent, omnipresent, eternal, without beginning or end.

Deeper Awe and Worship

“Praise the LORD. Praise the LORD, you his servants; praise the name of the LORD. Let the name of the LORD be praised, both now and forevermore. From the rising of the sun to the place where it sets, the name of the LORD is to be praised.”
Psalm 113:1-3

For some people, finding a reason to praise God may initially appear difficult. Yet as we practice the adoration of His Name, worship bursts forth. God remains forever worthy of exultation. He commands worship, not because He is a self-seeking egotist, but rather because worship strengthens us! As we pour out unrestrained worship to Him, we become complete and fully satisfied.

For me, the abandonment of worship flows easily. When asked why, I give no other reason than He is worthy!

Every morning when I awake, I ask, “Today, is He worthy?”

Every morning, I come to no other conclusion but, “Yes! Yes! Today, and every day, He is worthy! Today, and every day, my God is worthy of ALL praise.”

Strength under Trial

“We have escaped like a bird from the fowler’s snare; the snare has been broken, and we have escaped. Our help is in the name of the LORD, the Maker of heaven and earth.”
Psalm 124:7-8

Allow these words to comfort, strengthen, and seep over you.

“The name of the LORD is a fortified tower; the righteous run to it and are safe.”
Proverbs 18:10

When everything feels like it is closing in, when there seems no way out or around a difficulty, “our help is in the name of the LORD.” God’s Name is always enough. In sickness, the whisper of that Name brings healing. In defeat, the mention of His Name secures victory. Where depression and anxiety paralyze thoughts and actions, the uttering of His Name enables release.

Power in Spiritual Battle

“The LORD is a refuge for the oppressed, a stronghold in times of trouble. Those who know your name trust in you, for you, LORD, have never forsaken those who seek you.”
Psalm 9:9,10

To “know” God’s names means to know both intellectually and experientially. It means to personally “know.” As a child, I knew I could run to my earthly father in times of trouble. Why? Because he was strong enough, loving enough, and wise enough to deal with any struggle I faced.

How much more my Heavenly Father!

“The people that know their God shall be strong, and do exploits.”
Daniel 11:32

When we “know” His Name, He gives us authority to release the characteristics and qualities of His Name into situations we are contending for.

David came against Goliath, “in the name of the LORD Almighty, the God of the armies of Israel” (1 Samuel 17:45). As we face our own battles “in the name of the LORD Almighty,” He fills us with courage, boldness, audacity, tenacity, and anything else we might need to overcome.

Increased Faith

“Who among you fears the LORD and obeys the word of his servant? Let the one who walks in the dark, who has no light, trust in the name of the LORD and rely on their God.”
Isaiah 50:10

We face our personal faults, fractures, and failures daily. However, the more we gaze into His magnificence and perfection, the more we will realize success and living life well depends not on us, but on God. Every mighty man or woman of God comes to the same conclusion. Though weak, they become strong in Him. Though fearful, they grow bold in Him.

One only needs to turn to Hebrews 11 to read the exploits of faith-filled ones, those who knew God well. The more we know God through His names, the more we too become “fully persuaded that God (has) power to do what he (has) promised” (Romans 4:21) and faith builds, rising to dominate our words and actions.

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The more time my little companion spent with her kittens, the more she knew them, not just by color, but by their character. She knew which ones would play inquisitively and which ones would withdraw to solitary corners and watch.

The more we spend time with our God, studying His names, the more we will know Him and His ways. God’s names reveal His nature, attributes, and character.

The intentional study of God’s names results in eternal dividends.

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Winning and Losing — Gideon — A Great Warrior

A Great Warrior

When I look at Gideon, a great warrior in the Bible, I ask, “What constitutes great leadership? What propels a person beyond the normal? Why do some people fall from leadership, while others rise above?”

Did Gideon’s father and mother see greatness in their squirmy, newborn son when they chose his name. Gideon means great warrior, great destroyer, one who smites and cuts down, leaving only a stump. He entered the world while Deborah, another magnificent judge, led Israel to victory and renewed worship of God.

How quickly Israel forgot, abandoning their God for lesser things! So God, for a season, abandoned them to their enemies. Hordes of Midianites swarmed upon their land, completely decimating everything in their path.

“Because the power of Midian was so oppressive, the Israelites prepared shelters for themselves in mountain clefts, caves and strongholds.”
Judges 6:2

LIzard in Cave

While hiding like lizards in the caves, they cried out to God for help. God responded, sending a prophet to confront their idolatry and wickedness.

Every time someone spoke his name, Gideon was reminded of the greatness encrypted on His life. However, the evidence of such greatness hid as illusively as the people within the mountain caves.

Gideon’s Call

God often speaks suddenly when we least expect it.

“When the angel of the LORD appeared to Gideon, he said, ‘The LORD is with you, mighty warrior.'”
Judges 6:12

“Warrior!?” I can almost imagine Gideon looking around, sure that someone else was hiding with him in the winepress.

Though, God spoke truth about his identity and purpose, Gideon hesitated and resisted. He even quarreled with the LORD. “Look! God isn’t with us! He has absolutely abandoned us!”

Gideon saw only depressing and oppressive circumstances. God looked and saw Gideon, a great warrior. Gideon preferred to settle — to seek whatever shelter, safety, or comfort he could, hoping someone else, anyone else, would correct the situation.

Iguana

The LORD is With You

God listened to Gideon’s complaint for a while.

“The LORD answered, ‘I will be with you, and you will strike down all the Midianites, leaving none alive.”
Judges 6:16

“You, Gideon, a mighty warrior, arise! Strike down all your enemies.”

We may try to debate, hesitate, and procrastinate when God presses us into the impossible. Yet God invites us to situations where only He can see us through.

“The LORD turned to him and said, ‘Go in the strength you have and save Israel out of Midian’s hand. Am I not sending you?”
Judges 6:14

God doesn’t pump up Gideon’s ego or remind him of all the wonderful attributes he possesses. God points to Gideon’s inadequacy. The Hebrew word for “strength” used here has a double meaning. First, koah means power or strength, but it also refers a long, slender reptile considered unclean to Israel.

Lizard in Water

“But God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong. God chose the lowly things of this world and the despised things — and the things that are not — to nullify the things that are, so that no one may boast before him.”
1 Corinthians 1:27-29

What made Gideon a great warrior wasn’t his name, his character, or his stature. God made Gideon a great warrior. May we always remember that it is only through Him and by Him we accomplish anything, big or small.

“I will be with you” should be the only God response we need! Godly leaders know it takes God’s strength to overcome “lizard” tendencies. He brings worth and value to everything He does and everyone He calls. He is enough!

The LORD is Peace

When Gideon acknowledges the littleness of himself and the power of God’s Presence, he swings into action.

“So Gideon built an altar to the LORD there and called it The LORD Is Peace . . .”
Judges 6:24

Worship shifts us from apathy and self-protection to God direction. The only peace any of us experience comes through following God whole-heartedly. In following Him, we fight. Most of us won’t face the battle Gideon faced, but we all have the same enemy, satan, who seeks to obliterate us, our families, and our nations.

Sleeping Chamelion

Every step we walk with God into the battle, He fills and surrounds us with His peace. Peace holds the implication of the permanence of wholeness, completeness, soundness, health, safety, and prosperity. But in moving toward peace, we must deal with our unclean, “lizard” nature that operates contrary to God.

Cut it Down

Gideon’s name comes from the Hebrew verb “gada,” also meaning to hew down or cut off, mostly of religious regalia and holy trees. Strikingly, there are no nouns formed from this verb, suggesting that whatever was cut off, was even cut off from speech itself. Gideon, a great warrior, must first become a hacker who hews down familiar idols!

“That same night the LORD said to him . . . ‘Tear down your father’s altar to Baal and cut down the Asherah pole beside it. Then build a proper kind of altar to the LORD your God on the top of this height . . .'”
Judges 6:25-26

“Cut it down, Gideon! Destroy all foreign worship that you, and your own father, and your own community depended on. Then build Me an altar,” God commands.

Despite fearing the outcome, Gideon obeyed. During the night, Gideon stepped into the beginning of his call. That very night, courage pushed through, little strength proved enough. In dark obscurity, the evidence of his greatness shone.

The Battle

“Now all the Midianites, Amalakites and other eastern peoples joined forces and crossed over the Jordan and camped in the Valley of Jezreel.”
Judges 6:33

The moment we choose to live for God, we can expect the enemy to push back and the battle to intensify. Godly leaders know when to fight. They refuse to back down.

Iguana - WIld

Gideon sounded the trumpet, calling his people to battle. God immediately thinned Gideon’s army of thousands to three hundred. He wanted everyone to know this was His victory, not man’s. What a victory it was! A hundred and twenty thousand enemy swordsmen fell that day. Only two kings, Zebah and Zalmunna, with fifteen thousand remained.

Gideon kept up the pressure.

“Zebah and Zalmunna, the two kings of Midian, fled, but he pursued them, routing their entire army.”
Judges 8:12

Finish Well

Gideon’s story didn’t exactly start well. It doesn’t end extremely well either. Gideon followed God after much deliberation and hesitation. He finished the same way.

God instructed Gideon. “I will be with you, and you will strike down all the Midianites, leaving none alive.”

Gideon almost finishes the task. His army annihilated the joint forces of the entire eastern army except for the remaining two kings — Zebah and Zalmunna.

“Turning to Jether, his oldest son, he said, ‘Kill them!’ But Jether did not draw his sword, because he was only a boy and was afraid.”
Judges 8:20

Lizards

Gideon passed the sword to his young son, expecting someone else to finish what he had both the power and authority to fulfill. Gideon started his journey by prodding God to choose someone else, anyone else. Now, at the end, he pulls back again. How tragic.

“Zebah and Zalmunna said, ‘Come, do it yourself. ‘As is the man, so is his strength.’ So Gideon stepped forward and killed them, and took the ornaments off the camels’ necks.”
Judges 8:21

Victorious Power

The word Gideon’s enemies used for “strength” refers to the LORD’s mighty hand that delivers His people.

“Now this I know that the LORD saves His anointed. He will answer him from his holy heaven with the saving strength of His right hand.”
Psalm 20:6 NKJV

Even before Gideon completed his mission, he became distracted by the gold ornaments around the camel’s necks. After asking each of his fighting men for a gold earring from their spoils, he created a new idol, an un-god, to worship, repeating the sins of his fathers and perpetuating it to his sons.

“Gideon made the gold into an ephod, which he placed in Ophrah, his town. All Israel prostituted themselves by worshiping it here, and it became a snare to Gideon and his family.”
Judges 8:27

Anger rises in me as I read these verses. Through God, Gideon broke the generational strongholds of idolatry his father committed. Through God, Gideon united Israel to fight and defeat enemy invaders. Gideon even destroyed the leaders who murdered his own brothers (Judges 8:19).

Warrior Lizard

Instead of returning to the altar he built and dedicated to the LORD, Gideon reached for the ornaments of gold. He turned back to his “lizard” ways, worshiping frozen gods made with human hands.

What if? What if Gideon would have walked with God in whole-hearted devotion rather than reluctant obedience. How different his story would end!

The End

We may draw many key principles from Gideon’s wins and losses.

God challenges me through Gideon’s failure in several ways:

  • Step into whatever open door God provides without excuses or hesitation.
  • Do not shun opportunities, ministries, or leadership roles that He opens.
  • Acknowledge and repent of my own “lizard” qualities of fear, insecurity, and misplaced dependence.
  • Keep my focus on Him, knowing He is the Source of all things good and great.
  • Never quit fighting this war between good and evil — whether before the battle, in the battle, or after the battle.
  • Pursue God with wholehearted devotion.
  • Do not depend on someone else to finish what God has called me start.
  • “Build a proper kind of altar to the LORD (my) God,” returning again, and again, to worship Him.

What about you? What challenges is God speaking to you through Gideon’s wins and losses?

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A Never Ending Battle: The Problem With Pride

Problem with Pride

Do you have a problem with pride? If you answered in the negative, I guarantee you do. Actually, we all do. Whether flagrant or subtle, we all battle with pride.

In an action-packed child’s game called “Catch-a-Mole” each player whacks one of several moles popping up from its hole with a hammer. The person who pulls the most moles out of their holes becomes the declared winner. Oh, how this game resembles my battle with pride. No sooner have I successfully whacked pride in one area of my life, when suddenly a new area springs up — or even a multitude of new areas.

Unfortunately, in reality, no one wins when it comes to being proud. God minces no words about His hatred of pride.

“The LORD detests all the proud of heart. Be sure of this: They will not go unpunished.”
Proverbs 16:5

Proud as a Peacock

My Battle

I’m often shocked at the invasive nature of pride. All too frequently, I have to pick up my spiritual weapons against this deceiving attitude, pulling it from its hiding place. There lay part of the issue! Pride wraps itself deceptively in a multitude of disguises.

I may easily become proud of my looks and my possession, or even my spiritual gifts or prayers. Pride pops into my thoughts, bounces off my words, and hides in the motivations of my heart. Sometimes, I lose hope of succeeding in the battle.

Three truths help me:

  1. The root of all pride grows in insecurity.
  2. The only antidote is humility.
  3. I am free to choose.

“For all those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted.”
Luke 14:11

Peacock Feather

Pride’s vain promises result in humiliation, but God rewards those who choose humility. We will all have ample opportunity to choose either to exalt ourselves or to walk in humility.

The Test

We often see the evidence of pride in others long before we recognize it in ourselves. I’ve listed just a few of my pride points below. Do you relate to any of these?

  • Self-sufficiency — difficulty asking others for advice or assistance
  • Comparing myself to others
  • Need to be heard or noticed (especially getting in the last word)
  • Not being grateful for the little and big things God and others do for me
  • Jealousy or envy
  • Slander, gossip, or talking negatively about others
  • Feeling irritated, frustrated, or critical of others
  • Fault finding and being judgmental
  • Perfectionism
  • Feeling inferior to others
  • Difficulty saying, “I was wrong. Please forgive me.”
  • Feeling embarrassed or foolish around others
  • Finding it difficult to receive correction — justifying myself
  • Believing my way is right
  • Self-willed and stubborn
Problem with Pride

These symptoms of pride are obvious. What about the more subtle ones?

  • Often late for meetings or appointments
  • Interrupting a conversation or not listening when someone else is speaking
  • Being superficial
  • Difficulty working with others or as a team
  • Preferential treatment toward some, while neglecting others
  • Reluctant to share personal needs or struggles
  • Neglect of prayer or Bible reading

These lists form only the key points of my struggle. Though I am improving in this area substantially, my problem with pride has negatively affected many people.

The Antidote

Fortunately, God equips us to win! The problem with pride is beatable. We dare not let down our guard, lower our hammer, or turn a blind eye to any “pride mole,” wreaking havoc in our lives. Whether I whack once or fifty times a day, persistence reaps rewards.

Whack #1: If I ask, God stands ready to reveal and expose areas of pride in my life.

Search me, God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. see if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.”
Psalm 139:23-24

Puffed up Peacock

Whack #2: View every point seriously! Instead of a general, “I’ve failed . . . sinned . . . been proud,” be specific. By pinpointing the exact areas where the problem with pride arises, we target the “mole,” dragging it into the open. Then confess each area, asking God to reveal the source behind the problem.

If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.”
1 John 1:9

Sometimes, I wrongly expect God’s complete faithfulness, regardless of my half-hearted confessions.

Whack #3: The responsibility for my pride rests on me. God desires that I choose humility, but the decision is mine.

Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time.”
1 Peter 5:6

Keep Whacking

For me, the greatest breakthroughs came after even more strategic whacks. Victory came as I honestly repented and confessed my pride to others. I needed to both ask for forgiveness and submit to accountability in this area. Painful, yes! But absolutely profitable.

I know the best path to follow loves what God loves and hates what He hates. Such a transformation of my heart and mind requires process — a Holy Spirit led daily process.

Peacock Feathers

I often become weary in the relentlessness of it all. In many ways, the problem with pride bears no resemblance to a happy children’s game. I expect the battle to continue as long as I wear this garment of weakened flesh.

“For this is what the high and exalted One says — he who lives forever, whose name is holy: I live in a high and holy place, but also with the one who is contrite and lowly in spirit, to revive the spirit of the lowly and to revive the heart of the contrite.”
Isaiah 57:15

This verse encompasses God’s ultimate goal for us — “to revive the spirit of the lowly (or humble) and . . . the heart of the contrite (or repentant).”

Humility

Humility literally means “low lying.” Humility consists of that quality where you don’t think you are better than any other person. We identify this freedom from pride and arrogance as true humility.

Humility never refers to belittling oneself or denying God-given gifts or abilities. Rather, it freely acknowledges God’s grace without diminishing others.

As a matter of fact, humility empowers us to encourage, build, and lift other people to their full potential without personally feeling threatened by their success or ours.

Humility

Humility opens the door for us to receive fully the knowledge, wise counsel, and even correction from others, without self-defense, criticizing, or becoming resentful.

“Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love.”
Ephesians 4:2

May we all overcome the problem with pride, learning to walk in true humility, gentlessness, patience, and love.

Is anyone else ready for a ferocious game of “Catch-a-Mole?” Let’s do it!

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To Be Forewarned is to be Forearmed – Be Prepared for the Trap

In any battle, to be forewarned is to be forearmed. Knowing the strategies of the enemy gives us a fighting edge to be prepared for any traps ahead. Though I would rather focus on the victory Christ has already secured, wisdom is necessary to fully attain that position.

The enemy doesn’t have any new battle plans. He isn’t smart enough for that. However, his old tactics of ensnaring people continue to work as well as ever. Paul encouraged the Corinthian church to remember

“…we are not ignorant of the enemies schemes.”
2 Corinthians 2:11

Paul is referring to the trap of unforgiveness.

Solomon warned his son about certain life issues he might face. Within these warnings, we find the familiar but deadly pattern the enemy uses to entice us to sin.

Solomon’s downfall eventually separated him from God’s blessing. Perhaps, he speaks here to his son from his own negative experiences. During the course of my life, I too have followed a few paths of entrapment and gained wisdom through the experiences.

To be forewarned is to be forearmed. We all need wisdom to be prepared to overcome these traps of the enemy.

Boundaries

My dad often said, “Good fences make good neighbours.” This old motto reinforces the need for boundaries. Boundaries create a positive dividing or demarcation line — separating healthy from unhealthy, positive from negative.

“I saw among the simple,
I noticed among the young men,
a youth who had no sense.
He was going down the street near her corner,
walking along in the direction of her house”
Proverbs 7:7-8

Not only the young, but everyone, benefits from having healthy boundaries. “Simple” could mean naïve or someone who lacks understanding and experience. Failure to establish boundaries of protection usually starts innocently enough. But we have probably all heard someone say, “I can handle it! It won’t affect me!”

Pride still goes before a fall!

So on he walks. Straight into the enemies trap! “Going down…”

“at twilight, as the day was fading,
as the dark of night set in.”
Proverbs 7:9

The cloak of darkness offers the illusion of secrecy. The wise walk in the light. Those with evil intention, however, attempt to hide their actions under cover of darkness. At least in the beginning.

False Promises

The devil promises big as he comes with “crafty intent.” ( vs 10)

“Sin will take you farther than you want to go,
keep you longer than you want to stay,
and cost you more than you want to pay.”
R. Zaccharias

Solomon wanted his son to be prepared. Truly, to be forewarned is to be forearmed. Sin’s path can be found “at every corner.” It is only one step away for any one of us.

“now in the street, now in the square,
at every corner she lurks.”
Proverbs 7:12

Honestly, we don’t need to look down “the street” or into “the square.” The sinful propensity lies much closer than that. It is within us. Within us all. Appealing to our human nature — our flesh.

“She took hold of him and kissed him
and with a brazen face she said:
Today I fulfilled my vows,
and I have food from my fellowship offering at home.”
Proverbs 7:13-14

The enemy promises a feast but delivers a famine. He promises pleasure but inflicts pain.

Prowling

No one needs to deliberately go looking for trouble to find it. Trouble watches and waits for us!

“So I came out to meet you;
I looked for you and have found you! ”
I have covered my bed
with colored linens from Egypt.
I have perfumed my bed with myrrh,
aloes and cinnamon.”
Proverbs 7:15-16

The devil perfectly prepares each trap — appealing to all our senses. He makes sure it looks and smells good. Too good!

Be prepared! And alert! Knowing the schemes of the enemy enables us to steer clear of his traps. Peter encourages,

“Be alert and of sober mind.
Your enemy the devil prowls around
like a roaring lion
looking for someone to devour.”
1 Peter 5:8

Persuasion

Like he did in the garden with Adam and Eve, the enemy continues to entice us all with forbidden “fruit”. He offers sex and calls it love. He presents greed and calls it blessing. Or selfishness and calls it empowerment.  Satan lures us

outside the boundaries of godly authority,
over the threshold of desire,
to eat stolen food —
seductively poisonous —
into the place of death,
locked behind doors of secrecy
and evil intention.

The pathway of deception is predictable,

“With persuasive words she led him astray;
she seduced him with her smooth talk.”
Proverbs 7:21

With words, many words, too many words, we attempt to rationalize the irrational.

Heart Issue

The enemies tactics appeal to every aspect of the flesh, but the real issue lies within our hearts.

“Do not let your heart turn to her ways
or stray into her paths.”
Proverbs 7:25

My little grand-daughter recently reminded me, “What you say is what you are because what you say is what is in your heart.” She is short in years but long in wisdom. Words and actions flow from our hearts.

The heart turns before head. The heart strays before our feet. Since sin is actually a heart issue, how can we keep our hearts pure and steadfast?

“How can a young person
stay on the path of purity?
By living according to your word.”
Psalm 119:9

The psalmist asked the same question. Then answers it. “By living according to your word.” Living according to God’s word prepares us for any trap the enemy might have waiting “on the path of purity.”

The Word

The word of God isn’t an endless series of dos and don’ts. It gives practical advice and perfect wisdom for young and old, for male and female, and for every and any situation.

To be forewarned is to be forearmed — honestly! God’s warning isn’t to create hopelessly or fear. Rather He shines a light on the way to victory against our adversary.

Resist him, standing firm in the faith,
because you know that the family of believers
throughout the world is undergoing
the same kind of sufferings.”
1 Peter 5:9

God enables us to be prepared to fully “resist” the devil. He offers solid principles for “standing firm” against every deception or temptation.

We start by establishing boundaries of accountability with others. Avoiding secrecy and living truthfully before God and others moves us one step closer to overcoming. No one is immune to attack! When we sense temptation or hear the lies of false promises, stop and look around. The enemy lurks close. God establishes levels of authority for our protection, so whenever we feel tempted to circumvent authority, we can be certain the bait has been set!

God has clearly exposed the enemies strategies to give us the victor’s advantage.

But let’s go one step further. Let’s help others avoid entrapment, too. When we become honest about our own struggles it creates a door of opportunity. It gives them permission to seek the support and accountability they need to rise in strength and overcome.

Be prepared! Let’s guard the gates of our hearts and homes together!

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!