Saturday, August 3, 2013

There Will Be Battles!

“Some people have the notion that we are supposed to have ceaseless strings of victories, but there’s no such thing as a victory without a battle.  There is no such thing as a battle without casualties.”
~ Pastor Jack Hayford in his book E-Quake ~

Over the past few months I have been praying over my health and our family’s finances as well as the long list of prayer requests that seems to grow each day.  I have seen the people around me and those that are in the group that I lead come under serious circumstances and attacks from the enemy.  In the midst of it all I have heard others and even asked myself, “We’re children of God!  Why are we dealing with such difficult challenges and heavy attacks?  We are supposed to be “overcomers” and be able to say to the mountain “move” and it moves.  So why are we facing so many problems?” 

I’ve heard the comments (and for those of you who have commented, I love you dearly but please hear my heart), “I’m tired of seeing God’s people under attack” and “When will it end?”  The answer is, it won’t.  The attacks will not stop.  The challenges will continue to rise, and the obstacles will continue to lay before us, until the end of this life.

I was talking with a close friend yesterday afternoon about all the challenges, struggles, frustrations, and battles.  I shared some of mine and she shared some of hers.  Then God reminded me of the very thing He’s been teaching me the past few months, in fact, YEARS!

Psalms 91:1-2 (NKJV) “He who dwells in the secret place of the Most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty. 2 I will say of the Lord, “He is my refuge and my fortress; My God, in Him I will trust.”
The picture God gave me was brief but so clear.  It’s like a large target laid out on the ground and the center is an island, a shelter.  The secret place is the center or the island.  We can dwell in the secret place through our whole life as His children.  However, when the winds blow and howl, or something enticing calls, or our emotions sway, do we move from that center, that island?  Do we step out of the shadow of the Almighty and into the chaos of the mind?

God is not saying that in this secret place, there are not challenges or struggles!  However, if I abide (which also means live, dwell, or reside) in the secret place, then I have to be sure that no matter what, I don't move or give up my residence! If I stay there, I can rest assured that God is my refuge and fortress during those difficult times and I can trust Him because I dwell in the secret place.  As I dwell in the secret place, every good and perfect thing from above is at my disposal!  

James 1:17 says “Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and comes down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow of turning.”  Here is where our gifts and blessings lay.  The Shadow of the Almighty doesn’t move and all the blessings from the Father is here!  When we dwell in Him, we have everything we need and don’t have to worry about the circumstances we face.  

The Bible even takes it a step further in 1 Peter 4:12-14 (ISV), where it says, “Dear friends, do not be surprised by the fiery ordeal that is taking place among you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you. 13 Instead, because you are participating in the sufferings of Christ, keep on rejoicing, so that you may be glad and shout for joy when his glory is revealed. 14 If you are insulted because of the name of Christ, you are blessed, for the glorious Spirit of God is resting on you.”

We’re even told DO NOT be surprised when we are attacked, go through challenges, face persecution, and go through situations or anything else hard!  Why are we so down and upset or surprised and taken off guard when things happen?  We know that Satan will try to attack us.  In fact, the Bible says in Ephesians 6 that we are supposed to “withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.”  This means that we will be attacked.  We will go through some tough stuff.  

A lot of Christians quote Isaiah 54:17, which says, “No weapon formed against you shall prosper…”  Then they wholeheartedly believe that no weapon can touch them!  Can I just say now, this is a very dangerous way of thinking because when the weapons do come against them and touch them, they wonder why God let that happen, they get discouraged and even open the door to depression and heaviness!  Let me tell you, right now, God did not say that we would not go through anything!  He tells us over and over in His word that we WILL face adversity but then He tells us how to overcome it!  Revelation 12:11 says, "And they overcame him [the accuser, a.k.a. Satan] by the blood of the Lamb and the word of their testimony, and they did not love their lives to the death." (Emphasis added by author)  The blood of the Lamb is the blood of Jesus Christ that was shed for salvation, for healing, and for deliverance!  The word of our testimony is telling the story of what God IS doing in your life!

I love how the Children of Israel of Israel would sing the story of what God was doing in their lives.  Every time God did something, a new song would be sung.  That’s why David sang in Psalms to “sing a new song”, because God is always doing something great and we can’t ever forget what He is done or fail to acknowledge what He is doing right now.

So, when we go through attacks of the enemy or challenges of life, we can stay, dwelling in the secret place and abiding in the shadow of the Almighty, in His peace, His joy, His comfort, His strength, His blessings, and His love, knowing that we can take refuge there and trust Him to see us through it to victory.
The bottom line is this”

1.      Don’t be surprised when bad things happen.  I’m not trying to minimize bad things.  I just had surgery last week, then an infection, and a lot of medical issues.  I know people facing a lot MORE than me too, like cancer, infertility, joblessness, and financial distress.  However, I know, without a doubt, that God is going to meet every need because I dwell in the secret place and abide in the shadow of the Almighty!  When they happen, and I feel the anxiety begin to well up within me, I stop and remain in the center because I cannot allow my emotions or circumstances to move me from the secret place!
2.    Trust in God.  Trusting is so much more than thinking.  It is a peace like no other.  A knowing, with every fiber of your being that God is in control, He has an answer, and even if NOTHING happens as I thought it would, that it is all part of His plan and He will carry me through to the end!  Like Ester said, when she faced the king, “…and if I perish [die], I perish”  (emphasis added, Ester 4:16, NKJV)  Ester was dwelled in the shadow and trusted God so much that she was able to say, if it all goes south and I even lose my life, I will trust in God!  That is a peace that no one and nothing else can give!  That is the place I want to be!  Job was the same way.  He had everything and then when devastation struck, he stood firm.  Yes he mourned, and yes he hurt.  But, Job 2 says that He would not curse God and in verse 10 he is quoted in saying “Shall we indeed accept good from God, and shall we not accept adversity?”  He trusted God in the good times and He trusted God in the worst times!
3.    Seek His Face.  Here it is (for those who know me)!  2 Chronicles 7 is God telling Solomon, as he begins his reign as king after his father, David died, how Solomon is supposed to lead his people and what they should do when bad things happen as well as what God will do when they obey His instructions!  We are to seek God’s face and stay humble before Him, trusting Him and resting in Him!  He then gives us more of Himself which is everything we need!
o    2 Chronicles 7:12-14 (NKJV)
“Then the Lord appeared to Solomon by night, and said to him: “I have heard your prayer, and have chosen this place for Myself as a house of sacrifice. 13 When I shut up heaven and there is no rain, or command the locusts to devour the land, or send pestilence among My people, 14 if My people who are called by My name will humble themselves, and pray and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land.  (Bold print added by author)

I know so many of you are going through tough challenges and situations.  I pray that God’s word will be the “lamp unto your feet and the light unto your path” (Ps. 119:105) as you continue to seek Him in all you do!  I pray that His peace will comfort you and that you rest in “the shadow of His wings” (Ps. 57:1).
God bless you as you seek and serve Him!

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