Trust Me…I Got This

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S (Scripture): 2 Chronicles 20:2 Jehoshaphat was told, “A large army from beyond the sea, from Edom, is coming to attack you. They are already at Hazazon-tamar!” (that is, En-gedi). 3 Frightened, Jehoshaphat decided to seek the Lord’s help and proclaimed a fast for all Judah…

13 All Judah was standing before the Lord, even their little ones, wives, and children. 14 Then the Lord’s spirit came upon Jahaziel son of Zechariah son of Benaiah son of Jeiel son of Mattaniah, a Levite of the line of Asaph, as he stood in the middle of the assembly.

15 “Pay attention, all of Judah, every inhabitant of Jerusalem, and King Jehoshaphat,” Jahaziel said. “This is what the Lord says to you: Don’t be afraid or discouraged by this great army because the battle isn’t yours. It belongs to God! 16 March out against them tomorrow. Since they will be coming through the Ziz pass, meet them at the end of the valley that opens into the Jeruel wilderness. 17 You don’t need to fight this battle. Just take your places, stand ready, and watch how the Lord, who is with you, will deliver you, Judah and Jerusalem. Don’t be afraid or discouraged! Go out tomorrow and face them. The Lord will be with you.”

O (Observation): Battles are a regular thing in the Old Testament. This text points out a foreign country coming into the southern kingdom of Judah. The people are faithful to God. They fast and pray and stand before God’s temple. A prophet shares God’s word:

This is God’s battle. You will go out and watch, but you will not fight. God will win this victory!

Even without knowing the end of this scenario, God’s people believe this strategy will work. It must work. For God is to be trusted.

A (Application): I trust God, but I don’t know how well I trust myself. My hope is that as my days continue, I will continue to seek God to fight my battles for me. If a foreign kingdom was coming to conquer me, I don’t know how I’d handle that.

But in more practical terms, I will wrestle with finances, local politics, being a parent, and much more. In all of these, I ask God to help me.

But will I let go? Will I listen to the prophetic voices in my life? How can I trust those voices?

This all takes time and prayerful consideration. We discern to the best of our abilities. After that, we go on faith.

May you hear God’s word speaking to your struggles today! Amen.

P (Prayer): Lord, hear my cry! Amen.

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ABIDE DAILY!

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S (Scripture): 2 Chronicles 20:1 Later the Moabites and Ammonites, along with some of the Meunites, attacked Jehoshaphat. 20:2 Messengers arrived and reported to Jehoshaphat, “A huge army is attacking you from the other side of the Dead Sea, from the direction of Edom. Look, they are in Hazezon Tamar (that is, En Gedi).” 20:3 Jehoshaphat was afraid, so he decided to seek the Lord’s advice. He decreed that all Judah should observe a fast. 20:4 The people of Judah assembled to ask for the Lord’s help; they came from all the cities of Judah to ask for the Lord’s help.

O (Observation): In a scary time of being threatened, King Jehoshaphat chooses Abiding versus taking action. This is a wise move, though maybe not the most logical.

Instead of assembling the army and thinking strategy, the king addresses the Lord. He calls on his people to do the same, specifically, through a fast.

As they spend time before the Lord, the Lord brings a Revelation to Jachaziel:

‘Don’t be afraid and don’t panic because of this huge army! For the battle is not yours, but God’s.’ – 2 Chr 20:15b

What reassurance come with this revelation! To know that God is with you is a wonderful notion. And God was indeed with God’s people… bringing them a victory in the field of battle.

A (Application): Quite often, our strategy is go, go, go, until something works. We ignore any space to Abide, to Rest – too much work to do!

Yet this text reminds us that something very special happens in a time of Abiding: Revelation comes.

And to expand this idea, don’t just wait to abide until something large looms before you…ABIDE DAILY! Take time every morning, before the day gets going…and sit quietly with The Lord. Let the Lord bring grace to you. Dwell richly in God’s Word in this abiding time of yours. Allow The Lord to speak to you this day and everyday.

I hope this blog is part of your abiding time. I invite you to share how this blog has been helpful to you in your abiding. Or share your Abiding patterns. Thanks!

P (Prayer): Lord, give us vision as to how and when we can Abide in you. Amen.

Humility as a Leader

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S (Scripture): 1 Chronicles 19:12 Joab said, “If the Arameans start to overpower me, you come to my rescue. If the Ammonites start to overpower you, I will come to your rescue. 19:13 Be strong! Let’s fight bravely for the sake of our people and the cities of our God! The Lord will do what he decides is best!”

O (Observation): David is being forced to do battle again, as the Arameans and Ammonites are set to attack. Joab, a leader in the army, shares an instruction, and then leaves credit to the Lord for what may come.

Joab is showing deference to the Lord, exhibiting some humility in the process of leadership.

A (Application): I’m not totally sure if Joab is simply being a humble leader and giving the Lord the credit for what might happen, or if he’s just assuming that the Lord will be on “their side.”

I kind of get the same vibe as when a football player points to the sky after scoring a touchdown, only this time, the pointing up happens BEFORE the touchdown. In fact, it happens before the snap!

Like, “Lord, I’m gonna run the ball on this play. I may score a touchdown, or I may get tackled in the back field – you decide what’s best.” Of course, I don’t think God decides the outcomes of single plays or whole games, at all.

The leaders of the armies of Israel have often attributed their direction – and their success and their failures – to the Lord.

Perhaps the best way to look at things is that the leaders of the armies have remained humble. They know their place in the grand scheme of things. That while they direct many soldiers, they still seek for the Lord’s will to be done, not just their own.

Someone else mentioned something about “thy kingdom come, thy will be done.” He pointed to heaven, from which the Spirit descended. While on his way to the cross, Jesus looked up and said, “Let this cup pass from my lips, but then, not my will be done, but yours.”

Remaining humble as leaders is difficult. Do you find it difficult to let God’s will be done, and not just your own? In what settings is this challenge most noticeable for you?

I choose to look at this situation in this way: We may not know how it will turn out, but we know in whom we can trust.

The Lord.

P (Prayer): Lord, give us wisdom to see that we are simply your servants, called to do your will. Reveal to us our callings, and send us out to lead in your name. Amen.

From Battle to Breakthrough

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S (Scripture): Acts 4:29 (Peter and the disciples pray…) “And now, Lord, pay attention to their threats, and grant to your servants to speak your message with great courage, 4:30 while you extend your hand to heal, and to bring about miraculous signs and wonders through the name of your holy servant Jesus.”

O (Observation): The heavy hand of the enemies of the Lord (Herod, Pilate, Gentiles, etc.) are starting to bear down on the disciples. These enemies of the Lord are finding ways to keep Peter and John from proclaiming the Good News.

The interesting twist is that the request from Peter is this: “grant to your servants to speak your message with great courage…bring healing, etc.” My commentary points out the following: “The request is not for a stop to persecution or revenge on the opponents, but for boldness (great courage) to carry out the mission of proclaiming the message of what God is doing through Jesus.”

A (Application): My first move would probably be retribution against my enemies. In fact, we hear a lot of this in the Old Testament. Here, instead of retribution, we hear of a request to be strengthened for witness.

How many times have you encountered an external obstacle in your life? Maybe it’s in an area where you have an internal strength, but you encounter an external threat. Let’s call that “Battle.” What we hope for is to use the Strength we have in an Opportunity for public witness. Let’s call that combination of Strength and Opportunity “Breakthrough.” (So Breakthrough is the target we’re aiming for.)

When in a “Battle” situation, Mike Breen (church discipleship guru) suggests that the way forward lies in what only God can bring: “Grace.” Breen says, in his book, “Leading Kingdom Movements”: “We look for where the grace of God is already at work and mine that vein of gold from the place where it is at work” (Kindle Location 737). This is how we are led from Battle to Breakthrough.

We cannot achieve Breakthrough on our own, but what we can do is pray for strength and hope for the Lord to reveal the grace/gift of the path forward…just like Peter did. A great example for us.

P (Prayer): Lord, reveal to us your gift…your grace. Move is from Battle to Breakthrough, so that we can experience your Kingdom a bit more fully. Amen.