What is true Beauty? What does it mean to be beautiful? Perfect Beauty: God Psalms 50:2-12 From Zion, perfect in beauty, God shines forth. Beauty seen in his Word: Sacrificial love, forgiveness, the small moments, the lowly things, serving others, the light that illuminates from the face of someone who knows the great love of… Continue reading Holy or Beautiful: What are you living for?
Deuteronomy 20:3-4 He shall say: “Hear, Israel: Today you are going into battle against your enemies. Do not be fainthearted or afraid; do not panic or be terrified by them. For the Lord your God is the one who goes with you to fight for you against your enemies to give you victory. ”
Today I am in a battle…I am in a battle for my family, my health, my mind, and my witness. The more intimate my relationship becomes with my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, only son of God, the more my eyes are opened to tactics of the enemy. I did a study a year ago, Priscilla Shirer’s The Armor Of God, I started recording the enemies tactics on my life, and have continued to keep a log. I have learned the somewhat systematic assault I face personally. I realize through Gods’ word, the Holy Spirit Of God living in me, and prayer that I have all I need in Jesus. I highly recommend reading Ephesians 6:10-20 to familiarize yourself with what God has given you to fight. When heading into battle David teaches me about warfare. When fighting a battle having the correct mindset is of utmost importance and studying what Gods’ word says about warfare strategies. Just like David, my mindset should be that the Lord our God fights our battles and gives us victory. There is battle going on around us, whether seen in the physical, experienced by walking in the valley, or the unseen oppression that some quietly endure ( Ephesians 6:12). I learn through his behavior an important lessons of using your unique God-given armor. You see he was offered the armor of his King, he even put it on, but could not walk or throw his stone well in someone else’s armor. It’s important to note, he did try on someone else’s armor first…Just like David, we, I may fail and attempt to use others strategies to fight the enemy. We are human, we sin, make mistakes, and fail…but it’s what we do after. David used the gifts he was given to fight his enemy, even though it may have been tempting to wear the Kings armor, he made the decision to seek his God, our God. Just like David, mistakes will happen, but the key is what we choose to use to give us strength! We have the Holy Spirit Of God living in us, he instructs, we are prepared with the tools we have access to…Just like David, it is important as we approach battle we are not using someone else’s ware fare tactic, but follow the leading of the Holy Spirit. Gods’ word says this about the Holy Spirit in John 16:13-15:
But when he, the Spirit of truth, comes, he will guide you into all the truth. He will not speak on his own; he will speak only what he hears, and he will tell you what is yet to come. He will glorify me because it is from me that he will receive what he will make known to you. All that belongs to the Father is mine. That is why I said the Spirit will receive from me what he will make known to you.
I have learned over the years, instead of running to someone I deem spiritually more mature for advice, to instead sit at the feet of Jesus. To first ask for discernment from God and respond to his leading, and not mans. We can learn from others, have others intercession on our behalf, but listening to God’s call and gentle whispers to your heart is the most important thing. Even if others are more spiritually mature, God should be the primary voice that leads you through battle. You see David would be King, and eventually have that authority of King and Prophet, but the timing was the Lords, and it was not then…I learn that that the Lords timing is not always our timing, and although the Lord anoints each of us with a specific call, not jumping ahead of his plan, and taking things into our own hands is crucial. The Lord will raise you up at the proper time, be faithful in what he has placed in front of you…live in the now. I love how David took off the Kings armor, and resumed his call of shepherd by grabbing the tools God had currently blessed him with… A Shepherd, the chosen, the weak one made strong by Gods power, the one despised by the world defeats the war hero. As you fight your battle, and feel your strength fading remember what God wants…your heart. If the Lord chooses you, and you feel unworthy, under qualified, and that victory is against all odds…remind yourself of what the Lord looks at, 1 Samuel 16:7b says:
The Lord does not look at the things people look at. People look at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.”
See yourself how God sees you. Be content with where God has you and how he is using you presently. David takes his staff and shepherds bag that he filled with 5 smooth stones from the stream, the armor of a Shepherd, and headed forcefully and unwavering directly at his enemy as 1 Samuel 17:39-40 says:
David fastened on his sword over the tunic and tried walking around, because he was not used to them. “I cannot go in these,” he said to Saul, “because I am not used to them.” So he took them off. Then he took his staff in his hand, chose five smooth stones from the stream, put them in the pouch of his shepherd’s bag and, with his sling in his hand, approached the Philistine.
David, only a boy, uses the weapons of Gods Word and his Living Water before battle (see Do I lead with my mouth). He not only leads with his mouth prior to battle, but uses the tools the Lord has blessed him with…the tools of a shepherd boy.
The story of David shows me how reverent he was before God. He knew the power of words, not just any words, the NAME OF THE LORD OUR GOD. The enemy comes at David with assault after assault, and like David the enemy will try to assault you by telling you lies. Lies that tell you, that you are not good enough. What Goliath says to David in verse 44 jumped off the page when I read the text today:
1 Samuel 17:41-44
Meanwhile, the Philistine, with his shield bearer in front of him, kept coming closer to David. He looked David over and saw that he was little more than a boy, glowing with health and handsome, and he despised him. He said to David, “Am I a dog, that you come at me with sticks?” And the Philistine cursed David by his gods. “Come here,” he said, “and I’ll give your flesh to the birds and the wild animals! ”
The scheme of the enemy is is as old as time, and his tactics are the same today as they were then. I read over the details of the eminent combat between the Shepherd and the Giant, and realized I like David, I am verbally assaulted by the enemy as I enter battle. Whether your assault is voiced like Goliaths on David or unvoiced, the battle often starts by attacking your sense of self worth or identity. The enemy is so sneaky. He not only deconstructs our identity, but then he pulls on stories of the past to scare us, just as in the case of David. I assume David knew well the story from Joseph’s dream interpretation from Genesis 40. The reference to “birds eating away flesh” I believe possibly taunted him with the fate of the baker from Genesis 40:19:
Within three days Pharaoh will lift off your head and impale your body on a pole. And the birds will eat away your flesh.
The enemy will voice fears of the past, and aim at our Achilles heal. This story of Joseph would have been a story learned from the Torah. Joseph interpreted the dream of the baker, and David would have known the outcome I think… The enemy uses the intel of our past to effect the decisions of our future. Don’t let the enemy fool you. He reminds you of past fear and shame as a crafted scare tactic and the end game is to kill, steal, and destroy (John 10:10). What I learn from David is that in spite of Goliaths taunting and instead of cowering, he boldly leads with the power of the name of the Lord his God in verses 45-47:
I come against you in the name of the Lord Almighty, the God of the armies of Israel, whom you have defied. This day the Lord will deliver you into my hands, and I’ll strike you down and cut off your head. This very day I will give the carcasses of the Philistine army to the birds and the wild animals, and the whole world will know that there is a God in Israel.
So in my battle I call on the name of the name above all names, my God, my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, only son of God. When I hear the taunting echo in my ears that says: you are not good enough, you are not thin enough, pretty enough, not a good enough wife, not a good example, have too much of a shame filled past, have sinned to much and still are…I silence the enemy and say out loud the things I know to be true. Truth is what his word says about me! I call on the name of the Lord and I remind myself of who I am in Christ:
I am a new creation (2 Corinthians 5:17)
I declare his truth over myself and renew my mind (Romans 12:2).
I am loved with an everlasting love (Jeremiah 31:3)
My sin is forgiven as far as the east is from the west (Psalm 103:7)
I am forgiven – God sees me not as my past, he sees me as a father sees his child, with a heart full of love (Psalms 103:10-11)
My past is gone and he sees me as my future (Jeremiah 29:11)
He holds the keys to my salvation (Revelations 1:17-18)
The ash of my past is my beauty because of Him (Isaiah 61:3)
He wants me to boast of my weakness (the sins of my past), because his power is seen in the transformation of my life. In my weaknesses and through my countless faults (more than I can count), His power is seen through my life, his redemption strength and grace has changed my life. If he can change my life, he can change anyone’s (2 Corinthians 11:30)
My faith rests in his power not my own (1 Corinthians 2:5)
David’s preparation and response, was to speak truth and call on a strength greater than his own. So the next time the enemy attacks…
come against him with the power of the name above all names.
Declare that God by his power will give you victory, he will deliver you, because Light always wins against darkness, and in all situations whatever the outcome he will get all the Glory. The last thing I learned from this story, and most important for me personally is this: Before I enter battle I need to submit to the lord. These verses help me when I feel bogged down:
Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.
Submit to God and be at peace with him; in this way prosperity will come to you. Accept instruction from his mouth and lay up his words in your heart. If you return to the Almighty, you will be restored: If you remove wickedness far from your tent.
When we acknowledge that the battle is the Lords, I let go and let God. David’s defeat of Goliath, had nothing to do with David’s human strength, and from the text we know that he relied on the strength of his God, our Great and Mighty God Who Saves. Against all odds Goliath fell for one reason only, the battle was never David’s, IT WAS ALWAYS THE LORDS. See, that’s the beauty and being a child of the one true king he always fights our battles for us (Exodus 14:14). He leads, we do not lead (that leads to trouble, I know from personal experience), because in my humanness I am weak. He is the power, and he gives us this power when we trust him as Ephesians says:
his incomparably great power for us who believe. That power is the same as the mighty strength he exerted when he raised Christ from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly realms, far above all rule and authority, power and dominion, and every name that is invoked, not only in the present age but also in the one to come.
The enemy is defeated by God and God alone. Jesus the son of God is victorious.
When we go into battle knowing that victory is already ours, using the sword of the Spirit his word, and know beyond a shadow of a doubt that the Lord goes before us in our battles we have already won before the combat starts. David knew these things:
who the author of life was…
he knew who determined the outcome…
and he was fearless because he had faith in the Lord his God!
I know who fights my battle, I know who holds me in his righteous right hand, I know I am the apple of my fathers eye, he will not abandon me, he has plans to give me a hope and a future. Just like David, I know the Lord will deliver me, in his timing, so all will know that he alone is God. Why does God rescue David? So whole world will know that there is a God in Israel. Like David’s prayer to God in Psalm 16 my prayer before battle is this:
I see the Lord always before me. Because he is at my right hand, I will not be shaken. Therefore my heart is glad and my tongue rejoices; my body also will rest in hope, because he will not abandon me to the realm of the dead, you will not let your holy one see decay. You have made known to me the paths of life; you will fill me with joy in your presence. You are victorious and the battle is already won.
We can not win all our earthly battles, and alter the Lords perfect plan. I don’t claim to know much, and I am still learning, but in my journey with God and battles faced I do know a few things.
I do know in all situations he is victorious, which makes me victorious.
I do know that his word promises one day the redemption of all things.
His promise is no more tears and sadness.
I have learned to look at my battles as priming for what the Lord has planned for my life, a preparation of sorts for what awaits me in eternity. My story on this earth is just beginning and that is invigorating for me. I know that a perfect place is waiting for me, my eternal dwelling. When I meet My Lord and Savior face to face, only then will things be made perfect.
since God had planned something better for us so that only together with us would they be made perfect.
Verses reminding myself of Gods’ Truth
2 Corinthians 5:17
Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!
Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is —his good, pleasing and perfect will.
The Lord appeared to us in the past, saying: “I have loved you with an everlasting love; I have drawn you with unfailing kindness.
Psalm 103:10-11 he does not treat us as our sins deserve or repay us according to our iniquities. For as high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is his love for those who fear him;
as far as the east is from the west, so far has he removed our transgressions from us.
When I saw him, I fell at his feet as though dead. Then he placed his right hand on me and said: “Do not be afraid. I am the First and the Last. I am the Living One; I was dead, and now look, I am alive for ever and ever! And I hold the keys of death and Hades.
and provide for those who grieve in Zion— to bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of joy instead of mourning, and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair. They will be called oaks of righteousness, a planting of the Lord for the display of his splendor.
2 Corinthians 11:30
If I must boast, I will boast of the things that show my weakness.
Our help is in the name of the Lord, the Maker of heaven and earth.
Philippians 2:9 Therefore God exalted him to the highest place
and gave him the name that is above every name,
that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow,
in heaven and on earth and under the earth,
2 Corinthians 4:7
But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us.
Jesus looked at them and said, “With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.
1 Corinthians 2:5
so that your faith might not rest on human wisdom, but on God’s power.
For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.
God rewrote the text of my life when I opened the book of my heart to his eyes.
Things I know to be True
He is victorious, which makes me victorious:
1 Corinthians 15:57-58
But thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.
Therefore, my dear brothers and sisters, stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain.
Now this I know: The Lord gives victory to his anointed. He answers him from his heavenly sanctuary with the victorious power of his right hand.
They triumphed over him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony; they did not love their lives so much as to shrink from death.
They will wage war against the Lamb, but the Lamb will triumph over them because he is Lord of lords and King of kings —and with him will be his called, chosen and faithful followers.”
1 John 4:4
You, dear children, are from God and have overcome them, because the one who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world.
“I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”
If I lose my life for him, I gain everything: Luke 17:33
Whoever tries to keep their life will lose it, and whoever loses their life will preserve it.
The coming redemption of all things:
“See, I will create new heavens and a new earth. The former things will not be remembered, nor will they come to mind.
“As the new heavens and the new earth that I make will endure before me,” declares the Lord, “so will your name and descendants endure.
2 Peter 3:13
But in keeping with his promise we are looking forward to a new heaven and a new earth, where righteousness dwells.
He who was seated on the throne said, “I am making everything new!” Then he said, “Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true.”
His promise is no more tears and sadness:
I will rejoice over Jerusalem and take delight in my people; the sound of weeping and of crying will be heard in it no more.
And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Look! God’s dwelling place is now among the people, and he will dwell with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God. ‘He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death’ or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.”
He who was seated on the throne said, “I am making everything new!” Then he said, “Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true.”
I have learned to look at my battles as priming for what the Lord has planned for my life in eternity: 1 John 3:2-3
Dear friends, now we are children of God, and what we will be has not yet been made known. But we know that when Christ appears, we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is. All who have this hope in him purify themselves, just as he is pure.
Whoever has ears, let them hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To the one who is victorious, I will give the right to eat from the tree of life, which is in the paradise of God.
2 Corinthians 12:3-4
And I know that this man—whether in the body or apart from the body I do not know, but God knows— was caught up to paradise and heard inexpressible things, things that no one is permitted to tell.
2 Peter 3:10
But the day of the Lord will come like a thief. The heavens will disappear with a roar; the elements will be destroyed by fire, and the earth and everything done in it will be laid bare.
The story of David and Goliath… Growing up it was a story that I and many others raised in Sunday school heard over and over… If someone would have asked me ten years ago did I know this story, I would have laughed and said of course. My summary would have been the weak chosen… Continue reading Leading with my Mouth: defeating your Goliaths
Isaiah 25:1 Lord, you are my God; I will exalt you and praise your name, for in perfect faithfulness you have done wonderful things, things planned long ago. 🙏Lord, you are my God; I will exalt you and praise your name, for in perfect faithfulness you have done and are doing wonderful things, things planned… Continue reading Prayer: Death swallowed up in your perfect Faithfulness
I think the Israelites didn’t realize when they first craved meat, that they were directly defying God. That is the way it works, it’s starts off innocent enough. However, when desire becomes the focus of our thought life, most often the innocent turns to sin. Most of the time when the desire is attained it may bring momentary happiness, but leaves us longing for more…the next thing we crave. I heard a friend’s sermon, Rod VanSolkm, and he quoted Tim Keller who said “Rachel is always Leah the next day,”
When I was a PEACE with where God had me, my world began to change. When I stopped seeing my desert as NEGATIVE; all the uniformity of color, parched feeling, exhausted disposition, and raw and exposed posture… my life inwardly started to BLOSSOM. The sorrow and tears turned to joy and praise. As Gods’ voice became louder, my purpose became crystal clear, the circumstances surrounding my desert situation faded, and my utter dependence on my Savior each second was something I looked forward to each day.
The desert land. The promise land. Beautiful Israel. Full of mountains and valleys that drink rain from heaven. This is the land God cares for and his eyes are continually on it as Deuteronomy 11:11-12 says: But the land you are crossing the Jordan to take possession of is a land of mountains and valleys… Continue reading Desert Life: what I found I really need through the deserts in Israel