Tag Archives: battles

Lamentations 3:52-5:22; Ezekiel 1-2

Lord, when you speak, I pray that I would listen.

55 I called on your name, Lord,
    from the depths of the pit.
56 You heard my plea: “Do not close your ears
    to my cry for relief.”
57 You came near when I called you,
    and you said, “Do not fear.” (Lamentations 3:55-57, NIV, emphasis added)

The passages that mention fear stand out to me, and not because I’m facing an acute, frightening situation, but mostly because the Lord speaks here. And he says, “Do not fear.” When I immerse myself in the words of today’s scriptures and read of the details in each chapter, the details speak of big, scary things (that were happening or could happen).

He said to me, “Son of man, stand up on your feet and I will speak to you.” As he spoke, the Spirit came into me and raised me to my feet, and I heard him speaking to me.

He said: “Son of man, I am sending you to the Israelites, to a rebellious nation that has rebelled against me; they and their ancestors have been in revolt against me to this very day. The people to whom I am sending you are obstinate and stubborn. Say to them, ‘This is what the Sovereign Lord says.’ And whether they listen or fail to listen—for they are a rebellious people—they will know that a prophet has been among them. And you, son of man, do not be afraid of them or their words. Do not be afraid, though briers and thorns are all around you and you live among scorpions. Do not be afraid of what they say or be terrified by them, though they are a rebellious people. You must speak my words to them, whether they listen or fail to listen, for they are rebellious. But you, son of man, listen to what I say to you. Do not rebel like that rebellious people; open your mouth and eat what I give you.” (Ezekiel 2:1-8, NIV, emphasis added)

Lord, sometimes you save (us) from out of the pit, and sometimes you send (us) into the battle (or big, scary situations). May I always listen for your voice. When I am afraid, I put my trust in you. In God, whose word I praise—in God I trust and am not afraid. What can mere mortals do to me? (Psalm 56:3-4, NIV)

Courtney (66books365)

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Filed under 66 Books, 7-day reading pln, Bible in a year reading plan, Cover to cover

Proverbs 16-19; Matthew 10

He had the power to heal and restore and raise. Loving Jesus. When Satan tempted him in the wilderness, he resisted the challenge to prove or grasp at anything, but stood upon God’s Word. Wise Jesus. When he was accused and arrested and condemned to death, he didn’t raise a sword; he didn’t argue his defense; the image of him beaten and bloody, carrying his cross in front of an audience, being nailed upon it, left to die–the mockers crying out to him, “Can’t even save yourself!” He seemed broken, weak, defeated. But here, he fought a battle no one understood. Humble Jesus. Warrior Jesus. Savior.

34 Don’t imagine that I came to bring peace to the earth! I came not to bring peace, but a sword.

35 ‘I have come to set a man against his father,
    a daughter against her mother,
and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law.
36     Your enemies will be right in your own household!’

37 “If you love your father or mother more than you love me, you are not worthy of being mine; or if you love your son or daughter more than me, you are not worthy of being mine. 38 If you refuse to take up your cross and follow me, you are not worthy of being mine. 39 If you cling to your life, you will lose it; but if you give up your life for me, you will find it (Matthew 10:34-39, NLT, emphasis added).

In Matthew 10, Jesus prepares the disciples to send them out–I sit at his feet and listen in: Do the work (Mt 10:8); Shake it off and move on (Mt 10:14); Beware (Mt 10:17).

16 “Look, I am sending you out as sheep among wolves. So be as shrewd as snakes and harmless as doves. 17 But beware! For you will be handed over to the courts and will be flogged with whips in the synagogues. 18 You will stand trial before governors and kings because you are my followers. But this will be your opportunity to tell the rulers and other unbelievers about me. 19 When you are arrested, don’t worry about how to respond or what to say. God will give you the right words at the right time. 20 For it is not you who will be speaking—it will be the Spirit of your Father speaking through you.

21 “A brother will betray his brother to death, a father will betray his own child, and children will rebel against their parents and cause them to be killed. 22 And all nations will hate you because you are my followers. But everyone who endures to the end will be saved (Matthew 10:16-22, NLT, emphasis added).

Things are more than what they seem. Lord, I pray for kingdom focus, wisdom and guidance.

20 Get all the advice and instruction you can,
    so you will be wise the rest of your life.

21 You can make many plans,
    but the Lord’s purpose will prevail (Proverbs 19:20, 21, NLT).

Grateful your purpose will prevail, always.

Courtney (66books365)

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Filed under 66 Books, Bible in a year reading plan, Matthew

1 Samuel 17,18; Luke 20:27-47

As a shepherd boy, David had repeated experiences of battling foes to save his flock. Each encounter provided skill and courage to face the next one. When an entire army of Israelites shrank back from a taunting giant, David was confident in his abilities to stand up against an enemy. He also knew Who stood with him.

A few weeks ago, I took my girls to get their ears pierced. My youngest went first, and as the first earring went in, she howled and wailed in pain. There were a lot of candy promises to get the job finished. My oldest, in contrast, sat calmly in the chair and didn’t flinch when the piercing gun fired. No change of expression. Not a single utterance. She has had many unpleasant (at times horrifying) medical experiences in her young life. As a mom, her lack of sound or expression saddened me that she would be so toughened, so young. At the same time, I felt a reverential fear of the Lord how He has prepared her for the race marked out for her. And I wonder of the battles she will face. I hope she is always aware of Who stands with her.

And everyone assembled here will know that the Lord rescues his people, but not with sword and spear. This is the Lord’s battle, and he will give you to us!–1 Samuel 17:47 NLT

In introspection, life events have made my heart tender. The battles I’ve faced I know prepare me for harder tasks ahead. And when an enemy wounds, I know (and I forget, and then I know again) that the battle is the Lord’s. I heard a speaker recently remark of forgiveness: the one who takes away can never fully restore–only the Lord can.

Father God, I can’t discern between unforgiveness and hurt. Can one forgive and still feel pain? Do remembrance and pain imply unforgiveness? Lord, I pray that I can hand over victory to you and stop trying to solve the unsolvable myself. You work toward the good of all who believe in you. When an offender can never erase memory or loss, you restore. Help me to turn my battles over to you, to move on in peace, to trust in you. You prepare us all for bigger battles. And you stand with us. Thank you!

Courtney (66books365)

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Filed under 1 Samuel, 66 Books, Bible in a year reading plan, Old Testament