Tag Archives: enemy

Ezra 3, 4; 1 John 5

Even though the people were afraid of the local residents, they rebuilt the altar at its old site. Ezra 3:3 NLT.

Some of the biggest moments of my life were in the midst of fear. Fear is my shame, and I try to hide it by smiles, but it seeps through my pores, and keeps me up at night with worry.

My daughter and I were en route to an event and she told me she was afraid, and I understood it too well. I don’t know if my advice was the best, but it was all I knew:

“Put a smile on your face, and do it anyway,” I said. Fear stops us from living, from moving on, from rebuilding. We looked at Christmas lights at dusk along the drive and I asked her, “What are you afraid will happen?”

I don’t think that half the time I can answer this question myself.

I suppose the enemies who opposed the rebuilding in Ezra had their own list of fears; their fear masked by anger and opposition. It put a halt on another’s rebuilding.

Then the local residents tried to discourage and frighten the people of Judah to keep them from their work. They bribed agents to work against them and to frustrate their plans. This went on during the entire reign of King Cyrus of Persia and lasted until King Darius of Persia took the throne. Ezra 4:5-5.

I think on whatever it is I’m afraid of, or the effects of another’s fear on me–the very limiting force of the enemy.

19 We know that we are children of God and that the world around us is under the control of the evil one. 1 John 5:19.

I think of the walks I took to doors with gifts and goodbyes in hand, a smile on my face and fear seeping through pores and shaking my voice. Chapters closed with trembling fingers, and new ones were yet to be opened from the oppressive weight of what-if. Fear. Sometimes plans to rebuild are halted.

18 We know that God’s children do not make a practice of sinning, for God’s Son holds them securely, and the evil one cannot touch them. 19 We know that we are children of God and that the world around us is under the control of the evil one.

20 And we know that the Son of God has come, and he has given us understanding so that we can know the true God. And now we live in fellowship with the true God because we live in fellowship with his Son, Jesus Christ. He is the only true God, and he is eternal life.

21 Dear children, keep away from anything that might take God’s place in your hearts. 1 John 5:18-21

The verses above tell me not to be afraid, for the Son of God has come and holds me securely in his hands. And though evil comes so close, and I feel its haughty eyes upon me and hear its voice in my ears, God holds me closer. I can choose to live in fellowship with God, or listen to life-limiting lies from an evil one. Which will take up space in my heart?

Courtney (66books365)

Advertisements

2 Comments

Filed under 1 John, 66 Books, Bible in a year reading plan, New Testament

2 Chronicles 17, 2 Chronicles 18, 2 Corinthians 6

Jehoshaphat…sought God…and walked in His commandments. Therefore the Lord established the kingdom in his hand. 2 Chronicles 18:4-5

 And what accord has Christ with Belial? Or what part has a believer with an unbeliever? 2 Corinthians 6:15

 “Come out from among them …And I will receive you.” “I will be a Father to you, And you shall be My sons and daughters, Says the Lord Almighty.” 2 Corinthians 6:17-18

 Read athttp://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=2Chron17,18;%202Cor6&version=NKJV

2 Chronicles 17        Jehoshaphat…strengthened himself against Israel…he did not seek the Baals, but sought the God…and walked in His commandments and not according to the acts of Israel.

            At this time Israel was not following the Lord God but worshipping false gods.

            Talk about taking a stand! Jehoshaphat didn’t ignore Israel, give platitudes, agreements, or compromises saying ‘your truth works for you, my truth works for me’. – No, Jehoshaphat “strengthened himself against Israel”! Boldly Not being ‘politically correct’!  

            Jehoshaphat was a man of conviction and action! Not only was Jehoshaphat against Israel, but he was against the false gods in his own land AND he taught everyone about the Lord God!! “moreover he removed the high places and wooden images from Judah. So they…had the Book of the Law of the Lord with them; they went throughout all the cities of Judah and taught the people.”

             Why would Jehoshaphat do this? Because “his heart took delight in the ways of the Lord”. Jehoshaphat’s heart couldn’t be happier because he ‘heard’ the Lord and walked in His Ways. He didn’t need any one else’s approval or relationship. Jehoshaphat’s HEART DELIGHTED in the LORD. The center of Jehoshaphat’s core had delight, joy, peace and the Presence of the Lord God! It is what motivated him to do all he did! 1 

             Aren’t I supposed to be this way too? Of course! Especially since I have tangible blessings from the Lord God: The full Bible. The knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ by His Word. The God’s promises for the end of His story. The revelation of  Who my Atonement is. The indwelling 24/7/365 Presence of the Holy Spirit within me.  Yet I rejoice in Jehoshaphat! What a man for God! May I be at least as much as he is!!  2 

             And what was God’s response?

Faithfulness, loyalty and fruitfulness to Jehoshaphat and his realm of influence.

The Lord established the kingdom in his hand

The Book of the Law of the Lord was taught to all the people.

The fear of the Lord fell on all the kingdoms of the lands that were around Judah, so that they did not make war against Jehoshaphat.

Some kingdoms brought Jehoshaphat presents, tribute, and more

Jehoshaphat became increasingly powerful,

Jehoshaphat had much property and mighty men of valor

2 Chronicles 18                   By marriage Jehoshaphat allied himself with Ahab.  After some years he went down to visit Ahab in Samaria;  

             What happened to this valiant man of God? God’s Word tells us, “Jehoshaphat had riches and honor in abundance.” Trading righteousness for pleasure and pride, Jehoshaphat unwittingly subverted his own resolve against Israel “by marriage he allied himself with Ahab”, the king of Israel.

             The effect is heard: Jehoshaphat answered Ahab, “I am as you are, and my people as your people; we will be with you in the war.”  What? How did this happen? Some years before Jehoshaphat was delighting in God and independent of the powers around him, standing valiant against sin patterns. Now Jehoshaphat has fallen so far that he views himself and his people as being like Israel! 3

             The Lord’s gifts became the source of Jehoshaphat’s joy instead of his heart continually delighting in the Lord God. When I let my physical senses distract me from Fear of the Lord, it causes spiritual blindness, misplaced trust and unholy alliances. 4

2 Corinthians 6            Lord God Almighty, may I never misconstrue blessings to be for my own gratification. You alone are my very Great Reward. You command me: I am blessed to be a blessing. I am to work together with Jesus Christ to plead for others “not to receive the grace of God in vain. Behold, now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation.” I will accomplish this through many types of pain, discomfort, by God’s truth, power and more, and within every possible circumstance. 5

            Lord Jesus, You have shown me the deep pain of eternal souls who live for Very temporary pleasures. Hell is for real, just as Heaven is. I take Your advice to heart: You are restricted by your own affections…Do not be unequally yoked…For what fellowship has righteousness with lawlessness? And what communion has light with darkness? And what agreement has the temple of God with idols? For you are the temple of the living God. 

            Lord Jesus thank You for calling me to grow more intimate with You daily and go far away from surface pleasure and pride. I desire to Live, exist and have my being in Your Word and Holy Spirit, abiding in Your Love. Lord, have my eyes open to the walking dead around me, my ears attentive to Your Voice of Truth and wisdom, and my heart submitted to Your compassion so You will move through me for Your great work to be done, now and always for Your delight and glory! Amen 6

Dear Reader, God pleads with you and me today:

Come out from among them And be separate, says the Lord. Do not touch what is unclean, And I will receive you.”“I will be a Father to you, And you shall be My sons and daughters, Says the Lord Almighty.” 

1-  Psalm 37:4, 2 Chronicles 17:4, Nehemiah 8:10, Psalm 1, Psalm 119:16

2-  Romans 3:21-26; Hebrews 2:17; 1 John 2:1-2; 1 John 4:9-10; 1 Corinthians 6:19; Isaiah 6:8

3 – 1 Kings 18

4- Romans 1; Revelation 2:4; Genesis 15:1; Psalm 37:4; Philippians 2:12

5- 2 Corinthians 6:4-10; Genesis 15:1; Genesis 12:2; Romans 1:16

6-   1 Peter 2:9; Acts 17:28; John 15:1-17

Crystal (PsalmThirty4)

3 Comments

Filed under 2 Chronicles, 2 Corinthians, 66 Books, Bible in a year reading plan, New Testament, Old Testament, Uncategorized

Judges 1, Judges 2, Judges 3, Luke 12:32-59

http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Judges%201,2,3;%20Luke%2012:32-59&version=NKJV

 God’s People in Pain ~ God’s people Rule ~ God’s Kingdom Comes 

Judges 1             “Judah shall go up … fight against the Canaanites …  and the Lord delivered” But the tribes “did not drive out the” surrounding peoples.  

Judges 2              The Lord came…said: you shall make no covenant with the inhabitants of this land…tear down their altars. But you have not obeyed My voice. -Therefore… they shall be thorns in your side, and their gods shall be a snare to you.’ So…all the children of Israel…lifted up their voices and wept…Then the children of Israel did evil in the sight of the Lord, and served the Baals…Yet they would not listen to their judges…Then the anger of the Lord was hot against Israel;  

Judges 3            they gave their daughters…they served their gods…again did evil in the sight of the Lord.  

                       The Almighty, Holy, Faithful God continuously protected His people and set them free from their enemies. God gave them a kingdom on earth and made them accountable to Him. But time and time again God’s people ignored God’s Word, Character, Commands and Love for them. They turned away from Him to worship and obey what they could see, feel, and hear. They mingled their hearts and lives with demons and idols. God’s people did evil in His sight so God’s anger was against them. Even though they “lifted up their voices and wept”, “Yet they would not listen”. 2 Corinthians 5:7; Hebrews 11:6; 2 Chronicles 11:15; Revelation 9:20

Points to ponder –    The Lord God is worthy of my complete, full hearted obedience. Partial obedience is DISobedience. God requires 100% loyalty, trust and faith in Action.

                 People refused God’s protective law by NOT driving out what influenced them to sin. Inaction was rejection of God.

                     God’s people, though loved by God, alienated themselves from Him. By their allegiance to personal pride and lust, their lives were filled with many types of deep pain. God’s people proved to be unfaithful and double-minded/ hearted.

                     It wasn’t about the people, it was all about God! What would have Glorified the Lord God and brought His people unshakable Joy? Living with God in the freedom of the Promised Land AND thus showing and introducing the idolaters to God, for them love, worship and be freed by the Living God too! They all would have had eternal life! And God’s peace would have reigned through them all!

                 Lord, reveal to me how I live by my physical, temporal, self-willed senses and NOT by faith and Holy Spirit “sight” in trusting Your Reality of Truth in order to please You. Show me how my mind changes due to fear and “discomfort” so I do not Love by faith in Jesus Who sacrificed His life for me to NOW live a vibrant eternal life by His Word and Power.  

Luke 12:32-59          “Do not fear, little flock, for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom. Sell what you have and give…provide…a treasure in the heavens that does not fail…there your heart will be also.”

                  Lord Jesus’ Words ringing clear and true, for the Israelites, nowadays and Jesus’ time! I hear the same tune, “Turn from you see, feel, and hear. Do not mingle your heart with demons and idols, but trust God and thereby receive the good Kingdom your Father pleasures to give you!”  

                 Jesus, please awaken many to disown their earthly treasures, loyalties and idolatries that cause their hearts to pain and fear, so not to perish. Please have Your Word Drive Out the thoughts, words, habits, values and lusts so we do not turn our backs against Your Father. Jesus, you had me born-again for God’s Kingdom living and rule under You. Please, Lord, increase Your territory of Love throughout myself and my sphere of influence.  

Blessed are those servants whom the master, when he comes, will find watching…Therefore you also be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an hour you do not expect.…Blessed is that servant whom…his master will find so doing when he comes…that he will make him ruler over all that he hasBUT IF that servant…begins to beat the…servants, and…be drunk, the master…will come …when he is not aware, and will cut him in two and appoint him his portion with the unbelievers…For everyone to whom much is given, from him much will be required; and to whom much has been committed, of him they will ask the more.

My Kingdom of God agenda:            What have I traded permanent for temporary? How am I using the time and tools God has allotted me?

             What territory have I left laid to waste? What “Christian” thinking of “grace” has allowed the weeds and thorns to infest and rot my “territory” because my passionate desire for God’s gleaming righteousness and glory has dimmed by excuses, rationalizations and compromise? Am I Driving Out unholy thinking with the Word of God and acting upon it?

            Am I being truthful to myself and with those in my charge? Or am I watering down the Gospel and Jesus’ Blood? Am I selling out cheap grace using a “get out of hell” card without James 1-4 enacted? What kind of servant am I? Much is REQUIRED of me by God.

Jesus said, “I came to send fire on the earth …to give…division…one house will be divided…but how is it you do not discern this time?”

                  What time is it now? “In the last days perilous times will come: For men will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents,” and “rumors of wars”.  

“I tell you, you shall not depart from there till you have paid the very last mite.”

 This Good News requires my responsibility and accountability to my Master, Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

                 Am I using God’s eternal Tool, the Word of God? Am I praying without ceasing for God’s Holy Spirit counsel and Doing what He says? Jesus gives life to those who seek, ask and receive in God’s terms. Lord Jesus, have me follow hard after You and Drive Out whatever thwarts for Your cleansed temple within me! Have Your Kingdom come on earth as it is in Heaven.

Bible References –         James 2:10-26; 1 John 4:10; 1 John 5:3; Jude 1:16-25James 1:2-8, James 4:7-10       +    John 1:12-14; John 3:3-21; Psalm 51; 1 John 3:1; Psalm 145:13; Matthew 24:14; Luke 1:31-33; 1   +  Corinthians 15:23-28; Matthew 25:31; Matthew 28:18-20; Matthew 6:9-13; 1 Chronicles 4:9-10   +  2 Timothy 3:1-9; Matthew 24; Mark 13     +  James 1-4,1 John 1-5, Jude 1  +  1 Thessalonians 5:17; Matthew 7:7-8; Matthew 11:28; Romans 10:9-10; 1 John 1:9; John 3:16; 2 Corinthians 5:17; 1 Corinthians 6:19 

Crystal (PsalmThirty4)

4 Comments

Filed under 66 Books, Bible in a year reading plan, Judges, Luke, New Testament, Old Testament, Uncategorized

Deuteronomy 20, Deuteronomy 21, Deuteronomy 22, Luke 6:1-26

Read at: www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Dt%2020,21,22;%20Luke%206:1-26&version=NKJV

Warfare and Healing

Deuteronomy and Luke present different facets of the same theme:

Principles Governing Warfare

In Deuteronomy 20 God gives orders of how to go to battle against your enemies.         “Do not let your heart faint, do not be afraid, and do not tremble or be terrified because of them; for the Lord your God is He who goes with you, to fight for you against your enemies, to save you.” … If there “is fearful and fainthearted? Let him go and return to his house, lest the heart of his brethren faint like his heart.”

            Living under Christ’s command requires going into the difficult places in my heart, life, and in those of others; Being open to God’s Word and obeying His commands. Not being faint hearted but stalwart because the Lord Jesus Christ goes with me to set me and other captives free. Sometimes the territory gets Very large and the enemy seems Very fierce. The fainthearted near me debilitates me because he is without God’s vision. If I don’t wear the Word of God over my eyes and ears 24/7/365 I am UNempowered.  

              I need bold hearted men and women around me, especially at this time of my life. Prayer warriors who pray for God’s Word to be done. People of God’s Righteousness for God to live through them for the eternal benefit of everyone around them. For words of encouragement and faith in the Lord Jesus Christ Who IS the Victor!! I yearn to see and hear God’s Glory when I see so much carnage. I know it’s all so temporary, but I want God’s justice to turn people’s hearts to the Lord Jesus Christ! I am grateful to be that way, but I can grow weary in the battle. I am grateful for the bold hearted ones with me. I rejoice that Jesus has already won the War.

           Israel is about to be engaged in war. Iran will be sending missiles to our shores. People will die, but where will they go? To Heaven or hell? Who will tell them the Gospel before their time is up? Lord send me!

             Is it really that simple? Am I not to be despondent or to despair over what is coming? No, the Lord Jesus Christ says. The enemy will want me to feel “I am in charge”. What a proud arrogant lie! I rejoice in that Truth (that it is a Lie)!! Yippee!! I am free from the bondage of the responsibility for souls. But what AM I in charge of? Just being God’s daughter and following and loving the Lord Jesus Christ with my life each day. Step by step Jesus will show me His Great Adventure that I join. Whew!! Got through that One! May I live it another day by the Holy Spirit’s power! 

In Deuteronomy 21-22, the Lord addressed laws regarding unsolved murder, female captives, firstborn inheritance rights, rebellions sons, immorality, sins deserving of death as well as commands to helping your fellow man and woman and not being unequally yoked. All of these deal with sin, captives of sin, and how justice and God’s righteousness can be executed well for His Glory.

In Luke 6:1-26 Jesus said, “The Son of Man is also Lord of the Sabbath.” – Jesus declared Himself God and boldly chose to heal on that day, setting a captive free.  Later on, Jesus “went out to the mountain to pray, and continued all night in prayer to God. And when it was day, He … chose twelve whom He also named apostles.” The Lord Jesus chose the men for His army.

            Jesus continued setting people free: “He came down with them … a great multitude of people who came to hear Him and be healed of their diseases … who were tormented with unclean spirits. And they were healed. … for power went out from Him and healed them all.”

             In the Be-Attitudes, Jesus the set the priorities for God’s people who win in the Kingdom of God: “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, For they shall be filled. … Woe to you who laugh now, For you shall mourn and weep.”

              I fit right in. I look forward to when the Righteousness is Full and I can no longer mourn over the pain and suffering of people which is caused by sinful, wicked choices.

For the Son of Man came to seek and to save what was lost.  Luke 19:10

For Further Reading – Matthew 11:28-30; John 3:5-21; John 15:3-11; Psalm 51; Romans 10:9-13; 2 Corinthians 5:17; Joel 2:28-29 

Crystal (PsalmThirty4)

3 Comments

Filed under 66 Books, Bible in a year reading plan, Deuteronomy, Luke, New Testament, Old Testament, Uncategorized

Exodus 4-6; Matthew24:29-51

Make the work harder for the men so that they keep working and pay no attention to lies. ~ Exodus 5:9

Has it ever happened to you that while you are waiting for God’s promises to be fulfilled, the enemy attacked you again and again trying to distract you with pain—physical, mental, emotional, financial, etc.—so that you’d take your eyes off the promise and begin to focus solely on the pain you’re currently enduring?  These past several weeks, I’ve been dealing off and on with physical pain.  My husband and my friends have been very good about reminding me that these are just attacks from the enemy and he’s only attacking me to distract me from all the promises God has made to me.

It’s easy to get distracted and think that it’s not going to come true.  But Jesus warns us not to get distracted and lose focus.  Jesus told the story of the servant who gave up waiting and began doing things against his master’s will.  Jesus said that the master “will come on a day when he does not expect him and at an hour he is not aware of,” and will not reward the servant, (Matthew 24:48-49).  The enemy knows how the story ends and he wants to distract us.  Just as Pharaoh, upon hearing that Moses was sent with the message to let God’s people go, increased the pain of the Israelites, the enemy will try to increase our pain to distract us so we will have no time to focus on God’s promises.

My prayer is that I will keep God’s promises ever before me, no matter what the enemy tries to throw at me so that I will not lose focus, but will keep my eyes on the prize.

heatherpotts5

3 Comments

Filed under 66 Books, Exodus, Matthew

Numbers 21; Psalms 60,61; Isaiah 10: 5-34; James 4

How many times do we turn to a close friend for help with our problems?  Ask advice, get feedback, seek wise counsel?  I bet that last one sounds real familiar doesn’t it?  Would we be wrong to go to a mentor or accountability partner for help with a problem?  I think not for we know that God wants us to encourage one another.  However, it’s when we look to man (friends, mentors, pastors) for answers to our problems without seeking God’s will first, that might keep us from seeing God’s victorious hand in our life.   Of course we should continue to seek wise counsel from those who will partner with us in prayer and petition, but not for victory in our battles. Only with God will we win against our enemies. I want victory.

Give us aid against the enemy, for the help of man is worthless. With God we will gain the victory, and he will trample down our enemies. Psalm 60:11-12

What does humbling yourself before the Lord look like? Do we need special clothing, the right songs, how about the size of church we go to?  Is it the version of Bible we read that humbles us before the Lord?  The ministries we serve in or the statuses we post on our social media pages?

How about this vision; standing naked before the Lord, not physically, but spiritually.  Striped of pride, anger and judgment of others. Surrendering yourself unto Him, confession and repentance of sins….how often?  I think just getting in that position would be a good starting place, habits form with repetition. I want to be lifted up.

Humble yourselves before the Lord and he will lift you up. James 4:10

Confession: I spend too much time online and (this will hurt) I seek acceptance and accolades from people.

Revelation: It occurred to me today that the time I spend online could be spent serving others.  How did I go astray?

Goal: Push back from online activities outside of work and give that extra time to the Lord and His work.

Application: Less time online more time in the Word, more time at His feet.

Father, lead me into victory from things that seek to steal my time from you.  This world gives nothing but takes abundantly, but in order for the world to take I know that I am the one who allows this.  Grow  my desire to serve others in your name with joy and eagerness.  Deliver me from those who seek to hold me back from my daily walk and devotion with you.  Cleanse me, strip me of pride, remove my desire to seek approval from others.  Open the eyes of my heart to see others before myself.  In Jesus name. Amen

cindi

1 Comment

Filed under James, Psalms

Leviticus 11,12; Psalms 13,14; Proverbs 26; 1 Thessalonians 5

There’s a deep history in scripture. Sometimes I forget that. Sometimes reading these verses, the history falls away as I am moved by the words’ timelessness. When I opened to psalm 13, I didn’t know his anguish was sparked by an illness that threatened life.

How long must I wrestle with my thoughts and every day have sorrow in my heart? How long will my enemy triumph over me? Psalm 13:2 (NIV)

These words spoke to a friend under trial; to another one in the midst of an ugly divorce; and to me in my own prison of thoughts. We all read these words; we related to the tiresome treading to ward off an enemy’s triumph. I didn’t see sickness or physical foes advancing upon David–at least, not until I read the study notes. With the absence of word cues like Zion or Israel, it was almost as if sitting with a friend over coffee:

“I feel like God is far” … “These thoughts keep me up at night” … “I don’t know how long I can keep this up” …

The pleading and urgency that follow:

Look on me and answer, O Lord my God. Give light to my eyes, or I will sleep in death, my enemy will say, “I have overcome him,” and my foes will rejoice when I fall. Psalm 13:3-4 (NIV)

He is facing a battlefield. But she is crying in a car; another in an empty bed; this one in quiet hours. All of us holding fast to the Only One who could ever help.

David turns his complaint to praise. When feelings and thoughts might lead astray, a warrior fights on:

But I trust in your unfailing love; my heart rejoices in your salvation. I will sing to the Lord for he has been good to me. Psalm 13:5-6 (NIV)

This warrior can do it too.

Father, when feelings and thoughts betray, thank you for your word. Trials will come, but you can be trusted. Praising you. Amen.

Courtney (66books365)

1 Comment

Filed under 66 Books, M'Cheyne Bible reading plan, Old Testament, Psalms