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Mighty Man of Valour

Joshua 10:7-10 – “So Joshua ascended from Gilgal, he, and all the people of war with him, and all the mighty men of valour. And the LORD said unto Joshua, Fear them not: for I have delivered them into thine hand; there shall not a man of them stand before thee. Joshua therefore came unto them suddenly, and went up from Gilgal all night. And the LORD discomfited them before Israel, and slew them with a great slaughter at Gibeon, and chased them along the way that goeth up to Bethhoron, and smote them to Azekah, and unto Makkedah.”

Happy Memorial Day from Kauai!

I just finished my morning perusal of Facebook and was admiring all the posts relating to this day. All the pictures of the soldiers. All the pictures of the families crying next to their loved one’s tombstone. It makes me so sad. I think about all those families who have lost loved ones and who have loved ones on the front lines. I appreciate all those people who willingly put their lives on the line for me every single day. Their sacrifice amazes and encourages me. 

And I know this day is a day we set aside to remember our military and their sacrifice, but I also want to remember the military of the past – the long ago past, say, Biblical times. 

Joshua was a warrior. He was devoted to the Lord and he was devoted to Moses. He was one of the scouts to the Promised Land that said, “Come boys! We got this!” when all the others said “No way!”. He was a “mighty man of valour”. 

I want you to take a close look at this passage. You see, Joshua went up to fight these guys. But I want you to look at Who went up before them – the LORD. Now, when you see “LORD”, the writer is talking about Yaweh. This is the Most Holy Name of God. This name is not used frequently. When the writer wrote it, they had a very specific ritual they had to go through just to write it. 

But my point is this – Joshua was not a mighty man of valour on his own. What made him so was his firm belief and confidence in God. He knew that God + him equals more than any one person or army could conquer. He knew that with God on his side that nothing was impossible. He diligently asked God what He wanted him to do. He determined in his heart to follow after God no matter how crazy or ridiculous the plan sounded (remember Jericho?).  This was a true mighty man of valour. 

So to all our military personnel and their families, I salute you and I encourage you to seek out the One who makes you a true hero – Jesus Christ. He is the one who can make you mighty man of valour as well. And remember, you don’t have to be in the military to be this mighty man of valour. You can be a mighty princess of valour too! All it takes is a firm determination to seek out Christ in all that you do and follow Him no matter what. 

Being Epaphras

Colossians 4:12 – “Epaphras, who is one of you, a servant of Christ, saluteth you, always labouring fervently for you in prayers, that ye may stand perfect and complete in all the will of God.”

Yesterday in morning services, our pastor did something usual during invitation. He asked that if anyone had been diligently praying for someone, to step out and let them know. You see, he was preaching a message about  really being a praying church, and he felt the Lord leading him to do this exercise. It really touched my heart, in more ways than one. For one thing, I was moved by the number of people who participated and to whom they went to. And I was also convicted. I realized just how selfish my prayers can be. We have lots of people in our church that are hurting. And I know several people who are unsaved that I need to diligently pray for. Yet, I find myself selfishly praying time and time again. 

So, today, I want to take a look at Epaphras. Paul mentions this fellow in the book to the church at Colosse. We know Epaphras was from Colosse because Paul calls him “one of you”. So he belonged to this church. And even though he was not with his home church, he was laboring for them – in prayer. This man was a prayer warrior, so to speak. He was diligently praying for his fellow brothers and sisters in Christ that were back home in Colosse. Back then they didn’t have cell phones and Internet to keep up on the latest that each person was going through. Yet, even though Epaphras had no clue who was sick or injured or having a bad time at work, he prayed. He prayed that they would stand in the will of God. 

I don’t need to know every detail about every situation in order to pray for someone. I just need to know that they need it. And whether they tell me they need it or not, they do. We all need prayer. 

I want to encourage you, Princess, to ask God to burden your heart for someone today. There is someone that you may know really well or not all who needs your prayers. You may or may not know all the details of what they are facing, but you can pray that they stand firm in the will of God. You see, we desperately need to draw closer to Him. And when we draw closer to Him, we draw closer to one another. We need to fervently pray for our brothers and sisters in Christ. And we need to fervently pray for the lost. We need to have a real burden for them. I need to have a real burden for them. Prayer is powerful, sister. Don’t ever forget that. 

Don’t negotiate

2 Kings 18:36 – “But the people held their peace, and answered him not a word: for the king’s commandment was, saying, Answer him not.”

Let me set up the scene for you – the king of Assyria was on a conquering conquest. The people of Jerusalem had heard he was coming. So they all ran to the walled city for protection. The leader of the group of Assyrians would go to the wall and begin verbally assaulting the people. He was trying to conquer them with psychological warfare. It’s a lot easier to conquer someone that way. King Hezekiah had given the people the command to not reply to the Assyrian. They were to hold their tongue. But all the verbal assaults were heard and the people’s hearts became heavy. They were saddened by the blasphemous words that were being spoken. Yet they held their tongue and prayed that God would protect and deliver them. And you know what, He did just that – because they put their trust in Him and not their own power.

There are times when the devil wants to get in your head. He wants to try and break you down with psychological warfare. It’s a lot easier to conquer you that way. But you can’t let him win. You have to fight back. Do you need to yell and scream at him? No. Don’t say a word. The more you talk, the more trouble you find yourself in. Don’t say a word. You can’t negotiate with this being. He doesn’t back down and he doesn’t give in. You are better off to not say a word and give it to the Lord in prayer, just like the people of Jerusalem did under King Hezekiah.

There is a children’s song that goes like this: “The devil is a sly old fox. If I could catch him, I’d put him in a box. Put him in a box and throw away the key. For all the tricks he’s played on me.” Don’t talk to the sly old fox. Don’t try and reason with him. Doing so will only get you in trouble.

Temptations

1 Corinthians 10:13 – “There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it .”

My husband teaches the teen Discovery group at our church on Wednesday nights. This week, his lesson was on temptation.
He had the kids to fill out note cards with times when they feel tempted. One that was very common, that I really don’t think about, was their language around their friends. You know, I remember those days when sometimes you just really wanted to talk like the people you are around, but you remember that talking like that is not the right way. Nowadays, I still have people who chose words that I don’t speak but it doesn’t bother me as bad. But I do notice that people notice that I don’t use foul language and they will try to curb their language or apologize when they use words that they know I don’t say.

Ok, back to the thought. Temptation. We all face it each and every day. I am trying to cut back on my sugar intake. We are going on a really nice trip this summer and I don’t want to look like a beached whale in my bathing suit. So, cut back on the sugar. Well, it seems that everywhere I turn there is something sweet to eat or drink. It has been a challenge to go to my favorite restaurants and not drink my beloved sweet tea. But I’m doing okay. I have only had two small cookies and one gluten free brownie in the last three weeks. I have decided to go back to real creamer because I just can’t take the taste of sugar free creamer any more.

My point is this – when we are tempted, it won’t be more than we can bear. You can go through it without fear of doing it alone. Jesus walks with you. And if you go through it, He will provide a way out of it. Sometimes temptation can be avoided. But sometimes it is unavoidable. You just have to go through it.

And when you reach the other side, you are stronger. You have faced the temptation and you have rejected it and because of that rejection to sin, you have added another layer to your armor. You are more spiritually strong. You are more mentally strong. You know that if you can face this temptation, you can face any other one that comes your way as long as you are walking with Him.

Oh no! She’s up!

Romans 12:2 – “And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.”

It’s a new day. Yesterday’s mistakes and failures are a distant memory. You have a fresh slate. Nothing is written on it. Today is your opportunity to do something amazing.

Isn’t that nice and encouraging? Don’t you feel like going out and conquering the world now?

And then you look up and see dirty clothes left all over the floor from last night’s fiasco and everyone forgot to put their ice packs for their lunch boxes in the freezer and you just used the last towel, so that means you need to do laundry and you feel like you have gained 10 pounds from that yummy hamburger you had last night. Welcome to real life.

But don’t despair, there is hope. You see, you can transform all these yucky things into something good. The clothes on the floor – you are able to provide fun for the kids and they have clothes to wear to that fun. The ice packs – some kids won’t even have a lunch today, let alone one that is the right temperature. The towels – praise God for a washing machine! The hamburger – it was time well spent with family. Perspective. It’s all about perspective.

When you open your eyes in the morning, you have a choice to make – you can either jump out of bed and go about you day OR you can take a moment and enter the throne room to talk to your Savior for minute. You know that all the craziness is waiting for you when you finally peel yourself out of all those warm covers. You know there will be problems to be solved, hurts to heal and victories to celebrate. But you also know that there are people in your life that need you to talk to God about them. They need you to intervene for them. Talking to Jesus before you get out of bed helps to foster an all day dialogue with Him. I find it’s true in my life. If I just get out of bed and go, I am more likely to neglect Him all day. If I choose to talk to Him before I get up, I tend to talk to Him more all day long.

And that makes the devil crazy. The devil wants you to get up in a rush and then get frustrated when you hit the kitchen and see the disaster awaiting you. He wants you to forget about Jesus and His offer to walk with you through life.

But this verse reminds us to be transformed. And that transformation should happen before our feet hit the ground. When you slap off that alarm in the morning and open your eyes, open your heart as well. Don’t let the world in before you have an opportunity to let Jesus in first to guard the door. And be that kind of woman that when you wake up, the devil says, “Oh no! She’s up!”

Day 1 Escaped

Hebrews 4:12 – “For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.”

Yesterday, we worked out in the yard. I know, what a thing to do on the first day of the new year. But it was nice and it needed to be done.

We were putting yard waste into a large trash can. It was getting rather full. So I asked my daughter to come and smash it down by standing on it. I had to help her up and away she went. She smashed and giggled and smashed some more until I saw something – a small snake head. “Come on down, sweetheart.” “Why mom?” “I think I see a snake.” Scream!!! We both hate snakes. Now the way I react to snakes is all snakes, at the time, seem like pythons. I hate them! I don’t like them in zoos. I don’t like seeing their skin that has been shed. I really don’t even like them dead. I know they have their place in the order of things but….in my mind, Noah should have left them off the ark.

I had been cutting bushes. I had this double edged bush trimmer that makes lots of noise and can do some serious damage to a snake, especially one the thickness of a pencil. So, I took care of that sawed off snake. See, I had already cut it in two when I was trimming some tall grass. It was probably four inches long and the thickness of my finger. But like I said, at the time it was a python as big as my arm.

My point in telling you this goofy little escapade is this – The Word of God is our defense. We don’t fight our battles with our hands or a little stick. We have the Word of God to defend us. This verse reminds us that it is super sharp and can cut through anything – and I mean anything. It can even discern the thoughts and intents of the heart. That means that the Word can help you determine if what is being said is true or not.

It does not matter if your battle is huge and life changing or minuscule and petty. God wants to be a part of them all. He wants to be a part of every decision as well. He wants to have a say in the big ones like “should I take this new job and totally change my family” and the little ones like “should I buy that bag of cookies”. Life is full of decisions and battles. I guarantee that you will be involved in one or both today.

Don’t go at it alone, Princess. You have the opportunity to win every single time because you plus God always wins. Romans 8:31 – “What shall we then say to these things? If God be for us, who can be against us?”

13

1 Peter 3:4b – “…even the ornament of a meek and quiet spirit, which is in the sight of God of great price.”

Today is my son’s 13th birthday. I officially have a teenager in the house today.

When I think about him and his character, this portion of this verse comes to mind. Now, I know that the verse is describing an attribute that a woman should obtain, but why can’t a man strive for that attribute as well? If it is “of great price” in the eyes of God, it must be important.

My son is very quiet. He doesn’t have a lot to say, most of the time. Now, get him to talking about soccer or sports cars and he will talk your ear off. But generally, he is quiet. He has a gentle spirit about him. He doesn’t get too upset very often. It takes quite a bit, usually, to make him mad. He has a very caring heart. He is very concerned about the people around him. He pays attention to their needs.

I think if there were one thing that I could learn from my son, it would be to be more easy going. He just rolls with the punches. He likes to know what is going on and when it will happen, but a monkey wrench doesn’t really phase him.

I am so blessed to have him in my life. I can’t imagine my life without him. And I can’t wait to see what God is going to do in his life. Well, actually, I can wait because I don’t know that I’m quite ready to see him grow up to a man just yet.

Birthdays are a great time to remember the past. I like to remember him as a little guy who would line his cars up in the hallway end to end and see how far they would stretch. Or the toddler who would beg me to come and build him a new Thomas the train track every day. Or the little boy out on the soccer field jumping because he just scored a goal. So many sweet memories.

So today, princess, let me encourage you to seek out and appreciate the attributes that God has placed in the hearts of your little people (or not so little people). And remember, God has given them to you for just a short time. Treasure every second.