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You know those times when you are battling a feeling or oppressiveness and you don’t really know where it is coming from or what to call it? Well I have been in one of those times in varying levels of intensity for the past couple years. A couple weeks ago I got a lot of help on this, we had a message about the Courage of Faith. How it takes courage to continue on in faith. Ruth was used as the example, leaving her home and going to a new place where she didn’t know what was to happen, but with courage in the faith of Naomi and in Naomi’s God she went. Ruth was facing pain, loss, uncertainty and being disconnected, yet she went by faith with Naomi.

When those 4 things were mentioned, it was like the Pastor was talking about me, in the past 2 years I have been overwhelmed at times with pain, loss, uncertainty and being disconnected, and yet I held on. It was so good to hear that my holding on (for dear life) was courage and not just plodding along. At times I had felt like I was just plodding along, making it, with no thought of turning around, but going through a battle. But to hear that it was my courage in Faith in God that was initiating each step, I could almost feel my spirit with in straighten, stand a little taller and lift it’s head. No the battle hasn’t changed, but being able to call my daily step, a step of courage and not of desperation to hold on to the only thing I have left, has been good.

This last Thursday there was a follow up on Courage in Faith, with Courage to be Alone. This is another feeling that I have had during this time. Feeling alone in the battle, that no one else truly understands, that I don’t have anyone that I can really talk to about it all. But through the message, there was the reminder that it is an awesome thing to be alone with God, that in those times we have to face somethings that we may not want to face, but if we are with God, he gives us the courage to be alone with him. And all along and looking back, I knew that I wasn’t alone, that I had God with me, but those are the feelings that the enemy wants to bring upon us to keep us discouraged. It is a good thing to be alone with God, to hear from and commune with him. And he will bring just what we need.

As I write this now, I think about the blessings that God has given me and how he has provided. I think again of Ruth, she had the courage to go in faith, and look how God used her. She is in the lineage of David and of Christ. Because of her faith all of her needs were met and she was used by God in a mighty way. If we keep Ruth as the example, we will know that if we keep our courage in faith, live with hope when life is hopeless, that God will provide each need (he promised to) and he will be able to use us.

I was reading this morning in Romans 8, a popular passage about what/who can separate us from Christ. It added another layer of encouragement along these same lines.

What then shall we say to [all] this? If God is for us, who [can be] against us? [Who can be our foe, if God in on our side?] He who did not withhold or spare [even] His own Son but gave Him up for us all, will He not also with Him freely and graciously give us all [other] things?

Who shall bring any charge against God’s elect [when it is] God Who justifies [that is, Who puts us in right relation to Himself? Who shall come forward and accuse or impeach those whom God has chosen? Will God, Who acquits us?] Who is there to condemn [us]? Will Christ Jesus (the Messiah), Who died, or rather Who was raised from the dead, Who is at the right hand of God actually pleading as He intercedes for us?

Who shall separate us from Christ’s love? Shall suffering and affliction and tribulation? Or calamity and distress? Or persecution or hunger or destitution or peril or sword? Even as it is written, For Thy sake we are put to death all the day long; we are regarded and counted as sheep for the slaughter.

Yet amid all these things we are more than conquerors and gain a surpassing victory through Him Who loved us. For I am persuaded beyond doubt (am sure) that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities, nor things impending and threatening nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation will be able to separate us from the love of God with is in Christ Jesus our Lord. Romans 8:31-39 Amplified Bible

I am so thankful to have the assurance that no matter what the Devil will put in my way, who may talk against me, how my life turns out or the needs I may have, I can have victory through Christ. I love how the scripture says “YET amid all these things (In the varying tests and trials of life) we are MORE than conquerors (we have/can overcome each of them) and gain a SURPASSING victory (our victory is above and beyond the trial) through HIM who loved us (all because Christ is our strength.)

In the courage we have in faith and being along, we can take comfort that nothing will sever our relationship with God, we can have the victory in everything, and Christ will never leave us.

Take courage, in faith and in being alone.

2 Samuel 11:1-5

-And it came to pass, after the year was expired, at the time when kings go forth to battle, that David sent Joab, and his servants with him, and all Israel; and they destroyed the children of Ammon, and besieged Rabbah. But David tarried still at Jerusalem.
-And it came to pass in an eveningtide, that David arose from off his bed, and walked upon the roof of the king’s house: and from the roof he saw a woman washing herself; and the woman was very beautiful to look upon.
-And David sent and enquired after the woman. And one said, Is not this Bathsheba, the daughter of Eliam, the wife of Uriah the Hittite?
-And David sent messengers, and took her; and she came in unto him, and he lay with her; for she was purified from her uncleanness: and she returned unto her house.
-And the woman conceived, and sent and told David, and said, I am with child.

 

If David had gone to battle with the kings as was his position, this sin wouldn’t have happened in this manner. His place was in the battle as King, not at home. David probably had a convincing reason of why he needed to be home. I’m sure it wasn’t so that he could be with Bathsheba, he didn’t know who she was. Besides the evedence of the sin, two things happened to David because he wasn’t in his place. 1. He provided an opportunity for the Devil to tempt him. 2. He caused a separation in his relationship with God, making it more difficult to stand against the temptation.

We need to be careful to always be in our place. God puts us where he wants us. He is faithful to guide, correct, encourage, nudge, and bring us to where he wants us. When we are in our place he can use us. If we fail to follow direction or to remain stagnat, we risk having a similar situation as David. We may not commit adultery, but we will provide an opening for temptation and we may not be strong enough to resist.

Remain in your place. Seek God and ask him to help you to be in the CENTER of his will. That way there is lots of room for his grace to be with you if you stumble.

 

Wednesday’s Bible Discussion finished up the Armor of God and began the new topic of sin. This week we will continue discussing how the Bible defines sin.

1. In order to be effective soldiers, we have to prove our armor and take the weapons that we know to be useful, the power of God on our side and his word. We can’t defeat the enemy with armor and weapons that we don’t know how to use. I Samuel 17:33-40.

2. In the battle, not only are we protected by God’s strength and power, but by the tenderness of God’s spirit. Psalms 91:1-4

3. What is Sin? Sin is a transgression against God’s law, 1 John 3:4. It is all that is unrighteousness, 1 John 5:17. God’s desire is for us to live with out sin. If God has saved us, we have to make the choice daily to live with out sin.

4. The beginning of God’s law can be found in the 10 commandments. Exodus 20. The first is in verse 3, “Thou shalt have no other gods before me.” God wants to be first in our lives. We can’t allow anything to come before him, ourselves, money, love, friends, beliefs, possessions. God is a jealous God over his children.

5. Exodus 20:7 – “Thou shalt not take the name of the LORD thy God in vain;”. God’s name should only be used with proper respect and not spoken with profanity. All things pertaining to God are holy, he doesn’t want his name defiled.

6. Exodus 20:8 – “Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy.” We know that the sabbath is no longer reserved for one specific day of the week as it once was, but that Christ is our sabbath. We need to remember him every day of the week and live holy.

Last weeks thoughts during the Wednesday night Bible group are as follows. We were still discussing the Armor of God. Tomorrow, we are going to finish up on the Armor and go into a discussion on sin. What exactly is it and how to recognize sin in our lives?

1. Ephesians 6:16 – Above all, taking the shield of faith. The shield is our first line of defense against the devil. His main goal is to break our faith, if we all him do diminish our faith in God, he will have the advantage over us.

2. Ephesians 6:17a – And take the helmet of Salvation. The helmet of salvation protects our minds. If we enter our day with out Salvation, we risk becoming like Legion, in Mark 5, a host to many unwanted spirits. Using Salvation as a wall around us, we can monitor what goes into our minds and guard against mental battles.

3. Ephesians 6:17b – and the sword of the spirit, which is the word of God. We should know the Bible, God’s word. It is our only offensive weapon. Christ used scriptures to defeat the enemy in Matthew 4. Not only does the Word of God battle the enemy, it brings us promises that he will be with us and fight for us.

4. The sword and shield are tools to advance and move forward. We can’t just wait for the battle to come to us, even though we are fully equipped for battle. To grow in Salvation, we have to be will to press forward with our eyes on the goal, using the Armor of God.

5. In this battle that we fight against the principalities of the land, there is no allowance for retreat. Our armor only covers the front of us, our backs are wide open. There is only protection when we advance through this life keeping God as our Captain and heaven as our goal.

2 Timothy 2:3-4 (The Modern New Testament from Aramaic)

You therefore endure hardships, as a good soldier of Jesus Christ.

No man can be a soldier, and also entangle himself with the things of this life; if he would please him who has chosen him to be a soldier.

If we are to be soldiers for God, we can’t get over involved with life, we have to be in the battle and trust God that he will take care of the temporal things of life. We must put our all into the battle in order to please our leader.

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