The Battle Belongs To The Lord

Exodus 14:14 (WEB)

In today’s promise, we have an amazing assurance that the God who spoke the entire universe into existence will fight for us if we will only remain still. The NIV Bible says this verse this way…The LORD will fight for you; you need only to be still.” (NIV)

I believe there is something in the heart of God that fights on our behalf when we do not try and fight for ourselves. Waiting on the Lord is not passive, but it is the most active thing we can do. When we wait on God to fight for us, we are putting ourselves in a very vulnerable position and by doing so, we are demonstrating in a very practical way that we know that our heavenly Dad is the source of our help.

Does this mean that we never wage warfare on a spiritual level? After all, the Bible says that we are to ‘resist the devil and he will flee’, ‘take on the full armor of God’, etc. I believe what Exodus 14:14 is talking about is fighting in our own strength. There is a huge difference from fighting our battles in our own best efforts and fighting battles in the power of the Lord’s might.

When we learn that the battle really is the Lord’s, we can rest in His ability to save us and draw from His strength and not our own. Whatever battle you are facing today, be comforted in knowing that you have a  Father (God) and a Big Brother (Jesus) fighting on your behalf. You only need to be at peace and watch what happens.

 

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The Gift Of Perseverance

The Gift Of Perseverance 

And not only that, but we also glory in tribulations, knowing that tribulation produces perseverance.
Romans 5:3

In the 2012 Summer Olympics, a sprinter for Team USA, Manteo Mitchell, competed in the 4×400 meter relay. Halfway through his lap he heard a distinct “crack”—and felt the associated pain—in his leg. He continued running, finishing with a respectable time for someone running with a broken leg. Mitchell’s Olympics was over, but the team, with a substitute, won the silver medal because of his perseverance through pain.

In the midst of the race, Manteo Mitchell wasn’t about to abandon what he had trained for years to accomplish. And that is the nature of perseverance: “tribulation produces perseverance” (Romans 5:3). That’s why Paul makes such an unusual statement: “We also glory in tribulations.” Why glory in trouble? Because it’s the only way to learn to persevere. And why do we need to persevere? Because “perseverance [produces] character; and character [produces] hope” (Romans 5:4).

So, meditate on the connection between tribulation and hope. The link between the two is perseverance. If you want character and hope, learn to glory in tribulations!

The perseverance of the saints is only possible because of the perseverance of God.
J. Oswald Sanders

djs

Charm And Beauty Can Be Deceptive & Fleeting

Charm And Beauty Can Be Deceptive & Fleeting

Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting;
but a woman who fears the LORD is to be praised.

— Proverbs 31:30

If you want to know what’s truly important in life, go to a funeral. There, you will hear all the things that make a person special. You will hear all about what makes a life well-lived. You will learn what it takes to make a difference in the lives of others and what makes a good spouse, parent, and friend.

And if you pay really close attention, you might also notice what is not spoken about. I’ve never heard any eulogy mention how good-looking a person was or how much money that person made. Instead, we would be more likely to hear about a person’s inner beauty or how much a person gave to charity and to others.

This reality shines in stark contrast to the messages we are bombarded with every day. Whether it’s billboards, magazine ads, or television advertisements, the value system promoted in our society puts beauty and possessions at the top of the list. We are told that we must be good-looking to be lovable or in good shape to be suitable. We have to have the right things to be with the right crowd, and the latest in technology to be considered in touch with reality. So many people spend so much time feeling miserable about themselves because they buy into these lies.

Don’t believe it.

In Proverbs, King Solomon reminds us about the truth. He wrote, “Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting; but a woman who fears the LORD is to be praised.“ All the sages agree that this isn’t just a teaching for women, but a lesson for us all, directing us to value the inner self over our outer appearances, and for that matter, possessions. Ultimately, our outer self and stuff will go back to dust, while our inner being lasts forever.

Perhaps you have met an objectively good-looking person who grew to be “ugly” to you the more you got to know him or her? Or maybe you have known an average-looking individual who seemed more and more beautiful to you as you got to know that person? This is because our inner self pours out onto our outer selves. A person who is beautiful on the inside will glow with a special beauty on the outside.

This message is especially important these days. To practice this idea, consider how we might live if no one had the ability to see. If no one could see what we looked like or what we had, would we live with a different priority system? Would we do things different daily? If outer appearances didn’t matter, who might we be? Perhaps we would like to consider being that person anyway.

djs

 

Let Your Eyes Look Straight Ahead

Letting Your Eyes Look Straight Ahead

Let your eyes look straight ahead;
fix your gaze directly before you.
— Proverbs 4:25

The best way to climb a mountain is by looking straight ahead. Look down, and we might be frightened as we notice our height and contemplate the danger we are in. Look behind, and we will be blind to the obstacles or safest routes ahead of us. Look up, and we may be daunted as we are confronted with how far we still need to go. It can make our climb feel hopeless and cause us to give up.

The best way to climb even the tallest mountain is to simply look straight ahead and focus on taking one step at a time.

In Proverbs we read, “Let your eyes look straight ahead; fix your gaze directly before you.” In life, too, it is helpful to fix our gaze on what is right in front of us. Of course there are times when we need to look at the bigger picture so that we can adjust our direction, but most days it’s helpful to focus on the present.

If we focus on the past, we can get stuck. We can get bogged down by our past mistakes or hurts. If we focus too much on the future we can become intimidated as we contemplate how much we need to accomplish or worry about how things will work out. Overly focusing our attention on what is behind us, under us, or way ahead of us can leave us confused and disoriented in the present. It’s best to stay in the moment and live our lives one day at a time, trusting God for His unlimited mercy — day by glorious day.

The original Hebrew reveals another layer of depth to this verse. Literally translated the verse reads: “Let your eyes look straight ahead, and your eyelids will straighten your path.” What does this mean?

Our eyelids give us the ability to close our eyes – to not look at something. What we look at is powerful, and so even when we focus on the present, we have to carefully choose where to look.

Do we see the good in the people in our lives, or do we see just their negative traits? Do we see God’s goodness in our lives, or do we see only what we lack? Do we see the opportunities that lie before us, or do we focus only on the challenges?

Every day we have the choice to decide on what we will focus. Look away from the things that bring you down. Look away from other people’s faults. Turn away from what might lead you to sin. Instead, choose to see good and to see God in everything and everyone, today and every day.

djs

 

Those Hidden Secrets

Most people have a few hidden secrets.
 
None of them are true, but they are things about ourselves are hope that nobody finds out.
 
This is why a friendly conversation can sometimes turn adversarial, when one or both parties feels like the other person is getting close to that “secret” part of us.
 
This can sometimes come across as feeling on some level that we are “faking it” or that we are somehow an imposter and people knew the truth they’d kick us out.
 
This is one of the main reasons behind self-sabotage. Whenever you start becoming successful, you start to feel like you’re “playing above your skill level.” Maybe you start making some money, start losing weight, or start doing social things you didn’t do before.
 
But part of you is terrified of being found out. Of people looking at you and saying something like, “What are YOU doing here? You don’t belong!”
 
This is common, no matter who you are, or what you’ve accomplished.
 
Paradoxically, for many ultra-successful people, the more successful they become, the worse this fear gets. It’s as if they are always running away from an invisible demon always right behind them. 
 
Of course, this is just a mental construct. Everybody has a hard time understanding themselves, let alone being able to look into your soul with x-ray vision.
 
Which is why when you accept others, you will be like a super hero.
 
When you radiate an aura that says, “I like you, and I accept you JUST the way you are,” people will be drawn to you like bees to honey.
 
Of course, in order to first accept others, you’ve got to completely accept yourself.
 
Some daily quiet time inside your mind is PERFECT for this. Just sit and accept yourself. Appreciate yourself. All of yourself. The good parts AND the “bad” parts.
 
When you get pretty good at this, you can do this little exercise when you’re out among others. As you appreciate yourself, appreciate others as well. 
 
This simple exercise can open up a whole new world of possibilities, one you may have never seen before.
DJS

 

The Power Of Leading Others

One of the most powerful things you can do is go first.
Meaning do what you are hoping somebody else will.
Humans are, on a deep level, pack animals. We move in crowds. We easily turn off our brains when we’re around others that we trust. After all, thinking is hard work. I don’t mean this metaphorically. Physically, our brains use up WAY more calories, per ounce, than any other body part. It’s a VERY expensive organ from a purely biological, economical standpoint.
Through our evolution, we’ve come up with plenty of ways to be much more efficient in our thinking. One of those is to simply trust others to make decisions for us.
If you’ve ever been in an important meeting, you may have noticed that pretty much everybody is wary of being the one to choose what to do, since they’ll get blamed when things go wrong. This is why those that can make quick and informed decisions with confidence generally get paid a LOT more money than everybody else.
But if that person’s not around, it can take a long while to come to an agreement. This is one of the reasons large companies tend to change VERY slowly. Often times too late.
This can also be a problem on a personal level. If you’re in a social setting for example, everybody is standing around waiting for somebody else to make the first move.
If you’ve recently had a fight with a good friend or partner, each of you is likely waiting for the other to make the first move toward reconciliation. The longer you wait, the harder it gets.
That’s why going first is a VERY useful ability.
Even if they’re wrong, or they “should” go first, or any other reason you tell yourself, being able to go first will give you an incredible amount of power and flexibility.
Now, making the first move can be pretty intimidating.
But there’s a way to make it much easier.
When you radiate an “aura” of friendliness, approachability, kindness, attraction, and magnetism, you’ll see that people will be pleased as punch when you go first.
You’ll be able to see it in their eyes, their faces, and their body language.
You’ll see it, they’ll feel it, and everybody else will know it.  (DJS)

 

The God App!

The GOD App!

Do you remember when phones were for phone calls?

When I was growing up in the 1960’s we had a rotary dial phone. You put your finger in a numbered spot on a circular dialer which clicked as it returned to its place and registered the 7 or 10 numbers you selected. It took a full 10 to 20 seconds to complete a call and was really annoying if the number had a lot of 8s or 9s! Then came touch-tone phones. You pushed a button, it beeped, and you could make a call in two and a half to three seconds. Back in those days, a phone was simply an instrument to talk with someone voice to voice. Nowadays, phones are “smarter”; they are “smart” phones; and they do everything but make coffee for you in the morning, although soon I think you can program them to start your coffee maker before you wake up. You can send or receive emails, text, Facebook, “Skype”, play games, study French, listen to music, record love letters, pay your bills, watch movies…your phone can be the interface for your life, and it is, for many people!

These days when you get a phone — a “smart phone”, the first thing you do is to find the best “apps” for it. Thousands and thousands of apps are available, with more being created every 5 minutes. Your apps define the interface of your life. But I had this thought…

..there’s God apps… throughout the Scriptures, and they’re FREE — thousands of them, every one “GUARANTEED” to be a top-level “interface” for your life! Check out the love app! [Matthew 22:37-39] Or the Spiritual Fruit App! [Galatians 5:22] Or the Unity App! [Ephesians 4:2-6] The Scriptures are just filled with apps to apply to the interface of your life!

Spend some time in God’s free “App Store” today, it’s just an opened Bible away! Apply God’s apps to your life — you’ll be dialing into His will, purposes, power, and His infinitely interesting universe!

(D.J.Saker)