The Arrow Zone

Trials seem to come to me like attacks in an Indiana Jones movie: everything is copacetic (or at least doable) one minute and the next I find myself on a battlefield in a barrage of arrows coming from all directions.

A rude word screams in from over there, a rejection flies in from that place, one of the children faces his own crisis, the car and the house vie for which will break biggest and best.  Add to that a health crisis and I want to run and hide behind a rock and nurse my wounds.

The attacks catch me off guard every time.  My tendency is to get my eyes focused on the circumstances and/or people who shot the arrows.  That would be a good thing if I were in a physical war, but I’m not.

I am, and you are, in a spiritual war. 

God tells us that “we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places.”  Ephesians 6:12

Our war is not with what or whom we see, but with the unseen spiritually dark forces that wage war with God’s children.  They fight to stop our growth, our witness and our voices from speaking to the world the name of Jesus Christ because it is the power unto salvation.

God knows we’ll find ourselves being the target of some pretty big and pretty fiery arrows so He’s given us a piece of spiritual armor to protect ourselves.

“…above all, taking the shield of faith with which you will be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked one.”  Ephesians 6:16

When we find ourselves in the arrow zone, we must hold fast to our faith in Christ and all that entails—faith that He’s with us and will never leave us.  That He’s infinitely more powerful than all other powers combined. That God loves us always, no matter what.  That He has a reason for allowing them.  That He’ll use them for good if we allow Him to.

When we remember and know who we are in Christ we’ll know the arrows are nothing but lies and half-truths and vain attempts to refocus our attention away from the Lord.  Away from doing His will.  And away from showing God’s love, even to the very ones who have hurt us.

Maybe it’s those very people who need someone to show them the love of Christ and the enemy wants nothing to do with that.

Stand strong in the faith and “Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you,bless those who curse you, and pray for those who spitefully use you.”  Luke 6:27-28

Seeing others as people who need Jesus instead of as our enemies and then praying for them takes the sting out of the arrows. Standing in faith gives us the strength and confidence of the Lord to walk through the battlefield. 

We may be wounded, we may be scarred, but we will come through the battle looking even more like our Savior than we did the battle before.

Dorci Harris

Blog – God Treasure
Facebook
Twitter

All That You Say To Me I Will Do

Read Ruth 3

And she said to her “All that you say to me I will do.”

If ever there was a statement of faith and obedience this is it.  Ruth, a Moabite, had left her land, and her relatives to go with Naomi, her mother-in-law, to the land of Judah.  She puts complete trust in her mother-in-law and her mother-in-law’s God.

What does it take for you to follow through with anything? Some need to know everything will work out as planned. Others may do a certain thing, if they know they will receive something in the end.  Precious few follow through because it is what God wants.

Can you say to God, “All that you say to me I will do?” For God has told us His desire, that we love Him, walk humbly before Him and follow His ways.  As the story of Ruth shows, blessings follow obedience.  Without faith it is impossible to please God.  With faith, obedience will follow.  With obedience blessings follow.

Whether you are seeking love, forgiveness, protection, or provision it is found through faith in God.  When we are obedient to His ways, He blesses us with what we need.

Father the One of infinite abundance, you love us. Thank you for wanting to bless us.  Help us trust you more with each passing day.  May obedience to your ways become nature to us.  Give us desire for you. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.

© Elizabeth Marks, founder ThinkOnIt Bible Ministries Inc, a 501(c) (3) Public Charity, has a heart to encourage and equip you with God’s Word.

A Picture of Love, Mercy, and Grace

Read Ruth 2
It’s barley harvest time when Naomi and Ruth arrived in Judah.  Ruth asks to go glean in the fields.  Naomi allows her to go.

While gleaning, Boaz takes notices of Ruthand asks who she is.  He finds out how she cares for Naomi.  Boaz tells Ruth not to gointo any other field, but to stay in his field.   Boaz and Ruth share a meal together. Boaz instructs his men to let Ruth glean and to purposefully drop grain for her.

Ruth returns to Naomi, who asks where did you glean today?  Ruth answers in Boaz’ field. Naomi praises God for His kindness.

Did you notice how obedient Ruth was to Naomi and Boaz?  Can you see God’s care, protection, and provision to Ruth through Boaz? Do you see Naomi’s guidance, instructions towards Ruth? Notice how blessings seem to follow obedience?

Ruth had love, mercy, grace, compassion for Naomi. Ruth leaves her own relatives to stay with Naomi,her mother-in-law. Ruth moves to a new country with Naomi. Ruth provides for Naomi. Ruth’s life is not her own by choice. She purposefully sacrificed her life for Naomi’s sake.

Is that not a beautiful picture of what Jesus hasdone for us? Jesus had mercy on us. He left heaven to live on earth. He chose to live with humans rather than with God.  He sacrificed His life for our sake.

Father you are so wonderful.  There are no accurate words to describe your worth.  You are amazing in your love, mercy, and grace.  Thank you for filling us with your spirit that we may extend your love, mercy, and grace to others as you have given to us. In Jesus’ mighty name we pray. Amen.

© Elizabeth Marks, founder ThinkOnIt Bible Ministries Inc, a 501(c) (3) Public Charity, has a heart to encourage and equip you with God’s Word.

Even When Its Dreary God Is With Us

Read Ruth 1
There was a famine in the land, so Elimelech and Naomi moved to Moab to provide and protect his family. We don’t know whether this was hisown will or God’s will.

While in the foreign land, Elimelech dies leaving Naomi in a worse state than before the move.  Now she’s on her own with her two sons who both married women from Moab. But then both her sons die also.
Naomi heard the Lord visited His people by giving them bread, so she decides to return to land of Judah.  She tells her daughter-and-lawsto return to their own family.  Oprah leaves. But Ruth stays with Naomi.

Ruth declares “your God will be my God, your landwill be my land” and the two head back to Judah. Ruth committed her life to Naomi’s God and to Naomi herself.  Ruth sacrifices her own comfort, support,and family so she would be able to comfort, supportand encourage Naomi along the way.

When they arrive, the whole city was excited to see Naomi. Naomi says call me Mara for the Almighty dealt bitterly with me.  I went out full and came back empty.  But it happened to be the beginning of barleyharvest when they got there, which shows you how God provides.

Father God above, how great you are.  Even if we take a wrong turn you graciously receive us back. Thank you for bringing others into lives to encourage us when we go off course.  Thank you for providing for us every step of the way. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.

© Elizabeth Marks, founder ThinkOnIt Bible Ministries Inc, a 501(c) (3) Public Charity, has a heart to encourage and equip you with God’s Word.

Heads Up, Shoulders Back!

We feel pride when standing erect, with good posture. We may remember words from our mothers: Stand tall, stand up straight; don’t slouch! Keep your head up and shoulders back. When we view a military group in formation, it is a sight to behold!  

What part does  pride hold in that stance? Does it carry the message I’ll bow to no man? Bowed down and laid low is the direct opposite of straight and tall. We form a mental picture of a man down in the gutter, or a beggar down on his knees. One day all will be humbled before Christ. (Philippians 2:8-11)

 At times people lay prostrate on their faces in worship and prayer before God. I once heard a true story by a friend who served as part of a Billy Graham crusade team. A group gathered for prayer with Rev. Graham, before the services in the stadium. Heads were bowed and eyes were closed. It seemed like Billy Graham’s voice was very far away. As our friend opened his eyes, he discovered that Billy Graham was flat on his face in urgent prayer.       

An amazing illustration is found in 1 Samuel 5:1-5. The Philistines had captured the Ark of God, a holy place where worshipers experienced God’s presence. The Ark was taken into the pagan temple of their false god, Dagon. The statue was found face down! Even false gods are on their faces before God Almighty. What a mighty God we serve!

True Love

For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.
John 3:16

February 14th is always a day that brings to mind flowers, hearts, chocolate and love.  I woke up yesterday to a sweet card from my sweet husband. I gave my boys their own special box of chocolate.  We played the movie, Fireproof, at church.  It was definitely a special day.

I was curious as to how this all started, so I looked up the history of Valentine’s Day. There are 3-4 stories explaining its origin,  I like this one:

Around the year 270 AD, the Roman Emperor Claudius II, issued an order forbidding marriage. The Roman Empire was being attacked on all sides by its enemies, and the Emperor felt the men would be better soldiers, more dedicated to their task, if they did not have wives and families at home waiting on them. So … no marriages were allowed. There was a priest near Rome, named Valentine, who commiserated with these young men, and married them in secret.

When Claudius learned of the priest performing secret marriages, he had him thrown in prison. While there, he met and fell in love with the jailors daughter. Just before his execution, he wrote her a letter declaring his love for her and signed it “From Your Valentine”, a phrase that is still widely used today.

Now, this love story may or may not be true.

But I do know a love story that is true. It’s a story of a God who loves us so very much, that he sent his only son to this earth to die for us. So that we could live with him, forever.

I have two little boys. I can tell you this. I would not let my sons die for anyone. I can’t love as God loves because God is love, according to I John 4:8.

The Bible tells us in Romans 5:8, But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.

God’s love is unconditional, and it’s not based on feelings or emotions. He doesn’t love us because we’re lovable or because we make Him feel good; He loves us because He is love.

If you’ve never experienced this love – true love — maybe it’s time for you to get to know God?

Father, thank you for your love. A love that really is beyond measure. I know I cannot grasp it, but I am so very thankful for it.

In Jesus Name I Pray,
Amen
 
God Bless You!

Love,
Joyce

The Choices You Make Today
Will Affect Your Tomorrow!
http://www.alifedecision.org

Finish Strong

But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus. (Philippians 3:13,14)

Whether you are a football fan or not, I hope you can appreciate the New Orleans Saints win over Indianapolis in the Super Bowl this past Sunday.  I wasn’t rooting for the Saints, but after learning their history, I have a newfound respect for them.  The Saints team was founded in 1967. They went more than a decade before they had a .500 season, two decades before having a winning season, and over four decades before reaching the Super Bowl.  Four decades … that’s 40 years before they hit their goal!  That’s a long time!

At the end of last season, the quarterback for the Saints, Drew Brees, decided to inspire his team by giving them an inspirational book called Finish Strong.  It was filled with stories about people overcoming adversary with courage.  Finish strong became the team’s mantra, and they carried it forward, not only in their life, but on the football field, overcoming much adversity to become Champions of the National Football League!

Finish strong is a challenge that is given to us over and over in God’s Word.   We can’t change our past, but we can move forward to our future.  David committed adultery, had a man killed and yet God called him a man after his own heart.  He was one of the greatest Kings of Israel and part of the lineage of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.  Moses got angry and killed a man, yet God used him to free the children of Israel from captivity in Egypt.  Rahab was a prostitute in Jericho, yet God used her to save her family from destruction and she was the Great-Great Grandmother of King David.  The Apostle Paul had Christians killed, yet God used him to spread the Gospel to the Gentiles and he wrote a good portion of the New Testament. Paul didn’t focus on his past, but moved forward … pressing towards the goal of Jesus!

I had a pretty rough start … drugs, alcohol, promiscuity – lots of wrong choices, but I am leaving my past behind and straining forward … pressing in … pressing on … I am finishing strong with JESUS!

Thank you Jesus that you have given us the opportunity to be new creations through you!  Thank you that we don’t have to carry the weight of our past, but can be free to move forward and to finish strong, through you!

I Love You Jesus!
   In Your Name I Pray,
   Amen

God’s Blessings Upon You!
Joyce

The Choices You Make Today…
Will Affect Your Tomorrow!
http://www.alifedecision.org

Previous Older Entries