The Lord Our Champion

“Why are you fearful, you of little faith?” Then He got up and rebuked the winds and the sea. And there was a great calm.”  Matthew 8:26

The disciples were awake, Jesus was asleep, and the sudden violent storm produced waves which not only threatened to sink the boat but also threatened to sink the disciple’s faith.

At times of crisis do we have such confidence in God’s love for us that we are seen as the reliable ones, standing on His firm foundation and offering faithful prayers?  Or do we become the ones who can only offer panic prayers as if we do not even know God?  How we respond in crisis indicates the allegiance of our heart.  It does not honor the Lord to offer the sort of prayer which indicates our God just might be asleep.  And if not asleep, He is at best unaware and at worst unconcerned about our current crisis.

Psalm 121
The Lord Our Protector

I lift my eyes toward the mountains.
Where will my help come from?
My help comes from the Lord,
the Maker of heaven and earth.
He will not allow your foot to slip;
your Protector will not slumber.
Indeed, the Protector of Israel
does not slumber or sleep.
The Lord protects you;
the Lord is a shelter right by your side.,
The sun will not strike you by day
or the moon by night.
The Lord will protect you from all harm;
He will protect your life.
The Lord will protect your coming and going
both now and forever.

Let’s honor the Lord by offering non-hesitant, bold prayers and proclamations which indicate we know He is completely able to deliver us from every single predicament in which we find ourselves.  Let’s pray as if we know Him!!  We praise you Lord with full faith and assurance knowing you are King of Kings and Lord of Lord!  There is no one like you!

The next time you feel compelled to wonder where your help comes from, whether your God slumbers and is unaware, or if He is concerned about your life, build yourself up in your most holy faith and proclaim to yourself His wonderful works.  Remind yourself He is the God that spins the planets, ushers in the seasons and gives the ocean’s their boundary line.  He alone secures our protection at all times.  He is your undisputed Champion.  Thank you, Lord.

In His grace,

Amanda

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Spiritual Singing Evokes Joy AND Hastens The Enemy’s Retreat

Greetings fellow sojourners!

Let’s take a look at two verses that share a striking resemblance to each other.  The first account is found in the Old Testament.

Then he (Jehoshaphat) consulted with the people and appointed some to sing for the Lord and some to praise the splendor of His holiness. When they went out in front of the armed forces, they kept singing: Give thanks to the Lord, for His faithful love endures forever. The moment they began their shouts and praises, the Lord set an ambush against the Ammonites, Moabites, and the inhabitants of Mount Seir who came to fight against Judah, and they were defeated.                   2 Chronicles 20:21-22

The second account is from the New Testament.

About midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the prisoners were listening to them. Suddenly there was such a violent earthquake that the foundations of the jail were shaken, and immediately all the doors were opened, and everyone’s chains came loose. Acts 16:25-26

The spiritual song of God’s people throws the enemies of God into defeat, retreat, and confusion.

The victory is indeed the Lord’s but the means by which it came in these two examples is by singing.  I personally think it is virtually impossible to authentically sing spiritual songs of worship void of joy.  Authentic singing cannot happen without joy.  We may be able to give voice to lyrics but singing is something altogether different.  And by the way, you are making agreements with the father of lies when you say you cannot sing.  It is true not everyone is able to perform, but we ALL are capable of singing.

In both of the scriptural examples above, spiritual warfare was involved.  Exhort yourself and those in your sphere of influence to not ignore singing in either spiritual worship or spiritual warfare.  The verse in 2 Chronicles illustrates for us that the moment the choir began praising, the Lord set the ambush on their enemies.   The verse in Acts demonstrates that Paul and Silas’ singing initiated God’s earthquake which produced their freedom.  Praying certainly required their stamina but what prompted the singing?  Joy must exist in order to sing authentic praises to God.  Even though they were beaten and even though they lacked physical comfort…they sang.  Remarkable.  That singing, friend, pushed back the darkness and moved the hand of God.

The fullness of the Holy Spirit will, among other things, cause the heart to sing (Ephesians 5:18-19).  God’s Spirit in us equips us with the power to be victorious in our battle against Satan.  If the fullness of the Spirit is experienced as a heart filled with song, then one of the ways we fight Satan will be with singing.

Never forget that the ministry of singing is warfare.  Individual singing or corporate singing is not merely a pleasurable experience or something we do because it is part of the program.   I vividly recall the time the Lord allowed me to witness the enemy’s retreat as the result of singing.  The church was gathered and it was one of those times when it seemed the entire body was fully engaged in worship.  I saw spiritual darkness in an upper corner of the room and as it came closer it appeared to grow in size.  The voices of God’s people were singing with bold assurance and I noticed the effect of the singing was pushing the darkness back.  A few seconds later it completely vanished.

Song also powerfully effects your heart and mind.  Be careful what mainstream songs you are singing along with.  Are you singing songs that are agreeing in some way with the sin in your heart?

Below are some choruses to worship songs (you may also have some) you can sing on your own when the battle gets fierce.  Sing during your devotions, in your prayers, or during the routine of your day as it will bring a new power to your fight of faith.  As we have seen in three examples, the enemy loses when up against the singing of God’s saints.  Find your voice fellow sojourners to speak God’s word and worship in song with all your heart.

10,000 Reasons

Bless the Lord, O my soul, O my soul
Worship His holy name
Sing like never before, O my soul
I’ll worship Your holy name

How Great Is Our God

How great is our God, sing with me
How great is our God, and all will see
How great, how great is our God

Blessed Be Your Name

Blessed be the name of the Lord
Blessed be Your name
Blessed be the name of the Lord
Blessed be Your glorious name

Blessed Assurance

Blessed assurance, Jesus is mine;
Oh, what a foretaste of glory divine!
Heir of salvation, purchase of God,
Born of His Spirit, washed in His blood

There’s Power In The Blood

There is power, power, wonder working power
In the blood of the Lamb
There is power, power, wonder working power
In the precious blood of the Lamb

What a Beautiful Name It Is

What a beautiful Name it is
What a beautiful Name it is
The Name of Jesus Christ my King
What a beautiful Name it is
Nothing compares to this
What a beautiful Name it is
The Name of Jesus

In His grace,
Amanda
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The Christian Life MUST Bear Evidence of God’s Power

“Do not be conformed to this age, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may discern what is the good, pleasing, and perfect will of God.”  Romans 12:2

Greetings fellow sojourners!

My friends and I have discussed numerous times the importance of being transformed by the renewing of our mind but what about the significance of the beginning portion of this verse?  It states we ought not to be conformed any longer to the pattern of this world.  Consider the world as an indoctrination of procedures concerning thoughts and beliefs that contradict God and his Word.  John Stott calls such conforming, “cultural bondage.”  It includes how people view success, beauty, family, riches, power, and life in general.

The world’s indoctrinating procedural goal is to conform everyone to the same image/same thinking and draw people away from following God.  Christianity becomes a problem in a world that educates in pluralism and relativism because Christianity teaches absolutes.  What you consider reality, because of the way you choose to live, will be a true test of your salvation.  First John 2:15 says, “Do not love the world or the things that belong to the world. If anyone loves the world, love for the Father is not in him.”

So how does a Christ follower maintain the victory?  By daily battling.  Our mind is transformed by continually reflecting on and practicing Scripture, disciplining ourselves in godliness (1 Timothy 4:7), walking in the Spirit (Galatians 5:16), relying on God’s power (2 Corinthians 12:9, Ephesians 1:19-20), as well as putting on His armor (Ephesians 6:10-18).

There should be an obvious, continual decrease of sin in our life.  The Spirit continually works to convict us of sin and helps us hate it so that we become overcomers.  As a Christian, we are expected to continually put sin to death in our lives.  I urge you to fully comprehend how the same power that resurrected Christ from the dead is what is at work in you and what will resurrect you from the deadness found in your sin.  Thank you, Lord, for allowing Your power to be at work in me when I choose to yield completely to You.  It will be by Your power and my obedient yielding that will allow me to walk in white clothes with You as the victor (Revelation 3:4-5).

In His grace,

Amanda

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The Resourcefulness of Guilt

Jesus, frees those who were held in slavery all their lives by the fear of death.  Hebrews 2:15

Adam said, “I heard You in the garden and I was afraid because I was naked, so I hid.” (Genesis 3:10)  The word ‘hid’ means to withdraw.   The people whom God created to be in a relationship with Him committed sin in the Garden and the guilt from their sin urged them to withdraw from Him by hiding.  Has the guilt from your sin ever caused you to withdraw from God?  Their guilt also prompted them to sew fig leaves together to construct loincloths to ‘cover’ themselves.  The word loincloth means, ‘girdle, apron, and armor’.  It comes from a word meaning, “to gird on (as a belt, armor) — be able to put on, be afraid, appointed, restrain, on every side.” (Strongs)

I find the definition curious regarding the portion, ‘being afraid’.  I am sure we can imagine putting on a covering as a means of self-protection but can we also picture that self-protection driven by an element of fear? Did Adam and Eve ‘put on’ the loincloth because guilt’s resourcefulness also levied the toll of fear?  It created for them an apprehension regarding their relational, loving God who desired to walk with them in the Garden.  They had always been naked, yet they felt no prior guilt (Genesis 2:15).  Yet when God came to walk with them in the cool of the evening, following the meal of the prohibited fruit, sin caused them to become afraid (Genesis 3:7).

The Hebrews verse above which tells us that Jesus frees those held in slavery by the fear of death has me pondering.  I wonder if it is true that the ultimate reason we fear death is because we will be required to give God an account of our life.  If we have an unrepentant heart on any issue which causes us to ‘cover’ unconfessed sin by this world’s mechanisms, does that lead to a fear of death because we must account as to why we allowed our heart to not be completely repentant?

We call guilt a failure to do what we should have done.   The bad feelings that often accompany guilt we call a bad conscience.  As a noun, guilt is defined as ‘the fact of having committed a specified or implied offense or crime.’  As a verb, guilt involves making ‘someone feel guilty, especially in order to induce them to do something.’ (dictionary.com)  I type this as loudly as I can, let us NO LONGER manipulate someone to do what we want them to do, manipulating with the tool of guilt.

When we are ‘guilty’ of wrongdoings we can examine it this way:

  1.  We are justly chargeable with a particular fault or error
  2.  We are conscious of or affected by a feeling or guilt

Here is how the Word addresses guilt.  Romans 3:23-24 tells us, “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God. They are justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus.”  The glory of the gospel is that the One before whom we are guilty has replaced our guilt with justification (number one) by redemption in Jesus.  We may have been justly charged with sin but in Christ Jesus, we are a new creation (2 Corinthians 5:17) and redeemed from the fault or error!

When we are conscience-stricken (number two) we are feeling very bad or guilty because of something we have done.  God’s kindness towards us is intended to lead us to repentance (Romans 2:4) and repentance will remove our guilt.  Our conscience should be subordinate to the Word of God (1 John 3:20).  As Martin Luther once proclaimed, My conscience has been taken captive by the Word of God.

It is not a matter of coming up with a solution that this age deems will ease our conscience or that we hope will be true because it is not just a problem of how to feel better, but how to be right with God.  We will not endlessly ease our conscience with the resourcefulness of guilt by utilizing our tireless intellect, or by physical distractions, or by religious works.  Our conscience must be taken captive by the Word of God.

We must lead a repentant lifestyle and allow God full access to our mind and heart in order to deal with the issue of guilt.  Unchecked guilt will drive us to forfeit fullness in every area of our lives because of the sting of embarrassment, regret, and loss.  Our question is no longer why, why, why?? But our powerful proclamation, Come Lord Jesus!  Come into my past, present, and future.  I welcome you!

Thank you, Lord, that you alone remove our guilt.  The power of Christ in me proclaims I have no guilt in this life and will have no fear of death!  Thank you, Lord, that by removing my guilt I have a clean conscience (Hebrews 9:14, 10:22), peace with You (Isaiah 53:5, Romans 5:1, Colossians 1:19-20), access into Your presence (Romans 5:1-2, Ephesians 2:18), joy (Psalms 32:1-11, Romans 5:1-2), hope (Romans 5:1-2), a desire to worship You (Psalms 51:14-15), and a desire to serve You (Isaiah 6:6-8, John 21:15-20).  In the resounding name of JESUS, I proclaim these truths and say, Yes!

In His grace,

Amanda

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