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Brandish spear and javelin against those who pursue me. Say to me, “I am your salvation.” Psalm 35:3

There are times in life when it seems the enemy of our soul has us completely surrounded. During those times everything we do seems to be a struggle.

Have we lost faith in Christ? No.

Do we believe all his promises? Yes.

But in the deep recesses of our souls that doesn’t seem to be enough. The battle for peace of heart rages between the emotion of our current reality and what we know to be fact. The trust, confidence and faith we talk confidently about becomes a cover-up for the despair, worry and heartache deep inside.

A friend of mine is going to bring his daughter to treatment this weekend. Drugs and alcohol have taken her captive. He and his wife have ‘done everything right’ in bringing her up in the church. They’ve prayed with her and for her. But she took a different route. In the mean time his parent’s health is failing and he is battling a life-threatening disease.

The prayer of David rings true. We pray that he will fight our battles, that he will brandish spear and javelin against the enemies that war against our souls and take those we love captive.

We plead with him to block the path of those who pursue us: guilt, worry, fear, bitterness, anger, fatigue (and the list goes on).

Yet in those times when it seems our very heart will be ripped from our chests, we long most of all to hear his voice reminding us, “I am your salvation.”

“I am your Salvation.” Let those words seep into the cracks of your soul. Let them linger for awhile. The battle isn’t yours. Salvation (yours or anyone else’s) isn’t your responsibility. The Great Warrior, the King of Kings, the Lord of all creation will see you to ultimate victory.

Will there be battles? Yes. Will there be dark nights in which the cold is relentless and his presence seems impossible to find? Unfortunately, yes. But during those times, if we take time to listen, if we seek him in the darkness, he speaks to the most intimate, inner corners of our hearts, “I am your salvation.”

PRAYER: Lord Jesus, during those times when I feel most alone and weakest. During those times when the battle seems too great and I feel alone, defeated and unable to see your light. Let me hear the gentle whisper of your promise that you are my salvation. Amen.

We know also that the Son of God has come and has given us understanding, so that we may know him who is true. And we are in him who is true by being in his Son Jesus Christ. He is the true God and eternal life. 1 John 5:20 (NIV)

Take a moment to sit back and contemplate what this means: God loves you.

Before you think I’ve totally lost it, take some more time and ponder what this really means.

If you believe God to be Jehovah God, the creator/sustainer of the universe, the one who put all this together, every seen and unseen thing around us. If you believe this God to be the one who steers the hurricanes, rattles the earth during an earthquake, and directs all of nature in its course. Remember. God loves you.

It’s really too huge to wrap your mind around it in some ways. I am so insignificant. My influence on this world will be a in a tiny little corner of the world and for only a few years when compared to eternity. I’m nothing more than a speck on the timeline of eternity! Yet God loves me!

The phrase translated, “And we are in him’ eludes us if we aren’t careful. ‘We are in him.’ To be in him describes the most intimate of relationships. We’ve cheapened that word intimacy to refer to a physical, sexual encounter but it’s so much more than that.

Intimacy speaks of those relationships where we know exactly what the other is thinking. We know their next move; we anticipate correctly their response to a question, a joke, a life event. We laugh with them; we cry with them…we laugh at our crying over silly movies!

How can I, a mere speck, know God so well that I know his thoughts intimately? There is only one way this miracle could happen happen. He had to desire me, long before I could desire him. He had to want to know me so well that he was willing to go to any length to reach me.

That’s where Jesus comes in. A personal, deepening relationship with Jesus Christ allows us to join together in a most intimate of relationships. Jehovah God WANTS to love me. He WANTS to know me. He WANTS to reveal himself to me through his Spirit, nature and his Word. But it all starts with Jesus.

Perhaps I haven’t told you anything new today. You already knew all this? Then take some time to remind yourself of his love and to remind him how thankful you are.

On the other hand, perhaps you are enslaved by fear of the future, frustrations of the present or shadows of your past. For you, ask him to reveal himself through his son Jesus. Jehovah God has been looking for an opportunity to show you his love.

PRAYER: Father, I get busy with my writing. I get busy with family, church, my career and all the good things in life. But sometimes I get so caught up in the good I miss the excellent. Thank you for loving me passionately. Empower me through your Spirit, because of Jesus, to understand you more. Amen.

To him who overcomes and does my will to the end, I will give authority over the nations. Revelation 2:26

We live in difficult times. Everyday there are new warnings about the upcoming econimic disaster. Political conflict is on the rise with nation after nation being forced into warfare that kills babies, mothers, children. There seems to be no end in sight. While medical science has learned how to cure or treat many diseases, it seems like new ones with deadly results are turning up. And if that isn’t enough, starvation and homelessness in some countries, including the U. S., has reached epidemic proportions.  

WOW! Still with me? What a downer. And in all that list I didn’t even mention the struggles we go through personally, on a daily basis with our relationships, health and finances.

But believe it or not, this post isn’t about defeat. It’s about victory. It’s interesting that when the Apostle John penned the above words in Revelation he was just begining on  a journey in which God would show him absolutely horrific things. Events in the future he couldn’t understand, but that must have torn him apart. But the first section of his ‘revelation’ don’t talk about defeat, they talk about victory, about overcoming.

During these difficult times it’s easy to think about ‘what I’d do if I was in charge’ or ‘the government needs to do this, or do that in order to solve this dilemma. The harsh reality is, our time on earth isn’t intended to be a pleasant walk in the park. This weekend I’m writing from Northern Minnesota. It’s been one of the most pleasant mid-October Weekends I can remember. We walked through beautiful forests and beside crystal clear lakes. As I walked I thought how nice it would be if everyday were like this. But the reality is, in a matter of hours I’ll be ‘back to reality’.

Our journey may be difficult. Sometimes the struggles we bear are our own doing. Sometimes they are the result of abuse or the evil actions of someone else. Sometimes they are the result of decisions we thought wise in the past that ended up taking us down the wrong course.

The lesson from Revelation is this. Times will (not might) be tough while we walk this journey on earth, but for those of us who are followers of Jesus Christ, better days lie ahead. Jesus pleads with us to be overcomers here so that once we reach eternity we will be rulers of nations. Now, I don’t know what that means exactly but it sounds pretty cool to me.

So today I will try to overcome the obstacles ahead of me for this day. I won’t worry about the future because my Father will give me strength for whatever lies ahead. I won’t regret the past, because the sins of my past are forgiven and the scars will remind me that Jesus healed me. I will rely on the Holy Spirit of God to guide me through the turmoil I know lies ahead.

Our Father doesn’t ask us to do anything more than to do his will. That will is summed up nicely by Jesus earlier in another one of John’s writings. Love God. Love myself. Love my nieghbors.

(Besides, I read the back of the book. We Win!)

PRAYER: Father. I’m tired. I’m worried about the future and angry about the mistakes of my past. I resolve today to be an overcomer because of your Holy Spirit living in me. Amen.

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January 2023
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