ABUNDANT LIVING 3

This is so applicable for today I had to reblog. Maybe a different heart ache and a new set of problems, but the need is still there all the same. A good reminder to me (it popped up in my memories on fb) so I thought it might be for you too.

Prairie Wind

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Running Running
LET BE
“Why are you in despair, oh my soul? And why are you disturbed within me?” Ps. 42:11 amp
Exactly how I feel.

“Why, God, do I feel so down?”

Cast down is how the NKJ puts it, or downcast as the NIV says. These all describe how I’m feeling this morning. Disturbed inside, anxious and a bit worried.

Yes worried. Fretting. What-if’s fill my mind and I am striving to get everything done. Household chores, mowing, yard work; I must get it all done before I leave for Billings to pick up the kids. Yet it rains, grass is too wet for mowing or trimming. I’m out of gas. I feel run down from a cold. Frustrations.

Where is my peace? What about those seeds of hope I planted? Where are the blooms of joy?

Seeds are planted but it takes the heat of the sun, moisture…

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Our Redeemer

TODAY IS THE DAY

There was a hush over the land. It was the Sabbath and the streets of Jerusalem were empty. A dark day indeed as the followers of Jesus sat in stunned disbelief of the events that had happened with their leader and mentor the day before.

I imagine that day as being gloomy, dark, maybe even raining, but it might have been sunny with a blue sky.  The followers might have wondered why this day, after their dear friend had suffered so much and died, was so bright and cheery.  The day should have matched their hearts.

The memories of the horrific crucifixion of their beloved teacher, brought back the horror and fear anew, yet there was a feeling of expectation to this day. A hushed waiting as they hid in fear.

Just the previous evening there had been several things, unbelievable things, miraculous things, happen that played through their minds over and over.

As Jesus hung in agony on the cross, darkness fell over the whole land at noon. The ones who were near the cross, heard him yell in a loud voice, “It is finished! Father into Your hands I commit my spirit.” His head fell forward, His body became limp.

At that moment the earth began to shake, huge boulders split in two, and tombs opened. Amazingly, many godly men and women who had died were raised from the dead and they walked about the cemetery. Many saw them in Jerusalem later, after Jesus was resurrected.

It was reported that at the moment that Jesus breathed His last, the great curtain between the Holy Place and the Holy of Holies was ripped in two. A thick curtain that had been there for centuries suddenly split apart indicating that no longer is there a wall between God and His people. No longer do we need to be separated from God because of our sins. No longer do we need to go through a priest and sacrifices to be made pure in God’s eyes.

Jesus, the perfect Son of God is the blameless Lamb, the sacrifice made once and for all, for our sins. He bore my sins and your sins on that cross. The sins of all mankind came between Jesus and His Father whom He had been with from before the creation of the world. He was forsaken by the One, whom He had never been apart.

Where was Jesus that day when His followers hid in fear and grief? We don’t know, His body lay in a tomb that was sealed with a huge stone and guarded by Roman soldiers, but did He go to His Father?  Did He descend to the bowls of the earth?  Was He talking to the people who had been raised from the dead, telling them about His great Victory to come? We don’t know.

What we do know is this: Jesus bore our sins. He paid the price. Justice was satisfied on that cross. The curtain was torn in two.

Now by believing in Jesus and asking Him to be your Savior your sins can be washed away. You can be made white as snow. If you follow Jesus, nothing will stand between you and God.

We can enter into His presence. He is with us for all time. When life on earth is done we will meet our Lord in Heaven and be with Him forever and ever.

This is the day! This dark day when the followers of Jesus were in hushed confusion, is the day the light is dawning. The day God made a way for us to be His children.

Come to Jesus today. Believe. Follow Him. Trust Him. Obey Him. Give your heart and life to Him. Begin a relationship with Him and discover His love!

Today is the DAY!

Hebrews 10:19-22 NLT
“And so, dear brothers and sisters, we can boldly enter Heaven’s Most Holy Place because of the blood of Jesus.
By His death Jesus opened a new and life-giving way through the curtain into the Most Holy Place.
And since we have a great High Priest who rules over God’s house, let us go right into the presence of God with sincere hearts fully trusting Him.
For our guilty consciences have been sprinkled with Christ’s blood to make us clean, our bodies have been washed with pure water.”

For those of you who know Him, but, much like the disciples, are overwhelmed this day by fear, anxiety, loneliness or depression, hold on to Him. He is your hope your strength and your comforter. Enter into His presence. Praise Him!  Trust your God.

Verses 23-25: “Let us hold tightly without wavering to the hope we affirm, for God can be trusted to keep His promise.
Let us think of ways to motivate one another to acts of love and good works.
And let us not neglect our meeting together as some people do, but encourage one another, especially now that THE DAY OF HIS RETURN IS DRAWINGN NEAR.”

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Salvation

 

RANSOM
Ransom—A price paid to free someone from slavery, bondage or kidnappers.

“When we were utterly helpless, Christ came at just the right time and died for us sinners. Now most people would not be willing to die for an upright person, though someone might perhaps be willing to die for a person who is especially good. But God showed His great love for us by sending Christ to die for us while we were still sinners.” Romans 5:7-8 NLT

Long ago, in ancient times, a man was thrown into prison for a debt he could not pay. He had tried to earn the money but putting food on the table and buying clothes for his family had taken every penny he owed. He sat in the dark, dank dungeon for a long time wondering if he would ever see the light of day or feel the warmth of the sun again. He knew his family was poor and had no means to pay his ransom so he had not even a glimmer of hope for freedom. There was no way he could pay his debt, no way he could buy his ransom from prison. There were men in prison with him who had been there a long time, and tales were told of many who had lain rotting until death claimed them. He sat with his head down day after day. There was no hope. He would die alone in this stinking darkness.

However the man’s brother loved him and decided he would earn his ransom price no matter what it cost him. He worked long hours late into the night to earn extra money. He pleaded with all the man’s friends and relatives for any amount of money they could give. After many months, maybe a year or more, of much hard work, the ransom cost was raised. The brother took the ransom money to the judge, who gave the order to set the man free.

Can you imagine the man’s surprise when the jailer said someone had paid his debt, that the ransom had been paid? “You are free to go” were words sweet to his ears. Can you just imagine his joy when the light of day blinded his eyes and he felt the warmth of the sun on his face? Can you imagine the wonder when his brother gave him a big hug and his family rejoiced and celebrated his freedom?

What a picture of the our redemption, of our ransom paid with the blood of Jesus.

“For, there is one God and one Mediator who can reconcile God and humanity, the man Christ Jesus. He gave His life to purchase freedom for everyone.” 1 Timothy 2:5-6 NLT

“For you know that God paid a ransom to save you from the empty life you inherited from your ancestors. And it was not paid with mere gold or silver, which lose their value. It was the precious blood of Christ, the sinless, spotless Lamb of God. God chose Him as your ransom long before the world began, but now in these last days He has been revealed for your sake.” I Peter 1:18-19

Jesus says in Matthew 20:28 “For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve others and to give His life as a ransom for many.”

Jesus, my friend, paid your ransom price. He paid the debt you could not pay. You were born with the debt and you added to the debt as your life has gone on.

“For everyone has sinned; we all fall short of God’s glorious standard” Romans 3:23 NLT

But Jesus, the Holy Son of God, the Prince of Peace, the Bright Morning Star has offered up the ransom price for your sins. He paid your debt with His death and blood on the cross.

Of course He didn’t stay in the grave. He had victory over death. He rose again to live so that we can have eternal life with Him in Glory. Those of us who love Him, follow a living God who walks with us here on earth every step of the way, giving us life abundantly through His Spirit. When we leave this earth, He will lead us to the Home He has prepared for us. We will step into the Light of the Son and feel the warmth and incredible joy of His presence and love.

Can you imagine this man in prison saying, “Naw, that could never happen. I don’t have a brother who would love me enough to do that. I don’t believe you.” Can you imagine him hanging his head and refusing to leave the darkness? Refusing the redemption that is offered him? Oh to sit in the moldy, stinking, dark cell refusing salvation, when he could walk in the light!

If you do not know Jesus this day, do not refuse His offer of redemption. He has paid your ransom. He stands at the prison door with arms outstretched saying, “Come. Come to me before its too late. Before the prison door is locked FOREVER. Come.”

  Jesus says, “Look! I stand at the door (of your heart) and knock. If you hear MY voice and open the door, I will come in and we will share a meal together as friends.” (Know you as a friend, have a relationship with you) Revelations 3:20 NLT

Leave the darkness, grab the hand of Jesus, walk into the light. Accept Him as your Savior. Ask Him to forgive your sins. He will. Every one. Make Him boss of your life. Follow Him, trust Him, cleave to Him, obey Him all the rest of your days.

Feel the warmth of His love. Experience His peace that surpasses understanding. Walk in His path. Let Him guide your steps. Rely on Him for everything you need. Jesus will never leave you or forsake you. He will be with you all the way, every day, of your life. And when you leave this earth you will be ushered into the Glorious Home He has prepared for you. And you will be with Him forever and ever.

Now, right now walk out of the darkness. Step into the Light.

 

“For this is how God loved the world: He gave His one and only Son so that everyone who believes (follows, trusts, relies on, cleaves to, obeys) in Him will not perish but have eternal life. God sent His Son into the world not to judge the world but to save the world through Him.

There is no judgment against anyone who believes in Him. But anyone who does not believe in Him has already been judged for not believing in God’s one and only Son.

And the judgment is based on this fact: God’s light came into the world, but the people loved the darkness more than the light, for their actions were evil. All who do evil hate the light and refuse to go near it for fear their sins will be exposed. (evil is anything that is against God’s standards and values)

But those who do what is right come to the light so others can see that they are doing what God wants.”
John 3:16-21 NLT

“If you openly declare Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is by believing in your heart that you are made right with God, and it is by openly declaring your faith (allegiance to God) that you are saved.
For anyone who calls on the name of the Lord, (for redemption) will be saved.” Romans 10:9-19, 13

 

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THE PEACE MAKER

I ran across the article I had written some time ago, when thumbing through an old notebook.  I realized I very much needed the reminder of this right now.  Today.  I could see I have been focusing on my troubles, letting little worries and big concerns overwhelm me and stomp my joy.

“Give them to me,” my Savior seemed to say, “put them all in my hands and RELAX.  Relax and enjoy the day.  I have given this day to you.  Live in it, lean on Me and let Me handle everything.  I will give you strength for the day.”

You will keep in perfect peace all who trust in You, all whose thoughts are FIXED on You!
Trust in the Lord always, for the Lord God is the eternal Rock.
But for those who are righteous, the way is not steep and rough. You are a God who does what is right, and You smooth out the path ahead of them.
Lord, we show our trust in You by obeying Your laws; our heart’s desire is to glorify Your name.
In the night I search for You. In the morning I earnestly seek you. For only when You come to judge the earth will people learn what is right.” Isaiah 26:3-4, 7-9 NLT

 

PERFECT PEACE

Is there such a thing on earth? Perfect peace. Can we even attain it in our trouble filled world? With our worry riddled minds? No WE can not. But GOD CAN.
God’s peace is not the world’s peace, His peace goes beyond anything we can understand. God gives me peace, I don’t attain it. Trust is the key to perfect peace. Did you catch that in the verses above?

God will keep me in perfect peace IF I trust in Him and IF my thoughts are fixed on Him.
Focusing on God, on His presence, is the key to trust. Fixing my thoughts on Him all day, every moment of the day keeps my mind off my circumstances.
I need to keep my mind on Him. Talk to Him. Tell Him my troubles. Pour out my heart to Him.

When I begin to worry—which I do all the time, sometimes silly things, sometimes legitimate worries—but when I start to worry, I need to give it to Him, every time. EVERY time.

I shouldn’t even let those worries take root. I should say immediately, “God has this. He will take care of it. He is mighty. His strength is bigger than my worry. I trust in God.”
I should not say, “How much can a person take?” I can take as much as He gives. I should not look at difficulties and weigh my strength against them. Its NOT my strength that carries me through.  I should ask, “How much can my Jesus take?”

Jesus walked the path of loneliness, hunger, poverty, rejection, homelessness, and betrayal on this earth. He withstood excruciating pain and great suffering on our behalf.
His power is great. In His short life on earth, Jesus turned water into wine, even this a minor miracle, boggles my mind. He healed the sick and dying, walked on water, stilled the raging storms and raised the dead. Every single sin of the world was laid on Him, when He died on the cross. Jesus has a very strong back. He is, after all, the Son of God.

 

 

God the Father controls the universe and all that He created. He keeps it in place with His word. He is supreme, God All Mighty, Keeper of the stars and Ruler of Heaven’s armies.

This is the power and strength that I can call on, that will carry me through troubles. God can handle it no matter how wide the problem, or how deep the sorrow or how high the wall. He will enable me to get through it, to tread waters of grief or climb steep cliffs of adversity. Its God’s strength NOT mine.

Worry is a joy robber and a peace stomper. I don’t need to worry. I don’t need to fret, I don’t need to be anxious, not even for a minute.
I need to run to the Peace Maker.

Steps to fixing your mind on God.

1. Focusing on God keeps your mind from fretting. To focus on God, be aware of His presence. Talk to Him, give Him your problems, your worries. Talk to Him about any thing and everything, even seemingly trivial things. Nothing is too small, and nothing is too big for our God.
Happy are those who hear the joyful call to worship, for they will walk in the light of Your presence, Lord. They rejoice all day long in Your wonderful reputation. They exult in Your righteousness. You are their glorious strength. It pleases You to make us strong. Yes our protection comes from the Lord.” Psalm 89:15-18 NLT

2. Praise Him! Praise opens the gates to His presence. Praise makes us aware of Him. Bask in His presence. Sit quietly in His light. Soak up His radiance. Literally open your mind to Him. Let His love and peace flow into your mind and heart.

Shout with joy to the Lord, all the earth!
Worship the Lord with gladness.
Come before Him, singing with joy.
Acknowledge that the Lord is God! He made us, and we are His. We are His people and the sheep of His pasture.
Enter His gates with thanksgiving. Go into His courts with praise. Give thanks to Him and praise His name.
For the Lord is good. His unfailing love continues forever! His faithfulness continues to each generation!” Psalm 100 NLT

3. Thank Him in all things and for all things. Be grateful. It’s hard to fret and grumble when we are giving thanks. Sometimes we don’t feel like thanking Him for anything, much less the undesirable things in our lives. Like snow in October! That’s where the sacrifice of thanksgiving comes in. We lay our thanksgiving on the alter. We bind them with cords of praise so they don’t fly away, and grumbling takes over once again.

When we thank God for some undesired circumstance we are submitting to His will in our lives.  Even when it seems all wrong.
Thankfulness is not a feeling, it’s a choice. This is God’s will.

Always be joyful. Never stop praying. Be thankful in ALL circumstances, for this is God’s will for you who belong to Christ Jesus.” I Thes. 5:16-17

4. Refuse to worry. Refuse! Don’t allow anxiety to enter your being. This is easier said than done, I have found. As I get older, anxiety slithers into my mind and I am totally unaware of it until I find myself gnawing on the bone of worry. Suddenly I am fretting over some small thing. Often, big worries overwhelm me. I must always, every time, lay them at the feet of Jesus. Give them into His capable hands. Thank Him ahead of time for taking care of my problems no matter how big or how small. Praise Him for answering the way He knows is best, even if it seems all wrong.

It’s a constant fight. Prayer, thanksgiving, praise and His Word are weapons against worry.

That is why I tell you not to worry about everyday life—whether you have enough food or drink, or enough clothes to wear. Isn’t life more than food and your body more than clothing?
Look at the birds they don’t plant or harvest or store food in barns, for your Heavenly Father feeds them. And aren’t you far more valuable to Him than they are? Can all your worries add a single moment to your life?
So don’t worry about these things, saying, “What will we eat? What will we drink? What will we wear? These things dominate the thoughts of unbelievers, but your Heavenly Father already knows all your needs.
Seek the Kingdom of God (His presence, His Will in your life) above all else, and live righteously, and He will give you everything you need.
So don’t worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will bring its own worries. Today’s trouble is enough for today.” Mathew 6:25-27, 31-34 NLT (that’s what I always do, worry about what might happen, when it may never happen.)

5. Trust Him. Take His hand. Lean on Him. Hide in the shelter of His wings. Focusing on God leads to trust. Knowing Him through His word helps us trust Him. Remembering what He has done in the past in our lives and in lives of others keeps up our confidence.
When worry comes, say, “I trust You. You will take care of it.” All the time. Lay everything at His feet. If you take it back, lay it down again. And again. Every time you start to fret or worry, give it to Him. EVERY TIME.

Trust Him no matter what happens, no matter how bad the situation, no matter how dark the night. Trust Him when trusting is the hardest thing to do.

Trust in the Lord and do good. Then you will live safely in the land and prosper.
Take delight in the Lord, and He will give you your heart’s desires.
Commit everything you do to the Lord. Trust Him and He will help you.” Psalm 27:3-5 NLT
The Lord is my strength and shield. I trust Him with all my heart. He helps me, and my heart is filled with joy. I burst out in songs of thanksgiving. The Lord gives His people strength. He is a safe fortress for His anointed king.” Psalm 28:7-8 NLT

His peace is unworldly, out of this world, unnatural, super natural. His peace goes beyond understanding, beyond human explanation. His peace does not depend on circumstances but it depends on the God of the universe. The Mighty One.

He gives perfect peace only when I trust Him. When I worry, when I look at my own strength, when I depend on my abilities, when I forget that Jesus walks with me and holds my hand, peace evaporates like mist in the air. Worry stomps peace.

Jesus is the one who holds my hand. He lifts me up with His strong arm. I need to give it to the Peace Maker and the Joy Giver every time.

Stand on the Rock. He is bigger than you. He is stronger than your problems. He is mightier than the entire universe. He fights for you. He stands beside you. He holds your hand. He gives perfect peace. He is the Peace Giver.

Don’t be afraid, for I am with you. Don’t be discouraged , for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you. I will hold you up with my victorious right hand.
For I hold you by your right hand—I, the lord your God. And I say to you, “Don’t be afraid, I am here to help you.” Isaiah 41:10,13 NLT

The Lord is my light and my salvation, so why should I be afraid? The Lord is my fortress, protecting me from danger, so why should I tremble?
Though a mighty army surrounds me, my heart will not be afraid. Even if I am attacked (which I am by my enemies of fear, anxiety, doubt, worry, anger ect. All the time) I will remain confident.
The one thing I ask of the Lord—the thing I seek most—is to live in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, (in His presence) delighting in the lord’s perfections and meditating in His temple.
For He will conceal me there when troubles come.
He will hide me in His sanctuary.
He will place me out of reach on a HIGH rock.
Wait patiently for the Lord.
Be brave and courageous.
Yes wait patiently for the Lord.” Psalm 27:1, 3-5, 14

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THE WAR 7 The Battle Belongs to God

Prairie Wind

I wrote this in 2012, many months after my son went Home to Glory.  I just reread it so thought I would share it again.


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THE BATTLE BELONGS TO GOD

 “Then all the people shall know that the Lord does not save with a sword and spear for the battle is the Lord’s and He will give you into our hands!” 1Sam. 17:4

Joshua

            Fear roared through the land of Canaan like a mighty title wave.  Two major cities had been utterly destroyed, all the people and their kings completely wiped out.  Another royal city, Gibeon had turned coat tails and signed a peace treaty with the invaders.  These no-bodies who had come out of no-where who claimed to be the people of a non-existent God, the One and Only God, were creeping over the land like a mighty swarm of grasshoppers intensely bent on gobbling up all who…

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THE BATTLE BELONGS TO THE LORD part 1

GOD FIGHTS
“Moses told the people, “Don’t be afraid. Just stand still and watch the Lord rescue you today. The Egyptians you see today will never be seen again.
The Lord Himself will fight for you. Just stay calm.”
Exodus 14:13-14

Jacob, son of Isaac, was heading home, back to his birth land of Canaan after being with his uncle for 20 years in Abraham’s old stomping grounds. Having snuck away from his uncle/father-in-law he and his large company were keeping a low profile as they traveled several days from Haran. Sneaking and conniving came pretty easy for Jacob, which means deceiver or usurper, one to take and hold by force without legal right. Jacob bulled his way through life fighting and scrabbling for every inch he gained.

Before Jacob was born he struggled with his brother, more than likely trying to get the best spot in the womb. Jacob was born trying to gain control. He was holding his twin brother’s foot, as if saying, “Get a move on brother! If you’re not going to go, then let me by!” Or in other words, “Move it or tie it up and milk it!”

As he grew to adulthood he lived up to his name. By taking advantage of his brother’s famished and exhausted state after hunting, Jacob manipulated Esau into trading his right of inheritance as the oldest son for a bowl of lentil stew. Then with his mother’s help, he tricked his father, Isaac, into giving him the blessing reserved for the first born son. The blessing was the spoken announcement of the inheritance and the proclamation of the next head of the household or clan.

In anger and frustration Esau, cries, “No wonder his name is Jacob, for now he has cheated me twice. First he took my rights as first born and now he has stolen my blessing. Oh, haven’t you saved one little blessing for me?”

After that Esau hated his brother and schemed to kill him. So, their mother told Jacob to flee to her brother’s land until Esau simmered down.

Jacob has an encounter with God the first night on the road. After laying down to sleep with his head on a rock, he dreams of a stairway leading to Heaven. On the stairway were many angels going up and down.

 

At the top stood the Lord and this is what he told Jacob, “I am the Lord, the God of your grandfather Abraham, and the God of your father, Isaac. The ground you are lying on belongs to you. I am giving it to you and your descendants. Your descendants will be as numerous as the dust of the earth! They will spread out in all directions to the west and the east to the north and the south. And all families of the earth will be blessed through you and your descendants.

What’s more I am with you, and I will protect you wherever you go. One day I will bring you back to this land. I will not leave you until I have finished everything I have promised you.” (Gen. 28:13-15)

Jacob went on his merry way and met his future wife, Rachel, his uncle, Laban, and the whole family in Heran. The deceiver was deceived by his uncle, funny thing, and Jacob ended up with the wrong sister for a wife. After working 7 long years for beautiful Rachel, the girl of his dreams, Laban gave him the oldest daughter, Leah instead.

Then Laban made Jacob promise to work another 7 years for Rachel. That’s 14 years! But he got two for the price of one. Whether he wanted them or not.

Laban’s flocks and herds flourished under the herdsmanship of Jacob for 20 years and Jacob learned a lot about animal husbandry. He learned that Laban’s goats had a large gene pool of spotted and striped goats so he asked Laban for all the multicolored goats for back wages. Well the master deceiver, Uncle Laban, pulled another fast one on Jacob by hiding all the spotted and striped goats. However Jacob knew a thing or two about breeding. He bred the multicolored goats to multicolored goats and got a lot of spots and strips.

He also bred the strong goats to his spotted goats and so came out with a lot of multicolored strong goats. He also found the herd of spotted goats, Laban was hiding, and turned the other goats in with them. Thus more spotted goats. And so forth with all the black sheep, so he amassed a large amount of stock. Or in other words, wealth. It also really helped to have Almighty God on his side blessing him.

However things didn’t work out too well with his father-in-law and cousins. The relationship was a little bit tense over the spotted goat thing, so Jacob was itching to take off for home. Surely his brother had forgotten all about his transgressions by now and was willing to let bygones be bygones. However Jacob waited until God gave him the word to return.

“Its ok, Jacob, to go back now to the land of your father and grandfather. I will be with you always.” God told him on day.

Jacob also had learned a thing or two about women. He asked his two wives, actually he had four wives, but he asked the two sisters what they thought about moving far away from their father, before he made the move. Smart man. They thought it a good idea since they wouldn’t inherit anything from their father anyway and all the wealth that Jacob had would go to their kids.

Jacob was indeed a wealthy man with lots of animals and servants, but he almost caused an outright war with his uncle/father-in-law by sneaking Laban’s daughters and grandchildren away without so much as a fare-thee-well or kiss or blessing. Made Laban very upset. God protected Jacob, however, by telling Laban not to harm him.

Seven days into Jacob’s journey to Canaan, Laban caught up to them, with an army of relatives. Heaven forbid! Relatives of all things! After some tense discussion and much back peddling on Jacob’s part, Laban sent them on their way with a tentative peace treaty and a border between them, which is still the border between Israel and Aram (Syria).

So far Jacob’s life has been full of strife and struggle, for every step he has made forward, he seems to slip back several leaps. He has learned to listen to God, but everything he does, all his accomplishments, come with much struggle. Nothing is easy for Jacob. He schemes, he plans, he stretches the truth, he tricks and he deceives. He pushes and fights and scrabbles for his way. God just keeps on blessing him. But God is not finished with him yet. He is teaching and refining Jacob in the refiner’s fire.

As Jacob starts out on the journey once again, he sees in the distance a great company coming to meet him. As they get closer, he sees tall, shimmering beings. They are white and radiant like lightning and they carry large swords and shields. There are many of them. Jacob and company stand with mouths hanging open watching as these great beings surrounded them.

“Holy cow!” Jacob exclaims, “this is God’s army! He has sent an escort!”

So Jacob and party; many herds and flocks and herdsmen and servants, not to mention 11 kids and four wives are shuffling, marching and riding their way back to Canaan. And Jacob is dreading the reunion with his rugged-mountain-man-angry brother, hoping against hope that Esau has mellowed a bit with age.

Thinking that he better not leave this meeting to chance or even to God’s providence, Jacob sends a message to Esau informing him that the black sheep of the family is coming home with many—well, black sheep. The servants come back with the news that Esau is coming to meet his long, lost brother with an army of 400 men.

Jacob panics. In fact he is terrified. Did he forget about the mighty angelic army that accompanies them? I mean it’s only been a few weeks since he witnessed that amazing sight of angels all around them. Did he forget that God had told him, not once but twice that He would always be with him? Oh Jacob is so like me.

Jacob divides his company into two groups thinking if Esau attacked one group then the other group could escape. Then Jacob did a wise thing, he prayed to His God.
“Oh Lord, please rescue me from the hands of my brother, Esau. I am afraid that he is coming to attack me, along with my wives and children.” (Gen. 32:11)

Jacob lays his fears and burdens at the Lord’s feet. However, he doesn’t leave it in God’s hands. Taking control of the situation, Jacob picks out many goats, sheep, camels, cows and donkeys, each in a herd of their own kind and sent ahead with a herdsman and this message. “They belong to your servant Jacob, but they are a gift for his master Esau. Look, he is coming right behind us.” In other words, Don’t worry Esau I’m not going to hold you to our father’s blessing about me being your master and all that. That’s just plain silly.

So Jacob tried to appease his brother with gifts and hidden messages as he sent the herds out one at a time to meet Esau. Then Jacob stayed where he was for the night. He must have not slept a wink and during the night he got real worried so he gathered up his wives, children and all his possessions and crossed over to the other side, the south side, of the Jabbok river. I’m not sure what that was about since Esau was coming from the south. Does he hope that if Esau comes he will take his family and things and leave him alone?

Then he went back to hide in his camp and was all alone.Suddenly from out of the dark, a man attacked. Jacob found himself in a wrestling match fighting, it seems, for his life. Is this someone sent from his brother? Or has Laban sent an assailant to do him in? Or is it just some robber from out of no where looking to steal all his wealth? Whoever it is the man is strong, but Jacob holds his own. One thing about living the outdoor life of a herdsman and running from relatives, it makes a person tough

The man could not prevail against Jacob, so he touched Jacob’s hip and the socket was wrenched out of joint. Ouch! I’ve had that happen before and it hurts a bit! However, Jacob just keeps the man in a death grip. Maybe he has him pinned. Maybe, since dawn is breaking, he gets a good look at his face. Or maybe because of the touch on the hip and the searing pain, the lights go on for Jacob. He suddenly knows Who he is fighting.

How many times have I been fighting God and He has taken the fight right out of me? How many times has He knocked me down, then lifted me up and carried me in His arms? God has given us a free will that He will not force, but sometimes He makes it really hard to fight.

“Let me go, for dawn is breaking!” The Man cries.

“Nope,” Jacob stubbornly says, “I will not let you go unless you bless me.”  Aww those blessings, Jacob strives for every one of them.

“What is your name?” The man asks. What are you like?

“Jacob.” Deceiver, usurper, controller.

“Your name will no longer be Jacob,” the Man told him, “from now on you will be called Israel, God fights, because you have fought against God and against men and have won.” And now God will fight FOR you.

Jacob doesn’t stop to think about that, he just demands, “What’s your name?” Does he think he can get the upper hand with God? Demand his way with the God of the universe?

The Man says, “Why do you want to know my name?” You know who I am. Then, as He has always done for Jacob, God blesses him right there.

Indeed, Jacob knew who he was fighting since he named the place Peniel which means Face of God. “Since I have seen God face to face, yet my life has been spared.” God didn’t kill me, in fact, He blessed me. He fights for me, He’s got my back. Ok world here I come! Brother beware!

All his life Jacob had been self sufficient, taking control, taking things into his own hands, fighting for those blessings. Oh, Jacob acknowledged God and sought His favor, but he wanted God to be in the back seat of the chariot, not holding the reins.

Jacob even saw Angels sent from God to protect his family, yet he doubted that protection. In a dream God told Jacob He would be with him forever, yet Jacob relied on himself for everything. Jacob didn’t know it, but basically he was fighting God his whole life and God finally took the fight right out of him.

Oh I am so much like Jacob. I hate to admit it but it’s true. I want to control a difficult situation. Oh when things are going good I say, God is blessing me, He has my best interests in mind. But when things get tough I want to step in and take the reins. I want to DO something to get the results I desire.

Such as, with John’s knee surgery and all the roller coaster doctor visits and scheduled surgery dates that have been canceled, I want to march up to those doctors (both at the same time) grab them by the throats, and yell, “What are you doing! My husband is in pain, he hobbles wherever he goes! And what do you do? You send us on all these goose chases and play your little games until you decide its ok for him to have his new knee. All while he is suffering!” Then I’d shake the daylights out of them.

Yes that’s what I want to do, but God says, “Wait. Just wait. I have this.”

God has even told me I can walk on water as long as I keep my focus on Him. That He is in the boat and He will calm the storm, no matter how big it is. But do I remember this? No, like Jacob, I forget about the legions of angels sent to surround and protect us.

All this time of waiting; waiting to get the bone marrow test done, waiting for the results, then waiting to see if the blood pressure medicine is causing the low white blood count, I worry and fret.

Bless us God! I demand. Give John his new knee! Take away his pain. I strive with God for my way. I’m determined to get the results I want.

The name Israel means, God fights. Instead of Jacob fighting God, now God would fight for Jacob. So I need to give it all to God, lay it at His feet. Stop fighting for my way, stop striving, stop controlling and let God fight for me.

Jacob left Peniel and crossed the river to where his family waited. This time, walking with a limp, he started out in FRONT of his family. No longer bowed down with fear, he held his head high and marched right up to his big hairy brother and the army of 400 men. Then he bowed to the ground, not just once but 7 times.

Interesting, 7 signifies completeness or it is finished. Is Jacob saying, I am done fighting, I am done striving, I am done conniving, I have God to fight for me now, with Him I am complete?

With robs flapping, Esau ran up to Jacob, grabbed him off the ground and wrapped him in a great big bear hug. Then both brothers wept. They caught up for a bit and Jacob introduced his family. Then Esau invited them to accompany him back home to Seir in Edom.

One more time Jacob couldn’t help a bit of a deceit. He told his brother that all the children and young animals were tired out from the journey so they would come along at their own pace. And they would meet him in Seir. So Esau and his army set out to the south for home.

Jacob then promptly headed north where he set up camp to rest, then he marched his group west across the Jordan river to Shechem, the land of Canaan where he bought land and settled for a few years before he moved farther south.

Great way to get rid of those relatives!  A little bit of doubt must have remained. Jacob didn’t quite trust his brother, or maybe he didn’t quite trust his God, enough to tell Esau that he was headed to Canaan.

Just goes to show that even after God changes me or trains me, my old ornery self just might come through a time or two, but God is patient.  He continues to refine me.

Praise the Lord! The results on the bone marrow biopsy was normal, nothing is wrong with John. He has chronic idiopathic neutrophilia, which is naturally low neutrophil (white) blood count. And the hematologist approved the surgery. It is now scheduled for March 11th. Hallelujah! God is good!

Yet, like Jacob, I shrink from this battle. Will it really happen? If it does will the surgery be a success? Will John recover quickly? Will he be able to fight off infection? Will I be patient with him during recovery?  Will the doctor change his mind again? If he does I’m going to grab him by the—-and then I remember Jacob’s angels.

And another story comes to mind:  Elisha was faced with a large army of Arameans coming to seize him since the prophet was good at telling the king of Israel all the Arameans battle secrets. In the morning Elisha’s servant went out and saw a huge army of armed soldiers surrounding the city where they were.
“Oh, sir,” he cried to Elisha, “What will we do now?”
“Don’t be afraid!” Elisha told him. “For there are more on our side than on theirs!” Then he asked God, “O Lord, open his eyes and let him see!”
The servant looked up and his eyes grew wide in amazement. On the hills surrounding them was a vast number of horses and chariots of fire, blazing bright as lightning in the morning light.  2 Kings 6:8-17

 

God has our backs. He is holding us in His hands. He fights for us. God will fight the battle. And He always wins.

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Liberating the Frogs

No this didn’t happen today or a couple of days ago. Toads would have been toast or icefrogs. This happened a few summers ago. Thought the thought of summer things would be encouraging today. Have fun with the toads!

Prairie Wind

LIBERATING THE FROGS
“He lifted me out of the slimy pit, out of the mud and mire, he set my feet on a rock and gave me a firm place to stand. He put a new song in my mouth and a hymn of praise to our God.” Ps. 40:1-3

Frogs! Lots of them in the basement window well. One was sitting like a statue, staring longingly at the spider that reclined happily on its web on the inside of the glass. Stupid frogs! I said to myself as I went back upstairs to finish the dishes. Don’t they know they’ll die in that hole? Eventually when the bugs run out and there is no water. Don’t they know they are caught, imprisoned, captured and trapped? Stupid frogs.
Well, they were just frogs after all so I wasn’t going to worry about them. Let them take care of themselves. However…

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Suffering of Job part 2

Prairie Wind

WHIPSERING HOPE

*“Soft as the voice of an angel, breathing a lesson unheard

Hope with a gentle persuasion, whispers a comforting word.

Wait till the darkness is over, wait till the tempests is done

Hope for the sunshine tomorrow after the darkness is gone.

Whispering Hope oh how welcome Thy voice

Making my heart in its sorrow rejoice.”

            Like a tornado rampaging through the land, troubles whirled into Job’s life tearing everything he held dear to smithereens.  His wealth, his livestock, his servants and, even worse, all of his children gone in the blink of an eye.  It was enough to knock even a strong man of faith to the ground.

Then one day in the glorious throne room of God the heavenly court of angels presented themselves before the Lord.  Once again Satan, the Accuser went with them.

“Where have you been?”  God asked Satan.

“I have been…

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Sufferings of Job part 1

Prairie Wind

ON THE WINGS OF THE STORM

*O worship the King,

All glorious above.

And gratefully sing

His power and His love.

Our Shield and Defender

The Ancient of Days,

Pavilion in splendor

And girded with praise.

O tell of His might,

O sing of His grace,

whose robe is the light,

whose canopy is space.

His chariots of wrath the deep thunderclouds form.

Dark is His path on the wings of the storm.

        One day in Heaven at the throne of God, surrounded by vibrant colors like a rainbow, angels of the Heavenly court presented themselves to God.  Satan the Accuser came with them, no doubt to point out the faults of God’s children on earth.

            However God beat him to the draw, “So Satan,” God said, “have you seen my servant Job?  He is the finest man in all the earth. He is blameless, a man of…

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REDEMPTION SERIES 7

This is the final part of the Redemption Series on Noah and the flood.

Prairie Wind

taking-back-the-rainbow

HOPE

“You covered the earth with the deep as with a garment. The waters stood above the mountains. At Your rebuke, they fled, at the voice of Your thunder they hastened away. They went up over the mountains, they went down into the valleys to the place which You founded for them. You have set a boundary that they may not pass over. That they may not return to cover the earth.” Psalm 104:6-9

            This is the day the Lord has made! The day Noah, his family and all the many animals came out of the ark! I can just see it. Can’t you? The sun is shinning, if only briefly, since it is believed that the air was filled with volcanic ash and smoke for many years after the flood, which caused the ice age. But I’m sure on this great day the sun was peeking out of…

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