Prayer: the place where victory is released before it is seen. Part 5

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Prayer: the place where victory is released before it is seen.

This is the fifth section of a short series of posts on this section in Exodus and on the place of prayer.

Exodus 17:8-16

You cannot do it alone. When Moses when up to the hill to hold up the staff of the Lord he did not go alone. He took two men with him, Aaron and Hur. Aaron was Moses’ brother. According to Josephus, Hur was the husband of Miriam, the sister of Moses and Aaron. He took his brothers with him. Although he began on his own, he relied on the support that his brothers gave him.

It is true with prayer.  The work of an intercessor needs the support and encouragement of other intercessors. We are not in this alone, nor do we do the work alone.  Galatians 6:2 says, “Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ.” It is His plan that we are not alone.

God used a weak man, Moses. Moses grew tired. Clearly, the power was not from Moses but from God. God chooses, in His wisdom and grace, not to give one man all the abilities or else he and the people will start relying on the man instead of on God. It took three men on a hill to release God’s power on the earth. Take people with you. If there is something you are praying for and have become weary in, do not give up. Share your request with trustworthy brothers that will help support you in prayer. Let them help you. If you see a battle before you, bring your brothers in it with you. Corporate prayer is powerful. When two or more agree! (Matthew 18:19-20)…

Exodus 17:12-13 …so Moses’ hands held steady until sunset. As a result, Joshua overwhelmed the army of Amalek in battle.

Take Away: You are a human, a weak human. That’s okay! Power doesn’t come from you anyway. It comes from our strong and faithful God. He loves to use us even, and especially, in our weakness. And, you are not alone. God wants you to take people with you. Don’t give up on any point that you are praying to see happen.  Let your brothers and sisters in the Lord help support you in prayer.  And notice others.  Gently and humbly go to others in their need and share their burdens.  The enemy will be overwhelmed in a battle, the place of prayer when you do not give up, but instead bring others alongside you and believe together as one. 

Prayer: the place where victory is released before it is seen. Part 4

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Prayer: the place where victory is released before it is seen.

This is the fourth section of a short series of posts on this section in Exodus and on the place of prayer.

Exodus 17:8-16

As we have seen, the staff of God was used by God to display His power. As Moses held the staff in his hand, the Israelites were defeating the Amaekites; however, when Moses’ hands grew tired and he lowered his hands, the Amalekites would take the advantage. As simple and insignificant this seemed, the obedience and act of holding that staff actually brought victory for the Israelites. It might seem like it was strange and a waste of time, but just the opposite. It was powerful.

Prayer might seem simple and insignificant, but it is powerful. It seems like a waste of time and a chore, but it actually makes the difference and brings change. Prayer is the avenue to victory. Joshua is in the field with his men fighting the Amalekites, but his victory was a result of Moses’ obedience to lift the staff up. It may seem silly, but it’s true. It may seem silly and insignificant to lift up your hands in prayer on behalf of someone in the middle of a battle. Wouldn’t it have been more practical to join in the fight next to Joshua? But here is Moses standing on a hill holding a stick. Prayer makes the difference and brings about change. It’s powerful.

Prayer is powerful. It is also a work. The Bible says to labor in prayer. It takes effort. Moses’ hands grew tired. It is a consistent work. You don’t just throw your hands down because you can’t see the victory or because it is getting wearisome. You stick with it because of the promise you have from God. His Word is what qualifies you to stand there and encourages you to stay there.

Take Away: When you pray in faith to God, He hears you! The place of prayer is a secret, intimate place where the Lord and you go one on one and release the proclamations of His heart and is VALUABLE!!  Don’t be discouraged when it takes effort, anything that is valuable is costly.  #worthit!

The Further Decline of Fathering

I so agree! Most of the problems and failing situations we have today are all “Father” issues.

Forerunner Perspective

I ran across this particular article at the Washington Times website.  The continuing decline of fathering in our culture is totally contrary to the revelation of who our Heavenly Father is and the administration of His purposes coming to pass in the earth!

The Glory of God is revealed through the faithfulness of the Father never to leave the son nor forsake the son as the son is about the Father’s business. This is the guarantee of our well being in the earth and the potential for Father’s purposes to be performed.

More on this topic later.  For now, I will just let the stats contained in the image below speak for themselves.   Peace!

fathers_s640x1005

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Prayer: the place where victory is released before it is seen. Part 3

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Prayer: the place where victory is released before it is seen.

This is the third section of a short series of 6 posts on this section in Exodus and on the place of prayer.

Exodus 17:8-16

Moses stood on a HILL. He didn’t go into the valley. He stood where he would be seen by Joshua. He positioned himself so Joshua could easily look up and be reminded of the victory that was guaranteed. Battles will come. They will. We already know this. However, even though we will be required to fight, we do not fight for a place of victory. We are fighting from a place of victory, with confidence in what God has said. As Joshua was engaged in battle and he and his men were fighting, they could look up and see Moses holding the staff in his hands, stretched out to God, as a banner over them. They would be encouraged and strengthen themselves in determination again and press in. Their victory was guaranteed. All they had to do was not quit (Hebrews 10:35-36).

Our faith will always be tested. Whatever God speaks to us will be tested.  We believe it and are then given the opportunity to hold to what we believe in the midst of trial. There are many battles that we will and have faced in our individual lives. In the midst of our battle, it is easy to become discouraged and weary, thinking that the effort is useless and the victory far off.  However, it is when we choose every day not to quit, but instead, to look up at the One who hold us in His hands and has already given us the victory that we are then encouraged to press on and not quit.  It is not the huge, valiant efforts that bring glory in the midst of a battle, even though they are important.  The most glorious efforts are the small, seemingly unimportant efforts. The things that are done, not based on how we feel in the moment, but are based on the determination to lay hold of what Christ has laid hold for us, in the every day, mundane moments.

It is in the heat of the battle, when our hands are tired and legs are shaky that we begin to lose focus and take our eyes off the Lord. We begin to agree with the lies of the enemy. Every time Joshua looked up, he was reminded of the victory. Once we look up, we realize that we have taken on more than we have been given by God. Instead of agreeing with our flesh or the lies of the enemy, choose to agree with God in the victory He has given us. God is shaping us to be so established in our identity in Him that we walk from a place of victory, instead of walking around beat up in our sins, guilt, and inabilities.  My Grandpa recently shared with me this truth:

 “You are free. You are just taking something on that is not yours. We claim a lot of things that are not ours.  We have to establish our minds in the Word so we know what is ours and what is not.  The Devil slyly puts those things out there for us to agree with and we just kind of take it.  We need to renew our minds in the Word of God.”

Our victory has very little to do with us. It is solely based on Jesus and what He has done for us.  It is a guarantee, however, and we choose to agree with Him and obey Him.  In our battles, we begin to see the character of God as the One who fights for us and gives us our victory.  It was here that Moses declared God’s character of victory. God is my banner. He is my victory. I just need to look to Him; the battle is His.  God doesn’t waste anything! He uses the battles to show us who He is and who we are.  We see His trustworthiness, His ability, and His determination in every battle we face.

“These (all kinds of trials) have come so that your faith – of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire – may be proved genuine and may result in praise, glory, and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed.” 1 Peter 1:7

Exodus 17:15, Moses built an altar there and named it Yahweh-Nissi (which means “the LORD is my banner”)

Take Away: Recognize that the battle you face now doesn’t have to take you down.  Look up to Him.  He is your Banner of Victory.  He has already fought for you.  Trust Him and depend on Him. Have confidence in what He says.  Don’t quit.

Prayer: the place where victory is released before it is seen. Part 2

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Prayer: the place where victory is released before it is seen.

This is the second section of a short series of 6 posts on this section in Exodus and on the place of prayer.

Exodus 17:8-16

In the last post, we saw the value of God using Moses’ staff to be a banner of victory for Joshua and his men in battle.  The value of God using this staff was great and included reminding Moses that his weaknesses do not limit God’s power and that it was God’s leadership that would bring forth this victory for the Israelites.

This is the staff that Moses was holding while Joshua was in battle.  Let’s look that this same situation, now, from a different perspective.  Joshua knew about this staff; he had seen the wonders of God through it. He was aware that even when Moses would not open his mouth to give a command to Pharoah, it was Moses’ staff that God displayed His power with. When Moses told Joshua that he would hold this staff, it was a reminder that even in Joshua’s fears, insecurities, concerns about himself and about what would happen, that it was God who was going to deliver this victory and not him; that God uses the weak things of this world to confound the wise. Joshua was placed in that authority, so regardless of the circumstances or whether Joshua “had what it took,” Joshua could have confidence that he already had the victory because God chose to use him and his confidence was in God’s ability and promises not in the weakness of himself.

Another thing Joshua was reminded of when Moses said he would be holding the staff of God was that God had in fact done wonders with this staff. Not just the principle that God’s power is displayed in weak vessels, but beyond that: God is powerful, period. The staff had been turned into a snake. The staff was lifted up, parting the Red Sea for the Israelites to safely cross before it swallowed their enemies pursing them (14:16). Water gushed from a rock when Moses struck it with his staff (17:5-6). Moses was going to lift this staff up?! Well, okay. We have a victory on our hands.

I have a friend who never ceases to declare God’s ability. Dwight has these two phrases that always encourage me and cause me to remember that doubts are silly when your eyes are on God.  “God helps us to remember that You have never seen a giant” AND “When God steps up to the plate, it’s a HOME RUN, you don’t even have to look up.”   I LOVE these! When God says it, it’s done!

Not sure if you experience this, but I am facing right now a battle of different sorts than that of Joshua’s.  As I read the Word of God and see what He requires of me, knowing that my heart is wicked and I am far from what I want to be in His eyes, I am discouraged that I cannot in my own strength look like Him.  Now, I have tried, and do try… many times.  But, like Joshua, God was saying with the use of the staff, “Look, I want you out there, but this victory will come because of My power not yours.  All you need to do is look to Me and stay in the fight. DON”T GIVE UP.” 

Take away: Well, alright! This is very good news! Although it is also not an easy task, it is not impossible and God promises His Spirit who helps and guides us and actually does this work of making us like Jesus.  Keep your eyes on God; ask for His help to do this.  Look to Him and do not give up!

Prayer: the place where victory is released before it is seen. 1

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Prayer: the place where victory is released before it is seen.

This is the first section of a short series of 6 posts on this section in Exodus and on the place of prayer.

Exodus 17:8-16

While Moses was leading Israel to the Promise Land, the Amalekites attacked them.

Up to this point, Moses has lead Israel out without having to engage in battle. Moses turns to Joshua and commands him to choose some men… you’re going to fight for us. I will stand on that hill over there and I am going to hold the staff of God in my hand.

The staff of God in my hand? Really? What is that going to do? Here is some background on the role of a staff. The staff is what the patriarch of the family carried. It included the names of generations past and was passed down the generational lines. It represented where someone came from and showed who their family was. (Hebrews 11:21) It is what the men would lean upon in their weakness. It was what shepherd used to guide and protect their sheep. It was what kings used to show their rule and leadership with. It was also used by John to measure the temple of God with in Revelation. (Rhabdos)

This staff that Moses is going to hold is where this commissioning of Moses began. After God called Moses over and began to share His plans, Moses could only see his limitations and was gripped with insecurity and fear. In order to build Moses’ confidence in God and to remind him of Who He is, God began to show Moses the wonders of His power. However, very significantly, God chose to use the staff Moses had in his hand to display His power.

God was essentially saying, look, Moses, I can use you. I want to use you. It really isn’t about you and your abilities or lack thereof. I will take a piece of wood that you use to lean upon and use it to show you it is by My power and might that I will use you, not by your might or abilities.

I visited my grandparents this past week. They have a friend who lives up the road who had just hurt the Achilles muscle in his heal and back of his leg. It was painful and he now had to walk with crutches. My grandfather took me and my niece over to his friend’s house to help him with his chores, but before we started my grandfather wanted us to pray for his friend. Here we are, just normal people without any special advantage or power, just trusting in God’s abilities.

This is a beautiful example of God using us in our weakness and limitations but choosing to display His glory and power in us. We prayed for him and the pain lessened. The next day the pain was gone and he was no longer using his crutches. Glory to God and God alone! When God uses the weak things of the earth, not only does it confound the wise, but it brings such glory to His name and reminds us that He is God and is good.

Take Away: In what areas do you feel weak and limited? Where has God called you to step out into what seems like impossible situations? What does His Word say concerning you and His plans for you? How will you trust that God is bigger than your inabilities and loves to use your weakness for His glory?  Who will you share this message with this week?

From childhood

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O Lord, You alone are my hope. I have trusted You, O Lord, from childhood.  Yes, You have been with me from birth; from my mother’s womb You have cared for me.  NO    WONDER I AM ALWAYS PRAISING YOU!                                           Psalm 71:5 & 6

Sometimes we need to look back and reflect. To think. To remember. To recall.  David also said in Psalm 111 verses 2-4 that we should ponder the amazing deeds of the Lord; that to ponder His works is a result of delighting in Him. It is His mercy that causes us to remember His wonderful works, which reveal His glory and majesty and strengthens in our hearts that indeed, His righteous never fails.

So, if we make the Lord our delight it will lead us to recall what He has done which results in what?  Gratefulness! Praise! Security and confidence in Him again. Release. Trusting that this same amazing and good God who has kept me this far… knowing that “this far” is a mere drop in the bucket to His existence and capabilities to manage… then, yes, He has me now and will always be faithful to keep me. Mmmmm. : ) Peaceful. Rest.

SO….. that’s what I did yesterday and again today. I began to feel that in talking to others about the greatness of God and what He has done in my life… it had been a while since I had reflected what He has done and therefore the joy of my salvation was very mediocre.

Be encouraged! Reflect on His goodness. Don’t let the unanswered prayers and frustrations keep you from remembering and appreciating the answered prayers and His faithfulness to care for you.

What has He saved you from? Do you remember a time of repentance, where you depended on His mercy and grace? How has He cared for you and directed your steps since childhood? What are those moments where you received from Him in a personal way? Was it a word someone gave you? Was it feeling His love during a time of meeting with Him quietly? Was it a sunrise or singing of birds that cause you to remember He is sovereign?

Because… He is real. He is good. He is with you and looooovves you! He makes His delight in you. You are here because He created you for His glory to worship and love Him and talk about His goodness. Practically, how can we talk about His goodness if we are not becoming aware of it? Many things He has done that have gone unnoticed by us and our busy schedules.

Let us with David come to a place where we can say:  “My life is an example to many, because you have been my strength and protection. That is why I can never stop praising you; I declare Your glory all day long” (ps 71:7, 8) (btw, he said this in the middle of being pursued by his enemy and needing protection).

Aside

Moses or David… What’s my response?

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Fix your eyes.

Looking at the men and women in the Bible and their extraordinary lives and their simple devotion inspires me and humbles me. My life in no way looks like theirs. I want my life to reflect the glory of God so that men see Him and that He wins in all things in my life. So as I am looking for this way to an extraordinary life through simple devotion and I look at these two great men that moved the heart of God and whose hearts were also moved by Him… I do not attempt to be in a place of judgment but will not waste what they have learned.

When God speaks… what do I do?  There are those times that God speaks and moves on my heart to be obedient… to DO something. What do I do? My thoughts will usually determine what I do… My response is based on what I think and believe. Two men. Just a brief look:

Moses. When God spoke… what did he do? What was his response? Where were his eyes?                  Exodus 3:10-13 “Moses protested to God, ‘Who am I to appear before Pharaoh? Who am I to lead the people of Israel out of Egypt?”                                                                                                                                 Moses’ eyes were on himself. He did what God asked but not to the FULLness of what God had desired.

David. When God spoke… what did he do? What was his response? Where were his eyes?                             1 Samuel 17:23-26, 32-37, 45  “Who is this pagan Philistine anyway, that he is allowed to defy the armies of the living God?”           “The Lord who rescued me from the claws of the lion and the bear will rescue me from this Philistine!”                             “…but I have come to you in the name of the Lord of Heaven’s Armies…Today the Lord will conquer you…and the whole world will know that there is a God in Israel!”

Look at their lives… simple devotion leads us to keep our eyes on an extravagant God…. not on ourselves. Be reminded that our eyes should always be on God…

Personal story: During worship one day, the Lord spoke to me… When He speaks I can neither be prideful or insecure just obedient in the confidence that it is Him not me. When He speaks, I cannot take the credit, it was God’s idea not mine! It is all for His glory and His name. When He speaks, I cannot be insecure, keeping my eyes on myself and frozen from obedience, because it was His idea, not mine. He will do what He says. He goes with me.

Take Away: When He speaks… what will I do? Look at myself, my lack and inabilities/my success and abilities???     OR       Keep my eyes fixed on God, knowing that He can do all things and is victorious??!

Freedom. It’s yours!

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Okay, revelation! I. am. free.

Jesus Christ, the Word of God, humbled himself and became a man, a servant.  He died for my sins and took every sickness, bondage, frustration, sin, fear…. ALL of the above… onto himself so that I wouldn’t have to.  His last words… “It is finished.”

It is for freedom that you have been set free. He whom the Son sets free is free indeed!

I. am. free.  I was sitting on my bed the other day, somewhat overwhelmed and frustrated by an attitude that I can’t seem to get rid of and is keeping me distracted. The Lord reminded me to magnify Him and keep my eyes on who He is and His love and glory instead of focusing on the pressures and frustrations that seem so much easier to focus on.  It was then that I realized… I am free.  He has done it.  It is finished.

I shared this thought with my sister and she relayed a story from one of her friends who realized this same concept.  This friend explained it as your freedom, having already been purchased, sitting on a shelf in a room waiting for you to pick up and carry out.  Jesus did it and wants to give it to you.  Thankfully, He is not frustrated with us but patiently waits for us to finally look up to him and receive what He has already provided for us.

Freedom is instant, but healing is a process.  We can receive this freedom and walk in it, but we still retrain our minds in His Word, deny the flesh, take thoughts captive, focus and refocus on Jesus Christ.  But how much more liberating knowing that the freedom is available and is ours! 🙂

Where the Spirit of the Lord is there is freedom!            #comeHolySpirit

Philippians 2:5-11 Jesus a servant                                                                    Isaiah 53:5 Jesus took my sickness and sins                                                        John 19:30 It is finished                                                                                 Galatians 5:1 Jesus has set you free                                                                   John 8:36 Free indeed                                                                                            2 Corinthians 3:17 Spirit of the Lord = freedom