By Still Waters I

Fighting

A dear friend of mine is fighting. She has been fighting all her life. She is not a stranger to war. Weapons are daily raised up by her against formidable foes. Her strategies are often the pulling down of that which is offensive and dangerous to her. Some of her battles are so intense, they are hand-to-hand combat. Someone always gets hurt. Her battles are not reported on in the media. No one posts them on Facebook, inviting heated and often hurtful debates. There are no tweets provoking angry responses and self-righteous reactions. No one would label her battles current events. Special interest groups don’t eye them as potential political vehicles. In fact, most of her fighting is done in secret. Even her closest loved ones and friends only see the fringes of her battles.

My friend is fighting the good fight of faith. Her enemies? They are three-fold: Her sinful self, the devil, and worldly temptations. Her weapon? “The sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.” (Eph. 6:17) How intense have been her battles? Only she really knows. But does several miscarriages, a daughter’s battle with cancer, a grandchild lost to cancer, a daughter-in-law lost to cancer, and a fast-approaching death – her own – by cancer, sound like someone who is intimately familiar with battlefield warfare? And these trials, in and of themselves, have not been the objects of her fierce retaliation. Rather, she has aimed her Weapon at her sinful nature that demands a rebellious allegiance and approach to her trials. Where are her battles fought? My friend’s battles are fought within her. Who then gets hurt? Her old nature. Her old nature that, from her youngest years, and in all her trials, both small and great, has lied to her just as Satan lied to Eve in the garden. The lies sound like this: “God doesn’t love you. God cannot be trusted. You know better than God.” Her old nature constantly demands worship and ownership of these lies. Oh, this battle is fierce. It makes world wars look tame, and the clamoring, violent crowds of current events seem foolish. And no one sees this fierce conflict.

This same battle has been experienced by thousands and tens of thousands for over 6,000 years now. And by God’s great grace, each battle has ended ultimately in victory. Heaven is full of victorious soldiers – all of whom are casting down their crowns and giving glory to the One Who gave them the victory by His Own Triumph over sin and death.

Oh, the world is filled with battles and conflicts, riots and rebellion. People want this and people want that, and they make it clearly known by their angry fists, signs, policies, words and armies. Don’t be fooled. The real battles are being raged quietly all around you, in the hearts of those who are seeking to put to death the sin of their old nature, that they may be conformed more and more to image of God’s Son.

When my friend is finished with her last battle, and can lay down her sword, she will be able to say, by God’s grace, “I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith. (2 Tim 4:7). And her quiet battle will be over.

“For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war after the flesh: (For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds;) Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ;” 1 Corinthians 10:3-5

“For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.” Ephesians 6:12

“Fight the good fight of faith, lay hold on eternal life, whereunto thou art also called, and hast professed a good profession before many witnesses.” 1 Tim 6:12

Fighting

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By Still Waters I

New Morning Sonnet

Today the sun came up with sharp hellos.
My eyes, surprised, oh my, they looked away.
And then, with awe and sweet shy aglow
Within the room, behind the glass, I gazed.
Horizon dim, so far away, bespoke
Of fleeing night and coming day.
Across the field, all sleeping things awoke
As darkness lifted and flung itself away.
And now the life is at the sill for me
And enters in the cold and early room.
The sleep is gone but leaves no vacancy,
The birth of day so like the empty tomb.
I pondered newness that repeats itself,
Like Spring that shouts for praise unto Thyself.

New Morning Sonnet

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By Still Waters I

We Will Not Be Silent

Make a path, Oh, LORD.
Baptize us on our way through.
The dead rock
Split, to release life.
The torrent of blood
Stop, that healing
May be.
The young hand lift up, that
The maiden may arise.
The fish and bread
Multiply, that there may be
Leftovers.
Skin put back on skin
That the ear may again
Hear.
Work, LORD, work, as in the
First six days.
We are standing at the
Barrier
Of the sea.
We will stand still and
We will see
The power of the LORD.
We will not be
Silent, but clamor
To be heard,
As the woman
Who lost her husband.
We will grab onto
Your hem.
We will raise holy hands.
We will climb a tree.
We will wrestle with You.
We will come down through
The roof.
We will seek You out
To turn our water into Your wine.
We will not
Be silent skeptics.
The blessings…
They belong to us.

We Will Not Be Silent

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By Still Waters I

Breath on me,
Oh, Creator God,
You Who created
Heaven’s host
By this whisper.
Give me relief,
Oh, able breath.
But the heavens are still.

“With food and raiment
Shalt thou be content.” Food and raiment.
Is that enough?

I am the Bread of Life.
I am Living Water.
I am your Portion in this life.

Give me this day
My daily Bread.
Draw out for me
This Living Water.
Clothe me with
This Robe of Christ.
With Food and Raiment
I shall be content.

Breath of Life

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By Still Waters I

“And God remembered Noah.” Genesis 8:1.

“And God remembered Noah.” I wonder what Noah was thinking while he and his small family, in their large boat, experienced day after day after day, the never-before-imagined, violent, and wrathfully wild torrents from above, the fierce and vehement waters bursting from below, the angry waves that lifted and dropped, the black skies that were sliced through with knives of furious lightning, and the thunder that was deafening to the ear. And then there was the care of his family during this raging storm – not to mention the care of all the animals. Did Noah expect this tempestuous chaos as the result of his faithfully obeying God’s command to build this huge boat? Was he tempted to question God and tell Him that this was not how it was all supposed to turn out? Did Noah and his family feel forgotten by God while their floating home was unceasingly buffeted by strong, angry waves and judgment-bent winds?

“And God remembered Noah.” Does God ever forget His children? Does He forget you when you are experiencing waves of trials for days on end: fatigue, sickness, unrelenting schedules, financial difficulties, temptations, difficult family relationships, difficult church situations, death of loved ones?

“And God remembered Noah.” Believer, are your days tumultuous? Have you sought to obey the Lord’s commands only to find that you are caught up in a life-storm that seems to be out of control? Don’t forget, God remembered Noah. God knew when to stop the storms, when to make the waters recede, and when to make the ark rest on solid ground.

“And God remembered Noah.” Noah went into the ark – and through the chaos – under God’s command, direction, and protection; and Noah left the ark under God’s command, direction and protection. Noah was brought to a place of rest and new beginnings. In thankfulness for his deliverance, Noah offered a sweet-smelling sacrifice to His God. Let us also, who have been delivered – and who will be delivered – offer ourselves as living sacrifices – holy and acceptable unto God – to the One Who remembers and saves.

And God Remembered Noah

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By Still Waters I

gemsWhat is Your Inheritance?

“The eyes of your understanding being enlightened; that ye may know what is the hope of his calling, and what the riches of the glory of his inheritance in the saints,” Ephesians 1:18

In our last devotion (see Debt Free and Rich!!), we rejoiced that God releases us from our spiritual debt through the work of His Son. We then marveled that not only does He release His children from the debt we owe Him, but that He also makes us unbelievably rich! This is something!  We don’t owe anymore, and now we are rich beyond our dreams! What riches are these? The Egyptian royalty believed that after their death, they could still enjoy the riches they had in this life. Special tombs were built to accommodate this vain hope. The disappointment of the actual after-death-reality, not to mention the horrors of hell, must have been shocking and great. Proverbs 23:5 “Wilt thou set thine eyes upon that which is not? for riches certainly make themselves wings; they fly away as an eagle toward heaven.”

I want you to ponder God for a while. I want you to ponder Who He is. This holy exercise really takes a lifetime and beyond,  therefore, I only want to jump-start your meditation and guide your thoughts of Who God is in terms of the riches a believer has. I will list many attributes of God that will give you a hint of what riches are our own as redeemed children: Our God is Powerful, Our God is Faithful, Our God is the Comforter, Our God is Love, Our God is Unchangeable, Our God is Sovereign over all, Our God is Truth, Our God is our Father –  and has prepared a place for us with Him in glory. Each one of these attributes of God, and there are more, is in the everlasting heart-treasury of the child of God. As we walk through this pilgrim land, we pull out these treasures to lovingly handle them, to be in awe over them, and to make use of them in the many facets – joyful or otherwise – of our lives.

If you are an unbeliever, you do not have these treasures. You do not have them now, and you will not have them in eternity. The things you rely on now in your daily life are broken cisterns. And though you may not view your afterlife exactly as the Egyptians of old did, you are holding to a belief that your afterlife is going to be something along the lines of being pleasant. However, without seeking God’s mercy given through the blood of His Son, you still owe an eternal debt that you cannot pay. Life on this earth will, in reality, be truly miserable, and your afterlife will be as shocking and horrible as what the Egyptian royalty are experiencing.  Seek the LORD while He may be found….“Ho, every one that thirsteth, come ye to the waters, and he that hath no money; come ye, buy, and eat; yea, come, buy wine and milk without money and without price. Wherefore do ye spend money for that which is not bread? and your labour for that which satisfieth not? hearken diligently unto me, and eat ye that which is good, and let your soul delight itself in fatness. Incline your ear, and come unto me: hear, and your soul shall live; and I will make an everlasting covenant with you, even the sure mercies of David… Seek ye the LORD while he may be found, call ye upon him while he is near: Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts: and let him return unto the LORD, and he will have mercy upon him; and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon.”  Isaiah 55:1-3,6,7

This is our second post in our mini-series on forgiveness. The first post, Debt Free and Rich!! , addressed spiritual debt and forgiveness.  Our final post (I Just Don’t Remember) will discusscuss forgiving others as we have been forgiven.

 

What is Your Inheritance?

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By Still Waters I

open-gatesThe New Year stands before us like an open door to an unknown land. What will be waiting for us after we cross the threshold? How will we know what paths we should take and what paths we should avoid? What decisions will we face, and how will we discern the right way? Psalm 25:9 reads: “The meek will He guide in judgment, and the meek will He teach His way.” Ah, here we have it: going to God in true humility, understanding that we have and are nothing and that God is all Wisdom. As the minute hand sweeps around the clock face, bringing us closer and closer to the threshold of the unknown, may our fervent prayer and desire be to walk in meekness in 2017.

The Meek He Will Guide in Judgment and Teach His Way

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