"So let’s not allow ourselves to get fatigued doing good. At the right time [IN DUE SEASON] we will harvest a good crop if we don’t give up, or quit." Galatians 6:9. Use the talents and gifts God has given you and REJOICE in the harvest.
“Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness;” Ephesians 6:14
Ever watch a tennis match? My son plays tennis. We enrolled both our boys in tennis lessons when they were little tikes and could barely hold a racket. Every coach they ever had talks about the importance of the stance. What is the stance? It is how you hold the racket and how you stand when you are waiting for the ball. The player stands with feet apart, both hands on the racquet (so can hit forehand or backhand as needed), and eyes on the opponent. In other words, your head is in the game. Why is this important? Because the milliseconds it takes for you to get into position to hit the ball square with the racquet could mean you slicing the ball, missing the ball completely, or even being hit by the ball. Ouch!!
Just like a tennis match, we are to ‘stand’. The word stand, ‘histemi‘, is a verb meaning to stand ready or prepared, stand with a steadfast mind, stand as one who does not hesitate, stand as one who does not waiver.
What does your stance look like?
Are you girded about with the truth of God’s word? Do you have on the breastplate of righteousness? To a soldier, a breastplate protects your vital organs, the heart and lungs and major arteries. Without the breastplate a blow can be fatal.
Righteousness means to be in right standing with God. It is the state in which we ought to be. It involves integrity, purity of life, virtue, correctness of thinking, feeling and acting. Notice how much of this definition involves the heart.
“For our sake He made Christ [virtually] to be sin Who knew no sin, so that in and through Him we might become [endued with, viewed as being in, and examples of] the righteousness of God [what we ought to be, approved and acceptable and in right relationship with Him, by His goodness]”. 2 Corinthians 5:21
What does your breastplate look like? Is it the breastplate of righteousness?
In the midst of a struggle or difficulty, wediscover not only who we are, but who Jesus is. It is in these times; times of not just praying, but praying through, that I have discovered that victories are not a result of myself or what I did. Victories are a result of who Jesus is and what He has done.
It was during one of these times that I put together a list of scriptures that reminded me of the promises of Jesus. I took these scriptures and took ownership of them. How does one do that, take ownership? By inserting your name, your husband’s name, your child’s name into them and making the scripture your prayer. For example 2 Thessalonians 3: 3 became: “The Lord is faithful , He will establish (insert name) and guard you (insert name)from the evil one.”
God spoke to my heart that I needed to start praising Jesus in the midst of the battle.
The battle is not against flesh and blood but against principalities. We have no weapons except those given to us by God which are—the blood of Jesus Christ, the Word of God, the Holy Spirit and the angles of the Lord. Not only is the battle the Lord’s but the weapons are the Lord’s also.
As we put on the full armor of God, personalize the word of God.
Praise Jesus Because:
PRAISE JESUS BECAUSE—From the lips of children and infants you have ordained praise, because of your enemies, to silence the foe and the avenger. (Praise is used for warfare—silences our foes) Psalm 8
PRAISE JESUS BECAUSE —Every word of God is pure; He is a shield to those who put their trust in him. Proverbs 30:5
PRAISE JESUS BECAUSE–God is our refuge and strength; a very present help in trouble Psalm 46:1
PRAISE JESUS BECAUSE – as we Trust in the Lord with all our heart and lean not on your own understanding and in all our ways acknowledge Him and He shall direct our paths. Proverbs 3:5-6a
PRAISE JESUS BECAUSE— The steps of a good man are ordered by the Lord and He delights in his way. Though he fall he shall not utterly be cast down; for the Lord upholds him with his right hand. Psalm 37:23-24
PRAISE JESUS BECAUSE —As for God His way is perfect; the word of the Lord is proven; He is a shield to all who trust in Him. Psalm 18:30.
PRAISE JESUS BECAUSE— The eternal God is OUR refuge, and underneath are the everlasting arms. He will thrust out the enemy from before you and will say, “Destroy!” Deuteronomy 33:27
PRAISE JESUS BECAUSE— those who wait on the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles, they shall run and not be weary, they shall walk and not faint. Isaiah 40:31
PRAISE JESUS BECAUSE— As we come boldly to the throne of grace; that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need. Hebrews 4:16
PRAISE JESUS BECAUSE— sin shall not have dominion over us, for we are not under law but under grace. Romans 6:14
PRAISE JESUS BECAUSE–(He) forgives all your iniquities, who heals all your diseases, who redeems your life from destruction, who crowns you with loving kindness and tender mercies. Psalm 103:1-4
PRAISE JESUS BECAUSE— The angel of the Lord encamps all around those who fear Him and delivers them. Psalm 34:7
PRAISE JESUS BECAUSE— the Lord is faithful , who will establish and guard you from the evil one. 2 Thessalonians 3:3
PRAISE JESUS BECAUSE—(as we) Therefore submit to God, resist the devil and he will flee from you. James 4:7
PRAISE JESUS BECAUSE–He gives power to the weak and to those who have no might He increases strength. Even the youths shall faint and be weary, and the young men shall utterly fall. But those who wait on the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles, they shall run and not be weary, they shall walk and not faint. Isaiah 40:29-31
PRAISE JESUS BECAUSE— God has not given us a spirit of fear but of power and of love and of a sound mind. 2 Timothy 1:7
PRAISE JESUS BECAUSE –In all your ways acknowledge Him and He shall direct your paths. Proverbs 3:6
PRAISE JESUS BECAUSE — (we can) Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus. Philippines 4:6-7
PRAISE JESUS BECAUSE–He will keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on You because he trusts in You. Isaiah 26:3
PRAISE JESUS BECAUSE— He will give you a mouth and wisdom, which all your adversaries will not be able to contradict or resist. Luke 21:15
PRAISE JESUS BECAUSE—We are confident of this very thing, that He who has begun an good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ. Philippines 1:6
PRAISE JESUS BECAUSE— He who calls you is faithful, who also will do it. 1 Thessalonians 5:23-24
PRAISE JESUS BECAUSE—He will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will guide you with My eye. Psalm 32:8
PRAISE JESUS BECAUSE–sin shall not have dominion over you, for you are not under law but under grace. Romans 6:14
PRAISE JESUS BECAUSE— If we confess our sins He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. 1 John 1:9
So what are some of your favorite reasons to praise Jesus in the midst of a battle? Battle Won!
A Time to Love and a Time to Hate…A Time for War and a Time for Peace. Ecclesiastes 3:8.
A time to love and a time to hate. Hmmm. So there is a time to hate? This was confusing for me. How many times have we told our children and ourselves not to have ‘hate’ in our hearts. Leviticus 19:17 says ‘ Do not hate your brother in your heart.’ I have seen the result of this in the town my mom was raised in. In the town there is a railroad track that runs down the middle of it. Jimmy Stewart in the movie, ‘It’s a Wonderful Life’, said that the sound of a train was one of the three best sounds in the world. My grandfather would have had to agree with you. He was a railroad man. He loved trains and delighted in taking my sister and me to the little park and ride the train that was there. If there was a model train displayed, he took us to watch it go around and around through the miniature mountains and small towns with figurines waving at the train as it chugged past. The railroad provided for his family and brought goods to the town and helped the town grow. The railroad also divided the town in half geographically and in the minds of the people. Proverbs 10:12 says ‘Hatred stirs up dissension.” That has certainly been the case here. Praise God, today He is bringing unity!
What does ‘hate’ mean?
‘Hate’ is a word that gets thrown around easily. I hate cleaning the bathrooms (when will boys ever hit the toilet, thank you very much!) I hate it when it is pretty and sunny and then rains when we go on vacation. I mostly hate it when I see people settle for second best. I hate it when people do not rise to their potential that everyone around them sees they have, but they don’t. I hate it when people can believe something for others but not believe it for themselves. I had a friend say once it is easy to believe for blessing for a business that blesses a ministry or for a ministry that is blessing other people, but not for their own family. Why not, does God not love their own family any less? Anyway, I digress. If God says there is a time to hate then maybe we need to find out what God hates.
First of all the word ‘hate’ in Ecclesiastes is the Hebrew word ‘sane’ it means to hate as in the case of an enemy; to despise, to turn against. In researching commentaries on this I found that some believe this was a ‘hyperbole’ or exaggeration. Others that it is not talking about heart attitude but rather a ‘distancing or separating’ . Regardless, there definitely seems to be a time when God says to distance, separate from things.
What are we to hate then?
In Proverbs 6:16 the same word is used for hate.
“These six things the Lord hates, indeed, seven are an abomination to Him: A proud look [the spirit that makes one overestimate himself and underestimate others], a lying tongue, and hands that shed innocent blood, A heart that manufactures wicked thoughts and plans, feet that are swift in running to evil, A false witness who breathes out lies [even under oath], and he who sows discord among his brethren.” (Amplified version)
What I don’t see on the list is race, politics, geographical region, income level, etc. With all the latest political talk the word ‘hate’ is easily thrown around today , but are we talking about the outside of the person or the inside. Interesting that the seventh one, the one that is an ‘abomination’ to the Lord, is ‘he who sows discord among his brethren.’ God is a god of unity.
“How wonderful, how beautiful, when brothers and sisters get along! It’s like costly anointing oil flowing down head and beard, Flowing down Aaron’s beard, flowing down the collar of his priestly robes. It’s like the dew on Mount Hermon flowing down the slopes of Zion. Yes, that’s where God commands the blessing, ordains eternal life.”(Psalm 133, Message version)
Some say they are over 40 things listed in the Bible that God hates. Forty in the Bible is a number for chastisement, not judgement. It points to action of grace leading to and ending in revival and renewal. So even if there are things God hates, His ultimate desire is to ask forgiveness and receive the His grace and have revival and renewal in our lives.
“As for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins, in which you used to live when you followed the ways of this world and of the ruler of the kingdom of the air, the spirit who is now at work in those who are disobedient. All of us also lived among them at one time, gratifying the cravings of our flesh and following its desires and thoughts. Like the rest, we were by nature deserving of wrath. But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by grace you have been saved. And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus, in order that in the coming ages he might show the incomparable riches of his grace, expressed in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus. For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— not by works, so that no one can boast. For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.” (Ephesians 2:1-10, NIV)
For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.
God made us to love and do good works. I think God hates things that go against His nature and against the good plan He has for each of us. If anyone has kids you know what is like to want the best for your kids. You don’t want to see them hurt, let down, disappointed, getting second best. God sees us the same way. He has things planned for us, good things. The things God hates are things that keep us from experiencing those good things, they keep us from having joy, peace, love, patience, gentleness, goodness, faith, righteousness, and truth. (Ephesians 5:9, 22). If liking things that God hates is going to keep me from these things, keep me from the good works Jesus has planned for me, then I am going to start hating some things. Unfortunately, I don’t see cleaning bathrooms on the list God! Oh well, need to get over that one.