Is Social Media Stealing Our Lives?

I’m going to go a different route today with my writing because I have been having something weighing heavily upon my heart and I want to see if I am the only one who feels this way.  

We all have seen the benefits of social media and I am sure we all use it everyday to stay connected with people. Everywhere you look you find people looking at their phones and checking on status updates.  Just this morning, I was dropping my son off at school and I noticed the man behind me snapping a picture of him and his son and posting it right to Facebook.  You can’t even have a full conversation with somebody without them checking their phones. I began to get very irritated when I noticed how consumed we are to a “fantasy world.”   There is a side of social media that I began to see that I don’t like at all.  I’m not saying that social media is bad, and I’m not saying that I won’t use social media; however, I began to get convicted of the amount of time I spent on social media.  

I found myself glued to some type of computer device.  I had access to social media on my computer, my tablet, and my phone.  It went with me everywhere—-to the resteraunts, the stores, visiting relatives, my children’s sporting events, and dates with my wonderful husband.  If I posted a comment, I had to check to see how many likes or shares it had.  And if there weren’t many likes, I would get upset because nobody must like me.  Now come on, I’m sure I’m not the only one who has thought this way.  If we are not careful, we can begin a downward spiral of depression because we are too busy comparing our lives to the lives of others.  When will we learn that not very many people are going to post the negative aspects of their lives?  Most people aren’t that candid or real.  I do have a few friends on Facebook who are real and I appreciate them so much.  Nothing is hidden, and I love that about them.  

When I began to realize what social media was doing to me, I began to feel convicted and ashamed.  I was ashamed because I realized that I was forgetting to live in the here and now and forgetting to enjoy the beauty all around me.  I noticed that chores were not being done as thoroughly as they should be.  I noticed more anxiety because I was just sitting there not doing anything.  I noticed the missed hockey goal, or the race being won because I was on Facebook posting how well the kids were doing.  I noticed the missed conversations with my husband because we were too busy checking our accounts.  And I noticed the spiritual hunger rising up within me bacause I was more concerned about what my “friends” were doing rather than what my God was doing.  The bible studies became shorter, and the prayers became shorter…. all because of my obsession with social media.  The music in my heart was gone. I didn’t play my piano as much and the songs stopped being written all  because I was spending too much time on the computer.  I had to get something done.  What would have happened if I would have continued spiralling down this road?  I’m afraid to see.  

I began to wonder what our society would be like if we reached for our Bibles as much as we reached for our phones.  Would things be different?  Would we be a nation that once again feared God?  I guess we will never know.  But I do know what I am going to do.  I have closed my Twitter account and my Instagram account.  I even took Facebook off of my phone.  It will be checked once in the morning and once in the evening.  I am no longer going to be so caught up in other people’s lives that I forget to live my own.  I am doing my Bible study before I check anything on the computer.  God will be first and foremost in my life.  I have chosen to give my family my full, undivided attention.  They will not suffer for todays technology.  Strangers will see my face, and not my head being bent down looking at my phone.  I have chosen to live.  

If you have seen a similar pattern in your own life, I encourage you to make changes now.  Don’t wait until it is too late.  Begin to live your life today in the here and now because you will not get these moments again.

 

Spring is Breaking Forth!

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We had a beautiful spring weekend up here in Western, PA.  As I was walking my dog the other day, I was amazed at all of the spring beauty that had been covered by the winter’s snow. Funny how the beauty was always there, I just was unable to see it because it was covered with snow for three months.  My 75 pound dog also showed his excitement of spring as he dragged me across each lawn to chase every bushy-taled squirrel that he could find.  If you ever saw the movie Marley and Me, you get the idea.

 

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As I was enjoying the outdoors, or at least trying to enjoy them between each dragging of the dog, I began to think about what spring means in my own life.  Spring is all about new birth, newness, and hope.  I don’t know about you, but I feel like I have been waiting for spring to break forth in my life for a long time.  I need that hope of newness and renewal in my life.  Isaiah 43:19 says:

“Behold, I will do a new thing, Now it shall spring forth; Shall you not know it?  I will even make a road in the wilderness and rivers in the desert.”

The suffering and pain and uncertainty that you have been going through is not in vain.  It has been a season that you have had to walk through.  But I believe God is wanting us to not lose hope.  Through all of the suffering, and with every tear that has been shed, our purpose is going to be birthed.

When you think about spring, you will notice that there is a struggle between the warm and cold temperatures.  Winter doesn’t want to let go very easily.  It is wonderfully warm one day, and snowing the next.  Discouragement sets in becasue you think spring should come easily.  But I want you to know that anything new in our lives does not come without a struggle.   Just as spring does not arrive without storms and tornadoes, so spring in our own lives does not occur without a time of travail.  A woman does not give birth without pain and travail.  The pain is always the greatest right before the birth.  If you are in the darkest pit and you are unable to see because of the storm raging around you,  just buckle up and hold on, because spring is coming. I saw the flower buds, I heard the birds singing, I felt the newness in the air and I know that spring is coming.  Ecclesiastes 3:1 says:

“To everything there is a season, A time for every purpose under heaven:  A time to be born, and a time to die; A time to plant, and a time to pluck what is planted; A time to kill, and a time to heal; A time to break down, and a time to build up; A time to weep; and a time to laugh; A time to mourn, and a time to dance; A time to cast away stones, And a time to gather stones; A time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing; A time to gain, and a time to lose; A time to keep and a time to throw away; A time to tear, and a time to sew; A time to keep silence, and a time to speak; A time to love, and a time to hate; A time of war, and a time of peace.”

As you can see, there are different seasons that we each must go through in our lives.  Some are joyous, and some we would rather do without.  But we need to remember that it is a season to go through.  We are not going to stay in the season.  Seasons change and we must be willing to change and let God do His perfect work in us.  

Be encouraged and know that your season is changing, hope is rising, and spring is on its way.

Hold On!

God never ceases to amaze me.  While looking for a verse to use for the blog post I was going to write today, God led me to another verse which began to speak volumes to me.  So, what I am about to share is not what I originally had planned.  My prayer is that whoever needs to hear this will be blessed and encouraged.

Numbers 23:19 says:

“God is not a man, that He should lie, Nor a son of man that He should repent.  Has He said, and will He not do?  Or has He spoken, and will He not make it good?  Behold, I have received a command to bless; HE HAS BLESSED AND I CANNOT REVERSE IT.”  

As I read this verse I began to think, My God, how many times do I pray and believe a verse only to give up when the answer or miracle is not performed within my time-table?  How many times have I doubted God’s blessings for my own life because I didn’t think He cared about what I was going through because the trial was lasting so long?  And yet this verse says; “Has He said, and will He not do?  Or has He spoken, and will He not make it good?”

There are seasons in our lives we go through that are so difficult for us that it is sometimes hard for us to stand on the promises of God.  When the storm is greatest, and the waves are crashing down, and you just don’t understand what on earth is going on, just remember that what God says, He will do.

I know in my own life there have been times when I have prayed years for something and not seen the answer to my prayer manifest. If I am not careful, I can easily allow fear and doubt to rise up within me to the point that I begin to doubt what God has said.  I begin to believe the lies that say He just doesn’t care about me.  Maybe there is something wrong with me.  So-and-so got their prayer answered and I am still waiting.  But Acts 10:34 says:

“God is no respector of persons.”

What God has done for one, He will do for you.  Every miracle in the Bible, every promise spoken in the Bible is for you and me today.  Hebrews 13:8 says that “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever.”

God hasn’t forgotten you. He will do whatever  He says He will do.  I know when the battle is raging, it is hard to believe and hold on to God’s promises.  Don’t feel guilty if this is how you feel.  We all battle this when the battle is the greatest.  Tenth Avenue North wrote a song named “Worn” that I want to share with you.  I am going to just share different parts of the song, but you will get the idea:

I’m tired, I’m worn.  My heart is heavy, from the work it takes to keep on breathing.  I’ve made mistakes, I’ve let my hope fail. My soul feels crushed by the weight of this world.  I know I need to lift my eyes up, but I’m too weak, life just won’t let up. I’m worn and my prayers are wearing thin, I’m worn even before the day begins, I’m worn, I’ve lost my will to fight.  I’m worn so heaven come and flood my eyes.

I know every one of us have been in this kind of mental despair at some point in or lives.  It’s lonely and dark in this pit of despair. However, it is in the darkest moments of our lives that we have to remember the promises of God.  There are times when we may have nothing left to do BUT stand on God’s promises.

We must begin to believe what God has spoken.  Romans 8:28 says:

“And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.”

We must believe that God has good things in store for us.  He wants to bless us more than we want blessed.  Just as we love to give good gifts to our children, God wants to bless us with His good gifts. The last part of our verse in Numbers 23 says that, “He has blessed, and I cannot reverse it.”  Praise God!  You cannot stop God’s blessings from coming to you!    When your prayer is finally answered, and the blessings begin to flow, you will have no room to contain them. Nothing can stop your blessing from coming.  Just hold on and don’t give up because your blessing is on its way!

Help! I Think I Am Losing My Mind!

When was the last time you sat down and received God’s rest?  Or beter yet, when was the last time your mind was at rest?

For me, it has been a very long time since I had a rested mind and peace in general.  My stress symptoms are letting me know that my mind has been in overdrive for quite awhile actively stealing my peace.  I am all too familiar with the symptoms of stress overload:  anxiety, heart palpitaions, loss of sleep, fatigue, short tempered, emotional, over-eating, or in my case under-eating.  And if we have been stressed out for a long period of time we may have panic attacks, depression or health issues that have risen from the stress.

I can remember a time in my life when I was so stressed out, that I broke out in shingles on the left side of my face and in my left eye.  We were going through a very hard time in our ministry and a lot of false accusations were being made against us.  We were also going through the whirlwind of emotions connected to not being able to conceive another child.  And then add health issues on top of all of that and you have a classic case of stress overload.

It’s hard to control your thought-patterns when life seems to be falling apart all around you.  I would cry out to God, but my mind was in such an overdrive that I was not able to find rest for my soul.  I was desperate for freedom from the turmoil that was attacking my mind.  Notice I didn’t say freedom from the physical symptoms.  Those were bad enough, but I wanted freedom from the detrimental thought pattern that was manifesting itself as physical symptoms.  I knew if I could conquer the war raging in my mind, I could conquer the physical symptoms.  When you are dealing with stress, or anxiety, or fear, the arena of the mind becomes the arena where victory or defeat will take place.  Isaiah 26:3 AMP says:

You will guard him and keep him in perfect and constant peace whose mind [ both its inclination and its character] is stayed on You, because he commits himself to You, leans on You and hopes confidently in You.”

How do you fix your mind on God?  By meditating on His Word night day and night.  Even in your lowest state you can find scriptures that deal with your situation that will cause the heart to mend and your mind to begin to find rest.

A lot of times finding the scriptures are easy, but staying focused on those scriptures may be a little harder. Sometimes it is hard to break free from our thought patterns.  We need to learn to cast our cares onto God and believe that He will take care of everything that has us so stressed out.  I Peter 5:7 AMP says:

“Casting the whole of your care [all your anxieties, all your worries, all your concerns, once and for all] on Him, for He cares for you affectionately and cares about you watchfully.”

In order to cast the whole of your care upon the Lord, there are a few things we must reject: Those are the thoughts of fear, worry, doubt, and unbelief.  I don’t know about you, but I’ll give my cares to God and then a thought will enter my mind and before I know it, I have taken back my cares.  This is where the scriptures we find for our circumstances come in handy.  As soon as the negative thoughts come back in, we need to verbally quote our scriptures over our circumstances.  Then we need to roll our burden back onto God so that we can find rest for our minds.

David wrote in Psalm 23:1-3 that:

“The Lord is my Shepherd; I shall not want.  He makes me to lie down in green pastures; He leads me beside the still waters.  He restores my soul”

David knew something about finding rest for his mind.  He penned that God restores his soul. The soul is your mind, your will, and your emotions.  Only God can give you rest for your weary mind.  Let Him lead you to the quiet places.  Let Him give you rest.  Throw your cares upon Him and find peace.  He cares for you too much to see you battle-scarred from your own thought pattern. Fall back into the loving arms of the Father, and allow Him to give you peace.

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You Are Being Pursued…

You Are Being Pursued...

“But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” Romans 5:8

I just finished reading a book titled, “God’s At War: Defeating the Idols That Battle for Your Heart,” by Kyle Idleman, and he talks about God’s pursuing love for us. He says that, “This is a God who, when turned down, ignored, rejected – even violently, even blasphemously – finds a new way to express His love and issue the invitation. This is a God who has never given up on winning your heart.”

Those are powerful words. He is a God that in spite of all my weaknesses, in spite of all my sin, in spite of all my ugliness, still pursues me and wants a relationship with me. This love is so hard to comprehend. And yet, there are times in my life when I have doubted His love for me. It’s hard to believe that God loves you when your whole world seems to be falling apart. I think as humans we are so programmed with the worldly system of love, that our minds are warped with carnal thinking and believing instead of God thinking and believing. God’s love is not like our human love which is based on fickle feelings. His love is a love that we cannot even comprehend.

I think many times we have taken our earthly relationships and hurts and just assumed God’s love is like ours. There are many times when I think that the hurt and pain we experience in our earthly relationships is carried to how we relate with our relationship with God. We need to realize that we are human and our love is going to fail and not meet everybody’s needs. So many times I look to my husband to meet my needs, only for it to end up in disappointment when he falls short of my expectations. Only God can meet our evey need. His love is perfect and not lacking in any area. He loves us so much that Isaiah 49:11 says:

“See, I have inscribed you on the palms of my hands; your walls are continually before me.”

We are inscribed on God’s hand. He can never forget us. During the times when it feels like God doesn’t care, we need to remember that He literally has us in the palm of His hand. He loves us and is there for us.

In spite of our past mistakes, in spite of our sin, in spite of all our flaws, we are loved by a God who NEVER gives up on us. Romans 8:38-39 says:

“For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities, nor powers, nor things to come, nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to seperate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

It is so encouraging to know that we are being pursued relentlessly by a God who has an all-consuming love for us. If we could grasp this love, many of our fears would be erased because there would be no reason to fear. God is holding us and whispering our name and telling us how much we are loved.

For you who are doubting God’s love, just call out to Him. I have been in your shoes so many times and it hurts. But I also had to come to a point to allow myself to receive God’s love. There will come a time in your life when you have nothing left to do BUT receive the Father’s love. Call on Him. He is right by your side waiting to embrace you in His arms. He loves you unconditionally.

Chosen; In Spite Of Yourself

“And the Angel of the Lord appeared to him, and said to him, “The Lord is with you, you mighty man of valor!”  Judges 6:12.

I would love to have seen Gideon’s face when the Angel of the Lord told this to him.  After all, when the Angel visited him, he was in the middle of threshing wheat in a winepress in order to hide it from the Midianites.  The Angel of the Lord then turns to Gideon and says:  “Go in this might of yours, and you shall save Israel from the hand of the Midianites.  Have I not sent you?”  And what was Gideon’s reply?  “O my Lord, how can I save Israel?  Indeed my clan is the weakest in Manasseh, and I am the least in my father’s house.”

It looks like Gideon had a very low opinion about himself.  God is wanting to do something great through Gideon, and yet there is so much fear and low self esteem in him that he is blinded by the fact that God wants to use him. So Gideon does what so many of us do when we want proof that this is really God:  He asks for a sign.  I have asked this question many times in my life.  God if this is really what you want me to do, then you’re going to have to show me a sign.  How foolish I was to ask God for this.  If I would be spending time with God everyday, shouldn’t I already know what His will is for my life?  And yet, fear and doubt begin to envelop me and I begin to ask God for proof that He is really speaking to me.  I mean, who am I that God would choose me to do something great for Him?  And yet the Bible says in 1 Corinthians 1:27 that:

“God has chosen the foolish things of the world to put to shame the wise, and God has chosen the weak things of the world to put to shame the things which are mighty.”

Have you ever felt like Gideon?  Has God called you to do something so big, that you don’t think you are equipped for the job?  You look around and see so many other people who would be better candidates, and yet you wonder why on earth God has chosen you. After all, you may feel like you are the last person God would want to use.  You look at yourself and see all of the flaws, but God looks at you and sees His finished product.  God sees you completely different than the way you see yourself.

I know I have questioned God many times why He chose me to become a Pastor’s Wife and a Worship Leader.  I feel so inadequate most of the time. And to tell you the truth, I have probably failed many times.   And yet, despite my low opinion about myself and all of my flaws, God moves mightly.  I think the reason God calls the ones who feel the least qualified for the job is because, one, He will receive all of the glory, and two, He can trust us with whatever it is He is calling us to do. God will always give you the ability for the work He has for you to do.

Gideon laid out two more fleeces just to make sure he was hearing from God.  You have to understand something, Gideon was full of fear and he was so used to being a nobody that he could not comprehend why God was choosing him.  Like Gideon, you may feel like everyone has forgotten you.  You may feel abandoned and been told that you were crazy for thinking God would want to use you. But you are in the right position for God to raise you up and call you to be a mighty man or woman of valor.  Don’t allow people to dictate to you whether or not you are good enough.  God made you and He thinks you are perfect.  He has given you dreams and desires for a reason.  And you can either trust him to perfect what He has given you, or you can succomb to fear and say to yourself, “this isn’t from God.”

“I want to help you decide that, by the power of God, you will not be ordinary.”  -Smith Wigglesworth

You have a purpose and because of the grace that God showers upon us, He has chosen you in spite of all of your flaws.

 

Strength For The Weary Soul

I have to admit, I am feeling very weary today.  My youngest son has been sick with the flu and strep for two weeks.  We thought he was getting better, but he came home again from school sick and tired.  I took him back to the doctors office where more tests were being run, and now we are just waiting for the results.

Waiting……it’s something God asks us to do so many times, and yet something I am horrible at doing.  It seems like the longer I wait, the more anxious I become.  My mind begins to think up the worse case scenario possible for every situation.  Even now, I am thinking about some of the things I have been asked to wait for and I have to admit, I think I have failed God in the waiting process.  Psalm 37:7 says:

“Rest in the Lord, and wait patiently for Him.”

I look at this verse wonder how do you find rest when everything around you looks so uncertain?  Is the answer in having complete trust in the Lord and knowing that He will take care of you no matter what?  I don’t know about you, but I tend to be the type of person who doesn’t handle uncertainty very well.  I like stability and I like to have a certain level of control in my circumstances.  (which of course is wrong)  When things tend to get out of my control, anxiety and fear increases and I usually end up crying to my husband and crying out to God.  Many times, I feel like I come to a complete place of brokenness.  How many times could I have spared myself all of this drama by just giving everything to God and resting in Him?  Would things have turned out differently?  Do I still continue to go around this same mountain because I have a very hard time letting go and God is trying to teach me that my peace is only through Him?

Webster’s Dictionary defines rest as:  a state or period of inactivity, relaxation, or sleep.  To lie down.  To be at peace or ease.  To depend; rely.

Looking at this definition really brings this verse into a different light for me.  God doesn’t want us to be all worried and anxious about what tomorrow holds.  He wants us to rest and be confident in Him knowing that He will work everything out for our good.

I think about a game we played when I was younger.  I’m sure most of you have played the same game.  We would have someone stand in front of us and we would tell that person to fall back.  The person falling had to make a quick decision:  am I going to trust my friends enough to catch me, or am I going to forget it and let someone else play?  Most of the time, we would trust our friends to catch us.  If we can place this much trust in our earthly friends, why do we find it difficult to place trust in our Heavenly Father?  After all, He is the One who created us.  He knows our every weakness, our every pain, the reason behind every tear we cry, and yet we have a hard time trusting and resting in Him.

Isaiah 40:31 says:

“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.”

Maybe the whole reason that God wants us to wait and rest in Him is because it is the only way our strength is renewed.  He knows how we were created, and He also knows that He did not create our bodies to hold on to stress the way we do.  How many physical problems could I avoid by just learning to rest in God?

Matthew 11:28-30 says:

“Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.  Take my yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.  For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.”

Jesus is the answer for everything we are going through.  We are to come and take His yoke and find rest in Him.  When we try to control our circumstances, we labor in vain.  We begin to to struggle with the heavy weight we have just placed on ourselves because we have failed to rest in Jesus.  A person who labors is struggling, and one with a heavy burden is overloaded.  Jesus is telling us to come to Him, find rest in Him.  He wants to take our burdens and struggles from us and give us peace.  But the only way for us to receive His peace is to stop trying to control our own circumstances.   We need to learn to fully rely on Him and place our complete trust in Him.

Your Dream Is Not Dead!

When I became pregnant with my second child, my husband and I were very excited because we were told that I would never be able to conceive again.  I had endometriosis which caused me to lose one ovary and caused a growth and scarring on the only ovary that I had left.  It took eight long years before I would become pregnant again and it was a complete miracle.

An ultrasound was performed immediately and everything looked perfect.  A couple of months later, I began to have pain.  I went to the doctors where another ultrasound was performed only to find out that there was no heartbeat detected.  The baby had no signs of life.  The doctor was a Christian and he told us to go home, wait one week and pray and then come back to the office where he would perform another ultrasound.  

I can not begin to describe the different emotions that ran through my head.  Hurt, anger, hopelessness, fear.  I often would ask God why He was doing this?  Why did He wait eight long years to give me another child only to take my baby away?  Why were other people who seemed unfit to parent having babies, but not me?  My emotions became a whirlwind and if I wasn’t careful, they were going to affect my relationship with the Lord.  As I lay on the floor crying, I heard God ask me this question:  “If I take your baby, would you still love me?”  I felt as if I was just punched in the gut.  I knew at that very moment I had to surrender my will and my dreams to God.  

A week passed and I went back to the doctors office.  Upon receiving another ultrasound, the heartbeat was beating loud and strong and the baby was alive and well.  When I look back on this miracle I am reminded of the verse in Luke 8:52:

“Do not weep; she is not dead, but sleeping.”

This is from the story about Jairus going to Jesus to tell Him that his daughter was sick.  By the time they got back to the house, Jairus’ daughter was dead.  Jesus cleared the room and spoke life back into the daughter.  

How many of you have felt like your dreams have died?  I know I have.  But I believe that God is telling us today that the dreams are not dead, they are only sleeping.  Don’t give up hope.

Joseph is a good biblical example of a dream that seemed to be dead.  If you remember, Joseph had a dream about his brothers bowing down to him.  Genesis 37:6 says

So he said to them, “Please hear this dream which I have dreamed:  There we were, binding sheaves in the field.  Then behold, my sheaf arose and also stood upright; and indeed your sheaves stood all around and bowed down to my sheaf.”

We know from the story that Joseph’s brothers became vey jealous and sold him into slavery.  It took many years before Joseph’s dream would manifest.  He was a slave, imprisioned, and  falsely accused.  In the natural realm things couldn’t have looked any worse for Joseph.  But in the spiritual realm, things were going exactly as planned.  Joseph had to come to a point of complete brokenness and surrender to God.  God knew what He had in store for Joseph.  And Joseph needed to be ready for it.

Like Joseph, I had to surrender my dream of having a child to God.  I had to come to a point of complete brokenness.  As I died to myself, Christ was raised up.  I believe many times God will test us in this area to see what means more to us.  Are we more concerned about making our dreams come true, or are we surrendering them back to God?  Sometimes our dreams have to die so that God can resurrect them and receive the glory.  If your dream is God-given, it will come to pass.  

2 Timothy 1:6 says:

“Therefore I remind you to stir up the gift of God which is in you.”

I believe it is time for us to begin stirring up our dreams again.  Begin to pray and ask God if your dream was from Him and if it is, ask Him to show you what your next steps should be.  Delay is not denial.  Joseph had to wait years before the manifestation of his dream came to pass.  He could have given up and said to himself that it just wasn’t worth it.  But he kept pressing on becasue he knew in his heart that God had given him a dream.  

Don’t give up on yourself.  Your dream is not dead; it is only sleeping.

Stand Still!

“Do not be afraid.  Stand still, and see the salvation of the Lord, which He will accomplish for you today.  For the Egyptians whom you see today, you shall see again no more forever.  The Lord will fight for you and you shall hold your peace.”  Exodus 14:13.

We see leading up to this verse that Pharaoh had just let the people of Israel go and they were leaving Egypt heading for the Promised Land.  But instead of going through the land of the Philistines; which would have been faster, God led them through the edge of the wilderness.  The Philistines were at war and God didn’t want the people to change their minds and head back to Egypt when they saw all of the turmoil. So He took them by the way of the wilderness.

I have to stop and ponder on the fact that God didn’t allow the Israelites to take the closer, quicker way out of Egypt.  There have been so many times in my life when I have prayed for a quick deliverance only to realize that it was going to take awhile to receive the answer to my prayer. Although delay is not denial, I begin to grow weak in my battle. I question why I can’t just be completely delivered from my problems. God instead led the Israelites through the wilderness. Did He do this because the Israelites needed to learn to fully rely on Him? Or maybe it was because all they did was doubt God’s provision and He wanted to reveal Himself in a powerful way.

As Pharaoh’s heart grew harder, and the Egyptians began to surround the Israelites, fear began to rise and they began to cry out to God.
God’s reply to them was to fear not and to stand firm.  He was going to fight the battle for them.  How many times in our lives do we forget the fact that God wants to fight our battles for us?  Why do we try to fight our battles in our own strength?  We pray, rebuke, quote scriptures, and fast all the while not asking God what He wants us to do to win our battles.  After being brought down to our knees from the weariness we caused ourselves, we realize that our own efforts are not working.  

Many times, God will bring us to our knees so He can raise us up.  It is at this moment that we hear the loving voice of our Father telling us “Don’t be afraid.  Stand still and let me fight this battle for you.”  You see, God never intended for us to fight our own battles. But many times we forget this and we try to fight the battle ourselves.  We allow our pride to set in and we miss the very miracle that God wants to do for us.  I have to wonder how many miracles I have missed in my life because I didn’t allow God to take care of my battle. I took things in my own hands and grew faint in fighting my battles and I gave up instead of just standing still.  

 I believe that God will sometimes make things so uncomfortable for us that we have nowhere else to go but on our knees.  When we have completely emptied ourselves of us, we realize how much we need God and then He can move on our behalf.  We are no longer in the way.  When you feel like the battle is raging the most, surrender.  Not to the enemy, but to the God who can overcome the enemy.  Then just stand and watch what God will do for you!

The Israelites stood and saw the deliverance of God.  Exodus 14:21 says:  

“Then Moses stretched out his hand over the sea; and the Lord caused the sea to go back by a strong east wind all that  night, and made the waters divide.”

God had a way out of the battle that the Israelites were going through.  They only needed to stand and trust God to protect and deliver them.  To man, things looked impossible, but God always has a way of deliverance for you.  In fact, verse 25 says:

“Let us flee from the face of Israel, for the Lord fights for them against the Egyptians.”

Your enemy knows the power of your God.  We need to stop allowing the battles of our lives to cause us to forget the power of our God.  When the battles are raging, and the wind is blowing, we need to dig in our heels and just stand.  Allow God to fight for you.