Category Archives: Take Him at His Word

The rest of the story <3

It’s Friday so there is that to look forward to, right?

We have a busy weekend ahead and this one right here managed to lock herself out of her website around 10 PM last night. In case you heard an extremely frustrated cry of exasperation in the vicinity of our home.

I certainly have had multiple opportunities to apply the lessons of 2 Chronicles 20 as we made our way through the past week or so.

And today I want to just finish it off with the balance of that passage.

Because ALL of Scripture is, as we know…breathed by God into human pens and thus useful to us for correcting and guiding and teaching and warning. And that would be my very rough translation of 2 Timothy 3:16.

So I would be remiss to not point out two things…one lovely and one so typical of the human story line.

Because the remaining verses tell how after they collected the spoils of war and praised God and returned to their homes, the land experienced peace.

I love how it is worded in my NKJV bible…how the fear of God came over all those who might have attempted to do likewise around this tiny kingdom and the best part…

Then the realm of Jehoshaphat was quiet, for his God gave him rest all around.”

Even as I type those words, I breathe deeply and longingly to be able to say the same.

Then Laura’s life was quiet…and her God gave her rest all around.

The thought of it tugs at a tender place in my heart that has wistfully wanted all endings to come like Disney writes them…and they all lived happily ever-after.

And we will someday, you know.

But for now we are a flawed and prone-to-wander bunch of travelers, are we not?

My bible type is set up in such a way to completely finish the story of King Jehoshaphat, you have to turn the page after reading the passage I just shared.

And that brings us to the “rest of the story” that would kind of be a downer if this were a Paul Harvey radio show. (If you have no idea who Paul Harvey is, you missed a rich part of American story-telling, so google it my friend)

Because while we learn that King Jehoshaphat did a lot of good things in the right way – those dang high places, that God’s people always seem to have a hard time parting with, remained.

And the people once again began that forgetting-what-God-did pattern as they continued to leave room in their hearts for other little-g gods.

And Jehoshaphat himself?

Well, at some point he had a big decision to make about joining forces with a less than godly king and rather than seek his God again, he moved forward in his own counsel…and shipwrecked, literally, his kingdom.

Oh friends.

Even as we have seen the wonderful pattern of successful kingdom warfare modeled by King Jehoshaphat, let us be wise in how we move forward after God-ordained victories.

Let us choose carefully who we align ourselves with, and not foolishly abandon our God who would only ask us to be willing to show up and praise Him as He fights our battles for us.

Why would we ever take matters into our own frail and faulty human hands again?

God bless you this weekend in whatever you set out to do. May you see and know the love and power of your God in every battle and may our praises rise to Him and to Him alone.

He is worthy <3

 

How to act when God tells you to not be afraid or dismayed…

Ok first,  if you went to visit the site and got some scary looking message that seemed like an alarming spam thing…it wasn’t.

They did some maintenance on the hosting side with the oddest names for the upgrade and all manner of lingo that scared me and I even knew it was coming.

So if you braved it and came back, so good to see you again, my friend.

And if you didn’t get to read yesterday’s, hop back and catch up on that. We will wait for you, as always…

In my Bible margin I have numbered the events of this story so here is what mine looks like…

  1. State the key problem  vv. 1-5
  2. Declare who God is   v 6
  3. Declare what He has done in the past  vv. 7 & 8
  4. Declare what He has promised in the future vv. 9-12
  5. Declare your own dependance on Him  vv. 12 & 13
  6. L.I.S.T.E.N.   vv. 14-17

and now today…we come to #7

Act.

Jehoshaphat, like us when we face our multitudes, now had the choice to react to what God said or to act. 

And we see he chose to take action on what God had told the people.

First order of business?

Jehoshaphat bowed low to the ground.

This King bent his knee down before Him who is Sovereign over all kings and kingdoms.

He bowed his kingly head to the greater authority of His God.

It says he put his face to the ground.

Have you ever done that?

Have you ever bowed down so low that your face rested on the ground?

And in keeping with the whole unity of the community thing…

everyone else did the same, we are told.

And then they worshipped the LORD.

The praise team got up and lead a mighty worship service.

Then the next morning they all got up early and they suited up for war; just like God had told them to do.

And King Jehoshaphat gave them a speech that I am quite certain surpassed the one we started this series talking about…that inspiring Lord of the Rings final battle pep talk…

Oh I do love watching that movie.

Love watching an actor portraying Aragorn ride up and down in front of the small army who will stand against the forces of Hell and passionately inspire a quaking army to take a stand in the face of overwhelming odds.

But listen to what a real King named Jehoshaphat, told a real army of real men, in a real place called Judah and Jerusalem, when a real multitude of evil was descending on them to destroy them….

“Hear me, O Judah and you inhabitants of Jerusalem…Believe in the LORD your God, and you shall be established; believe His prophets, and you shall prosper.”

Oh to have a replay of that battle speech someday on Heaven’s big screen.

But for now…we can perch on our study chairs and use our imaginations to fill in the details as he consulted with the people and then appointed those who would sing praises to God and march before the army into the place where somehow against all odds, God was promising a victory.

Imagine if you will please.

Selecting a few members of your church’s praise band and the choir and setting them up on the front line as  your took your position and marched forward…willing your shaking human flesh to just BELIEVE.

And so they raised their voices in praise behind the musicians and singers and marched.

Can I tell you?

I wish we were all sitting together right now for this part

Although, I’m kind of a mess as tears roll down my mascara stained cheeks and I am in desperate need of a tissue.

Because as only God could arrange it, the enemy they were about to meet got all hacked off at each other and ended up having a big old war between themselves.

By the time the army of Judah arrived in the valley, there was nothing but dead bodies. None of them had escaped.

Evil had turned in on itself and ended up destroying itself while God’s people were fasting and praying and seeking Him and then having a grand worship service.

It says it took them three days to collect all the spoils and on the fourth day, they gathered again and blessed the LORD and then all returned to their homes.

So in my Bible margin I have a #8 that says…collect the spoils.

Hallelujah!

Hallelujah!

and again…

Hallelujah!

Because after God wins the battle that loomed on our horizon, we get to haul in all the treasures the enemy left behind.

What a blessing it has been to share one of my favorite passages with you all this past few days.

May we each one meditate on the God-breathed words of 2 Chronicles 20 again and again and ask God to speak to us…

and oh, how I hope and pray we will remember to humble ourselves and seek Him,

fast and pray until He speaks…

and then listen and act in faith and worship of Him who saves us time and again.

 

The word I circled for this part

Good morning to you <3

Or at least morning is when I am writing this and how I wish I could work ahead on these, but somehow life continues to spin on with me running slightly behind it trying to catch up.

So here is our thought for today as we move along through looking at 2 Chronicles 20.

Yesterday we read about how, after King Jehoshaphat called for the people to gather from all the cities of Judah (see map in September 13 post) and fast and seek the LORD, God did speak through Jahaziel.

And what did God say to the people?

The first part is what we are going to camp out on today.

“Listen all you of Judah and you inhabitants of Jerusalem, and you, King Jehoshaphat! Thus says the LORD to you: ‘Do not be afraid nor dismayed because of this great multitude, for the battle is not yours, but God’s.’”       2 Chronicles 20: 15

And since this is my little pondering spot on this thing we call the worldwide web…here are my thoughts as I look over that rich collection of simple words filled with much-longed for reassurance in all the battles I face.

First my circled word….

L. I. S.T.E.N.

Listen to Me…He says…

and then He makes sure all the key people are getting the point.

 LISTEN to ME….(oh how I wish I could handwrite that for you because if I was writing that in my journal notebook it would most likely take up about three quarters of the page.

I would write tall letters and I might take a marker to it just to make it bolder…

and then I would draw a ton of stick figures of people to represent Judah and the inhabitants of Jerusalem.

Some would be big and tall and some a little shorter and then there would be child size figures clustered around them. Some would be holding little stick figure babies.

And  I would draw one stick figure with a crown.

Because the LORD made sure King Jehoshaphat had his listening ears on first and foremost.

I can picture the King gesturing to his scribe to take notes…don’t miss a thing here.

We want to get every detail of the battle plan down correctly!

And so the whole hungry gathering leaned hard into hearing range of the voice of Jahaziel as he spoke forth the words of the LORD God of Israel in their most dire moment….

perhaps he himself leaned forward with his hands over his spirit ears so he could get every single word correct and then…

he may have cleared his throat a bit and declared the Word of the LORD as he heard it…

DO NOT BE AFRAID…DO NOT BE DISMAYED…

What?

That’s it?

yes…

the LORD your God has heard your cry for help and here is the first and most important thing for you to know and to do….

DO NOT BE AFRAID OR DISMAYED.

I SEE THE MULTITUDE COMING AGAINST YOU. 

I don’t know how quick of a thinker King Jehoshaphat and the others were but at this point I would have already sped ahead to…well..great…that’s really helpful there, God. Thank you so much.

Which is probably why He doesn’t put me out there in the really big battles, but keeps me in the reserves for skirmishes.

But then as everyone was probably beginning to scratch their head and wonder if Jehoshaphat had a plan B up his kingly sleeve, God speaks the clincher through the mouth of Jahaziel.

The words we all need to remember when we have not picked the fight, but the fight has found us….

the reason they did not need to fear or be dismayed…

This battle…this battle belongs to Me not you.

Yes you will have to prepare for it and yes you will have to show up and yes you will have to exert energy to overcome fear and dismay at the reality of what is coming against you.

You will have to strap on your armor, and you will have to take your sword.

You will have to will those shaking knees to march into formation and head out in the direction I will lead you.

You will have to trust Me.

But this battle…you will not fight.

This battle belongs to Me.

“Tomorrow go down against them.

They will surely come up by the Ascent of Ziz, and you will find them at the end of the brook before the Wilderness of Jeruel.

You will not need to fight in this battle.

Position yourselves, stand still and see the salvation of the LORD,

who is with you, O Judah and Jerusalem!

Do not fear or be dismayed;

tomorrow go out against them,

for the LORD is with you.

The LORD is with you, mighty warrior.

Go out and face your battles today knowing this.

Do not be afraid.

Do not be dismayed.

No matter how greatly you are outnumbered.

HE

IS

WITH

YOU

<3

 

 

 

 

An exercise of “Thus Far” to end the week…

I loaded you down with a lot of thoughts this week, didn’t I?

Does it help to know my own head is swimming with our journey through 2 Chronicles 20?

I had planned to wrap this up in a five day series, but God’s Word is always layered and there is so much more than first meets the eye.

So we are going to pause today…

take a little rest stop along the way…

and take some time to ponder and apply what we have covered so far.

I did this yesterday on the drive to watch the band of brothers and Sweet Caroline.

I had forty-five minutes and I want to apologize to anyone I passed because I wasn’t talking on my phone or telling you off….honest biscuits…

I was filling in my own “there’s a great multitude coming against us…” session with the God who made me, loves me, saved me.

So here are the basics for you, my friend, for you to do the same for personal area of influence.

Step 1: Mentally or on paper go ahead and list everything that is opposing you and God’s good plan for your life.

Include all the people who come to your mind who are also facing overwhelming situations that are causing pain, stress, death, loss, betrayal….all the calling cards the enemy of our soul would like to leave on their doorsteps.

You all know what the difference is between that which brings “life, health, truth, peace, joy, self-control, prosperity of the soul, stability, kindness, etc” and what “steals, kills and destroys”.

So name it – all the enemies attempting to ruin God’s people and God’s plan.

Step 2: Now name everything you know to be true about God, your Father…Jesus Christ your Lord and Savior…Holy Spirit who lives in you and who gives you power and strength.

Go ahead and use King Jehoshaphat’s pattern. He won’t mind…there are no copywriter issues in Glory…He doesn’t care if you plagiarize his words.

Start out your declarations with “Are You not God who….?” and just fill in the blanks.

For example…here’s how I started.

“Are You not the God who saved my sorry soul out of the pit of self-service and called me into your Kingdom? Are You not the God who transferred me from darkness to light? Are You not the God who loved me before I even knew who You were?”

Please note…this may take awhile and you most assuredly can use your Bible if you run out of things to say about who He is.

Step 3: Really analyze what the enemy is trying to take in these attacks and call those out as well.

Declare how those things go against what God has promised you in His Word and in your times before Him in the past when He laid hopes and dreams on your heart.

You might be tempted at this point to lean into self-pity and start explaining your own virtues to God and begin whining about how unfair the enemy is. May I urge you to NOT do that….remember…the focus here is on how awesome God is and how awful the enemy is…and let God decide where you land between those two extremes.

This will be helpful for the final step…

Step 4: After you have poured out all of it, stop.

Stop and assume the position of a helpless child with your hands and  your heart spread wide.

You really have nothing to bring to the battle except your great need and the measure of faith you have been given.

You stand before the One who has everything you need to win.

So gather your family, your friends, all the people near and far for whom you carry any burden and stand there before God and lift your eyes to Him alone.

And wait.

I hope and pray you will find some kind of quiet place this weekend and do this.

I look forward to regrouping with you on Monday as we continue on this journey.

May the Lord meet you in your outpouring and may He pour out on you wisdom and comfort, peace and joy.

May He hear your cries and may you experience His mercy and grace over all that is coming against you and those you love <3

 

Fast forward…as the focus turns from self to God <3

To catch you up to speed: I started a little series for the week based on 2 Chronicles 20. (we started Monday this week if you want to go back and read those first, we will wait for you…)

This is a well-marked and often visited set of pages in my Bible over the years as it describes those times when we don’t just have one thing coming against, but we have many things coming from all directions.

Attacks on all borders and we are greatly outnumbered.

Jehoshaphat was King of Judah and received news of a huge multitude of armies coming against his land.

We are told he realized the serious situation and feared greatly, but he set himself to seek the Lord and called for all the people from every city to come together in fasting and prayer to seek God’s help.

The next thing he did is interesting.

As everyone was gathered in the Temple and with desperate cries to God; Jehoshaphat led them in prayer.

His words are recorded in verses 5-13 but here is the summary of the declarations he made:

<3 Who God is…the God of their history and past generations, ruler over heaven and all the kingdoms of earth, the One who holds all power and all might in His own hands

<3 What God had done already…drove out the inhabitants of the land and given that particular place of real estate to His people, Israel – the descendants of Abraham, made them a nation with a place of worship specifically dedicated to Him alone

<3 What God had promised…that if at any time trouble of war or famine or pestilence should come on them, if they gathered in that place and called out to Him, He would hear them and He would save them

<3 What the enemy was doing…tattled on them, he did. Jehoshaphat straight up called out the enemy’s activities in detail to God and pointed out why what they were doing was NOT God’s plan for Israel.

<3 What they needed…King Jehoshaphat…the King of Judah…the man with all the resources of the kingdom at his disposal….stood humbly before the LORD his God…and this precious so don’t ever miss this…not only did the King stand there before Him but “all Judah, with their little ones, their wives and their children, stood before the LORD” v. 13. 

<3 What they declared about themselves….And they all…the whole huge crowd of royals and commoners and peasants and business owners…holding their little babies and huddled with their youth beside them… they admitted…we have no power against this great multitude that is coming against us. We have no idea what we should do. But our eyes are upon You.

Not….here’s our battle plan. Lord, bless it.

Not…we are pulling all the smartest people out and reviewing battle strategies and taking inventory of our weaponry.

Not…call out for any able bodies and lets get them suited up in army and gather horses and sharpen our swords.

No.

They gathered together as families and stood before the Lord and lifted empty trusting hands and faith-filled eyes to the One who had made promises.

Jesus made us some promises.

He promised in this world we would have trouble…but to take heart…because He has overcome it.

He promised He would never leave us nor forsake us.

He promised His Spirit to dwell in us and guide us and teach us and correct us.

He promised He was going away but that He would come back.

He is faithful.

In the midst of overwhelming circumstances today, would you humble your heart?

Would you gather those you love dearly, even if it is only in your prayer closet, and stand before the Lord with honesty about situations and then would you acknowledge your need for Him to show up and would you keep your eyes firmly fixed on Him today?

God bless you dear ones. The trials and struggles of this life are real and they are a multitude.

But…..

HE. HAS. OVERCOME. <3