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The Word For Today

Winning life's battles 6

'Jehoshaphat appointed men to sing to the Lord.' 2 Chronicles 20:21 NIV

Sixth, thank God in advance. Imagine standing on a mountaintop looking across a valley towards a mountain on the other side. A big battle is about to take place down below. On one mountain, three enemy nations are poised and waiting to devastate Israel. The Israelites are on your mountain and their leader Jehoshaphat tells them, 'Here's God's battle plan. All of those who sing in the choir, I want you out front.' So the army goes marching into battle with the choir on the front line singing praises to God. Did the plan work? Yes. The opposing armies got confused and ended up killing each other - and all God's people had to do was divide up the plunder! Why did God do it this way? As a visual object lesson to teach us to praise him in faith even before the victory takes place.

When you pray, 'Lord, I know I have problems, but I thank you in advance because there's no situation you can't take care of,' three things happen: (1) Your atmosphere changes. You no longer feel afraid because you have the assurance of God's presence. (2) Your attitude changes. You begin to say, 'Lord, this may be too big for me, but it's not too big for you.' (3) Your approach changes. Instead of speaking words of doubt, you start speaking words of faith. And because your faith honours God, he honours your faith and the battle begins to turn in your favour.

And here's another important key to victory: don't just praise God for a while and then quit; keep praising him until your breakthrough comes.

Soulfood: Ecc 9-12, Matt 16:13-28, Ps 36, Pro 5:21-23


Winning life's battles 5

'Stand firm and see the deliverance the Lord will give you.' 2 Chronicles 20:17 NIV

Fifth, stand firm. Notice what God told Jehoshaphat: 'Stand firm.' What does it mean to 'stand firm' when you're in a crisis? It's a mental attitude of quiet confidence that says, 'I'm going to trust God.' One pastor writes: 'This is something I'm slowly learning; it's never God's will for me to run from a difficult situation. If I do, the situation will only follow and catch up with me a little further down the line. It may not look the same, but it will be the same. Why? Because God wants to teach me that he is sufficient for any problem. If we don't learn this today, we may learn it next week. If we don't learn it next week, we may learn it next year. But eventually we'll learn it - and the sooner the better. We can save ourselves problems by standing firm and waiting on God in quiet confidence.'

So what do we stand firm on? 'Have faith in the Lord your God and you will be upheld; have faith in his prophets and you will be successful' (2 Chronicles 20:20 NIV). First, we need to stand firm on the character of God. God is faithful, and we can depend on him. Second, we need to stand firm on the writings that he has given us through his prophets - in other words, the truth of the Bible. The Bible is God's Word, and we need only rely in quiet confidence on his written promises.

So the word for you today is: stand firm on the unchanging character of God and the unchanging promises of his Word.

Soulfood: Ecc 5-8, Matt 16:1-12, Ps 33:13-22, Pro 5:15-20


Winning life's battles 4

'The battle is not yours, but God's.' 2 Chronicles 20:15 NIV

Fourth, learn to relax in faith. Notice how God responded to Jehoshaphat's prayer: 'The battle is not yours, but God's' (2 Chronicles 20:15 NIV). Many of us wear ourselves out trying to fight God's battles in our own strength. In the initial flush of becoming Christians, we're eager to win the world to Jesus, and want to go out and single-handedly bring about his Kingdom. That's because we don't realise what's involved. Then after we've worked hard under our own steam, reality sets in. We end up crawling back on our hands and knees, disappointed, because we think we've let God down. But he reassures us, 'You didn't let me down, because you weren't holding me up.'

The truth is, we don't hold God up - he holds us up! We don't have him in our hands, he has us in his hands! And he's telling us to relax in faith and let him do the work through us. Paul wrote, 'As you received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live your lives in him' (Colossians 2:6 NIV). In other words, remember how you first became a believer - by simple faith in the finished work of Christ - and continue to live by simple faith. You didn't become a Christian by striving for perfection and doing good works. Good works have nothing to do with it! Salvation is a free gift. God doesn't need us to micromanage things; he has everything under control, and he wants us to relax and let him live through us.

Bottom line: victory in life is a gift from God! 'Thank God, who always leads us in victory because of Christ' (2 Corinthians 2:14 GWT).

Soulfood: Ecc 1-4, Matt 15:29-39, Ps 33:1-12, Pro 5:7-14

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