Tuesday, September 19, 2023

In the Midst of Battles

In the Midst of Battles 
by David Brenneman 

It's not always easy to remember God's truth about life above our perception of life.  Life can and often does hurt.  Emotionally, physically, and Spiritually. 

Sometimes we're fighting battles in our minds that He's already won.  We turn arguments over and over again in our minds of things that either won't happen or have only the slightest risk of happening. 

We often do indeed lean on our own understanding first rather than the Lord.  We are prone to the "do it yourself" mentality before we consider going to God.  

Lately it's been on my mind about sheep.  
Jesus said His sheep hear His voice.  Sheep can be very talkative.  But sheep also learn who their Shepherd is by listening.  It's more than the association of the Shepherd feeding them.  Our Shepherd goes way beyond what a normal hired Shepherd does.  Hired ones do not lay down their own life for the sheep. Jesus said this is exactly what He did for us.

My own conversational prayers on my way to work each morning are whatever is on my heart and mind.  Doesn't matter what's on my mind, I speak it out loud.  Satan probably hates those times of the day and I certainly am good with that.

Getting familiar with praying and prayer is what we all ought to be doing.  We are in an intimate relationship with Jesus if indeed we are saved after all.  He hears our prayers instantly and is indeed working all things together for good to those who love Him and are called according to His purpose. 

Sheep who indeed have learned of the true caring of their Shepherd believe their Shepherd.  Jesus said He is the Good Shepherd.   We need to trust Him more and believe more when we pray. 

Trust and Obey is an apt song to describe the relationship between a sheep and the Good Shepherd.  

Oftentimes field commanders in times of war re-enact former battles to prepare for the next one.  In today's parlance the sports world calls it the game tape.  Reviewing former opponents to learn how to win the next time.

Our time on Earth is very finite.  Making the most of every single opportunity is really important.   Satan's made an excellent industry in keeping people from making the most of every opportunity.  He began with Adam and Eve in convincing humanity of things that they've earned or that they deserve.  This too is a battle in our minds.  It's as old as history itself when you really consider it.  Advertising everywhere is about getting you to do something for yourself...an intentional way to distract you from God's purposes.

There is a parable of a sheep that left a fold, and the Shepherd who left the 99 to go to look for it.  Really think about it.  What got the 1 sheep’s attention to wander away from the protection and provision of it's Shepherd?  What does it take to get you to wander away from the protection and provision of your Shepherd?  Reality is sheep can do this all the time.  What reality you probably don't know is that the Shepherd, upon finding the sheep, breaks the leg of the sheep.  Causing the sheep to learn from what it did and to fully lean on its Shepherd.  We oftentimes go through things to come back to Jesus that hurt.  It often is very deep and personal.   It's no coincidence that it's the same lesson.

Sometimes our battles in our minds just don't need to be taking place.   Yes, we ought to use skill, wisdom, in what we do in life, and preparation is a good thing.  However, we ought not to overdo it.  Preparation for what God's already prepared for isn't good.  

That song that I have referred to before, "There's peace that outlasts darkness
Hope thats in the blood
There's future grace thats mine today
That Jesus Christ has won
So I can face tomorrow
For tomorrow's in Your hands
All I need you will provide
Just like you always have

I'm fighting a battle
That you've already won
No matter what comes my way
I will overcome
I don't know what your doing
But I know what you've done
I'm fighting a battle that
You've already won" 
- "You've Already Won" by Shane and Shane. 

Our own understanding gets us into so much trouble.  

When we walk with the Lord, in the light of His word, what a glory he sheds on our way. While we do his good will, he abides with us still, never fear only trust and obey.

In the midst of our battles, remembering that He's already won is crucial.  Remembering that we're not alone is vital. 
Praying listening is as important as praying speaking.  Not wasting time on frivolous things that you know God's not wanting for you is essential.  Our first priority is what the Spirit wants for us, not what we want.  As in Jesus's example in regards to the cross. What the Father wills, not His own will be done.  

Are you walking in a manner worthy of your calling in Christ Jesus?  Not just sometimes?   The music you listen to, the recreational things that you participate in, the times you're alone, do these things help your relationship with Jesus?   Do they reflect a right relationship with Jesus?  As an example that is Scripturally relevant...what proceeds out of your mouth comes from your heart.   What's in there?  What are you feeding it?  Is your heart Hungry, Angry, Lonely or Tired?  What proceeds out of your mouth reflects the state of your heart.

Pray at all times the Bible says.  It's a relationship that's to be continuous.  Not repetitious.  Not a droning of words over and over with no heart behind them.  Mean it when you pray it is what the Spirit teaches.  It's what God wants. 

We are to consider it all joy when we experience various trials.  It's for our good.  Growing us in Christ.  Causing us to stay close to our Good Shepherd.

All NASB 1995 and NASB Scripture Excerpts used by permission. Lockman Foundation.

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