Friday, April 26, 2013

Waging War in the Storm

Recently a storm arose that was much like those pop up thunderstorms we experience in the heat of summer. You know the kind I’m talking about: you know what conditions trigger it, you sense it coming, and if you get caught out in it, the downpour may just ruin a good pair of shoes?

Well, this storm was like that, only it was spiritual in nature and had the potential to ruin exceedingly more than a pair of shoes. The conditions (stressors, uncertainties, obligations, etc.) were right for a perfect storm and I could sense something, a spirit, was lurking and about to take hold. As the “clouds” rolled in and the “storm” was upon us, I prayed, called for help and began to see the storm blow over and praise God, sooner, rather than later, the sun shone brilliantly.

In those moments when the storm had passed and the sky was still clearing, I had the blessing of some much-needed quiet time alone with my Lord. He’s been telling me to remember where He’s led me and how He’s loved me throughout my life, and in looking back to really remember His activity, I pulled out an old journal and began reading through the pages and remembering the days, weeks, months and years. As my quiet time was ending, I came to an entry from the beginning of 2010. I sensed that there was something more for me in reading through that entry, something new for me to see or hear. The first words I wrote on that particular day were 2 Chronicles 20. I opened my Bible and saw where I had written the words: Battle Plan to Fight Satan. The following verses of scripture were underlined and numbered with the steps in the plan.

I didn’t record who taught this lesson, but I am grateful for the notes I have from it. As a reminder to myself for the next trial and maybe for someone else who is in the midst of a difficult situation, these are some steps from Jehoshaphat’s prayer in 2 Chronicles 20 for waging war in spiritual matters.

1.     Look to God.
                    He set his face to seek the Lord… (vs.3)

2.     Call for help.
                   …and proclaimed a fast …and all the cities came to seek the Lord (vs.4)

3.     Remind God who God is.
Did you not, our God, drive out the inhabitants of this land before your people Israel, and give it forever to the descendants of Abraham your friend? (vs.7)

4.     Cry out to God.
We will stand before this house and before you – for your name is in this house – and cry out to you in our affliction, and you will hear and save. (vs.9)

5.     Name the promise.
…you have given us to inherit. (vs.11)

6.     Confess our weakness and need for God.
For we are powerless against this great horde that is coming against us. We do not know what to do, but our eyes are on you. (vs.12)

7.     Listen.
Listen…thus says the Lord to you… (vs.15)

8.     Hold fast to what God says.
Do not be afraid and do not be dismayed at this great horde, for the battle is not yours but God’s…You will not need to fight in this battle. Stand firm, hold your position, and see the salvation of the Lord on your behalf… (vs.15b,17)

9.     Worship God.
Then Jehoshaphat bowed his head with his face to the ground…worshipping the Lord…(vs.18)

10. Faith in God establishes you.
Believe in the Lord your God, and you will be established; believe his prophets and you will succeed. (vs.20)

11. Give thanks to God.
Give thanks to the Lord, for his steadfast love endures forever. (vs.21)

vs.22 – And when they began to sing and praise, the Lord set an ambush against the enemy.

For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places. – Ephesians 6:12

One of my favorite authors has said, “Satan will get others to do to you what he wants to do to you”. In other words, we have a very real enemy who seeks to steal from us using tactics of blame, shame, busyness, failure and deception…he will entice us to heap condemnation on ourselves or on others. But, we have a hope and promise that we can stand firm as Jesus takes back all that satan has stolen from us.

Fear not, stand firm, and see the salvation of the Lord, which he will work for you today. For the Egyptians whom you see today, you shall never see again. The Lord will fight for you, and you have only to be silent. – Exodus 14:13-14

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