Archives for February 2020

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Now That's a Prayer!

Then Jehoshaphat stood up and said "O LORD God we have no power to face this mighty army. We do not know what to do, but our eyes are on you" (2 Chronicles 20:5, 12). Ever feel at a loss for words when it comes to prayer? The Bible is chock full of prayers: every Psalm is a kind of prayer, so there's 150 of them. The Lord's Prayer. The prayers that Paul prayed for the ...

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Look What the Lord Can Do

Do not be afraid or discouraged because of this vast army. For the battle is not yours, but God's (2 Chronicles 20:15b). Some Old Testament stories are grim, but they were preserved because each has a lesson for us. Often we can go for years not-getting-it, then one day our eyes are opened to its relevance for our life. In 2 Chronicles 20 Jehoshaphat and his people are ...

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The God Who Fights For Us

"...Do not be afraid and do not be dismayed at this great horde, for the battle is not yours but God's" 2 Chronicles 20:15. In the regular army the higher you go up the chain-of-command, the less likely you are to find people who fight. The logic is simple. It's much easier to oversee the execution of a battle plan if you're not on the front lines facing the brunt of the...

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The Battle is God's

"Attention everyone -- all of you from out of town, all of you from Jerusalem, and you King Jehoshaphat -- God's word: Don't be afraid; don't pay any mind to this vandal horde. This is God's war, not yours. Tomorrow you'll go after them; see, they're already on their way up the slopes of Ziz; you'll meet them at the end of the ravine near the wilderness of Jeruel. You wo...

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The Most Human Thing We Do

Jehoshaphat bowed with his face to the ground, and all the people of Israel fell down in worship before the LORD (2 Chronicles 20:19). What's the most human thing we do? Better yet, what's the most humanizing thing we dowhat is it that makes us most distinctively and most fully human? Worship. Every human being is a worshipper of something. Christ calls us to be wo...

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Stand...Stand...Stand...Stand!

Ephesians 6:10-17 There it is, four times, in this classic Pauline passage on "spiritual warfare": stand. Take your stand stand your ground after you have done everything, stand stand firm. Not stand around doing nothing. Not stand still, unable or unwilling to move. Not stand in a safe spot. Stand in the battle. Keep your position. Follow the "standing orders" of Ki...

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Fighting the Right Kind of Battle

"For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers,against the authorities, against the powers of this dark worldand against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms" (Ephesians 6:12). If ever a person had a right to be angry with people, it was Jesus. Think about it: while he was being nailed to a cross, the blood being spilled with ever...

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Armor Looks Good on You!

"Put on the full armor of God" (Ephesians 6:13). If you ran into someone, let's say at a crowded checkout line, dressed in a full suit of Roman armorhelmet, breastplate, shield, sword, the whole worksyou might be puzzled, bemused, or maybe annoyed: no wonder the line's moving so slowly! If, however, you encountered someone whose life was characterized by truth, righteous...

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Eyes to See Our Enemy

For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. (Ephesians 6:12) A good first step in recognizing our enemy is discerning whom our enemy is not. Thankfully Paul tells us up front that our enemy is not people. Yes, it ma...

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We Wrestle...Not?

"Our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms" (Ephesians 6:12). The King James renders Ephesians 6:12 like this: "We wrestle not against flesh and blood." Many Christians have mis-heard and mis-read these words as saying "we don't have to wrestle." But if you are a Christ follower, you are already in a wr...

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Our Eyes are Connected to Our Ears

2 Kings 6:8-23 Wouldn't it be terrific to know what your enemies were saying and planning? Wouldn't it be awesome to be able to see, as Elisha could, God's armies of fire, surrounding and protecting you? Surely, if we studied Elisha's life and story deeply enough, we could discover some spiritual tips and techniques to provide ourselves with that kind of hearing, that k...

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Learning to See

2 Kings 6:8-23 It's a funny story: an ancient warlord who finds himself being spied upon by God; he imagines he has surrounded his enemy, Elijah the prophet, only to find he has been surrounded by the armies of God; he and his army are struck blind, then led like sheep straight to their opponent and to certain death ("Shall I kill them, my father; shall I kill them?" ve...

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Deliver De Letter De Sooner De Better

"but Elisha, the prophet who is in Israel, tells the king of Israel the very words you speak in your bedroom" (2 Kings 6:12b). On October 7, 2010 I got to be God's messenger girl. I was driving through Netcong, NJ when I glimpsed a woman standing on the corner smoking a cigarette. Into my awareness came this message: "My Sweet One, you need never smoke a cigarett...

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When God Does a Download

"Will you not show me who of us is for the king of Israel?" And one of his servants said,"None, my lord, O king; but Elisha, the prophet who is in Israel, tells the king of Israelthe words that you speak in your bedroom" (2Kings 6:11-12). A download is a transfer of information from one system to another, and many people think that downloading started with the age of ...

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What's Really Going On?

[Elisha's servant said], "Oh, my lord, what shall we do?" The prophet answered,"Those who are with us are more than are with them" (2 Kings 6:15-16). We're beginning a new series, "Eyes Wide Open." Let's set the scene for this week's Scripture passage: It's been about 200 years since King David, and around 850 years before Jesus. God's people Israel, originally unit...

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From Blessing to Building

From Blessing to Building Brian and Kathy Emmet Blessed are the poor in spirit Everyone who hears these words of mine and putsthem into practice is like a wise man who builds his house on the rock (Matthew 5:3, 7:24). Jesus began the Sermon on the Mount with blessing. Who doesn't like to be blessed? Jesus ends the Sermon with a story about two builders and two bui...

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Good Tree, Bad Tree

Good Tree, Bad Tree Lana Waters Liu By their (the false prophets') fruit you will recognize them. A good tree cannot bear bad fruit,and a bad tree cannot bear good fruit (Matthew 7:16, 18). If the idea of a good tree and a bad tree sounds familiar to you, you may be remembering the two trees in the Genesis garden. We were told way back then that the bad tree is the...

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Not Everyone

Not Everyone Brian and Kathy Emmet Not everyone who says to me, "Lord, Lord," will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven" (Matthew 7:21). "Jesus is Lord!" is the core Christian confession. The apostle Paul wrote that if we confess with our mouths that Jesus is Lord and believe that God raised him from the dead, we ...

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If This Fruit Could Talk

If This Fruit Could Talk Blake Barbera "Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep's clothing but inwardly are ravenous wolves. You will recognize them by their fruits. Are grapes gathered from thornbushes, or figs from thistles? So, every healthy tree bears good fruit, but the diseased tree bears bad fruit. A healthy tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a disea...

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Two Ways, Two Trees, Two Buildings

Two Ways, Two Trees, Two Buildings Brian and Kathy Emmet Matthew 7:13-29 Fred Rogers ("Mister Rogers"), who appears to have known Jesus pretty well and modeled some pretty right-side up living in our upside-down world, said, "Life is deep and simple, and what our world gives us is shallow and complicated." Jesus makes things simple, which is not the same as making th...

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