Monday, September 18, 2017

Prayers of Warriors

"Fight the good fight of faith, lay hold on eternal life, whereunto thou art also called, and hast professed a good profession before many witnesses."
I Timothy 6:12
(KJV)

As Christians, it is no secret that we are involved in ongoing spiritual warfare.
Sometimes, it feels like we barely catch our breath in between battles.
We think we are in a lull of reprieve, then, all at once, out of nowhere,
the enemy attacks from a new direction using a tactical angle we haven't yet seen,
and, once again, we find ourselves needing to pick up our Sword and fight with all our might.
We can never afford the "luxury" of removing our armor.

As long as we stay armed, we are guaranteed overcomers...more than conquerors through Jesus Christ, our Captain.  Romans 8:37
He leads our collective army onward, marching ever forward, towards the final victory we 
will individually meet at the end of life or His coming, whichever comes first.

Our Captain has never lost a battle.
This gives us assurance and courage that it is possible for us to never lose one either.
The main thing we have to remember is that the battle is HIS, not ours.
We are fighting for HIM and for His truth and cause.
So no matter what we are facing or what strategic slant satan decides to use against us,
we can and will overcome him, if we always approach the warfare with the understanding that each and every battle belongs to the Lord, our Captain.

I've mentioned before that Mom and Dad began early in life to teach me how to wield the weapon of prayer.
They taught me that battles are fought on our knees in earnest petition to our Father in Heaven,
and prayer is a long-range weapon.

I have an utter obsession with the specific prayers that are mentioned in the Bible.
I love to read how those spiritual warriors cried out to God from places of total despair,
and I am enthralled as I read how God rose up in their defense in answer to those prayers 
and fought those battles for His children.
While it would be impossible to include all of the Biblical prayers that have come to mean so much to me in a single blog post, I wanted to share just a few.
Perhaps you may want to print them out and tape them in places you frequent throughout the day.
I would highly recommend memorizing them.
I have found that I often quote from these prayers in my own private praying,
and there is an amazing measure of faith that accompanies them.
If God moved so mightily on behalf of these prayer warriors and fought for them,
He will absolutely do the same thing for us.
We serve the same God they did.
He still reigns.
He still has full control.
We are His children every bit as much as the prayer warriors of old.
He is our Father.
He bids us come to His throne when we need help and mercy.  Hebrews 4:16



Here are some of my favorite Biblical prayers.

The Lord's Prayer
We make it a practice in our home to pray this prayer aloud together on a regular basis.
I don't think its importance could ever be emphasized enough.
To have recorded the exact words Jesus taught His disciples to pray is an invaluable gift.
If He wanted them to pray this way, shouldn't we?
Matthew 6:9-13,
"Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be Thy name.
Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread.
And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors.
And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil: For Thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever. Amen."

Jesus' Prayer in the Garden of Gethsemane
This prayer is the most anguished prayer ever uttered from human lips.
The soul of Jesus, our Savior, was consumed with a sorrow unknown to man.
He prayed so hard during this prayer that He suffered a rare, but very real physical phenomenon called hematohidrosis, in which the sweat released from His body was as "great drops of blood falling down to the ground."  (Luke 22:44)

Matthew 26:38-39,42,44,
"Then saith He unto them, My soul is exceeding sorrowful, even unto death: tarry ye here, and watch with Me.  And He went a little further, and fell on His face, and prayed, saying, O My Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from Me: nevertheless not as I will, but as Thou wilt.  
He went away again the second time, and prayed, saying, O My Father, if this cup may not pass away from Me, except I drink it, Thy will be done.  And He left them, and went away again, and prayed the third time, saying the same words."

Jesus could face Calvary, the ultimate spiritual warfare battle of ALL time,
because He prayed the prayer of surrender first in the Garden of Gethsemane.
The battle was won when He said, "Thy will be done."
It was a cup that could not be passed, and the only way to conquer was through surrender.
Sometimes, you and I will face unpassable cups in our spiritual lives.
Sometimes, the only way around is through.
Sometimes, God chooses not to move the mountain, but to move us instead.
When God closes a door that no man can open, it is futile to stand and continue to pound on that door.
These are places in life, where the only way to conquer...the only way to overcome...the only path to peace...is through total surrender.
It is then that the words of our Lord in the Garden of Gethsemane need to be prayed.

The Prayer of Jabez
Perhaps you have read the book by Bruce Wilkinson.
I highly, highly recommend it.
You can buy it here.
My family and I read it together several years ago, and we have been collectively praying this prayer together ever since.
It has been life-transforming for us.
Jabez's prayer is found in 1 Chronicles 4:10,
"And Jabez called on the God of Israel, saying, Oh that thou wouldest bless me indeed, and enlarge my coast, and that thine hand might be with me, and that thou wouldest keep me from evil, that it may not grieve me! And God granted him that which he requested."

Pray this prayer on a regular basis, and watch how your life changes for the better!

The Prayer of Jehoshaphat
2 Chronicles 20:5-12
"And Jehoshaphat stood in the congregation of Judah and Jerusalem, in the house of the LORD, before the new court, And said, O LORD God of our fathers, art not Thou God in heaven? And rulest not Thou over all the kingdoms of the heathen? and in Thine hand is there not power and might, so that none is able to withstand Thee?  Art not Thou our God, who didst drive out the inhabitants of this land before Thy people Israel, and gavest it to the seed of Abraham Thy friend forever?  And they dwelt therein, and have built Thee a sanctuary therein for Thy name, saying,
If, when evil cometh upon us, as the sword, judgment, or pestilence, or famine, we stand before this house, and in Thy presence, (for Thy name is in this house,) and cry unto Thee in our affliction, then
Thou wilt hear and help.  And now, behold, the children of Ammon and Moab and mount Seir, whom Thou wouldest not let Israel invade, when they came out of the land of Egypt, but they turned from them, and destroyed them not; Behold, I say, how they reward us, to come to cast us out of Thy possession, which Thou hast given us to inherit.  O our God, wilt Thou not judge them? for we have no might against this great company that cometh against us; neither know we what to do: but our eyes are upon Thee."

If you cannot memorize all seven verses of this prayer, perhaps you can more easily memorize this condensed version,
"O LORD God of our fathers, art not Thou God in heaven?  
And rulest not Thou over all the kingdoms of the heathen? 
And in Thine hand is there not power and might, so that none is able to withstand Thee?
O our God, wilt Thou not judge them?  For we have no might against this great company that cometh against us; neither know we what to do: but our eyes are upon Thee."

Pray this prayer when you are feel surrounded by the enemy, when you feel that you are outnumbered and have no hope of overcoming.
Pray these words when your battle is with another person.
Let God fight for you, and you won't need to lift a finger.
God sent ambushments against Jehoshaphat's enemies, and when he awoke the next morning,
he found that God had already fought and killed every one of his enemies!
He prayed, and God did the rest!

The Prayer of Hezekiah
 2 Kings 19:14-19
"And Hezekiah received the letter of the hand of the messengers, and read it: and Hezekiah went up into the house of the LORD, and spread it before the LORD.
And Hezekiah prayed before the LORD, and said, O LORD God of Israel, which dwellest between the cherubims, Thou art the God, even Thou alone, of all the kingdoms of the earth; Thou hast made heaven and earth.  LORD, bow down thine ear, and hear: open, LORD, Thine eyes, and see: and hear the words of Sennacherib, which hath sent him to reproach the living God.
Of a truth, LORD, the kings of Assyria have destroyed the nations and their lands,
And have cast their gods into the fire: for they were no gods, but the work of men's hands, wood and stone: therefore they have destroyed them.  Now therefore, O LORD our God, I beseech Thee, save Thou us out of his hand, that all the kingdoms of the earth may know that Thou art the LORD God, even Thou only."

Again, here is a condensed version for memorization purposes,
"O LORD God of Israel, which dwellest between the cherubims, Thou art the God, even Thou alone, of all the kingdoms of the earth; Thou hast made heaven and earth.  LORD, bow down thine ear, and hear: open, LORD, Thine eyes, and see: and hear...O LORD our God, I beseech Thee, save Thou us out of his hand, that all the kingdoms of the earth may know that Thou art the LORD God, even Thou only."

The Prayer of Jesus' Apostles
Acts 4:24-31
"And when they heard that, they lifted up their voice to God with one accord, and said, Lord, thou art God, which hast made heaven, and earth, and the sea, and all that in them is:  Who by the mouth of thy servant David hast said, Why did the heathen rage, and the people imagine vain things?
The kings of the earth stood up, and the rulers were gathered together against the Lord, and against his Christ.  For of a truth against thy holy child Jesus, whom thou hast anointed, both Herod, and Pontius Pilate, with the Gentiles, and the people of Israel, were gathered together, For to do whatsoever thy hand and thy counsel determined before to be done.  And now, Lord, behold their threatenings: and grant unto thy servants, that with all boldness they may speak thy word, By stretching forth thine hand to heal; and that signs and wonders may be done by the name of thy holy child Jesus.  And when they had prayed, the place was shaken where they were assembled together; and they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and they spake the word of God with boldness."

Condensed version for memorization,
"Lord, thou art God, which hast made heaven, and earth, and the sea, and all that in them is:  
And now, Lord, behold their threatenings: and grant unto thy servants, that with all boldness they may speak thy word, By stretching forth thine hand to heal; and that signs and wonders may be done by the name of thy holy child Jesus."

Five Prayers of David

"LORD, how are they increased that trouble me! many are they that rise up against me.
But Thou, O LORD, art a shield for me; my glory, and the lifter up of mine head.
Arise, O LORD; save me, O my God..."
Psalm 3:1,3,7

"Hear me when I call, O God of my righteousness: Thou hast enlarged me when I was in distress; have mercy upon me, and hear my prayer."
Psalm 4:1

"Unto Thee, O LORD, do I lift up my soul.
O my God, I trust in Thee: let me not be ashamed, let not mine enemies triumph over me.
Shew me Thy ways, O LORD; teach me Thy paths.
Lead me in Thy truth, and teach me: for Thou art the God of my salvation; 
on Thee do I wait all the day.
Remember not the sins of my youth, nor my transgressions: according to Thy mercy remember Thou me for Thy goodness' sake, O LORD."
Psalm 25:1,2,4,5,7

"Hear my cry, O God; attend unto my prayer.
From the end of the earth will I cry unto Thee, when my heart is overwhelmed: lead me to the rock that is higher than I.
For Thou hast been a shelter for me, and a strong tower from the enemy.
I will abide in Thy tabernacle for ever: I will trust in the covert of Thy wings."
Psalm 61:1-4

"Save me, O God; for the waters are come in unto my soul.
I sink in deep mire, where there is no standing: I am come into deep waters, where the floods overflow me.
I am weary of my crying: my throat is dried: mine eyes fail while I wait for my God.
They that hate me without a cause are more than the hairs of mine head: they that would destroy me, being mine enemies wrongfully, are mighty...but as for me, my prayer is unto Thee, O LORD, in an acceptable time: O God, in the multitude of Thy mercy hear me, in the truth of Thy salvation.
Deliver me out of the mire, and let me not sink: let me be delivered from them that hate me, and out of the deep waters.
Hear me, O LORD; for Thy lovingkindness is good: turn unto me according to the multitude of Thy tender mercies.  And hide not Thy face from Thy servant; for I am in trouble: hear me speedily.
Draw nigh unto my soul, and redeem it: deliver me because of mine enemies."
Psalm 69:1-4a,13-14,16-18

God bless you, dear readers!
I so appreciate you taking time to stop by and read what He places on my heart.
May He meet any needs you have, as you continue to place your trust in Him.

In closing, I want to share a few songs that are really ministering to my family and me right now,
in the midst of some very fiery trials and difficulties.
If you think of us, please keep us in your prayers!
We appreciate it so very much and love each one of you.


















Wednesday, August 23, 2017

According To Your Faith - Keep Striking!

"Then touched He their eyes, saying, According to your faith be it unto you."
Matthew 9:29
(KJV)

What if we really grasped the true meaning of the words, "According to your faith"?
What if we truly embraced and adopted them as our life's theme?
What if we walked out our Christian walk with the thought continually in view that we would receive
from God exactly what our faith could take in?

I have mentioned before that Mom used to often remind me of something her Dad, my Papaw, aka "The Walking King James", would say, "God will be everything to us our faith will take Him for."

Now that Mom is gone, and I no longer have the precious blessing of hearing her remind me of these things, they seem to have even more of an impact on my life and pack more of a powerful punch. They say, you never miss the water 'til the well runs dry. You don't realize how much the little things your loved ones do mean to you until they are no longer here doing those familiar things.  

I have often felt led to write about prayer here at Homespun Devotions.  Prayer, by my personal definition, is the ongoing communion one has with Almighty God.  It is a never-ceasing conversation, picked up at various times throughout the day, a sort of ebb and flow of words both spoken and heard and interspersed and sprinkled into every, single event and happening in the course of life. Prayer is a dialog between the core of one's heart and the heart of God.

But, what is the force behind prayer?

What would compel a person to call out to an unseen Being, and whisper the deepest secrets, longings, and petitions of the heart?

What drives prayer?

Is it not faith?
Is it not the belief that God is really there....listening to all that is being said?
That He actually cares?
That He is entirely capable of making every one of those cherished yearnings come to pass?
That He has no limits?
That He can do anything?

Faith is the fuel that powers our prayers.

Hebrews 11:1-3,6 says,
"Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.  For by it the elders obtained a good report.  Through faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God, so that things which are seen were not made of things which do appear.  But without faith it is impossible to please Him: for he that cometh to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of them that diligently seek Him."

There is SO much depth in these verses.  Dissecting them would require more books than one could ever write and certainly could never be confined to the space of one blog post.  So, what I want to zone in on for the sake of this writing is this...to please God, to have a relationship with Him, to get what we desire in prayer, there are two basic requirements.

1.  We must believe "that He IS".
The elementary fundamental of faith is that we believe that God exists.
I find it hard to comprehend or understand but there are people in this world who do not believe there is a God.  It is the height of foolishness to make such an absurd assumption.  Not my words.  His.
"The fool hath said in his heart, there is no God."  Psalm 14:1
Need I go into all of the blatant and obvious proofs that God is...that He actually exists?
I think, for the most part, I am preaching to the choir through this blog, and it is probably safe to say that if you are kind enough to take the time to read this, you and I agree on at least the rudimentary persuasion that there is a God.

2.  We must believe that God "is a rewarder of them that diligently seek Him".
The second primary, essential component of faith is that we have to believe that God answers prayer.
That He actually hears what we are saying, and He rewards those who diligently seek Him.  Otherwise, what is the point of praying?

So, if we believe that God exists, and if we believe that He rewards those who diligently seek Him,
we can say, with absolute assurance, that we possess, at least a portion of what is called "faith".

There are "measures" of faith.  (Romans 12:3)

It takes faith to initially trust God for salvation...to believe that when we come to Him and ask Him to forgive us of our sins, He truly does forgive, based upon the following verses from His Word.

"For thou, Lord, art good, and ready to forgive; and plenteous in mercy unto all them that call upon Thee."  Psalm 86:5

"All that the Father giveth Me shall come to Me; and him that cometh to Me I will in no wise cast out."  John 6:37

"If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness."  I John 1:9

"And it shall come to pass, that whosoever shall call on the name of the Lord shall be saved."  Acts 2:21

"He will turn again, He will have compassion upon us; He will subdue our iniquities; and Thou wilt cast all their sins into the depths of the sea."  Micah 7:9

"Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost."  Acts 2:38

"As far as the east is from the west, so far hath He removed our transgressions from us."  Psalm 103:12

"For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved."  Romans 10:13

"Repent ye therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out..."  Acts 3:19

"For I will be merciful to their unrighteousness, and their sins and their iniquities will I remember no more."  Hebrews 8:12

It takes a basic faith to be converted and become a Christian.  But, does faith end there?  What about the "dash" between the date of our conversion and the date God calls us home to Heaven?  Just how much will "our faith take God for"?  Will we settle in to a state of complacency and never receive anything more from the God who saves us?

Charles H. Spurgeon said, “A little faith will bring your soul to heaven; a great faith will bring heaven to your soul.”

I don't know about you, dear reader, but, speaking for myself, I surely want my soul to go to Heaven when I die, but I want more.  I want Heaven brought to my soul while living here on earth.  I am not content with a mediocre Christian walk.  I want more than "nominal" Christianity.

Nominal - existing in name only; very small; far below the real value

Nominal is not for me.
Is it for you?
Don't you long for more from God?
We "have not because we ask not".  James 4:2

One day, two blind men followed Jesus, "crying and saying, Thou Son of David, have mercy on us."
Jesus asked them, "Believe ye that I am able to do this? They said unto him, Yea, Lord.  Then touched He their eyes, saying, According to your faith be it unto you. And their eyes were opened."
Matthew 9:27-30

According to your faith, Jesus said.
Had they only believed He could heal one eye, only one eye would have been healed.
Had they believed He could restore partial vision to both eyes, partial vision would have been restored.
Had they never approached Him that day, they would have gone on the rest of their lives blind.

"God will be everything to us our faith will take Him for."

What will your and my faith "take Him for"?

Our lack of receiving has nothing in the world to do with His ability to provide.
His resources are there in unlimited supply.

"Behold, I am the LORD, the God of all flesh: is there any thing too hard for Me?"
Jeremiah 32:27

"Then came the disciples to Jesus apart, and said, Why could not we cast him out?  And Jesus said unto them, Because of your unbelief: for verily I say unto you, If ye have faith as a grain of mustard seed, ye shall say unto this mountain, Remove hence to yonder place; and it shall remove; and nothing shall be impossible unto you."
Matthew 17:19-20


In Luke 18:1-8, we read,
"And He spake a parable unto them to this end, that men ought always to pray, and not to faint;
Saying, There was in a city a judge, which feared not God, neither regarded man:  and there was a widow in that city; and she came unto him, saying, avenge me of mine adversary. And he would not for a while: but afterward he said within himself, though I fear not God, nor regard man; yet because this widow troubleth me, I will avenge her, lest by her continual coming she weary me.  And the Lord said, Hear what the unjust judge saith. And shall not God avenge His own elect, which cry day and night unto Him, though He bear long with them?   I tell you that He will avenge them speedily. Nevertheless when the Son of man cometh, shall He find faith on the earth?"

It takes great faith to keep praying when you see no results, when it seems that the heavens are brass, when it feels like no one is listening, and there is no hope of change in sight.

It takes great faith to pray intercessory prayers, to push past the fear and doubt and unbelief, to press into a determined pattern of prayer, to make up one's mind that regardless how long it takes, giving up is not on the table for consideration.

It takes great faith to importune, like the woman in Jesus' parable.
The judge didn't fear God, and he didn't respect or care about people.
The thing that finally broke him down and persuaded him to grant the woman's petition was her "continual coming".
Her dogged determination.
Her utter refusal to give up or stop asking for what she wanted.
This judge had no love in his heart for the importuning widow.
She got on his nerves and was a source of weariness to him.
But, because she kept coming to him, pleading with him, and it appeared that she had no intentions of giving up or backing off until he gave her what she was asking for, he caved and did as she asked.

Our Heavenly Father is nothing in the world like the judge in this parable.
He IS God, and He holds in His heart the deepest regard for His creation.
He loves us with an undying, unconditional love.
He loves us so much that He came to earth in the form of an infant, grew up in a human body, and willingly laid down His life on a cruel, rugged cross to die for our sins.
He was tempted, tested, and tried in every imaginable way.
He did everything He possibly could to prove His unfathomable love for us.
As Jesus ended this parable, He said, "And shall not God avenge His own elect, which cry day and night unto Him, though He bear long with them?   I tell you that He will avenge them speedily."

Those who persist and press through the temptation to give up and who continue to cry day and night unto the Lord of Heaven will be avenged.  It may not happen right when we think it should.  It may take some effort.  We may pray to the point of exhaustion, but Jesus promised that if we continue to pray, God will avenge us.

I am very challenged by the story recorded in 2 Kings 13:14-19.
When Joash, King of Israel, was in need of victory over Aram, King of Syria, he came to visit the prophet, Elisha, who was sick and soon to die.
Elisha told King Joash to get a bow and some arrows, to put his hand on the bow, and then Elisha
put his own hands over the hands of the king.
He then told Joash to open an east-facing window and to shoot an arrow in that direction.
After Joash shot the arrow, Elisha explained the symbolism of his directive,
"The arrow of the LORD'S deliverance, and the arrow of deliverance from Syria: for thou shalt smite the Syrians in Aphek, till thou have consumed them."
The arrow Joash shot through the window was a representation of victory over his enemy.
After explaining this fact, Elisha then told Joash to take the remaining arrows and strike the ground with them.
In response, Joash struck the ground three times.  
Elisha immediately became angry with Joash and said, 
"Thou shouldest have smitten five or six times; then hadst thou smitten Syria till thou hadst consumed it: whereas now thou shalt smite Syria but thrice."

If only Joash had kept striking!  Why did he stop at only three strikes?  Elisha had just told him that the arrow was a portrayal of sure victory over his enemy.  Wars are made up of individual battles.  Elisha knew that three battles would not be enough to completely annihilate Syria.
Joash was seasoned...he should have known this, too, right?  Wouldn't you think he would have kept striking the ground repeatedly, until he made sure and certain the number of times would be a sufficient number of battles to finish the job?

I don't know if it was hopeful thinking on Joash's part...maybe he was hoping he could get by with less than what was necessary?  Was he hoping to not have to put forth so much energy to engage in so many battles?  Was he trying to take the easy way out and hope he could squeeze by with less than what was required?  Was he tired?  

Had Joash continued to strike the ground, he would have accomplished complete victory.
As it was, he stopped at three times, and that is exactly the number of times he got to strike Syria.  It was not sufficient.  It fell short of being enough.  

I have pondered this story over and over and over again.
I have read others' interpretations of it, and I have sought the Lord for clarity of what He is trying to tell me, personally, through this story, and this is what I believe.

As critical as I can jump in and be of King Joash, I can see that he and I have a lot in common, 
in the "strike-a-few-times-then-give-up" department.
I am way too quick to throw up my hands, become "weary in well-doing", think God is not listening and there is no use to keep asking, and accept less than God's best.
As "believers" in the Gospel of Jesus Christ, as those who partake of His Divine nature (2 Peter 1:4),
we live far below our privileges...simply because of our refusal to enter into persistent, determined, resolute, strong-willed, intercessory prayer.

I reckon the arrows that Joash struck on the ground to the weapon of prayer.

How much do we want what we are praying for?  Do we "strike" in prayer a meager three times, then stop?  Are we in this for the long haul?  To do whatever it takes to get God, our Father's attention?  To intercede and labor in prayer until we see our petitions granted?  

God rewards those who diligently seek Him.

In the Greek language, "diligently" or "diligence" means...
earnest swiftness or intensity,
haste,
forwardness,
eagerness,
carefulness,
fervent

In the English language, "diligence" means...
constant and earnest effort to accomplish what is undertaken; persistent exertion of body or mind.

Dear friends, may I ask you a personal question?
Of course, I do not need an answer.
God does.
Tell HIM.
What do you need?
What are you lacking?
What are you praying for?
Are you physically ill?
Financially bankrupt?
Spiritually drained?
Mentally exhausted?
Hurt?
Rejected?
Facing an insurmountable, immovable, unbudging mountain in your path?

What do you need?
How much do you want it?
Can you believe?

"According to your faith be it unto you."

Think of it this way.
Think of your own personal Goliath.
What is looming over you right now?
What do you need most from God?

Now, think of this.
What is the best, most desirable outcome in your situation?
If God asked you, "What do you want?  How do you want this to end?  What is the best-case scenario for you?", what would you say?
How would you respond to that question?

Then, what if after you told him, He said to you,
"According to your faith be it unto you."

Can you envision the perfect outcome?
How much do you want to see that?
Are you willing to "diligently" seek God for it?
To keep praying, even when it seems hopeless?
To intercede, even when it becomes beyond difficult?
How many times are you willing to strike the arrow?
What if one more prayer would deal the final blow to your enemy?
What if it just took one more time, and you gave up striking?

Pray on, my friend.
Keep asking.
Keep knocking on Heaven's door.
Go to war in prayer.
Intercede.
Don't stop striking until you see the hand of God move on your behalf.

"Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need."
Hebrews 4:16 

If ever I can join your fight in prayer, always know that I am here for each and every one of you precious readers.
So many of you have stood shoulder-to-shoulder with my family and me,
and we have all reaped the benefits of those "refuse-to-give-up" prayers.
I want to return that strength to you when you need it most.
We're in this thing together.
We may all be from different denominational persuasions,
ethnic backgrounds, 
varying positions of service on God's battlefield,
and diversely unique stations and seasons of life,
but you are my brother...you are my sister.
I'm praying for you now and trusting God that you will remain strong in your fight of prayer.
That you will see Goliath fall, mountains crumble, and waters part in your situation.
Always remember this.
You are not alone.

"Likewise the Spirit also helpeth our infirmities: for we know not what we should pray for as we ought: but the Spirit itself maketh intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered."
Romans 8:26

"It is Christ that died, yea rather, that is risen again, who is even at the right hand of God, who also maketh intercession for us."
Romans 8:34


If video doesn't load, click here.

Thursday, August 17, 2017

Baby Eli: A Precious One-Month Smilestone!!

"Lo, children are an heritage of the LORD: and the fruit of the womb is His reward."
Psalm 127:3
(KJV)

In my last post, I shared two of the many times God has laid a heaviness upon my heart to pray,
even though I wasn't sure for whom or what I was praying.
One of the times I mentioned was the night before I found out my niece, Kristen,
who was expecting a baby boy, collapsed in the ER from a blood clot in her lung.
Many of you have followed Kristen's journey, and you have fervently prayed for her and her precious baby, and you are already aware that last month, God answered our many prayers!

Little Eli was born, perfectly healthy and beautiful and just amazing,
and his sweet Mommy came through the C-section delivery just fine.
Oh, how we have praised our dear Lord for this amazing answer to prayer!!!
He is SO worthy of all praise, and He has proven, once again, that there is nothing too hard for Him.

Recently, little Eli and his grateful family celebrated his ONE-MONTH BIRTHDAY!!!!


Isn't he just a living doll????
What a little sweetheart!!

Also, MORE GREAT NEWS!!!!
Kristen had a CT Scan yesterday, and guess what, dear friends??
The blood clot in her lung is GONE, praise God,
and she was able to go off the blood-thinning shots!!!!
We cannot praise God enough for the amazing miracles He has performed!!!

Precious Eli and his Mommy, Kristen

Every time I think of all God has brought these two through,
my heart just fills to overflowing with praise to the God Who can do anything!!!!
Praise His wonderful name!!!

Kristen, so graciously gave permission for me to share some photos of the little birthday guy
and their sweet dog, Harley!

Be still, my heart!!
This is SO adorable!


Such a happy, little guy!


Have you ever seen anything so cute??


So many times, I have to break down and cry as I praise the dear Lord for the mercy He has extended to my dear family and me.
How we praise Him for the precious, dear, sweet gift of baby Eli, now one month old!!!

I just wanted to share an update on him for all of you prayer warriors who have helped to 
pray us through!!

So many times, I have come here, so heavy-hearted and desperate for God's help,
and I have asked you, dear friends, to pray.
So many times, in answer to my plea, you have taken our burdens as your own,
and you have bombarded Heaven for my family and loved ones and me,
and you have reached the throne of God and touched His heart on our behalf.

It gives me so much joy to share the results of the prayers YOU have prayed!!!

I want to encourage you today.
Whatever you need can be found in the Source of all of our strength.
God is still alive and well, and He is still listening for the prayers and cries of His children.

"For the eyes of the Lord are over the righteous, and His ears are open unto their prayers..."
I Peter 3:12

I am now working on a post that will be entitled "According to your faith",
where I, once again, delve into the subject of prayer.
I hope to share it with you soon....we have had a lot going on in our family and lives,
and there hasn't been a lot of time for blogging lately.
God knows when the time is right for a particular post,
so, stay tuned!!

May He bless each one of you, meet all of your current needs,
and keep each one of your hearts turned towards Him.

I love and appreciate each one of you,
I cherish each comment you leave here,
and I am praying for every, single person who will ever read these words.

Thursday, August 3, 2017

When God Says Pray, & Why We Should Never Ignore That

"Pray without ceasing."
I Thessalonians 5:17
(KJV)

Before I begin this post, I wanted to ask you to please pray for the family of a young woman who was killed in a one-car traffic accident.
Her little 2-year old son was in the back, unhurt.
I can't imagine the pain in the hearts of this family, and I know they would greatly appreciate your prayers during this sad time.

*****************************************

This is the amazing, beautiful view outside the home of our nephew, David, and his wife, Stacie.
I could literally sit and take in this view for hours.
My eyes...and heart...are drawn to the far, distant hills, and to the God Who created them.

Those of you who have been reading Homespun Devotions for a while,
know that a little over five years ago, God called my mother home to Heaven.

Losing her, and Dad, nearly twelve years before her, has been beyond hard.
I will miss them forever.
Anyone who has lost their parent(s) can attest that there is nothing on earth that can fill that kind of void.

We never had much in the way of money or worldly wealth while I was growing up.
But, even though we struggled, financially, Mom and Dad possessed and passed on something to me that is greater than any monetary treasure they could have ever bestowed.

Mom and Dad taught me how to pray.

Prayer was observed as the first resource in our home.
Through their example, and by means of their normal behavior,
Mom and Dad never made prayer their last resort.
If one of us or another loved one was sick, we prayed.
If we were broke, we prayed.
If we needed food, we prayed.
If the car wouldn't start, we prayed.
When Dad's prospective employer was hesitant about hiring him, due to his health problems,
we prayed.
During the treacherous Ohio blizzard of 1978, we prayed.
If we couldn't pay a bill, we prayed.
We prayed about everything.
We went to hospitals and nursing homes, and we prayed...for people who were sick, lonely, and depressed.
We rarely missed Wednesday night "prayer meeting".
We gathered together in our living room, at the end of each day,
and we all three prayed an individual prayer out loud around our family altar.

I learned, early on, that circumstances were often rearranged when we would pray.
Mountains that seemed to be immovable were brought low and conquered.
It didn't take me long to realize that, within the life of a Christian,
prayer is not just a tool, it is a weapon that, when properly wielded,
will absolutely turn the tide.

Mom and Dad's prayerful influence and daily, consistent encouragement to pray
has had a lasting, permanent effect upon the person, wife, and mother I have become.
Prayer is an integral part of who I am.
It is woven through so many fibers of my being that, it seems,
 I hardly know when I stop praying and when I start up again.
God and I are having a conversation the biggest part of the time,
and prayer keeps me in close proximity to Him.
We seldom stop communicating....and even when we do stop talking,
it is there, in the back of my mind.
Always flowing...ongoing.
My prayer life is a precious thing to me, and I say that, not with haughtiness or boastfulness,
but with much love and respect for Jesus in my heart.

Now that I am married, thankfully to a man who also loves to pray,
Kevin and I endeavor to make our home a house of prayer.
In addition to individual prayers, we believe it is vitally important to have regular family worship...
the three of us...together....like Mom, Dad, and I used to do.
A lot of "stuff" comes to the surface during those times of all three of us listening to each other
pray out loud.
One of my greatest desires, as a mother, has always been to ingrain a quality of prayer into the fiber of Zach.

The other night, it hit me how automatic prayer has become in our lives as a family.
Kevin had to work, and Zach and I were on our way to Bible Study.
We started listening to the radio, and all of a sudden I felt a strong sense of needing to pray.
So, I asked Zach if he minded, and, bless his heart, this boy who loves to pray about as much as his Mama, quickly turned the radio off.
He was all in.
We prayed...and prayed...and prayed...nearly the whole 40-45 minutes there.
If he needed to add something, he would pipe up and start praying,
and I would stop, then I would resume again when he was done, etc.
This is something that is happening more often, as Zach grows and matures.
I can't put into words how precious those times are to me.
Not only to have that beyond-dear time with this boy in prayer,
but to be reminded, once again, what a habitual and instinctive force prayer has become in our lives.

There is no way to measure the value and power of effectually and fervently
wielding the weapon of prayer.


If video doesn't load, click here.
Written by Charles & Ira Louvin

In the posts found herehere, and here, I have been talking about spiritual warfare and how important it is to memorize the Word of God, so our Sword stays steadily sharpened.
Prayer is also a vital component of God's strategy for us to win the ongoing battles in this spiritual war.

When the Apostle Paul wrote instructions concerning our need to put on the whole armor of God
in Ephesians 6:11-18, he put strong emphasis upon prayer, after he had named off several individual pieces of armor that we should put on.
In verse 18 he says this,
"Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints..."

Jesus spent much time in prayer when He was on the earth,
even spending all night in prayer and rising very early so He could be alone to pray.

Wouldn't you have loved to hear some of the heart-wrenched prayers He prayed?
Every, single one of His prayers were fervent, and they were effectual.
I have no doubt.

Jesus Christ realized how valuable it was for Him to stay connected to His Father at all times.
Therefore, He took the necessary time to make sure He fit that communion into His day,
even if it meant giving up sleep, comfort, and ease.
It was just that important to Him.

Shouldn't it be to us?

"And He (Jesus) spake a parable unto them to this end,
that men ought always to pray, and not to faint..."
Luke 18:1

We've probably all seen the plaque at some point throughout life.
"Prayer Changes Things"
If I remember correctly, I think the first time I saw it was on my prayer-warrior Papaw's living room wall.
Papaw prayed more than anyone I have ever personally known.
Each morning, he rose early, in order to find time to spend interceding to God for his family,
the congregation he pastored, and the many needs presented to him by others.
Seeing that plaque on his wall is a vague memory, but the message stuck.

When my sister, Sandi, called and told me my niece, Kristen, who was expecting a baby and also suffering from a blood clot in her arm, had driven herself to the ER and collapsed after getting there, then found out a blood clot was in her lung, I'll admit that not just a "normal" fear, but full-blown terror gripped my heart.
And, what was astonishing to me, at the time, was that the night before this phone call, I had felt an overpowering, pressing burden to pray.
I remember telling Kevin and Zach that I needed to pray, and it needed to be NOW.
I didn't even know who or what exactly I was praying for.
I just knew that someone needed help that only God could provide, and it was imperative that I fervently pray.

"The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much."
James 5:16

Not that I am in any imaginable way righteous.
It is only through the precious blood of Christ that I have been redeemed.
It is HIS righteousness working in me that opens the opportunity for me to approach Him in prayer.

Kristen's situation was not the first time I had felt an overwhelming burden to fervently pray, even though I didn't know for whom or what I was to pray.
One other time, in particular, that will be forever embedded into my memory happened on the night of April 30th, 2016.
I remember telling Kevin and Zach that a burden that I could not seem to shake was upon me to pray.
I didn't have a clue who needed help or what was happening, but I knew, without a doubt, that someone desperately needed my prayers, and I should not procrastinate.
I remember that even after I prayed, I could not seem to find relief, and there was this nagging sense of needing to continue to pray.
It just wouldn't let up.
What I didn't know until my sister-in-law called was that just a few, short hours after the crushing heaviness in my spirit, a demonic-controlled, maniacal man, (animal seems more appropriate), would enter the apartment of my dear niece, Victoria, and she would die an agonizingly brutal and painful death, at his cruel and murderous hand.
(If you would like to read more, you can click on these links,
Prayers Needed For My Family,

I can't tell you the number of times I have wondered why my earnest prayers were not enough to protect Victoria or spare her life that night.
At some point in my wondering, God showed me that my prayers WERE heard, and that they were answered, too.
Our Lord was there, incredibly near to her during those final hours.
He was with her...comforting her, as she lay bleeding and dying, and He never left her side.
I will never know how many ways He answered my prayers that night.
Maybe, He lessened the intensity or duration of her agonizing death.
Perhaps, He shielded her from worse...if such a thing exists.

As I prayed, I did not know the reason for the heaviness in my spirit, but the Spirit of God knew,
and as I entered into that time of prayer, He carried my burden to the throne of grace in an intelligible way that God completely understood.
Later, it all became clear, and I found out who had needed that prayer.
He knew all along.

In these two situations, as in many, many other times throughout life, I have learned to trust that sense of burden that comes over me.
I have learned to drop whatever I am doing and fall to my knees when I feel that compelling call.
I have learned the meaning of Romans 8:26,
"Likewise the Spirit also helpeth our infirmities: for we know not what we should pray for as we ought: but the Spirit itself maketh intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered."

This kind of praying is not easy...
not knowing who or what we are praying for,
not even knowing why we are praying,
yet feeling such an intense burden for prayer.
Does anyone else ever feel the temptation to not put forth the energy and effort required for such intercession?

It is a temptation to which even the very disciples of Jesus Christ were not immune.

Jesus faced the most challenging, excruciating night of His life, and He needed support.
Not just moral support, but earnest prayerful support.
When He asked the three men in His inmost inner circle to pray for/with Him,
He came back a little while later only to find them asleep.
They could not seem to muster the stamina required to shake off their drowsiness and intercede on behalf of the One who would soon lay down His life for them.
As a result, Jesus lacked support when He needed it most.
And, as a result, they lacked the necessary personal fortitude to remain faithful to their profession of faith when faced with the threat of persecution.

Sometimes, it would be easier to succumb to the pleasantry of letting someone else do the heavy lifting when it comes to entering into intercessory prayer.
But, I have learned to pay attention...to take heed...when I feel an inward prompting to pray.
I have learned that there is always good reason behind a nudge from the Holy Spirit.
I have learned that if I fail to pray, something, or more importantly, someone, could suffer for my disobedience and negligence.

Mom used to often tell me that "prayer is a long-range weapon".
It reaches as far as it needs to, and even when I cannot be there in person to show support,
I can pray...even when I don't know exactly who needs those prayers.

God is always listening for the prayers of His people.
"For the eyes of the Lord are over the righteous, and His ears are open unto their prayers..."
I Peter 3:12

He invites us to approach His throne when we are in need.
"Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need."
Hebrews 4:16

There are times a special burden for prayer is placed upon the heart of a burden-bearer.
When we feel called to such a task, it is of vital importance that we push through the temptation to ignore such a call, regardless of personal cost.
So much is riding on our faithfulness.
God help us to rise to the challenge and be the prayer warriors that He and our loved ones need us to be!

We may never know or realize the scope of the effectiveness of our prayers on earth, 
but I am deeply comforted by the vision John saw and described in Revelation 8:3,4,
"And another angel came and stood at the altar, having a golden censer; and there was given unto him much incense, that he should offer it with the prayers of all saints upon the golden altar which was before the throne.  And the smoke of the incense, which came with the prayers of the saints, ascended up before God out of the angel's hand."

Your prayers and intercessions count, my friend!
They are being carried to the throne of God by the hands of angels!
Don't ever give up on producing your cause before God through the channel of prayer.
"Produce your cause, saith the LORD; bring forth your strong reasons, saith the King of Jacob."
Isaiah 41:21

May we ever be mindful of those God-sent urges to pray.
May we press through our weariness, fatigue, and temptation to give up, and
pray on!

To read a sampling of past posts on prayer, click these links:
A Praying Mother's Reward
What If I Don't Pray?

Saturday, July 29, 2017

Spiritual Warfare: Ten Things You Need To Know

 "For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, 
but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds..."
2 Corinthians 10:4
(KJV)


In this post and this post, I mentioned that God has been teaching me about spiritual warfare.
The training exercises have been intense and unforgettable.
The hardest-learned lessons impart the deepest and most long-lasting learning.
Any wisdom we acquire in this Christian life is worth whatever we have to go through to glean
because it better equips us to overcome and conquer in future spiritual conflicts.
Just as it takes time and experience for a soldier to become seasoned and tempered for combat,
so it goes in the Christian's life.

I shared before that God led me to take on a very exhaustive ministerial endeavor.
What I didn't tell you is that it took me a little while to surrender to what He was asking me to do,
and, when I finally surrendered and said, "yes" to God, it didn't take satan long to launch what has been one of the most fierce, cruel, extreme seasons of spiritual warfare I have battled through yet.
I said "yes" to God's call on a Wednesday, and, I kid you not, the brutal attacks began on Thursday.

Not only do the hardest-learned lessons impart the deepest and most long-lasting learning,
this learning can come by no other means than a first-hand, personal walk-through of the experience.

So, for quite some time now, I have been engaged in what feels like hand-to-hand combat with satan himself.
Aren't we all?
This fight is not unique to me.
If you are a Christian, if you are sold out to God, determined to follow Him whole-heartedly and have made up your mind to live your every moment in alignment with His Word and will,
you are either IN a spiritual battle, or there is one looming on your horizon.
Not to be negative, just telling it like it is.
It is not a matter of if you will be called out to the battlefield, it is a matter of when.

Here are ten things I've learned about spiritual warfare that I hope you will find beneficial.

1.  Prepare for war in the time of peace.
The time to prepare is when times are calm...on those precious, ordinary days.
Oh, that we would all learn the true value and worth of an ordinary day!
It is too late to try to prepare when thrust suddenly onto the battlefield.
Use lulls in between battles and moments of reprieve as opportunities to reload, regroup, and to set in motion a game plan for the next attack.
The secret to victory lies in adopting a proven strategy ahead of time and strictly adhering to it, regardless.
"By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail."
 Benjamin Franklin

2.  Study your opponent.

Who is he?

"And no marvel; for Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light."
2 Corinthians 11:14

"In whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them."
2 Corinthians 4:4

"And you hath he quickened, who were dead in trespasses and sins;
Wherein in time past ye walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience..."
Ephesians 2:1,2

How does he operate?

"Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour:  Whom resist stedfast in the faith, knowing that the same afflictions are accomplished in your brethren that are in the world."
I Peter 5:8,9

What have you learned from his past maneuvers?

"And he shewed me Joshua the high priest standing before the angel of the LORD, and Satan standing at his right hand to resist him."
Zechariah 3:1

When has he been most successful in discouraging you?

"Lest Satan should get an advantage of us: for we are not ignorant of his devices."
2 Corinthians 2:11

Where does he spend his time?

"And the LORD said unto Satan, Whence comest thou? Then Satan answered the LORD, and said, From going to and fro in the earth, and from walking up and down in it."
Job 1:7

3.  Be always on guard.
You never know when the enemy will pounce,
where temptation will present itself,
or what channel he will decide to use.

"Watch ye, stand fast in the faith, quit you like men, be strong."
I Corinthians 16:13

Watch and pray.
The disciples slept and later failed when it mattered most.
"Watch and pray, that ye enter not into temptation: the spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak."
Matthew 26:41

"Behold, He that keepeth Israel shall neither slumber nor sleep."
Psalm 121:4
Unfortunately, our adversary never sleeps, either.
Don't think for one moment that he ever lets up or falls down on the job.

4.  Build a Massive Scriptural Arsenal.
(Read about this, and find 30 Scriptures here and 20 more Scriptures here.)
Learn from Jesus' example.
"Then was Jesus led up of the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted of the devil.
And when He had fasted forty days and forty nights, He was afterward an hungered.
And when the tempter came to Him, he said, if Thou be the Son of God, command that these stones be made bread.
But He answered and said, 'It is written, man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God.'
Then the devil taketh Him up into the holy city, and setteth Him on a pinnacle of the temple,
And saith unto Him, if Thou be the Son of God, cast Thyself down: for it is written, He shall give His angels charge concerning thee: and in their hands they shall bear thee up, lest at any time thou dash thy foot against a stone.
Jesus said unto him, 'It is written again, thou shalt not tempt the Lord thy God.'
Again, the devil taketh Him up into an exceeding high mountain, and sheweth Him all the kingdoms of the world, and the glory of them;
And saith unto Him, All these things will I give Thee, if Thou wilt fall down and worship me.
Then saith Jesus unto him, 'Get thee hence, Satan: for it is written, thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and Him only shalt thou serve.'
Then the devil leaveth Him, and, behold, angels came and ministered unto Him."
Matthew 4:1-11
Jesus Christ, our Example, absolutely overcame satan and all of his temptations and tactics every, single time by quoting the written Word of God out loud.
This is how you and I will overcome, too.
Keep your Massive Scriptural Arsenal well-stocked, at all times.
Produce their power by SPEAKING them in the face of satan and his ploys.

"Thou shalt also decree a thing, and it shall be established unto thee..."
Job 22:28

"For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart."
Hebrews 4:12

5.  Be sure to include many praise verses in your Massive Scriptural Arsenal.

The prophecy of Jesus in Isaiah 61:1-3 says,
"The Spirit of the Lord GOD is upon Me; because the LORD hath anointed Me to preach good tidings unto the meek; He hath sent Me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to them that are bound; to proclaim the acceptable year of the LORD, and the day of vengeance of our God; to comfort all that mourn; to appoint unto them that mourn in Zion, to give unto them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness; that they might be called trees of righteousness, the planting of the LORD, that He might be glorified."

Jesus came to give the garment of praise as an exchange for the spirit of heaviness.
The enemy will not stick around where praises to God are being uttered.

Here are ten praise verses to enhance your arsenal.

"I will call on the LORD, who is worthy to be praised: so shall I be saved from mine enemies."
2 Samuel 22:4

"Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ..."
Ephesians 1:3

"The LORD is my strength and song, and He is become my salvation: He is my God, and I will prepare Him an habitation; my father's God, and I will exalt Him."
Exodus 15:2

"Worthy is the Lamb that was slain to receive power, and riches, and wisdom, and strength, and honour, and glory, and blessing."
Revelation 5:12

"But thou art holy, O thou that inhabitest the praises of Israel."
Psalm 22:3

"Giving thanks always for all things unto God and the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ..."
Ephesians 5:20

"Give thanks unto the LORD, call upon His name, make known His deeds among the people."
I Chronicles 16:8

"By Him therefore let us offer the sacrifice of praise to God continually, that is, the fruit of our lips giving thanks to His name."
Hebrews 13:15

"I thank Thee, and praise Thee, O thou God of my fathers, who hast given me wisdom and might, and hast made known unto me now what we desired of Thee..."
Daniel 2:23

"I will extol Thee, my God, O king; and I will bless Thy name for ever and ever.
Every day will I bless Thee; and I will praise Thy name for ever and ever.
Great is the LORD, and greatly to be praised; and His greatness is unsearchable."
Psalm 145:1-3

6.  Memorize every verse in your Massive Scriptural Arsenal.
It sounds like a lofty goal.
It isn't that difficult.
If you are going to be prepared to fight and successfully overcome the enemy the way Jesus fought and conquered him, you are going to have to know the Word of God.
Write Scripture verses on index cards or post-it notes and tape them on your bathroom mirror,
on the dashboard of your car, in the corner of your computer screen, on the back of your phone, 
on your refrigerator or microwave door, or wherever you are most likely to see them.
Repeat them out loud throughout the day.
Let them permeate your personal space and surrounding atmosphere.

7.  Keep a song of praise in your heart at the ready.
When King Jehoshaphat was faced with a battle that he could not, humanly, ever hope to win,
he developed an unusual, but simple and perfectly successful, military strategy.
He prayed to God, and he sent singers of praise out BEFORE the army.

"And the Levites, of the children of the Kohathites, and of the children of the Korhites, stood up to praise the LORD God of Israel with a loud voice on high.  And they rose early in the morning, and went forth into the wilderness of Tekoa: and as they went forth, Jehoshaphat stood and said, Hear me, O Judah, and ye inhabitants of Jerusalem; Believe in the LORD your God, so shall ye be established; believe his prophets, so shall ye prosper.  And when he had consulted with the people, he appointed singers unto the LORD, and that should praise the beauty of holiness, as they went out before the army, and to say, Praise the LORD; for his mercy endureth for ever.  And when they began to sing and to praise, the LORD set ambushments against the children of Ammon, Moab, and mount Seir, which were come against Judah; and they were smitten."
2 Chronicles 20:19-22

As a result of the singers going before the army, God fought the battle FOR them,
and they did not have to lift a finger to fight!!

"I will sing unto the LORD as long as I live: I will sing praise to my God while I have my being."
Psalm 104:33

"Sing unto the LORD, praise ye the LORD: for He hath delivered the soul of the poor from the hand of evildoers."
Jeremiah 20:13

"The LORD is my strength and my shield; my heart trusted in Him, and I am helped: therefore my heart greatly rejoiceth; and with my song will I praise Him."
Psalm 28:7

"It is a good thing to give thanks unto the LORD, and to sing praises unto Thy name, O most High..."
Psalm 92:1

8. Study and learn from great warriors.
"Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us..."
Hebrews 12:1
Think Joshua, David, Jehoshaphat, Daniel, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego.
Inundate your Massive Scriptural Arsenal with their words and quote them out loud in battle.
Old Testament battles are types and shadows of our spiritual battles in the dispensation of grace.
Think Peter, Paul, John.
Study their battles and the New Testament books they, through Holy Spirit inspiration, penned.
Think a Godly mentor from your past, a hero of the faith you have read about and admire, 
or a current pastor or spiritual leader who lives a holy life.
Read about the saints of old and replicate the spiritual weapons they used and wrote about.
How did they run a successful Christian race?
I guarantee that two common threads you will inevitably find is that they live(d) a life of fervent prayer, and their Scriptural arsenal is (was) abundantly armed.
Emulate that.

9.  Set Ebenezer stones to mark places of victory.
"Then Samuel took a stone, and set it between Mizpeh and Shen, and called the name of it Ebenezer, saying, Hitherto hath the LORD helped us."
I Samuel 7:12
Set your own Ebenezer stones in place.
Look back on them later for encouragement.
Start an Ebenezer stone journal.
Read it when faced with a new spiritual challenge.
The same God Who brought you through before will bring you through again.
You can trust Him.
He never changes.
"Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and today, and forever."
Hebrews 13:8

10.  Keep your armor on.
Don't ever take it off.
"Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.
For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.
Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.  Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness; And your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace; Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked.  And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God:  Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints..."
Ephesians 6:11-18

God has provided for ample protection, if only we will pick up our armor, put it on, and never take it off.

2 Peter 1:10 says, 
"Wherefore the rather, brethren, give diligence to make your calling and election sure: for if ye do these things, ye shall never fall..."

May God bless each one of you and keep you ever faithful at your post of duty.
God has placed you where you are for a Divine purpose.
I don't know what your individual battle entails, but I do know that God is with you always.
Through Him, you are more than a conqueror.  (Romans 8:37)
Since God is for you, who can be against you?  (Romans 8:31)
Greater is He that is in you, than he that is in the world.  (I John 4:4)
There are more with us than be with them.  (2 Kings 6:16)

Be courageous in your battle, and know that God is ever on your side!
As the song below says, "we must soldier on!"


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