Going to War!

Keren Hannah Pryor sends out an email teaching every week for free. She and her husband run the Center for Judaic-Christian Studies. Their website is http://jcstudies.com. To sign up for Keren’s free email teaching, go to http://www.jcstudies.com/about_emailUpdates.cfm.

In this week’s message, she talks about the way that praise and worship is actually warfare. Here are some excerpts from this week’s teaching:

The Scriptures record the strong God-forged link between worship and warfare. The study and proclamation of His Word is a form of worship, as is prayer. God calls His dwelling place “a house of prayer.” I am reminded of a meaningful, anonymous quote:

“Something happens when we pray, powers of evil lose their sway, we gain strength, and fear gives way; therefore, let us pray.”

Prayer and praise are both ‘weapons of our warfare’. The Temple in Jerusalem was not a hushed, silent sanctuary; it was continually filled with vocalized prayer and also with the anointed song and music of the Levitical priesthood. King David is the archetype. He was a skilled warrior, who with his band of mighty men fought valiant battles and “struck down the Philistines; and the LORD saved them by a great victory” (1 Chronicles 11:14). At the same time, he was “the sweet singer of Israel” who directed the Levites who “were trained in singing to the LORD…all were skillful” and employed “cymbals, harps and lyres, for the service of the House of God” (1 Chron. 25:6-7).

The first powerful sign of a worshipful act influencing a physical battle occurred when Moses looked down from a hilltop and raised his arms while the Israelites were doing battle in the valley against the attacking Amalekites (Exodus 17:10-15). While his hands were raised, the people of God prevailed; when he lowered them they weakened. We understand that as long as he raised his hands to the LORD, with the help of Aaron and Hur, God fought for Israel. After their victory Moses built an altar of remembrance and called it YHWH Nissi – God is my Banner. Joe Garlington, a powerful modern-day worshipper and prayer-warrior, declares that, likewise, “Battles are won wherever holy hands are lifted up to God.” [4]

Another powerful example of the connection between worship and warfare is found in the book of Second Chronicles, when Judah and the inhabitants of Jerusalem are facing invasion by a large enemy army. The king, Jehoshaphat, declares a fast and he and the people gather in the Temple court and pray and cry out to the LORD. A prophet, Jahaziel son of Zechariah, says to them: “Do not fear or be dismayed because of this great multitude, for the battle is not yours but God’s” (20:15). He presents them with a practical strategy and then proclaims, “You will not need to fight in this battle; take your position, stand still, and see the victory of YHWH on your behalf, O Judah and Jerusalem!” (20:17). How do they respond to this awesome news? King Jehoshaphat humbly bows down with his face to the ground, “and all Judah and the inhabitants of Jerusalem fell down before YHWH, worshiping YHWH. And the Levites … stood up to praise YHWH, the God of Israel, with a very loud voice” (20:18-19).

Early the next morning they went out to face the enemy. The king addressed them and “he appointed those who were to sing to YHWH and praise him in holy array, as they went before the army, proclaiming:
Hodu la’Adonai ki tov, ki le’olam chasdo!
Give thanks to the LORD, for his steadfast love endures for ever.

“And when they began to sing and praise, YHWH set an ambush against the [enemy] who had come against Judah, so that they were routed” (20:21-22). As prophesied, the army of Judah did not need to fight and the LORD gave the victory. With joy and praise, “they came to Jerusalem, with harps and lyres and trumpets, to the house of YHWH. And the fear of God came on all the kingdoms of the countries when they heard that YHWH had fought against the enemies of Israel” (20:28-29).

I have seen this work in my own life. God gave me those same verses when we were going through our Journey of Fire. We praised the Lord at some of the strangest times. Like when we didn’t know where we were going to sleep that night. Or when we needed food and didn’t have any money to buy groceries. As I wrote in the last post, He always came through for us. We never spent a night in our van or on the streets, and we never even felt hungry during the whole time of our Journey of Fire. Our praise and worship was our warfare, and it was our show of faith that gave God an opening to work for us in miraculous ways.

Keys to Surviving Seasons of Lack

Sometimes God lets us go through some hard times. Suffering produces good things in our lives.

Rom. 5:2-4
And we rejoice in the hope of the glory of God. Not only so, but we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope.

Rom. 8:17, 18
If we share in His sufferings, we will share in His glory (my paraphrase).

Phil. 3:10
I want to know Christ and the power of His resurrection and the fellowship of sharing in His sufferings, becoming like Him in His death,
and so, somehow, to attain to the resurrection from the dead.

We went through some major suffering in the form of having no income for four years. Because of the lack of money, we were attacked on all sides. Our society does not like you if you don’t have money. Our government, especially, looks unkindly on people who don’t have money. The devil used the state government, the federal government and other government agencies to hurt us while we were living by faith.

But God delivered us from every attack. We emerged victorious every time it seemed like the devil had us down.

We found some keys to live victoriously even when everything seems to be stacked against you in the natural.

Keys to Surviving Seasons of Lack

1. Praise Him in the storm. One time when we had a utility bill that was due, and we had no money to pay it, I took my song book and just started praising the Lord. I got to a place of peace. I didn’t think about it any more. Soon after that, we got a money order in the mail for $800. It was a gift from Jesus, no other name on the card. Things like that happened over and over again. Our whole family sang together a medley of songs about God’s greatness often. When we were tempted to feel down, we started singing. We always got to a place of faith when we did this, and soon after God answered our prayer.

2. Don’t look at your circumstances. Look at God and His Word. Don’t believe what your circumstances tell you. Don’t believe what your senses tell you. Believe what God’s Word says. Find His promises and pray them over and over again. Believe it or not, your circumstances really don’t matter. I know what you’re thinking – well, maybe not to you! But they sure matter to me! What I mean is – God is not affected by your circumstances. They could be any kind of difficulty. What He is after is your heart. The trouble may seem like your worst nightmare coming true, but it’s not a problem for God. What you’re going through may seem like it’s impossible to fix, like there’s no solution. Like your life is ruined. You may even feel like you’re going to die. But nothing is too difficult for God. I know those feelings. God brought me through. And I know that if you’ll keep holding on to God and trusting Him, He will come through for you, too. Keep your faith strong. Your faith means everything to God. Your faith in Him proves to Him that you love Him. He wants to be loved by you.

3. Give. The law of sowing and reaping really works. We gave whenever any money came in at all. We prayed together about who to give to and how much to give. There were times when the Lord told us to give everything we had. That was hard. The Lord dealt with me and Gary about this on the same night, but in two different locations. I was at a conference, and Gary was at home lifting weights. He was praying about what God wanted us to do to break the cycle of lack. The Lord told him, “If what you have is not enough, give it all away.” The conference speaker who I was listening to was giving testimonies about how God had blessed her time and time again because she gave extravagantly in obedience to His leading. When I got home, Gary met me at the door and said, “What did you learn?” I said, “We need to give!” He said that he got the same thing. So he said we were going to give the whole amount in our checking account away. I was shocked and said, “Really???” I wasn’t sure we should go that far! We gave to some people who had been ministering to us. Our bills were paid. I don’t even remember how God did it that time. He used so many different people. Men stuffed a hundred dollar bill in Gary’s shirt pocket many times. Or they gave him a $100 handshake. I would find $20 bills in my purse that I knew weren’t there before. God gave a dream to a friend of a friend, and because of the dream she came and gave us a check for $1000. We helped a friend move to another state when we couldn’t even pay our own mortgage payment. It cost us about $1000 to rent the U-Haul. The Lord gave us a couple thousand dollars from other sources after that. We are still reaping from the sowing we did during that time. Before we moved from Kansas City, the Lord moved on someone’s heart to give us $20,000. We are in a place of abundance now. We give all the glory to God, and we know that He has honored our giving by prospering us.

4. Stay in unity with your spouse no matter what. Pray together. Wives, let your husband lead. Let him handle the bills and the calls from debt collectors. Don’t answer the phone. Let your husband decide how the money that God provides is to be spent. Let him be the leader God called him to be. Trust your husband much the same way as you trust God, without knowing what is going to happen. Don’t try to figure things out or make things happen. Just keep praying and listening to what God might be saying to you. Learn to hear His voice. Be on your husband’s side, no matter what you might think about his decisions. If he stops trying to get a job, find out if the Lord has told him not to get a job. There were some good reasons that God let my husband go without a job for so long. He learned how to integrate into the family instead of just working and bringing home the paycheck and letting me handle everything else that had to do with the family. And God told him not to try to get a job. So I would have been going against God if I had demanded that he try to find a job. I realize that it’s hard to hear from God, especially if you’re not used to it or you haven’t really believed it’s possible. Now is a good time to learn how.

5. Read books about people who have lived by faith. George Mueller, Rees Howells, Lillian Trasher, Hudson Taylor, John G. Lake, Gladys Aylward, to name a few. This will build your faith, and enable you to believe when things seem very grim and impossible. I also meditated on Daniel, Joseph, Abraham, and David. Especially Abraham, Joseph and David. They had to wait SO long before God’s promises to them were fulfilled. And Joseph and David went through the opposite of their promises before their promises were fulfilled. But they believed all along, and in the end they received His promises. The Lord had me read the Psalms and Isaiah constantly during our Journey of Fire.

6. Seek first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all of these things shall be added unto you. All of the things you need. You find out what your true needs are during a time like this. You may not get all of the things you want, but pray and ask God what you really need and then pray for those things to be provided. You may be surprised to find that some things you considered absolute needs, God considers luxuries. What He wants from us most of all is to trust Him like a little child trusts his parents. He wants us to love Him and believe that He is good no matter what is happening in our lives. He wants us to believe that He has good things in store for us. He has told us that He would provide for us. How does He know that we believe this- how do we know that we really believe this- unless we need Him to provide for us some time? As Americans, we pretty much provide our own needs, and if things get tough, we rely on someone in the natural to provide for us, such as our family or the government. But God wants us to rely on Him, not Egypt.

Look now, you are depending on Egypt, that splintered reed of a staff, which pierces a man’s hand and wounds him if he leans on it! Such is Pharaoh king of Egypt to all who depend on him. 2 Kings 18:21

Whoever or whatever has been the Egypt that you ran to in trouble, stop running there. Turn to God. He is always faithful.

7. Watch your words. Speak only words of faith. Don’t say what you see or what you fear will happen. Talk about the goodness of God. Talk about what God is showing you. Talk about God’s promises. Talk about your dreams and what you are expecting God to do for you.

8. It’s about “being” not “doing”. We realized that God is not that interested in our works. What He is after is our heart. Even though we weren’t in a position to “do” anything, God was pleased with us. We couldn’t minister to anyone else. We didn’t feel like we had anything to offer anyone. But we knew that God was pleased with our faith in Him.

Without faith, it is impossible to please God. Heb. 11:6

Don’t worry so much about doing something. Just work on your relationship with God. Realize that your walk with Him is far more important than your temporal needs. Concentrate on spending time with Him and becoming the person He meant for you to be. Also realize that there are purposes beyond what you can see or understand for God doing what He does. He may wait because of other people that He wants to be involved in your deliverance, but they’re not in place yet. There are a multitude of scenarios that could be the reason for your prayers not being answered yet.

9. Waiting is a form of suffering, and it’s also a form of worship.

Be still before the LORD and wait patiently for him. Ps. 37:7

The same kinds of things that suffering adds to our lives, waiting develops those, too.

10. Keep your hope alive.

Hope does not disappoint. Rom. 5:5.

God will come through for you. Don’t give up, and don’t give up hope. He loves you. He’s your Father. He’s your Shepherd. He’s a Good Shepherd. He takes good care of His sheep. Remember, this is just a season. No matter how long it takes to get to a place that feels safe and normal again, just keep trusting Him. You will feel His pleasure. You will make Him feel loved. Our faith is THAT important to Him. Do it for God!

If you’re really struggling to understand why God would let you suffer, and you want a thorough biblical treatment of God’s purposes in allowing suffering, read a book by Bob Sorge called The Fire of Delayed Answers. It really helped my husband through our ordeal. It pretty much saved his sanity!

Another good teaching about the reason God allows bad things to happen to good people is this one by David Wilkerson.

A Woman with a Heart of Gold Needs Our Help

There is a woman I met at IHOP- KC who is the epitome of love. She is very well-known there, but she cared about me and my two daughters on a cold, dark night when we were waiting for the shuttle to take us to the IHOP missions base. She saw me with the children and called out that she was driving her van to the missions base and could take a few more people. I quickly asked if she would take us, and she said, “Yes, come on!” When we got to the van, she told me that we were the ones she meant when she called out. I was so grateful. The line was long, and the night was very cold. In those days, I didn’t have a cell phone to call Gary to come and get us. She was so kind and genuine that I ended up telling her our life story between FSM and the missions base. She was very gracious, and I felt like she really cared about me. There were a few times that I saw her after this encounter. By that time, I found out that she was Derek Loux’s wife and how famous they were, and I wondered if she would remember me at all. She always did, and she always acted like I was somebody special, and she would tell me about their lives and ask about my family. She cheered us on in our big family ways and shared with me the vision that she and Derek had to adopt children, especially special needs children.

Well, Derek died in a terrible accident six months ago, but Renee is still going on with fulfilling their vision. She is raising ten children by herself, and now the Lord has enabled her to adopt another little boy, whom she is calling Freedom Boy until she knows the name God has for him. She needs some funds before Thursday, so she can go get him and rescue him from whatever situation he is in. Please pray about how God might want you to help her bring this little one to a safe, loving home.

http://tracieloux.wordpress.com/2010/06/28/happy-fathers-day-derek-by-renee-loux/

Highways

Out on the highways, there’s so many passing by

Step out in boldness and watch the family multiply

Pray up some miracles, let’s open up the sky

And His joy will be manifest in you

And the lost will be found by the things you do

– Christy Riley @ www.blessedchaos.wordpress.com

Pass through, pass through the gates!
Prepare the way for the people.
Build up, build up the highway!
Remove the stones.
Raise a banner for the nations. Isaiah 62:10

A highway shall be there, and a road, And it shall be called the Highway of Holiness. The unclean shall not pass over it, But it shall be for others. Whoever walks the road, although a fool, Shall not go astray. Isaiah 35:8

The voice of one crying in the wilderness:

“ Prepare the way of the LORD;
Make straight in the desert
A highway for our God. Isa. 40:3

It’s time to do some highway construction! If we build it they will come.

Then the master said to the servant, ‘Go out into the highways and hedges, and compel them to come in, that my house may be filled. Luke 14:23

Nature Study aka Fishing with the Grandparents

Blue heron we saw at the fishing pond

We found all kinds of cool nature things while we went fishing on Father’s Day with my mom and dad. Here’s some of the wildlife we saw…

Best Dad and Grandpa – Hands Down!

Gary wearing his shirt we made. He is a very affectionate Dad!
Grandma and Grandpa really wanted to go fishing and have a picnic. So we did! It was so hot that we had to take our food back home to eat it. A few of us started to feel a little sick. It might have been because of the heat. Dad got really sick after we got back home. He didn’t even get to eat our picnic food.
Grandpa took care of the fishing poles and baiting the hooks for the little ones – and the squeamish ones!
His grandchildren are crazy about him. Grandpa even caught a fish himself! He only paid $20 for that privilege.

Further down the page…
Grandpa has his shirt on too.  He’s kind of buried in this shot on the couch!  He wasn’t feeling too good when we took this picture.  But he’s a trooper!

Abortions Cease at Facility in North Carolina

The following is from an email update I got from David Bereit of 40 Days for Life:

Ever since 40 Days for Life grew into a national —
and then international — movement, beginning back in
2007, we have been blessed to see:

* More than 2,800 lives saved from abortion …

* 38 abortion workers experience conversions and
leave the abortion industry …

* And FIVE abortion centers have gone out of
business following 40 Days for Life campaigns
outside their doors.

Well, we just got breaking news from Raleigh, North
Carolina, that the National Women’s Health abortion
center — outside of which 40 Days for Life campaigns
have been conducted — will no longer do abortions
after this coming Saturday!

To see a picture of my visit to that 40 Days for Life
location — back when we had NO IDEA that abortions
would be ending there — go to:

http://40daysforlife.com/blog/?p=952

Today’s Raleigh News & Observer confirms the story,
and reports:

“One of four Triangle abortion clinics will no
longer do procedures after Saturday, but it’s
unclear whether it will close or simply stop
offering abortions.”

Even as we praise God for this victory, pray that
this center, which has done so much harm, completely
closes and that the workers experience conversions!

North Carolina was one of the first states to ever
conduct a 40 Days for Life campaign, and today’s News
& Observer story shared additional encouraging news:

“Abortions in North Carolina have been declining, as
they have across the nation. In 2008, the latest
year for available data, about 27,000 North
Carolina women had abortions, according to the N.C.
Center for State Health Statistics. That was down
4.6 percent from the previous year.”

Praise the Lord! Bless everyone who has taken part in this extraordinary movement!

Father’s Day Creativity

I helped Garrett make this Toolbox for his Daddy for Father’s Day.  I felt so creative!

I had to put together that cute tape measure and really all of the tools.  Garrett might have been able to do some of it, but I just went ahead and did it myself.  I knew he wouldn’t mind!  I was running out of time, too.  He did a good job of telling me what he wanted to write on each tool.

I made a hammer with a nail in wood, a tape measure, a plane with real sandpaper, a saw in a piece of wood, a nut and bolt.

I got this from Cross-Eyed Curriculum at www.Currclick.com.  It’s called Dad’s Toolbox.  Fitting name, huh?


We also made a T-shirt with the kids’ handprints on it. And we made an apron with their handprints on it. He cooks a lot and wears an apron to protect his clothes. We even made a T-shirt for my dad with their handprints. He was here to get it in person! Then I made a lapbook. It’s the very first lapbook that I designed all by myself. I used the clipart from Appleworks for most of the booklets, but I had a brainstorm in the middle of the night that would be more appealing to the big boys. I found some pictures from Halo 3 and made booklets out of them. They did react with way more excitement than they had been showing about the whole lapbook idea. I finally got each one of the kids to write something nice to their daddy in a booklet and then glued them into the lapbook.

I worked hard to honor my own dad and Gary this Father’s Day! I made a neat card for my dad and had Fiona make it for Gary. I even had two of her little friends make this same card for their dads. They were really cute. Unfortunately, my dad was sick on Father’s Day. He couldn’t get too excited about the gifts we gave him, but we knew that he was too sick to react any differently. I got this card as a freebie from The Old Schoolhouse online conference. It was designed by Hold That Thought. I thought it was lovely.


Y – M – C – A, It’s Fun to Swim at the Y – M – C – A

This post was sent out prematurely by my baby. I should not leave my blog dashboard open when I leave the computer. Let that be a lesson!

Mom and Dad came to visit from Ohio over the weekend.

    We went to the YMCA to swim in the pool. We took all of the kids except one. They had a lot of fun.


There were not many other people there, so we practically had the pool to ourselves.

The kids all played together, and the little ones worked on learning how to swim.

Having Mom and Dad here meant we had another car to use to get all the kids there. And we had enough adults to take care of all the little ones in the pool. It’s hard to take them anywhere without a van or a second car. And it’s hard to do anything with them at the YMCA, because they won’t let the older brothers and sisters help supervise the younger ones. We have a YMCA membership, and the four oldest kids and Gary use it to good advantage. The rest of us, though, hardly ever get to go there. It’s not all that family friendly. They won’t allow us to do things with our kids that we consider reasonable, like having the older kids take care of their younger brothers and sisters. I’ve never felt comfortable about leaving them in the child care, and the hours that the day care is open have never been convenient for us anyway. But they won’t let us just use the child care room with one of us supervising the younger ones. We had problems with the people who ran the YMCA in Kansas City, so we haven’t even tried to take the younger ones to the one in Belleville.

Emma didn’t stop smiling the whole time. It was her first time to swim. She squealed and yelled so loud, I kept trying to shush her. She was just so excited!

    Garrett showed us that he has no fear of water.

    We always have a lot of fun when Mom and Dad come to visit.

The Meaning of Hope

Rom. 5:5 Now hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who was given to us.

I had just told God, “I hate to say it, but I’m kind of disappointed with the way things have turned out.” I didn’t want to complain. I had just spent the last four years carefully watching my tongue and not complaining about anything, no matter how distressing the events were. I was completely caught off guard by what God allowed to happen to us. I never would have dreamed He would let such bad things happen to me. I thought I was above such things. But I had so much pride, arrogance, jealousy, and lots of other nasty hidden things in me that I needed a jolt of reality. I needed to see what was really in my heart.

By the time of my confession of disappointment, I had been thoroughly humbled. But I was tired. My husband was so frustrated and angry about the things that were happening at work and in his life in general. The kids and I were doing spiritual warfare for him every single day. Things were better. We had a stability we hadn’t had in months. But things were still bad. We were cramped. Our house felt unhealthy. Allergies were bad. And we still had no options. We couldn’t do anything to make anything better.

Then I cried out to God. My heart was hurting. I felt disappointed. I knew God hadn’t let us down, but things were still so far from what we had prayed and sown for. I knew He was going to come through for us… but when?

I never asked that. That was Gary’s question. That… and “why”? I never let myself ask those questions. But I had come to the end of my stamina. I finally let out what I was feeling. I told Him the truth about how I felt. And then I opened my Bible. The first verse my eyes fell on was Romans 5:5. “Now hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who was given to us.” I didn’t really understand the whole thing, but I knew that God was telling me to keep hoping. He was telling me that the things we were asking and believing for were going to happen, and that I should not give up hope, because hope doesn’t disappoint. That’s all I needed to hold on to. Hope does not disappoint. That phrase helped me make it through the next three years of waiting for things to really get better.

And one day, they did get better! And they’ve been getting better all the time. We are going from glory to glory. My husband has had promotion and is expecting more. We are expecting great things financially, physically and spiritually. All for His glory.

Don’t give up hope. Hold on to it while you wait. Like a life preserver. And remember, Hope does not disappoint!

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