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“In the beginning…….So God created man, in the image of God.  He created him; male and female.  He created them.”  Genesis 1:1, 1:27,28

“For God so loved the world that He gave His only Begotten Son, that whosoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life”  John 3:16

Authors note: Depending on your circumstances today, you may skip the first part which I write for context.  But whether you skip it or not, please, please read the ending part.

The world.  As Jesus Christ uses that term it is not a singularly physical place.  The ruler of it is not flesh and blood.  The world is the dominion of darkness and its ruler is Satan.  And the world hates you.  The leader of the world despises you.  Satan wants to make your life like his; a living hell.  Why?  You and I are a creation of God’s.  We are made in God’s image.  We were created from and for Love; for eternal life. Satan rejected that love and now hates all who call upon and rely on it.

Sorry to be dark but for understanding we must understand, we must go here.  Satan will use all his considerable power to defeat you and I.  He will use outside fear and threat.  He will bring hate against you and I from every conceivable corner he controls.  Worse yet, he will attack our inner spirit.  He will attempt to have us be selfish, jealous, spiteful, lustful, greedy and hateful.  If he cannot get us to turn from God, he will try to convince us that God has turned from us.  That we are utterly alone.  That all hope is lost.  He will try to convince us the only hope is to turn to the world; chemicals, alcohol, perversions to dull the pain and when that is not enough; when life is so full of total despair and void of hope, that life itself should cease.  (Again please do not stop here).

(Start here if you skipped the first two paragraphs)

God, Our Heavenly Father knows all about the struggle.  God is not ignorant to the plans and schemes of Satan.  Through the Holy Spirit, Paul clearly states the type of battle we’re engaged in, in the book of Ephesians: “For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood but against the principalities, against powers, against the rulers of darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness…” (Ephesians 6:12)

So dear sisters and brothers no matter where you are today, but especially if you find yourself in the dark morass of the struggle against the powers of darkness where light seems absent and hope seems lost.  No matter what your thoughts to God, God’s thought and feeling to you is: LOVE!  You are loved!  Personally, deeply, completely You are Loved!  Say it!  Repeat it! You are loved.

How do I know?  How can we be so confidently sure?  He, Our Heavenly Father told us. Very plainly, very succinctly, He told us.  God is Love so being Love, He told us that He created us in His image.  Thus we must also have been created in the image of Love.  We are His creation and, again through the Holy Spirit, Paul runs through an entire list, death, life, powers, depth, height shall not separate us from the Love of God. (Romans 8:37)

How do I know?  Look to the lengths God was willing to go to save us!  To bring us back to him!  God was in heaven.  God was and is perfect.  His existence was one of perfection.  God could feel no hunger, no pain, no weariness.  God left that existence.  God, in the Being of Jesus Christ, came to earth; became a man.  God felt pain, became physically tired and dirty, felt hunger, felt anguish, felt temptation.  God cried…..for us.  And God died…..for you and me.  It is truly correct in John 3:16 to use the term “world” so that it would describe the inclusiveness of Our Heavenly Father’s Plan and the extent of Jesus Christ’s sacrifice.  But if we are not careful the personal aspect of that sacrifice can be lost on you and I in a personal sense.  That is why the next sentence uses whosoever.  You and I are whosoever.  Fill in the blank:  For Love’s sake Jesus Christ died for (your name)! Say it out Loud:  God loves me, (your name) so much that He died for me!

Please, Please, know this dear sisters and brothers, no matter what you are facing today.  No matter what the world is saying about there being no hope.  You are not alone.  The Creator of the Universe, His Only Begotten Son, The Holy Spirit of All Truth and Light, are right there with you and I.  Our victory is assured, the battle, nay not just the battle but the war is won.  Paul tells us we have armor, spiritual armor forged by God Himself out of Love, to protect us.  Feel His Love.  Embrace His Love.  Let His Love and Strength Pour over you like a mighty river washing away all despair and dejection.  You and I are His.  He is Love.  And He will never let us go.

Our Most Gracious Heavenly Father, the world is waging war against us.  We humbly declare that we are incapable of waging the battle, let alone winning on our own.  Forgive us, Most Merciful Father, when we turn to earthly implements and strategies to fight the powers of darkness.  Send Your Light like a mighty flash of lightning to penetrate the gloomiest darkness to show us Your way.  Let Your voice blast out like the sound of thunder to silence the voices of doom, hatred and hopelessness rising around us.  Thank you Dear Father.  Thank You for Your Love.  Thank You for the sacrifice of Your Son Jesus Christ.  Thank You for sending the Holy Spirit to guide and teach us.  Give us Your desire to love; in all circumstances, to love.  In the Name of the One in whose Love we are victorious Jesus Christ we pray. Amen

“Your servant has killed both lion and bear and this uncircumcised Philistine will be like one of them”  1Samuel 17:36

“David fastened his sword to his armor and tried to walk…And David said….I cannot walk in these.”  1Samuel 17:39

“The David said….You come to me with a sword, with a spear…..But I come to you in the name of the Lord of hosts.” 1Samuel 17:45

Much has been written about the battle between David and Goliath.  In fact just last week, I wrote a post about the problem of fixating on the wrong thing.  The Israelite Army fixated on Goliath.  David fixated on God (see Jan. 6 post Beware Upon Who or What You Fixate).  Why continue?  Because we must remember that God’s Holy Word is so much more than just a history lesson.  God’s purpose for His word is that it will live in our hearts today; equipping us to face our battles.  He is as much with us today and He was with David.

So let’s take a look at some other lessons that we can learn:

1.  God has been with you before and you can take strength from this.  Scripture doesn’t tell us how many of Saul’s Army were shepherds by profession or how many had faced a life or death experience with a bear.  But even those who had and lived to tell the tale did not find that experience instructive in the current situation.  David was different.  He knew facing death was facing death; whether being mauled by a lion or run through by a giant.  David had faced death before and by the Grace of God, had defeated those opponents; with his bare hands no less.  He was able to find strength and confidence that the God who had brought him through those circumstances would not forsake him now.  So likewise, the test you and I are facing is probably not completely new.  We have faced new locations, new situations (like jobs or schools), illnesses and the list goes on.  It may not be exactly the same but know that the very fact that you are reading these words now; God brought you through it in the past.  The God who gave His Son for you and I will not forsake us now.

2.  Be open to the help of others but in the end; go with where you feel led.  Saul had given David permission to go and fight Goliath.  Thus David should have the finest equipment that the Israelite Army could provide him.  Note that David did not suddenly say:  No Way!  God is my only Armor.  No, David saw wisdom in listening to and trying the advice of those more experienced around him.  Yet, when David, in good faith, tried the worldly trappings of strength in armor and sword; he found he could not move and would be certainly defeated if he went out like that.  So, only after testing what others thought, he decided to go with what he knew had been successful.  We need to heed his lesson.  When you and I are given advice on how to handle something, we should not just dismiss it out of hand because it is not how we’ve done it in the past.  God’s blessings often come in the guise of wise counseling.  Though we also should not just go and do what someone else says just because they seem wise or in a position of authority.  Trust the Spirit to guide you.  If it does not feel right.  If the advice keeps you from moving in the way that you feel led, then it is correct to go with how you feel led by the Spirit.

3.  Submit to, rest upon, be confident in the Lord of Hosts from which your strength comes.  David’s retort to Goliath pretty much sums up all battles of world vs. God.  David checked off the things of the world which Goliath had; sword, spear and javelin.  Those things along with Goliath’s strength should have easily been enough to defeat David.  However, David did respond with tales of his own strength, cunning wisdom or superiority of his skill with his weapons.  David knew this, there was only one way he was going to be victorious and because of that One way; he could not be defeated.  “I come in the name of the Lord of hosts”.  Goliath never stood a chance.  Please note, this had nothing to do with glory for David or even patriotism for the land of Israel.  He was not a future king, he was a humble servant of the Lord of Hosts and as such was incapable of being defeated.  Why are you and I in the battle in the first place?  Do we want the new position for our own prestige or wealth?  Do we want to defeat our tormentor so that we can gloat or boast on our own strength?  Who will the world see glorified by our victory?  In this case, as in most, humility first brings victory second.  Did not Jesus do the same in the garden?  Not my will but thine be done.  Jesus Christ now victoriously sits at the Right Hand of the Father.  You and I need to humble ourselves before Almighty God.  We must go forward in His name and not our own.  Yet rest assured; as in David, our victory will assured, blessings will flow down, God will be with you and I.

Take a few moments to read 1 Samuel Chapter 17.  I am sure there are takeaways that God will give to you that are profound and necessary for you which may be greatly different than these.  Remember God, the Great I Am is as interested in your what is today; that is ,what you need to be victorious, as He was in David’s what was.

Our Most Gracious and Heavenly Father, we are so thankful and blessed that You decided to give us lessons on Your Nature and how we can be Victorious in the words of Your Scripture.  Help us Dear Father to be faithful in our turning to scripture often.  Pour out Your Spirit of discernment that we will learn the lesson You are presenting along with the ability to incorporate it into our lives.  That we would be a people focused on only those victories that come from You and serve to praise Your Most Holy Name.  We pray in the Name of Jesus Christ.  Amen

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