God of The Valleys

Then a man of God came and spoke to the king of Israel, and said, “Thus says the Lord: ‘Because the Syrians have said, “The Lord is God of the hills, but He is not God of the valleys,” therefore I will deliver all this great multitude into your hand, and you shall know that I am the Lord.’”

I Kings 20:28

The Arameans were enemies of the Israelites and had just lost a battle with the them resulting in a great slaughter. The king of Aram believed that they lost because God was with the Israelites  in the mountains but perhaps not in the valleys and so they planned another attack the following year.  They planned to attack in the valley. So many Arameans filled the surrounding country that the Israelites were “like two little flocks of goats”. The plan didn’t work however, 100, 000 Aramean foot soldiers were killed in that battle and the 27,000 that fled were killed when a wall fell on them.  God delivered the Israelites just as He promised.

What is the enemy that has surrounded you? Pain, loss, disease, fear, financial pressures, uncertainty about the future, addiction? Our God is a mighty God, not just in the high places of our lives – the times when all is going well, when we are at the top of our game, but the God of the low points, the times when we feel surrounded  by a vast army and all alone. Sometimes, I’ll admit, when the pain is closing in on me and I can barely walk or breath because of it’s intensity, it becomes easy to think I am all alone, surrounded like so many little goats. But this verse tells me otherwise. There is no enemy greater than my God. No enemy that He can’t send fleeing. No moment when I am alone left to defend myself all by myself.

Even when the way goes through
    Death Valley,
I’m not afraid
    when you walk at my side.
Your trusty shepherd’s crook
    makes me feel secure.

Psalm 23:4

What more can I say than what You have already said? You are with me, You walk by my side and You send the enemy of pain packing. Thank You for being my Shepherd and my Defender, my Comforter and my Healer and my Ever-Present Help in time of need. Thank You for the high places where vision is clear and victory assured. Thank You for being with me in the low places when pain is bigger than my vision and victory seems less assured. Forgive me for the times of doubting Your goodness. Love, Diane

 

picture credit: onebighappyhome.com

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A Change of Perspective

Now may the Lord of peace Himself continually grant you peace in every circumstance.

The Lord be with you all!

II Thessalonians 3:16

Yesterday, two young Jehovah’s Witnesses came to my door. They asked the question, “what would you change if you could change one thing about this world?”  I answered that I would change people’s perception of God, which in turn would change their perception of themselves. The story comes to mind of Gideon.

Gideon lived in turbulent times. For seven years, the Midianite invasions left them stripped of crops and livestock and Israel was starving. They cried out to God to help them. Then the angel of the Lord appeared to Gideon as he was hiding in order to thresh his wheat. Then He addressed Gideon as, “you mighty man of valor”. He continued to tell him that God was sending him to rescue Israel from the Midianites. Gideon’s first response is much like mine would have been. What me? How? Really?! But I’m…just…so…me?!

Clearly God saw Gideon differently than Gideon saw himself. Of course, God has the ability to see the ending of the story before we even see the beginning of it. But more than that, God promised Gideon that He would be with him. Then God changes Gideon’s perception of God. He reveals Himself as Jehovah Shalom – THE LORD IS PEACE. Curious isn’t it that He didn’t reveal Himself as God –  “The Great Midianite Conqueror” or God –  “The Mighty Warrior”. No, He revealed Himself as peace.

I think God knew that whatever the circumstance, whatever we are facing, no matter how awful or overwhelming it can be, the one real thing each of us needs is peace. Not peace as in the absence of war, or peace as the absence of stress or conflict, but peace as in the Prince of Peace abiding with us and in us, giving of Himself so that we can give of ourselves.

Jehovah Shalom led Gideon and his team to victory in part because Gideon’s perspective of His God and himself were changed. A nation was preserved. I wonder what could happen in our lives and our small part of the world if we could see God as He presents Himself in His word and see ourselves as He sees us and tells us about in His word. What kind of victory and healing and deliverance could that bring to our world?

Lord, all too often, I feel like Gideon, wondering how on earth am I going to do the things You have placed before me. Things that seem monumental at times and totally out of my comfort zone. Thank You for being my peace, for giving me peace in every circumstance.  Help me to see myself the way You do, to rise up like Gideon and do all that You have called me to do, knowing that You, Jehovah Shalom go with me. Thank You Jesus.

4-H Lessons

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The horse is prepared for the day of battle, but victory belongs to the Lord.  Proverbs  21:31

When my three daughters were growing up, they each had a horse and were actively involved in 4-H.  I was the club leader for horsemanship and taught them and other kids how to ride and prepare and show their horses in the 4-H competitions.  It wasn’t easy for me or for them and it took a lot of work.  When show day arrived, there was really only so much more I could do; it was really in their hands to simply do what they knew to do.  Their victory was out of my hands.

Likewise, my victory is out of my hands.  Oh, I try to cooperate with God in my healing.  I try my best to follow my doctor’s advice.  I take the supplements prescribed by my wellness consultants, I have identified foods I am allergic to and removed them from my diet.  I confess healing scriptures, I have had people lay hands on me and anoint me with oil.  I have done what I know to do.

And yet the symptoms remain. I feel like I have prepared the horse for the day of battle and the war is waging and sometimes, I feel like I am losing, but I know that ultimately the victory belongs to the Lord.

When I get discouraged and wonder if anything I am doing makes any difference in my pain level or my healing,  I need to remind myself that the battle belongs to the Lord.  All through the Old Testament when the Israelites went into battle, God gave them the battle plans and when they followed His plan, they were victorious.

I have to believe that the doctors and the supplements and the advice of my wellness consultants are battle plans given to me by God.  My faith, however, can’t be in these things or in my ability to follow these things.  My faith is in God and the victory belongs to Him.

Thank You for sending Jesus to take my pain, my sickness, my disease so that I can be free of them.  Thank You for the doctors and my wellness consultants and the wisdom You have given them.  Thank You that are with me, leading me to victory and being my comfort through this difficult time in my life, Amen