Wednesday, 29 August 2012

Stepping out over the line

I was very blessed and encouraged to be at a Holiday Bible Conference last week.  Often, on a Sunday, I don't get to fully listen to sermons, but last week, I was able to hear lots!!!

One sermon in particular, grabbed my attention, and really got me thinking.  It was Pastor James Zenker who was preaching.  He was preaching from a passage that I am sure I have read before, but had no memory of doing so.  And, as preaching is, even if I had, he brought out some wonderful gems from it.

He drew our thoughts to the incident where Jonathan goes virtually single-handed to fight the enemy, whilst Saul sits, doing nothing, under a pomegranate tree. His theme was more to do with the Lord's work, and evangelism.  The theme was that God delights in doing great things in dark days.  Jonathan says...

"And Jonathan said to the young man that bare his armour, Come, and let us go over unto the garrison of these uncircumcised: it may be that the LORD will work for us: for there is no restraint to the LORD to save by many or by few."
I Samuel 14:6

The enemy was there.

Saul had decided that there were too many of them to try and even attempt a battle.

But Jonathan knew they had God on their side, and He was able to give the victory to just TWO of them.

Not only that, but they had to go through some pretty treacherous terrain to reach the enemy.  Talk about a rock and a hard place....that was it.  It was no easy task, and the odds were stacked against them.  The historians estimate that there were over 130,000 in the Philistine camp.  And, just Jonathan and his armour-bearer.

God did an amazing thing for them.

First of all, after receiving a sign from the Lord, the brave pair defeated 20 men on their own.  Then, God sent an EARTHQUAKE to defeat the rest and send them running!!!

All because Jonathan had faith, and trusted God to give them victory.  He stepped over that line and went forward, despite the enemy that he faced.

First of all, I took encouragement from an evangelistic view point.  Our Church is small, but if we put our trust in God's strength, and step out in faith, He will give the victory!  James pointed out that time after time in the scriptures, we see that God delights to do great things in dark days.  We ARE in dark days, spiritually speaking.  God CAN work again, because He is still the same God as He was in the days of Jonathan.  he hasn't changed!

He also pointed out that our goal should always be God's glory. God deserves more than our comfort.  We can't sit, like Saul, giving up and sitting in comfort, rather than doing what we should be doing for God's glory. God deserves more than a comfortable Christian life!

Jonathan didn't look at the enemy, and the enormity of the task ahead.  He looked to God.  James pointed out something which I knew, but had never thought of in a spiritual sense.  You know that we have focal vision and peripheral vision, right?  We can see things around us, but the only thing that is in focus, is WHAT WE ARE LOOKING AT.  If we are looking at the enemy around us, then we have TAKEN OUR FOCUS FROM GOD.  Our eyes are not looking directly at Him, is we are focusing on the enemy around us. We need to keep our perspective in the right place.

He quoted that great statement of William Carey.

"Attempt great things for God - expect great things FROM God."

Obviously, this applies to evangelism, but I couldn't help but think it applies to ANYTHING in our lives that we should be doing for God.

Has God showed you that you should be a Mum who should be at home with her children?  That your calling as a wife and mother is more important than anything else?  Do you have days when you doubt, or that you have so many struggles and trials that you just want to turn around and run away?  Are you having discouragements from those around you, who tell you that it would be better to do something easier?

Maybe you are a homeschooling parent.  BOY are there those around who would like to tell you that you are not doing the right thing.  But YOU know God's heart for your family.  You know that this is the right path for you, but there are enemies, discouragements and struggles on every side.

Ladies,  step over that line, by faith, and do what God wants you to do. Keep your eyes on the LORD!!  Keep your focus upon Him, and keep your eyes off the enemy.  Do you see a big task ahead of you, that seems to be a huge hurdle to overcome with the difficult days outweighing the dreamy ones? Don't take your eyes off the One who is able to give you the victory!

The other thing that struck me was the support that Jonathan had from his armour-bearer.  If our husband is the head of our home, then we could look at ourselves as the armour-bearer.  Do we stand right behind our husband in the choices that he makes, and follow along with faith and a willing heart?  Are we supportive of his Biblical choices?  I'm talking about the ideal here, I know.  I know that there are women out there who don't live in the ideal Biblical marriage.  But, for those who are - if your husband makes a choice that is not leading you into sin, it is your responsibility to submit, and follow.  Give him all the love and support that you can, and show him that you are right there with him as his right-hand battle-fighter!

We are also fighting a spiritual battle as parents, as we seek to train up our children in accordance with the scriptures.  Satan doesn't like that, and he will throw discouragements in your path, left, right and centre! Without a doubt, it's one of the areas in which we face the biggest battle, with the most struggles surrounding us.  KEEP LOOKING TO THE LORD!!! Keep your focus upon Him.  Seek His Word, and come to Him in prayer.  Ask Him to give you the victory as you battle for your children's hearts.

It also applies to any area that we struggle with, regarding sin in our lives.  We all have sin that tries to take a grip, and we do battle with day by day.  Sometimes it's little things that just try to creep in and overtake us in a subtle way.  Sometimes it is something big and ugly.  KEEP YOUR EYES ON THE LORD.  He IS able to give you the victory!!!

There are just so many ways this can apply in our lives, that I simply couldn't begin to think of them all.  We all know our own enemies.  What matters most is how we deal with them.  Do we look at the enemy around us, or do we look to the Lord, who is able to give us the victory?

  "But thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. 
  Therefore, my beloved brethren, be ye stedfast, unmoveable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye know that your labour is not in vain in the Lord." 
1Co 15:57&58

Whatever area in your life that you are doing battle, your labour is not in vain and God WILL give you the victory!  Keep "abounding", or excelling, in what God has called you to do.  Don't be  moved by the enemies around you.  Keep firm, focussed and moving forward in the way that God has led you.  You WILL have the victory!

And, do you want to know something amazing?  During WWI, General Allenby remembered the story of Jonathan and his armour-bearer, whilst they were fighting the Ottomans at the VERY SAME PLACE.  they got their Bibles out, remembered the details, and won the battle using the same tactics!!! Due to this victory, they were able to defend Jerusalem!!! Read more details here, and be amazed!!! 

1 comment :

  1. Susifrom Austria29 August 2012 at 12:23

    Hi Caroline!
    You are such a gifted writer
    Last week the goverment did not allowe me to homeschool because I am not a teacher So the only way is to start a little christian school I am still praying if bthis is God's will It is on the heart of some Christian here but someone has to start I am still unsure if it has to be me please pray for me as I have to make final decessions next week . Be thankful for the freedom you still have in the UK It is so very strict here specially ig the kids are older then 10.Blessings, Susi