All posts by Lois

The Lord will fight for you

These verses were given to me by an online friend near the end of 1999, as I experienced a time of great difficulty. I’ve included his commentary as well.

“Stand firm and you will see the deliverance the Lord will bring you today….”

God promises…

Exodus 14:13 – 14 Moses answered the people, “Do not be afraid. Stand firm and you will see the deliverance the LORD will bring you today. The Egyptians you see today you will never see again. The LORD will fight for you; you need only to be still.”

Exodus 23:27 I will send my terror ahead of you and throw into confusion every nation you encounter. I will make all your enemies turn their backs and run.

2 Chronicles 20:29 The fear of God came upon all the kingdoms of the countries when they heard how the LORD had fought against the enemies of Israel.

2 Kings 6:16 “Don’t be afraid,” the prophet answered. “Those who are with us are more than those who are with them.”

2 Kings 6:17 And Elisha prayed, “O LORD, open his eyes so he may see.” Then the LORD opened the servant’s eyes, and he looked and saw the hills full of horses and chariots of fire all around Elisha.

Matthew 12:20 A bruised reed he will not break, and a smoldering wick he will not snuff out, till he leads justice to victory.

2 Chronicles 16:9 For the eyes of the LORD range throughout the earth to strengthen those whose hearts are fully committed to him. You have done a foolish thing, and from now on you will be at war.

Psalms 34:7 The angel of the LORD encamps around those who fear him, and he delivers them.

Psalms 125:2 As the mountains surround Jerusalem, so the LORD surrounds his people both now and forevermore.

Deuteronomy 28:7 The LORD will grant that the enemies who rise up against you will be defeated before you. They will come at you from one direction but flee from you in seven.

Deuteronomy 11:25 No man will be able to stand against you. The LORD your God, as he promised you, will put the terror and fear of you on the whole land, wherever you go.

Commentary: For those who are godly….
God goes out in front and protects against THE WHOLE LAND
Example……

Genesis 35:5 Then they set out, and the terror of God fell upon the towns all around them so that no one pursued them.

Commentary: These are entire towns God shuts down to provide victory for those who follow him.

John 1:5 The light shines in the darkness, but the darkness has not understood it.

Joshua 1:5 No one will be able to stand up against you all the days of your life. As I was with Moses, so I will be with you; I will never leave you nor forsake you.

Joshua 21:44 The LORD gave them rest on every side, just as he had sworn to their forefathers. Not one of their enemies withstood them; the LORD handed all their enemies over to them.

Joshua 23:9 The LORD has driven out before you great and powerful nations; to this day no one has been able to withstand you.

Deuteronomy 7:24 He will give their kings into your hand, and you will wipe out their names from under heaven. No one will be able to stand up against you; you will destroy them.

Psalms 91:4 He will cover you with his feathers, and under his wings you will find refuge; his faithfulness will be your shield and rampart.

Commentary: Here lies the ENTIRE key to this:

Ephesians 6:11 Put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes.

Scripture taken from New International Version unless otherwise noted

When I say ‘I can’t,’ God says, ‘I can.’

‘Mind over matter’ is not the key. Meditation on the promises of God and his faithfulness to them brings peace, hope and joy when artificial mind games cannot satisfy.

When I say “I can’t,” God says “I can.”

God’s answers for hopelessness

“It’s impossible”
All things are possible (Luke 18:27)

“I’m too tired”
I will give you rest (Matthew 11:28-30)

“Nobody really loves me”
I love you (John 3:16 & John 13:34)

“I can’t go on”
My grace is sufficient (II Corinthians 12:9 & Psalm 91:15)

“I can’t figure things out”
I will direct your steps (Proverbs 3:5-6)

“I can’t do it”
You can do all things (Phillipians 4:13)

“I’m not able”
I am able (II Corinthians 9:8)

“It’s not worth it”
It will be worth it (Romans 8:28)

“I can’t forgive myself”
I forgive you (I John 1:9 & Romans 8:1)

“I can’t manage”
I will supply all your needs (Phillipians 4:19)

“I’m afraid”
I have not given you a spirit of fear (II Timothy 1:7)

“I’m always worried and frustrated”
Cast all your cares on Me (I Peter 5:7)

“I don’t have enough faith”
I’ve given everyone a measure of faith (Romans 12:3)

“I’m not smart enough”
I give you wisdom (I Corinthians 1:30)

“I feel all alone”
I will never leave you or forsake you (Hebrews 13:5)

–Anonymous

My ‘never again’ list

Free at last from the former lifestyle, we don’t have to worry anymore. We can face the future with confidence in victory as we stand on the Word of God.

Never again will I lose hope.

Never again…

Never again will I confess “I can’t” for “I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.” Philippians 4:13

Never again will I confess lack, for “my God shall supply all of my needs according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:19

Never again will I confess fear, for “God hath not given me the spirit of fear, but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.” II Timothy 1:7

Never again will I confess doubt and lack of faith, for “God hath given to every man the measure of faith.” Romans 12:3

Never again will I confess weakness for “The Lord is the strength of my life.” Psalm 27:1

Never again will I confess defeat, for “God always causeth me to triumph in Christ Jesus.” II Corinthians 2:14

Never again will I confess lack of wisdom, for “christ Jesus is made unto me wisdom from God.” I Corinthians 1:30

Never again will I confess worries and frustrations, for I am “casting all my cares upon Him who careth for me.” I Peter 5;7

Never againwill I confess condemnation, for “There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus.” Romans 8:1

–Anonymous

Valentines in a House Divided

We choose a Valentine card to express our love, remembering that God is the only perfect one who fulfills all our needs and desires.

How do I love thee?

The Perfect Valentine Card

I’ve been thinking of some of the various emotions I’ve experienced as I tried to choose just the right card to express my sentiments on Valentine’s Day.

I remember the ecstasy of young love. None of the cards could convey everything I wanted to say. He was so much more than a card could express. How I wanted to hold onto that moment forever.

Times changed. What happened? I found myself searching for a valentine that would express my love. But it had to be honest.

  • “You understand me when no one else does.” Umm…I’m not sure you understand. Maybe I don’t understand you either.
  • “When I’m troubled you reassure me. When I’m lonely you reach for my hand. When I’m happy you laugh with me. When I’m tired I rest in your embrace.” Oh, wow! Are there really perfect husbands out there somewhere?
  • “You are everything I’ve always wanted…” Well, if only you could share my faith in God, maybe….
  • “I can share my most intimate thoughts with you, knowing you understand.” Oh how I wish you could understand the most intimate treasures I have found in God. We talk about God. But I can’t seem to convey to you what he really means to me. Perhaps I’m going about it wrong. Perhaps I need to have another look at 1 Peter.
  • “Through the years we’ve built our dream together.” My dream has been for you to walk with me in faith, but is it fair for me to impose that dream on you? God doesn’t. He gives you freedom to decide. Lord, help me do that, too!
  • “Remember when we shared our first kiss? …when we went looking for our first home together? …when we brought home our first child? We’ve weathered many storms together, too. As I look back on the years, I’m filled with love for you. I just want you to know that you’re still my favorite Valentine.”
    — Yes, that’s it! He hasn’t been perfect. But he is still the most important person in my life, and I want to take this opportunity to let him know.

Through the years, life has a way of changing. Perhaps there won’t be a valentine this year. I wish there could be. But with separation and all, you know….

Lord, my valentine is broken this year. I place it in your hands. Do with it as you see fit. Thank you, Lord, that you understand me when no one else does. You are everything I’ve always wanted. I can share my most intimate thoughts with you, knowing you understand. Through the years we’ve built our dream together. When I’m troubled you reassure me. When I’m lonely you reach for my hand. When I’m happy you laugh with me. When I’m tired, I rest in your embrace. My valentine goes to you this year, Jesus. I love you.

I wrote and shared this with our Email Support Group on February 12, 2000, as I approached my first Valentine’s Day after my husband and I separated. I placed it on our website at that time also, and have updated it as I moved it to our new website at hopeundivided.com in March of 2009.

0. Christmas Lights: Zechariah and Elizabeth’s story – Contents

Christ is the light of Christmas: He came to dispel the darkness. Find light from Zechariah and Elizabeth’s story in Luke 1:5-25 to illuminate the season.

You, O Lord, keep my lamp burning; my God turns my darkness into light (Psalm 18:28).

Lessons from Luke 1:5-25 (Contents)

01. Are you SAD? Celebrate light this Chirstmas

02. Someone cares: God speaks to those who hear him

03. Chosen by the creator of the universe

04. God takes notice in our daily grind

05. Elizabeth’s light helped Zechariah in his blindness

06. God brings fulfillment in our wait

07. Comprehending the Darkness: Have you experienced the beginning?

Begin with first Christmas Light

Scripture taken from New International Version unless otherwise noted

07. Comprehending the Darkness: Have you experienced the beginning?

If you are overcome with darkness, could it be you’ve not experienced the light source? Have you missed Christmas? Let’s start at the beginning.

“The light shines in the darkness, but the darkness has not understood it” (John 1:5).

The story of beginnings

Read the story of beginnings in Genesis 1:1-3 and John 1:1-13.

We’ve been talking about Zechariah and Elizabeth and the baby God promised them. Baby John was a special baby. He was sent to prepare the way for God’s own Son. The world had been waiting. When would the promised Redeemer come? Finally God’s Son arrived, but few people noticed. John proclaimed his glory.

Notice especially John 1:5: “The light shines in the darkness, but the darkness has not understood it.”

As I write this it is Christmas Eve here in the central U.S. An ice storm is predicted for our area, and much of the US tonight. It is supposed to worsen over Christmas and the day after, making travel difficult. The dark gloom of sadness falls as some realize they will not get to be with loved ones as planned.

Others have lost family members, and their hearts are heavy with loss this Christmas. They wait. When will the darkness go away?

How does darkness understand light?

The world waited for the birth of Jesus long ago. Most people missed it when it came. Today, some of us are still waiting. Oh, yes, we know Jesus is the Light of Christmas. But how do we comprehend or understand the Light through this darkness?

The best way I’ve found to comprehend the Light is through God’s Word.

“In the beginning…God said…” (Genesis 1:1,3).
“In the beginning was the Word…” (John 1:1).

“In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth” Genesis 1:1).
“He was with God in the beginning. Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made” (John 1:2-3).

“Now the earth was formless and empty, darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was hovering over the waters” (Genesis 1:2).
“The light shines in the darkness, but the darkness has not understood it” (John 1:5).

“And God said, ‘Let there be light,’ and there was light” (Genesis 1:3).
“In him was life, and that life was the light of men.” (John 1:4).

Experiencing the beginning

Have you experienced the beginning?

John 1:11-12 says, “He was in the world, and though the world was made through him, the world did not recognize him. He came to that which was his own, but his own did not receive him.”

Oh, yes, you’ve read the Christmas story. You’ve imitated other Christians. You’ve said all the right things. You’ve tried hard to measure up. But you fail. Over and over again, you stumble.

You’ve tried to convince yourself that the light you have is real. But why is it so dim? Could it be merely the reflection of light from other Christians who are sharing their light with you? Have you missed the real Light Source? Have you missed Christmas?

“Yet to all who received him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God — children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband’s will, but born of God.” (John 1:10-11).

Are you struggling to understand the Light? Stop struggling and receive Him. He has freely given you the right to be born of God. That same light that was born in Bethlehem in human flesh so long ago can be born in your heart right now. Receive Him like this:

I’ve been like those Paul wrote to Timothy about, “having a form of godliness but denying its power…” (2 Timothy 3:5). I don’t want to stumble along in the reflected light of someone else any longer.

I keep trying to stay in the Light, but I keep losing it. I want the Light to be born in me so I never again have to be without it.

Lord, I don’t understand all this means, but I believe Jesus is the true Light. I know I’ve been living in darkness and rebellion, away from God.

I believe you when you say I can be born of God. I don’t understand, but I believe. Please forgive me for my rebellion against your desires for me. I receive you, the Light, into my own heart right now. I’ve waited so long for this. Thank you, Jesus! Amen.

If you prayed this prayer, or if you need more help with this, please visit our Seekers page.

Back to Christmas Lights Contents

Scripture taken from New International Version unless otherwise noted

06. God brings fulfillment in our wait

We can let waiting make us miserable, or we can plan to enjoy it and be happy. Waiting is inevitable. Why not learn to love the wait and experience the abundance of God’s fulfillment?

Lord, teach us how to wait in your joy.

Our life has not stopped just because we wait

Christmas lights. Aren’t they pretty?

But for those of us in divided homes, who’ve waited so long for God to intervene, it’s sometimes hard to see the beauty of the lights. We long for the light of a home completed in God’s union and love. We wait.

It is interesting that as I have been developing studies from the story of Zechariah and Elizabeth on Christmas Lights, we had a guest preacher in our church Sunday night who brought a message on the same story. Read the story here.

Our guest preacher discussed the fact that John and Elizabeth had waited so long for a child. They were well past the child-bearing age. I can relate to the desire for a child. It took my husband and me 7 1/2 years to get our first child. There is a longing and emptiness there for those who want a child that no one can understand unless they have experienced it.

John and Elizabeth had to wait. Did they fret about the wait? Were they frustrated? Likely so. They were human. But they learned to wait in God’s fullness.

The preacher (who is in his seventies himself) went on to say that he has found a wonderful blessing in being God’s child, and could not want anything more. But there is one additional blessing, according to him, that will give us even more joy than we receive by being God’s child alone. He says he has found the secret to this special blessing. His secret? “Learn to love to wait.”

What? Learn to love to wait? You got to be kidding! Who would love to wait?

He said that he plans to wait. He decides ahead of time what he will do in waiting lines at shopping centers, or other situations. He told us that he often seizes the opportunity when others are disgruntled at waiting to speak a word of calmness and find a way to talk with those in line. He has often turned it into a witnessing opportunity.

He suggested the possibility of carrying Scripture memory cards with us that can easily be pulled out to memorize Scripture in waiting situations.

He mentioned traffic situations where we are slowed down getting from one place to another. Use it as a time to observe others, learn how people react, and show them an example of Godliness and courtesy. Make being courteous in these situations a fun project, a contest to see how long you can be considerate and kind when everyone else is upset in the traffic.

Doesn’t sound like fun? He said the only way we can accomplish this is to pray about it and ask God to help. He also reminded us that waiting is inevitable. We may as well learn to love it because it is going to be a part of our lives. Since we know it is coming, we can let it catch us off guard and be miserable, or we can plan to enjoy it and be happy.

Think of all the time you are wasting being miserable in waiting. Why not determine to enjoy the wait and provide yourself a lot more joy in your life?

That, ladies, brings us to the hardest wait of all. Some of us are waiting, waiting, waiting…. We wait for our homes to be repaired, shaped, strengthened. We’re tired. We don’t want to wait any longer.

Lord Jesus, help us learn to enjoy the time we wait. Our life has not stopped just because we wait. You have fulfillment for us in this wait.

We are determined to experience the abundance you brought us and walk in your peace. We are determined to stop longing for what we’ve lost or what we have never had. Instead, we are going to make the most of this moment you have given us. We are going to live life more abundantly just like you promised we could.

We need you to do it for us. We are determined, but helpless. Lord, teach us to wait in your joy. Amen.

Next Christmas Light

Scripture taken from New International Version unless otherwise noted

05. Elizabeth’s light helped Zechariah in his blindness

Elizabeth didn’t concentrate on the inconvenience of her husband’s weakness. She was a light to him as she rejoiced in the fulfillment of the Lord’s provision.

‘The Lord has done this for me,’ she said (Luke 1:25).

How did Zechariah tell Elizabeth?

Read the passage we’ve been looking at in this Christmas Lights study here.

We can only imagine the conversation when Zechariah arrived home:

“What happened to you, honey?” Elizabeth asks, frightened.

Zechariah motions reassurance to her. He finds a scrap of paper and begins to write the story of what has just happened to him for his wife to read.

“I wasn’t even in the Holy of Holies where God has been known to speak to priests in days past. No, I was just burning incense in the Holy Place.

“As you know, honey, the incense represents prayers of God’s people. My heart was heavy because I knew how much having a baby would mean to us, and especially to you. I was asking the Lord in earnest to give us a son.

“Then, even as I spoke, an angel appeared by the altar of incense, and dear, the angel told me that my prayer had been heard. He said that you are going to have a baby and his name will be John.”

“A baby boy! Oh, Zechariah…can you imagine it! A little one in our home at our age. And God sent an angel to tell you, just as he sent an angel to tell Abraham that his wife Sarah would have a son in her old age!”

Elizabeth believed, yet she didn’t criticize Zechariah for doubt

We can’t know for sure what Elizabeth may have said. But there is no evidence that Elizabeth showed unbelief. God had recorded in the book of Genesis that Sarah laughed when she heard the news that she was going to have a baby. Likely he would have recorded a lack of faith in Elizabeth as well, had it been there.

Though both were devout, and Zechariah was a spiritual leader of the people as well, it appears that Zechariah may have had a weaker faith than did Elizabeth. The Bible says: “Zechariah asked the angel, ‘How can I be sure of this? I am an old man and my wife is well along in years'” (v.18).

On the other hand, the first words God records from Elizabeth in this story are words of praise to God for what he was doing in her life: “‘The Lord has done this for me,’ she said. ‘In these days he has shown his favor and taken away my disgrace among the people'” (v.25).

Zechariah’s penalty for his doubting was present the whole 9 months of Elizabeth’s pregnancy. What an inconvenience it must have been for Elizabeth that her husband was speechless throughout her pregnancy. But she didn’t concentrate on the inconvenience her husband’s weakness had caused. Nor did she criticize him for his weakness. Instead, she rejoiced in the fulfillment the Lord’s provision had brought.

Dear ones, your husband’s weakness or lack of faith may be causing inconveniences for you. But God will always be there for you. We are not to let our minds dwell on our husband’s weakness. Rather let us rejoice in our God’s sufficiency! He came to earth that first Christmas to meet our needs. He can still meet our needs today.

Next Christmas Light

Scripture taken from New International Version unless otherwise noted

04. God takes notice in our daily grind

Zechariah’s encounter with God in the temple was probably more life-changing than fathering a child in his old age. Pressures of the everyday workload faded when he met God.

God wants to spend time with you today.

When no one else appreciates us, God still cares

Read the story of Zechariah and Elizabeth from Luke 1:5-25 here.

Work was hard today. I am so tired, I don’t know if I’ll ever get rested. I want a job like Zechariah’s where you only work two weeks a year. The NIV Study Bible says that each priest was responsible for a week’s service at the temple every six months. Sounds great anyway. But I am sure Zechariah worked year-round, just in a less prominent area.

Zechariah became a father and his wife Elizabeth became a mother in their old age. But I wonder if the encounter with God in the temple was even more life-changing for Zechariah than fathering a child in his old age.

Sometimes we go through life in daily routine jobs and we aren’t really appreciated. No one notices the good that we do. No one cares. Our husbands and children may not seem to appreciate what we do for them either. But God takes notice.

God took notice of Zechariah and Elizabeth. The pressures of the everyday workload faded as Zechariah met God face to face.

Have you met God face to face today? He is waiting for you. He wants to speak to you through his Word. He wants you to share your heart with him in prayer. Can you squeeze in about 15 minutes after the kids are in bed to read the story of Zechariah and Elizabeth here? Ask God to show you something special in this story for your situation.

Next Christmas Light

Scripture taken from New International Version unless otherwise noted

03. Chosen by the creator of the universe

God had been silent 400 years between the Old and New Testaments. Now shared good news with the priest Zechariah at the altar of incense.

God is directing your lots.

Chosen by lot or by God?

Read the story of Zechariah and Elizabeth again in Luke 1 here.

Notice especially verse 9. Zechariah was chosen by lot to go to the temple and burn incense. Now do you really believe that for one minute? Well of course he was chosen by lot, the Bible says so, and the Bible is always true. But do you believe he was really chosen by lot? Yes they did cast lots and Zechariah was the one chosen by lot. But the one who chose Zechariah was God.

The fullness of time was near

God had something special to share with Zechariah. The temple was the place where he had spoken to the priests in days gone by, and there he had given them a special message to share with the people. God had been silent for 400 years between the Old and New Testaments, but now God had wonderful news to share. It was time to speak again. However, not just any old priest would do. The Bible says, “But when the time had fully come, God sent his Son (Galatians 4:4).”

God was going to send a baby into the world to prepare the way for his Son who would be our redeemer. He chose the devout Zechariah to be the father of this special forerunner of Jesus. Circumstances would have us believe Zechariah was chosen only because the lot fell on him, but God directed the lot. God had already chosen Zechariah.

God has chosen you

God is directing the lots in your life too, dear sisters. There is no “chance” with God. God has a wonderful plan for us. Even if we mess it up, he can redesign it again when we turn it back over to him.

Whatever situation you are in, know this: God loves you and you are chosen to be his. You are also paid for with the blood of his Son. That is what Christmas is for. It is for you — to make a way for you to come home. You are chosen, loved and precious in his sight. You are cared for and cherished by the creator of the universe.

All he asks is that you turn your life completely over to him. Give him the right to do with you as he chooses. He wants this right, not to make things worse. No, he loves you. It may for a time seem he is making a mess of your life. But he just wants you to learn to trust him so he can bless you. He can’t fix things for your good as long as you are holding onto the lots. Give him the lots and let him cast them. He will always cast them for what is best for you.

Trust him, precious sisters. Take heart, even in this time of struggle and divided houses. Don’t let your hope be divided. Thank God for every struggle, for God is using it to teach you his love.

Next Christmas Light

Scripture taken from New International Version unless otherwise noted