Wednesday, May 5, 2010

The Sword

Last week, I caught Lake dragging Neapolitan ice cream in from the freezer in our garage for breakfast.
He makes me so happy. He loves life and he makes my life FUN. He was a gift to me during a very dark time in my life and God used him to bring me joy then and he continues to bring me joy now.
The picture above reminded me of how we should approach God's Word. That we should be killing ourselves to get into the Word of God first thing in the morning. That it isn't duty, it is delight! Because of how sweet it is to our souls. I want this picture of Lake to be the picture God has of me every morning as I open up His Word knowing He is going to fill my cone with something AWESOME. And God always blesses me when I spend time in His Word. It really is amazing just how alive that Book is. Oh, that I would crave it first thing in the morning!

God, fill our cones with a big SCOOP of truth as we open Your precious Word to us!

"Taste and see that the Lord is good; blessed is the man who takes refuge in him."Psalm 34:8
"Open my eyes that I may see wonderful things in your law." Psalm 119:18


The other day in homeschool, the boys and I were studying Job. We came to the Leviathan. A Leviathan was a large dinosaur/sea dragon creature. They think maybe a Plesiosaur. Whatever this large scary thing was, it was alive during Job's days. It really did breathe fire from its mouth and its body was protected by tough scales. This is the part of Job where Job is questioning God and God is basically saying (in the International Steph Version) "you have NO IDEA how great I am, Job. My plans are bigger than yours. Here is a peek at my glory. I love you, Job." Here is the Leviathan's description in Job 41...

"CAN you draw out Leviathan with a hook,
Or snare his tongue with a line which you lower?

Can you put a reed through his nose,
Or pierce his jaw with a hook?

Will he make many supplications to you?
Will he speak softly to you?
Will he make a covenant with you?
Will you take him as a servant forever?

Will you play with him as with a bird,
Or will you leash him for your maidens?

Will your companions make a banquet of him?
Will they apportion him among the merchants?
Can you fill his skin with harpoons,

Lay your hand on him;
Remember the battle--
Never do it again!

Indeed, any hope of overcoming him is false;
Shall one not be overwhelmed at the sight of him?

No one is so fierce that he would dare stir him up.
Who then is able to stand against Me?

Who has preceded Me, that I should pay him?
Everything under heaven is Mine.

"I will not conceal his limbs,
His mighty power, or his graceful proportions.

Who can remove his outer coat?
Who can approach him with a double bridle?

Who can open the doors of his face,
With his terrible teeth all around?

His rows of scales are his pride,
Shut up tightly as with a seal;

One is so near another
That no air can come between them;

They are joined one to another,
They stick together and cannot be parted.

His sneezings flash forth light,
And his eyes are like the eyelids of the morning.

Out of his mouth go burning lights;
Sparks of fire shoot out.

Smoke goes out of his nostrils,
As from a boiling pot and burning rushes.

His breath kindles coals,
And a flame goes out of his mouth.

Strength dwells in his neck,
And sorrow dances before him.

The folds of his flesh are joined together;
They are firm on him and cannot be moved.

His heart is as hard as stone,
Even as hard as the lower millstone.

When he raises himself up, the mighty are afraid;
Because of his crashings they are beside themselves.
Though the sword reaches him, it cannot avail;
Nor does spear, dart, or javelin.

He regards iron as straw,
And bronze as rotten wood.
The arrow cannot make him flee;
Slingstones become like stubble to him.

Darts are regarded as straw;
He laughs at the threat of javelins.
His undersides are like sharp potsherds;
He spreads pointed marks in the mire.

He makes the deep boil like a pot;
He makes the sea like a pot of ointment.
He leaves a shining wake behind him;
One would think the deep had white hair.

On earth there is nothing like him,
Which is made without fear.
He beholds every high thing;
He is king over all the children of pride."

Here is what I think is VERY interesting. Isaiah 27:1 says

"In that day, the Lord will punish with his sword, his fierce, great and powerful sword, Leviathan the gliding serpent, Leviathan the coiling serpent; he will slay the monster of the sea."

This is referring to Satan. I had never seen this before. What is so cool about this is when you read about the Leviathan in Job 41, nothing could kill him. No spear, dart, javelin, arrow, MAN'S sword, slingstones, iron, bronze... nothing could harm him. He was too big and strong and protected by scales. In Isaiah, it says he is "coiling". The image it gives it that it is getting ready to strike and attack. But, notice what else it says in Isaiah. The Lord will slay him with his fierce, great and powerful SWORD.

We know from Ephesians what our spiritual sword is... THE WORD OF GOD. How cool is that? There is ONE thing that can slay Satan and his work in your life. The fierce, great and powerful WORD OF GOD. Satan may be bigger and stronger and meaner than us but he is no match for God's Word. That is why he doesn't want you to study it, know it and by all means DON'T MEMORIZE IT!
If you are a Christian, Satan does not want you to know the power of this weapon that is tucked in at your side. He wants you to leave it there. How many times have I done this in my life? Too tired to even pick up my sword and wield it... leaving myself so vulnerable to Satan's schemes and attacks in my life. Too tired to read my Bible in the morning, too lazy to really work at memorization and too busy to meditate on it. When I actually do these things (read, study, memorize, meditate), I can practically hear the sound of my sword blade sharpening---Having God's Word ready on my lips for the coiling serpent's demise.

We have to realize what is tucked away at our side! We are in a battle. No soldier would EVER attempt to walk on to the battle field leaving his only weapon in his belt! Imagine yourself coming face-to-face with one of these fire-breathing Leviathans. He is perfectly coiled and staring RIGHT into your eyes. You are his target and he is getting ready to unleash all of his might ON YOU. At that moment, God places a glowing sword into your hand. Would you put it somewhere to collect dust?

NO WAY.

Girls, get your glowing sword OFF of your night stand. The Leviathan is coiled. Are you ready to slay him? God will do it by the power of His Word.

"You divided the sea by Your strength; You broke the heads of the sea serpents in the waters.It was you who crushed the heads of Leviathan and gave him as food to the creatures of the desert."

Psalm 74:13,14

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I had an opportunity to speak at a dinner for graduating seniors last Sunday night. I take this very seriously as they are the future warriors for Jesus. I shared my testimony with them. How I grew up in Church knowing the gospel, believing the gospel but never surrendering my life to the Lordship of Jesus Christ until I was 20 years old. I played the religious game or "rode the fence" as some might say. After years of rebellion and sin, I was empty, beat up and tired of running. I fell on my face before the Lord asking for forgiveness. Love, Peace and Forgiveness poured into my life. I surrendered full authority to my Creator and EVERYTHING changed.

God handed me my Glowing Sword.

I began, one step at a time, to follow my King. That is what I still do today. One step at a time. His hand in mine.

"Nevertheless I am continually with You; You hold me by my right hand." Psalm 73:23

"For I am the Lord, your God, who takes hold of your right hand and says to you, Do not fear; I will help you." Isaiah 41:13

My message to the seniors was that there is no "fence".

Jesus is very clear when He says you are either for me or against me...

"Anyone who isn't helping me opposes me, and anyone who isn't working with me is actually working against me." Luke 11:23

I also told them that if they (like I) try to pretend or serve the Lord half-heartedly, it makes God want to PUKE. It would be better to not even go to Church than to go and pretend.

"I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot. I wish you were either one or the other! So, because you are lukewarm-neither hot nor cold-I am about to spit you out of my mouth."

Rev 3:14, 15

Statistics show that the majority of graduating teens get swept away into the world. If they are not rooted and grounded in the Word and WHOLE-heartedly following Jesus Christ, they will be completely ineffective for the gospel and actually hinder the cause of Christ.
God doesn't need any of us. This wasn't a plea for help. God's will cannot be stopped but what joy it is to serve Him and be a part of His plan! Being used by God is better than any high from drugs, or alcohol or anything the world can offer. Knowing you are doing supernatural things, being a part of MIRACLES, seeing souls be rescued and moved from death to eternal LIFE, & doing what we were created and designed to do (glorify God)... there is NOTHING more exciting.
I gently told them that they will get RIPPED off if they put the world before God. Nothing else satisfies except a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. Nothing. The world promises pleasures but only leaves you wounded.

Tim ended the night with Joshua 24:15

"choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve"

and we gave them an opportunity to stand for Christ while singing I Have Decided to Follow Jesus. It was a sweet time. I have no idea what was going on in their heads but I delivered the message I believe I was given. It is a radical message but Jesus wants our ALL. He is worthy of our ALL. Each of us must choose each day who we are going to serve. I choose Jesus Christ. Why would I choose any other when His love reaches to the heavens and his faithfulness to the skies?

********************************

Here is my new Grand Central Station that Tim built for me. I am slowly trying to get organized. My life is nuts. My house is nuts. My boys are nuts but I wouldn't change a thing!

(ok, I would like to sleep a little more. ;)

The boys and I are loving going to the nursing home once a week. I cannot encourage you enough to do that with your children. The people in there are full of amazing stories and wisdom. I love talking to them about their spouses. Talk about some LOVE stories!
I am having Lake and Hope dedicated at our Church Sunday with a Mother's Day Brunch at our house afterwards. (Erin, I wish you were here to help me make it beautiful!) I have so much to do between now and then. Not to mention the 5 baseball games before Sunday.
God is good. Surrender your whole life to Him. You are being ripped off of so much if you don't.
He is good. He will hold your hand. He will strengthen you. You have absolutely nothing to give Him but He has more than you can imagine to
GIVE.

"No eye has seen, no ear has heard, no mind has conceived what God has prepared for those who love him"-
1 Cor 2:9
"For the eyes of the Lord range throughout the earth to strengthen those whose hearts are FULLY committed to him."
2 Chronicles 16:9


5 comments:

HIS Child said...

Steph,

I love your heart to mentor the young women. You are truly a blessing in the Kingdom of believers. I pray a sweet blessing of peace and organization so that you may accomplish all that you have in front of you.
I am blessed to call you sister and friend.
The picture at the bottom with you and the kids, is beautiful.

Love you,
Celeste

Skamamama said...

i LOVE the pic of Lake & the ice cream cone. i'm going to keep that image at the front of my mind along w/ the illustration of the Lord "filling our cone". His word is precious & true! enjoy your busy weekend!

Susan Briggs said...

Hey Stephanie,
I follow your blog regularly via my friend Caroline Brannen who came to your college girls' weekend.

I just survived the middle TN flooding and thought you might want to read my blog.

Thanks so much for your ministry!!

http://susanebriggs.blogspot.com/2010/05/first-thoughts-post-flood.html

trooppetrie said...

i do not comment often but i wanted you to know your blog always lifts me up

Erin said...

Thank you Steph! I don't think I will ever feel the same about my right hand again-how could I ever feel alone?! I love the message you delivered to the seniors. I gave the valedictorian speech at my public high school 11 years ago in front of probably 800 people and wish I had given a message like that-can you imagine the faces!!?? :) I never want to be luke warm. I don't want to be gipped out of even ONE DAY. How'd the brunch go? Am I the Erin the sweet comment was directed to? :) Happy Mothers Day!!!!