A Ball or a Box?


My Reader, do you live your life as a ball or a box? This may be a strange question but it gives us a couple of interesting images to ponder. Take time to think about your initial response to my question before reading further.

If your answer was that you are more like a box, you may find that you compartmentalize your life. You may view life as one big box with numerous little boxes packed inside with each one designating a certain amount of your time for such activities as family commitments, work responsibilities, church activities, and personal relaxation. Or, maybe you have a big weekly box containing seven smaller boxes. Each day of the week you open a different box with specific jobs to accomplish. From another perspective, you may think of each task you complete as a box. During the day you may stack one box on top of another as you successfully complete a task. At the end of the day you have created a tower of accomplishments.

If you are like a ball, you may bounce around from one responsibility to another. You may begin one task but be easily distracted by something else that needs to be done. You may never fully complete anything you start. It may be easy for you to adapt to spur of the moment invitations and emergency situations, but in the process you neglect to fulfill a promise you previously made. By the end of the day, you may be depleted of air and not able to move having wasted your time and energy.

My tendency is to want to live as a box. I like to be organized and there are specific tasks I plan to do on certain days each week. God reveals Himself as a God of order when He created the earth in seven days so I try to follow His example. However, I also desire to allow my schedule to bounce around like a ball when an opportunity to do something different pops up unexpectedly. I do not want to miss any divine appointment God is placing before me.

Next, I want to make a couple of scriptural applications to our ball and box.

The type of ball I am thinking about is one we blow up for children to play with. This reminds me of John 20:22 that says, “And with that he (Jesus) breathed on them and said, ‘Receive the Holy Spirit.’” Just as a ball can be inflated with air, we can be filled with the Holy Spirit. In Acts 2, the Holy Spirit is described as wind when He descended upon the disciples. Then Acts 13:42 says, “And the disciples were filled with joy and with the Holy Spirit.” Relating these verses to the concept of our lives as a ball, I discover that the Holy Spirit fills us with His presence just as air fills a ball. We can be caught up in the joy of the Holy Spirit like the fun a child has catching a ball.

Now let’s think back to life like a box. Remember how I mentioned that we might tend to build our accomplishments into a tower of boxes? This reminds me of the story of the tower of Babel in the first book of the Bible. From Genesis 11:3-4 we read, “They said to one another, ‘Come, let us make bricks …. Come, let us build for ourselves a city, and a tower whose top will reach into heaven, and let us make for ourselves a name’” As I compare a box to a brick, I sense our potential to build a name for ourselves if we keep our lives contained within boxes we build. I do not want to build my life primarily upon my self-esteem.

I consider a box more confining while with a ball I sense more freedom. I think of a box as being self-contained allowing me to be in control while a ball can take unplanned bounces in unexpected directions. A ball symbolizes more freedom in ministry for me than if I keep my life boxed in according to my own plans. I want to allow the Holy Spirit to blow me where He wants me to go and use me in the way He desires to use me for His glory. If we live like a ball, we would be wise to heed the words of Mark Batterson in All In, “You better expect the unexpected because God is predictably unpredictable.”

My Reader, I ask you again, are you more like a ball or a box? Think about this as you go about your responsibilities this week.

gold apple new


Well Women

flower-for-whole-2WELL WOMEN”

I am having fun using a play on words with my title “Well Women.” Join me in looking at two women in scripture who are worthy of this title because they have experienced Wells of Wellness. One is about a woman who encounters Jesus at a well and the other is about a woman who is made well through her encounter with Jesus. I have not printed out the scriptures of these two accounts, so you may want to read them in your Bible to refresh your memory of the details.

definite-rose2-mfIn John 4:4-42, we find the story of “The Woman at the Well.” The story begins with Jesus asking the Samaritan woman for a drink of water. This conversation should not have been happening because according to custom, Jesus would not talk to this person because she is a woman and because she is a Samaritan. I think Jesus set her up for their conversation by asking her for a drink. He probably was thirsty but He really wanted to take her deeper than just receiving a cup of water. The woman could offer well water to Jesus while He could supply her with living water that would quench a deeper spiritual thirst. After Jesus tells the woman she should ask Him for a drink, she notes in verse 11 that He has nothing to use to draw the water from the well. The drink Jesus is offering is drawn upon by faith. The key verses of this story are verses 13-14, “Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks the water I give them will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give them will become in them a spring of water welling up to eternal life.” These verses create a transition to a deeper level of understanding. In verse 25, the woman refers to the Messiah who is to come and in verse 26, Jesus reveals to her that He is the Messiah. The outcome of their conversation becomes evident in verse 28 when the woman goes back to town without her water jar. Her jar may have been empty, but she was filled with living water! This woman now exemplified the promise that living water would flow from within her. Not only did she draw Living Water from the well of Christ, but she also became a well of Living Water to those at hone. Verse 39 says, “Many of the Samaritans from that town believed in Jesus because of the woman’s testimony.” When Jesus was with this woman at the well, He knew her heart was empty. She was without love or self-worth. She needed more than just a drink of water to satisfy her thirst and emptiness. She needed a spiritual infilling. She became a “Well Woman” through her encounter with Jesus!

definite-rose2-mfNow let’s move on to the story of “A Woman Made Well” as told in Luke 8:43-48. This time the woman is looking to be made well physically. She has had physical problems for the last twelve years. Like the woman at the well, this woman also is concerned with her physical need and may not have even known she had a spiritual need to be filled. Faith for this woman is her source of being made well while for the other woman her faith was what she used to draw water from the water well. The woman made well received an infilling of Jesus’ spiritual power simply by touching the hem of Jesus’ robe. In verse 48, Jesus says to her, “Daughter, your faith has made you well; go in peace.” In this case, “well” meant wholeness in body, soul and spirit – not just physical wellness. (For a detailed explanation of wholeness refer back to “Sozo – It’s Greek to Me” posted last week.) Like the Samaritan woman, she was also confused about all that Jesus offered her. Jesus wanted the “unwell woman” to know that He was the source of all that she needed in every aspect of her life. Jesus offered her a personal encounter that would go much deeper than simply physical wellness. He also extended to her restoration of her soul and new life to her spirit. She wanted to encounter Jesus to be made well while Jesus wanted to make her whole through their encounter. She, too, became a “Well Woman”!

In both situations, Jesus used a physical need to present an opportunity for the women to have a spiritual need fulfilled.

definite-rose2-mfNow it is time for us to get more personal. The Lord wants us to know that we are Well Women. (Men, you may also make your own application.) There is a wealth of water in God’s well allowing us to become Well Women!  How deep of a hole, or well, are you willing to dig within your heart to find the source of your well water for wholeness? I encourage you to dig out busyness, clutter, and distractions. Fill your well with the wealth of God’s Written Word. The Holy Spirit is the Living Water that lives within us and desires to flow out of us. Psalm 42:7 says, “Deep calls to deep in the roar of your waterfalls.” Jesus offers “Wells of Wellness” but He also offers “Wells of Wholeness.” Do you want to be satisfied with just a drink of cold water or a physical healing? These are important, but Jesus offers so much more! His primary concern is the depth of our faith. For the woman at the well, faith was her source for drawing living water from the well. For the woman with the issue of blood, faith was her source of being made well. When we meet Jesus at the well with our faith, we become Women of Wholeness as well as Women of Wellness. However, we can go deeper and become Women of Holiness. In Ephesians 5:26 we are told that we can be made holy, we can be cleansed by the washing with the water through the word. The Lord desires to make us holy (sanctified and set apart) and wholly (completely) His. We, as “Well Women”, can become Women of Wellness – Women of Wholeness – Women of Holiness! Don’t settle for less than what Jesus offers to you!

definite-rose2-mfAs our time at the well comes to a conclusion, I would be honored to pray for you.

Do you identify with the woman at the well who had a thirst that needed to be quenched? Then I ask the Lord to fill your empty spiritual cup. May He quench your thirst for righteousness so you never thirst again.

Are you the woman at the feet of Jesus needing a touch in your physical body to be made well? Then I ask the Lord to reach out and touch your physical body to make it well. May He allow you to touch the hem of His garment and to feel His healing power flow through your body.

Are you a “Well Woman” desiring to become a Woman of Wellness – A Woman of Wholeness – A Woman of Holiness? Then I ask the Lord to fulfill your desire to be immersed in His Well of Living Water. May He allow you to spiritually drink freely from His well not only to be made well but to be made whole. May He impart to you a wholeness in body, soul and spirit. May you dig more deeply to truly know what it means to be holy and set apart for Jesus – having a thirst only for Jesus. May the Lord, make you a Woman of Wellness and Wholeness and Holiness.

Thank You, Jesus for hearing and answering our prayers!

gold apple new

Riding the Bicycle of Faith


While watching a young boy attempting to ride a bike with the help of his father, I realized how learning to ride a bicycle and learning to walk by faith have similarities. Hebrews 11:1 NLT says, “Faith is the confidence that what we hope for will actually happen; it gives us assurance about things we cannot see.” As I continued to watch the young boy, he did not give up his hopes of successfully riding his bike alone. I am challenged to have a similar confidence in trusting the Lord with my life if I am to attain a walk of faith. In the beginning, the new biker may not reach his goal, but with practice he will triumph. Regarding the walk of faith, I may not initially be aware of all that the faith lifestyle entails, but as I grow in my faith, the Lord’s plans and purposes will become a reality.

When thinking back to when I first learned to ride a bicycle, I remember that I did not have the luxury of training wheels. However, I did have the steadying hand of my father. With my hands on the handlebars, I would frantically jerk the front wheel to the right and to the left trying to gain my balance while Dad’s hand stabilized the bicycle. I compare this to the scripture of Isaiah 30:21, “Whether you turn to the right or to the left, your ears will hear a voice behind you, saying, ‘This is the way; walk in it.’” While walking by faith, I need to listen for the Lord’s voice rather than rely upon my own strength. Just as my dad held on to the seat of my bike so I would not fall, my Heavenly Father holds my hand so I will not stumble as I walk by faith. Isaiah 41:10 assures me, “So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.”

Just as a bicycle has two wheels to create movement, so I imagine a bicycle of faith having two wheels to live by. I define these two wheels as trust and obedience. If I trust and obey the Lord, I will be able to confidently move forward. I will ride upon a bike of faith.

I examine these two wheels more closely by looking at a couple of scriptures. I named the front wheel trust. Trust is defined as a firm belief in the reliability, truth or strength of someone or something. In this case, I am referring to trust in the Lord. Proverbs 3:5-6 says, “Trust in the LORD with all your heart And do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, And He will make your paths straight.”  Trust involves a commitment of the heart. When I trust the Lord, He will give me a straight path to ride my bike of faith upon! I named the back wheel obedience which is defined as submission or compliance to one in authority or to instructions. Making a specific spiritual application, I refer to obeying God and His written Word. II John 1:6 says, “And this is love: that we walk in obedience to his commands. As you have heard from the beginning, his command is that you walk in love.” By trusting and obeying God, I keep moving by faith and drawing closer to the Lord.

When learning to ride my two-wheeled bicycle, I fell numerous times but my dad was always there to pick me up and encourage me to try again. The same thing occurs as I ride upon the bicycle of faith. My Heavenly Father is always there to pick me and set me back upon the wheels of trust and obedience. He is there encouraging me to keep going. The Psalmist says in Psalm 84:11b “No good thing does He withhold from those who walk uprightly.” I move forward when I stay upright whether it be riding a bike or walking by faith. It takes time to learn to ride a bike proficiently and it takes time to learn to live a life of faith without stumbling. In fact, a person is never assured that one will not fall off a bike if a wheel unexpectedly hits a large stone in the wrong way. One just needs to get up, get back on the bike and continue down the path. Neither should I be discouraged if I stumble upon a stone of sin and need the help of the Lord to get back up and continue my journey with Him.

I like the verse of Galatians 6:9, “Let us not grow weary while doing good, for in due season we shall reap if we do not lose heart.” As I unpack this verse phrase by phrase, I make an application to my bicycle of faith with the wheels of trust and obedience. “Let us not grow weary while doing good” is obedience in action. The concluding phrase of “if we do not lose heart” is an example of trust. The result of obedience and trust is to “reap in due season” a harvest of deeper faith as referred to in the middle phrase. My goal in life is to trust and believe what God says in His Word and then obey and do what I have learned.

My Reader, in conclusion will you join me in singing the refrain of the old familiar hymn Trust and Obey by Samuel Stammis? The words are, “Trust and obey, for there’s no other way To be happy in Jesus, but to trust and obey.”

gold apple new


Cloud Gazing

clouds-1clouds-6I love looking at the various cloud formations in the sky. Today the clouds are revealing the change of seasons while the calendar is marking the beginning of fall. I discern that fall is in the air by the type of clouds that fill the sky. I have been enjoying the summery cumulus clouds that look like an accumulation of cotton balls. However, now more Septemberlike stratus clouds hang in the air like a huge gray blanket covering the sky. My Reader, will you like to join me in some cloud gazing?

At this moment, the clouds are moving rapidly through the upper atmosphere. To me, these clouds look like crowds of chariots racing across the horizon to see which will be the first to triumphantly reach a designated destination. This image reminds me of the last part of Psalm 104:3 that says, “He (God) makes the clouds His chariot and rides on the wings of the wind.” Another scripture that comes to mind is Nahum 1:3 NLT that describes clouds by saying, “The LORD is slow to get angry, but his power is great, and he never lets the guilty go unpunished. He displays his power in the whirlwind and the storm. The billowing clouds are the dust beneath his feet.” Both of these scriptures suggest movement by God whether He be traveling on a cloud or the cloud being dust kicked up by His feet while He was running. So, My Reader, how is God moving in your life? You can be assured that He is actively involved in your life when you hear the chorus of the Christian song God Is on the Move by 7eventh Time Down. The lyrics proclaim, “God is on the move, On the move, Hallelujah! God is on the move In many mighty ways. God is on the move, on the move, Hallelujah! God is on the move On the move today.”

While I observe the various cloud formations, my mind’s eye creates more images than  chariots and dust. Sometimes I discover a cloud that is smiling at me while another cloud may be frowning at me. My mood can influence how I perceive the clouds. These masses of water vapor vary in size and shape and are constantly forming new images. Romans 8:29 says that “For those God foreknew He also predestined to be conformed to the likeness of His Son” Similar to how the formation of clouds change, the Lord is at work in us to conform us to His nature and character. My Reader, what is God forming in you? Galatians 5:22-23 says, “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law” Maybe the Lord is forming some new fruit in your life.

As I visually I follow the clouds’ movement, one cloud bumps into another. These two become attached and as they continue to move across the sky they collide with other clouds and form an even larger mass. Eventually, this new structure becomes an insurmountable mass of molecules. While the Israelites traveled through the wilderness, Exodus 13:21 says, “By day the LORD went ahead of them in a pillar of cloud to guide them on their way. While I imagine that a pillar of a cloud was quite large, I wonder how fast it was moving. My Reader, do you sense that God has placed a cloud over you to protect you and guide you? I like the security of Psalm 91:1, “Whoever dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty.” In this verse, I think that a cloud produces the shadow of the Almighty.

Psalm 8:1 begins, “LORD, our Lord, how majestic is your name in all the earth! You have set your glory in the heavens.” The clouds I have observed are an integral portion of God’s creation. They majestically portray the glory and splendor of the Lord. David declares in Psalm 145:5, “They (God’s works) speak of the glorious splendor of your majesty– and I will meditate on your wonderful works. I also like Psalm 19:1 that states, “The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands.” Yes, clouds are the result of God’s handiwork in the heavens. However, this verse reminds me of Ephesians 2:10 that begins by saying, “For we are God’s handiwork.” Clouds are spectacular but the Lord also created each of us to reflect His glory. My Reader, do you reflect the glory of God in all you do? Psalm 139:13-14 says, “For you (the Lord) created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well.” All of the Lord’s creation is wonderful including you and the clouds!

gold apple new



I Pledge Allegiance…



With the celebration of Independence Day for the United States of America approaching in a few days, my thoughts turn toward the flag that symbolizes our nation. Not only do I think about the flag itself, but more specifically I think about the Pledge of Allegiance that we as Americans declare to the flag representing our nation. I decided to research the history of this pledge in preparation for our celebration of Independence Day on the Fourth of July.

According to Wikipedia, the Pledge of Allegiance was originally composed by Colonel George Balch in 1887 and later revised by Francis Bellamy in 1892. The original pledge was as follows:

“I pledge allegiance to my Flag and the Republic for which it stands, one nation, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.”

I learned online from Historic Documents that in 1923, the words, “the Flag of the United States of America” were added. I like the specific reference to our nation. At this time it read:

“I pledge allegiance to the Flag of the United States of America and to the Republic for which it stands, one nation, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.”

The last language change made to our pledge was on Flag Day 1954 when Congress added the words “under God.” The 31-word pledge we say today is written below:

“I pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America, and to the republic for which it stands, one nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.”

This last phrase added to our pledge has great significance for our nation. The two little words “under God” are powerful and offer a unique kind of protection for the USA! I discover that “banner” is a synonym for flag, and this reminds me of an Old Testament name for God, Jehovah-Nissi. This name is translated as “the Lord is our Banner.” In the account of Exodus 17:9-16, Moses held up God’s staff in his hand during the battle against the Amalekites, and as long as his hands and God’s staff were raised, Joshua and the Israelites won the war. In a sense, God was the flag that was raised during this battle. Like Moses lifting up his hands and relying upon God’s strength to win the battle against the Amalekites, the flag of our nation is lifted up during military battles. The flag of the United States of America represents a nation that is lifting up God. We are a nation under God. When we honor our flag, we are also lifting up the Lord who is the banner over our nation.

When studying each version of the pledge, I note that there is always reference to our being an indivisible nation offering liberty and justice for all. While highlighting each of these characteristics of the USA, I want to make a comparison between the Pledge of Allegiance to our flag and God’s purpose for our nation. Please allow me to take this liberty with words today.

We are an indivisible nation because of our unity. Oneness and unity are uniquely represented within our nation because we are one entity yet composed of 50 individual states. This verifies for me that our nation is patterned after the nature of our God. Our God is the Holy Trinity of God the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. In John 10:30 Jesus says, “I and the Father are one.” He affirms this fact by His words in John 4:30, “By myself I can do nothing; I judge only as I hear, and my judgment is just, for I seek not to please myself but him who sent me.” I can hear Jesus praying the words of John 17:21 for all the states of America, “that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me.

Let’s move on to the aspects of liberty and justice for all. These are qualities Jesus offers to us through scripture. In Luke 4:18 NKJV Jesus says, “The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me, because he has anointed Me to preach the gospel to the poor; He has sent me to heal the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives and recovery of sight for the blind, to set set at liberty those who are oppressed. Regarding justice, I am reminded of “Blessed are they who observe justice, who do righteousness at all times!” found in Psalm 106:3 ESV. (my emphasis)

This year we celebrate the 240th year of our independence as the United States of America. We have continued to be a prosperous nation because we stand upon the foundation of our founding father and our Father God. We still pledge allegiance to our flag and God. This is why we are an indivisible nation with liberty and justice for all.

gold apple new


A Doxology for Easter


Our Father who is in heaven,
Hallowed be Your name.
Your kingdom come.
Your will be done,
On earth as it is in heaven.

Give us this day our daily bread.
And forgive us our debts,
Aas we also have forgiven our debtors.
And do not lead us into temptation,
but deliver us from evil.
[For Yours is the kingdom
and the power and the glory forever.

Matthew 6:9-13

lent Sunday we will celebrate Easter which is the climax of the Lenten season. This is also the conclusion of our expedition into the meaning of the Lord’s Prayer. As I have reminded us several times over the last six weeks, the Lord’s Prayer is really the template Jesus gave to His disciples when they asked Him how to pray – not simply a prayer to be prayed from memory. As we have explored these scriptural words together, I hope you have deepened your understanding of the words spoken by Jesus and gained insight into the character and nature of our Heavenly Father. I pray our expedition has taken you closer to Jesus as we walk with Him through His arrest, crucifixion and death this week. We have one final phrase to explore together which is very appropriate with our anticipation of celebrating His resurrection on Sunday.

For Yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen.’
Matthew 6:13b

Not all translations of the Bible include this part of Matthew 6:13. It is found in the Old and New King James Versions and the New American Standard Bible but not in the New International Version. Neither is it part of the Lord’s Prayer recorded in Luke 11. Some scholars have thought this phrase was added later because it is not found in the manuscripts of the two earliest Greek witnesses. However, this is probably false because it is found in the third earliest Greek witness and the majority of all further manuscripts.

This phrase is known as the doxology of the Lord’s Prayer. A doxology is defined as a liturgical formula of praise to God. On the final week of our exploration of prayer, let us unpack the meaning of the words of this doxology.

For Yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever.
When we see the word “for,” we need to see what it is there for. I believe these words are included because our Heavenly Father is worthy of this praise when we consider the guidelines Jesus has given us for how we are to pray in the previous verses.

For Yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever.
The kingdom belongs to God because of Jesus’ words in Matthew 6:10 declaring that God’s kingdom is in heaven and we can ask for His kingdom to come on earth. His name is El Elyon, “The Most High.” This name denotes He is the sovereign ruler of the universe. (see post for 2/17)

For Yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever.
The power belongs to and comes from God because He is El Shaddai, “The All-sufficient One”. (see post for 2/17) This gives us the authority to ask for daily bread, forgiveness, and guidance and deliverance as requested in Matthew 6:11-13a. (see posts for 3/2, 3/9 & 3/16)

For Yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever.
Glory comes from the Greek word “doxa.” In the New Testament it refers to the splendor, radiance and majesty of which God is worthy. Since we have come to know God more intimately through our study of the Lord’s Prayer, it is proper that we extend our praise to Him. It is appropriate for us to refer to this concluding phrase as a doxology because we are giving doxa or glory to our Heavenly Father.

For Yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever.
According to a note in the Spirit Filled Life Bible, “forever” denotes an indefinitely long period with emphasis on the characteristics of the period rather than on it duration. I like this concept when referring to the kingdom and power and glory of God now and throughout all eternity.

As a conclusion to our in-depth search of this doxology of the Lord’s Prayer, I am reminded of the Doxology hymn sung in many mainline denominational churches. The lyrics are the last verse of the hymn Awake, My Soul, and with the Sun by Thomas Ken. Because of the words of Jesus in Matthew 6:13b, we can sing the words of Thomas Ken. Finally, my heart is filled with the words of the traditional Resurrection Sunday greeting we will be proclaiming Sunday. Through the words of these doxologies, let us give God the glory, or doxa, of which He is worthy!

For Yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen.
(words of Jesus)

Praise God, from whom all blessings flow;
Praise him, all creatures here below;
Praise him above, ye heav’nly host;
Praise Father, Son, and Holy Ghost.
(words by Thomas Ken)
He is risen!”
“He is risen indeed!”
(our words)

gold apple new


Battling with Prayer

prayer-man2prayer-man-1Moses said to Joshua, “Choose some of our men and
go out to fight the Amalekites. Tomorrow I will stand
on top of the hill with the staff of God in my hands.”
Exodus 17:9

The Amalekites had attacked and now it was time for the Israelites to fight. However, Moses was not going to let his men fight without the help of the Lord. Moses said he would oversee the battle with the staff of God in his hands. This was not the first time Moses relied upon the help of his staff while leading the Israelites. He used this same staff when he initiated each of the 10 plagues before Pharoah while in Egypt. This was the staff he held over the Red Sea when it was parted and the staff with which he stuck the rock to create a spring of drinking water. I believe that the staff Moses held in his hand was the staff of God, To me, it symbolizes the power of God that brings about change.

So Joshua fought the Amalekites as Moses had ordered,
and Moses, Aaron and Hur went to the top of the hill.
As long as Moses held up his hands, the Israelites were
winning, but whenever he lowered his hands, the
Amalekites were winning. When Moses’ hands grew tired,
they took a stone and put it under him and he sat on it.
Aaron and Hur held his hands up—one on one side, one
on the other—so that his hands remained steady till sunset.
Exodus 17:10-12

The day of battle arrived! Joshua and the men were on the battlefield while Moses, Aaron and Hur were on a hill overlooking the field. I believe there were two battles taking place that day. There was the physical battle fought by the Israelites under the leadership of Joshua and there was a spiritual battle under the direction of Moses, Aaron and Hur. Physically, it was a battle at Rephidim fought between the Amalekites and the Israelites. Spiritually, there was a bigger battle being fought in the heavenlies. Paul reminds me in II Corinthians 10:3-4, “For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war according to the flesh, for the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh, but divinely powerful for the destruction of the  fortresses.” I continue to set the stage for this spiritual warfare according to scriptural references of other battles in the Bible. In Joshua 5:4, the Lord says, “as commander of the army of the LORD I have now come.” and II Chronicles 20:15 states, “This is what the LORD says to you: ‘Do not be afraid or discouraged because of this vast army. For the battle is not yours, but God’s.’” I want to suggest that Moses, Aaron and Hur are members of God’s army portraying different aspects of prayer. First of all, Moses oversaw the battle with his staff in hand. In the previous paragraph, I pointed out that the staff symbolized the power of God. Through intercessory prayer petitions, Moses pleaded for the power of God to be active in the battles both at Rephidim and in the heavenlies. His prayers were answered because as long as he held up his hands the Israelites were winning while when he put his hands down, the Amalekites had an advantage. Another thing I notice in verse 12 is that Moses sat on a stone. I believe the stone or rock represents the Lord. Psalm 78:35 says, “They remembered that God was their Rock, that God Most High was their Redeemer.” Effective prayers have Jesus as their cornerstone and are prayed in the name of Jesus. Verse 12 also says that Aaron and Hur held up Moses’s arms. I want to suggest that Aaron symbolized thanksgiving and Hur represented praise. Both are aspects of prayer. I may get tired of repetitively asking God for the same things, but I can expand my prayers to include thanksgiving and praise. I can thank God for what He has done in the past, what He is doing at the present, and what He will do in the future. I can praise God for who He is; my conversations with the Lord do not always have to be focused on His actions. I want to use Philippians 4:6 as a guideline for my prayers. “Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.” Another good scripture is Hebrews 13:15,“Through Jesus, therefore, let us continually offer to God a sacrifice of praise–the fruit of lips that openly profess his name.” Thanksgiving and praise, represented by Aaron and Hur, helped Moses to be steadfast in his intercession. Thanksgiving and praise will also help to increase my faith for answers to the petitions I pray.

Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of His
might. Put on the full armor of God, so that you will be able
to stand firm against the schemes of the devil. For our
struggle is not against flesh and blood, but
against the rulers, against the powers, against the world
forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of
wickedness in the heavenly places. Therefore, take up
the full armor of God, so that you will be able to
resist in the evil day, and having done everything,
to stand firm.
Ephesians 6:10-13

 I began by focusing upon an Old Testament account regarding battles that were fought. However, you and I still fight battles today. Ephesians 6 is a good place for us to go for help regarding our battlefields. Our strength comes from the Lord and does not lie within us. Paul describes the armor of God and we need to put on these powerful pieces. Ephesians 6:14-17 describes the specific pieces of armor available to us. Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. In addition to all of this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the arrows of the evil one. Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.” The sword of the Spirit, or God’s written Word, is our only offensive weapon. I see a similarity between the sword of the Spirit we can hold in our hands and the staff Moses held in his hand – both entail the power of God. We may think we are only fighting a physical battle, but we need to see that we are warriors in a much bigger battle. This is something I need to remember when praying.

And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of
prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and
always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people.
Ephesians 6:18

In this verse, Paul not only gives us a mandate to pray but he also gives us directions as to how we are to pray when battles are being fought in both the natural and supernatural realms. I feel that the spiritual warfare done by Moses, Aaron and Hur is an example of what Paul is encouraging us to do. In Ezekiel 22:30, the Lord says, “I looked for someone among them who would build up the wall and stand before me in the gap on behalf of the land so I would not have to destroy it, but I found no one.” This verse refers to the Lord’s need of intercessors to stand in the gap. Intercessors pray presenting the needs of people to the Lord while also presenting the Lord to the people. We are part of God’s army and He needs prayer warriors to fight for Him and with Him. However, we do not need to pray alone. Moses became tired and needed the support of Aaron and Hur. If we are to stay alert, it is wise for us to become a part of a body of intercessors, a part of God’s army. Jesus promises us in Matthew 18:20, “For where two or three gather in my name, there am I with them.”

We are all aware of the tragedy caused by terrorist attacks upon Paris this past week. This is a current example of a physical battle that is taking place within our world. However, I believe that every physical battle is ultimately a spiritual battle as well. Let us support France with our spiritual warfare just as Moses, Aaron and Hur supported the Israelites. My Reader, will you enlist in God’s army to be a prayer warrior with me? I encourage you to be like the Old Testament characters we have focused upon today. Remember to incorporate petitions, thanksgiving and praise within your prayers. The Lord is the commander-in-chief of all battles but He needs you!

gold apple new