THE BIBLE AND GENDER IDENTITY…

GENESIS 1:24-27: “Then God said, “Let the earth produce every sort of animal, each producing offspring of the same kind—livestock, small animals that scurry along the ground, and wild animals.” And that is what happened. God made all sorts of wild animals, livestock, and small animals, each able to produce offspring of the same kind. And God saw that it was good. Then God said, “Let us make human beings in our image, to be like us. They will reign over the fish in the sea, the birds in the sky, the livestock, all the wild animals on the earth, and the small animals that scurry along the ground.” So God created human beings in his own image. In the image of God he created them; male and female he created them.” CSB

OBSERVATIONS: What is the Biblical view of gender identity? Are there two genders or as many as 32 like many are now purporting? Does God’s Word change or are we simply living in culture that has run off course?

In this day of tolerance one is viewed as hateful if they stand in opposition to the conventional wisdom of the day. Tolerance has become a one way street. One is to be tolerant of any viewpoint that opposes Biblical values and oppose anyone who stands for what is viewed as archaic and hateful – traditional Biblical values.

In just a half a century our culture has taken a sharp turn toward the cliff. We are racing toward a dramatic fall and no one seems to notice. The current viewpoints of gender identity are not based on science or fact. They are merely based on feeling. They are not reflected in the natural world around us. They are only held by humans who are intent to create their own reality.

The Bible is clear. The natural world stands as its witness. And, the procreation of species is the scientific fact that settles the argument. God created two genders – male and female. These were created in God’s plan and for the procreation of the species. There are animals that contain both male and female organs. They are called hermaphrodites, and most of these are among invertebrates. Yet, when they mate, one becomes the male and the other the female.

  • “And that is what happened. God made all sorts of wild animals, livestock, and small animals, each able to produce offspring of the same kind. And God saw that it was good.”

This minute anomaly cannot be applied to human beings. And, it certainty cannot be used as a basis for the current race towards redefining gender identity. The current cultural confusion on gender identity is based on feelings rather than medical science. Medical science confirms the Biblical account. In an article from Medical News Today (Sex and Gender, what is the difference), it states:

  • “Genetic factors define the sex of an individual. Women have 46 chromosomes including two Xs and men have 46 including an X and a Y. The Y chromosome is dominant and carries the signal for the embryo to begin growing testes.”

Yet, in this same article they also make the following confusing statement:

  • “In general terms, “sex” refers to the biological differences between males and females, such as the genitalia and genetic differences. Gender” is more difficult to define, but it can refer to the role of a male or female in society, known as a gender role, or an individual’s concept of themselves, or gender identity. Sometimes, a person’s genetically assigned sex does not line up with their gender identity. These individuals might refer to themselves as transgender, non-binary, or gender-nonconforming.”

How does the Bible respond to this?

  • “Then God said, “Let us make human beings in our image, to be like us. They will reign over the fish in the sea, the birds in the sky, the livestock, all the wild animals on the earth, and the small animals that scurry along the ground.” So God created human beings in his own image. In the image of God he created them; male and female he created them.”

The Bible upholds the scientific fact. God created mankind – male and female. They were created with a definite purpose and role in this world. It was to procreate and manage all of God’s creation. The creation of mankind in two definitive genders, male and female, is also said to be an expression of God’s image. There is no confusion in the Biblical record.

So where is the confusion coming from? I believe it began in the early 1960’s when traditional sexual norms were challenged and the initial attacks against the institution of marriage began to become accepted and embraced. The lowering of the standard of morality began to take its toll on the family unit and new norms of morality began to be played out in entertainment and then in the public square. And, finally, when the institution of marriage as the union of one man and one woman was abandoned, all hell broke loose.

There is a Creator God and there is a Satan. Satan is opposed to everything and everyone who bears the image of the Creator. God instituted marriage between one man and one woman. The New Testament calls marriage a picture of the relationship between Jesus Christ and His Church. So, the enemy has continually tried to destroy this holy institution. God also created mankind in His image, male and female. Now the enemy is trying to destroy the image of God in every man and woman living. And, what better way to do this then to push the current lie of gender identity.

Let’s be honest. No matter how much a man may think he is a woman, he cannot bear a child. And, no matter how much a woman may think she is a man, she cannot begin the cycle of life. It still takes one man and one woman to conceive and procreate the species. This is God’s order. It is a scientific fact. It is the natural order of all things.

Why am I taking the time to write about this? Is it because I am homophobic or hate the transgender community? Am I a bigot or am I broken for the lost who are losing their way from the very Creator who made them in His image? It is the latter. My heart is broken daily for those who are finding themselves living in a state of confusion and discontent. God does not make mistakes. He created each of us in His image, male and female He created us. And, He created us beautiful in His sight!

  • “You made all the delicate, inner parts of my body and knit me together in my mother’s womb. Thank you for making me so wonderfully complex! Your workmanship is marvelous—how well I know it. You watched me as I was being formed in utter seclusion, as I was woven together in the dark of the womb. You saw me before I was born. Every day of my life was recorded in your book. Every moment was laid out before a single day had passed. How precious are your thoughts about me, O God. They cannot be numbered!” Psalms 139:13-17 NLT

It is love that motivates me to shine the light on this confusion. It is love that motivates me to call believers to stand up for God’s truth. And, it is love that motivates me to call all those who find themselves confused about their gender to return to the God who created them, just as they are, and to find the wonderful purpose He has for their life.

Jesus died on the cross for our sins so that we could be restored to a loving relationship with our Heavenly Creator. When we come to the Father, in Jesus Name, when we confess our sins and ask Jesus to be our Lord and Savior, we become a child of God. We are restored to our heavenly calling and our creative purpose. And, we are filled with the Holy Spirit who will guide us into all truth. It is this truth that will set us free!

Lord, I pray for all those who have been trapped with the lie of gender identity confusion. I pray that You would call them to Your heart in love, restore them in relationship to You through Jesus Christ, and begin to restore in them the wonderful image in which they were created. May the church stand in both love and truth as they lead the way to the pathway of healing and restoration.

In Jesus Name!

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PROTECT YOUR SEED!

MATTHEW 13:23: “But the one sown on the good ground — this is one who hears and understands the word, who does produce fruit and yields: some a hundred, some sixty, some thirty times what was sown.” CSB

OBSERVATION: Do you want to be fruitful in life? Do you want to see the blessings of God multiply? Do you want to be a blessing to others?

THEN – PROTECT YOUR SEED!

So often when I read the parable of the sower my focus turns toward the things that rob God’s seed (His Word) from my life. There is the enemy (the birds of the air) who comes to steal away the seed. There is the lack of depth (rocky ground) that stunts the growth of the seed. And, there are the cares of this life (weeds) that try to choke out the seed. All of these are opposed to God’s harvest in our life. What can we do?

WE CAN – PROTECT OUR SEED!

Years ago I tried to plant Saint Augustine grass in my backyard in California. I made several mistakes in doing so. First, I planted plugs of Saint Augustine at the wrong time of the year – May. June is normally a gloomy month in California and the little plugs never got the sunshine they needed to get a healthy start. And, then I had two German shepherds who thought that the plugs were toys to dig up. I had a problem.

I could have given up and counted my losses. However, I had spent a lot of time and money on this project. If I was ever going to have a lawn I needed to – PROTECT MY SEED! There were things that were out of my control (the weather) and things that were within my control (my dogs). I had to put a plan into place.

Eventually I had a great lawn in the backyard. I did not grow the grass – God did! Yet, I PROTECTED THE SEED! I built a dog run so that my dogs did not run free when we were at work, as this was the time they did all their digging. I hand watered the little plugs and made sure to keep the weeds from overtaking them. And, I prayed for sunshine!

When God plants a promise of His Word in our hearts we need to do the same thing. We can not just assume that it will grow and produce its full harvest without any effort on our part. We do not bring God’s Word to pass, but we do PROTECT THE SEED!

  • We protect it from doubt by abiding in prayer, worship, and God’s Word.
  • We allow the seed to establish deep roots by yielding to the Holy Spirit’s tilling of our heart to remove the rocks that would hinder the seed’s development.
  • We lay all of our cares and concerns on the altar before the Lord, and refuse to pick them up in our own strength, as we seek first His Kingdom in everything.
  • And, we water the seed He has planted in our hearts with faith and hope as we abide in Him!

Fruitfulness in our lives is the gift of God through His Word. Just as a seed grows from the ground, so His Word grows from our hearts and lives. Yet, in both, we have a part.

OUR PART IS TO – PROTECT THE SEED!

Fruitfulness is the will of God for every believer. Yet, we have forces that will always try to prevent this from happening. However, we have God’s blessed assurance that if we allow Him to cultivate the ground in our hearts, if we continue to water it with worship and prayer, and if we continue to fertilize it with the Word of God – we will reap a bountiful harvest!

  • “The soil produces a crop by itself — first the blade, then the head, and then the full grain on the head.” Mark 4:28 CSB
  • “But the one sown on the good ground — this is one who hears and understands the word, who does produce fruit and yields: some a hundred, some sixty, some thirty times what was sown.” Matthew 13:23 CSB

Lord, as I begin my day today, I ask you for grace to protect the seed that You have sown in my life. Search my heart, know my ways, and remove anything in my life that would prevent your seed from the harvest you have intended.

Today I purpose to water and – PROTECT YOUR SEED!

In Jesus Name!

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AM I GROWING OLD GRACE-FULLY?

PROVERBS 16:31-33: “Gray hair is a glorious crown; it is found in the ways of righteousness. Patience is better than power, and controlling one’s emotions, than capturing a city. The lot is cast into the lap, but its every decision is from the Lord.” CSB

OBSERVATION: Do you remember the day you graduated from High School? You were filled with youth, energy, and dreams. The world stood before you and you were ready to conquer it. Growing older was not even a consideration. You had your whole life ahead of you.

And, then it happens. One day you wake up and decades have past. You close your eyes and you are the same energy filled teenager. Then, you look in the mirror and you are greeted with the reality of life. Something happened along the way. You grew old.

This is the reality of everyone, even the young person who may be reading this. The question is not whether we will grow old. The real question is – will we grow old grace-fully? (The hyphen is intentional.)

Gray hair is the sign of old age. Yet, it is not necessarily the sign of growing old grace-fully. One’s gray hair is a crown only when they have employed their life in growing in righteousness.

  • “Gray hair is a glorious crown; it is found in the ways of righteousness.”

The world is full of gray haired individuals that got stuck somewhere in their youth and have been bound in bitterness and sin. The true crown of growing older is not simply wisdom – it is wisdom that is founded in righteousness, the righteousness of Jesus Christ. And, this righteousness is manifested in a transformed character.

This character is not the result of a miracle cream. It is the result of yielding to the Spirit of God in our life and allowing Him to mold us into the image of Jesus Christ. This inner transformation does not erase the evidence of years from our complexion, but it does erase the effects of sin from our hearts. And, it transforms our character and how we respond to the everyday issues of life!

  • “Patience is better than power, and controlling one’s emotions, than capturing a city. The lot is cast into the lap, but its every decision is from the Lord.”

The white hair of the soul is manifested in patient endurance. Patience in walking through the trials of life and patience in dealing with others. This patience refuses to take matters into its own hands. It turns all the concerns of life over to the Lord and trusts Him to work. This patience is the very presence of Jesus Christ through the Holy Spirit in our life!

The true crown of age is the willingness to surrender to the will of God in our lives. It is praying the prayer – “Your Kingdom come, Your will be done, in me as it is in heaven.” The true crown of age is learning to seek God and His Kingdom first in every step we take and in every decision we make. It is walking after the Spirit, not lagging behind or running ahead. It is wisdom that is learned in righteousness.

When I look in the mirror now I sense what the Apostle Paul felt when he wrote these words,

  • “I don’t mean to say that I have already achieved these things or that I have already reached perfection. But I press on to possess that perfection for which Christ Jesus first possessed me. No, dear brothers and sisters, I have not achieved it, but I focus on this one thing: Forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead, I press on to reach the end of the race and receive the heavenly prize for which God, through Christ Jesus, is calling us.” Philippians 3:12-14 NLT

In reality, my hair is gray (well, at least my mustache is), but I am still working on my crown. I am not what I have been called to be and I am not what I used to be. I am in process. And, my goal is to finish my race with patience and grace and receive the heavenly prize, for which God, through Christ Jesus, has reserved for me.

Lord, You know I am still working on this patience thing. And, I struggle at times keeping in step with Your Spirit. I need Your grace! I want to grow old grace-fully! Pour out Your grace upon me today so that I can choose patience over power and Your will over mine.

In Jesus Name!

Posted in Proverbs | 1 Comment

WHAT I AM THANKFUL FOR…

PROVERBS 9:10-11: “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, and the knowledge of the Holy One is understanding. For by me your days will be many, and years will be added to your life.” CSB

OBSERVATION: Today is Thanksgiving! As we look over our lives there is so much to be thankful for. On the top of my list is my wife, my daughter, and my family. Then there are all the wonderful and dear friends the Lord has gifted and placed in my life over the years. And, there is His faithful provision for our daily sustenance. Yet, as I look over everything, there is one thing I am thankful for above all else.

It is the fear of the Lord!

To fear the Lord is a gift. It is the gift of salvation. It is when God opens our eyes and we see Him for the very first time. Paul saw the Lord on the road to Damascus and it changed his life. I saw the Lord as I knelt in my apartment in Fullerton, California, and it transformed me. It opened my eyes to see the one who created all things. And, when I saw the Lord through eyes of faith, I began to fear the Lord!

To fear the Lord is not a call to be afraid. It is an invitation to enter into a relationship of a daily unveiling of His glory and wonder. The word should actually be translated reverence or awe. When I put the Lord first in my life I am giving Him the reverence He deserves. I am fearing the Lord. And, this is the first step to all the wisdom and knowledge I need to live my life to the fullest.

Why is this the one thing I am most thankful for? It is because without it I would miss all the wonders and blessings of life. My life would be consumed with selfishness and sin. I would take for granted all the blessings in my life and I would not have the capacity to love others with the love they need and deserve. Yet, when I fear the Lord, His love transforms me. I become a better husband, father, and friend.

The fear of the Lord also teaches me how to live and respond to all of life’s situations. Just this morning I was praying over how to respond to a difficult situation. When I opened my Bible – there it was. As I fear the Lord I also put His Word first in my life. And, as I meditate upon His Word, He guides my steps safely and teaches me His wisdom and knowledge. This is not something you master like a skill you learn. This is a daily dynamic relationship that you need to maintain in your life. To fear the Lord is a daily walk after the Spirit and in His Word!

Finally, to fear the Lord has great benefits. It redeems the days of our lives. It makes every day count for His good purposes. It also brings longevity and blessing. To fear the Lord is the best thing you can do for your mind and your health. The blessings are without end. Even when we walk through the valley of the shadow of death, as we fear the Lord we walk in confidence, for we know what He has prepared for us!

  • “You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies; you anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows. Only goodness and faithful love will pursue me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the Lord as long as I live.” Psalms 23:5-6 CSB

So, on this Thanksgiving Day, I pray that you too know the fear of the Lord. It begins as we place our faith in Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior. And, it continues as we walk daily in His Spirit and His Word.

  • “Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good; his faithful love endures forever.” Psalms 107:1 CSB

In Jesus Name!

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KEEP YOUR EYE ON THE FINISH LINE!

MALACHI 3:13-18: “Your words against me are harsh,” says the Lord. Yet you ask, “What have we spoken against you?” You have said: “It is useless to serve God. What have we gained by keeping his requirements and walking mournfully before the Lord of Armies? So now we consider the arrogant to be fortunate. Not only do those who commit wickedness prosper, they even test God and escape.” At that time those who feared the Lord spoke to one another. The Lord took notice and listened. So a book of remembrance was written before him for those who feared the Lord and had high regard for his name. “They will be mine,” says the Lord of Armies, “my own possession on the day I am preparing. I will have compassion on them as a man has compassion on his son who serves him. So you will again see the difference between the righteous and the wicked, between one who serves God and one who does not serve him.” CSB

OBSERVATION: Have you ever wondered if serving the Lord is worth it? You look at the world and it appears that the evil prosper while the good suffer. Discouragement is quick to come to the door of your heart during these times of questioning. Like the boxer who seems to be losing the fight, you contemplate throwing in the towel.

In all of this – is God really paying attention?

Malachi is a book written to the remnant of Israel who had returned to Jerusalem from the Babylonian captivity, rebuilt the Temple, and once again begun settling in God’s promised land. Yet, it did not take long for them to forget the lessons they learned during their captivity. Soon, many began returning to their old ways. Their hearts were not right toward God, their worship, and their families. When God began to deal with His people in discipline they questioned their entire relationship with Him.

  • “…You have said: “It is useless to serve God. What have we gained by keeping his requirements and walking mournfully before the Lord of Armies? So now we consider the arrogant to be fortunate. Not only do those who commit wickedness prosper, they even test God and escape.”

When we turn from the loving discipline of the Lord our perspective gets blurred. Instead of repenting they began to question God. And, then, like so many of us do, they began to compare themselves to others. Their conclusion was – “It’s useless to serve God.”

Yet, this was not the attitude of everyone. While the majority grumbled and complained, there was a remnant who remained faithful. This was the remnant who received God’s correction and stayed true to God’s Word. And, in this remnant we learn a beautiful truth. God is always attentive to their hearts and their prayers!

  • “At that time those who feared the Lord spoke to one another. The Lord took notice and listened. So a book of remembrance was written before him for those who feared the Lord and had high regard for his name.”

The Scriptures are replete with the promise that our Heavenly Father hears and attends to the prayers of the righteous. As the Lord looked down upon Israel, in the tumult of all the grumbling and complaining, He heard those who feared the Lord. He took notice and listened. And their names, their concerns, and their acts of obedience were written in a book of remembrance before the Lord. In all of our life, in all of our struggles, God is always listening and taking notice or our love and obedience.

And, there is a reward promised for those who remain faithful!

  • “They will be mine,” says the Lord of Armies, “my own possession on the day I am preparing. I will have compassion on them as a man has compassion on his son who serves him. So you will again see the difference between the righteous and the wicked, between one who serves God and one who does not serve him.”

There is a day of judgment coming upon the entire world. Yet, in that day the Lord will have compassion on those who have remained faithful. Whatever inequity may appear in this life will be washed away at the day of judgment.

For the church, those who have placed their faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, there is the hope of the rapture into His eternal presence, and the Marriage Supper of the Lamb, before the Great and Awesome Day of the Lord. For those who come to Christ during the Great Tribulation there will be the reward of heaven and receiving His robe of righteousness. And, for the restored nation of Israel there will be the promise of the Millennial reign of the Messiah as He restores all the promises and covenant to His people.

We always need to keep our eye on the finish line! It does pay to serve the Lord. He never forgets our sacrifice and obedience. The glory that is to be received can never compare to the momentary suffering we may endure for a season in this life!

  • “For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is going to be revealed to us.” Romans 8:18 CSB

And, as we keep our eye on the finish line, we hold the promise of His remembrance and the promise of His love as an anchor through the turbulent storms of life!

  • “No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Romans 8:37-39 CSB

Lord, thank you for the promise of Your remembrance and faithfulness. As I look to the finish line – give me grace to walk in love and obedience.

In Jesus Name!

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THE POWER OF PRAISE!

HABAKKUK 3:17-19: “Though the fig tree does not bud and there is no fruit on the vines, though the olive crop fails and the fields produce no food, though the flocks disappear from the pen and there are no herds in the stalls, yet I will celebrate in the Lord; I will rejoice in the God of my salvation! The Lord my Lord is my strength; he makes my feet like those of a deer and enables me to walk on mountain heights! For the choir director: on stringed instruments.” CSB

OBSERVATION: Have you ever stopped to consider the power of praise? The power of praise is a gift from God to us. It lifts us from our valley of despair and transports us to the mountain tops of faith and hope. One of the most powerful things we can do in life is praise the Lord!

Some misunderstand praise. They envision a power hungry God who simply wants his subjects to tell Him how great He is. This is a gross misunderstanding of praise. Praise is not an egotistical God who wants to be told over and over again how great He is. Praise is an all loving, benevolent God, who wants to share His glory and goodness with His creation. Praise is the invitation to love and be loved by the Creator of the universe.

The world should not be mystified by the power of praise. It is used every day in our places of work, our human relationships, and in the music that we listen to. Someone once wisely said – “You can attract more bees with honey than with vinegar.” Honey is the power of praise. It is the exchange of love and affirmation between two people. And, when that exchange takes place between a person and God, wonderful things begin to happen!

  • “My God, my God, why have you abandoned me? Why are you so far from my deliverance and from my words of groaning? My God, I cry by day, but you do not answer, by night, yet I have no rest. But you are holy, enthroned on the praises of Israel. Our fathers trusted in you; they trusted, and you rescued them. They cried to you and were set free; they trusted in you and were not disgraced.” Psalms 22:1-5 CSB

Like Habakkuk, the Psalmist felt like God had abandoned him. God seemed so far away from his current distress. He continued to pray, day and night, but the answer seemed always out of reach. And, then he began to give the Lord praise. When he did something wonderful happened. God enthroned himself upon his praises. Through praise the Psalmist exchanged his control and understanding of the situation for God’s. The result was a strengthening of his faith.

This too happened in the life of Habakkuk. Faced with the frightening expectation of the Babylonians conquering Jerusalem, all seemed bleak and lost. God seemed far away. And then Habakkuk began to offer his heart in praise to the living God. His sacrifice of praise was truly a sacrifice. He praised the Lord even without an answer from the Lord. In a moment it was no longer the circumstances that were controlling him.

  • “Though the fig tree does not bud and there is no fruit on the vines, though the olive crop fails and the fields produce no food, though the flocks disappear from the pen and there are no herds in the stalls…”

As Habakkuk set his heart to praise the Lord everything else became insignificant. His praise was no longer based on whether he received the answer he wanted. His praise was based on who God is, who He has been, and who He will be!

  • “…Yet I will celebrate in the Lord; I will rejoice in the God of my salvation! The Lord my Lord is my strength…”

And, as Habakkuk lifted his heart in praise to the living God, something wonderful happened. In the midst of coming judgment, in a time when he could not see or understand what the future would hold, his faith lifted him from his place of despair. He encountered the love of God as the Lord took the throne of Habakkuk’s heart and ruled over his concerns.

  • “The Lord my Lord is my strength; he makes my feet like those of a deer and enables me to walk on mountain heights! For the choir director: on stringed instruments.”

Habakkuk, as he began to lift his heart in praise to the Lord, received God’s strength and a fresh infusion of faith. His ashes were turned into beauty. In the place of mourning he received the oil of joy. And, his heavy heart was lifted by the garment of praise!

No matter what we may face, there is power in praise! Praise ushers us into the presence of the living God. It avails us of all the resources of His heavenly throne. It conquers the enemy and it refocuses our heart upon the one Who was, Who is, and Who is to come!

Praise changes everything!

  • “Rejoice always, pray constantly, give thanks in everything; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 CSB

Lord, this morning, I choose to praise!

In Jesus Name!

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GOD IS PREPARING YOU FOR VICTORY!

MICAH 4:11-13: “Many nations have now assembled against you; they say, “Let her be defiled, and let us feast our eyes on Zion.” But they do not know the Lord’s intentions or understand his plan, that he has gathered them like sheaves to the threshing floor. Rise and thresh, Daughter Zion, for I will make your horns iron and your hooves bronze so you can crush many peoples. Then you will set apart their plunder for the Lord, their wealth for the Lord of the whole earth.” CSB

OBSERVATION: Have you ever felt like everything in life is stacked against you? You love and trust the Lord but the circumstances in your life seem to be mounting against you. And, in the midst of all this you wonder – “What is the Lord doing?”

God is preparing you for victory!

Micah wrote of the coming judgment of Judah for their sins against Yahweh. They would be taken captive by the nation of Babylon and the Temple would be destroyed. Yet, in his writings, as in many prophetic writings, he goes from the present condition to the future reality at the end of the ages. Verses 11-13 are such a transition.

In these verses we are faced with the final battle of battles – the Battle of Armageddon. It is a time when all the nations will rise against Israel. Israel will not be able to trust in any of their allies. The only one who will be able to deliver them is Messiah. In their weakness the nations feel they have the victory. Yet, it is in their weakness that they find their strength!

God is preparing them for victory!

  • “But they do not know the Lord’s intentions or understand his plan, that he has gathered them like sheaves to the threshing floor. Rise and thresh, Daughter Zion, for I will make your horns iron and your hooves bronze so you can crush many peoples.”

From the bleakest of circumstances, when all seems to be lost, God’s intentions for them is victory. And, His intentions for us are the same! Paul echoes this truth in his second letter to the Corinthians.

  • “We don’t want you to be unaware, brothers and sisters, of our affliction that took place in Asia. We were completely overwhelmed — beyond our strength — so that we even despaired of life itself. Indeed, we felt that we had received the sentence of death, so that we would not trust in ourselves but in God who raises the dead. He has delivered us from such a terrible death, and he will deliver us. We have put our hope in him that he will deliver us again while you join in helping us by your prayers. Then many will give thanks on our behalf for the gift that came to us through the prayers of many.” 2 Corinthians 1:8-11 CSB

There are three important principles that we can glean from this account in Corinthians and the verses from Micah.

1. The enemy has designs for our destruction, but God has promised us the victory!

2. The Lord allows us to come to the place of weakness so that we will not hope in ourselves but in Him alone.

3. The turning point toward victory is not only our faith but the support and prayers of those in the church that He has placed in our lives. We are not alone!

This was not wishful thinking on the part of Paul. This was something that he lived out on a daily basis. It was proven out in his life.

  • “Concerning this (Paul’s thorn in the flesh), I pleaded with the Lord three times that it would leave me. But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is perfected in weakness.” Therefore, I will most gladly boast all the more about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may reside in me. So I take pleasure in weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and in difficulties, for the sake of Christ. For when I am weak, then I am strong.” 2 Corinthians 12:8-10 CSB

When Israel is surrounded by the nations at the end time, when there looks like there is no hope – God is preparing them for victory! When Paul was persecuted in every city that he traveled to, when he despaired of life itself – God was preparing him for victory! And, when all the circumstances in my life seem to be going in the wrong direction, I know…

God is preparing me for victory!

  • “He has delivered us from such a terrible death, and he will deliver us. We have put our hope in him that he will deliver us again while you join in helping us by your prayers.” II Corinthians 1:10 CSB

Lord, this morning, I thank you for all those who daily surround me with their prayers as I walk through the trials of my life. May I take blessed assurance that you are preparing me for victory. And, in this blessed assurance, may I stand in the gap for all those you have placed in my life, praying for their strength, and for Your grace to be poured out upon them in abundance!

God – lead us into Your victory!

In Jesus Name!

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