When pagan festivals mixed with early Christianity, a birthday celebration for Jesus and the winter solstice merry-making were fused. In spite of hybrid beginnings and 21st century materialism, the Christmas season has a wonder and power for the secular world and the believers in Christ. And no matter how many bargains or sweet deals have saved us money, gift-giving and partying come with a price tag. Christmas comes with a cost, but over 2,000 years ago it was purchased at a very high price.
Christmas was paid for by the following:
These actions and reactions to extraordinary events that cut into the lives of working-class people, the religious sect, foreigners, even the throne of Judea bought our Christmas. They were unknowingly apart of a grander, divine payment plan. They paid for our Christmas so that thirty-three years later the man Jesus could pay for our sins with His life.
*The Slaughter of the Innocents: Historical Fact or Legendary Fiction. 8/1/19. https://biblearcheology.org/research/new-testament-era/2411-the-slaughter-of-the-innocents. Biblearcheology.org.
I was attending a women’s conference at my church listening to the speaker talk about Jael (Judges 4:17-22) when out of nowhere I heard these words, “Be careful what you let in. You just might have to kill it”. I was stunned, but alert enough to write down what just cut across my mind.
In Judges 4, the warrior-commander Sisera who had been terrorizing Israel for twenty years was now running for his life. The Israelites had diverted and pursued the Canaanite army killing all but Sisera who fled on foot straight toward the closest hiding place near the battleground—the tent of Jael…and she let him in. She knew who this man was, offered him food and shelter but she had a hidden agenda. Sometimes the enemy of all believers can devise and send evil things that crash into our lives, but sometimes we leave the door of our hearts open for Satan’s cohorts. And if these agents of ill intent are not confronted (Galatians 5:19-21), you will be held hostage in your body, mind, soul and heart until you take action.
“Be careful what you let in. You just might have to kill it”.
What did Jael have to kill her enemy? She had three things: a hammer or mallet, a tent peg and a bowl of milk. These three point to one thing that will defeat our enemy—the Word of God.
Starting with milk is to start with what is foundational—the elementary truths of God’s word (Hebrews 5:12-13). We have to know the basics of what we believe in order to have a firm footing in a fight with the enemy. Secondly, your tent peg must be sharp. The Message version of Isaiah 54:2 says to “drive the tent pegs deep”. My last post “Go Deep” talked about having tent peg verses, the ones that firmly root you in God, but your tent pegs are also weapons for close and personal battles. When you speak a verse for a specific fight, you have done some offensive damage, yet you cannot relax because the enemy will try you again and again. Keep your tent pegs sharp and use them.
Lastly, Jael had to be physically strong to drive that peg into Sisera’s skull. She had to have the strength to swing the mallet up, and bring it down with full force. This desert-living woman had plenty of practice driving tent pegs and knew how to hit them accurately. We need to skillfully know how to use the Word to be ready for the fight. Like a sledgehammer, God’s Word can break the enemy (Jeremiah 23:29).
Jael had one more thing. She had the nerve. While the enemy was in her presence, she kept a cool head and a watching eye for the best time to strike. Armed with a plan, she had the courage to follow it through to the end. When we stay in God’s presence in prayer and meditation, reading and studying his Word, we will have the arsenal to come through every skirmish, brawl or all-out war. The question is do we have the junkyard dog in us to fight using the Word of God with the intent to kill.
Jael let her enemy in, but God wants us to keep our enemy out. He wants us to have a clean heart, pure thoughts and holy desires (Psalm 51:10 The Passion Translation). He also knows that we are imperfect beings living in an imperfect world. Things happen. Mistakes are made. Isn't good to know that we have a Living God, a Good Father who has made sure that we are fully equipped to fight and defeat our enemy.
Like Jael, it can be done.
There are four scriptures that have grounded me through some of the challenges in my life. They have kept me secure because I know from experience that God will honor His Word. These are my tent peg verses. The ones that have deep faith-roots in God because not only did He keep me secure in the storm, but He brought me out of it.
Psalm 1:1-3 IDENTITY & FAVOR
Blessed is Jacki who filters advice through God’s Word, and who sets boundaries for where she goes and what she hears. She thinks on the Word of God all the time. She will be like a tree planted by rivers producing fruit in season and healthy leaves. Whatever she does will prosper.
This is my version of the verse because there are times when I have to remind myself of whose I am—a Daughter of the King, and what I have—His Blessings, Promises and Favor. My character and lifestyle will thrive because I choose to root myself in His Word.
Proverbs 3:5-6 DIRECTION
Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct your path. (New King James Version)
How many times in life do we come to a point where we have to stop and make a hard decision? I have learned and still learning to wait on God to show me which way to go because I can’t see the big picture like He can. I have to TRUST God and believe that He is truly working on my behalf. When I yield to God’s conditions, his reward for my submission is His promise of direction.
Isaiah 26:3-4 PERFECT PEACE
You will keep in me perfect peace because my mind is stayed on thee, because I trust in thee. Trust in the LORD forever, for the LORD God is an everlasting Rock. (a mix of King James, New International Version and my version)
This verse kept me secure and steady when my son was one of the first wave of troops into Iraq in 2003, and my daughter went over in 2005. It was my defense against the spirits of fear and worry, and the lies of the enemy that said my children were not coming home. Both children did come home, and are on their way to becoming middle-aged adults.
Philippians 4:13 STRENGTH
I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. (New King James Version)
I have the strength for all things in Christ who empowers me. (Amplified Version)
Whatever I have, wherever I am, I can make it through anything in the One who makes me who I am. (Message Bible)
YES!!! This verse is my catalyst and re-boot to change how I think and speak—to change the “can’t” to a “can”. It’s my Thor’s hammer to smash the old mindset that runs contrary to what God says I can do because He has built me for success.
There are many other Bible verses that I rehearse for certain situations but these four scriptures are my “go to” verses when my identity gets shaken, when I need direction, when I need peace and strength. I hope you have a verse or verses that you speak when life happens. If not, find one or two because I know that God will have one hand-picked just for you.
And when your tent get shaken with the trials of life, hammer down on your tent pegs—The Word of God one more time because the deeper they go, the more secure you are in God who is a rock-solid foundation.
Wake Up Word – Happy New 5781 Year
Rosh Hashanah, the Head of the Year on the Hebraic calendar has come. And with the tumultuous year we are having now on the Gregorian calendar—2020, any new year can’t come quick enough. In spite of all the chaos in our comfort zones, the uncertainty in our futures, and the disruption to our normalcy, God is our constant. He had not changed or left the building or put the plane on autopilot. He is still in control and His Word still speaks hope, peace and love.
To help you start your new year whenever you choose to celebrate it, I want to bless you in seven ways based on God’s seven creation acts in Genesis.
Let there be LIGHT in your life. May the path you walk this year be illuminated with His Word to guide you through any dark place (Psalm 119:11).
Let there be VISION in your life. May you always look up and look beyond your circumstances to keep your eyes on God and His mission for you (Philippians 3:13-14).
Let there be GROWTH in your life. May your heart be a well-tended garden fertilized, watered and seeded with His Word. Let it be a place where roots of bitterness and weeds of anger are eradicated by the flames of His Love (1 Corinthians 13).
Let there be TIME in your life. May your days be well-balanced, productive and steeped in thankfulness to the One who created your time (Ephesians 5:16, Ecclesiastes 3:1-8, Psalm 34:1).
Let there be REPRODUCTION in your life. May you continue to produce good fruit for God that multiplies into the tenth generation and beyond (Psalm 92:15).
Let there be DOMINION in your life. May you infect your area of influence with God’s creativity, revelation, counsel, power, love and awe that can only be uniquely expressed by you (Isaiah 11:2).
Let there be REST in your life. May you cultivate and practice the art of resting knowing when to rest and enjoy the quietness to hear the still, small voice of God, the One who created rest for you (1 Kings 19:12).
Wake Up Word 04:52
Isaiah 45:2 - The Passion Translation (TPT)
I will march out in front of you and level every obstacle. I will shatter to pieces bronze doors and slice through iron bars.
This is a promise from Living God who is committed to the prosperity and future of those He loves. He is willingly to destroy everything that prevents us from what He has for us. This is not some grandfatherly figure floating on a fluffy cloud. Our God is a Warrior (Exodus 15:3) who knows that spiritual battles are as violent as earthly ones. In His commitment to fight for us, He promises to level obstacles, obtain access and gain our freedom when we partner with Him.
Moses had to stretch out the rod, and God divided the Red Sea (Exodus 14:16). David declared the name of the Lord against Goliath, and God directed a stone to penetrate the giant’s forehead (1 Samuel 17:45-49). Obstacles were removed.
When Joshua and the Israelites followed God’s strategy to take Jericho, the walls came down and the city was plundered (Joshua 6:1-5). Access was obtained.
Around midnight the apostle Paul and Silas were praying and worshipping God when a violent earthquake shook the prison. Chains were loosed and doors flung open (Acts 16:25-26). Freedom was gained.
The timely manifestations of God’s promises are fueled by our faith in Him. Has God given you a strategy to help Him go before you so you can move forward or break in to get what you need or come out of a binding situation? Diligently seek Him in prayer, fasting and studying the Word. This is a paramount first step in putting your faith and His promise into action (Hebrews 11:6).
God wants you to move forward in His plans for you—PROGRESS.
God wants you to break into what He has for you—ACCESS.
God wants you to come out of anything that hinders you--EGRESS.
GOD IS FOR YOU!
Let me be clear, the Anointed One has set us free—not partially, but completely and wonderfully free! We must always cherish this truth and stubbornly refuse to go back into the bondage of our past.
Galatians 5:1 (TPT)
I started playing a Seek and Find game. As soon as I see the time on the digital clock in the morning, that would be the "address" for a Bible verse for me to uncover. The book of Isaiah is one of my favorites in the Bible, and since it has 66 chapters, it was a natural place to find the mystery verse. For example, if the clock read "5:35", I could go to Isaiah 5:35 or 53:5. Even though Isaiah has many chapters, each chapter may not have enough verses to match the digital number.
This "wake up word" is like finding treasure, but most importantly, it is hearing God speak directly to me to hear His heart and thoughts about how He feels about me and what He wants to do in my life. This is something that I cannot keep to myself because His Word is for everyone. It is a treasure waiting to be discovered and used.
I am reminded of some lines in the musical Hello Dolly when Dolly quotes her late husband saying money was like manure; you have to spread it around. I don't think Jesus would be offend to have His Word referred to as fertilizer. In fact, I think He would find it applicable because He lived and taught in an agrarian society, and spreading the Word of God nurtures what He has placed in us for growth and development in His Kingdom.
What kind of wake up word will this blog be for you? I hope that it will be a restoring word that will bring you into a new day or new season with God. I hope these will be revelatory words that will help you see God with a new perspective of how He feels about you. I hope this blog will resuscitate the dreams God has given you with a passion to go forward and finish the mission.
I don't know in what direction this blog will go; I do know that it will always remain firmly on the Word of God Road. I hope you will take the journey with me.
God bless you and keep you.
God smile on you and gift you.
God look you full in the face and make you prosper.
Numbers 6:24-26 The Message