Life, Faith & Running
". . . let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us."
(Hebrews 12:1, NIV)
(Hebrews 12:1, NIV)
Then Esther sent this reply to Mordecai: "Go, gather together all the Jews who are in Susa, and fast for me. Do not eat or drink for three days, night or day. I and my maids will fast as you do. When done, I will go to the king." ~Esther 4:15-16
I have so many things to say about all that is going on around us in our country, but never time to write. And to be honest, adding my words and opinions to the matters at hand hold very little weight in bringing about the restoration and peace my soul, mind and body desire to see replace all the hurt, disunity and brokenness of these present days.
So I just pray.
I pray that in the midst of this shifting that we are facing as a people, a country and members of the human race, that the Holy Spirit would come in power to show us each how to push back the darkness.
I pray that we'd know who the real enemy is. And that we'd choose weapons appropriate for the fight.
I pray that we'd see the times for what they are, an opportunity to depend on Jesus and his commands more than anything else in the entire world. Times to know who we are in Christ and live into that identity and that freedom, and not depend on the freedoms the world has to offer in order to find peace.
I pray that our children would watch us wrestle, struggle and OVERCOME the temptation to buy into the narratives happening around us, and instead speak, teach and live out the single narrative that matters--the Gospel and the Great Commission found there in.
I pray that you and I wouldn't confuse fear of God with fear of man. I pray that the fear of the Lord would truly be the beginning of our wisdom. And that the fear of man would be cast aside as the devil-scheme that it is.
I pray that we will find unity in what we believe, hope and trust in--Jesus. And set aside all the false senses of unity found in choosing-sides and making teams based on earthly mindsets and culture's categories. He will do the sorting out in the end; I pray we’d leave that job and the timing of it in his hands.
I pray that we would pray more and investigate less.
I pray that we would praise more and scroll less.
I pray that we would trust God more and dishonor and slander less those he has placed in leadership at such a time as this.
I pray we’d be about team more and individualism less.
I pray that those called to be Ester's would rise up, and that the Mordecai's that are to coach them would be strong and courageous in leading them.
I pray that the Daniels of this generation would not be held back by the circumstances they face, but would find strength in choosing (with an attitude of reverence, humility and honor) "not to eat of the king's foods" and in numbers--friends who chose to revere and trust the one true God, even when faced with flames and fire.
Not all of us will be called as Mordecais.
Not all of us will be called as Esthers.
Not all of us will be called as Daniels.
But we are ALL called to pray.
Then Esther sent this reply to Mordecai: "Go, gather together all the Jews who are in Susa, and fast for me. Do not eat or drink for three days, night or day. I an my maids will fast as you do. When done, I will go to the king." ~Esther 4:15-16
Then Daniel returned to his house and explained the matter to his friends Hananiah, Michael, and Azariah. He urged them to plead for mercy from the the God of heaven concerning the mystery, so that he and his friends might not be executed with the rest of the wise men of Babylon. ~Daniel 2:17-18
This is what "all the other people" were called to in the cultural landscapes of Esther and Daniel--fast, pray and plead for mercy. And, I believe that what we are currently facing will not be tackled with any other weapons than these.
We trust and obey.
We are standing on the cusp of change, it is coming either way. Will we be a nation that drops down to our knees and chooses the power of prayer to shift the tides--not to what has been in the past--but to the new that God is making for the future generations?
Behold, I am doing a new thing;
Will we be mature followers of Christ who see the difference between toiling over positions and actions built on individualism versus choosing words and actions that align with the honor and reverence we are called to have for his authority, his sovereignty, his commands and his people?
No one serving as a soldier gets entangled in civilian affairs, but rather tries to please his commanding officer. Similarly, anyone who competes as an athlete does not receive the victor’s crown except by competing according to the rules.. . . Reflect on what I am saying, for the Lord will give you insight into all this. ~2 Timothy 2:4-7
And what we choose will impact the future -- culture is shifting and this cannot be stopped anymore than one can push an avalanche or mudslide up the hill. But we have a choice to stand back and watch it happen, or worse, get caught up in arguments and distractions.
Or we can call on the powers of heaven to reign in wisdom, strength and might and bring forth the will of God, as he determines is right, good and necessary for bringing about the mission he set into motion at the beginning of time.
Esther had a choice.
Daniel had a choice.
The people had a choice.
They chose fear of God while still honoring the positions of authority placed over them. They were able to both revere the commands of the Lord and laws of their faith and push back respectfully and humbly in times when "the saving of many lives" required of them to step outside of the protocols and edicts of the King.
They chose honor and obedience.
They chose prayer and fasting.
And they chose to trust God before knowing the outcome of their prayers
"And if I perish, I perish." ~Esther 4:16
Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego replied to the king, "O Nebuchadnezzar, we do not need to defend ourselves before you in this matter. If we are thrown into the blazing furnace the God we serve is able to save us from it, and he will rescue us from your hand, O king. But even if he does not, we want you to know, O king, that we will not serve your gods or worship the image of gold you have set up."
And it changed the entire trajectory of their people’s history.
Don’t you think we can too?
What will I choose?
What will you choose?
What will we choose?
Let’s choose the right weapons for today.
Let’s set down the dull ineffective ones.
Let’s choose prayer, fasting and pleading for mercy.
Let’s choose praise and trust.
Let’s choose to live by the Spirit and not the sword.
Let’s choose to trust that God has given us everything we need for the present age and we don’t need an internet connection to have access to any of it.
Today: Skip the screen time.
Today: Close the fridge door.
Today: Put the cork back in the bottle.
Today: Go to the closet and shut the door.
Today: Hit the floor.
Today: Crack open the word.
Today: Hear heaven roar.
He is a lion and a lamb. His plan will not be thwarted. His name will not be mocked. His people will not be abandoned or forgotten.
We can choose prayer and trust in his predestined plan.
Don’t let the enemy confuse you into pointing your arrows at the wrong targets. Don’t let your mind and heart become yoked with earthly thinking and man-made freedoms and rights.
We are at war. But it is not with our fellow man.
Our enemy is Satan and his ways can be conquered and thwarted when we use the weapons given to us through Christ.
For we are not fighting against flesh-and-blood enemies, but against evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world, against mighty powers in this dark world, and against evil spirits in the heavenly places. ~Ephesians 6:12
You’ve been assigned your battles.
You’ve been issued the necessary weapons.
You’ve been given strategies for winning--the Bible.
Will you choose to fight the “good fight” of faith?
Will you choose to let go of civilian affairs and take on the armor that you’ve been given and the mission you’ve been assigned to set captives free?
And will we all put on honor, grace, respect, love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, self-control, gentleness and goodness so that the world will see your good deeds and glorify their Father in heaven?
Culture is shifting.
Is how we are living causing others to lift their eyes toward heaven and be saved?
This should matter more to us than anything else in the entire world.
Her family and friends know her as, Jaci. She is the wife of a pastor, a mom of four, writing and communications education instructor, a visionary and an avid runner. As a firm believer in the power and effectiveness of the body of Christ united together to live out the Great Commission, she holds fast to this verse, "Therefore, go and make disciples of all nations" (Matthew 28:19). Of equal importance to her are these words, "...let us run with endurance the race that is set before us" (Hebrews 12:1).
Posts in the Run for Your Life, series: