So they came up to Baal-perazim; and David smote them there. Then David said, God hath broken in upon mine enemies by mine hand like the breaking forth of waters: therefore they called the name of that place Baal-perazim. —1 Chronicles 14:11
Baal-perazim literally means, “Lord of the breakthrough.” Because David sought God’s direction first (v. 10), he knew it was God’s victory. David acknowledged God as the One who brought about his victory. He said, “I couldn’t have done it if God had not gone before me.”
There will be many battles to fight this year, but realize that you are not standing alone. The God you serve is the Master of the breach, and the battle is not yours, but His. When you seek God first in the matter, you can be assured of the victory.
The battle belongs to the Lord (1 Samuel 17:47). So, never defend yourself. Let Him be your strong tower, your defense, and your refuge. Why are you trying to fight battles He has already won? Put on His armor and go forth in His Spirit, not your own might and power (Zechariah 4:6).
“Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you” (James 4:7). Every time you resist temptation, you will see the devil flee from you this year. So give God the glory.
Lord, grant me the boldness to resist temptation
at every turn. I know You have given me victory
over the devil. So I praise Your name for
defeating the devil on the cross and
giving me the power through Your
blood to breakthrough sin and
live victoriously. Amen.
“My wife and I were happy for twenty years,” said comedian Rodney Dangerfield, “then we met.” It doesn’t have to be that way, of course. A quality marriage depends on a consistent walk with the Lord. Before we’re married our top priority should be our relationship with Him. After marriage, it’s the same. If we walk in the light, we’ll have fellowship with one another (1 John 1:7). Our relationship with our spouse will be as strong as our intimacy with the Savior.
Hebrews 13:4 sums this up by giving us two rules for a thriving marriage: priority and purity. Marriage is honorable, so we should give it priority, working on it and patiently building a friendship around our romance. It also deserves purity as we avoid all hints of immoral behavior and diligently guard against anything or anyone drawing our hearts away from our vows.
Walk with the Master, work on the marriage, keep Christ first in your life, and you can be happy all the years the Lord gives you on earth.
It takes three to make love, not two: you, your spouse, and God. Fulton J. Sheen
What happens when you hit a brick wall going 60 miles per hour? Your car ends up in pieces, you end up battered and bruised, and it hurts.
How can you pick yourself back up when you’ve hit a wall?
Peter was going top speed with Jesus, ministering at every opportunity, dining with the Master and learning new things every day. Jesus even lifted him up to be one of the chosen three, one of Jesus’ closest friends.
Then, right when Peter thought everything was going great, Jesus was arrested.
First, Peter tried fighting back—but Jesus told him not to. Instead, Peter followed from a distance, ready to run to Jesus’ aid if the opportunity arose—but then the weirdest thing happened. People offered him an opportunity to speak up, and every time, he denied his calling in order to save his own skin. Peter denied he even knew Jesus. Peter truly hit a wall.
Peter’s wall was two parts:
1. Jesus didn’t do what Peter expected. Jesus died.
2. Peter didn’t act the way he expected himself to. Peter failed to support his friend.
Have you ever hit that kind of a wall? God doesn’t do what you expected, life doesn’t turn out like you thought it would or, even worse, you don’t act the way you thought you would.
Peter not only survived smashing into the brick wall, but just a short time later he came back strong, standing up and being the person God called him to be.
Let’s look at Peter’s recovery and see what we can learn.
1. Get some time alone. After Jesus rose from the dead, the angel told the women, “Go tell the disciples and Peter … ” It appears Peter was not with the others. He got away by himself—probably to lick his wounds and beat himself up for a while. Time alone is important. Just like time in the hospital after a real accident, time alone will help your brain adjust to your new reality and rest from the shock.
2. Forgive God. It feels like we should never need to forgive God—He is God, after all, right? Yet when He doesn’t act like we think He should, we hold it in, afraid to let Him know we are disappointed and hurt. A real relationship is one where you can admit your hurt, your frustration and your anger. Let God know what you are thinking!
David and Jeremiah are particularly good at this. They wrote what we call laments—prayers that say, “God, You said You’d do this, or this is who You are, but this is my reality—they don’t match. I need you to show up!”
As long as you keep it bottled up, you aren’t able to let God fix the problem. Instead, talk to Him and let Him know your heart. Yes, God does know what is going on in your heart, but you need to say it.
Remember the last time you had a real fight with a loved one? Not the kind where you yell it out and get over it, but the kind where you get mad and then keep up appearances? That is what our fights with God look like. We pretend everything is all right, waiting for the anger to go away. God wants something more. He wants your heart. He wants you to share your anger, pain and frustration with Him. Then wait. He will meet you there.
3. Let God restore you. One day, while Peter was busy at his old job, fishing, Jesus showed up on the seashore. What a delight! Peter jumped into the water and raced for Jesus. By this time, Peter understood that Jesus’ death wasn’t the end. Yet Peter needed Jesus to help him go deeper. Later, after breakfast, the real work happened: Jesus took Peter for a walk. In ways we don’t fully understand, Jesus restored Peter to Himself. Peter had to forgive himself, and in the midst of that walk, the pain and anguish of failure fell away. Peter became again the person he was created to be.
4. Wait for new direction. When you hit a brick wall going 60 miles an hour, you have some questions. Was that wall an obstacle you need to get around? Was it caused by something you did wrong? Does that brick wall mean God is taking you in a new direction? All these questions will be answered in time. The important thing for you to do is to let the Healer do His work. Even if you ran into the wall because you were running from God, He put that wall there, and He will help you find what comes next.
A few weeks later, Peter was in the upper room when the Holy Spirit fell. Jerusalem was full that day. Many of the people who just 50 days before had cried, “Crucify Him,” were back for another festival. When the 120 in the upper room spilled out into the street, a crowd formed.
This time, when the people in the crowd noticed something was different about Peter, he didn’t shy away, hoping not to be noticed. The same man who had denied his calling 50 days earlier got up and preached the sermon of his life. Peter preached with power, knowledge and conviction. He stood in anointing of the Holy Spirit and proclaimed the saving power of Jesus to all who would listen. Three thousand people came to know Jesus through the power of the Holy Spirit and the voice of one who knew the devastation of hitting a brick wall and finding God’s restoration.
God knows where you are. If you’ve hit a brick wall, it is because God is at work and He has great things for you. Take time to heal, tell God how you feel, let Him restore you and wait for new direction. It will be worth it!
Ostriches and Christians have gotten a bad rap for opposite reasons. In the case of the big birds, they’re accused of hiding their heads in the sand and ignoring immediate threats or problems. Christians are sometimes accused of hiding their heads in the clouds and being so heavenly minded that they’re of no earthly good.
Neither accusation is right. Ostriches don’t hide their heads in the sand. They dig holes for their very large eggs, and several times a day they stick their heads in the holes and turn the eggs to keep them warm on all sides. And as far as biblical Christians are concerned, we keep an eager eye peeled to the eastern sky for our Lord’s return, but our feet are firmly planted on the ground as we go about the Master‘s business.
The Lord has invested His work in us now, and our biblical study of tomorrow’s events only makes us more eager to serve Him in practical ways today.
As we study prophetic events that stretch out into the horizons beyond, let us not forget that God has given us that truth so that we can ask this question: “How shall we then live?” David Jeremiah
It seems like an absurd question (Luke 8:45). With so many people pressing in upon Jesus, how could anyone know who touched him? With many people wanting to be near Him, it could have been any man or any woman in the crowd. But the Master knew that someone had touched the edge of His garment and at that moment a mighty miracle had occurred. A woman with a serious blood disorder had been instantly cured.
This woman had taken a real chance by touching Jesus. According to the law, her touch could make Jesus unclean. Because He was the Son of God, His power of healing overcame her uncleanness. But she did not know that when she touched Him.
What a crucial point this is. Our Lord Jesus was not ashamed to be touched by the untouchable, and He was not embarrassed to be publicly identified with the outcasts of this world. He was at home with sinners, He ate supper with gluttons and drunkards, He welcomed the prostitutes, He touched the lepers, and He is not ashamed to be touched by an unclean person.
Not ashamed? No, not at all. Delighted, I think, and glad to identify Himself with her. Delighted that she had the courage to reach out and glad that He could heal her. And He didn’t care who knew about it. No, that’s not strong enough. He wanted the whole crowd to know what He had done.
Why is this so important? Because with our Lord there are no “untouchable” people. In Jesus’ eyes, everyone is touchable. Thank God, there are no hopeless cases with Him.
Taken from “Who Touched Me?” by Keep Believing Ministries (used by permission).
It is impossible to live in this world and escape temptation. In olden times men fled away from active life and from human companionships, hoping thus to evade enticement to evil. But they were not successful; for wherever they went they carried in their own hearts a fountain of corruption, and were thus perpetually exposed to temptation. The only door of escape from all temptation is the door that leads into heaven. We grieve over our friends whom the Lord calls away, the little child in its sweet innocence, the mother in her ripened saintliness, the young man in his pride of strength; but do we ever think that we have far more reason for anxiety, possibly for grief, over those who live and have to battle with sin in this world? Those who have passed inside, in the victorious release of Christian faith, are for ever secure; but those yet in the sore battle are still in peril.
This petition is a prayer that we may never be called needlessly to meet temptation. Sometimes God wants us to be tried, because we can grow strong only through victory. We have a word of Scripture which says: “Blessed is the man that endureth temptation: for when he is tried, he shall receive the crown of life.” Yet we ought never ourselves to seek anyway of life in which we shall have to be exposed to the peril of conflict with sin. Temptation is too terrible an experience, fraught with too much danger, to be sought by us, or ever encountered save when God leads us in the path on which it lies. We must never rush unbidden or unsent into any spiritual danger. There are no promises for presumption.“It is written,” said the Master, “Thou shalt not tempt the Lord thy God.” When God sends us into danger, we are under His protection; when we go where He does not send us, we go unsheltered.
But I tell you, that everyone who is angry with his brother without a cause shall be in danger of the judgment; and whoever shall say to his brother, ‘Raca!’ shall be in danger of the council; and whoever shall say, ‘You fool!’ shall be in danger of the fire of Gehenna. – Matthew 5:22
We ought to learn to read the commandments with the light of our Lord’s explanation upon them. So long as the sixth commandment is interpreted to mean only actual murder, most people get along pretty well with it; they are not troubled in their consciences about its violation. There are not many literal murderers loose in our Sabbath schools and churches, or living in our homes. But when we hear our Lord‘s interpretation of this commandment, and learn that this literal sense does not exhaust the meaning of the commandment – that we break it, too, when we are angry with a brother, – we cannot be quite so sure about our innocence. We have never killed any one, but have we never been angry with another? Elsewhere we read, “He that hateth his brother is a murderer.” This does not mean that hatred is as great a crime as murder, but that it grows from the same root and is of the same nature. Murder is only anger full-grown.
The Master’s words here should be carefully considered. They condemn all anger against another, all expressions of scorn or contempt. The obedience of this commandment which our Lord requires is, love that thinketh no evil, that cherisheth no resentment, that is patient, gentle, thoughtful, reverent, unselfish. Yet are we not all too apt to allow the passion of anger to take possession of out breasts? Do we not too frequently permit envyings and jealousies and unkind and uncharitable thoughts to enter our hearts and nest there, like evil birds? If we but remembered that the spirit of murder is in all these emotions, we surely would not cherish them for an instant; none of us want the brand of murderer upon us. The way to keep out such feelings is to yield to every gentle and loving impulse of the Spirit – to “overcome evil with good.”