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And Elisha prayed, “O LORD, open his eyes so he may see.” Then the LORD opened the servant’s eyes, and he looked and saw the hills full of horses and chariots of fire all around Elisha. 2 Kings 6:17

How would life be different if you knew that you were surrounded by an army of angels armed and ready to attack at a moments notice? How would that affect the things you are currently worried about? What ‘dream’ that you’ve put on hold would be taken off the back burner and pursued? If you knew that you had an entire army at your bidding how would it affect how you feel about yourself?

The prophet, Elisha, was being pursued by an evil Assyrian King who was angry with Elisha because Elisha had warned the King of Israel of the Assyrian Kings attacks. Time and time again Israel was able to avoid defeat at the hands of the Assyrians. The Assyrian King decided that in order to beat the Israelites he would first have to do in Elisha.

One day, Elisha and his servant looked out beyond the walls of the city and saw the Assyrian army surrounding them. There was no escape. They were doomed and the servant feared for their lives! Elisha prayed and asked God to open the servant’s eyes. When He did, the servant saw hundreds of thousands of angels surrounding the army. Through divine intervention the enemy army was defeated and Elisha and his servant were safe.

There are times in each of our lives when it seems like the troubles and conflicts of life have us surrounded. We see no escape and we feel like we are doomed to failure. It could be finances, school, friends, broken relationships or the consequences of our own poor choices. These things keep us from living up to the potential that God has for us. But the Bible tells us over and over again that our Heavenly Father loves us dearly and has promised to protect us. Our Father desires for each of us to experience His love and protection when the enemy attacks.

Our finite minds are unable to fully comprehend the fact that we are surrounded by the spirit world. Ephesians tells us that every battle we have to fight is not a battle that we can see. The battle is really a spiritual one in which Satan and his angels want to attack us with worry, defeat, guilt, shame and a poor self image. Satan doesn’t want us to know all the things God has in store for us. He’s happy when we are miserable.

God’s army of angels is standing-by, ready to attack Satan’s angels and keep them from pulling us down. If we could see as Elisha’s servant saw, we would realize that we are surrounded by God’s angels, armed and ready for battle on our behalf. With God’s army of angels protecting us, we can freely pursue all that God has for us.

PRAYER: Heavenly Father, thank you that you love me enough to protect me and fight for me. I praise you that even though I fail time and time again you want to bring me through the struggles of my life. Forgive me for constantly thinking that I need to fight my own battles. Keep me from listening to Satan’s lies. Help me see the warriors that you have on my side so I can live in victory for your name’s sake. Amen.

Give your burdens to the Lord, and he will take care of you. He will not permit the godly to slip and fall. Psalm 55:22 (NLT)

There is nothing as painful as being betrayed by a close friend. When we were created in God’s image, one aspect of that was the need for intimacy and love. Jehovah God is love. That means that His very essence, His very make up is love and love means relationship. When relationship it broken it hurts us because it attacks our feelings about whom we really are. Broken relationships equal rejection and rejection cuts to the very soul.

King David knew about being rejected. In Psalm 55 he states that being rejected and attacked by an enemy hurts, but that is to be expected. Being attacked by a friend, especially a close intimate friend, hurts more than anything else because it destroys faith and trust. The burden he talks about in verse 22 is the burden of being rejected by a close, personal friend. When that happens, he says, he turns to the one friend that never lets him down.

Another person that knew what it was like to be rejected was Jesus. On the night before he was crucified one of his closest friend came to him and kissed him on the cheek. That was a very intimate act on the part of Judas. But it wasn’t real. It was self-serving and malicious. It eventually led to Jesus’ death and Judas felt so guilty and ashamed for what he’d done to his friend that he committed suicide the next day.

Jesus knows rejection. That’s why he’s such a good friend to have. True friends stand with us during the hard times, are patient with us when we fail, uplift us when we are discouraged, love us enough to tell us the truth and never keep us from being who we want to be. They give us room to grow and a shield from danger or discouragement.

Even the best of friends will fail us at some time simply because they can’t fully understand  how we feel because they can’t look inside us and see our heart or read our minds. Jesus is the perfect best friend because He’s also God. Jesus knows exactly how you feel on the inside. As our Best Friend Forever (B. F. F.) Jesus will stand by you in during the times when no one else knows how you feel.

John W. Peterson wrote a song shortly after he experienced a huge let down from a friend. It goes like this:

No One Understands Like Jesus by John W. Peterson

 No one understands like Jesus. He’s a friend beyond compare;

Meet Him at the throne of mercy; He is waiting for you there.

 No one understands like Jesus; Ev’ry woe He sees and feels;

Tenderly He whispers comfort, And the broken heart He heals.

 No one understands like Jesus When the foes of life assail;

You should never be discouraged; Jesus cares and will not fail!

 No one understands like Jesus When you falter on the way;

Tho’ you fail Him, sadly fail Him, He will pardon you today.


No one understands like Jesus When the days are dark and grim;

No one is so near, so dear as Jesus–Cast your ev’ry care on Him!

PRAYER: Dear Jesus. I thank you today that you fully and completely understand my every thought, my every feeling and my every fear. I confess to you that sometimes I’ve not been a good friend to others and let them down miserably. I have also felt the pain of being rejected and abandoned by people I thought loved me but really only wanted to use me. There have been times I even have felt like You abandoned me. Help me to feel your presence and love today; to learn to walk with you and lay every care, concern, fear and hurt at  Your feet. Wrap your arms of love around me. Amen

Then Jehoahaz prayed for the Lord’s help, and the Lord heard his prayer, for he could see how severely the king of Aram was oppressing Israel. 2 Kings 13:4 (NLT)

Someone once said, “When a plane is crashing, everyone believes in God!” There is some truth to that, even among those of us that are followers of Jesus Christ. We may let our prayer life slide and let the dust gather on our Bibles while we skip church for a few extra minutes of sleep. Then, when illness attacks, a job is lost, a relationship goes south, or any other crisis happens we begin to think about God.

That attitude isn’t a new. Jehoahaz was a King of Israel during Old Testament times. Israel had many kings. Some were righteous leader’s intent on following the laws of Jehovah God. Others led the nation down the path of idolatry and rebellion. They were more interested in personal gain and power than they were following God. Time and time again God would have to send enemy kings to discipline His people though exile, or captivity.

Jehoahaz did evil in the eyes of the Lord by leading the people in the worship of calves and idols rather than worshiping the true God. As a result of his evil ways God allowed an enemy king to harass and control the people of Israel.

In the midst of this Jehoahaz finally turned his eyes to heaven and prayed for deliverance. God heard his prayer and delivered his people because Jehoahaz prayed to him. The prayers of Jehoahaz were not heard because he repented of his sin or because he was righteous. He finally turned to God because the calves that he worshipped weren’t working. He turned to the one source of power he knew he could count on, Jehovah God! God delivered his people because of who God was and His promises to Abraham and David.

The same is true today. We are not forgiven because we’ve cleaned up our lives, or because we’ve made a bunch of good things happen around us. We are forgiven purely because of Jesus. You don’t have to do a bunch of ‘things’ to gain God’s favor. You have to ask and believe!

Even though God delivered His people from the enemy they refused to give up the worship of their idols. They still offered sacrifice to the calves in the backyard. As a result, Jehoahaz and his kingdom never enjoyed the full blessings of what God had in store for them.

The God of heaven is ready and willing to extend His grace and forgiveness to us time after time. His grace is free and unlimited for all who believe. But God also desires to shower us with His blessings. God’s blessings come to us as we grow in relationship to Him and learn to follow His ways. If we are like Jehoahaz and keep our calves hidden in the backyard we will never fully experience the blessings He has in store for us.

PRAYER: Holy God, I thank you today for the grace and forgiveness I have received through Jesus Christ. I acknowledge that you are the creator, sustainer of the universe. I confess that there are still some idols hidden in my backyard. I ask that through the power of your Holy Spirit those idols would be revealed to me. Empower me to remove them once and for all from my life so I can experience all the blessings you have for me. Amen.

Even though the fig trees have no blossoms, and there are no grapes on the vines; even though the olive crop fails, and the fields lie empty and barren; even though the flocks die in the fields, and the cattle barns are empty, yet I will rejoice in the Lord! I will be joyful in the God of my salvation! Habakkuk 3:17-18 (NLT)

During the Prophet Habakkuk’s ministry to Israel ominous times loomed on the horizon. A new enemy was arising, the Babylonian Empire, and threatened its borders. The Babylonians were a ruthless enemy. They didn’t believe in God, they didn’t care about the people they killed. They had no conscience whatsoever.

In the meantime, the people of Israel completely disregarded their covenant with God. They continued to live Godless lives in the face of imminent danger. Habakkuk’s message of repentance fell on deaf ears.

Habakkuk was a frustrated man. He prayed and prayed to the God of Heaven but got no results. At one point he says, “If you are a God that hates evil then why don’t you do something to change all of this?” Another time he says, “Why won’t you listen to me? Why do you make me look at all this sin and filth and do absolutely nothing about it?”

The tiny book of Habakkuk ends with a prayer in Chapter 3. Habakkuk once more begs God to look at his situation and change it. He reminds God of all the great things He has done in the past. He worships God for the many times He has rescued Israel and for His love.

As He continues to think of all that God has done something interesting happens near the end of his prayer in verses 17 & 18. Habakkuk states that no matter what happens he will rejoice in God’s salvation. For example, if fig trees don’t blossom, not only will year’s crop fail, but next years as well. This is not only present tragedy but future crisis as well.

When you look around you and see the danger of a lurking enemy or you get frustrated by the way you are treated or the way people have turned from God. When the shadows of your past or the weight of your present pull you down, take a lesson from the pages of Habakkuk. Focus your attention on what God has done in your past and what He has done for other people and at other times.

God has never gone back on a promise. He has never forgotten His people. Even though He seems silent at times, His will is accomplished. We can trust Him even when hidden enemies loom on the horizon and our society rejects Him. He never changes.

PRAYER: Father God, I have to confess to you that I get really angry when I see the injustice around me. It seems like people who are completely against you flourish while I struggle as I try to live for you. I’m ashamed of my past, worry about my present, and fear for my. Help me to remember all you have done in the past. Help me to praise you in the midst of my struggle. Amen.

I would have despaired unless I had believed that I would see the goodness of the LORD in the land of the living. Wait for the LORD; Be strong and let your heart take courage; Yes, wait for the LORD. Psalm 27:13-14 (NASB)

 What is it that keeps the Olympic athletes training day in and day out for months and years? What power drives the author to spend hours a day writing on that novel? What driving force pushes the cancer patient to live through the pain or the accident victim to beat all the odds in order to walk again? What motivates the fire fighter to enter a burning building to rescue a little girl’s kitten, risking his own life in the process?

Every day we hear stories about heroes performing extraordinary feats to win honors, save lives or keep their own. One factor in all of these stories is the vision these people have that says “life is worth it!” They are able to look through the gloom and doom, evaluate the possibilities and reach down inside themselves and conjure up a plan that enables them to reach their goal.

Not everyone wins the dream of course. Many gallant men and women lose athletic contests, never get that book published or lose the battle to illness or tragedy. Even so, they believed in themselves enough to try and that in and of itself are worth merit.

As Christ followers we can know what that inner drive is. It’s spelled J-E-S-U-S! It is because of Him we have our essence. It’s believing that scripture says about who we are in Him and realizing in a practical, experiential way that God loves us and that we are His own very special creation. He has given us the gifts, the power and the wisdom to accomplish all that He has in store for us.

In Psalm 27, David writes about the utter despair that he would have had if it weren’t for his faith in almighty God. It was David’s focus on the finish line that kept him sane in the dark mountain fields at night. It was his focus on what God could do that enabled him to pick up those five stones, patiently wait for the throne, and defeat all of Israel’s enemies. It was his belief in the promise of the Messiah that allowed him to be at peace with himself even after he sinned greatly against God, his family and his nation.

Each of us can do exactly as David did. We focus on that God can do through us, as His special creations. We can trust Him to deliver us and empower us to work through the pain and frustrations of live. We can look back at what God provided us through Jesus (forgiveness and His Holy Spirit to guide and motivate) and forward to real life with Him now and forevermore.

Never give up on God. Never give up on yourself. He can work in your life to help you change your world!

PRAYER: Father God, as I think of the many ways people have beat the odds and accomplished great things I’m in awe of your power. I confess to you that sometimes I really don’t believe you have great things in store for me. I get so encumbered with my present and my past that I forget to see your future. Help me to use the power you’ve given me through your Holy Spirit to be the person you want me to be and to change my world for you. Amen

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