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Tuesday Thoughts 5-14-19

I hate to break it to you, but if you’re waiting for all your troubles to go away so you can be joyful, you’re in for a sad life.  I know deep down you already know this, but if you’re anything like me, you can get wrapped up in the search for a self-defined peace in a circumstance or season of oppression and need to be reminded.  I was reminded yesterday, I invite you to share it.  The setting of our key verse is conflict (sound familiar?).   More specifically, the conflict was a long war (nearly 200 years) with an enemy of God’s people who were called the Philistines.   They were large and in charge at this point in the war timeline, and allowed no weapons to be owned in all of Israel (Except for King Saul and his son Jonathon’s swords).  In spite of this, Saul and his poorly equipped army were involved in battles with groups of Philistines.  Where we pick up the story in the Old Testament book of 1 Samuel, the king’s son had aggravated the enemy by attacking a small outpost, which caused an army build up against them.  This increased aggression led the Hebrew people (including so-called warriors) to hide.  But Jonathon was not afraid or discouraged from fighting for God and, disregarding the continual conflict, long-term oppression, and the odds (10 to 1), decided to take the fight to his enemies.  Read how he convinced his armor-bearer to join him, “Yes, let’s go across to those heathen,” Jonathan had said to his bodyguard. “Perhaps the Lord will do a miracle for us. For it makes no difference to him how many enemy troops there are!” 1 Samuel 14:6 (The Living Bible).  And there it is!  Joy heading into conflict, joy in spite of the fact that more enemies awaited him, and larger battles were yet to be fought.  Joy because it doesn’t matter to the God who created and loves us how many enemies there are!  And because Jonathon followed God rather than fear, the miracle happened in this small battle, and it began a larger period of victory in the whole war against the Philistines.  Take note that Jonathon did not live to see total victory against the Philistines, but died in battle (see 1 Samuel chapter 31).  His joy was not tied to a result, but to his relationship with God, who is able.  What battles or raging wars are you fighting?  Jesus, who is victorious, knows your struggle and will provide your own personal victory.  Abandon your fears to him and experience joy!

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