Tuesday, February 4, 2014

365 Days with God - Day 45: Two Battles, One God

I'm giving myself a challenge. Read the Bible each day for a whole year, following the ESV Study Guide 1-year plan. Each day, I will post whatever God has revealed to me in His Word, and how it is changing me. A friend of mine once said that nothing has changed her life as much as reading the bible each day - and I'm excited for how this will change me. Join me on an adventure into the heart of God - and day by day, we can learn more about who He is and what that means to us!

- Andy Catts

Day 45, February 3, 2014
Readings: Psalm 45, Genesis 41:1-36, 2 Chronicles 18:1-34, 2 Chronicles 19:1-3, Acts 11:19-30

Reading through the Bible in this manner has created interesting connections between passages. Similar words, phrases or occurrences seem to jump out at me from different places, connecting Old and New Testaments, linking authors, meanings and words. The cohesiveness of God's word is readily apparent to me as I read through it, even though the time may span thousands of years between writings.

One such connection I made today was between many places in 1st and 2nd Chronicles to Acts 11 in the New Testament. See if you can spot the phrase.

Now those who were scattered because of the persecution that arose over Stephen traveled as far as Phoenicia and Cyprus and Antioch, speaking the word to no one except Jews. But there were some of them, men of Cyprus and Cyrene, who on coming to Antioch spoke to the Hellenists also, preaching the Lord Jesus. And the hand of the Lord was with them, and a great number who believed turned to the Lord. The report of this came to the ears of the church in Jerusalem, and they sent Barnabas to Antioch. When he came and saw the grace of God, he was glad, and he exhorted them all to remain faithful to the Lord with steadfast purpose, for he was a good man, full of the Holy Spirit and of faith. And a great many people were added to the Lord. (Acts 11:19-24)

What phrase did you find interesting? The phrase that jumped out at me was this:  

And the hand of the Lord was with them, and a great number who believed turned to the Lord.

The hand of the Lord was with them. This is the same way the Old Testament authors described a King such as David, or Jehosephat as they went into battle. Often facing overwhelming odds, the tide of battle was turned because the hand of the Lord was with them. They were favored by God. They were following His will, living righteously in heart and deed. And just as in the battles of old, when thousands were defeated, in Acts, thousands of souls were won for Christ.

God promises to be with us, even against overwhelming odds. This is often stated throughout the Psalms, and verses such as Philippians 4:13. Unfortunately, they are often misquoted. God's hand is with those who are serving Him in the ways He defines. Not in our ways. not in a "God will make everything OK despite my poor decisions" but - when God gives us tasks, such as reaching the lost, even though it may seem impossible, He will make it happen. His hand will be with you.

What are the impossible situations in your life? What is God asking you to do that you can't do on your own? Where is He asking you to serve Him? How is He asking you to have faith in Him that seems unbelievable? If you are of one accord with God, and your heart is like His, His Holy Spirit and His hand will be with you - winning the battles.

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