How Partnerships Help Us Prevail in Purpose

You cannot accomplish the purpose of God unless you partner with His posse.

In Exodus 17:1-13 the writer tells of how the Israelites journeyed out of the Wilderness of Sin and came to a city called Rephidim. A Hebrew word meaning “rest or stay,” the Israelites believed Rephidim was a place they could set up camp and rest from their long journey out of Egypt. To their surprise there was absolutely no water in Rephidim. Disgruntled the Israelites complained to Moses saying, “Why is it you have brought us up out of Egypt, to kill us and our children and our livestock with thirst?” (v.3) The children of Israel were frustrated with their condition because their current location seemed to be a contradiction. Rephidim meant rest or stay, yet it lacked the very resources necessary to foster such activity.

I don’t know about you, but I get frustrated when I’m in a particular country, restaurant, or facility and what I expect is not available. For example, I can’t stand going to express fast food places in the airport. These establishments annoy me because they do not carry all the options found in the restaurant outside the airport. It’s frustrating to be somewhere whose very name means what you need, yet it lacks the actual resource. The children of Israel are frustrated because they’ve camped in a city whose very name promises an environment that is conducive to their rest and stay, yet it lacks the very thing they need in order to rest and stay – water.

Quench Your Thirst

Physically and emotionally weary from travel and leadership, Moses cries out to God asking what he should do. God gives Moses the most awesome response ever! He says, “Go on before the people, and take with you some of the elders of Israel. Also take in your hand your rod with which you struck the river, and go. Behold, I will stand before you there on the rock in Horeb; and you shall strike the rock, and water will come out of it, that the people may drink” (v. 5,6). In these couple of verses we see that God does not simply provide the children of Israel with water. Instead He is the water from which the children of Israel drink.

Look at the text again! In verse 6 God is standing in front of the rock. Moses is not striking the rock, but he is striking God Himself! What we learn here is that God is the first and most important alliance you will ever have because He will position Himself in front of the very barriers that are keeping you from having life and having it more abundantly. In that position, God will even allow you to go so far as to strike Him to get what you need.

God will allow your location, your environment, or your resources to fail you so that you learn there is only one entity that is inherently capable of not simply meeting, but also being all you need.

So, the first and most important alliance you need when you’re in a place that seems as like it doesn’t have the resources you need is an alliance with God. He will not simply give you what you need. He will be what you need.

Battle Grounds

Rephidim failed at being a place of stay because it lacked water. But it quickly failed at being a place of rest because it became the place where the Israelites had to fight their first battle.

In verse 8 the writer tells us that the Israelites fought the Amalekites in Rephidim. This leads me to believe that the Israelites initial experience with God as water was paramount. The Israelites needed to learn total dependence upon God for their livelihood in order to have faith strong enough to totally depend upon God in battle. This is of the utmost importance because we are victorious in battle when we fight with God, and not simply for God. What’s the difference Claudia? When you fight for God you’re attempting to do what He asked you to do in your own strength. But when you fight with God you’re doing what He asked you to do in His strength.

But the battles God often calls us to also require armies. And in order to fight with God and be victorious we need to partner with godly men and women. In other words, you need a “Godly Alliance.” Now, a Godly Alliance is a small group of people who hold you up while the power of God works through you so that you can prevail in within purpose.

Godly Alliances vs. Ungodly Alliances

Come with me to verses 10 through 13. The Bible says, that when Moses’s hands were up the Israelites started to win the battle. But when Moses became tired and his hands began to fall the body count quickly went in the other direction. Moses’s brother Aaron and his friend and colleague in ministry, Hur, were up on the mountain with Moses. (Side note: You can’t take everyone to the mountaintop, but you gotta take someone. Choose wisely). Watching Moses and the battle Aaron and Hur noticed a pattern in the power of God. Seeing how the Israelites would win when Moses’s hands were up and they’d begin to lose when his hands fell down, Moses and Hur grabbed a stone for Moses to sit on. Then they got on either side of Moses and held up his arms until the Israelites successfully defeated the Amalekites.

 

Aaron and Hur were a Godly Alliance because they had the spiritual discernment to see how God’s power was operating through Moses. They then took it upon themselves to position their friend in such a way that he would be successful in the assignment that God had given him. Furthermore, they positioned themselves at his sides as support. They did not encourage Moses to rest. No, his Godly Alliance positioned him, and themselves, in such a way that Moses could prevail in purpose. They did this because

Godly Alliances care more about you being victorious in the battles that God has purposed for you to fight than you being comfortable and rested; even in places where comfort and rest are expected.

Ungodly alliances, on the other hand, encourage you to take breaks. They see your fatigue, observe how drained your purpose has made you, and not recognizing God’s flow of power in the situation encourage you to rest. This is because

Ungodly Alliances care more about your present comfort than your long-term victory.

They encourage you to make decisions based on your present feelings and desires not thinking how those decisions could lead to defeat. Not a Godly Alliance! A Godly Alliance encourages you to resist what you want to do in present so that you can live victoriously in your future. I encourage you to find two people you trust. Two people who when your mind, body, and spirit are failing and all you want to do is rest, they go out of their way to change your environment on your behalf. Find an Aaron and Hur who are willing to help place you in the best position to prevail in purpose. But who also place themselves in the best position to support you.

God has given each and every one of us a purpose. In 2020, there will be times where we will find ourselves frustrated, drained, and just flat out failing. The question is, who do you have around you? Do you have a Godly Alliance, or an Ungodly Alliance? Do you have people to hold you up? I encourage each and every one of you to ask yourself

Who are my Aaron and Hur?




Who Wins In The Battle For You?

Message Magazine’s Online Devotional for Sunday, March 20, 2016

Armour of God tile“Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places. Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.” (Ephesians 6:11–13).

In case you hadn’t noticed, there is a fierce battle going on. And, no, I do not mean the countless wars that are being fought around the world over commodities, tribal disputes, religion, or politics, although these are symptoms of the larger battle. I am not even talking about battles for power in the corporate setting or family skirmishes, while they, too, are symptomatic of the larger battle. No; the battle to which I refer is so huge, there is no area nor being in the universe that is unaffected by it. This battle is what some refer to as the great controversy between good and evil. We see it depicted in movie plots, bestselling novels, and even our music. But more sharply than these, at least from our perspectives, we see this battle raging in the war theaters of our lives. The question really is, then, “Who will win the battle in my life?”

The Bible aptly states that our struggle is not against flesh and blood. Rather it’s against spiritual beings who once lived in the presence of God, but were expelled due to unrepentant rebellion. Now they have a vendetta against all that is holy, and all whom the Lord loves. This is why you cannot get a break! Whether you have yet learned to love God or no, the devil and his cohorts want to destroy you. If you have not given your life over to the care of God, the devil wants to extinguish you before you do. He wants to so fill your mind with fear of the future, hatred, racial conflicts, struggles with police and government, etc. as to incite your darkest character traits and obscure your view of God. And the result, if you continue down this path, will be continual sin, guilt, shame, defeat, and ultimate destruction.

For those who have chosen to follow the Lord’s leading in life, you will find that your trials will increase too. Your good will be evil spoken of. When you do what God says, you will often draw the ire of people you least expect. Your families will experience apparently unexplainable problems at times. Your work, health, and emotional wellbeing will often be assaulted, not to mention the incredible temptations that will certainly come your way. You will lose people you love to the cold, cruel hands of death. All of this and more are targeted at causing you to lose focus and abandon your God.

That being said, what is the answer to this problem? If our enemies are supernatural beings who once lived in heaven, how can we fight them? Do we arm ourselves with assault rifles and shoot the first thing that moves? No. Do we equip or homes with panic rooms or properties bug-out shelters with months worth of food and water storage? No. Should we learn survival strategies and become proficient in the martial arts? Absolutely not. Since our battle is against supernatural beings, we need supernatural weaponry. Paul says it this way: “(For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds;) Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ;” (2 Corinthians 10:4–5). Thus it is that we must put on the entire armor of God if we ever hope to be victorious in this battle over our eternal life. You do realize that is what’s at stake, right? Were it merely this life we were dealing with, the strongest would always come out on top. But in this battle with eternal implications, only those who submit to God, the Captain of our souls, will live forever in blissful relationship, with the freedom to explore the creation of God without sin, sickness, tears, or pain, just the way God intended in the beginning.

This week, we will be going through the seven implements of this cosmic conflict so each of us can be well prepared for victory over every problem and trial we will face until Jesus returns. Rest assured that the Word of God guarantees victory for those who follow His war plan. Jesus won the battle with Satan in heaven when this war began. Jesus won the battle with Satan during His life on earth wherein He never sinned and purchased our salvation. Jesus won the battle at the tomb where the devil failed to keep Him dead. And daily, Jesus is winning in the lives of those who choose to remain submitted to His care. Will you be a victim or victor in this battle? The choice is yours.




Boldness Under His Banner

Message Magazine’s Online Devotional for Sunday, August 9, 2015

Today’s Scripture:
“So Joshua did as Moses had said to him, and fought with Amalek: and Moses, Aaron, and Hur went up to the top of the hill.” (Exodus 17:10).

Quick Observation:
Not long after the children of Israel received the miraculous deliverance from their Egyptian captors, bread from heaven, and water from a rock in the wilderness, the Amalekites decided to wage war with them, unprovoked. What’s curious about this war, besides the fact that it was unprovoked, is that the Amalekites were descendants Esau, Jacob/Israel’s brother who did not relish the God of his fathers. The Amalekites heard of the fear that the surrounding nations had of God’s people because of His triumphant care of them and they scorned those nations. They thought it was insane to be concerned about Israel or their God. So they waged war. They soon discovered, that the Lord’s jealous protection of Israel was no urban legend. No enemy force could stand against them, as long as they placed their trust in God.

Moses instructed Joshua, whose name means, “Jehovah is salvation,” to choose able men and take the fight to Amalek. Moses promised to go to the top of a hill overlooking the battlefield with the rod of God in his hand. As long as Moses kept his hands out stretched above, God’s people prevailed, but whenever his hands tired and dropped a bit, the enemy would begin to prevail. Therefore, Aaron and Hur made certain that Moses’ arms were supported along with the rod of God high above the battle. And God’s people prevailed.

“After the victory, the LORD instructed Moses, “Write this down on a scroll as a permanent reminder, and read it aloud to Joshua: I will erase the memory of Amalek from under heaven.” Moses built an altar there and named it Yahweh-nissi (which means “the LORD is my banner”). He said, “They have raised their fist against the LORD’s throne, so now the LORD will be at war with Amalek generation after generation.”” (Exodus 17:14–16, NLT).

Life Application:
There are many times in life when the unlikeliest people or institutions will wage unprovoked war against you, because of your faith in God, and His jealous watch care. As long as you keep your faith outstretched toward your God, He will fight your battles.

There are also times in our lives when we seem to just be following simple instructions, to do God’s bidding, as in the case of Joshua here. Yet, we may not realize that the Lord is actually grooming us for something so huge, perhaps even many years down the road. It is critical, that we consistently and faithfully fulfill the current responsibilities God has placed upon us. We never know for what the Lord is preparing us. Could Joshua have imagined in a million years that he would replace the great Moses in leading Israel into the Promised Land, true to the meaning of his name? In what ways might God be preparing you to do a special work for Him? Seize every opportunity to be obedient to Him, in Jesus’ name. And, always allow the Lord to fight your battles for you.

A Prayer for Your Hearts:
Lord, please teach us how to be faithful to you, even in the face of adversity, and allow you to prepare us to serve you in ways we cannot yet imagine. In the name of Jesus I pray, amen.