4 Ways to Respond When You S.P.O.T. a Battle on the Horizon

There have been many times when I’ve struggled with knowing how to respond in a situation. I am, by nature, a peacemaking, people-pleasing, don’t-rock-the-boat kind of girl.

It’s not always easy to know. Do I let this offense slide (turn the other cheek?) Do I confront and make my feelings known? What should I do when I feel I’m being wronged, taken advantage of, or downright attacked?

As I read through the book of Esther recently, I developed a battle plan to help me deal with these situations. So, the next time you spot a battle brewing here is the battle plan (based on Esther 4) which you can have in place.

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S – Seek the Lord. 

Esther 4:15 says, “Then Esther told them to reply to Mordecai, ‘Go, gather all the Jews to be found in Susa, and hold a fast on my behalf, and do not eat or drink for three days, night or day. I and my young women will also fast as you do.”

The first step of her battle plan was to pray. Do you want to know why it’s important to pray before going into battle? Because not every battle is ours to fight. You may pray and the Lord may tell you to engage the enemy. The prophet Nehemiah told the people to “fight for your brothers, your sons, your daughters, and your homes.” In Psalm 144, David said, “Blessed be the Lord, my Rock, who trains my hands for war and my fingers for battle.” There are certainly times when we are called to battle.

But there are other times when, after seeking the Lord’s will, we will find Him telling us to be still. In 2 Chronicles, the Lord told King Jehoshaphat, “The battle is not yours but God’s…You will not need to fight in this battle. Stand firm, hold your position, and see the salvation of the Lord on your behalf.”

How are we going to know if we are called to battle or to be still unless our first step is to seek the Lord? Do note, however, that being still is not the same as backing down. God is clear that the people were to hold their position – they were just not to actively engage the enemy in that moment.

P – Patiently wait.

We saw back in verse 3 that there was mourning, weeping, and lamenting in every province. There were people lying around in sackcloth and ashes. And Esther waits a whole day, then a second day and then a third day. Don’t you know there were those who didn’t understand? There were certainly some who just wanted her to go to the king already. Yet, Esther patiently waited for the Lord to respond.

There will be times when you want to rush into battle. But Proverbs 19:11 says that a person with good sense is patient. Patience is a fruit of the Spirit.

O – Obey the Lord.

It wouldn’t do any good for Esther to seek the Lord and patiently wait for His response if she had no intention of obeying. At the end of the fast, we see that Esther says, “I will go to the king.”

We have to be willing to obey whether we are called to battle or to be still.

T – Trust the Lord with the outcome.

This is often the most difficult part. We see this in Esther’s final words in chapter 4. She says, “I will go to the king and, if I perish, I perish.” We see this same sentiment later with Paul when he says, “To live is Christ and to die is gain.” He trusted God to work it for good either way.

In 2011, my mother had stage 4 kidney cancer and stage 4 lymphoma at the same time. I sat with her every Friday that year while she took chemo and we laughed and told stories and made friends. People would ask her if she was afraid and she would always say, “It’s a win-win for me. If he heals me it will be great. If he calls me home it will be great.” She trusted Him with the outcome no matter what.

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The truth is that there is no shortage of battles constantly brewing around us. Whether we’re on Facebook or attending a family gathering, conflict is always just around the corner. Let’s be prepared ahead of time so that, when we S.P.O.T. it, we’ll know what to do.

You are loved. ❤

Stacy

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How to Claim Your Community for Christ

It doesn’t matter what your community looks like. Perhaps you live in a gated community. Maybe it’s a farming community. You could have been born and raised there or you could be new in town. It could be that you love where you live or not.  None of that really matters.

When the children of Israel were in exile, God had a word for them on how they were to conduct themselves. Keep in mind that this was definitely not home for them and they didn’t want to be there.

Seek the welfare of the city I have deported you to. Pray to the Lord on its behalf, for when it has prosperity, you will prosper. (Jeremiah 29:7 HCSB)

We are to love our communities. We are to seek the welfare of the places God has placed us. Here are three ways we can claim our communities for Christ.

A – Accept that unbelievers are going to act like unbelievers.

Seriously, friends, can we stop acting appalled and clutching our pearls when those who don’t know Christ act unChristlike? It is not our job to play the Holy Spirit. We will never guilt someone into accepting God’s grace.

I live in a community filled to overflowing with people struggling with brokenness. Many of them cling to the very thing that brings them pain, not because it’s fun, but because it’s familiar. They are afraid to pursue something different because what if, in the end, this really is all that life has to offer? Let’s be honest; that’s a real possibility.

Claiming our communities for Christ may just mean engaging someone who uses language we wouldn’t use. It most likely means getting to know someone who looks, thinks or acts quite differently from us. We have to get to know them so that they can get to know Him.

B – Be present in your community.

Let me be clear. I am an introvert’s introvert. I could, quite happily, spend the vast majority of my time in my home. Crowds make me nervous and, quite honestly, strangers make me anxious. So, when we moved to a small community about a year ago, I was nervous. New people. New places. New opportunities for rejection.

I am surrounded by poverty, addiction and a multitude of things I can’t fix. It has caused a lot of frustration for me. I don’t always understand what I’m doing here. Then, a couple weeks ago, I felt the Lord calm my spirit and say, “You’re over thinking this. I just want you to be present.”

I had to ask myself, “If I were to leave this community tomorrow, will my presence have made a difference?” I’m choosing to be present. I have scheduled checking my mailbox around when I knew a certain person walked by my house so that I could meet her. I made chocolate covered strawberries and delivered them to some ladies in town. I plan my walks around the neighborhood to pass by those folks I know will be sitting on their porches or in their yards. I’ve had neighborhood children into my home and baked birthday cakes for their mamas.

They’re small things, but not really.

C – Casseroles, Cakes, and Cookies, oh my!

Scripture tells us that love covers a multitude of sins. I’m here to tell you that so does cream of chicken soup. You take love and a good casserole and you have an opening into almost anyone’s life.

Look around your community. Who haven’t you met? Who, ahem, have you purposely not met? There isn’t any judgment here, friends. I have a list of people and a list of recipes. I’m setting a goal to meet some of them and I’m bringing food with me. A chocolate chip cookie never offended anyone. If you don’t believe me, you need to make these.

 

They’re divine; don’t forget to take some to that person on your list. I’m convinced that food, fellowship, and friendship are essential to claiming our communities for Christ.

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What have you done in your community?

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You are loved. ❤

Stacy