Previous Challenge Entry (Level 1 – Beginner)
Topic: Joy (05/18/06)
By Bonnie Derksen
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When the attack began I was fresh. “I can do this!” I thought. “I’ve prayed, studied, memorized, put on the armor!”
And so I battled, in Jesus’ name. One hand was on the sword of the Spirit, the other, on a shield of faith. I stepped left as his voice directed, then to the right, again at his prompting. I knew with all my heart that with God on my side, victory was guaranteed!
Then the enemy’s battle plan changed, taking me off guard.
“Hey!” I shouted. “As for me and my house, we serve the Lord! I am His and He is mine! His banner over me is love!!” My words had no effect. I couldn’t see any difference in the flow of the battle.
“Jesus, why aren’t they retreating?” I cried.
“Chin up! Eyes forward!” the Mighty Warrior shouted back to me. “The joy of the Lord is your strength.” (Neh. 8:10b NIV)
This was a new word to me and as I struggled to reason and understand, my eyes left Jesus and focused on my circumstances.
An arrow of fear hit me from the left! A spear of doubt pierced my side. My mind began to cloud. I was no match for this horde. Anger and resentment began to seep in from another arrow that met its mark. I was on my knees.
“Jesus, help me to see as you see.” I asked and then He opened my eyes. This marauding army had been invited!! I was shocked! Hadn’t we clearly marked the lines and boundaries around our camp? Wasn’t this “off-limits” to the enemy that now pressed me?
New discernment came from my Rescuer: The door had been opened and the enemy had advanced because some in our home had chosen a different path. Choices, intentional and subconscious, had swung wide the gate!! The voice of my Jesus spoke through the fear and doubt, anger and resentment to the core of my heart and began a work of healing: ”Do not be afraid or discouraged because of this vast army. The battle is not yours, but God’s…Take up your positions; stand firm and see the deliverance the Lord will give you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged… the Lord will be with you.” (II Chron. 20:15,17 NIV)
Those words, recorded so long ago, fortified me as I faced my battle. I was weak, but power and might were in the hand of my God. And now my eyes were back on Him. “Have faith in the Lord your God and you will be upheld.” (II Chron. 20:20b NIV) And then in preparation for their battle, Jehosaphat had handpicked a choir “to praise Him for the splendor of His holiness as they went out at the head of the army.” (vs.21 NIV)
A gentle, fatherly finger lifted my chin. “Chin up, eyes forward. Look at me and sing.”
“Sing what, Lord?”
“Sing of what you know to be true. Sing and I will give you joy that will become your strength.”
And so I stood up, straight and tall, and dusted off my hands. I cleared my throat and began, with a shaky voice, to sing for all to hear.
“Jesus loves me, this I know.
For the Bible tells me so.
Little ones (like me! I thought) to Him belong.
They are weak (uh-huh!) but He is strong.
Yes! Jesus loves me. Yes! Jesus loves me.
Yes! Jesus loves me. The bible tells me so.”
As I continued humming, he gave me a new picture. A small child of God, wrapped in a royal robe of purple, was singing from her heart of love and assurance, silencing her foes and avengers. The vandal hordes around her were shrinking and pulling back. They could not continue their advance while their ears were assaulted by the powerful name of Jesus. Their deep ranks thinned as the joy rose within this daughter of the King. Their power waned and they ran, no longer a threat. With each chorus she sang, joy rose within her and began to overflow.
Tears of thankfulness filled my eyes as I cherished this treasure of insight. Yes, the enemy’s army was strong but I could boast-not in my own strength, but in My Daddy’s!” The joy of my Father continued bubbling up and up and out!! “Jesus loves me. This I know…”
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