Have you ever fought in a war? What would I do if I was caught up in a war? How will I react?
Have you ever fought in a war?
Recently, an English brother serving in Israel sent me an email. He said the Israelis believe a war is imminent. He said he has never been in a war before and he is worried. As I read this, it made me think for a few minutes.
What would I do if I was caught up in a war? How will I react?
My father is a retired soldier but he has never gone to war. My grandfather fought in a battle frontier for many years.
Actually we are unaware, that we are in a war every day. Problems appear before us every day and we are fighting to solve them, so to speak.
Currently, as a family we are experiencing problems related to our children's schooling. Our eldest daughter is 10 years old and this year she starts 4th grade in primary school. In 4th grade, the school starts lessons on Islamic religious culture and morality. Due to our faith, we do not want our daughter to attend these lessons and we spoke to the school administration. They said if we wrote a petition, she would be exempt from these lessons. She would not be compelled to attend the lessons but while the other kids are being taught, she has to wait outside the corridor. This is difficult for both Nurcan and I.
Our son Barış John, attended kindergarten while we were living in Çeşme. Last year, our home was attacked with gunshots at midnight. We had to move from Çesme to back to Bodrum. We tried to register him for school but we are told the school is full and they cannot accept him. Barış John loves going to school and learning new things, we told him he could go this year. This year the school is saying the same, the school is full and they cannot accept again.
When our children have to suffer any problems, it is really difficult for us as parents.
What about you, what daily battles do you have? What problems are you struggling with?
Before I prepared this sermon, I thought about what I could do, regarding my children's schooling problem. As a father, I despair when I feel I cannot do anything to help my kids. I prayed to Lord and I surrendered saying I will not fight anymore. I wanted Him to fight my battles for me. The Lord said to me, stand aside, I will fight this battle for you.
He is the Lord of armies! With Him as commander-in chief, no battle can be lost!
The only thing we have to do is give Him all authority, stand aside and wait in confidence. He will fight our battles and give us victory!
Exodus 14:14 says 'The Lord will fight for you; you need only to be still'.
If you recall the Israelites were slaves in Egypt. They were under the oppression of Pharaoh. They did not see hope from any direction and they cried out to the Lord. The Lord heard their prayers and sent Moses. Through Moses God delivered them from Egypt. The Egyptian army pursued them. Behind them was the powerful Egyptian army and in front of them was The Red Sea. It would seem there was nowhere to run, nowhere to turn. They were in great fear. They thought they would die in the desert.
Have you ever felt trapped and cornered by your problems?
Moses answered the people, “Do not be afraid. Stand firm and you will see the deliverance the Lord will bring you today. The Egyptians you see today you will never see again.
The Israelites were afraid, but the Lord told them not to be afraid.
Like them, we too have experienced fear in our lives in different ways, haven't we?
Sometimes, like the Israelites we have feared losing our lives.
Sometimes we fear the harm that may come on our loved ones.
Sometimes we fear coming up against financial problems.
Sometimes we fear other things.
If we are not careful, fear can imprison us.
In 2007, three of our brothers in Malatya were murdered because of their faith and after that I continued to receive threats. In one of the threats I received, they said they would kill me. We had to take extra security measures to secure our home. We informed the police and the prosecutor's office of these threats. I was not afraid for myself but for my family.
After a while I realized my fears were beginning to imprison me. Some nights I couldn't sleep. Some nights I sat by the door till the morning.
I prayed and asked the Lord to deliver me from all these fears and to protect me and my family. Our peace giving God, gave me and my family peace and protected us.
As for you, when you are afraid, pray to the lord, take refuge in Him. He will hear your prayers and He will help you. He is a faithful God!
Sometimes you may feel paralyzed or helpless when problems come against you and you feel trapped. The Lord not only wants to challenge us to be fearless against our problems but to move forward. That's why He wanted Moses to tell the Israelites this: “Tell the Israelites to move on'.
Today whatever you may be up against, do not forget, it is not the end yet. The Lord can provide a way out. Everything can change in a moment. Because the Lord's power is sufficient for everything! You belong to Him and you are in His hands. He hides you in the palm of His hands! Evil may come close to you but the Lord is able to protect you! Nothing and no one can take you from the Lord's hand!
Glory be to God and His eternal power!
When the Israelites obeyed God's command, they moved forward. They were unaware but they were moving towards the Lord's deliverance. To save them, the Lord parted the sea in front of them. To save them, He made dry ground. To save and protect them, He stood between them and their enemies. The Israelites in their worldly eyes saw no hope, but God was well prepared to deliver them!
When you come up against problems, trust in the Lord and move on, He will deliver you. He will provide a solution, step by step.
Isaiah 26:4 says, 'Trust in the Lord forever, for the Lord, the Lord himself, is the Rock eternal'.
To save you, He will confront the problems in front of you. Amidst difficult circumstances He will give you peace and change the circumstances to your favor. To protect you from whatever you are struggling with, He will stand between you and it. The angel of God who walked in front of Israel's army, protected them from their enemies by standing between them and their enemies. The Lord Jesus will also stand between you and your problems.
At the present moment, you may not know how to come out of your problems, but continue to trust in the Lord. Look with your spiritual eyes and exercise faith. You may not know how to save yourself from these problems, but the Lord knows. Do not forget, faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see. Have faith and hope in the Lord to deliver you from every problem and distress. Watch and see how the Lord will save you.
In life you will keep running into problems. There will always be things that will upset you. But you do not have to fight alone. When the Israelites left Egypt, they had weapons, but if they would have fought for themselves they would not have won. But the Lord fought for them and gave them victory over their enemies because victory belongs only to the Lord our God!
In our battles, let us not trust in our own competence and strength but trust in the Lord. Today let us make a decision to give our battles to the Lord. He will fight on our behalf. He will demonstrate His glory in action and deliverance.
When you come up against something bad, do not give up, continue to trust in the Lord. Take hold of His peace and believe that the Lord takes charge of your battles. Give Him all honor and glory.
At all times and in all things, give Him thanks!
“Almighty God, we praise you because you are powerful and your power is sufficient for everything. There is nothing you cannot do. Your power is eternal and limitless. We give you thanks for your love and grace toward us. By your grace and goodness please help us with our problems. Fight our battles for us. Only you can give us peace, blessings and victory! We pray in the name of your son, our Savior Jesus Christ, Amen!”
Bodrum International Grace Church
Pastor Engin Duran
Verses: Exodus chapter 14
Sermon date: 16 September 2012