April 29

Joshua 21:44-45 (NIV) 44The LORD gave them rest on every side, just as he had sworn to their forefathers. Not one of their enemies withstood them; the LORD handed all their enemies over to them. 45Not one of all the Lord's good promises to the house of Israel failed; every one was fulfilled.

In the eyes of the people, God had provided everything He had promised them. He had given them rest from their enemies. He fought for them and gave them victory. Is it any different for us today? Will the LORD fight your battles for you and keep all His promises to you? Absolutely! You can count on it. It may not always be in the way you imagine or be without battles. Battles are good for us.

In the history of Israel, this period seems to be their most faithful period. These years of battles and victories seem to have the least amount of compromise and murmuring. Does that tell us anything? We wonder why life seems to be so full of struggle. Perhaps we would be worse off if we had no battles before us to keep us on our knees, asking for God's help.

We often wonder if we will ever see the end of conflict, a time when the battles are over, and we can rest. Yes, it is coming. The LORD will give us rest, but not in this life. Oh, you will have breaks between battles, but we need the battles to grow and move forward. We need to keep taking the land as long as we are here. When there was no external enemy to fight, Israel's history showed that they turned inward and lost the spiritual battles with idolatry and being discontented. Thank God for the battles. Keep taking the land. In God's time you will have rest on every side.

Prayer: Lord, help me appreciate the battles, knowing they are for my eternal good.

April 29

Luke 2:36-38 (NIV) 36There was also a prophetess, Anna, the daughter of Phanuel, of the tribe of Asher. She was very old; she had lived with her husband seven years after her marriage, 37and then was a widow until she was eighty-four. She never left the temple but worshiped night and day, fasting and praying. 38Coming up to them at that very moment, she gave thanks to God and spoke about the child to all who were looking forward to the redemption of Jerusalem.

Yesterday evening's devotion was about Simeon who was waiting to see the Messiah before he died. A few verses later we have the prophetess, Anna. Eighty-four was a very old age for that time period. This sincere woman never left the temple! Can you imagine never leaving your church grounds? Her life was given completely in service to God.

When she saw Simeon take the baby and begin to praise God, she knew in her spirit that this was the One. Then she hurried around to tell all the others that were waiting for the Messiah. When God is about to do something, He calls His children to pray it into the earth. There may have been a whole group of these praying saints.

It is interesting that the word "redemption" is used instead of "salvation". Jesus was going to pay the price to set them free. This was not the time for political upheaval. It was the hour of spiritual exchange.

The Anna ministry is a much-needed ministry today. There are a growing number of retired folks with time on their hands and a desire to serve God. The church has taught them that service means going out and doing some physical service, and so they feel as though they can no longer serve. Imagine an army of Anna's in the temple day and night in prayer and fasting! That would change the spiritual climate in our churches, cities and nations. Perhaps you know of someone who you could encourage with Anna's testimony. There are an increasing number of 'prayer furnaces' in which day and night prayer is going up. Perhaps their call is to one of these, or in their own church, to really devote themselves to prayer. (Colossians 4:2)

Consider: Is God calling you to such a ministry?