Do you feel the tension that seems to permeate the air of this world lately? Things just feel heavy. Hearts are hurting. People are discouraged and dissatisfied. It seems as if this whole world is worn down from the struggles and it would be so very easy to just give in to the pull of weariness and discontent.

In the middle of the strife and struggles, we can start to feel overwhelmed, worn, and just plain weary. When these feelings come, and they linger far past their welcome, what can we do to keep our heads up? How do we remain hopeful when things just seem so difficult?

We might get angry and feel like being loud to drown out the noise of others or fighting back harder to win the war. We might get fearful, worried, and just want to withdraw and hide our heads in the sand to ignore the strife around us. Or maybe we don’t even know how we feel or how to respond, but we do know that we are called to be set apart and to shine as lights in the darkness of a weary and worn world. We are called to be the salt that seasons the bitterness around us and makes it a little more palatable. Because we know these things, we need a plan to stay in the battle when weariness starts to overcome us.

Maybe a good place to start is to look at someone else who was weary in the battle and see how they overcame it. In 2 Chronicles 20, Jehoshaphat is facing a multitude that has come against him. He’s going to have to fight his enemies, however, when he seeks God’s battle plan, he sees that it is a little different than the one he might have been considering. Maybe like Jehoshaphat, God’s plan to overcome our battles looks a little different than ours. When Jehoshaphat took the fear, discontent, worry, and strife that he faced because of his battle to God, the Lord sent a message to him. 2 Chronicles 20:15-17 ESV says, “Do not be afraid or dismayed…for the battle is not yours, but God’s…You will not need to fight this battle…Stand firm, hold your position, and see the salvation of the Lord on your behalf.” Those verses outline a battle plan that ultimately spells victory for the believer.

This is a truth God has been continually pressing into my heart lately. There is so much peace that floods my soul when I realize how much easier God’s battle plan is than the ones that I have been using. His plan is a plan that can breathe hope into our weariness.

5 Steps to Hope for The Battle Weary From 2 Chronicles 20:15-17

1. Don’t be afraid- Fear is such an instinctive response to trials. We allow ourselves to be afraid of what may or may not happen. We allow ourselves to fear how circumstances might turn out. We also allow ourselves to be scared that the battle may never be won. That is not what God calls us to. He tells us not to be afraid.

2. Don’t be dismayed- Discouragement plants deep seeds of bitterness that can grow into anger, depression, hate, or hurt. Discouragement can fool us into thinking that the battle isn’t worth fighting. It can make us want to give up. God wants us to keep hope, to trust in him, and to have faith.

3. Let God handle the battle- It is in our nature to struggle and fight for victory over the battles that we face or to try to avoid them by running and hiding from them. God calls us to seek Him continually and rest in the fact that He is not only working in our hearts and in our lives, but also our situations.

4. Stand firm and hold your position- We can get a little wobbly when the battles rages. The things going on all around us can seem to pull us in all directions and make us doubt our stance. God calls us to stand firm in His truth and to hold the position that He has called us to.

5. See the salvation of the Lord- God is at work in everything. The victory is His in the end. The fact that in the battles, He draws us closer to Him is proof that he is doing a good thing, even if the overall situation doesn’t look like it. God calls us to believe that, ultimately, He is working all things together for good.

Read the rest of the article and find even more encouragement at iBelieve.com by clicking the link below!

http://www.ibelieve.com/faith/5-steps-to-hope-for-the-battle-weary.html

Love and blessings, Bobbie Schaeperkoetter

image.png *This blog post was originally posted at Bronwyn Lea's blog (www.bronlea.com). I had the wonderful opportunity to guest post on her blog yesterday. She's a wonderfully talented and inspirational writer!  You will love her blog! That's Not My Name Posted by Bronwyn Lea Please welcome Bobbie Schaeperkoetter to the blog! Maybe I’ve let myself be defined by the wrong names for long enough. And maybe you have too. Unworthy. Unloveable. Unattractive. Selfish. Spoiled. Out of touch with reality. Irresponsible. Snob. Untalented. Liar. Cheater. Judgmental. Failure. I’ve been called these names and many more. These, and others, are words that I’ve heard spoken about me nearly all of my life. They are words of hurt and pain. They are words that cut deep. They are words that I’ve felt have left a scar on my poor tender heart. Sometimes those words were spoken by others. Sometimes I just felt them because of a person’s attitude of actions. Most often though, the words that have cut me the deepest, are the words that I’ve spoken to myself. The worst names are the ones I gave myself. This isn’t the regular state of my heart, but I have been my own worst enemy at times. I’ve doubted my heart, my worth, my skills, my actions, my looks, my motives, and my talents. I’ve focused on my negative qualities far more than my positives. I have let fear and doubt rule me for so much of my life. I’ve stood in my own way far more than anyone else ever has. I’ve let my past, my failures, my mistakes, and especially my sins define me for far too long. I’ve been a slave to the names. I’ve often felt locked in the prison of these words. I’ve let myself believe them. I have believed that I am unworthy and unloveable. I have believed that I am a cheat and a liar and a failure. And for some reason, I’ve never fought back against those names. Maybe I kept letting myself be defined by those names because a small part of me believed each one of them for one reason or another. Maybe it is because no one knows me like I know myself. No one knows every detail of my past and every struggle that I have walked through or every mistake that I have made. But just maybe, I have listened to the lies that the enemy has whispered into my ear for far too long. Maybe I’ve let myself be defined by the wrong names for long enough. And maybe you have too. This morning, I woke up to a text from a dear friend who is in the middle of a very difficult situation. She is feeling defeated. She is feeling defined by her circumstances and her situation. She is believing the names. She is believing the names that others have called her, but most often, she is believing the names that she has called herself. And my heart broke for her. And it broke a little for myself because I have done the same thing so often. I have so many friends and family members who are in the middle of very difficult situations. Some are there as a result of their own choices but some are just a victim of circumstance. Regardless of how they got to where they are, many of them have one common bond. They’ve let the names they have been called define them. They have believed the lies too. They’ve believed the lies that they are their circumstances or their situation or their mistakes. They’ve believed the lies that they are their sin or their faults or their failures. They’ve believed the lies that they are what other people have said that they are. They have let those names define them just like I have. That is not the case for them, it is not the case for me, and it is not the case for you sweet friend. I am not unworthy, unloveable, unattractive, or untalented. That is not my name. I am fearfully and wonderfully made by a Heavenly Father who specifically designed me for a purpose and with a plan. (Psalm 139:13-14) I am not a cheater, a liar, or a failure. That’s not my name. I am redeemed and forgiven. I am a child of my Heavenly Father and I am loved beyond measure. He has taken my past and nailed it to the cross. (Colossians 1:14, Colossians 2:13-14, John 3:16) I am not selfish, judgmental, out of touch with reality, spoiled, or a snob. That’s not my name. I am learning to walk in newness of life. I’ve laid aside my old self and have been given a new heart. The road may be a little bumpy and I may fail sometimes, but my Father is patient and loving. (Ephesians 4:20-32, Ezekiel 36:26) I am not those names that others have called me. I am not those names that I have called myself. I am not those names that the enemy has whispered in my ear. I am not defined by my past or even my current situation. And neither are you. If we are a follower of Jesus, then those names do not define us. His name does. We are defined by a God who loves us more than we can even begin to fathom. We are named by the one who calls us chosen, loved, redeemed, beautiful, precious, forgiven, and new. Let go of those old names and embrace the name that Jesus has given you! Blessings and Love, Bobbie
  Matthew 14:22-33 is a lesson on faith from Jesus. He teaches Peter about real faith in the face of danger. Source: Why Did You Doubt? This article is my most recent post for Grace Centered Magazine.  It addresses issues of fear and doubt, something that I sometimes struggle with. Why Did You Doubt? Fear is the enemy of faith. We’ve heard it said a hundred times and it is so very true. I can feel God speak something into me during my quiet time with Him in the morning and I am fired up and ready to tackle whatever it is that He has for me. As the day goes on, and life’s troubles come at me, fear sets in, and my resolve wavers. Have you been there in that moment when fear starts to creep in and dissolve away your commitment? I know I have and I also know I am not the only one. No doubt, you have been there. Peter has been there too. The story of Peter stepping out of the boat to walk on the water to Jesus is one of my very favorite passages in the New Testament. I just really love Peter. He’s a little rash and bold. He is a little impetuous and reckless. Maybe that is why I like him. I can relate to him. He loves Jesus in a way that is beautiful and powerful, but he tends to act a little irrationally. Yep. That hits close to home. I also think there are a lot of practical applications that we can make about fear, our response to it, and Jesus’ response to it. Let’s take a look at Matthew 14:22-33 and see what we can learn. I’m going to summarize that passage from Matthew. This is the Bobbie revised version. Peter is in the boat with the other disciples while Jesus is alone praying. The waves and the wind have kicked up enough that the boat has drifted far from the land and is being tossed about. It is late and it is dark. I’m sure the disciples were getting a little nervous out there on the sea just waiting for Jesus. They may have even been squinting out into the distance wondering how on earth he could get to them. Then they see a little movement and rub their blurry, sleepy eyes. They may have even wondered if their eyes were playing tricks on them due to the hour and the conditions. They look again and realize they were right. Someone or something is walking across the sea, right to them. They tremble in fear because they are sure it is a ghost. They were scared enough that Jesus had to tell them not to be and to calm down because it was only him. Then, Peter acts in true Peter fashion. “Prove it Lord! If that really is you, call me out to walk on the water too!” Jesus obliged and called to him. So, out of the boat jumped Peter. I can just picture it in my mind. He hops out and begins confidently walking towards Jesus and he is thinking, “This is awesome! I would follow Jesus anywhere and do anything that he told me to do.” But then a big wave crashes close to his feet, distracting him for a second. As he watches that wave, he notices the other waves around him. His ears become alert and he hears the waves crashing against the boat behind him. He hears the wind howling around him. He shakily looks down at his feet and fear over takes him. The more afraid he gets, the quicker his feet begin to sink into the sea. Sheer panic sets in as the fear of all that is going on around him overtakes him. Then he remembers Jesus. Out of desperation he cries out to him. He raises his eyes from his situation and looks. There is Jesus right beside him. Jesus is close enough that all he has to do is reach out and take hold of Peter. Peter is pulled back up above the water and Jesus just gives him that tender look and says, “O you of little faith, why did you doubt?” Jesus is basically telling Peter, ‘I’ve got you. Don’t worry. Just trust me. You don’t have to be strong because I’m strong enough for the both of us.’ Then hand in hand, they walk together to the boat where all of the other disciples are just standing there in sheer amazement of the mighty power and sovereignty of Jesus. Obviously, I have taken a little liberty in the retelling of this section of scripture. I do that on purpose. I think we sometimes look at these disciples and think that they must have been holy and perfect men of God. We make them unrelatable and think we can’t learn from them. That is far from the truth. These men were everyday people and they often had to be corrected and taught by a patient and loving Jesus. That is exactly what happened here. Peter needed to be taught about fear and faith. His story is one that can serve as a model for us. Here are some things that this passage of scripture can teach us about fear and faith. Life is going to get crazy. It’s pretty much a given. When we are trusting in Jesus, we don’t have to fear. We can just jump out of the boat. When we take our eyes off of him and start to look at all that is going on around us and our inability to fix it, we get distracted and fear sets in. If we give fear a foot hold, it can sink us pretty quickly. When we get overwhelmed, our best bet to get out of our mess, is to cry out to him. He can pull us out, no matter how desperate the situation. He is strong enough to hold us and keep us steady. He is capable of walking us through the trial. Trusting him in spite of our fear not only builds our faith, but it builds the faith of others and brings glory to God. Jesus doesn’t get mad at us when fear creeps in and we stumble a little. He gently reminds us that He’s got a hold of us and will bring us through. I am so very thankful for this lesson. It is one that I need to remind myself of often. I tend to be a little like Peter. I dive into things with full faith. Sometimes, though, the troubles of this world distract me and for a moment and I take my eyes off of him and focus on my own incapability to fix things. It isn’t long before I cry out to Him because I can feel myself starting to sink. Every time, he is faithful to reach out his hand, hold me close, and walk me through. I pray that if you are facing something that has you feeling like you are sinking in fear and helplessness, that you will focus your eyes on the one who can save you. Love and blessings, Bobbie bobbiescahe.com