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

  This article was originally published in Faith Filled Family Magazine Just this morning I was sitting down to have my quiet time and my phone buzzed with an incoming message.  It was a dear friend who is walking through something very difficult.  My heart just ached for her as I tried to think of ways to help her through this trying time. I’m just little old me and I’m not really sure what I can do to help anyone. Have you ever felt that way?  Have you ever felt like you were too small or too insignificant to make a difference?  Have you ever wondered if the things that you are doing really matter?  Friend, they do. You are a salt shaker.  You are a shining light.  Each and every one of us has the ability to make a difference in this world.  We have each been placed in our particular set of circumstances with our particular group of family and friends because we have the ability to make a difference.  We are called to be salt and light. In the Message version of the Bible, Matthew 5:13-16 puts it very plainly in a way that really hits home.   “Let me tell you why you are here.  You’re here to be salt- seasoning that brings out the God-flavors of this earth.  If you lose your saltiness, how will people taste godliness… Here’s another way to put it:  You’re here to be light, bringing out the God-colors in the world.  God is not a secret to be kept.  We’re going public with this, as public as a city on a hill. If I make you light-bearers, you don’t think I’m going to hide you under a bucket, do you?  I’m putting you in a light stand.  Now that I’ve put you there on a hilltop, on a light stand- shine!  Keep open house; be generous with your lives.  By opening up to others, you’ll prompt people to open up with God, this generous Father in heaven.” How?  How do we make a difference?  How do we bring out the God-flavors of the earth?  How do we bring out the God-colors in the world?  How do we shine? I’m glad you asked? I’ve got a few fool proof methods that always seems to work for me.  When someone comes to me with a need, I know I can’t rely on myself.  I would probably let them down.  Instead, I do my best to shake a little salt and shine a little light.  Here are three ways I believe we can do that no matter how small or insignificant we feel.   THREE WAYS TO SHAKE A LITTLE SALT AND SHINE A LITTLE LIGHT
  1. Pray
My first response is always to bring any situation or any person before the throne of God and cover them in prayer.  He can do more to help in a situation than I could ever dream of doing.  Prayer moves mountains, friends.  James 5:16 CEB says, “…The prayer of a righteous person is powerful in what it can achieve.” Matthew 18:20 CEB reminds us that “Where two or three are gathered in my name, I’m there with them.” It is powerful.  Don’t ever underestimate the value of praying for someone.
  1. Use Life Giving Words
This life can be a hard one and there is no shortage of trials, but when someone comes along and lifts you up with an encouraging word from the scripture, things seem just a little easier.  There is so much power in our words.  They have the power to hurt or to heal.  They have the power to lighten a load.  They also have the power to point someone to Jesus.  Have you ever been really struggling and someone spoke life right into your weary heart? When I don’t know what to do or what to say, I just use scripture.  I’m notorious for texting or messaging scripture verses that relate to a situation and can give peace and perspective when my own words would fall short.  Hebrews 4:12 CEB says that “God’s word is living, active, and sharper than any two-edged sword.  It penetrates to the point that it separates the soul from the spirit and the joints from the marrow.  It’s able to judge the heart’s thoughts and intentions.  No creature is hidden from it, but rather everything is naked and exposed to the eyes of the one to whom we have to give an answer.”
  1. Be Real
C.S. Lewis’ quote on friendship is a favorite of mine.  He says, “Friendship is born at the moment when one man says to another, “What!  You too?  I thought no one but myself…”  This world is full of the fake and the edited.  We often only see the very best of a person. People can easily get caught in the trap of comparison.   It can be disheartening to someone who is struggling.  Counteract this.  Be real, open, and honest about your life and your struggles with the people in your life.  Help them to see that they aren’t alone and that they have a true friend in you. These three tips have been tried and true ways that I’ve found to make a difference in the lives of others.  I pray that they are helpful to you!  I hope that you will use them and go forth and shake a little salt and shine a little light! Love and Blessings, Bobbie
IMG_2666 I'm a home school mama. (Yes, that's me in all my yoga panted, head banded, hoodied glory on a typical day.)   I have two sweet, wild, chaotic boys that I am beyond blessed to spend my days with.  Every Day. I love it.  Really, I do.   But, can I be honest, just like any other job, sometimes it is HARD WORK! These boys refine me and test me and try me.  They challenge me and make me a better person, a better mom, and a better Child of God.  They question me... about EVERYTHING... and make me really think about things.  They stretch my patience to the limits.  They make me laugh and sometimes they even make me cry, because being a mama is a tough job! Can I be honest again?  Sometimes I wonder if I'm doing it right and if it's worth all the effort.  I know I fail a lot.  I know I get a lot right too.  I hope that the scales balance and that these boys get the best I have to offer more often than not.  These challenging and amazing fellas have been trusted to me by my Father and I desperately want to do right by them and by Him, so I just keep pressing on and praying hard and leaning on God for my strength. But did I mention that it is hard work? Things that matter typically are hard work!  Things that are meaningful take a lot of effort. They are difficult because they are shaping us, growing us, and challenging us to be and do better.  They require us to lean into Him for encouragement, support, and help.  I think that is kind of the point. Do you know what I just love though? When things get tough and I get weary and begin to question myself,  it is just like my loving Father to send me a little "hang in there girl, you're on the right track" message.  He did that this morning.  (He does it a lot, but sometimes I'm too caught up in the craziness to notice.) I was sitting at my usual morning spot, reading my Bible and writing out a verse in my journal that spoke to me, Zechariah 13:9 ironically enough, when my sweet 9 year old walked in with his Bible and sat down beside me and began reading from his.  He didn't interrupt me.  I got a quick smile from this dimpled cheeked, bed headed cutie and he opened God's word and dove in.  It was just what I needed this morning to give me that boost to keep on keeping on!

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Zechariah 13:9 "And I will put this third into the fire,and refine them as one refines silver, and test them as gold is tested.  They will call upon my name, and I will answer them.  I will say, ‘They are my people’; and they will say, ‘The Lord is my God.’” So today, whatever it is that you are pushing through, whatever work God has called you to be faithful to; I just wanted to give you a little encouragement.  It can be tough.  It can make you weary and you may question yourself.  It is hard work and it is suppose to be. Hang in there.  You're on the right track.  Keep your eyes open for little messages of encouragement from God.  Keep on keeping on because he is refining you, growing you, stretching you, shaping you, and teaching you to lean into Him. Love and blessings, Bobbie  
  imageI'm a little bit of a country girl at heart.  We always had some type of livestock that we were raising when I was a kid living at home.  I can remember having cows, hogs, chickens, geese, turkeys, guinea fowl, and more.  I grew up in the country where raising and caring for animals just kind of came with the territory. We never owned sheep, that I can remember, but I imagine it is much like owning other livestock.  When you are responsible for the care and well being of livestock, they are completely dependent on you for all of their needs. I can remember my Dad and my brother getting up early and going out to feed and water in the mornings before school.  Before dinner, they would make another round to tend and care for whatever animals my dad was interested in raising at the time.  (Side note on my dad:  He liked to hop around from one animal to the next depending on the year.  One year he might raise hogs.  One year he wanted cows.  We almost always had horses, mules, and chickens.  We even had a little pot bellied pig that lived in the house until it ran away!  But I digress.) The animals required continual attention for their provision and their protection.  They depended on my dad and my brother for every aspect of their care and well being. This morning I was reading in Ezekiel.  Most of chapter 34 is written to Ezekiel telling him to speak to Isreal and remind them that they are God's sheep and He is their shepherd.  Much like my dad and brother (and even more so since my dad was a little wishy-washy as a farmer) a shepherd's priority is provision and protection for his sheep.  God was judging those people who had led His sheep astray and was telling them that He would be their good shepherd and was giving them a promise for their future. I just selected a few verses from This chapter to give you an idea of what God is saying here: Ezekiel 34:4, 11-12, 16, 31 "You have not strengthened the weak or healed the sick or bound up the injured. You have not brought back the strays or searched for the lost. You have ruled them harshly and brutally."  "For this is what the Sovereign Lord says: I myself will search for my sheep and look after them. As a shepherd looks after his scattered flock when he is with them, so will I look after my sheep. I will rescue them from all the places where they were scattered on a day of clouds and darkness. I will search for the lost and bring back the strays. I will bind up the injured and strengthen the weak, but the sleek and the strong I will destroy. I will shepherd the flock with justice."  "You are my sheep, the sheep of my pasture, and I am your God, declares the Sovereign Lord.’” Wow!  I was a little overcome as I remembered my dad and my brother chipping away ice from the horse trough on a frigid winter day, or cleaning the barn in the brutal heat on a humid summer day.  No matter the conditions, with no regard for their own comfort, they cared and tended their animals.  Because that's what a farmer and a shepherd do.  They provide care for the livestock in their possession.  How much more so will our good shepherd care for us?!? Father God, Thank you for being the good shepherd.  Thank you for understanding that I'm a little sheep easily led astray and prone to wander.  Thank you for your loving guidance, your tender care, and your divine provision and protection.  Help me to trust you more and to fully rely on you as my shepherd.  Help me not to stray, but to stay safely by your side.  Father, I look to you for my needs.  I know that your love for me is true.  You truly are the good shepherd and I'm so thankful to be a sheep in your pasture!" Amen! Blessings and Love, Bobbie