“Then they called out in Hebrew to the people of Jerusalem who were on the wall, to terrify them and make them afraid in order to capture the city.  They spoke about the God of Jerusalem as they did about the gods of the other peoples of the world — the work of human hands.”  (2 Chronicles 32:18-19, NIV)

Today’s scripture from 2 Chronicles actually begins with an account of the siege of Jerusalem by the ruthless and powerful Assyrian army.  In order to gain tactical advantage, the Assyrians taunted the watch-standers of Jerusalem by insulting the Lord God — in Hebrew!

It should be known that Hebrew, in that day, was not a world language.  It was a minority tongue.  That the Assyrians would use Hebrew to taunt the people of Jerusalem is a great example of what modern warriors call “psychological operations” or “psy ops.”

The take-away I am offering from this lesson is that we, as disciples of Jesus, should not fear assaults on our faith, even when these affronts come in the vernacular most familiar to us; or when they come from persons with great standing or power.  It’s all “psy ops,” and it is designed to erode our confidence in God; and to persuade us to abandon our posts as sentinels and beacons of light.

The story continues: The people of Jerusalem did not lose heart. They remained in the city, despite the insults of the Assyrians, and God delivered them in time from the Assyrians.

When you are in distress, stand firm.  Divine help is coming.  God will either deliver you from the peril — or through it. – Luther

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“I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace.  In this world you will have trouble.  But take heart!  I have overcome the world.”  (John 16:33, NIV)

The disciple of Jesus should fear only one thing: The displeasure of his or her heavenly Father.

Our world is a marketplace of fear and trouble.  If we forget for even a moment that God is bigger than any trouble or peril we shall ever face in our lifetime, we will lose heart.

Jesus has plainly told us that we will face trouble in this world, so any trouble we encounter should not come as a surprise.  However, He has also told us that we should not fear or lose heart: “I have overcome the world.”

Face each day with this confidence!  – Luther

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“Remain in me, as I also remain in you.  No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine.  Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me.”  (John 15:4, NIV)

According to God’s word (Galatians 5:22-23a), the fruit of the Spirit — that is, the outward expression of God’s presence within us — is this: Love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.

It may take a while for a tree to actually produce the fruit it was created to bear; and it may take us a while to mature into the disciple whose life is known for love, joy, peace, and the other manifestations of God’s life within us.  However, we shall never realize our destiny in this regard without abiding in Christ.

Make Him the One in whom you “live, move, and have your being” (Acts 17:28), and your life will bear fruit.  Guaranteed.  – Luther

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