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First Things First

Challenges and problems are a part of our lives; how we react when they occur, is key to moving forward, resolving matters and bringing understanding.  The enemy strives on using our circumstances to turn us away from the Lord. With subtle lies and whispers, he leads us away from the One who can help us, guide us and lead us out of our ‘wilderness’.  Isaiah 43:19b is a promise for each one going through a difficult time: “I will make a pathway through the wilderness. I will create rivers in the dry wasteland” (NLT). The enemy will use anything to turn our eyes away from our Provider: stress, anxiety, rejection, unanswered prayers, pride, shame and basically anything to make us believe the Lord doesn’t care and can’t solve our problem.

 

Recently I was doing a Bible Study on strongholds and challenges in our lives and I came to realise how we can become so focussed on our situation, that our problem becomes a higher priority than our relationship with the Lord. In the study, we were prompted to find scriptures relevant to our situation and to write them down on note cards. This is all part of a process to allow the Lord to show where the enemy’s lies have taken the place of His godly truths in our lives. I have started to do this and the practical act of writing them down has been so good. 

 

The first scripture I wrote down was “He says, ‘Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth.’  The Lord Almighty is with us; the God of Jacob is our fortress” (Psalm 46:10-11). What surprised me, when I felt prompted to write this down, was that it did not specifically point to my issue. The Lord was reminding me that I need to acknowledge Him before I do anything else and I realised once again that Psalm 46:10 is a command: ‘Be still and know’. The next scripture was “Jesus looked at them intently and said: ‘Humanly speaking, it is impossible. But with God everything is possible’” (Matthew 19:26 NLT). This reminded me that all things are possible with God. 

I began to understand that my mind was running round in circles with thoughts that seemed to have no solution. When I was praying, I would end up more anxious and despondent than before. So, I would just go back to my ‘merry-go-round’ of thoughts. In my mind I was praying and bringing my issue before the Lord, but I had already decided that it was impossible, and I just needed to know how to handle the situation in a better way. The lesson I seem to relearn so often is that my focus should be on the Lord and not on the circumstances. When I allow Him to settle me, I allow Him the opportunity to show me the way forward - the way out of the wilderness.

 

Prayer: Dear Father, once again I have run round in circles and forgotten to look to You first. Please forgive me. Your yoke is easy to bear and the burden You give is light (Matthew 11:30). You are gentle at heart and give rest for our souls. I honour You and thank You for always showing me the way and for leading me to Your green pastures. Amen.
 

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Scripture

He says, ‘Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth.’  The Lord Almighty is with us; the God of Jacob is our fortress.
Psalm 46:10-11, NIV

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Today's Writer

Annalene Holtzhausen is on the Associate Team at Ellel, Africa. She is married to Renier, who introduced her to Ellel Ministries. She is a full-time mother to their two boys. Her passion is for the restoration of women’s hearts and for people to find their worth in the Lord.

Annalene Holtzhausen


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