Saturday, June 11, 2016

Standing Together In The Midst of Battle

Arms raised high in praise. "Thank You, Jesus. Thank You!" We raise our arms when crying out to God. "Help me, Lord. I need You to move on my behalf." What happens when we grow so very weary of the battle we are living? What happens when our arms no longer can remain high above? We call upon other believers to help us. Others step forward, side by side us, giving of themselves to raise our arms together, holding them up high, as we 'together' call upon the Lord.

I love chapter seventeen of Exodus. Such a powerful chapter. So much to embrace as we see the power of God and the power that lives in friendship. See, this morning I shared with my friend, Bobbie, that I would be writing and encouraging others to join us in court. Little did I know that in my morning study I would be reading this very chapter about lifting one another up in the very midst of battle.

I have start with why Aaron and Hur were lifting Moses up! That begins with the Israelites and their journey. The Hebrew children are yet again complaining. Oh, the blessings and provision God has given them, but yet, just as we do today we miss out on the here and now because we are not content with how things are moving for us. God had provided quail and manna. Water and all they needed for their journey through the wilderness of sin. Now as they traveled onward they once again needed water. They didn't turn to God. They turned to anger and resentment to Moses and Aaron. They were ready to attack Moses. Stone him even. Oh, how quickly our praise can turn to complaint, right?

God tells Moses to take his rod and strike the rock before him. Once he does water pours! This is a spiritual Rock. The Rock of Jesus Christ. This smitten stone pictures Christ who, when He was smitten upon the cross, became the fountainhead of blessing, the Redeemer of the world. Isn't that so cool? We have such a mighty God.

Hang with me now. I'm about to get to the message of friendship and encouragement!!

Now Amalek is attacking. He is a brother nation. An unexpected battle is at hand. Thrown upon them from out of no where. Isn't that how are lives are today? Battles rage upon us when we aren't prepared. My friend, God is always prepared! And He is willing to fight for you. We have a Savior who will intercede on our behalf.

The Hebrews were not trained in war while in Egypt. But Moses was. He knew what was needed and how to prepare. He gathered Hur and Aaron, not only brother, but friend. Moses calls upon Joshua, who would be Moses' personal minister for the next forty years. He would be put in charge of the military beginning with this battle. See, Moses was not only being obedient to God, he trusted these men. He knew he could count on their support. They stood together. This is what friendship is. This is what the church does for its people. This is where the community is for those who live next door. We are to be there for the journey. Brothers and sisters in Christ! Oh, how we need the armor of God!

As Moses knows Joshua is heading out to battle he takes Hur and Aaron up on the hill with him. From where they are they can see the battle below. Moses gathered his friends and they were with him while he cried out to God. He would hold up his arms to God. This was a gesture of independence on Yahweh. It wasn't Moses who held strength. Moses was growing weak. See, as long as his arms were raised to the heavens the battle would go their way. As soon as Moses would put his arms down the battle would go toward the Amalekites. This is what I LOVE so much. Hur and Aaron go over to Moses and they hold up his arms! They never let go. As tired as they too grow, together they stand giving praise to God. They are calling on God to have favor upon them. They are calling on God to move mountains. They are calling on God on behalf of Moses and their people. This is what friendship is all about.

The battle would be won. The God of Issac, Abraham, and Jacob was ensuring the victory. After the battle Moses built an alter and named it as a memorial to the Lord in the manner of the patriarchs before them. This shows such great faith. When a brother or sister grows weary from the battle we are to hold them up, not just with prayer, but to be present with them. We are to physically be present in the midst of the battle. This is a great testimony of what our Christian walk should be like as we journey this life here on earth together.

"What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how shall He not with Him also freely give us all things? Who shall bring a charge against God's elect? It is God who justifies. Who is he who condemns? It is Christ who died, and furthermore is also risen, who is even at the right hand of God, who also makes intercession for us. Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? As it is written: "For Your sake we are killed all day long; We are accounted as sheep for the slaughter." Yet in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us. For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord." Romans 8:31-39

See, nothing is too big for our God. He is present. He is able. He is here for us in the midst of everything we face daily. As He intercedes on our behalf we too are to intercede for those around us.

I am calling on every believer to pray. I am calling on every believer to share with their friends, family, and church. I am calling on the people that attend church with Bobbie, those who have watched Donnie grow in church, and those who have yet to meet him. Every parent and every grandparent. Every sister and brother. I am calling on every single person in our Franklin County of Missouri to join us in court on June 17th at 2pm. Why?

Many of you have been following along as I share Donnie's story. Maybe you are just now seeing it for the very first time. It is my hope that you will share his story, that you will pray for this family, and that you will join us in court on June 17th at 2pm at the Franklin County Court House on the third floor. 

It is on this date that Ethan Humphries will be sentenced in the senseless death of Donnie Tipton on the morning of September 12, 2014. {Follow the links below to read about Donnie}. It is so very important that we pack this court room, fill the hallways, and have people overflowing until there isn't enough room to hold everyone inside. Why? I am sure you too have been watching on the news and seeing how judges are being slack in their sentencing rulings. It seems their ruling doesn't quite fit the punishment that should be for those who have chosen to break the law and create evil in their wake.

Christopher Kitchen was sentenced. He was released early from his 90 day sentence on good behavior. While he was in jail he was too released daily for the work release program.

Gerard Trotter received 3 days in jail and was released.  

Kevin Ryan has yet to be sentenced. We will still await his punishment. 

This should anger us all. What is happening that criminals should go free? These men who caused the death of Donnie deserve so much more.  Shouldn't they face a stricter punishment? These men all finally after two years of court proceedings have pleaded guilty to their charges. Guilty! Shouldn't a guilty plea mean you take the punishment given to the fullest? I mean, after all you are admitting you are guilty of a crime. That shouldn't mean you now receive a lesser punishment because after two years of fighting and saying you did nothing wrong, but now you are willing to say, "I'm guilty". We can turn on the nightly news or scour Facebook and the internet, hearing and seeing story after story where criminals are walking away from the punishment they should receive, to only walk away with a slap on the wrist. Do judges not value life? Friends, we have to be willing to stand against evil. On the afternoon of June 17 at 2pm we will have the opportunity to take a stand as we will see Ethan Humphries stand before the judge and receive his sentencing. Won't you please join us? Your presence will make a huge impact.

See, Donnie, could have been your child, your grandchild, your brother, your cousin, your friend. What would you be asking of others if he were? You would want others to fight with you, to stand with you. We have a voice. Every voice matters. We don't have to sit back and allow these senseless things continue to happen.

I have watched this family live this unexpected tragedy ravage their lives. This will never be over for them. Our community came together when Donnie was killed. But as we went on with our lives this family is still living the nightmare caused by the actions of others. We need to continue to stand with this family. This is the time so needed for us to make an impact. For this judge to see that this county is not going to take these light punishments any longer.

There's many things we can do. We can write our newspapers, our congressman, our local judges, and the prosecutor's office. We can come together and keep moving until we see changes happen. We don't have to sit by being polite and afraid to speak.

Donnie was only fifteen years old with his whole life in front of him. A life filled with dreams. He was so encouraging. He was an inspiration to every person who knew him. He loved his Jesus. Help me lift up the arms of my friend, Bobbie. Please, help me hold up her arms. Let us come together as Moses, Hur, and Aaron, overlooking the battle before us with hope and belief that God isn't finished yet. He is the author and finisher of our faith. Let us come together and cover the courthouse with our praise and presence!!

The battle is still before us. This is the time to lock arms together and make a difference so this doesn't have to happen to another child. Let there be no 'next child' that must die at the hands of the heinous actions of drunk drivers. Again, what if it were your child? What would you be asking, wanting of others? This is a fight for us all to battle together!

Since September 12, 2014 I have shared many posts about my friend. Here are just a few. Maybe you would like to take peek and follow just some of this journey of a mother's loss and heaven's gain. Maybe share them with your friends, family, and church members. It would be a blessing to continue to share Donnie's story. I encourage you to read each post and share with others. As we share Donnie's story we can give way for God to move in a HUGE way. Let us pray together, but let us be present to fight this battle on the front lines with this family who has been fighting for two long years now.

When we stand together in Christ it gives a powerful testimony of Christian love for their fellow brothers and sisters and for a world in need of seeing a love like no other. Bobbie, Jeremy, Phoenix, and their family will be so blessed to see this court room filled to overflowing. Won't you join all of us who will be there? Please, never think your presence wouldn't matter. It does, friends. Never think there will be enough people there without you. Your presence matters. If Donnie touched our lives in any way at all it is our responsibility to be there in support of justice. It takes courage to stand together. Let us show that Donnie's  life is worth fighting for today and always. Let us stand together and make a difference.

Standing In The Gap 
by Babbie Mason

I heard that you were hurting
That you were suffering pain
But I didn't dare just turn my head
And look the other way
For when your heart is aching
My heart is aching too
Let me help you bear your burden
That's the least that I can do
I'll be standing in the gap for you
Just remember someone, somewhere is praying for you
Calling out your name
Praying for your strength
I'll be standing in the gap for you
Right now you may be troubled
But everything will work out fine
For the Spirit knows before you speak
What is on your heart and mind
So I'll be interceding
Til your standing strong again
The peace that passes understanding
Is going to be yours, but until then
So hang on my friend
It won't be long
And you have the strength
To carry on
For when two or three are walking together
It will be a much lighter load
For isn't that what a brother and a sister are for


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