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Roll with the Punches - A Devotion

Roll with the Punches - A Devotion
Roll with the Punches - A Devotion
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Isaiah 26:3-4 (AMP)
You will guard him and keep him in perfect and constant peace whose mind [both its inclination and its character] is stayed on You, because he commits himself to You, leans on You, and hopes confidently in You. So trust in the Lord (commit yourself to Him, lean on Him, hope confidently in Him) forever; for the Lord God is an everlasting Rock [the Rock of Ages].

It sounds really harsh to think of “rolling with the punches”. Picturing a boxer who is in the midst of a barrage of plummeting blows, he places his right foot behind him and gives way to the assault as not to take a direct hit losing everything. In life, those who learn to “roll with the punches” have a unique survival method. There is a difference between concession and compromise. It may seem as though we have given up in a moment of weakness when really it is just a step back to reassess the situation, regain our strength before pressing on. We will win this war against cancer although things seem to be at a standstill now. I must remind myself constantly that God is in control so even if it seems that nothing is happening that He is steadily working behind the scenes on our son’s behalf. I wonder if Noah once aboard the ark in the midst of pounding rain, smelly animals and in close quarters with his family ever wondering will this storm ever stop. How he must have longed for dry land to surface each time he released the dove? When the rain comes, we assume that once it has released the downpour that the clouds will pass and the sun will once again shine. But what about rainy seasons when showers and storms seem relentless and the ground is flooded? What about when the wind will not relent and we are stuck inside waiting for it to clear? Sometimes we lose sight of the fact that we have a strong tower, refuge and shelter from the storm as we long to be released from confinement. I am in such a season. After months of fighting with hospitals and insurance companies who refuse to treat our son because nobody wants to pay for it, I am worn out. Not really from throwing punches because truthfully I am not sure they have been effective, but now I am merely rolling with the punches. I have peace. At least I think I do, or maybe just maybe I have lost my mind, or perhaps a little of both.

You will guard him and keep him in perfect and constant peace whose mind (both its inclination and character) is stayed on You. In this moment of careful consideration, I realize that all I want is you Lord has become all I need is you Lord. Both songs of equal potential, I must want the Lord in my life as much as I need Him and vice versa. It is a gentle cooperation of my heart and mind to fully accept all that He is and all that Jesus has for my life. However, this world does not give up its hold on me that quickly as I want to be mad at people and organizations for failing to provide the care my son needs based on money. But what I have discovered is that the only thing worthy of my hate is cancer. I can rebuke it from my son’s body and Jesus Christ will do what I ask in His Name. He is the healer. There is a song that has a line that asks, “What if healing never comes?” Well, I believe that healing always comes. My beliefs though battle weary and somewhat war torn remain intact today even after multiple rejections and a ridiculous wait time. I have no confidence in this world, people, insurance or government anymore. It has been stripped away as they hold the medication and treatment to rid my son’s body of cancer medically in one hand, but have the other hand outstretched waiting for payment. So why am I not crazy? Why don’t I hate God for not moving this along more quickly? I have found perfect and constant peace as I have become quite confident that the Lord is at work here. Since January, I have been stripped of every other connection to the treatment our son needs. Now it is all up to God, we are in the realm of hope with the opportunity for the impossible. Faith is the substance of things we hope for. I don’t care if we are ever approved by insurance or if the hospital will do this treatment or not. I am fully confident in the Lord and that our son will live and not die. But everything else had to be stripped away to know that this faith is real and hope is confident. Rolling with the punches in life is not acceptance of our lot in life but develops endurance as our faith matures to produce confident hope that allows us to have perfect and constant peace.

John 16:33 (AMP)
I have told you these things, so that in Me you may have [perfect] peace and confidence. In the world you have tribulation and trials and distress and frustration; but be of good cheer [take courage; be confident, certain, undaunted]! For I have overcome the world. [I have deprived it of power to harm you and have conquered it for you.]

Perfect peace comes from total confidence in Christ. He is the foundation of our faith that allows it to become confident hope. Confidence is full trust including total belief in the power, trustworthiness and reliability of God. It is a lifetime process of rolling and reposing the weight of our life into the constancy and consistency of Jesus Christ. (Psalm 37:4-6) If human nature could just dump it on Him, He would gladly accept but that is not what our sinful flesh will allow. It requires a struggle every step of the way. It is often two steps forward and three steps back as we attempt to follow the Lord but are hindered by sin. Paul summed it up in Romans 7:22-23 when he described the inner conflict between God’s Spirit and our sinful nature. He endorsed and delighted in the Law of God but his flesh constantly warred against it. He wanted to do the right thing but inevitably did the wrong thing. Faith and hope must be moment by moment considerations if we are to win the war between Spirit and self. This world is a tough place. You will have tribulation, trials, distress and frustration. At least Jesus was honest about it, there are no unicorns and butterflies in His Description of life. But for some reason, Christians have made it sound like if you ask Jesus to be Savior and Lord that money trees grow in your yard, enemies lose your address, and that it is smooth sailing into safe harbors with never a cloud in sight. That is a lie. It is a fable and simply not true. Salvation is a fight for our life and a fight to the finish. You are going to have to throw some punches and take some hits in this world so be prepared because you are fully equipped. Jesus overcame the world. He has deprived it of power to harm you and conquered it for you. Now all we must do is endure to the end with our faith intact and confident hope flourishing in our life. Sometimes this is easier said than done!

Galatians 5:16-18 (AMP)
But I say, walk and live [habitually] in the [Holy] Spirit [responsive to and controlled and guided by the Spirit]; then you will certainly not gratify the cravings and desires of the flesh (of human nature without God). For the desires of the flesh are opposed to the [Holy] Spirit, and the [desires of the] Spirit are opposed to the flesh (godless human nature); for these are antagonistic to each other [continually withstanding and in conflict with each other], so that you are not free but are prevented from doing what you desire to do. But if you are guided (led) by the [Holy] Spirit, you are not subject to the Law.

Confidence in Christ that allows for perfect and constant peace does not come from a change in your condition. It is the state of inner calmness born from a sound connection to Jesus Christ. It means that when we have given every ounce of our energy to win the fight and failed there is something inside us that refuses to let go. He is the Holy Spirit. He is working diligently to change us and complete us from the inside out. The conditions of this world are consequential to sin and will remain subject to judgment forever. It will always be at odds because this planet operates in desperation mode. But you do not, you are a forever being now that Jesus Christ is your Savior and Lord. When panic, worry, stress, or anxiety take over, it is your flesh acting out. You are not subject to the outcomes of this world, and have not been given the spirit of fear so do not take it. It eats away at faith and destroys our hope. It is like cancer that just eats through everything in its path leaving nothing behind but a shell. We must learn to live under the guidance of the Holy Spirit. He has a “still, small voice” that will not shout over the lie of the enemy but remains constant in the Truth. Read God’s Word. It is the Sword of the Spirit that will strike down the lie before your mind takes hold of it and your heart hides it. Faithfulness in any relationship grows with knowledge. The more that you get to know the other person, the more time that you spend together, the more that you go through, the greater the connection. You must pick a side because flesh heads for the darkness but the Spirit is always drawn to the Light.

Matthew 5:6 (AMP)
Blessed and fortunate and happy and spiritually prosperous (in that state in which the born-again child of God enjoys His favor and salvation) are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness (uprightness and right standing with God), for they shall be completely satisfied!

We want relief but God desires resolution. We will take compromise but the Lord insists on completion. We must change our appetite when it comes to our desire. There is immediate gratification everywhere we turn in this world even in church. But I know that God desires perfection as He perfects that which concerns me. He is detail-oriented so He works every detail of my life for my own good. How sure am I of this? Enough to wait for Him. Enough to put our son’s life on the line until He comes. I have finally come to understand that righteousness is nothing that I am capable of doing but everything that Christ is doing inside of me. It is the work that He began and will finish. My commitment to remain in His Presence and serve Him is all that I can do to hasten the plan and progress. I must wait until He is satisfied that my life is complete lacking no good thing. The Lord will not stop until I am completely satisfied. Think about that in your moment of desperation and devastation, and ask yourself before you give up – “Would it be worth it if God is real and His Word does work?” Those who have faith will stop at nothing to obtain confident hope because what they desire more than anything is Jesus Christ. Even when you don’t know what to expect or when to expect it, the Lord is working out every detail in His Plan that includes a future and hope. There is no death or dying when it comes to the Lord just glory to glory! And the effect of righteousness will be peace [internal and external], and the result of righteousness will be quietness and confident trust forever.” (Isaiah 32:17)

2 Corinthians 12:8-10 (AMP)
Three times I called upon the Lord and besought [Him] about this and begged that it might depart from me; but He said to me, My grace (My favor and loving-kindness and mercy) is enough for you [sufficient against any danger and enables you to bear the trouble manfully]; for My strength and power are made perfect (fulfilled and completed) and show themselves most effective in [your] weakness. Therefore, I will all the more gladly glory in my weaknesses and infirmities, that the strength and power of Christ (the Messiah) may rest (yes, may pitch a tent over and dwell) upon me! So for the sake of Christ, I am well pleased and take pleasure in infirmities, insults, hardships, persecutions, perplexities and distresses; for when I am weak [[c]in human strength], then am I [truly] strong (able, powerful in divine strength).

The sufficiency of God’s Grace is not compromised by my inability to believe that it is real and relevant. Just because I refuse to rely on it, He never takes it away. On those days when I feel wrung out life a wet mop that has had every last ounce of water unceremoniously and violently pressed out, I feel weak and weary. It is in that moment that God’s Power becomes real to me again. What did I lose? Me. The last of my human strength is diminished so now I will lean on the Lord. The final bit of confidence that I have in me is gone so I only have Him to trust in. Confidence comes when I am gone but He is still there. Peace arises in that moment when we see Him just a little more clearly. The storm may still be raging. The wind still whipping. The thunder still crashing shaking our life, but He is with us. He is there. He is holding us tightly. He is the anchor that keeps us from sinking and the foundation that keeps us floating. In that moment that we decide that His Grace is enough, perfect peace finds us and keeps us all the days of our life. Is the price too high? Not at all. Is the wait too long? Not when His Perfect and Constant Peace comes. God has promised that no matter what happens in this world, His Covenant of Peace and Completion remain forever. (Isaiah 54:10) The Lord has not forgotten you. He has not abandoned you. He remains inside of you looking for a way out to express His Glory in your life. His Grace is ALWAYS enough. His Word will not return void and will be completed (Isaiah 55:11) – will you be there when it comes full circle? Or did you hang up your gloves, leave the ring and go home?

John 15:9-11 (AMP)
I have loved you, [just] as the Father has loved Me; abide in My love [continue in His love with Me]. If you keep My commandments [if you continue to obey My instructions], you will abide in My love and live on in it, just as I have obeyed My Father’s commandments and live on in His love. I have told you these things, that My joy and delight may be in you, and that your joy and gladness may be of full measure and complete and overflowing.

I was on the phone with the nurse who is working on our son’s treatment plan. We had been talking about the recent developments as she gave me an update on his status with regard to further treatment. At the end of the conversation, she said that I reminded her of the persistent widow in the Bible who kept going to the judge seeking justice. Finally the judge granted her request because she refused to give up. I have been asking a long time. I have been seeking answers for a long time, too. I have knocked until it feels like my arm will fall off. I have been rejected more times than I care to remember. But I know that God has something for my son on the other side that belongs to him. I will not give up. Over the long time that this has gone on (almost three years) giving up has never crossed my mind. This is my son. He is a gift from God that belongs to me. He is of great value and worth to our family as an essential and vital member. Losing this battle has never crossed my mind because when it does the Word of God written there strikes it down with the Truth that “He will live and not die!” God will do whatever it takes to turn my faith into confident hope so that I can live in perfect and constant peace. The only time that my peace is compromised is when I allow doubt to rise up like a weed in the garden of my heart. I must deal with it swiftly so it will not damage the faith, love, joy and peace that the Lord is cultivating there with His Spirit. Sometimes I must roll with the punches to allow His Grace to reach me. My flesh fights to keep it from taking over but at last His Spirit prevails and I am back in the fight…the good fight for faith! Living in the Love of God for my life gives me the peace of mind and satisfied heart that can wait until He comes. But sometimes you just have to roll with the punches!

Proverbs 3:5-6 (AMP)
Lean on, trust in, and be confident in the Lord with all your heart and mind and do not rely on your own insight or understanding. In all your ways know, recognize, and acknowledge Him, and He will direct and make straight and plain your paths.