It was night, and I was in the middle of a forest when I saw him.
It was difficult to make out his features; I only saw darkness—evil. He had something in his arms. What was it? It was small but moving on its own. It was a baby! I knew it could not be his, and I feared he would harm it. As I walked closer to him, he ran.
I chased him for what seemed like hours in the humid night air. My heart pounded and my chest heaved, but I couldn’t stop until I had the baby. Not knowing what I would do once I caught up with him, I kept running. I prayed hard.
God needed to help me rescue the baby.
I don’t know why, but he stopped. Catching up to the man, I snatched the baby from him, although I can’t remember how. Then I just ran and ran with him on my heels. I ruined his plan, and he was angry. He chased me to exhaustion. Suddenly, I realized there was nowhere to go. I had come to a white fence too high to climb with the baby in my arms. With my back to the fence, I watched as the figure approach me—his arrogant eyes victorious. I didn’t know what to do.
As the evil one stood before me, trying to pluck the child out of my arms, I could only whisper the name of Jesus. I realized this man hated that Name. Although it was dark, I could see his body recoil. It made me brave. I shouted Jesus’ name with everything I had.
The Name terrified him and he ran as I pursued him, yelling Jesus’ name. I watched until he was out of sight.
Then I woke up.
The next day, I got up feeling nauseous. Since my husband and I were trying to get pregnant, and I worked in a hospital lab, my coworkers gave me a pregnancy test. It was positive.
Little did I know how difficult this pregnancy would be.
At eight weeks, I passed some blood. I panicked. I was sure I had miscarried. As the doctor did an ultrasound, he discovered I had twins and explained I passed nothing more than an isolated clot.
But it continued to go downhill from there. The morning sickness was terrible. I couldn’t eat anything but ice and lost weight for the first fourteen weeks of my pregnancy. The headaches and migraines were awful, too.
I passed out one afternoon at work while on my way to the bathroom. That freaked out my coworkers. The doctor told me later my babies had pressed against my abdominal aorta and temporarily cut off blood flow to my brain. It was the last time that happened.
At twenty-seven weeks, my water broke on my way to work. The shuttle driver, who picked me up at an offsite parking lot, drove me straight to the emergency room.
He was more of a mess than I was.
The doctors and nurses seemed amused by the shuttle driver’s reaction because I looked full term. Once I explained I was twenty-seven weeks with twins, they sobered.
Fear overwhelmed me. I called my husband to tell him the bad news: our babies were coming too soon. They transferred me to a different hospital which was better equipped to handle premature births.
As they prepped me for a caesarian section, the nurse informed me my babies would only be a pound and a half each and would stay in the hospital until their due date, which was thirteen weeks away. I prayed they would be bigger than the nurse claimed.
After their birth, Alexandria and Matthew were each a little over two pounds. A nurse told me I must have been farther along than I thought. But I knew better. Doctors and nurses rushed to hook them up to ventilators, IV lines, and heart and respiratory monitors.
One day, two weeks later, my daughter developed pneumonia in both bronchial tubes. The phone call from the hospital, informing us our baby was in critical condition, woke us at four a.m. We prayed the rest of the morning for her. When I got to the NICU later, she looked as if she were dying. Alexandria’s skin was gray from a lack of oxygen, and the doctor gave her a drug paralyzing her to prevent her from fighting the ventilator. God was faithful, though. He healed her tiny body and before long; she was as feisty as ever.
Another time, Matthew had stopped breathing after the doctor removed him from the ventilator. As I watched the nurse bagging him—forcing air into his lungs, his tiny lifeless body refused to respond. She called the nearby doctor for help. I stood, wanting to scream for someone to help my baby. Instead, I prayed—begging God to save Matthew.
Suddenly, it felt as though someone’s hands were on my shoulders and I felt peace I cannot describe. I heard the Lord’s assurance Matthew would go home with me as I sat back down in my chair. My babies came home after ten weeks at the hospital.
Matthew and Alexandria are now almost twenty-four years old. Although they had difficulties at times, they are healthy and happy college graduates.
The baby in my dream represented the babies I did not know I was pregnant with. At the time of my nightmare, we did not have a fence, nor was it in our plans to have one.
My husband had a six-foot white fence installed after I gave birth.
I realized after a year or two, it was this enclosure I had seen in my dream. The woods behind our property is where it had taken place.
The Lord gave me that vision to prepare me, not just for the battle my babies would go through to survive, but to show me He would be there as soon as I called His Name. He had already won the battle; all I needed was faith.
Matthew 21:22 ESV says, “And whatever you ask in prayer, you will receive if you have faith.”
This is my devotional on Psalm 18. It is my favorite Psalm. You can read my article plus many more devotions in the book, Feed Your Soul with the Word of God, a compilation by Beebe and Katy Kauffman.
He was in a fight for his life!
He knew who he was—he would be king. God chose him. But the reigning, evil ruler refused to give up his throne. He pursued the young ruddy shepherd to kill him. Saul wanted to show David who was stronger. David, however, was resilient and sharp. He knew where to hide and how to fight. After all, he had killed lions, bears, and even a giant. How could Saul overtake him?
But, even would-be kings have moments of weakness.
David had enough. He was tired of fighting, hiding, and running. He got weaker and Saul seemed to get stronger and more persistent. Believing his life was ending, David cried out to God.
God heard his cry.
The earth rocked and quaked as lightning streaked across the sky. God’s eyes glowed with fire and smoke rose from His nostrils. On a cherub, He thundered out of the heavens under cover of darkness. Riding on the wind, every cloud parted as hailstones and arrows went before Him. As He broke through the sky, the brightness of His glory brought everything to light and exposed the earth.
He saw His beloved and gripped his hand as a sea of destruction threatened to take him over. He set David in a safe place away from his enemy. Why?
As fruit ripens on a branch before it is eaten, God was making David a righteous man. The shepherd who would be king kept the ways and laws of the LORD. He knew who he was and to whom he belonged. David’s heart was after God’s.
God is a God of magnificent character. He never changes. God is kindhearted, blameless, and pure. The Lord loves the humble and is light in our darkness.
As God’s strength and righteousness surrounded him, David’s fear left him. God replaced it with invincibility. He was feeling like himself again.
Bring on Saul’s troops! There was no wall he could not leap. As a buck’s hooves balance him on the mountain tops, David knew he could not stumble. God trained him for this war. Now he could bend a bow of bronze.
God is perfect. His Word is true. He is the shield which protects us. There is only one God, and He is our Rock. He saves us. As a mother wraps her arm around her toddler to keep him from falling, God supports us to make us great.
David could stand, with the power of God working in him. He was no longer the pursued, but the pursuer. David destroyed his enemies, and they did not rise again. He was no longer the one who feared; he put the fear of the Lord in his adversaries. There was none to help them, no one to hear their cries. They were as dust in the wind; as mud on the road.
The conflict with his people disappeared. David became the head of nations and people from all over revered and obeyed him. Strangers feared him because the power of his God was on him.
The LORD lives; blessed be my Rock and exalted is the God of my salvation.
God gave David justice and conquered nations under him. He delivered him from his enemies and exalted him above those who sought to destroy him. The LORD rescued him from the man of violence.
David sang God’s praises to all nations. God made him king. God showed His love to David and his descendants and will forever.
Remove David’s name and put yours in its place. See the truth of what God will do for you. Satan is your enemy. God will rush to you when you cry out to Him as He did David. Why?
Because He delights in you!
It’s what He did for David and what He will do for you. Sometimes God fights our battles, and in others He strengthens us to fight. Even now, He is training you how to win. With every battle you become stronger to lean more on your Savior and Rock.
You are the Lord’s beloved.
Do you know the meaning of your name? My name, Stephanie, comes from the Greek word, stephanos which means crowned. Revelation 19:12 (ESV) says of Jesus:
“His eyes are like a flame of fire, and on his head are many diadems [stephanos], and he has a name written that no one knows but himself.”
I really don’t like to be called anything but Stephanie, meaning I don’t like my name shortened. It ends up sounding like stuff or staph…who wants to be called staph?
In English we call the Son of God, Jesus. Messianic Jews call him Yeshua. In Matthew 1:21, an angel came to Joseph in a dream and told him the name for her son.
“She will bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins.”
Yeshua means salvation. In Hebrew, we find his name written as Yeshuah. It is the word for salvation. We see this word many times in Scripture.
“But I have trusted in your steadfast love; my heart shall rejoice in your salvation [yeshuah, Jesus].” Psalm 13:5 ESV.
“Behold, God is my salvation [yeshuah, Jesus]; I will trust, and will not be afraid; for the LORD GOD is my strength and my song, and he has become my salvation [yeshuah, Jesus]. With joy you will draw water from the wells of salvation [yeshuah, Jesus].” Isaiah 12:2-3 ESV.
There are many more: Exodus 15:2, Psalm 27:1, 62:1-2, Isaiah 49:6, 49:8, 62:11 Jonah 2:9…(Read this in a book called, The Rabbi, the Secret Message, and the Identity of the Messiah, by Carl Gallups, 2018.)
We often refer to the Father as God or Lord. God can be god as well when we are referring to a false god or idol. But, the Father has many names.
Jewish people call him Adonai, which means my Lords or Masters (yes, it is plural). They refuse (out of reverence) to call him Yahweh, which is a four-letter word in Hebrew: Yod Hey Vav Hey = YHVH. Our Bible translates this as LORD. Here is a cool video which explains this better. Please watch it.
Yahweh is also known as Jehovah. Jehovah means (I AM). In her book, To Know Him by Name, Kay Author explains Yahweh or Jehovah means, “I am that I am. I am the self-existent one. I am everything and anything you will ever need.” ( Multnomah Books, 1995, pg. 61).
Then there is his name, Elohim. This is a masculine, plural name as well. From my Bible study The Jewels of Hebrews, I wrote:
God is referred to as Elohim in Genesis 1–the account of creation. This name for God in the Hebrew language is אֱלֹהִים, and it consist of five consonants (read right to left). Hebrew is both a written and pictorial language. Each letter represents a picture or symbol adding to its meaning. The first letter of Elohim is an Aleph, or א. It illustrates an ox and stands for leader or father. The next consonant, depicted by a shepherd’s crook, is a Lamed or ל, and it symbolizes the Son or shepherd. The third character is a Hey or ה, and it portrays a man with his arms raised. It represents the Holy Spirit or revealer. The fourth consonant, signifying a mighty deed or life, is a Yod, or י, while the last letter is a Mem or מ, and suggests separation of the waters. This name for God is a plural, masculine word, and this one name contains the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit pictured as the mighty Creator. [i]
Names are important.
Try calling on Him by his name.
[i] Rock Island Books, C.J. Lovik, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X7MpzFLbWLo