Archive | June 2016

Know who you fight

Ephesians 6:10-12 – “Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might. Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places .”

We depend so much on our sight. We want to see the beauty of God’s creation. We want to see the smiling faces of our loved ones. We want to be able to read. Our sight is vitally important to us. 

So, how are we supposed to fight someone we can’t see? We can see the ground before us and look to where the holes might be in the grass, but sometimes we miss one and fall in. We can watch the traffic out on the road, but sometimes someone does something that causes an accident that we never saw coming. 

As a follower of Christ, we do not battle against things we can see and touch. We battle against principles and ideas. And at times, it gets really dark because we find ourself in a battle with “rulers of darkness” and “spiritual wickedness”. Serious stuff. 

We like to joke that the devil is this dumb little demon with horns and a pitchfork. But in reality, we are facing a fallen angelic being who is a maniac with destruction in his heart. This isn’t some little red being snearing in the corner, rubbing his hands together and giggling mischievously. No, 1 Peter 5:8 says this – “Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour”. A lion. There is nothing sweet and innocent about a full grown lion. I don’t believe that Peter was speaking of a cub here. 

Sometimes, we all need a reminder of who it is we are dealing with in our daily life. We need to be vigilant in remembering that this devil is no cute and mischievous little demon. He is a full grown, mean and nasty, ready to tear you apart kind of being. You need to be prepared. 

The great thing about all this is God doesn’t leave us without protection. We have the armor of God. Read Ephesians 6:13-18. It’s all right there in black and white. It is ready for you to check out and apply. 

Wiped clean

1 John 1:9 – “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”

We have been talking about salvation in Sunday school and with VBS this week, it will be THE hot topic. I was trying to explain to my class about Jesus forgiving sins. It seems like an easy concept but is it? I mean, do you really get that when you ask for forgiveness from something that God really forgets it? How can He just no longer remember things? 

Here is the example I gave them – When we confess our sins to Jesus, we are, in essence, writing them on a chalk board. When we ask forgiveness for those sins, Jesus takes a wet rag and wipes it away, never to be seen again. Now, there is a wet spot which represents the consequences for our actions, but the sin itself is totally removed. When the wet spot evaporates, there is no way to know it was even there. You see, when we write our sins on the board and try to remove them ourself, it leaves chalk behind and we can still see what was written. It is only when we use a cloth made red by the blood of Jesus do our sins vanish. 

When we confess our sins (write them on the board), we have to be specific. We have to identify what we did wrong. We can’t just throw a blanket over it by saying “forgive me of my sins”. Ideally, when we sin, the Holy Spirit is active in our life and we confess that sin right away. He jabs and pokes us until we make that thing right, immediately. It’s like washing your hands – you should do that frequently throughout the day. 

So let me encourage you, use that chalkboard! Get things cleaned up! The time is now. You never know, you may not have tomorrow to be wiped clean. 

Through His eyes

Ezekiel 14:23 – “And they shall comfort you, when ye see their ways and their doings: and ye shall know that I have not done without cause all that I have done in it, saith the Lord GOD.”

At some point or another, we have all wished to see things through someone else’s eyes. We were watching a movie the other day where adults were able to see what this child was seeing to try and discern what he was thinking. Scary concept, great idea. But we can’t see or know what someone else is seeing and thinking. 

But God can. He knows what is going on in that brain of yours right now. He knows what you are seeing. He knows what you are feeling. He knows why you are feeling the way you do and why you are thinking the things you are thinking. It’s not an invasion of privacy, but rather it is the privilege of the Creator. And it’s helpful to boot! 

Because He sees and knows all that we think and do, He doesn’t act randomly in our life. Everything has purpose and meaning. God calls us to do certain things in our life for a reason. We may never know it, but He does. 

It’s VBS time and I have been reading our lessons. There are some really good lessons this year! 

One line that I read in relation to this verse was this – “God always calls is to do what we would want to do if we could see what God sees.” You have to read that line a few times to get it to sink in – it’s deep, but man, is it good! 

We can’t see what God sees. We just have to trust Him and trust what He says through His word. We have to trust that He has a plan and we are blessed enough to be involved. That, my friend, is the basis of courage. You can’t have it without knowing that there is plan even if you don’t know it. 

We are afraid of the unknown. But we can face the unknown if we know that Someone can see it and He has a plan for it. There is comfort in knowing that God sees all. There is courage in knowing that He has a plan. There are blessings in accepting that He has chosen to involve us in it. 

So even though we will never be able to see things through God’s eyes, we can have confidence that because He sees through our eyes, He knows exactly what we need and when we need it. And we know that He has a plan. We just need to pray for the courage to play it out. 

So many uses

Proverbs 15:28 – “The heart of the righteous studieth to answer: but the mouth of the wicked poureth out evil things.”

Every time you go to church or read a devotional book or whatever, they are talking about reading your Bible. You’ve got enough on your plate, right? There are only so many hours in the day. Between work and home, you barely have time to take care of what needs to be attended to, am I right?

Let me ask you this, what do you when the garbage can stinks? I’m not talking about the trash. I mean the can itself. Well, you take out the garbage and clean the can. If you just take out the trash and put in another liner, the can still stinks, right?

My point is this – it takes work to keep that can from stinking. You can’t just blow by it every day and pay no attention to it. If you don’t keep the yuck out, the yuck will start stinking. 

Life and words and actions are the same way. You MUST attend to them daily or they will begin to stink. 

Your tongue is one of the smallest muscles in your body. Yet, it is one of the most powerful. We have heard that since we were children. But do we really stop and think about the effects of our words and actions? 

God used Solomon here to encourage us to get in His word. You see, it is only His word that can purify our hearts and minds to keep us from spewing yuck. 

We are all a dirty can. We all need to be cleaned out on a daily basis. We need to start fresh each day. But God will not clean us out if we don’t have the proper tools – namely, His word in our life. The Word of God is so many things – a two edged sword, the perfect scrubby, a gardener’s pruning shears, comfort, encouragement and so much more. But it can do none of those things if you aren’t using it. 

One of my favorites 

Proverbs 3:5,6 – “Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.”

These verses are some of my most favorite verses in the Bible. 

It takes time to learn and remember to put these verses into practice. But when you do, it makes your heart sing and your soul rejoice. 

Now, I’m not proficient by any stretch of the means. I just want to do my best for Him. Sometimes I mess up. Sometimes pride gets in the way. But sometimes I do things right. 

My job situation is about to change. With the loving nudging of my husband, I reached out to several places only to find them not returning my calls or emails. It was frustrating. But deep down, I knew that God had something for me that perfectly fit the bill. I just had to wait. I trusted Him to open the door. I just prayed I had the brains not to beat the door down but rather to walk through the open ones. 

So now here I am on the other side praising God for being faithful. He opened the door to a place that is a great fit for me and my family. He nudged my husband to nudge me to look in the right place. He is the one who provided the position. He is the one that told me to take the offer. It was all Him. And I praise Him for His work in my life. 

I don’t always get it right. In fact, I rarely do. But I know that my God ALWAYS gets it right. And I’m so grateful that He cares enough for me to include me in His plans. 

Revisiting Job and the walk

We, as a country, have challenges each and every day. Some days display more challenges than others.

We are going through some tough times right now. When I saw this post, it spoke to me and reminded me of these truths. So please, take a moment and soak it in. Let the truth of God’s word wash over your heart and soul. Enjoy the revisit.

God chooses what we go through, but we choose how we go through it.

I read this in a book I was finishing yesterday. It was a Christian fiction book – “The Half-Stitched Amish Quilting Club” by Wanda Brunstetter.

This quote really struck me. It made me think about the truth of it.

I want to look at Job today in light of this quote.

Job 1:12 – “The LORD said to Satan, ‘Very well, then, everything he has is in your hands, but on the man himself do not lay a finger.’ Then Satan went out from the presence of the LORD.” We know what happened next – everything he had, family and farm, was destroyed. But notice Job’s reaction. Job 1:20-22 – “At this, Job got up and tore his robes and shaved his head. Then he fell to the ground in worship and said, ‘Naked I came from my mother’s womb, and naked I will depart. The LORD gave and the LORD has taken away; may the name of the LORD be praised.’ In all this, Job did not sin by charging God with wrongdoing.” But Satan felt that if he could just get ahold of Job and physically afflict him, surely he would curse God. So God said, “The LORD said to Satan, ‘Very well, then, he is in your hands; but you must spare his life.'” Job 2:6 So Satan makes Job very ill. Job’s wife, thinking surely Job had sinned in some way, encouraged him to curse God and die. What a helpmate! Not! Job 2:10 – “He replied, ‘You are talking like a foolish woman. Shall we accept good things from God, and not trouble?’ In all this, Job did not sin in what he said.”
God allowed Job to go through this trial. But Job chose how he went through it. He could have been angry, frustrated and upset with God. He could have questioned God and cursed Him. But he choose to walk through this trial with Him. He had to deal with “friends” who could so nothing but tear him down. Later on, he did get a chance to hash it out with God. But God reminded him who He is and Job submitted.

The point in all of this is to remind you (and me) that from time to time we need trials in our life to make us stronger, to cut away the dead and unproductive parts and make our roots stronger. These are not easy times, but we come out stronger if we stay close to Him. So choose to walk through the trials of today with Him. The walk will be sweeter and the outcome closer when we stay with the Guide.

God chooses what we go through, but we choose how we go through it.

Revisiting – A thousand years from now…

Revisit – It has been a busy week and sometimes flashbacks are good. I have no recollection as to what was going on in my life at this time, but I must have felt like I was taking on God head to head. I still want my life’s story to be a page turner. And I still want it to be a mystery, drama and, especially, a comedy. Life without comedy is just sad.

John 11:11-14 – “These things said he: and after that he saith unto them, Our friend Lazarus sleepeth; but I go, that I may awake him out of sleep. Then said his disciples, Lord, if he sleeps, he shall do well. Howbeit, Jesus spake of his death: but they thought he had spoken of taking a rest in sleep. Then Jesus said unto them plainly, Lazarus is dead.”

Do you ever read God’s Word and think, man, these guys were ignorant? It is so easy for us, a thousand and some odd years later, to read about these people’s thoughts, words and actions and pass judgement upon them. I mean, for land’s sake, they just finished arguing with Jesus about going somewhere dangerous! Duh, this is God you are dealing with!

But aren’t we just as guilty? We argue with Him still. We question His instructions. We ignore His urgings. We think we have it all figured out. And then in comes the monkey wrench and we look like idiots. Oh my, if I had a nickel for every time I felt like an idiot because I just didn’t listen.

As I was reading my devotional this morning about these very verses, it made me think how glad I am that someone isn’t writing down my life for others to read in a thousand years. But what if they were? What would my story look like? Would it be a drama, a mystery or a comedy? Truthfully, I want my story to be one that people read and are encouraged by it and can learn from it. I want it to be a bit of all three genres listed above with a heavy dose of learning experience.

I want others to see me walking with Jesus. I want them to see me trusting Him. I want them to see me content with my current situation but always searching that I am in the right place at the right time. My husband always says that a person works best when they are on the right seat on the bus. That’s where I want to be.

So today princess, I want to encourage you to live your life like someone is going to read your story a thousand years from now. Do you want them to read it and say, “man, she was an idiot”? Or do you want them to read it and say, “I want to be just like her”? Sprinkle your story with a bit of mystery, drama and, please don’t forget, comedy. Dance a little, cry a little and live life with gusto.