Armor Bearer’s, We Are

Recently my sister and I had a conversation about the armor of God (referenced below) and how sometimes we get into such a deep trial of life that we can’t seem to find our sword (the spiritual weapon of warfare utilized by the tongue to cut the lies of our soul’s enemy). All the Scriptures we need to strengthen us seem to abandon us. It’s like there’s a dark cloud all around us and not only can we not find our way, but finding our sword is out of the question. I am thankful for the times God speaks directly to me through a sermon, a song, or in my time reading the Word. As I’ve learned from Priscilla Shirer in her Armor Of God study, it’s the times when a verse or word jumps out at you as if it was made just for you in that moment; it’s then that God is giving you a sword for your trial. That verse that jumped off the page at you is now a sword placed in your sheath. Draw it as needed.
But then there’s times when it seems none of that happens and for days we feel lost. This story of Saul and David (referenced below) reminds me of what Jen and I were talking about. It’s in those times that we need each other. In the times when I can’t find my sword, I need an armor bearer. As David was for Saul, I need my sisters to come beside me and pick up my sword (which they see so clearly) and hand it back to me. I need them to play their lyre so my torment will cease for a while. I need to be able to call them and know they are going to remind me of who I am in Christ and show me again just how big His plans are for me. Because as you walk closely with your sisters and brothers, you start to see just how big God’s plans are for them. You start to know exactly what verses they’ll need in the moments they need it most. You start to know exactly what to pray for them and how to pray it. And that’s what God wants us to do for each other.
So let us not be afraid to reach out to our close friends in our time of need, no matter how ashamed or burdensome we feel we are. Those feelings are lies the enemy whispers in our ear in order to stop us from building an army against him. The less people fighting with us, the greater chance he has at defeating us; or so he thinks. And may we never be afraid to call someone we know is struggling for fear we are incapable of helping. If we are willing, God will use us. In those moments may we remember that it’s only in our weakness that we can truly see how strong God is. Sometimes just our reaching out is enough encouragement for that person to keep fighting.
Anytime we are not struggling, someone else is, so if we are not bearing arms for ourselves at the moment, we should be bearing arms for someone else.
Oh how grateful I am for my close-knit sisters who know me so well. Who know my shameful weaknesses, yet don’t shame me. Who know my fears and know just how to encourage me. And I am so grateful God has enabled me to be their armor bearer when they need it. That He has empowered me with the words to say to encourage them and show them just how strong they are even though they feel weak.
These connections in our sisterly bond make us that much stronger against the enemy of our soul. Fighting him alone can be so much work sometimes. But fighting him with our little army, that’s automatic victory!

“Now the Spirit of the Lord departed from Saul, and a harmful spirit from the Lord tormented him. And Saul’s servants said to him, “Behold now, a harmful spirit from God is tormenting you. Let our lord now command your servants who are before you to seek out a man who is skillful in playing the lyre, and when the harmful spirit from God is upon you, he will play it, and you will be well.” So Saul said to his servants, “Provide for me a man who can play well and bring him to me.” One of the young men answered, “Behold, I have seen a son of Jesse the Bethlehemite, who is skillful in playing, a man of valor, a man of war, prudent in speech, and a man of good presence, and the Lord is with him.” Therefore Saul sent messengers to Jesse and said, “Send me David your son, who is with the sheep.” And Jesse took a donkey laden with bread and a skin of wine and a young goat and sent them by David his son to Saul. And David came to Saul and entered his service. And Saul loved him greatly, and he became his armor-bearer. And Saul sent to Jesse, saying, “Let David remain in my service, for he has found favor in my sight.” And whenever the harmful spirit from God was upon Saul, David took the lyre and played it with his hand. So Saul was refreshed and was well, and the harmful spirit departed from him.”
‭‭1 Samuel‬ ‭16:14-23‬ ‭ESV‬‬

“A final word: Be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on all of God’s armor so that you will be able to stand firm against all strategies of the devil. For we are not fighting against flesh-and-blood enemies, but against evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world, against mighty powers in this dark world, and against evil spirits in the heavenly places.
Therefore, put on every piece of God’s armor so you will be able to resist the enemy in the time of evil. Then after the battle you will still be standing firm. Stand your ground, putting on the belt of truth and the body armor of God’s righteousness. For shoes, put on the peace that comes from the Good News so that you will be fully prepared. In addition to all of these, hold up the shield of faith to stop the fiery arrows of the devil. Put on salvation as your helmet, and take the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.
Pray in the Spirit at all times and on every occasion. Stay alert and be persistent in your prayers for all believers everywhere.
And pray for me, too. Ask God to give me the right words so I can boldly explain God’s mysterious plan that the Good News is for Jews and Gentiles alike. I am in chains now, still preaching this message as God’s ambassador. So pray that I will keep on speaking boldly for him, as I should.”
Ephesians 6:10-20 ESV


“Sometimes”

Encouragement for today. A good reminder of His faithfulness.

15725371_927756993992517_1793406397_o.jpgSometimes the pain feels like a thousand pieces of glass just shattered their way into your body leaving you numb.

Sometimes the sadness feels like a dark gloom that seems to last for an eternity. Everyday with no promise of sunshine breaking through.

Sometimes the heartache feels like every good thing you ever had was slowly ripped away from you and you had to stand there and watch it all happen.

Sometimes the trials seem too overwhelming. Like an ocean wave that brings you under. Only it feels like you’ll never come back to the surface.

Sometimes the sorrow is so real you’ve cried more tears than you thought was ever possible, and they just keep coming.

Sometimes the doubt seems like a chain on your neck. Ripping you back into its endless abyss every time that you try and run towards the smallest glimpse of hope.

Yes, sometimes you…

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Not Your Son… Mine

“Why don’t you come sit with me first?” A gentle reminder from the Lord is felt in my heart almost daily. There is no force or guilt involved, just a gentle expression of love from a father to his daughter. It feels silly to think I have ever turned him away. But I have.

Not today.

In the many times I have come willingly, putting him first before my day starts, I am reminded why it is so good to spend time with my father. It’s not that he’s trying to make me abide by his rules. No, he wants to bless me. Whether it’s through a revelation or a hint of his presence, I am undone by his love.

So today I was led by my devotion to read the old story of Abraham’s testing. Will he sacrifice his son for God? I have read this story a few times already and learned it in church; I know this story well. I find that when God leads us to read a story we know so well, he often wants to reveal a new reason for writing that story.

I started on verse 1 of Genesis 22 but it wasn’t until verse 12 that God showed me something. “He said, “Do not lay your hand on the boy or do anything to him, for now I know that you fear God, seeing you have not withheld your son, your only son, from me.” And Abraham lifted up his eyes and looked, and behold, behind him was r41894a9a582f7b6c9c18d9ef97923974am, caught in a thicket by his horns. And Abraham went and took the ram and offered it up as a burnt offering instead of his son.” Your ONLY son…hmmm, where have I heard this before? “For God so loved the world that he gave his ONLY son…” (John 3:16) There’s a connection here.

At the very moment I read those verses I was blown away. God asked Abraham to sacrifice his son for him knowing that one day HE would be sacrificing his son for Abraham. This foreshadow is mind-blowing. It’s like God was wondering, is it possible for man to love me as much as I love man? God knew that Abraham’s sacrifice couldn’t save the world for eternity. Abraham’s sacrifice couldn’t wipe away the religious task of sacrificing a lamb for the atonement of our sins. It simply showed God the amount of love man could possibly hold in his heart. As destructive as sin naturally makes us, Abraham proved, for all mankind, that we are still made in God’s image and thus can selflessly love just as much as God can.

I mean, just a short while back, God had basically given up on man. He was done. To think if Noah and his family weren’t God-fearing, where would that leave us? Non-existent? Possibly. I don’t know, but I do know how the story really went. And many, many years after Abraham laid the wood and willingly put his son on the altar in submission to God, God willingly put his son on the altar made of  a wooden cross. God eternally banished the religious practice of sacrificing a lamb for the atonement of our sins with the life of his own son. Not only did Abraham prove the great love man is capable of having in his heart, he also felt God’s pain before God did. A part of me thinks, God wasn’t just testing how much Abraham feared God, God also wanted to see if his creation was worth sacrificing his own son for. Abraham’s one act of faith showed him that we are.

As I realized all this, I am more wooed by my father once again. I am so blessed. It is clear that his desire to spend time with me is not just for him, but so very much for me.

 


Death On Purpose

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“God, you are good! God, you are GOOD! I don’t know why you’re allowing this, but I know you’re a good God in it all, and I trust you.” Cleaning the kitchen in order to distract myself from the depressing feelings, slight anxiety, and slight health struggles, I pray this over and over till I feel it. The biggest worry I’ve had in my life has been my health. Through bigger trials though, I have become much stronger in trusting God and worrying less. Lately, I’ve seem to hit a little speed bump, like as if satan has sent his annoying demons to pester me. Just enough to steal some joy and get me worrying.

I am in awe of God in these times. Every time I go through a season that has me feeling weaker, God’s voice seems to be louder and he seems to speak more often. Last week he spoke to me 3 times during my church service and twice the night before! I really needed it that night, and he knew.

Currently I’m reading through the book of Acts, having just finished the book of Luke, it seemed the obvious choice (they have the same author, and he wrote Acts write after he wrote Luke). As I was reading chapter 3 this morning, I saw Peter essentially yelling at the people after he and John, through the power of the Holy Spirit, healed the lame man. “Men of Israel, why do you wonder at this, or why do you stare at us, as though by our own power or piety we have made him walk? The God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, the God of our fathers, glorified his servant Jesus, whom you delivered over and denied in the presence of Pilate, when he had decided to release him. But you denied the Holy and Righteous One, and asked for a murderer to be granted to you, and you killed the Author of Life, whom God raised from the dead. To this we are witnesses.” Can I just say, it sounds a little like Peter had some bitter feelings, and rightly so. But in his righteous anger I see a different point being made.

As I read this it dawned on me. If God could plan, from the beginning, that His OWN son would have to die the worst death in order for a very good thing to take place, then isn’t it possible that the horrible things that happen in my life could be set in place in order for a very good thing to take place?

I mean, my goodness! How is it that I always feel like the bad things happening in my life are somehow not in God’s plans? During my trials I always, initially, feel bleak about it, like, “No good could possible come from this.” But I have learned to pray the prayer at the beginning of this post because it reminds me that God is good and allows all things in his goodness. Even death…

So I am reminded today that my crap couldn’t possibly make me feel as bleak and hopeless as the disciples and followers of Jesus felt in the 3 long days after Jesus died. To them, death had defeated the one they thought had come to deliver them, the Messiah! I can imagine trust and doubt had a showdown, and for some of them doubt was probably winning. I mean, the worst-case scenario happened. The thing Jesus was supposed to defeat, had defeated him. Or so they thought. And I imagine God was looking at them the way he looks at us when we doubt him in our trials, “Oh ye of little faith, hang on a little longer and you’ll understand.” And when they saw Jesus face-to-face, alive and well, 3 days after his death, it ALL made sense.

So I am reminded today, that this little trial I am going through was in the plans since God knew me. Though satan thinks he’s winning when he sees me struggling, God knows, and I know, that God has already won this battle and I will be even stronger when it’s done. And God will get more glory as I see his workings in it all.


WTF

(I read this over and realized it will probably offend all of the people who normally read my blog…so just don’t…there’s no advice this time and nothing about God (although I am still very much a Christ follower), just a little venting)
I am angrier than I have ever been in my life! It’s the moments in life that are just plain and boring, and you see nothing extreme coming your way, that your life gets hit with a size 5 tornado and, without warning, completely changed and turned upside down. What the f*ck!!! I can’t believe I just said that…is that me?? hmm, yes!! I did, and it felt damn good!!! I have never been someone to use curse words. I have always been a rule follower. I have always been such a damn goody two shoes (is that how you spell that?)…see? I’m even worried that I didn’t spell that right. AAAAAHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!! I am just so tired and warn out! I am angry and pissed off! I am hurt and undone. I am confused and so lost. I never thought my life would be so twisted. And the worst part is I can’t stand to be around anyone because I just feel like bursting out in tears. I have to hide it all inside of me and it just f*cking sucks!!!!!!!!!!!
Well what do ya know, that made me feel a little better.
And if anyone does read this that I know, don’t ask me what’s wrong, I won’t tell you (I guess it’s pretty obvious that I don’t care if I offend anyone)
If I don’t know you, well then it probably doesn’t matter.


What is church anyway?

I have recently started reading a blog by my new friend Eliteinchrist and through this have thought of the topic of this post. The man who blog’s behind this name has posed questions to his reader to really push them into new thoughts. He brings new light to ordinary Bible topics that can often be controversial, yet seem so black and white when presented in his blog. Though, not everyone would probably agree with him, it would take a good look into the Bible, with real research to rebut him. Which I think may be some of the reason he blog’s like this. The reader is forced to pursue the one true God themselves.
Anyway, Elite.. and I were discussing church’s and denominations and it reminded me of how Dave and I still don’t have a home church. We have been to so many church’s in our area (and further), that we have become disheartened by what we have seen. The church of today is either in great need of money because they are building a new (unecessary) addition, they orchestrate like a business, they are cold and unfriendly, or they preach enough on Sunday to get your taste buds tingling but can’t fully satisfy your appetite for the “meat” of the Bible. I know that there is no perfect church, but we aren’t asking for that anyway. We just want a church who stops playing church and has less of people and more of God. My husband started thinking maybe he should give up being a computer consultant and go to school to be a Pastor. I told him, “Great!, because we already have experience in leading worship.” So we’re all set, lol!
We had previously attended a church where the pastor was more like a teacher who really studied and researched the Bible. Every Sunday left us feeling like we’d really learned something new about God and like we couldn’t wait to hear another message next Sunday. We never left feeling guilty, but usually convicted and challenged. We’d get the feeling like we really needed to improve in an area of our lives, but we felt encouraged like we could. Anyway, he ended up leaving to be a chaplain in the army. As sad as we all were, he knew that if he stayed in his comfort and didn’t go, that much of what he preached would be hypocritical because he wouldn’t be serving God the way he told us to. I guess this seems like such a dream church, except that I actually attended this church.
I have realized though, that my constant desire to want to trust a church and pastor is a false hope. The Bible tells me to put my trust in God…and from experience I now really know why. My every effort of fully trusting a person has ended in someone feeling hurt or rejected. My rock truly is the Lord and on Him I truly make my foundation. I know he will never let me go, and this is so comforting.
So I’ve realized too, that I don’t need a church to truly grow in the Lord. Although the fellowship with other believer’s seems necessary in my walk with the Lord, the teaching I so long for is right in my bedroom. The teacher? Jesus. The setting? The presence of God. The time? The Lord waits for me. And the outcome? Leaps of growth and refreshing, and a pouring out of blessings (for both parties).


Tithing your time? How silly! (via Eliteinchrist’s Blog)

I read this an love how honest it is! He really hits the nail on the head here…a good read for the church.

I dare say unequivocally that the concept of Christianity seems completely lost to many and rather than look to God to gain more insight, they make up their own doctrines as they go along. Where is it written in the bible that you can give a portion of your time to God. Who told you your time was yours to apportion as you wish in the first place? During the biblical times people were allowed to keep slaves.  And once bought, a slave became the pr … Read More

via Eliteinchrist's Blog