Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Familiarity has bred neglect?

"Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes with the gospel of peace. In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can Extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. "
Ephesians 6: 14-17

Ok, sure, we've all heard this one a few times, haven't we? You might even be recalling a dorky cartoon image of a warrior, all outfitted in shiny metal armor; a common staple of Sunday school classrooms. (I remember an old video game I had when I was a kid, where you walked around ghettos and shipyards looking for different pieces of God's armor and pieces of the Fruit of the Spirit that actually looked like fruit).

Who puts on a breastplate these days? Honestly. But here's the thing, God's word is living and active right? So if we've oversimplified this mental image, we've lost track of the great mental picture we are given of the provisions we are supplied to strengthen and protect us. I've recently come back to this verse with a humbled attitude, realizing that perhaps I have not taken God seriously here. And you know what? He's been showing me areas in my life that I've made myself vulnerable to attack, simply because I've neglected the armor and weapons that he's given me! But he hasn't left it there, oh no. I am being blessed daily with examples of how God has granted me his full armor out of his love for me, and that I am equipped to use it!

So sisters, I encourage you to consider asking God to help you identify your need for his spiritual armor (we need it whether or not we're aware of it), and ask him to equip you with the armor as he reveals your need for it. He will not fail you! Get specific with each visual we are given in the verse above, and start exploring each one individually. God will reveal to you how they work together, don't worry about that!

As the old saying goes, "familiarity breeds contempt". I suggest we've maybe let our familiarity with the visual image of Gods Armor breed neglect for discovering the truth of God's word here. Ohh, please don't let that remain the case, ok?


Monday, October 8, 2007

bloggity blogg blog

Oh yes! This is a new blog to be sure, so there isn't too much content yet. But, keep your eyes peeled, because I am heading into a season of Bible-study writing, so the posts are sure to come, and more frequently too!

In the meantime, feel free to drop off a comment or discussion topic!

love you because God loves us both!

Thursday, October 4, 2007

Our weakness doesn't overpower God

Have you ever dealt with a disappointment? Have you ever felt that God has dropped the ball? Asked you for more than you could do? Or that He hasn‘t come through with something you really needed, because you weren’t good enough? Are you still allowing these thoughts to interfere with your life?

God's response to us is based on His sovereignty, not weakness. Not weakness: not our weaknesses and certainly not his. That is something we've been lied to about isn't it? We see a circumstance not going the way we hope, and we think there is a weakness undermining everything. "God just didn't come through for me here" or worse: "I just wasn't strong enough to hold up my end of the bargain". I have told myself this lie more than once, repeating the idea that God has offered me a blessing, but I’m not good enough to do what is required to claim it. Ladies, let's stop that thought right in its tracks. The LORD is the Almighty, and there is none greater than him. Including us.

But what do I mean? Think for a moment about the idea of not "holding up our end". When God chooses to pour out blessings on your life, there isn’t an element of the situation determined by the amount of strength (or faith) you possess. Granted, there are probably some blessings God has in store for you, that he, in his perfect timing, has not given you yet. But that isn’t what we are talking about here. I’m talking about the times we’ve felt hopeless, as if we’ve “blown it”. The fact of the matter is, such statements betray the condition of our hearts: we still want to be our own god. If we are elevating ourselves to the point that we think we are capable with derailing the plans of God, even with our own shortcomings, we are saying that God is weak. If we say that God is weak, we are also saying that we don’t need him, and can therefore continue to worship ourselves.

It is not true humility to say that you were too weak to receive the blessings God wants to give you. True humility says “I’m sorry” and “I will submit to your will for my life, Lord”. We can do this once we acknowledge the fact that while we are too weak to do all this on our own, God is mightier than anything we might be challenged by. We must learn that we are too finite in this big ol’ universe to be capable of knowing enough to never make a wrong decision, or never be weaker than something else. Alone, we are actually quite weak and vulnerable, but with God we are strong. We must simply let him be lord over our lives. His strength is mightier than all creation, and nothing can overpower him. Once we accept this, we begin to understand that when we submit to his will, we might not always get what we want, but we will get what we need. Besides, sometimes we things we want aren’t good for us, so when we don’t get them, it turns out to be a good thing.

I tried recently to pry a screw loose with my letter opener. All I accomplished was bending and ruining the letter opener, and nearly poking my eye out in the process, because it was too weak to do the job. Surprise! I had trusted this make-shift tool and it let me down. I really thought it would work, but I was wrong. I was foiled by the inability of my letter opener to do the job, but what it really showed was that I wasn't able to do the job on my own, I needed the proper equipment. Do you see what I am getting at here? God never uses you to accomplish a task you are too weak to perform, and there's at least 2 reasons: 1. He's so powerful, that He doesn't need our help to accomplish anything (but He chooses to involve us for all kinds of reasons) so no amount of weakness on our part can stop His planned outcome (while he doesn’t need us, we need him); and 2. He knows everything! Out of all the things God has made us able to do, I really don't think God granted us the power to surprise him. He knows all you are capable of, and all you are not capable of. He won't use you in a situation only to discover you weren't able to do the task. God certainly won’t mistake you for a screwdriver if you are a letter opener. Trust that if he’s put you in a situation, he’s equipped you to accomplish what he’s got planned. Does that mean that we are guaranteed success in everything? In the worldly sense, no. He may possibly put you in a situation that you don't succeed in, but if he does, he knew it from the beginning. In these cases, it wasn't really about getting the job done, was it? It was about the lesson God had for us there. But there is still a spiritual success even when we fail. When we earnestly seek God’s will over our lives, and submit to him, we are guaranteed success in growing our faith, and deepening our relationship with God. Simply put, we need to stop thinking that we can overpower God with our weakness.

And as for those needs not being met, think again sisters! Needs are our Daddy's specialty, and He always comes trough with them. But I think sometimes we are calling things "needs" when they’re really just wants. Give it a little thought. Think about the last thing you said you needed and didn't get. Still here, aren't 'cha? Still functioning, without that thing you needed so badly. Really God's telling you to function by holding onto Him, and his promise that he will care for all your needs, that he cares for every hurt, and that we are his Beloved. Some wants are for things we aren't to have at all, some wants are for things we aren't to have immediately. In the mean time, do not fear asking God for patience, He will grant it to you, and it won't hurt as bad as you think. : )

The lies we are told are so tricky, sisters. They are often elegantly crafted in order to stand up to scrutiny and logic. Some of the best lies we get handed are so beautifully logical! They are designed to make us believe that in some way it is possible to stop God from loving us; that either we aren't lovable, that his love can run out, or that he doesn't love us in the first place. We must return to scripture and combat the painful lies we are attacked with, with God’s truth. Armor yourselves, girlfriends, with the word, because no lie of the enemy can stand up to it.