my armor

We have this tendency to think we are invincible- untouchable to the point of disregard for consequences or outcomes. I’ve heard it many times, angry parents, frustrated teachers, misunderstood friends, all wondering why someone they love acts as though nothing can touch them. Sometimes bad things seem impossible to those that are out of reach. Naivety, is a common title for this mindset.

But then I was asked this question: “What does it feel like, to believe in God?”

I thought about this concept of convincing ourselves we are invulnerable in times nothing is wrong. Then, I thought about that same question, and why I asked it before I found my faith.

Believing and knowing God, means having an enduring armor- everlasting. It means I have a strong defense always, protecting my heart from the fear and grief that is so tempting to fall into it. It feels like I am undying, laying in the hands of my Lord.

We have a reason to feel invincible. My belief means I have no reason to be afraid of what could happen, what is happening, or what has happened in my life. I can walk around day to day knowing that I have an armor that nothing can penetrate. That doesn’t mean I won’t feel pain, or bad things won’t ever happen, it also doesn’t mean I won’t feel the fear or the anxiety, it means I am well taken care of despite all those things.

I have comfort and assurance that my soul will remain intact regardless of what the enemy tries to throw at it. My flesh may be bruised, I may feel pain, I may shed blood, but my faith will stand protected. A belief in God means I have a purpose beyond the evil of this world. That makes me untouchable.

Ephesians 6: 13-18

Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand firm. Stand therefore, having fastened on the belt of truth, and having put on the breastplate of righteousness, and, as shoes for your feet, having put on the readiness given by the gospel of peace. In all circumstances take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming darts of the evil one; and take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God

March 22 – Through The Roof

Are you willing, from a fellow blogger!

THE RIVER WALK

Some men came carrying a paralyzed man on a sleeping mat. They tried to take him inside to Jesus, but they couldn’t reach him because of the crowd. So they went up to the roof and took off some tiles. Then they lowered the sick man on his mat down into the crowd, right in front of Jesus. (Luke 5:18-19)

Read: Numbers 33:40-35:34, Luke 5:12-28, Psalm 65:1-13, Proverbs 11:23

Relate: Jahqueil Reagan had a job interview as a cashier at a a thrift store in Indianapolis. The problem is, when the day for the interview came around, he didn’t have the money for bus fare. So he started walking. Ten miles. On the way he was walking past a restaurant while the owner was laying out some ice melt and asked for directions. The owner gave him directions and was about to offer to give him bus fare when Jahqueil just…

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lifting weights

Weight tends to be measured by the number of dumbbells in your routine; the pounds on the bench press; or the steps made across a track. Discouragement lingers in the air, leaking from the sweat of a beginner just trying to get through one more pound. Addiction to power as the motivation for the expert. How often are there judgments across the room by who can do what, and how. This is not a gym I am describing, but every day interaction.

I cannot honestly say that I do not judge those weaker than me, nor can I say I do not criticize those stronger. I am a sinner, and comparing myself to others is something I was born with, and constantly learning to pray against. But what’s the standard? On what basis, can I put someone or myself?

There is no pedestal to be reached. There is no timeline to be met. There are zero levels of accomplishment in God’s eyes. Jesus is our standard. He who was no sin, set the tone.

Yet, I have found myself caught in the innate discouraged response, when someone around me seems to have it all together. No one has it all together. We forget how instinctive it is for us to assume our problems are the only problems. That those “experts” lifting 250 pounds have it easy. We peer into their movements yearning to have that supposed bliss, and simplicity; in reality, they are using their strength to run, to hide, and to lull the insecurities that rock their world just as much as the person trying to start from the beginning.

Our imperfections, are wired specifically and earnestly by our God so that what we perceive as “levels” are in fact stepping stones of the journey. Instead of picturing dumbbells, I challenge you to picture that man holding a box of lies; or what about a sick child, an addiction, an empty bank account, a broken heart.

We try to lift those things ourselves, grunting, training, desperately clinging to these arduous aspects of our life and expecting to hold it all together through the blood, sweat and tears.

For the beginner, just trying to start somewhere. What if that girl is staring face first into her enemy, and afraid to take that leap. She wants to make progress, but realizes the strenuous path it’ll take her on.

This thing we call weight, chains us. And instead of judging those around me, not knowing their burdens, their hesitancy, or even triumph; I remember it is not our job to carry it.

Psalms 55: 22 cast your burden to the Lord, and he will sustain you; he will never permit the righteous to be moved.

That person trying desperately to lift everything he can, tearing his muscles, straining his back, and still feeling defeated- needs to drop it all, and lift his jaded hands to the Lord.

The one that is new in the room, starring uneasy at the equipment before her, should fall to her knees in prayer. Asking the Lord to be her strength, and carry her through it all.

Psalms 18:6 In my distress I called upon the Lord; to my God I cried for help. From his temple he heard my voice, and my cry to him reached his ears.

You see we are not equipped to handle this life on our own. As inherently stubborn beings we strive to seem strong, independent, reliable- but we are those things through Christ only. On our own, we will always fail. But Jesus bore it all on the cross, so that we may set the weight down, unburdened by sin, and continue in line with Him.

 

 

shedding light on who we are in Christ from a fellow blogger

I am: The unclean leper, desperate for contact and love. (Mark 1:40-42) The woman at the well, desperate for my heart to be spoken to. (John 4:4-42) The blind man, desperate for the curse to be lifted. (John 9:1-41) Peter who denied Him, desperate for His presence. (Luke 22:55-62) The man in the synagogue, plagued by unclean […]

via Who am I? — Shattered in Him

down from heaven

down from heaven

A broken limb falls

Silently off its sturdy home

To the unknown below

 

Where new ground beckons

and a stranger judges its roots

with mockery and contempt

 

the soil feels uncharted

a mystery full of angst

the limb unworthy to be a part

 

but rather, see the beauty

with a mind, different than mine

and a heart of mercy

 

dare I touch that is divided

what I cannot fathom

and be then degraded from my own

 

a decision to make which is grueling

but the limb is there, still

alone in pleasantness, content

 

and I, now wrestle with peril

whom I thought I’ve always known

now, I search for the mercy he has brought

 

Proverbs 4:6 Do not forsake wisdom, and she will protect you; love her and she will watch over you

 

echoes of our sin; and its beauty

There are many gratifying and prideful instants in life that affect us down through our toes; there are people who move us to a moment of stillness; and words that can change the rate of our heart. There are flashes throughout my day that I can pinpoint the very core of emotion being felt, but then there are seconds that are so lonely, echoes spring from the room I stand in.

The fact is, we are impassioned beings. Living, breathing, minds and spirits that are hysterical, fervid, impetuous; constantly thinking, dreaming, and aspiring to be a certain type of person, do a specific activity, and be thought of as something spectacular. Dizzy yet?

This is so beautiful in its own unique way, but also terrifying. You know why? Because amidst it all lies sin; sitting comfortably on a pedestal made of fear and confidence.

We are so quick- I am so quick- to react on my passions that I leave no room for the Holy Spirit to do its thing, and lead right into the art of the underhand, the enemies’ shifty mind and devious ways of getting to our hearts.

When God is not the center of my day, I fail to meet his ways the way that I so desire. I react to situations before humbling myself to it and therefore say something not Godly, think something shameful, or physically act in an erring manner. I sin.

When that happens, I fall in contempt, hating the very sin that just overtook me. Then overpowering guilt consumes me and I feel unforgiveable. This is when stillness vanquishes my world and I stand in echoes of judgement.

Can you feel the rollercoaster? The wavering senses of emotion that can knock us down repeatedly.

Here’s the challenge, find the beauty in that description. Because it’s there, I (we) just forget it sometimes.

Psalm 103: 10-12

He does not deal with us according to our sins, nor repay us according to our iniquities. For as high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is his steadfast love toward those who fear him; as far as the east is from the west, so far does he remove our transgressions from us.

What I love about this whole idea is remembering that God knows us better than we know ourselves. He is all knowing, we cannot hide from him. So, our constant moments of high emotion, sinful thoughts, and fervid actions cannot and will not separate us from him. God is fully aware that we operate and revert in completely human and imperfect ways, but loves us still.

I fear God for his power and thoughts, but loves me in the thick of it all. When I am caught in the crippling stillness of my sins He is moving mountains. When I am just trying to figure out this thing called life, and all it has to offer us in confusion, joy, corruption, laughter, humility and challenges- He is loving me for loving Him, not condemning me for the emotions He gave me.

What I have learned is striving to be the best Godly version of myself means that I am going to mess up. Why? Because if I was not a woman of faith, those hiccups would just be mistakes. As a follower of Christ, those instances are more than that, they are sins against God and reasons to cling onto His word and His grace. They are reminders that I need Him, His grace, His love, His guidance, and His word to live this life for the glory of His name.

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.

img_1359Father, overwhelm me with your presence so that I may never forget who I live for. Change my heart so that everything I do and say reflects your Holy name. Give me discernment so that I may recognize my sins quickly, and desire to repent just as fast. Remind me in times of emotional stress to act as though Jesus would, and do not let me fall too deeply into those emotions that I may be still in its’ power.