1 Peter 5:8 – Be Alert but Not Afraid

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This was my verse for yesterday, and even though I haven’t made time to do this every day, I’m still going to complete 21 days in the word, and blogging on each days verse even if it’s not for the day that I should have.  Why am I saying this?  Because I feel like it matters.  I have been getting so distracted by things beyond my control and they have brought me to a place of total confusion and frustration.  Is that a coincidence?  I don’t think so.  Here’s why:

1 Peter 5:8 NIV “Be alert and of sober mind.  Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour”

If I’m sharing what God is saying to me, to us, then the enemy wants to stop that.  If one person here’s the truth and no longer dwells on the lies of the enemy but learns about life giving salvation, then it begins to change the course of our world because it begins to change the course of our hearts and the thoughts that we allow to take up space in our minds.  It is a big deal, what we think about!  It is a big deal, what we mediate on regularly!  It really matters!  The things that we allow to occupy space in our minds plant a seed in our hearts.  Those seeds grow and impact our lives, as well as the lives of those close to us and those placed along our path each day.  So, it makes sense that this is the area in which this devil works the most.  In our minds.  The enemy does everything that he can to bring ruin to your holiness.  He doesn’t really care about your happiness.  In fact, he will whisper tempting lies that promise happiness.  We have all fallen for it.  I believe.  But temporary happiness can sometimes lead to future pain and even deep wounds.  He knows what he’s doing.  However, Jesus came to give us life by bringing joy and peace to our hearts as we are growing closer to our Holy God and following His plan for our lives.  He who is in us is greater than he who is in the world, but Stay Alert!  When Jesus comes into the story, everything changes.  EVERYTHING CHANGES!  We all begin to live, hearts are healed, hope is found, comfort and strength and peace flood our souls, and Heaven comes to earth.  Could this happen?  Yes, and one day it will.

Until then the enemy is guarding the Jesus inside of our hearts from coming out, the same way that the enemy guarded the tomb of Jesus after he died.  It didn’t work then and it’s not going to work now.

Put on your armor of God and fight the good fight

Ephesians 6:10-18

The Battles that I Face

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As I’m sitting here on my patio on a cool fall evening in Orlando FL, which means its in the low 70’s :), I’m reflecting back on my morning.  I went to church, as I usually do on Sundays .  This morning I stopped to give a friend a ride and I also had with me my daughter, and we picked up her boyfriend as well.  As we drove along, I asked my friend how she was doing?  How she was feeling?  I knew that she had a few health problems, but she always has a smile on her face so it’s hard to tell.  What I expected was “fine” “how are you?” and that’s what I got initially.  But I sensed something more.  I asked again, “so how are you feeling?”  and the story that she told me blew me away.  She had recently almost lost her life, and she began to tell me her story.  The details spoke volumes of how amazing our God is.  Her words gave hope.  Her strength is incredible.  By looking at her you would have no idea of her story.  And this made me think, how many people around us do we REALLY know?  Maybe we don’t know their hearts because we haven’t taken the time to know their story and who they are and why.  Our conversation to church helped me see how sometimes God uses this story of ours to inspire others, because she was inspiring me and I don’t think that she even knew.  To hear her story, while the smile across her face seems permanent, makes no sense whatsoever.  How can someone go through so much and be filled with so much joy?  She was!  She is!  We went into the church service and ended up going in different directions.  My friend went inside, my daughter and her boyfriend to the youth class, and I met up with another friend of mine.  The worship music was amazing, as it usually is and this morning they sang my favorite song, my life-theme song “Oceans (Where feet may fail)” and I could feel the Holy Spirit fill my soul opening my heart to receive God’s perfect love and my mind to receive the wisdom that He has for me.  I feel like this is my vacation time, surrounded by friends and family, not blood family, but my spiritual family.  The ones that choose to love me and support me and walk with me down this path of life.  Our message was titled “Overcoming the Enemy”.

“It’s a mistake to only think about the devil all of the time and it’s a mistake to never think about him at all,”  were the words that the pastor spoke and then my mind began to wonder as it often does.  I prayed to God to speak to me through the message and this is what He said:

“There is a glory in our lives and it’s found in our story.  It’s in our story that His glory is seen, bringing life to our hearts and hope for others.  It provides healing by revealing His perfect peace in our darkest storm.  Then we can see His light of truth even while the dark lies of the enemy flood our minds.  We do this by praying.  Prayer impacts things we don’t see and things we don’t understand.  It also opens our minds to accept the gentle words that God is whispering to our hearts, His truths and His promises.  Therefore cancelling the lies that are screamed at us often. The enemy only comes to bring confusion to a place of perfect paradise.  When God is at work in our lives, the enemy waits for an opportunity to pause or stop this work in us, and in our lives and circumstances by occupying space in our minds.  These things that we allow to occupy space in our minds plant a seed in our hearts.  Those seeds grow and impact our lives, as well as the lives of those close to us and those placed along our path each day.  Is it really important what we think?  Is it really important what we say?  It is and it is!  It’s very important! We must be alert and aware of the schemes of our enemy as well as aware of the power of our God and the power that He has given us.  He who is in us is greater than he who’s in the world, but STAY ALERT!  And remember, when Jesus comes into the story EVERYTHING CHANGES.”

How do we stand against the schemes of the devil?  The answer to this is found in Ephesians Chapter 6:11-18:  Verse 11 NIV reads, “Put on your full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes.”

The Armor of God consists of:

Belt of truth
Breastplate of righteousness
Feet fitted with the gospel of peace
Shield of faith
Helmet of Salvation
Sword of the Spirit, the word of God

This is a message all of it’s own, but in summary, we face the battles of life having faith in our loving God, accepting the Salvation offered through His Son and receiving His perfect peace in the midst of our total chaos filled moments.  We fight the lies by meditating on God’s truths and following the voice of the Holy Spirit.  And we do what is right, rather than what we feel like doing.  This sounds so simple.  But is it?  I haven’t found it to be.  But I have found it to be worth it all.  God has a plan in each of our lives.  This service touched my heart today and I’ve read these verses many times.  Since leaving church I watched God fill the hearts of those close to me as well as my own.  It’s at times like this that I feel like I can take on the world.  And when I lose this perception, I also lose my way.  At those times my emotions become the battle that I face and without the Armor of God, that can be a dark place.  Especially when my enemy is ready to take me down.  Let’s remember when we get up each morning as we are getting ready for what our day brings, to put on the Armor of God and get ready for battle.