Sunday, November 24, 2013

Thanksgiving on the Flip Side

Two times this happened.


My three teenage sisters and I were home alone one night.  I have no idea what possessed her, but one of my siblings  looked out the back window. It was pitch dark back there, and she saw two eyes looking back at her.  A man was peeking in at us!


 Blood curdling scream…


 man ran and jumped the fence...


 we called the police...


 never found him.


 Another time-- same scenario-- this time a knock at the front door.


"Who is it?"


No answer.


Louder, "Who's there?"


Still no  answer.


We look out the window next to the door.  The knocker or knockers were careful to stand  close enough  to the door  to be out of sight. They hoped to entice us to open the door to see who they were.

Looking back, I realize it was probably one or more of the men who loitered at a house down the street. They knew our parents were not home. They hoped we young girls would open the door if they didn't answer us. I shudder to think what could have happened. One locked door stood between us and years of scars-spiritual, emotional, and sexual ones.


God is good.


Maybe this year has been a hard one for you.


 Someone wisely said that if you are upset about all the bad that happened this year, thank God for all that didn't.


 The enemy desires to steal, kill, and destroy (John 10:10). He jiggles the door handles of every evil possibility to see which ones will open. Some did, but PRAISE THE LIVING GOD, others were  locked!


 Like the front and back doors at our house, God stood between you and all the negatives that could have entered your life but didn't.


It is good to thank God for all His  blessings, for the good He let in.

He truly is the one "who shuts and no one opens." (Revelation 3:7)
When you finish thanking Him for all the good He's brought into your life, thank Him again from the flip side of what He kept away.



Talk About It: Sometimes when we have "near misses," it's like the enemy got a toe in the door but then God kicked him out and bolted the door. What nearly opened doors did God in His mercy close for you this year?

Monday, November 18, 2013

Got Faith Like Turnip Greens?


Thanksgiving time reminds me of turnip greens.


 Mama would bring home "a whole mess" of them, and we girls gathered around  to pick them. I recall as a child thinking there was no way all those greens would fit in the pot. But once she put them in the boiling water (along with some fabulous ham hock) those greens would cook down to a fraction of their original size. A garbage bag full of greens would yield  about a stockpot full.

 Turnip greens are like faith.

 You think you have a lot till the hot water of hard times hits.

 What you have left is the true size of your faith.

 I am sad to say that my faith too often cooks down to a small bit. Thank God we only need faith the size of a grain of mustard seed to move a mountain, right?


It's natural to believe big when times are good. But how do we keep our faith from cooking down when trouble comes?

 It helps to realize that God never shrinks. Our faith is only as good as the size of our God.

When I feel my faith wilting, I run to  Scriptures like Jeremiah 32:27,   "Behold, I am the Lord, the God of all flesh; is anything too difficult for me?"


Numbers 23:19, "God is not a man that He should lie, nor a son of man that He should change His mind. Has He said, and will He not do it? Or has He spoken, and will He not make it good?"


Hard times come to test our faith. Don't let yours cook down to nothing. Remind yourself of your God who never shrinks and pass the turnip greens!


Talk About It: What Bible verses do you cling to when your faith is wilting?

Monday, November 11, 2013

Don't Forget Your Underwear: The Most Overlooked Piece of the Armor of God

     "Put on the whole armor of God…."  Ephesians 6:11


If you are fighting with the devil, you better not forget your underwear.


 The apostle Paul said to put on the WHOLE armor of God so you can stand against the schemes of the devil. If you are at all familiar with spiritual warfare, you know about Ephesians 6, verses 11 and following.  God  lists the pieces of powerful  armor every soldier needs to fight and win.  Are you wearing it all?


The breastplate of righteousness?-Check.


Helmet of salvation?-Got it.


Sword of the Spirit and shield of faith?-Wouldn't dream of  leaving home without them.


Belt of truth?- Yep! 


Shoes of the preparation of the Gospel of Peace?- mmh-hmm!


Ready for battle?- Not quite.


 Notice in verse  18, Paul adds one more important piece of armor we tend to overlook. Prayer.


"And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. "


 He was pretty thorough about the how and when of prayer, don't you agree?  If prayer is to be done on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests, it must be a pretty important piece of armor to put on every day...just like underwear.


Why is prayer like  underwear? Both provide comfort and protection.


  You can go out dressed to the hilt, but without your underwear, you are uncomfortable and unprotected. Everything else does not fit quite the way it should. Without prayer, the discomfort of fear and worry can set in.  You are exposed to the chafing effects of discouragement because communication with the Father is not there to protect you.


  You need prayer if you are going to win, Warrior Princess!


So before you go out into the world today to fight whatever battles Satan  has on his  roster for you, put on the full armor of God so you can win. 


Don't forget your underwear!


Talk About It: In what way does prayer comfort and protect you throughout your day?

Monday, November 4, 2013

It's Time to Stop Yawning!

Hebrews 11
Adventure. Don't you crave it?
 Is it possible to have real adventure as a follower of Jesus Christ? Or is it all just quiet prayers, submissive service, and meek conformity to a dull idea of biblical womanhood?

Adventure happens when you encounter something you did not expect...
 ...where the outcome is uncertain, and a task calls upon every ounce of strength you can muster...
...where the stakes are high, but the reward is even higher. 
Can a Christian woman experience such a life without violating her femininity and her love for God?

In fact, I dare say that if your walk with Christ makes you yawn, it's not His fault. The saints in Hebrews 11 experienced joy, heartache, and amazing miracles, but no one would describe their life as a yawn. By faith, they obeyed God and lived a life of amazing adventure.
 Could it be He has called you to walk the wild and scary road of obedience, but you responded by handing Him a dog-eared profile of a woman who has credentials YOU don't possess? Is it possible you sculpted a more beautiful, higher educated,  more experienced, and all around non-you  woman and told God to ask HER instead?

God calls every believer to a life of adventure. What other protagonist has the devil himself as her nemesis? Is there any other heroine who has the super-powers of the Holy Spirit for doing great exploits? 
 What other life of adventure can be more exciting than rescuing real people from a literal hell?
 What heart would not beat wildly at doing something she was afraid to do but didn't dare not do for love of Someone Else?
Dear Sister, the Christian life is a swashbuckling, mind-blowing, lionhearted life. Are you not living it?
If not, may I suggest you tear up that dog-eared list of excuses you gave God last time He told you to do something that scared you to death?
 That ideal, more qualified woman you sculpted is lying in a pebbly heap. What happened to her? God blew her to smitherines. He doesn't do perfect people, especially not ones we construct. He uses real people like  you.
Can you see it? It's His great big hand reaching for you. Will you take it? He is still inviting you to show, in your own unique way, what the life of a Warrior Princess looks like. 
Stop the yawning and step up. Your adventure with Him awaits!

Talk About It: Is there an adventure God is calling you to embrace?