The Arrow Zone

Trials seem to come to me like attacks in an Indiana Jones movie: everything is copacetic (or at least doable) one minute and the next I find myself on a battlefield in a barrage of arrows coming from all directions.

A rude word screams in from over there, a rejection flies in from that place, one of the children faces his own crisis, the car and the house vie for which will break biggest and best.  Add to that a health crisis and I want to run and hide behind a rock and nurse my wounds.

The attacks catch me off guard every time.  My tendency is to get my eyes focused on the circumstances and/or people who shot the arrows.  That would be a good thing if I were in a physical war, but I’m not.

I am, and you are, in a spiritual war. 

God tells us that “we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places.”  Ephesians 6:12

Our war is not with what or whom we see, but with the unseen spiritually dark forces that wage war with God’s children.  They fight to stop our growth, our witness and our voices from speaking to the world the name of Jesus Christ because it is the power unto salvation.

God knows we’ll find ourselves being the target of some pretty big and pretty fiery arrows so He’s given us a piece of spiritual armor to protect ourselves.

“…above all, taking the shield of faith with which you will be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked one.”  Ephesians 6:16

When we find ourselves in the arrow zone, we must hold fast to our faith in Christ and all that entails—faith that He’s with us and will never leave us.  That He’s infinitely more powerful than all other powers combined. That God loves us always, no matter what.  That He has a reason for allowing them.  That He’ll use them for good if we allow Him to.

When we remember and know who we are in Christ we’ll know the arrows are nothing but lies and half-truths and vain attempts to refocus our attention away from the Lord.  Away from doing His will.  And away from showing God’s love, even to the very ones who have hurt us.

Maybe it’s those very people who need someone to show them the love of Christ and the enemy wants nothing to do with that.

Stand strong in the faith and “Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you,bless those who curse you, and pray for those who spitefully use you.”  Luke 6:27-28

Seeing others as people who need Jesus instead of as our enemies and then praying for them takes the sting out of the arrows. Standing in faith gives us the strength and confidence of the Lord to walk through the battlefield. 

We may be wounded, we may be scarred, but we will come through the battle looking even more like our Savior than we did the battle before.

Dorci Harris

Blog – God Treasure
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Do We Get It?

Do we get it? Do we get the fact that God truly cares about us? Or do we relegate Him to this entity that is up there pointing a finger down on earth simply granting or denying requests? Yes to her – no to him, etc.

God showed me this morning and reminded me in a way that only He can do – that He loves me. He cares for me and my feelings. And I was overwhelmed at the way in which He did it.

Sometimes I think we forget who God really is. He is a Father. A father who hurts with His children. A father who rejoices when we rejoice. A Father who feels taken for granted of and under appreciated at times. He is a King. A King who makes the tough choices for our lives when we can’t bring ourselves to make them. A King who at times, has to forego a battle in order to allow His people to win the war. He was a man. So He understands the pain of a mother, the fear of a child, and the love of a man and wife. He knows what it feels like to be betrayed, to be confused, and to feel overwhelmed. That is my God. And how often I forget that He “gets it.” He gets me.

This morning I was burdened in my heart over something. I’m not going to mention what that was for it is between me and God. But I was struggling with it. Struggling with my own pride and desires – my wants and wishes – and trying to reconcile them with what I knew God would want and expect out of me. I was trying very hard to lay down my heart.

God – in a way that only He could – overwhelmed me unexpectedly with the answer to a request that my heart dared not ask out loud. And I felt like the man in “Facing the Giants” who got on his knees and said “God, I’m overwhelmed!” It wasn’t anything big like winning a football championship or getting pregnant when you think you’re infertile – but it was still big to my heart.

God showed me that sometimes He might just be waiting on us. He might want to reward us for waiting patiently or being willing to say “no” to what we want for what He wants. He just wants to see where our loyalties lie.

And I AM overwhelmed. I’m overwhelmed to have a Heavenly Father who loves me despite my human inadequacies and flaws. A God who believes in who I can be and knows me so intricately. God has faith in ME! He sees who I can be and He gets me more than I get myself. Oh what a love.

I am overwhelmed. Are you?
~ Dionna Sanchez blogs at http://beautyinthestorm.blogspot.com – you can also follow her on twitter – http://www.twitter.com/DionnaSanchez

A Trophy of Grace

 

I have noticed over the past few years that sharing things from my past that used to make me cringe with shame, now have much less of a hold over me.

It seems the more honest and open I’ve been about the myriad of mistakes I’ve made, and the more I’ve allowed God to take the ugliness that was my life, the more exciting and energizing it has become.

He makes a masterpiece out of our junk.

God is just cool like that.

It’s as though what I once hid, fearful for the onslaught of rejection and judgement I assumed would follow, has become a display of God’s relentless love and extravagant grace.

I am a trophy of God’s grace.

The story below so beautifully explains this picture…

“Some years ago on a hot summer day in south Florida a little boy decided to go for a swim in the old swimming hole behind his house.

In a hurry to dive into the cool water, he ran out the back door, leaving behind shoes, socks, and shirt as he went. He flew into the water, not realizing that as he swam toward the middle of the lake, an alligator was swimming toward the shore. His mother – in the house was looking out the window – saw the two as they got closer and closer together. In utter fear, she ran toward the water, yelling to her son as loudly as she could.

Hearing her voice, the little boy became alarmed and made a U-turn to swim to his mother. It was too late. Just as he reached her, the alligator reached him.

From the dock, the mother grabbed her little boy by the arms just as the alligator snatched his legs. That began an incredible tug-of-war between the two. The alligator was much stronger than the mother, but the mother was much too passionate to let go. A farmer happened to drive by, heard her screams, raced from his truck, took aim and shot the alligator.

Remarkably, after weeks and weeks in the hospital, the little boy survived. His legs were extremely scarred by the vicious attack of the animal and, on his arms, were deep scratches where his mother’s fingernails dug into his flesh in her effort to hang on to the son she loved.
The newspaper reporter who interviewed the boy after the trauma, asked if he would show him his scars. The boy lifted his pant legs. And then, with obvious pride, he said to the reporter, “But look at my arms.

I have great scars on my arms, too. I have them because my mom wouldn’t let go.”

You and I can identify with that little boy. We have scars, too. No, not from an alligator, or anything quite so dramatic. But, the scars of a painful past. Some of those scars are unsightly and have caused us deep shame and regret.

But, some wounds, my friend, are because God has refused to let go.

In the midst of your struggle, He’s been there holding on to you.

Scripture teaches over and over again that God loves you.  He adores you.  Yes, YOU.

He sent His one and only son to die a horrendous death…to win you back.

In the same way a parent longs, no…lives, to protect their child, He wants to protect you.

But sometimes we foolishly wade into dangerous situations. The swimming hole of life is filled with peril – and we forget that the enemyis waiting to attack.

That’s when the tug-o-war begins – and if you have the scars of His love on your arms be very, very grateful.

He did not – and will not – let you go.

by Joy McMillan, Simply Bloom

Addressing the Lord in Prayer

I have been doing a new study on prayer recently. It has brought some things to my attention that I have been contemplating and pondering. One of those things is how we address the Lord in prayer – and why. I’d never really thought about this before. When I go to God in prayer, I usually start with, “Dear Heavenly Father.” But I’ve been thinking about that recently and wondering why I start my prayers that way. I think it’s more because that’s the way I was taught. I picked that phrase up somewhere along the way. It’s not really because it’s personally meaningful for me to address my Lord in that manner. So, is that truly how I want to address Him?

Think about our children. Most children pray to God with a, “Dear Jesus.” Why? Because normally, that’s how they are taught in church or Sunday School. And it’s okay. But somewhere along the way as we mature and grow up in our faith, we need to deepen our prayer life with God. We need to learn how to make our prayers personal. After all, prayer shouldn’t be made up of meaningless words but words from our heart, right? Why should the way we address our Lord be any different?

When I was in Belgium a few years ago, I visited a church there. A gentlemen stood up to pray and he addressed God. He said, “Blessed Senor….” I was so touched. I’m not sure why, maybe it was because I’d never heard God addressed in that way before or because I realized that people all over the globe were addressing God in different ways and manners but He was and IS still our ONE God.

It doesn’t matter how we address Jesus in prayer as long as it is with honor and respect. I do think, however, that if we make it more personal, more “us” it will deepen our prayer life and our relationship with God.

Think about it and ask God to show you how to make your prayers a tender and meaningful bond just between the two of you. I plan to.


Dionna Sanchez
Monthly ezine for moms
http://www.EmphasisOnMoms.com/newsletter.htm

How Much Do You Love?

Have you ever loved someone so much that tears come to your eyes, your throat, and your heart – just thinking of them? I love my Lord that much. And as I was thinking today – I was just thinking about all the people who say they are “Christian” in name and yet don’t have the tender heart of love for the Lord that goes with it. How do you know if you have it?

Do you cringe when someone says God’s name in vain? Do you get rankled when the media scoffs, laughs, or ostracizes a Christian? Does your heart feel literal pain when you know you have sinned against God? Do you fall to your knees in humble blessing and gratitude when God has done something for you – something you wanted – that only He could do? Just at the realization that God is truly alive and active?

When was the last time you talked to Him during your day? When did you ask for forgiveness or set aside your pride and comfort to give to someone else – out of a heart full of love that only can come from walking with God?

This IS a season of joy. But it’s also a season of heartache for a lot of people. What are you going to do about that? Nothing? God said, “And the greatest of these is love….” He was the most profound example of love we could ever possibly dream of. How are we loving others in His name?

Life isn’t always p-r-e-t-t-y. We live it out. We should know. It’s downright ugly and scarey sometimes. And sometimes we just need to be reminded so that we can let hearts FEEL! And LIVE! And so we can love in some fragment of a way in which He loved.

I do not want to be a “Christian” in name only. So I ask myself a lot – “What am I doing with the life that God has given me?” Look at what He has done for us. What are you doing with the life He has given you? What does God mean to you? Does He impact your heart to tears? He does mine.
~ Dionna Sanchez

You can follow Dionna on twitter at http://www.twitter.com/DionnaSanchez

New Song

What does it mean to be validated?

According to Webster validated means to confirm, to support or to corroborate the worth of something or someone.

Why do we turn to people to validate or give us our worth?

As I recently began a new season in life I found myself feeling uncertain and not sure of where I was going. I found myself “venting” and looking for confirmation from those I respected and loved. I found myself searching for answers through people and NOT God. Why when we struggled do we look for man to give us our worth? When we look for others to give us our worth we are giving them the power to tell us what we should do and who we are in life.

I don’t know about you but I want my worth to come from God NOT man. I want to look to God to guide my direction. So, what keeps us from finding our worth in Him?

Do you trust Him with everything or just certain areas of your life?

In order to trust God we would have to have an assured reliance on the character, ability, strength and truth of God. God has never let us down or has He? God’s strength and ability has been shown time and time again in the bible. Most importantly God’s truth is time tested and proved.

By faith Sarah herself also received strength to conceive seed, and she bore a child when she was past the age, because she judged Him faithful who had promised. Hebrews 11:11

By faith the harlot Rehab did not perish with those who did not believe, when she had received the spies with peace. Hebrews 11:31 NKJ

By faith we need to walk in trust, the Lord will provide and will help us along on our journey as long as we seek Him first and NOT man. Let us walk with our heads held high that our Lord knows where we are today and where we are going tomorrow. By faith He will deliver us from our pain and suffering no matter how little or all consuming it may be to us. Let us seek fellowship that is encouraging and helps us to bare fruit.

He put a new song in my mouth, a hymn of praise to our God. Many will see and fear and put their trust in the Lord. Psalm 40:3

Lord we thank you for loving us in spite of our doubt and unbelief. Lord help us to trust in you and look to you for answers before seeking man. Lord give us strength to follow after your faithfulness instead of allowing our insecurities to drag us down. Thank you that we can call upon Your name for guidance, love and support. In Your name we pray, Amen.

In Him,

Ronel Sidney @ http://mommyaccountability.blogspot.com/

Again, Lord?

A few weeks ago my health took a momentary downward turn—fatigue and pain reared their ugly heads again. Even though I know the disease will wax and wane, I was most surprised by the fear that accompanied it.

Didn’t I already deal with this, God? Haven’t I already faced my fears of living with a chronic illness?

I guess not, because panic and doubt wormed their way into my thoughts. What Ifs popped up repeatedly as I considered the possibility of the disease returning full force.

But, almost as suddenly as those anxious thoughts appeared, I remembered the work of Christ:
Through this illness, the very thing I fear, God has done an amazing work in my life. He stripped me of the things that distracted me from Christ—now trash in a landfill.

But whatever was to my profit I now consider loss for the sake of Christ. What is more, I consider everything a loss compared to the surpassing greatness of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them rubbish that I may gain Christ and be found in Him. Philippians 2:7-9

 

Why am I afraid of this pruning process?

Ultimately it only serves to enhance my dependence on Jesus Christ. I must admit I struggle to join the Apostle Paul in prayer:

I want to know Christ and the power of His resurrection and the fellowship of sharing in His sufferings, becoming like Him in His death, and so, somehow, to attain to the resurrection from the dead. Philippians 2:10-11

Does anyone want to share in Christ’s sufferings?

Of course not, because that involves pain. But, it’s that very discomfort that reveals our desperate state. Without Christ, our troubles broadcast our need for a Savior. With Christ, our struggles confirm we can’t go at it alone.

I need Him. You need Him, too.

I guess there’s still a lot of rubbish that needs to be thrown out.

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