Be moved. Be changed. Love because you are loved.

Tag: Prepared

boxer

Ready to Rumble

woman boxer


I realize the title being Ready to Rumble sounds contradictory to my tagline: Love Because You Are Loved. Sometimes, however, loving people means fighting for them or for ourselves. More than ever, we need to be “strong in the Lord and in his mighty power” (Ephesians 6:10), praying for God to give us a tender heart and thick skin.

In Matthew 10:16, Jesus says, “I’m sending you out like sheep among wolves. Therefore be as shrewd as snakes and innocent as doves.” This scripture always startles me because snakes are usually something I avoid, not mimic, but we’re supposed to emulate their shrewdness. Ephesians 6 reminds us that our battle isn’t against people (flesh and blood) but against spiritual forces of evil. For us to stand firm against the devil’s schemes, we need to be mentally, physically, emotionally, and spiritually prepared for battle.

Mentally – We must set our minds on the things of God, whatever is pure, noble, excellent, and praiseworthy (Philippians 4:8), but we must also be alert and ready for battle. Our feet are to be fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace (Ephesians 6:15). Peace comes with knowing the battle plan and the weapons we have at our disposal and having faith in our spiritual leaders and God who is ultimately in command.

knight

Physically – We have to put on the full armor of God, the buckle of truth, the breastplate of righteousness, the helmet of salvation, and the shield of faith (Ephesians 6:14-17). Sometimes we can feel like David trying on King Saul’s armor. At first, we may feel clumsy when we put on and adjust our breastplate of righteousness and choose not to join in gossip or cuss at the car that cut us off. It may seem awkward to pick up the shield of faith and pray out loud in front of others, raise our hands during worship, or bring a pie to the grumpy neighbor who yells at the kids to get off his lawn.

So far, these armor pieces are for defense against attack, but to go on the offensive, we have to take up the sword of the spirit, which is the Word of God. We can hold our ground and stand firm, but if we want to take back territory and gain victories, it means picking up our Bibles and not just reading but knowing the scriptures.

Emotionally – Being strong in the Lord also means shoring up ourselves emotionally. David and his band of men had returned from battle to find the Amalekites had burned their village and taken all the women and children. 1 Samuel 30:4 says, “So David and his men wept aloud until they had no strength left to weep.” The men turned bitter and threatened to stone David to death. Verse 6 states, “But David found strength in the Lord his God.” He rallied his men and went after the Amalekites. When we are emotionally drained, and the well of our tears has run dry, we can crawl into God’s lap, collapse into His open arms, and He will renew our strength.

Spiritually – “Pray in the spirit on all occasions and with all kinds of prayers and requests,” Paul says in Ephesians 6:18. More than ever, we need to be sensitive to what the Holy Spirit tells us. Jesus said, “But when he, the Spirit of truth, comes, he will guide you into all the truth. He will not speak on his own; he will speak only what he hears, and he will tell you what is yet to come.” (John 16:13). God isn’t going to leave us in the dark. He communicates with us through His field commander, the Holy Spirit, and if we’re listening and ready, He’ll direct our steps, telling us when to move out, hold, take cover, or fire.

God gives us the armor, and the power comes from Him, but it’s up to us to put it on and be ready.

Northeaster winter storm March 2018

Are You Ready?

Northeaster winter storm 3.13.18I’m writing this as New England is buried under two to three feet of snow. It’s our third major Northeaster storm in under ten days. Powerlines have been downed, and impressive trees lay toppled on their sides making roads impassable and sending the electric company into a frenzy to restore power. On Facebook and Instagram, the most common post I saw was, No power. How I’m I going to get my morning coffee? After a day of no electricity, it switched to, In need of a hot shower.

 

Northeaster winter storm March 2018We wizened up after a storm about five years back. We’d been without power for four days and decided to purchase a generator before it happened again. Fast forward five years, this time when the lights went out, we didn’t have to search for blankets and candles, or sleep huddled in front of the fire (all five of us), or make coffee and tea on the grill. I praised my husband for having the foresight to plan ahead. At the time we bought the generator, it was an expensive investment, one in which we didn’t know we would ever use. Until we did. For five years it sat, and we wondered if it was worth it, but because we prepared, we were able to offer the warmth of our home to friends and neighbors.

Be ready.

It’s easy to procrastinate, and unfortunately, it’s commonly done. I’ve never seen an alarm clock come without a snooze button. What it really should be called a procrastination button. Just ten more minutes. I hit mine several times this morning. Waking up a little late may not be a big thing, but what else are we pushing off until later?

Jesus tells us in Matthew 24:44, “You also must be ready all the time, for the Son of Man will come when least expected.” Then in Matthew 25:1-13, He tells a parable about ten bridesmaids, five wise and five foolish, who were waiting for the groom to arrive. However, the five foolish didn’t bring any oil for their lamps. When the groom became delayed, they all fell asleep and only awoke when the groom’s arrival was being announced. The five foolish asked the wise to loan some of their oil, but there wasn’t enough. While the five foolish were out at the market buying more oil, the groom came, the festivities began, and the five foolish bridesmaid were left out.

We don’t want to wake up and realize we’ve been left out of the party. What are we putting off? Getting right with God? Asking for forgiveness? Forgiving someone who’s wronged us? Talking to a friend or family member about God? Taking a mission trip? Adopting a child? Only you and God know what it is you’ve been putting off. Is it time to stop procrastinating?

Watch with anticipation.

When the news reported a storm was on the way, all my boys heard was “potential snow day.” After that, they were glued to the weather forecast and the little lines that scroll on the bottom of the screen for school closings. Eager anticipation. It’s how a child waits for a snow day. It’s how a bride waits for her groom. When Jesus returns, a new earth will be ushered in. There will be no more pain, no more death, no more sorrow. There’s a reason why Jesus used in the parable the example of marriage festivities. Jesus is coming for his bride, and then we are going to party! We’ll celebrate in such a way that we’ll put the phrase “partying like it’s 1999” to shame. Don’t left out or off running to purchase oil at the market. Shake out your best outfit, dust off your dancing shoes, and be prepared to rejoice that our King has come.

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My Son next to snow bank after March 2018 Northeaster

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