Friday, September 2, 2016

Expect An Attack!!

A BIG welcome to those of you joining me from the Encouragement Cafe! It's a joy to be sharing there today...I pray my devotional spoke to you. If you'd like to read - "Weed Control is Important", you can do so by clicking HERE.

Along the lines of weed control, I have another illustration from life on the farm...the other day my daughters and I were out walking beans yet again. This year it seems the job is taking forever as we work between the rains. The work is getting harder and our motivation is weakening. I attempted to pep us all up and we headed to the field.

We weren't 20 yards in and we knew we were in for our worst experience yet. The air was humid and the bugs were TERRIBLE! We were walking and swatting and sweating. When we'd stop to cut the weeds (there so big now we need to use clippers), we were nearly carried off by the stinging mosquitoes. It was bad and our attitude steadily grew worse. Ten minutes into the job and we were ready to quit! 

In the hours leading up to this job, I found myself feeling a bit overwhelmed and discouraged. Not even two weeks prior I'd been greatly encouraged and days earlier I'd led a lesson on surrendering to Christ. I struggled with this and was tempted to beat myself up, but that day in the field I was reminded of an important reality. 

Friend, when we are trying to remove the weeds (sin) from our heart and surrender our wills to Christ we must expect an attack. Satan wants nothing to do with us becoming more like Jesus and will trip us up every time we try to glorify God. At the same time, we also have a heavenly Father who will test us and give us opportunities to practice what we preach. These things are a given, but sometimes I forget. 

Our time in the field would have went much better if we had been prepared with bug spray and long sleeves. Our walk of faith will go better if we are prepared with God's Word and His Spirit. 

I've hesitated writing this blog because a few days have passed since this initial attack by the bugs and at times I'm still struggling. The girl who stood up at our women's event encouraging women to walk in obedience and trust God's faithfulness has needed that encouragement myself. I don't want to be a hypocrite, but I know I also need to be honest. 

Sometimes life is hard, parenting can be a real challenge and marriage isn't always glamorous either. Following God doesn't bring continual success, living for Christ requires death to self and surrendering is a daily, moment by moment task. Bad days happen, schedules are full, plans change and feelings get hurt. We remove one weed and another grows back. The attack continues. It may subside for awhile, but we must be prepared for it to start again. 

So how do we prepare? Trust me, that is a question I've been asking, but now in the midst of the battle I find myself focusing on other Truths - one that show us how to fight. 

The first thing I need to remember is - I'm not strong enough to win on my own. And friend, neither are you. We can try and try and try, but it won't work. The battle we are in is spiritual and we need the Spirit if we want to be victorious. So friend, when the attack comes let's remember to ask God to fill us with His Spirit. (Ephesians 5:18b)

#2 - I need to learn a lesson from the attack in our field...after completing our first round we went back to the truck and applied bug spray - this helped keep the enemy at bay. The armor of God, which is outlined in Ephesians 6:10-20, will do the same for us in a spiritual sense. Personally, the piece that sticks out to me tonight is the helmet. "Why?" because my mind is often where the attack comes - just like the bugs stung me where my skin was exposed, Satan hits me where he knows I'm weak - my mind. He brings lies and creates doubts about my roles as wife, mom, woman in ministry and follower of Christ. He brings up regrets from the past and worries about the future. Our pastor often says, "The mind is God's classroom, the Christian's battle-field and Satan's playground." How true! 

Finally, #3 - earlier this week a friend shared a quote on Facebook that helped put things in perspective - "The eagle does not fight the snake on the ground. It picks it up into the sky and changes the battle ground, and then it releases the snake into the sky. The snake has no stamina, no power and no balance in the air. It is useless, weak and vulnerable unlike on the ground where it is powerful, wise and deadly. Take your fight into the spiritual realm by praying and when you are in the spiritual realm God takes over your battles. Don't fight the enemy in his comfort zone, change the battle ground like the eagle and let God take charge through your earnest prayer. You'll be assured of victory. Pray without ceasing." 

Like everything prayer is vital. It changes things - sometimes our circumstances, but always our perspective! When we humble ourselves and approach our heavenly Father...the One who loves us, created us and has a plan for us, we are more apt to look at the bigger picture and remember His promises. I know this, but I must do it. Friend, the same is true for you. May we live Ephesians 6:18 - "And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord's people." One final bit of advice - remember YOU are one of the Lord's people, so start by praying for yourself!

May this picture not only bring you a laugh, but serve as a powerful visual as well. That's me sporting my 13 year old son's football helmet...I don't normally wear it around, but we must continually protect our minds. We'll do that when we follow my little guy's example...he's leaning in close to his earthly momma and we must do the same with God, our Heavenly Father and Jesus, our Lord and Savior. The third reminder I glean from the picture...we must remember we are part of a family - the family of God. When attacks come and the battle rages, I tend to want to go into iso mode, but that's the worst strategy out there. There is strength in numbers and God created us for relationship - first with Him and then with our brothers and sisters. We stand stronger when we stand together! 

Friend, I prayed for each person God brought to these words. May He encourage you, prepare you and fight for you! The attacks will come, the battles will be hard, but the victory has been won!!

Dear Heavenly Father, may we not forget that greater are You who is in us than he who is in the world. You have won the battle, you have defeated death and your desire is for us to walk victoriously. Fill us with your Spirit so we can do just that. Prepare us for the attack, equip us for the battle and assure us of your promises! In Jesus' Name, Amen


3 comments:

  1. Needed to be reminded that we will be tested and given opportunities to practice what we preach.
    Walk in obedience and trust God's faithfulness.
    This is what I needed to hear today and the post about 'weed control'.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Needed to be reminded that we will be tested and given opportunities to practice what we preach.
    Walk in obedience and trust God's faithfulness.
    This is what I needed to hear today and the post about 'weed control'.

    ReplyDelete
  3. I needed this today. As we head into a busy weekend, I have felt the enemy attacking. Thank you for speaking to my heart what I knew but needed a friendly reminder of. The eagle and the snake analogy was powerful. Thanks so much for sharing it.

    ReplyDelete