Put on the Whole Armor!

fruit gnatsAnnoying little creatures they are! Fruit flies! I detest them.

When we were still living in Nkwanta, Ghana – one of my sons and I were talking about where in the world they come from.  I mean did they just  – you know – just APPEAR.

We did a little research and found that when you bring a piece of fruit into your home there is a very high risk that a fly has laid an egg on the skin/rind/shell of that fruit. So, if you bring the fruit home and do not wash it until you intend to eat it – the chances that you will see gnats flying around are high.

In Ghana the fruit is so very good so we always brought home fresh pineapples, avocados, mangoes and watermelon. I always washed them well before storing them. One particular day I awoke and there were still my little flying friends in the morning!  I checked my fruit well and found a very small soft spot on my watermelon – that was the culprit! We got rid of it – and my little flying annoyances disappeared. They were attracted to “live” trash – fresh fruit, yeast, etc. They were attracted to things that show that they have life.

As I thought about this I thought about the myriad of issues that we are facing in our ministry life.  It seems that not a days go by that we are not dealing with some issue that threatens the effectiveness of our ministry – nothing major, just annoyances that make you want to shoo them away. Annoying – these little darts that the enemy keeps throwing at us. We pray, we fast, we practice silence before God, even lectio divina – and yet they persist. It occurred to me that like my little flying friends – these darts are attracted to life. The enemy would not be annoying us so much if he didn’t see that our ministry was alive and doing well. You see, the enemy too is attracted to life! He wants to steal, kill and destroy – and if there is already spiritual death, then there is nothing for him to take, execute, or annihilate. So I guess we are in good company!

Fruit Flies!! I do despise them – but as for the annoyances of the enemy, I say bring ‘em on. I am alive in Christ, I am fully devoted to His mission in this world – and if that brings on attacks from the enemy, then I have the faith to conquer them, to withstand the test, and yes – to expect the incredible and the impossible! I am clothed with the breastplate of righteousness — and that will extinguish the darts!

I encourage you to put on the full armor of God when the enemy comes your way.  He wants to discourage the army of the Lord; but trust that God has you and will keep you.  If it is for the sake of the Kingdom of God – Don’t Quit!

Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. Ephesians 6:11

Living Like an Overcomer

OvercomerNo matter what is happening in this broken world, I am an overcomer. So many things in the last few months have happened to make my heart heavy, sad, broken — it can be difficult to muster the strength to hold on to joy and peace. But — I have chosen to hold on to joy and peace. As believers in Christ the adversity, grief, heartache, woe and injustice that we experience is to be expected. We are not citizens of in this earthly realm; our home is in heaven – we are foreigners here, aliens on a journey. It would stand to reason that we will experience enmity, bigotry, bias, hate. The world will not embrace us nor will its systems treat us with fairness.Sadly, many of us, who are citizens of heaven, have forgotten our place and are treating other citizens of heaven in ways that we should not — but I digress.

As we grieve the things that happen to us on this earth, we can rejoice that we are not alone nor or we forsaken! We have a great High Priest who is acquainted with the troubles that we face. He is limitless in His mercy and grace and He invites us to cast our cares upon Him. We are His chosen children – He loves us and wants what is best for us. You see, the world wants us to believe that all is lost, that our case is hopeless, that the battles will never end, that we are less than deserving of a peaceful life. But God has told us over and over again in His word that this is simply not true. We will overcome!

We can hold on to joy — because our hope does not lie in the things of this world or in the systems of this world – but in He who cannot and will not fail; in He who loves truly and perfectly; in He who is our all! Much like those three Hebrew boys who were in the burning furnace, we have to make the choice to believe that there is One that sees us, hears us and will deliver us in His own perfect time. We have to choose to embrace His truth – He is our peace.

Yes, it is painful; it is unfair; it is discouraging — all of it feels so wrong; but don’t lose sight of the truth that it is not contrary to what our Lord has spoken to us. He has foretold that the trials would come; but more than that He has revealed a future victory that no world system will be able to snatch from us. The troubles of this world can touch my flesh and they can prick my heart, but I will not allow them to swallow my heart and He will not let them cover my soul in darkness. I am very grateful that my life is filled with friendships that include people of all races, colors, religious backgrounds – I am blessed to have good friends across the color spectrum. But even if no one down here values me, I know who made me and I know He adores me. Man can hold me in disdain, but He is exalting me as His called out one. I am an overcomer — and I intend to live like it. Make the choice to believe His truths no matter what is happening around you so that you can experience his peace that man cannot understand. The one who dwells within you is greater than any issue that you might face. Don’t lose heart – in the end, you will win!  Yes! In the end He will reign!

These things I have spoken to you, so that in Me you may have peace. In the world you have tribulation, but take courage; I have overcome the world.” (‭John‬ ‭16‬:‭33‬)