faith, kingdom living, sacred romance, spiritual warfare, worshipping

Building Muscle

I have this great trainer, Linda, who has been helping me rebuild my body after my weight loss surgery.  We were working out yesterday on some specific areas that I’d really like to see improve.  But while we were doing it, she pointed out that while I might not see improvement, she is seeing definition that wasn’t there before.  That was encouraging.  It will be especially encouraging tomorrow when the after-effects of a tough workout will be very obvious!

This morning, after a particularly tough day in our family yesterday, I had planned to read a book on my Kindle and opened the app only to find that I already had a book open.  The open book was the one I really needed to read — When the Enemy Strikes: The Keys to Winning Your Spiritual Battles by Charles Stanley.  I’ll share a few key things that were particularly helpful today in hopes that you will find them helpful as well:

What is a satanic attack?  A satanic attack is a deliberate, willful, intentional, and well-designed act intended to bring harm to a person in any way–physical mental, economic, relational, or spiritual. (Stanley, p. 16) What are the objectives of a satanic attack?  He has four:
  1. Satan seeks to draw us away from God. That’s always his ultimate goal.
  2. Satan seeks to thwart us in God’s purpose and plan for our lives. He seeks to get us off track and out of the will of God for our lives.
  3. Satan seeks to deny God the glory, honor, and praise due Him as we live Godly lives of faith and trust in God.
  4. Satan seeks to destroy us–literally and eternally. (Stanley, p. 16-17)
Whenever the devil strikes us, we can take heart that God has a purpose in allowing the devil to act.  The purpose is a divine one that we may not understand but that nonetheless is for our good or the good of others.  The grief, suffering or pain is for a season only.  The end result, as we remain faithful to God, will bring glory to him. (Stanley, p. 28)
Three Things You Can Always Count On
  1. You can be certain that God will help you.  God is holy, omnipotent, omniscient, and immutable.  The Bible tells us “Listen! The Lord’s arm is not too weak to save you, nor is his ear too deaf to hear you call.” (Isaiah 59:1 NLT) The Lord desires to help you. He is waiting for you to ask Him!
  2. You can rest assured that the attack will come to an end. No temptation or crisis lasts forever. A temptation may come again in another form, or come again after a period of time, but every temptation has a time limit put on it.
  3. You can expect to be stronger in your spirit after you have resisted an attack of the enemy. (Stanley, p. 30)

 

I was encouraged so much after reading this this morning.  And then, about an hour later, I received a text from a friend who was very discouraged.  I called her and we talked about what was going on for both her and me and then things began to coalesce in my head to form an analogy for her and me.

Just as building muscle is painful, but results in definition and strength, so too are the spiritual battles we face.

I found this little gem as I was doing some research for this post: “For muscle breakdown and growth to occur you must force your muscles to adapt by creating stress that is different than the previous threshold your body has already adapted to.” (https://www.builtlean.com/2013/09/17/muscles-grow/)

This same principle is true in our spiritual growth.  If we are to deepen our walk with the Lord, we must be challenged beyond where we currently stand.  I’ll refer you here to John 15:1-8, 1 Corinthians 10:13 and James 1:2-5.

No one likes to face spiritual battles, but if we change our perspective, perhaps we can see them in a different light.  I don’t really enjoy lifting weights (I’d really hate it if it weren’t for Linda!), but I like the results.  Linda says my calfs are “cut” and that she is seeing the cut of my muscles in my thighs.  Personally, I see only cellulite in my thighs until she points the definition out to me.

As I face my own spiritual battles, I’ll be asking God for his perspective on them.  Which spiritual muscle group are we working on developing today, God? I want to be a vine that has great strength and bears much fruit for His glory!

 

 

adoption, faith, kingdom living, worshipping

The truth…

Someone recently said to me, “I so admire what you and your husband are doing by adopting all these boys.”

Please do not admire me. It is neither me, nor my husband, who has any reason to be admired. Five years ago, we both had far different plans for the rest of our lives. Our son was in the middle of his senior year and the day we had been waiting for for 22 years was fast approaching. We were going to retire in Florida and spend the rest of our years doing exactly what we had not done in our early twenties.  We had our children early and so we were not out doing what we wanted to do, we were raising and supporting children and broke most of the time. We ached for the day they were out of the house and our lives would finally be about us. We’d buy whatever we wanted, go wherever we wanted, do whatever we wanted.

I promised you the truth… some days I still ache for that day, especially when the parenting road gets difficult.

But God wooed us and we fell in love with Him and we changed.

“I have been crucified with Christ, and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and delivered Himself up for me.” Galatians 2:20

Our adoptions (both of them) have been about obedience to the Lord’s call and hoping to bring glory to His name, not our own.

Admire God, for it is to Him that we direct all the glory!

adoption, Bible Study, faith, kingdom living, leadership, parenting, spiritual warfare, worshipping

Remember I Said, “Not My Will, But Only Yours, Lord”

Our lawyer essentially said tonight there was no way we’d be taking our boys home on Sunday.

We do not know anything beyond that, but nevertheless I am here, we’re making some important contacts and I will be eagerly waiting for God’s will.

Please keep praying. This is God’s fight to win, not ours, but we can keep praying.

Daniel 10:1-19 is a great picture of continuing to pray when prayers are not answered in time. Often we do not understand why there are not immediate answers to our prayers. This may be why:

Daniel 10

Daniel’s Vision of a Man

1 In the third year of Cyrus king of Persia, a revelation was given to Daniel (who was called Belteshazzar). Its message was true and it concerned a great war.[a] The understanding of the message came to him in a vision.

2 At that time I, Daniel, mourned for three weeks. 3 I ate no choice food; no meat or wine touched my lips; and I used no lotions at all until the three weeks were over.

4 On the twenty-fourth day of the first month, as I was standing on the bank of the great river, the Tigris, 5 I looked up and there before me was a man dressed in linen, with a belt of fine gold from Uphaz around his waist. 6 His body was like topaz, his face like lightning, his eyes like flaming torches, his arms and legs like the gleam of burnished bronze, and his voice like the sound of a multitude.

7 I, Daniel, was the only one who saw the vision; those who were with me did not see it, but such terror overwhelmed them that they fled and hid themselves. 8 So I was left alone, gazing at this great vision; I had no strength left, my face turned deathly pale and I was helpless. 9 Then I heard him speaking, and as I listened to him, I fell into a deep sleep, my face to the ground.

10 A hand touched me and set me trembling on my hands and knees. 11 He said, “Daniel, you who are highly esteemed, consider carefully the words I am about to speak to you, and stand up, for I have now been sent to you.” And when he said this to me, I stood up trembling.

12 Then he continued, “Do not be afraid, Daniel. Since the first day that you set your mind to gain understanding and to humble yourself before your God, your words were heard, and I have come in response to them. 13 But the prince of the Persian kingdom resisted me twenty-one days. Then Michael, one of the chief princes, came to help me, because I was detained there with the king of Persia. 14 Now I have come to explain to you what will happen to your people in the future, for the vision concerns a time yet to come.”

15 While he was saying this to me, I bowed with my face toward the ground and was speechless. 16Then one who looked like a man[b] touched my lips, and I opened my mouth and began to speak. I said to the one standing before me, “I am overcome with anguish because of the vision, my lord, and I feel very weak. 17 How can I, your servant, talk with you, my lord? My strength is gone and I can hardly breathe.”

18 Again the one who looked like a man touched me and gave me strength. 19 “Do not be afraid, you who are highly esteemed,” he said. “Peace! Be strong now; be strong.”

When he spoke to me, I was strengthened and said, “Speak, my lord, since you have given me strength.”

While I’m waiting, I’m going to be reading some books to pass the time.

  • A.W. Tozer, The Pursuit of God
  • Norman Grubb, Rees Howell Intercessor
  • John Eldredge, Epic: The Story God is Telling

Your continued prayers for yesterday’s list is coveted, especially for my youngest son in the US.

adoption, Bible Study, faith, kingdom living, spiritual warfare, worshipping

Waiting and Worshipping

As I wait on the Lord, I am worshipping. I thought I’d share some of the great worship songs I’m using.

Natalie Grant – Greatness of Our God

Hillsong United – You

I’m heading to Haiti on March 18 to be available to jump hurdles that can only be jumped there.  Brian will join me later in the week.

Please continue to pray the hurdles down! Please pray for our children here in the states too, that they would be safe from the fowler’s snare and the arrows that the enemy loves to shoot.

We so appreciate all of you who are praying with us!