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Ephesians 6:11-12 (CJB)

11 Use all the armor and weaponry that God provides, so that you will be able to stand against the deceptive tactics of the Adversary. 12 For we are not struggling against human beings, but against the rulers, authorities and cosmic powers governing this darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realm.

Romans 13:11-12 

11 Besides all this, you know at what point of history we stand; so it is high time for you to rouse yourselves from sleep; for the final deliverance is nearer than when we first came to trust. 12 The night is almost over, the day is almost here.

So let us put aside the deeds of darkness and arm ourselves with the weapons of light.

 

In the middle of the battles we face in living out our faith, in seeing the value of life honored and restoration of biblical truth in our laws and communities we tend to keep on our armor and turn on each other.  YES, We are called to battle.  YES, We are called to be outfitted with weapons of warfare, YES, we are called to walk in authority and rouse ourselves. YET, we are called to walk it out in love.

When I was learning to play the piano and it was time to learn to use the foot peddles I had a teacher say to me I "would spend half my life learning how to use them and the other half learning Not to use them."  I have spent years of my life learning how to walk in authority, gathering tools of wisdom, understanding and experience, using my voice and my words to share truths...but now I face the reality that as I have increased in strength and confidence I need to intentionally drop my armor when facing the person in front of me.  The weapons I have been given are not to put up barriers of self protection, they are meant to defend and to press our cause (2 Corinthians 6:7).  The weapons I have been given are to tear down enemy strongholds not to self-righteously make others do what I think is right.  The weapons I have been given are the most useful and only fully realized when surrendered and used with a heart of love, not wielded in fear.

May you be able to drop your armor to love the person in front of you! May you grow in the grace and love that binds up!

May you know and surrender only to the Love and Lordship of Jesus!

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28 He answered, ‘An enemy has done this.’ The servants asked him, ‘Then do you want us to go and pull them up?’ 29 But he said, ‘No, because if you pull up the weeds, you might uproot some of the wheat at the same time. 30 Let them both grow together until the harvest; and at harvest-time I will tell the reapers to collect the weeds first and tie them in bundles to be burned, but to gather the wheat into my barn.’”

Matthew 13:28-30
 
I find sometimes I get lost in the weeds thinking my job is to identify and pull every single one...this busy task is not really my job and leads down roads of distraction, frustration and blocks the flow of unhindered love.  Much like the parable of the sower my job is to prepare the soil, sow the seed, tend the fruit, watch for readiness and bring in the harvest.  I cannot always prevent where the seed falls on unprepared soil, or a patch of weeds or rocks and if I focus on the places unprepared I will miss tending the fruit that is growing, needs pruning and is preparing for harvest.  This often looks like focusing on trying to control responses, diverting resources to a single issue, or beginning to believe that my efforts are futile because no matter what I do there are still weeds growing with the wheat and the fruit cannot be good.
 
May you not get lost in the weeds! May you see the harvest that is prepared!May you not grow weary of doing good! 
  

Galatians 6:9 (CJB)

So let us not grow weary of doing what is good; for if we don’t give up, we will in due time reap the harvest.

 

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Hebrews 11:25-27 (CJB)

25 He chose being mistreated along with God’s people rather than enjoying the passing pleasures of sin. 26 He had come to regard abuse suffered on behalf of the Messiah as greater riches than the treasures of Egypt, for he kept his eyes fixed on the reward.

27 By trusting, he left Egypt, not fearing the king’s anger; he persevered as one who sees the unseen.

So many steps of this journey are taken towards an unseen end.  We must continue to choose to walk through the misunderstanding, the unresponses, and the mistreatment.  We choose to be kind, we choose to have courage, we choose a place that is uncomfortable and unknown.  WE choose to believe that there is more in life and that extending ourselves on behalf of another is never wasted.

Keeping my eyes fixed...asking for the Holy Spirit's vision to see and persevere towards the unseen goal.  I cannot go too far if I do not have a purpose and a plan but so often my vision is cut short by the immediate in front of me and the temptation to get stuck in the confusion of emotion. I must constantly yield to the leading of the Holy Spirit and learn the discipline of fixing my eyes on the unseen reward. 

 May you keep your eyes fixed!  May you persevere as one who sees the unseen!  May you know the surpassing greatness of His power working in you! 

 

Ephesians 1:18-20(CJB)

18 I pray that he will give light to the eyes of your hearts, so that you will understand the hope to which he has called you, what rich glories there are in the inheritance he has promised his people, 19 and how surpassingly great is his power working in us who trust him.

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2 Corinthians 6:12 (CEV)

12 We are not holding back on our love for you, but you are holding back on your love for us.

Hebrews 12:1 (CEV)

A Large Crowd of Witnesses

12 Such a large crowd of witnesses is all around us! So we must get rid of everything that slows us down, especially the sin that just won’t let go. And we must be determined to run the race that is ahead of us.

What would you do unhindered..."without hindrance?"  Life in Christ is the path to live unhindered...the process of yielding and addressing the unseen obstacles of emotion, pride, vulnerability, fear and relationship.  The place we go to live out true surrender and trust. 

Isn't this where we want to go?  Isn't this where we want to lead others? Isn't this the way we are loved by our Father God?

There are too many roads that lead to the hindrances of separation, anxiety, and self-righteousness...let us run the race ahead of us not seeing "each other" as the obstacles but as the path to live unhindered in our love!  This is no simple task but it is truly rewarding. 

Let us not withhold our love!  Let us throw off, get rid of, and put aside every hindrance!  Let us determine to run the race ahead of us!

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Psalm 139:10 (NKJV)

10 Even there Your hand shall lead me,
And Your right hand shall hold me.

Even there...there is no there that you are not.  There is no there that I cannot get through.  There is no there, where I have no way out, no where to go or no where to be safe.  Even when there are no answers, Even when there is no reason, Even ...

There is much to learn about being the light in the darkness.  The "there" I go with those I am walking beside can take me places I wish never existed, consequences that seem irreversible, a future that appears hopeless.  When I walk in the "there" I find that there is a way out, a way through and a way home.  

Even through the realities of the traps of sexual exploitation, drug addiction, abuse, abandonment, torment, and fear...Even there.

Even through disagreements, broken relationship, disunity, and discouragement...Even there.

Even through illness, discomfort, rejection, loss and phyiscal pain...Even there.

Even when my sensebilities are challenged and I cannot see the step ahead...."Even there Your hand shall lead me, And Your right hand shall hold me." 

May you know and experience the presence of the Lord in your "even there"!