Saturday, October 8, 2011

Under Attack!

We’ve been under attack. Well, our lawn, that is. My husband woke up one morning, alarmed at what he found outside. Our yard looked like someone had attacked it with a rototiller. Each side of the house had large sections uprooted and we couldn’t figure out why. After pondering, Joe realized that it had to be an animal of some kind, digging for grubs. I learned that grubs are attracted to grass for many reasons, one of which is drought stress. They also move deeper into the lawn during the late summer and early fall months to seek out moisture. It all made sense. Now, the challenge was catching the culprit causing all the damage. Joe turned into the character Bill Murray played on Caddy Shack. He spied the terrain; and one sleepless night, he got up and surveyed the back yard. There in the distance was a set of beady eyes that belonged to a skunk. A defiant one at best. I really felt bad for Joe because he is meticulous about caring for the lawn. Fertilizing, thatching, mowing, etc. The skunk was digging deep in search of a tasty treat and would upturn anything to get to it. Joe broke out all the tricks and tools he could to catch whatever it was that was damaging his lawn. Toy wind mills, automatic sprinkler, and chemical sprays. The arsenal was released.

Isn’t that the way the enemy is with us? There are so many things buried deep inside of us, and the enemy just dives in and brings them to the surface to cause upheaval in our lives. If we don’t deal with those unearthed issues, they can cause a lot of damage and turn into bigger things. The buried “grubs” in our lives can be seen in forms that we don’t like such as anger, control, judgment, unforgiveness, etc. The list goes on and on. The Bible calls these “little foxes.”

“Catch for us the foxes, the little foxes that ruin the vineyards, our vineyards that are in bloom” (Song of Songs 2:15).

So what do we do with these “foxes?” We can ignore them, allowing them to permeate our relationships or we can deal with them. More importantly, they keep us from growing in Christ. It’s important to realize that the foxes want to ruin the truth of what Jesus did for us…making us new and holy. The enemy just wants to knock down that realization. Why? Because the truth of who we really are and the freedom that Jesus offers us is the way to defeat the goal of the enemy. The enemy wants to keep us as far away from the love and life of Christ, so he causes pain and turmoil through the “foxes.”

The skunk that has been attacking our lawn has been sneaky. He comes in the middle of the night when things are quiet, and no one is looking. No surprise that this is how the enemy works, too. Thankfully, the Holy Spirit will capture the foxes in our lives. Getting into God’s word and with surrender to his Spirit, we make progress. It’s in those times of quiet that God will speak to us and healing begins.

“So I say, live by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the sinful nature. For the sinful nature desires what is contrary to the Spirit and the Spirit what is contrary to the sinful nature. They are in conflict with each other, so that you do not do what you want. But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under law” (Galatians 5:16-18)

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

I Can't Remember

I’ve been lazy. I let my guard down, and found my confidence shaken. A few weeks ago, I participated in several business functions where I observed some interactions I was not a part of. Slowly, I started experiencing feelings that seemed to pull the rug right out from under me. I felt jealous, left out, angry and longing to be included. Where did those feelings come from? Wherever it was, I didn’t like it. The possibility that this could have been some sort of stealth, spiritual attack didn’t even cross my mind until later.

I often kid about how I forget things, but this time, it was all too real. I had forgotten the truth. The truth of what it means to be a woman who is loved by God. Unconditionally and relentlessly. Forgetting the truth made me lose my footing, causing me to walk off the solid ground He has given me. To look towards others to make me feel accepted and secure.

Thankfully, God is not lazy! He does not let his guard down. He is always ready to fight for me. Willing to rescue me from the grip of the one who is always ready to knock me down by feeding me lies. Lies that make my heart crumble and make me vulnerable to things that steal my joy and peace.

So how did God rescue me? He used the people in my life...people I trusted, to give me words of encouragement and truth. He surrounded me with his Spirit through his word and through the love of others. I just had to receive it. Something that is hard for someone like me to do.  So, I chose to receive.

A friend sent me this scripture: I pray God, the source of hope, will fill you completely with joy and peace because you trust in Him. Then you will overflow with confident hope through the power of the Holy Spirit. Romans 15:13

So today, I am asking the Holy Spirit to gently, yet firmly remind me that God is always present, fighting for me minute by minute. I need to be careful with the idea of "self"-confidence. Confidence is good as long as you know where it is coming from. I’ve seen how I fall short of making it happen. I know that my strength comes from Him, not from my “self” or from wanting others to feed my “self”.  Seeking that, just doesn’t work.

God continues to work on my heart and mind. Sometimes it’s one step forward, two steps back for me. Thankfully, He is faithful! He created me and I am his joy. Nothing will ever change that.

And I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from God's love. Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither our fears for today nor our worries about tomorrow--not even the powers of hell can separate us from God's love. Romans 8:38-39

You have given me your shield of victory. Your right hand supports me; your help has made me great. You have made a wide path for my feet to keep them from slipping. Psalm 18:35-36