Tag Archives: Perserverance

Knights in Daze

Photo: © Jørgen Erik Christensen

Photo: © Jørgen Erik Christensen

Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand (Ephesians 6:13).

Like any good soldier, I put my armor on daily –at least most of it- but this old armor is dented, scratched and tarnished from battle. Come to think of it, so is my husband’s. I can only look back with amusement to those long-ago days when I, like most foolish schoolgirls, dreamt of my very own knight in shining armor whisking me away to the land of happily ever-after.

My knight did finally come along –and he was tall, dark and handsome- but his armor was certainly not fancy or impressive. Truthfully, I wouldn’t have had it any other way. Yes, I could have settled for some dazzling knight in shining armor. Nevertheless, by the time my would-be husband entered my life I had matured enough to realize that true warriors were experienced in battle and their armors were well-worn. The Lord had sent me a man who was quiet and unpretentious on the outside but spiritually robust inwardly. I knew that whatever battles we would face in life, my rugged knight would be up for the fight.

That is not to say, however, that we have never been injured in battle. The Bible says that we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places (Ephesians 6:12). Therefore, the battles we face are often arduous and exhausting, leaving us battle-weary and dazed.

Consequently, putting on the full armor of God is absolutely essential if we are to overcome these forces. Scripture instructs us to put on the armor so that we can withstand (resist) in the evil day, having done all, to stand. The Greek word for stand, pronounced his’-tay-mee, is speaking of abiding in steadfast faithfulness.

In other words; if we clothe ourselves in our spiritual armor each day -which is truth, righteousness, peace, faith, and salvation- we will be equipped to overcome every battle –never faltering in our relationship with the Lord and never retreating from His service.

The whole concept of medieval knights has been greatly glamorized over time, but in reality the average knight, although well-respected, rarely achieved the fame and status that modern legend has portrayed. Though born of nobility, they were very hard-working soldiers who were trained in battle from the earliest days of their youth. They devoted their entire lives to serving their lords and protecting the general populace, laying down their own lives when necessary. The knights of old, like soldiers of Christ, never retreated from service.

Furthermore, the average knight rarely wore a shining, unblemished armor. Those who did were generally the lazy, uncaring men who flaunted their wealth and self-professed superiority. These men loved to don their most elaborate armor and participate in exhibition events. Not much has changed. There are a lot of folks walking around in shiny spiritual armor. They may look the part, but I would much rather be surrounded by the soldiers in God’s army whose armors show signs of use.

Why? Because there are times when I need other warriors to fight on my behalf. Sometimes “I drop my sword and cry for just awhile, ‘cause deep inside this armor, the warrior is a child. Unafraid because His armor is the best, but even soldiers need a quiet place to rest…” (Twila Paris song, The Warrior is a Child)

What about you? Do you feel that life’s battles have left you battle-weary and dazed? Jesus lovingly admonished: Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest (Matthew 11:28).

The seasons of rest we now enjoy may be temporary, but always remember, someday soon the Lord will return to whisk us all away to the land of happy ever-after. I can hardly wait. Till then, I plan to keep this battered old armor; it has served me well.

Feeble Weeble

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Like many of my tenacious, long-suffering friends, I’m a Weeble. If you are young enough that you’ve never listened to an eight-track tape or watched ABC’s After School Specials on television, you probably don’t have a clue what I’m talking about- in which case I will explain. Weebles™, created by the Hasbro Company in the 1970’s, started out as small egg-shaped toys that were made to look like people. Because they were weighted on the bottom, you could push them over but they popped right back up. Just about every child growing up in that era knew that “Weebles™ wobble but they don’t fall down.”

I keep that little motto tucked somewhere in my repository of coping techniques for those times when I am unexpectedly knocked down by life. I occasionally face problems with bulldog tenacity and say, “It’s going to take a lot more than that to keep me down- I’m a Weeble!”

I’m not always that unbending though; sometimes I am a more of a feeble Weeble; I still manage to get back up, just not as quickly or as easily. During those times I have to consciously remind myself that although my burdens may have weighed me down, I can choose to let that work for me, not against me. In the same way that the heavily weighted portion of a Weeble toy allows it to spring back up, the same principle can apply to us human Weebles.

How so? Our suffering usually causes us to rely upon God even more; I have even seen self-proclaimed atheists cry out to God when the burden was too heavy. It is human nature to allow our exceedingly heavy afflictions, and our heavy hearts, to knock us down. In this condition, it is never easy to get back up. Nevertheless, when we put our trust in God and His promises, we begin to see things in a whole new light. We begin to realize that: …this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison (2 Corinthians 4:17 NAS©1995).

Notice that it is eternal glory that is weighty (in a good way), not the affliction. The burden may knock us down for a short while, but understanding God’s incredible promises, like the one above, lightens our hearts. It is the contrast of this lightness in the midst of heaviness that gives all “feeble Weebles” the ability to spring back up.

Paul is in no way trying to minimize the crushing blows that we all face in our lives from time-to-time time. Rather, he is reminding us that our afflictions are really not as devastating as we first perceive them to be when compared to the glory of eternity. In fact, our afflictions serve ultimately for our benefit.

Peter explains this well:

These trials will show that your faith is genuine. It is being tested as fire tests and purifies gold–though your faith is far more precious than mere gold. So when your faith remains strong through many trials, it will bring you much praise and glory and honor on the day when Jesus Christ is revealed to the whole world. (I Peter 1:7 NLT©2007)

Having said that, next time you are knocked-down by life’s blows, why not face that problem doggedly and say, “You can’t keep me down; I’m a Weeble.”
 weeble father

Like A Flood

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Where have I been for the last few months, you might ask? Truthfully, I have been battling a rather serious health issue; one that has knocked me down more than once, but rest assured, I’m not down for the count. In fact, I plan to resume blogging now, despite my weakened condition. But first, I want to share a post from my archives because it seemed very appropriate amid the physical and emotional storms that so many are facing. I will share this post both here, and on my Rays of Light page, but check back soon because no matter what, God’s mercies are too great to keep silent and I will, Lord willing, be adding new posts to both sites very soon.

Today, as I gazed upon the brightest, most beautiful sky that I have seen in weeks, I couldn’t help but think of those living in flood-ravaged areas; and right now, there are plenty of those. I also wept for a few dear friends who are going through some very devastating storms in their personal lives. It seems that so many of us are going through heavy storms of one type or another. Don’t give up, friends, even when those storms seem to come against you………..

LIKE A FLOOD

Sometimes God calms the storm. Sometimes He lets the storm rage and calms His child.

This past weekend, the weather here was horrendous. We were hit with the whole gamut of storm threats, including tornadoes, hail and flooding. In fact the hail stone pictured –or should I say hail boulder- was one of many that pounded this region. There was quite a bit of property loss in our area, but praise the LORD, there were no serious injuries.

hail

I thought of the second half of Isaiah 59:19: When the enemy shall come in like a flood, the Spirit of the LORD shall lift up a standard against him. However, the ancient Hebrew texts did not have commas, or paragraphs for that matter, so instead of reading:

When the enemy shall come in like a flood —the Spirit of the LORD shall lift up a standard against him

the verse could just as easily read

When the enemy shall come in —like a flood, the Spirit of the LORD shall lift up a standard against him.

What’s the difference? The difference is where you place the emphasis. Dear reader, when you are bombarded with the storms of life, do you focus more on the storm, or on the one who can calm it?

It is only natural to feel completely overwhelmed at times. Undoubtedly, many of the folks here that lost their homes in the tornadoes felt that way. I’m sure they could relate to the words of King David did when he penned the following:

My heart is in anguish within me;
the terrors of death have fallen on me.
Fear and trembling have beset me;
horror has overwhelmed me.
I said, “Oh, that I had the wings of a dove!
I would fly away and be at rest.
I would hurry to my place of shelter,
far from the tempest and storm.
Psalm 55:4-8 NIV

But David didn’t stop there, allowing his situation to flood him with despair. Instead, he confidently proclaimed, “As for me, I will call upon God; and the LORD shall save me” (verse 16).

Dear reader, I leave you with these encouraging words from the same Psalm; may they flood you with peace during your roughest storms.

“Cast thy burden upon the LORD, and he shall sustain thee: he shall never suffer the righteous to be moved (verse 22).

(Like a Flood originally posted April 2012)

Depths of Despair

cross on bible

“Can’t you even imagine you’re in the depths of despair?” Anne (of Green Gables) asked. “No I cannot,” was the reply. “To despair is to turn your back on God.”

Although I see Mirilla’s point, I don’t entirely agree. The Lord God understands all of our human frailty and our pain, even when we slip into the “depths of despair”  and I am very grateful that he does. Even though I am a person of faith, I felt pretty far down in those depths recently, because the last month has been an extremely difficult one; filled with an overwhelming amount of emotional pain.

Thankfully, the Lord never forsakes us in our time of need. While I sat in the therapeutic massage chair at my chiropractor’s office, feeling the wonderful relief of muscles relaxing, I enjoyed the soothing instrumental music. Aside from the sweet presence of the Lord, I was alone in the room at the time and therefore felt comfortable quietly singing the lyrics  to myself:

“… My sin—oh, the bliss of this glorious thought!—
My sin, not in part but the whole,
Is nailed to the cross, and I bear it no more,
Praise the Lord, praise the Lord, O my soul!”

Very gently, the Lord spoke to my heart and reminded me to nail my burdens to the cross and bear them no more. As a Christian, I know to do that, but sometimes, I get so distracted with pain and such, I simply don’t relax in the promises of the Lord; promises for peace and comfort. Can you relate?

Today, I am reminded of the thirtieth chapter of I Samuel. When King David and his men returned to their city and found it burned, and all the women [and children] carried away captive, David was “greatly distressed” yet he “encouraged himself in the Lord his God.”

Dear reader, we are only human; we will experience pain, and sometimes we might even feel that we are in the “depths of despair.” Surely, the apostle Paul felt this way at times, but he too encouraged himself in the Lord. I’m sure he never denied feeling despair, but he boldly denied its right to remain. We can certainly learn from his example. He encouraged others by reminding them, as I now remind you:

“We are troubled on every side, yet not distressed; we are perplexed, but not in despair; Persecuted, but not forsaken; cast down, but not destroyed…” 2 Corinthians 4:8-9

<< To read the incredible account of  why   “It is Well with my Soul”  was written,  click here: IN THE MIDST OF PAIN, GOD! >>

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Walking Upon Possibilities

soldier

“Permanence, perseverance and persistence in spite of all obstacles, discouragements, and impossibilities: It is this that in all things distinguishes the strong soul from the weak.” Thomas Carlyle, Scottish Historian.

Sitting in a crowded waiting room this past week, I watched a very young girl make her way slowly across the room. Tears pooled in my eyes at the thought that this crippled child would have to use crutches for the rest of her life. But she wasn’t the least bit sad. From the sweet, careless smile which lit her innocent face, it was quite obvious that she didn’t give her legs a second thought.

I was reminded of William Pitt the Elder, a British Politician, who was an extremely influential figure during the French Revolution. What Pitt lacked in physical strength, he more than made up for in determination. The concept of limitation was a foreign one to him.

Though he rarely delegated duty, he had at some point during the war given a direct command to one of his officials. When the man balked at the impossibility of the task, Pitt reprimanded him by pointing to his crutches and confidently declared: “Sir, I walk upon impossibilities!”

There is no question that all of humanity is currently facing difficulty and hardship. The future holds many uncertainties and without God, I believe, little hope. With God, however, there is much hope because with God all things are possible (Matthew 19:26).

Whatever you are going through right now, dear reader, remember that we may all lose a few battles, but we will most assuredly win the war. Now is not the time to give in to discouragement; there is too much work to do. It may be difficult, but let us all rise to the challenge.

Marie Currie, French physicist and Nobel Peace Prize winner summarized this well. She said “Life is not easy for any of us. But what of that…. We must believe that we are gifted for something, and that this thing, at whatever cost, must be attained.”

It is far too easy to allow circumstances to cripple us. And when they do, we can choose to accept them as insurmountable, henceforth hobbling on emotional crutches. Or we can look them squarely in the face and declare, as Mr. Pitt did, “I walk upon impossibilities!” Let me remind you again, with God nothing shall be impossible (Luke 1:37).