Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Gotta Prepare With The Right Stuff

There are days I have a hard time dealing with folks. Gosh, I even have a hard time dealing with myself. Doubt slips in and I hear the words, "You can't do it. You just don't have what it takes." Crabbiness can overtake me and all it takes is one person to say the wrong thing and I am ready to explode. I battle my flesh on a daily basis. Most of the time I am my own worst enemy. I allow Satan to enter my mind and once he is there, gosh, the heart is soon to follow and I am having one mountain of a bad day.

As the day comes to end I'm wondering, why in the world did I say that to my son? I find my words were not encouraging, but more discouraging. I am then going to my son asking him to forgive me. My hubs can say, "Wow babe, that's a big bowl of ice cream", and before anything else can be said, I am there with the words, "What, you saying I'm fat?" I am that girl with an A-T-T-I-TUDE!

You know those days. Your head is already pounding. Nothing is going as planned. Your tired from the day before. Did I even sleep last night? The chores are waiting and you don't even have time for coffee. You think you have lost your glasses. After spending hours looking for them, you now realize they have been on your face the entire time. The kids are bickering. The dog is no longer begging to go outside as she has all ready done her business in the floor. The afternoon arrives and you realize your not even dressed yet. That chicken you planned for dinner is still in the freezer and your husband will be home in an hour. The UPS man knocks on the door and you now wish you had combed your hair.

We each have those days of craziness. Each filled with something to tempt us. I back up and realize that I didn't begin my day with the Lord. I usually pray before my feet hit the floor. Not today. I wake and have coffee as I do my devotionals. Not today. I just skipped God and moved about my busy day. Yes, you know don't you? I can always tell the days I begin in the Word from those days I leave the Lord behind. On this day I am reminded to back up and start again. I take out my devotional.
Don't you love it when the Lord gives you exactly what you need? It may not be what we want to hear at the time, but friends, it's what we need. There is nothing sweeter than being washed by the grace of God. The verse that is the reading for today is Ephesians 6:11-13 "Put on the full armor of God so that you can stand against the tactics of the Devil. For our battle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against darkness, against the rulers, against the authorities, against the world powers of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavens. This is why you must take up the full armor of God, so that you may be able to resist in the evil day, and having prepared everything, to take your stand."

That is exactly it. I woke that day of just falling short of growing legs like a crab. I didn't begin my day in the Word. I wasn't prepared for the junk Satan was going to throw my way. He is the master at deceiving us. He will try everything to stop us from completing God's purpose in the day. I can honestly tell you, he had a hold of me on this very day. I was not only feeling angry, but down on myself. You know how anger creeps in and pretty soon your now lost in the anger of the last sixty days. It's like he brings everything to the forefront to throw you off balance. Have you been there?

What I love about this verse is the last sentence. The last four words. "To take your stand." Yes, God wants us to be prepared for every situation. He wants us to be focused on Him and be aware of the evil around us. He too wants us to stand! I am to stand and tell Satan, "Get behind me Satan, because it is the Lord who is leading me today and always!"

We prepare for everything in life. What better way can we prepare than to prepare our hearts, minds and soul for the day ahead? It doesn't matter what happens. As long as we focus on Jesus, He is going to move in the situation. I need to shift from having an attitude to being one of gratitude. Just think about how much our day changes when we simply start praising the Lord for each and every blessing. That's good stuff right there.

I dug a little deeper into the Word and I realize there is more we can do. Yes, we put on the armor. We protect ourselves against the attacks of the enemy, but is there anything we should be taking off? Yes indeed! As we put on the armor there are some things the Lord wants us to remove from our thought and heart.

"But now you must also put away all the following: anger, wrath, malice, slander, and filthy language from your mouth. Do not lie to one another, since you have put off the old self with its practices and have put on the new self. You are being renewed in knowledge according to the image of your Creator." Colossians 3:6-10

"And don't grieve the Holy Spirit. You were sealed by Him for the day of redemption. All bitterness, anger and wrath, shouting and slander must be removed from you, along with all malice. And be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving one another, just as God also forgave you in Christ." Ephesians 4:30-32

Yes, we have the Holy Spirit to lead us in this battle. He is here within us to warn us, to protect us and to give us what we need to stand. God is so good to meet us right where we are. He equips us for the battle. Tells us what to put off and what to put on for the day. When I remain focused on these things I am strengthened through my Savior. There is nothing that can hold me down.

I begin to pray. I go through the armor. I remove all the ugly stuff. I take it off garment by garment. It's all that stuff that gets in the way. It's then I place on the armor. I then remember, I am sealed with the Holy Spirit. Friends, that should have us on our feet and ready to go for whatever the Lord has waiting for us in our day. There is nothing for us to fear as He surrounds us with protection and fills us with strength.

When those ugly thoughts begin to creep back in I  look to scripture. Again as the Lord is calling us to dress in His armor, He too fills us with the gifts of the Spirit.  "But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faith, gentleness, self-control. Against such things there is no law." Galatians 5:22-23 As I concentrate on each one I am filling with a new peace. I feel the Spirit moving in me. Yes, this is just what I needed. I may have had an ugly beginning to my day, but the Lord understands. He meets me right where I am and He knows exactly how to turn it around.



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