cover

‘Live as people who are free, not using your freedom as a cover-up for evil, but living as servants of God.’ [1 Peter 2:16]

As believers in this day and age I think we cover up a lot of things…sin, real-self, feelings…I could go on…

But as we walk in this world we need to be making sure what we are covering up isn’t our belief in life beyond this world. That we are not covering up our faith with the expectations of our American culture. That we are not covering up the things we want to teach our children with excuses of sports and other curricular activities.

We are meant to walk on this earth for a reason, and it is a lot of fun to take advantage of the things in this world.

But not at the expense of our commitment to Jesus, because he has a lot of something for you to do here and now. As a believer, as a family and as a community.

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I actually wrote this post by lantern light, because our power had gone out because of a snowstorm.

My mission journal has a myriad of thoughts in it. It also looks cool, African cool, but if I kept all of the things I’ve learned at conferences, from Bible study and the books I am reading for myself…what good are those thoughts?

The point is to get beyond the cover, allow people in…and let them see what God has taught you. It is the exact same with our belief in Christ…his sacrifice…his message…

It is meant to be shared and not kept to yourself. That does mean grabbing ahold of some courage…because this world has wandered further and further away from the heart of God. But that also means we get to share truth, love and offer ourselves as guides…as servants of the living God.

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evil

Evil.

Easy to despise. Easy to be put yourself on the opposing side. Easy to speak out against. Easy to hate the villain.

Also…easy to find yourself slipping into…

How many times have I said something hateful?

How many times have I done something mean?

So often I find myself amidst the struggle of more God verses more…not God.

It is easy to try and explain away…we are human and that struggle is real. It is sin, ask for forgiveness.

And the alternative gives credence to there being powers that work against us. That darkness exists in very real forms. And worse of all…that there is real evil in our world.

We want to believe everything is sunshine, rainbows and white puffy clouds.

And just to be clear, I’m not referring to the pessimists and optimists. I am talking about the guy who tempted Jesus in the desert. The one who possessed people and the disciples had to drive out. The one who convinced a disciple to betray Jesus. I hate even saying the name, but most have sensed the reality in some way.

Discernment…knowing the difference between good and evil. It is one of those gifts that is hard to explain, because if you have that gift it registers different for each person. But you sense there is something dark and ominous. Or maybe in your brightest most Holy Spirit moment…you know there is something that is working against you. To break you, and break your hold on God’s truth.

Because evil is not truth. Evil is lies.

Because evil is not good. Evil is bad.

Because evil does not want happiness for you.

It wants to destroy you simply because you love Jesus.

Paul even writes in several of his letters instructing and encouraging the believers to arm themselves. To be ready and not to give in to temptation that would tear them away from the light of God.

Put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. [Ephesians 6:11-13]

TS2I have never felt so profoundly that I was walking with God, and there was an extreme power working against me than when I was in China for a summer. In a place than can have so much hospitality, beauty and beautiful people, we were most definitely making waves with good vs. evil. And when you think about it, God has been doing something incredible in China for many years. Missionaries have risked their lives to bring the message of truth to the Chinese who want to believe. When you look at it that way, of course the scale tips for good and evil wants to fight it.

So, how do you fight? How do you stand? Well, first you have to get seriously pissed off. Get mad that something is working so hard against the God we serve and loves us unconditionally, even when we slip and give evil a helping hand.

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Then…get on your knees. I know for a fact that prayer warriors get the job done. I’ve seen it happen, and I’ve seen change through prayer.

Then…get in God’s word. I know the power of God’s word when you are grounded in it. I just wish I was all-around good at staying in scripture without some pissed-off motivation to send me back to it.

Then…get accountability. I know for a fact that I am stronger with others fighting beside me, and holding me accountable to the Christian life I have chosen to live. God’s word says that the devil prowls around like a lion waiting to devour us. Jesus said he was sending them out like sheep amongst the wolves. When we are separated from each other, we are weak. It is a really bad choice to be alone.

Then…have faith and hope, because God wins in the end. We just have to help him fight along the way.

Here’s to you winning a battle today.

wonder

Wonder. Such a fabulous word. Curiosity…so similar.

I am completely guilty of being enamored with snowflakes. I am absolutely giddy when I see perfect snowflakes. I love snow…and seeing absolute perfection in frozen form mesmerizes me as I inspect each of the pointed ends.

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Truly, I experience the same wonder with sunsets. So beautiful, and none the same. When the clouds like up in perfect succession to reflect the receding sun…my fingers itch for my camera to capture the one of a kind views. Even when the result shades in comparison to the real view.

How wonderful that each are unique in their creation…much like our uniqueness as God’s creation.

As much as we experience wonder at the beauty of God’s creation…I think he experiences the same wonder of how beautifully he created us. Each unique. Each filled with purpose. Each individually called. Each a child of God.

So I leave you with the thought of how God gently, proudly wonders at your perfection…in his eyes. Despite our imperfections…God sees you in your beauty and perfection. Rest in that, my friends.