{Graditude} God, Veterans, & USA

As we all know, this Monday will be Memorial Day. Many throughout the country have plans set or at least something in the making via plans — whether it is a parade, picnic, family gathering, or time spent doing nothing. Perhaps, maybe you are scheduled to work because you are a nurse or aid — whatever the case may be we all know that it is Memorial Day and the weekend is upon us.

I am reminded once again of our great country. Oh, I know we can easily find fault in it somewhere or in someone, but before we get sidetracked, let’s not — for we do indeed have much to be thankful for! Like our freedom!

  • Before I even continue any further, I would like to thank all of you who have either served our great USA in the past or today are actively serving. Though we may not personally know one another — in our home, your sacrifice (your families sacrifice) is not forgotten. We rejoice in our God-given freedom and know that freedom is NOT free, nor will it ever be. We thank YOU!
  • I think of those who gave their lives, WE REMEMBER; for you have not given in vain. Though your families grieve the most [which we grieve with them], in our home, we choose to remember and not forget we are free — our lives would be far different if it weren’t for brave men and women who didn’t serve this great country we call America! Thank you!
  • There is one other person I’d liked to thank…my Navy man. I am proud of my husband and his service to our country. He stands strong as a reminder. He is a truly a man of God. [super-incredibly-thankful for him!] Thank you! 

So the weekend is happening. Monday is fastly approaching. Whatever plans you may have — or not have, may I encourage you to STOP and take a few minutes to: 

1) Thank the Lord for your freedom. 

  • Seriously, you could be living in another country where let’s just say, things could be MUCH different! You are blessed!

2) Thank a veteran.

  • Whether it is at a parade, in a checkout line or at a gas station or your neighbor — thank a vet! Maybe invite one to your picnic!

3) Take time to pray for our country.

  • America needs our prayer.

  • America needs to keep God first.

  • Psalm 33:12-13 “Blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord; and the people whom he hath chosen for his own inheritance.  The Lord looketh from heaven; he beholdeth all the sons of men.”

  • 2 Chronicles 7:14 “If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.”


Have a safe, memory-thankful-filled Memorial Day. 

the Armor of God: Prayer [Really???]

What is the armor of God and truthfully, do we really need it?

Have you ever wondered why we need to fight or for that matter ‘wear’ such spiritual garments? Why we must do this so-called fighting that quite frankly we do not even ‘see’ – or do we?

I believe we all would say that we have fought a battle or two in our life time whether it was with our kids, our in-laws, our parents, possibly our spouse, or maybe even God.

But one of the most troubling battles we face [more than we care to realize] are not the things that we ‘perceive’ with our five sense – but rather everything else that is unseen. Don’t get me wrong, we certainly wrestle here on earth and it’s directly related to the visible and invisible, but we must not forget that the invisible is REAL – much more than we care to reckon. So before we disregard its presence, let’s take a little look.

My Pastor, who is also my husband, said a few months ago in a Sunday morning worship service, “Remember who your REAL enemy is! It is not those sitting next to you here at church; it is not those who live in your home or extended family members; it is not the workplace, the store, that slow driver in front of you that is ‘making you late’; it is not people; it is not God – it is the DEVIL. Your real enemy is the devil!” [Pastor Richard Woodruff] We must remember who the real enemy is!

The devil (aka: satan – who is the great deceiver) wants you to ignore the spiritual reality behind your physical reality. Why? It is to his best interest and your greatest destruction; for he knows that as long as you are focused on what you physically ‘see’ with your eyes, he can continue his dirty deeds and run rampant underneath the surface. This only happens when we are personally distracted, unfocused, (mind, heart, spirit) on the things that do not matter most.

Isn’t that so wicked – oh wait a minute…he is wickedness, he is not our friend…he is the greatest deceiver! Following me, yet?!

My friends, it is not for us to live in fear over the devil, but rather live in wisdom, knowledge and understanding of who and what our enemy is and capable of – but more importantly resting in the power of knowing who our God is and who we are through Jesus Christ.

Remember we have already won the battle, but don’t live foolishly – the enemy may be invisible, but he is not fictional. He is present. Real. He wants to destroy you! He is persistent. Consistent.

Do not think for one moment that because you are a believer in Jesus Christ you have immunity; quite frankly you have a bulls-eye on your forehead. You are the target. Don’t allow this to scare you but rather remember WHO resides within you? GOD! This means you are fully loaded; fully empowered; 100% equipped, power-filled by the Father Himself [now if that doesn’t give you goosebumps] to defend anything and everything, even when we don’t understand — yet we trust. [what God-love. God-grace. God-comfort!]

So, how does one defend, reload, and stand strong?

  1. PRAY! [Yep] Pray! You may be laughing at me right now, but it is true. You may be thinking “how in the world does praying help you win the battle?” For starters, read Ephesians. Paul highlights one of the most important [yet most overlooked aspects] spiritual armor – PRAYER! Without communicating with God over the battles – you’re done! Without His inward strength coming through us from time spend in prayer and in His Word – you’re done! Prayer brings His plan. His vision. At times His purpose. We cannot do what He wants if we do not know what He requires. Communication! Paul esteemed prayer so critical to the victory over satan’s power in our lives/during these battles – maybe we should take note, just maybe! [what do you think?]
  2. Study out the armor of God – allow it to become you!
  3. You want to see personal victories – PRAY – for there is victory in spiritual warfare when prayer is practiced. Don’t be afraid of it – just do it!

    “I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened, so that you will know what is the hope of His calling, what are the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints, [19] and what is the surpassing greatness of His power toward us who believe. These are in accordance with the working of the strength of His might [20] which He brought about in Christ, when He raised Him from the dead and seated Him at His right hand in the heavenly places, [21] far above all rule and authority and power and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this age but also in the one to come”

    Ephesians 1:18-21.

    Me & My Rake

         It’s 12 noon. My heart is heavy and my soul has been fighting a battle for the past couple of hours and honestly, it feels much later than noon. The battle has been in body, soul and mind — all warring within. I must confess, my fighting battle has been over leaves.    Yep, you read me right! LEAVES! 

         Can I set the scene for you? You see, we live in a wonderful neighborhood. A very lovely, quiet street filled with homes built around the 60’s and 70’s, two cul-de-sacs, only one way in and that same way out. You are fully aware of every person that passing your house whether it is your neighbor or someone seeing your neighbor, or the UPS/FedEx driver or the mailman. Anyone else is a ‘stranger’ and everyone on our streets knows it. Our street is lined with the gorgeous, aged, mature oak trees, nicely decorated lawns and turkey’s that come every night at 5pm. We even have occasional deer that pass through.

         These oak trees are lovely in full bloom. In the Spring, we are reminded of new life and God’s goodness. In summer, we are drawn to give thanks for the cooling shade they bring to our back yards. But there is dark side to these majestic oak trees that I wasn’t aware of — they bring hours of work! As beautiful as fall is, I have begun to realize that oak trees have a lot of leaves and where oak tree are, there are leaves; and where there are leaves, there is a lot of work come fall. This is where my struggle began yesterday morning.

    Can you picture it?

    Blue sky. The sun is warm. All is peaceful. Even the squirrels are happy. Then I gaze. (you most pause here and picture it…I gaaaaaaaaaaaaze) I look at our awesome neighbors. I see their John Deer tractors; I hear their leaf blowers; I see them using their machines that suck up the leaves off their lawns with such ease and the to dispose those leaves — that’s a piece of cake! 

    Then I choose.

    Me.

    I look at my rake.

    Me and my rake! I gaze at our yard and see it begin to magnify before my very eyes.

         The task begin. One stroke at a time. I was trying. Really I was. Trying to conquer our very large yard all by hand, but it didn’t take long before it started. My mind and heart started very own battle. The war of discontent. Envy. Bitterness. Complaining. It all started to fester and what was seen was all the work that needed to be done and all what we didn’t have to complete this leaf-task job. I might as well have climbed Mt. Everest. It didn’t matter. It was huge!

         I struggled because I knew that I shouldn’t be thinking such thoughts, but it happened…discontentment had taken root. “We must be the poorest folks on our street – well at least financially” I told myself. (I did try to spiritualize it) “What a waste of my time, I could be doing….(and I had a whole list of things that I told myself).” “There are a million other things I could be doing right now” and “Why doesn’t our neighbors help us, don’t they see?” “Leaves! More leaves. I don’t want to rake another leaf in my life ever again!” Then the pressures of my “to do list” did begin to mount. There I was. Outside on this beautiful fall day with that baby blue skies. One of the kids was helping Daddy, the others at play and singing, and there I was complaining to my rake (yes, I was talking to my rake!)  Painfully, I did indeed finish my piles – all four of them – all half of the front yard! But, I was done — attitude and all! 

       I went inside after rounding up the children and told them I needed to pray. I knew my heart attitude and thoughts were wrong, but sadly they didn’t change until I went into the house and chose to pray! I needed to go into the sanctuary of God (at this point it was my bedroom with the door closed) It didn’t take long for God to reveal my sin. (God has a sense of humor and a way with my heart!)

         As I began praying, in love the Lord began revealing this girl’s true colors. My heart was so filled with self, discontentment, complaining, pride, comparison, envy, anger, and I confessed right there and then {with a lot of tears}.

    How foolish I was today! Very very foolish!

    I wish I could turn the clock back. Reverse my selfishness, my foolish choice to rather bathe in discontent (and all the above) and replace it with seeing God’s goodness, provisions, and blessings. I wish I could take back the time I wasted, but I cannot. Those moments lost — lost forever.

         We all know that time lost is lost time. We can never get it back. It is forever either wasted or forever wisely used. Though forgiven, my decision to waste this precious time on such foolishness is time lost and it hinder my relationship with God — I lost out! It bring sadness to my soul for I could have done so much more than murmur and complain. My rake and I could have had God and I time.  

    Phil. 2: 11-17 “And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. Wherefore, my beloved, as ye have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling. For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure. Do all things without murmurings and disputings: That ye may be blameless and harmless, the sons of God, without rebuke, in the midst of a crooked and perverse nation, among whom ye shine as lights in the world; Holding forth the word of life; that I may rejoice in the day of Christ, that I have not run in vain, neither laboured in vain. Yea, and if I be offered upon the sacrifice and service of your faith, I joy, and rejoice with you all.”  Ephesians 5:16 “Redeeming the time…” 

    My I never talk with that rake ever again — unless it is giving God the glory for the leaves it is helping to clean up. My this soul of mine remember to be thankful in all things!

    How are you doing?

    Praying for you friend, Colleen

    In Christ I Am SHE {Saved. Hopeful. Empowered.}