Everything Changes… And Repeat

I am beginning to notice a trend to my postings, whether on this blog or my Mission Possible! site. I seem to keep saying, in one form or another, that everything changes.

For the last 14 years or so, this seems to be so very true. Sometimes the changes come so fast and furious that they are hard to keep up with. Some changes are joyous and fun and others can be heartbreaking. Some, just make you stop in your track, causing you to need to remind yourself to breath.

But that’s ok! Seriously, it’s ok to stop, take a few deep breaths (however long that takes!), and take stock of what just happened in the light of everywhere you’ve been, knew and understood and believe, and where know you’re headed – dreams, hopes and visions, prophecies, promises and the like. And Truth. Where does this fit in the bigger picture. If it’s God, it will reveal it’s Truth in the scheme of His timeline and purposes. It will, though maybe not immediately, begin to make perfect sense and become a solid reality, as if it had belonged there all along. NOTE! This could also be the catalyst for needed adjustments and changes! Changes in behaviors and attitudes as well as adjustments in beliefs… HE is always tweaking and aligning!

Anyone who’s ever gone through any traumatic event KNOWS that NOTHING looks the same or carries the same weight, importance or meaning afterwards. EVERYTHING looks different!!

Sure seems like I’ve been here a lot in the last handful of months. (not tragedies, just trying!!!) Some of those junctures have been painful, often resulting in some letting go – which when you know how good this can be gets easier since you know there’s fruit in doing so; with the real possibility that in time what’s been released will be later restored.

Fortunately, in recent weeks, the changes have been fast and furious but nearly painless. Or maybe the pain of birth has just been forgotten with the joy of it’s arrival. We are in a new day in the great timeline of eternity, and things are changing quickly.

In the same manner that scientists are discovering realities they never saw before, God is revealing more and more of who He is, who we are and it’s sometimes mind blowing and breath taking. There is NO LIMIT to God – HE is without limit. I just turned 52 and have spent a lifetime believing and in relationship, and I am still being astounded by what is being revealed.

That’s where I’ve been in the last couple of days. I’m faced with a truth that I just have no grid for, but I know its real. I actually love that God does this. It’s keeps us fresh and hungering for more and open to the new that He wants to show us. Religion so quickly boxes us in. We get solid in our beliefs, and some of our foundational beliefs had better be, or we will be swept away where we do NOT want to be swept away to and by. Some of what we believed to be rock solid and immovable turned out not to be so true, or was just one layer of the truth to be built upon. But truth be told, His ways are not our ways, and His thoughts not our thoughts. His thinking and ways of doing are on such a higher plane than ours. He sees, moves, etc. with eternity in perspective – He sees the end from the beginning. And He knows exactly how to get us to our end, nothing escapes His gaze.

So once again, I’ll stand in this space of wonder and inquire and enjoy the mystery that is unfolding while I wait for the ‘how’ I fit in or maneuver in this new dimension of truth.

Preparing to Stand: The Full Armor vs the devil’s Tactics

“Finally, be strengthened by the Lord and by His vast strength. 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 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. Ephesians 6:11-13 (HCSB)

Ok. Without a doubt, the devil loves to plot against humanity. He is full of plans, schemes and war tactics. He will attack overtly and covertly, obviously and oh sooo subtlely. Unfortunately, we often learn the ways of his offenses the hard way. UGH! But God does not leave us defenseless. In fact, in this passage, He is preparing us to be on the offensive!

Standing in this passage brings to mind a soldier on a hill, in full battle array, banner staked in the ground beside him, sword in hand, heels dug in – immovable.. taking his stand. We are given promises, prophetic words, dreams and visions – often I believe, so that we can stand immovable until they can come to pass. Funny thing about a good strong message from the Lord, it’s hard to shrug off and just forget about it. Maybe this is part of standing in the gap; coming into agreement with God’s plans and not letting the enemy have his way otherwise.

So hence comes this armor from God. He doesn’t just sit us out on that hill to face the enemy army in t-shirts and shorts and barefeet. No, He gives us every tool we need to walk out this journey, whether in active battle, or just standing. I shouldn’t even say, “just standing” – for standing sometimes is the only thing you have left, and the hardest thing you ever have to do – right up until the next time. For example: a momma standing on God’s word for her wayword child praying them to come out of the dangerous paths they’ve taken; praying, believing and contending for their very lives. Yep, you ask anyone of those momma’s – they made a decision somewhere along the way, that ‘here I am, and I’m not budging till this is over’. That’s standing.

This armor of God’s is no ordinary armor. It’s great imagery that Paul gave us and the Ephesians, but the simplicity of it is so beautiful. And it is all God. These are the things that a Christian should be clothed in everyday. We are just often made more aware of the need when the battle is raging.

He tells us to stand with Truth, Righteousness, Peace (gospel of), Faith, Salvation, The Word of God, Prayers and Requests, Perseverance and Intercession. These are not things that are out of our grasp or understanding. But like all armor, every piece will be tried and tested. We will greater learn how they are best used as we grow in our maturity and relationship with Him and we’ll be better prepared to resist, to stand, and to crush the enemy’s tactics.

As for Paul, the one who wrote this passage, he gives us great perspective. Vs. 19 and 20:

Pray also for me, that the message may be given to me when I open my mouth to make known with boldness the mystery of the gospel. For this I am an ambassador in chains. Pray that I might be bold enough in Him to speak as I should. (HCSB)

This is a amazing and humbling example of standing. He’s been thrown in jail for believing, preaching and displaying the Gospel of Christ. But instead of moaning and groaning, he’s encouraging, teaching and equipping the Church; all the while with his eyes on the prize of continuing to advance the Kingdom every chance he gets.

HOW We Can Prepare to Stand: How Great is My God

“And such as do wickedly against the covenant shall he corrupt by flatteries: but the people that know their God shall be strong, and do exploits.” Daniel 11:32 WEB

In the last post, “Preparing to Stand”, I introduced the Ephesians 6 passage which many Christians are familiar with in reference to spiritual warfare. But when I was reading it recently, I saw it slightly different, that all Christians need this passage in order to walk through every day life. Does that include warfare and confronting evil – of course, but I’m not going to focus on this aspect, as the devil just LOVES to pull saints into the exhausting and all-consuming path of constant warfare. Fight when we must, yes, but let’s do it smartly and efficiently! (And out of a place of resting in Him!) Let’s put the enemy under our feet where he belongs. One of the best ways to do that is to see him in relation to God. O magnify the LORD with me, and let us exalt his name together. (Ps 34:3 WEB) Yes, that’s right, let’s get out our magnifying glasses and see God in His right proportions! 

Lets recap a little bit. In Ephesians 6:11-13 (HCSB) we read:

“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 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.” 

Ok, so how do we stand, or prepare ourselves to stand – ‘having prepared everything’? I do not have all the answers, but I think that I have at least a handful of tips to pass along to help you on your journey. And have no fear, God has been teaching you and preparing you Himself as well! More than you even realize I’m sure! But today let’s start with vs 10:

“…, be strengthened by the Lord and by His vast strength.” 

This is where the Daniel verse comes in. All the heroes of the bible knew “their God”. They were not natural leaders or heroes, God made them so. He knew their hearts and their potential and He empowered and led them to do great things. David always comes to mind more than the rest.

As a young boy he was a shepherd. I fully believe his relationship started with God when he was young and out in those fields and in the mountains alone with the sheep and God. If you read the Psalms, he is constantly referring to the greatness of God and His handiwork. He could look up in the night sky and ‘measure’ the size of God by the immeasurable display of stars in the sky. How big is your God?

In Psalm 29 David talks about the Voice of the Lord. With lines like “The God of glory thunders”; “the voice of the Lord in power”; “the voice of the Lord breaks the cedars; the Lord shatters the cedars of Lebanon.”; “The voice of the Lord flashes flames of fire”; “the voice of the Lord shakes the wilderness”, I am reminded of His power and His might. I remember watching the second Chronicles of Narnia movie and thinking immediately of this psalm, when the Lion roared and the sound of that roar changed everything in its path.  If His voice is that powerful (and it is), then how about His Righteous Right Hand? And, He who spoke the world, the universe and the multiple universes that surround us, into existence is the One who we are told “be strengthened by the Lord, and by His vast strength”. How Great is your God?

I’ve had a couple of ‘glimpses’ of the immensity of God. In those moments, the biggest trouble on the earth shrinks to nothing in comparison.  One day, I needed a reminder, so He led me to multiple passages, in addition to Psalm 29. I think it was so that I could return to them whenever I needed to remember just how big and how great He really is. I personally love the passages at the end of Job, when God confronts him with who He is and who Job is not. The conversation ends with Job once again soberly awed in the Fear of the Lord. Once again, he is, in no uncertain terms, reminded of how great his God is.

A pastor friend recently spoke of this verse in Isaiah 40. Again from the HCSB version, from verse 12:

“Who has measured the waters in the hollow of his hand or marked off the heavens with the span of his hand? “

I’ve always tried to picture the things I read, I guess in order to remember and to better comprehend their reality. Do that with this last verse. Look out at or call to remembrance that last time you saw the night sky on a very clear night, or saw a picture of a ‘gazillion’ stars or universes and galaxies. Try to picture a great hand measuring these out – from thumb tip to pinkie tip, hand spread open. How large is that hand? How large is that God?

For me, this picture puts things a bit more in perspective when troubles seem large and looming. Several times today I thought of a line from a worship song we sing, which is actually the latter half of Romans 8:31:

“What shall we then say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? (WEB)

Therefore, I adjure you, “.., be strengthened by the Lord and by His vast strength. Know who your God is, the creator of all, and be in relationship with Him and allow yourself to stand in His strength, for all things are possible in Him. Check out and think upon Psalm 91 for assurance, and the promises for those who are in relationship with and relying on Him. Read and mediate upon all of Isaiah 40 for His comfort, His hope, and a humbling yet empowering perspective.

Need a visual reference? Take about 45 mins to an hour (to give time to just be still and think about what you’ll see and hear) and watch Louie Giglio’s message on “How Great is Our God”  – http://youtu.be/atUGBua2AzE for both the largeness and the closeness and intentionality of God. I LOVE this message, I think I cry every time I see it. 

I pray today, that you are once again, or for the very first time, awed by God: by His awesomeness, His majesty, and Love for you. May that Love strengthen and enlighten you in your inmost being; knowing with all that you have that His power, His might, and His strength are immeasurable – more than enough for all your needs; no matter how seeminly large the trial or the ‘enemy’.

Be blessed!

Dylon's strong man pose