Suit Up!

God says: Faith, it’s time to suit up. For good. No more taking off the armor. The enemy has set up camp in your territory and he will not leave until you march out and give him the boot.

Suit up, and take on my full armor: my Name, my Blood, my Word. 

The enemy darts arrows of poison at you. He lies comfortably behind a tree in your very own land, and shoots weapons of destruction right at you: lust, idolatry, bitterness, laziness, pride…I have opened your eyes to these weapons and it is time for you to take action against them. This is a matter of life or death.

Each arrow may not seem deadly, but they add up. They are affecting your spirituality. Your emotional and mental health. Even your physical well being. Again, they are poison, slowing sucking the blood out of you. You must guard against these arrows, and deflect them with my armor.

Proclaim my Name whenever you feel an attack. Cover your mind and heart in my Blood. Soak yourself in my Word. You are in battle. You mustn’t lay dormant, complacent, ignorant, thinking the arrows won’t affect you. They will if you let them. As hard as it is, your job is to fight them off. I’ve already equipped you with all that you need. Take up my armor. Stand tall and firm against the enemy. And show him who is the Lord of your life.

Ephesians 6:10-11 Finally, be strong in the Lord and in His mighty power. Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes.

 

James 4:7- Submit yourselves then, to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you.

El Hakabodh

Whoa! That is such a cool title. El Hakabodh- the God of glory!! Oh my gosh, so true! You are the God of glory, Jesus! All glory belongs to you. None can fathom your greatness, your beauty, your majesty, your power, your sovereignty, your wisdom, your knowledge! Jesus, you are wrapped in glory and its blinding light that makes me fall at your feet in awe. That’s the word. I am awed by you, Jesus. I am awed by your glory. You hold the whole world in your hands, and you are the author of life. You are El Alpha and Omega. You work out all things for your glory, Jesus, and I am so blessed and privileged to be apart of this glory. I am so blessed to be used for your glory. And you in your glory, chose to humble yourself and have relations with human beings. We are so blessed that a glorious God like you, El Hakabodh, would desire a covenant with sinful creatures. And that’s actually what contributes more to your glory. How big you are. How small we are. And yet how much you still love us and pour your grace and mercy upon us every day. My beautiful Jesus. You are El Hakabodh, the God of glory!

The Gift List

Every day, God gives us gifts of grace, and we get to choose to give God gifts of thanks in turn, because all is grace (Ann Voskamp, One Thousand Gifts). Jesus, here is the beginning of a lifelong gift list to you:

Thank You, God, for…

  1. Breathing air into my lungs, one second at a time
  2. Pumping my heart 60-100 times a minute, every day, for 23 years now
  3. Your presence, always there, ready to be enjoyed
  4. Writing my name in your Book of Life
  5. Redeeming and restoring my life from the pit
  6. Choosing Covenant with me, an adulterer and idolater
  7. Your Love, unfathomable
  8. The miracle of my body, how it runs, filters things not needed
  9. Fingers that move, legs that walk
  10. This beautifully messy thing called Love

All is Grace

Thank You, God, for breathing air into my lungs, second by second. Every inhale is your love song, and exhale the passion that drove you to the cross.

Thank You, God, for pumping my heart 60-100 times a minute. And to think you’ve been pumping tirelessly for 23 years now. And some people’s you pump for 100 years. When did we stop to tell you thanks?

Or do we just continue the rat race self-righteously, as though we deserve each day given? Filling those blessed days with our own to-dos and agendas. We don’t give thought to you. We steal the life you’ve graced us with, forgetting that not everyone woke up today. 

“Every breath’s a battle between grudgery and gratitude and we must keep thanks on the lips so we can sip from the holy grail of joy.” -Ann Voskamp

What if joy, like a homeless person, is hidden in plain sight, there for those with God-opened eyes to see? What if joy is woven in the mundane, there for God-awed hearts to discover? What if God is so funny, He gave us a holy grail of joy, there for His children to sip from, gulp from!, if only we believed in His goodness?

All is grace, and who are we to demand we only get the obvious joys, the obvious gifts, the house, the job, the family, and none of the treasures wrapped in trials, the bankruptcy, the loss, the death? If all is grace, then we must give thanks for all, remembering we deserve nothing at all. 

1 Thessalonians 5:18- Rejoice always. Pray continually. Give thanks in all circumstances for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.

Proud people try to pick and choose what God gives them. Humble people receive all as grace, remembering that their true portion was death and separation from God, but by the grace of God, He reconciled them to Him and now daily blesses them with life. Now we must choose “lifestyle gratitude and a willingness to eat of the bread He gives us in this moment.” -Ann Voskamp. 

I don’t get to choose what He gives but I get to be thankful for it, remembering He didn’t have to give anything at all. And yet He did. He stepped down from heaven into earth for me. He poured out His life for me. And now He continues to shower me with His grace on the daily. Do I stop to see it? The breath, the heart, the life, the fellowship with Almighty Himself? Do I stop to give thanks?

 

*Inspired by Ann Voskamp’s One Thousand Gifts.*

Swimming

I wanna swim in your Love, Jesus. I just want it to be the air I breathe. Lord, may your Love overflow in me (1 Thess. 3:12). I look to my left, there it is. I look to my right, there it is. I am basking in it, soaking in it, relishing in it. I want my mind to be consumed by it. My heart pumped full. My soul spilled over. Jesus, I want you. And I want you to be the only want I want. Lord, make this true.

I wanna swim in your Love, Jesus. I dive deep and drown in your grace. My lungs pack with your mercy and all I can do is sink deeper. Lord, you are the Source. I wanna be infatuated with You. Oh Lord, set me free from the anchor of sin. I wanna let out my sails and wander dangerously close to your Spirit. Dangerous for the devil. Life-giving for me. Flesh dies when our spirits unite. 

Thank you, Jesus, that you’re a God whose Love surrounds like an ocean. Deeper than the sea. Wider and greater than any body of water because unlike any other water, your Love promises to satisfy. Lord, make me thirsty. I just wanna drink. Gulps and gulps of your Love, never coming up for air because it is my air. I wanna thread through the waves of your grace, never looking back because this is it. This is Life. Lord, help me.

Happy New Year!

Thank you, God, for another year. Let’s state the obvious: I don’t deserve it. Millions of people died last year. Many from simple and preventable causes such as hunger. I, on the other hand, had something to eat every single day of last year. I had something to drink. Wear. I had somewhere to sleep.  Protection over me. And those are just the basics. I’m not even counting the plethora of privileges I also had. A car, job, money, laptop, Winter gear, chapstick (so small but so powerful!), loved ones… just to name a few. I was so blessed last year! I had everything I needed and more. But the greatest treasure I gleaned from 2019 is this lesson: even if I only had the basic provision and protection, and lacked all the extra fluff, if I had Jesus, it would be enough. Or even if I lacked the basics but still had Jesus, it would be enough. The greatest treasure I have to take with me into 2020 is: Jesus + nothing = everything.

So my only resolution this year is to cling onto Jesus alone. My only hope is for God to show me more of His Face. My only goal is to serve and worship Him alone. God has taught me that He is the secret. If I have Him, I can withstand anything. I’m so thankful to have Jesus. May He continue to become more and more of my everything because whether I know it or not, He IS everything. He is exactly what and all that I need this 2020. I’m so excited to go forward with Him. Walking with Jesus is the greatest privilege I have.

Ceasefire

Hope jump-starts my heart and it feels like the beginning of a breakthrough out of this idolatrous season. 

‘Cause no, I haven’t been happy recently. Yes, I mean to tell you that all the idols I’ve chased during this hard season have not been Living Water because there is only One who can quench thirst and that is Jesus Christ. Lord of lords and King of kings. Savior and God. So, no happiness. Only anxiety and fear and doubt and sin and wandering. 

But randomly today, I felt like I rekindled with God again. A fall back into the arms of my faithful Father. I heard the word “partner” and I heard the word “friend”.

I wanna be friends with God. Partners with Him. I don’t wanna run against God for lordship. I don’t wanna compete against the only One in my corner. I want to join forces with Him. 

And that is what has set my soul free. God, in His mercy and grace, wants to settle this war. Not that He ever intended to vie for power with me. He’s been holding the olive branch this whole time. It’s me, in my selfishness and stubbornness and sinfulness, who subconsciously, snared by Satan, chose to war against my Advocate. Fighting for power. Lordship.

“I don’t want your way, God. I want mine. I want to write my own story. I want to plot every detail. And sure, maybe I’ll admit you have some power, but I want to minimize it by trying to predict all your plans for my life. I want to know the whos, the whats, the whens, wheres and hows, and I want to know them NOW. If not, I’ll figure them out on my own and write my own story. You can have a seat. I don’t trust the story you’ve written. And maybe it’s good, but that ‘goodness’ is taking forever to manifest and it feels like I’m in a really long chapter of waiting and watching and I’m bored and anxious and I wanna know what’s happening.”

Wow. That was a lot of evil I’d been harboring for a while there. Glad to clear the air. God, I want this to be a fresh start. Thank you for loving me so much that even with all the subconscious evil I carry against you, you still call me your beloved child. You’re too loving. Too gracious. Too forgiving. Except “excess” implies not needed and I need every ounce of everything you have to offer me. Your “excess” Love is just enough for me because I need every bit of it. Your “excess” grace, forgiveness, kindness, everything, is just enough for me because I need every iota. Thank You, Jesus, that You’re so big and I’m so small and you’ve got this whole thing figured out- always have- and yet continued to bear with my blunders and rebellion but now have finally opened my eyes to this beautiful and wonderful olive branch you’ve been holding this whole time.

Ceasefire! You shout. Yes! I agree. I don’t want to fight anymore. I want You to win because I know I get a happy ending, too. I choose your story, Jesus. I give you back the pencil. I bow to your will.