Saturday, April 16, 2011

Pace Yourself- Preparing the Mind

With such excitement, it is hard not to want to just go out and run as fast as you can as long as you can. But just like training to run a marathon, one doesn't just decide one day to go and run it. They must pace themselves and train for it. They must first build up enough endurance to run the race. Then the next step is to not just survive, but to run it well. In order to achieve this, you must pace yourself.

As expected a great amount of joy and excitement was followed by an attack. The week after my last entry, I became ill. My body tired, heavy, achy. I had a sudden onset of fatigue and joint pain, no other symptoms. Lots of blood work and no actual diagnosis though as I presumed, a colleague confirmed a certain viral illness was what came over me. It was sudden. It depleted my energy. It did not take away my joy, but it did make it hard to stay strong. That initial day I was sick, my prayers even seemed to take a tremendous effort. Not sharing with many, but in reflection I realized this could be a spiritual attack. I knew it would not last. I knew whose side I was on and that the enemy would not win. I was so tired I could not physically get the words out of my mouth to pray. My body felt like there was a heavy weight pressed upon it. My thoughts knew that this would not last. So I rested. I rested my body, so my mind could fight the battle my body could not.

One would think the first thing one must do when preparing for battle would be to strengthen one's body. However, the body is human flesh. It is prone to injury, illness, and weakness. So through this experience, I have learned first I need to prepare my mind. When the body is weary, the mind can keep fighting. Why? It is in that mind where thoughts declare in faith the Lord's word and promises. Faith that begins in the mind. Jesus told those he healed, your faith has healed you. Faith in what? Self will to become better? No. I fail myself all the time. I even lie to myself at times. It is the faith in Christ that heals us. It is the faith that the Lord, who never fails, will never fail us. It is the realization that in our weakness, he will give strength. It is knowing that where I am weak, the Lord shall be my strength and lift me up on wings like eagles so that I may soar. He will not grow tired or weary, though my body will. (Isaiah 40) In Christ I can do all things because he strengthens me.(Phillipians 4:13)

So I prepare my mind to seek first the Lord, to realize he is strong when I am weak, and to be still and listen for his whisper, so that I can discern his will. My prayer this week comes from Psalm 119. A lengthy Psalm, but it draws me in, and this particulary stood out:
33 Teach me, LORD, the way of your decrees,
that I may follow it to the end.
34 Give me understanding, so that I may keep your law
and obey it with all my heart.
35 Direct me in the path of your commands,
for there I find delight.
36 Turn my heart toward your statutes
and not toward selfish gain.
37 Turn my eyes away from worthless things;
preserve my life according to your word.
38 Fulfill your promise to your servant,
so that you may be feared.
39 Take away the disgrace I dread,
for your laws are good.
40 How I long for your precepts!
In your righteousness preserve my life.

As I prepare my mind, I must ask the Lord to teach me and guide me in His perfect truth,not the world's interpretation, not the world's desires, not my own desires and interpertations. But may God's Holy Spirit fill me and the Lord of my heart and soul guide me and lead me in His perfect truth. As his word promises I can be confident of this, that he who began a good work in [me] will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.(Phillipians 1:6)

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Preparing for battle: New Recruit

“Blessed be the Lord my Rock, who trains my hands for war, and my fingers for battle – my lovingkindness and my fortress, my high tower and my deliverer, my shield and the One in whom I take refuge, who subdues my people under me.” (Psalm 144:1)

Recently I was honored to join a volunteer prayer team. I have been searching for a way to serve. I have long had a heart for prayer and could track my spiritual growth by the nature of my prayers. They have evolved. And as a recent addition to this group, once again I am being transformed.
There are some amazing women and men that pray in the spirit in a variety of ways. They have inspired me and taught me in such a short time. From them I have realized there yet another dimension to prayer. It has all been so exciting!!
Today I acutally felt so overwhelmed with joy by the excitement of all that is developing that I literally felt I had to restrain myself from just wanting to take off running like a mad woman. I was so full of energy. The excitement was almost too much to bear.
Most people realize there is a spiritual warfare that is ongoing and has been for some time. This is nothing new. But I am not sure if it is only this recent revelation that I have experienced, but I honestly think it goes beyond me...I see and feel there is something stirring...the enemy has been stirring the pot for some time...
But greater is He that is in us than he is that is in the world...the enemy crumbles at the sound of our Lord's name....I was speaking with an amazing woman on our prayer team. She has had a strong prayer life for many years. This is inspiring. As she shared lessons she has learned in time and wisdome imparted upon her by the Lord, she exclaimed, "We have the promises of God, so many promises. They are just sitting there. We are not using them." My pastor shared today that on a mission trip to India among many striking things was the authority of Jesus which the people proclaimed. Their prayers were bold, certain, and faithful.
“Behold, I give you the authority to trample on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy, and nothing shall by any means hurt you.” (Luke 10:19)
All of these revelations, combined with an number of situations in my life that are too numerous to chronicle have me excited. I also cannot help but feel a revival is stirring and the Lord of all is preparing his warriors for battle.


I never thought of myself as a warrior or even a strong person. I have been told by those I love, "you are a strong person, because of what you have endured." I half beleived this and because of my lack of esteem and distorted view and lack of full comprehension of whose I am never allowed me to see myself as a STRONG anything.

As a child I attended church with my grandma, Arlene. My brother Louis, my uncle James, and I attended vacation bible school every summer. Every summer we opened it up the same we marched into the church holding the flags and singing "Onward Christian Solider."

Onward, Christian soldiers, marching as to war,
with the cross of Jesus going on before.
Christ, the royal Master, leads against the foe;
forward into battle see his banners go!
Onward, Christian soldiers, marching as to war,
with the cross of Jesus going on before.

At the sign of triumph Satan's host doth flee;
on then, Christian soldiers, on to victory!
Hell's foundations quiver at the shout of praise;
brothers, lift your voices, loud your anthems raise.

Like a mighty army moves the church of God;
brothers, we are treading where the saints have trod.
We are not divided, all one body we,
one in hope and doctrine, one in charity.
Crowns and thrones may perish, kingdoms rise and wane,
but the church of Jesus constant will remain.
Gates of hell can never gainst that church prevail;
we have Christ's own promise, and that cannot fail.

Onward then, ye people, join our happy throng,
blend with ours your voices in the triumph song.
Glory, laud, and honor unto Christ the King,
this through countless ages men and angels sing.

I had no idea then the signifcance of those words. As I said earlier, I have never felt strong or considered myself a warrior. But through the Lord's spirit in the past few weeks I am learning what an honor and a privilege it is to be a member of God's army. I am filled with excitement when I think of the King I serve and the glory and honor that is due to Him alone.
In the meantime, I realize I am but a new recruit. I have long been a believer in the purpose of this army. I have known for which side to root. I have been a spectator and engaged from time to time, but mostly have enjoyed the privilege of protection for all those who are serving. I never saw myself as "good enough" or "strong enough" to serve. Our Father in heaven says differently.
So, now as a new recruit I must use the excitement as fuel to prepare. It is so human to want to get fired up and run off into battle without truly preparing one's spirit, mind, and body. So for now, I must wait on the Lord and seek His Spirit's guidance to prepare. I must pace myself so that I can bear the belt of truth buckled around [my] waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place. I must have my feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. In addition to all this, I must take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. I must continue to grow and wear the helmet of salvation and so that I can have the strength to wield the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.(Ephesians 6:14-17)
I am merely a silly, people pleasing, self conscious,weak soul on my own. But in God's strength, covered by Christ's blood, led by the Spirit I can be a warrior for the Most High God. How could I not be excited to serve such and amazing God!
For now, I must prepare. I must meditate, pray, watch, listen, learn and prepare my mind, body adn spirit for the battle that is before us. So that we may all run with perseverance the race set before us. (Heb 12:1) For now, I look on with hope and excitement for the plans the Lord has for me and my fellow members all for the glory of our God who is almighty, everlasting, faithful, merciful and loving. All for His glory, I gladly take my place....keep me in your prayers....the new recruit always has to make it through boot camp.....i will keep you posted....i desire your prayers and always offer mine for you.....