Thursday, September 27, 2007

Bring It On!

Have you ever felt besieged on all sides? Attacked by an unseen force that seems destined to keep you from accomplishing something? I grew up on the mission field, and have seen the spiritual battle rage in ways that most Christians never do. I’ve looked the enemy in the eye – literally, seen some pretty amazing miraculous things, and have even been ministered to by what I can only describe as “angels in human form,” so I am no stranger to spiritual warfare. But never have I been more certain of an attack, and more aware of the “spiritual forces of evil” than I have been in the last month.

On September 9th, my husband was officially “installed” or “inducted” a pastor, and I can tell you with 100% certainty that we have endured nothing but the fiery darts of the evil one ever since. Our schedules have gone crazy in the last few weeks to point that we never see one another and when we do it’s for short amounts of time when we are both exhausted and have nothing left to give. We are fighting more about silly, trivial things. I’ve struggled with highly intense emotions that seem to come from no where, and my husband has been facing temptations he’s never struggled with before. But out of all these things the attack that’s bothering me the most is the direct attack we’re seeing on our marriage. In 10 years of marriage I have never struggled to love my husband, and vice versa, like I have in this last month.

Realizing this for what it is – a desperate attempt by the enemy to discourage and push away from what God has called us to – my husband and I agreed that instead of feeling like we are facing EACH OTHER in battle, we need to “armour up,” get “back to back,” and point our weapons outward in defence of the sanctity of our marriage. We need to bathe it in prayer, and invite others to do the same. And most of all, we need to remember that these attacks are a compliment! After all, if the enemy is working this hard to destroy our ministry and marriage, than we must be doing something right for the Kingdom!

My favourite contemporary Christian artist, Steven Curtis Chapman, has a song that speaks to this, and my husband and I have decided to make it our “battle cry!”

I didn’t come lookin’ for trouble, and I don’t want to fight needlessly,
but I’m not gonna hide in a bubble if trouble comes for me. I can feel my heart beating faster; I can tell something’s coming down. But if it’s gonna make me grow stronger then… bring it on! Now, maybe you’re thinkin’ I’m crazy; and maybe I need to explain some things. ‘Cause I know I’ve got an enemy waiting who wants to bring me pain. But what he never seems to remember, [is that] what he means for evil God works for good. So I will not retreat or surrender… bring it on! Now, I don’t want to sound like some hero, ‘cause it’s God alone that my hope is in. But I’m not gonna run from the very things that would drive me closer to Him! So bring it on! Let the lightning flash, let the thunder roll, let the storm winds blow... bring it on! Let the trouble come, let the hard rain fall, let it make me strong. Bring it on!

"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 armour of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground...." Ephesians 6:12-13

Saturday, September 22, 2007

Let it Rain!

Yesterday was a miserably raining day, so the thought of having to walk home after a long and tiring day in the office made it seem even more miserable. With no other alternative however, I forced myself out the door, umbrella in hand, to face the elements. But something surprising happened as it trudged along in those first few reluctant steps... I took a deep breath and inhaled some beautiful fresh air. Despite the rain, the clouds were parting in some areas and sun was trying to peak through, and after a few minutes I found that I was actually enjoying being out in the rain. In fact, it was downright invigorating! By the time I got home I was freshed, albeit a little wet, and tempted to ditch the umbrella completely and play around in the puddles. I should have... but I decided to leave the singin' and dancin' to the grand master himself - Gene Kelly. Enjoy.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Shall We Dance?

I heard a song on the radio today that goes so well with my on-going theme to celebrate life. While I'm not terribly familiar with the author (Lee Ann Womack), nor can I say I truly enjoyed listening to her sing it, the words do resonate with me:

I hope you never lose your sense of wonder
You get your fill to eat
But always keep that hunger
May you never take one single breath for granted
God forbid love ever leave you empty handed
I hope you still feel small
When you stand by the ocean
Whenever one door closes, I hope one more opens
Promise me you'll give faith a fighting chance

I hope you never fear those mountains in the distance
Never settle for the path of least resistance
Living might mean taking chances
But they're worth taking
Lovin' might be a mistake
But it's worth making
Don't let some hell bent heart
Leave you bitter
When you come close to selling out
Give the heavens above
More than just a passing glance

And when you get the choice to sit it out or dance
I hope you dance...

Take time to smell the roses today. Count and thank God for His blessings. And... remember to dance!

"Dance like nobody's watching; love like you've never been hurt.
Sing like nobody's listening; live like it's heaven on earth."

~Mark Twain/William Purkey/whomever (there are discrepancies about who actually said this)

Sunday, September 16, 2007

It Doesn't Get Much Better Than This!

I really can't think of anything better... the perfect blend of two amazing talents. Enjoy.

Saturday, September 01, 2007

Celebrate Life - Part II

It was just a month ago that I started on my campaign to “Celebrate Life.” Throughout August I have shared the burden the Lord put on my heart for this with those around me, and in so doing I have been amazed the response. I have addressed both small groups and larger groups, and in every instance I have been approached by people who have all said the same thing in response: “that was just what I needed to hear.” Are we really that busy, overwhelmed and weighted down?

As my little campaign has developed, and in fact turned into a form of ministry for me, I have concluded that there are four things we must all do to truly celebrate life: 1) cast our cares; 2) savour the moments; 3) learn to laugh; and 4) count our blessings.

Cast Our Cares: We can’t truly learn to live and celebrate life while weighted down with burdens. I Peter 5:7 calls us to “Cast all your anxiety on him (GOD) because he cares for you." Doing so means realizing we can’t control everything, nor can we do anything on our own strength. We must lay our burdens at His feet and rely on Him to carry us through.

Savour the Moments: As I said in my previous blog, we need to learn to savour the big and small moments in life. Take a walk on a warm evening and enjoy the sunset, enjoy sleeping in on a Saturday morning, get down on the floor and be silly with that two-year-old that’s driving you crazy, and take an extra moment to tell someone you love them. Life is short - savour every moment.

Learn to Laugh: Have you ever noticed how contagious laughter can be? Or how people are drawn to laughter? I am convinced that this is a key ingredient missing in many of our churches, but what better place to truly let loose and have some fun! We are people saved by grace, and filled with joy unspeakable! We should be smiling from ear to ear and celebrating life to the fullest, and yet we sit in our pews on Sunday half asleep, and looking more like we are in mourning than in celebration! Can you imagine the impact your church would have if it loosened up and showed the world that it could have some fun?

Count Your Blessings: So often we go to God with our problems, or share our concerns with others, but when was the last time you thanked God for all He’s blessed you with, or told someone what God has done in your life! We have so much to be grateful for, and counting your blessings -- especially in times when life seems to be giving you lemons -- is a great way to lift your spirits and remember that life is good!

A few weeks ago I hosted an evening in our home with the ladies of our church, and I shared with them a verse from Proverbs 31 that describes a woman who has truly learned to celebrate life. Proverbs 31:25 says “Strength and Dignity are her clothing and she smiles at the future.” In Hebrew the word “strength” means “a mighty fortress, powerful stronghold.” God is our mighty fortress! He has the strength we lack. “Dignity” refers to God’s beauty and majesty – this is a woman who radiates God’s love and joy! Finally, “smile” in Hebrew literally means to laugh, to celebrate, to enjoy life! This woman is truly casting her cares, savouring the moments, laughing at life and counting her blessings. I want to BE this woman.

Wont’ you join me in my quest to be more intentional about celebrating life?

Cast your cares on Him! Savour the moments this month! Learn to laugh at yourself. Count your blessings… and as you do, you will celebrate life!

P.S. In August I used the "odd holidays" on the calendar to remind me to celebrate life and savour the moments each day. I invite you to join me as I continue to do this through the month of September. You can find a list of the holidays online at: