The Attack

7 12 2011

“For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places” – Ephesians 6:12

It came with the dawn on December 7, 1941. Japanese bombers directed their planes toward Pearl Harbor. Determined to cripple and humiliate the United States into concessions, the Japanese moved stealthily across the waters, closing in on the unsuspecting naval base. American ships closely lined the harbor waters. Planes formed tight groups on air fields to protect against sabotage. “Tora! Tora! Tora!” rang through the air as Japan unleashed the worst attack ever seen on American soil.

It remains a devastating day in American military history. Standing on the Arizona Memorial in Pearl Harbor, you can still see the sheen of oil leaking from the sunken vessel. In total, more than twenty-four hundred people died. Naval vessels lay crippled or ruined in the water. Fires burned. The wounded cried out in pain, and a nation reeled from the stunning news that their homeland had been attacked. As President Roosevelt so eloquently stated, December 7, 1941 remains “a date that will live in infamy.”

As Christians, we need to understand that we are at war. Sneak attacks happen. The enemy has no moral reserve. It is determined to bring us to our knees, devastating our peace and destroying our courage. We often think that attacks are going to wait until we are prepared, rested, and on full alert. The opposite is so much more often true. The enemy moves in when we are vulnerable, weary, and overwhelmed.

Vigilance is a necessity. We need to be prepared for the attack that will eventually come. Jesus gives us Himself as the armor we need to wear in order to stand firm during the raid. We can wrap truth around us, hold righteousness next to our hearts, and steady ourselves in His peace. Faith becomes a shield that guards our souls, while salvation covers our minds with His wisdom and goodness. Immersed in prayer, the power of His Word slices through the lies of the enemy and shines its light on his evil intent.

My Jesus Resolution today is to be watchful and remain aware. Jesus has won the victory. The war is over, even as the battle still rages on earth. The defeated enemy has his eye on taking God’s beloved down with him. I am going to stand with Jesus and plant myself in the shadow of the cross. I am going to put on the full armor of God, knowing He will empower me to stand against the enemy. An attack is coming, but it doesn’t have to defeat me. In Jesus, I have already won.

Uphill Climb

5 12 2011

Have you ever felt like you just were never going to make it to the top? Sometimes the road seems pretty level, things are going well, and the walk is easy and energizing. Other times, however, finds you digging deep for the strength just to take the next step. The grade is steep, the climb all uphill, and the horizon just never seems to get any closer.

When you are standing at a distance, it is easy to talk about the mountains. They soar majestically into the clouds and grace the horizon with images of strength and beauty. Stand at the base of a mountain and you might find yourself with a lump in your throat. Things look a little tougher from the bottom of the hill than they did when the mountain stood in the distance.

It is in the uphill climbs that we become the most transparent. What lies at our cores is revealed as we struggle to take each step and find our footing on the rocky terrain. Uphill climbs highlight on whom we depend, what we understand about our purpose, and how we see the journey. It is in the midst of the climb that transformation is most deeply at work in our souls. It is here that we catch a glimpse of what is really true, what is worth the effort, and just how much endurance and grace are bound together.

God gives us an amazing truth to hang onto during the uphill climbs. Listen with wonder. Let His words soak deeply into your heart.

“Listen to me, O house of Jacob, all the remnant of the house of Israel, who have been borne by me from before your birth, carried from the womb; even to your old age I am he, and to gray hairs I will carry you. I have made, and I will bear; I will carry and will save.” – Isaiah 46:3-4

Our lives are spent in the arms of God. He carries us close to His heart from infancy to old age. From before your birth, God loved you. When your hair turns gray, God will still be carrying you. Up the hills, over the mountains, through the valleys, and around every turn, God holds you tightly and carries you.

My Jesus Resolution today is to rest in His arms. I never make the uphill climbs alone. I can walk in the stability of His grace, move in the refreshing rhythm of His mercy, and find sure footing in His faithfulness. Today I am going to stop for just a minute, close my eyes, and feel His arms around me. Too many times I try to walk in my own strength, and end up tired, frustrated, and disillusioned. Being carried changes the uphill climbs into times of intimacy, dependence, and trust, but it requires surrender. Are you going to climb today or let yourself be carried?

What Are You Good At?

2 12 2011

Children have a way of seamlessly cutting to the truth. We picked our little friend up at school this week and listened to him talk about his day. They had spent the morning discussing the talents of each child. “What are you good at?” asked his teacher. Children have no difficulty identifying their talents. Some are good at running. Others love to build things. Our little friend proudly declared that he is very good at singing and dancing. Little ones understand that everybody has something they are good at and are willing to celebrate that goodness wherever they see it.

Buckled in the car seat, he continued his observations about what the people he loves are good at. His grandmother is good at baking. His grandfather is good at helping him ride a horse. His dad is good at driving his truck. His big buddy is good at being stinky. (Yes, he really said that.) Finally, I asked him what God is good at. He didn’t pause for a moment. “God is good at everything.”

I love the truth captured in that one sentence. God is good at everything. Everything He touches, everything He does, everything He says, every way He works, every moment He inhabits is filled with His goodness. God never just gets by. He doesn’t wing it, or cross His fingers and hope it turns out. He never cuts corners, rushes through the pieces, or says ‘good enough.’ Everything He does is excellent. He brings the perfect touch to each and every moment. We can be confident that if God is in the middle of it, it is very good.

“Ah, Lord God! It is you who have made the heavens and the earth by your great power and by your outstretched arm! Nothing is too hard for you.” – Jeremiah 32:17

My Jesus Resolution today is to celebrate the truth that God is good at everything. He is good at creating the stars beyond the stars, moving the tides, and painting the rainbow across the sky. But His goodness is also very personal. He is good at bestowing grace, extending mercy, healing what is broken, and settling peace into a confused and hurting heart. He is good at loving me. He is good at transformation. There may be days where I question what I am good at, but God’s desire for me never changes. He wants me to be good at looking like Jesus.