FULLY ALIVE!

Your life will be as bright as the noonday sun. Job 11:17


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Bump and Lift

Pickpocketing is one of the oldest and most widespread crimes in the world. It happens around the world! And in a matter of minutes, it can rock your world! Lifting your money, credit cards, identification and other valuables can take mere seconds. You, however, may not realize until much later how much you have lost and how vulnerable you were and are.

How does it happen? A common technique is “bump and lift.” An approaching thief will walk toward you, intentionally bump into you and, while you are distracted by the “bump,” lift your wallet or other items from your person. Just like that, you’ve been robbed.

Would it surprise you that Satan, who comes to steal, kill and destroy (John 10:10), uses the same technique?

Your days are joy-filled. Your branch is producing an abundance of fruit. Too much fruit for Satan. Bump!

Life is good. You are happy. All is going well – very well! You dwell in peace. Your peace robs Satan of his. Bump!

You are growing in your faith – going to church, attending Sunday School, joining Bible Study… You actually look forward to spending quiet time with the LORD each morning and have committed to rising early to meet Him. Satan cannot allow this! Bump!

Your witness is strong. Opportunities to share the Gospel abound and you obediently welcome and respond to each one, ready to share your testimony and God’s Word. Satan must put a stop to this. Bump!

Joy, peace, spiritual growth and intimacy with God, sharing the Gospel – these are the things Satan seeks to rob from us. How? Through a distracting “bump” followed by a quick “lift.”

Your days are joy-filled and you are bearing much fruit. Satan “bumps” you with a bit of gossip, a need for recognition, desire for the approval of others or some negative self-talk – anything to “lift” your joy.

Life is good; you are at peace. Satan “bumps” you with relationship discord, abandonment, family dysfunction, problems at work – anything to “lift” your peace.

You are growing in your faith and have committed to spend more time with God and in His Word. Satan “bumps” you with insomnia so that you can’t get up in the morning. He “bumps” you with sick or whiny children, a needy husband or a dog that escapes the house and has to be chased – anything to “lift” your time with God.

Your witness is strong; you welcome opportunity to share your testimony. Satan “bumps” you with a medical diagnosis, financial disaster or some other tragedy that seems to come out of left field – anything to shake your faith and “lift” your trust in God.

Satan is cunning (2 Corinthians 11:3); he is clever (2 Corinthians 4:4). Just like the pickpocket, Satan is often coming right toward you; you see him. You might even smile at him and give him a nod (especially if you are a good Southerner). He likely will smile back because he knows how to distract you so that he can “lift” your joy, your peace, your growth, your intimacy, your witness, your testimony – your power!

And just as you may not readily know that the pickpocket has robbed you, you may not readily recognize what Satan has “lifted” from you because he is also subtle.

How do we protect ourselves from our enemies?

A Google search yields tons of ideas for outsmarting pickpockets – wear money belts, secure your bag across the front of your body, leave your valuables at home, steer clear of commotions, stay vigilant in crowds… These are all good ideas, and we might even be tempted to try to apply some of them in our war with Satan – especially staying vigilant. In fact, 1 Peter 5:8 tells us to be alert and sober-minded because our enemy prowls, looking to devour.

But a good thief knows how to pick his victims. He’s watching. Satan knows how, when and where to come for us. He looks for the chink in our armor.

But God.

Satan looks for the chink in our armor, but God has given us the gift of His Holy Spirit to indwell, to guide, to keep, to help through all the “bumps” of life.

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Where You Look is Where You Will Go

Research has made clear the dangers of driving while distracted. We’ve been well cautioned that behaviors like talking on the cell phone, fiddling with radio dials, chatting with fellow passengers, reading texts, balancing beverages and, the one I am guiltiest of, putting the finishing touches on our make-up do not mix. Likely you’ve had your own distracted experience and can testify to the truth of the research.

But what about distracted walking?

Never thought of it, have you? As one STILL dealing with a broken foot, I can tell you that it is a real thing. A very real thing! I don’t need the research to tell me (but it’s available) that walking while distracted can cause serious bodily harm to the walker.

The CDC reports: “In 2015, 5,376 pedestrians were killed in traffic crashes in the United States. This averages to one crash-related pedestrian death every 1.6 hours. Additionally, almost 129,000 pedestrians were treated in emergency departments for non-fatal crash-related injuries in 2015. Pedestrians are 1.5 times more likely than passenger vehicle occupants to be killed in a car crash on each trip.” (See https://www.cdc.gov/Motorvehiclesafety/Pedestrian_safety/index.html)

While one is not likely to be putting on mascara while walking, it seems that many of the same distractions impact drivers and walkers. Bottom line, we need to watch where we walk. The CDC actually advises that one needs to be aware of his/her surroundings. Since my “tumble” and subsequent broken foot, I have become almost obsessive about watching where I am walking.

Maybe, though, I need to be a bit more specific. I have become preoccupied with looking at the ground. I am watching for pebbles, cracks, debris – anything that might cause my foot (which is still in a CAM boot) to twist or cause me to lose my balance, stumble and fall.

It dawned on me recently, though, that perhaps I haven’t been as conscientious about my real walk. My daily walk. My Christian walk.

Am I watching where I am going? Where are my eyes – on the world or on Jesus? Am I distracted?

In this case, my focus needs to shift.

Rather than looking down (at those things, people or situations that have tried to bring me low) or back (at my past – good or bad) or around (at the world), I need to be looking up – to the resurrected Christ! The truth of the matter is that where you look is where you will go.

Looking down, we can become consumed by our troubles. Looking back, we can miss the opportunities before us.   Looking around, we can become caught up in the trappings of this world.

Let’s look to Jesus, “the founder and perfecter of our faith!” (Hebrews 12:2a, ESV)

Turn Your Eyes Upon Jesus (Hillsong) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=czxd5oa-gi0