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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A Million and One Things

A million (at least) and one things called to me today as I was about to pray.

I had guest but they were rising and leaving early, so I felt I should send them off with breakfast.  It’s early.  I’ll just scramble up a couple of eggs, brown some sausage, send them on their way and then pray.

Well, I’d might as well snatch those sheets off the bed and toss them in the laundry while I’m thinking about it.  While they are spinning, I can pray.

Oh!  I forgot; I have an appointment.  I’d better jump in the shower and dress then, if I am running late, I’ll at least be already dressed.

Can you believe what that woman said?  Let me sit down and catch this little snippet of Dr. Phil.  There’s only about 10 more minutes in this episode, then I’ll pray.

Whew, finally!

I sat down on the sofa to journal my prayers.  The sun’s rays poured through the blinds.  Look at that dust!  I’d better grab that Swiffer right now!

Dust.  Seriously?  Dust is going to keep me from praying?  I don’t even like dusting.  As a matter of fact, I hate dusting.  It falls in line right after scrubbing toilets as far as I’m concerned, but I’m going to dust instead of pray?  Really?

No!

Enough already.  I recognize these tricks of Satan!

And so I journaled.

Look at that handwriting.  I hope you never intend to look back at these prayers, and surely you won’t let anyone else see this journal.  Even God might be challenged to read this scribble scrabble.

Are you kidding me, Satan?  You will try anything to distract me, any ploy to disrupt time with God.

THIS WEEK “Be self-controlled, sober-minded, temperate, vigilant, alert.  Your enemy, adversary, great accuser, opponent (and chief distractor) the devil walks around like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour” ( 1 Peter 5:8). He finds especially tasty those who love the Lord and who desire to spend time alone in prayer to Him.  Schedule a time to spend alone with God, and meet that appointment just as you would one with your physician’s office or your employer.  My rheumatologist charges you if you miss the appointment.  God will not charge you, but you will miss a great blessing, a gift that He has just for you!