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There’s a Hole in My Armor!

“That is why the Israelites cannot stand against their enemies…” Joshua 7:12

Luke 11:21-23 “When a strong man, fully armed, guards his own homestead, his possessions are undisturbed;
but when someone stronger than he attacks him and overpowers him, he takes away from him all his armor on which he had relied, and distributes his plunder. “He who is not with Me is against Me; and he who does not armorsuitgather with Me, scatters.”

It matters not how strong you are. It matters not whether you have the greatest resources and talent. It matters not if you have the best plans and procedures. It will all fail if you have a break in your armor.

This is the message God told Joshua when he attempted to go against a small army at Ai, which was the Israelites’ second battle in the Promised Land. Sometimes we try to figure out why we are not successful in an endeavor. We look at all aspects of our performance to see what went wrong. For the people of Israel, it was not easily seen on the surface. Everything seemed just as it should be from Joshua’s vantage point, so when his army was soundly defeated, he cried out to God, “Ah, Sovereign Lord, why did You ever bring this people across the Jordan to deliver us into the hands of the Amorites to destroy us?” (Josh. 7:7a)

The people had been defeated because God could not bless them. One person had violated the covenant with God. They were not to take any possessions from the first battle, but one person failed to live up to this, and the whole army suffered.

Sin makes our armor vulnerable to attack from Satan, who then gains permission from God to attack us in the area where we have failed to uphold righteousness. If we break down in moral purity, we allow the enemy to come in and establish a stronghold. I think it is important to note that it was not the person praying (Joshua) who violated God’s direction, but one of Joshua’s camp.  We know if we give place to bitterness and unforgiveness, we will break fellowship with God and others. We know if we become money-focused, we will fall into greed and armorshielddeception. It is a vicious cycle.  We usually recognize that.

But sometimes we fail to ‘know’ (to realize or admit) that our associations, business partners, and friends, can bring us down with them. It only takes one chink in the armor to bring the soldier down.

Examine your armor today. Make sure you are not susceptible to attack. Begin from a solid spiritual foundation, and be sure your associations align with that foundation. Don’t make a deal for finances alone, and make yourself vulnerable.

Do whatever you need to do to keep your armor intact, (maintain your armor and when you put it on, put on your FULL ARMOR) and your chances of success will be great.

 

Eph. 6:11 Put on the full armor of God, that you may be able to stand firm against the schemes of the devil.armorhelmet

BibleheartCheck your armor today.  Is anything missing – are you wearing the FULL ARMOR of God?

  • TRUTH
  • RIGHTEOUSNESS
  • PEACE
  • FAITH
  • SALVATION
  • THE WORD OF GOD
 
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Posted by on 09/15/2014 in All Four Sides of Me

 

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Fierce Woman Trophies — A Deeper Cleaning

 

Victory in the clothing department!  IMG_4731

I am not sure what took me so long, but as you will see from the previous post, a load is gone!

How freeing to know everything fits and matches

and will not be wrinkled from being jammed with too many other items.

closet

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Whew – that’s done, but God wasn’t done with me.

It was onto deeper cleaning – from the Fierce Woman.

 

– If you are a woman, and particularly if you are a wife I feel safe in saying you NEED to read The Power of a Soft Warrior by Kimberly Wagner. I am usually a very fast reader going through 3-5 books a week, minimum. This book is different, in that I felt each step needed to be dealt with before I went to the next. FierceWoman

 

It has been a painfully long process to read, apply, put it down and repeat – since last Spring.

 

The book is a very personal journey of the author and her husband. She relates each area of a woman’s fierceness to the reader and gives plenty of can’t-miss-the-point illustrations.

 

Kim states that “You may not see yourself as beautifully fierce or even slightly strong, but what if God has placed a powerful fierceness within you, within every woman? Kim admits her fierceness became a source of conflict in her marriage, but the relationship dynamic totally changed when she discovered her fierce strengths could be used to encourage and inspire her husband.”

 

I promised to finish the book by this year’s True Woman Conference, (Oct. 9) so I’ve been getting convicted, ah, I mean reading more each day. Finding things about me the mirror doesn’t show.

 

One surprising example was a chapter about how men love a challenge. I can relate that to the sports enthusiasts in our family, but not Ken. I did not understand how the point of the personal story of some guys getting stoked about a physically exhausting opportunity to help some friends move in a very short time-span related to us.

 

My hubby came up from his basement workshop just as I finished this story and was trying to process what it had to do with me or us. He had been working on a cabinet he designed for church. A cabinet that was taking weeks IMG_6916longer than it should have (in my opinion) because he decided to design a roll-top cabinet closure. Something he’d never done before, and something totally unnecessary (in you know who’s opinion) to create a utilitarian cabinet. I pondered the story again as Ken showed me detail of the wooden strips, and tiny intersecting links to the strips, and how he would glue them to fabric and create the rolltop (he was fairly confident). I noticed, perhaps more than before, how excited his voice grew as he shared his project.

 

I thought over other projects Ken had been teased about. Like the roof where he measured and put in so many nails, that an incredulous friend who came to help suggested if they added a few more nails he could have an aluminum roof! In several ways he became known as an over-achiever, making things far more intricate than expected. It irritated me but he just joked about our different approaches and gave me the nickname Puddlejumper. In turn I called him the Bridgebuilder, because if we approached a puddle with a pot of gold on the other side, I would jump (or try to) quickly get over the puddle. His version always had me falling in the puddle (ok maybe there was a little reality to the story) but I always got things done faster. While I imagined myself on the other side of the puddle, very likely muddy and dripping wet, but grasping the gold, Ken would still be drafting a drawing of a very exacting and beautifully detailed bridge to get over the puddle. Then he would complete the imaginary competition revealing that while he built the bridge it continued to rain. Without his bridge I couldn’t have crossed the puddle grown into a dangerous white-water river. We laughed at our exaggeration, but then I grew sober, realizing all the times his persistence and dedication to detail had gotten us out of a lot of scrapes.

 

I looked up at Ken thoughtfully and asked the big question: When you build crazy things like the roll-top cover to that cabinet, do you feel like you are not just building something but conquering a challenge?

 

His eyes lit up and he was pleased that I’d finally figured it out. My trophy of figuring things out faster —like propping different height sticks between our bedroom windows rather than his lengthy method to remove the wood, replace the mechanism, re-stain and replace the wood. I finally saw it – the roof covered with nails precisely every 1.5”, the windows, beautifully stained and still functioning decades later, the stained glass with hundreds of pieces. How many times had I only reluctantly admired his completed challenge?

 

My apology was welcomed. He loves humble pie…2105

 

I hope I have saved you the trouble.

 

Dusting off those emotional trophies can get pret-ty dirty. Do you relate?

 

Do tell!

 

 

 

 
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Posted by on 09/08/2014 in Devotional, Excess

 

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Recycling my Trophies

My tolerance has ended. Over recent years, I’ve helped a couple of relatives clean out their clutter, always coming home mentally energized to declutter, but too physically exhausted to do it.closet1

 

No more of that.

 

This week I twice had something on that I did not want to be seen in. I changed from it when I had to run out of the house. So if it is not good enough for friends or strangers, why is it I don’t want to look my best for the ones who love me the most? Yet every day I rummage through the shelves, and usually pick the same clothing anyway.

 

Enough of that.  closetThink it’s time?

 

Today I bought some large zippered plastic containers, and bags. Here is the plan for tomorrow:

 

  • Sort the closet into sections –
  • Dress outfits – 7 dress or skirt & top outfits and 7 dress pant & top outfits and 7 sweaters
  • Casual clothing – 7 capris, 7 slacks, 7 skirts or dresses (if I have that many) and 7 casual tops
  • 7 coats summer (including sweatshirts) and 7 coats winter (if I have that many)
  • Shoes – believe it or not – out of probably over 70 pair – 7 dress shoes, 7 dress casual, 7 activity shoes (hiking, exercising, walking) and 7 pairs of sandals.
  • The rest? Into the bags for distribution.

 

What brought all this on? Two things. One was all the scripture and parables I’ve read lately about not storing things up – that things (and time) are given in abundance so we can be good stewards and share with others in need (including not wasting so much of my time on stuff). Also as I was analyzing why my relatives kept so much, and so many odd things. I noticed three types of things

 

  1. Useful things, but crazy amounts of duplicates (abundances like my shoes) that no one person Shoestogocould ever really utilize or had space for
  2. Empty or almost empty things no longer used – perhaps good at one time, but no longer worked for them, but kept because they were free or I (or someone else) paid “good money” for them – you know – like the 58 containers of hair products under my bathroom sink – see the pattern?)
  3. Sentimental gifts or trophies. Some things never used, some no longer needed, did not fit the décor, some taking huge amounts of space. Yes, I recognized these around my home too. Trophies of someone’s affection, of a long and arduous battle to win/buy/negotiate the object (which I no longer use but keep as a trophy of the battle), or a trinket representing happy times or happy places that only collects dust

 

I am preparing them all for recycling. Seven to keep seems a good place to start. Others will go to a relative or friend who NEEDS them, or to bless someone else via the resale shop.

 

After the clothes, the plan is to scour a room at a time for other redundant objects taking up space and time to maintain or move around. Those kept will be 1-2 of a kind or 1 set. By the time I finish all the rooms, the basement and garage, I should be ready to hit the closet a second time.

 

Will you join me?

What are your trophies?

What do you have that you do not use or need that could bless someone else but won’t if you keep it hidden away?

 

 

Watch out! Be on your guard against all kinds of greed; a man’s life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions.”

 

1Tim. 6:18 Instruct them to do good, to be rich in good works, to be generous and ready to share,

 
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Posted by on 09/03/2014 in Excess

 

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Interruptions – Got Any?

OH boy. Life is full of interruptions But are interruptions the same as multi-tasking? Quite the opposite. Multi-tasking we can control, life interruptions, we often cannot, but we can learn to deal with them. When we are interrupted, Priscella Schirrer (Life Interrupted: Navigating the Unexpected) shares if we stop to analyze our irritation with the interruption, we can see our resistance most often stems from one of three causes (though in my personal experience it is usually #1):7007

1)We don’t want to let go of control

2)  We don’t want to face that life is not just about “me,” or be forced to look at the bigger picture, and others’ needs as well

3)  People interruptions cost time we hate to give up, even though they can make us more patient and gracious

Webster’s dictionary defines interruptions as cutting in, barging in, intervention, intrusion. Sometimes they happen almost continually. You are cooking, reading, taking a bath, and the phone rings. Interruption.

- You are on task with your budget and something breaks down. Interruption. You are trying to study and budget, and communicate, and diet, when a friend dumps you and you cannot figure out why, weakening your resolve on many of those tasks.  sadbywater

- And then there are the physical and spiritual interruptions that we think we are expected (or we expect ourselves) to respond to with critical thinking and compassion for others, yes – but also compassion for yourself.

- Another day (or another hour) you are reading your devotion or the Bible, praying, or working on a Bible Study, and you get the thought that you needed to add something to the grocery list, or you forgot to call your friend, or you need a haircut. Thought interruption. Frustrating.

A Navigator conference speaker taught us to keep a pad of paper handy during OS12058devotions, to write down the interruption, then set it aside to deal with later, and return our focus to God’s Word.

We were also taught to embrace the interruptions that provide opportunity to share eternity, even if it sidetracks our own plans.

When I am evaluating an interruption I need to ask could the irritating instance be an intervention – from God? I have had times where I was either focused (selfishly) on ‘rewarding’ myself (though not to my health) or focused (foolishly) on what I felt others thought of me or my work when God sent someone to interrupt that downward slide and bolster my failing strength with encouragement and help.

Whether minor interruptions, or major ones, if we truly believe that God has a plan for our life, we can know that nothing comes to us that God cannot use for His glory. Hebrews 6:10 affirms that God is aware of every interruption: “God doesn’t miss anything. He knows perfectly well all the love you’ve shown him by helping needy Christians, and that you keep at it. “

Next time you have an interruption ask yourself if it takes the focus off eternal things or if it gives the opportunity to build an eternal perspective into someone – even if that someone is you.  1375

Dan. 4:35       Life on this earth doesn’t add up to much, but God’s heavenly army keeps everything going. No one can interrupt his work, no one can call his rule into question.

Rom. 8:28 That’s why we can be so sure that every detail in our lives of love for God is worked into something good.

 

 

 

 
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Posted by on 08/29/2014 in All Four Sides of Me

 

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Multitasking or Disconnecting?

 

I just dropped my IPhone in my soup. I think it might be time to tone down the multitasking. (Emma Watson).DeeEngland2014-1 2922

There is a cost to multitasking disconnect.

You are with someone and chatting. Their phone rings. They answer and suddenly you are ignored. Have you ever felt that way? Have you ever done that to someone else?

 

Multi-tasking is a common scene today, and even expected in many settings. The definition is to complete several tasks at the same time. It is assumed that all tasks are completed with the same intensity or success, but really? Statistics show that humans are not as smart as we think, and often most or all of multi-tasks are only partly or insufficiently completed. We’ve become a culture satisfied with as-good-as-I-can while doing something else, but – When trying to do more, we accomplish less. (Jeff Goines). Haven’t you experienced being waited on in a store when the phone rings, and suddenly the clerk has lost the focus and is trying to answer the person on the phone, while caring for your service. Neither of you gets full attention and neither action gets completed as satisfactorily as they should.

 

Most multitasking is an illusion. You think you are getting more done, but in reality you are wasting time switching from one task to another. (Bosco Tjan)

 

Then there is the social cost of multi-tasking              2181

 

Loss of friendship is a potential cost of multi-tasking CHOICE. Yes, I did use that word. If I am talking with my friend, half-listening if truth were known, because I am thinking about how I will respond, or worrying about that last text from another friend. The phone dings. I CHOOSE to turn from my in-person friend and look at the text. Then I CHOOSE to read the entire text and think about how to respond to it. The first friend continues to sip their coffee or walk beside, waiting for my return, but they are lost to me. I am now in conversation with the texting friend. Has this happened to you?

 

If I did that I would have chosen to DISCONNECT with the in-person friend and telling him or her as boldly as if I put up a sign – this text is now the priority – it is more important than whatever you were communicating. When I continue to text and ignore the in-person friend, I am communicating to my in-person friend – this message and person is more important than our friendship, and more important than you.

 

Ouch.

A bit strong? Most likely we do not mean to convey such painful conclusions, but if you care about your work, BE there, complete each thing thoroughly. When you divide your focus neither gets the full attention it deserves.

When you care about someone, when you are with them BE with them – as much as you like others to listen to you and BE with you!

Gary Keller, in The One Thing: The Surprisingly Simple Truth Behind Extraordinary Results, sums it up with three little words:

“Multitasking is a lie”
― 

Ecclesiastes 4:6 ESV

Better is a handful of quietness than two hands full of toil and a striving after wind.stop

Prov. 7:24 So, friends, listen to me, take these words of mine most seriously.

 

 
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Posted by on 08/21/2014 in All Four Sides of Me

 

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The Honey-Apple Pie Cure

Everyone in our little town of 500 knew enough to keep away from Mr. Wendell, but despite warnings, our dad oldpic0001 bought the house right next door! I was 11, unwillingly carting boxes in our new-to-us home, all the while keeping one eye watching to the right; fearing the scowling old man picking apples from the trees beside the tall wire-fenced wall that separated our yards. All the town kids are scared of him, and call him Mr. Nasty because at Halloween he put a big sign on his door that read GO AWAY. The next Halloween some big boys put a bucket of water over his door, knocked and ran when he came out and got dunked. I think even the grown-ups don’t like Mr. Wendell because I heard Mrs. Weaver complaining about him one day in the store, and Mom told her “Hurting people hurt others.” All afternoon I wondered how Mr. Wendell got hurt, and how it helped for him to hurt others. It was a riddle that kept me up that night and had me worried if Mr. Wendell would hurt Dad as he went over to the fence to introduce himself; but Mr. Wendell just yelled at him to keep away, saying “don’t you dare take apples from my tree.” Some welcome. Dad just shrugged his shoulders, and went in the house.

A year later I still trembled at the memory of that unfriendly greeting, and kept my distance from the fence, but one day reasoned that some apples that had fallen in our yard from a branch hanging over the fence was fair game. Boy was I wrong. Mr. Wendell came out just as I’d picked up the 5th apple, yelling that I was a thief. I froze to the spot in fear until Mom came to the door and he finally removed himself and his red face from my view, releasing my feet to safely run into the house. Dad was home for lunch and listened as I sobbed my story to Mom, vengefully wishing ill on our nasty neighbor. “You catch more bees with honey than vinegar,” Dad said, and went back out to his truck to work.

 

Mom smiled in that “I’ve got a secret” way and said, “I think we’ll just give Mr. Wendell his apples back.” I worriedPiesinwindow at the “we” but watched as she pulled out the honey and a couple of ready-made pie crusts from the freezer. Honey-apple pie – yum! I tried to forget Mr. Wendell as Mom let me mix the streusel and measure out the spices while she peeled the apples I’d picked up and others she had on the counter, then mixed them with the spices and honey. I held the brown paper bag while mom slipped in the finished pie and let it bake while we cooked up dinner.

 

I would never tell my friends that I hid behind my mom like a baby when she rang Mr. Nasty’s doorbell. He looked like he could chew nails and I couldn’t get out the apology Mom wanted so Mom nodded at me and said, “She made this honey apple pie from the dropped apples”. He stared a second, then grabbed the pie, turned, and pushed the door shut with his foot. Mom swears she heard him say, “Edith! It’s honey-apple pie!” How strange, I thought as door closed, because Mrs. Wendell died years ago.

 

Dad told us at dinner that we’d done the right thing. I wasn’t so sure until an hour later as we were finishing off our pieces of honey-apple pie. Mom answered the door and we were all shocked.

 

There stood Mr. Wendell holding a basket of apples! I backed to the safety of the dining room doorway. He cleared his throat and looked around the room till his eyes latched on to me and he kinda whispered, “Girlie I’m sorry I been such a grouch. Haven’t had pie like that since Edith passed on.” “Uh,” he stuttered, “You can take all applesthe apples from my trees you want, but only you. Don’t you go bringin’ a bunch of rascals with you.”

I felt all teary and couldn’t answer so I just stood there and nodded once, and then he turned real quick and walked off fast toward his house. I just stood there for a minute, kinda shocked, you know, and then we all smiled when dad chuckled, his mouth full of some of his second piece of honey-apple pie.   “Good job,” he said – “glad you made two pies.” Then he added thoughtfully, while licking the sticky syrup off his lips,

“Honey is a healer, you know, and I think your pie might just have begun healing a broken heart.”

Prov. 16:24     Gracious speech is like clover honey—
good taste to the soul, quick energy for the body.

 

Option 1 – Refrigerated Pie Crust

If using Refrigerated Pie Crust -place one crust in pan, add apples mixed with honey, cinnamon and vanilla.   Dot with 3 tsp. butter cut in six pieces and add second crust.  Slice a few air holes..  Place on cookie sheet and bake at 375 for about 35 minutes, until golden brown.

  • Mix Together: 5 cups sliced apples, peeled, 1/2 cup honey, 1 tsp. Ceylon cinnamon, 
  • Dot with 2 tablespoons butter

For “Mile High” pie cook 7 cups of apples and cinnamon, in honey water (1 cup of each), drain and add to a single full size pie crust and top with butter and second crust and bake.  It makes for a fuller pie when filling is pre-cooked.

Option 2 – Individual Honey Apple Pies with Puff Pastry -

Put sliced apples in pan.  Barely cover with honey-water (equal amounts of 1 Cup honey and 1 Cup water) Bring to boil and cook for 1 minute.  Drain and add cinnamon. Cut puff pastry into 6 square sections.  Fold each section into triangle and pinch two sides together, forming a pouch. Put about 1/3-1/2 cup into each pouch, top with 1/2 tsp. of butter and pinch together.  Bake at 375 or 400 (depending on your oven – I like lower temps) until golden brown – about 15 – 20 min.

 

enjoy!

 

 
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Posted by on 08/10/2014 in All Four Sides of Me

 

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Powerful Words – Invisible Wounds

 

You’ve heard the bluff before – Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me.

 

Uh uh. Not true. All wounds are not visible.  hurtfeelings

 

Some friends have been shocked over the years when I tell them about our engagement pact. It was sort of an emotional prenuptial agreement (before we were aware prenuptials existed)

 

Here was the deal – I’d been wounded growing up, and I’m not proud to confess that I also hurt others with words, but I’d graduated, left home, and guided by my sister, Marlene, had made a determination. I had a choice. I did not have to be like that anymore, and I did not have to allow anyone else to use words as weapons to hurt me.

 

I accepted the engagement with Ken with the understanding that we would not jest or call each other names, that could be understood by us or anyone else as anything other than respectful or affectionate. We also promised one another to only use the words always and never in positive ways. We agreed because saying you always, or you never was really a negative exaggeration and because of love an impossibility.

 mad

Ken told me that as a man (human) he would likely disappoint me and possibly even hurt me, but he would never do either intentionally. That helped me to scratch some of my Cinderella expectations, to realize he had feelings just as I did, and to say, “How about if we just forget that ever happened.”

 

It wounds us to listen to some folk who regularly call each other dumbbell, old man, or whatever, and tell us they are just playing. I’ve actually heard some couples tell me their profanity was ‘love talk.’

I asked a wife if her and her spouse’s “name calling and playing with words” was ever hurtful and she said yes, it was. To cover her hurt she would just hurl back an equal or bigger insult and it would always escalate. Later they made up, but she often wondered if he’d really meant the things he said. mean

 

How sad. Words are a gift. They are to build up one another.

 

  1. Ephesians 5:4 says -“there must be no filthiness and silly talk, or coarse jesting, which are not fitting, but rather giving of thanks” I like how The Message explains this verse saying “Christians have better uses for language than that”

 

So what should our dialect be? Speaking in such a manner that the other’s response can only be good – they are left with nothing bad to say about us.

 

Three passages come to mind as good tests of what our words convey

 

  • 1 Thessalonians 5:11 Therefore encourage one another, and build up one another.
  • Titus 2:8, 9, and 15 In all things show yourself to be an example of good deeds, with purity in doctrine, dignified, sound in speech which is beyond reproach, in order that the opponent may be put to shame, having nothing bad to say about us– These things speak and exhort (encourage) and reprove (correct in such a way to put them back on the right path) with all authority. Let no one disregard you. (Speak these things in such a way that others will not disrespect you, and do not allow others to speak disrespectfully to you)
  • I Corinthians 13 – Love never gives up. Love cares more for others than for self.

       Love doesn’t want what it doesn’t have. Love doesn’t strut, Doesn’t have a swelled head,

      Doesn’t force itself on others, Isn’t always “me first,” Doesn’t fly off the handle,  OS02027

       Doesn’t keep score of the sins of others, Doesn’t revel when others grovel,

       Takes pleasure in the flowering of truth  – Puts up with anything,

       Trusts God always, Always looks for the best.

                                Who can you build up today?  Who will hear your powerful words?

 
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Posted by on 08/05/2014 in All Four Sides of Me

 

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