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Wednesday, December 15, 2010

In complete armour.

This morning I am sitting, enjoying an early lunch (which might also classify as a late breakfast) drinking the last of Clark’s Paris (which is the last in the house… i’ll weep later) and trying to decide how many petite vanilla bean scones sixty people can consume. (making too many is better than not enough, right?) Whilst I ponder various conundrums, I’ll post a good thought or two, most of which are not my own.
Lately multiple people (i.e. my uncle and my papa and a couple friends) have brought up the fact that Christians often cease to consider their spiritual walk synonymously with a battlefield. There are most certainly days when we feel the pressure and the “call to battle”, as it were, but too often we let our awareness fall by the wayside. This passivity leads to a foothold for temptation, because sooner than we know it, we are simply sidling along, occasionally praying, and reading our Bibles even less. Unpreparedness leads to being blindsided by troubles. What would you think of the soldier who says he is going in to battle, and is dressed in only his uniform, with no guns, no methods of defense, no shields, and no backup? You would beg him to take care, to be more aware, and to take active measures to protect and defend against the enemy. You would think him a fool, and be unsurprised when he is ambushed and caught unawares. You would think him oblivious and naive, to believe that he can walk into a combat situation unprepared, and remain unscathed. The same can be said of the Christian who thinks they can live their life without being fully armed and ready at all times for anything. A lackadaisical, unguarded approach to the Christian life will always prove to be harmful in the end. No Christian can stand without being fully armed, shielded, and defended. Our weapons are stronger than any physical weapons, and equipped with prayer and surrounded by the words from scripture, we can stand.
What kind of sign is it, what kind of devotion, when we only feel a “need” for God when the devil assails us more actively? In any other relationship, this is unheard of. What friend wants to be there only when you need to be bailed out? What spouse wants to only be called on for support in the deepest darkest times, and never wanted when things are easy and pleasant? Our God is not an insurance agent, nor is He some kind of divine genie, only to be pulled out when the going is rough. He is living and near, and always needed. Be wary of the day when you don’t keep Him close to you with prayer and time in your Bible.
And, this from William Gurnall…
Secular reason sees a Christian on his knees and laughs at the feeble posture God’s child assumes as his enemies descend upon him. Only divine insight can perceive what mighty preparations are actually taking place. Yet just as an unarmed soldier cannot achieve the military exploits of a well equipped infantryman, so the carnal person cannot hope to do the exploits for God which the committed Christian can expect through prayer. Prayer is the main line that leads straight to the throne of God. By it the Christian approaches God with a humble boldness of faith, takes hold of Him, wrestles with Him, and will not let Him go until he has His blessing…. Meanwhile, the carnal person, asleep to the dangers of his sinful state, rushes headlong into battle with a foolhardy confidence that soon turns yellow when his conscience wakes up and sounds the alarm that his sins are upon him. Then, unnerved by this surprise attack, he throws down his weapon, flees from the presence of God with guilty Adam, and dares not look Him in the face.
The Christian in Complete Armour, I: 24-25
Then of course, to cap that off….
I need Thee every hour, most gracious Lord;
No tender voice like Thine can peace afford.
I need Thee every hour, stay Thou nearby;
Temptations lose their power when Thou art nigh.
I need Thee every hour, in joy or pain;
Come quickly and abide, or life is in vain.
I need Thee every hour; teach me Thy will;
And Thy rich promises in me fulfill.
I need Thee every hour, most Holy One;
O make me Thine indeed, Thou bless├Ęd Son.
Most of the people I know, and probably all of those who read my blog, have already read this, since my second excerpt is out of Voices From The Past. Nonetheless, I am sharing it because I found it helpful this morning. Hopefully you do as well. If not helpful, then at least convicting.
Satan always seeks to usurp our territory. By yielding in one temptation, we let the devil into our trench and give him a fair advantage to do us more mischief. An angry man, while he is raging and raving, thinks he will only say so much, but alas while his fury and wrath are rallying, the devil finding the door open, enters and hurries him farther than he ever dreamt of. The best way is to never give him a foothold. Never venture near the door where sin dwells, lest you are dragged in. If you do not wish to be burned, don’t walk upon the coals of temptation. Do not think that you can yield to Satan in one thing and make believe that you will not yield in another. You cannot sit with drunkards and pretend you will not become one. You cannot lend your eyes to unchaste objects and yet be chaste. These are strong delusions. If a man does not have the power to resist the devil in small temptations, what ground does he have that he can in great ones? When a captain directs his soldiers to fight in their ranks, he bids them to stand. Military discipline allows no one to stir from their place without special warrant. every Christian needs to stand where God has placed him. The devil’s method is first to rout and then ruin. We must stay with our own duty and conscientiously attend to it so God will bring us safely to our journey’s end. Paul charged Timothy to give himself wholly to the discharge of his duty. The power of godliness lies in this. It is a contradiction to profess to know God but in your works to deny him. this can never be reconciled. He that is not a Christian in his shop is not a Christian in his closet, and is a hypocrite at church. Wound religion in one part and it is felt in every part. Stand firm!
William Gurnall, The Christian in Complete Armour, I:278-280
And there you have it. Thanks for putting up with my rambling and excessive quoting… I’m impressed it you made it this far.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

It’s abominable, really. I have been shockingly remiss in posting on my poor neglected blog. The thing is, while normally a lack of creativity doesn’t stop me from posting, recently it’s been quite a major deterrent. On occasion, not only is there an atrocious lack of brain power, there’s also a feeling of “empty". I think, “What can I possibly say that would be interesting?”, then I realize that the absence of interesting material has never previously stopped me from throwing things on to my blog without concern for reader or computer. Ergo my current attempt.
If you were one of the people praying for me to get a piano student, thank you. It appears that I will be starting a girl in our church soon. I’m ridiculously excited, to say the least. Now, however, I find myself assailed with doubts and fears. After all, what if I’m not a good teacher? Not everyone has the knack for it, and I can’t say that I envy the poor little children whose lives I could potentially destroy…. Anyhow, I’m happy for the opportunity.
This weekend was quite busy. We catered on Thursday night, then went to the Covenant Christmas Concert. Always nice to hang out with friends. :) After that my mother’s renowned hospitality was extended once again, this time as hostess to a shower welcoming Kari’s sweet baby boy. I still say that my sister being his Godmother makes him my Godnephew, despite assertions to the contrary. Anyway, it was good to meet Caleb Christopher, yet another example of God’s miraculous work in lives around us. It was thrilling to watch the chain of events with the adoption unfold through the last few months. The close of the shower led to throngs of relatives joining the house. Well, ok, perhaps not throngs… just three. Uncle Rich, Aunt Di, and Bekah. And of course four Finks were at our house this weekend as well. Made for a lovely loud time, especially when joined by David and Steffany and their semi-new bundle of joy. Sunday afternoon was a conglomeration of wonderful things. More family (i.e. grandma, grandfather, aunt shell, whitney, dustin, jonathan), friends (i.e. jacob) (although the separation of the two categories is not to imply a mutual exclusivity. I firmly believe that though you can’t choose your family, they often end up in the friend category too), three giant pots of soup, two bundt cakes (one of which is currently screaming my name) and obviously plenty of tea.
Alright. I admit it. While I am not exactly an introvert, I still find myself rather taken aback when total strangers approach and eke out all kinds of information. Such was the case this Sunday, in the midst of our third starbucks trip of the weekend. A [very] friendly man struck up a conversation with some of us, which ended up lasting quite some time. Though not directly involved with this dialogue, I would’ve been failing in my multitasking skills to not listen to nearly every word. While highly respectful of the propensity of coffeeshops to, as it were, “bring people together,” I will admit that multiple times I wanted to lean over to Clark and whisper obscure things like “Don’t tell him anything! He’s probably a foreign spy.” “Look, now he knows where we live and where you work! When he becomes a creepy stalker you’ll regret this!” “Think of your niece and nephew! He’s slowly leaking information out of you about all of us…” The poor man. I’m sure he was just a normal person looking for friends or a group to hang out with, yet in my overly suspicious, occasionally paranoid, and often sceptical mind, he became an information seeking serial killer, on the lookout for his next victim in an innocent family gathering. Even as I realize the improbability of this, I still staunchly maintain that You Can’t Be Too Careful. It’s this same mantra that keeps me from opening the door when the sketchy steak selling man with the big van comes door to door. Or why I let the boy in the Comcast vest stand ringing the doorbell for five minutes, even though I was in his direct line of sight. Perhaps he believed I was deaf? This same, possibly faulty, mentality also stops me from holding the lively conversations with mormons, unless someone else is present, ready to defend when the “burglar within” makes his appearance. After all, it could be someone nefarious simply pretending to be Elder Matthews. Caution, always caution. (I would prefer to ignore that particular mantra when discussing my propensity to go jogging when it’s dark out… I already see the problems existing in that scenario. I just choose to do occasional stupid things. Also, dignity trumps safety at times.)
Already I am running slightly late, and am supposed to be reading from my Bible study book, and making tea to go. Therefore, I leave you with my few disjointed paragraphs and apologize for my scatterbrained manner this evening.
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