We’ve Been Robbed

 

We’ve been studying the Armor of God in Bible study and have learned that the key to the armor is in Ephesians 6:18-19. Once you put it on you must… with prayer and petition pray at all times…be on the alert will all perseverance…and pray…
Put it on and pray it up. Those are the words from my wise Bible study leader, mentor, accountability partner and dearest friend. It’s been my motto for months.
Since starting the Bible study about the Armor of God, I feel like I’ve been under more intense spiritual attacks.
This past Saturday, April 1, was no different. It was going to be a busy day filled with lots of non-stop things to do, so being woke up at 7:00 am to the words “we’ve been robbed” was shocking. Unfortunately it was not an April’s Fool joke.
I followed my husband outside. All three cars had their doors opened and trunks popped. Inside, the glove boxes were emptied along with the console. The cars were ransacked and things were missing, but nothing was as bad as the empty spot in the driveway where my husband’s Toyota Four Runner used to sit. Yep, they stole his car and all it’s contents.
4Runner
Talk about one crazy morning. Waiting for the police, hearing our stuff would probably not ever be found, volunteering at the High School, my sons last drumline competition, trying to get my hubby a rental car…it just seemed too much.
When I get overwhelmed, I laugh because it’s better than crying. So I’m laughing, making jokes, trying to see the bright side.  It could’ve been so much worse. The robbers could’ve used the garage door openers inside the cars to walk into the house and take so much more.
I try to be a cheerful person, smile and keep upbeat. Saturday was no different. But within a day or two, the stress does catch up with me. When it does, I usually get hit hard.
Sunday and Monday were overwhelming. If something could go wrong, it did. I found myself throwing off my armor and running to hide. Then I pulled myself up, put each piece back on, prayed it up and continued on the fight.
Today, I am pondering why I took it off in the first place?
I heard God whisper, “Because you thought it’d be easier to hide.”
He was right, as always. I did think it’d be easier to throw a cover over my head and ignore everything, that was going on, but it wasn’t. Hiding drew me into a dark place, consumed by my problems instead of shining His light and watching Him work through all circumstances.
I am still a bit overwhelmed, but there’s no way to get around the hard things that will come up in our lives. To get through it, we have to remember to always put it on and pray it up.
On another bright side, they didn’t take very much out of my car. I’m so thankful because I have a book signing Saturday in Webb City. My car was already packed. They took my box of table decorations and business cards but left my canopy, table, table cloths and books.
So if you come see me in Webb City, MO on Saturday, I have a book to sign for you!
When you feel you can’t move forward, remember to put it on and pray it up! God will always geet you through!
Dana
A Second Chance by Dana K. Ray. If you can’t make it Saturday, you can buy a copy at https://danakray.com or https://amzn.com/1632132605
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Flat Tire

The other day I approached an intersection and heard a loud flapping sound. I pulled up next to a six-wheeled pickup truck that had a tire cage in the bed and was hauling new tires. I looked over at the truck and noticed one of his inside tires was blown and the rubber was pounding against the pavement.

We continued down the road. I found it amusing that this truck had a blown tire and he’s hauling around a hundred tires in the back of his truck. He had everything he needed to fix the flat, but never stopped to use it. He drove on because he could. He still had five good tires, but no doubt the ride wasn’t as smooth, enjoyable or efficient.

Often times, we walk around this earth hurt, unfulfilled, attacked or spiritually drained. God has given us everything we need only we never tap into it. We continue on because we can, only we aren’t happy or content.

Do you have a tire blown and you just keep driving using the other five wheels. This leads to a mediocre life. Pull over. Change it. Look up and use the tools God has given us. His Word. Pray. Believe. Trust in Him. He came so we may have and enjoy life, and have it in abundance. John 10:10

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A Dear Friend

One of my dearest friends went to be the Lord yesterday. With a heavy heart, I got onto my exercise bike this morning. It sits in the basement and faces French doors that are at the end of a hallway. The morning sun had begun to rise. It was the same time I ride almost every morning. I listened to worship music and prayed.

I lifted up prayers for the family and myself. We all know that she is basking at Jesus’ feet but the selfish side that misses her wishes she was here on this earth. I acknowledged that God is good, all the time. I asked that the family would feel His arms around them, assuring them how much He loves them. I asked Him to do the same for me and to show Himself to me, reminding me of Who He is and how much He loves me.

At that moment of prayer, the song Victor’s Crown began to play through my headphones. You are always fighting for us, Heaven’s angels all around, my delight is found knowing that you wear the Victor’s crown.

After those words played, the brightest sunshine shone through the door, came down the hallway, and almost blinded me. Never has that happened and I ride my bike the same time every morning. I smiled. It was Jesus wrapping His arms around me, assuring me He’s here. He’s in control. He knows we’re hurting and He loves us very much.

Nothing can take the place of this friend. I cannot even begin to explain how much she taught me and others about the Lord, and how much she will be missed by family and friends. Knowing she’s with Jesus makes it a little easier to endure the fresh pain.

If you are ever in need of God to show Himself, ask Him. He will. He is faithful. As Darlene Zschech so beautifully put it in the next phrase of the song, {God} You’re my help and my defender, You’re my Savior and my friend, by Your grace I live and breathe to worship You…

God Speaks Through a Diet Coke

I was preparing for an important task and I needed help. Help is one of the hardest things for me to ask for, but I have learned to yield to God in this. I swallowed my pride and asked Tammy (name changed) to help me. Of course she willingly said yes, even seemed excited. The day before the task, I got the dreaded text. Tammy had to back out. In the Spirit I understood and was very pleasant. In the flesh I irritated.  

I’m whining to God about Tammy and having to do the task alone as I stopped for my morning coffee. It was already ninety degrees so I swayed from the hot coffee and decided to grab a diet Coke instead. Very rarely do I buy a screw top diet Coke. I prefer the fountain drink but today, for some odd reason (God) I grabbed the screw top bottle and took it to the checkout.

The checkout person held the bottle up and in an almost too cheerful way, said, “Look, you get to share a coke with Tammy.”

I said, “What?”

He held the diet Coke up, spun the bottle around and there was Tammy’s name printed on the label. “This is Coke’s ‘Share a Coke’ campaign. They put names on the bottles of a person and you’re supposed to find someone with that name and buy them a Coke, or you could bless them in some other way, I guess. Your call.”

I walked to my car and once inside, held the bottle up and looked at the name in big black letters. Tammy. I laughed with God for a long moment. God, through a diet Coke, had to remind me that sometimes I don’t have the right heart or attitude. I might have done the right thing outwardly, I understood and was nice, but my heart wasn’t right.

I’ve heard preachers say that even when you don’t want to do the right thing do it anyway, your heart will catch up. I’m once step closer to my heart catching up. Next time, it won’t be a forced ‘do the right thing,’ but it will just come naturally in the Spirit.

Too Comfortable

Last Saturday my son and I woke up with the desire to go the Mizzou game. We didn’t have tickets but were blessed to buy some online for 35 dollars, 9th row center. My son and I loaded the car and head out on the three-hour drive to Columbia. We were excited!

We watched one of the best games ever! Mizzou went from winning by a couple of touchdowns at the half to thinking they were going to loose at the last two minutes to an interception by Mizzou in the Arizona State’s end zone in the last minute of the game to seal the win. One of the most exciting games I’ve ever been to.

After the game, we sat in the stadium for a long time, letting a lot of the 71,000 people filter out then made our way to the car. The game started at 6:00 pm and ended around 9:00 pm.  By the time we got out of the parking lot it was 10:30 pm. We hadn’t eaten dinner so we were starving and we still had a three-hour drive.

We stopped to eat at a burger joint along with a few other hundred people. We finally got our food and started on our way home about 11:15 pm.

I drove with music on and a chill in the air to stay awake. I nibbled on licorice and sipped on a diet coke for the caffeine and had a Starbucks mocha just in case I needed another caffeine boost.

We made it into town around 2:15 am and as much as I’d like to say I was wide awake, I wasn’t. I remembered the days I could drive all night and it was no big deal but I guess I’m old. I let my son sleep because I did feel better with me driving then an eighteen year old.

When we were about five miles from our house I dozed off. I hate to admit it but I did. The swerve of the car jolted me wide awake. All I could picture was our car hitting the cement center divider and us laying there until someone came along, which who knows how long that would’ve took since it was so early in the morning and there were no cars in sight.

That scared me awake and I got us home safely. I told my daughter about it the next day, wondering out loud why, when I so close to home, would I fall asleep?

She said, “It was probably because you were more comfortable, you know the roads, you drive that road all the time.”

I’ve thought about that statement for the last couple days and realized how true that is in our Christian walk. I look back on the times I’ve stumbled or felt out of God’s will and I noticed I got too comfortable, too familiar with my surroundings and I let my guard down.

Paul tells us in 1 Corinthians 16:13-14, Be on your guard; stand firm in your faith, be courageous; be strong. Do everything in love.  And who can forget Peter when he said Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. 1 Peter 5:8.

If you feel like you’re too comfortable in your Christian walk look at the cement center divider and imagine the crash and imagine how long you may lay there. Then, instead, stand firm in your faith, be courageous and strong, doing everything in love.

A Dark Place

Last week I had made a decision that I had been praying about for months, I was excited but also afraid because I never feel good enough to do what God calls me to do. With the encouragement of many Godly people I admire and trust, I had decided to move forward, to take the leap, to venture out with God.

Before I could even take an outward baby step, Satan hit me hard and before I knew it I was in a dark place. He played the same ol broken record he always plays for me. Telling me I’m not good enough, I’m not smart enough, I’m not spiritual enough. I tried not to listen to it but through some physical circumstances and mental attacks I totally backed away from where I believed God was leading me.

It’s scary the influence Satan can have. I was in a limbo for a few days, a dark place. I wanted to crawl into bed and hide. I didn’t. I couldn’t. I know enough about Spiritual warfare to know that I have to continue on with God’s work even though I wasn’t sure about anything anymore.

After a couple of days the dark cloud began to lift but my world was a still a dark shade of gray. Satan wounded me. I am very apprehensive and even now, I am limbo on my decision. I even question whether it was Satan stopping me from doing something for God or God stopping me from making a big mistake. It’s something I continue to pray about, waiting for some confirmation from God before taking that step out.

I would say the majority of the time I never feel spiritual enough to do the things God calls me to do and maybe I never will. Maybe if I ever did feel spiritually good enough I’d be swimming in the sin of pride.

As I continue on, the gray is turning a lighter shade and I try desperately to see His will I am remind of a quote by Vince Lombardi, “It’s not whether you get knocked down, it’s whether you get up.”

I was knocked down, I was even knocked out for a while but I got up and I believe it’s not just the getting up that’s important but it’s continuing on with the next play.

“I press on towards the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.”  Philippians 3:14 NIV