Alert Bold and Courageous

autumn dawn daylight environment

It has been said, cats have nine lives. Upon adopting our little cat, who had outlived his previous owner, we came to find out he had barely survived being hit by a car. He had sustained much injury, and, as a result, he had poor vision, and head bob, was underweight, and very timid. However, as the months went by and we prayed for his healing and loved on him, our little Buddy got stronger, healthier, and became quite assertive, all the while maintaining his gentle sweet spirit.

Buddy was not a hunter, as he had no aggressive behavior within him. While our other two cats were out hunting it up, little Buddy could usually be found quietly sleeping in the safety of our home. However, as the months past, he began venturing outdoors during the day. He enjoyed our front porch and we had begun to grow accustomed to his company as we would come and go. At nightfall though, he always made his way indoors. He liked keeping us company, and seeing that his name was Buddy he got nicknamed all kinds of cute pet names depending where he was. When he was on our desk he was Study Buddy, while in the restroom it was Bathroom Buddy, on the couch with us… Snuggle Buddy.

One particular evening this little guy was out late with us. My son and I were hanging out in the bed of his new truck, chatting it up and enjoying the cool of the evening and admiring the beauty of the twinkle in the night sky. Tailgate Buddy was with us. His motor was running as he purred and rubbed and happily hung-out with us. Our conversation turned to Buddy and how he would make a great Truck Buddy.

Buddy was not a cat who stayed out at night. We were especially careful with him due to his poor eyesight. He typically was not even outdoors in the evening. However, on this particular one things went differently. Since he was ALWAYS indoors at bedtime, it did not even occur to us to double check that he was in. Apparently, he had wondered off while we were talking that night. We came in, and didn’t realize Bedtime Buddy was missing. The next morning, I immediately realized that Bathroom Buddy was not around.

That was a sorrowful day as a terrible discovery was made later, by my son. It was so devastating to see. In complete shock and dismay, we stood, crying together. Buddy had been attacked and eaten by a mountain lion. Never have I seen such a thing as that. We were devastated.

Everything happens for a reason. Why did such a gentle spirited animal succumb to such a death? I don’t have the answers, but do feel it was definitely a warning to us. Mountain lions had been sighted up and down our road in weeks prior to this attack. Was it the Lord’s way of getting our attention and alerting us to the danger lurking around in our very backyard? Perhaps. But, even more than that was a spiritual lesson.

The Bible tells us in 1 Peter 5:8-9, “Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. Resist him, standing firm in the faith, because you know that the family of believers throughout the world is undergoing the same kind of sufferings.” I can’t help but think of this. There we were, enjoying ourselves just the evening before in quiet conversation beneath the stars, making fun loving plans together. We did not realize there was a dangerous predator lurking in the shadows of the night. Our guard was down. We were naïve and unaware of the peril right there on our property.

How vigilant we must be in our lives and Christian walk! We must ALWAYS be seeking the Lord. How important it is for us to read His word, commune with Him, and ask Him the questions that bewilder us in this life. His leading and guiding is of utmost importance. If we become complacent in our walk with the Lord, we risk the enemy sneaking in and devouring us. May it not be! James 4:7 tells us, “Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.”

As Christ followers, we are to be of a gentle spirit. In God’s word, it mentions what is referred to as the Fruit of the Holy Spirit. There are nine attributes which are found in Galatians 5:22-23 “But the fruit of the spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.”  It is important that we have such characteristics as these. May the Lord be our strength and help to attain such Christ-like qualities!

In addition to these qualities of gentleness and most noble character, we are also instructed in Joshua 1:9-11 to be bold and obedient. “Be strong and very courageous. Be careful to obey all the law my servant Moses gave you; do not turn from it to the right or to the left, that you may be successful wherever you go. Keep this Book of the Law always on your lips; meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything written in it. Then you will be prosperous and successful. Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.” I thank the Lord that He has given us an instruction manual for life!

Our cat Buddy had escaped previous death. However, he was naïve and ill-equipped for the dangerous enemy that stalked him as prey. May we learn from this, the spiritual responsibility we have. May we, ourselves, BE AWARE of the adversary that prowls around looking for someone to devour. May we submit ourselves to the Lord. May we stay strong by reading His word, communing, and seeking Him in all things. May we be gentle, yet ALERT, BOLD and COURAGEOUS. “And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:7

This article, Alert Bold and Courageous, is protected by copyright. All rights reserved. Please do not cut and paste to Facebook or any other social media site. You may share this article with the share button that is on this page as that will link directly to this blog. Thank you. 😀

Stay the Course

stay-the-course[1]Staying the course is a popular expression in the United States. It is referring to a person who perseveres to the end. We all need to stay the course in life, but how do we do just that? How do we stay focused with a constant barrage of challenges and trials in our life? How do we stay the course when life’s circumstances seem to pull us off course?

Lack of rest actually contributes to restlessness, not just physically, but spiritually. We need to rest our bodies daily, but resting our soul is of the utmost importance. We must learn to rest in the Lord, where He will renew our strength and refresh our very soul. images8NTJ3L0CIf we do not take time out to read God’s word, commune with Him, praise Him, give our troubles over to Him, and trust in Him, we can tire or become easily overwhelmed, lose our focus, and become ineffective in not only our daily routine, but also in our witness to others. That, would be exactly what the enemy would want; an ineffective, confused, miserable Christian. In Matthew 11:29 Jesus tells us to, “Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.”

It is also important that we renew our spirit and mind. When we infuse our mind with the truth of the Bible, it allows us to filter out the things of this world, false doctrines, lies of the enemy, and allows us to be wise and discerning as God’s word seeps deeply into our very soul. Ephesians 4:23 tells us to word-of-god1[1]“Let the Spirit renew your thoughts and attitudes.” And, in Romans 12:2 God tells us “Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.”

You must take time to refresh yourself; however that looks for you, without feeling guilty. Down time is essential in order to be well, function properly, and be spiritually healthy. The actual definition of down time is, a time during which a machine, especially a computer, is out of action or unavailable for use. Or, as we American’s use it, as a time of reduced activity or inactivity.imagesXKLTD474 A frazzled Christian tends to lose the joy of the Lord, and will not be productive in going about their Father’s business on that given day. Jeremiah 31:25 promises us, “I will refresh the weary and satisfy the faint.” You will find you have new strength and energy when you do, and, your days will be more productive and happier as the Lord gives you a fresh perspective on life.

As we know, life happens, and we can get distracted by the circumstances of life. Problems come up and our human tendency is to think, ponder, and pour ourselves into trying to fix and resolve them on our own. When this happens, we actually lose focus of our very solution. Colossians 3:2 tells us to “Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth.” We must take our eyes off our problems and put them back on Christ. When we fall prey to the stress of circumstance we must refocus. “But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.” Matthew 6:33 aae5edfb8508e0165b969a0e0b7aa071[1]We must give those problems over to Christ by laying them down at the foot of the cross and, in faith, trust Him to work things out for our best and highest good. Romans 8:28 says that “All things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.” As the Lord takes you through challenges of this life, thank Him for what he is teaching you and continue to rejoice in Him. This will refocus you on Christ, not your circumstances.

Remember to rest in the Lord, renew your mind, take time to refresh your soul, and always keep your eyes on Christ. You will be amazed at what the Lord takes you victoriously through, and teaches you, as you rest in Him. Staying the course through life’s trials and challenges is possible when we put the Lord first in our life. As you put your trust in the Lord you will find you have renewed vitality in life. Life is good because… God is Great!GodisGreat

COPYRIGHT DISCLAIMER

This article, “Stay the Course” is protected by copyright. You are free to share the link via social media, but this article may not be copy and pasted in its entirety to be republished and redistributed elsewhere without permission (this includes pasting entire story to Facebook, Pinterest, email, etc.).

Run Your Race

trailflower

A good solid run is satisfying, as it is both mentally and physically challenging. It clears the mind, strengthens the body, and refreshes the soul. There are parallels in the physical exertion of running that can be carried over and applied to living life closely with Christ.

Running hills are strenuous, and depending on the elevation and terrain involved, can be down right grueling. Breathing heavily with muscles that are screaming, runners press on. They overcome by not giving in to the pain and exhaustion their body is feeling. They endure. And with every hill they climb their bodies get stronger. These are like the trials and tribulations of life. We must stay strong even when something in life appears to be too big, overwhelming, or daunting. We must choose to stay the course, trusting in Christ to keep us strong in Him. And with each trial He brings us through and each giant He has us overcome, our strength will increase. Philippians 4:13

Mountainous terrain can be dangerous. Rocks, loose granite or shale, sand or mud, creeks and cliffs, lizards that jet beneath moving feet, and snakes that slither are all a par for the course. To navigate such a trail you need a sure footing, or what the Bible refers to as hind’s feet. This can only come with time and continued experience out on the trail by logging in distance and overcoming challenging variables. It is easy to lose a footing or catch a toe on a rock, resulting in a fall that is physically painful or a hit to our pride. And, so it is with the Lord. As we run our race through life with Him, He leads us through perilous times that are difficult, hard to navigate through, painful and often times, humbling. With each challenge we grow and learn to persevere just as runners do on the trail, ultimately receiving spiritual hind’s feet as we stay on our life path with our Lord and Savior. Habakkuk 3:19

Whether it be on a damp foggy trail or parched desert terrain, the threat of dehydration is on every runner’s course. It can sneak up quickly, causing weakness and confusion, and can put a stop to even the strongest of runners. Totally preventable, every runner must hydrate. And, so it is in life. If we don’t quench our thirst, if we don’t drink from the Living Water of Christ, we will soon tire and lose focus as spiritual dehydration sets in. As you run the race of life, continue drinking in the truth found only in God’s word. You will stay the course and finish strong. John 4:14

The spiritual parallels between the physical run and the spiritual run of life are genuine. As hard as it may be, embrace the hills in your life. Better yet, conquer them! Keep a sure footing by gaining your hind’s feet. And, most importantly, stay strong in the Lord by drinking in His word. Let the Lord renew and refresh your soul. You will be glad you did!

COPYRIGHT DISCLAIMER

This article, “Run Your Race” is protected by copyright. You are free to share the link via social media, but this article may not be copy and pasted in its entirety to be republished and redistributed elsewhere without permission (this includes pasting entire story to Facebook, Pinterest, email, etc.).