Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. Ephesians 6:11
This verse made me remember a plastic suit of armor the boys had when they were little. One of the boys would wear the armor and the other would wear the Detroit Lions shoulder pads and football uniform and pretend to slay all the bad guys in the county. They were invincible in those get ups. They felt strong and brave and confident as they rode their bikes up and down the lane defending the land. It didn’t matter to them that it was just cheap plastic, what they wore convinced them of something.
That memory and this verse made me think about what our wardrobe says about us. It seems like a simple thing, get up, get dressed and go on with your day but when you think about it WHAT we put on can send a message. We identify police officers, doctors and nurses by the clothes they wear and we automatically assume they will be helpful because of the way they are dressed. We will approach a total stranger in a store to ask for help based on a simple plastic name tag pinned to their shirt. We have the potential to trust, mistrust; judge and misjudge people every day based on what they wear. Does that seem crazy to anybody else?
I guess the big questions are what does God’s armor look like and how often do I wear it? Then it hit me, it’s not really about fabric at all. The clothes we wear may reflect something about our style, profession or personality but they don’t necessarily tell the whole story. I think the armor of God is something we put on from the inside. It can be pretty easy to look at someone’s clothes and assume a thing or two about them that may or may not be correct but the armor of God is unmistakable. Putting it on is intentional, never just a quick grab and go outfit. The boys always needed my help putting on those get ups they used to wear and so it is with Gods armor; we need him to assist us. If we intentionally ask God to protect us and defend us we have to be willing to let him. Wearing his armor means we are protected and safe, but silly humans that we are, we think it means we are now prepared to charge into the world and defeat all the evils much like two little boys I remember in my back yard. God is the defender and we are the defended; the armor of God doesn’t give us a job it gives us peace.
God’s armor is not heavy or clumsy; it’s powerful and designed to fit perfectly. I realized that if I woke up each morning and asked God to dress me in his armor I would be more confident and peaceful and content. I realized I wouldn’t have to worry about harm or evil because nothing is stronger than God. It doesn’t mean nothing bad will happen, it means God will protect me no matter what the circumstance. If I puddled my way through each day without worry or distraction about all the things that might happen or could happen or shouldn’t happen I would have so much more time for great things! I would have more time to pray, more time to help and WAY more time to love. I think I’ll ask God to help me put on that armor right now and leave the defending to him while I get busy with trusting bigger and loving harder…talk about dress for success!
A Seed To Plant: Stop right now and ask God to suit you in his armor and then give him a list of all the things you’d like to be defended from. All that’s left is to trust and be protected.
Blessings on your day!
So they said to him, “What sign can you do, that we may see and believe in you? “What can you do?…John 6:30
I remember taking the kids to the pool when they were little and a hundred times I would hear them yell, “Watch this Mom!” After watching a dozen times my “noticing” diminished sufficiently! There were times I wanted to say, “I’ll watch when you’ve got something good or new to show me!” Reading this passage from todays Gospel threw me back to those days at the pool.
Our world is so busy and fast paced we can become easily bored and complacent. We are constantly expecting the next thing to be a little fancier, bigger, more exciting or shinier. This passage from John’s Gospel serves as a stark reminder that we need to adjust our eyes and attitudes when it comes to the ways Jesus is working in our lives. The people demanded signs like Jesus was in a competition against Moses, but before I roll my eyes at them and scoff their behavior, I need to check myself. I need to sharpen my “noticing”. I need to ask myself daily, “What is Jesus doing in my life right now.” If the only things I notice are the giant, fancy things he does, I’m missing the root of it all. This Gospel reminds me that he does a hundred mighty things for me and my children every single day and I’m not paying attention because I’m stamping my feet waiting for him to dramatically end the woes of the world. I’m waiting to be “Wow’ed” and he’s waiting for me to notice I’m being “Woo’ed” by his love every day.
In a world that is spinning at the speed of sound, God is using this passage to remind us of the power and peace waiting for us in the simple, the plain, the still. Maybe this week instead of demanding the big stuff we can ask for eyes to see the little ways he fills our days with compassion, mercy and grace.
A Seed To Plant: What is the Lord doing in your life right now? Make a list of all the ways big and small he’s “wooing” you during this season of your life.
Blessings on your day!
Whoever serves me must follow me, and where I am, there also will my servant be. The Father will honor whoever serves me. John 12:26
Oh golly, it’s May and tis the season for ball games, school events, graduations and special happenings galore. It’s that season when meal planning, bedtimes, regular schedules and empty laundry baskets seem like ancient history! It’s easy to get tangled up in the chaos and wish it would all just stop. Finding time for daily prayer and family meals is tricky at best and these busy days can leave us feeling like we are lagging behind as disciples. I’d like to offer a different perspective today for anyone who might be choking on their May calendar.
We serve and are adored by a God who can’t be outdone in generosity. Time and again he shows up and multiplies, subtracts, divides and adds the perfect things our life needs when we remember to invite him in. We are about to begin a unit on the Works of Mercy and as I was thinking about them through the lens of a busy parent I could see something different that just might bring you some peace and help you realize you are discipling and serving God and others more than you think in this busy season. Let’s take a look at those Works of Mercy…
Feed the hungry…yes that means packing lunches, providing the post game snack or making cookies for the school fundraiser. It also means making meals sometimes magically appear from the bare cupboards and fridge because mamma doesn’t have time to shop. Remember to pray for all the “eaters”.
Give drink to the thirsty…pretty sure juice boxes and gatorade provided for the school picnic or ball team count. Quick prayers together in the car can also quench a thirst for peace, confidence and contentment. Remember to pray for all those you offer drink to.
Clothe the naked…I’ve come to believe in my older age that laundry is truly a labor of love. That late night load tossed in to make sure the right outfit is ready for tomorrows event is in fact a merciful and unselfish act. Remember to pray for the wearers of the clothes as you wash and fold.
Shelter the homeless…You provide a home that serves as a place of prayer, safety and rest for the people you love most. You work daily to make sure the children God entrusted you with are noticed, valued, corrected and directed. Most of you open that same home to neighbors and friends too. Remember to pray for all the people who cross your doorstep.
Visit the sick and imprisoned…As you sit waiting for the game or concert to begin and you chat with the person sitting next to you perhaps you are visiting them in a prison of personal loneliness. When you take time to ask someone about that person in their life suffering or struggling you are giving them the strength and support they need to return to the journey. When you offer to pray for those in tough situations you are giving them the greatest help imaginable. Remember to pray for all those sitting in the bleachers or auditorium or lawn chairs.
As you continue to wade your way through the rest of this busy season of your life there are a few things you can do to make sure you aren’t wasting these minutes. In fact, these simple things can help you turn the chaos into a chance to grow in holiness. First, be sure to invite Jesus into the business of the day. Offer all of it…every last stinkin thing on the schedule to him and ask him to help you see him working through all of it. Second, use car time to say quick prayers with your kids. Take turns sharing what you need prayers for and say a prayer together for each other. Third, ask the Holy Spirit to take control of all your conversations so you can be a vessel of his grace and finally, remember that each and every thing we do can be offered as a gift to the Father who will offer it back as grace ten-fold.
A Seed To Plant: Pick one of the four suggestions and put it in action today.
Blessings on your day!
…and the greatest of these is love 1Corinthians 13:13
The last couple of weeks almost daily it seems I read, see or hear something about the Mercy of God. Usually that means somebody else might need to hear about it too. Todays post is a little like a toddler; short and sweet but full of might! Here are some nuggets of Mercy...
*Love is the greatest virtue and mercy is the highest form of love.
*Mercy is a free and undeserved gift from the Father that is the opposite of what we deserve and it’s given completely out of love.
*Mercy is bigger than forgiveness. Mercy allows you to look at those you’ve forgiven with a hope for their holiness.
*Mercy requires humility.
*Humility is not about thinking less of ourselves but thinking of ourselves less…if we are thinking of ourselves less, we can think of the Father more which always leads to loving and merciful thinking and actions.
*Pride is the enemy of a merciful life and not one person in recorded history ever choked to death on their pride.
*He who knows how to forgive and show mercy prepares for himself many graces from God. As often as I look upon the cross, so often will I forgive with all my heart. St. Faustina
A Seed To Plant: Ask God to show you the places in your life where his mercy needs to be received and given.
Blessings on your day!
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