“Therefore, put on every piece of God’s armor so you will be able to resist the enemy in the time of evil. Then after the battle you will still be standing firm. Stand your ground, putting on the belt of truth and the body armor of God’s righteousness. For shoes, put on the peace that comes from the Good News so that you will be fully prepared. In addition to all of these, hold up the shield of faith to stop the fiery arrows of the devil. Put on salvation as your helmet, and take the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.” – Ephesians 6:13-17
We’re back and a bright and happy morning to you all. When we last parted, I was sitting in my therapist’s office after just hearing the crazy pronouncement of “who I was in Christ.” Let’s pick up there as she began to explain this “vision” God gave to her concerning my future:
“I was praying about you one day. And God gave me the most glorious vision. You were standing at the gates of hell and there were demons and attacks coming at you from every angle. But you were holding this sword, it was at least 6 feet long. And, in one hand, you were swinging it and fighting with great strength and power. And with the other hand, you were reaching down and grabbing people to keep them from falling through the gates.”
What do you do with THAT??
So I laughed a little nervously. MOVING ON! But she persisted:
“You need to take this seriously. This is your calling and it is special, because not many are entrusted with the sword, and you will reach thousands.”
What sword?? What are you talking about?
Then she shared the passage from Ephesians with me (which I have never read.) And she was very adamant that I understand. As she explained it, the sword, which is the Word of God, is our only offensive weapon in the arsenal. It is powerful and valuable. And we have to learn to use it for the glory of the kingdom.
I don’t know about all of you, but I was just beginning in my journey of faith, and I could not comprehend what she was telling me. So I blew her off. We continued our “real work,” for the next couple of years, and I began to feel better about myself. But amazing things slowly began to happen. God, in His own time, began working out His plan for my life, and I am so very thankful that she was with me for that time. She helped me to listen and pray and discern where He was leading me.
In that time, I was given opportunities to study and learn, to begin teaching, to develop a love for His word that is deep and life-giving. Slowly, my spiritual gifts emerged and I began to see needs in the church that I understood and could meet. I really began to embrace this life with God and all its fullness. Then it happened. God spoke.
On December 6, 2005, God spoke to me and told me to quit my job and go volunteer at the church. And, amazingly, I was all for it. I heard His voice, and my heart filled with joy, and I answered with a resounding “Yes, Lord.” And I have never looked back.
I didn’t really know what I supposed to do. But, with my pastor, we figured it out and I began learning what it meant to develop and manage discipleship opportunities for the people of our church. And I found a deep and abiding joy in that work. I discovered that I have a deep love for the people (you) that I serve. I have an unquenchable desire to help every person to know the grace and love of Jesus Christ.
I finally began to understand the vision after several years of preparation from our Loving Father. I am still not so sure about the Xena image. But I do know that I am forever grateful to my therapist for encouraging and helping me to find my way into my identity with Christ. I am living the life God meant for me to have, and I cannot imagine life any other way.
Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord! My king, You have forever changed my life for the better. Simply by allowing me to see myself as You see me, You have opened up the gates of heaven and I am living in the promised land.
I pray for all my brothers and sisters. I ask, that in Your unending grace, that You would reveal to each one the plan You have for their lives. Give each one a glimpse of the life You have for them, and help each one to live into it with faith and confidence. Reveal to each one, “who they are in Christ,” and the joy that comes with it.
Bless me, Father, by allowing me to witness the work of Your hands inside our congregation. And lead me to be an encourager, a friend, a prayer partner, and a witness for those seeking to live in a state of holy grace.
In the name of Jesus I pray,