Standing is Victory

As believers in Christ, we face spiritual battles daily—attacks from the same enemy who enticed and deceived Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden (Genesis 3). Some refer to him as the devil, others call him by name—Satan.

Satan is a formidable enemy and comes at us in a multitude of ways, sometimes as a roaring lion (1 Peter 5:8) and other times masquerading as an angel of light (2 Corinthians 11:14). And he is not alone. He leads an army of evil forces (Ephesians 6:12).

Scripture tells us we need to put on the full armor of God to do battle against this enemy of our souls (Ephesians 6:11, 13). With the armor of God firmly in place and with God’s help, we can withstand Satan’s onslaught and gain victory over him and his spiritual forces of evil.

Sometimes we may not feel like we’re gaining victory, but I love what author Sarah Young has to say in her devotional Jesus Always:

“When you’re in the thick of [spiritual] battle, declare your trust in Me—your confidence that I am with you, helping you. You may feel as if you’re losing the battle, but don’t give up! Hold tightly to my hand, and just keep standing. This is victory.”

Sometimes victory is simply standing. As weak as we may feel when we pull ourselves to our feet one more time, we are indeed victorious as we stand and refuse to let Satan keep us down.

Are you struggling to get to your feet spiritually today? Take hold of God’s hand. He will help you stand.

Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. . . put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand.” Ephesians 6:10, 13 NIV

*What have you found helps you the most when you’re in the midst of a spiritual battle?

The next issue of Life Notes, my quarterly inspirational newsletter, comes out in early November. One lucky subscriber (new or current) will receive $15 gift card to Barnes & Noble and a signed copy of my book to use personally, give as a gift, or donate to a library. Sign-up is free and to the right! (If you’re on a mobile device, scroll to the bottom of the screen and click View Full Site to find it.)

*Flickr photo by pic fix, Creative Commons License

Mother of the Bride Dress-Shopping: An In-the-Meantime Dress

Mother of the Bride, have you started shopping for your dress yet? I know finding your own dress is probably way down on your list of priorities, but it must be done.

Don’t feel free to do it yet? I understand. After you’ve gotten all the vendors secured, helped find the bride’s and bridesmaids’ attire, helped with all the choices and orders for flowers, cakes, and food, made sure the invitations are ordered, and have taken care of a host of other time-sensitive tasks, you’ll finally feel free to hit the stores and find the dress that will make you shine on your daughter’s big day.

I wish I could tell you’ll find the perfect dress in the first place you shop, but truth is, some of you may have some difficulty. I faced challenges in finding my dresses for both of my girls’ weddings.

When you begin your dress quest, you may find that the colors available this season may not flatter you or coordinate with the bride’s color choices. You may not like the styles that have swept this particular season. Or you may just have bad luck finding your size in the dress you love.

Here’s a solution to help take some of the pressure off: Buy an in-the-meantime dress. Since you do indeed have to have a dress and if time is getting short, why not go ahead and purchase something that will work while you keep looking for the dress you’ll love? I did this on my first time around the MOB block.

If you buy an in-the-meantime dress, be sure to check the return policy. You don’t want to end up with the expense of two dresses when the overall cost of the wedding keeps climbing as it is. If the dress was on clearance, you might not be able to return it. But for most dresses, you may have anywhere from a month to ninety days to return the dress as long as you have the receipt and the tags are still in place.

Buying an in-the-meantime dress will give you the window of opportunity you need to find something you like better while setting your mind at ease. You’ll know you’ve got a back-up tucked up your MOB sleeve. Happy shopping, Mother of the Bride—and good luck!

*You might also want to read Where to Find Your Mother of the Bride Dress and Mother of the Bride (or Groom) Dresses for You!

*Since the readership of the Mother of the Bride Blog is ever-changing, I hope this encore post from Oct. 2013 helped you today!

*The new issue of Life Notes, my quarterly inspirational newsletter with a giveaway in every regularly scheduled issue, came out earlier this month. It’s not too late to receive it. Sign-up is free and to the right! (If you’re on a mobile device, scroll to the bottom of the screen and click View Full Site to find it.)

*Flickr photo by imcountingufoz, Creative Commons License

 

Meeting a Problem Head-On

Jesus, knowing all that was going to happen to him, went out and asked them, ‘Who is it you want?’” John 18:4 NIV

With Easter still fresh on our minds today, let’s take a look at one of the lessons we can learn from the age-old story of Jesus’ death and resurrection. Many insights and truths can be drawn from this dramatic real-life event, but let’s focus today on how Jesus handled a problem that came looking for him on that dark night before his crucifixion.

When confronted with the most dreaded and excruciating hours of his life, what did Jesus do? He met the ordeal head-on. Scripture tells us that while Jesus was in the Garden of Gethsemane—after eating his last Passover meal with his disciples and after spending time in agonizing prayer—some soldiers and religious officials led by Judas came looking for him.

Since Jesus knew all that was about to happen, he could have handled the situation in a number of ways. As soon as the threat was spotted, he could have run for his life and told his disciples to do the same. Or he could have had the disciples stay and cause a delay while he made his getaway. Or since it was nighttime, he might have even told everyone to hide.

But Jesus didn’t do any of those things. Instead, he summoned his courage and went out to meet the threat. He told them he was the one they were looking for. Then he tried to protect his disciples by asking that they be let go. When one of the disciples drew his sword and began to put up a fight, Jesus stopped him and said, “‘Shall I not drink the cup the Father has given me?’” (v. 11) Yes, he was ready to meet the life and death challenge head-on.

How was he able to do this? Love for us. His desire to pay the price for our sins and offer us eternal life instead. Also love for his Father and his commitment to do the Father’s will. And I’m sure he gained strength from the Father during his Garden of Gethsemane prayer time. We’re told in the scriptures that an angel even came and strengthened him there (Luke 22:43.) All of these things combined helped Jesus face his moment of truth.

Are any of us faced with an overwhelming situation? Let’s take strength from the example of Jesus and from the strength God so willingly gives and then go out and meet the challenge head-on. Let’s drink the cup the Father has given us. Let’s bring glory to his name.

“‘The LORD is my strength and my song; he has become my salvation. He is my God, and I will praise him, my father’s God and I will exalt him.’” Exodus 15:2

*When has God given you strength to face a dreaded ordeal?

The next issue of Life Notes, my inspirational newsletter with a giveaway in each quarterly issue, comes out in early May. One lucky subscriber (new or current) will receive a gift valued at $20 (shipping included) from Beigetone Soaps and a signed copy of my book to use personally, give as a gift, or donate to a library. Sign-up is free and to the right!

*Flickr photo by TimOve, Creative Commons License

I’ll Be Your Wall

6076879792_800b7d9c5b_zDizziness. Vertigo. An injured foot or leg. Any one of these things can find us reaching out to someone or something for support. I’ve been there before, and I’m sure you have, too.

A friend of mine, in fact, copes day in and day out with a medical condition that makes it challenging for her to walk at times. Not long ago during an outing together, a bad spell struck. The distance to a nearby bench loomed large, but with great effort and the help of the cane she carries for just such times, she managed to make it.

After resting for awhile and taking some medicine to ease the symptoms, she felt ready to attempt the next leg of our journey. I had parked the car as close as to the building as possible, but now it felt miles away. Once again, with concentration and slow steps, she moved forward.

At one point, she paused to regroup and said, “If I just had a wall…” I answered instantly, “I’ll be your wall.” I knew she just needed a steadying influence on her side without the cane. With her characteristic good attitude, she made light of the situation, and I joined in. By the way, no matter what we get ourselves into, it seems we always end up laughing about something. I love that about our friendship.

I was glad to be her wall that day. Happy to be her steadying influence. Heaven knows, she’s been mine time and again. But I guess that’s what friendship is all about, isn’t it?

And let’s not forget, we have another Friend always ready to be our steadying influence, always standing by. Next time a bad spell of discouragement, heartache, or pain strikes you, just turn your thoughts to Him. I bet you’ll hear Him whispering, “Don’t worry. I’ll be your wall…”

“Fear thou not; for I am with thee: be not dismayed; for I am thy God: I will strengthen thee; yea, I will help thee; yea, I will uphold thee with the right hand of my righteousness.” Isaiah 41:10 KJV

*When has a friend been a wall for you?

*Hope you were blessed by this encore post from Sept. 2009!

*Flickr photo by Jens Rost, Creative Commons License

When Interruptions Derail Your Day

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I admit it—I don’t deal real well with interruptions to my plans. It tends to drive me crazy when I’m not accomplishing the things I wanted to. Anyone else identify?

I do try to battle my poor reaction to interruptions, though. I start my day by saying, “Lord, this day is yours and so am I. My times are in your hands.” But somewhere along the way, I find myself grabbing that time back. I hate it when I do that. I say one thing and do another.

Recently I read an entry in Sarah Young’s newest devotional book Jesus Always, and it gave me great—albeit convicting—insight into my struggle with interruptions. It also pointed out a better approach to dealing with them. And I found it very interesting that this approach emphasizes trust—the very word I chose as my theme word for 2017.

I’d like to share portions of that entry here today in case any of you fight a similar battle with yourself. I pray it blesses and helps you—and I pray I’ll remember to apply it to my life. Here it is:

“When things are not going your way, refuse to get flustered . . . Your desire to feel in control is often the culprit behind your frustration. You plan your day and expect others to behave in ways that expedite your plans. When that doesn’t happen, you face a choice: to resent the situation or to trust in Me. Remember that I am in control and My ways are higher than yours . . . Instead of getting agitated about setbacks to your schedule, use them as reminders: I am your Savior-God, and you are My beloved follower. Relax in My sovereign control, trusting in My unfailing Love.” Sarah Young, January 16 entry in Jesus Always (italics are phrases from scripture, Isaiah 55:9 and Psalm 13:5)

“But I trust in you, O LORD; I say, ‘You are my God.’ My times are in your hands;” Psalm 31:14-15a

*Do you struggle with dealing with life’s interruptions too?

*The new issue of Life Notes, my quarterly inspirational newsletter, comes out tomorrow. Sign-up is free and to the right. Your name won’t be included in the giveaway draw until the next issue comes out, but it’s not too late to receive this issue. Sign up today!

*Flickr photo by MOEVIEW is Aaron Molina, Creative Commons License