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Sunday, August 3, 2008

This is War!

I have been been in a war the past few weeks, and at times, I must admit, I have felt DEFEATED! With whom am I battling, you ask? Who is this enemy?

It is the dreaded Japanese Beetle!

When we returned from our wonderful Chicago vacation, I went out to inspect mu beloved flowers. I was pleased with how they looked from afar. The colors were breathtaking. The scents lovely. The plants were exploding with blooms. I had even payed a neighbor girl to come and water my gardens while we were away. I cherish and enjoy God's amazing creation and beauty~ roses, lilies, petunias, impatiens.... But, with closer inspection, I could see they were being attacked by a dreaded enemy- the Japanese Beetle! Oh, I was already familiar with this wicked insect. They had destroyed my petunias last summer and had killed a plum bush. I knew the destruction and the havoc they reek.These beetles ravage the plant, chewing out tissue between the veins, giving the leaf a "characteristic skeletonized appearance." One morning when I looked out my kitchen window, I saw at least 25 beetles on ONE rose bud, devouring the beautiful petals until they were destroyed...

It made me think of the battle each one of us faces as a child of God. We, too, have an enemy who wants to devastate us, break us, until our beauty in the Savior is unrecognizable, and our faith is destroyed.

He wants to eat away at us- our passions, our dreams, our confidence, our worth- until we resemble those gnawed away leaves with only a skeleton remaining. The green, healthy, foliage, or fruit is missing. We remain just a shadow of who God created us to be.

Battling the Japanese Beetles becomes weary at times. Just when I think I have them "licked," I look out my window to see a new squadron has flown in and is eating away at the precious blooms and leaves.

And so it goes with the enemy of my soul. He wears me down. I become weary at times. And, sometimes, just when I think I have a temptation or deception "licked," he comes in again with a whole host of help. And, like the beetles who come in large numbers, it is often NOT just one I battle, but Satan throws all he has at me. The dishwasher breaks the same week Brian is traveling AND the kids (all five of them) come down with the flu. I then realize I have forgotten to pay some pressing bill....I start my period.......on and on~ you get the idea.

"I will restore (repay) you for the years the locusts have eaten..." -Joel 2:25

Isn't it amazing that our loving Father, our Savior, our Lord will take the devastation that the enemy causes and restore what has been lost? He prunes away the damaged leaves, the eaten blooms, and brings new buds, even more beautiful than the previous ones. The Lord restores whatever the enemy has tried to devour- hope, dreams, relationships, finances, our faith....

In my battle against the beetles, I have come to rely on some very important tools and habits. I need to check and recheck the flowers all throughout the day. First thing in the morning I need to make sure all the plants are healthy and beetle free.

In my spiritual battles, I need to also use important tools and habits.

The greatest tool against the enemy is the Word of God. I need to KNOW the Word and USE it by quoting it OUT LOUD when the battle comes. I MUST spend time in the Word.

To be victorious in battle against the enemy, I must get into the habit of checking and rechecking the battlefield- my mind. I need to examine my thoughts to make sure no lies or deception of the enemy has taken root. I need to "cast down all vain imaginations and take every thought captive." That means if a thought comes into my mind that sets itself against the Truth, I put it down immediately and replace it with Truth.

"You are worthless. You will never amount to anything."

NO. That is not what God's Word tells me.

"You are precious and honored in My sight."- Isaiah 43:4

If God, the Maker of Heaven and Earth considers ME precious and honored, then I am NOT worthLESS, but full of worth!

"For I know the plans I have for you," declares the Lord. "Plans for hope and a future. Plans to prosper you, not to harm you." Jeremiah 29:11

If God has good plans for me, than I WILL amount to something- great things!

I need to build an arsenal of verses that I can quote when (not IF) the time of battle comes. Ephesians 6 tells me that I will face battle against an enemy and instructs me to put on my full armor. Click here and here for more on the armor of God.

Here are two that I depend on:

"He that is in me is greater than he that is in the world."
1John 4:4

"If God is for us, who can be against us?" Romans 8:31

Whenever I feel the attack of the enemy creeping in, I quote these two OUT LOUD.

So, in our battles against bugs or the enemy of our soul, we must remember we have a God who is BIG, who loves us, who is ALL powerful, who loves to come in to defend us, to save us and to restore what the enemy has stolen. He loves when, broken, we cry out to Him to be our defender, our Shield, our Fortress. Jesus is the Armor of God.

Father, I come before Your throne, boldly, praising You, thanking You for Your power and grace and love. I thank You that You are an ever present help in trouble. I thank You that You have equipped me with everything I need for battle. I thank You for Your armor. I thank You for Your protection. Lord, remind me of Your Word, Your Truth when the enemy comes against me with his lies. Help me to replace every lie with Your Truth. I love You, Lord. In Jesus' Name we pray. Amen.

Questions to Ponder:

1. What lies does the enemy use to "wear" you down? Name one or two "weapons" he consistently uses against you. It may be past sins, deception, failures in life...

2. Have you thought about life being a battle? Do you "believe" there is a Satan, an enemy who wars against you? Did you know that the Bible says he is "like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour? Did you know that Jesus said the enemy comes to "steal, kill, and destroy?" Has the enemy been successful in stealing anything in your life? Dreams, relationships, confidence?

3. Search His Word (the Internet is great) for scripture to battle the enemy. Write a prayer that incorporates scripture to replace any lies the enemy uses against you.

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Blogger queenoftheclick said...

Wow - what powerful words you write. It's 1:45 AM and I am thinking deeply about all of the times I have allowed beetles in my life.

Sorry your beautiful flowers were destroyed. I hope you can beat these beetles. Thanks for spreading such a powerful message.

August 3, 2008 at 12:46 AM  
Blogger Denise said...

Bless you for such a touching post my friend.

August 3, 2008 at 12:50 AM  
Blogger Patty Wysong said...

Boy, can I relate to this one! Excellent stuff here and exACTly what I needed to hear today--this morning! Thank you!!

August 3, 2008 at 7:35 AM  
Blogger J-ME said...

Thank you for the wonderful analogy. I, too, have been battling the Japanese beetles. It's my first experience with them. Now when I am out picking off beetles, I will remember this devotion.

August 3, 2008 at 3:08 PM  
Blogger windycindy said...

I have those lovely little beetles attacking my precious plants, also! They especially love my shrub rose! i am usually brought down my anxiety and/or depression! Worrying about my two sons is a biggie, also! Thanks for your wonderful post. Cindi

August 3, 2008 at 3:55 PM  
Blogger lori said...

This may be my favorite one of yours yet....the beattle analogy just spoke to real and so true....
It IS war and what a brilliant way to convey this powerful message!


August 3, 2008 at 9:38 PM  
Blogger Angie said...

Tracy---I am JUST now able to get to read some of my e-mails...we won't even discuss the amount! BUT I read this and had to tell you---WHAT a POWERFUL post!!! Oh my goodness! I have been attacked so many times--and have used one of those verses myself---and another one I especially cling to is..."there is therefore now no condemnation to those who are IN CHRIST JESUS!!
I loved this post!

August 13, 2008 at 6:56 PM  

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