pick up your sword

When I was younger, I loved the Disney classics, like come on who doesn’t love a Disney classic? My all-time favourite was the Lion King, closely followed by Aladdin, The Little Mermaid and Dumbo. Over the past couple of years, I have loved that a lot of my favourites have been remade by Disney; some I love, others not so much. 

I have loved being able to take my boys to see the new movies on the big screen. We are lovers of all things musical in our house, so a good soundtrack is vital in making a movie a hit in our house.

Joshua, my youngest boy, is just as passionate about Disney soundtracks as I am.  He is always more than happy to be my sidekick on our road trip, sing-along concerts.

This week as we were singing in our best French accents to Be Our Guest, Joshua said I really love that you know all the Disney songs, Mum, I think it’s really cool to have a Mum that can sing along to songs I love.

Which got me thinking a particular song I learnt off by heart. In fact, I learnt every word of every song on the Beauty and the Beast album when I got the CD shortly after it was released in 1991, which now is twenty-eight years ago. I have remembered very close to all of the lyrics to a whole soundtrack for twenty-eight years. And they are not the only lyrics that have stuck.

My favourite ever songs, Nothing can stop us now – Starship (no shame)

The whole of the moon- the Waterways 

The Loco-Motion- Kylie

Especially for you- Kylie and Jason

Papa don’t preach- Madonna

The list is really expansive. Not to mention countless nursery rhymes, school assembly songs, old hymns, musical soundtracks, rhymes and poems I  learned to recited along the way.

Here I am, almost thirty years later, with all this memory for all these songs and, you know, I actually can’t recite one scripture from Sunday school or Bible Class.

I remember doing a reading in church one time, John 1, in the beginning was the word and the word was God and blah blah blah. My mum had me sitting in the front room reading that over and over to make sure I read it well. And it stuck. 

Every Sunday I went to church, every Tuesday to GB. I went to Sunday School, Bible Class and that’s all I managed to remember. I’d love to stand here six years into my new journey of faith and declare I know lots of scripture now… well I don’t. I could probably quote you a few verses that mean a lot to me. I could paraphrase or I could quote a word or two from the verse but I can’t recite scripture from memory.

And does that matter? Well, I would be the first to say you don’t need to know your Bible word for word to know and love God. You don’t need to be some biblical type scholar for God to use you. You can still go to heaven if you don’t read your Bible every day. And that is all true.

But to get to know the heart of God you need to read the Bible, you need to understand what his message to you is. Not to tick a good Christian requirement list, to know the heart of your Father and his love for you.

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This week, I’ve been feeling a bit overwhelmed by life. I have had a lot of things go wrong and, not wanting to give the enemy too much credit, it kinda feels like something’s out to get me. My heating broke, water broke, car broke, a tooth broke and I had two large unexpected bills. No matter how strong I feel on my good days, when these things come at me and overwhelm me, it’s scripture, God’s word, that I need to hear playing in my mind. That’s why it’s important for me to start to memorise scripture and store it in my heart.

So this week I’ve decided that I wasn’t just going to read my Bible to get a quick word from God to add to my list of chapters read. I’m going to start learning scripture, storing it in my heart. If I can do it with songs I love, why not scripture I love?

“Put on salvation as your helmet, and take the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.”
‭‭Ephesians‬ ‭6:17‬ ‭NLT‬‬

Then when I face opposition, I’ve got God’s truth in my heart, not the enemy’s lies (that’s what Jesus did).

“But Jesus told him, “No! The Scriptures say, ‘People do not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.’ ””
‭‭Matthew‬ ‭4:4‬ ‭NLT‬‬
“Jesus responded, “The Scriptures also say, ‘You must not test the LORD your God.’ 
‭‭Matthew‬ ‭4:7‬ ‭NLT‬‬

““Get out of here, Satan,” Jesus told him. “For the Scriptures say, ‘You must worship the LORD your God and serve only him.’ ””
‭‭Matthew‬ ‭4:10‬ ‭NLT‬‬

 

Let the devil know, Not today!

Have you ever heard the devil speak? Well, I didn’t think I had, until Wednesday night.

So, long story short, about two and a half years ago I got really ill. Through the time of my illness, my faith was left very shakey, close to destroyed.  It’s not that I ever believed that God wasn’t good, just somehow throughout the time of my illness, I started to believe the lie that this good God just didn’t extend his goodness to me.

My illness in a nutshell, basically, we all have two kidneys and these wee boyos do some really important work in the body. And we can’t live without them but one kidney can and will do the job of two. How strange that God would design us with two. Eh?!

So one of my kidneys got really poorly and stopped functioning properly. Usually when this happens it shrivels up and dies but mine didn’t. Mine acted as a sess pool and gathered waste and caused horrible infection and pain.

My medical teams were baffled for a long time and, at times, they even thought at one stage that I may have been imagining my symptoms. It was a horrible time, but once they understood the issue, after an initial failed repair job, they whipped that bad boy out and for a full year I had experienced good health…. until a few weeks ago. That old familiar pain returned, which I recognised as kidney pain, only this time I don’t have a spare one to fall back on. In the hospital, my worst fear was confirmed. That good kidney, and only kidney, was now poorly too and they found an obstruction which could affect the drainage of my kidney.

However, this time I refused to believe any lies that God wasn’t all over this and I was able to rest in his peace and was adamant that this was not going to shake my renewed steadfast faith. As I awaited tests, I very much put it to the back of my mind and not give thought to the possible diagnosis or the implications that would have on my health.

““I leave the gift of peace with you—my peace. Not the kind of fragile peace given by the world, but my perfect peace. Don’t yield to fear or be troubled in your hearts—instead, be courageous!”
‭‭John‬ ‭14:27‬ ‭TPT‬‬

My test appointment came around, for this Thursday. Still, there wasn’t any unnecessary worry. Until on Wednesday night. While in bed, a friend text to wish me all the best for the scan. In their message, they asked how I was feeling. I quickly replied that I was feeling good. My friend then replied that my faith was inspiring. Just then I heard it. Clear as if someone was lying beside me in bed. What I heard was, don’t you think you are being a bit naive. Haha you won’t see this set back coming! ( this sounded very much like my own thoughts)

Now I’d love to tell you I dismissed it instantly but I didn’t. I gave that old devil free reign of my thoughts for the next ten minutes. I thought, am I being silly? Is this faith or just stupidity? Am I just a silly girl? What if my test reveals something really bad and I haven’t even suspected it in my stupidly? What if I get really poorly again? Shouldn’t I prepare my heart for the possibility of disappointment? On and on it went. Eventually, I got to sleep but a car alarm woke me just after 4am, after a crazy dream in which I was getting a selfie in front of an enormous moon with a baby which accidentally set on fire and saved without the onlookers even breaking a sweat… I know right unpack that head melt! haha

Anyway!

In my very early awakeness, I was able to spend my time reading my Bible and spend proper relaxed time in my daily devotional, through which God clearly spoke to me about placing my hope and trust in him. The word that popped out was endurance, which that evening was confirmed when my sister-in-law very randomly and for the first time ever sent me a scripture with her daily read from another text in the bible with the same message of endurance.

Does this mean I know all is fine with my kidney? Nope, it does not. But I know that God went to great lengths to assure me he was with me and that all he requires of me is to keep putting one foot in front of the other, keep clinging to him, keep focused on him.

The car alarm, the scripture, the message from my sister-in-law, my peace, these are all God saying to me I’m with you, Terri. You matter to me. You’re important to me. So often we dismiss these as mere coincidences; let me tell you there is no coincidence in the kingdom of God.

“Even when I walk through the darkest valley, I will not be afraid, for you are close beside me. Your rod and your staff protect and comfort me.”
‭‭Psalms‬ ‭23:4‬ ‭NLT‬‬
Let’s get better at dismissing the devil and his ugly little whispers in the still of the night. Let’s get better at seeing and hearing GOD in the midst of our trials and not only saying, “Oh thank you God”, when things go good or are going our way. Let’s not only recognise God in our happiness. Let’s recognise God in the confusion, in the doubt, in the fear, in the worry, in the unknown, in tragedy, in sorrow, in stress. He is always there, he never leaves us. The enemy lies just drown out God’s truth.

Let’s start to seek God in all circumstances.

let’s, Let the devil know not today, Not ever again.

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