A Row Of Houses

My mother and I have enjoyed having a friend visit this week.  We’ve been her tour guides and have loved every moment.  Earlier this week our friend and I spent the day in London.  We traveled by train.  As we whizzed through the countryside, villages and towns, I was particularly drawn to the terraced houses.  These are homes built in a long row, all attached to each other.  Basically each house in the strip is identical to its neighbour.  However, as I observed them, I knew that while they may appear alike, each home would be its own distinct place of habitation.

If we could open each door and peek inside, we would no doubt see homes that were very neat and tidy.  Others not so clean and orderly.  Still others might be an absolute mess. No one can see behind a closed door.

It’s the same in the spiritual worlds of our lives.  Mankind can look at the outside.  They may see some faces smiling while others appear indifferent.  Still other faces may be angry or crying.  While the outside may indicate what is possibly on the inside, like an overgrown lawn might suggest untidiness in the home, no one can know for certain.  You and I can only guess what another may be feeling or experiencing, but God knows all.

God says in I Samuel 16:7, “The Lord doesn’t see things the way you see them.  People judge by outward appearance,  but the Lord looks at the heart.”  The Lord knows our every intention, our every ambition, our ever desire.  He knows when we love and when we detest.  He sees when we smile on the outside because we are happy on the inside, and He sees when the outside smile is a fake, covering up the turmoil behind our facial mask.

God sees all, but that’s not the point of this blog post.  The wonderful point is the truth that God sees the pain and is able to comfort.  He sees when we are trapped by the deceptions of this world and is able to put us back onto a path of righteousness.  We cannot clean up the cluttered mess of our hearts, but our forgiving and loving Father is able to clean us up and then to make us like brand new again.  That is why the Apostle Paul could proclaim the wonderful truth of II Corinthians 5:17, “If anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away, all things have become new.”  Isn’t that amazing?

When our hearts become cluttered or downright unclean, that is no reason to keep the door shut tight.  The moment of such a realisation is the moment we need to open the door wide, inviting the Holy Spirit to please take the broom of holiness and clean us up.  The door can only be opened by us.  The key to unlock it from the inside is repentance; which is that sense of regret and desire not to live that way anymore, that stirs us to ask for forgiveness.  When we do, the Holy Spirit begins to clean, sweeping away the debris of this world that can never satisfy, but can only deceive one into thinking they have found joy, when indeed they have only sunk into deception.  When all is forgiven and hearts are clean once more, then true joy fills the rooms of our heart and mind.

A tidy home is pleasant in our physical world; it’s indescribable joy in the home of our spiritual heart.

 

 

 

 

They’re All Mine

I witnessed a touching scene the other day, although an argument was close at hand, between a group of children.  A small boy, about five, was clutching something to his chest.  His face was twisted in alarm.  Two other boys and a girl were taunting him saying, “You can’t keep them.  They’re not yours.”  “Yes, they are, too! My Dad gave them to me!”  The boy kept his hands tightly holding onto what he claimed was his.  Just then a man stepped out the front door and walked over to the group.  (I was getting closer and slowed my pace; the exchange of words so intriguing I didn’t want to miss anything.)  The boy with his treasure turned to his father and said, “they don’t believe these are mine.”  His eyes were locked on his Dad’s face with a look of knowing that he would now be defended.  The boy was right.  “I gave those to him,” the father now ruffled his son’s hair.  The other children shrunk back, appearing sheepish at their false accusation.  Father and son exchanged smiles and walked together into their home.

I walked on with a reminder of God’s deep love for us.  When any of us chooses to receive the love and forgiveness of Jesus into our lives, the enemy Satan, is livid!  He will try his best to make you ineffective for the Kingdom of God.  His best tactic is to lie.  He will whisper that you are not worthy, that God can’t possibly love you anymore.  He will remind you of past wrongdoings.  He will taunt you with, “no one can love someone like you, and God is holy, so He can’t love you anymore either.  You are just too awful!”  Hasn’t the father of lies ever said such things to you?

You and I all know the terrible things we have done or thought.  We don’t need to be reminded by our arch enemy.  After all, when he dares accuse us, claiming that we don’t have the seal of God’s promise of forgiveness, love, and eternal life, who walks out the door to face our accuser?  Jesus Himself.  He says in John 10:28-29, “I give them eternal life, and they will never perish.  No one can snatch them away from me, for my Father has given them to me, and He is more powerful than anyone else.  No one can snatch them from my Father’s hand.”  What a beautiful promise, so assuring and full of lasting peace.

Never forget who you are: a child of God Almighty, clean in the sight of God because you have been washed in the blood of Jesus — every wrongdoing gone and forgotten.  Did you know that the Bible tells us that as soon as we ask forgiveness (meaning it) that Father not only forgives, but remembers the sin no more?  How amazing is that!  Why does He do that?  Because of Grace.  Because of His immeasurable love.

You are His treasure.  He holds you tightly, clutching you to His heart.  Safe in His hands — for eternity.

 

An Unusual Peace

My mother and I have the joy of living close to the sea.  Nearly everyday we drive along the seaside. There are seagulls; and lately with the sunshine, there are kite surfers, children playing, picnics, and dog walkers.  Such a feeling of the hope of summer coming.

Today as we were driving along, returning from our own time of dog walking, I glanced at the people and activity along the shore.  That’s when a memory of long ago came back to me.  I had gone down to the beach just to find a place to sit and enjoy the beauty of the wind and sea and sun.  I remember that as I sat there I began to pay close attention to the people all around me.  In fact, I would say I felt drawn to them but I didn’t know why.  I tried to turn my attention back to seagulls diving, and waves rolling onto the shore, but no, I couldn’t keep my eyes off the people.  That’s when I sensed God whispering into my heart, “pray for them.”  What?  I don’t know these people nor have I ever even met them.  I considered my reasoning to be valid, but still, the whispers of Father were unmistakable.  “Pray for them.”  So I sat there, fastening my eyes on one person after another, praying for them.

You might be wondering what I prayed since I knew nothing about them.  It occurred to me that I can pray a blessing on someone without knowing anything about them at all.  We can all do that for anyone, whether we know them or not, and what a truly wonderful and loving thing to do.

The Lord said something to Moses about this in Numbers 6:23-27: “Tell Aaron and his sons to bless the people of Israel with this special blessing: ‘May the Lord bless you and protect you.  May the Lord smile on you and be gracious to you.  May the Lord show His favor and give you peace.’  Whenever Aaron and his sons bless the people of Israel in my name, I myself will bless them.”  Isn’t that an amazing thought?  As we pray a blessing on someone, it rouses the blessing of Father upon them.  God has given us the amazing privilege of interacting with Him, through prayer, to bring blessing upon someone else.

As we drove along the sea today, with that memory of the whispers of God to me so long ago, I smiled and thanked Him for the habit that formed in my life from that moment.  I pray for people in airports, while I’m driving along, when I see others walking their dogs, or even just glancing out my widow and seeing someone walking along the sidewalk.

When I do that, you know what I have discovered that happens to me?  My own worries and troubles seem to fade into something manageable.  At times, life’s struggles loom large, often, seemingly insurmountable.  When I pray a blessing on someone, it brings my own concerns into the proper perspective of, “with God, nothing will be impossible.”  Luke 1:37  God has designed a way for us to have an unusual peace; a peace that comes through a desire to bless someone else.  It gives us fresh strength, a renewed joy, and hope that the troubles of today, are safe and manageable in the hands of our loving Heavenly Father.

 

Finding The Source

I love reading the true stories of history and how people coped with the knowledge they had at the time.  Recently I was reading about the London cholera epidemic of 1854.  For a long time it was believed that bad smells were the source of the disease.  However, it was reasoned that those richer with access to properly cleaning themselves were hit with the disease just as many of the poor.  The source was finally traced to a particular area of the city  where the drinking water had become contaminated.  When that was eradicated, the disease came to an end and people enjoyed good health once more.

This drew my thoughts to the diseased condition of our world; not in the physical sense, but spiritually speaking.  The Bible tells us that Jesus “…came that we might have life and that we might have it abundantly.”  To help us achieve that in our world of sinfulness, He has given us His own Holy Word as a guide.  He longs and loves for us to be overflowing in great joy, to know we are loved, to value ourselves, to be honest with each other.  His guidance leads us to achieve that level of success and joy — and we can have it for eternity.

His Word also shows us what pitfalls to avoid.  It’s our choice.  Follow His perfect ways and know indescribable joy and peace.  Turn from His perfect ways and know a destruction of love and joy and peace.

Nearly 3000 years ago, the prophet Isaiah foretold many things.  Some of those things have already come to pass; for example, the birth of Jesus.  He also foretells the second coming of Christ.  That has yet to come.  Interestingly, Isaiah tells us in what condition the world will be just before Jesus returns to claim His own and to set up His perfect Kingdom on earth.  The Bible tells us there will be a new heaven and a new earth.  When that happens, there will be no more sin at all.  Everything will be perfect in love and joy and peace — for eternity.  This life will be for all who choose the way of Jesus now.  Those who choose to turn away from God, in the here and now, will live without Him — for eternity.  What a sad and terrible thought, especially when it doesn’t have to be!

Our world is tragically in a great danger zone with so many people choosing to go against God and His ways in large numbers.  We see our world looking for meaning to life in all the wrong places.  Their judgement is impaired.  What was once known to be bad, they now call good.  What was once known to be good is now called bad.  This is why the world chooses death for babies not yet born, falling under the deception that it’s really just helping women.  This is why the world now embraces men making love to men and women making love to women; men deciding they’re really women and women deciding they’re really men.  Constant drunkenness resulting in vomit and headaches is called fun.  Unfaithfulness in relationships is accepted as the norm while waiting to have sex only after being married is called foolish.   Meanwhile, everyday the crime rate rises around the world.  Shootings, stabbings, bombings — and the world shouts “Why?”  Some blame God, if there is a God, they say.  All the while, God is loving them and longing for them to come to Him for perfect guidance so their world may be filled with meaning rather than emptiness.

Read what  the prophet wrote 3000 years ago in Isaiah 5: “What sorrow for those who drag their sins behind them with ropes made of lies, who drag wickedness behind them like a cart!  They even mock God and say, ‘Hurry up and do something! We want to see what You can do.  Let the Holy One of Israel carry out His plan, for we want to know what it is.’  What sorrow for those who say that what is evil is good and what is good is evil, that dark is light and light is dark, that bitter is sweet and sweet is bitter.  What sorrow for those who are right in their own eyes and think themselves so clever.  What sorrow for those who are heroes at drinking wine and boast about the alcohol they can hold.  They take bribes to let the wicked go free and they punish the innocent.”  I encourage you to read the whole chapter.  It’s a sad and terrible picture of the world we live in, but it doesn’t have to be that way.  It’s an individual choice to choose God and life —  or not.

Spiritual death is all around us.  It’s an epidemic.  People are searching for joy and meaning to living but death draws near to them.   The source to this epidemic is drinking contaminated water; the dirty water of this sinful world who hates God and His Words of guidance.  We can turn away from the contamination and be made clean instead.  We can drink of the life of Jesus.  “He is the Light of the world and in Him is no darkness at all.”  I John 1:5

The source of eternal death is darkness (those things that are against the ways of God).

The source of eternal life is Jesus.  “He is the way, the truth, and the life.  No one comes to the Father except through Him.”  John 14:6

I invite you to take a moment right now to pray for those you know who are choosing darkness.  May they search for and find the Light.  Jesus is waiting and calling.

 

 

A Matter of Washing Your Feet

Happiness often seems to allude us.  There are all sorts of things or situations that we know makes us happy:  vacation time, reading a good book, watching a favorite old film, coffee with a friend, working on your hobby, plus a whole lot more.  There is much in this physical world to make us happy, but how do we remain happy in our spiritual worlds?

Do you remember those times when the presence of God was so sweet?  Perhaps you were worshipping through song; the notes rising and falling, creating a swell of delight in your innermost being, the words probing thoughts of intimacy with the One you love so much.  Maybe His presence seemed closest as you were walking alone with Him in the beautiful nature He created.  Such moments may have come while reading something in His Word that gave a needed direction, or a reminder of His infinite love for you.  Those moments are strengthening in courage, faith building, sweet in fellowship.  We adore those moments — but they don’t seem to last.  Why?

It could be a matter of washing your feet.  You remember the story of Jesus when He washed His disciples feet?  It’s recorded in John 13.  The disciples were astonished and probably a little embarrassed that they had not thought to wash Jesus’ feet.  It was culturally good behavior in that time and place to wash the feet of one’s visitors.  You see, everyone wore sandals, and roads were dusty.  Therefore, the washing of one’s feet upon arrival was refreshing for the guest and a good idea for the host in keeping the home clean.

The disciples felt badly that they had not thought to be so kind as to wash the feet of Jesus, but Jesus took the opportunity to teach a spiritual lesson.  You see, when any of us comes to Jesus, believing that He came to die on the cross to pay for our sins, and asks His forgiveness, He cleanses us from all sin — a Holy bath.  Then, by the Holy Spirit, He takes up residence in our lives.  We are spiritually born again.  “This means that anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person.  The old life is gone; a new life has begun!”  II Corinthians 5:17  We are forgiven and clean; however, we still live in a sinful world.  In other words, as we walk through the days of our lives, we get our feet dirty.  We don’t need another bath, but as we walk in the world, being tempted by and succumbing to its sinful lure, we need to have our feet washed.

As soon as we know our feet need to be washed; ask Father, with a heart of true repentance, for His forgiveness.  He will immediately wash your dirty feet, restoring your joy once again in the sweetness of His forever forgiveness and love.  There is a level of  intimacy with Jesus that one can never fully attain without understanding — the matter of washing your feet.

You Have A Goal

You have a goal.  It excites you because you envision yourself winning.  Perhaps you aim for a desired weight.  Maybe you’re going to clean out the garage which has been waiting to be done for over a year.  You might be training for the marathon to run that long distance.  Maybe you’re working out at the gym to achieve good muscle tone.  You’re going to cut out junk food and eat more salad.  You’re going to read a good book rather than watch more television.  The list of goals to be met are many.  You can taste the thrill of pursuit —  until you tire of the wait.  You want instant success.  Continued effort drags on.  You sense the dream fading.  Hope all but disappears.  Discouragement takes the place of the adrenalin rush to achieve.  You quit.  Agony.  Failure.  Misery invades a once peaceful heart.

Of course, there are many pursuits that are indeed met.  You sweat, feel the pain of the workout, spend the endless hours pursuing the dream — success!  Oh the happiness!  Then the next week arrives.  The happiness already seems a memory of long, long ago.  The adrenalin has stopped flowing.  The thrill, the elation — totally gone.  What has happened?

The wise King Solomon that we can read about in the Old Testament wrote the following concerning life’s pursuits of happiness: “Everything is meaningless, completely meaningless!  What do people get for all their hard work under the sun?  Generations come and go but the earth never changes.  The sun rises and the sun sets, then hurries around to rise again.  The wind turns south and then turns north.  Around and around it goes, blowing in circles.”  These verses describe how monotonous life can be in spite of what we gain.

Have you ever felt this way?  Attaining what you had set your sights on, only to know vast disappointment when the ecstasy fades away.  I remember reading about Howard Hughes, one of the richest men, of times not so long ago.  He had everything he could want but he died feeling the most miserable of men.  How could this be?

My father, the late Dr. Chuck Blair, once wrote this: “It seems like man must feel his emptiness before he can partake of divine fullness.  Only God is the soul’s refuge from the meaningless of life.  When one has no hope of heaven, there is no profit in earthly labor.”  

I have known those who have no earthly wealth at all, who struggle with daily needs; yet in joy and peace, they are overflowing in riches.  Those who never pursue and attain unto the love of God, never know the fullness of joy.  Those who know their Heavenly Father, but let the affairs of this world overcome them, lose their focus on what is important.  Then they, too, drain of peace and lasting joy.

The pursuits of earth can bring a type of joy, but the pursuit of God brings riches that are literally — out of this world.

 

When My Dog Looks To Me

Like many dogs, Jack loves to run and play in the woods.  Finding any stick or log is a treasure to him.  It’s sheer happiness to me, also, just to watch his delight in his discovery.  He bravely jumps puddles, climbs the banks, and runs with abandon into the unknown; but once in a while he loses his way.  Unsure, he suddenly looks to me,  his body rigid with anticipation of my direction.

“This way, Jack,” I may say.  Happily he obliges, following where I lead.  Sometimes he starts down an unchartered path.  He looks back, waiting, eyes locked on mine.  “Go ahead, Jack,” I give my verbal agreement to his decision to explore what lies ahead.

When we first got Jack, he did none of the above.  He just ran wild and often got himself into difficulty.  As he has matured, he’s learned that keeping his eyes on me for direction, is actually to his own peace and joy.

How like Jack are we who know our Heavenly Father.  So often we take off in a direction without first seeking Him for guidance.  It’s to our own advantage to take time to ask Father if the way we are thinking of going is the right way.  The more we practice asking and listening, the sharper our spiritual ears to properly discern His guidance.  Like a loving Shepherd, He will always lead us along the right paths.

The way may be a steep climb at times, but Father will be nearby to give us a hand to pull us up.  The way may seem fearful, but the Holy Spirit will keep us remembering the promises that Father will never leave us or abandon us.  The way may be a complete surprise; something we never gave any thought toward.  As long as we hear Father say, “this way, my child,” or “not now, dear one,” or “no, that way, my treasured one,” then we are going the right way.

Always remember, we are never alone on our walks in life.  The Good Shepherd is forever with us, watching our every step, guiding us in every direction.  All we need do is seek Him with all our heart.  Then we will have His own understanding.  Then joy and peace will be ours no matter the paths that are ahead.  This is His promise to all who seek Him.

“His purpose was for the nations to seek after God and perhaps feel their way toward Him and find Him — though He is not far from anyone of us.”  Acts 17:27

“…Keep on seeking and you will find…”  Matthew 7:7

A Wisdom Like No Other

We would all like to be wiser.  There are ways to gain wisdom.  Education gives knowledge, and practice of things learned brings about wisdom.  Life situations are better walked through when wisdom has been gained through experience.  The study of psychology explains emotional tools we can use to make us stronger in mind and behavior as we face the uncertainties and hard knocks of relationships with ourselves and with others.

All of the above helps us to attain knowledge that may lead to wisdom, but does it give us lasting joy, peace, meaning in life, and hope that never fades?  What is the difference between wisdom learned on earth and wisdom given by God?  Let’s take a look at Proverbs 3:13-18: “Joyful is the person who finds wisdom, the one who gains understanding.  For wisdom is more profitable that silver, and her wages are better than gold.  Wisdom is more precious than rubies; nothing you desire can compare with her.  She offers you a long life in her right hand, and riches and honor in her left.  She will guide you down delightful paths; all her ways are satisfying.  Wisdom is a tree of life to those who embrace her; happy are those who hold her tightly.”

Wisdom we gain on earth is profitable.  It will help us in difficult situations.  It will help us to be stronger in broken relationships and in dealing with circumstances that frighten us.  Learning and practicing wisdom through education and practice is not a bad thing, but it will never take us to the heights of hope and joy that the wisdom from God can take us.  You see, the wisdom of the world is incomplete.  The wisdom of the world cannot help us to understand the riches of life in the spiritual realm.

In the spiritual realm we learn to take hold of a joy that surpasses any other happiness found on earth.  In the spiritual realm we come to understand the value that God Himself places on each one of us; we know that we are precious to Him and loved beyond measure.  This love surpasses any earthly love.  (If one has not experienced the personal love of God, the above will make no sense, because spiritual wisdom can only be gained by those who know Jesus Christ personally.)  Spiritual wisdom gives us insight to life after death; the light that those in Christ will live in for eternity, and the darkness that those who reject Christ will live in, also for eternity.  Do you see the explanation of the above scripture in Proverbs 3:18 ; “…wisdom is a tree of life…”  

There are many ways to gain wisdom to help us educationally and relationally on this earth, but there is only one way to gain the wisdom of God that will let us soar the heights of splendor, dive deep into pure love, and embrace hope for an amazing, eternal future.

Such wisdom is available to anyone who reaches out to take this gift from God; given through receiving His Son Jesus, believing He died and rose again, conquering death, forgiving all sin, granting eternal life with Him.  This wisdom is literally from out of this world.

One Thing After Another

Do you remember those periods of time when nothing goes right?  You walk in one direction and the sky of all things possible produces storm clouds that pour torrents of dashed dreams on your parade. You make a turn and fall into a ravine of calamity.  You climb up the side of, keep on trying, only to have the cliff edge crumble as you dig your fingers into the ledge of last hope.  Ever taken that trip?  It’s literally — one thing after another — time and time again.  It’s emotionally debilitating and spiritually exhausting.

What can we do when — one thing after another — follows us wherever we go?  What did Moses do when God told him to lead the Hebrew nation out of bondage?  He was doing exactly as instructed, when all of a sudden, he looks back to sees the army of Pharaoh getting close.  That must have been a scary moment; but wait, what happened?  God parted the waters so all the Hebrews could escape.  Oh, what joy, but then?  Moses had to listen to one complaint after another from the people he was leading to safety.  In the wilderness Moses faced one calamity after another.  What did Moses do?  He stayed focused. He just kept moving forward with his heart bent toward God.

In the New Testament we have stories of Paul.  He listened to God, made the decision to follow him, and what happened?  He was falsely arrested, imprisoned, and beaten, but God gave him the strength needed and he pressed on.  What happened next?  He was shipwrecked, bitten by a poisonous snake, and finally ended up under house arrest.  He endured — one thing after another.  What did Paul do?  He stayed focused.  He just kept moving forward with his heart bent toward God.

You and I have our own stories of — one thing after another.  It’s not fun.  We don’t want it.  What can we do?  Stay focused.  Just keep moving forward with our hearts bent towards God.  What good will that do?  The promise from God is as follows in Isaiah 26:3:  “He will keep your mind in perfect peace, all who trust in Him, all who keep their thoughts fixed on Him.”  Stay focused.  You will get through.  You will not drown in sorrow.  You will not stay fallen in the pit of depression.  The Light of the Lord always shines in the darkness.  Stay focused.

 

 

 

 

What Jehoshaphat Knew

Every person of every generation has to face trouble.  There’s no getting around it.  There’s no special exemption to avoids life’s struggles; however, there’s great news in that we don’t have to muddle through the mud of our dilemmas on our own.  There is a mighty weapon available who will strengthen us, lead us, and bring us through to victory in every battle we face.  The weapon?  The wonderful Holy Spirit who resides within every follower of Jesus Christ.

One of my favorite Old Testament stories is of Jeshoshaphat recorded in II Chronicles 20. He was alerted that a vast army was coming against him and his own smaller army of soldiers.  In our own battles of life, armies of fear and confusion often come against us.  It’s easy to let panic set in.  Jehoshaphat and his army did not waste any time fretting.  The record reveals that they “sought help from the Lord.”  I love this because so often our first thoughts are “what can we do?”  Jehoshaphat’s first thought was “what will God do?”  As the story continues we are told in verse 14, “Then the Spirit of the Lord came on Jahaziel son of Zechariah…”  Jahaziel shares with the whole army what the Lord had said to him.  The instruction is found in verse 15, “This is what the Lord says to you, ‘Do not be afraid or discouraged because of this vast army.  For the battle is not yours, but God’s.'”  Taking hold of that encouraging reminder, the army poised themselves for battle and marched forward.  However, they did not put in the front their best soldiers armed with spears and bows and arrows.  They put forward the musicians to play and sing praises to God.

Doesn’t that sound an unusual thing to have done?  We tell ourselves that such a thing was for Old Testament times.  God worked more mysteriously then, we  mistakingly convince ourselves.  I’m thrilled to tell you, not so!  We know this pattern of facing life’s battles is the same today,  It’s recorded for us in the New Testament book of Ephesians 5:18-19, “Don’t be drunk with wine, because that will ruin your life.  Instead, be filled with the Holy Spirit, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs among yourselves, and making music to the Lord in your hearts.”  

What does this mean exactly?  Is it a verse about the evils of alcohol?  No, it’s a passage about the power of the Holy Spirit.  It’s a reminder of  just Who is residing within us.  We have a power keg to lead us and empower us with all we need to get through any of life’s difficulties no matter how severe the difficulties become.  When a person is drunk on alcohol, that person is influenced by the content of what they put inside them.  It’s the same with the Holy Spirit.  When we keep in mind Who is living within us, and when we ignite into action His power, we are on the sure road to victorious living.  How to ignite that power?   Go back and look at the instruction in Ephesians,  “..sing songs and hymns and spiritual songs…making music in your hearts to the Lord.”  That’s what Jehoshaphat did: he worshiped first, knowing victory would follow.  He looked immediately to God to show Him the way.

Battles will come.  There’s no escape for any of us to face challenges that at times seem insurmountable.  Never believe the lie of Satan’s darkness that there is no way out.  Never forget the weapon of the wonderful Holy Spirit residing in all who trust Jesus as their own Savior.  Take hold of your weapon.  Engage the Holy Spirit.  Praise and worship God and walk on in victorious living.