armoured up! P.2

We’re back for part two……..

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As mentioned last week, I took a new journey through the Armour of God (Eph 6:10-18) last year, and the interesting thing was that a lightbulb switched on like never before.  As we studies the whole book of Ephesians what was laid out was a picture of where we sit with God. One where He was not only invited us, but positioned us to sit with Him in heavenly places. Here’s a super quick highlight reel:
Eph 1:3 Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ (NIV).
1:20  He demonstrated this power in the Messiah(Jesus) by raising Him from the dead and seating Him at His right hand in the heavens (HCSB).
3:10 to the intent that now the manifold wisdom of God might be made known by the church to the principalities and powers in the heavenly places(NIV)
2:5-6made us alive with the Messiah (Jesus) even though we were dead in trespasses. You are saved by grace! Together with Christ Jesus He also raised us up and seated us in the heavens (HCSB)
As my brain started to wrap itself around these concepts in a whole new way, the following picture started to unfold – and as it did – it repositioned the way I saw life and lived it. I hope the words below do justice to the picture I began to see…….
Medieval armour on, (that’s the image, it’s a little historically inaccurate as the armour in biblical time that the soldiers wore was very different. But it’s my brains picture, so I’m sticking with it 🙂 ) Not clamouring for victory in the battle, but having won the battle.  The victory. The spoils.  The picture was one of when the war is over, the weapons and armour need a little attention.  They are covered in mud, blood, sweat, battered and beaten metal and maybe even a few tears.  The image was that when we face struggles, past hurt and trials in life, we don’t need to beg God to care that we are hurting or intervene (because He’s always there when we turn to Him). Rather, come from the perspective of victor! As in job done, victory won. 
 For me the shift was from ‘I can’t beat this thing’ – to how is God cleaning and reshaping my armour.  New thinking, soon lead to new beliefs and feelings; and then being re-aligned to another way of looking at the challenge that existed.  Hear me when I say, the challenge didn’t disappear instantly, but the feeling of being in a losing battle did.
When I could look to see how God wants to reshape the armoury, I realised I was no longer sitting there trying to get God’s attention, rather, I was sitting with God and He had all of heaven at His disposal.  It’s a picture of sitting above trials and allowing God to bring healing, wholeness, wisdom and direction, not from a defeated position, but one gearing up for a victory dance. He’ll gentle shows you how to clean the armour and teaches us the moves we need to know, so we’re not susceptible to a similar attack.  At times this also means letting others in and allowing them to help you clean the grime off the places you just can see or reach. Not shifting our stuff and burdening another, but being a team of people who assist in carrying the load, especially when it will squish a person who is alone (I’m going to chat more about that next week, as even though God can do it alone – He often chooses to allow us to be there to help support others….. It’s a privilege not a burden).
What I noticed during this time is that when I remain in communication with God (thru prayer), that He holds the armour in place which protects our internal world, and therefore our external ones too. When you’re in conversation with Him you cannot lose your helmet of salvation, your your shield of faith, or your sword of the spirit.  You can have trouble hearing Him thru the clutter of life, but you don’t lose those pieces.  They may take a battering. But you don’t lose those pieces.  And the reason you don’t lose them when you’re talking to Him is, because he is reminding you who you are and how to use them.  When the shield of faith becomes seemingly to heavy to carry – he reminds you that it just takes faith the size of a mustard seed to move a mountain.  Or when you don’t know how to wield your sword of the Spirit, he’ll remind you of something He said in the Bible which helps you face the day.  When you think that your not worth saving and your salvation helmet is slipping off your head. He picks it up and places it firmly back in place when He reminds you that you – yes you, are one who He came to die for.  So you see – being armoured up took on a whole new meaning, one where we don’t need to struggle to breathe through the tough times, instead we can face them with a steely eyed glint of determination, knowing that God’s got it covered.  And He’s with you. HE sees you , HE knows you, HE understands you!
My prayer and hope for you today is that you’ll see that He is with you through it all – why not pop the kettle on and have a coffee.  And chat with God about all that’s going on in your world today.
Until next week happy pondering 
Erinruth 🙂
It’s very hard to put all you’ve learnt over weeks on intensive study into a few short-ish blogs.  If this is something that is interesting you- I encourage you to have a look at the Priscilla Shirer Series –The Armour of God.  It’s designed for groups, but I undertook it as a ‘party of one’; so don’t be afraid to do it alone, you’ll still get heaps out of it!
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armoured up! P.1

As promised here we are starting the first series planned for 2017… hope you enjoy the ride:) 

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The armour of God – amazing! During a study in 2016, by Priscilla Shirer, I spend 6 weeks just focused on the armour of God, those 8 little verses found in Eph 6:10-18.  But as I studied them God poured out an amazing image before me, which I’ll be writing about over the coming weeks. 
But before I dig into it, let’s have a read of them from The Message translation….
10-12 And that about wraps it up. God is strong, and he wants you strong. So take everything the Master has set out for you, well-made weapons of the best materials. And put them to use so you will be able to stand up to everything the Devil throws your way. This is no afternoon athletic contest that we’ll walk away from and forget about in a couple of hours. This is for keeps, a life-or-death fight to the finish against the Devil and all his angels.
13-18 Be prepared. You’re up against far more than you can handle on your own. Take all the help you can get, every weapon God has issued, so that when it’s all over but the shouting you’ll still be on your feet. Truth, righteousness, peace, faith, and salvation are more than words. Learn how to apply them. You’ll need them throughout your life. God’s Word is an indispensable weapon. In the same way, prayer is essential in this ongoing warfare. Pray hard and long. Pray for your brothers and sisters. Keep your eyes open. Keep each other’s spirits up so that no one falls behind or drops out.
Shirer says ‘The first step in utilizing my spiritual resources is recognise I have them’ and I couldn’t agree more. You can’t use what you don’t know you have. Furthermore, you can’t use to the fullest potential what you don’t know how to use. Like we chatted about ever so briefly last time, if we don’t know the purpose of something  then we set ourselves up to be disappointed, disillusioned and in dispute with the intention of a great thing and in this case the armour that God has given us through the relationship we have available with Him.
We’ve all seen an instruction book and thrown it aside to muddle our way though. But, sometimes when we do that, there’s a few screws left from building the furniture or a feature we never use because we don’t understand the symbol. God has given us access to spiritual resources, once we recognise them and then learn about them, we need to actively engage in learning to live with them daily, not just in crisis mode. The greatest way to learn is through relationship with Jesus, ongoing communication- prayer. It’s the activator, the initiator, the connection point, the glue in our relationships with Him. 
I’m going to be unpacking this passage and a few thoughts over the coming weeks.  Like many passages we can read them and re-read them and then one day – bam! It hits you in a new way (but more on that next week).   Today is about getting the thinking juices going and I’ll leave you to ponder this;  If ‘God is strong and He wants you strong’, how do you think you’re going with that?
Until Next week
Happy Pondering x
Bonus Thought 🙂 When was the last time you chatted to God? Its tough to be in relationship with someone when you don’t talk to them; the same applies to God.  The trouble being, He is ultimately the strongest one  and the one who wants to be your strength, always.  He wants to be included in your life – so why not include Him a little more!

Knowing Its Use

img_8202The other day I went jet boating for the first time, on the Dart River in New Zealand (just out of the adventure capital Queenstown). I don’t consider myself an adrenaline junky, but I was keen to see them do some tricks but also a little nervous about if I’d like it. I LOVED IT! Especially the 360’s. It’s amazing how they can seemingly fly over the riverbed, with sometimes as little as 4 inches of water beneath the boat.

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When I got back, I penned a Trip Advisor review (seems I’m addicted to those badges 😉) of our trip and praised them for the perfect mix of adventure, sightseeing and Lord of the Rings talk. After this, I did a tour through the ‘terrible’ reviews the company had received on this platform. I had to chuckle as people complained about the strangest things. My favourite, that by going to fast they ruined the view (it is beautiful country) and that the 360’s where childish.

Seems I’m childish, but in our last 360- I actually jumped off my seat by about a foot and thudded down and got sprayed by a mass of water. All the time, smiling like a childish fool (I’ll wear that as a badge of honour I think), loving it and disappointed it was over.

But this review got me thinking. If we don’t know the purpose of something (eg an jet boat ride in an adventure capital is guaranteed to spin) then we set ourselves up to be disappointed, disillusioned and in disputes with the intention of a great thing.

Over the coming weeks, I’m going to be doing a series ‘Armoured Up!’I hope you’ll join me for this journey. It might not have 360’s or jet boats and there certainly won’t be snow capped mountains in summer in the back ground but I hope it will be memorable- just like the little jet boat ride!

Until next week
Live life fun and make sweet memories
Happy Pondering x

and so it begins

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I’m going on an adventure! (Enter little excited hobbit here). Well, 2017 is here and what better way to kick it off than with an adventure. My sister and I are currently in New Zealand (I’m sure we’ll visit some Lord of the Rings spots). You can follow our travel reviews at trip advisor just look for Sozo Sisters.

But on a more serious note- I’ve got an adventure I’m going to take this year. Plans are afoot! And I hope you’ll join me in heading out into 2017 with a light step, light heart and joyful smile (after all we dumped all the stuff that isn’t for year. Read ‘Drop It’ here if you’re not across this thinking thought https://sozotalk.wordpress.com/2016/12/08/drop-it/ ). Whilst we don’t know what’s ahead, we can choose now to be a responder and not a reactor this year. As the good, the bad, the fabulous and the grrr moments come at you- from across the horizon of two17; position yourself to respond and respond well. Don’t let fear, anger, doubt or confusion steal the moment when stress comes. Rather, than react from a place of powerlessness, respond from a place of secured identity and confidence. After all, stuff happens to us all- but it’s how we respond to it that reflects who we are and more important who were becoming.

I’m reminded that I’m make in His (God’s) image (Gen 1:27) and being transformed from glory to glory (2 Cor 3:18).  The best in our lives and character is yet to come if we keep remaining close to God. 

It’s a journey, an adventure and I’m excited to see what unfolds over our next trip round the sun on this little blue ball.

Until next week, stay firmly planted in the awesomely amazing knowledge that God thinks you’re awesome, and He’s positioned for a year of great adventure like none you’ve known.

Happy pondering xx

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