We have a strikingly bright, red colored Cardinal that graces the far reaches of our backyard almost every day. This morning I stood by the window and was memorized as the little bird poked along the grass searching for delectable morsels to devour. When I grabbed the binoculars that I keep on the buffet in the dining room for just such viewing occasions, I noticed that his little guy had a brownish-red partner on the other side of the fence mimicking his actions. I later learned that the bright red bird is the male and the brown one with reddish highlights is the female of the species. It seems that these birds do not migrate during the winter and are commonly found throughout the southeast in backyards, parks, woodlots and shrubby forest edges. Since most of that description fits our backyard, it looks like we’ll be seeing a lot of these fellas!
My interactions with those pretty birds got me to thinking about some of the similarities between them and my wife and I. (Huh… seriously? Well, just hang in there with me and you’ll get my point!) We are commonly seen together, love the great outdoors and especially forested areas and are not scared off from the call and blessings of God by the harsh winter elements that have come against us in life!
In teaching me about my need to “Man Up!” the Lord set three or four foundational tenets before me. Back on December 2nd, He specifically told me that the very first thing that I would need to do is to continue developing the ability to recognize and close the door to the wiles of the enemy of our faith… ie; the devil. Ephesians 6:11 in the King James Version tells us in no uncertain terms to “Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.” The word “wiles” isn’t used too much in modern language but it means “a stratagem or trick intended to deceive. A disarming or seductive manner, device or procedure.” (The freedictionary.com)
Many times the wiles or strategies of the enemy are hidden, secretive or disguised in such a way that the unsuspecting victim doesn’t realize the lie until they’ve fallen into his trap. I’ve also come to learn by personal experiences that the methods of deceit could be so implicitly visible and inconceivable that they just can’t seem to be real… but they really are. I read somewhere that in many cases the wiles of the devil can be likened to a comic opera where the falsity of the premise of the plot is so blatantly obvious and opposite to the truth that it makes you laugh in unbelief… but yet it captures your attention and pulls you in to the drama!
The point of this first foundational tenet is to keep your eyes and your faith solidly fixed on Papa God and the unshakeable truth of His Word… no matter what you are seeing, hearing or physically experiencing that is contrary to that Word. I like the way that the Message Bible puts this verse: “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.” It makes logical sense that in order to succeed at this, you also need to be a consistent student of His Word!
As my wife laid on that hospital bed in the Emergency Room a few weeks ago looking drawn, pale, weak and but a mere shadow of the effervescent, uplifting and active person who she used to be, I had an immediate decision to make. I could give in to my very real feelings of loss and yield to the sense of the need of the moment or choose to continue to put my faith in the Word of healing that we have been standing on for many years. Well, I am sure you know which direction I went. In reality, I had no choice as I was not about to give up and give in to the trickery or wiles of the Devil! And you know… of course you do… that Papa God’s Word worked for my wife’s good back then just as it is at this very moment, as I recently reminded her of my vision of her bounding up the multiple front steps of our new home!
He is offering you the same benefit and blessings today as He gave us in that room on the fifth and sixth of December of last year. Remember that “He wants you to be strong." So in time of need, reach out and "take EVERYTHING the Master HAS SET OUT FOR YOU… so you will be able to stand up against EVERYTHING the Devil throws your way.” According to what I’ve been learning lately, this is a basic ingredient for growth in your faith and in your life as well! He’s given me all the tools I need, and I plan to learn about and use each and every one of them… How ‘bout you?
Have a great day today, keep your eyes fixed on Him and keep asking yourself throughout the day… What or Whose Word am I expecting to depend on today?”