For the last few days, I have been feeling like I’m about to get a cold. To combat this, I have been extra careful to strengthen my body so that I can hopefully avoid getting sick at all. I have been taking vitamins, going to bed early, getting lots of rest, and drinking lots of orange juice. I have been building my body up so that it can be strong enough to fight the virus.
This morning as I was praying, it hit me how this is exactly what we need to do for our spirits as well. Sometimes, we can tell that our spirits are feeling very weak and are about to get sick. At those times, we need to be very careful to rest and build our spirits up again by praying in the Spirit, reading the word, worshiping, talking to Christian friends…all of our “spiritual vitamins!” When we do this, we can protect ourselves from the attacks of the enemy…from coming down with “spiritual colds” and being taken out of the race for a season.
Jesus’ temptation in the desert amazes me (Matthew 4:1-11). After fasting 40 days and nights, he was still strong enough to withstand the attacks of the enemy. I imagine that although the 40 days of fasting made his body weak, it made his spirit very strong. When our spirits are strong, it’s amazing what we can overcome — even when our bodies are weak.
Let’s build our spirits up during this season of Lent! We may have to fight hard to do that, but it’s what keeps us strong and healthy.
“But you, dear friends, build yourselves up in your most holy faith and pray in the Holy Spirit. Keep yourselves in the love of God.” — Jude 1:20-21
Kelly Goddard is a children’s pastor, musician and worship leader who has served at Teen Camp the past two summers. Check out her website at www.kellygoddard.com.
Our third post in an ongoing series right here on the blog: Kelly Goddard, singer, songwriter and the female equivalent of the jack-of-all-trades, has been willing to share her testimony with us. If you would like to share your testimony or what God’s been teaching you, email email@example.com with blog testimony in the subject line.
It’s 9:00 on a Monday night, and I’m standing in my room with flowers in my hands and tears in my eyes. It had been a particularly hard month, where I had felt barraged by all kinds of spiritual warfare. The most pressing line that the enemy kept saying to me was, “This is too hard. Are you sure that you want to walk God’s path?”
And so here I was again, renewing my “wedding vows” with God. Now, before you guys check out and say, “That’s some weird girly thing.”, think about all the times in the Bible that God compares our relationship with Him to a covenant-marriage.
“In that day,” declares the LORD, ‘you will call me ‘my husband’: you will no longer call me ‘my master’…I will betroth you to me forever; I will betroth you in righteousness and justice, in love and compassion.’” –Hosea 2:16,19
At its core, marriage is one of the best pictures we have of what a covenant relationship with God is supposed to be like: two people totally committing to love each other and stay together, no matter how hard it gets.
The other day I was leading worship for a group of kids and at the end, I invited them to use their hands to express their hearts to God. I told them that they could raise their hands if their hearts wanted to praise God, or they could place cupped hands in front of them if they wanted to receive a blessing from God, or they could kneel and clasp their hands in prayer if they felt desperate for God to help them, etc. Afterward, the pastor came up to speak and shared that for his posture, he chose to place his hand on his wedding band. He was re-affirming his commitment to God, a commitment that was just as strong as his commitment to his wife.
For some reason, if you’re like me, when things get hard, we often don’t think of our relationship with God as a 2-part covenant. We ask questions like, “Why aren’t You answering my prayers?” and we think thoughts like, “I’m not sure that I want to live Your way anymore.” Many of us abandon a relationship with God altogether at this point, revealing that the commitment we made when we first gave our hearts to God wasn’t much of a covenant at all.
But since the beginning of Creation, God has been looking for a covenant people, a people who would give their hearts to Him for good and never take them back. “But like a woman unfaithful to her husband, so you have been unfaithful to me,” declares the Lord. –Jeremiah 3:20. And yet, “If you will return, return to Me.” –Jeremiah 4:1.
So there I was again, standing in my room, remembering the promise I first made when I was 7 years old, and again when I was 13, and again when I was 20…and now here again, at 27. And out loud, I said my vows again: “I gave my heart to You a long time ago, Lord, and I am not going back. The enemy will not have his way. I choose you again, Jesus.”
Is your heart heavy today? Do you feel beaten up by the attacks of the enemy? Re-commit your heart to the Lord, surrendering all of you to His plans. The attacks of the enemy will begin to subside as you resist him and stand your ground spiritually, and the Lord will rejoice over you with singing and quiet you with His love.
Praying for you, brothers and sisters…let’s become that generation of faithful people that God has been looking for.
“Place Me like a seal over your heart, like a seal on your arm; for love is as strong as death, its jealousy unyielding as the grave.” –Song of Songs 8:6
“You inhabit the praises of your people.” -Psalm 22:3
I had the chance to be part of the worship team at Teen Camp this year. By far one of my favorite parts was opening my eyes onstage and seeing 100 teenagers with their hands raised in the air, soaking up God’s presence.
It made me think about how God must feel – His view is even better than mine, because He can see us from all angles, so I think He must have been blessed a thousand times over.
I kept telling the girls in my cabin – “God’s presence is so strong this week! It’s like a hot tub and we’re all just soaking in it.”
Afterward, I did some study on the verse above in Psalm 22:3. In Hebrew, the word “inhabit” means that to “sit down, dwell, sit, stay.” The verse says that when we praise God, He comes and sits down among us. I love that. I loved being in a place where so many people were going crazy hard after God, singing His praises and bringing His presence – in other words, giving Him a place to sit down among us.
I am thankful for every camper and leader who invited God’s presence by praying in advance for camp (a core team of campers started praying and planning almost a year in advance!)
I am thankful to every camper who embraced God’s presence by running forward during an altar call and pouring their heart out in confession and surrender.
And I am thankful for every member of camp who celebrated God’s presence through lifting their hands in the rain, singing around the flagpole, praying in huddled groups late at night, and running under the stars during a night game.
And most of all, I am thankful to God who sends us His presence, which is better than any hot tub on any vacation I’ve ever had!
Have a good word you’d like to share on the blog about your experience at camp this summer? Email it to firstname.lastname@example.org.