How Are We Running?

Have you ever seen a toddlers’ race? At the end of the school year there’s a school sports day here in England where the children compete in various races and the parents come to watch.

At the end there is usually a race for the toddlers that have come with their parents to watch their older siblings.

When the race is called, one of the toddler’s siblings will run over and take hold of their hand and lead them to the starting line.

Caps are flung aside and shoe laces tied so that nothing will hinder them. The whistle is blown and off they set.

Some are so tiny, they have only just learnt to walk and their steps are uncertain so they cling hard to their brother or sister and are usually half lifted off the ground as they cling on, their little legs going as fast as they can.

Others, a little older just need a hand to hold to steady them, to stop them falling and to guide them in the right direction and keep them focused.

A few stubborn tiny ones will not want to hold a hand and they dawdle along, looking at the crowds, distracted and wandering off the track until someone comes and leads them back.

Then there are those who are four years old, the ‘big ones’ who will soon be starting school, still some will hold on for that extra help while others try to run alone with their sibling beside them cheering them on. Sometimes they’ll look up for reassurance then carry on, some will look around to see how others are faring and this will slow them down or they will stumble and fall. But when they look up for help there are always kind hands stretched out to pull them up and take hold of their hand to lead them and encourage them as they tearfully limp to the finishing line.

How are we running friends?

Have we thrown aside all the things that would slow us down, have we cast off the things that take our eyes off of Jesus and trip us up?

Are we picking up distractions instead of our Bibles or laying them down?

Are there those things that we enjoy too much to set them aside so we can run unhindered?

Are we going through each day with our eyes fixed on the prize, clinging to God in prayer to help us and lead us to the finishing line? Or are we looking about us, distracted by the world and its pleasures, or looking at others to see how well they are running and tripping up and falling?. These things aren’t necessarily bad but they are a huge problem when they turn our hearts and eyes away from Jesus.

Oh friends, the years I wasted, distracted by the world, dawdling along the way.

I was one of those that started the race but as time went on I was distracted by the busyness of life. I let go of my Saviour’s hand and lost sight of the prize.

I would glance from time to time at the finishing line, going through the motions of prayer and reading my Bible but my heart wasn’t in it.

I’d look for help when troubles came and now and then God in His love would bring circumstances that made me look up to him but I had lost my passion to win the race!

This was when God in His great love and mercy brought chronic illnesses into my life. It was only then, when like those little ones who were wandering along distracted and someone had to take hold of them, or like those that fell, God opened my eyes and I realised that I couldn’t run this race alone. I needed a hand to guide me, a hand to keep me on the track, a hand to hold me up and stop me falling, One to lean on and look to for encouragement along the way.

It’s been hard but beautiful friends. Maybe like those toddlers that fell I shall literally go limping all the way to the finish line but if we run clinging onto Jesus, looking to Him to help and lead and guide us friends, we WILL reach the finishing line.

Have you been distracted by the world friends?

My heart aches to think of others wandering as I did and losing that close walk they had with God in the beginning.

Did you come but you have forgotten to ABIDE?

Or maybe you never truly started the race?

Are you wandering off the track because your eyes are on a screen more than your Bible?

Is there somebody in your life that you love more than God?

Would you be just as happy in heaven if Jesus wasn’t there, just so long as you have your family and you don’t go to hell?

Do your hobbies or other books allure you more than your Bible does? I’ve been there friend and Satan is often trying to lure me back!

Or maybe you’re TRYING to be a better person and you think you are running but you keep tripping and falling.

Oh precious friend, look to Jesus and ask Him to work in your heart and soul until HE is what you desire more than anything or anyone else. It may mean trials but it will also bring blessings.

Take hold of His hand in faith and prayer and ask Him to draw you near and hold you close and KEEP you close.

If you are striving hard to run this race but keep falling remember, we CANNOT run this race alone.

However much we grow in our faith we will always be a toddler and will always need a hand to hold us up and to guide us and keep us from falling. We’ll also sometimes need a chastening hand to pick us up when we become independent and try to do it alone and fall or to guide us back when we wander.

We cannot win by trying and striving to do better. The only striving we need to be doing is in prayer and by seeking to draw near to God through His Word, asking God to help us grow in grace and reflect His image.

To strive in prayer that we might abide In Him.

Yes, we have choices to make and we need discipline to live our lives in a right way but we CANNOT do this alone, we need a hand to hold, our Elder Brother, Christ to hold our hand, walk beside us and encourage us.

We will only win as we cast aside all distractions, as we keep its eyes fixed on Jesus, as we cling harder, lean harder and rely more and more on our Redeemer and Friend.

Let’s cheer each other on to the finishing line friends.

In love,

Sharon xx

WORTHY?

Do any of you struggle with feeling unworthy?

Unworthy of all the blessings God gives us?

Unworthy of His love?

Unworthy to do what He has called you to do?

Utterly unable to walk in a way that honors and magnifies God?

You and I will NEVER be worthy friends but that’s the beauty of it. We don’t deserve any good thing but Christ deserved it for us.

‘We’ are UNworthy but ‘in Christ’, we are WORTHY.

It’s something I’ve been thinking about a lot since I started writing these posts.

“Why me Lord?”

“What do I have to offer when I feel to know so little myself?”

“I’m not worthy.”

Each post I write I have to totally depend upon God to pour into me and teach me.

I don’t find expressing myself easy and say like Moses ‘O my Lord, I am not eloquent’ and ‘who am I?’

But God faithfully continues to help me and I’m learning that God doesn’t just ask us to do something and then leave us, we have everything we need in Him, He equips us by giving us Himself.

I can never be worthy to speak of Christ or encourage others in the way because there is too much sin in me.

But I’m learning to abide in Christ, trusting in His sacrifice for me and believing that He has taken my sins upon himself and given me His righteousness in exchange and in Him I AM worthy.

‘I’ will NEVER be worthy and ‘You’ will NEVER be worthy to say or do anything that will glorify God friend.

But this isn’t about ‘Me’ and it isn’t about ‘You’ it’s all about God and God alone.

If God calls us to do something and we feel unworthy then that’s the best place to be, because then, as we have to go on, relying on God alone, it ceases to become about ‘Me’ or ‘You’ but instead, all about ‘Christ’ in us.

Dependence is a GOOD thing for a child of God. This is exactly where God wants us to be, wholly and completely depending upon Him. God WANTS us to need Him. He loves His children so much that He wants to be helping us all the time.

What poor, stubborn, independent creatures we can be. So often struggling and failing, trying and messing up, when all the while God doesn’t want us to be TRYING…God wants us to be RELYING!

As Christ is in us and we are in Him, THEN we are worthy.

So, as we take each step depending wholly upon Jesus, in Him and through Him and by Him, as we abide In Him, lean on Him, trust Him, walk in all His ways and do His will, it’s THEN that we become worthy to do what God has called us to do.

Let’s keep abiding and relying friends,

Sharon xx

Which ‘R’

The answers to our prayers are not always comfortable

I’ve been asking God in recent weeks to open my eyes to any hidden sins in my heart and life and to be honest friends, I don’t like what I see!

Just recently as my eyes are being opened, I’m seeing just how often I sin with my tongue. It starts in my heart with something little that irritates me with my family.

Do you also find that it’s your family that sees the worst in you, those you love the most and least want to hurt are the ones that get the most of your old nature thrown at them?

Well, something little irritates me inside but then I let it come out.

Sometimes I may say it jokingly but in it is a little thrust.

Other times I speak sharply when it could have been said kindly or not at all.

I particularly trip up when there is something by way of discipline that needs to be said, or I need to ask my youngest to do something and knowing that he’ll probably have an answer because he invariably does, just as his mother used to, (talk about reap what you sow!!) so expecting an answer I begin by asking him in a cross tone of voice.

Sometimes he’ll even say, why are you cross when you ask me to do things!

These things prick my heart but it has become a habit and I need so much help from God to be more Christ like.

God is showing me that a big part of where I fall is that I so often react instead of respond.

When I need to discipline I am often annoyed by the behavior so my discipline comes from the place of my annoyance rather than from my love and desire to guide him to walk in ways that honour the Lord.

There is a subtle but huge difference between reacting and responding!

The devil gives me excuses, “don’t forget you’re not well, it’s so hard to be patient when you’re in pain and exhausted”.

Yes it is but that doesn’t make it any less sinful, it doesn’t make it okay!

Well they need to learn… And I need to discipline as a parent.”

Yes, but not by reacting, not by venting my irritation in harsh words! But by responding lovingly and rebuking with firm but kind words.

I fear that too often my family see the ‘Me’ in me and not Christ in me!

These things may only be evident outwardly at times but even when God helps me to hold my tongue there are still times when the irritation is in my heart.

What hurts me so much is that this is my family, it’s those I love the most!

I just cannot do this alone, there is a constant unseen battle waging in my heart, but I thank God that we are not alone in this constant battle friends.

My dear Redeemer lived the perfect life I cannot live, He paid the price for my sins and He now lives inside me and is willing to help me if I just trust Him to do it.

I don’t need to STRIVE harder, I just need help to LEAN harder!

‘Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Draw nigh to God, and he will draw nigh to you.’

How I long to be made more like Jesus!

Your fellow soldier in the battle,

Sharon xx

Which ‘R’

The answers to our prayers are not always comfortablex

I’ve been asking God in recent weeks to open my eyes to any hidden sins in my heart and life and to be honest friends, I don’t like what I see!

Just recently as my eyes are being opened, I’m seeing just how often I sin with my tongue. It starts in my heart with something little that irritates me with my family.

Do you also find that it’s your family that sees the worst in you, those you love the most and least want to hurt are the ones that get the most of your old nature thrown at them?

Well, something little irritates me inside but then I let it come out.

Sometimes I may say it jokingly but in it is a little thrust.

Other times I speak sharply when it could have been said kindly or not at all.

I particularly trip up when there is something by way of discipline that needs to be said, or I need to ask my youngest to do something and knowing that he’ll probably have an answer because he invariably does, just as his mother used to, (talk about reap what you sow!!) so expecting an answer I begin by asking him in a cross tone of voice.

Sometimes he’ll even say, why are you cross when you ask me to do things!

These things prick my heart but it has become a habit and I need so much help from God to be more Christ like.

God is showing me that a big part of where I fall is that I so often react instead of respond.

When I need to discipline I am often annoyed by the behavior so my discipline comes from the place of my annoyance rather than from my love and desire to guide him to walk in ways that honour the Lord.

There is a subtle but huge difference between reacting and responding!

The devil gives me excuses, “don’t forget you’re not well, it’s so hard to be patient when you’re in pain and exhausted”.

Yes it is but that doesn’t make it any less sinful, it doesn’t make it okay!

Well they need to learn… And I need to discipline as a parent.”

Yes, but not by reacting, not by venting my irritation in harsh words! But by responding lovingly and rebuking with firm but kind words.

I fear that too often my family see the ‘Me’ in me and not Christ in me!

These things may only be evident outwardly at times but even when God helps me to hold my tongue there are still times when the irritation is in my heart.

What hurts me so much is that this is my family, it’s those I love the most!

I just cannot do this alone, there is a constant unseen battle waging in my heart, but I thank God that we are not alone in this constant battle friends.

My dear Redeemer lived the perfect life I cannot live, He paid the price for my sins and He now lives inside me and is willing to help me if I just trust Him to do it.

I don’t need to STRIVE harder, I just need help to LEAN harder!

‘Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Draw nigh to God, and he will draw nigh to you.’

How I long to be made more like Jesus!

Your fellow soldier in the battle,

Sharon xx

Where Do You Live

Imagine a place, a most beautiful land. Not a dry barren desert but a land with verdant hills and valleys, gently watered by the rain of heaven.

This land is cared for by the King. He watches over it and all those who live there, with much love through all the changing seasons of each year making it a plentiful land to dwell in.

If the people of this land love and serve their King with all their hearts they will prosper and feast upon the fruits of this rich land.

The rains are sent at just the right times so that the crops will grow and the vines will flourish giving a fruitful harvest so that each one can eat and be full.

But not all who come to this land remain there, they enjoy its beauty and riches for a while but then they start to wander outside of the borders.

They are allured by the pleasant things they see around them and go after the fruits of other lands that are pleasing to their taste.

These fruits may be tasty and not appear harmful but they are drawing them further away from their King. Their allegiance is no longer fully to their King. They no longer want only the life giving, satisfying fruit of his land but they feast their bellies upon other fruit as well. So does this land exist and where is it?

Friend, this place is real and there is room for each of God’s dear children in this beautiful, fruitful land, for this land is Christ Jesus and He says ‘ABIDE IN ME’

If we abide in Christ we will be watered with God’s word and King Jesus will be with us in the land in every season.

He will be there in both the valleys and on the hilltops.

We may not always see Him but we will know that He is always there with us, every moment of time.

We will be fed and filled with His love, we will be fruitful if we ABIDE and remain in Christ.

BUT

‘Take heed to yourselves, that your heart be not deceived, and ye turn aside, and serve other gods, and worship them; And then the LORD’S wrath be kindled against you, and he shut up the heaven, that there be no rain, and that the land yield not her fruit; and lest ye perish quickly from off the good land which the LORD giveth you.’

Ah, dear Friends, are you thinking that YOU don’t worship other gods?

Anything that takes away our heart and affections from God is an idol. Those things that steal our time in God’s word are poisoned fruits.

The things of this world may seem harmless but if they cause us to wander away from that nearness to our God they are poison to our souls. Can we truly abide in Christ while we are hugging the world to our chests?

Are you really worshipping God or do you give more of your time and attention to other things? Seemingly harmless things.

Which have you spent the most time looking at today? A screen or your Bible?

Precious souls, I say these things because I have been in that place of wandering, I spent many dry years there. I know how these ‘harmless’ things can so quickly consume us!

The Lord in His love and mercy brought me back but it was through hard trials and much affliction and yet, all glory be to His Holy Name, He brought me back.

Sweet friend, Don’t let the devil feed you with excuses .

None but Christ can ever truly satisfy you.

If you have wavered from that place of your first love, do not rest until you are back in that fruitful land, the land watered and cared for by the God of heaven and earth, that place of ABIDING in Christ.

And if you are still seeking, seek on dear soul and don’t give up until you are resting in Christ’s

Remember…

God not only tells us to SEEK and to COME, He also commands us to ABIDE.

Your friend in the way,

Sharon xx

Illustration from Deuteronomy 11 and John 15.

Do You Worship Idols?

Do you ever wonder if God is really first in your life? I’ve been looking at the book of Hosea and at spiritual adultery and idolatry and it’s so searching. It has opened my eyes to just how much we need to be ‘kept by the power of God’. I just cannot keep myself. The devil is too cunning for me and it’s only with God’s help that any of us will be kept. When I was three I had to say those six words ‘kept by the power of God’ at our Sunday school prize giving service. Afterwards I told my Dad that when I went to heaven I would tell Jesus my text. How wonderful it will be if both you and I are able to tell Jesus that one day in heaven!

First let me tell you why this subject struck such a chord with me.

There was a space of several years, soon after I was baptized, when life was busy, the world took over and God just wasn’t first in my life. I was kept outwardly in so many ways but God just wasn’t the most important part of my life. Nobody at that time asked me how I was doing spiritually, no-one asked me searching questions but how I wish they had!!

So because my heart aches for every one who reads this to have a full spiritual life, I’m going to ask you…

Are you a spiritual adulterer?

Do you worship idols?

Are you a friend of the world?

I’ll be totally honest with you here friends. I went for several years only reading my Bible as something to cross off the to do list and real, true, earnest prayer only happened in emergencies. I was distracted by the cares of this life, my time was devoted to my work and preparing for our wedding, and then looking after a home and family and other pursuits. I became an idolater because I pursued these things more than I persued my God. I fulfilled my desires with the things of this life and not with my Saviour and I became a spiritual adultress. Yet these things never truly satisfied me. Do you ever look back longingly to the ‘time of your first love’? Did you Come to know Jesus as your Saviour and forget or not realise that you needed to Abide in Him? I did and my spiritual life became so dry.

But God in His love, mercy and great goodness didn’t leave me there, He brought me back but it was through much affliction, He took away my health and strength, I could literally no longer do the things I had previously filled my life with and He sweetly brought me to realise in it, that without Him I can do nothing. As I turned back to my God and leaned on Him in my weakness, so He, in His love began to teach me what it is to lean only upon Him. I thank and praise God for taking away my health because in and through it ‘He brought me up also out of an horrible pit, out of the miry clay, and set my feet upon a rock, and established my goings. And he hath put a new song in my mouth, even praise unto our God:’

Those of you that know me well, know that my prayers for healing were not answered physically but instead God gave me a much greater healing, He restored my soul.

I hope you can see a little from this why my heart aches to see others brought into a place of truly abiding IN Christ, of resting in His love and of feasting upon His word. To live daily in that place of rejoicing in and leaning upon the God of our salvation.

So, let’s come a little closer, are there things you are putting before God? I’m not saying the only thing you can pick up when you have a free moment is your Bible but have you picked it up at all today or is there something else you’d rather be doing?

Is there anything in your life coming before God?

Are you going after idols rather than your God?

Let’s look at Col 3:5-6

‘Mortify therefore your members which are upon the earth; fornication, uncleanness, inordinate affection, evil concupiscence, and covetousness, which is IDOLATRY: For which things’ sake the wrath of God cometh on the children of disobedience’.

Have you put to death the passions and desires, the things you covet and go after, the things that draw you away from God? These verses tell us that the wrath of God is coming on those who seek after earthly things above the one true God. As we go after these ‘idols’ we turn away FROM our God TO something else and commit spiritual adultery!

How we need God to continually cleanse us from our idols, to keep us from unfaithfulness in our relationship with Him.

Do you have longings and desires after other things or people?

Are there those things in your life that you feel satisfy you more than God satisfies you?

Are there things that you treasure more than you treasure God?

Are there things you enjoy more than you enjoy God?

Are there things you choose to do and as a result you do without God?

Because God loves his people so perfectly He is jealous over their love, He desires ALL their affection, just as a husband doesn’t want his wife to commit adultery and give her affection for him to another.

‘Ye adulterers and adulteresses, know ye not that the friendship of the world is enmity with God? whosoever therefore will be a friend of the world is the enemy of God.’ James 4:4

We CANNOT serve God and man friends, God wants and has every right to our whole heart.

If this has struck a chord in your heart then ask God to make His desires your desires and to open your eyes to any way that you may be committing adultery and to cleanse you from your idols and to help you to truly seek and desire Him only Him.

This is something we’ll have to keep praying all our lives because the enemy knows our weaknesses and will constantly be trying to lure us away. This life is a battle and the enemy is stronger than us but we do not need to fight alone, God will help us to be faithful to Him if we truly desire it. The victory is secure for each and every soul that Jesus died to save and who put their trust and hope in God alone.

A Tale of Two Trees.

Imagine you are given a beautiful delicate young tree. It will need some careful nurturing so you choose the spot to plant it carefully. You have a wonderful fertile place where it can thrive in the sunshine and be well watered by the rain but there’s another young sturdy tree there so you move that and plant your new delicate tree in this wonderful spot of ground.

The rain falls gently on it, the wind blows softly through it and the sun shines down on it and it thrives. After you have allowed the tree to take root for a few weeks you look at it and decide that surely there’s room for the other tree here too. So you plant the original sturdy tree right next to the new beautiful tree.

As the weeks go by they both appear to be doing quite alright side by side. But under the ground the roots are slowly becoming tangled together.

The sturdier tree grows fast and begins to shade the beautiful delicate tree from the sun’s rays, shelters it from the refreshing rain and its roots sink deeper and deeper stealing all the goodness and moisture from the soil. The beautiful delicate tree begin to look sickly and wilt. There just isn’t room for them both to grow side by side!!

When we first come to know Jesus as our Lord and Saviour all we want in our hearts is Him. But over time how easy it is to let the world back in. Gradually, bit by bit, it becomes tangled with our Christian life. Our roots cannot go deep down into the fertile soil God has placed in our hearts and souls, we cannot be firmly rooted in Christ, gaining sustenance from Him because our roots are getting strangled by the roots of the world. The world begins to steal the nutrients from the soil of our hearts and block out the warming rays of the Son of God. Our souls no longer get the water they need to thrive and we begin to wilt in our Christian life. There just isn’t room for both friends!!

If you have allowed the world to take root and steal your joy will you ask the Heavenly Gardener to work in your heart, uproot everything that is stealing what you need to thrive and make room only for Him, so that you may become deeply rooted in Christ Alone.

It was the bible study that I did on Ephesians that has had me thinking so much lately about being rooted in Christ and what it means. I have put more details about the study below. ⬇️

With love,

Sharon

*~*~*~*~*

<<<<
quick facts about the study.

▪It's a FREE email based online Bible study.

▪It takes just 10-15 minutes per day to complete.

▪It follows a five days on, two days off format.

▪It covers the whole book of Ephesians.

▪It includes 4 free digital gifts from Sarah’s Creative Partners.

▪ It launches on October 16, 2017 sign up Here<<<<
e is also a shop containing hand crafted items created just for this study. Each item has a link that will take you to that artist shop including my Etsy shop where you’ll find my scriptures yarns created in collaboration with Sarah for her Bible study.

What is your purpose?

Do you ever wonder what your purpose is here on earth? I’ve been thinking over some verses about this a lot this year. One thing is certain, we weren’t created for our own pleasure yet how often do we live as though we were? I know I often do, putting ‘ME’ first!

🌿We were created for God…

ALL things were created BY him, and FOR him: Col 1:16

🌿We were created for God’s pleasure…

Thou art worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honour and power: for thou hast created all things, and for THY pleasure they are and were created. Rev 4:11.

🌿We were created for God’s glory…

Even every one that is called by my name: for I have created him for MY GLORY.

🌿And in a specific way God’s people are to;

🌿glorify God….

For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God’s. 1 Cor 6:20

🌿Crucify self and walk in the Spirit….

And they that are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts. If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit. Gal 5:24-25

🌿Walk in obedience….

If ye love me, keep my commandments.

🌿Do good works…

For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them. Eph 2:10

There’s a questions these last verses raise that I’ve often thought about and that is that if salvation is by grace alone through faith alone, where do good works come in?

If we’ve been shown much of what we are by nature we may wonder how can anything good ever come out of me?

Well, it can’t, but if we belong to God we are not doing this alone,

it is Christ working in us and through us.

I’ve just finished studying Ephesians again, this time using a bible study on Ephesians by Sarah Koontz (see the end of this post) and she puts it so well – ” God’s work in us paves the way for good works to flow out of us.”

” Good works do not flow out of our goodness, they are a direct result of God’s work in us through the Holy Spirit.”

“Christians don’t manufacturer good works, they manifest good works. We are simply the riverbed through which God’s goodness flows.”

I think that these few points cover not only good works but the whole Christian walk. We cannot begin to glorify God, crucify self or walk in the Spirit in and of ourselves and we don’t need to try to.

How quick we are to try! We are so independent, make big resolutions, try to do better but one thing I’m having to learn is that the Christian pathway is not one of trying, it’s a path of relying!

These things come only as a direct result of the Holy Spirit working IN us and THROUGH us.

This begs another question, is there room in me for the Holy Spirit to work or is my heart too full of other things? Doubt, anxiety, fears, the world, other people’s affairs, judgemental attitudes?

When I pause and I’m helped to take a good look inside, what a lot of junk there is.

These things become like the debris, dead leaves and other rubbish that falls into the river, silting up the riverbed with a foul smelling, rotting waste, clouding up the water.

Let’s be pausing friends, and as God helps us, to battle against the things that clutter up our hearts and souls and asking God to create in us as clean heart and to renew a right spirit within us, keeping our armour bright by holding it up to the light of God’s word. Trusting in Christ alone, let’s take up the heavenly armour (see last blog post) and fight against all that would distract us from God by filling our hearts with heavenly ammunition, the sword of Spirit, His own Holy Word.

Then, as we keep filling our hearts and minds with the light of God’s word there will no dark corners left for the debris of doubts and fears and the rubbish of the world to lurk in.

Written to you with love

Sharon x

If you want to read more of Sarah Koontz study on Ephesians you can sign up for it HERE.

It is email based, ten to fifteen minutes a day with a five days on two days off format. Sarah writes in an easy to read, casual conversational style.

There are free printables throughout the study and if you join the study in October there are giveaways throughout the month including a skein of my scripture yarn this first week of October.

As I’ve got to know Sarah more over the past few months I’ve seen what a beautiful heart she has and what a longing she has to see other women loving God’s word.

Here’s a little more about Sarah from her site.

Sarah Koontz is a passionate storyteller who enjoys using illustrations to communicate deep spiritual truths. Sarah writes to inspire women of all ages to explore the beauty of God’s design at SarahKoontz.com.

Sarah lives on 13-acres in South Dakota with her husband, two daughters and a rowdy flock of chickens. She revels in their simple, uncluttered life.

Who are we fighting and how?

Have you ever been really annoyed at, argued with or hurt by someone?. I have and it’s not always been someone I don’t get along with, sometimes it’s been those closest to me. Why? We love these people in our lives so why do we get irritated by them? Maybe your first thought is sin and yes, you would be right but let’s dig a little deeper.

I love the book of Ephesians and I’m just beginning to study it again using a preview of Sarah Koontz study guide that begins on October 16th. But today I decided to go to the end of the book and look again at my favorite part in chapter six where Paul speaks of the armour of God,

Verse ten begins with Paul telling us to be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might. Not to be strong in ourselves, not to try harder, not to work harder at controlling our sinful nature but to be strong in the Lord. How?. In the power of His might, NOT in our own might, power our wisdom but in the Lord’s.

Then we are instructed to put on the whole armour of God. Every…. Single…. Piece! So that we can stand against the wiles of the devil. Friends, the devil has so many schemes and tricks and lies to use against us and the only hope we have of prevailing against him is as we stand in Christ, covered from head to toe with the whole armour of God.

Now we get to verse twelve and this is what I particularly wanted to share with you. Remember how I started, talking about getting annoyed and the cause of it. Well maybe you and your husband disagree on something, or one of your little ones is constantly being naughty, you’re exhausted and it’s just making you so cross. Think….are they your enemy? Is your dear husband, or your precious child your enemy? Or even that person who has always been unkind to you? No, of course not, then who is?

Let’s look at verse 12. For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world,

So, we see that our struggle is not against flesh and blood, not against people, whoever they may be, but against the devil and all the forces of evil seeking to create havoc in the world and discord in our lives and in particular the lives of God’s children.. A force that WE can never overcome ‘But thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.’ 1 Cor 15:57

This is what I really wanted to share with you all. So many things may feel to be against us BUT… God’s children are assured of victory through Jesus Christ as they fight, not with anything of themselves but in and through Christ with the whole armour of God.

The Christian has six (or seven if you include v18,) items in their Armory. Five of these are for our protection and two to fight with. For our protection, truth, righteousness, the gospel of peace, faith and salvation . vs 14-17 And our weapons? The sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God v17 and prayer v18. It would take too long to write about all that I learnt here but let’s take a quick look at our weapons, how are we to fight? Our sword is the wonderful truths, commands and precious promises that we find in our Bible and our other weapon is prayer, but not just prayer, it’s praying always.

Do we have our armour on? Are we daily protected from the assaults of the devil and the powers of darkness and are we carrying our weapons about with us in our hearts everywhere we go? Are we keeping our armour bright by reading our Bible or is our armour gathering dust along with our Bible? Are we always standing alert in prayer. God doesn’t just give us these commands for certain times and seasons, they’re for every day!

How far short I know that I fall friends. What grace and help we need each and every day to even be ready to stand. BUT…’My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness.’ 2 Cor 12:9.

What is my heart behind Savour of Salt?

You can read a little about why my site is called Savour of Salt and what brought me there here but today I wanted to explain my heart and my longings behind what I write and create.

My main desire, the longing of my heart is to encourage women to really seek the Lord and to abide In Him. Also to share with you a little of what the Lord is teaching me or lays on my heart to share.

You will find daily micro blogs on Instagram @savourofsalt and also shop updates and peeps into my creative world. Here, on the blog, I hope to share some of my thoughts in more depth.

As I share a little of my testimony you will see why seeking and abiding are on my heart.

I began to truly seek God at the age of twelve and was baptised when I was nineteen. It was a very sweet and precious time of walking with the Lord but life was busy, we were planning our wedding, I was working full time and gradually the world crept in. My love for God’s word diminished and I became very dull spiritually.

Over the next ten years or so my Bible was read as something to cross off of my to do list and prayer became a duty or somewhere to go in times of need. God was faithful

and appeared in those times of need but my spiritual walk was lifeless and dull.

Then God in His love allowed me to become chronically ill with lupus. I’m often asked how I keep cheerful with my chronic illnesses (I also have fibromyalgia, sjogrens and osteoarthritis now) and with my restricted mobility, but friends, it isn’t me, it’s because in and through it God has brought me to lean harder on Him, and I can rejoice because through it He’s brought me out of a lukewarm place into a far, far richer place spiritually. I can rejoice when I am so exhausted that even taking the next breath seems an effort because then I have to lean harder and I’ve learnt that depending wholly on Jesus is a precious place to be. Having said that, it’s something I’m having to learn over and over again, because sadly, there’s still a lot of stubborn independence in me! But it’s when I live depending wholly on Christ for everything, that the joy and peace and blessing comes. It’s hard butt it’s also beautiful and precious and sweet as I lean into God’s grace and in my weakness am made strong in Christ.

‘No more Me Lord, just all ‘Christ in me’ is my prayer now. We all need God every moment but it often takes the hard places to make is realise it and for us to lean only on Him and not go on in our own strength. .

So you can see the means God used to bring me closer to Him, it’s been a hard though blessed way and my heart longs to encourage other women to keep closer to God, to not get to a far off place where the journey back is long, hard and painful. Throughout those years in my twenties of feeling far from God, I didn’t have anyone ask me how I was doing spiritually, was I abiding in Christ? I didn’t have anyone ask me if I made time for God each day, no-one encourage me to set aside time to read my Bible and pray, or to seek a life walking close to God. No-one to say that it was ok to miss the dusting this week and spend that time with God. No-one encouraged me to spend my spare time in things that would matter in 500 years time rather than filling my life with earthly things. So, you see, my heart aches and longs to see other women brought into that place of close communion with God and an abiding in His love.

For you to know that you don’t have to strive harder, just lean harder and for you to have a closer walk with God. If your are feeling in that far off, lukewarm place right now dear friend, draw near to God, through prayer and in reading His word and He WILL draw near to you.