One Piece of the Puzzle

Grasping one piece of a puzzle tightly in her stubby fingers, my daughter wailed, “Mommy! Help me! I don’t know where this goes!”

I gently bent down in the floor with her and took the puzzle piece out of her hand. “Let’s see what you’ve got so far.” She’d completed about a third of her Little Mermaid puzzle but was stuck on where this one piece should go.

I reached over and picked up the puzzle box, which revealed the entire completed picture. Looking at her one piece, I tried to show her how it would fit into the top right portion of her puzzle.

After several attempts, my daughter finally found the place for her piece of the puzzle. Giggling with delight, she said, “I see it now! It’s almost done, Mommy!”

Curling up on the couch to continue watching my daughter, I felt a gentle whisper tugging on my heart.

Lisa, your daughter’s frustration with the puzzle piece is how my children act when life doesn’t make sense.

You only see a small part of my purpose and plan for your life. You have to trust me because I’m the one who holds the puzzle box with the completed picture.

Wow. My eyes were opened wide to this astounding truth as I continued watching my child finish her puzzle.

How often do we feel stuck in our journey of life? Like a frustrated child, we throw up our hands, wailing out to God, “I don’t understand! This doesn’t make sense. I don’t know what to do.”

Just imagine God looking over at His completed picture of our lives. Maybe he smiles and says, “I can’t wait for her to see where the next piece goes. What a day it will be when she sees the whole picture.”

In the meantime, we have to wait. We have to trust. We have to surrender our urge to see the entire completed picture NOW.

I had access to the puzzle box with the completed picture to help my daughter. But in our faith journey, we don’t get to hold the puzzle box. Only God has that power.

So instead, we must trust that he sees and knows. Along the way with each step, God will give us strength and wisdom to handle the piece of the puzzle we currently hold. He longs for us to cry out to him. He loves to watch us giggle with delight when we finally see something that once was unclear become clear.

Some pieces of our life puzzle will make sense to us while we walk this earth. But others will not. And for those unknown pieces, we can look forward to a day when we see him face-to-face. When it all will make sense. When all will be well.

As a little child maybe we’ll say something like this:

“I see it now! It’s all done!”

1 Corinthians 13:12(NLT)  Now we see things imperfectly, like puzzling reflections in a mirror, but then we will see everything with perfect clarity. All that I know now is partial and incomplete, but then I will know everything completely, just as God now knows me completely.

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Blessings to you!

Lisa Preuett

 

In the Darkness

Ever felt like darkness surrounded you? Like it completely engulfed your entire being?

You know what I mean, right? Those times when you just can’t see anything clearly. Your path is hidden. You have no idea what is ahead. Like a thick forest you can’t penetrate, darkness overtakes you.

It’s in those times of darkness when we feel like God is not there. He’s abandoned us. He’s forgotten about us. Does he even care at all?

Our hearts may resonate with David in Psalms 139:11 when he says this:

Surely the darkness will hide me and the light become night around me.

We usually try to avoid the darkness. We want to stay in the light as long as possible. We absolutely FEAR the dark places of our journey! Every thread of our soul unravels away at the mere thought of walking into darkness.

But I found a nugget today that I’d never seen before. A powerful nugget of truth that jumped off the page as I read it. May it encourage you today and give you HOPE if you are in a place of darkness.

Moses had just returned from the top of the mountain. Face-to-face with God, he received the ten commandments to take back to the people.

The people were trembling with fear. In fact, they stayed as far away from Moses as possible because of the thunder and lightning show at the base of the mountain. And here’s the nugget of truth….

Exodus 20:21 “The people remained at a distance, while Moses approached the thick darkness where God was.”

Did you catch the last three words of that verse??? Where. God. Was.

Huh?? You mean, God was IN the darkness? Seriously??

Yes. God was IN the thick darkness.

I don’t know about you, but that gives me hope! Those three words strengthen my soul! Those three words melt away the fearful thoughts of what darkness brings.

Those three words assure me that God is not only with me when my path is full of light, but he’s right there with me when darkness threatens to blind my eyes.

Just like the Israelites, we tremble when the lights start to flicker. We keep our distance from the approaching storm. Like a child afraid of the dark, we beg someone–anyone–to turn on a light.

Have you ever wondered why we’re afraid of the dark?

I think it boils down to this one truth: We can’t see anything!

We honestly believe that if we can’t see something, we can’t depend on it. What you can’t see is untouchable. What you can’t see is unknowable.

But our almighty God breaks down our human thinking with his all-powerful truth.

In him there is no darkness!

(2 Samuel 22:29) “You are my lamp, O Lord; the Lord turns my darkness into light.”

(Psalm 112:4) “Even in darkness light dawns for the upright…”

(Isaiah 42:16) “I will turn the darkness into light before them and make the rough places smooth.”

Maybe the very reason he can turn our darkness into light is because he’s there…in the midst of the darkness….with us.

Where are you today, dear friend? Are you trembling with fear because of an approaching storm? Are you keeping your distance from the darkness, paralyzed to take another step? Maybe you’re right smack in the middle of a dark valley and you can’t see one single thing.

Although your human eyes may not be able to see the path, his sovereign hands are wrapped tightly around your soul. He won’t leave you. He is with you in the darkness.

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Blessings to you!

Lisa Preuett

In the Heat of Summer

Isaiah 58:11 “The LORD will guide you always; he will satisfy your needs in a sun-scorched land and will strengthen your frame. You will be like a well-watered garden, like a spring whose waters never fail.”

Heading out the door, you check the temperature. Already 80 degrees! Sweat begins pouring down your face. Just minutes into your run, you’re already out of breath. The scorching sun feels like your enemy, staring you down.  The humidity is unbearable–sapping all the energy out of every fiber of your weary muscles. Your parched mouth craves water sooner than normal. Tempted to quit, you wonder if you can finish what you’d planned to run. You’d give anything to return to the previous months of cooler temps. But no, this is what it’s like to run in the heat of summer.

Running in extreme heat puts more stress on the heart and our muscles don’t get as much oxygen. The higher the humidity level, the harder it is for our bodies to evaporate sweat, making it difficult to cool down. No wonder we reach exhaustion sooner!

But runners who want to maintain fitness goals and train for fall races have no choice but to run in the heat. So instead of quitting, we must adapt to the heat. There are multiple tips on beating the heat, but the most essential thing we can do is maintain optimal hydration.  We have to drink more than what we’re used to–even when we don’t feel thirsty. Without enough water we risk dehydration, causing muscle cramps, dizziness and nausea. It’s a matter of survival!

Just as runners must hydrate more frequently in extreme heat, Christ followers must run to the source of our living water–especially when we’re in a season of life that feels like a desert. Ever been there? Before the day even starts, a wave of exhaustion washes over you. You dread the day ahead. Can’t I just pull the covers over my head and go back to sleep? You’ve lost your joy. Your motivation to live purposefully has disappeared.  Your faith feels like it’s dried up, leaving your soul parched. Maybe you don’t feel God near you. Perhaps you’ve given up waiting for an answer to your prayer. Every fiber of your weary soul is burdened. Worn out from stress and anxiety, you wonder if you’ll ever make it to the other side of the desert you’re trudging through. Why even bother? Does it really matter?

Dear friend, it does matter! Although Jesus told us to expect trials in this fallen world, he promised to never leave us–even when we don’t feel it. Desert seasons often usher in waves of exhaustion, fear and hopelessness–crashing in and pushing out our peace and joy. But instead of quitting, we must resolve to stay faithful and embrace Jesus with our whole heart. Whether we thirst for him or not, we must fix our eyes on him and cling to him more than ever before. Spending time in prayer. Soaking up promises from his word. Resting in his presence. Reaching out to him desperately. Without him, we risk falling into hopelessness and despair. It’s a matter of survival!

I don’t know how long your desert season may last. But I can promise you that Jesus is with you every step of the way. Your sun-scorched soul will be watered…by him alone. The heavy burdens weighing you down will be lifted…by him alone. The empty places of your heart will be filled…by him alone.

READY? If you’re walking through a desert season, what are you actively doing to maintain your relationship with Jesus? Recall a previous time in your life when you walked through a desert season. What insight did you gain from that time in your life? Claim a promise from God’s word you can cling to for times you may not feel his presence.

 

GET SET.  John 4:14 “But those who drink the water I give will never be thirsty again. It becomes a fresh, bubbling spring within them, giving them eternal life.”

 

GO! Jesus, I praise your name for your faithfulness to me. Even when I’m going through a rough time, I thank you for your promises. Help me embrace your presence when I’m walking through a desert. May your truth fill my thirst and satisfy my longings. You truly are the living water. Amen.

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Blessings to you!

Lisa Preuett

 

 

 

 

 

View From the Top

A couple of weeks ago, I traveled to New York City for a fast-paced, adventurous get-away with my mom. A popular landmark constantly being pointed out to us was the Chrysler Building. This skyscraper stands strong at 1,046 feet tall with 77 floors. Straining your neck to look at it from the ground, it towers over you with its monstrous stance. Insurmountable. Overwhelming. You can’t even fathom how tall it is.

The_Chrysler_Building.2  2ndCB

 

But just a few days later we ventured up to the top of the Empire State Building. Once we finally arrived at the observation deck, we peered out at the magnificent view in front of us. We tried to point out the landmarks we’d previously seen. Suddenly it came into view. There it was!

The Chrysler Building….

empirestateview

Really? Was this the same building we observed earlier?

The same building that appeared monstrous, insurmountable and overwhelming now looked much smaller! From the view at the top, you could see the entire building without straining your neck. You could see for miles! The view was breathtaking and spectacular.

The difference between the ground view and the top view was PERSPECTIVE.

As I looked out over the magnificent view of New York City, a powerful truth hit me hard:

From our perspective, the challenges and trials we face appear to be insurmountable, monstrous and quite overwhelming. But from God’s perspective, our challenges and trials are part of a magnificent and spectacular plan that only He can see all at once!

As humans, we will never have the top-of-the-observation-deck view of our lives. We will not be able to see the whole picture but only one part at a time. But we can trust our faithful God because He always has the upper view of everything.

We can absolutely trust Him with the things we can’t see.

The challenges that seem overwhelming.

The trials that threaten to strain our souls.

Yes. That is what true faith is, dear friend! Trusting God with the things we can’t see, knowing that He sees it all.

Where are you today? Are you looking up at something that seems overwhelming? Is there a challenge smack in front of you, crowding your vision?

I encourage you to run to your Heavenly Father to the top of the observation deck. Take his hand and let him lead you out to a place of rest. Let your soul soar with peace as you gaze upon the spectacular purpose He has for you.

Proverbs 18:10 The name of the Lord is like a strong tower. The righteous run to it and are safe.

Blessings to you, dear friend!

Lisa Preuett

 

Which Side Are You Running On?

Romans 12:2 “Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world but be transformed by the renewing of you mind.”

 

Cars approaching you closer and closer. Zooming past you, just inches away. It’s enough to usher in a wave of fear, wondering if you’ll get plowed over. It can feel downright awkward and vulnerable. This just seems backward. You feel like every driver is staring you down. For safety, runners are urged to run on the left side of the road—facing traffic. Huh? It doesn’t make sense! It would feel much more comfortable to run with the flow of traffic rather than against it.

The truth is you’re doing the right thing by running against traffic. Running on the left shoulder facing oncoming traffic is much safer than having cars at your back. In most states, it’s not even a matter of choice; the law requires that runners face oncoming traffic. Oncoming traffic can better see you. If you ran on the right side of the road, you couldn’t see what’s coming behind you. Distracted drivers (texting or looking at their phones) won’t be able to see you until the last-minute. Or in some cases, won’t see you at all until it’s too late.

Runners who run with traffic are dangerously putting themselves at high risk. So the best way to prevent an untimely meeting with a vehicle is to be able to see them. And that means you must run against the traffic and ignore what appears to be a comfortable pattern.

As followers of Christ, we are called to stand out from the world. We are set apart. That means we don’t conform to the ways of our culture. The spirit of this world opposes the ways of God. The spirit of this world is wrapped around pleasing self. People who are not God-driven are caught up in the whirlwind of a dangerous traffic pattern. Its force is strong. At times it may even look appealing, beckoning us to join in. If we aren’t careful, we can get distracted. Before we know it, we’re caught up in the rushing current of sin. And then we think it’s no big deal because everyone’s doing it. This is the path everyone is traveling, so it must be right.

Just as runners go against the flow of traffic for physical safety, we must resolve to walk the narrow path for the life of our soul. As tempting as it may be to blend in with the world, we must commit our lives to walk as Jesus did. We must embrace the path He has laid out for us. This path will not look like that of our unbelieving neighbors and coworkers. This path will not be popular. This path will not feel comfortable. On the contrary, this path will feel awkward. It will cause us to feel very vulnerable before others. Walking this path will go against every fleshly desire welling up inside us. But this is the path we must embrace if we are true followers of Christ.

Hurting people in this world will notice us plain as day. Broken hearts will be drawn to the hope radiating out of us. Empty souls will turn in our direction, longing to be filled. But they won’t notice us if we’re blending in with the traffic pattern of the world.

READY? As a follower of Christ, which side of the road are you running on? When are you tempted to blend in with the world? What is your response when it feels everything is against you? What steps can you take to confidently run your race of faith on the righteous path God has laid out?

GET SET. Proverbs 16:25 “There is a way that appears to be right, but in the end it leads to death.”

 GO! Lord Jesus, this world is a tough place to live in. It’s so easy to get caught up in the flow of what seems right. I desperately cry out to you and ask you to strengthen me. Help me to be brave and walk the path you’ve laid out for me. Help me to be faithful even when it feels like I’m alone. Amen.

 

Man jogging on road, car approaching, dusk

If you enjoyed this post, check out my devotional book!

Blessings to you!

Lisa Preuett

 

Life is Like a Tough Mudder Obstacle Course!

As a runner, I’m ingrained with a natural instinct to do two things:

1. Avoid puddles (You’re supposed to go around them, not through them!)

2. Steer clear of anything blocking my path. (You gotta keep up your pace without having to stop!)

While tackling my first Tough Mudder recently, both those instincts went out the window.

I’m wired to write about the parallels between running and our Christian faith journey. Yet after completing a 10 mile muddy course with military-style obstacles, my eyes were opened with new insight.

Life is really more like a muddy obstacle course!

PITFALL:   30 yards of wading through a murky-muddy wetland with sudden drop offs.  The first few steps you’re sloshing in shin-level water.  But looks can be deceiving. Suddenly you plunge into deeper water, almost to your waist.  You have no idea if the next step will be on firm ground or sinking deeper into the unknown.

Ever feel like this in your life? From your human perspective, all seems well. You think you’re on level ground, but then out of no where….you plunge into the unknown, your feet no longer on firm ground.

pitfall

 

But here’s our hope…

“He lifted me out of the slimy pit, out of the mud and mire; he set my feet on a rock and gave me a firm place to stand.” Psalm 40:2

 

BIRTH CANAL: This obstacle forces you to crawl under a deceptively heavy water-filled plastic liner.  The pressure weighing down on me felt so overwhelming!  It forced you to push back up and slowly inch your way to the light at the other side.

Ever feel like the weight of stress is pinning you down? Like you can’t even breathe? The pressures of this life feel overwhelming at times and the only way to get through them is to humble yourself. In your humility you crawl one step at a time until you get on the other side.

BirthCanal

Here’s our hope….

2 Corinthians 4:8 “We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but never destroyed.”

 

BERLIN WALLS: These were 10-foot walls you had to climb over. One of the toughest obstacles for me, every time I came face-to-face with one I muttered, I can’t do this one. There’s no way I’m gonna climb over this wall!  And the truth was that I could NOT climb those walls.

Not alone.

But with the help of other people, I could–and did–get over those walls! I had to be lifted up by stronger bodies.  Once I was at the top of the wall, I felt fear grip me. I’m gonna fall! I don’t know what to do next!  But other people at the top of the wall reassured me I was safe. Once my legs were over the top of the wall and I felt myself being lowered to the ground, my fear subsided.

Ever feel like you’ve hit a wall in your life? Something stops you abruptly in your tracks. It stares you in the face, screaming full force:

Impossible! Insurmountable! Never! There’s no way!

Many challenges we face in this life are too difficult to face alone. Without support from others, we simply wouldn’t make it. But you have to be willing to ask. You have to hold out your hand and admit you’re struggling. God uses other people to carry us through our difficult times!

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Here’s our hope…

Psalm 18:29 “…with my God I can scale a wall.”

 

ARCTIC ENEMA: This is Tough Mudder’s signature ice bath obstacle! You plunge down a slippery slide into ice-cold water. When I say cold, I’m talking like 34 degrees cold. This is one of the obstacles I feared the most.

You don’t train for this. You just do it.

It’s more mental than physical. I can honestly say that thinking about this one and imagining what it would be like was more gripping than actually experiencing it. 

It literally takes your breath away. You come up out of the ice-cold water almost paralyzed. Every part of your body is shaking and it takes every ounce of energy you have to get out. My brother’s advice to me on this rang true in my mind:

Whatever you do, don’t stop and scream about how cold it is. Just keep moving and get out as quick as you can.

There are many challenges in life we can prepare for. We can seek advice on marriage, parenting and serving others. We can attend classes, read books and talk to people in order to equip ourselves for something that lies ahead.

But some things in life we simply can’t prepare for. Things that literally knock the breath out of us. Things that leave us feeling paralyzed all over. Things that bring shivers to every fiber of our soul.

The nugget of wisdom is this:

KEEP MOVING.

DON’T STOP.

JUST KEEP GOING UNTIL YOU’RE ON THE OTHER SIDE.

arcticenema iceArcticPic

Here’s our hope…

Isaiah 41:10 “So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.”

 

 

MUD MILE: This obstacle was the muddiest! You had to crawl over multiple mounds of mud and wade through waist-deep water in between each one. The most difficult thing about this was getting out of the water. In some places there were no footholds to climb up on. With no way to pull yourself up out of the murky mess, someone else had to lend a hand and pull you out.

Sometimes our lives are really messy. Dirty. Ugly.

We’re in over our head and there’s no way to pull ourselves out of the messes we’ve made. The man pulling the woman out of the muddy water is a powerful picture of how God reaches down and pulls us out of the mud and mire we’ve wallowed in.

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Here’s our hope…

Psalm 69:1-2 “Save me, Oh God, for the waters have come up to my neck. I sink in the miry depths, where there is no foothold.”

 

CARRY YOUR WOOD: As a team, we had to carry a heavy log on our shoulders through mud and over two separate walls. This was one of those challenges requiring a team effort. No matter how strong, you could never do this alone.

Sometimes we are faced with heavy burdens we simply can not carry on our own. As the body of Christ, we walk alongside each other and help to lift the burdens of those who are feeling weary and overwhelmed.

obstacle-holdyourwood

Here’s our hope…

Galatians 6:2 “Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ.”

 

ELECTRO-SHOCK: Approaching the final obstacle of the Tough Mudder, I braced myself. Live wires hung over a field of mud with hay bales blocking my way. Some people can run through this and barely get shocked while others get knocked to the ground.

This is another obstacle you can’t train for. You just have to get through it.

The next 40 seconds were a blur. Just 10 seconds in, I got jolted and knocked to the ground. My entire body went limp. My face plunged into the muddy water. Instead of standing up and traversing the rest of the way, I stayed low on the ground and swam the rest of the way through. My eyes dripping with mud, I could barely see. My burning eyes and blurred vision lasted another hour until I got them cleaned out by medical personnel. (I went out with a bang!)

Some trials in our lives utterly knock us to our feet. We may watch others go through similar challenges unaffected, but because we are uniquely created, our experience may look and feel very different.  Often times in the middle of a difficult challenge, our vision is cloudy. We can’t see in front of us. Painful circumstances sting our heart and we just HURT.

With time we begin to see more clearly. With prayer we continue to seek God. And with the love of others, we get on the other side.

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Here’s our hope…..

Isaiah 40:30 “Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall; but those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength.”

With any of the obstacles I trudged through, the key was this:

Keep on going.

Don’t stop.

Someone’s got your back!

Whatever obstacle you find yourself in today, dear friends, let me encourage you to keep going. With your eyes fixed on Jesus, he’s got your back.

Blessings to you!

Lisa Preuett

 

 

 

 

 

God’s Delight?

The Lord will take great delight in you, he will quiet you with his love, he will rejoice over you with singing. (Zephaniah 3:17 NIV)

Years ago, while reading the above scripture, I struggled with understanding how exactly God delighted in me. I mean, really? The God of the universe taking delight. In me?

I asked him to help me wrap my head around this truth. If he truly delighted in me, then I wanted to understand it. Feel it. Experience it!

Just days later I was going about my day and in a rush, pulled into the school carpool line to pick up my then 6-year old daughter from kindergarten.
Idling in the carpool line I looked up. The kids sat outside, huddled together on the grass.

As I rounded the corner, I spotted Breanna. I could tell she’d been watching for me.

When her eyes found mine, I gazed at her face. It lit up as her tiny grin turned into a huge smile. She squealed with delight, proclaiming loudly to her friend next to her,

“There’s MY mommy right there!”

She waved at me excitedly and didn’t take her eyes off me. My heart soared with sheer joy, happy tears filling my eyes. What a blessing to have my child rejoicing in my mere presence. I took great delight in that moment.

I heard God whisper to me, “Lisa, the delight you feel about Breanna is exactly how I feel about you. I delight in you when you’re looking for me and when you tell someone else about me. I delight in you simply because you’re my child.”

I’d almost forgotten about the prayer I’d prayed days earlier when I’d questioned God about his delight in me. But God had not forgotten! He often uses ordinary, daily illustrations to speak loud and clear to me. I praised him for giving me a glimpse of how he sees me.

If you’re feeling down or discouraged today, I want to encourage you with the truth that God delights in you! He sees you. He knows everything about you. He loves you. He takes great DELIGHT in you!

gods delight

Blessings to you!

Lisa Preuett

Check out my book, Embracing The Race: 40 Devotions for the Runner’s Soul

Are You Ready for Battle?

Ephesians 6:12 “Put on the full armor of God so that you will be able to stand firm against the schemes of the devil. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places.”

The night before a race, adrenaline pumps through your body as anticipation builds. In preparation for running out the door at the crack of dawn, you strategically organize your gear just right. From head to toe, every single item is laid out in clear view to make sure nothing is overlooked: Hat, shirt, shorts, socks, shoes, anti-chafing cream, Ipod, and of course your GPS watch. If any of these items are forgotten, you’ll struggle to run your race. Each item has a distinct purpose—designed for a specific job to protect you. When your alarm blares loudly in the morning, you’re ready to grab your essentials and confidently head out the door. You can’t fathom not being prepared! You fully understand what’s at stake.

A hat protects you from the blistering sun. Your wicking shirt and shorts soak up moisture—keeping your skin dry. You’d never dream of wearing cotton! Your pricey running socks and cream are worth every penny, protecting your feet from blisters. Your running shoes give you ample support for pounding the pavement.  You’ve downloaded the perfect songs on your playlist, trusting they’ll motivate you throughout the race. Your GPS watch is fully charged, ready to keep you on track. A wise runner is fully prepared—ready to conquer the race ahead, like a soldier armed for battle.

But there’s another battle that should get our full attention. We’re told in Ephesians about a spiritual battle. This battle threatens every believer in Christ. It’s ugly. It’s fierce. Thankfully, this battle is one we don’t have to fight alone.

When it comes to preparing for this battle, are we putting as much emphasis on the armor of God as we are with our running gear? Do we intentionally ponder the powerful pieces of armor God has designed for us? Are we carelessly rushing into challenges and difficulties without any thought of our protection?  If so, we are setting ourselves up for disaster. And in this case the disaster is much more serious than sunburn and blisters!

Each piece of armor is designed with precision to arm us for battle. Our helmet of salvation symbolizes what Christ did for us on the cross. In Biblical times it stood for a sign of military strength.

The breastplate of righteousness allows us to walk confidently, not in our own power, but in the righteousness of Jesus.

What about the girdle of truth? Without this, we don’t stand a chance against the deception of the world and the ploys of the enemy. We must cling to the truth of who we are in Christ.

The shoes of peace we’re privileged to wear allow us to demonstrate love to a hurting world.

The shield of faith is the most important defensive weapon we have. It protects us in the heat of battle, extinguishing all the flaming arrows hurled our way from the enemy.

And last but not least, we must firmly grip the sword of the spirit—the only offensive weapon given to us. With it we demolish the temptations set out to distract and destroy us.

So the next time you’re laying out your physical running gear, let it remind you and inspire you to be prepared for the spiritual battle within your soul. Ready or not, the battle awaits you.

READY? Are you being intentional in putting on your spiritual armor? Reflect on each piece of armor and how it can empower you for your life’s challenges.  What steps do you need to take to ensure you’re completely dressed for battle?

SET. 1 Peter 5:8 “Be self-controlled and alert. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.” (Also read Ephesians 6:13-18)

GO! Dear Jesus, thank you for giving me each piece of armor. I desperately come before you and ask you to remind me of the power you’ve given me through each of these.  Help me to humble myself as I put on each piece and walk victoriously each day of my life on this earth. Amen

RunnersGear

Blessings to you!

Lisa Preuett

The Truth is in the TREES!

After surviving the sub-zero temps of winter and trudging through mounds of snow, we’re anxious for spring! All winter long, many trees around us have been in a dormant stage….as a means of survival. Before we know it, the once-barren branches of winter will gradually blossom with budding leaves. Leaves that will pop with vibrant shades of GREEN. These are the trees we anxiously await for signs of change.

The official name for this kind of tree is deciduous.

These types of trees were designed by our creator to shed their leaves for part of the year. In our area of the country, these trees lose their leaves in the winter and re-grow them in the spring.  This re-growth process is the evidence that spring has arrived! But before we know it, these same leaves will slowly change. They’ll be splashed with bright autumn colors of red, orange and yellow. Then they’ll fade and wither to the ground again.

Deciduous trees are always changing. They never stay the same.

These deciduous trees are a symbol of US! We are constantly changing. Life is changing all around us with each passing season. We too have seasons where we’re thriving. Flourishing. Our fruit blooms vividly. Life is good. No complaints. But then the season changes. We barely survive the barrenness of a drought. Some seasons are mundane and we’re just surviving. Just when we grow comfortable with life as it is, things change. Again. And again.

But there’s another kind of tree we observe. The evergreen. Unlike the deciduous trees, the evergreens keep their leaves ALL YEAR LONG. Even through the most freezing temps and harsh winds of winter, these trees stay the same. Even in the heat of summer, they stay the same. They always keep their leaves!

The Evergreen trees are symbolic of our amazing God!  He. Never. Changes.

Our God is the same yesterday, today and always. Throughout every season of our life, He remains the same. Through the good, the bad and the ugly. He never changes. Even when life is swirling out of control before our very eyes? Even when the unthinkable happens? Even when we feel most unworthy and unlovable? Yes. You can count on it.

It gets even better. Don’t miss this!! Do you notice that the evergreen trees aren’t just contained in one place away from the deciduous trees? Look again…..

mixed trees              mixedtrees2

 

The evergreen trees are spread out among the deciduous trees. Mixed in with the barren trees of winter. I don’t think for a minute that this is random. It’s not an accident they are placed like this.

These trees point to a powerful truth:

GOD      IS       WITH       US!

If you look closely, this beautiful picture is all around us. Screaming silently for us to open our eyes and see this powerful symbol of how our incredible God is not watching us from afar in a distant land. He’s not planted in a separate location afraid to come in contact with us. He is truly WITH us.

Dead_tree

This picture is a powerful symbol of how we feel sometimes when life appears hopeless. Barren. No sign of life. No visible fruit. Yet surrounding this lifeless tree you see evergreens! Too many to count. Looks like they go on and on. Forever.

How can we look past this and not see the personification of God speaking loud and clear through His creation? This picture above is shouting for all to hear, “I see you. I am with you.” 

Once God opened my eyes to His truth through the 2 kinds of trees, I can’t keep it to myself. It’s hard to even express it completely with words. (I’ve almost driven off the road a few times gazing at these trees!)

I pray He will open your eyes too, dear friend.

Look all around you and never forget that no matter what season of life you are in, whether it’s thriving or barren, God is with you.

Hebrews 13:8  “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today and forever.”

Matthew 1:23  “….and they will call him Emmanuel, which means ‘God with us’ “

 

Blessings to you!

Lisa Preuett