The walk to our mailbox is always the same. A nice steady stroll with our dog up the long driveway, then I take hold of the small bronze knob, open the door, and start pulling out all the flyers, envelopes, coupon booklets and advertisement brochures, only to put about 1/2 of it all in the trash. It’s always the same…
But not yesterday.
It was bright and sunny and almost 80 degrees. It was just a beautiful day! And as I got to the mailbox, opened it and bent down to peek inside, there was only one light green envelope. That was all. I was a little surprised at how it wasn’t packed full of junk mail because usually it is on the weekends, but as I took hold of the envelope I noticed that it was actually a card that was addressed to:
Mrs. Lisa Rippy
No one refers to me as “Mrs.” except for young ladies that I have the joy of either mentoring or having a dear friendship with, or young men who’ve just been raised to show good ole’ southern respect. So, I quickly flipped it over looking for a return address, and there it was … her name!
from Centerville, TN.
One of the most dear and precious servant-hearted country-to-the-core souls who loves with all her heart! Rip and I went to spend time with them in Tennessee and we will always treasure that visit. But it was when we left, waving bye to everyone on the front porch of the cutest farmhouse you’ve ever seen, when they stole our hearts because … they sang happy birthday to Rip! This is a family of maybe 10-12 folks up on that porch! We loved it so much because we just love them so much!
So, I ripped that card open!
As I walked back down the driveway, without realizing my phone video feature had turned on, it captured me reading what she had written.
What it doesn’t capture are the tears welling up in my eyes as I smiled and took in every word. I was reading words from her heart that mirrored exactly what I had been reading from my Father’s heart (Bible verses) just in the past week. My heavenly Father had been showing me specific thoughts He had toward me in His Word; Scriptures where He says who I am to Him and what He has called me to do on this planet in advancing His kingdom! What Mallory had written echoed His own Words to me for my life now…today…in this time and season of my obedience to Him.
But that’s not all …
That morning I had written in my hand a “key” to remembering Philippians 4:8. (I’ll tell you in just a minute why I wanted to memorize it.)
I took the verse and saw that it had 8 attributes listed in how we are to “think.” SO, I took those 8 and split them in half, writing the first 4 attributes out on paper, then writing the 2nd 4 attributes below the first. 4 on top, and 4 on bottom. Equals 8. Philippians 4:8…get it? That’s how I memorized the reference. THEN, I took the first letter of each attribute and stacked them inside my hand. And within a moment or two, I had the verse memorized.
“But, finally brothers and sisters, whatever is True, whatever is Right, whatever is Noble, whatever is Pure, whatever is Lovely, whatever is Admirable, if anything is Excellent or Praiseworthy – think on such things!” Philippians 4:8
Why this verse? Why was this verse one that I felt the Lord wanted me to study and memorize? It’s because of this reason – When Jesus told His followers, “I have given you authority … to overcome all the power of the enemy,” Luke 10:19, He was giving believers the right to exercise power in His name over Satan – God’s enemy and ours. I knew and I know today that I have the right to use Jesus’ authority (the Word of God) and His name to verbally rebuke Satan’s attacks and his cohort’s tactics of lies, accusations, put downs, shame, guilt, and interfering with all things noble and good.
I also know this:
The way we think shapes the way we believe which determines the way we behave which leads to the way we experience God, or not.
You see, the mind is Satan’s favorite place to do his ever so subtle and crafty work in trying to defeat a child of God. How does he do this? There is one weapon he uses the most in his efforts to silence, weaken, or imprison us, and it’s the weapon of words.
The powers, rulers, principalities and authorities of this dark world specialize in customizing the weaponry of words for these purposes: 1) To injure our belief in who God is, 2) in who God says we are, and 3) in what God says He wants to do in and through our life in advancing His kingdom.
This is all very real. We are in a real spiritual war every day with Daniel 7:25 tells us Satan’s target – “…to wear down the saints of the Most High God.” He wants to wear us plum out in every sense of the word – relationally, physically, mentally, spiritually, financially, emotionally, and in our devotion to God. The enemy is so scruffy, crafty and cruel to use people and circumstances to hurt us so that we pipe down and not live out the instructions and promises we find in Scripture and ultimately, so we do not carry out the will of God that HE has planned for our life.
Not me! I have to tell you, this past week, I got off that ride! It’s emotional and it’s ridiculous and to be honest, it’s idolatry to give Satan and all his shenanigans so much entrance into our own thoughts.
What’s my strategy?
- Practicing what I find in Ephesians 6.
- Avoid petty controversy over words; instead, study and do my best to present myself to God approved as a worker (tested by suffering and have no reason to be ashamed) accurately handling and skillfully teaching the word of truth.
- Avoid all irreverent babble and godless chatter because of where it leads.
- Pray (commune with God) without ceasing, while putting to memory His Holy Words!
- Work with my whole heart, regardless of what my hands find to do. Do it with zeal!
- Trust – Obey – Serve – Forgive – Clothe myself in compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience – bear much fruit!
- Ask often, moment-to-moment, for a fresh filling and anointing of the Spirit of God.
2 Timothy 2:14-16 – “Remind the people of these facts, and solemnly charge them in the presence of God to avoid petty controversy over words, which does no good, and [upsets and undermines and] ruins [the faith of] those who listen. 15 Study and do your best to present yourself to God approved, a workman [tested by trial] who has no reason to be ashamed, accurately handling and skillfully teaching the word of truth. 16 But avoid all irreverent babble and godless chatter [with its profane, empty words], for it will lead to further ungodliness,”
So, what else made Mallory’s card capture my attention…what else about it did God orchestrate just to let me know He is in the details of my life? It was the front of the card…
Philippians 4:8! As I opened the card, in the palm of my left hand were the blue ink letters to help me memorize that very verse! He was prodding once again to show me just how critical it is that my mind “think about such things.” And He used the written words of a dear friend and Spirit-filled young woman to speak life, speak truth, and speak love to me yesterday. And you know why? Because He knows our needs and struggles, and He finds immense joy in creatively answering our prayers. So, friend, you know what hymn came to my mind as I placed Mallory’s card back in the envelope? It started softly singing …
He walks with me and He talks with me and He tells me I am His own….
And He did, all through a greeting card.
Friend, what do you need? Where are you struggling? What sorrow or burdens are you so tired of feeling? Pray. Cry out to the Lord. He is right there with you, listening and not condemning you. He cares so much and He is simply wanting you to trust Him with every thought and every emotion. Will you trust Him today enough to pray to Him, wherever you are, and then believe that He will reveal Himself to you in the most tender ways as He answers your prayer.