I have found myself sleeping on the couch a bit lately, and many times it is actually on purpose. I really should stop sleeping on the couch because this body is aging gracefully and is not in its prime anymore. Don't worry, I didn't get kicked out of our bedroom. Hubby wasn't home, and due to his discomfort from a recent shoulder surgery, its part of the reason but its actually something I have done for a long time. Ever since I was a teenager, I would find sleeping on the couch "comfortable", and my husband has left me there numerous times where I would get upset that he didn't wake me up when he went to bed.
I realized it was almost 7am and I saw some color outside peeking through the blinds, so I jumped up with great gratitude in my spirit and heart, because its these mornings, seeing a new day on the horizon, that bring me such joy. I know the Lord is right in the midst of this brand new day. Its in the quiet of the morning where we make space to sit with the Lord where we can feel his tangible presence and choose to spend more time with Him.
My beautiful boy, Thor, the Carolina dog, just follows me around watching my every move, waiting to see when I might open the front door. Its our thing in the morning. He knows its about to be porch time and absolutely loves to head out with me to sit on the porch. If I end up distracted, he gets tired and lays by the front door, watching from that position. But as soon as I grab my sweater or my bible/porch bag, he jumps up, ready.
We walked out this morning and just stood on the edge of the porch taking it all in. It was amazing and chilly, with a beautiful, cool breeze blowing softly. I give thanks and look up at the clouds. They are huge and fluffy. The sky is a gorgeous shade of blue. There are leaves quietly raining down into the grass that changing from shades of green to fading into dormancy.
My boy didn't head off the porch, he almost immediately stood beside me, then sat really close just looking out as if he is taking it all in for himself. As I took a picture of us, the Lord began to show me something and speak. I was taken back to the past few times where Thor has been in the yard and he sits majestically like he is guarding and has taken ownership of this yard.
It became relevant that he had changed in ways he behaves when people come down our road or into our yard. At heart, he is not a barker. In the 8 years we have had him, I can count on 2 hands, the amount of times he has barked in the house or at people. We used to joke that he would just welcome any one and be friends with everyone, that he wouldn't be a great protector.
He has recently stepped into a different arena and has barked at different people that have come into the yard, and some that have driven by, or parked beside our driveway. Its not every car. Its been specific. The other day I heard him going crazy, barking up a storm. He has a deep, stern bark, that startles me. I came around the corner to see what was going on and his hair around his neck and back was standing up which usually happens when he isn't happy, as he enters guard mode.
So just as he has shifted in his stance to guard and be on watch, The Lord was showing me, that's exactly where we are supposed to be as well. We are to take ownership and guard that which we have been gifted, but also to stand on our post to watch, as well as to watch and pray, so that we are able to guard ourselves from temptation and endure the testing of our faith.
Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation. The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak. Matthew 26:41
How much are we willing to put aside what is comfortable in order to watch and pray so that we don't fall into temptation? Jesus knew what was coming and how his disciples' faith would be tested and they would be tempted to fall into the crowd instead of standing firm in the truth and with him to the end. How much are we willing to loose sleep in order to fall on our knees and pray, to submit to God, and gain strength to endure what's to come?
Our spirit is strong and willing to do what it takes, but its our flesh that is weak. When we watch, we are able to see what's in front of us and begin to pray over it, to be strengthened so we don't fall into temptation. None of us are free from temptation. It will come especially in weak moments where life may be throwing us curve ball. Its in those moments where we are to be alert and guard our hearts, our minds, our thoughts, our eyes, everything, because the adversary loves to come in and come against our identity along with temptations that may look shinier than your situation. In some cases they would seem like an opportunity, but in some cases like marriage, its not an opportunity, but a trapping for lust.
Its the area where we stand guard, to watch, then to pray, where we find protection as well as an area where we are strengthened to endure, just as Jesus was strengthened by an angel appearing to him in the Garden of Gethsemane.
"An angel from heaven appeared to him and strengthened him." Luke 22:43
Jesus had taken 3 disciples with him to another area and said to them "remain here and watch with me" when he began to feel sorrowful and troubled. He goes a bit deeper into the area and comes back to them to find the disciples asleep. That happened 3 times in a row, where he was trying to get them to stay alert and pray. He knew what was coming and how they were going to be tested. He even gave then the scenarios of how they would behave when that time came. One of the last parts he said to them was "sleep and take your rest later on", meaning, right then and there, they needed to be awake and alert, on guard and watching, however, they didn't do anything different to try to remain alert.
When we are not alert, it leaves space for the adversary to slip right on in. The word alert means quick to notice any unusual and potentially dangerous or difficult circumstances; vigilant, able to think clearly; intellectually active. When we are watchful, we are alert (wide awake, vigilant, observant, aware, heedful) and have made space to stand guard, but when we are are not alert we cant be on guard, because we are inattentive. We may be distracted, doing all the things for all the people, sluggish and always tired.
Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. 1 Peter 5:8
Our adversary is constantly looking for those that he can accuse God to, just like He did in the Garden with Adam and Eve. Basically looking for prey, anyone he can use, those that will lend their ear to him and actually stay there with there ear turned towards the lies and agree with them.
Be on your guard; stand firm in the faith; be courageous; be strong. 1 Corinthians 16:13
To be on our guard does not mean to constantly be aware of all the things, to the point that everything becomes evil and its all you see. But to be on your guard to watch and pray, but to trust God, be faithful and dependent on God, and in faith be able to stand tall and firm as a warrior that would be ready to be activated in a moments notice to handle the enemy and cut through all the nonsense with the word of God. To stand in truth and be courageous to not back down. To know what the word of God says so that the darts and arrows that are shot our way do not penetrate, taking us off our post.
So many times something comes our way, and it hits us harder than it should. It catches us off guard - quite literally, and we fall. Its like "man down" and then we have to go to the "dr" to get our wound healed. Metaphorically like in an actual battle.
These principles are in place for protection and strengthening because, this life, though quite beautiful, is a journey. As we progress forward and journey ahead, its quite crucial that we would take Jesus at his word when he asks, "Do you lack the strength to stay awake with me for even just an hour?" and then tells us, "keep alert and pray that you'll be spared from this time of testing..." (Matthew 26:40 TPT)
Our spirit is indeed strong, but our flesh likes to run the show, but we as the women that are after God's heart, get our flesh into submission and it obeys us, right?
May we not be found asleep, but we become the watchers of our homes, our hearts, our minds, our territory, our children, our marriages, and all that the Lord has entrusted us with.
Much Love, Crystal Keefer
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