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Are you using what you have?

Have you ever fallen behind? Your peers are so far ahead of you that you can barely see their backs any longer and you have 'forever' still to go...what is your reaction? You could just stop, sit down on the side of the trail, and give up - it would be the easiest thing to do after all. You could call out to see if anyone would come back to help you out a little, pulling you, pushing you, and somehow getting you to move again. You could even just cheat a little by just not even covering that ground your peers have covered and just jump ahead to wherever they are, but what would you have missed in the journey? It is easier to fall behind than to catch up. It is easier to feel defeat than it is to experience elation over success at times, isn't it? The thing is that God doesn't want us to be defeated in our walk, or even 'falling behind' in any respect. He wants us to be strong, encouraged, built up, and moving on. To that end, he provides us with not only the 'tools' to keep us on track, strong, and moving forward, but also all the encouragement we could need along the way.

And that about wraps it up. God is strong, and he wants you strong. So take everything the Master has set out for you, well-made weapons of the best materials. And put them to use so you will be able to stand up to everything the Devil throws your way. This is no afternoon athletic contest that we’ll walk away from and forget about in a couple of hours. This is for keeps, a life-or-death fight to the finish against the Devil and all his angels. Be prepared. You’re up against far more than you can handle on your own. Take all the help you can get, every weapon God has issued, so that when it’s all over but the shouting you’ll still be on your feet. Truth, righteousness, peace, faith, and salvation are more than words. Learn how to apply them. You’ll need them throughout your life. God’s Word is an indispensable weapon. In the same way, prayer is essential in this ongoing warfare. Pray hard and long. Pray for your brothers and sisters. Keep your eyes open. Keep each other’s spirits up so that no one falls behind or drops out. Ephesians 6:12-13 MSG

We might just not realize it, but we have all the tools at our disposal to actually complete this race called 'life'. We might not think so at first, but our toolbox is full! I have been accumulating various tools over the years in hopes of eventually having my own workshop and enough time on my hands to actually use them all! I'd have to say I have a lot of tools, but the more I read up on woodworking, the more I realize there are other tools I may need down the road. The good news is that our 'toolbox' that God gives us is not half-equipped - - - it is fully equipped with all we could ever need, long before we even realize how to use what is in there or realize that we have any need for some of that stuff!

I have a biscuit cutting tool, several different types of sanders, various chisels, and even a few odds and ends that have never been used in my shop. The thing is that we learn to use some tools and then we leave others in the box or on the shelf totally unused. We don't exactly know how beneficial they can be to us, so we haven't incorporated them into our lives yet. I had a router for almost six months before I even took it out of the box - not because I didn't see the benefit of having one, but because I was afraid to use it! I didn't want to mess things up in the projects I was making, so I avoided it. Once I opened it up, experimented with a few bits, the wonder of how this tool works came alive to me. Now I need to find projects that will help me develop my skill with this tool! 

Too many times we have at our disposal all we need in a particular situation, but we discount the value of what we have been given. We don't appreciate it until we actually take what we have and put it into use. The various 'tools' God gives us are ALL designed for some purpose in our lives. We can have a 'comfort level' with many of them, but then neglect others. We might read the Word well, going there frequently, but if we neglect to use the 'tool' of prayer and meditation, we are limiting the effectiveness of the one 'tool' we have become proficient using! You might not realize that prayer, meditation, encouraging conversation with others, and even challenges from others, are all tools God uses in our lives from time to time. If we want to stay in this race, we need all the tools in the box to be put to full use! Just sayin!

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