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Put your best foot forward

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 weekend war 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)

It comes as no surprise to me that the majority of the time we try to do things on our own, utilizing our own resources, and then wonder why the outcome didn't go as planned. We are kind of hard-headed at times, believing we have all the resources we need, finding we might not be as well-equipped as we thought we were. The truth is we DO have all the resources we need right there at our disposal, but we oftentimes don't equip ourselves with them. We have to 'take' what God has prepared for us and apply those resources within our lives. Prayer is a resource - do we pray before we begin? The Holy Spirit is a resource - do we listen for his prompts as we set out on the course? The Word of God is a resource - do we explore the examples set forth and the 'rules' that might apply to our circumstances? If we have the resources and then neglect to use them, we only have ourselves to blame when we fail to meet the objective.

Be prepared - have you heard me say that a few times in the past couple of weeks? I have learned the hard way that ill-prepared plans are costly. The time we take to be well-prepared is something we will never regret. It is in the preparation that we tap into the help we need. As I am learning some woodworking skills in my woodworking class, I have been watching tons of videos and reading lots of articles/books on the subject I am trying to grasp. I just finished one on how to do a good 'glue-up' of materials - when is it too many boards to piece together, what pressure is required to get a solid connection without 'over-squeezing' those boards, and what clamps are the best for the type of project I am attempting. Who knew there was so much to learn about putting glue between two boards? Do you know how most of these experienced woodworkers discovered these facts? They learned through trial and error - costly mistakes resulting in bowed materials, insufficient glue remaining on the surface, or uneven boards requiring the removal of too much material after the glue-up. 

What can we learn from God ahead of time - before the battle is hot and heavy? If we just trust him to 'get us through', but don't prepare our minds, hearts, and even our bodies ahead of time, we might just find ourselves paying the cost of a poorly implemented 'plan'. Our minds need to be in the right mindset before we 'handle' the day ahead. How do we get the right mindset? We ask God to adjust our attitude - in other words, he is given permission to 'change the inclination' of our actions. We all have certain 'inclinations' before we tackle anything that is frequently based upon 'preferences' or 'likes'. If we like to do something, it is easier for us to embrace the task. If we have an aversion toward the task, we will drag our feet and hate every step we have to make. Seeking God's help ahead of time in adjusting our attitude toward what it is we must undertake, battle, or 'go through' might just be the best 'first step' we can take. Just sayin!

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