12 in 2012 {july}

"stand your ground, men, stand your ground!".... any 'Princess Bride' fans out there?   it's one of our family favorites and one of the few movies i actually saw in the theatre as a teenager.  the scene i'm referring to above occurs near the end of the film when the 'man in black', aka Wesley, has come to rescue his true love from the evil prince Humperdinck.  the castle gate is guarded by many men who, at the sight of something terrifying and mysterious, not only lose heart but break ranks and head for the hills.  clearly they decide that their own lives are more important to them than the princess's, and it's not worth the effort to stay and fight.

it's after 11pm Montana time as i write this.  i should've gotten a head start on this post yesterday, knowing that today is July 1st and knowing that i intend to share my memory verse for each month on the first day of the month.  if i don't fall asleep before i finish, i'll get it in just under the wire!  what was i doing, you ask? why didn't i make the time to get this done yesterday, or the day before? well, i was at church.  yep, all day yesterday. all day today. working. worshipping.  and quite frankly, i'm tired.

i've grown up in ministry. my parents were pastors of the church i grew up in and i've known from the earliest age what it means to 'work' in the church.  it's a conundrum, really. making your living in the church or in ministry. it's usually long hours, grueling days, serious spiritual warfare and stressful situations that unfortunately aren't always handled according to scripture.  however... i LOVE the church!  {here is a GREAT message on the church by my pastor Levi Lusko... it's #7 in the kickstart series} 

please hear my heart.  i'm grateful for my upbringing and the privilege of seeing the struggle first hand.  i truly believe it was a training ground for me, as i am clearly called to work in ministry and have continued to do so for 25 years.  that is not to say it has always been easy.  there has been blessing, yes. there have been victories, yes. but there have been difficulties and uphill battles as well.
i believe with all my being that the enemy of our souls would love to see our hearts scarred by the hypocrisy of people. he wants to see us trip and fall over our own insecurities and frustrations. he wants to watch as we judge and hate and then leave and gossip and effectively rip the church apart. he wants us fed up and tired and mad.  but you know what... we serve a God that is greater than the enemy. we serve a God that has already defeated that enemy.   we serve to fight and guard and protect the bride of Christ.

the verse i've chosen for the month of July reflects the struggles i've faced along the way... the sleepless nights, the difficult days, the attacks of the enemy that have been debilitating at times. it also reflects the fact that our victory is sure. our effort is not in vain, our pain is momentary, our eternal future is secure.

crystal; whitefish, mt
1 corinthians 15:58 {MSG}

"...stand your ground. and don't hold back. throw yourselves into the work of the Master, confident that nothing you do for him is a waste of time or effort."