I Aced My Vacation

soldier2

Blessed be the Lord, my rock,
who trains my hands for war,
and my fingers for battle (PS 144.1)

I’m happy to announce that I aced my vacation.

Amazingly, I had no training and still passed with flying colors. I killed deck-lounging and mystery novel reading. Breezed through staying-up-late and sleeping-in with no problem. Pulled off hanging-out-with-fam-and-friends without even breathing hard.

I didn’t need any training for vacation, but vacations always end and it’s back to real life, which for believers in Christ, the Bible calls war. Paul calls it fighting the good fight of faith. He calls it warfare in Ephesians and tells us we must take up weapons and armor to stand firm. He encourages Timothy to be a good soldier. Peter tells us Satan’s prowling around like a roaring lion and we need to resist his attacks.

The Lord trains every one of his children for battle. He introduces pressure and hardship. He drops us in the middle of the desert and teaches us to depend on him and keep our eyes fixed on the cross. Sometimes he straps heavy packs on our backs so we learn to endure and persevere. We fall down and he urges, “Get back up again! Keep running! Don’t give up!”

Sometimes God takes us to the front lines, or hangs us on the side of a cliff to keep us clinging to him in prayer. Sometimes He exposes us to the “friendly fire” of criticism or other’s sin, so we’ll learn to forgive our brothers and sisters.

And when we can run a mile with a 50-pound pack on our backs, he ups it to 5 miles with a 100-pound pack.

Don’t be surprised if you feel like you’re in combat. The Lord is training your hands for war and your fingers for battle. He’s strengthening you to be able to bear even more. He’s deepening your trust in him, building up your endurance, fortifying your faith.

So bless the Lord! Bless the Lord who trains your hands for war. Bless the Lord who is doing great things in your life through the hardships you are facing.

photo by gopal1035

  • Greg H 2

    -We fall down and he urges, “Get back up again! Keep running! Don’t give up!”-

    Amen to that. All too often we fall down and listen to either our enemy or our ourselves discouraging us and telling us to give up, when we should be listening to His voice encouraging us. Thanks Mr. Altrogge for some great insight, as always!

  • http://www.emily-sc.blogspot.com Emily

    “He drops us in the middle of the desert and teaches us to depend on Him”

    wow. i’m there. this reminds me of 1st Peter where it reminds us to not be surprised by the fiery trials.

    this post just kicked it up a notch for me – not only am I not to be surprised, but I’m to bless too.

    thank you. that was (is) helpful as I’ve been fighting through my own combat lately.

  • http://www.theblazingcenter.com Mark Altrogge

    Thanks Emily, I know Jesus will continue to strengthen and help you. I’m glad this encouraged you.

  • http://reicheru723.wordpress.com/ Rachael

    Nice timing…just last night I was thinking about God as refuge (kind of goes with Him as the “rock” in the verse you begin this post with).

    And I’m starting to write dates in my Bible..and I wrote the date 6/9/08 by the part about the armor of God in Eph. 6…I wanted that to inspire me to fight temptation, along with 1 Cor. 10:12-13, the verse about God providing a way of escape for temptation.

    So, wonderful verse you start this post with, I’ll have to underline that one; thank you!

  • http://alexforrest.blogspot.com Alex

    Man, it’s like you’re responding to the sermon we heard this past Sunday from 1 Peter 4:1-6 – “Arm yourselves…”

  • http://www.xanga.com/nukeulis Nick

    Great reminder!
    (Love the picture, the way shells eject from an m-4 is really cool)
    oh, and don’t forget that we still need to be vigilant on vacation! (see CJ’s blog)

  • http://www.theblazingcenter.com Mark Altrogge

    Thanks for commenting Greg! You’re right – it really is important who we listen to!

    Hi Rachael, thanks for your comment – the verses in 1 Co 10 are some of my favorites too.

    Alex, sounds like a good sermon…

    Thanks Nick – You’re right, we really don’t take a vacation from our battle, even on vacation!

  • Maryann

    Mark, This past weekend we were in the Reading Church and C.B.’s sermon was on Galatians 6:7-10. One statement which struck me was, we as christians are not on a cruise liner, we are on a battle ship. His message was such a blessing as is your blog. A call to arms. Thank you

  • http://www.theblazingcenter.com Mark Altrogge

    Thanks Maryann! I love C.B. – glad you got to hear him.

  • http://beeveestudios.wordpress.com Brittany Vaughn

    Man, I can’t believe I’ve been missing out on these posts the past fews days, the things of the world were starting to bear down on me, but thank goodness the Lord opened my eyes in time. I extremely enjoy what you have to say in this post.

    -Bee-

  • http://www.theblazingcenter.com Mark Altrogge

    Thanks so much Brittany!

  • http://www.feather.us Stephen Feather

    Mark,

    Great post. Psalm 144:1 is one of my favorite verses. Too often we “soft” American Christians forget that we are in a battle. We have been giving orders to “stand” (Eph 6). We have been fully equipped (Eph 6, 2 Tim 3). We are to train the next generation in the proper use of the equipment (Matt 28).

  • http://www.theblazingcenter.com Mark Altrogge

    Thanks Stephen – Appreciate your comment.

  • http://reformed-renegade.blogspot.com/ Russ

    Brilliant!How easily we(myself included)forget what we’re doing here and what are training is and what it is for. Great post!

  • http://www.theblazingcenter.com Mark Altrogge

    Hi Russ – yep, so easy to forget – I do all the time. Thanks for your comment.