Friday, February 13, 2009

HE SAID, SHE SAID - Eddie Jones & Cindy Sproles

“…stand firm then,…with the breastplate of righteousness in place.” - Ephesians 6:14b

Listen to "Tents" Moments

What would you attempt to do if you knew you wouldn't fail?

A few years back I found myself sleeping in a state park near Newark, Delaware. Some months earlier I'd lost my job. Oh, I knew where it was. The job was hiding in a cubicle in Bangalore, India but I wasn't flying halfway around the world to bring it home. I couldn't afford the plane ticket, anyway. Couldn't afford a room at the Howard Johnson, either. So, that evening I set up my tent, unloaded my gear and then drove my twenty-year-old Toyota hatchback up the road to a writers conference. I had a dream and a manuscript and not much else.

Dreams are funny things. When you're not watching, they'll slip off and become real. Mine sat in the passenger seat staring out the window. I birth big dreams.

Before I left the house that morning I'd "prayed on" the breastplate of righteousness. I'd asked God to keep my thoughts pure and my dreams secure. Righteous thoughts are the lifeblood of Christians. What we think, we do and become. Lust long enough and you take what's not yours. Meditate on God's Word and your spirit aligns with His.

I have a heart full of dreams, some of them from God. God says He knows the plans He has for us. Plans for good not ill, plans for a future and hope. One of the dreams He placed in my heart is to write for Him.

The last night of the writers conference I returned to my campsite and found my tent in a heap and my sleeping bag soaked. The wind and rain had blown it down. I threw it all in the trunk, crawled behind the wheel and looked at the award certificate on the passenger seat.

"Come on, dream," I said. "We're checking into a hotel. God's given us an upgrade."

The award money for winning first place was more than enough to pay for a dry room, but none of it would have mattered if I hadn't put on the breastplate of righteousness each day and asked God to keep my dreams secure. The dreams, the heart of serving Him, are what drives us forward.

Jesus says where our treasure is our heart will be, too. Guard your heart. Purify your thoughts. Strap on the breastplate of righteousness and protect your dreams. Then march to the sound of His still small voice. Who knows how far He will take you.

Listen to Unprotected and Injured by Cindy Sproles>

“…stand firm then,…with the breastplate of righteousness in place.” - Ephesians 6:14b

I grabbed at my chest as the pain seared through my heart. I never knew anything could hurt so deeply. I thought I could press hard against my breastbone and the ache would stop but it didn’t. Instead, it resonated into an overwhelming throb. I lost my breath as I looked toward the ceiling, holding back the tears.

It wasn’t much of an anniversary—the day my ex-husband asked for a divorce. We’d enjoyed a nice dinner for our seventh anniversary and I thought, He wants to make a go of this. But I was wrong. He’d given me a sweet anniversary card and a pretty shirt, then slid a business card across the table with the name and address of an attorney.

It was over. Just like that.

The dreams of a long happy life with my husband and sons sailed out the front door of the Steak and Shake never to return. I wasn’t ready….wasn’t prepared, so when the spear was hurled, it struck center chest and sunk deep. The burred tip slipped into the flesh and tore away chunks when removed. I was unprotected and nearly down for the count.

As I crawled away, bleeding and wounded, the importance of being protected became reality. Policemen wear bullet-proof vests, firemen wear fire-retardant cover-alls. I had a breastplate. Why hadn’t I suited up? I’d walked into battle vulnerable.

I’d studied the armor of God as a child, but never absorbed its importance—never grasped the concept. So as an adult, I found myself prime prey for personal and spiritual attacks.

I wish I’d have understood then, what I know now. Had I have been armed with the armor of God, I could have protected myself. I could have laid claim to the promises Christ reiterated through the scripture. Took His victories and made them mine.

God’s armor doesn’t prevent our chaos. Bad things still happen to good people, but when we are clothed with His righteousness, protected by His breastplate, the spears cannot penetrate. We may stumble, but we do not fall.

God saved me that year. I geared up, bucked up, and stood up—this time fully protected. My life is amazing now. I’m surrounded by the love of a man who stands shoulder to shoulder with me when we’re faced with hardships.

Protect yourself with His righteousness. Wear His armor. The battle is not always easier but it’s certainly less deadly.

Eddie Jones and Cindy Sproles
are friends and co-founders of They
co-write the popular He Said, She Said
devotions and host BlogtalkRadio's
Christian Devotions Speak UP! along with
Marianne Jordan.