Bless Your Heart

For many of the last few years of her life, my grandmother lived with her children. A couple of times each year, we hosted her in our home for three to four months at a time as her health and mental abilities gradually declined. As a highschooler and later college student, I reflect back on the experience now and realize how much I took those opportunities for granted.
She played the piano. Her hymnal and her Bible traveled with her from house to house as she moved. I remember hearing her struggle with tempo and accuracy, but each song was recognizable. Her hymnal, dog-eared and filled with hand-written annotations, is in my office.
Grandmother rocked… in a rocking chair in the living room beside the “pi’tur winder” where she read her Bible, sang to herself and watched the world go by. The wild- and plant-life outside fascinated her.
And, of course, she prayed. For her children, her grandchildren, her pastor and her friends. For hours. Sometimes, I thought she was asleep, but her lips were moving.
She did not like my mustache. Several times, she would try to buy it from me. “I’ll give you a dollar if you’ll shave that thing,” she said. My response was most always the same: “Grandmother, it wouldn’t look good on you.”
She also thought I was “too busy.” As I would walk out the door, having asked where I was off to, she would smile, shake her head and say, “well, bless your heart.” Teasingly, I would pause and reply, “don’t stop with just my heart.”
I know now, that in some awkward, teenage way, I was asking her to fit me with what Paul described as the “full armor of God” so that I would be covered and prepared for the battle to be faced each day.
We are still at war. Each and every day, we need to prepare for the spiritual battles we face. Begin each day with a song, the Word, a prayer and then dress for battle with truth, righteousness, the gospel, faith and salvation.
Finally, be strengthened by the Lord and by His vast strength. Put on the full armor of God so that you can stand against the tactics of the Devil. For our battle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the world powers of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavens.
This is why you must take up the full armor of God, so that you may be able to resist in the evil day, and having prepared everything, to take your stand. Stand, therefore,with truth like a belt around your waist, righteousness like armor on your chest, and your feet sandaled with readiness for the gospel of peace.
In every situation take the shield of faith, and with it you will be able to extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one.

Take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is God’s word.
Pray at all times in the Spirit with every prayer and request, and stay alert in this with all perseverance and intercession for all the saints.

Ephesians 6:10-18 (HCSB)

Bless your heart – and soul, mind and strength as you grow closer to Him today.

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