Killing Two Birds…

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When there is no enemy within, the enemies outside cannot hurt you. – African Proverb quotes

You know the saying, “Killing two birds with one stone.” It means to accomplish two jobs, two tasks, with one single action. One stone can make quite the impact. For the past few weeks, my Pastor has been preaching a series titled 5 Stone Ready. In borrowing his words, he describes the process as this,

When David volunteered to fight Goliath, he did so without even seeing what the giant looked like. David didn’t have to see the size of his enemy, because he knew the size of his God. David was carrying what was considered to be a poor man’s weapon…a sling. However, after killing a bear and a lion, he believed that what had worked in the past will continue to work in present. He had no desire to try something new in this battle. He had his sling and his shepherd’s bag…now it was time to choose the stones. 

He knelt down at a brook and began to feel for smooth stones. He needed them to all be the same size and shape. Each one would be about he size of a tennis ball or a baseball. He would only need one, but he wanted to have “5 ready”.

Our lives are somewhat like David’s. We’ve been anointed to do something great in the Kingdom of God, but a giant is standing between us and our destiny. If we avoid the giant, we’ll miss our opportunity.

Now it’s time to take a trip to the brook. When we walk away, we need to make sure we have five stones ready for the battle. No one stone is greater than the other, in fact, any single one can do the job but we must have all “5 ready” because You may only have enough time to reach in the bag and load the sling.

According to my Pastor, you need a stone of prayer, fasting, Bible study, faithfulness, and praise. I’ve already taken the trip to the brook. I took the trip some time ago. I gathered my stones too. My stones were ready, but I was not, not until recently.

My greatest adversary, the high-profile, power-driven, Director of Mathematics for the leading consortium in assessments, the one who wreaked havoc on me and my co-workers for a year and a half, suddenly decided to pay me a visit (please pardon the major run-on sentence). There were five other offices for her to choose from and she settled on mine. Really? Her trip caught me off guard. No client had ever visited our office before. This was not standard protocol either. We always visited them.

I spent the days prior, working myself up, imagining the worse, until I made myself sick. I can’t do this. I can’t represent the company. Who am I to take on such a responsibility as this? Then, I remembered little David – a young shepherd boy who defeated a giant.

Thursday morning, bright and early, my adversary walked through my office doors. It was now or never.  I greeted her with pleasantries, but in my mind, I was psyching myself up for battle. Mentally, I dusted off the ol’ sling shot and stretched the pulley back, but the Lord stopped me dead in my tracks.

Wait, don’t fire. You are not ready. You have another enemy to conquer first.

Wait, who?

Yourself.

What do you mean? I am not the enemy. She is.

True. She is the enemy, but she will no longer have that effect, that hold on you until you deal with your own demons first.

My instant reaction was to run and I gave it my best effort too. My plan to avoid the situation did not last very long. The Lord dealt with me and dealt with me until I surrendered. The moment I faced my hard truth, the stone I was so eager to fire, killed not one “bird”, but two.

One stone – two enemies.

You may be guilty like me thinking the “enemy” is always attacking you. When in reality, you are the enemy. You are actually attacking yourself. You are the giant standing in the way of your destiny. You can never outrun yourself either. Eventually, you will have to face what lies within. Once you come to terms with yourself and destroy the enemy within, the one on the outside can never hurt you again.

So I ask you, what does your enemy look like?

Is fear your enemy?

You can’t confront someone. You are easily manipulated or controlled.

Is pride your enemy?

You can’t humble yourself to accept help even though your family needs it desperately. You can’t see that your neglect caused your child harm, so instead of facing the truth, you point your fingers elsewhere.

Is intimidation your enemy?

Are your words harsh, belittling, or damaging? Does your presence instill fear in others?

I know. This is tough to process. No one ever wants to hear they have flaws and those flaws can hurt someone else. So, I caution you. Before you fire the stone, make sure you know who your enemy is. You only have fives stones, and you may only have once shot at defeating the enemy.

Standing in the conference room of my office, the enemy was defeated – both internally and externally. My adversary and I were on a level playing field for once. I was no longer ready to fight, I was ready to make peace. In the end, I won her over with my southern hospitality and charm. To beat all, we shared an embrace, not only once but twice 🙂

On that day, former enemies became partners. The battle was over. It was a day I had prayed for a very long time. It changed the course of my history.

So, I urge you. Go ahead and get your five stones ready, your battle awaits you.  If you find that you are the enemy after all, don’t avoid the opportunity. It might just cost you your destiny.

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In Our Own Hands

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The opportunity to secure ourselves against defeat lies in our own hands, but the opportunity of defeating an enemy is provided by the enemy himself. – Sun Tzu

For a few years in my childhood, my Dad lived in Nashville, TN. On his weekends, I would go down there for a visit. A visit usually included a trip to Chuck E Cheese and Whac-A-Mole was one of my favorite games to play.

For those who have no idea of what I am talking about here is little visual.

Don’t you just love the satisfaction of hitting them little suckers on the head? I certainly do!! 🙂 And the more you hit, the higher your score. Double bonus 🙂

At times, this is how I feel in the “game of life”. There is always an enemy popping his little head up trying to start trouble, to hit you in a weak spot with the intent of knocking you “off” your game.

He knows what bothers you. He knows what upsets you. So, he sends his little “moles” in to do his dirty work.  He’s fast and he is random too just like those in the game.  Sometimes those moles are random people and sometimes they are who you once considered a close friend.

The actions and words of the “moles” makes you start to doubt and question yourself which is exactly what the enemy wants. But just like those moles, you can squash those feelings, those emotions and send them right back into their holes. Who knows, with enough pressure applied, maybe you can defeat them once and for all.

As I am walking out yet another challenge and the raw feelings subside, I see through the little mole that the enemy has recently sent my way. I dig into myself to find the truth, the truth of who I am and what I stand for.  The truth that I know exists.

As that truth starts to make its way back, so does my power. I guess my enemy failed to realize that a little blow to the head wasn’t going to stop me. I always land on my feet and No weapon formed against me shall prosper (Isaiah 54:17).

I’m not sure what enemy you are facing today, but I hope you are like me in that you pick up your mallet and get your “head” back in the game. Go ahead, whack that mole upside his head. It feels good, trust me 🙂

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