The Whole Armor of God

Have you ever had one of those days where you jump out of bed because the alarm didn’t’ go off or you hit the snooze too many times?  So you jump up, put a pot of coffee on and start getting ready for your day.  In your hurry you run over pull the coffee pot off the burner just to have coffee spill all over the counter because it wasn’t done and in your hurry you didn’t look?  So you clean that up, pack your lunch, grab your coat and keys and head out the door.  As you are backing out the driveway you look down and there is no lunch.  So you stop, go back into the house and get your lunch and look to the sky and say “Why me, Lord?”  Then you head off to work to start your day and then sometime around lunch you can’t remember If you shut the coffee pot off.   I think most of us have had days like this.  Days where we wish we could start over.  Days where we just need a time out to restart our day.

Well, an easy way to do that, mentally, is to have a short devotional with yourself.  A

Devotional is defined by Merriam Webster as a short worship service.  Take time to worship God.  It doesn’t have to be long just loving and sincere.  Make it easy on yourself, pick a few Bible verses, write them down and leave them in your lunch box, purse, desk drawer, tool box or whatever you have available and pull them out and read them, think about God’s message and just re-center yourself. 

Why are daily devotionals important?  They allow us to “put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.”  Ephesians 6:10-18 (NKV) tells us this.  Paul tells us to arm ourselves with the belt of truth, breastplate of righteousness, feet fitted with readiness from the gospel of peace, shield of faith, helmet of salvation and the sword of the spirit.  These things we will need to conquer life and live as he commands.  Sometimes we have to remember our spiritual clothes.   It is easy to get busy in this life and not take the time for God and ourselves.  So take a few minutes every morning or evening and devote sometime to the one who deserves it.  He will calm your nerves and still the waters around you.  He will give you peace to get you through the night and the strength to get you through the day.  He has equipped you with the armor you need and the gospel so that you might meet all challenges head on.

Have a Blessed Day

Sometimes We Just Have to Break

I read a Facebook post today by an author unknown about a mother and 2 sons in a dollar store.  The older boy had a package of glow sticks and the toddler was crying because he wanted a stick.  The mother took the package, opened it and gave it to the toddler.  The toddler was then instantly comforted and happy and began walking around holding this glow stick.  He was happy and content.  The older child then went up to the toddler and took the glow stick from him and the toddler instantly began to cry.  The older boy broke the glow stick and handed it back to the toddler.  He instantly stopped crying and was filled with wonder because the glow stick was now glowing.  It was not longer just a colored stick, it was glowing and beautiful and this brought instant joy and laughter to the little toddler. 

The point of this story is that sometimes we have to break and God will let us break in order for us to transform and become what we were meant to become.   As I said, I cannot take credit for this very poignant lesson.

God created all of us with free will.  He granted us the ability to do as we please, although we all know there are consequences to our actions.  There are times in everyone’s life where they are broken.  Maybe the break comes with an illness, divorce, loss of a job or retirement, bankruptcy, or death of a spouse, parent or child.  But at some point most people reach that point where they are at the bottom and on their knees.  It is at this point one of two things can happen, that person can give up or they can allow God to transform them into what He originally intended for them to be.  They put their faith in God to guide them in the path they should walk.  Proverbs 3:5-6 tells us “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your OWN understanding.  In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths.”   Trust the Lord.  “Trust and obey for there is no other way…”

Isn’t that a hymn we learn as little children?  Where does that trust go, as we get older?  Why do we let it slip away?

As you are on our knees broken and wonder what to do and you hear a voice whispering in your ear, do you listen?  Or do you swat at it like a pesky fly?  That voice you hear is your Lord and Savior and He is saying to you: “And your ears shall hear a word behind you, saying, ‘This is the way, walk in it,’ when you turn to the right or when you turn to the left.” (Isaiah 30:21).  He will guide you.  You just have to listen.

God will transform you; just as the glow stick was transformed once it was broken.  Matthew 5:16 tells us “In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.”

Psalm 51:10-12: “Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me.  Cast me not away from your presence, and take not your Holy Spirit from me.  Restore to me the joy of your salvation, and uphold me with a willing spirit.”

2 Corinthians 5:17 “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation.  The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.”

We are transformed.  God is talking.  Are you listening?  Are you praying for God’s guidance?  We sing this hymn but do you mean it?

Guide me, O Thou great *Jehovah, [*Redeemer]
Pilgrim through this barren land;
I am weak, but Thou art mighty,
Hold me with Thy pow’rful hand.

Saying you believe it but doing nothing, is not believing.  God will let you break but he will also take your hand and transform you, but only if you are listening and accepting.

Have a Blessed day.

Teach Me Lord to Wait

We live in a world of instant gratification.  If you want to buy something, you no longer have to go to stores and look for it, save your money and then buy it.  You turn on your computer, type a few keys, find the item, whip out your credit card, click send and bam!  It will be at your house in 2 days!  Instantly!  You want a Thanksgiving dinner tonight, easy peazy, you call Bob Evans and order one, no thawing the turkey for 3 days in the fridge or slaving over the hot stove for the stuffing and gravy.  Bam! Instantly!.  There are very few things in this life that we cannot snap our fingers and have what we want, but there is one!  Answers!

God does not give us the instantaneous gratification of answers to our prayers.  God teaches us the virtue of patience.  We all know God hears our prayers but when we don’t see what we are asking for appear within a short time, do be begin to doubt that God is hearing us?  Romans 8:25-26 tells us “if we hope for what we do not see, we eagerly wait for it with perseverance. Like wise the Spirit also helps in our weaknesses. For we do not know what we should pray for as we ought but the Spirit Himself makes intercession for us with groaning which cannot be uttered”   Here Paul is speaking to the Christians in Rome and telling them, hey, God hears you, but you don’t know how to ask for what your truly need so the spirit is doing it for you.  You see, God already knows our wants and desires but HE may not feel that is what we should have.  He will answer us in his own sweet time.  In a time that makes sense when you look at the big picture. 

There are times we have to say, “Teach me, Lord to wait” 

Teach me Lord to wait down on my knees
Till in Your own good time You answer my pleas
Teach me not to rely on what others do
But to wait in prayer for an answer from You

They that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength
They shall mount up with wings as eagles
They shall run and not be weary
They shall walk and not faint
Teach me Lord, teach me Lord to wait

Teach me Lord to wait while hearts are aflame
Let me humble my pride and call on Your name
Keep my faith renewed, my eyes on Thee
Let me be on this earth what you want me to be

There’s a time and a season for all things
You promised in Your word to answer my pleas
I’m crying to You, Lord to grant sweet relief
Oh, Lord remove all my unbelief

They that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength
They shall mount up with wings as eagles
They shall run and not be weary
They shall walk and not faint
Teach me Lord, teach me Lord to wait
Teach me Lord, teach me Lord to wait

Jeremiah 29:21: “For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the Lord, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope.”

God’s got this! He tells he does so why do we doubt?  Be patient.  Sit back and wait and He will make known unto you his plans. 

Have a Blessed and humble day

Where No One Stands Alone

Once I stood in the night
With my head bowed low
In the darkness as black as could be
And my heart felt alone and I cried oh Lord
Don’t hide your face from me

Like a king I may live in a palace so tall
With great riches to call my own
But I don’t know a thing
In this whole wide world
That’s worse than being alone
Hold my hand all the way, every hour every day
Come here to the great unknown

Take my hand, let me stand
Where no one stands alone

Take my hand, let me stand
Where no one stands alone

Written by Mosie Lister circa 1960(?)

In Isaiah 58:8-9 we are told “Then shall your light break forth like the dawn, and your healing shall spring up speedily; your righteousness shall go before you; the glory of the Lord shall be your rear guard. Then you shall call, and the Lord will answer; you shall cry, and he will say, ‘Here I am.’ If you take away the yoke from your midst, the pointing of the finger, and speaking wickedness.”

He is telling us that He is our rear guard.  He has our back!  He will not let us go through anything alone as long as we have faith and live a faithful life.  Even if we are hurt, grieving or struggling He will be there. 

“Come to me, all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest” Matthew 11:28.  He will take the burden from us.  He will hold our hand and stand with us and help us bear our load.

The Lord will not leave us and he tells us this in Deuteronomy 31:6: “Be strong and courageous.  Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the Lord your God goes with you; he will never leave you or forsake you.”

No matter what you are going through, God will never leave us. We will always be where no one stands alone.

Have a Blessed Day

The Difference A Word Makes

I was reading Daniel chapter 9 in the KJV when I would flew out at me, DREADFUL.   Daniel 9:4 “And I prayed to the Lord my God, and made confession, and said, “O Lord, great and dreadful God, who keeps His covenant and mercy with those who love Him, and with those who keep His commandments.”  Why would Daniel call God dreadful?  This put me aback for a little bit and caused me to wonder.  I looked up dreadful in the dictionary and it listed “causing or involving great suffering fear or unhappiness, extremely bad or serious.”  What?  Seriously?  So I looked up a few other versions and the word “dreadful” and in its place is “awesome”.  According to a few commentaries that I looked at dreadful in Hebrew can also mean venerated or to be given respect or one that is due respect.  Whew!  That makes sense to me. 

In Daniel 9, Daniel is praying to God to save his people.  He is pleading to God to be merciful to them even though they have not been good and faithful.  But, in this instance, you could actually interchange dreadful with merciful and still have the same meaning.  Why, because in the “awesomeness” of God he is asking for Him to show mercy, to be merciful to his people.

Daniel realizes that even though God is a good and loving God and his true wish is to love his people, he is not above punishing his people and bringing down his wrath.  Look at the great flood.  He punished all of mankind for his wickedness.  We are told in John 3:36 that “Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life; whoever does not obey the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God remains on him.”  Romans 5:9 “Since, therefore, we have now been justified by his blood, much more shall we be saved by him from the wrath of God.”  Here are to examples of us being told that even though God is loving, he also will not hold back from punishing us, just as any good Father would do. 

God is Love.  He doesn’t punish us because he hates us or doesn’t like us, he does it as a matter of correction.  To bring us back to where we need to be.

John 4:16 “And we have known and believed the love that God has for us.  God is love, and he who abides in love abides in God, and God in him.

God loves us and when we make mistakes He will show us mercy, if we ask, for He is a great and awesome God.

Have a Blessed Day

Let the Lower Lights Be Burning

Brightly beams our Father’s mercy,
From His lighthouse evermore,
But to us He gives the keeping
Of the lights along the shore.

  • Refrain:
    Let the lower lights be burning!
    Send a gleam across the wave!
    Some poor fainting, struggling seaman
    You may rescue, you may save.

Dark the night of sin has settled,
Loud the angry billows roar;
Eager eyes are watching, longing,
For the lights along the shore.

Trim your feeble lamp, my brother;
Some poor sailor, tempest-tossed,
Trying now to make the harbor,
In the darkness may be lost.

Written by Phillip P. Bliss pub. 1871

What a beautiful hymn.   What is it telling us? 

Think of what a lighthouse is used for.  It is for the sole purpose of guiding ships into harbor and away from dangerous places.  It gives the seaman a symbol of guidance and safe passage.  In some cases it shows the way home.  In the first verse, we are being told how bright is God’s mercy.  It’s a beacon for us to follow.  He has given us his light in the form of the Bible and is asking us to be the keeper of his spiritual lighthouse. 

Out in the world, in the mist of sin and anger, there are those wanting to come home but they don’t know where to go.  Their eyes are watching for that light, for that beacon that tells them where to go. 

In the last verse, we are warned to trim our lamps or to let our light burn cleanly and brightly because someone may be watching us and trying to see our light and make it home.  If our light is dim and hard to see, then that person may give up and be lost.  “that you may become blameless and harmless, children of God without fault in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world” Philippians 2:15

Let your light burn and shine far, your light, your actions may save someone.

2 Corinthians 4:6 “For God, who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,” has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ”

You are God’s lighthouse.  He has given you the light.  Have you trimmed your lamp?  Are you burning brightly so that you can be seen through the darkness of sin and anger? 

Have a Blessed Day

Joy in Tribulation

Life is full of ups and downs.   Some times everything is perfect and things go very smoothly.  It is during these times we like to say: “God is good!”  We pray for others and ourselves and our faith is strong.  We are happy and smile and show our joy.  But what about when things are not so great?  When money is tight or non-existent or a friend or family member passes on or we lose our jobs or any number of things that we can think of that would make us depressed and not look so brightly on life.  What do we do then?  We become depressed, withdrawn, show a negative attitude, cry, show self-pity, and maybe some anger.   We find no joy when we are having troubles and tribulations.  Where is our faith?  Lets look what the apostle Paul had to say about all this in Romans 5:1-5:  “Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom also we have access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God.  And not only that, but we also glory in tribulations, knowing that tribulation produces perseverance; and perseverance, character; and character, hope.  No hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who was given to us.”

Wow!  Paul is telling us that we need to have joy during hard times!  Why would we do that?  That takes work!  It’s easier to be depressed, angry or pity yourself, isn’t it?

But Paul tells us that our faith in God must also cross over from good times to bad.  Having trial and tribulations build perseverance.  It teaches us to be strong, to keep going, and to not give up.  Therefore when you have learned perseverance you wil build your character.  You will be stronger in mind and faith and as your character is built to be stronger and better, you will find hope because you will learn to look at everything that comes at you as a challenge you can face head on but head on with God.  Isn’t that what faith is? 

Paul tells us in verse 5 that hope won’t disappoint us.  Why?  “Because the LOVE OF GOD has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who was given to us.”  How can something that God gave us be disappointing or let you down?  If you have faith and let God guide you during hard times, in the end everything will work out.

Paul told the Church at Corinth “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father o mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort those who are in any trouble, with the comfort with which we ours are comforted by God.”  II Corinthians 1:3-4

So God will comfort us so that we may comfort others as we are comforted.  How great is that?   So God expects his children to rise above their trials and tribulations and find others that are suffering and comfort and teach them so that they may do the same. 

Have faith that God will guide you through anything.  Look for those that are also suffering and comfort them, as you yourself are comforted.  What a teachable moment that will be for a nonbeliever or a lost bother or sister.

Have a Blessed Day