Shielded by GOD

“Finally, be strong in the LORD and in the strength of His might. Put on the full armor of God, so that you will be able to stand firm against the schemes of the devil. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places. Therefore, take up the full armor of God, so that you will be able to resist in the evil day, and having done everything, to stand firm. Stand firm therefore, having girded your loins with Truth, and having put on the Breastplate of Righteousness, and having shod your feet with the preparation of the Gospel of Peace; in addition to all, taking up the Shield of Faith with which you will be able to extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. And take the Helmet of Salvation, and the Sword of the Spirit, which is the WORD of GOD.”
Ephesians 6:10‭-‬17 NASB1995

Who’s in Charge?

From then on Jesus began to tell his disciples plainly that it was necessary for him to go to Jerusalem, and that he would suffer many terrible things at the hands of the elders, the leading priests, and the teachers of religious law. He would be killed, but on the third day he would be raised from the dead. But Peter took him aside and began to reprimand him for saying such things. “Heaven forbid, Lord,” he said. “This will never happen to you!” Jesus turned to Peter and said, “Get away from me, Satan! You are a dangerous trap to me. You are seeing things merely from a human point of view, not from God’s.”
Matthew 16:21‭-‬23 NLT

https://bible.com/bible/116/mat.16.21-23.NLT

Are you looking at life like Peter was? I know that for the majority of my life, that’s how I’ve seen and done things. Strictly a human view, and not waiting for God’s view. Too impatient. I still find it difficult to slow down enough in my thoughts to consider what God would think or want. Who’s in charge of your life? If you consider yourself a Christian, like I do, a follower of Jesus Christ, should we be saying “Get away from me, satan!”?

What are you facing today that you need to pray about and wait for God’s leading? Where are you looking at things from the human view, from our human feelings, instead of leaning on the LORD? When do you need to say, “Get away from me, satan!”?

Love God, then yourself. It’s the only way.

Prayer for God’s Mercy on our Nation

“If we ever forget that we are One Nation Under God, then we are a nation gone under.” – Ronald Reagan

Restore us, O God of our salvation, And cause Your indignation toward us to cease. Will You be angry with us forever? Will You prolong Your anger to all generations? Will You not Yourself revive us again, That Your people may rejoice in You? Show us Your lovingkindness, O Lord, And grant us Your salvation. I will hear what God the Lord will say; For He will speak peace to His people, to His godly ones; But let them not turn back to folly. Surely His salvation is near to those who fear Him, That glory may dwell in our land. Lovingkindness and truth have met together; Righteousness and peace have kissed each other. Truth springs from the earth, And righteousness looks down from heaven. Indeed, the Lord will give what is good, And our land will yield its produce. Righteousness will go before Him And will make His footsteps into a way.”
Psalms 85:14-‬13 NASB1995

https://bible.com/bible/100/psa.85.1-13.NASB1995

The psalmist wrote this for the nation of Judah, but I see it in the the United States of America. From school boards and town councils to the Oval Office, Christians are going to have to join together, on their knees, to restore our nation to it’s greatness. We have to denounce – not deny – the godlessness that is rampant in our country. If it is not scriptural, it is wrong. Are we as Christ followers guilty of sinning against God? Absolutely; every day. That doesn’t mean that we can just sit back on our hands and say, “well, I tried.” Prayer is immensely powerful, so if someone says that all they can do is pray; well, that’s the best thing any one of us can do! Take action. Do whatever you can.

“Guard with jealous attention the public liberty. Suspect everyone who approaches that jewel.” — Patrick Henry at Virginia`s U.S. Constitution ratification convention

“The said Constitution [shall] be never construed to authorize Congress to infringe the just liberty of the press, or the rights of conscience; or to prevent the people of the United States, who are peaceable citizens, from keeping their own arms.” — Samuel Adams at Massachusetts` U.S. Constitution ratification convention, 1788

We must fall back to the Founding Fathers and listen to them. The majority of them followed Christ. ALMIGHTY GOD gave us the greatest country in the world. We must fight the enemy of God and of man to protect and preserve her. I stand with other Christians and Patriots, and I am not ashamed.

And all the people said ……

What Am I Doing???

It’s your responsibility to lead yourself well by knowing exactly what you’re good at, what bothers others about you, and what your blindspots are. So ask someone today:

1) What am I good at?

2) What is holding me back?

3) What are the blind spots in my life?

“Search me, O God, and know my heart; Try me and know my anxious thoughts; And see if there be any hurtful way in me, And lead me in the everlasting way.” Psalms 139:23‭-‬24 NASB1995

What am I doing to add value to my family, my team at work, my friendships?

Jesus said to the disciples “You call Me Teacher and Lord; and you are right, for so I am. If I then, the Lord and the Teacher, washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another’s feet. For I gave you an example that you also should do as I did to you. Truly, truly, I say to you, a slave is not greater than his master, nor is one who is sent greater than the one who sent him. If you know these things, you are blessed if you do them.” John 13:13‭-‬17 NASB1995

If you are are a Christian, you know that Jesus is God. As God, He is immutable, incomparable, incomprehensible. As man, He is subject to everything that we feel and experience. He felt the weight of responsibility to obey and satisfy His earthly parents just as we do. His ministry was a huge responsibility, to teach His followers the Truth. He experienced hunger and thirst. He got hot, and cold, and was physically uncomfortable. He knew His “job”, and didn’t shirk from it. He spent hours in prayer with the Father, leaning on His relationship with Him to clarify what to say, where to go, what to do. He knew what He was good at, and He wasn’t above doing the lowest jobs. (Think: washing feet) I think He talked to His disciples and listened if they had any criticisms about Him. I don’t think Jesus had any blindspots like we do, and even though we know that He was perfect, He still suffered.

“For we do not have a high priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but One who has been tempted in all things as we are, yet without sin.” Hebrews 4:15 NASB1995

The bottom line is this. When you are struggling with these questions of what am I doing, what am I good at, what is holding me back, and what are my blind spots, take council from someone who will honestly help you, and pray. Jesus has experienced everything we have, plus more. He has the answers!

Righteousness / Sin / Slavery

“No temptation has overtaken you but such as is common to man; and God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will provide the way of escape also, so that you will be able to endure it. Therefore, my beloved, flee from idolatry.” 1 Corinthians 10:13‭-‬14 NASB1995

Warren Wiersbe, in his book Be Daring, wrote, “In 1973, Dr. Karl Menninger, one of the world’s leading psychiatrists, published a startling book, Whatever Became of Sin? He pointed out that the very word sin has gradually dropped out of our vocabulary, as he puts it, ‘the word, along with the notion.’ We talk about mistakes, weaknesses, inherited tendencies, faults, and even errors; but we do not face up to the fact of sin.”

God removes our sins and puts them on Christ. Then he takes the righteousness of Christ and puts it on us, and it’s all done through the cross. And that’s the gospel: how sinners become right and righteous with a holy God. It’s the best news ever.” – from The Core of the Gospel by Jeff Wells

Who is a the descendant of slaves? That’s a big question these days, with the whole question of reparations and who should pay them and who should receive them. Slavery has been around almost since the the beginning of history. It has been in every country and involved every color and ethnicity of humans. Abraham, Father of Israel, had slaves. The Egyptians had slaves of all nationalities. The Romans, Greeks, Gauls, and Picts owned slaves. Many, if not all, African tribes owned slaves. The American Native peoples of the different nations owned slaves.

As much as we want to deny it, slavery still exists today. There are people who deal in human trafficking, maybe in your neighborhood. Instead of focusing on the past and what has occurred, we need to be focused on now. There are many other forms of slavery, and we need to acknowledge that fact. Human bondage is real and present. Slavery to an addiction, and that isn’t limited to drugs or alcohol. If you have personally experienced any bondage, and been freed from it, congratulations! God is GOOD! Be careful about boasting, though. For someone still stuck and fighting to get out, or to the one who can’t see a way out, remember to give Grace. Slavery, just like any addiction, isn’t something we can just choose to walk away from. It requires help from God and from His people.

“Where then is boasting? It is excluded. By what kind of law? Of works? No, but by a law of faith. For we maintain that a man is justified by faith apart from works of the Law. Or is God the God of Jews only? Is He not the God of Gentiles also? Yes, of Gentiles also, since indeed God who will justify the circumcised by faith and the uncircumcised through faith is ONE. Do we then nullify the Law through faith? May it never be! On the contrary, we establish the Law.” Romans 3:27‭-‬31 NASB1995

Reach out to someone you know is hurting, and keep in mind that hurts can be covered up and hidden. A smile and a hug can go a long way! (Pandemic aside, it’s time to start hugging people again!)

“Whatever you do, do your work heartily, as for the Lord rather than for men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the reward of the inheritance. It is the Lord Christ whom you serve. For he who does wrong will receive the consequences of the wrong which he has done, and that without partiality.” Colossians 3:23‭-‬25 NASB1995

Deceived

“See to it that no one takes you captive through philosophy and empty deception, according to the tradition of men, according to the elementary principles of the world, rather than according to Christ. For in Him all the fullness of Deity dwells in bodily form, and in Him you have been made complete, and He is the head over all rule and authority;” Colossians 2:8‭-‬10 NASB1995

“Temper tantrums, harsh and unkind words, hatred and obscenities have no place in the Christian life. This isn’t about developing some public spotless image, but about deep change in my friendships, family, marriage and dealings with people in the workplace. The new self produces new words and new relationships. Sometimes we’re so eager to get our way that we can compromise honesty and openness. In those moments, though, we’re starting to live outside of Christ and we’re undoing what God has done amongst us.” (from Andy Mason’s Colossians Alive in Christ devotional)

“But now you also, put them all aside: anger, wrath, malice, slander, and abusive speech from your mouth. Do not lie to one another, since you laid aside the old self with its evil practices, and have put on the new self who is being renewed to a true knowledge according to the image of the One who created him—” Colossians 3:8‭-‬10 NASB1995

It’s too easy to get caught up in the rhetoric of a charismatic man or woman. In churches and in politics, there are many who have no problem saying whatever they think will advance them the furthest. Acquiring money or followers, they use deceptive to pull us in. They don’t care about telling lies if it gets them what they want. You wants and needs don’t figure in to their plans – but they use our problems as props to get the things they want.

As followers of the Way, Christ followers, lovers of the Truth and the Word, we have to be particular and discerning in who we listen to and what we choose to believe. No one is perfect in this world; I think Paul is quite clear about that. The thing that differentiates you and me from the world is twofold. First, and foremost, as flawed and imperfect as we are, we are forgiven, washed clean, and we are new beings in Christ. Second, as new beings, it is critical that we put on that new self and test everything before blindly following someone because they say the “right” things.

“Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world.” 1 John 4:1 NASB1995

“But examine everything carefully; hold fast to that which is good; abstain from every form of evil.” 1 Thessalonians 5:21‭-‬22 NASB1995

Don’t be deceived, friends. Test everything and everyone against the Scriptures. If you checking them causes them to be angry or upset, that’s a good sign that perhaps they aren’t the one you should be listening to. Remember that no one is perfect, and we are not put here to judge people. We are here to pray for them and encourage them, and to tell them about Jesus – the Way, the Truth, and the Light. In the words of Paul:

“Now may the God of peace Himself sanctify you entirely; and may your spirit and soul and body be preserved complete, without blame at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. Faithful is He who calls you, and He also will bring it to pass. Brethren, pray for us . The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you.” 1 Thessalonians 5:23‭-‬25‭, ‬28 NASB1995

AMEN.

Are You Watching The News?

“Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice. Be kind to one another, tender-hearted, forgiving each other, just as God in Christ also has forgiven you.” Ephesians 4:31‭-‬32 NASB1995

Lying politicians. Blatant discrimination. Pornography on primetime TV. Government consumed with elitism. Families divided, fatherless children, abused children. Attack after attack on Christian values, in person, on the radio, on social media, on television talk shows and sitcoms and ‘regular’ programming; everywhere, anywhere, you look. Even from the pulpit.

Is there any common sense left in our country, or in the world?

I attempted to open an online conversation with a professing Christian, who is in fact a church leader, after he came out in favor of abortion. I say attempted, because he, and several other people, refused to hear anything against their beliefs that it should be legal and completely up to the woman. But, what about the baby, I asked? Apparently, there is no “baby” until it can survive on it’s own, so at least 6 to 7 months after conception. It’s a “foetus”. Instead of arguing, I bowed out of the conversation. There is ample evidence available about babies in the womb, but there is no point in arguing with people who are entrenched in their beliefs. That said, I admit that I’m pretty entrenched in my beliefs…. but I try really hard to base them in the Scriptures, without picking and choosing. Am I always right? Not at all!

I’ve come to realize this: people believe what they want to believe, and most will take the most comfortable view. I found this prayer in the devotional Good Morning Easter Devotional, by Compassion. It really touched my heart.

Lord, thank You we can have hope in every situation because You are always faithful. I bring You all the situations in my life that are challenging and the prayers that are yet to be answered. I ask that You renew my hope. Please help me to keep bringing good news, to carry your peace and declare that You reign in every season of my life. Amen.

“How lovely on the mountains Are the feet of him who brings good news, Who announces peace And brings good news of happiness, Who announces salvation, And says to Zion, “Your God reigns!”
Isaiah 52:7 NASB1995

Hold On!

“For consider Him who has endured such hostility by sinners against Himself, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart. You have not yet resisted to the point of shedding blood in your striving against sin; and you have forgotten the exhortation which is addressed to you as sons, “My son, do not regard lightly the discipline of the LORD, Nor faint when you are reproved by Him;”
Hebrews 12:3‭-‬5 NASB1995

We have only just begun this battle for our lives and our beliefs. The enemy is alive and well in our nation’s capital, and we must stand against him! Rise up, Christians! Armor yourself with prayer and with Scripture, and with the fellowship of other believers. HOLD ON, for we will prevail in the end!

(I know, because I read the back of the Book!)

“And I saw heaven opened, and behold, a white horse, and He who sat on it is called Faithful and True, and in righteousness He judges and wages war. His eyes are a flame of fire, and on His head are many diadems; and He has a name written on Him which no one knows except Himself. He is clothed with a robe dipped in blood, and His name is called The Word of God. And on His robe and on His thigh He has a name written, “KING OF KINGS, AND Lord OF LORDS.”
Revelation 19:11‭-‬13‭, ‬16 NASB1995

Hallelujah! Christ is KING!

Pick up your swords!