Friday, November 4, 2016

Don't Forget Your Helmet!

I remember every word to "Rapper's Delight" by the Sugar Hill Gang. I also remember most all the words to every Chicago song, Bon Jovi song, and Rick Springfield song from the 1980's and 1990's. Yup. All that amazing music is stuck in my head. I don't listen to this music now, but it's still stuck in my brain. It even pops out of my mouth every now and then when something reminds me of days gone by. I can't erase it. It is permanently branded in my mind.

God brought this realization to me about what was in my mind as I read in Ephesians 6:17. This verse indicates that we are to wear salvation like a helmet. You see, a helmet is worn by a warrior or soldier for protection of the head, and ultimately protection of your mind. I'm supposed to protect my mind as a Christian soldier, but obviously based on what is in my mind I haven't always done just that. And not only are we to protect our minds, we are to protect them with salvation.

Salvation comes for us by knowing and believing that Jesus died for our sins. It's not about how good we can be because we are simply not good people. And, once we accept Jesus as our Savior, we are secure. We can not lose our salvation. God wants us to protect our minds with salvation - with the very thought of us being secure in Him. This, my friends, is so important in a broken world.

If Satan can influence your mind and get you to think about negative things, he will disable your ability to be an effective Christian soldier. If the father of lies can get you to think of how bad your own sins are and not how much grace God has extended you, well, he will then be able to destroy your happiness and feelings of security. And, if your mind is full of worldly things, then Satan will have a leg up on stealing your inheritance of peace and joy. Make no mistake. He wants to take you out of influence in this world for God's glory. He wants to control your mind.

You know what else I remember from my younger life? I remember Psalm 23 and Psalm 100 because my 4th grade teacher followed God's plan for what we should put in our minds. I remember them by heart. (King James version if you're interested.) She read these scriptures to her class every day. So for almost a year, during a time when I was not saved, she poured these scriptures into my head. I believe these scriptures laid the groundwork for my life today.

What are you putting in your head? What are you allowing your children to put into their heads? What if we put on salvation as a helmet, and we taught the next generation to do the same?

"Don't copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God's will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect." ~ Romans 12:2

Jesus - THANK YOU for giving us minds to think, and that we can transform the way we think by studying Your Word and knowing You more. You are simply incredible and Your love for us amazes me. Help me to put Your Word in my head more than worldly information. In the precious name of Jesus I pray ~ AMEN.

For a deeper study:

  • Determine what God is trying to teach you today.
  • Look up scriptures based on what you are seeking to learn and memorize them. 

Friday, October 28, 2016

I'm Putting Up My Shield of Faith

Some days I feel like this world is just so broken that I want to stand on the top of my roof and just yell "COME LORD JESUS!!" There are friends - precious, sweet, godly friends - that are fighting cancer and that honestly ticks me off most days. There are decisions made and words spoken by politicians that make me think of things like updating my passport in case I need to quickly flee our precious country. I see teenagers being forgotten by their families because of technology becoming more important than conversations around dinner tables. I can so easily get distracted by the hurts and busyness of this world that I forget about my faith.

I am reminded today that my faith is not in this world. My faith is in Jesus Christ, the Creator of this world. And while this world contains so many harsh realities, this is a temporary world that has already been overcome by Jesus. As Christians, we are victorious over this broken world simply by believing in Jesus Christ. We have won the victory, not we will win the victory. Faith isn't just a part of my religion - it's the whole enchilada.

Hebrews 11:1 says, "Faith is the confidence that what we hope for will actually happen." Faith is acting like God is telling the truth.  We are to be so confident in our Savior that we put our faith into action in this broken world by believing what His Word has spoken to us. We need to know that we can do all things through Christ because that's what His Word says. We need to know that death does not have its grip on us because the Bible says that Christ has kicked death in the behind. And, we need to remember that God is in control, not the politicians of this world. 

Faith isn't based on a feeling. It's based on the truth of God's Word. Today I'm going to choose faith over frustrations. I don't know what tomorrow holds, but, oh, do I know Who holds tomorrow. 

Jesus - thank you for allowing us to be saved by faith through Your amazing grace. I believe inYou. You are trustworthy. I place my future and the future of those I love in Your hands. In Jesus' Name ~ AMEN.

For a deeper study read and journal/discuss your thoughts on the following scriptures:
  • Ephesians 6: 10 - 15
  • Colossians 2: 13 - 15
  • Hebrews 11
  • Luke 17: 5-6
  • Psalm 28:7

Friday, October 21, 2016

A Real Good Pair of Shoes

A good pair of shoes will change your life. I say that with the wisdom I have gained after many years of living. After 45 years of walking and wearing shoes, I consider myself an expert in regards to shoes and foot comfort. Yes, that's right. I said EXPERT. I know what a good pair of shoes will do for your life. I've suffered through plantar fasciitis and felt like I would lose my life through the ordeal. I've purchased the cheap high heels and wanted to chop off my feet at the end of the day after wearing them. Pain from wearing no shoes or the wrong shoes will make you cry. But a good pair of shoes, ones that were made properly to support your foot, will also change your life. Good shoes will protect not only your feet but also your back and knees. I know from experience. Trust me, I know.

When it comes to dressing in the spiritual world, we should trust God when He says in Ephesians 6,

"For shoes, put on the peace that comes from the Good News so that you will be fully prepared." 

God knows about peace.  He is the Prince of Peace according to Isaiah 9. And, look what the Prince of Peace tells us in John 14:27:

"I am leaving you with gift - peace of mind and heart. And the peace I give is a gift the world cannot give. So don't be troubled or afraid."

Peace is a gift from God. It's part of our inheritance from Him as His children. But as with any gift or inheritance, you have to do your part in accepting the gift. Here's how to accept your gift of peace:

1.  Fix your eyes on God every day.  Isaiah 26:3 tells us, "You will keep in perfect peace all who trust in You, all whose thoughts are fixed on You."
2.  Be obedient to God's Word. Psalm 119:165 says, "Those who love your instructions have great peace and do not stumble."
3.  Work at living in peace with others. Hebrews 12:11 says, "Work at living in peace with everyone, and work at living a holy life, for those who are not living holy will not see the Lord."
4.  Be responsible for your OWN actions.  Romans 12:18 says, "Do all that you can to live at peace with everyone."

What are you doing today to have a peaceful life? Would others see you as a peace-maker or a peace-taker? Let's not walk around with pain because we forgot to put on our shoes of peace. Let's fully prepare ourselves for this world and put on God's peace!

"Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called 
children of God." Matthew 5

Lord, I want to be known as Your child. Help me be a peacemaker. Help me to seek peace in all circumstances and in all relationship so that you will be glorified by my actions. I have fallen short in this area so many times, but I want to live with this gift in my life. Thanks that I can do all things through You. In Jesus' Name ~ AMEN.

For deeper study read Matthew 18:15-19 and journal/discuss God's plan for keeping peace within Christian relationships. Also discuss what these verses say about our unity in Christ.

Friday, October 14, 2016

What's Protecting Your Heart?

Everything I do is affected by the condition of my heart. If I'm sad, it affects how I act. If my heart is full of anger, then that definitely affects how I behave. And, when the day is just right, and my heart is full of love, then I respond to others with love. I'm confident that this is why God's Word says,

"Guard your heart above all else, for it determines the course of your life."
Proverbs 4:23

We are not just to sometimes protect our hearts, but "above all else" we are to watch out for what we put into our hearts. I wish I would have known this when I was younger. I wish I would have known the truth of God's Word and would have filled my heart up with that information. Instead I filled my heart up with worldly information, things from the media or from people that didn't know or understand God's amazing truths. I'm sure the evil one was happy with the destruction he was doing to my life through what I was putting in my heart during those days. He was for sure happy until one precious day I started reading God's Word and pouring truth into my heart. I started filling up my heart with love and joy and peace. I started walking in The Light of God and now I can tell you that my heart is beyond happy.

How have your actions been lately? Is your life evidencing that your heart is full of joy or full of anger? Are you spreading around love and peace out of a heart full of God, or do you lead a trail of destruction in your wake? If you think you might need a little more love and joy in your heart, meditate on these scriptures today:

“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life." John 3:16

"You keep him in perfect peace
    whose mind is stayed on you,
    because he trusts in you." Isaiah 26:3

 "There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus." Romans 8:1
"If God is for us, who can be against us?" Romans 8:31
" all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us.  For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord." Romans 8: 37-39
 "For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope." Jeremiah 29:11

I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well." Psalm 139:14

God also tells us in His Word to protect our hearts with the breastplate of righteousness. 

"Stand therefore, having fastened on the belt of truth, and having put on the breastplate of righteousness," Ephesians 6:14

Righteousness is the state of being morally right or justified. Now, there's no human way any one of us can state that we are morally right or morally perfect. We've all sinned. All of us. There is no one that is perfect. If someone tells you they are perfect they are lying and that makes them a liar which is morally imperfect. But - and that's a HUGE BUT - God paid the penalty for our sins on The Cross so that we can be seen as righteous (morally perfect) in His eyes. Anyone that has called on the Name of Jesus to be saved is seen as morally perfect in His eyes.

Now think about that for a minute. Really - stop and think about that.

I messed up today and said an ugly word, but the God of the universe looks at me and sees RIGHTEOUSNESS because of the Blood of Jesus and not me the sinner !!!! Isn't that amazing!?!?! And, more amazing than that is the fact that He wants us to cover our hearts with His righteousness. He doesn't want us to be down on ourselves because we've sinned. He wants us to repent, no doubt about that. But, when He tells us to put on the breastplate of righteousness it is to protect our hearts from how we may see ourselves. PUT ON His Righteousness! Wear it as the royalty you are. You are His Child! That is mind blowing. That is an amazing, undeserved gift. That is, well, that is grace.

God - thank You. Wow! Thank You for loving me and for grace. Thank You for telling us to protect our hearts, and giving us the tools to do just that. I stand in amazement at Your love for me and Your Words. I will forever praise you! - Amen.

Friday, October 7, 2016

I'm Sending YOU!

For “Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved." Romans 10:13
ALL that call on the name of Jesus will be saved. Everyone!!  Women. Men. Kids. White people. Brown people. Rich people. Poor people. Americans. Canadians. Educated. Uneducated. ALL that call on the name of Jesus!! Jesus has no favorites. He loves all the children He has created and He clearly wants a personal relationship with each one. Isn't that beautiful!?!?! What a promise!
The problem with the above is that not everyone knows about Jesus. People are not calling on Him to save them because they simply do not know about His amazing love. In a world that is full of technology that allows us to communicate at an amazing rate, there are still those that do not understand one thing about Jesus. This is so very frustrating for me! We have the cure for death and we are not shouting it from the rooftops. 
Now, don't get me wrong. We put scriptures on our Facebook pages. We also sponsor kids in third world countries for Christmas. And, of course we put crosses on the back of our vehicles. We do some sweet things for Jesus. But what about actually loving others unconditionally? And, what about sharing Jesus with others?  
Jesus was so concerned about the people on the outside walls of the church that He spent much time walking in the street with them. He spoke truth to them and He loved on them. If we are to call ourselves Christians, shouldn't we want to live as Christ did? Shouldn't we be on the outside walls of the church speaking truth to others and loving on them for God's glory? I don't want one of my neighbors or friends or relatives to not know Jesus because I was silent! I'm making a commitment to live as Jesus did with regards to those that don't know His unconditional love. I'm not going to be silent.
For “Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved." But how can they call on him to save them unless they believe in him? And how can they believe in him if they have never heard about him? And how can they hear about him unless someone tells them? And how will anyone go and tell them without being sent? That is why the Scriptures say, “How beautiful are the feet of messengers who bring good news!” - Romans 10:13-15
What about you? Who in your sphere of influence needs to hear about God's unconditional love this week? Is there a neighbor that you need to just sit down and have coffee with? Is there a coworker that needs a hug? What's stopping you from telling others?

Jesus - help us! Help us that call ourselves Christians to truly follow You in how we live. Help us to be as bold as lions with our testimonies for You. We want to make You famous in our cities and our country. Help us to live in such a way that everyone around us knows of Your amazing love and grace. In Your Son's Name - Amen

For a deeper study: Ask God to direct you to people in your sphere of influence that need to hear about His love.

Friday, September 30, 2016

The Truth WILL Set You Free!

I used to think I could not be attractive to others because I am a short and stocky girl. That is a lie. The truth of the matter is that I am fearfully and wonderfully made.

I used to think that I was a second class Christian because in my life I had messed up. I had been divorced and I had done many things that aren't pleasing to God. The truth of the matter is that everyone is a sinner and that God sent His Son to die for me even though He knew my sins.

I used to be scared of the future because of the uncertainty in my health or my finances or my relationships. The truth of the matter is that God has great plans for me in my future. His plans are not to harm me but to give me hope!

As a Christian I've learned that there is a very real enemy that wants to destroy my life. That is truth. But God, the amazing Creator of our world, reigns supreme over the enemy and have given us the Truth to navigate the lies of the enemy. The Bible says the following about truth:

"You will know the truth, and the truth will set you free." John 8:32

That is one of the most beautiful statements in the Bible in my opinion. Truth matters. Knowing truth matters. When we know truth, it helps us live in victory here in our broken world. Jesus knew the truth. In Matthew 4 Jesus was tempted by Satan. I double dog dare you to read the story! Satan lied to Jesus by distorting the truth, but Jesus fought back with the real truth. And as the Bible says, if you resist the devil he will flee from you. He certainly ran from Jesus when Jesus spoke truth to him.

2 Timothy 3:16 reminds us that all Scripture is inspired by God and it teaches us what is true. I've heard a preacher say before that the Bible is God's Basic Instructions Before Leaving Earth. That may sound funny, but I do believe it to be the case. A loving Father doesn't let His children live in a broken world without truthful instructions to navigate the broken world.

Have you picked up God's instruction manual today? Maybe you are in the middle of a struggle and you need to pick up the Bible and be reminded of the TRUTH of the matter. The truth will change you. The truth will indeed SET YOU FREE!

Lord, that we would know your Word and live in victory in this world because of it. You are so precious to have given us instructions on how to navigate this broken world. Thank you for telling us truth. Help us to read your Word and do what it says. In the precious name of Jesus - AMEN.

For additional study read and journal/discuss what God tells you in the following scriptures:

  • Matthew 4: 1 - 11
  • John 8: 31-59

Friday, September 23, 2016

He's Simply A Liar

You don’t see it, but it’s there. There is an entire world around us that we can’t see, and it’s full of evil. Truly, I’m not making this up. Just read Colossians 1: 15-17 and Ephesians 6:12.

Christ is the visible image of the invisible God.

    He existed before anything was created and is supreme over all creation,
for through him God created everything
    in the heavenly realms and on earth.
He made the things we can see
    and the things we can’t see—
such as thrones, kingdoms, rulers, and authorities in the unseen world.
    Everything was created through him and for him.
He existed before anything else,
    and he holds all creation together.

Colossians 1: 15-17

 A final word: Be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on all of God’s armor so that you will be able to stand firm against all strategies of the devil. For we are not fighting against flesh-and-blood enemies, but against evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world, against mighty powers in this dark world, and against evil spirits in the heavenly places. Ephesians 6: 10-12

God created the heavenly realms and everything we can’t see. Everything was created through Jesus Christ according to God’s Word. And, based on Ephesians 6:12 there’s a battle begin waged against evil rulers in this unseen world.

Doesn’t this sound like something out of a scary movie?!?! The thought of these scriptures makes me want to sleep with my night light on and check under my bed for monsters and evil creatures every night. I believe God’s Word with all my heart, so these verses can FREAK ME OUT if I focused on them. Evil is real. Evil is around us. Evil fights against us. This is true.

But do you know what else is true? Jesus is Supreme and Lord over all. That too is listed in Colossians 1. He is The Creator and everything is held in place by Him. And, while Satan would love for me to dwell on the fact that he is around me waiting to attack, Jesus would rather me dwell on the truth of the matter. The truth of the matter in Colossians 2 has set me free from worrying about the evil that is around me in the unseen world.

You were dead because of your sins and because your sinful nature was not yet cut away. Then God made you alive with Christ, for he forgave all our sins. He canceled the record of the charges against us and took it away by nailing it to the cross. In this way, he disarmed the spiritual rulers and authorities. He shamed them publicly by his victory over them on the cross. 
Colossians 2: 13-15

Jesus not only forgave our sins on The Cross, but he also conquered Satan AND disarmed him. Did you hear that? Satan and his demons have been defeated and they have no weapons. Well, now – that makes a big difference is our battle with the evils ones. Now I know that they have no weapons I don’t have to be afraid. It actually makes me laugh about it. That dumb Satan is trying to beat me with a pretend sword. Bless his heart.

What does Satan have? Lies. He is the father of lies. He throws lies at us to try to get us to live in fear and rejection and defeat. He whispers stuff in our ears like “your husband doesn’t really love you”, or, “you’ll never get out of debt”, or, “you should give up because you’re a loser”. Whatever your weak spot is that makes you crumble, well Satan will lie to you and make you feel like you are a loser. John 10:10 says that Satan has come to steal, kill and destroy so make no doubt about it. He is attacking you. But, also make no doubt about this: he has already been defeated and disarmed. He is simply a lying loser.

When Satan says, “you’ll never conquer this problem”, our response should be, “I can do all things through Christ and I’m more than a conqueror”.

When Satan says, “you’re not as pretty as those other girls”, our response should be, “I’m fearfully and wonderfully made”.

When Satan says, “this illness is going to end in death”, our response should be, “God’s got GREAT plans for me, plans not to harm me but to give me a hope and a future”.

We need to tell Satan to go to hell. The war has been won, and he has nothing but lies to fight battles with us here. There is NO NEED for us to live in defeat here. We’re on the winning team. I’m reminded of a song.

“Victory is mine. Victory is mine.  Vic-to-ry, is mine!!
I told Satan, get thee behind me. Vic-to-ry, is mine!”

Life is sweet when you know you’re on the wining team. We just need to wear our Team Jesus uniform and live our lives in victory as His daughters and sons. If you’re wondering what His team uniform looks like, well check out Ephesians 6:10-19 and find out how you are to dress each day.

Jesus, thank you for winning the war over Satan on The Cross. I am forever grateful to you for your love and sacrifice for me. I’m so thankful that I can live in victory here on earth as I walk with You. In Your precious name I pray ~ AMEN.

For a deeper study read and journal/discuss:
  • ·        Ephesians 6:10-19
  • ·        Colossians 2:13-15