Ready for Battle

It is becoming more and more apparent that Christians are in a fierce battle against the tide of moral decay.  And although it may feel like we are fighting against other people, the Bible makes it clear that our fight is not against flesh & blood.  We are fighting against mighty powers in this dark world. (Ephesians 6:12) As God’s children, we have a shared enemy. That enemy is Satan! As the countdown to his ultimate demise speeds up, he is pulling out all the stops in his war against the people of God. He knows how the story will end and it’s not good for him. And even though he can never override God’s saving power through Jesus Christ, he can still try to cause as much pain as possible.

Thankfully, God has not left us unprepared to do battle. Ephesians 6:12-20 tells us exactly how to suit up each day in order to fight the enemy no matter what (or who) he is using against us.

  • The Belt of Truth – A belt plays an important role in the wardrobe of a soldier.  Without it, all of the other battle gear could fall right off. In the same way, grounding ourselves in the truth of who God is and what he has done will ensure that we head out in battle knowing that our battle gear is staying in place.
  • The Breastplate of Righteousness – The breastplate is pretty crucial, too. It offers protection for our heart. The Bible says that we should guard our heart above all else, because it determines the course of our life. (Proverbs 4:23) Our righteousness comes from Jesus and if we live in step with him we will be better able to protect our heart.
  • Feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. – We know where our hope comes from. Jesus Christ died for our sins and we will spend eternity in heaven with him. This is the good news that we have to share with the world.  And we must be ready at all times to share with anyone who asks where our hope comes from . (1 Peter 3:15)
  • The Shield of Faith to distinguish the flaming arrows of the evil one. – Faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see.  (Hebrews 11:1) We can be sure that God will accomplish all of his purposes for our life and for the whole world.  Faith in an almighty and loving God will help us to remember that no matter what Satan may throw at us, we will have the victory in Christ!
  • Helmet of Salvation – Like the breastplate protects our heart, the helmet protects our mind. Our Salvation through Jesus has reserved for us a place in heaven where the treasures that await us can never be destroyed. (Matthew 6:20) If we fix our minds on things above we can keep the the things that happen to us and around us here on earth in the proper heavenly perspective.
  • Sword of the Spirit, the Word of God – When Jesus was in the desert being tempted by Satan, the only sword he took up against him was the Word of God.  Satan is the father of lies and his main objective is to distort the truth and send us in the wrong direction. If we know the Bible, we can come back at every lie he tries to sell us with the truth of he Word of God.
  • And last but definitely not least, we must be alert and we must pray! – Pray on all occasions. Pray with every kind of request. Pray for each other. The devil hates it when we pray because he knows that in prayer we are formulating a battle plan that he can never defeat!

As the ultimate showdown between God and the devil quickly approaches, you better make sure you are on the right side!  The only way to join God’s army is to admit that you are a sinner and to accept Jesus as your Lord and Savior.  Don’t wait until it is too late!


Will you be ready?

“Therefore keep watch, because you do not know on what day your Lord will come.” – Matthew 24:42

Jesus is coming back.  And even though it may seem like it’s taking a long time, God has his own time table.  The fact that he’s left us on earth to see another day just means there’s still work left to be done.  There’s still someone that needs to hear the gospel and come to the saving knowledge of Jesus Christ.

The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. He is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance. But the day of the Lord will come like a thief. – 2 Peter 3:9-10

Jesus himself told of his return.  He gave a terrifying prediction of how oblivious so many people will be when he suddenly returns like a thief in the night.

“As it was in the days of Noah, so it will be at the coming of the Son of Man. For in the days before the flood, people were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, up to the day Noah entered the ark; and they knew nothing about what would happen until the flood came and took them all away. That is how it will be at the coming of the Son of Man. Two men will be in the field; one will be taken and the other left. Two women will be at the mill; one will be taken and the other left.

Therefore keep watch, because you do not know on what day your Lord will come. But understand this: If the owner of the house had known at what time of night the thief was coming, he would have kept watch and would not have let his house be broken into. So you also must be ready, because the Son of Man will come at an hour when you do not expect him.” – Matthew 24:37-44

You might believe this is true, but don’t give it much thought as you go through your day-to-day life. You might think it’s going to happen “someday” – but not in your life time.  Or you might not even believe that it’s going to happen at all. I suppose if you’re right then you have nothing to worry about.  But what if you’re wrong?!?

Tomorrow is not guaranteed. Today is the day of Salvation! (2 Corinthians 6:2) God loves you so much that he sent his Son to die in your place.  To pay the price for your sins. You must accept the fact that you cannot save yourself.  Turn away from the way you have been doing things and make Jesus the Lord of your life.  Don’t try to fix your life first, because you will not be able to.  When you give your life to Jesus, he gives you the Holy Spirit and God begins his work in you which he has promised to complete. (Philippians 1:6) A saved life is a changed life!

Do it now! Tell God that you know you are a sinner and that you know that you cannot save yourself.  Ask him to forgive you and to be your Lord and Savior.  Then you can know that you have eternal life. (1 John 5:13) If you are reading this, God is giving you the opportunity to repent.  Don’t blow it off and allow your heart to be hardened. Don’t wait until it’s too late and you suddenly realize how wrong you were. Do it now!

Anyone who believes in the Son of God has this testimony in his heart. Anyone who does not believe God has made him out to be a liar, because he has not believed the testimony God has given about his Son. And this is the testimony: God has given us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. He who has the Son has life; he who does not have the Son of God does not have life. – 1 John 5:10-11

Facebook Filth

The things some people post on Facebook are pretty repulsive! Facebook has made it so that suddenly some people feel they need no filter. They say cruel things to and about other people. They post nasty and inappropriate things. They share crude jokes and obscene photos. They slam and judge everyone else. I’ve always told my kids not to post anything on Facebook that they wouldn’t put on a billboard on the highway – but I’m afraid that these days some people would be just fine posting their Facebook filth on a billboard on the highway.

Jesus said that we will have to give an account for every careless word we have spoken (Matthew 12:36), and I have no doubt that we will also be accountable for every careless thing we have posted. Remember – what you say (or post) flows from what is in your heart. If you are a follower of Jesus Christ, then he is in your heart. Would Jesus want to be your Facebook friend?

“The good man brings good things out of the good stored up in his heart, and the evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in his heart. For out of the overflow of his heart his mouth speaks.” – Luke 6:45


Meditation With Eternal Benefits

When I think of meditation, I think of praying and reading the Bible and it is something I start every day with. I find great value in replacing the worldly junk that fills my mind with the promises of God. It also reminds me that I’m not in this alone. When Jesus became my Savior, he also became my guide and it is only when I stay focused on him that everything else is put in the proper perspective. In Psalm 119, God tells us exactly what we should spend time meditating on. We should meditate on his precepts (decrees, laws, statutes) and on his ways. We should meditate on his wonderful deeds. We should meditate on his promises. The Bible is God’s letter to us, and we will never run out of new discoveries when we seek him in his Word.

There’s a lot of talk about meditation in the world today, but something about the meditation I hear so much about just doesn’t seem right to me.  It stands in stark contrast to what the Bible says about meditation. Many people spend a lot of time meditating, but not on the Word of God. Just a quick study of why people meditate makes it clear that there are a lot of people that need Jesus.

People meditate so that they can become more mindful and aware of their thoughts and actions. But the Bible says that we should become more mindful and aware of God’s thoughts and of his laws so that we can change our actions. When I meditate on the Word of God, it helps me to take all of my thoughts captive and to make them obedient to Christ. (2 Corinthians 10:5)

People meditate to decrease stress. Meditation might help with this in the moment if you can convince your mind not to think about the things that are stressing you out. The problem is that some of these things will still be there when you re-enter the world.  Sometimes we face difficult situations that don’t go away just because we stop focusing on them. But in Christ we gain something that settles in our soul even in the midst of our struggles. When I meditate on the Word of God, I gain the peace that passes all understanding and guards my heart and mind in Christ. (Philippians 4:7)

People meditate because it will help them to be able to make better decisions. I’m not so sure how focusing on my thoughts and feelings is going to help me to make better decisions. In many cases it is my thoughts and feelings that lead me to wrong decisions.  When I meditate on the Word of God I am reminded that I must trust in God and not lean on my own understanding. Then he will guide me.  (Proverbs 3:5-6)

People meditate to experience better overall well-being. Sadly, you’re missing the boat if that is how you’re searching for well-being. God created you and he created you with a purpose. To be in a relationship with him and to bring him glory in all you do. Until you realize that, you will be constantly searching for that one thing that will “complete you”. But God promises that if you seek him with all your heart, you will find him. (Jeremiah 29:13)

It is clear that many people meditate to become more connected with themselves as they seek to experience some earthly benefits. I meditate on the Word of God so that I will become more connected with my Creator and my Savior.  That kind of meditation has eternal benefits.




Making wise decisions

Tune your ears to wisdom and concentrate on understanding. – Proverbs 2:2

One of the things I’ve always struggled with is understanding how to know the will of God in a particular situation.  I hear people insist that they just know that a decision they have made is the will of God and I wonder; “How do you know?”  I hear people say, “God told me…” and I wonder how they really know it was God?  I mean, it’s not likely that they actually heard an audible voice (although, I admit that sometimes I’ll hear a little whisper).  It is all of this wondering that has led me to pray many times for God to hit me with the proverbial two-by-four to make sure I really know I’m making the right decision.

For what ever reason, God has decided (generally speaking) not to use a powerful voice from heaven to give us crystal clear direction when we are trying to make a decision.  But that does not mean he has left us on our own just hoping we get it right sometimes. There are some very important steps we should take whenever we need to make a decision.

We need to read the Bible.  The Bible is God’s word and if we want to know what God says about something, that is where we can get our answer.  The more we read the Bible, the more we will become familiar with God’s voice and the more we will understand his character.  This will help us to better gauge if something is truly his will.  God will never contradict his Word or go against his character.  Searching the Bible for answers may not mean that we will see a specific answer to a specific question, but the Bible is full of laws, principles and lessons that we can apply to our own choices.

We need to pray.  Not just once – but persistently! (1 Thessalonians 5:17)  We might find that persistent prayer changes the desires of our heart and impacts the choices we make.

We need to think.  God has given us a brain so that we can reason.  When we’re making a decision we should consider how God made us.  What are our strengths and weaknesses?  What are our passions?  How does the way God made us align with the decision we’re about to make?  We should also consider our life experiences and the lessons God has allowed us to learn from past decisions.  We also need to use plain old common sense.  God knows that we have to live in this world and that our choices have earthly consequences that could impact us and our family.  We have a responsibility to the people around us and we need to carefully consider the fall-out of our choices.

We need to seek counsel. God has put us in relationships with people that can counsel us. From the very beginning God decided that we should not do life alone.  That is why he created Eve for Adam and that is why throughout the Bible we see the importance of families and communities.  The people that love us and have our best interest at heart can offer great insight into decisions we face.  They can see things from a different perspective and without the anxiety and emotion we may be feeling.  Seeking Godly counsel is Biblical and a crucial part of making a wise decision.

The way of fools seems right to them, but the wise listen to advice. – Proverbs 12:15

Once we’ve searched the Word of God, prayed persistently and carefully considered our options we need to make a decision! Then we need to have faith that God’s Sovereignty will cover even our failures and his grace will give us second chances.

Remember – God is Faithful

I love the Lord because he hears my voice and my prayer for mercy. Because he bends down to listen, I will pray as long as I have breath! – Psalm 116:1-2

It only takes a moment to look back on my life and be able to see that God has proven to be faithful! Even if it takes hindsight to see, his faithfulness is always evident. I don’t know about you but even though I know this, I still allow myself to worry about situations in my life. How quickly we forget! I must remind myself daily of God’s faithfulness and rest in the fact that he is always good.

Be at rest once more, O my soul, for the Lord has been good to you. – Psalm 116:7

The following verse provided me with a nice template for a quick review of God’s faithfulness:

For you, O Lord, have delivered my soul from death, my eyes from tears, my feet from stumbling, that I may walk before the Lord in the land of the living. – Psalm 116:8

First and foremost, he has delivered my soul from death. Jesus’ death paid my sin debt and his resurrection assured my eternity with him. That alone is enough to give me confidence in his faithfulness. If he has saved me from my sins he can surely save me from [insert problem here].

He has delivered my eyes from tears. I’ve felt sadness and fear before and he has been there by my side every time. Only the arms of a loving and faithful Savior can offer the kind of peace that provides hope even in the midst of sorrow. God keeps track of my sorrows and collects all of my tears in a bottle. (Psalm 56:8) And one day he will wipe every tear away from my eyes when I finally see him face to face. (Revelation 21:4)

He has delivered my feet from stumbling. Walking through life on earth is much like trying to walk along a broken up sidewalk.  It’s uneven with holes and cracks that cause us to stumble. But we have a Savior that will pick us up, clean us up and bandage us up every single time.  I have stumbled many times, and I will no doubt stumble many more.  But I’ve gotten back up every time because of God’s faithfulness. And one day I’ll be walking with him on streets of pure gold! (Revelation 21:21)

Whenever a situation comes up that I can’t control and all of the sudden I start to panic – I need to remind myself to reflect on the faithfulness of God. He’s never let me down before, and he has promised that he never will!

Yet this I call to mind and therefore I have hope: Because of the Lord’s great love, we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. – Lamentation 3:21-23

Your grief will turn to joy

This morning while I was reading the book of John, I was struck by a verse that spoke to me.  Jesus was comforting his disciples as he tried to prepare them for his upcoming death. He knew the sorrow and dismay they would feel when they saw their Lord crucified and buried, and he was preparing them and assuring them that everything was going to be o.k.

He assured them that their love for him would sustain them. That they needed to trust him no matter what. That he would give them peace. That as long as they remained in him, they would bear fruit. He promised them that even though he was going to be gone, they would be receiving the Holy Spirit and that he would be their Counselor and would guide them into all truth. He promised them that he was going to prepare a place for them and that he would be coming back to bring them home! It should be a great comfort to us that these promises were not just for Jesus’ friends 2,000 years ago, but for all of us who make him the Lord of our lives.

Then something Jesus said really hit me! I felt like he was saying it directly to me. “I tell you the truth, you will weep and mourn while the whole world rejoices. You will grieve, but your grief will turn to joy.” (John 16:20)

Now-a-days in this world of Facebook feeds and news notifications, we are constantly made aware of the sadness and sin all around us. And the worse part about it is how often we see these things being celebrated. The world is literally rejoicing over things that make me weep and mourn. But thanks be to God — he promises that my grief will turn to joy! Jesus is coming back – and everyday this world demonstrates more and more why I can’t wait for that day!

“I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” – John 16:33