A Warrior’s Passion to Pursue

We sometimes think love is always soft and mushy, cute and cuddly having nothing to do with being a warrior. Love can make us feel all of those things, but when the feeling is gone, love is lasting because of a warrior’s passion to pursue.

A couple of days ago, my husband and I celebrated our wedding anniversary.  He asked me how does it feel to have been married to him for the last 13 years.  With much conviction I responded, “I feel like a warrior.”

I know this title may sound like an oxymoron, but I believe in order to truly love someone, you must be a warrior.  We sometimes think love is always soft and mushy, cute and cuddly having nothing to do with being a warrior.  Love can make us feel all of those things, but when the feeling is gone, love is lasting because of a warrior’s passion to pursue.

I’m sure you all have heard of David.  A man after God’s heart.  The one who pursued Goliath and killed him with a stone from his slingshot (1 Samuel 17).  David was passionate about Israel and he was also a warrior.

I’m reminded of another account of David, and the warrior’s passionate pursuit of his family and his men’s family.  In 1 Samuel 30, David and his men were returning back to their home in Ziklag when they found it had been raided, burned and the women and children had been taken captive by the Amalekites.  Once again, David’s passion for his family was so aroused that he inquired of the Lord, saying, “Shall I pursue after this troop?  Shall I overtake them?”  And the Lord answered him, “Pursue: for thou shalt surely overtake them, and without fail recover all (1 Samuel 17:8).”

David believed the Lord, and took Him at His Word in pursuit of his family, and recovered all (1 Samuel 17:18).  Pursuit is stimulated by a pure and passionate love that can only be engaged by a warrior.  Warriors are in it to win it.

The Greatest Warrior who ever was, is and is to come, is Jesus.  His passion just as David, led Him to pursue, overtake and recover all.  Over 2,000 years ago, for God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life (John 3:16).  In the Garden of Gethsemane, before that Warrior even made it to the cross.  He made up His mind, “Not my will Lord, but thy will be done (Luke 22:42). Jesus not only pursued Satan, but He overtook and defeated Him by His death on the cross followed by His resurrection with all power, and now seated at the right hand of the Father.  Man, that’s some Warrior!

If you haven’t received Christ into your life, receive Him today.  You are guaranteed eternal victory.  So, from one warrior to the next, pursue!  Be blessed.

Take God at His Word

Take God at His Word.  Have you ever been told, “You gotta take Him at His Word, baby?”  Only to think to yourself,’ what does that really mean?’  Well, let’s take out His Word (the Bible) and find out.

When you take someone at their word, it simply means you believe and trust what they are saying, followed by a response.  For example, if I tell my daughters we’re going to take them to Disney World,  they immediately begin to pack because they trust and believe me.  That’s the same way God wants us to ‘take Him at His Word,’  with trust and a response that illustrates belief.  After all, ‘take’ is a verb, and we all know what that means.

Value God’s Word

The Bible is God’s daily words to us.  When ‘taking God at His Word,’ we must value His Word.  Psalm 12: 6 says:  The words of the Lord are pure words: as silver tried in a furnace of earth, purified seven times.  So, there is nothing impure or untrue that God speaks to us.  2 Timothy 3:16-17 AMP says:  16 Every Scripture is God-breathed (given by His inspiration) and profitable for instruction, for reproof and conviction of sin, for correction of error and discipline in obedience, [and] for training in righteousness (in holy living, in conformity to God’s will in thought, purpose, and action), 17 So that the man of God may be complete and proficient, well fitted and thoroughly equipped for every good work.

Acquainting ourselves with the Word of God shows we value it by reading and meditating on it daily.  After Moses died, Joshua had been given the task of leading the children of Israel into the Promised Land.  God had given him the following instructions:  This book of the law shall not depart out of thy mouth; but thou shalt meditate therein day and night, that thou mayest observe to do according to all that is written therein: for then thou shalt make thy way prosperous, and then thou shalt have good success (Joshua 1:8).  Isn’t that what living is all about?  Pleasing our Heavenly Father and having good success.

Believe God

After understanding the value of God’s Word, you must believe God in order to ‘take Him at His Word.’  Think about how easy it is for us to believe in a product to cure a particular ailment, but could cause certain side effects in the process.  I can’t help but to believe Someone whose words spoke this world into existence (Hebrews 11:3), Someone whose words will never return unto Him without accomplishing just what He spoke (Isaiah 55:11).  Listen, there are no empty words or conversations with God-EVER.  Hence, the name of this blog.

Work the Word

Taking God at His Word requires some work on our part.  Remember when God told Noah that He was going to put an end to all flesh and destroy the land with a flood of waters.  He also told Noah to build an ark for his family and two of every kind of living flesh.  The Bible tells us that Noah did all that God had commanded him to do (Genesis 6:13-22).  So, Noah ‘took God at His Word,’ and proved it by building the ark.  We know what happened after that, Noah and his entire family was saved from the flood just as God had said.

Taking God at His Word can be summed up in two scriptures:  1) But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him (Hebrews 11:6).  2) So also faith, if it does not have works (deeds and actions of obedience to back it up), by itself is destitute of power (inoperative, dead) (James 2:17 AMP).

I pray that as we pick up the Word of God, that we don’t take it for granted, but rather, ‘take God at His Word’ and value it, believe God and work the Word.  Be blessed!

 

 

Parental Supervision and Guidance

The purpose of parental supervision and guidance, is for us to develop, progress and advance as parents. We should be able to provide, protect, teach and lead our children no matter what age by the power of the Holy Spirit.

Parental supervision and guidance is an approach taken by some parents in rearing their children. A lot of my behavior and the positive choices I made as a child and young adult, was the result of parental supervision and guidance. As children get older, we tend to believe that parental supervision and guidance is no longer needed, but I beg to differ. I believe parental supervision and guidance should not be eliminated, but enhanced.

God proves that parental supervision and guidance has always been His MO (modus operandi) from the beginning.  Genesis 2:7-9 speaks of God’s parental characteristics.  He formed man, planted a garden in Eden for the man to live in, and caused the ground to produce trees that were not only pleasant to the sight, but good for food.  Not only did God have complete supervision over the man and where he was, but He also provided guidance.  In Genesis 2:16-17, God gives the man parameters concerning the trees in the garden that he could eat from, and the one tree- the tree of the knowledge of good and evil that was off limits.  God told him that the day he ate from that tree, he would surely die.

God’s parental supervision and guidance was displayed when He was using Moses to lead the children of Israel out of Egypt and to the Promised Land.  As they exited Egypt and journeyed to the Promised Land, the Lord went before them by day in a pillar of a cloud, to lead them the way; and by night in a pillar of fire to give them light; to go by day and night: He took not away the pillar of the cloud by day, nor the pillar of fire by night, from before the people (Exodus 13:21-22).  God did not only lead them out of Egypt, but He was their way of escape.

While under parental supervision and guidance, parents teach their children to obey, and so does God our Father.  Psalm 32:8: I will instruct thee and teach thee in the way which thou shalt go: I will guide thee with mine eye.  Parental supervision and guidance is nullified without your eye and instruction in the child’s life.  God’s eye is always on us.  He will never leave us nor forsake us.  His Word is living, and active.  He is a parent with a plan.

Isaiah prophesied of the Child that was to be born.  He said His name shall be called ‘Everlasting Father’.  Which means His role as a father to us has no end.  A father provides, protects, teaches and leads.  Even as Jesus was preparing His disciples for the completion of His work on this Earth, He still assured them that they wouldn’t be alone.  John 14:26(AMP):  But the Comforter (Counselor, Helper, Intercessor, Advocate, Strengthener, Standby), the Holy Spirit, Whom the Father will send in My name [in My place, to represent Me and act on My behalf], He will teach you all things.  And He will cause you to recall (will remind you of, bring to your remembrance) everything I have told you.  Jesus’ role as Everlasting Father wasn’t eliminated because of His finished work on the cross. Instead, His role as ‘Everlasting Father’ was enhanced by the Comforter, which is the Holy Spirit.

The purpose of parental supervision and guidance, is for us to develop, progress and advance as parents.  We should be able to provide, protect, teach and lead our children no matter what age by the power of the Holy Spirit.  I will leave you with this scripture from Genesis 18:17-19:  And the Lord said, Shall I hide from Abraham that thing which I do; Seeing that Abraham shall surely become a great and mighty nation, and all the nations of the earth shall be blessed in him?  For I know him, that he will command his children and his household after him, and they shall keep the way of the Lord, to do justice and judgment; that the Lord may bring upon Abraham that which he hath spoken of him.

Be blessed!

 

 

Resuscitation

Resuscitation is a word you hear when someone is unconscious or there is apparent death.  It is an emergency response.  The goal is to restore consciousness or life to an individual in that critical hour.  Therefore, timing is crucial for successful resuscitation.  We are going to discuss a woman’s son who died, but was resuscitated.  An emergency nor resuscitation has to be limited to just your body.  You can have an emergency that requires resuscitation in your marriage, family, career, etc.

In the book of 1 Kings 4:8-37, it tells the story of a Shunammite woman who had a son that became ill.  He complained to his father about his head.  So, his father had one of the reapers take him to his mother.  She held the boy for a while and then he died.

Prior to this, Elisha went to Shunem where this great woman lived.  She insisted that he eat bread, and he would eat at her home whenever he came through.  The woman and her husband built a room for the prophet to stay in when he passed through because she perceived that he was a holy man.  Elisha wanted to bless the woman for her kindness.  So, his servant Gehazi brought up the fact that she did not have a son.  Elisha prophesied to her that she was going to have a son, and so she did.  So, when the boy had died in his mother’s lap, she took the boy upstairs and laid him on the bed of the prophet.

Meanwhile, the Shunammite woman told her husband to send her one of the servants and a donkey so she could get to the man of God quickly.  Her husband asked her, “Why go to him today?  It is neither the New Moon nor the Sabbath.”  And she said, “It will be alright.”(verse 23)  Sidebar: when there is an emergency, don’t let anyone slow you down with questions and no solutions- you must keep moving.

As I stated earlier, timing is crucial for successful resuscitation.  The right steps must be taken.  If you have ever taken a basic life support course, then you know that the first step is to check out the scene and the person to see if they need help.  The Shunammite woman did that.  Her son had already died in her arms and she proceeded to get help.

The Shunammite woman continued her journey to find Elisha.  When he saw her afar off, he sent his servant Gehazi to meet her.  He told him to ask her is it well with her husband and child.  She answered, “It is well.”(verse 26)

The Shunammite woman continued until she got to the man of God.  She held on to his feet despite Gehazi trying to get her away.  Elisha told Gehazi to leave her alone because he could see that her soul was vexed.  Then she said, “Did I desire a son of my lord?  Did I not say, Do not deceive me?” (verse 28)

The woman was determined to get her emergency the attention it required.  She and Elisha went back to her house together, and he sent his servant ahead of them with his staff to lay it on the boy’s face.  Gehazi did has he was told, but there was still no voice or hearing from the boy.  He met Elisha to tell him that the child had not awakened.

When Elisha made it to the house, he found the child dead.  He went into the room with just he and the boy, shut the door and prayed to the Lord.  Then, verse 34 says: He went up and lay on the child, put his mouth on his mouth, his eyes on his eyes, and his hands on his hands.  And as he stretched himself on him and embraced him, the child’s flesh became warm.

Then, Elisha walked to and fro in the house and put his body on top of the boy’s body again.  The child sneezed 7 times and then opened his eyes (verse 35).  Elisha told Gehazi to call the woman to take up her son (verse 36).  She came in and fell at Elisha’s feet and took up her son (verse 37).

When death is apparent, we must recognize the emergency and immediately get help.  Not only do we ask for help, we must be determined to get the help and wait for the signs of resuscitation.  It was only after Elisha put his mouth to the boy’s mouth, his eyes upon the boy’s eyes, and his hands upon the boy’s hands, when the once cold and pulse-less body became warm and he was successfully resuscitated.

I would suggest that we do exactly as Elisha did to that dead boy.  Go in the Power of the Holy Spirit and put your mouth, your eyes and your hands on whatever needs resuscitation and watch God bring it back to life like only He can!  Be blessed!

 

 

 

Make Up Your Mind

I can remember as a child, being at the checkout counter with my mom and her telling me that I could get some candy. It seemed like so many choices of chocolate, fruity candy and gum, that it was difficult to choose, until I heard my mom say, “make up your mind!” I was smart enough to know that if I didn’t make up my mind quickly, I would be leaving that grocery store empty handed and upset.

No one wants to be in a place of opportunity or a position to extend opportunity and unable to make up their mind. I know there are those people who feel like they don’t want too many options, but I on the other hand, enjoy having options. I don’t believe the problem is too many choices, but the lack of familiarity of your mind with particular options.  For example, when we are not familiar with something that requires us to make a choice, we often find someone who is familiar with the options to assist us in making the best decision.

Our lives are full of decisions that have to be made daily.  God is omniscient, and Alpha and Omega.  Therefore, who better to help you make up your mind than Christ?   Isaiah 26:3 AMP:  You will guard him and keep him in perfect and constant peace whose mind [both its inclination and its character] is stayed on You, because he commits himself to You, leans on You, and hopes confidently in You.

When my mind is constantly on the Creator, there is no choice that could ever be unfamiliar to Him.  Which is how He keeps me guarded, because my mind is surrendered to Him.  In return, He gives me His perfect peace.

That peace that Adam and Eve had in the garden.  Surrounded by choices of trees to eat from, except for the tree of the knowledge of good and evil (Genesis 2:8-9, 16-17).  That peace was short-lived, when one posing to be more knowledgeable than the One who created the garden in the first place.  I can recall times when I had made my mind up about a particular situation, person, etc.  And receiving God’s peace, only for it to be short-lived by allowing myself to be talked out of a decision that God had already given me His peace about.  Have you ever been there?

Making up your mind, is about surrendering what you know, to the One who is All Knowing.  It is about trusting, that what God has already given you access to, is enough.  Lastly, it is about not allowing yourself to be talked out of a decision that God has already given you peace in.  Genesis 2:25 AMP:  And the man and his wife were both naked and were not embarrassed or ashamed in each other’s presence.

Have a blessed day!  And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus (Philippians 4:7).

 

When the Fight Chooses You

In the last post, I discussed how David went to King Saul to let him know that he would fight Goliath. David volunteered himself. Today, I want to discuss how to respond “when the fight chooses you.” Unlike David, you didn’t volunteer, but you were volunteered for the fight.

I have had those fights that I knowingly signed up for. For example, choosing to marry my husband who had signed up for the military while we were dating, and knowing the uncertainty of that life.  Even choosing to accept Jesus as my Savior, and the knowledge of his and his disciples persecution was something that I signed up for.  So, it’s not that you don’t know that you will have to fight, but it is when the fight summons you by name that may sneak up on you.

When the fight chooses you, it’s like the wind is knocked out of you.  You weren’t expecting it, it caught you off guard.  I believe there are some strategies that will make us victorious despite our initiation and lack of knowledge of the fight.

You Must Remain Standing

When the fight chooses you, you must remain standing.  Yes, at first you are caught off guard, but once you realize your name has been called, you must find that second wind to stand.  Standing is not solely about physical strength, but it’s also about the inner strength we get from the Power that lives inside of us.

The fight chose Job.  In Job 1:6-8, 12 (AMP):  6 Now there was a day when the sons (the angels) of God came to present themselves before the Lord, and Satan (the adversary and accuser) also came among them.  7 And the Lords said to Satan, From where did you come?  Then Satan answered the Lord, From going to and fro on the earth and from walking up and down on it.  8 And the Lord said to Satan, Have you considered My servant Job, that there is none like him on the earth, a blameless and upright man, one who [reverently] fears God and abstains from and shuns evil [because it is wrong]?   12 And the Lord said to Satan (the adversary and the accuser), Behold, all that he has is in your power, only upon the man himself put not forth your hand.  So Satan went forth from the presence of the Lord.

Job’s decision to stand was shown when  he worshiped the Lord despite his cattle, servants, and children being killed (Job 1:13-19 AMP).  Job 1:20-22 (AMP):  20 Then Job arose, and fell down upon the ground, and worshiped,  21 And said, Naked came I out of my mother’s womb, and naked shall I return thither: the Lord gave, and the Lord hath taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord.  22 In all this Job sinned not, nor charged God foolishly.

You Must Accept the Challenge

When the fight chooses you, you have to accept the challenge.   After you stand, you accept whatever comes with the fight.  Job 2:7-10 (AMP): 7 So Satan went forth from the presence of the Lord and smote Job with loathsome and painful sores from the sole of his foot to the crown of his head.  8 And he took a piece of broken pottery with which to scrape himself, and he sat [down] among the ashes.  9 Then his wife said to him, Do you still hold fast your blameless uprightness?  Renounce God and die!  10 But he said to her, You speak as one of the impious and foolish women would speak.  What?  Shall we accept [only] good at the hand of God and shall we not accept [also] misfortune and what is of a bad nature?  In [spite of] all this, Job did not sin with his lips.  Job’s acceptance of the fight, showed he understood that God was in control.

Don’t Contend With God

When the fight chooses you, it’s important that we don’t contend with God.  The Enemy will be throwing everything at you all at once, and it can be difficult to see straight at times.  But in those times, it is important to know whom your struggle is with.  You don’t want to find yourself fighting against the wrong person-God.

We know that we have lost sight of the real Enemy, when we feel righteous in our own eyes.  Job had 3 friends that visited him while experiencing his lost.  Each one of them gave him their reason why he could be experiencing such calamity.  Still, Job could not see it.  And a another man named Elihu was there to enlighten him.  Job 32:1-2 (AMP):  1 So these three men ceased to answer Job, because he was [rigidly] righteous (upright and in right standing with God) in his own eyes.  [But there was a fifth man there also.]  2 Elihu son of Barachel the Buzite, of the family of Ram, became indignant.  His indignation was kindled against Job because he justified himself rather than God [even made himself out to be better than God].

Elihu continued to tell Job what the other friends did not or just would not tell him.  Job 33:8-13 (AMP): 8 Surely you have spoken in my hearing, and I have heard the voice of your words, saying, 9 I am clean, without transgression; I am innocent neither is there iniquity in me.  10 But behold, God finds occasions against me and causes of alienation and indifference; He counts me as His enemy.  11 He puts my feet in the stocks; He [untrustingly] watches all my paths [you say].  12 I reply to you, Behold, in this you are not just; God is superior to man.  13 Why do you contend against Him?  For He does not give account of any of His actions.  [Sufficient for us it should be to know that it is He Who does them.]  It is very important to have people in your life that will provide a Godly perspective when you are going through difficult times.

Heed the Voice of God

When the fight chooses you, you must heed the voice of God.  After Elihu had finished speaking to Job, God began to speak to him out of the whirlwind (Job 38:1 AMP).   If we are honest, we can say that we have received a Godly perspective from friends, preachers, teachers, etc., and did not truly accept it.  I mean at the moment they were speaking we did, but after the conversation was over, we could think of a million reasons why we shouldn’t listen.

God knows our hearts and what we are and are not receptive to.   So, God spoke to Job himself.  He wanted to know where he was when He was laying the foundation of the earth (Job 38:4 AMP).  He said to Job in 40:8 (AMP):  Will you also annul (set aside and render void) My judgement?  Will you condemn Me [your God], that you may [appear] righteous and justified?

Finally, Job acknowledges his wrong and repented (Job 42:1-6 AMP).  And God told him to pray for his 3 friends because they did not speak of Him in the right way.  So, Job prayed for his friends and God turned his captivity and returned unto him twice as much as he had lost (Job 42:7-10 AMP).

Over 2,000 years ago, the fight chose Jesus.  He chose to stand and accept the challenge of the cross.  He did not contend with God the Father, but heeded to his plan to die on the cross for the sins of the world.  Therefore [because He stooped so low] God has highly exalted Him and has freely bestowed on Him the name that is above every name, That in (at) the name of Jesus every knee should (must) bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, And every tongue [frankly and openly] confess and acknowledge that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father (Philippians 2:9-11 AMP).

Be blessed!

 

 

The Heart of a Fighter

Fighters are those who actually fight. They aren’t the ones on the sidelines saying what you should’ve done. And those who have only stepped in the ring in their heads.

Have you ever took the time to observe a fighter?  I’m not just talking about those fighters who throw blows with their fists, but those who battle in sports, career, family or even their health.  In life, there will always be those who pretend to be fighters, but what distinguishes a real fighter, is heart.

The heart of a fighter listens, loves and is loyal.  When deciding whether or not an individual will make it through or out of a grim situation, we tend to put the emphasis on external factors.   External factors like environment, relatives or statistics are so much apart of the equation, that the individual becomes a non-factor.  I believe what’s inside of a fighter’s heart is what makes he/she a champion.

Fighters are those who actually fight.  They aren’t the ones on the sidelines saying what you should’ve done.  And those who have only stepped in the ring in their heads.  You know those type of people.   David was a fighter with heart.  The way he defeated Goliath had nothing to do with the external factors or should I say odds, but everything to do with the internal fire.

I believe David’s victory over Goliath was won the moment he told King Saul that he would fight the giant.  1 Samuel 17:32-37: And David said to Saul, Let no man’s heart fail because of him; thy servant will go and fight with this Philistine.  And Saul said to David, Thou art not able to go against this Philistine to fight with him: for thou art but a youth, and he a man of war from his youth.  And David said unto Saul, Thy servant kept his father’s sheep, and there came a lion and a bear, and took a lamb out of the flock: And I went out after him, and smote him, and delivered it out of his mouth: and when he arose against me, I caught him by his beard, and smote him, and slew him. Thy servant slew both the lion and the bear: and this uncircumcised Philistine shall be as one of them, seeing he hath defied the armies of the living God. David said moreover, The Lord that delivered me out of the paw of the lion, and out of the paw of the bear, he will deliver me out of the hand of this Philistine. And Saul said unto David, Go, and the Lord be with thee.

This boldness that David was speaking from, resulted from the condition of his heart.  David listened to God while taking care of the sheep. (Psalm 1:1-2 says, Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungoldly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful.  But his delight is in the law of the Lord; an in his law doth he meditate day and night).  David displayed his love for God through his obedience in taking care of the sheep. (Psalm 25:4-5 says, Shew me thy ways, O Lord; teach me thy paths.  Lead me in thy truth, and teach me: for thou art the God of my salvation; on thee do I wait all the day).   And lastly, his boldness to fight the giant was because of his loyalty to God and the sheep.  (Psalm 91:14-16 AMP says, Because he has set his love upon Me, therefore will I deliver him; I will set him on high, because he knows and understands My name [has a personal knowledge of My mercy, love, and kindness-trusts and relies on Me, knowing I will never forsake him, no, never].  He shall call upon Me, and I will deliver him and honor him.  With long life will I satisfy him and show him My salvation).

No one wants to be a weakling, but if you are, Jesus Christ is the One who can give you the heart of a fighter.  Hebrews 10:39:  But our way is not that of those who draw back to eternal misery (perdition) and are utterly destroyed, but we are of those who believe [who cleave to and trust in and rely on God through Jesus Christ, the Messiah] and by preserve the soul.

Be blessed!

 

 

Don’t Tap Out

In wrestling, there is a term called ‘tap out or tapping out’.   Tapping out is the result of a type of hold or stretch that puts stress on the opponent’s body.  These techniques are usually done to weaken an opponent or to force them to submit either vocally or by tapping out: slapping the mat or opponent three times.  Have you ever noticed as you get towards the end of something, that it seems to be harder to push through?  You can smell victory, and out of nowhere, your momentum seems to be challenged.  As the Father has said to me, I say to you, “Don’t tap out.”

Ephesians 6:10-18 is a passage that prepares us to defeat those evil spirits Satan uses to attack us.  The preparation begins first with letting us know who is the source of our strength and power- the Lord.  Regardless of how well we may think we are in shape physically, mentally or emotionally, our strength as believers comes from the Lord.  Strength training is very important as a wrestler.  The more we pick up the Bible and meditate on God’s words, the stronger we become.

The preparation continues in verse 11, instructing us to put on the whole armor of God so that we may stand against the strategies of the devil.  As a wrestler, there is gear that is required and some that is optional for a fight.  Verse 11 instructs us to put on the whole armor of God.  There are no pieces that are optional in order to defeat the strategies of the enemy.

Sometimes wrestlers size each other up by their appearance.  They even engage in the pre-fight trash talk and consequently lose focus.  Verse 12 let’s us know that this wrestling match is not at all with a physical opponent, but with those powers of evil and darkness- a spiritual fight.  We don’t fight what we can see and size up.  We fight against the strategies that our opponent tries to keep concealed.

The scripture continues with the importance of putting on the whole armor of God that we may be able to withstand the evil day and to stand firmly.  Wrestlers are always fighting to keep their footing, and so must we.  God does not want us to get entangled or lose footing with the devil’s tactics.  For the Lord shall be your confidence, firm and strong, and shall keep your foot from being caught [in a trap or some hidden danger] (Proverbs 3:26).

Loins Girt About with Truth

Verse 14 tells us we must have our loins girt about with truth.  In biblical times, men and women used to wear long tunics.  When the men would get ready for battle, they would tie the tunics like a diaper from front to back and around their waist.  This prevented them from tripping and allowed them to readily fight.  A belt was used to keep this tunic from falling and giving the enemy an advantage.  Jesus Christ is Truth.  Our belief and trust must be in Him.  He keeps us from stumbling.

The Breastplate of Righteousness

The fourteenth verse goes on to say that we must have on the breastplate of righteousness.  The breastplate was a device used to protect the organs in the chest, mainly the heart and lungs.  As important to life as our heart and lungs are, what better protection can we have than Christ Himself as our breastplate?  Romans 3:20-22 AMP reads as follow:  For no person will be justified (made righteous, acquitted, and judged acceptable) in His sight by observing the works prescribed by the Law.  For [the real function of] the Law is to make men recognize and be conscious of sin [not mere perception, but an acquaintance with sin which works toward repentance, faith, and holy character].  But now the righteousness of God has been revealed independently and altogether apart from the Law, although actually it is attested by the Law and the Prophets,  Namely, the righteousness of God which comes by believing with personal trust and confident reliance on Jesus Christ (the Messiah).  [And it is meant] for all who believe.  For there is no distinction.

Feet Shod with the Preparation of the Gospel of Peace

Do you realize how sometimes when we are feeling attacked, we let our guards down.  Depending on how fierce the attack is, we throw out all of our preparation and what we’ve learned in order to play as dirty as the enemy.  When all we have to do is carry out what we have been practicing in preparation for the fight.  Personally, there have been times in my life when I was being attacked by an individual and threw out everything that would have brought peace to the situation just to play as grimy as them.   Verse 15 says, And your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace.  1 Peter 3:13-14:  And who is he that will harm you, if ye be followers of that which is good?  But and if ye suffer for righteousness’ sake, happy are ye: and be not afraid of their terror, neither be troubled.

The shield is also apart of the armor of God that prevents us from tapping out.  This shield covers the entire body.  Verse 16 says, Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked.  You may see a pattern here.  Our faith in God can protect and cover us from the fiery darts of the wicked because God is our Shield.  The Lord is my Strength and my [impenetrable] Shield; my heart trusts in, relies on, and confidently leans on Him, and I am helped; therefore my heart greatly rejoices, and with my song will I praise Him (Psalm 28:7).

Helmet of Salvation and the Sword of the Spirit

The Word instructs us to take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God (verse 17).  It is the helmet that protects the face, head and brain.  And so is our salvation as believers protected by Jesus, from what the enemy may try to cause us to see, hear or think.  John 10:28-29: And I give them eternal life, and they shall never lose it or perish throughout the ages. [To all eternity they shall never by any means be destroyed.]  And no one is able to snatch them out of My hand.  My Father, Who has given them to Me, is greater and mightier than all [else]; and no one is able to snatch [them] out of the Father’s hand.

The sword of the Spirit which is the word of God is our weapon.  Like most weapons, you must understand it’s purpose and power in order to become skillful in using it.  This Book of the Law shall not depart out of your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night, that you may observe and do according to all that is written in it.  For then you shall make your way prosperous, and then you shall deal wisely and have good success (Joshua 1:8).

Verse 18 makes it clear that prayer is needed to remain victorious and to never submit to tapping out.  Not matter how challenging the fight is, prayer keeps us connected to our Source of Strength and Power.  Put on the whole armor of God and don’t tap out.  Be blessed!

 

 

 

 

Prayer

Today is the National Day of Prayer.  The President of the United States issues a proclamation on the first Thursday in May each year.  It’s a day where all people are encouraged to pray to God.

Prayer is the very essence of this blog, ‘Conversations with the Father’.  It is a conversation between God and yourself.  Prayer may seem intimidating, inconvenient, or even insignificant, but it is the way we communicate with Almighty God, the creator.

Communication is the pulse in all relationships.  Therefore, the vitality of a relationship, is based upon how strong or weak the communication is.  God has allowed us to communicate with Him in prayer.  Psalm 102:17 says, He will regard the prayer of the destitute, and not despise their prayer.  Because God heeds the prayer of the destitute, we have no reason to be intimidated, but can be assured that He hears our prayers despite our condition.

God doesn’t only hear our prayers, but He speaks to us also.  Communication isn’t enjoyable if only one person is doing all the talking.  So, in order to negate the inconvenience of prayer, I must make an intentional decision to listen.  That means the time I set aside to speak to God about what was on my heart or mind, I must also await God’s response.  God speaks to us through His Word.  This is not the only way, but it is the truthful way.  The words God speaks to our heart, will never contradict His written Word.  Hebrews 4: 12: For the Word that God speaks is alive and full of power [making it active, operative, energizing, and effective]; it is sharper than any two-edged sword, penetrating to the dividing line of the breath of life (soul) and [the immortal] spirit, and of joints and marrow [of the deepest parts of our nature], exposing and sifting and analyzing and judging the very thoughts and purposes of the heart.

Prayer to God is never insignificant.  For me that is amazing news!  I don’t mind talking, but one of my pep peeves, is a forced and empty conversation.  With God, no words that you and I speak to Him, nor any words that He speaks to us is ever trivial.  Jeremiah 33:3 says, Call unto me, and I will answer thee, and shew thee great and mighty things, which thou knowest not.

Prayer to God should never be intimidating, inconvenient or insignificant. It provides comfort, contentment and significance.  So, rest assured beloved, a conversation with God is never an empty one.  Be blessed!

 

Like A Good Neighbor…

I’m reminded of the jingle for State Farm- “Like a good neighbor, State Farm is there.”  Being a good neighbor when I was growing up, was a quality that I observed in my parents.  They were not the only good neighbors, but our neighbors were also good neighbors.  If there was something that my parents could do for our neighbors, they would, and vice versa.  I feel like the quality of being a good neighbor is slowly losing importance.  The story of the Good Samaritan defines what a good neighbor is and it’s significance.

Luke 10:25-37 tells the story of the Good Samaritan.  A certain lawyer asked Jesus what did he have to do to inherit eternal life.  Jesus asked him what did the law say.  So, the lawyer told him that it said to love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, all your strength and your mind, and to love your neighbor as yourself.  Jesus then told the lawyer that he had answered correctly.  But the lawyer wanted to justify himself, so he asked Jesus, “Who is my neighbor?”

Jesus answered the lawyer’s question with a parable.  He told how a certain man had gone down from Jerusalem to Jericho and fell among thieves.  They stripped him of his clothes and belongings, and beat him leaving him half dead.  It so happened that a priest was coming that way, and when he saw the man, he passed by on the other sided.  Then, a Levite came to the same place where the man was, and came and looked on him, and passed on the other side.  Lastly, a certain Samaritan came to where the man was, and when he saw him, he had compassion on him.

What all three of these individuals had in common was their ability to see the man and his condition.  They knew full well of the extent of the man’s injuries.  The priest and Levite differed from the Samaritan by their lack of compassion.  Jesus knew that the lawyer knew the scriptures well, but was lacking in compassion.

Compassion is not just observing a situation, but being moved enough to get involved in the situation.  The Samaritan not only looked at the man left for dead, but went to him.  He poured oil and wine in his wounds and put him on his beast and took him to an inn and continued to take care of him.  The next day, the Samaritan paid the host and asked him to take care of the man until he returned, and told him he would repay him for whatever more he spent.

The Samaritan defined exactly what a good neighbor does.  A good neighbor: 1) Comes to where you are, 2) Is compassionate and 3) Is committed to your well-being.  If any of these qualities are absent, then we may very well find ourselves like the lawyer, trying to justify ourselves.  Actions speak louder than words.

A Good Neighbor Comes to Where You Are

If we really want to be a good neighbor, we will go to where the individual is.  God has taught me that if I really want to help someone whether it be physically, mentally or emotionally, I must be willing to go to where they are.  If I stay on my beast (my high-horse, in my peaceful and stable environment), I’m just like the priest and Levite who passed by on the other side.  But not only that, if I don’t come to where the individual is, I risk not seeing the situation as I should have.  Matthew 25:34-36, 40:  Then shall the King say unto them on his right hand, Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world (verse 34): For I was a hungred and ye gave me meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me drink: I was a stranger, and ye took me in (verse 35): Naked, and ye clothed me: I was sick, and ye visited me: I was in prison, and ye came unto me (verse 36).  And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, inasmuch as ye have don it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me (verse 40).

A Good Neighbor is Compassionate

Compassion is a feeling of deep sympathy and sorrow for another who is stricken by misfortune, accompanied by a strong desire to alleviate suffering.  In other words, compassion moves me to action.  It causes me to want to not only go to where you are, but go into my own belongings and use them to take care of someone else.  Exodus 3:7-8: And the Lord said, I have surely seen the affliction of my people which are in Egypt, and have heard their cry by reason of their taskmasters; for I know their sorrows (verse 7); And I am come down to deliver them out of the hand of the Egyptians, and to bring them up out of that land unto a good land and a large, unto a land flowing with milk and honey; unto the place of the Canaanites, ant the Hittities, an the Amorites, and the Perizzites, and the Hivites, and the Jebusites (verse 8).

A Good Neighbor is Committed To Your Well-Being

A good neighbor isn’t only concerned about an individual’s present wounds, but is committed to their well-being.  The Samaritan put the man on his beast and took him to an inn and continued to take care of him there.  He got up the next day and paid the host, and also said, “Take care of him; and whatsoever thou spendest more, when I come again, I will repay thee.”  Philippians 2:4: Look not every man on his own things, but every man also on the things of others.

Jesus Christ is the best example of a Good Neighbor.  He came down from heaven to where we were and had compassion on us at the cross.  His death on the cross paid our sin debt in full.  And our acceptance of what He did on the cross, assures our well-being now and until He returns.  Let’s be better neighbors and be blessed!