Use the word to protect your mind

Isaiah 59:17, Ephesians 6:17, 1 Thessalonians 5:8:  I had a hard time with the idea that Salvation protects your mind.  To me it always seemed a matter of the heart. So why doesn’t Salvation protect your heart? Well it does protect your heart but in this matter, the heart and the mind go together. You have to know something in your mind before you feel it in your heart. Also, Salvation is something that you have to practice daily. It is forever, John 10:28-30.  Once you belong to Jesus, no one can snatch you from his hands. There is of course the unforgivable sin.  That is blasphemy of the Holy Spirit, which is completely and utterly turning your back on God.  I mean doing as Satan did which is believing that you are better than God is, that you don’t need God. So you can turn away from the ways of God and still be saved.  What I mean is you can go back to your sinful ways, but there is still Salvation. You can take that walk back to God. It is a door that is always open for you. To put on the Helmet of Salvation is a daily process because we can be easily tempted. In other words, you have to remember every day that you are a child of God, that you belong to HIM. We protect out mind by focusing on the fact that we are Children of the One true King. The Roman helmet was sort of Storm Trooper helmet without the technology and since they did not have bullets, it may or may not have protected against one. Since Satan’s attacks can be vicious, we need something tough to protect our mind. That is why we have the word of God. As we learn the word, it is more difficult for Satan to try to pull you away.

Isaiah:  He put on righteousness as his breastplate, and the helmet of salvation on his head; he put on the garments of vengeance and wrapped himself in zeal as in a cloak.

 

Ephesians: Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.

 

1 Thessalonians : But since we belong to the day, let us be sober, putting on faith, and love as a breastplate, and the hope of salvation as a helmet.

 

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We need REST

Leviticus 19: 23-25: When I was little, there was a huge pumpkin patch near my house.  It was probably about 5 acres. Now if you are from the mid-west, as I have learned 5 acres is not huge. That is just a small patch. Well in mid-western PA, 5 acres is a big field.  There are hills and trees. One year the farmer was out plowing his field and I asked him if he was going to plant pumpkins or something else this year. He said nothing I am letting the field go fallow this year. We had a bumper crop last year. I asked him why he said it is in the Bible. Since we attended church regularly, I knew that if it was in the Bible, then it is a good reason. I did not stop there, I asked my mom. Of course, this is long before Google search. This is here is the book it should be somewhere in Leviticus, look it up. There were of course concordances.  A concordance is something like a dictionary, but if you find the word that you are seeking in this case fallow, then it tells you exactly where to look in the Bible. A bit more work than Google search. But I found this in Exodus, Exodus 23: 11: 11 but on the seventh year you shall let it rest and lie fallow, so that the needy of your people may eat; and whatever they leave the beast of the field may eat. You are to do the same with your vineyard and your olive grove. The passage in Leviticus does not use the word “fallow” it uses the word rest.  The passage by the way is Leviticus 25: 3-4.  Recently as I was remembering this, I remembered because one of my neighbors lets a field go fallow every year. They rotate it, but one of his fields does not have crops every year. This year it is the field behind our house. So I was thinking about the implications of letting a field go fallow, allowing it to rest. I realized it is not just our fields that need rest; we need to rest as well. Then I found this passage about the fruit trees, and remembered why I decided not to harvest the fruit from my strawberry patch. The word is in my heart, and even though I could not remember the specific verse, I knew it was important Biblically to let the fruit go.  It seems that we forget these Old Testament Commandments; we forget that Jesus said he did not come to abolish the Law, but to fulfill the Law. Matthew 5: 17-20, tells us that Jesus came to fulfill the Law and that the Law still holds true. It is the crap the Pharisees and Sadducees placed on the people, their further definition of what the Law means that Jesus wanted stopped. (Luke 11:46, Matthew 23:4)  This is where we get lost when we try to determine hidden meaning in the Law, things like What exactly did Thomas Jefferson mean when he said… then we go into his life and try to further interpret everything by his religious beliefs, based on the religion he practiced, whether he was a free mason or not. YADA Yada until we are not even sure what we are trying to interpret. And this is one of the things we do when we are reading the Bible; we try to read into what we want it to say.  The truth is the only interpretation we need comes from the Holy Spirit. If we are confused about a verse, we should pray. Bottom line, Sometimes scripture will reveal differently to us. One day, you read a verse and a point is revealed to you and then you read it again and think hey it means this.  It means both. The message is both things. The catch is the Holy Spirit reveals to us in scripture the message that we need. Today, I need to remember that it is okay to rest, I do not have to do something every second of every day, morning to night. I can rest. Not only can I rest, but also I should rest.

23 “‘When you enter the land and plant any kind of fruit tree, regard its fruit as forbidden. For three years, you are to consider it forbidden; it must not be eaten. 24 In the fourth year all its fruit will be holy, an offering of praise to the Lord. 25 But in the fifth year, you may eat its fruit. In this way, your harvest will be increased. I am the Lord your God.

We can be our worst enemy

2 Thessalonians 3:3: Sometimes God is protecting me from me.  We can be our own worst enemy.  We have fears that we allow to cripple us from moving forward.  One of the fears I have is rejection. It is deep-rooted from my earliest childhood days. I had a second grade teacher that told me I was dirty all the time. I have an olive complexion and she thought I should look as white as my mother, my sisters, and my step-dad.  She would send me home with notes saying how I need a bath. She did not like my long hair and was always threatening to cut it so I would look more normal.  She would insist that I put my hair in a ponytail. She even tried using a rubber band and putting my hair back herself.  I jerked out of her hand and was sent to the office. She was told she was not allowed to touch my hair. The result was that she would fling rubber bands at me and tell me to use them or go home.  My mom finally started putting up my hair for me.  This is just one story in many of rejection. There was you are perfectly qualified for the job, but you are pregnant. Like many women, I have been passed over for promotion –being more qualified than the male that received the position. The worst was when I was expected to cover for the promotion a male received instead of me. Yeah I walked off that job. However, the evil one knows this and is constantly trying to say – you do not want to try that, they will just reject you. The truth is people are rejected all the time. Most people accept this as a fact and it does not bother them or at least they do not let on that it bothers them.  I have tried this approach. I have worked in jobs where I have been miserable, but I never let on that I was miserable. The result is my last straw is broken and I have an emotional meltdown. My favorite rejection is when I was sat down told what a valuable employee I am how the organization will be lost without me- it was a volunteer position. They did not know how I managed to do all the work that I did in just 10 hours a week. They never really came out and said that I was fired or no longer needed. I went in the next day and found someone sitting at my desk and doing what I thought I was supposed to do. The new volunteer informed me that they do this now. I need to see if there is something else that I can do. Somewhere in all the praise that was lavished on me, I missed the point that they wanted someone else to do the job. I can now laugh about this, but it would have been easier if they had just said, we want someone else to do what you do. Save me an hour of listening to a bunch of false praise. If I were still insecure, this would have thrown me back into a spiral. However, I have reached a place in my relationship with God, that I know I am valuable. I know that God does not reject me.  He does not reject anyone that comes to Him and He gives us the tools to thwart the evil one. He even steps in and blocks Satan when we pray and ask Him. When we read the word we gather the fuel to throwback at Satan. I can now say that David was rejected, someone tried to kill him, more than once. If David had to deal with rejection, so can we.  Is someone causing you to go into hiding?

But the Lord is faithful, and he will strengthen you and protect you from the evil one.

 

When you need a bigger reminder

Luke 23: 39-43: When I looked out my window this morning towards the east, I saw three telephone poles with the sunrise in the background.  It reminded me of Calvary.  At first, I did not realize that they were telephone poles; it just looked like three crosses silhouetted by the sunrise.  You know a vision of cavalry on Easter morning. I could not help but to think how majestic. Then I moved into a closer look and realized oh, these are just telephone poles.  What I saw as the sun was rising, was a gift from God reminding me that he is there. Sometimes I need a bigger reminder. I started thinking about the two men that were hung with Jesus.  How one received forgiveness in the last minutes of his life.  He realized that he was a sinner and that he needed forgiveness. It is sad that it was the last hour of his life that he realized this. But then on the other hand, without this man requesting forgiveness on the cross; we would not be able to understand how much God loves us. This man had committed crimes so bad that his punishment was crucifixion.  Yet Jesus tells him today you will be with me in paradise. The cross is our hope, our promise of salvation. With Salvation comes the Holy Spirit and the promise of strength for the day’s work and a promise of peace. It is not so much that we won’t have trouble, but when we do have trouble, God always shows us that he is there no matter how bad the circumstances look.

39 One of the criminals who hung there hurled insults at him: “Aren’t you the Messiah? Save yourself and us!”40 But the other criminal rebuked him. “Don’t you fear God,” he said, “since you are under the same sentence? 41 We are punished justly, for we are getting what our deeds deserve. But this man has done nothing wrong.”42 Then he said, “Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.” 43 Jesus answered him, “Truly I tell you, today you will be with me in paradise.”

 

Giving up for the Lord’s Fight

There is so much to absorb in the Bible. We have to immerse ourselves into the Bible in order to understand it.  Recently someone asked me how do you keep peace in these times.  Good question! How do you keep peace when everything seems to be falling apart? Believe you me, it is not easy and I fail.  If you have ever been behind me at the grocery store, you know that I fail. The peace just whooshes – and goes away. I am rather picky about how my groceries are packed.  Fruits and vegetables do not go with meat.  They just don’t and God forbid the cashier decides to put detergent in with anything.  I have started to rebag my items and leave it at that.  It is much easier and quieter.  Recently however, a cashier became upset about me rearranging my items. She started to hide the bag on me and put what she wanted to in the bag.  She by the way was starting to put the dish washing liquid in with my bacon.  Just as I noticed the dish washing liquid had a leak.  Yeah everything in that bag had to go back.  Instead of stopping to hear what I was saying she shoved the leaky bottle into the bag.  You should have heard her when I said, that she will now have to return everything in that bag.  I did pretty well until she refused.  My next comment brought the attention of the supervisor which had been standing a few feet away from us. I said fine return the whole order, I am leaving. Then I proceeded to leave.  The manager did the only sensible thing.  She put the cashier on break.  The cashier did not have peace and I did not do much to help her in the “peace” department. It was a new situation; cashiers do not generally care if you re-bag your items. Most of them just let it go.  So now, that I thought I was doing well at the grocery store; I have a new thing to consider. How important is the placement of those items? Especially if I am stealing someone else’s peace- because then I am not being a good example and I am losing an opportunity to share Jesus with someone. I guess as long as they don’t smooch the bread, put the tomatoes on the bottom, or put detergent in with something. I guess I am going to have to learn to let it go.  Please don’t put the dairy in with the meat.  Meat juices will get all over my yogurt!

What is “ACTIVE FAITH” ?

1 Peter 4:9-11:  I have been hearing the term ACTIVE faith a lot in the past few weeks.  What is active faith?  I know that Jesus said faith the size of a mustard seed,  Luke 17:6: He replied, “If you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mulberry tree, ‘Be uprooted and planted in the sea,’ and it will obey you. Let me tell you a mulberry tree uprooting itself would be a big thing. Can you imagine having that much faith and telling a mulberry tree to be planted in the sea; watching the mulberry tree uproot itself and fly off into the sea?  All it takes is the faith the size of a mustard seed.  I don’t think the scripture is always literal. I think the mulberry tree is symbolic for the things that are causing us difficulties. But here in first Peter, we receive a glimpse of Active faith. It says we are to serve one another. We should use our talents to help other people.  It actually means that we should do it without the expectation of compensation.  It says serve others faithful stewards of God’s grace.  Now unfortunately we cannot always work for free. The world is set up in a manner that we must earn a living. This is Biblical. Proverbs mentions working frequently. Salomon says the person that does not work is foolish.  It is Biblical to work for a living.  But this is off topic.  We are still pursuing active faith and serving others as our sign of active faith.  In my past I have a good example.  My husband dislocated his shoulder at work.  The employer was grumbling about paying for the surgery as was disability. It was dislocated and the only way to get it back in to stay was surgery.  The surgeon did the surgery for free. If he ever received compensation it did not come from us. Good thing because back then it was an expensive surgery.  It might be cheaper today, ACL repairs are commonplace. My husband had started to fall off a ladder while trying to dislodge a stuck box.  He caught himself at the expense of his shoulder. But since it was a 30 foot drop onto a cement floor, I say this was divine intervention and the stupid employer should have been glad he saved them millions in a wrongful death suit. The employer is guilty of living with a greedy heart. The Surgeon on the other hand was displaying active faith. He knew that if he did this surgery for free, it would come back to him. God would bless him. He knew we were unable to pay the fee for the surgery. It was in the ball park of 10-20 thousand dollars. Of course this is not just the doctor’s fee.  There were a few sacrifices; He did it on his own time, a weekend.  The nurses that assisted were either paid for out of his pocket, or did it for free as well. There were about 10 people involved which either did the work for free or the doctor paid them from his own pocket. We had to sacrifice and drive 60 miles on a Saturday for the surgery and recovery was done at home. At the time, if someone had this surgery they spent about three days at the hospital. This took a lot of active faith on the doctor’s part. It took some active faith on our part. The surgery was needed, no one was going to pay for it, at least not that we knew yet. (Maybe the doctor collected from someone eventually) We had to trust that we could pay for it. See the doctor did not tell us that he would do it for free. We had denial letters –the insurance, disability, the union, and the company. We assumed that we would be paying for this surgery for a very long time. But the trust that it would be okay, it would work out some how; was our part of active faith. How were we to know the surgeon would fix it so that the surgery was free for us?

Offer hospitality to one another without grumbling. 10 Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms.11 If anyone speaks, they should do so as one who speaks the very words of God. If anyone serves, they should do so with the strength God provides, so that in all things God may be praised through Jesus Christ. To him be the glory and the power forever and ever. Amen.

Don’t forget the Light

John 1-5: Life in this world is hard.  There is so much darkness. The true meaning of a rainbow is being distorted. There are people who slaughter many because of the darkness.  It seems to be taking over.  However, there is hope. It is not in the next political election. It is not in man. It is in the one true light. The hope of the world is in the one true light. Verse 5 states the light shines in the darkness. And the darkness has not overcome the light. It is hard, because the darkness can be found even in places where it should not be found.  Some of our churches are filled with darkness. There is judgment where there should be love.  There are churches were not everyone is made to feel welcomed. There are churches that look at a person’s past and the belief is they cannot change. Alone we are unable to change. Change comes through the Lord. The Lord is the light. Yet, sometimes we put our belief in man,  and think that if we could only become like them, then we would be accepted.  This is a grave mistake. When we put our trust in man, we fail. We forget to remember that God accepts us just as we are. And God is the one that sometimes slowly, and sometimes very quickly changes us.  I have heard stories about complete transformations at the point of Salvation and others it takes time. This does not make them less and the others, the ones who are changed quickly more. It just means God has decided that this one, needs more molding, more work, and more time. It is not our place to judge whether someone is a good Christian. Yes we can look at their fruits and say ah Good fruit. But my relationship with God is my own. Just as your relationship with God is your own. No one can determine it except for the Light. The Light is the only place where we can put our trust. It will not fail, it will not judge –not until the end. And if we have the Light, then our slate will be clean before the Judge. To God each of us is a marvelous creation. So even though there maybe people who you do not find pleasing do not judge them, they are God’s creation, and as God’s creation he will mold them. Our job is to be a vessel of the one true Light. To follow as he leads us, to change as he changes us. As a vessel of the one true Light, our job is to share his love without reservation to others. If God puts someone in our lives, then it is our job to Love them without prejudice, without reservation. Because they are God’s work and not ours.

1In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made.In him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome  it.

The Majesty of the Universe is God

Psalm 19 A Psalm of David:             In this song, David is asking how it is possible to believe anything but there is a God.  Looking at the universe, how can we do anything but believe in God?  The earth has a prefect tilt on its axis. If it were not this tilt of by less than a degree, there would not be life on earth. Recently, I was reading an article on space.com, a webpage that uses NASA as it source document. As I was reading I marveled at how the explanations of how the earth began, sounded exactly like Genesis 1. Although they were taking great pains to ignore the Bible, they still sounded like Genesis. I thought to myself imagine that, the scientific world that works so hard to deny that an entity such as God exists, is proving that he does. Their explanations of how the world began are aligning more and more with Genesis. Yet there are still more attempts to disprove God. If you listen to these attempts to disprove God, you just have to laugh. If you know the Bible, you will listen and realize that their feeble attempts to say there is no God, align with the bible, this proving that God exists.  They say this happened and this happened but not because of a more intelligent being, (God) the whole while, everything they say aligns with the Word of God. Man cannot deny the existence of God. One only need to look to the majesty of the heavens, notice that the weatherman is sometimes completely wrong, to realize God has to be OMNIPRESENT.

The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands. Day after day they pour forth speech; night after night they reveal knowledge. They have no speech, they use no words; no sound is heard from them. Yet their voice goes out into all the earth, their words to the ends of the world. In the heavens God has pitched a tent for the sun. It is like a bridegroom coming out of his chamber, like a champion rejoicing to run his course. It rises at one end of the heavens and makes its circuit to the other; nothing is deprived of its warmth. The law of the Lord is perfect, refreshing the soul. The statutes of the Lord are trustworthy, making wise the simple. The precepts of the Lord are right, giving joy to the heart. The commands of the Lord are radiant, giving light to the eyes. The fear of the Lord is pure, enduring forever. The decrees of the Lord are firm, and all of them are righteous. 10 They are more precious than gold, than much pure gold; they are sweeter than honey, than honey from the honeycomb. 11 By them your servant is warned; in keeping them there is great reward. 12 But who can discern their own errors?  Forgive my hidden faults. 13 Keep your servant also from willful sins; may they not rule over me. Then I will be blameless, innocent of great transgression.14 May these words of my mouth and this meditation of my heart be pleasing in your sight, LORD, my Rock and my Redeemer.

 

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