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The One Weapon We Need

Ephesians 6:18 – “Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints.”

It has been quite a month. We have had some tough things going on in our family life that has really been challenging. Cancer has struck our immediate family. And it’s the kind of cancer that has no known cause. Not that any cancer has a specific cause, necessarily, but there are some cancers in which you can trace the origins. This one, a brain tumor, has no known etymology. It is just cells gone bonkers. And that is frustrating.

When things like this come into our life, we want someone or something to blame. We seek out information that attempts to tell us who or what to blame. But in this case, it just isn’t there.

So, what do we do? We fight. We fight fiercely. But the one problem we, as a family, have been faced with is how? How do we fight? We don’t have the skill set or knowledge to remove this thing from our loved one. We don’t know the right combination of medication, chemo or radiation that is needed to destroy this foe.

But we have something way more powerful than medication, chemo and radiation. We have the Creator of all things in our corner. We have a direct line to His ear. For those of you who are familiar with old hymns, we have a Royal Telephone available to us. We have a weapon that is available to us 24/7 with no interruptions, failures or dropped calls. We have prayer.

And prayer is what is getting us through this period of uncertainty in our life right now. Prayer from family, friends, coworkers, church members, strangers (to us) in the community are all being lifted up for my family. And I am eternally grateful. Just knowing that someone is praying gives me strength, gives me hope and gives me peace.

Prayer truly is a weapon. It is a weapon that we can wield when all else is failing. It is a weapon that can be used before the battle begins, when it is raging and when it is finally over. Prayer is what holds us together, sometimes. Prayer is what connects us to one another – knowing that we can count on someone that we can see and touch to stand in our corner for us. People aren’t called Prayer Warriors for no reason. They will stand and fight (pray) through it all and in spite of it all.

So today, I encourage you to fight. Fight with prayer. Do your battles on your knees. And remember, if you pray while driving, don’t close your eyes. 🙂

Seeing the Super

Ephesians 3:14-19 – “For this cause I bow my knees unto the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, of whom the whole family in heaven and earth is named, that he would grant you, according to the riches of his glory, to be strengthened with might by his Spirit in the inner man; that Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith; that ye, being rooted and grounded in love, may be able to comprehend with all saints what is the breadth, and length, and depth, and height; and to know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge, that ye might be filled with all the fulness of God.”

Do you enjoy superhero movies? I do. I love watching movies about people who can do extraordinary things yet are able to completely blend into a crowded street.
Why do followers of Christ act any different?
Have you ever thought for a moment about the fact that we are empowered by the Holy Spirit to do the work of God in every day life? Seriously, think about it.
Now, how often do we engage our “super power”?
When Paul was writing this to the Ephesians, there were no movie theaters down the street showing the latest film about someone who could fly or lift semi trucks with one hand. No, these were every day salesmen and women, farmers, weavers, moms, and young people who were doing their best just to survive. Yet, here is Paul asking God to strengthen them in His Spirit and to know and comprehend His love that is seemingly unthinkable. He was asking God to show these people God’s super power.
When times like a career change or big move comes up in our life, we are quick to look for God to move and work. We know that He has control of our future and we quickly desire to see Him at work. We are 100% confident that He will provide the strength and wisdom to do what He wants us to do.
But what about the every day stuff like paying for someone else’s drink in the drive-thru or letting that person who waited until the last minute to merge in or dealing with the animal that loves to gnaw on your pillows outside – how do handle those situations? Do we engage our super power then? Do we ask God how to handle those situations? Do we trust Him to give us what we need not to honk at that person?
You see, Love is a super power. It has the ability to conquer a multitude of issues and problems – 1 Peter 4:8 – “And above all things have fervent charity among yourselves: for charity shall cover the multitude of sins.” (If you aren’t aware, “charity” is the Old English word for love.) Love has the ability to go out there and pay for someone else’s drink without them knowing who did it. Love has the ability to calmly allow someone in front of you in traffic. Love has the ability to not get mad at the crazy animal that chewed up your pillows and to be grateful that it only chewed up 2 of them. Love has the ability to allow God to work in the biggest and most life changing issues you face because you know in the deepest part of your heart that He can do all things.
So what I want to encourage you to do today is to engage your super power of Love. Let God have His way and to show you His love. Look for it like you would look for that last dime you need to get coffee at the gas station. Search for it diligently. And ask God to strengthen you in His love and guide you in His wisdom. He is just there waiting for you to ask Him to engage your super power.

 

The Power of a Gift

Ephesians 2:8 – “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God”

Gifts. We all love them. We love do-dads and widgets and practical things and things to eat – it doesn’t matter; we love gifts!

But as I was reading in my Bible yesterday, God laid it on my heart to further explore the word “gift”. 

Here in Ephesians, the word for “gift” means a sacrificial present. In other words, the gift cost something extreme. We all know that that cost for salvation was – God’s One and Only Son, Jesus Christ. 

Romans 6:23 – “For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.”

Here, the word for “gift” means a spiritual endowment. An endowment is something given without expectation of return in payment but does come with the expectation that the receiver will utilize and work with what is given for a determined end. You receive wages for the work that you do. You receive an endowment with the expectation that work will follow to accomplish some goal. Death is the wages for working at a sinful life without Christ. Eternal life is the expected outcome from the free gift of salvation. 

The free gift of salvation is not something to put on a shelf and look at from time to time. No, the free gift of salvation should be seen more in the light of receiving a major appliance as a gift. When someone you know gives you a stove as a gift, you don’t put it in your kitchen and look at it. You use it. You feed your family with it. You make food for others on it. You provide comfort and assurity with it. Looking at it gets nothing done. Looking at our salvation does nothing to advance the will of God that all men should come to Him for salvation and thus eternal life. We need to use it. We need to share its’ blessings. We need to tell other people how to receive such a magnificent gift. 

So today, get out there and share your gift. It wasn’t given to you to make you look pretty. It wasn’t given to you to beat someone over the head with it. It was given to you to multiple and grow. It was given to you to bring others to Him. Be nice – share. 

The Mirror on the Wall

Ephesians 4:17-24 – “This I say therefore, and testify in the Lord, that ye henceforth walk not as other Gentiles walk, in the vanity of their mind, Having the understanding darkened, being alienated from the life of God through the ignorance that is in them, because of the blindness of their heart: Who being past feeling have given themselves over unto lasciviousness, to work all uncleanness with greediness. But ye have not so learned Christ; If so be that ye have heard him, and have been taught by him, as the truth is in Jesus: That ye put off concerning the former conversation the old man, which is corrupt according to the deceitful lusts; And be renewed in the spirit of your mind; And that ye put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness.”

It’s Monday. I am guessing that each and every one of you have already looked in the mirror this day. Did you see wild and crazy hair? Did you see bags under your eyes from not enough sleep? Did you see someone well rested and refreshed?

When we look in the mirror, we tend to see only the physical aspects of ourself. We don’t look at who we really are as we look in the mirror. But maybe we should. 

We will stand in front of the mirror and point out every flaw and every wrinkle and every misplaced hair but when it comes to seeing the flaws, wrinkles and misplaced attitudes, well, we don’t have time to look at those. That’s just part of living in this sinful, old word, right? 

We will look into the mirror and tell ourself that everything is ok, that I’m going to be fine on my own. We will ignore the warning signs and keep on going because we can handle things. 

That’s the old way. Those thoughts and plans should be a thing of the past when we accept Jesus as our Savior. We don’t have to face it alone. 

Mirrors always show truth. And the truth is – we NEED Jesus. We need to be renewed in Him each and every day. That means spending time with Him. That means reading His word. That means praying. That means listening when He speaks. That’s what the mirror is trying to get across to us – we NEED Jesus. 

So today, look closely in the mirror. Don’t just see the physical attributes you have. Look deeper. See who you really are. Look at your intentions and desires. See why you really go on each and every day. It may not be pretty, but we all need a good, hard look into the mirror on the wall. 

Know who you fight

Ephesians 6:10-12 – “Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might. Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places .”

We depend so much on our sight. We want to see the beauty of God’s creation. We want to see the smiling faces of our loved ones. We want to be able to read. Our sight is vitally important to us. 

So, how are we supposed to fight someone we can’t see? We can see the ground before us and look to where the holes might be in the grass, but sometimes we miss one and fall in. We can watch the traffic out on the road, but sometimes someone does something that causes an accident that we never saw coming. 

As a follower of Christ, we do not battle against things we can see and touch. We battle against principles and ideas. And at times, it gets really dark because we find ourself in a battle with “rulers of darkness” and “spiritual wickedness”. Serious stuff. 

We like to joke that the devil is this dumb little demon with horns and a pitchfork. But in reality, we are facing a fallen angelic being who is a maniac with destruction in his heart. This isn’t some little red being snearing in the corner, rubbing his hands together and giggling mischievously. No, 1 Peter 5:8 says this – “Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour”. A lion. There is nothing sweet and innocent about a full grown lion. I don’t believe that Peter was speaking of a cub here. 

Sometimes, we all need a reminder of who it is we are dealing with in our daily life. We need to be vigilant in remembering that this devil is no cute and mischievous little demon. He is a full grown, mean and nasty, ready to tear you apart kind of being. You need to be prepared. 

The great thing about all this is God doesn’t leave us without protection. We have the armor of God. Read Ephesians 6:13-18. It’s all right there in black and white. It is ready for you to check out and apply. 

Be a pineapple 

Ephesians 6:13 – “Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.”


I found this on the biggest time waster in the world, Pinterest. Love that but man, does it waste time!

However, I thought this was great! I have never really considered the personal applications of a pineapple. 

Pineapple is one of my most favorite fruits. I have very fond memories of pineapples. I also LOVE the taste of them. Their sweetness is unparalleled. But they are a booger to get open, sometimes. Their “skin” is so very tough and really attaches itself to the sweetness found inside. 

So, do you know how to pick the very best pineapple? You tug on a leaf of the crown. If it comes out easily, the pineapple is ripe and ready. If not, leave it for another day. 

Did you know that you can grow your own pineapple from the one you buy at the store? Yep! When you remove the crown, plant it. It will take several years, but eventually you will have your very own pineapple. Knowing that they take so long to grow really makes you appreciate them all the more. 

So, what does this have to do with my spiritual life, you might ask. First of all, a good pineapple will always stand tall. God doesn’t ask us to initiate a fight. He asks us to be prepared and stand tall – be ready to defend. Pineapples have a tough outer skin. We need to be tough as well – not allowing everything that is said or done to us affect who we are or what we do. Secondly, we need to wear our crown. We are children of the King if we have received Jesus Christ as our Savior. A pineapple is known by its crown. We should be known by our crown as well. And lastly, we need to be sweet. Being sweet can take many forms –  love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance. Do you recognize those? Look up Ephesians 5:22,23 – the fruit of the Spirit. 

There are so many lessons to be learned from pineapples. This only touches the crown, so to speak. Pineapples also are a sign of hospitality (1 Peter 4:9). And we already touched on this one, but one could dive deeper into the armor of a pineapple. They have a core that extends from the base (foundation) that makes the fruit. I could go on and on, but you see what I mean? I never really put much thought into it but wow! God can truly use anything to express Biblical truths!

So, even if you don’t like pineapples, be a pineapple. Take a few moments this week and study the pineapple. Learn its traits. Apply the principles you can learn from this majestic fruit. Every thing around us is here for a reason, multiple reasons usually. Don’t let the devil fool you into thinking it’s just a yummy fruit. The pineapple is truly a gift from God.  

Children and wrath

Ephesians 6:4 – “And, ye fathers, provoke not your children to wrath: but bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord.”

I know that everyone who reads this doesn’t necessarily have children. But we all have children in our life. And the same principles apply to them and to the adults in our life as well. It’s about living in peace. 

Yesterday as we were driving home from soccer practice, my son was concerned over a text he received from a friend, who happens to be a girl. She was having symptoms of a panic attack stemming from an argument that she had with her mother. 

When I heard this, it truly burdened my heart. It made me sad. What is going on in our homes? 

I am not naive enough to think that people are living peaceably with teens and preteens all the time.  I know that hormones and society and many other factors are and can be given the opportunity to wreak havoc on our children. But how do we follow the commands of the Lord and not provoke our children to wrath in this delicate time? How do we keep our teens following after Him instead of following after the world?

I don’t know. (I hate saying those words!)

I’m not the perfect parent by any stretch of the means. I just TRY to follow the commands of The Word and do the best I can with what God has given me. 

Before my children were born, I found a poem at an art show. I had to buy it because it exemplified exactly how I wanted to bring my children up in this world. It is titled “Children live what they learn”. It has made me think, over the years, about what and how I am teaching my children. 

  
So how do we live peaceably with those around us? One of my main attempts is through respect. I want to respect my children. I want to respect my husband. I want to respect my family, my church, my government, my work, my patients, the person at the grocery store who is tying up the cashier, the crazy person who cut me off in traffic, and I could go on and on! When people feel they are respected, their attitude, and mine, take on a whole new demeanor. 

So let me encourage you, whether you have children or not, to be respectful and do not promote others to wrath. Yep, it’s hard sometimes because people make us so mad, but how would Jesus handle the situation? Jesus dealt with teenagers too. You know there had to be some in His following. I’m sure they spoke with Him as well. We have no record of it but how could He not have interacted with them? But one thing Jesus did do, He respected everyone – from the highest official to the lowest beggar. And we should do the same.