Traveling through space, amazed by the magnificence of it all and then without warning you find yourself in a wormhole. The space is dark and unfamiliar. Suffering and anxiety prevail, unless, you call on the Lord.
~ Lisa Blair
Have you ever found yourself in a position where all was going well, and then, a health, career, financial, or other personal issue comes out of nowhere? Well that recently happened to me. Life is funny that way. We spend time at the top of the mountain in complacency and then the sky shifts. So, I ask, in the midst of the unknown, do we rely on our own thoughts and plans to escape, or do we go to the Lord in prayer? In the darkness, did you stop to ponder that there are lessons that we can gleam from these experiences? The Bible is replete with people and societies that experienced the travails of life, and through the harshness of the tribulations, challenges and trials, they, over time recognized the lessons presented through the tough times. Reflecting on the concept of the wormhole, we can either implode or we can process what is happening and seek understanding about how to navigate and exit better than when we entered the darkness of the wormhole.
As Christians, our purpose on earth is two-fold. The first is to take the journey the Lord has laid before us which includes challenges, trials and tribulations and mature in our Christian walk, and the second is to be ambassadors of Christ and spread the Good News, and loving all of humanity friends and foes. What better way to spread the Good News than through life’s challenges, how we approached challenges, and the victory of coming out of the wormhole in one piece.
One piece? Did you think that once you accepted Christ as you Lord and Savior it would be ‘smooth sailing’ from that day forward? The reality is, the Lord did not say the path would be easy. On the contrary, he said it would be difficult. The thing we must remember is that we will come out on the other side. The wormhole will close behind us and your challenges will lead to your testimony. You are the author of your story. Ask yourself, how will others interpret my story, will they see only the struggles and failures, or a story of walking with the Lord and overcoming the challenges, trials, and tribulations? Will your story be a testimony for others to cherish when they enter tough times, reflecting on your story as the path out of darkness? Or, will your story leave them defeated wallowing in failure and defeat?
As we walk with Christ through the challenging times, acknowledge that you are never alone. The Lord will never leave you or forsake and like the Footsteps poem, He will carry you when you can no longer walk on your own. Let these times become your testimony.
I am attaching scriptural resources to help you through the difficult times. Begin writing your testimony as you journey through challenges, trials, and tribulations, it will encourage you to stay the course and come out of the wormhole in one piece. You will come out with a closer relationship with our Lord. You will come out more mature and able to help others navigate life. You will come out stronger.
What Does the Bible Say About Difficult Times. Openbible.info
Bible Verses About Having Strength During Hard Times. Biblemoneymatters.com
~ 10 Bible Verses To Help You Through A Difficult Time. Heartandsoulhomeschooling.com
~ 3 S ruptured to Pray When You Just Don’t Know What to Do. Jenniferrothschild.com
~ 33 Powerful Bible Verses About Healing and Overcoming Sickness. Testimon.io
~ 20 PsalmsTo Read When Life is Miserable. Crosswalk.com
~ 31 Spiritual Warfare Scriptures: Help for Facing Life’s Battles. Crosswalk.com
When we read the word baptized, what does it mean to you? How does it impact your life? Do you categorize it as an intellectual thought, or spiritual delivery?
~ Lisa Blair
To be baptized means you are immersed, dipped, or submerged, to become cleansed of impurity. The truth is you are renewed the moment you accept Christ as your Lord and Savior. The act of baptismal is sharing your conviction with the world. The two are linked and create the new creature in Christ and changes how we represent ourselves. As Christians, we enter as sinners, and arise renewed with a change of mind and heart. (Holman Bible Dictionary, Studylight.org) Once baptized we take on a new perspective on life. We become guided by the Spirit who is in, by, and with us. We take on the characteristics of Christ, stripping our own self-motivated, self-determined nature to exude Christ in our breath, actions, and deeds.When we intentionally stay connected with the Holy Spirit, our actions take on the love of Christ. We are no longer isolated, we become one with the body of Christ. Our intentionality in demonstrating the characteristics of Christ is spelled out in Galatians 5.
“For you have been called to live in freedom, my brothers and sisters. But don’t use your freedom to satisfy your sinful nature. Instead, use your freedom to serve one another in love. For the whole law can be summed up in this one command: “Love your neighbor as yourself.” But the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. There is no law against these things!” Galatians 5:13-14, 22-23 NLT https://bible.com/bible/116/gal.5.13-23.NLT
This post is extracted from today’s (10/27/2021) LECTIO (app) devotional. I strongly encourage you to download the app. I take no credit, I did not write the devotional, but do plan to apply it to my walk today.
This is a great way to begin and end your day with, in, and by in the Word of God
As I return to the passage, I listen for a particular word or phrase that the Holy Spirit is highlighting to me today…
Just as a body, though one, has many parts, but all its many parts form one body, so it is with Christ. For we were all baptised by one Spirit so as to form one body – whether Jews or Gentiles, slave or free – and we were all given the one Spirit to drink. And so the body is not made up of one part but of many. 1 Corinthians 12:12-14
What word or phrase jumped out at me from these verses?
I noticed the phrase ‘baptised by one Spirit’. The Greek word translated as ‘by’ can also be translated as ‘in’ or ‘with’.
I become part of the Body of Christ by the Spirit, I live each day in the Spirit, and I face every challenge, as well as every celebration with the Spirit.
Father, help me to live this day to the full, being true to You, in every way. Jesus, help me to give myself away to others, being kind to everyone I meet. Spirit, help me to love the lost, proclaiming Christ in all I do and say. Amen.
Where there is peace and meditation, there is either anxiety nor doubt.
~ St. Frances of Assisi
Serenity is defined as being calm, peaceful, unruffled. Peace is defined as harmony, stillness, silence. They are inextricably woven. When I experience serenity, I am experiencing a peaceful, silence. A calm engulfs me, I experience the peace that is greater than our understanding. It is beautiful. The best way I can describe it is like floating in space, no worries, no thoughts trying to anchor me to earth (the problems of the day). It is creative to some degree. But most of all, it is experiencing God’s love. It is though faith that we can experience His love and His peace.
We experience God’s love through faith. We have been justified by faith. Faith offers a number of attributes to Christians if we choose to ascribe to His will and His way. Romans 5:1 tells us that because we have faith, we have peace. “Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.”
The Bible refers to serenity as inner peace, the term serenity does not appear in the Bible, the Bible refers to inner peace. I use them interchangeably. When I experience serenity, I experience inner peace. My favorite scripture is John 14:27. “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid.”
The Holy Spirit who dwells in us informs us that we should not worry. When do we worry most, when does it seem to intensify to the point of keeping us awake all night? For most it is just before bedtime when we should let go of the anxiety, and deadlines of the day’s events or hardships and focus on rest, instead we focus on the upheaval of the day’s events. Psalm 4:8 is our instruction to let go, to find peace and serenity in the Lord. It reads, “In peace I will both lie down and sleep; for you alone, O Lord, make me dwell in safety.”
God emphasizes the need to identify His peace in our lives. Daniel 10:19 expresses this in his writings when he stated His command to Daniel and all of His children. “And He said, ‘O man greatly loved fear not, peace be with you; be strong and of good courage.’ And as He spoke to me (Daniel) I was strengthened and said, ‘Let my Lord speak, for you have strengthened me.’ We are all members of Daniel’s family, what God told Daniel is the same thing He is telling us. ’O man greatly loved fear not, peace be with you…’ Let serenity reign in your life, seek the peace that God provides to all of His children. Seek and you will find. Ask and it will be given to you.
Saint Padre Pio Pietrelcina of the Philippines (1887-1968) wrote – “Peace is the simplicity of the heart, serenity of mind, tranquility of soul, the bond of love.”
”For me, it is essential to have the inner peace and serenity of prayer in order to listen to the silence of God, which speaks to us, in our personal life and the history of our times, of the power of love.” ~ Adolfo Perez Esquivel
The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge, but fools despise wisdom and instruction. Proverbs 1:7
How often do we read the first part of a scripture that is further explained in the second part of the thought? So often we rest our knowledge on the thought that as long as we fear God, we will have knowledge? We do not bother to read or ponder why the command is conditional. This scripture informs us, it is instructional. Let us focus on Provers 1:7. The first part instructs us to fear the Lord and gain knowledge “The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge.” And, yes, fearing the Lord is the beginning, but let us not overlook the condition requiring us to accept wisdom and activate instruction. Choosing to overlook the second part of the scripture informs us that while we desire knowledge, we only possess an unactuated thought, the thought is not functional, it is folly. The second part of the scripture informs us that, when we despise wisdom and instruction,” we do not fear – meaning, we have not ‘taken to heart’ the Lord’s instructions, we are not obedient, nor do we surrender our thoughts in exchange for His thoughts. We lack wisdom and instruction.
True wisdom can only occur after we understand that God is omniscient, omnipotent, and omnipresent, God is Holy. When we understand this at a heart level, we begin to experience wisdom through the knowledge that He is Holy, just, and righteous.
Acquiring knowledge yields wisdom, and wisdom is acquired through faith, which is acquired through the unyielding instruction of the Word of God. His instruction states that we are to walk in His ways, to love as He loves, and to serve the Lord our God with all of our heart and with all of our soul. The beginning of knowledge begins with submission, surrender, and obedience. When we accomplish these three things, we can accept His knowledge without hesitancy or the need to understand His inspired Words in the Bible.
In Hebrew there are two types of fear: Pachad and Yirah. Pachad is the fear projected or of imagined things, it is over-reactive, irrational and stems from the worry of things to come, those things we imagine. Yirah is “the fear that overcomes us when we suddenly find ourselves in possession of considerably more energy than we are used to, inhabiting a larger space than we are used to inhabiting. It is also the feeling we get when we are in a sacred space, on sacred ground. (Makingdapennycooke,com. Ways Ways To Think About Fear)
As believer’s, we experience and understand the fear of God as reverence of God. This type of fear is the motivating factor in surrendering to the Almighty. Fear equals reverence. Yirah is the fear, the goose bumps we experience when we are in prayer or are praising the Lord and are in His presence. It is so much bigger that anything in our human sphere of understanding. We enter Holy (sacred) ground, the beginning of something new each time we experience it. It all contributes to our spiritual knowledge base and enables us to adhere to His wisdom and instruction and not our own.
Full circle – It is important to read an entire verse or scripture to gain the wisdom God intends in sharing His Word with us. Failing to do so does not result in wisdom, it results in folly, we become or remain fools, Proverbs 4:7 reads – Wisdom is the principal thing; therefore get wisdom: and with all thy getting get understanding. Equip yourself, study the Word, do not simply read it and rely on your own understanding. Seek what He is conveying to your heart. Our life with Christ is a heart process. Step into Yirah, terrain that is beyond human understanding, feel His love and walk in His Word.
The Bible offers everything we need to be active Christian Warriors. It gives us spiritual authority and is our manual for living a Godly life. While in prayer this morning, something came to light. Many of us may read parts of the Bible from time to time, But we do not study what we have read. We understand what we read intellectually, but there is so much more. To understand the spiritual intent, we have to study what was read. When reading Ephesians 6:10-18, we understand we should clothe ourselves in the armor, but do not necessarily understand why we should do so, or what each piece represents. This Post will explain the what and the why. The most important point is that we are naked and vulnerable without the armor. As the adage says, ‘don’t leave home without it.’
In reading the Book of Ephesians, particularly chapter 6, we see Paul wrote to Ephesus alerting them that the enemy is always near and ready to attack. In Ephesians 6: 12, 13 NASB, he warned:
” our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places. Therefore, take up the full armor of God, so that you will be able to resist in the evil day, and having done everything, to stand firm.”
There is no question that our struggle continues to be a war against the rulers of darkness. We can see it in our daily lives, on the news, and social media. The evil forces are in play, we see violence and hate in every aspect of life. We are in the midst of an invisible war, one that works through people. We struggle with uncertainty, fears, and doubts. Scripture makes it clear that much of our self-doubt, our difficulty in keeping healthy relationships, and many of our fears are rooted in the efforts of those same ‘spiritual forces of evil’ that plagued the Ephesians. Paul warned that we cannot be passive Christians. We cannot use the term ‘Christians’ without acting Christ-like. Christians have to exude Christ-like behavior through our actions. We must actively change our position and become Christian Warriors because we live in a time of full engagement against the evil forces of darkness. The evil one is present and works through people, he will not back down and neither can we. We are in the war, like it or not, there are no deferments. God calls for peace, and the evil one calls for chaos in all that we do. We cannot go quietly in the night, we have to rage against the evil forces that try to debilitate, paralyze and destroy us.
‘The evil one continually tries to infect us through our wounds inflicted by sinful words and actions that warp and twist our self-image’. He tells us we are unlovable, useless, hopeless, frail, weak, not good enough, and failures. He intentionally places difficulties, trouble, and chaos in our paths. He tries to destroy our inner peace and distort our harmony that should exist in our relationships with others and our surroundings.
Always be alert. It is important to recognize that we are prey to the evil forces of darkness and as in other parts of our daily living, must protect ourselves, and put on the Amor of God. The Armor of God is our invisible clothing Each morning when dressing for the day, putting on our visible clothing, is the perfect time to also put on our invisible clothing. In fact, we should begin the day with prayer and put on the Armor before getting out of bed.
The Helmet of Salvation covers your head, mind, and eyes.
The helmet is our invisible filter and keeps evil out of our mind. It helps our focus on the Lords will and not on sin. It helps ward off and reject harmful words and actions directed at us by others. It protects us from evil. It deflects hurtful things people say and do to us. It protects us while we live out our ‘true identity in Christ’.
The Breastplate of Righteousness protects your heart.
Righteousness is the quiet voice of the Holy Spirit that lives in us; it is a gift from God, and cannot be earned. Righteousness is much like a filter that strains out unGodly things and reinforces our desire, to be honest, trustworthy, kind, good-hearted, loving, and joyful. (Fruit of the Spirit – Galatians 5:22-23). It guards our mind and emotions.
The Beltof Truth holds us together.
It keeps all the armor in place. It is like a belt or a girdle-like support strap. It supports our core. It helps keep our heart and mind focused on Christ. Without the belt of truth, we are not prepared to stand and fight. The belt represents living a life of honesty and integrity. It supports our total commitment and devotion to God Almighty.
The Sandals of the Gospel of Peace (the Good News) weaponry covers our feet.
Everywhere we walk, we walk in peace. Our footwear keeps us from hurting our feet. The gospel of peace is the Word of God that we share with others as we walk in His Word. Without the Gospel of Peace, we are barefoot and cannot walk without fear. The footwear brings ‘inner and interpersonal peace when we commit to living by God’s Word, which means forgiving those who may have harmed us.
The Shield of Faith protects us from the weaponry of the enemy.
God gave is faith to protect ourselves from the things we cannot see and may not understand. It enables us to advance, despite adverse circumstance.
The Sword of the Spirit is the Word of God.
Gives us boldness to reject and attack misinformation. We can use it to defend ourselves from things we may or may not know are wrong. The sword cuts through everything the enemy can send our way. It is the only defensive weapon we have. Everything else wards off the offensives of the evil one. The sword is the way, the truth, and the light. It is the Word of God. This sword is able to cut through every defense our enemy can raise. When wielded by us, nothing can withstand its ability to cut straight to the core and uncover the truth.
We are naked when we do not wear the Armor of God. Never go out without it. We put on a coat to protect us from the cold and our armor to protect us from the evil one.
Faith, Hope, Love, Dependency, and Obedience Synopsis
Finally, our March theme is affirmed by this Post. To be Christian Warriors we must have faith, hope, and love. When we are in a relationship with a loved one, we have faith in them, love them, are in a dependent relationship with them and are obedient to the values and intent of the relationship. Putting on the Armor of God is a faith move by which we are dependent upon the fact that it works to protect us. We are obedient in that we put the Armor on every day. We have hope that our armor will hold up and invite others to live as Christian Warriors, and for non-Christians, to receive the Lord’s salvation and join our family. Love, the most important of these, operates in faith and dependence upon the Word of God and his relationship with us.
The Full Armor of God, Larry Richards
Waging Prophetic War, Jennifer Claire
The Belt of Truth and the Breastplate of Righteousness. Bible.org, Mar. 3, 2018
The Sword of the Spirit, the Word of God. Freebiblestudyguides.org, Mar. 3, 2018
Helping Children Put On Their Armor Through Prayer, Lisa Blair, Youngchristianwarriors.com