Be Strong In The Lord

10 Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might.

The only place we should be strong is in the Lord.  Yet we try so hard to be strong in ourselves.  Many look to their physical bodies for strength.  They work hard to get toned and muscular so they have the strength of an ox.  The find it fulfilling to see those muscles bulge as they workout.  There is noting at all wrong with keeping our physical bodies in shape, but that is not where our true strength comes from.

Then there are those who exercise their minds.  They read and send hours researching and pondering various truths and ideas.  The become bastions of knowledge, able to comment and carry on a conversation about anything someone might ask them about.  People see them as experts, maybe trivia buffs, very intelligent.  But that is not the kind  of strength that will get you through the toughest battles.

The toughest battles you will face can only be doe with the strength of the Lord inside of you.  When I was diagnosed wit Cancer last March, I had a peace about it.  I was not afraid, I was not upset, I was not worried.  How can this be, you might ask.  Because I had the strength of the Lord o my side, and I knew it would be OK.  he was in charge, and I could rely on His wisdom to see me through.  I knew I could not do it alone, and I also knew that with all the friends and support I got, it still would not be enough without the strength of the Lord and the power of His might on my side.  I’ll never understand how someone could go through this without Him by their side.

11 Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.

You don’t have to put on armor unless you’re going to go through a battle.  So what Paul is saying here is that we are going into battle regularly against the wily old devil.  he will be constantly attacking you at various points of your life where he sees that you are vulnerable.  That is why we need the whole armor of God, which we will be talking about soon.  We do not want to leave any part exposed so the devil can sneak in and do us harm.  And believe me, he knows where you are vulnerable.

Let’s take a simple thing.  A diet.  Isn’t it funny how when you are on a diet, you crave the very foods you are not supposed to eat?  That is not coincidence, my friend.  The enemy lurks in mysterious places.  If he cam get you to trip up in one place, and put guilt on you, then he can come in and get you there.  He is very wily.  So prepare yourself accordingly with the whole armor of God, not just parts of it.

12 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.

And here’s the reason we need the armor of God in the first place. we cannot fight the battles that will come our way and win without God on our side.  These battles are not of this world – so they cannot be won by using the tactics of this world.  Right now in our country, there is literally a war going on in government.  Our president is doing things and people are reacting with outrage.  It is obvious he is not doing things the way they have always been done, and he is a little sloppy on somethings, but all of these things need doing.

The enemy comes against us, our city, our  country all the time. there is only one weapon that will defeat him, and that is prayer.  we need to suit up with the armor, and start to pray for our country, more now than ever.  The intolerance, disobedience, dissatisfaction, disharmony and dismay everyone is feeling is not going to go away until the Christians fall on their knees before an almighty God and really start to exercise 2 Cr 7:14.  If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.  

Even with the whole armor of God on, without this key element, it won’t be enough. The church needs to take these steps to bring this nation, which was founded based on a reliance on God.  It’s really up to us – putting on the armor individually and fulfilling the call of 2 Chr 7:14 corporately.  We have a lot of work to do!


Am I In God’s Will?

Servants, be obedient to them that are your masters according to the flesh, with fear and trembling, in singleness of your heart, as unto Christ;

In Jesus times, the servant was the person doing the work that was given to him by the master.  He may have been a servant that was bought, or a free will servant, but always a servant.  In today’s world, we have employees and bosses.  The positions have different names, but are nonetheless the same as in Jesus time.  As employees, we still have an obligation to work for a boss, and as a result we are, in essence, the servant and he is the master.

When we understand this, we understand how these next few verses apply to today.  we have an obligation to do what our bosses tell us to do with a determined purpose of making him look good.  This is not about whether he is a  good boss or a bad boss, whether he plays favorites or  not, whether he really has he ability to be the boss or not, or whether the task is too easy or too hard.  We have an obligation to do what he asks.  The fear and trembling part is not as much because he can fire  us at any time, it is because we should be doing this work as if Jesus is telling us to do it, not the boss.  Do the work as unto Christ – more on this coming up.

Not with eyeservice, as menpleasers; but as the servants of Christ, doing the will of God from the heart;

With good will doing service, as to the Lord, and not to men:

Knowing that whatsoever good thing any man doeth, the same shall he receive of the Lord, whether he be bond or free.

By all means, we should not do good work just to receive commendation for it, trying to please man.  This will only add to our pride, which we never want to do.  I am not saying that we should not accept those “good work” comments when they come – we need to acknowledge those with respect.  But out goal in working should not be to get those remarks – we should be doing the job to the best of our ability whether those comments come or not, and no matter how it looks to our fellow workers.  W should be doing that job from our heart, and always, always giving our best effort.

Why?  Because if we believe God is providing for us, than we should believe God placed us in that job,  And if God placed us in that job, when we should ultimately be working for Him, not just our bosses.  I know that you want to do your best for the Lord.  So do it in the workplace, and do it with all your might.  If you are a married, do your job as a husband or wife with the best of your ability as unto the Lord, not your spouse.  If you are unemployed, do all you are able to around the house for your children and spouse, as unto the Lord, not your family.  I could go on but I think you catch my point.  So many people wonder what the will of the Lord is for them.  This is a good place to start!

And, ye masters, do the same things unto them, forbearing threatening: knowing that your Master also is in heaven; neither is there respect of persons with him.

This verse speaks to anyone who has some kind of authority over another.  It can be a boss at a job, or a father in a family, or someone who hires and independent contractor do some work.  And it’s words are pretty straightforward.  Again, the golden rule is a gauge to live by in these relationships.  First he says to forbear threatening.  Forbear is defined as politely or patiently restraining an impulse to do something.   I can’t even begin to tell you how often I threatened to do some kind of punishment on my kids and did not follow through!  And I did this with employees as well.  I would definitely have been better off forbearing in a large majority of those cases.

There is a proper time for threatening though, and that’s when company policy is broken, or job performance is poor.  We should still do these things in love, as Christians, and we should never be respecter of one person over another.  All should be on a level playing field.  If we find ourselves disciplining one, and allowing another to do the same thing,, we are playing favorites.  This is wrong in God’s eyes.

Aren’t you glad God even gives us direction in employee/employer relations?  Imagine if these simple rules would be followed by every Christian, what a better world we would live in!  I think I’ll start to pray more about that!


Oh, For Just a Little Respect

Ephesians 6:1-4

Children, obey your parents in the Lord: for this is right.

Honour thy father and mother; which is the first commandment with promise;

That it may be well with thee, and thou mayest live long on the earth.

Sometimes I think we have lost sight of this truth.  I know there are a lot of families out there whose kids are great, and who do honor their parents in all things.  I know that they will be blessed for that effort.  It is amazing that the first commandment with promise has to do with family!  I think that shows how important family is  to God.  I  am not going to try to get into a discussion on what  makes up a  family here though.  I want to talk about respect, which can translate into honor and obedience.

In our world today, they say that 50% of marriages and up in divorce.  We have a lot of fathers running around making babes and not taking responsibility for them.  And we have.  We have many families where parents have to work two jobs in order to make  ends meet.  And we have a declining population that is attending church on a regular basis.  I see all of these as factors when look at a the generation that is rising up in our high schools and colleges now.  It seems to me to be a generation of privilege, like we owe them something.  A generation that demands we cater to them and their needs, instead of them honoring their parents by doing what is right and good for society as a whole. A generation that thinks the government should take care of them, with free education and free healthcare, not realizing that the price of those things is paid by the American people in the end.  It seems from all the pictures I have seen that this is the majority of people who have been protesting at every turn about this election and the repercussions.

Maybe I am all wrong in these, but it’s not what I see.  And I think it’s because these young people have not been taught to respect their elders and those in authority.  They have not been taught in the home how important it is to learn at an early age that respect is something you must give in order to receive it.  They have not learned this basic biblical principle.  And the next generation will be even more demanding.

And, ye fathers, provoke not your children to wrath: but bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord.

I applaud the fathers who are doing what God asks here.  You are a blessing not only to your wife and children, but to the church and the society as a whole.  I would ask you to mentor the younger fathers coming up in your church who are beginning to have families.  we need fathers to step up and take this kind of approach with their children.  Fathers who put their pride aside and work humbly with their children to bring them up in the fear of the Lord.  Fathers who instruct their children in the home.  I was not such a father, and am blessed now that all three of my kids are in church, and they are raising good kids.

One of the saddest things in our society is all the fatherless children, and there are a lot of them.  And many who have fathers are being abused by them.  I don’t mean to paint a bleak picture, and I know there are a lot of good,God-fearing men out there.  I can only imagine a world where all the fathers did the right thing in raising their children.  It would be incredible!  I pray for all the fathers out there, that they may find their way to God, and take on the responsibility they started when they conceived that child, or when they married into that family.  I pray for revival in their hearts and souls.  Let’s see a new generation, one that lives in a spirit of respect and honor.





A Heavenly Relationship

22 Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as unto the Lord.

23 For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church: and he is the saviour of the body.

24 Therefore as the church is subject unto Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in every thing.

“As the Church is subject unto Christ!”  Let me see.  Christ ministered to the church and still does.  Christ cared so much for the church He gave His life.  Christ would never do anything to harm the church in any way.  Christ only wants to see the church grow and flourish in this age, and for ages to come.  Christ nurtures the church, instructs the church, provides for the church, sanctifies the church, protects the church, loves the church.  I would think any wife who has a husband that fulfills these things would  be happy to submit to him.

Submission does not mean subservient.  It does not mean she is the maid.  It does not mean the husband can run roughshod over her.  It will never mean he can harm her in any way – emotionally, physically or mentally.  Submit means that when a major disagreement comes up, the husband has the final say, as long as the interests of both parties are served by that decision.  The marriage as a whole needs to be the benefactor.  So If the argument is over buying a boat verses fixing a hole in the roof, the roof wins every time.  Sorry guys, your toys are not always important to the marriage as a whole. Yes, you guys are the  head of the marriage, but you  are not tyrants.  You are partners, and she is your helper.  If you are anything like me, you underestimate her ability to contribute. I am still learning  after 38 years just  how valuable she is in that role.

25 Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it;

26 That he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word,

27 That he might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish.

It always amazes me that three times the scripture says husbands should love their wives, but nowhere does it say wives should love their husbands.  I still do not have that figured out.  My only thought is that women have a natural compassion build into the, and most men need to be prodded to have that emotion come out.  Maybe it’s because men are more likely to be self-centered and prideful, and women are more likely to be others-centered and humble.

The admonition is to treat the women with the love Christ has for the4 church.  Men should treat their wives in a way that they will be glorious!  That there will not be a scar, emotional or physical, on their body or soul.  And that they would be holy and without blemish.  I wish I could go back in time and redo a lot of things in my marriage.  I have  done emotional harm to my wife in the past.  Yelling, accusations, mistrust and putting down was not uncommon, and I so regret it.  I have learned that she is my most valuable asset, and I honor her.

28 So ought men to love their wives as their own bodies. He that loveth his wife loveth himself.

29 For no man ever yet hated his own flesh; but nourisheth and cherisheth it, even as the Lord the church:

30 For we are members of his body, of his flesh, and of his bones.

Just as we are members of Christs, body, flesh and bones, so is our wife members with us.  If she hurt, we should hurt.  If she has a concern, it should be our concern.  If she has plans, we should honor those plans.  If she has dreams, we should help her reach those dreams.  We should help her as we would help ourselves, treat her as we would want to be treated,  Hmmm…sounds a lot like the golden rule, doesn’t it?  She is a part of us.

31 For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother, and shall be joined unto his wife, and they two shall be one flesh.

32 This is a great mystery: but I speak concerning Christ and the church.

33 Nevertheless let every one of you in particular so love his wife even as himself; and the wife see that she reverence her husband.

To  those men that still cling to their Mom’s, opinion, there mom’s cooking, their Dad’s idea of success, – anything of their parents before marriage, stop today and reset.  She is your wife now.  Your parents no longer should be making any decisions for your family.  You and your wife should make those decisions.  Same thing for the wives.  You cannot serve two masters!

Always Giving Thanks

Ephesians 5:18-21

18 And be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess; but be filled with the Spirit;

19 Speaking to yourselves in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord;

Let’s get this first thing out of the way quickly.  This verse does not say we should not drink wine.  It says to not get drunk with wine.  Paul tells Timothy a little wine for the stomach is a good thing (1 Tim 5:23).  I have seen a lot of contention in the church over wine or beer.  To me, it is a non-issue unless the person is overdoing it, which is clearly spoken against here.  Let’s not make a big deal  out of it.  For some, God may require total abstinence.  For others He may allow a sip here and there.  Who are we to judge what God will allow in someone else’s life?

The main point we need to gather here is that we are to be filled with the Spirit!  When the Holy Spirit fills us, we will walk as God wants us to walk.  The Spirit will convict us of sin, righteousness and judgment if we are walking contrary to God’s word (John 16:8-11).  But the main reason we should be filled with the Spirit is that the Spirit cries out to praise God and will lift us up to a higher level.  Notice in verse 19, Paul says we are to speak to ourselves in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs.  This is not worship to God.  This is uplifting talk to ourselves!  How many of you need a pick-me-up once in a while?  I do!  As I walk in the Spirit, He rises up within me and causes me to worship within myself to God.  You can be sure that will lift your own spirits to new heights.  I know it does for me!

20 Giving thanks always for all things unto God and the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ;

Always.  Not some of the time. Always.  Not only when I feel like it.  Always.  Not only when things are going right.  Always.  Give thanks always for all things.  All things.  Give thanks for all things.  You mean  am supposed to thank Him for the hard times and trials?  All things.  This is a hard concept to grasp and that is why I  am repeating it so much.  It is similar to Phil 4:4, where Paul tells us go rejoice in the Lord always.  If you missed my comments on that, you can read them HERE,

This is no misprint or mistake.  It’s easy to give thanks for the good times, when things are going right.  But understanding that the trials in life are there to help us grow, we can easily give thanks in the middle for them.  Thanks that God loves us enough to bring growing pains into our lives.  Thanks that we know He will bring us through anything that comes our way.  Thanks that He walks with us through the fire and through the storm.  Giving thanks always will free us from worry and doubt. Thanksgiving lifts our spirits above the doldrums  of life, and into heavenly places.

Practice giving thanks for all things.  You will quickly learn the benefits of this practice.

21 Submitting yourselves one to another in the fear of God.

One to another.  No one is above another, except your Pastor.  And the Pastor is servant to all, as Jesus was.  Submitting does not mean we are subservient.  It does not mean we become second class citizens in the church.  It is simply that we acknowledge that all are equal and have the same rights to express their opinions and views.  All are important, from the elders all the way to the janitor.  It s so important that, if we hold a position on the church that is more visible, like elder or worship leader, that we never see ourselves as more important.  I’ve been there, and I never want to go back there.  Stay humble on your ministry, whatever it is.

Is Time On Your Side?

15 See then that ye walk circumspectly, not as fools, but as wise,

This world is very  deceitful.  It is very easy to hear someone say something that sounds oh, so good, only to find out that they are talking about something completely contrary to God’s word.  This happens a lot in what I call the “grace” churches.  They preach that God is a God of unlimited grace – which I totally agree with.  God’s grace will never run out, and He will lavish me with grace until my dying day.  He is just like that!  But then some of these churches go on from there, and never mention that we must turn from our sinful ways and not take God’s grace for granted.  Paul says “Shall we continue in sin, that grace may abound?  God forbid!” (Rom 6:1-2).  It is our calling that once we are saved, we turn from our sin.  Slips and falls will happen, but  to continue in unbridled sin is just wrong.

So Paul tells the Ephesian church to walk circumspectly – be cautious and wary of things around you.  We must not be foolish enough to allow false doctrine into our lives.  We must be wise and measure what anyone says against the scripture.  I feel the need to interject something on the scripture we use.  Newer translations are slowly doing away with sin, atonement and hell.  They picture a God who loves all (and He does) and provides a way of freedom for all (which he does) at no cost to us (which he does).  Why is this a problem?  Because first, it does not explain we must repent, or accept the gift, or turn from our sin.  It does not discuss the sentence of hell if we are disobedient.  It is a watered down, grace gospel that is a mere shadow of what God truly said.  Please take caution of what translation you are reading.

16 Redeeming the time, because the days are evil.

What do you do with your time?  Right now, I have time on my hands, since I am disabled and not working.  And it may be a while before I can get back to work.  That can be a problem for me if I don’t manage my time.  My mind will wander off to places it should not, and I can easily get caught up in behavior that I should not be involved in.  I need to keep my mind occupied!  So I have these blogs, which take a while each day to put together.  I am cataloging my poetry, which numbers over 1,000 poems, and starting to assemble it for eventual publishing.  I make the most of my time, and I always run out of time to get things done, it seems.

When  am healed of this cancer, and I am able to drive again and work again (by faith, I am believing this will come to pass), I will have  to be diligent in my time management.  I keep thinking that God has given me this time to work on the poetry and publishing it.  It’s a monumental task.  But when I am well, I will have to make the time to continue with at least one of my blogs,  plus get back into the swing of things around the house and at my job.  Redeeming the time is so important.  It is one commodity we all have the same amount of.  How do you redeem the time?

17 Wherefore be ye not unwise, but understanding what the will of the Lord is.

If we do not know what the will of the Lord is, we are unwise.  God clearly shows us His will in His word.  It is so important that we understand what God would have us do.  Here are a few things that God’s will entails.

Micah 6:8 says the Lord requires us to do justly, to love mercy and to walk humbly with our God.  If you really want to move closer to God, practice these three things in earnest.  Understanding these three things is a  key to understanding the will of God.

In Mark 16:15, Jesus tells us to  go into all the world and preach the gospel.  This is a mandate.  And we do not have to be pastors or evangelists to preach the gospel.  Our lives are our testimony.  You preach the gospel by the lifestyle you live, if you are living for God. Take every opportunity to share what God has done for you.

Philippians 4:8 tells us to think on things that are just, pure, lovely, true, honest, of good report, virtuous and praiseworthy.  when we set our minds on these things, our actions will follow, and we will be in the middle of God’s will.

This is just a start.  Understanding the will of the Lord is as important as the air we breathe.  Do all you can to effectively walk circumspectly, redeem the time, and carry out His will.



Walk in the Light

Eph 5:8-14

For ye were sometimes darkness, but now are ye light in the Lord: walk as children of light:

(For the fruit of the Spirit is in all goodness and righteousness and truth;)

10 Proving what is acceptable unto the Lord.

There was a time that I walked inn darkness.  I did not know Jesus even though I had been raised in the church.  I knew about Jesus, but I did not know Him.  I did not know about His power to save.  I did not know that He died for me.  I did not know He took the sins poof the world on His back.  I did not know His wounds healed me.  There was so much I did not know.

But light was shed on my path.  Once the light dispelled the darkness, I could see Jesus for who He really was.  And once I knew that, I had a choice to make.  Choose darkness, or choose light.  To me, that was an easy choice.  I chose light.  So now I must walk in the light.  I must allow the truth of the gospel to show me the way to live.  I am a child of that  light, and I must listen as  a child listens to their parents.  The light will guide me to better things in God, and that is what I desire.  The Spirit will lead  me as I  walk in the light, and will guide me to  what is good, and right, and true.  That is the only way I can prove what is acceptable to the Lord.  And I have a call to prove that, so the world will know  what is acceptable to the Lord.

11 And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather reprove them.

12 For it is a shame even to speak of those things which are done of them in secret.

Fellowship means friendly association.  I have no right to associate with the works of darkness any longer.  And I should have no desire for those things.  Remember, darkness cannot exist where light is.  Reprove means to reprimand or to correct a fault.  When I find these things in my life, I must take action to rid myself of them.  The works of darkness need to be eradicated from my life.  Unfortunately, I still have a level of pride within me that  says I can have those things, God won;t care.  I need to guard against that attitude on a continual basis, and make sure if my pride gets the better of me, that I now only put that down, but also put down any other area of darkness that might creep in.  This is a continual vigil.

We must keep our mind and thoughts clear of these  things.  That is why Paul tells us not to even speak of such things.  He knows what we speak has power and can infiltrate our minds very easily.  The darkness that is in this world seems to get darker all the time.  More eyes are blinded to the light by our enemy.  They cannot even see the light dimly in the distance, they are so encased in the darkness.  Those who can’t even get a dim view of God need our prayers.

13 But all things that are reproved are made manifest by the light: for whatsoever doth make manifest is light.

14 Wherefore he saith, Awake thou that sleepest, and arise from the dead, and Christ shall give thee light.

When we correct those things in our life that don’t belong, the light will shine on them for what they truly are.  We will see the error of our ways, and realize that once again, by His mercy, He has spared us.  Many times it may take a trial or a test to make us aware there is  something in our lives that is displeasing to Him.  He is so gracious that He will allow us to see it in the midst of the storm, and then He will calm the storm around us.  He s patient with us, and allows us time to work through those things from the darkness we were once in that may still influence our lives.  What a loving God we serve.

Lastly, Paul tells us to awake from sleep, and arise from the dead, and He Jesus will give us light.  When we come to realize what is holding us back from fully  committing to Him, we wake up.  We start to allow Him greater access to our life – we open the doors in our life and allow Him to shine His light in.  Once His light shines in that room, there is no turning back.  We must deal with that area of our life that He is asking us to give Him.  We need to be in the Light!  This is an old one, but a good one!