Monday, June 30, 2014

Morning Selah @ FR - Monday 6/30/14

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Selah is a Hebrew word, meaning a pause to ponderMorning Selah @ FR is a mini-devotional, giving us reason to pause and ponder about the Lord and how He wants us to live. 
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~Focus for the month of June 2014: FAITH~




Morning Selah @ FR for today...


He staggered not at the promise of God through unbelief;
but was strong in faith, giving glory to God;
 And being fully persuaded that,
what he had promised, he was able also to perform.
-Romans 4:20:21

When God promised a son, He was pleased with Abraham's response. 

God has proven His faithfulness to us and His faithfulness to His Word over and over again. He has never broken a promise and never will. 

Because of who He is, we can glorify God with a strong faith, fully persuaded that what He has promised, He is able to perform. 

Our God says what He means and means what He says. Trust Him. He will never fail you. 



Sunday, June 29, 2014

Morning Selah @ FR - Sunday 6/29/14

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Selah is a Hebrew word, meaning a pause to ponderMorning Selah @ FR is a mini-devotional, giving us reason to pause and ponder about the Lord and how He wants us to live. 
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~Focus for the month of June 2014: FAITH~





Morning Selah @ FR for today...


But to him that worketh not, 
but believeth on him that justifieth the ungodly, 
his faith is counted for righteousness.
-Romans 4:5



Do you notice in this verse that faith is equated with righteousness? 

Those who believe what God says will do what He says. 

Written in 1887, this old song sums it up nicely:

  1. When we walk with the Lord in the light of His Word,
    What a glory He sheds on our way!
    While we do His good will, He abides with us still,
    And with all who will trust and obey.
    • Refrain:
      Trust and obey, for there’s no other way
      To be happy in Jesus, but to trust and obey.

Let's trust and obey God today. 


Name Above all Names

A lot of emphasis is placed on names throughout the Scriptures. Names had special meanings, whether they were names of the LORD revealed to man, names given to people, or names given to places. 

Names also had a specific purpose. In many cases, a name described the character of the one who bore it. For example, Abram means 'exalted father.' This was an apt description of who he was. He was held in high regard as a very wealthy man for his day. He had huge numbers of sheep, camels, goats, etc and even had enough servants to raise up an army. The LORD Himself changed this man's name to 'Abraham,' meaning 'father of a great multitude.' This name was an expression of who he was to be and a constant reminder of the promise made to him by his Father in heaven.


Daniel's name means 'God is judge,' which in itself is a great description of the book that bears his name. In his writings, Daniel speaks of future events involving judgment, as well as the judgment of God that he witnessed fall upon the Medes and Persians.


Moses means 'taken out' or 'drawn forth.' Both definitions fit the man. An Egyptian princess took Moses out of a basket and brought him into the palace to raise as her own. Following his murderous attack upon an Egyptian soldier, Moses fled to the wilderness, where, if you recall, he met the great "I AM" in the midst of a burning bush. The "I AM" brought him out of the wilderness and sent him back to Egypt, where he delivered his people. Moses, who was 'taken out', was the means by which his people were 'taken out' of bondage.


Those are just a few examples of Biblical names with specific, personal meaning. There are many, many more. Check it out. Obviously, God knew us all before we were even born. He knew who we would become and what our character would be like. I believe He often directs the name chosen for us. Your name is a title with meaning you were given at birth. For many of us, it carries with it some aspect of who we are. Check it out. You may be surprised.


Since names have importance and carry meaning, should we not make an effort to understand our Savior’s Name? His Name most certainly carries meaning and importance. It may surprise you to learn that when our Savior walked this earth, no one ever called Him Jesus. His name underwent several changes as a result of being translated first into Greek, then Latin and finally into English. Mary called Him 'Yeshua.' The disciples and all who met Him called Him ' Yeshua.' Yeshua means ‘SALVATION.' Isn't that the most fitting name for our Messiah to have? The name 'Yeshua' carries with it a very important aspect of who He is. He IS our Salvation.


This name is mentioned many times throughout the Old Testament. In Psalm 9:14, David proclaimed, “I will rejoice in thy salvation.” Looking at the Hebrew, we find David actually said, “I will rejoice in thy YESHUA.”

In Psalm 91 God says,

14 Because he hath set his love upon me, therefore will I deliver him: I will set him on high, because he hath known my name.
15 He shall call upon me, and I will answer him: I will be with him in trouble; I will deliver him, and honour him.
16 With long life will I satisfy him, and shew him my salvation.


I will set him on high, because he hath known my name.” What name? Look at verse 16. The KJV reads, “With long life will I satisfy him, and shew him my salvation.” The Old Testament was written in Hebrew, so what God actually said there was, “With long life will I satisfy him, and shew him my YESHUA.

Isaiah prophesied of the coming of YESHUA, who is both God and Salvation incarnate. 


“Behold, the LORD hath proclaimed unto the end of the world, Say ye to the daughter of Zion, Behold, thy salvation cometh; behold, his reward is with him, and his work before him. (Isaiah 62:11)


Think about the word ‘salvation’ for a moment. In both Hebrew and English it is a concept and experience to which no gender is assigned. It is a gender-neutral word. When speaking of salvation, we would say “IT was paid for at the cross. IT is a gift of God’s grace,” etc. However, here in Isaiah 62:11, salvation is assigned male gender, which makes no sense until you realize that Isaiah is not speaking of a concept or experience, but of a Person. Read it again with that in mind…


“Behold, the LORD hath proclaimed unto the end of the world, Say ye to the daughter of Zion, Behold, thy YESHUA cometh; behold, his reward is with him, and his work before him.”


Isaiah was talking about the coming of YESHUA the Messiah!


In the King James Version, we are told that when the angel spoke to Mary and told her she would have a son, he said she was to “call his name JESUS.” Keep in mind that Mary was a Jew living in Israel. She spoke Hebrew. Gabriel would have most certainly spoken to her in the language she knew. So what Gabriel actually said was, “you are to name him YESHUA.”


Luke chapter 2 tells of YESHUA (Jesus) being brought to the temple to be circumcised. A devout man, the elderly Simeon had asked God to let him live long enough to see the Messiah come. God had promised this faithful man that indeed he would see Messiah with his own eyes. Simeon took the baby in his arms and said, “Lord, now lettest thou thy servant depart in peace, according to thy word; for mine eyes have seen thy YESHUA.”


Not only did Simeon see the fulfillment of God’s promise to send the Messiah, but he also touched Him and held Him in his arms! Simeon recognized YESHUA for Who He is, declaring, “For mine eyes have seen thy YESHUA, Which thou hast prepared before the face of all people; A light to lighten the Gentiles, and the glory of thy people Israel.


As the angel told Joseph, “thou shalt call his name YESHUA for he shall save his people from their sins.


Therefore God raised him to the highest place and gave him the name above every name; that in honor of the name given Yeshua, every knee will bow - in heaven, on earth and under the earth and every tongue will acknowledge that Yeshua the Messiah is ADONAI - to the glory of God the Father.” -Philippians 2:9-11 (CJB)

The Bible says, For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved” (Romans 10:13) and "if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved."(Romans 10:9)

It is not necessary to learn ancient Hebrew or Greek to call upon His Name. Whether we say "Jesus" or "Yeshua," He will hear and answer. 

But knowing the origin and meaning of the Name "Jesus" gives His title, "the Name above all names" a much deeper and profound meaning for those of us who know Him as our Salvation.
"...in honor of the name given Yeshua, every knee will bow - in heaven, on earth and under the earth and every tongue will acknowledge that Yeshua the Messiah is ADONAI - to the glory of God the Father." (Philippians 2:10-11 CJB)
"...at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth; And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father." (Philippians 2:10-11 KJV)

Saturday, June 28, 2014

Have You Ever Questioned Authority?


I have a friend who is very vocal about her disgust and distrust of our current government. In the past, I have worked with people who argued with every decision made in the workplace and never had anything good to say about the boss.

As humans, we all have an innate tendency to question those in authority over us.

Do you know what God calls that tendency?

Let's take a look at what he says...


Given the political climate in the US in recent years, I'm probably not alone in wondering how much my vote really matters. Daniel 2:20-21 may give us a reason to wonder even more.

Daniel answered and said, Blessed be the name of God for ever and ever: for wisdom and might are his: And he changeth the times and the seasons: he removeth kings, and setteth up kings: he giveth wisdom unto the wise, and knowledge to them that know understanding...

Part of that passage is underlined to make a point.  GOD is in control of putting people in positions of authority, whether that authority sits in the White House or elsewhere. The fact that we may not like the decisions our leaders make does not negate the truth that GOD placed them there and nothing surprises Him.

The directive given us in Romans 13:1-2 is pretty straight forward.

Let every soul be subject unto the higher powers. For there is no power but of God: the powers that be are ordained of God.Whosoever therefore resisteth the power, resisteth the ordinance of God: and they that resist shall receive to themselves damnation.

God says we are to be submissive to those HE has placed in authority over us and, He doesn't stop there. He says if we rebel against authority, we rebel against Him.

Notice that God makes no exceptions to His rules.

He didn't say, "Well, you only need to do what your boss says if you like the boss."

Nor did He say, "You only need to respect the president if you voted for him and agree with him."

Hebrews 13:17 (ESV) gives us another admonition in regard to authority.

Obey your leaders and submit to them, for they are keeping watch over your souls, as those who will have to give an account.

That verse may be even more difficult to swallow than the others above. It is very hard for my fallible human mind to accept that the leaders I have difficulty trusting are keeping watch over my soul. However, GOD says it is true and He is truth, so I cannot argue with Him.

There's also another important point made in that verse. Our job is to submit to our leaders. Their job is to keep watch over our souls and they have an added burden that comes with authority. They "will have to give an account."

God doesn't say it is our job to hold our leaders accountable for their actions. It is His alone. Our leaders will have to answer to Him one day.


Yes, we all have this human tendency to question authority.

You may realize now that God calls that tendency SIN.

He says if we rebel against authority, we are resisting Him. He also says He sets up leaders and that they will have to give an account to Him for their leadership. That's His job. Our job is obedience to Him and His Word and that includes being subject to the authority He has placed over us.




Morning Selah @ FR - Saturday 6/28/14

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Selah is a Hebrew word, meaning a pause to ponderMorning Selah @ FR is a mini-devotional, giving us reason to pause and ponder about the Lord and how He wants us to live. 
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~Focus for the month of June 2014: FAITH~



Morning Selah @ FR for today...


And when he was come into the house,
the blind men came to him:
and Jesus saith unto them,
Believe ye that I am able to do this?
They said unto him, Yea, Lord.
-Matthew 9:28



When you ask the Lord to help you with something, do you believe He is able? 

Declare your faith today. 

Yes, Lord. I believe!


Friday, June 27, 2014

Faith...


Morning Selah @ FR - Friday 6/27/14

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Selah is a Hebrew word, meaning a pause to ponderMorning Selah @ FR is a mini-devotional, giving us reason to pause and ponder about the Lord and how He wants us to live. 
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~Focus for the month of June 2014: FAITH~



Morning Selah @ FR for today...




So Daniel was taken up out of the den, 
and no manner of hurt was found upon him, 
because he believed in his God.
 -Daniel 6:23


Did you notice why it was that Daniel was saved from harm? Because of his faith. 

You and I serve the same God who shuts the mouths of lions. Just think about that!

He will preserve and protect us too if we will just trust Him. 


Thursday, June 26, 2014

The Hope



Many Christians are not aware of Israel's history nor do they realize the significance, in God's grand plan of the ages, of this tiny nation. I originally wrote the following article several years ago at the request of the founder of a pro-Israel ministry which, sadly, is no longer in operation. It is presented here with the hope of bringing more awareness to the those who wonder why we, as believers in Christ, should support Israel and her people. 



-    -    - 



Ha Tikva (The Hope)

As long as deep in the heart,
The soul of a Jew yearns,
And forward to the East,
To Zion, an eye looks
Our hope will not be lost,
The hope of two thousand years
To be a free nation in our land,
The land of Zion and Jerusalem.
-
Ha Tikva, The Israeli National Anthem



Although these words of hope were not penned until the 1880s, Ha Tikva’s fire has burned in the heart of every descendant of Abraham since God commanded him, Get yourself out of your country... and go to the land that I will show you (Genesis 12:1).

Ha Tikva is the hope of a homeland, the hope of freedom, the hope of independence and the hope of peace. Despite hardship, Diaspora (scattering), persecution, atrocity, and genocide, the truly Jewish heart has never abandoned Ha Tikva.




For you are a people set apart as holy for ADONAI your God.
ADONAI your God has chosen you out of all the peoples
on the face of the earth to be his own unique treasure.

- Deuteronomy 7:6


A unique treasure, chosen and set apart is cherished, adored and preserved. It is not abandoned, replaced or cast aside. Sadly, some in the church believe that God has abandoned Israel and put out the fire of Ha Tikva that He Himself kindled within their hearts. However, He is the God who keeps covenant and mercy to a thousand generations. He is the God who made covenants with Abraham, Moses and David, igniting and fueling the fire of Ha Tikva. That fire still burns brightly within the Jewish soul.


God has faithfully kept His promises to the apple of His eye (Zechariah 2:8). He gave them a land flowing with milk and honey, established kings, set up His own dwelling place in their midst and preserved a remnant in Israel during times of captivity. In 70 AD, Jerusalem was destroyed by the Romans and the people scattered. The land came under the control of several invading forces, ending with the British Empire. Yet, a remnant remained in the land of promise and Ha Tikva still smoldered within the hearts of God’s chosen people.


For two millennia, most of God’s chosen were of the Diaspora, inhabiting almost every nation on the globe. However, the God who keeps covenant and mercy to a thousand generations did not abandon or forget His chosen. He kept the fires of Ha Tikva burning through the centuries, even in the face of an evil like this world had never seen.


The Holocaust impelled many to seek fulfillment of that burning hope of a land to call their own. On May 14, 1948, the British forces withdrew from the land they had dubbed ‘Palestine.’ Led by David Ben Gurion, the remaining Jews declared the establishment of the independent state of Israel. Despite misleading reporting by America’s liberal media of the events and history of the Middle East, there never was a Palestinian nation. There is no occupation. Those who call themselves ‘Palestinians’ are merely Arabs from the surrounding areas.


Upon Israel’s declaration of independence, Lebanon, Syria, Jordan, Egypt and Iraq immediately attacked. Unprovoked attacks have continued ever since in the form of trained armies and cowardly acts of terror. Yet, Ha Tikva still burns brightly within the soul of every true Jew whether they have returned to the Holy Land or remain of the Diaspora.


This unique treasure, chosen and set apart is still cherished, adored and preserved by the God who gave them reason to hope. Israel comprises an area of only 8,019 square miles, while her Muslim neighbors, seeking to extinguish Ha Tikva, occupy a total land mass of well over 2 million square miles. Logic defies Israel’s continued existence yet she stands strong, as a David facing the Philistine Goliath. 


As Nehemiah admitted, the survival of the nation is due to the good hand of their God upon them, fulfilling His promises and keeping Ha Tikva burning in the hearts of His people. That same God who keeps covenant and mercy to a thousand generations is fulfilling His promise right now, bringing His own back to the land of their fathers in record numbers.


Every follower of God whether Jew or Gentile, whether living in the land of promise or elsewhere, has a responsibility to fan the flames of Ha Tikva. Some may take issue with such a bold statement. Many arguments could be presented to support it, but only one is needed. It comes in the form of a promise made by God Himself to Abraham. I will bless those who bless you, but I will curse anyone who curses you; and by you all the families of the earth will be blessed. (Genesis 12:3) As we bless the descendants of Abraham, God’s chosen, treasured people, we bless and glorify God Himself and He, in turn, blesses us.




Ha Tikva
As long as deep in the heart,
The soul of a Jew yearns,
And forward to the East
To Zion, an eye looks
Our hope will not be lost,
The hope of two thousand years,
To be a free nation in our land,
The land of Zion and Jerusalem.

- - -


Pray for shalom in Yerushalayim; may those who love you prosper.
May shalom be within your ramparts, prosperity in your palaces.
For the sake of my family and friends, I say, "Shalom be within you!"
For the sake of the house of ADONAI our God, I will seek your well-being.
-Psalm 122:6-9


-    -    - 

Scripture quotations are taken from the Complete Jewish Bible, copyright © 1998 by David H. Stern. Published by Jewish New Testament Publications, Inc. www.messianicjewish.net/jntp. Distributed by Messianic Jewish Resources. www.messianicjewish.net. All rights reserved. Used by permission. 


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Surgery, a station wagon, church folks and groceries

God has been faithful to me all of my life, even though I have not always been faithful to Him. 

While I was growing up, I saw Him intervene in wonderful ways for my family many times. 


This was one of those moments...


Surgery, a station wagon, church folks and groceries


What do those 4 things have in common?

You're about to find out...




1976. Binghamton, New York. My dad was in his final year of Bible college preparing for the ministry and also worked a full time night shift job.



Dad had to have a hernia repair. Today this is generally done with a scope and often as a day surgery, meaning you get to go home after the procedure. Then, it meant a major incision and several days in the hospital. For a person with a bleeding disorder, like my dad, there were obviously added risks.


The surgery didn't go well. My dad lost a lot of blood and had to be given several pints during the surgery and afterward because the incision kept reopening, causing more blood loss and a severe systemic infection which almost took his life. He was in the hospital for over a month then was unable to work for a while after he came home.


A couple of weeks into his recovery, we all sat at the dining room table one evening for an unusual supper. Present were my mother (8 months pregnant); my dad (still very uncomfortable); my 4- and 10- year old brothers, and me (9 years old).


The menu? Toast. Nothing else, just toast. There was no money coming into the household while my dad was unable to work and therefore, no means to buy any more groceries.


My mom is a very gifted woman in many ways, but the gift I remember most when I was growing up was her ability to make even difficult situations seem a blessing and a fun time for us kids. We ate our toast without complaint and before we left the table, my dad read some Scripture as was the norm in our home.


Then, we prayed. Starting with the youngest, going around the table, my dad asked us all to ask the Lord to provide for our family, telling us he believed God would intervene.


Dad was the last to pray. At the very second he said “Amen,” the doorbell rang. The assistant pastor from our church was at the door, asking if my older brother and I could come outside and help him get something out of his big station wagon.


My dad sent us out and we came back in with bags of groceries, then went back out to get more and repeated this process many times.


My mother was bawling. My dad asked what was going on. They had told no one of their financial situation. My brothers and I had no idea until we ate toast that night. No one knew, except God.


All day long, a steady stream of people had gone to the church saying they felt God was telling them to get food for our family. They completely filled the assistant pastor's office with bags and bags of groceries and when he left for the day, he loaded up his station wagon and there he was.


My mother likes a quiet home. It wasn't quiet that evening as we filled the pantry with the goodness of God and the generosity of His people.

God is so good!” 
               “Mom, look! Captain Crunch!”
                  “Thank You, Lord!”
                                       “Hey, Dad! Pop Tarts!”

(There were obviously many more substantial food items but we were kids.)


After everything was put away, we regrouped at the dining room table. This time, to thank God for His provision.


I have never forgotten that warm New York evening when surgery, a station wagon, church folks and groceries all came together as an opportunity for God to prove His faithfulness to our family once again and glorify His Name.



It is of the Lord's mercies
 that we are not consumed, 
because his compassions fail not.

They are new every morning: 
great is thy faithfulness.

-Lamentations 3:22-23









Morning Selah @ FR - Thursday 6/26/14

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Selah is a Hebrew word, meaning a pause to ponderMorning Selah @ FR is a mini-devotional, giving us reason to pause and ponder about the Lord and how He wants us to live. 
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

~Focus for the month of June 2014: FAITH~



Morning Selah @ FR for today...

[Perhaps we should call this the Afternoon Selah @ FR today. My apologies. The internet went out here last night and was restored just a little while ago.]


Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths. - Proverbs 3:5-6




God wants us to have total faith in Him, trusting Him with our whole heart. He doesn't want us to try to solve our problems on our own. He is a loving Father who wants what's best for His children. That's why He will direct our paths if we allow Him to.



Let Him guide your steps today and give Him your trust. He won't let go and He will never fail you.  


Wednesday, June 25, 2014

What in the world was I thinking?

[This subject is one of great importance to all believers who want to have victory so it may be a little long but necessarily so.]


What in the world was I thinking?



If we're honest, we'd all have to say we have asked ourselves that question on more than one occasion. We all make mistakes and missteps more often than we would care to admit.


Sometimes, we look back and wonder “What in the world was I thinking?”


That question hits right at the heart of the issue.


When we sin, it is because our thoughts have centered on things of the world instead of being focused upon the things of heaven. Our minds were set upon the impurities of the world rather than upon the holiness of God.


There is a great push in evangelical ministries today for purity among our youth. Slogans like True Love Waits, books, jewelry and other items promote abstinence until marriage.


This is a GOOD thing. Abstinence not only follows God's design, plan and commandments for both unmarried men and unmarried women, it is also the only 100% guaranteed way to prevent sexually transmitted diseases and unplanned pregnancies.


But, waiting until they reach the teen years to teach God's principles to our children can, in many cases, be too late. I'm not suggesting we have the “birds and the bees” talk with our kids before they are ready. I'm talking about preparing hearts and minds early on for choosing purity before God in every aspect of life through every stage of life.


Sinful conduct of any kind doesn't suddenly begin with the raging hormones of the teen years. It begins slowly, and over time, in the mind. The sinful act is the result of a thought or series of thoughts leading to consummation.


Proverbs 23:7 says, For as he thinketh in his heart, so is he.


→ Our thoughts are always followed by actions.


→ Actions are always preceded by our thoughts.


In reference to our minds, someone once said, “Garbage in. Garbage out.”


There is much truth in that statement. Whatever we allow in to fill our minds will eventually work its way back out through our words, attitudes and deeds.


As I look back upon the course of my life, I know this to be true.


My just about grown children like to joke about mom having been born when dinosaurs roamed the earth. What I'm about to share with you would provide more evidence to support their conclusion.


I have a rather embarrassing confession to make here...


For a while, when I was 11 or 12, I was completely infatuated with Barry Manilow (no comments from the peanut gallery on that one, please). Although my siblings and I were forbidden to listen to anything other than hymns and classical music, we were exposed to other genres at school and through friends.


One Christmas, my parents gave my older brother and I each a little blue transistor radio, complete with wrist strap and little ear phone. My brother was and is a sports fanatic. They knew what he would be listening to. Me? Not so much. I would lay in bed at night, soaking in the sounds of the top 40. (Yes, I was a brat.)


As I got a little older, my music interest changed dramatically from guy who wrote “the songs that make the whole world sing” to much of the popular music the early eighties had to offer. The message of much of that worldly music I chose to fill my mind with centered around the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life (1 John 2:16).


My testimony is one of rebellion, repentance and redemption, but I'm not going to sit here and blame my past rebellion on music. Music played a significant role, however (at my own choice), in shaping my thinking, my approach to life and my later behavior, which caused me to turn around and ask myself, “What in the world was I thinking?


The point here is not to paint certain genres of music as evil or unfit for Christians to listen to. The point is Proverbs 23:7 which says, For as he thinketh in his heart, so is he.


I was raised in a Christian home, repeated the words of “The Sinner's Prayer” in 1972, but was not actually saved by God's grace until 1984, walked away from God in 1988, recommitted my life to the Lord in 1993, and the big five-oh (50) is approaching much faster than I care to think about.


But, regardless of age or length of time in relationship with Jesus Christ, we all still need to be very cautious about the direction of our thought life. Why? I'm not perfect yet, and neither are you. There are still things I sometimes struggle with, just as you do.


Why the need for such caution?


→ Our minds are the battleground in our war with the enemy of our souls.

→ If the enemy can get us to doubt our position in Christ, get us to question the authenticity of God's Word and get us focused more on things of earth than upon the kingdom of heaven, he wins.


→ Where does defeat begin? In my head. In your head.


→ Where does victory begin? In my head. In your head.


For that reason, it is vital that we evaluate the things we allow to fill our minds. Whether provoked by the music we listen to, the television shows or movies we watch, the books we read, the gossip we choose to hear, or anything else that promotes the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, such thoughts have no place in the mind of a follower of the Lord Jesus Christ.


Some Christians reading this may say, “Ann-Louise, you've gone a bit too far here. My music and my TV shows are just fine. Just because you were a rebel, that doesn't mean I will be.”


You're right, it doesn't.


→ But, liberty in Christ doesn't mean freedom to do whatever we please, nor does it mean we're free to play around at the edges of sin or sit on the fence between obedience and rebellion against God's Word.


As we observed above, “Garbage in. Garbage out.” The way we think, what we fill our minds with, will eventually be portrayed in who we are and what we do.


Remember Proverbs 23:7? For as he thinketh in his heart, so is he.


The Scriptures have a lot to say about the thought life.


Philippians 4:8 says, ...whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.


Do the things I think about (the stuff I fill my mind with) line up with that?


Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful. (Psalm 1:1)


God says we will be blessed if we don't follow the thoughts of the ungodly. What do you think might happen if we choose to think like the world?


Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus... (Philippians 2:5). Read that verse in context and you'll find we are told to think like Jesus.


→ So, whatever I'm filling my mind with and whatever you're filling your mind with, we need to stop and ask ourselves, “What would Jesus think about this?”


The blessed man of Psalm 1 chooses not to think like the world and, instead, makes a much better choice.


But his delight is in the law of the Lord; and in his law doth he meditate day and night. (Psalm 1:2)


If our minds are filled with God's thoughts (as revealed in His Word), do you really think we would ever have to look back with the question, “What in the world was I thinking?”


You just read above some of what God has to say about your thinking and my thinking. We know what He thinks now. 

→ A line has now been drawn in the sand of our minds. Will we choose the Lord's side or the world's side? Will we allow Him to shape our thinking or will will allow the world to shape our thinking?


Let's look, for a moment, at the armor of God as described in Ephesians 6:10-18. You've probably read it many times before, but let's take a fresh look...


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.

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.



This armor is provided to us by God to enable us to stand against the enemy. Our job is to put it on, having done all, to stand, right?


There is a progression in how we are to put this armor on.


First, were told, Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth. How do we wear this belt of truth? Just like the blessed man of Psalm 1: his delight is in the law of the Lord; and in his law doth he meditate day and night.


We wear this belt of truth by filling our minds, our thoughts, with the Word of God.


Then, we're told to put on the breastplate of righteousness. Back to Proverbs 23 again... For as he thinketh in his heart, so is he. If we fill our minds with the Word of God, our actions will follow those thoughts. We will live righteously.


The next part of this armor covers our feet with the preparation of the gospel of peace. How can we share God's truths with others before we know it and live it? Again, it comes back to delighting in the Word and meditating on it day and night, filling our minds with it.


Then we have the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked. Where does faith come from? Romans 10:17 tells us, faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God. Once again, we are reminded to fill our minds with God's thoughts as revealed in His Word.



After the shield, we are to
take the helmet of salvation. 

Hey! Are you still with me here? 


The helmet of salvation. What does a helmet do? It protects the head, right? 


→ As we noted above, if the enemy can get us to doubt our position in Christ, get us to question the authenticity of God's Word and get us focused more on things of earth than upon the kingdom of heaven, he wins.


→ The majority of the enemy's schemes are aimed at our heads, at our minds, at our thoughts.


In the CEV, Proverbs 4:23 says, More than anything you guard, protect your mind, for life flows from it. 

→ Guard your mind. Protect your thinking. 

How? By aligning our thinking with God's. How? Through His Word, of course.


So, now, having prepared for battle, filling our hearts with the Word of God, allowing His thoughts to fill our minds, now we are ready to go on the offensive with our weapon, the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.


How did Jesus fight off the attack of the enemy when He was tempted in the wilderness for 40 days? He set the bar and the example for us. His offense and defense was the Word of God, just as ours must be. But, it cannot be until we have filled our hearts and minds, our very being, with it.


When you're tempted in a certain area, God's Word has the defense and the offense to fight back against the enemy, but are we so rooted in the Word that we can give an answer? 2 Timothy 4:2 admonished us to be instant in season, out of season... That means ready to speak truth, ready to give an answer, ready to fight off the attacks of the enemy!


The last, but certainly not the least, piece of the armor is prayer. Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints.


→ What is true prayer? True prayer is an act of coming into agreement with God. 

Let me explain. We are told to pray in accordance with His will, which means aligning our thoughts with God's. Repentance is agreeing with God that we have sinned. Again, aligning our thoughts with His. Asking Him to shape us and mold us into the image of Christ, telling Him, “I surrender, Lord,” is another act of aligning our thoughts with His.


Remember, our thoughts are always followed by actions. Actions are always preceded by our thoughts. Whatever we allow in to fill our minds will eventually work its way back out through our words, attitudes and deeds. This is the message of purity that we need to promote to all Christians, young and old. 


→ If every believer in the Lord Jesus Christ (including me and you) would daily, moment by moment, align their thinking with both the Living Word and the written Word of God, we would never again have to look back and ask ourselves, “What in the world was I thinking?