Devotional: Anarchy vs. Truth

Stand, therefore,

with truth like a belt around your waist,
righteousness like armor on your chest,
(Ephesians 6:14 HCSB)

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Scout troop visiting our local police station to bring cookies and to pray.

One of my favorite settings is the Medieval era. The idea of knights and damsels in distress; men willing to risk their lives to save and protect a lady. There has always been those in society who risk their lives to save and protect. Today’s knights are our policemen and women and our firemen. Let’s not forget our military, too.

Our everyday life could be very different without these men and women. I picture a society of pure anarchy. Where no one is safe, especial women and children.

If we go back further in time to the Era when Rome was the ruling nation, we can look at the Roman soldier. That is the basis of Paul’s description of the armor of God. He used it because the people of Ephesus readily understood. A belt around a soldier’s waist did several things, it protected you from the waist down, held your double edge sword, and dagger.

Why call it the belt of truth? Consider what the truth is from Paul’s point of view.

  • God is real.
  • God loves everyone.
  • Jesus is God’s son.
  • Jesus died for everyone’s sin.
  • We all sin and do wrong.
  • Jesus has the power to wipe our sin away.
  • All we have to do is ask.

When we accept these truths, they become our protection. They wrap around us.

Paul knew these things to be true. He had a very real encounter with Jesus on the road to Damascus. I believe with all my heart that if anyone truthfully wants to know if God is real, all they have to do is ask with a believing heart for God to reveal Himself.

The world wants us to believe God isn’t real. Or, they question whether God really said something or really meant something. But, if we read our Bible, asking God to show us the truth, I believe he will.

Lord, thank you for your Son, Jesus. Thank you for his willingness to die for me. I praise you because you protect me from evil when I call on you and trust you.

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Devotional: The True Battle

For our battle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the world powers of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavens. This is why you must take up the full armor of God, so that you may be able to resist in the evil day, and having prepared everything, to take your stand. (Ephesians 6:12-13)

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FreeImages.com/dmitry belopolsky

When I read these verses, I am reminded of something that happened in 2 Kings 6, starting in verse 8. It is one of the many stories told about Elisha. He was a great prophet and God did many amazing things through him.

One day, the Aramean king wanted Elisha dead. He sent a massive army. When Elisha’s servant got up that morning, he saw the city surrounded. He was afraid and asked, “What are we to do?” Look at Elisha’s reply:

16Elisha said, “Don’t be afraid, for those who are with us outnumber those who are with them.”

If this prophet had said that to me I hope I would have been comforted, especially after seeing the many things he did. But, apparently, Elisha took his servants concerns very seriously. He prayed for the servant asking God for something specific:

17Then Elisha prayed, “Lord, please open his eyes and let him see.” He looked and saw that the mountain was covered with horses and chariots of fire all around Elisha.

Part of me thinks I would have been freaked out if I looked and saw horses and chariots literally on fire surrounding the army that was surrounding the city. I’m sure I’d find myself on my knees thanking God for being on my side.

The fact is, as a believer in Christ Jesus, I do have God on my side. Does that mean my life will be hunky-dory forever? No, certainly not. As I said last week, we go through trials to make us stronger, but, as a child of God, I have the assurance that God will take care of me and things will work out the way he wants.

Thank you, Lord, for taking care of me even when it doesn’t seem like life is going the way it should. I praise You because You are always in control.

Three Reasons I Help with VBS

Then Jesus said, “Leave the children alone, and don’t try to keep them from coming to Me, because the kingdom of heaven is made up of people like this.” (Matthew 19:14 HCSB)

IMG_2127Every year I help with Vacation Bible School at my church and in my parent’s church. Here are three reasons why:

  1. I teach the music. As you may know, I love music. I enjoy getting the children to see the connection between the words in the music and the lessons they learned in Bible study. I go over the Bible verse with them every day because, for some of them, it might be the only verse they will ever learn. Once learned, they have a piece of God to carry around with them forever. Maybe one day that verse will come to mind at a time they most need it.
  2. It gives children something to do. It gets them away from the television, the computer, and/or games: Xbox, PlayStation, or Wii. They get to do crafts, music, recreation and have a snack. Something many schools have eliminated. There’s a lot of planning involved, but if one child comes to know the Lord it is worth it.
  3. It lets children know that Jesus loves them. They are special and important to Him. And, they learn that He knows their name. For many children, it is the only time they are exposed to who Jesus is and why He was born. Over the years, I’ve heard stories of grownups who remember VBS from when they were a child. It always has had a positive impact on them.

In the above verse, people were bringing their children to Jesus to be blessed. The disciples tried to scold them and send them away. I suppose they thought Jesus was too important for children. I assume they had no children of their own at that point in their life. Still, it’s not much of an excuse.

As a result of their sending these parents away, Jesus scolded the disciples. Jesus knew then what analyst tell us now; over 80% of people became Christians when they’re a child or a young teenager.

Why is that do you suppose? Think back to when you were a child. Weren’t things simpler? Didn’t life seem easier back then? All you wanted to do is play, right? The truth is, becoming a Christian is easier to do when you are a child.

Let me put it to you in the VBS way:

  1. A—Admit to God you are a sinner. As a child, it’s easier because they aren’t prideful. We adults want to hang onto the delusion that we are “Good People” and that’s good enough for us. It’s not good enough for Jesus. “Good People” still make mistakes. We still misbehave. We still do wrong.
  2. B—Believe that Jesus is God’s Son. As a child, it’s easier because they still have hope and trust in things unseen. They believe in Santa Claus and the Easter Bunny because we tell them they are real. They believe us because we would never lie to them. Right? As we get older, we become less trusting. Most of the time because of experiences with others. Others, who are imperfect like us. Others, who make mistakes and misbehave, too. I am thankful that Jesus is perfect.
  3. C—Confess your faith in Jesus as Savior and Lord. As a child, it’s easier because they understand that they need help sometimes. They have parents to lean on. They understand that they are not the ones in control. They trust us. We, adults, have a hard time putting our trust in the help of others, much less in God, especially when He is unseen. We would rather do it by ourselves because, of course, we know what we want, how to do it, or what needs to be done. The path to Heaven is not a path that can be traveled alone. It must be done with faith in Jesus.

So, you see, it’s easier when you’re a child. They know they misbehave. They are trusting. They have faith. That is why Jesus said, “because the kingdom of heaven is made up of people like this.” (Matthew 19:14c HCSB)

I know it’s hard, as an adult, but try to relearn how to let go of pride, how to admit when you have done wrong, and how to trust again. You won’t regret it.

Lord, thank You, for letting me be a part of teaching children about you during VBS. I pray it will continue to be an outreach to children who would not be exposed to Your love otherwise.