Got Thought Protection?

Look at how many different sports require helmets to play. All the focus to protect the brain from injury. Physical injury is not the only thing that can hinder our thought processes, we have an enemy that loves to mess with our mind. He might try to get us distracted by making us too busy. He could use the attack making us feel that we aren’t good enough. It could be a major trial in our life and he just keeps attacking our thoughts that God really doesn’t care about you…  Like in this picture we can be going through the still waters in life and suddenly we hit the white waters of trials.

Although 1 Thessalonians 5 is talking about the when the Lord will return, I do believe that can also apply to everyday life. We go along when things are fine not really thinking about being blindsided by the enemy then we get an attack that can really shake our faith. In 1Peter 5:8 we warned to be on the alert, that means we don’t just go with the flow we are looking out for the next attack and ready for it to come.

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Interesting in that both 1Peter 5:8 and 1 Thessalonians 5:8, both remind us to be sober, on alert. We are not to sit back when things are going great but be ready, looking for the next attack. Not only looking but preparing for it.

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What better depiction of a breastplate and helmet than a football player. His chest protection to protect his lungs and heart. His helmet to protect his brain. In Ephesians 6:11, we are take up the armor of God. God has given us the armor that we need to fight the enemy but it does us no good if we do not act and put it on it will do us no good just like  this football player doesn’t put on his gear before a game will be unable to be any good to his team during the game. It is by praying daily do we put on the armor of God.

Both the breastplate and the helmet protect vital areas on us. In 1 Thessalonians, we see that the breastplate covers the heart where our emotions are. Faith and love go hand in hand. Faith is what holds on to love, and together keep they keep our emotions in check. Faith that God is in control so we don’t have to worry, stress, panic… over what is going on. The love of God ruling over our hearts gives us the ability to look at and reach out to those that we might not do on our own.

The helmet of the hope of salvation protects our thoughts. As we keep our thoughts on Jesus, we keep our focus on the foundation of our salvation. With a foundation based on the Rock it can’t be shaken and our hope no matter what helps us to be grounded in not only our thoughts but emotions. We must keep Jesus and His words in our mind by listening to music, reading the Bible and listening to the Word of God being in taught.

So daily don’t forget to start your day by putting on your protection to fight off the attacks.

 

 

 

the Hope for a hopeless world

Do you feel like that sunflower sometimes? The last petal holding on beyond anything to hope for. Living in this world can be extremely draining on one’s hope if it is not planted in the right place and not cultivated correctly.  Romans 5:2-5 tells us about how to grow our faith. Let’s take a close look at verses 2 and 5.

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Our hope is planted in the glory of God. So what is the glory of God? In Colossians 1:27, we see what the glory of God is,

To them God chose to make known how great among the Gentiles are the riches of the glory of this mystery, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory.

Christ Jesus, living in us is the hope of glory.  John Piper has defined this the best in his interview “What Is God’s Glory?”

Now when Isaiah 6:3 says that angels are crying: Holy, holy, holy is the Lord God almighty, the next thing they say is this: The whole earth is full of his…and you might have expected him to say holiness. And he doesn’t say holiness. He says glory.

Intrinsically holy, intrinsically holy, intrinsically holy and the whole earth is full of his glory from which I stab at a definition by saying the glory of God is the manifest beauty of his holiness. It is the going public of his holiness. It is the way he puts his holiness on display for people to apprehend. So the glory of God is the holiness of God made manifest.

The perfect example of God’s holiness was Jesus. Yet all around us, we see the holiness of God. From the mountains to the oceans, from the ants to the elephant, from the mustard seed to the giant redwood all show God’s holiness. Jesus was there when everything was created. He created us to and when we come to the saving faith in His grace that is when we find hope in His glory. There is no shame in this hope because it is the love of God which fills us through the Holy Spirit.

So how does our hope grow? It comes through trials. Let’s look at the verses 3 and 4, now.

 Not only that, but we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope,

Here we see the progression of how hope grows. We rejoice in our sufferings because they create endurance, in turn, endurance creates character which creates hope. Our hope grows when we are in trials. They make us hold on tighter to our hope in Jesus that He will get us through.

 

 

Where Will Your Faith Take You

Last summer my youngest son decided to take the biggest step of his 18-year-old life. He decided to go to Africa with the church’s mission team. Unsure where the money was coming from. When it came time for the deposit it was there. He raised the rest of the money and by his faith that God will provide he is leaving for Africa in February fully funded. What a testimony he has been to friends and family.

Likewise with all those who are listed in the Hall of Faith, Hebrews 11. I want to look at the last part of the chapter, starting with Moses. After having a talk with God at a bush that was burning but not being burnt up, having his rod turned into a snake and back into a rod when he picked it up by the tail, one could say his faith was built up. He had to have a lot of faith in what God had called him to do. He was a wanted man in Egypt and it wasn’t dead or alive, it was dead. He had to have faith that God would do something that would cause Pharoah to let the Hebrews go.

Then came time for the Hebrews faith to grow, as if the 10 plagues they just witness was not enough. They were not up against a rock and a hard place, they were against the Red Sea and possible death. Moses asked them to have faith and the Red Sea parted enabling them to walk on dry land to the other side. Imagine what would happen to your faith as you pass between two giant walls of water and the ground that was just covered by that water is dry.

You would think that the Hebrews would remember all that God had done for them and what walking through the Red Sea on dry land was like. You would think that their faith was so big they would no nothing is impossible with God. NOPE! Just as they approached the Promise Land they received a report 10 out of 12 spies trusted what they could do, only Joshua and Caleb had faith in what God could do. Because the Hebrews listened to the other 10 spies, who were not walking by faith but by sight, the Hebrews had to wonder in the wilderness for forty years.

Forty years later they are back with Joshua as the leader ready to go into the Promise Land, only the Jordan River is a flood stage. Yet when the priests’ feet touched the water it stopped flowing and they walked across on dry land again. What a reminder to their faith! What God saw did for the generation before He did for them. They really needed to know that God is still with them and had not changed. Their next step of faith will be hard. One doesn’t just march around a city 6 days and on the 7th marching 7 times around the city and then stopping and blowing horns. How foolish they must have looked to the people of Jericho, who had heard the stories of how they defeated everyone that they had gone up with and yet as they hid behind their locked gated walls nothing happened for 6 days,  since when did shouting become a form of battle?

There was one citizen who having heard all that God had done for the Hebrews found her placing her faith in Him. She believed before the spies even came that the God of the Hebrews was the one true God. Her faith caused her to go against the king of Jericho by hiding the spies and sending the men of Jericho in the opposite direction she sent the Hebrews spies. She had so much faith that when the Hebrews started marching around the city she gathered her family in her house that they may be saved to. Her faith led her and her family to a new life with new people.

Where is your faith taking you? Is it somewhere that you are not welcomed, to be a leader when you feel like that isn’t you, to trust Him to make His way known to you, to do something that looks totally foolish in doing so, trust Him with your life and the lives of your family, or to go on a mission trip?

Things Not Seen

Back in Genesis 1, we read that God spoke things into being. In Genesis 1:3, God spoke and light was created. As you continue to read  Genesis 1, everything was spoken into creation, except man. Man, however, was made from what was created by sound waves.

Now that we have that established let’s look at Hebrews 11:3;

By faith [that is, with an inherent trust and enduring confidence in the power, wisdom and goodness of God] we understand that the worlds (universe, ages) were framed and created [formed, put in order, and equipped for their intended purpose] by the word of God, so that what is seen was not made out of things which are visible. AMP

 By faith we understand that the universe was created by the word of God, so that what is seen was not made out of things that are visible.  ESV

By faith we understand that the entire universe was formed at God’s command, that what we now see did not come from anything that can be seen. NLT

By faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God, so that the things which are seen were not made of things which are visible. NKJ

It is our faith that we believe what was said in Genesis 1, God spoke everything into being. So the first part of verse 3 is easy to grab. Let’s look closer at the last part. We can’t see our words when we speak them yet the vibration goes out of our mouths, through the air until it hits the eardrum of someone else. The louder it is the farther it will go.

Have you ever been in a conversation, putting it nicely, where you try to outmatch the loudness that you the other person you are talking too? The thing with waves is that the larger wave will cancel out the smaller wave.  Yet, when God spoke the stars into the sky there was nothing to stop that sound wave. It has gone for billion of light years. Check out Louie Giglio’s message How Great Is Our God.

So that isn’t so hard to understand, the only way to explain the second part of the verse, “…so the things which are seen were not made of things which are visible.” What about the sound wave that created Oxygen, Hydrogen, or the one that combined the two to make water? We all know the atom diagrams that we had to draw in Chemistry, with the neutrons, protons, and electrons. You can still see that with a special microscope. Bruce Lipton, in his book The Biology Of Belief, talks about Quantum Physics.

Quantum physicists discovered that the physical atoms are made up of vortices of energy that are constantly spinning and vibrating; each atom is like a wobbly spinning top that radiates energy. – So every material structure in the universe, including you and me, radiates a unique energy signature.

You might say that this is a secular book and full of nonsense. Fine then let’s look at another example from Louie Giglio where he is talking about the same type of thing but with the stars in Mashup of Stars and Whales Singing God’s Praise. God shows us through the stars the same thing that goes on with the atoms.

Marvel comics goes into the realm of Quantum Physics in the movie “Ant-Man“. In the scene where he shrinks smaller than the atom.

There is nothing big or strong enough to cancel out God’s spoken word. Betelgeuse alone shows how far His word has spread in the universe from when He spoke the stars into existence.