Category Archives: Faith

Psalm 51 Bible Study

Are you looking for a Bible study to teach or to work on yourself?

Below you will find a Bible study on Psalm 51 that can be worked on at any time. By studying straight from the Bible, my prayer is that you will discover spiritual truth and direction in your life or in the lives of others.

BIBLE STUDY TEXT: PSALM 51 (NASB)

Read 2 Samuel 11:1-27 and 2 Samuel 12:1-25 for background information about King David’s sin and Nathan’s rebuke of him. This will enhance your understanding of the Bible study lesson.

A few years ago, a man wrote to Dear Abby needing help. The article titled, “Dear Abby, Guilt over affair leaves husband thinking of suicide.” This man had been married for 19 years and had two children. He fooled around, convincing himself that the women knew what they were doing and that he never promised them anything. His affairs became public, and his reputation was in ruins. He asked “Dear Abby” to provide a solution. He signed off calling himself Shattered in Louisiana. ¹

We find a similar real-life story in the fourth and most well-known penitential psalm, Psalm 51. Penitential psalms are psalms that express deep sorrow leading to a person’s true repentance of sin. Most scholars claim that King David wrote this psalm, or if not, by someone who knew the extent of the deep suffering he experienced. This prayer psalm was written after Nathan, the prophet, confronted David about his sin of adultery with Bathsheba and the murder of her husband, Uriah. King David was on his palace rooftop when many say he should have been with his men in battle. He looks out and sees Bathsheba bathing. He asks his men to fetch her and bring her back to the palace, where he has sex with her. She becomes pregnant. David arranges for her husband to come home from battle, anticipating that he will sleep with her and then he would take the responsibility of fatherhood. However, being an honorable man, Uriah does not go into Bathsheba and camps in tents away from her presence. David arranges for Uriah to be killed in battle. [1]

  1. As a married woman, what do these two stories speak to you about being faithful in marriage?

KING DAVID’S CALL FOR MERCY, FORGIVENESS, REPENTANCE, AND CLEANSING. Read Psalm 51:1-2.

The King James Version uses the word mercy to describe what David wants from God. He is crying out to God for help. David’s goal is for God to blot out his sin, so he can be cleansed and resume fellowship with Him. To grasp how the Bible looks at blotting, cleansing, and washing away sins, refer to Isaiah 43:25, Leviticus 11:32, and Isaiah 1:18, respectively. He is aware that he willfully rebelled against God and is grieved. David is ready to confess his sin and have fellowship with God again. Today, our sins are covered by Jesus’ death on the cross.

  1. Describe a time you reached a breaking point, and you called out to God for forgiveness?

RECOGNITION OF SIN. Read Psalm 51:3-6.

David begins to openly concede he has sinned. In verse 3, David acknowledges that his sin is “ever before me.” Although he knows his sin was towards Bathsheba, Uriah, and the entire nation of Israel, he is addressing his grave sin toward God. His sin against the LORD was the most offensive. David shows his seriousness when talking of his sin by calling it EVIL.

  1. What does David’s example teach us about the seriousness of sin?

In verse 5, David is now ready to accept whatever judgment God may choose for him. David recognizes that he was born in sin in verse 5. He is not using that as an excuse for his sin, but he acknowledges that he is human. All humankind has a sinful nature within them. Here it is important that one mustn’t think David is criticizing conception or birth, but that he is just conversing with God regarding what he understands about human nature. Moving to verse 6, we find David wanting God’s truth to be within his innermost being.

In the Compact Bible Commentary, the inward parts are described as “a rare word in the Hebrew Bible, indicating something clouded over, difficult for anyone to see but God.” ² David trusted God so much that he does not mind God searching for his innermost being. These verses conclude with David desiring wisdom—God’s wisdom. [2][3]

  1. In James 1:5, what does James say we should do if we lack wisdom?

PURIFICATION, HYSSOP, SNOW, AND BONES. Read Psalm 51:7-9.

These verses contain the phrases, “purify me, wash me, make me hear joy and gladness, let my broken bones rejoice, and hide thy face from my sins.” David is pleading for cleansing from his sin. Verse 7 mentions hyssop. Hyssop was a bush whose stems were dipped in blood or water and then sprinkled on people who needed cleansing. See Leviticus 14:4 and Numbers 19:6. Ceremonial hyssop was used on lepers and others during this period. Today, we receive our cleansing from the mighty blood of Jesus Christ. David desires true repentance and pleads for a clean heart—one that will wash him, make him joyful, and heal him. He wants his life to be as white as snow. When a person accepts Christ, there are testimonies of how they feel so clean and pure inside. That is David’s desire to have his life like that again. He also wants his sins hidden from the LORD. Verse 8 is intriguing. David declares how his sin has affected his eyes and bones. It is easy to deduce that more had been affected as well. Keep in mind that when we sin, our sin does affect us. We can become depressed, ill, and even suicidal. We should take a special interest in caring for our friends and loved ones if we see their destructive behavior. Verse 9 circles back around to David desiring God to blot out his sin. (See Psalm 51:1) This repetition shows that David really is serious about repenting of all his sin.

  1. What matters most in David’s life at this point is God’s forgiveness. What matters most in your life, and how is God intertwined in the matter?

CENTRAL VERSE EXPRESSING THE HEART OF DAVID. Read Psalm 51:10-12.

The central verse (theological principle) in this Bible study comes in Psalm 51:10 when David says, “Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me.” David desires to be renewed, restored, and transformed. In verse 10, the word create is the same word used in Genesis 1:1, which states, “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.” God in His power called the world into being, and God in his power can cleanse David from his agonizing sin. David wants a new heart and a new spirit. He recognizes that he cannot do this by himself. It is up to God. We see God cleansing Israel and giving Israel a new heart and spirit in Ezekiel 36:25-27. This concept is very similar to Psalm 51 where it speaks of sprinkling water on the Israelites for cleansing, giving them a new heart and a new spirit, and allowing them to walk in His ways again. David wants to be in God’s presence again when he says he does not want to be cast from God’s presence in verse 11. He wants God’s Spirit, and he is ready to do the Lord’s will. In our life, we do not want to quench the Holy Spirit (1 Thessalonians 5:19). Striving to keep ourselves clean from sin is necessary for God’s Holy Spirit to move in our lives and keep us from temptation. Compare to Acts 15:8-9.

  1. While the LORD did forgive David, there were still consequences to his sin, one being the death of his son when he was 7-days old. (2 Samuel 12:18) What outcomes have you seen in your or other peoples’ lives due to sin?

Verse 12 speaks of regaining the joy of one’s salvation. David wants that “feeling” of purity and love for God back into his life. He wants it to be a sustainable feeling as well. He does not want to lose fellowship with his LORD again.

  1. Describe a time you or someone you know lost fellowship with God but then had it restored.

SINNERS CONVERTED, RIGHTEOUSNESS DELIVERED, RIGHTEOUS SACRIFICE, AND A BROKEN AND CONTRITE HEART. Read Psalm 51: 13-17.

In verses 13-15, David expresses his desire to be of service to God. He wants to teach others (sinners) and take what he has experienced and learned to help others. He wants to see people restored as he had been. It is a glorious event when we see others offering themselves up to serve God. Romans 5:20b eloquently states, “but where sin increased, grace abounded all the more.” David recognized his sin, and now that he has experienced restoration, he wanted to share God’s righteousness with others. Verse 14 speaks, delivering David from bloodguiltiness. Scholars believe this refers to Uriah’s blood. David experienced forgiveness for all his sins. He got right with God.

  1. What does God call David in Psalm 51:14?
  2. Have you ever experienced God’s gift of salvation? Would you like to share your salvation testimony with the class?

DELIGHT IN GOD. Read Psalm 51: 18-19.

When we look at verses 18 and 19, David is longing for God’s security. This is what he is referring to when he says, “Build the walls of Jerusalem” The walls were to be a security to God’s holy city, and that is how he wants his heart to be—secure in His LORD and to delight in Him. David gave God the sacrifice He desired, his heart. He is ready to be “the man after God’s own heart” that many call him today.

  1. Where can we find our security in God?

APPLYING THE TEXT.

· God is gracious and compassionate; therefore, when we repent, He forgives and cleanses us.

· Sin is serious and destructive.

· We must cry out to God to create a clean heart in us.

· God desires a broken and contrite heart from us.

· Once true repentance occurs, we are restored and able to delight in the Lord, our God.

CONCLUSION: REMEMBER THE MAN IN ADULTERY. Read Psalm 51:17.

At the beginning of this study, a man asked Dear Abby for advice on dealing with his guilt over affairs, leaving him thinking of suicide. Dear Abby’s answer was purposely not shared. There is only one solution for this man. It is to follow King David’s path calling on the LORD to wash him, cleanse him, and seek repentance in Jesus Christ. Then, in God’s grace, he will become pure. His broken spirit can be healed, and he can face life with a renewed heart and spirit. If not, he will remain Shattered in Louisiana.

PRAYER

Dear Heavenly Father.

Thank you for washing me clean when I transgress against You. Lead me away from sin. Give me wisdom so that I can live with a pure heart. Keep my spirit steadfast in You. Lord, I want to be in Your presence always. Let me sing Your praises. Give me a broken and contrite heart so that I can praise You always.

In Christ Alone, Amen.

God bless,

Bibliography

Carson, D.A., R.T. France, J.A. Motyer, and G.J. Wenham, eds. New Bible Commentary. Downsers
Grove: Intervarsity, 1994.

Hays, J. Daniel and J. Scott Duvall, eds. The Baker Illustrated Bible Handbook. Grand Rapids: Baker
Books, 2011.

Hill, Andrew E. and John H. Walton, A Survey of the Old Testament. Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2002.

Pfeiffer, Charles F. and Everett F. Harrison, eds. The Wycliffe Bible Commentary. Chicago: Moody
Press, 1962.

Radmacher, Earl, Ron Allen, H. Wayne House. Compact Bible Commentary. Nashville: Thomas Nelson,

Van Buren, Abagail, "Dear Abby: Guilt over affair leaves husband thinking of suicide," Accessed 4
October, 2021.

https://www.mrt.com/news/article/DEAR-ABBY-Guilt-over-affair-leaves-husband-7477821.php.

Wiersbe, Warren. The Bible Exposition Bible: Old Testament, Job—Song of Solomon. Colorado Springs,
David C. Cook, 2004.

[1]Van Buren, Abagail, “Dear Abby: Guilt over affair leaves husband thinking of suicide,” Accessed 4 October, 2021, https://www.mrt.com/news/article/DEAR-ABBY-Guilt-over-affair-leaves-husband-7477821.php.

[2]Radmacher, Earl, Ron Allen, H. Wayne House, Compact Bible Commentary, Nashville: Thomas Nelson, 2004. 378.

Permission: I, Patti Greene, am the copyright owner of the above material titled Psalm 51: Bible Study. I consent to use this material with the expressed purpose of individual or group Bible Study only. Please give credit to the author by including: “Written by Patti Greene @ GreenePastures.org  for use in Bible studies only.”

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Books by Patti Greene (Great for Christmas Gifts!)

  • Awaken Me – Devotional Workbook
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Bible Reading Plans and Tips

Bible Reading Plans and Tips

Wishing you a “Happy New Year!”

Let me end this year by encouraging you to choose a Bible reading plan and read the Bible through in 2021. You will never regret soaking up the Word of God.

Below is a link with many different plans you can chose from. Choose one that suits you best and go for it!

Top 14 Best Bible Reading Plans – 2023

Also, here are a few tips that I have learned over the years.

1. Skip over the Bible genealogy you can’t pronounce. [At this point, knowing there’s a genealogy is enough for now, especially if this is your first read-through.]

2. Read with a pen, highlighter and notebook nearby to write down verses, questions, or things you want to look up later.

3. It is okay to read ahead. There will be days you will miss.

4. If possible, find a friend to read along with you on the same plan. [This way you will have a comrade to share with.]

5. Don’t be discouraged if you lag behind. Keep at it. So what if it takes you 1 1/2 or 2+ years to finish?

6. If you are reading a book for your Bible study class or group, count it. When you get to that book, you will be happy to have some catch-up time.

7. If you are in a plan where you are reading the entire Old Testament at once, give yourself permission to stop and read something in the New Testament.

8. Share meaningful verses with your friends and family.

9. Look for God’s sense of humor as you read. For example, today I did something rather “stupid” and the next thing I read (in my plan) was in Matthew 11:4. It said, “Go and report to John what you hear and see.”

Yikes, John is my husband’s name! I laughed when I read that. I still haven’t told him, but I will when he wakes up!!!

Best wishes and again, have a blessed 2021!

And please share this article with your friends and family!

God Bless,

greenenpastures.org

Sacred Snippet: Tree Trimmers

As I watched a crew of tree trimmers pruning the trees in my yard, there was one designated man whose job it was to place ropes securely around himself and climb into the inner portion of the tree to trim the branches that were high and unreachable to the other crew members. Without a doubt, this man–I feel sure—had been meticulously trained on how to use the saws and climbing gear properly.

I held my breath as this man stood on the tree limbs—convinced some would be too weak to hold him.

But then, I froze when I saw him slip a few feet down the limb. Only I WAS FEARFUL. He was not. He was confident because he had ropes holding him securely fastened in case of a fall.

He trusted in the ropes.

Watching him, I was reminded how many times we slip in our Christian walk, i.e. gossip, jealousy, critical spirit, and more.

But we have a God who, just like the ropes, holds us securely in place.

However, first, we must trust Christ to be assured of His full protection.

We do that by believing in Jesus Christ.

Then, we can lean on Him, securely aware He is our protector, and that He holds us securely in His arms.

In the Bible, ropes were used both for positive and negative purposes. On the positive side, ropes were used for . . .

  1. Support

After they had hoisted it up, they used supporting cables in undergirding the ship; and fearing that they might run aground on the shallows of Syrtis, they let down the sea anchor and in this way let themselves be driven along. (Acts 27:17)

  1. An escape

So, Michal let David down through a window, and he went out and fled and escaped. (1 Samuel 19:12)

  1. A reminder of God’s commandments

You shall, therefore, impress these words of mine on your heart and on your soul; and you shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontals on your forehead. (Deuteronomy 11:18)

Let us choose today to allow God’s “ropes” to give us His confidence during our times of need!

God Bless,

CDC Advises Everyone to Wear Face Masks in Public – Time Sensitive Offer!

CLICK HERE TO VIEW AND ORDER FACE MASKS.

As I pondered the new patriotic fabric bolts in my closet, I began speculating that instead of keeping my feet up relaxing during this pandemic—maybe, just maybe—it was time to put my feet to the pedal.

But, “How Lord?”

Honestly, I was quite comfortable sitting on my couch in my own home during my city’s stay-at-home advisory.

After a short while, with some prayer and the Holy Spirit promptings, I was impressed to make/have made face masks! A lot of face masks—like using all my fabric which totaled about 1,500+ face masks.

”What Lord? That’s crazy!” I responded.

“Why Lord?” “Obedience Patti,” He responded. Of course, I just heard  “JUST DO IT!” Hmm.

“When Lord?” “Immediately,” he declared.

The Path

I have been on this path before, and I know to obey God is always the best route to follow—even if it sounds absurd.

“But Lord, 1,500+ face masks? Are you sure?” No response!

We might not always understand what God is asking us to do or why He is asking us to do it, but such a large quantity became our goal.

I might note, I still don’t know why and I might never know.

I am just hoping I don’t end up with that many face masks hidden in my closet for my children to figure out what to do with them when my day comes!

CLICK HERE TO VIEW AND ORDER FACE MASKS.

Learning to Follow

Learning to follow the Lord’s promptings has led me to some crazy ministry ideas, i.e. allowing my son to miss Vacation Bible School so he could “take care of his gerbil named Pizza”; driving around an apartment complex writing down pithy bumper sticker expressions for our education minister and more.

This face mask idea may be one of these crazy ministry ideas to add to my list! We shall see. But, it stemmed from desiring to be obedient to the Lord. Sometimes I obey reluctantly rather than obeying immediately. This might be the case here since I feel I am a week later than I should be in selling face masks—my sew(er) even said so.

So, after a week of speculating, there wasn’t any question that I should obey the prompting, and for that reason, Greene Pastures Shop has created eight different kinds of patriotic face masks. Getting this many face masks manufactured and creating an online store within a week was a monumental task.

It is only appropriate to thank my husband for his unfailing support and technical expertise. He’s been on this road with me before. Some people may call it creative, but we call it “Patti’s crazy ministry ideas.”

Face Mask Description

3- Pack Swirling Stars Face Masks

  • Masks follow CDC Guidelines
  • Triple-layer protection; 100% cotton fabric (front), middle filter barrier, and 65% cotton polyester/35% cotton fabric (back); 8.5 x 4.5″ finished pleated product; 8.5 x7″ when open.
  • Filter Pocket includes 1 MERV 13 filter. MERV 13 filters are high-quality filters that fight dust & lint, dust mites, pet dander, cough & sneezes, bacteria, pollen, mold, smog, smoke, and viruses; Filters are not reusable and cannot be washed
  • Covers nose, mouth, and lower face with a comfortable, moldable nose bridge
  • Packets of 3 reusable MERV13  filters can be purchased
  • Made in the U.S.A. Ships from Houston, Texas

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  • Each mask comes individually wrapped; Wash in warm water and dry line
  • Sold in a set of 3
  • DISCLAIMER: Wearing this mask will not guarantee immunity to any virus (including Covid-19) and should only be viewed as a preventative measure. These face coverings are not surgical masks or N-95 respirators. Those are critical supplies that must continue to be reserved for healthcare workers and other medical first responders as recommended by current CDC guidance.

Shipping and Tax

  • Free Standard Shipping by USPS Priority Mail; Tax included in price

Face Mask Order Information

I hope you will consider purchasing a set of these masks. Help me not to feel so crazy!

(Hint: When ordering a mask, you must put something in the address field that asks for your apartment/unit number. Just put N/A or something. We did good technical-wise, but getting rid of that field was one task we could not figure out.)

CLICK HERE TO VIEW AND ORDER FACE MASKS.

COVID-19 BLOG LINKS

And if you haven’t read my Coronavirus blogs yet, I hope you do soon.

COVID-19: It’s Time to Take God’s Word to Heart [Part 1]

COVID-19: It’s Time to Take God’s Word and Prayer to Heart [Part 2]

Are We There Yet? How Much Longer? [Part 3]

And looking forward, a new blog is coming soon by Guest Blogger Ellsworth Johnson and it is terrific. Keep your eyes open for it.

greenenpastures.org

Bible Verses

So the Lord commanded us to observe all these statutes, to fear the Lord our God for our good always and for our survival, as it is today.  (Deuteronomy 6:24)

Samuel said,
“Has the Lord as much delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices
As in obeying the voice of the Lord?
Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice,
And to heed than the fat of rams. (1 Samuel 15:22)

For as through the one man’s disobedience, the many were made sinners, even so through the obedience of the One the many will be made righteous. (Romans 5:19)

Prayer

Dear Heavenly Father,

You are loved. I love You so much.

We are all facing this COVID-19 season from different viewpoints and circumstances. You are here for each one of us.

Nonetheless, it is my privilege to know that You know what I am going through right now. You created me in my mother’s womb, and You know me better than anyone else. Help me to see this time from Your perspective. Let me be grateful when struggling and when at peace. Show me my sins. Let me honor You as I seek Your will. I want to surrender my life to You no matter what the predicaments I find myself in. Give me wisdom as I pray for others. Place the names of those who need prayer upon my heart. And Lord, let me obey You without question even if You lead me to do crazy things. Let me confirm through Your Word, prayer and the protection You have given me thus far, the path You have for my life. Thank you, Lord.

In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

 

“Your Mission, Should You Decide to Accept It . . .”

 

MISSION: IMPOSSIBLE

Any child of the 1960s will recognize those words, intoned from a clandestinely placed tape recorder each week as Jim Phelps calmly accepted one dangerous and logistically challenging assignment after another on the ironically titled TV spy series “Mission: Impossible”.

Phelps always accepted the mission, and never failed in his efforts!

We as Christians are given the Great Commission by Jesus Christ, a “mission” He urges us to accept. Like on the TV show we have great latitude in determining where, when and how we undertake this objective, as well as who will help with bringing it about.

Our success rate will probably be less than 100%, at least in our estimation, but the important thing is that we, at some point, in some way, “accept the mission”. – Ed.

Off to Belize City, Belize

In 1989, I boarded a plane with my husband and off we went from Houston, Texas on our first mission trip to Belize City, Belize, Central America. Our sleeping arrangements involved single bunk beds on a cement floor in the dank basement of a missionary couple’s home. Roaches flew by as I tried to fall asleep, and I recall the exact words I said to my husband: “How in the world could you take me to this God-forsaken place?” Of course, as I look back, it was mostly the cockroaches that invoked this question, which was more a declaration of my mental state at the time.

As I think about my comment, I realize that missions and evangelism are all about bringing the Gospel of Jesus Christ to “God-forsaken places” like this one but with my first experience, I could not get beyond the “cockroach mentality” and my disdain for the creatures. Fortunately, in time, I was blessed by many of the lovely people I met on my subsequent trips to Belize. Praise God!

Bible Verse

Matthew 28:18-20 (ESV) implores us to “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”

While some are called to give up money and their livelihood to follow the Great Commission, others will be called to a different mission, purpose, or place. What is important is to seek out God’s individual plan for our lives, and to obey His direction at every stage.

From a United States Citizen’s Perspective

As a resident of the United States, it is sometimes difficult to even imagine the poverty some people live in daily in other parts of the world. It is hard to conceive of worshipping in a run-down shack without air conditioning or sanitation. A.W. Tozer, a self-taught theologian, and a fearless preacher said, “Evangelical Christianity is now tragically below the New Testament standard. Worldliness is an accepted fact of our way of life. Our religious mood is social instead of spiritual.” ¹ We are now seeing churches sporting cafés, movie theaters, gymnasiums, and even local fashion shows.

For those reading this who are from an “advanced” country, have you ever considered that the reason we have been blessed with such relative abundance may be so that we can give generously to the cause of evangelism, rather than to our pleasures and wants? While many are trusting God in total dependency in living out their calling, so many others (even believers) have little regard for the Gospel of Jesus Christ and have become so “ME-centered” that the Lord hardly even seems present in their lives other than an occasional church service or a cursory glance at the Bible.

Satan’s Perspective

It is important to remember that Satan does not want us to be involved in any missionary or evangelical endeavor. Period! His desire is for us to either stay neutral on the subject or to become more centered in our own lives so that they revolve around us, and what makes us happy, rather than around the lives of others.

Sometimes those in mission work get so discouraged seeing so few showing an interest in their Christian beliefs or evangelism. This is another way our enemy seeks to degrade work done for the Kingdom, by attacking not only the missionary (through discouragement) but the supporter as well (through apathy, sloth and other distracters).

God’s Purpose

Regardless, God’s purposes will always be fulfilled. Even today, we can see the Holy Spirit operating around the world in many different nations. Many are coming to accept Christ where the Gospel has never been preached before. Salvations are occurring despite witchcraft, demonic influences, and secular rites and rituals. People are accepting Jesus Christ despite the fear of imprisonment, the fear of beheading, and the fear of being ostracized.

It is happening because of the prayers of believers. Maybe you are praying for a missionary, a specific country, a mission trip, or donating to help others participate in the Great Commission. If so, you are part of a wonderful opportunity by allowing the Holy Spirit to use you in His work.

As we pray for souls to be saved, let us remember the profound words of South African writer, teacher, and Christian pastor Andrew Murray. In Pray for the World, Murray is quoted saying, “Beware in your prayers, above everything else, of limiting God, not only by unbelief but by fancying that you know what He can do. Expect unexpected things, above all that we ask or think.” ² God does work in mysterious ways!

Advancing the Cause of Jesus Christ

Below are some ideas on how we can advance the cause of Jesus Christ. They are listed in alphabetical order, but all are worthy of equal consideration to the same degree.

  1. Adopt and pray for a country. Ask the Lord for the Holy Spirit to seek out the lost and lead them to Him­­;
  2. Be obedient to whatever or wherever the Lord leads;
  3. Befriend a person(s) from a different culture or country;
  4. Have a “missions fair” at your church.
  5. Participate in a mission trip – local or foreign;
  6. Provide mission-centered training in your church or organization;
  7. Research your country. Learn as much as you can about the culture, land, religion, livelihood, population, ethnic groups, economy, literacy, languages, education, and more. [This is a nice family activity to do.]
  8. Seek out opportunities for involvement.

What Happened Because We “Accepted The Mission”

Because we accepted the Great Commission and journeyed to Belize, we were able to be witnesses for Jesus Christ to the Belizean people. My husband John, our three children (ages 8, 6 and 4 at the time) and I spent our time in the Central American nation becoming lifelong friends with our hosts, Pastor Tony of Punta Gorda Baptist Church and his family, as well as other members of the local community. Fortunately, we still communicate with Tony’s adult children to this day.

John preached his first sermon there. I helped design the layout for a bookstore. Most importantly, John worked with the Southern Baptist Mission Board and trained Tony in the process of him becoming a fully-ordained pastor.

We ministered to Tony and his family well beyond that trip to Belize. When Tony developed kidney disease due to his uncontrollable diabetes, we let him stay at our home in St. Louis. Later, John arranged for him to get into a program at a downtown Houston hospital. At the time, dialysis was unavailable in Punta Gorda, and as a result, he had to travel regularly the 167 miles to Belize City for treatment, so we brought Tony here to the United States for more focused medical care.

Remember what I said earlier about the reason for having abundance is to share it with others? Recall that Luke tells us, “everyone to whom much was given, of [Him] much will be required. (Luke 12:48 ESV). We gave Tony and his family cars. We paid for their youngest daughter’s high school education. Some people might call my telling you this “braggy”, but I simply say it’s the kind of thing our Lord expects of us.

In sustaining the pastor and his family, we, in fact, supported the spreading of the Word by removing obstacles and distractions which would otherwise have hindered its free flow. That, above all other blessings we have been able to provide, is the most enduring.

Sadly, diabetes ended up taking Tony’s life, but his desire and work to bring the Word of God to the people of Belize lives on.

What I Learned on Our Mission Trips to Belize

Going to Belize was my first mission trip. It was “eye-opening—except when I closed my eyes to avoid those huge cockroaches at night. I learned I could do without my eyeliner and my eyelet bedspread.

But what I couldn’t avoid was the eyesore of poverty that confronted me every day. After urinating in a dirt hole in the ground, I was thankful for an outside toilet. After watching seven-and eight-year-old boys steal in order to purchase food, I was thankful we had enough to feed our own children. After seeing the native Belizeans shop at different grocery stores based on their political parties, I was thankful for our relatively stable public life in this country.

Secure in Their Faith

However, what amazed me the most was that the native Christians I met were solid and secure in their faith. They possessed a faith that I had never seen before. Their walk with the Lord was so evident by the fruits in their life, i.e. love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, and self-control (Gal. 5:22-23). I saw that they HAD TO depend on their relationship with God to sustain them for food, water, shelter, and more.

The churches we visited had pastors that cared that people accepted the gift of salvation. They preached with a firm voice as if it might be their last time to preach—and knowing the violence that surrounded them (at least in Belize City), any preaching experience very well could have been their last!

In all, my husband John has made ten trips to Belize. I myself have been along on three of those journeys. We keep “accepting the mission”, because, as long as there are unsaved people walking the Earth, it never ends…

Conclusion

Evil is abounding right now in every corner of the world. Let’s increase our faith, shape our Christian ministries, and pray sincerely for the Holy Spirit to be a mighty force in reaching the world for Christ. And let’s remind ourselves that God desires salvation for ALL people – even those in “God-forsaken” countries!

Bible Verses:

For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life. For God did not send the Son into the world to judge the world, but that the world might be saved through Him. (John 3:16-17)

But you, be sober in all things, endure hardship, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry. (2 Timothy 4:5)

For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation to all men, instructing us to deny ungodliness and worldly desires and to live sensibly, righteously and godly in the present age, looking for the blessed hope and the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Christ Jesus, who gave Himself for us to redeem us from every lawless deed, and to purify for Himself a people for His own possession, zealous for good deeds. (Titus 2:11-14)

Prayer:

Lord Jesus. Thank you for my salvation through Jesus Christ. Lord, please soften my heart so I am more sensitive to the eternal and spiritual needs of others. Let me pray for the Holy Spirit to gently guide me to the purposes and callings You have already planned for me. Provide opportunities for me to see through Your eyes and give me the courage and willingness to respond. In Your name, I pray. Amen.

Central Houston Inspirational Writers Alive! Associate Member; BibleGateway Blogger, Member; SBC, Church Member

Edited by E. Johnson.

Works Cited

¹ Tozer, A.W. “The Swamps of Low-Grade Christianity.” Global Christian Center. Web. Accessed 7 Oct 2019. https://globalchristiancenter.com/devotions/morning-muse/33922-the-swamps-of-low-grade-christianity.

² Murray, Andrew. “Andrew Murray Quote about #Everything, #Beware, #Prayer, Unbelief.” All Christian Quotes. Web. Accessed 7 Oct 2019. https://www.allchristianquotes.org/quotes/Andrew_Murray/141/

New American Standard Bible. BibleGateway.com. Web. 16 Oct 2019.

All Bible verses are from the New American Standard Bible unless otherwise noted.

Bible Gateway Bloggers
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Patti Greene is a fun-loving (but serious) coffee drinking wife, mom, and Grammi! She serves as a Bible teacher and Sunday School helper in her home church where her husband also teaches in Katy, Texas. She writes and speaks with the sole purpose of leading and maturing others in Jesus Christ and His everlasting love. To receive blogs from GreenePastures.org delivered straight to your email, please email her at Patti@GreenePastures.org with your email address, and you will be added to the email listing. You will need to confirm your decision to be added to the blog by email. You can also catch up with her on her Twitter feed at (@PattiGreene13) or her Facebook Patti Greene-Pastures page at (https://www.facebook.com/author.greene).

Books by Patti Greene [Order today for Christmas]

Christian Caregiving

Christian Caregiving: Practical Advice for a Happy Ending

Devotional Prayer Journals

Answer Me: Developing a Heart for Prayer

Anchor Me: Laying a Foundation in Bible Study and Prayer

Awaken Me: Growing Deeper in Bible Study and Prayer

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What Everybody Ought to Know About Spiritual Warfare

Spiritual Warfare—An Introduction

What is Spiritual Warfare?

Spiritual warfare is the struggle between spiritual principalities and our human weakness—evil vs. good!

For our spiritual well-being, there are many lessons in the Bible which Christ-followers should be mindful. Lessons abound such as how to manage money, how to pray, how to grow from babes in Christ into mature Christians, and more.

In this article, we will be looking at one vital lesson: Combating sin before it begins! And that usually involves believers engaging in some level of SPIRITUAL WARFARE. We will learn how spiritual warfare operates in the lives of Christ-followers and how to face the battles when they come upon us. In understanding how to contend with the struggle between good and evil, knowledge of the following terms or phrases are requisites: spiritual warfare; the adversary—Satan and his demons; testing, trials, and temptation; and Jesus Christ—our mediator. This exposé will address spiritual warfare and how to overcome the temptation to sin.

Books, articles, and sermons have been written on the topic of spiritual warfare, and in many of these works, authoritative figures discuss the difficulty of sharing this topic. It is difficult because Satan does not want believers to be aware of his schemes and tactics.

This article is no different. There have been multiple roadblocks in preparing this article—time constraints, issues with unworthiness, and fighting spiritual warfare myself. I prayed extensively, read God’s Word for hours, and fought the fear of misspeaking. My notes and drafts for this article have been on the shelf, off the shelf, back on the shelf. If I misspeak, I apologize. I know many different opinions abound on the topic of “spiritual warfare.” But, now I am ready to “bite the bullet” and push the “publish” button. Happy reading.

My Dangriga Story

Back in 1992, my husband and I, along with our children—ages 2, 4, and 6—were traveling in an old dilapidated school bus through the country of Belize. Our eight-hour bus trip originated in Belize City and the final destination was to be Punta Gorda—a poor seacoast city in Southern Belize. Midway through our journey, about 20 miles outside of the city of Dangriga, an extremely evil presence fell upon me. The closer we came to the city, the stronger this presence felt.

Around nine o’clock in the evening, the bus stopped for a short break in Dangriga. My daughter and I had to use the restroom but to get there the family had to split up since the men’s facilities were behind where the bus stopped. Unfortunately, my daughter Jennifer and I had to cross a wide, pitch-black deserted street. Being frightened by the eeriness and evilness of the town, I tightly held six-year-old Jennifer’s hand. The atmosphere exuded danger and wickedness. Being weighed down by oppression I had never felt before, I feared an attack on our lives. I was terrified we would never make it back to the bus after our jaunt to the toilet. While in the dark stand-alone structure, I began to whisper the name of Jesus over and over in my mind. Notice I did not call on the name of Jesus verbally; I was too petrified to draw any attention to ourselves.

After crossing the street and making our way back to the bus, Jennifer and I mounted the bus steps, and the family proceeded to Punta Gorda. It was only after we traveled about 20 miles outside of the city that I felt the heavy burden leave me.

Satan is Real

Later, I learned that traditional witchcraft was prevalent in Dangriga. The Garifuna—an ethnic group of people living in Dangriga—were known for contacting the spirits of the dead and for their faith in shamanism, a spiritual practice that interacts with the spiritual world.

I share this story to tell you that Satan is real. He and his demons roam the earth looking for those they can devour. His presence comes in many ways, even today. We can feel his demons operating; maybe not so dramatically or even in the same way.

Satan Roams

The spiritual warfare I will be addressing here is the kind where temptation dominates in Christ-followers’ lives—the kind which impacts believers’ hearts to the point of deep agony, a piercing pain, or a tormenting temptation.

The Lord said to Satan, “Where have you come from?” Then Satan answered the Lord and said, “From roaming about on the earth and walking around on it” (Job 2:2)

Satan approaches believers with the goal of destroying those who love Christ. But before I get too far in this article, I am going to give you a “spoiler alert” about who ultimately wins the battle. This alert will be your notice that I am giving away the plot—the ending of the story!

The winner of the battle is JESUS CHRIST! You can win the battle against Satan because victory is in our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

“But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. Therefore, my beloved brethren, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that your toil is not in vain in the Lord (1 Corinthians 15:57–58).

Live in the Spiritual Realm

Spiritual warfare is the battle between our spiritual principalities and human vulnerabilities—the fight to resist evil. When we live in our humanness, we lean towards evil by sinning and turning away from God’s plan and commandments. The moment we live in God’s spiritual realm, we lean towards godly thinking and living a life possessing the Christlike fruits of the spirit—love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control (Galatians 5:22–23).

Once we accept Jesus Christ as our Savior, we are in a struggle between the powers of good and evil; this is spiritual warfare. The temptation to sin comes in many ways. It can come upon you suddenly or it can gradually sneak up and catch you in an ambush. Satan knows where and how to personalize the struggle we may face now or in the future.

For 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 (Ephesians 6:12).

Who Experiences Spiritual Warfare?

Only believers, those who have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ, experience spiritual warfare.

Satan and his demons hate Jesus. He hates it when a new Christian receives salvation. Likewise, he hates it when a believer is living a Christ-like life serving Jesus full-force. Solid, sold-out believers may consciously experience the gut-wrenching fight between good and evil; some call this fight fighting strongholds—strongholds being areas in our mind or in our personality that cause us distress through our mind, spirit, or soul. Satan knows our weaknesses and he will use whatever he can to destroy us. Examples of spiritual warfare can be continual thoughts (thoughts you can’t get out of your mind) ranging from dwelling on success at work, struggling not to take the next hit of cocaine, or a temptation towards a sin, which if heeded, could destroy a reputation or livelihood.

For though we live in the world, we do not wage war as the world does. The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds.  We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ (1 Corinthians 10:3–5 NIVUK).

What Does The Book of James Say?

So, what are Christ-followers to do when facing tests, trials, and temptations? The book of James gives us the answer:

Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance. And let endurance have its perfect result, so that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing. But if any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all generously and without reproach, and it will be given to him. But he must ask in faith without any doubting, for the one who doubts is like the surf of the sea, driven and tossed by the wind . . . Blessed is a man who perseveres under trial; for once he has been approved, he will receive the crown of life which the Lord has promised those who love Him. Let no one say when he is tempted, ‘I am being tempted by God’; for God cannot be tempted by evil, and He Himself does not tempt anyone. But each one is tempted when he is carried away and enticed by his own lust. Then lust has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and when sin is accomplished, it brings forth death (James 1:3–5, 12–15).

If we have been a Christ-follower for very long and are honestly trying to live for the Lord, we will encounter spiritual warfare—that deep pull that calls us to turn our back on what we know is right. Lukewarm believers are not as likely to encounter the deep pangs associated with Satan’s drag.

It is when we are involved in truly trying to live for the Lord that these deep struggles occur.

Satan knows there isn’t much benefit in trying to draw a person who isn’t totally committed to God’s way in this type of battle because they are already ineffective in their witness for God. But, those who are committed and love Jesus with all their heart and want to obey Him in truth and honesty will encounter the fight between good and evil on a much deeper level at one or more times in their Christian walk. Why? Because Satan does not want God’s kingdom to enlarge through salvation or discipleship. When strong believers are tested, and they succumb, Satan can thwart these believers’ faith and it can cause havoc in their lives.

Satan—The Adversary

The Father of Lies

We know that Jesus Christ wins the battle over Satan. But Satan still tries to get into the minds of Christ-followers through temptations and trials. He attempts to confuse us and sway us away from all Godly behavior and thoughts. The Scripture tells us that Jesus does not tempt anyone—thus leaving Satan as the cunning and crafty tempter (See James 1:13).

We must look at Satan as our adversary and Jesus Christ as our mediator. Girding us with His strength, Jesus fights our battles as we face Satan’s persuasive temptations and relentless trials.

The Bible calls Satan the Father of Lies (John 8:44), but he disguises himself as an angel of light (2 Corinthians 11:14).

Satan and his demons want us to fail as we go through testing and trials. Demons are fallen angels who follow Satan. Their plan is: to ruin God’s plan, obstruct people from working for the Lord, and deceive us into believing sin is acceptable.

Don’t be fooled by Satan—the master of lies and deception.

We may hear phrases, like those below, in our mind or from other people. Be alert and be aware that these types of statements are NOT to be believed.

“Dipping in the company fund one time won’t hurt you—God knows you need the money.”

“Pornography isn’t hurting anyone. You are in the room all by yourself.”

“So, what if she/he is married? She/he isn’t happily married.”

Satan wants us to sin. He wants us to be disobedient to the laws and mandates of God. He tempts us with the deeds of the flesh.

The Bible speaks of those encouraging sin as those disguising themselves as apostles of Christ.

For such men are false apostles, deceitful workers, disguising themselves as apostles of Christ. No wonder, for even Satan disguises himself as an angel of light (2 Corinthians 11:13–14).

Sometimes we experience deep temptations from Satan. Other times we experience tests from God to prove our devotion to him. As in the case of Job, God allowed Satan to test Job. Job lost his family, his friends, his possessions, and his health. We must recognize that spiritual warfare attacks are from Satan—the deceiver—even though sometimes God has given permission for Satan to tempt us to test our faith and loyalty to Him.

Now the deeds of the flesh are evident, which are: immorality, impurity, sensuality, idolatry, sorcery, enmities, strife, jealousy, outbursts of anger, disputes, dissensions, factions, envying, drunkenness, carousing, and things like these, of which I forewarn you, just as I have forewarned you, that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God (Galatians 5:19–21).

Spiritual Warfare is Intense

Sometimes the spiritual warfare we face may be intense! It is often so deep that one might feel the only way to rid themselves of this battle is to succumb to it. But we must persevere through these times. We must stand firm and fight the temptation with every fiber of our being. The trial or struggle may seem strange. It may come out of nowhere. By the same token, it may be a terrifying internal struggle that no one knows you are going through or it can be out in the open and even be physically manifested in fatigue, depression, or an oppressed appearance. But the lure is real. Satan wants us to fall prey to his schemes because he wants to make us ineffective for Jesus Christ. But God will use these times to test our character to see if we can be shaken.

In Spiritual Warfare: How to Stand Firm in the Faith, Ray Stedman says,

Among Christians, the devil will often attack in the realm of the intellect to lead us to be overly obsessed with certain points of theology. There are many Christians who pride themselves on being intense students of the Bible and systematic theology . . . I believe that one of the greatest triumphs of Satan has been his strategy of pulling people away from a simple childlike faith and leading them into endless pointless disputes over doctrinal minutiae. ¹

I like Stedman’s word obsessed. While he is talking about being obsessed with theology, we can be obsessed with other things—our marriage, our reputation, our jobs. Satan will use what he needs to in our thought life to lead us away from fulfilling God’s will for our lives. We cannot fight the enemy’s strongholds in our own strength. Satan wants to make us a worthless witness for Christ. While Christ will forgive our sins, those trespasses can create havoc in individuals’ lives and cause all one has worked for in their lives to collapse and/or be destroyed.

Jesus Christ—Our Mediator

A few years ago, my husband and I were in downtown Belize City. When we left a fabric store, I noticed a group of young boys around 8 or 9 years old following my husband with their eyes fixed on the wallet in his back pocket. I knew what they were planning, so I fell back behind my husband and walked between my husband and the boys, preventing a pickpocketing incident from occurring. Acting as a mediator between my husband and the boys, I kept the crime from ever occurring.

That is exactly what Jesus—our mediator—wants us to do. He wants to step in and prevent sin from transpiring. He wants us to turn to Him and be our mediator. Just as I was being a mediator that one summer day, Jesus wants to be our mediator to prevent us from falling into sin. Leaning on Him for our strength is our source of power.

For there is one God, and one mediator also between God and men, the man Christ Jesus, who gave Himself as a ransom for all, the testimony given at the proper time (1 Timothy 2:5–6).

Christ is Stronger Than the Devil

Christ is stronger than the devil. He defeated Satan on the cross. While Satan can afflict people, he cannot defeat God. Satan is intelligent and deceitful; he knows our weak points and he tempts us in those areas. We must remember that the demon’s goals are to impair and wreck lives. The Bible says we must know the schemes of the devil. By being aware of the devil’s schemes, God’s children can face current or future battles with understanding, discernment, and strength.

Through persistent prayer, immersion in God’s Word and possible fasting, this struggle can be won. This battle belongs to the Lord and Jesus is our mediator to help us through it. There is a form of darkness that comes to us when we experience this agonizing form of spiritual warfare, but the battle is still His. Satan presses in hard, but we should not be fearful. We should give the Lord glory and honor by relinquishing our lack of strength and power to Him, so He can fight the devil on our behalf.

Complete Surrender

When a Christ-follower has finally made it safely through this excruciating period, they must still be diligent and on guard, in case the same temptation comes upon us later—maybe next month or maybe in the next decade. We must put on the armor of God and fight this severe temptation with complete surrender, trusting that God through our mediator Jesus Christ is the only one able to take our weaknesses and make us strong.

Finally, be strong in the LORD and in his mighty power. Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. Therefore, put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. (Ephesians 6:10–16).

Testing, Trials, and Temptations

The Battlefield

Spiritual Warfare—All struggles on the battlefields of life come with various degrees of force and intensity. They are fought for different reasons. Our spiritual battles come with unique purposes, although all are under the umbrella of capturing the souls of God’s children rendering us useless for Him. The devil does not show up in a bright red suit with pointy ears waving his pitchfork. He comes as an angel of light. The sooner we realize this deception, the better off we will be.

Most intense testing, trials, and temptations come:

  • Before a big spiritual assignment
  • After a big spiritual victory
  • To those already working for the Kingdom of God
  • When we are weak, discouraged, and tired
  • As soon as ministry opportunities are not pursued or available
  • When we are frustrated, and more

Encountering and Persevering Under Trials

The Bible addresses the testing, trials, and temptations we face in the following verses. As you read through these verses, bear in mind that we grow spiritually through our suffering and adversity.

Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance. And let endurance have its perfect result, so that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing. But if any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all generously and without reproach, and it will be given to him. But he must ask in faith without any doubting, for the one who doubts is like the surf of the sea, driven and tossed by the wind. For that man ought not to expect that he will receive anything from the Lord, being a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways (James 1:2–8).

Blessed is a man who perseveres under trial; for once he has been approved, he will receive the crown of life which the Lord has promised to those who love Him. Let no one say when he is tempted, “I am being tempted by God”; for God cannot be tempted by evil, and He Himself does not tempt anyone. But each one is tempted when he is carried away and enticed by his own lust. Then when lust has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and when sin is accomplished, it brings forth death. Do not be deceived, my beloved brethren. Every good thing given, and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shifting shadow. In the exercise of His will, He brought us forth by the word of truth, so that we would be a kind of first fruits among His creatures (James 1:12–18).

Understanding the Spiritual Battle

Deep spiritual warfare is an agonizing time! Our minds continually dwell on the sin Satan is working full-time to pull us into. We feel helpless at the time to avoid that tug in our hearts to stray, but we must. Understand that this struggle we experience is not just a natural battle, but a battle intended to disrupt our ministry, deceive us, and eliminate the promises God has given us throughout the entire Bible.

Just because Satan comes banging on our door, we are not defeated. Even when he messes with our mind—and he does—Jesus Christ is our refuge. At times, the spirit of evil can confuse our thoughts so powerfully creating: an inability to think clearly; hopelessness when ungodly thoughts become obsessions; and/or helplessness in overcoming our discontentment, gloominess, or sadness.

David was facing imminent danger when he wrote Psalm 57. He had been taken in by the Philistines when he fled from Saul. This psalm was written during this time of great uncertainty and trial, but he holds fast to God—exactly what we should do when Satan gets hold of our mind, soul, and/or spirit. David’s prayer pleads for relief from these kinds of tormentors BEFORE it leads to sin.

Be gracious to me, O God, for man has trampled upon me;
Fighting all day long he oppresses me.
My foes have trampled upon me all day long,
For they are many who fight proudly against me.
When I am afraid,
I will put my trust in You.
In God, whose word I praise,
In God I have put my trust;
I shall not be afraid.
What can man do to me?
All day long they distort my words;
All their thoughts are against me for evil.
They attack, they lurk,
They watch my steps,
As they have waited to take my life.
Because of wickedness, cast them forth,
In anger put down the peoples, O God! (Psalm 56:1–7)

Satan’s Banquet

On November 28, 1958, Charles Haddon Spurgeon—an English Particular Baptist preacher—preached a sermon titled “Satan’s Banquet.” In this sermon, he used the analogy of the four courses of a banquet to compare one’s temptation to sin to the miracle of Cana (John 2:1-12).

At the miracle of Cana, there was a wedding and Jesus’ mother was there along with Jesus. When the wine gave out, Jesus’ mother told the servants to do whatever Jesus said. Jesus told them to fill the water pots with water and they filled them to the brim. The headwaiter tasted the water that had become wine and he told the bridegroom that, “Every man serves the good wine first, and when men have drunk freely, then that which is poorer.”

Spurgeon’s analogy of wine to sin is:

1st Course of Sin—Good wine – Satan makes sin look good. Spurgeon describes the cup of Satan as, “But O how sweet it is! How it makes his blood tingle within him.” At this point, one may have no intention [of] being enticed to sin, but he finally does.

2nd Course of Sin—Wine is not so sparkling – Satan has lured a person to sin and now the person has had enough of pleasure. A person succumbed to sin, but it isn’t that enticing to him anymore. The fun he once had has gone flat and dull.

3rd Course of Sin—Wine now comes in a black goblet – When he drinks the wine, he shrieks and says, “O God! That ever I must come to this!” The suffering is to come because of iniquity.

4th Course of Sin—Horrors from the last cup – A persons’ hope and dreams have vanished. His sin haunts him. ²

Spiritual Attacks

It is critical to fight all spiritual attacks as soon as they appear. A spiritual attack unaddressed can oppress ones’ faith and future. Casual everyday prayers are not enough; we need to plead, cry, wail, knee, fast, or even lay prostrate before our Lord and beg Jesus Christ to sever all thoughts and desires from the devil to sin from our mind. As believers, demons cannot enter us, but they can disrupt our thinking, sway our beliefs, and make us doubt our sincerity to God.

We must fight against ungodly thoughts and behaviors with every fiber of our being. We must humble ourselves and pray and keep doing that until the urge or desires have left us. It may take months or years, but it is worth every ounce of fighting we must do to protect ourselves. We may have to desperately call out to the Lord to take our thoughts captive.

We are destroying speculations and every lofty thing raised up against the knowledge of God, and we are taking every thought captive to the obedience of Christ (2 Corinthians 10:5).

Spiritual warfare may show up differently in different people. Since God knitted us together in our mothers’ wombs, we are all different—different personalities, different weakness, different tugs. Some common ways Christians experience spiritual warfare are when we possess revenge we can’t shake off, jealousy we can’t quench, all types of sexual temptations, or any desire which fills our minds with a longing and yearning to sin.

Is it Spiritual Warfare or Sin?

It is important to remember that the temptation is not sinning. It is better to be struggling in warfare than to step over the line into sin—disobedience to our heavenly Father and Lord.

It is when we cross the line that consciences are seared, reputations are ruined, souls are damaged, that our relationship with God is negatively affected, and our walk with Him might be permanently marred. Crossing over from spiritual warfare into sin has consequences. These consequences might not rear their ugly heads right away, but somewhere, somehow sin will interfere or sidetrack us and lead us away from God’s imminent plan.

How to Overcome Spiritual Warfare

When we are in the pangs of spiritual warfare, it means we have not yet succumbed to the treachery of sin. There is still hope for sin to be averted.

We must actively be on the alert for Satan’s attempt to lead us to sin. Some tips for prevention are:

  • Ask God to take the object of our warfare away because it is not profitable for our soul
  • Ask God to replace our thoughts with godly thoughts and ministries
  • Keep busy and don’t allow boredom or idleness to abound during this period
  • Ask for prayers from mature Christians. (We do not need to tell them our specific vice if we don’t want to, but just ask for prayers.) God knows what we are dealing with and He wants to help us through it, so when it is over, we can say, “Blessed is a man who perseveres under trial; for once he has been approved, he will receive the crown of life which the Lord has promised to those who love Him.” (James 1:12)
  • Watch the areas where you are the weakest and plead with God to keep us within the confines of our place and our calling

If We Succumb to Sin, Does God Forgive Us?

Of course, He does. God is a forgiving God and when we repent of our sins and turn from our “wicked” ways, He is there for us—with open arms—ready to forgive us and lead us back into a full relationship with Him. But there still may be consequences and scars. As soon as we recognize our sins and turn back to God, He accepts us back into His fold to love, cherish, and forgive us.

In the February 2018 issue of Decision magazine, Billy Graham said,

“Forgiveness is one of the most beautiful words in the human vocabulary.” ³

God goes on to say,

. . .and if My people who are called by My name humble themselves and pray and seek My face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, will forgive their sin and will heal their land (2 Chronicles 7:14).

But, what if you are the tempter—a Christian that Satan is using—to tempt another person? With your allurement, you may lead someone else to follow in your footsteps. After a while, you may move on and repent, but what you have led the other person to do cannot be undone! When you are the perpetrator leading others to sin, you have sent them directly into Satan’s grasp and you don’t know how long they might remain there.

While you might confess your “mistakes” and move on in your relationship with the Lord, you can’t make the other person turn to God or back to God. At this point, their spiritual life is completely out of your hands. They may go the rest of their life being led astray by Satan or become so obsessed with your mutual sin that they are numb to the things of God—all because of your sin and its enticement upon them. Only God can rescue them at this point, but they may not choose Him because of the hurt, deceit, fraud, or distress you inflicted upon them.

Anglican clergyman William Gurnall says,

“Even after you’re dead and gone, your sins may be perpetuated in those who are alive, generation after generation.” ⁴

Now, that is serious business!

William Gurnall states, “Do not try to stave off the onslaughts of Satan in your own strength. Tell God you are afraid of what may happen if He does not intercept these wicked imaginations . . . Seal the windows of [your] heart in prayer to control your thoughts, ask Christ to control your heart.” ⁴

Be Alert

It used to scare me at first whenever a SECURITY ALERT came through on my email when we lived in Lagos, Nigeria. These alerts were sent out from either my husband’s company or the U.S. Consulate warning us of possible danger. But, the more alerts I received, the less scared I became. I got used to them as just part of life and didn’t put much weight into them.

Some of these security alerts consisted of the following warnings.

  • An increasing trend is hijackers trailing unsuspecting victims. Some are robbed and some are unfortunately held for ransom;
  • Criminals side brush unsuspecting vehicles or hit them from behind to force drivers to stop, after which they are robbed or kidnapped;
  • Be extremely vigilant and develop a situational awareness that may enable you to avoid victimization;
  • Avoid night time traveling;
  • Keep a low profile and dress unassumingly;
  • Be alert at all times – don’t ignore any suspicious circumstances.

The last alert is the most general alert and probably the most important alert as it involves how we were to live every day of our lives in the country we were living in at the time.

As I pondered these alerts, I thought about how similar these alerts are to a Biblical alert we read about in the Scriptures.

Paul, the author of Ephesians, urges us to put on the full spiritual armor of God. Paul wants us to understand that we can fight the fiery darts of Satan who is very active in trying to trip us up and lead us away from our trust and dependence on God.

We may not live in a country with evils such as ISIS, suicide bombers, extremists, and beheadings. However, we are all surrounded by the wiles of the devil. Satan might be attacking us in the form our idols, our fleshly desires, a false gospel, physical afflictions, selfishness, friendships with the world, addictions, media, or worldly wisdom – just to name a few. We need to recognize the methods Satan uses to attack us and stand firm against his schemes. No one has given us a more wise strategy for living than God.

The Armor of God

Put On the Whole Armor of God: Ephesians 6:10-17

In Ephesians 6:10-17, the apostle Paul says to put on the whole armor of God:

Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might. Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil. For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places. Therefore, take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand firm. Stand therefore, having fastened on the belt of truth, and having put on the breastplate of righteousness, and, as shoes for your feet, having put on the readiness given by the gospel of peace. In all circumstances take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming darts of the evil one; and take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God, praying at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication. To that end keep alert with all perseverance, making supplication for all the saints, and also for me, that words may be given to me in opening my mouth boldly to proclaim the mystery of the gospel, for which I am an ambassador in chains, that I may declare it boldly, as I ought to speak” (Ephesians 6:10-17 ESV).

Understanding the Armor of God

Let’s take a look at the individual pieces of the armor of God. Below you will find a fact, an action, a verse from God’s Word, and a quote from The Christian in Complete Armour by William Gurnall—a 1600 English Puritan and Anglican clergyman that believed in standing firm in Christ by using the graces listed in Ephesians 6. ⁵

1. Truth

Fact: God’s truth will keep us secure in Christ.

Action: Confess all known sins and get rid of all deceptions and commit yourself daily to the Lord Jesus Christ.

Bible: “Stand therefore, having fastened on the belt of truth.”

Quote: Love for God makes the soul inquisitive to find out what is dear to God so it can express tenderness to truth and thereby give love to Him.

2. Breastplate of Righteousness

Fact: Satan is trying to attack us with lies or reminders of our past sins.

Action: We must guard our hearts against Satan and live for the righteousness of Christ by being obedient to God’s ways and will.

Bible: “and having put on the breastplate of righteousness,”

Quote: Righteousness and holiness are God’s protection to defend the believer’s conscience from all wounds inflicted by sin.

3. Feet

Fact: Satan will put obstacles in our paths. He wants us to stumble.

Action: Prepare yourself through Bible study, prayer, meditation, confession and more, so you can confidently walk in Jesus’ ways wherever you go and wherever He may lead you.

Bible: “and, as shoes for your feet, having put on the readiness given by the gospel of peace.”

Quote: God does not want the saint to stand still and fret or to have to be coaxed to move but to follow Christ voluntarily, as a soldier follows his captain. Yet Christ is not like a general who drives his men into battle whether they want to go or not . . . A heart full of grace will follow Jesus into the wilderness of affliction as willingly as a lover goes with her beloved into a quiet garden to enjoy his presence. By His Word and by His Spirit Christ satisfied the Christian, making him want to be with Him anywhere.

4. Shield of Faith

Fact: Satan will try to put doubts in our mind. Hold on to your faith.

Action: Trust that your faith will defend all the unholy darts that may be projected upon you.

Bible: “In all circumstances take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming darts of the evil one;”

Quote: Faith is the only messenger which can bring good news from heaven to the heart. It is faith that proclaims the promise, opens Christ’s riches, and pours out His name to increase love in believers. Whenever faith wins the character of Christ out of the Word and presents Him to us in all His loveliness, we are sweetly drawn to Him.

5. Helmet of Salvation

Fact: Our thinking needs to be protected because Satan loves to make us doubt our salvation and God.

Action: We must be sure that Jesus is our security through salvation in Christ. [If you are unsure about your relationship with Christ, understand that we are all born with a sinful nature, but when we repent of our sins and ask Jesus to be part of our life, we can have the assurance of salvation and eternal life.]

Bible: “and take the helmet of salvation,”

Quote: As a Christian soldier you must always stand in a defensive posture with your armor on, ready to defend the treasure God has given you to keep and to repel Satan’s assaults.

6. Sword of the Spirit

Fact: The Word of God is our weapon against the attacks of Satan.

Action: Read and study the Bible. It is God’s tool to prevent Satan’s strongholds and thoughts from infiltrating into our lives.

Bible: “and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God,”

Quote: As the sword defends the soldier it offends his enemy. Thus God’s Word is a killing sword as well as a keeping sword. Not only does it keep the believer from surrendering to external temptation but it kills his inward lusts and completes the victory.

7. Prayer

If we are not in prayer, our reliance on God is diminished allowing spiritual warfare much easier access to our lives. We must pray for the mind of Christ. Set aside time every day to pray and listen to God’s Word. Pray at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication.

And as Paul concludes, he says, “And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people. Pray also for me, that whenever I speak, words may be given me so that I will fearlessly make known the mystery of the gospel, for which I am an ambassador in chains. Pray that I may declare it fearlessly, as I should.” Ephesians 6:18-20 ESV

Wrapping Up

In Nigeria, it didn’t take me long to learn how to conduct myself in Lagos—a city of 22 million people. For survival, I learned to be bold. I learned to walk with confidence. I learned how to talk to those who tried to intimidate me. I learned not to walk in the streets alone (if ever).

When I maneuvered through Lagos’ Murtala Muhammed International Airport all by myself one day, I found I was able to hold my head high, shuffle through the crowd, ward off swindlers, tow my baggage, and reach my destination. That day I knew I had accomplished a feat many foreigners fail to achieve—to feel confident in their walk!

It’s the same when Christ-followers trust in the God of the Armor. We soon feel confident in our walk with Christ. We can hold our head above inconsequential disagreements, controversial church strategies, and/or misinterpreted theology. We can move through the crowd with discernment. We can experience godly tranquility when Satan’s fiery darts come at us. We will have the knowledge needed to handle our past, present, and future experiences and attacks. But, most of all, we will have faith that our destination with Jesus Christ is secure and one day we will be living in glory with Him in Heaven.

Just as our Nigerian security alerts warned us how to proceed even before any unknown danger might occur, so does the Bible warn us how to be pre-prepared against the schemes of the devil, because we never know when he might attack. It is so easy to become ensnared in the devil’s traps, and the best way to be on guard is to put on THE WHOLE ARMOR OF GOD—even before the temptations and evils come upon us. This can be accomplished by following Ephesians 6:18-20 with a sincere and longing heart to please our Lord and Savior.

God Bless,

Central Houston Inspirational Writers Alive! Associate Member

BibleGateway Blogger, Member

SBC, Church Member

Bible Verses:

Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. (1 Peter 5:8)

Therefore, to one who knows the right thing to do and does not do it, to him it is sin. (James 4:17)

Draw near to God and He will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners; and purify your hearts, you double-minded. (James 4:8)

Again there was a day when the sons of God came to present themselves before the Lord, and Satan also came among them to present himself before the Lord. The Lord said to Satan, “Where have you come from?” Then Satan answered the Lord and said, “From roaming about on the earth and walking around on it.” The Lord said to Satan, “Have you considered My servant Job? For there is no one like him on the earth, a blameless and upright man fearing God and turning away from evil. And he still holds fast his integrity, although you incited Me against him to ruin him without cause.” Satan answered the Lord and said, “Skin for skin! Yes, all that a man has he will give for his life. However, put forth Your hand now, and touch his bone and his flesh; he will curse You to Your face.” So the Lord said to Satan, “Behold, he is in your power, only spare his life.” Then Satan went out from the presence of the Lord and smote Job with sore boils from the sole of his foot to the crown of his head. (Job 1:2–7)

The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I [Jesus] came that they may have life and have it abundantly. (John 10:10)

No temptation has overtaken you but such as is common to man; and God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will provide the way of escape also, so that you will be able to endure it. (1 Corinthians 10:13)

Depart from evil and do good; Seek peace and pursue it. (Psalm 34:14)

Woe to those who call evil good, and good evil; Who substitute darkness for light and light for darkness; Who substitute bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter! (Isaiah 5:20)

When you go out to battle against your enemies and see horses and chariots and people more numerous than you, do not be afraid of them; for the Lord your God, who brought you up from the land of Egypt, is with you. (Deuteronomy 20:1)

Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. James 4:7 ESV

Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world—the desires of the flesh and the desires of the eyes and pride of life—is not from the Father but is from the world. And the world is passing away along with its desires, but whoever does the will of God abides forever. 1 John 2:15-17 ESV

Four Prayers To Choose From if Teaching From This Blog

  1. Dear heavenly Father, most days I experience some low-level discomfort fighting between good and evil—right and wrong. However, at some point in my life, I may experience fierce intense spiritual warfare from Satan and his demons. Please prepare me ahead of time, so when the time comes I have the strength to overcome my human weaknesses. Let me be wholly sold out to You and to Your Word. Give me the strength to overcome the fiery darts of Satan. Let me never give up fighting against sin. Allow Your light to be a lamp unto my feet. Let me recognize these battles are not of flesh and blood, but they are spiritual battles “against powers and principalities beyond my physical being.” Hopefully, I won’t fail You, but if I do, please convict me to return to You by repenting and turning away from my sin as quickly as possible, so I can walk in Your ways again. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.
  2. Dear Lord Jesus, I believe You are the source of protection. Protect me from my weaknesses and temptations. I want to draw closer and closer to You. I need Your power to overcome the fiery darts flung on me. I am choosing You today and every day, so You can use me for Your glory. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.
  3. Dear Lord, I love You, but lately, I have been tempted beyond control. I need You to help me face the severe trials I am going through. Let my faith be so strong that, in my weaknesses and temptations, I can avert any turning away from Your plan for my life. Use me Lord for Your service. I need Your power and love to pour down on me. I seek Your face daily and depend on Your Holy Scriptures to keep me strong and honorable. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
  4. Dear heavenly Father, Thank You for all You have given me. You have given me the means to escape the evilness of this world. Thank You for being so generous to me. Thank You for forgiving me for my failures. You always take my hand and bring me back to You even when I fall into Satan’s schemes. You are stronger than him and I am grateful for all the tools and love You have given me. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.

Works Cited

¹ Stedman, Ray. Spiritual Warfare: How to Stand Firm in the Faith. Grand Rapids: Discovery House, 1999.

² Spurgeon, Charles Haddon. Spurgeon Sermons, vol. 5. Peabody: Hendrickson, 2013.

³ Graham, Billy. Decision Magazine. Feb 2018. Print.

⁴ Gurnall, William. The Christian in Complete Armour, Vol. 1. Carlisle: The Banner of Truth Trust, 1996.

⁵ Ibid.

Bible verses are taken from the NASB if not noted otherwise.

Edited by E. Johnson

All Rights Reserved.

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Hope and Encouragement From the Word – GUEST BLOGGER Shelley Jarl

Have you ever put thought into how much you appreciate the Word of God? Or, have you ever prayed to thank God for His Word or for the numerous benefits we receive from it? The writer of Psalm 119 certainly did.

With its 176 verses, Psalm 119 is the longest chapter in the entire Bible. Many people attribute this Psalm to David although the author is not revealed.

The writer had an incredible appreciation for the Word of God. Throughout the Psalm, he uses many words to describe the Word of God, including; word, law, statutes, precepts, testimony, ordinances, commandments and judgments. All in all, the word of God is mentioned in at least 171 of the 176 verses.

It is evident by a few verses in this Psalm that the writer was dealing with some trials in his life.

  • Verses 86+87 “They persecute me wrongfully, Help me. They almost made an end of me on the earth.”
  • Verse 143 “Trouble and anguish have overtaken me.”
  • Verse 150 “They draw near who follow after wickedness”
  • Verse 157 “Many are my persecutors and my enemies.”

Although we find him in the midst of trials, he continues to live a life of faith as he leans on the Word for comfort, guidance, hope and more. He reveals trial and trust, seamlessly, one after another as though for him they were part of the same package. In verses 87-88 he says, “They almost made an end of me on earth (talking about his enemies), but I did not forsake Your precepts. Revive me according to Your lovingkindness . . . ”

Trials are inevitable; they are part of life. We often have no control over whether we will face certain trials. We do have control over how we respond to them. Sometimes we can get so caught up in a situation that our relationship with the Lord suffers. This writer didn’t let that happen.

How do you respond to trials? There is much we can learn about journeying through the storms of life by reading Psalm 119. I encourage you to read it on your own and underline any sections which stand out to you. Read it slow enough to enjoy the beauty of the language the writer uses to express his love and appreciate for God and His word. Notice the depth of understanding he has for the importance of the Word in his life, it’s truly remarkable.

While I read the Psalm, I took note of the things the writer did in his own life while dealing with trials. There are things he did to find hope in the Word of God and we can apply these examples to our own difficult situations to find hope ourselves.

Here are just a few of the things I found the writer did. There are many more examples, but I’ve only listed some of them.

Take Time to Praise God Even in the Midst of Trials

When we praise God we are taking the focus off our situation and placing it on the Lord. This serves to glorify God and can also serve as encouragement to others as they see a trust in God during the storms of life.

  • Verse 7 “I will praise you with uprightness of heart.”
  • Verse 48 “My hands also I will lift up to Your commandments.”
  • Verse 54 “Your statutes have been my songs.”
  • Verse 111 “For they are the rejoicing of my heart.”
  • Verse 162 “I rejoice at Your word.”
  • Verse 171 “My lips shall utter praise.”

Do Not Forsake the Practice of Praying and Meditating on the Word

During trials, it is very easy to skip your scripture reading or prayer time. Don’t let this happen. Reading the Word brings comfort and peace, and it uplifts you and can encourage you.

  • Verse 15 “I will meditate on Your Word”
  • Verse 23 “But Your servant meditates on Your statutes.”
  • Verse 27 “So shall I meditate on Your wonderful works.”
  • Verse78 “But I will meditate on Your precepts.”
  • Verse 148 “My eyes are awake through the night watches, that I may meditate on Your word.”

Take Delight in and Hope on the Word

How exactly do we take delight in the Word? For me personally, this happens when I study a passage and apply it to my life. Or I delight in the Word, by having scripture posted around my home so I see it regularly and it encourages me on a daily basis.

  • Verse 70 “But I delight in Your law.”
  • Verse 74 “Because I have hoped in Your word.”
  • Verse 81 “But I hope in Your word.”
  • Verse 113 “But I love Your law.”

Memorize Scripture

Have scripture memorized so you can recall it when you most need it.

  • Verse 11 “Your word I have hidden in my heart.”

Continue to Share your Faith and God’s Word

Talk to others about God’s work in your life. Share scripture with others to encourage or bless them. This, in turn, will bless and encourage you as God’s Word saturates your life.

  • Verse 13 “With my lips I have declared all the judgments of Your mouth.”
  • Verse 172 “My tongue shall speak of Your word.”

Be Careful Not to Backslide. Make Corrections When You Find Yourself Backsliding

Each and every person has certain things they struggle with. If you find yourself swaying off course in your walk with the Lord make corrections immediately.

  • Verse 59 “I thought about my ways and turned my feet to Your testimonies.”
  • Verse 69 “But I will keep Your precepts with my whole heart.”
  • Verse 101 “I have restrained my feet from every evil way.”
  • Verse 157 “Yet, I do not turn from Your testimonies.”

Shelley Jarl, author of “The Humidity Makes My Hair Frizz and It’s Really Starting to Stink in Here”, is a mom, Christian, entrepreneur, business owner, author, and lover of all things creative. She strives every day to embrace the abundant life God has given her. As a self-proclaimed warrior, she has put on the armor of God numerous times to overcome tremendous adversity in her life. She can be found living down the end of a ridiculously long driveway, in the mountains of New Hampshire. As proof of her insanity, she owns Weimaraners. But, most importantly, she is a sinner saved by a loving Savior, Jesus.

Shelley can be found online at www.becauseliada.com where she encourages people to find their God-given adventure, whatever that looks like for them and live out the abundant life God intended. She can also be found at www.faithfulbloggers.com where she helps Christians connect and get equipped to impact the world with their faith story.

Book Link:

The Humidity Makes My Hair Frizz and It’s Really Starting to Stink In Here

Social Links:

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Faithful Bloggers Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/faithfulblogger/boards/

Thank you, Shelley, for sharing these words of wisdom with us.

God Bless.

greenenpastures.org

Bible Verses

But He said, “On the contrary, blessed are those who hear the word of God and observe it.” (Luke 11:28)

First, I thank my God through Jesus Christ for you all, because your faith is being proclaimed throughout the whole world. (Romans 1:8)

Blessed is a man who perseveres under trial; for once he has been approved, he will receive the crown of life which the Lord has promised to those who love Him. (James 1:12)

Prayer

Dear Lord,

Please give me a heart that is pleasing to you. Give me faith, Give me a desire to study Your word. Give me hope. Thank you for being who you are. I love You. In Jesus’ Name.

Amen.

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The Geometry of Spiritual Maturity

Spiritual maturity and spiritual growth manifest in a Christ-follower’s heart from the moment a person accepts God’s gift of salvation through faith in Christ until they meet Jesus face to face.

Are you becoming more spiritually mature? Does delight break out within your soul when witnessing to a maturing Christian? Does sadness surface when spotting a stagnant Christ-follower choosing the wrong path?

Believers come in all ranks, from those just saved to those who are glorifying God right up until their final days.

In the Army, the rank one holds decides their pay grade and how much responsibility he is given. While a corporal may be responsible for a small group of soldiers, a major might command 10,000—15,000 soldiers. In all branches of the military, one can fast-track their career by taking advantage of added training and educational opportunities.

This same pattern arises once a person follows Christ as his or her Savior. Upon salvation, Christ-followers are automatically enrolled in a fictitious class titled “Spiritual Maturity.” Individuals decide how far they choose to progress with this never-ending course. Barely passing the class or excelling to a high degree of competency is a personal choice.

Line Segments, Lines, Rays and Angles

In Home School Math, the lesson Lines, Rays and Angles gives four geometric definitions. 1

Spiritual Maturity and Geometry
Spiritual Maturity and Geometry

1.  A line segment occurs when two points are connected with a straight line.

2. A line has no beginning point or end point. It continues indefinitely in both directions.

3. A ray starts out at a point and continues off to infinity. We can show that by drawing an arrow at one end of the ray.

4. An angle is made up of two rays that have the same beginning point.

But, how does that relate to spiritual maturity?

Line Segment: When a person is born physically, they embark upon their life journey. Their journey starts when they are physically born and ends when they physically die. Their lifeline is from Point A to Point B.

Line: Many religions live on a line; their beliefs imagine there is no true beginning and when they physically die they are either morphed into an animal/insect or are physically born again, i.e. phrases like “in my next life I’m coming back as a cat, a dragon, a New York Rockette, an anesthesiologist, etc.” may be heard.

Ray: When a person accepts Christ, their spiritual journey begins, and they are automatically enrolled in the Spiritual Maturity course. This class begins at one’s spiritual birth and continues forever.

Angle: vertex point X – represents Christ for both types of believers. Christ-followers have a choice in which ray they want to follow: the easy laid-back Christian life or a more progressive path. It’s interesting to note that the angled center (called a vertex) represents Christ for both types of believers.

One ray strives for a life filled with the fruits of the Spirit, growing in love for Jesus Christ and with the anticipation of living an eternal life in Heaven with the Christ-follower’s first love: Jesus. This person’s love for Jesus becomes stronger and stronger as he anticipates reaching Heaven one day and spending an eternity with Him.

The other ray represents a choice to either stagnate or lean towards a sinful lifestyle—always fighting the flesh. Unfortunately, some of these souls may believe they are Christ-followers but have never received the gift of grace God has offered them.

So, in “mathematically” defining a progressive spiritually-maturing believer, they are rays striving to start at the vertex, where the two paths diverge and follow the Godly ray.

As a student in the Spiritual Maturity class, your spiritual timeline may include peaks and valleys. However, to be moving in the right direction, the ray should be resting on an inclined line always progressing to a higher level until it reaches Jesus in Heaven.

When I look at my own spiritual ray, I have many peaks and valleys. The peaks are times of extended growth, heightened dependence on the Holy Spirit, glorious worship and Biblical promises all coming to life. The valleys include breakups, fears, disappointments, spiritual attacks, confusion, and pain.

But, when my mind has stayed on Christ during the valleys, God always comes to my rescue in time. Sometimes I can look back and see how God orchestrated that valley to increase the slope of my incline to be closer to Him. Even when I cannot humanly see any good coming out of a trial or temptation, Biblical principles have taught me to trust Him even if He never shows me His purpose until Glory.

Missing Out: On a Level Plane

I don’t understand why some believers are content to sit back, believing they’ve done all they need to do for God. My inability to understand it is because when I accepted Christ, I hit the road running. I’m not saying I didn’t fall back, down, and twirl around some, but fortunately, I was able to pick myself up quickly. It was like two steps forward, one step back; okay, to be honest, maybe sometimes there were four or five steps backward!

But over the years in my Christian walk, I have seen church members who attend church every Sunday, sing in the choir, take their children to every church activity available, and still remain stunted in their spiritual growth. I ask myself why all the time!

I hate to use the word lazy and Christian in the same sentence, but I wonder if it isn’t laziness on their behalf.

They sit in church Sunday after Sunday just to feel good about going to the House of God. Or maybe they are there to make a work connection. Some don’t seem to grasp the principles they hear at church or Bible study—rarely applying them to their lives. I don’t understand how, in a 168-hour week, they can’t find time to open God’s Word. How can they disregard daily (or even weekly) prayer? Why do they only pray in a crisis? Why do they ask others to pray for them over and over when they don’t take the time to pray for themselves?

I frequently wonder what people miss when they are not desirous of God’s presence. Lookers-on may be identified by many “ranks” of spiritual maturity they hold using Army terminology—a golf course private, a pew-sitting specialist, a Bible teaching corporal, or a “fanatical” Major.

Sometimes I am awed by their lack of personal commitment. But at the same time, I am so cognizant that one day even I might fit into one of these categories. I could easily become a “they.” With all sincerity, humility, and prayer, I pray that never happens, but nobody in this life has reached the point of perfection and that includes me, your parents and even your pastor. All who have accepted Christ occasionally experience cold hearts, judgmentalism, prayerlessness, or selfishness in themselves.

Making people feel bad by approaching this subject is not my style, but I do believe addressing these facts openly and honestly encourage a dormant disciple to become a vibrant follower on the way to a deep spiritual maturity.

Tips to Mature in Your Faith

  • Be Still Before God.

By praying, reading, meditating on His Word, and being quiet before God, we are filling ourselves with His presence. We are making time and room for God to speak to us, share His wisdom with us, and grow each of us into the person He intended for us to become from the start.

  • Allow God to Work Through Your Sufferings and Trials.

Too many believers avoid God because they blame God for their ordeals. Many nominal believers don’t want to undergo suffering; they believe by avoiding God that troubles will evade them. Their understanding is faulty because sufferings prepare us to be used by Him and our trials can draw us into a deeper relationship with our heavenly Father. Through our pain and affliction, we are directed to His principles, which allow us to see glimpses or outright directions for His purposes.

  • Pray for a Deeper Faith.

By praying for a deeper walk, one learns more about the One who cares for us more than anyone else in this world. It’s easy to sit back and listen to the undertakings others have achieved for Christ when you aren’t interested in asking God what you can do for Him. Many don’t want to serve Christ; they believe they already have His promise for eternal life and that is enough. But O dear soul, if you only knew what you are missing!

Two Character Traits to “Hold at Bay” while Deepening Your Faith

  1. We must not think more highly of ourselves than we ought. We must remember that it is God who decides the measure of faith each person possesses at each interval of spiritual growth. Let us pray for humility by praying fervently, not boasting, realizing how weak we are, count others as more significant than ourselves, and help others succeed.
  2. Do not be afraid to allow God to fill you with His presence to the point where others will notice a change in you.

Ten Powerful Characteristics of Spiritual Maturity

According to Frank Powell, the author of “10 [sic] Marks of a Mature Christian”, there are indicators we can use to gauge our maturity as a Christian:

  1. The highs and lows of life don’t impact your relationship with God.
  2. You find value in the “daily-ness” and trivial seasons of life.
  3. You are at peace with situations beyond your control.
  4. You don’t allow disciplines to take a back seat.
  5. You maintain a childlike sense of wonder and awe.
  6. You do not compare yourself to others.
  7. You listen to others who have a different viewpoint … with the goal of growing and not correcting.
  8. Your heart breaks for the poor and marginalized.
  9. You understand Christianity doesn’t have an on/off switch.
  10. You have a sustainable rhythm to your life.

Adding a #11, Powell also mentions that spiritual maturity is not about age, achievements or appearances. ²

Benefits Available to a Follower Fully Committed to Christ

As a fully committed Christ-follower, we have [the]:

  1. Ability to become so closely aligned with God that He becomes our entire reason for living
  2. Ability to develop the fruits of the Spirit: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control
  3. Access to God, His guidance, and His Holy Spirit through prayer and Bible study
  4. Capability to see and feel His presence in both the mundane and the exciting times
  5. Capability to know His will
  6. Joy seeing God move in the lives of our friends and family
  7. Power to effectively communicate with Him (in total honesty)
  8. Protection from the “evil one” when we “put on” the full armor of God: Belt of Truth, Breastplate of Righteousness, Shoes of the Gospel of Peace, Shield of Faith, Helmet of Salvation, and Sword of the Spirit (Read Ephesians 6:10-24)
  9. And, the list could go on and on.

At the 1988 Olympic Games in Seoul, South Korea, Canadian sprinter Ben Johnson won the 100-meter sprint finals to great fanfare (and no small amount of boasting!) defeating what was easily the most competitive field in the sports’ Olympic history. Unfortunately, he was stripped of his gold medal one day later when drug tests showed he had used performance-enhancing steroids. Five years later, Johnson was caught doping a second time and banned automatically from competition for life by the International Amateur Athletic Association.

While we don’t like hearing stories like this, it is a reminder to us to consistently model Jesus Christ and to follow His principles because, one day at the end of our lives, we will be accountable for the path (the ray) we have chosen in this life.

Reaping Spiritual Gold

When we enter God’s presence on that day, let us hear as the faithful servants heard in The Parable of the Bags of Gold. (Matthew 25:14-30)

In that parable, a master entrusts several of his servants with various amounts of gold. The servants who received five talents and two talents each used the gold they were given to reap commensurate returns, but the servant who received only one talent hid it in the ground.

When the master returned, he was quite angry with the servant who buried his talent. “You wicked, lazy servant.”

By contrast, he said to those who generated a return on the master’s gold, “Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master’s happiness!”

The master then took the one talent from the servant who buried his and gave it to the one who had received five gold pieces.

Like the servants in the parable, and using the geometric analogy we developed earlier, we find ourselves continually at an “angle vertex” decision point at every moment of our lives.

YOU ARE HERE

Let us do as the servant did who delighted his master, and “invest” the time, talents and treasures we have been given in this life to reap “spiritual gold” in return. This can include coming alongside others in kindness and fellowship, praying deeply for others without recognition, or even leading others to salvation through Jesus Christ!

Our Master in Heaven would be quite pleased.

God Bless and please share this message as an encouragement to others.

greenenpastures.org
greenepastures.org

Christian Women’s Speaker, Member Inspirational Writers Alive #IWA; Bible Gateway Blogger Grid Member #bgbg2


Bible Verses:

Therefore, leaving the teaching about the Christ, let us press on to maturity, not laying again a foundation of repentance from dead works and of faith toward God. (Hebrews 6:1)

Brethren do not be children in your thinking; yet in evil be infants, but in your thinking be mature. (1 Corinthians 14:20)

And this I pray, that your love may abound still more and more in real knowledge and all discernment, so that you may approve the things that are excellent, in order to be sincere and blameless until the day of Christ. (Philippians 1:9-10)

Prayer:

Lord Jesus, I know so many people who are inactive in their faith. My prayer is for them to have a change of heart and a desire to serve and love You with his or her entire heart. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.

Works Cited

1“Lines, Rays, and Angles.” Home School Math. Web 23 May 2018.

https://www.homeschoolmath.net/teaching/g/angles.php.

²Powell, Frank. 10 Marks of a Mature Christian. Web 20 May 2018.

http://frankpowell.me/marks-mature-Christian.

Edited by E. Johnson


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Caregiving Part 5: Spirituality

Caregiving. My husband and I moved in with my mother when my father passed away a year and a half ago. Mom is a fragile 91-year-old. Her health is not good, but her mind is phenomenal. Today I drove Mom and her friend to their church for a special service. We stayed afterward for the end-of-the-year Women’s Club luncheon. The women chatted, laughed, and enjoyed fellowship with their friends. You might ask why I chauffer my mother around like this; I do it because I love my mother and I want her to continue to enjoy the church she has attended for the past 50 years. It is there she fellowships with her friends and shares a spiritual connection with others and the Lord.

As a caregiver, our concerns usually center around our parents’ emotional, physical and social life. One aspect often lacking in caregiving is an interest in the elderly’s spiritual life. Whether you are a part-time caregiver or a full-time caregiver, giving yourself to the spiritual needs concerning your parents is truly a privilege.

For those who take their spirituality seriously, a sense of purpose and fulfillment undergirds their lives. Despite this fact, some do not understand or take seriously this component of another’s life. Understanding spirituality is complicated because there are so many scenarios and so many definitions of spirituality at play. They involve answering questions such as:

  • Are you a part-time caregiver or a full-time caregiver?
  • Are your parents living in the same town or city as you are?
  • Are you a strong believer, a ‘sort of’ religious person, or an uninterested individual?
  • Have your parents lived a dedicated life for Christ and the church? Have they attended church sporadically? Or, have they rarely explored any ‘religious’ life?

Once you mix and match all these different dynamics together, it’s time to discern and pray about your part in your parents’ spiritual life. Regardless of your parents’ spiritual background, caring for them is one of the most compassionate undertakings you or your siblings can pursue. Included in regular caregiving responsibilities, being a part of allowing your parents to pursue or continue their interests in God, church, and spiritual growth is an important part of caregiving.

But if anyone does not provide for his own, and especially for those of his household, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever. (1 Timothy 5:8)

Your Parents

Many seniors who have attended church all their lives develop a deeper desire for the things of God when they get older; but many do not. Some glide into old age making their spirituality more of an inward feat and not a community feat. In Spirituality and Aging, Sociology Professor Emeritus at Marquette University David O. Moberg says, “Many scientists who study spirituality and aging have concluded that spirituality increases with age. However, it is also important to acknowledge that other prominent researchers disagree with this premise.” ¹ Gerontologists are starting to see how the spiritual life regarding their patients yields an unexplainable peace and calmness as they face the future. As a result, their physical well-being is often affected in a positive way. They see their patients with faith as possessing strength and tranquility regarding their future.

Driving Forces Why Seniors Depend on God

  • Many seniors are concerned about their death and the afterlife.
  • Their faith provides strength as they face illnesses, loss of friends, and loneliness.
  • They have more time to pray and read their Bible.
  • Concern over a reduced income and the ability to meet their needs.
  • A renewed or deepening dependence and guidance by the Holy Spirit.

At a time when seniors tackle new challenges, many undergo losing their support systems. This should be a huge consideration in churches as “baby boomers” are starting to fit into the senior adult category.

Driving Forces Why Seniors Abandon their Faith and Church

  • Lack of activities for seniors—Feeling of alienation may occur when more emphasis is given to youth ministries, young adult ministries, or any ministries besides senior adult ministries.
  • Miss traditions—They feel left out, unwanted, unneeded in the congregation. Seniors enjoy the familiarity of things past, i.e. hymns, Sunday dinners, fellowship luncheons.
  • Difficulty adjusting to change—The new programs and facilities are too much for them. Adjusting to change is especially hard for the aging population.
  • Hearing loss—They can’t hear the preacher or Sunday school teacher.
  • Stimulating services (music, yelling, confusion)—The British Alzheimer’s Society discusses noise triggers by saying, “[People with Alzheimer’s] feel bewildered or anxious because there is too much noise, too many people around, or a change in a familiar routine.”
  • Other disabilities—There may not be handicapped parking or wheelchair accommodations at the church. They may be unable to get to church due to disability or inability to drive themselves. Or maybe, there is too much walking to get to their classes or sanctuary easily.

Caregiving and You

As a family caregiver member, it is imperative for you to be cognizant of your parents’ needs. This includes their spiritual needs.

Practical Ways You Can Help

  • If you live in the same town or city as your parents, bring them to church and church functions.
  • If you live out-of-town, contact their church organization, friends, or other family members to set up transportation.
  • If your parents are in a facility, investigate what kind of spiritual activities that are available.
  • Make their living environment familiar and comfortable, i.e. put their favorite cross in their room, be sure their Bible is easily accessible.
  • Provide notecards, stamps, and addresses so they can write and minister to their friends.
  • Get their hearing checked by an audiologist.
  • Get their eyesight checked by an optometrist or an ophthalmologist.
  • Purchase a large-print Bible for them if needed.
  • And, if you or family members live in the same city or town, be sure to visit them!

Whoever serves is to do so as one who is serving by the strength which God supplies; so that in all things God may be glorified through Jesus Christ, to whom belongs the glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen. (1 Peter 4:11)

Questions Caregivers Must Ask

  • What hindrances are my parents facing?
  • My parents used to attend church. Why don’t they go now?
  • How do I approach my unbelieving parents about Jesus Christ?

These are just a few of the many questions caregivers might have. You may want to spend some time thinking, meditating, and praying for what questions need to be asked and how you can be a part of the solution.

How to Pray: Ten Tips for a Better Prayer Life

Keep Yourself in Top Spiritual Shape

Being connected to God’s divine source can help you manage better as your caregiving duties progress. Continuing or starting to seek God’s presence and strength in your life will assist you as you care for and minister to your loved ones. Understanding you are not perfect alleviates a mindset of inadequacy. Remind yourself of all your parents have done for you. If they haven’t done much, it is time to ask God how He wants you to treat them and care for them regardless of the past. God is available to help you as you support your parents. By being their caregiver, you can be assured, God has given you a divine assignment—one that you won’t regret.

Salvation and Eternal Life

On our most recent visit to my mother’s oncologist, we were discussing mom’s diagnosis and future prognosis. In his matter-of-fact intonation, he said, “Mrs. —————, life is a terminal illness!” While we don’t want to think about life like this, it is true. We all will die and face an eternal future.

As we live our earthly life, let us be ever mindful about our eternal destination. Gaining an understanding of our future existence is significant in understanding life-and-death anxieties and angsts.

Both caregivers and parents and all humanity will die. CRU (formerly Campus Crusade for Christ) discusses four laws in the booklet “Have You Heard of the Four Spiritual Laws?” ²

Four Spiritual Laws

Law 1: God loves you and offers a wonderful plan for your life.

John 3:16

Law 2: Man is sinful and separated from God. Therefore, he cannot know and experience God’s love and plan for his life.

Romans 3:23

Law 3: Jesus Christ is God’s only provision for man’s sin. Through Him, you can know and experience God’s love and plan for your life.

John 14:6

Law 4: We must individually receive Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord; then we can know and experience God’s love and plan for our lives.

Revelation 3:20

A Heart-to-Heart Prayer

If you or your parents have not accepted Jesus Christ, now is the time to have a frank conversation with God. If you are unsure how to pray for God’s salvation, a simple well-meaning prayer can be the best decision for both of your lives.

Dear God, I know I’m a sinner, and I ask for your forgiveness. I believe Jesus Christ is Your Son. I believe that He died for my sin and that you raised Him to life. I want to trust Him as my Savior and follow Him as Lord, from this day forward. Guide my life and help me to do your will. I pray this in the name of Jesus. Amen.” ³

If you have accepted Jesus Christ but your parents haven’t, now is the time to have a candid heart-to-heart with them.

Eight days before my father passed away, I had a candid heart-to-heart with him. He prayed a prayer akin to the prayer written above. As we sat on his couch at 5 am we quietly talked together and talked to God. Some may call this a deathbed conversion. No matter what it is called, my father accepted Jesus Christ and God used me to help him make the best decision of his life.

Caretaking means being responsible for various aspects of your parents’ life. As we face our parents’ sundown years, let’s do what we can to help them hold on to, delight in, and agree to take part in their spiritual life while at the same time progressing and preserving our own spiritual life.

Do You Fear Death?

Bible Verses: See above.

Prayer:

Dear heavenly Father, as I consider all the needs of my parents, let me be mindful of their whole being. I pray for their emotional, physical, social, and spiritual life. Make me aware of their needs. Let me offer my help. Give us both peace. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.

God Bless,

Member Inspirational Writers Alive; Bible Gateway Blogger Grid Member

Edited by E. Johnson; Bible verses are taken from the NASB if not noted otherwise.

Works Cited/Bibliography

¹ Spirituality and Aging. http://www.nap411.com. Accessed 10 May 2017.

² Greene, Patti. Anchor Me: Laying a Foundation in Bible Study and Prayer. Bloomington: WestBow, 2016. [Permission given from CRU for Have You Heard of the Four Spiritual Laws summary.]

³ Begin Your Journey to Peace. www.peacewithgod.net. Accessed 10 May 2017.

Coming Soon: Caregiving Part 6: How to Prepare, Embrace, and Survive the Final Moments


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When You Don’t Understand, Faith Matters!

When You Don’t Understand, Faith Matters! / by Patti Greene, Greene Pastures by Patti [From Email notifications, click the title for best web viewing]

There is so much I don’t understand. Over the past few months, I have been making a list of things I don’t understand. These items just popped into my mind during my daily routine. I would think about them for a few second and then say, “that’s life,” and move on.

I have been languishing over this post. Not that it is complicated, but because what I want to share is so simple that I am afraid I will make it too complicated. Writers feel that way occasionally. The simple message is: When you don’t understand something, faith matters! Having FAITH that God knows what to share with us and what not to share with us is his prerogative. He has the exclusive right to enlighten us or not in both secular and spiritual matters. There will be things we will not understand ever! But, we can inquire of God. He listens to our pleas for understanding and direction. No matter what we do or do not understand, our hope is from him and we should trust in him at all times. He will sustain us. He has provided his Word to sustain us.

The natural man cannot accept the things of the Spirit, but when God’s spirit is within us, we can see and discern the mind of Christ, but there still may be some things we do not know and may never understand. This is where FAITH comes into play.


From a Human Perspective, I Do Not Understand

How new windmills work;

Why someone would want a pet pig;

Why someone would want a gold shirt that costs $250,000.00;

Why Justin Bieber quitting Instagram is news;

Why people use the words ‘over-exaggerated’ or ’embellished’ when they should use the word ‘lied’;

Why someone would want to buy a building that looks like a Longaberger basket;

How someone can make more money not working than working; and

How spell check could change my instant message from, “Get well my choo-choo boy” to “Get well my choice-chop boy.

From a Spiritual Perspective, I Do Not Understand

How bones are formed in the womb of a pregnant woman; (Ecclesiastes 11:5)

How God’s Holy Spirit can indwell us; (Titus 3:5)

Why Bible prophets hear from God with such accuracy; (Jeremiah 28:9)

How we can speak God’s wisdom; (Psalm 49:3)

How two can become one flesh; (Mark 10:8)

How God could say, “Let there be light, and there was light; (Genesis 1:3)

How Christ rose from the dead; (1 Corinthians 15:4)


It’s easy to overlook things we don’t understand in the secular realm, but it’s not so easy to overlook things we don’t understand in the spiritual realm without FAITH. Many people when evaluating or questioning the mysteries of God tend to feel they need absolute answers before moving on in their spiritual walk—Not so!

The New Testament book of Hebrews is a comprehensive discussion about FAITH.

Faith is the confidence that what we hope for will actually happen; it gives us assurance about things we cannot see. (Hebrews 11:1 NLT)

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. (Hebrews 11:3)

Men of FAITH include Abel, Abraham, Moses, the individuals who crossed the Red Sea, Gideon, Barak, Samson, and the prophets. By FAITH, they trusted God and obeyed him.

You may wonder if your child is really saved? You might wonder why his/her death was so sudden? You might wonder why you didn’t get accepted to the college of your choice? You may wonder why your business went bankrupt when you worked so hard. You might wonder how to proceed in your career. Instead of thinking we can’t move on in our Christian FAITH without knowing the answers or absolutes, we should act in FAITH because God always has our best interests in mind.

But how do we get more faith? We should ask God for it and talk to him about our questions and concerns. In addition, we should read and study the Scriptures to learn more about God’s nature and character. It is sad to see someone stifled in their Christian walk because they are hung up on one thing or another, one unanswered prayer, or one questionable doctrine. It is up to us to take the initiative and talk to God about these things and work things out under the umbrella of his love, his protection, and the supernatural leading of the Holy Spirit. Ask him for FAITH. Ask him why. Ask him how. Ask him. Ask him. Ask him.

God is the one who reveals his mysteries to us. It is totally up to him to reveal a matter to us. He can open our mind to understand the Scripture. He can (and will) provide wisdom and knowledge to us when we read the Bible. However, there are still things that God conceals—maybe until His timing—maybe until we are ready to absorb the truth—or maybe until we have enough FAITH to accept a matter. We can always call on our heavenly Father and ask him for the answers. That is perfectly acceptable, but it is still up to the Lord to choose if and when He will share his secrets and/or knowledge with us.

We will not understand everything in this life. We will not understand everything in the Bible either, but by prayer, Bible study, and growing closer to Jesus we will most likely find that we do possess more knowledge in the things of God than others. While God does choose to conceal some things to us, He does choose to share some secret things with us. And when that happens, we need to be discerning as to whom and if we share it with. We need FAITH to mature in Christ. God always knows the big picture. Praise God we have a God who cares about everything in our lives.

I hope the point I made at the beginning of this blog has made sense. It’s so simple, I am repeating part of the first paragraph. “When you don’t understand something, faith matters! Having FAITH that God knows what to share with us and what not to share with us is his prerogative. He has the exclusive right to enlighten us or not in both secular and spiritual matters.”

When we add FAITH to our ‘not understanding’, we eliminate confusion and have the opportunity to give full allegiance to the Lord’s will for ourselves.

God Bless,

PATTIGREENE.eps-(1

Bible Verses:

Then Daniel went to his house and made the matter known to Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah, his companions, and told them to seek mercy from the God of heaven concerning this mystery, so that Daniel and his companions might not be destroyed with the rest of the wise men of Babylon.  Then the mystery was revealed to Daniel in a vision of the night. Then Daniel blessed the God of heaven. Daniel answered and said:

“Blessed be the name of God forever and ever,
    to whom belong wisdom and might.
 He changes times and seasons;
    he removes kings and sets up kings;
he gives wisdom to the wise
    and knowledge to those who have understanding;
he reveals deep and hidden things;
    he knows what is in the darkness,
    and the light dwells with him.
 To you, O God of my fathers,
    I give thanks and praise,
for you have given me wisdom and might,
    and have now made known to me what we asked of you,
    for you have made known to us the king’s matter.” (Daniel 2:17-23)

If you are not firm in faith, you will not be firm at all. (Isaiah 7:9b)

Call to me and I will answer you, and will tell you great and hidden things that you have not known. (Jeremiah 33:3)

Prayer:

Dear LORD, help me to understand you more and more every single day. Give me wisdom and understanding so I can fulfill your purposes in my life. Give me faith so I can have confidence in all you choose to reveal to me and those you don’t. My life is in your hands. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.


The Holy Bible: English Standard Version containing the Old and New Testament. Wheaton: Crossway, 2001. [All verses come from the English Standard Bible unless noted otherwise]


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