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Mar 3, 2018

Finishing well... How well do you play, if you already know you win in the end?

How well do you play if you already know you win in the end?

This sentence has struck a chord in my heart and spirit for a while... it has been heightened recently in light of the Winter Olympics that was just held.

How far would you go to win? The country of RUSSIA was disqualified from entering into the Olympics this year... how disheartening and embarrassing, and hurtful is that? To know your entire country has no bearing or representation at the World Olympics. However, some athletes were given mercy and allowed to participate in the Olympics, yet under the name of Olympic Athletes of Russia (or OAR)... yet, they still had athletes participate who were found to be using illegal drugs to enhance their performance... the reason that their entire country had been previously disqualified. They wanted to win, and they wanted to win dishonestly...

Not all OAR competed with enhancement drugs, but to know those athletes are representing YOU and what you stand for, I would ensure that they do NOT participate in those illegal things as we had been given another chance to make it right. This is disheartening for me and I am not even Russian. Canada had it's own embarrassment as one of our athletes acted inappropriately and didn't represent us to the best of his ability.

Canada competed in their BEST Olympic games ever... we received more medals this year, than any other games. Now, would Canada have played/competed any different had they known on the first day of the Olympics that they were going to come third place in the end? Would Norway have played/competed any differently had they know that they were going to be the country on top?

Would you play or compete differently in a game or sport if you knew before the game started that you will be the winner in the end??

Too many people often play or compete differently knowing that God wins in the end... they say "we can live our lives the way we want, and call on God in the end, we will be winners anyway." But what would happen if they truly went out in full force to compete and play and participate in everything fully and to the best of their ability, even if they knew they would win in the end anyway?
Not everyone has that chance to call on God in the end... sometimes it's too late, and you had the right intentions to call on God and believe. What then? Will you still 'win'?

As a Christian, we know the Word tells us that we win in the end. That does not give us the right to play hap-heartedly, or not play to the fullest of our ability.

This is a thought that I will continue to research and speak with Pastors and other leaders to see what they think and say...

I am excited for it to be a part of a lesson for the Junior Youth sometime too.

Be blessed.

My #oneword for 2018...

So a new month has begun... and yet more time has passed in between blogging posts. I don't even think anyone reads the blog anyway as no one usually leaves comments or lets me know they have read them (although some people I do know enjoy reading it when I do post them), but freedom of speech in writing comes easily and naturally to me, and I don't really write them for others, I write it for me to express myself. I'm an extroverted speaker, and have no problem projecting my voice, my laugh, my personality, etc. I am also introverted in that I don't have to be talking all the time, I don't always enjoy being the centre of attention, I enjoy some peaceful ME time, and I am not always loud and boistrous. When writing, I can write from the heart and speak sometimes what I do not reveal in words out loud. As I was re-reading past blog posts, I came upon the one from 2017 regarding the #oneword. It wasn't, nor hasn't been something I had heard of or come to care about, but I jumped on the bandwagon and chose a resolution word for 2017... clearly it was a year where I did have to be resolute and stand firm, and I will continue to strive in that area.

Now that it is the 3rd month into 2018, again I didn't see many blogposts, or social media posts on #oneword, but nor did I search it. (I may after I complete this blogpost). So looking forward into this year, and what has transpired in the months of 2017 and now the first 2 months of 2018... I have grown a lot. Spiritually, mentally, intellectually, physically (ha ha), social/emotionally, etc. Because 2017 and 2018 so far has included a lot of family changes, family deaths, deaths of special people, etc, it has got me thinking about our 'junk' and what we think is a 'treasure', and the legacy we are leaving behind us. We have helped clean out homes of our relatives, of items they have treasured through the years, and now we are just donating them, selling them, or even trashing them. How unimportant material items really are, yet the stories of faith and believing and 'finishing well' are what is really important. God is God, and has always been, He is, and He always will be. Our faith is the most important thing in life. Our relationship with God, and His relationship with us is what we can truly stand firm in.



So taking my #oneword from the Bible, and from what I just reflected on (and from seeing example words online), and from this year being an Olympic year, this year I am choosing 2 words, hash-tagged into one... #finishwell

These two words can encompass many areas of my life. Of course, most important is spiritually. I want to "FINISH WELL" in my Spiritual journey. I want to be received in my heavenly home with a "Well done, my good and faithful servant". But I also want to "FINISH WELL" in all areas of life. There are things that I have started in the past, and have never finished. There are ideas, dreams, goals, etc that were at one pursued and never completed or worked on... Some things are just 'dreams', but some things can be brought into the real world. I need to FINISH what I start, and not just complete the tasks, but to complete them well, with excellence. I need to 'finish' my part, so someone else can pick up the baton, and continue their journey being blessed by something I did or said, or was. 

This is a year of change... a year where things are happening and moving us in the right direction with God. We need to draw closer to Him, as He is unchanging and unwavering and He is a part of every area. Not just spiritually. After watching part of the funeral/celebration of life of Billy Graham, you can see the lives he touched all for the glory of God. He received many praises of things he had done, but the family (& friends) all gave the glory back to God. I want to be an example to the generations behind me. I want the glory to all go back to God. I am proud of who I am, what I stand for, and what I believe, and I need to remember who I am representing. Billy Graham knew he was representing God, and he was a man of integrity who was the same man on TV, as he was at crusades with millions, as he was at home with a few. I strive to be that kind of person. I want to "FINISH WELL" and people can say they knew me, they loved me, they learned from me, that I encouraged them, that I helped them 'finish well'... but I don't want it to be about me, and what I did or said, but I want it to be what God did through me. 

I am beginning this year with a new and fresh vision to continue to learn and be the best me that I can be. It doesn't matter what others think or feel, if I am true to myself, and true to God, then I am living the dream. I am beginning a new adventure of "going back to school" and we will see where God takes me in that. I am excited to dig deeper into the Word of God, and into the deeper things of God. A few times it has been said that I have gifts that are yet uncovered... this is something I am strong at teaching the younger generations, but clearly not living out fully in my own life. I would like to gain respect, knowledge, wisdom, understanding in deeper spiritual things, so I am excited to learn more through the WHSM this year (and in years to come). I do not need a title, paper, etc to say who I am, or what I have learned, but because I am a life-long learner this is where I believe I am to be right now.

I also do not know how long I will be in my current position at work, I do hope that I continue to be at my workplace for a long time, but I know I will not always be in the position I am in right now. I am truly enjoying the position as I can float from room to room and touch the lives of many. From the babies, to Toddlers, to Juniors to Seniors and to their families and my colleagues. I am excited to be able to bless, inspire, assist, equip, train, build relationships, etc. I do not have "a class", but I am a part of all the classes. It is a joy to be welcomed into the rooms by the students, and they are truly happy to have me in their early childhood education. For those little lives, I am there. It is all about the children... helping the families and my colleagues are a nice bonus, but really I need to "FINISH WELL" for them. I have always lived my life with purpose and intention, and am not one for a lot of frivolousness, and small talk. But just sitting and freely observing and interacting with the children may not look like it has purpose or intention... but that right there has learning happening on their part as well as my own. As a teacher, you also have to be a learner. For such a time as this... I was created, I was placed and called to minister to these young lives. Early years learning is very important and I am happy and blessed to minister and be a part of the spiritual aspect of these childrens' lives. They bless me as much or more than I am able to bless them. I am learning a lot more about myself as I teach and learn from these kiddos and my colleagues... and their families. So in this little time that I have, I want to step up and finish well.

Standing firm, especially in this day and age, with all the crap that is going on in the world... things the world has called true, right and legal, yet as Christians we know to be the opposite. "Finish Well" and run the race God has called YOU to... not your neighbour, not your colleague, not your enemy... but YOU. You have a unique purpose and calling on your life, and you need to walk in it. 


Too often we get part way, and the tough and rough tries to get us down, or we sit complacent in the world as it "goes to hell in a handbasket"... when just a couple more hits of the sledgehammer/pickaxe would have broken through to our reward... but we stop and turn around thinking we've done all we could do... or we stop or fall just before the finish line, and someone else comes along to get our reward, because we didn't FINISH WELL.


Be blessed and take some time to contemplate how you are doing in your race... will you "Finish Well"?



Sep 4, 2017

How are we "in Ephesians"?

This question was a challenge put forth by the speaker (& leader of the women's group) at a Ladies Prayer Breakfast that I attended this past Saturday. (Not at my own church, but a similar denomination). Sitting in a room of what seemed to be maybe 25 ladies who were believers, including one being a 'Pastor' I was in awe of the revelation of God as the words were spoken. I may have been one of the youngest there, but I was also in awe of the lack of knowledge and wisdom in the 'church' people. She had a dream, and in it the speaker (another woman) was saying "We are in Ephesians" (seeming like the speaker's topic had them reading in the book of Ephesians), but because she kept emphatically saying it, then our speaker woke and knew she had to study Ephesians. The speaker meant "We are in Ephesians" meaning the world right now and the Christians of today are actually supposed to be like the ones in Ephesians. Right away in my mind came "well you better have your armour on in this battle of today". 

The message went on from there, and it was nice that a few of the ladies in the crowd spoke up to give thoughts of their own. We discussed that Chapter 1 revolved around redemption and wisdom. We need to take our authority that Christ has given to us, and we need to walk in it. What kind of shocked me is that it was a 'new revelation' given to the "Pastor" in the room. She seemed amazed that she had the power and authority and that she was seated in Heavenly places. I was amazed that she was just getting this revelation. I saw it as more of a reminder. Something that I knew, but that we all need to be reminded of sometimes as we don't always walk in the wisdom. It reminded me that there are people (and believers) that don't know this truth. Others even commented on this and that it was a 'new' thing that they were shown, or some were just learning it that morning as she said it. It saddened my heart a little to think that these people were just learning this truth. But then the verse came into mind, 'how will they know unless we tell them?' and it reminded me to pray for all people young and older to come to the knowledge and salvation of Jesus. Most of my teaching is focused on children and youth, but I have a love for teaching and training all people. 

Another woman in the crowd shared that she had a revelation that although evil or sickness/disease, demonic possession, etc may come our way, we are ALWAYS God's property. Our bodies are the temples of Holy Spirit. The enemy has NO PLACE in us. This was a super cool revelation and reminder that Holy Spirit now owns us. We are God's! The enemy may try to get a foothold, or even find his way in, but there should be no place for him to lie as we are God's. Get him out of you. Take the authority you have in Jesus to remove him or sickness. We are seated in Heavenly places... everything is under Jesus' feet and under our feet. God has shown me a revelation reminder of this many times in that the devil only has the power that we give Him. Jesus is still the ruler of this world. The devil does NOT have the power. The devil/enemy may have power over certain people/areas but he is NOT the ruler. Jesus is Lord of this world (whether you choose to believe it or not). (Ephesians 6:12)

We went off on a few tangents, and talked about President Trump, and Mr. Pence, Prime Minister Trudeau and Mrs. Wynne. Our fight is not against flesh and blood, but against the evil and unseen powers of the dark world and evil spirits. We have to keep these leaders in our prayers. Whether we agree with them, or like them is not the case. They are our Leaders and they need Godly wisdom and understanding to do their job well. We need to stop bashing them and allow God to get a hold of their hearts and spirits and to lead them in the way they should go to lead our countries wisely. May God bless USA and CANADA and our leadership. There have been many positive prophesies given by true men and women of God and we need to stand on these words.

The one lady at the table in front of us, clearly had an 'evangelistic' heart or call on her heart, as she was broken for the darkness in the world. She wanted to get out on the streets and 'do'. Our talk had led us to speaking about being 'ambassadors' for Christ, and she said we need to be out there doing and speaking. She wanted to 'be the light' in the darkness.

Funny thing was the speaker never got to finish her message, and said she would continue another time, and that she would seek more into the challenge of 'how are we IN Ephesians'... but the ladies were in deed answering the question as they spoke. Holy Spirit revealed these tidbits to help each lady in the their own walk where they were. It wasn't NEW information, but it was revealed in new ways for them to understand. The Bible is living and each time it is read, new revelations and old revelations come to pass. We should be reminded of our place in God's heart, our place in the world, and our place in the body of Christ.

This challenge brought out also studying the word 'Ambassador', and I will delve deeper into that as well. But for now, this is a study on "How are we 'in Ephesians'?"  I have listened to a few studies on Ephesians, and it is indeed an amazing book full of so many truths. We need to know and walk in these truths.

~ Let's Begin ~ Chapter One of Ephesians starts out telling us that it is a letter from Paul (clearly to the Ephesians). He is an apostle for Christ. He is reminding the 'faithful followers' (v. 1 NLT) that we are blessed with every spiritual blessing because we belong to Christ and are united with Him. Even before the world was made, before He spoke it to be, God loved us and chose us. (v. 4) How amazing is that? God decided in advance to adopt us and bring us all into His family. This gave Him great pleasure (v. 5) God sent His Son for us to forgive us because of His grace and kindness, so we should praise Him. (v. 6-8) God's promise is not just for Jews but for Gentiles as well. When we hear the Good News and believe, He will give us Holy Spirit. Holy Spirit is God's guarantee that we will get the inheritance that He has promised us. We can now praise and glorify Him. (v. 9-14) Therefore we know that ALL people have the opportunity to be saved. Jews and Gentiles alike. If we are in God's family and have Holy Spirit, we will receive many blessings and an inheritance to God's Kingdom.

Starting in v. 15 of Chapter 1, Paul prays for Spiritual Wisdom. The women in the Ladies Prayer Breakfast (and all of us) need to continue to pray for spiritual wisdom. We need to pray for each other, and pray that we will continue to grow in the knowledge of God. We have to pray though that it will not just be head knowledge but heart knowledge as well. We need to be filled so that we can understand the confident hope He has given to those He has called. (v. 18)
Paul also prayed (and we must pray) that we will understand the greatness of God's power, and that this power that raised Christ from the dead also LIVES INSIDE OF US. That 'victory over death' power lives inside of me! WOW! Seriously, if you are a believer say that sentence right now, say it as many times as you need, until you truly believe it! In Chapter 1, verse 21, it states that He is far above any ruler or authority or power or leader or anything else -- not only in this world, but also in the world to come. God put ALL things under the authority of Christ, for our benefit. (v. 22) The church is the body of Christ, and we are only made complete through Him. He fills all things everywhere with Himself. (v. 23) This spiritual wisdom and fullness can only come from God. Our hope can only remain in God. We need to stop seeking to 'fill the voids' with worldly things. That is where the world has gone wrong. I am so sick of hearing "seeker sensitive", and of complacency. We get comfortable where we are at, because we do not seek the 'fullness' of Christ. We need to pray for each other, for those who lack wisdom, knowledge and understanding. We are blinded to who we really are in Christ, which of course is what the devil/enemy wants. We need to step out of that darkness into the Light of Jesus!

We are no longer 'dead' because of our sins, but we are made 'alive' through Christ. The headline in my NLT Bible for Chapter 2 is that we are "MADE ALIVE WITH CHRIST". We all sin and fall short of the glory of God (Romans 3:23). We were all sinners, and were dying in our sin. The devil/enemy was the commander of us in our sin. Sin cannot live in God's presence. It is the devil/enemy who is at work in the hearts of the evil of this world, those who refuse to obey God or even declare there is a God. (Chapter 2, v.2) We all used to live that way (in sin). God is so rich in grace and mercy that He loved us so much that God came and gave His Son Jesus as a ransom to pay for our sin. So now we can have life through Him (and Him alone). He raised us from the dead, and we are seated along with Christ in the Heavenly realms with Him because we are united with Christ. (We can never leave JESUS out of the equation, we need Him to get to God). (v.4-6) It is not by anything I can say or do that I am saved. It is only by the grace of God. It is a gift from God. Salvation can not be given by man, or by anything that man can do, lest he will boast. (v. 8-9) God created each of us as masterpieces created to do good works that He had planned out. Remember, this is for all Jews and Gentiles. We can now be united in Christ, and have peace with Him. God brings true hope & peace. (v 11-14) His act of love on the cross brought an end to 'law', but it also made peace between Jews and Gentiles (which there still should be today). All of us can come to the Father, through Holy Spirit and Jesus. (v. 15-18)

We are God's temples. He can live inside of us. We no longer have to go to the "holy of Holies" (where only priests could see God), but we have God in us. Our lives are built on the rock, and the cornerstone is Jesus (v. 19-22). God's Spirit lives in us, and we are now God's property. (As was stated by one of the women in her testimony/story she shared). See it's all connected through Christ.

This takes us to chapter three, where 'GOD'S MYSTERIOUS PLAN is REVEALED'. WOW! It does say in the Bible that God's ways and thoughts are higher than ours (Isaiah 55:8-9) but we can have revelation through God's word and prayer into His plans. WOW! Isn't that amazing? God wants to reveal Himself to us, so that we in our feeble human minds can understand His ways. Paul was sent to tell the Gentiles that all of this is for them too. Not just for 'God's people' (the Jews). You and I belong in that category, we are the 'Gentiles'. Because of this, we all can receive these blessings and inheritances that we have been talking about. This isn't just an old story, this is truth being revealed for even us in 2017. Verse 10 of chapter 3 says (NLT), "God's purpose in all this was to use the church to display His wisdom in its rich variety to all the unseen rulers and authorities in the heavenly places." Verse 11 continues, "This was His eternal plan, which He carried out through Christ Jesus our Lord." As I said above, we no longer have to wait for the priests to go into the Holy of Holies, we can now BOLDLY and confidently go right into God's throne-room or His presence. (v. 12) Even though Paul is writing this letter to them from prison (where he was captured because of his faith), he doesn't want the Ephesians (nor us) to lose heart. There will be suffering for the Kingdom. But suffering lasts only a night, joy will come in the morning. (Psalm 30:5) 

Starting in verse 14 of chapter 3, Paul PRAYS FOR SPIRITUAL GROWTH in the believers. (Yes he is writing it to the Ephesians, but this is for ALL believers, including you and me.) He prays for us to be empowered with inner strength (As we know that all our power and strength comes from God - Philippians 4:13, I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength.) through God's Spirit. He prayed that Christ will make His home in our hearts as we trust in Him. He prayed that our roots will grow down DEEP into God's love to make us strong. (v. 14-18) Paul also prayed that we would experience the full love of God. We would know and understand how deep, how wide, how high, how long, etc is the love of Christ. (That in itself is unfathomable). We can be made complete through the love, life and power of God. (v. 19) He reminds us that God is able to work all things, even more than we can think or imagine. All glory goes to God. (v. 20-21)

I am so thankful that God reveals His plan and His great love to us. It is all unfathomable, but He shares bits and pieces that we can put together, and know that God is even greater than we are thinking or imagining. What seems big to us, is indeed like a grain of sand to God (and He even knows how many grains are on the shores). WOW! God is so good, and we need to remember to give all glory to Him. It is nothing that we do in our own strength, but it is the strength of God living inside of us. We can grow deeper in God and in His knowledge, grace, wisdom and now love! 

This is an amazing journey we are taking through Ephesians, and even more is being revealed to me as I read and write. I thank God for His wisdom, knowledge and most importantly understanding. If we just had wisdom and knowledge, it would be great, but we wouldn't know what to do with it. Therefore, we need understanding. A greater understanding of what He says, what we read in the Word, or hear from our Pastors and teachers.

As was stated above, Paul an apostle of Christ, was writing this letter from prison. He continued to serve the Lord to the point of being arrested for his faith. Being in prison would give him a lot of time to pray and contemplate the wisdom, grace and love of God. He was an encourager as well and wanted to let all believers know that God is real, and that He is still in control even though Paul sits in a prison cell. He wanted the people to know how to act and behave as Christians (or Christ followers). In the beginning of Chapter 4, he is reminding them (and us) of the way to live. We need to be humble and gentle, patient and loving. We need to be united with the Spirit, and bound together in peace. There is only one God, one Spirit, one body, one Father, one faith, one who is living over all, in all and through all. (v. 1-6) He descended to earth to be like us, but He ascended again and gave us all the special gift of His Holy Spirit. He also gave us gifts, which are special offices that one can hold (not everyone will hold an 'office', but we all receive these gifts). As a body, we have been given Apostles (like Paul), Prophets, Evangelists, Pastors and Teachers. These will continue until we all come to such unity in our faith & knowledge of God's Son that we will mature in the Lord measuring up to His complete standard. ( v. 7-13). We will no longer be like waves tossed and blown about. We will no longer be like immature children believing everything that we hear. We will NOT be tricked or deceived by people who try to make lies sound like the truth. (Very evident in today's world). We will however speak the truth in love, growing more each day to be like Christ. He is the head of the church, and He makes us all fit perfectly together in a body. Each part is specific to it's own job, and we are able to grow healthy in love if we all do our part. (v.14-16)

Because we are new creations, and under God's control, and full of His grace, goodness, peace and love, we should walk in the Light because He indeed is the Light. This world around us is getting darker by the minute, but it is also getting brighter. God's love is shining bright in this dark world. We need to shine that light (as was stated by the other woman, who clearly had an evangelistic call on her life). The world has closed their minds and hearts to God and His Truth, but unfortunately they are listening to the lies out there and believing them as truth. Even more unfortunate is that some are seeking 'God' in churches with false prophets and believing that as the truth as well, which makes their hearts and minds even more closed to the Truth. Jesus is the Way, the Truth and the Life. The world is getting darker, and seeking pleasures that are not of God. Gifts that were given by the enemy are more enticing unfortunately than the gifts of God. (v 17-19) This is NOT what we learned of Christ. Thankfully I have grown up in the grace and knowledge of God. As a young child I heard the stories of God's faithfulness and truth, and then experienced Him for myself, and still continue to believe in this. We come to a NEW LIFE in Him, and can throw off our old self and our old sinful nature (that the world seems to thrive on). Now when I say 'the world' I clearly don't mean all of it, I mean those who are seeking after worldly pleasures instead of Godly pleasures. God has given us a new way of living, thinking and acting. (v 20-22) God sent His Spirit as a gift, and He can renew our thoughts and attitudes. We can put on our new nature... not like a worldly mask, but like a new being created to be like God. (v. 23 and 24) So, we as TRUE believers need to stop falling for lies, but we also need to stop telling lies and we need to tell the truth. We are all part of the same body, and one lie makes us all 'sick'. We also do not walk in anger but in love. Do not let anger overtake you, as that will give that foothold to the enemy. (v. 25-27) If you are in sin right now, it's ok. You CAN get out. If you are a thief, quit stealing. Instead use your hands for good works, and giving, instead of taking. (v 28). Don't use the abusive, negative, foul language of the world. Let your words be sweet and helpful, encouraging and full of love. Instead, encourage others around you, and let the words of your mouth be helpful and edifying to the body. (v 29). Most of all, do NOT bring sorrow to Holy Spirit. He has identified you as His own, and if you talk or act like the world, no one will know you belong to God. We need to get rid of all the evil spirits that are around us, but alot of them are rooted in anger and bitterness. We need to get rid of those things that are NOT of God, and walk with Him in love and be tenderhearted, forgiving each other as Christ forgave us. (v. 30-32)

Yes, all that are great words written so long ago... and it is much easier to read and say than to do. But bit by bit, God will help you if you make the effort to change. We also have to remember that 'sinners' are entering into our churches and lives, and God isn't going to change it all at once in one big boom. There still may be the odd 'foul language' that pops out, but instead of condemning we need to be there to encourage them in their walk and encourage them, maybe giving them new words to use instead of those that so quickly flow off of their tongue. They may still wear those 'questionable' t-shirts but we must remember not to condemn, but to open our arms in love and remember that "God has to change a heart before He changes their shirt" (Casting Crowns song, 'What This World Needs'). We need to remember where we came from. Yes, not all of us had that dark testimony background, but those of us who were raised in the church need to be that love that they are looking for. Christ forgives us, so we must forgive others.

As new believers, and as old believers, we need to always walk in the Light. Sometimes are lights may get dulled by the darkness in the world, but if we keep our oil full (Holy Spirit inside), we will shine brightly. Ephesians chapter five starts out with Paul reminding us to live in the light. To do so we must imitate Christ. We need to live a life of love, just like Jesus did. He descended to the earth so He could be like us, and experience life as a human. He also loved us enough to offer Himself as a sacrifice for us, knowing all that we can experience as a human, but in His Godly nature of no sin, and love He offered Himself as a sacrifice for us. Christ became one of us, but did not get involved in the worldliness around Him. He was in this world, but not of it. Therefore, if we are living as Christ, we should have no sexual immorality, greed, obscenities (in our talk, in what we watch, in what we do, etc), and we should not involve ourselves in rude or coarse jokes. Instead we should be thankful and full of love. We should be full of moral goodness, and purity. We should be happy with what we have and not greedy for more. Those kinds of immoral, impure, coarse, greedy people will not inherit the Kingdom (v. 1-5) 

We can see all of these immoral behaviours daily if we look around the world. We can be dragged in and enticed to maybe not 'doing' the behaviours, but in believing that it is ok. We hear 'love is love', and you are 'homophobic' if you don't believe it, or things like if we don't believe in the multi pronouns for gender (that there are more than just boys and girls/men and women), we will be arrested/fined, etc... and that a 'baby' isn't a 'baby' when it's in the womb, although God knew us in our mother's womb... and that prayer is not right in schools, but of course prayers to Mecca are definitely ok... and the Bible isn't real, and that it can be considered 'hate literature'... etc and etc. This isn't tolerance... it's believing something to be true that really isn't. Just because something is made into a law, doesn't make it right or true. If it doesn't match the Bible's standards, then it isn't Truth. We are NOT to be fooled by this excuse for sin. We are not to be fooled by this so called 'tolerance'. We are to LOVE and ACCEPT these people who live this way, or believe these things, but we are not to believe in their actions and what they choose to do that is wrong. I have a few people whom I love and respect, have associations with, and they are in the LGYBT community. I do not HATE them. I love them and continue to respect them as people, but I do not love their behaviour or lifestyle. Do I walk around telling them this? NO... because I have a respect for them as a person. I continue to pray for them and that God will reveal Himself to them in a real way. God is the only one who can judge, and God is the only one who can show them the Truth. We just need to walk in love and be the example of Christ in their lives. Christ sat and ate with tax collectors, prostitutes and sinners. Did he have close personal relations with them and be a part of their sin? NO. He reached out to them in love. He forgave them of their sin and loved them. Then the close personal relationships could form, and they could be a part of His family. Yes, I know sin is sin. When I steal a dollar from Grandma's wallet without asking, it is sin. When a woman looks on another woman with lust, it is sin. When a rape victim chooses to end the life of a baby conceived inside of her, it is sin. Yes the rape is sin too (on the man's part). No sin is greater than the other. But when we choose to live in our sin, that is a different story. When prayer is made to be an evil thing of hate, that is sin too. Prayer gets us to the heart of God. It brings us closer to God's presence. This is why the enemy wants prayer out... wants hate in... everyone is being offended by something now a days, and it's sickening that it can just be written in as a hate crime if you speak against the stupidity. Being a Christian isn't just a name to me. A Christian is someone who follows Christ. Going to a Catholic or United church on Christmas and Easter doesn't make one a Christian. Because your Mom is Catholic and you were raised Catholic (but no longer attend church) doesn't make you a Christian. You can go to whatever church you desire, but if you don't have a personal REAL relationship with God, His Son Jesus and Holy Spirit you are just fooling yourselves. (See Chapter 5 v. 6-14)

We need to be careful how we live. We need to walk in God's wisdom, not the world's foolishness. We need to make the most of every opportunity in these evil days. (v. 15 and 16) Even back in Paul's time the world was in evil days. There is nothing new under the sun. (Ecclesiastes 1:9). Do not act recklessly as the world does, and don't get drunk on wine (or other alcohol or drug). Remain wise in your thinking (not ruled by alcohol or other drug) because they will ruin your life. Instead be full of Holy Spirit. He will guard your mind and guide you into all Truth. (v. 17-18) Be joyful and full of worship to the Lord. Sing songs and hymns to yourself. Give thanks to God for everything in Jesus' name. (v.19-20)

We also need to be wise in who we associate with: as I said above, I have friends and acquaintances in all walks of life. But our close relationships are what are important. Who you surround yourself with in close proximity is what will make or break you. We need to have Spirit-Guided Relationships. In Chapter 5, verse 21- 33 it talks of the special relationship between man and wife. This is of course an area attacked by the world. The 'family' is no longer a 'family'. A man is to love his wife as Christ loves the church. We are the bride of Christ. A woman is to love her husband and respect him in the same way he is to love and respect her. They are united as one, and need to work together in that way. The woman still loves her family, but now her interests are to her relationship with her husband. Starting in chapter 6, Paul also warns about the relationship between parent and child. Children are to obey their parents in the Lord, for this is right. They will live a long life on the earth. We need to give honour where honour is due. We may have bad relations with our parents... some don't even have a Dad at home. Some have had rough relations due to alcohol, drugs or other addiction... some may have had a Mom who had many lovers, and now there is a step-dad or boyfriend in the picture... whatever it may be, again 'family' has been attacked by the world. The picture of the 'American family' with Mom, Dad, a boy and a girl is not the same in 2017. Now it's Mom and Mom and children, or Dad and Dad and children, or Mom and Step-Dad, or Dad and Step-Mom, or maybe no Mom and Dad, and the children live with Grandma or Grandpa. Some live with just Mom. Some live with just Dad. Whatever it is, it is an attack on the 'family' system. Obedience, respect and honour are a thing of the past in some homes. Fathers are provoking their children in anger. Mothers and Fathers are no longer able to discipline their child, but to give them "time out". The children no longer care about "grounding" because they can just call CAS and make up a story about neglect or wrongful abuse. Parents and children today are different. But thankfully we have some parents (and some not even Christian yet) who still teach and train their children good morals and manners, etc. Unfortunately verse 5 to 9 was written about Slaves and their masters. Looking at Canada today you would think slavery was a thing of the past. Something that only happens in the deep south of the USA. But we have a thing called human trafficking, and people are enslaved and sold on the market. That is NOT acceptable. Paul was not accepting of slaves and their masters, but was reminding us all to have servant hearts. Working for the Lord and not for man. Whatever we put our hands to, we should do with enthusiasm. Paul entrusted the slaves and their masters with this, "Masters, treat your slaves in the same way. Don't threaten them; remember you both have the same Master in Heaven, and He has no favourites." (Ephesians 6:9 NLT)

Now we come to the good part... even with all that is wrong with the world, God can make it right and we can be protected.  Paul charges us, "Be strong in the Lord and in His mighty power." (Eph. 6:10) He then tells us to 'Put on all of God's armor so that you will be able to stand firm against the strategies of the devil. For we are NOT fighting against flesh-and-blood enemies, but against evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world, against mighty powers in this dark world, and against evil spirits in the heavenly places." (v. 11 & 12)

Then we are charged with the words to PUT ON EVERY PIECE OF GOD'S ARMOUR. Why? So we will be able to resist the enemy in the time of evil. When? Now... and daily. Stand your ground, putting on:

BELT of TRUTH
BREASTPLATE/CHESTPLATE/BODY ARMOUR of RIGHTEOUSNESS
SHOES FITTED WITH The GOSPEL OF PEACE to be fully prepared.
SHIELD OF FAITH to stop the fiery arrows of the devil
HELMET OF SALVATION
SWORD OF THE SPIRIT which is the Word of God
PRAY IN THE SPIRIT

Once we have all that, we must STAY ALERT and be persistent in our prayers.

Paul then asks for prayer for himself (but we can pray it for ourselves) for BOLDNESS and the RIGHT words to explain God's plan. Although he was in chains, he is still preaching as an Ambassador for God. He closed his greetings to the Ephesians reminding them that Tychicus would be with them to give them a full report and to encourage them to be about God's work. He closes with peace and love, faithfulness and grace. 

I have always loved learning about the armour of God and our spiritual warfare, but I also love teaching it too. I have to remember to spiritually put each piece on when I start my day (& to 'readjust' pieces if necessary throughout the day). I sometimes think I know it's there, because God gives it to us, but just as we put our clothes on, we can put on our armour.

Our spiritual armour and God are the only things that can help us in this war against the world. The world will get darker and worse as we know the Bible tells us so. But it also tells us that we will have the victory if we do not lose heart or give up. Christ has given us the victory and we will overcome by the Blood of the Lamb and the Word of our Testimony.

Sometimes as Christians who were raised in the church we think our 'personal testimony' isn't that exciting. We don't have that "I was saved from the pit" story... but our story is still good. It's one of God's faithfulness through the years. His love and never ending grace and mercy, that He saved even me.

So... How are we 'in Ephesians'... quite simple. The world of then, is still the world of now. We need to be encouraged and uplifted and reminded that we have the victory in all of this. Here's a re-cap of the themes...

SPIRITUAL BLESSINGS
SPIRITUAL WISDOM
MADE ALIVE WITH CHRIST
ONENESS AND PEACE WITH CHRIST
WE ARE A TEMPLE FOR THE LORD
GOD'S MYSTERIOUS PLAN REVEALED
SPIRITUAL GROWTH
UNITY IN THE BODY
LIVING AS CHILDREN OF THE LIGHT
LIVING IN THE LIGHT
LIVING BY THE SPIRIT'S POWER
SPIRIT-GUIDED RELATIONSHIPS:
        WIVES AND HUSBANDS; CHILDREN AND PARENTS; SLAVES AND MASTERS
THE WHOLE ARMOUR OF GOD
BE ENCOURAGED AND FULL OF GRACE

I don't know about you, but I am sure fired up as a Christian. Knowing all these things and being reminded of them certainly encourages me as a believer. It makes me want everyone in my family and friends (and acquaintances and enemies) to be a part of God's family. I don't want to see anyone left behind. I don't want to be with God on that day, and see all the things I could have done or said, and to see the people who are on the 'lost' path because I never said or did anything... That is one reason I share these blogs on my Facebook. YOU have the choice to click and read, or to delete or ignore. I am doing my part in sharing the Word and the Good News and the Truth. Whether you choose to beieve it or not isn't up to me. I can spread the seeds, and maybe later down the road someone else will water them, and you will come to the saving grace of Jesus before your deathbed. Maybe these words you read watered a seed that was sitting dormant inside of you... maybe someone else shared Jesus with you, but you were one of those people with the hardened heart or mind. I pray that God opens your heart and mind, and that he opens that hard seed and it begins to germinate... maybe you have the seed and it has started to grow, but you have let weeds, rocks or birds get in there, maybe you just need to be weeded and harvested... maybe you are one of the ones right on the edge of believing, and you just needed to hear that 'one more thing' that might make you believe. That one more thing that shows you that 'God is in fact real'! I pray right now for you as well, that God will help you in this journey you are starting out on. He will help you change your heart, before your mouth or your t-shirt. What this world needs isn't church, or another great motivational book... it needs a Saviour, and it needs those to step up and lead others to Him. When we lift Him up, He will draw all men unto Him.

May you be blessed and encouraged as you read these words, and maybe God is giving you your own revelation right now. Please feel free to leave comments and let me know where you are in your walk with God and I will pray for you by name. IF you have comments where you don't agree with me, or comments of concern or question, feel free to leave those as well. I will answer to the best of my ability (or I will find the answer for you), and I will bless you as well. Thank you for your time! BE BLESSED TO BE A BLESSING!!



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