Are You Ready For War?

Leave a Comment
Picture from

It seems like I have spent my whole life with war surrounding me. I remember as a young child hearing about the Falkland's war, after that it was Bosnia then Iraq and now Syria. When does it end? The truth is, it doesn't.

Those who have been a Christian for a long period of time have probably come up against some sort of spiritual warfare. Even if we disagree with our country going to war, we are all fighting a war ourselves. At first you may be thinking about the shallow things we face in life, the war against weight or commercialism, but, no - spiritual warfare is a real thing. Most people who believe in God recognise that if we believe in good, we must also believe in evil. Believing in God means choosing a "side" and by choosing God we are rejecting the devil and I can imagine that he wouldn't be too pleased with that. Paul attested to this in Ephesians 6:10-13 when he talked about our struggle as Christians, reminding us that it was "not 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" (ESV). 

Fortunately for us Paul doesn't leave us high and dry and gives us some help for when we face this evil. In verses 13-18 he explains to us all that we need to "take up the whole armour of God". I have to be honest and say that although I have faced warfare in my own life many times I am not that good at remembering to put on the armour at the start of my day and it's really something I want to become a permanent part of my morning. Paul makes it clear that by doing so is the only way which we can stand against evil. So how do we go about putting this armour on? I had a friend who physically pretended to put on each part as they verbally spoke about it, they found it helped them remember it all without having to look it up every day. They do say 6 weeks makes a habit so how about every morning for the next 6 weeks you force yourself to do it and see if it's something you no longer need to remind yourself to do it.

There are 6 pieces to the armour and Paul begins with the belt of truth meaning we should never be standing on lies, our honesty sets us apart and helps to keep us in the world but not of the world. Next we are to wear the breastplate of righteousness. During the summer I listened to a number of podcasts but the one that stands out to me the most was a speaker at the Hillsong Conference. His name is Joseph Prince and I loved his talk so much I have gone on to follow his program of sermons at his church New Creation church in Singapore. The podcast I listened to was about Melchizedek (pronounced Mel-Kiz-id-deck) which translates to "my king is righteous(ness)". In summary he spoke about how Jesus had become our high priest when he redeemed us and is part of the order of Melchizedek. Righteousness is a word I struggled with really getting to grips with. It basically implies that our lives are justified and that we are walking a life which is pleasing to God.

The next item we are to put on is the "readiness given by the gospel of peace" as shoes for our feet, we should be walking in peace with ourselves, God and others. Bearing a grudge is hardly peaceful, neither is arguing however I know well that we are not always able to follow in Jesus' perfection as I slip up as much as the next person. It may seem strange trying to put peace and war in the same verses but we have to remember that peace is what ends war, when someone accepts they have lost. Now in this we hope that it would be the sinner, that they would accept Jesus as their saviour. Secondly to that we are not wearing the shoes of the gospel but of readiness of the gospel. There is no real explanation for what that means but given that readiness means "willingness to do something" or "the state of being fully prepared for something" I can only imagine that we are to be ready for battle. Yes, there will be days where we will be walking around in our suit of armour carrying out nothing but our usual day's activities but even through that we are to be ready, prepared for battle.

Next Paul tells us that we are always to carry with us the "shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming darts of the evil one". Not only is Paul telling us to keep our shield with us but that we will have to use it. It may sound like all of this comes from not following God's commands but actually it's quite the opposite. We face this warfare because we follow God's commands. We commit to a side, God's side and therefore put ourselves against the evil one and should expect that the more we walk the path that God has carved out for us, the more we will be attacked. If you have read Job then you will know he was the most amazing man of God in his time. He was such a man of God that he faced fierce attack, which God permitted because he knew there was nothing the devil could do to turn him away from the path he was on. We too, will face the evil one if we live the life that God has called us to but God has not asked us to do it without his help.

We, next, must "take up the helmet of salvation" because once we have been saved we know where we are going but we also know the final battle has already been won. Jesus has already paid for our sin, he has already died for us and given his life for ours. The final piece of armour is the "sword of the spirit" which has always been referred to as the Bible. We have to always remember that our best weapon is the Bible, being able to reply to the father of lies as Jesus did when he was in the desert being tempted (Luke 4:1-13). Jesus was able to knock back every lie that the devil told him using scripture alone. We are told that scripture, the sword of the spirit, is "breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for rep roof, for correction, and for training in righteousness " (ESV). As I believe this is the case then I know that the Bible is there for me to try and know God more but also to memorise different verses for my own protection. In Hebrews 4:12 that not only is the word of God "living and active" but it is "sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart" (ESV). Now doesn't that sound like the kind of weapon you want in your hand and at your side? If so find some verses to memorise, verses that will help you - possibly like the verses I've shared above - when you are faced with the enemy.

You may think that if you get attacked that God mustn't love you, but in fact it's quite the opposite. The devil is only out to attack those who do the lords work and you may find that the closer you get to God's plan the more you are attacked. In some ways you could say that you want to be attacked because it shows you that you are walking in the right direction, you are on the devil's radar because you are helping to do God's work and doing it well.

I hope today you are putting on your armour of God and getting ready for the possibility of warfare - always be ready, you never know when he will strike!

Do You Give?

Leave a Comment
Don't Forget To Show Hospitality To Strangers For Some Who Have Done This Have Entertained Angels Without Realising It! ~ Hebrews 13:2

When we think about giving in a Christian perspective most people will usually think of the obvious ways like giving to charity or tithing but giving is so much more than that. While those are both good, and important, ways we can give in so many more ways than that. One of the cheapest (and possibly hardest in this day and age) ways to give is to give of our time. Time is so precious and yet costs nothing. It can be hard to give our time when our lives are so crammed full of the "must do"'s of the world like work or groceries, picking the kids up from school or socialising with friends. The thing is we can give our time through these things too. At work something as simple as evangelising to a colleague or taking a coffee to our boss can mean greater things to others. Buying a few more groceries and leaving them in a homeless shelter or with someone who has less than we do. Offering to pick up a neighbour's child at the same time as picking up our own or even sharing a glass of wine with a friend in need.
Come close to God, and God will come close to you. Wash your hands, you sinners; purify your hearts, for your loyalty is divided between God and the world. ~ James 4:8
We also have to remember to give our time to God, which He loves and we grow from. Spending time in prayer and worship will revive us and feed our souls. Sometimes it can be hard to find the time or space to sit down with God but it's oh so important. Even getting up 10 minutes earlier in the morning to bless the day or putting on a worship CD while we drive can lift our spirits and bring us back "home" to where we belong. We have to remember to give as He gave, come close to the Father as Jesus did.
When you give to someone in need, don’t do as the hypocrites do—blowing trumpets in the synagogues and streets to call attention to their acts of charity! I tell you the truth, they have received all the reward they will ever get. ~ Matthew 6:2
It can be easy to give when all eyes are on us, watching us and giving us praise for what we have done or given. Giving out of sight is harder. It is human nature to love being praised although we are told very clearly in the scriptures not to give like this. Jesus doesn't ask us to give but tells us "WHEN" we give not "IF" we feel like it or "if" we want to or "if" we have it to spare. It can be easy to give when it's right in front of us, or to someone we love. It can be easy to spend time with our friends but what about spending time with the guy or girl you see who is homeless and ignored by every passer-by. It can be easy to give what we have to spare but what about giving up something we love to give to someone else, the single mama who would love a manicure but doesn't have the funds or sitter to watch her child. Even something as close-by as the background work in your local church or charity shop and giving up our time to do it can be a struggle for most of us.
You must each decide in your heart how much to give. And don’t give reluctantly or in response to pressure. “For God loves a person who gives cheerfully.” ~ 2nd Corinthians 9:7
Don't get me wrong, I, like anyone find it hard to give. Especially giving up time doing things I love to help someone else. One of the reasons I started this blog is because I enjoy time online but looking at Pinterest or playing games on Facebook isn't spending time with the Lord and by blogging and reading the Scripture I am talking about is helping me grow spiritually and remind me how to be more like Him. We are reminded not to give grudgingly, to give freely of ourselves and do so "cheerfully". I pray that all of us are able to give cheerfully and that we strive to become better at giving, in all aspects. If you, too, struggle with giving remember to add this to our daily prayers, to ask God to help us give better and more easily and that it becomes second nature to us.

Remember, we never know who we are giving to, they may be angels in disguise. That shouldn't be our reason for giving, just a gentle nudge in the right direction.

God Bless,

Are You A "Sunday Christian"?

Leave a Comment

A phrase I have heard being knocked about a lot is "Sunday Christian's", it normally goes hand in hand with the word hypocrisy. At this point of the year, the day before Good Friday we really need to be looking inside ourselves, looking into our hearts. To be honest, it makes no difference, whether it's right before Easter or if it's Christmas we should be constantly looking inside ourselves to make sure our hearts stay pure. The quote above is one of my favourites even though it reminds me of how much of a sinner I am, not in a depressive way but in a "Hey, I need to buck my ideas up" sort of way. It pours gas on my inner fire and makes me want to be the BEST Christian I can be.
Then Jesus said to the crowds and to his disciples, “The teachers of religious law and the Pharisees are the official interpreters of the law of Moses. So practice and obey whatever they tell you, but don’t follow their example. For they don’t practice what they teach. ~ Matthew 23
What is a "Sunday Christian", someone who goes to church every week, posed and upright, looking like the winner of Christian of the year award (yes, it is metaphorical!), and yet the rest of the week seem to be working hand in hand with the devil. Okay, maybe not that bad but not living the way God asks us to. How can someone live like this? Pretending, or maybe even believing in their own minds, to be walking with God when in fact they couldn't be further from the truth. Hypocrisy is something that is constantly thrown in the faces of Christian's everywhere, it's like we are always in the spotlight while people just wait for us to mess up. Hopefully the messing up is something accidental and that we regret. However, "Sunday Christians" are people who don't seem to feel remorse, and no matter the sermon in Church, they continue to live in the same manner. It might sound like a small thing but Jesus goes all out on the Pharisees in Matthew 23, nearly the whole chapter is Christ rebuking them.
When I was a child, I spake as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child: but when I became a man, I put away childish things. ~ 1st Corinthians 13:11
None of us want to be seen as hypocrites but especially where our faith is concerned. We want to be "that person" that shines, that people see the love of Jesus illuminating from. Unfortunately a lot of the time our good intentions stay as just that, intentions. Today let's pray that we can put away those childish things and grow in the Lord. To represent His death, lets give up those things that are holding us back, put our bad habits to death and move onwards and upwards. Some years ago I worked with a guys in his mid-late 20's who still sucked his thumb, a pretty minor and not very hypocritical behavior, but God spoke to him and gave him this verse. He knew it was time to put away his childish behaviours, his thumb sucking, and grow in Christ.
So get rid of all evil behaviour. Be done with all deceit, hypocrisy, jealousy, and all unkind speech. Like newborn babies, you must crave pure spiritual milk so that you will grow into a full experience of salvation. Cry out for this nourishment, now that you have had a taste of the Lord’s kindness. ~ 1st Peter 2:1-3
What can we give up on today? What can we (try) to put to death for God? One of my terribly bad habits is swearing, should I be admitting this? I hate that I do it and I know that I must realise that I do it because I never swear in front of my children, so why is it something I find so hard not to do? I know many people will have given things up for Lent already, but try not to make the death of your bad habit so difficult that you will instantly fail. I have tried to give up swearing for Lent and have only failed a couple of times and I want to stop completely, I'm an intelligent person who can formulate a sentence and use appropriate grammar so I really don't need to use offensive language to make a point.

Pray for me that I will continue to manage to put this habit to death. It's a minor thing in comparison to the death of Christ and what He went through for me but every little baby step is one step closer to me being the person that He wants me to be and that's the most important thing. I am crying out for his nourishment and to grow in Him. I want to be more like him, I crave it more than anything. I pray that you too will crave his kindness and be able to live like Him every day.

God Bless,

Saving Time For God

Leave a Comment
Show Me Your Friends And I'll Tell You Who You Are ~ Anon

Time for God is not something I'm particularly good at, in fact I'm downright terrible at it! I have three children, young children - 6, 3 and 1! I also suffer from poor health and disabilities which restrict my daily life so how can I find time for God in amongst all that's going on, on a daily basis? Oh how I pray for help with this, oh how I struggle with this on a daily basis!! I really wish this were easier but in our current lifestyles but it's so hard! Sometimes I feel as if life runs at 100 miles an hour, with more trying to cram itself in.

I'm sure I'm no different to most in that my phone alerts me with emails, messages, notifications of all the people getting in touch with me, the ways I can make my home better, the things I should be doing and appointments I have to be at. It can be overwhelming to have so much going on and at the end of the day (at the end of the day, it gets dark, as my father says!) I can feel exhausted and Bible study is the last thing I want to be doing. Sometimes I try to work out how I can squeeze God into my life at a regular time and realise that with 3 young children that's next to impossible!

"Show me your friends and I’ll tell you who you are.” ~ (Anonymous) 
Should we be trying to "squeeze" God in? Maybe not... When we look at the quote above we are reminded that we are like those we spend time with. If we want to be more like God then we need to spend more time with him. He should be first in our lives, not at the end of the list. For most people, myself included, every week or every day can be different from the one before. How can we make regular time for God if this is the case? I just got myself a new planner, so I can sit down each day or week and work out what I'm doing and when and make sure God is on that page every day, at least that's the plan!

Even with everything planned out to the second, sometimes life doesn't listen and throws a curve ball our way. It's not about God begging us to spend time with Him, or being upset because something popped up that wasn't in our schedule that we had to attend to. We should WANT to spend time with Him because it helps us become more like Him.

"And what value was there in fighting wild beasts—those people of Ephesus —if there will be no resurrection from the dead? And if there is no resurrection, “Let’s feast and drink, for tomorrow we die!” Don’t be fooled by those who say such things, for “bad company corrupts good character.” Think carefully about what is right, and stop sinning. For to your shame I say that some of you don’t know God at all." ~ 1 Corinthians 15:32-34
Looking at Corinthians and seeing the way some of the people of Ephesus behaved and to be told that "bad company corrupts good character" it's obvious that the company we keep will reflect on the way we behave ourselves. Does this change how we organise our lives? Does it change how important it is to make time with God? I hope so. My prayer for all of us is that we put God first and sit in his presence, to become more like Him and live each day with Him being the most important thing on our planner.

God Bless,

Turn The Other Cheek

Leave a Comment
Love Is Patient, Love Is Kind Printable Prayer Card By Falala Designs
Printable Prayer Cards By Falala Designs

Love, isn't it a wonderful thing! We try so hard to focus on loving others that sometimes we can't see the wood for the trees and realise what it encompasses. I was unfortunate, or maybe fortunate, enough to have someone dislike me for no reason and start trying to bring me down by spreading lies and nastiness about me behind my back. It was and is horrific. Over 3 years more and more things happened, spreading through my work turning people against me and making me feel worse and worse until I couldn't take it any longer and my mental health deteriorated to a point of trying to kill myself. Yes, it was that bad. I was constantly telling the others that I worked with to ignore it, not to try and take revenge or try to get back at the person. None of them could understand my unwillingness to want to take retribution.

It comes down to one thing alone, LOVE. Love and forgiveness are intertwined so much that they cannot be separated. You cannot say that you are living the Father's love in your life if you are holding a grievance with someone. Don't get me wrong, I'm not by any stretch saying that it's easy to love someone who has wronged us, it's not. It can be the hardest thing you have to do as a Christian, to forgive someone who has hurt you deeply. Let's try turning it around, think about the wrongs that we do in our own lives and how that makes our Father feel. Every sin we commit, and I know in my own life that it's many, is like a stab to the heart to Him. So how many times do we have to forgive someone who hurts us? The Bible is very clear on this too.

Then Peter came to him and asked, “Lord, how often should I forgive someone who sins against me? Seven times?”
 “No, not seven times,” Jesus replied, “but seventy times seven! ~ Matthew 18: 21-22
In short, we should continually forgive, every single time. Just as God forgives us every time, we should forgive others every time. It doesn't mean that it's an easy thing to do but something that we should be constantly striving to do. If we pray for help forgiving, chances are God will give us opportunities to learn how to do so. Loving as He loves means loving even those who hurt us. Jesus' last words on the cross were a prayer to His Father, asking for forgiveness for the ones who were hurting Him, even though He was in insurmountable pain He was still able to call out forgiveness. The last thing he did.

Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they don’t know what they are doing.” ~ Luke 23:34
One thing that I constantly remind myself of is "Hate breeds Hate", so that I remember that if I hold that grudge in my heart it will only grow more hatred inside of me and how can I love if I'm breeding hatred? In exactly the same way, "Love breeds Love" and to love more we have to have pure hearts that are full of love, not vengeance.  We will get our gifts in Heaven if we can live the lives He wants us to live on earth. During the Sermon on the Mount we are told crystal clearly about forgiveness and how our Father will treat those who cannot forgive.

“If you forgive those who sin against you, your heavenly Father will forgive you. But if you refuse to forgive others, your Father will not forgive your sins. ~ Matthew 6:14-15    
Learning forgiveness is an important part of our spiritual growth, and to grow closer to our God we must learn how to forgive those who hurt us. Learn to turn the other cheek for we will see the benefits in the future.

God Bless,

Trust Him

Just Trust Me... But I Love It God

There will always be a point in life when the perfect job/house/partner (insert anything you want here really!) comes along and you just know that it can't get any better than that... Then the bottom falls out of your world when it passes you by. WHY GOD? I have cried this so many times in my life, how can He do this to me, how can He take it away from me when it was just PERFECT.

That's the thing though, WE might think it's perfect from our own little sheltered corner of the world but we aren't looking outside that. God can see the bigger picture, He can see what is "just around the corner". One of the sayings I hang on to is "Hindsight is 20/20", it really is that simple. When we get past the fact that our hypothetical perfect life just passed us by and we start living again we can find that there may be something better for us.

Hindsight Is 20/20

To be able to attest to trusting God and believing that He's not letting the "good things" pass us by we have to be able to give it all to God, everything! We can't rely on our own knowledge of what is right for us just as children need boundaries and help to make sense of the world so do we as God's children. As a parent, I want the best for my children and I know that God wants the best for me too but it doesn't always mean that I trust His judgement! Just like a child I whine at Him "But Daddy, I know that is the perfect job for me", "How can you take this amazing thing away from me?" and then round the corner is something even better. How stupid and guilty I feel for not trusting that He knows everything, what's been and what's to come.
Wait patiently for the Lord.    Be brave and courageous.    Yes, wait patiently for the Lord. ~ Psalm 27:14
Sometimes I need to learn how to wait patiently for God, for His timing, for His plan but unfortunately I'm not very good at that. I always thinking my way is the right way. I think I may need to add this verse on a sticky note next to my bed, just as a reminder of how to live each day. To start each day with this Psalm and walk with those words in my heart.

Trust in the Lord with all your heart;
    do not depend on your own understanding.

Seek his will in all you do,

    and he will show you which path to take. ~ Proverbs 3:5-6
One thing we can take heart with is the fact that He DOES know what our path brings, He has been there before and can see our future. Being the loving God that He is I feel comforted by the fact that I will not be let down and that He has the best for me in store. Nothing in front of me should be feared or worried about because I know He will not steer me wrong... if I trust Him!!

God Bless,

Haste Not Waste

Leave a Comment
Enthusiasm Without Knowledge Is No Good; Haste Makes Mistakes. ~ Proverbs 19:2

I'm constantly telling my 6 year old to be more conscientious with her homework because she knows her little Ipad is sitting there for her to send e-mails to our family. She is bright and loves to learn but sometimes she gets ahead of herself. She's the same with reading, she reads what she thinks she sees rather than what is actually there. Sometimes she misses a joke or rhyme in her reading because she's 10 steps ahead of herself.

Enthusiasm without knowledge is no good; haste makes mistakes  ~  Proverbs 19:2

Sometimes we need to just. STOP. Take a deep breath and look at everything through fresh eyes. I'm sure as children we all heard the story of the tortoise and the hare, well it's true of life too, it has a real moral to it! If you somehow managed to miss the story, the tortoise and the hare have a race. The hare is convinced that it will win because he's so much faster than the tortoise and rushes off. Having a good head start he sits down to have a rest and fell asleep. The tortoise had walked slowly and steadily and eventually won the race. We really need to pay attention to this, the hare had the enthusiasm but also a lack of knowledge otherwise he would have taken a rest after he won the race!

Hare And Tortoise Watercolour Picture, Artist Unknown

It's so easy to jump on Google (or any other search engine!) and find a half answer to something, the amount of people I know who have self-diagnosed an illness, by deciding they have a medical degree just because they have the internet at their fingertips, is unreal! Mind you, I didn't have that as a child, and I'm not that old!! If I had wanted to know how to spell something I picked up a dictionary, or if I was going somewhere, a map! Now we have so much access to information we can miss the point completely.

We are expected to have the answers now, life expects us to be able to accomplish more, have careers, kids, the house, the car, the marriage, the family, the perfect holiday's and clothes, and so it goes on. Life is meant to be easier with all this "help" but sometimes we try so hard to get more done that we miss a message or story or even a fact. So many times I have read a note or appointment, putting it into my calendar and turning up a week early because I've missed that it's actually the next week, or a different location to where I thought because I've been so rushed to get all the information down.

Our lives are so fast paced they are just passing us by and we don't even see it. Don't get me wrong, I know I'm as guilty as the next person for doing it. I sometimes realise it's been a few days and I haven't done a good Bible study, or spent some time in stillness with God. Haste makes mistakes, it's true. If we are so rushed in life we are going to miss the real message, the real time with God, getting to know Him truly and fully. We will miss the moral of the stories in the Bible, the time in stillness, and the realisation of what He has done for us.

Today, why don't you just STOP.

God Bless,