Helmets, Seat Belts, Armor

“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,” Ephesians 6:10-18 ESV

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A strong defense wins championships.

This statement has been repeated constantly by sport teams over the years. Yet how does that apply to everyday life?

This past week, I had a bicycle accident. The bike tires hit what this northern transfer calls “rubber ice.” For those outside the state of Florida, rubber ice is a byproduct of rubber mats placed on sidewalk corners. Their purpose is to prevent people from slipping on the pavement. However, the problem occurs after a rain shower when the rubber mat becomes wet. When bicycling, one must approach these mats directly head-on or risk having the tires spin out of control.

The later is what happened when I quickly turned onto the sidewalk at an angle. The tires didn’t hold and the bike went into a slide. When everything stopped, I was a pretzel caught under the bike with my cheek rubbing the cement ground. Thankfully, I was wearing a helmet which took most of the blow to the head. I was fortunate to walk away with only minor scrapes and bruises.

I recall in those early years once driving my auto on the service drive of a freeway when another car ran a stop sign and broadsided me. The impact knocked my car off the road toward the freeway which laid approximately 30 feet below. The impact knocked me from the driver side to an upside down position on the passenger side. When the car came to a stop, my head was on the passenger floor mat and my feet upright hitting the ceiling. My right hand though hung onto the steering wheel keeping the car from toppling off the service ramp into the traffic below.

Again, I was fortunate to walk away with bruises and minor cuts. This was before the law of the land required seat-belt usage. Anyway, after that ordeal wearing a seat belt became my standard before it was even a legal requirement.

Today, wisdom recognizes the safety importance of wearing helmets when cycling and seat belts when driving cars. One never knows when outside circumstances could cause a damaging accident with crippling human results.

The apostle Paul outlines in the book of Ephesians the defensive measures that a Christ-follower wears to prevent catastrophe against the devil’s ploy. He described it as the whole armor of God. It includes Truth, Righteousness, The Gospel, Faith, Salvation, Word of God, and Prayer.

If you want to have a strong defense, than it is recommended that one learns, understands, and integrates each of these tools into your life. The world’s circumstances will test you through unexpected battles. To survive and endure to the end requires putting on the defensive gear before an unplanned accident occurs. With the proper equipment, one has a better chance of walking away with only minor bruises and small cuts.

Those who aren’t wearing any protective gear though will experience the full impact of an accident’s fury. Whether bicycling, driving, or moving through life’s jungle, one needs to be prepared for the unexpected. The armor of God helps you to manage the risk of the unexpected.

Rooting For You in Christ!

Dr. Mike

Consultant, Coach, Encourager
Marketplace Bible Institute
& Resource Center, Inc
Author of e-Books:
* Great Business Emulates a Good God
* Be Radical…Follow Christ!
* Simply The Messenger
* Unequally Married

Salvation: Relationship or Commodity?

“For I feel a divine jealousy for you, since I betrothed you to one husband, to present you as a pure virgin to Christ.” 2 Corinthians 11:2 ESV
“…so that he(Jesus) might present the church to himself in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish. In the same way husbands should love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. For no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as Christ does the church, because we are members of his body. “Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.” This mystery is profound, and I am saying that it refers to Christ and the church.” Ephesians 5:27-32 ESV

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Growing up in the 21st century within a capitalist culture is challenging for one to fully grasp the teachings of the Bible. Take for example the concept of salvation. Is salvation a commodity to be exchanged or a relationship to be experienced?

There are those who believe that upon repentance one receives salvation. We exchange our repentance for a one-way ticket to heaven. Then there are those who believe that salvation occurred approximately 2,000 years ago upon Jesus’ death, resurrection, and ascension. That upon accepting the reality of who Jesus is, we begin to experience the fruit of salvation.

I lean towards the second view. When we view salvation as a byproduct of our effort, we are treating salvation as a commodity. However, when we view salvation as an engagement, than we are treating salvation as a relationship.

The apostle Paul used the analogy of being engaged to Jesus Christ. In Paul’s time it was the man who selected his wife-to-be. He would work out the arrangement with the woman’s father. If the father approved, he gave his daughter to him. In a sense, the woman would wake up and discover who her husband is to be. She didn’t choose her husband. It wasn’t a decision she made. She simply acknowledged the reality that she was engaged to be married. Thereafter, she focuses herself in accepting the relationship of her husband-to-be and accordingly changed her thinking and behavior to that reality.

Salvation is likewise an engagement in a marriage relationship from a 1st century woman’s perspective. What saves us is not our decision. What saves us is Jesus Christ who became engaged to us before we even accepted that reality. When we wake up from our spiritual sleep, accept that reality, then we begin to experience the fruit of salvation. Otherwise, if salvation is a business transaction, a commodity that we acquire, then it has the weak link of a human decision. We will always doubt our level of repentance, faith, trust, or works. Or in other words, how good is good enough.

When I beheld salvation as a relationship and no longer a commodity is when the fruit of God became more active and the heart of God became more intense within my very soul. I for one am very thankful that Jesus Christ re-opened the door for us to have a relationship with Him, His Father, and His Spirit: The Triune God. How about you?

 

Rooting For You in Christ!

Dr. Mike

Executive Chair, Consultant, Encourager
Marketplace Bible Institute
& Resource Center, Inc
Author of e-Books:
 *  Great Business Emulates a Good God
 *  Be Radical…Follow Christ!
 *  Simply The Messenger
 *  Unequally Married

Living in God’s Presence

“…And behold, I (Jesus) am with you always, to the end of the age.” Matthew 28:20 ESV

presence 3

Want to participate in the greatest adventure of life?
Want an accountability partner that understands you?
Want to be held by a higher standard?
Is so, live in the presence of God.

The other day, the worship leader invited God into the church service. My thought was “isn’t He here already?”

The preacher standing on the street corner with his sign predicting the end of the world shouted, “God wants nothing to do with you until you repent.” Which begs the question: doesn’t God gracefully provide rain and sunshine to the just and unjust?

The business owner after a very profitable year asks the pastor “how much do I need to donate to the church to keep receiving God’s blessings?” Which leads to another question: Is our relationship with God built on a contractual arrangement or a grace-filled, loving Father?

When one begins to understand the good news of Jesus Christ, one relishes the joy of living in His Presence. When the self is denied, the personal cross is carried, and we follow Jesus wherever He leads us, the world begins to look differently.

When we realize that every person we meet has been reconciled and included by Jesus Christ at the cross, Kingdom values take over. As we meet people, we prayerfully seek to discover how the Spirit is working with the person. We seek ways to love the person as Christ loves us; through service. Our objective is to witness Jesus to the person without words. To allow the Spirit to convict and introduce the person to the savior of the world.

As we enter the marketplace, we seek to participate with Jesus in the work we do. We strive to balance excellence with love as a witness of God’s Kingdom economy. In everything we do, we acknowledge Him. We prayerfully ask, seek, and knock for solutions in business and relationships. We judge no one; not even ourselves. We live fully accountable to Jesus.

When wrong, he will discipline us. When right, he will help us to keep humble as we know it all comes from Him. Where we lack faith, we will rely on his. When love flickers, we ask Him to intercede. When walking, bicycling, or driving, we communicate with Him. We seek ways to bring glory to Him. As we place our trust in Him, he reveals Himself through the people and means that come our way. We become more aware of His work in the world. We seek ways to participate with His purposes. Wherever we fail, he is there to carry us through to the very end.

He is always with us. He is always available and nearer to you than you and I even realize. Be glad to live in His presence each and every day.

Rooting For You in Christ!

Dr. Mike

Executive Chair, Consultant, Encourager
Marketplace Bible Institute
& Resource Center, Inc
Author of e-Books:
 *  Great Business Emulates a Good God
 *  Be Radical…Follow Christ!
 *  Simply The Messenger
 *  Unequally Married