Monthly Archives: February 2014

Double Standards

As I’ve read the news recently, I’ve begun to notice how much our standards have changed and how contrary we are in this.

In some ways our moral standards have improved (which of course is good) but in others they have declined and we seem to be very inconsistent in those standards.

(When I say “We”, I mean generically as a country and culture, not necessarily my own “opinions”)

We haul “celebrities” through the courts (and in many cases rightly so) for behavior 40 years ago that we laughed at and “enjoyed” on TV.  Scantily Clad young women being chased around by a “Comedian” or Dancers on Top of the pops.  While this is an improvement in standards, at the time we scoffed at those who were saying it was wrong.  At the same time, scores of women go to shows of “exotic male dancers”

We now think families fighting and bickering with each other in Eastenders is “normal” rather than encourage families to love and care for each other and work through their problems scorning old programs like The Waltons and other programs that were uplifting.

We have TV programs “exalting” those who lay around all day on benefits and ignore their neighbor who is working long and hard hours to make some provision for their family, going without many of the luxuries that we regard as our “right”.

We allow abortion and some countries are heading towards Child euthanasia yet make a fuss about a zoo culling an animal.

A young woman would have been ashamed to be seen a little “tipsy” but now they compete to see who can drink the most and behave the worst with silly drinking games being spread over the internet and laugh at them making fools of themselves in hospital casualty wards while a very sick elderly man apologises for “bothering” the nurses.

Marriage is now seen as “disposable” and meaningless rather than something to be treasured for life yet people fight fiercely for “Gay” marriage.  People are more interested in a Wedding rather than a lifelong commitment (look at all the weddings and disasters and breakups that go on in the soaps)

Our prisoners get 3 hot meals a day, TVs, entertainment and yet our old people are left alone struggling to stay warm.

The list is endless and today I read this in the bible;

God Devotion makes a country strong; God avoidance leaves people weak (Proverbs 14 v 34 – The Message)

Or:

Righteousness exalts a nation, but sin is a disgrace to any people (NIV)

We are suffering from our failure to uphold our moral standards under the guise of “human rights”.  We don’t allow parents and teachers to discipline their children yet happily teach them that our warped moral standards are right.

The way of a fool seems right to him, but a wise man listens to advice (Proverbs 12 v 15)

Put On the Armour

Ephesians 6 Says:

11 Put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes.

12 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.

13 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.

14 Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place,

15 and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace.

16 In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one.

17 Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. 

I have read this many many times and have heard many sermons on it too.

My memory of most of these sermons is that they focused on V 14 – to stand our ground, firm in our faith and to use our shield to withstand all that the enemy tries to throw at us.

Recently though, I had a “penny drop” moment.

I had downloaded a short free e-book by Stormie Omartian; an extract from her Prayer Warrior Book.

While reading some of the introduction it finally dawned on me that not only is all the armour designed to protect us from the enemy attack and all the things that life throws at us, but it is also used for attack.

No army would get anywhere if they just stood there defending themselves all the time.  They have to move forward too to push the enemy back.

The belt of truth and the sword of the spirit also refer to God’s word.  His word is our weapon against the Devil’s lies and Jesus himself used it when in the wilderness.  I remember at Sunday school we used to do “Sword Drill” where we would be given a scripture reference and then race to be the first to find it and read out.  We had to know our Bibles quite well to be able to be among the quickest so learned to read it for ourselves as well as learning memory verses.

In our history lessons, we learned about the shields used by Roman soldiers.  They were huge and big enough for them to stand behind and protect the whole body.  They would form a cube with their shields where the soldiers in the rows behind the front would hold them above their heads forming a solid block that nothing could get through.  They would then march forward pushing through everything in the way as a united unit.  Not only were they protecting themselves individually, but each soldier was working hard as a team to protect each other.

We were asked to help out at the churches’ youth group for young teens with teaching them a couple of Worship songs.  My husband gave me the list of song’s that he can play and asked my opinion as to which one’s we should do.

As far as we know, most of the group don’t attend church regularly and so I was thinking of choosing songs which had some message to it that they would have fun singing but was not “deep” worship in that we would be asking them to sing words that did not have a lot of meaning to them yet.

On the list was “We want to see Jesus listed high” and so I chose this.  The day before we were due to go to the group, hubby said to me about getting the group to join in with some clapping or stomping of feet during the first couple of lines of the chorus;

“We want to see; (clap, clap, clap,)We want to see; (clap, clap, clap) We want to see Jesus lifted high”

I then remembered that the chorus continues;

“Step by step we’re moving forward, little by little we’re taking ground

Every Prayer a powerful weapon, strongholds come tumbling down and down and down and down.”

Again, I realised that this is something I had sung on many occasions, but hadn’t quite made the connection with the “armour”.

This I think is one of the keys to a church being able to grow both spiritually and numerically; being united in our goals and working together as a team, using the armour to work with and help and protect our brothers and sisters so that we can move forward defeating the enemy.

A Roman soldier would not have survived for very long if he tried to fight the battle on his own, but working as part of a united army achieved much and pushed forward, taking over the land and pushing back the enemy.  Similarly we cannot fight our battles on our own. We need the support and prayers of our Church Family as well as our natural families.

Stormie Omarian says in her book:

We all— even unbelievers— have faith in something or someone. We have faith that the pharmacist won’t poison us when we have our prescription from the doctor…. when we put our faith in God, we start out with a small faith and it grows.

God said to Abraham in Genesis 15 v1

Do not be afraid, Abram.  I am your shield, your very great reward

Psalm 84 v 11:

For the Lord God is a sun and shield

Psalm 28 v 7

The Lord is my strength and my shield

Not only are we putting our trust in God, he is putting his trust in us and within us and around us.  He is our protection and shield.

We are given the helmet of salvation which protects our heads and therefore also protects our minds from the enemy’s lies and it is also our crown.

Psalm 140 v7

O sovereign Lord, my strong deliverer, who shields my head in the day of battle”

1 Thessalonians 5 v 8

But since we belong to the day, let us be self controlled, putting on faith and love as a breastplate, and the hope of salvation as a helmet

We know that when Satan tried to temp Jesus in the wilderness, Jesus used God’s word as his shield and also his sword as his weapon to protect himself from the lies that Satan tried to deceive him with.

Hebrews 4 v 12;

For the word of God is living and active.  Sharper than and double edged sword.

So clearly, we need to not only know what our armour is, but learn how to use it and apply it.

What do you think?

Omartian, Stormie (2013-09-01). The 7-Day Prayer Warrior Experience (Free One-Week Devotional) (Kindle Location 224). Harvest House Publishers, Inc.. Kindle Edition.

Faith learned from a Child’s Toy

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When I was very little, I was given a toy plastic dog – he was already very old and battered but I loved him and he became my constant companion as I insisted on taking him everywhere with me.

He became known as “Doddy” as at the time I was too young to be able to say “Doggy” correctly.

One day “disaster” struck; Doddy’s eyes fell out.  You can imagine the tears and howls as I cried for Daddy to mend him which my patient, able to fix anything father did, and peace was restored to the home again.

Many years later he was retrieved from my parent’s attic and came to live in my home, standing quietly in my living room.  My only “treasured” possession from my childhood.

One day I looked at it and realised that I had learned a very important lesson in faith and trust as a small child even though at the time I did not have the faith that I have now.

You see I realised that I had to trust my earthly father to fix my problem (repairing a toy).  It was no use me standing there clinging onto the broken toy crying “Daddy it’s broken”.  I had to let go and let my father take it so that he could mend it for me.

I realised that it is the same with our Heavenly Father – sometimes we have to let go of things to enable Him to take them from us and “fix” whatever is broken.

“Cast all your anxiety on him, because he cares for you (1 Peter 5 v7).

When I read the word “cast” I think of “throw” – throw them on Him.  I suspect my father gently prised Doddy from my hands to be able to repair him for me and sometimes our Heavenly Father will have to gently guide us into giving up a problem to him and not try to fix it ourselves.

As a two year old child does not have the ability to repair a broken toy, neither do we have the ability to repair broken lives or bodies, but our Heavenly Father does.

So; lets learn to give our problems to him and not try to fix them ourselves as we will probably fail and make things worse

A Call to Prayer

A friend sent this e-mail this morning and I thought it’s message was worth sharing;

It is rare that I’m woken by the call to prayer, but it had been a hot, still night and so this morning the sound of the muezzin drifted up from the valley below. It was dark at 4.40am and even the cockerels hadn’t got into full song by then. So, I got up to pray too.

Whatever we may think of our friends of other faiths, they certainly have a dedication to prayer that many of us should be envious of. We too desperately need to start each day in submission to God, and ask Him alone to be our guide and inspiration for the day ahead. May we also find times during the day when we can refocus on Him and lay our priorities, plans and concerns before Him.

Would you please join us in praying for these dear brothers and sisters, who are so fervent in their obligations but yet are without surety of salvation? And may our team here, and many others around the world, find ways of clearly communicating God’s love, truth and hope to those who are blinded to them right now.

Thank you and have a great day!