Categories
Devotions

Is your Attitude Appropriate for a Dress Code which Requires Full Armor?

This morning, I caught sight of my granddaughter dressed up in an angel costume. Her dress was sparkling white, and her halo was positioned just right, but something was amiss. She was throwing a fit. Her scowling face was buried in her hands. She wore the outfit, and was cute as could be, but fell short of angelic. Her attitude was the problem.

Almost angelic: Is your Attitude Appropriate for a Dress Code which Requires Full Armor?
The Attitude makes the Outfit
Is your Outfit Appropriate for a Dress Code which requires Full Armor? The Attitude Beneath…

Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand.”

Ephesians 6:11-13 (emphasis mine)

Wow! This has been an eye-opening series! Thank you all for coming along for the ride.

“As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another.”

Proverbs 27:17

I sincerely want to thank everyone who took part by commenting and discussing the dress code which makes up the full armor of God. Hopefully we grew together. I know I learned from you!

  • Fellowship: a friendly relationship marked by ready communication and mutual understanding
  • Conversation: an exchange of views for the purpose of exploring a subject or deciding an issue
  • Collaboration: the work and activity of a number of persons who individually contribute toward the efficiency of the whole

To conclude this series, I want to appreciate and highlight a few reader comments. which expanded my perception and comprehension of the Full Armor of God.

Reader comments: Is your Attitude Appropriate for a Dress Code which Requires Full Armor?
Photo by Cristian Dina on Pexels.com

I pretty much owe the premise of this wrap-up post to input from my incredible sister-in-Christ over at God Still Speaks. She pointed out how grateful she is to have a casual dress code for work, as she is self-employed. She is comfortable before she puts on the full armor of God. She prompted me to think about how important it is to have a proper foundation.

What do we wear under our armor? Our attitudes and motives! If we don’t allow God to be the Master of those, how can we expect His outerwear to be comfortable? My granddaughter drove the point home today, displaying what a bad attitude does to a shiny outfit. It dulls the whole thing!

I had to increase my full armor gratitude meter when Betty Draper from Wise Hearted reminded me that we didn’t pay a single cent for this outfit. Jesus paid it all! We’re protected by a breastplate of righteousness and a helmet of salvation which we could never purchase for ourselves. We could work our whole lives to earn just these two pieces and we’d still fall vastly short. What a gift – free to us, but so costly to our Savior!

Standing firm: Is your Attitude Appropriate for a Dress Code which Requires Full Armor?
Photo by PhotoMIX Company on Pexels.com

Gary Fultz noted that God’s full armor always fits. What an incredibly miraculous truth, right? Sometimes our faith is puny, and sometimes it goes through seasons of growth. But our shields are always sufficient. Oh, and the truth onto which we latch can be so shortsighted, but our belts always buckle well around our waists. Do you know why? Because it is based on the perfection of Jesus – the size of His merit, not ours.

Looking ahead with resolve, Hope, from Patiently Hopeful, called her armor a precious gift and said she wanted to be mindful to wear it constantly. It made me ponder my cell phone. I don’t go anywhere without it, not even to the other room. You have probably developed the same habit. Why? Because it has everything we need – our shopping and to-do lists, the time, the weather, Google, our maps and GPS, our step-counters…

But are those things more important than our armor? If we don’t go anywhere without our phones, how much more should we make sure to always have our feet fitted with readiness to share the gospel and our swords, which are the words of God?

Dew pearls on a web: Is your Attitude Appropriate for a Dress Code which Requires Full Armor?
Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

If you are not connected with the above bloggers, I highly recommend a visit to their sites. You will be encouraged and strengthened in your walk with God through what they have to say. Prayerfully, you are already gleaning from their insights, as I have shared what I’ve learned from their pearls of wisdom.

How is your battle-preparedness right now? Is your Belt of Truth securely buckled? Is your Breastplate of Righteousness in place? Are your Feet Fitted with Readiness to share the Gospel? Have you taken up your Shield of Faith? Have you accepted your Helmet of Salvation? Do you have the Sword of the Spirit ready in hand? Have you assumed a Posture of Prayer? Is it all resting on an Attitude which has been grounded and founded upon Christ Jesus? Is your outfit appropriate for a dress code which requires full armor?

Thanks again for journeying through this series with me on Monday nights! It is always such a blessing to me when you all visit the back porch. I appreciate the fellowship, conversation and collaboration with you. Whether you are just stopping by for the first time or you have been a regular for months, you are valued and always welcome!

Categories
Celebrations

Six Interesting Verses, Six Month Old Blog, and a God Who has our Six

Exactly six months have passed since I pressed “publish” for the first time on the Back Porch! I’m celebrating with a number 6 themed post today. Thanks for being here!


I really liked this quote I read:

“Whether you stay six weeks, six months or six years, always leave it better than you found it.”

Jim Rohn

And with six people in my immediate family besides me, plus six extras who have married in or been born recently, if we stay anywhere longer than six minutes, we’re bound to leave a mark. Hopefully, it is for the better.


Bible: Six interesting verses, six month old blog, and God has your Six
Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

Did you know that there are 66 books in the Bible? They don’t all have six or more chapters, but to celebrate today’s occasion, I looked up every existing chapter six, verse six. I really enjoyed it! I wanted to share my favorite six of these interesting verses with you today.

“Therefore, say to the Israelites: ‘I am the Lord, and I will bring you out from under the yoke of the Egyptians. I will free you from being slaves to them, and I will redeem you with an outstretched arm and with mighty acts of judgment’.”

Exodus 6:6

“Go to the ant, you sluggard; consider its ways and be wise!”

Proverbs 6:6

But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.

Matthew 6:6

“For I desire mercy, not sacrifice, and acknowledgment of God rather than burnt offerings.”

Hosea 6:6

“For we know that our old self was crucified with him so that the body ruled by sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves to sin…”

Romans 6:6

“But godliness with contentment is great gain.”

1 Timothy 6:6

Just for fun, here are six amusing quotes:

“My doctor gave me six months to live, but when I couldn’t pay the bill he gave me six months more.”

Walter Matthau

“I hate housework! You make the beds, you do the dishes and six months later you have to start all over again.”

Joan Rivers

“Treat your password like your toothbrush. Don’t let anybody else use it, and get a new one every six months.”

Clifford Stoll

“The trouble with eating Italian food is that five or six days later you’re hungry again.”

George Miller

“I grew up with six brothers. That’s how I learned to dance – waiting for the bathroom.”

Bob Hope

It’s better to be known by six people for something you’re proud of than by 60 million for something you’re not.

Albert Brooks

Clock: Six interesting verses, a six month old blog, and a God who has our Six
Photo by SevenStorm JUHASZIMRUS on Pexels.com

Are you familiar with the phrase “I’ve got your six”? It is a military term based on the hands of a clock. If a soldier is facing 12:00, his back is at the 6. So to have someone’s six means you’ve got their back. I wanted to share one more verse that is not a 6:6 but is incredibly comforting because it confirms that God has our six (and our nine and our twelve and our three).

“You hem me in behind and before, and you lay your hand upon me.”

Psalm 139:5

Thank you so much for celebrating with me! I leave you with a six-fold blessing:

May the Lord
1) Bless you 2) Keep you
3) Make His face to shine upon you
4) Be gracious unto you 5) Lift up His countenance upon you
6) Give you peace
Numbers 6:24-26

Categories
Devotions Reflections

Wait, one more thing!

He closed the front door and I started toward the car. My husband said I should have taken a photo of him in the doorway, so I called his cell from the driveway, “Wait, one more thing!”. He indulged his mother and came back to the door. Smile! Click, click. “Thank you! Okay, bye for real now!” Another smile, a wave, and the door closed again. I got all the way into the car, and we drove away. Our son was in his new house, moved completely out of our home. We were making the return trip without him and it was strange. I felt proud and hollow at the same time.

He is not the first of my kids to come of age and move out. I’ve felt this way before, so I knew I’d eventually adjust to the new and different normal. I settled in for the long ride with my husband at the wheel. I opened the Bible app on my phone and read Proverbs chapter 3.

The first two words, “My son”, caught my attention in a unique way, given the circumstances. As I read further, I started forming a series of “Wait, one more thing!” posts, in my heart and head. They are written with my son in mind, but they could be for any of my children. In fact, I’m someone’s child; they are for me. If you’re someone’s child (and I’m certain you are), they may be for you too.

Proverbs 3 was written by King Solomon, who ruled Israel after his father, King David. He is known as the wisest man who ever lived. 2 Chronicles 1:7-12 tells us that when God promised to give Solomon any gift he wanted, he asked for wisdom and knowledge. God was pleased because the request was not for wealth or power, so He granted it all. Proverbs is filled with nuggets of wisdom and chapter 3 is one of many written specifically to posterity.

I told my son, “Wait, one more thing!” and now I am going to say it to him, and me and you, every Monday for a while. I hope you will indulge my sentimentality and allow me to love on you with thoughts from this chapter in Proverbs. I could sure use some solid wisdom these days, especially at the front end of my work week, couldn’t you?

“Wait, One More Thing!”, the series, will be posted to the Back Porch on Mondays and you’re invited! I’m saving a cushioned seat (so to speak) for you!
Categories
Devotions Emotions

Desperate for a Mood Change

Do you think God has moods? I believe I could make a Biblical argument to say that He does, but I would also have to concede that they must be different from mine, because He is unchanging. My moods can change me from hour to hour. And my moods change the way I hear things. When I’m feeling confident, I might hear someone make a negative observation about me and process it as humor or sarcasm. But if I’m in an introspective mood, I am more likely to hear it as criticism and beat myself up over it.

When two people get together to converse, they each bring a mood. It’s no wonder discussions can veer so desperately off track. And when a group of people get together, it is nothing short of a miracle that communication happens at all!

But there is an upside to mood changes. I can read the Bible every day for as long as I live and receive it differently each time. So much of what I understand and take away is based on the mood I bring to the table.

Giraffe and sky: mood change
Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

Is weariness a mood? What do you call your attitude when you look ahead at your life and can’t quite see a break in the clouds? Unfortunately, but honestly, that is the mood I was in when I took my lunch break today. I was feeling the pressure of an already-tight budget, which has had some new and unexpected columns added to it lately.

I often scroll blogs and social media while I eat, but today, I recognized the desperate need for a mood change and decided to read my Bible instead. I came across this verse, which I’d read many times and never really noticed. Today, it stood out like it was in a pop-up book.

“Whoever pursues righteousness and love finds life, prosperity and honor.”

Proverbs 21:21

The first thing I realized about this verse was what it does not say. It does not say to pursue prosperity. Instead, it says to pursue righteousness and love, and in so doing, I will also come across life and prosperity and honor. I could feel my mood changing already! I know that God’s definition of prosperity does not necessarily mean money. I also know that when God prospers someone, they have everything they need. When God fills a person to the brim with contentment and joy, for example, a tight budget is of no real concern.

Society says to pursue riches and applause and you will have a life you love. God says to pursue righteousness and love and you will find honor and a prosperous life.

I realized I’d inadvertently listened to the philosophy the world offers, and it had affected my mood. The message of society is to pursue riches and positions of honor in order to be loved and have a good life. But God met me in my weariness and encouraged me that the very choice to read my Bible was the best thing I could have done. It may have been inadvertent but, by going to Scripture to soothe my mood, I was pursuing righteousness and God’s love. And that, my friend, turns out to be the very thing that will ultimately lead to fulfillment and joy and prosperity.

Have you noticed that you see, hear, or recognize things differently based on your mood? Have you been desperate for a mood change? Have you unwittingly bought into the world’s backwards prescription for prosperity? Let’s turn ourselves around and pursue that which God promises will be the ultimate mood and game changer!

“Whoever gives heed to instruction prospers, and blessed is the one who trusts in the Lord.”

Proverbs 16:20

“Blessed is the one… whose delight is in the law of the Lord, and who meditates on his law day and night. That person is like a tree planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in season and whose leaf does not wither – whatever they do prospers.”

Psalm 1a, 2-3
Categories
Conversations Devotions

Not Another User Guide

Please not another User Guide, Operating Manual, Assembly Instruction, or Training Handbook! My eyes gloss over at the very mention of these things lately. Are you with me? I was recently asked to read a safety workbook, and take a test on it, before I could handle a piece of equipment. I read the first few (of 51!) pages several times, trying to bring my brain to a place where it could process the information without context. I quit several times. Can you relate? Sometimes words are just words when there is no framework from which to understand them.

Conversely, I got the chance to handle a new machine in the lab yesterday. My boss explained its purpose, gave me a quick demonstration and then let me operate it. With only a few minutes of hands-on exposure, I understood how it worked, what I could use it for, and why it will be beneficial for what I do every day. As she was walking away, my manager said she’d send me the paperwork for this apparatus. I realized, happily, that this was not another user guide to dread. The difference was that the words had already been brought to life for me this time.

Isn’t this a great real-life example of the role of the Holy Spirit in our lives? Before we accept Jesus, the Bible can be a hard read. Although it is not another user guide, it can feel that way when we try to process it with an inadequate frame of reference. But once the Holy Spirit comes to reside in us, He shows us how it works. He helps us to internalize its truth and illustrates the benefit it adds to our daily lives. He brings living color to the black and white words of Scripture.

“But the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you.”

John 14:26

What is your learning style? Are you, like me, willing to read just about anything provided it is not anther user guide? Or do you enjoy written work instructions? Is there someone in your life who makes the mundane fun? Do you find the Bible boring, or can you see God’s glorious intention for you leaping off the pages and into your soul? How does this resonate with you? I look forward to your thoughts!

“Your call will become clear as your mind is transformed by the reading of Scripture and the internal work of God’s Spirit. The Lord never hides His will from us. In time, as you obey the call first to follow, your destiny will unfold before you.”

Charles R. Swindoll
Categories
Devotions

Specific prayer

When something interesting happens, I take notice. When it happens again, I pay serious attention. But if it happens three times, I ask God what He wants me to learn. Little did I know that, as I applied my mascara one morning last week, God was about to get my attention. He had something awesome to show me, in triplicate, about specific prayer!

“I write these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God so that you may know that you have eternal life.  This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us.  And if we know that he hears us – whatever we ask – we know that we have what we asked of him.”

1 John 5:13-15
Step one came by way of a story shared on Thursday.

I was getting ready for work and listening to a recorded Bible Study. The teacher recounted a time when her friend called with an urgent prayer request. She fell immediately to her knees to pray and found herself petitioning God in specific prayer for a highly detailed and improbable solution, which surprised her, even as she prayed it. But then she explained how her friend called back several minutes later with an update and the craziest story, which she thought would never be believed. But as she listened, this teacher realized that God had answered with the exact, apparently-not-so-improbable, resolution she had asked for!

Step two came by way of a personal experience on Sunday.

I had a burden to share a particular Biblical truth with someone who has a short attention span for serious matters. I prayed for God to:
1) provide a quiet time without distractions,
2) give her the ability to concentrate,
3) cause me to recognize and seize the moment, and
4) clear her mind to receive and understand what He wanted her to hear. On Sunday morning, God answered my specific prayer, exactly as I had asked, in sequence.

Step three came by way of a praise report from my son on Tuesday.

I received a call from my son, filling me in on what God has been doing in his life while he has been away visiting friends. One story caught my attention because it was about a specific prayer that he had prayed; one that he thought to be incredibly far-fetched. But God came into his situation and walked him through it exactly as he had requested.

Man kneeling by his bed and praying
Photo by Tima Miroshnichenko on Pexels.com

We don’t tell God what to do. I don’t think for a second that God heard any of our suggestions and decided to carry out our will. No, I believe He put His plans on our hearts and made them tremendously unique, so that when He did exactly as He intended, our faith was strengthened. We came out of it knowing that we heard God’s voice. We spoke it back to Him in specific prayer and got confirmation as He carried it out. We simply couldn’t conclude that it was coincidence when each instance was so completely distinct and wildly precise.

Are you intrigued too? I believe God has been displaying the value of specific prayer and encouraging me to be more faithful and courageous in the way I pray. He has reminded me that prayer is more than just an upload from my heart to His. It is also a download, and God actively pursues connection with me, and with you. Are we ready? What an amazing thing that God, with everything in hand, would take the time to impress upon us what He is about to do, just so that we can be involved and encouraged by His answers to our specific prayer!