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But if I say, “I will not mention his word or speak anymore in his name,” his word is in my heart like a fire, a fire shut up in my bones. I am weary of holding it in; indeed, I cannot. Jeremiah 20:9

I make no apologies. I can not keep silent about my God. I will not wish you ‘Happy Holidays’ because this time of year I remember the birth of my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Therefore, I will wish you a Merry Christmas.

I will, to the best of my God given strength, to allow you to be wrong. But I will not embrace a lifestyle that is contrary to the word of God because He has shown me the way of life. I do not pretend to understand everything He does. I can not explain why He allows evil to flourish and heartache to continue. But I will not keep silent about the inner peace He has given me in the struggle of life and the healing He has worked in me even though I’ve failed Him miserably.

I will not keep silent about eternity. There is life after death. There is heaven for those who choose to follow him. There is hell for Satan and those who choose not to follow the creator God of the universe. I will not keep silent about this because I want, in the worst way, for you to be with me in Heaven for eternity.

I will not keep silent about Jesus. He is the only way, the only truth and the only way to real living. If I seem intolerant, I’m sorry. But I will not turn my back on the one who never turned His back on me.

I’m not concerned with your denominational dogmas or your religious perspectives. They are restraining and boring. I choose rather to follow Jesus and grow in my relationship with Him. I can not keep silent about my love for Him and Him alone.

I can not keep silent. For the blessings He has given me and the peace He has worked in my life will not allow me too. Should I try, His Spirit will burn within me like a fire within my very bones. My body would scream in agony for not being able to attest to His greatness.

I will not be overbearing. I will not judge you for the way you choose. But I will forever speak His praise because I can not keep silent.

PRAYER: Father, I pray that this would be my prayer as I move among those who need to know the forgiveness and healing only found in you. In Jesus name I pray, Amen.

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 6:13

Americans spend over $100 Billion on multi-vitamins every year. We spend huge amounts on health clubs, fitness equipment and other things to keep us healthy. New laws are passed every year to protect us from dangerous products, threatening situations and even ourselves! Why do we spend so much time, money and effort on these things? Because we want to be protected and feel the need to protect others from things that will harm or even kill us.

We need protection from water, so we require Personal Flotation Devices. We need protection from the sun so we’ve developed sunscreen. We need protection from people that are irresponsible so we’ve created laws and entire agencies to protect us from evil minded people. Protection is on the minds of all of us and is not only big business but an important part of our society.

What’s ironic about the whole protection issue is that we often go through our days unprotected from the most important things that threaten us. Virtually all of the money we spend to protect ourselves is geared towards protecting our lives. It’s time and money spent on keeping us healthy, wealthy and able to function in society.

At the same time we neglect protecting ourselves from the spiritual dangers that lurk in the shadows. In Ephesians, the Apostle Paul tells us to put on our spiritual protection every day. We are to arm ourselves for battle before we step foot out of our homes, or even our beds. Still, we have to admit we often start our day vulnerable to all kinds of spiritual attack.

Why do we avoid protection?

  • We can say that time is a factor, but if we really realized how dangerous our enemy is we wouldn’t think twice about being protected. The Bible describes Satan as a roaring lion seeking to devour us. He’s cunning, wise and very real. His purpose in life is to destroy us and keep us from the joy we have in Jesus.
  • For some of us, protecting ourselves is a sign of weakness. “Praying, reading God’s Word, fellowshipping with like-minded believers is okay for some, but I’m pretty self-sufficient. I can handle whatever is coming my way today.” God never, ever intended us to walk alone. That’s why He sent His Holy Spirit and gave us the Bible and tells us to pray. He wants to be involved in every part of your life and knows you will need him for battle.
  • Sometimes we go unprotected because, if we are honest with ourselves, we lack of faith in the equipment God has given us for life. He’s given us His Word. He’s proven to be powerful, honest, caring, loving, full of grace and mercy, able to heal and provide. We can trust God even during the times when we doubt His presence.

If you are a great swimmer and going out into the ocean on a boat you take your PFD (Personal Flotation Device). On a calm, sunny day you lay it on the deck, in plain sight but don’t plan to use it. If a storm comes up you may pull it closer in case you need it. But if your boat is in danger and land can’t be seen, you know to put on that PFD because it is your tool of survival in the storm. Think of your faith in Christ as a PFD. Life is a storm and our lives are fragile. Wear your PFD, your trust in Christ. He will help you weather the storm.

PRAYER: Holy Father, I thank you for the many ways you have protected me during my life. I acknowledge that there are many times I’ve been protected without even knowing it. I confess to you that I often go into my daily life unprotected. Empower me through your Holy Spirit to take life seriously and to protect myself with the truth of your Word on a daily basis. In the powerful name of Jesus I pray, Amen.

Study this Book of Instruction continually. Meditate on it day and night so you will be sure to obey everything written in it. Only then will you prosper and succeed in all you do. Joshua 1:8 (NLT)

Several years ago now I embarked on a journey that would take me nearly ten years to complete. For reasons I’m still not sure of I decided that I wanted to study the Bible from cover to cover. Not just read it. Study it.

I set up some rules for myself. I would only read a paragraph a day unless it was a short chapter. Proverbs was a treat in and of itself! I followed no specific pattern of book order, although I did try to alternate between Old and New Testaments as much as possible. I also made a commitment to myself that this would not become a ‘religious exercise’. I was going to do it because I wanted to, not out of obligation. If I missed a day or two I resolved to NOT send myself on some guilt trip. Life happens.

The ‘format’ for my study was really pretty simple. I bought a three ring binder and some lined paper. Each day that I studied I would put the date, the scripture to be read/studied and a ‘journal’ area. After reading the selected section of the Bible I would write down what I thought the passage meant to me. Lastly, I put a one line ‘Life Step’ after each journal entry. The ‘LIFE STEP’ would be one thought from the passage that I would take with me throughout my day. It may have been a verse or a thought. It ‘had to be’ something I could apply to my life.

There were some days when I would read a passage and go through my day encouraged by the things I read. His word and the lesson stayed with me all day long as I meditated on some thought from that passage.

There were other days when I did the process and to be honest didn’t really find anything that would grab me about my life and walk with God. It was interesting though that later, on occasion, some part of the passage would come to mind and I distinctly remember thinking, “Oh, that’s why God gave me the reading this morning!”

This experience taught me some valuable lessons.

First, God’s word is relevant for today. The more I read, the more I realized its importance in giving me wisdom, strength and encouragement.

Secondly, daily reading of God’s word gave me more awareness of God’s presence in my daily life. He showed me his presence in many ways that I’d never seen before.

Thirdly I began to see the Bible as one story, with many sub-stories, that showed that God uses people. Ordinary people like you and I to accomplish his work. These were people who sinned, rebelled, and struggled with life!

We are extremely blessed, in the United States especially, with a multitude of Bible Studies, Churches, TV shows and the internet to give us God’s word. Joshua was promised that by making God’s Word a priority in life he would see success and prosperity by God’s standards.

PRAYER: Father God. Thank you for your word the Holy Bible. Thank you for the fact that throughout generations your Word has continued to be the infallible guide we need to find rest, peace and hope in  you. I praise you for your choce to use us, as ordinary sinful people, to accomplish your kingdom work here on earth. Amen.

So don’t go to war without wise guidance; victory depends on having many advisers. Proverbs 24:6 (NLT)

What do you do when you have a tough decision to make? Here are twelve suggestions to guide you along the way. Remember that God loves you and has exciting things in store for you if you follow His direction.

  1. God wants you to win. He’ll give you the tools, the strategy and the opportunities to be victorious over any obstacle you encounter or dream you may have. But He will not do the work for you. You must take action steps of faith to start the process.  
  2. Don’t discount the ‘wisdom and advice’ of those who do not know Jesus. God can and has used unspiritual men to speak His wisdom. However, be very careful when following this advice that is does not contradict scripture for God will never lead you to disobedience.
  3. Don’t automatically assume that all advice from ‘Godly’ men is wise advice from God. Even pastors will be guilty of saying things to win you to their perspective. Weigh all the advice you receive before taking action
  4. Stretch yourself. God will rarely call you to something that you don’t enjoy or don’t have the gifts to accomplish. He may, however, call you to do things that you’d never thought of before and that are completely out of your comfort zone. Keep yourself open to new opportunities for ministry.
  5. God isn’t a fan of tradition. Jesus was a radical in His day although He never went against the wishes of His father. The way you dress, the music you listen to, the activities you engage in may draw unwanted ‘advice’ from people. Evaluate what they are saying to see if their concerns have merit. Prepare to adjust your life accordingly. But remember, you are answerable to God alone.
  6. Too many counselors/advisors can be counterproductive. Choose two or three of your closest and most trusted friends. Listen to their words. Allow them the freedom to be critical in the evaluation sense. Don’t allow yourself to be sensitive.
  7. Watch and listen for God’s confirmation. There are times when people completely out your circle of influence will make statements that will verify what you have been feeling all along.
  8. Pray. Pray. Pray. Not just the daily, routine prayers. Bring your thoughts constantly before God and allow Him to steer you in the way he wants you to go.
  9. Fast. Fasting has become misunderstood and forgotten. A fast doesn’t have to be painful or even that long. Skip lunch a few days and spend the time in prayer.
  10. Personal Retreats. Many times God will speak to us when we are removed from all distractions. Consider adding a personal retreat to your decision making process and the words of your advisors. Many Bible Camps and Christian Retreat Centers will have rooms/cabins available for you to stay in for a day or two for a nominal cost, or even free. Take nothing along but a bible, a journaling notebook and personal items. Spend time in prayer and reading the Bible.
  11. Read your Bible daily. It doesn’t have to take long. 15-20 minutes a day of bible reading can make a huge impact on how you think.
  12. Count the Cost. Make sure you are willing to give up everything you have to follow Christ. God will not always call you away or ask you to give up everything you have to follow Him. He may, however test you to see if you are willing to give up all for him.

PRAYER: Heavenly Father. I thank you today that you have told me I can call you ‘daddy’ and that you love me as a loving father who wants to be actively involved in my life. Right now you know that I have many decisions to make in life. I ask that you would help me to seek the wise, Godly counsel that will help me seek your will. Amen.

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