Don’t Give Your Heart Away – Part 1

Am I a Good Pastor to My Flock?

Who can give us the answer to that question, Brother Pastors? Everyone has an opinion; but we will never amount to anything of substance, if we follow opinions.

To discover the only true answer, we need to ask how we became a pastor. The answer to the question is that King Jesus called and appointed us to be one of his pastors. If he didn’t, then we are not really a pastor in His Body, the Church.

And therein lies the crux of the matter, which the Holy Spirit reveals to us in Paul’s first letter to Timothy. The Church, pastors and deacons, believers—all of us are body-parts in a spiritual organism, not an “organization”.

The question to ask, then, is whether we are being spiritual. That issue is addressed in 1st Timothy. The Holy Spirit wants us to fulfill our ministry, which requires that we learn what this entails from King Jesus, not from any mere man.

Will you dare allow the Word of God to reveal God’s impression of you and your pastoral ministry? Well, then, open the door, come on in, and join us in our study of the latest volume in our Heavenly Citizens series titled:

1 Timothy: Volume 19 of Heavenly Citizens in Earthly Shoes. Click here! Download your copy instantly!

Stand firm therefore…having put on the breastplate of righteousness [Ephesians 6:14].

Springtime is in the air. Ah, amore! Venice is nice for the atmosphere it affords springtime lovers, or so I hear tell anyway. Gay Paris is not exactly chopped liver, if you’re looking for a substitute. What is indispensable is the amore part, not the scenery.

Isn’t life in Tinseltown romantic? There are the fairy tales, and there are the fairy tales, and then there are the fairy tales. Who needs reality when fairy tales are so readily available? We modern Americans are real dupes.

No matter how much we want to pretend reality isn’t real, it is still there, waiting to bite us in the rear end at the first opportunity. Money cannot buy us happiness…or fairy tales…or eternal life. Optical illusions and cheap parlor tricks are not reality, so we would do ourselves well not to give away the farm for pie in the sky.

In our last several studies we have been delving into spiritual warfare and “the full armor of God”. This armor is God’s provision for the Christian, in resisting the evil one and overcoming the world. The first piece of armor we descanted upon was “the belt of truth”. Tinseltown is anything but the truth, dear friends. Why are we in America so willing to pretend it is?

We call ourselves being “romantic” when we chase after our lusts, in imitation of the antics of the silver screen. We should be burying our noses in the Word of God to learn of what real life consists. We instead prefer to play Mr. Magoo or Don Quixote and pretend Star Wars is reality.

We fancy ourselves Luke Skywalkers, out to save the lovely Princess Leia from those repulsive alien-looking whatever-they-are. Not to worry. The force will be with us, whatever that is. Oh, I know what it is! It once upon a time wore the epithet “animism” and “ancestor worship”. It was standard fare for the ancient pagans and their heathenism.

But we are so smart today, aren’t we? Just change the label and redo the packaging, display it on the silver screen as “the force be with you”, and presto! we have made Greek mythology modern and returned us to our heathen roots. And this from the intelligentsia wannabes who mock Christianity as a fable and superstition! Who woulda thunk it, huh?

Have you noticed how much mega-millions of dollars these repackaged Greek myths are making? What does that tell us, if not that modern Americans are too “smart” to buy into Ma & Pa’s old-fashioned superstition (read “Christianity”), so we buy into the polytheism of the ancient Greeks and Canaanites and Egyptians?

Not a pleasant note on which to end the song, is it? But we must stop and take our rest for the night. We’ll meet up again tomorrow. Enjoy time with Jesus now.

To further research this issue, I direct you to my book Joshua: Volume 6 of Heavenly Citizens in Earthly Shoes. To purchase my books please go to:
http://www.amazon.com/Randy-Green/e/B00507WC86

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Truth or Dare? – Part 4

Am I a Good Pastor to My Flock?

Who can give us the answer to that question, Brother Pastors? Everyone has an opinion; but we will never amount to anything of substance, if we follow opinions.

To discover the only true answer, we need to ask how we became a pastor. The answer to the question is that King Jesus called and appointed us to be one of his pastors. If he didn’t, then we are not really a pastor in His Body, the Church.

And therein lies the crux of the matter, which the Holy Spirit reveals to us in Paul’s first letter to Timothy. The Church, pastors and deacons, believers—all of us are body-parts in a spiritual organism, not an “organization”.

The question to ask, then, is whether we are being spiritual. That issue is addressed in 1st Timothy. The Holy Spirit wants us to fulfill our ministry, which requires that we learn what this entails from King Jesus, not from any mere man.

Will you dare allow the Word of God to reveal God’s impression of you and your pastoral ministry? Well, then, open the door, come on in, and join us in our study of the latest volume in our Heavenly Citizens series titled:

1 Timothy: Volume 19 of Heavenly Citizens in Earthly Shoes. Click here! Download your copy instantly!

Stand firm therefore, having girded your loins with truth [Ephesians 6:14].

The devil loves to engage Christians in conversation. He knows our proclivity for flapping the jaws at a speed too fast for our minds to keep up. Soon we are speaking half-truths along with him, and he has won the battle against truth.

In the garden the woman fell for this trick. The devil led her straight to lies and into sin. Jesus too was tempted by the devil. However, Jesus recognized the devil for who he is. He is a liar and the father of all lies. This means the devil is the opposite of the truth. Jesus is the truth (cf., John 14:6). The Word of God is the truth (cf., John 17:17). The devil is a liar (John 8:44).

This dichotomy between the devil and God, between lies and truth, was taught to the man and woman in the garden by means of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil and the tree of life. If the man and woman had faith in God, then they would obey Him. He permitted them to eat fruit from every tree, including the tree of life.

On the other hand, if they hadn’t faith in God, then they would do the one thing He forbade them to do, viz., eat fruit from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. This was why, in the garden, the devil immediately queried the woman about the fruit she wasn’t permitted to eat. “Did God really say that you can’t eat any of the fruit from any tree?” He got the woman discussing the issue with him, and he tripped her up in her words. She should have said, “It is written…” and left off talking after quoting the Word of God.

If we Christians don’t want to be the devil’s next meal, then we perforce have to fight spiritual warfare daily. And if we are to be successful in conducting spiritual warfare, we must don “the full armor of God”.

This armor includes wearing and properly utilizing “the belt of truth”. To wear the belt of truth, we must feed on our Bible daily in quiet time alone with Jesus. We must learn Bible truth not only in the head but also in the heart, so that we are spiritually armed to stand firm against the lies of the devil.

The good ol’ USA today is not a Christian society. We are not even a post-Christian society. We are an outright antichrist society! And I’m not speaking hyperbolically either. The Book of the Covenant has been lost in the house of God. That should tell us how much it exists in the rest of society. It doesn’t.

We must daily prepare ourselves to walk in the ways of the Lord and conduct spiritual warfare, if we would not succumb to the wiles of the devil. We cannot do the Lord’s work and fight the Lord’s battles with our tunics dragging on our feet. We must needs wear the belt of truth. Only then will we be successful in standing firm.

To further research this issue, I direct you to my book Joshua: Volume 6 of Heavenly Citizens in Earthly Shoes. To purchase my books please go to:
http://www.amazon.com/Randy-Green/e/B00507WC86

Truth or Dare? – Part 3

Am I a Good Pastor to My Flock?

Who can give us the answer to that question, Brother Pastors? Everyone has an opinion; but we will never amount to anything of substance, if we follow opinions.

To discover the only true answer, we need to ask how we became a pastor. The answer to the question is that King Jesus called and appointed us to be one of his pastors. If he didn’t, then we are not really a pastor in His Body, the Church.

And therein lies the crux of the matter, which the Holy Spirit reveals to us in Paul’s first letter to Timothy. The Church, pastors and deacons, believers—all of us are body-parts in a spiritual organism, not an “organization”.

The question to ask, then, is whether we are being spiritual. That issue is addressed in 1st Timothy. The Holy Spirit wants us to fulfill our ministry, which requires that we learn what this entails from King Jesus, not from any mere man.

Will you dare allow the Word of God to reveal God’s impression of you and your pastoral ministry? Well, then, open the door, come on in, and join us in our study of the latest volume in our Heavenly Citizens series titled:

1 Timothy: Volume 19 of Heavenly Citizens in Earthly Shoes. Click here! Download your copy instantly!

Stand firm therefore, having girded your loins with truth [Ephesians 6:14].

People in Bible times, including the Romans, wore tunics instead of trousers and shirts. The tunics dragged around the feet when walking and working. So a belt was worn around the waist, allowing the tunic to be pulled up off the feet and tucked in to keep it out of the way.

In Ephesians 6 Paul painted that image for us, except in Paul’s case the belt represented truth. If we don’t want to trip over our flapping jaws by quibbling with the wicked one, we need to employ the belt of truth. The operative word here is “truth”, dear friends. Jesus said that He is the truth. The Psalmist noted that the Word of God is the truth.

The devil is a liar and the father of all lies. He won’t tell you the truth, not even by accident. The antichrist will be a man who the devil possesses. He will present the world with the lie, and all the world will follow him like mice behind the Pied Piper.

But the devil doesn’t speak the lie only during the Tribulation. He is incessantly engaged in this sordid practice of his. We must go to war against it daily, both in our lives and in the world as a whole. Who is sufficient for these things? Not me, and not you either. Only the Lord is, which is why He provides us with “the full armor of God”.

When we wear the belt of truth—or when we gird our loins with truth, which is the same thing—we are fitting ourselves to go to war, you see. And the only defense against the lies of the devil are the truths of God. We have these truths in written form in the Bible. As Rule #2 for Bible study teaches, “The Bible is our sole and final authority in all matters of faith and practice.”

Not convinced? Then consider how Jesus warded off the devil’s attacks, during His forty days of fasting in the wilderness. To each of the devil’s temptations, our Lord answered by quoting the Word of God. Jesus didn’t argue with the devil. He told him the Word of God.

Jesus didn’t correct the devil because the devil wasn’t repentant. Jesus deflected the devil’s temptations by clinging to the Word of God as the truth. He put on the belt of truth, you see. In doing this Jesus role modeled for His people how to combat the wicked one.

In the garden the woman engaged in conversation with the devil. It only took a few exchanges of words between the devil and her before she stepped in it. She didn’t recognize that the devil wasn’t really interested in the truth. She innocently thought she could straighten him out.

Oh, dear. We’re out of time again. Let’s betake ourselves to Jesus for a refreshing time of fellowship. We will continue this topic on the morrow.

To further research this issue, I direct you to my book Joshua: Volume 6 of Heavenly Citizens in Earthly Shoes. To purchase my books please go to:
http://www.amazon.com/Randy-Green/e/B00507WC86

Truth or Dare? – Part 2

Am I a Good Pastor to My Flock?

Who can give us the answer to that question, Brother Pastors? Everyone has an opinion; but we will never amount to anything of substance, if we follow opinions.

To discover the only true answer, we need to ask how we became a pastor. The answer to the question is that King Jesus called and appointed us to be one of his pastors. If he didn’t, then we are not really a pastor in His Body, the Church.

And therein lies the crux of the matter, which the Holy Spirit reveals to us in Paul’s first letter to Timothy. The Church, pastors and deacons, believers—all of us are body-parts in a spiritual organism, not an “organization”.

The question to ask, then, is whether we are being spiritual. That issue is addressed in 1st Timothy. The Holy Spirit wants us to fulfill our ministry, which requires that we learn what this entails from King Jesus, not from any mere man.

Will you dare allow the Word of God to reveal God’s impression of you and your pastoral ministry? Well, then, open the door, come on in, and join us in our study of the latest volume in our Heavenly Citizens series titled:

1 Timothy: Volume 19 of Heavenly Citizens in Earthly Shoes. Click here! Download your copy instantly!

Stand firm therefore, having girded your loins with truth [Ephesians 6:14].

Sex, even conversations about sex, are meant to occur in the context of one man/one woman marriage. As Christians we must be on guard against the world’s seductive traps to lead us into sexual sin.

This point bears weight in understanding one aspect of our Bible verse. The devil is prowling about like a roaring lion, seeking some juicy Christian to devour. He loves to engage the child of God in conversation, knowing that the more we open our mouths and utter verbiage, the more we are likely to step into it.

So the devil slithers up to us appearing as an angel of light and asks with the innocence of a toddler, “Did God really say…?” He couldn’t care less what God said, but he greatly cares to get us flapping our jaws, you see. He’ll soon have us right where he wants us.

It is almost automatic for the Christian to want to defend God’s honor. We want to set the record straight, when the devil’s innuendo about our blessed Lord pricks us like a sharp barb. We are constrained to speak the truth, you see.

This perspective furnishes one context for understanding our Bible verse. We are studying spiritual warfare. As we learned in our last study, it is essential that we “put on the full armor of God, before we go to war against the wiles of the wicked one.

This armor consists of several items. Our Bible verse identifies one such piece of armor as “the belt of truth”. That is how the New International Version translates it. The NASB reads “having girded your loins with truth”. We “gird” ourselves with a “girdle”, which is a belt of sorts which wraps around the waist area.

The Apostle Paul bases his depictive armor on the wardrobe of the Roman legionnaires. The piece of equipment they wore around the midriff was a belt. It held a sleeve for carrying the sword. In today’s military the belt might have a pocket for carrying a compass and other paraphernalia. It might also have a canteen attached to it.

In Biblical times men wore robes and tunics, not shirts and trousers. A tunic was none too practical for work, and even less so for fighting the enemy! The tunic got in the way and there was a danger of tripping over it.

To alleviate this predicament, a belt or girdle was worn atop the tunic. When it was time to work or go to war, the bottom portion of the tunic was pulled up away from the feet and tucked into the belt, to keep it out of the way.

In our next study we will consider the relevancy of this information to our Bible verse. For now let’s take a breather and go off alone with Jesus. He has some things He wants to share with us.

To further research this issue, I direct you to my book Joshua: Volume 6 of Heavenly Citizens in Earthly Shoes. To purchase my books please go to:
http://www.amazon.com/Randy-Green/e/B00507WC86

Truth or Dare? – Part 1

Am I a Good Pastor to My Flock?

Who can give us the answer to that question, Brother Pastors? Everyone has an opinion; but we will never amount to anything of substance, if we follow opinions.

To discover the only true answer, we need to ask how we became a pastor. The answer to the question is that King Jesus called and appointed us to be one of his pastors. If he didn’t, then we are not really a pastor in His Body, the Church.

And therein lies the crux of the matter, which the Holy Spirit reveals to us in Paul’s first letter to Timothy. The Church, pastors and deacons, believers—all of us are body-parts in a spiritual organism, not an “organization”.

The question to ask, then, is whether we are being spiritual. That issue is addressed in 1st Timothy. The Holy Spirit wants us to fulfill our ministry, which requires that we learn what this entails from King Jesus, not from any mere man.

Will you dare allow the Word of God to reveal God’s impression of you and your pastoral ministry? Well, then, open the door, come on in, and join us in our study of the latest volume in our Heavenly Citizens series titled:

1 Timothy: Volume 19 of Heavenly Citizens in Earthly Shoes. Click here! Download your copy instantly!

Stand firm therefore, having girded your loins with truth [Ephesians 6:14].

There is this silly game which folks of all ages have played over the years. It has even been codified into books of questions to be used in the game. It is called Truth or Dare. Have you ever heard of it?

I’ll bet you have, even if you don’t know it by that name. There are numerous variations of it, so no telling what form you might know it by. To tell the truth, to me the kiddie Halloween celebration is eerily similar to Truth or Dare. The main difference would be that kiddie Halloween doesn’t challenge with “truth or dare”. It challenges with “trick or treat”.

Anyway a group of people plays the game. Basically, a challenge is issued by one of the contestants, daring another contestant to tell the truth. Hence “truth or dare”. Either the person being challenged tells the truth, or else he loses.

Of course in normal life we want people to tell the truth, not to lie. But that isn’t what this game is about. When some folks play the game, personal questions of a private or embarrassing nature are asked. The end result is that, for those who choose to play, their inhibitions are broken down when their privacy is eliminated.

Of course when kids play the game, they ask kiddie questions, sort of like “trick or treat”. The real danger comes when, say, college students play the game. They are away from home and at an age of heightened sexual awareness. And in today’s social climate sex is worshiped, rather than handled with inhibitions.

Consequently, it is not unusual for college students to ask questions of a sexual nature. If the person challenged doesn’t want to be mocked for being an old prude, he or she will cough up the truth and expose his or her private affairs. A little time wallowing in such shenanigans, and the entire group feels 100% uninhibited. Promiscuity tends to follow closely on the heels of this game in consequence.

Truth can be a good thing, if given in the proper context. As Rule #1 for Bible study teaches, “A text without a context is a pretext.” Questions and information related to sexual matters are private and should be kept private. Only within the context of one man/one woman marriage is the topic suitable between two people.

We are exhorted in the Bible to speak the truth in love. Sexual questions and information in a board game between folks not married might be truth, but they are certainly not love! The only true way to participate in such a game is to refrain from speaking. That would be wisdom for the child of God.

We will pause for now and spend time with the Lord Jesus. Tomorrow we will continue this topic.

To further research this issue, I direct you to my book Joshua: Volume 6 of Heavenly Citizens in Earthly Shoes. To purchase my books please go to:
http://www.amazon.com/Randy-Green/e/B00507WC86

Armor-Plated Saints – Part 2

Am I a Good Pastor to My Flock?

Who can give us the answer to that question, Brother Pastors? Everyone has an opinion; but we will never amount to anything of substance, if we follow opinions.

To discover the only true answer, we need to ask how we became a pastor. The answer to the question is that King Jesus called and appointed us to be one of his pastors. If he didn’t, then we are not really a pastor in His Body, the Church.

And therein lies the crux of the matter, which the Holy Spirit reveals to us in Paul’s first letter to Timothy. The Church, pastors and deacons, believers—all of us are body-parts in a spiritual organism, not an “organization”.

The question to ask, then, is whether we are being spiritual. That issue is addressed in 1st Timothy. The Holy Spirit wants us to fulfill our ministry, which requires that we learn what this entails from King Jesus, not from any mere man.

Will you dare allow the Word of God to reveal God’s impression of you and your pastoral ministry? Well, then, open the door, come on in, and join us in our study of the latest volume in our Heavenly Citizens series titled:

1 Timothy: Volume 19 of Heavenly Citizens in Earthly Shoes. Click here! Download your copy instantly!

Put on the full armor of God, so that you will be able to stand firm against the schemes of the devil [Ephesians 6:11].

What does the story about bank robbers and a policeman have to do with our Bible verse? Well, it’s like this. Paul exhorted the Ephesian Christians to don the garb which the Lord affords Christians, so that they may conduct spiritual warfare against the forces of wickedness. That would be the devil and his ilk, for those who might be wondering.

God has provided each and every Christian, each and every child of His, with the full complement of military apparel and equipment needed to have victory against the wicked one and his minions. Indeed, this wardrobe and weaponry are indispensable against the siren songs of the world and the devious temptations of the flesh as well.

Paul employed a phrase to depict this military matériel we receive from God. He called it the full armor of God. The policeman had his bullet-proof vest as a part of his armor against the bank robbers. The Christian has the full armor of God.

God has provided for His kids to be a part of His army. His provision transforms us into armor-plated saints. When the Lord is done with His kids, they are metamorphosed into a formidable force to be dealt with. The plan of God cannot fail. When we Christians put on the full armor of God, we are equipped to stand with the Lord against the forces of darkness and participate in His war against wickedness.

This is a holy calling, beloved, a calling not to be taken lightly. About the only thing worse for the Christian than taking this calling lightly is to turn the back to it and refuse to join the cause of Christ. The devil is on the prowl, seeking some juicy saint to chomp on at dinner time. Without the full armor of God we are sitting ducks. Sitting ducks never fare well.

Not to fret! Just don’t turn the back to the fight. You’ll get stabbed in it if you do. No, but instead put on the full armor of God. Then you will be able to stand firm against the schemes of the devil. It’s so much more gratifying to be one of the victors, rather than one of the losers.

I’ll bet you are wondering where your full armor of God is, aren’t you? Well, it’s not up in heaven, waiting for you to climb Jacob’s ladder to fetch it! Neither is it in the depths of the sea, daring you to hold your breath long enough to swim to it. It’s in your mouth and in your heart, ready for you to claim it.

We will begin in our next study to expound on the full armor of God piece by piece. So don’t miss out. Be there.

To further research this issue, I direct you to my book Joshua: Volume 6 of Heavenly Citizens in Earthly Shoes. To purchase my books please go to:
http://www.amazon.com/Randy-Green/e/B00507WC86

Armor-Plated Saints – Part 1

Am I a Good Pastor to My Flock?

Who can give us the answer to that question, Brother Pastors? Everyone has an opinion; but we will never amount to anything of substance, if we follow opinions.

To discover the only true answer, we need to ask how we became a pastor. The answer to the question is that King Jesus called and appointed us to be one of his pastors. If he didn’t, then we are not really a pastor in His Body, the Church.

And therein lies the crux of the matter, which the Holy Spirit reveals to us in Paul’s first letter to Timothy. The Church, pastors and deacons, believers—all of us are body-parts in a spiritual organism, not an “organization”.

The question to ask, then, is whether we are being spiritual. That issue is addressed in 1st Timothy. The Holy Spirit wants us to fulfill our ministry, which requires that we learn what this entails from King Jesus, not from any mere man.

Will you dare allow the Word of God to reveal God’s impression of you and your pastoral ministry? Well, then, open the door, come on in, and join us in our study of the latest volume in our Heavenly Citizens series titled:

1 Timothy: Volume 19 of Heavenly Citizens in Earthly Shoes. Click here! Download your copy instantly!

Put on the full armor of God, so that you will be able to stand firm against the schemes of the devil [Ephesians 6:11].

The bank alarm sounded. Armed gunmen had invaded the building and were holding hostages at gunpoint. “Turn over all the money or else!” they barked. No one argued. Not one person was defiant. Money the gunmen wanted. Money the gunmen would have.

So instantaneously the money drawers were yanked open by every cashier, no exceptions. Each person was eager and anxious to give away all the money inside those drawers. The bank president hastened to the vault, opened the unwieldy steel door, and helped the gunmen to the goodies inside.

Not a soul resisted. No one cared about the money under such a scenario…no one, that is, except the bank robbers. Because the victims were totally cooperative and aided the gunmen in achieving their goals, the gunmen didn’t shoot anyone. The gunmen didn’t even pistol whip anyone. For a time it seemed all would end well.

Alas, but when the gunmen exited the bank with the loot, things took a sudden turn for the worse. No, none of the folks inside the bank ran out, in an effort to retrieve the stolen money. The problem arose from someone on the outside.

A policeman arrived on the scene, unaware that a bank robbery had just occurred in the bank he was about to enter for personal business. The policeman was in uniform. The bank robbers were not. They had discarded their disguises upon exiting the bank, so as to blend in with the surroundings. Hence the policeman hadn’t an inkling of who they were.

But the bank robbers didn’t know that. All they saw was a police uniform, and their guilty consciences took over. Two of the robbers pulled out their pistols and, without hesitation, shot the policeman in the chest twice. He fell to the ground prostrate, motionless, giving the appearance of a dead man.

The robbers hightailed it out of there, before reinforcements arrived from the police station. They made their getaway, never to be heard from or seen again. They knew they had to disappear for good. The sentence was death by injection for cop killers, you see.

But wait! The policeman wasn’t dead after all. He was stunned senseless, yes, but not dead. He still lived! How could such an amazing thing transpire? Who gets shot with two .45 caliber bullets at point blank range, and in the chest at that, yet gets up, shakes it off, and walks away sore but safe? Who does that except super heroes and TV stars?

I’ll tell you who does that in real life. Policemen wearing bullet proof vests, that’s who! Yes, our policeman had his vest on at the time of the shooting, so the bullets knocked him senseless. But they were unable to penetrate the vest, so the policeman wasn’t seriously injured, just badly bruised. He felt like a beef steak which had been tenderized. Unlike the beef steak, however, he was still alive!

I’ll bet you are wondering what this story has to do with our Bible verse for today, aren’t you? Yes, you are. I saw you thinking those very thoughts just now. You can’t fool me. Well, you’ll have to wait until tomorrow to find out because we’re out of time now. Enjoy some time with Jesus then.

To further research this issue, I direct you to my book Joshua: Volume 6 of Heavenly Citizens in Earthly Shoes. To purchase my books please go to: http://www.amazon.com/Randy-Green/e/B00507WC86