Showing posts from February, 2018

Spiritual Warfare: The Armor of God: The Sword of the Spirit - John 1:1, 14; 3:16-17

Excalibur…when I think of famous swords, Excalibur is one of three that immediately come to mind.  How many of you know of the legend of Excalibur?  It was the sword, sunk deep in a stone, that waited for the rightful king to draw it forth.  One of the others I think of is Sting.  Anyone know where to find Sting?  It is an Elven blade found in J. R. R. Tolkien’s Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings wielded first by Bilbo and then by Frodo. We are engaged in battle with the enemy.  Yet our conflict is not with those who look, speak, think, or even believe differently that we do.  Our enemies are not of flesh and blood, as Paul has told us over these last two months, our enemy is the ruler of the spiritual forces of evil and wickedness.  We are, my friends, engaged in spiritual warfare.  There is no doubt to those that follow Christ that we are constantly in the midst of conflict…a conflict we may experience in this world, but that is ongoing as the forces of evil and darkness try fruitles…

Giving Up Judgment For Good - Matthew 7:1-5 - Wednesday Night Reflection

It was fifteen days ago.  I had just sat down in the office when my phone went off.  I looked and what I saw was a little shocking.  I looked out the window…everything looked fine—the water in the sound was not drawing back.  I wondered where in the world an earthquake had happened that would cause a tsunami warning to be issued for Harkers Island, and how far away any suspected tsunami would be…so I clicked open the warning.  It was a test…only a test.  When looking beneath the surface of the warning, we could easily identify it as a test.  However, most folks evidently judged the alert by the cover and failed to look inside—choosing instead to enter into panic mode…forcing the National Weather Service to send out a follow-up message reiterating that it was only a test.  (By the way, the test evidently failed, whether they realize it or not, because there were quite a number of folks I talked to that morning who never received the alert.)
I have shared with y’all in the past my batt…

Spiritual Warfare: The Armor of God: Helmet of Salvation - Philippians 2:5-8

As I mentioned last week, if you haven’t already figured it out, I’m a comic book nerd (as I heard a local island resident who is the same way refer to himself).  And since last week’s illustration featured the well-known Marvel characters from Avengers, particularly Captain America and his shield in our discussion the Shield of Faith, I figure for the Helmet of Salvation, I would offer fair treatment in the comic world and turn to DC comics, and one of their oldest but lesser known figures… Dr. Fate and the Helmet of Nabu.  The helmet is both a blessing and a curse.  Among other powers, it gives its wearer the power of flight, super-strength, invulnerability, telekinesis, and control of lightning.  However, in putting on the helmet to confront and battle evil, the wearer also surrenders their personality to the spirit within the helmet. Cap and his shield, Fate and his Helmet, equipping themselves for battle against the evil of their fictional worlds.  We have been spending weeks talk…

Giving Up Something Bad For Good - 2nd Corinthians 13:5-9 (Wednesday Night Reflection)

It may have been the toughest forty-six day stretch in my entire life.  I was either twenty or twenty-one years old, a student at Methodist University (Methodist College back then), and a member of Lambda Chi Alpha fraternity.  I lived on campus in one of the residential halls.  I think it was the night of the fraternity bon fire that it hit me the hardest.  It was the middle of ritual week as we were bringing new brothers into the fraternity.  It was then that I was confronted and had to decide between faithfulness and fitting-in (and enjoying myself).  We were going to have a pizza party.  What is the problem, you may wonder.  Well, the trouble for me was that I had given up pizza and soda for Lent.  I’m not sure what I was thinking at the time, but yes, I was a college student and chose to give up the two things that I almost literally lived off of while in school.  I didn’t think that Easter was ever going to arrive, and forget about your Easter dinner with ham, veggies, macaroni …

Spiritual Warfare: The Armor of God: Shield of Faith Hebrews 11:1-3

We are under attack.We are at war. We’ve been considering this since the start of January.Our war is unlike that of Captain America and the Avengers.While their battles were against the likes of folks we have never seen—aliens, Hydra agents, and brainwashed drones, our battles are not against any creature, or person, of flesh and blood, we are engaged in Spiritual Warfare.We are in battle with the forces of evil—in a war that has become more and more visible over the last several years.However, it is not a war with guns, tanks, bombs, or even repulsor beams, mystic hammers, daggers, arrows, or Vibranium shields.We are fighting against hatred, fear, distrust, bigotry, deception, and lies.And while we are fighting against those weapons, those are not the tools that we are to use, those weapons belong to the enemy, and the enemy alone.We are called to fight not with the weapons of the world, not with the weapons of the enemy, but we are to be solely equipped from the armory of God.That’…

More Than A Messiah - Luke 9:28-36 (Wednesday Night Reflection)

Have you ever encountered something that you thought was just amazing…only to find out that when closely examined it is better than you even thought it was? Maybe it was a birthday card that you opened and saw that it had a brand new hundred-dollar bill in it.You were thankful, knowing that you really needed it…and you set it aside to open other gifts.Only later that evening you look at the card again and take out the hundred only to find that crisp bill spreads out into five bills. Maybe it was your husband telling you he is going to take care of dinner for Valentine’s Day.You are surprised, excited, and maybe a little nervous.You think about it for several days, expecting to walk in and find the kids running around destroying the house, the kitchen a mess, or simply a to-go bag from Wendy’s on the table. Only to walk in and find out the kids are at the neighbor’s…lights are turned down…candles lit on the table…and the smell of your favorite food coming from the kitchen…and peeking in…

Spiritual Warfare: Armor of God: Footwear - Romans 5:1-2

I was in high school.We were standing around during lunch in the school lobby waiting for time to head back into class.Suddenly another student walked in carrying a handgun that he had gone out and gotten from his truck.He had gotten into an argument with another student and was going to settle it one way or another.I remember watching as teachers grabbed him and escorted him out of the lobby as quick as they could...though I still remember the gun in his hand as they escorted him by where I was standing.When that happened over thirty years ago, it was a rarity to hear of a student bringing a gun into the school…and yet now, it seems as if we can’t go a week, much less a month, without the report of a gun appearing in a school somewhere in this country (whether it be a college campus, a high school, or, as it happened this past week on Thursday, a middle school).It is to the point that schools are now having to practice active-shooter lockdown drills.This is not a message about gun co…