Here's A Thought...

Here are some "THOUGHTS" that will hopefully answer some of the questions that you may have about what the Bible has to say about our everyday lives. These articles are here to provoke thought; provide answers, guidance and resources; all in an effort to bring you into a closer relationship with your Heavenly Father!


Wednesday, June 30, 2010


Sword of the Spirit
Paul finishes in his description of our Armor of God with, “Sword of the spirit, which is the Word of GOD.” (Ephesians 6:17) You may have noticed, and so have I, that with our Armor, this is the only offensive tool noted by Paul. Now the Roman soldier in Paul’s day would have, and carry a variety of weapons. The soldier would carry a broad sword, a half broad sword, daggers, darts, various lengths of spears, a bow and/or a sling; I’m sure I’m missing a couple weapons in there as well. But Paul felt all we needed was one sword, the sword of the spirit. Not only did he tell us the single weapon we would need to wield, but he gave us the single ingredient for its construction, the Word of GOD. Our sword, our offensive weapon, our tool of attack is quite simply, the Bible. The Bible, written by men who were inspired by the Spirit of God; the literal Word of GOD!
The power of the Word of GOD! The Universe and all it contains was created by the Words of GOD, “Let there be”, and there was! GOD spoke, and there was, it doesn’t get much simpler, yet any more powerful! “The grass withers, the flower fades, but the Word of our GOD will stand forever.” Isaiah 40:8 GOD our Father has given us, provided for us, His written Word; black and white, there right in front of us, for our study, for our guidance, for our encouragement, for our light. As if that was not enough, he sent his only beloved, begotten Son to spell it out for us! “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through him, and without him was not anything made that was made. In Him was life, and the life was the light of men. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.” (John 1:1-5) John was referring to Jesus as the Word! The living, breathing, walking, talking Word of GOD! We have Jesus as our example, as our light, as a living testimony to the Word of GOD!
Our sword; our weapon against the forces of evil, the forces of darkness, against our sinful nature, against our flesh; our sword provided to us through the Word of GOD. Any soldier, any officer of the law, any martial artist will tell you it takes years of intense practice before you can be considered a master of a weapon. How much time have we put into mastering our weapon? How much time have we put into the care of our weapon? How strong is our sword, how sharp is our sword? How well are we able to yield it when we need it, when confronted with our enemies? How well do we know our sword? What is our relationship with our sword, what is our relationship with the Word, what is our relationship with GOD the Father, His son Jesus and His Holy Spirit? The weapon has been provided to us, it is up to us to learn to use it, to become proficient with it, to know it inside and out! “For the word of GOD is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and the intentions of the heart.” (Hebrews 4:12)

Saturday, June 26, 2010


Helmet of Salvation
I guess, before I start talking about salvation or the “helmet of salvation”, let’s define it. Salvation is defined as one; the preservation or deliverance from destruction, difficulty or evil. Christians define salvation as deliverance from the power or penalty of sin. When David had been delivered from his enemies, he sang out: “The Lord is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer, my God, my rock, in whom I take refuge, my shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold and my refuge, my savior; you save me from violence. I call upon the Lord who is worthy to be praised, and I am saved from my enemies.” 2 Samuel 22:2-4
Jesus came into this world to simply deliver us from the penalty of sin. The price was high, the cost was great, the penalty….paid! Through simply accepting this completely free gift, our salvation is guaranteed. Throughout the bible, God our Father has given salvation, no matter what the challenge, no matter how great the battle, no matter what our perceived risk or cost, our salvation is guaranteed. “Out of my distress I called on the Lord; the Lord answered me and set me free. The Lord is on my side; I will not fear. What can man do to me? The Lord is on my side as my helper; I shall look in triumph on those who hate me.” Psalms 118: 5-7 “Be strong and courageous. Do not fear or be in dread of them, for it is the Lord your God who goes with you. He will not leave you or forsake you.” Deuteronomy 31:6
So what is Paul saying in wearing a helmet of salvation. I believe that what he is telling us, that we should know, I mean KNOW, is that in our minds, we need to know that God has already granted us victory. Salvation over our enemies, salvation in our eternity, our salvation from sin, our salvation from death; we need to know that it is done, salvation…granted!
Have you ever recorded a sporting event and then someone tell you the result before you have watched it? Have you ever had someone tell you the ending to a movie or a book before you have seen or read it? The mystery is gone, the suspense, the anticipation, all taken out of the equation. You may still indulge in the event, however, knowing the ending takes away the suspense, the worry of what will happen next! What Paul is saying is we need to put on the knowledge or the helmet of our known salvation. Is life still a battle, yes! 1 Timothy 6th chapter tells us to fight the good fight, but Paul reminds us that the movie is over, the book has been written, and the ending is known and WE HAVE WON! (Pause for effect!)
It kind of takes the fear right out of the battle when you know the results beforehand, doesn’t it?! The helmet of salvation; the knowledge of salvation; known results, known ending, known victory. “The Lord is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? The Lord is the stronghold of my life, of whom shall I be afraid?” Psalms 27:1


Shield of Faith
Paul then calls us in Ephesians to “take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming darts of the evil one”. “If you are not firm in faith, you will not be firm at all”. Isaiah 7:9 In the Gospels, Jesus healed many. There was not a place, it seems, that Jesus went that as part of his teaching and performing miracles, he healed the sick. But if you read the Gospels closely, and it is noted in each of the 4 Gospels, most that were healed, were healed not by Jesus, but by their faith. Faith in God, faith in his son, an unwavering belief that they would be healed; the Centurion that, “if you would just speak it so”; the woman who if she could just touch his clothing; on and on and Jesus repeated, “by your faith, you have been healed”. Jesus promised us, “if you have faith like a grain of a mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move, and nothing will be impossible for you.” Matthew 17:20 It is our faith that gives us strength and our faith that makes our shield strong. “So take heart, men, that I have faith in God that it will be exactly as I have been told.” Acts 27:25 Keep the faith; stay strong in the faith; renew your faith! “So faith comes through hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ.” Romans 10:17 “They were broken off because of their unbelief, (as a branch that does not bear fruit) but you stand fast through faith.” Romans 11:20
So then you ask, “How do I have faith, how do I increase faith?” This is a good question and one I have asked myself. We so much want for a huge philosophical answer, we want someone to explain the mysteries of the universe to us, and we want a complex answer to this complex question. I hate to break it to you, but it is simpler than we are willing to admit. Allow me to explain: You walk to your sink, you turn your faucet and you have faith that water will be there. You do not stop, you do not ask, you do not question; you KNOW that the water will be there. We are so certain that if water doesn’t come out, we will repeat the same maneuver multiple times in shock that the water has not come out. Jesus says with less faith than that, we can move mountains. The problems lie in; choice and doubt. When we turn the handle, we see the water, instant results and instant gratification. Unfortunately, we don’t control God and rarely does he give us instant gratification. So now were back to choice and doubt.
So ask yourself, honestly, how much do you doubt God? How many times in situations of hardship and trouble have you doubted God’s presence? How many times in prayer and study of the Word have thoughts of doubt about your “religion” entered your mind? I know that doubt likes to rear its ugly head around me from time to time. God understands this; it is in our flesh to question, to challenge, to seek proof. Conquering this involves just a few simple yet challenging steps. First is to acknowledge that you have doubt, it’s ok, the world may condemn you but your Father will praise your courage! Now that you have acknowledged that you have a weakness, it is about realizing and understanding that is now about a choice; to simply choose to have doubt, or to choose to have faith. It is that simple, it is we as human beings, under the sins of our flesh, under the pressures of the world that complicate this, but it is as simple as training yourself to CHOOSE to have faith over doubt. Now again, this does involve training. We have created in ourselves the reflexive response to questions and to doubt, it is only through training, study and prayer that a new reflex of faith can begin to enter our lives as we slowly train ourselves to ignore doubt. And last, you must acknowledge that you cannot go through this training without professional help. You must also acknowledge that it is not in you to handle this on your own and you MUST take it to the feet of Jesus and ask for His help and guidance. The world is too much for all of us and we must always acknowledge that without the help of God the Father, His Son Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit, WE WILL FAIL!
As simple as I have made it sound, I haven’t heard of any mountains being relocated on this planet anywhere, but I have seen spiritual mountains turned to piles of dust through a simple act of faith. So stay in prayer, stay strong in your faith and keep your shield at the ready. For with everything we have said here, know this, the flaming darts of the enemy are already in flight and headed in your direction.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010


Feet shod with the preparation of the Gospel of Peace
Having “your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace” is how Paul tells us we should walk. “Noah was a righteous man, blameless in his generation. Noah walked with God. (Genesis 6:9) “You should follow my rules and keep my statutes and walk in them. I am the Lord your God.” (Leviticus 18:4) Think of it again as a journey. How far can you walk barefoot? How far can you walk when you have the appropriate shoes? Would you hike 10 miles in heels? Would you run a marathon in flip-flops? So we should be protecting our feet appropriately for the task at hand so that your journey can not only be made, but successfully completed. A journey completed with the least amount of pain, suffering and no more “blisters” than are necessary. Walking in sin, trouble, despair, hurt, anger, bitterness, deceit only causes us to stumble, stub our toes, cut our feet and hinder our journey. So walk not only in the Gospel, the Good News of Jesus Christ, but in our preparation, our knowledge, or faith in the Gospel, so that our journey can be great and long and most importantly, completed.
Paul wrote to the Colossians Church and I continue in his prayer that; “we have not ceased to pray for you, asking that you may be filled with the knowledge of his will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding, so as to walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing to him, bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God. May you be strengthened with all power, according to his glorious might, for all endurance and patience with joy, giving thanks to the Father, who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of the saints in light. He has delivered us from the domain of darkness and transferred us to the kingdom of his beloved Son, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.” (Colossians 1:9-14). Walk in the word, be prepared in the Gospel, know that your path is right and your feet are covered and protected. That is only obtained through study of the word and understanding that is granted by the Spirit through prayer.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010


Breastplate of Righteousness
John then tells us to “put on the breastplate of righteousness”. I believe that it is important to know and be righteous; I found 565 references in the bible to being righteous! Someone thinks being righteous is important! “Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the wicked, nor stands in the way of sinners, nor sits in the seat of scoffers; but his delight is in the law of the Lord, and on his law he meditates day and night.” (Psalms 1:1-2) “The Lord judges people; judge me oh Lord, according to my righteousness, and according to the integrity that is in me” (Psalms 7:8). “I will praise you with an upright heart, when I learn your righteous rules” (Psalms 119:7) “Whoever pursues righteousness and kindness will find life, righteousness and honor” (Proverbs 21:21). “He who walks righteously and speaks uprightly, who despises the gain of oppressions, who shakes his hands, lest they hold a bribe, who stops his ears from hearing of bloodshed, and shuts his eyes from looking on evil” (Isaiah 33:15). “If a man is righteous and does what is just and right-if he does not eat upon the mountains or lift up his eyes to the idols of the house of Israel, does not defile his neighbor’s wife or approach a woman in her time of menstrual impurity, does not oppress anyone, but restores to the debtor his pledge, commits no robbery, gives his bread to the hungry and covers the naked with a garment, does not lend at interest or take any profit, withholds his hand from injustice, executes true justice between man and man, walks in my statutes, and keeps my rules by acting faithfully-he is righteous, he shall surely live, declares the Lord God.” (Ezekiel 18:5-9) “Seek the LORD, all you humble of the land, who do his just commands; seek righteousness; seek humility; perhaps you may be hidden on the day of the anger of the Lord” (Zephaniah 2:3) And they were both righteous before God, walking blamelessly in all the commandments and statutes of the Lord” (Luke 1:6).

“If the end brings me out all right, what is said against me won’t amount to anything. If the end brings me out wrong, then ten angels swearing I was right would make no difference”. –Abraham Lincoln
Being righteous; the bible goes on and on about righteousness. Paul spends a good part of the beginning of his letter to the Romans talking about righteousness. In my study of Romans, I surmised that Paul was basically saying be right with God. Through the sin of Adam, we have all lost our righteousness with God, and only through the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, we have all been made righteous again. God does not expect perfection, adversely he expects us to sin, He knows the sinful nature we are born in to. To be righteous is to be right with God. If you make a mistake, atone for it. If you sin against a brother, make it right. If you sin against God, seek forgiveness and seek penance, not as in 3 “Hail Mary’s” and 2 “Our Fathers” type penance, but seek to correct the behavior and take steps to prevent the behavior from re-occurring. If you have done, or do something that is not “right”, acknowledge it, correct it, and take steps to prevent it. Sometimes the only preventative step you can take is to give it to God and ask for help. But take action! I may have appeared to be rambling on the subject of righteousness, but in Paul’s illustration, it is our breastplate, as in our armor, it is what protects our chest, our vital organs, our heart, our lungs, liver, spleen…..VITAL ORGANS! Know that only through Jesus Christ have we been made right again and it is only through God the father, his Son Jesus Christ AND the Holy Spirit can we maintain our righteousness. Paul is saying that it is vital to our survival to be vigilant at making sure that our breastplate of righteousness is strong, free of tears of blemishes and well maintained so that we can be protected from those that oppose us!
Being righteous is not our ticket to salvation, for our salvation is granted and guaranteed through the sacrifice of God our Father, through his son Jesus the Christ, dependant only on our acceptance. However, to walk in unrighteousness, that is to walk in a way that we know to be not right with God, is to walk outside of his law. So you ask; “but if my salvation is guaranteed, why do I need to worry about righteousness”! GLAD YOU ASKED!
Why do your parents make rules for you growing up? Why do you make rules for your own children? Are you just trying to make things as difficult as you can for them? Are you just trying to protect them and keep them as safe as possible? Rules; don’t run with scissors, stay out of that cabinet, don’t go to bad places, those friends are no good for you, be in by curfew, etc., all in an effort to protect your children. So how much more would the perfect Father, your Father in Heaven want to protect you? How many times have you been in your Bible and started acting like a rebellious teenager as you read things that convicted you on how you live!? The Bible is the living Word of God, the voice of your Father, the voice of your parent telling you, warning you, guiding you, and protecting you. (See where I’m going with this yet?) When you attempt to be right with God, to live in righteousness, you choose to live within the guidelines that he has laid out to protect you from the enemy (Satan). When you choose to live in an unrighteous way, you choose to violate the rules or the Law that has been handed down by God to guide you and to protect you. You open yourself up to attack, to hurt, to injury, to pain.
Example: Don’t drink and drive. You choose to ignore the rule; you get in an accident, you or someone else in injured or maybe killed. Could you get in an accident and be injured without drinking and driving? Could you drink and drive and not get injured? Sure, but by breaking the rule that is put in place for your protection, your risk for injury compound significantly. There is no different in the application of righteous living as laid down by the Word of God in the Bible. If I have not been clear enough for you, let me make it simpler. The law of Choices and Consequences! Choose right living, choose righteousness and have righteous rewards. Choose to violate the Law, choose unrighteousness and the consequences are yours and yours alone. Blame God all you want to, but the choice was yours!
Breastplate of Righteousness; for behind it we find protection!


Belt of Truth
So let’s talk about our armor!
When we are confronted with the spiritual enemies, Paul calls us to stand firm. We should stand firm knowing that we have put on our spiritual armor having first “fastened on the belt of truth”. The King James says, “having your loins girt about with truth”. To me that implies protecting what is easiest vulnerable to injury! Know what it true, do not allow yourselves to be deceived with lies, distractions and falsehoods. “Lead me in your truth and teach me, for you are the God of my salvation” (Psalms 25:5). “Teach me your way, oh LORD, that I may walk in your truth” (Psalm 86:11). “Whoever speaks the truth gives honest evidence, but a false witness utters deceit” (proverbs 12:17). “I did not speak in secret, in a land of darkness….I the LORD speak the truth; I declare what is right” (Isaiah 45:19). “And the word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth” (John 1:14). “So Jesus said to the Jews who believed in him, “If you abide in my word, you are truly my disciples, and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”“ (John 8:31-32). “When the spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all the truth, for he will not speak on his own authority, but whatever he hears he will speak, and he will declare to you the things that are to come” (John 16:13). Jesus prayed for us to his father, “Sanctify them in truth; your word is truth. As you sent me into the world, so I have sent them into the world. And for their sake I consecrate myself, that they also may be sanctified in the truth.” (John 17:17-19). So in preparing for battle, start by tightening down your belt, cinch it tight and know that it is firm, know the Word, know what is true.


Armor of God
You know, one of my favorite passages of the bible is in Ephesians when Paul talks about the Armor of God. This is a passage that just resonates through me. The use of armor just conjures up in my mind a variety of pictures, scenes and images that span several hundred years of human history. When you talk about armor, maybe you immediately begin to get images of battle. Not only preparing offensively, but defensively. At least I start to get all kinds of pictures in my head, but they all are related to wars, to battles to combat and fighting. I think that Paul chose this analogy, not by chance, but very deliberate for he knows that as Christians, we are in a state of constant battle, constant warfare, a never ending fight.
Paul even says in Ephesians 6:12; “For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil” (ESV). Paul is describing for us a battle, a spiritual battle. He then gives us the clues, the hint, the plan on how to be victorious in this battle. He instructs us to; “take unto you the whole armor of God” Eph 6:13 (KJ). This is when my mind starts to really take off!
The first image that comes to mind when I hear armor is that of the Middle Ages Knight. Sitting on a horse, covered in a polished full suite of armor. Head to toe, no skin exposed. What a site! Now understand that to the knight of the Middle Ages, his armor was probably his single most expensive asset. For most, it was probably more expensive than his home. This was it; this is what he invested everything he had into. It was what kept him alive. Being the most expensive thing that he owned, he made sure to take care of it. Also in the consideration of its care, again, it is what protected him; it is what kept him alive! If the knight was fortunate enough and wealthy enough to have a couple of servants, he may have 2 or three servants or “squires” whose full time job was the care of his armor.
Now really stop for a minute and gather the whole essence of this in your mind. A knight’s only way to make money was to fight wars or battles, sometimes for his king, sometimes just as a knight for hire. But his entire income, his livelihood was dependant on him fighting and surviving combat, surviving battles. His armor was everything to him. Without his armor intact, he would be vulnerable to injury or death. If his armor was not functioning properly and allowing him to move, he could not effectively move to defend attacks or move well enough to attack successfully. A knight made sure his armor was taken care of; he made sure it fit and he made sure it functioned flawlessly. As part of a knights armor was his shield and weapons. Again, these were the things that provided him a way to make a living, but most important to keep him alive! There were no cracks, crevices or dents in the shield. No holes or even weak spots that could leave him vulnerable. His weapons were also well maintained, no rust, always sharpened to a razor fine precision. Failure of a weapon in combat would leave him with the ability to only defend yourself or run……can’t see much running in a suit of armor, would be funny to watch though!
The next image that jumps into my head is that of the Japanese Samurai. Talk about an intimidating suit of armor. To the Japanese, the Samurai was the most feared of all warriors of the time. The word Samurai who’s root word means “those who serve in close attendance to nobility”, and in China and Japan, the Samurai was closely associated with the mid to upper echelons of the warrior class. The fancy full suits of armor would only be worn by the most elite and highest ranking. The suits would sometimes take a lifetime of additions and decorating. The suits were meant primarily for protection, but were also colorful, large, flashy and with masks all made to make the wearer appear more intimidating. These suits were also cherished by the owner and some believed that the suits had a spirit all its own. Some would be handed down from generation to generation. No greater honor than to dawn the suit of an ancestor.
The warrior of Paul’s time was no different. Everything that the Roman Legionnaire would have would be for maximum protection, maximum mobility, and maximum effectiveness. The armor and the weapons chosen and cared for could mean the difference between victory and defeat, between life and death. So when he uses the metaphor of putting on the Armor of God, it is not a passive euphemism, it is an accurate depiction of how we need to prepare for our spiritual combat, spiritual battles, for our spiritual survival; maximum protections, maximum survivability, maximum effectiveness against the enemy.
There is no doubt that to any warrior, it is vital to their survival that their armor is maintained. How much time, effort and care do you put into your armor?!

Tuesday, June 15, 2010


Celebrate the Victories! 06/15/2010

I was recently tasked with helping a friend through a difficult time in his life. He had lost a couple family members in recent years and was capped with the loss of his father. I began to ponder what it was I could say to him to help him through this horrific time in his life. It was quickly apparent to me that there was nothing I could say to in any way ease his pain.
I soon began to dwell on how I, how we as humans, we as Christians deal with our pain and an image began to unfold in my head. Most of us have seen the movie “Brave Heart”. Mel Gibson starred as William Wallace who led Scotland in a revolt against England during the Middle Ages. Anyway, the scene that came to mind was one of the big battle scenes of the movie. Each side starts on one or the other side of an open field, a charge is given and they meet in the middle for what amounts to hand to hand combat. It’s a gruesome scene that is quite graphic (definitely a guy scene in a guy movie). But what is really sticking in my mind is immediately after the battle. The camera goes to William Wallace, standing in the middle of this field, covered in blood and bodies lying all around him covering the field. He and others that fought with him then give out this loud yell. A scream, a cry….a victory shout!
They knew the battle was coming. For days anxiety and fear had to be mounting up inside of them. The anticipation prior to the battle had to be overwhelming. The battle itself was for your life, kill or be killed; the physical and emotional demands had to be exhausting beyond description. And when finished, the first thing done… is a shout of victory!
You cannot watch a single sporting event even to this day that when an event is won, hands go in the air and a shout is made. There is a celebration. A physical and emotional display of a hard battle fought and won. Now don’t get me wrong, soon after there is a debriefing, a reflection, review. Watch the tapes. What we did right, what did we do wrong, how can we get better. But before all this is a celebration. Even in battles, war, combat and in “Brave Heart”. There was time to reflect, to lament, to mourn the loss and bury the dead. But before all that was the celebration of victory won.
I have noticed that we as Christians spend a lot of time in reflection, hung up on all that we have been through and may have to go through. There is not a Christian alive who doesn’t make references to the book of Job in speaking of their own lives. And rightfully we should. Our journey is a challenge. In the letters of the New Testament, Paul often spoke of our journey not as a walk, but as a marathon. We are here on Earth, stuck between Heaven and Hell, not just in the physical, but in the spiritual. Our journey is not easy and is not meant to be. We should daily take time to acknowledge that we are in a battle and prepare ourselves accordingly. In Ephesians, Paul speaks of the “armor of God”, and how we should invest time in taking care of and making sure that our armor is battle ready.
What I have come to realize that I, that we as Christians, as followers of Jesus Christ, what we often forget to do, is celebrate the victories. It’s Sunday morning, it’s been a long week, just one day to sleep in, yet you get out of bed and make it to church, CELEBRATE THE VICTORY! You’re a young teenager, friends pressuring you to go partying, do drugs, drink, you say no. Don’t pout over what you may have missed, CELEBRATE THE VICTORY! Your church has just split, friends and family divided, feeling hurt, bodies lying all over from the battle, but you survive and your faith intact, CELEBRATE THE VICTORY! My friend has struggled to care for his father as he slowly deteriorated and eventually passed. The road was long and hard, few could have survived the battle, but days after his father passed, he gave his life to Christ. He survived the battle! And yes, time should be given to reflect, to mourn and to take account, but let’s not forget to take time to celebrate our victories.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010


Guard Your Heart 06/07/2010

I was visiting a very old friend of mine recently. He’s not old, just our friendship. I attended the church where he is a Youth Pastor and sat in on their Sunday Bible Study. The man teaching was talking about “guarding your heart”. Initially, I was attentive but really not getting anything out of what he was saying. Then the Spirit hit me. I began to get a very powerful image that I want to share with you now.
I began to get an image of a bank vault. Picture it in your head. Back behind closed doors. Maybe you have to take an elevator to get to it. Perhaps pass through an iron gate and metal detector to get to the vault. Guard standing in front of it, maybe two more out in the bank lobby, and a huge steel door with a ship steering wheel as a big lock. You know the image, you’ve seen them yourself or in a movie. “Ocean’s 11” come to mind for me! I want you to take a minute and really allow that image to evolve in your head and then allow me to start to input some thoughts into those images.
Lets start to think of the contents of our vault. If I had something of value that I wanted to preserve and protect, I would place it in a safe, maybe the bank or safety deposit box. What kind of things do I have that I would want to make that secure? What kind of things, if I had them, would I want to be guarded in a vault, a bank of that level of security? I wouldn’t empty my trash and take it to a bank for safekeeping. Would I take my old dirty underwear to the bank and ask to sign it in? What things would I hold to be precious, irreplaceable, what things of great value would I want in my vault?
In addition, what measures would I take to keep the contents of the vault from becoming contaminated? Would I trust a vault that wasn’t fireproof… waterproof? Would I want someone to put his or her old stinking socks in a drawer under my rare butterfly collection? Would I allow anything into my vault that was perhaps contaminated, poisoned or infested with disease or insects? Do you know what a goat could do to a stack of money? No goats in my vault!
What would the inside of your vault look like?……….
Now lets imagine for a minute, that our heart was our vault. What do we allow into our vaults. What elements of everyday life do we allow into our safe, our heart, our spirit, our soul. Is your vault full of anger and bitterness or does your, “heart overflow with pleasing themes” (Ps 45:1). Are your deposits to your vault full of garbage or do you fill your vault with things of value, things to be treasured. “I have stored up your word in my heart, that I might not sin against you.” (Ps 119:11). “My son, be attentive to my words; incline your ears to my saying. Let them not escape from your sight; keep them within your heart. For they are the life to those who find them, and healing to all their flesh. Keep your heart with all vigilance, for from it flow the springs of life. Put away from you crooked speech, and put devious talk far from you.” (Proverbs 4:20-24) What do you put in your vault? What is it you value, what is it you should treasure? What do the contents of your vault say about you? What do you treasure, what do you value, what do you hold sacred? What are you putting in your vault? “As in water face reflects face, so the heart of a man reflects the man.” (Proverbs 27:19). I have to tell you, in researching this, that last one hit me so hard my teeth hurt!
I, and I think anyone could spend years discussing what the contents of our hearts should be, but for the purpose of our conversation, I just wanted to start you thinking about what it is that is in your heart and what you should be guarding.
Well, I suppose that if we are guarding something, if we have something that we want protected, that we are obviously concerned about loss. If we weren’t concerned about something being taken, we would not lock it up. So the first question I would ask if I were someone in charge of security. What am I protecting? What am I protecting it from? (Long pause for effect.) We all have to acknowledge that there is a thief that is bent on robbing us not only of our eternal salvation, but of any joy that we could have while here in the flesh. We need the grace of Jesus and the protection of the Holy Spirit to guard our vaults, “and give no opportunity to the devil. Let the thief no longer steal” (Ephesians 4:27-28). Paul warned Timothy to, “guard the deposit entrusted to you.” (1 Timothy 6:20) “Thorns and snares are in the way of the crooked, whoever guards his soul will keep far from them.” (Proverbs 22:5)
The next part of our discussion of guarding our heart it discussing who is standing guard over the entrance of our vault? Who do we have installing our lock, who is in charge of our security, who is at the door monitoring what goes in, and what comes out? We must trust in and enlist Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit to be in charge of the security of our vault. There is none other for the job, and no other that I would trust. We need to be vigilant in our effort to make sure that the security to our vault is in place daily. “So we do not loose heart. Though our outer nature is wasting away, our inner nature is being renewed day by day.” (1 Timothy 4:16) We must have God the Father, His son Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit in constant thought and prayer so that the thief does not get his opportunity. “Create in me a clean heart, oh God, and renew a right spirit within me.” (Psalms 51:10)
There is one more thing that I want you to consider in the use of your vault or your bank. If you had obtained something of value, and had taken the time to get it secured in your safe, and made sure that the appropriate guard was on duty. Would you not be very wise in how you would care for and invest your valuable posessions? So I suggest to you. That if you want your precious possessions, your valued treasures to remain secure and to have an opportunity to grow, you should want to invest it, and invest it wisely. You would not take your retirement and place it in risky investments with a chance of loosing it all. You would take time to research, and with careful thought, consideration and planning (prayer), you would make sound decisions for solid investments. So think about what investments you should be making with your time, with your thoughts and with your heart so that the treasures God has given to you will grow. Read the parable of the talents, Matthew 25:14-30. A man gives 3 servants talents, 2 servants double what they had been given for the master; the third buried his in fear. Jesus tells of investing the gifts that we have been given and the consequences of poor choices.
Allow me to leave you with this final thought. “Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal, but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where the thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” (Matthew 6:19-21)