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Truth in Palmyra

By Wally Fry

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Christian Living

Working Our Garden

Work is NOT a dirty word. Our Lord made us to work, in Him and for Him. Comments closed here, so head over and share your thoughts. Blessings and enjoy!

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I am passionate about faith, life, and work.

Throughout my journey, God has provided me with different work. While I did not always see it at the time, God was at work, weaving His plan in my life. Work is an important concept, discussed often in the Bible.

Early in Genesis, Scripture reveals work as part of the Lord’s created order in the World. Work is not a result of the Fall, for the concept of tending the garden and cultivating the Earth is mentioned in advance of the Fall in Genesis, Chapter 2.

Genesis 2:5 Now no shrub had yet appeared on the earth and no plant had yet sprung up, for the LORD God had not sent rain on the earth and there was no one to work the ground (NIV).

Read the rest here: Working Our Garden

My House is Full but My Field Is Empty

This is an older post, but I used to really enjoy writing posts around a favorite song. I am thinking of doing it again.

 

My House Is Full, but My Field is Empty

Luke 10:2

Therefore said he unto them, The harvest truly is great, but the labourers are few: pray ye therefore the Lord of the harvest, that he would send forth labourers into his harvest.


There is peace and contentment in my Father’s house today,
Lots of food on His table and no one turned away.
There is singing and laughter as the hours pass by,
But a hush calms the singing as the Father sadly cries,

There is peace and contentment in my Father’s house today. Indeed, there is much peace and contentment to be found around the Father’s table; he has promised us that. For those who are saved children of God, He gave us the promise that Now the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that ye may abound in hope, through the power of the Holy Ghost. Why do we have so much peace? We can have that because although born sinners, as all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God, He loved us enough to provide a way to be restored to Himself,  For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by his life.

Lots of food on His table and no one turned away. What is it we are partaking of at our Father’s table? Jesus told us that; He told us that the sustenance He provides would last forever. Speaking to his disciples, Jesus said unto them, I am the bread of life: he that cometh to me shall never hunger; and he that believeth on me shall never thirst. What we enjoy at the Father’s table will never run out, and we will never hunger or thirst again. But, there is more! The invitation to the Father’s table is an open one, and no one will be turned away, who comes to Him in repentance and faith; for whosever calls upon the name of The Lord shall be saved.

There is singing and laughter as the hours pass by. Hours? Try eternity, for we will be at our Father’s table forever! David, the Psalmist noted the following:

You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies.You anoint my head with oil;my cup overflows.Surely your goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.

But we don’t have to wait for our passing from this life and eternity to enjoy the many blessings of God do we? All saved children of the Father know our blessings start the moment God’s Holy Spirit moves inside of us and we are saved and born again. That’s really when we first come to the table. So, what is the problem? Our chorus tells us what the problem is.

My house is full, but my field is empty,
Who will go and work for Me today.
It seems my children want to stay around my table,
But no one wants to work my fields,
No one wants to work my fields.

That’s right, we all love the blessings God bestows on us as saved children of His. But God needs workers. The fields are ripe for the harvest, as The harvest truly is great, but the labourers are few: 

Who will go and work for Me today? In the prophet Isaiah’s vision, we hear the Lord ask Whom shall I send, and who will go for us? In that occasion, the prophet promptly replied to the Lord Here am I; send me. Is that our answer when God calls us to reach out to a lost and dying world? Or are we a Moses, who resisted at first until God grew angry; or a Gideon, who required proof after proof; or a Jonah, who complied but even then remained angry at God’s decision to reach out to Nineveh?

So, then, what does does God want from us besides us sitting around enjoying His great blessings? Does He want us to just stay in his house, filling our bellies with His bounty? NO!

Push away from the table.
Look out through the windowpane,
Just beyond the house of plenty
Lies a field of golden grain.
And it’s ripe unto harvest,
But the reapers, where are they?
In the house,
Oh, can’t the children hear
the Father sadly say,

We have our orders, and our instructions are clear. Push away from the table. Look out through the windowpane, After he had spent 40 days showing himself to the world and his disciples after His resurrection, Jesus had these famous words to say to them jut prior to leaving this Earth and returning to heaven:  Then Jesus came to them and said, All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me.  Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.

Go, Go Go. That is what Jesus said. Go! At some point after that, just before he ascended to be with His Heavenly Father, Jesus reinforced the point when he further told the disciples that ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth. As if to further reinforce the point, after Jesus disappeared into the clouds two angels appeared to the disciples and asked them, Ye men of Galilee, why stand ye gazing up into heaven?

Who was this instruction for? Was it just for the disciples assembled there? Well, obviously not! How would 12 men reach the uttermost part of the Earth? This command is for all people, of all times, in all places. It’s not just for preachers, or evangelists, either; again, this instruction is for us all.

The instruction is for NOW. Of course, Jesus did tell the disciples to return to Jerusalem and wait for the empowerment of the Holy Spirit, which did occur on the Day of Pentecost. We no longer have to wait for that, because as saved believers we are already indwelt by the Holy Spirit, and have all the tools we need at our disposal! The time is now, because the harvest of souls is ready and waiting, see again Jesus teaching His disciples, Say not ye, There are yet four months, and then cometh harvest? behold, I say unto you, Lift up your eyes, and look on the fields; for they are white already to harvest. This command is not for the future; it is for now, and it is for us all.

So, why are we in the Father’s House, gathered around the table, and enjoying His sustenance? Well, of course it is because He loves us and wants to bless us. But perhaps there is more, and the narrator in the video on this post may have captured it perfectly. Why do we eat and rest in the first place? We do it to keep our bodies nourished and to recover from previous efforts, right? We do it so that we can go back to our endeavors at a later time.  Maybe that is why God blesses us in His house, not so much for simply our enjoyment, but to get back out there and resume our endeavors.

So, let’s enjoy our Father’s house and His table. Let’s thank him for and enjoy the many blessings He gives us. Let’s remember however, that those of us who are saved believers will enjoy that bounty for all eternity. There are, however those, who will not, unless they are reached, because  How then shall they call on him in whom they have not believed? and how shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard? and how shall they hear without a preacher?

So, then, beloved, let us fill our bellies and get our rest. Then, let’s not sit around and do nothing. Let’s push back from the table, look out that window, and more importantly walk out that door into a lost and dying world and share Jesus Christ with them!

There is peace and contentment in my Father’s house today,
Lots of food on His table and no one turned away.
There is singing and laughter as the hours pass by,
But a hush calms the singing as the Father sadly cries,

My house is full, but my field is empty,
Who will go and work for Me today.
It seems my children want to stay around my table,
But no one wants to work my fields,
No one wants to work my fields.

Push away from the table.
Look out through the windowpane,
Just beyond the house of plenty
Lies a field of golden grain.
And it’s ripe unto harvest,
But the reapers, where are they?
In the house,
Oh, can’t the children hear
the Father sadly say,

My house is full, but my field is empty,
Who will go and work for Me today.
It seems my children want to stay around my table,
But no one wants to work my fields,
No one wants to work my fields….

Who will go and work in my fields

 

The Armor of God-Hold Up Your Shield

Originally posted in 2014

armor

Ephesians 6:16

Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked.


 

The entire text for this devotional series can be found in Ephesians Chapter 6.

Roman soldiers carried a couple of shields, often. This particular shield probably refers to the large, almost body sized, shield they would carry to protect themselves when an enemy would launch flaming arrows into the air as part of their attack. A soldier could almost literally hide under or behind this shield and be safe.

What are the fiery darts of the wicked? Well, those represent the temptations Satan fires at believers daily. What is the faith about which Paul speaks? It’s not “The Faith,” as in true Christian faith as a system of belief. Here, Paul refers to our own personal faith in God and His strength and ability to protect us.

Our personal faith in God’s word and his promises are what protect us from the temptations Satan launches at us. We have to understand that the promise of pleasure temporarily that Satan offers is far exceeded by the promise of life and joy eternally which God offers.

The Armor of God-Don Your Breastplate

Originally posted in 2014

armor

Ephesians 6:14

Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness;


 

Again, if you want to read the entire devotional passage on the Armor of God, read Ephesians 6:10-18.

Today we are discussing the breastplate of righteousness. A Roman soldier going into battle would wear a breastplate made of primarily leather pieces put together which would cover most of him other than arms, legs and head. Obviously, this was designed to protect the soldier’s vital organs from injury.

What is the breastplate of righteousness Paul refers to here? We will briefly discuss what it is not, then a couple of ideas on what it is.

It is not a breastplate constructed from any self-righteousness we might come up with.  This would be a shield composed of some “holier than thou” attitude we sometimes assume when dealing with the world around us.  The truth is, we are all lousy and have absolutely no righteousness of our own.  If that is the best we can come up with, that we are somehow better than others, then defeat at the hands of Satan is just around the corner.

It could be a reference to the imputed righteousness we all possess the instant we are saved by the Grace of God. This would be a breastplate constructed from the knowledge we are 100 percent forgiven by God and declared righteous in His eyes at the moment of salvation.  One of Satan’s favorite tactics is to make us doubt the goodness of God and our status with Him.  The assurance of our salvation would certainly be protection when that attack comes from the Evil One.

It could, and likely is, a reference to the daily righteousness we have from living in daily obedience to God’s Word. If we strive to learn and obey the Word of God daily, then we will be able to stand before both men and God daily knowing we are protected from any condemnation from either.

As before, however, this requires action on our parts. We must know what God wills for us in order to put on the Breastplate of Righteousness. Again, prayer, reading, studying and meditating are they keys. In this case, it also requires a willingness to take what we have learned and put it into action in our daily lives.

The Armor of God-Stand and Put It On

Originally published in 2014

armor

 Ephesians 6:11

Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.

Ephesians 6:13,14

Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.Stand therefore…………..


If you would like to read the whole text on the armor of God, read Ephesians Chapter 6.

Previously we have discussed the fact that we have a real enemy who seeks to destroy us and the work of God as well. We also discussed the fact that God provides us what we need for this battle. He has given us what we term the Armor of God; and this armor is His and the strength and power that comes with it is His as well.

We aren’t off the hook, however.  Although the armor is provided by God, we have to do our part. Note the imperative verbs the Apostle Paul uses in our devotional verses: Put on, take and stand.  God has clearly communicated to us here His expectation for our role in this battle we fight.

It is not different than a real suit of armor available to a real soldier in a real war. Even that soldier must physically take up and put on the armor, or it does him absolutely no good whatsoever.  His army may have provided him the protection he needs, but he remains responsible to take it, put on on, learn how to use it and then stand against the enemy when the time comes for battle.

The same is true in our spiritual war we fight. God has certainly provided what we need to be successful, but action is required on our part. We will illustrate this more clearly as we go through the rest of our text. We have to take the armor God provides, put it on, learn how to use it and then stand against the enemy.


The Armor of God-Who We are Fighting Against

Originally posted in 2014

armor

Ephesians 6:11,12

Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.


 

We are continuing our devotional series on the Armor of God, found in Ephesians Chapter 6.

Who do we struggle against? Well, our text clearly tells us that. It is the Devil of course; it is Satan and his minions of demons under his command.

Why does Satan attack us? Satan hates God, therefore he hates us. Due to his pride and jealousy, Satan was ejected from Heaven and God’s presence at some point in time. Satan hates God and would love to destroy His work. Satan, however, is not powerful enough to assault God directly. We are another story, however; we are far weaker than Satan and his demons. Since he cannot launch a direct attack on God and hope to win, he attacks God’s children instead.

Satan and his demons are real, and they are organized. Verse 12 of our text gives us some idea of the organization of the evil we  struggle against. We aren’t here to do an organizational chart of Satan and his crew, but they have one and it is well organized.

Is is vital for believers to understand that our enemy is real. We often have a tendency to dismiss and minimize the presence of Satan in the world and in our lives. That us just how he would like it. In the world of real warfare, armies tend to only prepare to fight an enemy they know about and believe is a real threat. That is true for us as well. If we don’t recognize we even have an enemy, why would we bother preparing ourselves to fight him?

Yet, God made it clear to us, through the Apostle Paul, that our enemy is real and that we need to be prepared to engage in a struggle with him.

The Armor of God-Girt Your Loins

Series originally published in 2014

armor

Ephesian 6:14

Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness;


 

If you want to read the full description of the armor of God, read Ephesians 6:10-18.

Soldiers of the time that Paul wrote this epistle dressed in a particular way as they lived and worked in their daily lives. They did not wear pants like we would today, but rather wore something like a long flowing tunic which would cover them from top to bottom. This was an effective way to clothe themselves, but presented problems as a soldier would go into combat. A long flowing covering might have been useful and easy to wear for daily life, but likely would be an extreme hindrance as a soldier would take part in the hand to hand combat of the day. Therefore, prior to combat a soldier would “girt their loins.” This was no more than tucking their flowing garment tightly around their legs and into their belt so that it would not get in the way. The important thing is, this action was performed before the battle began.

This girting about with the truth can be looked at a couple of ways; however one looks at it, one will see that this part of the armor requires action be taken prior to beginning our combat mission. So, what is the belt of truth?

One view is that the truth represented here is the truth of God’s Word. In other words, correct doctrine as the Bible teaches it. Here the belt of truth means we must know Biblical truth in order to stand against the teachings of untruth. If one looks at it this way, obviously the pre-battle preparation needed it time in God’s word reading, studying and meditating on it.

Another view is that the belt of truth here represents and attitude of truthfulness on the part of the believer. One might say and absence of hypocrisy. Like the soldier gathering up his garments to get them out of the way, we too must get rid of the things which would get in our way as we go into battle. Here, truth would mean a truthful life, not going into battle weighed down by our own sins. This view also, means preparation must be made before the battle begins. It too, requires reading, studying and finally prayer to get our lives true.

Are our loins girt with the belt of truth? Do we know what truth is? Do we live a truthful life? If not, we will surely be defeated in our battles with Satan and his soldiers.

The Armor of God-Who We Get It From

This is a series originally published in 2014

armor

Ephesians 6:10-18

Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might. Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places. Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand. Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness; And your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace; Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked. And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God: Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints;


Today we are going to begin a multipart devotional series on the Armor of God; this passage is found in Ephesians Chapter 6. We will look at where we get the armor, why we need it, and the various pieces of it.

Today will just be a brief discussion of the source of the armor. It’s pretty simply, really; we refer to it as the Armor of God. It is not our own personal protective suit, but His.

We are fighting an enemy, Satan, who we will discuss in a later devotional. The Armor of God is an illustration of how we can fight that battle and win. The key issue for today is who’s Armor do we wear?

Verse 10 of our text lays it out quite clearly. We are not told to be tough guys and run out and confront Satan using the strength of our own powers. God does not just save us then throw us on the front line of combat with the enemy. We are to “be strong  In the Lord, and in the power of His might.”

That should provide us great comfort in our daily lives. We can rest knowing that, even though we fight a battle daily against an enemy far stronger than us, we do not have to rely on ourselves. We know that, if we did, we would surely lose; if fact, we lose daily when we try to fight our daily struggle against sin under our own strength.

Turn the battle over to God and use the tools He has given us. Be strong in Him and His power and we can win!

Throwback Thursday-Are We Really Too Busy?

throw back thursday

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From 2014

This post marks the start of a new thing for my blog. Due to the nature of my work, I spend a lot of time traveling various roads in Southeast Arkansas. There are many, many churches in Southeast Arkansas; this part of the country is not called the Bible Belt without good reason. Along with many, many churches come many, many church signs. Some are great, some are not so great. But most of them make us think things; that is why people post them.

I have lots of thoughts; my thoughts usually need to be articulated. I have lots to say, just ask anybody who knows me! So, here we go as I share with readers some of the thoughts I think about various church signs. I hope you enjoy the ride and perhaps even find it useful.

How does God feel about Bible reading? Well, here are a few verses which place it pretty high on God’s priority list for Christian lives:

2 Timothy 3:16,17 God Himself literally “breathed out” every single word of Scripture and it is the only guide to faith we need.

Psalm 119:160 God’s Word is true and will last forever.

Matthew 4:4 God’s word is necessary for life, more so than literal bread.

Joshua 1:8 One of the greatest men of the Bible teaches us that if we meditate on God’s Word day and night, we will be rewarded.

2 Timothy 2:15 Here we are simply commanded to study God’s Word and why.

There are many, many more; in combination they clearly prove that God considers the daily reading, studying and meditating on His Word as something He wants Christians to do. To even try to debate that point would be beyond ludicrous, to tell the truth. So, everything in this post is written from that perspective. Why do I say that? Well, because some of what I say might seem to be inflexible to some readers; however, God’s own word teaches that He is pretty inflexible on that point Himself. Agreeing with God on areas He considers important is good policy, frankly.

So, then, just what is our problem? Here is some interesting data:

A couple of years ago, LifeWay Research released a study with some interesting findings.

The survey found 90 percent of churchgoers agree “I desire to please and honor Jesus in all I do,” and 59 percent agree with the statement: “Throughout the day I find myself thinking about biblical truths.” While the majority agree with both statements, there is a significant difference in the strength of agreement. Nearly two-thirds of churchgoers (64 percent) strongly agree with the first statement, but only 20 percent strongly agree with the second.

However, when asked how often they personally (not as part of a church worship service) read the Bible, a similar number respond “Every Day” (19 percent) as respond “Rarely/Never” (18 percent). A quarter indicate they read the Bible a few times a week. Fourteen percent say they read the Bible “Once a Week” and another 22 percent say “Once a Month” or “A Few Times a Month.” See the article here.

Here is some date from the American Bible Society:

If they do read it, the majority (57 percent) only read their Bibles four times a year or less. Only 26 percent of Americans said they read their Bible on a regular basis (four or more times a week). Read the article here.

So, again I ask, what’s our problem? We know what the problem is; I should have asked: What’s our excuse? Today, we are only talking about the, “I don’t have time” excuse. Here are some strategies that might be of some use for those readers really interested in getting with God’s program of daily time in His Word. For those NOT really interested, just move along I guess, as this won’t apply to you.

Commit to it. Our walk of faith is not accidental; it must be intentional. Remember Daniel? Early in his life Daniel and some friends were faced with a test of their faith. Most Christians know the story of Daniel and his friends refusing to eat the King’s meat. Daniel 1:8 tells us that Daniel “purposed in his heart” not to eat the meat offered by The King. The application here is that, for anything we want to accomplish for and through God, we still have to make an intentional decision to actually do it. Any talk of some daily study plan is irrelevant if we aren’t committed to doing it.

Make choices. The truth is, there are only 24 hours in a day; that is just a fact and a reality. We all make choices daily about the things we get to do or do not get to do. In some cases, it may be as simple as deciding which TV show to watch. We can’t watch two at once, so we choose. Do we go to this party or that party? The list goes on and on. We choose to not do things because of time every single day.

How do we decide? We decide based on what is important to us; we decide on based on what matters to us; we decide based on what will bring us the most payoff and once again the list goes on and on. Because we have committed to some things, choosing them becomes quite easy. The same is true for daily Bible study; if we commit to it, then we have to make the choice of what NOT to do to make room for it.

Pick a time; make it a habit. How many things do we have a time assigned at which we do it? Once again, television comes to mind. I know people who would no more miss Monday Night Football than they would skip eating for a week. What about work? Most of us have a particular time we have to report in. The point is, we have a time at which we do those things. That time belongs to those things, and because of that we do them. They are habits.

The time doesn’t matter; pick what works. But do pick, and assign that time and don’t allow another thing to infringe or take that time. I like really early in the morning. It’s all mine, as nobody else is awake then. It’s quiet, as nobody else is awake then. It also happens to be the time of day when I am freshest and most able to concentrate. It is my most effective time of the day, and I feel God deserves my best time. And that’s not just my opinion, I got it from God, who has made many references to us giving Him our firstfruits in His Word. Get a Concordance and check out firstfruits if you don’t believe me.

Now, let’s sum up. The sign said, “If you’re too busy to read the Bible, you’re too busy.” That is simply true and non negotiable. I say non negotiable because that is how God sees it, and that seals it. I can cook up justification otherwise until the day ends, and I would simply be wrong. And guess what? If you do that, you are wrong as well.

So, commit to it, make choices, pick your time and begin a new habit that I promise will transform your Christian walk.

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