Are You Buckled Up?

I know I’m not alone as I look around and wonder where truth is. The days of issues being black and white have disappeared and been replaced by relativism and vagueness. It has even penetrated the church, as many churches no longer stand on truth these days.

In Ephesians 6:14, the apostle Paul begins illustrating the full armor of God. The first piece of armament he describes is the belt of truth: “Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist.” Merriam-Webster.com defines truth as a “transcendent fundamental or spiritual reality.” Furthermore, Ephesians 1:13 clarifies that the word of truth is the gospel of our salvation. The gospel of Jesus Christ is truth.

I’m seeing many people wandering around with their pants falling down (literally and spiritually) these days.

Are your pants sliding down because your belt has become unbuckled?

There’s a reason Paul lists the belt first, as the rest of the armor will not stay in place without it.

What is the foundation of my life?

What am I basing truth on?

What do I fall back on during times of difficulty?

Are my decisions lining up with God’s truth?

These are challenging times in our culture and in our churches. God’s Word is clear about our individual responsibility to accept and share truth. Only when we hold steadfast with our belts of truth buckled, will we be able to successfully live in this world and be an instrument of change. “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever” (Hebrews 13:8, NIV). His Word is truth and never changes. Therefore we can stand on His truth, and be sure of tomorrow and that we’ve won the victory.

Father God, Thank you for providing truth through the gospel of Jesus Christ. Help me to stand firm in this world, with my belt completely buckled, and represent your truth to others around me. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Bible Truths:

John 14:6 (NIV): “Jesus answered, ‘I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.’”

Ephesians1:13a (NIV): “And you also were included in Christ when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation.”

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A Psalm 119 Approach

Excitement bubbled inside me as my husband and I finally made the decision to redo the majority of our master bathroom. Then we faced the dilemma of where to start. A multitude of decisions piled up in front of us and the choices seemed overwhelming. Glass shower enclosures, bathtubs, tile, paint—the list appeared endless. It became obvious before tackling this project we needed a game plan. Understanding exactly what our needs were was vital. This encompassed determining exactly what needed replacement and what would fit within the space we had. Only then did we proceed to look at and determine which models/tiles/fixtures fit our budget and needs, making our selections from those options. And finally, we applied our choices to our remodel through the contractor we hired.

Breaking down our remodel into several stages guaranteed us the success we desired to complete our project. And so it is with studying the Bible. At first it’s overwhelming, but by formulating an approach to scripture you can successfully study and understand God’s Word. As we read scripture and search for its meaning and application to our life, I perceive three stages:

Discern, Decipher, and Digest God’s Word.

 

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What’s Holding You Back?

A while after our beloved standard poodle, Margaux, passed away, we knew it was time for another dog. However, we just didn’t have it in us to train up another puppy. An opportunity presented itself for us to rescue a four-year-old male standard poodle. And so, Remy entered our lives. When he came to live with us, we immediately noticed a lack of muscle tone and instability at times. Remy was also unable to stand on his hind legs when we supported his front legs on our shoulders. We learned Remy was confined for long periods during his early years.

What about us? How often do we put ourselves in chains? Or, confine and hold ourselves back?

What are the chains in your life holding you back?

  • Fear—you don’t want to appear foolish or you don’t want to fail
  • Insecurity—you allow negative thoughts or a poor self-image to dictate your actions
  • Circumstances—you’re busy with family or your job is demanding or the children are too young
  • Lack—you cave in to your perception of inadequate ability, education, or resources
  • Time pressures—or is it just plain laziness?

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Sometimes It Takes a Long Time

Due to years of overdoing it at the local gym, my lower back developed occasional low-grade pain. During a bout of independence, because after all, I’m a strong and physically fit woman, I was maneuvering my “at the maximum allowed weight” suitcase during a plane flight to the West coast. No thanks, I didn’t need any help. My back hasn’t been the same since.

For over a year now—a year with some doctor appointments, an MRI, a few medications, and physical therapy—this pain has been my faithful companion. Sadly, I had to give up the gym and put away the golf clubs, but my two-fold exercise instructions include a good deal of walking. I love to walk, and I soon found myself chalking up great distances and feeling some improvement. Conversely, the second treatment portion involved physical therapy, and in my mind, was boring. Plus, I didn’t see it was doing much good. All those stretches and gentle exercises when I’d rather be out and active—so I tapered off from doing them. As you may have guessed, the pain intensified until I finally hunkered down and got serious about the physical therapy routine. Now every morning I faithfully perform the stretches. The progress is snail-like slow and has gone on for a prolonged time, but my pain is currently minimal. I’m learning:

Perseverance and patience work in partnership.

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It Feels Like a Tightrope Act

“As Jesus and his disciples were on their way, he came to a village where a woman named Martha opened her home to him. She had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord’s feet listening to what he said. But Martha was distracted by all the preparations that had to be made. She came to him and asked, ‘Lord, don’t you care that my sister has left me to do the work by myself? Tell her to help me!’ ‘Martha, Martha,’ the Lord answered, ‘you are worried and upset about many things, but only one thing is needed. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her.’” (Luke 10:38-42, NIV)

Viewed by many as overly organized, I like to get matters taken care of. Teaching a Bible study, writing Christian devotions, maintaining a home—all good things I easily become engrossed in. But as I’ve heard it said before,

I don’t want to be so busy working for God that I’m too busy for God.

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