Coat of Arms

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Instead, clothe yourself with the presence of the Lord Jesus Christ. And
don’t let yourself think about ways to indulge your evil desires.
(Romans 13:14)
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I recently began reading a book that has been so enlightening. Mind you I haven’t even fully delved deep into the book and have already found this to be so transforming, so riveting so inspiring and life changing. I will write about the book once I finish reading the full book while making biblical references and completing the self reflection pieces within the book.  This may take some time for these reflection pieces are not only for spiritual understanding but spiritual growth as well.
The book is called:
Women of the Bible: A One-Year Devotional Study
By Ann Spangler, Jean E. Syswerda
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Today as I read this verse, I can not help but think about the passage I read just this morning during my commute from this book.
The Passage states the following:
“This week take some time fora wardrobe check – make sure you aren’t missing anything vital, without which you will be more vulnerable to attack. Here’s a quick checklist for the well-dressed spiritual warrior:
The Belt of Truth – have any small dishonesties crept into your life?
The Breastplate of Righteousness – Are you cooperating with grace to become more Christlike?
The Shoes of the Gospel of Peace – The gospel reconciles us to God and others. Are you willing to receive it, live by it and share it?
The Shield of Faith – Are you responding to life with faith or in a way that shows you really don’t think God is quite as loving or as powerful as he says he is?
The Helmet of Salvation – Salvation is a gift. But like any gift, it has to be received.
The Sword of the Spirit – God’s Word wounds the enemy and thwart his purposes. Reading and praying through Scripture helps us take the offensive.”
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The author included a prayer which i will share at the very end of this piece (before my closing prayer).
In Roman’s we are told to clothe ourselves in the Lord’s presence. We are reminded to stay away from evil desires. Our goal is to be Warriors of Christ.
How else are we to do so without knowing how to dress like these spiritual warriors. I love the description that Spangler provides in her Book on how to do a wardrobe check. What both Paul (the author of the book of Romans ) and Spangler are saying is that we need to be better equipped.  This recipe that she gives us is provided in Ephesians 6, where we see how we are to arm up.  We need to be always ready. We need to check ourselves and our evil desires and put on our coats of arm. We are spiritual warriors of the most high God. Our war is not a carnal war but a spiritual war. The only way we do not become vulnerable in an attack is if we are properly equipped.  The bible provides everything we need to be fully equipped for battle.  We need to just pay attention and listen.
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Check one selves.
Dress accordingly. (Spiritually).
Make sure you not indulging in Sin.
Put on your “Belt of Truth”.
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Put on your “Breastplate of Righteousness”
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Put on and shine your “Shoes of the Gospel of Peace “
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Grab and shine your “The Shield of Faith”
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Secure your “The Helmet of Salvation “.
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Sharpen and carry “The Sword of the Spirit”.
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Spangler’s Prayer:
“Lord, help me to be ready so that any moment I can stand against the enemy and even deal a decisive blow in the battle. Give me courage, discernment, and wisdom and help me to stay close to you in the midst of the fray. Amen.”
My prayer:
Father God your timing is precise. Thank you for being amazing in all that you do and all that you provide. Your timing for this passage in the scriptures and this passage in the Book is purposeful and not of a coincidence. I ask you to help me be ready, I ask you to help me thwart evil desires and sins. I ask or redemption and forgiveness If i have failed you. I want to be ready for battle and not be vulnerable for attack. Help me to help you in the battle field with fellow warriors. I want to stand firm against the enemy and be of use in your ministry. Give me courage, strength and wisdom to carry on your works and to not loose sight of your greatness. I will dress accordingly, arming my self as your spiritual warrior. I will Put on my “Belt of Truth”. Put on my “Breastplate of Righteousness”. Put on and shine my “Shoes of the Gospel of Peace “. Grab and shine my “The Shield of Faith”. Secure my “The Helmet of Salvation “. Sharpen and carry my “The Sword of the Spirit”. In the Name of the father, the son and the holy spirit Amen.
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​ if you have faith ….

if you have faith ….
“And Jesus answered them, “Truly I say to you, if you have faith (a firm relying trust) and do not doubt, you will not
only do what has been done to the fig tree, but even if you say to this
mountain, ‘Be taken up and cast into the sea,’ it will be done.””
(Matthew 21:21, AMPC)
Faith and staying true to one’s faith is a constant conversation.
IN the midst of any trials it is easy to loose faith.
I should know.
Mine took an extended leave of absence.
We must have faith and be firm in our faith.
We cannot doubt, as I once doubted.
We will never overcome our obstacles if we let fear over come us.
We all go through it.
We all have moments where our problems are overwhelming.
we all have moments where we want to throw in the towel and give up.
It’s during these times that we need to maintain a close relationship with God.
It is those moments that our faith needs to remain firm, so that we can cast out our problems.
Whatever you do, do not get discouraged.
Ask for him.
A brother, a sister, a friend, pastoral leadership, etc…. do not go through your struggles alone.
Every situation is different but god can make this situation turn in your favor.
Thank you father for the lessons you’ve taught me.
thank you for my strength, thank you for your guidance.
I have full faith that you have all the control in all the circumstances.
I may have been stubborn and mad, and weak at times, but you showed me that you got this.
Thank you for your favors, for turning around situations that seemed bleak. Thank you for the amazing work you do in my life. Amen

Firmly planted like a tree

He will be like a tree firmly planted by
streams of water, which yields its fruit in its season and its leaf does
not wither; and in whatever he does, he prospers.”
Psalms 1:3
Tree’s usually represent life, mystic majesty, power, strength and stability. When we look at trees, where they are plated and rooted makes a difference as to the fruits it will bear. Will the plant survive, will any fruits come out of it? Planting a tree by the water you have a source where the tree can not only be nourished, but the the soil will be nourished. Usually trees planted near the water are healthier, bear more fruits, strong, filled with life, etc.
We are like trees.
We are planted with word of God.
Our spirit is fed.
We grow stronger.
our source of Water is the Word of God.
it is what nourishes our soul.
it provides the essential vitamins and nourishment for the tree to bear fruits.
We are the trees.
The word, and our relationship with the spirit is what determines if we grow and proposer.
PROSPER in everything you do.
What does it mean to be a tree? What is
Father God I want to thank you for planting the seed of life in me. I want to thank you for not uprooting me. I want to thank you for your nourishment and sustenance to help me yield my fruits in your season. Thank you for not letting me wither, for being in me and with me in all I do so that through you I can prosper. Amen.
side notes:
Tree references in the bible
1.
Jeremiah 17:8 ESV
He
is like a tree planted by water, that sends out its roots by the stream, and
does not fear when heat comes, for its leaves remain green, and is not anxious
in the year of drought, for it does not cease to bear fruit.”
2.
Psalm 1:3 ESV
He
is like a tree planted by streams of water that yields its fruit in its season,
and its leaf does not wither. In all that he does, he prospers.
3.
Job 14:7 ESV
“For
there is hope for a tree, if it be cut down, that it will sprout again, and
that its shoots will not cease.
4.
1 Chronicles 16:33 ESV
Then
shall the trees of the forest sing for joy before the Lord, for he comes to
judge the earth.
5.
Matthew 7:17 ESV
So,
every healthy tree bears good fruit, but the diseased tree bears bad fruit.
6.
Daniel 4:10-12 ESV
The
visions of my head as I lay in bed were these: I saw, and behold, a tree in the
midst of the earth, and its height was great. The tree grew and became strong,
and its top reached to heaven, and it was visible to the end of the whole
earth. Its leaves were beautiful and its fruit abundant, and in it was food for
all. The beasts of the field found shade under it, and the birds of the heavens
lived in its branches, and all flesh was fed from it.
7.
Revelation 22:14 ESV
Blessed
are those who wash their robes, so that they may have the right to the tree of
life and that they may enter the city by the gates.
8.
Genesis 2:9 ESV
And
out of the ground the Lord God made to spring up every tree that is pleasant to
the sight and good for food. The tree of life was in the midst of the garden,
and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.
9.
Proverbs 13:12 ESV
Hope
deferred makes the heart sick, but a desire fulfilled is a tree of life.
10. Revelation 22:2 ESV
Through
the middle of the street of the city; also, on either side of the river, the
tree of life with its twelve kinds of fruit, yielding its fruit each month. The
leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations.
11. Psalm 52:8 ESV
But
I am like a green olive tree in the house of God. I trust in the steadfast love
of God forever and ever.
12. 1 Kings 19:5 ESV
And
he lay down and slept under a broom tree. And behold, an angel touched him and
said to him, “Arise and eat.”
13. Genesis 3:17 ESV
And
to Adam he said, “Because you have listened to the voice of your wife and have
eaten of the tree of which I commanded you, ‘You shall not eat of it,’ cursed
is the ground because of you; in pain you shall eat of it all the days of your
life;
14. Genesis 3:3-6 ESV
But
God said, ‘You shall not eat of the fruit of the tree that is in the midst of
the garden, neither shall you touch it, lest you die.’” But the serpent said to
the woman, “You will not surely die. For God knows that when you eat of it your
eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.” So when
the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was a delight to the
eyes, and that the tree was to be desired to make one wise, she took of its
fruit and ate, and she also gave some to her husband who was with her, and he
ate.
15. Romans 11:16-27 ESV
If
the dough offered as firstfruits is holy, so is the whole lump, and if the root
is holy, so are the branches. But if some of the branches were broken off, and
you, although a wild olive shoot, were grafted in among the others and now
share in the nourishing root of the olive tree, do not be arrogant toward the
branches. If you are, remember it is not you who support the root, but the root
that supports you. Then you will say, “Branches were broken off so that I might
be grafted in.” That is true. They were broken off because of their unbelief,
but you stand fast through faith. So do not become proud, but fear. …
16. Proverbs 3:18 ESV
She
is a tree of life to those who lay hold of her; those who hold her fast are
called blessed.
17. Isaiah 65:22 ESV
They
shall not build and another inhabit; they shall not plant and another eat; for
like the days of a tree shall the days of my people be, and my chosen shall
long enjoy the work of their hands.
18. Genesis 2:17 ESV
But
of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day
that you eat of it you shall surely die.”
19. Luke 6:43-45 ESV
“For
no good tree bears bad fruit, nor again does a bad tree bear good fruit, for
each tree is known by its own fruit. For figs are not gathered from
thornbushes, nor are grapes picked from a bramble bush. The good person out of
the good treasure of his heart produces good, and the evil person out of his
evil treasure produces evil, for out of the abundance of the heart his mouth
speaks.
20. Genesis 3:22 ESV
Then
the Lord God said, “Behold, the man has become like one of us in knowing good
and evil. Now, lest he reach out his hand and take also of the tree of life and
eat, and live forever—”
21. Luke 13:6-9 ESV
And
he told this parable: “A man had a fig tree planted in his vineyard, and he
came seeking fruit on it and found none. And he said to the vinedresser, ‘Look,
for three years now I have come seeking fruit on this fig tree, and I find
none. Cut it down. Why should it use up the ground?’ And he answered him, ‘Sir,
let it alone this year also, until I dig around it and put on manure. Then if
it should bear fruit next year, well and good; but if not, you can cut it
down.’”
22. Proverbs 11:30 ESV
The
fruit of the righteous is a tree of life, and whoever captures souls is wise.
23. Genesis 3:12 ESV
The
man said, “The woman whom you gave to be with me, she gave me fruit of the
tree, and I ate.”
24. Ezekiel 17:24 ESV
And
all the trees of the field shall know that I am the Lord; I bring low the high
tree, and make high the low tree, dry up the green tree, and make the dry tree
flourish. I am the Lord; I have spoken, and I will do it.”
25. Judges 9:8 ESV
The
trees once went out to anoint a king over them, and they said to the olive
tree, ‘Reign over us.’
26. Deuteronomy 20:19 ESV
“When
you besiege a city for a long time, making war against it in order to take it,
you shall not destroy its trees by wielding an axe against them. You may eat
from them, but you shall not cut them down. Are the trees in the field human,
that they should be besieged by you?
27. Genesis 18:4 ESV
Let
a little water be brought, and wash your feet, and rest yourselves under the
tree,
28. Genesis 3:24 ESV
He
drove out the man, and at the east of the garden of Eden he placed the cherubim
and a flaming sword that turned every way to guard the way to the tree of life.
29. Genesis 3:11 ESV
He
said, “Who told you that you were naked? Have you eaten of the tree of which I
commanded you not to eat?”
30. Isaiah 55:12-13 ESV
“For
you shall go out in joy and be led forth in peace; the mountains and the hills
before you shall break forth into singing, and all the trees of the field shall
clap their hands. Instead of the thorn shall come up the cypress; instead of
the brier shall come up the myrtle; and it shall make a name for the Lord, an
everlasting sign that shall not be cut off.”

N’sync with God

N’sync with God
“In their hearts humans plan their course, but the LORD establishes their steps.”
(Proverbs 16:9, NIV)
We can make all the plans we want.
It is the lord whom decides what will come to light.
sometimes our plans, or the pathways we want to take to fulfill our plans are not aligned with God’s plans nor the path he has already deemed for us.
Every wanted something, you accomplish it, you get the results you wanted, then knowing how you achieved your goal, you went ahead and tried it again and the results were, well not as we planned.
This happened to Moses. In Exodus 17 v 1-7
Water From the Rock
1The whole Israelite community set out from the Desert of Sin, traveling from place to place as the Lord commanded. They camped at Rephidim, but there was no water for the people to drink.
2So they quarreled with Moses and said, “Give us water to drink.”
Moses replied, “Why do you quarrel with me? Why do you put the Lord to the test?”
3But the people were thirsty for water there, and they grumbled against
Moses. They said, “Why did you bring us up out of Egypt to make us and
our children and livestock die of thirst?”
4Then Moses cried out to the Lord, “What am I to do with these people? They are almost ready to stone me.”
5The Lord answered Moses, “Go out in front of the people. Take with you some of
the elders of Israel and take in your hand the staff with which you
struck the Nile, and go.
6I
will stand there before you by the rock at Horeb. Strike the rock, and
water will come out of it for the people to drink.” So Moses did this in
the sight of the elders of Israel.
7And he called the place Massaha
and Meribahb
because the Israelites quarreled and because they tested the Lord saying, “Is the Lord among us or not?”
When they Hebrews needed water God specifically told him, strike the rock. He struck the rock, and water flowed. God told him to Strike the rock. There was another time where they needed water again. Moses knew he had already done so before…. his out come was slightly different.
The Water of Meribah Numbers 20 vs 8- 13
      8“Take the rod; and you and your brother Aaron assemble the congregation and
speak to the rock before their eyes, that it may yield its water. You
shall thus bring forth water for them out of the rock and let the
congregation and their beasts drink.”
9So Moses took the rod from before the LORD, just as He had commanded him;
10He and Aaron gathered the assembly together in front of the rock and Moses said to them, “Listen, you rebels, must we bring you water out of this rock?” 11 Then Moses raised his arm and struck the rock twice with his staff. Water gushed out, and the community and their livestock drank.
12 But the Lord said to Moses and Aaron, “Because you did not trust in me enough to honor me as holy in the sight of the Israelites, you will not bring this community into the land I give them.”
13 These were the waters of Meribah,[a] where the Israelites quarreled with the Lord and where he was proved holy among them.
This time, he said speak to the rock, not strike the rock. That was not God’s way, nor path to the water. “Because you did not trust me enough”. Moses and AAron did not trust enough for that given moment.
We do that all the time. We are a very pessimistic bunch. We question and second guess everything. We barely trust ourselves. Lack of trust in God is what deters outcomes to repeat.
He is very specific with every detail in everything we do.
God had a different plan to show how he can bring water from the Rocks.
The Goal may have been the same, the steps to achieve this was different.
The lesson we have here is that we need to stay awake, or be “woke”. We need to be open and be willing to receive our instructions. We need to be In Sync with God’s plan. A small tweak to the instruction, a small tweak to the performance, an extra little minor step, you may not view it as a minor step, but there is a reason for that extra step. That is what makes the difference in achieving the outcome.
As you go by your day, as you go by your routines, make sure you are in sync with God, make sure you are not doing things out of habit, because this is just how you have done it before. Listen to God, The Holy spirit will guide you. Follow his lead. Keep focus, remain in prayer. Stay in sync with the plans he has for you. Remember we all have goals, plans and dreams, these goals, plans and dreams may not be what God has in store, and if they are, achieving them may not be the way you expected to achieving them.
God I want to thank you for always leading me. I want to submit my mind, heart and soul to you. I want to stay connected to you to be able to see, hear and understand what you want me to do. I want to remain close to you, I want to be in sync with you in every step, action, breath I take. I want to achieve the goals you have in mind for me. Never living in the past, never taking the same steps, looking towards the new path with you. Looking forward to what you have planned for me. Amen.

Recipe for Spiritual Growth


2 Peter 1:5-9 ESV
For this very reason, make every effort to supplement your faith with virtue, and virtue with knowledge, and knowledge with self-control, and self-control with steadfastness, and steadfastness with godliness, and godliness with brotherly affection, and brotherly affection with love. For if these qualities are yours and are increasing, they keep you from being ineffective or unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. For whoever lacks these qualities is so nearsighted that he is blind, having forgotten that he was cleansed from his former sins.

 

When Peter wrote his letters to the followers of Christ he wanted to show them support, encouragement and provide direction. A mentor so to speak.
New follows of Christ need that kind of assistance to guide and reassure them so they do not get distracted. He states “make every effort to supplement your faith with virtue, and virtue with knowledge, and knowledge with self-control, and self-control with steadfastness, and steadfastness with godliness, and godliness with brotherly affection, and brotherly affection with love.”

 

This right here was Peterson way of showing exactly what you need to spiritually grow and supplement ones faith.
One needs:

  • Virtue
  • Knowledge
  • Self control.
  • Steadfastness
  • godliness
  • Brotherly affection
  • And love.

 

Here is a historical backdrop as to what was going on at the time and why Peter felt the need to provide the recipe to grow in faith.

 

The churches of Asia Minor were struggling with the persecution and suffering, this is s addressed in the letters in first Peter. The churches also had strife and dissension within each other and ranks. He wanted to steer the church away from false teachings. He wanted to show the importance in learning the word. He wanted to show them the importance in proper knowledge of God.

 

He emphasizes spiritual growth. Growth in ones faith, growth in ones understanding. Growth in knowledge.

 

Peter wants the church to have spiritual maturity through the Word of God, to avert from false teaching and a right response to heretics in light of Christ’s promised second coming.

 

He addresses his readers to encourage them so they can follow his lead with the recipe he provided. He encouraged the seeking and acquiring true knowledge of God. He encouraged diligently living our lives in faith. He encouraged living in peace and being as pure as possible so when we face jesus upon his return to be judged for our actions and deeds, we can be viewed spotless, clean, blameless and without sin.

 

Look we all go through difficult times. We also see that at the foundation of the church and the ministries of Jesus’ followers, they too had trials and tribulations. They too faced hardships and persecutions. Peter hands us the encouragement and the recipe needed to grow spiritually.

So let’s take a close look at the meaning to this recipe he provided:

 

 
You get a spoonful of Virtue, a cup of Knowledge, two cups of Self control, 2 tablespoons of Steadfastness, a liter of godliness, a quart of Brotherly affection and a gallon of love. **With all recipe you tweak the measurements to taste.
Mix these ingredients well.
Let it set.
Viola! You have begun taking those first few steps to grow spiritually with God.

Father God I thank you for instructing the writers of the Bible. Basic Instruction Before Leaving Earth. You have left us with the Basic Instructions for us to utilize, live a hearty, whole and pure life to your stading, before we perish earth and join you. I thank you for allowing prophet to provide the buidling blocks of our spiritual walk with you. I thank you for this recipe, for allowing this to be a a guide as to what characteristics we need, how we should behave, how we should be with one another, how to grow, how to not loose sight of the truth, how to not be misguided nor misled. I thank you for the blueprints. The hardest job of any instructional manual is paying attention and following along. I ask for the strength needed, especially during trouble times so that I can grow closer to you. Amen.