EDC Christian

Serving the Lord with Gladness is now relaunching as: EDC Christian.

EDC (Every Day Carry) Christian is a Devotional Blog and Podcast that we hope will equip and encourage you to not only survive but thrive in your walk-through life with Jesus. Our goal is to provide “Thriving Skills for the Soul.”

Everyone has certain items they carry around with them each day; a wallet, a watch, a purse, a pen, a knife, etc.  What items do you generally have with you every day?  A Survivalist would call those items part of your “Every Day Carry” kit.   I like the term.  I appreciate the concept of being prepared! In the same way that we carry things with us, the Bible gives us Every Day Carry Skills that we can identify, carry, and use as needed each day.  This site and the podcast “EDC Christian” are dedicated to equipping and encouraging the Christian to not only survive, but thrive in his/her walk with Christ. 

Every Day Thankful

When thieves robbed Matthew Henry, he still found something to be thankful for. He wrote these words about this traumatic event in his life: “Let me be thankful first, because I was never robbed before; second, because, although they took my purse, they did not take my life; third, because it was I who was robbed, not I who robbed.” You do not need to be an English author or non-conformist Presbyterian preacher like Matthew Henry to have an attitude of thankfulness. Thankfulness is a choice you can personally carry with you today.

How can a person have something bad happen to him and still have an attitude of thankfulness?

One of the best Thriving Skills to carry with you each day is thankfulness. Our top carry items so far are the Word, Prayer, Fellowship with other Christians, and Witnessing the Gospel to others. Being thankful sets a good pace and perspective for surviving any trauma or evil event that may happen to you. A Thankfulness attitude is something you can carry every day that can help you get through even the most difficult circumstances.

Erwin Lutzer was spot on when he said, “A Christian who walks by faith accepts all circumstances from God. He thanks God when everything goes good, when everything goes bad, and for the “blues” somewhere in-between. He thanks God whether he feels like it or not.”

Colossians 3:15 says, “And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to the which also ye are called in one body; and be ye thankful.” Since God’s peace is something the Christian apparently can and should have in his life each day, according to this verse, we can also infer that thankfulness is something that he can have in his heart each day as well. And. Be. Ye. Thankful.

The Apostle Paul is writing this verse while in prison, waiting to see Caesar for his trial. The Book of Colossians is one of the four “Prison Letters“, along with EphesiansPhilippians, and Philemon.  Imagine being in prison, and writing letters to people about the theme of thankfulness. There is always a silver lining; there is always something to be thankful about.

This concept of thankfulness is something that Paul practiced throughout his life. Once, when in prison in the city of Phillipi, Paul and his friend, Silas, were praying and singing praises to God with thankful hearts. They were singing songs at midnight. The Lord showed up, the earth shook, the shackles and prison doors opened, and Paul and Silas sat there. This impressed the prison guard so much that he trusted Christ for salvation, and his whole family turned to Jesus and His gospel. That’s the impact a thankful attitude can have. You can read about the Phillipian Jailor in Acts 16.

Thankfulness Can Calm Your Heart. Learning to trust the Lord, having faith in His sovereign power can calm your anxious heart when things go wrong. God is still God. Nothing can change Him. Nothing can change His love for you. Let God’s peace rule, guide, or control your heart and life. Thankfulness is a part of this “peace.”

Thankfulness Can Guide Your Decisions. Since God’s love is unchanging and your heart is being calmed by reminding yourself of His love for you, your decisions can be thought out more clearly. Instead of being guided by fear, shame, “fate” or guilt, your life is being guided by God’s grace that is embraced more readily, when you have a thankful attitude.

Thankfulness Can Find God’s Plan. When we are trusting God in every circumstance, we can fully discover His plan. When we complain, we miss god’s will. When we criticize we are essentially saying “I can do better than what God is allowing right now.” When we are arrogant, we skip over God’s best for us. Being thankful is being humble enough to trust God, attribute thanksgiving to Him, and then find His “Big Picture” plan for your life.

A thankful Christian will not be a “Johnny Raincloud,” counting only what is wrong. A thankful Christian will embrace the Lord, giving thanks to His name in good times and in bad times.

Make a thanksgiving list if you need to. Don’t wait for the “Thanksgiving Season.” Give thanks to God – Every Day! Ralph Waldo Emerson said it this way:

“For each new morning with its light,
Father, we thank thee,
For rest and shelter of the night,
Father, we thank thee,
For health and food, for love and friends,
For everything thy goodness sends,
Father, in heaven, we thank thee.”

Ready to Run

“I feel the need- the need for speed” is a famous line from Tom Cruise in his breakthrough film, Top Gun, which is popular once again with the newest film, Top Gun: Maverick. With his hair back and sunshades over his eyes, he drives a motorcycle, or with his pilot gear flies a fighter jet at breathtaking speeds. Maverick feels compelled for speed. True fighter jet pilots need fast and agile planes. In addition to precision flying and aeronautical skill, the speed of the jet can help the pilot not only survive, but thrive in battle. The Christian has a need for speed too, but not just for the thrill of the moment or an addiction to an adrenaline rush. Every Day Carry Christians are ready to run away from Temptation. When we stand against the Devil, He runs away from us according to James, the half-brother of Jesus. ​James 4:7 says, “Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.” This is good news! Sometimes we need to take a stand, stay in place, and fight the spiritual battle we are in. At other times, we are to flee, to run away from the thing(s) that may be tempting us. Spiritual Survivalist, the Apostle Paul, told young Christian and preacher Timothy, “Flee also youthful lusts: but follow righteousness, faith, charity, peace, with them that call on the Lord out of a pure heart.”  (2 Timothy 2:22)  Your spiritual survival may count on your speed to run! When I am exercising, building something, going on a trip, or even merely walking through the house, I ensure that I have proper footwear. You never know what dangers there are for a stubbed toe, a punctured heal on the bottom of a foot, or a scratch from a brier when walking a trail. I like to have comfortable walking and running shoes on. Some of the best are the “trail shoes” that many sporting shoe companies make. I like to be ready to run (or at least walk fast) if needed whenever I go to a public space. You never know what dangers may be at the store, school, workplace, or just down the street! It’s good to be ready to move quickly. In a similar way, the Christian is ready to run spiritually. He/she is ready for speed in his/her life to run away from temptation; in particular, youthful lusts. Things we desire, crave, and want in disproportionate ways, can consume us. This “lust” is generally understood to be “things that are forbidden to us.” For example, sex is not forbidden in the Bible, just the opposite! Sex is encouraged. It is encouraged for those who are married to each other. Sex outside of marriage is forbidden and so the word “lusts” makes a lot of sense. Wanting things such as sex is normal and is a legitimate “need” that God instilled in His creation. However, sex becomes sinful when we want, crave, and take what does not belong to us. Temptation itself is not a sin. We are all tempted and even Jesus was directly tempted to sin by Satan. The problem is when we choose to entertain the temptation; then it is more likely to become a sin. I heard one man say, “Temptation becomes sin when we let it become a motion picture and not just a still photo.” When temptation is about to become a motion picture in your mind and you begin to act out on the temptation, run away!  Be fast.  Quick, turn and run!  Replace the things tempting you with the positives that Paul describes for Timothy to follow: righteousness, faith, charity, and peace. Follow What is Right (Righteousness). Most of life is not unknown as to what is right and wrong. You know it is right, or you know it is wrong. Some things are uncertain, on occasion, but in most situations, if lust is not consuming you, you know the answer. Follow Faith. Some people ask: “What Would Jesus Do?” Good question! What does your faith in Jesus say about the temptation? What does Bible Faith say about running away from temptation? What would a faithful man or woman do in your situation? Follow Love. Charity is a Bible term for love. It is the Greek word ἀγάπη (Agape), which is the kind of love God has for people. Agape love is selfless, giving, and sacrificial. It is the same love for humanity that compelled Jesus to die on the cross for our sins. The Christian running from temptation must be following after love. Why would a person want to run from evil in the first place? Because they love God. Why would a person deny what their flesh is screaming for? Because they love God more than they love themselves. Loving God and Loving Others will help anyone run from temptation and choose to do what is right. Follow Peace. While running away from temptation, it is a good idea to not start fights with other people – or start fights with God! Having peace in the heart is a hallmark quality of the Christian. If you are full of anxiety, angry, much of the time, depressed, and constantly discouraged, or if you do not have a clear conscience, you are likely losing some spiritual battles. The temptation may be winning and becoming sin in your life. Think about it. We tend to beat ourselves up when we lose struggles with temptation. Sometimes we take the pain of losing out on other people. Others become depressed and mope about because of the loss. Be encouraged to get back up and run away from the temptation, sin, or being spiritually defeated! Run to peace with God and find peace with others. The Every Day Carry Christian is always ready to run away from temptation. Are your shoes strings tied? You and I both have “a need for speed!” Are you prepared to go? Temptations will come. Be ready to run.

Everyday Witness

Recently our family took a hike in the beautiful Saratoga State Park. We took one of our dogs, and the kids and dog played in the creek. We enjoyed the sunshine and beauty of God’s creation looking at the “Spouters” shooting pressured water out of the ground. It was a fun adventure. One man commented on my wife’s t-shirt and said: “I Like Your Shirt!” She was wearing a gray t-shirt with a white logo. The phrase on the shirt said: “It’s about the Cross” and had a large cross emblem right in the middle.

Someone is watching you. You are being watched! I’m not talking about being paranoid or overly concerned for privacy. People see your actions, hear your words, interact with your social media posts, and observe your life – on a daily basis.

The things you love are evident in your words and actions. The stuff you are involved in reveals qualities about you and your life. The purchases you make, the music you listen to, the style of your hair, and the clothes you wear are all witnessed by other people. Your attitude is on display.

Witnessing is something the Bible speaks of often. A witness sees something happen and is called on in court to reveal under oath what they saw. The witnesses of Jesus’ day saw Jesus and could testify of what they saw and heard. Today, Christians are witnesses of what Jesus has done in their life from the moment they believed the Gospel. A changed life. New values. Authentic purposes.

The best way to understand witnessing is this: One Christian telling someone else about Jesus and what He has done in their life in saving their soul. It is sharing the life-giving Gospel. Witnessing could start with a t-shirt, a Gospel tract, or a spoken word.

Gospel preacher and traveling adventurer, the Apostle Paul, said: “For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek.” (Romans 1:16). The EDC Christian is not ashamed of his/her faith in Christ.

For our Every Day Carry Christian kit, so far we have looked at: The Bible, Prayer, and Fellowship. Now let’s consider Witnessing. Sharing Jesus with someone can happen every day. Here are 3 ways we can share Christ with others.

The Witness of Language.

Speaking truth to others in a kind and loving way speaks volumes to people living in a confused and corrupt world.

​Acts 1:8 says, “But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth.” We have God’s power in our lives and have the ability and enablement of God Himself in us (His Spirit). When we walk in the Spirit of God we can use our words to talk to others about Christ. Even when and especially when things are not going well, your words mixed with a healthy attitude speak of Jesus.

The Witness of Life.

Your life consists of daily choices, routines, and habits. These choices, routines, and habits are a testimony to what you love and serve. If your life is more like Jesus, it will become evident in your lifestyle. Lifestyle speaks volumes about the importance of Christianity in your life.

There are some Christians that behave in such a way that if I were not yet saved and did not know any Christians different than they are – I would not want to become a Christian. That’s harsh, but in reality. If you are reading this post, you are probably not one of those people. You are humble enough to read the Scriptures, read devotionals, and gather with your church to grow and change to be more like Christ. The pride, arrogance, negativity, and judgmental attitude of some have harmed the testimony of Christ. Have a life that honors Jesus.

A Witness of Love.

Jesus said in John 13:35, “By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another.”

This clear and concise teaching indicates the value that Jesus places on participation in and harmony among God’s people with their local church. Christians getting along with each other and serving the Lord together is a wonderful witness to the life change that takes place because of the Gospel. Go to church this Sunday, gather with God’s people, be encouraged, encourage others, serve together, and then go live life sharing God’s loving Gospel with others during the week.

Once the conversation about salvation and the Gospel is initiated, the following “Romans Road” can help. After Romans, I then follow up with three keywords from John 1:12, “Believe, Receive, and Become.” I have my Bible marked with these verses and enjoy sharing them in this order:

​Romans 3:23, For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;

​Romans 6:23, For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.

​Romans 5:8, But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.

​Romans 10:9–10, That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.

​John 1:12, But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name:

Will you be a positive witness for Jesus? One person said: “The greatest obstacle for witnessing is the fear of failing. Persons who witness cannot fail. The very act of bearing witness is success!” With God’s grace and help, you can be an EDC Christian who shares Jesus with others each day.

Everyday Fellow(ship)

MRE stands for Meals Ready to Eat. Survivalists have adapted military technology and have meals full of calories and nutrients with the only thing needed to add – water. Just add water and the meal is ready. Companies now sell MRE’s for entire families. Pouches, and buckets of food, all prepared for a moment’s notice to have on hand in the event of an emergency or a life and death situation. Some pouches will even heat the food up for you. It is a good plan – to plan ahead! You can have meals ready to eat with your loved ones.

The earliest Christians had regular interactions with each other that included enjoying a meal together. More than only the Lord’s Supper (just a little cracker and some juice) they would have full meals, sometimes called “Love Feasts” (which indicated their love for God and for one another). You may or may not have an MRE, but every Christian should be having some degree of fellowship with other Believers. We need each other.

Hebrews 10:24–25 says, And let us consider one another to provoke unto love and to good works: Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching.

What is Fellowship? Fellowship is defined by the Bakers Encyclopedia as “The essence of the Christian life—fellowship with God and fellowship with other believers in Christ.” I like that. Because we have fellowship with God the Father through God the Son, we can have fellowship with other Christians. Bakers continues by stating: “The depth of camaraderie among the first Christians is portrayed in the early chapters of Acts. Daily the believers met together in house groups for teaching, fellowship, the Lord’s Supper, and prayer (Acts 2:42, 46).” Essentially, fellowship are the friendships you enjoy on a daily or frequent basis.

​Hebrews 10:24–25 instructs, And let us consider one another to provoke unto love and to good works: Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching.

Every Day Carry Christians have fellowship with other believers every day, not just on Sunday.​

Fellowship with Christians starts Sundays. Church Gatherings generally happen on Sunday mornings. The American church in some locations and denominations added several other formal church setting times with Sunday Night and Midweek preaching services. While these may be helpful for some, these are not a requirement in Scripture.

These times are an invention of the American Church. Depending on who you ask, it could be evening services started because of the invention of the electric light bulb. For others, it was World War 2 and the factory workers, working 7 days a week, could not come to Sunday morning to church so they turned on the lights to come at night. Others suggest it was an agricultural thing where farmers would farm for 6 days, and travel to church and have a morning service, lunch on the grounds, and another church service after lunch. Whatever the origin, evening service practice is not the same in each part of the country or across each of the various denominational churches. Each local church is independent of others and can have quality and quantity of time as it sees fit for itself to host church services. Our church family in Wilton meets more often and for longer periods of time than in the previous American Model we used to follow. We read the Bible and discovered the activity of the First Eventury Church and are trying to follow their example more closely. What we are doing is working for us and our church. No matter what your church chooses to do about church services, start with fellowship with God’s people on Sunday with your local church.

Fellowship Continues Each Day. I have contact with lost and saved people every day. Every day, I am trying to engage and encourage other Christians to be growing in the Lord. In addition, I need the fellowship of other Christians too! As a Christian, husband, father, son, and friend, I am just a regular, everyday fellow who needs Everday Fellow(ship)! I too need other Christians to be involved in my life. Have some Christian friends in your life. Notice the benefits of Christian friends from this passage:

  1. We Can Consider One Another. Thinking of how to bless others clarifies your own thinking and helps you process what is truly important in life. “How can I help? Replaces “What can I get?” It’s one of the 30 plus “One Another’s” in Scripture.
  2. We Can Provoke Others to Love and To Do Good Works. All of us need our hearts affirmed with truth and our minds readjusted with God’s love. Provoking others and being provoked to help, serve, minister, and do good things is something we all need.
  3. We Can Keep Each Other Accountable. The Day of Christ’s return is coming soon. The Rapture can happen anytime! EDC Christians do not want to see others fall by the wayside or to stop following Jesus. We need a positive nudge from time to time and we can receive that nudge of encouragement with consistent fellowship with other Christians.
  4. We Can Live Life Together. This is the greatest summary of these verses in my estimation. We are not alone. God is with us and He has given friends to have fellowship with – through the ups and downs of life.

This week: Go to your church. Makes some friends. Live life with those friends through the week. It’s a Thriving Skill to have in these crazy days we are living in.

Every Day Carry Christians have fellowship with other believers every day, not just on Sunday.​

Everyday Prayers

What would you do if your cell phone stopped recieving signal? What if all the cell towers stopped working? For the few with landlines, what would you do to communicate with others if the telephone lines were down? What if the internet stopped and you could not email, text, or connect with anyone?! Pretty drastic to think about?

Survivalists suggest having satellite phones as a backup for emergencies. Some have 20-mile “Walkie Talkies” to use in the event of a communication blackout. Still, others have designated meeting places should the world get turned upside down to meet up with family and friends. It’s good to have a communication plan, just in case you need it.

What about communication with God? For some people, there is already a “blackout.” Their world is already upside-down, and they have no communication with the One Who can really help. They have not prayed to God ever, or not for a long, long time. Several Christians may only pray occasionally to the Lord.

Keeping the prayer lines open with God is a Thriving Skill the Christian Needs to practice, daily. Gospel preacher and adventure traveler Paul, said in Ephesians 6:18, after describing the “Armor of God, that the prepared Christian is to be: “Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints.”

This has been aptly summarized as “watch and pray.”

“Watch” what is happening around you. Have situational awareness. Safety teams, civil peace-keepers, and EDC people have a practice called “Situational Awareness.” They note in their mind every person in the room. When seated, they choose a seat where they can observe the comings and goings to ensure they see any suspicious activity.

In the same way, the Christian is to observe. The Christian life is a battlefield for the the survival of your soul. The Christian must be spiritually aware and have Bible discernment.

The next Thriving Skill Paul lists is prayer. “Praying Always.” This is not impossible! Having a frame of mind that is consistently and constantly talking with God is possible.

There is much to pray about. The “big” and “small” things in life are the very things we can pray about.

God Wants To Hear Your Prayers. Praying demonstrates reliance on God. Prayer is evidence of a Christian not trying to solve life by his/her self, but relying on the power and presence of the Lord. Ask Him. Give thanks to Him. Talk with Him. God wants to hear from you.

God Can Answer Your Prayers. “Yes, no, not now, and something better,” are the four possible responses God may give. No matter the answer to your prayer, the fact that you are praying can change you in the process of whatever situation you are praying about.

The EDC Thriving Skill of prayer is something that you and I need to practice each day. Perhaps start the day by setting aside a few moments to ask God for guidance and provision, thanking Him for His love and grace. And then keep that spirit of prayer with you as you go through the day. Practicing this skill will help you be prepared for whatever challenges you may face.

Do you have a good story about answered prayer? Please share it below in the comments:

Everyday Read(y)

One of the best things I did to spiritually survive high school was read a chapter of Proverbs each day. I did that for one or two years when attending my local public school. Today, I encourage teenagers to read a chapter of Proverbs each day, as well. Proverbs can really instill the common sense needed for everyday life.

Survival Experts tell us to have “A Carry Kit.” There are also emergency carry kits called “Go Bags.” We may look at the emergency concept in a later edition. For now, what are you carrying with you every day? Do you have hand sanitizer? How about a pen or pencil? Most people have a phone and a set of keys. Others have wallets while some keep all their money on their phone (digital currency) or in their phone case, (credit cards and cash).

What are some other items you may carry? Band-aids? Nail clippers? Tissues? I carry what is considered an EDC knife. I do not feel prepared for a day in the office, in the woods, or on a trip – without my knife.

In the same way that I am not prepared for the day without my knife, the Christian is not prepared for the day without his/her Bible. The Bible is what keeps the faith and love growing in the Christian. The Scriptures help us to know God, and learn how to have salvation through the finished work of Christ. Every day read, so you will be ready.

The Psalmist indicates that we can carry the Bible around with us everywhere we go. Thy word have I hid in mine heart, That I might not sin against thee. Psalm 119:11

Here are several EDC helps in the relationship of the Word of God to your daily life.

Carry a Bible with you in your hand or in your heart. Print editions, digital editions on phones and tablets, audio mp3’s on the phone or disk, coins with scripture stamped on them, and even rings with God’s word in fine print wrapped around your finger. The best and most enduring place to carry the Scriptures is in your head. That’s right, the more we read and study and purpose to learn the Bible, the more we can memorize it, hiding or keeping it in our hearts.

Read the Bible You Have. More important than what Bible you use is actually using your Bible! Read the Bible you have. Avoid the unnecessary debate about preferred Bible translations. Some people only “know about the Bible” when they really need to read and understand the Bible itself.

There are Study Bibles, Reference Bibles, and even Paragraph Bibles. I prefer the Ryrie Study Bible from Moody for study and I am presently enjoying reading a Cambridge Clarion which is a paragraph Bible. Holman, Thomas Nelson, Tyndale, Cambridge, Humble Lamb, and Schuyler all offer wonderful copies of Scripture. Our church Bookstore can help you choose a Bible if you are looking for one. See the links below if you want to order a Bible from Amazon.

Learn to Study the Bible. Much of what people believe is not even in the Bible. They heard a convincing orator or preacher say something that sounded good but may or may not be in the Bible itself. Learn what the Bible really says. Knowing the background of a Bible book and the contextual setting in history will help a lot. We do not speak or think like the average person did 400 years ago or 2000 years ago. I find a lot of clarity in learning the original languages and knowing what has changed in the last 400 and 2000 years by way of definitions, phrases, and word usage. For example, “Corn” like we enjoy in North America was not known by the Bible writers. Corn was developed in North and South America from a grain called “maize.” It was not known to English-speaking people until AD 1492 when Columbus… well you know the song and the story. When the Pharisees criticized the disciples in Luke 6 (the year would have been around AD 33), the disciples were eating what we know of as either wheat or barley. Learning to study the Bible helps us to know what the Lord is actually saying!

One more thing, learn to CROSS-REFERENCE. The best commentary on the Bible is the Bible itself.

Participate in Bible Classes. In our church, we have Bible study in small groups that we call “Scatter Groups.” We also have AWANA for youth. These are discipleship and spiritual formation activities that will help you know the WORD. and the Lord of the WORD.

Hear Bible preaching faithfully each Sunday with your local church. When our church gathers, we equip and encourage one another with the Scriptures. Your church needs you and you need the Bible preaching and teaching that occurs when gathered.

Learning to apply the Bible to your daily life is a spiritual thriving skill! Make the words of the Bible real to you. Practical. Applicable. Great doctrines are terrific, but unless they affect daily life, they will not help your spiritual survival. Creeds and “life verses” can be OK, but if they do not guide your decisions then you are not letting the Bible help your SOUL THRIVE. Every Day, Carry the Bible in your heart or in your hand reading it into your soul! Faithful Bible reading will help the Christian thrive. Reading the Bible every day will help you be ready for the day!

Here are some Bibles I use or recommend:

Clarion Bible: https://amzn.to/3lnN1Za

Ryrie Study Bible: https://amzn.to/3MyK3Ny

Life Application Study Bible: https://amzn.to/3MEaQaU

Preaching Bible: https://amzn.to/3sF7xIz

Sovereign Collection: https://amzn.to/3yQcvXb

McClaren Edition: https://amzn.to/3PrColL

Everyday Battles

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. Ephesians 6:10-18

Satan has wiles or “methods” he employs and uses against you. The Greek word for “Wiles” μεθ-οδεία (meth-odia) is defined in Thayers Greek Lexicon as “1. to follow up or investigate by method and settled plan; 2. to follow craftily, frame devices, deceive. ” μεθ-οδεία is a compound word in which the first word μεθ (meth) is related to our English word “method.”

Satan is methodical in his approach to you. There is a “method to his madness.” He studies you. He knows what will tempt you. Life is a spiritual battlefield and the Christian must be prepared for the daily challenges and battles that he/she may face.

Here are 5 “Thriving Habits” to help us as we walk through life. We will explore these “Thriving Habits” in the next few posts:

  • The Word.
  • Prayer.
  • Fellowship.
  • Witnessing.
  • Thankfulness.

On another occasion, we may explore the Whole Armour of God. For now, know that with all the attention your adversary is giving you, you must be ready for each day. God has not left us alone. He has enabled and equipped us to be prepared daily.

Starting a School Year Well

Since local schools are starting soon and most colleges and universities already back in session, I thought of posting some helps for starting this new school year well.

There are many things to consider in preparation for school. With the regulations and mandates on how to deal with Covid19 on top of the already exciting and possibly stressful time of starting classes, you may want some help! I hope the following tips will be an encouragement to you.

Work Hard. I love the words of Solomon, the wisest man who ever lived: “Whatsoever thy hand findeth to do, do it with thy might; for there is no work, nor device, nor knowledge, nor wisdom, in the grave, whither thou goest.” Ecclesiastes 9:10.

Plan ahead and anticipate what is next. “Go to the ant, thou sluggard; Consider her ways, and be wise: Which having no guide, overseer, or ruler, Provideth her meat in the summer, And gathereth her food in the harvest.” Proverbs 6:6–8.

Make good friends. “Make no friendship with an angry man; And with a furious man thou shalt not go: Lest thou learn his ways, And get a snare to thy soul.” Proverbs 22:24–25.

Stay morally right. “Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust.” 2 Peter 1:4.

Get some rest. “And he said unto them, Come ye yourselves apart into a desert place, and rest a while: for there were many coming and going, and they had no leisure so much as to eat.” Mark 6:31.

Be physically healthy. Physical exercise, and good nutrition are very important. Most of our health is beyond our control, but we can control our habits for exercise and eating. “What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own? For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God’s.” 1 Corinthians 6:19–20.

Keep praying and spending time with God in Bible reading. No matter your life circumstances or what happens in this new school year – if you stay close to God, you will find the rest, peace, and blessings of the Lord in your life. “Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” Matthew 11:29–30.

I am praying for you to have a wonderful school year! If you need to talk, get some counsel, or have a prayer request, please let me know.

Finding God’s Will For Your Life

Servants, be obedient to them that are your masters according to the
flesh, with fear and trembling, in singleness of your heart, as unto Christ;
Not with eyeservice, as menpleasers; but as the servants of Christ, doing the will of God from the heart; With good will doing service, as to the Lord, and not to men: Knowing that whatsoever good thing any man doeth, the same shall he receive of the Lord, whether he be bond or free.
” (Ephesians 6:5–8, KJV 1900)

I once knew a young adult student who was very successful in his freshman year in a college several states away from his hometown.  He was a good roommate, excellent student, and great competitor in several sports teams on campus.  His high school sweetheart was a senior in high school his freshman year at college and her choice of a college the following year was affecting his thoughts for what would have been his sophomore year.  With her decision to go to a local, secular college for a medical degree, this young man decided he would follow her lead and transfer to the same school. 

After one week in the local college, he changed his mind; there were several females assaulted and violent crimes on that campus.  He wanted out of that environment.  There was time for this man to re-enroll in his original college where he finished the next 3 years and graduated.  She ended up following him to the same campus and successfully completed a medical degree and they are married and have a beautiful family today.

In the above verses, Paul cautions the Christians in Ephesus to not be serving their bosses and living their lives by merely trying to make others happy.  “Menpleasers” carries this idea: “studying to please men, courting the favor of men”.[1]  We are told NOT to be menpleasers.  When making decisions, we must consider God and His will for our lives.   In other words, we do not do what we do, live how we live or decide what we decide – just to make others happy.  Our goal is not to make ourselves happy!  Our goal is to please the Lord first and foremost.  It is possible for you to find the will of God and do it – with all your heart!  

When young adults and teenagers are discerning the will of God, the strongest motivation perhaps is to allow the pressure or expectations from peers, girlfriends/boyfriends affect their decision-making process.  While the input of others and those who know us best can be healthy, it can also distract a young person from truly finding and fulfilling the will of God. 

Until a young adult says “I do” in a marriage ceremony, the primary consultation for advice should be the parents, teachers, guidance counselors, and local church pastors.  When a teenager or young adult allows one person to direct their path, the outcome may not be finding the path God has for you.

For example, what if the college man in the story moved to the other college, continued with classes, and then he and she broke off the relationship?  He may have missed out on the education and other friendships that God intended for him. The young lady would have spent years in a pointless relationship.  The direction of her life would have been impacted and the direction if his life would have been affected.

Sometimes, God’s will allows us to cross paths with others:  I call this the “intersectional will of God.”  Along the path of life, we impact others and others impact us.  It is best that those impacts do not include a crash or a wrecking of our lives or of others.  I encourage
young adults to make personal decisions, consulting the Lord.  Find God’s will for your life-alone.  Once the “I Do” commitments are made, then the significant other is of utmost importance – but not until then.  When engaged, the dynamic shifts some to each other and big plans are made, but the true commitment for life takes place at the wedding ceremony when making a covenant to each other with God.

A secular mindset is to “date anyone and everyone, anytime you want.”  But God made us for long term relationships. Consult Moses and Jesus for information on that.   When a teenager or young adult is following the general and specific will of God for his/her life, the Lord will eventually bring just the right person along to be their partner in life and join them in marriage.  Keep waiting on God.  As one preacher said: “Don’t look for the right one, be the right one, and God will give you the right one.”

Three other verses really give clear guidance:

  • After preparing for a career and becoming responsible for your own lively is a
    good time to consider dating and marriage. “Prepare thy work without and make it fit for thyself in the field; And afterwards build thine house.” (Proverbs 24:27, KJV 1900) In a practical way, it is healthy to be very good friends until you sense the Lord causing the friendship to develop into romance.

  • Singleness is a gift and should be embraced until God directs a spouse to you. 
    We can serve the Lord without distraction, and this is the goal of every young Christian, following Jesus.  “There is difference also between a wife and a virgin. The unmarried woman careth for the things of the Lord, that she may be holy both in body and in spirit: but she that is married careth for the things of the world, how she may please her husband. And this I speak for your own profit; not that I may cast a snare upon you, but for that which is comely, and that ye may attend upon the Lord without distraction.” (1 Corinthians 7:34–35, KJV 1900)
  • Avoid sexualizing your relationship.  Sex without the safety net of marriage causes internal emotional and physical/chemical bonding and attachment issues.  Sexual release changes the brain function and causes different thinking about each other!  Once bonded in sexual activity, it becomes more difficult to think objectively about the relationship.  These are issues that should be avoided if you wait to enjoy sex in the bounds of marriage. “Now concerning the things whereof ye wrote unto me: It is good for a man not to touch a woman. Nevertheless, to avoid fornication, let every man have his own wife, and let every woman have her own husband.” (1 Corinthians 7:1–2, KJV 1900) Once you are married – have a healthy sexual relationship – you know belong to each other in the sight of God.  God created sex – have fun – within God’s perfect plan.

It is possible for you to find the will of God and do it – with all your heart!  

Mentor and Bible teacher, Dr. Jim Schettler, used to say the following helpful thoughts.  I hope they will encourage you today:

  1. “Don’t look for the right one, be the right one and God will bring the right
  2. “It is better to wait and know it than to date and blow it.” 
  3. “Every date is a possible mate.”
  4. “What they are now, they always will be.”
  5. “How you get them is how you keep them.”
  6. “A dating relationship should be a delight, not a duty.”

Be encouraged to study healthy dating and marriage – before dating someone!  Outside of trusting Jesus for salvation, dating could lead to the biggest relational decision of your life on earth.  It will impact you and potentially future generations of people.  Here are some helpful books I recommend for your study:

  1. 1 Corinthians chapter 7
  2. Boundaries in Datinghttps://www.christianbook.com/boundaries-in-dating-henry-cloud/9780310200345/pd/00342?event=PRCBD1
  3. Passion and Purity https://www.christianbook.com/passion-and-purity-second-edition/elizabeth-elliot/9780800723132/pd/723130?event=PRCBD1
  4. Preparing for Marriagehttps://www.christianbook.com/preparing-marriage-discover-plan-lifetime-love/dennis-rainey/9780764215506/pd/215506?event=CPOF
  5. 101 Questions to Ask Before You Get
  6. Ready to Wedhttps://www.christianbook.com/ready-ways-start-marriage-youll-love/greg-smalley/9781624054068/pd/054068?event=CFCER1
  7. Love, Sex, and Datinghttps://www.christianbook.com/new-rules-for-love-sex-dating/andy-stanley/9780310342199/pd/342199?event=PRCBD1

[1] Thayer, J. H. (1889). A Greek-English lexicon of the New Testament: being Grimm’s Wilke’s Clavis Novi Testamenti (p. 46). New York: Harper & Brothers.