“Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.”
Ephesians 6:11 (KJV)
How are you? I hope you are well. In a busy and confusing world, it can be difficult to know and to do the correct thing all the time. Not only that, but we are all tempted from time to time. So, for us who want to do the right thing, what can we do to help us stay on the right track, especially when difficult times come?
We can, as we are called, put on the armor of God. I have read this and heard this many times. Most of the time, I wasn’t sure what it meant really. Yet, as I get older and closer to God, I am starting to get the true meaning of this statement.
You may be wondering, “So, what is the armor of God anyway? And, why out of all the words, the word ‘armor’ was chosen to describe these things?” In Ephesians 6, we see a great description of the whole armor of God. Ephesians 6:13-18 list things such as breastplate of righteousness, shield of faith, helmet of salvation, and sword of the Spirit to help us in any tangles with the devil.
Not all of us have been to war, so we may not really understand how crucial things like breastplates, shields, helmets, and swords are for protection. And, actually, even if we have been to war, most of these items aren’t really used today.
This idea of being is kind of new to me as well. It is something that I didn’t think much about before. Yet, again, as I grow older and as I get closer to God, I can understand and see just what this concept of “war” means. There is a “war” and there are two sides. We are either for God or for the devil. That is the tug of the society that we feel, the difference of opinions, the not knowing what is right, the temptations, the stress, the lost feeling, the violence, the depression, the hate. All of that is provoked by the devil. God’s ways are the way of truth, love, hope, and faith. I don’t know about you, but I am for God. Every moment of every day, we have a choice: do we do something for God or do we do something for the devil? Sadly, sometimes we sin and do something that brings us farther from God and closer to the devil. Thankfully, we all can ask for forgiveness, repent, and get closer to God again.
I guess we could think of life as one big game of tug-o-war, but it isn’t a game at all. There are high stakes at risk here. On one side there is our Heavenly Father, Jesus, and His Holy Spirit and on the other side there is the devil. As we read the Bible, pray, grow in faith, keep the commandments, treat others as we want to be treated, we tug the rope and move ourselves closer to God. As we give into temptation, treat others badly, break the commandments, and sin, we tug the rope and move ourselves closer to the devil. We have multiple choices every day in what we think, do, say, feel, and believe. These thoughts, actions, words, feelings, and beliefs all tug the rope in one direction or the other. It is a war.
In order to resist the tugs of the devil, we need armor to protect us. We get that protection through God. We need to know Him, to believe in Him, to trust Him, and to love Him. We stay close to Him by reading the Bible, praying for ourselves and others, as well as others praying for us, having faith, and through the blood of Jesus and the power of the Holy Spirit.
Friends, I hope your day is going well. I hope your tugs have been towards God and not away. I pray that these thoughts have blessed someone. And, I pray that you are all cloaked with the full armor of God. God bless you.
Thank you for this day. Thank you for creating us, for being with us, and for giving us the tools we need to navigate through life and to ward off the devil so that we may be on your side of this war. Thank you for sending us your only begotten Son, Jesus, as a role model and savior for us, and your Holy Spirit as our guide and comforter. Thank you for allowing us and encouraging us to come to you in prayer. Help us to grow in faith with each step towards you we take. We thank you and praise you through your Son, Jesus. Amen.
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Reflective Questions for Ephesians 6:11 (KJV):
*What does Ephesians 6:11 mean to me?
*How do I feel about the concept of life being one big tug-o-war?
*On which side of the tug-o-war am I? On which side do I want to be? Do
my actions reflect this?
*Am I wearing the full armor of God?
*What can I do better in order to be fully protected with God’s armor?
Now, it is your turn. What are your thoughts?
Leave a comment below. Also, if you would like to receive the Faith Blog posts in your inbox or would like to have questions to reflect upon as you read the Bible, sign up and take advantage of the FREE download below.
“I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing.”
John 15:5 (KJV)
Jesus is the vine and we are the branches. Can you imagine this image? It is such a beautiful image to think about. Let’s kind of evaluate this thought for a minute. Maybe it will help to realize how beautiful this image really is for us.
First of all, it is interesting that the word Jesus chose here was “vine” and not “tree” or “plant”. A vine moves, wanders, and climbs. It doesn’t stand still as a tree or a plant does. So, to think of Jesus as our vine and us being his branches is like saying that Jesus moves us and helps us climb and reach places that we can’t get without him. He isn’t stagnant in our lives. He wanders and climbs with us and gave his life for us, so that we didn’t have to climb and wander in some ways.
We are his branches! Isn’t that beautiful? Jesus could have said that we were the soil or we were the pollen or whatever. After all, we don’t really deserve to be part his same plant. Yet, he did include us in that same plant. We are his branches. I wonder how many of us stop and think of how much of an honor it is to be included in the same plant as Jesus.
Including us as his branches, Jesus gave us a huge gift as well as a responsibility. If the branches don’t grow, the vine can’t bare any fruit. So, we have to take care of ourselves and do what we need to do to bear fruit. Yet, we can’t do anything at all without the vine. It really is a beautiful image.
So, what does that mean? What are we to do? How do we bear fruit? What kind of fruit are we to bear? These questions can be answered in a few different ways. In the physical sense, we are to take care of ourselves so we are better able to do the things that God calls us to do. If we let ourselves get run down, we won’t be fully capable of everything God asks us to do in life. Also in the physical sense, the fruit we bear may be children whom we teach to be God fearing and fruitful in their own right.
It can also mean the godly desires of our hearts. The Bible also tells us that if our thoughts are in alignment with God, He will give us what we want. So, we can be fruitful in our work, relationships, faith, or whatever we are doing.
Yes, once we are born, we can merely exist. We can do little, mooch off others, or do cruel things. We can refuse to put much into our lives or not be appreciative of anybody or anything. We can neglect others and God. That would be considered fruitless or bad fruit. Yet, we are called to be fruitful and have good fruit.
We are called to help God grow His kingdom, to be God fearing people who follow God’s word and love God with our whole beings. We are called to love our neighbors and be kind and helpful to those around us. We are called to realize that we can’t do any of this without God’s help. We wouldn’t even be alive without God.
Thank you for being our Heavenly Father. Thank you for being our “gardener.” Thank you for giving us Jesus, “our vine”. Thank you for making us the “branches” to the vine. Help us to see and appreciate just how wonderful a gift and responsibility that we have in life. Help us to see and appreciate You, Jesus, and your Holy Spirit. Help us to do our part in bearing fruit in life, not only for ourselves, but also especially for you. Thank you for life itself. I thank you and praise you, through your Son, Jesus. Amen.
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Reflective Questions for John 15:5 KJV:
*What does John 15:5 mean to me?
*What kind of fruit am I producing?
*Do I appreciate the gift and responsibility of life that God gave to me?
*How do I feel about the vision of John 15:5?
*What can I do to produce better fruit in the future?
Now, it is your turn.
I would like to hear your thoughts. Please, comment below. Also, if you would like to get "5 Reflective Questions to Help You Delve Deeper into God's Word", sign up below. It is free!
“Judge not according to the appearance, but judge righteous judgment.”
John 7:24 (KJV)
How are you all today? There seems to be quite a bit of judgment in the world. If someone looks different, acts different, or thinks different, often times they are judged without really knowing anything about them. Have you ever been judged because of a difference? If so, how did it feel?
I have been judged, too, for many things. I have been judged because of my gender, because of my clothes, because of my beliefs, because of my lack of strength, etc. I was picked on in school, ridiculed, discriminated against, and let go, just to name a few things. It isn’t fun.
It kind of reminds me of a dandelion. Do you feel like a dandelion? LOL! Yes, I know that is a strange question. I think dandelions are often misunderstood. Dandelions are often killed or dismissed as worthless and troublesome weeds. I have felt like that during some of the dark times of my life. I have felt like nobody understood me and just dismissed me as worthless or troublesome.
Yet, dandelions have many benefits and can be used for food, medicine, gardening, dye, latex, and even rubber. They have quite a bit of nutritious value. I am not saying that if not kept in check, they can’t get out of control and become detrimental. Yet, we humans can do the same if we are not kept in check. If you are interested in learning more about dandelions, Wikipedia has a great overview of them.
My point isn’t to go into all of the science behind dandelions, yet to consider how we view them and use them as an example of how we view people or any of God’s gifts.
I grew up thinking of dandelions as weeds, just like so many people I know. However, at some point, I started looking into the uses of dandelions. I am rather new to dandelion use. Although, I have had dandelion greens in salad instead of lettuce and I have also made some dandelion tea. I hope to get more experienced with the many productive uses of dandelions. I am guessing that the more I get use dandelions in a productive way, the more I will value them.
It is the same with people. Many times the key to not judging someone is to get to know them better. People are not to be judged by other people. God is the true judge. And, once we get to know people, if we meet them with an open mind, often we don’t feel a need to judge them anyway.
Prejudice is like a terrible disease. It affects not only the one who is judged, but the one who is does the judging. Each time we are judged or judge others, it changes us in some way. Bit by bit, it tears us down and brings us farther and farther from God. We miss out on so much by judging or being judged. God is the only one true judge. It is better to leave the judgments up to Him.
One can instead think of it this way; despite the plethora of outward appearances of people all over the world, there are only two kinds of people; people who are for God and people who are against God. The rest doesn’t matter. Race, emotional status, physical stature, financial status, gender, etc. doesn’t matter. God made us all good and in His image. Some, however, may fall away from God. They may turn against Him. We can lean towards the ways of the people who are for God and away from the ways of the people who are against God. There is a difference between leaning away from the ways of ungodly people and being prejudice because someone is a different color, gender, status, or age without knowing whether they are for or against God.
Thank you for being our Almighty Creator and Heavenly Father. In your infinite wisdom, you created people all differently with an array of looks, strengths, weaknesses, gifts, and misgivings. We are all different. Help us to remember that you are our Almighty Creator and our Heavenly Father. Remind us that it is not up to us to be prejudice or judgmental, because that is up to you. Help us, though, to lean towards the ways of the people who are for you and away from the ways of the people who are against you.
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Reflective Questions for John 7:24 (KJV):
*What does John 7:24 mean to me?
*Have I ever been judged? If so, how did it feel?
*Have I ever judged others?
*Have I judged someone without really getting to know him or her?
*What can I do to lessen the sting of prejudice in the world?
*What can I do so that I remember not to be prejudice?
Note: If you would like more reflective questions to help you to understand the message in the Bible better, sign up and download the "5 Reflective Questions to Delve Deeper into God's Word" by DUO Inspirations below. It is FREE!
“Examine yourselves, whether ye be in the faith; prove your own selves. Know ye not your own selves, how that Jesus Christ is in you, except ye be reprobates?”
2 Corinthians 13:5 (KJV)
How are you today? Last week, I wrote about reading the Bible and the importance of the God’s Word. And, how did I show the importance of God’s Word? I used God’s own words through St. Paul in 2 Timothy 3:16-17 (KJV), which says, “All scripture is given by the inspiration of God, and [is] profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: That the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works.” Today, I would like to delve deeper into one of the purposes of the Bible.
God, through St. Paul, tells us to “examine yourselves.” How are we to examine ourselves? We can take a moment to think about what we do, what we think, and what we feel, and we can measure them against the words in the Holy Bible. The Bible is a guide for us to follow to live correctly in God’s sight, so that we can spend eternal life with Him. We also have Jesus as an example and the Holy Spirit within us to help us reflect on whether what we are doing is right or wrong.
So, if we have an opinion that differs from someone else, how do we know what is true and right? We look to see what the Bible says, pray about it, and look at how Jesus lived. It is good to examine ourselves and make sure we are on the right path. God’s Word is available for our instruction and for us to “prove” that what is right or wrong. It is our compass. It shows us how to live correctly in God’s eyes.
I think most of us probably try to avoid the “big things” like, the commandment saying we should not kill. We might think, “Did I kill anyone today? Nope, so I am good.” Yet, it is often the “little things” that lead to us spiraling down into darkness away from God without us even knowing what happens. It might be a bad thought, a “little fib”, or maybe a word said in anger, that if left unchecked, can lead to us being far, far from God. We don’t notice it, because it is only tiny little steps away from God. Like in our thinking above, “I didn’t kill anyone today, so I must be good, right?” Well, even these “little things” are sin that bring us farther and farther from God. Our “little” actions, words, and feelings need to be in check every moment of every day as well.
Yes, yes, I know that this may seem a little extreme and that our society doesn’t necessarily agree with this statement as a whole. So, what should we do? Like the verse says, “Examine yourselves.” Check to see what God’s Word says, reflect upon Jesus’ example for us, and ask the Holy Spirit. The Bible doesn’t say, check to make sure you didn’t do any “big things” that are wrong. All sin, big or small, brings us farther from God. Not sure if you believe what I say. That is okay. What should you do? Read the Bible, reflect upon Jesus’ example, and pray for guidance. I don’t mind. I don’t want you to take my word for it. I want you to read the Bible, reflect upon Jesus’ example, and pray for guidance.
Why do we want to examine ourselves? We want to examine ourselves so that we don’t fall far from God. We want to stay on the right track that leads to everlasting life with God. We want to have God’s Holy Spirit within us. If we examine ourselves often, even if we stray, we can seek forgiveness and get back on the right path, before we go so far away from God that it is very hard to turn back to Him.
Thank you for providing your Word to guide us and show us the right way to go. Help us to heed your word and to examine ourselves often to make sure we are on the right path. Help us to know that we need to see if we measure up in the “little things” as well as the “big things”, because all sin whether big or small lead us farther from you. I ask you this through your Son, Jesus. Amen.
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Reflective Questions for 2 Corinthians 13:5
*What does 2 Corinthians 13:5 mean to me?
*Do I consult God or read the Bible when I am not sure what is right and
*Do I examine my actions, thoughts, and feelings against what the Bible
says to see how I measure up? If so, why and how often? If not, why not?
*Do I feel I should be concerned about “little” sins?
*What does the Bible say about the “little” sins?
Now, friends, I would like to hear your thoughts.
Leave me a comment. Also, if you like this post, feel free to share it or even sign up to hear from me in your inbox.
“All scripture [is] given by inspiration of God, and [is] profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: That the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works.”
2 Timothy 3:16-17 (KJV)
How are you today? I am not trying to get nosy or personal here, but do you read the Bible? You don’t have to answer. There is no quiz at the end of the post. It is just a question you can ask yourself. You may also ask yourself, if so, why do you read the Bible or if not, why not.
It might be the same for you, but I have gone through seasons of reading and not reading the Bible. Now, I am definitely in a season of reading the Bible. I enjoy reading the Bible, learning about God’s Word, about God himself, about Jesus, about God’s Holy Spirit, about God’s will for me, about the people in biblical times, and about the lessons God wants me to learn. I now read the Bible for many reasons.
I know that some people are intimidated by reading the Bible. They may have started reading a difficult translation, such as the King James Version, and couldn’t understand it through all the “thees” and “thous” in that particular version. Others may have started at the beginning and tried to read it like a book, which is difficult to do if you are new to reading the Bible, especially for the first time. For others, time or obedience, may be the issue.
Those have all been reasons I haven’t read the Bible at one time or another. So, on a logical level, I understand. Yet, today, I yearn to read the Bible. I want to read God’s Word! Reading the Bible, like prayer, is time I get to spend with God, to learn from God, to know God better, to see the path that God has set for me. It is personal and rewarding. It brings me joy. Each time I read the Bible I see something new, learn something new, and understand something new. That isn’t to say that the words are different, but as I mature and as my needs change, different things about God’s Word catch my eye and tug at my heart. Also, the more I read the Bible, the more I learn and the deeper my understanding goes.
During biblical times, St. Paul wrote a letter to Timothy telling him all about the bad and evil ways of people in “the last days”. (2 Timothy 3) Yet, St. Paul was trying to encourage Timothy by the words at the end of the chapter, saying pretty much that, “It is going to be okay for you. You have God’s Word, and that is all you need to show you the way.”
Just as St. Paul encouraged Timothy, it is one of my prayers and hopes through the Faith Blog by DUO Inspirations to encourage you to read, pray, and rely on scriptures for your compass in life. If you feel intimidated or have trouble reading the Bible, please feel free to comment or contact me. I will try to give you some ideas, prayers, and encouragement.
Why Read the Bible?
I go to church, so why do I need to read the Bible? I know for me, I wanted to know why my parents and my church were asking me to do this or that. I wanted to see what the Bible said about things that happened at church and at home. Maybe I was rebellious, but I wanted to know for myself what God said. It isn’t that I distrusted my parents or my minister. (Although, some people and even ministers don’t relay God’s words truthfully.) I just didn’t want to rely on them for the information.
That reason may not be your reason for wanting to read the Bible. Like reading the Bible and learning from the Bible, the reasons to read the Bible are personal. We each have our own set of reasons.
As St. Paul tells Timothy in 3 Timothy 2:16, there is more than one reason to read scriptures. The Bible can be used to teach, to learn, to correct, to discipline, to encourage, to understand, to pray, to talk, and to relate. Often, we will have different reasons to read or proclaim scriptures each time we do it.
Thank you for giving us your holy Word! Thank you for providing scripture for us to read and to use as a compass in our life to show us the path you have set for us. Help us to read and understand the Bible, so that we will know You better, know Jesus better, and know your Holy Spirit better, and know your will for us better. Show us through the Bible the lessons in life you want us to learn. Help us to be better people, better Christians, better neighbors, better friends, better stewards, better ministers, better parents, and better children through reading the Bible. Help us to be healthier and wiser through reading the Bible. Help us to seek you, to praise you, and to worship You more fully, by reading the Bible. I ask you this through your Son, Jesus. Amen.
Reflective Questions to Ask Yourself:
*What does 2 Timothy 3: 16-17 mean to me?
*Do I read the Bible? If so, why? If not, why not?
*Do I want to read the Bible?
*How do I feel reading the Bible?
*What are my Bible reading goals?
*What would help me read the Bible?
What are your thoughts? I would like to read your comments!
I am always open to feedback, comments, and ideas. I would enjoy knowing your thoughts. I am happy to learn from you and encourage you.
Here is a Resource for YOU!
I have created a resource for you to get more out of your Bible reading. They are "5 Reflective Questions to Delve Deeper into God's Word" by DUO Inspirations. They are questions to ask yourself as you read and reflect on the verses you read to understand God's Word at a deeper level. Sign up and start using these reflective questions today!
The Words of Jesus in Mark 12:30 Embody Everything I Strive to do in Life: An Introduction to Faith Blog by DUO Inspirations
“And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength: this is the first commandment.”
Mark 12:30 (KJV)
Welcome to the Faith Blog by DUO Inspirations! My name is Jodi Desautels and I am owner of DUO Inspirations. I am so glad you are here! I chose the words in Mark 12:30 to share as a welcome to the Faith Blog and DUO Inspirations as a whole, because they are words that warm my heart and embody everything I strive to do in life. If you feel the same way or want to feel the same way, you are in the right place. Thank you for being here.
This one verse that Jesus spoke is the leading directive for us as Christians. It is a guiding principle of which we all should strive to follow. Yet, do we? I aspire to follow this first and most important commandment, but fall short in so many ways. These words of Jesus are the guiding principle in my own life and in DUO Inspirations, no matter how short I may fall.
I know from experience how difficult it is to live fully for God and to love God with our whole being. So, my prayer and dream is to be able to help you do just that. I believe we can help each other, and in doing so and with prayer, God will help us all. I believe that as our Creator, the one true God, the Almighty, and our Heavenly Father, God deserves every bit of the love in which we are called to give. I believe He deserves not only the love, but also the respect and trust that goes along with such a love. I also believe that this commandment is not only for God’s benefit, but also for our benefit. If we love God with our whole being and strength, we will live a more complete, loving, joyous, and fulfilled life.
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The closest we might come to showing this sort of love, might be with our family, in a ministry or during mission work, or even in our weekly worship. We know that we need to love, respect, and provide for our family in every waking hour. We can’t just love our loved ones part time. If we join a mission or ministry, we desire to help God’s people with the time we can give. We know that worshiping God at church or at home is a good thing. It is all the areas of our life where it is difficult to fulfill this commandment.
For me, I often don’t think to love God with my whole being during some aspects of my life. What about you? Can you love God, by the foods you eat? Yes! Do I think of that, most of the time when I eat? No. Ugh. Can you love God during your shopping trip or driving down the road? Yes. Do I think of that, most of the time when I am doing these things? No. Ugh. We are called to love God always, in all ways; in every thought, every feeling, every sentiment, and every action. We are called to love Him physically, emotionally, and spiritually.
Yet, thankfully, God is patient, kind, and loving. He does get upset when we fail to do these things, however He is always happy to welcome us with open arms if we are sorry for not doing our best. He gives us scriptures, each other, prayer, and many ways to help guide us back to His love. I pray that through DUO Inspirations, we can help each other to find His holy love and to help each other to follow the commandment that Jesus spoke in Mark 12:30.
For posts on healthy Christian living, Bible study, devotion, prayer, and more, please continue to read the Faith Blog by DUO Inspirations.
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My strengths are in faith, education, and creativity. They are the talents, interests, and desires God gave me. It is through these areas, that I can offer the most help to you to live a life of love for God with every fiber of your being, “with all your heart, with all your mind, with all your soul, and with all your strength.” That is my hope, dream, and prayer with DUO Inspirations.
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Here are some reflective questions for you to ask yourself:
*What does Mark 12:30 mean to me?
*What is most difficult for me to follow the first commandment as
stated by Jesus in Mark 12:30?
*What can I do to better follow the words Jesus spoke in Mark 12:30?
Here are a couple of questions from me: (I would enjoy hearing from you. Put your answers in the comments or feel free to contact me.) Thank you.
*Which topics are you most interested in... faith, education, or
creativity? (You can choose more than one.)
*What type of topics concerning faith and Christian living would you
most life to see?
If you would like to hear from me in your inbox, sign up through the form in the side bar or on the DUO Inspirations home page. See you there. Thank you.
This is Jodi. I am so glad you are here! I am a Christian and life-long learner. I enjoy sharing and encouraging others. I pray you are blessed by this blog. Thank you for being here.