"The heresy of one age becomes the orthodoxy of the next."
That was stated by one of the most remarkable women to come out of American history...an individual who fought the odds, and conquered them, against what anyone could have imagined.
Helen Keller was that woman. Deaf. Blind. Yet able to hear and see beyond most humans then...and now.
For several days my soul has been fixated on the end of one of the Apostle Paul's letters. This first "circuit ridin' preacher" of the Gospel of Jesus Christ had such an affection for the people in the places God sent him. Philipi. Thessalonica. Galatia. Corinth. Colossae. Rome. Ephesus. And all points in between.
In many ways, the unrest of Paul's world was not too unlike the unrest of our world. World beliefs were at great variance with each other. Young world religions were old enough to be at odds. Known world powers were coming and going. Unrest was rampant. And then this Jesus Christ stepped into the scene...this Jesus Who did not come to begin one more religion (...if you think about His red letter words in what we know as the New Testament...).
And yet, Paul, who was blinded himself while taken a stroll on the Damascus Road so that he could hear from Almighty God, gives up his old ways and embraces a new way, and the rest, as someone once said, is history. Except...it's living history...current...up-to-date...for right now...the very second you are reading this.
What do you do (not just know about...), what do you do with what Paul wrote? What do you do with what Jesus said and meant (red letters to help you find Him quickly in some Bibles...)? In our war torn world where everyone has an opinion...stay and fight and finish the task begun...come home before others are killed...we have no good reason to be there...if we leave now the world will collapse...war is wrong...war is protection...it's a sin to kill...it's a sin to allow people to be abused.
I'm not writing anything new here. You know the drill...most likely better than I. Your own opinions may not even be represented here.
War images can offend. Battle talk is uncomfortable for most...to be avoided. Thus, in the messiness of language, images, symbols, I believe, the wide ranging issues of spiritual warfare (...a fairly consistent theme in our life-text, the Bible...) gets minimized, ignored, and we pretend there is no such thing.
While speaking and participating at a conference this past November in North Carolina with a group of the great guys I get to do life with and mentor at some fair depth, something said took me into Paul's concluding words to his friends in Ephesus. The Spirit of our Triune God...Who indwells those who are Christ-followers...and Whose image is imprinted on every human past, future, present...has not let up on my soulish pondering of what follows...from The Message (more commonly known as Ephesians 6:10-24):
(Remember...this is God speaking through Paul...then...and now...to them...and to you and me...which it may be good for you to read the whole letter to this fledgling house church that was appointed and anointed to change their corner of the world at that time...)
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And that about wraps it up. God is strong, and he wants you strong. So take everything the Master has set out for you, well-made weapons of the best materials. And put them to use so you will be able to stand up to everything the Devil throws your way. This is no afternoon athletic contest that we'll walk away from and forget about in a couple of hours. This is for keeps, a life-or-death fight to the finish against the Devil and all his angels.
Be prepared. You're up against far more than you can handle on your own. Take all the help you can get, every weapon God has issued, so that when it's all over but the shouting you'll still be on your feet. Truth, righteousness, peace, faith, and salvation are more than words. Learn how to apply them. You'll need them throughout your life. God's Word is an indispensable weapon. In the same way, prayer is essential in this ongoing warfare. Pray hard and long. Pray for your brothers and sisters. Keep your eyes open. Keep each other's spirits up so that no one falls behind or drops out.
And don't forget to pray for me. Pray that I'll know what to say and have the courage to say it at the right time, telling the mystery to one and all, the Message that I, jailbird preacher that I am, am responsible for getting out.
Tychicus, my good friend here, will tell you what I'm doing and how things are going with me. He is certainly a dependable servant of the Master! I've sent him not only to tell you about us but to cheer you on in your faith.
Good=bye friends. Love mixed with faith be yours from God the Father and from the Master, Jesus Christ. Pure grace and nothing but grace be with all who love our Master, Jesus Christ.
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So as you sit wherever you are in your world today...what do you make of what we have just read?
Where do you need to take more seriously these words of our God?
What will you do about that?
Where do you need to do battle for a variety of issues within your own soul?
How will you allow others to join you in the battle?
What is God up to in your own life?
What all do you want our Triune God to be up to?