Dressed To Win

dscf1447I climbed the steep path to Mont Orgueil Castle, stopping to catch my breath as needed. Finally, I reached the entrance only to realize the real climb was about to begin. For more than eight hundred years this medieval castle, high on the sea cliff, has stood its ground against attacks by man and raging storms thrown at it by nature.

Each set of steps took me to another level and each level had wonders of its own. Secret rooms and towers, narrow twisting stone staircases, all the things you expect to see at a medieval castle. The view only improved as I increased higher up the levels. Reaching the top gave me the prize of breath taking views of Gorey, the small town below the castle, and equally breath taking views out over the waters towards France.

The castle has probably seen its fair share of knights throughout its history but I was not expecting to see one on that August day sixteen years into the twenty first century.

But… There he was!dscf1439

Larger than life. Fully armed and ready for battle.  He sat confidently astride his metal horse. A sight to behold! My first reaction was “Wow!” My second thought was “Armor of God.” I studied my new found friend from head to toe and he became a visual teaching tool of Ephesians 6: 13-19 . My knight looked a little different to the picture of the Roman soldier found at the back of Priscilla Shirer’s, The Armor of God, study book. All bar one of the elements were there. The helmet, the breastplate, the belt, the sword and shod feet. I had to image the shield. Guess you can’t hold onto the horses reins with one hand while wielding your sword with the other and still be holding a shield. Nope the three armed knight does not exist.

“Therefore, take up the full armor of God, so that you will be able to resist in the evil day, and having done everything, to stand firm.

Stand firm therefore, having girded your loins with truth, and having put on the breastplate of righteousness, and having shod your feet with the preparation of the gospel of peace; in addition to all, taking up the shield of faith with which you will be able to extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one.

And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. With all prayer and petition at all times in the Spirit, and with this in view, be on the alert with all perseverance and petition for all the saints.”  [italics and bold print added my me]

I had to ask myself right there in the middle of this eight hundred year old castle if I was wearing and using the armor my savior, Jesus, had provided for me to stand and resist the evil one. Note, it says stand and resist not try to resist and when all else fails…run for your dear life.

Jesus has already set us up to win.  Victory is already ours.  So let us stand firm knowing God has us. Wrap ourselves in His Truth, wear His Righteousness, put on the Good News of Peace shoes ( the best fitting shoes ever). Hold up and use the Shield of faith, be continually covered with the Helmet of Salvation, and girls let us become well trained in using the Sword of the Spirit, God’s word.  Be alert and pray for each other.

Dressing to win is not armor you put on each morning and take off each night but rather armor you wear continually. It is time for us to put on the full armor not just choice pieces as if we are accessorizing our look.

Helena

Looking to Jesus. Living in His Radiance

Are you standing and resisting or quaking and shaking (we have all been there) when the enemy attacks? Either way, would love to hear from you. What did standing look like to you? Share in the comment box.

If you have been encouraged by this post feel free to share it with your friends.

 

 

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Sailing on the Sea of Truth

dscf1470 So many foreign tongues in one street you would think I was at an international event in a major city. Mostly I heard a variety of European languages, Spanish, German, French, and a few I did not recognize. I heard English spoken in an array of dialects hailing from Scotland, Wales, and England. Throw in a little Asian and you get the picture.  The street was a melting pot of cultures.

Where on earth was I? Was I having a weird dream? Had I eaten too much pizza? Was I at an international festival? No, no, no and no. None of the above. So where was I?

I was in the seaport town of St. Helier on the island of Jersey in the English Channel. Yes, incase you are wondering New Jersey USA is named after this 9×5 mile island.

The island sits nearer to Normandy than it does to the southern coast of England. I’m sure France would love to own Jersey but the inhabitants are loyal to the throne of Great Britain.

I wandered the busy street window shopping as I went. Expensive handmade chocolates bade me to come take a closer look, but look is all I did. Cute clothes and handbags decorated display windows. Souvenir stores with all things Jersey (think smiling cows) sat dotted among the more lavish boutiques. Coffee shops and tea rooms welcomed the thirsty visitor in from the warm September sun.

dscf1350I kept on walking until I reached Liberation Square.  A monument celebrating the island’s fiftieth anniversary of liberation from German occupation during World War ll stands proudly for all to see. For five years the people were held captive on their own island, trapped by the enemy, unable to live their lives freely.

In the nearby harbor yachts and small boats sat in the mud, stuck, going nowhere. All they could do was wait for the tide to turn liberating them from the mud that held them down and setting them free to sail the seas once again.

What if the people of Jersey had chosen to continue living under war time occupation rules and restrictions after they had been liberated. We would think they were crazy. We would be shouting “Hey there, you have been liberated. You don’t have to live like captives anymore.”

Yet…

Sometimes I live my life as a captive.  What about you? Negative thoughts and comparisons make their way into my mind and negative words spill out of my mouth declaring to the world the craziness that goes on inside me. Before I know it my actions soon follow the negative path.

Then I read His truth and am reminded that it was for my freedom Jesus died and rose again.

“Christ has set us free to live a free life. So take your stand! Never let anyone put a harness of slavery on you.” Galatians 5:1 Message Bible

With a grateful heart I accept His truth and my enemy runs away defeated.

Read God’s truth and you will find it written in the pages of your bible. Receive it for yourself. Stand on His Word and be a slave to the lies of the enemy no more.

dscf1382

Free to sail on the sea of truth.

 

 

 

Helena

Looking to Jesus. Living in His Radiance.

 

If you have been encouraged please feel free to share this post with a friend.

Leave a comment: What lies are the enemy telling you now or have told you in the past? How were you set free? I look forward to reading how the light of God’s truth has, is, and continues to set you free.

 

 

 

Children’s Church Revisted

green-valleyA sharp bend to the right took me along a rolling curved mountain road. A road I was familiar with.  A road that led to my parents house; the house I grew up in. I passed country lanes with names such as Load of Hay Road.

As the car continued on the narrow two lane road I looked out over the valley taking in the beautiful view. The green hills brought color and vitality to the otherwise hardness of life in the valleys of South Wales.

Another sharp turn, this time taking me downhill a short distance before it curved back up hill again and into the village of my childhood. The village where I made lifelong friends.

We played, walked, and dreamed together. We did church together even before we individually received Christ as our savior and then we grew in the Lord together.  A few of my friends attended church at the bottom of the hill, while I and others choose the more rugged look of the small chapel at the top of the hill. Two churches, two completely different denominations, yet one body working together.

“You have been taught the holy Scripture from childhood, and they have given you the wisdom to receive the salvation that comes by trusting in Christ Jesus.” 2Timothy 3:15 NLT

The stories we had learned from our Sunday School teachers came alive and we had new insight and understanding. Our teachers were still present in our teenage years to guide us into a deeper relationship with the Lord. We were then, as we are now, the fruit of their labor. I have been home many times since moving to the States but not once did I cross the threshold of the Chapel doors.

“The Chapel is having a Harvest Festival” my mother announced.  “Would you like to go?”. Apparently my mother’s social group had received an invitation to attend. I entered the main door and stepped into the tiniest of foyers noticing immediately something was missing. A plaque that had many times haltered my rushed nosy entrance into the sanctuary. The plaque informed us not to enter the sanctuary during a scripture reading or a prayer time but to wait quietly in the foyer entering only when appropriate.

i-gave-my-life-for-theeThe Chapel looked well maintained.  The wooden pews and pulpit bannisters gleaned brightly under the artificial light. Six painted words stood boldly and unashamedly on the wall above the pulpit for all to see. Generations had read these same words as I and my friends; I Gave My Life For Thee. It brought comfort knowing they still hung there declaring God’s love.

The harvest offering of fruit and vegetables were on a smaller scale than I remember as a child but the grateful hearts for God’s provision were still the same. We sang old hymns one of which was a childhood favorite of mine, Count Your Blessings, really I loved the up-tempo beat and as teenagers we sang it with gusto.

Two of my Sunday School teachers are still serving in the Chapel. Alas the Sunday School (Children’s Church) closed years ago. I find that sad as it played a huge roll in the lives of many children of the village and in the spreading of the Gospel of Jesus to the world.

When I embraced my Sunday School teachers it was a family reunion hug not an awkward polite ‘I kind of remember you embrace’. I am forever grateful for them for teaching me about Jesus, for spending their lives laying a firm foundation for me and my friends to build on.

I stand and applause Edwina Angel, Howell and Mary Mitchell, and Howell and Beryl Jenkins. You sowed in faith and you reaped fruit.

To today’s Children Church workers, know the work you are doing does not go unseen. The biblical lessons you teach will not be forgotten. You are laying a foundation of faith in God which will remain. Cover those entrusted to you with prayer. The love, grace, and gentle spirit of my teachers drew me into wanting to listen to the bible stories and to receiving God’s word through their mouths.

My friends and I are scattered throughout the world. One became a missionary in Nepal and now works in her local church in New Zealand. Another lives in Canada teaching and preparing others for the mission fields of Asia. Several moved out of Wales to Scotland and England and some remained within a few miles of the old Welsh Chapel. Whether near or far each one of my group of friends are serving the Lord and growing in His grace.

The fruit is now bearing fruit.

Plant good seed dear Children’s Church worker.  You will bear fruit and your fruit will bear fruit.

 

Looking to Jesus. Living in His Radiance.

Helena

Encourage a Children’s Church worker today and tell/show them how you appreciate them. Please feel free to share this post with those who have or are faithfully serving in Children’s Church and with those who may be considering serving.

Share your own stories in the comment box, I look forward to reading them.

 

What’s Under Your Foot?

popsicleHe had that look! The look every mother, grandmother and kindergarten teacher is all too familiar with.  It’s the, I’ve done something and don’t want you to know about it look.

I don’t often see that look in my four year grandson.  He is usually an up-front kind of kid but there it was as plain as daylight. He had been sucking on a red popsicle which was evident by his red tongue and red circle around his lips. He stood between the sofa and the coffee table and as I walked past him his head lowered and his eyes sheepishly looked up at me. Quickly I glanced over his small frame in search of the something he didn’t want me to know about.

His left foot was firmly planted on the floor but his right foot hovered ever so slightly above the ground. I’ve been around far too long for a four year old to pull the wool over my eyes. “What’s under your foot?” I asked. He slowly moved his foot out of the way. There on the floor was a blob of melted red popsicle. Not a big deal to me (I have wooden floors) but it was to him.

I told him,”Don’t hide your mess. Tell me and we can clean it up.” The words were no sooner out of my mouth when the profoundness of the statement hit me.

How often as adults do we hide our mess hoping those close to us will not see it?

Hoping the Lord will not see it?

Sooner or later my grandson would have needed to put his hovering foot down in order to maintain the cover-up. He is a smart four year old but I don’t think he had thought it through. The red popsicle blob would have attached itself to the sole of his shoeless foot, so taking the mess with him wherever he walked.

We walk around unbalanced trying to hide the blobs in our lives. Thinking if we can somehow hide them out of sight they will no longer exist. But they do! We take them with us wherever we go.

They follow us.  Coloring the way we perceive ourselves and God. We put so much effort into hiding our blobs that we fail to see our loving Heavenly Father holding out His hand willing and eager to clean us up.

“O Lord my God, I cried to you for help, and You have healed me.” AMP Psalm 30:2

He has been around far to long for us to pull the wool over His eyes. He knows every blob that has attached itself to us. Every blob that keeps us messed up. He waits for us to look to Him and ask Him to clean up the blobs in our lives and make us clean.

Please don’t hesitate.  He is waiting to heal you.

 

Looking to Jesus. Living in His Radiance

Helena

If this post has encouraged you, don’t keep it to yourself please feel free to share it with a friend or the whole world. Thank you so much for stopping by Grace Lace and Polkadots. Leave a comment I look forward to hearing from you.