SPAM vs God’s Firewall

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Artwork credit: S.P.A.M. by SavedArt

A young digital artist named Matt designed the word art above.  Matt is 20 years old and accepted Christ as his Savior three years ago.  He’s chosen to use his artistic talents to bring glory to God!  That blesses my heart!  I really like this piece and find it so fitting for the day and age in which we live.

There is a spiritual war that has been raging for millennia in the heavenly realm.  As it does, it spills over into our own earthly realm.  This war is one between good and evil, between the forces of God and those of Satan.  Satan is a master of deception and his desire is to bring destruction to God’s creation, especially to mankind.  He is very skilled at introducing seducing thoughts into our hearts and minds, along with all manner of temptation.  Just as digital viruses and spam have the potential to damage our modern computer systems, such attacks from the enemy have the potential to lure us away from God’s will.  When we allow seeds of destruction to grow in our hearts and minds and to spread, they can cause great damage as we act upon them, not only to our own lives, but to the lives of others.

The good news is God has given us a Firewall!  Because of the salvation we have through Jesus Christ, His Son, by the shedding of His blood on the cross, we have victory over Satan!  God’s written word, the Bible, along with His living Word, Jesus Christ, shield us from succumbing to the enemy’s attacks.  There is no better protection!

Ephesians 6:10-18: “Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. 12 For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. 13 Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. 14 Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, 15 and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. 16 In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. 17 Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.” (NIV)

Hebrews 4:12: “For the word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.” (NKJV)

Psalm 119:11: “Thy word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against thee.” (KJV)

2 Timothy 1:7: “For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.” (NKJV)

2 Corinthians 10:4,5: “For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds,  casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ” (NKJV)

Keep fighting the good fight as you continue in your daily walk with the Lord!  And remember God’s Firewall for your life!

In Christ’s Love,

Angela

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The Bird Cage

296811_4413736703675_1655997520_nA Story of God’s Deep and Endearing Love

There once was a man named George Thomas, a pastor in a small New England town. One Easter Sunday morning he came to church carrying an old, bent, rusty bird cage, and set in on the pulpit. Several eyebrows were raised, and Pastor Thomas began to speak.

“I was walking through town yesterday when I saw a young boy coming towards me, swinging this bird cage. On the bottom of the cage were three little wild birds, shivering with cold and fright. I stopped the lad and asked, “What have you got there son?”

“Just some old birds,” came the reply.

“What are you going to do with them?” I asked.

“Pull out their feathers to make ’em fight. I’m gonna have a real good time.”

“But you’ll get tired of these birds sooner or later-what will you do then?”

“Oh, I got some cats-they like birds. I’ll give ’em to them.”

The pastor was silent for a moment.

“How much do you want for those birds, son?”

“Huh? Why, you don’t want these birds mister. They’re just plain old dumb field birds. They don’t sing-and they ain’t even pretty!”

“How much?”

The boy sized up the pastor as if he were crazy, and said, “Ten dollars?”

The pastor reached in his pocket and took out a ten-dollar bill. He placed it in the boy’s hand. In a flash, the boy was gone. The pastor picked up the cage and gently carried it to the end of the alley, where there was a tree and a grassy spot. Setting the cage down, he opened the door, and by softly tapping the bars he persuaded the birds out, setting them free.

Then the pastor began to tell the second part of his story.

One day Satan and Jesus were having a conversation. Satan had just come from the Garden of Eden, and he was gloating and boasting.

“Yes sir, I just caught a world full of people down there. Set me a trap, used bait I knew they couldn’t resist. Got em’ all!”

“What are you going to do with them?” Jesus asked.

“Oh, I’m going to have fun! I’m gonna teach them how to marry and divorce each other, how to hate and abuse one another, how to invent guns and bombs and kill each other. I’m really gonna have fun!”

“And what will you do with them when you grow tired of that?”

“Oh, kill ’em. Damn them,” Satan replied.

“How much do you want for these people?” Jesus asked.

“Oh, you don’t want these people. They ain’t no good. Why, you take them, and they’ll just hate you. They’ll spit on you, and mock you. They’ll curse you, and kill you! You surely wouldn’t want these people.

“How much?”

Satan looked at Jesus and answered, “All your blood and tears.”

Jesus paid the price. Then He picked up the cage, and opened the door.

– Author Unknown

Ephesians 3:17-19:  “So that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge— that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.”  (NIV)

In Black and White

Galations 3:28: “There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus.”

The Apostle Paul wrote the above in a letter to the church at Galatia some 2000 years ago.  Jesus taught equality and lived it in His daily life.  The following is an article I ran across, along with a wonderful photograph that gives us cause to stop and think…

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Children Don’t See Color – the World Forces It on Them

Below is a photograph from 1973. It shows five friends, hugging and having fun. The picture is a scene of pure bliss and friendship. These children don’t see color; three are black and two are white, yet they don’t care. When they look at one another, these kids don’t even see color. We should learn how to view the world through children’s eyes.

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According to the original photographer, “The world seems to be filled with misunderstanding, which often leads to anger, fear, and ultimately hatred and violence. Whether it is violence based on race or gender or religious or political differences, it all seems very unnecessary to me. The simple message is that we are all human. We all bleed the same. I think we all want the same basic things out of life – to live in peace and have food and shelter and to be loved. Maybe I am naïve or overly idealistic. I’m a product of the sixties. I grew up thinking that we could end war and that basic human justice was a real possibility. I get very cynical sometimes about the state of the world and our society in particular, but when I look at those kids it makes me think we could learn a lot from their innocence.”

– Article from Viralnova.com

In the words of Jesus Christ,

“Truly I tell you, anyone who will not receive the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it.”  Mark 10:15 (NIV)

Photo Source Credit:

I [Joseph Crachiola] shot this photograph forty years ago in Mt. Clemens, Michigan – July 31, 1973 – while working for a suburban Detroit newspaper. It was a seemingly insignificant moment. I was walking down a side street and saw some children playing. They saw me and said, “Hey mister, take our picture!” The pose was completely spontaneous. I shot several frames and moved on. The picture ran somewhere inside the paper and was probably forgotten about, but for me it still stands as one of my most meaningful pictures. It makes me wonder. When is innocence lost? At what point do we begin to mistrust one another? When do we begin to judge one another based on gender or race? I have always wondered what happened to these children. I wonder if they are still friends. In light of the current state of affairs in this country I can’t help but wonder if we couldn’t all learn something from them.  © Joseph Crachiola.

Without God

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Through trial and sorrow, blessing and joy, as I’ve walked this earth from day-to-day…I can honestly say that, without GOD, this pretty much sums it up.

Having a personal relationship with one’s Creator brings true meaning to this life and to one’s daily walk!

Think about it.  Make Him part of your life every day.  Talk to Him…walk with Him.  He will bring you hope, renewed strength, and a peace that simply can not be explained.  And, if you don’t know Him, just call out to Him…seek Him…desire to know Him.

God spoke to the Israelites through the prophet, Jeremiah, saying,

“You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.”  Jeremiah 29:13 (NIV)

And His words are true for us today. He’s still speaking!

Discover Who your Creator really is, and you will never be the same!

In the Love of Christ,

Angela

Who is Whispering in Your Ear?

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Sunday Go To Meeting! Who is Whispering in Your Ear?  – by L. A. Marzulli

James 1:12 – 15  “Blessed [is] the man that endureth temptation: for when he is tried, he shall receive the crown of life, which the Lord hath promised to them that love him. Let no man say when he is tempted, I am tempted of God: for God cannot be tempted with evil, neither tempteth he any man: But every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed. Then when lust hath conceived, it bringeth forth sin: and sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death.

The Fallen One, Satan, the Adversary of our souls, the Accuser of the Brethren, the Dragon, The Prince of the Power of the Air, “Slew Foot,” all are names for the fallen cherub, who along with his dark minions, comes to rob, kill and destroy. He starts with a whisper in our ear, a suggestion, a fleeting thought that goes by unchecked. We entertain it and think about it, and if we do not bring it and hold against the Word of God, and see what it really is, we will believe the lie and as the scripture above states, it will bring forth death.

Sin always starts in our thought-life. When we entertain an idea, a suggestion, or we are enticed. The word enticed means:

deleazō (Greek – Strongs #G1185

1) to bait, catch by a bait

2) metaph. to beguile by blandishments, allure, entice, deceive

Our adversary is a master of deception. He whispers and entices and lures us away from where we should be, into death and destruction. Here’s an example. The teenager who takes the $20 out of the cash register when no one is looking, and justifies it because the store makes too much money. The student that cheats, and tells him or herself that it’s OK because he or she needs a good grade. The husband who watches hours of porn and believes it’s “manly” to do so. The woman who holds bitterness against someone who has hurt her in the past and won’t forgive. In all of these examples if these actions are continued through a lifetime, it will lead to death. Perhaps not physical death, but certainly spiritual death and in my opinion I think this is worse.

Paul tells in 2Cr 10:5 – Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ;

It may seem to us like a tall order and when I first learned of this I thought the task impossible. Now, after 33 years of walking with Him, Jesus, I realize that by the power of the Holy Spirit, all things are possible and if something slips through, He is faithful to remind me — usually at 2:30 in the morning!

In closing todays Bun: Our minds are our receivers. Our spirit is what interfaces with our mind. It is with our mind that thoughts enter. We can think on something such as a problem or task. Then there is the Holy Spirit’s voice, who we learn to recognize, and then there is the whispering of the Fallen One and his minions. It is important for us to realize what voice we are listening to. It is essential for us to learn to recognize who it is that is whispering in our ears. The first step is to know the word and what is good and required of us. The second is to take every thought captive. The third, when the enemy of our souls starts with “his stuff,” to cast it down and rebuke it in the name of Jesus. Don’t entertain it, even for a second!

Greater is He that is in us, than the “whisperer” who lies, and tries to entice us.

The Principle of Character

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“Character cannot be developed in peace and quiet. Only through experiences of trial and suffering can the soul be strengthened, vision be cleared, ambition insured and success achieved.”

– Helen Keller

There is something of great truth in this quote by Helen Keller.  I’m sure that many are familiar with her story and of the nearly impossible circumstances she faced as a child.  The principle of character is one which young Miss Keller learned first hand, being trapped in a world of unimaginable isolation and suffering as a young girl who was blind, deaf, and unable to speak or effectively communicate her needs.  With the help of her dedicated teacher, Anne Sullivan, Helen overcame great odds in learning to emerge from a dark, silent world to become the person God had intended her to be.  In so doing, she made a difference in this world by bringing hope and inspiration to countless others through her life’s testimony.

John 10:10 speaks of the abundant life Jesus came to offer us, in and through His redeeming blood and by the power of His Holy Spirit.  We must only choose to believe. Accepting Him as Lord and Savior is the first step in our pilgrimage. But in order to become truly like Him and grow in character, we must at times be molded, shaped, and tempered in the fires of adversity.

I find so much encouragement in the New Testament, both in the words of our Lord Jesus, as He instructs us directly, and in those of His servants, like the Apostle Paul.

“Who shall separate us from the love of Christ?  Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? As it is written, For thy sake we are killed all the day long; we are accounted as sheep for the slaughter. Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us. For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”  Romans 8:35-39 (KJV)

Paul understood so well what his suffering would achieve and that it was only temporal.  Led by the Holy Spirit, he wrote such words of encouragement like these to the church at Corinth:

“For God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath shined in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ. But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellency of the power may be of God, and not of us. We are troubled on every side, yet not distressed; we are perplexed, but not in despair; Persecuted, but not forsaken; cast down, but not destroyed…For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory; While we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen: for the things which are seen are temporal; but the things which are not seen are eternal.”  2 Corinthians 4:6-18 (KJV)

My friend, remember today, as you may experience periods of trail and suffering in this world, perhaps due to illness, a tragic loss, near devastating circumstance, or even because of the judgments and persecution of others- remember the words of a true servant of Christ and God’s words of comfort to you and me:

“And we rejoice in the hope of the glory of God. Not only so, but we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us.”  Romans 5:2-5 (NIV)

May the Lord comfort and uplift you today!  Stand true to what you have believed and be assured that, as you allow your light to shine and do good to others, your labor is not in vain.  Cling to the promises in God’s Word and never give up on the dream He has placed in your heart! Persevere with the hope of Christ’s return and His love in your heart, and you will grow in both spirit and character!

May God bless you today and guide you to becoming all He created you to be!

Love in Christ,

Angela