Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes.  Ephesians 6:11



This morning in chapel the Bishop gave a whole new twist to the analogy of God’s armor.  Remember, there’s the helmet of salvation, the belt of truth, the breastplate of righteousness, shoes of peace, and the sword of the Spirit, God’s Word.

The helmet of salvation guards our thoughts and protects the mind so that it processes and applies God’s truth.  We typically wear belts around the middle parts of our bodies for aesthetic and practical reasons.  Truth is both beautiful and holds all our theology together.  A breastplate, righteousness, protects our hearts from all the things that can spoil and destroy the life of Christ within.  We walk in peace as God’s children, and God’s Word, the sword, is two-edged—both protecting and reprimanding us.

When we are children, we love to play dress-up.  My granddaughters have all enjoyed taking various pieces of clothing from my closet and dressers to play grown-up.  They imitate me and their mothers.  Play is a child’s work to help in developing character traits and personality.  When our children and grandchildren wear our clothing, they are processing through play what they will become.

So here we get to the armor.  The whole object of our Christian journey is to glorify God and to become like Jesus.  How better to do that than to dress like him?  Jesus IS our salvation, our truth, our righteousness, our peace and has taught us to use that sword in growing into his likeness.  The more we wear the armor, the more it becomes like a second skin, and the more we become like Jesus.

The armor of the Lord not only helps us to stand against the wicked intentions of the devil, but it assists us in being transformed more and more into the image of our Lord and Master, Jesus Christ.  If you’re not wearing it, stop everything, and go put it on right now.



Father, show us the joy that awaits us as we are changed into the likeness of your Son, Jesus Christ.  AMEN.




Don’t misunderstand why I have come. I did not come to abolish the law of Moses or the writings of the prophets. No, I came to accomplish their purpose.  Matthew 5:17  (TLB)


From time to time I hear people referring to the Old Testament as distasteful or, at best, irrelevant.   They find the God (whom Jesus identifies as Father) as hateful and harsh.  Never mind that his people accept his deliverance, his provisions, and his protection while blatantly establishing other gods and sacrificing their children in the fires in conjunction with serial disobedience.

Yesterday, a conference speaker reminded me that Jesus, who we well know taught us to depend on and to use the Word, was referencing the Old Testament.  Consider, when he was twelve years old, his parents discovered him in the Temple talking with the teachers and asking questions (Luke 2).  It is likely he was discussing passages from the Law or the Prophets in the Old Testament.  That’s all that existed at the time.

When the Spirit led Jesus into the wilderness to be tempted (Luke 4), Jesus was fully armed with knowledge of the Old Testament:  “Man shall not live by bread alone…” (Deuteronomy 8); “You shall not tempt the Lord your God” (Deuteronomy 6); “Worship the Lord your God…” (Deuteronomy 6).  Furthermore, in Jesus’ first sermon he was read from the book Isaiah (Old Testament prophet, Isaiah 61), and with that he announced his arrival as Messiah, the promised deliverer.

In other sermons, Jesus quotes from Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, Hosea, and many others, 24 Old Testament books, to be precise.  Jesus said that he didn’t come to do away with the Law but rather to fulfill it.  We may think that the Law of the Old Covenant was much stricter than Jesus’ directives until we reflect on Jeremiah 31:33, which says, “I will put my law in their minds and write it on their hearts.”  The writer to the Hebrews says the exact same thing, indicating that the advent of Jesus with the empowerment of the Holy Spirit enables us to actually do the Law that those under the Old Covenant could never do.

Jesus goes on to reveal that with his Law in the hearts of believers, we would live out the impossible standards given in the Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5-7) because we would have a desire to keep the Law and to please him.  Jesus’ life and ministry was all about building on the foundations of Moses and the Prophets; demonstrating that no one was capable of true righteousness without God’s empowerment; and then announcing the Good News that with Christ in us, we, too, can actually fulfill the Law.

Don’t write off the Old Testament.  READ IT.


Father, thank you for the Old and the New Covenants that reveal the full nature of your love and plan for us, your Church.  Help us to diligently study your Word and to embrace your Son, the Living Word.  In Jesus’ name.  AMEN.


Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone.  Colossians 4:6  (NIV)


In Sunday school as we looked at this passage, someone commented that “salty language” often evokes strident, even painful comment.  But actually, at the time this phrase was used by Paul, the Greeks employed it to refer to “witty, charming discourse.”  Oh, how I wish all my conversations could be characterized like that.

Have you ever said anything you wish you could retract?  Are you familiar with the old (probably now considered barbaric) custom of washing a child’s mouth out with soap when he/she said something unacceptable?  Wouldn’t it be lovely if changing our conversation were that simple, but, instead, the origin of those harmful words is the heart and the mind.  Jesus said, “It is what comes from within that defiles you.”

A friend told me about a fishing trip where a group of friends had gone out in a boat with their pastor.  One of the men accidentally stuck a hook into his finger and automatically let out some spicy expletive.  Remembering that the pastor was with them, he looked up sheepishly and said, “Oh, thank God, tomorrow is Sunday.”  What was inside had made its way out.

In Ephesians (4:29 LB) Paul encourages us not to “use foul or abusive language. Let everything you say be good and helpful, so that your words will be an encouragement to those who hear them.”  Remember the old saying that you know what’s in a tea bag when it’s put in hot water?  I think this is what Jesus is talking about:  “…whatever is in your heart determines what you say”  (Matt. 12:34 LB).

Our tongue can be a real challenge, especially if we’re trying to control it through our own efforts apart from God’s transforming grace.  As we grow to be more and more like Jesus, our words, attitudes, and behaviors will also become more like him.  And what comes out will be “seasoned with salt.”


Change my heart, O God.  In Jesus’ name I pray.  AMEN.