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Saturday, September 29, 2018

My Basic Thoughts on Spiritual Warfare

I was asked about my thoughts on Spiritual Warfare in the Facebook "Study Group on Spiritual Warfare" group. Thought I would share it here:

Although I am not an expert on the subject, I have had some experience since the early 80s. What I have seen is that there are many books out there on the subject, some good and some bad. The only great book on the subject is the Bible itself. Read all of the rest for insight but do not take any of them as pure truth.
They teach that you must know your enemy. I say, know your Captain "Jesus". Some people study demonology to the extreme. When our Church first started a study of Spiritual Warfare back in the 80s we learned that you become what you focus your study on. So I say study Jesus and draw as close as you can to Him.
The teaching usually starts with a study of our Spiritual Armor. This is good and I have heard many interpretations of the armor, but I lean to the understanding first that the armor is Jesus and His attributes.
Romans 13:4 says," But put on Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh, to fulfill its lust." and Gal. 3:27, "For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ."
Spiritual Warfare may involve two things, and probably more, which is deliverance of our selves or someone else from Satan's control or influence.
As we "put on our armor or strive to be more like Jesus, we do battle with unseen enemies for control of our or someone else’s control of flesh.
Spiritual Warfare is simple, join with Christ to destroy the works of the Devil and advance the Kingdom of God. To do this is very simple, so simple people will not discipline themselves to do it. WE have heard it all our spiritual lives. Read the Word of God, fellowship with God's people (this means spiritual fellowship and not just flesh feeding meetings) and praying God's work (intersession)
This is just my basic thoughts on the subject of Spiritual Warfare and I hope it helps you to get started. If you had more detailed questions, I will try to answer or direct you to someone you can.

Tuesday, June 12, 2018

If Jesus Showed Up One Sunday Morning

One of my favorite songs and Artist is "My Jesus" by Todd Agnew. I was listening to it at work the other day and heard how he doubted that his church would accept Jesus if He came and it reminded me of people who say that most churches would not recognize Him if He showed up one Sunday morning. The song spoke of Jesus' ministry to the lost and hopeless and how we should do likewise. This is great stuff but I was troubled over the thought of not not recognizing Jesus. My first thought was, "Why would anyone be involved in a Church they felt would not accept or recognize our Savior"? How is it possible for a Church to be in this condition? In the Bible there are more than a few types mention that picture the Church's relationship to Jesus.
        The first is the Shepherd and the flock. In John 10:27, Jesus is recorded as saying, "My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow Me." How is it possible for a Church or Flock not to hear the voice of the Shepherd and to know Him"? Jesus says it is not possible. A Church dedicated to discipleship and following Jesus will know Him. They will know His Words, and know when He shows up, when He reveals His presence. If the Church you attend does not fit the Sheep mode, then you might find another flock.
The next type is Bride and Bridegroom. Surely the Bride will know her Bridegroom. The picture in scripture is of a bride who is waiting for her groom. But while she waits, the groom is preparing her for their eternal union. Also, Jesus states that He gave Himself for His Bride. He paid the dowry with His blood on the cross. It does not sound as if it is possible for the Bride to be unknown to the Groom. It sounds hard but we must decide if we are part of a Bride or a harlot. The difference is: a harlot is only able to be intimate physically for a price. A Bride is able to be intimate Body, Soul and Spirit and the Bride and Groom give all. 
The last, but not final type I see is the Church as the Body of Christ to continue His work on earth. Doesn't a person know his or her own body? As we bathe and clean it after a hard day’s work, don't we become familiar with all of it? The Spirit and Soul has an intimate relationship with the body. Likewise the Body of Christ knows intimately the person whom it belongs to. Do you still believe it is possible for a Church to not recognize Jesus if He was to reveal Himself? Of course I am not an expert on scripture or Church life and growth, but this all seems common sense to me. Let’s quit complaining about how bad our Churches are and get about the Master’s business. Hear the Shepherd’s voice and obey. Let the Bridegroom prepare you for His return. And lastly, offer ourselves to His service to reach the lost. In doing so you will recognize Him, He is living in you. Will I quit loving Todd Agnew’s song? Not likely! We all need help remembering who Christ died for and what we are to do about it.
(Note: Not many scripture references are given because I think you would get a lot more out of it if you researched them yourselves.)

Friday, March 09, 2018

Bless Those Who Use You (With Podcast Link)

(This is a re-post from 12/29/2004)

Read Matthew 5:43-48

“Do not rejoice when your enemy falls, And do not let your heart be glad when he stumbles; Lest the Lord see it, and it displease Him, And He turn away His wrath from him.”
Proverbs 24:17-18

I have worked with many people and have been mistreated many times by those over me. It seems that it is real easy to hope that the person gets demoted, fired or the business goes bad because I am not there. Or even go out of business. But the Lord tells us to “pray for our enemies and bless those that abuse you.” (Paraphrase Matt. 5:44) I wonder how many companies that have treated their employees bad and still do well because the people of God secretly prayed to see them “ get theirs” and fall. Therefore, God turned His wrath from them.
Next time you see a person fall that had treated you wrong, let the Lord guide you in ways to bless him. Who knows maybe the Lord will defeat an enemy by making him a friend.

Prayer: Father, Forgive those who treat us wrong and bring them to repentance for your sake.

Thought for the Day
“The noblest vengeance is forgiveness” (The Officer - 1919, Notable Quotables, Salvation Army Publishing)
Wayne Brooks (Dothan, Alabama)

You can hear the newest podcast based on this post at http://fromthefactoryfloor.sermon.net/main/FromtheFactoryFloor/21124077

Sunday, September 03, 2017

Laborare est orare

As we approach Labor Day I would like to discuss an area of prayer that we are to do as we work or laborare est orare, "work as prayer". This is a hard concept for some to see. Can a person pray as they work and not get their hand caught in a machine press or drive the forklift into a support beam? Can we focus on the Lord and focus on our work at the same time? I say yes, but not in the traditional since of prayer. Prayer as in doing your very best for no other reason but to please God. When you do your job in this attitude you are in a mode of prayer that worships the King of Kings and petitions the Lord of Lords.
This labor day make a commitment to do your job only for the love of God and focus on doing a job well done. Like I heard a speaker on the radio say the other day. "Your job is a gift from God, How you perform it is your gift to Him."

Monday, May 01, 2017

Heaven's Kanban or What I learned from LinkedIn Learning


I wasn’t sure if taking the courses offered by LinkedIn would be worth my time, but on greater thought I decided it would not hurt. I began with a job related course like Lean Six Sigma Fundamentals and learned quite a lot about managing waste on the job. Then I took a course on using the audio program Audacity and learned about a lot of the functions I did not know about before. Recording audio for my podcast and other interests will go a lot smoother now.
And then I took a course by Chris Croft called, “Process Improvement Foundations”. I received some very good insight from across the pond that made my time doing the courses all worthwhile. All the others were good but I would like to share a little insight I got from the last one.
At work we call the “parts cage” the “kanban”. This was the first time I had ever heard this name used for parts storage and asked others at work what it meant. No one on my pay level knew. I thought maybe it was German, since the company I work for was a German owned factory. No clue from any German language app or other source. So I let it drop and just accepted it.
Then while Chris Croft spoke,on the pull system, the word kanban popped up. It turned out to be a word, that in its simplest form, described how on an assembly line parts are keep in a storage area until called for on the line. The area was called the kanban. Although our setup is not a true kanban system, it made a whole lot of sense. There was a lot more on the course that I learned and saw that some of the systems I had used before and just did not know what they were called.
Now as for the insight I received from the course, I would like to share with you. On the factory floor, it is bothersome to have more parts than you need while doing a job. So all the extra parts should be kept back until they are needed. As with things we pray for, believing we need them now, God “pulls” the Grace we need at the time we need it. I heard a story of a man who had taken a plane trip one day and while flying the plane started to fall and everyone thought it was going to crash. The man prayed out to God to save him and became very afraid. The pilot pulled the plane out and they landed safely. Later the man grew ashamed and asked God why had he become so afraid to die and where was the grace that He had promised in times of death. God replied to the man, “you were not dying”.
The things we need in life that we seek God for and wonder why we do not get them may be things that we are not ready for or we do not need altogether.
Let me share this piece of scripture with you,
Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need.” Hebrews 4:16 (NKJV)
If you find yourself needing something. You may not even have a clue what it is. I urge you to pray (send in a kanban tag request) to the Father God and ask him for the Grace that is offered to you free of strings. Grace, which is the unmerited favor of God offered through the death and resurrection of His Son, Jesus the Christ. Tap into Heaven’s kanban and receive life. Product cannot be released without all its parts, so also you will not be fulfilled without that missing part you secretly yearn for. Jesus!

Sunday, December 04, 2016

When Your Coworker is Laid-Off.

Rumors had been spreading around the factory floor, people were being laid-off. Then I saw him coming from the office with red eyes and a tremble in his lips. He told me he was gone and had been laid-off. Then I saw others coming toward him and I quickly whispered in his ear that I would be praying for him. I felt bad for him, knowing that I was once under him and he had seniority over me. But I did not feel guilty, I had worked hard to be where I was without stabbing him or anyone else in the back. The main hurt in my heart came from the knowledge that I really did know what he was going through. I had been in his shoes many times and it was not pleasant. Even when I confessed my trust in God rather than men, I was always afraid. So I knew my friend was going through a really bad time.
Even with my feeble attempt to comfort him, I felt I could have done more. Remembering back to my days of lay-offs, I remembered those who tried to comfort me. So here is some advice to help you help them, not listed in order of importance:
1. Don't ask them if they had applied for unemployment benefits. It is insulting.
2. Prayer is needful but not as a cure all when you don't know what to say. If you believe in prayer, reassure them by praying with them face-to-face.
3. Pass on any resources that you feel they could use. I informed my friend that because he had been laid-off, there may be funds from the State that could help him further his education. He had expressed his desire to further it in previous conversations.
4. Remain their friend on social media and wherever you socialize with them away from work. It is hard to know what to say to friends in this situation and easy to just let them slid out of friendship. Stay in contact but don't feed them information about work that would make things worse.
I am sure there are many other ways to help your friend and maybe resources to guide you. But the most important thing to do is to treat them the way you would want to be treated. Love them and give them hope. Let them know they are not alone. Pass their info to others in your network that could use their experience. In closing, if you can't do it for the love of a friend, do it because one day it might be you.

Thursday, October 27, 2016

It's Off to Work I Go By Bobbi Richardson

Every morning hundreds of men and women go off to work in offices, stores and other places of employment.  Does being a Christian make a difference?  As a Christian should you act, look or speak differently? Has God placed you in the position you hold for a reason?
The definition of an employee is one hired by another usually for wages or salary and in a position below the executive level.
Most of us would fit into that category as office workers, clerks, sales persons, and the many other jobs we do to earn a living and that put us under the authority of an employer without the perks and benefits of executive status.
While the word employee is not specifically used in most versions of the Bible, there are many principles that can be applied to employees.
As children of God, it is our responsibility to obey His commands and live by His principles.  This is true in the workplace as well as anywhere.
What does it mean to succeed?
We all want to be a success in our jobs, the question is what does that success look like and what are we doing to succeed?
In our current culture success means to get ahead (usually at the expense of others).  It means to continually  strive to do what someone else expects of you (even if deep down inside it is not what you think you should be doing).  It means to always be concerned with how you look, how you sound, how you act.  It means concentrating on you.
This type of success is not lasting and does not accomplish much.
God's way is to concentrate on others and let Him take care of you.
As Christians our goal should be to hear Jesus say, "Well done, good and faithful servant."  Our ambition should always be to accomplish God's plan.
Slaves and Servants
Throughout the Old Testament God's people were instructed on how to treat those who were less fortunate; the oppressed, the poor, widows, orphans, slaves and servants.
In the Bible a slave could be one who is actually in bondage or enslaved by another as when people were taken by a conquering army and put into service to the conquering people; or one who was in bondage as punishment for a crime.
Jews who were unable to pay debts were often "enslaved" by their fellow Jews.  However, they were to be considered hired workers until their debts were paid.
The Old Testament also refers to slaves as bondservants and there were laws governing the fair and humane treatment of slaves with punishment for those who treated their slaves harshly.
God's care and rescue of Hagar is an example of His compassion and love of those enslaved by another. (Genesis 21:14-19)
Servants were usually free men who were hired to work for someone as an administrator of their household or as a scribe to write letters or other communications (a secretary).
As employees we can look at portions of scripture that focus on slaves in that we are working for someone who determines what our work is and we must follow their rules and procedures.  We can look at portions referring to servants in that we are hired to work for an employer and are under their authority and direction.
Jesus as Servant
"For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve others and to give his life as a ransom for many." (Matthew 20:28-NLT)
If Jesus' mission was to serve and give His life for others, as His disciples it is our mission also.
Jesus ministered to all who came to Him.
As Christians we are in the workplace to serve.  We serve God by serving others; our co-workers, our customers, anyone we come in contact with in our daily work.
We give our lives by putting aside our desires, our plans, our feelings in order to minister to and serve others.
Instead of looking for what we can get from our employers, we can try to find ways to serve them.  In learning how to do this and in redirecting our focus in this way we develop humility, compassion, patience, faithfulness (loyalty) and forgiveness.  We see all of these qualities in Jesus.
As Christians it should be our goal to live as Jesus lived; to follow Him; to obey His commands.
God is constantly building the character of His children.  He has placed us in whatever position we now hold.  He tells us to serve others as a general command.  If we view our employment as an opportunity for service and look to God to show us how, we will be following Jesus' example and teachings.
What Should We Do?
There is much in God's word that speaks to how we should conduct our daily lives whether as employees or in any other capacity.
Some principles that apply to employees are:
Always do your best work and keep on doing what is good.  (1 Corinthians 15:58)
Don't be discouraged or easily give up because of lack of results. (Galatians 6:9)
Persevere and let nothing distract from the purpose; the mission; doing God's will; accomplishing His plan. (Hebrews 12:1-3)
Some characteristics of Godly employees are:
Respect for authority-All who are under the yoke as slaves are to regard their own masters as worthy of all honor so that the name of God and our doctrine will not be spoken against. (1 Timothy 6:1-NAS)
Loyalty-Slaves must obey their masters and do their best to please them. They must not talk back or steal, but they must show themselves to be entirely trustworthy and good. Then they will make the teaching about God our Savior attractive in every way. (Titus 2:9 & 10-NLT)
Obedience-Slaves, obey your earthly masters with deep respect and fear. Serve them sincerely as you would serve Christ.  (Ephesians 6:5-NLT)
These are not popular principles in the workplace.  You will not find seminars on how to develop these characteristics.  There are no motivational speakers encouraging you to act this way in order to further your career.  What you hear and read will totally contradict these principles; these characteristics will be scoffed at and rejected by most.
Our choice as Christian employees is whether to listen to those around us and strive continually to be a success on our own or to "lay down your life" and obey and follow Jesus' example, which leads to blessings now and stores up treasures in heaven for the future.
Good Employees
God's word makes it clear that He does not look on His children as slave or free, but all are equal in His sight.  This is our promise and comfort that God loves and cares for each of us individually no matter what our position in life or in the workplace.
It is our responsibility to reflect His presence in our lives no matter what our individual circumstances.
It all starts with a good attitude (a good way of thinking).
We should, like Jesus, joyfully serve the Father's purposes.
Hebrews 12:2-3 says, "We do this by keeping our eyes on Jesus, on whom our faith depends from start to finish.  He was willing to die a shameful death on the cross because of the joy He knew would be His afterward.  Now He is seated in the place of highest honor beside God's throne in heaven.  Think about all He endured when sinful people did such terrible things to Him, so that you don't become weary and give up." (NLT)
Here are a few practical suggestions that you can try the next time you enter your workplace:
Arrive on time, dress well, speak politely and smile readily.
Don't indulge in gossip or complaining.
Develop the art of listening.
Be kind, compassionate, forgiving, loving, patient (demonstrate the fruit of the Spirit who lives in you).
Pray - for your co-workers, your boss, your company, your customers.
Ask the Father to show you how to be the employee He wants you to be.
Does being a Christian in the workplace make a difference?
Try some of the suggestions above and see the reactions for yourself.

Article Source: http://www.faithwriters.com CHRISTIAN WRITER

Monday, August 08, 2016

Secret Saboteurs by Toni Babcock

I had a co-worker many years ago who discovered she was the victim of secret sabotage in the workplace.  She was an energetic salesperson with a pleasing personality, who had the ability to really connect with her clients.  She was attractive, magnetic, and her positive attitude brought true value to the company we served.  None of us knew why anyone would have her in their cross hairs. What we did know was a happy vivacious saleswoman, now began to appear frustrated, anxious, and defeated;  fearful as to when the next work place incident was going to unravel her success.

When she brought her suspicions to management,  it seems they initially balked.  How did they know for sure she wasn't imagining things?  The person she was implicating was an otherwise good employee that no one else would have suspected.  But as time went on, the evidence became too clear and irrefutable, and the saboteur was eventually called into question.  He was thoroughly grilled by management and presented with the evidence.  Finally, he was forced to come clean and confess  his outrageous schemes and mind-games used to destroy a fellow employee's sales success, while creating a negative image for the company.  He was promptly let go of his position and basically fired on the spot.  

In God's kingdom just as in everyday life, we humans can become a real hindrance to one another. Perhaps you wonder why you are dealing with a person who appears to be against you when you are "just trying to do your job".  You don't understand why they seem to seize every opportunity to discredit you.  These may be people who appear dismissive, overly critical, or discouraging.   People who, when you attain personal success are strangely silent, but who suddenly appear like flies on road kill every time you make a mistake.  Soon you begin to feel like road kill just waiting for the next truck to run you over.  If you have ever been there, this is precisely where the devil wants you, because when you begin to feel like road kill, you won't succeed in doing anything worthwhile in the world, or in God's kingdom.   Satan's strategy accomplished.

Here is my take on what is really happening.  When this becomes our experience, somehow we have gotten our eyes off of Jesus and onto people.  We are looking to the wrong source for spiritual strength and validation.  We've crossed the line somewhere, and now we are suffering the ill effects of our own self-sabotaging ways.  Yes, by looking to the wrong source for validation, WE have succeeded in becoming our own saboteurs!  In the process, we have begun to feel a bit too sorry for ourselves.  All is not lost however.  Jesus is still on the throne.

Learn to view these negative experiences in a positive light. Consider how God may have allowed this person into your life to make you a better Christian.  Stop feeling victimized.  Take a new perspective.   Humbly look for something your critic is saying you actually might need to hear (even if it comes across too judgmentally).  Who knows,  maybe they feel constrained to point out your mistakes for the good of God's kingdom.  If so, figure out what it is God may be trying to tell you, even if you feel like you're being run over rough shod.  Bury the hatchet.  It takes grace and humility to turn the other cheek and not retaliate.

The fact is, antagonists can come in handy.  The psalmist wrote "Let the righteous smite me - it shall be a kindness: and let him reprove me; it shall be an excellent oil, which shall not break my head: for yet my prayer also shall be in their calamities," (Psalm 141:5 KJV).  Take whatever good you can out of the experience and grow in Christ without laying down and assuming  "road kill" status. Remember, God allowed this person into your life for a reason, and Jesus is watching how you handle it.

Paul's words to the church at Rome ring true for every believer in any stressful situation: " 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 in in Christ Jesus our Lord."  (Romans 8:35-39 KJV).  Paul's theme is repeated to the Corinthians when he wrote:  "Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ's sake: for when I am weak, then am I strong."  (II Corinthians 12:10 KJV).

Copyright 2016 (Revised from previous post of same title).

Toni M. Babcock is author of The Stone Writer, Christian Fiction for Young Readers and Teens.

Article Source: http://www.faithwriters.com CHRISTIAN WRITER