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Sunday, August 04, 2019

Your Spiritual PPE

PPE (personnel protective equipment) is the safety equipment that a person uses in their vocation. And every person uses them in their work life.
2 Timothy 2:4, Paul mentions three different vocations: Soldier, Athlete and farmer. We know the soldier’s PPE from Ephesians 6:14, which mostly known as a Christian’s spiritual armor.
“Stand therefore having girded your waist with truth, having put on the breastplate of righteousness, and having shod your feet with the preparation of the gospel of peace; above all taking the shield of faith with which you will be able to squench all the fiery darts of the wicked one. And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God; praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit.”
These are listed as Spiritual weapons for our warfare with the evil one.
I wish to share with you the Spiritual PPE used to keep us safe while doing our Kingdom Work. As mentioned, Paul spoke of the athlete and farmer as an example of our Christian life. They too used PPE. Although the Roman athletes of Paul’s day competed in the nude most of the time, modern athletes use a verity of PPEs for their vocation: proper shoes, gloves, helmets, pads. Farmers also use them in the fields. Namely to guard from heat stroke and skin cancer they use hats and long sleeve shirts, along with proper boots to protect their feet. So you see everyone uses PPE in their work, even the office work uses agronomical chairs and keyboard attachment to guard from muscle stains.
I would now like to share some of the Spiritual PPEs I see being used in our spiritual lives.

Hardhat: to protect us from the unseen
dangers in our spiritual lives. The things that the Lord keeps from happening that we never know. You put it on by being Born Again and coming under His protection.
Apron: This could be a shop or welding apron that keeps our clothes from being soiled or burned. We put them on by separating ourselves from the world. Not becoming hermits but by not doing things the world’s way. Work by the Book.
Face Shield or Safety Glasses: These protect our spiritual eyesight so that we can see things as they are. We put these on by staying in an attitude of prayer and by using discernment in our relationships and work habits.
Work Gloves: We use these to protect our hands for work and service. Keep your hands clean. Resist sin so that our work will not be hindered.
Shoes: Either steel-toe or just slip-resistant, these are for protecting or feet so that we might be able to stand while doing or work and service. We wear these by knowing what we believe and why we believe it.

These are just a few of the PPEs that I can come up with. You may have others in your line of work. I encourage you to use your psychical PPEs and your Spiritual ones. You can’t be safe without them.

Friday, February 15, 2019

Maria Fearing: Black History Month and March Women's History Month Post

So here it is February Black history and March  women's History Month. I will both months with my post on "Maria Fearing" that I did last year.

Let me introduce you to an the extraordinary lady Maria Fearing. Born a slave in Alabama she paid her way to be educated. Became a teacher for grade school and college students. Earned and bought her own house. Then catching the burden for the lost in Africa she sold the house and paid her own way to become a missionary to Africa at Fifty-six years of age. She made her way to Luebo, 1,200 miles from the coast of Africa.
Within a year she learned the language and founded Pantops School for homeless girls. Most of her students were orphans kidnapped by warriors from other tribes that she bought back.
Impressed with her work, the Southern Presbyterian Church made her a full-time missionary. She did not return to America until she became ill at eighty years old. She lived nearly a century. I read about her in my old Alabama history book.
Dated 1980 published by Viewpoint Publications in Montgomery, Al.

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.