Faith Nuggets

Start the New Year Strong with 2020 Vision

01/01/2020

“I can see better. Colors are brighter. Whites more white. I have 20/20 vision!” Can you relate to those comments? You can if you have a new eyeglass prescription or had cataract surgery. Seeing clearly is a welcomed blessing. It affects our outlook and quality of life. The same is true for spiritual vision. What is spiritual vision? How can we achieve 20/20 spiritual vision in 2020?  

Enlighten the Eyes of Your Heart

Did you know your heart has eyes, a metaphor for the eye of our mind, the faculty of knowing?  It does, and in Ephesians 1:18-19, Paul prays that the eyes of our heart be enlightened. The implication is there is more to see than we realize. More to see of “the hope of Christ’s calling; more to see of the surpassing greatness of Christ’s power.” How did Paul know? He’d been “caught up to the third heaven” where he heard things inexpressible. (2 Corinthians 12:2-4) The man once blinded by Christ’s light now clearly sees Christ’s glory and power.

The Eyes of Our Heart and Mind Communicate

In case you’re not aware, our heart functions as more than a blood pumping muscle. Dr. Caroline Leaf, a cognitive neuroscientist, along with others including the National Library of Medicine and National Institute of Health write on, “Cellular Communications in the Heart,” “cell cross talk” and “intercellular communication.” If cells communicate, affecting our physical heart condition, why would we doubt communication with God affects our spiritual heart condition? 

Verses throughout the Bible address the power of our heart to influence our thinking and therefore, lives. “Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it,” Proverbs 4:23.  “As a man thinks in his heart so is he,” Proverbs 23:7. As we think in our heart?  Our heart thinks? Apparently, yes. Psalm 119:11 speaks of the power of our heart on our behavior. “I have hidden Your Words in my heart so that I would not sin against Thee.” Yes, God created our heart as a spiritual receptor that communicates with our mind and influences our emotions and behavior. Did not Christ say that rivers of living water would flow from our innermost being, referring to the Holy Spirit’s influence on us? (John 7:38)

How Are the Eyes of Our Heart Enlightened? 

People seek higher education at universities because learning is enlightening and empowering. Wise believers seek an even Higher education – the mind of Christ – so they’ll be enlightened and empowered to live for Christ. The more Bible knowledge we apply to our heart through prayer and the power of the Holy Spirit, the better our spiritual vision. Join me January 8 at “Starting Strong with 2020 Vision.” Get a Bible study and walk with increased spiritual vision and power in 2020. Information below.

Heavenly Father, thank You for enlightening the eyes of our heart as we read and apply Your truths to our hearts.

YOU’RE INVITED!

Women’s Gathering with Debbie Taylor Williams

What:   Starting Strong with 2020 Vision

When:  Wednesday, January 8, 2020, 11 -12 noon

Where:  Trinity Baptist Church Chapel, Kerrville, TX

Register: Call Gina at 830.895.0100 or register online at https://www.tbck.org/events/. Childcare for infants to kindergarten must be registered. 

Email hillcountryministries@gmail.com for more information. 

$7.50 includes Prayers of My Heart journal and refreshments. Scholarships available. 

Are We Forgetting Something this Christmas? 

12/12/2019

It was a sweltering day, a hurried arrival at the hotel, and a quick change of clothes before our host driver would pick up my daughter and me to take us to Pam Kanaly’s Arise Conference. I would be presenting Kidz Time Devotional for moms to use to teach their children God’s Word. Lauren and I rushed as we changed out of our travel clothes. Slipping on a long tunic and my shoes, I announced, “Okay, let’s go!” Lauren looked at me and in an unusual tone of voice asked, “Are we forgetting something?” Seated, I looked up into her questioning eyes and replied no. “Mom,” she countered, glancing at my legs. “Your pants?” Now before you judge me too harshly, I have to say in my defense that the top I was wearing was almost down to my knees. Did I mention we were rushing to get out the door? 

When It’s Not a Good Laugh

Lauren and I had a good laugh as I slid on my legging pants.  I still chuckle when I think about it. But, there is something God tells us to put on that is no laughing matter and it’s important that we remember it this Christmas season. What is it and why is it important? 

What Must We Remember?

During the Christmas season it’s easy to get caught up in the rush of shopping, baking, and decorating. Anxiety levels can rise with additions to our already full to do list. That’s why it is good to remember that Jesus came to rescue us from the domain of darkness (Colossians 1:13) and that Satan fought Jesus every step of the way even before he was born. Christmas is about Christ’s birth, but it’s about more – the reason for His birth – to win the victory over sin, death, and Satan in order to secure our eternal salvation.

This Christmas season it’s important for us to remember that the enemy Christ was born to defeat still roams the earth. (1 Peter 5:8)  We are in an ongoing battle against what Ephesians 6:12 describes as world forces of darkness and spiritual forces of wickedness.

Is the Battle Real?

The Bible records Satan tempting Jesus, influencing Peter’s thoughts and words, and entering into Judas, who betrayed Jesus.  Yes, the battle between God and Satan is real.  We see Satan’s hand in murders, mutilations, horrendous abuse, self-destructive cutting, addictions, lying, gross immorality, degrading behaviors. The good news is that Satan can’t enter into a believer. However, he can tempt and influence believers. That is why this Christmas season we must be diligent to put on the armor God has provided for us. Just as it’s our responsibility to put on our physical clothing and we wouldn’t dare walk about naked, it is our responsibility to put on God’s armor so we’re not naked targets for Satan. 

Let’s Get Dressed (Ephesians 6:10-18)

First, we need to reach for the belt of truth. Why? It is central to everything. How can we stand against Satan’s schemes if we don’t know the truth from a lie? We can shop for truths to put on by reading our Bible every day. 

Second, we need to cover our chest because our heart is vulnerable to sin. Mindfully contemplate the gift of Christ’s righteousness as you cover your heart with His breastplate.

If you’ve ever run out the door without shoes, you know the pain of sharp rocks and stickers. Hopping around on one foot is no fun plus it is debilitating. Take a moment every morning to strap on Christ’s gospel of peace. Walk in peace this Christmas, sure footed against Satan’s schemes, sharing God’s grace with others. 

Something we don’t wear, but need to have in our hand, like a fireman needs a fire extinguisher, is the shield of faith so we can extinguish what the Bible describes as “flaming arrows of the evil one.” Yes, the evil one aims arrows lit from hell at us. Don’t believe it? Look at loved ones and friends burning in anger, lit with depression, fuming with bitterness.  This is real, friends. The same Bible that says Jesus was born of a virgin to die for our sins is the same Bible that says we need to put on the full armor of God to resist the devil.

Two last items:  the helmet of salvation. Every morning it is important to mindfully remember that Jesus was born and “saved us not on the basis of deeds we have done, but according to His mercy, …, “ Titus 3:5.  This can’t help but put a smile on our face. Lastly, take the sword of the Spirit, the Word of God, in your hand. A Bible wielding Spirit filled Christian is a tougher target than a Christian with no sword. Plus, you will be a blessing to others this Christmas instead of a stressed out Christian. 

Have We Forgotten Something this Christmas

It’s easy in the midst of the Christmas season to forget that a spiritual battle ensues. Let’s cautiously, wisely armor up every day. It’s no laughing matter.

Heavenly Father, thank You for showing us what You see in the spiritual realm that our eyes can’t see. Thank You for telling us what we need to do to stand against evil and for providing us with Your spiritual armor. Please help us get in the habit of daily “armoring up” so we represent You well not only this Christmas season, but every day. 

You’re Invited! 

What:   Starting Strong with 2020 Vision Women’s Gathering

When:  Wednesday, January 8, 2020, 11 -12 noon

Where:  Trinity Baptist Church Chapel

Register: Call Trinity Baptist Church at 830.895.0100 or register online at https://www.tbck.org/events/. Childcare for infants to kindergarten must be registered. 

Email debbie@debbietaylorwilliams.com for more information. 

$7.50 includes Prayers of My Heart journal and refreshments. Scholarships available. 

Armor Up 

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