Monthly Archives: February 2021



We have heard a lot about personal protective equipment these days in our pandemic world. Personal protective equipment, commonly referred to as “PPE,” is equipment worn to minimize exposure to hazards that cause serious workplace injuries and illnesses. Personal protective equipment include items such as masks, face shields, gloves, safety glasses and shoes, earplugs or muffs, hard hats, respirators, or coveralls, vests and full body suits. PPE is especially prevalent now in the healthcare industry among doctors and nurses and other medical staff treating COVID-19 patients.

The concept of PPE reminds me of the focus on the armor of God in the Bible, described here:

Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand firm.  Stand therefore, having fastened on the belt of truth, and having put on the breastplate of righteousness,  and, as shoes for your feet, having put on the readiness given by the gospel of peace. In all circumstances take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming darts of the evil one;  and take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God, praying at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication.  —Ephesians 6:13-18

Like PPE in our physical world, the armor of God in the spiritual world protects us from the harm and danger that the evil forces against our God fling at us. Let’s take a look at each piece of our spiritual PPE:

The belt of truth: We know that Jesus alone is the way, the truth and the life. That keeps us firm against every falsehood that threatens to infect our souls. And the truth is that Jesus has saved us and is with us always.

The breastplate of righteousness: Jesus has made us righteous through his suffering, death and resurrection from the dead. We are safe in him. Our hearts are protected by his grace. No evil force can change that fact.

Shoes fitted with the readiness of the gospel of peace: There are times when we need to move in response to the Lord’s bidding, and the shoes of our spiritual armor help us to do that quickly, knowing that we have the peace of God’s Good News of salvation to guide us. These shoes make us ready to run from evil and not be afraid.

The shield of faith: Hardships, uncertainty and sickness can be like darts that try to poke away at our faith. But when we lift up the faithful shield of our hope in Jesus, the darts are deflected and our confidence remains strong.

The helmet of salvation: Evil, doubt and dread can get in our heads during trying times, but with the helmet of salvation set in place over our minds, the bad thoughts cannot get in and the good thoughts of God’s blessings even in hard times remain.

The sword of the Spirit: So many messages come at us from various media sources about what we should and should not do and so many words of worry and doom come at us from the Evil One. But we can slice through all the talk and get to what matters most with the Word of God. Let the Spirit help you turn to the pages of the Bible that get you to the news that you should listen to above all other outlets.

No matter where you are and what condition you are in, always remember that you have this spiritual PPE on and you can do great things because of it.

Gift Bags

gift bags

Have you noticed lately that most presents for birthdays and other special occasions are found in gift bags, not in wrapped presents? “Why is that so?” I pondered. Here is what I came up with:

  1. They are easier to wrap—no scissors, tape and measuring.
  2. They are easier for the recipient to unwrap—no picking at corners and straining to undo tape.
  3. They are easier for the recipient to carry home with the built-in handles.

What does this have to do with Christian living? It has to do with the Christian life because we often make sharing our God-given gifts with others more difficult. We bind up our love behind the tape of selfishness and hostility. We often make it hard to break through the barriers we put in place to block our kindness and care. That’s why we as Christians are drawn to the “gift bag” approach, if you will, of sharing with others. Our hearts should be open and easy to access. Our gift-giving should be something that comes naturally and without much trouble to receive. Our gifts should be something that the recipients can carry home with them to enjoy and even share with others. So often people re-use gift bags to give their own presents to others. So we are to share with others in the same way that others have shared with us. What a beautiful picture of the continuous spreading of God’s gifts of love to every one of us.

Candy Hearts

candy hearts

Did you get any candy hearts for Valentine’s Day? As a kid, I enjoyed getting them and reading the message on each one before I ate it. They say things like: “I love you,” “Be mine,” “True love,” “My pal,” and “Friends forever.” We usually eat these and then don’t think much about them. But if we think about them, these candy hearts have a very biblical connection. Consider this Bible verse:

And you show that you are a letter from Christ delivered by us, written not with ink but with the Spirit of the living God, not on tablets of stone but on tablets of human hearts. 2 Corinthians 3:3

God has imprinted on our very hearts his love and care for us. He truly means it when he says, “I love you,” “Be mine,” “True love,” “My pal,” and “Friends forever.” These divine messages on our hearts define who we are and whose we are. These are words that should never be forgotten or dissolve away in our mouths. They should be the motivating factors in our love for one another. As the Bible says, “We love because he first loved us” (1 John 4:19). His love for us helps us to say, “I love you,” “Be mine,” “True love,” “My pal,” and “Friends forever” in the Lord’s name to one another. These words we share with each other are engraved on their hearts as well since they are blessed by God. With sincere hearts we care for one another in the same way that God cares for us. Let every heart be a message board of love.



I have to admit that I was never very good at math. That’s why I stuck with writing even though I did make it through algebra in high school by the skin of my teeth. But Jesus asks us all to do a little math when Peter asks Jesus, “Lord, how often shall my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? As many as seven times?” Jesus answers, “I do not say to you seven times, but seventy times seven.” If I am doing my math right, Jesus is asking us to forgive a person 490 times when they sin against us.

But here is where I don’t think Jesus wants us to get our math exactly right, forgiving someone 490 times on the nose and then refusing to forgive once that magic number is reached. No, the meaning here, scholars believe, is that Jesus is intending to express an infinite number. Seven was seen as a perfect number (that is why Peter suggests it), so multiplying a perfect number by a multiple of a perfect number meant that the number of times we should forgive should be perfection upon perfection, a never-ending amount.

We can be a very unforgiving people at times. “I will never forgive him!” we hear people say. The forgiveness factor offered by much of humanity is often a zero. And that is the kind of math our human nature tends toward. But we are formed in the nature of God, and therefore it is in our spiritual DNA to forgive and forgive and forgive. There is no number that calculates the end of our forgiveness. The number of times we say “I forgive you” in the kingdom of God is always countless.



School is still looking a lot different these days with kids still taking classes remotely from home, some going to school in a hybrid fashion only a few days a week with the other days at home learning, and others going to school full-time in regular fashion with masks, often in pods with small groups of students.

I got to thinking that we did not know many of these words over a year ago and now they are a normal part of our vocabulary as we schedule our days with our children. It also got me to thinking that learning takes place in many ways, ways that we might have thought were unworkable before.

What does this have to do with Jesus? It is important because it brings to light that Jesus was very adaptable in his teaching methods. He taught remotely in the homes of people living in various parts of the surrounding territory where he lived. He taught in hybrid ways, sometimes alone with a single person and sometimes with crowds of people. He taught in pods, if you will, sharing knowledge of God’s kingdom with a small group of 12 disciples.

His teaching style may have changed with each type of teaching circumstance, but his messages to his students was always the same. His lessons were to repent, to love, to tell, to listen, to pray, to trust, to grow in faith, and to live in hope. For all those who teach (which is all of us, in one way or another), our approach should be the same as Jesus’. We should always be ready to adapt and be flexible, but we should never change our lesson plan to instruct our students in the ways of Jesus and the power of his salvation for us. As Jesus himself said, “Learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls” (Matthew 11:29). Let the learning continue for all of you.