Have you got your PPE?

If I asked you at the beginning of the year – Have you got your PPE? You may have probably scratched your head and gave a puzzled look as you were unfamiliar with the term. But I am sure you are now well acquainted with those three letters which stand for Personal Protective Equipment. PPE is equipment that will protect the user against health and safety risks at work. Some examples include gloves, face masks, aprons and glasses. Healthcare workers working on the front lines continue to risk their safety and life; without adequate protection, they are at exposed to the invisible enemy (Corona) that is roaming and seeking whom to devour. And now as the wider community attempt to resume a “normal” way of living people are required to wear PPE specifically a face mask. I have made a few observations of people you may meet in pubic:

  1. Those who don’t have a face mask
  2. Those who use clothing such as scarves or hoodies as a face mask
  3. Those who incorrectly wearing their face masks (i.e their nose is visible or it has become a chin mask or even something to keep their neck warm)
  4. Those who are correctly wearing their face masks

It’s quite funny to see the variety. Which group do you belong to?

I am not here to scold or instruct you on how to wear your physical PPE against COVID-19 but I do want to talk about another type of PPE we should all be aware of. I recently came across this triggering quote on Instagram:

“Spiritually speaking, you and I are on the front lines and without having Personal Protective Equipment, we can be infected with the virus of sin.”

Mark Finley

It should come as no surprise that there is an ongoing war between good and evil. Although the physical realm appears harmless (when there isn’t a pandemic) we are still on a battleground: the spiritual realm is where the majority of the action takes place. Paul says in Ephesians 6:12: For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places. In the remaining of that passage, Paul gives an analogy of the Spiritual Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) that should be used. I will give a breakdown of these items below;

Spiritual PPE

  1. The Belt of truth
    • This belt was used by Roman soldiers to hold up their trousers and put their undergarments together. Without this, the soldier will be in discomfort under the rest of the armour.
    • It is vital to know the truth, this foundation aids our success in battles.
    • Jesus said “I am the way, the truth and the life” (John 14:6) and John 8:32 adds that: ye shall know the truth and the truth shall make you free
    • Truth is part of God’s character, it is who He is and his Son Jesus represents Truth therefore the Truth is always God’s view on any subject. We need to know our biblical beliefs as Christians because only the biblical truth can set us free from the power of darkness.
    • On the opponents’ side, you have Satan – the father of lies, who attempts to use deception to win. Thus, it is essential to get acquainted with the truth, respect the truth and live by the truth. A popular saying goes – If you don’t stand for something you fall for anything; hence why we must always be ready to give a response for the faith and hope we have.
    • During spiritual warfare resist the urge to consult everyone else’s view on the matter before considering God’s view.
  2. Breastplate of Righteousness
    • This breastplate was used to protect vital internal organs such as the heart and lungs thereby protecting the soldier from attacks in close combat.
    • Righteousness is the quality of being morally right or justifiable. This righteousness is not through our works, we receive it by faith in Jesus and His death on the cross thus making it possible for us to have eternal life.
    • Satan’s strategy is to attack our heart by manipulating our emotions; he manipulates us into thinking that our works make us right before God. He aims to accuse and condemn us when we sin thereby forgetting that it’s Jesus’ work that makes us righteous.
    • The truth is: we are not saved by our feelings because they can be deceptive; you can feel like a horrible and worthless person but that doesn’t mean you are not saved and vice versa.
    • We are called righteous because of our faith and trust in God not by how we feel about ourselves; don’t let Satan make you believe otherwise.
  3. Gospel of Peace (Sandals)
    • In ancient battle, sharpened sticks were often buried in the ground and if this was stepped on whilst bare-footed that soldier would be disabled.
    • Adequate footwear is essential in navigating and successfully fighting as it provides a firm foundation. Likewise, we need solid footing. The Gospel is the foundation for all we do and say, so it’s vital to know what it says.
    • You cannot afford to be wishy-washy about where you stand when it comes to sin; as I mentioned earlier if you don’t stand for something you fall for anything.
    • Don’t allow Satan to deceive and sway you into believing a counterfeit Gospel, we ought to test everything we hear and see against God’s Word. When we remove Jesus from the equation of the Gospel everything falls apart.
  4. Shield of Faith
    • Faith represents a shield, you are probably aware of the text in Hebrews 11:6 without faith it is impossible to please Him [God], for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.” Essentially we win in spiritual warfare when we have faith.
    • Satan’s strategy is to make us doubt God’s word, we see this in the account with Eve in the Garden of Eden: whilst the serpent is tempting Eve to eat the fruit he asks “Has God said?” “is that really what he said?”. When doubt seeps into our mind it is even more vital to understand God’s truth and stand by it.
    • We win in spiritual warfare when we make up our mind to understand God’s word, have faith in His Word and His promises.
    • Faith is trusting who and what God says even when our situation appears otherwise. It involves depending on God and not our ability. As God tells Abraham in Genesis 15:1 – [He] is our shield. God is our shield of faith that sends Satan’s darts back at him.
    • Faith allows us to fight temptations, doubts, guilt, fear, unbelief, anxiety. Faith says to Satan – “I trust God so I am sticking with Him.
  5. Helmet of Salvation
    • The soldier’s helmet protects his head i.e. our minds.
    • Satan’s strategy is to attack our mind by playing mischievous mind games. If we don’t have a foolproof strategy to guard and filter what we process we open ourselves to being defiled.
    • To prevent spiritual concussions our thoughts must be aligned with the Truth; a great formula for this is in Philippians 4:8-9 [description of things we should focus on]
    • The helmet is described as the hope of salvation in other bible texts [1 These 5:8]; having the hope of salvation helps in spiritual warfare when Satan attempts to discourage us. Satan plays mind games with us and leads us to think that being a Christian and living a godly life in today’s society is impossible so we should give up. However the hope of salvation protects us against giving up – we have hope and assurance that God will triumph; we are on the winning side.
    • A bible commentary explained that Salvation has 3 tenses
      • We have been saved from the penalty of our sin –Justification
      • We are being saved from the power of sin – Sanctification
      • We shall be saved from the presence of sin – Glorification
    • Don’t lose sight of eternity whilst fighting in spiritual warfare, there is hope that sin will one day no longer have the rule over us.
  6. Sword of the Spirit
    • A soldier has a sword that is used for attack and defence; we have the Word Of God as our attack and defence strategy against sin and temptation.
    • For the sword to be effectively used in battle, the soldier has to train with it beforehand likewise for us to effectively use the Word we must read and practise what it says.
    • The temptation of Jesus in the Wilderness which is documented in Matthew 4:1-11 explains how Jesus successfully fought the devil’s temptations with scriptural comebacks.
    • The psalmist says Your word I have hidden in my heart that I may not sin against you – Psalm 119:11. David understood that familiarity with God’s Word helps in the battle against sin because it keeps us from sinning and the devil can’t twist and use it against us.
    • Doug Batchelor once said: It’s either the bible keeps you from sinning or sin keeps you away from the bible. The choice is ours; what will it be?
    • Success in spiritual warfare is highly dependent on how well we know and implement biblical truths into our life.
  7. Last but certainly not least – Prayer
    • Prayer should always be our first resort as a lack of prayer is essentially telling God – I can do this on my own.
    • Jesus warns the disciples in Mark 14:38: “Watch and pray, lest you enter into temptation. The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.” – we are also warned to “Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour.” I Peter 5:8 
      • Satan wants to surprise and knock us down before we realise what’s happening, therefore, we must stay PRAYED UP at all times.
    • I am not going to labour the point but Prayer is our best weapon in pulling down strongholds in the spiritual realm. Being in communication with the father also gives you that much-needed encouragement and sustenance during the waging war.

Summarising with this Message translation of Ephesians 6:10-18

“And that about wraps it up. God is strong, and he wants you strong. So take everything the Master has set out for you, well-made weapons of the best materials. And put them to use so you will be able to stand up to everything the Devil throws your way. This is no afternoon athletic contest that we’ll walk away from and forget about in a couple of hours. This is for keeps, a life-or-death fight to the finish against the Devil and all his angels. Be prepared. You’re up against far more than you can handle on your own. Take all the help you can get, every weapon God has issued, so that when it’s all over but the shouting you’ll still be on your feet. Truth, righteousness, peace, faith, and salvation are more than words. Learn how to apply them. You’ll need them throughout your life. God’s Word is an indispensable weapon. In the same way, prayer is essential in this ongoing warfare. Pray hard and long. Pray for your brothers and sisters. Keep your eyes open. Keep each other’s spirits up so that no one falls behind or drops out.”

Ephesians 6:10-18

The Undiluted Word Points:

  1. Know the Truth and what you stand for
  2. Remember that God has called you righteous 
  3. Have Faith in God and His Promises
  4. Have the Hope of Salvation
  5. Attack the enemy with scripture
  6. Prayer must be the first resort 

God gives every believer a full set of PPE and sends us out into battle with everything we need at hand. If you were paying attention you may have realised there is no armour to protect your back – why is that you may ask? God does not expect us to run away from battle therefore exposing our backside – we are told to take up the whole armour and STAND – Stand for and with CHRIST. Now I ask you again Have you got your PPE and secondly are you wearing it properly?

May God continue to be with us all as we face the forces of the spiritual realm. May we stand strong as Soldiers in the Lord’s army ready to fight and win in the battle against sin with God on our side.

Stay blessed & Please continue to stay safe,

Dara xx

“I lost £25 but not myself” 

Hello, as some of you may already know I started University 4 weeks ago. I’ve been meaning to finish this post since my first week here, but something kept stopping me but I am determined to finish it and finally be able to post it- so here it is. This post is written in reflection of my time so far and in particular my first week. It is primarily for those that have already started Uni or are starting in the near future. However there is still something to gain for those that may or may not be in education.

Firstly, let me give you the background story to the title of this post. So for freshers week( introductory week for the first years at the start of Uni), we were told to buy £25 wristbands so that we had access to all the events that were being thrown. At my Uni (University of East Anglia) these events included; going to clubs, fancy dress events, ABC (Anything But Clothes) event, being paired up with older years for family night, tours, sports night, film & pizza night and finally concluding with a Freshers Ball. I left early from the first event which consisted of going to 3 bars/ clubs – I have now become acquainted with the term bar crawling to describe that event. (Bar Crawl-When individuals go from bar to bar in a small vicinity. Usually they drink so much at the first few bars that by the time they get to the last one they’re crawling from drunkenness.)

IMG_5551

The infamous Wristband

To cut the long story short, I missed 5 of the events. At first I would have liked the idea of going to the freshers ball seeing as most of the other Medical students were thinking that I was an antisocial human being; but I eventually decided against it as it was on a Friday night and I would be breaking the Sabbath. Seeing as I didn’t go to majority of the events, I am annoyed because I did lose that £25. However I am glad because I didn’t lose myself in the sense of compromising my principles just because I felt like I would be losing money or being given negative labels.

Now one important thing to know before reading any further is that I don’t intend to criticize those who enjoy clubbing or drinking alcohol but I do want to stress the importance of not conforming and compromising previous principles and standards. Yes, finally one is at Uni and we are suddenly thrown into a world of freedom; no more having to check in and out with parents. Starting at a new place can lead people down different paths, some that were or were not intended. We meet new people that have different upbringings, lifestyles and interests to what we have. It can be very easy for a person to get lost amongst it all and  begin to compromise previous convictions & principles in order to have pleasure, power or popularity.

Let us look at the story of Joseph. Joseph was tempted by Potiphar’s wife “day after day” but “refused to go to bed with her or even be with her” (Genesis 39:10). Doug Bachelor once said : When you are being tempted by someone or something to compromise your convictions, steer as far away as you can from the edge of the evil.  In order for a person to abide by their principles it is important to stay away from temptation. Earlier on in Genesis, you can tell that Eve wandered too close to the forbidden tree then waited to hear Satan’s rationalizations. Immediately when she saw the tree and heard the serpent question God’s truth, she should have ran for cover. In 1st Timothy 6:11, we are warned to “flee from temptation and pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, endurance and gentleness.” Sometimes we may be told by those close to us to strike a “balance”. However often times the balance causes us to conform our christian standards to worldly values.  You can’t balance holiness with a little sin. Being Christ-like is not out of balance.

The Cache River has a total length of 180 miles. However it only covers a distance of 35 miles, it wastes 140 miles to bends and turns. Now the reason a river becomes crooked is because it follows the path were there is least resistance, this can be likened to the reason why a Christian becomes crooked. The path of a Christian should be more like a tight rope than a meandering trail. What Moses told the children of Israel before he died can still be applied to us all today; “Therefore you shall be careful to do as the LORD your God has commanded you; you shall not turn aside to the right hand or to the left. You shall walk in all the ways which the LORD your God has commanded you, that you may live and that it may be well with you” (Deuteronomy 5:32-33)

Now we may be naive and think that it’s only outsiders that cause us to compromise Christian principles and convictions, however the devil mainly works through those closest to us.  Therefore we should all learn to say “Get thee behind me, Satan. I ain’t gonna do it”. 

When you study the events surrounding the trial of Jesus Christ, we can see that compromise ultimately crucified Him. Pontius Pilate admitted that Jesus was an innocent man, however he didn’t make a stand for the truth because he wanted to win approval from the crowd. Are you compromising your convictions to win approval from the crowd? Pilate went as far as to give the people a choice to just beat Jesus and then release Him. However, it is important to know that once you embark down the road of compromise no matter where you stop, the devil will pick you up and complete the walk on your behalf. This is because you have signaled your weakness by displaying a willingness to negotiate with wrong. So, once you begin to sacrifice your convictions, it is very easy to slide into ruin.

As a person continues to compromise their conscience becomes numb, until it becomes the fruit of conformity with the world. If we as Christians begin to compromise now in the little things without a death threat, how are we going to cope when we are threatened with imprisonment and death. The bible states numerous of times : STAND! “Do not be afraid. Stand firm and you will see the deliverance the Lord will bring you today”- Exo 14:13. How are we expected to stand in a world that seems to be against our beliefs and convictions, the answer lies in Ephesians 6:11-13.

11 Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles [schemes] of the devil. 12 For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age,against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places.13 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.

A congressman named William  Jennings Bryan said:

“Never be afraid to stand with a minority that is right for the minority will someday be the majority. Always be afraid to stand with the majority that is wrong, for the majority that is someday wrong will someday be the minority.”

Please re-read that quote just so that you can grasp its meaning. With God all things are possible!- Yes that includes living life without worldly conformity and compromise. Be determined to stand on the Rock and resist the waves of compromise that are sweeping God’s children from the shores of salvation. Please listen to the song below entitled Stand by Tye Tribett.

Dear Reader, always remember that when you stand for God , you do not stand alone: Jesus stands with you. So whenever you are faced with a decision that is contrary to your convictions, stand for Jesus! You shall be rewarded, maybe not immediately or on earth but surely in the long run.

Stay Blessed,

Dara x

P.S- This post was mainly inspired by Doug Batchelor’s ebook : Compromise, Conformity and Courage. (http://www.amazingfacts.org/media-library/book/e/19/t/compromise-conformity-and-courage)