The Helmet of Salvation

 

I’ve been pondering the concept of “The helmet of salvation” for a few weeks now, and have had a hard time wrapping my head around the whole idea. How can Salvation be a helmet? What’s Paul getting at here? How does this apply to my life today?

The helmet of salvation is the second last piece of armor Paul instructs us to put on for battle and it has an important job. As anyone who plays sports such as hockey or football knows, a helmet is a vital piece of equipment, protecting not only one’s face, but also the entire head; in effect protecting the brain, and the mind. A blow to the head, or a concussion, can have serious long-term consequences.

If you’ve ever had a concussion or a migraine (or even a headache for that matter!), you’ll know that the pain that occurs in your head makes it very hard to think, or to process things clearly. Research shows that when one has a migraine, it not only affects the body, but also the emotions. It is easy to doubt oneself, to second guess what we are thinking and feeling about what is going on in our lives and our hearts. Before we know it, we are caught in the grips of anxiety, doubt and fearfulness. When we experience these feelings we begin to doubt God’s promises for us. Our Salvation saves us from danger, from sin, from attitudes and ways the world thinks and ultimate death and separation from God.

The Helmet of salvation can act as a protection for our mind and helps to keep the doubts Satan throws our way at bay. Knowing that our Salvation comes from God can be a grounding point for us within the hard times and can bring focus and clarity to our minds and hearts. If we put our Salvation on as a helmet, it protects us from undermining the power of God in our lives. If we act out of our fears and anxieties, we aren’t able to live in the confident hope that we are saved and that we will continue to be saved. Our helmet of salvation allows us to live differently from the world, separate from patterns and beliefs that the world pushes upon us.

In Romans 5:3-5 we read, “We can rejoice, too, when we run into problems and trials, for we know that they help us develop endurance.  And endurance develops strength of character, and character strengthens our confident hope of salvation. And this hope will not lead to disappointment. For we know how dearly God loves us, because he has given us the Holy Spirit to fill our hearts with his love.”

Spend some time today reflecting on today’s scripture passages. If you need some food for thought, consider these questions:

  • What does the helmet of Salvation protect me from personally?
  • What does my helmet look like?
  • How can I strengthen my “confident hope of salvation”?
  • How is God calling me to share this piece of armor with those around me?

 

River

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In the last several weeks, I have been drawn to the Red River that runs through Winnipeg. I have no idea why, or the significance of that (if any?) but I have found myself ending up on the banks of the river a lot as I go for my walks.

While a river might have harsh connotations, raging, rushing and flooding the land around it, I am also drawn to it’s gentleness. It’s a slow, measured, meandering path that it takes, continually heading north, winding back and forth, creating many hairpin curves on its route. Eventually it runs into Lake Winnipeg and then into the Hudson Bay.

A river can cut through rock, not by flooding the land it meets and expressing it’s greatness and power, but through it’s gentle persistence. Continually running past rocks and soil. Time after time, slowly wearing down thousands of years of nature. Bit by tiny bit.

Our gentleness can be like that. Slowly wearing down our rough edges so gradually that we don’t always see the difference in ourselves until we look back to see where we have been, and who we have been.

God’s gentleness is like the river. Working in us first, pouring into us frist, filling us like a river fills a lake. And then, the most beautiful thing happens, the lake fills up and continues to pour out. Our gentleness begins to pour out of us and begins to change those around us. Changing their lives, and filling more lives in the process.

Rivers. Gentleness. God’s love.

“Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near.” Philippians 4:5

How has the gentleness of someone affected your life?
In what ways is God calling you into gentleness today?

Great is Thy Faithfulness

Great is Thy Faithfulness

As I have prayed and reflected about writing this post all week, the only thing that has come to me, continually, is the old hymn “Great is Thy Faithfulness”. And so, we are going to embrace that today.

If you have five minutes today, I would encourage you to listen to Great is Thy Faithfulness

 

Great is Thy Faithfulness

Great is thy faithfulness, O God my Father;

there is no shadow of turning with thee;

thou changest not, thy compassions, they fail not;

as thou hast been thou forever will be.

Refrain:

Great is thy faithfulness! Great is thy faithfulness!

Morning by morning new mercies I see;

all I have needed thy hand hath provided;

great is thy faithfulness, Lord, unto me!

 

Summer and winter and springtime and harvest,

sun, moon and stars in their courses above

join with all nature in manifold witness

to thy great faithfulness, mercy and love. Refrain

 

Pardon for sin and a peace that endureth

thy own dear presence to cheer and to guide;

strength for today and bright hope for tomorrow,

blessings all mine, with ten thousand beside! Refrain.

Words: Thomas O. Chisholm  Music: William M. Runyan  Words & Music © 1923, Ren. 1951 by Hope Publishing Co., Carol Stream, IL 60188.

Sit back and close your eyes. Let the music surround you. After you listen to the song, I encourage you to reflect and pray about the following questions.

  • How have you experienced God’s faithfulness in your life?
  • How have you experienced a pardon for sin and peace that endureth?
  • How does God’s faithfulness give you strength for today and bright hope for tomorrow?
  • How are you able to share God’s faithfulness in your life with those around you?

 

 

The Goodness of God

As I write this, I am reflecting on the last week of lent and the passion week and I can’t help but be in wonder and awe at the Goodness of God’s plan. During times when I might doubt God’s goodness and sovereignty, I need to remind myself, that God has always come through for me. Even when it has been hard for me to see God’s plan at the time, God’s plan has always worked out better than I could ever have imagined.

Most of us have probably heard the cliché church phrase “God is good, all the time” to which another responds “All the time, God is good”. Looking back in my life, I am truly able to say that I am grateful for some things that have happened in my life, bumps in the road, twists and turns that I would never have seen on the map. Even though they were not what I expected or even wanted at the time. Now I am able to look back at the goodness of God, but can I truly speak of God’s goodness, even before I see how things turn out?

Our lives and our world are messy. There’s a lot of sadness, brokenness and pain, and it’s hard not to feel overwhelmed by this. There are countless stories in the Old Testament that illustrate this and remind us that God’s plans take time. The Israelites wandered in the desert for 40 years, waiting to enter into the Promised Land. Abraham and Sarah waiting for God to fulfill the promise that they would have more descendants than the stars in the sky. And nearly 400 years of waiting for the messiah that they were promised as proof of God’s goodness and plan of hope and life for them

And then the messiah arrived, giving us the ultimate example of God’s goodness and love for us, and he was called Jesus! And he grew up, and became a teacher, and spread God’s message to everyone who would listen, and things looked brighter, and hopeful again. And then the unthinkable happened and life and the world got messy again. God’s plan took a twist once again and got messy. God’s son, this man who was so well-loved by many, was not loved by all and God’s goodness was again put into question when his son was to be sacrificed on a cross.

God intended for good to overcome the sadness and darkness of our world. For goodness to bring hope, and peace. We know from scripture that even though Jesus was willing to sacrifice his own life for us, he struggled with God’s goodness and prayed in Gethsemane “My father, if it is not possible for this cup to be taken away unless I drink it, may your will be done” (Matthew 26:42), and again later on the cross he cried out “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” And yet, he followed God’s plan for ultimate redemption; giving his life, for ours.

I think it is only natural to wonder and question what is going on in our lives, and even experience some doubts. But more importantly we need to remember that in the darkest moments of our lives, the goodness of God can and will shine through if we are looking for it. The darkest of nights will always give way to the rising sun. The darkness and stench of Good Fridays grisly picture is turned on its head and gives way to the light and life of Resurrection Sunday. Always. God’s goodness always comes through for us; we only need to turn our eyes towards God.

Kindness

To be honest, this past week has been a bit of a struggle for me. With life and “stuff” happening, it’s been challenge for me to be kind to myself. I wondered, how can I write about kindness when I am struggling to be kind to myself this week? And then I realized, that’s exactly why I need to write about kindness. To remind myself (and others!) that it is quite necessary to practice kindness to myself.

If I am to love others, as I love myself just as Jesus told me to, shouldn’t that imply that I also love and care for myself? There are times when I am harder on myself than I would be on anyone else. Beating myself up for silly mistakes, and not extending the kindness and grace I would to others if they found themselves in the same situation.

Practicing loving kindness starts with ourselves. If we show ourselves kindness in small ways, it will extend to others. When I feel the freedom to rest when I am sick, I am able to give others more grace and kindness when they are struggling. If I give myself permission to make mistakes, and not be a perfectionist, then it’s much easier for me to loosen my expectations of others.

Knowing this fact, it seems to me that it is all the more important for me to abide in Christ. The more that I abide; the more Christ will influence my thoughts, my actions, and my feelings. I hear the voice of Christ in those tricky situations, rather than the voice of my humanness. I hear Christ speaking words of love and tenderness to me, rather than judgment and criticism.

Questions for the week
In what ways do I need to practice loving kindness to myself this week? To others?

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonour others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. 1 Corinthians 13:4-5 NIV