Saturday, October 31, 2015

Weapons of Our Warfare

Have you ever played a videogame in which you are going along just fine then, BOOM, Boss level. Sure there have been other obstacles, but you just take care of them, no big deal. But then, out of nowhere, comes the big man. This challenger has the strength and combined power of all the foes before and he is coming at you with vengeance. Unless you are a beast at such games, this guy will come as a shock to you and you probably will not beat him the first couple times around. What if life was the same way. You journey through your own adventure, collecting skills and traits along the way, and then you are suddenly thrown into a huge battle that you may or may not be ready for. I have to admit that depending on the game, I am not a beast at video games, and most of the time, I can't even get to the Boss level, let alone defeat it. But thankfully, God does not require us to be good at video games in order to beat the real Bad guy trying to ruin our lives. In many game scenarios, in the events leading up to that final battle, you spend your time preparing. By this of course I mean that you strengthen your avatar and collect things along the way that allow you to be the best you can be. Of the things collected, one of the more important powerups are those that increase your armor. in games like these, the strength of your armor could determine how you will fair when you are being attacked. Isn't it cool that God gives us our own personal armor to fight off things outside of the virtual reality. In Ephesians chapter 6, Paul talks about putting on the full Armor of God and he lists 6 "pieces" of equipment that we must clothe ourselves with. These pieces are the Helmet, the Shield, The Breastplate, the Belt, the Shoes and the Sword.

The Helmet of Salvation- This piece protects not only the outside, but more importantly, the mind. Satan knows that if he can get into your head, he can infiltrate your whole body. He has ways to use our thoughts against us, to pull us into fear and doubt or tempt us into sinning even though we know the consequences. This is the technique he used in the Garden of Eden. God had told Adam and Eve to not eat of the forbidden fruit, or else they would die. All it took for them was a little seed of doubt placed in Eve's head and the whole world was plunged into sin. The Helmet helps to protect our mind against such attacks.

The Shield of Faith. For any person who has experience with sword fighting, they could tell you that knowing how to use a sword is important, having a sturdy shield in your other hand is just as important. Having a thing solely as defense is just as useful as a good offense with the sword. The spiritual Shield is our line of defense against the attacks from the devil. Satan will fire spiritual arrows at us, and this shield protects the heart from being pierced.

The Breastplate of Righteousness. This piece also protects the important organs from any attacks. The righteousness Paul is talking about is not self-righteousness, but rather the righteousness of God the Father, imparted on us once the Faith has been placed inside of us. This protects us from any and all accusations that come from deceiving lips from the enemy.

The Belt of Truth. Like a belt holds up a pair of pants, this belt holds up our integrity as Christians. When we walk in truth, and honesty, people feel safer trusting us, knowing we won't stab them in the back with false assumptions. Just as we feel more secure with a belt holding up our pants, Truth helps us feel more secure in holding up our lives.

The Shoes of the Gospel of Peace. Walking in shoes of peace, we are able to walk up to the enemy with head held high knowing that none of the enemies' trap will destroy us. Yes they may get us down for a minute, but through God's grace, they will not get us down for an eternity.

Finally, The Sword of the Spirit. This is God's Holy word. When someone is getting ready to fight, they first study the technique and they practice with the weapon. God's word is the same way. In order to fight back against the Devil, we need to know our stuff, and that requires us to get into his word and study his message so that when the enemy comes against us, we will be ready for him.

It is time to upgrade our armor and get ready for battle, For the enemy is coming and he won't come with a warning. He will come when you least expect it, so lets always be ready, not getting lazy with our spiritual training and getting prepared every way we know how.
The time for battle is coming, and its time to fight

Adam Semple- a young man on a mission from God.

Saturday, October 24, 2015

Parting the Waters

There are several occurrences in the old testament when Israel comes to a large body of water, and they somehow need to cross over to the other side in the quickest way possible. As most of you may have read, At these bodies of water, God uses the person in command to split the waters in half so that the people are able to cross safely through the water on dry land. Even the the miracle is the same in these occurrences, the circumstances surrounding the two are different. The two I am referring to are of course the Israelites crossing at the end of slavery, and at the end of wilderness adventures.
In the first event, The people have just witnessed God do amazing things, called plagues, that hurt the nation of Egypt severely. After 400 years of slavery, the people finally leave Egypt and head out, following the pillar of cloud and fire which is God's road map for them. Not long into their journey, they come upon the Red Sea and after looking back and seeing Pharaoh's men consisting of 600 chariots, they instantly begin to panic and complain. "Did you bring us out here to be killed? I want to go back to Egypt. What are doing, Moses?" Reading through this story in Exodus, nowadays we wonder, what were they thinking? God just rescued them from bondage and they immediately want back in. But, because He is God, and these people are his chosen nation, He proceeds to tell Moses to stretch his staff out over the waters, and when he does, a wind comes in from the east and creates to solid walls of water, one on each side. The Israelites then walk on dry land across the bottom of the sea, and after every person is across, God sends the waters crashing down, right over Pharaoh and his men. About a year goes by, and the Israelites find themselves feet from the promise land, but out of fear, they end up having to spend 40 years in the desert before the nation can claim the land that God already had set aside for them. So 40 years go by. Every person who was 20 years of age or older had died, and a new generation of Israel has been established. This time, they are led by a man by the name of Joshua, who was one of the only two people left alive during the wilderness time, the other of course being Caleb. Joshua sends spies into the land across the Jordan River, Jericho, and the men report that the people are scared of them and that they can take the land. This time, the people come with a new sense of expectancy. Here some of them have waited forty years for this day, and it has finally arrived. Finally they can leave the wilderness and enters God's Promised Land. Joshua commands the people to get ready, "For tomorrow, God will do amazing things among you".-vs 3:5. He tells the priests that carry the ark to walk towards the waters edge, and once their feet touch the water, the waters will separate and again, the people will be able to cross on dry land. Talk about a step of faith. This is one of those times when the people know what is going to take place, yet they had to step out in faith in order for it to come about. Once the waters part, the people walk across, and they take 12 stones out of the riverbed and place them as a monument on the other side as a remembrance to what God did for them that day.
So, now lets compare the two. At the Red Sea, the people were full of panic and worry, for Pharaoh was coming to get them. At the Jordan River, the people were not only ready, they were obedient in stepping out into what God had for them. In both cases, the parting of the waters marked the end of one season and the beginning of a new. These situations brought an end to slavery and beginning of wandering, then the end of wandering to the beginning of promise. Following the parting of the River, the people went on to destroy the city of Jericho, not with weapons, but by simply following the orders laid before them by God. If the people had listened and obeyed the first time, they wouldn't have wasted 40 years wandering looking at the land from afar, but because of their attitude toward the situation, most of the people did not live to see God's promise come full circle. They missed out on the promise because they couldn't get out of their past in order to embrace their future.
Don't miss out on what God has for you simply because you are panicking about what is behind you, but step out into what is ahead.
Adam Semple- a young man on a mission from God


Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Note to Self

" Dear Future Self, How are things in the future. Anything exciting happen to you recently. I am writing this letter to you to encourage you that even though things may be getting hard and it feels like you will be giving up, I want you to know that you can handle this. You have been through situations like this before, and you managed to survive till the end. Whatever is happening now is nothing new. It might look different from past struggles or old hurts, but they are just different tactics to sway you from the path God has for you. I hope as you read this letter, you have continued to follow your dreams, or maybe you have new ones. I pray you have stuck through the hard times to get to where you are and have not given in to the temptation to throw in the towel at the first sign of struggle. You are stronger than that, and nothing the Devil throws at you is a shock to God. Stick it through, and you will go far.' Your old self-until our two paths intersect."

Have you ever written a note to yourself for you to read sometime in the future. Maybe you would write on on New Years with all the resolutions you made for that year, and you open it the next year to see how you did. Maybe, something big in your life took place and you want to remember the moment. In the letter, you may bring up the event and as your future self reads it, you will in turn remember what God did for you.
What if in one of these letters, you are truly honest with yourself and confess some things that you have a hard time telling other people. The things that are hard for you to admit even to yourself are the places that God wants to fix in you. True life/attitude/perspective change happens when we dig down deep within ourselves and find the things we have buried so far into us that we deny struggling with these things, and then confessing them to the father. Sometimes, these things we have denied for so long, that people may call us out on something, and we become like Peter and deny all existence of a problem. It has been said that once we acknowledge an issue, it is easier to get help and get healing in that area.
You may be wondering what kind of things could bury themselves so deep within oneself that an individual does not even realize they are there. This could be anything that comes between you and God. Addictions, Pride, Greed are just a few things, but the list can go on and on. When there is something that hinders us in our walk with God, we must pray and ask the Father to reveal those things inside of us and ask forgiveness from these things. Once we admit a problem, God will help us get to a positive solution of redemption and freedom.

It might be time to write out a letter to yourself. A letter of confession or apology with the soul purpose of finding peace and growing closer to the Lord and Savior of our souls.

Adam Semple- a young man on a mission from God, until our lives cross again.

Saturday, October 17, 2015

Crazy Faith

It can be really easy sometimes to follow God when everything in your life is going well. It can be easy when something gets just a little off. But what do you do when everything falls apart and nothing goes like it should? Times like these call for a faith beyond the ordinary. I'm talking crazy faith. The faith that tells you to jump and you have to believe you will make it to the other side. This faith, from the eyes of the outside, can be looked down upon as foolish faith, but in the eyes of God, it is right where he wants his people. Giving everything you own away and living as a poor man seems insane to those around you, yet it might be exactly the place that God has need for you to be in that season of your life. In situations like this, any person you come in contact with might have gone from riches to rags in a short span of time, and you know have a connecting point with that person. "I could never do that. That is crazy. I would look like a fool."  From the words of Petra, I would rather be a fool in the eyes of men, than a fool in the eyes of God.-Fool's Gold. I want to depend on God so confidently, that I will not care how I look to the world, because I am not out to impressive them. We were not put on this earth to fit perfectly into the mold of the world, nor are we to try and gain approval from people, rather than God. Some of the greatest bible heroes that we discuss were probably looked on as crazy. Consider John the Baptist. He ate locusts and honey and wore camel skin, and was considered insane, yet God used him to prepare the way for his son on the earth. Then there is the prophet Isaiah. He spent 3 years naked because God told him to be. Now, we don't know  reason for this, but it was probably awkward to be around him during this time. What about the story of Abraham. After 25 years of waiting for a promised son, Abraham finally receives his promise, then God tells him to sacrifice the promised child. Wait God, I just got my promise and now you want me to kill him. I don't understand. You said My descendants would outnumber the stars in the sky, and it would be through this boy. Why would you want me to kill him? Not once during this story do we read of Abraham questioning God, only that he prepares for the sacrifice believing that whatever happens, God still knows what he is doing. In the end, Isaac is saved from death and a ram is offered instead. Then there is the story of Esther. Esther was just a common girl from Israel who became queen. Then after a short while, she had to risk everything, including her life, in order to save her people. In that day, if someone came to the king unannounced, the king could, and usually did, have that person killed. Yet we see that after prayer and fasting, Esther was able to approach the king with a welcoming heart and she was able to save countless of lives. Take Gideon. He was called by God while threshing wheat in a winepress, for fear of the Midianites finding it and taking it. God called him to lead an army of 300 men to take on the 135,000 men army of Midian. In the beginning, Gideon had to make sure God had really wanted him, but after God proved that he had not made a mistake in his choice, Gideon was able to lead the army. The Midianites were wiped out without a single Israelite drawing their sword. Talk about crazy. Another of many great examples is that of Moses. Moses was born a Hebrew, raised in an Egyptian palace, then spent 40 years in the wilderness. In the wilderness, God comes to him in a burning bush and instructs Moses to walk right up to Pharaoh and tell him to let go the 600,000+ men plus women and children, whom Pharaoh had working as slaves. Moses went up against Pharaoh with only Aaron, his brother, and God, and Pharaoh ended up drowning in the Red Sea. Having crazy faith is not something everyone, even those who are saved, can do. Just having faith when life is going great, is like keeping God in your back pocket, like a spare tire on a car, and only pulling him out when you get a flat. But God needs to be the steering wheel of your spiritual vehicle. God wants us to solely rely on him, that he will get us where we need to go, and when we need to get there. If having faith was an easy task, and it didn't make you appear different or uncomfortable, it would be way more convenient for everyone to do it. As much as God wants all of his children to have faith, what he really wants is the few that truly believe. The ones who have gone through what seems like hell on earth, yet have not wavered in their faith, but rather strengthened it to where it needs to be. That is crazy faith. Faith that, no matter what is thrown your way, you eyes will not waiver from the one who is control, and you will not be shaken. In every situation, in everyday life, this is the faith that we must strive for. Getting to a point of crazy faith probably won't be an easy feat, but once you get to the place of ultimate surrender, God will show you just how big his is, and that there is nothing to fear as long as you trust in what he is doing.

Adam Semple- a young man striving for crazy faith to do the mission from God.

Saturday, October 10, 2015

Like Falling Down a Waterfall

When hiking a trail in the mountains, there is almost always a beautiful spectacle awaiting you at the top. most of the time, it is a beautiful view of a valley from above, or a landscape that is picture worthy, but on occasion, you will see a sight more beautiful than even that. The sight of a gushing waterfall. When coming up to a waterfall, you can hear the sound of it long before you arrive at it, and when you do, there is this amazing smell of beauty that you can't help but soak ii all in. Waterfalls, like any spectacle can be see from several perspectives. There is the view from the top. This view is what an unfortunate boat that happened along the wrong path might encounter. Picture a boat floating down the river, a bright sun in the sky, a cool breeze in the air, when all of a sudden, they hear the sound of falling water and realize what is coming their way. From their viewpoint, they can not see how high up they will be falling from or what lies at the bottom. All they know is they better act quick to ensure they arrive safely on the other side. I feel like life can be like this some times. We are leisurely floating along when, BAM, danger approaches. It comes without warning and there is little we can do to stop it from happening. Usually what happens, at least in movies anyway, is that the people try to turn their boat around and get to shore as swiftly as possible. 9 times out of 10. their attempts at turning around only result in them capsizing backwards over the raging waterfall, rather than facing it head on. Amidst the descent, everyone ends up on the outside the boat and they make sure everyone is still there and ok. A situation happens like this when everything is going smooth and out of nowhere, things begin to fall all around you. You lose a loved one, a house, a job, and suddenly, you are going headfirst over the unknown. Then there is the view from the bottom. From here, you can see the whole waterfall in all of its beauty. From the peak to the river at the bottom, you see nothing but a masterpiece in constant motion, This is what it looks like to be on the other side of a scenario. After the fall, and you have come to the conclusion that everyone is fine, you see that either, "Wow, look what I just survived!", or "Wow, that wasn't too bad. Whatever the size of the waterfall, you look up and see water gushing down on you by the gallons, and yet somehow you came out alive. Yes, the unknown was terrifying, "How high is it? Are there steep rocks at the bottom? Will I survive?" Sometimes, the fall itself might seem to go on forever. "Will I ever get back to how I was? What will it look like when its over?" But then, you hit that cold water, (usually), and all your fears melt away. You survived, you have made it, and it really wasn't as bad as it seemed on the way down. As you look up, you realize what God has just brought you through. You look around and see a brand new sight that your eyes have never seen before and you can't help but feel good about. When you go through life knowing you have survived a waterfall, when the next one comes along, you can brace yourself, let go of the paddles and hang on for the ride, because though it may not be easy going down, the after effect will be breathtaking. Its time to go over and prepare yourself for what lies ahead.

Adam Semple- a young man on a mission from God

Saturday, October 3, 2015

Disembark From The Ark

If you have spent anytime in church, you are probably familiar with the story of Noah and the ark. In case you aren't, here is a slight summary.
God comes to Noah and tells him that because of the wickedness in the world, He is going to wipe the slate clean and wipe out everyone on earth except for Noah and his family. He proceeds to tell Noah that he must build an ark and it must be big enough to fit 2 of every living creature, both male and female of every species on the earth at that time. Noah is given the measurements and he and his 3 sons, Shem, Ham, and Japheth, got right to work. Once the ark was completed, Noah and his wife, their sons and their wives, and male and female of all animals boarded the ark and for 40 days, God poured out rain upon the face of the earth, coming both from the heavens and under the earth. After the 40 days of rain, there was so much water on the earth, that the tops of the highest mountain ranges were covered in water. Because the waters were so high, Noah and his family stayed on the ark for 150 days. I do not know if this was an additional 150 following the 40, or if it equalled out to the 150, but either way, that is a long time on a wooden boat full of stinking animals with nothing to do and nothing to see but water for miles all around. After the 150 days, God made the ark rest upon the top of the mountain Ararat. 3 months following that, the tops of the other mountains were visible. Shortly following this, Noah opened the window and sent out a dove from the ark. The dove came back after a while for it had no place to rest its feet. Noah waits a week, and again sends out the dove, this time when it returns, it as in its mouth an olive leaf. I imagine this was encouraging to Noah, but they couldn't leave yet. After another week, he sends the dove out for a third time, and this time, the dove did not return back to the ark, for it had found a resting place. After a period of almost a full year on the ark, God told Noah and his family to disembark from the ark and to increase and multiply over the face of the earth. Then God makes a promise to Noah declaring He will never again send a flood to destroy the earth, and as a seal, he placed a rainbow in the sky as a visual reminder between God and man. It might be easy to look at that story with the viewpoint that God is evil and wants to simply wipe us out. How about instead, we look at in as a way to clean house, so to speak, and start fresh. If God simply hated his creation, it would have been just as easy to simply destroy the earth with everything in it, but instead, he took a family that walked in his ways and preserved them from a wicked and perverse generation in order to remove things that should not have been and put in things that should have been. Many people are going through life with the feeling that the rain is just going to keep coming and they will be stuck on their "boat" forever. I can imagine that while on the ark, Noah and his family would get pretty depressed in their situation. Here, they have lost everything they had, their friends, the rest of their family, their livelihood, and are stuck out at sea with no hope of restitution insight. The rain continues to fall and more and more water has come upon the earth. I can only assume, that there is the possibility that a few of them lost some of their marbles and went a little nuts, but then, the sun comes out and there is now a glimmer of hope. "Finally", they exclaim,"we can get off this dumb boat." But unfortunately, their time aboard was not over. Eventually, they begin to see mountains coming out of the water and their hope increases with every peak. The waters are going down. Finally, they get to a point where Noah feels comfortable enough to send out a dove, and at first, there is nothing, but little by little, the dove is becoming a bearer of good news and things are finally looking up. Then, Suddenly, God gives the ok to leave the ark. It is probably safe to assume that they did not come off in a sloth-like many, but rather they were as cheetahs running across the African plains. There was no hesitation to stay aboard, but a haste to get to dry land as quickly as possible. Right now, my family seems like we are stuck on an ark, but we are watching the waters recede and the dove has brought us an olive branch, and we know that the doors of our ark will be burst upon soon enough. I can't wait for the day when I can come on here and tell what God has done for us, and oh what a story it will be, just know that through your storms, God has never forgotten you. It says in chapter 8 of Genesis that God remember his children and rested them safely on the mountain while they patiently waited for the land to come out of the water and they could disembark from the ark. The time is near for your storms to end and your waters to recede and it is time to GET OFF THE ARK!!!!

Adam Semple- a young man on a mission from God