I wrote in 2010 that the mulch in the garden reminds me of the armor of God. It keeps out bad things like weeds (negative thoughts, adverse side effects from drugs) and holds in good things like water (streams of living water) and fertilizer (spiritual food that needs constant replenishing). In fact, the lily leaves are shaped just like swords, and remind me of the sword of the spirit. Paul writes about the armor of God in Ephesians 6:13-17. He describes 6 items in the armor. I will tell you what they mean to me.
girdle of truth – When I lived in Iran, my pastor preached about the armor of God and pointed out that the girdle of truth encircles our reproductive organs. His interpretation was that we are all born into (or issue from) God’s truth, not the world’s truth, not evilness, but the truth of the word of God. I interpret that one step further; let all of my ideas be born in the truth of God; let all of my actions be born in the truth of God. To know the truth of the Supreme Being, we have only to be still, quiet ourselves, and listen to His voice.
breastplate of righteousness - Having been born in God’s truth, I then put on the breastplate of righteousness. I’m talking not about what man thinks is righteous in the secular world, but God’s righteousness here on earth.
feet shod with the Gospel of peace - When I immerse myself in God’s truth and contemplate His righteousness, it is easy to understand and to desire the Gospel of peace. Having had God in my life and knowing what He can do for me, why would I choose to turn away from Him? This is the third springtime during which He has shown me that he can not only resurrect my garden plants, but heal my body too. That gives me such peace! Why would I turn away from all of that when I only have to believe His promises to receive them? He makes it so easy for me! Once when I was discussing the armor of God with my sister Christine, she pointed out that having feet shod with the gospel of peace gives us such a firm foundation! One could not ask for anything better as we trek through our spiritual journey in this life!
shield of faith – Armed with God’s truth, God’s righteousness, and calmed by God’s peace, I am now ready to live in the secular world. God has provided even more armor to assist me in my spiritual walk through this earthly life! He gives me the shield of faith! I have only to hold it in front of me and it will deflect any and all negative forces away from me and my positive attitude as I journey through life.
helmet of salvation – Now I really need the helmet of salvation because I have done many things wrong and made many mistakes in my life – none of which I have written about in this blog. I want to keep the blog positive and besides, God already knows all my faults and errors. I think the prayer of confession in the Episcopal Book of Common Prayer is interesting because it reads, “forgive us our sins, known and unknown… things done and left undone.” When most people think of sin they start listing things they have done. Does anyone ever think of things they should have done but didn’t? But I digress. Let’s get back to salvation. Most Christians think of salvation as going to heaven after they depart this earth. Salvation is mentioned in the Old Testament, too, and one of my healing cards (Healing Scripture Cards, newcreationgifts.org) defines the Hebrew and Greek translation as “present deliverance, safety, preservation, healing and soundness, and wholeness”. So I think of salvation as a gift from God that I use every day here on Earth. When I have enough money to provide a roof over my head and clothes on my back, I am saved from the uncomfortable elements of nature. When I have enough money to provide food for my family, we are all saved from the hunger pangs of starvation. When I have a good day, I receive salvation from the worry and trouble that I would have gotten if things didn’t go well. When things don’t go well, it usually generates paper work that I have to straighten out. I can’t just ignore it and hope the deadline passes so I can throw it in file 13! Yes, I praise God every day for the little things He saves me from every day!
sword of the spirit, the word of God – The sword of the spirit is so powerful because it is the word of God! What more do I need? His promises are clearly written in the Bible, He fulfills them on a daily basis in my life, and it is all because I believe what He says! And that brings me full circle back to the girdle of Truth! God reveals His truths to me in His written words. Amen! Don’t forget that He also reveals His truths in His words when He speaks to me directly, and frequently in His words spoken to me by another person! (How do I know what another person tells me is really the word of God? I check it against what the Bible says.)
I arm myself with God’s armor every day and, I must say, life is very good! I am enjoying it so much! Every day I praise God for His awesomeness and His mighty works. I thank Him for my health, the ability to go places and do things, my family, my friends, my supporters, my doctors, my nurses, my garden, my flowers, the birds and the butterflies that visit, the warming sunshine, the cleansing rain; the stamina to water, trim and weed my garden, Al’s stamina to do the things that I can’t do in the garden… Ah, yes, life is good! In fact, Life is GREAT! Thank you, Lord!
Pictures show plants in the side yard growing (compare this picture to the one in my last blog posting), another view of the side yard showing all of the lilies and the bougainvillea, marigolds in the tub, Mexican petunias (compare this picture to the one in my last blog posting), and knock-out roses (compare this picture to the one in my last blog posting).