Friday, July 25, 2008

The Gospel of Peace

In Ephesians 6:11, the apostle Paul urged the church at Ephesus to “put on the whole armor of God” in order to combat the enemy. He wrote of putting on truth and righteousness, faith and the word of God.

In the middle of these pieces of “armor,” Paul wrote that we are to “shod [our] feet with the preparation of the gospel of peace.” (12)

Shod our feet.

The other pieces of “armor” provide protection: a breastplate, a shield, a sword. What do shoes have to do with protection? It’s what those shoes represent: the gospel of peace. The gospel is the good news of Christ’s death and resurrection. It’s the assurance that when we give our lives to Jesus, we are saved from our sins. We can look forward to eternity with Jesus.

When we walk in that knowledge, when our feet are shod with that gospel, then everywhere we go, we are grounded in that truth. It’s the very foundation upon which we walk.

A soldier wouldn’t get very far if his shoes weren’t sturdy and strong, able to keep out the elements, able to traverse rough ground. We too wouldn’t get very far if we weren’t standing on God’s promises of salvation and of peace.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Beauty Everywhere

Genesis 1:1 tells us that God created heavens and earth. Then for another two chapters, the rest of creation is described.

Do you ever stop to think about how beautiful creation is? And what a gift it is? I mean, God could have stopped with a tree or two, maybe a flower. A handful of animals, perhaps that all looked alike.

But He didn't. He created this magnificent, diverse world. Certainly for His own pleasure, but also for our pleasure, for our delight.

My husband and I spent a week in the Carolinas, probably my favorite place on earth (and I've been privileged to travel to some pretty amazing places). Although they're experiencing a drought, it was so green and lush and, yes, beautiful. Then we returned to California, and one clear day last week, I viewed the majesty of our local mountains. How awe-inspiring they are!

Today, I looked out my kitchen window to see the flowers in our backyard, some gold, some pink, some red. A rainbow just for me.

I see character and wisdom in the face of my husband. I see purity and innocence in the faces of my great-nephews. I even look at the faces of my adorable Labs, and I see beauty there as well.

We have mountains and deserts and oceans. We have lakes and rivers and cliffs overlooking amazing canyons. We have people of all colors and sizes. Throughout our nation, throughout our world, there's beauty everywhere.

And to think that God created all of this . . . just for us.