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                           *** PORTIONS ***

Re: Smashed Fingers or Protection?

"Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord and in the power of His
might. Put on all the armor of God, that you may be able to stand
against the wiles of the devil." (Eph6:10-11)

It's object lesson time again. I'm not so exalted that I cannot
occasionally share some stupidity that I have done, and the
consequences suffered; and in some cases, how I learned from it, and
did differently next time:

For you who only read this at the website, I recently shared with the
subscribers some adjustments to the summer mailing schedule because
this fireplace structure attached to my house was starting to lean away
from the house, pulling the wall with it; and I was needing 'time' to
work on that. Well, as this is being written (6/25/02), the structure
came down 'last' week-end. The main outside portion was hired out...
just too much for my arthritis.

But I dismantled the inside facade rockwork above the hearth myself, 
with hammer, chisel and wrecking bar. I did little bits, several 
evenings in a row... as much as my joints could handle at a time. Since 
I was working at it in "putter" mode, I didn't take too many safety 
precautions... after all, I was taking it "slowly", and was
"cautiously" keeping everything "in control". Yes, working gloveless,
and thong slaps on my bare feet (it's summer time). You hammer away 
with the chisel to loosen up the cement and get little places punched
out where the wrecking bar can be inserted to 'pry', and you pry and
'work' the rocks loose, and when loose enough, put the pry bar down,
and pull each rock out, individually, and add them to the pile. If a 
person takes things slowly, FOR THE MOST PART, a person can keep the 
rocks from 'getting-away' and falling on the floor.

But there was this one -LARGE- stone that had been mortared into the 
very 'top' of the entire facade. Of all the stones that made up the 
fire place, it was the largest. And it was up there, right next to the 
ceiling. By now I had experience with how these particular stones were 
coming out, and got myself situated to work on the -big- one. Got it 
hammered, pryed, and just as the wrecking bar was being set aside with 
one hand, while the other was holding the rock, suddenly it started 
coming loose. Other hand, up, quick, to catch it and 'steady' it down.  
Too late!! It was 'coming' down! And these bare, gloveless hands, not 
being as prepared as they thought they were, were no match for the 
downward momentum of its weight. Fingers got skinned and smashed as the
rock came down, and went "THUMP" on the floor.  Neighbors, outside
visiting with visiting relatives, hearing the "thump" yelled out,
"Everything OK in there?" "Yup! Thanks!"

But everything was -not- really 'quite' OK. Thumb was like one might
smash a thumb with a hammer when missing the nail. Little pinky in such
a state that playing piano would be impossible, and now difficult to 
grasp anything tightly.  Another one, skinned up. OK, now please
understand...I'm not trying to get sympathy here.  Like a friend and I
joke, that we are "he-men" and would never whine and complain about
little boo boos; Oh, excuse me a minute while I go groan a little, and
"Ow, ow, ow!"  But, painting the picture for this object lesson...

Next day, while the hired crew were tearing the outside down, and I was
finishing up the inside, guess what! I dressed myself for the day with 
my work boots, and yes... wore gloves! I may have been stupid once, but 
you don't need to knock me over the head with a 2x4!

Now, I'm sure some of you are 'catching' your breath over this. Others 
of you who have been there and done the same stupidities may be 
chuckling to yourselves...

But you know what? There's 'tons' of people out there who do this very
thing... and they NEVER LEARN! No, not with hammers, stones and 
fingers; but with their spiritual lives. God does not pass legislation 
mandating the wearing of a helmet if you ride a motorcycle, to protect 
yourself from yourself; but He does exhort to "put on the armor of 
God". You know, if I had been wearing gloves, I likely would not have 
been in a world of hurt. That's what leather work gloves are for, to 
protect the hands when doing things like rock work, or other similar 
such things.

But so-called "christians" go out into the world, dabble in the world's 
pleasures, fellowship with the world's sinners, and do not cloth
themselves with God's righteousness. They do not gird themselves with
truth. In fact, they boast in the fact that they are specifically 
"tearing down the walls" of truth. You ask "How?"? What is the 
definition of "Truth"? What is Truth's essence? Doctrine! They do not 
gird on the "sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God". We are 
exhorted that Scripture is the foundation of our needs for living 
before God (2Tim3:14-17), but these people prefer, instead, the 
writings of various famous "great men". They go where the world 
entices, claiming: "those things don't allure -me-; I'm above that, 
because I'm 'spirit-filled'." They reject the teaching of Scripture, 
because they have their other 'spirits'.

When haz-mat teams go into a contaminated place, they wear their fancy
protective suits. When astronauts go for space-walks, they wear suits.
Are they considered "wimps" because they don't just 'hold-their-breath'
and 'go'? Not hardly! Many so-called macho-types don't like wearing
helmets when they ride motorcycles. But when they have accidents, they
end up in the hospital, where the "wimps" just might have survived, 
wearing protective clothing.

Do you think you're a "pretty strong" Christian? So, therefore, you
"don't -need-" so much Bible reading, and care to holy living? Well,
you can fall, just like anybody else. How many 'preachers' have fallen
due to carelessness and ignoring the very Bible they preach from!

You want 'protection' from the world and satan? Remember, our struggle
is not against "flesh and blood" but it is the "rulers, authorities" of
the "darkness of this age"; it is "spiritual wickedness in the
heavenlies". You might think you can match wits with other 'people' you
come in contact with. But their leader is like that large rock up by
the ceiling, and he comes along without warning, like a lion that was
crouching, and then springs out against its intended prey. (1Pt5:8)

How do you intend to protect yourself against him? You cannot! Did you
get that? You CANNOT! You need your 'gloves' and 'workboots' on! Notice
that all these protective items are things that come -from- 'God'.
Truth is God's truth. Righteousness comes only from Jesus' shed blood.
And as we learned in the previous Portion, even our faith (which is the
victory that overcomes the world -1Jn5:4) comes from God's workings in
our lives. And the Word of God is, well, the Word of -GOD-.  Only Jesus
Christ has the victory over satan. (Rev2:27, Ps2:9) But even Christ's
victory is given to Him from the Father: notice 'Who' is putting
Christ's enemies under His footstool. (Ps110:1, Heb1:13) Our protection
comes from Jesus' work on our behalf. (Rom7:25)  Any "conquering" we do
is "through Him who loves us" (Rom8:37)

Protect yourselves. Put on the whole armor of God...