Colossians 3:15-17 (NIV) — “Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful. Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom, and as you sing psalms, hymns and spiritual songs with gratitude in your hearts to God. And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him.”

As I prepare this article for Friday’s paper, here on Tuesday morning at 12:31 a.m. I cannot but let my mind’s eye travel over Kodiak with a prayerful hope that a thankful peace will be upon our whole island community.

For me, these two verses from Colossians are a bulwark — the stability of my word and deed. Allow me to share a little word search.

“Bulwark” to me simply means a defensive wall. A few examples might be: “Vaccines act as a bulwark against diseases,” “His guards accompanied him as a bulwark from an enemy attack” or “Parents want to be the bulwark that protects their children.”

When was the last time you heard the word “bulwark” used?

For me, it was last Sunday during church services while singing from our songbook. 

Honestly, other than a few rare occasions, I’ve not heard it, especially in a daily conversation.

The Bible has multiple examples but not the exact word “bulwark.” 

Isaiah 26:1 — “We have a strong city; God makes salvation its walls and ramparts.”

Isaiah 25:12 — “He will bring down your high fortified walls and lay them low.”

Word and Deed has become a personal motto, a standard, a continual goal for me as a disciple, follower and Christian to be Christ-like.

In the fourth chapter of Ephesians, the apostle writes, “I urge you to live a life worthy of the calling you have received. Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace. There is one body and one Spirit — just as you were called to one hope when you were called — one Lord, one faith, one baptism; one God and Father of all, who is over all and in all.”

Let me ask you: Are you a rule follower, the letter-of-the-law type?

Ha ha ha, did you by chance see the movie “Pirates of the Caribbean”? 

There is a line in the movie that made me laugh out loud the moment I heard it: “The code is more what you’d call ‘guidelines’ than actual rules.”

For example, are you one who has to be told where and how to put the tools back? Or do you naturally put things away. “Everything has a place.” How about “Clean up after yourself!” Or do you naturally clean as you go?

I’m not sure how this might sound to others, but I have periods of time where I am very disciplined. And I have times and seasons where I am not. In my moments of clarity — my bulwark has failed, like a crumbling wall. My discipline, my Word and Deed, are not matching my calling.

If I were to dwell on my shortcomings, things would surely get worse. Our opening Scripture says, “as you teach and admonish one another.”

Sometimes I have to encourage myself to get back on track or I’m no use to others. I do so with Scripture and song.

My life verse is 1 Timothy 1:12 — “I thank Christ Jesus our Lord, who has given me strength, that He considered me faithful appointing me to His Service.”

A short chorus I use goes, “I’ll gird on the armor and rush to the field, determined to conquer and never to yield, so the enemy may know wheresoever I may go, that I am fighting for Jehovah.”

I’ve made a saying for myself — “Put yourself in a position to be blessed … and whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him” … and Blessed you’ll be!

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