The Walk

May 21, 2018

Whether we agree or not, people use the term walk to convey messages about life in a variety of instances. We have all kinds of studies that purport the benefits of walking. We have A Long Walk to Water which is a short novel written by Linda Sue Park. We have Walk This Way which is a song by Aerosmith and remade by RUN DMC. We have Walk to End Alzheimer’s or Walk to End ALS both of which are campaigns to raise awareness and funds to fight those diseases. There are many poems about walking. We have Thomas Hardy’s ‘The Walk’ where he contrasts the days ‘of late’ with the ‘earlier days’ he spent with his wife Emma: late in life, she was ‘weak and lame’ and so couldn’t accompany him on his walks, as she had when she was younger. The Walk

A walk is a direction, a path, a course to take. I submit the most important person and ideology to subscribe to is God Almighty. I think it is very interesting and not coincidental that the very first Psalm 1 is about walking. The Walk

Blessed is the man
Who walks not in the counsel of the ungodly,
Nor stands in the path of sinners,
Nor sits in the seat of the scornful;
But his delight is in the law of the Lord,
And in His law he meditates day and night.
He shall be like a tree
Planted by the rivers of water,
That brings forth its fruit in its season,
Whose leaf also shall not wither;
And whatever he does shall prosper.

The ungodly are not so,
But are like the chaff which the wind drives away.
Therefore the ungodly shall not stand in the judgment,
Nor sinners in the congregation of the righteous.

For the Lord knows the way of the righteous,
But the way of the ungodly shall perish.

In this work of art and authoritative writing, God conveys to us the importance of how to live our lives, The Walk if you will. Like with Thomas Hardy, a contrast is provided in this Psalm. The righteous and the wicked are contrasted in how they respond to the Word of God i.e. the way we should walk or the way we should live. In Psalm 1, the reader’s attitude toward the law of God has to be considered. The righteous person loves and studies the Word of God while the wicked person hates it. God is credited with knowing the difference between the two people. He aligns and helps him who walks with Him.

The Hebrew word for walk in this passage is halak (hä·lak’). It is to go, walk, come, depart, proceed, move, go away. God is calling us all to decide which way will we walk, come, depart, proceed, move or go away from. The Psalmist makes it clear that The Walk has only one path – the one in which the righteous person of God values and adheres to the way of God while the wicked despises God’s Word and does not abide by it. The Walk.

Where are you? What does The Walk mean to you? Are you on your own path or are you following the path that God has set for man? Don’t live live like Philippe Petit’s walk between the Twin Towers where he performed daring feats that dazzled crowds. Do not risk the fall where you will perish. Hear and heed God’s warning about following your own path – the way of the ungodly shall perish.

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TRUTH: God, Our Refuge & Strength II

May 18, 2018

Psalm 46  tells us that God is Our Refuge & Strength. Remember that a refuge is is defined as a shelter 1. from rain or storm, from danger; 2. of falsehood. We saw that in the previous post TRUTH: God, Our Refuge & Strength.

Today, our focus is on strength. The state of being strong mentally, morally, emotionally, spiritually and the like. In many circles, it is having power which is the ability to do or act or the capability of doing or accomplishing something. We all have been in life’s storms i.e. a circumstance that saps all of our strength. We are not able to move as we are paralyzed by some part of that circumstance. We cannot act. We are not capable. What do we do when we don’t have the strength to respond? The Word of God is clear that we are to rely on God who is our strength. In Exodus 15, Moses and Israel sing of deliverance and hope as a means to gain strength from their bondage. David’s successful recovery of the Ark of the Covenant in 1 Chronicles 15-16. Isaiah’s example that God uses us in salvation of the elect in Isaiah 49:5-6TRUTH: God, Our Refuge & Strength II

Psalm 46

God is our refuge and strength,
A very present help in trouble.
Therefore we will not fear,
Even though the earth be removed,
And though the mountains be carried into the midst of the sea;
Though its waters roar and be troubled,
Though the mountains shake with its swelling. Selah  (NKJV)

God is our strength!

The Hebrew word used for strength in Psalm 46:1 is`oz (ōze) which means might, strength

  1. material or physical

  2. personal or social or political

In practical terms oz (ōze) strength in various applications (force, security, majesty, praise):—boldness, loud, might, power, strength, strong. That word for strength is used 60 times in the Old Testament. Of God, strength is seen in Him in a couple of verses (NKJV):

Job 12:16 – With Him are strength and prudence. The deceived and the deceiver are His. 
Job 26:2 – “How have you helped him who is without power? How have you saved the arm that has no strength?

In regards to man, we see scripture reveals that is God who strengthens man to face life’s storms. (NKJV)

Psalm 29:11– The Lord will give strength to His people; The Lord will bless His people with peace.
Psalm 28:8 – The Lord is their strength, And He is the saving refuge of His anointed.
Psalm 68:35 – O God, You are more awesome than Your holy places. The God of Israel is He who gives strength and power to His people. Blessed be God!
Psalm 119:28My soul melts from heaviness; Strengthen me according to Your word.
Isaiah 40:29 – He gives power to the weak, And to those who have no might He increases strength.
Proverbs 24:5 – A wise man is strong, Yes, a man of knowledge increases strength;
Genesis 18:14 – Is anything too hard for the Lord? At the appointed time I will return to you, according to the time of life, and Sarah shall have a son.”

The victory belongs to God and to those whom He strengthens. TRUTH: God, Our Refuge & Strength II. Is God your strength? Do you rely on Him for power, might and strength? Do you inquire of God when you cannot act, when you are not capable? God is calling all who call Him God, ‘elohiym, in our stormsWhere I live, the forecast for today is rife with thunderstorms. I am choosing to call on the Lord to be my strength.

 

TRUTH: God, Our Refuge & Strength

May 17, 2018

Let’s face it, there will be storms in life both literal and figurative. There were flash floods where I live yesterday. There is four more day of rain predicted. Just last week, there were tornadoes in other parts of the U.S. It has not been so long ago that Hurricane Harvey struck some Caribbean Islands and Florida. During those storms, there is always a call to seek refuge from the dangers of the storm. Invariably, there are those who do not heed the call to seek refuge from the dangers of the storm. TRUTH: God, Our Refuge & Strength

What is a refuge? Dictionary.com defines refuge as a place of shelter, protection, safety, relief or escape. In the Old Testament, there are several words used for refuge, but the one most closely aligned with a place of shelter from a storm is machaceh (makh·as·eh’). It is defined as a shelter 1. from rain or storm, from danger; 2. of falsehood. TRUTH: God, Our Refuge & Strength

Psalm 46  is perhaps the most recognized verse where machaceh is used for refuge.

God is our refuge and strength,
A very present help in trouble.
Therefore we will not fear,
Even though the earth be removed,
And though the mountains be carried into the midst of the sea;
Though its waters roar and be troubled,
Though the mountains shake with its swelling. Selah  (NKJV)

Our connotes possession or ownership or at least a belongingness. In regards to belongingness, Psalm 46 is regularly related to or compared with Psalm. 487684; and 87, all of which are called “Zion Songs.” Furthermore, Psalm 46 is considered to be the impetus behind Martin Luther writing the well-known hymn, “A Mighty Fortress Is Our God.” For me, it reminds me of Proverbs 18:10 which says, “The name of the Lord is a strong tower; The righteous run to it and are safe.” A refuge is a place of shelter. TRUTH: God, Our Refuge & Strength

For me, Psalm 46 has been a source of meditation over the past few days. I am not sure what may be coming my way, but God is telling me who will help me and how I will be helped in the storm. It is God, ‘elohiymthat is my refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. God, ‘elohiymis used at a minimum 2,203 times and as many as 2,600 times in the bible. Debate about the meaning exists; however, it is accepted that Elohim in the Septuagint: theos – the standard Greek word for god, “a transcendent being who exercises extraordinary control in human affairs or is responsible for bestowal of unusual benefits” (BDAG). It specifically refers to the monotheistic God of Israel. Don’t we want to know and believe that God is in control, that God is sovereign even in the most trying and hurtful circumstances?

Often, people express alarms and helplessness because of they experience circumstances that far exceed their ability or power to contend with them. A tornado, hurricane or any life storm. God is telling us the TRUTH: God, Our Refuge & Strength. Let’s call, depend, and rely on God, ‘elohiymin our storms. Father, help us to remember to trust in you when our backs are against the wall and hope seems to have disappeared. Let us remember “The name of the Lord is a strong tower; The righteous run to it and are safe.”

 

TRUTH: The Value of a Dear Brother and Faithful Servant in the Lord.

May 14, 2018

TRUTH: The Value of a Dear Brother and Faithful Servant in the Lord can be seen in the first book of the bible. Adam was supposed to be a dear brother, a faithful minister and fellow servant in the Lord, but for Eve, he fell short of that. He did not remind her of the truth of God’s Words and commands to them, nor did he remind himself. Consequently, the fall of man occurred.

As we close our survey on Ephesians 6, we see Paul recall and emphasize the TRUTH: The Value of a Dear Brother and Faithful Servant in the LordPerhaps the greatest form of recognition is to be known by God and to have God share what you have done as a servant for Him. Today’s post reveals such a case in Tychicus.

According to Ligonier Ministries, Tychicus was the primary carrier of the letters to the Colossians, Philemon, and the Ephesians (Eph. 6:2122). First mentioned as part of Paul’s entourage in Acts 20:4, Tychicus was from the Roman province of Asia (in modern Turkey), and appears to have been one of Paul’s more trusted emissaries toward the end of his ministry (2 Tim. 4:12Titus 3:12). Furthermore, the absence of personal greetings in this letter may be an indication that it was intended for circulation to more than one church. Nevertheless, Tychicus reveals the TRUTH: The Value of a Dear Brother and Faithful Servant in the Lord.

Ephesians 6

Tychicus, the dear brother and faithful servant in the Lord, will tell you everything, so that you also may know how I am and what I am doing. 22 I am sending him to you for this very purpose, that you may know how we are, and that he may encourage you.

23 Peace to the brothers and sisters, and love with faith from God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. 24 Grace to all who love our Lord Jesus Christ with an undying love.

In the passage above, listen how Paul describes Tychicus –  the dear brother and faithful servant in the Lord. ESV and NKJV record it as  beloved brother and faithful minister in the Lord. He is faithful in his service of the Lord Jesus. Because of that, Tychicus is a dear brother or beloved brother. Our actions not only help define who we are, but our actions create renown for the Lord and ourselves if we are faithful.

Paul opened the letter by saying “Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.” Now, he closes the letter with Peace and Grace. He sprinkles in love as well. I think we all would agree that we need grace that which affords joy, pleasure, delight, sweetness, charm, loveliness or the grace of God which is the merciful kindness by which God, exerting his holy influence upon souls, turns them to Christ, keeps, strengthens, increases them in Christian faith, knowledge, affection, and kindles them to the exercise of the Christian virtues. Let us be reminded that love and faithfulness are fruits of the Spirit. As we walk obediently to the Word of God and the Spirit of God, we will manifest those attributes. We, like Tychicus, will be known by God and used by God to encourage the body of Christ and to build the kingdom of God. That is truly the TRUTH: The Value of a Dear Brother and Faithful Servant in the Lord.

Solomon expressed the value of a friend long before Paul. Listen to what Solomon said in Ecclesiastes 4:9-12

Two are better than one,
Because they have a good reward for their labor.
10 For if they fall, one will lift up his companion.
But woe to him who is alone when he falls,
For he has no one to help him up.
11 Again, if two lie down together, they will keep warm;
But how can one be warm alone?
12 Though one may be overpowered by another, two can withstand him.
And a threefold cord is not quickly broken. (NKJV)

We see theTRUTH: The Value of a Dear Brother and Faithful Servant in the Lord in this passage in Ecclesiastes and Ephesians. A faithful brother serves the need of others through the Lord. His value is not only to God, but to the body of Christ as well. What is your desire? Do you want to be known by God as one who is faithful and useful in demonstrating who God is to the world? God desires to use us all that way. Let’s let Him by being open and obedient. 

TRUTH: The Armor of God – Prayer

May 9, 2018

Most theologians and scholars of the scriptures agree that there are six elements of the Armor of God: The Belt of Truth, The Breastplate of Righteousness, Feet Fitted with the Good News (Gospel), The Shield of Faith, The Helmet of Salvation, The Sword of the Spirit (The Word of God). I submit that I have not spent years in seminary. I have not written multiple books. In fact, I have not written a single book; however, I have been called by God to live for Him. He has placed His Spirit in me (Eph. 1:13). It is through the Spirit that God exerts His power, the same power that raised Jesus from the dead (Eph. 1:19). That power is activated through two primary means. The first is clearly identified in The Armor of God – The Sword of the Spirit which is the Word of God. Because of that, I want to submit what binds all of the armor – TRUTH: The Armor of God – Prayer. Again, prayer is not officially listed as an element of the armor; however, I submit that it activates and binds all aspects of the armor along with the Spirit.

Ephesians 6

10 Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. 11 Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. 12 For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities,against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. 13 Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. 14 Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, 15 and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. 16 In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. 17 Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.

18 And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people. 19 Pray also for me, that whenever I speak, words may be given me so that I will fearlessly make known the mystery of the gospel,20 for which I am an ambassador in chains.Pray that I may declare it fearlessly, as I should.

In John 15:16, Jesus said, “ You did not choose Me but I chose you, and appointed you that you would go and bear fruit, and that your fruit would remain, so that whatever you ask of the Father in My name He may give to you”. Our inclusion in Christ is not a function of anything we did, but it is of divine choice. Jesus is indicating that the first initiative, the original and saving choice, was His. Had Jesus not chosen them, they would not have chosen Jesus. Not only that, Jesus says that anyone whom He chose were chosen not for themselves but to bear fruit. As a function of bearing fruit, Jesus says “so that whatever you ask of the Father in My name He may give to you.” This is not a name-it or claim-it doctrine that Jesus espouses here. In the context of the passage, obedience is the priority. It is out of that obedience that Jesus clearly says that God will give us whatever we ask for that will result in us bearing fruit.

The fruit of obedience to the Spirit is outlined in Galatians 5:22-23. The Fruits of the Spirit are love, joy, peace, forbearance (patience), kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Additionally, the term fruit refers to anything that the follower of Christ engages in that the results have eternal significance. Jesus tells us to pray that what we are involved in produces eternal significance. The most  mundane act could result in eternal significance. If we perform that act out of service and obedience, it is a form of worship to the Lord who will receive that offering resulting in God being praised and glorified. This is what Paul tells us in Ephesians 11-12 which says, ” 11 In him we were also chosen, having been predestined according to the plan of him who works out everything in conformity with the purpose of his will, 12 in order that we, who were the first to put our hope in Christ, might be for the praise of his glory.”

We are in Christ for the praise of His glory. We are to commit to prayer to aid us in equipping ourselves with the The Armor of God. We are told to put on the Full Armor of God that we might STAND against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. When in the garden of Gethsemane, Jesus’ primary act was to pray (Matthew 26:36-46 ). During that time, He even told the disciples to “Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation. The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.” Prayer is the binding agent to God and to all He has given us to know, enjoy and glorify Him. 

Now, we know why we need the TRUTH: The Armor of God – Prayer

TRUTH: The Armor of God – The Sword of the Spirit

May 8, 2018

Most of us are fully aware that swords are weapons for fighting. Let’s consider all of the  characters who fought with swords. We have King Arthur fought with Excalibur. Anduril is the sword from The Lord of the Rings which Isildur used to cut the One Ring from Sauron’s hand and defeat him. The Atlantean Sword is almost as massive as Conan the Barbarian. The legendary Green Destiny boosts the fighting prowess of its wielder. It’s stolen by Jen who learns to unlock its — and her — full potential. Glamdring aka “The Foehammer” is a sword forged in the First Age by Turgon, the King of Gondolin. Lastly, we were introduced to the lightsaber in “Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope.” It’s wielded by both the Jedi and the Sith. The “blade” of the sword is actually composed of crystal-powered energy, not metal. Obi-Wan Kenobi instructed Luke Skywalker. All of those were mighty swords that helped secure the victory in the battle; however, they are not the mightiest sword. That distinction goes to TRUTH: The Armor of God – The Sword of the Spirit 

Like the lightsaber, it is not made of metal. The mightiest sword is actually the Word of of God. It is the last of the elements of Armor of God listed by Paul in Ephesians. It is also the only offensive weapon in the Armor of God.

Ephesians 6

10 Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. 11 Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. 12 For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities,against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. 13 Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. 14 Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, 15 and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. 16 In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. 17 Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.

As in the list of swords in the opening paragraph, all swords belong to a specific person. Here, to whom does the sword belong? Paul is clear about that response. The sword belongs to the Spirit. It is the Spirit who helps us. Jesus said, “ I will ask the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may be with you forever;…But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all that I said to you.” John 14:16,26 (NASB) The Holy Spirit will bring to our remembrance the Word of God when we are assaulted by the wicked one especially when he whispers lies to us. Jesus responded to satan by saying “it is written” in response to what satan told him was or could be the reality. TRUTH: The Armor of God – The Sword of the Spirit.

This is why it is most important for us to read, hear, study, memorize, and meditate on the Word of God. It is putting the Word of God into our hearts. Psalms 119:9 says, “How can a young man keep his way pure? By keeping it according to Your word.” When we put the Word in our heart, the Holy Spirit will yield the sword against that which threatens or fights against us. Now, equip the Spirit by committing to read, hear, study, memorize and meditate on the Word of God. Then, you will be able to STAND as you experience the TRUTH: The Armor of God – The Sword of the Spirit.

TRUTH: The Full Armor of God – The Helmet of Salvation

May 7, 2018

Children with head injuries, hockey players, football players, motorcycle riders and many others wear a helmet to protect their heads. It is obvious why that is the case. As a former football player from 11 to 21, I know the value of wearing a helmet. With all the research out now about brain injuries, I am concerned, because I know I have had at least six concussions. We called it getting your bell rung back in those days. Whatever the name, a concussion can result in a loss of consciousness, memory problems, confusion, drowsiness or feeling sluggish, dizziness, double vision or blurred vision, headache, nausea or vomiting, sensitivity to light or noise, balance problems, and slowed reaction to stimuli. All of us would agree that such symptoms are not ideal to live and function in life. In a spiritual sense, we are called to protect our heads too. We are to know and put on the TRUTH: The Full Armor of God – The Helmet of Salvation.

Ephesians 6

10 Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. 11 Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. 12 For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities,against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. 13 Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. 14 Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, 15 and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. 16 In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. 17 Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.

The parallel between the Roman soldier and the follower of Christ requires us to protect our hearts with the breast plate of righteousness and continues with this piece of armor – the helmet of salvation. A soldier, hockey or football player or a motorcycle rider would be foolish to indulge without a helmet. Likewise, the follower of Jesus would be foolish not to take advantage of the battle equipment God has provided for him/her. TRUTH: The Full Armor of God – The Helmet of Salvation.

Again, the helmet protects the head of the believer. The head, along with the heart, is where man is able to make sense of what God has done for him/her through Christ’s incarnation, crucifixion, resurrection and ascension. Because of what we know, we are protected by the helmet of salvation against discouragement and against the desire to quit because of a sense of hopelessness. By learning the scriptures, we know that, in Christ Jesus, we have hope through our salvation. Christ and the Word assures us that God triumphs and so do we through Him. 1 Corinthians 15:54-56 tells us

“54 When the perishable has been clothed with the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality, then the saying that is written will come true: “Death has been swallowed up in victory.”

55 “Where, O death, is your victory?
    Where, O death, is your sting?”

56 The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law.’

2 Timothy 1:10 tells us  “10 but it has now been revealed through the appearing of our Savior, Christ Jesus, who has destroyed death and has brought life and immortality to light through the gospel.” 1 Corinthians 15:57 “but thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.” TRUTH: The Full Armor of God – The Helmet of Salvation.

Have you been saved from the wrath of God? The wrath of God is awaiting anyone who has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God. With the knowledge that he who believes in Jesus as Lord and Savior is not judged for sins in regards to one’s eternal home, it is difficult to discourage the believer. Remember, satan lies to distort the truth in effort to kill, steal and destroy the believer if that is indeed possible. If you know the TRUTH: The Full Armor of God – The Helmet of Salvation, put on your helmet.

TRUTH: The Armor of God – The Shield of Faith

May 4, 2018

According to Wikipedia, the Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., is an American television series created for ABC by Joss Whedon, Jed Whedon, and Maurissa Tancharoen, based on the Marvel Comics organization S.H.I.E.L.D. (Strategic Homeland Intervention, Enforcement, and Logistics Division), a fictional peacekeeping and spy agency in a world of superheroes. We all know about Captain America’s red, white and blue shield. TRUTH: The Armor of God – The Shield of Faith

In the country of Wakanda, there is a dome that shields the city and its inhabitants. In the Star Trek fictional universe, shields refer to a 23rd and 24th century technology that provides starships, space stations, and entire planets with limited protection against damage. They are sometimes referred to as deflectors, deflector shields, and screens. Aquaman has a plethora of other abilities that have made him into a force to be reckoned with. Aquaman has a high level of invulnerability. Aquaman’s trident, known as the Trident of Neptune, is by far his most powerful weapon. the Trident could manipulate water and the weather, and it could shoot bolts of lightning and create force fields. TRUTH: The Armor of God – The Shield of Faith

All of those things were fictional, but many other warriors and the Romans had shields to protect them in battle. The Roman shield was large enough to cover the whole body; it was made of wood, covered with hide, and bound with iron at the top and bottom. When dipped in water before a battle, it could extinguish fire arrows that had been dipped in pitch and set ablaze. Shields protect. We all are aware of that. The Apostle Paul made this analogy as he shared how the armor of God could make the believer STAND against the devil’s schemes. TRUTH: The Armor of God – The Shield of Faith

Ephesians 6

10 Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. 11 Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. 12 For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities,against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. 13 Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. 14 Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, 15 and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. (having shod your feet with the preparation of the gospel of peace (NKJV)) 16 In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. 17 Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.

Like the Roman soldier’s shield, the shield of faith extinguishes all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Faith is represented as a shield, protecting us from the fiery darts of the wicked one. The arrows or darts are those persistent efforts of the rulers, the authorities, the powers of this dark world and the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms to weaken us through fear, doubt and unbelief. F.F. Bruce wrote that “Even when such a missile was caught by the shield and did not penetrate to the body, but it caused panic, because it was thrown when well alight and its motion through the air made it blaze most fiercely, so that the soldier was tempted to get rid of his burning shield and expose himself to the enemy’s spear-thrusts. But the shield of faith not only catches the incendiary devices but extinguishes them.” The reality is that our faith can shield us from fear, doubt and unbelief is true. God says so right here in His Word.  TRUTH: The Armor of God – The Shield of Faith

Matthew Henry tells us that faith is the shield with which we must quench these fiery darts, wherein we should receive them, and so render them ineffectual, that they may not hit us, or at least that they may not hurt us. Observe, Faith, acted upon the word of God and applying that, acted upon the grace of Christ and improving that, quenches the darts of temptation. Let us not be tempted to fear, doubt and unbelief. When we do so, our shield disappears rendering us subject to being skewered by the evil one.

2 Corinthians 1:20-22 says, “20 For no matter how many promises God has made, they are “Yes” in Christ. And so through him the “Amen” is spoken by us to the glory of God. 21 Now it is God who makes both us and you stand firm in Christ. He anointed us, 22 set his seal of ownership on us, and put his Spirit in our hearts as a deposit, guaranteeing what is to come.” In many places in the Word and in 1 Corinthians 1:9, we learn that God is faithful. God will keep His promises. Numbers 23:19 says, ““God is not a man, that He should lie, Nor a son of man, that He should repent; Has He said, and will He not do it? Or has He spoken, and will He not make it good? Now, you know the TRUTH: The Armor of God – The Shield of Faith, so STAND.

 

TRUTH: The Armor of God – Feet fitted with Good News

May 3, 2018

There are a myriad of things that people can sense. We often hear phrases like I could see that coming a mile away, or I could smell that a mile away. Regardless of the phrase used, the idea is that people are often able to determine whether something is coming that is beneficial or harmful to them. TRUTH: The Armor of God – Feet fitted with Good News 

That is the notion behind what Paul wrote when he was outlining elements of the Armor of God. The Roman soldiers had a special sandal for battle. Those sandals were designed to steady their feet in battle. Today, we look at the Gospel of Peace as one of the pieces of armor followers of Christ are asked to put on. The peace of God steadies us as we fight the good fight of faith.

Ephesians 6

10 Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. 11 Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. 12 For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities,against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. 13 Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. 14 Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, 15 and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. (having shod your feet with the preparation of the gospel of peace (NKJV)) 16 In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. 17 Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.

The presupposition to put on something is voluntary. Paul goes on to share another piece of armor with the believers in Ephesus. He harnesses their minds to Old Testament prophecy about Jesus. He reminds them that Jesus ,as well as they, is the fulfillment of prophecy.  Isaiah 52:7 says, “How beautiful on the mountains are the feet of those who bring good news, who proclaim peace, who bring good tidings, who proclaim salvation, who say to Zion, “Your God reigns!”” At this time and in this age, it was a reference to messengers who reported on the battle. Those messengers would run from the scene of battle across the hills to Zion with the good news that God reigns. They prefigure the evangelists who will announce the gospel of Jesus Christ. That is the point Paul reiterates in Romans 10:15 and in Ephesians 6:15TRUTH: The Armor of God – Feet fitted with Good News 

Earlier in the text, 2:14-17, Paul gives instruction on how man attains peace. Listen to what he said about Jesus Christ.

14 For he himself is our peace, who has made the two groups one and has destroyed the barrier, the dividing wall of hostility, 15 by setting aside in his flesh the law with its commands and regulations. His purpose was to create in himself one new humanity out of the two, thus making peace, 16 and in one body to reconcile both of them to God through the cross, by which he put to death their hostility. 17 He came and preached peace to you who were far away and peace to those who were near.

All followers of Christ have been given the responsibility to share the good news of the gospel with those who do not know Jesus. Paul shares this in 2 Corinthians 5:18-19 which says, “18 All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation: 19 that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting people’s sins against them. And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation.”

TRUTH: The Armor of God – Feet fitted with Good News The Gospel of Jesus Christ is called the Good News because it brings peace with God and the peace of God for the one who TRUSTS in Christ as Savior and Lord. We see that manifested in peace with God, peace with ourselves and peace with our neighbors. Romans 12:18 directs us, “If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone.” Without Christ, it is impossible to live at peace with God, yourself or others. For He Himself is our peace. That reminds me of the saying No God, No peace; Know God, Know peace.

If you know Jesus as Savior and Lord, share the Good News with others. If you don’t know Jesus as Savior and Lord, get to know Him, so you can have peace with God, peace with yourself and peace with others.

TRUTH: The Armor of God – Breastplate of Righteousness

May 2, 2018

Blame is a concept that every human on this earth has experienced. I am quite confident that each of us has blamed and has been blamed. Blame is to assign responsibility for a fault or wrong to another. We see blame in the garden. Eve blames the serpent. Adam blames Eve. We also see that God holds each of them accountable for actions each took. Since God holds each person accountable for his/her actions, how could any fallible being ever expect to be considered righteous? TRUTH: The Armor of God – Breastplate of Righteousness

In the eyes of God, mankind can only be considered righteous through faith in Christ who imputes His righteousness to us. Romans 1:17says, “For in the gospel the righteousness of God is revealed—a righteousness that is by faith from first to last, just as it is written: “The righteous will live by faith.”” Romans 3:22says, “This righteousness is given through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe. There is no difference between Jew and Gentile,” There are many other verses as in Ephesians 4:24 and 5:9 that attest to this point, but one of my all-time favorites is 2 Corinthians 5:21which says, “God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.” TRUTH: The Armor of God – Breastplate of Righteousness

In this battle against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms, we are given the Full Armor of God to STAND. As with Adam and Eve, we sin. When we do, the devil begins to whisper a barrage of statements of blame to us. He issues statements that put us down in efforts to doubt who we are, to cause us to wallow in guilt, to get us to condemn ourselves for our sin. However, ” there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus” (Romans 8:1). This is why Paul talks about the Breastplate of Righteousness in Ephesians 6.

10 Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. 11 Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. 12 For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities,against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. 13 Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. 14 Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, 15 and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. 16 In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. 17 Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.

Without spending too much time talking about the design of the armor of Roman soldiers, I simple want to talk about its purpose. Adam Clarke’s Commentary says the following: “As the breast-plate defends the heart and lungs, and all those vital functionaries that are contained in what is called the region of the thorax; so this righteousness defends everything on which the man’s spiritual existence depends.” We need the TRUTH: The Armor of God – Breastplate of Righteousness to protect our hearts. The righteousness Christ imputes to us is our breast-plate. It protects and shields us against the arrows of the wicked one. During satan’s attacks about our worthiness, the righteousness of Christ is what we should rely upon. In and of ourselves, we are unworthy to know and follow God; however, it is Christ’s righteousness that covers us as we are assailed by the whispers and taunts of the wicked one.

We are encouraged not to believe his lies. The breastplate covers the heart which is where one half of how we make decisions in the flesh. Philippians 4:6-7 says, “Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” Our hearts must be centered in Christ i.e. the Spirit and not in our own emotions. That is one way satan defeats us if we do not STAND. Our stand must be in the TRUTH, Christ Jesus and His Word. Consequently, put on the TRUTH: The Armor of God – Breastplate of Righteousness