Posted on

Suited & Ready for Battle

When we hear the word armor, most of our minds immediately think about military personnel and the equipment they utilize for protection while in harm’s way. We also imagine the tools they need to accomplish their objective(s) on the battlefield. History has recognized armor as vital for the service member’s survival in the face of enemies seeking to conquer, kill, or destroy the service member’s way of life.

Our Lord, aware of our spiritual enemy (Satan) and our need for protection, provided spiritual armor to us (Believer’s/ followers of the Lord Jesus Christ). Throughout the Bible the Holy Spirit constantly encourages us to “put on the whole Armor of God” (Ephesians 6:11-12); so that we (His body of Believers) may be able to prevail against all the wiles, schemes, trickery, and plots of every wicked spirit and evil force present in this world. The Armor of Light (another name for the Armor of God), according to Romans 13:12 and Ephesians 6:14-18 is designed to help us resist evil and stand firm in the mindset and actions of absolute obedience to the Lordship of Jesus the Christ.

Let’s look at soldiers and their armor from a natural standpoint to gain better understanding…Armor is one of the most important pieces of equipment a soldier has. It is simple, but having and using it properly can be the difference between life or death. Armor can mean different things to different soldiers. To the novice, armor is mysterious, cumbersome, and difficult to initially put together or set up. Using the right items at the right time can be a challenge, as they [The novice] are not yet comfortable in the gear they’ve been issued. They are immediately recognized by both the veteran soldiers around them and the enemy. Over time, however, the armor becomes like a second skin; with the individual now able to move with the same ease and efficiency as they would without wearing it.

Believers are in the middle of a spiritual battlefield with a very real enemy who is seeking whom he may devour (1 Peter 5:8; John 12:31-32).

The experienced soldier, on the other hand, knows excellent “tips and tricks of the trade”. He/She knows how to use their armor for maximum benefit. However, time also has an effect on this soldier…The experienced soldier may grow weary of doing the little things. They may become complacent. Any combat veteran will tell you the almost overly repeated statement, “Complacency kills.” Complacency occurs when a veteran has been sent to the same general area numerous times, having gained such a level of knowledge about the area they are considered the area expert. While this person can pass on valuable insight; oftentimes they’ve become desensitized, overlooking or underestimating potential threats to themselves and those around them. Even, to the point of not taking all of their armor with them during an operation; especially if they have visited the same area over and over again without so much as a skirmish with the enemy.

There is a direct correlation between the Lord Jesus the Messiah and the Armor of God. When we come into Christ via Salvation, we are issued all the necessary equipment required to rule and reign over the enemy – the armor of God. There is a full set of spiritual armor with your name on it, and you have been given authority to use it. Here is the caveat, however; Submit to God (put on Christ – clothe yourself with; completely entering into the views and interests to the point of imitating Christ in all things. Take His way of doing, thinking, and being). Resist the devil and he will flee from you. (James 4:7 NKJV).

Submitting to God means we are being protected by God and look like His Son Jesus. This is exactly what the word is talking about in Romans 8:28-30. God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God (in other words, people who are submitted to Him. John 14: 15, 21, 23-24 ), to those who are called according to His purpose. For those whom He foreknew, He also predestined to become conformed to the image of His Son, so that He would be the firstborn among many brethren; and these whom He predestined, He also called; and these whom He called, He also justified; and these whom He justified, He also glorified (NASB).

Jesus said frequently, “Abide in Me” (John 6:56, 15:4-9, 17:21). So there is the element of remaining that must be adhere to for the correct, proper, and fully suitable use of the armor of God. I can’t find a place in the Word of God, where it is written that we should take our armor off and put it back on in the morning. So, it’s a very good indicator that we should always leave it on! – Remain in the covering. Abide in the whole armor of God at all times!

Abiding in the whole Armor of God is vital, since we have an enemy who is seeking whom he may devour; who then would he be looking for? The answer…The sleeping, the un-expecting, the unprepared, the novice, the complacent, the weary, the partially dressed for battle, anyone that he would otherwise have an advantage over for one reason or another. We have been given both defensive and offensive armor, equipment, and weapons (Ephesians 6:14-18, 1 Corinthians 10:3-6); as well as training on how to use these items through the study of and correct application of the word of God. It is our job to use what Jesus provided for us, not the Lord’s. It is our job to put the armor on, and make sure we have it on in it’s entirety. It is our job to be sharp and vigilant.

Spend time with the Holy Spirit daily. As you spend time with Him, listen to what He has to say. Ask Him what He wants to talk to you about. Take notes or write it down. After you have heard what the Holy Spirit has to say, ask Him if there are any gaps in your armor. Ask Him to reveal to you if there are any places where the enemy may be able to gain access to your life. If any place is revealed, ask the Lord to forgive you. Then, do what He says to you (in His written word and by inspiration of the Holy Spirit) to correct the situation. Finally, give no place to the enemy (Ephesians 4:25-32). Abide in the Lord Jesus. Live with the armor of God on continually, never take it off!

List of the armor/weapons given by God: (By no means exhaustive, but a place to start)

  • The name of Jesus: Philippians 2:8-11, Ephesians 1:20-23
  • The word of God: Matthew 4:1-11, Luke 4:1-13
  • Binding and loosing: Matthew16:19
  • Forgiving: Matthew 6:14-15, Mark 11:25
  • Love: 1 Corinthians 12: 31-1 Corinthians 13:1-8
  • Prayer of faith based on the accurate application of the word of God: James 5:16
  • Salvation: 2 Corinthians 5:17
  • Truth: John 17:17, Roman3:4
  • Righteousness: 2 Corinthians 5:21, 1 John 1:9
  • The Gospel of peace: Romans 10:14-15
  • Praying in the Spirit: Jude 1:20-21, 1 Corinthians 14:2, Romans 8:26-27
  • Faith in the true and living God: Matthew 8:10, John 5:19
  • Obedience: Matthew 26:39, Luke 22:42, Philippians 2:8
  • Unity instead of division: 1 Corinthians 12:13, Ephesians 4:16
  • A way of escape: 1 Corinthians 10:13, Hebrews 9:14, Romans 8:1
  • Godly Wisdom: James 3:17
  • The Mind of Christ: 1 Corinthians 2:16
Posted on

Pruning, Anyone? …Anyone? Isaiah 61:1-11: Part III

Now that we’ve spent time allowing the joy of the Lord to increase in our spirits, let’s concentrate on verses 4-11 of Isaiah 61; and compare it with Romans 5:1-5. These selections of Scripture parallel one another, even though the words may sound different at first glance. Isaiah is describing a process and Romans is telling us exactly what traits this process will produce; should it be allowed to take its course as God desires. Recognizing what the Lord is doing is an important skill we must develop as children of the Most High God. We should not be as those who worship Him from afar, never knowing Him as He is. But, we should be as those who draw close to Him to hear His voice and obey; loving the very sound of Him, as well as the opportunity to come into deep fellowship with Him in the fullness of who He is. 

Romans 5:3 talks about tribulation. The Greek word used here means pressure or a pressing together. The feeling that we (each of us) often experience when we are being groomed by God. The word used in this verse isn’t a reference to trouble coming from Satan. We are repeatedly instructed to rule over Satan in various times and ways throughout the Scriptures (James 4:7; Ephesians 4:27; Ephesians 6:11). After all, there is nothing that comes from Satan that could ever produce anything good; let alone have a good result in anyone’s life. But, on the other hand, time with God – in the hands of the Master…. Submitted to His Lordship, allowing Him to conform you into His image – will produce the characteristics listed in Romans 5:1-5. You will begin to be able to follow along with the Scriptures and say, “I see this in my life. I have that fruit in my life. I’m doing that.”

Others will be able to see Isaiah 61: 4-11 when they look at you. They will begin to see the once ruined places now rebuilt. And, call you a minister of the Lord. Where you were once less than honorable, you now have the character of the true and living God being made manifest in you at every turn. You will be a bride adorned for her husband, the Lord Jesus. And, you will be a testament to the goodness of the Lord and His righteous majesty. Hallelujah! 

God is the quality craftsman. He will not, or does not ever, build on faulty foundations. He is the wise, Mater Builder who only builds on His best foundation – Jesus the Christ, the Chief Cornerstone. Jesus is the only foundation who will never fail.

Don’t be afraid. Drive fear from your heart so you can hear His voice clearly and trust Him entirely. Hear Him and allow Him to have complete and total access to every aspect of you-especially the aspects you hope no one else will ever see or know about. Let Him truly be in control at the helm of the ship; which is you. He won’t disappoint you-He never fails. Neither does His Word return void, but it accomplishes everything He sends it to accomplish! He won’t fail you! 

Posted on

Pruning, Anyone? …Anyone? Isaiah 61:1-11: Part II

We read Isaiah 61 and have spent time meditating on Jesus as more than the One Who keeps us from suffering the eternal penalty of sin in Hell. He is also our perfecter. He, through the work of the Holy Spirit and His written word, changes who we once were to make us the image of Himself. In doing so, He also makes us like Him; able to stand against the enemy (Satan and wicked spirits) and rule, conquer, succeed, and prevail in any/every circumstance which presents itself. He desires that we have no weakness by which the enemy is allowed access to hinder us. Much in the same way a master gardener prunes trees and flowers to keep them from being susceptible to infection or infestation by pests. As you read through Isaiah 61, change your perspective a little bit. Don’t just stop at thinking its a great chapter in the Bible about salvation-A one-time encounter with the Lord. See the process happening. The LORD is bringing the believer from glory to glory. Transformation and preparation. Taking the believer from the quality, character, or state they once were to what He wants them to be.

Work/focus on the same topics of correction as God, at the same time He desires to work/focus on it. Let Him direct the topic/subjects of conversation between you and He. Why? Doing so brings about unity and unison with God. Cooperating with the Lord, instead of fighting against Him, always makes everything better. God’s nature is to deal with the heart or root of a problem, not simply the visible fruit. Think about the fig tree in Mark 11: 20. Notice the leaves weren’t simply withered, or merely the top part of the tree. Instead, the whole tree from the roots upward was destroyed. You, the person, are not the tree, here. The tree represents dead branches. We are shown God’s approach to dealing with everything. God does a complete and thorough work, not a partial job.  

Meditate on the transforming power of God through the LORD Jesus, the Christ. Are there any areas He wants to transform in you? Are there any areas He wants to prune in your life, thoughts, or plans for yourself? If so, are you cooperating with Him? Or, are you fighting against Him (even a little)? If you answered “yes” to one or more of these questions, begin to prepare your heart to receive the work of the Holy Spirit in you. Let your thoughts find Jesus’, the author and finisher of your faith, work in you through the Holy Spirit to be pleasant and a joy-cherished rather than feared or avoided. Allow the joy of the Lord to rise up in you as you meditate!

Posted on

Pruning, Anyone? …Anyone? Isaiah 61:1-11: Part I

I was listening to my children as they conducted their devotional one morning. The topic was “spiritual pruning”. You know, allowing the Lord to remove ungodly habits, relationships, mindsets, hurts, unforgiveness, doubt, fear, misunderstanding, concerns, sickness, pain, etc. which are hindering His perfect will from coming to pass in your life; infected branches, if you will.  

A thought occurred to me… Often, instead of rejoicing over the Lord making changes in us and for us, we ask Him to keep the “infected branches” in place. We may find ourselves saying, “Oh Lord, just make this work. No Lord, don’t touch that.” Or saying, “Pretend Lord, the works of my flesh are Your best and the same as what You want, Lord.” (Genesis 17: 18-19) We want God to put the rotten, broken, infected, vulnerable, unfruitful, and dead branches back into position. We request a band-aid from the Father, rather than pruning, so we can continue to feel okay. Or, we say we want God to fix our lives to make them look like Him, but never actually allow Him to do His work in us. When God, on the other hand, is saying, “Let Me cut that off, let Me remove this, let Me have that; because, these things that I am asking you to give Me, don’t reflect Me in your life– I’ll give you something better.” 

I can hear the Lord saying, “I’ve got you. Trust Me. I won’t let you down. My will is best. Take everything I have for you – My perfect (complete, entire, lacking nothing) will.” 

Read Isaiah 61:1-11, today. As you read, consider, the LORD Jesus is more than your hero coming on the proverbial “white horse” to rescue you from your sins and the peril of Hell. He is also the author and finisher of the good your Heavenly Father desires to manifest in your life. Meditate on these Scriptures throughout your week.

Posted on

Unlocking the Blessing in your life; and all its benefits: Part III

The covenant God made is a covenant of blessing. How then do we access the blessing God has in store for us? What’s the key? The key is obedience to the written Word of God as well as to the instructions the Holy Spirit is speaking to your heart on a daily basis. 

In addition to being a declaration of our intent to remain in right relationship with God; obedience is also a declaration of our faith (trust) toward God. After all, without faith (in God) it is impossible to please God (Hebrews 11:6). Throughout the scriptures, God places intense emphasis on His people obeying His voice and following His command(s). Why? Obedience to the Lord is what sets us apart from Satan and his followers; who have decided not to remain or be a part of the Lord. Lucifer decided he would not remain in the place the Lord granted to him (Isaiah 14:12-15), and tried to replace God. Adam and Woman in the garden of Eden succumbed to the outward influence of the enemy and were removed from the place God had set for them. And, the list goes on. So, you can see a trend here…disobedience moves us from the place God has destined/designed for us and creates a separation from the plan of God, as well as from God Himself. In other words, disobedience removes us from the Blessing. (The Blessing in the earth, and the blessing that is to come in eternity.)

Read Genesis 2:8-25, Deuteronomy 28:1-14, Matthew 6:25-34, and Revelation 21: 1-27, 22:1-5 In each of these scripture readings we see the Blessing covers every area of life that we can think of: Marriage, family, children, resources, placement, provision, protection, success in the endeavors to which the Lord sends us, and good (Overall and in general our lives being good, not bad.) Everything we would need or desire as being “good” is already included and provided for in God’s good plan for us…which is the Blessing! God has thought of us: top to bottom, front to back, inside and out, all the way around, and from beginning to end. There is nothing left undone! Unlock the Blessing in your life with the key of obedience. Claim your place in the Blessing of the LORD, today.

Posted on

Unlocking the Blessing in your life; and all of its benefits: Part II

The covenant God made with Abraham is an eternal one. It is the same covenant God made with Adam and Woman in the Garden of Eden. The same covenant God made with Noah. It is the same covenant that we see echoed and detailed throughout the entirety of the scriptures. It is the same covenant that entails God’s desire for mankind and His strategic plan to bring about His ultimate will for creation and eternity…to reconcile those who belong to Him back to their place with Him for eternity. Meditate on 1 Corinthians 15:24, Revelation 21:22-27. See that the Lord has a greater plan at work all around you. A plan, whose scope and depth is outside of a normal human day to day. Ask God to help you see and understand things from His perspective, and to help you cooperate with Him in all that He wants to do.

Posted on

Unlocking the Blessing in your life; and all of its benefits: Part I

Obedience is an eternal key designed to open doors and represents a declaration of our individual decision to follow the Lord Jesus Christ-Messiah. This declaration of our decision has to be made daily, and multiple times every day-as the option to turn away from Him presents itself just as often. Every time we are obedient to the Lord above our own desires and/or any outward influence, we are in fact saying we will remain in relationship with the LORD and maintain our agreement (covenant) to walk with Him. Search the scriptures to find as many places as you can which reference obedience in some way. Meditate on Matthew 12:48-50. Understand what the Lord is saying in these verses.

Posted on

Psalms 139 Part 3 – Letting God’s Love Rule In Us

Throughout this week we’ve spent time considering God’s omnipresence, and His willingness to help us. Now, let’s look at the rest of Psalms 139, verses 19-24.

David states that he believes he has aligned his views and perspective with the Lord’s; but, then says something interesting. “Search me, O God, and know my heart; Try me, and know my anxieties; and see if there is any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.” (Psalms 139:23-24 NKJV) David invites the Lord to come in and re-align his ways and thoughts. There are times when we as believers can think we have aligned ourselves with the Lord, only to find out He has a higher place than we conceived. For example: “Love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you…” (Matthew 5:43-48 NKJV)

In these verses of scripture, David recognizes God’s complete, complex, and deep love for him and realizes he can relax; knowing if he trusts God and His love, God will see him (David) into the place where God wants him to be. There is nothing like knowing our Heavenly Father’s love for us, personally: Deep, wide, complex, without limitations, never ceasing. It doesn’t diminish or grow faint. There is no fulfillment, nothing that can satisfy you like His (God’s) love.
Make the truth of God’s Word your refuge and hiding place, like David did. 

Lean into the Father’s love for you, today. Grow deeper with the depths of it. Search it out. Find out how much God loves you. Look it up in the written word of God and also ask/let the Holy Spirit minister it to your soul. Find comfort, resolve, and resolution in His love. Station yourself in it, never let Him go. Always remember How much God loves you. Let it be your shield, your guard, and your covering. Rest in and trust His love for you.

The Lord is willing to help you. You, in turn, must be willing to let God in. Let Him have His pick of topics and His say as to what is right or wrong. Or, to phrase it a different way, let Him change what He wants to change about you or wants to have remain in you because He put it there for His glory. Understand, trust, and know that His ways lead you to His best in this lifetime, and ultimately to everlasting life in the time to come, eternity. Let Jesus, through the Holy Spirit, have His perfect (complete, entire, and lacking nothing) work in you, today. Amen.

Posted on

Psalms 139 Part 2 – No Matter What, God Is Willing To Help

As we read Psalm 139:13-18 we find, even more surprising than the fact of God’s omnipresence, is the fact that God wants to be there. Not that He wants to be in hell, or find us running away from Him or from His love for us; but, He wants to be there for you. He’s waiting for that time, that moment when you turn around to find Him. He is waiting for the second you turn and find that He is waiting for your return; No matter how far you’ve gone, no matter how dark it’s gotten. No matter how high up or out of reach you think you are, God is there. Reach out to find Him, today. Are there any areas of your life you may be resisting the LORD?
Meditate on the LORD’s willingness to help anyone, no matter what they’ve done or been through. Meditate on the LORD’s willingness to help you.

Posted on

Psalms 139 – God’s Omnipresence & Omnipotence

In Psalms 139: 7 David asks a question, “Where can I go from your spirit? Or where can I flee from your presence? He continues speaking to the LORD saying, “If I ascend into heaven You were there; if I make my bed in hell, behold, You are there. If I take the wings of the morning, and dwell in the outermost parts of the sea, even there Your hand shall lead me, and you’re right hand shall hold me. If I say, “Surely the dark shall fall on me,” Even the night shall be light about me; Indeed the darkness shall not hide from You, but the night shines as the day; the darkness and the light are both of alike to You. ” (Psalm 139:7-12 NKJV)
David, in the verses of Psalms 139:7-12, reminds me of a child hiding from place to place asking the Father, ” Can You still see me?” “Can You find me, now?” David runs in his mind to what seems to be the most unlikely places for the LORD to be; only to realize God is still, in fact, there. He still sees David. God can still find him.
Meditate on Psalms 139 this week. Meditate on God’s omnipresence and omnipotence.

Posted on

Psalms 91 Part 2 – Clean Up Your Words

We’ve spent time this week meditating on the 91st Psalm and considering how we use our words. Proverbs 18:20-21 says “A man’s stomach shall be satisfied from the fruit of his mouth; From the produce of his lips he shall be filled. Death and life are in the power of the tongue, And those who love it will eat its fruit.” NKJV  

The words you speak now will answer for you and your household in times to come. Believe God’s word, today. Confess Psalms 91 over yourself and your household. Clean up your speech to align with God’s word.

Posted on

Psalms 91 – Where Do You Stand?

As we read over the 91st Psalm this week, and meditate on how it applies to ourselves and our families; think about your words. What kinds of things are you saying on a daily basis? What are you saying when things get tough in your life? What do you say to your children when frustrations arise? Are you like the Shunammite woman in 2 Kings 4:17-37, or the disciples in Mark 4: 35-41? Compare and contrast their responses to trouble. The Shunammite woman confessed “it is well” to anyone who asked, and made her petition to the Lord with the help of the prophet Elisha (Two standing in agreement on earth concerning their petition (Matthew 18:19)). She did not let up or change her confession at any point. The disciples, on the other hand, accused the LORD of not caring about them or their predicament.