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Truth in Palmyra

By Wally Fry

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Encouragement

The Armor of God-Hold Up Your Shield

Originally posted in 2014

armor

Ephesians 6:16

Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked.


 

The entire text for this devotional series can be found in Ephesians Chapter 6.

Roman soldiers carried a couple of shields, often. This particular shield probably refers to the large, almost body sized, shield they would carry to protect themselves when an enemy would launch flaming arrows into the air as part of their attack. A soldier could almost literally hide under or behind this shield and be safe.

What are the fiery darts of the wicked? Well, those represent the temptations Satan fires at believers daily. What is the faith about which Paul speaks? It’s not “The Faith,” as in true Christian faith as a system of belief. Here, Paul refers to our own personal faith in God and His strength and ability to protect us.

Our personal faith in God’s word and his promises are what protect us from the temptations Satan launches at us. We have to understand that the promise of pleasure temporarily that Satan offers is far exceeded by the promise of life and joy eternally which God offers.

The Armor of God-Don Your Breastplate

Originally posted in 2014

armor

Ephesians 6:14

Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness;


 

Again, if you want to read the entire devotional passage on the Armor of God, read Ephesians 6:10-18.

Today we are discussing the breastplate of righteousness. A Roman soldier going into battle would wear a breastplate made of primarily leather pieces put together which would cover most of him other than arms, legs and head. Obviously, this was designed to protect the soldier’s vital organs from injury.

What is the breastplate of righteousness Paul refers to here? We will briefly discuss what it is not, then a couple of ideas on what it is.

It is not a breastplate constructed from any self-righteousness we might come up with.  This would be a shield composed of some “holier than thou” attitude we sometimes assume when dealing with the world around us.  The truth is, we are all lousy and have absolutely no righteousness of our own.  If that is the best we can come up with, that we are somehow better than others, then defeat at the hands of Satan is just around the corner.

It could be a reference to the imputed righteousness we all possess the instant we are saved by the Grace of God. This would be a breastplate constructed from the knowledge we are 100 percent forgiven by God and declared righteous in His eyes at the moment of salvation.  One of Satan’s favorite tactics is to make us doubt the goodness of God and our status with Him.  The assurance of our salvation would certainly be protection when that attack comes from the Evil One.

It could, and likely is, a reference to the daily righteousness we have from living in daily obedience to God’s Word. If we strive to learn and obey the Word of God daily, then we will be able to stand before both men and God daily knowing we are protected from any condemnation from either.

As before, however, this requires action on our parts. We must know what God wills for us in order to put on the Breastplate of Righteousness. Again, prayer, reading, studying and meditating are they keys. In this case, it also requires a willingness to take what we have learned and put it into action in our daily lives.

The Armor of God-Stand and Put It On

Originally published in 2014

armor

 Ephesians 6:11

Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.

Ephesians 6:13,14

Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.Stand therefore…………..


If you would like to read the whole text on the armor of God, read Ephesians Chapter 6.

Previously we have discussed the fact that we have a real enemy who seeks to destroy us and the work of God as well. We also discussed the fact that God provides us what we need for this battle. He has given us what we term the Armor of God; and this armor is His and the strength and power that comes with it is His as well.

We aren’t off the hook, however.  Although the armor is provided by God, we have to do our part. Note the imperative verbs the Apostle Paul uses in our devotional verses: Put on, take and stand.  God has clearly communicated to us here His expectation for our role in this battle we fight.

It is not different than a real suit of armor available to a real soldier in a real war. Even that soldier must physically take up and put on the armor, or it does him absolutely no good whatsoever.  His army may have provided him the protection he needs, but he remains responsible to take it, put on on, learn how to use it and then stand against the enemy when the time comes for battle.

The same is true in our spiritual war we fight. God has certainly provided what we need to be successful, but action is required on our part. We will illustrate this more clearly as we go through the rest of our text. We have to take the armor God provides, put it on, learn how to use it and then stand against the enemy.


The Armor of God-Who We are Fighting Against

Originally posted in 2014

armor

Ephesians 6:11,12

Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.


 

We are continuing our devotional series on the Armor of God, found in Ephesians Chapter 6.

Who do we struggle against? Well, our text clearly tells us that. It is the Devil of course; it is Satan and his minions of demons under his command.

Why does Satan attack us? Satan hates God, therefore he hates us. Due to his pride and jealousy, Satan was ejected from Heaven and God’s presence at some point in time. Satan hates God and would love to destroy His work. Satan, however, is not powerful enough to assault God directly. We are another story, however; we are far weaker than Satan and his demons. Since he cannot launch a direct attack on God and hope to win, he attacks God’s children instead.

Satan and his demons are real, and they are organized. Verse 12 of our text gives us some idea of the organization of the evil we  struggle against. We aren’t here to do an organizational chart of Satan and his crew, but they have one and it is well organized.

Is is vital for believers to understand that our enemy is real. We often have a tendency to dismiss and minimize the presence of Satan in the world and in our lives. That us just how he would like it. In the world of real warfare, armies tend to only prepare to fight an enemy they know about and believe is a real threat. That is true for us as well. If we don’t recognize we even have an enemy, why would we bother preparing ourselves to fight him?

Yet, God made it clear to us, through the Apostle Paul, that our enemy is real and that we need to be prepared to engage in a struggle with him.

The Armor of God-Girt Your Loins

Series originally published in 2014

armor

Ephesian 6:14

Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness;


 

If you want to read the full description of the armor of God, read Ephesians 6:10-18.

Soldiers of the time that Paul wrote this epistle dressed in a particular way as they lived and worked in their daily lives. They did not wear pants like we would today, but rather wore something like a long flowing tunic which would cover them from top to bottom. This was an effective way to clothe themselves, but presented problems as a soldier would go into combat. A long flowing covering might have been useful and easy to wear for daily life, but likely would be an extreme hindrance as a soldier would take part in the hand to hand combat of the day. Therefore, prior to combat a soldier would “girt their loins.” This was no more than tucking their flowing garment tightly around their legs and into their belt so that it would not get in the way. The important thing is, this action was performed before the battle began.

This girting about with the truth can be looked at a couple of ways; however one looks at it, one will see that this part of the armor requires action be taken prior to beginning our combat mission. So, what is the belt of truth?

One view is that the truth represented here is the truth of God’s Word. In other words, correct doctrine as the Bible teaches it. Here the belt of truth means we must know Biblical truth in order to stand against the teachings of untruth. If one looks at it this way, obviously the pre-battle preparation needed it time in God’s word reading, studying and meditating on it.

Another view is that the belt of truth here represents and attitude of truthfulness on the part of the believer. One might say and absence of hypocrisy. Like the soldier gathering up his garments to get them out of the way, we too must get rid of the things which would get in our way as we go into battle. Here, truth would mean a truthful life, not going into battle weighed down by our own sins. This view also, means preparation must be made before the battle begins. It too, requires reading, studying and finally prayer to get our lives true.

Are our loins girt with the belt of truth? Do we know what truth is? Do we live a truthful life? If not, we will surely be defeated in our battles with Satan and his soldiers.

The Armor of God-Who We Get It From

This is a series originally published in 2014

armor

Ephesians 6:10-18

Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might. Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places. Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand. Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness; And your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace; Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked. And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God: Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints;


Today we are going to begin a multipart devotional series on the Armor of God; this passage is found in Ephesians Chapter 6. We will look at where we get the armor, why we need it, and the various pieces of it.

Today will just be a brief discussion of the source of the armor. It’s pretty simply, really; we refer to it as the Armor of God. It is not our own personal protective suit, but His.

We are fighting an enemy, Satan, who we will discuss in a later devotional. The Armor of God is an illustration of how we can fight that battle and win. The key issue for today is who’s Armor do we wear?

Verse 10 of our text lays it out quite clearly. We are not told to be tough guys and run out and confront Satan using the strength of our own powers. God does not just save us then throw us on the front line of combat with the enemy. We are to “be strong  In the Lord, and in the power of His might.”

That should provide us great comfort in our daily lives. We can rest knowing that, even though we fight a battle daily against an enemy far stronger than us, we do not have to rely on ourselves. We know that, if we did, we would surely lose; if fact, we lose daily when we try to fight our daily struggle against sin under our own strength.

Turn the battle over to God and use the tools He has given us. Be strong in Him and His power and we can win!

All Of Your Ways

proverbs-3_6

Proberbs 3:5.6

Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding.In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.


This particular Proverb is often quoted by people as one that provides comfort and illustrates how God oversees and directs our lives; and it should be, as that is exactly what it illustrates to us.

On the other hand, there are large numbers of people who fail to see and feel the guiding hand of God in their lives, and then question God as to why and even hold it against Him.

What we sometimes fail to see is that this Proverb has two parts; it is a conditional statement. If we want to see the realization of one part of God’s Word, we have to meet the requirements of another part; this Proverb is a great example of that.

“If” we acknowledge Him in all of our ways, then He will direct our paths. In other words, as normal, God has to be the focus rather than us. When we expect God’s guidance and hand in our lives, but offer nothing in return, then it only becomes another sad example of our faith being man centered rather than God centered. What, then, does it mean to acknowledge Him in all of your ways?

Its like a sport in some ways; we only have to get back to the basics:

  • Are you saved? If you aren’t, the your sin has you separated from God, both in this life and eternally. Until that gulf is crossed by the restorative work of Jesus Christ, God cannot direct your paths.
  • Do you read and study God’s Word daily? If we aren’t seeking His revealed will from His Word, why would we expect any special guidance and direction?
  • Do we pray, meditate and spend alone time with God daily? Seeking His guidance means seeking His will. We can only know His will if we know Him. Study and prayer are the ways we accomplish that.
  • Are we striving to live like Jesus and for Jesus? It seems that if we are constantly out of line with the life He would have us live, that His efforts will be solely devoted to getting us back in line. Once again, why would He share with us His special guidance if we aren’t even following His specific guidance?

Become saved by the Grace of God through Jesus Christ. Read, study and meditate daily. Spend time in prayer and communion with God daily. Do these things and acknowledge Him in all of your ways, and He will direct your paths.

Christian-Christian Relationships

A great post on encouraging one another by Noah Aadjei

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Scripture Reading: Hebrews 10:23–24.

Introduction:

The religion of Christ superior to all others:

1. It is different and superior primarily in its attitude toward, and treatment of, one another

2. It may be of interest to you in your study to know that “one another” and “each other” are found 213 times in the New Testament.

3. It always considers the other person first. This is a mark of Christian maturity.

a. “That you may grow up in him in all things” (Ephesians 4:15).

b. We do not always exhibit true Christianity in our relationships with one another.

Our relationship to God must be right. So, also, must our relationship with each other. This defines the whole course of the religion of Christ in our lives.

Discussion:

Some things we ought not to do toward one another:

1. We should not wrong or injure one another (Acts 7:26). “Let us not quarrel, for we be brethren.” This can be done by words and deeds. It may even be done by neglect and ignoring our brethren. Someone has said, ”I never knew how cruel just common talk can be. I thought that words were singing things with color like the sea. But since I felt their caustic lash and know how they can sting, I hold my breath when words go by for fear they will not sing.”

2. We must not judge and accuse one another (Romans 2:1, 14; 14:13).

3. Christians ought not to be puffed up and arrogant with one another (I Corinthians 4:6). Please consult several translations for help in the understanding of these words.

4. Christians should not have “matters against one another” (I Corinthians 6:1). This is a dispute. If they do, it should be settled with the help of one another (brethren in the family of God). Otherwise, it is a shame.

5. Brethren must not bite and devour one another (Galatians 5:15). Literally, “eat one another down.”

Read the rest of the post here: Christian-Christian Relationships

Throwback Thursday-Left Behind, Will There Be a Rapture?

Another older one, just for the memories. Blessings and enjoy!

throw back thursday

monkimage

I read the article below earlier and it really started me thinking about some things. I hope readers are not disappointed, as we really are not going to cover any debate on whether there will or will not be a rapture. One might call this a bait and switch article. The article that got me thinking was written by Jim Denison, a columnist for Christianpost.com

The Left Behind series is a publishing phenomenon, with 16 books and $65 million in sales. Three movies have been based on the series; today’s Left Behind makes the fourth. In it, Nicolas Cage plays a pilot who attempts to calm his surviving passengers high above the Atlantic after the believers have been raptured. Other well-known actors include Lea Thompson, Jordin Sparks, and Nicky Whelan.

The movie is based on the doctrine of the “rapture” (from the Latin rapturo, to take out). There are various versions of the rapture, but they have in common the belief that Christians will be removed from the world by God during the “end times

via ‘Left Behind:’ Will There Be a Rapture?.

As I said, reading the above article really made me think. The writer made some great points, and I want to expand on them here. There are many views on the timing and particulars of the return of Jesus Christ. As the writer above pointed out, there are numerous views concerning both the truth and timing of this event.

The truth is, not all believe the same things concerning the Rapture, the Tribulation or the Millenium. There are many compelling arguments to support different viewpoints on the subject. We can believe differently on these issues without anybody being branded as a heretic. The one thing that remains true, and must remain true if we are to be considered correctly believing Christians:

Jesus is coming back!

I need to say up front, there is nothing wrong with scholarly study of the Bible. In fact, Scripture is crystal clear that we are to study and meditate on the inspired writings it contains. The study of Scripture, however, is not the end goal; it is simply a tool we use in order to reach the real objective. If our lives are full of study with no application, then it has been wasted time. Scripture is to change us, not just make us smarter and more knowledgeable about it. James taught us this idea clearly in James 1:23,24. If we look into the mirror of God’s Word and do nothing, it is like a man looking in a mirror and seeing what needs to be fixed but walking away without fixing it.

Jesus took one last opportunity to teach His disciples on the Mount of Olives shortly before His ascension; He was asked by them if The Kingdom would be set up at that time.  His answer? “It is not for you to know the times or the seasons.”

It was shortly thereafter that Jesus ascended into Heaven. Even then, the disciples simply stood there staring until two angels appeared and reminded them that they had work to do, and also that Jesus would return just as He had left.  Read the whole story here.

Now on to the actual point of this article. This quote from the original article I read simply captured me and provided the jump off point for this article.

“Here’s what matters: Jesus is coming back. No one knows when. We have only today to be ready. Whether he raptures the church before (or during, or after) a Great Tribulation, or returns to begin the millennium, or simply returns to end history and begin eternity, is not the practical question. You and I have no say in the matter. We are on the preparation committee, not the planning committee. Our job is to be ready when he comes, however he comes.”

What, then, are we to be preparing for?

  • We have a wedding to prepare for. Revelation 19:7-10 describes John’s vision of the Marriage Supper of the Lamb. It is here that The Lamb(Christ) will marry His bride, the Bride of Christ. We aren’t going to discuss here who is and is not the bride, as it’s really not important to this discussion. Verse 7, however does say “His wife hath made herself ready.” How are we to be making ourselves ready? These verses give us some clues.
  • We have a judgment to face. We all know the judgment of God will pass onto all unbelievers for their unbelief. Believers will be judged also. We will not be judged to determine our final destination; that determination is made only while we are still living. We will be judged to give an account of our lives and how we lived them for Jesus.
  • We have a world to evangelize. God has not left us here simply to enjoy ourselves. He wants us restored to him and that is why He patiently waits until His chosen time. See 2 Peter 3:9 for Peter’s teaching on this idea. Back in Acts 1, right after all of the questions on His return, Jesus had told them their mission was to “be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth.”

There is a commonly quoted saying, “Some people are so Heavenly minded that they are no Earthly good.” Is that true for us? Are we so busy debating and considering the times, places and events surrounding the return of Jesus Christ that we have forgotten what the real issue is? He is returning, that is simply not debatable. The question is: Are we ready?

  • Are you lost? If you are not saved, you are not ready. Repent today; turn from your sin. Accept Jesus’ payment for your sin and His role as Savior and Lord of your life.
  • Are you saved? Remember what is coming. Are you preparing to be a good Bride? Will you be told “Well done, good and faithful servant” when you face Jesus? Are you reaching out to a lost and dying world with the Gospel?

 

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