Day 4: Armor

Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.” Ephesians 6:11

The devil is sly. He knows my weaknesses and he likes to zero in on those and just continue to torment me in those areas. Do you find yourself in my shoes? I Peter 5:8 tells us to “Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a    roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour.” He is constantly on the prowl. We not only need to be aware of this, but we need to be equipped to fight him.

Remember yesterday we talked about how our battles are spiritual. Since they are spiritual, we must equip ourselves  spiritually. There are some very key things to know here when seeking the correct armor to fight our spiritual battles. Ephesians 6 goes on to tell us more specifically what that armor consists of.

1) Helmet of Salvation — If we are not saved, we have already lost the battle. Salvation provides the strength that cannot be found in our human flesh and nature. Romans 1:16 “For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek.”

2) Breastplate of Righteousness — Dr. Bob Jones, Sr. used to say, “Do right til the stars fall.” We must always strive, in everything that we do and say, to do right. I John 3:7 “Little children, let no man deceive you: he that doeth righteousness is righteous, even as He is righteous.” If we are God’s, we must do right, my friend!

3) Loins girt about with Truth — Truthfulness is a very valuable character trait. It is becoming more and more rare, even in our churches and in our pulpits. Being able to speak the truth at all times comes with maturity.  Listen to what Paul tells us in Ephesians 4:14-15 “That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive; But speaking the truth in love, may grow up into him in all things, which is the head, even Christ.”

4) Sword of the Spirit — A sword is much more effective when fighting than our hands. Can you imagine going to a fight against another sword with your bare hands? That is not a pleasant sight, is it? We need a sword! God has given us His Word as our sword. Let us not neglect to pick it up, sharpen our skills with it, and fight against the devil and his foes! Hebrews 4:12 “For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and  intents of the heart.”

5) Shield of Faith — May we not leave behind our shield … our faith. Hebrews 11:6 “But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.” May your faith stay strong during the heat of the battle!

6) Feet shod with Peace — John 14:27 “Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you …” May we not only go forth with peace but may our words and our actions bring peace. I know it says feet in this verse, but my mind cannot help going to the tongue. Proverbs 15:1 “A soft answer turneth away wrath: but grievous words stir up anger.” May we speak peace today!

Day 3: Victory

“But thanks be to God which giveth us the VICTORY through our LORD Jesus Christ.” I Corinthians 15:57

Who gives us the victory? The LORD Jesus Christ does! A few days ago, I asked on Facebook what are some trials that you are facing or have faced recently. I do not know if you read the responses or not, but I did. There was a myriad of          responses. Yes, some were similar, but yet there was still a wide variety.

Did you recognize one common thread in the responses on Facebook? It does not matter what age, or sex, or background we come from, if we are human, we will face trials. We will face obstacles in our lives. Christians will even face trials. So, if we are to overcome these obstacles in our lives … if we are to get the victory over them … we will need some trustworthy tactics. What better place to find them than in God’s Word! What does God’s Word tell us …

1. We need to realize that each of these battles are actually spiritual battles — Ephesians 6:12 “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.” When someone says or does something to hurt us, what do we most often do? We lash back, right? Because they have hurt us. But, what we need to do is stop and recognize that what that person has said or done against us is not personal. It is a spiritual battle. A spiritual battle must be fought spiritually … not with physical retaliation.

2. We need to realize that the battle is the Lord’s to command — II Chronicles 20:15b “… for the battle is not your’s, but God’s.” Too often we are the problem. We step in and act before God has given us leave to do so. We throw words like arrows piercing anything and everyone in its path. The battle is the Lord’s, my friend. Let Him command our ways.

3. Like David, we must adorn ourselves with the armor of God, not man — Ephesians 6:13 “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.” Man’s armor will weigh us down. We will quickly tire and fall defeated. God’s armor gives strength, but we need His complete armor. Do not make the mistake of going forth to battle partially attired for it will only bring defeat!

4. We need to keep our stand — Exodus 14:13 “… Fear ye not, stand still, and see the salvation of the LORD, which He will shew to you to day …” Sometimes we feel like we are down for the last count, but all we need to do is stand. Have you ever noticed that a standing position is an unmoving position? I had never thought about it before, but it is true. Moving positions are walking, jogging, trotting, running, or sprinting. Place your feet firmly and simply stand!

5. We are more than conquerors — Romans 8:37 “ Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us.” Two things to encourage ourselves in today here. One, we do not have to fight alone. Two, He will enable us to be MORE than conquerors!

Do not despair, my friend! God is still in command. Victory is just on the horizon. Follow His command and let VICTORY be your battle cry!

Day 2: Liberty

“… where the Spirit of the LORD is, there is LIBERTY.” II Corinthians 3:17

Can you just hear the silence that followed Patrick Henry’s proclamation of, “Give me liberty, or give me death?” The silence was so strong that I am sure that if a pin were dropped, it would have been heard as if a bullet had been shot. There is a reason for this … a lot was weighing in the balance. Therefore, it was a very profound statement, was it not?

Liberty means the state of being free from restrictions. Where liberty can found, life can be found. Where no liberty is found, death is found. This is true both physically and spiritually. So, spiritually speaking this also is a very profound statement for us … if I do not have liberty (spiritually), I will suffer death (spiritually).

Where is liberty found? Well, our verse tells us that it is found in the Spirit. At the moment of salvation, we received the indwelling of the Holy Spirit within us. God gave us His Spirit when He gave us life. “I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.” Yesterday we talked about that sacrifice that gave us our freedom, which in turn gives us our liberty.

Some people come to Christ for liberty thinking that once they have surrendered their lives to Him, that they will now live a peaceful, drama-free life. When that does not happen, they are very upset. What they fail to realize is that Christ may have paid that price for their liberty, but liberty must be lived out every single day of our lives. Many of us truly have the Holy Spirit living within us, but we live a dead, defeated life. That is not what God intended for us at all, my friend!

Yes, we will have struggles. Yes, we will get beaten up from time to time. Yes, we will have doubts and fears and people and things will pull us downward. But, we do not have to stay there. God has promised us liberty! We must act on it! That action is what helps us to proclaim to all those who see us that we live in liberty … through Christ!

We have had the privilege of going to New York City a few times because we have a supporting church there. We have not gotten to go to Liberty Island to see the Statue of Liberty up close, but we have seen it from a distance. She stands so tall and so proud with her torch raised high. What is she proclaiming to all who see her? Liberty!

“In New York Harbor, stands a lady, with a torch raised to the sky; and all who see her, know she stand for Liberty for you and me. I’m so proud to be called an American, to be named with the brave and the free; I will honor our flag and our trust in God, and the Statue of Liberty. On lonely Golgotha, stood a cross, with my Lord raised to the sky; and all who kneel there, live forever as all the saved can testify. I’m so glad to be called a Christian, to be named with the ransomed and whole; as the statue liberates the citizen, so the cross liberates the soul. Oh, the cross is my Statues of Liberty, It was there that my soul was set sfree; unashamed I’ll proclaim that a rugged cross is my Statue of Liberty!” (written by the Gaithers)

Raise your torch high, my friend, that it may proclaim to all who see that you have chosen LIBERTY!

Day 1: Freedom

“If the Son therefore shall make you FREE, ye shall be FREE indeed.” John 8:36

As I sit here praying and meditating on this verse many things come to my mind. In fact, they are in an over-abundance! Yet, they continue to float and bounce around with no seeming order … and no seeming hurry to settle down. I like      decisiveness. I like clarity. I like black and white … no fuzzy pictures allowed! But, do you know what? God does not always bring the whole picture into focus at one time. I will move forward in trust that He knows what He is doing this month. He has a plan even though He has not revealed it completely to me yet. So, are you ready?

In just a few short days, we will be celebrating Independence Day aka July 4th, as it is often referred to as. Independence Day in the United States represents a freedom that was gained … through sacrifice. Am I correct? To be free means to not be subjected to the power and reign of another person or object.

Life, in general, brings its own bondage (control by others), but what we often do not recognize is that we face another bondage as well … a bondage to sin and Satan. It is true that as Christians God has saved us from that bondage of sin. He has destroyed the chains. If it is a done deal, why do we continue to allow sin to reign over us? I believe the Apostle Paul was wondering the same thing because he admonishes the Romans in chapter 6 verses 1 and 2, “What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin, that grace may abound? God forbid. How shall we, that are dead to sin, live any longer therein?”

The Galatians also must have been having issues with this very same thing because Paul then admonishes them to “Stand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free, and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage.” Galatians 5:1 Let us face it, we all find ourselves faced with issues that drag us down, do we not? Some of those issues are sin and some are not, but even if they are not sin, they can cause us to sin through our actions and attitudes towards them.

I love Easter time as it is a time to reflect back on what Christ did for us that day there on Calvary. I love to hear the song sung, “It is Finished.” He finished the work there that day. Let us not go back and make Him suffer all over again because we cannot trust His work. He has set us FREE, my friend! Since He has set us free, we are FREE indeed [for sure; without a doubt; never to be changed]!

Proverbs 26:11 tells us that “a fool returneth to his folly” just “as a dog returneth to his vomit.” Are we doing that very same thing without realizing it? Are we continuing to live in bondage, when Christ so willingly set us free? We live near the original monument of the battle of Iwo Jima. We have watched the film numerous times. In that 36 day battle, there were over 26,000 casualties!! I do not know the total number who stormed those beaches and so valiantly fought there, but if you were to talk to them today and ask them to go back and fight that battle all over again, do you think they would do it? I wouldn’t! Once was enough, my friend! Let us not do the same thing in our spiritual lives. Our freedom from sin has been paid for. Let us accept that payment and let us live in freedom today!