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Monthly Archives : May 2019

THE WHOLE ARMOR……..EPHESIANS 6:12-13

For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against authorities, against the cosmic powers over the present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in heavenly places. Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand firm. Ephesians 6:12-13 ESV

Spiritual warfare is a war like no other, for it is against an enemy that we cannot defeat. We do not have the strength nor ability on our own, but when we are obedient and put on the armor of God, He will enable us to stand in the heat of battle, because the armor we wear is Christ. The Christian must put on every piece of the armor, for it is the only hope in standing against the devil. In the strategy of standing, we must understand the enemy. He is a ruler, has authority, power, and is a spiritual force. He is an adversary that is not to be challenged in your own strength, for you would be crushed in the battle.

NOT FLESH AND BLOOD:
The devil is not God, although his desire was to be so. It must be remembered and acknowledged that the devil desires to destroy all that God has made good. God defeated the devil when he became flesh, died, and rose from the grave. In defeating Satan by dying for the consequence of our sin, Jesus took from Satan his destructive power over our lives. When Jesus ascended back to His Father, He sent the Holy Spirit to dwell in us and gave us the strength to stand against an enemy not seen with human eyes.

AUTHORITY:
The devil has authority, but it is limited by the restraining grace of God. When Satan rose up against Job, God restricted how far the attack against Job could go. Satan could only do to Job what God permitted, thus proving that God is the ultimate authority. Job, although not seeing what was taking place between God and Satan, stood strong. So it is with us as Christians; we might not understand or see with our eyes all that is happening, but we are able to stand strong.

COSMIC POWER OVER DARKNESS:
Most crime happens at night while it is dark. Darkness is the desired time for criminals because they are hidden in the shroud of darkness. It is the strategy of Satan to attack in the darkest times of life. When we are not fully dressed in the armor of God, failure to stand will be the result.

SPIRITUAL FORCE OF EVIL:
Human flesh is no challenge to the spiritual forces of evil. These battles of spiritual forces happen in the mind and can be seen at times by the actions of a person. That which resides in a person is what ultimately controls them. Evil will breed evil, thus producing more evil, but the Holy Spirit creates life and will create an abundance of life for the person in which He dwells. Satan and his evil forces are not to be challenged in your own strength, for you will fail; but if you know Jesus as Savior in your life, victory can be experienced, for the Devil is already defeated by Him.

Standing can be hard if you do not know what you are standing for. You are not standing to prove you are a Christian. You are standing because you are a Christian. We are called to stand on the truth of the gospel and to give no place for the devil. So in battles of the mind, we must stand on the promises of God’s word and refuse to believe any lie or deception the Devil tries to plant in our minds. We are more than conquerors through him who loved us. Romans 8:37 ESV

APPLICATION:
Believe the truth that you are a warrior to be used in battle over the darkness, and continue to read Ephesians 6:10-18 over and over these next few weeks as we study each piece of armor that we are to put on.

Because of His Grace ~ Pastor David


LIVING STRONG…… MAY 19, 2019

     Finally, be strong in the Lord and the strength of his might.  Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil.  Ephesians 6:10-11 ESV

     Paul, throughout Ephesians, gives insight as to how the Christian comes to know God personally, and then instructions on how to live as a person.  Living for God takes an inward strength that can only come from the indwelling Holy Spirit living within the believer.  It is not a strength of our own, but a God-like strength overcoming a habit or sin that has so easily ensnared us.  A person who wants to live strong for God will not float through life allowing the current in the river of opinion, circumstance, and ease to determine how they live.  Living strong can and will be difficult at times for it will cause us to go against the current of life by living the principles and teachings of the Bible…. God’s words of instruction for us.  The reason a person should want to live strong is because they love God, knowing that he has forgiven them of sin.  A person will not desire to live strong for God until they love him more than they love their sin.  Paul, in Ephesians, had a final instruction for the believer… 

BE STRONG IN THE STRENGTH OF HIS MIGHT:         

     True strength in the believer is not from knowing what to do; it is knowing that the strength in which you walk comes from God alone. ( 1 John 4:4 … Philippians  4:13 )  Knowledge and action are needed to live and move in the way God would have you to go.  To have knowledge without action will not get you where you need to be, and to have action without knowledge can be very dangerous, for you may be going in the wrong direction.  You grow in His strength when, by faith, you believe in his word and trust him.  Just as one builds physical strength by working the muscles, so the Christian builds spiritual strength by working the mind with God’s word.

PUT ON THE WHOLE ARMOR OF GOD:   

     The verses which follow give specific instruction for the armor we are to wear if we are to stand against the Devil.  Each piece of the armor is very important and must be a part of how you dress / prepare for battle.  To neglect one piece of armor will leave the Christian vulnerable to the attacks of the devil, and it is not a question of if he will attack, but when.  The closer you walk with God , the closer you walk on the front lines of battle against the evil one.  This is why I believe the closer we walk with Him, the more intense the spiritual battles become in our lives.  So don’t neglect even one piece of the armor, for it could be right where the Devil will aim his attack…don’t give him a target.

ABLE TO STAND AGAINST THE SCHEMES OF THE DEVIL:  

     The devil has one agenda for the Christian’s life and all life…. to steal and kill and destroy. John 10:10a   If a person is NOT dressed in God’s armor,  he/she lines themselves up for destruction.  Even the best armored/dressed Christian will be wounded at times, but not killed or destroyed.  God’s armor will protect the points of their life that could cause such a fate.  The Christian is only able to stand when dressed for battle…. a battle that will be in the mind, not against flesh and blood.  Note: scripture instructs us to stand, not charge. We must always remember that the battle is the Lord’s, and we stand in His strength.  Actually the battle is already won, and the armor we wear is to give evidence that we are in Christ.  Even though defeated, the enemy will still attempt to take ground.

APPLICATION:            

     In the weeks ahead we are going to study each piece of the armor, and its importance in the battles faced daily in life.  I encourage you to read and re-read the book of Ephesians, especially chapter 6, over the days and weeks ahead and pray for understanding of the importance and all the truths concerning each piece of armor.   Pray for wisdom and understanding of exactly where you are to stand in the line of battle. 

Because of His Grace ~ Pastor David

A MOTHER’S INFLUENCE …… MAY 12, 2019

I am reminded of your sincere faith, a faith that dwelt first in your grandmother Lois and your mother Eunice and now, I am sure, dwells in you as well. 2 Timothy 1:5 ESV

In life everyone is affected by what they’ve experienced- be it for good or bad. Everything has a cause and effect, and how we react or behave can be greatly influenced by those whom we do and don’t choose to be in our life. A mother is not a choice we make, but is a choice the woman makes by making you a part of her life. Some are mothers by the natural birth of a child, and some are mothers by choosing to be so through the adoption of a child. By either means a woman has a great influence upon the future of a family, society , and ultimately, the world. Motherhood is not a calling; it is an assignment given by God. In accepting this assignment, a woman at one time or another may experience every emotion and feeling known in the world. This awesome assignment is only understood between one woman and another and is totally unexplainable. Paul shines a light on the effect two woman of the Bible had upon a young man named Timothy.

FAITH:
Faith is something that is lived and taught to children. Children will tend to imitate what they have seen. While faith is not something you just imitate, it is taught by how a person lives, and gives a foundation for the learning of faith. Lois, Timothy’s grandmother, and Eunice, his mother, were identified by Paul as two mothers who perpetuated faith in God by how they lived.

INDWELLING FAITH:
If faith is only imitated, then it is not a faith that will sustain you. It must be an indwelling faith that is evident in all situations. It is Godly values and trust planted/taught to a young child or to a new Christian that will grow that child or person in Christ. Therefore, as you received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in him, rooted and built up in him and established in the faith, just as you were taught, abounding in thanksgiving. Colossians 2:6-7 ESV Faith is expressed by how you live and gives evidence of Christ within you. Paul, when addressing Timothy, gave credit to his grandmother and mother for the evidence of faith he saw in him.

I AM SURE, DWELLS IN YOU AS WELL:
Timothy had to give evidence of that faith for himself. His mother or grandmother’s faith wasn’t going to carry him through. However, it was because of their faith that Paul was able to say, “I am sure, dwells in you as well.” Indwelling faith is a faith that will sustain you…. for indwelling faith is because of the Holy Spirit. No doubt there was thankfulness in Timothy’s heart for such a mother and grandmother that taught him and introduced him to the Holy Spirit and the saving Grace of God made possible by Jesus.

APPLICATION:
If you have a heritage of faith, be thankful for the mom or person who played that roll in your life. If you did not experience the blessing of such a heritage, be the one who will begin such a heritage by choosing a godly woman or being a godly woman— a woman who will give evidence of the faith and the grace of God, through His Son Jesus.

Because of His Grace ~ Pastor David

SUBMISSION TO GOD’S WILL …… MAY 5, 2019

Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. James 4:7 ESV

When you submit yourself to God, as a Christian, you are giving yourself to his will, purpose, and plans. It is understanding that you were purchased by the blood of Jesus, and you are no longer your own. (1 Corinthians 6:19-20) It is willfully giving your life to God by abiding and living in accordance with Biblical teachings. It is living under God’s authority by becoming a slave with the desire to obey only him by serving no other master. (Romans 6:16-20) Living submissively is impossible to do in your own strength, and unless you have the Holy Spirit living within you…. you will fail. As a Christian, how well are you living the above description of submission? If you say, “I need to live more like this,” then let us look at where to begin.

SUBMIT YOURSELF THEREFORE TO GOD:
Always remember, everything begins in the mind and then moves to the heart. For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit set their mind on the things of the Spirit. For to set the mind on the flesh is death, but to set the mind on the Spirit is life and peace. For the mind that is set on the flesh is hostile to God, for IT DOES NOT SUBMIT to God’s law; indeed it cannot. Romans 8:5-7 ESV Submitting to God is not living by your own understanding, but trusting Him in all things. Trust in the Lord with all your heart, And lean not on your own understanding; In all your ways acknowledge Him, And He shall direct your paths. Proverbs 3:5-6 NKJV Submitting to God is an immediate and ongoing process in life. You will never submit to him until He becomes the desire of your heart and then your heart will desire only Him to be in control of your life. Delight yourself in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart. Psalms 37:4 ESV

RESIST THE DEVIL:
I have known many people … myself included …. who at times find resisting temptation so very difficult, but it is imperative in order to submit to the will of God. The true Christian way of living is not easy and will be a battle at times but don’t grow weary or give up. Remember to always dress for battle against the evil one. Be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might. Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil. Ephesians 6:12 ESV (all the armor and its purpose is described in verses 13-18) The reason we fail to live as we should or loose a battle is normally because we were not ready and are spiritually underdressed— not having put on all the armor of God. Just as one dresses physically for the day, one should dress inwardly for spiritual battles. Be sober- minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. RESIST HIM firm in your faith….. 1 Peter 5:8-9a ESV

HE WILL FLEE FROM YOU:
Jesus, in the wilderness, was tempted by the devil to sin, but Jesus resisted and when the battle was over, the devil left him. (Matthew 4: 1-11) Note verse 11……. Then the devil left him, and behold, angels came and were ministering to him. Matthew 4:11 ESV I don’t believe this was an easy time for Jesus, for when this time of tempting was over, angels came and ministered to him. The reason the devil will flee from us is not because of who we are but because of who Christ is within the Christian. When Jesus is Lord of your life, you will desire to live Holy because you will love God more than you love your sin. You will want to submit to Him as Savior and Lord and the desire to sin will diminish. When you focus upon the light, it will overcome the darkness. (John 3:16-21)

APPLICATION:……. LIVE ON PURPOSE FOR GOD
Make it a point while you are submitting to put on the whole armor of God. (Ephesians 6:11-18) Make a plan not to fail or live defeated by the devil in whatever part of your life he continually attacks. Failing to plan is a plan to fail. Sometimes that plan is to flee….. Flee from the situation, places, or people that continue to enhance the temptations. When you cannot flee, remember to put on the armor which is for the purpose of standing. (Ephesians 6:13) When you stand using this armor, the devil will flee from you. Live in continual submission to God, and live on purpose for Him.

Because of His Grace ~ Pastor David

WALK LIKE JESUS …… April 28, 2019

By this we may know that we are in him: whoever says he abides in him ought to walk in the same way in which he walked. 1 John 2: 3-6 ESV
What does it mean to walk in the way that Jesus walked? We know that he lived a perfect life by never sinning, performed miracles, and taught great crowds of people. He was and is the most amazing person that has ever lived on the face of the earth. It would be frustrating to believe that you or I could live and do all that Jesus did in the very same way. Jesus was God in the flesh, and we could never do what he did or does because we have a sin nature. Yet the verse states that we are to walk as Jesus walked. God knows our limitations, and so he will not ask us that which is impossible for us to do. However, He will enable us by the indwelling Holy Spirit to walk in three very important ways as a Christian.

THE WAY IN OBEDIENCE:
And going a little farther he fell on his face and prayed saying, “My Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me; nevertheless, not as I will, but as you will.” Matthew 26:39 ESV …………. And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even the death on the cross. Philippians 2:8 ESV
Jesus lived in obedience to His Father’s will. He never asks of us, as Christians, to do that which He himself wasn’t willing to do. Obedience is evidence of the salvation received from God through his Son Jesus. Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body, to make you OBEY its passion. Romans 6:12 ESV……. Do you not know that if you present yourselves to anyone as obedient slaves, you are slaves of the one who you obey, either of sin, which leads to death, or of obedience, which leads to righteousness. Romans 6: 16 ESV True obedience is to follow in the steps of Jesus and serve Him as Lord and Master of your life. “Impossible!” you might say, but you must remember you did not have the power to save yourself from sin, and you don’t have the power to overcome it by yourself. I can do all things through him who strengthens me. Philippians 4:13 ESV To walk in obedience is to walk like Jesus walked.

THE WAY IN FORGIVENESS:
Forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive. Colossians 3: 13 ESV
Jesus came to offer forgiveness to all who would confess and repent of sin. The sin for which we confess and repent is the very sin that Jesus took the punishment for upon the cross. The next time you might say, “They just hurt me badly, I just cannot find forgiveness in my heart for them,” ask yourself, Is this how you would want Jesus to look at you and the sin you committed? This is not to downplay the hurt you may have experienced, nor the fact a person might not deserve forgiveness, but the Christian needs to give grace as grace has been given to them. Remember the words of Jesus upon the cross when being crucified, “Father forgive them, for they know not what they do.” Luke 23: 34 ESV To give forgiveness where forgiveness is not deserved is to walk like Jesus walked.

THE WAY IN LOVE:
So now faith, hope, and love abide, these three; but the greatest of these is love. 1 Corinthians 13:13 ESV
Love should be the address where every Christian lives. If someone was asking directions to the Christians life, it should go something like this….. take the street on the right called Faith and travel several blocks till you come to Hope Street; turn left and go a little ways, then turn right on Love and you will find them there. It was always where you would find Jesus…… loving people wherever he went. He especially loved those whom others didn’t, and perhaps for the first time they experienced the true touch of love. It changed their lives, and it will change the lives of those around us if we will walk as Jesus and show love —and in some cases undeserved love- toward others. God showed his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Romans 5:8 ESV Sin brings and brought great pain to God who loves beyond measure, and proving His love for us, He sent His only Son to die in our place. Emulating another person’s life shows admiration for that person and shouldn’t we be like that towards God? Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children. AND WALK IN LOVE, AS CHRIST LOVED us and gave himself up for us, a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God. Ephesians 5:1-2 ESV


APPLICATION:
While only three of the many attributes of Jesus’s walk was presented today, know there are many other ways in which Jesus walked that we should emulate. Being like Jesus can be a battle because we are dealing with our flesh which is contrary to the Holy Spirit. Never give up… always press on to the calling which as Christians we have been called to— that is to emulate Jesus’s life by letting His light shine through us. In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven. Matthew 5:16 ESV Let me close with this challenge……… Therefore, as you received Christ Jesus the Lord, ……. SO WALK IN HIM, …… rooted and built up in him and established in the faith, just as you were taught, abounding in thanksgiving. Colossians 2:6-7 ESV

Because of His Grace ~ Pastor David

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