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PRAYING IN THE SPIRIT …… EPHESIANS 6: 18 ….. JULY 21, 2019

Praying at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplications. To that end, keep alert with all perseverance, making supplications for all the saints. Ephesians 6:18 ESV

To pray in the Spirit, one must be a Christian. This is not implying that a person who is not a Christian is not able to pray, for that would not be true. God hears the the prayers of all who pray; but to pray in the spirit, you must have the Spirit of Christ in your heart. (Read Romans 8:1-11 concerning life in the Spirit.) The purpose of praying in the Spirit is to pray in harmony to the will of God. Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness. For we do not know what to pray for as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groaning too deep for words. And he who searches hearts knows what is the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints according to the will of God. And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose. Romans 8: 26-28 ESV

PRAYING AT ALL TIMES:
Praying at all times does not mean to be only hidden away in a closet somewhere on our knees, but also a lifestyle, communicating to God our love for Him. To have a conversation with another person, one needs to be in their presence or have the means by which to communicate. The Spirit is the means which enables us to experience the presence of God and communicate with Him in accordance with His will.
I DO believe that a closet time in which we verbalize our prayers and listen is important, but we also need to communicate our love for God with our lives. Praying / saying the words, “God, we glorify your name,” is important, but living on purpose as a Christian will cause our life to match our words. The old saying, “ Action speaks louder than words,” applies well here. Jesus said it this way to the Pharisees, “This people honor me with their lips, but their heart is far from me.” Matthew 15:8 ESV Living on purpose is not keeping a list of rules in order to show we are Christians; it is loving God the way Jesus taught. And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all you soul and with all your mind and with all your strength. Mark 12: 30 ESV ….. If you love me, you will keep my commandments. And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Helper, to be with you forever, even the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees him nor knows him. You know him, for he dwells WITH YOU and WILL BE IN YOU. John 14: 15-17 ESV To think a person needs to keep a set of rules to be loved by God is wrong theology. God already loves us more than we can imagine. We keep his commandments to show how much we love Him. We live in a state of prayer in all we say and in the way we walk / live for Him.

KEEPING ALERT WITH PERSEVERANCE:
ALERT: the state of being watchful for possible danger.
PERSEVERANCE: steadfastness in doing something, despite difficulty or delay in achieving success.
Over the last few weeks we have studied each piece of the spiritual armor that we are to put on and why….
That you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil. Ephesians 6:11
We are to ….. give no opportunity to the devil. Ephesians 4:27 ESV
We are to watch for danger….. Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. 1 Peter 5:8 ESV
Jesus gave us the greatest example of perseverance when he said upon the cross… “It is finished.” John 19:30 ESV… and calling out with a loud voice said, “Father into your hands I commit my spirit! Luke 23:46 ESV Jesus the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God. Hebrews 12:2 ESV Life can, at times, seem like a race in which we can grow so weary, but we must, as Paul, persevere to the end. I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. 2 Timothy 4:7 ESV

MAKING SUPPLICATIONS FOR ALL THE SAINTS:
SUPPLICATION…. the action of asking or begging for something earnestly or humbly. In our verbal prayers to the Lord, we need to be making requests and interceding for fellow believers by asking for God’s blessings in their life. This is one of the ways we can fulfill the will of God, by caring for and loving each other enough to pray for one another. We as Christians are all dressing in the same spiritual armor for the same reason… to stand. There is power in prayer, and we should never neglect to build each other up in this power from God to overcome sin. In this way we can defend each other in our battle against all the devil will bring against us. Paul, in his writings, asked many times that fellow believers would pray for him. (Colossians 4:3, 1 Thessalonians 5:25, 2 Thessalonians 3:1, Hebrews 13:18,) Paul also reminded many of those to whom he was writing that he was praying for them. (Colossians 1:3, Colossians 1:9, 2 Thessalonians 1:11, Philemon 1:4 ) May we never forget to pray for each other as brothers and sisters in Christ.

APPLICATION:
Love God on purpose with your actions and thoughts by following Christ’s example. 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 ESV To do this effectively, you must study and learn as much as you can about the love of God. Love is a choice, and you need to know how to choose wisely. Secondly, commit to pray for fellow believes this week. You may want to take 5 or maybe 10 fellow believers a day and pray for them. Start with the ones you know best and pray for the specific needs in their lives and then pray for those who you may not know so well asking for blessings and strength in their lives. In doing so you are learning the love of God for others and you will personally experience a blessing in your walk with God.
Because of His Grace ~ Pastor David

THE SWORD OF THE SPIRIT …… EPHESIANS 6:17 ….. JULY 14, 2019

Take the helmet of salvation, and THE SWORD OF THE SPIRIT, which is the word of God. Ephesians 6:17 ESV

A sword can be used for defenses and to attack, but as Christians we use the sword to stand. Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to STAND against the schemes of the devil. Ephesians 6:11 ESV The helmet as the word of God is for protection, and the sword as the word of God is to enable us to stand. Stand firmly in the truth of God’s word, and the fact that the battle has already been won. Satan is no match for the Sword of the Spirit. Obviously, this is not a physical sword we carry in our hand, but a sword we carry in our mind/heart. This sword of the Spirit is the word of God!

S-WORD OF TRUTH
In today’s world I’ve heard it said, “There is no absolute truth.” Fact is, however, that… Jesus is absolute truth … for those who believe and are Christians. Jesus said, I am the way, and THE TRUTH, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. John 14:6 ESV As Christians we stand in this truth, for it was spoken and taught clearly to us by Jesus.

S-WORD OF POWER
For the WORD of the cross is folly to those who are perishing but to us who are being saved it is the POWER of God. 1 Corinthians 1:18 ESV This is the s-word you use to stand against the devil when he whispers to you that God could never have saved you from your sins. The Devil will place doubts in your mind, attempting to cause you to question the salvation you have in Christ. However, when you know you have been redeemed by His blood that was shed for you upon the cross of Calvary, you can sing, “There is power, power, wonder-working power in the precious blood of the lamb”. – (Lyrics – Lewis E. Jones.) The WORD / TRUTH OF THE CROSS, is the power of God to save. Against this, Satan has no weapon, so all he can do is attack you where you stand, but he is defeated. So stand strong in the word/truth of the cross.

S-WORD OF LIFE
When Jesus was teaching concerning himself being the bread of life, many questioned him and stopped following him. (John 6:22-59) So Jesus said to the twelve, “Do you want to go away as well?” Simon Peter answered him, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the WORDS OF ETERNAL LIFE, and we have believed, and come to know, that you are the Holy One of God.” John 6:67-69 ESV In Acts 5:19 An angel of the Lord opened the prison doors and brought them out, and said, “Go and stand in the temple and speak to the people all the WORDS OF THIS LIFE. As Christians, we stand with the same message, living, teaching, and preaching that Jesus is the word of life. What other message do we have? NONE! Jesus is the resurrection and the life we teach and believe, for without the resurrection we do not have a message upon which to stand. (1 Corinthians 15)

APPLICATION
As I taught last week, the helmet is for protection that God gives us accordingly and by His word. The sword is using that protection to stand against the Devil. The protection that God gives is no match for Satan…. Remember what Jesus said, “I give them eternal life, and they will NEVER PERISH and NO ONE WILL SNATCH THEM OF MY HAND.” John 10:28 ESV… The sword is using the word of God against the Devil by striking / blocking his blows of doubts, temptations, lies, and __________ (fill in the blank that applies to your life.) Remember in the desert when Jesus was tempted by Satan? In every temptation he used the words of God, His Father, to block / strike back concerning the temptation. (Luke 4:1-12) We have been issued the whole armor of God in order to stand, but it is of upmost importance to get spiritually dressed in it. The sword is sharpened and made effective by the word of God being implanted in your mind. What sin or temptation is strong in your life? There is a word for that…. literally!!!
Fear.. Psalm 23:4 I will fear no evil, for you are with me.
Psalm 27: The Lord is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear?
You can use these verses along with others God has given you, to strike / stand against fear. When you have an area of your life in which you are struggling, ask the Lord to give you scripture to battle / stand strong in life.

Because of His Grace ~ Pastor David

THE HELMET OF SALVATION…… EPHESIANS 6: 17 ….. JULY 7, 2019

And take the helmet of salvation. Ephesians 6:17a ESV

The helmet of salvation for a Christian is the protection needed to be able to wear and utilize all the other pieces of armor properly. As I have said numerous times, “Every battle begins in the mind.” Protecting the mind is of upmost importance, for it is where battles are won and lost. It is extremely important to understand the salvation we have in Christ, for it is essential in protecting the mind. Therefore, preparing your minds for action, and being sober-minded, set your hope fully on the grace that will be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ. 1 Peter 1:13 ESV ( Reading 1 Peter 1: 3-15 would be beneficial in understanding the whole context of this verse.) Years ago, when I worked for a company that introduced computers to help accomplish our daily tasks, a statement was made that I have remembered to this day: “Garbage in, garbage out.” In other words, the computer will only give out the information it has been given. How the Christian lives will be determined by how he or she believes, concerning the word of God. The beliefs and thoughts one feeds into the mind will determine what comes out. A few thoughts from scripture to remember concerning how Christians should live and believe are as follows: Be diligent to present yourself approved to… ( KJV, Study to show thyself approved unto)… God, a worker who does not need to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth. 2 Timothy 2:15 NKJV …. There is a way that seems right to a man, but its end is the way to death. Proverbs 14:12 &16:25….. Jesus said to him, “ I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” John 14: 6 ESV….. There is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to people by which we must be saved. Acts 4: 12 CBS  When you grasp in your mind the grace by which you have experienced God’s salvation, you will live differently. (Ephesians 2:8-9) You will love God much when you realize and know that you have been forgiven much. (Luke 7: 37-50 ) Again…. what a person believes will determine how he lives.

WHAT IS THE HELMET OF SALVATION ?
Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit — which is THE WORD OF GOD. Ephesians 6:17 ESV  We will study more concerning the sword next Sunday, but for now, I want us to look at the helmet along with the sword as the word of God. The word of God, as a helmet, is for protection. The word of God, as a sword, is used to fight spiritual battles. When putting on the helmet we must remember, IT IS the putting on of that which you know you already have. We aren’t saved only when we put on the helmet so to speak, for salvation is secured by the grace of God. IT IS the acknowledgement of His salvation already established in our mind / heart. IT IS the protection for our minds from the battles of doubt and insecurities thrown at us by Satan. IT IS…… THE WORD OF GOD being established in our mind, growing the hope and faith in which we stand.

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HOW DO I PUT ON THE HELMET OF SALVATION ?
As a child you were taught how to dress yourself physically. As a Christian you need to learn how to dress yourself spiritually in THE WORD OF GOD. Years ago my pastor gave me a Bible in which he wrote this quote, “Sin will keep you from this book and this book will keep you from sin.” Dressing ourselves spiritually is dressing the mind with the WORD OF GOD. His word of salvation is the helmet of protection for our minds. The less you know of his word, the more vulnerable to the attacks of Satan on your mind. As a Christian, you can never have too much of GOD’S WORD in your mind. How can a young man keep his way pure? By guarding it according to your WORD. Psalm 119:9 ESV….. I have stored up your WORD in my heart that I might not sin against you. Psalms 119:11 ESV….. Your WORD is a lamp for my feet and a light on my path. Psalm 119:105 ESV  The spiritual battles and wars are real in life and the only protection is the HELMET OF SALVATION, WHICH IS THE…….. WORD OF GOD!

APPLICATION:
Our minds can feel like a vast battle ground in which, at times, the battles seem to become increasingly intense or never-ending. The first part of winning the battle is to remember you are protected by God’s salvation and secure in His hand. Jesus said this concerning a believer, “I give them eternal life, and they will NEVER PERISH and NO ONE WILL SNATCH THEM OUT OF MY HAND.” John 10:28 ESV  Battles can be dark, and I want you to remember this phrase I once heard, “Never question in the darkness what God has shown you in the light.” When in the dark times you can not see clearly that God has redeemed you, do not let Satan cause doubt by whispering lies to you that you know are not true. When Satan strikes you with a blow of doubt, it might jar you, but your mind is protected by THE WORD OF GOD……… NO ONE WILL SNATCH YOU OUT OF HIS HAND…… NO ONE!!!!!  When you dress for battle, this is the helmet you put on…. GOD’S WORD.

Because of His Grace ~ Pastor David

THE SHIELD OF FAITH…… EPHESIANS 6: 16 ..… JUNE 30, 2019

     In all circumstances take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming darts of the evil one.  Ephesians 6:16 ESV

     The Christian, when living and loving Jesus will face many battles as the evil one will rise up against you.  Never treat a situation as a small battle, but be alert having the shield of faith, and be ready for even one flaming dart.  Knowing that we are referring to spiritual battles, how would you describe a flaming dart?  Here are some descriptive words: fear, lies, doubt, anxiety, uncertainty, and on this list might go, but you get the idea.  The effect of these arrows/darts of thoughts and situations can be crippling in anyone’s life, but the Christian has available to them a shield to use in every battle.  It doesn’t mean you won’t battle with these thoughts, but faith causes you to look to God.  When looking to God in faith, you are believing what God says and promises over the doubt, lies, or perhaps horrible situations the devil shoots at you.  For example, the devil will tell you that you are worthless, but in reality you are of great value. Why?  Because you were made by God.  For you formed my inward parts; you knitted me together in my mothers womb.  Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well. Psalm 139: 13-14 ESV  The devil will tell you that you could never be forgiven, but the Bible teaches, If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleans us from all unrighteousness. 1 John 1:9 ESV  You may experience a horrible situation in which there seems to be no end, and Satan wants you to feel and believe you are defeated, and that God really doesn’t care. This is a lie. Faith believes the teaching of Romans 8: 18-37.  Faith is an essential part of being a Christian and faith is believing God no matter what life deals you.  It is believing that He will never leave nor forsake you. (Hebrews 13:5)  Faith is not something we can’t necessarily see, but a walk we walk because …  We walk by faith, not by sight. 2 Corinthians 5:7 ESV   This faith does not need to be measured as big or small, for just a little faith can do great things when you believe.  This is so because faith is not in ourselves but in the God that can move mountains.  Jesus said,“For truly, I say to you, if you have faith like the grain of mustard seed, you will say to this mountain,  Move from here to there, and it will move, and nothing will be impossible for you.”  Matthew 17:20 ESV   The shield of faith is believing God who is bigger than any lie or situation that Satan can attack you with.       

IN ALL CIRCUSTANCES:
     Never treat an attack from Satan or his demons as small.  Don’t take confidence in yourself…EVER!  In all circumstances we must look to Jesus, the founder and protector of our faith.  Hebrews 12:2 ESV  The NewAmerican Standard Bible says it this way. Fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith.  Peter, when looking at Jesus, walked on water, but when he started looking at the raging storm around him, He began to sink. (Matthew 14: 28-31)   In life you will have storms, never underestimate the severity of the storm, but most importantly …DON’T TAKE YOUR EYES OFF JESUS.

TAKE UP THE SHIELD OF FAITH:   
            Faith is essential in the Christian walk.  Now without faith it is impossible to please God, since the one who draws near to him must believe that he exists and rewards those that seek him. Hebrews 11:6  CSB  Hebrews chapter 11 is the so called Hall of Fame of those who believed in faith.  Faith in God alone is what pleases God.   The shield we have is the confidence we have in God by believing and focusing upon him and not entertaining the world’s way of thinking.  It is believing, even though  by worldly standards it may not make sense.  It is trusting in only God and His word ….. the Bible.     

EXTINGUISHING ALL THE FLAMING DARTS OF THE EVIL ONE:
     What extinguishes fire?  Water.  The flaming darts of Satan will be extinguished by Jesus, who gives and is the living water.  Satan’s desire is to burn you and cause you much pain.  Jesus wants to refresh you and quench the thirst caused by the doubts and lies of Satan.  Let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of FAITH, with our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water.  Hebrews 10:22 ESV  When Satan reminds you of past sin and failures attempting to cause you to doubt, remember he is the father of lies. Remind the devil you are washed in he blood of the lamb and have been redeemed by the blood of the lamb.   

APPLICATION:
     It is not a question that the flaming dart will come but when.  Obviously we are to dress in the armor of God for battle and take up the shield of his protection in our lives.  The application of faith is this …. look to Jesus.   Whenever you face all that the forces of evil shoots at you …. look to Jesus.  When storms of life happen…. look to Jesus.  When overwhelmed ….. look to Jesus.  When weary …. look to Jesus.   Focus, focus, focus on Jesus. (Hebrews12:2)  Focus with songs, prayers, and scripture memorization.  Meditate and think often upon him and give no place for the father of lies in your thoughts.  I will meditate on you precepts and fix my eyes on your ways. Psalm 119:15 ESV …..    Give no opportunity to the devil.  Ephesians 4:27 ESV…..   For though we walk in the flesh, we are not waging war according to the flesh.   For the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh but have divine power to destroy strongholds.  We destroy arguments and every lofty option raised against the knowledge of God,  AND TAKE EVERY THOUGHT CAPTIVE TO OBEY CHRIST.  2 Corinthians 10:3-5 ESV 
               Live strong in the Lord and live for God on purpose. 

 Because of His Grace ~ Pastor David 

SHOES… THE GOSPEL OF PEACE …… EPHESIANS 6:14 ….. JUNE 16, 2019

As shoes for the feet, having put on the readiness given by the gospel of peace. Ephesians 6:15 ESV

Could you begin to imagine a solider in battle with bare feet? Glass, rocks, and sharp sticks would be all that is needed to cripple that solider. The devil does not want you to be ready for the battles you will face by having your feet protected with the gospel of peace. If the gospel of peace is lacking in the Christian’s life, so is the strength to stand. The gospel of Jesus should bring peace into your life and not condemnation because you are in Christ. There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. Romans 8:1 ESV The gospel of peace is Jesus and his… SALVATION…. DELIVERING US FROM THE CONSEQUENCE OF SIN. It is his story of salvation for the world, provided by the loving God of all creation.

PERSONAL SALVATION:
The gospel of peace will be evident in a person’s life when they have experienced it personally. It is God’s story in lives revealing the saving grace he has abundantly poured into us.
God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Romans 5:8 ESV
For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God. 2 Corinthians 5:21 ESV

God did what he did so that we might pass from death unto life when we believe. (John 5:24) Personal salvation does not happen by a formula of scriptures… saying or quoting the right scripture or verses. However, scripture gives insight as to how to securely know that you are saved. Salvation is the repentance of sin and a life change by no longer living only for yourself but choosing to follow God and being his disciple. It is a life dedicated to loving God after coming to know his great love for us, in that he became flesh, lived, died and rose again. A few Bible passages that point us in the direction of committing our life to him are ……. If you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes and is justified, and with the mouth one confesses and is saved. For the Scripture says, “Everyone who believes in him will not be put to shame. For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek: for the same Lord is Lord of all, bestowing his riches on all who call on him. For everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved Romans 10:9-13 ESV ……..If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. 1 John 1:9 ESV ……
Many people believe salvation is acquired by working or living well. This will never bring peace, for this person will always be hoping and wondering if they have done enough. If you feel you must work to gain salvation, then let me give you a couple of Bible passages to reflect upon … Then they said to him, “What must we do, to be doing the works of God? Jesus answered them, “This is the work of God, that you believe in him whom he has sent.” John 6:28-29 ESV ……… For by grace you have been saved through faith. And it is not of your own doing; IT IS A GIFT OF GOD, not a result of works, so that no one may boast. Ephesians 2:8 ESV Any work done as a Christian is not for salvation, but is the result of salvation. (James 2:18) The gospel of peace is not because of who we are but who we are in Christ. There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are is Christ Jesus. For the law of the Spirit of life has set you free in Christ Jesus from the law of sin and death. Romans 8:1-2 ESV

CONFIDENCE IN SALVATION:
When times become difficult it may seem hard to stand. It is during these difficult times one learns just how well they have dressed in God’s spiritual armor. The shoes in the Roman armor were said to have small pieces of metal on the bottom to help them dig in, thus enabling the soldier
to stand his ground. The shoes in God’s armor would have scripture points reminding us of who we are and enabling us to stand.
In him you also, when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation and believed in him, were sealed with the promised Holy Spirit, who is the guarantee of our inheritance until we acquire possession of it, to the praise of his glory. Ephesians 1:13 ESV
The confidence we have is not in ourselves but in the promised Holy Spirit, who has sealed us with a guaranteed inheritance. This should give us peace of heart and mind. In the Old Testament they did not have the indwelling Holy Spirit in their lives, but they still praised, worshiped, and recognized that God is the God of salvation.
On God rest my salvation and my glory; my mighty rock, my refuge is God. Psalm 62:7 ESV
Our God is a God of salvation, and to God, the Lord, belong deliverance from death. Psalm 68:20 ESV
Behold, God is my salvation; I will trust, and will not be afraid; for the LORD GOD is my strength and my song, and he has become my salvation. Isaiah 12:2 ESV
Though the fig tree should not blossom, nor fruit be on the vines, the produce of the olive fail and the fields yield no food, the flock be cut off from the fold and there be no herd in the stall, yet I WILL REJOICE IN THE LORD; I WILL TAKE JOY IN THE GOD OF MY SALVATION. GOD, the Lord, is my strength; he makes my feet like the deer’s; he makes me tread on high places. Habakkuk 3:17-19 ESV

Confidence is not dependent upon circumstance but upon the truth we know, and this is what we can know to be true……. For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor power, nor height, nor death, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord. Romans 8; 38-39 ESV……. God who saved us, will keep us, no matter what the devil tells us. Peace and confidence comes from knowing him personally as Savior and Lord.

SHARING THE GOSPEL OF SALVATION:
And how are they to preach unless they are sent? As it is written, “How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the good news!” Romans 10:15 ESV The shoes in God’s armor are not a fashion statement; they are a statement of proclamation- proclaiming the good news to all who will hear. A person who is deaf, hears with their eyes so to speak. They will read your lips in order to understand what you are saying. The person who does not know Christ personally is spiritually deaf and will hear what you are saying by how you walk in relationship with Jesus. This brings to light the importance of the saying … don’t just talk the talk but walk the walk. Here are some ways we are to walk…….
Walk in love, as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us, a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God. Ephesians 5:2 ESV
Therefore, as you received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in him. Colossians 2:6 ESV
Whoever says he abides in him ought to walk in the same way in which he walked. 1 John 2:6 ESV

APPLICATION:
Think of someone you know who does not know Jesus as Savior. Pray and intentionally walk the gospel of peace before them this week and in the weeks to come. Think what you might do to share with words and action the story of God’s salvation / gospel. Do not worry about how well you can do this for it is not a performance; it is caring for someone who has not the hope of Christ. And I, when I came to you, brothers, did not come proclaiming to you the testimony of God with lofty speech or wisdom. 1 Corinthians 2:1 ESV It is the power of the gospel to save, not our performance. Live on purpose for God, and God will give your life purpose.

Because of His Grace ~ Pastor David

BREASTPLATE OF RIGHTEOUSNESS ….. EPHESIANS 6:14 ….. JUNE 2, 2019

Stand therefore, having fastened the belt of truth, and HAVING PUT ON THE BREASTPLATE OF RIGHTEOUSNESS. Ephesians 6;14 ESV

There are two types of righteousness; self-righteousness and God’s righteousness. Self-righteousness is based on works, and God’s righteousness is based on grace. Self-righteousness will brag or can be puffed up and is based on all that person perceives they do or how they perform. God-based righteousness will brag on the goodness of God and love Him for the covering of His righteousness on one’s life. The first piece of the armor was truth, and it is imperative that you have truth before you put on the breastplate. Just as all the armor is protective in nature, God’s righteousness has benefits that self-righteousness doesn’t have.

PROTECTION:
No one is a match for all the attacks the devil will make in life. The breastplate, as all pieces of the armor, is important for its protection of all the vital organs, especially the heart. If protection is not given to the heart, you become an easy target for Satan to destroy. Remember, the heart and the mind as a Christian are linked together. Depending on the translation, concerning the heart, Proverbs 4:23 tells us to guard, watch, or keep the heart above all else. Why? For although they knew God, they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their THINKING, and their foolish HEARTS were darkened. Romans 1:21 ESV If you would place Jesus’s name with each piece of armor you might be able to visualize better the importance of putting on this armor for protection. (i.e. Jesus’ truth, Jesus’ righteousness, Jesus’ shoes, Jesus’ shield…etc) The armor of God is available to every Believer/ Christian, but there is a personal responsibility to … put it on….. daily.

SECURITY:
Attempting to be righteous in our own strength will create the burden on guilt when failing. This makes a person feel insecure, for this is a works-based righteousness. Jesus’ righteousness will grow you to love Him more, for you did nothing to earn it….. it is a gift given by grace and mercy . Now to the one who works, his wages are not counted as a gift but as his due. And to the one who does not work but believes in him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is counted as righteousness. Romans 4:4-5 ESV…..
There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. Romans 8:1 ESV….. For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not of your own doing, it is a gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast. Ephesians 2:8-9 ESV

CONFIDENCE:
And now little children, abide in him, so that when he appears we may have confidence and not shrink from him in shame at his coming. If you know that he is righteous, you many be sure that everyone who practices righteousness has been born of him. 1 John 2:28-29 ESV
To put on the breastplate of reghteousness is to have Christ in your heart/life. If you have the breastplate of reighteousness, you will live on purpose for God because of his imputed righteousness. It is impossible to sin successfully as a Christian. Sin, yes…. successfully, no.

APPLICATION:
This week reflect upon an area in your life that always seems to be where the Devil attacks you. He sees a weakness in you, and you need to protect that area with the breastplate of righteousness. Make much of Jesus and give no place for the Devil…. STAND in the strength and protection Jesus gives. In every situation of life be … more than conquerors through him who loved us. Romans 8:327 ESV …. Know and believe you can ….. do all things through him who strengthens me. Philippians 4:13 Find a verse or scripture passage that will help you focus upon God and use it to not sin against Him. I have stored up your word in my heart, that I might not sin against you. Psalm 119:11 ESV Have a blessed week because of Jesus’ love, grace and mercy.

Because of His Grace ~ Pastor David

THE BELT OF TRUTH…….EPHESIANS 6:14……JUNE 2, 2019

Stand therefore, having fastened on the belt of truth. Ephesians 6:14a ESV

The belt of truth is the first piece of armor which the Christian is instructed to put on. This truth is knowing that Jesus is God’s only Son, that he died, was then buried and rose from the dead on the third day. This truth is unchanging and will remain so throughout eternity. This truth is established in the mind with unwavering conviction and belief in what Jesus said concerning Himself.
Jesus said, “I am the way, and THE TRUTH, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” John 14:6 ESV
Jesus is best described as absolute truth in which there can be absolutely no compromise. Remember that this is not a physical armor, but the armor of God used to stand against all that the Devil will use against you ….. his schemes, his lies, and his deception. To have the belt of truth is to have a means by which you can attach the Sword of the Lord, which is the word of God. We will discuss the sword later in more detail, but it must be remembered that the sword is the word of God, and the word of God will mean little to you if you don’t have the belt of truth. Jesus would then be just another way, and not The Way. Not knowing the truth gives credence to other writings or ways to hopefully be enlightened, which are the schemes, lies, and deception of the devil. To put on the belt is to put on Jesus and the protection that He will provide. Jesus in your heart will be Jesus on your mind, and the mind is to think on God.
Finally, brothers, whatever is TRUE, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if anything worthy of praise, THINK ABOUT THESE THINGS. Philippians 4:8. ESV The only person I know who fulfills all these characteristics is Jesus! So how do we go about putting on truth?

BELIEVE:
For I have given them the words that you gave me, and they have received them and have come to know in TRUTH that I came from you; and they have believed that you sent me. John 17:8 ESV
In him you also, when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation, and believed in him, were sealed with the promise of the Holy Spirit. Ephesians 1:13 ESV

Believing will determine how you stand concerning the truth. Satan will warp and distort the truth, attempting to cause doubt concerning Jesus. It will be as it was in the garden when he said to Eve, “Did God actually say, You shall not eat of any tree in the garden?” Genesis 3:1 ESV Jesus is God in the flesh, the perfect lamb of God that came and died and rose again, redeeming all who will believe, repent, and call upon His name for salvation. This is absolute truth and absolutely true. There is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which WE MUST BE SAVED. Acts 4:12 ESV

LOVE:
Little children, let us not love in word or talk but in deed and in truth. By this we shall know that we are of the truth and reassure our heart before him. 1 John 3:18-19 ESV

Love for truth (Jesus) will cause you not to just talk about the truth but live on purpose with action in the truth in which you stand. You will do so, for you cherish and hang upon every word given to us by God through the evidence of truth in His Son. Again, this will cause you to live on purpose for God. …..Be doers of the word, and not hearers only. James 1:22 ESV

STAND:
Stand therefore, having fastened on the belt of truth. Ephesians 6:14 ESV

If you believe and love, you will stand, being girded up with the truth and ready to sing in the battles of life the hymns like “Standing On the Promises”, “On Christ the Solid Rock I Stand”, “Stand Up, Stand Up for Jesus”….. We stand up because Jesus stood in the gap …… the mighty gulf of sin that separated us from God. We stand protected and covered by the truth of His word that we are redeemed by the blood of the lamb and we are no longer separated from God because of our sin. We stand on and for truth…..JESUS!!

APPLICATION:
This week, take your Bible and look up every reference concerning truth that you can find. Find a verse that will sustain you in the daily battles, and memorize the verse or write it down to remind you that you are standing on the truth of God’s word as a Christian. Remember that Satan is and always has been the father of lies. Satan is no match for the truth, and the truth of Jesus will set you free.

Because of His Grace ~ Pastor David

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

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