10 Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. 11 Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. 12 For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.13 Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. 14 Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place…
The Apostle Paul talks about the weapons we have access to in order to defend ourselves from the enemy of our soul. The armor of God provides everything we need to be victorious over the arrows the enemy shoots at us. Having the armor and knowing how to use them are two different things. Paul instructs us to “put on” the whole armor of God daily to prevail against the enemy. Today we are going to look at the 2nd piece in the armor of God which is the Breastplate of Righteousness.
The breastplate in a Roman soldier’s armor was the heavy section that fit over the torso or the trunk of the body. It protected the vital organs of the body from being pierced by an arrow or any weapon. We need to protect our vital areas with righteousness.
The breastplate of righteousness is the righteousness of God. It is understanding who you are in Christ and living your life to reflect this truth. Righteousness is the identity of every Christian because of Christ’s shed blood on the cross. When a believer lives contrary to the cross then you are vulnerable to the assault of Satan. Living with unconfessed sin or tolerating a deceptive spirit and countenance will open yourself up for deep spiritual wounds. Confront any area in your life that may not be filled with the light of Christ. We are to remain in Jesus’ light and confront the darkness. Living truthful lives is putting on the breastplate of righteousness.
As we mentioned last week, flesh and blood is not a factor in the battle we are engaged in. The fact remains, putting God in second place by tolerating unconfessed sin and not living according to God’s Word exposes the core of our being. We cannot afford to enter the day without putting this vital piece of armor on.
I thoroughly enjoyed the Chinese New Year celebration this past Sunday night. Over 300 gathered together in the Family Life Center for some good food, fellowship, and faith. We took the cultural symbol of the “dog” and turned it around and gave Glory to our “God.” God is on the move in our Chinese ministry. I am seeing lives changed and more territory opening up. Thank you for all who have found a place to embrace and minister through the love of Jesus. It has been exciting to see so many people involved. Continue to pray for this ministry as we seek the Lord in all that we do.
Joy in Jesus!
10 Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. 11 Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. 12 For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.13 Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. 14 Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist…
The Apostle Paul talks about the weapons we have access to in order to defend ourselves from the enemy of our soul. The armor of God provides everything we need to be victorious over the arrows the enemy shoots at us. He will never stop tempting us because he knows his time is short and he is a sore loser. Each piece of this armor is vital in exposing and preparing us for the daily battle in the heavenly realms. Each piece is unique and helps us to tearing down every stronghold, reclaim lost territory, and it rushes us to the promises God has given us through His Word.
Having the armor and knowing how to use them are two different things. Paul instructs us to “put on” the whole armor of God daily to prevail against the enemy. For the next several weeks we will look at each piece of the armor and learn how to use it to the glory of God.
The first thing that Paul establishes is that our battle is not against flesh and blood. How many times this week have you blamed your mood or your circumstance on “flesh and blood.” This battle is on a much larger scale. To even blame things on the “flesh and blood” draws us to a defeated stance from the very beginning. This armor has both defensive gear and offensive weaponry. To effectively move through this battle, we need to know how to use what we have. The goal is not to escape or not be in the battle, the goal is to be victorious because as long as we are on this earth then there is going to be a battle.
The first piece of this armor is the Belt of Truth. This is the least noticeable, yet it is crucial in that it holds the entire armor together. The standard dress in the ancient world was a robe. I know that we don’t wear a robe all day long but they did. It wasn’t their bath robe either. Imagine trying to move quickly with your legs getting caught in your robe. When it was time for battle, the soldiers pulled their robes above their knees and gathered it around their waste with a heavy belt. Paul is saying that the first thing you are to do to prepare for the battle is put on the belt of truth.
Some scholars say that this belt of truth is the truth of theology or a true understanding of the things of God in the gospel that gives us the ability to move quickly when satan is throwing his darts. Others say it could be living out the truth by having personal integrity. Being in spiritual warfare and being weighed down in sin is like running with your robe on. You will not be at your best and the robe will inhibit you from running to your full potential. I think it is all of the above. Spiritual truth and the truth of personal character is all fitting. These are developed as we seek the truth in God’s word and ask the Holy Spirit to live those out daily in your life. When your character line up with the truth from God’s word, all deceit and falsehood have no impact on you. Without the truth, everything falls apart.
Getting the word of God in your soul is vital in living a victorious life. Commit to forming a daily habit of reading God’s word, putting it to memory, and letting it be your guide in all things. My prayer is that you will not feel complete until you go to God and his word each and every morning. When you do, the freedom of Jesus will keep the physical “flesh and blood” things from slowing you down.
Today is Ash Wednesday. We will be opening up the Worship Center for prayer at 6:00pm tonight before Boost. Come and pray with us as we are right in the middle of fasting for spiritual breakthrough. May God continue to reveal himself to you as you seek him with all your heart.
This Sunday we will begin a new series from the book of John called “Faith.” I look forward to diving in the Gospel of John with you as we lead up to Easter.
Joy in Jesus!
During the month of February we have started fasting and praying for spiritual breakthrough. I want to encourage you as you fast and pray, to follow through with what you have set in your heart and mind. Many are fasting a few days a week, certain food groups, or even social media. As you do, pray for God to reveal to you the path to a deeper prayer life and walk with Him. I think every year we have done this I have sensed both victory and discouragement. The enemy does not like the fact that we are getting serious about pursuing God so temptation comes roaring in. But don’t lose heart, we can overcome the temptation of the enemy of our soul and he knows that quite well. Jesus was up for the test in Matthew 4 when the devil came full force and tempted him to the very core. We see in the response of Jesus that He was all about the Father and every word that came out of his mouth was from God.
We must come to a closer daily relationship with God in order to fight off the schemes of the devil. The evil forces that are destroying this Nation are a direct result of men and women living in disobedience and ignoring God’s Commandments. We must saturate in the Word of God, fast and pray, and believe that God wants to do a new work among us. Doing nothing is not an option. Going through the routine of life is not an option. We need to continually commit ourselves to God and not settle for anything but a close relationship to a living God.
Paul tells us in Ephesians 6 to put on the full armor of God so that we can take our stand against the devil’s schemes. As we fast and pray, let us commit together that we want to see God break through on our men, our women, our church, and our nation.
For the next several weeks, we will take a closer look at the Armor of God. The men I have been meeting with have looked closely at this armor and it is good to continue to be reminded of the resoureces God has made available to us in this spiritual battle we are all in.
10 Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might. 11 Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. 12 For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places. 13 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. 14 Stand therefore, having girded your waist with truth, having put on the breastplate of righteousness, 15 and having shod your feet with the preparation of the gospel of peace; 16 above all, taking the shield of faith with which you will be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked one. 17 And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God; 18 praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, being watchful to this end with all perseverance and supplication for all the saints--
There are also several people who have started reading the Prophets on Monday. This one may be a little more difficult to stay on track than the New Testament reading we have done in the past. Let me encourage you to work through it and learn what God says through the Prophets. If you want to discuss your readings with others then join the Community Bible Experience group that meets on Thursday’s at 6:45 led by Jeff and Lynn Lease. They are in a different location each week so you will need to contact the church office in order to sign up for the email notifications.
This Sunday we will finish our series, “Onpoint: Living in Missional Rhythm.” I am looking forward to worshiping with you on Sunday.
Joy in Jesus!
You have heard it said that there is a battle going on and it is happening even now as I write this devotional. It is in the unseen spiritual realm. We can feel it sometimes more than others as we sense an invisible presence of heaviness in our spirit. There are times when oppression bears down on our mind or our attempts to pray are thwarted. Add to all of that a few sleepless nights and you have a mess on your hands. It isn’t always noticeable but that doesn’t mean it isn’t real. I am grateful for Psalm 91. It is about warfare, battles, and conflict. It is a song written to describe the enemies attach yet holds in it the promise of God’s deliverance.
The enemy of our soul has lost the battle but he is still trying to convince people that the battle is still up for grabs. In one sense, it is a self fulfilling prophesy. We will determine who actually wins the battle in our sphere by what we choose to do during those oppressive times. Since the enemy is supernatural in strength, we need supernatural help. The good news is that supernatural help is available to all of us. Look with me at Psalm 91:4-7:
4 He will cover you with his feathers, and under his wings you will find refuge; his faithfulness will be yourshield and rampart. 5 You will not fear the terror of night, nor the arrow that flies by day, 6 nor the pestilence that stalks in the darkness, nor the plague that destroys at midday. 7 A thousand may fall at your side, ten thousand at your right hand, but it will not come near you.
We have a promise from the Lord of absolute deliverance and protection upon us. Let me encourage you to go and read Psalm 91 today. The Lord declares six “I wills”:
I will deliver him (v. 14)
I will set him securely on high (v. 14)
I will answer him (v. 15)
I will be with him in trouble (v. 15)
I will rescue him and honor him (v. 15)
I will satisfy him (v. 16).
What a list of promises. If you are a Child of God, they are addressed to you. “Because he loves me… for he acknowledges my name” says the Lord. These promises are given to believers who, by faith, wrap themselves around Jesus. That is the way we ought to live. It reminds me of Isabelle Naylor as she was wanting to get baptized for several years. She couldn’t wait to get dunked under the water as Jesus was baptized by John the Baptist. Everyone who is baptized is like that. What a great reminder of how our hunger ushers in the deliverance of God on our lives.
We will have a video of our baptisms for our first service on Sunday that happened during the second service this past Sunday. We already have 3 more to be baptized after Easter. Let’s continue to anticipate God moving in miraculous ways as we serve Him with all of our hearts. I love my Church…
Joy in Jesus!
“Even now,” declares the Lord, “return to me with all your heart, with fasting and weeping and mourning.” Joel 2:12
In Mark 9 we read of an incident when Jesus found the disciples unable to cast a demon out of a possessed child. Jesus then shows them the power of perfect faith in an Almighty God and heals the child. The disciples come to Jesus after everything settles down and asks, “Why couldn’t we drive it out?” Jesus replied, “This kind can come out only by prayer and fasting” Mark 9:29.
In the month of February, we are calling the church to fast and pray. We are strongly encouraging the whole church to humble themselves in the sight of God and believe that He wants to do a mighty work beyond our comprehension. We are going to pray for miracles, healing, salvation for lost friends, issues that have troubled our spirits and burdens too heavy to bear. Some of the obstacles in people’s live are still there because they have not taken the time to fast and pray. Could it be that our church could see some strongholds disappear when we all agree and fast together during this time? I believe it can happen.
I want to encourage you to pick up a brochure on fasting placed in the bulletin this Sunday. If you would like one this week, contact our church office and they will send one to you (firstname.lastname@example.org).
Our nation, our church, our families, and our individual lives need to humble ourselves and desperately call upon the Lord. Fasting is one way to show God how desperate you are for His presence in your life. It is a biblical way of showing God the how you want His will to be done. It also enables the Holy Spirit to reveal your true spiritual condition, resulting in brokenness, repentance, and a transformed life. The Holy Spirit will quicken the Word of God in your heart and His truth will become more meaningful to you.
Begin now to pray how the Lord wants you to approach this fast in February. Here are some options of different kinds of fasts:
The normal fast is going without food for a definite period during which you ingest only liquids (water and / or juice). The duration can be 1 day, 3 days, 1 week, or all 28 days of February. Extreme care would be taken with longer fasts, which should only be attempted after medical advice from your physician.
The absolute fast allows no food or water at all, and should be short. Moses fasted for 40 days; but this would kill anyone without supernatural intervention, and should never be attempted without medical supervision. Be sure to test the spirit that tries to talk you into a 40-day fast, even if it includes liquids.
The partial fast is one that omits certain foods or is on a schedule that includes limited eating. It may consist of omitting one meal a day. Eating only fresh vegetables for several days is also a good partial fast. People who have hypoglycemia or other diseases might consider this kind of fast.
A rotational fast consists of eating or omitting certain families of foods for designated periods. For example, grains may be eaten only every fourth day. The various food families are rotated so that some food is available each day.
The key in picking your fast is to follow through on what you have decided in your heart. Write it down and pray that you will fulfill your commitment. You may even want to lead your family through Scripture around the dinner table or before bedtime. Again, ask the Lord to show you what to do as you give Him full access to every chamber of your life and discard anything that causes your love for Him to grow cold.
May God bless you today as we anticipate our service together on Sunday. We will continue our series, “OnPoint: Living in Missional Rhythm” and celebrate baptism with several people.
Joy in Jesus!
We have been moving through a series of messages we call, “OnPoint: Living in Missional Rhythm.” This past Sunday we looked at our time. It’s amazing how fast time is going. I was just talking to someone who retired 3 years ago and I thought it had been only 3 months. That was what I thought. It seems like that time just slips away. This Sunday I will be speaking on part two of the time portion of our messages.