Archive | April 2014

The Armor and the Truth

Ephesians 6:14 – “Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness”

Yeah! Time to get down to the nitty gritty!

Paul begins the use of the armor with the same word that he concluded the last sentence with – stand. Think that is important? When all else fails, when you have no clue what to do, stand.

“Loins girt about with truth” – Let me give you my perspective on this one. I see this as a belt. You have to remember that in Bible times, they often wore a long dress-type outfit. And in order to run or in preparation to do work, they had to “girt up their loins”. This means that they had to pull the material from the back in between their legs and then tuck the skirt of their outfit into their belt to free up their feet to move quickly and efficiently. The belt is what held their outfit together when they were working or fighting. This isn’t a fashion commentary, just a statement of truth. When I think about this section of this verse, I see the item around the waist holding the whole armor together. When you apply that to life, it is the truth of God’s word that holds us together. Without it, we would be a fish out of water, floundering about and gasping for air. The belt not only holds things together, but it also holds things that one might need – like water or, in today’s world, you phone. The truth of God’s word holds all that we need in life. The answers are all there. You may just have to search them out and think about them for a while.

“Having on the breastplate of righteousness” – We all know what a breastplate is. It is that shield like thing that knights and soldiers of olden days wore across their chest. It protected their vital organs. We have to put on this breastplate to protect our heart – the very thing that makes us who we are. And this is no ordinary breastplate. This one is formed of righteousness. Now, before you totally disregard this notion and think that “there is no way! I’m not a good person!” Remember what righteousness is – right living. It is not perfect living. It is not living religiously. It is living the way that Jesus called us to live – according to the truth. This right living will protect the very essence of who you are. And God will reward those who put forth the effort to live above reproach. It is difficult and the breastplate is heavy. But the rewards far outweigh the struggle.

So in this brief glimpse of the armor of God, we see that truth plays a very important role in our life. And there is only one way to access the truth – read your Bible. Prepare for life. Hide His words in your heart. You will be surprised at the number of times per day that the Word slips into your heart and mind to remind you of what you need to be doing in order to live that righteous life we all desire.

So princess, my challenge for you today is to seek out truth. Gobble it up like your favorite meal. Ingest it and allow your soul to make it part of who you are. If you have it in your heart, the truth can never be taken away from you. So, girt up your loins and put on that breastplate and go out there and…..stand.

The Armor and Standing

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.”

Do you remember when you were in school and you were sitting in class reviewing for a test? Sometimes, if the teacher was feeling generous, he/she would emphasize certain things that they knew were going to be on the test. They would look at you hard, change their voice tone and repeat the item several times so that you would get the clue that whatever they were saying was going to be on the test.

Well, sometimes God does something similar to that – He repeats. He repeats things when it is vitally important and He wants us to pay close attention. That is exactly what He has done in this verse.

Take a look at what has been repeated – “the whole armour”. Once again, God is emphasizing that you can’t put part of it on; you have to wear all or nothing. Part will do you no good.

What is the purpose of wearing this armour? To protect you in the evil day. Sounds sinister, doesn’t it? Well, guess what? We are there. We aren’t Sodom and Gomorrah, yet, but we are no where near Godly or God-fearing. Just think for a moment about the news today. Massive amounts of people dying because of illness or murder. Tornados ruining physical livelihood. People taking things that aren’t theirs because they think they deserve it. Governments encroaching upon people because they think they know best how to manage and run things. It is everywhere, princess. And we have got to be prepared with our armour securely fastened against us. You wouldn’t go outside in the inclement weather without being prepared. Why would you go out into the world without being protected?

Some may see these verses in Ephesians and think that they are a call to fight. They are wrong. The Bible doesn’t tell us to fight. It tells us to stand. To stand for truth. To stand for what is right. To stand for Him. In all of this armour, we are issued one piece of equipment for offense, a sword. But we will get to that soon. Most of what we are instructed to do is defense. But not active defense as we think of active. No, we are called to stand.

What does it mean to stand? It means that when you are going through a hard time that you cheerfully endure and acknowledge Christ in your life. It means that when given the choice to do something or walk away, that you do something. It means that you are available to show God’s love to others. It means that sometimes you just let it roll. Standing is not always easy. Standing is not always convenient. Standing may require a sacrifice. But standing is what we are called to do.

So today princess, I want you to join with me and practice standing. Practice being selfless in situations. Practice recognizing when and where and how you can show God’s love. The armour is a challenge to wear. So start now in exercising what you will need to cheerfully endure it.

The armor and the Enemy

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.”

The enemy. As followers of Christ, we don’t like to think that we have enemies. We like to think that everyone likes us and that we try hard to get along with everyone. And we should. But, like it or not, there are powers and beings that hate us. They hate everything that we stand for – they hate God.

These beings are usually not seen. They hide in the shadows and attack our heart and mind.
The word for “principalities” means “chief – like in rank or order”. So we fight against the first bad guy – Satan.
The word for “powers” can also mean “delegated influence”. So we fight against those who try to influence our thoughts and actions.
The “rulers of the darkness of this world” is pretty obvious – Satan, once again. He’s like a bad penny. He keeps turning up. In fact, in John 12:31, Jesus called Satan “the prince of this world”. God has given Satan a certain amount of power in this world. But one day, dear princess, one day He will take it away from him and toss him into eternal darkness. Oh, what a day that will be! But for now, we have to fight. We have to be prepared.
The “spiritual wickedness in high places” gives me the indication that we are fighting against those angels who chose to follow Lucifer out of Heaven. The “high places” means “celestial”. To me, that is angels. And these aren’t the good kind or they would not be referred to as having the characteristic of being “wicked”.

So, we have all these terrible, nasty beings that we are up against. And most times, we can’t even see them. So what’s a princess to do? Dress up, of course! We have a suit of armor made of the finest material Heaven has to offer. But it won’t work unless you put it on.

It’s time to get ready, princess. We are ready to dive into what the armor of God is all about. But until the next time, be on the lookout for those things mentioned above. If you don’t know your enemy, you won’t know how to fight them.

The Armor and the tricky little booger

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

Back in the day of hand to hand combat, the soldier had to wear a significant amount of protection – armor. If worn correctly, the armor left little room for injury. Obviously there were chinks in the armor where an enemy could injury or take the life of the soldier. But the armor was designed to give the warrior maximum protection.

So, what does this have to do with the armor mentioned in the Bible? The armor that God issues to us is designed to protect us spiritually. But just like anything else, it doesn’t work if you don’t use it. That is why in this verse, Paul encourages us to “put on the whole armor of God”. He doesn’t say “just make sure to grab your helmet on the way out the door”. No, he tells us to put the whole thing on, start to finish, head to toe.

Why? Why isn’t just grabbing the helmet good enough? Things aren’t really that bad, are they? My pastor made the statement one time that if we could see the spiritual warfare that was actually going on around us, that it would probably scare us out of our mind. Yes, spiritual warfare is everywhere. It is in our hearts, in our minds – everywhere.

But just what are the “wiles of the devil”? Sounds like something from an old Saturday morning cartoon, doesn’t it? The word in the Greek looks like “method”. It actually means “travelling over, i.e. travesty or trickery”. So, the “wiles of the devil” means the “trickery of the deceiver” (remember, devil also means “deceiver”).

Sounds like trouble, doesn’t it? So, why wouldn’t you put on he whole armor? Forget? Don’t have time? Really don’t care? Don’t believe?

Have you ever been on a diet? You swear off sweets and bread. You go to work the next day and what is there, bagels and blueberry cream cheese! What! How hard is it to stand under that pressure? It takes a big, hard choice to make that one go away. Trust me, I’ve been there.

But the same principle applies in the spiritual world. You decide that you are going to get up and read your Bible every morning before breakfast. And what happens on about day 2 or 3? You had to stay up really late the night before finishing some work and you think you need the extra sleep to get through the next day. So you skip it. And then the next morning your alarm doesn’t go off. And after that, your decision to get up and read becomes a distant memory, just another promise forgotten. Spiritual warfare. Think that work was an accident? It was the first shot fired.

If we hope to stand against the devil’s tricks, we have to be prepared. And the only way to prepare is to suit up. And you can’t just put on the pieces that are flattering or easy to put on. No, you have to put the whole thing on. Remember, the devil is a tricky little booger that wants to destroy you. You have to be ready.

So, today princess, make sure that you have all the armor. We are going to steadily dive into it over the next several days, but you have to have all the tools to prepare. So, read Ephesians 6:10-20 and start now. And remember, all those promises made and broken can be healed by the Great Physician. You just have to ask.

The Armor – Power of His might

Ephesians 6:10 – “Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might.”

I want to do a series on the armor of God. I think that as a princess, we need to know how to arm ourself and where to find our protection.

So the first thing I want to encourage you with is this – don’t get hung up on the “brethren” thing. When the Bible was written, it was customary to write it in the masculine form. That does not mean that the Bible does not apply to His princesses as well. It just means you have to put “sister” in there at times. And that doesn’t change the meaning, unless of course, in the context of the subject He is speaking to men. Just be careful and pay attention to what is being said.

Moving on.

“Be strong” – There has been a recent campaign by the sports world to “live strong”. We need strength for all kinds of things – picking up kids, bringing in cat litter, yanking out trees, etc. But the kind of strength being referred to here is identified in the next phrase.

“In the Lord” – If there is one thing to say on this subject matter, it is this – you may be able to lift a truck. But if you don’t have Jesus in your corner, that truck will crush you. Physical strength is important for health. But spiritual strength is important for life. True strength can only be found in Jesus and His power.

“In the power of his might” – Believing in Jesus for salvation is the most important step. And then, the fun begins – living your life with Him. In everything you do, in every step that you take, in every decision you are faced with, you go at it with the One who can move mountains. Just think on that for a moment. Mt. Everest is an ant hill to Him! The Rocky Mountains are nothing more than rocks stacked in a row. He can move these mighty mountains! Just think of what He can do in your life!

So as we begin this journey on checking out the armor of God, let’s begin by realizing the coolest thing – I have the power of the Mountain Mover on my side. “What shall we then say to these things? If God be for us, who can be against us?” – Romans 8:31

Psalm 37 – part 5

Psalm 37:8 – “Cease from anger, and forsake wrath: fret not thyself in any wise to do evil.”

It seems like these last few verses in Psalm 37 have been about getting your own way and your reaction to it. This one is no exception. Think that God is trying to teach us something?

“Cease from anger” – don’t get mad. Well, how crazy is that? Don’t get mad? It almost makes me mad just reading that the Bible tells me not to get mad! Am I right? It’s not easy to not get mad. People can be so foolish in their decisions and actions that it is hard not to get mad at them for their lack of forethought. It is hard not to get mad when you know that your child is smart and he/she refuses to check their math test. It is hard not to get mad when someone cuts you off in traffic. It is hard not to get mad when you are waiting at the doctor’s office for 45 minutes in that tiny little room with 2 small children. You feel like a caged lioness! But God is encouraging us here to not get upset. Let’s look at the next part.

“Forsake wrath” – that means make the choice not to get angry and retaliate. Now, I know what you are thinking – it’s their fault I get mad, not mine. But stop and truly look at it. You have a choice to get mad and retaliate or not. You can choose to let it roll off your back. Or you can choose to be a porcupine and let the situation get all caught up in your bristles. It’s a good analogy – are you a duck or a porcupine? Choosing to forsake wrath is hard. But remember, it is your attitude and response to the situation that will matter at the judgement seat.

“Fret not thyself in any wise to do evil” – this means “don’t get yourself all wound up and then do something that you will regret – like sin, big time”. Sometimes our anger can get the best of us and cause us to say or do I something that we will never be able to rectify. And that can hurt. It can hurt you and the other person involved. No good all the way around.

Worry and anger are dangerous tools of the devil. He uses them against us everyday. He causes us to forget our Savior and His sacrifice we just celebrated. But we choose to allow him this opportunity. We allow him to bring meanness into our thoughts. We allow him to show us ways to harm others. We choose. We allow. Those are tough things to face. And the only way to fight back is with your spiritual armor.

So today, princess, be on guard against times when “the evil one” is seeking to get you off track. Don’t let him steal your joy and talk you into anger and retaliation. It is an ugly path and a beautiful gem like yourself has better things to do than walk down an ugly path.

Psalm 37 – part 4

Psalm 37:7 – “Be still before the LORD and wait patiently for him; do not fret when people succeed in their ways, when they carry out their wicked schemes.”

“Be still”. I have a problem with that one sometimes. Okay, let’s be honest, most times. I’m a doer. I have always been a doer. I like to get things done. So being still is a tough one for me. I have a problem waiting.

I feel like every so often God has to put me in a position to wait. He has to re-teach me how to “be still”. Last week, I found a house that I really liked. It was the perfect distance to school, church, everything. I was really excited about it. And then I took my husband to see it. And I am so glad that I did. I had been praying that if this was the house God wanted us to have that He would open wide the door (so to speak). But when we got in there to look at it closely, we found multiple cracks in the floors, severe cracks. The kind of cracks that scream “FOUNDATION DAMAGE!” I felt like that was God’s way of closing the door shut on that one. And I was sad.

I felt dejected and disappointed. This was the one, or so I thought. And then God reminded me of my prayer. He reminded me that I had specifically asked that if this was not the one, that He would firmly shut the door. And He did. Why was I complaining? Why was I so hurt? Sin. I don’t like to wait. I can sometimes be a big baby when I don’t get my way.

I felt like there were wicked schemes at work in my life. Things trying to get in my way of what I want. See anything wrong with that statement? Herein lies the problem – “my way” and “I want”.

How many times in life do you find yourself in the middle of a tantrum because you refuse to “be still”? If we are honest, it is more times than we care to admit. We feel like we are being attacked. We feel like we never get our way. We feel like everyone is against us, that no one has our happiness in mind. How foolish we are. More than likely, we are just refusing to wait, refusing to be still.

So, this week princess, join with me in monitoring your ability to be still. If you find yourself in a position where things are rough and you feel a tantrum coming on, try and be still. Get away from the situation. Go to the bathroom and lock the door if you need to; use it as your “closet”. And pray. Pray that He will lead you out of this place with your patience intact and your heart joyful. It is hard. But remember, it is what He wants you to do.