Be Hopeful



Be Alert



be called



Be Working



be full



Be Rich



Be Free



Be Strong



Be subject



Be Bold, pt 2



Be Devoted



Be Alive



Be willing



Be Going



be patient



Be Wise



Be Decisive



Be bold



Marital Strongholds

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Marital Strongholds

 

It is certainly difficult to be single and wishing you were married, however; it is far more difficult to be married wishing you were single. How can we take two people who have  lived their entire lives, each with their own strongholds, and create between them a marriage that IS a stronghold? God designed marriage to be a fortification. A place where a man and a woman can find rest from the chaos of the world around them in the arms of each other.

 

But what happens when that place of rest finds itself to be a place of even greater chaos? How can we restore a marriage to God’s original intent? Perhaps it never has been a marriage that has lived up to the order of God’s original intent. In that case where do we go in the first place? Lets start by going to God’s word. Ephesians 5:21-25 resounds with one loud and terrifying word, “submit.” But first lets back up in the text to see how the scripture brought us to this deafening word.

The world doesn’t have the answer.

Neither Dr. Phill nor Oprah have the answer to these questions. Lets be honest, marriage is genuinely a foreign concept to mankind. We did not create it and we’re not good at it. Marriage requires from us that which comes least naturally to us: Selflessness.

 

Ephesians 4:17 says, “you should no longer live as the world around you, in the futility of their thinking.” Burger king’s motto: “Have it your way.” as if ,”my way” would even bring me happiness. Mc Donald’s: “I’m lovin’ it.” without ever asking the question, “Is God lovin’ it?” We live in a world marketed to on a basis of selfishness. Why do you think that is?

 Because it is our greatest vice. Paul will spend from verse 17-20 just to tell us that we MUST be different! If we are unwilling to have a mental reset and to let God take control of us, then every other thing that is said about the matter is only wasted words. If you are serious about having a marriage that is a stronghold rather than one that is held hostage to Strongholds, know this: It can only happen if you’re willing to start from scratch, God’s way. In Ephesians 4:25 we find that before Paul can even address marriage he addresses honesty.  Lies can not find their way into marriage. There is nothing about dishonesty that compliments marriage. If you’re hiding it, you’ve already admitted to God you know that you shouldn’t be doing it and you condemn yourself.

It addresses marriage.

As I looked for a place to catch the beginning of the context as Ephesians was leading into this idea of “submission in marriage,“ I struggled to find a thought that didn’t directly relate to having a healthy marriage.

   Your spouse will only tell you what you will allow them to.  If your spouse comes home today and seeks honesty with you will you allow it? The Bible doesn’t say, “don’t be angry.” What it says is, “In your anger, do not sin.” and, “Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry.”

     These are challenging words.  But they are also God’s words. They are not naïve and they speak what can save your heart, marriage, family, and soul. Sin in your marriage, whether hidden or exposed; makes your marriage a stronghold for the Devil.Take your marriage back. Instead of a place of haven for sin, make your marriage a place of haven for a husband and wife and the children they lead. Stop stealing. Whether time or finances the reason you work should be that you have both time and finances to share. If you are the breadwinner for your home and you think that means that you have, “dibs” on the money, then you have misunderstood your roll.  The same goes if you think you have, “dibs” on your time.

 

Lets skip ahead to verse 15,16 of chapter 5 real quick.  (Go read it, then come back.) Your time is not yours.  God expects you to make the most of your time and lets just be honest: I promise that life God’s way will be more gratifying than any other way of doing life. So the truth is that if you choose not to, then you are really trading the greater for the lesser which makes you a loser. Don’t be a loser.

    Back to verse 29 of chapter 4.

“Don’t let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths but only what is helpful for building other up according to their needs.” Stop berating each other. Notice the selflessness in this previous verse. I don’t spend the energy of my mouth telling  spouse about my needs. I spend my mouth energy building her up according to her needs.

Forgive.

If I am going to take my marriage that has become a stronghold of sin and anger and make it into something so fantastically better, which God calls it to be; there must be a sober choice to forgive. No trash talk, no reminders of past offences. It grieves the Holy Spirit.

       “But look at what I have to forgive,” you say. But look at what Christ forgave. This is the foundation of the authority that Christ has to tell you to forgive. No one said that its easy, but we must do it. It will prove to be the difference between a marriage that is a stronghold for the married or a stronghold for the devil. Take your marriage back!

     Ch5:1 Be imitators of God. Live a life of love. Christ showed us how.

       Verse 3-7 Immorality will never make your marriage better. Pornography does not make your marriage better even if you both agree that it’s okay. At best it leaves fractures of insecurity in the hearts of both you and your spouse. At worst it creates unmet desires and expectation that end up fulfilled outside of the marriage bed. Don’t bring that nonsense into your marriage. If you are interested in that stuff, buy a video camera and a lock box and enjoy each other. But do not teach your heart to roam.

Verses 17,18

       Substance abuse is never suitable, even more so for those in a relationship that has people depending on you. Your marriage needs you. Your children need you. Don’t escape reality to find that you left all those who love you and need you, behind. Be more than that. Live right.

Live right.

I love that the Bible give us practical things to do to replace our poor behavior.   

 18b …be filled with the Spirit, 19 speaking to one another with psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit. Sing and make music from your heart to the Lord,20 always giving thanks to God the Father for everything

Then finally, after doing all this, “brain work” on us Paul says the famous statement, “

22 

Wives, submit yourselves to your own husbands as you do to the Lord. “

If we have been paying attention to the things Paul has been saying up to this point then we see what Paul is after.

      In 4:24,32 and 5:1,8,10,21,22,25,28,29 Paul directly calls us to be like Christ no less than ten times. The point is this, If a man lives like Christ he is a pleasure to submit to. It is not intended to be an oppressive scenario of slavery and despair the way that the Women’s lib. movement portrays it to be. It is meant to  be a place of safety and a stronghold against all the insecurities of the world.

Women, let your husbands be men. Let them lead you. Don’t try to make them lead you either. Part of letting your husband lead you is slowing down and letting them lead at their pace. Husbands, lead your wives selflessly. Both in time and money. Don’t call, “dibs;” Christ didn’t. Notice that the text calls husbands to wash their wives through the Word (Vs 16) The text is clearly calling men to not just be the household leader in general but to be the spiritual leader. Be the man who reads scripture with your wife and children. Who leaves a vestige of faith and love for the Word of God. Unite your family in prayer for your marriage and for your future as a family. God promises that this is the path to having a fulfilling marriage that is a stronghold against the evils of this world. 

You can do it!  Now do it.

 



The Sword of the Sprit

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So often I hear people tell me how they have discovered what God wants for them because, “The Spirit told them.”  While the Spirit can certainly speak to you we should ask ourselves  the  question, “How?” How does the Spirit speak to us? Is it in a feeling?  Is it through a gentle nudging? Is it because you opened your Bible to a random verse and “BOOM-shaka– la, there it was?” So often people cloak their own evil desires in the mask of, “I heard the Spirit say…” I have heard marriages end in divorce because someone says that they felt The Spirit calling them to be with someone else.

 

Don’t be a fool! When we choose to live contrary to God and then accuse our wickedness of being His voice we are fooling on one except ourselves.

 

As The Bible tells us to take up the sword of the Spirit it also tells us what that sword is. … 

The Word of God

The sword of The Spirit is the Word of God.  The Bible does not intend for us to imagine that it is talking about magical whispers or indigestion. The Word of God is exclusively Scripture.

 

Our Goal should not be to find scriptures to support our feelings. It should be to  bring our feelings under submission to scripture. To do this you must first accept and believe that all scripture is in fact God breathed.(2 Tim 3:16)  This phrase carries four thoughts.

  1. There is a God
  2. He has all authority
  3. The words in scripture belong to Him.
Those words stand unchangeable.
 

The word of man

How dare I speak in regard to my feelings as though  they carry the weight of scripture. Absolutely every false doctrine that has ever been born has come because someone decided that their own thoughts were equal to or greater than The Word of God. The  Bible says that there is a way that seems right to a man but ends in death. (Prov 16:25) And “the wisdom of this world is foolishness in God’s sight.”(1 Cor 3:19)

 

One of the things that breaks my heart more than anything else is when a person says that they feel a verse isn’t true for them.

What happened to the purity of heart that simply says, “If the bible says it, I believe it.”  Instead people pick one set of verses over another. ALL SCRIPTURE IS GOD BREATHED.  EVERY VERSE IS TRUE.  So how do you reconcile verse like Ephesians 2:8? For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith–and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God– “ with verses like 1 Peter 3:21 “baptism that now saves you also–not the removal of dirt from the body but the pledge of a clear conscience toward God. It saves you by the resurrection of Jesus Christ…”

It is simple. They are both true.
 

The Problem.

The problem lies in the fact that people don’t read God’s Word. (Matthew 22:29) So of course they are standing there in battle without a sword. False doctrine comes and they cannot separate it from truth.  Truth comes and it remains unrecognizable to them so they treat is as false.  And so the end result is that not knowing the Word of God leaves you defenseless and huddled in the corner shaking and afraid, unable to fight for yourself.

 

But every cub needs a momma bear. Every baby in Christ needs someone with a sword to fight and defend them

 

The Solution

The only solution for the baby Christian is time and study. But what about those who have been around The Bible for a long time? Hebrews 5:11– 14 reflects the heartbreak and frustration God and the apostles have with those who after adequate time have still not even moved through the basics of the Gospel.

Notice that the source of the problem is that they, “…no  longer try to understand.” Also notice that the author says that it is by the solid food of scripture that we, “train ourselves to distinguish good form evil.”

So what happens to those who set their Bible down? The spiritual senses grow numb. The blade gets rusty and dull. They forget the weight of the sword and the grip stops feeling familiar. The muscles in the arm grow weak from lack of use and training. They place it on a shelf with a glance of nostalgia but all the while the enemy advances. And like the darkness encroaching a dying candle as the light flickers and dies out, so is the memory of The Bibles wisdom. And now you own it because once, you bought it; but you don’t really know what’s in it. So what is the solution?  Read your Bible. Use your sword. Know The Word.
 

This world calls to you and so does God.

 

This world calls to you and so does God. Does He have the right to ask you for your time? For that matter, whose time is it? Does your time belong to you or is it on loan from God? Ephesians 5:15-16 says,

15 See then that ye walk with clarity, not as fools, but as wise,

16 Redeeming the time, because the days are evil.”

 

You have a responsibility to make your time have eternal value. Stop ignoring God’s Word. Create for yourself a lifestyle  built around reading and living God’s Word.  Pick a time of day EVERY day when you will sit and read God’s word. Train yourself to wield that sword. There are only two things that stop us. A lack of will or a lack of faith. Train yourself to love and know the Word of God.

 



The Helmet of Salvation

Where is you mind? So many things lure our mind’s attention. Work, world issues, children, presidential races, television shows, sports games, and many more. With so many things fighting for the spotlight of our thoughts how can we even hope to keep our focus on things above?(Colossians 3:2)

 

Thoughts are almost always linear. In the present we think about either the past or the future and for only the briefest of moments do we look at what is directly in front of us and see the now, and the moment we begin to appreciate it we are instantly looking to the past again. But it is true that Salvation is always a future thought in regard to sin even if we have been saved already. We look forward with eager expectation to what God has in store for us. And we remember what the terrible alternative would have been.

 

Just by saying the word salvation you have already whispered despair. The Helmet of Salvation is recognizing your pitiful state, being able to see your only hope, and then to peruse it without wavering. Why does Ephesians 6 speak of the helmet of salvation? Because it is what guards our minds. When we ask ourselves for the clear objective, the bottom line; we remind ourselves what we are fighting for. Salvation. That mindset is what gives us the energy to fight. Rather than float through a world of lethargic complacency we FIGHT.

 

Only when we realize how much there is to lose are we willing to fight to the death and with all our strength. We are sharpened by the reality of the battle. This is no game and the consequences are severe.  Life and death hang in the balance. What is life like when you have a clear understanding of salvation?

 

The first time you will ever hear the Gospel will always be after you recognize your own life and death need. This is not to say no one will have ever spoken it in your presence previously, but if you have never recognized your own need then you have never heard the Gospel. There is no Good news without there first being bad news. Jesus points to this truth in Luke 8

 

Verse 1 Jesus is preaching the Gospel.

Verse 3 The women are so moved by that Gospel that they seek opportunities to support it financially.

Verse 8 Jesus points out that the Gospel is only appreciated by those who have the ears to hear it.

Verse 15 Jesus points out that only the noble and good hearts are capable of producing a good crop with the Gospel.

Verse 18 Jesus points out that you should consider carefully HOW you listen. This means that you can hear but not listen.

Verse 27-39 Jesus saves a man from a tragic life and the people of the town completely miss it because they do not have eyes to see or ears to hear what just happened and so they do not appreciate the salvation that was right in front of them.

Verse 38,39 but the one who appreciates it obeys what Jesus tells him to do.

Verse 40 -42 a man with a dying daughter is introduced.

Verse 43-48 Jesus’ journey is interrupted by a woman subject to a lifetime of bleeding.

Verse 49-56 This family experiences Salvation.

 

The Helmet of Salvation is recognizing your pitiful state, being able to see your only hope, and then to peruse it without wavering. It gives you the ability to be blind to all the hopelessness around us and to stay the course. Peruse Christ.



The Shield of Faith.

In Ephesians 6:16 we are called to take up the shield of faith. With it we are able to extinguish all the devils fiery arrows. But think about what COULD have been the extinguisher of arrows.
“the shield of correct teaching.”
“the shield of fellowship.”
“The shield of restraint.”
“the shield of discipline.”
 
 But instead Paul chooses the shield of faith. There is no amazing event that takes place with faith, Faith is just the belief in things unseen. (Hebrews 1:1) so, how does that extinguish the arrows of the Devil? I can only think of one way. The Devils arrows can not touch you if you can remember that God is for you. It is believing that whatever your circumstance, God is doing what is best for you. Abraham was called to leave his family and his home and because of faith he obeyed and it was counted to him as righteousness. (Heb 11:8 + Gen 12:1,4) He could not see what God had in store. He only knew that God would keep His word. 
 
All this means that the devil has no real power. He can ONLY do what God allows him to do. And God always says, “this far and no farther.” but are we willing to trust the line God draws for us? (Job 1:12) Faith is being able to stop looking at the world around you and start seeing the battles within you.(Ephesians 6:12) What matters is Christ and Him crucified! I will not get hung up on where I live when i remember that this world is not my home. I will not get hung up on what people around me are doing when i remember that i am to work out MY salvation with fear and trembling. i will not get hung up on criticisms when i remember that It is what God says about me that matters. I will live my life FOR what’s happening in the spiritual world. When i live like that the devils arrows cannot touch me. As Joseph said to his brothers who had him enslaved and sent to a foreign land, “what you intended for evil god intended for good. (Gen 50:20) Joseph wrestled so bitterly with how he would view his circumstance. so much hurt and so much selfish pride, he simply had to let go of. and that was the first time he found himself a truly free man. 
 
So what does scripture tell us concerning faith?

Faith comes by hearing Romans 10:17

Faith  is the belief in things unseen Heb 11:1

We are saved by grace through faith and deeds. Eph 2:8

It is one of the “super 3” of faith hope and love ,, those that remain.- although it doesn’t exist in heaven. 1cor 13:13

Without faith it is impossible to please God Heb 11:6

By faith we speak even after we are gone. Heb 11:4

Faith is the belief that God is the rewarded of those who seek Him Heb 11:6

Faith makes you a strange person Heb 10:34

Faith is a synonym for confidence.-Heb 10:19

Faith is a alive today! Heb 13:7

WE are justified by faith Romans 5:1

We are not justified by faith alone. James 2:24

The verse most gutted of its power to save Romans 3:28

Even the devil can quote scripture, He just quotes it out of context. Matt 4

Faith changes your life Galatians 1:10,13

Faith is dead without love 1 cor 13:2

Faith is how you stand firm 2 cor 1:24

Faith is how you live 2 cor 5:7

Faith is what unites us Eph 4:5
 
Lets be a people of faith, Lets take the power out of the devils attacks!
 

Helmet of salvation



The Gospel of Peace.

 

Eph 6:14-17

14 Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, 15 and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. 16 In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. 17 Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.
 
Half of the meaning of, the “
feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace” is immediately clear and leaps off the pages of scripture at us. “…Feet fitted with readiness…” can carry no other concept but that of “readiness.” In Exodus 12:6-12 we see the attitude that Gods people are to have as they face the Passover. We see an Old testament version of the armor of God. The same strong concept of “readiness” surfaces there as well.  There is an angel of death lurking, There is an impending doom and great consequence. Those under the protection of the blood are to share together in a meal of the Passover lamb,  They are to eat it roasted over the fire as Christ would pass through the fires of hell to secure our freedom. It would be eaten with bitter herbs and we are to remember the bitter slavery we suffered under the Law of sin and death. It would be made with bread without yeast because it would not have time to rise, and we should remember that as we take communion part of that thought behind the bread we take should be that we are facing a shortness of time. Time to tell people of the Gospel of Christ. It screams at us to be strategic and take seriously our commission.  The meat is not to be eaten raw or boiled that it might cook faster and this reminds us that while we must be urgent we must also do it right, not cutting corners in the quality of the Gospel. Nothing would be left til morning and nothing wasted, and we should not waste the opportunities we have as well. It was to be eaten with the cloak tucked into the belt, this would be done when a person would need to run so that nothing would trip them up. With sandals on the feet, in readiness. and a staff in hand, because the journey is long. It would be eaten in haste.  This is the”…Feet fitted with readiness…”
 
God expects his people to be a ready people. In Mark 14:8 Mary pours out perfume on Jesus feet. Jesus said, “she did what she could.” are we READY to do what we can? In mark 12;41-44 a widow gives her last cent, are we READY to do what we can? In Matthew 26:40 Jesus asks his disciples to just stay with Him in prayer, are we READY to do what we can? in Matthew 11:28 Jesus makes the offer, “Come.” are we READY to do what we can? He doesn’t ask AMAZING things from us.
He only asks us to do what we can.
will we live with readiness? 
 
Ephesians 6 says that this readiness comes from the Gospel of peace. How could the Israelites leave Egypt? Later they would long to go back (ex 16:13) It was at those times that they were not living in peace with God. “Gospel” means “good news” this phrase is always about the idea of the Good news that there is a peace with God available to men. We only have the power to walk in faith when we realize that we have peace with God. When we forget about the peace we have with God we rightly feel insecure and we look back to a life we once lived in sin and long for the security of slavery as we blindly trust the motives of our slave master. 
 
If we trust God we have peace that what God is doing for us is in fact better than our captivity to sin. This gives us confidence. Confidence is readiness. It is the ability to stand your ground as you see armies behind you and in pursuit of you knowing that it is God who holds back the walls of water in eager anticipation of defending you and putting a permanent  end to your captives! John 8:36 says, “If the Son sets you free, you are free indeed!” 
 
But please notice what those “shoes of the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace” are not for. They are not for relaxing. It’s not that type of peace. being ready and relaxing are two very different things. We were at one time a people who lived at war with God. Far too many Christians imagine that the duty of a Christian is to wait for Christ to come back to take us home. That attitude is a symptom of lost-ness, of “going-to-hell-ness.” We are not supposed to be, “ready for Christ to come get us.” in the sense that one would be sitting at a bus stop ready to be picked up by a bus. We are to be ready in season and out to give an account for the Gospel we believe in, and to call people to repentance. (2 Tim 4:2) we are to be ready to, “Do what we can.” 
 
Jesus said, “If you love me keep my commands.”(John 14:15) He also said, a new command I give you, love on another.(John 13:34-35) He also said , “by this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” He also said, “all authority on heaven and on earth has been given to me, THEREFORE GO and make disciples of all nations baptizing them in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. (Matthew 28:19) Revelation 22:17 describes the duty of the Church. Are you willing to stand in the readiness that comes from the Gospel of peace? Are you ready to do what you can? All The Church has been called to do, is say, “come.”
 

The Shield of faith



The Breastplate of Righteousness

 

The Breastplate of Righteousness

   In our previous message we talked about how the belt of truth is foremost in our armor of God. Righteousness without truth is a false righteousness. Peace without truth is a false peace. Faith without truth is a false faith. And salvation without truth is a false salvation.  So really the question to ask is how does righteousness interact with the concept of truth?

 

   There are two kinds of righteousness that are of value to the Christian.

 

  1. The righteous acts Christ has done for us.
  2. The Righteous acts we do out of an honest and sincere heart.

 

   No one will see heaven without both. In Matthew 7:21
 

Jesus speaks about the difference between those who know the will of God and those who DO the will of God. Watch verse 22.

 

   “
22 
Many will say to me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name and in your name drive out demons and in your name perform many miracles?”

 

  It was not a matter of not knowing the truth. They knew what they should be doing, but they just didn’t do it. Jesus’ response to those who know the truth but don’t do the truth?…

 

   “I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!”
 

   There is another passage that is about the armor of God. This passage however does not show the theoretical version of the idea, but instead It shows exactly what the armor of God looks like when lived out.

 

  You see, Righteousness is not a complicated idea. The belt of truth is admitting and agreeing with God about what He says.  It’s about saying the

truth

about sin

 

But the breastplate of righteousness is about acting righteously on that truth.

 

   The Bible says that “even the demons believe there is one God and shudder.” -James 2:19

 

   But what have they done with that truth? Have they acted righteously concerning that truth? Of course not. It is of no good to know that there is a God if you are not going to do what He says!

 

    So let me lay two passages side by side for you and connect the dots.
connect the dots
 

Maintaining our robes.

   In the Old Testament the priests had to wear fine white linen while ministering before The Lord. (Ezekiel 44:16-18) this isn’t by accident. The Bible is using a physical requirement to give insight to a spiritual reality.

 

   In revelation we find that we receive our fine linen from Christ, but we maintain our linen by living righteous, that is “doing good deeds.” -Revelation 19:8

 

   Ephesians 2:10 says this, “For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.”

 

   Before the foundation of the world God planned for us to DO GOOD DEEDS. This is why the entire book of James can be summarized by saying,

 

“Faith without works is dead.”

                                      -James 2:14-26

 

   Remember Matthew 7 said, “Anyone who hears these words of mine AND PUTS THEM INTO PRACTICE…”

 

   Some try to make the argument that the idea of not being saved by works means that works are not a part of our salvation. This is not the case. Not being saved by works means, God does not owe us salvation because of our works. We are saved by grace through faith. But faith only works when faith

has

works.

 

   It’s really not that complicated.  Clearly, God is interested in the heart. A humble and contrite heart, a sincere heart; will naturally have works. The problem lies in the fact that people are looking for loop hole to do as little as possible and enter heave by the skin on their teeth. The only thing that comes from that attitude is broken teeth.
 

Live in Truth

   Righteousness is easy when you are not thinking about how to barely do it. It’s trusting God. It is living your life on His terms. You wonder why things don’t work out well when you take the reins. To be honest you don’t know how to lead you. The Bible says that there is a way that seems right to a man but ends in death. – Proverbs 14:12

 

   The reason righteousness is the breastplate is because if there is a failure in your breastplate the outcome is death. Every time we stop living according to Gods plan and start living according to our own plan the outcome is the same. We find ourselves dying. Efforts wasted, hearts broken, little pieces of ourselves, dead. And in fact to have a settled practice of sin in our lives finds us standing before Christ whit Him saying, “Depart from me you workers of iniquity, I never knew you.”

 

   Today make a change. Stop walking the fence, live for Christ, Strive for righteousness and defend your soul! You can do it. Christ would have no right to be disappointed when we sin if He didn’t give us the ability not to. Clearly we have the ability. Live righteous, when you fall, get up and press on.

 

-Proverbs 24:16

   “The righteous fall seven times but rise again. The wicked are brought down by calamity.”
 

The Gospel of peace.



The Belt of Truth

Anger and hatred have a way or deceiving us. 
In John 18 beginning in verse 28 a band of angry men grip Jesus by the arm. They wrestle with the desire to see Jesus killed with an end to His down talk and their egotistical “righteousness.” Although early in the morning, they would not enter the palace and risk being found, “ceremonially unclean” for having walked into a house of a gentile, but they were willing and eager to murder an innocent man, that is Jesus.
 
It’s funny the lies we tell ourselves. No one likes a lie until it agrees with the lies they have already been telling themselves. And like so many lies they find themselves caught off guard.  “On what charges do you bring him here?”, Pilot asks. to which they respond, ” We wouldn’t have brought him here if he wasn’t a criminal. “Why haven’t you dealt with him yourself?” Pilot asks. They respond, ” But we want him dead.” with the excuse that Jesus called himself a King. Pilot asks Jesus, “So you are a king?” Jesus responded, “that’s right, and I came to show people that truth.” then Pilot asked one of the most loaded questions of all time…
 
“What is truth?”
 
Who am I? What should I believe? Is there a God? What does He require of me? What is sin? Do I have any responsibility to God or my fellow man?
 
All the truth in the universe that had ever mattered sat before Pilot that day while lying mobs stood outside and called out, “Crucify Him!” There is no more central truth in scripture than the identity of Christ and the reality of what God says concerning the law of sin and death. We are absolutely facing death and we have no power to save ourselves and all would be lost except that Jesus died for our sins. 
 
In Ephesians 6:10-14 we find that the very 1st item God calls for us to put on as we gear up for spiritual warfare is the belt of truth. without that, nothing else matters. If your righteousness isn’t true it doesn’t matter. If your Gospel isn’t true it doesn’t matter. If your faith isn’t true it doesn’t matter. And If your salvation isn’t true it doesn’t matter. 
 
This belt of truth is that piece of armor that is the foundation of all the other pieces of armor. if the belt doesn’t fit right, nothing else will. Colossians 1:16-18 says that in Christ all things hold together. Who Christ is and what He has done is that truth so fundamental that nothing else works without it. Acts 4:12 says, “Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to mankind by which we must be saved.” 
 
What is truth? Truth is that which doesn’t require your belief to be true. Romans 1:18-20 says, “
18 The wrath of God is being revealed from heaven against all the godlessness and wickedness of people, who suppress the truth by their wickedness, 19 since what may be known about God is plain to them, because God has made it plain to them. 20 For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that people are without excuse.” 
 
That’s right. The Bible says that men are without excuse. The only thing that could possibly keep men from seeking God is having a hatred for the truth. Like I said previously, “No one likes a lie unless it agrees with the lies you have already been telling yourself.” But 2 Thessalonians 2:10-11 says this, “
They perish because they refused to love the truth and so be saved.11 For this reason God sends them a powerful delusion so that they will believe the lie.” 
 
This is why that belt is soooo important. It defines which army you will be fighting on. if you love the truth God will be for you, if you do not love the truth God himself will send you a strong delusion so that you will believe the lie. so love the truth. deeply. sincerely. truthfully. by it all the other parts of the armor are held together. It is not by accident that this would be the 1st and foremost piece of the armor of God. 
 
The truth is that Christ is the son of God, That He loves you very much. in fact so much that He was willing to die in your place before you ever knew Him. He made salvation universally easy when He called us to be baptized for the forgiveness of our sins and to receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. He made that promise to all who would call on His name. And He makes that promise today to you. please consider responding to that invitation and be set free from the law of sin and death in the waters of Baptism, Love the truth and seek God while He can be found. In Jesus name Amen. Please contact us and let us know if there is any way we can help you in this. Thank you for reading, God bless.
 

The Breastplate of Righteousness

 


The Strategy for the Battle

the strategy for the battle

The Strategy for the Battle:

1. realize you can’t win.
2. realize who can.
3. Cry out to Him.
 
Militaries spend 100% of their efforts to realize one exclusive function, that is: Victory. Lives lost, resources sacrificed, and even physical earth gained or forfeited is counted as profit or loss depending on the definition of the word victory. For those who see the reality of heaven or hell only one thing matters: Eternity. 
 
The greatest problem for people today is that they simply don’t have eyes to see. They don’t have ears to hear. Around them, rampages a war; that they do not see while God speaks in ways that they do not hear. It is as mobile curtain encloses each of us from the truth of the spiritual war taking place around us. It follows us as we move, and as long as we don’t see what is really happening around us we are happy. The whole purpose of the Word of God is to pull that curtain back to reveal the nature of the battle we are already in. This is why Ephesians 6:12 says,
 
” 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.”
 
But how can we expect to win a battle that we struggle to even see? We find that we are incredibly outmatched and unable to save ourselves. Yet, God tucks an amazing verse away in scripture in Judges 3:1-2,
 
These are the nations the Lord left to test all those Israelites who had not experienced any of the wars in Canaan (he did this only to teach warfare to the descendants of the Israelites who had not had previous battle experience)”
 
What is the turning point in battle? Where in combat do things change from a loss to a win, and how can we use that to our advantage? In Judges ch 3:8 you find Israel is losing the spiritual battle, God has them feel this in the physical world by making them subject to foreign oppressors. God does this up to a point. But at what point does God relent? verse 9 holds the key- 
 
But when they cried out to the Lord, he raised up for them a deliverer, Othniel son of Kenaz, Caleb’s younger brother, who saved them.
 
‘When they cried out to the Lord.” Lets see if this theory holds true. Lets look at verse 12-15
 
12 Again the Israelites did evil in the eyes of the Lord, and because they did this evil the Lord gave Eglon king of Moab power over Israel.13 Getting the Ammonites and Amalekites to join him, Eglon came and attacked Israel, and they took possession of the City of Palms.c] 14 The Israelites were subject to Eglon king of Moab for eighteen years.”

15 Again the Israelites cried out to the Lord, and he gave them a deliverer—Ehud, a left-handed man, the son of Gera the Benjamite. The Israelites sent him with tribute to Eglon king of Moab.

 
Judges 4:1-3
 
Again the Israelites did evil in the eyes of the Lord, now that Ehud was dead. So the Lord sold them into the hands of Jabin king of Canaan, who reigned in Hazor. Sisera, the commander of his army, was based in Harosheth Haggoyim. Because he had nine hundred chariots fitted with iron and had cruelly oppressed the Israelites for twenty years, they cried to the Lord for help.
 
Judges 6:6
 
Midian so impoverished the Israelites that they cried out to the Lord
for help.”
 
Judges 10:10
 
10 Then the Israelites cried out to the Lord.
 “We have sinned against you, forsaking our God and serving the Baals.”
 
Judges 15:18-19
 
18 Because he was very thirsty, he cried out to the Lord, “You have given your servant this great victory. Must I now die of thirst and fall into the hands of the uncircumcised?” 19 Then God opened up the hollow place in Lehi, and water came out of it. When Samson drank, his strength returned and he revived.
 
Judges 16:28
 
“Then Samson prayed to the LORD, “Sovereign LORD, remember me. Please, God, strengthen me just once more, and let me with one blow get revenge on the Philistines for my two eyes.”
 
Why did God leave so many hostile people in the land? The Bible says that it was to teach the people warfare. so what strategy for the battle did God teach His people? He taught them to “Cry out.” Take a look at Psalm 107 and notice the strong emphasis on the point of change in the battle and it remains true today, Acts 2:21 says that anyone who calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved. But the question must be asked, “how does someone call on the name of the Lord?” Acts 22:16 holds the answer.
 
“16 And now what are you waiting for? Get up, be baptized and wash your sins away, calling on his name.’”
 
So what is the strategy for the battle?
1. realize you can’t win. – all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God.
2. realize who can. – God made us alive in Christ, even when we were dead in our transgressions.
3. Cry out to Him. – anyone who calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved.
 
“16 And now,
what are you waiting for?
Get up,
be baptized
and wash your sins away,
calling on his name.’”
 
 
 


The Opposition in the Battle

 

(Sharefaith App Image)

How shall the young secure their hearts and guide their lives form sin?
 
Two of the most frustrating problems anyone in Ministry faces are
  1. Seeing people who do not have a genuine love for the Gospel but instead use it to molest people in search of God.
  2. Seeing people who have a genuine Love for God and the Gospel following those molesters.
 
In 2 Corinthians 11:13-15 Paul addresses his frustration with these molesters and pleads for sense from the seekers of God. Those molesters, he describes as false apostles, deceitful workmen, masqueraders, satanic workers of evil dressed in the facade of light.
 
People who do not have a genuine love for the Gospel but instead use it to molest people in search of God pretend to be peers of the faithful minister and of Christ, but who are they fooling? Christ knows the heart of man. (Jer 17:10) This verse rings creepily true to the end of verse 15 of 2 Cor 11. “Their end will be what their actions deserve.”
 
This statement is one that none of us could endure. Our actions DESERVE death. Paul here is describing in the practical a verse that terrifies many for good reason.
 
(Mark 3:29) but whoever blasphemes against the Holy Spirit will never be forgiven; they are guilty of an eternal sin.”
 
There are some who have seared their own conscience as with a hot iron (1 Tim 4:2) -notice that the context of this passage is the exact same context as 2 Corinthians 11:13-15.
 
If you want to see the full outrage of God and Christ all you need to do is to intervene in the path of a truth seeker, steer them away from the truth of the gospel, remove their hope, and enslave them to a life of servitude to lies. With that done, just sit back and watch God, (who created the stars by exhaling and created the heavens and earth by a the power of a whisper- Psalm 33:6) unleash His fury with all the might contained in the explosive force of the atom and the nuclei as He’s just getting warmed up. God is awesome and powerful and unbearable. And so when Paul says, “their end will be what their actions deserve…” this should be a sobering statement of severe condemnation that should wake the fool who dares to play games with Gods’ special possession.
 
That’s right, God looks at His dear children and His heart breaks. Torn with grief he saw our wondering hearts, helpless to help ourselves, He saw us lying in a field and said, “live.” (Ezekiel 16:6) God made us His special possession, and paid for us with the blood of His only son. And people act surprised that God would get a little heated about molesters of His children?
 
Jesus walks through the temple and sees the money changers robbing the sincere hearts that bring their sacrifices. The moneychangers tell the man who brings a sacrifice to God that it is not good enough and that they must buy one of their “approved” sacrifices and give them their shameful rejected animal, which they then put in the line of approved sacrifices for the next guy in line that they intend to rob, all the while under the guise of seeking to help people approach God on right terms. Those people can expect more than overturned tables on judgment day.
 
How does someone bring themselves to such a pitiful and deprived state?
 
  1. They look at what God has done for them and think little of it.
  2. Because they think so little of what God has done for them they never grow a love for the truth of their depravity and the value of Gods’ sacrifice.
———————————————————
  1. They look at what God has done for them and think little of it.
 
The Bible says that Esau, “despised his birthright” because of his neglect of it.
When we neglect The Word of God, the fellowship Christ has given us in the Body, the opportunity to tithe, the plan of salvation, and the rest of the Gospel, are we despising or valuing the Gospel? We often think very little of the fact that we have air in our lungs or life in our days, and health in our bodies, ’til those things are threatened. As an example, obesity kills slowly and yet it is a statement that the individual cares little whether they are obese. Sin and righteousness are the same way. The man who cares about sin fights it, while the man who doesn’t think it is a big deal doesn’t. This is how the money changers felt. They thought little of God. “He doesn’t see, He doesn’t know, He isn’t that real.” -Words of fools doomed for disaster.
 
 
  1. Because they think so little of what God has done for them they never grow a love for the truth of their depravity and the value of Gods’ sacrifice.
 
They never grow a love for the truth of their depravity- they don’t appreciate their situation. The Bible says that all have sinned and fallen short of the Glory of God. And the wages of sin is death. And that that death means weeping, gnashing of teeth, and eternal worms and sorrow.  Because they don’t appreciate that they cannot appreciate What God has done in sending His son to die in their place, for their sins. Isaiah 55:1 says. “come, buy; without cost.” this doesn’t mean that there is no cost, the scripture says, “buy.” but what is means is that you don’t pay the cost. The price has been paid.
 
 2 Thessalonians says that God Himself will send a strong delusion to those that do not love the truth SO THAT THEY BELIVE THE LIE.- We know that If God is for us who can be against us… but if God is against you, who can stand? In Acts 5:39 Gamaliel realizes that a fight against God is a guaranteed loss.
 
So how shall the young secure their hearts? Love the truth. Be a truth seeker. Yes, lies are out there, but love truth. Be sober when searching your heart. Lay your heart next to the word of God and let Gods word be the measure of your heart and life.
 
When battling the opposition sometimes I must battle my own heart, sometimes I must battle those who imagine themselves to be my peer, and as a teacher; I battle in prayer and great concern for those who apply themselves under my study that they be lovers of truth, seekers of God, and students of His word. Be a follower of Christ. Love truth. Win the prize!



capture

It is not by accident that out of all creation no species compares to humanity. There really is almost nothing like us. God spoke to him self in the book of Genesis and said, “let us make man in our image and likeness.” This statement is 

not recorded to have been said about any other thing in all of creation. Certainly angels seem to be the most similar thing in all creation; however, it was only about man that God has said that we are similar to Him both in image and likeness.

 

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 RIGHTEOUSNESS

In Matthew 2:1-2 There is a rarely noticed passage that seems to sneak by us.

 

After Jesus was born in Bethlehem in Judea, during the time of King Herod, Magi from the east came to Jerusalem 

and asked, “Where is the one who has been born king of the Jews? We saw his star when it rose and have come to worship him.”

 

capture
It May surprise you to discover that God made us different. “Of course He did!” you say to yourself intrepidly. But before you get to excited consider that we frown with dissatisfaction as we ask ”Why cant there be more people like me?”
 
Elijah believed this was his scenario in 1st Kings 19:14-18, Frustrated and tired from the fight of being Godly in this cold world. And God tells him, “you are not alone.”
 Could it be that this is in fact the will of God?
capture
It May surprise you to discover that God made us different. “Of course He did!” you say to yourself intrepidly. But before you get to excited consider that we frown with dissatisfaction as we ask ”Why cant there be more people like me?”Could it be that this is in fact the will of God? Perhaps We have chosen our rolls because those are the places where we recognize the need? Perhaps what any of those rolls require to be successful is the scope of vision to see what is lacking. 
 
 
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I found myself at Luke 4:18-19. Here, Jesus reads a passage from Isaiah about Himself. Almost in an instant I realized that this is what Church is supposed to “feel” like. Prior to that I felt poor, I felt imprisoned, I felt blind, I felt oppressed, I felt I was lacking favor. And to be honest, sometimes I still struggle with those feelings. But I can confidently tell you that going to Church should feel like hearing good news!
happy-thanksgiving-background-1024x716
 
To be living in thanksgiving we must recognize our responsibility to appreciate. Oh to see that all we have is form God and not ourselves. It helps us to loosen our grip. The more we practice thanking God, the more we are willing to give God what belongs to Him. 
financial-strongholds
No, it does not look like it did in the 1800s but the idea that “I deserve the labor of others” is still a prominent thought in our society. It wasn’t right then, it isn’t right now. This is why people work so hard to get money. It is the wrestle between slave and slave-master. It knows no racial boundaries. And it warps our concept of Gods intent for money.
emotional-strongholds
I am fully convinced that God never asks anything of us which He has not given us the ability to control. And yet there are many verses in the Bible that are clear that God expects us to have control of our feelings.
 
captureThis is a basic overview from the sermon notes on this subject. Here are the real questions to both sides of the argument. If the bible says, “God wants to be worshiped with instruments” would you be ok with it? If the bible says, “God wants to be worshiped without instruments” would you be ok with it? These are the two most revealing questions on the subject that can be asked. If the answer is no to either of those, then you have a heart problem. With that being said, lets look at what the Bible has said concerning instrumental music in corporate worship.
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Part 1
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Part 2
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Part 3
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Part 4
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Part 5
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Part 6