Wednesday, May 27, 2020
(10) Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might.
(11) Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil.
(12) For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil 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 firm.
(14) Stand therefore, having fastened on the belt of truth, and having put on the breastplate of righteousness,
(15) and, as shoes for your feet, having put on the readiness given by the gospel of peace.
(16) In all circumstances take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming darts of the evil one;
(17) and take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God,
(18) praying at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication. To that end, keep alert with all perseverance, making supplication for all the saints,
What is God's will for me in such an evil day, when evil men prevail; and no matter what good people do to expose them, they come up with scheme after scheme and lie after lie to tear down the foundations of all God has given for the good of mankind and blessing, and seek only to steal, kill, and destroy? Should I just throw up my hands in despair and hunker down, waiting for the Lord to take us away? Should I fight the political battles and seek to destroy their political power? Should I answer back anger for anger, insult for insult, hatred for hatred? I must be careful not to let myself be "overcome by evil" but instead overcome evil with good. I must remember the battle is a spiritual one and that evil men and women are under the influence of the powers of darkness which they do not even understand. They think they are free, but they are enslaved to powers beyond themselves that are very antagonistic to God, His Word, His church, and all that God has done in the world or will do.
What's my response? This is what I've been seeking God to show me. Are we going to change the world? Make America great? Are we going to bring back the love for God's Word and respect for His church in this world again? Are we to fight for a "kingdom" now? But as I read all Paul's letters to the church, and especially Ephesians, I see that we are called to a heavenly calling and that our citizenship is in Heaven and we are, in this earth, Christ's ambassadors (2 Cor. 5:20).
Ephesians 6:10-18 gives us instructions for what are to do to "withstand in the evil day," which we are surely in. If we are not in His Word, we are in a most dangerous position and will not be able to withstand all the schemes and attacks of the enemy. It is more crucial than ever that we understand our place in Christ, that He has put us (Ephes. 1-2:10). The armor of God is another way of explaining that position in Christ. All that we do is to be done "in Christ" and in His name. It is "in the strength of His might" alone we stand. If we don't start there, we already are on sinking sand. We have to remember the battle is with spiritual powers, not physical even though we see the physical powers being used by them at work.
We have to "stand firm" or we won't stand at all (Isa. 7:9b). The only way to do this is by spiritually "putting on the WHOLE armor of God." This is ALL THE TIME. This isn't one day walking in faith, another day walking in righteousness, and another day in truth, etc. This is daily understanding what we are in Christ, having our position in Him, facing the world, the flesh and the enemy in Christ with what HE has provided for our defense against all, and facing and withstanding and not being moved from our position falling into spiritual defeat, fear, or sin.
We have His truth, not the worlds to stand firm in. We have His righteousness, not our own by any of our own works and His Spirit "making all things new" within us enabling us to yield to and walk in that righteousness and to call on Him as our advocate. We have perfect peace through the Gospel of His salvation that keeps our hearts enabling us to walk, and do the work He calls us to, facing the enemy and the world. We have a shield of faith - faith in His infallible Word that He always upholds and will not fail one dot or tittle. We can hold on to that Word and hold it forth and hold it up against fiery darts of disillusionment and doubt or threat or fear the enemy throws at us. Our minds are protected by the salvation that cannot ever be taken from us. We can never be snatched out of His hands (John 10:28), and His Spirit is our guarantee that that salvation is sure and secure (Eph. 1:14). We have the "Sword of the Spirit" - His Word, to defeat every attack against us, so we must learn it, study it, meditate on it, know it, and know Him! If we are not being filled with the Word of God we have only our own fleshly mind to fight with. We do not have the mind of Christ which is revealed in His Word. Our minds are not being renewed by His Word, but are being influened by the flesh and the world - not much different than an unbeliever under the influences of the powers of darkness. What is my influence? I must be on my guard and aware of that at all times. There is a darkness in this world and a "mind" controlling the minds of so many. Satan knows how to brainwash masses of people using many avenues, such as the media, games, music, schools, and any way he can to get into the human psyche and manipulate.
(21) 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.
(22) Claiming to be wise, they became fools,
If we give up God's reasoning, we lose all ability to reason sanely, lose all common sense, and become fools... Webster's 1828 dictionary: In scripture, fool is often used for a wicked or depraved person; one who acts contrary to sound wisdom in his moral deportment; one who follows his own inclinations, who prefers trifling and temporary pleasures to the service of God and eternal happiness.
Our minds are to be influenced by the truth of God's Word, walking in His light, learning to know Him and His will and to discern right from wrong according to His Word. This is how we are to look at this evil day. If we are to do anything else, any work of God, it has to be from this foundation. If not, then it is futile...only the work of flesh which is no better than what unbelievers are doing in the world, and will not contribute to God's will at all.
As we stand in His armor, His provision, in Christ, we are to pray with all prayer and supplication, continually. If we are praying we are not fainting. If we are praying we are laying all out to God Who hears and answers. If we are praying for each other we are bringing God's grace and help to one another, so that all may stand against the powers of darkness. We cannot forget prayer. It is an important privilege and tool God has given to us. By prayer the powers of Heaven are sent forth into action against the powers of darkness to defeat them and bring God's grace and work, turning what the enemy means for evil into good.
We are not to "fear what they fear" or give in to the pressure of the world. We are to stand in His armor. We are to hold forth the Word of life to whosoever will receive it. We are to continue until He comes being His ambassadors in this world. We are to suffer patiently, as we wait for His redemption. We are not to think we will eradicate evil or set up His kingdom in this earth. He will do that when He comes. We are to remember He has given us "every spiritual blessing in the HEAVENLIES" (Eph. 1), at our disposal to enjoy and stand in here on earth until we are redeemed from these bodies of death and taken to "be with Him where He is forever (John 14:3)."
(10) Because you kept the Word of My patience, I also will keep you out of the hour of trial, the one being about to come on the whole inhabited earth in order to try the ones dwelling on the earth.
(11) Behold, I am coming quickly. Hold what you have that no one take your crown.
(12) The one overcoming, I will make him a pillar in the temple of My God, and he shall not go out any more, not ever! And I will write the name of My God on him, and the name of the city of My God, the new Jerusalem which comes down out of Heaven from My God, and My new name.
(13) The one having an ear, hear what the Spirit says to the assemblies.
Thursday, July 18, 2019
And it came to pass in process of time, that the king of Egypt died: and the children of Israel sighed by reason of the bondage, and they cried, and their cry came up unto God by reason of the bondage. And God heard their groaning, and God remembered his covenant with Abraham, with Isaac, and with Jacob. And God looked upon the children of Israel, and God had respect unto them. (Exodus 2:23-25)
God had a purpose. From the beginning of Abraham's call, to Joseph's being sold into slavery, to the children of Israel becoming slaves in Egypt – God had a purpose. Even the means the enemy uses to oppress, to conquer, or to destroy God has already worked out according to His plans for His people. We, as New Testament believers have the advantage of looking back and seeing how God worked to deliver the children of Israel and all His workings, how He used the hardness of Pharaoh's heart, how He used everything that happened to Moses, all for His plan to be carried out and His covenant to be kept with Israel.
“The farther we proceed in the sacred writings, the more the history both of the grace and providence of God opens to our view. He ever cares for his creatures, and is mindful of his promise. The very means made use of to destroy his work are, in his hands, the instruments of its accomplishment.” (Adam Clarke on Exodus 2:25)
And I will harden Pharaoh's heart, and multiply my signs and my wonders in the land of Egypt. But Pharaoh shall not hearken unto you, that I may lay my hand upon Egypt, and bring forth mine armies, and my people the children of Israel, out of the land of Egypt by great judgments. And the Egyptians shall know that I am the LORD, when I stretch forth mine hand upon Egypt, and bring out the children of Israel from among them. (Exodus 7:3-5)
The enemy has always had his servants that he raises up to oppress God's children. Today we see much oppression against both Israel and the church. Satan seeks to steal, kill, and destroy wherever he gets a foothold and is able to do so. Yet God has His promises for both Israel and His church. The very oppression and persecution he uses, God is also in control of and we can be sure He will use only to carry out His purpose in both. We don't need to fear or fret, as it says in Psalm 37, when we see the enemy seemingly prevail. God is not sleeping, nor does He need to be awakened. He hears our groaning and our cries. Just as He had a plan for Moses, and used even the king's edict, to kill all Hebrew babies, to actually save Moses and all that happened after, He has a plan today. Just as He used the hardness of Pharaoh's heart for His own purposes, He will use the hardness and plans of the pharaoh's of today that come against Him for His own deliverance of God's people. When we are trusting in God, we should not want any other way or plan than the one He has chosen, even though it may mean hardship before it is finally carried out. God's plan is perfect. Let us not settle for anything less.
When we are in God's plan, trusting in Him, there is nothing He will not deliver us from or through. We fret and fear over political powers that threaten to take away our freedom, but nobody can take away God's freedom to do as He wills. He will even use their evil for good in what He seeks to accomplish in His church and ultimately to fulfill His promises to the nation of Israel. We need to walk by faith in His purposes, which will never fail, not in fear of the enemy. When we find ourselves at the Red Sea, with no way of escape, and the enemy pressing in, we need to trust His hand, and not look for our own way of escape. He is able to open up the Red Sea and make a way through. He created that sea for His own purposes, and to glorify Himself among His people and among the enemy. When we find ourselves in the wilderness, we know we can trust God is with us making all provision for us and has already planned what He will reveal of Himself to us through it and when He will bring us to the promised land awaiting us. His purposes will not fail. We can fail to trust and make our wilderness journey all the harder and longer, however, if we do not put our trust in Him. But we need to remember - “Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, that he may exalt you in due time” (1 Peter 5:6)
...the God of all grace, who hath called us unto his eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after that ye have suffered a while, make you perfect, stablish, strengthen, settle you. (1 Peter 5:10)
We must go through our oppressions, our persecutions, our sufferings, our red seas, and our wildernesses in this world. But we can do so in faith, understanding God's will and purpose, trusting His hand, knowing He still is in control, and that salvation and deliverance is His will always for His children. He will reveal His glory through it if we trust Him.
Because the creature itself also shall be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God. For we know that the whole creation groaneth and travaileth in pain together until now. And not only they, but ourselves also, which have the firstfruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting for the adoption, to wit, the redemption of our body.
And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose. (Romans 8:28)
What shall we then say to these things? If God be for us, who can be against us?
Saturday, April 20, 2019
FACING THE DARKNESS
(34) Jesus said to him, “Truly, I tell you, this very night, before the rooster crows, you will deny me three times.”
(35) Peter said to him, “Even if I must die with you, I will not deny you!” And all the disciples said the same.
(37) And taking with him Peter and the two sons of Zebedee, he began to be sorrowful and troubled.
(38) Then he said to them, “My soul is very sorrowful, even to death; remain here, and watch with me.”
(39) And going a little farther he fell on his face and prayed, saying, “My Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me; nevertheless, not as I will, but as you will.”
Jesus knew sorrow and grief that I don't think we can fully grasp. He knew pain and suffering (Isa. 53:3-11), and knows how to share in ours. He knew, as man, what it was like to face the worst kind of evil. He knew the powers of darkness that were about to come against Him, and the unspeakable agony He was about to face as He took on our sins, even "becoming a curse" for us (Gal. 3:13) - He Who knew no sin, so that we might become "the righteousness of God" in Him (2 Cor. 5:21).
Even Jesus, being both God and man, knew the weakness of human flesh and that there was no power in the flesh alone, no matter the strength of the human will to do right. No matter the determination to stand, He knew only dependence on the power of God would enable us in the frailty of our flesh to stand against the evil and darkness of this world. A concept very difficult for us to understand is that Jesus was both fully God and fully man. I don't think I completely understand all that that means, but what struck me about this portion of Scripture is the sorrow of His soul, knowing that He, being God, would take on something so repulsive to Him, so unbearable, something that was repulsive to the Father and would cause the Father to turn His face from Him as man (Matt. 27:46).
Thomas Constable (Expository notes of Dr. Constable), writes: "Jesus cried out the words of Psa_22:1 because His Father was abandoning Him. It was out of a similar sense of abandonment that David originally wrote the words of this psalm."
"Separation from the Father must have been the worst part of the Cross for Jesus who had never before experienced anything but intimate fellowship with His Father. Jesus became the center of God's judgment on mankind's sin (cf. Rom_3:21-26; 2Co_5:21)."
This something was so grievous and caused so much sorrow "even to the point of death" for our Savior. He cried out "if it be possible, let this cup pass from me." If there were any other way at all to obtain our salvation, surely the Father would not have sent His only begotten Son to the cross. If there were some way we could earn it ourselves, if there were some other sacrifice that would do it, or if there were any other remedy at all for our sin, Jesus would not have died for us. And so He prayed, "not my will but Yours be done."
Peter was fully determined to go as far as to die for His Lord. His spirit was willing - even boldly determined! Jesus knew the flesh. He knew, even He the Son of God, though in the form of human flesh, must fully depend on the Father, on the power of the Spirit to overcome the flesh. "Watch and pray that you may not enter into temptation. The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.”
Having a willing spirit is not enough to face the darkness and evil in this world. No matter how determined we are to stand against evil, it is not enough. We must learn to know our own flesh and see it for what it is. Once we do we will never again trust it.
Thomas Constable (Expository notes of Dr. Constable), states: "The contrast between the flesh and the spirit is not between the sinful human nature and the Holy Spirit (as in Gal_5:17) but between man's volitional strength and his physical weakness (cf. Mat_26:35). We often want to do the right thing but find that we need supernatural assistance to accomplish it (cf. Rom_7:15-25)."
In a day when we are facing the darkness of human depravity, as we see it seeming to abound more and more, and seek to overcome all that is of God and all that is good in our world, how much we need to think on this portion of Scripture. What a blessing it is to meditate on what our Lord endured, and how much He loved us, the sorrow and grief He bore for us. And what a sober reminder that if the Son of God Himself walked in such utter dependence on the Father, how much more do we? How little we should trust ourselves or put any hope in our own strength, our own determination or will power. It is never our will power or faith in our faith that will keep us in the hour of trial. It is only our being "strengthened in the power of His might" (Ephesians 6:10-11), and dependence and trust in His provision, His promise, and His power indwelling us. Our will, our faith, our hope may all fail us in the darkest hour, but He will never fail us. Christ alone is the strength of our salvation and the strength of our hearts. We must look to Him, and never trust in ourselves, neither for obtaining salvation nor to keep ourselves as we face the darkness (1 Peter 1:5).
Friday, February 1, 2019
And God said, "Let there be light," and there was light. (Genesis 1:3)
God said, and there was - and this is how it is today and forever. Man thinks he can create the world the way he wants but it is only as God says it will be in the end. It is only God Who brings light into the world. Man does not like His light. It exposes his lies, and his evil intentions. So he seeks to counterfeit or snuff out the light. But that's impossible. Not only is God the creator of light but He, Himself is the light. All who want His true light may have it if they ask in humility and faith.
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.
He was in the beginning with God.
All things were made through him, and without him was not any thing made that was made.
In him was life, and the life was the light of men.
The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.
There was a man sent from God, whose name was John.
He came as a witness, to bear witness about the light, that all might believe through him.
He was not the light, but came to bear witness about the light.
The true light, which gives light to everyone, was coming into the world.
He was in the world, and the world was made through him, yet the world did not know him. (John 1:1-10)
And the city has no need of sun or moon to shine on it, for the glory of God gives it light, and its lamp is the Lamb. By its light will the nations walk, and the kings of the earth will bring their glory into it, (Revelation 21:23 - 24)
And night will be no more. They will need no light of lamp or sun, for the Lord God will be their light, and they will reign forever and ever. (Revelation 22:5)
From the beginning satan has tried to snuff out that light, or counterfeit it. But God separates the light from the darkness and makes all things clear.
And this is the judgment: the light has come into the world, and people loved the darkness rather than the light because their works were evil.
Saturday, January 5, 2019
Do you ever doubt God's care for you? Do you ever wonder, when everything seems to be going downhill in your life, if God is paying attention at all? If He is doing anything about it? If He really truly sees and cares about the pain in your life? I think we've all been there. Even if we won't voice it, we probably, as believers, have felt it in our hearts. At times we can feel all alone in our sorrow, or our pain or our trial. It looks like all is hopeless and all that is left is to expect the worst, with no help, it seems, from God.
1 Peter 5:6-7
(6) Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time he may exalt you,
(7) casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you.
(Amplified Bible, Classic Edition) Therefore humble yourselves [demote, lower yourselves in your own estimation] under the mighty hand of God, that in due time He may exalt you,
“He careth for you.” It is of all-importance to realize that God’s heart is ever toward His own. He is no indifferent spectator of our suffering. He feels for us in all our afflictions and bids us cast every care upon Him, assured that He is concerned about all we have to endure. Weymouth has rendered the last part of this verse, “It matters to God about you.” How precious to realize this!
Casting — once for all: so the Greek aorist.care — “anxiety? The advantage flowing from humbling ourselves under God’s hand (1Pe_5:6) is confident reliance on His goodness. Exemption from care goes along with humble submission to God.careth for you — literally “respecting you.” Care is a burden which faith casts off the man on his God. Compare Psa_22:10; Psa_37:5; Psa_55:22, to which Peter alludes; Luk_12:22, Luk_12:37; Phi_4:6.
"in all their afflictions he is afflicted." "He will bear both thee and thy burden."
Friday, December 21, 2018
Many are the sorrows of the wicked, but steadfast love surrounds the one who trusts in the LORD.
Trust His love, trust His goodness, trust His purpose, trust His holiness, trust His righteousness, trust His faithfulness, no matter the sorrows you must endure. These are sure things of God's attributes that we can count on that are "immovable."
Even though there are also many sorrows for the Lord's children, He is our reason to rejoice, because His steadfast love surrounds us, no matter the fiery furnace we must walk through in this life. The many sorrows of the wicked lead only to hopelessness and despair. But in Christ there is no sorrow that does not have a good ending.
Definition of steadfast (Webster's dictionary)
1a : firmly fixed in place : IMMOVABLE
b : not subject to change
2 : firm in belief, determination, or adherence : LOYAL
Your love for me is immovable, dear Lord! You are loyal to Your promises. How secure! How wonderful! What peace and assurance I have in Your love! It's not subject to change. You will not suddenly change Your mind or heart toward me, and nothing can separate me from Your love.
(28) And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.
(29) For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn among many brothers.
(30) And those whom he predestined he also called, and those whom he called he also justified, and those whom he justified he also glorified.
(31) What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us?
(32) He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, how will he not also with him graciously give us all things?
(33) Who shall bring any charge against God's elect? It is God who justifies.
(34) Who is to condemn? Christ Jesus is the one who died—more than that, who was raised—who is at the right hand of God, who indeed is interceding for us.
(35) Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or sword?
(36) As it is written, "For your sake we are being killed all the day long; we are regarded as sheep to be slaughtered."
(37) No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us.
(38) For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers,
(39) nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.
May God's steadfast love fill your hearts today, surround you, and lift you up with His wings to enable you to soar above whatever in this life you face today. Long ago, He came to us as a babe in a manger. God became man. He came out of steadfast love and a promise of redemption for mankind. All who put their faith in Him now receive eternal life and a joy that will never end. It's a steadfast promise, that came out of a steadfast heart of love to mankind. It will not be broken for all who put their trust in Him.
(12) But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God,
(13) who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God.
(14) And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth.
Friday, November 9, 2018
1 Peter 1:3-5
(3) Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! According to his great mercy, he has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead,
(4) to an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you,
(5) who by God's power are being guarded through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.
But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved—and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus,
Lively — Greek, “living.” It has life in itself, gives life, and looks for life as its object [De Wette]. Living is a favorite expression of Peter (1 Peter 1:23; 1 Peter 2:4, 1 Peter 2:5). He delights in contemplating life overcoming death in the believer. Faith and love follow hope (1 Peter 1:8, 1 Peter 1:21, 1 Peter 1:22). “(Unto) a lively hope” is further explained by “(To) an inheritance incorruptible ... fadeth not away,” and “(unto) salvation ... ready to be revealed in the last time.”...“Unto a hope living (possessing life and vitality) through the resurrection of Jesus Christ.
J, F, & B
We have a living hope, a living now, now alive, very much alive hope, that won't perish or change until all is fulfilled and we are finally redeemed and with our Savior forever! This hope never dies because it is all in Christ Who was raised from death, and we are in Him raised from the dead and alive and seated with Him in the Heavenly places, where the powers of darkness cannot ever destroy. God's power makes it so. There is no power that can change it or destroy it or snatch us out of His hands!
(25) Whom have I in heaven but you? And there is nothing on earth that I desire besides you.
(26) My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.
He alone is the power and strength of my salvation. I need not fear the powers on earth, of evil, or the weaknesses and failures in myself. Nothing can overcome Christ and His power of life in me. Paul and Peter preached the same Gospel (Ephesians 1) contrary to what some believe.
Our hope is one always living and never dying. It is an ever living confidence in His work and power, in His righteousness, in His grace, in His resurrection, and His life indwelling us that will never leave us or forsake us. May the Lord direct His Word to your hearts and give you confidence and peace today through whatever trials you face in this world, "For, "Yet a little while, and the coming One will come and will not delay" (Hebrews 10:37)