Let me introduce you to two amazing verses that probably most believers read over without paying proper attention to the real meaning of them; I know I did. These are Ephesians 1:3 and 2:6. Only more recently have I given them real thought, though I’ve read the Bible most of my life, and even wrote a simple study of this book long ago. This meditation covers the first verse and soon a second will cover Ephesians 2:6 because they contain too much material to discuss at one time. Continue reading
Last night in church as we sang about how worthy God is, I considered his holiness, righteousness and majesty and realized I’d never be able to imagine it. Lord God Almighty remains far beyond anything or anyone we can possibly comprehend. Only when we’re in heaven will we grasp His significance and imperial majesty.
Then I realized that I don’t need to understand this while on earth. The fact is settled in my heart that God remains above all gods, all kings, all world leaders, anyone anywhere. My spirit realizes God’s greatness and I worship Him coming from that point. I continued in my worship of the One who fills my heart with joy. No understanding required.
I’m not a fighter. I want peace and sometimes give in when I shouldn’t, but I’ve had to learn to fight until I win the battle. That’s not easy for me and I don’t enjoy it, but when it’s necessary I will. God has richly blessed me in my physical life with loving parents and then a loving husband and children, so my battles don’t come in those areas. What a wonderful life! Of course, we’ve had our ups and downs but no major battles. My battle comes from the enemy of my soul, Satan. For years I didn’t realize I had to fight him, but the last few years I’m aware that he comes only to kill, steal and destroy. (See John 10:10.)
But how do we fight someone we can’t see? Something that’s bigger than we are and far more powerful? First, we get God’s will or promise for our situation. That means we need to spend time with God and with the Bible so we know what His will is and what promises He gives us. Then we ask the Holy Spirit to help us comprehend that so it’s perfectly clear to us and becomes a part of us. If we have head knowledge only of what our Father wants, then we can’t stand well because our whole self isn’t involved. A challenging verse says, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand (Ephesians 6:13). We do everything we can and then we continue to stand against our oppressor. We do NOT let him overcome us.
Most of us learn about this kind of faith as we mature in the Lord; it’s not given when we’re baby believers. We find out Who God is and then who we are in Him. Because we’re in Jesus Christ, we have authority but we must learn that as we grow in living lives pleasing to our Father. With that authority, we can tell the devil to leave us alone as James 4:7 tells us: Therefore, submit to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you. Notice though that first we must be submitted to God. Satan won’t listen to us when we’re not in right relationship with our Father, because He holds all authority. Obedience cannot be overstated in the Christ-follower’s life.
With obedience, we put on our spiritual armor, which protects us from all attacks of our enemy, as Ephesians 6:10-18 says (in the Amplified Version):
In conclusion, be strong in the Lord [be empowered through your union with Him]; draw your strength from Him [that strength which His boundless might provides]. 11 Put on God’s whole armor [the armor of a heavy-armed soldier which God supplies], that you may be able successfully to stand up against [all] the strategies and the deceits of the devil. 12 For we are not wrestling with flesh and blood [contending only with physical opponents], but against the despotisms, against the powers, against [the master spirits who are] the world rulers of this present darkness, against the spirit forces of wickedness in the heavenly (supernatural) sphere.
13 Therefore put on God’s complete armor, that you may be able to resist and stand your ground on the evil day [of danger], and, having done all [the crisis demands], to stand [firmly in your place]. 14 Stand therefore [hold your ground], having tightened the belt of truth around your loins and having put on the breastplate of integrity and of moral rectitude and right standing with God, 15 And having shod your feet in preparation [to face the enemy with the firm-footed stability, the promptness, and the readiness produced by the good news] of the Gospel of peace. [Isaiah 52:7.]
16 Lift up over all the [covering] shield of saving faith, upon which you can quench all the flaming missiles of the wicked [one]. 17 And take the helmet of salvation and the sword that the Spirit wields, which is the Word of God. 18 Pray at all times (on every occasion, in every season) in the Spirit, with all [manner of] prayer and entreaty. To that end keep alert and watch with strong purpose and perseverance, interceding in behalf of all the saints (God’s consecrated people).
Sometimes our battles continue for days, months or years, but we must learn to endure. James, the half-brother of Jesus, tells us about endurance in James 1:2-4 (New Living Translation): Dear brothers and sisters, when troubles come your way, consider it an opportunity for great joy. 3 For you know that when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow. 4 So let it grow, for when your endurance is fully developed, you will be perfect [mature] and complete, needing nothing.
What promise keeps me going during this battle? That depends on what the fight concerns, but I study the Word of God until in my spirit I know for sure that He has given me a particular verse on which to stand. Then I daily, and often more regularly, repeat that verse to myself so that I’m positive of where I’m headed. When I see clearly my goal ahead, then no confusion comes in about my destination.
Probably few of us like any kind of battle, but when we know our God, then we can stand, fight and win because He is incomparably stronger than the one who fights against us, as 1 John 4:4 reminds us. I’m encouraged to continue to stand and fight the fight of faith!
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ. And has raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus. (Ephesians 1:3 and 2:6 NKJV)
Belief must be brought into focus for these Scriptures to have any effect. Do I truly believe what these words tell me? Believe enough to apply them to my life? That takes more than head-knowledge; it takes heart-knowledge. Can I grasp the fact that God has multiple blessings for me residing in heaven, not when I get to heaven, but for the here and now? What kind of spiritual blessings are those? Well, what is God like because all blessings come from Him. Continue reading
The Sovereign Lord has spoken to me, and I have listened; I have not rebelled or turned away. I offered my back to those who beat me and my cheeks to those who pulled out my beard. I did not hide my face from mockery and spitting. Because the Sovereign Lord helps me, I will not be disgraced. Therefore, I have set my face like a stone, determined to do his will. And I know that I will not be put to shame. (Isaiah 50:5-7; all verses from New Living Translation.)
Father, I have several problems in my spine and I know a number of other people who have back pain. 1 Peter 2:24 says that by His stripes we were healed. That means that when Jesus’ back was beaten, He was paying the price for my back pain and for the issues others have as well. Jesus conquered death when He rose again and in verse 5 He overcame the pain and sickness Satan puts on us. Continue reading
A mind troubled by doubt cannot focus on the course of victory,” said Arthur Golden. “I never seek to defeat the man I am fighting,” he explained. “I seek to defeat his confidence. A mind troubled by doubt cannot focus on the course to victory. Two men are equals – true equals – only when they both have equal confidence.” Continue reading
What can I do to show God I love Him? Various actions demonstrate our love, like reading the Bible, praying, serving however He asks, and giving our tithes and offerings. Trusting God, however probably is the highest way we prove our love. I don’t mean trusting Jesus as our Savior; that’s only the beginning when we grasp that Father God loved us enough to let His Son Jesus die in our place for our rebellion against God. Continue reading
A friend gives me a beautifully wrapped present, a 4″x4″ square but quite heavy. Why did she give me a gift, I wondered? It’s not my birthday or anything special. Excitedly, I open it and know she can see the disappointment on my face. But I can’t help it; I’m almost crying. Inside the gorgeous box was a dirty, ugly rock. I wished she had not given me anything rather than something like that. What must she think of our friendship?
Famine, near starvation. What could be worse? That makes my problems seem not quite so bad. How about yours? Yes, they don’t go away because someone else’s are worse; they don’t even lessen. But it does help me gain perspective. Poor Habakkuh. His situation could not get any worse, but look at what he did! Continue reading
“Lord, I don’t care which way we go, just move us!” I prayed one day after my husband and I talked about putting our home on the market and moving. After two years passed, I didn’t really care if we moved or not, I simply wanted off that fence. Many pros and cons made us undecided which would be the better course for our family. My husband was unhappy in his job and didn’t find similar work in Austin. We were looking at other options out-of-town and even considering moving back to our hometown where our four parents lived and we had a few rentals. The more we looked the more confused the picture became. Sitting on the fence for so long became unbearable. I simply wanted a decision, at that time not really caring what the consequences were. Continue reading
A victim of your circumstances? Yes, some things about our situation we can’t change. But we can change how we think about and react to that problem. We can have a victim mentality or we can have winner thinking. What do I mean by that?
In Luke 4:24-25 when Jesus spoke to the paralyzed man lying on the mat and told him to get up, the man had to choose to obey. He could have chosen not to believe Jesus and stayed lying there and been bedridden the rest of his life. But he chose the winner’s way. Jesus put mud on a man’s eyes and told him to go wash in the pool of Siloam (John 9:6-7). The man made a choice. He could have said, “Here’s water that’s closer, I’ll just wash in it,” but he wouldn’t have been able to see because he didn’t obey Jesus’ word to him. Again, faith required a decision. Continue reading
Stepping out in faith never comes easily, but sometimes the battle turns long and drawn out. I think faith costs more dearly during those times. Look at Abraham, “the Father of Faith,” for an example. Abraham’s father Terah with Abraham and Sarah left Ur of the Chaldeans, where his family had lived for generations, to go to Haran. There they made their home and Terah died after a number of years. God told Abraham to leave there and go to a land He would show him. So Abraham took all his servants and all his possessions, including many cattle and sheep, and left without any idea of where he was going. Taking giant steps of faith, Abraham started walking. Continue reading
Phillip Baker, in his Daily Move, sent out this short message:
Harry Houdini once failed to unlock a door. He had never failed to pick a lock. So, what happened? The door was already unlocked. All he had to do was kick it open. Many times Christians believe a door is locked to them, when all they have to do is kick it open. What took place at Calvary unlocked everything. Continue reading
Luke 18:35-41 tells the story of a blind man who shouted at Jesus when he heard the Messiah was coming into Jericho. Although the crowd told him to stop and tried to ignore him, the man yelled louder still until Jesus noticed him. When asked what he wanted, the man replied, “I want to see.” Immediately Jesus said, “Receive your sight; your faith has healed you.” This kind of faith demonstrates the bulldog principle because the man had to ignore the crowd and continue shouting until Jesus heard him. An even better example is in verses 1-5 of the same chapter where Jesus tells the parable of the woman crying out for justice before the unjust judge. After repeated requests from the woman, the judge finally gives in simply to get rid of her, admitting that he didn’t care anything about the laws of God or the rights of people; he grew tired of putting up with her. Now the point is that our heavenly Father is nothing like the unjust judge in not caring about us. He loves us more than we can imagine; however, sometimes for reasons we don’t understand, God will delay answers to our fervent prayers. Continue reading
What is Aggressive Faith? Do we simply believe and patiently wait, or do we need to go after it and do something to help that faith be accomplished? Definitely I think there are times we need to patiently wait on God. Psalm 27:14 tells us: Wait on the Lord; Be of good courage, And He shall strengthen your heart; Wait, I say, on the Lord! This is like a little child eagerly awaiting a special birthday present; though he wants the day to quickly come, he must wait until it does. Sometimes God has set times to manifest the answer to whatever we’re praying for in faith. Whether He has to work with other people or other circumstances, we may not know, but in His time, it will come without any help from us. Continue reading
Isaiah 50:10-11 (Amplified Bible) states: “Who is among you who [reverently] fears the Lord, who obeys the voice of His Servant, yet who walks in darkness and deep trouble and has no shining splendor [in his heart]? Let him rely on, trust in, and be confident in the name of the Lord, and let him lean upon and be supported by his God. Behold, all you [enemies of your own selves] who attempt to kindle your own fires [and work out your own plans of salvation], who surround and gird yourselves with momentary sparks, darts, and firebrands that you set aflame! — walk by the light of your self-made fire and of the sparks that you have kindled [for yourself, if you will]! But this shall you have from My hand: you shall lie down in grief and in torment. [Isa 66:24.]” Continue reading
Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen (Hebrews 11:1 NKJV).
He [Peter] came to the house of Mary, the mother of John whose surname was Mark, where many were gathered together praying. 13 And as Peter knocked at the door of the gate, a girl named Rhoda came to answer. 14 When she recognized Peter’s voice, because of her gladness she did not open the gate, but ran in and announced that Peter stood before the gate. 15 But they said to her, “You are beside yourself!” Yet she kept insisting that it was so. So they said, “It is his angel.” 16 Now Peter continued knocking; and when they opened the door and saw him, they were astonished (Acts 12:12-17). Continue reading
At the end of “The Three Chickadees” I stated I wished I had rules so that if you were a chickadee, every time you went to my feeder, you’d be guaranteed to get seed. In this case, however, the chickadees are believers and the feeder is God. Let’s consider the difference between living by rules and living by abiding in our Lord Jesus Christ. Rules are easier, I think, because then you can check off the boxes and be assured you’ve done all you need to. The Pharisees of the New Testament kept all the outward rules but didn’t have compassion for anyone and were the ones Jesus rebuked most because of that. They liked to be highly praised by men but that was all they gained from their religion. They didn’t have a clue about what God wanted from them. And they had no joy. Continue reading
As I watched my bird feeder at breakfast, I saw three chickadees trying to get some seed, which they were sure was inside the feeder. They went all around the tray on the outside but to no avail. Then two of them even pecked at the plastic sides of the feeder. They could see the seeds inside, but they would not come out. Why not? Continue reading