The Soldier’s Charge – Part IV

Ephesians 6:10-20

Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might. Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places. 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.  Stand therefore, having girded your waist with truth, having put on the breastplate of righteousness, and having shod your feet with the preparation of the gospel of peace; above all, taking the shield of faith with which you will be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked one. And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God; praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, being watchful to this end with all perseverance and supplication for all the saints— and for me, that utterance may be given to me, that I may open my mouth boldly to make known the mystery of the gospel, for which I am an ambassador in chains; that in it I may speak boldly, as I ought to speak.

THE WHOLE ARMOR OF GOD

  • There is an enemy of the Christian soldier.  It is Satan.  He is real and he exerts strategies to wage war on all believers by means of deceit, craftiness and all sorts of various tricks.  He knows your weakness because of your habits and he uses them against you.

I Peter 5:8 – “Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour.”

Luke 22:31 – “And the Lord said, ‘Simon, Simon! Indeed, Satan has asked for you, that he may sift you as wheat.’”

2 Corinthians 4:3-4 –  “But even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing, whose minds the god of this age has blinded, who do not believe, lest the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine on them.”

Eph 6:12 – “For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places.”

  • We must put on the armor of God. 

Eph 5:16 – “redeeming the time, because the days are evil.”

  • because of the onslaught of evil that is all about us
  • because of the temptations and trials that confront us
  • because of the barrage of evil
  • because of the lateness of the hour
  • We must withstand the evil and prepare ourselves … with the whole armor of God.

Romans 13:12 – “The night is far spent, the day is at hand. Therefore let us cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the armor of light.”

2 Corinthians 10:4 – “For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds.”

I Timothy 6:12 – “Fight the good fight of faith, lay hold on eternal life, to which you were also called and have confessed the good confession in the presence of many witnesses.”

  • There is an enemy of the Christian soldier.  That enemy is Satan and his evil works. 
  • The lust of the eyes is one way that he tempts us:
  • Overeating
  • Outlandish dress
  • Possessions
  • Positions
  • Power
  • Satan will present something so appealing that the believer is doomed unless he is clothed in the protective gear that God has provided for us.  

James 4:1-4 – Amplified Version – “WHAT LEADS to strife (discord and feuds) and how do conflicts (quarrels and fightings) originate among you? Do they not arise from your sensual desires that are ever warring in your bodily members?  You are jealous and covet [what others have] and your desires go unfulfilled; [so] you become murderers. [To hate is to murder as far as your hearts are concerned.] You burn with envy and anger and are not able to obtain [the gratification, the contentment, and the happiness that you seek], so you fight and war. You do not have, because you do not ask.  [Or] you do ask [God for them] and yet fail to receive, because you ask with wrong purpose and evil, selfish motives. Your intention is [when you get what you desire] to spend it in sensual pleasures. You [are like] unfaithful wives [having illicit love affairs with the world and breaking your marriage vow to God]! Do you not know that being the world’s friend is being God’s enemy? So whoever chooses to be a friend of the world takes his stand as an enemy of God.”

 Romans 6:19 – “I speak in human terms because of the weakness of your flesh. For just as you presented your members as slaves of uncleanness, and of lawlessness leading to more lawlessness, so now present your members as slaves of righteousness for holiness.”

 Eph 2:2-3 – Amplified Version – “In which at one time you walked [habitually]. You were following the course and fashion of this world [were under the sway of the tendency of this present age], following the prince of the power of the air. [You were obedient to and under the control of] the [demon] spirit that still constantly works in the sons of disobedience [the careless, the rebellious, and the unbelieving, who go against the purposes of God].  Among these we as well as you once lived and conducted ourselves in the passions of our flesh [our behavior governed by our corrupt and sensual nature], obeying the impulses of the flesh and the thoughts of the mind [our cravings dictated by our senses and our dark imaginings]. We were then by nature children of [God’s] wrath and heirs of [His] indignation, like the rest of mankind.”

John 8:44 – “You are of your father the devil, and the desires of your father you want to do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaks a lie, he speaks from his own resources, for he is a liar and the father of it.”

 Romans 6:16 – “Do you not know that to whom you present yourselves slaves to obey, you are that one’s slaves whom you obey, whether of sin leading to death, or of obedience leading to righteousness?”

  • The forces of evil are the rulers of darkness, they blind the minds of men lest they believe the glorious gospel.
  • Think for a moment of all the wickedness and evil, the wrong and selfishness in the world.
  • The divisions, prejudice, favoritism immorality, arrogance, bitterness pride, hate, anger, war killing arguing, stealing, cursing, favoritism, divisions, lying, backbiting, and gossiping.
  • The list could go on and on.  The evil of man consumes the papers and airways every day.  Do we not all know better than to behave in this matter?  There are enough good people out there that could change the world if we would, but the sad thing is the church is often not much better than the world.

Ephesians 6:12 – “For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places.”

I John 2:15-16 – “Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him.  For all that is in the world—the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life—is not of the Father but is of the world.”

  • Another strategy of Satan is to send a false teacher.  We must never forget that Satan is not a fiery red person with horns, a pointed tail and a pitchfork.  He is the living being in the spiritual world who is able to appear as an angel of light.  He has ministers who walk about as ministers of righteousness.  However, their righteousness is not of Christ.  Their message of self-righteousness will doom your soul.  It is based on human goodness and works, ego and self image, personal development and growth, self improvement and correction of the mind and will.  Such messages appeal to the flesh.  However they cannot deliver man out of the evil darkness.

2 Corinthians 2:11 – “lest Satan should take advantage of us; for we are not ignorant of his devices.”

2 Corinthians 11:3 – “But I fear, lest somehow, as the serpent deceived Eve by his craftiness, so your minds may be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ.”

2 Corinthians 11:13-15 – “For such are false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into apostles of Christ. 14 And no wonder! For Satan himself transforms himself into an angel of light. Therefore it is no great thing if his ministers also transform themselves into ministers of righteousness, whose end will be according to their works.”

Ephesians 4:14 – “that we should no longer be children, tossed to and fro and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, in the cunning craftiness of deceitful plotting.”

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

2 Thessalonians 2:9 – “The coming of the lawless one is according to the working of Satan, with all power, signs, and lying wonders.”

Revelation 12:9 – “So the great dragon was cast out, that serpent of old, called the Devil and Satan, who deceives the whole world; he was cast to the earth, and his angels were cast out with him.”

  • The forces of evil are powerful forces
  • The forces of evil are numerous
  • The forces of evil are organized into a satanic hierarch
  • However, there is a greater force, a force for good, a higher force…It is the power of God that is able to change and empower man.

The Soldier’s Charge – Part III

Ephesians 6:10-20

Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might. Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places. 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.  Stand therefore, having girded your waist with truth, having put on the breastplate of righteousness, and having shod your feet with the preparation of the gospel of peace; above all, taking the shield of faith with which you will be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked one. And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God; praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, being watchful to this end with all perseverance and supplication for all the saints— and for me, that utterance may be given to me, that I may open my mouth boldly to make known the mystery of the gospel, for which I am an ambassador in chains; that in it I may speak boldly, as I ought to speak.

In this passage of Scripture there is another way to look at the same picture.  When a person begins his Christian Walk he is now a solider in combat and therefore a combatant in a continual conflict.  Foes to his spirituality reside within and without.  From the beginning of our Christian life to the end, we are in a fight.

In the spiritual warfare of the believer it is the believer, with God’s help, that needs to be in control, not the elements of this world.  There is absolutely no way the believer can survive spiritually if he does not heed the charge and the guiding message of this passage.  Otherwise he will cave in to the temptation and sin and begin aimlessly foundering.  Unless this battle is fought, the Christian will not experience the joy and abundance available in life nor the power and deliverance, the care, concern, love and fellowship with God’s daily presence.  He will forever be uncertain and unsure about the future; nor will he have the confidence that He is accepted by God or has an eternal home.

He must determine in his own heart, mind and soul a long-range plan – eternity with the Lord.  He must decide now – today.  The Word says “Now is the day of salvation.” He may put off his decision for a more convenient time, or just decide “later” or “I’ll wait.”  But listen to this:  The road marked “Tomorrow” will reach the destination called “Never.”

If the believer is to survive, is to be victorious and conquer the enemies that confront him, he must do what God says to him in this passage.  The believer must be strong, not in his own power and might, but “in the Lord and the power of His might.”

In verse 10 the word “strong” means “power, might and strength” which the believer must possess.  “The Lord’s power” simply means “His sovereign, unlimited power and dominion over all things”.  How much power does He have?  It is at the believer’s disposal.  Use His power to be victorious.  Use His power to be overcoming.  Use His power for life itself.  Use His power for without it you will fail.  Use His power to be successful.  Use His power.  Do not be a spiritual wimp…be a man or woman of God and stand up for what is right, do right, live right, and be right.  “The Lord’s might” means “His strength, force and ability.”

Ephesians 6:10 (Amplified Bible)

“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].”

Ephesians 6:10-12 (The Message) – A Fight to the Finish

“And that about wraps it up. God is strong, and he wants you strong. So take everything the Master has set out for you, well-made weapons of the best materials. And put them to use so you will be able to stand up to everything the Devil throws your way. This is no afternoon athletic contest that we’ll walk away from and forget about in a couple of hours. This is for keeps, a life-or-death fight to the finish against the Devil and all his angels.”

Simply put, the believer is to be strong in the sovereign and unlimited power of the Lord, in the power of His might, in His ability to use His power exactly as it should be used.  This might and power is not fleshly power or strength for it is a living, dynamic relationship with Almighty God who is the source of his strength.

Philippians 4:13 – I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.

The believer must be clothed with God’s power and might before attempting to take up the battle.  Remember the story in the Book of Acts about the seven sons of Sceva who tried to imitate Paul’s preaching and when they tried to cast out devils…the devils turned on them and stripped them and beat them.  Without God’s power the believer is hopelessly without a chance. Only when armed with the power and might of God can he wage war effectively against the spiritual wickedness of this world.  One critical point must be that he take “the whole” armor of God, leaving out nothing.  Otherwise he exposes himself to his enemies, Satan and his host.  .

Luke 1:37 – : For with God nothing will be impossible.”

Ephesians 3:16 – “that He would grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with might through His Spirit in the inner man.”

Ephesians 3:20 – “Now to Him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us.”

Colossians 1:11 – “strengthened with all might, according to His glorious power, for all patience and longsuffering with joy.”

2 Timothy 1:7 – “For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.”

2 Samuel 22:40 – “For You have armed me with strength for the battle; You have subdued under me those who rose against me.”

The Soldier’s Charge – Part II

Ephesians 6:10-20

Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might. Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places. 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.  Stand therefore, having girded your waist with truth, having put on the breastplate of righteousness, and having shod your feet with the preparation of the gospel of peace; above all, taking the shield of faith with which you will be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked one. And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God; praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, being watchful to this end with all perseverance and supplication for all the saints— and for me, that utterance may be given to me, that I may open my mouth boldly to make known the mystery of the gospel, for which I am an ambassador in chains; that in it I may speak boldly, as I ought to speak.

THE SOLDIER’S ARMOR

  • When we go into the military service of our country there is a basic instruction period so that we will be able to grasp all the “do” and “do not” rules of our training.  If we are to be successful in our service to our country we must follow the rules.  So it is with serving our God.  There must be a basic understanding of the rules if we are to be successful Christians.
  • Our rule book is none other than the Word of God, the Bible.  It is our source.  It is our guide.  There are other books and helps that we may find beneficial along the way but there is only one book that will give us the direct, unbiased, distinct, truthful message that we need. 

2 Timothy 2:15 – “Be diligent to present yourself approved to God, a worker who does not need to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.”

2 Timothy 3:16-17 – “All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work. 

  • Some questions to be asked during your reading of your Bible are as follows.  
  • Is there an example for me to follow?
  • Is there a sin for me to avoid?
  • Is there a command for me to obey?
  • Is there a promise for me to claim?
  • What does this passage tell me about the Holy Spirit, about Jesus, about God?
  • What prayer should I pray in light of this Scripture?
  • What action do I need to take to avoid, to correct, to ensure my obedience to this Scripture?
  • Other practical commitments and spiritual disciplines must also be adhered to as we put on the armor of God.  Just reading the Bible will not change our lives.  We must study it; we must absorb it into our very being.  Then we must make some practical commitments and spiritually discipline ourselves in the way we conduct our lives.  All the armor in the world will not help us if we deliberately and carelessly walk right into the enemy’s camp.  We must be “street smart” to the tactics of our foe.  Some of the things we need to do are as follows.
  • We need to learn to depend on God. 

James 5:13-16 – “Is anyone among you suffering?  Let him pray. Is anyone cheerful? Let him sing psalms. Is anyone among you sick? Let him call for the elders of the church, and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord.  And the prayer of faith will save the sick, and the Lord will raise him up. And if he has committed sins, he will be forgiven.  Confess your trespasses to one another, and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much.”

Matthew 6:15-15 – “And when you pray, you shall not be like the hypocrites. For they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the corners of the streets, that they may be seen by men. Assuredly, I say to you, they have their reward.  But you, when you pray, go into your room, and when you have shut your door, pray to your Father who is in the secret place; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you openly.  And when you pray, do not use vain repetitions as the heathen do. For they think that they will be heard for their many words. Therefore do not be like them. For your Father knows the things you have need of before you ask Him. In this manner, therefore, pray:

“Our Father in heaven, hallowed be Your name.  Your kingdom come.  Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread.  And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors.  And do not lead us into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one. For Yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever.   Amen.”

“For if you forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you.  But if you do not forgive men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.”

Luke 11:5-8 – And He said to them, “Which of you shall have a friend, and go to him at midnight and say to him, ‘Friend, lend me three loaves; for a friend of mine has come to me on his journey, and I have nothing to set before him’; and he will answer from within and say, ‘Do not trouble me; the door is now shut, and my children are with me in bed; I cannot rise and give to you’?  I say to you, though he will not rise and give to him because he is his friend, yet because of his persistence he will rise and give him as many as he needs.”

  • We need to learn submission. 

1 Peter 3:8-9 – “Finally, all of you be of one mind, having compassion for one another; love as brothers, be tenderhearted, be courteous; not returning evil for evil or reviling for reviling, but on the contrary blessing, knowing that you were called to this, that you may inherit a blessing.” 

Hebrews 13:17 – “Obey those who rule over you, and be submissive, for they watch out for your souls, as those who must give account. Let them do so with joy and not with grief, for that would be unprofitable for you.”

James 4:7-10 – “Therefore submit to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you.   Draw near to God and He will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners; and purify your hearts, you double-minded.  Lament and mourn and weep! Let your laughter be turned to mourning and your joy to gloom.  Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and He will lift you up.”

  • We need to confess our sins.

John 1:9-10 – “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.  If we say that we have not sinned, we make Him a liar, and His word is not in us.”

1 John 2:1-1 – “My little children, these things I write to you, so that you may not sin. And if anyone sins, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous.  And He Himself is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the whole world.”

  • We need instruction.

Joshua 1:8-9 – “This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate in it day and night, that you may observe to do according to all that is written in it. For then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success.  Have I not commanded you? Be strong and of good courage; do not be afraid, nor be dismayed, for the LORD your God is with you wherever you go.” 

2 Timothy 2:23-26 – “But avoid foolish and ignorant disputes, knowing that they generate strife.   And a servant of the Lord must not quarrel but be gentle to all, able to teach, patient, in humility correcting those who are in opposition, if God perhaps will grant them repentance, so that they may know the truth, and that they may come to their senses and escape the snare of the devil, having been taken captive by him to do his will.”

Psalm 1:1-2 –  “Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor stands in the path of sinners, nor sits in the seat of the scornful; but his delight is in the law of the LORD, and in His law he meditates day and night.”

The Soldier’s Charge – Part I

Ephesians 6:10-20

Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might. Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places. 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.  Stand therefore, having girded your waist with truth, having put on the breastplate of righteousness, and having shod your feet with the preparation of the gospel of peace; above all, taking the shield of faith with which you will be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked one. And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God; praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, being watchful to this end with all perseverance and supplication for all the saints— and for me, that utterance may be given to me, that I may open my mouth boldly to make known the mystery of the gospel, for which I am an ambassador in chains; that in it I may speak boldly, as I ought to speak.

“BE STRONG” IN THE LORD (IN THE POWER OF HIS MIGHT)

Ephesians 4:16 – “That He would grant you according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with might through His spirit in the inner man.” 

Isaiah 40:31 – “But those who wait for the Lord (who expect, look for, and hope in Him) shall change and renew their strength and power;    they shall lift their wings and mount up (close to God) as eagles (mount up to the sun); they shall walk and not faint or become tired.” The Amplified Version                 

Ephesians 4:20 – “Now to Him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us.”

Colossians 1:11 – “We pray that you may be invigorated and strengthened with all power according to the might of His glory (to exercise) every kind of endurance and patience (perseverance and forbearance) with joy.” The Amplified Version

“PUT ON” THE WHOLE ARMOR OF GOD

  • Why are we, the soldiers in Christ’s army, instructed to put on the whole armor of God?  Because we are in a spiritual battle.  We are not fighting a physical battle.  We don’t need knives, guns, tanks, bombs, planes and so on to fight this battle.  We need spiritual armament. 
  • Here in this command we are to “put on the armor of God” and the very next command we are to “take up the whole armor of God.”  What is meant? Let us read this same passage from the Amplified Version

Ephesians 6: 11-13 – “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. For we are not wrestling with flesh and blood (contending only with physical opponents), but against despotism, 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, 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).”  The Amplified Version

“TAKE UP”  THE WHOLE ARMOR OF GOD

  • “Stand” with a girdle of truth.
  • “Stand” with breastplate of righteousness.
  • “Put on shoes” (your foundation) of the Gospel.
  • “Take” the shield of faith.
  • “Take” the helmet of salvation.
  • “Take” the sword of the Spirit, the word of God.
  • “Praying always” with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit.
  • “Be watchful” with all perseverance and supplication for all the saints.
  • Many sermons have been preached from this passage and there are many different thoughts about what each of the different pieces of armament mean.  Without going into great detail I believe what the Bible is trying to tell us is that we must have the whole armor of God.  The shoes won’t help if we forgot the breastplate and that is where we receive an attack.  Likewise the helmet left off and everything else in place will not keep us from sustaining a head injury.  We must have all the armament that God demands for us to be a successful soldier.
  • Truth, righteousness (or right living before God), a basic under-standing (the foundation) of the Word of God, faith, salvation, the Word of God (the meat of the Word where it spells out in detail our privilege in Christ), all covered with prayer and supplication and watchfulness with perseverance and supplication for our brother and sister soldiers will sustain us.  

1 Peter 5:8 – “Be well balanced (temperate, sober of mind), be vigilant and cautious at all times; for that enemy of yours, the devil, roams around like a lion roaring (in fierce hunger), seeking someone to seize upon and devour.” 

Psalm 3:3-4 – “But you, O lord, are a shield for me; my glory, and the lifter of my head.  I cried unto the Lord with my voice, and he heard me out of His holy hill.” 

Romans 8:37 – “In all things we are more than conquerors through Christ who loved us.” 

Isaiah 54:17 – “No weapon that is formed against you shall prosper, and every tongue that shall rise against you in judgment you shall show to be in the wrong. This is the heritage of the servants of the Lord, and their righteousness is from Me says the Lord.” 

THE COMMANDS

  • Everyone of the commands tells us something to do.  Put on, take up, stand, stand, put on, take, take, praying always, be watchful are all commands of action.  Many Christians come to know the Lord and do nothing except warm a pew and soak in the worship and message.  A sponge does the same thing.  However if the sponge soaks it all up and is not put to work, it does one of two things.  It either dries up and is not good for anything, or it becomes soured and begins to stink.  The reason for the action commands is evident.  We are in a war and you must act.  No soldier came back from the front lines of the battle without having performed some type of action. 
  • You, the Christian, must be a man or woman of action.  You must remember to get involved in the battle.  There are no desk soldiers in God’s army.  There are only soldiers of action. 
  • Notice the particular type of action in these action commands. 
  • “Take up”  the whole armor of God indicates we must not leave any of God’s armor off.  We must put it all on.  We must take all of God’s instructions.  Pick and choose and you will lose. 
  • Twice we are told to “stand.”  Why?  We must stand for the truth.  We must stand for right living before God and man.   If it is against God’s Word, then it is wrong.  I don’t care how much we try to justify what we are doing.  It doesn’t matter what everybody else is doing.  If God’s Word says do not, we better listen to what it says.  Society, or the signs of the time, should not dictate to us morality and right and wrong.  God’s Word is our only rule of law.
  • “Put on” indicates we are to clothe ourselves with something.  Since we are to “put off” the old life style, then we must “put on” the new life style. We can only do that with a basic understanding of the Word of God.
  • Three times we are told to “take” which indicates that we must reach out for, we must grasp, we must exert energy to obtain.  No soldier ever won a fight without taking charge of the situation.  That is exactly what you must do.  You must take charge of the situation and defeat the enemy through the power that God has given you.
  • There is no way we can over emphasize the power of prayer.  The passage says here that we should be “praying always” with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit.  Prayer is spiritual warfare.  A soldier enters the conflict fully dressed and armed for battle.  Something else is needed, is essential.  Confidence, assurance and courage are needed in the battle and they only come by way of prayer.

Romans 13:12 – “The night is far spent, the day is at hand; let us therefore cast off the works of darkness and let us put on the armor of light.” 

2 Corinthians 10:4 – “For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds.”  

1 Timothy 6:12 – “Fight the good fight of the faith; lay hold of the eternal life, to which you were summoned and (for which) you confessed the good confession (of faith) before many witnesses.” 

2 Timothy 2:4 – “No soldier when in service gets entangled in the enterprises of (civilian) life; his aim is to satisfy and please the one who enlisted him.” 

Matthew 7:7 – “Ask and it shall be given to you; seek, and you shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you.” 

Colossians 4:2 – “Continue in prayer, and watch in the same with thanksgiving.” 

1 Chronicles 16:11 – “Seek the Lord and His strength, seek His face continually.” 

  • We are told after all these varying commands to “be watchful.”   All the armor in the world will not help us if we do not watch.  Further, we are to watch in “perseverance and supplication for all the saints.”  Why?  Because they are going through the same battles you are going through.
  • W – Watch your WORDS
  • A – Watch your ACTIONS
  • T – Watch your THOUGHTS
  • C – Watch your CHARACTER
  • H – Watch your HEART   

Names of God – Jehovah Shalom

Philippians 2:5-11

Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus, who, being in the form of God, did not consider it robbery to be equal with God, but made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant, and coming in the likeness of men. And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross. Therefore God also has highly exalted Him and given Him the name which is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those in heaven, and of those on earth, and of those under the earth, and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

Jehovah Shalom – The Lord Our Peace

Judges 6:22-24 – Now Gideon perceived that He was the Angel of the Lord. So Gideon said, “Alas, O Lord God! For I have seen the Angel of the Lord face to face.”  Then the Lord said to him, “Peace be with you; do not fear, you shall not die.” So Gideon built an altar there to the Lord, and called it The-Lord-Is-Peace. To this day it is still in Ophrah of the Abiezrites.

Judges 6:11-16 – Now the Angel of the Lord came and sat under the terebinth tree which was in Ophrah, which belonged to Joash the Abiezrite, while his son Gideon threshed wheat in the winepress, in order to hide it from the Midianites. And the Angel of the Lord appeared to him, and said to him, “The Lord is with you, you mighty man of valor!”  Gideon said to Him, “O my lord, if the Lord is with us, why then has all this happened to us? And where are all His miracles which our fathers told us about, saying, ‘Did not the Lord bring us up from Egypt?’ But now the Lord has forsaken us and delivered us into the hands of the Midianites.”  Then the Lord turned to him and said, “Go in this might of yours, and you shall save Israel from the hand of the Midianites. Have I not sent you?”  So he said to Him, “O my Lord, how can I save Israel? Indeed my clan is the weakest in Manasseh, and I am the least in my father’s house.”  And the Lord said to him, “Surely I will be with you, and you shall defeat the Midianites as one man.”

Gideon questioned:  “If the Lord is with us, why?”

Do we not often question God?  Why has all this happened?  Why am I going through this?

  • In the midst of the struggle He will be with you – He will be your peace
  • In the midst of the testing, He will be with you – He will be your peace
  • In the midst of the turmoil, heartache, loss, bereavement, loneliness, pain, sickness, He will be with you – He is your peace!

It is only in times of struggle, turmoil, hurt, defeat, that we truly know His peace.  (If everything was always great, if nothing went wrong, you would not know His peace because you would not have known pain and sorrow.)  Could the Kennedys, the Rockefellers, the Queen of England ever know poverty?  They have everything they want at the slightest whim.  How can they really measure wealth?  They have known nothing else.

The reason for the Israelites’ affliction by the Midianites can be found in Judges.

Judges 2:1-5 – Then the Angel of the Lord came up from Gilgal to Bochim, and said: “I led you up from Egypt and brought you to the land of which I swore to your fathers; and I said, ‘I will never break My covenant with you. And you shall make no covenant with the inhabitants of this land; you shall tear down their altars.’ But you have not obeyed My voice. Why have you done this? Therefore I also said, ‘I will not drive them out before you; but they shall be thorns in your side, and their gods shall be a snare to you.’” So it was, when the Angel of the Lord spoke these words to all the children of Israel, that the people lifted up their voices and wept.  Then they called the name of that place Bochim; and they sacrificed there to the Lord.

Their affliction was due to their lack of obedience to do what God told them to do.  They had idolatry to continue in the land they had been promised.

Gideon was being prepared to exercise obedience.  God saw in him a desire to do what was right.  God used him to destroy idolatry.

Judges 6:25-26 – Now it came to pass the same night that the Lord said to him, “Take your father’s young bull, the second bull of seven years old, and tear down the altar of Baal that your father has, and cut down the wooden image that is beside it; and build an altar to the Lord your God on top of this rock in the proper arrangement, and take the second bull and offer a burnt sacrifice with the wood of the image which you shall cut down.”

When you are going through a time of trouble ask yourself:

  • What is God trying to prepare me for?
  • What is God trying to show me?
  • What can I learn from this experience?

He will be your peace.  This “Prince of Peace” will be your peace.

Ephesians 2:14-15 – For He Himself is our peace, who has made both one, and has broken down the middle wall of separation, having abolished in His flesh the enmity, that is, the law of commandments contained in ordinances, so as to create in Himself one new man from the two, thus making peace,

John 14:27- Peace I leave with you, My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.

2 Thessalonians 3:16 – Now may the Lord of peace Himself give you peace always in every way. The Lord be with you all.

Psalm 4:8 – I will both lie down in peace, and sleep; for You alone, O Lord, make me dwell in safety.

Instead of counting sheep, talk to the shepherd.

1 Corinthians 7:15 – Great peace have those who love Your law, and nothing causes them to stumble.

Isaiah 26:3 – You will keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on You, because he trusts in You.

Galatians 5:22-23 – But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law.

Colossians 3:15 – And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to which also you were called in one body; and be thankful.

Names of God – The Lord is My Shepherd

Philippians 2:5-11

Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus, who, being in the form of God, did not consider it robbery to be equal with God, but made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant, and coming in the likeness of men. And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross. Therefore God also has highly exalted Him and given Him the name which is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those in heaven, and of those on earth, and of those under the earth, and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

Jehovah Rohi – The Lord is My Shepherd

 Psalm 23:1 – The Lord is my Shepherd, I shall not want. 

This renowned Psalm was written by King David, and its most famous passage is contained in the opening verse:  The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.

In this brief verse, David gives us yet another reflection of the Lord’s character and nature.  David continues to develop this idea of the Lord as shepherd throughout the rest of the Psalm.  In the next verse, he writes, “He makes me to lie down in green pastures; he leads me beside the still waters.

What an idyllic picture.  As we read this verse, we envision a flock of fleecy, white sheep, dotting a tranquil, green landscape.  These well-fed creatures graze on the plentiful grass surrounding them in a vast pasture.  Or, they lie about on a lush, green carpet of grass, napping peacefully.  Overhead, the sun is shining brightly.  On the nearby hillside, a grove of tall, leafy trees blow gently in the breeze.  Down below, a beautiful woods is reflect in a pool of cool, clear water.

The whole scene seems so pleasant, peaceful and carefree.  Not a creature in sight has a care in the world.  Why?  Sitting on the plush grass of the gently sloping hillside, overseeing all that goes on below, is a shepherd.  This shepherd is a picture of calm.  He spends his time meditating on the Lord’s blessings.  Occasionally, he gazes out at his flock to make sure all is well.  The shepherd does not hear a single cry or sigh from the peaceful fold in his care.  Instead, he sees below him a contented flock of rested, satisfied sheep, creatures who fully enjoy their peaceful surroundings.

I ask you, what is wrong with this picture?  Simply this:  life is nothing like this image of idyllic existence.  It is my sincere belief that this tranquil picture is not the image David intended to put forth in Psalm 23 – not at all.

The truth is, even the saintliest of God’s people are a motley bunch.  With that in mind, I want to paint for you another picture of the sheepfold David describes here.  Sheep are lying about in green grass beside still waters.  But, according to Isaiah, this flock includes lambs that are frail, weak and unsteady.  Some are barely able to walk.  Others are in deep pain.  A few are pregnant.  Still others have to nurse their restless young.

Isaiah 40:11 – He will feed His flock like a shepherd; He will gather the lambs with His arm, and carry them in His bosom, and gently lead those who are with young.

Isaiah is speaking here of Jesus Christ, our Jehovah Rohi.  Our Lord Jesus is our shepherd.  He came not to tend just healthy, strong sheep, but also those who are sick, broken, diseased and weak.

God condemned Israel’s ministers because they did not fulfill this role for the sheep under their care.  This aspect of ministry was so important in the Lord’s eyes, He spoke His displeasure through every major prophet.

Ezekiel 34:4 – The weak you have not strengthened, nor have you healed those who were sick, nor bound up the broken, nor brought back what was driven away, nor sought what was lost; but with force and cruelty you have ruled them.

Ezekiel 34:6 – My sheep wandered through all the mountains, and on every high hill; yes, My flock was scattered over the whole face of the earth, and no one was seeking or searching for them.

Jeremiah 50:6 – My people have been lost sheep.  Their shepherds have led them astray; they have turned them away on the mountains.  They have gone from mountain to hill; they have forgotten their resting place.

Isaiah 53:6 – All we like sheep have gone astray.

Note the last verse.  Who is Isaiah talking about here?  He is talking about you, about me, about every person who belongs in the Lord’s sheepfold.  Do not think the prophet is exaggerating for effect.  Mark it down:  every sheep in the shepherd’s fold has gone astray.  Yet, each of us is still in the fold, because our gracious, merciful, loving shepherd has come after us and found us.

Just look around you for a moment at all the sheep you know in the church of Jesus Christ.  What kind of flock are you?  Are you all lying down in green pastures, drinking pure, cool water?  Are you all perfectly contented, healthy, happy, and peaceful?

No way!  You have in your midst believers who keep stumbling and falling.  At times you wonder if they are ever going to be strong enough to walk straight.

Others among us are sick and diseased.  They have drunk polluted water from the well of some false shepherd.  Still others are walking about wounded.  Some were crippled by a bleeding hind leg their shepherd had to pull out of the lion’s mouth.  Others were crippled by bad habits and lust.  Still others among us are naked.  They have been shorn or fleeced by false shepherds. 

All these sick, broken sheep have been brought back to the fold by the shepherd Himself.  Some were so maimed, disabled, hurt and disoriented, Jesus had to put them on His shoulders and carry them all the way back to the flock.

That’s the role of our great shepherd.  Scripture describes this wonderful trait of our Lord even more clearly.

Ezekiel 34:11 – For thus says the Lord God: “Indeed I Myself will search for My sheep and seek them out.

The sheep Ezekiel describes here obviously have wandered away.  Yet the Lord still calls them His sheep.  He willingly goes after them.

Ezekiel 34:12 – As a shepherd seeks out his flock on the day he is among his scattered sheep, so will I seek out My sheep and deliver them from all the places where they were scattered on a cloudy and dark day.

Ezekiel is speaking here of sheep who have been through troubled times.

Ezekiel 34:16 – I will seek what was lost and bring back what was driven away, bind up the broken and strengthen what was sick; but I will destroy the fat and the strong, and feed them in judgment.

Ezekiel 34:22-23 – therefore I will save My flock, and they shall no longer be a prey; and I will judge between sheep and sheep. I will establish one shepherd over them, and he shall feed them—my servant David. He shall feed them and be their shepherd.

Once again, God speaks clearly about setting up one true shepherd to watch over His people.  Of course, he is referring to Jesus Christ.  Jesus is the good shepherd who promises to feed His flock.

Names of God – (Jehovah Rohi) – The Lord is My Shepherd

Philippians 2:5-11

Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus, who, being in the form of God, did not consider it robbery to be equal with God, but made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant, and coming in the likeness of men. And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross. Therefore God also has highly exalted Him and given Him the name which is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those in heaven, and of those on earth, and of those under the earth, and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

Jehovah Rohi – The Lord is My Shepherd

 Psalm 23:1 – The Lord is my Shepherd, I shall not want.  He makes me to lie down in green pastures; He leads me beside the still waters.  He restores my soul; He leads me in the paths of righteousness for His name’s sake.  Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil; for You are with me; Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me.  You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies; You anoint my head with oil; my cup runs over.  Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life; and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.

            He lifts me up when I get down,

            He restoreth my soul.

            He picks me up when I fall,

            He watches over me in times of stress,

He doesn’t say, “You are the weakest link – goodbye.”  He keeps following after us, drawing back into the straight and narrow.

I do not think I could relate to a fold of fleecy, white sheep who never face any troubles.  I would not know what to do if I were part of a flock where the sheep smiled all day long, showing off pearly white teeth.  I do not know if I could handle going to a church where nobody ever cried or experienced pain.  I would go crazy if I lived among people who were never sick, never in need, never tempted, never depressed, never downcast or discouraged.  If I were mixed in with that kind of flock, I would be a complete misfit, a black sheep.  And I would be miserable, because my life is not like that at all. 

We all have difficulties.  I get downcast at times.  I go through periods of discouragement.  I have experienced times of great confusion.  Do not misunderstand; I have God’s peace.  But I do not carry a Colgate grin everywhere I go.  Why?  I have been through the mill.  Often the trials of life do not make me happy.

I have been on mountaintops and down in the valleys.  I have been through times of testing, trial and sorrow.  On many occasions, God has had to come after me.  He has had to pick me up, bind up my wounds and give me a bath.

Where are you Lord?  David asked, in Psalm 43:2 – For You are the God of my strength; why do You cast me off?  Why do I go mourning because of the oppression of the enemy?  This man could not help wondering why he faced such trouble from his enemies.  Yet David identified clearly what his trouble was – “This is an oppression of the enemy.”

Every time I set out to do something I believe will have an impact for eternity on people’s lives I can predict what is going to happen.  The devil is going to come in like a flood and seek to overwhelm me.

At other times, I experience great physical and mental oppressions for no apparent reason.  I believe this is just what David was going through when he wrote this verse.  He had been assailed by something unexplainable, some oppression of soul that had no clear origin.  He had no idea why it was happening.  That is why he asked God why he felt so cast off.  Something had overcome him, and he had no idea what to do about it.

Perhaps you have been through this.  You woke up one day with a cloud of depression hovering over you.  You had no idea where it came from, or why it fell upon you.  You thought, “I’ve never felt this down or condemned in my life.  Why is this happening to me now?  What’s going on?”  You examined your heart endlessly.  Yet you could not get to the bottom of what you were going through or why.

Every true follower of Jesus faces this ordeal.  David was a true man of God; yet he was unable to explain the sudden despair that flooded his soul.  It came upon him at a time when his soul was hungering deeply for the Lord.

David was well acquainted with oppression.  At various times, he had been physically wounded, diseased in body, broken in spirit, cast off of Israel’s throne, driven out of Jerusalem, scattered to the hills, lost.  He also was corrupted by grievous sins and powerful, overwhelming lusts.  At times David was forced to wander across the land, fleeing across valleys, hiking up hillsides and hiding in caves.

But David had a caring, loving shepherd.  Each time David was battered and wounded, Jehovah Rohi went after him, picked him up and carried him to a quiet place of rest.  Then the Lord made David lie down, so his soul could be restored.

God’s sheep are no different today.  Time after time, our shepherd comes after us, fetches us and takes us to a place of rest.  He continually makes us lie down for a time of healing and restoration.  Yet we so easily move away from the Lord’s rest.  We fail to realize that the Lord’s rest is like the food we nourish our bodies with daily; we cannot retain its value unless we keep coming back to the table.

Exodus 29:45 – And I will dwell among the children of Israel, and will be their God.

The Hebrew word for “dwell” here is “shekinah,” meaning to abide or to settle down beside.  This word signifies not just a passing presence, but a permanent one, a presence that never leaves.  In short, the Shekinah glory of God is not a vanishing imprint that disappears from our hearts like invisible ink.  No, it is something God imprints permanently on our soul.  It is His very near and eternal presence.

This picture here is glorious.  Our shepherd offers to come to us in the midst of our pain and depressed condition, and to sit by our side.  He promises to bind up our wounds and strengthen the parts of us that have become sick and diseased.

That is the Shekinah glory of God; the abiding, everlasting presence of the Lord.  We often experience it when we are in the midst of trouble.  Our great shepherd tells us, “I want to restore you.  I’m going to do it by being present with you even in the valley and shadow of death.  My presence will be with you through everything the devil throws at you.  Even if you try to run from Me, I am going to chase after you.  When I catch you, I am going to take you in My arms and carry you back to My rest.  I will bind up your wounds and heal all your sicknesses.”

Scripture tells us the following about our one true shepherd.

  • Jesus states in John 10:14 – I am the good shepherd, and know my sheep, and am known of mine.
  • Paul writes in 2 Timothy 2:19 – Nevertheless the foundation of God stands sure, having this seal, the Lord knows them that are His.  And, let everyone that names the name of Christ depart from iniquity.
  • Jesus declares in John 10:27-28 – My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me.  And I give unto them eternal life, and they shall never perish, neither any man pluck them out of My hand.

Simply put, our great shepherd knows who His sheep are.  David was familiar with this aspect of the Lord’s character because He had experienced it personally.  Throughout the Psalms we read:

  • Psalm 103:14 – For He knows our frame; He remembers that we are dust.
  • Psalm 44:21 – Shall not God search this out?  For He knows the secrets of the heart.
  • Psalm 94:11 – The LORD knows the thoughts of man, that they are vanity.

David was saying in essence, “The Lord knows what I am really like, deep down.”  David realized that God knew his heart often strayed from His divine love and rest.  Yet even though David knew this, he fully understood that his shepherd still loved him.

By his own admission, David was a man whose iniquities piled up so high, they went over his head.  As he faced the long list of his trespasses, David said it became a burden too heavy for him to carry.

Psalm 38:3-4 – There is no soundness in my flesh because of Your anger; neither is there any rest in my bones because of my sin.  For mine iniquities are gone over mine head; as a heavy burden they are too heavy for me.

Do these sound like the words of a healthy, fleecy-white, strong, obedient sheep?  Hardly.  David continued:

Psalm 38:5-10 – My wounds are foul and festering because of my foolishness.  I am troubled; I am bowed down greatly; I go mourning all the day long.  For my loins are full of inflammation; and there is no soundness in my flesh.  I am feeble and severely broken; I groaned because of the turmoil of my heart.  Lord, all my desire is before You; and my sighing is not hid from You.  My heart pant, my strength fails me; as for the light of mine eyes, it also has gone from me.

This was obviously the cry of a troubled man.  As David acknowledged:

Psalm 69:5 – O God, You know my foolishness; and my sins are not hid from You.

In Psalm 119, after writing 175 “spiritually correct” verses extolling God’s word and faithfulness, David concludes with this verse:

Psalm 119:176 – I have gone astray like a lost sheep; seek Your servant, for I do not forget Your commandments.

David is saying, in essence, “Please Lord, seek me out, the way a shepherd searches for a lost sheep.  In spite of all my biblical knowledge, I have strayed from Your love.  I have lost the sense of rest I once had in You.  All my plans have failed.  Now I realize I am totally helpless.  Come to me Father.  Seek me out in this awful, dry place.  I cannot find You on my own.  You must find me.  I still believe Your word is true.

You cry out:

Psalm 13:5-6 – But I have trust in Your mercy; my heart shall rejoice in Your salvation.  I will sing unto the LORD, because He has dealt bountifully with me.

Psalm 3:4-6 – I cried unto the LORD with my voice, and He heard me out of His holy hill.  Selah.  I laid me down and slept; I awoke, for the LORD sustained me.  I will not be afraid of ten thousands of people that have set themselves against me round about.

Our great shepherd loves every sheep who has gone astray because of testings, trials, hurts and wounds.

The Good Fight

1 Timothy 6:11-14

But as for you, O man of God, flee from all these things; aim at and pursue righteousness (right standing with God and true goodness), godliness (which is the loving fear of God and being Christ like), faith, love, steadfastness (patience), and gentleness of heart.  Fight the good fight of the faith; lay hold of the eternal life to which you were summoned and [for which] you confessed the good confession [of faith] before many witnesses.  In the presence of God, Who preserves alive all living things, and of Christ Jesus, Who in His testimony before Pontius Pilate made the good confession, I [solemnly] charge you  to keep all His precepts unsullied and flawless, irreproachable, until the appearing of our Lord Jesus Christ (the Anointed One), (The Amplified Bible)

  • Flee from all these things “O man of God” – talking to the church
  • Pride
  • Conceit
  • Controversy
  • Disputes
  • Strife
  • Envy
  • Jealousy
  • Quarrels
  • Dissension
  • Abuse
  • Insults
  • Slander
  • Suspicions
  • Wrangling
  • Weary discussion
  • Perpetual friction
  • Greed

Galatians 5:1 – Stand fast therefore in the liberty by which Christ has made us free, and do not be entangled again with a yoke of bondage.

Galatians 5:16 – I say then: Walk in the Spirit, and you shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh.

Romans 8:1 – There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus, who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit.

  • Aim at – pursue – strive toward – grasp with all your might
  • Right standing with God
  • True goodness
  • Godliness (the loving fear of God and being Christ like)
  • Faith
  • Love
  • Steadfastness (patience)
  • Gentleness of heart
  • Fight the good fight of faith (spiritual warfare)
  • Lay hold of the eternal life to which you were summoned (called)
  • Lay hold of the eternal life to which you have made a good confession (declared openly that Christ is your Lord and Master
  • I urge you – implore you – give it all you have got
  • Keep your commitment to God
  • Without spot
  • Blameless
  • How do we accomplish all this?  Through the power of prayers and fasting

1 Timothy 2:1-2 – Therefore I exhort first of all that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks be made for all men, for kings and all who are in authority, that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and reverence.

Hope in the Storm

I recently painted a picture of a rainbow. To me the rainbow is a reminder of God’s promise to Noah after the flood recorded in Genesis.

Hope in the Storm

When I see a rainbow in the sky, I think of the hope we have in Jesus Christ – even in times of difficulty.

God is our refuge and strength, always ready to help in times of trouble. So we will not fear when earthquakes come and the mountains crumble into the sea. Psalm 46:1

Don’t be afraid, for I am with you. Don’t be discouraged, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you. I will hold you up with my victorious right hand. Isaiah 41:10

For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord. Romans 8:38-39

As I have learned of family/friends/acquaintances that are going through a difficult time – (death of a loved one, serious illness, loss of job) I have painted a smaller version of this painting and sent to them. It has been a joy to me to hear that these paintings have encouraged them.

As a retired minister my opportunities to serve the Lord have changed. I no longer speak in a pulpit, pastor a church or do evangelistic speaking, but I am thankful that God has opened another door for me to still help others.

I agree with the Psalmist who wrote:

O God, you have taught me from my earliest childhood,
    and I constantly tell others about the wonderful things you do.
Now that I am old and gray,
    do not abandon me, O God.
Let me proclaim your power to this new generation,
    your mighty miracles to all who come after me.

The Power of God vs the Wisdom of Man

1 Corinthians 2:5

that your faith should not be in the wisdom of men but in the power of God.

  • What we do and say, the very way we conduct our lives, is many times based on the things about us, the things we have seen, the things we have heard, the things we have experienced – all man’s wisdom.
  • Our faith is simply based on the power of God, on the ability of God to move and act and touch our lives.
  • That faith, based in the power of God has its foundation, its cornerstone in the Lord Jesus Christ
  • The one who came to earth
  • The one who agonized in the garden
  • The one who died on the cross
  • The one who was laid in the tomb
  • The one who rose again the third day
  • The one who ascended on high
  • The one who is now making intercession on our behalf
  • The one who is coming again to take his children home to be with Him
  • Let’s look a moment at the scriptures to see what it says about our foundation.

Isaiah 28:16 – “Therefore thus says the Lord GOD:  ‘Behold, I lay in Zion a stone for a foundation,  A tried stone, a precious cornerstone, a sure foundation; Whoever believes will not act hastily.’”

Ephesians 2:19-20 – “Now, therefore, you are no longer strangers and foreigners, but fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God, having been built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ Himself being the chief cornerstone, in whom the whole building, being fitted together, grows into a holy temple in the Lord, in whom you also are being built together for a dwelling place of God in the Spirit.”

1 Peter 2:6-8 – “Therefore it is also contained in the Scripture, ‘Behold, I lay in Zion a chief cornerstone, elect, precious, and he who believes on Him will by no means be put to shame.’  Therefore, to you who believe, He is precious; but to those who are disobedient, ‘The stone which the builders rejected has become the chief cornerstone,’ and ‘A stone of stumbling and a rock of offense.’  They stumble, being disobedient to the word, to which they also were appointed.”

Acts 4:8-12 – “Then Peter, filled with the Holy Spirit, said to them, ‘Rulers of the people and elders of Israel:  If we this day are judged for a good deed done to a helpless man, by what means he has been made well, let it be known to you all, and to all the people of Israel, that by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom you crucified, whom God raised from the dead, by Him this man stands here before you whole. This is the ‘stone which was rejected by you builders, which has become the chief cornerstone.’2 Nor is there salvation in any other, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.’”

  • But after the foundation has been laid, after the cornerstone has been set, we build our lives based on the Word of God.  The Word of God, not the wisdom of man, the Word of God.
  • Remember the children of Israel.  Caleb and Joshua brought back a good report.  It was rejected and the children of Israel were doomed to wonder around in the wilderness for 40 more years before they went in and took the land God had promised them.
  • Whose report are you going to believe?
  • The doubters
  • The skeptics
  • The worry warts
  • The TV
  • The newspapers
  • Or the Word of God
  • Man’s wisdom – We moan, groan and complain and say within us and verbally, “I can’t get through this trial, this time of difficulty.”
  • God’s power – Philippians 4:13 – “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.”
  • Man’s wisdom – “I’m sick, I hurt, and I’m not going to make it.  I’m in pain. 
  • God’s power – Isaiah 53:5 – “But He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities; the chastisement for our peace was upon Him, And by His stripes we are healed.”
  • Man’s wisdom – I’m financially not going to be able to pay all my bills and obligations.
  • God’s power – Philippians 4:19 – “And my God shall supply all your need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus.”
  • Man’s wisdom – looks at our family, the sin and degradation they are involved in and we say they are just hopeless.
  • God’s power – Isaiah 59:1 – “Behold, the LORD’s hand is not shortened, that it cannot save; nor His ear heavy, that it cannot hear.”
  • Man’s wisdom – looks at our country and says it’s going down the tubes.
  • God’s power – 2 Chronicles 7:14 – “if My people who are called by My name will humble themselves, and pray and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land.”
  • Man’s wisdom – says I’m afraid.
  • God’s wisdom – 1 John 4:18 – “but perfect love casts out fear.”
  • If we have built on the sure foundation, Jesus Christ, we can be like Jairus who told Jesus, “Just say the word and my daughter will be healed.”

Don’t Doubt

Don’t pout

Shout it out

“I believe!”

  • If we really believe, if we truly have built on a sure foundation, Jesus Christ, we can agree boldly and triumphantly with 1 John 5:14 –  “This is the confidence that we have in Him, that if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us. And if we know that He hears us, whatever we ask, we know that we have the petitions that we have asked of Him.”
  • Where does your faith stand?
  • In the wisdom of man
  • In the power of God
  • My God is big enough to meet every need I have – every need you have.