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Archive for January, 2010

Ephesians 6:17: “And take the HELMET OF SALVATION, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.”

The image of the sword is used many times in the Bible. One of my favorites is what Gideon’s army yelled out as they stormed the greater number of the Midianite army: “A sword for the Lord, and Gideon!” God wanted Gideon to know that it was only through Him that he would prevail that day against overwhelming odds. He also wanted Gideon to take the opportunity He gave him to serve Him.

What does God say in the words that Paul wrote above in Ephesians? “…take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.” He said “take” it. Medicine doesn’t help your body unless you take it. Advice is useless unless you take it. A gift stays in the box doing nothing unless you take it.

The word of God, as I said before, is not meant to sit on a coffee table. Take it. Read it. God gives us instruction through it. Armor up today and take the day for the Lord!

I hope the Lord has blessed you through this short study on the armor of God. I’ll be taking some time to get ready for the next study we’ll be pursuing. Tune back in at the first of February, as we go through the book of Proverbs together.

God bless you this day!

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Ephesians 6:17: “And take the HELMET OF SALVATION, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.”

As you’ll recall when we first discussed the words of this verse, according to Merriam-Webster.com, “sword” means “a weapon (as a cutlass or rapier) with a long blade for cutting or thrusting that is often used as a symbol of honor or authority”. The words “symbol of honor or authority” caught my eye. In most military parades or ceremonies, it is the wearing of a sword that is one of the distinguishing features of an officer in dress uniform. I was a cadet officer at a military high school, and I remember wearing the saber with my dress uniform; I took great pride in making sure it was shined properly. I practiced to make sure I performed the proper motions with the sword (standing at attention, saluting, etc.) Also, in war or battle, the sword was the honorable symbol used to denote surrender (a conquered general offering his sword to the victorious general).

As I think about this analogy, I come to realize I’ve never seen an officer without his sword in his official capacity, just like I’ve never seen a preacher without his Bible in his official capacity. Remember, “the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God” is our symbol of honor or authority. Like a sword, the Bible needs to be used by Christians today…read, studied, memorized, utilized. It doesn’t need to be a coffee table decoration, gathering dust. It is our weapon against the devil, and we need to know how to use it.

A sword mounted on a wall in display is just that…a display. It’s no longer an actively-used weapon. Don’t let your Bible be nothing more than a display.

Have a blessed day!

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Luke 22:49-51: “And when those who were around Him saw what was going to happen, they said, “Lord, shall we strike with the sword?” And a certain one of them struck the slave of the high priest and cut off his right ear. But Jesus answered and said, “Stop! No more of this.” And He touched his ear and healed him.”

While doing the word research on “sword” in the Strong’s concordance a few days ago, God led me to this verse. It’s the passage in Luke after Jesus has been to Garden of Gethsemane, and is being betrayed by Judas. The disciples react, ready to draw their swords to defend Jesus (Peter, jumping the gun, already has done so). Jesus stops them, knowing all these things must come to pass for Him to sacrifice Himself. Peter’s action was an example of how we sometimes “jump the gun” in acting on God’s behalf, when God hasn’t directed us to go that way.

I remember in college seeing sidewalk preachers witness and preach on the main concourse. Some were bold and brash, and some students were actually turned off by their “in your face” evangelism. I had a friend of mine who had a gentler way. He would simply read aloud from the Word on the same concourse. I didn’t stay long enough to see if anyone responded, but I admired my friend Bruce’s way of evangelism…the reading of the Word. Hopefully, someone did stop to ask about it, and there would be the open door to witness.

While God does call us to use the sword of the Spirit, the word of God, in our everyday lives, we need to know when to “draw” that sword. Jesus opens doors that we can’t open, and He shuts doors we cannot shut (see Rev 3:7 and Isaiah 22:22). For us to act contrary to Jesus’s leading in witnessing opportunities can only lead to a mess. We need to seek His will before we witness, to make sure that the open door we see is one He has opened. Then, and only then, should you draw the sword of the Spirit. Then, and only then, should you use the word of God to “go and make disciple makers”.

Have a blessed day in Him!

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Ephesians 6:17: “And take the HELMET OF SALVATION, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.”

“The pen is mightier than the sword” is a phrase that I have heard growing up. According to Wikipedia, “‘The pen is mightier than the sword’ is a metonymic adage coined by English author Edward Bulwer-Lytton in 1839 for his play ‘Richelieu’…” It has often been used to stress that the power of the written word accomplishes more than the brute force of warfare.

But what is the sword of the Spirit? According to Ephesians 6:17, it is the word of God. It is “living and active and sharper than any two-edged sword”, according to Hebrews 4:12. What was the advantage of a two-edged sword over a “one-edged” sword? You could swing it in either direction and still cut with it. The word of God is a mighty weapon in the hands of the believer who studies it and applies it to their lives. Remember, in order to use such a weapon, you have to practice with it and know how to use it!

We face many fronts in the battle today with the devil. There are extreme factions in the world bent on the destruction of Christians. But as hard as it is for us to love the unlovable, God still does. He hates sin, but loves the sinner. We need to pray daily that we can be tools in His hand to reach the lost.

Have a blessed day!

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Ephesians 6:17: “And take the HELMET OF SALVATION, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.”

According to Merriam-Webster.com, “sword” means “a weapon (as a cutlass or rapier) with a long blade for cutting or thrusting that is often used as a symbol of honor or authority” “Spirit” has several definitions, but I like the first one best: “a supernatural being or essence…Holy Spirit…soul”. Holy Spirit and soul were synonyms on that definitions, I think.

The Strongest Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance of the Bible states that “sword” occurs 448 times in the Bible (in its singular and plural forms). “Spirit” occurs 505 times as the root word “spirit”; 28 times as “spiritual”, 3 times as “spirituality”, and 46 times as the plural “spirits”. However, there are many references to the Holy Spirit as well as other spirits in the Bible. “Holy Spirit” actually has a separate mention in the concordance; unfortunately, I couldn’t locate the number of times “Holy Spirit” was mentioned, although it is included in the above word counts.

We come to the final piece of the armor of God, the sword of the Spirit. I have a Bible footnote that mentions that it is the only offensive weapon mentioned in the armor. There is an old football phrase states that “defense wins championships”. That may be true, but the score of a game is kept by the points on the scoreboard. The only way that the bulk of the points get on the scoreboard is usually by offensive means. God gives us protection and defense, but I don’t believe He wants us to just sit and “take it” from the devil. God wants us to tell others about Jesus, to spread the Good News, to go and make disciple makers.

We’ll talk more on that tomorrow.

Have a blessed day!

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Ephesians 6:16 “in addition to all, taking up the shield of faith with which you will be able to extinguish all the flaming missiles of the evil one.”

In our daily lives, we use many things for shields. I am referring here to ordinary things, not the things of fictional books and TV; I’m not talking about Captain America’s indestructible shield or the shields that were used to protect the starship Enterprise on Star Trek (never saw those shields but they mostly worked whenever Captain Kirk and crew were under attack!)

In a rainstorm, we use umbrellas to shield us from the rain and wind. We use wide brim hats to shield us from the bright sunlight and its harmful effects. We use emergency funds and savings as shields against sudden job loss or unexpected big bills. Parents often are shields for their children against harmful influences while those kids are still growing up. The offensive line protects the quarterback and running backs in a football play from the opposing team’s defense. A shepherd is “the” shield for his flock of sheep against all kinds of danger.

My oldest son helped me light the fire in the fireplace last night. Once lit, we shut the firescreen; this is a metallic “screen door” designed to let the heat out, but keep sparks from popping out of the fireplace onto the carpet. Though the sparks were hot, they would hit that screen and bounce back…most time the sparks would be extinguished. The shield of faith is our defense “to extinguish all the flaming missiles of the evil one”. The devil is not above both kinds of attack…up close and long-distance. To advance against his attack you must practice your faith in God every day. Remember, a shield is no good to you unless you pick it up and use it!

Have a blessed day!

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Ephesians 6:16 “in addition to all, taking up the shield of faith with which you will be able to extinguish all the flaming missiles of the evil one.”

I have read a good many superhero comic books over the years. I always enjoyed a good story of escapism and mythic proportions, of heroes with powers “far beyond those of mortal men” battling diabolical villains (some who had powers as well). Or they might be ordinary heroes, not with super powers but just as determined to fight for the cause of justice.

Some of these heroes had amazing weapons that they used: Batman, with his never-ending gadgets on his utility belt, Spider-Man with his amazing web-shooters, Green Arrow or Hawkeye, with their quivers of trick arrows, Thor with his powerful hammer, Wonder Woman with her golden lasso of truth and her bulletproof bracelets, Iron Man with his weapon-laden armor, the Black Knight and his ebony blade, and even Green Lantern and his power ring. Even pulp-fiction heroes such as the Phantom, the Shadow, and the Lone Ranger seemed to have some weapons they used in their never-ending battle for truth and justice.

Yet one of these heroes always intrigued me with the singular weapon that he used. I’m talking about Captain America, the star-spangled avenger, and his indestructible shield. Not only was Cap’s weapon a primarily defensive one as opposed to most of the other heroes’ offensive-minded weapons, he also found ways to use it as an offensive weapon as well. Nothing ever got past Cap when he had his shield up; there were many stories of him using it to protect not only himself but others as well. Anyone behind the shield knew it was about the best protection they could have, whether it was against bullets or laser beams.

That’s how it is for the Christian warrior today; our faith in God is our shield in the daily war we’re involved in with the devil. How many times have you seen a fellow Christian go through extremely trying times? Almost without fail, they always seem to answer “my faith in God got me through”. I honestly cannot fathom how non-Christians make it through all the battles we as human beings go through…without God on their side! For those who actually are on the physical battlefields today (our soldiers in our armed forces)…how many times have I heard of those who have accepted Christ as their Savior during those conflicts, knowing that they really needed a shield to get them through such life-and-death situations?

Don’t let your guard down; keep your shield of faith up in the battle today. God still reigns, our Shield and Defender, and He’ll never leave us.

Have a blessed day!

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