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Archive for August, 2013

Verse 13: “Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.”

I remember Captain America 301, the issue after 300 (the supposedly final fight between an artificially-aged Cap versus a dying Red Skull). In it, the Avengers attempted to use the Red Skull’s machine devices that had aged Captain America to try and restore his youth. During the process, the Skull’s daughter, Mother Superior, and her attack force, the Sisters of Sin, invaded the treatment chamber. The Avengers couldn’t enter to help Cap; it could possibly upset the restoration process and doom Cap. The aged Captain has to fight as best he can. At one point, only Mother Superior is left. I remember this “heroic” moment, as Cap forces himself to stand to face her, and she just can’t believe he’s actually standing defiantly before her. A blinding flash illuminates the room, making it impossible to see. The Vision signals that the process is complete; the Avengers burst in to find Cap restored to his youthful age and the Sisters of Sin returned to their pre-adolescent ages (they, too, had been artificially aged into adults by the Red Skull).

This is an oft-used theme in dramatic heroic conflicts in fiction; the hero, against impossible odds, rising again to stand against evil.

However, when we are clothed in all of the pieces of the armor of God, we too can stand against our supernatural enemy, the devil. We can’t face him alone. But when you have Jesus as your Lord and Savior, and go out to fight those battles fully prepared, you too will “be able to withstand in the evil day”.

A side note here: please check out archived entries in this blog for a short study that God led me to share on the armor of God.

Something to think about today.

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Verse 10: “Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might,”

I remember a game we would play in AWANA at our church: four-way tug of war. After watching the kids play this game, I would share with them a “game of life” moment. I would put one kid on one end of the circular rope and me on the other. I would tell all assembled that when we try to walk the straight and narrow on our own, Satan is on the other end of that rope pulling at us with temptation (I would then pull on the rope, and no matter how hard the other kid would try, he/she couldn’t out-pull me, eventually the kid starts getting pulled in my direction). Then I would say, “but when you got Jesus on your side, He will help you overcome the pull of the devil”; I would then have a bigger adult pull with the kid and demonstrate that “the devil” couldn’t prevail against “Jesus” pulling on the rope. Among other things, it would show them that we fight a supernatural enemy. We can’t fight that enemy in our own strength, but must “be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might”.

No matter how strong we are, no matter how tough we think we are, we can’t fight the devil on our own. Jesus was the only one to face the devil (when He was on earth in human form) alone and stand against him. Talk about having the Ultimate Ally! All you have to do is ask Him to come into your heart today.

Something to think about today.

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Verses 1-3: “Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. Honor your father and mother, which is the first commandment with promise: ‘that it may be well with you and you may live long on the earth.’”

Recently, when coming home late from work, I came to the aid of a stranger and his mother; they were having engine trouble at the gas station I had stopped at. In the midst of the conversation, the stranger asked me if I’d ever been mad at my mother. I nodded (what child hasn’t been mad with their parents at one time or another?). Well, he confessed he was mad with his mother, who had forgotten his wallet when she came to pick him up at work, and said half-jokingly, “I ought to take a belt to her”. This took me aback for a minute, and I wish now I had said more in response. No matter how mad my parents may make or have made me, I would never entertain the thought of striking them.

As Paul reminds the Ephesians here, this is the first commandment with a promise. In yesterday’s post, I mentioned that if husbands and wives did what they were supposed to do according the The Word, then divorce lawyers would have nothing to do. Likewise, if children obeyed their parents more, and if parents acted like parents should (teaching, nurturing, disciplining, all in love), then juvenile court systems wouldn’t be so busy.

Something to think about today.

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Verses 22-25, 28-29, 33: “Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord. For the husband is head of the wife, as also Christ is head of the church; and He is the Savior of the body. Therefore, just as the church is subject to Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in everything. Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself for her.”
“So husbands ought to love their own wives as their own bodies; he who loves his wife loves himself. For no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as the Lord does the church.”
“Nevertheless let each one of you in particular so love his own wife as himself, and let the wife see that she respects her husband.”

My wife and I were discussing these verses. There is a wealth of devotions that we could write on this subject alone. If you look around society today, you’ll see the institutions of marriage, wives, and husbands under attack. As a husband, I have a book on my shelf (which I admit I need to reread) called “Four Pillars of a Man’s Heart” by Stu Weber. In that book he gives a good visual representation of four pillars holding up a roof, and what happens when one or more are not centered as they were meant to be.

Basically though, I guess the devotion to share on this today is:

According to the Word:
If husbands did what they were supposed to do…
And wives did what they were supposed to do…
Then divorce lawyers would have nothing to do!

Something to think about today.

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Verses 15-16: “See then that you walk circumspectly, not as fools but as wise, redeeming the time, because the days are evil.”

“Why don’t you watch where you’re going?” is often an angry retort we hear when we are not paying attention to where we are moving (or when the other person isn’t watching where they are going, and tries to shift blame for the collision. :-)) Today’s verses have to do with walking circumspectly. The word “circumspectly” only occurs in the Bible once, according to my copy of the Strongest Strong’s Concordance. (Circumspect does occur in Exodus, but not circumspectly). In my old copy of the World Book Dictionary, “circumspect” is the root of “circumspectly” and means “watchful on all sides; careful; cautious; prudent.”

We are to spend our time living as Jesus would have us live, according to the instructions He left us in His Holy Word. To be watchful on all sides reminds me of the time I had to fly to Los Angeles for my company to visit a customer. This small-town country boy had been to New York only once, but LA was something else! As I merged my rental car onto the freeway (at 5pm, of course!), I was constantly looking ahead, to my left, to my right, and behind me…over and over, because cars were literally zooming every which way on that freeway! Made me wish I could invent 360-degree automotive radar and sell it! But when you think about it, the devil loves to hit us from all sides…remember, he doesn’t play fair. That’s why Paul encouraged the Ephesians to walk in a careful and cautious manner, because they, as Christians, were walking role models for the lost and targets for the devil. Sometimes we may feel like that moving target in the shooting gallery at the carnival, like there is no escape. But, remember, there’s a reason among other titles, that God is called our Shield and Defender.

Remember to walk circumspectly today, and redeem the time for God!

Something to think about.

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Verse 3-4: “But fornication and all uncleanness or covetousness, let it not even be named among you, as is fitting for saints; neither filthiness, nor foolish talking, nor coarse jesting, which are not fitting, but rather giving of thanks.”

I’m sure you have heard the phrase, “well, if there’s one thing he/she is not, it’s fill-in-the-blank.” Usually, it’s when someone says with almost absolute conviction, that someone is or is not a certain adjective; that they would never ever call this person that adjective to describe them.

Case in point: if over 5 years ago, I said the name “Joe Paterno”, most folks, whether casual or rabid fans of college football would know the name, and associate certain adjectives to describe him. Likewise, they wouldn’t have used certain adjectives to the contrary to describe him. Flash forward to the last few years, and now, some people might choose to use other adjectives to describe him in ways they wouldn’t have thought before, given the events of the last few years. Now, I’m not here to defend or assail the man, but using his situation to stress the phrase “let it not even be named among you”.

Paul is reminding the Ephesians here that we should adhere to Jesus’s example so strongly, that there is no way anyone could accuse us of behavior to the contrary. Can we do that by ourselves? No. We were born into sin; only the saving grace of Jesus Christ can rescue us. Even as born-again Christians, we may slip and fall into sin. However, Christ is quick to forgive, if we come to Him and confess our sin and try to live our lives in Him, through the power of the Holy Spirit. He is the Perfect Example.

Have a blessed day in Him!

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