VIDEO Praying on the Armor – The Armor of God

Praying on the Armor

Stand therefore . . . praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, being watchful to this end with all perseverance and supplication for all the saints. Ephesians 6:14, 18

When Roman soldiers went into battle, they had their choice of at least seven deities to whom they could pray. Mars was the god of war; Minerva was the goddess of wisdom; Nerio was a warrior goddess; Virtus was the god of bravery and military strength.

When Paul used the dress and armament of a typical Roman soldier as a metaphor for the Christian’s spiritual armor, he also included a reference to prayer. Prayer is obviously not a tangible piece of armor, yet Paul summed up his message on spiritual armor with a fervent exhortation to prayer. Unlike a Roman soldier, the Christian’s spiritual armor comes from God and is only empowered by God as we seek Him through prayer. A fictional Roman deity could not bless a Roman soldier’s armor, but God can bless the armor He gives us.

Tools and weapons of spiritual warfare are nothing without God’s blessing. Put on your armor today—and pray. Ask God to make you strong in the Lord and in the power of His might (Ephesians 6:10).

We must not confide in the armor of God, but in the God of this armor. William Gurnall


The Armor of God: The Belt of Truthfulness and the Breastplate of Righteousness (Ephesians 6:14)

Treasure in a Pumpkin

We have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us. 2 Corinthians 4:7

As a young mother, I was determined to document my daughter’s first year of life. Each month, I took photos of her to illustrate how she had changed and grown. In one of my favorite pictures, she is gleefully sitting in the belly of a hollowed-out pumpkin I purchased from a local farmer. There she sat, the delight of my heart, contained in an overgrown squash. The pumpkin withered in the ensuing weeks, but my daughter continued to grow and thrive.

The way Paul describes knowing the truth of who Jesus is reminds me of that photo. He likens the knowledge of Jesus in our heart to a treasure stored in a clay pot. Remembering what Jesus did for us gives us the courage and strength to persevere through struggles in spite of being “hard pressed on every side” (2 Corinthians 4:8). Because of God’s power in our lives, when we are “struck down, but not destroyed,” we reveal the life of Jesus (v. 9).

Like the pumpkin that withered, we may feel the wear and tear of our trials. But the joy of Jesus in us can continue to grow in spite of those challenges. Our knowledge of Him—His power at work in our lives—is the treasure stored in our frail clay bodies. We can flourish in the face of hardship because of His power at work within us.

Dear Father, thank You for putting Your truth into my heart and life. Help me to bear up under the challenges I face with Your power. May others see Your work in my life and come to know You too.

God’s power is at work within us.

By Kirsten Holmberg 

INSIGHT

As with Paul’s letter to the Corinthians, the epistle of James encourages those who are facing trials. “Consider it pure joy . . . whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete” (James 1:2–4). Those who persevere will receive strength for today and “the crown of life” (v. 12)—eternal life—tomorrow.

How have you experienced the joy of Christ in the midst of trials?

Alyson Kieda

God’s Blessing of Brokenness

Exodus 2:11-15

The Lord had a great calling in mind for Moses—to free more than 2,000,000 Israelites from Egyptian bondage. And the future liberator seemed qualified for the task. As Pharaoh’s adopted grandson, he would have had access to royal privilege, power, and education.

But Moses also had a strong independent spirit that could get in the way of his obedience to the Lord. God’s plan required a broken spirit that would follow Him and rest on His divine power.

A big mistake—killing an Egyptian for beating a slave (Ex. 2:11-12)—was Moses’ opportunity to learn this important lesson. Realizing the murder had been witnessed, he fled to the desert to escape Pharaoh’s wrath. It was there that he came to the end of himself.

Like Moses, we’re all born with a tendency toward selfishness and stubbornness and want things done our way. But God gives us opportunities to bring every area of our life to Him in submission.

Though few will be given a task on the scale of Moses’, the Father has a calling in mind for each believer. Whether His plan is that we raise a godly family, reach out to a neighbor, or run a business with integrity and consideration, He wants us to do so in His power. To prepare us for this work, He sometimes uses brokenness. That wouldn’t be our chosen method, but God knows hardship is sometimes necessary to strip us of our selfish ways.

Do you want to achieve what God has planned for you to do? In humility, ask Him to bring any brokenness that He deems necessary.

Don’t You Care?

“And he was in the hinder part of the ship, asleep on a pillow: and they awake him, and say unto him, Master, carest thou not that we perish?” (Mark 4:38) 

There are times when we have great problems and God seems to ignore our prayers, and finally we begin to wonder if He cares about us at all. There is no need to wonder. God cares about the sparrow, and He surely cares about His own dear children. If there is not some clear reason why He fails to answer (such as sin in our lives), then perhaps it is simply (as in Job’s case) a test of our faith.

When the disciples thought Jesus didn’t care, He rebuked them thus: “Why are ye so fearful? how is it that ye have no faith?” (Mark 4:40). Mary and Martha sent word that their brother Lazarus was deathly ill, but then Jesus “abode two days still in the same place where he was” (John 11:6). When the sisters complained about His delay, He replied: “Said I not unto thee, that, if thou wouldest believe, thou shouldest see the glory of God?” (John 11:40).

One day a woman of Canaan cried out to Him for mercy on her for her demon-possessed daughter, “but he answered her not a word.” He seemed not to care, but she kept calling on Him and worshipping Him, until He finally said unto her: “O woman, great is thy faith: be it unto thee even as thou wilt” (Matthew 15:23, 28).

The disciples and the sisters of Lazarus and the Canaanite woman all wondered at His seeming lack of concern, but He did care. He finally calmed the storm, and raised Lazarus, and healed the daughter. His delay was in order to test and strengthen their faith.

Can He not also test us, “that the trial of your faith . . . though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honour and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ” (1 Peter 1:7)? HMM

Stand fast in the liberty wherewith Christ has made you free

Galatians 4:1-20

Galatians 4:1-5

So that the Mosaic law of rites and ceremonies was only a temporary arrangement for the childhood of the church, which now, having reached full age, has come into possession of liberty in the truth, and rejoices in the free grace of the gospel. It would be ridiculous for a full-grown heir to go to school again, or continue under guardians, and so it is absurd to return to the service of forms and rituals, which are too childish for men in Christ Jesus.

Galatians 4:6

Here is our true position, we are moved by the Spirit to claim our adoption, and we no more live in bondage to the law. Many even among Christians are afraid of being too sure of their sonship, lest they should be presumptuous; this is very dishonouring to their heavenly Father.

Galatians 4:7

Therefore live as such. By faith possess and enjoy the treasures of divine grace. Cast doubts and tremblings to the wind, for why should heirs of God live like bondsmen?

Galatians 4:8, 9

How can ye go back to the things of your spiritual childhood? As well may full-grown men begin again to read their A B C, and learn from baby picture books!

Galatians 4:10, 11

To keep holy days and practise symbolical ceremonies is contrary to the very spirit of Christianity; and those who do so lead us to suspect that they do not know the gospel at all.

Galatians 4:12-16

Brethren, I beseech you, be as I am; for I am one with you in heart

Galatians 4:12-16

Bad teachers had weaned them from the apostle and led them into legal bondage.

Galatians 4:17, 18

yea, they would exclude you from us

Galatians 4:17, 18

that ye might affect them and be of their party

Galatians 4:19, 20

All his anxiety arose from their falling into ritualism and legalism. He wanted to see them living by faith upon Jesus, and worshipping God with free spiritual worship. The fashionable religion of the present day is overlaid with pompous forms, and the plain gospel of salvation by faith in Jesus is despised: nevertheless to the doctrine of grace let us steadfastly cleave, for it alone is truth, and in it alone is salvation.

 

In vain the trembling conscience seeks

Some solid ground to rest upon;

With long despair the spirit breaks,

Till we apply to Christ alone.

 

Should all the forms that men devise

Assault my faith with treacherous art,

I’d call them vanity and lies,

And bind the gospel to my heart

 

We’ll Always Have Problems and Pressures

Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? (Romans 8:35)

Jesus did not promise any of us that consistent Christian living would be easy!

He did not promise a release from daily problems and pressures. He did not promise to take us to our heavenly home on a fluffy pink cloud!

We live our lives in the knowledge of the grace of God, but we dare not forget that our Lord came to die for us and to express the never-changing moral and redemptive will of God for His people.

Before we condemn the Jews of Bible history for their failures, we must be sure that we are not overlooking spiritual and moral shortcomings of our own!

As Christian believers, you and I must be careful about the reasons we give for not heeding God’s Word and God’s warning from heaven.

Have we taken His grace seriously enough that we have sought forgiveness for spiritual carelessness, indifference and apathy?

 

Plead His Own Promise

“Thou, O Lord God, hast spoken it: and with thy blessing let the house of thy servant be blessed for ever.” 2Sam. 7:29

This is a promise pleaded, and so it yields double instruction to us. Anything which the Lord God has spoken we should receive as surely true, and then plead it at the throne.

Oh, how sweet to quote what our own God has spoken! How precious to use a “therefore” which the promise suggests, as David does in this verse!

We do not pray because we doubt, but because we believe. To pray unbelievingly is unbecoming in the Lord’s children. No, Lord, we cannot doubt thee: we are persuaded that every word of thine is a sure foundation for the boldest expectation. We come to thee and say, “Do as thou hast said.” Bless thy servants house. Heal our sick; save our hesitating ones; restore those who wander; confirm those who live in thy fear. Lord, give us food and raiment according to thy word. Prosper our undertakings; especially succeed our endeavors to make known thy gospel in our neighborhood. Make our servants thy servants, our children thy children. Let the blessing flow on to future generations, and as long as any of our race remains on earth may they remain true to thee. O Lord God “let the house of thy servant be blessed.”

 

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