The Shield Of Faith

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The fourth piece of armor Paul mentions in Ephesians 6 is “the shield of faith.” How did Roman soldiers use their shields? What purpose does a spiritual shield serve for us?

Up until now, Paul’s description of the armor of God has been limited to items we wear. We put on the belt, the breastplate and the shoes, and they essentially hold themselves up.
The shield is different. Paul tells us that the shield is something we must take up, something we are required to raise. Just strapping it to our arm won’t do any good at all if we don’t make the effort to hold it aloft and use it.

The Roman shield—the scutum—was not the standard “medieval-esque” shield most picture in their minds upon hearing the word. It was instead a very large, slightly curved rectangular shield featuring at its center a large metal knob (called a boss).
The scutum was an impressive line of defense. Because of its sheer size (some were three and a half feet tall and almost three feet wide), soldiers were afforded a great deal of protection from enemies. Because of its slight curve, it was able to deflect attacks without transferring the full force of the assault to the man holding the shield. Because of its boss, it was able to deflect even the more vicious blows and function in a limited offensive capacity as a means of knocking an opponent backwards!!!

What is Faith?

Hebrews 11:1
Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.
Here is a biblical definition of faith that clears up some common misconceptions. If faith is “the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen,” then this has far-reaching implications. Substance is tangible, and evidence is solid proof. Faith is, by definition, not some hazy emotion without any grounding in reality. It is the irrefutable truth. It is real.
Romans 8:24-25
For we were saved in this hope, but hope that is seen is not hope; for why does one still hope for what he sees? But if we hope for what we do not see, we eagerly wait for it with perseverance.
Though it is based on solid evidence, that doesn’t mean faith comes naturally or easily. Paul here makes the obvious but necessary point: You don’t hope for what you already have. Faith involves a huge element of trust. We must examine the evidence and see that God has proved Himself to be unchanging and consistent, and then we must firmly believe that He will fulfill His promises to us

A shield guards. While a physical shield protects us physically, faith can protect our spiritual lives even in the middle of physical trials. When Satan (through Nebuchadnezzar) attacked the values and beliefs of Shadrach, Meshach and Abed-Nego, they were able to stand resolute and unwavering because of their faith. In their response, they essentially said, “God is capable of delivering us from this fate. We don’t know if He will or not, but that doesn’t matter. He gave us His commands, and we are going to keep them regardless of the physical outcome. We know He can just as easily raise us from the dead.”
Ephesians 6:16
…above all, taking the shield of faith with which you will be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked one.
A shield deflects. Satan is always hurling his fiery darts of fear, doubt and worry in our direction, but the only time they can hit us is when we let our shield of faith down—when we stop believing that God is in control; that He is working everything out for our good; that whatever happens is for the ultimate best of everyone involved, however little it seems to be that way.

A shield is the first line of defense. While the rest of our armor helps protect us from Satan’s onslaught, it is not what you ideally want to be using to absorb every hit. You do not, for instance, go out into battle intentionally blocking everything with your head.

A shield can incapacitate. When Christ was being tempted by Satan, His faith in the Word and commands of God repelled Satan for a time (Hebrews 4:15 tells us that Christ was tempted in all things, so this was certainly not the only encounter Christ had with the devil). The boss (the metal knob in the middle) on the Roman shields allowed soldiers to give their enemies a stun-inducing shove that would allow them to follow through with an attack. Our faith in God, as demonstrated by Christ, can also give Satan a good shove backwards and give us a chance to fight back by doing God’s will and work. Because God tells us that faith cannot just be in our minds, it must produce actions—works of obedience and service (James 2:20).

The Roman military had an inventive and very effective tactic that made use of their large shields. When enemies would begin firing arrows and other projectiles at the army, the soldiers would close ranks into a rectangular array—called the testudo, or “tortoise,” formation—and those on the outside would use their shields to create a wall around the perimeter. Then those in the middle would raise their shields over their heads to protect everyone from airborne missiles. The result was a formidable human tank that could be stopped only through a tremendous effort. WOW!!!

We must remember as we fight that this is not simply our battle. This is the battle of all our brethren, both near and around the world. And if we are to win, it will only be once we put our faith in God and stand side by side!!!

So praying for ourselves as well as others is important. Have you put your shield of faith to use this week, this morning??

Stephanie

 

 

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The Shoes Of Peace

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The third piece of armor Paul mentions in Ephesians 6 is the shoes of “the preparation of the gospel of peace.”
Imagine a fully armed soldier. He has his sword, his shield, his helmet, his breastplate and his belt…but his feet are completely bare. The picture probably seems strange, and it should! Just by thinking about it, we can tell something is missing.
But the problem goes beyond just looking odd. A shoeless soldier could run into real trouble in the heat of battle. Unless he is fighting on Astroturf, he is going to encounter some debris. It may be nothing more than twigs and pebbles, but to a bare foot that can cause serious pain—and one of the last things you want to deal with in the middle of a fight is worrying about where you step!
In short, shoes allow us to step freely and without fear while we turn our full attention to the battle at hand.
So what exactly is the Gospel of peace? The Greek word translated gospel—euaggelion—simply means “good news.”
The good news of the Kingdom of God includes the good news about Jesus Christ the King, His grace (unmerited pardon) and His plan of salvation for all mankind. This plan gives us peace now, and will bring peace to the whole world!
What does the gospel of peace have to do with shoes?
Romans 10:14-15
How then shall they call on Him in whom they have not believed? And how shall they believe in Him of whom they have not heard? And how shall they hear without a preacher? And how shall they preach unless they are sent? As it is written: “How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the gospel of peace, who bring glad tidings of good things!”
God’s Church is sent to announce the good news of God’s Kingdom, which will spread His way of peace around the whole world.
Having our shoes on, we are ready to move, to spread these glad tidings to others.
In the apostle Paul’s day, he walked countless miles in delivering the good news. Today, transportation and communication have changed, but we must also be constantly ready to do our part to spread the good news.
Romans 3:17
And the way of peace they have not known.
In spite of all human attempts at peace, it’s clear from the daily news reports that this world does not know the road to peace.
The Bible makes it clear that, when God’s Kingdom is established and the entire world begins to live God’s way faithfully, the resulting peace will be universal. There will be no more war or fear, only the worldwide peace that comes from God’s way of life.
In spite of…Walk in perfect peace

Stephanie

Breastplate of Righteousness

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The Breastplate of Righteousness…
The second piece of armor Paul mentions in Ephesians 6:14 is “the breastplate of righteousness.” Why is the breastplate important—for both ancient soldiers and us?

The breastplate was a central part of the Roman soldier’s armor—it provided protection for the torso, which contains vital organs like the heart, lungs and so on. Without a breastplate, a soldier would be asking for death, as any attack could instantly become fatal. With a sturdy breastplate, the very same attacks become ineffective and useless, as blows glance off the armor.
Proverbs 11:4 says Riches do not profit in the day of wrath, but righteousness delivers from death.

Without righteousness, we leave ourselves open to almost certain death. With righteousness—just as with a breastplate—the otherwise fatal attacks of our enemy are thwarted.

What is righteousness?

Psalm 119:172
My tongue shall speak of Your word, for all Your commandments are righteousness.

1 John 3:4
Whoever commits sin also commits lawlessness, and sin is lawlessness.

1 Corinthians 15:34
Awake to righteousness, and do not sin; for some do not have the knowledge of God. I speak this to your shame.

To be righteous is to do what is right in God’s eyes! period…..That “What would Jesus do statement” kind of sums it up.

God’s commandments are righteousness. In contrast, lawlessness is sin, and sin is the opposite of righteousness. So to be righteous is to obey God’s laws of love!

We cant do it on our own, because the scripture is clear that our individual level of righteousness is on par with “filthy rags”—and when you’re looking to protect yourself from death, filthy rags make for a lousy breastplate.

Paul gives us the command to “take up the whole armor of God”—the obvious question is, “How?”

An in-depth concordance study of all the scriptures concerning righteousness (there are 301 in the New King James Version!) reveals that servants of God in the Bible who had righteousness all had it because they followed God’s way!
It is through a continuing and dedicated adherence to both the letter and spirit of God’s law that we can defend ourselves with His righteousness.

Once we have put on the breastplate of righteousness, we must be sure not to remove it. Ezekiel 33:13 shows that wearing righteousness is not a one-time event; rather, it requires a lifetime of action.

One day, the war we’re fighting will be over. And when it is, we are promised, “The work of righteousness will be peace, and the effect of righteousness, quietness and assurance forever”

Work on it diligently…work on it daily….
I know its rough…BUT WORK ON IT!~

 

Stephanie

The Belt Of Truth

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The Belt Of Truth..
So now that we are familiar with Paul, lets talk about the armor.
The first piece of armor Paul mentions in Ephesians 6:14 is “the belt of truth”. What purpose did the belt serve for a Roman soldier? What purpose does the belt of truth serve for us?
The belt—known as the cingulum or balteus—played a crucial role in the effectiveness of a soldier’s armor. It was the belt that held the scabbard, which HELD THE SWORD!

In addition, from the belt “hung strips of leather to protect the lower body.” The Matthew Henry Commentary says the belt “girds on [secures] all the other pieces of our armor.” Truth should cleave to us as a belt cleaves to our body!

What is truth? John 17:17 says…
Sanctify them by Your truth. Your word is truth.
The Bible which is God Breathed is TRUTH! It contains His promises, His commands, His word—they are all truth, plain and simple.

As Christians, we are to test all things and then hold on only to that which is good—the truth—discarding all else.

We are to be like the Bereans who “searched the Scriptures daily to find out whether these things were so” (Acts 17:11).

Listen If we are not convinced that our principles and beliefs are without exception 100 percent true, how can we expect to accomplish anything?

Get this>>>A belt encompasses the waist. Does our conviction to the truth encompass us? Truth must be bound around us and written on our hearts—our conviction must reach beyond an outward show.

The belt used in Roman armor, provided a place for the soldier’s sword. Our sword—the sword of the Spirit—likewise needs a sheath. Truth is vital because, like a Roman soldier’s belt, it allows us to carry the sword of the Spirit and use it effectively!

The truth is what you make it! You have to totally believe in it yourself to hold to it..right? That means you must know the scriptures, know Gods word

Many of us know how to drive, because weve been practicing all our lives and if someone ask “Hey how do you drive a car?” We can without a doubt tell them TRUTHFULLY HOW TO DO IT. We know because we’ve tried it, it works for us, so we have no problem telling someone else how to do it..

But if something is missing off the car, we know it wont run right!

Imagine a belt with a segment missing. No matter how tiny the sliver that isn’t there, the belt is still useless. To do its job, it must be one continuous, unbroken piece.

To try to live God’s way without total belief in its validity is like trying to hold your sword up with a belt that isn’t continuous. Neither will work.

Our trust in God and His Word must be solid, without break, or else we will quickly find ourselves without a weapon. No matter how effective the rest of our armor is, we are useless without our sword. We need to be rightly dividing the word of truth—knowing what we believe, and why!!

So—how secure is your belt?

Paul’s Revelation

 

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So this armor….Where did it originate from? How do you explain to someone about what it actually is?

How do you put on the armor of God? You see we all hear it on a regular basis, but few REALLY know exactly HOW TO DO IT?

First lets talk about Paul..who was he? where did he come up with the analogy of the “full armor?”

Paul, was an apostle who was very faithful in spreading Christianity . It came with a price, it wasn’t easy. He traveled , he was persecuted.

But heres the kicker! He didn’t start out that way, He actually started out with the name SAUL, he actually persecuted Christians, He terrorized them in fact!!
But God changed him and he became on fire for GOD! See when God changes you, even your name changes. Folks cant even call you what they used too…well they can, but you dont have to answer! (That will teach)

Throughout his journey to spread Gods word, he was accused of sedition, beaten, arrested, almost assassinated, shipwrecked, attacked by a snake and placed under house arrest:

WOW, and some of us in ministry, think we got it bad. For Paul… it as just part of his job description.

Imprisoned in Rome for two years under the watchful eyes of Roman soldiers, Paul was able to write four epistles (Ephesians, Philippians, Colossians and Philemon)

Living for two years with soldiers of the Roman army must have made an impression on Paul.

Im sure he studied those soldiers very well, studied their armor, became well acquainted with it, learned to understand the function of each piece, what purpose it served and why it was important. See even in his chaos, he was looking for the lesson he needed to learn from all this mess..

Is there a message in your mess? Are you getting the lesson?

Then God dropped some revelation on him. Just as the Roman soldiers required physical armor to fight their wars, we Christians require spiritual armor to successfully fight ours! . As the pieces fell into place, Paul saw that each piece of Roman armor had a powerful correlation with our own spiritual defenses.

It is this analogy that the church in Ephesus received and which God has preserved for two thousand years for our benefit!

GOD BREATHED IT..YES IT WORKS!

Whats the lesson in your mess? Have you taken a moment to hear what God is trying to tell you?

Stephanie

5 Spiritual Warfare Tactics

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The enemy has no new tricks, just new folks who do his bidding. Once you recognize his tactics, you can spot him coming a mile away!

Tuesday on our Rise And Shine 6 am call. One of the ladies said, “You must stay girded up daily!” My my my she was telling the truth..First thing you must do is Put on Your Armor everyday!

Paul warns us that “we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places” (Eph 6:12) which is why he tells us that we must “take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand firm” (Eph 6:13).

The spiritual armor includes 5 things that are needed and these 5 things correspond to at least 5 ways that the enemy tries to take us down…every second of every hour. Listen he is on your path like a bloodhound..trust me! Here are 5 tactics, the enemy uses every time

An Assault on the Truth

The Enemy loves to mix truth with error and even a half-truth is a whole lie so beware of false ideas or teachings of those who appear to be a minister or an angel of light (2 Cor 11:14-15).  Place everything against the Word of God to see if it is true or not which is why Paul said that part of the armor is “having fastened on the belt of truth” (Eph 6:14a) and truth is found only in the Bible. I tell people “Dont take my word for it..look it up!”

Compromising with Sin

Wicked spirits love it when we try to justify our sin.  Many that have tried to do this have used what I call “proof texting” methods.  That is they take a text out of context in order to make a false pretext by teaching or believing that “the Bible doesn’t really call that (whatever it is) sin.”  Beware of such methods which is why Paul said part of our armor should be “the breastplate of righteousness” (Eph 6:14b) which means that we are to strive to live a holy life and not compromise on sin because God doesn’t.

 

Another Gospel

We need to be aware that there is “the” gospel and other so-called gospels which Paul says are really no gospel at all (2 Cor 11:4).   All too often you’ll hear gospels that tell you that you should be doing certain things to complete your salvation. But listen if you add one drop of poison to a bottle of spring water, it renders all of it as deadly! This is why Paul instructs believers to “put on the readiness given by the gospel of peace” (Eph 6:15) because works + salvation = nothing …….but Christ + nothing = eternal life (Eph 2:8-9).

An Attack on your Faith

Jude writes to “have mercy on those who doubt” (Jude 1:22) because many of us have doubts from time to time which is why Paul says we are to “take up the shield of faith” The  Enemy is constantly firing fiery darts at us so this “shield of faith” is so that “you can extinguish all the flaming darts of the evil one” (Eph 6:16).

Attacking our Mind

For many believers, their mind is frequently being assaulted by the Enemy by trying to put negative thoughts into our minds which is why we are told to “take the helmet of salvation” and put it on and then take up “the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God” (Eph 6:17).  Why is the helmet used?  Because it protects the head. Our knowledge of God and the sword, which is the Word of God can be used to guard our minds with the immutable promises and truth of God.  The more you stick your head in the Word the more the Word sticks in your head.  Our knowledge of God’s promises are guarded by His Word and the more you read it, the more you can strengthen this “helmet of salvation” It will help you have more and more reassurance of just how firm God’s Word is that you are saved (John 6:37, 39; John 10:28-29) and nothing, including death, life, rulers, angels, powers, things now or to come, or no created thing can ever separate you from God’s love (Rom 8:37-39) . There  is “now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus” (Rom 8:1).  That’s one strong helmet of salvation, isn’t it?

Do you recognize any of these tactics that have been used against you? Are you going through any of this now?

Did you even have an idea that these tactics are satans simple yet manipulative tricks?

Stephanie

The Invisible War

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Today the ladies of Soul Sisters start a Spiritual Warfare Study. So what exactly is Spiritual Warfare? It is an invisible war. A war that all of us are engaged in! Its a war where no one wears a uniform, but where everyone is a target. There is no neutral ground!

For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places. (Ephesians 6:12)

First, we must understand that man exists in two  worlds: The natural world and the spiritual world. The natural world is that which can be seen, felt, touched, heard, or tasted. It is tangible and visible. You see the people who are part of your environment. You can communicate with them. You can experience the sights, sounds, and smells around you.

But there is another world in which you live. That world is a spiritual world. You cannot see it with your physical eyes, but it is just as real as the natural world in which you live.

Because spiritual warfare is just that–spiritual–it must be understood with a spiritual mind. In our natural, sinful state, we can not understand spiritual things:

It is necessary to use “spiritual discernment” to understand spiritual things.

Heres  great example of natural and spiritual discernment

In II Kings chapter 6. It records the story of a natural battle in which troops of an enemy nation of Syria had surrounded a small town called Dothan. Elisha, who was a prophet stayed there.. When Elisha’s servant, Gehazi, saw the great host of the enemy he became fearful!

Elisha prayed that God would open Gehazi’s spiritual eyes so he could see the angelic hosts surrounding and protecting them. On this occasion, God actually opened the natural eyes of Gehazi and allowed him to visibly see the superior forces of God aligned for battle! His spiritual eye was opened and he begin to see into the spiritual realm

This is very similar to what often occurs in our lives. Many churches do not even approach the topic of spiritual warfare. For some its scary, some just refuse to acknowledge that it even exists and well some, just don’t know about it
So sadly, there are many people who, like those in the city of Dothan, are spiritually sleeping. They do not even know that the enemy has surrounded them and is poised for attack!

Within the natural and spiritual realms of which we are speaking there exists separate kingdoms which are ruled by natural and spiritual leaders.

NATURAL KINGDOMS:
All men live in a natural kingdom of this world. They live in a city or village which is part of a nation. That nation is a kingdom of the world. A natural kingdom is a territory or people over which an actual king or political leader is the sovereign ruler. The Bible speaks of these natural kingdoms as “kingdoms of the world.” The kingdoms of the world have come under the power and influence of Satan:
John 5:19 sadly reminds us that “the whole world is under the control of the evil one.”

In addition to the natural kingdoms of this world there are two spiritual kingdoms: The Kingdom of Satan and the Kingdom Of God. Every person alive is a resident of one of these two kingdoms.

The Kingdom of Satan consists of Satan, spiritual beings called demons, and all men who live in sin and rebellion to God’s Word. These, plus the world and the flesh, are the spiritual forces of evil at work in the world today.
The Kingdom of God consists of God the Father, Jesus Christ, the Holy Spirit, spiritual beings called angels, and all men who live in righteous obedience to God’s Word. These are the spiritual forces of good.

Spiritual warfare is not a natural battle between flesh and blood. It is not a battle of man against man. It is not a visible battle. It is an invisible struggle in the spirit world. It is a battle within and around man.

So where exactly is it being waged? This invisible war is being waged on earth!
The thief (Satan) cometh (on earth) not but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly. (John 10:10)

Satan fights to maintain control of the kingdoms of the world. He does not want them to come under God’s authority. The battle also rages within the hearts, minds, and souls of men and women. Satan blinds the minds of unbelievers and attacks believers in the areas of worship, the Word, their daily walk, and their work for God.

Many folks think if you ignore satan, he wont bother you…that is so far from the truth! You cant view it from a distant, you cant decide to sit it out

You are either a victim or victor. The spiritual “call to arms” is going out…Are you on the side of good or of evil? Are you part of Satan’s Kingdom or the Kingdom of God? To which kingdom do you belong? Are you a victim or a victor in the invisible war?

I’m interested in knowing what understanding you have of Spiritual Warfare. Does your place of worship teach on it? What understanding do you have? Share your thoughts!

Be Blessed

Stephanie