Author Archive

Strong In The Lord’s Power: Part IV -Gear Up!   Leave a comment

“Wake up soldier! On your feet! There is a WAR going on! A war for your eternal life, and it’s time to get ‘stuck in’ !”

In Ephesians 6:13, your General is giving you a command: “Therefore take up the whole armor of God…”

He is not making a request; “Would you please?” And Generals seldom make mere suggestions. No, He is commanding it; “GEAR UP SOLDIER!” And He even tells us why in the preceding verse (see Part III), as well as in the rest of verse 13:

“…that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.”

ie. “Get your armor on, because the enemy is going to attack you, and I expect you to do all you can to WIN!”

I feel like there should have been an exclamation point at the end of this verse. This is a rouse from our Commander, our Leader, our General, to get up, put our gear on, and get ready to fight! And not only to fight, but to WIN! Or, at very least, to have giving one’s all to win… It is only He Who ultimately brings the victory, of course.

Question: In a physical battle…would you ignore such an order by your commanding officer?
No way! Of course not! So we NEED to take this very seriously! Just as we would if it were a physical battle we were preparing for. In fact, even more so. Afterall…this is not our mere physical lives we are talking about…but about our LIFE, ETERNAL!

Our enemy doesn’t want us to take this seriously. In fact, he doesn’t even want us to be thinking about how real this battle is. He wants us to de-prioritize it, to take these verses for granted, and even to believe that we are un-equipped and unable to fight.

There was a Chinese general, military strategist, and philosopher by the name of Sun Tzu. Perhaps you have heard of him. He is credited as having written the book, “The Art Of War.”  Here are a few tactics from his book, that you can be ABSOLUTELY CERTAIN the devil uses against Christ’s true Followers:

“Attack (your enemy) where he is unprepared, appear where you are not expected.”

“The supreme art of war is to subdue the enemy without fighting.”

“Supreme excellence consists of breaking the enemy’s resistance without fighting.”

If the devil can distract you from the fight. He knows how to make you feel it is not important or necessary enough to PUT ON The Armor of God every day, effectively keeping you from fighting back. If he is successful (and remember, he has had THOUSANDS of years to perfect his tactics) then he has half the battle one already.

And so our General of Heaven’s Armies it warning us here. He is “rousing his troops” if you will. In the preceding verses, He has made if very clear that there is a war going on, and who or enemy is. And no, in verse 13, our General says to YOU…”Soldier… get ready! Battle is nigh!  TAKE UP the whole armor of God!”

So do it! Put it on. Get ready to fight! For fight we must! Because, whether we are ready or not….whether we see it or not; whether we or feel it or not; whether we know it…or not….the devil IS at war with us, and he is ever planning his attacks. He is ever looking for the right moments, as well as just how to attach you and me. He is cunning. He is a master of propaganda, distraction, and deception. He is a master strategist. He’s had thousands of years to hone and perfect his tactics.

He will be fighting… the question is… will you?

 

 

 

Advertisements

Strong In The Lord’s Power: Part III – War   Leave a comment

Ephesians 6: 11-12 says, “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 (struggle) against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, agasint the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places.”

One of the main things to take away from this set of scripture, is a clear warning that we are at WAR.

This is something we all too often forget, because we can’t SEE a battle going on. Oh, there are times when we can certainly feel it, but often by then, we find ourselves all too unprepared for the fight.

This passage lays it out for us though:

  1. We are to stand against the wiles of the devil.  This tells us not only WHO we are fighting, but it also lets us know that he has methods of attack. The devil schemes, and he has tactics and strategies that he uses against us. We can see these tactics specifically laid out in 1 John 2:16. Examples  of the devil using said tactics are recorded for us in Genesis, when he tempted Eve, and also later when he TRIED to tempt Christ in the wilderness. He used the same tactics both times. (Check this out if you have never seen it! Gen. 3 & Matt. 4) We need to know and understand these tactics so that we can recognize them and be prepared to fight and resist them as Yeshua did. We can’t afford not to.
  2. This IS war. Verse 12 uses the words wrestle (or struggle. Some translations use the word fight, or fighting.). This shows that there is action to be taken on our part. This is a battle–a DAILY battle. The enemy is always prowling about, like a roaring lion , seeking whom he may devour. We have to ALWAYS be on guard, ready to do battle.  (1 Peter 5:8 says:  Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour. And the very next verse, shows that we are to be resisting and standing firm. Verse 9 in the NIV says, “Resist him, standing firm in the faith…”) Make no mistake, we are soldiers and we are at war!
  3. We are not fighting a physical battle, but a spiritual one. Though often our battles seem physical, and maybe physical obstacles or even physical enemies are against us, but our true battle… our true enemy… is spiritual! We need to recognize the enemy! If we only look at the physical, we will only try to fight back physically. Think about that statement for a moment! Again: If we only look at the phsycial, we will only try to fight back physically.  And we will fail. Not only that, but this often leads us to sinning as well.
    For example: If a person is persecuting us, and if we don’t see this as a spiritual battle, not recognizing the true enemy behind the attack,  then we might find ourselves retaliating against the person persecuting us. Most often (almost, if not every time…), we will handle this incorrectly, and / or have a bad attitude toward the person. Thus we allow the spiritual attack (by the true enemy) to be successful because we are lead to sinful thoughts, sinful feelings, sinful attitudes, and perhaps even sinful actions. BUT.. if we recognize the true enemy, we will take up a spiritual warfare. We will remember who our General is, and what HE has given us to defend ourselves with, and ONLY THEN will we be able to fight back appropriately. (Using the tools battle He has given us: prayer, fasting, counsil, and His armor and sword.) Only then, can we have true victory over the real enemy attacking us. And this will, in turn, alter the physical as well, and in the best and most profitable way.

Make no mistake… we ARE at WAR! And the enemy has had THOUSANDS of YEARS to hone and sharpen his tacics against us mere humans. We need to recognize this…our VERY LIFE DEPENDS UPON IT!

Let’s start praying to our General, to show us these tactics clearly, and to help us not only recognize them, but to prepare for OUR battle (and for our fellow soldiers)…every…single…day!

THIS IS WAR! FIGHT ON!

 

 

 

 

B1   Leave a comment

We have all heard the sayings: “The best vitamin for making friends is, B1.”  And, “if you want to have friends, you must first show yourself friendly.”

These are true of course, but let’s take it a step further. As Christians we know that our Leader, our King, our very Example, lived His life solely for others. He was, and is, the ultimate friend, if you will.

Have you ever stopped to think about that? We all want friends. But do we ever turn to Christ’s life and realize He showed us the ultimate example on how to be the ultimate friend? (Thus gaining friends! Though that should not be our “goal,” per se.)

Consider this verse: “Greater love has no man, than to give his life for his friends.” John 15:13.  (And note 15:12 as well.)

We know that Yeshua gave His life for the WHOLE world! So that all could have a chance at eternal life. But what does that mean? Eternal life = life in His Family. This is ETERNAL FRIENDSHIP of the HIGHEST STANDARD!  And it is offered to the whole world! All have a chance to take part in Christ’s offer of friendship.

Christ’s whole life was a blessing for all! And His command to us is to love one another as He loved us. This is how we are to be known as His disciples.

John 13:34-35  “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; as I have loved you, that you also love one another. By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.”

So Yeshua, our Friend and Example lived His life as a blessing to others; Loving others; Putting others before Himself. He was a blessing to all! (Even to those whom disagree with Him and hated Him. Even to those that brought about His death.) We cannot argue that He first showed Himself friendly, and was indeed a blessing to others.

So what about us? Are we a blessing to others?

How would Christ behave today? Would He expect people to just flock to Him? Or would He seek out those He could serve, bless, and be an ultimate friend to?

If He were to walk into services (for example), He would be friend to all. He would find those that He could be a blessing to.

I remember a woman in the Church, once told me to be a blessing to others. That stuck with me. And so I often pray that God will help me to be a blessing to others. But recently, I was feeling rather down and discouraged, and another woman in the Church, saw my state, sat down with me, and proceeded to encourage me. She showed me Christ’s friendship! She was a blessing to me! And then she told me something else that I’ll never forget: Someone here may need you. Ask God to guide you to any person that may need you, that you might be able to help them in some way, and be a blessing for them.

THAT is BEING a blessing! That is Christ’s kind of friendship! Offering yourself to another. Serving another. Offering friendship, on any level, to another person. This is loving.

Each of us should start asking God to help us BE a blessing for others. And ask God to guide you to someone specifically that you could be a blessing for. Maybe it’s a simple, “How are you today?” Showing that someone cares and has concern for them. There are people out there (even in the Church) that would be delighted to have someone simply take notice and recognize their existence. Or maybe they just need a shoulder to cry on, or someone to listen to them. Maybe they have an issue that they don’t know what to do about. Maybe they are facing a conundrum of some sort, or need something done that you have the ability to help with.

For some, this may seem scary. One might think, “But I don’t know what to say!” Well, if we are putting it in God’s hands, and asking Him to guide us, then we need to trust Him that He will. He knows each of us better than we know ourselves. Look at Moses. Do you think God didn’t know Moses had speech difficulties? Of course, and He had a way to deal with that. God knows you too. He knows your strengths and weaknesses.

Maybe you don’t have to strike up a converstaion. Maybe all another person needs is a hug, a smile, a handshake, or a simple pat on the back in passing by. Sometimes its the simpelest of gestures that mean more to another than we could know. So if we are asking God to guide us to be a blessing for someone, trust that God will handle it in the best way, for them and for you.

How will it change our own lives if we start seeking to be a blessing to others!?  Well, knowing that we are serving our Master in this way brings great joy!

Christ said, whatever we do to others, we do to Him! (Matt. 25:40)

And who knows what kind of difference YOU might make in another peron’s life. Offer Christ’s friendship to others, through you, and see what happens. You could make a big difference in someone else’s life! And great things will come to your life as well.

So let’s look to Yeshua’s example of frienship, and ask God to guide us in this. Let’s get out there a BE a blessing! B1! 

 

(A special thanks to Jacob and my mom for helping me edit this and add to this article. And to Anita for reaching out to me that day and showing me an example of being a blessing.)

Posted November 12, 2016 by buildupontherock in Food For Thought

Tagged with , , , ,

Strong In The Lord’s Power – Part II : Who?   Leave a comment

Recap of Part I: Our God instructs us to be strong in His mighty power. (Eph. 6:10. ) He also tells us how to do this in the following verses. The devil, however, would like us to think ourselves weak and powerless.  And, without God we truly are weak and powerless…butWE are NOT without God. EVER. (Unless WE CHOOSE to be.) And not only that, but our God, the AWESOME, ALL POWERFUL, ALMIGHTY, INFALLIBLE, PERFECT IN ALL HIS WAYS, General of Heaven’s Armies… gives us everything we need to defeat our adversary, the devil…He gives us The Armor Of God.

So let us look at Ephesians 6:10-19.  We will take this study verse by verse in this multi-part series. This is something that we Christian Soldiers need FULLY and TRULY grasp!

PLEASE UNDERSTAND THIS:  This is something the devil does NOT want you to understand. He does NOT want you fully grasping what these passages in Ephesians 6 mean to us. He does not want us to know of or believe in the power we have access to. This is IMPERATIVE for us to know! It is imperative to know AND to implement in our DAILY lives!

Let us begin with, “Who”.

Verse 10 instructs thus: “…brethren, be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might (force/strength).”

We need to first and foremost realize WHO this is we are speaking of. (Don’t take this part for granted!) This is not some meer flesh and blood personage. No mere leader or no general on this earth, even the very greatest, has ever commanded such power, wisdom, might, or authority as the General Of Heaven’s Armies!  We are talking about The Power that said, “Let there be light…”  And the whole universe obeyed this statement which He uttered.  How’s that for power?! This is the Being Who, by His WORD the heavens were created! By His Word ALL things were created, spiritual and physical! Look around you. Look to the skies, the stars…all His handiwork. Look to the life going on all around you, both seen and that which you cannot see or even comprehend! ALL of it is His handiwork. And all of it is sustained by His Word.

“For in Him all things were created, things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities. All things were created through Him and for Him. He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together.”   Colossians 1:16-17

Hebrews 1:3 tells us that God sustains everything by the mighty power of His word!

(Everything…not SOME things…EVERYthing, and EVERYone.)

Understand that! (Many people, even in God’s church today, don’t fully grasp the full implications of that verse. More on that another time.) By just His WORD alone, everything is sustained. EVERYTHING! Think about that for a moment. Now THAT is power! And get this… THAT is the power that WE are instructed to call upon! Let that sink in!!

Our ALL MIGHTY, ALL POWERFUL, CREATOR and SUSTAINER of ALL…is telling you and me, to be strong in Him and the power of His might! Wow!!!

And remember…He is VICTORIOUS! He already has defeated our enemy. He already knows exactly how to defeat his attacks. He too was attacked, and emerged victorious!  And He wants to grant us… you and me…that SAME victory!!! HOO-RAH!!! And HALLELUJAH!!!

Brethren, our God is a God of VICTORY. Not defeat. He will never give up! Never surrender! He never has, He never will! And He never will taste defeat. Think about this…even in the moments that may seem to be Yeshua’s “weakest” were actually that of His MIGHTIEST VICTORIES!

Wouldn’t you feel pretty safe about following a general into battle that has NEVER lost and never could lose?  A General that would never give up, and never give up on you specifically? A General Who would see you through to the very end, AND ensure that you have the absolute BEST fighting gear to ensure victory? Sure! Absolutely! Brethren, we HAVE that General! (And we have access to that “fighting gear,” as we will see.)

So let’s understand Who it is we are following, and NEVER doubt that. As a good friend and mentor of mine said: Faith is not about what we have faith in…it’s really about WHO we have faith in.

Who do we have faith in? Have faith in the Almighty, The One Victorious Creator and Sustainer of ALL. Remember, the devil wants us to believe we don’t have access to such strength. But God… He wants you to be strong in HIM and in the power of HIS might.

Before we go on in Part 3, knowing that we really need to understand (as much as we are able to understand) the POWER that we are calling upon, (And we need to be calling upon this Power EACH and EVERY day!) I am reminded of a song, “Nothing Ever Can, Nothing Ever Will,” by Ross King.

I will leave you with a link to the song. I HIGHLY recommend listening to it.
It is so encouraging! Reminding us of the GOD ALMIGHTY IN VICTORY that we serve! Think about that and that this awesome God wants to help us!…to aid us!…so that we TOO can have victory!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y0BMF36Gi5Y&index=15&list=PLHlEy3kf_r195igKyEaYUMjPfSOqj3f44

Posted August 26, 2016 by buildupontherock in Bible Studies

Tagged with , , , , ,

Strong In The Lord’s Power – Part I : Do You Know?   Leave a comment

What if I told you that YOU could be strong in the Lord’s power?  Would you like that? Maybe that sounds pretty amazing? Perhaps even unattainable? But it isn’t. In fact, we are instructed to: “…be strong in the Lord and in His MIGHTY POWER.” (Eph. 6:10. We will read it in a moment.) So not only is it something we that CAN actually do… but it is an instruction to do it, a command, not a suggestion.

Recently, I have gone through a bout of feeling weak and powerless against sin. As a brother of mine pointed out, I was allowing the devil’s thoughts of “defeat and weakness” to find seat within me, and to be imbedded in my heart and my mind. The thing is, the devil knew, not only right where to strike at me, but also how, and at just the right moment. (And the right moment is crucial. More on that later.)

We know, however, that our God is a God of power! He is mighty and He is victorious! He is not a defeated God, and cannot be so. There is NO weakness in Him! He is infallible and unwavering! He never falters, never faints! He is the epitome of MIGHT, FORCE & POWER!! The devil’s attacks, have never, and can never even phase Him!!

So the question for us is this: How do we put on that power? How do we be strong in the Lord’s power? And in doing so, how do we combat the devil’s dangerously clever and effective attacks?

Again, Ephesians 6:10 says: “Finally, be (a command) strong in the Lord and in His mighty power.” (NIV)

Continuing in Ephesians 6 tells us how we are to do this:
In verse 11 it says, “Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.”

As I said, recently I fell into thinking thoughts of weakness and defeat: “I can’t do it by myself, so why bother trying? I am weak, I am tired. I’ve gone through too much, so it’s not my fault that I don’t have the strength I need.” You see, I definitely needed to be reminded that I am a “soldier” and that this is a war. That our God doesn’t surrender, and not only that, but He expects us not to surrender, AND He gives us what we need to “stand against the wiles of the devil.” But the devil, not only tricked me out of the fight, but tricked the fight out of me. I forgot the importance of having the right gear for the battle. I forgot to even try to fight. I (not God) let my guard down and the devil saw just the right moment to strike. “He’s not wearing his armor.” That is the perfect time for the devil to shoot his fiery darts.

Make no mistake…this IS a war!

Ephesians 6 continuing in verse 12: For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.

Ephesians 6:12 calls it a “struggle.” This is a battle! This is WAR! And hence, we need a full set of armor and a weapon. Listen and understand, this isn’t just guard duty; This isn’t a decoration to be put up on our spiritual wall and left there. We are to USE it as we STRUGGLE and fight and make war!

We are not just to struggle, but we are to be VICTORIOUS!!! And why not? Our King, our General of Heaven’s Armies, has already won! He has already defeated our enemy. And He is saying, “Here, I am giving you everything you need to defeat this enemy as well.” And He is expecting us, as soldiers of His army, to take up this armor and weapon and DO SO!

I had no excuse. None of us do. We forget though that we have such power on our side. We forget to use it. We forget that our God expects no less of us than to FIGHT and USE what He gives us! I did. I even fell for the lie that this was somehow God’s fault and not my own. (But it was I who let my guard down.) So this is why I am doing this study. As a reminder to myself, lest I ever forget again…that I HAVE access to GOD, THE ALMIGHTY’S POWER!! I have access to His spiritual armor and sword! And He EXPECTS me to USE IT!

So this study is as much for me as for anyone. But if it helps someone else, as I expect it will, then all the better. We NEED to remember what we have available to us. We NEED (as we are commanded to do) to BE STRONG in the Lord and in the power of His MIGHT. And to PUT ON…and MAKE USE OF…the armor He gives us.

In this study, I will try to go in depth through the scriptures Eph. 6:10-19.  So I hope you will join me in Part II as we explore this truly awesome passage, and what it means to us, and how we can make GREAT USE of it in our lives today, in our daily battle against evil, as we strive, and struggle each day; as we FIGHT our way to the Kingdom that is ours for the taking, if we do so.

 

 

 

Posted August 24, 2016 by buildupontherock in Bible Studies

Tagged with , , , ,

The Sabbath And Your Future   Leave a comment

Understanding that The Sabbath represents the 1,000 year Millennium and realizing its vital importance not only to true Christians, but to the world as well (despite their lack of understanding of it at this time)…

Do you ever stop to really consider the future in that light?

I think often, we come into the Sabbath and we think about how nice it is to relax and be free of the “daily grind,” the stresses and cares of the world. We focus on going to church, and (hopefully) we pray and bible study, spending extra time with God, etc. All this is well and good for certain, but do we spend much time thinking about the future on this day? After all, this Day is to remind us of that.

What will it be like? What will you and I be doing? What a huge and profound responsibility we will have at that time (and are training for right now)! What will it be like to be responsible for an entire population of a city, or cities? What will a city then even be like? (Certainly not what we picture today)
There is so much to think about, and of course, a lot of that, maybe most, is speculation, but how often do we consider it?

If I told you next year, I was going to give you one hundred million dollars, how much time would you spend considering that?

We have such an immense and awesome responsibility coming. Yes, it’s much harder to think about something we know so little about, but we do know it will be bigger than anything in our lives now. Bigger than any current position of administration. You…that’s right, you will one day have such a responsibility. To be Kings and Priests. That is our future.

When you really stop and consider it, it’s both sobering…and very exciting. (Of maybe causes you great fear and anxiety, but in either case) This train of thought can help put our daily lives into perspective: What matters vs what doesn’t? What are we here for/to do? What do we need to focus on? How are we training/preparing now for our future position/responsibility? Etc, etc.

So on this Sabbath day, and every Sabbath day, along with the other special Sabbath things you do, make time to ponder your imminent future, that time when this awesome day is fulfilled…awesomely.

Happy Sabbath!

Posted August 16, 2014 by buildupontherock in Food For Thought

Tagged with , , ,

Head Coverings   Leave a comment

Should women wear head covering?

The verse in question is 1 Cor. 11:5-6

5 “But every woman who prays or prophesies with her head uncovered dishonors her head, for that is one and the same as if her head were shaved.
6 For if a woman is not covered, let her also be shorn. But if it is shameful for a woman to be shorn or shaved, let her be covered.”

Are these verses actually speaking about veils, hats, or having her head covered somehow? Or is there more to understand here? At first glance, one might easily make that assumption. However, once we truly understand these passages, we see that the subject in question is actually length of hair.

Often is the case, that to understand a difficult scripture or set of scriptures, one simply needs to read it in the context of the surrounding scriptures.

For this particular scripture, let’s start in verse 15 of the same chapter.

1 Cor. 11:15 – “But if a woman have long hair, it is a glory to her: for her HAIR is given for a covering.”

We see that Paul is speaking here about long hair as the covering or veil, not some hat or piece of cloth.  It is similar in the way that we use certain words in referring to something else. For example: “Pea-shooter” is a gun. “Lid” can be a hat. We sometimes call food, “grub”.  I can’t think of what that is called when we do that, but Im pretty sure there is a name for it. But I digress…

In verse 6, Paul discusses various lengths of hair. Note the four lengths he mentions:

Verse 6 – “For if the woman be not covered, let her also be shorn. But if it is shameful for a woman to be shorn or shaved, let her be covered.”

The four lengths are:

  1. Not covered – short hair
  2. Shorn – very short, cropped hair as when a sheep is shorn
  3. Shaven – designates totally bald head
  4. Covered – long hair

So keep in mind that this refers to the length, not the style. Yes, ladies, your long hair can be worn in all sorts of styles. 🙂  It’s not the “appearance” but the actual length that matters as we will see.

Question… if verse 5 and 6 are referring to some sort of man-made covering of the head, what would that have to do with shaving ones hair? So we see, it has to be referring to hair, and not cloth. Again, what does cloth have to do with shaving or being shorn? So Paul is saying that if a woman is going to have short, cropped hair, she might as well go all the way and shave her head bald. It would be just as shameful for her, in other words.

To further show that this chapter (and the verses in question) is dealing with hair lengths and not cloth coverings, let’s consider verses 4 and 14.  Verse four says that if a ma has his head covered when he prays, he is dishonoring his head who is Jesus Christ.

1 Cor 11:4 – “Every man praying or prophesying, having his head covered, dishonors his head.

Now look at verse 14.  “Doth not even nature itself teach you that if a man has long hair, it is a dishonor to him?”

Again we see Paul is referring to hair length. Now look at verses 7-10 of this chapter.

7 For a man indeed ought not to cover his head, since he is the image and glory of God; but woman is the glory of man.
8 For man is not from woman, but woman from man.
9 Nor was man created for the woman, but woman for the man.
10 For this reason the woman ought to have a symbol of authority on her head, because of the angels.
11 Nevertheless, neither is a man independent of woman, nor woman independent of man, in the Lord.

Let’s look at verse 10 again, but in the Amplified Bible: “Therefore she should be subject to his authority and should have a covering on her head as a token, a symbol, of her submission to authority, that she may show reverence as do the angels and not displease them.”

These verses are showing that the Christian woman ought to have a covering as a sign that she is under the authority of her husband, and therefore also under Christ.  Long hair is that sign that a woman is willing to be in subjection to a man, her husband, and that she acknowledges the need for protection by angels.

Let’s look at one more verse: Verse 3 – “But I would have you know, that the head of every man is Christ, the head of woman is man, and the head of Christ is God.”

Since God has placed the man, the husband, as the head of the woman, the wife, the woman should have a sign of her submission to his authority. That is a beautiful thing. This sign is the woman’s long beautiful hair. And it has nothing to do with any mad-made veil or hat on her head. Instead, it’s the true beauty that God created, the woman’s long hair.