Ephesians 6:10-18 says, ""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. Stand therefore, having girded your waist with truth, having put on the breastplate of righteousness, and having shod your feet with the preparations of the gospel of peace; above all taking the shield of faith with which you will be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked one. And take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit which is the Word of God; praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, being watchful to this end, with all perseverance and supplication for all the saints.
We become victorious against spiritual warfare, by 'Putting On' or appropriating the Word of God in daily life happenings. The armor IS the Word of God! To 'gird our loins', we must believe and receive God's Word as a personal message of Truth from Him to us. It's where we commit to 'live or walk' in the Word each day. Ps. 86:11 "Lord, teach me your ways, and I will live and obey your truths. Help me make worshiping your name the most important thing in my life." This is where the Word becomes the foundation from which we base our life, thus making it as a belt to which all other pieces connect.
The Breastplate of Righteousness, is where we protect our heart with the Word of God. Lies, deception, heartaches and such happen daily, trying to creep into our heart to pervert it. Pro. 3:3 says, "Let not mercy and truth forsake thee: bind them about thy neck; write them upon the table of thine heart:" Pro. 4:23KJ "Keep thy heart with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life." & Luke 8:15 (ERV) "And what about the seed that fell on the good ground? That is like the people who hear God’s teaching with a good, honest heart. They obey it and patiently produce a good crop." Using God's Word to fight against sin and destruction that would attempt to corrupt our heart establishes His Righteousness within us.
To shod our feet, suggests we be prepared to take the gospel of peace, the Good News, every where we go. Our trust in the Lord and His Word, brings a peace that passes all of our understanding. (Phil. 4:7) Making the Word of God our lifestyle, produces confidence and assurance in Him, giving us peace. Regardless of how rugged the terrain (trials or tribulations) may seem on our path, we are able to march on through with peace on the Word. Rom. 1:16 (Amp) says, "For I am not ashamed of the Gospel (good news) of Christ, for it is God’s power working unto salvation [for deliverance from eternal death] to everyone who believes with a personal trust and a confident surrender and firm reliance, to the Jew first and also to the Greek,"
Knowing that the empowerment over the 'imps' of the devil IS through the Word of God, we can overcome by being doers of the Word. In this two part series, we hope you will be able to gain the understanding of the power of God's Word in your life. It IS "alive and working. It is sharper than the sharpest sword and cuts all the way into us. It cuts deep to the place where the soul and the spirit are joined. God’s cuts to the center of our joints and our bones. It judges the thoughts and feelings in our hearts." (Heb. 4:12 Amp)
Some dads are funny, some are serious, others are matter of fact and yet regardless of their personality, they are DAD. No matter the kind of father you have or had, you have gained much from him. Some would say, "but mine wasn't around, they left when I was small". To you I would say, you learned how not to be and the importance of faithfulness. (It's important in the midst of 'life' situations, in spite of the good and bad and the ups and downs, to find the gain.)
Being a father is a big responsibility. First of all there's the task of being the provider for the entire family. He's accountable for making sure the bills are paid, food's in the cabinet, gas is in the car, there's money for extracurricular activities, as well as for clothes. Having and keeping a good job is very important to him. (Pro. 12:11) (Col. 3:23)
A dad also has to be the emotional strength in a family. Assuring that everything's going to be alright. He comforts the family in sad and difficult times and encourages each one according to their persona. Building up and cheering up attitudes. (Josh. 1:9)
He's the disciplinarian, helping to direct and lead in the right direction. As difficult as it may be for him to punish and correct, he does it because of love for his children. When a wrong decision was made, he's there to help, instruct and redirect. (Pro. 3:11-12)
The brunt of decisions lie in his lap, so he must stay tuned in to God, lending his ear to His instructions. He prays continually for each member of the family, lifting up their needs, desires and purpose before the Lord. His mouth daily confesses the Word over his children believing in faith for the manifestation of God's blessings in their lives. His faith is fortified by being faithful in his service to the Lord. And by this example he is showing his family how to be Godly. (Pro. 22:6)
He helps with scientific homework projects, math calculations, rescuing lost items or fixing broken things. Dads are known for making sure there's recreation, like picnics, camping trips, fishing excursions, trips to amusements parks, going to the movies and even birthday parties. Amidst the significant and important tasks, he still has time to laugh, and have fun doing silly things. Jumping into a pool with all his clothes on, letting the dog lick his face, having a tea party with his daughter, or playing games with his son are all part of being a Dad.
And just in case you didn't know or you forgot...... he attended your events, he cried when you got hurt, carried you to bed when you fell asleep in the car, kissed your boo boos, and stayed up praying over you when you were sick. You see a DAD is a lot of things to his family. He IS the extension of God's love! A wonderful gift from the Heavenly Father. And this Sunday is the day we take to say Thank You, and Honor him for his blessing our life. Take time to thank God for the man God gave you as DAD, whether he's your natural father, step-father, father-in-law, grandfather, uncle or a 'DAD like one' - let's give honor where honor is due. Give him your love and attention, after all he's given you his!
Eph. 6:1-4 "Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. "Honor your father and mother"--which is the first commandment with a promise-- "that it may go well with you and that you may enjoy long life on the earth." Fathers, do not exasperate your children; instead, bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord."
Many people leave church week after week the same way they arrived, with no more understanding or victory over the areas in their life than before they got there. The struggles of life just seem to get harder and harder with not an end in sight. I suppose that's why countless of people leave the faith and stop attending church. Being able to understand and absorb the teaching of God's Word will undoubtably help us in our Christian walk and give us the needed weapons to overcome.
Jesus gave us insight to understanding. Let's look at Mark. 4:14,15 "The sower sows the word. And these are the ones by the wayside where the word is sown. When they hear, satan comes immediately and takes away the word that was sown in their hearts." Here we see that preachers, teachers or ministers of God's Word are the ones who sow the Word! The ground to which the seed is sown is representative of a man's heart. Jesus refers to the people that 'hear' these messages are unable to retain it, because they are the 'ones by the wayside'. In Bible days, the wayside was the edge or side of a road. This ground was generally hard.
These type of people have a stubborn heart. This is one that won't yield to God or His Word, finding it unimportant pushing it to the side. They hear the sermon, go home, and continue to complain, talking about and sharing their problems with everyone. And because of their difficult life, there is much un-forgiveness. They're angry or hurt most of the time, thinking the problem is with God and others. That is why when the Word is sown in their heart, it's quickly stolen by the devil.
The second set of hearers are described in verses 16 & 17, "These likewise are the ones sown on stoney ground who, when they hear the word, immediately receive it with gladness: and they have no root in themselves and so endure only for a time. Afterward when tribulation or persecution arises for the word's sake, immediately they stumble." When I was a child, I lived on the farm. In certain places the ground appeared to have dirt, but just a layer below the dirt, was a sheet of ‘shale’. Shale is a thin layer of sedimentary rock that comes from the combining of mud or clay. When the seed is planted in this kind of ground, it gets hot from the sun and the earth becomes a hot bed. So the seed germinates fast scorching it and making it wither and die because there's no depth of roots.
Jesus said this type of hearer is one that receives the Word with joy, and it appears to grow fast. Yet when distress or offensive things happen, they can only stay strong for a very short time. Then they give up and wither because it got too 'hot' and the experience they had in the Word wasn’t genuine. It was primarily for show, since they considered the standard too hard to live by, thus resulting in their falling away.
The third manner of hearer is found in verses 18 and 19, "Now these are the ones sown among the thorns; they are the ones who hear the word, and the cares of this world, the deceitfulness of riches, and the desires for other things entering in choke the word, and it becomes unfruitful." When the Word of God is sown into these hearers heart, it is planted and along side thorns begin to grow and suffocate the seed. Thorns in this life can be worry, a great desire for more money, and the need for power and possessions. This hearer is distressed and irritated and always in want. The fear begins to choke what Word was heard making it unproductive. Wrong things in the heart left unattended can become deeply rooted.
If we want to begin to understand and grow in the Word of God, we must prepare our ground, keeping our heart soft and teachable. Just like getting the soil ready for planting we must till the ground, and remove the rocks, weeds or thorns. Hos. 10:12 "...... Break up your fallow ground, For it is time to seek the Lord, Till He comes and rains righteousness on you." Tilling is forgiving and repenting, requiring self examination, getting rid of works of the flesh (Gal. 5:19-21), and walking in the Spirit. (Gal. 5:22-25) It's trusting in the Lord with all our heart, (Pro. 3:5) removing fear, worry, and doubt. It's essential to watch over and guard our heart. Proverbs 4:23 NIV "Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it." We can know what's in our heart by what's we're speaking. Luke 6:45 "A good man out of the good treasure of his heart brings forth good; and an evil man out of the evil treasure of his heart brings forth evil. For out of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaks."
Take this moment right now, to check your heart! Let's pray: Father, I place my heart before you. Cleanse me from all unrighteousness and create a clean heart within me. Right now I decide to repent for holding on to grudges, fears, resentments and all grieving that will hinder my growth in You. I let them go and place them over into Your care! I choose to trust You with ALL my heart. I will guard and watch over what goes into it daily. I decide to hide Your Word in my heart so I will not sin against You. Thank You Lord. Amen.
We've all heard the old adage, "Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never harm me." The response was to bullies on the playground that called us names. The reply was to imply they might be able to hurt us by physical force, but their insults would not. America values 'Freedom of Speech, so people are quick with expressing what's on their mind. Whether it's an opinion about world events, another person, or just how we feel, it's uttered without restrictions regardless of repercussions. In fact, in our culture today, we support the irresponsible use of words through music, movies or in the public. Most individuals think nothing of the foul language that's expressed. Because we've become desensitized, by our consistent hearing of it, we do not notice it and we allow it to become common place.
As a Christian, words are extremely important, especially to God. Proverbs 18:21 says, "Death and life are in the power of the tongue, and those who love it will eat its fruits." Since God created the world by speaking, then utterance must be significant. What this scripture means, is that we frame our future by what we say. That's why it's important to think before vocalizing. You know, we don't always have to say everything we think about!
Do you know of someone that has been affected by what others have told them? Perhaps a parent that spoke negatively to a child, telling them "You're not going to amount to anything, you're such a loser, you lazy no good kid."; A teacher that said, "You're such a failure, what's the matter with your brain? When God passed out brains you must have thought He said trains and you said no thanks." If this degrading talk is consistent, they begin to believe what's been said. That's why the Word of God says, "Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it." (Prov. 4:23) It's critical that we guard what goes into our heart, because our life is shaped by what we let in. We should be protective of the movies we watch, the music we listen to or the conversation with which we yield.
Not only it is our obligation to protect our ears, but we must put a guard on our mouth. Proverbs 21:23 "Whoever guards his mouth and tongue Keeps his soul from troubles." Most of us are praying and believing God for a specific thing. We can trust Him and be in faith when we pray. But we must remember, to retain the blessing of the Lord it's contingent upon our mouth. It's easy to loose faith and our blessings, when our mouth complains or talks about the problem. In Mark 11:22-24 Jesus says, "....Have faith in God [constantly].Truly I tell you, whoever says to this mountain, Be lifted up and thrown into the sea! and does not doubt at all in his heart but believes that what he says will take place, it will be done for him. For this reason I am telling you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe (trust and be confident) that it is granted to you, and you will [get it]." Don't lose the answer you've received or the miracles because of opposing conversation. Remember Proverbs 18:21, "Death and life are in the power of the tongue..." We want blessing not cursing!
Take a look and see what's enthroned on your heart. You decide by what's coming out of your mouth. "For out of the abundance of the heart, the mouth speaks." (Luke 6:45) Make a quality decision today to place the Word of God in your heart. Heb. 4:12 "For the Word that God speaks is alive and full of power [making it active, operative, energizing, and effective]; it is sharper than any two-edged sword, penetrating to the dividing line of the breath of life (soul) and [the immortal] spirit, and of joints and marrow [of the deepest parts of our nature], exposing and sifting and analyzing and judging the very thoughts and purposes of the heart." Gods Word is Life, Choose Life!
Pastors Michael & Ginny Gulotta
Pro. 11:25 "The generous soul will be made rich, And he who waters will also be watered himself."