Ephesians 6:10-11 - Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of His might. Put on the full armor of God, so that you will be able to stand firm against the schemes of the devil.
Are you equipped for war? This is a very profound question because we are definitely in a war. We are not in a natural war, but a spiritual war. This spiritual war is very serious. For it is a war for our souls!
In the book of Ephesians, Apostle Paul instructed the believers to put on the full armor of God.
So what then is armor? First and foremost, the dictionary defines armor as any covering worn as a defense against weapons.Ephesians chapter 6 declares the following as the armor of God:
- Girding your loins with truth
- Putting on the breastplate of righteousness
- Your feet being fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace
- Taking up the shield of faith
- Putting on the helmet of salvation
- Take up the sword of the Spirit, the Word of God
To sum this up, the full armor is found only in relationship with Christ. We only have to stay covered in Him. His power does the work.
Also, when I looked more closely at the cross references to this scripture, I was blessed to find scriptures of how putting on the armor of God really looks:
- We must first cast off the works of darkness, and put on the armor of light (Romans 13:12)
- We must put on the new man which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness (Eph. 4:24)
Therefore, we can only be strong in the power of the Lord Jesus. We can't defeat the enemy on our own. Christ name alone causes demons to tremble. So a true relationship with Christ is a must! Walking with Christ is not to be taken lightly! He sees and knows far more than we could ever know. He is the one that causes us to see and overcome! We can only stand in Him!
So I ask you again, are you equipped for war? If not, the enemy will overtake you! Put on God's armor and no devil in Hell or on earth can defeat you! Take refuge in Him. Allow Him to do the work! He's mighty!
Hope-in-Christwww.hope-in-christ.comCopyright © 2016 by Denise Walker/Hope-in-Christ Ministries, Inc.
Bible Verses from New King James Version were found on Bible Gateway.
Have you ever read the Bible from beginning to end? Have you completed a devotional or topical study?
There are millions of resources out today to study the Word of God. Why then are so many spiritually empty?
God's Word instructs us to, "Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that need not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth (2 Timothy 2:15).
There are many ways to study God's Word and I don't believe God has a specific preference as long as it does not take away from His true meaning. I believe that He just wants us to dig in, to learn His Word for ourselves. The truth of God is so evident all around us but we will only know how to live and walk in relationship with Him through His Word and through prayer. These two go hand-in-hand.
One way to study the word is to use the Inductive method. I tried it and I love it because it digs deeper into God's Word and I am an analysis girl! I also love this method because it is not someone's personal commentary. It allows us to understand God's Word in context.
I have heard so many ministers and teachers misinterpret and take scripture out of context!
We are still responsible for God's Word for ourselves. This method is great in that regard.
Here is an example using Ephesians 1 (NASB).
First I read through the entire chapter and answered the questions above. These basic questions are not so basic because they cause us to think about what we have read from God's Word. Apostle Paul was writing to the believers at Ephesus. He was explaining to them that they were chosen by God and Christ had already done the work! He prayed that they would gain greater wisdom and knowledge in the truth about Christ.
I then begin to look at the key words and the various parts of speech. This was very eye opening because I have read the Bible numerous times but I never really zoned in on the different parts of speech. They teach you many things all by themselves. The pronouns used in Ephesians 1 showed that there was some connections and ownership. The relationship was that they were all believers in Christ. The ownership was that salvation belonged to them. They received Him. One pronoun that stood out was (Himself). This pronoun spoke of God and that He had done the work through Christ for them. Nothing else was needed. It was a gift. Finally, there were some adjectives that emphasized Christ. Like, All things are subject to Him and Apostle Paul praying for the kind of Spirit He wanted God to give them, spirit of wisdom and revelation. These words are very important because then they would truly have a deeper understanding of what God had done for them.
Other parts of speech that stood out in chapter 1 of Ephesians were the prepositions and verbs. There were even more prepositions than these. The ones that stood out to me were the descriptions of God's plan of redemption (before the foundation of the world, through Jesus Christ, through His blood, from God). Some verbs that stood out were (predestined, enlightened, raised, seated, obtained). These terms help me to understand even more that God is all knowing. He knew what would be needed to set us free. He loves us more than we will ever know.
The next step in the inductive method is interpretation. This is one of the most critical parts. I went through and wrote the main idea for what I believe are the different sections of Ephesians chapter one. Overall, I believe that the main focus was that the saints would understand and grow in the wisdom of Christ.
The final step in the Inductive method is Application. The application step is simply how does this apply to my life? What is the Biblical principle?
I believe the Biblical principle of Ephesians 1 is "There is none higher than Christ." We were sealed as we placed our trust in Him and allow Him to transform our lives. Nothing else is needed! He is our redeemer and this was God's doing, not man's.
Don't Doubt, Trust Him!
2 Cor. 12:9
- And He said, “My grace
(unearned, unmerited favor, a favor done without expectation of return; the absolutely free expression of the loving kindness of God to men, The application of Christ's righteousness to the sinner, pardon) is sufficient
(enough) for you, for My strength
(power, ability) is made perfect
(made complete, accomplished, finished) in weakness.” Therefore most gladly I will rather boast in my infirmities (feebleness of mind or body, disease, sickness, weakness), that the power of Christ may rest upon me.
Have you ever prayed for God to remove sickness from your life? Ever wondered about your past? abuse? Mistreatment? Rejection?
In 2 Corinthians Apostle Paul describes a struggle that he continued to pray for God to remove but it remained with him. He goes on to explain how God helped him to understand that His grace was enough for Him. When he was weak, then he could depend and rely on God's power to see him through.
Like Apostle Paul, most of my life I have experienced many struggles, disappointments, and pain. I was told that the enemy has tried to attack my life from the time I was 3 days old.
At 3 days old, I was rushed into emergency surgery on my stomach. I couldn't keep anything down. I was told that I almost died.
As I got older, I experienced so many other attacks on my life!
Then one day I was introduced to the “Alpha and Omega” the “King of Kings” and Lord of Lords.“
I was downtrodden, depressed, and disappointed and He changed my life!
He drew me by His great power!
After that great encounter, I still experienced struggles but I was now walking with the one who could fix it all. He could mend my brokenness. He could make it all work together for good. He could make it all make sense and He did! Some of it was Him working in me. Some of it was indeed spiritual attacks.
The Lord rewarded me with His grace and He has continued to walk with me, to hold me in is arms, and break the chains of bondage.
Just recently I wondered if I was still walking with Him. I felt so far away. I was even in church and feeling so disconnected and alone.
He begin to draw me near and call me deeper. Deeper into prayer, deeper into His Word. A deeper walk.
He called me to start Hope-in-Christ Ministries. He encouraged me through every blog post, through every book we read in the book club, and every time I would go out to mentor the youth.
As soon as I was moving forward and He was opening so many doors, I was told that I had to have surgery. I had already experienced adult onset of asthma, diagnosed with Type 2 Diabetes, and now a surgery that was directly related to that major surgery when I was 3 days old.
I was struggling with fear and questions of why, but He was showing me that His grace was enough for me. He was showing me that all I need is found in Him. He was showing me that before I could minister hope to others I had to know and understand that hope for myself.
And so by His grace, I have! I drew closer. I begin to cry out and He is healing, delivering, and transforming my life day by day. Even after more than 12 years of walking with Him, He is still growing, shaping, and molding me into His image.
I now feel like I'm living a newness of life in Him.
The ministry that He has given is growing and He is showing me who He has designed me to be.
Much was birthed out of my pain!
What is He showing you through your struggles? Know that His plan for your life is very good and He will be with you through it all!
Enjoy this worship song: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sN2Y99GBYDE
Copyright © 2016 by Denise Walker/Hope-in-Christ Ministries, Inc.
Bible Verses from New King James Version were found on Bible Gateway.
Scripture: “Then Moses answered (The LORD) and said, “But suppose they will not believe me or listen to my voice; suppose they say, ‘The LORD has not appeared to you.’ ” So the LORD said to him, “What is that in your hand?” He said, “A rod.” -Exodus 4:1-2 NKJV
Have you ever wondered, "How is God going to use me? Do I really have a purpose?”
Well, just like Moses in Exodus, God wants to use us for His glory!!
My book club, Hope-in-Christ, is currently reading a phenomenal book, “I Reign: A Survivor's Guide to Thrive” by Minister Annie Bell. In her book, she provides practical application for surviving childhood abuse. One of the scriptures that she quotes is Exodus 4:1-2.
After reading this section of her book, God has continued to cause the words, “What's in your hand?” to reverberate in my mind !
I have read the book of Exodus many times, but never has those words stood out to me until now.
You see, God is currently birthing His ministry through me. For many years, I walked in fear and self-doubt. I listened to the voice of the enemy telling me that I wasn't good enough. But for the past few months God has begun to speak to me, “I have called you to do my will! I have loved you with an everlasting love. All that is needed is already in you! I have already equipped you to walk out my purpose for your life!”
He then begin to show me the ministries and what is already in my hand in order to perform those duties.
For example, he led me to start writing devotionals, and proofreading and editing, all of which fall under my training from years of teaching English Language Arts.
I never would have thought that God would have chosen me for those tasks, but He did and and they are things that I absolutely LOVE!!
So the next time you are weary and questioning if you are really called and equipped to walk out God's purpose, remember how he used Moses.
Moses, like us, made many excuses, but God used him mightily! He wants to do the same with us!
You are already equipped! What's in your hand?
About two weeks ago, the Holy Spirit led me to begin to study the book of Hebrews. While studying, I have been amazed by the great detail of the speaker in trying to get the audience (the converted Jewish believers) to understand that they didn't have to do what they used to do. They didn't have to walk in the old covenant. Jesus was the perfect sacrifice for their sins once and for all.
As I continue to deeply study this great book of the Bible, I have asked God many questions. If Jesus was the perfect sacrifice, then why are people not walking in true freedom in Him? Why are people still bound by sin? Why is the enemy deceiving so many individuals?
God then took me to a few more scriptures to help me better understand. I begin to analyze the word "redemption." Redemption means to rescue, recovery, rebirth, or deliverance from bondage. I then begin to asked even more questions. In order to be redeemed, don't we have to first acknowledge that we need redemption from something? Don't we have to acknowledge that what You recognize as sin is sin to us as well? How can I remain bound if I say that I have Christ and shed His blood to set me free?
There is a disconnect here!
I came to a better understanding that we can be our own hindrance. We can be so comfortable in sin, bound by sin, bound by our past hurts and struggles or simply walking in fear that we don't allow Christ to do the work in us, to make us whole. You see in the book of John, chapter 5, Jesus asked a man a very thought provoking question. Jesus was coming from a Jewish feast and went up to Jerusalem to a place called Bethesda. This place had 5 porches and a pool. He found many sick people there waiting for an angel of God to come down and stir the water in order to be healed of all their many diseases.
There was a certain man there that had been sick for over 38 years. On this day Jesus asked him a simply, "Do you want to be made whole? (John 5:6-11).
The man began to give Jesus excuses and blame others, but Jesus was trying to get him to take a look at himself, and understand that he had to have the will and the desire to truly be made well. This was not temporary what Jesus wanted to do in his life. It was permanent. He had to participate. He couldn't wait for anyone else to do it for him. Did he trust God or not? Did he really want complete wholeness?
Jesus then said to him, "Rise, take up your bed and walk." The scriptures go on to tell us that the man was made whole immediately and he didn't step one foot in the pool. He had faith in the only one that could truly heal him. Christ did it, because he believed and wanted a changed life.
Jesus saw him again and gave him a final instruction, Go and sin no more, or a worse thing will come upon you (John 5:14).
So today, just like the main at Bethesda, Jesus is asking us, "Do you want to be made whole?" I believe that God has asked me that same question more than once in my life.
God is not powerless! He has all power, but do we believe Him? Do we believe that He loves us and desires to bring us out of darkness? Do we believe that His plans for us are good or are we going to keep trying to figure it out on our own? Do truly understand what it means to be made in His image and likeness? Are we walking in fear or condemnation? What is it?
What ever it is surrender it ALL to Him! Be made whole in Him today! Only He can truly set us free. I am a living witness of it!! Trust Him! Allow Him to make you complete in Him!!
Copyright © 2016 by Denise Walker/Project H.O.P.E. Ministries, Inc.
Bible Verses from New King James Version were found on Bible Gateway.
Hebrews 11:1 - Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. - KJV
Hebrews 11:1 - Now faith is the assurance (title deed, confirmation) of things hoped for (divinely guaranteed), and the evidence of things not seen [the conviction of their reality—faith comprehends as fact what cannot be experienced by the physical senses]. AMP
Hebrews 11:1 - The fundamental fact of existence is that this trust in God, this faith, is the firm foundation under everything that makes life worth living. It’s our handle on what we can’t see. - MSG
What does the Bible mean by faith? Why is it so important?
According to the Strong's Bible Dictionary, faith is the acceptance, belief, confidence, and certainty of God's truth as revealed in scripture, The Holy Bible. Faith is essential to our walk with God. It is the essence of discovering who we are in Him. The writer of Hebrews 11:1 focused on faith's importance as he/she spoke to the Jewish converts of that time, reminding them of the dangers of turning away from true faith, faith in Jesus Christ.
As I was reading this particular scripture on faith, I found it very helpful to break it down into parts in order to get the big picture. Here is a closer look:
Who should have faith?
Believers; All of humanity
What is faith?
True faith is having confidence and belief in the God of Abraham, Issac, and Jacob and His plan for redemption of mankind through the blood of Jesus Christ.
When should one have faith?
One should have faith continually without wavering.
Where does faith abide?
Faith abides in the heart.
Why should one have faith?
Hebrews 11:6 specifically states, "But without faith it is impossible to [walk with God and] please Him, for whoever comes [near] to God must [necessarily] believe that God exists and that He rewards those who [earnestly and diligently] seek Him. - AMP
Without it, we can't draw nearer to God and be made whole through Christ blood.
How is faith obtained?
Faith is obtained by hearing the Word of God (the message of Christ), according to Romans 10:17.
So as you can see from the analysis, we cannot live a truly productive and redeemed life without faith. Our faith can't be placed in those things that profit nothing, but must be rooted and grounded in Christ alone. Let us keep our hand in His and allow Him to lead the way to eternal peace!