Posted by Lisa Lewis Koster - - 11 comments

This is the final post in my series on the armor of God, based on information from the book Sparkling Gems from the Greek by Rick Renner. Have you noticed that all the other pieces of armor are defensive?  Finally, it's time to play offense with the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God! ~ Ephesians 6:17b
Photo courtesy of Donny333 and Photobucket
The Roman army used several different types of swords, but the one that struck the enemy with the greatest fear was the machiara.  While the long swords they used in battle were effective in wounding the enemy, it was the dagger-like machiara that brought about an excruciatingly painful death.  This double-edged sword used in close combat dealt a blow more severe than any other weapon available to the Roman soldier during Bible times.  
 
By using the word machiara when describing the sword of the Spirit, Paul, the author of Ephesians, is telling us God gave His church a weapon satan fears because it has the power to slash him to shreds!  The use of the word machiara also tells believers that this sword of the Spirit we've been given will be used in close combat.  Just a short stab is sufficient to do the enemy in!

Of course, a Roman soldier didn't go onto the battlefield unprepared.  He trained with his sword every day so when it came time for battle, he would be ready.  In the same way, we must spend time in God's Word every day so we will be prepared for whatever the enemy throws our way. 
 
The Greek word logos refers to the written word of God, but  that's not the word Paul used here.  He defined the sword of the Spirit using the word rhema which is a quickened - or living - specific word from the Holy Spirit.  You see, we're not in this battle alone - we have the Holy Spirit working with us!  According to John 14:26,  "the Counselor, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you."


Are you as excited about this as I am?  Not only will the Holy Spirit help us understand what the Bible says, He will hand us our sword by bringing that Scripture to mind right when we need it!  If I do my part and spend time studying and memorizing God's word, I can be assured God will do his part and bring it to mind when the need arises.
 


The question we must each ask ourselves is, "Am I doing my part?"

11 Put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. 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. 13 Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. 14 Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, 15 and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. 16 In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. 17 Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. 18 And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the saints. ~ Ephesians 6:11-18

Lord, I thank you for the armor you have made available to me so that I will be protected and victorious when I battle against the enemy.  Help me to put it on every day so that when the day comes I will be prepared.  And thank you for the aid of the Holy Spirit, who is there to remind me of Your truth!

Lisa

Other posts in this series:
Armor of God (overview)
Are You Buckled Up? - The Belt of Truth
Guard Your Heart - The Breastplate of Righteousness
Killer Shoes - Feet Fitted with Readiness

Impenetrable - The Shield of Faith
Guard Your Mind - The Helmet of Salvation
Time to Play Offense - The Sword of the Spirit (YOU ARE HERE!)


Linking up with: "Hear it on Sunday, Use it on Monday", "The Beauty in His Grip", "Soli Deo Gloria", "Playdates at the Wellspring", "Monday Musings", "Living Well Wednesday", "Word Filled Wednesday", "Weekend Whatever", "Spiritual Sundays"
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Posted by Lisa Lewis Koster - - 3 comments


It's obvious that the purpose of a helmet is to protect the head, but what does that have to do with salvation?

We're nearing the end of our look at the armor of God.  For links to the other pieces of armor we've looked at in this series - based on a wonderful book by Rick Renner called "Sparkling Gems from the Greek" - check the end of this post.

According to a survey by the Consumer Product Safety Commission, about 50% of cyclists regularly wear a helmet.  Having reaped the benefits of wearing a helmet during an accident twelve years ago, it's puzzling to me why more people don't take advantage of this effective protection.  Compared to the benefits of wearing a helmet, any excuse offered to the contrary falls flat. 
 
"Take the helmet of salvation..." ~ Ephesians 6:17
 
I wonder what percentage of people protect their mind with the helmet of salvation that God has made readily available to His children...

Satan's primary target is our mind, because he knows if he can capture the mind with his lies he can destroy the whole person.  How?  Actions stem from beliefs and beliefs grow out of thoughts.  It is for this reason God commands us to guard our minds, and equips us with the helmet of salvation to do so! 

Wearing our salvation as a helmet means knowing what this salvation includes, and the way to do this is to study God's Word.  The only way to fend off satan's attacks is with God's truth.  It's imperative we understand:

My salvation can never be taken from me!
 I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one can snatch them out of my hand. ~ John 10:28

I have value!
I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful,  I know that full well. ~ Psalm 139:14

I am loved!
The Lord your God is with you, he is mighty to save.  He will take great delight in you, he will quiet you with his love,  he will rejoice over you with singing.”  ~ Zephaniah 3:17

I am not alone!
Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have summoned you by name; you are mine.  2 When you pass through the waters,  I will be with you;  and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you. When you walk through the fire,  you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze. ~ Isaiah 43:1-2

I am chosen!
For he chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight. In love 5 he[c] predestined us to be adopted as his sons through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will ~ Ephesians 1:4-5

I have a purpose!
For we are God's workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God planned in advance for us to do. ~ Ephesians 2:10

I am protected!
Even to your old age and gray hairs I am he, I am he who will sustain you.  I have made you and I will carry you; I will sustain you and I will rescue you. ~ Isaiah 46:4


Photo courtesy of Colleenmichellex and Photobucket

The helmet of a Roman soldier was very ornate, complete with a huge plume of brightly colored feathers or horse hair standing from the top.  This helmet made the soldier very noticeable.  Salvation is the most beautiful, ornate, elaborate gift God has ever given us.  When we walk in the truth of our salvation, we will be just as noticeable!  Our peace and confidence will cause us to stand out from the rest of the world.

 
 Lord, I thank you for the gift of salvation.  Help me consistently choose to fill my mind with your truth rather than the things of this world so that my security in you is evident to all.
 
Lisa


Other posts in this series:
Armor of God (overview)
Are You Buckled Up? - The Belt of Truth
Guard Your Heart - The Breastplate of Righteousness
Killer Shoes - Feet Fitted with Readiness
Impenetrable - The shield of Faith
Guard Your Mind - The Helmet of Salvation (YOU ARE HERE!)
Time to Play Offense - The Sword of the Spirit


Linking up with "Reflections of His Grace", "Thoughtful Thursday"
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Posted by Lisa Lewis Koster - - 5 comments


Close your eyes and picture a Roman soldier from Biblical times.  This is what would have come to mind when the Ephesians heard Paul instruct them to put on the full armor of God.  We're halfway through a series on the  armor of God based on one of my favorite books, Sparkling Gems from the Greek by Rick Renner.  If you'd like to learn about the other pieces of armor, you can find links at the end of this post. 
"In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith..." Ephesians 6:16

Photo courtesy of PedalFreak and Flickr

If you ever used a trash can lid as a shield when you were a child, then you probably have the wrong picture in mind when it comes to an ancient Roman battle shield.  The shields the Ephesians would have pictured were more like a door than a trash can lid, wide and tall enough to cover the soldier's entire body. 

These shields were constructed from six layers of animal hides, specially tanned and woven together.  This made them extremely tough and durable, yet they could become stiff and brittle if not cared for properly.  A good soldier would rub his shield with oil every morning to keep it soft and pliable because he knew his life depended on how well he tended to his it.

Just as the battle shield completely covered the soldier, so God gives us enough faith to cover us in every situation.  Believers who hold the shield of faith in front of them have an impenetrable wall of defense against the enemy's tactics and are divinely energized to stand against attack.

But we, too, must tend to our shield if we want to keep it ready for times of battle.  Without a fresh touch of God's Spirit, our faith becomes hard, stiff and brittle.  Faith that is ignored tends to fall to pieces when in the midst of confrontation.  Faith requires a frequent anointing of the Holy Spirit, which comes through time spent with God in His Word and prayer. 


"...with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one." ~ Ephesians 6:16

The Roman soldier knew heading into battle that the arrows he would be assaulted with were by no means ordinary.  While the long, slender arrows looked harmless, in reality their hollow shaft was filled with a liquid that, upon impact, burst into a raging fire.  Knowing that a dry shield would catch on fire, before battle the soldier would soak his shield in water until it was completely saturated, giving it the ability to extinguish the flames.

Satan wants to deceive us into believing that his attacks are harmless and can do little damage, but when they strike into the heart of human emotions they often explode and set our passions aflame.  So, what kind of flaming arrows has satan been firing at you lately?
  • The flaming arrow of hurt feelings
  • The flaming arrow of a lack of contentment
  • The flaming arrow of self-centeredness
  • The flaming arrow of a lack of discipline
  • The flaming arrow of a negative attitude
  • The flaming arrow of doubt
  • The flaming arrow of fear
The list goes on and on! 

Did you know the strength of your faith is directly related to the priority you give God's Word in your life.  The good news is that when we submit ourselves to God's Word, we're soaking our faith.  Even if one of satan's arrows hits our shield, the huge amount of God's Word in us will extinguish the flames.  

  • The flaming arrow of hurt feelings
  • "we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ." 2 Corinthians 10:5
  • The flaming arrow of a lack of contentment
    "I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances." Philippians 4:11
  • The flaming arrow of self-centeredness
    "Whoever finds his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it." Matthew 10:39
  • The flaming arrow of a lack of discipline
    "He who ignores discipline comes to poverty and shame, but whoever heeds correction is honored."   Proverbs 13:18
  • The flaming arrow of a negative attitude
    "Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice!" Philippians 4:4
  • The flaming arrow of doubt
    "Nothing is too hard for God” Jeremiah 32:17b
  • The flaming arrow of fear 
  • "I sought the Lord, and he answered me; he delivered me from all my fears." Psalm 34:4
When you see a flaming arrow heading your way, hold up your shield of faith!

Father, I thank you for this impenetrable shield You have given me to fend off attacks from the enemy. Empower me to hide Your Word in my heart, so that my shield will always be at the ready!
 
Lisa


Other posts in this series:
Armor of God (overview)
Are You Buckled Up? - The Belt of Truth
Guard Your Heart - The Breastplate of Righteousness
Killer Shoes - Feet Fitted with Readiness
Impenetrable - The Shield of Faith (YOU ARE HERE!)
Guard Your Mind - The Helmet of Salvation
Time to Play Offense - The Sword of the Spirit


Linking up with: "Hear it on Sunday, Use it on Monday",  "The Beauty in His Grip", "Soli Deo Gloria"
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Posted by Lisa Lewis Koster - - 12 comments

I was actually quite impressed that I remembered to go to the gym Wednesday.  I can be such a creature of habit, and since I am often watching my grandson on Wednesdays, on the rare occasions when a trip to the gym is possible, I generally forget.  I basically have two options when driving there, to go through our small town or around it. To be honest, I almost always choose "around it" because the speed limit is much lower if I go "through it."

I passed that way a second time that afternoon when I took the cat to the vet.  I was supposed to bring her on Monday, but Houdini lived up to her name and disappeared before we could go.  I was literally on the phone explaining that I couldn't find her when she came strolling down the stairway.  I thought I knew all her hiding places, but evidently there's at least one I don't know about! 

When I was leaving for the gym  Wednesday I caught her in the pack-and-play, which I think she believes I set up just for her.  Normally she's immediately tossed out, but I knew if I left here there I'd be able to find her when I returned... 


It was when I was driving home from the vet that I felt I needed to turn early and go through the town rather than my customary "around it."  Have you ever received this type of prompting from the Holy Spirit?  I know it was Him because otherwise I would've just continued along on auto-pilot!  The thought that came into my mind was, "Why would you expect anything different if you continue to do the same old thing?"
 
Whether you turn to the right or to the left, your ears will hear a voice behind you, saying, “This is the way; walk in it.” ~ Isaiah 30:21

I made the turn and between the expressway and town I came across a garage sale.  I'm not one of those "professional" garage salers who plans out a specific route, but if I see one and have time I love to stop and look for some deals.  Even though lately it seems like I've done a lot of looking and not much finding I decided to stop, and I'm so glad I did!



As a grandma getting ready to watch 2 babies when school starts, I need all the help I can get.  I walked into the sale and felt like I'd hit the jackpot!  I walked away with a carseat, a Bumbo seat and 8 articles of clothing for the little guys - all for $25! 

That evening I "just so happened" to learn there is a recall on Bumbo's, but they're not asking for the seats back; they just want to add a safety strap that they will provide. And yes, the seat is lavender.  Since I'm looking after boys I decided we should call it reddish blue :)

God is downright amazing no matter how we look at it, but I think what amazes me the most is that He cares about the minutest details in my life. My mind can't fathom how big He is.  He keeps the entire universe in balance, yet directs me to a garage sale to provide me with some things I can use!

Knowing God takes care of the little things makes me feel more secure in the big things.  I'm heading in for outpatient surgery this morning, a repeat of one for which I have no fond memories.  Yet I already see God at work.  I was initially scheduled for 5:00 pm and was thinking, "That's a loooong time to go without eating."  Then while I was out helping my daughter with her youngest yesterday, who's just one month old, the hospital called and moved my procedure up until noon.  Yay God!


He even woke me up early this morning so I could share this post with you!  Normally I'm not what I would consider a "morning person" but I'm happy to have the time to take care of some of the things I'd planned on occupying myself with during my wait today. 

Father, I thank you for reminding me that You have not lost sight of me.  Continue to guide me in the way I should go, and help me to be sensitive and obedient to Your promptings.

Lisa



Life has interrupted my series on the armor of God but rest assured, I have the next post scheduled to publish Monday evening at the usual time.  This one will be on the shield of faith - you don't want to miss it!  If you haven't read any of the series, you can find them here:

Armor of God (overview)
Are You Buckled Up? - The Belt of Truth
Guard Your Heart - The Breastplate of Righteousness
Killer Shoes - Feet Fitted with Readiness

 Linking up to "Friday Favorite Things," "Caffeinated Randomness", "Spiritual Sundays", "Tell Me a Story", "Playdates at the Wellspring" , "Multitudes on Mondays"
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Posted by Lisa Lewis Koster - - 13 comments


Where do you find the strength to overcome difficulties in your life? 

Do you try to get it from worrying - thinking about every possible scenario and theoretically what your response would be?

Do you try to get it from busyness - believing if you could only accomplish A, B, and C then you'll be ready to face the difficulties? Or, if you keep busy enough you won't have time to think about it, as in "If I ignore it, it will go away"?

Do you try to get it from perfection - holding the mindset that if you just do everything right and make the most of every opportunity everything will be fine?

It's obvious when reading it that these things don't bring strength, they sap it. Yet how often do we act in this manner, thinking we're actually doing something productive?

In just a few short weeks I will begin watching my grandsons four days a week.  I repeat, four days a week!  To be honest, if I let my mind wander it freaks me out just a little bit. After all, they're just one month and fourteen months old. Watching them once or twice a week was my plan, but God had other ideas. With my son-in-law recovering from heart surgery and my daughter's teaching job their only source of income, they need help, and God has put me in a position to give it. Yet these thoughts keep running through my mind ...

How in the world am I going to keep up with them? I still have physical issues that keep me from accomplishing what I'd like to as it is.

I can't be in two places at once, yet it seems like they both want the same thing at the same time!

What about everything I won't be getting done because I'll be caring for two babies all day?


We have another Scripture Memory verse from Cindy Bultema over at "She Sparkles," and just in the nick of time!


This week we're up to "Q" in the A-Z Scripture Memory Challenge:

"In quietness and trust is your strength." ~ Isaiah 30:15
 
(FYI - If you're using the versepack you might want to double check and make sure you're learning the correct reference this week.  My card had a typo.)

What a great reminder for me!  Our strength doesn't come from anything we do, it comes from God.  Rather than let my imagination run wild, I just need to keep my focus on God and trust in His promises.

Father, I thank you for these two precious boys and the privilege of caring for them. Help me to quiet my mind and take captive all the thoughts floating around in my head. Strengthen my trust in you, for I know you would not call me to do something without equipping me to do it!

Lisa


 
We receive so much from God when we have His Word hidden in our heart! I hope you'll join me in committing His Word to memory. If you haven't started yet, there's no time like the present! 

If you haven't visited Cindy lately, head over here to her website where she's having a giveaway!

The A to Z Verses we’ve learned so far
  • A - As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord. Joshua 24:15b
  • B – Believe in the Lord Jesus and you will be saved. Acts 16:31
  • C – Create in me a pure heart, O God and renew a steadfast spirit within me. Psalm 51:10
  • D – Devote yourself to prayer, being watchful and thankful. Colossians 4:2
  • E – Every good and perfect gift is from above James 1:17
  • F – For God did not give us a spirit of timidity, but a spirit of power, love, and of self-discipline. 2 Timothy 1:7
  • G – God is our refuge and strength, an ever present help in trouble. Psalm 46:1
  • H – How awesome is the Lord Most High, the great King over all the earth. Psalm 47:2
  • I – It is for freedom that Christ has set us free! Galatians 5:1
  • J – Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.” John 14:6
  • K – Keep your tongue from evil and your lips from speaking lies. Psalm 34:13
  • L - Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength. Mark 12:30
  • M – May Your unfailing love be my comfort. Psalm 119:76
  • N – Nothing is too hard for God. Jeremiah 32:17b
  • O – O LORD, our Lord, how majestic is your name in all the earth! Psalm 8:1
  • P – Put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. Eph. 6:11
Linking up with "Women Living Well", "Word Filled Wednesday", "Works for Me Wednesday", "WIP Wednesday", "What Works Wednesday", "Reflections of His Grace", "Thought Provoking Thursday", "Life in Bloom", "Leaving a Legacy"
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Posted by Lisa Lewis Koster - - 4 comments


 
These may be killer shoes, at least in the sense that if I tried to walk in them they just might kill me! They are not, however, the kind of shoes we'll be talking about today. Instead, picture the footwear you would have seen worn by a Roman soldier a few thousand years ago...

Welcome to my series on the armor of God based on one of my all-time favorite books, "Sparkling Gems from the Greek" by Rick Renner.  So far we've learned about the belt of truth and the breastplate of righteousness, and today we're going to be focusing on "your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace." ~ Ephesians 6:15

As I mentioned in a previous post, when Paul began speaking to the Ephesians about armor, his listeners would have immediately thought of the Roman soldiers they often saw patroling the streets. They weren't wearing sandals as we so often see them depicted; they were wearing killer shoes. By this I mean that the shoes they wore were vicious weapons in and of themselves.

These shoes had metal spikes protruding from the bottom which, when planted firmly in the ground, held the soldier in place, making him virtually immovable during an attack. These spikes were also used as a weapon to stomp or kick the enemy.
Above his shoes, the soldier would have been wearing greaves (think metal shin guards) that covered his legs from his feet to his knees.    They were as uncomfortable as they look, but they were essential to protect the calves as the soldier marched through rough terrain, allowing him to keep walking regardless of obstacles.  Greaves also protected him from broken legs as a result of kicks from the enemy. 

Similarly, the peace of God protects us from the enemy's attacts.  Satan may try to disrupt your life and steal your attention with negative events, but his attempts will fail because God's peace protects you from hurt and empowers you to keep marching forward despite the obstacles.   Just as the spikes allowed the soldier to stand firm when pushed by the enemy, so God's peace will hold you in place when satan tries to push you around.    

The word "fitted" used in Ephesians 6:15 means "to bind tightly."  Loose fitting shoes aren't much of a help.  Just as the soldiers had to bind their shoes tightly to their feet, so we must firmly tie God's peace into our lives.  If we wear our peace loosely, it won't be long before life knocks it out of place. 

So how do we obtain this peace of God? 

Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus." ~ Philippians 4:6-7

The peace of God comes through a consistent prayer life.  As children of God we have instant access into His presence, and His presence is our key to peace.  Peace gives strength, perseverance and endurance and keeps you from being vulnerable to people, circumstances and events. 

When you have the peace of God ruling in your life, satan is frustrated.  No matter what he throws at you, you don't get riled because you have the peace that passes all understanding - even your own! 

I'd love to hear your experience of this peace that transcends all understanding!  Was there a time when you felt like a bystander rather than the one in the midst of the circumstance?  Have you ever wondered why you felt peace when the situation called for panic? 
 
Lord, thank you for those times when you've allowed us to experience Your peace when everything around us seems to call for panic.  Help us to remain close to you so that not only do we experience peace, but those around us do as well.

Lisa


Other posts in this series:
Armor of God (overview)
Are You Buckled Up? - The Belt of Truth
Guard Your Heart - The Breastplate of Rightousness
Killer Shoes - Feet Fitted with Readiness (YOU ARE HERE!)
Impenetrable - The Shield of Faith
Guard Your Mind - The Helmet of Salvation
Time to Play Offense - The Sword of the Spirit


Linking up with Sharing His Beauty, Hear it on Sunday, Use it on Monday, Playdates with God, Inspire Me Monday, Soli Deo Gloria,
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Posted by Lisa Lewis Koster - - 8 comments


If you're just joining me, we're looking at the armor of God found in Ephesians chapter 6.  In my last post, we discussed the belt of truth.  In this post we'll be focusing on the breastplate of righteousness.  One of my primary resources and a book I highly recommend is "Sparkling Gems from the Greek" by Rick Renner.

Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place," ~ Ephesians 6:14 

The breastplate was created to protect an extremely vulnerable area - the heart.  We must guard our hearts because we have an enemy, satan, who attempts to destroy them.  How does satan try to destroy our hearts? By constantly accusing us (Rev 12:10) in an attempt to convince us that we're totally useless and have nothing to offer because we're unrighteous and unworthy.  Nothing would make him happier than to have us give up before we ever get started.

It is difficult for us to fend off satan's attacks in our own strength, because the truth is that not one of us is righteous. (Romans 3:10) To be righteous means to be completely free from guilt and sin, something unattainable on our own despite our best efforts.  As I mentioned in my previous post, satan tells us what is true, but he never tells the truth!  While it's true we have no righteousness of our own, the truth is that as children of God and followers of Christ we have been given His righteousness to put on. 

"...not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ--the righteousness that comes from God and is by faith." Philippians 3:9

When we're knowingly in a state of unrighteousness, our breastplate will not fit well.  In other words, sin we're aware of leaves us vulnerable to satan's accusations.  Our self-righteousness will never protect us, which is why it's so important for us to put on Christ's righteousness. 

So, how exactly do we put on the breastplate of righteousness? 

First, it's crucial that we daily ask God to examine our hearts and reveal any sin we have so that we may confess it to Him and accept His forgiveness.  Then, when satan points out our unrighteousness, rather than accept his accusations we remind ourselves that we have something even better - the righteousness of Jesus - which we can claim as though it were our own!  This will enable us to reflect the righteous character of God in our actions, showing the love of Jesus to those around us.









Father, I thank you that I don't have to rely on my own righteousness, which will always fall short, but that you have given me the rightousness of your Son Jesus to wear as my breastplate to guard my heart from the attacks of the enemy!
Lisa


Other posts in this series:
Armor of God (overview)
Are You Buckled Up? - The Belt of Truth
Guard Your Heart - The Breastplate of Rightousness (YOU ARE HERE!)
Killer Shoes - Feet Fitted with Readiness
Impenetrable - The Shield of Faith
Guard Your Mind - The Helmet of Salvation
Time to Play Offense - The Sword of the Spirit

Linking up with Thoughtful Thursday, Weekend Whatever, Spiritual Sunday, True Vine Challenge
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Posted by Lisa Lewis Koster - - 3 comments

I don't know about you, but I find it very interesting to learn the meanings behind the illustrations found in the Bible.  There are so many things that were common to everyday life for the people in those times that are foreign to us today. Learning about what the authors assumed was common knowledge among their readers opens up the Scriptures to us in a whole new way.

In my previous post, we looked at the Armor of God in Ephesians chapter six.  I have so many interesting notes on this subject; I feel I just had to share them with you!  Much of this information comes from one of my all-time favorite books, "Sparkling Gems from the Greek" by Rick Renner.


Israel was under Roman rule at the time, so the mention of armor would bring to mind the Roman soldiers found patrolling the streets.  The belt of a Roman soldier's uniform was made of leather, which was pliable yet protected against blows to the mid-section.  Only the most ruthless enemy attempts to strike us there, but as Christians, that's the type of enemy we have. 

"...there is no truth in him [the devil]. When he lies, he speaks his native language, for he is a liar and the father of lies." ~ John 8:44

We need the belt of Truth to guard against satan's lies.  He may say things that are true, but he never speaks the truth.  For example, it is true that I am weak, but the truth is my weakness is irrelevant because I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me! (Philippians 4:13) Can you think of an illustration from your own life?

We need to spend time in God's Word and pray for God's guidance so that we can distinguish satan's lies from God's truth.  Putting on the belt of truth means consciously looking for his lies in the thoughts that come into our heads, through what we hear from others and what we read and see. 

We must also be careful to speak the truth.   Satan loves it when we lie or neglect to tell the whole truth because it gives him an opportunity to defeat us.

The belt was an important piece of armor because it held the other parts of the armor in place. A sword hung from one side of the belt and a shield hung from the other while a pouch containing arrows rested on a small ledge at the back. The breastplate was held in place by attaching to the front of it. Without the belt, the armor would fall apart piece by piece, but with it securely fastened the soldier was assured that the rest of his armor would stay in place, allowing him to move quickly and fight furiously.

"Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist," ~ Ephesians 6:14

As long as belt of truth – Word of God – is central in your life, the rest of your armor will be effective, but if you begin to ignore God’s Word and cease to apply it, you'll start to lose your sense of righteousness, peace, and so on.  Satan will sieze the opportunity to attack your mind more and more, trying to fill it with his lies.  Time reading and applying God's Word protects our minds from satan's attacks.

Lord I thank you for equipping me with everything I need to protect my mind from evil.  Give me discernment to know what I should be seeing and hearing and what I should be staying away from.  May I become firmly rooted in your word so I will not be swayed by the lies from the enemy.



Lisa


Other posts in this series:
Armor of God (overview)
Are You Buckled Up - The Belt of Truth (YOU ARE HERE!)
Guard Your Heart - The Breastplate of Righteousness
Killer Shoes - Feet Fitted with Readiness
Impenetrable - The Shield of Faith
Guard Your Mind - The Helmet of Salvation
Time to Play Offense - The Sword of the Spirit

Linking up with: Wordfilled Wednesday
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Posted by Lisa Lewis Koster - - 8 comments

It's been a while since I've mentioned the "A to Z Scripture Memory Challenge" from She Sparkles.  How are you doing?  Don't worry if you're behind or if you haven't started yet.  There's no time like the present to join in!  Believe me, if I can do it, so can you!  (Scroll down to the bottom of this post if you'd like to review the verses we've learned so far.)

If you've been following along, we're up to "P":


"Put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil's schemes." ~ Ephesians 6:11 

Ephesians 6 continues on to describe the armor piece by piece:

14 Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, 15 and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. 16 In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. 17 Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.

Did you know all these pieces of armor are related to God's Word? 

Belt of Truth - God's Word is where we learn what is true and what is a lie from satan.

Breastplate of Righteousness - We can never be righteous in our own strength, no matter how hard we try, but through faith in Christ we have His righteousness.  We're assured of this in God's Word (see Philippians 3:9). 

Feet Fitted with Readiness - comes from the gospel of peace (also known as, God's Word.)

Shield of Faith - Faith comes from God's Word; the more time you spend in God's Word, the stronger your faith.

Helmet of Salvation - A helmet protects your head.  We protect our minds from the accusations of the enemy when we saturate them with God's Word.

Sword of the Spirit - is the Word of God.  A sword is going to do you the most good when you have it with you, which is why it's so important to memorize Scripture! 

Father, I thank you for the precious gift of Your Word.  It's a slow process but I know it is through time in Your Word that I'm being transformed into the likeness of your Son Jesus.  Thank you for allowing me to live in a place where I have easy access to Your Word, and protect those who spend time with you at risk to their lives.


Lisa



The A to Z Verses we’ve learned so far
  • A - As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord. Joshua 24:15b
  • B – Believe in the Lord Jesus and you will be saved. Acts 16:31
  • C – Create in me a pure heart, O God and renew a steadfast spirit within me. Psalm 51:10
  • D – Devote yourself to prayer, being watchful and thankful. Colossians 4:2
  • E – Every good and perfect gift is from above James 1:17
  • F – For God did not give us a spirit of timidity, but a spirit of power, love, and of self-discipline. 2 Timothy 1:7
  • G – God is our refuge and strength, an ever present help in time of need. Psalm 46:1
  • H – How awesome is the Lord Most High, the great King over all the earth. Psalm 47:2
  • I – It is for freedom that Christ has set us free! Galatians 5:1
  • J – Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.” John 14:6
  • K – Keep your tongue from evil and your lips from speaking lies. Psalm 34:13
  • L - Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength. Mark 12:30
  • M – May Your unfailing love be my comfort. Psalm 119:76
  • N – Nothing is too hard for God. Jeremiah 32:17b
  • O – O LORD, our Lord, how majestic is your name in all the earth! Psalm 8:1
  • P – Put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. Eph. 6:11
Linking up with "Leaving a Legacy" , "Life in Bloom", "Thankful Thursdays,"  "Thought Provoking Thursday", "Spiritual Sundays", and "Your Thriving Family"
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