Ephesians 6:10-18

Be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on all of God’s armor so that you will be able to stand firm against all strategies of the devil. For we are not fighting against flesh-and-blood enemies, but against evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world, against mighty powers in this dark world, and against evil spirits in the heavenly places.

Therefore, put on every piece of God’s armor so you will be able to resist the enemy in the time of evil. Then after the battle you will still be standing firm.  Stand your ground, putting on the belt of truth and the body armor of God’s righteousness.  For shoes, put on the peace that comes from the Good News so that you will be fully prepared. In addition to all of these, hold up the shield of faith to stop the fiery arrows of the devil. Put on salvation as your helmet, and take the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.

Pray in the Spirit at all times and on every occasion. Stay alert and be persistent in your prayers for all believers everywhere.

God tells me to be strong…in Him, in His mighty power! I don’t need to battle through life on my own.

I have God’s power and might available to me!

I have His armor of protection available to me!

A war has been raging in the spirit realm ever since Lucifer decided to redefine himself. As a beautiful covering angel who lived in the presence of God and walked on the fiery stones of heaven pride rose up within him and he decided that he was deserving of praise and raised himself up to be like God.

Lucifer convinced 1/3 of the angels in heaven to rebel against the very One who created them and there was a battle in heaven.

These angels lost the battle and were cast out of heaven. Beginning in the Garden of Eden the strategies of Satan and the powers of his kingdom have been at war against God’s kingdom to bring rebellion to all God’s creations, separating them from Him forever.

From Adam and Eve, to the Israelites, and the pharisees… it was very clear that I can’t win this war on my own.

This is why God sent His Son, Jesus, to win the victory over sin and death for all creation! 

Jesus crushed Satan’s head and deemed him powerless! Satan is a defeated foe!

However, though the victory has been won, the battle still rages!

Satan still roams around seeking who he can devour, rob from, kill, and destroy!

But Jesus has come to bring abundant life!

Each part of the armor of God points to Jesus!

Belt of Truth – “Jesus told him, ‘I am the way, the truth, and the life.'” John 14:6

Breastplate of righteousness – “Yes, Adam’s one sin brings condemnation for everyone, but Christ’s one act of righteousness brings a right relationship with God and new life for everyone.” Romans 5:18

Feet shod with the Good News of Peace – “Philip told him the Good News about Jesus.” Acts 8:35

Shield of Faith – “Then Jesus told them, ‘I tell you the truth, if you have faith and don’t doubt, you can do things like this and much more. You can even say to this mountain, ‘May you be lifted up and thrown into the sea,’ and it will happen.'”Matthew 21:21

Helmet of Salvation – “If you openly declare that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.” Romans 10:9

Sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God – “So the Word became human and made his home among us. He was full of unfailing love and faithfulness. And we have seen his glory, the glory of the Father’s one and only Son.” John 1:14

Prayer – ” So He (Jesus) said to them, “When you pray, say: Our Father in heaven, Hallowed be Your name. Your kingdom come. Your will be done On earth as it is in heaven. Give us day by day our daily bread. And forgive us our sins, For we also forgive everyone who is indebted to us. And do not lead us into temptation, But deliver us from the evil one.” Luke 11:2-4

Deliverance and salvation from the lies and powers of the evil one has been accomplished on the cross. But I need to believe it and live in the truth of it so that I remain standing strong in the days of battle!

1 Kings 17:8-16

Then the Lord said to Elijah, “Go and live in the village of Zarephath, near the city of Sidon. I have instructed a widow there to feed you.”

 So he went to Zarephath. As he arrived at the gates of the village, he saw a widow gathering sticks, and he asked her, “Would you please bring me a little water in a cup?” As she was going to get it, he called to her, “Bring me a bite of bread, too.”

But she said, “I swear by the Lord your God that I don’t have a single piece of bread in the house. And I have only a handful of flour left in the jar and a little cooking oil in the bottom of the jug. I was just gathering a few sticks to cook this last meal, and then my son and I will die.”

But Elijah said to her, “Don’t be afraid! Go ahead and do just what you’ve said, but make a little bread for me first. Then use what’s left to prepare a meal for yourself and your son. For this is what the Lord, the God of Israel, says: There will always be flour and olive oil left in your containers until the time when the Lord sends rain and the crops grow again!”

So she did as Elijah said, and she and Elijah and her family continued to eat for many days. There was always enough flour and olive oil left in the containers, just as the Lord had promised through Elijah.

Faith is demonstrated by what I do!

By faith, I activate God’s supernatural plan!

Elijah was a prophet of God who told king Ahab that there would be no dew or rain few a few years, until God said.

In the meantime, God told Elijah to go and live by  brook and the ravens would feed him. When the brook dried up God then told Elijah to go to the city Zarephath and there He had provided a certain widow to feed him.

Elijah had no other option, there was no food anywhere. He had seen God provide meat from ravens for some time, so with that miracle on his mind, by faith, he went to Zarephath.

I’m sure there was more than one widow, which widow was the one?

It seems as though Elijah spoke to the first woman he saw. Perhaps Elijah thought it would be process of elimination…whoever would feed him would the one.

But what about this woman?

The famine had most likely taken her husband. She had seen starvation and death all around her. She was well aware of all her provisions becoming less and less, with no more to be found anywhere.

That very morning she saw the bottom of her flour bin and oil jug. 

The dry, dead sticks she was holding in her hands were the promise of one last meal, a cake of bread, and then she and her son would die.

That was this woman’s reality that morning.

With those sticks in her hand there came a man into her village, a man she never saw before. And he asked her for a drink. Though there was a drought, it seems as though she had some water available because she turned to get him some.

But then he went there, he asked for food!

Somehow this widow realized Elijah was a man of God, for she swore, “by the Lord your God” that she only had enough for her and her son.

Elijah asked for something he needed, but she wasn’t about to give him what she and her son needed. 

My flesh is created to survive and when that is threatened I self protect.

But, what about my spirit?

Remember, there is always a battle going on between the flesh and the spirit.

Because in the spirit realm God had already seen her and her son, and He was well aware of their need.

God already had a supernatural plan in place so that they would live and not die!

Elijah realized her fear and told her not to be afraid. He told her the promise of God.

Now, this woman had a choice.

Her flesh told her one thing…

“I had a plan and I need to keep my food for myself and my son, can’t he see there isn’t enough already, I can’t share it with him.”

But there in front of her stood Elijah, a man of God, with a promise, a supernatural plan that seemed too good to be true!

Which should she choose?

So, by faith, this widow did as Elijah said and she and her son lived to see the impossible promise of God fulfilled in her own house!

 

 

 

 

Joshua 2:8-11

Before the spies went to sleep that night, Rahab went up on the roof to talk with them. “I know the Lord has given you this land,” she told them. “We are all afraid of you. Everyone in the land is living in terror.  For we have heard how the Lord made a dry path for you through the Red Sea when you left Egypt. And we know what you did to Sihon and Og, the two Amorite kings east of the Jordan River, whose people you completely destroyed. No wonder our hearts have melted in fear! No one has the courage to fight after hearing such things. For the Lord your God is the supreme God of the heavens above and the earth below.

Last evening Mark and I did a ZOOM meeting with the TCBS group that typically meets on Tuesdays at Echo Lake Church. Not nearly as good as having dinner together, telling the things we are thankful for, worshipping together, and sharing in core groups, but I pray it was an encouragement to all to keep up with reading the verses in Hebrews and answering the questions.

As I wrote in a previous blog, we were right in the middle of Hebrews 11, the faith chapter. So one of the people I highlighted was Rahab.

The two spies that were sent to spy out the promised land found themselves in the house of a prostitute.

A very unlikely place to find incredible faith!

Yet, her home was the very place God intended for the spies because…

Rahab was a woman who chose faith over fear.

Rahab knew how fearful everyone in Jericho was because of the Israelites. As a woman who was frequented by men she heard the incredible, impossible, amazing stories they told about the Israelites. And she heard their reactions when they realized these very people had crossed over the Jordan and were in their back yard, eyeing up their city.

The reputation of the Israelites went before them!

It was God’s power and love for His people that brought fear upon the great walled city of Jericho!

But Rahab chose to allow her fear to turn to faith!

Rahab chose to believe in the God of the Israelites and saw the two spies as her answer for salvation!

Rahab’s faith took action, so that by faith she had the courage to hide the spies even when the king’s men came looking for them. So by her protection of God’s people, and by her profession of faith in God, Rahab and her family were saved from the destruction all around her.

The scarlet chord placed in her window as the sign of faith, became her salvation.

And it is the scarlet chord that weaves all throughout the Bible, beginning with the blood shed to provide animal coverings for Adam and Eve, to the shedding of Jesus’ blood on the cross that tells of the salvation found by faith in Christ alone!

And as further evidence that Rahab’s faith was rewarded…she is in the lineage of Jesus!

 

Psalm 34

I will praise the Lord at all times.

I will constantly speak his praises.

I will boast only in the Lord

let all who are helpless take heart.

Come, let us tell of the Lord’s greatness; 

let us exalt his name together.

 I prayed to the Lord, and he answered me. 

He freed me from all my fears.

Those who look to him for help will be radiant with joy; no shadow of shame will darken their faces.

In my desperation I prayed, and the Lord listened;
he saved me from all my troubles.

For the angel of the Lord is a guard;
he surrounds and defends all who fear him.

Taste and see that the Lord is good. Oh, the joys of those who take refuge in him!

Fear the Lord, you his godly people,
for those who fear him will have all they need.

Even strong young lions sometimes go hungry,
but those who trust in the Lord

will lack no good thing.

 Come, my children, and listen to me, and I will teach you to fear the Lord

Does anyone want to live a life that is long and prosperous?

Then keep your tongue from speaking evil
and your lips from telling lies!

Turn away from evil and do good.
Search for peace, and work to maintain it.

The eyes of the Lord watch over those who do right; his ears are open to their cries for help.

But the Lord turns his face against those who do evil; he will erase their memory from the earth.
 

The Lord hears his people when they call to him for help. He rescues them from all their troubles.

The Lord is close to the brokenhearted;
he rescues those whose spirits are crushed.

The righteous person faces many troubles,
but the Lord comes to the rescue each time.

For the Lord protects the bones of the righteous;
not one of them is broken!

Calamity will surely destroy the wicked, and those who hate the righteous will be punished.

But the Lord will redeem those who serve him.
No one who takes refuge in him will be condemned.

Matthew 6:17-18

” But when you fast, comb your hair and wash your face. Then no one will notice that you are fasting, except your Father, who knows what you do in private. And your Father, who sees everything, will reward you.

When God put it on my mind to write these verses I didn’t understand at first. But as I considered fasting I realized it is something I should consider for such a time as this.

Jesus didn’t say if you fast, but when you fast, so I must conclude that fasting is something I should do; something God intends for my good!

Fasting is only between my heavenly Father and me.

Fasting is something my heavenly Father sees.

Fasting is something my heavenly Father rewards.

When I choose to put aside anything; food, entertainment, something that my flesh enjoys, and choose to spend time alone with God something happens in the spirit realm and I receive revelation, wisdom, and understanding I would never have attained on my own.

God’s rewards aren’t of this world, 

but are spiritual insights, reasoning, and answers that inspire me to think differently, respond in ways I never would on my own, they are rewards that enable me to live by faith and not by sight!

Because fasting is saying, “no” to something my flesh wants, something in the physical realm, and choosing to say, “yes” to something my soul needs, something beyond myself, something in the spiritual realm.

My flesh always tries to rule over my soul.

My mind, will, and emotion are always in a battle between my flesh and my spirit.

This is the battle Paul wrote about in Romans 7:14-25. Paul’s conclusion to this battle is to recognize the answer is found only in Christ Jesus!

“So now there is no condemnation for those who belong to Christ Jesus.  And because you belong to him, the power of the life-giving Spirit has freed you from the power of sin that leads to death.” Romans 8:1

Praise God!

The victory over this battle within my mind has been won when Jesus overcame sin and death on the cross!

By faith in Jesus I am “In Christ!”

“In Christ” and I have been freed from the lies and accusations of the enemy!

“In Christ” I have the mind of Christ!

“In Christ” I have the spirit of the living God dwelling in me!

“In Christ” I am seated in the heavenly realms”

“In Christ” is a position that I have been given as a child of God. God is aware of everything I will ever encounter, and everything that comes to me needs to go through Christ first.

But I have the choice to BELIEVE which voice I will listen to…

the voice of my flesh or the voice of my spirit. 

Fasting can be an opportunity to put aside the things of my flesh; the things that I go to, the things I see, the things I think I need, in order to feed my spirit; go to God, look to Him, and believe that He is all I need!