Combat Boots

I remember in "Basic Training" being issued two pairs of quality ("Combat") boots. I was curious as to why two pairs. They cost quite a bit (taxpayer money, you know). Why two? I found out, quickly enough. An army travels a lot on their feet. Changing boots every day keeps our feet healthy. Legs and feet are vital for missions and for safety. It is with them that we invade enemy territory. We must be ready to move right in.  Hence, the admonition to have our "…feet shod with the preparation (i.e; readiness to go withof the gospel of peace…." (From Ephesians 6:15). Do you recall some of Jesus' last words in Mark 16:15, before He returned to Heaven?  "…Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature." This is our mission. The enemy territory must be taken. Peace terms (we are talking about "the gospel of peace") must be laid down to enemy forces. The primary condition for the enemy is "unconditional surrender." This is an absolute must, if people are to have peace with God. Many will refuse the terms and for them the war goes on but for those who drop their resistance, the Victor extends to them amazing Grace. What about those who refuse to lay down their arms? Jesus said, "…upon this rock (i.e; He, Himself) I will build My church and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it." (From Matthew 16:18). Are we ready to move against the gates of hell? Generous peace terms are laid out in our orders (the Bible). Let's get our boots on and move out to conquer. Selah! Good boots help keep our feet healthy. "…How beautiful are the feet of them that preach the gospel of peace, and bring glad tidings of good things…." (From Romans 10:15). "The best defense is a good offensive!"       Ron

"Against the foe in vales below, let all our strength be hurled; faith (trust) is the victory, we know, that overcomes the world."  (John H.Yates).

More Protective Gear

Returning to our means of protection in Ephesians 6:14, we come to our need of "…having on the breastplate of righteousness..." This is a twofold protection only issued to us who are His. This item of equipment is explained in the Word of God. This is part of the equipment provided to enable us to be "…a good soldier of Jesus Christ." (From II Timothy 2:3). The use of the military motif is for a very good reason. This war that we are in is more deadly than any conflict between nations. Those conflicts may result in death of the body, suffering, and loss of freedom. The battle waged against us is for our eternal souls. If the enemy can't keep us on his side, he is relentless in striving to prevent us from bringing others over to the winning side. In other words, he wants to destroy our testimony. The breastplate is external protection covering the chest and heart. When we come to Christ, we are given a legal righteousness. This is a righteousness credited to us. It is Jesus' own righteousness and therefore is "perfect" and "complete." Never can the enemy take us back over to his side. Within this imputed righteousness is the need for imparted righteousness. The credited righteousness can't be overcome but the imparted righteousness can be damaged and cause us to be wounded in action and even rendered useless for our Commander in Chief. We receive imputed righteousness simply as a gift, as a part of our salvation. The Holy Spirit is training us along the lines described in our military manual (i.e; the Bible). Our basic training includes the disciplined development of practical righteousness. It is this discipline that undermines the enemy's attempts to defeat and discredit us. Selah! God can use "holy" lives to convince others to come over to our side. Unholy lives may convince them to stay where they are.   Ron 

 

Using Our Weapons

Needing to use weapons implies some form of contending and/or combat. Ephesians 6:11 informs us that we are able to be tricked by "the wiles of the devil." He is a clever and effective adversary. However, we can stand against him and defeat him, if we use our full armor! The proper use of the armor is "…to be strong in the Lord, and in the power of His might." (From Verse 10). Remember: "The Word of God is….powerful…." (From Hebrews 4:12). Verse 12 adds further information. Satan has help! We are in spiritual combat against evil beings. Verse 13 points out that the only way we can win against these allied enemies is to use the armor. Put it on! If we do, we can stand our ground and rout the attackers. It's up to us! Will you and I "Stand, therefore, having your (our) loins girt about with Truth..?" ( From Verse 14). This girdle (i.e; a military style belt) helps protect us and is where our Sword is attached. The Holy Spirit, the Spirit of Truth, who inhabits us who belong to God, is able to use His Sword, the Bible (absolute Truth) in our hands, to force an enemy retreat. The devil and his demons cannot stand against proper use of Scripture! Now is the time to begin learning skills in the use of His Sword in our hands. We need to hide the Word in our hearts and have it ready to thrust, at a moment's notice. We need to be grounded in sound doctrine and ready to defend the faith. Many battles are lost in our minds, if we do not protect them with God's Truth. Selah! Sharpen your Sword, practice using it until you become skillful, and keep honing it daily. It's your greatest weapon!   Ron

Thoughts on “Thoughts”- 4

Expect Invasion!

Satan's main, if not only, access to your life is through your mind. If he can get your attention by suggestions, he can and will try to manipulate you. He will succeed unless……….you resist. How do we resist? Our first line of defense is to have a genuine relationship with Jesus as Savior and Lord. Unsaved people are wide open to the devil's attacks. He deceives them constantly and with their willing and/or unwitting co-operation. Once we are saved, we must take charge of our thought life. Instead of basing our values and behavior on our "feelings," desires, and our old way of reasoning, we need to develop, thoughtfully and prayerfully, solid Biblical principles and then discipline ourselves, with God's help, to implement them. This will necessitate "in depth," regular, and careful study of Scripture. (II Timothy 2:15). Jesus serves as our example. (See Matthew 4:1-11). Instead of His buying Satan's twisting of Scripture and succumbing to his suggestions, Jesus applied Scripture correctly and the devil retreated. If we act on God's principles and correct use of the Bible, Satan will flee from us, as well. Another important part of enjoying victory is spelled out in Ephesians 6:11-18. Verses 11-13 show us why we are to equip ourselves with the weapons listed in Verses 14-18. I hope to spend a few days on what these weapons are and how they are to be used. Selah! The way to win is spelled out in Romans 8:37: "…we are more than conquerors through Him that loved us." Either that, or we will be a conquest. Be a victor, not a victim!     Ron

Thoughts on “Thoughts”- 3

I think a great many people just let their thoughts go where they will. It takes discipline to conquer a wandering mind. If we are going to be effective as Christians, we must take charge of our thought life. If we just let our thoughts flow, our responses and reactions will likely be impulsive/emotional rather than spiritual. They, too often, will not be reasoned acts and can have negative consequences. In order to progress Spiritually, our thoughts must be shaped by Biblical principles. We have usually had many years of being governed by our desires, our peers, and the media. We have allowed ourselves to be manipulated into wrong behavior and other bad choices. We have used excuses and rationalizations to condone different types of sin. This drift downward must be stopped to enable us to experience God's blessings in our lives. Before we came to Christ, our minds were spiritually blinded (See II Corinthians 4:4). As the light of God's Word enters our hearts at the new birth, our minds start to be renewed. Increasing exposure to and the applying of Scripture will reverse the damage done by sinful, self-centered, thinking. "…be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect will of God." (From Romans 12:2). The blessings of Godly thinking and living are not able to be overstated. In a previous article, you read about our responsibility to take our thoughts captive. (See II Corinthians 10:4-5). As you begin to discharge your responsibility, you will meet strong resistance. Remember this: "….Resist the devil, and He will flee from you." (From James 4:7). Selah! Lord willing, specific ways to resist will engage our thoughts tomorrow. I hope you will join us. Hopefully, it will provide you with practical means to enjoy the victories that God desires for you to experience.   Ron

Thoughts on “Thoughts”-2

Yesterday, we considered Satan's influence on our thinking and his very successful strategy. So the idea seems to be that we are victims. Such a conclusion might lead us to think that we are not really responsible for our wrong thinking and our behavior that results from these thoughts. On the contrary, James 1:14-15b places the responsibility squarely on our own shoulders. "But every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed. Then when lust hath conceived, it bringeth forth sin."  What is the bottom line in all this? Our thought life is being invaded from outside and we must resist the invasion. Paul, under Divine inspiration, reminds us that "…(the weapons of our warfare are not carnal [i.e; something that we try to do in our own strength], but mighty through God to the pulling down of strongholds)." (From II Corinthians 10:14). Satan can't take ownership of our minds. "….ye are not your own for ye are bought with a price." (From I Corinthians 6:19-20). God owns the true Christian! However, our adversary, the devil, can establish strongholds in our thoughts. We must use God's weapons to pull down these strongholds. How this is accomplished is tomorrow's subject, Lord willing. Selah! Think of your mind as a battlefield. Our Savior owns the field but Satan is trying to establish a "beachhead." When we take the Owner's side, Satan's offensive grinds to a halt. When we don't pull down the strongholds, he gains ground and resistance becomes more difficult. We must learn how we can resist successfully. Be sure to stop by tomorrow!      Ron

Thoughts on “Thoughts”-1

Any genuine Christian is very aware of Satan's attacks on us. However, I wonder how many of us are able to say what Paul said to the Church at Corinth. Writing to the Corinthian believers, he said, "…for we are not ignorant of his (Satan's) devices." (From II Corinthians 2:11). It is because few of us realize his too successful strategy for getting at us, that I sense the need to revisit this subject. We are mistaken, if we assume that all our thoughts originate from within ourselves. How does Satan work with us if not through our thoughts? Think back to Eve. The "serpent" implanted in her thoughts the possibility of vastly increased knowledge, and becoming as gods (i.e; like God). Drawing her attention to the forbidden fruit, he craftily engaged her mind. She began to consider that this fruit would make wonderful food. This is the lust of the flesh. This is the same lust with which some today become junk food addicts or a slave to some other vice. Next, it looked so appealing to her. It was a "mouth watering" sight. It looked so luscious! Her thoughts began to crave it. This was the lust of the eyes. The next thought was the possibility of possessing unlimited knowledge. This is the pride of life. The outcome: She ate! The consequences are still with us today! Satan has used this threefold appeal for centuries. He tried to implant it in Jesus' mind during the temptation in the wilderness and he works unceasingly to capture and enslave our thoughts in this same way today. Selah! We are frequently trapped by this clever scheme because we fail to recognize that we are being manipulated. Our lusts are being stimulated by a very shrewd enemy. More on this tomorrow.   Ron 

Choose Life

Another good article from: "The Verse of the Day."

The Verse of the Day
 

 I once read an interesting story about John Wilkes Booth, the man who assassinated President Abraham Lincoln. Apparently Edwin Booth, John's eldest brother and a well known actor, was waiting at a Jersey City train station when he saw someone slip and fall off the platform. Edwin quickly grabbed the man's collar and pulled him to safety—rescuing him from serious injury or death. Who was the man he saved? Abraham Lincoln's son Robert, a soldier in the civil war. How ironic that a man who saved Lincoln's son had a brother who would soon kill the president. One saved a life; one took a life. One chose life; the other chose death. The Lord gave His people a choice between life and death: They could love Him and obey His commands (Deut. 30:16), or they could worship and serve other gods (v.17). We too have a choice between life and death. We can receive Jesus as our Savior and live with Him forever, or we can reject Jesus and be in darkness forever without Him. Think about it very carefully. There are many other religions out there. We can choose to follow any one of them. Or we could choose to reject religion entirely. Either way, these choices will eventually lead to eternal death. If you haven't done so already, get on your knees today and choose to follow Jesus as Lord and Savior. The choice you make today will determine your tomorrow. The best choice is clear. Receive God's gift of His Son, Jesus. Choose life! (Source Unknown).

See, I have set before thee this day life and good, and death and evil, in that I command thee this day to love the LORD thy God, to walk in His ways, and to keep His commandments and His statutes and His judgments, that thou mayest live and multiply; and the LORD thy God shall bless thee in the land to which thou goest to possess it. But if thine heart turn away, so that thou wilt not hear, but shalt be drawn away, and worship other gods, and serve them, I denounce unto you this day that ye shall surely perish, and that ye shall not prolong your days upon the land, to which thou passest over the Jordan to go to possess it."

 
Deuteronomy 30:15-18

Bite-sized Thoughts on Holiness-12

From the pen of Bishop J.C. Ryle (1817-1900) (from his book: "Holiness"). Comments added.
 
12). "Last, but not least, a holy man will follow after spiritual mindedness. He will endeavor to set his affections entirely on things above and to hold things on earth with a very loose hand. He will not neglect the business of the life that now is, but the first place in his mind and thoughts will be given to the life to come. He will aim to live like one whose treasure is in Heaven, and to pass through this world like a stranger and pilgrim traveling to his home. To commune with God in prayer, in the Bible, and in the assembly of His people—these things will be the holy man's chiefest enjoyments. He will value every thing and place and company, just in proportion as it draws him nearer to God. He will agree with David: "My soul followeth hard after Thee' and 'Thou art my portion' (Pss. 63:8 and 119:57). 
    Such is the outline of holiness which I venture to sketch out. Thus is the character that those who are called "holy" pursue. But here let me say, I trust no man will misunderstand me. I am not without fear that my meaning will be mistaken and that the description I have given of holiness will discourage some tender conscience. I would not willingly make one with a righteous heart sad or throw a stumbling-block in any believer's way.
    I do not say for a moment that holiness shuts out the presence of indwelling sin. No, far from it. It is the greatest misery of a holy man that "evil is present with him," that the old man is clogging all his movements, and, as it were, trying to draw him back (Rom.7:21).
   But the excellence of a holy man is that he is not at peace with  indwelling sin, as others are. He hates it, mourns over it, and longs to be free from its company. The work of holiness within him is like the wall of Jerusalem – the building goes forward "even in troublous times" (Dan.9:25). (Excerpted from "Power for Living" 2/28/10).
 
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J. C. Ryle (1817-1900) was one of Victorian England's great evangelicals. His words live today through his still-published devotional writings, including Holiness, the work from which this essay is taken.
 
Comments: This excerpt is somewhat longer and sums it up so well that I would only briefly say that being blessed with "positional " holiness, we need now to concentrate  on the development of practical holiness (progressive sanctification) as expressed in these excerpts.
 
 
Selah! " Follow…… ( pursue with intensity like a runner in the Olympics goes for the gold) holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord…." (From Hebrews 12;14).    Ron

Bite-sized Thoughts on Holiness-11

From the pen of Bishop J.C. Ryle (1817-1900) (from his book: "Holiness"). Comments added.
 
 
11). "A holy man will follow after faithfulness in all the duties and relations in life. He will try not merely to fill his place as well as others who take no thought for their souls, but to do even better, because he has higher motives and more help than they. Those words of Paul should never be forgotten: '…whatever ye do, do it heartily, as to the Lord.' (From Colossians 3:23) and 'Not slothful in business; fervent in spirit; serving the Lord….' (From Romans 12:11). Holy persons should aim at doing everything well, and should be ashamed of allowing themselves to do less than this if they can help it. Like Daniel, they should seek to give no 'occasion' against themselves except '….concerning the law of his (their) God.' (From Daniel 6:5). They should strive to be good husbands and good wives, good parents and good children, good masters and good servants, good neighbors and good friends." (Excerpted from "Power for Living" 2/28/10).
 
Comments: Quite a goal to aim for, wouldn't you say? Yet, as Bishop Ryle points out to us, we have more help than lost people. We also have higher motives. What might these motives be? I suggest it is to show the world that Christians have the highest ethics and standards and to demonstrate to the unsaved a quality of living so wholesome that they can experience it too, if they come to know Him.
 
 Selah!  Jesus promised abundant life to those who follow Him (John 10:10). This kind of life is clean, wholesome, and moral. It is a life of peace, purpose, and purity. It is characterized by "…..love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness and temperance…." (From Galatians 5:22-23). All this and Heaven too, for those who know Him!    Ron