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The sword is the final piece to the armor of God that Paul, in Ephesians, instructs us to take up. Although the sword can be used defensively in combat, it is the only offensive weapon given in the list. Paul says, “and take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God”. Notice that we must take the sword. Merely recognizing

The Roman soldier wore a helmet of thick leather with molded and beaten metal to protect the head from the deadly blows from the enemy’s sword. The helmet was essential in protecting the most vital part of the body, the head. So what are some of the attacks from the enemy that aim for our heads? Discouragement, doubt, pride, self-righteousness, loneliness, discontentment and grief: the list goes on. Often, the

The shield is the fourth piece of armor that Paul instructs every believer to use in our battle against the enemy. There were two types of shields used by a Roman soldier. One type of shield was small and strapped to the arm to be used as protection in hand-to-hand combat. The shield Paul referred to in this analogy was tall and broad and was used to protect the entire body from the air assault of arrows and spears. The soldiers who carried these shields would line

The third piece of armor Paul outlines in his letter to the church at Ephesus is shoes. Really, shoes! What does Paul have in mind here, or better yet, what is the Spirit’s intent in communicating the importance of shoes in one’s spiritual armor? I’m sure it’s not the newest Nike, Vans, Reebok, or Adidas that he has in mind. We, for the most part, in everyday use, buy shoes that look good. For anyone who has played sports, you know that wearing the correct shoes is really the first consideration

The second piece of armor described in Ephesians 6:10-20 is the breastplate of righteousness. The breastplate was made of leather or heavy linen with slices of animal hooves or horns, or large pieces of metal hammered to conform to the body. No soldier would go into battle without his breastplate, for it protected his heart and other vital organs. So I think we all have an accu- rate picture of the breastplate, but where does the righteousness part of it come in?

Every Roman soldier would wear a tunic, a large square outer garment with holes cut out for the head and arms. It was meant to be worn loose, as it covered most of the body. As a good soldier prepared for battle, mostly hand-to-hand combat, it was critical that the soldier tuck in tightly any loose article of clothing so nothing would get caught up or be able to be grasped or clung to by the enemy. The belt was an essential part of the armor to have fastened around every soldier’s waist to hold all clothing tightly together. This is the image Paul wants us to picture as we consider the first component of the armor of God.

I am fascinated by the amount of preparation, money, training and the sheer numbers of men and women that go into our U.S. Armed Forces to protect our freedom and defend our nation. Every soldier is trained with the most basic task of dressing and arming himself. It is critical that a soldier is prepared in every way for the battle that lies ahead. First, he must know what battle armor he is to wear. Second, he needs to actually have the uniform and weapons of war. And third, he has to put it on.

The central message of Hebrews 11 has captivated my mind these last weeks since Shannon Hurley was with us: the topic of faithfulness. Verse 1 defines what faith is: the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen. “By faith” is repeated 17 times in this chapter. By faith, we believe that God created the visible universe by His invisble word. Faith is a gift from God (Eph. 2:8-9) and is just as necessary from the

The words wisdom and wise appear 484 times in the Bible. They appear some three hundred times in the Old Testament, one hundred of those times in the book of Proverbs alone. We learn that God is “wise in heart and mighty in strength” (Job 9:4) and that He is the source of wisdom: “Where can wisdom be found. And where is the place of understanding?” (Job 28:12). Job answers his own question, saying, “Behold, the fear of the Lord, that is wisdom; and to depart from evil is understanding” (Job 28:12, 28).

As a farmer, I am always thankful to get through these spring months unscathed by the elements of the weather. From the time that our fruit is in bloom in February to the time that it is harvested in the summer, it is susceptible to many things outside our control. All sorts of weather can destroy a crop: freezing temperatures, hail, wind and late rains. On our crop insurance forms these are called “acts of God.”

I don’t know how you manage your time, but I often get plunged into the tyranny of the urgent unless I specifically plan out my commitments and responsibilities for the week. I would like to encourage you this week in one particular area: evangelism. Jesus Christ, in the Sermon on the Mount, calls us to be the salt of the earth and the light of the world. The reason Jesus gives for this is “so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.” The heart of evangelism is to live and speak the Gospel so that others would give glory to God.

Was the Great Commission given by Jesus Christ only for certain people in the church or was it a command to every believer? In the text, Jesus Christ is speaking directly to the eleven disciples after His resurrection and before His ascension. Given the context, the question is, Does the command given by Christ to the eleven apply to us? The answer is found in the command “teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you.” “All that I have commanded you” includes this command to make disciples, baptize and teach others. In order for the work of making disciples to continue beyond the disciples’ generation

Isn’t it fascinating to think about the all-knowing nature of our God? Our eternal God spoke the heavens into place. His perfect design of creation was not studied or learned; he knows everything (Isaiah 40:13-14). There is nothing that God ever improved upon knowing. He never needs an advanced study of any subject, any place or anyone. Our time in history is called “the Information Age,” and God does not even need to process it; He, by nature, already knows it. It’s an interesting concept, but God does not discover anything. I wonder what He thinks when mankind finally makes a scientific discovery. For instance