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Posted By Nan

When I was writing the series on church membership I talked about what putting on the armour of God means. Today I want to talk about putting on the armour as an act of faith.

 

Please Read Ephesians 6:10-13


I have had cause to consider putting on the armour a lot lately. Firstly, when I was going through a rough patch, a friend reminded me to put that armour on. Secondly, I have had occasions to counsel Christians who were feeling lost and had been neglecting their armour.
Satan loves to lead us astray with his ‘did he really mean’ statements. One of his favourite is ‘aren’t you just indulging in ritual by putting on the armour?”  But he lies. If putting on the armour was so unimportant, why would satan need to dissuade us from doing it? After all, tying Christians up in meaningless ritual is one of his favourite pastimes. Yet he doesn’t want us to indulge in this one. Why? Because it is important.
The Bible says we are to be strong in Lord and in His mighty power. It doesn’t say we are to be strong under our own steam, it says in the Lord and in His mighty power. V 10.
It then says we are to put on the full armour of God so that we can take our stand against the devil’s schemes. That is not meaningless ritual, we need to put on that armour to take a stand. V 11.
It continues to say that our struggle in this world is not against flesh and blood. It is against rulers, authorities and powers of this dark world and the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realm. Our armour is spiritual, and it has to be, because our struggle is not against people, but against spiritual forces. V 12.
Finally it says that therefore we must put on the full armour of God so that when the day of evil comes we can stand our ground. We don’t have to do anything else. We just have to stand our ground. V13.
Jesus already won the victory on the cross. We stand in His victory. All He asks of us is that we stand. Life will batter us and Satan will try to derail us and persecute us and stir up trouble against us. All we have to do is stand firm.  If you read on to the end of verse 18 you will see that the first words of verse 14 are “so stand firm then with the belt of truth….”
We are instructed to stand firm and then we are told how to do that, with the full armour of God protecting us and strengthening us. We have no power but that which God gives us. We have no victory, but that which Jesus gave us. We must accept that power and that victory and stand firm.

 
Posted By Nan

Please read Judges 6-7
Over the past month I have been under a lot of pressure to complete university assignments. I found myself in a position where the stress levels were at breaking point. I had to put everything aside, my telephone counselling, my friends, much of my prayer time and this blog. Eventually, I made the difficult decision to withdraw from one of my subjects. I wasn’t sure if that was the right decision and I didn’t trust myself to ask God so I put out a fleece. I asked God to tell a very dear friend of mine what he wanted me to do. True to His word, God did just that. He told my friend to tell me to think about why I had started this degree. What had been in my mind at the time I had made that decision. Then He instructed her to tell me to listen for his answer. I knew as soon as I read her words what the answer was.
In 2008 God told me to reach out to those who are stumbling in darkness. 2009, when I made the decision to commence my studies, He told me this was how I was to proceed. In all my busyness I had forgotten that my degree was about God. I had received amazingly good results and had an extremely high grade point average, all due to God. I had been made a Peer Mentor, a role reserved for the high academic achieving students. In my desire to meet everyone else’s expectations I forgot that the only expectations that need to be met are God’s.
So I thought about how much I needed to get back to the heart of what I am here for. What better time to be doing this than Easter. On Good Friday, as I meditated on what Jesus did for me I considered that no words are adequate to describe the depth of His love and the extent of His sacrifice. I thought of Matt Redman’s song “heart of worship”. (Link is below)
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Tq62ggQKYJY
This led me to considering how God is in control and that wonderful song by Twila Paris. (Link is below)
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6FiEB6mNpNU
Finally, I considered Proverbs 3:5-6 Trust in the Lord with all of your heart. My favourite version of this is ‘Trust’ by Sixpence none the richer. Sadly I have not been able to find a link anywhere to that song, but there are other versions around if you care to look.
This Easter, don’t forget how much Jesus gave to pay for our sin. Wonder at how much He suffered to rise again and give us life in eternity with Him.

 
Posted By Nan

life events have taken time away from my blog lately.

I am trying to get back on track with them. In the meantime, I saw this great exerpt from a great book published by Zondervan. I thought you might find it interesting.

 

Being a Part-Time Christ Follower
 
Hi, my name is Craig Groeschel, and I'm a Christian Atheist ... For as long as I can
remember, I've believed in God, but I haven't always lived like he exists. Today my
Christian Atheism isn't as large of a problem as it once was, but I still struggle with
it ...  You might think it's odd for a pastor to struggle with living like there is no
God. However, in my corner of the world, Christian Atheism is a fast-spreading
spiritual pandemic ... Yet Christian Atheism is extremely difficult to recognize -
especially by those who are infected...
 
My story illustrates the symptoms. I was born into a "Christian" family. We believed
in God and attended church when convenient ... and when we did attend, it was
always boring ... It wasn't until years later that I discovered Paul's words in Romans
7. He said that the things he wanted to do, he didn't do. And the things he didn't
want to do, he did. His story was my story. I wanted to live righteously, but I
couldn't seem to get it right for more than five minutes. I believed in God, but I still
cheated in school, drank the cheapest beer available, lied about what I did with my
girlfriends... 
 
Does any of this resonate with your experience? ... Instead of a fully devoted
follower of Christ, you've unintentionally become a full-time mom or full-time
student or a full-time bank clerk - and a part-time follower of Christ. Maybe like so
many, you're a member of a church, but you're secretly still ashamed of your past.
Perhaps you've heard about the love of God, but you're still not convinced that God
totally loves you ... Perhaps like many other well-meaning Christians, you know
what God wants you to do, but you still do whatever you want. Or you genuinely
want to trust God as your provider, but you find it so hard to actually do. Possibly
you believe in heaven and hell, but sharing your faith with others is still foreign or
simply way too intimidating for you. Or you may believe in God but don't see much
need for the church. I'll be honest with you about my struggles, and I hope you'll be
honest as well. And together, with God's help, perhaps we can learn to know and
walk with God more intimately.
 -The Christian Atheist: Believing in God but Living As If He Doesn't Exist, by Craig
Groeschel

 

 

 

 
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Nan
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