This is the day the Lord has made; We will rejoice and be glad in it. Psalm 118:24
What does that mean to you? To me, it means that no matter the circumstances in my life, I am God’s child and I am rejoicing in the Lord. My conditions, good or bad, do not define my relationship with my Father. He’s ‘Got me’, ‘He’s Got the thing, whatever the thing is’, I turn all things over to Him. He will lead me to still waters. He will make a way of escape from impending danger. He will heal me. He will meet my daily needs. He will speak to me when I feel lonely. He guides me. He cares for me and keeps me in all of His ways.
I rejoice in our Lord and am glad in it. The world does not shackle me. The Lord frees me. The Lord frees us!
The peace that is greater than our understanding is not a once in a lifetime experience. God supplied the Isrealites with daily manna, and He invites us to experience peace every day of our lives. We are blessed with daily renewal and all that it entails: peace, love, and joy.
~ Lisa Blair
Once Upon a Time, I was a complainer and envious. My parents provided and more than met my needs but that was not enough. I wanted what others had. I was never happy or content with what I had. I was not grateful for what my parents provided or God. I HAD NO PEACE.
It was not until I became much older and really focused on God”s Word that I began to I understand what He was conveying to all of His people, including me. The more I read about God’s peace, the more I wanted to experience it. Initially, I thought I deserved His peace just because. Later I wanted to experience it because I was tired of being envious and angry. As my prayer life grew stronger, I wanted to feel the gift of God’s presence in my life. His presence exudes peace. I wanted to bask in relationship His love, His peace, and His grace.
Finally, while praying in desperation one day, I began to feel a quiet that was not defined by the absence of sound, it was more a feeling in the middle of a melody. This quiet evolved into peace. It was peace greater than my understanding. God gave me an inkling of what I could experience every day if I chose. It was my responsibility to want it and to do so meant that I had to live the Word and become more like Christ. I had to learn to be grateful for everything He provides, including chastisement.
I’m not exactly certain when, but one day I noticed that I was praising and thanking God for everything that encompassed my day as it was happening. Praising and thanking God became a norm before I realized it was happening. It became an involuntary act. This brings me to the present, we had a few emergencies that interfered with our vacation savings. We are going on vacation next week. I was concerned about our disposal income, and rather than fretting and complaining, I found myself thanking God for the morning sounds, for His love and His mercy. I thanked Him for our vacation that was paid for, for our cousins who are vacationing with us this year, for my family, a roof over our heads, family members stepping out of the dark and into His light, for people overcoming addictions and carnal habits, for our leaders, my country (USA), and the world. During this time with God, I was suddenly filled with His peace. Things were not important. I was ensconced in His love and His peace. It was this day that I discovered that His peace can carry you throughout the day unmoved by worldly circumstances.
The peace that is greater than our understanding is not a once in a lifetime experience. Just like the manna God provided Moses’ people, the Israelites, and brought them out of Egypt, He offers His peace to us every day of our lives.
Moses said, This is what the Lord has commanded: ‘Let an omer of it be kept throughout your generations, so that they may see the bread with which I fed you in the wilderness when I brought you out of the land of Egypt. ~Exodus 16:32 ESV
God gave us His Word to align our thinking with Christ’s example of living. In Matthew 4:4 it is written that “Man shall not live by bread alone, but on every word that proceeds out of the mouth of God.” Now, this may seem like a departure from peace, but follow my line of thinking.
The Manna represents physical food and spiritual sustenance. The manna is a food source for both needs. Manna was a type of bread that could only remain fresh for one day. It could not be saved. The Word is spiritual manna. The Word teaches us how to receive God”s peace. GotQuestions.org describes peace as a state of tranquility or quietness of spirit that transcends circumstances. It is not a continuous state, but also must be renewed daily.
Living in peace can be compared to the petals of a flower unfolding in the morning sunlight. The petals of peace in our lives unfold as we learn more about God. We discover that His character is always faithful. We experience His continual goodness. We read more of His promises (Psalm 100:5; 115:11; Isaiah 26:4). We learn to bask in His overwhelming love for us (Romans 8:38–39). We refuse to allow ever-changing circumstances to determine our level of contentment, relying instead upon the character of God that never changes (James 1:17; Malachi 3:6). (GotQuestions, Ibid)
We attempt to define PEACE, but our language does not have words to define it. We can only explain it in some fashion after we personally experience it, and the explanation is left wanting. The only legitimate explanation is penned in the Bible – God’s Peace transcends our understanding.
And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:7 NIV
Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ. Philippians 4:7 NLT
The Bible offers everything we need to be active Christian Warriors. It gives us spiritual authority and is our manual for living a Godly life. While in prayer this morning, something came to light. Many of us may read parts of the Bible from time to time, But we do not study what we have read. We understand what we read intellectually, but there is so much more. To understand the spiritual intent, we have to study what was read. When reading Ephesians 6:10-18, we understand we should clothe ourselves in the armor, but do not necessarily understand why we should do so, or what each piece represents. This Post will explain the what and the why. The most important point is that we are naked and vulnerable without the armor. As the adage says, ‘don’t leave home without it.’
In reading the Book of Ephesians, particularly chapter 6, we see Paul wrote to Ephesus alerting them that the enemy is always near and ready to attack. In Ephesians 6: 12, 13 NASB, he warned:
” our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places. Therefore, take up the full armor of God, so that you will be able to resist in the evil day, and having done everything, to stand firm.”
There is no question that our struggle continues to be a war against the rulers of darkness. We can see it in our daily lives, on the news, and social media. The evil forces are in play, we see violence and hate in every aspect of life. We are in the midst of an invisible war, one that works through people. We struggle with uncertainty, fears, and doubts. Scripture makes it clear that much of our self-doubt, our difficulty in keeping healthy relationships, and many of our fears are rooted in the efforts of those same ‘spiritual forces of evil’ that plagued the Ephesians. Paul warned that we cannot be passive Christians. We cannot use the term ‘Christians’ without acting Christ-like. Christians have to exude Christ-like behavior through our actions. We must actively change our position and become Christian Warriors because we live in a time of full engagement against the evil forces of darkness. The evil one is present and works through people, he will not back down and neither can we. We are in the war, like it or not, there are no deferments. God calls for peace, and the evil one calls for chaos in all that we do. We cannot go quietly in the night, we have to rage against the evil forces that try to debilitate, paralyze and destroy us.
‘The evil one continually tries to infect us through our wounds inflicted by sinful words and actions that warp and twist our self-image’. He tells us we are unlovable, useless, hopeless, frail, weak, not good enough, and failures. He intentionally places difficulties, trouble, and chaos in our paths. He tries to destroy our inner peace and distort our harmony that should exist in our relationships with others and our surroundings.
Always be alert. It is important to recognize that we are prey to the evil forces of darkness and as in other parts of our daily living, must protect ourselves, and put on the Amor of God. The Armor of God is our invisible clothing Each morning when dressing for the day, putting on our visible clothing, is the perfect time to also put on our invisible clothing. In fact, we should begin the day with prayer and put on the Armor before getting out of bed.
The Helmet of Salvation covers your head, mind, and eyes.
The helmet is our invisible filter and keeps evil out of our mind. It helps our focus on the Lords will and not on sin. It helps ward off and reject harmful words and actions directed at us by others. It protects us from evil. It deflects hurtful things people say and do to us. It protects us while we live out our ‘true identity in Christ’.
The Breastplate of Righteousness protects your heart.
Righteousness is the quiet voice of the Holy Spirit that lives in us; it is a gift from God, and cannot be earned. Righteousness is much like a filter that strains out unGodly things and reinforces our desire, to be honest, trustworthy, kind, good-hearted, loving, and joyful. (Fruit of the Spirit – Galatians 5:22-23). It guards our mind and emotions.
The Beltof Truth holds us together.
It keeps all the armor in place. It is like a belt or a girdle-like support strap. It supports our core. It helps keep our heart and mind focused on Christ. Without the belt of truth, we are not prepared to stand and fight. The belt represents living a life of honesty and integrity. It supports our total commitment and devotion to God Almighty.
The Sandals of the Gospel of Peace (the Good News) weaponry covers our feet.
Everywhere we walk, we walk in peace. Our footwear keeps us from hurting our feet. The gospel of peace is the Word of God that we share with others as we walk in His Word. Without the Gospel of Peace, we are barefoot and cannot walk without fear. The footwear brings ‘inner and interpersonal peace when we commit to living by God’s Word, which means forgiving those who may have harmed us.
The Shield of Faith protects us from the weaponry of the enemy.
God gave is faith to protect ourselves from the things we cannot see and may not understand. It enables us to advance, despite adverse circumstance.
The Sword of the Spirit is the Word of God.
Gives us boldness to reject and attack misinformation. We can use it to defend ourselves from things we may or may not know are wrong. The sword cuts through everything the enemy can send our way. It is the only defensive weapon we have. Everything else wards off the offensives of the evil one. The sword is the way, the truth, and the light. It is the Word of God. This sword is able to cut through every defense our enemy can raise. When wielded by us, nothing can withstand its ability to cut straight to the core and uncover the truth.
We are naked when we do not wear the Armor of God. Never go out without it. We put on a coat to protect us from the cold and our armor to protect us from the evil one.
Faith, Hope, Love, Dependency, and Obedience Synopsis
Finally, our March theme is affirmed by this Post. To be Christian Warriors we must have faith, hope, and love. When we are in a relationship with a loved one, we have faith in them, love them, are in a dependent relationship with them and are obedient to the values and intent of the relationship. Putting on the Armor of God is a faith move by which we are dependent upon the fact that it works to protect us. We are obedient in that we put the Armor on every day. We have hope that our armor will hold up and invite others to live as Christian Warriors, and for non-Christians, to receive the Lord’s salvation and join our family. Love, the most important of these, operates in faith and dependence upon the Word of God and his relationship with us.
The Full Armor of God, Larry Richards
Waging Prophetic War, Jennifer Claire
The Belt of Truth and the Breastplate of Righteousness. Bible.org, Mar. 3, 2018
The Sword of the Spirit, the Word of God. Freebiblestudyguides.org, Mar. 3, 2018
Helping Children Put On Their Armor Through Prayer, Lisa Blair, Youngchristianwarriors.com
Matthew 11:15 seems common sense, but it is describing how to hear/listen and understand.
We must be willing to hear and exempt our mind from prejudice. We cannot attempt to interpret according to our limited understanding.
We should seek to understand the Gospel and endeavor to experience and practice it just as it is stated.
We should listen to the Word because it is pure, plain, and the living Word of God.
God created the earth and all things on and in it. All things on the planet produce sound waves. Our ears were made to hear the subtlest of tones.
When we read the Word out loud or to ourselves, we hear the sounds and interpret the words. The key is to listen for the meaning of what God is saying to us, and not rely on our (own) interpretation. As we listen intently, we begin to understand the truth God is sharing with us. And, through these truths, we begin to align our actions to become more Christlike.
The more frequently we read the Word of God, the deeper it is planted into our hearts. Once it is planted in our hearts, the more readily available it becomes when making daily decisions, large and small.
As the Scripture says, anyone with ears to hear should listen and understand. As we become equipped with the Word as our guiding principles, we gain wisdom. Wisdom is the product of listening to the Word for understanding. Wisdom, in turn, develops our faith, and our faith covers us in the Word of God and leads us to salvation and eternal life.
I am holding to the task of Resolving and Acting on the resolve to become a stronger Christian in the face of everyday life in 2019. Join me. Each step we take should bring us closer to Christ.