Actively Living Out What You Have Learned. EXPOSITION ON THE BOOK OF PHILIPPIANS study #24 (Philippians 4:8-9)

We now move into the last section of our look at how we are to living as believers or as Paul expressed how we are to be standing firm in the Lord as he states in Philippians 4:1. Paul has dealt with areas that point to us standing firm by being in unity with others or in other words setting aside our own agendas to place spreading the Gospel as the priority of our life. Then Paul showed us that living a life of being firm in the Lord is seen in how we treat others and how we trust God. That was really the idea of the last several verses. Now we will look at how we are to focus on the things that are for building up our character and put into practice those very things. Once again we will see that not only are we to just know what we should and shouldn’t be doing but we are to put into practice those things by the way we live. We will see again that we need to look to mentors that exhibit this type of lifestyle and follow their example as well. Let’s look at our first point.

1.Think about these things.
Look with me at Philippians 4:8 Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. The first step in the right direction in standing firm in Christ is to know what direction you need to be going in. So the call first is not to just give people a set of rules to follow but rather to get our thinking right. If we think about our consequences of our actions, whether good or bad, or if we engage our minds into what our priority should be then we will know what we should and shouldn’t be doing. In fact I think that our society fails to think about this, even most professed Christians fail in this very area which leads them down a path of continual sin filled living. But it is here that Paul calls to us to think about these things.

Now of course we need to know what things he is speaking of so we will look at those but before we do let’s define this word think because I believe that people can see that word and just kind of slide past it assuming that they may allow some of these things to enter their mind from time to time. But this is not the idea behind this word in fact the Greek word for the word think here is the word logizesthe which means to reason to logical conclusion. This word is an imperative verb which indicates that this is a command. So Paul doesn’t just give these things listed here as a suggestion but is a list given to us to meditate on and eventually take action with these in mind. This word is the key to standing firm in the Lord. We can not stand firm by just following a set of rules or doing things because we think that is the best way. We need to engage our minds into thinking about these things on a daily basis and all throughout everyday.

So Let’s look at what these things are. He says first to think on whatever is true. This is a direct call to follow what God has spoken instead of falling into false teachings. We must remember that Jesus said this of the devil when he was speaking this towards the Pharisee’s in John 8:44 You are of your father the devil, and your will is to do your father’s desires. He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks out of his own character, for he is a liar and the father of lies.

If we are not clinging to what is true, if we are not meditating on what is true then we are open to fall into the false forms of Christianity that are rampant in our society. We must meditate on what is true which is summed up in who God is. You can look up these verse that I’m going to mention but notice that God is truth(John 7:28), Jesus is truth(John 14:6), the Holy Spirit is truth (John 16:13) and the Word of God is truth(John 17:17). This means that real truth is found in the Trinitarian Godhead and His Holy Word.

Next Paul says here in Philippians 4:8 to meditate or think on whatever is honorable. This means something that is held in high regard or in awe. This means that it isn’t just some action of religious duty but rather things that are set above other things that are the focus of worship. These things again would be the things that God has said and commanded. We are to regard these things in a place of honor and not just pass them off as suggestions. In other words if God command us to do a certain thing or to act a certain way then we should act in that way.

Then Paul says to think on whatever is just. This word really means righteous which points back to the Holy character of God. God is always righteous or just in every act that He has ever done whether it be in His mercy for salvation or in His wrath against sin.

As we move along I think we are seeing the connection that all of these things are a call to focus on God and His character instead of our own selfish agendas and goals. The next thing that Paul says is whatever is pure. This word hagnos in the Greek means to be uncontaminated from sin or to be undefiled. This is something that we as Christians in our society needs more than ever. I see it almost daily, people that profess to be Christians and talk like the world, act like the world, dress like the world and want to be like the world in almost every area of life. Romans 12:2 tells us Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.

Also James 1:27 says Religion that is pure and undefiled before God, the Father, is this: to visit orphans and widows in their affliction, and to keep oneself unstained from the world.

This is a call to break away from the world and cling to the purity that God has called us to. Paul then says in Philippians 4:8 whatever is lovely. We are going to move a little faster in these next few because I think we are seeing the point here. This word means attractive or pleasing. This is a term that really expresses a friendliness towards others. So whatever is for being friendly instead of causing division or disunity. Then the next one is whatever is commendable which means things that have a good report in contrast to things that may seem to be a place of controversy.

Then Paul moves on and says if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. In other words he is saying if there is anything that causes goodness or anything that would be looked upon as commendable then these things along with all the others is what we are to be thinking on. Colossians 3:1-3 says If then you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth. For you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. 

This really sums up the whole idea here. If we want to stand firm we need to turn our focus on the things of God. Again this is not suggestions on how to live a great life but rather a command on the only way we can live a life firmly in the ways of our Lord Jesus Christ. This moves us to our next verse and our next point.

2.Practice these things.
Look with me at Philippians 4:9 What you have learned and received and heard and seen in me—practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you. I love the fact that we see here again that Paul calls these believers to imitate what they have seen in himself. This is not because he thinks he is the standard but because he is following in the very things that he just spoke about in the previous verse. Remember back in Philippians 3:17 he said Brothers, join in imitating me, and keep your eyes on those who walk according to the example you have in us.

Paul says in 1 Corinthians 11:1 Be imitators of me, as I am of Christ.

So none of this was a call to be a carbon copy of Paul but this further shows that Paul was not afraid to let people dissect his life and follow him. He wasn’t afraid of some character flaw they might find but rather that what they would see is a life that practices what he preaches. He was not perfect but he was living his life in such a way that others could follow his example. So the call here is to look at the way Paul has lived his life as a believer and the follow in those same things. Again he is saying this because he knows that he has lived a life that is honoring towards God.

Notice the shift from just thinking about these things to actually putting them into practice. The Greek word prassó indicates that this is a regular activity in the life of a believer. You can’t just go to church and go through the motions and say that you are living out the Christian life if you are not living in the mindset on the things of God and do them on a continual basis. We must be thinking on and putting into practice daily the things that are true, honorable, just, pure, lovely, commendable, excellent and worthy of praise. This is the pattern of the life of a true follower of Christ. We may fall at times and you may even be living in a lifestyle that is contrary to this right now but God is calling to you today to get away from the worlds influence and cling to God. Let’s heed the call that Paul proclaims in 2 Corinthians 2:16-18 What agreement has the temple of God with idols? For we are the temple of the living God; as God said, “I will make my dwelling among them and walk among them, and I will be their God, and they shall be my people. 17 Therefore go out from their midst, and be separate from them, says the Lord, and touch no unclean thing; then I will welcome you, 18 and I will be a father to you, and you shall be sons and daughters to me, says the Lord Almighty.”

As we do this Paul says back in Philippians 4:9 that the God of peace will be with you. These last 2 sections of Scripture that we have looked at has really shown to us that if we want God’s peace then we should be living in the life that He has designed for us as Christians. As we mentioned in our last study, people want peace in their life but the real question is, are you willing to give up your own agenda, your own way of living and live in the life of holiness and purity that God has commanded that you live in? I hope as we have moved through these verses and really all the way back to the beginning of this chapter that this has encouraged you to live a life that is different than the way you are living now no matter how good you think you are at this moment.

Bible Passage For The Day 12-8-2022

Malachi 3:1-5

“Behold, I send my messenger, and he will prepare the way before me. And the Lord whom you seek will suddenly come to his temple; and the messenger of the covenant in whom you delight, behold, he is coming, says the Lord of hosts. But who can endure the day of his coming, and who can stand when he appears? For he is like a refiner’s fire and like fullers’ soap. He will sit as a refiner and purifier of silver, and he will purify the sons of Levi and refine them like gold and silver, and they will bring offerings in righteousness to the Lord. Then the offering of Judah and Jerusalem will be pleasing to the Lord as in the days of old and as in former years. “Then I will draw near to you for judgment. I will be a swift witness against the sorcerers, against the adulterers, against those who swear falsely, against those who oppress the hired worker in his wages, the widow and the fatherless, against those who thrust aside the sojourner, and do not fear me, says the Lord of hosts.

Podcast for….Anna Praises God And The Trip Back To Nazareth. EXPOSITION ON THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO LUKE study #25 (Luke 2:36-40)

Anna Praises God And The Trip Back To Nazareth. EXPOSITION ON THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO LUKE study #25 (Luke 2:36-40) Disciple's Direction

Bible Passage For The Day 12-7-2022

Zechariah 6:12-13

And say to him, ‘Thus says the Lord of hosts, “Behold, the man whose name is the Branch: for he shall branch out from his place, and he shall build the temple of the Lord. 13 It is he who shall build the temple of the Lord and shall bear royal honor, and shall sit and rule on his throne. And there shall be a priest on his throne, and the counsel of peace shall be between them both.”’

Anna Praises God And The Trip Back To Nazareth. EXPOSITION ON THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO LUKE study #25 (Luke 2:36-40)

This study will be like a two-fold study that will conclude the events of the birth of Jesus and the temple visit first. Then we will look at the details of the trip back to Nazareth which will take us to look deeper in the other Gospels as well to get the entire picture of all of the events of Jesus’ life as a newborn baby and young child. In the next study we will look at Jesus as a 12 year old boy that is engaging in conversation with the religious elite which will conclude the childhood of Jesus and then that will move us into the ministry of John the Baptist in the next chapter. So we are now finishing up the section that we really left off with in our last study. This is where Mary and Joseph had went into the temple to bring a sacrifice according to the law and to present Jesus as prescribed in the law of God. At the temple we have already seen that they met a man named Simeon that spoke both blessings and praise toward God for allowing him to see the Messiah before his own death. Simeon also expressed prophecy in Luke 2:34 that this Child would be appointed for the fall and rising of many in Israel, and for a sign that is opposed 35 (and a sword will pierce through your own soul also), so that thoughts from many hearts may be revealed.”

This revelation of what the Messiah would do while on Earth was not what most Jewish people were looking for. This prophecy showed them that there would be division and those that will oppose Christ which will bring on his parents hardships and trouble as well. But the reality is that this Child would fulfill all of the prophecies that have been spoken of concerning the Messiah.

Now as we move away from that encounter with Simeon there is another person at the temple that we are going to learn about as well. This is what our first point is going to consist of.

1.Anna praises God.
Look with me at Luke 2:36-38 And there was a prophetess, Anna, the daughter of Phanuel, of the tribe of Asher. She was advanced in years, having lived with her husband seven years from when she was a virgin, 37 and then as a widow until she was eighty-four. She did not depart from the temple, worshiping with fasting and prayer night and day. 38 And coming up at that very hour she began to give thanks to God and to speak of him to all who were waiting for the redemption of Jerusalem.

I think we need to start with the obvious question about who Anna is. Here the Bible tells us that she is a prophetess. If you trace the word prophetess throughout the Bible you will see that God does use woman in this role even though it is never a long on going ministry. Most of the time you will find that the woman prophet was used for a short time or even just in a teaching kind of moment. We have no indication that Anna had some kind of ministry where she taught or spoke some kind of new revelation so I think for us to apply that to her would do the Scripture an injustice. We simply see that she was a prophetess maybe in situations like this where she would speak the truth about what God was doing. Remember woman in this time were not teachers of the law, they were not listened to as teachers nor would she have been approved by most people as a person that had an ongoing ministry. I say this to show that she was not placed as a teacher in the temple but was recognized as a person that was speaking truth from what God was doing at this time. This is the role she had in being a prophetess. I believe this makes the case of how God does in fact use woman in proclaiming the good news without the official office as a teacher of the law or a preacher in our time.

To get an idea of who she is the Scripture further tells us that she is the daughter of Phanuel, of the tribe of Asher. She was advanced in years, having lived with her husband seven years from when she was a virgin, 37 and then as a widow until she was eighty-four. First we notice that she is from the tribe of Asher which is one of the 10 tribes of the Northern Kingdom when Israel split into the northern and southern kingdoms. This tribe was one that was taken into captivity and never returned. Here we see a woman that is a true follower of God here in the temple in Jerusalem worshipping God. This means that indeed after so many years that some of the people from these tribes that were taken into captivity are now truly following God. Notice that by what we see here that she was married and her husband died after just 7 years of marriage. This would have been tragic but she decides to remain a widow in which we see here that was the case until this very moment.

I want to point out also what the Scripture says next in the remainder portion of verse 37: She did not depart from the temple, worshiping with fasting and prayer night and day. This is real dedication to the things of God. It is uncertain exactly what all of this means but it seems to indicate that she was given a place to stay around the temple and was nearly a permanent person that was there at any given time. This temple was her home, this was her life and at this very moment everything she had been hoping for and praying for was coming true right before her eyes. She recognized that this baby that Simeon had just prophesied about was the long awaited Messiah. Verse 38 says And coming up at that very hour she began to give thanks to God and to speak of him to all who were waiting for the redemption of Jerusalem.

Because of the truth of what she had just heard concerning the praise and prophecy of Simeon she then burst out in a praise of her own telling of the truths of the Messiah and the redemption that God had promised. In fact the word for the phrase began to give thanks is the Greek word anthomologeomai (anth-om-ol-og-eh’-om-ahee) which means to respond in praise. So her thankfulness is simply by the things that she has heard and known concerning the Messiah. This causes here to proclaim the goodness of God for what He was doing for the redemption of His people. Like so many others she too was looking for this Messiah and now is seeing the fulfillment of it even though at her age she would not see Jesus’ ministry, death and resurrection. With this thought we conclude the section of what happened in the temple and now moves us to what Mary and Joseph do next as we now look at our next point.

2.The trip to Nazareth.
Look with me at Luke 2:39-40 And when they had performed everything according to the Law of the Lord, they returned into Galilee, to their own town of Nazareth. 40 And the child grew and became strong, filled with wisdom. And the favor of God was upon him. This seems like a simple point but I do want to look at the other Gospel accounts to get the full picture of how it took them a little while to get back to Nazareth. Luke does not give us these details so we will look at Matthew’s gospel to get a better idea of the details of this trip to Nazareth. Neither Mark nor John gives us an account to look into but they both refer to Jesus as Jesus of Nazareth which indicates that this was where he lived. This makes sense because we know this was Joseph and Mary’s hometown before they made the trip to Bethlehem for the registration of the census. Remember they have been in Bethlehem for some time now. They could have been in Bethlehem for several months and even up to 3 to 4 months at this point but we can’t be sure about how long. What we see here in the Scripture is that they now have fulfilled all of the requirements of the law concerning the purification of Mary and the presentation of their first born boy and then they set out to go back to their home town. I believe it is at this time that they have this visit from the wise men that was following the star seen in Matthew 2:10-11 When they saw the star, they rejoiced exceedingly with great joy. 11 And going into the house, they saw the child with Mary his mother, and they fell down and worshiped him. Then, opening their treasures, they offered him gifts, gold and frankincense and myrrh.

I place these events here because of what we see next in Matthew’s account. Look with me at what the Bible says in Matthew 2:13-15 Now when they had departed, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream and said, “Rise, take the child and his mother, and flee to Egypt, and remain there until I tell you, for Herod is about to search for the child, to destroy him.” 14 And he rose and took the child and his mother by night and departed to Egypt 15 and remained there until the death of Herod. This was to fulfill what the Lord had spoken by the prophet, “Out of Egypt I called my son.”

I believe this was right as they were going to be heading back to their home that this dream happened. This sent them to Egypt for a period of 2 years or so at least. During this time Herod had every male child killed in the area under the age of 2. Then it is after the death of Herod that they enter back into Israel prompted by the angel and directed back to Nazareth their home town that they had not seen in several years at this point. This we see in Matthew 2:22-23 But when he heard that Archelaus was reigning over Judea in place of his father Herod, he was afraid to go there, and being warned in a dream he withdrew to the district of Galilee. 23 And he went and lived in a city called Nazareth, so that what was spoken by the prophets might be fulfilled, that he would be called a Nazarene.

It seems to me that Joseph and Mary might have been uncertain on their plans as they left Egypt. They may have wanted to go back to Bethlehem but was warned to not go back to that location and instead go back to their hometown of Nazareth. We know that they both were from Bethlehem and had ended up in Nazareth at some point. It may be that they really didn’t want to go back to Nazareth because of the shame of the circumstances surrounding Mary’s conception before being married or maybe there was some other reason but either way there seems to be a different plan that they wanted. But as we always see, God is sovereign and directs them back to Nazareth to fulfill prophecy.

As we conclude this study notice that verse 40 of Luke 2 says And the child grew and became strong, filled with wisdom. And the favor of God was upon him. This is similar to what Luke said of John the Baptist in the last verse of chapter 1 where he says: And the child grew and became strong in spirit, and he was in the wilderness until the day of his public appearance to Israel. This indicates to us that Jesus, just like any other young boy would grow and learn. Now we will soon find out that Jesus’ knowledge and wisdom was beyond any other boys by the simple fact that He is the Son of God. But with all of that there was still a process of learning and growing in wisdom. This wisdom and learning will be seen in our next study as we look at the 12 year old Jesus and his discussion with the teachers in the temple.

Bible Passage For The Day 12-6-2022

Isaiah 11:1-5

There shall come forth a shoot from the stump of Jesse,
    and a branch from his roots shall bear fruit.
And the Spirit of the Lord shall rest upon him,
    the Spirit of wisdom and understanding,
    the Spirit of counsel and might,
    the Spirit of knowledge and the fear of the Lord.
And his delight shall be in the fear of the Lord.
He shall not judge by what his eyes see,
    or decide disputes by what his ears hear,
but with righteousness he shall judge the poor,
    and decide with equity for the meek of the earth;
and he shall strike the earth with the rod of his mouth,
    and with the breath of his lips he shall kill the wicked.
Righteousness shall be the belt of his waist,
    and faithfulness the belt of his loins.

Podcast for….The Shield of Faith. THE ARMOR OF GOD STUDY #5 (Ephesians 6:16)-Revised from Original Study Original Post Date(9-22-2020)

The Shield of Faith. THE ARMOR OF GOD STUDY #5 (Ephesians 6:16) Disciple's Direction

Bible Passage For The Day 12-5-2022

Psalm 89:1-4

I will sing of the steadfast love of the Lord, forever;
    with my mouth I will make known your faithfulness to all generations.
For I said, “Steadfast love will be built up forever;
    in the heavens you will establish your faithfulness.”
You have said, “I have made a covenant with my chosen one;
    I have sworn to David my servant:
‘I will establish your offspring forever,
    and build your throne for all generations.’” 

The Shield of Faith. THE ARMOR OF GOD STUDY #5 (Ephesians 6:16)-Revised from Original Study Original Post Date(9-22-2020)

Ephesians 6:16 In all circumstances take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming darts of the evil one

As we begin the 5th part of this study we look back and see how important it is to prepare for the battles that we will face. Without 1st having your loins girded with the truth which represents the belt in the armor we learned that we would be at a disadvantage. The belt tightened up any loose clothing allowing the soldier to be mobile and the belt also was where the sword that the soldiers would carry would go. Without this being worn at all times you would be unprepared to go into battle if your enemy came on you quickly.

Then we learned about the breastplate of the soldiers armor. This was of course to protect vital areas of the body in the front and the back. Vital organs like the heart, lungs and spinal cord would be protected with this piece. In the Christian armor this is called the breastplate of righteousness because it is vital that we live righteous lives in order to live victorious. We will live defeated if we don’t choose to live righteous. So it is important to live righteous lives in obedience to the commands of God to receive victory in the battles.

Then we moved on to putting on the Gospel of peace upon our feet. We learned here that this was talking about what type of foundation our lives are found on. Are your feet planted on the fact that God has brought peace into your life by taking on the penalty of your sins through Jesus Christ crucifixion and resurrection? This is what true peace is about. This peace means that you were once the enemy of God but now there is peace between you and God. If you choose to live your life knowing that you are righteous before God through Christ then you are at peace with Him also and this is something that will prepare you for the heat of the battles that you will face.

Now that brings us into the next section of the Armor of God. This section goes from just being prepared to actually being involved in the battles. These next pieces of armor are used only as you will go to the battlefield. The soldier will always have his belt, his breastplate and his shoes but may not always have these next 3. So let’s look at the next piece in the armor.

The Shield of Faith
Ephesians 6:16 In all circumstances take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming darts of the evil one. You will notice the difference in the terminology as he begins to speak about these next pieces of armor, he says to take up these pieces. So the pieces have gone from the ones that we should be prepared with to those that we must pick up when we are facing the battle. It is important for us to understand that in order to use these pieces we must have them in our artillery first. Being a Christian or just going to church or knowing all of the answers means nothing if we don’t know how to use this information in the battle. So if we even have these in our artillery and we don’t know how to use them then they are useless and ineffective. It is like owning a gun without ammo or not knowing how to use it. If you have it and are unable to use it then really it is useless if you get in a situation where you may need it. So we were told first to wear at all times the belt, the breastplate and the shoes in preparation for the battle and now we are told to take with us some other pieces as we are going to face the enemy. So this makes it is our decision whether we win or lose because we have been given the weapons. It becomes our choice if we are going to take them with us or choose to leave them behind. But just like the preparation pieces if we choose to leave them and not use them, we will not last long in the battle but see defeat.

So let’s get into the Scripture. And I know we kind of already went past the beginning of this verse but let’s see how Paul actually starts this verse. Paul says to start off with in verse 16: in all circumstances… And I like this translation of this phrase better than above all like it may says in some of translations. So the Greek would actually read like this: along with the other pieces. So it isn’t that these are more important but that they are just as important so we must be determined to have these also. Being prepared means nothing if we don’t do what we have been preparing ourselves for.

So along with the other pieces we must take with us the shield of faith. Remember Paul is writing this as he is probably looking at or at least remembering what the Roman soldiers would be wearing. So what did Paul have in mind here when talking about the shield? First of all we need to know that there are different types of shields in the Roman army. Here he mentions the shield they called the thureon in the Greek or the Scutum shield. This is the only time in the New Testament that this word is used to describe a shield. This shield is a big oval shield that would provide protection for the entire body in battle. The definition of this word in the Greek is a door shaped shield or gate. So this shield was very large and was used as the troops would be trying to advance towards their enemies.

As the Roman soldiers started to advance towards their enemies they would need protection from a counter attack from their enemies. So we must not think we can go through our battles without our shield because if we are living for Christ the enemy will see us advancing and will counter attack. Paul says that this shield is our faith. So the idea is that faith will provide full protection to the body just like the Roman shield did. So what is faith? Faith is the Greek word pistis which means to have confidence or to come to trust. Trusting in God has so much more of a deeper meaning than just understanding what His Word says. Knowing the Word is a must but if it stops at just knowledge and never goes into trusting God then we don’t have the shield. God has always expected us to trust in Him throughout our battles. In fact many, many times God is referenced as a shield in Scripture. Psalm 28:7 The LORD is my strength and my shield; My heart trusts in Him, and I am helped; Therefore my heart exults, And with my song I shall thank Him.

Psalm 18:2 The LORD is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer, My God, my rock, in whom I take refuge; My shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold.

Psalm 3:3 But You, O LORD, are a shield about me, My glory, and the One who lifts my head.

Genesis 15:1; Deuteronomy 33:29; Psalm 33:20; Psalm 84:1; Psalm 115:9; Proverbs 30:5; Psalm 89:18

Trusting that God is going to help you through the battles you are facing will guarantee you full protection. If there is any doubt in the battle that you may lose, then you have just allowed yourself to be vulnerable to Satan and with that will see defeat. We must actively practice faith. Faith is not a one time commitment that you made. Faith should just be a part of who you are or who you are becoming. Look again at Ephesians 6:16 In all circumstances take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming darts of the evil one.

I’m sure we have all seen the movies or read the stories of battles in ancient times. They would take their arrows and wrap then with a cloth of some type and dip it in pitch, then before shooting the arrow they would light it. When this hit the target it would splatter and set on fire whatever it hit. If you had the shield which was usually covered with leather or sometimes metal that was covered with something to put out these flaming arrows, then your protection was secure. Notice too that the attack is from the evil one. These attacks are not just some evil force or some bad luck or bad karma. This is a spiritual being that is set out to discredit who God is. He will attempt this by attacking you and defeating. This is why we must always be ready. Have you ever wondered why the closer you feel yourself drawing to God the more intense the battles usually gets. Satan is doing what he can to make God look like a liar.

Did you know that we discredit or dishonor God when we live in disobedience to Him? If we go all through life claiming the name of Christ and yet continue to live our life like our body tells us to then we are just living without the shield of faith. What is the opposite of faith? Remember faith is trust so the opposite of trust is to distrust God. How do we distrust God? Well Satan does this with doubt. Think back at the fall in the garden of Eden, what was it Satan said to Eve? Turn and read Genesis 3:1-5 Now the serpent was more crafty than any beast of the field which the LORD God had made. And he said to the woman, “Indeed, has God said, ‘You shall not eat from any tree of the garden’?”2 The woman said to the serpent, “From the fruit of the trees of the garden we may eat; 3 but from the fruit of the tree which is in the middle of the garden, God has said, ‘You shall not eat from it or touch it, or you will die.’”4 The serpent said to the woman, “You surely will not die! 5 For God knows that in the day you eat from it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.”

There we see that Satan just got Eve to doubt the very thing that God had said. When you think about any sin that we commit that is all we are doing is believing the lie of Satan. Satan’s flaming arrows of doubt come at us with the potential to hit us and once we are hit with doubt that doubt will spread just like the fire of those arrows and we will be consumed with defeat. We will leave the battle hurt from our loss and with the scars of losing in the battle of sin once again. A burn leaves a lasting scar on the skin as does doubt to our spirit. The more you doubt God in whatever situation you are in the more those little fires continue to burn. We must stop doubt before they ever get to us. Paul says that we can do this with the shield of faith.

The shield of faith is the only remedy for doubt. It is and will be the only thing that can completely extinguish the flame from burning. The worldly and fleshly views may seem to solve the problems of doubt but only trust in God will put the fire out. You may think you know how to do it yourself but be assured at some point you will allow doubt to overcome you. I have thought about this before and you may have to: How can someone live their entire life looking like they are following Jesus but when some unexpected tragedy happens in their life they run the other way? One word, DOUBT!! Deep down they always had doubt and when the moment of tragedy happened all the doubt they had been storing up for years became their reality. In reality they were never a part of those that carry the shield of faith.

What separates a true Christian from those that are just in it for some self gratification? Faith or doubt!!! When the battle gets tough the true followers will come out victorious this is not saying you want lose a fight here and there, because we will all believe the lie and sin the sin of doubt at times. But we must be committed to the battle with the shield that will protects us in the thickness of the war. Take along in your everyday life the shield of faith in your God!!! He is the shield and this shield will allow us to see victory!!! AMEN

Bible Passage For The Day 12-4-2022

Deuteronomy 18:15-19

 “The Lord your God will raise up for you a prophet like me from among you, from your brothers—it is to him you shall listen— 16 just as you desired of the Lord your God at Horeb on the day of the assembly, when you said, ‘Let me not hear again the voice of the Lord my God or see this great fire any more, lest I die.’ 17 And the Lord said to me, ‘They are right in what they have spoken. 18 I will raise up for them a prophet like you from among their brothers. And I will put my words in his mouth, and he shall speak to them all that I command him. 19 And whoever will not listen to my words that he shall speak in my name, I myself will require it of him.