Mothers for Prodigals

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Helmet of Salvation


And take the helmet of salvation....Ephesians 6:17a (NKJV)
Gone are the days when every American woman wore a hat to church. Rarely do women dress up wearing hats, except maybe in England. Did you see some of those hats at the royal wedding? Occasionally you’ll see women wearing baseball caps while they exercise or wearing some protective headgear at the beach, guarding against the sun rays. Well, ladies, it’s time to start an everlasting trend by wearing a helmet. Sounds extremely clunky, but that’s OK. No one has to know you’re wearing it, except you, God, and Satan.

If you haven’t put on your helmet already, go ahead and put it on now. It must be worn day-to-day. The Roman soldier wore his helmet on the battlefield to protect his skull and neck from the enemy’s weapons and the destruction that fell around him. We must wear our helmets daily to guard our minds from the darts of Satan and his minions that surround us.

Everyday when we awake we should put on the helmet of salvation because our minds are the battlefield. Our minds direct everything we do and generally a battle arises that we must confront. Satan is constantly trying to destroy us, but be assured that wearing the helmet of salvation bestows on us Christ’s victory over the forces of evil. Believers in Christ gain freedom from sin and eternal damnation because of His death and resurrection. So...wear the helmet of salvation and be assured of Jesus’ salvation for you because of His mercy and grace. Wear the helmet of salvation and believe that you are a new creation in Christ, living with purpose for Him. Wear the helmet of salvation accepting the fact that you battle everyday against the forces of evil because of your faith, but fight the fight of good faith anyway and you will be blessed. Wear the helmet of salvation knowing that daily you are forgiven. Wear the helmet of salvation looking forward to eternal life with Jesus Christ. Be a disciplined soldier of Christ and become strong in the spirit, utilizing His Word.

I am fearful, lest that even as the serpent beguiled Eve by his cunning, so your minds may be corrupted and seduced from wholehearted and sincere and pure devotion to Christ. 2 Corinthians 11:3 (Amplified Bible)
O GOD the Lord, the strength of my salvation,
You have covered my head in the day of battle.
Psalm 140:7 (NKJV)
Lift up your eyes to the heavens,
And look on the earth beneath.
For the heavens will vanish away like smoke,
The earth will grow old like a garment,
And those who dwell in it will die in like manner;
But My salvation will be forever,
And My righteousness will not be abolished.
Isaiah 51:6 (NKJV)

Then the LORD saw it, and it displeased Him
That there was no justice.
He saw that there was no man,
And wondered that there was no intercessor;
Therefore His own arm brought salvation for Him;
And His own righteousness, it sustained Him.
For He put on righteousness as a breastplate,
And a helmet of salvation on His head;
He put on the garments of vengeance for clothing,
And was clad with zeal as a cloak. Isaiah 59:16-17 (NKJV)

Fear not, for I am with you;
Be not dismayed, for I am your God.
I will strengthen you,
Yes, I will help you,
I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.
Isaiah 41:10 (NKJV)

Set your mind on things above, not on things on the earth. Colossians 3:2 (NKJV)
But let us who are of the day be sober, putting on the breastplate of faith and love, and as a helmet the hope of salvation. 1 Thessalonians 5:8 (NKJV)
...and, once made perfect, he became the source of eternal salvation for all who obey him. Hebrews 5:9 (NIV)
Therefore, prepare your minds for action; be self-controlled; set your hope fully on the grace to be given you when Jesus Christ is revealed. 1 Peter 1:13 (NIV)

MPs, be holy as Christ is holy. Believe in His salvation and accept His daily grace, knowing that all things work together for good and to His glory.

Not unto us, O LORD, not unto us,
But to Your name give glory,
Because of Your mercy,
Because of Your truth. Psalm 115:1 (NKJV) AMEN.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Shield of Faith


...In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Ephesians 6:16

Rarely have women ever fought using swords and shields, but, ladies, we’re in a spiritual fight and we need some equipment. It may be heavy; pick up that shield anyway. The shield of faith will protect us from evil.

The world stands against us, but God is for us. Suited up in His armor and filled with His power, we CAN stand firm. Having girded the belt of truth, put on the breastplate of righteousness, and shod the shoes of the preparation of the gospel of peace, we prepare to take up our defensive weapons in order to fight the good fight of faith. As Scripture tells us, “above all, take up the shield of faith”.

What exactly does that phrase mean in our daily lives? We tend to think of faith as some belief that groups people together; for example, we are of the Christian faith and we have a shared belief. That’s correct, but James 2:19 tells us that even demons believe and tremble. Shouldn’t that alert us to the fact that there’s more to faith than just having a belief? Faith is “believing God” and His Word; trusting Him completely which requires action. Taking up the shield of faith results in acting upon God’s truths, not lies from Satan. Taking up the shield of faith prompts us to trust in the promises of God, not worries from Satan. Taking up the shield of faith inspires us to wait upon the Lord, not anxiously fix our own situations. Taking up the shield of faith leads us to overcome Satan, not be overpowered by his schemes. Only true faith in God can overcome the powers of darkness.

The shield is one of the defensive weapons we use when fighting the good fight of faith. Because it stood about four feet long and three feet wide, the Roman shield was intended to guard the entire body of a soldier. Keeping the surface of the shield oiled reflected the sun’s rays, blinding the enemy. Not only did they fight individually, sometimes when in battle the Romans worked together using the “tortoise formation”. They held up their shields on all sides and overhead as they marched into battle. This formation worked to protect them just as a shell protects a tortoise.

For the Christian, the shield of faith is protection against temptation. The flaming arrows of Satan can be stopped by the shield. When Christians draw near to one another and strengthen each other, it’s as if we fight together in “tortoise formation”. Galatians 6:2 says that we should “Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ.” Working together in prayer makes us a powerfully strong contender against our enemies. Trusting in the God of our faith will overcome the powers of darkness. Be emboldened by the words of our Heavenly Commander.

Blessed are you, O Israel!
Who is like you,
a people saved by the LORD?
He is your shield and helper
and your glorious sword.
Your enemies will cower before you,
and you will trample down their high places.
Deuteronomy 33:29 (NIV)
Then David spoke to the LORD the words of this song, on the day when the LORD had delivered him from the hand of all his enemies, and from the hand of Saul. And he said: “The LORD is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer;
The God of my strength, in whom I will trust;
My shield and the horn of my salvation,
My stronghold and my refuge;
My Savior, You save me from violence.
I will call upon the LORD, who is worthy to be praised;
So shall I be saved from my enemies.
2 Samuel 22:1-4 (NKJV)

As for God, His way is perfect;
The word of the LORD is proven;
He is a shield to all who trust in Him.
Psalm 18:30 (NKJV)
The LORD is my strength and my shield;
My heart trusted in Him, and I am helped;
Therefore my heart greatly rejoices,
And with my song I will praise Him.
Psalm 28:7 (NKJV)
We wait in hope for the LORD;
he is our help and our shield.
Psalm 33:20 (NIV)
He shall cover you with His feathers,
And under His wings you shall take refuge;
His truth shall be your shield and buckler.
Psalm 91:4 (NJKV)
“Every word of God is flawless;
he is a shield to those who take refuge in him.
Proverbs 30:5 (NIV)
We live by faith, not by sight. 2 Corinthians 5:7 (NIV)
Let us draw near to God with a sincere heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled to cleanse us from a guilty conscience and having our bodies washed with pure water. Hebrews 10:22 (NIV)
Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see. Hebrews 11:1 (NIV)
But when he asks, he must believe and not doubt, because he who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind. James 1:6 (NIV)
Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. James 4:7 (NIV)
...who through faith are shielded by God’s power until the coming of the salvation that is ready to be revealed in the last time. 1 Peter 1:5 (NIV)
Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you. Be self-controlled and alert. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. Resist him, standing firm in the faith, because you know that your brothers throughout the world are undergoing the same kind of sufferings. And the God of all grace, who called you to his eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast. 1 Peter 5:7-10 (NIV)
AMEN. COME, LORD JESUS.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Against....


(Before we put on any more of God's armor - postings about armor of God from March 20 through April 17, we need to backtrack and understand who we are fighting against. If we are aware of the forces against us, then our fighting can be focused, enabling us to stand firm.)
Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places. Ephesians 6:11-12 (NKJV)
Against is a word that seems to echo negativity; it’s a stong word and causes one to choose sides. Read the many synonyms that a thesaurus includes for the word against: opposed to, in opposition to, hostile to, averse to, antagonistic toward, inimical (meaning harmful) to, unsympathetic to, resistant to, at odds with, in disagreement with, dead set against, counter to, contrary to, in the opposite direction to. Glancing at all those synonyms seems to make the word against enormous. It begins to generate fear, anxiety, distress, unease, and worry. The enemy forces gain ground and Defeat binds and confines. BUT WE MUST POSITIVELY STAND AGAINST!
The first step in our spiritual battle is to know our enemy; until we know and understand our enemy, we will not be able to defeat him. Jesus knew the enemy that troubled Him in the wilderness and He said, “Get out of here, Satan, for the Scriptures say ‘You must worship the Lord your God and serve only him.’” Matthew 4:10 (NKJV) General Douglas McArthur said, “The greater the knowledge of the enemy, the greater the victory.” Knowing what we fight against will assist us in our battle strategy and help us to gain victory. Let’s discover what stands against us.
The two verses (above) in Ephesian 6 mention against six times. It tells us that we fight not against flesh and blood, but against the devil and his minions. Ezekiel 28:11-19 and Isaiah 14:9-15 tell us about a beautiful angel named Lucifer who was appointed as a guardian cherub. Evil entered him and pride filled him. He rebelled against God by claiming, “I will be like the Most High!” Because of his sIn (see that big “I” in the middle of sin), God sent him to the place of the dead to reign forever. But Lucifer/Satan (Satan literally means “an adversary”) wants revenge against God and God’s children, so he disguises himself as an angel of light and comes to earth to deceive and destroy. He is called the “father of lies”. Read the following references and make sure that you know your enemy: Genesis 3:13, Job 15:21, John 8:36-47, 2 Corinthians 6:15, 11:1-14, 1 Thessalonians 3:5, 2 Thessalonians 2:3, 1 Peter 5:8, 2 John 7, Revelation 12:10.
All that fights against us is sandwiched between the words stand and stand firm (reread Ephesians 6:10-14). Hear the words spoken to us by our Commander. He says.....
I give you this instruction in keeping with the prophecies once made about you, so that by following them you may fight the good fight, holding on to faith and a good conscience. Some have rejected these and so have shipwrecked their faith. 1 Timothy 1:18-19 (NIV)
Fight the good fight of the faith. Take hold of the eternal life to which you were called when you made your good confession in the presence of many witnesses. 1 Timothy 6:12 (NIV)
And we should not fear because He says.....For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind. 2 Timothy 1:7 (NKJV)
“The fear of the devil is most likely from the devil himself,” said Corrie ten Boom. She definitely overcame fear and trusted in her Lord and Savior. She was a Dutch Christian who helped to hide Jews from the Germans during World War II. She and her sister Betsy were eventually captured by the Nazis and put in a concentration camp. While others were being searched, they managed (with God’s help) to get a Bible into the camp. They proclaimed their faith daily to all the prisoners. Betsy died in the camp and Corrie survived to tell her story to the world. VICTORY in Jesus!
SO do not fear; remember we wrestle a defeated foe. It appeared that Satan had won when Jesus died on the cross. But Jesus Christ arose victorious and we now live in His victory. The battle is won. Watch over God’s Word and fight those skirmishes like a winner. Stand firm against the powers of darkness, believing the Word of the Lord from Romans 8:31-39 (NKJV).
What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how shall He not with Him also freely give us all things? Who shall bring a charge against God’s elect? It is God who justifies. Who is he who condemns? It is Christ who died, and furthermore is also risen, who is even at the right hand of God, who also makes intercession for us. Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? As it is written:
“ For Your sake we are killed all day long; We are accounted as sheep for the slaughter.”
Yet in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us. For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

AMEN. YOUR KINGDOM COME, YOUR WILL BE DONE ON EARTH AS IT IS IN HEAVEN.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

The Royal Wedding


Song of Solomon 2 (NKJV)
I am the rose of Sharon,
And the lily of the valleys.
THE Beloved
Like a lily among thorns,
So is my love among the daughters.
THE Shulamite
Like an apple tree among the trees of the woods,
So is my beloved among the sons.
I sat down in his shade with great delight,
And his fruit was sweet to my taste.
THE Shulamite to the Daughters of Jerusalem
He brought me to the banqueting house,
And his banner over me was love.
Sustain me with cakes of raisins,
Refresh me with apples,
For I am lovesick.

She’s a commoner preparing to marry into the royal family. She dresses with delight, putting on her beautiful wedding gown, tiara, and veil in anticipation of marriage to her beloved. The sky is overcast as the car and driver transports the bride to the abbey. All along the way cheers rise up as she passes by. The bride arrives at the Abbey accompanied by her father. As she steps out of the car with the help of her father, the crowd roars with excitement and the sun breaks through the clouds. Her face is radiantly beaming. 

Inside her bridegroom awaits. As they enter the abbey, she holds onto her father with one hand and carries her bouquet of lily of the valley in the other. Together they walk down the aisle to meet the bridegroom. The moment is finally here. The lovers stands side by side, their eyes meet and the bridegroom says, “You’re so beautiful.” The joyful couple beams as the wedding begins.

The anticipated marriage of His Royal Highness Prince William of Wales to Miss Catherine Elizabeth Middleton generated exhilaration in England and the world. From the ornate Westminster Abbey to the magnificently dressed bride and groom plus attendees, everything about the event spoke of royalty and beauty. The traditional ceremony spoke ancient words from ages past about the union of the couple, together with Christ. The congregation sang in unison the hymn “Guide me, O Thy Great Jehovah” written by William Williams. Read these powerful words and let the many names of God infuse you with power:

Guide me, O Thou great Jehovah,
Pilgrim through this barren land.
I am weak, but Thou art mighty;
Hold me with Thy powerful hand.
Bread of Heaven, Bread of Heaven,
Feed me till I want no more;
Feed me till I want no more.
Open now the crystal fountain,
Whence the healing stream doth flow;
Let the fire and cloudy pillar
Lead me all my journey through.
Strong Deliverer, strong Deliverer,
Be Thou still my Strength and Shield;
Be Thou still my Strength and Shield.

When I tread the verge of Jordan,
Bid my anxious fears subside;
Death of deaths, and hell’s destruction,
Land me safe on Canaan’s side.
Songs of praises, songs of praises,
I will ever give to Thee;
I will ever give to Thee.

The message from the priest spoke of spiritual beauty that comes from love, and I saw a vision of our heavenly wedding. Love makes us incredibly beautiful and, as children of God, we are loved. God promises us His love; we are His beloved! He is our Bridegroom and He sustains us with His love.

As I watched this fantastic wedding take place, I realized that our heavenly marriage feast will be more amazing than we can imagine. We will dress with excitement in our royal robes. Our Father will guide us down the path as we focus on the Bridegroom ahead of us. 

The Son will be shining as choirs of angels sing, shouts of exclamation fill the air, and we meet Him face to face. We will receive a crown of victory and our Beloved will look upon us and say, “You’re so beautiful. Well done, my bride. Enter into your royal mansion.” 

He will bring us into the banqueting house (means the house of wine because wine is a symbol of joy—in the Bible, wine is associated with joyful occasions, especially weddings) and the wedding feast will commence as we sit with our Sustainer, our Bread of heaven, our Shield and Deliverer. The Bride of Christ (believers in Christ) will reign with the Bridegroom (Jesus Christ) forever and ever. 

Scripture speaks to us about this:
To him who overcomes I will grant to sit with Me on My throne, as I also overcame and sat down with My Father on His throne. Rev. 3:21 (NKJV)

Once we accept Christ as Lord and Savior, we are adopted into the family of God with royal status and priestly function. 1 Peter 2:9 (NKJV) tells us so:
But you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, His own special people, that you may proclaim the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light.

As priests we represent God “with skin on” to humanity and we represent humanity to God by confessing sins and praying for His help; we stand in the gap between God and man. As those with royal status we have the priviledge of implementing God’s government and policies on earth; we have authority to call down God’s will in heaven to earth. We have been blessed with both roles of priest and royalty.

As a royal priesthood of believers, we are inhabited by God; we bear His name and His presence goes with us everywhere. So how do we live our lives? 

The Scripture read at the royal wedding says it best, from Romans 12:1-2, 9-18: I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service. And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.....Let love be without hypocrisy. Abhor what is evil. Cling to what is good. Be kindly affectionate to one another with brotherly love, in honor giving preference to one another; not lagging in diligence, fervent in spirit, serving the Lord, rejoicing in hope, patient in tribulation, continuing steadfastly in prayer; distributing to the needs of the saints, given to hospitality. Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse. Rejoice with those who rejoice, and weep with those who weep. Be of the same mind toward one another. Do not set your mind on high things, but associate with the humble. Do not be wise in your own opinion. Repay no one evil for evil. Have regard for good things in the sight of all men. If it is possible, as much as depends on you, live peaceably with all men.

Again I ask, “How do we live our lives?” I answer with a quote from Chris Tiegreen (writer of INDEED devotional). He said, “Instead of letting our external environment shape whatever we feel inside, we need to let our internal environment shape whatever we encounter outside.” 

MPs, you must remember that you are royalty - the Bride of Christ - with “priestly access to heaven’s answers for earth’s needs” (Chris Tiegreen). Live on earth with the authority He has granted you, knowing your crown and throne awaits you in the new heaven and new earth.

....and from Jesus Christ, the faithful witness, the firstborn from the dead, and the ruler over the kings of the earth. To Him who loved us and washed us from our sins in His own blood, and has made us kings and priests to His God and Father, to Him be glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen. Rev. 1:6

And have made us kings and priests to our God; And we shall reign on the earth.” Rev 5:10