Thursday, September 22, 2005

Suit Up

I've mentioned some of the things God has been doing in my life since April when He had me start praying the "armor of God" on each morning. I got to thinking about it the other day when I noticed a lot of Christians walking around without their defenses up. Strife, discord, hurt followed in the wake.

Why don't we use the equipment God's given us? Do we just not KNOW? Are we not taught to use all He's supplied for our daily living in Him? I wonder sometimes since so many of us walk around so badly damaged from attacks the enemy has launched our way finding no resistance.

Ephesians 6:10-12 has everything we need to start our day guarded against the attacks. We first find, "Be strong in the LORD and in the strength of HIS might." We tend to start our days running. How much more could we accomplish for Him if we just used HIS strength and might to get through the day? He doesn't wear out, but we certainly tend to by 5 o'clock!

"Put on the full armor of God, that you may be able to stand firm against the schemes of the devil." Wow. This armor can withstand what the evil one can lob our way. Why in the world would we NOT use it? What's the definition of crazy?

"For 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." We contend with others around us in the flesh, but we don't battle the REAL enemy! How much of our attitude is "schemes of the devil"? I would be willing to bet more than we realize.

"Therefore, take up the full armor of God, that you may be able to resist in the evil day, and having done everything to stand firm." I want to stand firm. I don't want to be swayed by every shifting thought that comes to mind. I want to stay on track with His will in my life at all times. How do I think I can do that without His help? Crazy....

"Stand firm, therefore, having girded your loins with truth..." Truth. What truth? Well, that might seem like a silly question, but have you opened the Word of God today? Do you on a consistent basis? Do you hunger and thirst for more of what He has to impart? Do you hide it in your heart so the "truth" He's given for us is what you've wrapped around you to keep out the lies of the devil?

"...and having put on the breastplate of righteousness..." Guarding our hearts is a breastplate, when we bother to put it on, which can withstand attacks from satan! (I don't like to capitalize his name, too much credit :-))

"and having shod your feet with the preparation of the gospel of peace..." Re-read my post about peace. Is the peace you're seeking HIS peace to ride out the storms or a peace to get rid of all storms? Which is He wanting you to have?

"in addition to all, taking up the shield of faith with which you will be able to extinguish the flaming missiles of the evil one." Faith is believing without seeing. Our walk with Christ is a walk of faith. Few of us have ever seen Him, but we believe He's there. This piece of equipment is so versitile! It can move around and protect us from any direction the missiles are flung!

"And take the helmet of salvation..." We're supposed to be keeping things out of our minds which might corrupt or poison our thoughts. But do we? With the helmet firmly in place we can be more assured our minds are protected. Every sin we commit is conceived first in the mind.

"...and the Sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God." It comes back to knowing the Word. In and out of season, we have to KNOW the Word of God. With these words God has inspired we can be protected, loved, encouraged, rebuked, enlightened, EQUIPPED for all He's called us to do. But do we READ it? Do we chew on the wording and seek out its original meanings? Do we WANT to learn more from Him, but lack the discipline to make the time in our lives. Ouch.

Why walk around defenseless in this evil world? Why not put on the God-given armor to protect you and stand firm against an enemy who has come "to steal and kill and destroy"? The enemy has no compunction against destroying you. Why not make it impossible through the strength of GOD'S might?

Food for thought. Feel free to pass it on. Thanks to those who have commented and let me know how God's words to me have touched you. It means a lot. :-) I'll have to spell check this later. Gotta get kiddos off to school. :-)
A. M. Wilson

Wednesday, September 07, 2005

Acceptable Sacrifice

Malachi 1:1-14

"The oracle of the word of the LORD to Israel through Malachi. "I have loved you," says the LORD. But you say, "How have You loved us?" "Was not Esau Jacob's brother?" declares the LORD. "Yet I have loved Jacob; but I have hated Esau, and I have made his mountains a desolation and appointed his inheritance for the jackals of the wilderness." Though Edom says, "We have been beaten down, but we will return and build up the ruins"; thus says the LORD of hosts, "They may build, but I will tear down; and men will call them the wicked territory, and the people toward whom the LORD is indignant forever." Your eyes will see this and you will say, "The LORD be magnified beyond the border of Israel!"

Sin of the Priests

"A son honors his father, and a servant his master. Then if I am a father, where is My honor? And if I am a master, where is My respect?' says the LORD of hosts to you, O priests who despise My name. But you say, "How have we despised Your name?'
"You are presenting defiled food upon My altar. But you say, "How have we defiled You?' In that you say, "The table of the LORD is to be despised.'
"But when you present the blind for sacrifice, is it not evil? And when you present the lame and sick, is it not evil? Why not offer it to your governor? Would he be pleased with you? Or would he receive you kindly?" says the LORD of hosts.
"But now will you not entreat God's favor, that He may be gracious to us? With such an offering on your part, will He receive any of you kindly?" says the LORD of hosts.
"Oh that there were one among you who would shut the gates, that you might not uselessly kindle fire on My altar! I am not pleased with you," says the LORD of hosts, "nor will I accept an offering from you.
"For from the rising of the sun even to its setting, My name will be great among the nations, and in every place incense is going to be offered to My name, and a grain offering that is pure; for My name will be great among the nations," says the LORD of hosts.
"But you are profaning it, in that you say, "The table of the Lord is defiled, and as for its fruit, its food is to be despised.'
"You also say, "My, how tiresome it is!' And you disdainfully sniff at it," says the LORD of hosts, "and you bring what was taken by robbery and what is lame or sick; so you bring the offering! Should I receive that from your hand?" says the LORD.
"But cursed be the swindler who has a male in his flock and vows it, but sacrifices a blemished animal to the Lord, for I am a great King," says the LORD of hosts, "and My name is feared among the nations."

God gives nothing but the best. He didn't allow some second rate sacrifice to die on the Cross for the cleansing of our sins. He sent the Lamb without blemish or spot. Do we give back to Him an offering without blemish or spot? Or do we give back only what we think we can get away with?

I'm not talking money here. It has nothing to do with that. I'm talking about ourselves. Are we giving Him ALL of us or only what we think He should have? Is what we DO give Him the best we have? Are we thinking we can get away with offering Him second rate goods, hearts which are not completely seeking Him in all things, and still receive the first rate blessings?

You see, God knows us inside and out. He sees it all. There is no blindness in Him, especially to our sin. He's got quite a keen sense of awareness to disobedience. We may think we can just ignore His call on our lives, but He sees it. He is grieved over it and our blessings are marked accordingly.

What is it He's calling for in your life that you've thought you could get around? Ask Him to search your heart and show you where He's working and you're getting in the way. Psalm 139:23-24 says, "Search me, O Lord, and know my heart; try me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any hurtful way in me and lead me in the way everlasting."

Don't try to do the self exam. You're bound to find a ton of stuff, but it might not be what the Lord wants you to focus on right now. Let Him shine the light into the corners of your heart and reveal that which is keeping you from the full measure of His blessing.

Wait till you see what He can do with a perfect offering.

In Christ,
A. M. Wilson