Verse of the Day

Daily Devotion 

By:  Bro. Bob Maynard
 

22 May 2016 Verse of the Day

Ephesians 6:17 NASB  And take THE HELMET OF SALVATION, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.
 
As always, let’s review the facts about the full armor of God so that we can remember our armor that we need to put on every day:  1. GIRD YOUR LOINS WITH TRUTH.  2.  BREASTPLATE OF RIGHTEOUSNESS.  3.  GOSPEL OF PEACE.  4. Shield of faith.  And now we come to the fifth and sixth pieces of our armor: THE HELMET OF SALVATION and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.
 
I pray that all of us will remember the order in which your armor is put on: You GIRD YOUR LOINS WITH TRUTH, then you put on the BREASTPLATE OF RIGHTEOUSNESS, followed by having shod YOUR FEET WITH THE PREPARATION OF THE GOSPEL OF PEACE.  Then you take up the shield of faith.  Why is it necessary to put it on in order?  Because sequence makes all the difference in the world.  Just as you wouldn’t put the cart before the horse, so you wouldn’t be holding your shield of faith while you were trying to put on your BREASTPLATE OF RIGHTEOUSNESS.
 
Now we come to THE HELMET OF SALVATION.  What does a HELMET cover?  Your head.  What is in your head?  Your brain.  Your brain is the focal point of your SALVATION.  Your brain is the nerve center of all the other functions of your body.  Without your brain, you have no life and no activity.  It is what controls everything about you: your movements, your memory and your will.  It is the part of you that communicates with others around you.  It is the part of you that decodes, and interprets life around you.  It is the part of you that knows that there is a Living, Loving God and gives you the will and the volition to respond to His loving call.  When you respond, He is the one, by His grace gives you SALVATION.  We call that SALVATION being born-again or being saved: For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not as a result of works, so that no one may boast. For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them (Ephesians 2:8-10 NASB).
 
Let’s think about a HELMET and what it does.  What does a HELMET do?  It protects your head and your brain, just like all of the other pieces of the full armor of God protects other parts of your spiritual body.  Can you imagine playing football or hockey without a helmet?  That would be pretty foolish, wouldn’t you say?  Why?  Because your helmet protects you when you “take a hit” or you are “banged on the head.”  You know what a concussion is… That’s where you have a temporary unconsciousness caused by a blow to the head.  So, I ask you my friend, how important is THE HELMET OF SALVATION?  Have you ever heard of a Christian falling into sin and doing some stupid thing that they know that they should NEVER have done?  Sure.  What caused the “spiritual concussion”?  Could it be that they were not wearing one of the most VITAL pieces of the full armor of God?  Could it be that they “forgot” to put on THE HELMET OF SALVATION?  Your brain is the focal point of your SALVATION and Satan would like nothing better than to “bang on your spiritual head” and give you a spiritual concussion so that you will fall into sin and do his will.  The only way to prevent that is to put on THE HELMET OF SALVATION by knowing beyond a shadow of a doubt that: …  for I know whom I have believed and I am convinced that He is able to guard what I have entrusted to Him until that day (2 Timothy 1:12 NASB).
 
There is the sixth piece of the armor of God that our VOTD mentions and that is the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.  Why is the Bible called the sword of the Spirit?  Maybe because it is the only offensive weapon that a Christian has.  Maybe it is called sword of the Spirit because of this verse: For the word of God is living and active and sharper than any two-edged sword, and piercing as far as the division of soul and spirit, of both joints and marrow, and able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart (Hebrews 4:12 NASB).  Or it could be called the sword of the Spirit because the word of God comes from the mouth of God and when He speaks, He … will convict the world concerning sin and righteousness and judgment (John 16:8 NASB).  Read what the Holy Bible says about when He speaks: In His right hand He held seven stars, and out of His mouth came a sharp two-edged sword; and His face was like the sun shining in its strength (Revelation 1:16 NASB).  ‘Therefore repent; or else I am coming to you quickly, and I will make war against them with the sword of My mouth (Revelation 2:16 NASB).  From His mouth comes a sharp sword, so that with it He may strike down the nations, and He will rule them with a rod of iron; and He treads the wine press of the fierce wrath of God, the Almighty (Revelation 19:15 NASB).  Is it any wonder why the word of God is called the sword of the Spirit?
 
But the last thought I want to leave with you is this:  Why are so many, many Christians so weak and sickly?  Why is Satan able to beat-up so many, many saints?  Why are Christ-followers mowed over, plowed under, ground into dust?  Let me give you a hint.  I believe it is because they have forgotten to put on the full armor of God because they have left off the only offensive weapon they have: the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.  They left it off by “not reading and heeding” it.  They never picked up this VITAL piece of armor by ignoring its truths in the decision making process.  They have dishonored God by failing to memorize and walk down its narrow path.  And worst of all they have failed to worship and obey the God who gave them the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. Question is: Did I just describe you?  When is the last time you sat down and just read your Bible because you fell in love with the God of the Bible?
 
Lord, please help me to always remember that in every situation I am a child of yours.  Help me to think the way you want me to think so that I can always do the things you want me to do.  Help me to always remember that I am yours and you are mine.  Lord, I want to always be pleasing unto you.  Lord, help me to hide your word in my heart so that I can be the man you want me to be.  Lord, light my way by the light of your word so that others may come to know you.  Lord, I love you. 
 
Yours in Christ,
Bob Maynard


21 May 2016 Verse of the Day

Ephesians 6:16 NASB  in addition to all, taking up the shield of faith with which you will be able to extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one.

Let’s start off with a test… A test of your memory…. How many pieces of the armor of God have we talked about?  Can you name them in order?  Here is a trick question:  How many pieces of the armor of God is listed in Ephesians?  Wow… tough question because I have not even mentioned how many there are.  You have my permission to read your Bible and read ahead to answer that last question.  OK, let’s review the armor we have covered so far: 1.  GIRDED YOUR LOINS WITH TRUTH.  2.  BREASTPLATE OF RIGHTEOUSNESS.  3.  GOSPEL OF PEACE.  Now we come to the fourth piece of armor: faith. 

But before we can get to faith, we need to talk about what precedes it in our VOTD.  The Holy, infallible Word of God says: in addition to all.  What does that mean?  How about, just what it says.  In other words, when you are getting dressed, you don’t take off your shirt to put on your shoes.  You don’t take off your shoes to pick up your car keys and your wallet to put them in your pockets or purse.  The same principle is true for your spiritual armor.  Since I know you want to put on the full armor of God, then you have to do it in the sequence listed and you have to put them all on without taking any pieces of armor off.  That is what Paul means when he says in addition to all.  You simply keep getting dressed with the full armor of God by doing as he says.

Now first of all I want you to notice two things about this next piece of armor which is the shield of faith: It is the first external piece of armor and it is the first defensive piece of armor.  It is external in the sense that you are not wearing it and it is defensive in the sense that it is for defending you from all the flaming arrows of the evil one.  But the shield of faith has this in common with all the other pieces of armor:  You have to take a personal interest in it by taking it up.  In other words, it is your responsibility to not leave it laying on the table or where ever you last put it.  You have to make a specific act of your will to take up the shield of faith.

So the next question comes to mind: How do I take up the shield of faith so that I can put on the full armor of God.  Have you ever heard of “renewing your commitment” to God?  Of course you have.  Normally we associate this term with someone who comes down to the altar and makes a “renewed commitment” during the invitation time at church.  Here is a wild and new thought that maybe some of you have never thought of before.  How about you “renew your commitment” to the Lord every day, every morning.  Or you could even go further.  You could “renew your commitment” to the Lord in every decision that you have to make by saying … not My will, but Yours be done (Luke 22:42 NASB).  In everything you pray about and in everything you give thanks for, how about saying in your heart and mind: Lord, I want your will to be done in this situation.  Wow, now that is a shield of faith if I have ever heard of one.  Faith that will please Him in all that you say and do.

I believe the shield of faith is nothing more and nothing less than your faith and commitment to HIM, His will and His way.  It is you surrendering your heart, mind, will and purpose of existence to Him.  It is TOTAL and COMPLETE surrender of all that you are and hope to be to His will and His purpose for you.  For without Him you can do nothing.  He is the one who has to fight for you.  He is the one who has the power to put Satan in his place.  And you can only get the victory by your faith in Him and His ability to win the battles that you face.

And you might wonder how He wins the battles that He fights for you.  This verse tells you how He does that when it says: able to extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one.  You have heard the story of the three little pigs and how the big bad wolf was going to huff and puff and blow their house down.  Well, the devil tries to do the same thing to God’s children.  He makes threats and huffs and puffs but there is a big difference.  He is just a “blow hard” when it comes to actually defeating God’s children.  Why? Because the devil has no power against the shield of faith.  His arrows of accusation simply cannot penetrate the shield of faith and they simply are extinguished because they have no material to burn. 

I want you to think about this.  What do you have in your life to protect you spiritually?  You only have one thing: faith.  And you already know that without faith it is impossible to please Him.  Now you know that from this verse of scripture that faith is the only defensive weapon that you have to protect you against all the flaming arrows of the evil one.   So you have learned the truth about faith:  it pleases Him and it protects you.  Question is: Will you put ALL of your faith, hope and trust in Him?

Lord, it is so very, very true that you are my ONLY hope.  Lord, I am placing all my hope, faith, trust and love in you because I believe you are the only way, the only truth and the only way to live life.  Lord, you are so good to me.  You protect me.  You keep me.  And most importantly, you love me.  Lord, I love you so very, very much.  Lord, I request that you mold me into the man that can and will please you this day.  Lord, I love you.

Yours in Christ,
Bob Maynard


20 May 2016 Verse of the Day

Ephesians 6:15 NASB  and having shod YOUR FEET WITH THE PREPARATION OF THE GOSPEL OF PEACE;

Now we come to the third piece of the armor of God.  Do you remember what the first two pieces of armor of God was?  How about truth and righteousness.  Remember you have your loins girded with truth and you are wearing the breastplate of righteousness.  Good things to remember if you are going to put on the full armor of God.

Now we come to the feet.  Just as you had to shoe the horse’s feet with shoes in Roman times, Paul used this term so that the people would understand what he was meaning.  In order to shoe a horse with shoes, you had to prepare their hooves.  It took time, energy and money but it was well worth the effort.  Because without shoes, a horse could come up lame real easy.  And what is true for horses is also true in the spiritual realm of putting on the full armor of God.

Now let’s think about this statement that Paul gives us to shod YOUR FEET WITH THE PREPARATION OF THE GOSPEL OF PEACE.  How do you shod YOUR FEET spiritually?  Well, in order to understand how to do that we first have to understand what we are shoeing our feet with.  The last part of the verse tells us what it is: WITH THE PREPARATION OF THE GOSPEL OF PEACE.  Now hopefully we all know what the GOSPEL OF PEACE is.  It is the gospel of Good News that brings peace to all who will trust in Him.  It is laid out for us in 1 Corinthians: Now I make known to you, brethren, the gospel which I preached to you, which also you received, in which also you stand, by which also you are saved, if you hold fast the word which I preached to you, unless you believed in vain. For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received, that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, and that He was buried, and that He was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures (1 Corinthians 15:1-4 NASB).  Here is the gospel which means truth: 1. Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures.  2.  He was buried.  3.  He was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures.  My friend, that is the gospel in a nutshell.  That is the foundation stone for every believer.  Jesus died, He was buried and He rose again on the third day. 

Now, I want you to notice that our VOTD uses the term THE PREPARATION OF.   What does preparation mean and how do you do it?  Some of what Webster’s gives us says: The act or operation of preparing or fitting for a particular purpose, use, service or condition; as the preparation of land for a crop of wheat; the preparation of troops for a campaign; the preparation of a nation for war.  So if you are going to prepare to go to war with the enemy (Satan) and you want to stand firm against the schemes of the devil because he is the one that you are doing spiritual warfare against, then you are going to have to shoe your feet with the gospel of peace.  I want you to remember what we have been told in a previous verse: 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 (Ephesians 6:12 NASB).

So, just as you would prepare for battle beforehand, so in the same way you have to prepare for battle with the devil.  How?  By taking time and energy and effort to learn about the gospel of peace and to learn what men’s/women’s objections are to it.  It is learning delivery methods and learning how to combat their objections to it.  It is learning how to give your testimony.  It is learning where in the Bible the right passages are that you can show a person the way to the Good News.  It is learning and praying that God will equip you and train you and then use you so that others might come to know who the Lord Jesus Christ is.  He is not just a name.  He is a person who wants ALL to believe in Him but you have to tell them the Good News.  Question is: are you preparing to share the gospel of peace with anyone?  If you aren’t then you aren’t putting on the full armor of God.  You are only putting on a partial armor if you don’t have your feet shod WITH THE PREPARATION OF THE GOSPEL OF PEACE.

Next, I want you to see what the gospel is called.  It is called the gospel of peaceWhy?  My friend, you should know the answer already.  If you don’t know why it is called the gospel of peace then you need to examine your heart and soul to see if you are in Christ or just playing church.  Of course, it is called the gospel of peace because that is what it gives each believer in Christ.  Jesus says to us: Peace I leave with you; My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Do not let your heart be troubled, nor let it be fearful (John 14:27 NASB).  And those who walk in the Spirit know that this verse is true: And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus (Philippians 4:7 NASB).  And if you don’t have peace in your heart right now, then guess what…. Something has changed in your relationship with Christ.  For I tell you a truth, you will always have peace if you are walking in the Spirit and doing the will of Him who died for you.

Lastly, I want to share with you what the Bible says about those who have their feet shod WITH THE PREPARATION OF THE GOSPEL OF PEACE.  God’s Holy Word tells us that: How lovely on the mountains Are the feet of him who brings good news, Who announces peace And brings good news of happiness, Who announces salvation, And says to Zion, “Your God reigns!” (Isaiah 52:7 NASB).  And … Just as it is written, “HOW BEAUTIFUL ARE THE FEET OF THOSE WHO BRING GOOD NEWS OF GOOD THINGS!” (Romans 10:15 NASB). 

Here is the truth, the bottom line for the gospel of peace:  Now all these things are from God, who reconciled us to Himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation, namely, that God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and He has committed to us the word of reconciliation. Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God were making an appeal through us; we beg you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God. He made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him (2 Corinthians 5:18-21 NASB).  Question is: Will you prepare yourself to share the gospel of peace?

Lord, please forgive me for not preparing more.  Lord, I need to learn more and know more.  Lord, I need to share more.  Lord, please burden my heart to become more like Jesus.  Everywhere He went, He was always sharing the Good News.  Even when He was tired and thirsty like when He talked to the woman at the well in John 8.  Lord, I need to grow in this area of my life so that you can use me more and I will be able to put on the full armor of God.  Lord, I love you.

Yours in Christ,
Bob Maynard


19 May 2016 Verse of the Day

Ephesians 6:14 NASB  Stand firm therefore, HAVING GIRDED YOUR LOINS WITH TRUTH, and HAVING PUT ON THE BREASTPLATE OF RIGHTEOUSNESS,

Today and for the next few days, we get to talk about the individual pieces of God’s armor that He wants you to wear to protect you from the evil one.  Paul starts off with stand firm.  This relates directly to the previous verse because he ties the phrase Stand firm with therefore.  And we can see this in the previous verse which says: Ephesians 6:13 NASB  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.  Have you ever thought about how you will be able to resist in the evil day?  He tells you that you can resist by standing firm.  And you can stand firm by having put on the full armor of God.  Do you see how they are all tied together?  They are like links in chain.  And we all know that the chain is only as strong as its weakest link.  Question is: What is your weakest link in your armor?

The first piece of the armor of God that is listed is HAVING GIRDED YOUR LOINS WITH TRUTH.  You have probably already anticipated my first question.  Why is this listed first?  Well, think about how you get dressed.  Most people, get dressed from the bottom up.  In other words, they put their pants on before their shirt.  And this is the most logical since, if you are going to tuck your shirt in, you have to have your jeans or slacks on first otherwise you have nothing to tuck your shirt into.  But to me, it is not order of dressing that is the most important but the foundation principle that he states: GIRDED YOUR LOINS.  The very basic starting point or the foundation principle that all of the rest of the other pieces of armor rest on is the foundation stone of truth.  You have to start with HAVING GIRDED YOUR LOINS WITH TRUTH to be able to build the rest of the armor on a firm foundation.  It is just like when Jesus talked about building a house on the foundation of rock or sand: “Therefore everyone who hears these words of Mine and acts on them, may be compared to a wise man who built his house on the rock. “And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and slammed against that house; and yet it did not fall, for it had been founded on the rock. “Everyone who hears these words of Mine and does not act on them, will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand. “The rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and slammed against that house; and it fell–and great was its fall.” (Matthew 7:24-27 NASB).

The very first piece of the armor of God is TRUTH.  The Bible has a lot to say about truth.  First of all, Jesus says that as a follower of Him:  So Jesus was saying to those Jews who had believed Him, “If you continue in My word, then you are truly disciples of Mine; and you will know the truth, and the truth will make you free.” (John 8:31-32 NASB).  You can be free from the worry of lies and deceit if you always tell the truth and live in the light as He Himself is the light of this world.  Let’s look at some of the verses that talks about truth so that we can start to understand how important this foundation piece of the armor of God is to our wellbeing:  “But he who practices the truth comes to the Light, so that his deeds may be manifested as having been wrought in God.” (John 3:21 NASB).  “God is spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth.”  (John 4:24 NASB).  Jesus *said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me (John 14:6 NASB).  that is the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it does not see Him or know Him, but you know Him because He abides with you and will be in you (John 14:17 NASB).  “But when He, the Spirit of truth, comes, He will guide you into all the truth; for He will not speak on His own initiative, but whatever He hears, He will speak; and He will disclose to you what is to come (John 16:13 NASB).  “Sanctify them in the truth; Your word is truth (John 17:17 NASB).  For we can do nothing against the truth, but only for the truth (2 Corinthians 13:8 NASB).  but speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in all aspects into Him who is the head, even Christ (Ephesians 4:15 NASB).  if indeed you have heard Him and have been taught in Him, just as truth is in Jesus (Ephesians 4:21 NASB).

Let’s face the facts: If you are going to live the life as a Christian, a Christ-follower, a born-again believer, you MUST have YOUR LOINS GIRDED WITH TRUTH.

But there is a second piece of the armor of God listed in our VOTD and it is: HAVING PUT ON THE BREASTPLATE OF RIGHTEOUSNESS.  This is your shirt, if you will, in your armor.  But the breastplate not only covered the front, it also covered the back.  That is what it means when it says full armor of God.  You would put on the front piece first and then the back piece and it would give you full protection, even from those back stabbers that would do you harm.   Why would this piece of armor protect you?  Because it is built of the foundation stone of truth and it is motivated to be just like God who does all things in RIGHTEOUSNESS.  He put on righteousness like a breastplate, And a helmet of salvation on His head; And He put on garments of vengeance for clothing And wrapped Himself with zeal as a mantle (Isaiah 59:17 NASB).  We are told to seek His righteousness: “But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you (Matthew 6:33 NASB).  God is righteous in all that He says and does: “The Rock! His work is perfect, For all His ways are just; A God of faithfulness and without injustice, Righteous and upright is He (Deuteronomy 32:4 NASB).

So here is the bottom line:  If you and I are going to walk in the truth and righteousness that the Bible describes as part of our full armor of God then we are going to have to walk in the same manner that our Lord walked: the one who says he abides in Him ought himself to walk in the same manner as He walked (1 John 2:6 NASB).  The only way I know to do that is let truth and righteousness be my foundation garments that are the first pieces of the full armor of God.

Lord, help me to be the man that I should be.  Please convict me of my sin that I can confess it and repent of it.  Lord, please burden my heart to do your will in the manner that pleases you.  Help me to walk and live in truth.  Help me to always be doing what pleases you in the righteousness of the Spirit.  Help me to have eyes to see and ears to hear and to have a willing heart to do your good will and pleasure in all things.  Lord, I love you.

Yours in Christ,
Bob Maynard


18 May 2016 Verse of the Day

Ephesians 6:13 NASB  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.

Today, we get to talk about the full armor of God againWe first found this verse back in Ephesians 6:11 NASB  Put on the full armor of God, so that you will be able to stand firm against the schemes of the devil.  
 
I want you to notice the similarity between the two verses: V11 says to Put on the full armor of God.  V13 says to take up the full armor of God.  And then as a result of having the full armor of God, V11 says so that you will be able to stand firm.  V13 says having done everything, to stand firm.  So, what do you think the reason is for all of this repetition?  Could it be that God wants you to know you NEED to take action and put on the full armor of God so that you will be able to resist in the evil day, having done everything, to stand firm against the schemes of the devil.  I say this again and again: it is YOUR RESPONSIBILITY to put on the full armor of God.  No one else can do it for you.  You alone are responsible.  Ignorance is no excuse.  Lack of understand won’t cut it.  And laziness will never suffice as an excuse.

Again, the first word in our VOTD is Therefore and I believe it is referring simply to the previous verse which says:  Ephesians 6:12 NASB  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.  And because V12 is true, V13 starts off with Therefore.  In other words, because we don’t struggle against flesh and blood but against rulers and powers of darkness and spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places we MUST take up the full armor of God.  There is no other way to combat the forces of evil.  We have no greater power.  And we always need to remember when we have the full armor of God on then this verse is true in our lives: You are from God, little children, and have overcome them; because greater is He who is in you than he who is in the world (1 John 4:4 NASB).

So the first question comes to mind: Is there a difference between put on the full armor of God and take up the full armor of God?  In my mind, there is no difference except the time frame of what you are looking at in the process of wearing the full armor of God.  If you can get a picture in your mind of what a person is doing when they are putting on a suit of armor, then you will see that each of these statements are just snap-shots in time of the process of wearing the full armor of God.  In one you are picking up the armor to wear it (take up) and the next you already have the armor in your hand and are “suiting-up” (put on) with your armor.  Both picture the process of wearing your armor.  Both are actions that the individual performs in getting ready for the battle.  The important thing to remember about both statements is that take up and put on both reflect a process.  It takes time to do both.  They are not instantaneous.  They are both processes of the same thing.  These verses reflect this process: and put on the new self, which in the likeness of God has been created in righteousness and holiness of the truth (Ephesians 4:24 NASB).  But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh in regard to its lusts (Romans 13:14 NASB).  and have put on the new self who is being renewed to a true knowledge according to the image of the One who created him (Colossians 3:10 NASB).

And since both statements take time to complete, this saying is true about taking up and putting on the full armor of God: Be patient with me, God is not through with me yet.  In other words, when you see someone that does NOT have their full armor on, understand that it is God’s responsibility to work with that individual to get them fully suited up and not yours.  You have no right and no responsibility to point out the faults of other Christians and their armor.  Trust me, God can do a much, much better job of convicting them than your sharp criticism of their lack of armor.

Today’s VOTD reveals that God has a purpose for our armor other than being able to just stand firm that we talked about a couple of days ago.  He tells us in our current verse that another purpose is so that you will be able to resist in the evil day.  What does it mean to resist?  Part of what Webster’s says is: Literally, to stand against; to withstand; hence, to act in opposition, or to oppose. a dam or mound resists a current of water passively, by standing unmoved and interrupting its progress. An army resists the progress of an enemy actively, by encountering and defeating it.  For a Christ-follower, it means when we are wearing the full armor of God we will be able to resist the temptations and diversions that the devil sends our way.  Why?  Because just as we said earlier: because greater is He who is in you than he who is in the world.  God gives us further encouragement when He says to us: Submit therefore to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you (James 4:7 NASB).  Be of sober spirit, be on the alert. Your adversary, the devil, prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. But resist him, firm in your faith, knowing that the same experiences of suffering are being accomplished by your brethren who are in the world (1 Peter 5:8-9 NASB).

Let’s face the facts: If you are going to do what V10 & 11 tells us then you are going to have to wear the full armor of God continually.  What does V10 & 11 tell us?  Here it is: Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of His might. Put on the full armor of God, so that you will be able to stand firm against the schemes of the devil (Ephesians 6:10-11 NASB).

Lord, I want to be strong and live in the strength of your might.  I know that I am weak and cannot stand on my own.  But I also know that I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.  Lord, please live in me this day.  Help me to suit up with the full armor of God so that I might be able to resist the schemes of the devil and might stand strong in the face of temptations.  Lord, please fill me and use me for your purposes this day.  Lord, I love you.

Yours in Christ,
Bob Maynard


17 May 2016 Verse of the Day

Ephesians 6:12 NASB  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.

This verse gives us the reason for the previous two verses which tells us to … be strong in the Lord and in the strength of His might. Put on the full armor of God, so that you will be able to stand firm against the schemes of the devil (Ephesians 6:10-11 NASB).  We learn some very interesting facts from this verse and it gives us insight as to why we have some of the problems that we do.

First, I want you to notice the word struggle.  What does it mean?  Webster’s gives us several definitions, some of which are: 1. Properly, to strive, or to make efforts with a twisting or with contortions of the body.  2. To use great efforts; to labor hard; to strive; to contend; as, to struggle to save life; to struggle with the waves; to struggle against the stream; to struggle with adversity. 3. To labor in pain or anguish; to be in agony; to labor in any kind of difficulty or distress.  But then it goes on to give us more definitions as a noun that say: 1. Great labor; forcible effort to obtain an object, or to avoid an evil; properly, a violent effort with contortions of the body.  2. Contest; contention; strife.  I believe it is sufficient for us to say that in this case in our VOTD, our struggle is our strivings against sin and moral corruption in this evil and adulterous generation.

Next, I want you to notice that our struggle is not against flesh and blood.  Wow.  That is a real eye opener.  We aren’t fighting and struggling against flesh and blood.  In other words, we are not fighting against other human beings or governments or powers that are controlled by the human population of this world.  In fact, our struggle has nothing to do with any other human being on this planet.  WOW!  I don’t know about you but that was a real revelation to me when I first read it.  I always thought I was fighting sin and corruption that people did and the wrongs they committed.  But then I learned it is not the people that I am fighting but the spirit that is controlling them.  Let me give you a biblical example of what I am talking about.  Do you remember the man that had the legion of demons in him?  And He was asking him, “What is your name?” And he *said to Him, “My name is Legion; for we are many.” (Mark 5:9 NASB).  And what was he like before Jesus cast the demons out?  and he had his dwelling among the tombs. And no one was able to bind him anymore, even with a chain; because he had often been bound with shackles and chains, and the chains had been torn apart by him and the shackles broken in pieces, and no one was strong enough to subdue him. Constantly, night and day, he was screaming among the tombs and in the mountains, and gashing himself with stones (Mark 5:3-5 NASB).  And then what was he like after Jesus cast out the demons?  They *came to Jesus and *observed the man who had been demon-possessed sitting down, clothed and in his right mind, the very man who had had the “legion” … (Mark 5:15 NASB).  Do you see and understand?  It was not the man that was doing the evil bad things but it was the legion of demons in him that was controlling him.  In other words, it was not flesh and blood but spiritual forces of wickedness in him that was controlling him.  My friend, because of this “revelation from the Lord” you can love the sinner and hate the sin.  You can put your arms around the sinner and comfort the one who does wrong because you know it is the evil spirit of Satan that led to their sin.  That is why we need Jesus so much in our lives.  He is the only one who can “bind the strong man” and plunder his wicked house.

Finally, we learn the truth of the matter.  We learn from this verse what the real problem is in our world and among mankind.  The sin problem in this world is against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places.  Our problem is that we can’t even see the enemy.  We can’t hear him talk.  We can’t see him walk.  And we don’t have a concept of how big the problem really is.  This verse gives us just a glimpse of the magnitude of the problem when it stays rulers and powers and world forces.  Do you see how big that is?  How about whole countries, continents and governments?  Wow.  It goes on to tell is that the problem is world forces of this darkness.  In other words, the whole world is enveloped in the darkness.  You can’t see, or know or understand the truth in darkness.  That is where the devil does his best work, in darkness.  Have you never wondered why most sins are committed in darkness?  It is because the devil is known as the “prince of darkness” and that is where he does his best work.

But one of the most startling revelations of this verse is the last phrase which says: spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly placesNow I want you to know first of all that we don’t understand this phrase entirely because the Bible tells us correctly that … we see through a glass, darkly … (1 Corinthians 13:12 KJV).  I don’t understand how spiritual forces of wickedness can be in the heavenly places, but I know it is true.  How do I know it is true?  Because the Bible tells me that Satan was in heaven: Now there was a day when the sons of God came to present themselves before the LORD, and Satan also came among them (Job 1:6 NASB).  The Bible also tells me that Satan fell from heaven: And He said to them, “I was watching Satan fall from heaven like lightning (Luke 10:18 NASB).  I believe this is one of the reasons that the Bible tells us that there will be a new heaven and a new earth with no more sin, sorrow and corruption: Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth; for the first heaven and the first earth passed away, and there is no longer any sea (Revelation 21:1 NASB).

Here is the bottom line:  Because you know it is true that 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, it should motivate you to walk all the closer to Jesus.  At every opportunity the devil wants to consume you, devour you and cause you pain, sorrow and suffering: Be of sober spirit, be on the alert. Your adversary, the devil, prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour (1 Peter 5:8 NASB).  Call on Jesus.  Trust Jesus. And let Jesus fight your battles against the spiritual forces of wickedness and then you can sing the song along with the rest of the saints: Victory in Jesus:

O victory in Jesus,
My Savior, forever.
He sought me and bought me
With His redeeming blood;
He loved me ere I knew Him
And all my love is due Him,
He plunged me to victory,
Beneath the cleansing flood.

Lord, please forgive me for my past sins when I have let Satan have the victory.  Lord, so many, many times I have made the wrong decisions by not allowing my faith to lead me in the paths of righteousness.  Lord, please enable me to have spiritual eyes to see the enemy and to know and understand how to fight him by putting on the full armor of God.  Lord, I want to be totally yours, lock, stock and barrel.  Lord, I love you.
 
Yours in Christ,
Bob Maynard


16 May 2016 Verse of the Day

Ephesians 6:11 NASB Put on the full armor of God, so that you will be able to stand firm against the schemes of the devil.

Yesterday we were told by God’s Holy Word to be strong in the Lord and in the strength of His might (Ephesians 6:10 NASB) and now we understand how to we can be strong in the Lord… and that is by putting on the full armor of God. The reason for putting on the full armor of God is also given in this verse when it says so that you will be able to stand firm against the schemes of the devil. Tomorrow we will understand more about the reason why we need to put on the full armor of God because the Bible tells us that 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 (Ephesians 6:12 NASB). I say all of this so that you might understand that God’s Holy Word all flows together. It gives us not only cause and effect but it also gives us the reasons why God says to us what He does. He wants us to be victorious. He wants us to be the winners. He wants us to become more like Him in how we think, act and do. but thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ (1 Corinthians 15:57 NASB).

So He first tells us to put on the full armor of God. Now I want you to notice that it is YOUR responsibility to put on the armor. God has given you the privilege and the responsibility to do it. He is not going to do it for you. Your husband or wife or your close Christian friend is not going to do it for you. In fact, they can’t do it for you. You are the only one who can put on your own armor. I will also tell you that it makes no difference how old you are physically. You can still put on your own armor. If you are old enough to be born-again in Christ, then you are old enough to put on your own armor. In fact again, putting on the full armor of God has nothing to do with your physical age, IQ or physical abilities. Then again, putting on the full armor of God is not limited by your spiritual maturity or your spiritual ability. EVERY CHRISTIAN can put on the full armor of God.

Why do I say all of that? It is because every person that is in Christ, man, woman, boy or girl can and must put on the full armor of God, so that you will be able to stand firm against the schemes of the devil. And just as a man that is about to go into battle against the enemy will take every precaution and make sure that they put on their physical armor very carefully and that it is put on correctly, so we as Christians must put on the full armor of God carefully and correctly. If you only put on some of the armor of God or don’t put on the armor of God correctly, it will leave you vulnerable to spiritual forces of wickedness. Defeat and discouragement can easily be avoided when the Christian puts on the full armor of God correctly.

Now you might be asking yourself one question: What is the full armor of God? Well, I am glad you asked that but I am not going to answer it quite yet. I will say this. The full armor of God is spiritual. It is not physical. It is not mental. It is not emotional. It is spiritual and it is all about what God the Father gives you in Christ. You have accessibility and the ability to put it on only if you are in Christ. Because the armor of God is only found in Jesus. Just as He says in John 15:5 without me you can do nothing, so it is true that without Him you have no armor. I tell you a truth that unless you have Jesus in your life, you have no life at all and no access to His armor.

Now I want you to notice second of all that there is a purpose for the armor of God and that is so that you will be able to stand firm against the schemes of the devil. I want you to know something that maybe you just have never thought of: The devil (Satan) is always scheming against you and God. And he has been scheming for a long time (ever since the Garden of Eden) and he is good at it because he has had lots and lots of practice. Do you know what a schemer is? It is someone who has a plan to prevent you from doing what you plan to do so that they can be victorious. A schemer wants to stop you by hook or crook. And, I want you to notice, that the devil has not just one or two plans, he has many schemes. He is always scheming against you. And that happens at every turn in the road. He is seeking to stop you, to prevent you, to thwart you at every opportunity. And that my friend is one of the reasons why you need to put on the full armor of God so that his schemes won’t stop you or prevent you from being victorious in Jesus.

There is another reason that you need to put on the full armor of God and that is so that you will be able to stand. If you have the full armor of God you don’t have to crawl or beg or plead for mercy or do any other acrobatics. You can simply stand against the schemes of the devil. There is another aspect of standing that I want you to see. You can stand firm. In other words, there is no wishy-washy, mealy-mouth standing. There is no changing your mind because you can stand firm because you have His full armor on.

Do you know why you can stand firm? It is because you have God’s armor on. It is His armor not your armor. We are weak and easily conquered without God’s armor. But when you are strong in the Lord and in the strength of His might by putting on the full armor of God you can stand strong against the schemes of the devil.

Why would any Christian not want to stand strong against the schemes of the devil? Why would any child of the King want to be conquered? It is not because they want to be defeated but they just don’t understand what the devil’s goals are. It is because they don’t understand that the wages of sin is death. Sin is always attractive and appealing. It promises life and fun and enjoyment but it delivers death, misery and sadness. Defeat, doom and gloom is the devil’s goals. And it is sad to say, but he has been victorious in many Christians lives for many, many years.

Ok, I have kept you in suspense long enough. Question: So you really want to know what the full armor of God is? The full armor of God is what we are going to be talking about starting day after tomorrow. Here is the full armor of God straight from God’s Holy Word:

Ephesians 6:13-18 NASB
(13) 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.
(14) Stand firm therefore, HAVING GIRDED YOUR LOINS WITH TRUTH, and HAVING PUT ON THE BREASTPLATE OF RIGHTEOUSNESS,
(15) and having shod YOUR FEET WITH THE PREPARATION OF THE GOSPEL OF PEACE;
(16) in addition to all, taking up the shield of faith with which you will be able to extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one.
(17) And take THE HELMET OF SALVATION, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.
(18) With all prayer and petition pray at all times in the Spirit, and with this in view, be on the alert with all perseverance and petition for all the saints,

My friend, will you start praying now that the Lord God of heaven and earth will help you understand what the full armor of God is and that He will enable you to understand how to put it on. For without His full armor we are vulnerable to the schemes of the devil.

Lord, I need your wisdom and your knowledge on how to put on the full armor of God. For without it I believe I am vulnerable to the savage attacks and schemes of the devil. Lord, I want to be victorious and I know that the only way I can be victorious is that I might be found in walking in the power of your strength with your full armor on. Lord, enable me, use me and mold me into the person you want me to be. Lord, I love you.

Yours in Christ, 
Bob Maynard


15 May 2016 Verse of the Day

Ephesians 6:10 NASB  Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of His might.

As you know, we are coming to the end of the book of Ephesians.  And as Paul penned these words, he knew it also.  Some of these last verses that we will cover in the next few days will be some of the most powerful verses in the New Testament on how to live your life as a born-again believer.  Just as God often saves the best till last (Jesus came in these last days) so also Paul gives us some of his best thoughts in these last verses of Ephesians.

He starts off with Finally.  This is the indicator that we are getting close to the end of his thoughts for this letter.  This summation was also his habit in some of his other letters: Finally, brethren, rejoice, be made complete, be comforted, be like-minded, live in peace; and the God of love and peace will be with you (2 Corinthians 13:11 NASB).  Finally, my brethren, rejoice in the Lord. To write the same things again is no trouble to me, and it is a safeguard for you (Philippians 3:1 NASB).  Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, dwell on these things (Philippians 4:8 NASB).  All of these statements in his other letters are summing up his thoughts on what is the bottom line for his reasons for writing these letters.  And so it is in our case for Ephesians, he wants us to know what he wants us to be in the Lord: be strong in the Lord and in the strength of His might.

What do you want for you children?  Of course, you want them to grow up strong and healthy.  You want them to be healthy in mind, body and spirit.  You want them to be strong physically and not weak and sickly.  You want them to be smart but not a “smart alec.”  You want them to have a sense of humor and have a pleasant personality.  And above all, you want them to fall in love with the Lord Jesus Christ and be saved.  So what do you do to make all of these things happen?  You try to the best of your ability to: Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it (Proverbs 22:6 KJV).

So Paul looked at the Ephesian believers as his children.  And what did he want for them?  He wanted them to be strong in the Lord.  Now I know I have said this in the past, maybe in a different way, but the principle is the same.  You can’t get strong physically by being a couch-potato.  You have to get up and hit the gym.  Now I ask you: What is the principle of getting in shape, losing weight and growing strong muscles in your body?  Can anyone say EXERCISE? What happens when you first start exercising?  How do you feel the next day?  “Oh, my aching muscles.  I am sore where I didn’t even know I had muscles.”  Do you know why we resist “getting exercise?”  It is because we get “lazy” and don’t want to put in the “work” to exercise.  It is easier to put-it-off and make excuses than it is to get up and go exercise.  But one fact remains: If we are going to “get in shape” then we must exercise.

What is true for physical strength is also true for spiritual strength.  In order to be strong in the Lord you have to exercise spiritual muscles.  Do you know when you got your spiritual muscles?  You got them when you were born-again by the Spirit of the Living God. Jesus said: “That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. “Do not be amazed that I said to you, ‘You must be born again.’ (John 3:6-7 NASB).  And just as a little baby needs certain things to grow strong, so a baby Christian needs certain things to be strong in the Lord.  A baby exercises physically.  A baby Christian exercises spiritually.  HOW?  By faith.  But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him. (Hebrews 11:6 KJV). 

A Christian that is seeking to be strong in the Lord is one that is exercising their faith in the Lord and His Holy Word, in His Will and in His Way.  Jesus said: “Sanctify them in the truth; Your word is truth (John 17:17 NASB).  Do you know what sanctify means?  Set them apart.  In other words: Make them strong in the Lord.  And how does He do that?  Through His word, the Bible.  Jesus says: It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh profits nothing; the words that I have spoken to you are spirit and are life (John 6:63 NASB).

I want you to notice one last statement in our VOTD.  And that is that you can ONLY be strong in the Lord when you are strong in the strength of His might.  It is not your strength but it is the strength of His might.  We have been taught to pray the Lord’s Prayer.  Part of that prayer is: ‘Give us this day our daily bread (Matthew 6:11 NASB).  What is the daily bread for?  It is for physical strength.  We ask God to give us physical bread so that we might receive and be strong physically.  God is the provider of the bread.  God is also the provider of our spiritual strength and we stand strong in the strength of His might.  We need to ask Him to give us His spiritual strength so that we may be strong spiritually.  We ask Him to make us strong spiritually by His strength so that we can stand up in times of trials, tribulations and temptations.  We stand only by our faith.  So our faith needs to be strong in Him.  And in the end we recognize that it is a fact that we only stand strong in the strength of His might.

Lord, I want to be strong in the strength of your might.  Lord, I want to humble myself under the mighty hand of God so that you can make me the man that I should be.  I realize Lord, that without you I can do nothing but with you I can do all things through you who strengthens me.  Lord, please mold me into the man you want me to be so that I can be pleasing to you in all things.  Lord, I love you.

Yours in Christ,
Bob Maynard



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