Full Armor of God -Sword Of The Spirit

warrior5-iconI have several of these ‘Warriors in Denim’.

St Paul said this about the full armor of God:
“Therefore take up the whole armor of God that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.
Stand therefore,

  1. having girded your waist with the belt of Truth,
  2. having put on the breastplate of Righteousness,
  3. having shod your feet with the sandals of the Gospel of Peace;
  4. above all, taking the shield of Faith, with which you will be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked one,
  5. and take the helmet of Salvation,
  6. and the sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God.”
    Ephesians 6: 13 -17

With the world as it is, we really need this now, AND what’s more…

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…we need ‘righteousness’, ie being in right standing with God (nothing to do with self-righteousness which is most surely the opposite) to avail ourselves of these weapons.

The Sword of The Spirit

Paul elucidates further on the Sword of the Spirit in Hebrews 4:12:

“For the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spiritjoints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.”

What a powerful weapon that is!  Especially for discernment, which is much needed in today’s world.

In this regard, note the importance of being prepared for spiritual warfare,  emphasized in my post Changing The Battle Ground.

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Artwork and Products available in my Damascus Road Gallery. Or click on the images.

Patricia

http://damascusroad.news

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And He Shall Reign in Miracles

he-shall-reign-iconThis afternoon, I have a personal miracle to report.  Yesterday – just over 24 hours ago – I was kicked in the leg by a horse.  I saw this coming one millisecond before he lashed out, so no time to take evasive action.  The force of the kick knocked me to the ground.

This is a young colt, recently gelded, so he still has plenty of spunk.  As I lay in the grass my first thought was “Is my leg broken?”   I am no way a teenager, so the concern was very, very real to me.  As we get older, if we don’t watch out, the world fills our minds with all kinds of negative expectations about the deterioration of our bodies.

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Cautiously, and shaking like a leaf, I got up – Hallelujah, I can stand, and put a little weight on it.  I opened a gate to move the horses into fresh pasture, then limped slowly back down to the house.

My first reaction was to thank the Lord for saving me from a worse outcome.  Broken leg?  Hospitalisation?  Wait a minute, I live alone and have animals to look after – can’t afford to be sidelined.  Don’t need a broken leg, either.

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I put some iodine on the wound (on the front of the lower leg below the knee and right on the bone) but the knee had obviously taken a serious jolt.  This knee used to give me trouble as a hill walker, and it was hurting more than the wound, which was starting to swell up like an egg.  I tried to pull an elastic sleeve over my foot to support the knee, and that caused excruciating pain up in the side of the joint.   Humm…   Deciding against the elastic, I got out a full length crepe bandage and put that on.

I knew from past experience that this would probably hurt more the next day than it was hurting then, so I resolved to get some shopping done right away.  Praying for help and support and still a bit shaky, I drove the 5 miles to our nearest shops and – thank goodness for the Lord, automatic transmission and supermarket trollies – managed to do shopping.

Night fell.  The leg seemed uncomfortable wherever I put it, but somehow with the help of a pillow I managed to get it reasonably rested – and fell asleep!  I slept the night straight through (unusual for me).

Today I’m hobbling around on an old walking stick – not without pain, I might say.  I’ve spent a good part of the day on the bed, with my leg up.  The swelling at the site of the wound has gone down.  The knee has swelled with some bruising beginning to show at the sides, and it is very painful to put weight on.  But altogether an amazing miracle, especially when I think of all the hassle and drama that would have gone on had my leg been broken (my nearest hospital is over 70 miles away, for a start).

So what comes out of this experience?  The most important thing I think is being granted to SEE it as a miracle.     The lesson lies in 1 Thessalonians 5:18:

“Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.”

I believe that being aware of the Lord’s presence on a daily basis, and being ready and willing to find reason to give thanks no matter what, is a key to seeing His work in our lives.  Saint Paul knew this – it’s a lot better than grumbling about what happened.

More about that next time.

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Artwork: acrylic on paper, capital painted in gold ink. – Artwork and Products available in my Damascus Road Gallery.  Or click on images.

Patricia

http://damascusroad.news

 

 

 

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So What?

“Well,” you may say, “so what?  This man Paul got hit by some kind of lightning bolt, and thought he had a mission.  So what?”

Well, the proof of the pudding, as always, is in the eating.  Paul was born some time in a 20 year period around  the birth of Christ.  His Damascus Road experience can be pinpointed between 31 and 36AD, so he was approaching middle age when his real career began.  He was executed by Emperor Nero in Rome around 65 AD, by which time he was at least in his late 60s.  For over thirty years, then, he traveled the Mediterranean, by boat and on foot, preaching the Gospel and setting up and supporting groups of believers which were called ‘churches’, but because of the dangers of the times they were really house groups.

He was the subject of enmity from the Jewish priests and their followers, from expatriate Jews, from followers of pagan religions, from the Roman authorities, and from people in his churches who tried to steal his standing with those he had converted.

Many of the passages in his letters that seem strange to us on first reading become clear when we appreciate that not only was he dealing with the specific qualities of the locality (eg  troublesome Corinth – a wealthy, bustling, cosmopolitan city where surplus meat from pagan sacrifices could end up for sale in the market), but also with countless disagreements between individual followers, and serious attacks on his own integrity.

Here is his account of some of the trials that befell him during those years:

“Five times at the hands of the Jews I received forty lashes less one: (40 lashes was a death penalty) three times I was beaten with rods: I was stoned once, shipwrecked three times; I passed a day and a night on the sea. I traveled continually, endangered by floods, robbers, my own people, the Gentiles; imperiled in the city, in the desert, at sea, by false brothers; enduring labor, hardship, many sleepless nights; in hunger and thirst and frequent fastings; in cold and nakedness.”
2 Corinthinns 11: 24-27

He was also imprisoned three times, and traveled in chains from Jerusalem to Rome.

So – from being the Persecutor, he became the Persecuted.  From being the highly educated fount of knowledge, he became the troublemaker.  From being securely established in his understanding of ‘the Law’, he entered the swirling waters of dispute and backbiting to convert and then nurture souls in a brand new concept of faith.

How many people would gladly make that change, take on that role, pursue it so long, and suffer that fate without some very strong conviction?

Patricia

http://damascusroad.news

Have YOU had a Damascus Road Experience?

If we only realize it, God has a purpose for every one of us in this life, no less today than 20 centuries ago. Because He created us to have free will, we have the option to choose to embrace that purpose through Christ, or continue on the path of sin and death.

“For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works.”   Saint Paul, Ephesians 2 : 10it was the story of his life.

With his cultured background and religious fervor, Saul was the ideal choice to carry the Gospel to the civilizations of the Mediterranean. He was fluent in three languages, highly educated, accustomed to dealing with people in positions of power, and strong in his faith.   That is why he was totally engaged in the persecution and destruction of all of Christ’s followers.

These qualities of tenacity and determination made Saul a difficult prospect for conversion – a man who required a real mind-blowing experience to get his attention and make him rethink his priorities. His experience on the road to Damascus was certainly that:

As he neared Damascus, suddenly a light from heaven flashed around him.  He fell to the ground and heard a voice say to him, “Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me?”

 “Who are you, Lord?” Saul asked.

“I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting,” he replied.   “Now get up and enter the city, and you will be told what you must do.

And he was three days without sight, and neither ate nor drank.

There WILL be a “Damascus Road” for you. Don’t expect yours to be as dramatic as St Paul’s, or yours and mine to be similar – God tailors each one to suit us individually.

You will have to make a choice that will impact your life totally for good or for bad. Don’t underestimate what hangs on your choice.

“For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Saint Paul, Romans 6 : 23

This quote is not just a formula of words.  People need to understand that the choices they make now will impact on them for all eternity.  God is working on this planet, behind the scenes but with great power, and He asks us join Him in running His business.

Story of St Paul’s conversion told in Acts 9 :1 -31

Patricia

http://damascusroad.news