Nike–Just Do It!

Nike swoosh

1 John 5:4 For whatever is born of God overcomes the world. And this is the victory that has overcome the world—our faith.

Nike coined the phrase “just do it” and emphasized it with the swoosh that is displayed on their athletic shoes. But did you know that the word NIKE is actually a Biblical word? Nike is the Greek word used in 1 John 5:4 for victory. It is pronounced nee’-kay and is used only one time in the Bible and that is in this verse where it means conquest; the means of success; –victory. From the root word of Nike comes the word nikao which means to subdue; conquer, overcome, prevail, get the victory. It is through our faith that we learn to press through to the victory; to overcome and experience the conquest of success; to prevail until the battle is won and the victory is ours! Faith overcomes!

But it’s one thing for us to say that faith is the victory that overcomes the world and another to actually experience the testing of our faith that proves our strength and ability to stand firm until we win the victory. The pedal meets the metal during the test and trial of our faith. James said that the testing of our faith produces patience. And that when that patience or endurance is completed that we will be perfect, or mature, lacking nothing. We are strengthened as we endure the test of trials and our faith is pressed and stretched to the point of breaking.

Bench pressing weights

According to Livestrong.com it is said that when your muscles burn it is typically the sign of an effective workout. “Burning and soreness indicate the building and recovery of muscle mass.” Of course, if you press your muscles to the point of injury then you have exceeded what is necessary for an effective workout and defeated your purpose in exercising. But a good workout works to build and strengthen the muscles and in a similar way the exercising of our faith muscle also strengthens it and brings us into the new level of victory that God would have us achieve through our faith. It is through the endurance that we experience through trials that breaks down our faith muscle and rebuilds it to strengthen it and make it effective.

James 1:2-4 My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience. But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing.

So, what do you do when your faith is being tested? What brings the NIKE into your life? How do you overcome when it seems that all hell is arrayed against you?

Proverbs 29:18 Where there is no revelation, the people cast off restraint; But happy is he who keeps the law.

Focus is a very important aspect of exercise whether it is for bodily benefit or in a spiritual battle. What you keep your eyes set on determines the direction you will take in any endeavor. Where there is no direction, no vision, no prophetic revelation the people cast off restraint; they run in all different directions with no purpose or meaning to direct them to their goal. For faith to be effective we must focus on the author and finisher of our faith; we must look unto the One who establishes our faith.

Hebrews 12:1, 2 Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.

Lay aside the things that are hindering you from achieving the victory and look unto Jesus! Look into the face of the One who authored your faith and Who finishes it or matures it in you. Keep your focus on what God has instructed you to do. Don’t look to the left or the right but keep your focus on Jesus for He has already walked the way to victory through overcoming death, hell and the grave through His crucifixion. A person cannot take another person where they have not been themselves. Jesus has already been where you are going; He won the victory! He experienced NIKE in His own life. He will show you the way to take to NIKE!

Watever you can do begin it

Zechariah 4:5-10 Then the angel who talked with me answered and said to me, “Do you not know what these are?” And I said, “No, my lord.” So he answered and said to me: “This is the word of the LORD to Zerubbabel; ‘Not by might nor by power, but by My Spirit,’ says the LORD of hosts. ‘Who are you, O great mountain? Before Zerubbabel you shall become a plain! And he shall bring forth the capstone With shouts of “Grace, grace to it!”’” Moreover the word of the LORD came to me, saying: “The hands of Zerubbabel Have laid the foundation of this temple; His hands shall also finish it. Then you will know That the LORD of hosts has sent Me to you. For who has despised the day of small things? For these seven rejoice to see The plumb line in the hand of Zerubbabel. They are the eyes of the LORD, Which scan to and fro throughout the whole earth.”

You may be thinking that there is no way you can achieve the victory in a certain area of your life. Sometimes the obstacles before us seem to be insurmountable, and we cower down in fear that we will not be able to withstand, much less achieve the victory. But just as Zerubbabel was told by the angel so I believe that God would say to us today that it is not in our own strength that we are able to attain the victory, but that our faith is empowered by the Spirit of God within us. He is the One who does the actual work to strengthen us and enable us to win. Anything that is done through human effort is no match for the enemy of our souls that is a spiritual entity. It is by God’s grace and through our faith that the Holy Spirit is allowed to work in and through us to achieve the victory!

The angel told Zerubbabel that through the Spirit’s power in him the mountain would become a plain; it would completely disappear and be as flat ground before him. But it would begin as a small thing. His ability to complete the temple would grow as he depended on the Spirit within him to help him. God gets the glory when we yield to His power within us to complete what we are called to do. Our faith grows as we see Him work in our lives. We are strengthened and encouraged to complete the work before us when we understand that if God is for us there is no foe that can stand in our way. Your mountain will become as a plain before you as you yield to and follow the leading of the Holy Spirit within and walk in His power and ability.

God told Joshua that there would be no one who could stand before him all the days of his life because God was with him.

Joshua 1:5 “No man shall be able to stand before you all the days of your life; as I was with Moses, so I will be with you. I will not leave you nor forsake you.”

But there was one requirement for Joshua to be successful and that was that He was to be strong and courageous and keep his focus on the word of God to observe it and do it.

Joshua 1:7-9 “Only be strong and very courageous, that you may observe to do according to all the law which Moses My servant commanded you; do not turn from it to the right hand or to the left, that you may prosper wherever you go. “This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate in it day and night, that you may observe to do according to all that is written in it. For then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success. “Have I not commanded you? Be strong and of good courage; do not be afraid, nor be dismayed, for the LORD your God is with you wherever you go.”

Folks, be strong and courageous! Stay in the word and do what it says! And the NIKE, the victory, will be yours! God has promised that He is with you. He will not leave you nor forsake you. The victory is in sight even when it looks like it’s not going to happen! Do not be dismayed for your God goes before you into the battle. He will enable you to win! Just DO IT!

Father, I thank You for going before us into every battle that we face. I thank You for the victory for You are with us to strengthen us and enable us to win! Father, I pray for those today who are afraid. I pray that by Your Spirit that they will see that You are with them and there is no enemy that can stand against them when they place their hope and trust in You. Father, I ask that You would help them to stay in focus; that they would “just do it” knowing that You are backing them. When they feel led to speak to someone about You but are afraid of rejection, may they depend on Your strength within them and just do it! May they focus their eyes on Jesus and look to Him for their faith for He is the One who is the author and finisher of their faith. Thank You, Father, for the victory that we have in Christ Jesus! In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.

Believe!

 

 

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Delight Yourself In The Lord

 

Psalm 37:3, 4 Trust in the LORD, and do good; Dwell in the land, and feed on His faithfulness. Delight yourself also in the LORD, And He shall give you the desires of your heart.

God is so faithful! He always keeps His word. No matter how dark my life has been at times, I have always seen the faithfulness of God in watching Him turn the bad into good. I can truly say that when I have delighted myself in Him, He has given me the desires of my heart.

Today my husband and I will celebrate our fourth anniversary. Many of you know my testimony of how God turned my life around after having lost my previous husband to a massive stroke after only 7 ½ weeks of marriage. It was a devastating time in my life as I had stood in faith believing God for a godly mate and then when I lost him I felt that my life was over and I would have to be resigned to living life as a single lady for the rest of my life. But when God places a desire within your heart it is His way of saying to you to believe Him for what He promises and wait for Him to fulfill that promise. It was the promise of having a godly mate and a marriage that would glorify God that I was asked to exercise my faith to receive. God wanted me to believe that He would give me the desires of my heart. So the journey began.

There were two primary scriptures that God brought to me as a Rhema word that He would do what He had promised. The Bible gives two different definitions for the Word of God: Logos, which is the whole word as a message from God to His people and Rhema, which is the spoken word of God as the Holy Spirit uses it to speak a verse that particularly applies to your situation at that very moment. So we have the Logos, the Bible in its entirety and the Rhema, a verse that the Holy Spirit speaks to your heart to apply to what you are experiencing at that moment. God gave me two Rhema scriptures to encourage me to stand in faith believing for a godly mate.

Isaiah 34:16 NKJV “Search from the book of the LORD, and read: Not one of these shall fail; Not one shall lack her mate. For My mouth has commanded it, and His Spirit has gathered them.

Ruth 1:9 NKJV “The LORD grant that you may find rest, each in the house of her husband.” So she kissed them, and they lifted up their voices and wept.

These two scriptures gave me hope that God would do what He had promised. It was as I continually meditated on and prayed these scriptures that I was able to believe that God would give me the desires of my heart, which was to have a godly mate that would love me and share my life with me. And it was through standing on His word and believing that He was faithful to fulfill His promises that I met my husband, Gerald.

Jeremiah 1:12 AMP Then said the Lord to me, You have seen well, for I am alert and active, watching over My word to perform it.

God holds His word in such high regard that when He speaks forth a promise to us He watches over that word to make sure that it does what He has sent it out to do.

Isaiah 55:11 So shall My word be that goes forth from My mouth; it shall not return to Me void, But it shall accomplish what I please, And it shall prosper in the thing for which I sent it.

Friends, when God speaks a promise to you from His word, if you will be faithful to believe it, you can know that He will be faithful to fulfill it!

2 Corinthians 1:20 For all the promises of God in Him are Yes, and in Him Amen, to the glory of God through us.

God’s promises to you are “Yes” and “Amen”, or “so be it” and when He brings them to fulfillment in your life it brings glory to Himself through you. He is bound to His word to fulfill what He has promised. God doesn’t speak anything haphazardly or half-halfheartedly. He speaks what He means and He means what He says! When He gives you a promise from His word you can trust Him to fulfill it if you will stand in faith believing Him for it.

What is it that God has promised you today that you have not seen Him fulfill? Are you standing in faith believing or are you wavering from hope to doubt? You have an enemy that doesn’t want to see God’s promises fulfilled in your life and will constantly plant doubts in your heart to sway you off of the the promise. You must push the doubts aside and continue to believe! God will do what He has promised!

Romans 15:13 Now may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that you may abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.

God wants you to win! He is the God of hope and He will fill you with hope so that you can believe for His promises. He does that through the power of His Holy Spirit within you. There were times when I thought the promise of a godly mate was simply wishful thinking in my heart, but God proved to me that when I continued to believe Him that He, through His Spirit within me, would fill me with Biblical hope so I could continue to stand in faith. Biblical hope is different from the worldly kind of hope. The worldly kind of hope is simply wishful thinking. But Biblical hope is based on a confident expectation of God doing what He has said He would do. The definition of the Greek word for “hope” is this:

Hope – Greek word elpis – Strong’s #1680 Hope, not in the sense of an optimistic outlook or wishful thinking without any foundation, but in the sense of confident expectation based on solid certainty. Biblical hope rests on God’s promises. Hope is never inferior to faith, but is an extension of faith. Faith is the present possession of grace; hope is confidence in grace’s future accomplishment.

Everything that we receive from God comes from His grace, but is manifested in our lives through our faith. Biblical hope rests on the confident expectation that God will provide from His grace that which He has promised when we exercise our faith to receive it. Jesus instructed His disciples to stand in faith in this manner in Mark 11:22-24:

So Jesus answered and said to them, “Have faith in God. “For assuredly, I say to you, whoever says to this mountain, ‘Be removed and be cast into the sea,’ and does not doubt in his heart, but believes that those things he says will be done, he will have whatever he says. “Therefore I say to you, whatever things you ask when you pray, believe that you receive them, and you will have them.”

Receiving God’s promises begins with having faith in Him. Or another translation of the word “in” would be “of”, meaning have the faith of God. Base your faith in Him and act out your faith in the way He did. When God looked out over the universe in Genesis chapter 1, He didn’t say, “oh my, look how dark it is”. No, He said, “Let there be light”, and there was light! He spoke what He was believing for. When we activate our faith to believe for God’s promises we speak the promise and not the problem. When we speak the promise we are releasing our faith to believe that what He has said He will do. When I was believing God to provide a godly mate for my life I spoke what He had promised, that I would not lack my mate and that by His Spirit He would gather us together. I prayed positively for the manifestation of my new husband and that I would have rest or security in the marriage that He would provide. My prayers were focused on His promises not the lack that I was currently experiencing. Jesus said the time to believe is not when you see it, but when you pray it!

Mark 9:23 Jesus said to him, “If you can believe, all things are possible to him who believes.”

 

My friend, God is watching over His word to perform it in your life. What has He promised that you have not yet seen happen? Will you believe Him before you see it in manifestation? The key to receiving is in your believing!

Father, I thank You for Your faithfulness to Your word. When You give us a promise, Father, You watch over Your word to perform it in our lives. Thank You, Father, for being true to Your word and for encouraging us to continue to stand in faith believing until we see it happen. Thank You, Lord, for my husband. He is truly a gift from You, Father, and I thank You for him! Father, I pray for my friends this morning who may be struggling with believing to receive what you have promised. I pray that You will give them additional scriptures that will encourage them and give them hope. Father, I ask You, by Your Spirit to fill them with joy and peace as they stand in faith to believe that You will do what You have promised. I pray that You will place people around them to encourage them and help them in their faith walk. Father, I know that You are no respecter of persons and what You have done for one You will do for another. I thank You for fulfilling Your promises in my life and I ask You now to do the work in them as well. Thank You, Father, for hearing and answering my prayer for I believe that I receive when I pray! In Jesus’ name. Amen.

 

Tossed By The Wind

James 1:5-8 If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all liberally and without reproach, and it will be given to him. But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for he who doubts is like a wave of the sea driven and tossed by the wind. For let not that man suppose that he will receive anything from the Lord; he is a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways.

Have you ever needed wisdom to know how to handle a situation and then asked God for it, but then went about your own way trying to deal with the problem in your own understanding? I think we’ve all been guilty of doing that. We pray and then immediately go out and try to solve the problem through our own way of thinking and acting. Sometimes, we don’t even give God time to answer the prayer. It’s almost as if we have already made up our minds to do it a certain way, but we need to do our “duty” in praying for wisdom so even though we know what we’re going to do we “cover” ourselves by praying. James says here that when we ask for wisdom we can know that God will give it! It’s an assurance that He wants to give us the wisdom that we need to solve our problem. But there’s a condition to receiving that wisdom…..we must ask in faith, without doubting! Hmmm…..that changes things, doesn’t it?

Ask – Greek word aiteo – Strong’s #154 – means to request, petition. The word usually describes a suppliant making request of someone in a higher position, such as an individual asking something from God, a subject from a king, a child from a parent, or a beggar from a person of substance. The word denotes insistent asking without qualms, not “commanding” God, but solidly presenting a requisition whose items He longs to distribute.

I like the last line of that definition “the word denotes insistent asking without qualms….”. We ask God because He wants us to come to Him for wisdom. We don’t have to worry that we will not be received; He is waiting for us to ask; “….not “commanding” God, but solidly presenting a requisition whose items He longs to distribute.” This statement reminds me of my years in the mortgage lending business. I often distributed funds from construction loans where it was needed to pay for work that had been done. The funds were waiting to be distributed. It’s like having a checking account. In the banking industry a checking account is known as a “demand deposit account”. When you write a check you are making a demand on the deposit in that account. When I paid funds out of a construction loan I made demands on the funds that were available in that loan. God’s wisdom is available to us for the asking. We make “demands”, not as in demanding that God do it, but as in making a request on the deposit that we have in Christ Jesus. He is waiting for us to make a demand on His wisdom so He can fulfill the request!

We often don’t give Him time to send the “funds”. But if we don’t ask in faith we really don’t believe that He will answer so we rush out and do it “our way”. We subconsciously doubt that He will give us what we have requested of Him.

Doubting – Greek word diakrino – Strong’s #1252 Has two definitions: 1) To judge thoroughly; to decide between two or more choices; to make a distinction; to separate two components, elements, or factors; to render a decision; to evaluate carefully. 2) the word also connotes a conflict with oneself, in the sense of hesitating, having misgivings, doubting, being divided in decision making, or wavering between hope and fear.

In this verse of scripture, using the illustration of the one doubting being like a wave of the sea driven and tossed by the wind, I would say that the 2nd definition is the one in which James is referring. Ocean waves, when tossed by the wind, move in different directions, one going this way and another a different way. The one who doubts is driven by their emotions; sometimes having hope that God will do what He has promised and other times being fearful that He will not come through for him. This causes a division in the mind, a mental conflict and a hesitation in believing God for what they have requested of Him. Faith and fear cannot co-exist. You either have one or the other.

James goes on to say that the person who doubts cannot receive anything from the Lord, because he is a double-minded man and is unstable in all his ways.

Wow, that’s quite a statement! What does it mean to be double-minded? A double-minded man is a person who is drawn in two different directions. One minute he’s believing God and the next minute he’s wondering if God’s word is really true, did he really hear God correctly and will God really do what He has promised. James says this person is not only unstable in his prayer life, but his instability portrays a lack of consistency in all areas of his life. He is unstable in all his ways; emotions rule and reign in his life, when God’s word should be the deciding factor in which direction he takes.

So, how can we become “stable” in all our ways so we can be people of faith, not doubt? I am reminded of the story in John 20 where Jesus addresses Thomas’ inability to believe. We get the name “doubting Thomas” from this story.

John 20:24-25 Now Thomas, called the Twin, one of the twelve, was not with them when Jesus came. The other disciples therefore said to him, “We have seen the Lord.” So he said to them, “Unless I see in His hands the print of the nails, and put my finger into the print of the nails, and put my hand into His side, I will not believe.”

Notice that Thomas said he had to see to believe; not just that it was needed for him to believe, but that he would not believe until he saw and felt the scars in Jesus’ hands and side. “I will not believe”, he said. He was using his choice to believe or not believe to be ruled by what he saw; the sense realm.

But Thomas had an encounter with the Lord Jesus and this is what the Lord said to him:

John 20:26-29 And after eight days His disciples were again inside, and Thomas with them. Jesus came, the doors being shut, and stood in the midst, and said, “Peace to you!” Then He said to Thomas, “Reach your finger here, and look at My hands; and reach your hand here, and put it into My side. Do not be unbelieving, but believing.” And Thomas answered and said to Him, “My Lord and my God!” Jesus said to him, “Thomas, because you have seen Me, you have believed. Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.”

Jesus said it took Thomas’ seeing in order for him to believe. There can be two camps in the realm of believers: those who have to see to believe, which I refer to as “unbelieving believers” and those who, by faith believe what God has said without having to see it first. Thomas was an example of an unbelieving believer. His realm of belief only went so far. He knew the Lord, was one of His disciples so he had been around Him, had seen the miracles that Jesus had performed and yet when it came time for Jesus to be out of his sight, he couldn’t draw on what he knew to be true to enable him to believe without seeing it happen in the natural.

We can be like Thomas and have to see to believe or we can be as Jesus said “more blessed” because we believe without seeing. The foundation for our belief comes from what God has said in His word. The truth and the yardstick of our measurements should be what we read in God’s word, what He speaks to us through His Spirit and what we know of His character and nature. When we base our belief on Him and His word we will become “stable”, fixed and unwavering.

It was said of Abraham that he believed even when it appeared to be untrue because of what he saw in his body and the deadness of Sarah’s womb.

Romans 4:18 who, contrary to hope, in hope believed, so that he became the father of many nations, according to what was spoken, “So shall your descendants be.”

He believed, even when it didn’t look like it would be possible, because he put his trust in what God had said, what He had spoken to him.

Romans 4:19-21 And not being weak in faith, he did not consider his own body, already dead (since he was about a hundred years old), and the deadness of Sarah’s womb. He did not waver at the promise of God through unbelief, but was strengthened in faith, giving glory to God, and being full convinced that what He had promised He was also able to perform.

Abraham’s success came through his faith in God’s ability to perform what He had promised. He knew that God would do what He said, even when the natural ability to bring it into existence where he and Sarah where concerned was not there. The reality of the promise did not rest on his or Sarah’s age or his ability to perform sexually, but it rested on God’s ability to perform. Faith believes God, not what is seen, felt or thought through the senses of man. Stability in our faith walk comes through hearing the Word of God, believing it and acting on it.

Romans 10:17 So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.

Do you need wisdom from God to know how to live life successfully? Ask Him and then believe and act on what He says! Allow your faith to be grounded in what He says in His word, not what you see around you. Faith grows just like a muscle, through use. If you can’t believe God to provide for your monthly bills, how can you believe for a new house, new car, or a multimillion dollar ministry? If you can’t believe for the healing of a headache, how can you believe for supernatural healing of a terminal illness? You begin small and as you exercise your faith and hear more of the word of God, your faith grows and you are then more stable and have the ability to believe for bigger challenges. There are no limitations to a person’s faith ability! God will take you to wherever you exercise the faith in believing. He will be to you everything that you can believe Him to be.

Just as Jesus said to the synagogue ruler whose daughter died before Jesus got to his house to lay His hands on her for healing:

Luke 8:50 But when Jesus heard it, He answered him, saying, “Do not be afraid; only believe, and she will be made well.”

Jesus challenged the ruler to look away from the negative report that he had just received and look unto Him in faith believing that what He said He would do and his daughter would be made well, which included being raised from the dead! Jesus said she was just “sleeping”, not dead! Faith moves beyond the natural into the supernatural!

What do you need to believe about your life today? Is is for healing, financial provision, wisdom to know how to move in a certain situation? Whatever it is, God has it for you! Will you believe Him today?

Father, I thank You for the wisdom You have for us for the asking. I thank You for being a God who longs to give to His children what they have need of. Thank You for not withholding any good thing from us as Your children. Thank You for being faithful to Your word so that we can place our trust in what You say and know that You will perform what You have promised. Father, I pray that our faith will be strengthened as we read and study Your word and listen to Your voice. I pray that we will find our stability for faith in You, through hearing and practicing Your word in our lives for the little things so we can believe for the bigger things that You have promised. Thank You for not giving up on us but for being patient in helping us to grow and be rooted and established in You so we can walk by faith and not by sight! May we be blessed in believing without having to see first. Thank You, Father, for hearing and answering my prayer. I believe I receive when I pray in Jesus’ name! Amen.

Helmet and Sword

Ephesians 6:17 And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God;

As we continue to look at the Soldier’s Attire I want to focus today on the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit. These two essential parts of the Soldier’s attire are often misunderstood because of lack of knowledge regarding what is included in the covenant that we have with God through Jesus.

God said in Hosea 4:6 “My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge,….”

It is of utmost importance that you get into God’s word and find out for yourself what belongs to you as a child of God. The covenant that Jesus died to give us is a “better covenant, which was established on better promises” according to Hebrews 8:6.

The Roman soldier’s helmet had a chinstrap and a visor, and came down to cover the back and sides of the neck. It was designed so that it covered the head and neck from attacks from all angles. Officers’ helmets had a ridge on top on which was mounted some sort of plumage depending on the rank.

The helmet of salvation is the part of the armor of God that protects our minds. Many times when we think of salvation, we think of forgiveness of sin, which, of course, is included in salvation. But salvation includes so much more than just having our sins forgiven. Let’s look at the actual definition of the Greek words for salvation:

Salvation: Soteria, soterion and soterios. All three have similar definitions which define salvation as being an all-inclusive word signifying forgiveness, healing, prosperity, deliverance, safety, rescue, liberation, and restoration. Christ’s salvation is total in scope of the total man: spirit, soul, and body.

When we renew our minds to the truth of God’s word regarding salvation we come to understand that to be saved is to be forgiven, healed, cured, preserved, kept safe and sound, rescued from danger or destruction and delivered. To save, the Greek word is sozo, means that we are saved from physical death by healing and from spiritual death by forgiveness of sin and it’s effects. Sozo, or saved, in primitive cultures is translated simply, “to give new life” and “to cause to have a new heart”.

Jesus said in John 10:10 “The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly.”

Abundantly – perissos – Superabundance, excessive, overflowing, surplus, over and above, more than enough, profuse extraordinary, above the ordinary, more than sufficient.

Jesus died that we might have a covenant with God that is superabundant, excessive, overflowing, more than enough and more than sufficient. Salvation is all-inclusive; whatever you need is supplied through the covenant that you have with God through the blood of Jesus!

By looking at the helmet of salvation and understanding the broad definition of salvation, we see that it simply means to be saved from whatever danger you are in. To a person who doesn’t know Jesus as Savior, salvation would mean forgiveness of sin. That would be the gospel or “good news” to him; that Jesus came to save him from his sins and when he receives the personal revelation of that and believes in his heart that God raised Jesus from the dead and confesses him as Lord, he becomes “saved”. To the person who is struggling with an illness, salvation would mean physical healing. To the person that needs provision in their finances that salvation would mean deliverance from debt and the ability to meet their financial obligations with an abundance for every good work. For the person who is oppressed that salvation would mean deliverance from mental and emotional distresses.

When we place the helmet of salvation on our heads we are covering our minds with the truth of God’s total work of redemption; spirit, soul and body. Then when the enemy comes with tormenting thoughts of fear that we’re going to die and be eternally separated from God we can say, “oh no, devil, my salvation was purchased by the blood of Jesus and I am in Him and He is in me.” Or when he comes with his dirty baggage of sickness we can assuredly say, “No, no, I’ll not receive that package. I was healed by the stripes of Jesus. He is my Healer.” Or when the bank account is running short we can safely say that “My God supplies all my need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus.” We counter the devil’s attacks with the truth of God’s word. It may be a fact that you have a certain illness, but truth supersedes facts. We don’t deny the fact, but we simply state the truth of what God says about our situation so that we can in time see the manifestation of it. God never asks us to deny what we are currently experiencing, He just asks us to believe Him for the provision for it and speak the answer and not the problem.

Now, to look at the second part of Ephesians 6:17 “and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God;”

Sword – An offensive weapon worn at the side, and used by hand either for thrusting or cutting.  (Noah Webster’s 1828 American Dictionary of the English Language.)

The sword of the Spirit is the only offensive weapon of the believer’s armor. It is said of Jesus when He comes again in Revelation 19:13-16:

 

He was clothed with a robe dipped in blood, and His name is called the Word of God. And the armies in heaven, clothed in fine linen, white and clean, followed Him on white horses. Now out of His mouth goes a sharp sword, that with it He should strike the nations. And He Himself will rule them with a rod of iron. He Himself treads the winepress of the fierceness and wrath of Almighty God.

The word of God when spoken out of our mouths becomes a sharp sword that pierces the enemy. Our words are containers of power either of life or death.

Proverbs 18:21 Death and life are in the power of the tongue, And those who love it will eat its fruit.

When we fill our mouths with the word of God it becomes as a sharp sword filled with living power. Our speech needs to reflect what God says about our situations, not what we think, feel or see.

There are two different Greek words to define “the word of God”.

Word – logos – A transmission of thought, communication, a word of explanation, an utterance, discourse, divine revelation, talk, statement, instruction, an oracle, divine promise, divine doctrine, divine declaration. Jesus is the living logos, the Bible is the written logos; and the Holy Spirit utters the spoken logos.

Word – rhema – That which is said or spoken, an utterance, in contrast to the logs, which is the expression of a thought; a message, a discourse.

Logos is the message; rhema is the communication of the message. In reference to the Bible, logos is the Bible in its entirety; rhema is a verse from the Bible.

The Greek word for “word” used in Ephesians 6:17 is rhema, the spoken word of God. This is a portion of the Bible that the Holy Spirit speaks to you to give you the sword that you need to use to defeat the enemy in the attack that he is bringing against you. It needs to be spoken out of your mouth. Jesus spoke to the devil when he was attacked in the wilderness with “it is written” and then He followed it with the portion of Scripture that applied to the specific attack that He was under. (Matthew 4:1-10) The Holy Spirit will speak just the right scripture to you, making it a rhema word which is the sword that you can use to defeat the enemy right then. It becomes the sword of the Spirit to you! You speak it and continue to speak it until the attack ends. It is important that you have a good working knowledge of the Bible before the attack comes so you can have the word inside of you for the Holy Spirit to bring to your remembrance when it is needed. Many people are unprepared when the attack comes because they have not put the word into their hearts so they have nothing for the Holy Spirit to bring back to their remembrance.

John 14:26 “But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all things that I said to you.

The Holy Spirit is our Helper. He brings back out of our hearts the word that we have feasted on at just the right time; when we need it to counter an attack from the enemy. With His help we are sure to win if we follow His directions and obey what He tells us to do!

Father, I thank You for the salvation that You have so freely bestowed upon us. Thank You, Lord Jesus, for purchasing our salvation with Your very life. I know that no one took it from You, Lord, but You laid it down for us. Thank You for dying that we might live! Father, I also thank You for Your word that becomes a sword for us when the Holy Spirit brings it back to our remembrance when we are in a fight with the enemy. Thank You for empowering us to win! Father, help us to feast on Your word so we can be ready when the enemy comes with an attack. Thank You for giving us the victory in Christ Jesus. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.

The Wrestling Match

Ephesians 6:11-13 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. 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.

 

We talked about the armor of God yesterday and today I want to talk about the battle that we encounter with the devil. The first word I want to explore is the word “wiles” in verse 11.

 

Wiles – schemings; methodology; plans

 

The devil has a plan for your life. Jesus calls him a thief who comes only to steal, kill and destroy.  (John 10:10)  Satan’s plan for your life is to steal from you, kill you and destroy your effectiveness for the kingdom of God.

 

The next word that I want to discuss is the word “wrestle” in verse 12.

 

Wrestle – Webster’s 1828 dictionary, which often lists definitions with reference to scriptures, lists the definition of “wrestle” as to strive with arms extended, as two men, who seize each other by the collar and arms, each endeavoring to throw the other by tripping up his heels and twitching him off his center. To struggle; to strive; to contend.

 

The picture that we ascertain from this definition of “wrestle” is that of a match between two opponents, up close and personal, with no more than an arm’s length between them, each trying to knock the other one off balance so as to win the match against him. A wrestler strives or contends against his opponent. So, to wrestle means to engage actively in one-on-one combat. The word says that our opponent in this wrestling match is principalities, powers, rulers of the darkness of this age, and spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places. Does that sound like people to you? No, we are told in the first part of that scripture that it is not flesh and blood, or human beings that we strive against. Satan has a hierarchy of demonic hosts that are strategically placed in his army just like we have different levels of military offices in our armed forces. The battle that we fight against with these spiritual entities is not a physical battle; it is referred to as a wrestling match to give us an illustration of the type of warfare that it is in the spirit realm. Jesus often spoke to people in parables which where earthly stores that had a spiritual meaning. The Bible continues that type of illustration here as we look at the warfare we become involved with as we wrestle with Satan’s army of demons.

 

The next word I want to discuss here is the word “withstand”. The Greek word for “withstand” is anthistemi. Strong’s #436: From anti, “against”, and histemi, “to cause to stand”. The verb suggests vigorously opposing, bravely resisting, standing face-to-face against an adversary, standing your ground. Just as an antihistamine puts a block on histamine, anthistemi tells us that with the authority and spiritual weapons granted to us we can withstand evil forces.

 

What the word is saying in Ephesians 6:13 is that when we are suited up in the armor of God we will be able to vigorously oppose and bravely resist the up close and personal attack that comes to us from the enemy. We will be able to stand our ground, blocking his every move. To stand against means to hold at bay aggressively or to stand in front of and oppose. “Having done all, to stand” means that we will be found standing after an active battle and taking our stance for the next battle. From this illustration I get a clear understanding that God intends for us to fight and win!

 

The Old Testament stories of physical encounters with the enemies of Israel are a type and shadow of the spiritual battles that we, as believers, encounter with our adversary, the devil. In looking at the battle between David and Goliath we see how David suited up with the weapons that he had tried and tested, and found to be effective. His weapons were a slingshot and five smooth stones. He told Saul that it wasn’t the weapons per say that brought the victory between the lion and the bear while he was caring for his father’s sheep, but the Lord was the one who had delivered him in his battles and that His God would deliver him from the hand of the Philistine as well. (1 Samuel 17:37) It is our God that is backing the armor that He provides for us and when we apply the weapons as instructed by the Lord we can know that He is fighting the enemy through us. Just as Goliath started fighting against David by challenging him through words of disdain, trying to cause him to fear, so Satan comes against the believer through thoughts of doubt, unbelief, discouragement, discontent, fear and accusation.

 

2 Corinthians 10:3-5 For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war according to the flesh. For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds, casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ,

 

The battle that we fight against the devil is in our thought processes. God calls them thoughts, arguments, strongholds, and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God. A stronghold is a fortified place that Satan builds to exalt himself against the knowledge and plans of God in a person’s life. Strongholds often leave the person feeling that their situation is hopeless and there is no way out. A stronghold begins as a thought and as you mull that thought over and over in your mind it reinforces it every time it is thought until it eventually becomes “reality” to you. It is an up close and personal encounter with Satanic forces because many times he is so convincing that you receive the thought as your own, when in actuality, anything that is in opposition to God’s word is a lie, regardless of how good it sounds. Satan is a deceiver, and is described in John 8:44 as a liar and the father of it.

 

John 8:44 “You are of your father the devil, and the desires of your father you want to do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth, because there is o truth in him. When he speaks a lie, he speaks from his own resources, for he is a liar and the father of it.”

 

Satan cannot read a person’s mind, but he can interject thoughts into a person’s mind. He usually begins his attack by speaking to your mind thoughts that counter what God’s word says. Take for example the serpent speaking to Eve in the Garden of Eden.

 

Genesis 3:1 Now the serpent was more cunning than any beast of the field which the LORD God had made. And he said to the woman, “Has God indeed said, ‘You shall not eat of every tree of the garden’?”

 

Remember that we said earlier that the stories in the Old Testament of physical battles or encounters are types and shadows of the spiritual encounters that we as believers have with the enemy. So, in this instance, notice that the serpent, or to us the devil, in conversation with Eve, questioned what God had instructed them to do about eating of the trees of the garden. He started with causing her to doubt God’s word. Satan will come with a thought placed in your mind that God’s word really doesn’t apply to your situation and that there really isn’t any hope for you; you will have to take control of this situation yourself and figure out how to overcome on your own. It is at this point that we must stand against, or wrestle with the thought bringing it into captivity to God’s word. Many times in years past I have had a thought and had to stop myself and say, “wait a minute; what does God’s word say about this situation?”. I would have to stop and get the proper perspective through knowing the word of God to be able to stand against the wiles, or strategy of the devil at that point in my life. Just as Jesus battled the devil with the word of God when he tempted Him in the wilderness, so you will have to speak the word of God to the enemy when he brings those thoughts and temptations to your mind.

 

God gives us some instructions in Philippians 4:8 about what we are to think about or meditate on to keep our thought processes in line with His word.

 

Philippians 4:8 Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy—meditate on these things.

 

God is a positive God; He is not negative in His thoughts and He doesn’t want us to dwell on the negative and feel as if there is no hope for us in our warfare against the enemy. Nothing is impossible for God according to Luke 1:37: “For with God nothing will be impossible.” God is for us; He has equipped us to win, to be more than conquerors through Him.

 

Romans 8:31 What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us?

 

Romans 8:35 Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword?

 

Romans 8:37 Yet in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us.

 

Strongholds can be brought down through changing what we think about, speak about and act on. Every action begins with a thought and is followed by what we say and then acted out. It is in the beginning thought that we need to bring it to a stop! It is at that point that the wrestling is the most effective. The longer we go dwelling on it the more intense the battle becomes and the more fortified is the stronghold.

 

Father, I thank You for giving us the weapons that we need to defeat the enemy. Thank You for causing us to be over-comers through Christ Jesus. Please show us the fortified areas in our minds that need to be brought into captivity to the obedience of Christ. Help us to fight a good warfare; one that wins every time. Father, I pray for my friends that You will show them the areas that Satan has used as thoughts that exalt him in their minds instead of Your word. Father, grant them the victory over the enemy. Lord, strengthen their spirits to do battle. Empower them to win and show them that You are right there with them, fighting through them. Thank You, Father, for leading us to triumph in Christ Jesus. In Jesus name I pray. Amen.

 

 

 

 

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