Month: January 2020

Preparing for the Storm

Ephesians 6:10-13
Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might. Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil. For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil 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 firm. 


Written by: Ian Rock

Growing up in Texas, we embraced the phrase: “If you don’t like the weather, wait a minute.” In the matter of a week, you would see high temperatures in the 70s one day, and lows in the 20s the next. In the spring, violent thunderstorms could appear out of nowhere, sending hail and tornadoes on unsuspecting communities. The best way we could predict the weather was to just assume it was unpredictable. Life can be just as unpredictable—unexpected hurts, loss, and surprises can come at any time, and turn a day with clear skies and smiles to darkness. This causes many people to embrace one of two common mindsets. 

The first is that of fear. We over-prepare for the unexpected, avoid risk, and stay surface level in our relationships to limit the amount of potential pain we might face. These people live lives characterized by the status quo and playing it safe.

The second mindset leans more toward reckless abandon. With the idea that we can’t control what comes next, we spend, eat, drink, and enjoy life like every moment might be our last.

One way leads to being crippled by fear, while the other can lead to apathy. The Bible tells us that the storms of life will inevitably come our way. However, it also tells us that we have no reason to fear or to be caught unprepared. Ephesians 6 tells us some practical and powerful ways we can equip ourselves, just as a soldier would going into battle. 

The reality is, we don’t just face potential strife with friends, family, and circumstances, but there is a clear spiritual opposition to God and His free gift of salvation in our life. Our spiritual enemy wants to use these hard life moments to cause our faith to waiver, invoke fear, and lead us to self-medicate. It’s not a question of if, but when these attacks will come. If we’ve put on our armor as today’s passage illustrates, we’ll be able to stand firm in the midst of the storm.

WTD-1.17Thought of the day: Which outlook on life do you most typically default to- fear or apathy? What are some of the weak spots in your life that the enemy can cause you to retreat to those ways of thinking and living? 

Prayer: Jesus, as I learn about the armor of God, allow me to see the ways in my life I can be better equipped for the storms and battles that will come my way. Allow Your word and others to encourage me to armor up each day, so that I can stand firm in my faith and the love You’ve shown me.

Resist

1 Peter 5:8
Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.

James 4:7-8
Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you…


Written by: Justin Martz

There is a spiritual battle happening all around us. It is a battle to influence our hearts and minds and lead us to temptation and destruction. We must remember our enemy, the devil, is on the offensive and searching to utterly destroy us. And just like Jesus, we also will face temptations, trials, hardships, and suffering.

The authors of the New Testament, including Peter and James, were all very aware of this spiritual battle and the real struggle that it creates in the world. The good news is our enemy has been defeated and we have the plan to overcome the enemy. We must have the right perspective no matter what may come our way.

First, be sober-minded and watchful. Have a realistic view of the present world and know the devil is fighting. Don’t let your guard down. Second, submit yourself to God. Trust God who created you and died for you. No matter what comes your way, trust and give your worries and anxieties to Him. Third, resist the devil. We have the power to overcome, look beyond our current situation and believe God is always with us. Finally, draw near to God. God created us to be in relationship with Him. When we understand His love for us and align our will with His, then we become closer to God and can resist our enemy even more.

WTD-1.16Thought of the day: The battle has been won. The victory belongs to the Lord. The gates of hell cannot prevail against the church and the gospel. The enemy may be strong and our trials and struggles in life are very hard and real, but we are equipped with the Holy Spirit. We have the armor to stand, resist, and draw near to God. What are the areas of your life you need to be more watchful, resist the devil, and submit more to God?

Prayer: Lord, thank You for the victory You accomplished for us. Thank You for equipping us to stand firm and resist temptation. Help us to stay vigilant in this war, stay alert to resist, submit to You and Your will and, in the process, draw nearer to You. Amen.

Resources to Win

Ephesians 6:10, 12
“A final word: Be strong in the Lord and in His mighty power…For we are not fighting against flesh-and-blood enemies, but against evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world, against mighty powers in this dark world, and against evil spirits in the heavenly places.”


Written by: James Washburn

Ephesians 6:12 is a passage on spiritual warfare that references the common struggle Christians have with evil in their day to day lives. This passage deals with the struggle of unseen forces that are battling or wrestling in the spiritual realm. They are supernatural, demonic forces Paul mentions in four unique ways in the passage: evil rulers, authorities, mighty powers, and evil spirits. All of these are opponents rallying against us to try and ruin our spiritual lives.

Christians must realize resources are readily available to those who need them. Divine power is accessible as mentioned in Ephesians 6:10 which says, “Be strong in the Lord and in the power of His mighty power.” God gives power out in a personal way by the indwelling of the Holy Spirit and through our relationship with Jesus. Because Jesus won the battle over evil on the cross, He now rules over demons.

We now share in His dominance over evil and the demonic realm. His plan involves us helping to fulfill His mission of spreading the gospel. He also gives us the armor of God, which has multiple assets to help Christians win over sin that may try to rule in our lives.

We cannot succeed on our own, but we can win through the power of God.

The Bible describes this armor that will give assets for victory in Ephesians 6:
1) The belt represents truth.
2) The breastplate of righteousness gives holiness and provides the development of good character.
3) Boots prepare Christians to share the Gospel of peace.
4) The shield of faith helps overcome doubt.
5) The helmet of salvation secures your identity in Jesus.
6) The sword of the spirit equips you to know scripture and apply it.

WTD-1.15Thought of the day: Prayer has been called the heart of spiritual warfare. It is vital in the lives of those who want to win.

Prayer: Jesus, thank You for providing resources so I can win. Help me to stay prepared for whatever the enemy may bring my way and continually fill me with Your Holy Spirit, which provides power for my life. In Jesus’ name, amen.

Battle of the Mind

2 Corinthians 10:3-5
“For though we live in the world, we do not wage war as the world does.  The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds. We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.”


Written by: Courtney Flocken

Imagine collecting every thought into a jar and then sifting through them at the end of a long day. What an exhausting task! On the low end, experts estimate we have 50,000 thoughts per day or 2,100 thoughts per hour. Paul urges the people of Corinth to take each of those thoughts captive. As believers, we should look, think, and act differently than the world. This seems like an overwhelming feat. It helps to know where each of those thoughts come from: yourself, the enemy, or God.

When we come into agreement with things that do not line up with God and His word, our armor will have cracks from the inside out and allow for more lies or untruths to creep in. That’s a dangerous reality! Your mind is the frontline to your own spiritual wellbeing and health. We have all experienced the believer that “looks the part.” But when it comes to our experience with that person, we feel the “pricklies.” It feels horrible! We trusted this person to be like Christ. But instead, this person grabbed the toolbox of the world—whether it be through their words or actions—and went to battle not in the spiritual realm, but in the world. Obviously, we cannot control others. We have complete freedom to master this “taking every thought captive” aspect of our own lives. Let’s drop the tools the world uses in our relationships, social media, workforce, schools, and elsewhere. Instead, let’s use the power the Lord gave us to “demolish strongholds.”

WTD-1.14Thought of the day: The power of thoughts is that they eventually make up the components of our hearts. What thoughts do you need to eradicate that were authored by either yourself or Satan?

Prayer: God, thank You for Your grace and wisdom to help me sift through my mind and banish any thoughts that do not align with You and Your word. You have given me a spirit of power. Help me take every thought captive and make them obedient to You. In Jesus’ name, amen. 

Be Alert

1 Peter 5:8
“Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.”


Written by: Jesse Flocken

Be alert and armor up! Each day we are walking into a spiritual battle whether we are prepared or not. We don’t get to choose to participate or engage in battle, but we do have the option to prepare each day with the armor of The Lord. We must equip our minds, our hearts, and our attitudes to receive what God has for us. We must also be prepared to respond and rise up to the opportunities in front of us each day. 

Scripture tells us to be alert. We are constantly surrounded by outside influences, our own thoughts or actions, and other imperfect people like us. Today’s scripture is very clear when it describes how “the enemy the devil is prowling around like a roaring lion.” I don’t know about you but sometimes when I wake up, I treat life like the enemy is a baby kitten rather than a roaring lion. Then I find myself caught off guard and without the armor of the Lord. If we walk through life with the image of the roaring lion in our minds, then it will help us remember to put on the armor of the Lord. Paul says in Ephesians 6:10-11 to “put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes.” Here God gives us the tools to walk confidently into battle each day with the armor of The Lord.

WTD-1.13Thought of the day: Be alert today and put on the full armor of God. Would you react differently towards others if you knew the enemy was prowling around like a roaring lion? Maybe you might choose to look for opportunities to give grace to yourself and others? In those moments I challenge you to respond with grace and to redirect your focus on praising God for what He has done in your life. 

Bonus: Check out a song by Michael W. Smith called “Surround” if you feel like you are currently fighting a battle of your mind, heart, or situation.

Prayer: This week as you pray, keep these scriptures in mind.

“Put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything to stand….

“Stand firm then with the Belt of Truth buckled around your waist…” (Jesus, please help me see what is true and right in every situation today.)

“With the Breastplate of Righteousness in place…” (Jesus, thank You for loving me so much that you covered all my sin.)

“And with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the Gospel of Peace…” (Jesus, help me live in a way that others can’t help but see You, Jesus, through the way I choose to love others. Use my hands and feet to honor Your will.)

“In addition to all this, take up the Shield of Faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one…” (God, I thank You that by faith in who You are, You can shield the enemies attempts in my life. Guide me and protect me. Shield me from temptation and increase my faith in You.)

“Take up the Helmet of Salvation…” (Lord, I praise You and celebrate the fact that I am Your child!)

“and the Sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God…” (Lord, give me the desire and discipline to read Your Word. Help me not to just read it but to apply the knowledge and wisdom as well.)

“And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests…” (Jesus, please remind me to bring my problems of the day to You first.)

“With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the saints…” (Jesus, keep me alert and focused on You today for You are my hope! And please help me live in a way that others can’t help but see You, Jesus, through the way I choose to love others. Amen