Thursday, April 9, 2009

Weapons Of Warfare

Jewels to Meditate & Reflect upon:

* 2 Timothy 3:16-17 (NIV) 16

All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, 17 so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.

* 2 Timothy 3:12-17 ESV

Indeed, all who desire to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted, while evil people and impostors will go onfrom bad to worse, deceiving and being deceived. But as for you, continue in what you have learned and have firmly believed, knowing from whom you learned it and how from childhood you have been acquainted with the sacred writings, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be competent, equipped for every good work.

* Joshua 1:8 (NIV)

8 Do not let this Book of the Law depart from your mouth; meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything written in it. Then you will be prosperous and successful.

* Psalm 86:11, NIV

Teach me Your way, O Lord, and I will walk in Your truth; give me an undivided heart that I may fear Your name.

* Hebrews 4:12

For the word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.* "Man does not live on bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God" (Matthew 4:4).

* Psalm 1:1-3

Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor stands in the path of sinners, nor sits in the seat of the scornful; but his delight is in the law of the LORD, and in His law he meditates day and night. He shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that brings forth its fruit in its season, whose leaf also shall not wither; and whatever he does shall prosper.

* 1 Peter 1:25, KJV

But The Word of the Lord endureth for ever. And this is the word which by the gospel is preached unto you.

* John 14:26

"But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you."

Weapons Of Warfare - The Word of God

When Jesus was tempted in the wilderness by Satan (see Luke 4:1-13),

He overcame the devil using the one weapon of THE WORD OF GOD.

Rather than arguing directly with Satan's suggestions, as many Christians try to do, Jesus simply quoted the Word of God as it applied to the suggestion.

When Satan tried to suggest a course of action for Jesus to prove his divinity and simultaneously satisfy his hunger, Jesus answered,

"It is written, 'Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word of God.'" (Luke 4:4).

This silenced the enemy and ended the discussion on that point.

Jesus used the Word of God once for each of the three main temptations which every son of man must face.

These are: the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes and the pride of life. Once we have overcome these fully, we have overcome Satan.

The apostle John wrote, "I have written to you, young men, because you are strong, and the Word of God abides in you, and you have overcome the wicked one." (1 John 2:14).

We see then that we are called to grow up to the stage of being "young men", in whom the Word of God abides, and "no longer children, tossed about by every wind and wave of doctrine" (Ephesians 4:14).

It is when, through much study and meditation on the Word of God, that word comes to live in us, and consume our thoughts, that we will be strong in the Lord.

Jesus promised that if we abide in Him, and His Word abides in us, we will ask what we desire, and it will be done for us (John 15:7). This will include victory over Satan. Much more can be written on the power of the Word of God to overcome the devil. Make sure you get into the Word of God for yourself.

Source: Weapons Of Warfare (Part Message - 2004) - The rest of this message can be found in "Prayer Reflections" Archive 2006 -

Accordion Christians

I recently heard a preacher (I've forgotten which one) speaking about what he called "accordion Christians".

Accordion Christians are the ones who fold under the least amount of pressure and make a lot of noise as they fold. I had never heard the expression before; I don't know if it is one of his originals, or just a regional expression I hadn't come across before. His remark was said a little tongue in cheek and there is some merit to it, but at the same time it is heart breaking.

You see many people in the church, and many of those who left the church who would fit that very description. Why do people who hear the life giving message of Jesus Christ and accept Him fall away from the truth?

Often times, it is because as other believers and as a church we have failed them. We treat salvation as the goal and not the entry point. As wonderful as being accepted by Father and forgiven of all our sins is, that's just the beginning of a life long journey.

Jesus sent us forth to gain new converts Matthew 28:19 NIV Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.

But the commission doesn't stop there. We're called to teach them as well. Matthew 28:20 NIV and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age."

While the church is called to teach, individual members also we have an ongoing call from God to learn more about Him. The responsibility doesn't just fall to pastors and elders, we can't blame them alone; we must take responsibility for ourselves.

We need to learn what the Bible has to say for ourselves and share that with one another. We're called to go to God for wisdom.

James 1:5-8 NIV If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him. But when he asks, he must believe and not doubt, because he who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind. That man should not think he will receive anything from the Lord; he is a double-minded man, unstable in all he does.

That means more than just a quick prayer. It means reading and studying the Bible for yourself.

.......... Dig out the book and read it. Read it over and over until it makes sense.

Attend a solid Sunday school or Bible study and read some more. There is no reason to fold under pressure. God has equipped us for everything we will face in life. He is there to walk with us. We simply need to get familiar with His Word to understand better who He is and who we are in Him.

Grab the Bible, blow the dust off it and begin to see what God has to say. He has wonderful plans for your life; let Him tell you about them. There is power in the Word. There is wisdom in the Word. There is truth in the Word. There are promises for your life in the Word. I know I've said it before in other issues of Gleanings, but studying the Word is such a vital part of the Christian walk that it can never be over emphasized. Until next time, read the Word, READ the Word, READ THE WORD.

Used With Permission 2001-2009 K.F. "Kevin" Corbin, Gleanings From The Word Ministries International http:/ Issue #3267

The Word of Life - Patricia Lake

But The Word of the Lord endureth for ever. And this is the word which by the gospel is preached unto you. 1 Peter 1:25, KJV

How wonderful and reassuring to know that in an age of shifting sands, crashing financial institutions and a crumbling economic climate, the Word of the Lord, in contrast, is strong, solid, reliable and dependable.

In the book of Samuel the Scriptures tell us that the word of God was precious in those days, because the sins of Eli's sons, and the consequent sins of the people, threatened to extinguish and annihilate all that was God-fearing in the nation. 'And the child Samuel ministered unto the LORD before Eli. And the word of the LORD was precious in those days; there was no open vision' (1 Samuel 3:1). 'And ere the lamp of God went out in the temple of the LORD, where the ark of God was, and Samuel was laid down to sleep; that the LORD called Samuel:' (1 Samuel 3:3-4).

God preserved and protected the essence of His truth in the heart of one who was willing to listen to his Word, even though a child, and speak the Word of His truth and subsequently turn the nation of Israel from their waywardness. God always has a remnant.

To the prophet Zechariah, God said 'But my words and my statutes, which I commanded my servants the prophets, did they not take hold of your fathers?' (Zechariah 1:6).

His Word is for today! - it is arresting and transforming; but it also transcends the generations and endures forever. This is why Jesus encourages us to build our house (our lives) on His Word, because the storms of life - not to mention the ravages of sin - would surely take their toll if we built on the wrong foundation.

This Word which is sharper than any two edged sword, will correct us when we are wrong, it will stop us in our tracks, and will guide our foot steps along the precarious pathway of life with all its pitfalls. And finally, if we heed its instructions and cautions, it will deliver us safely to our destination. It's this Word that still sustains the laws of the universe, so you know you can depend on it!

Today, whatever difficulties, uncertainties or disappointments you are facing, - know this - His Word will be a lamp unto your feet, and a lightunto your path (Psalm 119:105) - because Christ Himself is The Word - the solid rock, reliable and dependable. No sinking sands!

Prayer: Thank you Jesus for your Word. Help me to always remember that living according to your Word is the safest and most dependable way to live. In Jesus' name, Amen.

Devotional from Ellel Ministries International - Seeds of The Kingdom - Today's Writer : Patricia Lake

Learning from Trees, by Alan Smith

The following (edited) ideas are entitled "All I Need To Know About Life I Learned From Trees." The author is not known to me.

It's important to have roots. - In today's complex world, it pays to branch out. - If you really believe in something, don't be afraid to go out on a limb.- Be flexible so you don't break when a harsh wind blows. - Sometimes you have to shed your old bark in order to grow. - Grow where you're planted. - It's perfectly okay to be a late bloomer. - Avoid people who would like to cut you down. - You can't hide your true colours! - It's more important to be honest than poplar.

Those are some good lessons. They remind me of some other lessons taught in the very first Psalm:

Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor stands in the path of sinners, nor sits in the seat of the scornful; But his delight is in the law of the LORD, and in His law he meditates day and night. He shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that brings forth its fruit in its season, whose leaf also shall not wither; and whatever he does shall prosper (Psalm 1:1-3 NKJV).

The Psalmist says that a godly person is like a tree in three very important ways.

First, he is planted -- he's got his roots put down deep, he's fortified, stable.

Second, he bears fruit -- he develops godlike qualities in his character and life.

Third, he doesn't wither -- he is able to survive under all circumstances, even days of difficulty.

May your spiritual life take on the qualities of a tree planted by the rivers of water.

(c) 2008 Alan Smith Used by permission. This devotional was reprinted from Thought for the Day

Reflective Thought: Serving but Starving (A Word With You by Ron Hutchcraft)

One day I was talking with the owner of a local pizza restaurant; a place where I am known all too well. I was there at the tail end of their rush hour, and let me tell you, this place is a zoo for about 90 minutes around noon.
It was slowing down and the owner finally was able to stop to talk with me. When he asked me how I was doing, I said, "Well, I'm doing a lot better now. I had lunch!" The owner said, "I know what you mean. If I wait very late to eat lunch, I start to get shaky." I told him, "Well, I guess you're in a good place then."

Actually, he corrected me. He said, "Sometimes we are so busy serving it that we don't have time to eat it ourselves!"

A lot of us have experienced what my restaurant owner friend was talking about - being so busy serving that we don't have any time to get fed ourselves - spiritually, that is. Hey, it happened to Martha, didn't it? It's happened to me way too often, and probably to you, too.

Martha's experience is described in Luke 10:38, our word for today from the Word of God.

"Jesus came to a village where a woman named Martha opened her home to Him. She had a sister called Mary who sat at the Lord's feet, listening to what He said. But Martha was distracted by all the preparations that had to be made. 'Martha, Martha,' the Lord answered, 'you are worried and upset about many things, but one thing is needed. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her.'

"Now, Martha's busy serving Jesus. Mary is sitting at Jesus' feet, listening to Him. Which is better?

Most of us make-it-happen, get-it-done types would instinctively gravitate to the doing stuff rather than the being stuff. But Jesus says, "Mary has chosen what is better."

I think we've all been Martha-ed...maybe you are right now. You get so busy serving Jesus that you have no time to be with Jesus. It's like my pizza friend. We're so busy serving spiritual food to others that we're actually eating less of it ourselves.

Now that's backwards! The more people are looking to you, the more you have to be with the Lord yourself.

But, frankly, it's easy to let your spiritual health become a victim of ministry. In fact, serving God's Word without experiencing God yourself is a prescription for burnout!

There's a danger in studying God's truth only to prepare lessons, Bible studies, sermons and missing the purpose of studying it, which is to have your life changed through applying it to your everyday life. There's a danger of becoming someone who leads others to experience the Lord while you're slowly becoming a spectator yourself. And you can so fill your life with Christian meetings, Christian positions, and Christian activity that it feels like knowing the Lord.

BUT, in fact, those activities have slowly crowded out that precious private time with Jesus. And that time is the fuel for any valid ministry!

So you may be serving others while starving yourself. Soon that's going to lead to a Martha Meltdown.

Ministry is supposed to be the overflow of your own time with the Lord, not a righteous substitute for it.
So if you feel yourself growing weak and tired, frustrated, and negative while you're serving your Lord, don't blame the work and don't blame the customers.

You probably have not taken time to feed yourself spiritually - to really be with Jesus. You don't want to lose your closeness to Jesus in the middle of serving Jesus.

Revival is not some emotion or worked-up excitement; it is rather an invasion from heaven which brings a man to a consciouis awareness of God." Steven Olford.

There is a secret place inside us where God dwells. When we abide with Him in the Spirit in that secret place, we will see the evidence of His presence with us.

"He that dwells in the secret place of the Most High God, shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty" (Psalm 91:1).

We have the greatest calling to fulfill in all the universe: to live for and with Christ.

We are not expected to attain Christ's likeness without God's power living and working through us. We can do nothing without living every moment under the shadow of the Almighty. His shadow is the shelter of His presence, and we can abide with Him there if we dwell in the secret place.

The secret place is not a physical place like it was in Samuel's day. Our secret place is in our own hearts.

We can go anywhere and still focus on Him in our spirit and be in the secret place of the Most High. We might be at work, yet we can enter into the presence of the Lord by simply going to the quiet place in our spirit and find Him there waiting for us. It is in this place where the Lord speaks and we listen.

Source: Victoria Boyson (part message) Friendship with God Speaking Life Ministries

Under His Shadow Pam Smith

I sat down under his shadow with great delight, and his fruit was sweet to my taste. Song of Solomon 2:4, NKJ

Fruit grows in our lives when we sit under the Lord's shadow, in a position to receive. It's fruit from a relationship with Him. It's for others to enjoy but it's the fruit of His love to us. His love brings joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self control (Galatians 5:22).

He makes our lives sweet. Taste and see that the Lord is good. Do you delight in being under the Lord's shadow? Or are you sometimes too busy. I know I am.

Yet when I come and sit in that place and I don't rush away, I wonder why on earth I didn't come sooner because the fruit is so sweet.The Lord always gives me something fresh when I sit there. His mercies are new every morning and He makes 'all things new'. He gives me that childlike awe of discovering something beautiful that He's revealing in my life or in His Word.

A fruitful life is like the snowdrops, the blossoms of snow that appear in Spring and cover the ground. Or it's like a tree planted along a riverbank, with its roots reaching deep into the water - a tree not bothered by the heat nor worried by long months of drought. Its leaves stay green and it goes right on producing all its luscious fruit.

We are told we need at least five portions of fruit a day to help keep physically healthy. God's fruit keeps us healthy in spirit and full of life.

Song of Solomon 4:16 says, 'Let my beloved come to his garden and eat its choicest fruits.' Some of the fruit that the Lord grows in our lives is just for Him alone to enjoy and receive the glory. I wonder what the twelve kinds of fruit are on the Tree of Life that we read about in Revelation 22:2. It has a new crop every month, with leaves that will heal the nations. But I do know that 'eye has not seen, nor ear heard what wonderful things the Lord is preparing for those that love Him'.

Prayer: Lord, may I take great delight as I draw close to You. Help me to grow the sort of fruit in my garden that You will enjoy. Amen.

A Promise to remember: You Look Great - By: Dr. Harvey Schneider

For a number of years I was employed as a salesman. I sold products used for filtration to plants producing edible oils, paper, fertilizers, juices, solids recovered from sewerage and many other industries that work with solid / liquid separation.There were fourteen southeastern states in my territory.

Most Sunday evenings I packed a suitcase with a week's worth of clothes and on most Monday mornings left the house in my car to make sales calls. Friday late afternoon I would return home and spent the weekends with the family.

Each year I spent roughly seventy thousand miles in a car on the road. Having just become a Christian when I took the sales job it was a time of real spiritual growth since I listened to sermons on cassette tapes and Christian radio while driving from plant to plant.

Evenings in motels were filled with Bible reading and Bible study. As I read and had questions about what I had read I found that Jesus' promise that He would send the Comforter to His disciples after He went to be with His Father was still true.

One evening in a motel room I discovered the promise; "But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you." (John 14:26)

I prayed, "Father, thank you for Jesus/ promise that the Comforter, your Holy Spirit, will teach me, one of His disciples, all things and help me to remember what He has taught me."

.I found after believing that promise that when I had a question that the Holy Spirit would speak to me giving me answers when I asked questions about my Bible reading. If you have never claimed the promise of John 14:26 and John 15:26 I suggest you do it now.

One Friday morning in Florida as I got dressed, I was looking forward to making the day's sales calls and getting home that night and spending the weekend with the family.

As I put on the last shirt from the suitcase I noted that the collar and cuffs were frayed and that it should have been discarded and put in the rag bag. As I looked at the tie in the mirror as I tied it I noticed that there was a food stain on it and thought that it too would need to be cleaned or discarded. As I slipped on my blazer the button came off in my hand as I buttoned it "What a sorry salesman you are today," I thought.

When I got to the motel checkout the young man behind the desk said, "My, don't you look spiffy today."

As he processed the check out I mentally questioned his intelligence believing that I perhaps should go straight home without making any calls.

The voice of the Holy Spirit said, "This is the way you will be greeted in heaven. 'Don't you look good today.'
"It really got my attention. As God's friend, although clothed in the rags of my unrighteousness, He would see me clothed in the righteousness of Jesus and there is nothing better then that.

I left the lobby almost walking on air buoyed up as an overcomer knowing that it was going to be a great day.It is not our worldly clothing that our friends and the Lord see. It is our spiritual clothing provided by the blood of Jesus that brings the comment, "My, you look good today!"

Source: A MOMENT TO CONSIDER Servant Soldiers Ministries Daphne, Alabama

Believe God's Word in Your Heart and Confess it with Your Mouth The Lord told Joshua: "Be strong and courageous and be careful to do everything that is written in God's word. Don't turn to the left or the right" (Joshua 1:7).

If God's Word says, "Sin shall not have the mastery over you," (Rom.6:14), believe it and confess it. Don't turn to the left or the right. That means: Don't reduce the breadth of that promise. Don't reduce it to include only some sins. At the same time, don't make it to mean more than what it says. Don't say that we can be as perfect as Christ was, on this earth. We cannot be sinlessly perfect on this earth. That is not what that promise says. It is referring only to victory over what we know to be sin (conscious sin). We can be fully like Christ only when He returns. 1 John 3:2 is very clear on that. So let's not go beyond Scripture, and let's not believe less than what Scripture promises. Becoming like Christ can be compared to occupying the whole land of Canaan or to climbing a very high mountain. When we are converted, our sins are forgiven and our past is blotted out. But we are still enslaved by many sins. We could compare it to coming to the foot of this mountain. Then we begin to climb this mountain. The top of the mountain is perfect likeness to Christ. We will reach there only when Christ returns. But we don't have to live at the foot of the mountain defeated by sin - perpetually. No. The Bible says, "Let us press on to perfection" (Heb.6:1).

We are exhorted in 2 Corinthians 7:1 to "perfect holiness in the fear of God."

We should not be afraid of the word, "perfection". We must press on to it. Paul said towards the end of his life, "I have not yet reached the top. But I am pressing on" (Phil.3:12-14).

The Lord is now saying to many of us, "You have stayed at the foot of this mountain long enough. Now climb it. Press on." So let's not turn to the left or to the right.

"This book of God's word shall not depart from your mouth" (Joshua 1:8). We should have God's word in our heart. Here we see that we also need to have it in our mouth. We must confess the promises of God's Word with our mouths.

The trouble with many Christians today is that they are confessing the things they are lusting after. They say, "I confess that I will get a large house. I confess that I will get a better job. I confess that I will get a good car"!!

Instead of confessing all that, let us confess God's Word: "Lord, I confess that I will overcome anger. I confess that I will overcome lusting with my eyes completely. I confess that I will overcome the love of money." These are the things that we should be confessing with our mouths. But the Devil doesn't want us to confess these. And so he makes us confess our lust for material things.

You can't build the church with people who are interested in material things. You can build the church only with people who are interested in heavenly things and a godly life. Don't attract the wrong type of people to your church by offering people earthly prosperity. Does God's word promise you that He will give you a house or a car? No.

God's Word promises that you can overcome sin, that you can come into a life where you rejoice in the Lord always - 24 hours a day - without being depressed, discouraged or defeated - always triumphant, always rejoicing and always giving thanks, in everything and for all people. This is the new covenant life (Canaan's land flowing with milk and honey) that the Bible promises.

Confess it then and say, "Lord, this is the life I want to live all my days."

That's the life I wanted to live, when I was a young Christian and saw what the Bible offered me. But when I looked at the Christian leaders around me, I saw that they were defeated by sin. So I said, "Lord, I don't want to judge them. That's not my business. But I don't want to look at them as my examples either. I want to look at God's Word alone. I want to look only at Your promises. I want to look at Jesus as my only Example."

I was defeated for many years as a believer. But once I saw my inheritance in Christ, I kept on confessing the promises of God in Scripture - that promised me a life of constant joy and constant victory.

God finally gave me the desire of my heart. That is how I want to live now, and that is how I want to live when I am 70, when I am 80 and when I am 90 - until the end of my life.

So don't let God's promises depart from your mouth. If you preach this message, you may find at times that you are a lone voice for God in the midst of popularity-seeking preachers. Don't get discouraged. God will stand by you until the end.

Joshua was commanded to meditate on God's Word day and night.We are not to meditate on the need of the heathen. That looks like a good thing to meditate on. But you can't help those heathen, if you don't meditate on God's Word day and night. God promised Joshua both prosperity and success, if he did that (Joshua 1:8). The real "prosperity gospel" is one where our lives become prosperous and successful in a heavenly and spiritual way. 'Prosperity and success' are the two things that everyone in the world seeks for. But they don't seek for these in the way God says in Joshua1:8.

Source: Zac Poonen WORD FOR THE WEEK 8 February 2009 Christian Fellowship Church, Bangalore, India

An undivided heart

Teach me Your way, O Lord, and I will walk in Your truth; give me an undivided heart that I may fear Your name. Psalm 86:11, NIV

What a prayer! It's a prayer about God's ways, God's truth, and it's about God's desire for my heart and yours.

It's a prayer that God will definitely answer, because it's the way He wants me to live.

To learn God's ways and to walk in God's truth is all about lifestyle. It's ongoing transformation - by having my mind renewed. Then my daily decisions can line up with God's will and purposes more and more. It's the way to freedom.

An undivided heart is a heart fully committed to God and to His will. An undivided heart is set on God and is willing to submit to Him in complete surrender. It's a heart like the heart of Jesus, who loved the Father and only did what the Father commanded Him (John 14:31). Jesus is seated on the throne of the undivided heart and He reigns there as Lord. True love, obedience and service can only come from an undivided heart.

We are told, 'love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength' (Deut 6:5).

Love for God must be exclusive. It can't be shared with other gods. He alone is worthy of the highest devotion and praise. This kind of love is a response from the heart that has experienced the wonder of God's unconditional love. God doesn't simply love in words - His love has been expressed to the fullest extent in the sacrifice of His Son Jesus.

We are told 'Obey the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul' (Deuteronomy 30:2).

In the Bible true obedience is not forced - it's the fruit of love. Real obedience is sometimes costly; it takes risks and leaves the consequences to God. Jesus said, 'If you love me you will obey what I command' (John 14:15).

We are told 'Serve the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul' (Deuteronomy 10:12).

This is service which is rooted in love for God and obedience to God. Service from an undivided heart has nothing to do with striving, nor does it seek recognition or reward. It springs from a living relationship of love and obedience with the living God. Do you have an undivided heart, or are there areas in you which need to be re-committed to the Lord?

Prayer: Today, Lord, please give to me an undivided heart to love You, obey You and serve You in the way You desire. Amen.

Devotional from Ellel Ministries International - Seeds of The Kingdom - Today's Writer : Margaret Silvester