The Belt of Truth | The Armor of God Part II

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“What is truth?”
~Pontius Pilate (John 18:38 NKJV)

Spring Break 1991. We pulled into Panama City with wild hopes and dreams of having a blast. We were in search of fulfilling our hearts desires. At the time, I hate to say, they were not so admirable. R.E.M.’s “Losing My Religion” was permeating the cab of my friends Toyota 4×4 and we had arrived.

Since the dawn of time, man has searched for Continue reading “The Belt of Truth | The Armor of God Part II”

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The Armor of God | Part I

20140622-094914.jpgThe Armor of God

“No one can hurt you without your permission.”
~Mahatma Ghandi

Today you will be attacked. You don’t know it. You won’t even understand it is an attack once it does. In fact, you most likely will blame someone close to you for it. Or worse. Blame yourself. Think for a moment about all of the arguments and spats you’ve been in in just the last week or two. How many of them are deep, earth shattering, and truly important to your life? Now think about how many of those same arguments are petty and worthless to your life, but are still consequential. Before I understood what I’m about to tell you I was just like you. Happy to snatch just a little freedom where I could and live my life.

We are not just having a discussion here on arguments though, are we? What I’m about to share with you actually reaches to the deep corners of your life. Yes. The deep corners and yet you are still unaware.
What if… What if these arguments, disagreements, and general divisiveness were all a calculated plan? What if you have been pointing your anger towards the wrong person all of your life? What if there was more going on than you are able to see? Has it ever occurred to you that it might not be your husband you are truly angry with? Have you ever said in the middle of an argument, “This is stupid!!”? Have you ever “mis-interpreted” someone’s intent and it cause a rift in your family, friendship, or work relationship? Has it ever occurred to you that it might not be YOU.

Ladies and Gentlemen, we as humans have an enemy. We are all part of a deep spiritual battle. What you’ve stumbled on here is an 8 week series on spiritual warfare and how to defend yourself against it. This study will be grounded in Scripture from The Holy Bible and experiences from the lives of those in the Bible and some of my own. My hope is that you not only learn to understand and recognize spiritual warfare and to defend against it, but that you will share this with other people when they are ready.

The Apple Doesn’t Fall Far From The Tree

The Bible tells us early in Genesis that we were created by God. By God for His Holy relationship with us. In His true goodness, God did not spare us a rational mind with the ability to decide for ourselves to love Him. He could have easily created mindless drones that constantly adored Him like some lady from the Stepford Wives. But knowing True Love because He is True Love, God also knows that His love is a choice. Therefore, Being made in His image we must also bare free-will in order to truly love another.

The choice that Eve made to pull the apple down and Adams choice to acquiesce were both of free-will. That choice for Adam and Eve to not rely on God for what they didn’t know was at best a choice. Fully within their rights to do. God gave them the choice without restriction. It was their hearts that sinned against God by not choosing Him to confide in. It was that choice to not follow God that brought on the consequence of sin.

It’s easy to blame Adam and Eve for our troubles isn’t it? They started this whole mess. Making dumb choices and all. But we do this every day. And as soon as we choose a path other than that God would guide us down we allow the devil the space for a foothold. We begin to receive this information as normal and then begin to count on it. We agree with it. Things like:
“I’m no good at _______.”
“I always do ________ then feel terrible.”
“I could never quit ______.”
” Men/Women always see me as _______.”
“I’m a loner.”
“This is just how I am.”

You can call it what you want, but you had an apple in the garden too.

Armor of God

Why do I need the Armor of God? What is it? How does it apply to me?
Why would you need armor for anything? Why do knights put on armor? Why did the Armies of David put on armor? The Roman Empire? Why do soldiers today put on flack-jackets and steel helmets? Protection of course. The real question you’re asking is why would God create us in a world that we would need protecting in?

There are many answers, but the few that make sense to me are these.
God did not create us in a world that we need protecting. He created a world that allowed us to make choices. The consequences and causes of sin are what we need protection from.
Another answer is that God wants to know us and for us to know him. One of my church’s pastors made the analogy a father and son building a deck. The father doesn’t NEED the son’s help to build the deck. But in order to know each other better, the father invites the son into the project. As a result the not only end up with a deck, but much more. The boy sees how the father reacts to unfortunate situations (hammer + thumb). The father also sees where the boy fall short in his decision skills and can guide him along. It’s a beautiful analogy and true one when it comes to our Father in Heaven too.

The battle for your heart is important to God. He wants to “build” you through your battles. God also knows you’ll need protection among other things to survive. “What is this Armor of God you keep speaking of?” you may ask. Let’s take a look in Ephesians to see.

Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. Therefore 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, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people. Pray also for me, that whenever I speak, words may be given me so that I will fearlessly make known the mystery of the gospel, (Ephesians 6:10-19 NIV)

Over the next eight weeks we will dig into The Armor of God and unlock some of the secrets of our battles. We’ll dig into them piece by piece and talk about how you can armor yourself daily with the Belt of Truth, The Breastplate of Righteousness, The Shoes of the Gospel, The Helmet of Salvation, The Shield of the Faith, and the Sword of the Spirit. In the mean time, should you choose to follow along, I suggest you pray.

Dear Lord Jesus,
Thank you for loving me. Ask for your to protect us during this study and provide me a clear mind. I give you access, Jesus, to the all of the places in my spirit, soul, and body, my heart, mind, and will. Please come and open my eyes to the agreements I’ve made with the world, the flesh, and the evil one concerning my life. Help me to discover the strongholds and to go further than this study to continue my journey with you. Thank you in the Mighty Name of Jesus Christ. Amen.

We are going to work hard over the next several weeks to “awaken” that heart within you and help you understand the equipment God has provided for the battles of your life. You must know that the fight for your heart is totally worth it and you do need this. We all do.

Looking forward to Truth,
Ryan McKinney

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Three Things

HAPPY FATHER’S DAY!
About a month ago one of the pastors at my church said this on Mother’s Day…… If you take away all the flowers, gifts, and fun stuff on Mother’s Day guess what you get????? Father’s Day! Face it guys! The mom’s will always one up us, but today is our day so let’s enjoy our children, our dad’s, our families, and all those that love us!

About a year ago I experienced an encounter with a potential customer and it wasn’t until recently that I realized what his words meant….. It was nearing the end of my day and I found myself prospecting for new customers in a neighborhood I wasn’t that familiar with. I pulled my car into a cul-de-sac in the back of this neighborhood and instantly I was drawn to the house with the most cars in the driveway, it seemed the most inviting. On this day I was wearing a wristband from my church; the wrist band has three (3) statements on it….. Love God. Love People. Serve the World. I rang the doorbell and as the man answered the door, before I could get a word out, he said, “You go to my church!” Instant ice breaker right there! He invited me in, we talked shop for a few minutes, but he was more interested in me and my faith walk. I gave him the highlights and he gave me his. It was at this point that I realized that there was no sale here, no new customer, but God put me here for a reason.

We talked for about 30 minutes or so and before leaving I gave the man my business card….. The company that I work for encourages us to put three (3) things on our business card that best describe us. My business card reads….. Faithful Father. Hopeful American. Inspired Realist. The man looked at me, removed his glasses, and looked at me like I had something wrong…… He said, “So you’re a faithful father?” He stepped in closer and put his hand on my shoulder; he said, “What makes you so faithful?” I was stunned! I never imagined anyone asking me what my three things on my business card meant. We sat down and I explained to him that I was “faithful” to my children and that I was “Faithful” to my God. He chuckled and said one thing, almost like he was enjoying the fact that he had me uncomfortable in my own skin. He said, “Buddy….. Always be faithful to God and I promise ya He will always be faithful to you.” I smiled, shook his hand, and promised I’d be back to twist his arm again. The ride home that day all I could hear were the man’s words, wondering if God just put me there to hear that…… “Always be faithful to God and I promise ya He will always be faithful to you.”

So…… On this Father’s Day I’ve learned that God has been faithful to me, even when I have not been so faithful to Him. He is an amazing God and I am so thankful to be his son. I could write forever thanking Him for all that He’s given me, I could do my best to express it here, but my words just could not do His love justice. I will tell you this….. God has shaped me into a man I probably never imagined being. No matter what accomplishments, no matter the successes, or the triumphs there is nothing that can touch the feeling I get knowing I’m the father of my children. They are by far the best things in my life and without them I would be lost. Lauren and Tyler, you are my heroes and for the rest of my life I will always be proud to be called your FAITHFUL FATHER!

Do me a favor? What are your three (3) things that best describe you? It would make my day if you’d share them with me…….

God Bless!
Brian

Trials and Equipment | REPOST

Doing my research for the upcoming “Armor of God” series here on the blog, I ran across this post from some time ago. Take a peek as you get ready for our 8-week “Armor of God” series. The series begins the week after Brian’s post this coming Father’s Day. Til then… enjoy.

Armor
Originally Posted: July 23 Bible Reading

What does God do about the trials we face? That question is one of the central questions of my Christian walk. It’s one of the things God is teaching me through experience. I would be crazy to try and list the “Top Ten Trials We Face and Why?” in a single blogpost, because there would be no way to encompass them all in a limited list like that. It would also be impossible because I clearly do not know the battles and trials that each of you face. I can only speak for my own battles and how God has helped me.

God has done several things for me. Since He is

Continue reading “Trials and Equipment | REPOST”