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Psalm-118-Part-3

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Today is Part 3 in our study of Psalm 118. If you tuned in last week, hopefully you remember the powerful conquering from Psalm 118:10-18. Go ahead and read Psalm 118:19-24.

Open to me the gates of righteousness, that I may enter through them and give thanks to the Lord.
This is the gate of the Lord; the righteous shall enter through it.
I thank you that you have answered me and have become my salvation.
The stone that the builders rejected has become the cornerstone.
This is the Lord’s doing; it is marvelous in our eyes.
This is the day that the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it.

Right off the bat in Psalm 118:19-21, our Psalmist Author, possibly Moses of the Old Testament, immediately expresses praise with adoration and thanksgiving.

“Open to me the gates of righteousness, that I may enter through them and give thanks to the Lord. This is the gate of the Lord; the righteous shall enter through it. I thank you that you have answered me and have become my salvation.”

Our Psalmist was experiencing great peril in the previous section of this psalm. He was being pursued by his enemies and the Lord saved him by fighting for him. It is only natural now, on the side of victory, that he wants to extol gratitude for being spared tremendous calamity. It is uncertain if our author is referring to a physical gate of a temple somewhere providing him with a place in which to praise, or a metaphorical gate much like the one referenced in Matthew 7:13-14:

“Enter by the narrow gate. For the gate is wide and the way is easy that leads to destruction, and those who enter by it are many. For the gate is narrow and the way is hard that leads to life, and those who find it are few.”

A faith relationship with Christ is something many reject. Jesus told His disciples of many who would choose the world and enter through the wide gate and only a small few of would choose the narrow gate because of the sacrifices it requires. I see this to mean the Psalmist wanted to walk through that gate again to praise his Redeemer, reaffirming His choice to follow after Christ. In Psalm 118:21 he extols gratitude to God for listening and coming to his aid. God does listen, God does respond. Sometimes it does take us nearly falling on our face to see our need for God’s goodness and His magnificent power in which He can conquer even our darkest enemy.

Psalm 118:22, “The stone that the builders rejected has become the cornerstone.”

This verse could be referring to Christ Himself. Acts 4:11 says, “This Jesus is the stone that was rejected by you, the builders, which has become the cornerstone.” We all know Jesus Christ coming to us claiming to be the Messiah was not accepted by everyone. His ultimate plan of His death on the cross was set in motion because of the rejection He faced. If Psalm 118 was written by Moses, then it is possible Verse 22 could also be referring to rejection Moses faced. The Jews rejected him in Exodus 2 and the people of Israel rejected Him as he was attempting to lead them out of the wilderness, which encompasses most of the book of Exodus.

Psalm 118:23, “This is the Lord’s doing; it is marvelous in our eyes.” Everything God does is perfect. All He does is done to bless and teach us. He desires all honor, glory and praise from us, His children. Psalm 118 uses this reoccurring theme throughout the entire passage.

Psalm 118:24, “This is the day that the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it.” The Author had experienced so much trial and victory, his natural response was a full heart wanting to rejoice in the Lord. A wonderful testimony to those of us who believe. Let us live each day joyfully aware that God Himself designed it. To live in constant worship of our Creator and what great things He has done in our lives and in the world around us.

Stay tuned next week for our final section of Psalms 118!

Psalm-118-Part-2

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Today we jump into part 2 of our Psalm 118 series. Previously we covered verses 1-9 and it was phenomenal. Let’s go ahead and dive into Psalm 118:10-18. They read:

All nations surrounded me; in the name of the Lord I cut them off!
They surrounded me, surrounded me on every side; in the name of the Lord I cut them off!
They surrounded me like bees; they went out like a fire among thorns; in the name of the Lord I cut them off!
I was pushed hard, so that I was falling, but the Lord helped me.
The Lord is my strength and my song; He has become my salvation.
Glad songs of salvation are in the tents of the righteous; “The right hand of the Lord does valiantly,
the right hand of the Lord exalts, the right hand of the Lord does valiantly!”
I shall not die; but live, and recount the deeds of the Lord.
The Lord has disciplined me severely, but He has not given me over to death.

As mentioned before, it is unspecified who the author of this beautiful psalm is. We can tell given by the continued authority and conviction this writer possesses, he was a leader. Speculation of Moses being the author makes sense because God chose him as the leader of a nation, even though Moses had plenty to say in opposition to God’s call on his life.

Psalm 118:10-12
“All nations surrounded me; in the name of the Lord I cut them off!
They surrounded me, surrounded me on every side; in the name of the Lord I cut them off!
They surrounded me like bees; they went out like a fire among thorns; in the name of the Lord I cut them off!”

In the opening verses of this section, the psalmist provides incredible imagery of the battle he was facing. His enemies obviously had come to battle for his end. I sense great power in his voice as he fights for his life. Without hesitation his response to all these evil men encroaching upon him was consistently, “In the name of the Lord I cut them off.” Christian, you and I need to believe in God’s ability and desire for us. When our enemies have set out to destroy us, in whatever way you experience it, the Lord will fight for you. This does not mean you stand there and take it. This means you ask God for wisdom in those moments for knowledge how to combat it, relying on His strength and not your own.

In Psalm 118:13, the psalmist takes it one step further, “I was pushed hard, so that I was falling, but the Lord helped me.” I imagine myself being pursued by my enemy, thousands of them and come to a cliff. I try hard to hold my ground, but inevitably I am pushed down by one of them incredibly close to the edge. I fall and as I look down, I can see rocks began to break off and fall into a dark seemingly endless pit. But somehow, with renewed strength, I get up. “But the Lord helped me.”

Psalm 118:14 “The Lord is my strength and my song; He has become my salvation.” Do you realize without the Lord; you are doomed? He is spiritually and physically our strength and joy in song and salvation. He physically protects us all day long and He fights battles welling up around us. When insurmountable odds of evil seek to claim us, we claim His power because We. Are. His. NOTHING can stand a chance. Just as Jesus told His disciple Peter in Matthew 16:18,

“And I tell you, you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.”

Seeing the ways God becomes our strength, song and salvation is an awesome reminder that the powers of hell have no grip on us.

Psalm 118:15-16, “Glad songs of salvation are in the tents of the righteous; “The right hand of the Lord does valiantly,
the right hand of the Lord exalts, the right hand of the Lord does valiantly!”
When the Lord’s salvation is apparent in our lives, He is worthy of the praise. His valiance is affirmation. It requires our thanks and helps us keep confidence in the power He has.

Psalm 118:17-18, “I shall not die; but live, and recount the deeds of the Lord.
The Lord has disciplined me severely, but He has not given me over to death.” I LOVE verse 17. It is an amazing reminder of Gods glory in my life. When you face trial, challenge, death and come out alive, your testimony is worth sharing of the nature of how the Lord is a mighty warrior and conqueror. When He conquers evil attempting to subdue us, I delight in letting that become my testimony to expose truth of what MY God CAN do. Although we are all worthy of death, He will not hand his children over to it if you take hold of His salvation and let Him be your strength. Your enemies don’t stand a chance because God Never Fails.

I look forward to seeing you back for Part 3!

Psalm 118 – Part 1

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PSALM 118 – PART 1

Psalm 118 is hands down my absolute favorite Psalm in the entire book of 150 chapters. Many years ago I was facing a painful time in my life. I asked God to guide me to a passage to grant me peace and comfort in my time of despair. Over the course of several days, Psalm 118 continually entered my mind. It was not until late one night when I finally opened my bible to it and was overwhelmed with confidence. I hope as we breakdown this chapter, you feel the same.

Psalm 118:1-9

Oh give thanks to the Lord, for He is good; for His steadfast love endures forever!
Let Israel say, “His steadfast love endures forever.”
Let the house of Aaron say, “His steadfast love endures forever.”
Let those who fear the Lord say, “His steadfast love endures forever.”
Out of my distress I called on the Lord; the Lord answered me and set me free.
The Lord is on my side; I will not fear. What can man do to me?
The Lord is on my side as my helper; I shall look in triumph on those who hate me.
It is better to take refuge in the Lord than to trust in man.
It is better to take refuge in the Lord than to trust in princes.

The Book of Psalms is theorized to have been written by a number of men. It is believed Moses may have actually written Psalm 118.

Verses 1-4 use the repeating phrase, “His steadfast love endures forever.” The author wanted to give us as readers a firm reminder, wherever you are and whatever type of environment you are a part of, His enduring love is available for you to grab hold of.

Verse 5, “Out of my distress I called on the Lord; the Lord answered me and set me free.” This verse was paramount during my struggle. Sometimes we scream so loud, yet doubt He cares to listen. This verse set apart from the others is the gospel message in full. In our distress, our sin, our oppression, we have a way to cry out and communicate to our Father in Heaven. It does not simply end with us wallowing in our despair. The Lord becomes an active participant in our time of need, responding to our angst and taking it upon Himself. We are left only with peace and freedom from our entanglement.

Verse 6, “The Lord is on my side; I will not fear. What can man do to me?” Verse 6 is the ULTIMATE confidence booster. I read this verse and suddenly, my heart is full with victory! I imagine myself climbing into a boxing ring with my opponent, man, the enemy. He has sought me out in hopes to bring about my destruction. But Isaiah 54:17 says, “no weapon that is fashioned against you shall succeed,” and Romans 8:11 drives home the point,

“If the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, he who raised Christ Jesus from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through his Spirit who dwells in you.”

Suddenly, the power of Jesus revealed by use of the Holy Spirit jolts through me and His righteousness delivers that K.O. Punch.

Man: 0
God: INFINITY

Verse 7, “The Lord is on my side as my helper; I shall look in triumph on those who hate me.” He really is. No matter what you go through in life, He is always at your side. Even when you do not feel His presence, I promise He is still there.

John 16:33 says, “I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.”

Verses 8-9, “It is better to take refuge in the Lord than to trust in man. It is better to take refuge in the Lord than to trust in princes.” Mankind is evil. Even when you think you can trust someone, they will undoubtedly always let you down. Placing our hope in the Lord not only gives us protection, it gives us assurance. Jesus endured the ultimate rejection, despised by men. But, His trust in the Lord gave Him the affirmation to endure His trial into victory because Father God was at His side.

Hebrews 12:2, “Looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.”

I hope you feel encouraged and victorious! Tune in next week for part 2 of 4 of this amazing Psalm.

Is Jesus Enough

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Is Jesus Enough?

In this race we run called life, we turn to many things to fulfill our “needs.” Often what we ignore is what we need the most, Jesus. We fixate on material distractions and forget our Heavenly Father, the Author and Perfecter of our faith. We forget Jesus sits patiently, waiting for us to respond to His desire for communication with us. While we seek out desires of the flesh, we come up empty and run ourselves ragged. We reach for things that do not satisfy, then despair is created and Satan takes the reigns. We are ashamed to turn to our Father in Heaven because we feel unworthy. I have news for you, you are unworthy. I am unworthy. Our sin creates a barrier between us and God and without remedy, we will succumb to it and be apart from God.

Regardless of what sins we commit, ignoring God leads to the shame we experience when we finally realize we must return to Him.

Think about your childhood when you did something you knew your parents would not approve of. Maybe you lied, maybe you yelled at them, maybe you broke the rules because you thought you could get away with it. When one or both of your parents confronted you with their disapproval and/or punishment, how did you feel? Maybe your parent(s) directed you to your room to contemplate your actions, to later return after letting you “think about what you did.” They may have hugged you with loving words to remind you everything would be ok. How did you feel after that? I can remember multiple occasions in which I disobeyed as a child and even as an adult. I recall groveling back to my parents with my head hung low apologizing and often crying tears of shame. Every single time this happened, I can vividly see how my mother or father would take me in their arms, hug me, tell me they loved me and offer their forgiveness.

As children of God, no matter what age, because of our human sin nature, we will always do things which are sinful. Sometimes its accidental, sometimes on purpose, but a truly saved soul will always feel the pain we cause to our Father. Sometimes it’s identified sooner, other times we fester in our sin and later come to terms with our actions. Again, as a child we are so undeserving of forgiveness, but God Himself has extended something called grace. He wraps us up in His arms, embraces us and tells us He loves us. The grace of God is something I will never understand. How can a perfect God love me so much? Why would He choose too? Remember God sent Jesus and Jesus willingly died for us, because the love of His Father was so overwhelming He could not say no. We do not have to understand it, only accept.

Now I realize there are some of you out there who maybe did not grow up with loving parents, two parents or even any parents. I will not discount your experience and I do not know your situation or how you have struggled in your life with parental figures. I do know this, your earthly parents were chosen for you, but they do NOT define you. More importantly, they do not define who your Heavenly Father is. I am praying healing over you. I know with certainty I cannot understand what you may have experienced and your struggles are not ignored. Jesus is perfect. PERIOD. End of story. He loves you, He chose you, He died for you. HE IS ENOUGH.

How do we make Him enough in our own life?

Jesus says in Matthew 11:28 if we are tired and weary, we need only to come to him and He will give us rest.

Jesus also says in 1 Peter 5:7 to cast our cares upon Him because He cares for us.

The most important advice I can share about this, is time. Spending time with Jesus every day is crucial. How do you have a relationship with your husband, wife, mother, father, best friend or even your dog? You spend time with them right? How do we grow a relationship with Jesus? Time. Set aside time every day to talk to Him. Figure out what that looks like for you. You can sit and journal, you can extol Him with praises, sing/sign songs, memorize scripture and pray. These are all ways to get closer to God. Start off with 15 mins a day. It does not have to be in the morning, or right before bed. Life gets busy, but set aside time every day to talk to Jesus. Find a spot in your house to be your spot with God. Maybe it is on the couch, in your backyard or a park. Make sure it is a place you will frequent every day and pass by every day. Sit comfortably. Turn off your phone, computer and have your bible with you. Tell God whatever is on your mind and ask Him to teach you. Be still, quiet and wait for Him to guide you on what that looks like for you in those moments. There is no structured way to spend time with God. How I do it might look different for me than it will look for you. God knows your heart and will meet you wherever you are. God also REJOICES over the time you spend with Him and loves to be with you.

Jesus is enough. He will never be enough if we keep Him on the shelf behind our dusty books and pull Him out when we “need” something. Let Jesus be your friend and when all else fails in life, remember HE cares. Do not buy into the lies of the enemy. JESUS CARES FOR YOU. Think about those four words and thank Him for all He has done for you.

I am guilty of selfishness and at times not making much of Jesus. Making changes in our selfish habits can be tough, but if I can do it anyone can. Jesus will always be enough, but you have to take the first step.

The Weight of Sin

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1 John 2:15-17

“Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world-the desires of the flesh and the desires of the eyes and pride of life-is not from the Father but is from the world. And the world is passing away along with its desires, but whoever does the will of God abides forever.”

Sin is an all-consuming evil. The all-inclusive list of each individual’s sins, as well as the sins of the entire human race pierce the heart of our Lord. They are innumerable. The main problem with sin, is once it sneaks into our lives, those who Follow Christ do not take it serious enough to terminate it. Any pitfall leading to sin can cause a believer’s thoughts to be minimized to the severity of their decision. Justification of clear disobedience to purity is often viewed as “not that serious,” or “God will forgive me.”

God will always forgive sin if your heart is sincere and desires change, but God will not tolerant being used. Living in such a way to promote purity is not only following in obedience to God’s design for your life, it frees you from past, present and future bondage. Only because of Jesus do we possess freedom to give over the weight of sin within the timespan of life. When I feel the temptation to sin, I remember Matthew 12:36, “I tell you, on the day of judgment people will give account for every careless word they speak.” When my life is over, I will stand face to face with God and be reminded of everything I did while on earth, both evil and beneficial. If there is any hope for His reprimands to be minimized, I must display intentionality every day of my life to think before I speak and act. Not with my mind, but with God’s wisdom I only obtain through a relationship with Him.

Starting in verse 15 of the passage from 1 John 2, “If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him.” Everyone gets distracted at times and desires possessions and success. The problem is, worldly desires leave you only feeling empty, beginning a cycle of lifelong dissatisfaction. When you want and get, you always want more. The encouragement is knowing the same is true of Christ. The more we get of Him, the more we want and He can always give us more. The distinct difference is HE Satisfies. He will never leave us empty. If your desires are focused on all this world can offer you, when it fades you will have nothing. You will only be left with an eternal death without Jesus. If you find yourself at any point getting distracted with shifty yearning eyes, it is time to ask God for help to refocus. Verse 17, “And the world is passing away along with its desires, but whoever does the will of God abides forever.” A comfort to know obedience in Christ and reliance on Him to remove sin, means a lifelong meaningful exemplary Christ like existence.

2 Peter 1:10 states, “Therefore, brothers, be all the more diligent to confirm your calling and election, for if you practice these qualities you will never fall.” It is not complicated, but it is a serious decision. Who do you want to follow; the world or Christ? You cannot follow both. Those who chose Christ must be all the more diligent as Paul says, by developing a deep bond with Christ. When the world entices you, you will be wiser to its schemes and less likely to fall into a black hole of impulse.

God’s Will

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What is God’s Will for My Life?

This age old question has been thought provoking since the beginning of time. At some point in our human span of existence, whether we believe in God or not, we all question our earthly purpose. Why am I here? Where did I come from? I’m certain you have contemplated these very things before yourself. Do you know the answer? Do you find yourself wondering what the answers are? These are good questions. Even the most intellectually gifted bible scholars and theologians have considered these questions at some time or another in their quest for truth. We often continue to ponder these things before and even after we give our life to Christ. We should always be considering our deep purpose. So how do we know? How do we know all the bible says is true? How do we know God is real? How do we know, after we believe, what our purpose is here on earth?

Think back to our beginning by first looking at creation.

GEN. 1: 1 says, “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.”

The first four words of the bible are crucial. “IN THE BEGINNING GOD.” Stopping there reveals a vital piece. It shows us God was around in the beginning, even before. You would know God is the focus of all things beginning AND you would note, nothing happened prior to God. He always was.

**Right now you are in one of two places; either you are saved by the blood of Jesus Christ and you believe and know without a doubt when you die you will be reconciled to God or you are not. You might be in a place of doubt or uncertainty but the facts remain, either you are currently in a growing relationship with Him or you are not. If you are not and you are still searching for answers, it is normal. If you truly ask God to reveal His realness to you, He will. Questioning God is ok, but only if we are willing to follow in obedience after He guides us to the truth.

If you are a believer, I rejoice in you being my brother or sister in Christ. This means you identify your sin and understand how it separates you from God. It means you do not want sin creating a spiritual blockade. It means you recognize how God’s love covers your sins and if you are willing, He will take away the burden of sin and cleanse you, allowing for a relationship to be born with your Heavenly Father. This IS the single most important decision you can EVER make in your life. That being said we can move on to understanding our purpose.

As believers, we have a purpose. We are to first, “Love God and Love People.” These are the two greatest God given commandments through His Son Jesus. Before the ascension of Jesus Christ into His heavenly home, He spells out our purpose at the end of Matthew 28, verses 19-20, “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”  As a Christian, we have three callings of purpose or responsibilities to God, ourselves and others; Love God, love people, share the Good News. How God calls me to respond to these commands can most certainly look different than how another believer is called. My desires to love God could be spending time praying for an hour every morning and reading scripture. Someone else might sing praises focused on His biblical truths in a different format. Someone might love people by offering a homeless man a meal while another might love their brother by listening to something they are going through. Sharing the good news might be walking up to total strangers and sharing Jesus Christ or by praying with a group of close family members and talking to them about God. It is important to recognize that God creates differing opportunities to interact with others through our faith and if we are faithful and obediently embrace those opportunities, we will see God at work. Do not compare yourself with others and their way of answering how God speaks to them. Ask God to give you specific talents and desires to connect with Him and connect others to Him in a way that works for you. God has provided the resources to get out of our zone of comfort for His glory.

What is God’s specific purpose for my life? After we put God first in all we do, we wonder, what about a career path and a spouse and children? God has given each of us specific skills and desires to pursue and master to use for His benefit. There is no specific formula for figuring that out. I do know when I was going through a time in life and trying to get this question answered, God kept putting deaf people on my mind. I enjoyed ASL and did not really know why. I can look back 15 years now and see the divine plan God had and how He turned my interest into passion and passion into pursuit for His glory. Ask, Seek, Knock. Ask God. He will listen. Seek different ideas and what interests you. Knock, question and God will tell you yes or no.

You are worthwhile. You are cherished. You are important in the big picture of God’s story and your story is in God’s hands. Do not fear it, question it and seek His will in your life and you will be amazed at how God writes your story.


Verses for prayer in regards to purpose:

Mark 12:30-31 And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ The second is this: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.”

Psalm 119:105 Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path.

Jeremiah 29:11-13 For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope. Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will hear you. You will seek me and find me, when you seek me with all your heart.

John 16:13 When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all the truth, for he will not speak on his own authority, but whatever he hears he will speak, and he will declare to you the things that are to come.

Exodus 9:16 But for this purpose I have raised you up, to show you my power, so that my name may be proclaimed in all the earth.

Scripture Memorization

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Scripture Memorization

As with anything in life in which perfection is the esteemed goal, practice is required. When I was first learning ASL, I did not make it a priority. I was taking the class because truthfully I thought it would be easy. I was required to take two years of a foreign language before I could graduate, like every other high school student. The first few weeks I coasted through the class carefree. It did not bother me to show up to class unprepared until one day my teacher, who was deaf, decided to give us a pop quiz. “Great.”  I thought. I was blindsided and my grade reflected what I already knew, I failed the quiz. Once I started taking the course seriously, an amazing thing happened, I started to really enjoy the class. I found joy in memorizing the signs and my skills became more natural. We often treat scripture this way too. We read the stories, we know what happens, we know just enough to get by. We do not see the value to know them by memory? Memorizing scripture can reshape how we live our lives and how confidently we share our faith.

Memorization is a skill that is built, take it slow. Start off small by memorizing one verse a week. This tip is something I got from the MacArthur Daily Study Bible (EXCELLENT resource by the way). In a year’s time, you will have successfully memorized 52 verses. Start with the ones you know and add to them continually.

Knowing scriptures by memory will help and benefit you in a variety of ways. Here are a few examples of what scripture memorization can do for you.

  1. Increase your knowledge. ~Proverbs 2:10“For wisdom will come into your heart, and knowledge will be pleasant to your soul.”
  2. Comfort others by communicating the gospel. We all have Family members, classmates, coworkers, friends and neighbors who are struggling. Some hide it better than others, but the Holy Spirit working in you will open your eyes to discern who might need a word from the Lord. Scripture brings comfort, joy, encouragement, hope, salvation and freedom to those around you. ~John 8:32 “You shall know the truth and the truth shall set you free.” Knowing scripture strengthens our faith and opens the door to share Christ’s love. We have confidence in the truth to share without fear of rejection or disbelief.
  3. Defeat Satan. Jesus Himself was tempted in the wilderness by Satan. The words of truth from the scriptures protected Jesus from stumbling. Read Matt. 4:1-11 Let those verses serve as a reminder, Jesus can conquer the schemes of the devil, so can I.
  4. Defeat Sin. Satan knows our areas of vulnerability. When we are equipped with the armor of God, coated with His words from the inside, we can then discern when Satan has tempted us to sin. The power of God’s word crushes all temptations. The enemy has no power over you. ~1 Corinthians 10:13, “No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and He will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation, He will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it. 
  5. Brings us closer to God. James 4:8 “Draw near to God and He will draw near to you.”

 

Tips for memorization:

  • Pick your favorite bible translation and stick with it.
  • Write them down. Use index cards, journals, post it notes. Whatever works for you. I use index cards. I write where the scripture is found on one side and the scripture on the other. I test myself by alternating which side I look at. This helps with the scripture reference and also the verse.
  • Ask a friend to quiz you. Who knows, with unbelieving friends, this could open the door to share the importance of the bible.
  • Use them in conversation. Repetition is key for memorization. Pray for an opportunity to share scripture you are learning. The verse might present itself to coincide with a conversation, “Oh that reminds me of a bible verse I love.” Then the door has been opened to further assess and share your faith.

By taking the time to memorize scripture, God will take the time to lead us more in love with His word. The ability to memorize scripture requires work, but the more you do, the more natural and easy it will become.

The Trinity

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The Trinity

The Trinity is a term to describe God as three in one. Even though there are three separate roles that God has, they are also embodied as one. Hopefully as this is explained with scriptures it will make more sense.

God the Father

God the Father is distinguished as, Creator God or the One True God. God the Father created everything; earth, planets, galaxies and everything living. He was not created by anything or anyone, He always was. In the beginning of the bible, in Genesis (which means, “the beginning), the story of creation is told.

Genesis 1:1-2

“In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth. The earth was without form and void, and darkness was over the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters.”

Our human mind simply cannot fathom the concept that nothing created God, but before the earth and all that was/is in it, God was. God spoke everything into existence and at His voice, everything began.

Verses 3-4

“And God said, “Let there be light,” and there was light. And God saw that the light was good. And God separated the light from the darkness.”

Take time on your own to read the creation story in Genesis chapters one and two. In six days our Creator spoke everything into existence to His satisfaction and thus rested on the seventh day.

God the Son

Jesus Christ, Son of God, God in Flesh, these are some names we know God the Son by. God Himself longed to have a relationship with us. In the Old Testament books of the bible, God the Father had close conversations with those who served Him. He spoke directly with Abraham, Joseph, Noah, Moses, Daniel, just to name a few. The perfect plan all along was to send Himself, in human form, to appear to His creation on the earth and prove His love for us through death on a cross. In Luke 2, an angel of the Lord appears to Mary, a virgin.

Luke 1:30-32

“Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus. He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High.”

Jesus was God, but Jesus was also man. He was born to live and die on earth as decided by His Father in heaven.

John 3:16

“For God so loved the world, that He gave His only Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life.”

Jesus came in order to prove He was God in Flesh. This further exalted the realness of Creator God by fulfilling His plan to take our place with Jesus’ death. Jesus died because there was sin. Sin was separating us from God. God wanted to draw us near to Him. The only way for this to happen was for Jesus to die. His death on a cross opened the door for relationship to exist and our sins to be washed away.

1 John 2:2 

“He is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the sins of the whole world.”

John 14:6

“I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.”

 

THE HOLY SPIRIT

Like God the Father, The Holy Spirit always was, dwelling with the Father. The Holy Spirit’s help was made available to Gods children on earth after the death and resurrection of Jesus.

Jesus told His disciples of His death to come, but He promised not leave them alone. Here is His promise in 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 that I have said to you.”

Romans 8:26

“Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness. For we do not know what to pray for as we ought, but the Spirit Himself intercedes for us with groaning too deep for words.”

God the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit are separate, but three. They constantly work as one to teach, intercede and guide us into deeper relationship with Him. Having communion with Him leads others to see His love in us. This allows them to be led to salvation through Jesus Christ as well.

Prepping for Battle

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Prepping for Battle

We know the Apostle Paul did much and suffered much for the sake of the gospel. In Ephesians, Paul directs His letter to the church at Ephesus, in hopes they may understand the weight of his imprisonment. The goal of chapter 6 of this letter is to shed light on the powers of spiritual warfare and the severity of its ability to knock us off track. Paul describes each piece of armor we should be using and what they do to protect us against the enemies of the gospel.

Ephesians 6: 10-20

“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 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. Stand therefore, having fastened on the belt of truth, and having put on the breastplate of righteousness, and, as shoes for your feet, having put on the readiness given by the gospel of peace. In all circumstances take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming darts of the evil one; and take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God, praying at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication. To that end keep alert with all perseverance, making supplication for all the saints, and also for me, that words may be given to me in opening my mouth badly to proclaim the mystery of the gospel, for which I am an ambassador in chains, that I may declare it boldly, as I ought to speak.”

 

Every day as you get up and face the world both inside and outside of the home, you must be prepped for battle. Just as we have love, truth and salvation from our Creator God, there is one who opposes everything our Father does. He goes by many names; The Devil, The Enemy, The Serpent, Lucifer, Satan and the Ruler of Darkness. He is a liar. He desires us to fail, entices us to believe his lies and to sin at every possible opportunity. His main goal is to make us stumble and try to pull us away from our Savior. He is relentlessly evil.

Lucifer was an angel who resided in heaven with God. He schemed wickedly in hopes to overthrow our Heavenly Father. In trying to do so, God thwarted his selfish plans, rejected Him and threw him out of heaven. Satan exists now as the prince of darkness, using evil to rule over the earth. The “angel” and “demon” you envision on your shoulders, they stem from real examples, God and Satan. When you feel the urge to sin, that is the voice of Satan whispering those vile lies to you in hopes that you will ignore the scriptures and follow his lead. Darkness is real just as our Jesus is real. As a believer, Satan will try everything in his power to throw you off track.

This passage in Ephesians gives us tangible insight of how to be prepped for battle against the forces of darkness. It is a scary thing to be met with the enemy unprepared, but with essential tools, we can combat any evil encounter.

There are five pieces of armor we need to have on at all times. Each piece of armor was important to Roman Soldiers in biblical times.

  1. Belt of Truth: Having scripture memorized, we will be ready to fight discerning truth from lies.
  2. Breastplate of Righteousness: This guards our hearts, where emotions live and helps up guard against the lies that try to make us stumble.
  3. Shield of Faith: This blocks the arrows of immorality that encourage us to be angry, lustful, prideful etc.
  4. Helmet of Salvation: Our minds remain protected from any doubt of our salvation.
  5. Sword of the Spirit: Knowing the truth of God’s words cut to the core of any evil scheme.

Remember your brothers and sisters in battle as we are always being fired at all day long. Pray for each other so that no one may stumble. As a Christian the fight will continue until our Lord returns and the battle will be over once He seeks the vengeance He so desires. Until then, we fight as God’s Army here on earth to protect His name and keep the forces of darkness at bay.