The Armour of God

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                                       Valerie Balzan

This is a new series being presented by Valerie Balzan who is on the Leadership Team at Liveseed International Church, Qormi, Malta.  The Christian believer is called upon to wear the divine armour that the Lord has provided and know what each piece is for in the contest with Satan and the evil agencies under his control. There is a spiritual war on and every Christian soldier must be fully armed and trained for battle and experience supreme conquest

 

THE ARMOUR OF GOD – Part 12

 

“A Praying Christian is a Powerful Christian!”

 

Text: Ephesians 6:10-18

 

From ancient times down to today communication has been an extremely important factor when engaging in warfare. Although in olden days there were no electronic devices to help facilitate communication, they used trumpets and banners etc as well as waving signals to their officers who would then shout the fresh directions to the regiment under their authority. For Christians who are involved in spiritual warfare that is a picture of prayer.

 

Prayer is a two-way communication between God and us– or it should be! Unfortunately for many believers prayer is a one-sided affair in which we do all the talking! Yet God is our Father who loves us and wishes to speak with us. How sad to present out petitions to Him and then rush off without waiting to see if He will reply. Maybe you are one of the people who has sincerely tried to listen to God but has felt that since you were not aware of His voice that that means He just didn’t speak back to you. I do not think that God is rude nor do I think that He is unwilling to speak. Maybe we should try to perceive how He speaks to us and perhaps that means that He doesn’t always use words.

 

Sometimes it is also possible because of our lack of discipline, or our lack of being sensitive to Him that we miss His voice. I have often experienced a sense of God’s presence during prayer, yet not been aware of any inner voice speaking to me. Then, later on in the day, suddenly I seem to know the answer to something I had asked Him. It’s rather like recording from one tape to another. If you want to you can turn down the sound and then later on turn it up to hear the recording when you are more relaxed or in a better position to concentrate on it. God knows us so well and knows our personalities and He will speak to us when it is most beneficial to us. Like receiving all other graces we need to have an attitude of trust

 

Verse 17 begins with the words “praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit.” That does not mean that we are to be speaking to God every moment but that our hearts are consciously lifted up to God when we awake so that at any given moment the Holy Spirit can prompt us to pray. We can ask Him to so quicken us that we respond swiftly to His promptings. Many Christians have asked the Lord to awaken them when necessary at night, in order to pray into some critical situation. How blessed we are when that has happened and then maybe later on we hear a testimony about some believer being rescued out of great danger just at the very hour we had prayed.

 

In part eleven of this series on spiritual armour we considered the great importance of perseverance. This is true in prayer. Both Jesus and the apostle Paul spoke about the importance of pleading and persevering in prayer. The best example of that is when Jesus said, “Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you” – Matthew 7:7. In the original Greek it reads “Keep on asking………..keep on seeking……….keep on knocking.” It’s written in the present continuous tense. In some situations you need only ask once but in more serious ones you may have to keep pressing into God. In difficult situations you may find that you have to supplicate as mentioned in our main text. Supplication is strong prayer and it’s for urgent needs.

 

As good soldiers train themselves in warfare so that they are daily ready for whatever circumstances they may find themselves in. So Christians should be daily prayed up and hence ready for the trials and challenges of daily living. Yet so many find that a difficulty. They are able to speak to God while driving their cars and chat to Him at various moments throughout the day. Yet they seem unable to find time to be quiet before Him and enter into that deep worship and sense of His presence which is so necessary in order to grow strong in Him and which does us such good. It’s all a matter of neglecting certain tasks until that time of prayer has taken place.

 

We need to ask God for the grace of discipline so that planning our prayer/quiet time with Him is our first priority of the day. Intimacy with us is what the Lord longs for. It helps us to pursue holiness as it’s very difficult to be intimate with Jesus when there is sin in our hearts. It is a wonderful way to experience His peace and receive emotional, spiritual and physical healing. It definitely strengthens us so that we are powerful in battle. And remember that quantity is less important than quality! Sometimes we can be more blessed after ten minutes of prayer than after one hour. But not always, of course.

 

Further study

Matthew 6:6   Luke 18:1-8    John 15:15   John 10:27, 28   Psalm 5:1-3   Song of Solomon 2:14   Phil 4:6-8

 

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The Armour of God

                                022

                                   Valerie Balzan

This is a new series being presented by Valerie Balzan who is on the Leadership Team at Liveseed International Church, Qormi, Malta.  The Christian believer is called upon to wear the divine armour that the Lord has provided and know what each piece is for in the contest with Satan and the evil agencies under his control. There is a spiritual war on and every Christian soldier must be fully armed and trained for battle and experience supreme conquest

 

THE ARMOUR OF GOD – Part 11

 

The Sword of the Spirit

 

Text:  Ephesians 6:10-18

 

Now we come to the last piece of armour and it is the one offensive piece – the one that we fight with. This sword was called a “machaira” and was a large dagger which was used for fighting with at close range. Now we must be prudent and not think that we can come against satan and his demons by mocking them or by being over-confident. The Book of Jude verses 8-10 warns us about that and we need to understand that our weapons of warfare are indeed “Mighty in God” – 2 Corinthians 10:4.  Jesus should be our example and when He fought satan in the wilderness He answered every word of temptation by saying, “It is written” – Matthew 4:4, 7 & 10 – no arguing and no mocking satan – Jesus stood firm.

 

This brings us to our next point, which is about the word “stand”. Notice how many times the text uses that word, (in verses 11,13 & 14), and note also that in verse 13 it also says “withstand” which implies more than defending yourself by standing firm. It implies a sense of getting up to make an attack. However we should remind ourselves that we don’t attack like the people in the world do. Zechariah 4:6 says “Not by might, nor by power, but by My Spirit says the Lord of Hosts.” That very title that God uses for Himself in that verse should inspire us. It should remind us that the battle is His and because He is our Father we can rely on Him to arise on our behalf and protect us.

 

Do we just use the words of scripture to fight against our enemy satan? No, we can also use prophetic words that have been prayed over our lives and the lives of others. When satan comes and whispers into your inner ear that that wayward son of yours will never fulfil the call of God on his life, then you can arise and speak out the prophetic words that others have given you for that son. Both types of declaration show satan that you are not backing off from pressing into the promises of God.

 

Satan hates people getting converted and being plucked out of his kingdom. If he can’t hinder or stop that from happening then he will do his best to make that Christian ineffective in the kingdom of God. Unfortunately we have seen him have a great measure of success in that field and so it is time for the Body of Christ to get serious about their walk in the Spirit. The Holy Spirit cannot rest upon our flesh. We need to walk in the Spirit and pursue after holiness.

 

The Holy Spirit will only anoint and strengthen what is done in His power. Prayer, daily bible reading, receiving communion, receiving teaching and instruction and walking the walk of faith are all ways in which we can be strengthened by Him. Whatever we try to do in our own fleshly strength will never prosper, hence the warning given by God in the above Zechariah quote.

 

In some situations we will not be able to find any way out nor be able to discern what course of action to pursue. It is then that God gets the most glory when the victory finally comes. That is why our text urges us to just stand when we have done everything we know how. If you are in that sort of situation right now and you have prayed, fasted, read the Word of God and sought His way – and still nothing seems to change in your situation. Then just make up your mind to stand and keep close to the Lord in a deep walk of trusting that He will only leave you there as long as it is good for you to be there.

 

Often when the trial is over, you will be able to look back and see what the Lord was waiting for. Often He is dealing with the lives of others and so you have been kept waiting for your break-through because of His dealings with them – or because they are taking their time in responding to Him! Just love Him and trust Him. You know how much He loves you. Again, Jesus is our example. He set His face to go to Calvary and never backed down from His spiritual destiny – thank goodness!

 

And don’t be put down and become a battle casualty because of fear. Even Timothy had to be reminded of that by Paul. Paul wrote to him “I remind you to stir up the gift of God which is in you through the laying on of my hands. “For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind” – 2 Timothy 1:6 &7.

 

So keep in the Word of God and get His promises down into your spirit. When the enemy comes near rise up and declare what God says in His Word. It is a word of victory!

 

Further study

Jude verse 8-10   Hebrews 4:12   2 Chronicles 20:1-25   Psalm 29:2   Isaiah 54:13   Isaiah 52:1-2  

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The Armour of God

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                                  Valerie Balzan

THE ARMOUR OF GOD – Part – 10

 

The Helmet of Salvation

 

Text: Ephesians 6:10-18

 

This piece of armour was also only taken up when needed –  satan is not coming at your mind 24/7 causing you to doubt your salvation and bringing fearful  thoughts that perhaps you don’t really belong to God. So what sort of salvation is the apostle Paul talking about? To understand Paul we must consider the three time zones of salvation.

You enter into the first zone on the day that you are converted. On that day you are saved from the penalty of sin. On that day you are washed clean from your sins and become a child of God. You rejoice because you have escaped the punishment that your sin deserves. The second time zone is your present, ongoing life. This life is a pilgrimage towards the full revelation of God and its challenges are faced daily. Each day we are presented with choices. We can yield to God and do what is right in each situation or else we can do what our natural inclination is, which is always the wrong choice. In order to be an over-comer you need to keep the belt of truth in place and the breastplate of righteousness rested on it. In co-operating with the Holy Spirit, by acting upon the Word of God, results in strengthening yourself against the power of sin. The last time zone is that blissful state of being in God’s presence for ever without a sinful heart. That means we will be saved from the presence of sin.

 

To interpret a verse of scripture properly it’s always good to look at a similar verse and see if it sheds more light on the first verse you have considered. One of the best verses to interpret the meaning of the helmet of salvation in Ephesians 6:17 is 1Thessalonions 5:8 which says “…let us be self-controlled, putting on faith and love as a breastplate, and the hope of salvation as a helmet.” Paul is talking about the third type of salvation. He is talking about “hope”. Our world is daily getting darker with evil. Corruption, immorality, perversion, injustice, greed, torture, terrorism, war, poverty, and the breakdown of marriages and families darken the very atmosphere of our world. Many Christians cry out “How long Lord before You will return and transform our world?” We are tempted often to get fearful for our children and grandchildren. Our leaders in government and often in the church are throwing off all the restraints of Christianity and the laws of God. It is hard to find people of integrity and principal. It’s hard to trust anyone in office. The news media feed us a daily diet of doom and gloom. We need to put on our helmets of salvation. Hope is the only thing that can steady you – godly hope.’ But what is Christian hope? How does it differ from faith?

 

A missionary travelling through India once discovered a caste of “untouchables”. These are the lowest caste of Indian people. No-one will go near them who is not of their caste. They live resigned to being the dregs of society without hope of a better future. The missionary stopped and asked if he could speak to them about a great and powerful Lord who would accept them. They rather reluctantly agreed but kept their eyes cast down throughout his teaching, until he came to tell them about Jesus touching the leper and healing him. Suddenly as the Holy Spirit revealed to them that Jesus had come for all men, including those considered as “untouchables” by their society, they lifted their eyes up to look at the missionary. He saw hope fill their eyes and sadness left their faces. One young lad had not wanted to come and listen to the missionary speak. Later he sought the lad out and took him on one side. He saw how intelligent he was. He asked him to come to the school that the Bible Society was planning to build nearby. Suddenly the lad’s face lit up – with hope. Eventually he trained to become a doctor. Hope is what makes a person think “Maybe there is a chance this will work, maybe I should read the Bible and see if God is the answer.” Hope is an optimism that decides to look beyond the impossible or difficult circumstances and investigate the claims of Jesus Christ.

 

And for the Christian who believes, hope is what causes you to look up to God and know that no matter what happens He will not fail you nor forsake you. Hope tells you that God is writing history and that no matter how bad things seem, there is coming a day when He will bring judgment on everything and all who oppose His will. HE WILL HAVE THE LAST SAY. Things are not as they seem friends; there is an invisible world at work. Jesus has already won the victory on the Cross of Calvary. If you don’t have that hope in you, you will never be able to enter into faith and believe God’s Word in scripture. Make sure you protect your mind. Fill your mind and spirits daily with God’s Word and declare it over your situation. Guard your eyes from looking on evil. Keep your eyes on Jesus.

 

Further study

 

Colossians 1:27   Titus 2:13   Hebrews 2:8,9    1John 4:18  Psalm 42:5   Romans 15:13   1Peter 1:13

 

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Armour of God

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                                        Valerie Balzan

This is a new series being presented by Valerie Balzan who is on the Leadership Team at Liveseed International Church, Qormi, Malta.  The Christian believer is called upon to wear the divine armour that the Lord has provided and know what each piece is for in the contest with Satan and the evil agencies under his control. There is a spiritual war on and every Christian soldier must be fully armed and trained for battle and experience supreme conquest

 

THE ARMOUR OF GOD – Part 9

 

The Shield of Faith (Section B) “Get a Big Revelation of God”

 

Text:  Ephesians 6:10-18

 

Have you ever wondered how David had the courage to fight Goliath? David was not part of Israel’s army at the time but he was an observant young man. He had probably seen how confidence in their Commanding Officers steadied the Israeli soldiers and encouraged a fearless attitude. David was only a shepherd boy yet this very occupation had caused him to draw close to the Lord and in His presence he was able to have a wonderful intimate relationship with Him.

 

When you meditate on the Lord and on His Word often, it builds up a picture on the inside of you. In meditating on His greatness and grandeur causes us to get a bigger revelation of His power and might. It was because David had that revelation that he could put his whole confidence in the Lord. God enabled David to see what others could not see. Others looked at Goliath and said “How can I shoot at such a huge man?” David said “He is so huge, how can I miss!” So if you are going through some hard battles of life today, get into the secret place of His presence and begin to meditate on His power revealed through nature.

 

Read the great stories of how He delivered His people Israel and you will find that you will get such a revelation of His Omnipotence that you will be able to fight the good fight of faith with full confidence in your Commanding Officer in Heaven.

 

ow sometimes the fiery darts come in the form of oppression from evil spirits. Sometimes satan’s people pray against you through satanic power. Sometimes they are able to put curses upon you. The way to fight this is by first checking to see if you have in any way opened a door to the enemy. This can come about by having a bad disagreement with someone and failing to deal with it correctly. Sometimes it is caused by failing to walk in love. Sometimes you may be tempted to become selfish, critical, self-righteous or even hypocritical in you walk with the Lord. All these open a way by which the enemy, if you don’t shut that door as soon as you realise its open, can attack you. If this happens to you, then be quick to repent and make things right in the sight of God and with those you may have wronged or to whom you are holding an unforgiving attitude. Sometimes people, even Christian  people can pray soulish, controlling prayers and these can affect us.

 

However these oppressions come, we must rise up and lift up our shield of faith. The Bible says in Psalm 149:6, 7, “Let the high praises of God be in their mouth, and a two-edged sword in their hands to execute vengeance.” Let God hear your faith-filled praises and He will arise to your defence. Declare what Gods Word says about your situation, declare that He has promised never to fail you or forsake you. The Word of God has the power built into it to bring itself to pass and so as the Word goes out of your mouth there is a release of Holy Ghost power in the spirit world against your enemies.

 

Maybe you are a new believer and concerned that you don’t know enough of Gods Word to be able to declare it effectively over your situation. Take heart! Psalm 8:2 says “Out of the mouth of babes and nursing infants, You have ordained strength, because of Your enemies, that You may silence the enemy and the avenger.” Now I know that verse says “strength” but Jesus actually helps us in the New Testament by interpreting those verses for us in Matthew 21:16 as “Out of the mouth of babes and nursing infants You have perfected praise.” So, if you are a babe in Christ, rise up and praise God for His great power to save and deliver you – and for you that will be enough till you know the Word better.

 

There are other types of fiery darts such as sin, temptation, wasting time, burn-out, stress, focusing on differences in the church, feeling sorry for yourself etc. How do cope with these? By being a person of “vision”. If you don’t have a vision/understanding of God’s calling on your life, ask Him to make it clear to you. Once you know what it is then hold of it and keep focused. That will stop you from becoming inward looking. If people in a church lack a clear vision then they will become inward looking and that will result in fighting and arguing and broken relationships.

 

Look up and out and become so passionate about your call that you have no time for petty attitudes. Make sure you walk in righteousness too. Avoid people who will cause you to get into sin and avoid going where sin is found. If the enemy comes near, be like Nehemiah who had his workers hold their work tool in one hand and a weapon in the other. When the enemies came by one time and asked him to come down and meet with them, Nehemiah said “I am doing a great work and I will not come down!” – Nehemiah 6:3.

 

Further study

Isaiah 43:5   Luke 12:7   Matthew 4:4   Acts 16:25   Romans 8:31   1 Samuel 17:45-47   Proverbs 29:18

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The Armour of God

                                 022

                                       Valerie Balzan

This is a new series being presented by Valerie Balzan who is on the Leadership Team at Liveseed International Church, Qormi, Malta.  The Christian believer is called upon to wear the divine armour that the Lord has provided and know what each piece is for in the contest with Satan and the evil agencies under his control. There is a spiritual war on and every Christian soldier must be fully armed and trained for battle and experience supreme conquest

 

THE ARMOUR OF GOD –PART EIGHT

 

The Shield of Faith – (Section A)  “Keep Covered in Battle”

 

Text: Ephesians 6:11-18

 

As we move through these studies on the armour of God we see a clear division in verse 16. This verse begins with the words “above all” which is not a good translation. A better translation would be “in addition to all this”, so he is now talking about something else and we see that that means he is now talking about the three pieces that you only put on when and where you need them. As we mentioned before in a previous part, the first three items of armour were to be put on when a Roman soldier came on duty and they had to stay on until he came off duty. Should the call to battle be given, then the soldier ran to the armoury and put on his helmet with all speed. He then picked up his shield and sword and ran out to assemble for whatever the situation called for.

 

The shield was a large piece of armour. It was about four feet long and two and an half feet wide – like a door! It covered his entire body. One strategy that the Roman generals employed was to order the regiment of soldiers to put up their shields while the enemy shot everything they had at them. Then, when the enemy was out of ammunition, they would move in confident of victory. The regiment would move very slowly towards their enemies. That would encourage their foes to keep firing and thus use up most of their ammunition quickly. The other reason would be that the enemy would shoot out arrows that had a piece of cloth lit with fire attached to them. These they would shoot, not only at the oncoming regiment, but at their fields and tents behind them. They therefore would need to be near enough to have some of the back of the regiment run to put out these “fiery darts”.

 

The shield was the first piece of the armour to come in conflict with the enemy – first the foe fired the fiery darts at them, then they engaged in hand to hand combat. The Romans, in order to deal with these fiery darts, made their shields in a special way. First they made the shield from wood, covered it with metal and then decorated it with large strips of leather which were soaked with water before they went out to battle. This meant that as soon as the fiery dart came near, the soldier put up his shield to protect himself – but as soon as the dart hit the shield, it just fizzled out.

 

We can apply this to our lives too. Faithfulness to soak ourselves daily in God’s holy presence will result in His being faithful to come swiftly to our aid in time of trouble. “Draw near to God and He will draw near to you” -James 4:8. The more time we spend in intimacy with the Lord, the more we will behold His holy Face. That reflection on our faces will be hard for the enemies of our souls to look upon. In that same verse James urges us, “Cleanse your hands, you sinners; and purify your hearts, you double-minded.” It is impossible to be in the presence of God and not be aware of our short comings. His very loveliness and sweetness will cause us to want to please Him and become like Him.

 

Satan hates the sight of a repentant sinner humbling himself before the Lord, for it is in our making ourselves small that we make room for His power and strength to enter us; this acts as a great shield of protection. Not only do we need to soak ourselves in His presence, but also in His Word. The Bible talks of how the Word of God washes us. Ephesians 5:26 says, “that He might sanctify and cleanse her (that is us, His Bride) with the washing of water by the Word.” The more godly our lifestyles are, the more the glory of God rests upon us, and the more it blinds the enemy and helps to ward off his attacks against us.

 

Now the shield is called “The Shield of Faith”. This doesn’t mean that you are to believe in something that is not true. Nor does it just believe in spite of the fact that you cannot see it. It believes in what God has said. God cannot lie. God’s Words have built into them all that they need to make themselves come to pass. So when the enemy comes at you and says “Your children will never be saved, they are too far gone in their sins and worldliness”, you hold up your shield of faith and declare “Oh yes they will. It is written “All thy children shall be taught of the Lord and great shall be the peace of my family.” – Isaiah 54:13. The same holds true when satan comes and taunts you about your sickness or weakness, your sin or your insufficiency. Just lift up your shield of faith, find a promise in the Bible and declare it as fact. Our attitude should be “God said it, I believe it, and that settles it!”

 

Further study

Genesis 15:1     Nehemiah 4:16     Psalm 3:3     Isaiah 21:5     2 Chronicles 25:5     Psalm 5:12     Psalm 91:4

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The Armour of God

                                   022

                                        Valerie Balzan

This is a new series being presented by Valerie Balzan who is on the Leadership Team at Liveseed International Church, Qormi, Malta.  The Christian believer is called upon to wear the divine armour that the Lord has provided and know what each piece is for in the contest with Satan and the evil agencies under his control. There is a spiritual war on and every Christian soldier must be fully armed and trained for battle and experience supreme conquest

 

THE ARMOUR OF GOD – Part – 6

 

The Shoes of the Preparation of the Gospel of Peace

 

Text: Ephesians 6:10-18

 

The shoes that a Roman soldier wore were actually sandals made of leather which had a heavy studded sole which gave him stability, and then they were tied in place by strips of decorated leather which were wound round the ankle and up part of the leg. This gave him balance and forward momentum. His shoes prevented him from slipping and sliding all over the place. Like the breastplate and the girdle, they were to be worn at all times when he was on duty. When the battle cry went up, a Roman soldier in his garrison would run into the armoury and pick up his helmet, shield and sword. He had to be prepared at all times and this is a great lesson for us to learn in our spiritual lives. As a soldier had to look after his armour and repair it when it needed it so must we be watchful to make sure that the various aspects of our spiritual life are healthy – that we are moving in righteousness, truth, holiness and the anointing.

 

he shoes of God’s peace will keep you standing when all around are slipping spiritually. If you don’t have a peace about going to a certain place; then don’t go there. You need to seek God’s peace whenever you are making decisions. Avoid anything and anybody that causes you to lose your peace. Having the girdle of truth on means that you know what is right to do – you are aware of the truth in every situation. Keeping on the shoes of God’s peace goes hand in hand with that girdle. Isaiah 5:27b says “Nor will the belt of their loins be looses, nor the strap of their sandals be broken” Keep yourself in a good state of spiritual repair – stay close to Jesus and anchored in His words. Never get into any situation where God is not honoured or where you lose your peace. Disobedience also causes us to lose our peace. We will know that we have done wrong. Let us imitate the children of Israel who were quick to obey the Lord when He told them in Exodus 12:11 to eat the Passover “with a belt on your waist, your sandals on your feet, and your staff in your hand. So you shall eat it with haste. It is the Lord’s Passover.” They had to be in a state of readiness in order to receive complete deliverance.

 

Shoes also speak of foundation. We need to check ourselves from time to time. Are we still standing on the Rock of Christ? When the soldiers engaged in hand-to-hand combat they were trained to make sure their feet were anchored properly. Ask yourself now, are your spiritual feet anchored  on the foundation of Christ? Is He truly Lord of your life, or maybe just your Saviour? Is He the only God enthroned upon your heart? 1 Corinthians 3:11. What are you like when you are under pressure? Are you firm and resolute in your faith?

 

Is Paul also talking about evangelisation in verse 15? No. Although Paul was a powerful evangelist and passionate about sharing the gospel with whosoever was ready to listen, he is not speaking about that here. The apostle Paul held a high view of scripture and he calls us to be like him. Today we see many Christian leaders who are now doubting the reliability of scripture. They are no longer able to lead others in the truth. We have seen how leaders have let satan use them to destroy the faith of many people. But we must also check ourselves. Do we really stand on the truths of the Bible? Do we firmly believe that it is the Word of Truth? Do we believe that Jesus is God who clothed Himself with humanity in order to come and teach us the way to the Father – the way of salvation? Do we rest our faith on His atoning sacrifice on Calvary? Do we believe in His resurrection and in His second coming? Do we believe in the Trinity? If we are not sure of these truths then we can never fight against the enemy for if we do he will already have the advantage.

 

2 Thessalonians 2:15 says “Therefore brethren, stand firm and hold to the teachings we passed on to you” If you let your faith slide, then you will soon find that your walk slides too.

 

Also the Greek word translated as “peace” in this verse is “eirene” which doesn’t mean an absence of conflict. Rather it is the peace that results from harmony and unity. The verse tells us that evangelism will be truly effective when Christians go out as a united front. This, however, only comes when we have individual unity with Christ and that is obtained in the secret place of prayer and intimacy. It affects all around us.

 

Further Study

 

Colossians 3:15,16   Ephesians 4:15   2Timothy 2:15   Psalm 119:97-105   1 Samuel 2:9   1 Peter 1:23-25

 

 

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The Armour of God

                                022

                                 Valerie Balzan

This is a new series being presented by Valerie Balzan who is on the Leadership Team at Liveseed International Church, Qormi, Malta.  The Christian believer is called upon to wear the divine armour that the Lord has provided and know what each piece is for in the contest with Satan and the evil agencies under his control. There is a spiritual war on and every Christian soldier must be fully armed and trained for battle and experience supreme conquest

 

THE ARMOUR OF GOD – Part – 6

 

The Breastplate of Righteousness (Section B “No Man is an Island”)

 

Text: Ephesians 6:10-18

 

The Church of Jesus Christ today is very different from the way it was in its earliest days. The Jewish people always had a clear sense of being a spiritual community. Even though they were grouped into twelve tribes they knew that together they made up one people. Unfortunately as we have become cut off from our Jewish roots, the community of Christ has splintered into many groups. This has also affected the way we view sin. We say that it only affects ourselves. But if one person sins in a family it soon affects all the family. Similarly each person’s sin affects the nation.

 

If each Christian would have a zeal for holiness, then it would greatly impact their nation. One minister said that if every believer in the United States of America would refuse to go to movies containing offensive language and explicit sex, then the film industry would soon have to change its films – Psalm 101:3.  People get numbed by the familiarity of the unrighteousness of the world. We lose our sense of high calling and we fail to remember that we are called to leave a legacy for our sons and daughters.

 

Many nations once had a thriving spiritual life which affected the laws their governments made and their sense of right living. People valued having a good conscience. But the churches lost their zeal and intimacy with the Lord and with that, their sense of righteousness. No wonder that the Bible says that “Judgment must begins at the house of God” – 1 Peter 4:17.  We are called to be salt and light to our nations. We are called to live an honest and holy life before our neighbours, work colleagues, and families. We are also called to speak out against ungodliness. The Bible says that God will judge nations so let us rise up and do our part to try and ensure that our nation will find favour in God’s sight. Proverbs 14:34 says, “Righteousness exalts a nation but sin is a reproach to any people.” When King David fell into sin the prophet Nathan rebuked him and said “By this deed you have given great occasion to the enemies of the Lord to blaspheme” – 2 Samuel 12:14.  We should be concerned for the honour of the Lord’s Name.

 

We should also remember that each piece of the armour that our text tells us to put on, is in fact, a part of the spiritual character of Jesus. Jesus was entirely focussed on interacting with and pleasing His Father. The very intimacy He enjoyed with His Father protected Jesus from falling into unrighteousness. Lovers don’t easily sin against one another. He also lived “light” – He didn’t hold onto worldly things. When He died He left nothing.  He could use things such as a few loaves and fishes, an ass and its colt, the home of Lazarus and his sisters, etc, without possessing them. He sent out His disciples with the advice to only take one coat and not to bother about taking a bag or money. Why was that? They were soldiers in a spiritual battle and to be overloaded was to be already defeated. Living light didn’t mean that they didn’t have the means to be over-comers. 2 Peter 1:3 says “His divine power has given to us all things that pertain to life and godliness.”  2 Timothy 1:7 says, “For God hath not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.” The words “sound mind” can also be written as “discipline” A disciplined believer is always a righteous believer. A disciplined believer can say “No” to temptation and sin. The disciples were to “Seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you” – Matthew 6:33. This should be a great incentive to seeking righteousness. Anyone who is serious about being used by the Lord in planting the kingdom of God on earth and who knows that this can only be done when we have the breastplate of righteousness in place, can rest in the knowledge that God will Himself make sure that we lack for nothing. We do our part and He does His.

 

2 Timothy 4:8 declares “Finally, there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness.” This should give us confidence knowing that righteousness brings its reward. To the natural man, protection is a security camera or a rifle hidden in a drawer, but to the believer our protection is a person – the Lord Jesus Christ! In Exodus 14:20 we read of how the children of Israel were in a place of great danger with no avenue of escape. But the Lord placed Himself between them and the Egyptians and as He covered them they escaped through the Red Sea. Proverbs 11:19 says “Righteousness leads to life”- Jesus then says in the New Covenant “I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly.” – John 10:10 – so the rewards of righteousness just get better and better – a crown – protection – abundant life!

 

Further study

Romans 6:16    2 Corinthians 6:7     Philippians 3:9     Isaiah 61:10     Psalm 11: 7     2 Corinthians 9:10

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Armour of God

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                                          Valerie Balzan

This is a new series being presented by Valerie Balzan who is on the Leadership Team at Liveseed International Church, Qormi, Malta.  The Christian believer is called upon to wear the divine armour that the Lord has provided and know what each piece is for in the contest with Satan and the evil agencies under his control. There is a spiritual war on and every Christian soldier must be fully armed and trained for battle and experience supreme conquest

 

THE ARMOUR OF GOD – Part 5

 

The Breastplate of Righteousness   (Section A “Protect the Glory Inside You”)

 

Ephesians 6:10-18

 

Colossians 1:27 says “Christ in you, the hope of glory.” What an amazing statement!  When we invited Jesus Christ into our hearts, He not only cleansed us and imputed His righteousness into us, He also put the seed of His glory within us. When God the Father looks at us, He sees the righteousness of Christ within us and He sees us as He sees His own Son. How we need to protect these precious blessings! When we walk in righteousness the glory shines out of us but when we choose to walk in unrighteousness then this brings grief to God.

 

It’s almost as if we humiliate Him. Think of the pain that Judas caused Jesus. Let us make sure that there is no Judas at work in our own hearts.  Jesus paid so dearly for our righteousness. Romans 5:19 declares “For as by one man’s disobedience many were made sinners, so also by one Man’s obedience many will be made righteous.” Christ’s total righteousness can be ours now because of His utter obedience. This shows us that there is a relationship between obedience and righteousness.

 

The breastplate was the part of the armour that was put on over the head and which covered both his back and front parts above the thighs. It protected his body organs. The most vital organ is our heart. Once that is damaged, then unless there is a quick operation to repair and restore it, we are in danger of losing our lives. It is the same with our spiritual lives. Everyday we are confronted with many choices to make. These can include the choice to respond in a holy way to difficult people, hurting words spoken to us, and the temptation to sin.

 

Righteousness protects not only our hearts but the hearts of those whom we love and over whom we have leadership or influence. Drunken, dishonest or abusive fathers and mothers cause wounds in the hearts of their spouses, children, friends, and relatives. Hypocritical, dishonest, immoral, ungodly leaders have damaged the hearts and lives of their congregations. One very prominent woman in England said that she would always remember the day her mother left home for good. She could still hear the sound of her mother’s footsteps walking down the path away from the home. No wonder that woman suffered emotional problems all her life.

 

How can we maintain our walk of righteousness? By staying close to Jesus! Reading His word in the Bible and spending time in His presence keeps our eyes fixed on Him. A young lover is so concerned for the happiness of his or her beloved. They are continually thinking of each other when absent from one another and longing for the time when they will be in one another’s presence. They look at one another with awe and admiration. That is how it must be with us. We must seek to be lovers of Jesus. When we are continually admiring Him and worshipping before Him, then that in itself protects our hearts from unrighteousness and strengthens us against temptation. That is why Jesus was so concerned about the believers in the church of Ephesus in the book of Revelation – Revelation 2:4. The believers had got so involved with their lives as servants of Christ that they had forgotten that they were firstly to be lovers of Christ.

 

Maybe you are a new Christian and are feeling a bit overwhelmed by all this talk of righteousness. Maybe you are asking yourselves just how to begin to walk this way. The answer is simple. Just start by making simple acts of obedience now. Respond quickly to the prompting of the Holy Spirit. Is He calling you to keep silent when strife seems to be coming into your situation? Then respond by calling on Him for grace to do so. He is the Comforter and He will never let you down.

 

Is He calling you to be faithful in doing your daily work well? Then respond. Is He calling you to phone up a friend in need? Do it now. Is He telling you to keep your eyes away from that person, place, packet of cigarettes or drugs, magazine etc? Turn quickly away. If you practice obedience in little things, then it will have built up character in you and will enable you to stand strong in the days of strong temptation and trial.  In Genesis 39:7-12 Joseph is tempted by his master’s wife but he runs away from her. What an example! If you find yourself in such a situation then think of the damage it will do to those who love and respect you. Make yourself think of the consequences for these precious ones. Then run.

 

Your obedience will result in your protection from the attacks of the enemy coming from behind when you least expect them and coming directly in front of you. We are in a daily battle against the enemy. Start getting victory in the small battles and you will be able to win the war!

 

Further study

1 Samuel 15:22     Matthew 5:16     Psalm 40:10     Philippians 3:9    Romans 6:16-19     Psalm 11:17

 

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Armour Of God

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                                    Valerie Balzan

This is a new series being presented by Valerie Balzan who is on the Leadership Team at Liveseed International Church, Qormi, Malta.  The Christian believer is called upon to wear the divine armour that the Lord has provided and know what each piece is for in the contest with Satan and the evil agencies under his control. There is a spiritual war on and every Christian soldier must be fully armed and trained for battle and experience supreme conquest

 

THE ARMOUR OF GOD – Part 4

 

The Girdle of Truth (Section B “The Big Squeeze!”)

 

Text: Ephesians 6:10-18

 

At the root of sin is a stubborn resistance to deal with truth. We are often in denial about ourselves and secretly hope that God will overlook our failings. Yet David wrote in Psalm 51:6 “You desire truth in the inward parts.” As a girdle squeezes you in and makes you feel rather uncomfortable, so God’s truth will give a “push” to your soul and make you feel uncomfortable when you are walking in dishonesty. The key to victory is repentance and action.

 

What action? Psalm 119 gives us the answer. Verse 30 says “I have chosen the way of truth” – that’s the first thing to do. Make a quality decision that God is always right and that you will obey Him. This gives great pleasure to God for it is a wonderful act of worship. Then verse 30 says that “Your judgments I have laid before me” That’s the opening of the Bible and reading it and getting guidance from it. Verse 31 says “I cling to Your testimonies.” Once you know the truth then hold onto it and don’t let it go. Verse 32 then declares, “I will run the course of Your commandments, for You shall enlarge my heart.” Once God sees that you are serious about living by the truth, then He will give you the grace to do so. He will increase your desire to do so and that motivation will ensure your success.

 

In Ephesians 6:14 (KJV) Paul talks of “having your loins girt about with truth.” The loins represent our most private areas. We must guard our love of the truth so that there is no barrier between us and the Lord. The loins speak of life and reproduction. Whatever calling we have on our lives, we must seek to reproduce it in the lives of others. – 2 Timothy 2:2. If you love sharing your faith with non-believers and find that many respond to you, then find some baby Christians in which you discern the same gifting and teach and encourage them to step out in faith and do the same. God has called us to “reproduce after our own kind” – Genesis 1:22, 24, 28. But if the truth is not in us, we will produce “mixed seed.” Just take a look at the lives of people who attend churches where they preach a gospel of compromise so as not to offend the congregation and to make a name for themselves as being “seeker friendly.” Often the motive is the thought of large collections every Sunday. Their churches are often splendid looking and you will find honour given to the wealthy and influential. Yet their meetings are lifeless because God does not tabernacle where the truth is absent. Paul warns about this in 2Timothy 3:5 “having a form of godliness but denying it’s power”

 

He goes on in verses 8 and 9 to say “Now as Jannes and Jambres resisted Moses, so do these resist the truth: men of corrupt minds, disapproved concerning the faith; but they will progress no further for their folly will be manifest to all, as theirs also was.” Usually the children of such “Christians” are not fooled by the hypocrisy of their parents and the church dies at the end of their generation. How sad! God has not called us to death but to life. Let us open our hearts to let the Lord deal with our secret weaknesses and sinful motives, so that our service to Him will be honest and life-producing. Let us be unafraid to teach/preach/live the truth.

 

The last text in the above paragraph starts as a warning in verse 1. “But know this, that in the last days perilous times will come:” Today we are truly living in perilous times. People have cast off spiritual values and true morality. They call evil “good” and they call good “evil”. Those who are committed to Jesus Christ have to work with these people and live among them. As these ungodly men and women make ungodly laws, so oppression increases over our lives. How important it is for us to value, hold onto and live according to God’s holy truth. It will protect us and hold us steady in life’s battles. It is armour.

 

Lastly let us strive to always speak the truth. That might seem an obvious thing to do in light of what I’ve just shared. However I am referring to using the voice to be creative. Speaking creative and faith-filled words into a conversation can change the course of that conversation. It creates a godly atmosphere. Speaking words of life over our children can cause them to have a higher vision of themselves and release in them a sense of destiny; of God having great plans for their lives. That will often motivate a child far more than all the complaining, criticising, negative and often abusive words that parents sometimes speak over them. Usually the parent is frustrated by the child’s behaviour but their way of dealing with it isn’t godly. Correct gently but firmly and then speak often of the Lord’s love for them and how He and you value them. That will stop the enemy from speaking other ways of seeking value into their ears.

 

This is truly spiritual warfare! For the sake of the kingdom of God and for the next generation, let us speak truth and life.

 

Further study

Psalm 86:11;  Psalm 15:1-5  Proverbs 4:20-23   Proverbs 15:4   Proverbs 16:24  Romans 1:25   John 8:31,32   

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Armour of God

                                   022

                                   Valerie Balzan

This is a new series being presented by Valerie Balzan who is on the Leadership Team at Liveseed International Church, Qormi, Malta.  The Christian believer is called upon to wear the divine armour that the Lord has provided and know what each piece is for in the contest with Satan and the evil agencies under his control. There is a spiritual war on and every Christian soldier must be fully armed and trained for battle and experience supreme conquest

 

THE ARMOUR OF GOD – Part 3

 

The Girdle of Truth

 

Text: Ephesians 6:14

 

Notice that verse 11 begins “Put on the whole armour of God.” Today we are looking especially at verse 14 which begins “Stand therefore, having your loins girt with the truth.” You will now realise that this is not an optional teaching. “Put” and “Stand” are commands. Not only that, the apostle Paul is not suggesting that we put on the pieces of armour that we like and leave off the ones we don’t. No, the armour has to be put on in its entirety. If one piece is missing then we are left vulnerable to the enemy.

 

However it’s important to understand that before we can “put on” there always has to be a “putting off” It is a principle in the Kingdom of God that we must always make room for God to work. This always involves a death to self process. Death always precedes resurrection. Each time that we decide to go deeper into the things of God, we will have to face up to some sort of shedding away of ourselves. That can be a sin or a bad attitude, or an area of unbelief. – Romans 13:12. Or sometimes God asks us to let go of something that He sees is either blocking  our spiritual life or preventing us from spending more time in His presence. Ask the Holy Spirit to help you take a good long look at yourself in order to see what needs to “die”

 

Now some pieces of the armour of God are “defensive” which means that they are used to protect and defend ourselves against satan. The other pieces are “offensive” and are used to attack him. The girdle of truth is a defensive piece. It had several practical functions. The first was to be a place where the Roman soldier tucked in his long tunic so as to be free for fighting in battle. Secondly, he hung his sword from it Thirdly his breastplate rested on it. It was the foundation of his complete armour.

 

And Paul uses this example to show us how truth works. Truth keeps things in place. Many Christians live a defeatist life because of inner division. They have never allowed Christ, who is the Truth, to be at the centre of their lives. When He is on the throne of our hearts with no false gods competing, then our lives can be lived in peace and serenity. God has given us the Bible to give us the truth – about God Himself, about the world and about ourselves. It is up to us however to respond to each truth as it is presented to us in the scriptures. Some words of scripture are tough as they call for us to have a radical change of life or heart. But Christians who are passionate for Jesus will be ready to do any act of obedience if it will result in more of His presence, power, and anointing in their spiritual lives.

 

Satan is a liar – John 8:44, and Christians who do not feed on the manna of God’s Word are at a disadvantage when he comes knocking at their door. One of his “specialities” is to tell half-truths. He will whisper to you that you cannot have victory in your Christian life. This is quite true but it is still a half-truth. In your own strength you cannot conquer but in Christ’s strength you are “more than a conqueror” – Romans 8:37. He can also tell you things that your flesh wants to hear. “The government takes too much tax from you. No-one would blame you for cheating on your tax returns – just a little – and no-one will find out” But scripture tells  us “and be sure your sin will find you out”- Numbers 32:23.

 

Should you listen to his lies you will loose not only your girdle of truth but your sword will fall off too and your garments of righteousness will hang out of place and be ineffective. You will become a war casualty. Once you place your feet onto the path of compromise it’s a swift way downhill. So make a stand for the truth today. Remember that little word “stand” occurs several times in Paul’s teaching on spiritual armour. If you have never taken a stand for the truth, then rise up and do so today.

 

Be done with telling yourself lies and listening to those of satan. Be done with excuses based on half-truths and get into God’s Word. Become a person of integrity and let the truth be seen in your home and place of work. There is no place for hypocrisy in the life of a Christian for we are called to be the salt of the earth and to be light in the darkness – Matthew 5:13-16.  If Christ cannot be seen in you, what sort of a Christian are you?

 

Having on the girdle of truth is also much more than being a person of truth. It is also about hearing what God has to say about you and about your life. He will give you truth to live by and conquer with. He will tell you how precious you are to Him and will speak about the grace that He wants to pour into your life in order to make you into an over-comer. He has plans for you and they are to do you good – Jeremiah 29:11. He loves you with a passion. He even likes you! You need to know that.

 

Further study

Ephesians 5:1, 2    Ephesians 4:25    Ephesians 1:6    John 8:32    1 John 3:18    John 4:23, 24     Psalm 15:2

                                           

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              

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