Build Up: Session 4 ~Shielded from Arrows and Feet fitted with Readiness

Ephesians 6:16

“Take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one.”

 SATAN’s ARROWS: Satan throws so many different arrows at us in our path of our Christian lives. Here’s a brief look at just a couple of them.

arrows

Flaming Arrows of DOUBT: Can’t be defeated by cleaver reasoning or by gathering evidence. Satan’s reasoning is sharper than ours. Satan is an expert in twisting arguments, evidence, and statistics to support his lies. If we try to block doubt with a shield of our own thinking skills, we are using a shield of paper against a flaming arrow. FAITH is the only shield against doubt.

Flaming Arrows of TEMPTATION: Can’t be defeated by our own willpower. We must have faith in God’s goodness and in his blessings to satisfy our “deepest desires” to extinguish this arrow. FAITH, not willpower, is our shield.

Flaming Arrows of PERSECUTION: More than ever it seems Satan is turning people against us because we belong to Jesus. Persecution can come in the forms of mockery and discrimination; it can even come in the forms of torture and death. Activating our FAITH in God’s plan for our lives is the way to put out this fire Satan throws.

 2 Corinthians 4: 8 – 14

We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed. 10 We always carry around in our body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be revealed in our body. 11 For we who are alive are always being given over to death for Jesus’ sake, so that his life may also be revealed in our mortal body. 12 So then, death is at work in us, but life is at work in you.

13 It is written: “I believed; therefore, I have spoken.” Since we have that same spirit of faith, we also believe and therefore speak, 14 because we know that the one who raised the Lord Jesus from the dead will also raise us with Jesus and present us with you to himself.

Flaming arrows of ACCUSATION: Satan’s name means “adversary” or “accuser”. He LOVES to accuse and make Christians feel guilty for things they haven’t done and for the sins they have committed he truly pours it on wanting to let you know you are far beyond hope. Defeat this arrow with the shield of FAITH. Faith here in the blood of Jesus. We can never “earn” God’s forgiveness, but we don’t have to. Forgiveness comes through faith the Jesus’ blood and that is always bigger than our worst sins.

By digging in to God’s Word and with the shield of faith at the forefront may we extinguish all of Satan’s fiery darts he throws our way.

FEET FITTED WITH READINESS

Ephesians 6:15 “and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace.”

POOR and/or NO FOOTWEAR IN BATTLE COULD MEAN:

  • Slipping and falling with bad shoes could mean you get killed before regaining your stance
  • Walking barefoot could mean walking on thorns, ashes, sharp stones, or arrow heads tearing up your feet before you even got to the enemy territory – essentially hindering the final battle by the little things
  • Marching among creatures such as snakes, scorpions, fire ants, etc. could take you out easily before getting to the front lines
  • Marching without proper footwear in cold weather, freezing dirt and mud, or snow can lend to sickness. Many fevers and illnesses often took out soldiers over the years

Smart soldiers would have footwear with heavy, thick soles, and many with spikes on the bottom to help hold them into place or dig in to maintain their ground when necessary and even then to help move forward!  Isn’t proper footwear important? Proper footwear in the Armor of God means having PEACE.

feetfitted

 

The Gospel is noted as the GOOD NEWS! The Gospel is good news because it bears a message of peace:

  • Peace with God – achieved by the peace treaty God offers through Jesus’ blood

                Romans 5:1 “Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God  through our Lord Jesus Christ”

                Romans 8:31 “What, then, shall we say in response to these things? If God is for us, who can      be against us?”

  • Peace in your Heart – Salvation/being right with God releases an inner peace.

 Philippians 4:7 “And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”

  • Peace Spread to Others – start at home in your family including church family then move towards your neighbors and community

                Hebrews 12:14 “Make every effort to live in peace with everyone and to be holy; without            holiness no one will see the Lord.”

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Lesson 3 Review: Belt of Truth and the Breastplate of Righteousness

I failed to update our blog last week with our lesson from Nov 6th. It is the third lesson in our second series of the educational year entitled Build Up! which is an in-depth look at the Armor of God as discussed in Ephesians Chapter 6. Here is a copy of the lesson with the fill-ins for those of you who weren’t available to attend. In the next couple of days I will update the blog again with this weekend’s lesson review regarding having you feet fitted with readiness and holding strong to the shield of faith.

Here’s the review for our lesson on the Belt of Truth and the Breastplate of Righteousness:

Ephesians 6:14 “Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist.”

Why is the belt important? Why is it first in the passage of the Armor of God?

During the times that the Bible was written, a soldier would put the belt on first. The belts then were likely wide and tough – like a girdle. The belt protected the softer parts of the lower body and in addition to protection it helped to hold other equipment in place such as the breastplate and the sword.

Truth is the “belt” in the Armor of God. What a belt did long ago, truth does for God’s soldiers. It protects parts that are vulnerable and keeps other God-given equipment in place.

With George Washington, _error_____ in __medical truths_____ were ultimately what lead to his _death__. Realize that in spiritual matters – if there is _error_____, it will lead to _eternal death_____. Good intentions to do what is right won’t be enough, there must be truth! ______Falsehood___ destroys but truth always _protects________ and ____strengthens________.

HOW IT PROTECTS?

Two Physical Parts the belt can protect are the __stomach______ and the __private______ ____parts____.

How can the belt of truth protect our stomachs?

Without the protection of truth our stomach is vulnerable to __gluttony_____ or to the sense that __material______  ____things___ are all that matter.

Philippians 3:19 “Their destiny is destruction, their god is their stomach, and their glory is in their shame. Their mind is set on earthly things.”

Jesus faithfully debunked Satan’s tricky ways as it may pertain to our appetites as well. During Jesus’ temptation in the wilderness Satan tempted him to turn stones into bread after fasting for 40 days to which Jesus responded, “Man does not live on bread alone but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.”  (Matthew 4:4) The Word that comes from God’s mouth (the Bible) is our TRUTH to live on!

How can the belt of truth protect our private parts?

Without the truth of God’s word as it pertains to his divine plan for _sexuality_______ we are vulnerable to fall into promiscuous and perverted desires. With the belt of biblical truth, we are not able to be warned about sexual sins such as adultery, ____homosexuality_____, fornication, incest, and other __sexual____  ___sins____. The truth in God’s word also shows the Godly design for the _union_ of husband and wife.

A COMMUNITY OF TRUTH

Being part of a church is crucial as Christians. The Bible mentions over and over the importance of Christ’s church and being a part of one. This is expected of us as Christians. However, there are many religious groups that claim that they have the truth. Having a biblical foundation from God’s word will help us discern religious groups that are based on the truth of God versus those who are founded on human principles – nice as they may sound – ultimately their error will be found out.

There are even churches and congregations that truly exalt Jesus and teach the truth of the Bible and are part of the great church that extends through all history. I Timothy talks about the church of the living God in Chapter 3:15 where it states:

“…you will know how people ought to conduct themselves in God’s household, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and foundation of the truth.”

However, they don’t agree with every single point that you may. This is a great trick of Satan to get Bible-believing Christians to avoid entering a membership within a church or specific denomination. Satan may try to get one to believe that because you can’t agree on every point of the church you can’t “join” the church. A Christian writer from centuries ago named William Gurnall addressed this trick of the devil for believers when he wrote that one is “as foolish as the man who refused to eat his noon meal until all clocks in the city struck twelve at exactly the same time.” What’s the point? All clocks will likely never be all synched up together in perfect harmony and may run even seconds apart, but does that mean you skip a meal and go without getting fed because they aren’t all exactly right on. Something great to think about! Sure, many good churches may not agree exactly on all points but if they are sound on basic biblical truth and are Christ-honoring you will benefit from it.

The belt of truth will help to hold other equipment in place. This is true as it talks about the breastplate of righteousness as the breastplate attaches directly to the belt.

THE BREASTPLATE of RIGHTEOUSNESS

Ephesians 6:14 “…with the breastplate of righteousness in place…”

What does the breastplate protect?

The breastplate protects the __heart______ from Satan’s accusations that I am _unrighteous_____ and _unacceptable__ to God. The breastplate can repel every stab of _guilt____and __despair______.

What is “righteousness”?

Righteousness is having a __right___  __standing_____ with God by measuring up to God’s perfect character. The only human who did this was Jesus. The only way we can tap into God’s righteousness is by having Jesus’ perfection credited to us as a gift. We can’t make our own breastplate. But Jesus made a breastplate of HIS righteousness and gave it to us. Jesus’ perfection can count as ours.

IMPUTED RIGHTEOUSNESS                                         vs                  IMPARTED RIGHTEOUSNESS

Jesus’s Perfection is credit to your account                  Righteousness poured into you by Jesus

Your sin = Jesus’ sin PAID IN FULL                                  Talk like, Act like, and Think like Jesus

Happens all at once – Salvation                                             Not at once but growing/developing

I am sinful, but God is Holy                                                     Development/Resemblance to Jesus

Justified by Faith – made into a new person                             Being Sanctified/Made Holy

***   Why know this? To ward off Satan’s attacks of pride and despair  ***

Army Rising Up

When you declared Jesus as your Savior, when you made a profession of faith and were baptized you clearly separated yourself from the fallen evil world. You became a soldier in God’s army! This week we can’t wait to start really getting into the Armor of God learning about the Belt of Truth and the Breastplate of Righteousness. It’s about to get good!

When you have Jesus, you have power. You don’t have to be weighed down by the troubles in this world! But when you are going through trials keep your eyes fixed on Him and soon that trouble will be behind you. Time to shake it up and Build Up in the name of Jesus. Turn up your speakers and go there…Milwood! We ARE an army rising up for God’s work! Let’s do this!

Strategy Session: Know Your Enemy – Build Up! Lesson 2 Review

I believe we had even more people join us in Telos this week which made for an amazing session! Praise the Lord for working in our small group. It was our biggest attended session, yet! If you were unable to attend this week’s session of Build Up! here is a recap:

This week we held our own “Strategy Session” in preparing to put on our Armor we had to lay the ground work for it. Knowing our enemy is the best way to be prepared to fight him, right? Here’s a copy of the handout for those of you who may have missed class. Join us this Sunday as we begin breaking down the first two parts of the Armor of God: The Belt of Truth and the Breastplate of Righteousness.

strategysession

Strategy Session: Know Your Enemy

God’s main battle isn’t against flesh and blood – its again the evil one and his workers. God’s mission is to permanently defeat Satan and his demons. Here’s what it says about it in Ephesians 6:12

“For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the spiritual forces of evil.”

 Some things we know about Satan:

  • Satan is a former archangel
  • Satan is clever and powerful
  • Satan has been in the evil business for centuries
  • Satan has ruined and ruled in people’s lives for thousands of years
  • Satan is real and his demons are real
  • Satan is our enemy

Satan’s Biggest Scheme: Blinding the Truth of the Gospel

Satan will do everything within his power to blind people from the truth of the gospel.

2 Corinthians 4:4 says he “has blinded the minds of unbelievers so they cannot see the light of   the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God.”

 Satan also works overtime on Christians and the Church.

I Timothy 4:1 “The Spirit clearly says that in later times some will abandon the faith and follow deceiving spirits and things taught by demons.”

Ways That Satan Attacks the Church:

  • causes arguments and bitterness leading to divisions within the church (Anger/Bitterness)
  • arouses suspicions and makes us distrust (Paranoia/Confusion/Trust Issues)
  • robs us of joy and leads us to misery (Physical Sickness, Mental Health, Financial Issues)
  • seeks to disrupt fellowship and destroy a united witness
  • makes the church or the members of the church cranky – turning people away from inside the church and turning outside people away from coming to church (Hypocrites/Bad Witness)

 

Ways that Satan Attacks Christians:

  • The devil
  • The world
  • The flesh

Satan has demons that work for him. In fact, our real enemy is not humans but demons. When we can accept this, we can see people the way Jesus does. When a person does terrible things towards you, you may be tempted to hate them and want them to burn in hell. However, Jesus reminds us in Luke 6:27:

“Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you”

This is an excellent way to outsmart the devil and please our Father. Satan is a tempter and a twister. It seems these days that’s exactly what he’s done to the world.

Current State of the World: What’s BAD is GOOD, What’s GOOD is BAD!

It seems these days that everything that was once bad is now seen as good and everything that was once deemed good is now viewed as bad.

Marriage – the definition of marriage has changed to include what’s viewed as an “abomination” to God

Abortion – legal protection for people to murder

Religious Freedom/Christian Principles – REMOVED. No prayer in schools. No Bible in schools.

Morality – at a steady decline with future generations

“Minor” items to note: spanking (discipline), sexual immorality (let’s “educate” our children on sex, sex trafficking), mental health/disabilities at an all-time high, addictions rising, financial institutions ruined/immoral, fatherless children, etc.

Sadly, we were born into sin because of the Fall of Man that happened in the beginning. Due to our separation, we are naturally born with sinful natures – this is our flesh. Let’s talk about sin as a group. Feel free to share ways we may be yielding to our flesh or ways God helped you overcome your fleshly desires.

 

PLAN OF ATTACK: THREE BATTLE STRATEGIES

  1. STUDY God’s LAWS/Word

~studying the Bible (God’s law) is one of the biggest strategies we have against the devil. It can give us inside information at the spiritual war that rages around us. It can lend to our knowledge on false teachings and work to encourage believers on Satan’s tactics.

  1. Don’t get STUCK in GUILT!

~Guilt is one of Satan’s biggest tricks and is a method of evil he uses for his benefit. Realize Jesus’ death paid for all the times we broke God’s law and realize there is a new spirit – God’s Holy Spirit – living within us as Christians (we bear Christ’s name!)

  1. Allow the Holy Spirit to Work!

~ The Holy Spirit lends to God’s laws. It encourages and empowers us to do right. The Holy Spirit is stronger than our flesh. Romans 8:9 “You, however, are not controlled by the sinful nature but by the Spirit if the Spirit of God lives in you.”

One Week Without God Makes Satan Happy

I will be updating our last lesson in just a day or two but ran across this photo from the 700 club and just had to share it. This is an ideal reminder of what we reviewed in Telos this week learning about The 3 Ways Satan Attacks in our Build Up! series. This says it all. He sure can do a lot of damage to us if we aren’t on our guard and spending daily time with in fellowship with God. Wishing you a blessed week! Don’t forget to open your Bible this week and listen to what God may have in store for you.

withoutgod

Just Run Here

TRUTH: I woke up wanting to run somewhere else today. But God is faithful…

This song was a great reminder for me today as it pertains to some family issues I am dealing with alongside a heavy and burdened heart I am holding for our great nation of America these days. I find that learning how to minister and in doing the hard task of simply “fighting the good fight of faith” there’s no doubt about it… some days are just plain hard! Even today’s weather with its dark and colorless skies, cold and pouring rain, and blowing wind seems to murmur my mood as well, yet I choose to have joy. I choose to pick up my sword and fight!

Fighting the devil through worshiping our Savior in song is a great way to get through hard moments and difficult days. Paying attention to the lyrics that have been poured into a worship song can also build you up with encouragement and a glimpse into what God has planned for you. Turn up your speakers and dwell on this song for a bit. It sure is the best place to run to when you don’t know where to run at all! God bless you!

Build Up Kickoff: The Three Unspoken Sides of Jesus

Hello Friends!  This week we kicked off our second series called Build Up! based on the book written by Dr. David Feddes entitled Spiritual Warfare. We were so blessed to have some new people join our group for this session – so WELCOME new Telos friends! I am so blessed to have you try the group and encourage you to continue coming throughout this session.

welcome

I post twice weekly on this blog – one as a way to reinforce the lesson and give the answers to the lesson for those who may have missed it and want to know what we discussed. I also try to do one post of encouragement/worship/inspirational post as well. In this post, let’s review this amazing lesson of the three sides of Jesus that are rarely mentioned about in the church and let us be reminded that we are to love Jesus above all in our lives. Visit the blog again by the weekend for new postings. Here is a copy of our first lesson in session 2:

Session 2 Lesson 1: THREE UNSPOKEN SIDES OF JESUS:

  1. Jesus is a __troublemaker_____!

Jesus is a troublemaker. He’s the world’s greatest troublemaker, in fact! He can disturb the peace, cause family fights, turn people against one another, some people even die for the sake of Jesus. Jesus says himself in Matthew 10: 34 – 29:

“Anyone who loves his father or mother more than me is not worthy of me; anyone who loves his son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me; and anyone who does not take his cross and follow me is not worthy of me. Whoever finds his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.”

In our world today, these may seem like fighting words! But they are a direct order from Jesus Christ himself. Asking us to love Jesus may seem easy enough but it’s one of the hardest things we can learn to do as we mature in our Christian walk and faith. This week keep in mind we should be spending just as much time, if not more time, talking with him, communicating with him, worshipping him, praising him, addressing him, doing all things for His glory and not our own. This is a wonderful reminder of the expectations Jesus puts on us as Christians to lend to our mind the importance of Him.

Here is a funny thing about Jesus. If we do live for him, and follow his commands, and produce fruit in our lives he will end up fixing most things we have trouble with. In the end, He will bring peace, heal family squabbles, and help us to love everyone as much as we love ourselves. But, it truly must be ALL about Jesus!

 

  1. Jesus is a ____War_______ _____Hero___________!

jesussword

We should view Jesus as a wonderful hero! And He IS our hero! Without Jesus, where would we be? War heroes come in different varieties. Some are noted for their great strategies while some of noted for bravery. Many are wounded, captured, even tortured for their cause. Heroes survive battles, overpower the enemy, and set free captives. Yet, Jesus does not encompass just one or two of these things, rather ALL of these describe Jesus.

The stories in our Old Testament also point to how, “The Lord is a Warrior” (Exodus 15:3) Some stories that remind us and make us aware of how the Lord has been a great warrior are:

Wiping out the armies of ________Pharoah__________ at the ___Red_____Sea____

Rescuing the __________Israelites_______________ from the Canaanites

He brought down the ______walls___________ of _____ Jericho____

Destroyed the giant named ________Goliath___________ and so much more! What the Lord did in the Old Testament points to what Jesus did in the New Testament and will do in the final battle yet to come!

 

3. Jesus is a _________General_____________!

The church is a ________fighting_________    ________force__________!

Christian people are _________soldiers____________________!

 

Yes, all of these things are TRUE and applicable to gearing up to learning more about the Armor of God. We have been called to combat! Even Jesus himself once again states in Matthew 10:34

“I did not come to bring peace but a sword”

 Jesus has called us to join his forces and march with him to the final victory. Even though the outcome is certain, fighting still rages on today. Yet, the combat Jesus calls us to is not filled with bloody battles, persecutions, injuries, or bombings. Yet it is a warfare of the spirit!

WE MUST FIGHT ______Spiritual____________   ________enemies_________ and we must use______spiritual___________  _________weapons__________!

Let’s look at 2 Corinthians 10:4-5 which says,

“For the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh but have divine power to destroy strongholds. We destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ”

Christianity IS spiritual warfare and its effects are larger and longer lasting than anything here on earth!

How many people are flocking to churches these days? Don’t Christians seem wimpier than ever? Does it feel that evil is beginning to outsmart the good? This could be due to our lack or a warrior mentality as Christians. Let’s work together to shift and grow our church by realizing that:

Bible Study should be a ____strategy_________  ________session__________!

Prayer can be the most effective ____weapon___ to outsmart our____enemies_____

and defend our ___religious freedom________!

Church is a place to rally ______war____ against _____Satan_______ !

Jesus did not come to earth to negotiate with Satan. He did not come for diplomacy or to work out a compromise, rather he came to destroy him!

I John 3:8  “The reason the Son of God appeared was to destroy the devil’s work.”

 We must be bold as Christians and followers of Jesus! We also must be warriors and ready for battle! The Bible even pictures Jesus as a general riding a white horse with the “armies of heaven” following.

heavencamedownarmiesofheaven

Together in this session, let’s get _______Armed____ and ___Ready______!

Ephesians 6:13 “Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand.”

We must not be caught ___napping______!  This is evident as a wise word from God as it was stated in Paul’s letter found in I Thessalonians 5:6”

“Let us not be like others, who are asleep, but let us be alert and self-controlled” 

We must be alert and aware of our surroundings – especially in the current time in history we are living in. It’s so easy to be swayed by the ways of Satan as these days the world seems consumed in distractions away from God’s will for our lives and how he wants us to live our lives to the fullest!

A day of evil can come in a variety of ways:

In illness or ___________disability___________

In a _______tragic______   __________death________  of a loved one

In a form of ____persecution_______ – being mocked for your faith or the way you live

In the form of a __________temptation_____________ to sin.

It may simply be in the form of lies about ____God_________.  Satan can attack with false doctrines and theories filled with deception. If you know your Bible and you mind is “clothed in the truth of Christ” you will be able to repel Satan’s lies.

We must be ready in advance and prepare ahead of time! Wartime living is not easy, painless, and trouble free. We must fight aside God and with the help of God’s mighty power.

Most of all, DON’T be discouraged if you suffer setback or a “wound” here and there. Rather, rejoice that God entrusts us with a mission where the fighting is fiercest. The greater opposition you face, the greater God’s victory will be when you triumph! Keep in mind, the overall campaign and stay loyal to the Lord. Don’t allow Satan the satisfaction of allowing you to believe that God has abandoned you, rather hold on to the confidence that God is winning the overall mission and count on him to rescue you.

The ___fight___ of __faith___ is___warfare___ for _____winners_____!

Homework: Spend time with God this week in prayer for this series. Ask Him to open you to a new revelation about His word. Keep in mind we are supposed to love God more than anything!

Leave a comment below with any thoughts/opinions you have on the kick off to the challenging series. See you Sunday and Be Blessed!

Build Up! Christians are SOLDIERS

As Christians, we are called to be soldiers! Jesus gave us weapons, too! We must fight in the spiritual battle that rages around us every day. One of the ways to overcome the devil is through worship. This is a great song with timely lyrics for our new series, Build Up!  Turn up your speakers, say a prayer, and fix your eyes on God to help get through your day and week!

BUILD UP! starts in less than 24 hours. Please plan to join us for this excellent series with an in-depth look at the Armor of God. Now….get your worship on:

Series Two: Build Up! Starts Sunday

We had so much fun at our celebration Sunday last week giving out coffee gift cards to some random winners and eating candies and cupcakes after playing a great game of Bible Trivia that stumped us all!

I am so excited and filled with anticipation to kick off our second series of this educational year in Telos this week Sunday called Build Up! This is based off a book entitled, “Spiritual Warfare: Joining Jesus by Conquering Evil” written by Dr. David Feddes.

Dr. Feddes was the voice of the the “Back to God hour” on national radio for over 20 years. He is currently the Provost of where I am attending ministry school. I have enjoyed all of his lectures and teachings and feel that he has a unique insight and sense of understanding the Bible that most people don’t. His book I am using throughout our series can be purchased through Amazon by clicking here.

Please plan to join us on Sunday, October 23rd to kick off this amazing 5-week series.We begin around 11:30 and meet in the Sanctuary following the coffee time. I look forward to seeing you there!

~Janice

armorofgod

Coming Up: FUN & FELLOWSHIP DAY

Please plan to join us in Telos this Sunday after service for a time of fun and fellowship. We will be celebrating our Adult Sunday School class by enjoying some games and even giveaways along with some joyful fellowship between one another.

This would be a great opportunity to invite someone from our congregation you think may enjoy our class to come and join us for the day and check it out! celebrate

Don’t forget! Beginning October 23rd we will kick off our next series, BUILD UP! This series will open your eyes to a new way of looking at the Armor of God talked about in Ephesians 6 and will give you practical ways to use that God-breathed Armor in today’s ever- changing and challenging world. BUILD UP! will run for 5 weeks followed by a week off for Thanksgiving Break.

Love to you all and God Bless You! See you Sunday!