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Ephesians 6

14 Stand your ground, putting on the belt of truth and the body armor of God’s righteousness.

The first piece of armor Paul speaks of is the cintus, which is the belt the soldier wears around his waist. This belt is used to hold everything else into place.

That is what the truth of God does. It holds everything else into place. Fortunately God gives us access to the truth because he sent Jesus. We can listen to the teachings of Jesus and look at the model of Jesus and here we see God come to focus. Christian faith lived out like Jesus lives it out is true.

This is saying something and also not saying something. What we are not saying is Christian faith is true because it works. What we are saying is Christina faith works because it is true. Think about the difference. With the truth we can live in God’s Kingdom and follow his ways.

Then there is “the body armor of God’s righteousness.”

This armor or “breastplate,” as it is called, is the pectorale. Literally, the “protector of the heart.”

Righteousness= justice

This is the heart of the matter for us.

Our one true God is the one true judge. God intends to put the world right. This is where Jesus comes in. We are already declared right in Jesus and so when we are attacked by Satan we have protection.

Satan is a big fan of name-calling. Satan attacks our identity. “God doesn’t love you.” “You are a bad person.” “You are weak.” “How can God love someone as broken as you?” “How can you call yourself a Christian?”

No, I am the son of a loving Father. Through confidence in Jesus, I am in God’s family forever. I am royalty and my coronation came at my baptism. Through the water and the word God declares me his and I begin to live my life in his kingdom.

ME

The same teaching that would say there is no evil also says there is no truth. Truth is culturally conditioned and what is truth for you may not be truth for me. “There is no truth” is, of course, a truth statement.

 

 

Psalm 110:5-7

The Lord stands at your right hand to protect you. He will strike down many kings when his anger erupts. He will punish the nations and fill their lands with corpses; he will shatter heads over the whole earth. But he himself will be refreshed from brooks along the way. He will be victorious.

Nice imagery, right?

Remember King David is a warrior and a poet. He uses this violent and descriptive imagery for a reason. Satan and his evil ways will not stop God from restoring the world. It is already happening and God has already won. The victory is God’s. But, in the meantime there are battles until there is lasting peace for good.

Think back to WW2. The allied forces pretty much started the ball rolling to defeat Hitler and his forces for good, beginning with the Normandy invasion, on June 6, 1944, D-Day. However, there were horrific battles in the meantime, until the Germans surrendered on May 7, 1945. Prior to that, the war was won, but battles continued.

This is what it is like now. The enemy, Satan, has been defeated, but the suffering continues. Jesus is victorious, but the battles still rage. We are the priest/kings who rule with Jesus and as we represent him, we bring his joy and peace and goodness in the midst of all the suffering and pain the devil tries to bring into the world. Satan’s days are numbered and as we move forward, bringing blessing into the battle along the way, we are victorious.

ME

Ask God what you need to be more confident in his presence and power in your life. Ask for this.

Thursday April 28- “Your rod and your staff they comfort me”

Let us therefore strive to enter that rest, so that no one may fall by the same sort of disobedience. For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart. And no creature is hidden from his sight, but all are naked and exposed to the eyes of him to whom we must give account. (Hebrews 4:11-13)

“Your rod and your staff they comfort me.”

These are the instruments of protection and help the shepherd is skillful  at using, for himself and for his sheep.  The rod is a piece of a tree at the root that forms a ball.  The shepherd fashioned just for himself.  He practices throwing it and do so with precision. So when a wolf comes he can throw his rod and scare the wolf away.  If a sheep strays off the path he throws his rod next to the sheep to guide it back. The rod is also used to help separate the sheep’s woolen coat to check for any diseases or cuts.  It conveys  the shepherd’s authority, defense, power, discipline.

It is like the word of God which reminds us how Jesus used scripture to counter Stan’s temptation, or Hebrews 4:12 ” the word of God is sharper than a two-edged sword soul and spirit, joints and marrow.”  So the rod in the hands of our Good Shepherd is the symbol of his authority over evil, but also his authority over us, his disciplining us.

The staff is a long stick with a crook at the end.  With it the shepherd can expertly pick his sheep out of a thicket of brambles, of off a rocky ledge. With the staff the shepherd also guides and mages his sheep.  The rod can be a symbol of God’s spirit, who guides, comforts, keeps us.

“You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies..”

The high country is the goal of the shepherd for his sheep.  It is a flat table land.  The shepherd went ahead to prepare the  area for his sheep.  He dug out the poisonous  weeds, clears the basins of water.  During the summer he is looking out for the predators – the enemies of his sheep.

Jesus does the same.  He has gone before us.  We stay close to him.  We feed on his word to help us cope with the fiery darts of the evil one.

“You anoint my head with oil, my cup overflows.”

The shepherd puts a  mixture of oil, sulfur and tar and over the sheep’s  head and nose to protect it from parasites, flies which drive a sheep crazy.

And Jesus anoints us with the oil of his spirit to help us in our daily frustrations with the world and life around us, to keep our minds focused on Him.

Our Good shepherd has set a glorious table before us with the riches of himself and especially as we feed on his supper , we overflow with praise and thanksgiving for who he is and what he did for us on the cross. We come to his table, he has prepared for us, in the presence of our enemy, the evil one and our cup of gratitude overflows.

ME

Will we allow and trust our Good Shepherd to guide us. Do we store his word in our minds to help us in time of trouble? Do we overflow with thanksgiving for his goodness and care?

(by Gerrie Wilkowski)