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Armor of God // Praise & Shine

There is spiritual warfare going on all around us. We must prepare ourselves for this holy battle.

“Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.”

Ephesians 6:11-17

David Chadwick said it this way in his Moments of Hope devotional:
“The first piece of the armor is the belt of truth. Truth, by its very definition, is exclusive. It means something is true and other things are lies. The evil one is the father of lies (John 8:44). Every lie finds its origin in him.

“Every other piece of the full armor of God is attached to the belt of truth. If you don’t begin with truth, you’ll never defeat the enemy. And Jesus said God’s Word is true (John 17:17).”

Next, we have the Breastplate of Righteousness. Righteousness means being made right. In daily spiritual battles, the enemy tries to tempt us but righteousness protects the heart from being wounded by sin.

Peace is an attribute of the Lord’s very person and character (Galatians 5:22). The gospel is the forgiveness of sins and access to and oneness with God through faith in Christ. When we stand strong, we prevent the enemy from shaking us loose with worry.

“Faith comes by hearing and hearing by the word of God” (Romans 10:17). Replenish your faith by spending time in God’s word.

The battlefield of our mind is the primary place spiritual battle is fought. The helmet of salvation (like the breastplate of righteousness) protects us from the enemy. Surrender thoughts that don’t line up with Scripture. As Colossians 3:2 says, “Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things.”

The explanation of this piece of armor is right there in the verse – it is the word of God. And it is the only piece of armor that is both defensive and offensive. As Greg Laurie explains:

“When we are tempted, the most effective weapon that God has given to us as believers is the sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God.

The Armor of God reminds Christians about the reality of spiritual battle and describes the protection available to them.

Easter // Praise & Shine

What does Easter mean to you? Is it just another Government holiday? A day off work? Or maybe a money grab for candy companies? To Christians, Easter is the most important time. More important than even Christmas! Yes, Christmas is important but it doesn’t save us from our sins.

Jesus’ birth only appears in two of the gospels, his ascension, in another two and Acts. But do you know what is mentioned in every single gospel? Not Jesus’ birth, not even Jesus’ teachings, but Jesus’ death and resurrection.

Easter is so important because our Christianity revolves around the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. Without that resurrection, Christianity would be meaningless because our sins would not be forgiven by the sacrifice of Christ. If it wasn’t for Easter we would have to continue living like the Jews of the old testament, offering up animal sacrifices to the Lord for our sins.

Easter is just as important today as it was nearly 2000 years ago because it represents how Jesus saved us from our sins by dying and rising again after three days. Conquering death so that we may live for eternity with our Heavenly Father. For all of humanity, not just the Jews, but also the Gentiles that their sins may be redeemed if they believe in Him.

So let’s celebrate Easter like it’s the most important time of the year. Because it is. What it represents is life. It is the center of our faith.

Happy Easter

God’s Will // Praise & Shine

God has better plans for us than we could ever imagine. What is God’s will? What is our purpose?

Jeremiah 29:11 For I know the plans I have for you,” says the Lord. “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.
Romans 8:28-29: In all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose, which is to be conformed to the likeness of his Son.
James 1:17: Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.

Rick Warren the author of “The Purpose Driven Life,” explains God’s five purposes for us.

We were planned for God’s pleasure
so your first purpose is to offer real worship.

We were formed for God’s family
so your second purpose is to enjoy real fellowship.

We were created to become like Christ,
so your third purpose is to learn real discipleship.

We were shaped for serving God
so your fourth purpose is to practice real ministry.

We were made for a mission
so your fifth purpose is to live out real evangelism.

“For all that is in the world—the desires of the flesh and the desires of the eyes and pride in possessions—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.” 1 John 2:16-17

We must glorify God in all things by living a Purpose Driven Live. We are all created in God’s image but we are also unique. God’s plans for each of us are different. None of us experience the same things in life. Our goal, however, is the same. Dream big, pray continually and seek to do God’s will.

Joy // Praise Shine

How do we find joy in our lives?

It can be as simple as remembering the acronym joy is a beautiful reminder of where our priority should be. J stands for Jesus, O for others, and Y for yourself.

  1. Put Jesus first
    Jesus says, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” John 14:6.
  2. Next, others
    In Matthew 22:37-38 Jesus declared, “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.'”
  3. Finally, yourself
    “For you were called to freedom, brothers. Only do not use your freedom as an opportunity for the flesh [for your own desires], but through love serve one another. For the whole law is fulfilled in one word: “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” Galatians 5:13-14.

So if your looking for true joy in your life, remember Jesus first, then others and yourself last.