Is your faith armor ready?

September 13, 2012

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Be self-controlled and alert. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. Resist him, standing firm in the faith, because you know that your brothers throughout the world are undergoing the same kind of sufferings.
(1 Peter 5:8-9 (NIV))

Stand firm!

We cannot apologize for our faith. We cannot apologize for our convictions. We must be alert for the world is becoming more and more a place where the enemy runs rampant. Evil abounds when the Body of Christ, through the power of the Holy Spirit, does not stand firm.

What keeps the enemy and his evil in check?

It is the Holy Spirit, and the Holy Spirit cannot work if the Body of Christ is not earnestly seeking God’s Will and seeking to follow the leading of the Holy Spirit.

The enemy has worked through world events in the past and he is definitely working in world events today. God has a plan that will counter the enemy, but we must be self-controlled and alert so that we do not fall for the lies and the tricks.

Believers are being persecuted and killed in various parts of the world simply because they will not submit. They are standing firm in their faith. They have the backbone to stand up against the enemy even if it means that they will lose their earthly life. They know that their reward is not of this earth.

What are we willing to stand firm for?

The generation of Americans that lived during World War II are often referred to as The Greatest Generation. They had the conviction to resist evil. They stood firm in that resolve. I feel that we are facing a greater evil. Satan has regrouped and is working through all parts of the world. Will the Body of Christ be prepared for what we may face?

I know that there is heated theological debate about the Rapture and when it will happen. Some people say that God has always delivered His people “through” troubles and not “from” troubles. How did God deliver Noah and his family? Was it through the flood or from the flood? How did God deliver the Israelites from bondage? Was it through the Red Sea or from the Red Sea? I have come to the conclusion that God delivers His people through things so that they can be delivered from something far worse. God delivered the Israelites through the Red Sea to deliver them from Pharaoh’s army. God delivered Noah and his family through the ark to deliver them from the flood.

We are facing uncertain times, but take heart. God will not forsake the Body of Christ in these times. We are called to be prepared. We are not called to be gullible and unaware.

Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. 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. And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the saints.
(Ephesians 6:10-18 (NIV))

Are you self-controlled and alert? Are you strong in the Lord?

Is your faith armor ready?

Copyright 1998 – 2012 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Do you have the faith to see what Stephen saw?

May 21, 2012

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

“You stiff-necked people, with uncircumcised hearts and ears! You are just like your fathers: You always resist the Holy Spirit! Was there ever a prophet your fathers did not persecute? They even killed those who predicted the coming of the Righteous One. And now you have betrayed and murdered him– you who have received the law that was put into effect through angels but have not obeyed it.”
When they heard this, they were furious and gnashed their teeth at him. But Stephen, full of the Holy Spirit, looked up to heaven and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing at the right hand of God. “Look,” he said, “I see heaven open and the Son of Man standing at the right hand of God.”
(Acts 7:51-56 (NIV))

Do you have the faith to take a stand in the face of adversity?

Do you have the faith to speak God’s truth even when it is not physically safe to do so?

Do you have the faith to see what Stephen saw?

I know that these are tough questions. We all would like to think that we would stand firm in our faith even when faced with danger and even death. It is my prayer that you never have to be put into a situation that requires this type of an answer. It is also my prayer that if the circumstances ever do arise, that each of us would show the faith that Stephen showed.

His faith was rewarded!

He saw heaven. He saw God and Jesus. He was given the assurance that what he believed in was true. Because of this glimpse of the promises that God had made, Stephen was able to face whatever the crowd would do to him, for he knew beyond any doubt where he would be.

We all know that Stephen was then stoned to death. He was faithful to the end.

I am currently teaching an adult Sunday School class, and the topic for what should have only been one week, now going into four, is heaven. This particular passage brought some interesting conversations, with everybody trying to visualize what heaven is actually like. Simply put, heaven is eternity with God, the Father. We have many passages throughout the book of Matthew that tell us what heaven is like. All of these are attempts to explain the awe and majesty of heaven with words that are mortal in nature. This morning, someone said that they hoped that there would be Krispy Kreme doughnuts in heaven because they taste so good. My response was that there would be things much better.

Imagine!

If Stephen was willing to speak out knowing that there may be a chance of death, what did he see in his vision of heaven that made it worth it? We all have our own vision of what we think heaven will be like, and yes, some of those include Krispy Kreme. How far can you allow your faith to see beyond the physical limitations and knowledge and simply embrace eternity with God?

Do you have the faith to see what Stephen saw?

Copyright 1998 – 2012 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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