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Sunday, February 21, 2010

Do You Have A Sword?

A sword is a weapon dating back to the time before Christ, but there is no documented evidence of exactly how or when it came about. However, the sword is highly respected as a lethal weapon, and is mentioned many times in the Old as well as the New Testament. But why would a holy book such as the Bible make mention of a weapon?

Ephesians 6: 17 refers to the "sword of the spirit" as the word of God.
How can the word of God be the "sword of the spirit?" When Satan went to tempt Jesus while he fasted in the wilderness, Jesus didn't have a physical sword. What he had was the word of God, and He used it with precision. His first response was, "It is written, That man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word of God" (Luke 4:4).

On Satan's second temptation, Jesus said, "Get thee behind me, Satan: for it is written, Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and him only shalt thou serve" (v 8). And the third time, "It is said, Thou shalt not tempt the Lord thy God" ( v 12). In these three examples, Jesus is referring to the logos, which, according to the Scofield Bible, is a Greek term meaning (1) a thought or concept; (2) the expression or utterance of that thought.

John 1: 1 states: "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God." And in verse 14, Jesus is spoken of as the Word which "was made flesh and dwelt among us ..." Hebrews 4:12 says, "For the word of God is living and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart."

John, describing Jesus in the book of Revelations says, "In his right hand he held seven stars, and out of his mouth came a sharp double-edged sword. His face was like the sun shining in all its brilliance" (1:16).

So, friends, when we use the word of God in our spiritual warfare against the devil, we are employing the logos, the Being, Person and work of Christ himself. The devil can never stand up to that. Christ defeated him on the cross over two thousand years ago, and His Word is powerful still. When Jesus comes back to earth He will come with that double-edged sword in His mouth with which He will defeat the armies of the anti-christ.

Today, the sword as a weapon has grown obsolete, but it is still used in a sport called fencing. Fencers take great pride in their sport and in their swords, practicing religiously and keeping their swords in good working condition. As Christians we need to do the same. There is no point in keeping our Bibles locked away, only taking them out once a week when we go to church. We are in a constant battle, and we must know how to use our sword.

Is the enemy coming against you with sickness? Break out your sword. "With His stripes I am healed" (Isaiah 53:5); Are you suffering lack of some kind? "My God shall supply all my needs according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus" (Phillipians 4:19). Are you suffering from anxiety? "And the peace of God which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus" (v 7).

We have a very powerful weapon. "The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds" (2 Corinthians 10: 4). NIV We must use our sword. That means getting into the word daily. Not once a week when the pastor reads it to us in church, but every day. Nowadays we have CDs that we can lisen to in our cars and we have the Bible on the internet. We can look up a verse during our lunch break. We need to become familiar with our sword, so when the enemy comes against us we won't retreat in fear. No, we'll take up our sword and run him through. Don't you feel powerful?

Sunday, February 14, 2010

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Today is the much celebrated Valentine's Day, a day that has its roots in Roman mythology. But love itself is no myth. Love is real and it does exist. Today also coincides with the Chinese New Year, which is also marked by the giving of gifts. Valentine's Day which first began, according to legend, with a jailed Catholic priest sending a love note to his lover, has now grown into a highly commercialized event.

In the days leading up to February 14, merchants do a brisk trade in chocolates, flowers, cards and other items, all designed to communicate feelings of love. Gifts will be exchanged, and this is all well and good. For me, if Valentine's Day and chocolates go hand in hand, then I would wish everyday was Valentine's Day. But whatever the gift, the sentiment behind it is what counts.

Which brings me to one of the meanings that Webster dictionary gives for the word 'love.' It is the 'unselfish, loyal and benevolent concern for the well being of another; the fatherly love of God for humankind.' And God showed His 'unselfish, loyal and benevolent concern' for us by giving His best gift - His only begotten son, Jesus Christ.
But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us(Romans 5:8) NIV.

Note carefully, while we were still sinners. The Bible does not say after we had repented, or after we came to love God. It says while we were still sinners. When we cared nothing about Him, when we didn't know He existed, while we were still dead in our sin, God loved us so much that He sent His son into the world to die for us.

Today, Valentine's Day, lovers will look to each other for gifts. We would hardly give a gift to someone who has been mean to us, or someone who is unaware of our existence. And when we give, we usually expect something in return. But all God wants is to save us from hell and destruction. His is agape love, the 'unselfish, loyal and benevolent concern' for our good.

And He doesn't ask for anything in return. Only that we accept His gift - beautifully wrapped in the person of His beloved Son Jesus Christ. If we accept, we get to go to the lavish banquet He's throwing one day in heaven, and live with Him in eternity. His is the gift that keeps on giving. Will you accept? Say 'yes' today.

Sunday, February 07, 2010

Speed Bumps On The Road To Destiny

He said to them, "Listen to this dream I had. We were binding sheaves of grain out in the field when suddenly my sheaf rose and stood upright, while your sheaves gathered around mine and bowed down to it"( Genesis 37: 5).

Many of you may be familiar with the story of Joseph, the boy who had a dream. His brothers envy him because of his dreams which seem to foretell that he will one day rule over them. Worse, their father Israel favors him over them. Israel has made Joseph a special coat of many colors and this makes the brothers hate Joseph even more. At first they think about killing him, but Judah, one of the brothers, suggests they sell him to the Ishmaelites.

So when the Midianite merchants came by, the brothers pulled Joseph up out of the cistern and sold him for twenty shekels of silver to the Ishmaelites, who took him to Egypt (v 28).

Little do the brothers know that they are sending Joseph on the road to his destiny. But along the way, he will encounter many speed bumps. The Bible tells us that the Lord is with Joseph and he prospers in the house of his Egyptian master, who places him in charge of his household. But, look out, because here comes another bump.

Potiphar's wife has her lustful eyes on the handsome young man, and tries to entice him to sleep with her. But Joseph fears God and resists her charms. Then one day when no one else is around, the woman grabs his cloak and tries to force him into bed with her. Joseph runs, leaving his cloak in her hands.

Enraged, the woman tells her husband that Joseph tried to rape her. Bump! Joseph is thrown into prison. But guess what? God is with Joseph. The prison warden puts Joseph in charge of the prison. He is eventually released after he interprets a dream for Pharaoh.

Joseph tells Pharaoh that there will be seven years of abundance followed by seven years of famine in Egypt, and that Pharaoh should store up enough grain during the time of abundance so they will have enough for the lean years. So impressed is Pharaoh with Joseph's interpretation, he places him in charge of all Egypt.

Then Pharoah said to Joseph, "I am Pharaoh, but without your word no one will lift hand or foot in all Egypt" (41: 44).

And so Joseph finally reaches his destination. He has gotten over all the speed bumps the enemy placed in his path and is now head over Egypt. The famine begins. Joseph's brothers come to Egypt looking for food, and bow before him just as he had dreamed years ago.

There will always be obstacles in our path when we are trying to accomplish something. In Joseph's case, he had a dream that one day he would rule over his brothers. What is your dream? What speed bumps are blocking your path or slowing you down on the road to your destiny?

Notice that Joseph feared God throughout all his trials. He never turned his back on God and he never complained. When Potiphar's wife tempted him he said, "How then could I do such a wicked thing and sin against God?" (39: 9). That is the attitude we must have in the face of difficulty. Fear God, follow His commandments and He will eventually bring us into our divine destiny. God bless.