“Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked.” (Ephesians 6:16)
We should be aware that satan has fiery darts with your name on them each day. However, God has given you a piece of armor to stop EVERY ONE of them, the shield of faith. Faith is total trust and dependence upon God. It is taking God at His Word. In this case, it is in full faith using the very truth of God’s Word as a shield from the darts that satan will throw at you. The words “above all” indicates to us that the shield of faith is a high-priority piece of armor.
Let’s think about how this would look in our daily lives. As you get in the car to leave for work, satan throws a dart of worthlessness at you. He tells you that you are of no value to God. Do you believe it? Does he get to write your reality? He should not! Instead of meditating on that dart satan has thrown, go to the Bible and see what God says about you. God says that those who are in Christ are indwelt by the Spirit of God and ARE the children of God. He says that His children are His workmanship, His masterpiece, His work of art. God views you as valuable! By faith hold God’s truth up as a shield against that dart of worthlessness.
“There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.” (Romans 8:1)
“The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God:” (Romans 8:16)
“For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.” (Ephesians 2:10)
Every person is intrinsically valuable to God because He created them. Even though man sinned against Him and is separated from Him, God valued a relationship with mankind so much that He sent His Son, Jesus Christ, to die in place of man. Jesus did not just die but rose again. He offers all who will believe on His name the total forgiveness of sin and eternal life. God thinks you are valuable!
“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved.” (John 3:16-17)
Now it is time to take the shield of faith up in your hands!
The heathen will rage because righteousness and the fear of the Lord have been promoted in our land. Several thoughts have come to my mind today that I would like to communicate to you as well as share an informative resource.
The overturning of Roe v. Wade itself does not outlaw abortion. After nearly 50 years of the federally sanctioned murder of unborn human babies, the court has returned the decision to the states and the citizens of this country. Now it is up to states and citizens to see to the end of legalized abortion.
The overturning of Roe v. Wade does not change the hearts of men and women. Only faith in Jesus Christ can transform hearts from accepting the murder of the unborn for the sake of convenience to valuing every human life regardless of conception. According to God’s Word, it is not a fetus in the womb, but a human.
“For thou hast possessed my reins: thou hast covered me in my mother’s womb. I will praise thee; for I am fearfully and wonderfully made: marvellous are thy works; and that my soul knoweth right well.” (Psalm 139:13-14)
“Before I formed thee in the belly I knew thee; and before thou camest forth out of the womb I sanctified thee, and I ordained thee a prophet unto the nations” (Jeremiah 1:5)
The overturning of Roe v. Wade does not change the fact that our country has a sin problem — fornication (sex before marriage) and adultery (sex outside of the covenant of marriage). Abortion was our country’s answer to “eliminating” the consequences of its sin. Again, the answer to this problem is Jesus Christ.
“Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind, Nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God. And such were some of you: but ye are washed, but ye are sanctified, but ye are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God.” (1 Corinthians 6:9-11)
On this historic day, may we commit ourselves to prayer, being fervent Gospel witnesses as well as standing up for the lives of the unborn. The answer to e v e r y sin problem is Jesus Christ. “If the Son therefore shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed.” (John 8:36) More than ever, our world needs this good news!
The physical trauma of Christ begins in Gethsemane with one of the initial aspects of His suffering the bloody sweat. It is interesting that the physician of the group, Luke, is the only one to mention this. Luke’s biblical account tells of Jesus suffering, “And being in anguish, he prayed more earnestly, and his sweat was like drops of blood falling to the ground” (Luke 22:44).
Though very rare, the phenomenon of Hematidrosis, or bloody sweat, is all documented. Under great emotional stress, tiny capillaries in the sweat glands can break, thus mixing blood with sweat. This process alone could have produced marked weakness and possible shock.
After the arrest in the middle of the night, Jesus was brought before the Sanhedrin and Caiaphas, the High Priest. One of the soldiers struck Jesus across the face for remaining silent when questioned by Caiaphas. The palace guards taunted Jesus to identify them as they each passed by, spat on Him, and struck Him in the face.
In the early morning, Jesus, battered and bruised, dehydrated, and exhausted from a sleepless night, is taken across Jerusalem to the Praetorium of the Fortress Antonia. It was there, in response to the cries of the mob, that Pilate ordered Bar-Abbas released and condemned Jesus to scourging and crucifixion.
Preparations for the scourging are carried out. Jesus is stripped of His clothing and His hands tied to a post above His head. The Roman legionnaire steps forward with the flagrum in his hand. This is a short whip consisting of several heavy, leather thongs with two small balls of lead attached near the ends of each. The heavy whip is brought down with full force across Jesus’ shoulders, back and legs thirty-nine times.
At first the heavy thongs cut through the skin only. Then, as the blows continue, they cut deeper and deeper into the subcutaneous tissues, producing first an oozing of blood from the capillaries and veins of the skin, and finally spurting arterial bleeding from vessels in the underlying muscles. The small balls of lead first produce large, deep bruises, which are broken open by subsequent blows.
Finally, the skin of the back is hanging in long ribbons and the entire area is an unrecognizable mass of torn, bleeding tissue. When it is determined by the centurion in charge that the prisoner is near death, the beating is finally stopped.
The half-fainting Jesus is then untied and allowed to slump to the stone pavement, wet with His own blood. The Roman soldiers see a great joke in the provincial Jew claiming to be a king. They throw a robe across His shoulders and place a stick in His hand for a scepter. A small bundle of flexible branches covered with long thorns is pressed into the scalp of Jesus. Again there is copious bleeding (the scalp being one of the most vascular areas of the body). After mocking Him and striking Him across the face, the soldiers take the stick from His hand and strike Him across the head, driving the thorns deeper into His scalp.
Finally, the soldier’s tire of their sadistic sport and the robe is torn from His back. This has already become adherent in the clots of blood and serum in the wounds, and its removal just as the careless removal of surgical bandages, causes excruciating pain- almost as though He were again being whipped, and the wounds again begin to bleed. Jesus is then led off to be crucified. The heavy beams of the cross are then tied to His shoulders, and the procession of the condemned Christ, two thieves and the execution detail, begins it slow journey. The weight of the heavy wooden beam, together with the shock produced by copious blood loss, is too much. Jesus stumbles and lacerates the skin and muscles of His shoulders. Jesus tries to rise, but His human muscles have been pushed beyond their endurance.
At Golgotha, the beam is placed on the ground and Jesus is quickly thrown backward with His shoulders pressed against the wood. The legionnaire feels for the depression at the front of the wrist. He then drives a heavy, wrought iron nail through the wrist and deep into the wood. Quickly, he moves to the other side and repeats the action, being careful not to pull the arms too tightly, but to allow some flexion and movement. The beam is then lifted in place at the top of the posts and the titulus reading “Jesus of Nazareth, King of the Jews” is nailed in place.
The left foot is pressed backward against the right foot, and with both feet extended, toes down, a nail is driven through the arch of each. As Jesus pushes Himself upward to avoid the stretching torment, He places His full weight on the nail through His feet. Again there is the searing agony of the nail tearing through the nerves between the metatarsal bones of the feet.
As the arms fatigue, great waves of cramps sweep over the muscles, knotting them in a deep relentless, throbbing pain. With these cramps comes the inability to push Himself upward. Hanging by the arms the pectoral muscles are paralyzed and the intercostal muscles are unable to act. Air can be drawn into the lungs, but not exhaled. Jesus fights to raise Himself in order get one short breath. Finally, carbon dioxide builds up in the lungs and in the blood stream, and the cramps partially subside. Spasmodically, Jesus is able to push Himself upward to exhale and bring in the life-giving oxygen. Hours of this limitless pain, cycles of twisting, joint-rending cramps, intermittent partial asphyxiation, searing pain, as tissue is torn from His lacerated back as He moves up and down against the rough timber.
Then another agony begins. A deep crushing pain deep in the chest as the pericardium slowly fills with serum and begins to compress the heart. The compressed heart is struggling to pump heavy, thick, sluggish blood into the tissues- the tortured lungs are making a frantic effort to gasp small gulps of air. The markedly dehydrated tissues send their flood of stimuli to the brain. Jesus gasps, “I thirst” (John 19:28).
Jesus can feel the chill of death creeping through His tissues. With one last surge of strength, He once again presses His torn feet against the nail, He straightens His legs, takes a deeper breath, and utters His seventh and last cry, “Father, into your hands I commit my spirit” (Luke 23:46).
Apparently to make double sure of death, the legionnaire drove his spear through the fifth interspace between the ribs, upward through the pericardium and into the heart. Immediately there came out blood and water. We, therefore, have rather conclusive postmortem evidence that Jesus died, not the usual crucifixion death by suffocation, but of heart failure due to the shock and constriction of the heart by fluid in the pericardium.
Thus we have a glimpse of the manifestation of evil which man can exhibit toward man and toward God. This medical description of what Jesus endured on the cross is apt to leave you hopeless and depressed. How grateful you can be that, “He Did This Just For You” showing you a glimpse into what God did to win your heart.
By Truman Davis, M.D., M.S. From Arizona Medicine, March 1965
D.L. Moody wisely said, “The Bible was not given for our information but for our transformation.” In order for the Bible to transform our lives, it must be in our lives.
I am inviting my church family and others who want to join me to read through the Bible chronologically via the YouVersion App Bible reading plan. Gain a better understanding of the order of biblical events and the historic context in which they unfolded. The One Year ® Chronological Bible gives readers a fresh look at the Bible. With the full text divided into 365 portions for daily reading it allows readers the opportunity to read through the Bible in one year.
Even though you are reading this from a screen, we are all very familiar with printed books. In fact, we are so familiar that we often take them for granted. There was a time when books were reproduced by hand writing. This was a very tedious and long process. That all changed with the invention of the printing press.
Today (February 3), in 1468, Johannes Gutenberg died. He was the inventor of the printing press. The very first book he printed was the Bible. How great is that! On this day, I am thankful for how God used Johannes Gutenberg to continue to fulfill His promise to preserve His Word to all generations.
Psalm 12:7 “Thou shalt keep them, O LORD, Thou shalt preserve them from this generation for ever.”
As I consider the goodness of God in the midst of 2020, I am amazed. Yes, this year has been difficult, and, no, I do not have my head buried in the sand. I mean it when I say, “God has been good!” He has shown Himself more than able to overcome fear and bring peace. He has proven (again) that He is faithful even when disappointments mount. He has shown Himself to have all power against that which threatens. Allow me to give some specific praise to the Lord.
First, I want to thank the Lord for His salvation. The confident assurance of the forgiveness of all sin and eternal life is a blessing that is beyond compare. God provided this to me when I was twelve years old as I recognized my sinfulness, Christ’s righteousness, and accepted what He did for me at Calvary. 2 Corinthians 5:21 says, “For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.“
Second, God’s protection has been real both spiritually and physically. I think of all that has happened in 2020. The Lord allowed my wife and me to travel to India and return right before all the lockdowns. He protected us on that trip as well as opened our eyes to the vast need of the Gospel in India. Throughout the year, whether in trips or day to day life, He has granted protection. “I will both lay me down in peace, and sleep: For thou, Lord, only makest me dwell in safety.” (Psalm 4:8) Beyond the physical, there was spiritual protection. I cannot remember a season of life that had more intense spiritual warfare than this year. Yet, God has again proven Himself to be infinitely more powerful than the god of this world—who is a defeated foe. 1 John 4:4 reminds us, “Ye are of God, little children, and have overcome them: because greater is he that is in you, than he that is in the world.”
Third, I have said that whatever brings us closer to God is ultimately a good thing. Well, the challenge of 2020 has been a good thing in this way. God has taught me (is teaching me) the importance of prayer. Prayer is a declaration of dependence upon God. I am learning just how true our Savior’s words were when He said, “Without me ye can do nothing.”
Fourth, God saw fit to challenge me in my faith in a very meaningful and specific way this year. I was at a point where I thought I was going forward in faith, but my thinking and even my words were not faith-filled. I was living in respect of what I could see physically. God used a businessman to rebuke and encourage me in the matter of the fear of the Lord—living in respect of God, His holiness, and His ability. God cannot be put inside a box. He is not confined to work within the guidelines of what I have experienced, what I see, or how I think. Honestly, this is still a learning journey that I am on, but God has specifically worked in my life and I am thankful! I preached a message that flowed out of what God was doing in my heart entitled Those that Fear the Lord.
Fifth, I had been praying for a second vehicle. My family and I were getting by with one vehicle for several years, and it was getting to be very difficult. In September, the Lord answered that prayer specifically and provided a vehicle. This is a tangible thing, but I am thankful for a second vehicle!
Sixth, this year God has helped my son, Jason, with his speech impediment. God used our doctor, speech therapy, and the tireless efforts of my wife to help Jason begin to speak more clearly. It has been a huge blessing to watch him gain confidence as people can understand him as he talks.
Seventh, family is very precious. There have been times this year in the midst of all the chaos that the dinner table has been a place of refreshment. You might wonder how dinner with five littles can be refreshing. There is nothing like the carefree conversation and laughing of children. I thank the Lord for the blessing of family. I thank Him for granting my wife and me young hearts to raise for His glory.
Eighth, I praise the Lord for my wife. This year has drawn us together so much more because this year has drawn us toward our Lord. I cannot express the blessing of a godly wife who continues to follow Christ. I have seen how her Shepherd has led and grown her in her faith and confidence. She is my best friend and my partner in the work of the Lord. I praise the Lord.
Lastly, my church family is an unbelievable blessing to me. This has been a trying year for churches. However, we have experienced the grace of God together. God has used this year to draw us closer together. He has grown our faith. He has lifted us above fear and chaos to walk closer with Him. He has added to our number. He is opening hearts to His working and genuine Christian connection. He is restoring our broken and messy lives. It would be very hard to fully express how I feel, but I would not trade the world for the blessing of being a part of a church family that is growing together in the Lord.