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Tuesday, 20 January 2015

Ephesians 6.16

The shield of faith. Paul says that this particular accoutrement is to be worn 'over all'. It is faith which covers the chinks in the rest of the armour. Without it we cannot please God. Hebrews 11.6. We cannot stand and fight for him if we do not trust him. We are those who claim that the invisible has more clout than the visible. 2 Corinthians 4.18. We are blessed precisely because we do not see but keep believing. John 20.29. We press on in certainty that the unseen God is everything he says he is. Hebrews 11.1.  We do not shrink back (Hebrews 10.35-39), even though to the world, and on many days to us, our faith seems futile, our lives seen wasted away. 2 Corinthians 4.16.
And here Satan strikes. His weapon is pointed, precise, sudden, launched out of nowhere when we least expect it. The flaming tips which embed themselves in any exposed flesh and stick deep. A fire which starts small and spreads and spreads. James 3.5. A sin that starts as thought but becomes deadly deed. James 1.15. A niggling doubt that poisons the veins. The devil knows where our weak spots are. Where have we left ourselves open to attack?
And, oh, but my faith is so puny, so insignificant, so faltering. My arms are so weak that I can barely lift up my shield this morning. Take heart, says my commander. Take heart. John 16.33. A mustard seed is enough. Luke 17.6. I am praying for you. Luke 22.32. John 17.17. Hebrews 7.25.Romans 8.34.

Sunday, 18 January 2015

Ephesians 6.15

"With feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the Gospel of peace..."

Are you ready? Are you prepared? The word here also has the sense of standing on the right foundation. What is the basis of your good news bringing today? Are you trusting that God is already at work in the lives of those you love? Are you compelled by guilt and obligation instead of flinging yourself into what Paul Weston calls the slipstream of what God is already up to? The Father is doing. John 5.19. We simply join in with that.
And yet. We must speak. Romans 10.14. We are not passive in this partnership. The good news is an announcement, an event, an act that breaks into reality and flips all on its head. This very moment is a moment of opportunity for the good news to break in. Mark 1.14

What is this news? What is God  already doing? What kind of greeting might this be that we bring? Luke 1.29. Paul makes it clear. This gospel is of peace. Eirene. Eiro meaning, beautifully, to tie something together into a whole. God's good news in Jesus Christ is that we can be tied back together again. All our brokenness can be redeemed. All that was lost can be restored. We can receive the gift of God's perfect wholeness, his Shalom. And that is good news indeed. That is the news that this world aches for.

Oh Father God, let us trust in the wholeness of your gospel today. Let us trust in our role as reconcilers. 2 Corinthians 5.11-21. Be ready today. Be prepared. Colossians 4.2-6. 1 Peter 3.15. Check where your feet are standing.

Thursday, 15 January 2015

Ephesians 6.13

Stand firm. God gives the armour but we do the standing. We are those who know what it means to tactically withdraw from battle. Retreating not as cowards but as those who know that to wage warfare without our weapons is to lose the battle. We have everything we need (Ephesians 1.3, 2 Peter 1.3) but we need to get ourselves to the armoury to pick it up. What truths do you need to buckle around yourself? What lies are you particularly susceptible to? Satan knows just what to say to throw you off course, to knock the wind out of your sails. At this very second, he is on the prowl (1 Peter 5.8) looking for the words that will devour you, that little nagging doubt of did God really say? (Genesis 3.1) Does he really love you? What about your struggle, your sin, your disappointment, your failures, your unanswered prayer? How can you be loveable? But we pick up our weapons. We follow our commanding officer. We copy his battle strategy. And we say over and over and over. Till we are hoarse and croaking and barely able to whisper. "It is written."(Luke 4.4, 8,12) Gird yourself. Tie yourself up in knots. Bind your heart. Encircle your mind. Buckle your belt today. Pick up the book. And start memorizing.

Tuesday, 13 January 2015

Ephesians 6.14

"With the breastplate of righteousness in place..."

Our second vital selection from the armoury. Vital because it covers the heart. It guards our emotions. It shields us from doubt. We are the righteousness of God. 2 Corinthians 5.21. We are holy and blameless and free to approach him with childlike abandon. Ephesians 3.12. Hebrews 4.16. No one is going to tell us otherwise.

Once we needed another kind of breastplate. Exodus 28.16 - 30. Once it was the high priest who had to carry us to God emblazoned on his chest, a memorial reminder before God, brought into his presence by another and held there before him, a plea for our forgiveness and our cleansing.

And now, oh wonder of wonders, it is God who is held within us. The Holy Spirit testifies to our new position, to our free access, to our sonship. We are righteous. Forever. Oh soul, dare to believe this precious truth this morning. Be overcome with joy when you think on it. Readjust your breastplate today and check your heart is safe.

When Satan tempts me to despair, and tells me of the guilt within, upward I look and see him there, who made an end to ask my sin. Because the sinless savior died, my sinful soul is counted free. For God the just is satisfied to look on him and pardon me.