BE STRONG IN THE LORD:
Tou loipou endunamousthe (2PPPM) en kurio kai en to kratei tes ischuos
(2Corinthians 13:11; Philippians 3:1; 4:8; 1 Peter 3:8) (Ep 1:19; 3:16;
Deuteronomy 20:3,4; 31:23; Joshua 1:6,7,9; 1Samuel 23:16; 1Chronicles
28:10,20; 2Chronicles 15:7; Psalms 138:3; Isaiah 35:3,4; 40:28,31;
Haggai 2:4; Zechariah 8:9,13; 1Corinthians 16:13; 2Corinthians 12:9,10;
Philippians 4:13; Colossians 1:11; 2Timothy 2:1; 4:17; 1Peter 5:10)
Hold mouse pointer over underlined links for pop up of Scripture (which
stays open and can be copied).
ON SPIRITUAL WARFARE
VERSE BY VERSE EXPOSITION ON
EPHESIANS 6:10-18 BY WAYNE
Spiritual Warfare, Pt 1
Spiritual Warfare, Pt 2
Spiritual Warfare, Pt 3
Ephesians 6:15,16 Spiritual
Warfare, Pt 4
Spiritual Warfare, Pt 5
Ephesians 6:12,13 Spiritual
Warfare, Pt 6
Spiritual Warfare, Pt 7
VERSE BY VERSE EXPOSITION ON THE
VERSE BY VERSE EXPOSITION ON
RESISTING THE ROARING LION
Exposition of 1Peter 5:8
Exposition of 1Peter 5:9
VERSE BY VERSE EXPOSITION ON
THE BATTLE IN OUR MIND
2 Corinthians 10:3-5 Exposition
Cyberhymnal Hymns on Topic of
2 Chronicles 20:1-25 Ambushing Satan with Song
- John Piper
THE METAPHOR OF THE CHRISTIAN
Exposition of 2 Timothy 2:3-4
Three Kinds of Soldiers - Ten Principles of
Roman Soldier by Edward Gibbon
(Decline & Fall of Roman Empire)
The Roman Soldier - Description
from Jewish Historian Josephus
A Few Soldier Stories and Sermons
THE AMALEKITES: A PICTURE OF
PERSISTENT SPIRITUAL WARFARE
Nissi: Exposition of Exodus 17:8-16
(loipoy from leipo = to leave, to forsake, to lack, to
fall short, to be wanting or be deficient) is an adjective that
describes that which is remaining - the remnant, the residue, the rest.
The specific phrase Paul uses here "to loipon" is used in classical
Greek to mean "as for the rest" and with the temporal sense
In the present context the idea is as far as the rest is concerned,
beyond that, in addition. This teaching is vital to know and to obey
that the believer might prevail in every encounter with the devil and
6) writes that...
William Gurnall, a pastor, published
his book The Christian in Complete Armour, an exposition of Ephesians
6:10-20. He subtitled the work
The saint’s war against the Devil,
wherein a discovery is made of that grand enemy of God and his people,
in his policies, power, seat of his empire, wickedness, and chief design
he hath against the saints; a magazine opened, form whence the Christian
is furnished with spiritual arms for the battle, helped on with his
armour, and taught the use of his weapon; together with the happy issue
of the whole war.
In his dedication, he describes his
book as a “mite” and a “little present” but it comprises three volumes,
261 chapters, and 1,472 pages - all on these eleven verses!
Finally: This comes at the end
of the letter - a letter that Paul has carefully established our place
in Jesus, and then the basics of the Christian walk. This is his last
section dealing with that walk.
· In light of all that God has done
· In light of the glorious standing you have as a child of God.
· In light of His great plan of the ages that God has made you part of.
· In light of the plan for Christian maturity and growth He gives to
· In light of the conduct God calls every believer to live.
· In light of the filling of the Spirit and our walk in the Spirit.
· In light of all this, there is a battle to fight in the Christian
The KJV has
"my brethren", but this phrase is not found in the more modern
Greek texts that most scholars consider to be as more reliable.
Nevertheless, the point is a good one -- Paul is not just calling on the
pastors or elders of the church to be strong for the battle but for
every believer. Spiritual warfare is the inevitable consequence of a
life lived in Christ, filled with the Holy Spirit, and walking as a
stranger and alien in a world is under the domination of the one whose
very name is Evil. John explains that...
We know that we are of God, and the
whole (complete in extent) world lies in the power of the evil
one. (1John 5:19)
In this section
Paul sets forth his analysis of life, especially as it relates to the
Christian life. And in Paul's analysis, life is struggle, life is
conflict, life is warfare. And so Paul blows the trumpet sounding a
clarion call to arms to every Christian who whether they realize it or
not has been called into "active duty" and is to respond courageously
and armed with the truth. Remember the victory has already been won at
Calvary. Our goal is to learn to live, walk and war in the light of that
God has no place for a spiritual
pacifist. Every Christian is conscripted for both defensive and
aggressive warfare. He calls every saint to arms. "Not into a religious
playground or sports field, but into grim, terrible, bloody conflict are
we called." (The Wealth, Walk and Warfare of the Christian).
reminds us that...
The idea of the Christian’s practice
can be illustrated by a car. The first three chapters of Ephesians
describe the car: its engine and its capabilities. The second three
chapters are the road map the car is to follow. The first three chapters
define believers as high-powered individuals; the second three chapters
show them where to go with their power. The ignition switch is
represented by the strengthening of the Spirit in the inner man. As the
Spirit fills and controls the believer, the power plant is turned on. He
then can begin to move out in obedience to follow the road map that God
has given. (MacArthur,
J.. The Believer's Armor. Chicago: Moody Press 1986)
comments on "finally"...
as if this were a matter of the
highest importance, to be considered first and last. — ”Finally, my
brethren, be strong in the Lord and in the power of his might.” You
know how strong Paul himself was; he was a veritable giant for Christ,
and he here calls upon his brethren to be as he was, he did not want to
be brother to dwarfs, so he appealed to his brethren to “be strong in
the Lord, and in the power of his might.
introduces this section writing...
God has issued to each of us a bugle
call to intelligent combat. It is a call to us to be men and women of
God, to fight the good fight, to stand fast in the faith, to be strong
in the Lord in the midst of the battle, in the midst of this dark and
Those who ignore this call and the battle that rages around them are
doomed to be casualties. We cannot remain neutral. We must choose sides.
We must align ourselves with the forces of God, the forces of good. We
must answer the bugle call, we must put on our armor and stand our
ground or the battle will roll over us and in our defenseless,
bewildered state, the forces of evil will trample us into the dust of
So we must learn to recognize how the dark systems of the devil work.
But more than that, we must learn the processes of overcoming the
systems of the devil not by flesh and blood, not by joining committees,
not by political action, not by taking up clubs or assault weapons and
attacking a human enemy. No, Paul says the weapons of our warfare are
not flesh and blood weapons, not physical weapons, not political
weapons. Rather, our weapons are mighty, through God, unto the pulling
down of strongholds and bringing into captivity every thought to the
obedience of Christ (2 Corinthians 10:3-5). That is the path to victory!
Gracious Father, thank You for a
truth that startles me, prods me, and disturbs me. Thank You, Lord, for
Your word of reality that speaks to me in the midst of my complacency
and illusion. How easily I would drift on in futile ignorance, never
raising a finger against the deterioration of life and the destruction
of body and soul, were it not for this word of challenge that calls me
back and makes me see life as it really is. Lord, teach me to bow in
humility before Your Word and to say to the Holy Spirit, "O great
Teacher of God, open these Scriptures and make them real to me today."
In Christ's name. Amen. (Stedman,
Ray. Spiritual Warfare - entire book online
-- highly recommended. Here is a
quote from a review by Cyril Barber who writes that Stedman's work
represents "A clear, definitive exposition of Ephesians 6:10–20,
laying out precisely and accurately the resources God in Christ has made
available to His own. These studies are free of all sectarianism (such
as books on holiness frequently exhibit), and readers may safely and
confidently rely on this pastor/author’s wise exposition. A must for
every earnest Christian.")
The word "Finally" means that
he is drawing everything to a close. In other words, everything that has
been said he is now summing up as he closes the book of Ephesians...
Look back with me
3:16. There is no way to go to
Ephesians 6:10 without first of all finding the context and the flow of
that has been said. That word "Finally"
is wrapping it all up. What is the "all" that we are talking about. What
has been said in Ephesians? Well, his prayer in 3:16 tells us
"that He would
grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with
power through His Spirit in
the inner man."
The word "power"
ability, ability to do what you could not do before Jesus came into your
The Holy Spirit
now is in our lives. He
in the inner man in order to strengthen us, to cause us to be able to do
what we could not do without Him. The degree of the strengthening, he
"according to the
riches of His
Ephesians 1, 2
and 3 sum that
Ephesians 1 (click
for messages) talks about the RICHES of His glory. Verse 3
sums it all up: We have been given
blessing in the heavenly
places in Christ"
Then Ephesians 2
for messages) shows us the REASONS of our salvation. We
"were dead in
your trespasses and
We couldn’t save
ourselves. It was God who came to save us, to pay a debt on the cross
that He did not owe.
In Ephesians 3
there is the REVELATION of our salvation (click
for messages). Now according to all that we have in
Christ, He has made us saints; He has chosen us; He has sealed us. All
the things that He has done, according to all of that, we are to be
strengthened in the inner man with power by the Spirit of God.
The greatest weapon we have in the
spiritual war that we are cast into the moment we are saved is not what
we say to the devil. It is how we live the Christ-life before him. My
obedience, my surrender, my submission is my greatest weapon in
defeating the one who is the prince of darkness that lives around me.
We have seen this strengthening in the inner man, this brand new
garment, all of this. Now Paul says:
"Finally, be strong in
Lord and in the strength of His might"
We live in a
world that is hostile. I do not need to worry about what I have to say
to the devil. But when I bow and I say "yes" to Jesus and commit to
His Word has to
say, at that very moment, I become a fortress against him. That is my
weapon in the warfare I am forced into when I become a Christian. My
weapon is my submission to the Lord Jesus Christ...
We must daily understand the flow of
Ephesians: Be filled with the Spirit, be strengthened in the inner man
by the Spirit of God. That is our classic weapon against the evil one.
writes that finally has the sense of...
“henceforward.”...It is as if
he said, What remains for me to tell you but this?...The apostle now
represents the church as engaged in an active warfare with the powers
and principles of evil. Olshausen suggests that his residence in the
Praetorian at Rome, where the equipment and discipline of soldiers were
a daily spectacle, may have originated the allegory. Similar allusions
are found in Is 11:5, 59:17; Ps 18,144; 2Cor. 10:4; 1Thess. 5:8. The
primary charge to the spiritual militia is (be strong) (John
Eadie, D., LL.D. The Epistle of St Paul to the Ephesians)
It comes as a shock to the new
believer that the Christian life is a battleground and not a playground.
In my pastoral ministry, I could always tell when a new Christian was
starting to mature, because he found himself fighting battles. This was
a good sign because, as Spurgeon used to say, “Satan never kicks a dead
horse!” (Wiersbe, W. W. The Strategy of Satan : How to Detect and Defeat
In the Lord - In the sphere of the Lord is strength and in union with Him. It speaks
of the active efficacy of the might that is inherent in Christ. It is
the same as abiding in the Vine, as being filled
with His Spirit, as living in the reality of Christ Who is our life. Believers can only walk as more
than conquerors and can only fight as victorious ones in the glorious
truths in Ephesians describing every spiritual blessing by doing so
supernaturally, continually abiding, continually being strengthened by the
Spirit with God's surpassing resurrection power. This emphasizes the
importance of studying, preaching and teaching on Ephesians 6:10-18 in
the context of who the believer is in Christ, truths that are revealed
in the first 3 chapters. To study Ephesians 6:10-18 in the absence of
the truths in the preceding chapters is apt to leave the student
frustrated and even somewhat confused, for Paul is giving a number of
warfare commands but they are based upon the foundation he has
established in the preceding passages. Remember that the "practical
section" begins with a call to walk worthy, to walk in love, to walk in
the light, to walk in the Spirit, all intimately connected with our
waging of spiritual warfare.
in spiritual struggles
is spiritual suicide
has a good word for all believers writing that...
Every true child of God soon learns
that the Christian life is a warfare. The hosts of Satan are committed
to hinder and obstruct the work of Christ and to knock the individual
soldier out of combat. The more effective a believer is for the Lord,
the more he will experience the savage attacks of the enemy: the devil
does not waste his ammunition on nominal Christians. In our own strength
we are no match for the devil. So the first preparatory command is that
we should be continually strengthened in the Lord and in the boundless
resources of His might. God’s best soldiers are those who are conscious
of their own weakness and ineffectiveness, and who rely solely on Him.
“God has chosen the weak things of the world to put to shame the things
which are mighty” (1Cor. 1:27b). Our weakness commends itself to the
power of His might. (MacDonald,
W & Farstad, A. Believer's Bible Commentary: Thomas Nelson)
C H Spurgeon
has some interesting words regarding the reality and necessity of
spiritual warfare writing that...
There are no fair-weather soldiers in
God’s army. All must endure difficulty. Our courage must be tried and
proven. God’s ships never go to sea without being tested, and only when
their seaworthiness is proven do they go on longer voyages. Unless you
have been through a great trial, you cannot help those who are in great
If we were placed in a glass case, we
would not grow. If we were never injured, there would be no forgiving
grace. Without suffering, we would not have patience. We grow in grace
only when the stormy winds of trials blow. It is through harsh
experiences that believers grow “strong in the Lord and in the power of
His might” (Eph 6:10). Christian, when Satan tests and tries you,
hold the world loose but firmly grip the invisible things of God.
It is possible that God might use you
to scatter His seed with a hand that was never wounded, but He will not
use you to minister to the brokenhearted until trials have made you
tender and sensitive. Your present, painful experience is a necessary
preparation for something that will give you tenfold joy. If we are not
tested, we cannot be victorious. The rule of the kingdom is: no battle,
no crowns; no conflict, no conquest. (from Spurgeon, C., & Clarke, R. H.
Beside Still Waters. Thomas Nelson Publishers)
There's victory for you over sin and
Look only to Jesus, there's power in His name.
The devil can't harm you nor cause you to sin;
By trusting the Savior the victory you'll win. --Anon.
Satan's ploys are no match for the Savior's power.
Ray Stedman has an interesting
analogy that applies to believers who are ignorant or apathetic
regarding their sure warfare and God's sufficient provisions...
I once heard of a mental hospital
that had devised an unusual test to determine when patients were ready
to go back into the world. They brought candidates for release into a
room where a tap was turned on, sending water pouring out over the
floor. Next they handed the patient a mop and told him to mop up the
water. If the patient had a firm enough grasp of reality to turn off the
tap before mopping up the water, he was ready to go out into society.
But if he started mopping up the water without turning off the tap, they
knew that more treatment was needed.
While you and I would never miss such an obvious step as shutting off
the tap before mopping the floor, the fact is that many Christians live
their lives in a way that is from a spiritual point of view equally
absurd. Each of us as Christians have been given the mop of God's truth
and we have been told to use it to help mop up the evil in the world
around us. But we can only be useful in mopping up the evil around us if
we first have enough sense to shut off the flow of evil that pours into
our own hearts from the world rulers of this present darkness...
It is a battle in which we are all
engaged every moment of our lives because "the world," the outer arena
of battle, is always around us while "the flesh," the inner arena of
battle, is always within us. We cannot escape "the world," nor can we
run away from "the flesh." We must always begin our battle right at the
point where we are.
John F. Kennedy, the 35th president
of the United States, was a commissioned naval officer during World War
II. In August 1943, the patrol torpedo boat he commanded, PT 109, was
rammed and sunk by an enemy destroyer near the Japanese-held Solomon
Islands. Kennedy and a fellow officer swam from one enemy-occupied
island to the next until they found some friendly islanders who helped
them get a message to U.S. forces. Years later, Kennedy was regarded as
a war hero. His response: "It was involuntary. They sank my boat."
So it is with us. We don't have to volunteer to find ourselves in the
middle of a war. It's involuntary. The war has already come to us. It is
raging all around us, through the channel of "the world." And it is
raging within us, through the channel of "the flesh."
You might be thinking, "That doesn't
seem right at all! I thought that when you became a Christian, Jesus
would set you free from the kingdom of Satan so that the devil could no
longer touch you! I thought that conversion would take you out of the
battle, not thrust you deeper into the conflict!" If that is your
concept of the Christian life, you couldn't be more wrong! When you
become a Christian, that's when the battle really begins! (Ray
Stedman. Spiritual Warfare
- Available online and highly recommended!)
from en = in + dunamóo
in turn from
to be able or to have power --
click study of
dunamis) is best explained if one first
understands the root word
which refers to
inherent strength residing in a thing by virtue of its nature. The best
spiritual example this inherent power is the "gospel"
("the gospel...is the power [dunamis]
of God for salvation to everyone who believes"
Ro 1:16) which
has the inherent, omnipotent
power of God that brings about the salvation of a lost sinner who
receives this truth.
Dunamis therefore describes power
that overcomes resistance or effects a change.
used in the NT to speak of miracles or supernatural acts which have in
them the inherent power of God or in which one sees His supernatural
power exerted in their performance.
then means "to put power in" (like a car needs gas for
power) and so to make strong, vigorous, to strengthen (active voice), or to be
strengthened (passive voice), be enabled or be empowered inwardly. This word is found only in
biblical and ecclesiastical Greek. The idea is to cause one to be able
to function or do something. It can refer to physical strengthening
as in (Heb
11:34) but is more often used with the figurative sense
referring to spiritual
or moral strengthening as in the case of Abraham who
respect to the (humanly speaking impossible) promise of God (of the
birth of Isaac in his old age by Sarah), he did not waver (was not
divided, did not vacillate between two opinions - belief and unbelief -
implies a mental struggle) in unbelief, but grew strong (endunamoo
- was endued with strength or empowered) in faith (Godly faith is
not full understanding but full trust), giving glory to God (see note
Romans 4:20) (Comment: Isaac was
the result of a biological miracle performed by God in answer to
Paul like a commanding general who is overseeing his troops in the heat
of battle, issues his first command to
which is to be carried out by the Christian soldier continually.
To disobey a general's command in a crucial battle can be disastrous,
and it is no less serious in the believer's continual warfare against
his or her unseen foe.
Although clearly believers are to be
continually strong, there is some difference of opinion as to how this
occurs and this distinction hinges on how one interprets the voice of
the verb, either
In a sense it is not that significant which voice one favors, because
all would agree that the source of the strength is the same, the
indwelling Holy Spirit.
Thomas Constable emphasizes this point writing that...
“Be strong” is a
in the Greek text. It probably meant
both “allow the Lord to strengthen you” (passive)
and “strengthen yourself in the Lord” (middle)
(Ephesians Expository Notes)
(Bolding and italics added)
John MacArthur writes about the decisive choice...
The Christian life is a question of
availability and appropriation. Know three things: First, it’s a war;
second, the power to win is available; and third, you have to
appropriate that power. You can choose to be impotent and fruitless,
even though residing in you is the power to do beyond what you can even
ask or think (Eph. 3:20). You could be lethargic, indifferent, and cold,
drifting in and out of church, and still be in heaven for all eternity
by the immeasurable grace of God. But if you choose to live that way,
you will forfeit the blessing God has for you in this life. And you will
fail to glorify God to the extent that you should. You can turn your
back on all the available power, blunt the energy of the Spirit of God,
and say no to the incomprehensible work that God wants to do through you
if you so choose. (MacArthur,
J.. The Believer's Armor. Chicago: Moody Press 1986)
occasion of the Amalekites raiding and burning Ziklag and taking the
woman captive we read an OT parallel of being strong in the Lord in
order to fight the good fight...
Moreover David was greatly distressed because the people
spoke of stoning him, for all the people were embittered, each one
because of his sons and his daughters. But David strengthened
[aorist passive in the LXX] himself in
the LORD his God. (1Samuel 30:6) (Comment: The verb for strengthened
in 1Samuel 30:6 is
krataioo - to become strong, but the principle is the same as the NT
believer's need to be continually strong to fend off the "Amalekites"
that seek to raid the camp of our heart and mind and soul and spirit!
Related resource on fighting the Amalekites -
Jehovah Nissi The LORD Our Banner and
Nissi: Exposition of Exodus 17:8-16)
The idea of the
brings to mind the picture of believers who as vessels (of honor -
2 Ti 2:21)
make themselves available to and are strengthened by this outside force. In Ephesians we have learned that this
Source is the Holy Spirit Who strengthens us in our inner man as we
learn to yield our will to His, and allow Him to strengthen us. Are you resisting
the Spirit (e.g., not necessarily overt willful sin which clearly
"hinder" His working in unclean vessels but even in subtle ways like
self-confidence, self-assurance, etc, all of which are simply
manifestations of pride - to which God is opposed and which cuts off the
flow of grace! - see
1 Peter 5:5)? You cannot empower yourself for this spiritual struggle. You
must be willing to surrender to the Spirit and allow yourself to be
strengthened. Be continuously
empowered in union with the Spirit of Christ. He is the source of spiritual power.
Spiritual battles are not natural and require supernatural spiritual strength. This dynamic
process is synonymous with being continually filled with or controlled
by the Spirit (note
Eph 5:18) and continually walking in the Spirit
Gal 5:16ff) so that we will not
fulfill the desires of the flesh. The result is supernatural strength
for a supernatural life. As Paul testified in Galatians
"is no longer I
who live, but (Who) Christ lives
in me and the life which I now live in
the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, Who loved me, and delivered
Himself up for me." (see note
As someone has said, you plus God
equals a majority. No giant can withstand you when you are led and
empowered by God’s Spirit.
The fact that we
cast everything upon God does not give the soldier the right to sit back
and to do nothing. Cromwell’s advice to his troops was...
“Trust in God, and keep your powder
In Philippians Paul explained how he had come to learn about his source of strength
Not that I speak from want; for I
have learned to be content in whatever circumstances I am. 12 I know how
to get along with humble means, and I also know how to live in
prosperity; in any and every circumstance I have learned the secret of
being filled and going hungry, both of having abundance and suffering
need.13 I can do all things through Him Who (continually =
present tense) strengthens (endunamoo) me. (See notes
David Guzik emphasizes that...
The detailed teaching of spiritual
warfare in this passage presents two essential components. First, you
must be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might. Then, you must
put on the whole armor of God. The two are essential, and much teaching
on Christian combat neglects the first. If you take a weak man who can
barely stand, and put the best armor on him he will still be an
ineffective soldier. He will be easily beaten. So equipping for
Christian combat must begin with be strong in the Lord and in the power
of His might.
Before a soldier is given a gun or
shown how to fire a missile, he goes through basic training. One great
purpose for basic training is the build up the recruit’s physical
strength. It is as if the army says, “Soldier, we are going to give you
the best weapons and armor possible. But first we have to make sure that
you are strong, and that you can use what we give you.” (Ephesians 6)
(Comment: And what is "Basic Training" in Christianity? Is it not
making disciples, equipping them and growing them up in Christ likeness
- see notes
John Eadie writes that...
command (Ed: to continually allow yourself to be strengthened) is one of primary necessity. No matter what armour is provided,
how finely tempered, how highly polished, or how closely fitted it may
be, if there be no strength in the heart—if the man have merely the
dress of a soldier, with the spirit of a poltroon. And the valour is
spiritual, as is the armour; for physical courage and intellectual
prowess are often, alas! allied to spiritual cowardice. Moreover,
soldiers have an invincible courage when they have confidence in the
skill and bravery of their leader; and the power of His might, in which
they are strong, has proved its vigour in routing the same foes which
they are summoned to encounter. As the Captain of salvation, “He spoiled
principalities and powers, and triumphed over them.” The order to the
spiritual host is now given, as if with the stirring peal of a trumpet
"Put on the panoply of God" (John Eadie, D., LL.D. The Epistle of St
Paul to the Ephesians)
In Second Timothy, Paul like a military general who
is turning over the command to his younger officer, he instructs
therefore, my son,
be strong (present imperative)
in the grace that is in Christ Jesus. (See note
2 Timothy 2:1)
So just as he
commanded Timothy, Paul is commanding
the Ephesians believers to let the Lord constantly fill them with His strength.
Endunamoo is used in the
in Judges to describe Gideon...
Judges 6:34 So the Spirit of the LORD came upon (Lxx has
endunamoo here = more literally strengthened =
active) Gideon; and he blew a
trumpet, and the Abiezrites were called together to follow him. (Comment:
Here the strengthening was related to the Spirit's coming upon Gideon.
Believers have the advantage of the continually indwelling of the
endunamoo in describing Paul's conversion writing that
"Saul kept increasing in strength
(endunamoo - passive voice = was being empowered - progressive increase
in strength as Jewish opposition grew) and confounding (this word
in English implies temporary mental paralysis caused by astonishment or
profound abasement) the Jews who lived at Damascus by proving ("knitting
together" - continually putting together in his mind the OT clues and
concluding Jesus was the Messiah) that this Jesus is the Christ." (Acts
In his first
letter to Timothy Paul (probably alluding to his empowerment in Acts)
"Christ Jesus our Lord, Who" had "strengthened
(endunamoo)" him, because He considered (him) faithful, putting (him)
into service." (1Ti
In his last words
to Timothy, Paul illustrated his personal example of being strong in the
grace that is in Christ Jesus writing that in the face of everyone
deserting him (as might happen to Timothy or any disciple who retains
the standard of sound words),
"the Lord stood with me (fulfilling
His promise never to “leave or forsake” His children) and
strengthened (endunamoo) me, in order that through me the
proclamation might be fully accomplished, and that all the Gentiles
might hear; and I was delivered out of the lion's mouth." (see note
2 Timothy 4:17)
John Eadie adds that...
the strength of the charge is—Do not
enter into battle with such adversaries naked and defenceless, but take
to you armour. Do not cover one portion and leave another exposed; do
not assume the cuirass and neglect the helmet; but put on “the whole
armour.” Do not resort to any arsenal of your own, for its armour is
weak and useless; but put on the whole armour of God. “And
furthermore, we must neuer leaue these armours as long as we be in thys
worlde, for we shall alwayis haue batayle.” Taverner's Postils, p.
495; ed. Oxford, 1841. The genitive, Theou', is that of origination: God
provides the armour...Each of its pieces—its girdle, breastplate, boots,
shield, helmet, and sword—is furnished by Him. It is armour forged on no
earthly anvil, and tempered by no human skill. (John Eadie, D., LL.D.
The Epistle of St Paul to the Ephesians)
AND IN THE STRENGTH OF HIS MIGHT:
kai en to kratei tes ischuos autou:
High King of
Heaven, my victory won,
May I reach Heaven’s joys, O bright Heaven’s Sun!
Heart of my own heart, whatever befall,
Still be my Vision, O Ruler of all. (play)
In the strength of His might - This shows how
to get this strength and it does not happen by simply knowing these
truths or memorizing them.
Guzik puts it this way...
not an incantation or a spell. You can’t just walk around saying, “be
strong in the Lord and in the power of His might” over and over and
it will happen. Christianity isn’t one of those self-help formulas where
you go around saying, “Every day, and in every way, I am getting better
and better.” Those kind of mental games can accomplish something, but it
certainly wasn’t what Paul meant here. (Ephesians 6)
Paul used the
identical phrase in chapter 1 praying that the saints would come to
what is the surpassing greatness of His power toward us who believe.
These are in accordance with the working of the strength of His might
20 which He brought about in Christ, when He raised Him from the dead,
and seated Him at His right hand in the heavenly places, 21 far above
all rule and authority and power and dominion, and every name that is
named, not only in this age, but also in the one to come. (See notes
In Ephesians 1 this phrase strength of His might relates to the surpassing greatness of His power and the power that
God used to raise Christ from the dead. It follows that Paul is
commanding the saints to be empowered with resurrection
power that conquered death and sin and Satan, so that they might be enabled to stand firm. The victory over
the enemy is certain because of Calvary, but as His soldiers we have to
daily win the battle against our relentless foe the Devil (the
world system he controls and the residual fallen flesh still in our
mortal bodies and at which he can aim fiery missiles).
believer now has the resources within to deal with Satan, no matter what
onslaughts the devil may bring. But there however two conditions that
must be met -- (1) The believer’s strength must be in the Lord and not
in himself and (2) he must utilize the armor—the provision God has made
for him. Remember that God
would not command us to stand firm in (Ephesians
6:14) had He not provided us with the resources that ensure
victory in each and every battle. By faith in God's Word (the fruit of
which is obedience), believers can daily walk in the victory of the
Cross as more than conquerors...
whatever is born (perfect
tense) of God overcomes (present
tense) the world (all of which lies in the power of
Satan); and this is the
victory that has overcome the world-- our faith. (1John 5:4)
from God, little children, and have overcome (perfect
tense - this tense speaks of the permanent overcoming
effect! PTL!) them; because greater is He who is in you than he who is
in the world. (1John 4:4)
Ammon and Moab were threatening to invade Judah and in 2Chr 20:12 King
Jehoshaphat acknowledged his inability to defeat these mortal enemies --
"O our God, wilt Thou not judge them? For we are powerless
before this great multitude who are coming against us; nor do we know
what to do, but our eyes are on Thee." It was in this
background of expressing dependence on God, that He sent His Spirit on
the prophet Jahaziel who prophesied) "Listen, all Judah and the
inhabitants of Jerusalem and King Jehoshaphat: thus says the LORD to
you, 'Do not fear or be dismayed because of this great multitude, for
the battle is not yours but God's...17 'You need not fight in this
battle; station yourselves, stand and see the salvation of the
LORD on your behalf, O Judah and Jerusalem.' Do not fear or be dismayed;
tomorrow go out to face them, for the LORD is with you." (2Chr 20:15,
(Comment: Note this is not just "Let go and let God". It
is true in one sense that Judah did not have to fight, they did have to
believe what God had promised and they did have to obey His instructions
to stand. This is the same "pattern" Paul outlines in Ephesians
6:10-18 -  Recognize that in spiritual warfare with invisible forces
you are totally inadequate and doomed to defeat if you trust in self.
 Believe that in Christ you have all the strength you need and He
will win the battle.  In obedience to your Commander in chief, take
your stand against the invisible forces of Satan and his
emissaries. There will never be a time when you cannot overcome Satan,
but you must depend on Christ. In fact, as illustrated in the OT passage
above, God's resources are most available to us when we are weakest! In
2Cor 12:9-10 Paul was afflicted with a thorn in the flesh, a messenger
of Satan to buffet him and keep him from self-exaltation. After
entreating God 3 times to remove the thorn, His Lord spoke and said "My
grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness."
[To which Paul responded] Most gladly, therefore, I will rather boast
about my weaknesses, that the power of Christ may dwell in me.10
Therefore I am well content with weaknesses, with insults, with
distresses, with persecutions, with difficulties, for Christ's sake; for
when I am weak, then I am strong." This principle is vitally
important in spiritual warfare - When you acknowledge to God that
you cannot handle a situation and you place your trust in Him and depend
on Him, Christ in you will win the battle for you.)
In the midst of the battle, it is always good to
praise God for His all sufficient provisions in and through His Son and
the indwelling Spirit of Christ. You might pray something like the
LORD takes pleasure in His people; He will beautify the afflicted ones
with salvation. 5 Let the godly ones exult in glory; Let them sing for
joy on their beds. 6 Let the high praises of God be in their mouth, and
a two-edged sword in their hand. (Ps 149:4-6).(See Spurgeon's
Throughout the book of Ephesians we are told that we
are “in Christ.” We are in covenant (new covenant) with Him, at one with
Him—His life is our life, His power is our power, and His truth is our
truth. In Christ we are strong. No matter how strong our enemy is,
Christ’s strength is superior.
Alert soldiers regularly check their weapons and
other gear. Sometimes they find damage inflicted during battle. Even
daily wear and tear can weaken equipment, rendering it useless in
conflict. Have you checked your armor lately?
word study on
refers to manifested power or power that is put forth in action. Kratos
represents the exercise of might (ischus). When the muscular man uses
his might to bend an iron bar, he uses his power (kratos). Kratos means
that the reserve of strength is actually in operation. It is
power to overcome resistance or whatever stands in the way.
Kratos refers to the inherent strength which displays
itself in the rule over others. Thus it
is strength or
might, the power to rule or control or exert dominion (power to
rule, supreme authority, sovereignty, the right to govern or rule or
Guzik explains that...
God has vast reservoirs of might
that can be realized as power (strength) in our Christian life. But His
might does not work in me
as I sit passively. His might works in me as I rely on it, and step out
to do the work. I can rely on it and do no work. I can do work without
relying on it. But both of these fall short. I must rely on His might
and then do the work. (Ephesians 6)
Onward, Christian soldiers, marching as to war,Play)
With the cross of Jesus going on before.
Christ, the royal Master, leads against the foe;
Forward into battle see His banners go! (
(ischus) refers to “power as an enduement.” Ischus is the inherent ability
which stresses the factuality of the ability, not necessarily the
accomplishment. Ischus is inherent power or force. A muscular
man’s big muscles display his might, even if he doesn’t use them. It is
the reserve of strength. Ischus therefore conveys the sense of endowed power or
ability. The idea is that it is the active efficacy of the might that is
inherent in God, His indwelling strength. Ischus is that strength
which one has in possession or ability. One might think of ischus
as God's latent power. It is His capability to function effectively. He
of the ability of human beings
AND YOU SHALL LOVE THE LORD YOUR GOD
WITH ALL YOUR HEART, AND WITH ALL YOUR SOUL, AND WITH ALL YOUR MIND, AND
WITH ALL YOUR STRENGTH.' (Mark 12.30)
of angelic power in 2 Peter...
whereas angels who are greater in might and power do not bring a reviling judgment against them before the
Lord. (See note
2 Peter 2:11)
as an attribute of Christ in the
saying with a loud voice, "Worthy is
the Lamb that was slain to receive power and riches and wisdom and might
and honor and glory and blessing." (See note
The radical idea of ischus,
might, is that of indwelling strength, especially as embodied: might
which inheres in physical powers organized and working under individual
direction, as an army: which appears in the resistance of physical
organisms, as the earth, against which one dashes himself in vain: which
dwells in persons or things, and gives them influence or value: which
resides in laws or punishments to make them irresistible
exercised strength whereas ischus refers to great inherent
strength. Nevertheless, the distinction is somewhat
difficult to appreciate and convey in the form of a simple definition.
strings these words together writing that...
dunamis) refers to a spiritually
dynamic living force. “Working,” “strength,” and “might” or “mighty”
further describe this power. These three words describe it as energetic,
inherent in God, and able to overcome resistance respectively. This is
the power of God that is available to believers.
Ephesians 1:19 ischus describes the strength of God has bestowed upon believers.
What does this
"working of the strength (ischus) of His might (kratos)" look like? Paul presents a
fourfold demonstration of this very power which God makes available
to believers - (1) God “raised Him from the dead” (Ephesians
1:20), (2) “seated Him at His
right hand in the heavenlies” (Ephesians
1:20), (3) “subjected all
things under His feet” (Ephesians
1:22), and (4) “gave
Him as head over the church” (Ephesians
1:22). In summary,
because we are in Christ and He is in us, believers possess resurrection
(and ascension) power.
To live in this power was ever Paul's
desire as he expressed so powerfully in Philippians writing...
that I may know Him and the power of
His resurrection and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed
to His death (See notes on
Victory in Jesus
Soldiers of King Jesus, raise the shout again,
Victory in Jesus, victory!
Marching to the music of the glad refrain,
Victory in Jesus evermore.
Victory, victory, victory in Jesus!
Sing His overcoming blood, sing the grace that frees us;
Ring it out more boldly, song of faith and cheer,
Till the whole wide world shall hear.
O’er the pow’rs of darkness, o’er the hosts of sin,
Victory in Jesus, victory!
Trusting, watching, praying, we shall surely win,
Victory in Jesus evermore.
Send the happy watchword all along the line,
Victory in Jesus, victory!
Let all error perish, lives the truth divine,
Victory in Jesus evermore.
Ray Stedman writes that...
the devil can never totally defeat a
Christian. Those who are genuinely the Lord's, who have come into a
saving relationship with Jesus Christ, have been delivered from total
defeat. The devil can never get us back into the position of unconscious
control he once exercised over us, as he does over the rest of the
world. But the devil can demoralize the Christian. He can frighten us
and make us miserable. He can blunt our effectiveness and make us feel
weak and unfruitful for God. Even though we are ultimately victorious
through Christ, it is at times possible to be more miserable as a
Christian than you ever were before. The devil has a special reason for
wanting to make Christians feel defeated because a demoralized Christian
is a Christian whose effectiveness has been diminished. the presence of
every Christian in the world bothers the devil greatly. Why? Because
each Christian is a potential threat to the solidarity of the devil's
kingdom, to his rule over the rest of mankind and that is why the devil
focuses special attention on us and seeks to hinder and discourage us.
When a Christian lives in obedience to the will of God, he threatens
Satan's rule on earth. Every effective Christian is a potential door of
escape, helping worldlings to move out of the devil's realm of darkness
and into God's realm of eternal light. Every Christian who lives a life
that is yielded to God and resistant to the schemes of the devil is a
corridor of liberty, a center of light, dispelling one more patch of
darkness and ignorance from the world around him.
The devil cannot allow people to escape from his dominion, so he is
especially vicious and persistent in his attacks upon Christians. He
marshals all his forces against us in order to discourage and dishearten
us, so that we will not be effective and useful to God. Sometimes the
devil attacks us as "a roaring lion," clawing at us through catastrophic
circumstances in order to knock us off our feet and keep us from
standing for God. At other times he comes as "an angel of light," a
seductive and alluring temptation, offering us some attractive lure that
seems so right yet which has a deadly, poisonous trap hidden within.
To be sure, Satan will assume direct control of a human life whenever he
can, producing an Adolf Hitler or a Charles Manson demonic men,
motivated by strange and' unexplainable passions. Sometimes the devil
assails us through "the world" with its intimidating pressure to
conform, to not be different, to go with the flow lest we be ostracized
and thought of as "fanatics" or "religious extremists."
But most often the devil comes in disguise, through the channel of "the
flesh" our inner selves with silken, subtle, suggestive schemes. That is
the avenue of satanic attack the apostle Paul warns us most strenuously
about: the subtle schemes of the devil. (Ray
Stedman. Spiritual Warfare
- Available online and highly recommended!)
Sammy Tippit writes that...
We are in a battle for the souls of mankind. We war against Satan and
all of the forces of evil in the universe. Satan has established his
kingdom in the hearts of men and women. That kingdom must be destroyed
and Christ's kingdom established, no small task for the church. But it
can be accomplished.
One weapon God has placed within the church that can tear down the
strongholds of Satan was used mightily in both the Old and New
Testaments and throughout the history of the church. It's the life that
is totally yielded to God. That person holds nothing dear to himself
except Jesus and His glory. That life will contradict the culture of the
in Your Heart by Sammy Tippit - Highly Recommended if you
are in need of personal spiritual revival to fight the spiritual
><> ><> ><>
Fight the good fight with all thy might!
Christ is thy strength, and Christ thy right;
Lay hold on life, and it shall be
Thy joy and crown eternally.
Run the straight race thro’ God’s good grace,
Lift up thine eyes, and seek His face;
Life with its way before us lies,
Christ is the path, and Christ the prize.
Cast care aside, lean on thy Guide,
His boundless mercy will provide;
Trust, and thy trusting soul shall prove
Christ is its life, and Christ its love.
Faint not nor fear, His arms are near,
He changeth not, and thou art dear;
Only believe, and thou shalt see
That Christ is all in all to thee.
><> ><> ><>
Our nation has known many wars, but Vietnam was an especially
frustrating campaign. Thick jungle terrain made the enemy hard to find,
and guerrilla warfare made him hard to fight. Many Vietnamese who
peacefully worked the rice paddies by day donned the black garb of the
Viet Cong soldier by night and invaded unsuspecting U.S. forces camped
nearby. American public opinion was strongly anti-war, and morale among
our troops was often low. Spiritual warfare has similar parallels.
><> ><> ><>
When the Communists overran China, missionary Isabel Kuhn escaped on
foot with her young son across the dangerous, snow-covered Pienma Pass.
Arriving in Upper Burma, she was stranded “at the world’s end” without
money, unable to speak the language, and half a world away from home. In
her perplexity, she made a decision. “The first thing is to cast out
fear,” she said. “The only fear a Christian should entertain is the fear
of sin. All other fears are from Satan sent to confuse and weaken us.”
Isabel knelt and spread her heart before Him. “I refused to be afraid
and asked Him to cast such fears out of my heart.” She then sought
“light for the next step,” and God led her home. (Morgan, R. J. Nelson's
annual preacher's sourcebook: 2003. Nashville: Thomas Nelson Publishers)
><> ><> ><>
Spiritual Warfare defined - Constant struggle between the flesh
and the spirit, between good and evil, between hope and despair, between
faith and unbelief, and between carnality and spirituality in a
believer. Spiritual warfare is waged on three fronts: personal,
corporate, and cosmic. In all three cases the war is waged against
unseen enemies, principalities and powers, and evil in high places.
(Kurian, G. T. Nelson's New Christian dictionary. Nashville, Tenn.:
Thomas Nelson Pubs)
><> ><> ><>
The story is told of a chess champion who was on vacation in Europe. One
day, while visiting an art gallery, he came to a particular painting
that mesmerized him.
The painting was of a chess game, which deeply interested this chess
champion. But this painting depicted a chess game like no other this man
had ever seen. On one side of the chessboard was the devil, laughing,
full of gaiety and even frivolity. He had his hand on the board getting
ready to make a move.
On the other side of the chessboard was a young man who was shaking and
trembling all over. His knees were knocking, sweat was coming down his
forehead, tears were coming from his eyes, and he was biting his
The chess champion came to understand the meaning of the portrait when
he saw the title: “Checkmate.” The devil was about to make the final
move to win this young man’s soul. The devil was laughing, while the
young man was terrified because he knew he couldn’t do anything about
The chess champion was so taken by this portrait that he studied it for
several hours. Then he broke out into a smile and went to look for the
proprietor of the art gallery. “Sir, would you happen to have a
The staff scurried around and found an old chessboard. The champion put
the chessboard at the base of the painting and set it up to duplicate
exactly the arrangement of the chess pieces on the board in the
After he had done this, the man looked at the portrait, then looked down
at the chessboard. He did this several times, looking back and forth
between the painting and the board. Then he turned the chessboard to the
young man’s side of the painting and said, “Young man, I wish you could
hear me right now, because if you could, you could stop trembling and
wipe the tears from your eyes. I have good news for you.
“I’m a chess champion, and I know this game backward and forward. You
are trembling for no reason at all. It only looks like the devil has the
final move. He has tricked you, but there is still one more move left on
the board. Your life can be transformed. The devil doesn’t get to make
the last move.”
The human race is in the same position as the young man in the painting.
It looks like the devil has won the chess game of history, and people
are trembling in fear. (Evans, A. T. The battle is the Lord's: Waging
victorious spiritual warfare. Chicago, Ill.: Moody Press)
><> ><> ><>
One of every
400,000 babies is born each year with Severe Combined Immunodeficiency
Disease a disease that leaves the child with no body-chemistry defenses
to fight infection from the germs that constantly attack one’s body. For
such children, life is often short and always filled with danger. In a
similar manner, the Christian who is not protected by the armor of God
is defenseless against the attacks of the flesh, the world, and Satan.
Sin, like an infection, can eat its way into his life because he has no
defense against it.
><> ><> ><>
In regard to
spiritual warfare you might enjoy the following illustration of MORE
THAN CONQUERORS THROUGH HIM WHO LOVED US (Ro 8:37) that Ray Stedman gave
Just this week, I finished reading an
amazing book written by Ernest Gordon, the dean of the Chapel at
Princeton University. He tells of his own experience as a British
officer in the Japanese prison camp by the River Kwai in Thailand. This
camp was made famous by the movie, The Bridge over the River Kwai.
He was one of the prisoners that built that bridge, and he tells about
that camp, and about their indescribable starvation diet which made them
nothing but walking skeletons, yet they were driven out each day to do
heavy labor on the bridge. Thousands of them died as cholera, and other
diseases, swept through the camp. The morale of the camp plummeted to
the bottom -- there was nothing left. It was a hopeless, hideous
situation in which men lived in filth and squalor, and walked about as
the living dead. He tells how he himself descended, through disease and
weakness, to a place where his body was taken and laid away in the death
house, among all the corpses. Though he was still alive, he was laid
there to die.
In that camp, there were one or two people who, though they were not
what we would call Evangelical Christians, nevertheless, entertained a
deep faith in God. One or two men began quietly, in the midst of the
darkest hour of the camp, to exercise a little faith and a little love,
and to do things for one another. Gradually this spirit spread, and soon
others became involved. They organized a massage team to go around and
massage one another's legs to try to restore health to these members
that had ceased working. Gradually this spirit transformed the camp, and
faith and joy and hope sprang into being again. They organized an
orchestra, made their own instruments, and finally had a 40-piece
orchestra. They organized a church. They began Bible study classes, and
a man who had been a skeptic all his life was the teacher. As he taught
the Bible, he began to see something of the reality of these things.
The story goes on to tell how this whole camp was transformed, and
though the outward circumstances were unchanged, the Japanese were as
hostile and as cruel as ever, the work was as heavy and the disease was
rampant, yet the spirit of those men was literally transformed and they
became joyous, happy, victorious individuals -- many of them. The whole
camp became entirely different.
He told how, when at last they returned to civilization, they looked
forward to coming home -- to a place where they would experience again
the joys of life. But, when they got home, they discovered that
civilization is an illusion -- that the realities of life were
discovered back in the prison camp. It was when they were down in the
darkest, and the deepest, and the lowest depths of their lives that they
began to lay hold of the eternal verities that strengthen a man's soul.
They became, by faith, "more than conquerors."
><> ><> ><>
illustrations are from Our Daily Bread (Our
Daily Bread, Copyright RBC Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI. Reprinted by
permission. All rights reserved)
On Alert -
In an article for Youth Ministries magazine, a 14-year veteran of
the Navy SEALs describes the color-code system they use to indicate
levels of combat readiness. Each stage has a parallel in spiritual
Condition White: The soldier is relaxed and daydreaming, unaware of his
surroundings. A Christian in this condition is easy prey for Satan.
Condition Yellow: The soldier is relaxed physically but alert mentally.
A believer at this level may sense trouble coming, but he's not ready to
Condition Orange: The soldier is physically prepared, mentally alert,
and ready to fight. A believer at this stage has on the full armor of
Condition Red: As in condition orange, the soldier is ready to fight.
The difference is experience. A battle-seasoned Christian knows quickly
what to do because of his experience and familiarity with Scripture.
Wherever we as followers of Christ happen to be--at work, in the mall,
on a business trip, even among fellow believers--we need to know about
Satan's methods and be prepared to resist. He always seems to attack at
our most vulnerable moments. But if we stay alert and armed, we can fend
off his most powerful attacks. --DCE
Thinking It Over
Which color code describes your spiritual condition?
How have you responded recently to temptation?
Are you studying and obeying God's Word?
Spiritual victory comes only to those who are prepared for battle.
- The ancient sport
of falconry used trained hawks or falcons in the pursuit of wild game.
When the "educated predator" was allowed to fly, however, it often rose
too high for human eyes to see. So a hunter often carried a small caged
bird called a shrike. By watching the antics of the little bird, the man
could always tell where his hawk was, for the shrike instinctively
feared the predator and cocked its head to keep it in view.
Christians desperately need an alert perception similar to that of the
shrike to detect their spiritual enemy. Our adversary, Satan, "walks
about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour" (1 Peter 5:8).
Our responsibility, according to the apostle Peter, is to be sober and
vigilant. In other words, we’re to be always on the alert.
It would be nice if God had giant sirens to warn us of an attack by the
devil. But He doesn’t operate that way. Instead, we must read the Bible
regularly, meditate on its truths, maintain a prayerful attitude
throughout the day, and be filled with the Holy Spirit. Only then will
we be sensitive to an imminent assault by the evil one, and be armed by
grace to meet it. —Mart De Haan
The devil is
clever, deceiving us all,
daily concern. —D. De Haan
He cunningly causes the strongest to fall;
But we his sly methods are sure to discern
By making God’s warnings
Still Rages - The world has
changed drastically since my dad stood his ground against the enemy in
World War II. Back then, he and his brave comrades fought against
nations that were threatening to destroy any country that dared stand in
their way. Dad took a bullet in the leg and suffered the painful effects
of that injury for the rest of his life.
We owe a debt of gratitude to the men and women who fought in that war.
Their bravery issued from a cause they believed in—a mission they were
willing to die for. They understood that if they did not go overseas,
many people would lose their freedom, or even their lives, under the
rule of ruthless dictators. Thankfully, the battles of those years are
A different kind of battle still rages today—a battle that we as
Christ's followers must fight every day (Ephesians 6:12). Our enemy, the
devil, continues to try to bring down our faith, take over our hearts,
and stop the spread of the gospel. He is called "the wicked one" (6:16),
and he will always be our enemy.
Are we willing to suffer for the cause? Are we brave enough to be a
faithful generation of believers? Let's fight the good fight! —JDB —Dave
soldiers, marching as to war,
With the cross of Jesus
Christ, the royal Master, leads against the foe;
Forward into battle see His banner go! —Baring-Gould
Christ's soldiers fight best on their knees.
- As a young man in
the late 1600s, Edward Teach joined the crew of a British ship that was
headed to the Caribbean. Much later in his nautical career, he managed
to capture a merchant vessel and turn it into a 40-gun warship. Teach
soon became known as Blackbeard—the most feared pirate in the
Blackbeard had some success as a pirate, but his “career” abruptly ended
when he encountered a contingent of the British Royal Navy. In a
desperate battle, he and his fellow pirates were killed, putting an end
to their terrorizing exploits.
Long ago in the heavenly places, an angel fell into spiritual piracy.
Lucifer was a cherub who stood in the radiant glory of God (Ezekiel
28:11-15). But his own self-love replaced love for his Creator. Desiring
to be like the Most High, he led a rebellion and was cast out of heaven
(Isaiah 14:12-15). Today he and his henchmen are doing whatever they can
to commandeer the lives of human beings (Luke 8:12; 2 Corinthians 4:4).
Even so, we don’t need to be afraid. Satan is a dangerous enemy, but
Jesus sealed his ultimate fate when He rose from the dead. And He has
given us everything we need to withstand the devil’s attacks (Ephesians
6:10-18). —Dennis Fisher
And though this
world with devils filled;
Should threaten to undo us
We will not fear, for God has willed
His truth to triumph through us. —Luther
He who is in you is greater than he who is in the world. —1 John 4:4
Encouragement - The Midianites and
their allies had invaded Israel. It was the time of the judges, and
Gideon could muster only 32,000 men against an army "as numerous as
locusts" (Judges 7:12). Then God cut the army down to 300 (vv.2-7).
Gideon was afraid, so God sent him into the enemy camp at night.
Crouching behind cover, the Israelite captain heard one soldier tell
another about a dream (vv.13-14). A loaf of barley bread had tumbled
into the Midianite camp, destroying one of its tents. His friend saw it
as a sure sign that Gideon would win the battle.
Gideon was greatly encouraged. After worshiping God, he returned to the
camp, organized his 300 men with their trumpets and lamps, and routed
the superior Midianite forces (vv.15-22).
As Christ's followers we're not battling armies, but we are at war.
Spiritual foes attack us (Ephesians 6:10-12). They undermine our
confidence and sap our strength. We're also battling ourselves—our
weaknesses, fears, doubts (Romans 7:15-25). After a while, we can get
But our God is the great Encourager. When our resolve weakens or vision
fades, by His power He will give us the strength we need (Ephesians
3:16)—even when the enemy seems more numerous than a swarm of
locusts.—David C. Egner
As we meet fierce
foes on the pathway of life,
Whether Satan or self or
Let us look to the Lord for encouragement;
If we do, the battle we'll win! —Fitzhugh
To trust is to triumph, for the battle is the Lord's.
The Angel Of
Music - In Andrew Lloyd
Webber’s musical The Phantom of the Opera, a young chorus girl named
Christine Daae receives voice training from a mysterious musician she
calls the “Angel of Music.” Christine believes this is the angel her
dying father had promised to send to complete her musical training.
As the plot thickens, we find that her mysterious mentor is really a
demented man who wants to carry her away into a bizarre underworld
beneath the opera house. What the girl thinks is a supernatural agent
sent by her beloved father is really a madman who wants to possess her
for his own ends. The “Angel of Music” is evil masquerading as good.
The believer in Christ also faces an evil one who masquerades. One of
Satan’s key strategies is to look like someone who is good. Paul told
us, “Satan himself transforms himself into an angel of light” (2
Corinthians 11:14). The Greek word translated as “transforms” means “to
change appearance, masquerade, or disguise oneself.”
In preparing us to face the evil strategies of the devil, God has
provided all the equipment we need to stand our ground. Protecting
ourselves with the armor of God unmasks the evil that opposes us and
stabilizes our spiritual walk (Ephesians 6:10-18). —Dennis Fisher
When you’re making
Evil sometimes wears a mask;
Trust the Lord for true discernment—
He’ll give wisdom if you
God’s armor is tailor-made for us, but we must put it on.
Nobody is temptation-proof. Even mature Christians have weaknesses in
their spiritual armor that make them vulnerable to a wounding attack by
the enemy of their souls. Our pride can provide the very opening needed
for the sharp thrust of a satanic dart. So can the love of money, a
quick temper, a critical tongue, or chronic impatience.
What, after all, is temptation? It's any enticement to think, say, or do
something contrary to God's holy will. It may be a weak impulse or a
powerful urge. It's anything that's against what God approves or desires
The ancient Greeks told a story of a warrior named Achilles. His mother
had been warned that he would die of a wound, so she dipped him as an
infant in the river Styx. That was supposed to make him invincible. But
she held him by one heel which the protective waters didn't cover. And
it was through that heel that he received his fatal wound.
Each of us must ask: What is my Achilles heel? We need to know our
weaknesses, where we could easily be wounded spiritually. Then, as we
rely on the Lord for His help, we will be protected from "the fiery
darts of the wicked one" (Ephesians 6:16). —VCG
No weakness of the soul;
Take every virtue, every grace,
And fortify the whole. —Wesley
Our greatest weakness may be our failure to ask for God's strength.
The Power Of
Prayer - While crossing the
Atlantic on a ship many years ago, Bible teacher and author F. B. Meyer
was asked to speak to the passengers. An agnostic listened to Meyer's
message about answered prayer and told a friend, "I didn't believe a
word of it."
Later that same day, the agnostic went to hear Meyer speak to another
group of passengers. But before he went to the meeting, he put two
oranges in his pocket. On his way, he passed an elderly woman who was
fast asleep in her deck chair. Her arms were outstretched and her hands
were wide open, so as a joke he put the two oranges in her palms. After
the meeting, he saw the woman happily eating one of the pieces of fruit.
"You seem to be enjoying that orange," he remarked with a smile. "Yes,
sir," she replied, "My Father is very good to me." "What do you mean?"
pressed the agnostic. She explained, "I have been seasick for days. I
was asking God somehow to send me an orange. I fell asleep while I was
praying. When I awoke, I found He had sent me not only one but two
oranges!" The agnostic was amazed by the unexpected confirmation of
Meyer's talk on answered prayer. Later, he put his trust in Christ.
Yes, God answers prayer! —Henry G. Bosch
For answered prayer
we thank You, Lord,
We know You're always there
To hear us when we
We're grateful for Your care. --JDB
God always gives us what we ask--or something better.
As believers in Jesus Christ, we are engaged in spiritual warfare with
unseen wicked forces. To overcome our enemy in the power of the Holy
Spirit, we must remain resolute in our confidence in God and determine
never to accept defeat.
A story from the Korean War illustrates this attitude. As enemy forces
advanced, Baker Company was cut off from the rest of their unit. For
several hours no word was heard, even though headquarters repeatedly
tried to communicate with the missing troops. Finally a faint signal was
received. Straining to hear, the corpsman asked, "Baker Company, do you
read me?" "This is Baker Company," came the reply. "What is your
situation?" asked the corpsman. "The enemy is to the east of us, the
enemy is to the west of us, the enemy is to the north of us, the enemy
is to the south of us." Then after a brief pause, the sergeant from
Baker Company said with determination, "The enemy is not going to get
away from us now!" Although surrounded and outnumbered, he was thinking
of victory, not defeat.
Lord Jesus, help us to stand firm in the victory You've won for us
through Your death on the cross and Your resurrection from the grave.
o'er Satan and freedom from shame;
nor cause you to sin;
Look only to Jesus, there's power in His name.
The devil can't harm
When you trust the Savior, the victory you'll win. --Anon.
To defeat Satan, surrender to Christ.
- My married
daughter called from her home in another state to report some "bad
news." She had two cavities in her previously flawless teeth.
I asked Lisa, "Does your city fluoridate its water?" A couple of days
later, she called me to say that it did not. As a result, her teeth were
more vulnerable to decay than when she grew up drinking fluoridated
Admittedly, this was not a great tragedy. Worse things can happen, but
Lisa's dental problems can point us to a vital truth in our Christian
We would be wise to do all we can to prevent tooth decay, but it's even
more important that we do all we can to prevent Satan from harming us
spiritually (1 Peter 5:8-9). To ignore the prescribed protection that
God has made available to us is to ask for trouble much worse than holes
in our teeth.
In Ephesians 6, Paul said that to be protected from Satan's attacks we
need to "put on the whole armor of God" (v.11). Verses 14-18 tell us we
must put on the belt of "truth," "the breastplate of righteousness," the
shoes of "the gospel of peace," "the shield of faith," "the helmet of
salvation," and "the sword of the Spirit," along with "all prayer."
With God's armor we can stand and stay protected! —JDB —Dave Branon
And though this
world, with devils filled,
Should threaten to undo us,
We will not fear, for
His truth to triumph through us. —Luther
God's truth is the best protection against Satan's lies.
><> ><> ><>
The arctic polar bear feeds almost entirely on seals. To enjoy such
a meal, he sometimes resorts to a cunning bit of trickery. If the hole
in the ice through which the seal gets his food is not too far from the
edge of open water, the polar bear will take a deep breath, slip
underwater, and swim to the seal's fishing hole. He will then imitate a
fish by scratching lightly on the underside of the ice. When the seal
hears this sound, he dives in for a quick supper, only to find himself
suddenly caught in the huge, hungry embrace of his predator.
The devil entices us in a similar way. He baits us with some seemingly
harmless pleasure and disguises the ugliness of sin with something that
looks or sounds appealing. Then, when we've succumbed to the temptation,
he catches us in his trap.
Christians have no excuse for being taken in by the deception of the
enemy. We can put on the armor of God, and with the "shield of faith . .
. quench all the fiery darts of the wicked one" (Eph. 6:16).
As we meditate on the truths of God's Word and rely on the Holy Spirit,
we can know the difference between what is truly satisfying and what
only appears to be. Don't let the great impostor fool you! --MRDII
The devil is
subtle, deceptive, and sly,
we're sure to discern
He cleverly tricks us to swallow his lie;
But his cunning
By making God's warnings our daily concern. --DJD
Satan may look like an angel of light,
but he has the teeth of a lion.
EVIL OR DEVIL?
Satan himself transforms himself into an angel of light. --2 Corinthians
Bible teacher William Evans wrote, "It is popular in some circles to day
to spell the word devil with the letter "d" left off. This reduces the
idea of an actual person called the devil to a mere influence called
"If the devil can't mislead people that way," Evans continue, "he would
have them think of him as a horrible, monstrous-looking creature with a
forked tail, dressed in a fiery red suit, and with horns protruding from
his head. If the devil can get folks to think of him like that, then
when he comes as an 'angel of light', he will not be recognized, and so
find it easier to beguile his unsuspecting victims."
When we trust Christ as Savior, we have peace with God, but at the same
time we come into conflict with the devil. Our "adversary the devil
walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour" (1 Pet.
5:8). That's why the Bible says, "Put on the whole armor of God, that
you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil" (Eph 6:11).
We who know Christ can overcome the devil and the evil he creates by
learning and obeying God's Word. And let's be thankful that He who is in
us is greater than he who is in the world (1 John 4:4).-- Richard W. De
The prince of
darkness grim --
We tremble not for him;
His rage we can
For lo! his doom is sure.--Luther
The devil may be out of fashion,
but he's not out of business.
Stealer -Four young men crept silently through the late-evening shadows
toward the unattended farm market. One picked up a ripe watermelon and
slipped to the edge of the darkness. He handed it to the second young
man, who relayed it to the third. The fourth put it into the trunk of
their car. In a few minutes they had taken a dozen watermelons, and they
Fruit-stealing happens more often than we realize, not only with real
fruit but also with what the Bible calls spiritual fruit. The apostle
Paul told believers to develop the fruit of the Spirit, which includes
love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness,
gentleness, and self-control (Gal. 5:22-23). But Satan doesn't want that
fruit to be on display in our lives. As soon as we begin to develop
these spiritual virtues, the devil uses his wiles to "steal them away"
from us by tempting us to sin.
The next thing we know, Christlike character traits are replaced by
un-Christlike ones. Our fruit is gone. To protect ourselves, we need to
focus on the truths of the Bible, choose to do what is right, remember
our purpose as God's redeemed children, trust God, and pray always (Eph.
As we do these things, we will be fruitful and not be victims of the
You can trust the
To protect from Satan
But you must be ever watchful--
Of the robber be aware! --Hess
To bear the Spirit's fruit don't let sin take root.