Armor of God – Feet Fitted with Readiness

Ephesians 6:15 and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace.

The roman soldiers wore heavy-soled hob-nailed or spiked military boots. The boot was design to prevent blisters during forced marches, as well as other disabling foot conditions. Some historians credit the footwear as one of the greatest reasons why the Roman Army was so victorious over its enemies. The spikes on the soles provided them a strong stance and balance that gave them a superior posture in battle on hills and uneven terrain. The last thing a soldier wants is a damaged foot.

How do we prepare our feet with readiness of the gospel of peace?
We are called to go! We are sent by the God-of-the-Angel-Armies, the Lord Almighty. Like the soldier, the last thing we need is damaged feet. To fit our feet with the readiness of the gospel of peace, means that we need to be prepared offensively and defensively to walk wherever our God calls us to carry and present the good news of God’s great peace.

Offensively this peace will help us stand with feet firmly planted on the Word of God. Defensively it will helps us stand unmoved by the devil’s threats and will protect us as we walk fearlessly through the rough, keeping us steady in the heat of a battle.

Romans 10:15
And how can they preach unless they are sent? As it is written, “How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news!”

John 14:27
Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.

Luke 10:19-20
I have given you authority to trample on snakes and scorpions and to overcome all the power of the enemy; nothing will harm you. However, do not rejoice that the spirits submit to you, but rejoice that your names are written in heaven.”

Isaiah 9:6-7
For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Of the increase of his government and peace there will be no end. He will reign on David’s throne and over his kingdom, establishing and upholding it with justice and righteousness from that time on and forever. The zeal of the LORD Almighty will accomplish this.

Armor of God – Shield of Faith

Ephesians 6:16 – In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one.

Up until now, every piece of the armor was something the roman soldier wore. The belt, the breastplate, the shoes all held themselves on. The shield is something they must take up and actively guard them from attack. It was a long, rectangular, knees-to-chin shield, which protected from a barrage of arrows and spears.

How do we use the shield of faith?
The shield guards and deflects. The evil one is constantly hurling darts of all types towards us – doubts, insecurities, worry, lies, etc… The only time these darts can hit us is when we put our shields down, when we drop our shield of faith, when we stop believing that God is in control; that He is working everything out for the good; that whatever happens is for the ultimate glory to God. We must actively take up the shield of faith; believe in the promises of God, to deflect these otherwise deadly blows during battle.

Faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see. It involves trust, trusting in the evidence of God and seeing that God has proved Himself to be unchanging and consistent. Peter had faith to step out of the boat, walking on water toward Jesus, when he dropped his shield of faith he allowed the enemies flaming arrow of doubt and fear to sink him. We must take up our shield and rely on faith.

Hebrews 11:1
Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see.

Matthew 14:28-31
“Lord, if it’s you,” Peter replied, “tell me to come to you on the water.” “Come,” he said. Then Peter got down out of the boat, walked on the water and came toward Jesus. But when he saw the wind, he was afraid and, beginning to sink, cried out, “Lord, save me!” Immediately Jesus reached out his hand and caught him. “You of little faith,” he said, “why did you doubt?”

Ephesians 2:8
For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith–and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God—

Armor of God – Helmet of Salvation

Ephesians 6:17 – Take the helmet of salvation…

Roman soldiers had an advantage when came to protecting their heads. Most helmets were made from steel with a combination of brass that came down the back and sides of the neck. Officers’ helmets were decorated with horse hair (or other brush) that mounted on the top of the helmet and was worn as a special ceremonial helmet for parades. The roman helmet, like helmets of today, protect the vital part of the body, the head and mind.

How do we use the helmet of salvation?
Our salvation was freely given by a tremendous sacrifice, the ultimate and final sacrifice. Jesus Christ gave his life, taking on the sins of the world, for the sake of all people. Those who give their life to Jesus, who put their hope in the death and resurrection in God’s one and only son, will have an eternal life with God. Salvation is a gift; there is nothing we can do to earn eternal life with God. The helmet of salvation, the hope of our salvation, protects our thoughts from the enemy’s attacks and temptations to disobey God. Without the hope we have from salvation, the enemy can easily destroy our minds from the discouragement and despair of this world.

When we strap on the helmet of salvation, guard our minds with the security of knowing the source of our salvation, we can have the confidence of Paul who said, “I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us.” – Romans 8:18 and “For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain.” – Philippians 1:21

John 3:16-17
“For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.

Romans 5:8-10
But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Since we have now been justified by his blood, how much more shall we be saved from God’s wrath through him! For if, when we were God’s enemies, we were reconciled to him through the death of his Son, how much more, having been reconciled, shall we be saved through his life!

Romans 6:23
For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Romans 10:9
That if you confess with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.

Ephesians 2:8-9
For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith–and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God– not by works, so that no one can boast.

Psalm 27:1
The LORD is my light and my salvation– whom shall I fear? The LORD is the stronghold of my life– of whom shall I be afraid?

Armor of God – Sword of the Spirit

Ephesians 6:17 – …the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.

The only real offensive weapon was the “Gladius” the roman sword. The double-edged blade with a diamond tip became known as “the sword that conquered the world.” Without the sword, the soldier is useless. He would simply be a moving target of armor.

A roman soldier would go into battle armed with more than just one weapon. He would also have a dagger, several one-time use spears and darts, but the sword was his primary weapon.

How do we use the sword of the Spirit?
Unlike the roman soldier who goes into battle with multiple weapons, Paul mentions only one weapon – the word of God. First, we only need one weapon for our battle. There is nothing even remotely powerful than the word of God. When we walk with the sword of the Spirit, the word of God harnessed in our being, there is nothing that can defeat us! We are more than conquerors! The evil one tried his most powerful tactics in battle with Jesus after a 40 day fast in the desert. The results – 100% victory with the word of God. (Matthew 4:1-11)

Some of the other weapons would allow the battle to take place from a distance such as the spear or darts. However, the sword of the spirit requires us to get “in” the battle, get in the world, to use the word of God in a close and personal way. We need to be able to step right out of our foxhole and directly into hand to hand combat. The word of God must be ingrained within us, to be prepared for the battle we will fight – daily.

Deuteronomy 11:18
Fix these words of mine in your hearts and minds; tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads.

Psalm 119:105
Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light for my path.

Hebrews 4:12
For the word of God is living and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.

2 Corinthians 10:4-5
The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds. We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.

Armor of God – Pray in the Spirit – Boldness

…And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the saints. Pray also for me, that whenever I open my mouth, words may be given me so that I will fearlessly make known the mystery of the gospel, for which I am an ambassador in chains. Pray that I may declare it fearlessly, as I should.

Ephesians 6:19-20
Jude 1:20
Matthew 26:41
Joshua 1:9
Acts 1:8
Acts 4:31
Ephesians 3:10-12
Philippians 1:20-21

The Great Omission

Late one evening D L Moody, the premier American evangelist of the 1800’s, arrived home from speaking at a meeting. Emma, his wife, was already asleep. As her exhausted husband climbed into bed, she rolled over and murmured, “So how did it go tonight?” “Pretty well,” he replied. “Two and a half converts.” His wife lay silently for a moment pondering this response, then finally smiled. “That’s sweet,” she replied. “How old was the child?” “No, no, no”, Moody answered. “It was two children and one adult! The children have their whole lives in front of them. The adult’s life is already half-gone.”

Read 1 Samuel 17, the story of David & Goliath.
1.What in this Bible story indicates that the adults around David were at first more concerned with keeping the teen in his place than in discovering what he had to contribute?
2.Looking at this story, how would you say adults should go about discovering what children have to contribute?
3.Who are the children you have the closest contact with? What do they have to contribute, and how can you help to bring out these contributions?

Too Small To Ignore, Dr Wess Stafford

The Battle Field

I have come to the conclusion that the reason they (children) are such a low priority to the great human institutions that seek to control this world, both secular and Christian, is that an invisible battle, a spiritual war, rages over each and every child. It is above us and beyond us and engages the full fury of the hosts of both heaven and hell. Children may be ignored by government, church, and mission-but not by Satan or God Almighty… What is to be done?

It begins now, here, and with you! It begins with the very next child God brings across your path. Every child you encounter is a divine appointment. With each one you have the power and opportunity to build the child up or tear the child down. A lie can be launched with as little as a single phrase, an uplifting word, or an act of kindness. The spirit of a little child is a lot like wet cement. When a child is young, it takes little effort to make an impression that can last a lifetime.

It takes a village to raise a child, it takes one act of evil to destroy a child.

Too Small To Ignore, Dr Wess Stafford

Why Doesn’t Poverty Just Go Away?

Poverty you see, is a lot more complex than it looks. Too many people assume it’s just a shortage of money. If the poor had an adequate supply of money, they’d quickly solve their problems, and the world would be a more beautiful place…Any response to the needs of the poor certainly involves money somewhere along the line. But it is not the cure-all by any means…let me unpack for you what lies beneath the surface. To do so, I will employ a simple diagram. Think of a wagon wheel with six spokes:

The hub in the middle represents abject, unrelenting, bone-grinding poverty. These people have absolutely nothing. They live in the garbage dumps of Caracas and Cairo and Calcutta, clutching their stomachs in hunger, shivering in the rain.

The outer rim of the wheel represents wholeness, adequacy, “enough”. Notice, I didn’t say “wealth” or “riches” or even “abundance.” I simply indicated the condition of having one’s actual needs met. Now going around the wheel, we can see what those needs are. One spoke is economics. The next is health, learning, environment, social. And finally spiritual.

Read Deuteronomy 15:7-11, one of the many biblical passages emphasizing that those who can give to the poor should give to the poor. In the Bible, it’s that simple.
1.What practical actions do you find commanded in this passage? What attitudes of the heart do you see addressed?
2.What are the best ways for people of faith to fulfill this mandate today? To what or to whom should we give?

Too Small To Ignore, Dr Wess Stafford

The Children’s Champion: A Righteous Rage

Read Mark 10:13-16, a passage describing how Jesus became indignant at His disciples for preventing children from coming to Him.
1.How do you think Jesus expressed his indignation in the presence of children?
2.What phrase in Jesus’s response to his disciples most startles you?
3.What do you think it means to receive the kingdom like a little child?
4.Think about the kinds of interactions you expect to have with children in the near future. How would Jesus speak and act in those situations?

Too Small To Ignore, Dr Wess Stafford

Imagine… A World Where Kids Count

What if we could actually see the guardian angel standing on duty behind each little child – a huge warrior, the kind of powerful presence that, in numerous Bible incidents, triggered instant panic in strong adults? If just one of these angels revealed himself at our nearby schoolyard or neighborhood park, we would begin treating the little ones with a new-found awe and respect. Gone would be our world’s pathetic pattern of child abuse, cruelty, and even neglect. The globe and its priorities would be turned upside down.

Read Proverbs 22:6.
1.What does it mean to direct a child in the way he should go?
2.What hope does this proverb give you about the future of children if adults were to take their responsibility toward children more seriously?

Too Small To Ignore, Dr Wess Stafford