Today is a special day, it is the birthday to my dearest wife. Hence I would like to take a break from my typical schedule of writing blogs to dedicate this song for my dearest wife on her birthday. 

I thank God for all the time we spent together and I thank God for allowing her to come into my life and I thank God for bringing her here with me. I wish I could have done more for her birthday. But I have to keep my gift slashed up somewhere so I am unable to bring to her at the stroke of midnight.

At the same time I would like to dedicate this song to her twin sister as well. May God continue to bless all of you for all the years ahead. 

Title : The Birthday Song
Artiste : Corrine May

Don’t worry about that extra line
That’s creeping up upon your face
It’s just a part of nature’s way
To say you’ve grown a little more
Trees have rings and thicker branches
Kids shoes get a little tighter
Every year we’re getting closer to who we’re gonna be
It’s time to celebrate the story of how you’ve come to be

Happy birthday my friend
Here’s to all the years we’ve shared together
All the fun we’ve had
You’re such a blessing
Such a joy in my life
May the good Lord bless you
And may all your dreams come true

So light a candle on your cake
For every smile you’ve helped create
For every heart and every soul
You’ve known to grow a little more
A few more pounds, a little more grey
Don’t count the years just count the way
It takes a little time to go from water into wine
Don’t ever lose the wonder of the child within your eyes

Happy birthday my friend
Here’s to all the years we’ve shared together
All the fun we’ve had
It’s such a blessing
Such a joy in my life
May the good Lord bless you
And may all your dreams come true

“Live as if you were to die tomorrow.
  Learn as if you were to live forever.” – Mahatma Gandhi

Humans beings are taught to adopt a lifestyle of lifelong learning. For We all know, that if we fail to do that, we would become obsolete, that is why many people spend much effort and money learning knowledge that will help them in their daily lives.

We choose to do it even when our live on earth is temporary. Now if we spend so much effort learning how to live our physical life, shouldn’t we put in more effort to cultivate our spirit?  The bible teaches us a few things we ought to learn in this life. They are important lessons for it concern salvation , and they are lessons we need to learn as we live in this life.

Lesson 1 : Learning To Fear God

especially concerning the day you stood before the Lord your God in Horeb, when the Lord said to me, ‘Gather the people to Me, and I will let them hear My words, that they may learn to fear Me all the days they live on the earth, and that they may teach their children.’” – Moses (Deut 4:10)

When the Lord appeared before his people in Mount Horeb (Sinai), it was indeed a great and awesome sight, but God did not do it just to flex his muscle before the Israelites. He wanted them to know that he is a living God and God wanted them to put in effort to worship him. They need to teach this fear of God to their own children.

King Solomon concluded the book of Ecclesiastes like this

“Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter:

    Fear God and keep His commandments,
    For this is man’s all.
      For God will bring every work into judgment,
    Including every secret thing,
    Whether good or evil.”- Solomon (Ecc 12:13-14)

But the question is, do we know how to fear God? What does it mean to fear God?

What Does It Mean To Fear God?

The bible gave us many examples from the Old Testament Scriptures

Eg 1: Abraham

When Abraham offered Isaac his son to the Lord , he was able to do it for he trust God completely. Just when he was about to lay hand on this own son, an angel appeared and say “Now I know that you fear God”. (Gen 22:12)  God did not want Abraham to offer Isaac, he wanted to test if Abraham feared God.

From here we can see that to fear God is to trust in him and to be completely obedient to him. A person fear God knows that God is a faithful God. He would not doubt the commands given to him by God.

Eg 2: Joseph

When Joseph was tempted by his mistress, he said something that is worthy of our consideration

“How then can I do this great
  wickedness, and sin against God?” – Joseph (Gen 39:9)

To fear God is to preserve holiness in the midst of sin.

After the death of Jacob, Joseph’s brothers were afraid of Joseph taking revenge on them. But as they spoke to Joseph, he replied them saying,

“Do not be afraid, for am I in the place of God?
  But as for you, you meant evil against me;
  but God meant it for good, in order to bring
  it about as it is this day, to save many people
  alive.” – Joseph (Gen 50:19-20)

To Fear God is to be able to see his guidance in all things, even in the midst of difficulty. One who fear God would not murmur and would never take revenge. He will trust God and endure. 

Eg 3: Daniel and His 3 Friends

In the book of Daniel, we knew that Daniel would rather thrown into the lions den then not to worship God.

We would also remember the story where  the 3 friends of would rather be thrown into the fiery furnace than to worship idols. These men choose to  remain faithful to God at all times.

From here we know that to fear God is to remain faithful to him regardless of circumstances. Since God love for us never change, our love for our father should not be changed as well.

Eg 4: The Egyptian Midwives

When Pharaoh ordered the Egyptian midwives to kill ever Hebrew child that they delivered. The book of exodus testified about them

“But the midwives feared God, and
  did not do as the king of Egypt
  commanded them, but saved the
  male children alive.”- Moses (Ex 1:19)

The midwives feared God, and they chose to disobey the Pharaoh. From here we know that to fear God is to obey the words of God and not obey the words of man.

The Definition of fearing God

The bible records these stories for us to read, so that we could all understand what it means to fear God. For Christians today must learn the fear of God. In fact the book of proverbs concluded by telling us

“The fear of the Lord is to hate evil;
  Pride and arrogance and the evil way
  And the perverse mouth I hate.” – Solomon (Prov 8:13)

“In mercy and truth
  Atonement is provided for iniquity;
  And by the fear of the Lord one departs from evil.” – Solomon (Prov 16:6)

They both remind us that to fear God is to hate evil and to stay away from sin. The next question is, what should we doing if we fear God?

Lesson 2: Learning To Do Good And Be Honest 

Paul once teaches about doing good. He said

And let our people also learn to maintain
  good works, to meet urgent needs,
  that they may not be unfruitful.” –  Paul (Titus 3:14)

“Let him who stole steal no longer,
  but rather let him labour, working with
  his hands what is good, that he may have
  something to give him who has need.”- Paul (Eph 4:28)

Perhaps we are never thieves, but in the modern business, we tend to cut corners in our work. Modern man loves to gain benefits without working too hard. However, Paul here reminds us to work hard and to do what is good.

That is why we need to discern between profit made through good conscience from those by underhanded means. We need to labour with our hands to do what is good. When God bless us with surplus, let us help those in need.

There was an entrepreneur who once was made to answer the question “What is your secret of success?”  Instead of answering the question directly, he started by giving a story

There was a youth who went to France for study, and he need to work to put him through university. His life was hard, and when he was there he realize there are no ticketing officers on the trains and buses.  He realize that the system works on trust that every commuter will pay while on the train.

But this youth choose not pay, though his conscience pricked him, he defended himself saying “I am poor and I need to save”. After his graduation, he went on to find work in a multinational company. He was confident of his credentials and he was greeted warmly by the chairman of the company. However he received a rejection letter.

The letter reads

“We admire your abilities, but when we checked
  your credibility, we notice you have not been
  paying your ticket, and this tells us 2 points about you
            a. You do not subject yourself to rules and laws
            b. You do not deserve to be trusted

  Therefore we cannot accept you to our company. 

  Best Regards
  The Chairman

  Morals can compensate for a lack of knowledge, but
  knowledge can never compensate a lack of morals”

The quotes at the end of the letter, hit the nail on his head, and he know he cannot stay there. He return to his country, and resolved to stop cheating.

Everyone was expecting him to continue, but he did not. So they asked “How does this story teach us your secret of success?”

The man replied “The reason why I am able to be successful was because I took the stumbling block of my past as a foundation for my future”

The crowd applauded , for he was a failure who learnt from his mistakes. He no longer cheats to get benefits, he became an honest businessman who did good.

That is why Paul remind us to work with our hands and to do good. Let us not go against the word of God. For we live in a world full of illegal loopholes that could be exploited. If we desire to get rich quickly, we would need to take a greater risk.

But is our souls and life worth that little bit of gain?  

Conclusion So Far

So far we had touch on 2 lessons , to fear God and to do good. It is hope that we could all learn from them and to change our lives for the better.

There are still other Blog post coming up in this series so stay tuned

For those who are wondering what had happened to the Hesitant Prize Fighter for two months. There was many things that happened. There was much joyful events that happen,  But as the new life begins, there are much more things to watch out for and adjust, hence writing blog became a challenge for time.

During the free time, I was reading up the events in the book of Acts. So I decided to try to lay out the events of Acts by chronological order. The dates in the diagram are approximate but it serves as a good guide to those who are reading the book of acts.

At the same time as the diagram is being created. I was thinking, why not add in the approximate years where the book of the New Testament was written. However, it was only later when I discovered that dating of the New Testament books can be quite a challenge.

Hence I decided to plot in a conservative estimate of the time where the books are written as a rough guide. As these are based on personal research, the diagrams may be updated from time to time when new facts are confirmed.

But mean while, feel free to take a look at the diagram and give me some comments.

A timeline of the events recorded in the book of acts and their approximate dates

In our previous post, we talked about the spiritual battle faced by Christians today. We talked about the need of having the power of God in our lives, and we introduced the first weapon used by Apostle Paul, which is Prayer

Now lets look at the second weapon

Weapon No 2: The Word Of God, The Sword Of The Spirit

Paul talks about his second weapon in Eph 6:17

“And take the helmet of salvation, and
  the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God;” – Paul (Eph 6:17)

The Holy Spirit is not a sword, but the sword of the Spirit is the word of God. If one keep emphasizing on the Holy Spirit and not the word of God. It would be problematic. In fact this is what is happening to Christendom today.

Many churches emphasis on the need of receiving the Holy Spirit. Some also believe that speaking in tongues is the evidence of receiving it. They can be seen throughout the Pentecostal and the Charismatic branches

But yet when they explain the words of God, you can see this failure to talk about the truth in the bible. In fact once my friends ask me why do I regard my church as different from the other Charismatic and Pentecostal.

My point is simple
1. The Holy spirit is the spirit of truth, it guides us to all truth (Jn 16:13)
      a. He will never speak on his own authority
2. We have a faithful God who is never  yes and no (2 Cor 1:18-22) 
3. It is impossible for Church A to be thought one thing by Him, and Church B to learn something contrary by the same Holy Spirit

Therefore to me all the spirit in the churches are different, and there is a need to discern what spirit we are dealing with. The only way to discern the spirit is to compare the words he teach with the standard of the scriptures.

That is why we need the word of GOd, the sword of the spirit, without it, we cannot overcome our enemies and we would not be able to defend the truth.

The Word Of God And Organizational Power

Sadly, many churches now place emphasis on organizational structure and power.

Christian today need to understand that church organization is not a weapon in the spiritual battlefield. It is seen only as a administration method of the church. Indeed Organization is a good way to divide up responsibly among members of the church.

But this will not help us overcome our enemies in the spiritual realm. To fight that battle, we need the truth, which is the word of God, the sword of the spirit. This is the weapon that the church will need to fight this war, therefore Christians must place an emphasis on learning and pursuing after the truth. This is because

“For the word of God is living and powerful,
   and sharper than any two-edged sword,
   piercing even to the division of soul and spirit,
   and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of
   the thoughts and intents of the heart.” Author Of Hebrew (Heb 4:12 )

This is the effect of the word of God, which is sharper than a 2 edged sword. But do we still have this weapon?

The Real Enemy Within

Many  times we think about spiritual battle, we think our enemies must be the devil himself. But are we aware who are our enemies in this spiritual warfare?

Very often we think we are fighting against the devil, the Antichrist, the people who spread heresies. I do not deny that they are the enemies of the truth, and we need the sword of the spirit to defend ourselves and to attack them.

But sometimes, the biggest enemies to our own faith is ourselves. For often we are not submissive to God and sometimes we hold on to our incorrect concept about faith. There are times we are proud and greedy, and times when we give in to anger and jealousy.

These are all enemies of the truth as well. For Jesus once said

“What comes out of a man, that defiles a man.
   
For from within, out of the heart of men, proceed
  evil thoughts, adulteries, fornications, murders, 
  
thefts, covetousness, wickedness, deceit, lewdness, 
  an evil eye, blasphemy, pride, foolishness.” – Jesus (Mk 7:20-22)

That is why we need the Holy spirit to change us, and that is why we need the word of God, that is sharper than the 2 edged sword.  Besides piercing the division of the soul and spirit, joints and marrow. If also divides the thoughts and intents of our heart.

Our heart often tells us of our needs and desires, but at the same time, our spirit calls out to us, telling us to pursue eternal life. He reminds us to look for things with eternal value.

God often looks at our heart, even though we often neglect it. For sometimes we perceive ourselves as spiritual and righteous, we often see the fault in others and not ourselves. We often accused others of being carnal and physical and we fail to see we are like that just as well.

Seeing Our Own Faults

That is why God spoke to the church in Laodicea

Because you say, ‘I am rich, have become wealthy,
  and have need of nothing’—and do not know that
  you are wretched, miserable, poor, blind, and naked”- Jesus (Rev 3:17) 

As Human beings, we cannot see our own weakness, that is why we need the word of God to pierce into our hearts and discern our intents and thoughts

For when man comes face to face with the words of God, he is able to pinpoint his own fault. This is why many do not like to encounter it.

Sometimes when we hear sermon, we feel as if it is rebuking us, that is why we do not feel good after hearing them. But have we considered “Why are we not feeling good?”

Is a good sermon one that is full of jokes, heart warming stories? Or should it be on that tears our façade and our mask?  Should a good sermon help us see our faults and reveal the part of us that is not good?

Many modern churches refuse to point out the mistakes of the congregation. They hide behind the banner of being “Politically correct” and “Loving” . They only choose to talk about peace and love and forget justice and mercy.

But lets say, if a church only preaches love and mercy, perhaps it can attract many to be baptized into the church.  But yet when Christ comes to judge the world, these poor believers ended up subjecting to it. Are we not cheating the truth seekers to becoming Christians.

IS this how we want the word of God to work?

Conclusion About Truth As A Weapon

Therefore, if we want truth to be our weapon in this spiritual war , are we willing to allow this 2 edged sword to discern our thoughts?

For whenever we are unwilling to listen to sermons that points out our mistakes, we are forbidden the word of God to pierce through our hearts.

At the same time, we are not allowing it to become our spiritual weapon, and if that continues what would happen to the church? 

If we continue to paint a negative picture of “Fighting for the truth” in the name of preserving peace and unity within the church, we would ultimately lose the only offensive weapon the church has.

who do you think would be cheering at the background? God or the Devil?

The devil loves to see Christians who choose to keep quiet about the truth, they love to see it when we refuse to use the truth as our weapons. He loves to see a church defenseless without the weapon of the apostles

This is the reason why many of us are weak in faith.

If the church wants to be victorious in this spiritual battle, we need to be like the apostles. We need to hold the same spiritual weapons used by the apostles

Let prayer and Truth be our weapons to help us fight this good fight of faith.

As my custom is, every may 3rd I would post an entry on my blog.

May 3rd had always have a special day, and I remember I started this habits in May 3rd 2010

So far the following hymns were shared

What A Friend I have In Jesus” – May 3rd 2010
“Thanks to God” – May 3rd 2011
“Day By Day” – May 3rd 2012
“All The Way The Savior Leads Me” – May 3rd 2013

It is a time I take stock of what I going on. Every year there is always new surprises, and this year God gave me one of the biggest surprised I could get. For he had allowed me finally to have a wife.

Although the road to marriage is filled with many difficulties, misunderstandings, surprises. We thank God that we could come together. This year was pretty tough as one of my beloved uncle passed away just weeks before I could return to see him. There are also lots of accusations, and pain that we all need to lead through.

No matter how sad, or how grief we may be, we have to continue to get on with life. The world will not stop turning just because we are sad and hurt. All we could do, is to walk our wilderness journey with all our might. To rely on God to guide us as we move.

In fact, when the Israelites were treading in the wilderness, God lead them personally, he went before them to protect them as they moved.

“And the Lord went before them by
day in a pillar of cloud to lead the way,
and by night in a pillar of fire to give
them light, so as to go by day and night.” – Moses (Ex 13:21)

I remember there was once I was watching a documentary on how Bedouins survived in the wilderness of Sinai. In that show, they showed us what David meant by “Green Pastures  and Still Waters.  In fact, we often thought that it was a huge grasslands and lots of water. But the truth is, grasslands in the wilderness are a rarity. Hence Bedouin shepherd boys must look around for patches of grass for the livestock, and it once the animals finish the grass, they would need to scout for new ones.

So indeed, when God guide us in life. God did not promise us a worry free life. But God would always provide enough to help us overcome all the obstacles that we need.

This is the idea that is behind the hymn “Guide Me O Thou Great Redeemer” .
This hymn was something I liked as a child. But strangely, as I found the hymn online, the tune was very different from what I know.

It was only later I realize that in my church, we rearranged the lyrics and sang them in the tune of a American folk song  “Go Tell Aunt Rhody” . The original folk song is about a Aunt Rhody who kept a old grey goose that she wanted to make a feather bed with. Unfortunately that goose died in a mill pond leaving behind an old gander and goslings.

The lyrics here I posted is edited in the way that I sing it since a child.

Title:  “Guide Me O Thou Great Redeemer”
Lyrics: William Williams

(Stanza 1)
Guide me, O Thou great Redeemer,
Pilgrim through this barren land.
I am weak, but Thou art mighty;
Hold me with Thy powerful hand.

Bread of Heaven, Bread of Heaven,
Feed me till I want no more;  (X2)

(Stanza 2)
Open now the crystal fountain,
Whence the healing stream doth flow;
Let the fire and cloudy pillar
Lead me all my journey through.

Strong Deliverer, strong Deliverer,
Be Thou still my Strength and Shield; (X2)

(Stanza 3)
When I tread the verge of Jordan,
Bid my anxious fears subside;
Bear Me through The Swelling Current
Land me safe on Canaan’s side.

Songs of praises, songs of praises,
I will ever give to Thee; (X2)

In the tradition of keeping to the original tune, I have decided to put the original tune  and the lyrics here

But for my friends who may not believe my comment about “Go Tell Aunt Rhody” I have decided to put the tune here as a proof.That is indeed how we sing this hymn.

The Importance Of Weapons In War

Throughout the history of warfare, weapons plays a important role in determining the outcome of the battle. The army with better and more destructive weapons had a higher chance of winning the battle

A man could be a skilled swordsman, but a boy with a rifle could kill him with one shot in the heart. This example illustrates how weapons determine the outcome of a battle.

This same rules applies in spiritual warfare. Our life of faith is a type of battle, and some may even call it a war. The outcome of the war depends on the weapon we choose to carry.

The saints of old were all able to fight a good fight. They made use of spiritual weapons and with them they lead victorious life. They mentioned of their weapons in the bible.

If Christians today could learn to use the same weapons, they can lead a victorious in  life as well. But the questions is, do we know what they are? Are we willing to use it?

In life, we often feel as though we are fighting a losing battle. Perhaps that’s because we are not equipped with the weapons that are needed. Lets look at the spiritual weapons used by Apostle Paul, if we could use the same weapon, it will help us to be victorious in the battle of faith. 

The Spiritual War Today

Paul described the spiritual battle in his letter to the Corinthians

“For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war
  according to the flesh.  For the weapons of our
  warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for
  pulling down strongholds,  casting down arguments
  and every high thing that exalts itself against
  the knowledge of God, bringing every thought
  into captivity to the obedience of Christ,” – Paul (2 Cor 10:3-5)

As we are fighting a spiritual war, the weapons we use are not physical weapons. Our mission objectives is not to take prisoners  or to conquer cities. Our true target is to capture the hearts of the people, to lead them to Christ, to teach them to obey him.

But sometimes, no matter how much effort we put in our preaching, we often find it difficult to reach to our friends. No matter how hard we try, we fail to capture their hearts.

As the result. many churches come up with many methods to preach the gospel. But often we do not receive the result that we want.  It looks as if we are attacking a stronghold that will we can never overcome.

Perhaps we rely too much on our own wisdom and strategies and we fail to utilize the spiritual weapons of the apostles. 

The Power Of God And Its Role In Spiritual Warfare

When Paul encounter a similar problem, how did he overcome it? 

Often we are unsure how to win the hearts of people. The modern church advocate that that traditional services can no longer attract people.  They feel that old stories can never move new people. So they plan countless ways to reach out and move people. 

As we see this, sometimes we wonder, “Shall I continue to talk about Jesus and the cross?” “Should we find another way?”  That is how most christians approach their spiritual battle. 

But Paul was different, he relied on the power of God and the power of the Holy spirit. Gods power is still available for us today, just like the days of the Apostles. But the only questions is “How do we unlock it? Is there a secret to unlock the doors of heaven?”

Truth is, we know that there is no secret. If we were to rely on faith and to pray like the way Jesus instructed us, if we can persist in these and not be discouraged, we would be victorious at the end.

But sadly, we often lose faith in our prayers, especially when prayers become a part of routine whenever we gather to worship. So we need to ask ourselves “do you still believe in the power of Prayer? can we still rely on God with our hearts?:

We need to accept the fact that besides God,  no one can overcome the hearts of a fellow man.We can only speak and explain the scriptures. But it is Gods spirit that move the hearts of man

The Power Of God And The Moving Of The Spirit

Paul once said this

“Therefore I make known to you that
  no one speaking by the Spirit of God
  calls Jesus accursed, and no one can say
  that Jesus is Lord except by the Holy Spirit.” – Paul (1 Cor 12:3)

Many of us may think that Paul was exaggerating as we know of many without the Holy spirit  but yet calls Jesus Lord. We also know of Atheist and followers of other religion who would not curse Jesus. But is their actions a moving of the Holy Spirit?

Why did Paul insist that only those moved by the Holy Spirit can call Jesus Lord?

To understand this, we need to consider the historical context of the verse, during that period, Christian were undergoing persecutions. Every Christian must be prepared to be captured and imprisoned.

The Romans devised a ingenious way to single out Christians, they will force people to curse Jesus. They know that whoever who refuses must be a Christian, for they would never blaspheme God. They would also force Christians to declare Jesus as Lord before Caesar  

In those days, Christians who dare call Jesus Lord, pay a great price. Without the moving of the Holy Spirit, many would be afraid to declare Jesus as Lord. During that time, Christians rely on the Holy Spirit to persist in suffering for the Lord. Without the moving of the Holy spirit, man would lack the faith to suffer for the Lord. He would not have the courage and faith to continue practicing his faith.

Christian of today faces lesser physical persecution, however we face persecution in our day to day living, economical and even enjoyment. Sometimes they take away our heart to worship God.

I believe all Christians understood the need to worship Jesus, but sometimes we choose to let go of him in order to receive enjoyment, money and to work.  That is why we  need the Holy Spirit to move us to keep our faith. We need the Holy Spirit to move us to choose God over enjoyment.

But are we willing to come and listen to his words?

Truth is,  there are times we force ourselves to come for service. We do not eagerly desire to come for service, that is why we drag our feet to service. However, when we encounter something that we are passionate about, we becomes eager to do it. 

Christians of today lack the moving the Holy Spirit, sometimes we find our heart swayed by the words of others. There are times we are tempted by friends to skip service. We may be able to resist that temptation once or twice, but we sway at the third and fourth attempt. 

Since our hearts can be swayed, why not let it be moved by God?

Perhaps we sometimes grow tired of listening to God, which explains the need for us to acquire this weapon of Paul 

Prayer As A Spiritual Weapon

In order to rely on Gods power, we need to re-emphasize on prayer once again

For whenever Paul wrote to the church, he will request the church to pray for him. He wanted to them to help him using prayers, and we need this same weapon to fight the spiritual battle today.

Recall the time where John was instructed by God to measure the temple in revelations. (Rev 11:1-3) . God did not want him to just measure the dimension of the temple, he was told to measure the Altar of Incense. which represented the prayers of the saints.

God wanted to find out if we still esteem prayers and if we still believe in it. He wants to know if our prayers are measurable to Gods standards, and if the words we utter during pray aligned with the thoughts of our hearts. 

Perhaps you may ask “Is it possible to pray without the heart?”

For example, we all encounter situations where our heart wanders away in our prayers.  Sometimes we peep at others while praying and sometimes we wonder why is the prayers so long.

When God measures the altar of incense, what is he really measuring?

1. Are you praying sincerely and in accordance to his will ?
2. Are you relying on his power?
3. Is our prayer merely for ourselves or for the others?
4. How much of our prayers is dedicated to God’s kingdom and our salvation? 
5. How much of our prayers is dedicated to asking for wealth and riches. 

Let us learn to use this weapon which Paul uses, let us dedicate ourselves to pray for the kingdom of God as well as salvation, let us pray not just for ourselves but for our fellow brethren

Introduction : The Spiritual War Of Christians

This was a notes from a sermon I heard recently, which I also shared with my friends

“For though we walk in the flesh, 
  we do not war according to the flesh. 
  
For the weapons of our warfare are not
  carnal but mighty in God for pulling
  down strongholds, casting down arguments
  and every high thing that exalts itself
  against the knowledge of God, bringing
  every thought into captivity to the
  obedience of Christ,” – Paul (2 Cor 10:3-5)

Here Paul was talking about a spiritual war that all believers of Christ must fight. It is a war against falsehood, between God and the Devil. The weapons used in this war is not of this world.

During the time of the apostles, war is fought on land, soldier against soldier. It was fought using spears , bows and arrows, and in order to protect themselves, soldier put on armor to protect themselves. So as Paul talks about the spiritual war, he exhort everyone to put on the armor of God.

“For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood,
  but against principalities, against powers,
  against the rulers of the darkness of this age,
  against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the
  heavenly places. Therefore take up the 
  whole armor of God, that you may be
  able to withstand in the evil day, and having
  done all, to stand.” – Paul (Eph 6:12-13)

Here Paul talks about our enemy, as well as how the war would be fought. He reminded the believers to put on the armor of God, for it is a spiritual better. In Eph 6:10, he reminded believers to be strong in the Lord and to rely on his might.

Introduction : The Strategies Used, And The Battle Plan

Indeed, we cannot rely on ourselves and our human strategy to win, for our enemy is not flesh and blood. That is why we need the armor of God, and it could help us withstand the wiles of the devil.

The devil is always cunning, he lured Eve to sin in the beginning, she was unaware of her own temptation and she believed in the words of Satan, she did all that the devils instructed her. It serves as a reminder to us that the Devil can disguise himself as an angel before us, he may even take the form of the person we like, he will speak the words we like to hear, for he knows our weakness. That is how he overcame many carnally minded Christians.

We know of good Christian who were strong in faith initially, they appear as if they are willing to suffer and die for Christ. they believed in the truth of God but were unable to persist to the very end. They fell, becoming covetous and sexually immoral, some became arrogant and were unable to stay in the grace of God.  

This is why it is important for Christians to put on this armor and fight this battle. Eph 6:14-18 describes the individual items in the armor or God.  It also reminds us to pray earnestly in the spirit. Prayer here does not refers simply to praying for ourselves, we must pray for all the saints and the church. For only by having spiritual wisdom and strength can one put on the armor of God.

Only by putting on the armor can we withstand the attacks from the devil, and remain in the grace of God. Let us look at the components of this armor

To Grid The Waist With Truth

The first piece of the armor of God is to gird the waist with truth. The truth here is more than just the words of God. The Truth here also refers to how sincere we are and how truthful we are towards ourselves, and to others.

It also encompass how sincere and truthful we are to God himself. For this would determine if we have the strength to continue fighting this war. In the past, there are many who followed Christ after they witness his miracles, but these people did not remain in the Lord, for they lack sincerity and truthfulness in their faith.

they have not girded their waist with truth, even though they heard the teaching of Jesus, they were unable to fully learn the words of truth. They were more interested in seeing whether Jesus  had spoken against God. As the result Jesus rebuke them saying

“You are of your father the devil,
  and the desires of your father you
  want to do. He was a murderer from
  the beginning, and does not stand in
  the truth, because there is no truth
  in him. When he speaks a lie, he speaks
  from his own resources, for he is a liar
  and the father of it.”- Jesus (Jn 8:44)

These Jews are people who followed and believed in Jesus, yet there are some who had the devil as their father. Jesus spoke harshly to them, for they lack the truth girded on their waist. This entire transcript is recorded in Jn 8:37-41

Jesus : “I know that you are Abraham’s descendants,
               but you seek to kill Me, because My word has
               no place in you. I speak what I have seen with
               My Father, and you do what you have seen
              with your father.”
People:“Abraham is our father.”
Jesus :“If you were Abraham’s children, you would 
               do the works of Abraham.  But now you seek to 
               kill Me, a Man who has told you the truth
               which I heard from God. Abraham did not do
               this. You do the deeds of your father.”

From here we see that these people were not sincere in their belief in God, though they appear to be devoted outwardly, they do not have the words of God within them. They did not have the truth girded on their waist 

The Example Of Judas Iscariot

Another example of someone not having truth girded on the waste is Judas the betrayer of Jesus. Have we wondered how did the Devil gain a foothold in his heart? that was because he did not have truth girded on is waist. This is evidently seen in last supper.

During the last supper, (Jn 13:26-27) John records

“Jesus answered, “It is he to whom I shall give
  a piece of bread when I have dipped it.” And
  having dipped the bread, He gave it to Judas
  Iscariot, the son of Simon. Now after the piece
  of bread, Satan entered him. Then Jesus said to him,
  “What you do, do quickly.””- John (Jn 13:26-27)

Over here Jesus had already indicated Judas intention to betray him, the reason for Jesus actions is so that Judas will repent and turn back. In fact Jesus even washed the feet of Judas. But sadly Judas was being deceitful, and he did not grid his waist with truth. In a parallel record (Matt 26:20-25)

“Then Judas, who was betraying Him,
  answered and said, “Rabbi, is it I?”He
  said to him, “You have said it.””- Matthew (Matt 26:25)

Judas heard the words of Jesus, and yet he continues in his hypocrisy and asked Jesus even though he knew the answer clearly.  Since there is no truth and sincerity found within him, it is not surprising that he was the one who betrayed Jesus.

Judas led a life of deceit and guile, and he lack truthfulness in all that he said, recall an incident where Mary anointed Jesus with the ointment, he instigated the disciples saying

“Why was this fragrant oil not sold
   for three hundred denarii and given 
   to the poor?” – Judas (Jn 12:5)

John explained that Judas did not care for the poor, but he is in fact a thief who stole from the money box.

Very much latter he betrayed Jesus with a kiss in Matt 26:48-49. A kiss was suppose to be a beautiful display of love yet Judas decide to use it as a sign to arrest Jesus. The Lord tried very hard to call him back but he refuses to repent.

When Jesus gave him the bread, he is giving him up to Satan, he could do whatever he wants with him, for Judas had left a foothold for the devil to work, he does not have truth girded to his waist

The Importance Of Truthfulness

The above examples tells us the importance of having sincerity in our faith, for it determines how much we believe in the Lord. Our sincerity to our faith also determines the amount of effort we take to build up our faith. We need to have truthfulness girded around our waist.

Sometimes when we read of disciples who could sacrifice for the Lord to the end, some of them are even willing to be crucified as a martyr for their belief, and we wonder what is the secret of their strength? Their secret lies in the fact that they are true to their faith, that is why they could endure to the end.

Today as Christian, the difficulty we encounter are much lesser compared to the saints in the past, yet many of us find it hard to remain in the grace of God. If we want to remain faithful in our heavenly journey, we need to rely on the Holy Spirit

Let us continue to have the truth girded on our waist.

I would be sharing about the other items in the next entry.

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