November 4 – Properly Outfitted 

“In all circumstances take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming darts of the evil one; and take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.” – Ephesians 6:16–17 (ESV)

Depending on your counting, the Apostle Paul lists six or seven means of preparation faith believers need to have ready. Here two are defensive and one offensive armor pieces. These three are taken up when we are susceptible to an outbreak of lies? The Holy Spirit, through Paul gave us these instructions because He knew what we need in the battle. Everyday is a battle if we are walking obediently in the Spirit doing what Christ calls us to do. We are instructed to use our faith as a shield against the lies of Satan. They come at us from every angle and even from sources we may have trusted. Putting our faith in God’s promises is how we use our shied and stop those lies from getting to us. Our enemy tries to feed doubts into our thoughts and cause us to question our own salvation. The saved elect wear the helmet of salvation as a protection against such psychological attacks. And our knowledge of God’s word and putting it to practice is sharper than a double edge sword. Let’s stand firm therefore prepared for action defensively and offensively. 

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December 1 – Constantly Without Ceasing

“For this reason we also constantly thank God that when you received the word of God which you heard from us, you accepted it not as the word of men, but for what it really is, the word of God, which also performs its work in you who believe.” 1 Thessalonians 2:13 (NASB)

We continue to find promises that are given to us and which are coupled with our giving thanks to God. Today in our verse the Apostle Paul includes the two others in his team who came to the city from Philippi, Silas and Timothy. He expresses the reason they give thanks to God for the believers in Thessalonica. Why are they thankful? Because when the Gospel was shared by the missionaries it was the Word of God. That is just how they received and accepted the message as the Word of God. This is a second reason for Paul’s continual rejoicing (1 Thessalonians 1:3). Paul expressed thankfulness not only because the fruits of righteousness apparent in the Thessalonian converts’ lives, but also their ready acceptance. Their reception of the preached Word of God warmed the apostles’ hearts. We know this word if we have believed and received Christ Jesus’ invitation. While a good number of the converts were Jews the greater number were Greeks or Gentiles. It was these non-Jews who became believers of God and received Jesus as their Savior. The “we also constantly” is the same as our instruction to “pray without ceasing.”

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