God Helps You to Stand Firm (Ephesians 6:13)
A battle is raging—a battle we can’t see. There are powers beyond our senses, beyond what we can see and hear. The Bible tells us that “our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms” (Ephesians 6:12). Pretty heavy stuff, huh? But it is true. The battles we wage in our lives are but part of a huge cosmic battle that has been going on since Satan’s fall. This battle will not end until he is destroyed.
In the meantime, God promises that if we wear his armor, we can stand firm. As we pray God’s promises for ourselves or for others, we need to pray for strength in the unseen spiritual battles…
God’s Promise to Me
- I will provide you with armor so that you can stand firm and resist the enemy in times of evil.
My Prayer to God
Heavenly Father, I acknowledge that there is a spiritual battle being waged, a battle far beyond the scope of my senses. I claim your promise that as I wear the armor you provide, I will be able to resist the enemy in the time of evil and still be standing firm after the battle. Thank you for providing this armor.
Taken from Once a Day Bible Promises
Seven Sources of Joy
In all our affliction, I am overflowing with joy. (2 Corinthians 7:4)
What is extraordinary about Paul is how unbelievably durable his joy was when things weren’t going well.
Where did this come from?
First of all it was taught by Jesus: “Blessed are you when men hate you . . . Be glad in that day, and leap for joy, for behold, your reward is great in heaven” (Luke 6:22–23). Troubles for Jesus compound your interest in heaven — which last a lot longer than earth.
Second, it comes from the Holy Spirit, not our own efforts or imagination or family upbringing. “The fruit of the Spirit is . . . joy” (Galatians 5:22). “You received the word in much tribulation with the joy of the Holy Spirit” (1Thessalonians 1:6).
Third, it comes from belonging to the kingdom of God. “The kingdom of God is not eating and drinking, but righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit” (Romans 14:17).
Fourth, it comes through faith, that is, from believing God. “Now may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing” (Romans 15:13). “I know that I shall remain and continue with you all for your progress and joy of faith” (Philippians 1:25).
Fifth, it comes from seeing and knowing Jesus as Lord. “Rejoice in the Lord always” (Philippians 4:4).
Sixth, it comes from fellow believers who work hard to help us focus on these sources of joy, rather than deceitful circumstances. “We are workers with you for your joy” (2 Corinthians 1:24).
Seventh, it comes from the sanctifying effects of tribulations. “We also exult in our tribulations, knowing that tribulation brings about perseverance; and perseverance, proven character; and proven character, hope” (Romans 5:3–4).
If we are not yet like Paul, he calls us to be. “Be imitators of me as I am of Christ” (1 Corinthians 11:1). And for most of us this is a call to earnest prayer. It is a supernatural life.
Isaac married Rebekah, who gave birth to twins, Jacob and Esau. After the boys come of age, Jacob tricks Esau out of his birthright.
Birthright and Wrong
One day when Jacob was cooking some stew, Esau arrived home from the wilderness exhausted and hungry. Esau said to Jacob, “I’m starved! Give me some of that red stew!” (This is how Esau got his other name, Edom, which means “red.”)
“All right,” Jacob replied, “but trade me your rights as the firstborn son.”
“Look, I’m dying of starvation!” said Esau. “What good is my birthright to me now?”
But Jacob said, “First you must swear that your birthright is mine.” So Esau swore an oath, thereby selling all his rights as the firstborn to his brother, Jacob.
A birthright was a special honor given to the firstborn son. It included a double portion of the family inheritance along with the honor of one day becoming the family’s leader. The oldest son could sell his birthright or give it away if he chose, but in so doing, he would lose both material goods and his leadership position. By trading his birthright, Esau showed complete disregard for the blessings that would have come his way if he had kept it.
Esau traded the lasting benefits of his birthright for the immediate pleasure of food. Esau exaggerated his hunger. “I’m dying of starvation!” he said. The pressure of the moment distorted his perspective and made his decision seem urgent. He acted on impulse, satisfying his immediate desires without considering the long-range consequences. We can fall into the same trap. When we see something we want, our first impulse is to get it and we can exaggerate its importance in the moment. We can avoid making Esau’s mistake by comparing the short-term satisfaction with the long-range consequences.
We often experience pressures like Esau did. For example, when we feel sexual temptation, a marriage vow may seem unimportant. We might feel such great pressure in one area that nothing else seems to matter and we lose our perspective. Getting through that short, pressure-filled moment is often the most difficult part of overcoming temptation.
Ask God to help you see life from his perspective and to help you resist making an Esau-like choice.
Streams in the Desert – May 6
The secret of the Lord is with them that fear him (Ps. 25:14).
There are secrets of Providence which God’s dear children may learn. His dealings with them often seem, to the outward eye, dark and terrible. Faith looks deeper and says, “This is God’s secret. You look only on the outside; I can look deeper and see the hidden meaning.”
Sometimes diamonds are done up in rough packages, so that their value cannot be seen. When the Tabernacle was built in the wilderness there was nothing rich in its outside appearance. The costly things were all within, and its outward covering of rough badger skin gave no hint of the valuable things which it contained.
God may send you, dear friends, some costly packages. Do not worry if they are done up in rough wrappings. You may be sure there are treasures of love, and kindness, and wisdom hidden within. If we take what He sends, and trust Him for the goodness in it, even in the dark, we shall learn the meaning of the secrets of Providence.
–A. B. Simpson
Not until each loom is silent,
And the shuttles cease to fly,
Will God unroll the pattern
And explain the reason why
The dark threads are as needful
In the Weaver’s skillful hand,
As the threads of gold and silver
For the pattern which He planned.
He that is mastered by Christ is the master of every circumstance. Does the circumstance press hard against you? Do not push it away. It is the Potter’s hand. Your mastery will come, not by arresting its progress, but by enduring its discipline, for it is not only shaping you into a vessel of beauty and honor, but it is making your resources available.