Sword of the Spirit – Eyes on the Prize #1206

SWORD OF THE SPIRIT                                                                                               1206

“Eyes on the Prize”

I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus; Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one receives the prize? So run that you may obtain it. – Philippians 3:14; 1 Corinthians 9:24

One of my childhood heroes was Thomas Edison. (Yes, I was that nerdy kid). The man who became one of the most prolific inventors in history was the child whose teachers said he was too stupid to learn anything. For every successful invention, Thomas Edison endured thousands of failed attempts. Undaunted by failure, Edison is quoted as stating, ‘I have not failed. I’ve just found ten thousand ways that won’t work’. Edison pressed on toward the prize he envisioned before him.

Paul the Apostle was also one who suffered much ‘failure’ yet pressed on in the power and grace of Jesus Christ. He was whipped, beaten, stoned, shipwrecked and adrift at sea. He was in constant danger, hungry, thirsty, and cold. 2 Corinthians 11:24-27 Yet Paul acknowledged his weakness and he knew that his strength was found in Christ alone.

For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong. – 2 Corinthians 12:10

Paul never lost sight of the goal and the prize of eternal life that the Lord promised those who believe and have faith in Him.

Let not your hearts be troubled. Believe in God; believe also in me. In my Father’s house are many rooms. If it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, that where I am you may be also. – John 14:1-3

We all fail. The question is, will we get back up? Will we ‘fail forward’ pressing on toward the goal and prize that Jesus has promised us?

for the righteous falls seven times and rises again, but the wicked stumble in times of calamity. – Proverbs 24:16

Fear of failure paralyzes us and hinders our faith walk with the Lord. The enemy of our souls is quick to pounce upon us when we fail, planting seeds of discouragement. We must always remember the Truth of the Word of the Lord that our success is not dependent upon our abilities but rather upon the grace and power of the Lord working in and through us.

Then he said to me, “This is the word of the Lord to Zerubbabel: Not by might, nor by power, but by my Spirit, says the Lord of hosts. – Zechariah 4:6

Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.” – Joshua 1:9

In our Christian walk, many of us stumble, fall, and lack the will to get back up. This is because we have abandoned our first love. We have allowed the ashes of the things of this world to smother the flame of our relationship with Jesus. The glowing embers remain – fan them into flame, seek first His kingdom and righteousness, and press on toward the goal and prize that Jesus has set before you.

But I have this against you, that you have abandoned the love you had at first. – Revelation 2:4

May your Christian walk be characterized as ‘failing forward’ by His power and grace as you press on toward the goal and prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.

The steps of a man are established by the Lord, when he delights in his way; though he fall, he shall not be cast headlong, for the Lord upholds his hand. – Psalm 37:23-24

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Sword of the Spirit – Days Like Grass #1205

SWORD OF THE SPIRIT                                                                                               1205

“Days Like Grass”

As for man his days are like grass; as a flower of the field, so he flourishes. For the wind passes over it, and it is gone, and its place remembers it no more. – Psalm 103:15-16

I drive by the empty lot in the picture frequently. There used to be a house there with a car in the driveway. I watched it gradually go into disrepair over the past decade and then it seems as if it happened overnight, the house and car were gone, and vegetation took over.

I see it often – once thriving homes become abandoned, demolished, and left for nature to reclaim the space until someone else buys it, builds a home, raises a family, and the cycle begins again – always to the same end.

Vanity of vanities, says the Preacher, vanity of vanities! All is vanity. – Ecclesiastes 1:2

I wonder about the people who lived there – what their life was like – Did they know Jesus as their Lord and Savior – Did they make a lasting impact in this world or were they here and gone – erased – leaving no lasting impression.

Man is like a breath; his days are like a passing shadow; Behold, you have made my days a few handbreadths, and my lifetime is as nothing before you. Surely all mankind stands as a mere breath! – Psalm 144:4; Psalm 39:5

The Word of God speaks to us – no, exhorts us to seek first His kingdom and righteousness and to live our lives with impactful purpose to the glory and praise of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.

But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness…; In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven. – Matthew 6:33; Matthew 5:16

We are all like grass. We will all be erased. However, a life lived in God’s purpose and plan for us will be an impactful life, even if it impacts only one other person in this world. God’s Word does not fail to accomplish its purpose.

All flesh is like grass and all its glory like the flower of grass. The grass withers, and the flower falls, but the word of the Lord remains forever; so shall my word be that goes out from my mouth; it shall not return to me empty, but it shall accomplish that which I purpose, and shall succeed in the thing for which I sent it. – 1 Peter 1:24-25; Isaiah 55:11

Because our lives are like a passing shadow, and the fact that all the trappings of this world and the world itself will all burn in that Great Day of the Lord, The Word of God challenges us to consider what sort of lives we should be living now.

But the day of the Lord will come like a thief, and then the heavens will pass away with a roar, and the heavenly bodies will be burned up and dissolved, and the earth and the works that are done on it will be exposed. Since all these things are thus to be dissolved, what sort of people ought you to be in lives of holiness and godliness, waiting for and hastening the coming of the day of God, because of which the heavens will be set on fire and dissolved, and the heavenly bodies will melt as they burn! – 2 Peter 3:10-12

Examine your life walk. Are you living a ‘God-Purpose Driven Life’ or are you living in and for the temporal things of this world? Is your life a mere vain existence waiting to be erased?

Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise, making the best use of the time, because the days are evil; Turn my eyes from looking at worthless things; and give me life in your ways. – Ephesians 5:15-16; Psalm 119:37

May your time in this life on earth leave an impression and impact for the Kingdom of God.

May the Holy Spirit speak clearly to your heart how to live and walk in the purpose and plan that God has ordained for you even before you were born.

So teach us to number our days that we may get a heart of wisdom. – Psalm 90:12

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Sword of the Spirit – Shadows #1204

SWORD OF THE SPIRIT                                                                                               1204

“Shadows”

Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change. – James 1:17

Shadows are something we are all familiar with and God’s Word uses this concept to convey several Truths.

Protection: Shadows are used to signify God’s protection. When we are in His shadow, we are very close to Him. We are shaded and shielded by Him from the heat of the sun and all that can harm us.

He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High will abide in the shadow of the Almighty; Keep me as the apple of your eye; hide me in the shadow of your wings – Psalm 91:1; Psalm 17:8

How precious is your steadfast love, O God! The children of mankind take refuge in the shadow of your wings; for you have been my help, and in the shadow of your wings I will sing for joy. – Psalm 63:7; Psalm 36:7

Deception: As it is with all things of this fallen world, shadows can be deceptive, having the appearance of something that is false. Take for example shadow puppets, whereby careful arrangement of hands and fingers cast a shadow having the appearance of a bunny or another animal.

We have done the same as a shadow puppet by twisting God’s Word and enacting laws and traditions of men that dilute the Truth of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

…this people draw near with their mouth and honor me with their lips, while their hearts are far from me, and their fear of me is a commandment taught by men – Isaiah 29:13

For since the law has but a shadow of the good things to come instead of the true form of these realities, it can never, by the same sacrifices that are continually offered every year, make perfect those who draw near; Therefore let no one pass judgment on you in questions of food and drink, or with regard to a festival or a new moon or a Sabbath. These are a shadow of the things to come, but the substance belongs to Christ. – Hebrews 10:1; Colossians 2:16-17

Even the death we will experience in this life is but a deceiving shadow since eternal life through Jesus is ours who confess that Jesus is Lord and believe in His resurrection.

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

Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me; “O death, where is your victory? O death, where is your sting?” – Psalm 23:4; 1 Corinthians 15:55

Temporary: Shadows are temporary and our life here in the body is likened to a shadow. We do well to maintain an eternal perspective and not try to hang on to the empty shadow of the things of this world.

For we are strangers before you and sojourners, as all our fathers were. Our days on the earth are like a shadow, and there is no abiding. – 1 Chronicles 29:15

For we are but of yesterday and know nothing, for our days on earth are a shadow. – Job 8:9

Man is like a breath; his days are like a passing shadow. – Psalm 144:4

Temporal:  Shadows may represent what is casting them, but they have no substance. God’s Word cautions us not to rely on and seek the things of this world instead of seeking Him first.

“Ah, stubborn children,” declares the Lord, “who carry out a plan, but not mine, and who make an alliance, but not of my Spirit, that they may add sin to sin; who set out to go down to Egypt, without asking for my direction, to take refuge in the protection of Pharaoh and to seek shelter in the shadow of Egypt! Therefore, shall the protection of Pharaoh turn to your shame, and the shelter in the shadow of Egypt to your humiliation – Isaiah 30:1-3

May you be encouraged by the fact that our God and the Truth of His Word are not fleeting and changeable like a shadow. He is the Rock of our Salvation. He is our protector and provider and through Jesus we have forgiveness of sin and eternal life.

Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever. – Hebrews 13:8

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Sword of the Spirit – Thought Life #1203

SWORD OF THE SPIRIT                                                                                               1203

“Thought Life”

Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. – Philippians 4:6-7

In our last devotional we examined Philippians 4:6-7 about worry and anxiousness and the need to be in continual prayer and communion with God. That is when God’s peace guards our hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.

Paul then underscores verses 6 and 7 with an exhortation to focus our thoughts on whatever is true, honorable, just, pure, lovely, commendable, excellent, and worthy of praise.

Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. – Philippians 4:8

All these things to focus our minds (and hearts) on are the antidote to the disease that plagues the heart of mankind.

The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately sick; For out of the heart come evil thoughts, murder, adultery, sexual immorality, theft, false witness, slander. – Jeremiah 17:9; Matthew 15:19

Our propensity for sin originates in our minds and hearts. Our thought life, what we entertain in the recesses of our minds, give sin a stronghold that holds us in bondage.

For as he thinks within himself, so he is. – Proverbs 23:7 (NASB)

Jesus answered them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, everyone who practices sin is a slave to sin. – John 8:34

Jesus went further to say that sin does not have to be a physical act. Sin occurs when the thought is conceived and nurtured in our minds.

But I say to you that everyone who looks at a woman with lustful intent has already committed adultery with her in his heart. – Matthew 5:28

Therefore, it is important to be diligent in transforming and focusing our thinking on all that is listed in Philippians 4:8.

Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind… Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts; let him return to the Lord, that he may have compassion on him, and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon. – Isaiah 55:7; Romans 12:2

For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit set their minds on the things of the Spirit. For to set the mind on the flesh is death, but to set the mind on the Spirit is life and peace. – Romans 8:5-6

Have you ever been in quiet contemplation, meditation or prayer and have had evil thoughts suddenly enter your mind? It is like, ‘Whoa, where did that come from?’ The enemy of your soul will seek to disrupt your peace and your prayer life with distracting and sometimes sinful thoughts. Guarding your heart and mind means to immediately take that thought captive unto the Lord and destroy it.

We destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ – 2 Corinthians 10:5

I will meditate on your precepts and fix my eyes on your ways. May my meditation be pleasing to him, for I rejoice in the Lord. – Psalm 119:15; Psalm 104:34

Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in your sight, O Lord, my rock, and my redeemer. – Psalm 19:14

May the Holy Spirit search your heart and mind and reveal to you the strongholds that need to be destroyed through repentance, transformation, and the renewal of your mind through Christ Jesus.

Search me, O God, and know my heart! Try me and know my thoughts! And see if there be any grievous way in me and lead me in the way everlasting! – Psalm 139:23-24

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Sword of the Spirit – Anxious #1202

SWORD OF THE SPIRIT                                                                                               1202

“Anxious”

Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. – Philippians 4:6-7

This Scripture reference is rich with encouragement. Let’s examine it more closely.

Do not be anxious about anything…

Anxiousness and worry go hand in hand. Worry can be debilitating and physically unhealthy. It will steal your joy and make you ill.

And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life? – Matthew 6:27

When I am afraid, I put my trust in you. In God, whose word I praise, in God I trust; I shall not be afraid… – Psalm 56:3-4

Therefore, I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? Therefore, do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble. – Matthew 6:25,34

but in everything by prayer and supplication…

In everything…The Lord cares about everything that concerns you. Nothing is too small or insignificant in your life that He does not care about it. In 1 Thessalonians 5:17 we are exhorted to ‘pray without ceasing’.  Is prayer your last resort? Do you exhaust the limits of your capabilities and the skills of others before declaring defeat and turning to God in prayer? Learn to prayerfully seek Him first in everything that concerns you and the ones you love and care for. Learn to trust and hope in Him first, In everything

When the righteous cry for help, the Lord hears and delivers them out of all their troubles. – Psalm 34:17

For nothing will be impossible with God.” – Luke 1:37

with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.

Thank Him in advance, in faith, in trust, and in the hope of His steadfast and unfailing love for you.

The Lord is my strength and my shield; in him my heart trusts, and I am helped; my heart exults, and with my song I give thanks to him. – Psalm 28:7

And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

People that know you and know what you are dealing with will wonder why you are so calm, confident, and peaceful. The Lord’s peace surpasses our human understanding.

Peace, I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid. – John 14:27

You keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on you, because he trusts in you. – Isaiah 26:3

May the Holy Spirit prepare your anxious heart to receive the Truth and soothing balm of the Word of God giving you the peace that surpasses understanding.

May your heart be encouraged and strengthened by His Word. May your trust and hope in God increase as you seek Him first in all things.

Say to those who have an anxious heart, “Be strong, fear not! Behold, your God will come with vengeance, with the recompense of God. He will come and save you.” – Isaiah 35:4

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Sword of the Spirit – Blinded #1200

SWORD OF THE SPIRIT                                                                                               1200

“Blinded”

In their case the god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelievers, to keep them from seeing the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God. – 2 Corinthians 4:4

I have been voting in our country’s elections for more than 50 years. I always sought to vote for candidates of high Christian moral standards especially concerning the issue of abortion. I recall on numerous occasions being criticized for my choice of candidate based on their economic policies, charisma, etc. When confronted with the issue of abortion, my critics would reply, ‘That will never change in our lifetime, vote along another line.’ Praise our Father in Heaven: this week a first step in the right direction to protect the lives of innocent pre-born children has begun!

For nothing will be impossible with God. – Luke 1:37

The people who love this world and the things of this world are blinded by Satan to the Truth of the Word of God. They cannot see the fact that abortion is murder. They cannot see that the preponderance of sexual immorality in our society is an abomination to the Lord our God.

Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him; Their end is destruction, their god is their belly, and they glory in their shame, with minds set on earthly things. – 1 John 2:15; Philippians 3:19

There remains a long road ahead in protecting the life of the innocent preborn children in this country. We must continue in diligent prayer and work to have them recognized as human beings from the moment of conception and afforded all the rights due them by law.

The Spirit of God has made me, and the breath of the Almighty gives me life; For you formed my inward parts; you knitted me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. … My frame was not hidden from you, when I was being made in secret, intricately woven in the depths of the earth. Your eyes saw my unformed substance; in your book were written, every one of them, the days that were formed for me, when as yet there was none of them. — Job 33:4; Psalm 139:13-16

There will continue to be sanctuary states for the time being that will allow the murder of preborn children by harboring the abortion industry. Make no mistake about it, if the abortion industry were not profitable, it would not exist. The murder of the innocent is a billion-dollar industry for Planned Parenthood clinics alone. Behind their façade of advocating for a woman’s rights lies greed and the love of money.

You shall not murder; Keep far from a false charge, and do not kill the innocent and righteous, for I will not acquit the wicked. – Exodus 20:13; 23:7

As Christian brothers and sisters we must continue to fight for the innocent, preborn children who cannot fight for themselves. We must carry the Truth of the light of Christ in our homes, workplaces, churches, and into the voting booth.

Again, Jesus spoke to them, saying, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness but will have the light of life.” …I am sending you to open their eyes, so that they may turn from darkness to light and from the power of Satan to God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins and a place among those who are sanctified by faith in me.’ – John 8:12- Acts 26:17-18

The Lord’s command to us is to choose life. Life for the preborn as well as all humanity, life in the flesh and life in the spirit for eternity through Jesus.

I call heaven and earth to witness against you today, that I have set before you life and death, blessing, and curse. Therefore, choose life, that you and your offspring may live – Deuteronomy 30:19

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Sword of the Spirit – Pray for Ukraine #1199

SWORD OF THE SPIRIT                                                                                               1199

“Pray For Ukraine”

Contend, O Lord, with those who contend with me; fight against those who fight against me! – Psalm 35:1

Today’s headlines read: War in Ukraine ‘could last for years,’ NATO chief says. To that we say, ‘But God…’

This devotional is dedicated to praying the Word of God in intercession for the people and nation of Ukraine. The power of prayer, when in concert and in agreement should not be underestimated. Prepare your hearts before Our Father and His Son, Our Lord, Jesus and join me in praying Psalm 9 for the Ukraine.

I will give thanks to the Lord with my whole heart; I will recount all of your wonderful deeds. I will be glad and exult in you; I will sing praise to your name, O Most High.

            Our Father in Heaven, we praise you and thank you that we can come before you through the sacrifice of Jesus, Your Son and our Lord and Savior. Incline your ear to hear our prayer and petition as we gather in agreement as Your children and make our petitions on behalf of the people and nation of Ukraine in the Name of Jesus.

Whatever you ask in my name, this I will do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. – John 14:13

When my enemies turn back, they stumble and perish before your presence. For you have maintained my just cause; you have sat on the throne, giving righteous judgment.

            Send the enemies of Ukraine back to where they came from, Lord. Confuse their communications and logistics – make them stumble and perish before Your holy presence and the presence of your angelic army. Maintain the cause of the people of the Ukraine and restore their nation.

You have rebuked the nations; you have made the wicked perish; you have blotted out their name forever and ever. The enemy came to an end in everlasting ruins; their cities you rooted out; the very memory of them has perished.

            Rebuke the Russian leadership, Lord. Bring them to an everlasting ruin that they would never oppress the innocent again. Protect the Russian people who are innocent of this egregious war effort against the Ukrainian people. May they rise up with boldness and power to stop their corrupt leaders.

But the Lord sits enthroned forever; he has established his throne for justice, and he judges the world with righteousness; he judges the peoples with uprightness.

            We trust in Your righteous judgement, Lord. We worship You as Sovereign over all and we trust in Your perfect plan for the people of the Ukraine. We may not understand today why You allowed this war to happen, but we know that nothing happens that You have not allowed to happen.

We humbly ask Lord that You will bring this war to an abrupt end and free the people of the Ukraine from oppression. May they know it was by Your hand that they have been set free and their enemy is defeated. May they give You the glory as they, as one people turn their hearts to You and to Your Son, Jesus. May there be a mighty move of Your Holy Spirit across that nation and the world as You revive hardened hearts, and they acknowledge that You are Sovereign and sit enthroned forever.

The Lord is a stronghold for the oppressed, a stronghold in times of trouble. And those who know your name put their trust in you, for you, O Lord, have not forsaken those who seek you.

            Be a stronghold for the people of the Ukraine, Lord. May they seek You with undivided hearts. For You, O Lord, have not forsaken those who seek You.

Sing praises to the Lord, who sits enthroned in Zion! Tell among the peoples his deeds! For he who avenges blood is mindful of them; he does not forget the cry of the afflicted.

            We praise You, Father and thank You for what You will do for the people of the Ukraine. Your Word tells us of Your mighty power and how You have delivered people from oppressors since time began. Be mindful of the Ukrainian people and hear the cry of the afflicted.

Be gracious to me, O Lord! See my affliction from those who hate me, O you who lift me up from the gates of death, that I may recount all your praises, that in the gates of the daughter of Zion I may rejoice in your salvation.

            Father, we ask that You pour out Your grace and Holy Spirit anointing upon the people of the Ukraine. Lift them up from the gates of death that is before them because of the Russian oppressor. Repel the enemy, we ask in Jesus’ Name so that Your praises will be recounted in their streets and that there will be rejoicing in the salvation of the Lord.

The nations have sunk in the pit that they made; in the net that they hid, their own foot has been caught. The Lord has made himself known; he has executed judgment; the wicked are snared in the work of their own hands.

            Thank You Lord for what You are about to do to free the people and nation of the Ukraine. May the Russian forces sink in their own pit and may they be snared in their own traps. Make Yourself known Lord and strike terror in the hearts of the enemy.

The wicked shall return to Sheol, all the nations that forget God.

            Send the wicked oppressor back to where they came from, Lord. May they never rise up again to attack innocent peoples and nations.

For the needy shall not always be forgotten, and the hope of the poor shall not perish forever.

            The people of the Ukraine are needy and poor, Lord. Move on the hearts of the nations of the world to come to their aid and bring them comfort. May the hope and trust of the Ukrainian people be in You, O Lord. May they know that it is by Your hand and by Your Spirit that they are comforted and set free from their enemy.

Arise, O Lord! Let not man prevail; let the nations be judged before you! Put them in fear, O Lord! Let the nations know that they are but men!

            Arise, Lord! We pray. We boldly ask that the enemy not prevail. Contend O Lord with the Russian nation that contends with innocent people. Show them Your power Lord. Show them that they are but men. Put the Russian forces and leadership in fear of You and turn them back and bring an end to this war. We ask on behalf of the Ukrainian people, in Jesus’ Holy Name, Amen.

Arise, O Lord; O God, lift up your hand; forget not the afflicted. O Lord, you hear the desire of the afflicted; you will strengthen their heart; you will incline your ear to do justice to the fatherless and the oppressed, so that man who is of the earth may strike terror no more; for the Lord your God is he who goes with you to fight for you against your enemies, to give you the victory. – Psalm 10:12, 17, 18; Deuteronomy 20:4

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Sword of the Spirit – Tablet of the Heart #1198

SWORD OF THE SPIRIT                                                                                               1198

“Tablet of the Heart”

Keep my commandments and live; keep my teaching as the apple of your eye; bind them on your fingers; write them on the tablet of your heart. – Proverbs 7:2-3

The ‘apple of your eye’ is an idiom that originated in the word of God. It literally means the pupil of your eye and refers to the reflection in your pupil of what you are gazing at intently. By keeping God’s Word, His commandments and moral code for living in the forefront of our lives we are writing them on the tablet of our heart. They become woven into the fabric of our being.

This is the covenant that I will make with them after those days, declares the Lord: I will put my laws on their hearts, and write them on their minds, – Hebrews 10:16

The good person out of the good treasure of his heart produces good, and the evil person out of his evil treasure produces evil, for out of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaks. – Luke 6:45

God gave us the Ten Commandments carved on stone tablets. We have monuments, placards, and posters of them displayed in our homes, businesses, and public places. The Words of God contained therein are living and active and they remind us of our need to be obedient to Him.

For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart. – Hebrews 4:12

I believe that this is why our society seeks to remove the display of the Ten Commandments and any other public displays of the Word of God. The evil intent of the heart of our society does not want to be reminded of its sinfulness and have to acknowledge the need of salvation through Jesus Christ alone.

Therefore, it is so important for us to embrace the new covenant of grace and to make God’s Word the apple of our eye and write His moral laws on the tablet of our heart. His Word needs to be woven into the very fabric of who we are, how we act, and what we say.

My son do not forget my teaching, but let your heart keep my commandments, for length of days and years of life and peace they will add to you. Let not steadfast love and faithfulness forsake you; bind them around your neck; write them on the tablet of your heart. So you will find favor and good success in the sight of God and man. – Prov 3:1-4

The words in the original Hebrew translated ‘steadfast love and faithfulness’ also carry the meaning of ‘mercy or kindness and truth’ as is evident in some translations. It is interesting to note that when God identified Himself as He passed before Moses He identified Himself as ‘abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness’.

The Lord passed before him and proclaimed, “The Lord, the Lord, a God merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness, – Exodus 34:6

In Proverbs 3 we are exhorted to have the attribute of God: ‘steadfast love and faithfulness’ written on the tablet of our heart.

When the Living Word of God is part of the very fabric of our being, engraved on the ‘tablets of our heart’ every aspect of our daily lives speaks of the presence of God and brings Him glory.

All the paths of the Lord are steadfast love and faithfulness, for those who keep his covenant and his testimonies. – Psalm 25:10

May the Word of God and His commandments be the apple of your eye and written on the tablet of your heart.

May His Living Word, the very presence of God by His indwelling Holy Spirit, be woven into the fabric of your being such that in all things God is glorified.

And you show that you are a letter from Christ delivered by us, written not with ink but with the Spirit of the living God, not on tablets of stone but on tablets of human hearts. – 2 Corinthians 3:3

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Sword of the Spirit – Reflection #1197

SWORD OF THE SPIRIT                                                                                               1197

“Reflection”

And we all having been unveiled in face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image, from glory to glory, even as from the Lord, the Spirit. – 2 Corinthians 3:18 (BLB)

How much time do you spend looking in a mirror? Have you ever looked intently into your own eyes? What do you see? Do your eyes reflect weariness, fatigue, a lack of sleep from worry? Or do your eyes reflect a brightness and clarity? Are they joyful?

Have you ever noticed the eyes from the mug shots shown in the nightly news of people who have committed heinous crimes? Their eyes are like dead, dark pools of evil.

Does your face reflect anger, worry, and fear or does it reflect the peace and joy that stems from the presence of the Lord and your abiding walk with Him? What do your eyes and face reflect when others look at you? Shakespeare is quoted as stating “The eyes are the windows of the soul”. Jesus stated it first this way:

Your eye is the lamp of your body. When your eye is healthy, your whole body is full of light, but when it is bad, your body is full of darkness. – Luke 11:34

Paul begins with a statement that ‘we all having been unveiled in face’. He is addressing us as Christians who have accepted Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior. When we come to Christ, the veil of unbelief is removed.

But when one turns to the Lord, the veil is removed. – 2 Corinthians 3:16

Paul continues to say that we, as Christians are ‘beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord.’

It is important to note that the mirrors of Paul’s day were not like the glass mirrors that we have today. The mirrors of the day were made of highly polished metal and their reflection, although imperfect, also illuminated the face especially in strong light.

When we accept Christ and by His Spirit He comes to dwell in our hearts, His presence is reflected and radiated by our lives. Although we remain an imperfect reflection of Jesus, people we encounter will know that we have been and are abiding with Christ.

Now when they saw the boldness of Peter and John, and perceived that they were uneducated, common men, they were astonished. And they recognized that they had been with Jesus. – Acts 4:13

This is where Paul introduces the transformative work of Christ in us. We ‘are being transformed into the same image, from glory to glory, even as from the Lord, the Spirit.’

Transformation requires time. We call it sanctification and it is a process that goes beyond an occasional encounter with Jesus. When Paul said we are ‘beholding as in a mirror’ he was talking about more than a casual glance. Beholding alludes to a careful study and examination of the Living Word of God.

Transformation follows our desire to get to know Him more. It stems from our love for Him, our awe of Him, and our thankfulness for His saving grace.

Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect. – Romans 12:2

May your eyes and face continually reflect the light of the glory of the Lord.

In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven. – Matthew 5:16

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