Gear Up: GOD’s WORD

Carol DunfeeFaith, Prayer & FastingLeave a Comment

Misconceptions are funny things. You don’t know you have them until they are corrected. I really thought that the armor of God was put on by saying a few words in prayer each day. Now I understand that this armor is a lifestyle of becoming more aligned with Christ’s character. It is a result of constant prayer, repentance, humility, and most importantly, of seeking the face of Jesus. The final part of our armor is unique it is the only part that is offensive. All other parts are for protection and defense, while this one is meant to attack, take ground, and cut down the forces of evil. I have always wondered why God didn’t arm us with catapults, tanks, and missiles! After all, Satan and his cohorts are relentless in their attack. Wouldn’t a few spiritual atomic bombs be more effective? What I have learned about this simple sword has convinced me otherwise… As a student, I attended schools where English grammar was a big deal. From first grade on, I remember diagramming sentences. Even in high school and college English, we had to reassemble our sentences on those lines that look like scaffolding and rocket ships. I didn’t … Read More

Gear Up: SALVATION

Carol DunfeeFaith, Prayer & FastingLeave a Comment

When you grow up in church, you can develop an odd vocabulary compared to the rest of the world. A pew, a vestibule, and a sanctuary mean completely different things to a church goer. We might think of a sanctuary as an auditorium dedicated to worship, while a non-church-goer might picture a wild bird refuge instead. And what on earth is a vestibule anyways? Can’t we just call it a lobby? Kidding aside, “salvation” is one of those words that gets an odd meaning in church circles. We think of salvation as a person receiving God’s forgiveness from their sins. This is truly one of its meanings, but not its original meaning. To understand the next part of our armor, we need to understand the meaning of this word. The Greek word for salvation, soterios, is based on the root word, soteria, which means: defender, defense; saving, bringing salvation; hope of future salvation. To gain a broader perspective of “the helmet of salvation”, let’s look at another passage talking about helmets and salvation. So what is this salvation? What are we saved from? According to this passage, we are saved from the wrath of God upon unrepentant sinners. Jesus is our defender … Read More

Gear Up: FAITH

Carol DunfeeFaith, Prayer & FastingLeave a Comment

We are in active spiritual warfare. The attacks come from media, culture, and history revisionists…not to mention our own temptations, desires, and lusts. Knowing this, I pray through Ephesians 6, carefully mentioning each part of my spiritual armor as though I can manufacture them by my words. I am slowly learning that, while this is a good place to start, our armor goes much deeper than that. It is NOT something we can instantly produce. Rather, it is something God produces for us as He helps us walk in a life of obedience. The next part of our armor is the shield of FAITH. The modern church seems to struggle with this one. In the days of the early church, Christians saw miracles left and right. The blind received their sight. The dead were brought back to life. The lame received strength to walk. Few of us see those faith-building miracles today. They seem to be relegated to the missionaries who spend their lives in the deep jungles of foreign continents. But whose fault is that? Did God stop delivering? Or did we stop asking? We must ask for faith. In Jesus’ earthly ministry, people flocked to Him for healing … Read More

Gear Up: PEACE

Carol DunfeeFaith, Prayer & Fasting, TrialsLeave a Comment

When our oldest was about three or four, she had a favorite tune she liked to sing. We all recognized the tune, but the words she sang made no sense. We could not figure out what she meant by “hap-py shoes, hap-py shoes”. Why were her shoes happy? Were they going to the park? It turned out that she had misunderstood the words of an old children’s song that I sang to her. It goes, “Have patience, have patience. Don’t be in such a hurry. When you get impatient, you only start to worry.” Since patience was a big word for someone her size, she equated it to something she knew…shoes. Happy shoes, at that. Honestly, I feel that way about our next piece of armor. I have struggled to grasp what is meant by the “gospel of peace”, and so I have filled in my imagination with some strange meanings. Huh? Maybe I am the only one who struggles with this, but just in case, let’s break it down like we broke down “Have Patience” for our little girl. Shoes make us ready. When our oldest was curious, into-everything toddler, I started following the advice of the Fly Lady, … Read More

Gear Up: RIGHTEOUSNESS

Carol DunfeeFaith, Prayer & FastingLeave a Comment

When I hear the word righteousness, I picture a severe, mirthless character standing on a mountain-top looking down upon a valley of wretched sinners. Or a silver-haired, sour-faced reverend dishing out long lists of rules. Or a stuffy church lady in her fancy Sunday hat criticizing unruly teenagers. You, too? Boy, are we wrong. These caricatures are waaaaaay off the mark. In fact, each one represents pride rather than righteousness. So what IS righteousness? And why does it matter? Last week’s blog suggested that we might be putting our spiritual armor like a toddler puts on his clothes…inside out and backwards! We examine how truth is a protecter, how it is absolute, and how God’s Word IS our source of truth. We were challenged to say more than a trite prayer to really wear the first part in our armor, which is the belt of truth. The next part of our gear is the body armour, or breastplate, of righteousness. If righteousness is not the proud picture of piety described in the first paragraph, then what is it? The American Heritage Dictionary defines righteousness as “meeting the standards of what is right and just”.* Righteousness is the breastplate that protects our … Read More

Gear Up: TRUTH

Carol DunfeeBible Study, Faith, Prayer & FastingLeave a Comment

Have you ever watched a toddler dress himself? Socks go on backwards. Underwear ends up on his head. Pants are inside out. It’s really quite entertaining, until you have to leave the house! His clothing would function much better if he could only put it on properly. What if we are putting on our spiritual armor inside out and backwards? Have you ever wondered if we are wearing our gospel-shoes on the wrong feet? What if we have the wrong grip on our swords? I can imagine that God often chuckles at my own fumbling attempts to wear my spiritual armor. He must shake his head as I try to wrap my brain around these strange concepts. Many Bible teachers focus on the items themselves: the sword, the shield, the helmet, etc. This summer I became curious about what I would learn if I studied the armor from a different perspective. What if I focused on what each of those pieces represents rather than the word picture? What if I ask how truth affects spiritual warfare rather than focusing on the belt? Maybe it would only be a minor difference, but I felt like I needed to find out. According … Read More

Stand Firm: The Armor of God

Jen CudmoreFaithLeave a Comment

“To be a Christian is to be a warrior.” CH Spurgeon Last week we introduced a new series on How to Stand Firm. We discussed that by following Christ and committing to serve Him, we make ourselves a target. Our adversary is cunning and we need to be prepared for trouble. For years I heard people mention that we must ‘put on’ the armor of God each morning. For the longest time, I thought it was merely a prayer people said each day. But it’s much more than that. The Armor of God is a series of daily choices regarding truth, righteousness, peace, faith, salvation, and the Bible. In Ephesians 6,  Paul explains each item in terms the people of his day could understand based on the typical armor of a roman soldier prepping for battle. This explanation emphasized how vital each concept is to the life of a believer. Belt/Girdle of Truth: The enemy is a deceiver, so to defeat him we must know the truth, which is God’s standard. We get this truth from scripture, and it has the power to set us free. The more truth we obtain through Bible study and teachings from church, the better … Read More

Why is Prayer so Important in Marriage?

Heather GillisFaith, Marriage, Prayer & Fasting, Trials2 Comments

Marriage is one of the biggest blessings in life, yet 40%-50% of marriages end up in divorce.  If marriage is such a blessing, then why do so many marriages fail?  I think there are many factors at play–a person’s background and upbringing, parents who had a loving successful marriage, children, poor role models, trials, dysfunctional habits.  But I think one of the most important factors that help couples STAY together is PRAYER. A study written by the National Association of Marriage Enhancement stated out of 1156 couples, those who prayed together on a daily basis less than 1% ended in divorce.  The study went even further to analyze what the couples did at home together.   Were they apart of the same denomination?  Did they attend church together?  Did they share the same beliefs and values?  Did they do any worship activities at home? The study found there was a higher level of marital satisfaction when the couples shared the same religious practices at home which included reading the Bible together.  Unfortunately despite knowing this information, only 4% of Christian couples pray together on a daily basis.  The important message from the study was if you want a strong marriage that … Read More