Archive for Faith & Inspiration

Weekly Devotional: Gems From Pastor Jim 6/27/2022

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by Jim Hughes

CrossMatt. 7:21 “Not all people who sound religious are really godly. They may refer to me as “Lord,” but they still won’t enter the Kingdom of Heaven. The decisive issue is whether they obey my Father in heaven.”

There is a difference between good people and godly people, between religious people and godly people. It’s fairly easy to be who we really are not. We can act the part but be far from it. What separates the godly from the ungodly is the relationship they have with Christ. Godly people are those who have given Christ their hearts and strive to live holy lives. They are a people who are changed from the inside out and not just on the outside.

People who consider themselves to be religious and good often call Jesus Lord, but they will not make it to heaven. We can do a lot of things in Jesus’ name and live to think about it in hell. When Jesus is Lord, we obey God. There is a constant effort to do what pleases God. A godly person knows what God expects them to do and strive to do it. Faith is real when actions back up one’s words.

We need to take a careful look in the mirror and consider whether or not we are living in obedience to God’s commands. We cannot pick and choose which ones we want to do. Partial obedience is really not obedience at all. A godly soul does not have divided loyalties. He gives the Lord all of his heart, mind and soul.

About the Author:

Jim Hughes

Spending his formative years in Ft. Wayne, IN, Jim followed the love of his life to southeast Iowa where they married and have spent the majority of their lives. Jim has pastored several churches throughout his life and has worked many years in local factories to help support his family. The father of two married adult children and one son still at home, Jim is a first-time author.

C Through Marriage came into being through many years of pastoral and life experiences. The book first took on a life of its own over 20 years ago when I sought to address the much publicized moral failures of prominent leaders in the church. In the chapter on Chasity, I include the guideliness that I developed then to protect one’s self from such failures.

I am a firm believer in order to make sense out of life you have to use much common sense. We need to get back to the basics of what has worked for many, many generations. If is isn’t broke, why try to fix it? I strive to return to the basics of what really works in all my writings.

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This site contains Third Party Advertising, using online behavioral tracking technology. Some of the links in the post above are affiliate links. This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, we will receive an affiliate commission. Regardless, we only recommend products or services we believe will add value to our readers.
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Verse of the Day and Devotional 6/23/2022

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Verse of the DayJune 23rd, 2022

Scripture

And Elijah said to her, “Do not fear; go and do as you have said. But first make me a little cake of it and bring it to me, and afterward make something for yourself and your son. For thus says the Lord, the God of Israel, ‘The jar of flour shall not be spent, and the jug of oil shall not be empty, until the day that the Lord sends rain upon the earth.'” – 1 Kings 17:13-14 ESV

Devotion

Our verses for today are part of the story of Elijah and the widow of Zarephath told in 1 Kings 17. The story is instructive in a number of ways, but perhaps its most important lesson is what it has to say about giving. When the Spirit of God is at work in the world, it pays to support that work.

Elijah was in the midst of his struggle with King Ahab and Queen Jezebel of the Northern Kingdom of Israel. Because of their sins and the sins of the people, Elijah had prophesied that there would be a drought. During the drought, the Lord told Elijah to go to Zarephath because He had “commanded a widow there to feed you.” The widow told Elijah that she was about to prepare her last meal and then die, so he assured her with the words of our verses for today.

From the perspective of the world, the widow had it backwards. Instead of supporting Elijah, she should have kept everything for herself and her son. From the perspective of the world, it was outrageous for Elijah to even ask for food from a poor widow. He even had the audacity to ask her to feed him first.

From the Lord God’s perspective, however, giving to the work He is working in the world is the key to survival in desperate times. Indeed, it is the key to prosperity. Proverbs 11:24-25 says, “One gives freely, yet grows all the richer; another withholds what he should give, and only suffers want. Whoever brings blessing will be enriched, and one who waters will himself be watered.

The story of the widow of Zarephath is a story about priorities. What should come first are not our concerns, but the Lord’s concerns. Take to heart what happened to the widow—and then keep an eye out for the opportunities to bless the work of the Lord that come your way.

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This site contains Third Party Advertising, using online behavioral tracking technology. Some of the links in the post above are affiliate links. This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, we will receive an affiliate commission. Regardless, we only recommend products or services we believe will add value to our readers.
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Weekly Devotional: Gems From Pastor Jim 6/20/2022

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by Jim Hughes

CrossPs. 32:3-5 When I refused to confess my sin, I was weak and miserable, and I groaned all day long. Day and night your hand of discipline was heavy on me. My strength evaporated like water in the summer heat. Finally, I confessed all my sins to you and stopped trying to hide them. I said to myself, “I will confess my rebellion to the LORD.” And you forgave me! All my guilt is gone.

Unconfessed sin haunts us. We cannot get away from what we have done. The Spirit of Christ dogs us and won’t let us forget. Whether or not there are repercussions for our sin on earth, there are in heaven. Unconfessed sins make the soul weak and miserable. Victory eludes us. Peace eludes us.

Unconfessed sin saps the spiritual strength right out of us. We may try to ignore it, but guilt and shame won’t let us. We know God is not okay with us. We know that we are responsible for what we have done and have no one to blame for God’s aloofness in our lives.

Unconfessed sin is like cancer in the soul. If we don’t confess our sin, it begins to grow in our souls. Sin breeds sin and before you know it, the soul is infested with it. Our love for the Lord grows cold. He becomes less and less a factor in our lives. We shove Him out of the way and begin to get swallowed up in the darkness of sin. If we continue to ignore God’s warnings and convicting voice, we will lose all contact with Him.

The good news is that if we confess our sins there is forgiveness. God will never turn away a repentant heart. He will restore the soul to Him and there will be peace and joy once again. God takes away the sin of a repentant heart and removes them from His presence as far as the east is from the west.

God will not make you confess your sins and repent, but He holds you accountable for them. If you choose to carry them around with you, you will never have peace with God.

About the Author:

Jim Hughes

Spending his formative years in Ft. Wayne, IN, Jim followed the love of his life to southeast Iowa where they married and have spent the majority of their lives. Jim has pastored several churches throughout his life and has worked many years in local factories to help support his family. The father of two married adult children and one son still at home, Jim is a first-time author.

C Through Marriage came into being through many years of pastoral and life experiences. The book first took on a life of its own over 20 years ago when I sought to address the much publicized moral failures of prominent leaders in the church. In the chapter on Chasity, I include the guideliness that I developed then to protect one’s self from such failures.

I am a firm believer in order to make sense out of life you have to use much common sense. We need to get back to the basics of what has worked for many, many generations. If is isn’t broke, why try to fix it? I strive to return to the basics of what really works in all my writings.

Inspirational Image of the Day

Monday Image

========================================
This site contains Third Party Advertising, using online behavioral tracking technology. Some of the links in the post above are affiliate links. This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, we will receive an affiliate commission. Regardless, we only recommend products or services we believe will add value to our readers.
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Verse of the Day and Devotional 6/16/2022

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Verse of the DayJune 16th, 2022

Scripture

God said, “You can do it because I will be with you. This will be the proof that I am sending you: After you lead the people out of Egypt, you will come and worship me on this mountain.“ – Exodus 3:12 ERV

Devotion

Do you ever struggle to understand why God put you where you are today? If you find yourself feeling this way, you are not alone.

So often we feel inadequate in our roles. It’s hard to see why God has placed us in these spots, especially when we feel others seem a better fit. We get down on ourselves, make excuses as to why we’re not the right person for the job, and lose sight of God’s design for us.

When we have these feelings, we are in good company. In Exodus, Moses didn’t feel like the right man for the job God called him to do. But just as God was with Moses, He is always by our side speaking truth into our doubts and showing us that with His help, we are more than capable.

The day God appeared to Moses in the burning bush, Moses was certain he wasn’t the man God wanted or needed to help save the Israelites from the oppression of the Egyptians. In five instances in Exodus 3:11-14 and Exodus 4:1-17, we see him persistently tell God, “I’m not good enough…there must be someone else.“ But each time Moses speaks a doubt or an excuse or outright pleads with God to pick someone else, the Lord reassures him that he is more than able with God.

God knew Moses’ doubts, questions, and fears. And instead of allowing Moses to use them as an excuse, the Lord used them to show His power to work through Moses. Even with Moses’ lack of confidence and anxiety, God saw his potential. In the end, the 80-year-old man who pleaded with God to send anyone else went on to speak boldly against Pharaoh and to lead God’s chosen people out of slavery towards the Promised Land.

Today, you may feel inadequate. You might be saying, “Lord, please choose someone else. I can’t do it.“ But you are more than capable in God’s hands. He will take on your fears and doubts. He will use you in your current role to make a difference in small and big ways.

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This site contains Third Party Advertising, using online behavioral tracking technology. Some of the links in the post above are affiliate links. This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, we will receive an affiliate commission. Regardless, we only recommend products or services we believe will add value to our readers.
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Weekly Devotional: Gems From Pastor Jim 6/13/2022

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by Jim Hughes

CrossMatt. 7:21 “Not all people who sound religious are really godly. They may refer to me as “Lord,” but they still won’t enter the Kingdom of Heaven. The decisive issue is whether they obey my Father in heaven.”

There is a difference between good people and godly people, between religious people and godly people. It’s fairly easy to be who we really are not. We can act the part but be far from it. What separates the godly from the ungodly is the relationship they have with Christ. Godly people are those who have given Christ their hearts and strive to live holy lives. They are a people who are changed from the inside out and not just on the outside.

People who consider themselves to be religious and good often call Jesus Lord, but they will not make it to heaven. We can do a lot of things in Jesus’ name and live to think about it in hell. When Jesus is Lord, we obey God. There is a constant effort to do what pleases God. A godly person knows what God expects them to do and strive to do it. Faith is real when actions back up one’s words.

We need to take a careful look in the mirror and consider whether or not we are living in obedience to God’s commands. We cannot pick and choose which ones we want to do. Partial obedience is really not obedience at all. A godly soul does not have divided loyalties. He gives the Lord all of his heart, mind and soul.

About the Author:

Jim Hughes

Spending his formative years in Ft. Wayne, IN, Jim followed the love of his life to southeast Iowa where they married and have spent the majority of their lives. Jim has pastored several churches throughout his life and has worked many years in local factories to help support his family. The father of two married adult children and one son still at home, Jim is a first-time author.

C Through Marriage came into being through many years of pastoral and life experiences. The book first took on a life of its own over 20 years ago when I sought to address the much publicized moral failures of prominent leaders in the church. In the chapter on Chasity, I include the guideliness that I developed then to protect one’s self from such failures.

I am a firm believer in order to make sense out of life you have to use much common sense. We need to get back to the basics of what has worked for many, many generations. If is isn’t broke, why try to fix it? I strive to return to the basics of what really works in all my writings.

Inspirational Image of the Day

Monday Image

========================================
This site contains Third Party Advertising, using online behavioral tracking technology. Some of the links in the post above are affiliate links. This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, we will receive an affiliate commission. Regardless, we only recommend products or services we believe will add value to our readers.
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Verse of the Day and Devotional 6/9/2022

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Verse of the DayJune 9th, 2022

Scripture

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 ESV

Devotion

Dear friend, if you have a Bible, you are blessed. Open and read it. According to our verse today, God’s Word is living, active, and sharper than any two-edged sword. It was written by God using human authors to convey His holiness, love, and truth throughout the generations. When Jesus was tempted by the devil, He responded, “It is written, man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God” (Matthew 4:4).

Satan has tried to destroy God’s Word, but the Word of God endures forever (Isaiah 40:8). One such example is in the life and death of great theologian William Tyndale. On October 6, 1536, Tyndale was hung on a stake, strangled, and burned alive. His crime for such a horrific death was translating the Bible into English. It’s reported that when the translators of the King James Version produced their Bible in 1611, they relied heavily on Tyndale’s wording. It is humbling to recall these faithful saints who were martyred for the cause of Christ. God is faithful to preserve His Word to reach a lost and dying world.

The Bible is radical and transformational. We encounter history, poetry, wisdom, law, sin, grace, salvation, redemption, sanctification, prophecy, and more. We discover a Creator who pursues His creation all the way to a cross. We meet a Savior who suffered, beyond human understanding, as a perfect sacrifice for our sin. We are assured of a Redeemer who is coming back for His bride, the Church. We also see the judgement of God for those not under the saving grace of Jesus Christ.

Reading devotionals, books, and listening to sermons can be wonderful tools to help us grow in our faith journey, but they can never replace the truth and intimacy found in the Word of God. We will be spiritually weak and lack discernment apart from God’s Word.

God speaks to us in numerous ways including nature, circumstances, and people, but His voice is most clearly revealed through His Holy Word. We can easily be deceived when we are not studying the Scriptures for ourselves. It is essential that we do not take Scripture out of context, but read the text, chapter, and book to gain understanding. We need the full counsel of God to shine His light in our heart as we meditate on His words. The Bible empowers us with truth and hope to stand against the deceptions of this present darkness and live a godly life.

God’s Word has the power to shred our pride as it exposes our thoughts and motivations of our heart. The conviction of God’s Word leads to comfort and hope when we turn to Him. The Holy Spirit directs us in wisdom and understanding as we humbly obey. The Bible is not always easy to digest, but it is always truthful, and always eternally best for those who believe. The Bible is God’s revelation to know Him and to walk in His ways.

Thy Word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path (Psalm 119:105). Why not read Psalm 119 right now? I shall do the same. Praise God for His Word!

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This site contains Third Party Advertising, using online behavioral tracking technology. Some of the links in the post above are affiliate links. This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, we will receive an affiliate commission. Regardless, we only recommend products or services we believe will add value to our readers.
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Weekly Devotional: Gems From Pastor Jim 6/6/2022

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by Jim Hughes

CrossMatt. 24:42 “So be prepared, because you don’t know what day your Lord is coming.”

Are you ready for the Lord to come back? If He were to come today, do you know that you would be among those who would go to heaven with Him? Is there any doubt whatsoever in your mind about your readiness? If there is, you need to get things settled with God right now. You know whether or not there is unconfessed sin in your heart or mind. You know whether or not you have given the Lord the best of your heart or the leftovers. You know whether or not you have obeyed His Word to the best of your ability or not. You know whether or not Jesus is your first love and what you have done to show your love for Him. You know what you are doing to stay prepared for His coming. Are you ready?

Part of being ready is serving. The Lord commands us to live to serve. We are to invest our lives into others to help whomever we can to be ready, too. Are you doing that?

Are you growing in Christ by spending daily time in His Word and fellowship? Would you welcome His coming with great joy if it were to be today? It could be today. No one has a guarantee of another day on earth. Jesus may come for you today. If you are ready, the mere thought that it could be today should excite you. It should be what you are living and hoping for. If you hope He doesn’t come today because you know that you might not go with Him to heaven, then today is the day you must get things right with Him. Tomorrow might not ever come for you. Do it now while you can.

Don’t let the Lord’s coming catch you off guard. Stay alert and stay ready at all times

About the Author:

Jim Hughes

Spending his formative years in Ft. Wayne, IN, Jim followed the love of his life to southeast Iowa where they married and have spent the majority of their lives. Jim has pastored several churches throughout his life and has worked many years in local factories to help support his family. The father of two married adult children and one son still at home, Jim is a first-time author.

C Through Marriage came into being through many years of pastoral and life experiences. The book first took on a life of its own over 20 years ago when I sought to address the much publicized moral failures of prominent leaders in the church. In the chapter on Chasity, I include the guideliness that I developed then to protect one’s self from such failures.

I am a firm believer in order to make sense out of life you have to use much common sense. We need to get back to the basics of what has worked for many, many generations. If is isn’t broke, why try to fix it? I strive to return to the basics of what really works in all my writings.

Inspirational Image of the Day

Monday Image

========================================
This site contains Third Party Advertising, using online behavioral tracking technology. Some of the links in the post above are affiliate links. This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, we will receive an affiliate commission. Regardless, we only recommend products or services we believe will add value to our readers.
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Verse of the Day and Devotional 6/2/2022

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Verse of the DayJune 2nd, 2022

Scripture

A final word: Be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on all of God’s armor so that you will be able to stand firm against all strategies of the devil. For we are not fighting against flesh-and-blood enemies, but against evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world, against mighty powers in this dark world, and against evil spirits in the heavenly places. – Ephesians 6:10-12 NLT
 

Devotion

The times we live in are the times between Jesus Christ’s first and second coming. Although the power of the devil has been broken in principal through the birth, life, death, resurrection, and ascension of Jesus Christ to the right hand of God, the enemy still wields considerable power here on earth. Indeed, the Bible can still refer to the devil as “the ruler of this world” (John 14:30). This does not mean that he has all power over the world, for “The earth is the Lord’s, and everything in it” (Psalm 24:1), but it does mean that he is the mighty prince of a spiritual regime of “evil rulers and authorities” at work within God’s world.

The devil is not some sort of impersonal evil force. The devil is a created spiritual being with the power of reason and thought. He is a thinker. He does not confront us without thinking about it. He has strategies designed for our destruction. Although Paul tells us that “we are not fighting against flesh-and-blood enemies,” he uses flesh-and-blood enemies to effectuate his purposes in the world. We must always realize, therefore, that there is a devious spiritual strategist behind the struggles we face with other people—and even with our own selves, for we can be our own worst enemy.

In order to fight effectively against the devil and his cohorts, Paul tells us that we must be “strong in the Lord and in his mighty power.” We must not, therefore, try to confront the devil in our own power. It is because he thoughtfully uses his considerable power that we must not fight him on our own. We must use the armor of God listed in this chapter: the “belt of truth,” “God’s righteousness,” the “peace that comes from the Good News,” the “shield of faith,” and the “sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God” (Ephesians 6:14-17). Each of these in its own way helps us in the fight.

Today, ask the Lord to help you make intelligent use of His armor as needed against the strategies of the enemy.

Inspirational Image of the Day

Thursday Image
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This site contains Third Party Advertising, using online behavioral tracking technology. Some of the links in the post above are affiliate links. This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, we will receive an affiliate commission. Regardless, we only recommend products or services we believe will add value to our readers.
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Weekly Devotional: Gems From Pastor Jim 5/30/2022

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by Jim Hughes

CrossMatt. 22:37-40 Jesus replied, “You must love the LORD your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment. A second is equally important. ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ All the other commandments of the Lord are based on these two commandments.”

Have you ever loved the Lord with all of you? Can you honestly say that He is so powerfully wonderful to you that you desire nothing else in life but to love and be loved by Him? Let’s face it. We rarely love the Lord in that way. We may have momentary flashes of such intense love for Him, but it soon fades away amid the many happenings of our lives. We try to love Him as we should, but we find ourselves acting in an unloving way. So, are we excused? Should we resign ourselves to being failures at love? I don’t believe so. I believe we should continue to strive to love Him; we should continue to do those things that would feed the flame of love: daily devotions, faithful worship, faithful involvement in the life of the church, and faithfully serving the Lord in all we do.

We struggle with loving the Lord as we should and fail to love others (and ourselves) as we should. We fail mainly on an earthly plane because we first fail on the heavenly plane. We can’t love others as we should unless we first love God and then ourselves as we should. Love requires respect. Until we respect the object(s) of our love, we will never really love. There are many infatuations that we think are love, but they aren’t the real deal.

Love is best defined by God because He is love. Check out what He says love is in I Corinthians 13:4-8. Love is not an emotion we feel at the moment, it is a life we live every moment. It is connection with God that never comes unplugged. It is letting the Lord be the source of all we are. It is striving to be more and more like Him as we journey through life.

About the Author:

Jim Hughes

Spending his formative years in Ft. Wayne, IN, Jim followed the love of his life to southeast Iowa where they married and have spent the majority of their lives. Jim has pastored several churches throughout his life and has worked many years in local factories to help support his family. The father of two married adult children and one son still at home, Jim is a first-time author.

C Through Marriage came into being through many years of pastoral and life experiences. The book first took on a life of its own over 20 years ago when I sought to address the much publicized moral failures of prominent leaders in the church. In the chapter on Chasity, I include the guideliness that I developed then to protect one’s self from such failures.

I am a firm believer in order to make sense out of life you have to use much common sense. We need to get back to the basics of what has worked for many, many generations. If is isn’t broke, why try to fix it? I strive to return to the basics of what really works in all my writings.

Inspirational Image of the Day

Monday Image

========================================
This site contains Third Party Advertising, using online behavioral tracking technology. Some of the links in the post above are affiliate links. This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, we will receive an affiliate commission. Regardless, we only recommend products or services we believe will add value to our readers.
========================================

Verse of the Day and Devotional 5/26/2022

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Verse of the Day May 26th, 2022

Scripture

A final word: Be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on all of God’s armor so that you will be able to stand firm against all strategies of the devil. For we are not fighting against flesh-and-blood enemies, but against evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world, against mighty powers in this dark world, and against evil spirits in the heavenly places. – Ephesians 6:10-12 NLT

Devotion

The times we live in are the times between Jesus Christ’s first and second coming. Although the power of the devil has been broken in principal through the birth, life, death, resurrection, and ascension of Jesus Christ to the right hand of God, the enemy still wields considerable power here on earth. Indeed, the Bible can still refer to the devil as “the ruler of this world” (John 14:30). This does not mean that he has all power over the world, for “The earth is the Lord’s, and everything in it” (Psalm 24:1), but it does mean that he is the mighty prince of a spiritual regime of “evil rulers and authorities” at work within God’s world.

The devil is not some sort of impersonal evil force. The devil is a created spiritual being with the power of reason and thought. He is a thinker. He does not confront us without thinking about it. He has strategies designed for our destruction. Although Paul tells us that “we are not fighting against flesh-and-blood enemies,” he uses flesh-and-blood enemies to effectuate his purposes in the world. We must always realize, therefore, that there is a devious spiritual strategist behind the struggles we face with other people—and even with our own selves, for we can be our own worst enemy.

In order to fight effectively against the devil and his cohorts, Paul tells us that we must be “strong in the Lord and in his mighty power.” We must not, therefore, try to confront the devil in our own power. It is because he thoughtfully uses his considerable power that we must not fight him on our own. We must use the armor of God listed in this chapter: the “belt of truth,” “God’s righteousness,” the “peace that comes from the Good News,” the “shield of faith,” and the “sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God” (Ephesians 6:14-17). Each of these in its own way helps us in the fight.

Today, ask the Lord to help you make intelligent use of His armor as needed against the strategies of the enemy.

Inspirational Image of the Day

Thursday Image
========================================
This site contains Third Party Advertising, using online behavioral tracking technology. Some of the links in the post above are affiliate links. This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, we will receive an affiliate commission. Regardless, we only recommend products or services we believe will add value to our readers.
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