Word of the Day

Grieve Not

Ephesians 4: 30 – 31

30  And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption.
31  Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice.

One thing I would never want to do is to grieve the Holy Spirit of God. That drums up a truly horrid image. Fortunately for me and everyone else, Paul proceeds to tell us how we can avoid doing so. We are to make bitterness, wrath, anger, clamor, slander and malice completely foreign to our way of living. That means that we are to have no ill will (malice) toward anyone, nor speak of others in a way that will damage their reputation in the eyes of others (slander). We are to put anger away from us. That is no surprise but sometimes we allow ourselves the luxury of anger. If you do not want to grieve the Holy Spirit of God, then you should quickly put the anger away from you and move into forgiveness. Bitterness is defined as: sharp and disagreeable; harsh; severe; piercing. 2) Characterized by strong feelings of hatred, resentment, cynicism. You have known people who are sharp with others. That is not the attitude God wants us to show to others nor are we to be cynical. Taking verses 29 through 32 together, there is a picture revealed to us of the Christian walk.  If it were to be summarized we might say guard our mouths only letting those words come out that are edifying and uplifting and be kind to everyone in word and deed. In this way we will be pleasing to the Lord God and not grieve the Holy Spirit of God.

Power Tools

Ephesians 4: 29

Let no unwholesome word proceed from your mouth, but only such a word as is good for edification according to the need of the moment, that it may give grace to those who hear.

God is serious about our words and how we use them. We can use them to build up others or tear them down. The word edification means instruction or enlightenment, especially when it is morally or spiritually uplifting (Encarta Dictionary). So, therefore, we are supposed to use language with each other that is uplifting. If people feel better and/or encouraged after speaking with you, then you are fulfilling the direction and purpose of God. But if people feel frustrated, hurt or bad when they leave your presence, then you are not using your words in a way that God will approve. Language is a powerful tool that we have for good or for ill. It is so powerful and so important that it is the weapon that God gave us with which to battle our enemies. He didn’t give us lightning bolts or fire balls that shoot from our fingertips. He gave us his most powerful weapon; words. Each of us must make wise choices with this awesome power. 

The Winning Blow

Ephesians 4: 32

And be kind to one another, tender-hearted, forgiving each other, just as God in Christ also has forgiven you.

Do you really want to put a cramp in the devil’s style? Take a hint from this message from the Apostle Paul. Be kind to each other. Do not speak to one another with harshness. Be forgiving and patient. You can really see the work of the devil these days in the lack of patience and kindness people show one another. Just get out on the roads for any amount of time and you will see the personality of the devil demonstrated rather than the attributes of the Father. We yell at old drivers rather than humbling ourselves and respecting our elders. We almost run over people rather than wait two seconds for our turn. You would think the whole of the world depended on our arriving at our destination in the next minute. One more minute might spell the doom of the world.

Let us, instead, endeavor to show a little human kindness; a little of our father in us. Let us try to be a little less self-oriented and self-important and see others and their journeys as significant and as important as ours. Let us speak kindly and go out of our way, if need be, to help someone else. If we start with the way we speak to others, the rest will naturally follow.

Suit of Armor

Ephesians 6: 11

Put on the full armor of God, that you may be able to stand firm against the schemes of the devil.

In the book of Ephesians, Paul gets a chance to teach us how to withstand the plots of the devil. The first thing that I noticed is that Paul did not use the word attack or assault relative to the devil’s activity. The first thing the devil does is to plot and scheme. He roams around trying to find someone he can devour. Then he starts scheming. We want to make ourselves unattractive as targets. Then using the teachings of Paul and Peter we proceed to thwart the devil’s schemes.

Paul goes on in this chapter to detail the armor God has provided us. There is first truth and righteousness. Then there is the preparation which is in the Word of God. Then we take up the shield which is faith and the culmination of our armor is salvation. Having put on the full armor of God we are able to withstand the “flaming missiles of the evil one” (Eph. 6: 16). This armor is our defense. This is the protective covering God has given us so that we will not be victims of the devil’s schemes. God has provided the means for our protection, defense and security.

God has also given us a weapon. It is the Sword of the Spirit which is the Word of God. The Word is your weapon. It is the tool which you use to strike back at the devil. He hates to hear the Word quoted to him. It defeats all the lies of the devil.  

Lastly, Paul instructs us to “pray at all times” and “be on the alert” (Eph. 6: 18). That sounds very similar to the teaching of Peter. Keep on the alert knowing that there is an enemy out there who would like to take you out if he can. Pray keeping yourself built up in your most holy faith. The shield of faith will “extinguish all the flaming missiles of the evil one” (Eph. 6: 16).

Resistance is Warfare

1 Peter 5: 9

8 Be of sober spirit, be on the alert. Your adversary, the devil, prowls about like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.

9 But resist him firm in your faith . . . .

Yesterday we read verse 8 wherein the Apostle Peter gave advice for us all to remain on alert for the machinations of the devil. In today’s verse, he tells us how to do that. We must remain firm in our faith. Our faith in the prowess of our father is our protection and defense against the evil one. There is no power on earth or in the heavens that can overcome the power of our Lord and Father. When we have absolute faith in God’s supremacy and his faithfulness, then nothing is able to touch us. Our faith in him is our guard. God is a bubble of safety around us. The devil is roaming around seeing whom he can devour. Not many animals will attack an elephant. They have to be pretty desperate to take a chance on trying to overwhelm an elephant. There is easier prey for them to hunt. In the same way, we want to be clothed in the armor of our father so that the enemy realizes it is not worth the bother.

The Prowling Lion

1 Peter 5: 8

Be of sober spirit, be on the alert. Your adversary, the devil, prowls about like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.

You have an adversary and he is named here. Do not be uninformed. There is an enemy out there and he comes only to steal, kill and destroy (John 10: 10). He will devour as many as will let him. Someone told me once that she did not believe there was any such thing as “evil” in the world. Well, she is susceptible to all of the snares of the wily one because she does not even acknowledge that there is an adversary. He can run around her life unchallenged. He can sneak around and plot all he wants because there is no lookout. I would rather trust the Apostle Peter’s knowledge and have my defenses built against foes. Be on your guard, be alert. Know that there is an enemy; prepare yourself by spending time in the word and with your heavenly father so that your defenses will be too much for the enemy. He will pass you by for easier targets because you are built up in your most holy faith (Jude 1: 20).

Open Door

Joel 2: 12 – 13

“Yet even now,” declares the Lord, “Return to Me with all your heart, and with fasting, weeping, and mourning; and rend your heart and not your garments.” Now return to the Lord your god, for He is gracious and compassionate, slow to anger, abounding in lovingkindness.

No matter where you have been in your life nor what you have done, God has issued an invitation for you to return to him. His great compassion is revealed in His words. He is willing to accept any of the lost sheep back into the fold. 

In the old times the people would tear their garments is an expression of their grief or repentance. It was an outward expression of the turmoil of their spirit. God tells us here not to rend our garments but rather to tear open our hearts. He is looking for open hearts to dwell in. He is looking for people who are sincere in their deepest parts in their searching and longing for him. 

He is an open God and is extending open arms. The more we allow ourselves to be open to Him, the more he can fill us. He is looking for people who will seek Him with all their hearts, not lukewarm petitioners. The God of the universe wants you; wants more of you desperately and He will meet you with at least equal enthusiasm as you take to him.

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