The Story Behind God’s Love for You!

“I Have Loved You With an Everlasting Love!”

“The Lord appeared to us in the past, saying: ‘I have loved you with an everlasting love; I have drawn you with loving-kindness. Therefore, I have continued my faithfulness to you’” (Jeremiah 31:3). 

By John David Hicks ©

The greatest truth in the Bible is that “God is love” (1 John 4:8). God knows you by name and has chosen to “love you with an everlasting love.” That’s why He has “continued His faithfulness to you.” He will not give up on you. His patience toward you is a part of His nature. God wants you to know that you are special, and that you are loved personally for who you are, with all your strengths and weaknesses, faults and failures. His love for you is not based on your performance, looks, or talents. The transforming power of God’s love is that He knows all about you. He sees everything you do. He can find you anywhere you go—and He likes you, but not the lifestyle you have chosen. He loves you dearly, and the most important thing to a God of love is a relationship with you.

Jesus tells a parable (story) we call “The Prodigal Son” to illustrate God’s love as a compassionate father (Luke 15:11-31). The younger son in the family asks his father to give him his portion of the family estate as an early inheritance. The father agrees, and the son takes the money and recklessly spends it all in a faraway land. Ashamed of himself, he returns to ask humbly for a job as a servant in his father’s house. But the father has been watching for him and hosts a party to celebrate his return. The elder brother, who has been working all this time, sees what is happening and is angry because he is jealous.

Neither of the brothers understands their father’s love for them. Both brothers are spiritually sick. They both build relationships based upon money. The older brother will get two-thirds of his father’s estate and the younger one-third. They want their inheritance, but in their hearts they are rejecting their relationship with their father. In other words, they only want Dad’s stuff and couldn’t care less about being with Dad. They both had a party spirit. The only difference was the younger son had the guts to act it out. When he came home, his older brother bitterly said to his father, “Why didn’t you throw me a party?” Both brothers also desired to be free from the father’s authority. It’s a picture of living your life with no regard for God.

The younger son can’t stand his father or his brother and wants to get as far away as possible. By asking for an early inheritance he is saying that he wishes his father were dead. He did not comprehend the love and mercy that God the Father gives to everyone who accepts His love.

When he left his father’s home, he went to a distant country and wasted his fortune on wild living. When the money ran out, he was in dire need and a severe famine hit the country. No one would give him anything. Finally, in his desperation he took an unpleasant, stinking job of feeding pigs and he even longed to eat the pigs’ food.
It is then, in his great need, that he remembers his father and decides to return home. He is willing even to be a hired hand in his father’s house (Luke 15:18). He will ask his father for forgiveness. When he says, “I will arise and go to my Father,” he was repenting of his sinful ways and rebellion against his father. He realized that he had sinned against heaven and had wronged his father. The son still does not realize the depth of his father’s love for him and only sees his father as a possible employer.

The father who had been watching for his son ran to meet him and received him back home with love and compassion. The son tried to explain his mistake and to ask for forgiveness, but it was drowned out by his father’s joy. His merciful father completely restores him without condition as a full member of the household. The father called for a celebration and gave his son a robe, sandals, and a ring. He is restored to his place as a son, not a slave. The past is forgiven and he has a role in the father’s house. He sits at the table as a son, with full acceptance. The son could not have imagined this wonderful reception. The broken relationship is healed. Your destiny is determined by your choices.

What are the signs that you have a “younger brother” attitude?

  • 1) When you have a rebellious attitude, and want to do “your own thing” with no regard for God.
    2) When in your selfishness and pride you try to make a deal with the Father.
    3) When you have no regard for God or the church and feel like God will not hear your prayers.
    4) When the devil condemns you for your past sins and failures and makes you feel unworthy.
    5) When you feel good enough to serve the Father, but not good enough to receive His gifts and blessing.
    6) When you see God as someone who is in the way of having a good time.
    7) When you come to the end of yourself and decide to return home. When you do, you will find God the Father is waiting patiently, with loving compassion to restore you. God affirms your worth with the love He showed on the cross. Even in your bondage to sin and when you were thinking, feeling, and acting like God’s enemy, God demonstrated His love for you “while we were still sinners” (Romans 5:8). The fantastic price God paid to redeem you establishes your unsurpassable worth. In God’s sacrifice on the cross, God demonstrates you are so valuable to Him, you are worth dying for.

God the Father’s first concern is for your welfare; the focus is not on your sin, but on your relationship with Him. It is the relationship that will keep you healthy and away from sinning (John 14:15). God does not want you to suffer the destructive consequences of sin (Romans 6:23). Only God’s love and care for you can make this happen.

Meanwhile, when the older son came in from the fields and discovered a party to celebrate his brother’s return, he refused to join the joyous celebration. Instead, he became enraged. Whereas he had served his father faithfully, he felt that his brother was unworthy to receive anything. He does not accept his brother and calls him the son of his father. He saw his father as the employer who pays the wage rather than a compassionate father. The father again expresses his compassion when he humbles himself in front of his guests and goes into the courtyard to discuss the matter with his angry elder son.

His father explained that his brother was lost and now has been found. This called for a celebration. Then he reaffirms his love for his older son. “You are always with me, and everything I have is yours.” Obedience to the known will of God determines your blessings.

In this story of the older brother, we see a self-righteous, bitter, and unloving son. He thinks he is morally good and imagines that the father has accepted him because of his good deeds. He is jealous of his father’s love toward his brother. He is envious of his brother’s acceptance by their father. He is bitter about all the years he has worked. He is unforgiving of his brother’s sins. He is ungrateful for the love and provision of his father and couldn’t care less about being in relationship with him. He is cold and heartless. He cannot recognize any sin in his own life.

What are the signs that you have an “elder brother” attitude?

  • 1) When you are resentful of the blessings and acceptance that God offers to others who you think may not be worthy of them.
    2) When you are jealous that the party and fattened calf is not for you. After all, you’ve served faithfully for years.
    3) When you won’t go into the Father’s house—to church to be in the family of God.
    4) When you feel self-righteous because you serve God, but are angry that you have not received the Father’s spiritual gifts and authority.
    5) When you are judgmental of the sins of others, but fail to see the failings in your own life.
    6) When you are blind to all that God has already made yours.

The father did not give up on either son, but the elder brother acted like a slave, not a son. He also needed the father’s forgiveness. He was performance driven, which blinded him from having a loving relationship with his father and brother. His attitude kept him from receiving the blessings of the father or to be a part of the family of God—the church.

Sin is more than a specific isolated act—a lie, a theft, immorality, dishonesty—for sin is rebellion and living in independence of God. It is about relationships and attitudes. Sin twists your motives and damages your emotions, resulting in sinful acts that contaminate everything you do. Sin will cause you to struggle with your health, life, and purpose. Sin is behind every broken home, every empty life, every sorrow and grief. “For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans 6:23). That is why God loved us so much that He sent His Son, Jesus, to die on the cross in our place to pay the penalty for all our sins so we could be forgiven and be reconciled to God.

In this story, the father’s response to the younger son is unexpected. He honors the boy’s shocking request for his inheritance. The father’s love gave him the “freedom of choice” that allows for his rebellion. Later, instead of rejecting his son for his sin and rebellion, the father watches and waits for his son to “come to himself” and return home. When he does, his father blesses him with gifts and a banquet. He is restored as a son with love, acceptance, and forgiveness. All this is unimaginable.

For the son to be completely restored he had to receive his father’s forgiveness. When God forgives you, He gives you the power to forgive yourself. Only then is your reconciliation as a son complete. The consequences of not receiving the Father’s forgiveness are feelings of guilt, condemnation, and the judgment and disapproval of God and yourself. We see it in the broken, sick lives of resentful people in their irrational fears, bitterness, anger, and depression toward others, themselves, and even God.

The Father’s love for you is unselfish and loyal, with only kind intentions. He is committed to your welfare and will not hold your sin against you. He has a deep affection for you. He wants you to acknowledge His presence so he can fellowship with you. You are very special, dear, and important to Him. I trust you will experience the Father’s lavish love for you! Be reconciled to God.

Jesus had told this parable to show His listeners what God is like. Although the younger brother is reconciled with his father, the story of the elder brother has no conclusion. Jesus is silent about the elder brother’s outcome. His listeners must decide whether the older son will accept the father’s love and then act in love and compassion toward his lost brother like the father did.

But I would like to give you my conclusion.* This is how I believe Jesus would like to have told the story of the older brother. It would go something like this:

Not long after his brother left home, the older brother told his parents, “Mother, I heard you crying last night. I know you miss and hurt for my little brother. I too wonder what has happened to him. The other night when I came home, I saw a candle lit in his room. I rushed to his room to see if he was there. I was going to give him a big hug and tell him how glad I was that he was back. But the room was empty. I cried myself to sleep. I miss him so.”

“Dad, I know your heart aches too. When I was working in the field the other day, I saw you climb the hill and look down the road. I plowed on, but I could not hold back the tears. Let’s face it—life has been horrible without him. We miss him. I will go find him and bring him home.”

“No, Son,” his mother said. “I’ve lost one boy. I don’t want to lose you.”

His dad hugged him closely and then said, “My son, you are a good man. That decision is up to you.”

The elder son said, “I have experienced your love, care, and goodness all my life. It has been an honor being a part of this family. In our relationship, Dad, you have taught me about life. I have seen your love and compassion for the hurting, broken, and lost people in this world. I miss my brother just as much as you. I am glad to be your son. So as your son, I have got to go find my brother.”

The next day the elder son started out. His parents walked down that dusty road with him for a while. Then they silently watched him disappear into the distance. Daily the father would climb that hill and look down the road. Days went by, and then one day he saw two boys walking. He ran down the hill as fast as he could and called out to a servant, “Get robes, bring rings, and don’t forget the sandals!” He first hugged and kissed his prodigal son and told him how glad he was to have him home.

Then with deep affection and admiration the father turned to his elder son and gave him a big hug. “You are my beloved son in whom I am well pleased. Everything I have is yours forever,” he said.

“No, Dad, I told my brother how much we loved him and missed him. His sin and messed up life was not that important. He was what mattered to us and we wanted him to come home. We would let bygones be bygones. We would forget the dividing up of the estate. All I have is his too. I just want us to be brothers again.”

Then the father told the servants, “Bring the fattened calves, two of them. Let’s have a feast and celebrate. Invite all our friends and neighbors. For these my sons have returned home. One was dead and is alive again; he was lost and now is found. The seat of honor belongs to my elder son. All this is possible because of him!”

Jesus is our example of what it means to be the elder brother. He was a servant and calls us into servanthood for the Father. Jesus’ attitude and love for the Father and others should be your attitude. “For the Son of Man [Jesus] came to seek and to save what was lost” (Luke 19:10). In Revelation 3:20, Jesus gives you, the younger brother, the invitation to come back to the Father’s house. “Behold, I stand at your heart’s door and knock. If any man will hear my voice and open the door, I will come into him and have fellowship with him and he with me.”

If you will receive Him, He will come into your life, cleanse you from all your sin, and “The Holy Spirit himself testifies with your spirit that you are God’s child” (Romans 8:16). “But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, even to those who believe in His name” (John 1:12). “For, everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved” (Romans 10:13). “Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. And we rejoice in the hope of the glory of God” (Romans 5:1-2).

Jesus’ attitude and love for the Father and others should be your attitude. “For God was in Christ, reconciling the world to himself, no longer counting people’s sins against them. And he gave us this wonderful message of reconciliation” (2 Corinthians 5:19 NLT). God wants you in the family of God, the body of Christ, His church. In a good church, you will find a deeper relationship with God, His will and direction for your life. Friendships are built and opportunities are given to serve others. This is how you are to be Jesus to your world.

Each of us must decide how the parable will end. In the same way that God the Father shows compassion for His children, you and I also must demonstrate love for one another. “Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God” (1 John 4:7). “The Lord appeared to us in the past, saying: ‘I have loved you with an everlasting love; I have drawn you with loving-kindness’” (Jer. 31:3).

*I received some insight from an unknown source.

Discerning the Call of God on Your life

Discerning the Call of God on your life

“But my life is worth nothing to me unless I use it for finishing the work assigned me by the Lord Jesus—the work of telling others the Good News about the wonderful grace of God” (Acts 20:24 NLT).

by John David Hicks

Hearing a pastor or missionary speak of feeling called to their work can be baffling to listeners. How did he or she know it was a call of God? Would God be calling me to some kind of full-time Christian service? How can I be sure?

The common practice of Jesus’ day was if you wanted to be a disciple of a teacher, you sought them out and volunteered. But unlike them, Jesus chose His disciples. The ministry is not something a person chooses on his own. In the book of Acts, the Holy Spirit said, “Set apart for me Barnabas and Saul for the work to which I have called them” (Acts 13:2). The New Testament begins with, “There came a man who was sent from God; his name was John. He came as a witness to testify concerning that light, so that through him all men might believe” (John 1:6-7). John the Baptist was willing to make any sacrifice, pay any price, forsake all to “pave the way for Christ.” He declared, “He must increase, but I must decrease.”

For some the call may come gradually. You begin to feel a burden for the ministry as you serve the Lord. When you teach or preach, that desire grows into a flame. You understand Jeremiah 20:9, “His word is in my heart like a fire, a fire shut up in my bones. I am weary of holding it in; indeed, I cannot.” The call is on you.
Charles Spurgeon explained a call as “an intense, all-absorbing desire for the work.” The person called of God will have a growing compulsion to preach and teach the Word, and to minister to people. Often, the person called feels inadequate, but the Lord will equip you with the gifts necessary for your ministry.

When God calls you, He also gives a message. John Wesley testified, “I felt my heart strangely warmed…. I knew that God had saved me, even me!” That was the message God incorporated into his life, and through his ministry millions of people began to follow the Lord. With that conviction, he had a ministry and a call that changed the world.

The Holy Spirit is the one who must issue the call to ministry. You can “desire the office of a bishop” (1 Tim. 3:1), but the call of God comes from the Holy Spirit. Be sure not to confuse recognition of a need with a call. You hear a missionary from India telling of work among the lepers and think you may have been called to help. Then someone from Africa tells of the desperate need there and you want to go to Africa. There are always needs all over the world, and in our own country too. That doesn’t mean you are called to meet all those needs.

Jesus devoted most of His ministry to training His disciples. Education and experience will free your potential to minister effectively. That is also part of the call and should not be rushed or neglected.

Jesus modeled for us four qualities of successful ministry:

First of all, you must know that you are loved and accepted by God. This knowledge will affect your outward performance and success. You must know that your identity and righteousness are established with God. A performance mentality is no longer an issue. Many in ministry often struggle with the aspect that they have to perform in order to be accepted and to validate their ministry. If the ministry comes from God, then obedience trumps performance. Where God guides He provides…therefore it is not of “you” anyway (Phil. 4:19).

At Jesus’ baptism, at the beginning of His ministry, this was established. “And a voice from heaven said, ‘This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased’” (Matt. 3:17). This laid a foundation for His ministry. When you know that you are loved, accepted, and forgiven, you can love, accept, and forgive others. It is not how much you love God, but knowing how much you are loved that will motivate you. “For Christ’s love compels us” (2 Cor. 5:14). Know that you are greatly loved.

Second, like Jesus, you must understand that your calling is to be a servant. Jesus served others, without expectation of reward or affirmation. He gave without expectation of return. This gave Him spiritual authority. “Whoever wants to be a leader among you must be your servant” (Matt. 20:26 NLT). When your concern for others outweighs your concern for yourself, you will have maturity in your ministry. The authority of your ministry will be built on your service and sacrifice.

If you can be submissive to church leaders’ authority, you can be submissive to God’s authority. Hebrews 13:17 says, “Obey your leaders and submit to their authority. They keep watch over you as men who must give an account. Obey them so that their work will be a joy, not a burden, for that would be of no advantage to you.” Lead by being a servant.

Third, Jesus was involved in a discipleship group. People are discipled in small groups primarily through modeling. When you are in a group that is honest with one another and accountable, you will grow and mature spiritually. The group will cultivate in you personal times of worship and prayer, clarify scriptures, and provide accountability. It is through real life situations and shared experiences that your faith will be established. Get involved in an accountability group.

Fourth, Jesus was filled with the Holy Spirit and He promised, “But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes upon you. And you will be my witnesses, telling people about me everywhere—in Jerusalem, throughout Judea, in Samaria, and to the ends of the earth” (Acts 1:8 NLT). The proof that you are filled with the Holy Spirit is, “you will be my witnesses, telling people about me everywhere.” After Pentecost the disciples had the power to be witnesses! Jesus said, “And behold, I am sending forth the promise of My Father upon you; but you are to stay in the city until you are clothed with power from on high” (Luke 24:49 NASB). Paul could say, “Our gospel came to you not simply with words, but also with power, with the Holy Spirit and with deep conviction. You know how we lived among you for your sake” (1 Thess. 1:5).

The call of God is evidenced by the fruit of relationship with God and others. If you can’t lead others to Christ before you go on the mission field, what makes you think you could do it when you get there? Jesus said, “You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you to go and bear fruit—fruit that will last. Then the Father will give you whatever you ask in my name” (John15:16). Your calling and fruit can be seen as you immerse yourself in the word of God, as you pray for anyone who has a need, and as you disciple the ones you have led to Christ.

As the call of God is incorporated into your life, you will step out by faith and share Christ. A truth is not real to you until you experience it. When you are “a doer of the word and not a hearer only,” you will find with Paul that the will of God is good, worthy of eager acceptance, and perfect (Rom. 12:2).

The Lord who has called you will open the doors before you and provide for you. The church and other believers will recognize and confirm the call of God on your life. “You can identify them by their fruit, that is, by the way they act” (Matt. 7:16 NLT).

Pray with me:  You, O Lord, have loved me with an everlasting love. You have seen my past, present, and future. I have settled it in my heart that I am loved and accepted by You, and that love will never change! No matter what I do, You will not love me more. No matter what I do, You will not love me less. I am secure in Your presence. I have fixed my eyes on You, the author and perfecter of my faith. I expect You who began a good work in me to accomplish Your purposes. I acknowledge Your sovereignty and sustaining grace. Thus, I will not waste my time arguing with You about my weaknesses and unworthiness. You called me and ordained me. The choice was not mine, but Yours. Your will be done.

Lord, make me Your bond servant. I have made my choice. I am not my own, I belong to You. Claim me as Your right; love me as Your child. Catch me when I stumble, protect me when I am attacked, heal me when I am wounded, resurrect me when all seems hopeless. I am Your servant to do Your will, which is more desirable to me than greatness or wealth or power or position, and I choose it over all things in heaven and on earth.

Lord, I desire more than anything to live in Your presence. This was the purpose of creation, that I might know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom You have sent. Your union in my heart is Your gift of Yourself. “In Christ,” I am Your servant, and Your approval is all that matters. I bow in Your presence in wonder, praise, and worship!

My Lord, I have heard Your call and accept Your commission. You, O Lord, have anointed me with the oil of the Holy Spirit; You have gifted me with Your wisdom, righteousness, holiness, and redemption, to live in Your presence and to labor by Your power and to experience Your victory. Lord, the harvest is great; send me into Your field to reap and raise up workers. Thus, I will watch and pray, for I want to be a disciplined soldier when You come for Your own. I will be in the front line of battle, obeying Your orders, loyal to Your church. My banner will read: “AN AUDIENCE OF ONE.” For it’s all about You, Lord, not about me! You, O Lord, are my beloved, my message, my center, my essence, my purpose, my all! You are good. Your unfailing love and faithfulness continues forever. To You be all the glory, honor, and praise for ever and ever! Amen and amen!

The Armor of God – Prayer

The Armor of God – Prayer
by John David Hicks

“Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. 11 Put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. 12 For 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. 13 Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. 14 Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, 15 and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. 16 In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. 17 Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. 18 And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the saints” (Eph. 6:10–18).

You are in Spiritual Warfare. The apostle Paul tells us that a good soldier of Christ Jesus will “endure hardship,” and focus on pleasing his “commanding officer” (2 Tim. 2:3–4). Then he will “not be ignorant of Satan’s schemes” (2 Cor. 2:11). This armor will defend you in battle and make you ready for the onslaughts of the devil. “Therefore,” Peter says, “prepare your minds for action; be self-controlled; set your hope fully on the grace to be given you” (1 Peter 1:13). “So, let us put aside the deeds of darkness and put on the armor of light” (Rom.13:12), which is the armor of God. You have five defensive and two offensive weapons.

V.11-13 Lord, As I prepare today for battle; I take up THE ARMOR OF GOD. So that you “may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.” You are to take a “stand” and face the enemy. With God’s help you are able to hold the line, not retreat or give up any territory. “You, dear children, are from God and have overcome them, because the one who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world” (1 John 4:4). “Yet amid all these things we are more than conquerors and gain a surpassing victory through Him Who loved us” (Rom. 8:37 AMP).

V.14a I put around me the belt of truth and integrity. God’s truth must surround us like a belt. It means being honest and sincere in your faith, and not full of religious hypocrisy. Your belt will hold up your pants and sword. The truth is God’s antidote to Satan’s lies and deception (John 8:44). A “lying tongue” is “detestable to” God (Prov. 6:16-17). The truth sets you free (John 8:32), because your lifestyle conforms to Scripture. The truth makes your witness credible. To be ready for the battle, you must be truthful with yourself and believe in the character and truthfulness of your commander.

V.14b I wear your Breastplate of Righteousness, Holiness and Redemption as my badge of confidence (1 Cor. 1:30). A breastplate shields your vital organs and protects your heart. This righteousness is a gift and is received by faith. Righteousness is first of all a condition of the heart, and your heart is what determines the course of your life. With no condemnation, you have a defense against Satan’s attacks of faultfinding and accusations. You can stand in the presence of God without fault or blame (Jude 24-25).

V. 15 My Shoes of Peace and Conviction make me stand secure. At times the enemy will place dangerous obstacles in your path. Only the gospel of peace will make you aware of the traps of his propaganda. Your shoes will also make you or break you on a long march. Your shoes must provide protection, support, traction, performance and comfort. This peace of God will govern your heart (Phil. 4:7). Your feet are fitted with readiness to share the gospel of peace at any time, which means knowing how to tell others about Christ and being open to the Holy Spirit’s leading in specific situations. Peace gives you a sure foundation (2 Tim 2:19).

V.16 My Shield of Faith in your faithfulness protects me from the darts of the enemy. Your shield is your faith and confidence in the Word of God. As you keep your eyes on Jesus, He will be the“author and perfecter of your faith” (Hebrews 12:2). This assurance will put out the incendiary arrows of the enemy. When you believe in something, your belief gives it power to manifest in your life. Jesus said, “Everything is possible for him who believes” (Mark 9:23). If you believe the devil’s lies, you are putting faith into them and opening a door for the devil to influence you. The devil’s lie’s will make temptations stronger. Your shield of faith is protection for you and others. When soldiers join their shields together, they strengthen each other with their faith and are able to take on great challenges. Together, our shields of faith make us overcomers (1 John 5:4).

V.17 The assurance of Salvation is my Helmet that guards my mind. The thoughts in your mind must be protected from deception. Satan bombards you with fear, hatred, suspicion, depression, mistrust, false doctrines, and a host of mental distractions. This call for spiritual discernment (Phil. 4:4-8). Sow a thought, reap a deed. Sow a deed, reap a habit. Sow a habit reap a character. The assurance that you are loved, accepted and forgiven will protect your mind. “Let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect” (Rom. 12:2 NLT). So, think about the true, good, kind and lovely (Phil. 4:8-9). You helmet is your defense. Without it you are vulnerable to Satan’s attack.

Offensive weapons: The Sword of the Spirit and Prayer in the Spirit.

V.17b I wield the Sword of the Word as my defense against the Adversary and my authority to save, heal and deliver in the Name of Jesus. The sword of the Spirit is both a defensive and an offensive weapon. “The word of God is living and powerful” (Heb. 4:12). The primary purpose of Jesus’s coming was to destroy the work of the devil (1 John 3:8). Jesus used the Word of God to defeat Satan (Matt. 4:1-10). He showed us the power and authority of the Bible. That Satan is defeated by exposing his darkness to the light of God’s word! “Our gospel came to you not simply with words, but also with power, with the Holy Spirit and with deep conviction. You know how we lived among you for your sake” (1 Thess. 1:5). “But what does [the Bible] say? “The word is near you; it is in your mouth and in your heart,” that is, the word of faith we are proclaiming” (Rom. 10:8). This sword of the Spirit is available to you! Know it and use it!

V.18 With prayer in the Spirit, I hear your voice; strength is given and the battle is won. The other offensive weapon critical to defeating Satan is prayer in the Spirit. Jesus told His disciples, “How can anyone enter a strong man’s house and carry off his possessions unless he first ties up the strong man? Then he can rob his house” (Matt. 12:29). For the gospel to bear fruit, Satan must be bound in prayer. In Acts 4 when Peter and John received threats from the Sanhedrin, they called a prayer meeting. They ask God to “speak your word with great boldness… [and] stretch out your hand to heal and perform miraculous signs and wonders…” (Acts 4:29-30). God answered their prayers: “After they prayed, the place where they were meeting was shaken. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and spoke the word of God boldly” (Acts 4:31). In other words, they were praying for power evangelism.

Paul said, “Pray also for me, that whenever I open my mouth, words may be given me so that I will fearlessly make known the mystery of the gospel…” (Eph. 6:19). When you pray in the Spirit you will receive spiritual strength and your orders from God. Without prayer, your efforts in spiritual warfare will be unsuccessful. Jesus said in John 16:24, “Ask and you will receive, and your joy will be complete.” But James 4:2 says, “You do not have, because you do not ask God.” John Wesley said, “God will do nothing, but in answer to Prayer.” As you pray in the Spirit “the Holy Spirit prays for us with groanings that cannot be expressed in words” (Rom. 8:26 NLT). Jesus promised, “My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me. (John 10:27). Prayer makes a difference! No wonder the devil does not want you to pray.

Thank you, Lord for the Armor of God that make me an Overcomer! “In all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us” (Rom. 8:37). Put on the full armor of God—truth, righteousness, the gospel of peace, faith, salvation, your Sword, the Word of God, and prayer. These are your weapons of warfare that will make you spiritually victorious against the attacks and temptations of the enemy.

PRAYER: Lord, As I prepare today for battle; I take up THE ARMOR OF GOD. I put around me the belt of truth and integrity. I wear your breastplate of righteousness, holiness and redemption as my badge of confidence. My shoes of peace and conviction make me stand secure. My shield of faith in your faithfulness protects me from the darts of the enemy. I wield the sword of the Word as my defense against the adversary and my authority to save, heal and deliver in the name of Jesus. The assurance of salvation is my helmet that guards my mind. With prayer in the Spirit, I hear your voice; strength is given and the battle is won. Thank you, Lord for the armor of God that make me an overcomer! Amen.