September 13, 2006

 

Encouragement for Today

Principle 1

 

“Flak Jacket”

Susanne Scheppmann, P31 Speaker Team Member, Online Devotional Co-Editor

 

Key Verse:

Ephesians 6:10-11, “Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil's schemes. (NIV) 

 

Devotion:

I admit I watch professional bull riding.  It amazes me the courage the young cowboys portray on the backs of those huge bulls.  They grit their teeth and climb aboard the stomping beast.  When the cowboy nods his head, the gate opens and the bull charges out into the arena.  They attempt to stay on for eight seconds. Most are thrown off before the timer sounds. 

 

Bull riding is dangerous. Many times when they show a close-up, I can see the solid hoof come down on the chest of the ejected rider. Fortunately, most cowboys wear a vest. This vest not only absorbs some of the shock, but it also helps dissipate it over a larger area of the chest.  These flak jackets also protect the rider against being gored by the bull’s horns. They are made from the same material as bulletproof jackets, and work as armor against the brutality of the bull.

 

As believers, we need protection too.  1 Peter 5:8 states, “Be self-controlled and alert. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.” (NIV)  We do not have to worry about our enemy though, because God has provided us with the availability of a “flak jacket.”  It is the armor of God. 

 

Our Key Verse is found in Ephesians 6.  Let’s look at what we can discover from this chapter concerning our protective gear. 

 

Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil's schemes. 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. 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. Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. (Ephesians 6:10-17 NIV) 

 

With this type of protection, we can be as courageous as any daring bull rider.  Plus, we do not have to attempt to hang on for only eight seconds.  We can stand strong for all eternity.  God tells us, “Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.” James 4:7 (NIV).  Satan will be like the bull heading for the exit gate.    He will hightail it out when he knows you are bold and dressed for battle.

 

So let’s strap on our spiritual flak jackets and get ready for victory.  

     

My Prayer for Today:

Dear Lord, I need protection from my enemy.  Teach me to stand firm and to put on the armor of God each day. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.

 

Application Steps:  

Stand in front of mirror. Read Ephesians 6:10-17 and visualize yourself putting on each piece of the armor of God.  Then stand firm in the power of Holy Spirit.

 

Reflection Points:

Do I understand that I have a spiritual enemy?

 

Do I feel unprotected in any area of my spiritual life?

 

Do I believe that the armor of God can protect me for all eternity?

 

Power Verses: 

Deuteronomy 33:29, “Blessed are you, O Israel! Who is like you, a people saved by the Lord? He is your shield and helper and your glorious sword. Your enemies will cower before you, and you will trample down their high places." (NIV)  

 

Psalm 18:2, “The Lord is my rock, my fortress and my deliverer; my God is my rock, in whom I take refuge.   He is my shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold.” (NIV) 

 

Psalm 18:30, “As for God, his way is perfect; the word of the Lord is flawless. He is a shield for all who take refuge in him.” (NIV) 

 

Psalm 28:7, “The Lord is my strength and my shield; my heart trusts in him, and I am helped.   My heart leaps for joy and I will give thanks to him in song.” (NIV) 

 

Additional Resources: 

What Happens when Women Walk in Faith, by Lysa TerKeurst

 

Spiritual Warfare and Praying for Your Kids, ETC Corner Sept. 2004

 

The P31 Woman Magazine