Sunday, April 24, 2011


Saturday, April 23, 2011

Day Forty : Holy Saturday

The last day of Lent.  The end is near.

I often wonder what that first Holy Saturday mush have been like for the disciples.  Friday was horrific, all their hopes were dashed.

They didn’t know that Sunday was coming.

They didn’t get a chance to prepare for a meeting with the risen Christ. 

We know what is coming.

What do we need to do to prepare ourselves for tomorrow?

Friday, April 22, 2011

Day Thirty–Nine : Good Friday


My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?
       Why are you so far from saving me,
       so far from the words of my groaning?

2 O my God, I cry out by day, but you do not answer,
       by night, and am not silent.

3 Yet you are enthroned as the Holy One;
       you are the praise of Israel.

4 In you our fathers put their trust;
       they trusted and you delivered them.

5 They cried to you and were saved;
       in you they trusted and were not disappointed.

6 But I am a worm and not a man,
       scorned by men and despised by the people.

7 All who see me mock me;
       they hurl insults, shaking their heads:

8 "He trusts in the LORD;
       let the LORD rescue him.
       Let him deliver him,
       since he delights in him."

9 Yet you brought me out of the womb;
       you made me trust in you
       even at my mother's breast.

10 From birth I was cast upon you;
       from my mother's womb you have been my God.

11 Do not be far from me,
       for trouble is near
       and there is no one to help.

12 Many bulls surround me;
       strong bulls of Bashan encircle me.

13 Roaring lions tearing their prey
       open their mouths wide against me.

14 I am poured out like water,
       and all my bones are out of joint.
       My heart has turned to wax;
       it has melted away within me.

15 My strength is dried up like a potsherd,
       and my tongue sticks to the roof of my mouth;
       you lay me  in the dust of death.

16 Dogs have surrounded me;
       a band of evil men has encircled me,
       they have pierced my hands and my feet.

17 I can count all my bones;
       people stare and gloat over me.

18 They divide my garments among them
       and cast lots for my clothing.

19 But you, O LORD, be not far off;
       O my Strength, come quickly to help me.

20 Deliver my life from the sword,
       my precious life from the power of the dogs.

21 Rescue me from the mouth of the lions;
       save me from the horns of the wild oxen.

22 I will declare your name to my brothers;
       in the congregation I will praise you.

23 You who fear the LORD, praise him!
       All you descendants of Jacob, honour him!
       Revere him, all you descendants of Israel!

24 For he has not despised or disdained
       the suffering of the afflicted one;
       he has not hidden his face from him
       but has listened to his cry for help.

25 From you comes the theme of my praise in the great assembly;
       before those who fear you will I fulfil my vows.

26 The poor will eat and be satisfied;
       they who seek the LORD will praise him—
       may your hearts live forever!

27 All the ends of the earth
       will remember and turn to the LORD,
       and all the families of the nations
       will bow down before him,

28 for dominion belongs to the LORD
       and he rules over the nations.

29 All the rich of the earth will feast and worship;
       all who go down to the dust will kneel before him—
       those who cannot keep themselves alive.

30 Posterity will serve him;
       future generations will be told about the Lord.

31 They will proclaim his righteousness
       to a people yet unborn—
       for he has done it.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Day Thirty-Eight : Maundy Thursday

Many people do not ‘celebrate’ Maundy Thursday.  It is the night before Good Friday, where we remember :

  • The institution of the Last Supper
  • Jesus washing his disciples feet
  • Jesus praying in the Garden.


Last year, I chose to focus on the disciples keeping watch.  This year I want to think about the washing of the feet. (But go read last year’s one anyway, it was quite good. )


Jesus has only hours left to show his disciples what they need to do, and leave a message with them.  And he chooses the object lesson of washing their feet.

He shows his love.  Not just saying “I love you”, by showing them :

  1. He knew how filthy their feet were, yet he loved them enough to wash them clean.  (Don’t forget, Judas was there as well.)
  2. He knew they didn’t understand it, but he loved them enough to do it anyway.
  3. He knew they would resist Him.  (“Master, you shall never wash my feet.”) Yet he did it anyway.

If my child goes rolling in mud, I imagine they would be pretty filthy, clueless, and resistant to being cleaned.  Yet I would still love them, because of who they are, and who I am. 

That’s how much Jesus loved them.  That’s how much he loves us.

That’s why he was prepared for what was coming tomorrow…

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Day Thirty-Seven : (The Sword of the Spirit)

Take … the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. – Ephesians 6:17

Just as we had to keep moving our shield, we need to keep moving our (S)word.  We have gaps in our armour.  If it were not so, we would not be able to move.

Sometimes the enemy might be able to penetrate those gaps.  We need to know beforehand where they are, and move our Sword to protect them.

If I know that I might doubt my Salvation, I need to be prepared with verses that assure me of it.

If I know that I might doubt the power of Righteousness, I need to be prepared with verses about it.

If I know that I am easily led into doubt, I need to be prepared with verses to give me hope.

We need to keep moving our sword around, and using it where it is most needed.  We cannot assume one position, and hope the enemy will throw himself on our sword.  Just as we can’t assume that one verse about Salvation will solve all our problems. 

Every verse is used in a different way, or position.  And we need to be prepared to keep using them, until the enemy is defeated.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Day Thirty-Six : Hold onto it. (The Sword of the Spirit)

Take … the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. – Ephesians 6:17

Just like our Shield, our Sword can get quite heavy sometimes.  We need to build our strength by using it all the time.

We also can’t afford to put it down.

If we don’t carry our Sword all the time, we might not know where it is when we need it.

In the same way, if we don’t keep going into the word, we might not have any words to use when the time comes.

Jesus was inspired to fight the Devil with words from Scripture.  I have been inspired to fight temptation and evil with Scriptures, but only scriptures I already knew.

If we have never read certain passages of the Bible, it is harder for the Spirit to bring them to our minds.

So keep hanging onto the (S)word, and know where to find it.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Day Thirty-Five : Taking lessons (Sword of the Spirit)

Take … the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. – Ephesians 6:17

Do you know how to use a sword?

Yeah, me neither.  I mean I know the basics – Handle goes in my hand, pointy end goes in the enemy.  But I think there might be more to being a great sword-fighter than that.

Roman soldiers received training in using their sword, and they practised all the time.

We are lucky, because the Sword we wield is the Sword of the Spirit.  It is a weapon used by the Holy Spirit Himself. 

So sometimes we might not know how to use it.  We might need some instructions.  But that is cool, because if we ask him to, he will show us how to use it.

So I always pray before opening my Bible that the Spirit will open my heart and mind, and show me how to use the word that I am reading.

In the same way, sometimes the Spirit might lead us to a verse to be used in a situation.  Because He not only trains us in times of peace, but also helps us in times of war. 


So practise with your sword, and listen to what the Sword-master tells you.  One day it might save your life.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Day Thirty-Four : Get in close with (The Sword of the Spirit)

Take … the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. – Ephesians 6:17

We spoke yesterday about not needing any other weapons.  Our (S)word is enough.

The reason Roman soldiers carried other weapons, such as spears and darts, was so that they could engage the enemy from afar.  Defeat them before they got close enough to do damage.

We don’t get to do that.  The sword is a close up weapon.  It doesn’t do us any good from far away, we can only use it once we are face-to-face with the enemy.

We need to be ready to pull it out and use it at a moment’s notice.

Is your sword ready?  Do you know how to use it?

Friday, April 15, 2011

Day Thirty-Three : All you need is (The Sword of the Spirit)

Take … the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. – Ephesians 6:17

The Sword of the Spirit.  Which is the word of God.

The sword is a weapon.  With it we can not only defend ourselves, but also fight back.  In the wilderness Jesus not only matched the Devil with scriptures, he bested him.  He fought back.

A Roman soldier would carry many weapons:  The Sword, spears, daggers, and even darts.

As Christians, we only need one weapon.  The (S)word.


Because it is the only weapon we will ever need.  Everything we ever need is in the word.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Day Thirty-Two : The Sword of the Spirit

Take … the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. – Ephesians 6:17

It doesn’t matter how good your armour is, if you don’t have an offensive weapon, you are just a large, well-armoured, moving target. 

Taking up the Sword is important, because it takes the fight to the enemy.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Day Thirty-One : Don’t take it off (Helmet of Salvation)

Take the helmet of salvation… (Ephesians 6:17)


Don’t take your helmet off.  Not ever.

You only have to take it off for one moment to get hit in the head.  Even if you tell yourself “I can put it back on again just now.”…



In the same way, we need to persevere until the very end with our salvation.


If we stray from our Salvation, or stop striving to endure in our faith, we might lose the protection. 

Not lose our salvation, but lose our ability to use it to protect ourselves from spiritual attack.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Day Thirty: Proud of (Helmet of Salvation)

Take the helmet of salvation… (Ephesians 6:17)

I spoke yesterday about being proud of our helmets.

And we should be. 


Not proud of our helmet, but what it represents.


We had no part in our salvation, and have done nothing to deserve or earn it.  So we cannot be said to be proud of it.


But we need to wear it proudly, as a badge of who we belong to.


Just as a soldier would proudly the helmet of his legion, to show that he was a Roman Soldier, so we need to wear our Salvation boldly, to show that we are Christians.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Day Twenty-Nine : Victory (Helmet of Salvation)

Take the helmet of salvation… (Ephesians 6:17)


A Helmet was more than a functional piece of armour.  It was a symbol.  When the officers of a conquering force rode into a captured city, they used to do so with large purple plumes on their helmets.

The plumes on the helmet were a sign of victory, and showed everyone that they were conquerors.

Do you see where I am going with this.

Through Christ (and his Salvation) we are more than conquerors.  Satan is defeated, Sin is defeated, our sinful nature is defeated.

We just need to wear our Salvation proudly to let them all know.

Day Twenty-Eight : Keep it out (Helmet of Salvation)

Take the helmet of salvation… (Ephesians 6:17)

We said yesterday that Satan attacks our mind in two ways. 
The first was to make us doubt our salvation.

The second is to put ideas into it.

Often thoughts and ideas we do not want to entertain will come to us.

I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do. – Romans 7:15


When sinful or inappropriate thoughts come to us, we need to recognise their source, and act accordingly.

Our Salvation means we no longer have to give in to our sinful desires, we need to remind ourself of this… and accept the salvation which frees us from the “body of death” Paul refers to.

Day Twenty-Seven : Guard your mind. (Helmet of Salvation)

Take the helmet of salvation… (Ephesians 6:17)


The purpose of the helmet is to guard the mind.  Our head, and our mind, are some of our most sensitive parts.  A single blow to the head could kill, or seriously disable, a soldier.

In the same way, an attack on our mind can cripple our faith.

How does the devil attack our mind?

Two ways.

The first, which we shall examine today is by making us doubt our own salvation.

He will tell us that we haven’t really been saved, that we are going to hell, that we are unworthy etc. 

He will lie to us, and we need to keep those thoughts out of our head by putting on the helmet of Salvation.

By reminding ourselves that we are saved.  Not by our own efforts, but by the blood of Christ.


Salvation belongs to all who accept Christ, and once we put on that helmet, nothing should make us doubt that.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Day Twenty-Six : Helmet of Salvation

Take the helmet of salvation… (Ephesians 6:17)


According to Wikipedia (I can’t believe I am quoting them) Salvation refers to being saved from “some or all of the following”:

  • from biological death, by providing for them an eternal life or long-lasting afterlife
  • from spiritual death, by providing divine law, illumination, and judgment.
  • from divine punishment, particularly from Hell, by granting them acceptance into Heaven.
  • from having sinful character and conduct, through a process of positive moral change.
  • from the influence of evil, oppression, etc

But why is it described as a helmet?

Let us see…

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Day Twenty-Five : Push (Shield of Faith)

In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one.  (Ephesians 6:16)

I mentioned 300 yesterday.  Have you ever seen it?

It is a pretty bloody movie, but it was quite educational.  How did 300 men hold off millions of trained soldiers?

They positioned themselves well, and they let the enemy exhaust themselves.

In the first major battle scene, the Spartan warriors don’t attack the Persian soldiers.  They crouch down behind their shields and let the Persians wear themselves out attacking them.  Then at a signal, they all push back.  Hard.  The Persians fall over, the Spartans advance, stab the fallen Persians with their swords, and then crouch down again.

And again.

And again.

Until the Persians are all defeated.


Sometimes we come under attack, when people throw things at us that we don’t know how to deal with.  We know we should respond with an appropriate scripture or bible verse, but we can’t think of one.  We don’t know how to use our sword at that moment.

So we wait.  We hold onto our shield, and let them batter themselves against our faith with their doubts and questions.  We can’t let them win, just because we don’t know the answer.

Then, we push back with our faith.  We say (to them, or ourselves) “I don't know the answer, but I have faith that there is one.”  Then we “fight back” with a scripture.  It might be about the situation, or it might just be “Trust in the Lord with all your heart.”  or “I know the plans I have for you, plans to prosper you.

We use our faith to shield us from attack until we are ready to fight back.  So we don’t lose courage and back off under constant attack.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Day Twenty-Four : Cover up (Shield of Faith)

In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one.  (Ephesians 6:16)

Have you ever seen the movie 300?  Or that scene in Gladiator where Maximus and the gladiators defeat the charioteers? 

What makes the shield work well in these moments is that the soldiers use their shields to protect themselves, and the guy next to them.   Shields can be used like that.  You can use it to cover other people as well.

Same as faith.

Our faith can be used to cover others as well, especially when theirs might be weaker in areas. 

When the Devil tells me I am worthless, I might lose faith in my own worth.  However if all those around me have faith in my worth, it makes it easier for me to believe it.  I get cover from your over-lapping shields.

Monday, April 4, 2011

Day Twenty-Three : Strong enough to lift (The Shield of Faith)

In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one.  (Ephesians 6:16)

Faith is not easy.

When everything in the world tells you to believe one thing…  When everyone says you are crazy to believe something else…
When you can’t see what you hope for…

How do you keep it up?  How do you hold onto your faith?

Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see. (Hebrews 11:1)

Sometimes having faith is hard.  Your faith feels heavy.

Just like I am sure the huge shield was heavy.  A solid sheet of steel, covered in wood and leather, is no joke to lift. 
It was hard!

So how did the Roman soldier get better at lifting it?

By lifting it every day.

At first it was heavy, and clumsy, and kept feeling like it was holding him back.  It would be easier to just drop it and run.
But he kept lifting it, day after day.  And only by doing the heavy lifting, was he able to strengthen his shield arm to carry the shield.


We need to strengthen our faith, but doing some “heavy lifting”.  The more we choose to hold onto our faith, and keep holding onto it, the stronger our lifting arm will become, and the easier it will be to have faith. 

The more we rely on faith, the more our faith is rewarded.

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Day Twenty-Two : Move, move, move (the Shield of Faith)

In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one.  (Ephesians 6:16)

So we have taken up the Shield.  Now what?

Well, the Roman shield (or Scutum) was quite large.  Large enough to hide behind, but not large enough to cover your whole body while you were standing.

You had to actively move it between yourself and enemy attacks.

You had to be conscious of your shield, and keep moving it to where it was most needed.

In the same way, we need to be aware of the attacks that come against us, and be actively holding onto our faith, and putting it between ourselves and the attack.

“The world is telling me that … but I have faith that…..”

“Satan tells me that I am weak, but I know that I am strong.”

Where do you most need faith today?  Where is Satan attacking you?  How are you going to shield yourself with faith?

Friday, April 1, 2011

Day Twenty-One : Take up (the Shield of Faith)

In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one.  (Ephesians 6:16)

Up until now, we were told to “put on” the armour of God.  To wear it, to strap it on.  Now we are told something different.

To take it up.

Faith is like a Shield.  It is not passive.  A soldier could go into battle carrying his shield on his back or his arm, but it could do him no good there.

He had to hold onto it.  He had to take it up.

In the same way, we need to hold onto our faith.  We need to constantly take it up.  If we don’t hold on to it tightly enough, we could lose it.  If we lay it down to rest for a while… no-one is helped.

Faith is not easy.  We can’t just say “I have faith.”  We  have to daily have faith.  We  need to hold onto it.