Christianity 201

May 3, 2014

A Devotional Life

Colossians 3:16

  • Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly… (ESV)
  • Let the Word of the Messiah, in all its richness, live in you…  (CEB)
  • Christ’s message in all its richness must live in your hearts…  (GNT)
  • Let Christ’s teaching live in your hearts…  (Phillips)
  • Let the message about Christ, in all its richness, fill your lives… (NLT)

The proliferation of online resources makes it possible for the average person, sitting at home at their computer, to do things that just a few years ago were only possible in the reference library of a large Bible college, seminary or theological school; with the result that we now have people writing blogs who are self-proclaimed “Bible nerds.”

I don’t for a minute think there’s anything “nerdy” about wanting to did deep into the richness of scripture, though at times I have to ask myself if I’m doing this because I enjoy doing it, or due to a genuine hunger and thirst for more of Christ.

NIV Deut.6:6 These commandments that I give you today are to be on your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates.

I especially love the line sometimes translated, “talk about these things as you walk along the way;”as that is exactly what we see the resurrected Jesus doing on the Emmaus Road in Luke 24: 13-35.

God’s word is given with the intention that it be central in our lives. Today we sometimes substitute Christian radio and Christian music and Christian internet for the scriptures. Don’t get me wrong, if that radio station is teaching the Bible, if that song is based on Biblical themes, and if that internet content includes blogs and podcasts which are rooted in the exploration and exposition of applying the Bible’s standard to life in a modern world; that’s good and even honorable. But if that’s not the case, then we’re filling up on empty spiritual calories.

The words of Deuteronomy 6 are repeated, just pages later in Deuteronomy 11:

18 Fix these words of mine in your hearts and minds; tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. 19 Teach them to your children, talking about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. 20 Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates…

with the same emphases that we underlined in the first passage.  But then, the promise of verse 21 appears and other promises in the verses that follow:

21 so that your days and the days of your children may be many in the land the Lord swore to give your ancestors, as many as the days that the heavens are above the earth.

22 If you carefully observe all these commands I am giving you to follow—to love the Lord your God, to walk in obedience to him and to hold fast to him— 23 then the Lord will drive out all these nations before you, and you will dispossess nations larger and stronger than you. 24 Every place where you set your foot will be yours: Your territory will extend from the desert to Lebanon, and from the Euphrates River to the Mediterranean Sea. 25 No one will be able to stand against you. The Lord your God, as he promised you, will put the terror and fear of you on the whole land, wherever you go.

26 See, I am setting before you today a blessing and a curse— 27 the blessing if you obey the commands of the Lord your God that I am giving you today; 28 the curse if you disobey the commands of the Lord your God and turn from the way that I command you today by following other gods, which you have not known.

God promises good things to those who allow his words to indwell them. It is how we learn the ways of God and the character of Christ.  Will you sign up to be a Bible nerd?

Homework: In the Deut. 6 passage, verses 7 and 9 are fairly straightforward, but what would be the contemporary application of verse 8?

C201 is always looking for both submissions and suggestions for sources of material. Use the submissions page in the margin.

Scripture portions from various translations quoted at Christianity 201 are always in green to remind us that the Scriptures have LIFE! Today’s devotional was prepared with Bible Hub and Bible Gateway.

September 3, 2012

Ready for the Fight

Today’s post is an introduction followed by six links to a study on The Armor of God (TAOG) from Ephesians, chapter 6.  The author is David Kenney.  I haven’t linked this piece — titled, Do You Feel Invincible? — here in the intro because of the links that follow.  

NOTE: If family Bible study and devotions isn’t something that takes place in your home, this series of seven short articles is a great place to begin.  Start today with these readings, and the pray together as a family.

Ephesians 613 Thereforetake up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand inthe evil day, and having done all, to stand firm.14 Stand therefore,having fastened on the belt of truth, andhaving put on the breastplate of righteousness,15 and,as shoes for your feet, having put on the readiness given by the gospel of peace.16 In all circumstances take upthe shield of faith, with which you can extinguish allthe flaming darts ofthe evil one;17 and takethe helmet of salvation, andthe sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.

I can remember learning about the armor of God using a graphic of a Knight. Literally a British suit of armor. And I guess it doesn’t really matter what image you use when you think of the armor of God, but sometimes it’s nice to have a visual of what Paul would have thought of.

Paul says to pick up the “ponoplia” – this – is the Panoplia. It is the entire, the full suit of armor that a Roman legionnaire would wear. The ponoplia would include your entire military dress including weapons. These Roman soldiers signed up from anywhere to 10-25 years of service. These men were tough as nails and were a military might for almost 2 thousand years.

Sun Tzu was a Chinese philosopher and military strategist. His book, the art of war is infamous.

In his book, Sun Tzu says that “Invincibility lies in the defense.”

Let me ask you something. When life hits you, do you feel invincible? Do you feel like you could stand up and take on the whole world? Do you shout at the sky, “Bring it on! I double dog dare you?”

Or most of the time do you feel like life is impossible? And that any day your world is going to collapse and the enemy is going to win again?

Let me tell you, the average Roman centurion felt invincible. Every day they put this on and went about their duties, these men knew they were the ultimate fighting force in the world – and they fought for the ultimate empire.

And so the Armor of God, is meant to give you that same assurance, that same inner strength – and I would argue that if you don’t feel invincible, then you need to check your gear.

0. Introduction (this article)

1. Belt

2. Breastplate

3. Shoes

4. Sheild

5. Helmet

6. Sword

Image: Jim Wilkens