Stand Firm: Security in the Truth of Jesus’ Salvation

Our previous post in this series ‘Stand Firm,’ took a look at The Lies We Believe and ways which we can expect Satan to be working in the battles of Spiritual Warfare. We found that deception was not only a key component of his arsenal, but also his character. In light of this, it is not at all surprising that, in reading about the armour of God, the first item we are to put on in order to stand firm in battle against Satan, is the belt of truth. “Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist” (Eph. 6:14).  As we begin looking at these different aspects of the armour, it is important that we realise that these are primarily not virtuous actions that we are to start doing when we sense Satan is at work; rather, these are all ways of describing the impact of the gospel. That is, as we meditate and apply the gospel to our life daily, the belt of truth will always be buckled around our waist, and we will always be in a position to stand firm.
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Stand Firm: The Lies We Believe

When you hear someone mention Satan, what is the first thing you think of? Do you envisage a little red man with horns carrying a pitch fork? Do you think of fire and lava? Or simply that he is the ‘villain’ and Jesus is the hero of the Bible fairy-tale? When we start reading the history of God and humanity in the Bible, it doesn’t take long for us to be introduced to Satan, and the very first thing we learn about him is that he is a deceiver, a liar.
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Stand Firm: Putting on the Gospel ready for battle

‘Spiritual Warfare’ is a classic example of ‘Christian Jargon’ – language which makes perfect sense to someone who has grown up in or around the church, but to anyone else it is ambiguous (and not to mention a little weird). Spiritual warfare is often used to describe a spiritual attack, moments of temptation, discouragement, fear and anxiety – anything that affects us in a spiritual way that is clearly not of or from God. These things are in fact against God, attempting to draw us away from pursuing our relationship with God and living out our lives in likeness to Christ. The attack comes from Satan, which distinguishes it from suffering due to our faith or consequences of our own sinfulness. It is an attack of our faith, typically experienced through our thoughts and emotions.
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Heart Questions: Putting Jesus’ Words into Practice

On the very last page of my Bible, I am slowly developing a list of questions—mostly ones that I come across in my reading, but some which come about through reflecting. I call these ‘heart questions;’ they are ones which I ask to my heart, in a very broad sense, ‘how am I going at this area of life?’ I also use it as a method to remember things I have been struck or convicted by in past reading to ensure I continue to focus on and invest in pursuing Christ and growing in His likeness. They are not questions based on spiritual disciplines (e.g. ‘How have I been going at reading my Bible?’ ‘Am I praying every day?’), but are rather the practical, fruitful outworking of these things; they are an indication of being in a posture allowing the transformation of the Holy Spirit. This might be something along the lines of, “Am I aware of God’s peace in my day to day life?” “Does my life demonstrate to others that I have complete trust in God,” etc. As I was spending time with God recently, I came across another of these questions to add to my list, and thought that putting together such a list could also be helpful for others as a reference to prompt prayer or reflection, or for considering ways to be growing in greater obedience to God. I will compile them into a page (which you can access from the home page), and plan to include a link to the short post I write about them when they are first added to provide a bit more context to the questions.

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Rejoicing in Suffering

When writing one of my earliest posts (‘Mary’s Song’) I realised that there was the potential to open a ‘can of worms’ in bringing up the concept of being joyful at all times and rejoicing even in times of suffering. So I felt it was appropriate to follow up with a post addressing this (somewhat). I quite recently read the book of 1 Peter, which is a great starting place for finding what God’s Word says about not only rejoicing in our suffering, but the practical out-workings of this.
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Reflecting on Reflecting

In my very first year of med school, one of our first assignments was to write an academic essay on reflective essays. I don’t know who first thought this was a good idea, but I recall it as a pretty awful time. However, since then, I have become aware of the importance of reflection as a discipline of spiritual growth, or any sort of growth, and ironically it has caused me to reflect a fair bit on reflection itself. In a recent post in the series on being in a ‘reading rut’, I wrote a post focussed on meditating, which is the active reflection on God’s Word. In this post, I am looking at reflection in a broader sense; reflecting on situations, relationships, ideas and concepts; the process of thinking deeply and mentally working things out, contemplating things of importance. In this sense, reflection is not something that comes particularly naturally to me; my brain doesn’t float to thinking through important and meaningful topics, unless they seem to be having a prominent emotional impact on me and I can’t help but dwell on them. My train of thought seems to have many stations it stops at, and changes route frequently. And in addition, I am often unaware of the reflective process that has taken place when I reach conclusions about things.

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