Posted in Freedom, The Word, Theology

Why the Armor of God? Hasn’t Christ Already Won?

Question: Our only confusion with last night’s content has been the seeming contradiction that the battle has been won but yet we are to put on the armor of God and do battle / war.  Is it as simple as taking our stand and claiming the victory?  It’s not so much that we have to engage against Satan (we are in a war?) but to simply stand victorious, right? 

This is a very good question and one that we need to understand!  Let’s look closer at the tense of some of the verbs in this passage.  (NOTE a word-for-word translation like the King James, New American Standard, or ESV shows this much more clearly)  Here is the ESV of Ephesians 6:13-18

13 Therefere take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand firm. 14 Stand therefore, having fastened on the belt of truth, and having 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 up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming darts of the evil one; 17 and take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God, 18 praying at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication. To that end keep alert with all perseverance, making supplication for all the saints,

Neil Anderson writes about this passage

“It would appear from the verb tenses in Ephesians 6;14, 15, that three of the pieces of armor—belt (truth), breastplate (righteousness) and shoes (peace)–are already on you: “having girded . . .”; “having put on . . .”; having shod. . . .” These pieces of armor represent the elements of your protection made possible when you receive Jesus Christ and in which you are commanded to stand firm. The Greek tense of “having” signifies that the action it refers to was completed before we were commanded to stand firm. That’s the logical way a soldier would prepare for action: He would put on his belt, breastplate and shoes before attempting to stand firm. Likewise, we are to put on the full armor of God after having already put on Christ.”

This is so powerful!  As with so much of Christ’s saving work there are past, present, and future ramifications of His victory. From this passage there are things that have already been done at salvation and these give us the power to stand in victory!  Yet the victory is not automatic.  We have responsibility to take up the shield of faith (believe), take up the helmet of salvation (renew our mind), and to pray (asking our Heavenly Father for His Spirit to help us and each other).

We are already seated with Him Ephesians 2:6, yet at the same time we are here on this earth, working to carry out His kingdom work.  Christ has already won The WAR and declared PEACE and He sat down, but the “Rebel Prince of this Age” continues to battle in pockets of resistance he has been temporarily allowed to have.  As the sons and daughters of God we are representing Him and proclaiming His PEACE to our generation; until Christ returns to finalize all things.

This past, present and future work is so clear in Hebrews 10:12-13, which reads:

But when Christ had offered for all time a single sacrifice for sins, he sat down at the right hand of God,  waiting from that time until his enemies should be made a footstool for his feet. For by a single offering he has perfected (made perfect) for all time those who are being sanctified (are being made holy).

This is also illustrated in the Old Testament when God told the people that the “Promised Land “ was already theirs, given to them as a free gift of God. However they had to be obedient to march around Jericho (on one occasion), and at other times to engage their enemy.


I hope help this helps all of us as we stand in the Victory that Christ won as we do our part. Praying that the eyes of our hearts may be open to see God’s amazing authority and power for us who believe!  Remember we don’t have to dispel the darkness, we just need to shine His Light in our own lives and in our world!

Posted in Culture, Productivity, Theology

God Will Not Do Your Part

God has set things up in a certain way and He has decreed that something’s are His responsibility and some things are our responsibility. The trouble is we tend to get those things mixed up. Based on our understanding of God (Theology) we either try to do things that are God’s responsibility or we want him to do things that are our responsibility.

In many ways it would be great if all we had to do was ask someone to pray for us and our issue would instantly be fixed. However, confession (admitting our wrong) repentance (changing our actions) and believing the truth have always been the answer and no one else can do those for us.

Most defeated Christians are hoping that God will change His ways to accommodate them. They want God to assume their responsibility, but he won’t. If we want to move on as a Christian; no one else can do it for us. God has already promised to be with us (Hebrews 13.5) and provide all that we need (2 Peter 1:3), but we must stop blaming and do our part.


Adapted from Freedom In Christ Discipleship Course p.227

Posted in The Word, Theology

Choosing to Believe God

Belief (Faith), at its foundation, is a choice. My wife recently shared a quote with me that says “It doesn’t take any more effort to believe that one can than to believe that one cannot.” However, in the Bible, there is a significant difference between Faith and Hope. Hope is based on circumstances that we desire to see. A wish that somehow things will turn out the way we want, but Faith in the Bible is based on promises; specifically the promises God has made to his children in the scriptures. One of my favorite verses has come to be 2 Peter 1:3-4

“His divine power has given us everything we need for life and godliness through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness. Through these he has given us his very great and precious promises, so that through them you may participate in the divine nature and escape the corruption in the world caused by evil desires.”

So it is placing faith in these “great and precious promises” that we are allowed to participate with God and enjoy the benefits of believe him. Recently, in our Freedom in Christ study, we compiled a list of promises that we associated with doubts and fears that are common to everyone. My wife typed up that list, which I’m providing to you below. Read over these every day and remember that God has ALREADY provided “everything we need for life and godliness”!

  • Why should I worry about the future when God holds the future and tomorrow will have enough worries of its own. Matthew 6:34
  • Why should I be consumed with thoughts about food for man does not live on bread alone but on every word that comes from the son of God and my heavenly Father already knows I have need of food and clothing. Matthew 6:31
  • Why should I concern myself with how I look in my clothes when God says my body is more than clothing. Matthew 6:27
  • Why should I insist on working out for my physical body to be “good enough” when my body is already a temple of the Holy Spirit.
  • Why should I believe that God is distant when he has promised to complete the work he has begun in me. Phil. 1:6
  • Why should I feel that I have to perform and achieve for God’s acceptance when God made Jesus who was sinless to be sin for me so that in him I might become the righteousness of God. 2Cor. 5:21
  • Why should I feel God will tell me no to a promise when all of the promises of God are yes in Jesus. 2 Cor. 1:20
  • Why should I feel that I am alone when Jesus said, I am with you always, to the very end of the age (Matt. 28:20) and that he will never leave or forsake me. (Heb. 13:5)
  • Why should I believe I’m worthless when Jesus died for me to have eternal life with the Father. John 3:16
  • Why should I feel depressed when I can recall to my mind and therefore have hope, because of the Lords great love we are not consumed for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. Lam.3:22,23
  • Why should I ever be in bondage for where the Spirit of the Lord is there is freedom (2 Cor. 3:17) and It is for freedom sake that Christ has set me free. (Gal. 5:1)
  • Why should I believe that any of my efforts will make me more accepted by God or anyone else when I am complete in Christ. (Col. 2:10)
  • Why should I believe that the enemy’s plan can prosper against me when I am born of God and the evil one cannot touch me (1 John 5:18)
  • Why should I believe that God isn’t listening to me when I have direct access to God through the Holy Spirit. (Eph. 2:18)
  • Why should I believe the thought patterns of the enemy when I am free forever from condemnation. (Rom. 8:1-2)

*Adapted from Neil T. Andersons “Who I Am in Christ” p.273

Posted in Family, Kids, Marriage, Parenting, Theology

Home Life Café Notes – Life Action Summit

These are my rough notes I took today at the Home Life Café’. The speakers were Steve and Steven Canfield.

These guys did a great job providing solid Biblical teaching around Marriage, Parenting, Dating, and Family in General.



Psalm 127:3-5


Behold, children are a heritage from the Lord,
    the fruit of the womb a reward.
Like arrows in the hand of a warrior
    are the children[a] of one’s youth.
Blessed is the man
    who fills his quiver with them!
He shall not be put to shame
    when he speaks with his enemies in the gate.[b



The Christian home is to bring glory to God.  It’s not that we don’t have dysfunction; it’s the way we deal with dysfunction (that is the witness that brings glory to God).


See your spouse as a precocious gift

See your kids as a precocious gift.


Invest your life and influence in other people’s children.




A. Not Based on Performance

        Unconditional Love


B. Based on their placement



C. Based on their preciousness as a unique person

        Sovereignty of God


How? With expressions of Love through

        Words “I’m proud of you”




Ask grown men what they wished their Dad’s would have said, most said they wish he would say “I love you”




Teach Well 

(Intentionality – it takes great effort to get God into their mental grid)

        Bedroom first – Marriage First

        Dining Room – Family 2nd (Talk with Kids)

Spontaneously… take every opportunity to point your family to Christ.

Be an Example – Live IT!  Be an example


Counter-Culture AND Culturally Relevant


PSALM 78 *- Is a great passage to help the kids understand the generations past and to for them to put their hope in God.






Do you know where your kids’ hearts are?



An accusation hardens the will, a question convicts the conscience.


On their birthday I would ask if I had let them down, or hurt them, in any way.

Ask their kids to ask for it.


Story:  about daughter who was still holding anger toward month, because her teacher that she had meet with her mom and her mom told the teacher that the girls was a liar.  The mom never said that, but the girl grew up hurt and mad at her mom for something she never said.  The devil can be like the teacher and accuse us and confuse our grid.




Waste Time with God (Without an agenda)

Waste Time with your Family (Without an agenda)


*Deal with the heart not just their Behavior.


The goal is to win and keep their hearts.  

To raise godly kids, not just good kids.




Training (High Control for Obedience) 0-5

Explaining (High content for Wisdom) 6-10

Sustaining (High Reiteration for Maturity) 11-18

        (Being sensitive to what God is telling them)

Remaining (High Encouragement for Godliness) 19- and on





In Conflict resolution (How did Jesus resolve Conflict? -Conflict)

In Entertainment (Give wisdom on what we choose-Choices)

In Hardship and unfair circumstances (Crisis)

In how they view other People and things (Culture)



TAKEAWAYS – Ask kids if they have something against me. Or some way I failed you?



The Forces of Darkness will carry out a strategy toward the destruction of your family on three basic fronts:

OUR FAILURES (See below)




FALSEHOOD and FANTICY* The Soil of Parenting is the resource from which your children draw nourishment.





By Confession of your wrong to your family.

Mom’s sin is more on the outside because of her personality and Dad’s is more on the inside.


Note the Deeper the failure the more difficult the reconciliation will probably be.





THE ONLY FAIR WAY (To Lovingly Discipline)

1. Establish these

We say, “Obey first time, every time.”

One Time

Normal Voice

Expect Obedience


2. Loving Discipline: Combating their on sinfulness

GOAL: Biblical Obedience Eph 6:1-3

(Difference in Rebellion and Childishness aka Immaturity)


Creative consequence for immaturity and forgetfulness


Spanking for Rebellion




  1. Confrontation (Don’t send them to their room; send them to your room) – Give them time to cool down


  1. Reflection (to cool time both them and you)) don’t spank in anger


  1. Verbal Correction


  1. Confession (What did you DO that was wrong? Don’t tell them) they need to verbalize their disobedient act.


  1. Confirmation (Eph 4:32 – be kind to one another) what does the bible say?
  2. Ask God to reveal lying and leave the Conviction to God.


  1. Physical Correction ((Spank in the Spirit)


  1. Restoration


  1. Care


  1. Repentance


Wise Protection from Fantasy and Falsehood


Word Based Filters  (Friend Filters – they will become like who they hang around)


Sleepovers – Nothing good 😉


Influences Filters (Teachers, Youth Workers, Coaches)

  Remember even bad filters are good.


Entertainment Filters

        Humanistic Lies


        Offensive Language

        Sexual Content & Humor



Dating Relationships Filters:

The Purpose of Dating should be to find a mate for the glory of God!


The Practices of Dating should be determined or approved by the parents not the children.


The Person for Dating should be filtered through biblical grid: (The person should be: Parental Blessing, Heart for God…. Submission to Authority…. Maturity)


The Purity of Dating should be initiated not assumed.



Remember we need to find from a spiritual vantage point

1. Expose you kids to people with a passion for God.


2. Provide resources for Spiritual enrichment


3. Encourage Spiritual Progress



Pray together as couple

Pray as family

Pray together daily

Develop family prayer targets


“Train up the way a child will go and when he is old (Puberty) he will not depart from it.  Your only have 12 years to train.


There is freedom in Simple Living

“Junk expands to fill the space provided”


Hudson Taylor (If he haven’t used it in a year; he would throw it away)



TIME AROUND THE WORD (Family Devotions)


-sing truth




Lure them to righteousness (Give temporary reward toward spiritual pursuits)

Develop ruts of righteousness. Paying for Reading the Bible, etc



Biblical Masculinity

Biblical Femininity


1. Confirm their Masculinity or Femininity from a young Age.

2. Spend time with them in gender focused outings

3.  Give them good role models to imitate 4.  Encourage their gender maturity.


Search for 32 Series and watch for how to parent boys.

Posted in Music, Theology

“My Hope is Built on Nothing Less than Jesus Blood and” (careful!)

I grew up singing this song in Church. It goes by the name “Solid Rock” or “My Hope is Built”


My hope is built on nothing less

Than Jesus’ blood and righteousness.

I dare not trust the sweetest frame,

But wholly trust in Jesus’ Name


A portion of the original lyrics have been included in a awesome song released by Hillsong United in 2011 called “Cornerstone.” Which is probably why it’s stuck in my head right now.

As I was humming through the original hymn this morning, I realized that the way I had thought about the words of this hymn were dangerously wrong!

It’s easy to think the song is saying that our hope is built on nothing less, that Jesus Blood and (Our) righteousness. Someone without a grasp of the good news could think this song was saying that our hope is built on Jesus death and on how good we live. Do you see that? I realized the original intention of the writer, Edward Mote (1834), was to say that his hope was built on nothing less that Jesus blood and Jesus righteousness. In googling it I did find a few lyrics that had been changed to say, “Jesus Christ, my righteousness.” I felt it was important to point this out. Recovering Pharisees like myself, may be tempted to attempt to earn a good standing with God.

As Paul wrote in Philippians 3:8-9,

“What is more, I consider everything a loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them garbage, that I may gain Christ and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ—the righteousness that comes from God on the basis of faith.”

In Christ Alone J!



Posted in Bloggers, Books, Culture, Education, Homeschooling, Kids, Leadership, Parenting, Technology, Theology

Navigating New Technology and Spirituality (Tim Elmore)

Last week I was able to hear Dr. Tim Elmore give a talk entitled, “Marching Off the Map: A Compass to Help the Next Generation Navigate New Technology and Spirituality”. Last year, after reading his book, “Artificial Maturity” I started following him at his website

Below are the notes I took during his talk. If you have or work with young adults (teens through 30 year olds) I suggest you start reading the blog , books, and resources from Growing Leaders.


This is the first generation that

  • Doesn’t need adults to get information (They need us for interpretation)
    • They don’t need us to access it but to process
    • Helping our kids learn how to think not what to think
  • Can broadcast their every thought or emotion
  • Enjoys external stimuli at their fingertips 24/7
  • In social contact at all times yet often in isolation 
    • Extremely social but not relational
    • Most sleep with phones
    • Showering with a cell phone
    • Low Emotional Intelligence for kids and Adults
  • Will learn more form a portable device than a class
  • Adults have actually been enabled to be narcissistic
    • Every year Narcissism is going up in Students
    • People are into themselves – Selfy Pics
    • However, The real world is not about them
  • Uses a phone instead of a wristwatch, camera, wall calendar or board game.


Dr. Elmore refers to the Millennial generation as, Generation iY, because life is pretty much about “i” (Self Centered)


Generation iY S.C.E.N.E

  • Accustom to S- Speed: They Assume Slow is Bad
  • Accustom to C- Convenience: They Assume Hard is Bad
  • Accustom to E-Entertainment: They Assume Boring is Bad
  • Accustom to N-Nurture: They Assume Risk is Bad
  • Accustom to E-Entitlement: They Assume Labor is Bad


So, How should we lead them?


1.  Don’t think Control, think Connect (Be authentic, Real)

        We must build bridges of relationships that can bear the weight of truth.

        Balance Screen time with face time. Every minute on device is a minute in person.

2.  Don’t think Inform, think Interpret (How think, not just what)

3.  Don’t think Entertain, think Equip. (Share why they need what we teach, before what)

        Churches are good at preaching, but not equipping.

4. Don’t think “Do It for Them”, think “Help Them Do It.”

        Let them fail (They took the monkey bars off playgrounds becuase we didn’t want them to get hurt now in their 20s they won’t take risk.)

5.  Don’t think Impose, think Expose. (Expose beats Impose every time)

6.  Don’t think Protect, think Prepare.

       Unbelievable, some school district no longer use Fs , the lowest is D is “Delayed Success”! Graces does not take away truth.

7. Don’t think Tell, Think Ask (Learn to ask good questions)

8.  Don’t think Cool, think Real. (To these kids the only thing that is worse than being uncool, is being unreal)

9.  Don’t thin Prescriptive, think Descriptive

10. Don’t Lecture, think Lab. (Missional experience: Serving Others)


Over the next several weeks I’ll be posting other notes from this conference (Catalyst 2013) I recently attended.

Posted in Books, Theology, TV

Removing the Dragon

The first time I heard this being read aloud, I got a bit emotional. In it Lewis depicts our (my) self-effort to remove our dragon, which can only be removed by The Lion Himself. Read and Worship J

(Photo taken from

“The water was as clear as anything and I thought if I could get in there and bathe it would ease the pain in my leg. but the lion told me I must undress first. Mind you, I don’t know if he said any words out loud or not.

I was just going to say that I couldn’t undress because I hadn’t any clothes on when I suddenly thought that dragons are snaky sort of things and snakes can cast their skins. Oh, of course, thought I, that’s what the lion means. So I started scratching myself and my scales began coming off all over the place. And then I scratched a little deeper and , instead of just scales coming off here and there, my whole skin started peeling off beautifully, like it does after an illness, or as if I was a banana. In a minute or two I just stepped out of it. I could see it lying there beside me, looking rather nasty. It was a most lovely feeling. So I started to go down into the well for my bathe.

But just as I was going to put my feet into the water I looked down and saw that they were all hard and rough and wrinkled and scaly just as they had been before. Oh, that’s all right, said I, it only means I had another smaller suit on underneath the first one, and I’ll have to get out of it too. So I scratched and tore again and this underskin peeled off beautifully and out I stepped and left it lying beside the other one and went down to the well for my bathe.

Well, exactly the same thing happened again. And I thought to myself, oh dear, how ever many skins have I got to take off? For I was longing to bathe my leg. So I scratched away for the third time and got off a third skin, just like the two others, and stepped out of it. But as soon as I looked at myself in the water I knew it had been no good.

Then the lion said – but I don’t know if it spoke – ‘You will have to let me undress you.’ I was afraid of his claws, I can tell you, but I was pretty nearly desperate now. So I just lay flat down on my back to let him do it.

The very first tear he made was so deep that I thought it had gone right into my heart. And when he began pulling the skin off, it hurt worse than anything I’ve ever felt. The only thing that made me able to bear it was just the pleasure of feeling the stuff peel off. You know – if you’ve ever picked the scab of a sore place. It hurts like billy-oh but it is such fun to see it coming away.

Well, he peeled the beastly stuff right off – just as I thought I’d done it myself the other three times, only they hadn’t hurt – and there it was lying on the grass: only ever so much thicker, and darker, and more knobbly-looking than the others had been. And there was I was smooth and soft as a peeled switch and smaller than I had been. Then he caught hold of me – I didn’t like that much for I was very tender underneath now that I’d no skin on – and threw me into the water. It smarted like anything but only for a moment. After that it became perfectly delicious and as soon as I started swimming and splashing I found that all the pain had gone from my arm. And then I saw why. I’d turned into a boy again.”

-C.S. Lewis, The Voyage of the Dawn Treader

Posted in Sports, Theology

Keep Your Eye On The Ball

I played organized baseball from the time I was 6 until the age of 17 (High School). I was a decent player as a kid, but the older I got the worse my hitting became. I went something like 1 for 28 my senior year (no I’m not kidding); it was humiliating. In the months that followed I searched for an excuse, which I finally found when I was diagnosed as having visual astigmatism. Finally, I thought to myself, I know now that I was a terrible hitter; it was simply because I could not see the ball.

Well as I learned today from this 1954 article from Sports illustrated<>, the fact is; no one can actually see the ball all the way to the plate. All pitches, even the slow ones (55mph), disappear about 20 feet from the plate; batters actually swinging blind. After reading this, and losing my excuse, this verse from 2 Corinthians 4:18 came to mind:

“So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.”

Could it be, that like hitting, life has some areas where we have to operate by focusing on the “unseen”? You may think it’s impossible to focus on unseen things, but somehow, there are people in this world, who can walk up to home plate and hit a ball they can’t even see. God has delivered to us the truth in the person of Jesus Christ revealed in the Bible. As you read God’s story you can sense Him coming toward you, but then it can seem as if he has disappeared. But that is when you have to swing and trust the unseen hand of God, and know that He is there. That my friend is called faith.


Posted in Family, Kids, Parenting, The Word, Theology

If We Could Just Understand Justification

For the past few years we’ve been teaching our kids the Shorter Catechism from the book “Training hearts Teaching Minds”. This week’s Catechism is about Justification. I can’t tell you how important it is that we understand Justification. I’m convinced that most Christians (me included) only get the “Jesus paid my debt part.” If only could fully understand that His righteousness is now ours- that changes everything!

From Page 111 on Justification.

    How can God accept us as righteous in His sight when we are not righteous at all? “He does so only because He counts the righteousness of Christ as ours.” Imagine that you need a great deal of money from something important. However, not only do you not have a great deal of money you are deeply in dept. Along comes your friend who has worked hard for years to build a big savings account in the bank. He feels sorry for you and offers to pay your bills. Now you are no longer in debt. This is something like Jesus paying for our sin by His death on the cross. Now we no longer owe God anything for all our sings against Him.

    However, just because your friend paid your debt does not mean that you have solved your problem. You still need a great deal of money and you have absolutely none. So now your friend does something else for you. He has your name added to his bank account so that now you can use all his money. This is something like Jesus living a life of perfect obedience to God in our place. He is the One who is righteous. He is the One who did the obeying, but all His righteousness is credit to us. God counts the righteousness of Christ as ours.


He made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.” 2 Corinthians 5:21