Ephesians 6:14-18
Stand therefore, having girded your waist with truth, having put on the breastplate of righteousness, and having shod your feet with the preparation of the gospel of peace; above all, taking the shield of faith with which you will be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked one. And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God; praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, being watchful to this end with all perseverance and supplication for all the saints”

In Chapter 5, Paul compared our relationship with Jesus as a walk. Now he compares it to a battleground. We are told we have an enemy, the devil, who plans strategies against us. His goal is to get us to fall into sin, or to live so self-consumed, we have little or no positive effect upon others for the kingdom. As we watch him at work in the pages of God’s Word, we see his method is to use fear and discouragement, as well as to tempt us with the pleasures of the world. Here, Paul explains how we can be prepared for the daily battle we face. His description is of a soldier girded for war. Each element of his armor is designed to deal with a different attack.

The belt of truth refers to the Word of God. Having sound knowledge of Biblical doctrines will keep you from being misled by the subtle schemes of the enemy. Daily reading, and weekly Bible Study, will help prepare you for these attacks. The breastplate protects the heart from mortal wounds. Notice, our breastplate is the righteousness we receive when we trust in Christ for salvation. Daily failures can discourage the believer from moving forward. Those are the times when we look at the cross, remember our sins were paid in full, and His righteousness was given in exchange for simple trust. Since the Christian life is a journey, shoes are important, and we wear Gospel shoes. Everywhere we go, we should seek to take the light of the Gospel of the glory of Jesus with us. When we go on the offensive, we are less likely to be tripped up by the simple things.

Next, Paul mentions a weapon that is, in his own words, more important than all the rest. He states, “above all take the shield of faith.” Faith is critical to our journey and the battle. Faith has become a very mystical word, hard to define. It simply means to trust. If we are going to withstand the enemy’s attacks, we must put our confidence in the promises and warnings of God’s Word. Too often, we ignore the warnings of the Word, thinking somehow we are the exception to the rule. The shield of faith is activated when we choose to trust the Word of God over emotion, circumstances, and the voice of others.

As the breastplate protects the heart, the helmet was designed to protect the head. Head injuries can be mortal or can simply knock us out of the fight for a while. The mind is the battlefield where the enemy discharges his greatest attacks in the night hours, after an argument, before a decision, or in the midst of temptation. The mind becomes a battlefield where war is waged against us. The secret to victory is the helmet of salvation. When we remember what we have been saved from, what we have been saved to, and how God wants to use us in the salvation of others, our minds become filled with the very things which will help us withstand the attack.

Finally, Paul speaks of an offensive weapon. He tells us we have been equipped with a sword, but not just any sword. This is the Sword of the Spirit, defined as the Word of God. Since I have no military training, I am pleased to read that it is the Spirit’s sword. When we open our mouth and begin to share the promises of the Word with others, the Holy Spirit takes those words and uses them like a sword to impact the heart. How often have you heard the Word of God spoken and been convicted, encouraged, empowered or directed? The Holy Spirit will do the same through you, as He has done in you.

Gird up guys, it is time for battle!

Pastor Jim


Love Walks 

Ephesians 5:2
And walk in love, as Christ also has loved us and given Himself for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweet smelling aroma.”

The Christian life is like a journey. It begins when we put our trust in Christ for salvation, and ends as we cross the finish line entering into glory. In an age of high-speed travel, we often endure the journey for the sake of the destination. I have sat next to people on airplanes who were “white knuckling” the arm rests. I could tell they hate the idea of flying, but it was a necessity in order to reach their destination. The Christian life is not like that. The journey is as important as the destination. Walking, because it is such a slow means of travel, allowed for fellowship, life lessons, and teaching times to take place between Jesus and His disciples. He desires the same for us. As we go through life, we should see each day as a walk with the Lord. A walk in which we can commune with Him and learn from Him. Here in Ephesians Paul exhorts us on how to walk and what paths to take as we journey with Jesus toward glory.

“And walk in love, as Christ also has loved us…”

Whenever the weather allowed it, my parents would take an evening stroll together. I would watch as they walked out the door and down the drive. They were not walking to get anywhere in particular, they were never in a hurry and to my knowledge, they never came back with anything more than what they left with. These walks were simply a time to hang out together and talk about the things which concerned them. Sometimes the discussions would be deep and important, other times light and casual. Though they never used this term, we might call these “love walks.” Paul is reminding us, our walk with Jesus is a walk of love. He reminds us of the love Christ has for us, demonstrated by giving Himself for us as a sacrifice for sin. He then exhorts us to return that love by treating others the way Christ has treated us. If the golden rule is to ‘do to others what we want them to do to us’; this rule is platinum. Love like you have been loved by God. That love involves setting a godly example for others by removing sin from your own life.

“Walk as children of light…”

Light and darkness are often used metaphorically in Scripture. The life we lived before meeting Jesus was a life of darkness. We behaved the way we did because we did not know any better. However, when we met Christ, the light was turned on, and we saw life in a brand new light. Paul is reminding us that in our walk with Jesus, there are paths which we must avoid. Paths leading to the behaviors we were involved in before Christ are off-limits to us. Instead, we should be taking steps toward finding out what is acceptable to the Lord. As you go about your day, facing its opportunities and challenges, what steps do you take to search out what is acceptable to God? Are your decisions based upon what you think, feel, or have heard from others, or do you take time to consider the Word of God, to find the ways of God? Remember, the Psalmist told us, His Word is like “a lamp unto my feet and a light to my path.” (Psalm 119:105)

“See then that you walk circumspectly, not as fools but as wise”

Circumspectly means carefully. By using this word, Paul is reminding us that while we are on a love walk with Jesus, the path we are on has some pretty serious pitfalls. There are times when we face great danger as we walk with the Lord, and the key to success is to be careful. He tells us, this walk is no place for folly. A word that could simply mean not to goof off. We might scold our children to stop fooling around, because the situation is dangerous and they need to be sober-minded. While there certainly is a need to take our relationship with the Lord seriously, the Psalmist used the word ‘fool’ in a different context. He stated, “the fool has said in his heart that there is no God” (Psalm 14:1). The greatest folly we need to avoid as we journey with Jesus, is living as though there is no God. Making decisions without seeking Him, neglecting to spend time in His Word, in prayer, in service, and attempting to do things our own way, or in our own strength, is folly.

Paul reminds us, while we may be walking pretty slowly, time is running out. Soon, each of us will reach the end of our journey, and find ourselves face to face with Jesus. It is important that we take time, today, to consider how we are walking.

Pastor Jim



Ephesians 4:11-12
And He Himself gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, and some pastors and teachers, for the equipping of the saints for the work of ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ”

The Church was designed by God, purchased with the blood of Christ, birthed by the work of the Holy Spirit, and plays a very important role in the life of the growing Christian. It is no wonder the devil spends so much energy trying to keep us from church. Many have had their feelings hurt by the way they were treated at church. For some the church put expectations upon them, making them feel as though they were only valuable because of their talents or treasures. Others have felt neglected. They have gone to church for a period of time, and when things became difficult, they felt as though they were abandoned. All of us have had the weekly struggles that make it difficult to even attend. When Sunday morning comes along, the kids wake up sick, we get in an argument with our spouse, or we are simply worn out from a long work week. The list of oppositions to simply getting in the door of our church is longer than my fingers can type. I think it is critical to remember, the reason there is so much opposition to regular attendance is because of the valuable role the church plays in your life and Christian growth.

“And He Himself gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, and some pastors and teachers”

When writing to Timothy, Paul stated, the church was the “pillar and foundation of the truth.” In other words, the primary purpose of the church is to hold up the truth of the Word of God. Peter was exhorted by Jesus to feed the sheep. In Acts, we read the Apostles gave themselves continually to the Word of God. While church provides a place for corporate worship and to establish godly relationships, the primary role of the church is to teach you the Word of God. In order for that to happen, God has given to the church the gifted men listed here. Their role was to dish out the Word of God to the people.

For the equipping of the saints for the work of ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ”

The reason the Word of God plays such a crucial role in the church, is because of the effect it has when taught. Paul states, these gifted teachers were given to the church so believers would be edified and equipped. The word ‘edify’ means to build up. It was a word which had its place in the construction world. After a foundation was laid, a building was constructed or built up. The Word of God has the ability to do that for the believer. As we are daily beat down by the obstacles we face in the world, the church was designed, by God, as a place for us to go hear the Word and be built up again. When we neglect gathering at our local church, we miss out on being edified with the Word.

Paul also says the Word of God has the ability to equip for ministry. Ministry is a big word which speaks of the things done for the furtherance of the Kingdom of God. It would include sharing Christ with unbelievers, helping to disciple Christians, young and old, and training the next generation of Christian leaders. It refers to things that are intrinsically spiritual, like preaching the Gospel or teaching the Bible, but would also be concerned with setting up chairs, cleaning windows, running sound or picking someone up for church. It was never the intention of God that the work of the ministry be done by the professionals. Instead, He desires that we all recognize we have been called to the ministry, and attending church where we are taught the Word of God, is what equips us for the task.

It is important that we recognize the value of gathering regularly with our local church. The New Testament speaks of the people gathering at least every week on the Lord’s day. I understand, we all face opposition to attending regularly, but I also recognize the opposition comes from the devil, who wants to keep us from being equipped and edified. Before I end, allow me one more thought. Live streaming the services to your living room is a great blessing. To be able to listen to the Bible studies when we are sick, injured or away from our church is a great benefit, but it does not replace the need for regular attendance. It is hard to do the work of the ministry, if you are not physically in attendance. Enjoy the luxury, but don’t neglect showing up and getting involved.

Pastor Jim

Exceedingly Abundantly 

Ephesians 3:20
Now to Him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us”

Prayer is the great privilege of the Christian. With it, we are given access to the throne of God. Every care, no matter how small, can be cast at His feet. Every mountain, no matter how large, can be removed through prayer. Prayer was a daily activity in the life of Christ. He rose early for prayer; stayed up late into the night praying. He prayed before making decisions, facing obstacles or simply to give thanks to the Father for what He had provided.

Prayer was an important part of the life of the Apostles. They were taught to pray, by Jesus. After His resurrection, they often gathered for prayer. Through prayer, they learned to wait on the promises of God, seek the mind of God, and receive strength from God.

Prayer is a common subject in the Epistles. Just as the Apostles were taught by Jesus to pray, and had seen the effectiveness of prayer in their lives and ministries, it was important they teach us to pray. Why then do we often neglect to pray? Is it possible we neglect praying because we are afraid that it may not work? Sometimes, when faced with obstacles, we try using our own strength, wisdom and resources. When that does not work, we seek the strength, wisdom and resources of others. It is only when those fail that, as a last resort, we begin to pray.

“Now to Him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us

Paul had a different view of prayer. He believed the power of God was sufficient to do all that he asked. No matter what obstacles Paul faced, he knew God was able. But his view of the ability of God did not stop there. He also believed God was able to do more than he asked. He describes the power of God as exceedingly, abundantly above whatever obstacle he was facing; and we know the apostle faced some pretty serious obstacles. He believed in a big God, and as a result, was not afraid to ask big things from God. He even prayed that we would be “filled with the fullness of God.”

That view of prayer comes from good theology and good practices. In other words, Paul knew who God was. He had read story after story of men and women facing obstacles much bigger than themselves. Rather than relying on their own resources, they sought God and found Him able. Paul did not stop with the stories of others. When faced with his own obstacles, he sought God, and as he prayed, he found that God was able. Prayer is something that is best learned by doing. Classes on prayer have their place, but nothing beats falling down before the Lord, crying out to Him, and seeing Him do exceedingly, abundantly above what we asked for.

Can you Imagine, you are given a key that gives you access to the vault of the world’s largest bank? Whenever you are faced with a financial crisis, all you have to do is take out the key, and access the vault. Can you also imagine the folly of not using the key because you are concerned that it might not work?

Let’s pray!

Pastor Jim


Raging Rapids 

Ephesians 2:1
“And you He made alive, who were dead in trespasses and sins”

When I was a child, my family lived in a house located at the bottom of one hill, and the top of another. Whenever one of the neighbors up the street would wash his car, a flowing river would form in the gutter outside the house. I can vividly remember using the debris to create obstacles, rapids, and even dams. I would run up the street with small plastic boats filled with passengers and drop them into the river. As they traveled downstream, they would be tossed about by the currents heading towards the rudimentary dam designed to stop them. Often, the flow would become so strong the dam would burst, sending the toy boat and its occupants rushing toward a large drain that went deep underground to the sewers. Frantically, I would run after the small boat, hoping to rescue it from impending doom. Whenever I read Paul’s description of the world, found in Ephesians 2, I am reminded of those toys heading toward destruction, and my frantic attempts to rescue them. Paul describes every person who has not yet received Jesus Christ, as being like a dead body floating downstream, and heading for eternal loss. He also describes God as the great Savior, who reached down to rescue all who will cry out to Him.

Ephesians 2:4-5
“But God, who is rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in trespasses, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved).
. . ”

Every person alienated from Christ is dead in sin, and destined to live eternally separated from God. Although it is impossible for us to understand the true danger we are in, we can get a glimpse of our horrible condition by observing God’s actions to rescue us. Paul describes God’s great love producing rich mercy, and stirring Him to come to the aid of man, by sending His only Son. The cross is nothing short of a rescue mission. God does not want anyone to suffer the horror of spending eternity apart from Him. He has done all, to make a way for each and every one of us to be saved. All that is required of us is to believe and receive.

Ephesians 2:8
For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God. .”

Unlike the plastic passengers in the gutter river, we have all been given free will, and the ability to choose for ourselves. Many, realizing their hopeless state apart from Christ, cry out to Him, and are delivered from spiritual death and eternal loss. Others, seem to be enjoying the thrill of the ride so much they are unwilling to cry out for deliverance. They may see the dam breaking, yet think they can ride it out just a little longer, failing to realize how short life is and how suddenly death appears. Still others refuse to believe they are in any danger. They make up their own reality, removing God, sin, and judgment from their thinking. They carry on in life as though they will never answer for the sins they have committed. Acting like Jonah, and going to sleep in the storm, does not remove the reality of where the boat is heading. It is high time we all wake up and cry out to our loving Savior to rescue us from wrath.

If you want your sins forgiven join me in prayer. “Dear God, I confess that I am a sinner and recognize that You are the Savior. I ask that you would forgive my sins, enter into my life, and help me to follow after You.”

If you prayed that prayer contact me at

Pastor Jim


Apostle’s Prayer 

Ephesians 1:16
“I do not cease to give thanks for you, making mention of you in my prayers . . .”

Prayer is the place where we express our greatest desires. It is at the Throne of Grace our hearts pour out their deepest cries to God. Paul spoke to the Romans about those times when our hearts cry is so great, it is manifested with “groaning’s that cannot be uttered” (Romans 8:26). Here we find the Apostle crying out in prayer for the saints and we learn what his greatest desires are for the Christian. His prayer consists of four requests.

“May God give to you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of Him . . .”

Jesus defined eternal life as “knowing God”. It is when we receive Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord, that we begin a relationship with God. Paul’s plea is for us to know Him better. The knowledge that He is speaking of is not the knowledge of information, but of relationship. He wasn’t praying for us to simply know more facts about God, but that we would experience more of God. This is something that will happen as, daily, we spend time with God, in the pages of His Word, and apply the things we read to our daily living.

“That you may know what is the hope of His calling . . .”

Next Paul prayed that having begun to know God better, we would get to know His calling on our lives. Discovering the will of God for our lives is a daily adventure, but can be guided by understanding some general principles about the call of God. According to Scripture, we have been called out of the world. That does not mean that as Christians we are to isolate ourselves from anyone who is not a believer, but we are to separate ourselves from the behaviors we practiced before coming to Christ. We have also been called to holiness. Holiness could be defined as living in a way that is well pleasing to the Lord. As a Christian, our first goal with every decision we make, or activity we are involved in, should be to please God. We have also been called to service. As a Christian, we are part of the growing Kingdom of God, and should be actively participating in seeking to win others to Christ.

“What are the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints . . .”

The word inheritance speaks of something that is received. When a person dies, they often leave a will which distributes their goods as they wish. Because of the death of Jesus, all who trust in Him for salvation receive eternal life as an inheritance. It is a free gift given in response to simple faith. That being said, notice Paul is not praying regarding our inheritance but His. What is the inheritance Jesus received as a result of going to the cross? Simply put, His inheritance is you. Hebrews 12 tells us it was the joy of receiving you as an inheritance that motivated Him to endure the suffering and shame of the cross. Think about that. Jesus considers us to be a rich and glorious inheritance, worthy of all the suffering He was forced to endure at Calvary. One of the most important things we must settle, if we are going to follow Jesus, is that He loves us and wants to do great things in and through us.

“What is the exceeding greatness of His power toward us who believe . . .”

Finally, Paul prays regarding the exceeding, great power of God. This power is more than sufficient for any obstacle in its way. That is not true of my power. There are many things I cannot lift, push, climb over, under or around, but the power of God is more than able. Perhaps the most encouraging thing Paul says about the power of God is that it is “toward us.” In other words, when we decide to follow Jesus, the exceeding, great power of God is now on our side, enabling us to walk with Him and serve Him. There are so many obstacles that seem to impede our walk with God. We face the difficulties of our own flesh, as well as the fears connected with any task into which He leads us. We can be encouraged by the fact that whatever He calls us to, He has the power to accomplish. As always, we cannot focus on our weaknesses, but must fix our eyes upon His strength.

Let’s pray these same things for ourselves and for one another.

Pastor Jim