There is no other name but Jesus whereby we must be saved. Welcome to my blog: In Him Only. I hope you will be encouraged by what you read.

Sunday, January 23, 2022

Abundant Counselors - part two

 

Today we continue our series regarding the ongoing, deadly spiritual war raging around us. Scripture warns us so often about that supernatural battle, that for us to close our eyes to it is to do nothing less than INVITE disaster into our lives and our homes.

 

Last week I introduced us to the series with a text from the book of Proverbs. That text forms the foundation for these messages: For by wise guidance you will wage war, and in abundance of counselors there is victory.” (Proverbs 24:6)

 

And so, I asked the rhetorical question last week, “Where then can we find this wise guidance with which to wage war? And where can we find counselors to advise us in those battles?”  The answer, of course, is in God’s word and only in God’s word.

 

I also said last week that Satan didn’t tempt Adam and Eve to murder, steal, or cheat. He tempted them to question the word of God. His tactics haven’t changed. God’s word, and God’s word alone, provides us the SUPERNATURAL ammunition and the supernatural guidance and the supernatural counsel utterly necessary to successfully engage in this supernatural battle against the supernatural enemy.

 

I hope you noticed how often I repeated the word, ‘supernatural.” I did so because we cannot battle with our natural flesh and abilities the supernatural enemy.

 

That’s why the psalmist counseled us toward God’s supernatural counselors: “Your servant meditates on Your statutes. Your testimonies also are my delight; They are my counselors. (Psalm 119:23b-24) That’s why the Lord tells us again and again, His word is a lamp to our feet and a light to our path (see Psalm 119:105); And we must ever keep before us the words of Jesus who said, “I am the Light of the world; he who follows Me will not walk in the darkness, but will have the Light of life.” (John 8:12).

God has given us multiple infallible counselors to offer us guidance through the battles we face. We can find those counselors living between the covers of the Bible. Last week we looked at what counselor Moses has to say to us in that first chapter of Genesis to help us in our supernatural battle. What he said about God’s sovereignty is a critical part of the Christian’s supernatural armor and weaponry.

Today I want to look again at counselor Moses and the warfare strategy he gives us. This time we move to the book of Exodus. Many of you will recognize this text from chapter 20 of that book:

“I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery. “You shall have no other gods before Me. “You shall not make for yourself an idol, or any likeness of what is in heaven above or on the earth beneath or in the water under the earth. You shall not worship them or serve them; for I, the Lord your God, am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children, on the third and the fourth generations of those who hate Me, but showing lovingkindness to thousands, to those who love Me and keep My commandments.

 

“You shall not take the name of the Lord your God in vain, for the Lord will not leave him unpunished who takes His name in vain. “Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy. Six days you shall labor and do all your work, but the seventh day is a sabbath of the Lord your God; in it you shall not do any work, you or your son or your daughter, your male or your female servant or your cattle or your sojourner who stays with you. For in six days the Lord made the heavens and the earth, the sea and all that is in them, and rested on the seventh day; therefore the Lord blessed the sabbath day and made it holy.

 

“Honor your father and your mother, that your days may be prolonged in the land which the Lord your God gives you. “You shall not murder. “You shall not commit adultery. “You shall not steal. “You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor. “You shall not covet your neighbor’s house; you shall not covet your neighbor’s wife or his male servant or his female servant or his ox or his donkey or anything that belongs to your neighbor.” (Exodus 20:2-17)

 

Since the psalmist counsels that God’s word is a light to our path (Psalm 119:105), and the apostle Paul counseled that the sword of the spirit is the word of God (Ephesians 6:17), then we should pay attention to what God’s counselors tell us and ignore what false teachers tell us, especially when they try to persuade us with their demonic theology such as how we must unhitch ourselves from the Old Testament. They tell us to do that because (they say) the law of the Old Testament has been superseded by the New.

 

For example, a megachurch pastor in Georgia said of the Old Testament, specifically about the Ten Commandments:

 

“The old covenant law of Moses was not the go-to source regarding sexual behavior for the church. More importantly . . . the Law and the Prophets as they called it — was not gonna [sic] be the go-to source regarding any behavior for the church . . . “In other words  . . . You are not accountable to the Ten Commandments.” https://thingsabove.us/andy-stanley-unhitch-old-testament/

 

He added: Jesus’ new covenant . . . does not need propping up by the Jewish scriptures. https://answersingenesis.org/christianity/andy-stanley-says-we-need-to-unhitch-the-old-testament-from-our-faith/

 

Now my point is not to discuss what sounds like this pastor’s resurrecting the ancient heresies of Marcionism – which negated the Old Testament and the Old Testament God – and Antinomianism – which takes the principle of salvation by grace through faith to the extreme point of proclaiming that Christians are not bound to follow the moral law contained in the Ten Commandments.

 

Listen, please. THAT is absolutely false teaching. And do not doubt for a moment that Satan uses that lie to weaken Christians for the battles we face. After all, if we unhitch ourselves from the Old Testament scriptures, we also unhitch ourselves from the multiple INFALLIBLE counselors God gave us in those Old Testament scriptures.

 

Remember, Satan did not tempt Adam and Eve to murder or steal or cheat. He tempted them to doubt God’s word.

 

The New Testament did not abrogate or do away with the Ten Commandments. When Jesus said all the law and the prophets rest on the two commandments of ‘love God’ and ‘love your neighbor,’ in Matthew 22:36-40, His listeners could not understand what that means if they tossed aside the Ten Commandments. And neither can we understand Jesus’ remarks if we get rid of the Ten Commandments.

 

The first four commandments of the Decalogue deal with our relationship with God – how to demonstrate our love for Him. The last six commandments define how to demonstrate our love for our neighbor.

When anyone tells us we do not need to follow the Old Testament teaching about faith and morals, they are spewing a lie straight from hell. When St Paul, in 2 Timothy 3:16, said “all Scripture is inspired by God,” he was speaking specifically of the Old Testament. Without the moral teaching embedded throughout the Old Testament scriptures, warnings such as this next text by Paul to the Christians in Ephesus would give the Christians there no reference point to determine moral lifestyles:

 

“But immorality or any impurity or greed must not even be named among you, as is proper among saints . . . For this you know with certainty, that no immoral or impure person or covetous man, who is an idolater, has an inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and God.” (Ephesians 5:3-5)

 

That is why the apostle added in the next verse this warning – not only to the Christians in Ephesus, but also to Christians in Georgia and every-where else in our world: “Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of these things the wrath of God comes upon the sons of disobedience.” (Ephesians 5:6)

 

In this spiritual battle against a supernatural enemy, we strip ourselves of our defensive and offensive weapons when we dismiss the Old Testament counselors from informing our lifestyle in the Church age. That’s why Satan raises up teachers who teach that kind of hellish theology – so as to weaken our defenses.

 

No one – including that megachurch pastor – no one can fully understand the theology of the New Testament without first understanding the theology of the Old. It was St Augustine of Hippo – certainly one of the more brilliant theologians in the entire history of the Church – who said the Old Testament is revealed in the New, and the New Testament is concealed in the Old.

 

Even a cursory study of the Bible demonstrates that truth again and again. For example, how can we know what it means that Jesus is a ‘propitiation for our sins’ in places such as Romans 3 and Hebrews 2 if we did not know about the propitiatory sacrifices of the Old Testament?


If we unhitched ourselves from the Old Testament, we could not know what the writer of the book of Hebrews meant when he calls Jesus our high priest after the order of Melchizedek. Without counselors such as Moses and King David, we would not know the role of the Levitical priests, and the reference to Melchizedek. In fact, if we knew nothing of Melchizedek from the Old Testament, then the entire 7th chapter of Hebrews would be unintelligible.

Speaking of the Old Testament moral laws, listen to the counsel from the psalmist in psalm 119: “How blessed are those whose way is blameless, who walk in the law of the Lord. How blessed are those who observe His testimonies . . . How can a young man keep his way pure? By keeping it according to Your word. With all my heart I have sought You; Do not let me wander from Your commandments. Your word I have treasured in my heart, that I may not sin against You. Blessed are You, O Lord; Teach me Your statutes.” (Psalm 119:1-12)

 

Here also is Jesus in Matthew’s gospel: “Do not think that I came to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I did not come to abolish but to fulfill. For truly I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away, not the smallest letter or stroke shall pass from the Law until all is accomplished. (Matthew 5:17-18)

 

When Jesus met His two disciples along the road to Emmaus, counselor Luke tells us Jesus said to them: O foolish men and slow of heart to believe in all that the prophets have spoken! Was it not necessary for the Christ to suffer these things and to enter into His glory?” Then beginning with Moses and with all the prophets, He explained to them the things concerning Himself in all the Scriptures.” (Luke 24:25-27)

 

I hope you can see how critical to our defense in the supernatural battle is our knowledge of the Old Testament – and not just our knowledge of it, but also our obedience to its teachings of morals and faith

 

One reason, I am sure, Satan wants Christians to disregard the Ten Commandments under the pretext that it no longer applies to us in the Church era – one reason is that in those Commandments, Moses gives us important guidance in this battle for our souls. I hope you will take the time to reread the Ten Commandments later today and spend time thinking about how those timeless truths apply to you in the 21st century.

 

So, for the remainder of today’s message, let’s look today only at a couple of those commandments. First, Thou shalt have no other gods before Me.”

 

Jesus repeats this commandment about idolatry in different words to His disciples: “He who loves father or mother more than Me is not worthy of Me; and he who loves son or daughter more than Me is not worthy of Me. And he who does not take his cross and follow after Me is not worthy of Me.” (Matthew 10:37-38)

 

St James defines idolatry as giving homage to anything or anyone above the homage due only to God: You adulteresses, do you not know that friendship with the world is hostility toward God? Therefore, whoever wishes to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God. Or do you think that the Scripture speaks to no purpose: “He jealously desires the Spirit which He has made to dwell in us”? (James 4:4-5)

 

And in his letter to the Christians at Colossae, St. Paul counsels us about covetousness, which is a form of idolatry (Colossians 3:5). Jesus said essentially the same thing in Matthew chapter 6, “You cannot serve God and mammon (Matthew 6:24).

 

So, let’s stop a moment and make some application of the Ten Commandments to ourselves in the 21st century. As for the first commandment, do I really love God above all things, or have I put other things like family, money, friends, and entertainment ahead of Him?

 

Do I make time for God each day in prayer? Have I endangered my faith by reading horoscopes or watching movies and television programs that are opposed to godly faith and morals? Am I whole-hearted in following God’s teaching or do I pick and choose the convenient parts of His message? Have I tried to learn and understand my faith better? Have I been willing to defend and practice my faith in public and not just in private?

 

These are serious questions and our answers help reveal to us our love for God above all else. We can expect to be unsuccessful in this supernatural warfare if God is not the primary love of our life.

 

And then what about the commandment, “Thou shalt not kill”? (The Hebrew is better translated, “Thou shalt not murder”). Do I harbor an unforgiving spirit toward someone? Do I support so-called ‘mercy killing’ and abortion or infanticide by voting and supporting politicians and organizations which promote those evils?

 

And what about the commandment about bearing false witness?  Do I make a practice of lying? Do I participate in uncharitable talk or gossip? Do I faithfully keep secrets, or what others tell me in confidence?

 

God has given us counselors – INFALLIBLE counselors to guide us through the minefields planted by the enemy of our souls. From Moses to John the apostle, and the dozens and dozens of counselors in between the pages of Scripture, if we throw out Moses and the prophets, we doom ourselves to disaster in this supernatural battle.

 

Do not listen to false teachers – regardless of their popularity, their title, or their academic degrees. The Pharisees and Sadducees of the first century were well-educated in their seminaries. And what did Jesus say of them? He told His disciples to ‘beware’ of their teaching (Matthew 16:12).

 

God has given us infallible counselors in both Testaments, counselors who have very much to teach us regarding faith and morals – instructions that transcend time and culture. Do not dismiss any teachers and guides whom God has given us for the battle.

 

We will continue our series about our counselors next time.

 

Thursday, January 20, 2022

How Then?

 

Throughout sacred Scripture, the Holy Spirit gives us a plethora of examples of godly men and women who chose obedience to God – even if such obedience would cost their lives. And make no mistake, it is to our undoing that we ignore their examples.  

 

Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego are only three examples of those whose faith deserves to be imitated. They, along with Daniel and hundreds of other young men from Israel had been taken captive to Babylon by the despotic King Nebuchadnezzar. We find that detail in chapter one of his Daniel’s book. 

 

It strikes me as curious that Daniel mentions that only he and his three friends refused to participate in the surrounding pagan culture: Four men among the hundreds of Jews then living in Babylon. Yet, those four remained faithful to the God of Israel, even though He had exiled them from their homes, their families, their friends, and all things familiar.  

 

You probably also know the story of Shadrach and his friends and the fiery furnace. The king demanded everyone in any position of leadership in his kingdom to bow before a huge idol he’d set up in one of the provinces of Babylon. Those who refused would be cast into the furnace flames.  

 

But despite the threat, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego would not bow the knee to any idol, even on pain of death. It could be said that they each lived out the declaration of Job centuries earlier: “Though He slay me, yet I will trust in Him.” (Job 13:15)  

 

We pick up the furnace story in Daniel 3 - “Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego replied to the king, “O Nebuchadnezzar, we do not need to give you an answer concerning this matter. If it be so, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the furnace of blazing fire; and He will deliver us out of your hand, O king. But even if He does not, let it be known to you, O king, that we are not going to serve your gods or worship the golden image that you have set up.” (Daniel 3:16-18) 

 

To summarize their stunning defiance and defense in 21st century jargon, they said to the king who was known for his ferocity and savagery, “O king, make no mistake about this point: Our God is not impressed by your authority, and He certainly can deliver us from your furnace. But, if He decides not to do so, then so be it. We will not bow to your culture or your idol. Do with us then as you will.” 

 

They said, “Do with us as you will.” That sounds a lot like what St Peter and the other apostles said to their malevolent leaders – “We must obey God rather than men” (Acts 5:29). 

 

Of course, Shadrach and his companions are not the only examples Scripture gives us of faithful servants of God. Puah and Shiphrah are two more. Moses tells us they were midwives in Egypt during Israel’s bondage to that nation (See Exodus 1). When the Pharaoh feared Israel might become too powerful, he demanded the midwives kill all the boys as they were being born. 

 

According to some Bible scholars, there were three million Jews living in Egypt at the time of the Exodus. We can safely surmise half of that number were women. Now, while not all would be pregnant or giving birth at the same time, it’s hard to imagine that only two midwives could meet the needs of every woman about to give birth. Yet, Moses mentions only two who had decided to disobey the king. What about the other midwives scattered across the land of Goshen? Were they complicit in Pharaoh’s culture of death? Were they the ancestors of their 21st century great-great-grandchildren who promote abortion and who vote for those who kill babies in the womb and those exiting the birth canal?

These two stories from Judeo-Christian history are important for the lessons they provide Jews and Christians today. How then shall we live in the year 2022?  

 

It is wholly insufficient to simply attend synagogue services each Sabbath, or Church services each Sunday, or Mass each day, if we are marching in lockstep with the godless culture around us. 

 

God is not at all impressed by our religiosity. He is nauseated by our meticulous checking off the right boxes to ‘prove’ our spirituality. 

 

Here is what God told Israel what He thought about their religious rituals: “I hate, I reject your festivals, nor do I delight in your solemn assemblies. “Even though you offer up to Me burnt offerings and your grain offerings, I will not accept them; And I will not even look at the peace offerings of your fatlings. Take away from Me the noise of your songs; I will not even listen to the sound of your harps. But let justice roll down like waters and righteousness like an ever-flowing stream.” (Amos 5:21-24) 

 

And here is what Jesus will say to those at the Judgment who think their rituals and sacraments pleased Him: “Strive to enter through the narrow door; for many, I tell you, will seek to enter and will not be able. Once the head of the house gets up and shuts the door, and you begin to stand outside and knock on the door, saying, ‘Lord, open up to us!’ then He will answer and say to you, ‘I do not know where you are from.’Then you will begin to say, ‘We ate and drank in Your presence, and You taught in our streets’; and He will say, ‘I tell you, I do not know where you are from; Depart from Me, all you evildoers.” (Luke 13:24-27) 

 

God never requests us to be holy in our lifestyles. He demands that we be holy. 

 

How then should we live? God tells us often enough, but here are only two of which the Lord reminds me often enough: How can a young man keep his way pure? By keeping it according to Your word” (Psalm 119:9), and from Luke 6:46, “Why do you call Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ and do not do what I say?” 

 

Oh, Holy Spirit, create in us a clean heart. 


Sunday, January 16, 2022

Abundant Counselors

 

Sermon January 16

Abundant Counselors

 

 

Christian, pay attention! We are at war. An active, ongoing, deadly spiritual war. We’ve examined the evidences of that war many times over the years that I’ve been privileged to teach and preach here. I bring the truth of this warfare to our attention as often as I do so that we do not let the devil – the enemy of our souls, the one who started this deadly battle in the first place in the garden of Eden – that we do not let him seduce us into sleeping while the battles come to our doorsteps. We must never be ignorant of Satan’s strategies – the most powerful perhaps is the one that lulls us into complacency about the battle.

 

In the past few years, I twice preached a series of messages around the theme of our spiritual armor. Why? Because I know for certain that God wants you and me to be fully aware of the battle raging all around us in the generally unseen and unheard realms of the supernatural world.

 

St. Paul spoke of spiritual armor in his epistle to the Christians at Ephesus. Here is a portion of chapter six of that letter: For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places. 13 Therefore, take up the full armor of God, so that you will be able to resist in the evil day, and having done everything, to stand firm.” Ephesians 6:12-13

 

And the Holy Spirit inspired Paul to warn the Christians at Corinth, For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war according to the flesh, for the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh, but divinely powerful for the destruction of fortresses.” 2 Corinthians 10:3-4

 

Today I will begin a new series of messages along the theme of spiritual warfare, but this time looking at the battle from a different angle than in the past.

 

Solomon wrote many wise maxims. One in particular captured my attention the last time I read through Proverbs. It’s from chapter 24: For by wise guidance you will wage war, and in abundance of counselors there is victory.” (Proverbs 24:6)

 

If we want victory in this battle, then we must fight the fight God’s way.

The ancient Chinese General and military strategist, Sun Tzu, lived in the 6th century B.C. But his military strategies continue to influence 21st century politics, cultures, and modern warfare. One of the axioms Tzu successfully practiced in war was this: “If you know the enemy and know yourself, you need not fear the result of a hundred battles. If you know yourself but not the enemy, for every victory gained you will also suffer a defeat. If you know neither the enemy nor yourself, you will succumb in every battle.”

What this means for the Christian in this deadly spiritual battle is this: If you know yourself in so far as your utter dependence on the supernatural help of God to vanquish your satanic enemy – you need not fear at all the outcome of any battle. You might remember what the warrior king David publicly admitted to everyone who cared to listen, For by You [God] I can run upon a troop; And by my God I can leap over a wall.” (Psalm 18:29)

 

But if we do not properly assess our significant limitations to engage in a supernatural battle, then we should expect defeat time and time again.

 

So, once again I repeat Solomon’s words: “By wise guidance you will wage war, and in abundance of counselors there is victory.”

 

Where then can we find this wise guidance with which to wage war? And where can we find counselors to advise us in those battles? Well, everyone who tries to walk daily with Christ knows the answers to those questions.

 

Christian, hear this: Satan didn’t tempt Adam and Eve to murder, steal, or tell a lie. He tempted them to question the word of God. His tactics haven’t changed. God’s word, and God’s word alone, provides us the SUPERNATURAL ammunition and the supernatural guidance and the supernatural counsel utterly necessary to successfully engage in this supernatural battle against the supernatural enemy.

 

That is why the psalmist counseled: “Your servant meditates on Your statutes. Your testimonies also are my delight; They are my counselors. (Psalm 119:23b-24)

 

And it is why God said to Joshua: This book of the law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do according to all that is written in it; for then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have success.” (Joshua 1:8)

One of the evidences that we are in a PERSONAL spiritual battle is confusion, especially to be confused as to questions of right and wrong. Scripture tells us “God is not a God of confusion, but of peace.” (1 Corinthians 14:33). No, God is not the author of confusion, but Satan is its author. He is also the author and the ruler of darkness. You’ll find that text in Ephesians 6:12.

And so the Lord tells us again and again, His word is a lamp to our feet and a light to our path (see Psalm 119:105); And we must ever keep before us the words of Jesus who said, “I am the Light of the world; he who follows Me will not walk in the darkness, but will have the Light of life.” (John 8:12).

I want to pause here just a moment and ask the question: Are you in spiritual or emotional darkness? Are you confused how to proceed? Are you unsure of the right way to respond? Then hear it again where you can find your sure guidance:

A long time ago, Saint Augustine lived as a perverse miscreant. A long time ago, but his story can just as easily be your story, and mine. When he finally came to himself, he realized the depth of the darkness of his life. It was at that point he began to seek God. One day, while sitting in a garden, thinking about the many wrong turns in his life, he heard the voice of a young child at play a short distance away. The child called out, “Pick up and read. Pick up and read.”

Intuitively, Augustine knew what the message meant. He walked back to the bench where he had been reading a Bible. He picked it up and read the first verse that came to his eyes. It was this: ‘Not in carousing and drunkenness, not in sexual excess and lust, not in quarreling and jealousy. Rather, put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the desires of the flesh.” (Romans 13:13-14).

So, do you want clarity and light in your situation – whatever might be your situation? Do you want to be victorious in this battle? Pick up and read. That’s the overriding theme of the series of messages we will be examining over the next several weeks. Pick up and read what the Holy Spirit’s messengers have to say. Let them be your counselors in this ongoing and daily battle. Pick up and read. This is not an exhortation to pick up and read casually. It is not to skim the pages looking for the key word or phrase to answer your need. No, no. It is an exhortation to get down to business with God, to seek His wisdom as you might seek wealth. God promises us, God promises YOU: You will seek Me and find Me when you search for Me with all your heart.” (Jeremiah 29:13)

At the beginning of this series, I urge you and myself to be victorious in the battle. Pick up and read consistently, devotedly, prayerfully. The Bible has many counselors, and we will spend considerable time looking at what many of them have to say.

So, on that subject of Biblical counsel, we look at our first counselor: Moses. What does he have to say that is directly related to the warfare strategy of seeking God’s word for safety, direction, and guidance in this supernatural and PERSONAL battle?

To answer those questions, let’s look at his words as we find them in Genesis 1: “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. The earth was formless and void, and darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was moving over the surface of the waters. Then God said, “Let there be light”; and there was light. God saw that the light was good; and God separated the light from the darkness.” (Genesis 1:1-4).

Counselor Moses tells us up front, before He tells us anything else about life and faith, heaven and hell – he tells us God ‘IS.’  That He is eternal, omnipotent and omniscience and omnipresent.  You will remember how the Psalmist counsels us in Psalm 139 – ‘where can we go from God’s presence?’ The answer? Nowhere. Not on earth. Not under the earth. Not in the universe above the earth. God is everywhere.

Moses tells us here in Genesis 1 that God is the creator of all things visible and invisible. Using no other mechanism, God created all there is by simply speaking them into existence.

And that knowledge is a critical weapon in the Christian’s arsenal in his or her personal spiritual battle – to know in our heart of hearts that God is still sovereign over all nations and all national leaders. Thus it is no wonder that the prophet Isaiah wrote:Behold, the nations are like a drop from a bucket, and are regarded as a speck of dust on the scales; Behold, He lifts up the islands like fine dust.” (Isaiah 40:15)

And again, God counsels us through Isaiah: “I, even I, am He who comforts you. Who are you that you are afraid of man who dies and of the son of man who is made like grass, that you have forgotten the Lord your Maker, who stretched out the heavens and laid the foundations of the earth, that you fear continually all day long because of the fury of the oppressor, as he makes ready to destroy?” (Isaiah 51:12-13)

Did you catch that counsel? Even as the enemy – human or supernatural – even as they prepare themselves to destroy, God says, “Focus on the One who Himself holds all power and who, with a word, can take the life-breath from any of our enemies.” Or as the writer to the Hebrews told us to fix ‘our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith.”

Counselor Moses also tells us in the first few verses of Genesis that on that first creation day when darkness was nearly palpable, God created light itself. This is before God created the sun, the moon, and the stars on the fourth creation day to give light to the earth.

That is another important weapon in your quiver of arrows of faith! God created light itself. Why? So, we would not walk in darkness. In fact, Counselor John the Apostle tells us the new heaven and new earth will have “no need of the sun or of the moon to shine on it, for the glory of God has illumined it, and its lamp is the Lamb.” (Revelation 21:23)

Again, I ask it, Do you feel as if you are walking in darkness? Are you confused as to the right path? Come to God’s light found only in His Word. Come to His counselors found only in His word. Seek Him with all your heart in His word.

I used to tell my nursing students that the time to discover your patient’s room needs emergency equipment is when you first come on duty and conduct your room assessment along with your patient assessment. In other words, is oxygen and suction equipment already at the patient’s bedside and ready to be used within moments of an emergency?  If it is not, then that is the time, during your initial room assessment, to get those supplies set up. I told them the time to discover they need emergency equipment in the patient’s room is NOT when they actually need emergency equipment.

 

In the same way, NOW is the time and TODAY is the day to assess whether your spiritual armor is fully intact, or if you need to shore it up here and there. Today is the day you need to assess if you are sufficiently intimate with the many counselors within the pages of Scripture, or do you need to begin a concerted program to BECOME intimate with them.

 

The time to discover you need to know your bible better and that you need to know GOD better, is NOT when the emergency is upon you.

 

Solomon counseled us to wage warfare by wise guidance, and “In the abundance of counselors there is victory.”

 

God has given you and me an abundance of godly and INFALLIBLE counselors – Moses, Joshua, David, Solomon, Isaiah, Joel, Amos, Matthew, Peter, Paul, and dozens and dozens of others.  We cannot be successful in this spiritual battle unless we actively SEEK their guidance and follow their counsel – because their guidance and counsel are Almighty God’s guidance and counsel.

 

To that point – that we all become more familiar with the counselors of Scripture, I’ve prepared a handout itemizing my suggested Bible reading plan. I’ve spoken of this in the past, and I do it once again because some of you have never heard me speak of it. My plan is surely not the best plan available. But it works for me and it has worked well for others.

 

I call my plan the ‘2+2 = 1+3’ Bible reading plan. If you read two chapters of the Old Testament every morning and two of the New Testament every evening (or vice versa), by the end of the year you will have read the Old Testament once and the New Testament three times (2+2=1+3). On average it takes less than 10 minutes to read two chapters of Scripture. 

 

In five years, you will have read the Old Testament five times and the New Testament fifteen times. In ten years – well, you can do the math. With so much of God’s word sown year after year in your heart, think how the Holy Spirit will mature you more quickly into the image of Christ. 

 

God’s word is a lamp to our feet and a light to our path. But a light is useless unless we turn it on.