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Review of ‘The Full Armor of God’ by Larry Richards


Recognizing the spiritual warfare all around us may not be the difficult part of the Christian life. The difficult part is knowing exactly what Paul meant when he wrote Ephesians  while in Ephesus a place known for serving gods and goddess; demons.

Larry Richards, Ph.D. has written The Full Armor of God: Defending Your Life from Satan’s Schemes. The book, although somewhat brief, gets right to the point of how Christians should read Ephesians, Acts, and Luke in the bible. The author mentions plenty of historical, literary, and personal examples to highlight the fact that spiritual warfare is purely real and can be dealt with:

Recognition begins when we understand that real spiritual warfare takes place within the hearts and lives of individuals. Satan operates what Paul calls, “schemes”(18)

In our day to day events, demons watch for an open door in an individual’s life in order to cripple the believer. There is hope: Paul mentions a few weapons believers have in their spiritual arsenal to help fight the war against the enemy: The helmet of salvation, the shield of faith, the sandals of peace, the breastplate of righteousness, the belt of truth, and the sword of the spirit which is the Word of God.

We must understand that all of the weapons except for the sword of the spirit are defensive methods. The sword is the only offensive tool mentioned in Ephesians. This is amazing to know because Jesus used the Word of God to defeat the enemy for a season while he was on a fast.

Below is a breakdown of the chapters:

Part 1: Understanding Spiritual Forces

Part 2: The Helmet of Salvation(Ephesians 1:1-23)

Part 3: The Shield of Faith(Ephesians 2:1-10)

Part 4: The Sandals of Peace(Ephesians 2:11-4:16)

Part 5: The Breastplate of Righteousness(Ephesians:17-5:7)

Part 6: The Belt of Truth(Ephesians 5:8-6:9)

Part 7: Conclusion: Ephesians 6:10-20

So, what is my reaction to this book? Spiritual Warfare is personal to me to begin with because I have experienced it in my life and used to grab up any spiritual book I could to help me understand a little more. No book is better than the bible of course, but Larry Richards gives some healthy background and advice as well as more tips on combating the dark forces with the power Christ has already given us.

The book is concise, easy to understand, and perfect for anyone wanting to understand just what the full armor of God is.

*This book was received from Chosen Books for my unbiased review.

“Unclean spirits at the top”, poem based off of an exercise

*There are unclean spirits

and they don’t trust you

your name is amongst the

feared and it dirties

the talk, it cramps

their walk and they drive

The low and the downtrodden,

the saddened, the broken

hearts and those who work

at the bottom of hell

and come up streaked and hot

bloodied nails and sharpened

wit on wisdom is washed away

from the news and there is no mention of them

in politics

There is no mention of them

among the rich

no mention of them amongst their

own families and churches

I am talking about the poor.

A debate featured middle class woes who have

homes and their worst problem

is taxes and if their kids will get jobs

after college

What about you who want to get to college

or you who needs a job yesterday?

Did they mention you?

Perhaps they think its your fault

for not forcing them to give you

work but then that is illegal.

Or manipulating to get the job

but then that’s pawn shop bargaining.

The 99 are poor and can storm the doors

let’s not forgot who sweeps the floors

and those who need a little more

*************************************************

 

Here are words  in bold  I used for above poem:(this is based off of a poem exercise involving conversations and snatches of words I heard)

It works

is it clean

evil spirits

it’s not them

they don’t trust you

scared

she ignored me

middle class

Prose Parable: My Lord and the Frog

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I asked the Lord one day if one thing mattered:

Should I go to church?

 Hurt and pain glowed in his eyes

And I couldn’t fathom why.

“My Lord?” I ask. “What is wrong? Is it my question?”

By now the day has grown dark and the pond water becomes filled

with creepy things:singing crickets, hopping frogs, and nagging mosquitos.

His eyes were black as the night pond and his gaze caressed my soul-

such as a lover’s.

“My dear one,” he began. “Out of all the questions that could fill you up in one lifetime. In this expansive universe with all the glorious stars made from His Glory and Beauty, you ask if you must go to church?”

When he put it that way I felt a little silly, in fact I felt angry that I could be so dumb.

But he placed a hand upon a green lily, slid it over closer to the frog eying us.

It shot his long pink tongue; caught something- I yelped because it was so long and nasty!

From green came pink, then green tinted my skin( at least I’m sure it did)

The frog caught its ride, caught up in the rapturous moonlight RIBBIT was its call.

“The frog can be nice,” my Savior said. “Its tongue and preference are biologically wired but it must do this to live. Others may not like it, but the frog’s grand purpose is for this: To eat. And serve as a lesson for you.

“It does not care about congregating with others, although that can be nice and sometimes fruitful. But does being alone  negate its purpose? It catches the flies near your doorstep which if it hadn’t, the flies would have landed upon your food, birthed maggots, buzzed annoyingly in your ear. The frog does this and does not congregate. In fact if it was, it would miss its mission.”

I understood my Lord, but I secretly thought, “I am no frog.”

He smiled, a heavenly smile that made it turn day again. “All are small on this planet to Him who made you, but you are so significant. So precious.”

“I am told its important to fellowship. I must be in a church!” Desperation for a clear answer stained my voice. My Savior did not flinch. He knew everything.

“The world says you need it. Do you need it?”

“Sometimes.” Then I heard an owl say Hoo! “Sometimes.”

“Then if my word is being taught, if it is being lived out and if you can forgive each other in love, it should not matter where you fellowship. Do it in My Name. He is everywhere and in all places, you must choose to open your eyes and see Him.”

Free eBooks weekend: A look at ‘Dunamis Sanctum’ from ‘The Prayer Monologues’

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Church in Vienna at Night from Microsoft Images

Dunamis Sanctum

Daily, I watch the way of people,

Observing and finding flaws so openly hidden.

They do not know what I know.

Some call me shy or fearful

When I avoid their eyes and

Am slow to speak- but they don’t know what I know.

My power comes from abstract dreaming and imaginings

Which doesn’t happen often. Night visions from God

For the appointed time-secrets told in due time.

My smile fazes you,

My praise astounds you, and all the while,

The Holy Spirit slices you from bone to marrow…

***

My Note on why I wrote this poem: I wish I can say I was only inspired by the Bible, which is part truth, but the other half of it involve how I feel about people’s personalities in the church and how we all worship God in our own unique way and should never rely on others’ worship as a model for our own.

For instance, I have been to a church where if you don’t jump around or shout with tears flying around everywhere- then you must not have the Holy Spirit. In other churches, Westernized churches, if you don’t dress in a starched suit or take off your hat when you go inside you are disrespecting the Lord.

This is also not true.

So one day I found some words, either by reading or doing actual research- I don’t remember which and discovered dunamis sanctum- which in Greek means sacred power.  I prefer secret power, but it communicates who I am because I am typically a quiet person everywhere I go but God has deposited unique gifts in me as well and traditional churches can not manipulate that.

In the poem here I highlighted a few choice words and phrases. “Openly hidden” is an oxymoron although juxtapose to one another to convey a point about me. An oxymoron is a figure of speech that combines contradictory terms. How can something/someone be open and hidden? Well that’s me. A box of conradictions.

At Night is the hour/time I had dreams which were potent enough to manifest the next day or three days later. This doesn’t happen often though. I captialized the N in night because it is an important hour for me.

Finally, the last phrase, “The Holy Spirit slices you from bone to marrow” is just a comeback of what could happen to those who judges others. Learning God’s Word and languishing in His love while still doing kindly to our enemies who judge us is what heaps coals upon their heads. I put a different spin on it though.

That’s my explanation for this particular poem but you can enjoy the entire eBook for free at: https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/20106

A contemporary parable: The story of Yeres

Yeres

There once was a beautiful woman named Yeres, who was comfortable in the confines of her boudoir. Men came from all over the country, nearly the world to lay with her because the saying went: “She elicited unknown pleasures from men without producing of a child thus protecting him from his wife and his wallet. Yeres took a fellow to bed each night. Each night a different man whether of the religious cloth, a governor, prince or king. She began to tire of these fruitless nights.

She wanted a child.

She would think about how her mother prayed to this unseen god and would pray to his faceless face and Yeres would laugh inside. “There is none but us mother,” she’ll say after her mother’s prayers. But one day, after a gentle prodding from somewhere, Yeres went into the Night Temple and offered a prayer to the top of the dome. She could not dig to find tears. She was a hard woman.

Nothing happened.

Photographer/ miyukiutada

The next night, Yeres went into the Night Temple and offered a prayer and a few more moments of worship. She did this for three successive nights. Nothing. She did not feel warm inside, instead, she felt even more alone than before. She went to the witches, the soothsayers, the astrologers to give her some guidance and direction and they all told her the same thing: “Your womb is closed.”

One night, while everyone was asleep in the village, Yeres thought: “I don’t want to pray for a child if my womb is closed. God has saw fit for me to remain in my boudoir.” She instead prayed for her long lost sister, whom she hadn’t seen in years. She prayed for her dying king, and she prayed that the rains would bring forth a good harvest this time. After a few days, the townspeople noticed a gray storm appearing overhead and a great burst of cool, rain melted upon the earth. It is said that the king’s spirits rose great that day and a stranger- a woman who looked like Yeres came into town, with a small child in her arms.

Yeres met the woman and it was confirmed they were sisters. The child was sweet and warm. A little girl with a smile like sunshine. Yeres sister had not long to live but commissioned Yeres to care for her little girl once she left the Earth.

Yeres kept that promise.

Copyright© 2012 Erica Jean Smith

All Rights Reserved

A christian whose versatile with choice of reading material-any harm in that?

 

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I promised in my last post to explain what it means to be versatile with genres of choice to read and write. I suppose there are many reasons why people choose the books they read- emotions and moods, curosity, work, school reports. anything.

My aunt one day handed me this thick, pink book of Inspirational Fiction with Christian themes- they were all romances and I read the book and actually loved it. I fell in love with Romantic CF but soon I fell in love with another genre- African American Romance/ Erotica while in college. After that I discovered YA books again with the introduction of Twilight in 2008.

Alright. That’s the watered down version and will be saved for a longer diatribe. The fact is I love to read. If there is a story I can relate to or wish to relate to then it is okay with me. I love storytelling and enjoy the many trips fiction has taken me on. I’m sure you know what I mean fellow reader/viewer/writer. It’s the best!

Different books have shown me different facets of my own heart:

R.L. Stine/Horror: showed me I can be spooked from the pen of an author and what power words can have.

Christopher Pike/Speculative-Horror: Christopher Pikes books took me to places where vampires can cry and young girls could be gods, and there is an answer to the afterlife if we search hard enough.

Christian Fiction/General: Helps me to see my life struggles and happiness are not my own. Some books have actually helped me with my prayer life!

African American Romances: Black women need love too :) Yeah thats all I got out of most of them…

So here I am,  a Christian Fiction Examiner who promotes these works to another kind of demographic. Am I a hypocrite for this? Aboslutely not! Books rooted in a certain theme or religion are not bad books if the writing is good. Period. However I am born human first with many sins and my color, culture and religion all come after that fact(singer Erykah Badu can explain this better than I can!) Anyhow, I have learned so much spirituality from secular fiction as I have from Christian Fiction. Put another way:

Secular Fiction= the reality of the need for a Savior.

Christian Fiction= needs to write more about the need for a Savior and not just those who are already saved.

For now I am comfortable in my skin, enjoy good music, books, and what I write about. All these things are me.

Question: Why do you like Christian Fiction/Secular/Both?

‘Falling in Love With the Bible’ by Mike Macintosh

Falling in Love with the BibleFalling in Love with the Bible by Mike MacIntosh

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Just trust Him, just love him. He loves you.

Why not plunge ahead and believe?

No, this isn’t a romance novel I’m reviewing, although I love sappy stories. I am talking about Macintosh’s book on loving what the bible has to offer. I suppose God’s way of romancing us…

Once I cracked open the pages and dived right in, I closed the book and thought, “Let me think like an unbeliever so I can see this with fresh eyes”
And that’s what I did.

Mike Macintosh’s book is refreshing and deeply spiritual. He may talk about the bible, but it all goes back to the Author who inspired it: God. He tells us that as a young man he sought many gurus and mystics and other “enlightened” teachers and it was only when he came across his old pal the Bible that he realized what was missing.

The Bible is not a book that only “old people read” and a person can’t call themselves a literary scholar, or a scholar at all without including the bible in his or her studies. This means the bible is such an important reference tool for living and I was amazed, even after so many years, to discover that most women and men in the Bible suffered and went through the same trials I/we face today.

So what other refreshing points caught my eye while reading?
• Reading and studying the bible is important for cultivating a relationship with God(pg. 203)

• God is not silent, he does speak(pg. 204)

• If you have not read the bible for yourself and in its entirety, suspend judgment of it.

• “Most people are bothered by those passages of Scripture they do not understand, but the passages that bother me are those I do understand.-Mark Twain
• Our pride keeps us from seeking God’s Word as counsel.

• The Scriptures tell dozens of stories on the importance of community and fellowship, studying the Word together with other saints and friends strengthens us daily.

• Having a problem? Identity crisis? Seek the bible. There’s a person in there you may identify with who was scared and lonely too, or just as confused about life as you are.

• When you read the bible, pray, seek the Holy Spirit, and keep dictionaries and commentaries handy- just in case.

Book Details:
Falling in Love With the Bible
Mike Macintosh
Published: Victor, a Cook Communications Ministries(2005)
ISBN: 0-7814-4136-6

View all my reviews