Saturday, March 18, 2023

Jerusalem Shall Be Holy

Bobservations' Column
Pastor Bob Lawrenz

I cannot think of the Book of Genesis without thinking that it took less than two full chapters for man to fall into temptation, and the entire rest of 66 Books by 40 individual scribes to fix things in a promise of restoration. Mankind sure can make a mess of God’s handiwork, can’t we? I shudder to think of what the Lord thinks of transgenderism. We are not getting better; we are getting worse! Talk about your major reconstructions!

Yet our patient Lord is slow to anger and abundantly pardons. If you have checked Google-Earth lately, you already know how miniscule humans are, but like “army-ants” we sure are capable of a lot of damage.

Today’s third chapter of Joel would seem to be the end of His Chosen People. The Battle of Armageddon (Har’ Megiddo), aka, the Valley of Jehoshephat, looks bad for God’s people. The armies of the world are drawn in, gathered by God, and He pleads for His people. They have been scattered, the land divided up, and drawn lots for the slavery of the Jews, young boys to be used as harlots, and girls sold for a bottle of wine.

(While I apologize for the imagery, this is what the Lord is describing, not me. This is His Word!). If you are having trouble thinking that mankind could sink that low, then please think about Jeffery Epstein on steroids!

This is a chapter about total social breakdown, and Armageddon is in full swing, therefore the Church is already Raptured into Heaven to be with Jesus, and the Holy Spirit came with us because His dwelling place is with men.

I Thessalonians 5:9 says that we are not appointed to wrath, and Armageddon is God’s wrath towards an unbelieving world and those left behind, after the Rapture. So then, without the Holy Spirit on the earth, all bets are off, and mankind sinks to their most base desires! There is nothing to hold him back from trying everything and anything. The visual is one of total chaos. And like King Solomon, only emptiness will be found.

“Give place unto wrath, for vengeance is mine, saith the Lord.” Romans 12:19
The commencement of God’s pay-back begins; eye for eye and tooth for tooth.
His punishment matches the crimes against His land and His people. THEN…
Restoration and hope… Joel 3:20, “Judah shall dwell forever, and Jerusalem from generation to generation."


Thursday, March 16, 2023

Cry Out To Jesus!

Truth In A Nutshell
Pastor Bob Lawrenz

Sit down with Pastor Bob Lawrenz as he shares an important word from scripture. These short episodes are straight to the point and very practical for your spiritual understanding and growth, to challenge you to walk closely with the Lord and Meditate on His Word.

We live in a world that suffers because of sin. However, God is still in control, and His purpose is stated in Romans: “And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.” 

The remedy for the cause of sin is that we all be born of the Spirit.  We must humble ourselves before God, plead for His mercy.  We must recognize that we completely lost without Him.

Remember when Jesus said that He has overcome the world. This is the hope that we have in the midst of our trials and difficulties. We live in a dangerous and unpredictable world, yet we can still have joy because our souls are anchored in the Lord. 

Jesus is our hope and anchor who will keep us in the midst of storms. He is the one who is able to keep us steadfast and unmovable in spite of the tides of life. Don't look to the world for help, CRY OUT TO JESUS!

Saturday, March 11, 2023

Who Shall Bring Them Down

Bobservations' Column
Pastor Bob Lawrenz

Last week we looked at the prophecy of Joel 2 in our end-times series. We will take a detour for a week and come back to Joel chapter 3 next week. This detour will help provide context and history about the enemies of God and Israel who will be aligned with all the other enemies of God and Jesus Christ in the end-times and last days.

Today, we will be looking at Obadiah, the shortest Book of the Bible. Along with the other “Minor Prophets,” there is nothing minor about their content, nor their message. We find that Obadiah’s words provide evidence for a date some 90 years before Joel, or about 900 B.C.!

Internal evidence seems to indicate that Obadiah’s ministry was during the reign of Atheliah’s son Ahaziah. The northern tribes had set up their own King, Joram, who was the son of Ahab, who married Jezebel! (Ref. 2 Kings 8:16-26). Ahaziah was King over Judah (the southern tribes.) Turmoil followed, as Ahaziah was also the son-in-law of Ahab, and Ahaziah “did that which was evil in the sight of the Lord.”

Obadiah’s prophecy denounces the Edomites, descendants of Jacob’s brother Esau. The region in which they lived was south of the Dead Sea, east of the Jordan River rift. The area includes the cities of Petra and Bozrah, built up by the nomadic tribe of the Nabateans, who used the region to tax the trade routes through the Middle East. Petra is a notable city and is described by Obadiah. Though the Edomites inhabited the area, it was the Nabateans who drove them out, westward into the Negev Desert of southern Israel, and the region known as “Idumea.”

The core problem of world politics is revealed in Obadiah’s 10th verse, 1:10. This single chapter book provides reasons for God’s displeasure and gives us insights into the continuous upheaval in World politics, particularly in the Middle East.

The Bible contains the written record of the land purchase where Jerusalem sits; the ascension of David to his throne; and the written record of Jesus as a descendent of King David.

Upon Jesus return to Earth, He will rightly take the throne of His Royal Ancestor, David, and reign over the whole Earth.

“The heavens are Yours, the Earth also is Yours, the world and all of its fullness” (lyrics from a worship song).

Today's Audio Message
Obadiah 1:1-21 - "Who Shall Bring Them Down"


In last week’s message, Pastor Bob taught the prophecy of Joel from chapter 2 in our end-times series. Today, we are taking a little bit of a detour to shortest book of the Old Testament, Obadiah, but what a brilliant prophetic gem. Next week we will come back to Joel chapter 3.

By studying Obadiah, Pastor Bob will help provide the context and the history about the enemies of God and Israel, and according to scripture these will be the same enemy nations who will be aligned against Israel and God in the end-times and the last days.

Here we read a harsh declaration by a prophet named Obadiah against someone named Edom (means red). But just who is Obadiah and who is Edom whom he preaches against?

The name “Obadiah” means “servant of God.”

The Edomites were the descendents of Esau (who is Edom), a proud, bitter, and resentful people, ever seeking an opportunity to harm Jacob’s  (who is Israel) descendents.  We could say the antagonism between the two nations began when “the children struggled within her,” Gen. 25:22. 

Israel, the offspring of Jacob, who stood in the line of God’s blessing, was opposed by the offspring of Jacob’s brother Esau—the Edomites.  The interrelationship between Esau and Jacob, that is, between Edom and Israel, serves as an illustration on at least two levels.
  • First: the persecution and hatred of the descendents of Jacob by the descendants of Esau resulting in the downfall of Edom in history past.
  • Second: the persecution and hatred of Israel by the Gentile nations of the world in their ongoing opposition to God’s will resulting in the judgment of the Gentile nations at the time of the end.
Through the combing of sin by Esau, Jacob, and their mother Rebecca, the line of promise from Isaac fell to Jacob. Esau’s sin was that he lightly esteemed his birthright and sold it to his brother for some lentil stew (Gen. 25:34). Rebecca’s and Jacob’s sin was the deception of Isaac which resulted in him giving his blessing to Jacob, the younger, rather than Esau, the elder (Gen. 27).

When Esau discovered that the blessing had gone to Jacob, he urged his father Isaac to rectify the situation. Yet Isaac-recognizing the hand of God in all that had transpired-said:  "Behold, I have made him thy lord, and all his brethren have I given to him for servants; and with corn and wine have I sustained him: and what shall I do now unto thee, my son?" He went on to say, “By thy sword shalt thou live, and shalt serve thy brother; and it shall come to pass when thou shalt have the dominion, that thou shalt break his yoke from off thy neck.” - Genesis 27:37-40

From that point on, Esau hated His brother. After Isaac dies, Esau threatens to kill Jacob.  Esau turns from God and his family and goes to Mt. Seir.  Jacob flees to his uncle Laban in Haran. It is there that Jacob marries Leah and Rachel who, along with their maids, give birth to the twelve tribes of Israel.

Obadiah’s words go out against Edom. The Edomites were a force to be reckoned with as they were rugged, fierce warriors who made their home in the cleft of the rocks. Spiritually, they were indifferent to God, full of pride because of their earthly wisdom, political alliances and even how their city was made of rock. All of these things were called out where judgment was promised to come.

God influences the nations to rise up against Edom (vs 2), and in consequence the nations despise Edom's military strength.  Edom is deserted by friends and allies, neither wisdom, nor courage of soldiers will save them.   Edom will be humiliated in spite of her seeming impregnable position “in the clefts of the rock,” a stronghold called “Petra,” (a rock) and easily defended through the protection of high cliffs. 
Israel will take flight to Petra during the second half of the tribulation period.

Edom's downfall is their pride, similar to that of Lucifer (Isaiah 14). God hates a prideful heart, especially one that thinks they are untouchable, divine and all powerful. Pride, arrogance and vindictiveness (never missed an opportunity to torment Israel when they were unable to defend themselves), these were Edom's sins.

Edom is judged for her opposition to God’s chosen nation: Israel.  She, of all nations, should have known better-being the descendent of Esau the twin brother of Jacob and who had first-hand knowledge of the promises bestowed upon Jacob-who is Israel-by God.

God rules in this world and He turns the course of nations and history as he pleases. If this were not so, he could not promise Judah that he would cut off Edom and establish Jacob.

The coming judgment of the nations of the world in relation to their rejection of God and their treatment of God’s chosen nation Israel. The mistake which Edom made in refusing to acknowledge God’s choosing of Israel is to be repeated on the stage of world history, but ultimately by the Gentile nations of the end time.

As we continue to move forward in history toward the Second Coming of Christ, it is critical for Christians to understand this issue concerning the treatment of the nation of Israel in God’s eyes.

Obadiah 1:15-18 speaks to Edom – both in the time of Obadiah and in the future Day of the Lord.  It speaks to all the Nations – in the future Day of the Lord, and to the House of Jacob, house of Joseph = the descendents of the man Jacob, Israel, the Jewish nation. Obadiah compares Edom’s interaction with Israel with the interaction of the Gentile nations in their treatment of Israel prior to the Day of the Lord.

Israel will be vindicated (vs. 17-18).  Edom, "your deeds shall return on your own head." Edom and the nations of the world will drink the cup of God's wrath.

Finally, Obadiah reveals the sequence of events associated with the arrival of God's Kingdom on earth.
  • a) Day of the Lord? Gentile nations judged as Edom.
  • b) Triumph of the Jews over their enemies.
  • c) Final restoration of Israel to her land.
  • d) Establishment of God's Kingdom on Earth.
Who shall bring them down?  God will.

Saturday, March 4, 2023

Blow The Trumpet in Zion!”

Bobservations Column
Pastor Bob Lawrenz

The prophecy of Joel in the Book that bears his name is surely hand-in-glove with the end-times studies we embarked on several weeks ago. As with most of God’s prophecies, there is the near fulfillment, and a yet future fulfillment of His Word. The near, or soon fulfillment is in place to let the nation of Israel know that the prophet speaking is a true prophet. The secondary, or future fulfillment is to let the Church and the whole world know that the God of Israel is truly God, and that Jesus His Son has been given full authority over all things (Colossians 1:12-19).

There are parts of both the near, and the future in this chapter, as we shall see. It’s a fitting time to review His teachings on the end-times because so much that we read and hear in the media is exactly what the Lord wants us to see as prophetic fulfillment, encouraging His people to turn to Him. We read in the New Testament that the Lord does not want His believers to be ignorant, so these prophecies are vitally important, especially as we see their fulfillment for the second time.

The words of God’s prophecies are not vague, but quite the opposite. They are direct and clear to those in whom His Spirit lives. If we have placed our trust in Jesus Christ and trust also in His Word, then we shall know what God has spoken to His people since the beginning, and we shall know what He is saying to us today.

For believers, God’s prophecies represent the worst of times, and the best of times: the worst of times because there is so much iniquity and unbelief in our world today, and believers know what awaits those that reject our Lord Jesus. It is the best of times because believers know what awaits us. It is the fulfillment of His glorious promises, and an eternal inheritance for us.

This bitter-sweetness is often difficult because we can see friends and family that embrace this world, knowing all the while that they might well miss a glorious future in heaven. BUT! Take heart dear ones, it is not up to us to save anyone. We are told to share what we know of Jesus and His promises, that’s all. It is the work of Christ and His Holy Spirit to make believers of them. It is up to Him to bring all whose names are written in the Lamb’s Book of Life into a glorious future with Him!
“I (Paul) have planted, Apollos watered; but God gave the increase.”  1 Corinthians 3:6

Sunday's Audio Teaching
Joel 2:1-32 - "Blow The Trumpet In Zion!"


The book of Joel gives some of the most striking and specific details in all of Scripture about the day of the Lord—days cloaked in darkness, armies that conquer like consuming fire, and the moon turning to blood. Rooted in such vibrant and physical imagery, this time of ultimate judgment, still future for us today (2 Thessalonians 2:2; 2 Peter 3:10), makes clear the seriousness of God’s judgment on sin.

The day of the Lord, which is a reference not to a single day only but to a period of judgment and restoration, consists of three basic features: The judgment of God's people; The judgment of foreign nations; The purification and restoration of God's people through intense suffering (Joel 2:1-11; 2:28-32; 3:1-16).

This is a sounding of the alarm... A WARNING, and a call to repentance. Joel is prophesying of the devastation to the land of Israel as armies from other nations came against them, but also to the future as he foretells of the day of the Lord, which is a reference to God's wrath being poured out upon this world, and unbelieving Israel. The description is detailed and frightening. This would be a horrific chapter if it were not for the promise of hope.

Besides being a time of judgment, it will also be a time of salvation as God will deliver the remnant of Israel, fulfilling His promise that “all of Israel will be saved” (Romans 11:26), forgiving their sins and restoring His chosen people to the land He promised to Abraham (Isaiah 10:27Jeremiah 30:19-31, 40; Micah 4Zechariah 13). The final outcome of the day of the Lord will be that “And the loftiness of man shall be bowed down, and the haughtiness of men shall be made low: and the Lord alone shall be exalted in that day.” (Isaiah 2:17). The ultimate or final fulfillment of the prophecies concerning the day of the Lord will come at the end of history when God, with wondrous power, will punish evil and fulfill all His promises.

Once again, God gives fair warning but also calls the people to repent and return to Him. 

The Lord is still jealous for His people and His land, and we can be sure that He will keep His covenant with Israel.

The coming Day of the Lord of which Joel speaks is not to be feared by believers, but it should be feared by the nations who are the enemies of God, and the enemies of His people.

The chapter ends with Joels reminder of God's promises, and that everyone who calls on the name of the LORD will be saved. (Joel 2:32)

Saturday, February 25, 2023

I Am Against Thee, O Gog

Bobservations Column
Pastor Bob Lawrenz

As with the previous chapter, today’s opens with a clear statement: “I am against thee, O Gog.” It gives Gog, and his country Magog a clear warning. And when we read this line, it’s impossible to not know who is speak, and to whom these words are directed.

In Exodus 3, Moses is speaking with God, and asks God, who shall I say to has sent me to the Israelites when they ask, what is Thy name? God responded and said, “I AM THAT I AM. Thus shalt thou say unto the children of Israel, I AM hath sent me to you.” (Genesis 3:13,14)

In a rough translation, it means “the self-existent One.” But here in Ezekiel 38 and 39, God speaks to Gog, the chief leader of Magog, and says, “I AM against thee, O Gog.” Quite literally, Jehovah God has drawn a line in the sand, and established the battle lines against a powerful world leader, and his country.

Gog is described as Chief Prince of Meshech (Moscow) and Tubal (Tubolsk), both cities of modern-day Russia. In verse 2 of this chapter, we are told that Gog’s attack shall come from the north parts, and if there is any doubt, please check a map, for Moscow is due north of Jerusalem, nearly on the same Meridian.

This 39th Chapter of Ezekiel is among the most graphic depictions of war and its aftermath, and from the “symptoms,” and clean-up operation described, we can conclude it is likely to be a nuclear war with wide-spread radiation.

With Israel being the focus of Bible prophecy, we can understand that this is the day-of-the-Lord, the great battle of Armageddon, in the Valley of Megiddo, Israel. The horrors of this chapter are unsettling, but the true Christian needs to be comforted in the knowledge that we shall not see it, nor experience it. Only the doubters, the nay-sayers, and the non-believers with go through these events. Yet God shall be glorified, and His name will be known; and the ones who know it and Him will become the Tribulation Saints, those that are saved through the Great Tribulation.

Believers that were on the Earth prior to the beginning of these events are those that have escaped the wrath of God, and find themselves suddenly in heaven with the Lord. We are saved from the Great Tribulation.
“For God hath not appointed us wrath, but to obtain salvation by our Lord Jesus Christ.” ~ 1 Thessalonians 5:9

Today's Audio Message:
Ezekiel 39:1-29 - "I Am Against Thee, O Gog"

Summary Notes:

In last week's study of the Gog and Magog invasion that the Bible predicts an end-time alliance between Russia, Iran and Turkey (along with other countries) that will come against Israel in the last days leading up to the return of Jesus. As they cover the land like a storm it will look like a sure-thing win for the invading forces- that is until God steps in!

From our study we know that God will not allow this invading force to prevail but will supernaturally wipe them out on the mountains of Israel in an event that will literally leave an unbelieving world gasping! It will, the Bible says, be an event that will be used by God to make His name known again to both Israel and the nations of the world.

In Ezekiel 39:21–29, the Lord states His plan for the nations and for the future of His ancient, beloved Israel:
"And I will set my glory among the heathen, and all the heathen shall see my judgment that I have executed, and my hand that I have laid upon them."(v. 21).This word comes directly on the heels of God’s promised destruction of Israel’s enemy, Gog of the land of Magog. The Lord draws a figurative line in the sand and states clearly and concisely that He is serving notice on the nations of the world that they can expect to see judgment from His hand and His glory in their midst.
As one of the more pivotal End Times events, the invasion into Israel by Gog and its allies is important to understand as we study eschatology and look for signs of the latter days within our current, geopolitical climate. As we examined Ezekiel 38 last week, today we will begin our study in chapter 39 verse-by-verse, as we drill down to understand the major players, the key elements, and why God is orchestrating this significant event.

Future prophecy frequently has both a near and far fulfillment in view, and it is the Bible student’s responsibility to rightly divide or cut straight these prophecies.

These future events take place after the Church has been raptured (I Thessalonians 4:13-18)

And we are reminded of the great comfort and protection that God has for those who have put their faith in Him.  "Wherefore comfort one another with these words” (verse 18).

Here Paul is speaking of the rapture of the Church. The term “rapture” comes from the Greek word harpaz┼Ź, meaning to seize, carry off by force, to snatch out or away.

The rapture of the church is the event in which God “snatches away” all believers from the earth in order to make way for His righteous judgment to be poured out on the earth during the tribulation period. The rapture is a glorious event that all true believers should be longing for.

There is coming a time when the world, all that we know, will be on the verge of total collapse. Jesus warned us in Matthew 24:22 that if those days had not been cut short, no one would survive, not this world, and not the people in it.

Ezekiel 39, though written more than a couple of millennials ago, is written for all of us today.  As we read the headlines or watch the news, we are seeing the birth pangs of the coming events foretold in scripture. The rise of the Gog of Magog alliance is a major sign of the end times and the Second Coming of Jesus Christ.

Russia – the predominant nation and her leader “Gog” – is directly to Israel’s far north. As we see today, God has already drawn the Russian forces, along with Turkey and Iran (the other two major players in this invasion), into Syria, which is directly on Israel’s northern border, seemingly ready to initiate this invasion, which is detailed in Ezekiel 38.

God will cause confusion among the invading horde: these invading forces will be devastated “upon the open field” in and around Israel’s mountains.

Many in the generally secular nation of Israel will recognize that God’s hand of protection – as well as the weapons God’s sovereignty had supplied to them to beat back this invading horde – was with them mightily in defeating the enemy.

God “will not let” Israel “pollute” His “holy Name any more” and many will at least acknowledge the God of their fathers. But they will not have received, up to this point, Yeshua as their Messiah. This is not to say that the nation’s overall state of affairs will change. Their government and laws will remain secular and progressive, but many in the community will at least recognize God’s provision and think of the LORD God differently than they had before.

This will be the first step to bringing God’s people back to Himself in His Son, with the final step, of course, being the Great Tribulation.

In addition, the heathen will certainly “know the [God of Israel] is the LORD” because, once again, Israel defeats her foes against all odds.

The Israelis, after turning back and destroying the invading armies, will take the spoil of what’s left from those who intended to spoil them (Ezekiel 38:12-13).

It is very interesting that the travelers or passengers will be stopped, blocked, or obstructed (different translations) from this area and not be able to pass over. This seems to be temporary due to the burial process, or it might be because of some kind of fallout to “cleanse the land” – it’s hard to tell...  seven months to bury the dead.

The Valley of Hamon-Gog - literally means “Valley of the multitudes of Gog, the place where all of Israel buries the five-sixths of the army of Gog and Magog that are struck down by God.

The name of the city SHALL BE Hamonah - The name of the city in the valley of Hamon-Gog near which Ezekiel 39:16 says that the forces of God will be defeated after their attack on Israel.

(Verses 17-20) The Lord not only caused this massive sacrifice, but will use the unclean birds of the air to cleanse the land.

Throughout Israel’s history, over and over again, the Lord uses the enemies of Israel to bring judgment on Israel, to get them to wake up, to repent and return to Him. Then the Lord destroys their enemies, because they are His enemies.

Why? “So the house of Israel shall know that I am the Lord their God from that day and forward.” (vs22)

Here, from Ezekiel 39:17-29, the prophecy jumps forward seven-plus years into the future to the Lord’s Second Coming.

Verse 25: “Now will I bring again the captivity of Jacob.” Jacob, or Israel, will not be in captivity during and immediately following the Gog/Magog invasion, but will be in captivity during the time of Jacob’s trouble (Jer. 30:7) in the Great Tribulation (the last three and one-half years of the seven-year Tribulation).

The Lord states: “Neither will I hide my face any more from them: for I have poured out my spirit upon the house of Israel, saith the Lord God” (Ezekiel 39:29). 

In Zechariah 12:9-14 - Scripture tells us that at the Lord’s Second Coming they will realize the One whom they have pierced, this is their Messiah, and they will mourn.

Joel 2 speaks of the invasion of Israel. Compare it to Ezekiel 38-39.

God’s prophetic Word is speaking to every generation. A word of warning, a call to repentance, and turning back to the Lord.

Saturday, February 18, 2023

A Prophet Among the Captives

Bobservations' Column
Pastor Bob Lawrenz

The Prophet Ezekiel was a priest among the Jews. His book is divided into several major divisions, and minor divisions. Each major prophetic strain is identified by “The hand of the Lord was upon me…” Each minor division is identified by “And the word of the Lord came unto me…” These are clearly identified in the text of all 48 chapters.

The Prophet/Priest himself was among the captives carried away into Babylon, and his mission was to teach about the future: an Israel restored and reunified into one people and one nation again. In the future, there would be no division between the northern and southern Tribes, they would be one. This view was especially important to the generation of Jews born during the captivity, giving them hope while living in a land not-their-own.

Those prophets that came before spoke to either Judah, or to the northern tribes. Jeremiah is a perfect example, for he spoke to Judah, from the City of Jerusalem, while Ezekiel’s prophesies are addressed to the whole House of Israel from the captivity. God’s plan for them is restoration and a reuniting of the 12 Tribes under the banner of Jehovah God (Jehovah-nissi, (Exodus 17:8-15).

Last week we looked at Jesus’ Prophecy of the end times in Luke 21, and the signs to look for as each sign is identifiable in the world. With Matthew 24 and Mark 13, we are given an overview of the end times and the last days. “Nation shall be against Nation,” and “Kingdom against Kingdom,” with false prophets and false teachers among the people.

And oddly enough, this description is nearly identical the Ezekiel’s warnings too Israel during the captivity. Babylon had been raised up and invaded Israel, eventually carrying away the majority of its people; only a remnant was left behind in Israel. The false prophets of Israel were there in Babylon, teaching lies. And today, as then, Israel is surrounded by powerful enemies that desire to see an end to God’s land, and its people. We shall read the prophets words, and learn the names of the ancient lands and which are now nations. We will be reminded of King Solomon’s words, “There is nothing new under the sun.” The Holy Spirit is our true prophet.
“Henceforth I call you not servants; for the servant knoweth not what his lord doeth: but I have called you friends; for all things that I have heard of my Father I have made known unto you.” - John 15:15
Progressive intimacy:
John 13:13 - Servants; 15:15 - Friends; 20:17 - Brethren

Today's Audio Message:

Ezekiel 38:1-23 - "A Prophet Among the Captives"


Today we will look at chapter 38 of Ezekiel, one of the most well-studied chapters amoung Bible prophecy students. Chapter 38-39 provide the climax to a great supernatural war that is coming, one that threatens the very existence of Israel as a nation. The Gog and Magog war will occur somewhere between Israel becoming a nation again and the return of Jesus. And, as we shall see, the players involved in this war are seriously moving into position in our day.

As we look at what Ezekiel saw for Israel and the nations in the last days, we've seen that God has some pretty big events in store! One of the main themes that has been mentioned through Ezekiel, (34-39), is the emphasis of God making His name known in the last days. He will make His name known to the nation of Israel and the nations of the world. Now that is pretty exciting! The Western nations especially live in a post-modern, post-Christian world. The thought of God is often mocked, ignored or not seen as relevant in this day. Yet God has events in store where He will, on a global stage, make His name known again. One such great event is before us in this study on Ezekiel 38 .

Who are the players? Ezekiel 38:1-6 - The coming alliance of countries, people, peoples and ethnicities, that are against Israel, God’s chosen people.

  • Gog: Leader of Magog (Whoever is leading Magog at the time of the invasion. See: Ezekiel 38-39 such as 38:2, 38:14, 39:1)
  • Magog: Southern Russia - (Genesis 10:2 - Magog was a son of Japheth, grandson of Noah. The descendants of Magog settled to the far north of Israel. They are later known as the Scythians. The Jewish Historian Josephus confirms this, “Magog founded Magogians, called Scythians by the Greeks."  The people of Magog are described as skilled warriors.)
  • Rosh: Russia
  • Meshech and Tubal: Present day Turkey
  • Persia: Iran (Persia was renamed Iran in 1935)
  • Ethiopia/Cush: Sudan/Ethiopia - (Historically located south of ancient Egypt, scholars believe it to be Ethiopia or Sudan today.)
  • Put: Libya (possibly Somalia)
  • Gomer: Central Turkey (The historian Josephus identified the Gomerites with the Galatians who lived in central Turkey.
  • Togarmah: Eastern Turkey/Armenia
Russia, Turkey, Iran, Libya, Sudan, and Somalia will descent upon Israel from the north. Iran will come from the east. Libya from the southwest. And Sudan and Somalia will rush from the south. Israel will be entirely surround by her enemies.

Currently we are witnessing many of these main players coming together, strengthening military and financial alliances. The war in Syria has even drawn Russia and Iran close to the border Israel, in a joint effort to control the Middle East. Turkey, who is supposed to be aligned with the West, has deepening ties with Russia, and moving away from a secular society to an Islamic one.

We know that the other countries mentioned above are not friends of Israel today. They are hotbeds of Islamic fundamentalism and strongly anti-Israel.

The future invasion of a coalition of nations against Israel are written in the prophetic books of scripture. Even Jesus warned us of the coming signs of the end before His return. While the nations decide to invade Israel, Israel will be under the protection of God. He has promised His divine intervention, with devastating results for Israel’s enemies. God remains true to His Word. He is faithful to His promises.
"And it shall come to pass at the same time when Gog shall come against the land of Israel, saith the Lord God, that my fury shall come up in my face.

For in my jealousy and in the fire of my wrath have I spoken, Surely in that day there shall be a great shaking in the land of Israel;

So that the fishes of the sea, and the fowls of the heaven, and the beasts of the field, and all creeping things that creep upon the earth, and all the men that are upon the face of the earth, shall shake at my presence, and the mountains shall be thrown down, and the steep places shall fall, and every wall shall fall to the ground.

And I will call for a sword against him throughout all my mountains, saith the Lord God: every man's sword shall be against his brother.

And I will plead against him with pestilence and with blood; and I will rain upon him, and upon his bands, and upon the many people that are with him, an overflowing rain, and great hailstones, fire, and brimstone.

Thus will I magnify myself, and sanctify myself; and I will be known in the eyes of many nations, and they shall know that I am the Lord."  
- Ezekiel 38:17-23
Of Course, all of this is part of God's bigger plan for Israel. The battle in Ezekiel 38-39 is used by God to bring Israel back to Him (Ezekiel 39:21-29).


Saturday, February 11, 2023

Prophecy Update: Israel In A Parable

Bobservations' Column
Pastor Bob Lawrenz

Jesus’ teachings are filled with parables. In and of themselves, they are a fulfillment of prophecy. In Psalm 78:2, we learn why Jesus taught in parables, for Israel had gone astray, rejecting not only God’s prophets, but the light of Word of God itself! The culture of Egyptian society exposed them to other gods and turned them from Him during their 400-year captivity there. The Israelites brought that with them coming out of Egypt. And like Eve in the Garden, Israel allowed the words of an earthly being to plant a seed of doubt in her heart.

After their later captivity in Babylon for 70 years, the 400 years of God’s silence came on the heels of The Prophet Malachi’s words from God. In returning from Babylon, it was not a mass exodus as in the days of Moses. Many chose to remain in Babylon, for life was good there in Babylon’s heydays, but for those that did chose to return to Israel, their homeland, Babylonia influence still came with them. Other gods, false gods, and idol worship had subtle influences on the Israelites. It is noteworthy that 400 years comes up again, until we realize that the number "4" is the number of Judgement in scriptures.

But it was before Babylon when Isaiah wrote his prophecy in chapter 6:6, 10, “…Go, and tell this people, ‘Hear ye indeed, but understand not; see ye indeed, but perceive not.’” Plain language was lost on them. God had shut their ears to God and blinded them from seeing things as God saw them. God was silent to them for those 400 years.

It is the same problem today. God’s Word has again been rejected, and even made illegal for public display in some countries. As our world falls apart all around us, it is because man has once again believed the lies originally told to Eve, that we “shall be as Gods, knowing good and evil.”

The serpent’s words echo in our halls of justice. While the people know good and they know evil, they do not cling to the good and eschew the evil. Both are a means to the people’s end.

Having just finished Ephesians 6, let Paul’s words resound in our hearts, for “we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against… spiritual wickedness in high places.”

“I will open my mouth in a parable: I will utter dark sayings of old.” Psalm 78:2

Today's Audio Message:
Luke 21:5-38 - "Israel in a Parable"


This morning we are looking at what is really an introductory to the rest of this very important chapter in Luke 21. Starting in verse 5, we come to a section of Scripture that runs nearly to the end of the chapter, all the way to verse 36, in which our Lord speaks concerning His return, His Second Coming, His coming to judge and to reign upon the earth. This is our Lord's own sermon on His Second Coming.

This morning’s reading in Matthew 13:13-17 really captures the state of the Jews. Wherever Jesus went, great multitudes followed Him. They had heard of His claims, His miracles and like anything notable or unusual, they wanted to see Him. Were they looking for their Messiah? No, just there to see the show.

In Matthew 13, Jesus spoke to them in parables, letting them wonder about the meaning, and before interpreting the parable, one of His disciples asked Him why He spoke in parables. His answer is revealing. He answered, “Because it is given unto you to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it is not given.” In other words, those who truly desire to know God’s truth will receive it in abundance, because they belong to Him. Being a Jew didn’t mean they naturally loved God, and followed Him, in fact, just the opposite. They held to a corrupt religious system, their hearts were far from God, they didn’t know His Word, and what they did know they rejected or distorted. Jesus said, “They are dull of hearing.” They don’t really want to know. They weren't waiting for the Messiah to come, He was present with them and they didn’t know Him.

The same is true of many who self-identify as Christians, but in reality they are Christians in name only. Christ has no bearing in their lives. They may attend church, show up at potlucks, but they are completely ignorant of God’s Word, the gospel of salvation, and the Savior who laid down His life to redeem them. Like the Pharisees, many are “religious” in outward appearance only, but their hearts are far from God. Just like the Jews, many see the gospel and hear the gospel, but it never reaches their hearts, nor has any place in their lives. Many simply are not looking for Him, because they have no desire to know God’s truth, His Son, and the plan He has for their lives.

They weren’t looking for Him at His first coming, and they are not looking for Him at His second coming.

Beginning In Luke 21:5, we find Jesus, the Messiah, at the temple in Jerusalem, and a discussion begins with his disciples. The people beheld the beauty and the marvel of this glorious temple. They were in love with the idea of the temple, yet Jesus foretells of a time when this building, so beautiful and so strong would be left in ruins.

Let’s set the scene a little bit to put this in context. Again, it’s Passion Week. This is the last week of our Lord's life before His crucifixion, followed by His resurrection, forty days of teaching and appearing to His own, and followed by His ascension.

Jesus is in the temple which He had cleansed just the day before, throwing out the buyers and the sellers, the corrupt money changers and those who were extorting money at exorbitant prices out of people by disqualifying the sacrifices they brought and making them buy sacrifices from them. There is no question that they had defiled the temple, and the whole system was corrupt.

The disciples, for the most part, affirmed Jesus as Messiah, they believed in Him, followed Him, were taught by Him. In fact, Jesus had exposed the corruption of the Jewish religious system, rebuked the Sadducees, Pharisees, the scribes and religious leaders. They knew exactly what Jesus thought of their religion and their works. Jesus had just finished rebuking the leaders of Israel in which He pronounced repeated judgment and damnation and curses upon their heads. The temple would be destroyed, the people judged, the nation would bear the judgement, and this would mean the destruction of the temple itself.

This begins what has come to be known as Christ’s Olivet discourse, prophesying of the things to come, beginning with the imminent destruction of the temple, then the worldwide dispersion of the Jews (vs.24), the course of the ensuing age, climaxed by the second coming of Christ (vs. 27). This discourse is also reported in Matthew 24 and 25, Mark 13:1-17 and of course Luke 21:5-36. In order to really see it in its entirety, we must carefully study all three accounts. Jesus’ teaching in this discourse is in reference to Israel and not the Church. Christ was speaking of God’s future program for Israel.

Like Matthew 24, Luke chapter 21 carries a sobering message about the signs of future events before Jesus second coming, otherwise known as the end times. The end times began at Pentecost, some 2,000 years ago, with the escalation of the signs of the end given in scripture, and all of the fulfilled biblical prophecies, we can be sure that we are living in the last days. 

His somber words speak of a time of trouble that is coming, the like of which has never been seen before in all human history. It will be a time of incredible distress and great peril to human life. A time of staggering atrocities, bloodshed and horror such as mankind has never seen before.

Luke 21: 11 lists some of the natural signs that will occur before the Lord’s second coming: there would be an increase in natural disasters, earthquakes, famines, and pestilences in various places and great distress. Iniquity will abound and the love of many will wax cold (Matthew 24). There would be persecution, rejection and many false leaders. The hatred of God, His Word and Christians will grow exponentially.

Jesus warned His disciples that the age between then and His second coming will be marked by great religious deception. Many will be deceived in the last days by false leaders, teachers, prophets and messiahs. Add to that the many false leaders on the world stage, social, political, and global. Those who disregard the Word of God will no doubt fall in with those who will lead them into death and destruction.

The signs which the unbelieving world either distorts or denies, are the same signs that the saints will heed. The signs which bring terror and fear to the unbeliever, will bring courage and hope to the saint, Thus, Jesus instructs believers to STAND UP and LOOK UP, because these signs precede the return of the Lord Jesus, and His return in great power and glory. “And when these things begin to come to pass, then look up, and lift up your heads; for your redemption draweth nigh” (vs 28).

Is Jesus coming back? No question about it! Will all that He said here be fulfilled? Certainly! Will these events happen in a short period of time? Absolutely! These things are surer than the continuation of heaven and earth which, by the way, Jesus says will not continue but will pass away. God's Word is eternal, and it will stand forever!

Saturday, February 4, 2023

Walk Circumspectly

Bobservations' Column
Pastor Bob Lawrenz

Psalm 16 begins with what is known in the Hebrew as a Michtam (mik-tom’: an engraving, or poem; a declaration of loyalty, or a motto as one finds themselves in a battle, and under attack.) We find it in only a few places, and all are Psalms of King David. The first verses of Psalm 16, 56, 57, 58, 59, 60 are all Michtams. The word’s origin is vague, but its use is consistently the same.

It’s fitting to mention this now in our Ephesian study because of the battle that was going on between the Church of Ephesus and the culture of Ephesus and region around it. As a reminder. It is not a battle of flesh and blood, but a spiritual battle of the principalities and powers of darkness. (Colossians 1:15,16)

So, it is not coincidental that we are going through this Epistle at this time, for the world itself is in a battle for its soul, and the souls of every citizen. It is a battle between God and truth, and Satan and his lies.

Some have considered what’s going on as the “mark of the beast.” I tend to think of it as a dress rehearsal for that. In the aftermath of the COVID-19 hysteria we can see how easily the masses can be manipulated through fear and constant media reports about the virus, and its “emergency vaccine” to ward off the effects of a virus that was manufactured specifically for this purpose. (To be clear, yes, I agree that it can be a deadly virus. Hundreds of thousands have died because of it world-wide, and millions have received the vaccine and its boosters.). But, I am looking at it circumspectly: In 2017, two years prior to the initial cases of COVID-19 being diagnosed, the warnings of a coming pandemic came from “experts.” This week, we are being warned of a coming world-wide financial crisis by the “experts.” They are predicting it within 24 months.

Is it a coincidence, as reported recently, that a Chinese spy balloon is floating above the U.S. in the stratosphere? Time will tell. But wasn’t it China that released the COVID-19 virus out into the whole word?

You may label me a conspiracy theorist, but I’m not. The same power group of “experts” that brought us the COVID crisis, are the same ones that are in position to manage this next big crisis. If you see it once, OK we take notice. If we see it a second time, a pattern is emerging. And if these patterns mesh together, conspiracies evaporate, and truth is established.

Ephesians 5:15 – “See then that ye walk circumspectly, not as fools, but as wise, redeeming the time, because the days are evil.”

Today's Audio Message:
Ephesians 6:18-24 - "Walk Circumspectly"


As we bring Ephesians 6 to its conclusion, Paul in ending his letter to the Ephesian church wanted them to know, and us to know, that we have all the resources, the power, and the principles to live the faithful Christian life. 

Paul affirms that our battle is indeed spiritual, and not physical (Ephesians 6:12). We are in a spiritual battle, and we have an adversary who will stop at nothing to thwart the work of God in our lives, and the message of the gospel from reaching this world.  Satan and his dark realm are in a war with God, and with all those who belong to Him. 

Therefore, Paul instructs us to "Put on the 
whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil."  Ephesians 6:14-17 lists what that armour is:

  1. "Having your loins girt with truth (righteousness)." - We are to put on truth! Truth is that which is consistent with the mind, will, character, glory, and being of God. Even more to the point: Truth is the self-expression of God. That is the biblical meaning of truth. Truth is also ontological—or the way things really are. Reality is what it is because God declared it so and made it so. Therefore, God is the author, source, determiner, governor, arbiter, ultimate standard, and final judge of all truth.
  2. "...having on the breastplate of righteousness;" - personal holiness, righteous living, and when sin enters our lives, we confess, and repent, and turn from it. And thus, we keep a breastplate of righteousness covering our vital areas, covering our heart and our bowels, as the Hebrew would see it, the heart is the seat of the thoughts, and the bowels the seat of the emotions, so that our thinking and feeling is guarded by holiness and righteousness. So as Christians, we are ready to fight. Everything is together, we are totally and absolutely 100 percent committed.
  3. "...feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace;" - Our feet are to be covered with the gospel of peace, able to stand our ground. There are always dangerous obstacles in the path of advancing soldiers. The idea of the preparation of the gospel of peace as footwear suggests what we need to advance into Satan’s territory (this world of lost souls) with the message of His grace, "For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God; Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus" (Romans 3:23-24). This is essential to winning souls to Christ. Satan has many obstacles placed in the path to halt the propagation of the gospel.
  4. "Taking the shield of faith" - Our faith—of which Christ is “the author and perfecter” (Hebrews 12:2)— is like a golden shield, precious, solid, and substantial casting off every fiery dart of doubt about the faithfulness of God and the truth of His Word. Absolute assurance in God! Satan is constantly firing arrows at us; they fly in mass force. Those fiery arrows are seducing temptations in all their various forms. In this world we are surrounded by this. Romans 1:17 says, “The just shall live by faith.” Galatians 3:11: “The just shall live by faith.” Hebrews 10, “The just shall live by faith.” The shield that causes us to stand is faith in God!
  5. "...and the helmet of salvation" - The head is the seat of the mind, which, when it has laid hold of the sure gospel hope of eternal life, will not receive false doctrine or give way to Satan’s temptations. The unsaved person has no hope of warding off the blows of false doctrine because he is without the helmet of salvation and his mind is incapable of discerning between spiritual truth and spiritual deception.
  6. "...and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God." - While all the other pieces of spiritual armor are defensive in nature, the sword of the Spirit is the only offensive weapon in the armor of God. It speaks of the holiness and power of the Word of God. A greater spiritual weapon is not conceivable. In Jesus’ temptations in the desert, the Word of God was always His overpowering response to Satan. What a blessing that the same Word is available to us!
Pastor Bob rightly titled this morning's message "Walk Circumspectly".   In other words, know who you are.  Know where you are.  Know who you are with.  Understand the social climate, the pitfalls of modern philosophy and thought, the wicked influences in this world.  Christian be aware.  Why?  1 Peter 5:8 - "Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour."

Defining the Christian life is best summed up as warfare, because that is what it is.  God allows it to perfect us. 

While we studied the armor of God last week, and are reviewing it again 
today, there is one final element for the Christian's readiness, and it is contained in verse 18. “Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit…” The final element of the believer’s weapon is prayer.

If you have ever read Pilgrim’s Progress, the great classic allegory by John Bunyan, that the last piece of armor that Christian is given in that story is the weapon of all prayer. It is given because it will stand him in good stead when all else fails. And with this weapon of all prayer, Christian is instructed that he will be able to prevail against all who come against him in the valley of the shadow. When he pours out his soul in prayer, he is most formidable.

This is a call to prayer, and prayer is the very breath of the Christian’s life.  There are many passages in scripture that tell us how important prayer is. In Acts 6:4“We will give ourselves continually to prayer.” It was said about Cornelius in Acts chapter 10 that he prayed to God always. Paul, in Romans 12:12, says, “Continue instant (diligently) in prayer.” In Colossians 4:2“Continue in prayer.” Philippians 4:6“Be anxious for nothing but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.” And 1 Thessalonians 5:17 tells us to, “Pray without ceasing."

Like Paul we covet the prayers of the saints:
  1. That utterance will be given
  2. That we would speak with boldness.
  3. That we would make known the mystery of the gospel.
What is the Mystery of the Gospel? - Jesus Christ!
  1. He came!
  2. He died!
  3. He arose!
  4. He ascended!
  5. He is coming again!
Romans 13 :11And that, knowing the time, that now it is high time to awake out of sleep: for now is our salvation nearer than when we believed. Folks, we’re getting nearer to the coming of the Lord, aren’t we? “The night is far spent, the day is at hand: let us therefore cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the armour of light. Let us walk honestly, as in the day; not in rioting and drunkenness, not in chambering and wantonness, not in strife and envying.  Put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make not provision for the flesh, to fulfil the lusts thereof" (vs. 12-14). In other words, do you realize we only have a limited time? Live according to God’s life principles with our limited privilege of time.

Saturday, January 28, 2023

Listening vs. Hearing

Bobservations' Column
Pastor Bob Lawrenz

On April 15, 1912, Harold Cottam, the Communications Officer aboard the R.M.S. Carpathia was preparing to climb into his berth for a good night’s sleep. He had left his radio on while readying for bed, listening to idle chatter from the shipping lanes of the North Atlantic. He left a final evening’s message for his acquaintance, the radio operator aboard R.M.S. Titanic; there were messages awaiting the Titanic when they arrived in New York. Suddenly, the idle chatter on the radio became urgent! He tuned his ear to the radio and heard his friend’s plea, “Come at once. We have struck a berg!”

The Carpathia turned about and headed toward the Titanic, 58 miles and 3½ hours away. She was first on the scene of the sinking ship. The S.S. California was much closer, but that radio officer had turned off his radio and gone to bed, hearing nothing. The rest is history; the Carpathia plucked more than 700 passengers from the water and lifeboats. In England, her Captain was honored for the heroic efforts of leading his crew and passengers in the rescue of so many. He later received similar acclaim after US Senate Hearings.

In 1898, fourteen years earlier, Maritime writer Morgan Robertson had written of a similar ship. The fictional “Titan,” was described it as “unsinkable,” a floating city in itself. The fictional ship of the book was exactly like the Titanic, and in the book, it suffered the exact same fate as the Titanic.

Besides the 700 lives saved by the Carpathia, there were more than 1,500 others who perished as the Titanic went down on that dreadful night. Listening can be passive. Hearing can mean the difference between life and death!

In the Epistle to the Ephesians, the Apostle Paul has been zeroing in on his target audience, the readers of this sacred letter, inspired by God. Warnings abound in this Epistle! We ended last chapter with the relationship between husbands and wives, making their relationship analogous to Christ’s and His Bride, the Church. In this sixth and final chapter, the whole family and household is included as Paul zeroes in further and speaks to the children (the fruit of marriage), to their fathers again, and to the household employees.

1 Samuel 15:23 (spoken to King Saul…) -

“For rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft, and stubbornness is as iniquity and idolatry. Because thou hast rejected the word of the LORD, He hath also rejected thee from being king.”

Today's Audio Message:
Ephesians 6:1-17 - "Listening vs. Hearing"


In previous weeks we learned that Paul had been teaching the Ephesians about the high calling of God in Christ Jesus (Ephesians 1:18, 3:19), the importance of being filled with the Spirit, and the life that flows from it.

There is a difference between the indwelling of the Holy Spirit and being filled with the Holy Spirit. The permanent indwelling of the Spirit is a gift given to all believers in Jesus without exception, and no conditions are placed upon this gift except faith in Christ (John 7:37-39). The indwelling of the Holy Spirit happens at the moment of salvation (Ephesians 1:13; Galatians 3:2), and His indwelling is permanent. The Holy Spirit’s indwelling the believer is a down payment of sorts, or verification of our future glorification in Christ (2 Corinthians 1:22; Ephesians 4:30).

Being filled with the Spirit comes from obedience to God. Sin hinders that filling, and obedience is how the filling of the Spirit is maintained (Ephesians 5:18). Obedience to God’s commands allows the Holy Spirit the freedom to work within us, and since we have not yet in our perfect state, we are still very much prone to sin.

Paul outlined the standards of the Spirit filled life for believers individually, for fellowship within the Christian community, and for the more intimate family relationships within the home (marriage, children, and household), which we will learn more about today.

Our generation is watching the death of marriage and the family as we know it. Among the many factors contributing to its destruction are immorality, adultery, fornication, homosexuality, abortion, sterilization, so-called women's liberation, and rebellion to name a few.

Society has had many opinions about the restructuring of marriage, the family, morals, values, and more. Those opinions have turned into a war. Surely, we are all aware of the cultural war going on today, but as Christians, are we aware of the spiritual war we are engaged in? In Ephesians 6:12, Paul warns us to, "Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places."  

Christian marriages and families should demonstrate the work of the Holy Spirit in their lives.  God has blessed us with lives that are rewarding, meaningful, and fulfilling.  It is His work in our lives that should be evident to the world around us.

As we continue our study in Ephesians, the text continues to flow out of the command in Ephesians 5:18, to be filled with the Spirit. Being filled with the Spirit means we actually live in obedience to God’s Word.

In today's study we are beginning in chapter 6, and here Paul directly deals with the family, the relationship between children and their parents, and the rest of the household, including relationships between employer and employee.

This wonderful new life we have received through Christ’s death and resurrection, is a transformed life. It is a life that no longer conforms to the ways of the world, but one that pleases God. This is accomplished by the renewing of our minds, an inward spiritual transformation that will manifest itself in outward actions. Transformation involves those who were once far from God being “drawn near” to Him through the blood of Christ (Ephesians 2:13) and being led by the Spirit of God. It is through the power of God’s Spirit that Christ lives within us, the Spirit indwells us, and where we draw our strength.

Finally, Paul reminded believers that the Christian life means participation in a spiritual battle. From his own experience, the apostle knew the opposition is real and the warfare intense: 
“Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places. Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.” (Ephesians 6:11–13).

Since believers are engaged in an ongoing spiritual battle with the powers of darkness, they cannot endure without the power of God. To be strong in the Lord and the power of His might is vital to living a victorious Christian life. No one who goes to war wants to be on the losing side. 
Notice the scripture says to be strengthened “in the Lord.” Our lives must be positioned in the Lord to obtain His power.

Paul goes into detail about how the Lord equips us for ongoing spiritual warfare with the full armor of God (Ephesians 6:13-18), so that we may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.  What are the wiles of the devil? They are deceptive methods of trickery as he lies in wait to trip us up.  2 Peter 5:8 tells us to "Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour."

We must stand against the wiles of the devil.  In vs. 13, the phrase “having done all, to stand” is a clear indication of personal responsibility. “Having done all” means while God has supplied everything we need, we must prepare everything necessary to stand. In other words, our responsibility is to “PUT ON” the full armor (vs 11.) 

Paul, before his death, wrote in 2 Timothy 4:7, “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.”  Paul understood this battle, and he fought well with His faith intact.  He kept the faith by guarding and watching over.  His trust in the Lord never wavered.   What a powerful affirmation of his unyielding love and undying faith in Jesus and the gospel message.

Being strong in the Lord is a call to faithfulness, abiding in Christ, trusting in the Lord’s power for everything in our lives. The Christian’s true strength comes from being completely dependent upon the Lord, obedience to His Word, unyielding in our love for Him and hope and assurance we have in Christ Jesus.

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