Series: Grounded in Love
Message: Our Center
Preacher: Japhet De Oliveira
Reflection: Mark Witas
Live Wonder: Zan Long
Live Adventure: Jenniffer Ogden
Live Beyond: Andrew Jones
Live Purpose: Emily Ellis
Editor: Becky De Oliveira
Refresh: Begin with prayer. Ask for the Holy Spirit to open your heart to new understanding and for God’s character to be revealed.
Read: Ephesians 6:10-20 in The Message (MSG). Note 1–3 insights or questions.
Reflect: Ephesians 6:14-15 says, “Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace.”
I’ve never worn armor. It looks a little cumbersome. What I have noticed about armor is that it’s there to protect the person wearing it. Armor isn’t offensive weaponry—it’s all defensive. Maybe in our day and age we could liken it to a seat belt, a condom, or a football helmet—things worn to ward off sickness or injury.
Looking at the list in today’s passage, I can see how these things could protect us from harm. Truth can certainly protect us from a world of hurt. Conversely, lies can do irreparable harm. I know a man whose mother lied to him for years about why his father left the family. As an adult, the man found out about the lies. His father produced many returned letters and gifts that the mother, out of spite, had sent back. The damage that lie—or series of lies—had on the son was herculean. I’ve seen a meme that says, "If you always tell the truth, you don’t have to worry about remembering your own story."
Corporal Walter Davis was only 22 years old when he found himself in the World War I Battle of the Somme against the German foe. Bullets were flying through the air when he suddenly realized he had been struck by an enemy bullet in his chest. As he recuperated from the shock—and realized he wasn’t dead—he started to feel around his chest for blood and possibly a gaping hole. What he found was his pocket watch, shattered and with a German bullet smashed into its frame. The watch in his breast pocket saved his life.
A good breastplate can do that for you. Righteousness, doing the right thing for the right reason, fends off the flaming darts of the evil one as well as anything you can fashion.
And finally, for today, the readiness of shoes and the peace of the Gospel: Isaiah 52 says, “How lovely on the mountains are the feet of him who brings the Gospel, who announces peace and brings good news of happiness, who announces salvation and says to Zion, ‘Your God reigns!’”
The shoes worn by the Isaiah 52 runner are worn by a person clad in a soldier’s armor. His shoes carry with him news of peace, good news, and salvation.
These are the shoes every believer is to wear. Shoes of peace and not strife. Shoes of Gospel tidings, the news that God is just like Jesus. That God has included every human being who would like to join in His kingdom. That there is room at the table for them. Good news shoes! Better than anything Nike, Adidas, or Allen Edmonds could ever offer.
Recalibrate: How have you been a dispenser of Good News to those who are in your sphere of influence?
Respond: Spend time asking God whom you should be speaking good news to today.
Research: Here’s an interesting article on the importance of shoes in battle.
Remember: “Pray with all kinds of prayers, and ask for everything you need” (Ephesians 6:18, ICB).
Mark Witas is the lead pastor for the Sunnyside Seventh-day Adventist Church in Portland, Oregon. He is a regular contributor to the Daily Walk.
Ephesians 6:15 says to have our feet ready from the Gospel of peace. Does your little one have wet weather boots? This fantastic footwear keeps their feet dry when they are splashing around in the cold, wet puddles outside. Go outside and make puddles to play and splash in, or find some natural puddles if you’re in a region blessed with rain. Our boots are designed to protect our feet, just like the Gospel protects our state of mind and brings us peace.
Explore your home today and make a suit of armor you can wear around your house for a while! Be sure to find a good helmet, a wonderful belt, and special shoes. God says we can ask Him to help us be ready to face hard days. He talks about a suit of armor, but none of the pieces in God’s armor (righteousness, peace, salvation, truth) sound dangerous. God’s armor helps protect our hearts and minds. Ask God today to help you use His armor to make choices that will help you have truth and salvation and peace and righteousness.
Some people have a hard time praying because they don’t know how. When I imagine praying, I think about a person kneeling in church with their eyes folded and their head bowed. This is a great thing to do in church but I don’t think I should do that when I’m driving down the freeway. There is a time for formal, quiet, and reverent prayer, but there are also times where you can just have a conversation with God like you’re talking to a friend. While you’re walking your dog, riding your bike, cleaning your room or doing chores, try talking to God. If you feel comfortable, you can talk out loud or you can just talk to Him in your mind. It’s fun to see how your day gets more positive just by chatting with your Creator!
Because I am studying theology, I am required to learn Greek. It’s a beautiful language, but it is at times quite difficult to learn and comprehend. Especially because I have that class at 8 o’clock in the morning. Last year I had a test in Greek and so I spent a long time studying for it. When I took the test, I realized that there was an entire page that I had not studied for! There was a section that I was totally unprepared for and so I had no choice but to leave it blank, because in Greek you either know it or you don’t. Because I didn’t have the tools to prepare for the test, I didn’t do well on it. In the day-to-day battles of life, God has prepared and equipped us through His Word. God has equipped us with the ability to forgive when people do us wrong. He has equipped us with the capacity to have patience in moments of difficulty. He has empowered us with the gift of peace when everything seems to be falling apart. All of this we have access to when we spend time with God in His Word. He has equipped and empowered us, and He has given us every piece of His armor so that we will be able to stand firm.
Zan Long is GRC director for faith development groups. She lives in Sydney, Australia, and serves at her local church in nearby Kellyville.
Jenniffer Ogden serves as the children and family pastor at the Walla Walla University Church in College Place, Washington.
Andrew Jones teaches grades seven and eight at Vista Ridge Academy in Erie, Colorado. He is originally from Oregon and attends Boulder Church.
Emily Ellis is a junior studying theology at Walla Walla University and interning at the Eastgate Seventh-day Adventist Church.