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 English Standard Version (ESV). Note 1–3 insights or questions.
Reflect: Ephesians 6:13 says, “Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand.”
Orthostasis, or standing, as all you non-scientific people call it, is quite the miracle. I’ve learned today that standing still is virtually impossible. There’s a slight rocking back and forth from ankle to ankle in the sagittal plane (the imaginary line between our left and right sides). The reason we have to slightly move to keep our standing balance is because human beings are kind of front loaded. Most of our weight is in front of our ankles. The slight motion helps us not to fall on our faces. The muscles and brain power to stand and not fall don’t develop for about a year (give or take) in human beings. Then, we seem to do it without even thinking. I’ll bet you didn’t know you were accomplishing so much just by standing.
Standing can be a powerful and meaningful thing. On June 5, 1989, a lone man stood in front of a Chinese military tank as a protest against the military for suppressing protests in Tiananmen Square. The image was shared around the world as people felt solidarity with the unknown standing man.
During the last NFL season, the Pittsburgh Steelers decided to stay in the locker room during the national anthem as a protest against police brutality in America. It was a surprise for the fans in the stadium and for the TV cameras to see one lone Steeler standing with his hand on his heart during the pregame song. Alejandro Villanueva, a relatively unknown offensive tackle and army veteran stood alone. So many Americans resonated with his stand that his jersey (a jersey that hadn’t sold previously) became the #6 seller of all NFL fan jerseys.
I also love the story of Louis Zamperini who was ordered to hold a wooden beam over his head as a prisoner of war in a Japanese detention camp. He stood for 37 minutes holding the six foot beam over his head in defiance of the brutality of the Japanese commanding officer. This stand gave his fellow soldiers courage and his captors self-doubt.
Standing can be important. Three Hebrew boys standing in the Plain of Dura in defiance of the King of Babylon certainly made a statement. They stood for the truth that they knew, willing to die for their convictions.
When I think of today’s verse, I think of how hard it can be to stand sometimes. There are probably few things that I’d take a stand for, risking life, limb or even reputation. But the things I’m passionate about, you can be sure, will find me standing. Even if I stand alone.
Recalibrate: What’s the last thing you stood up for/stuck your neck out for? Was it worth it?
Respond: Ask God to give you discernment to know what to stand for and what to take a seat for.
Research: Read the story in Daniel 3 of the standing Hebrew boys.
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.
Pray all different ways with your little one. Pray loud and soft, pray fast and slow, pray happy and sad, but above all else pray all the time. When we love someone, we talk to them and we want to be with them. Prayer is both conversation and togetherness.
Recite The Words to Remember for the week without peeking! “Pray with all kinds of prayers, and ask for everything you need” (Ephesians 6:18, ICB). Find The Lord’s Prayer in your Bible and read it. Jesus was teaching His friends a way to pray when they asked for help learning how to pray. What are some things you learn from Jesus’ prayer? Make a list and keep it in your Bible to look back on as you learn more about how to pray.
When I was in college, I had a tough few years. I wasn’t doing great in school, I lost some friends, and my life just wasn’t going where I thought it was supposed to. I worked at a summer camp when I had breaks and absolutely loved every minute. I was surrounded by Godly people and I could feel the presence of God all around me. One night, I was having a conversation with God while on a walk around the lake and I asked Him why I didn’t feel His presence when I was away from camp. I told Him that I didn’t always think He was listening to me. I asked Him to show me a sign that He was listening, and just as I finished my sentence, two gigantic shooting stars streaked across the sky! I fell to my knees with tears in my eyes thanking God for always being there for me. I haven’t doubted Him since that night. God is always there for us even if we can’t feel Him. All we need to do is talk and we can be assured that He will listen.
This past week we talked about putting on the full armor of God and all the different pieces that make up the armor of God. Now we have reached the end of the week and you might be wondering how in the world does one actually put on the full armor of God? It’s not like it’s something you can order on Amazon Prime and have it shipped to your house the next day. And it’s not like it’s something physical that is passed down from generation to generation. But it is something that can be accessed every day and put on every day. The more time we spend with God and the more we connect with Him, the more we will become guarded and protected in Him. I’ve found this to be true in my life. When I spend time with God in the morning, He gives me patience when I thought I had none, and He gives me peace when everything falls apart. This armor protects me and gives me the perspective I need to get through the day. It’s not literal armor that Paul is talking about. Rather I believe it is a mindset. When we have God’s mindset, His peace, His fruits so to speak, we are able to stand firm. What are some ways that you can connect with God today? How can you experience and put on His armor?
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.