#2117 – Armor All (17 Oct 2010)

The Message

Dr. Sheila Schuller Coleman

Special Guest

Prof. Frederick Ma Si-Hang, GBS, JP and Mrs. Linda Ma Wong Pui-Kee
Prof. Frederick Ma Si-Hang had taken up major positions with various financial institutions. He has rich experience in banking and financial sector. In 2002, he joined the Hong Kong Government and assumed the post of Secretary for Commerce and Economic Development in 2007. In 2008, he was appointed as an Honorary Professor of the School of Economics and Finance at the University of Hong Kong. His wife Mrs. Linda Ma is the Founder and Chairperson of Citywide Renewal.

Special Music

Hymn / Anthem:
Joyful, Joyful
Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing

The Message

I hope that many of you have seen the majority of my messages on Living the Lord’s Prayer. And I’ve been hearing from some of you that you’re actually starting to pray the Lord’s Prayer as a template every single day. And as I’ve done this the last couple of years, it absolutely has positively transformed my life and you not only pray the Lord’s Prayer, but the principles that Jesus Christ embedded in this beautiful gift He gave to us, the Lord’s Prayer, those principles, you start to live them and you notice that you’re starting to follow the principles that God and Jesus gave us.

I want to give just a little bit of review before we go into the last message. It begins with “Our Father Who art in heaven hallowed be thy name.” Praising our heavenly Father who knows what’s best for us. Heavenly Father knows best.

And then we move on to, “Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven.” Moving from praise to permission.

And then we’re ready to ask: “Give us this day our daily bread.” It’s petition. We pray with a boldness because we’ve been praising God.

And then we move from praise to permission to petition to pardon. “Forgive us our debts as we forgive our debtors.” We pardon because we need to ask God to forgive us, so we could be pardoned and we can in turn forgive others.

And now we come to the fifth and final part of the Lord’s Prayer and that is protection, protection. Boy anybody here need victory over things in your life? Temptations? Anybody ever have temptations in your life?

We all have temptations and resisting those temptations; do you want victory over temptation in your life? Do you? And I will tell you that because when you decide to say yes to that God given dream, when you say yes to a God given dream I’m telling you it’s a dream, it’s a big, big dream. And you can count on the fact that you will face attack. You will face attack. The evil one, do you think he wants God’s given dream to succeed through you? No. And he’ll come after you and he will attack you with all kinds of little ploys. And so we have this “lead us not into temptation but deliver us from the evil one” and the good news is we can have protection.

When I started praying the Lord’s Prayer a couple years ago, when I got to this part, I also started to pray Ephesians six, which is praying the armor of God. And I would pray each piece over me because I wanted to make sure that as I was tackling the God sized dreams that He was asking me to give leadership to, I was facing attack. I was facing discouragement. I was facing many, many things that wanted to take me down and take me out. And I knew I had to walk out of the house completely covered with armor. Armor All.

It begins in the mind so we all need a helmet of salvation. When we pray and I say Lord, put that helmet of salvation on me, as I was praying that one day it dawned on me that because I have a helmet of salvation, because I have been saved by God, He sees me as pure of mind. He has purified my thoughts. As my mind is purified from negativity, from doubt, from impure thoughts, Satan is less able to attack me. Do you see why that’s important to have the helmet of salvation? It’s so tempting to think ‘I can’t do this’ as opposed to ‘I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.’ It begins in the mind. As we think, so are we. Cognitive psychologists talk about the thoughts lead to feelings, which lead to behavior so we protect our minds with a helmet of salvation. Our thoughts become God’s thoughts when we do this.

Now, many of you have not had a chance to meet my wonderful husband.

Well, he’s going to help demonstrate. So today I’ve asked him to put on a helmet of salvation. So put it on, Jim. Now negative thoughts, negative thoughts will bombard him. You can’t do it, you’re not good enough. Woops, I missed. I can’t throw at all. Let’s try again. The first service it worked. Oh, see? That’s how it’s supposed to work. It deflected the attack because he’s protected. When you’re protected, it’s deflected. The attacks are deflected. And I know this sounds a little humorous and funny; we’re doing that intentionally so you’ll remember, but the helmet of salvation protects your mind.

But he’s completely vulnerable right here, the heart of the matter. Would he go into battle without a breastplate of righteousness? The scriptures say no, the heart of the matter. Because we have a breastplate of righteousness, our hearts are pure, our motives are right. We’re doing things for the right reasons. We’re doing things to please God. We’re doing things so He gets the glory. We’re doing things to help others. We’re not getting up in the morning to do things for me, we’re not getting up in the morning and we’re not having a pity party through the day, but we’re doing things for others. When the heart is protected, our motives are pure. Satan cannot attack us. And that’s why it’s so important to put on the breastplate of righteousness.

So, Jim will you put on a breastplate of righteousness for us?
JC:  Hold my helmet.
SSC: I’ll do that. Okay, so now he’s a little more protected. Now he’s got the helmet of salvation, the breastplate of righteousness and then we put on the belt of truth. And this is really an important one for me. I don’t know about you, but I get attacked by lies, all those negative lies. Sheila, you shouldn’t be in that pulpit, you’re a woman. Sheila, you shouldn’t be doing that, you don’t have the degree. Sheila, why are you there? You’re just Dr. Schuller’s daughter. Those are the most common lies I hear. You hear lies, too. Because when you have a God sized dream, Satan wants to take you down and he’s hurling these attacks at you. Some of those lies come from within ourselves. Some of the lies come from people who love us dearly and they don’t want to see us embarrass our self. They’re afraid that we’ll fail and so they discourage us. They try to redirect us. Have any of you ever had that happen to you? Those are lies. Those are lies to take you away from God’s beautiful God sized dream that He needs you to take care of and accomplish for Him today.

So we put on that belt of truth and when I put on that belt of truth I actually put God’s truth in that belt. I don’t just go out with a belt that unarmed. Here’s a truth I’m going to give Jim to put in his belt of truth. “God is at work within you, Jim, giving you the will and the power.” That’s a truth. Here’s another truth: “God who began a good work in you will complete it.” “You are fearfully and wonderfully made and don’t you ever believe any other lie.” You’re fearfully and wonderfully made. Those are the truths of God that He gives us and take those truths and put them in your belt before you leave for work this week or for wherever you go to, and I will say to you to this, you will hear lots of different voices. You’ll hear negative voices, you’ll hear encouraging voices, you’ll hear God’s voice and you’ll hear Satan’s voice. Most of the time you won’t recognize it as Satan’s voice, but “choose you this day to whom you will listen.” Choose you this day to whom you will listen; the truth and nothing but the truth.

Okay, now we can also be attacked by our fears. So many fears, especially today; People are afraid and we have reason to be afraid. It is reasonable fear that we are fighting today and that fear of embarrassment, fear of failure, fear of going bankrupt. So many fears and so that’s where the shield of faith comes in because faith protects us against our fears. So Jim, do you have a shield with you today to protect you from.. of faith? Good. Now if you don’t have enough faith, you just ask for more faith because that faith is there, that shield just deflects those attacks of fear. I’m afraid, so I’m not going to try this. Pretty good. Do you see why you have to have that shield of faith in place? Don’t leave home without that shield of faith. Discouraging news, discouraging emails, letters that come. God is your champion. He will not let you down.

Now, when we discuss the armor, the full armor in Ephesians, Paul describes, he wrote this in prison. He describes all the pieces of armor and they are all defensive in essence, all defensive measures. But he does give one offensive piece to the armor and that’s the sword. And the sword is the word, the word of God. In fact, we see it so clearly when Jesus was tempted. Here He was, about to embark on His God sized dream to save the world, to save you and me. And He went out into the wilderness to pray, to fast and pray for forty days and nights. And of course Satan did not want to see Him succeed at that and so Satan went into the wilderness and he meets up with Jesus and he says to Him, Jesus, remember hasn’t had anything to eat or drink for forty days or nights. And he says, Jesus you could just turn that stone into bread right there and have something to eat. Jesus said “it is written: man shall not live by bread alone.” Three key words there: “It is written.” Jesus, the Son of God, deflected Satan’s temptations with the word. He used a scripture from the Old Testament. He said, “It is written: man shall not live by bread alone.” Then Satan said to Him look below you. Do you see? He says, if you jump down from there I’ll bet you could live if you’re really, truly God. Are you really truly God? Jump, prove it. Show us that you’re really, truly God. A nibble, a bait and Jesus did not bite. He said, “It is written: don’t put God to the test.” That didn’t work so Satan tried another ploy. He said see as far as the eye can see, there’s kingdom’s out there. I will give all of those to you if you will worship me. And Jesus said, “It is written: worship God, the Lord God, and only the Lord God.” Three times Satan tried to tempt Jesus; three times Jesus resisted and fought the temptation with God’s word. It is written, it is written, it is written.

Do you think that you or I can have the strength to withstand Satan without it is written? If Jesus needed it, how much more do you and I need it? So I have my little it is written’s. They’re imaginary and I tuck them in my pocket before I leave in the morning. When I’m praying the armor and I’m praying for God to put on that helmet of salvation, put on that breastplate of righteousness and the belt of truth and then the sword, I say okay Lord ‘it is written’ and I tuck it in my pocket and so when I’m driving along and I fear, I suddenly have this little niggling fear or this little niggling temptation, I right away say out loud wait a minute, wait a minute, wait a minute, I’m not going to give into this temptation; it is written. “The Lord is at my right hand and I will not be shaken.” That’s one of my favorite ‘it is written’s’ that I keep handy at all times.

So Jim, do you have sword with you today? Okay, let’s see I’m going to throw you a word of discouragement. Oh you missed. That was a pretty good pitch. Oh I know what you did wrong; I did not hear you say ‘it is written.’

JC:  It is written: I will worship the Lord my God and Him alone will I serve.
SSC: Oh better, okay let’s see now if you’ve got a better aim. Good, okay. So use that word of God.

Last but not least, Satan, our great adversary, our great accuser, he is powerless but it’s important to keep ourselves protected against him. And we need to be completely protected from head to toe. And the scripture talks about here in Ephesians about putting on the shoes of the gospel of peace. Why? Because we need to make sure that our steps are protected, that we don’t lose our way, that we don’t stumble and fall flat on our face, that we make it to the end of our race. Shod your soul with God’s word and you will finish the race. It says in 1st Corinthians, “Do you not know that in a race, all runners run? But only one gets the prize.” Make sure you have your shoes of the gospel of peace on your feet because they protect your way. Where is it that you’re going? Why are you getting up in the morning? What is it you want to do? Our goal, Paul says here, our mission should you accept it, is a mission impossible if you try it on your own strength. But it’s a mission possible if you use God’s help. And the mission is this: we’re not being put from full body armor to be warriors. We’re to be messengers of the gospel of peace. We’re to be repairs of the breach. To bring good news and that’s why we have to make sure we also remember our shoes of the gospel of peace.

God wants you to be a catcher like Jim was. A catcher of God sized dreams so say yes to them today. Say yes to God sized dreams and then protect yourself from head to toe against discouragement, against negative thinking, against fear. Its here in the bible. You can do it.

Stand with me and let us close by actually doing this together. Okay we’re going to all lift our hands in the air and we’re going to lift our eyes to the heavens. Our father Who art in heaven (Our Father Who art in heaven) hallowed be Thy name (hallowed be Thy name). Thy kingdom come (Thy kingdom come) thy will be done (Thy will be done) on earth as it is in heaven (on earth as it is in heaven). Give us this day our fresh from the oven daily bread (Give us this day our fresh from the oven daily bread).

 “Forgive us our debts (Forgive us our debts) as we forgive our debtors (as we forgive our debtors). And you don’t have to repeat this after me, but in your heart say silently ‘Lord, forgive me for’ and ask Him to forgive you for whatever comes to mind right now. And Father, I forgive.. say it in your heart. I forgive. What names, what faces come to mind? People who have hurt you, people you need to forgive. Father, I forgive them. I forgive them now. Be free of it, don’t hang on to that bitterness another moment. I forgive them, Lord.

Repeat after me: lead us not into temptation (lead us not into temptation) but deliver us from evil (but deliver us from evil). And again, repeat after me: protect my mind with my thoughts today with the helmet of salvation (protect my mind, my thoughts today with the helmet of salvation). Protect my heart today with the breastplate of righteousness (protect my heart today with the breastplate of righteousness). Protect me from discouragement today with the belt of truth (protect me from discouragement today with the belt of truth). Protect me from fear today with a shield of faith (protect me from fear today with a shield of faith). Protect me from getting lost with the shoes of gospel of peace (protect me from getting lost with the shoes of the gospel of peace). Amen (amen).

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