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Friday, August 26, 2016

Friday From the Heart: Complete Armour

Years back when I was struggling with myself and how God sees me, I crossed paths with someone that I knew just briefly before she and her family moved from the area. But in the few months we spent talking over coffee or playtime with our kids, we knew we were kindred spirits. She like me, has a love of reading from the minds of great men and women of God who have walked this earth before us.

She told me about a set of books called "The Christian in Complete Armour". It was first published in 1655. I was intrigued. It has since been published many times and has been revised in a more modern form into three volumes. Written by William Gurnall, it is full of truth and as a "highlighter reader" I often find pages that are more highlight than not. As a Christian who knows full well the battles we fight in the spiritual realm, this set has been priceless for me.

Here I am in the chair where I told God I would meet Him
every day until it was no longer a duty. He was preparing me
to be a mom in so many ways during that time as I think back
on those precious meetings. It wasn't parenting advice I
needed back then, it was just knowing He was my God!
I love that the "commendations" that come in the introductory pages are from the likes of John Newton who says about it "If I might read only one book beside the Bible, I would choose The Christian in Complete Armour. J.C. Ryle also gives his commendation and the third comes from Charles Haddon Spurgeon.

The books I read alongside my Bible have become fewer and fewer as the years go by. As a young believer it was easier to spend time in the Word when I had someone give me an idea of what they thought is said. As I continued I found that I really wanted to be in His word.  It was the summer and fall before I was pregnant with the triplets that I told God I would obey Him and asked that the feeling of "duty" through my obedience would go away. I wanted to find joy in spending time with Him.

When you ask something like that of God, He will not leave you disappointed. I will tell you that it was at least three months of following through with my plan to get up each morning and spend an hour with him, reading only my Bible and letting Him lead me. It was around the three-four month period of time when I realized that the Holy Spirit was teaching me not just with my friends at Bible study but also in my time alone with Him. It was one of those times I remember in my spiritual life as being a life changer.

The thing I love most about reading these classic writings is that as much as I feel at times that the world is spinning out of control, I am comforted that there is still nothing new under the sun.
"We are commanded not to be conformed to this world - that is, not to compromise ourselves with the corrupt customs of our day. The Christian must not be such a compliant tailor as to cut the coat of his profession according to popular fashion. Instead, he must stand fixed to his principles, openly showing he is a citizen of heaven by clothing himself in the garments of truth. It takes great courage to disregard the abasement you will surely meet for your nonconformity. Sadly, there are many who cannot stand the strain. Too often we have seen a self-tailored cloak of pride tossed hurriedly over the heavenly garment of imputed righteousness by one who fears the derision of men if he dares 'confess Christ openly' (John 7:13) How many lose heaven because they are ashamed to go there in a 'fool's' coat!" Page 31 Volume 1
"As you receive the Word, pay attention to the doctrinal part of the sermon as well as to its application. One is necessary to make you a solid Christian, and the other to make you a warm Christian" Page 29 Volume 2
"Sin is what broke your peace with God in the first place; so now let your peace with Him begin a war with sin that will never end. Surely you cannot forget the inestimable damage you have suffered because of it. In fact, every moment you enjoy God's sweet love should be the catalyst to keep revenge burning in your heart against that cursed enemy who separated you from Him for so long." Page 297 Volume 2
Nothing new and the same God is in control yesterday, today and forever!

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