Wednesday, April 28, 2010

The Shield of Faith

Just to jot down a quick note of thanksgiving: Thank God, I think my depression's gone already since yesterday. Praise God for the good time of solitude and fellowship on Sunday, just resting and for the prayers and encouragements of my dear brothers.

Hee. =D

Psalm 138
1 I will praise you, O LORD, with all my heart;
before the "gods" I will sing your praise.

2 I will bow down toward your holy temple
and will praise your name
for your love and your faithfulness,
for you have exalted above all things
your name and your word
. - ooh I rmb tt verse ministered to me back in 2005.

3 When I called, you answered me;
you made me bold and stouthearted.

4 May all the kings of the earth praise you, O LORD,
when they hear the words of your mouth.

5 May they sing of the ways of the LORD,
for the glory of the LORD is great.

6 Though the LORD is on high, he looks upon the lowly,
but the proud he knows from afar.

7 Though I walk in the midst of trouble,
you preserve my life;
you stretch out your hand against the anger of my foes,
with your right hand you save me.

8 The LORD will fulfill his purpose for me;
your love, O LORD, endures forever—
do not abandon the works of your hands.

You know, I think I do get certain periods of feeling very downcast and depressed even. But thank God, I think with the hope that God has given me, He has helped me go through these periods of downness more and more victoriously.

I feel very encouraged, because during this episode, God encouraged me with the classic verse from Eph 6: "In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one." I realise that during these periods when everything just seems so bleak and hopeless, actually, these negative discouragements, temptations and feelings of hopelessness are flaming arrows - made worse by the fact that yes, all these accusations do have a grain of truth to them - be they my mistakes, failures, past sins and so on. The tiny grain of fact being used as the warhead for the entire arrow to make one hell of a weapon. And Satan, sadistic old devil that he is, isn't content to have just an arrow. No, he has to go set it on fire, with his malicious accusations and fiery-tongued mockery and scorching condemnations. Yep, Satan doesn't fight fair. (Well, what do you expect from the father of all lies... the tempter and accuser of God's people.)

So yes, the shield of faith. You ever watched those war movies where the soldiers close ranks and hoist up their shields? Braveheart, Troy, 300, Gladiator... sometimes you can't do much except just take cover and endure the barrage. But we could learn from the Spartans - laughing even as they close ranks in close comradeship and waiting for the barrage of arrows to end.

But as I reflected on Eph 6, I also realised that I need to take the opportunity to fight back with the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. So I have to not only survive the flaming barrage, but also advance swiftly after the barrage and close in for hand-to-hand combat with the enemy, fighting back with the word of God. And with God's power, the enemy will quickly rout. Like bronze swords versus iron swords - no contest. Or maybe more like bronze swords versus a light-saber. Ahhh. That's more like it! :)

Incidentally Roman military tactics are really very interesting to read. I wonder why gangsters in gang-fights never bother to use proper shield+parang tactics... :P

So yup! Thank God for his restoring to me the joy of His salvation. I hope it doesn't come back again, but if/when it does, I will continue to focus on the goodness of God... and continue to remain in the fellowship of my brothers, and continue to pray and read the Bible, and read more encouraging Christian books. Live a life of faith, hope and love! And keep marching on... my life's work is yet to be done.

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