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A Vertical Moment

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By What Authority

“And he said to them, “Neither will I tell you by what authority I do these things.” Matt 21:27
 
I’ve been thinking about authority lately. Who has it? Who gives it? Who takes it? If you work, your supervisor has authority over you (unless you’re at the top). If you go to school, your teacher or professor has some level of authority over you. If you are a minor, your parents have authority over you. Police officers have authority. Doctors have authority.
 
Authority is positional; the role we have determines the authority we have. Sometimes this role is elected, sometimes it’s biology, sometimes it’s hired, sometimes it’s earned through education (understanding that all authority is God-given - Rom. 13:1).
 
By the end of the sermon on the Mount (Matt. 7), Jesus’ authority was clear: “And when Jesus finished these sayings, the crowds were astonished at his teaching, for he was teaching them as one who had authority, and not as their scribes” (Matt 7:28-29). But in Matt. 21:23-27, the chief priests and elders ask Jesus about the source of His authority. Jesus turns the tables and has a question for them about the origin of John the Baptist’s baptism. The chief priests and elders are stumped and say they don’t know. So, Jesus won’t tell them the source of His authority. Was he holding out on them? No. They had already had numerous chances to hear and believe.
 
Remember, Jesus has all authority. There’s no more to have. “And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me” (Matt. 28:18). He is the uncontested King. The ultimate and final authority.

Posted by Joan S. with

The Sword

“In all circumstances take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming darts of the evil one; and take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God, praying at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication.” (Eph. 6:16-18)
 
My Marine officer son was awarded a United States Marine Corps (USMC) sword his senior year of college. He had wanted one for years and it is quite an honor to receive one.
 
Modeled after the traditional Mameluke sword, the blade is made of forged stainless steel, well-tempered, hand-polished, and acid-etched with the USMC pattern. The guard is cast brass, 24-carat gold-plated, hand-polished, and the grip is ivory-colored, fixed with star-shaped screws. The scabbard is a stainless-steel tube, with 24-carat gold-plated, brass mountings. Derived from sabers used by Egyptian Mamluk warriors, it was adopted in the 19th century by several Western militaries, including the French Army, British Army, and the USMC in 1826.
 
In today’s Marine Corps, the sword is worn as a ceremonial side arm on special occasions. One day, my son will likely display it on a shelf or wall. It is a fine showpiece and quite impressive.
 
When my son got this award, God reminded me that as a Christian, I also have a sword. But this one is not ceremonial. It’s not meant to sit on a shelf or in a display case; it’s a critical part of the armor of God in Eph. 6:10-18. Our priceless sword is the mighty word of God and we use it as we pray “at all times” in the Spirit. The weapons we use have divine power to destroy strongholds (2 Cor. 10:4).
 
Father, help us to pick up this mighty sword and wield it to accomplish great things for your Kingdom.

Posted by Joan S. with

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