There is an interesting story of the great evangelist and reformer Martin Luther, who founded the Lutheran and Protestant faiths. Reportedly, a stain was on the floor in his study at Wartburg Castle. When giving tours, the docent would remark that the stain occurred when Luther threw his ink bottle at the devil. In his later years, the enemy hounded Luther, and he had seasons of depression and mood swings, which he called ‘evil spirits.’

In The Seal and Pledge of the Holy Spirit, Brian Allison writes:

The devil sought to discourage Luther, by making him feel guilty, through rehearsing a list of his sins. When the devil had finished, Luther purportedly said, “Think harder: you must have forgotten some.” And the devil did think, and he listed more sins. When he was done enumerating the sins, Luther said, “Now, with a red pen write over that list, ‘The blood of Jesus Christ, God’s Son, cleanses us from all sin.’ The devil had nothing to say.

Luther threw ink at the enemy. It was his way of tangibly saying the Word of God is stronger!

Perhaps it is easy to suggest that in Luther’s defense against the enemy, he was strongly influenced by Jesus. In Matthew 4 and Luke 4, when the enemy tempted Jesus, our Savior was victorious because He threw words of scripture, the words of truth, back at the devil.

Today’s gift is the only offensive weapon in the full armor. Please see the significance of that.

“… and the sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God.” (Ephesians 6:17, NIV).

Look at how Jesus used this weapon. He is tired. He is hungry. He has been fasting for 40 days.

“The devil came to Jesus to tempt him, saying, “If you are the Son of God, tell these rocks to become bread.” Jesus answered: “It is written in the Scriptures, ‘A person lives not on bread alone, but by everything God says.’” (Matthew 4:3-4, NCV).

Jesus is actually quoting Moses here:

“Remember how the Lord your God has led you in the desert for these forty years, taking away your pride and testing you, because he wanted to know what was in your heart. He wanted to know if you would obey his commands. He took away your pride when he let you get hungry, and then he fed you with manna, which neither you nor your ancestors had ever seen. This was to teach you that a person does not live on bread alone, but by everything the Lord says.” (Deuteronomy 8:2-3, NCV).

Two additional times when the enemy tempts Jesus, the Master uses the Word of God as an offensive weapon to defeat the devil. So, if the sword of the Spirit, the Word of God, worked for Jesus, it would certainly work for you and me! Did Jesus have his Torah handy or the YouVersion Bible app in his pocket? No, it was written on His heart. He had memorized scripture. This should give us all great motivation to learn scripture so that we can be judiciously on the offense when attacked by the enemy.

Do you know that even today, most Jewish boys and girls have memorized the Torah — the first five books of the Bible: Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy — by the time they are 12 years old?! Twelve! Maybe scripture memory would be a great new goal for next year. You don’t have to memorize the Torah, but some key scriptures would be ideal. What if you tried to memorize one each month or one each week? There are many great online tools and traditional type cards that can help.

So pick up your sword, your Bible. Don’t just memorize it, but meditate on the Word. Make it a part of who you are. Write it on your heart. Be ready to use this gift and be on the offensive. In that way, you’ll defeat the father of lies and encourage others with the love of God at its core.


Father God, thank you for this gift, the sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God. May I write your Word on my heart. Help me use this gift to defeat the enemy and to build up and encourage my friends and family. May I find the Bible a delightful source of personal strength, love, wisdom, grace, and joy! In Jesus’ name. Amen.


This advent devotional can be found on the YouVersion Bible App here.

Isaiah 15

Because of the importance of Israel and its people, and my personal love for The Land, I’m inviting you to join me through the key Old Testament book of Isaiah.  Each day I’m posting some simple thoughts about this complex prophet.

Isaiah 15

“Moab is left in ruins.” (v1, CEV). Even its people who flee the land will be attacked.

Moab was what is now mostly the country of Jordan. It is just on the other side of the Dead Sea where many tourists float in South Israel.  It, like so much of the lands from 1000 BC, are in ruins. As will likely our lands be in 3000 years, right?

But what stands the test of time? God’s word.  Jesus says in Matthew 24:35 that even the heavens and earth will pass away but not His words.

We can be assured that His love and His promises for us will never fail. We are why He came. We can always trust the truth of His words! They will never be like the ruins of Moab, Israel or even the future ruins of any town in the USA.

And indeed, Jesus is the Word. “In the beginning was the one who is called the Word. The Word was with God and was truly God. From the very beginning the Word was with God.” (John 1:1-2, CEV). He is the One who came from Bethlehem, the house of bread. He is the one who said, “I am the bread of life.” (John 6:35). He is our sustenance. He is our life. He lives forever!

The soldier of God, Joshua, proclaims: “Not one word failed from all the good words God spoke to the house of Israel. Everything came out right.” (Joshua 21:45, MSG). Everything will come out for you and me as well!

I’m thankful that His words of life are truth. His words will never fail. He keeps His promises. His words stand the test of time. His word is eternal.


(c) 2020. Rich Ronald.

The Secret to Success?

The secret to success? Meditate. Study. Read. The Word of God.
The secret to success? Meditate. Study. Read. The Word of God.

When I was in high school, a speaker at a conference I attended asked, “Do you want to be successful? I know the secret to guarantee your success!”

Like many teens at that stage of life I had one foot that was finishing 12 years of education and my second foot in the “almost-an-adult” world of college. I had plans. I had dreams. I had a career picked out and I couldn’t wait to get there. So of course, the speaker’s question piqued my interest.

He then began to unveil this great mystery by reading a passage of Joshua, from the Bible. The words of the LORD to the new, young captain of the army of God.

No one will be able to defeat you all your life. Just as I was with Moses, so I will be with you. I will not leave you or forget you. Joshua, be strong and brave! You must lead these people so they can take the land that I promised their fathers I would give them.  Be strong and brave. Be sure to obey all the teachings my servant Moses gave you. If you follow them exactly, you will be successful in everything you do. Always remember what is written in the Book of the Teachings. Study it day and night to be sure to obey everything that is written there. If you do this, you will be wise and successful in everything.” Joshua 1:5-8 (NCV)

Remember. Follow. Study. Obey. If you follow, if you do this, you will be successful.

What a great promise from God!

Another version says to “meditate” on God’s word. It can mean to pour yourself into it night and day. Listen to the wisdom in the Bible.  And then, follow it. This week our pastor told us the Greek word for meditate is “logizomai.” The root of the English word “logic.” He suggested that when we meditate on God’s word, we are thinking clearly, logically, about what it means to us. And it’s the stongest way to fend off anxiety.

Whenever I have found myself in seasons of challenge, times of confusion or wonder, I go back to the Bible to study and hear first-hand what God’s instructions are. I’m a verbal processor, so not only do I read it and think about it, I will often read it out loud to myself so that I can fully grasp it.  I may even write the words down in a journal or write out what I perceive God wants me to know about Him through those words. Then, with the Holy Spirit as my guide and the One who gives boldness and courage, I do my best to follow. And God has granted success every time!

Have there been times of trial? Absolutely. For example, I’ve had 22 jobs in the last 34 years. But God has been faithful to me through it all. Why? By His grace I believe it’s because I have done my best to be a student of His word. To read it. To learn it. To teach it. To model it. To meditate on it day and night. I’m so thankful for His promises and the truth that is revealed on page after page of the Text.

It brings comfort. It brings wisdom. It brings understanding.

Have I lived a “successful” life? In the world’s eyes, probably not. My bank account is not overflowing. I don’t live in luxury.

But in God’s eyes? The eyes that matter most to me? Yes, absolutely. I am successful because I am walking every day under His umbrella of true grace, true forgiveness and true joy!

And that’s a secret He calls me, and all of us, to share with the world.

(c) 2015 Rich Ronald