Tag: battle

I Love March!

calendarMarch

I love the month of March!  It feels like the year is finally beginning.

 

bloom-blooming-blossom-355663The seasons change and it feels like the world is waking up again…more sunlight, warmer temperatures, and spring flowers begin to show filling dead looking spaces with beautiful colors and aromas.

 

choir-306900_640I remember songs from growing up in Military Chapel services like: Lead On O King Eternal the day of march has come, March On O Soul with Strength, and Onward Christian Soldiers, to name a few. Scripture tells us that spring was the time that men went out to war. And so many of these songs have the word “march” in them, that I associated them with the month of March. 

 

March on O soul with strength, as strong the battle rolls! ‘Gainst lies and lusts and wrongs, let courage rule our soul

Lead on O King eternal, the day of march has come…we follow not with fears…till sins fierce war shall cease

Onward Christian Soldiers marching as to war…like a mighty army moves the church of God…hell’s foundations quiver at the shout of praise

Stand up, stand up for Jesus, ye soldiers of the cross…put on the gospel armor, each piece put on with prayer

We’re marching to Zion, beautiful, beautiful Zion

warfarehelmetsI know the lyrics weren’t necessarily referring to the month of March, but every March I’m reminded of them. And it births in me a strong desire to be adequately armed for spiritual battle.

It reminds me that the enemy of our soul is on the move and ready with an attack, and I need to be vigilant in praying for my loved ones. And in praising God that He protects and directs, that He guards and guides, He helps and heals.

winner-4912049_640I am reminded that He dwells in the midst of our praise. So I give Him praise! No matter what circumstances, or trial or sorrow I may face, God will be with me and is in control.

And in the victories, it is His power that allows me to rejoice.

March is coming to an end, but as you see the signs of spring where you are; the snow melting,  the flowers blooming, the trees budding, the birds returning, let it be a reminder to you to armor up! And join in, for the Battle Belongs to the Lord!

What armor are you wearing? Part 2

warfarehelmetsThe armor makes a difference!

Part 2  Evil Armor

I believe there’s a battle that we can’t see going on in the world today.

God gives believers armor and weapons to wear and use as protection, and as offensive and defensive weapons against the evil one and his schemes against us.

But I believe the evil one offers us armor too.  Or he leaves it lying around enticing us to pick it up and use it.

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Because he is a deceiver, he can only counterfeit what God has made.  Someone may think this counterfeit armor will protect them, but it only serves to harm them, their relationships and the course of their lives.

 

Belt of Lies – Instead of a Belt of Truth, they gird themselves with the lies and deceit of the evil one, satan.  They will not hold something up to the Bible as a standard, but only to the current morality of the times, or what they feel is “right” for them.  Or whatever they can get away with without suffering consequences.  And because of this undercoat of support in the form of a veil of deceit they are living under – they feel totally justified in doing so.

The truth is relative, and so, irrelevant to their world view and the values they govern themselves by.  They are so misled as to cause themselves harm without realizing it.  And devastation to relationships.  They are mortgaging their future with a loan of moral and spiritual debt they can never repay.

breastplateBreastplate of Self-Righteousness – They protect themselves with a breastplate of self-entitlement and selfishness.  Rather than seek out what is right and good, they protect what seems good to only them.  And they feel power in being successful at manipulating, scheming and doing what it takes to get what they want.

They do not take responsibility for their words or actions.  The breastplate is supposed to protect your heart so no evil weapon can inflict damage.  But where God seeks to soften their heart, they throw up armor, surrounding it with only what they feel they deserve or are owed.  And whatever they feel you or I or the world owes them creates a barrier to our trying to instruct them in responsibility, right behavior and clear thinking.

Shoes of Strife – I won’t say they are shoes of war, but in smaller ways, they devalue keeping the peace.  In their jobs, in family relationships, in their choices of disobedience and rebellion, they literally and figuratively “walk all over people” in the name of what they feel they deserve or are owed.

helmetHelmet of Destruction –  They entertain thoughts that lead to sinful and destructive behaviors.  They embrace the values of the world and the flesh, defending that this is the way everyone thinks.  Ironically, they feel indestructible and so behave in ways that damage themselves, their relationships, their future and their spirits.

Their minds are filled with thoughts that tear themselves down.  So to deal with this they tear others down to build themselves up.  Rather than take every thought captive to God, they’re distracted to act on every stray idea without discernment as to its true consequences.  And in doing so often harm themselves and others.

sheildShield of Intolerance – They hold up a shield whenever criticism is lofted their way, to repel the truth.  But in that way, they actually don’t see that they have become intolerant of anyone who is not under their shield with them, tolerating only what they tolerate.  All kinds of injustice and evil have been done in the name of tolerance.

If anyone even hints at suggesting something is wrong with their behavior or attitude, the shield comes up and the questioner is accused of being intolerant.   Not only a defensive protection, they now use their shield to bully and push back against and knock down anyone who dares to have standards that are different from theirs.

swordSword of Idolatry –  These swords differ by whatever the individual worships.  Some fight with the sword of knowledge/education and go about slicing any argument to bits that can’t be proven scientifically or empirically.  If they can’t see it and understand it, it can’t be true.  Others slice down truth with secular humanism holding that people can govern themselves, making their own moral decisions based on what’s right for themselves at the time.

Another group slashes its way by exalting nature, mother earth, and all their decisions are made with this as the highest level of importance.  Still other swords used bear out that people live their lives and make their decisions based on whatever will bring them happiness, comfort, fame, wealth, power or beauty.  Some even carry several swords to defend their many loves against truth.

Do you recognize any of this armor?  In yourself?  In a loved one?

This armor is destructive.  Sometimes a loved one may not even realize they are acting defensively in this armor.  They become less loving, hard and hurtful people we barely recognize.  They carry attitudes of self-entitlement and their words and actions push us away rather than draw us in or accept any help.

When I sense this I realize it’s not the person I have a problem with, but the armor.  And I ask God to remove that evil armor.  With my own spiritual Armor of God prayed on, I pray off the evil armor.

Here’s a sample prayer for praying off that armor:

Lord Jesus Christ, with Your armor on I enter into the battle before me.  I believe (name) is acting under the influence of evil armor they may have picked up either intentionally or without realizing it.  Please remove the belt of lies, half-truths and deceit they are living in.  Show them Your truth and the cost and real consequences of what they have been mistakenly believing.

Father, remove the helmet of destruction.  Wipe out any thoughts of suicide or self-harm.  Help them to take every thought captive to evaluate it and call out to You for discernment before taking any action.

Lord, rip off the breastplate of self-righteousness.  Soften their heart to You and bring them salvation if they are not believers.  If they are believers, show them how this armor is not really protecting them.  How they are instead allowing the hurt in but then pushing away those who love them and want to help them.

Show them how to kick off the shoes of strife and set their feet upon Your path. Remind them that Your plan is to prosper them and not harm them, but to give them a hope and a future.

Father, convince them to set aside their shield of intolerance so they will be willing to see Your truth offered in grace and with love.  And let that grace and truth strengthen their faith.

And God lead them to lay down their swords of idolatry.  Defeat whatever else is ruling and ruining their lives.

Let them hear Your voice and  understand  Your words.  Send the Holy Spirit to silence all other voices that are not from You.

In the name of the LORD JESUS CHRIST, I thank you for hearing my prayer.  And for working in the life of (name). Amen.

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What armor are you wearing? Part 1

warfarehelmetsThe armor makes a difference!

Part 1  The Armor of God

I believe there’s a battle that we can’t see going on in the world today.

God gives believers armor and weapons to wear and use as protection, and as offensive and defensive weapons against the evil one and his schemes against us.

Many picture the battle for the world as 2 near equal powers fighting for control – as if on a see-saw, where any little thing could easily tip the scale in one direction or the other.

 

   <-  Us  ->

God                                                  Satan

/\

    World

 

NO WAY ! !   That is far from the truth! 

 

As a created being, the devil is in NO WAY equal to God

not in power, stature, character, not in any way.

If you are a believer, you’re on God’s team.  The truth is: once we join Jesus’ team by accepting his free gift of salvation, we NEVER return to satan’s team.  The enemy, satan, knows this and he looks for ways to trick or discourage us to keep us sidelined and out of the game.

Ephesians 6 talks about the pieces of armor.

Paul wrote his letter to the Ephesians while in Rome, under house arrest.  He was guarded by Roman soldiers.  Every day, he saw men dressed in armor, bearing the insignia of their authority.  The Holy Spirit must have inspired his analogy of a Christian “soldier.”

Ephesians 6:10-18 tells us the armor we should have in place.

Belt of Truth – a wide, tight band around the waist, this holds pieces of armor in place, as well as the sword.  With it we are constantly girded about with the truth – God’s truth, and can recognize a lie from the evil one when it’s launched as a half-truth or outright lie.  With it we can hold anything up to compare it to scripture, the plumb line for truth.

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Breastplate of Righteousness – protects our heart and vital organs (a forerunner of the bulletproof vest).  It is the righteousness of the Lord Jesus Christ that forms a protective cover that halts darts and arrows, and deflects blows directed at us.

Shoes of the Gospel of Peace – In our homes, we often remove our shoes as a sign of relaxation.  So, to put on shoes is a sign of readiness or preparedness to accept marching orders to stand for the gospel of peace we have in Christ Jesus.

spartan-1494365_640Helmet of Salvation – bears the insignia of our authority and who we serve, the army in which we fight.  It protects our heads and guards our minds so we can reject thoughts placed there by the enemy who would like nothing more than to sideline us with thoughts of fear, doubt, insecurity, or unworthiness. “as you think, so you are…” Pr 23:7 KJV.  It allows us to take every thought captive to be sure it is God’s truth before accepting it.

roman shield

Shield of Faith – not some puny little garbage can lid with a handle, but a head to toe protection, repelling the enemy’s offense – when the shield was anointed with oil it would reflect the glare of the sun and blind the enemy.  This shield covers a soldier from top to bottom, side to side and can join with others to form a wall of protection that will fend off an attacker.  On a wooden frame, its thick covering can stop projectiles and extinguish flaming arrows.

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Sword of the Spirit – our offensive weapon, the WORD of GOD.  We can use the very words of scripture to fight against, repel, harm and defeat the enemy.  Jesus used these very words to overcome satan’s temptations.  There is power in the Word of God.

Wearing this Spiritual Armor prepares us for and protects us in battle.  So, arm yourself with the armor daily.

Speak each piece on in prayer. Out loud so the evil one hears you!

Here’s a sample prayer for the armor.

Lord Jesus Christ, with the belt of truth fastened around my waist, I say that I will not believe the lies satan would try to use to confuse me.  Give me clarity and an understanding of what is the truth in this situation.

The helmet of salvation I wear will guard my mind, and I take every thought captive to you.  Help me see past what the world and others tell me, to what you want to say to me.

The breastplate of righteousness I place over my chest protects my heart, so I can hear you with my mind and my heart.  I believe satan is tempting me with lies and half-truths so I will stand on Your promises and Your truths.

I wear the shoes of peace to say that I am ready to receive my marching orders  from you and to obey what you tell me to do.

I take up my shield to repel all the arguments the evil one would send against me.  Father, You have taught me right from wrong, help me cling to what is right.

I take up the sword, the Word of God, and say that satan has no power over me.  Lord, You are my Master, my Commander, my Creator, and it is you who I will follow and obey.  You have created me fearfully and wonderfully, and you alone are worthy of all my praise.

Father, anoint me with the Holy Spirit so I may truly hear and understand your words.  Send the Holy Spirit to guide me in this decision and to silence all the voices that are not from you.

In the name of the LORD JESUS CHRIST, I thank you for hearing my prayer.  I yield my will to You and wait to hear from You, listening with my heart and my spirit. Amen.

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Another Battle

You call me to the battle once again
enemies abound on every side
I look to see what weapons will avail
the one that speaks the loudest is: Abide

I place Your armor on, it is the best

protecting head to toe and side to side
I take my shield and sword and make my stance
And still the Spirit speaks to me: Abide

My marching orders come and in I go
once again into the battle’s fray
I have no fear of losing for I know

that at the Finish You will win the day

I do not fight alone You send me help
other Mighty Warriors by my side
It’s hand-to-hand and swords are clashing now
and still I hear the word from You: Abide

We make a strong assault and push them back
it seems the enemy faints and runs to hide
and in this show of strength our Battle Cry
continues to encourage us: Abide

The enemy was only gathering strength
and makes a mighty push that sends us back
Some are wounded and they step away
others stagger hurt in the attack

The battle isn’t over; night has come
We pitch our tents and dress our wounds inside
The wind keeps blowing fiercely through the dark
But peace commands our spirits to Abide

We will be strong to fight another day
and into Heaven’s Victory we’ll ride
our Battle Cry will strengthen all the way
For in our Mighty Savior we Abide

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John 15 is the abiding chapter that promises that the Holy Spirit, the Comforter, will abide in us forever.

It counsels us to abide in Christ as a branch is connected to the vine, giving it life and fruitfulness.

It directs is to abide in Jesus’ love and in His words so that our prayers will be answered.

 

The word Abide means to dwell, to remain or continue, or to wait in preparation.  We will receive protection and power by remaining connected to Jesus Christ. 

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This also speaks of God’s armor, given to us for the fight.  And that we do not fight alone.  We wear the armor of God through our salvation: the Helmet of Salvation, the Breastplate of Righteousness, the Belt of Truth, the Shoes of the Gospel of Peace.

And we need to daily take up the Shield of Faith and the Sword of the Spirit – the Word of God, the Bible – to stand and fight together against the fear and discouragement of the world situation now.

roman shield

We will be strengthened to be victorious.  As we stand together, we can wield the weapon of prayer against any enemy.

Even the circumstances of this crisis now!

 

 

Pray for your brothers and sisters who are sick to be healed.  Pray for those who are vulnerable to be protected.

Pray for those who are helping to remain healthy and strong and able to do their work. Pray that they would receive our gratitude and thanks for their sacrifice to work and volunteer to care for others.

Pray for needed supplies to be delivered to those who need them.  Pray that anyone hoarding supplies of any kind would have a change of heart.

Pray for those who have lost incomes to be granted grace and favor with those they owe money to, so debts can be forgiven or deadlines extended.

Pray for those in positions of authority to have godly wisdom in making decisions that affect all of us.

 

Pray for all of us to grow strong in the Lord in our time of distanced sheltering in place as this crisis blows over and away from us.  Ask God to give us wisdom in returning to our lives with more kindness and love.

Ask God for personal strength to Abide in Him.  And when victory comes, we will give Him the glory!

John 15:1-17; Ephesians 6:10-18

 

Jericho Lesson 1

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The last two posts told about my Jericho Walk, and asked if you have a “Jericho” in your life: a blessing you believe God wants to give you, but you feel unable to achieve on your own.   Following the example of Joshua’s battle, I completed a Jericho Walk.  Check those posts out.

Besides the big victory I was walking for, God met and taught me lessons along the way.  They came when our group circled the lake 7 times.

As we began to walk, our paces spread us out.  We weren’t far apart then, but it was clear I wouldn’t be at the head of the line.

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Soon thoughts of whether I could catch up by the end began to dissolve into panic that I wouldn’t be able to finish at all.

 

My heart began to race.  Halfway around the first lap, I had the distinct thought that I would have a heart attack, literally, before this was done.

 

first-responders-3323385_640Rather than question this thought, I began processing how God might use this turn of events – I could witness to the ambulance and Emergency Room people!   Telling them all about the Jericho Walk would be a great way to get the word out and share God’s love and plan for their lives too.

Perhaps the local papers or tv stations would do a story on me – even a heart attack couldn’t stop her!  Or maybe I would just die.  My thoughts were running wild and my heart was pounding harder.

Then, it became clear: this was not God speaking to me.

chalk-board-303457_640Satan will attack you!  And if your mind is unguarded it will run away with those thoughts.

Any time you step out in obedience to God, the enemy will try and defeat you with whatever means he can.   And the thoughts and fears you have may not be your own, but a form of spiritual attack to dishearten and oppress you.

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Pray on the armor of God.

 

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At that point, I began to pray on the spiritual armor from Ephesians 6.  The helmet of Salvation protects your mind and thoughts, and bears the insignia of God Almighty in whose army you fight.  It allows you to take every thought captive to God and hold it up against the truth of His Word.  Instead of taking that first thought captive, I accepted it as a real possibility.

The breastplate of Righteousness, forerunner to the bullet-proof vest, protects your organs, heart for instance, and allows the enemy’s bullets and glancing blows to bounce off.

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The belt of Truth helps you discern truth from the lies and deceit of the enemy. I should have taken that lie and rebuked it with scripture “God has not given me a spirit of fear.” 2 Timothy 1:7 So I didn’t need to fear an imagined harm.

When we put on the shoes of the gospel of peace we say we are ready for God’s marching orders.

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And we take up the shield of Faith and the sword of the Spirit which is the Word of God.  Our head to toe protection can repel the enemy’s launched attacks.  And speaking God’s Word in prayer and praise can launch attacks of our own.

After I prayed the armor on, I felt much more protected from outside attack.  With a renewed and energetic step I began the third lap.

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Remember that when you step out in faith for God, you need to be armed for battle.  And you can trust that God’s armor is the best.