Are you struggling to be in the word? If so, I guarantee your Armor is not at its full power. Do not be surprised by the enemy gaining ground on you. 1 Peter 5:8 “Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.” Stop, do not pass go (remember monopoly?) Go find your Jesus issued uniform. Put on your protective gear, the Armor of God. Return to the word, dig in and cover yourself in truth. Rest in his promises. May this post encourage you to be in prayer, be in the word, and know truth, develop your faith, be at peace, stand firm, and take a posture of victory. James 1:22 “Don’t just listen to God’s word. You must do what it says. Otherwise, you are only fooling yourselves.” (NLT)
I have been growing in the word for many years now, and the last several I have been walking ever so closely to my Savior. He called me out upon the waters. My faith gained much growth once I started the practice of writing in prayer journals. Naturally I am not a writer. I have not been trained and I’m sure my style is unorthodox to say the least. Writing just isn’t my thing. Remember, I am a retired science teacher. I love quirky teenagers, sports, and I have a strange sense of humor. I have a difficult time staying still and focused.
Journaling is a discipline that I found really difficult at first, but soon realized it allowed me to stay focused and organized in my thoughts. When I try to pray without writing my mind wanders, and before I know it, I am making a mental list of things to do, and/or finding some pressing household chore that must be done immediately. Even worse, I may fall asleep right in the middle of my conversation with God. How’s that for brutal honesty? Thankfully we have grace. I developed a daily habit of writing. Soon, I found that my time spent with God began to increase. I would have such focused moments that words would flow through my hand with ease and fluidity. This process also helped me remember how faithful God was because I could look back and see how my prayers were answered. At times it felt like he wasn’t listening or acting in my timeframe, but once the scope was widened (time passed) I could see His sovereign fingerprints all over my life. His ways far surpass my limited perception. I have also developed a habit of meditating on his word and writing it in my journal. When I have no words, I pray His words! My quiet time has become my daily bread, my manna.
Back in December of 2015 I felt a stirring inside of me and began to pray. I asked others to pray for me as well because I felt that a new season was coming. Like many, I have lived the majority of my life making decisions based on feelings, doors that were open, natural advancements, etc. On occasion I would sprinkle prayer in for good measure. More times than not, I would move ahead without any clear answer from the throne. With my faith at an all time high, I felt that I would continue to pray it through and fully trust God. I wish I could say I was consistently patient and quietly waited for the Lord to point me in the right direction. Admittedly there were several times I would circle around my prayer and pick it back up and try to “help God out”. Um, hello, newsflash…God doesn’t need my help. He does need my cooperation though. I would try to figure out ahead of God what “new season” could mean, and I had several “what ifs” that had my brain swirling. In the end, there would be nine full months of praying while the Holy Spirit corrected me in my impatience and my feeble attempts to gain control of the situation. He firmly, consistently, and lovingly reminded me again and again of His will, not my own. Isaiah 55:8 is a verse that continually is on replay in my mind, “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,” declares the Lord.
My last big event of the Summer was a family cruise (right before school started and kick off of student ministry season). I had slipped away on a very quiet early morning on a large ship in the middle of the Caribbean to spend time in the word and to pray with my journal and Bible in hand. Very clearly, I was told to step out of student ministry. Who told me? Jesus spoke, and I felt compelled to tell everyone I was with later at breakfast of my clarity. I would have to say “no” to something that was so near and dear to my heart. Working with students had been my love for nearly 20 years. My new season first had to begin with an end.
How do you know if you are following God’s will and following the path He is calling you to? PEACE is the answer. I didn’t know what I was going to do with myself and my time, but I had peace. I knew all I needed was Him. He got me this far, and I was listening for his direction to where I would go next. I decided I would not move until he said go. God tells his people over and over throughout the Bible to be still, or to wait, or to rest. So here I was in the sit and stay position.
Do not buy into the world’s idea of coincidences, or luck. May you fully realize that God is in control, and He has called each one of us here. For me right now that means, opening up and writing for others to read. More importantly, for others to be encouraged to develop faith that can move mountains. God alone holds the power to my words. He alone is my rock, my refuge, and satisfies my every need. I was lost, but now I’m found. Dear Friends, find out what he is calling you to do. If he is pushing you outside of your comfort zone, do not shy away. I pray that God would confirm his next step and direction for you. For me and many followers before me, through a few tears and in much awe and with lots of prayer I hope that you are encouraged by strong Christian friends (wise modern day sages). I pray that your spiritual eyes and ears be open to other timely affirmations regarding your calling. Be bold to submitted fully to truth of the living word of God.
Lord, help us all to realize that YOU Lord equip those whom you call so that no one can boast. Ephesians 2:8-10 It is all for your glory!
This study focuses on the Helmet of Salvation. In Priscilla Shirer’s The Armor of God my attention was brought to certain words that made me think of jobs, companies, or businesses. Newly hired employees typically receive some type of Human Resources training to go over protocol, chain of command, benefits, and lots of paperwork.
Priscilla tells us that salvation gives us believers comprehensive coverage. Unlike the minimum state requirement, it isn’t just liability. Salvation is the premium insurance policy. This is the policy with all the bells and whistles, the most expensive because it even covers things like complimentary roadside assistance. Think about this too, our salvation is the best insurance policy, and it is absolutely paid for in full, and for all time by our Savior. It doesn’t go under review every six months to a year either. Once and for all, Jesus delivered us from our sin. Also, we answer directly to the Lord of lords, and the King of kings!
Priscilla shares a story of her son skinning his knees and elbows taking a hard fall off his skateboard. It wasn’t like he didn’t have protective pads that would have prevented these injuries, he just wasn’t wearing them. The same holds true for each of us. We must not avoid using our coverage of protection. You never know what lies ahead, so the best prevention is to be prepared. How many of us have come upon some troubled times and complained of how hurt we were, nursing our wounds. Upon closer look, our daily uniform (Armor of God) might be stuck in the dirty clothes hamper, maybe even nicely laundered but hanging in the back corner of your closet. Where is the protective armor your loving Father has placed in your reach? It is at those times, when we were trying to do things on our own that we come out battered and bruised. A favorite excuse used by many is the old, “I didn’t have time.” Another one is that you didn’t want to bother God with something you could easily do on your own. Well, take the time to put off your old ways of independence, and protect yourself with the Armor of God that is at your disposal.
No matter your background, socio-economic status, sir-name, relationship status, no matter your skill level, education, worldly travels, no matter the size of your bank account, IQ, or how many stockings are hung in your home each Christmas, there is a truth you need let sink down deep and penetrate every fiber of your being. Here it is… YOU are His. When we admitted that we were sinners, believed that Jesus died for our sins, and confessed with our mouths that he is our Savior we received more than a ticket to heaven. Our joy doesn’t have to be put on hold because Jesus offers the most amazing Salvation Benefits package, with the best comprehensive insurance plan, and an inheritance that would make the richest man in the world envious.
How? Realize there is a spiritual war. What’s more is that you can’t take a vacation and let your guard down. Even in times of peace, or mountain top moments, you must pray and depend on God the Father. Daily manna is what I call my mornings in prayer and study. I pray for you to develop spiritual muscle and be diligent, obedient, and completely honest in your time with the Lord. You can’t be lazy. You can’t finish one bible study, and just wait for the next one to start. Doing that is just signaling to the enemy you are left unprotected and easily blind sided. Expose the lies that Satan speaks to you, and match them one by one with TRUTH. Become familiar with the lavish benefits package you have in Christ. You are co-heirs. You are highly cherished. You are forgiven. You are the child of the one true King. Start renewing and rewiring your mind to the things of truth that are from the one that loves us!
I hope this post finds you well and knee deep in God’s word. In order to “take up” the shield of faith, we must be active. Faith isn’t passive, or a good luck charm.
Just almost 2 years ago I found myself in a season of life that I had not really foreseen. There is a huge God story, with so many intricate details and life lessons learned, but one lesson seems to fit perfectly for this study regarding the shield of faith. I became the caretaker of a disabled uncle for 5 months. Shortly after my uncle’s death, I was looking for an on-line spiritual gifts assessment to share with some students I was leading. The teacher in me knew I should take the test first to assure its validity. I had taken these assessments before, and knew what should be reported as my top 3. At the completion of the questions, I was surprised at what gift came back in the number one position. I almost disregarded the results as a faulty test, and was just about to search for a different one. However, the Holy Spirit promptly brought to my mind all that I had been through over the previous months, and I knew that the results were without error. Faithis now my number one spiritual gift. Never before had it even been recorded in the top half for me.
How could faith supersede my previous spiritual gifts? The short answer is that I was willing to be used by God. Faith is an action. I was Jesus with skin on for my uncle. I tell others what started as a mere visit out of obligation, and obedience turned into a beautiful love story of restoration, trust, and love. There were times that I was so overcome, and in awe of God’s perfect timing, that I would tell God to stop. In Luke 5, have you ever paused to take notice that Peter in verse 8 told Jesus to depart from him right after the biggest haul of fish he had ever experienced? I think I know what Peter felt, and maybe you have been there too. It is a fear from experiencing the overwhelming awesome power of God. Perhaps you may think you aren’t worthy. Oh Friend, join me in learning to fully embrace God’s presence; don’t ignore or push aside his lavish blessings. Ephesians 3:20 “Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us.” Realize there are no coincidences, it isn’t luck, or by chance that you are where you are right now reading these words. Open your eyes to God’s holy fingerprints; He is active and alive!
I pray this week that you be bold enough to ask, just as the disciples did, for God to increase your faith. May you be drawn to an intimate closeness to Jesus, our Savior. Let your faith be evident in your words and actions. Come alive! May we be considered people who could be added to the present day Hall of Faith. Look at Hebrews 11, take the time to circle or highlight all the times you see the words “by faith.” Do me a favor will you? Read over the following sentence, and insert your name in the blank.
By faith, __________ did as the Lord had purposed for his/her life.
Now repeat that line, as many times as you need to. Try it out loud so Satan can hear you. Get your shield up an be encouraged because you are advancing against the enemy. Take back what is rightfully yours as a child of God. What is He calling you to do in faith? Lord, it is the desire of our hearts to serve you. Enable us to step out in faith according to your will.
Priscilla Shirer’s The Armor of God has a day of study titled, “My Father’s Shoes.” The title alone reminded me of being my Daddy’s little girl and sweet loving memories of dancing with him. When I was very young I would stand on his feet and he would carry my weight as he glided around the floor. As I got older, I danced with him knowing the steps from the experiences we had earlier in life. During those times, nothing else in the world mattered. I was with my Daddy, and my Daddy was with me. I was protected and had no question that he loved me with all his heart. Lord, thank you for my Daddy here on Earth that gave me love and tender care.
I pray for the ladies reading this blog that do not associate love, gentleness, kindness, peace, and joy when they think of their Dad. I pray for those who don’t even know their dad. Fill them as only you can. You are Abba. For new believers, or the ones who have never stood on your feet and let you lead, and teach them the steps of Your ways of truth and life. I hope that I can encourage them to step up and take your hand. Embrace them Lord, pull them close and give them peace despite their circumstances. May they let you lead, and guide them in their life. May they be equipped with their go shoes to be ready to stand firm and link arms with other believers. May they be able to escape temptations and move away from sinful habits because they wear your shoes of peace.
My daddy has been gone for many many years now, I was 29 at the time and he had just turned 49. Upon his death I turned to God for counsel and comfort. Jesus provided peace that surpassed all understanding. Thank you Lord for being with me every step of the way. I have had many short starts, and the long seasons where I have shown little or no spiritual growth. However, God never left me and always welcomed me back. His grace is enough! My obedience, commitment, and continued pursuit of an intimate relationship sustains me when all seems to be crumbling around me. The Holy Spirit sanctifies, and I am proof that He makes beauty from ashes. He restores my soul. He pours out peace beyond any momentary happiness, or feel good moment this world can offer. The calming peace that only a relationship with Jesus is what I desire above all else.
I pray that we all be well equipped with our “go shoes.” I ask that you Lord expertly fit each of us with your shoes of peace. May our custom made designer shoes fit so well as to give proper support that we not become weary during times of trouble. You have blessed us with such an awesome armor including matching shoes! May we be warrior women who choose them daily. Not only does it feel good, PEACE looks good on us. May we go and be peace-filled people that can be messengers of the good news by sharing the peace you have given us with others.
As I grew closer to my Heavenly Father, I danced with him remembering the steps from the experiences we had earlier in life. During those days dressed in his armor, nothing else in the world mattered, and my trust and faith was deeply rooted in Him. I was with my Savior, and my Savior was with me. I am protected and I am highly cherished. My desire is to be used for His kingdom and glory!
How is the condition of your heart today? When the Bible speaks of our heart, it is in reference to our soul. Priscilla Shirer in her book The Armor of God says our soul is whatmakes us who we are, and each of us unique. She goes on to say that our heart is divided into four parts: mind, will, emotion, and conscienceLook at the heart diagram above and place those four words that make up the heart in each quadrant.
Priscilla lays out 4 types of righteousness.
- Perfect Righteousness
- Comparative Righteousness
- Imputed Righteousness
- Practical Righteousness
I have personally struggled with all 4. I’ll leave you will some of my personal prayers and victories after completing this part of study.
Oh Lord, how many attempts at taking control and trying to be perfect have resulted in my complete life equivalent to a belly flop. Father forgive me for often comparing myself to others, or judging someone else. I am called to be humble and a servant, considering myself less than others. Jesus, thank you for paying it all on the cross. My past failures, struggles, and sin is not in any file you keep on me to use against me when I mess up. I now know that Satan is the keeper of the negative thoughts. My past guilt that likes to creep in happens when I am unprotected by your Armor because I am forgetting to put on my uniform, and I take my eyes off you and onto myself. Lord, I receive your word as truth and the standard by which I strive to live. May my life be a fragrant offering to you by my obedience to your will. I submit to your perfect ways to be seen in my practice during daily experiences. Everything I am is because of your love, mercy, and grace.
As a science student and later in my life as a science teacher, I really got excited over tests where you got to move around from station to station. It is a ton of preparation on the instructor’s part, but totally worth it when you see your students excel. Typically, I was the first teacher to give students this experience. These tests are hands on, and chairs are not supplied. There is no multiple choice answers to guess your way through to a passing grade. Have you had experience taking one of these kinds of tests? Do you know what they are called? Well, they are LAB PRACTICALS. Your instructor isn’t me, it isn’t Priscilla Shirer, it isn’t your pastor, it isn’t your God loving Grandma, and it isn’t you either. Your instructor is God Himself. He has done all the prep work and he wants you to get up and be hands on in your faith! Be a doer of the word. James 1:21-22 Thank you for the Breastplate of your righteousness and that the Belt of Truth carries the weight of our pursuit. Lord, I ask that you give each and every woman an opportunity to do something for your Kingdom, and to bring glory to your name this week. Sanctify us Lord, do a mighty work among us. We praise Your Holy Name, the Name Above All Names, there is power in the name of Jesus!
You are on my mind today as I sit down to share my reflections on the second week of Shirer’s study The Armor of God. One of my favorite apps on my phone is the Webster’s dictionary. I have learned through the years not to gloss over words. Shirer writes truth is God’s opinion on any matter, the ultimate standard. My app’s first definition is as follows: the real facts about something; the things that are true. However, the third definition offered is that truth is a statement or idea that is true or accepted as true. Read over that last definition again slowly. Do you see it? Those last words, an idea that is “accepted as true.” That is not good enough for God. I pray that you humbly submit yourself and give the Holy Spirit reign in your heart, mind, and soul. Father, shine Your light of truth and expose any dark places where we have accepted a lie as truth. I pray that those reading these words be reconciled to you, and for their hearts to be softened and ready to receive your training in righteousness.
I was raised in a non-Christian fairly liberal home, by divorced parents. Born in 1970 maybe it was the culture of the times, but I see the same attitudes and ideologies everywhere today. Have you spent any time contemplating and identifying cultural perceptions (beliefs that do not line up with scripture)? These ideas are so pervasive and so accepted, it requires diligence and a keen awareness to decipher at times. For example, I had just seen a cute little wood plaque for sale that had these words beautifully painted, “Follow your heart wherever it may lead.” Sounds great, right? I could almost hear my mom or dad giving me this advice for life. However, something stirred within me that caused me to pause. That something is the Holy Spirit. Here is what girding my loins with truth does inside my 3 pound finite brain. Shirer used the example of the TSA’s authenticating light, God’s word is the light of truth. His words that were quickly brought to my mind were, “the heart is deceitful” (Jeremiah 17:9). TRUTH – “The heart is deceitful” did not align with the thoughts displayed on the plaque. This idea stays on my mind, and I continue to wrestle with the validity of its words. So later I follow up with more truth by taking the time to look up scripture and find in Proverbs 14:12 “There is a way that appears to be right, but in the end it leads to death.” I don’t need to expand upon all the ways following your heart can lead to sin, and destruction. Finally, I surrender and submit myself to God’s lesson and praise him for not allowing me to buy the pretty to be displayed in my home.
O Brother or Sister in Christ, do not be quick to follow your feelings. They are fleeting, they change. If you are thinking the above example is insignificant, I’m here to tell you that is exactly what Satan wants. He has been working endlessly to desensitize your thinking, to paint a pretty little lie as a trap set just for you. Be on alert, bring everything to the throne. I pray that God becomes your filter and lens and you rely solely on real truth which is God’s standard, the Holy Scriptures. I pray that you gird your loins with a modern day Spanx; let it squeeze out the imperfections, smooth your thoughts to align with God. With your loins secure, may you walk more upright, become aware of your enemy, and ready to tuck in your tunic for action to maneuver and avoid the enemies pitfalls. I pray that you take captive every thought and make it obedient to Christ. (2 Corinthians 10:5) I challenge you to make every effort to learn to inject God’s truth to your own daily prayer life. O Father, open their spiritual eyes and allow my brothers and sisters to see the importance of the belt of truth.
What you are reading on this blog is to give insight to personal habits, thoughts, experiences, and prayers in my life. By no means is it the right way, or the only way of doing a Bible study, prayer, or entering into a full and active relationship with Christ. However, it is helpful for some to get to have examples of another person’s experience, and real world implementation of God’s teachings. I am not a writer by nature. I have a math and science brain. I don’t particularly enjoy sitting down for any long periods of time. I am what many in the south call a “Hot Mess.” All that to say, I have been slow to follow through to the clear prompting by the Holy Spirit to start this blog. I am determined to be obedient to my calling, and know that Father God has equipped me and I am honored that he has chosen to use me as his vessel.
The first 6-7 entries actually follow nicely and were written while I was working through Priscilla Shirer’s The Armor of God study. However, each of these entries can stand alone and be of some benefit (hopefully) to the reader. I pray that you will see it as an encouragement to really dig in and allow God to open your eyes and transform your daily life. Thank you Lord that our time in your word will never return void. Isaiah 55:11 May the words I am about to write, be the words my Father wants you to hear. May all the struggles I have overcome through His power, protection, grace, and love be shared as a living testimony, and touch a fellow believer in Christ along the way.
First of all, I love Priscilla Shirer and she has zeroed in on the enemy in week one. I love how she is very deliberate to let you know that it is up to each one of us to develop our own relationship with God. In short, no one can do it for you, we can’t rely on our pastor, parents, our spouse, or even a Jesus loving friend. You should be seeking God’s face and purposely looking to live your life in His will.
We must be in prayer and know truth in order to be aware of who, what, and how the enemy works. The first week of study Priscilla conveys the message that we have 7 pieces of the Armor of God. For a veteran Bible study chick, I knew the 6 and could rattle them off without hesitation. For the most part, I could even give details of their individual significance. We have 5 pieces of defense that protect: helmet, belt, breastplate, shield, and shoes; and only one weapon of offense which is the sword. So, I spent some time asking myself why haven’t I considered the 7th piece part of this equation before? Here is what I came up with, Satan doesn’t want me to connect that piece because all that armor, and protection is useless without prayer. I realize that God has protected me because I have developed an active prayer life, where I often refer to my Armor of God for protection. I love that Priscilla says that prayer activates the Armor of God, she even calls it is our internet access.
I know one of my biggest areas of weakness is having a sharp tongue and to be easily angered. Ooooh, don’t you know Satan loves to expose that one? Satan has me right where he wants me. Here is the deal, on my best day I can finish up a great quiet time in prayer and study in the stillness of my home early in the morning, and within the first 2 sentences uttered by a child or spouse once they awake can bring me quickly to the world where I become easily agitated and dare I say, quick tempered. What is happening here? I am learning to recognize the enemy. I sometimes lash out, apologize, and go before the throne immediately to seek forgiveness for my lack of self-control, and for my joy to be quickly stolen by the enemy. This week Ephesians 6:12 hit me fresh and is the meditation of my heart. My struggle is not against flesh and blood. Here is one of the prayer strategies I wrote.
Thank you Lord for your words of truth. Thank you that you clearly lay out who is, and who IS NOT my enemy. I can trust your words of great wisdom. When Ephesians 6:12 says ‘For our struggle is not against flesh and blood…” I am quickly reminded that the people I do life with are not my enemies. Lord, forgive me for the short fuse I often display with those closest to me. My husband and my children are such precious gifts you have blessed me with, and they are NOT my enemies. I take them for granted too many days. May I recognize Satan’s sneaky ways of pitting us against each other in the tone in which we speak. Let peace flow out from me because you fill my mind with righteousness. Let me lead by example. May I love, forgive, and serve wholeheartedly no matter what is thrown my way. Do not let my reaction be anything that would benefit the enemy and give the devil a foothold in my home. Lord, I ask you to give me eyes that see beyond the moment of stress. Give me your power to call the evil one out on his game, and remove any control he may have once had over me. The Holy Spirit has made me keenly aware of the devil’s tactics, and I refuse to allow any victory for the devil to kill, steal, or destroy me or my home. Jesus, you reign in this home and in our hearts. You have already won the battle. Thank you Lord for the Armor of God and the power of prayer. May it be fresh on my mind and lips today as I bring glory to you.
I want to encourage you to show up each day for a quiet time with Jesus. Do not let anything keep you from this precious time. My prayer is that you call Satan out, and try to glean one item each week that God is focusing on for you. Don’t be idle, don’t be lazy, but in all things today BE ALERT, BE AWARE, BE ACTIVE. God is with us, so who can be against us? Prayers of diligence and fortitude for anyone taking the time to read these words. You have been prayed for, and I have been called to share through this blog site.