3 Ways Through Trials

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As I sat this morning in the quietness of my house and began my prayer time with The Lord, I was at a loss for words. Not because I had nothing to pray about, but because I had EVERYTHING to pray about. There is not one aspect of my life that doesn’t have something on the list.  Where do I even start?!?

Do you ever feel like that? I know that so many people around us are wondering: How in the world am I going to know the right answer to all of life’s questions? Where do I send my child to school? What job should I take? Why isn’t a loved one healed? Where should I move? Why won’t that family member turn back to God and start making the right decisions? How do I reach out to my hurting co-worker? How can God use me when I am a mess like this? How will I ever get over the hurt someone has caused me, let alone love them? What can I do to keep a marriage from falling apart? And so on.

We all have trials that we face or questions that continue to be left unanswered. So what do we do when our prayer request list is getting longer and longer? Continue reading

Armor of God: Prayer

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Did you know that there are actually seven pieces of the armor of God? If you did, you are one up on me. So far we have covered the belt of truth, breastplate of righteousness, shoes of peace, shield of faith, helmet of salvation and the sword of the spirit. Six pieces.  I never realized that there was one more weapon that was important to the soldier.
In Ephesians 6:18 it says, “Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit” I have never thought of prayer as being a part of the armor. I knew it was definitely a very powerful weapon that we have against Satan, but I never linked it to the armor. In Rick Renner’s book Dressed to Kill, he shares his belief that the Roman soldier’s lance is a perfect example of how prayer can be an effective and essential weapon in our lives. Continue reading

Armor of God – The Sword

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I have loved digging deeper into the Armor of God! I have learned so much as I have studied the purpose of each piece of the armor.  It is amazing how each part protects me and sets me up for success in the battles of life.

Today we will talk about the Sword of the Spirit-the Word of God. Several weeks ago we learned about the belt of truth, the written Word of God and how it is THE foundation for all the rest of the pieces. Today we will learn about how to put the Word of God into action, in a way that will become an offensive weapon that will mortally wound the enemy and defeat him forever.

Deadly Innovation

The Roman army adapted and improved its swords over time. The first one that they developed was called a gladius. It had a very long blade and was very impressive, but also very heavy. So heavy in fact that the soldier had to use two hands to swing it down to smash their opponent. Quickly the soldiers realized that this was not a very effective sword to use in battle. After many tries they ended up with a sword called a machaira. It was nineteen inches long and both sides of the blade were razor sharp. The tip of the sword hooked up, which made the point even sharper.  The soldier could cut into the enemy no matter what direction they swung and with a simple little twist the tip would tear through the insides of the enemy soldier, leaving them fatally wounded on the ground. (Sorry for the graphic description! :-p) Continue reading

Armor of God – Helmet of Salvation

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Can you imagine playing an NFL game without a helmet?  You wouldn’t survive!  What about going off to war?  Imagine how vulnerable you would be!  The helmet is crucial.  The Roman soldier’s helmet was made out of bronze, and was so strong that nothing could penetrate it. It covered their head, face and neck to protect against all forms of attack.

Beautiful Symbol

The helmet was also a beautiful piece of armor.  Not only a protection for the soldier’s head, oftentimes it was shaped in the form of an animal (like an elephant) or had etchings of fruit or extravagant engravings all over it.  There were usually tall feathers or horse hairs coming out of the top of it to make the soldier even more noticeable. The helmet was a symbol!  People would catch a glimpse of the helmet and immediately know that it was a Roman soldier. When we walk with our helmet of salvation, we should stand out so much that it is obvious that we are children of God. But what is salvation? Is it simply a ticket into heaven? Oh dear, friends it is so much more than that!! Continue reading

Armor of God – Shield of Faith

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Unbelief paralyzes us and makes us vulnerable to the attacks of Satan. I was teaching the kids at our church about the boy who was possessed by demons and the boy’s father had brought him to Jesus to be healed. When the father went up to Jesus he asked, “If you are willing, can you make my son well?” Jesus questioned the man’s wording. “If I am willing?” The father went on to explain that He believed Jesus could heal his son and then asked an important question. “I believe, Lord – please help my unbelief.”

Satan is such an evil liar! He wants us to doubt. He wants us to question God’s goodness and His love. Satan wants us to believe that not everything God does is good.  This can be so frustrating!

Shield Me!

Today we are going to talk about our shield of faith. A Roman soldier’s shield was much bigger than I had imagined – it was about the size of a door. This shield was designed to cover the whole body of the soldier, so that not an inch of him was showing. He could be fully protected from the enemy attack by his one shield. But in order for the shield to be effective, he had to care for the shield and hold on to it.  If the soldier did not take proper care of his shield it would become brittle, giving the enemy a crack to break through and wound the soldier.

Let me share with you what I have learned about the proper care of a shield in hopes that both you and I will be encouraged and grow in our faith. Continue reading

Armor of God – Shoes of the Gospel

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It is important to have armor covering vulnerable areas.  This week we are covering the shoes – which are very important!

In the movie Miss Congeniality, Gracie Lou explains to the audience how to get away from an attacker. Do you remember her basic tip of self-defense:  “Just remember to SING?” This scene came to mind as I was studying and learning about the next piece of armor because the I in SING is “instep,” which is part of the foot. It is one of four sensitive areas you can use to immediately take an attacker out. This is why it is so important to protect this part of the body completely and securely.

The pieces of armor all fit together well, and I believe that Paul put these pieces in a specific order. As you put on one, it sets you up to successfully put on and use the next. Peace comes from knowing what truth is (Belt), and one aspect of peace is received immediately when you are made righteous (Breastplate). Let me explain.

Peace With God

There are two types of peace. Peace with God and peace of God. Peace with God is given once a person accepts Jesus as Lord of their life.

Romans 5:1 (NLT) Therefore, since we have been made right in God’s sight by faith, we have peace with God because of what Jesus Christ our Lord has done for us.

 When we put on the breastplate of righteousness we are at peace with God. Satan will try to make us doubt our righteousness and get us to live in fear instead of peace. Don’t let him! Be confident of your standing with God. Because of Jesus you are made right, you are a child of God and you can never lose your place in His family. Don’t allow Satan to steal your peace with God. Continue reading

Warrior Prayer

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In case you have not noticed, we’ve been dropped into the middle of a war.

I bring it up because a lot of people don’t notice…and that’s the problem.  When bad things happen they assume it is random chance, or Murphy’s Law.  Or God, if they are of certain spiritual upbringing or bitter about God.

The Problem of Suffering is not something that I can cover in full detail here, but my point is that they are missing a big part of the story.  They have lined up the usual suspects and left out the main culprit.  To be direct, they have skipped over a key concept from the Bible: we are at war.  They forget that this is how the story begins, and how it ends.  They forget that we are surrounded by invisible warriors fighting for us and against us.  They assume we are on a cruise ship, not a battle ship.  (More on this another day.)

Continue reading

Armor of God: Breastplate of Righteousness

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Am I good enough? Have I made one too many mistakes? Has God given up on me?  Did I miss my calling? Don’t raise your hand, but have you ever thought one of these thoughts? I am sure that each one of us at some point in our lives has entertained these life sucking questions.

Well, I have exciting news for you. Today’s piece of armor will dispel any doubt and give you the boldness and confidence you need to do all that God has called you to do.

The breastplate of righteousness is an important piece of armor that we need to fully understand and take hold of. The breastplate was the most beautiful piece of armor the Roman soldiers wore. It began at their neck and proceeded down their bodies to their knees. It was made up of small, scale-like pieces of metal. As the soldiers wore the breastplate and moved, the little pieces of metal rubbed together. An amazing thing happened the more they rubbed together: the pieces of metal became shinier and more brilliant. The more the armor was worn, the prettier and brighter it got!  Continue reading

The Armor of God: The Belt of Truth

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This is by far my favorite piece of the armor and I think the most important piece. Let me explain. Satan’s main way that he attacks us is through lies.

John 8:44 “…He (the devil) was a murderer from the beginning. He has always hated the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he lies, it is consistent with his character; for he is a liar and the father of lies.”

That is how he takes us out. He plants some seed of doubt or disbelief about God or ourselves, and continues with the same lie until it is part of our own beliefs. Today we learn about a piece of armor that will save us from Satan’s main tactic and will help us use the other pieces to their full potential.

The Roman soldier’s belt was one of the most important pieces of armor. It literally held most of the other pieces in place. The breastplate tucked into the belt, keeping it in place. There was a loop on the belt that held the sword, and a place for the shield to rest which helped the soldiers to carry such a heavy piece of armor. If the belt was not put on or was not put on correctly then those other three pieces would not function properly. If these four pieces of armor were not in their proper place, it would cause the soldier to be unable to walk, run or fight in the heat of battle. Everything was dependent on the placement of the belt.

So what is the belt of truth?  The place where we can find ultimate truth is the written Word of God.

Psalm 33:4 NLT “For the Word of The Lord holds true, and we can trust everything that he does.”

Proverbs 30:5 NLT “Every word of God proves true. He is a shield to all who come to him for protection.”

2 Timothy 3:16-17 NLT All Scripture is inspired by God and is useful to teach us what is true and to make us realize what is wrong in our lives. It corrects us when we are wrong and teaches us to do what is right. God uses it to prepare and equip his people to do every good work.

Truth has to be our foundation. If we do not fight our battles standing on truth, then we will fail every time.

Here are scriptures to back up the fact that the belt, the written Word of God, is what allows us to use all the other pieces properly. Continue reading

First Things First – Is Your Child in the Lord’s Army?

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War?  What War?

Next week we will begin going through the different parts of the armor of God, but first there are a couple things to get straight.  The fact that Paul writes of the ARMOR of God indicates that we must be in a battle. (If we weren’t, then he probably would have said to put on the “shirt and tie of God” instead.)  But this battle is not one that we can fight on our own.  We have to join an army, God’s army, to help us win the battle.  There are three key facts that a child has to know before they can properly and fully use the armor of God to its full potential.

  1. They need to join the army and ask Jesus into their hearts.
  2. They need to know that God is the leader of the army and we are to follow Him with our whole heart.
  3. The Bible is our training manual that helps us learn about God and make wise decisions. Continue reading