Reflect

Helping women discover a deeper faith, freedom from their past and victory for their future.

Chipping Away

 

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Several months ago something changed drastically in my life. For the last ten years, my husband and I have had the great pleasure of being empty nesters. It has been a glorious time that I dreamt of as a young mom. Those days of someone following me into the bathroom, or cries in the night were over and we were having a delightfully beautiful time in our marriage.

We ate where and when we wanted

We travelled with no worries of children at home

We participated in ministry with no sacrificing family time

Life was free of extra burdens!

Sounds fabulous, and it was until……………………….

Today I am guest blogging at at dear friends blog.

You can read the entire post at Revealing the Story   Stop by and join the discussion.

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Activate the Armor of Prayer

Put on the full armor of GodFinally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes.  For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand.  Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place,  and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. 16 In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit,which is the word of God.

And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests.With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people. Ephesians 6:10-18

So we come to the last of the Armor, Prayer!  It is of no surprise to me that this gem was saved for last because it pulls together all of the rest of the pieces.

Activating the power of prayer in your life is the greatest act of submission.  

When we yield ourselves to God by stopping, resting and listening to His voice, His plan, His direction we become a mighty warrior!

 

Barnes’ Notes comments, “No matter how complete the armour; no matter how skilled we may be in the science of war; no matter how courageous we may be, we may be certain that without prayer we shall be defeated. God alone can give the victory; and when the Christian soldier goes forth armed completely for the spiritual conflict, if he looks to God by prayer, he may be sure of a triumph” (Heritage Edition, Vol. 12, p. 133).

 

I was watching a new television show, American Grit and was reminded of the important communication that happens through prayer. On the show there are teams of people who each has a captain and they carry out various physical missions. During this particular episode the captain gave a directive to his team for their assignment. Unfortunately, they chose to go a different way than what their captain told them to do, resulting in some disastrous results and one very unhappy captain!

God is leading and guiding us into the ways in which He wants us to go.  At times they may seem absolutely crazy to us, but then our thoughts are not His thoughts and our ways are not His ways! He has a complete understanding of what is required for victory!

that is why Paul tells us to pray without ceasing

Prayer is simply allowing God to speak to you through His Spirit and for us to reciprocate in conversation with Him. To be effective the connection is best when it uninterrupted! To read more about prayer.

I am praying that His armor is covering me, preparing me for battle and leading me into His victories! I love this prayer that I found from Church of the Highlands.

First—Put on the Armor of God The Helmet of Salvation

Thank you, Lord, for my salvation. I receive it in a new and fresh way from You, and I declare that nothing can separate me from the love of Christ.

The Breastplate of Righteousness

Lord, I wear Your righteousness today against all condemnation and corruption. Fit me with Your holiness and purity— defend me from all assaults against my heart.

 The Belt of Truth

Lord, I put on the belt of truth. I choose a lifestyle of honesty and integrity. Show me the truths I need today. Expose the lies that I am not even aware that I believe.

The Shoes of the Gospel of Peace

I choose to live for the gospel at every moment. Show me where You are working and lead me to it.

The Shield of Faith

Jesus, I lift the confidence that You are good against every lie and every assault of the enemy. You have good in store for me. Nothing is coming today that can overcome me because You are with me.

The Sword of the Spirit

Holy Spirit, show me specifically today the truths of the Word of God that I need to counter the snares of the enemy. Bring them to mind throughout the day.

Then—Pray

Holy Spirit, I agree to walk in step with You in everything—in all prayer as my spirit communes with You throughout the day.

Prayeris thegreatest actof submission.

May you be strengthened, empowered and ready for whatever comes your way, knowing that you are outfitted with His armor!

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Want to read more in this series? Click the picture to see the entire series.

Put on the full armor of God

 

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Activate your Sword of the Spirit

 

And take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. 

The image of a sword would not be lost on the audience that Paul was talking to. They would have seen many Roman soldiers and been full aware of the dangerous sword that they were carrying.

Before the Romans developed their type of sword, most of the swords that were used in battle had a longer, single sided edge. The Romans sported a 2 sided, diamond tipped, short sword. The sword was sharpened on both sides and was much shorter at a mere 24 inches long.

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The sword was well known throughout the empire and was known as “the sword that conquered the world”. The Roman soldier used this sword to come very close to his enemy and thrust the sword into his opponent with great ease.

Many hours of training were required to use this sword if the soldier was going to be effective..

The Sword has been represented in scripture in many ways. One of my favorites is in Judges 7. Gideon and his army of thousands were reduced to only 300 men. God had a plan and it involved trusting His promise that the victory was a sure thing. He used the sword as both a metaphor and as a strong victorious weapon!

 

The three companies blew the trumpets and smashed the jars. Grasping the torches in their left hands and holding in their right hands the trumpets they were to blow, they shouted, “A sword for the LORD and for Gideon!” (Judges 7:20).

 

Take the sword for it is the Word of God. What an amazing truth that we get this gift!

It keeps us from stumbling in the darkness

Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path. Psalm 119:105

The bible is perfect and accurate. It is the truth!

Sanctify them by Your truth. Your word is truth. John 17:17

The Law of the Lord is perfect. Psalm 19:7

The Scripture cannot be broken John 10:35

His Word is alive

For the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart. Hebrews 4:12

When we use His Word we are blessed by hearing the word and by following it! Luke 11:28                                                                     We begin to crave it and grow from it. I Peter 2:2                                                                                                        We feel prepared to share it with others. I Peter 3:15                                                                                                  We must learn to be careful with it because we can be destroyed                                                                               by not understanding His word Hosea 4:6

 

Did you notice that the sword is the only part of the armor that serves to protect the soldier offensively? He must be completely prepared to use it in all situations.

Preach the word; be prepared in season and out of season; correct, rebuke and encourage–with great patience and careful instruction. 2 Timothy 4:2

How do we use this great sword?

Be prepared

Sharpen your sword by reading and studying the bible.

Engage in conversations about the bible

Memorize scripture so that it always on your lips.

Allow His word to penetrate deep into your heart and change you.

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May the Lord activate His sword in your life. The power comes from the living words that are inside of it!

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Activate the Helmet

 Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand.  Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place,  and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace.  In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one.  Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit,which is the word of God.

I was watching television yesterday and was very interested in a segment about bicycle helmets.  Before you stop reading and think this lady is way to weird, let me explain.  I love riding my bike and wear a helmet every time so I have a vested interest in a program about bicycle helmets.

Jeff Woolf is an Englishman who had a nasty fall one day while riding his bike on the busy London streets. His helmet protected him from serious injury and since then he has been on a quest. He began to ask cyclists 2 questions; How often they wore a helmet and why they did not wear one.  Over 90% rarely wore helmets.  Their reasoning was simple, helmets were bulky and difficult to carry with them as they traversed the city.

These answers spurred Jeff Unknownon to invent the first of its kind helmet.  He had an idea to create a fold-flat bike helmet.  This would offer protection and versatility to riders who could use it and stow it away in between rides. You can read more of his story at Helmet story .

 

 

On their website it states that over 82% of those surveyed feel their life is at risk by not wearing a helmet but still do not do so!

Ephesians 6:17 urges us to take on the helmet of salvation, I wonder how similar the statistic would be if we surveyed people about how hopeful they felt?

This fifth piece of armor was a critical component to a soldiers protection.  He would never go into battle without it.  The helmet was constructed of leather that was then covered with metal plates, some were made of a pounded or molded metal.  The sides would often contain a type of cheek guard that would offer more protection to the face.

Like the bike helmet, this warfare protector was to save a soldier’s life when he was in battle. One deadly blow of the broadsword would most certainly split their heads or decapitate them if there was not a helmet.

I would never consider going on a bike ride without my helmet. I not only hope that it will protect me, I am banking on it! Once I have buckled it on I feel completely secure that if I fall my head is protected from any accident that I may have.

Spiritually, this helmet offers us security and assurance of the love of Jesus in our lives. One of the schemes of Satan is to discourage us and plant seeds of doubt.  He will point out our flaws and weaknesses ever the while whispering the lie, “that we will never be good enough for the God”. His goal is simply to take our eyes off of the unconditional love of Jesus and create doubt and confusion as to whether we can have confidence in our Father.

The armor of God is a gift is for the believer who has already received salvation. The helmet is called the hope of salvation.

But since we belong to the day, let us be sober, putting on faith and love as a breastplate, and the hope of salvation as a helmet. I Thessalonians 5:8

Therefore, with minds that are alert and fully sober, set your hope on the grace to be brought to you when Jesus Christ is revealed at his coming. I Peter 1:13

Today we can be assured that when we take His helmet and place it on our heads we walk in the security that the victory is already accomplished! We just must walk in that!

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Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His great mercy has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to obtain an inheritance which is imperishable and undefiled and will not fade away, reserved in heaven for you, who are protected by the power of God through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.…       I Peter 3:-5

The helmet reminds us of the hope that we can have when

trials come our way

life comes crashing down on us

the fire gets turned up and you are feeling burned alive

all seems lost

He is the anchor to our soul, the one who has gone through it all and understands. Jesus is the victor! We are more than conquerors because of Him!

Now where is that Helmet? A soldier would never go into battle with his helmet, we must never enter our daily battle without our helmet of hope!

Take on this helmet and buckle up! Take it and live in it when you have questions, troubles, doubts and stress!

Psalm 119 is full of the reasons that we need His helmet. Here are some of my favorites in the Message version verses 25-40.

I’m feeling terrible—I couldn’t feel worse! Get me on my feet again. You promised, remember? When I told my story, you responded; train me well in your deep wisdom. Help me understand these things inside and out so I can ponder your miracle-wonders. My sad life’s dilapidated, a falling-down barn; build me up again by your Word. Barricade the road that goes Nowhere; grace me with your clear revelation. I choose the true road to Somewhere, I post your road signs at every curve and corner. I grasp and cling to whatever you tell me; God, don’t let me down! I’ll run the course you lay out for me if you’ll just show me how. 33-40 God, teach me lessons for living so I can stay the course. Give me insight so I can do what you tell me— my whole life one long, obedient response. Guide me down the road of your commandments; I love traveling this freeway! Give me a bent for your words of wisdom, and not for piling up loot. Divert my eyes from toys and trinkets, invigorate me on the pilgrim way. Affirm your promises to me— promises made to all who fear you. Deflect the harsh words of my critics— but what you say is always so good. See how hungry I am for your counsel; preserve my life through your righteous ways!

 

Father, activate this helmet on me today. Remind me of your great love and faithfulness, write your promises upon my heart so that I may never forget your goodness, power and strength. I praise you because you are the victorious King and the lover of my soul! Show me how to walk into each day with the hope that you have offered to us!

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April 23, 2016

Activate your Shield

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In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Ephesians 6:16

The Roman shield was rounded and made of 3 layers of wood that was covered with leather. It measured approximately 4 ft. high and about 2 1/2 feet wide.

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The purpose of the shield was to be the first line of defense for the soldier. It was maneuverable and would protect them from arrows, spears, knives and rocks. Even flaming darts would be diverted with the proper shield.

Imagine if the shield was damaged, cracked or had a hole in it? The roman soldier would be diligent to repair his shield before entering into any type of battle.

We are in battle every day! Paul is exhorting us to take up our shields and protect ourselves from the attacks that will surely come our way.

Satan comes after us with many types of darts.

He may tell you that you are not smart enough, pretty enough, good enough, or that you can never, ever, be forgiven for something that you said, thought or did. His darts may come flying through someone else to shame you or make you feel less than.

 If those darts don’t penetrate he will try again!  This time he may attempt to distance you from God, whispering lies that God doesn’t love you or that He isn’t really concerned about you. He tries to chip away at your faith by planting seeds of doubt about who God is.

We may not have a physical shield to put up and bounce off any flaming darts, but we do have a faith that can protect us.

As for God, his way is perfect: The Lord’s word is flawless; he shields all who take refuge in him.  2 Samuel 22:31

We wait in hope for the LORD; he is our help and our shield. Psalm 33:20

I am crucified with Christ:…and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God. Galatians 2:20

The Hillsong song “This I believe” keeps playing in my mind. 

Our Father, everlasting
The all creating One
God Almighty

Through Your Holy Spirit
Conceiving Christ the Son
Jesus our Saviour

I believe in God our Father
I believe in Christ the Son
I believe in the Holy Spirit
Our God is three in one
I believe in the resurrection
That we will rise again
For I believe in the name of Jesus

Our judge and our defender
Suffered and crucified
Forgiveness is in You

Descended into darkness
You rose in glorious light
Forever seated high

I believe in God our Father
I believe in Christ the Son
I believe in the Holy Spirit
Our God it three in one
I believe in the resurrection
That we will rise again
For I believe in the name of Jesus

What condition is your shield in? Are there any holes in it? What would it take for you to rebuild your faith shield?  

 

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