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Where's My Armor?

"Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil's schemes."
Ephesians 6:11

There are times in our lives when we can feel so bombarded with negative circumstances that it can be overwhelming.  

I was recently thinking about this and discussing it with my husband and I made note of how we can look back at our lives and often find seasons of difficulty where it was overwhelming and then also see seasons of difficulty where we did much better in handling the challenges that came our way.  What was the difference?

I had been thinking on this a bit and in my own life I had felt some conviction about how I was responding to life's trials.  Was I acting as though I trusted God and was I abiding in His Word and instructions?  

The scripture reference above is just a small piece of the instruction given.  Read the full scripture below.  This isn't just a portion of words from a book called the Bible, these are God instructions given for the purpose of helping us and instructing us so that we might live in victory!

"Finally, 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.  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."  
Ephesians 6:10-17
(underlined emphasis is mine)

Before this scripture I wondered what could have been the difference between my times of difficult circumstances where I felt victorious, and the times when I felt defeated....I believe the answer is in that scripture.  I didn't have my armor on.

I have been a believer for most of my life, and although that might seem like a good thing, sadly there are times where I find myself being lazy or even prideful and forgetting to do things that were once foundational.  

We must not forget to put on our armor!  We are living in a world at war, and not just the physical world, but as the scripture says, we are warring "against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms."

What this means is that even though we may not see an enemy standing outside our doors or in our homes pointing his weapons at our head....he is still there.... in the spiritual realm.  Are we ready?

The point that I felt God stirring in my heart yesterday was this....why am I complaining about the sting of the arrows when God has provided me with full armor to protect me and it is all laying at my feet and I simply need to just pick it up and put it on?  Of course I am going to get hurt when I walk around unprotected against the enemy, why would I even think otherwise?

What can we do to put on the Armor of God?

BELT OF TRUTH - You cannot hold a sword without a belt.  This is listed first because without knowing the Truth of Jesus Christ as Savior, you cannot weild the sword of the Spirit which is the Word of God. "I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me." John 14:6

BREASTPLATE OF RIGHTEOUSNESS - God made a covenant with His followers, His righteousness covers us when we are in relationship with Him. Righteousness comes by complete Faith in Him and with that you will desire to abide in His Will and be obedient to His Word.  I believe righteousness can not be earned, it is given to those who believe as a gift from the Father.  Therefore, to walk in righteousness we must walk in relationship with the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. "Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be filled" Matthew 5:6

SANDALS OF PEACE - Inner peace comes from resting in Christ, knowing that He has taken your place on the cross and you can be in relationship with God the Father.  Christ also intercedes for you with the Father, you can rest in His care. Jesus is the "Prince of Peace" Isaiah 9:6. And we are also given peace from the Father, which comes from relationship with Him. "And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus" Philippians 4:7  But we cannot spread God's peace without first spreading His gospel.  "How then shall they call on Him in whom they have not believed? and how shall they believe in Him of whom they have not heard? and how shall they hear without a preacher? And how shall they preach unless they are sent? As it is written: "How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the gospel of peace, who bring glad tidings of good things!" Romans 10:14-15

SHIELD OF FAITH - This is the first thing listed that you don't just wear, you must hold it up.  If you have a shield on your arm and someone shoots an arrow at you, the shield is no good if you leave your arm down at your side.  You must raise the shield to cover yourself.  Faith is similar, we cannot just say we have faith, but must 'raise it' or execute it in our daily living.  Faith is not easy, it is linked to things we hope for but do not see.  It links back to Trust, we must trust in the promises of God and Christ to be able to live in faith. "Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen." Hebrews 11:1

HELMET OF SALVATION - A helmet protects your head from attack, and salvation does the same thing only in a larger scope.  Salvation is to be saved (from something bad) and Christ saved us from eternal separation from God by dying for our sins and thus connecting us back with the Father through His love and act of sacrifice.  Since we have an enemy, the helmet of salvation will protect our minds.  If we focus on the hope that we have in Jesus, it helps to protect us from depression, overwhelm, and fear...which are all from the enemy.  "The Lord is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? The Lord is the strength of my life; of whom shall I be afraid?" Psalm 27:1

SWORD OF THE SPIRIT - The Word of God is the sword and the Bible calls the Word "a lamp to my feet and a light to my path." Psalm 119:105.  His Word sheds light on where we are, where we are headed, and where He would like us to be.  The Word is a most powerful weapon!  God gives it to us not only as a comfort and instruction, but also as a weapon against the enemy. "For the Word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of the soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart." Hebrews 4:12 

Lets all make sure we have our full armor on.  Life feels better without the sting of the enemy's arrows constantly piercing our skin.

As many know, we are a homeschooling family, and last year I found an excellent in depth study of the Armor of God on a website called 'Bible Study Guides'.  If you would like a great Bible study for you or your children (especially boys since there is lots of talk of soldiers and weapons), I highly recommend this site.  You can get to the first study (Lesson 1) by following this link:

The following lessons can be accessed by clicking on the links on the right side of the page. 

May God richly bless you and may we all be motivated to clothe ourselves with the protection that God has given us to keep the enemy from infiltrating our minds and spirit.

Finding Joy In The Midst Of Your Circumstances

This past week I enjoyed some time with good friends. We had time to share details about our lives and talk about some very 'real' issues of the heart.

Have you ever been visiting with someone and you say something or give advice and later realize that you need to listen to your own advice? I do it all the time. It is so easy to encourage someone else, but be needing to do exactly what you were just talking about for yourself. We can encourage faithfulness and pray for peace, joy, or healing and need it all in our own lives.

As we were talking I said something that I later sat back and thought about in more detail and realized that it was one of these examples.

I was sharing that I believe that JOY and peace are issues of CHOICE.  

We can have them in spite of any CIRCUMSTANCE,  
if we choose to!

Lets first define what JOY is:

1. The emotion evoked by well-being, success,
or good fortune or by the prospect of
possessing what one desires

2. a state of happiness or bliss

3. a source or cause of delight
How do we find Joy?  Here is a scripture that tells us:

Psalm 16:11

"You make known to me the path of life; you will fill me with JOY in your presence, with eternal pleasures at your right hand." (emphasis mine)

We will find JOY in the presence of God!  Not by having a great house, job, car, or by having the best husband or best behaved children....THERE IS NO EVENT THAT EVOKES OR CREATES THE JOY OF THE LORD EXCEPT BEING IN HIS PRESENCE!  I think in our culture we wait for events or circumstances to effect our emotions in a way that creates a temporary feeling of happiness and we confuse that with what true JOY is.  

The beauty of this is that we can choose to be in God's presence ANYTIME, ANYWHERE, NO MATTER OUR CIRCUMSTANCES.  This gives us the ability and the freedom to be joyful (because it is coming from God) when we are sick, when we can't pay the bills, when we are being treated unfairly, and when we are sad.  

We don't have to wait for an emotion, but we do have to become active in our efforts to be in RELATIONSHIP with the One who made us and saved us!  I can pray, I can read my Bible, I can sing songs of matter how I feel!  Many times these actions will bring about new emotions.  

Next time you are feeling the need for some added JOY, try some of the following ideas:
  • Get in the Word - Pick up your Bible (or find one online...I even have an app on my cell phone).
  • Take Time To Pray - Get away for a minute, even if you just have to shut yourself in your room or walk into the back yard, and take some quiet time with the Lord.  Tell Him your heart.
  • Read Scripture Out Loud - Read some scriptures aloud that remind you of the goodness of God. (Isaiah 30:18, Jeremiah 29:11, Psalm 34:19, Proverbs 16:3, etc)
  • Listen and/or Sing Songs Of Praise - Put in a good worship CD and sing or listen to songs that remind you to focus on God's Goodness.  If you don't have worship music, head to one of the internet music sites (,, etc) and create your own playlist or station...they're free!
  • Call Someone To Pray With You - Call a friend or family member and ask them to pray with you!  Prayer is a powerful thing and the Bible says in Matthew 18:20 "For where two or three have gathered together in my name, I am there in their midst."

If you follow the Biblical instruction of finding JOY in His presence, you will find happiness and JOY.  And the more that your true desire is to be close to God, then the faster you will feel abundantly JOYFUL just by spending time with matter what is happening in your day to day life.

Why is Joy important to have?  The following scripture shows us that a benefit of having JOY from the Lord is STRENGTH!  I don't know about you, but I could use all the strength I can get to walk through this life! 

Nehemiah 8:10  

"Do not grieve, for the JOY of the LORD is your strength." (emphasis mine) 

He has also given us the Holy Spirit to help us to understand and follow God's Will (John 14:26) and all we have to do is say YES, I choose to accept these gift from you Lord. I no longer want to allow Satan to control me with fear, stress, and worry and I will CHOOSE instead to take those thoughts captive (2 Corinthians 10:5) and replace the enemy's schemes for evil with God's gifts of blessing and freedom.

The Bible does give us some instruction on what to think about in Philippians 4:8, "Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good report - if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, think on these things."

When we are more focused on God, and our inner Spirit is relationally connected with God, we will experience JOY, peace, and love because we can rest in Him. 

LORD, I pray that you would help us to be in Your Presence more often no matter how busy we think we are.  Help us to remember that Satan has a plan to keep us too busy for you, let us not fall prey to his schemes.  Be with us, be our strength, and be our present help in our time of need, and let us live our days in abundant JOY.  Let our hearts, our eyes, and our desires to be set on You, that You will show us that loving and serving you is all we need because you will do the rest!  Amen.