Battle!

” I have hidden your word in my heart that I might not sin against you. ” Psalm 119:11

In the thick of it

Sorry I missed last week. I have deeply tried to be dependable and consistent, as this blog is very important to me, and I believe it’s important to many of my readers as well. So I first wanted to apologize, and to let you know that it’s not something that I took lightly. But, as I have warned you, when you are going the right way, you will be attacked. And, here I am, trying to share with all of you, to prepare you for battle, to help you endure the tough times, and Satan absolutely showed up. This past week was a roller-coaster of emotions. I went through so much stuff in just two short weeks. Sometimes it’s incredible how much life can get stuffed into a seemingly short period of time. But, I will say, that again, I felt so proud of myself, and I was reassured once again, that I’m on the right path. That I have the full armor of God and that I am a victor, and MORE THAN AN OVERCOMER!

Just a few short years ago, a couple weeks like this would’ve had me complaining and crying to everyone and anyone that would listen. I would be asking for prayers and pity as I didn’t know how I was going to make it. But God. But God, every day of the week, has made me a new creation. God continues to mold me and shape me to be more like His son. He has only brought me in closer to the fold. And, I have hidden His Word in my Heart that I might not sin against Him, that I might endure, that I would draw on the strength of our Mighty Lord and Savior to overcome. To have my breastplate of Righteousness, and my shoes of Peace, and Helmet of Salvation, and Shield of Faith, and Sword of Truth, that I extinguish the enemy’s fiery darts, and know that I serve the one true God.

And, I knew all of that, because I read the Bible, because I pray, because I have a relationship with my Lord and Savior, and in all the moments that I felt like everything was too much, that I just couldn’t believe what was happening next. #Godshowedup. Because He always does. Because He never fails, abandons, or forsakes. Every time, when I could feel myself starting to FrEaK oUt, God would whisper an assurance. He would use someone nearby to just say something so profound that I knew who was really speaking. I knew they were just being used as a mouthpiece to help assure me that I was on the right path, and that I would endure, I just had to keep my shield up and my sword close and stand firm in my shoes of peace. And that was something else too. His overwhelming, ethereal peace would just nestle down deep inside me, like a warm hug.

In the midst of a particularly trying moment this past week, when someone I was talking to was literally being hysterical, one moment crying, the next full of rage, all of the sudden, they just went, “And, Why are you so loving?” <—- Awww, right in the feels. The only response I had was the truth, “Because that’s what Jesus wants, and I do love you.” Right in the midst of mayhem, God reminded me that I am a new creation, I’m not joining in the hysteria, I’m the calm, I’m the center, I’m the light. And although, this person doesn’t practice as much Jesus as they would like, in that moment, I was the Bible they needed. I am the 5th apostle, and so are You. Sometimes, you might be the only Bible someone reads. I really try to live that. How are we supposed to bring people to Christ, if we are full of hate, or grief, or worry, or whatever? Who wants a part of that? But if you are just so loving and peaceful that it blows people away and seems incomprehensible, people want that. Who doesn’t want to be someone who always seems to know what to do or say, in the midst of chaos?

That’s the purpose of the armor. That’s the purpose of the Bible. That’s the purpose of having a RELATIONSHIP with Jesus Christ and the Father and the Holy Spirit. Is to let them guide you and mold you and shape you into something AMAZING! You are wonderful just as you are, and God loves you. But, just as parents always want what’s best for their children – so does our heavenly Father, and He knows that there’s a better version of You. He also knows that sometimes You are the only Bible that someone else is reading, be worth reading. Let His Light shine through You.

I have experienced some true chaos in my life. And, in the grand scheme of things, these past two weeks weren’t too terrible, but to have the peace of God inside me while I was in them made them seem even less terrible. Looking back in retrospect, I’m like, “Whew! That was rough!” But, honestly, I can’t imagine enduring them without God. Without having those reassurances that I’m on the right path. And, the craziest thing was that while I was writing “Prepare for Battle” I knew Satan was cooking some stuff up, but I sleep in my armor, so I was ready.

Because, I AM A VICTOR,

I AM MORE THAN AN OVERCOMER,

I AM GOD’S SECRET WEAPON.

EVERY.

DAY.

OF.

THE.

WEEK.

Let’s Pray

Dear Heavenly Father, Thank You. Thank you for holding my hand, thank you for giving me words of encouragement. I pray Father, that you stand with your army every day of the week, and give them the assurances they need to be Overcomers. That they too, are your secret weapon. That you bless our hands and our feet, our comings and goings. I pray that you give the supernatural, ethereal peace to all of us. That we may all be the gospel and the Bible that others need to see your light. I pray that You bless each and every one of us, that we NEVER face our battles alone. That you are the Great and Almighty Father, and that you have defeated Satan with your heel, and that we might also crush him with ours. That we always have the strength for another day, another battle Father. That we might always rise up again and be the Victors, in Your GREAT AND GLORIOUS NAME! IN JESUS’ NAME!! AMEN!

Mission’s Circle

There are many branches of the Union Gospel Mission. I am picking one that’s close to home. As we draw into the winter months, this homeless shelter will house hundreds, if not thousands, of people from getting frostbite and succumbing to the elements. They also preach the gospel and help every one in need that comes to their door. ” The Sioux Falls Union Gospel Mission where the Gospel of Jesus Christ is still preached every evening at 8 p.m., where food, clothing, shelter, and care are given freely to all who are in need, and where its purpose is still to “Proclaim the Gospel of Salvation by Grace in Christ and Him crucified, for the salvation of souls and the establishing of believers.” Please pray for them, and for those that need their help. *Keep warm!

Donate here

Featured

Prepare for Battle

Putting on the Full Armor of God. It’s not a piece of armor, it’s not a small bit. It doesn’t protect just a small portion of us. It’s Full Armor. The helmet of Salvation, the Sword of the Spirit, the shoes of the Gospel of peace, the belt of Truth, the breastplate of Righteousness, and the shield of Faith. Complete from head to toe. I do like to say that it leaves your back exposed, but God’s got your back 😉 Also, all the armor is toward the front, because we’re supposed to be moving forward. Please believe that we are fighting a battle. That the devil attacks those who are aware, and leaves those who are blindly following the way of the world alone for fear of removing the veil. If you never feel spiritually attacked, it’s probably because you aren’t going the right way.

I will say this Armor has changed my life. About a year and a half ago, when we started our Ladies Bible Study, we dug in to a heavy study by Priscilla Shirer. It was amazing! It was life changing! It’s a complete, in-depth study into the full armor of God, and I will never be the same. We all joked during the time that it was too heavy, and that we may have bitten off more than we could chew, but even if you retained half of what it was trying to help you understand, you’re better off for it. Now, I’m not here to promote her book, although I have linked it in her name so you can find it if you’re interested. I’m here to encourage you, to dig in to putting on God’s armor for yourself.

The Bible repeatedly tells us that there will be trouble, that we will suffer, that we will be attacked, but that we already have what we need to defend ourselves. The mistake that most Christians make is that God is inside our Sunday box. He was never meant to be there. In today’s world, we have so much of our life separated out into their own boxes and sections that we forget – that all of those boxes – belong in a bigger box – the God box. We belong in God’s box. He was never meant to be kept apart from the rest of everything, He was meant to hold on to everything in Him. Part of how we do that, is by putting on our armor, daily.

Don’t you already feel like every day is a battle? We joke that it is, but it’s a half-hearted joke, because – seriously – it is. Don’t you think, you would feel better if you felt like you were prepared? That if every morning you woke up, and put on your breastplate of Righteousness, because you are Righteous. You are righteous, because He has made you Righteous. You are His. You are the Victor. You are blessed. You are forgiven. You are as Righteous as Christ. Then, hold your breastplate of righteousness in place with the belt of Truth. His Word is Truth. You are holding your Righteousness to yourself, with His Truth that He has given us. That He has spoken over us and to us. Strap on the shoes of the Gospel of Peace. Because He is peace. His word brings peace. He gives us a supernatural peace that cannot be explained, except only as the Love of God. The consuming, overwhelming, reckless Love of God. His Love implants a Peace deep within our souls, a peace that I have only tapped into recently, but am so deeply in love with. An ethereal peace that blows my mind. The Helmet of Salvation – that I touched on last week. Something to protect your most sacred of space, the one thing that can make you, or break you. Your own mind. A Helmet of Blessed Assurance, of eternal Salvation, of the knowledge of a God that will never leave you or forsake you, a God that has overcome the world, and the devil, and everything in between. A God that sent His Son to die for You, that you may live, may WIN LIFE, that You may stand victorious with Him forever and ever. A God that only wants good things for you, a God that believes in You, that made you so perfectly woven together because the world needed one of you too. Your Sword of the Spirit and your shield of Faith. Because when you can’t attack with the Spirit, you block with your Faith. Thrust & perry. Actively alternating as needed. And also, with a Sword, you apply very little effort – with a whole lot of effect. It’s a giant extension of yourself and it does all of the work. You need only to learn how to use it, like everything, it takes practice.

I am a new creation in Christ because I actively put on my armor every day. Because I pick when to use my shield, and when to use the Sword. I’m constantly retraining my brain to be more like Christ – and it shows. All the time. I hold tight to my Gospel of Peace, because I know Peace & Love are from God, and I want everything He has to give me. I know I am Righteous because the Truth has told me so. I am a Warrior in God’s army, the most calm, loving warrior I can be. Because only love drives out hate. Because light overcomes darkness. Because I am fighting a winning battle. I’m playing with a stacked deck, and the best armor there is.

I hope you choose to start putting on your armor too. It’s a gift from God, that prepares you for this day, and every day.

Let’s Pray

Dear Heavenly Father, I thank you. For this day, and every day, of the rest of my life. I praise your name, Almighty Father. Sweet, sweet Father of everlasting peace. That you give such amazing gifts. That we may cloak ourselves in Your Armor. Built to defend and defy satan. That we may always know who our real enemy is, that we may hold tight to our Salvation. That we may rest in your blessed assurance and supernatural peace. That we may always move forward, even when it’s slow, and know that you’ve always got our back. Bless your Holy Name Father, THE GREAT I AM! That we may always and forever be, faithful and victorious warriors in you. IN JESUS’ NAME!! AMEN!!

Mission’s Circle

Last Chance for Operation Christmas Child!! Collection starts all over America on November 18th! Last year, 10 million shoeboxes reached children all over the world. Spreading good news, and great joy to even more children! Spreading the Gospel, and hopefully planting the seed of the armor for their lives. Please take a moment to read about and pray about this wonderful ministry, and that each of those boxes – get exactly where they need to go. YOU CAN EVEN BUILD ONE ONLINE!! – $25

Read here.

Donate!

Head games

26 In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us through wordless groans. 27 And he who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for God’s people in accordance with the will of God. – Romans 8:26-27

Funny how the worst battles you’ll ever face, can be inside your head. This week was rough. It was the anniversary of my dad’s death, but of course, not a lot of people know that. So, life just keeps moving along. It’s weird how those can be some of the most supernatural and other-worldly days of your life. Because inside your head, you’re like, How can everybody just be doing life? How can everyone just be walking around like everything’s ok? But in retrospect, how often do I just walk around, doing life, on days like this for other people? Because we have no idea. And because on the outside, I still look like me. I still look like it’s just another day in life, and so no one knows. And, really, it is just another day. It’s just your brain that says that it’s not. I used my techniques of quoting scripture on Thursday, and a couple other days this week, when I was completely freaking out, on the brink of an anxiety attack. It’s incredible how calming that can be. And, how the Bible helps us to wage this war, inside our mind.

As Ephesians 6:10-18 states,

10 Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. 11 Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. 12 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. 13 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. 14 Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, 15 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. 17 Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.

18 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.

Today, I’m just focusing on the helmet of Salvation and the Sword of the Spirit. The helmet of Salvation to protect your mind. As I discussed weeks ago, we are continually “Working out our Salvation”. Yes, we acknowledge that Jesus is our Lord and Savior, and died for our sins. But that’s not where our Salvation is supposed to end. In order to become a new creation in Christ, we are supposed to be working out our Salvation. And part of that, is learning to “think right.” Thinking with the mind of Christ. So, on weeks or days or months like this, we have the ability to grow A LOT, if we just take advantage of it. We have to replace our habits of worry, anxiety, and foul thoughts, with “whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable–if anything is excellent or praiseworthy–” Philippians 4:8 These are the thoughts we are supposed to be having. God doesn’t want you to feel tormented or anguished or grieved, he wants you to have the mind of Christ. To think about the good things. And, I kept telling myself, that my Dad would not want this day to ruin my life. I just needed to think about good things. I still got caught up, I still had moments where I was completely in my feelings, but I just remind myself of the best quote I’ve ever heard:

And, although, this week, it was mainly grief that I was struggling with, this applies to everything that scours your mind. It applies to all the moments gripped in fear, and turmoil, and angst. Memorize a scripture, recite it to yourself, start singing praise music, push the devil out of your mind. 2 Timothy 1:7, For God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love, and self-discipline. We learn to wield these tools, by using them. We have to actively work out our salvation. We put on the helmet of Salvation, we take up the Sword of the Spirit. See how both of those – call you to action? You have to actively pursue your Salvation.

I sat down to write this morning, and absolutely could not. I had something on my heart that was plaguing my mind, and I was trying to push it away, but I just couldn’t shake it. I had to make a phone call, to talk to someone, because my mind was eating me and I was afraid that something was going horribly wrong, because of course, it’s not just my dad that died. And, I needed to touch base with someone who had also suffered this loss. And, I had missed their calls on the day of, and I had tried to call back yesterday repeatedly, with no success, and I needed to know, everything was ok. So, first I made this phone call. And, everything was fine. It was all in my head. I had tried to battle this spirit of fear, but it was still creeping in there, and with this phone call, everything was washed away. Yep, Saturday morning, living life, no worries here. And, low and behold, here was what I needed to be talking about this morning. God always knows what we need, and he is the good, good Father who provides. He has given us all the tools, we need to simply use them. We have an entire Bible of scripture and the Word, to help us with this battle. He sent his Son to save us, and to give us a way to receive the Holy Spirit, who is our greatest battle-mate. He’s like our General. We need only to turn to him, and he will direct our path. He stands at the top of the hill, and surveys the whole battlefield, to tell us where to go and what to do. We need to trust him – with our lives. 26 In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us through wordless groans. 27 And he who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for God’s people in accordance with the will of God.” Romans 8:26-27. We put on the armor of our Salvation, to help protect us against the spirits of fear – because they are never from God. Our armor is built to battle the other-worldly things that are happening all around us and to us. But, God has given us everything we need to win in this battlefield, out here and in our heads.

Let’s Pray

Dear Heavenly Father, Thank you!!! Thank you for all that you are, and all that you would have us be. Thank you for the tools of our Salvation. Thank you for sending your Son, and your Holy Spirit. Thank you for the opportunities to work out my Salvation. To continue to make me a better creation, to be more like your Son every day. To help me hide your word in my heart that I may win life. Thank you for all that you are, and all that you would have me be. Thank you for saving me, on the day of my repentance, and every day for the rest of my life. I pray today Father, that you help everyone reading this to know of your deep love for us, and that you wish to save us from the world, and from ourselves, from the spirits of fear – because they are not from You, Father, and we only want the good, good things that come from You. Thank you for this day, and all the days of the rest of my life. IN JESUS’ NAME!! AMEN!!!

Missions’ Circle

What an appropriate ministry again, Teen Challenge. A ministry that helps people overcome addiction and all the spirits of this world. Who gives people the tools, to win life. This is a ministry program that helps people learn about and utilize the tools that the Bible and our Father gives us to come back into the fold. To fight off the devil’s hold on their lives, and learn that God only wants good things for us. Please take some time to read about them here.

And donate here.

Eyes Wide Open

The LORD opens the eyes of the blind; The LORD raises up those who are bowed down; The LORD loves the righteous; – Psalm 146:8

So, I’ve heard a lot this week about testimonies. And, it has compelled me to share a piece of my own. Now, I’ve shared bits and pieces throughout my blog entries, but I’m particularly compelled to share a certain part of mine this week, and dig a little deeper.

Here is the “Year of Great Loss”, with a little more insight.

2017 was one for the books. Literally.

My brother-in-law was falsely imprisoned for a crime he didn’t commit (detained in December of 2016), then his wife moved in with us for a time, another brother-in-law was already living with us, and another brother-in-law moved in with us due to relocation and health issues. My husband’s grandpa died from old age. My husband’s Step-Father died. We inherited a dog that was very ill and needed a lot of medical attention because my husband’s Step-Father passed away from complications of his alcoholism. We got a new landlord overnight in January because the house, that we offered to buy, was sold out from under us, and then 8 months later (still in 2017)-the new landlord came and told us we had 45 days to move out because the house was getting demolished. We moved into a new house, only to find that the landlord was crazy and trying to triple the rent. So, we moved into another new house within 30 days of moving out/in to the other one. My brother-in-law was convicted of a crime he didn’t commit and sentenced to 10 years in prison. And, in between, some of those, we had some major family rifts and fights because life happens. My Uncle’s house burned down and he was in the ICU from the burns and complications from the fire, and remained there for almost 2 months. All the while, we’re trying to work, and our son is trying go to school. Then, when everything finally looked like it was starting to calm down. My dad died.

Now, I know that doesn’t look like much because it’s written down, but of course, I’m leaving a lot of the in-between out. All of these things happened in a period of 10 months. I literally felt like I was still dealing and trying to cope with the last thing, when the next thing would happen. If you would like to see a “time-line” that stretches them out a bit more – you can read “The Year of Great Loss” here.

I told you all of that, to tell you this. I don’t know how people survive life without leaning on God. During that time, I was really trying to grow in my faith. I was burning for the Spirit. I was going to church, I was growing my Christian friendships, I was praying daily for long periods of time, I was doing devotionals. And, I was lost. Why was this all happening?! What was going on?! I had moments of feeling like it was penitence for my previous life of partying and madness and anger. I had moments of feeling like God had abandoned me. I had moments of feeling like giving up on this whole faith thing. I mean, what was God doing up there? But, I just kept going through the motions, I stuck to it. I really didn’t want to go back to the “old me”. That person was so angry, and hateful, and lost, and dead. I just kept praying, asking God what I was supposed to be doing down here? What am I supposed to do about all these things that are just happening to me? And, somewhere around getting evicted, and my brother-in-law going through his trial, and the family fights happening, is when, I was praying one morning, and once again asking God, “What are you doing?” “What is this?” “WHY?!?!?” I was so completely broken. I was so crushed. So devastated. So completely hopeless. This “still small voice” said – “It’s not me.” I think I actually gasped. The veil was torn from my eyes. WHAAAT?!?! #Godshowedup

All of the sudden, so many things made sense. It wasn’t God doing anything. I think this is one of Satan’s best tricks. Having a bunch of stuff happen to you, so if you do have faith, you seem to remember that you have God, but you almost forget that there’s a devil. And you start blaming the wrong “person”. Please believe, if you think God is doing terrible things, or “allowing” terrible things to happen to you – YOU ARE BLAMING THE WRONG PARTY! Satan does this to help separate you from the only thing that can save you – God. He does these things to make you feel alone. We forget that our adversary is the same party who can convince people to murder, who has been around since before man was created. This is not his first rodeo. He knows exactly how to get you, exactly how to play you, exactly what buttons to push, and who to use to push them. We have to remember that it is not God doing these things. We love to quote that the “devil has come to steal, kill, and destroy”, but as soon as stealing, killing, and destruction start happening, we’re like, “God, why are you doing this?” He’s not! We live in a world where Satan reigns, we are to bring God’s kingdom to earth. We have to speak life to our situations. We have to walk over, open the door, and tell Satan to GET OUT!

Ever since this time, I have had my eyes wide open. I literally had one day, where I had been sharing my faith at work, and having several conversations about God, and I was so excited, and on cloud 9, here I was sharing the gospel and helping people grow in their faith. And, I got home, and my husband jumped down my throat. He just started saying all sorts of nasty things (which is not like him), and after a few moments, I just said, I’m going to go run an errand and cut the conversation off. When I got outside the house, I prayed and prayed that Satan leave my house. That was not my husband in there. I ran my errands, and right before I stepped back in the house, I prayed again that the devil get out. And, when I walked back in, my husband came and hugged me, and told me he had no idea where that came from, and he was so sorry for all the stuff he had said…. And my husband doesn’t believe in any of this stuff. Oh, I knew where it came from. My eyes are wide open.

Let’s Pray

Dear Heavenly Father, Thank you!! Thank you for being the good, good Father. Thank you that you save us from ourselves. Thank you that you care SO MUCH, that you sent your son to die for us. That you gave us a way to have a relationship with you, that we might lean on you, and that you may hold us up with your mighty right hand. That you are our strength, and our comforter, and everything that we could ever need. I pray today Father, that you remove the veil from everyone’s eyes. That they may see the devils in their lives. That they may truly understand the hand that moves all these pawns down here, and that we know in our hearts who is truly doing all these things to us. I pray Father, that you bless us. We are the head and not the tail, and may we step on the serpent and crush him with our heel. That we are victorious in you. I pray that you give all these people eyes to see the tricks of the enemy and not fall prey to him. That we may always lean on you, Father. That you always protect us, we just need to lean in. IN JESUS’ NAME!! AMEN!!

Mission’s Circle

This week, I’m going to focus on Teen Challenge. Talk about trying help people remove the veil. I think they’re mission statement says it pretty well, ” For over 60 years, Adult & Teen Challenge USA has operated on a holistic model of drug and alcohol recovery. This means that we are concerned with the body, mind, and spirit of those who come to our addiction recovery centers. Our vision is to see all people freed from addiction through the power of Jesus Christ!” Please take some time to read about them here.

And donate here.