Know Your Armor

The Lord God is my strength [my source of courage, my invincible army]; He has made my feet [steady and sure] like hinds’ feet and makes me walk [forward with spiritual confidence] on my high places [of challenge and responsibility].  Habakkuk 3:19 (Amp)   

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Well, we’ve talked about knowing who we are in Christ, really knowing who God is and His faithfulness, and as we fight this good fight of faith, we need to know how well equipped we are through the armor that God has provided us with.  So, let’s take a look at Ephesians 6:10-17:

Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might.  Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.  For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.  Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.  Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness; And your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace; Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked.  And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God:

 First of all, our armor is supplied by God Almighty.  Remember when they tried to put Saul’s armor on David before he went out to fight Goliath but it was too big for him?  Well, God’s armor is a perfect fit for us.

Before we get into the details of the armor, I want to point out one other thing.  In verse 16 it talks about the shield of faith which extinguishes the flaming arrows of the evil one.  Now, go back to verse 11, the Amplified says “… so that you may be able to successfully stand up against all the schemes and the strategies and the deceits of the devil.”  The King James says “the wiles” of the enemy.  Some of you may remember the old cartoon “The Road Runner”, and if you do then you’ll also remember the coyote whose name was Wile E Coyote.  Did you see that?  This was a coyote who was always scheming – using some pretty drastic measures I might add – to catch the Road Runner (and always unsuccessful).  If you’re a “visual” person, this sort of gives you a picture of the wiles of a predator; in the Road Runner’s case the coyote; in our case the devil.  However, the difference here is the schemes the enemy uses.  I believe the biggest strategy the enemy uses is deceit in which he comes against our mind and our thoughts and tries to get us to doubt the Word of God and to become fearful.  If he can get us to do that then we begin to waiver and as fear starts rising up, our faith starts falling down.  If we can recognize at the onset of these thoughts that these are schemes of the devil and use the armor that we’ve been provided with to stand firmly in our place and not be moved, we’ll be victorious!

Now, let’s look at this armor.  This is what protects us during battle and each piece is essential.  First of all, verse 14 says “having your loins girt about with truth”.  The loins are the hip area.  Some translations interpret this as the waist area.  Roman soldiers had a very wide belt that was tied in several places around their waist.  This held equipment like daggers or different swords, ropes, darts, and could also hold personal items like money or rations.  The belt was tied in several places so that no matter how he moved it always stayed in place so he was able to get to these items without difficulty and kept his armor together.  This was also the first part of the armor the soldier put on.  If we compare this to God’s armor, this would be a belt of truth.  We have to know and be grounded in the fact that God’s Word is truth, as opposed to the lies of the enemy.  We have to apply God’s Word to our lives every day.  Just as this belt was the “foundation” of his armor, so must the Word of God be our foundation.

Next we have the breastplate of righteousness.  The breastplate was attached and anchored to the belt.  It covered both the front and back from the neck down to the middle (or just above the belt) and protected the heart and lungs.  The breastplate of righteousness guards our heart – the seat of our emotions, self-worth and trust.  In knowing we have right-standing (righteousness) with God through Christ Jesus, we know we’re standing shoulder-to-shoulder with God in battle.  There is confidence in our right-standing with God as we keep our thoughts and actions as we should before God.

Then our feet are to be “shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace.”  The Roman soldier’s footwear had spikes in the soles which provided him with a strong stance, balance and posture no matter what the terrain was like.  As we stand on God’s Word and the peace it provides (Philippians 4:7 in the Amplified states it as “that tranquil state of a soul assured of its salvation through Christ), we are able to have our feet firmly planted on the Word of God and not be moved by the devil’s schemes and lies.  It keeps us steady and immovable.

Next we have the shield of faith.  The soldier’s shield was large and pretty much covered everything from the chin to the knees.  This is what was used to protect against the arrows and spears of the enemy.  The notes from the Amplified Bible states that it was covered with several layers of leather that when soaked in water it would put out the fiery missiles thrown at them by the enemy.  Our shield of faith – believing God’s Word and His promises, and taking Him at His word – is what extinguishes the lies of the enemy.

Then verse 17 says to take the helmet of salvation.  It is said the Romans had the best helmet in their day.  It had a chinstrap, visor and covered the back and sides of the neck.  Obviously it provided protection of the head from various angles of attack.  We know that the enemy attacks us in our minds – that’s his greatest battlefield.  We need to remember that salvation means more than being born again and being delivered from hell, but also we have been delivered from the enemy and all of his schemes.  We have to guard our minds and what thoughts we entertain.  In the same verse we used before in Philippians 4:7, it says “that peace which transcends all understanding shall garrison and mount guard over your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.”  The peace that we have through Christ Jesus that assures us of our salvation through Him is what covers and guards our mind.  We know that we have been delivered!

Lastly, we have the sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God.  The sword of the Roman soldier was fierce.  It is said that it was a two-edged sword with the end turned upward.  It cut in two directions and once it penetrated the enemy just a few inches it inflicted a mortal wound.  We know that our sword is the Word of God and the Word is “quick, and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword,” (Hebrews 4:12).  With every swing of that sword God’s Word we should be speaking God’s Word!  These are God’s words coming out of our mouths.  God, in all His glory, is backing us as His words come out of our mouth, and this is something the devil has no defense against!!  Hallelujah!!

I believe we should stand ready and be prepared at all times, and the only way we can do that is by spending time daily with the Lord, in His Word and in prayer.  If we’re fighting the good fight of faith, we can’t let our guard down.  If you’ll look back at all of these parts of the armor, they all go back to the Word.  His Word is truth – it’s our foundation.  Our breastplate of righteousness – we are in right-standing with God through Christ Jesus – the Word made flesh.  Our feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace – we stand on the Word and the peace that it brings (a soul assured).  The shield of faith – in God’s Word and His promises.  The helmet of salvation – again we guard our minds with the Word of God.  The sword of the Spirit – God’s Word that the enemy has no defense against.

As you fight the good fight of faith, know that you have been equipped with the greatest armor that has been supplied by God Himself!!

In conclusion, be strong in the Lord [draw your strength from Him and be empowered through your union with Him] and in the power of His [boundless] might.   Ephesians 6:10 (AMP)

The Faithfulness of God

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Last week we talked about who we are in God and being anchored in Him and His love for us.  However, not only do we need to know who we are in Christ, we also need to know who God is.  I know you’re probably thinking “I already know who God is,” but just stay with me here.  We know that He is our heavenly Father, He is the creator of all things, He is mighty and awesome – and the list goes on.  However, the one thing I want to focus on is HE IS FAITHFUL!  Again, you’re probably thinking to yourself “Yeah, I know that, too.”  I’m sure if you ask most Christians if they know that God is a faithful God, the majority of the time you’d get a resounding yes.  However, the reason I want to talk about this is because when we get in the thick of the battle and things are getting really tough and you find yourself weary in this good fight of faith and ready to throw in the towel, that’s when you’d better know your God is faithful!  When things aren’t going like you envisioned and you start questioning the Lord and wondering why your circumstances haven’t changed, that’s when you need to be fully persuaded that God is faithful, that He keeps His Word and He’s right there with you.  Those times we feel like giving up and giving in is when we need to make this one declaration – “I know You’re faithful and Your Word is true, and no matter what things look like, I’m trusting you.”

Sometimes when things start getting uncomfortable and we want to take things back into our own hands and do things our own way, then we’re saying “I’m not so sure I trust You with this anymore.  I know You have a plan, but I like my plan better.”  It’s kind of like when the Israelites wished they were back in Egypt.  When we start to waiver in our faith, often times we also waiver in our belief that God is faithful.  James 1:6-7 says “But let him ask in faith, nothing wavering. For he that wavereth is like a wave of the sea driven with the wind and tossed.  For let not that man think that he shall receive any thing of the Lord.”  I know this is speaking primarily about asking for wisdom, but I believe we can apply it here, as well.  I know this verse is kind of hard, but that’s why it’s so important to stand strong in our faith and the faithfulness of God. 

The Bible is full of the faithfulness of God!  Since I’ve started this study, I’ve become more and more amazed at the Old Testament “heroes of faith.”  They didn’t have a Bible they could go to and read about the faithfulness of God.  Back in Abraham’s day the laws hadn’t even been established.  There was nothing between God and Abraham except faith.  I was listening to Genesis on my phone today as I was cleaning and there were several things that just kind of jumped out at me, and I want to share a couple of them with you.  Now these aren’t listed in Hebrews 11, but they show the goodness and faithfulness of God.  One was in Genesis 21 when Abraham sent Hagar and Ismael away.  After Hagar had wandered around in the wilderness and the water that she had with her ran out – now here is a mother and child out in the wilderness, alone, with no water – Hagar put her son under a shrub and went a ways off (King James says “as it were a bowshot” – not sure what that is but I would imagine she could still hear the child), so she wouldn’t have to see him die, and she began to cry.  Verse 17 says “And God heard the voice of the lad; and the angel of God called to Hagar out of heaven, and said unto her, What aileth thee, Hagar? fear not; for God hath heard the voice of the lad where he is.”  The angel told Hagar to go get her son and God opened her eyes and she saw a well of water – and God provided!  The other was when Abraham sent his servant to find a wife for Isaac.  When the servant reached Nahor he stopped by a well outside the city at about the time the women would go to draw water.  He prayed and asked the Lord that the woman who he asked for a drink of water from would also offer to get water for his camels (Genesis 24:12-14).  I love verse 15.  “And it came to pass, before he had done speaking, that, behold, Rebekah came out . . . with her pitcher upon her shoulder.”  Did you see that?  Before he had finished speaking!!!!  I know these aren’t stories we often hear about, but oh how they show the faithfulness of God.  I would really encourage you to go back and read both of these accounts in Genesis.

If we go back to Hebrews 11, you’ll see the phrase “by faith” and “through faith” many, many times – Abel, Enoch, Noah, Abraham, Sara, etc.  By faith seas opened up, walls fell, the mouths of lions were stopped, fires were quenched, and promises were obtained (and much more).  However, not only in these verses do we see the faith of all those listed, but we see the faithfulness of God!!  And that’s just the Old Testament!!!  Let me tell you, if you’re needing some encouragement go back and read these accounts in the Old Testament, because let me assure you that the same God that opened the seas, shut the mouths of lions, and caused walls to fall hasn’t changed not one bit.  He is faithful!!!

There are several scriptures that also speak to the faithfulness of God.  I’ve listed some below, but again I would encourage to get in the Word and find some other ones.

Know therefore that the Lord thy God, he is God, the faithful God, which keepeth covenant and mercy with them that love him and keep his commandments to a thousand generations.  Deuteronomy 7:9

Thy mercy, O Lord, is in the heavens; and thy faithfulness reacheth unto the clouds.  Psalm 36:5

God is faithful, by whom ye were called unto the fellowship of his Son Jesus Christ our Lord.   1 Corinthians 1:9

Through faith also Sara herself received strength to conceive seed, and was delivered of a child when she was past age, because she judged him faithful who had promised.   Hebrews 11:11

I know this may seem like a repeat of some things we’ve already looked at, but we have to be firmly established in who we are and that our God IS faithful – fully persuaded, beyond a shadow of a doubt, even when you don’t understand what’s going on, that God is faithful and His Word is true.  And again, I would really encourage you go back and read some of these Old Testament passages.  You will be blessed!

I am . . .

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Fill in the blank:  I am ____________.  Fill that blank in with how you identify yourself.  Are you somebody’s mother, someone’s child, someone’s sister or brother, someone’s wife or husband?  Would you identify yourself as it relates to your profession?  Would you identify yourself according to your past?  There are many ways people identify themselves and we need to make sure we get this right when we’re talking about our faith walk.  When we take a stand in our faith and we’re believing God’s Word and standing on His promises, one of the ways the enemy can come against us is “Well, who do you think you are that God’s going to move on your behalf?”  That’s why it’s important that we establish who we are and more importantly who we are in Christ.

I was listening to a sermon this week entitled “Precious in His Sight” and he made the statement that our identity needs to be anchored in bedrock; a solid, reliable, immovable foundation, and that foundation is God and His love for us (and I believe these two are inseparable).  This is what will cause our confidence to rise up and cause us to be who we’re supposed to be in Him.  Many times when the enemy comes against us like this, it not only challenges our identity, but it challenges our value and our worth.  One thing that we need to remember is that we are very precious to God.  We have been purchased with the precious blood of Jesus (1 Peter 1:18-19), and since that blood is so precious, then that tells us how precious we are to Him.  Even though there may be times when we may not feel very precious we have to go back and look at what purchased us; what purchased our salvation, what provided us with authority and put us in right-standing with God.

We need to look at who we are in Him and let that become real to us.  We need to know who we are, what authority we have, and be grounded in that.  Our fight of faith is mainly against the thoughts the enemy brings and we have to remember that he is a defeated foe already, so we have to know who we are in Christ and know that the enemy is powerless.  There’s so much that we haven’t grasped when it comes to who we are in Christ.  We know that if we have been born again we are a child of God and that’s something I think we take way too lightly.

So who are we?

  1. We are loved by God. (1 John 3:1) (And there are many more)
  2. We are a child of God. (1 John 3:1)
  3. We are born of God. (John 1:12-13)
  4. We are heirs of the Father, joint-heirs with Jesus Christ. (Romans 8:16-17)
  5. We have been seated with Christ. (Ephesians 2:4-6)

These are just a few so I would encourage you this week to do a search through the Bible looking for scriptures that say things like “in him”, “in Christ”, “through Christ”.  Write them down and meditate on them and use them to establish your identity in God.

I want to share with you something the Lord showed me this morning.  He said “You can’t move not one little bit without touching My love.”  That was a real revelation for me!  That love surrounds us.  It’s what we can stand on no matter what is going on in our lives right now.  We can rest in the love of God.  We can stand solidly on that love and that is how we should identify ourselves.  That is who we are.  We are a child of God and we are loved by Him.

When we become established in who we are in Christ then we can firmly tell our flesh to sit down and shut up and we can tell the enemy, “Do you know who you’re talking to?  I’m a child of God.  I’m born of God.  I am His heir and joint-heirs with Jesus Christ, and you are a powerless, uncircumcised nobody.”  We have got to know who we are in Christ.  Remember we have to establish our identity on a firm foundation which is in God, which is solid and firm and immovable, and the love of God.  This is what our identity is based on.  That’s our bedrock.  That’s our foundation that no matter what comes our way we know that we are God’s and He is our loving Father.  It’s what surrounds us, it’s what we stand on, it’s our basis.  It’s our identity!!!  I know I’m repeating myself here, but this is so important!

I really believe that these are things that we need to get established in in our faith walk and it needs to get established early on because if we don’t get these things established in our heart then we’ll be scrambling and not knowing what to say and keeping our mouth closed and playing mind games with the enemy.  Let me give you a news flash here, the enemy can’t read your mind.  He comes against you in your mind but he can’t read your mind, so when you’re doing that battle you fight with an open mouth.

Again, I encourage you to get in the word.  Write these scriptures down.  Get grounded, get your feet on that bedrock, that unchangeable solid rock; that firm foundation of God and His love.  Just spend some time meditating on the Word and ask the Lord to reveal to you His love for you and He will.  If you will open up your spirit to His Holy Spirit – remember He lives in us, we abide in Him and He abides in us – He will reveal His love to you in ways you’ve never known before.  I pray that God will reveal to you this week the breadth and length and depth and height of His love and that it becomes so much a part of you, that you are so grounded in it that that’s what you stand on and that’s who you identify yourself as, that you are loved by God and you are His child!

Fully Persuaded

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“God delights in His children stepping out over the aching void with nothing underneath their feet except the Word of God.”

Dr. Lillian B. Yeomans

I hope you’ve had a good week and you’re ready for part two of our Faith series!  Before we get started, there’s a scripture I want to share with you, and I would encourage you to refer to it quite often throughout this series, and that is Romans 12:2 “And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.” (KJV)  I really like how the Amplified puts it – “And do not be conformed to this world [any longer with its superficial values and customs], but be transformed and progressively changed [as you mature spiritually] by the renewing of your mind [focusing on godly values and ethical attitudes], so that you may prove [for yourselves] what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect [in His plan and purpose for you].”  The reason I wanted to share this is to encourage you to take this time to renew your mind and examine – or re-examine – how you look at faith.  As you study the scriptures open your mind to the Holy Spirit and allow Him to daily increase your knowledge and understanding.

Let me ask you a question.  In whom do you put your confidence?  Who in your life can you put complete confidence in and know that no matter what they are going to be there for you and will be with you through thick and thin?  Who’s that person that you can trust to keep your deepest secrets and never let you down?   Who’s that person who, when they tell you they’re going to do something, you can confidently expect them to do it?  I’m sure those of you who have a spouse would be quick to name your spouse.  Many of us put confidence in our parents and close family members, or that close friend that we can confide in.

Let’s look at a scripture I’m sure you’re familiar with, Hebrews 11:1.  “Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.” (KJV)  I believe this verse has been hard for us to understand because we’ve looked at it from modern day definitions, so let’s dissect this verse looking at the Greek definitions using Strong’s and Vine’s dictionaries.

  • Strong’s uses the words “persuasion”, “a moral conviction of the truthfulness of God,” and “assurance” to define faith. Vine’s is pretty similar but elaborates a little more:  “firm persuasion, a conviction based upon hearing.”  I thought this was pretty interesting because we know that faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the Word of God.  (Romans 10:17) (Just a side note here, conviction is defined as a firmly held belief.)  Vine’s further notes that “The object of Abraham’s faith was not God’s promises . . . his faith rested on God Himself.”
  • I’ve always heard the word “substance” defined as “confidence, assurance, confident assurance”; which both dictionaries support, but Strong’s also defines it as “a setting under (support)”.
  • The word “hope” is defined by Strong’s as “expect”, which is definitely not how we would define it based on the English language.
  • Lastly, evidence is defined as “proof, conviction”.

So if we look at this verse in the context of these definitions, I think we could safely define faith – and I’m going to specifically say faith in God (our firm persuasion in the truthfulness of God) – is the support (it’s what we can confidently stand on) for those things we confidently expect, the proof of things not yet unseen.

Now, you can look at other translations and see various other translations of this verse, but I think another verse to look at that makes is so very simple is Romans 4:20-21.  This, too, is a familiar chapter that talks about the example of Abraham and these specific verses speak to his faith.  “He staggered not at the promise of God through unbelief; but was strong in faith, giving glory to God; and being fully persuaded that, what he had promised, he was able also to perform.”  That’s pretty much it in a nutshell; being fully persuaded that what God has promised, He is able also to perform it – and the Bible is full of the promises of God. His promises and His Word is what we can confidently stand on.

When I was thinking about this word “substance” and looking at the definitions, I thought about David – and just let me just say here that the more I think about this passage the more I see it as a true picture of David’s faith in God.  Remember when he told Saul that the Lord that had delivered him out of the paw of the lion and the bear would also deliver him out of the hand of the Philistine?  Then he turns around and tells Goliath the same thing.  He said “This day the Lord will deliver you into my hand; and I will strike you down.”  (My paraphrase)  Then I love what he says in verse 47 “And all this assembly shall know that the Lord saveth not with sword and spear: for the battle is the Lord’s, and he will give you into our hands.”  What a perfect picture of confident assurance in his God!  David didn’t go out to face Goliath hoping (as we would define it today) that God would deliver him; he went out knowing and expecting God to do one more time what He had done with the lion and the bear!  David faced his giant knowing beyond a shadow of a doubt God was going to deliver this giant into his hands!

Whatever you may be facing right know, whatever your “giant” may be, stand on God’s promises, being fully persuaded that what God has promised He will do.  If you haven’t written down scriptures that pertain to your specific situation yet, now would be a good time to do that.  Read them out loud so that you hear them, read them with authority and let the reality of those promises get deep down inside you.  God’s Word is your support,  again it’s what He’s given us to stand on.  If you need a faith booster, look at Ephesians 2:8 “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God.”  We are saved by grace through faith, which is probably our greatest act of faith!

I would encourage you write down those scriptures and meditate on them.  Read the scriptures above and ask the Holy Spirit for revelation and understanding.  I assure you He will do it if you’ll take the time to get quiet and listen.  I pray that your faith will continue to grow stronger as you stand firmly on the promises of God and His faithfulness.  If you have any questions or comments or wish to share your “faith” experiences, please share them with us!

Faith Versus the Giant

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I’m so excited to launch a series on faith!!!  I would encourage you to take notes so you can refer to them throughout the week (or weeks).  Also, please feel free to leave any comments or questions you may have.  Through God’s guidance I will respond to you as quickly as I can.  These will probably be longer than what I have posted in the past, but I know this is where the Lord is leading, so let’s get started!

I know faith is a term we’re all familiar with, yet it tends to be an area we seem to struggle with, at least in certain areas of our lives.  I was listening to a teaching this week, and the Lord revealed some things to me about a particular passage in the Bible that I never really considered could be related to faith, and I felt it would be a great way to kick this series off.  This starts off in I Samuel 17, yes the story of David and Goliath, which I’m sure you’re also familiar with, but let’s refresh our memory.

Saul and the men of Israel had gathered by the valley of Elah to battle against the Philistines.  The Philistines stood on a mountain on one side of the valley and Israel stood on a mountain on the other side and the valley was in between them.  Well, the Philistines had a champion in their army named Goliath.  The dude stood 9-feet 9-inches tall, wore a coat of armor that weighed 125 pounds.  He had a bronze helmet on his head, bronze armor on his shins and a bronze javelin slung on his back.  He had a spear, the head of which alone weighed 15 pounds.  The guy was pretty much covered in armor, and then he had a man going before him that carried his shield.  For forty days, twice a day, he would stand and shout before the ranks of Israel “Why do you come out and line up for battle? Am I not a Philistine, and are you not the servants of Saul? Choose a man and have him come down to me.  If he is able to fight and kill me, we will become your subjects; but if I overcome him and kill him, you will become our subjects and serve us.  This day I defy the armies of Israel! Give me a man and let us fight each other.” (I Samuel 17:8-10 NIV).  Needless to say, there were no takers.

Well, back on the home front Jesse called David and told him to take some things to his brothers and Saul and see how they were doing.  When David got there the army was going out to fight again the Philistines, so David ran into the army and found his brothers.  While he was there, Goliath came out and gave his usual challenge and David heard him.  When the Israelites saw Goliath they did what they’d been doing for 40 days – ran.  They said “Do you see how this man keeps coming out? He comes out to defy Israel. The king will give great wealth to the man who kills him. He will also give him his daughter in marriage and will exempt his family from taxes in Israel.” (Verse 25)  I love David’s response – “What will be done for the man who kills this Philistine and removes this disgrace from Israel?  Who is this uncircumcised Philistine that he should defy the armies of the living God?”  (Verse 26)  So they repeated back to David what Saul had said.  Then David’s oldest brother got into it and it was pretty evident he didn’t want David there and thought his intentions were just to come and see the battle.  David’s response to him was “Now what have I done?  Can’t I even speak?” (Verse 29)  At that point he turned from his brother and asked again, and again they answered him.  Apparently there was some more conversation between David and the men and he was brought to Saul.

Verses 32 through 37 read “David said to Saul, “Let no one lose heart on account of this Philistine; your servant will go and fight him.”  Saul replied, “You are not able to go out against this Philistine and fight him; you are only a young man, and he has been a warrior from his youth.”  But David said to Saul, “Your servant has been keeping his father’s sheep. When a lion or a bear came and carried off a sheep from the flock, I went after it, struck it and rescued the sheep from its mouth. When it turned on me, I seized it by its hair, struck it and killed it.  Your servant has killed both the lion and the bear; this uncircumcised Philistine will be like one of them, because he has defied the armies of the living God.  The Lord who rescued me from the paw of the lion and the paw of the bear will rescue me from the hand of this Philistine.”  And Saul said “Go.”

Needless to say, David had no armor, so Saul tried to put his armor on David, but David ended up taking it off and he went out to meet Goliath with his staff in one hand, five stones in his shepherd’s bag and a sling in his other hand.  Now you have to picture this.  You’ve got Goliath, a 9-foot 9-inch man, fully decked out in his armor that probably weighed more than David himself, a spear and a man going before him with his shield, and David (remember David was a young man, probably even a teenager) shows up with his shepherd’s staff, a sling and a few stones.  From all outward appearances, this wasn’t really going to be a fair fight – a massive giant versus a little shepherd dude.  Amazingly, instead of seeing this as an easy victory, Goliath got mad; was insulted that this boy had come out to fight him.  “Am I a dog, that you come at me with sticks?” And the Philistine cursed David by his gods.  “Come here,” he said, “and I’ll give your flesh to the birds and the wild animals!”  (Verses 43-44)

And here is David’s response “You come against me with sword and spear and javelin, but I come against you in the name of the Lord Almighty, the God of the armies of Israel, whom you have defied.  This day the Lord will deliver you into my hands, and I’ll strike you down and cut off your head. This very day I will give the carcasses of the Philistine army to the birds and the wild animals, and the whole world will know that there is a God in Israel.  All those gathered here will know that it is not by sword or spear that the Lord saves; for the battle is the Lord’s, and he will give all of you into our hands.”  Reaching into his bag and taking out a stone, he slung it and struck the Philistine on the forehead. The stone sank into his forehead, and he fell face down on the ground.  So David triumphed over the Philistine with a sling and a stone; without a sword in his hand he struck down the Philistine and killed him.”  (Verse 48-50)

What a clear picture of faith!!!  I want to point out a few things to you.  Number one, David called Goliath an “uncircumcised Philistine.”  Circumcision was the sign of the covenant God had made with Abraham.  David realized that first of all he had a covenant with God which had empowered him to kill the bear and lion, and would empower him to kill Goliath, as well; and secondly Goliath had no covenant with God, rendering him powerless, no matter of his stature or how much armor he had.  Number two, he ran right into the midst of the army; the NIV says he “ran to the battle lines.”  Granted he knew nothing of Goliath at this point, but the fact that he was entering the battle lines didn’t scare him (and he also ran to the battle line against Goliath).  Number three, when his brother came against him, he gave him a quick response and turned away from him.  Number four, “David said”.  When David met Goliath and Goliath gave his little spill to David, David didn’t just charge him with a sling and stone, he said “I come against you in the name of the Lord Almighty, the God of the armies of Israel, and this day the Lord will deliver you in my hands.”

Now, this is how we can apply this to our lives.

  1. We have a covenant with God through the shed blood of Jesus Christ. Through that covenant we have been empowered and been made victorious (1 John 5:4).  Philippians 4:13 says “I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.”  We must realize that our enemy has already been defeated (Colossians 2:15)
  2. We face our battles head on, knowing that God is on our side. Isaiah 52:12 says “…For the Lord will go before you; and the God of Israel will be your rereward.”  The word “rereward” has been translated in some instances as “rear guard”, however, in the Hebrew it also means “gather you up.”  Know that no matter what you face, you’re never alone.  He has said He would never leave us nor forsake us.  (Hebrews 13:5)
  3. There will be people who will try to discourage you because a lot of people don’t understand what it means to walk by faith. It doesn’t make sense to them.  However, the Lord says that His thoughts are higher than our thoughts, and His ways higher than our ways (Isaiah 55:8).  You have to put your confidence in God and His promises and “turn away” from people who are going to discourage you in your faith walk.
  4. We have to speak. Even though the enemy comes against us in our thoughts and our mind, we must respond verbally.  If you’ll go back and read Matthew 4, when satan tempted Jesus he responded to him with the Word, and this is exactly what we have to do.  Whatever circumstances you may be facing, find scriptures that relate specifically to your situation, as well as the promises of God; write them down somewhere where you can easily access them and read them out loud; meditate on them so that when the enemy comes against you, you can quickly respond to him with the Word.

I pray that these blogs will encourage you and that your faith will grow even more than you could ever imagine in the coming weeks, that you’ll be able to comprehend the authority you have as a child of God, and live in the fullness of Him!

Prayer for the Church

 

If my people

The past several weeks have awakened in me the need to pray for our nation.  Yes, I admit I should’ve already been doing this, but the fact of the matter is I hadn’t been.  The Lord really brought this home during our Independence Celebration at my church as our pastor spoke on “A Prayer for the Nation.”  Through that sermon I began to seek God in developing a specific prayer (and have actually used part of that sermon in this prayer).  Since that time there have been several turns of events in our nation, as well as around the world.  I began to read Facebook posts and saw animosity popping up everywhere, even from Christians.  It was really disheartening to see such derogatory remarks being made and pointing fingers and taking sides.  My son-in-law, who is the pastor of a church in our local community, wrote a post that I felt pretty much hit the nail on the head and placed blame where blame was due – the devil.  He is working overtime stealing, killing and destroying.  It’s the principalities, powers and the rulers of darkness we, the church, should be warring against.  As I sat down to start writing a prayer for what I thought was going to be for our nation, it turned out to be primarily a prayer for the church, the body of Christ.  I believe we have failed miserably in seeking God’s face for our nation and the world around us.  I’ll go ahead and make this personal – it’s sad that it’s taken such horrific events to bring me to the point of seeking God on behalf of America.  Below is my prayer – for myself, for the church and for our nation.

Dear Father,

I know our time is short before Jesus comes back for His bride.  You have called us to be holy just as you are holy, so Father, I humble myself before You and repent of any sin in my life.  I ask you to wash me anew and reveal to me any areas in my life that have not brought You glory and honor.  I shift my focus from the things of this world to You.  The enemy has sent distractions, both personally and on a national and global level; however, I realize that he is the enemy that has come to steal, kill and destroy, but You came to give us life.

You have called us to be the salt of the earth.  Just as salt seasons and flavors, help us to enhance and favorably influence the people and society around us.  I will resist moral corruption and decay, and preserve a Godly influence in my life so that I can influence the world around me.  I will be a light not only so they will see my good deeds but will see You through me and praise and glorify You, therefore dispelling and overtaking darkness.  I ask for boldness so that I will not be timid, but be like a city set on a hill.

I pray for those that are in authority, Father, from a local level all the way to our president, as well as those in our upcoming elections.  Lord, convict hearts and bring them to a place of repentance.  Your Word tells us that Your love draws us to repentance, so I ask that You will send people across their paths to show them and minister to them Your love, and that they would realize their need for You.  Lord, for those who are Christians, I ask for a spiritual renewal.  I ask for Godly wisdom and guidance.  Lord, give them boldness to represent You in a way that brings You glory.  I ask that they would find favor among men in order to accomplish Your will.  I ask for protection over those that serve.  Where there is corruption, I ask that truth would come forth and repentance abound.  I ask for divine guidance through Your Holy Spirit.

Lord, I seek Your face for my own life, as well as for my nation.   Father, I know that our fight isn’t against flesh and blood, but against principalities, powers and the rulers of the darkness of this age.  Lord, I come before You now and I ask You to move in my life and in Your church, which I know You’re already doing, and in this nation.  I pray that Your strong right arm would be extended and that Your love would so abound through Your church that this world would see You in us in a big and mighty way.   I come against the principalities of darkness.  Your Word tells us You are light and I pray, Father God, that that light would dispel the darkness and reveal what the enemy is doing.

Father God, I pray that Your people would stop pointing fingers, and that we would not play into the devil’s schemes of division, strife, hatred and deception.  I pray that we would submit to the guidance of the Holy Spirit as He quickens us as to what we should say and do.  As Your church we are Your ambassadors, Your representatives, so I pray that we would strive to represent You well.  Help us to be a people that walk uprightly before You, Lord, that we would see and recognize and use the authority that You have given us on this earth through the death and resurrection of your Son, Jesus Christ, and that we would realize that the same Holy Spirit that raised Jesus from the dead dwells in us.  Lord, help us to boldly take a stand for You and come against these principalities of darkness.  I pray that we would no longer sit idly by and twiddle our thumbs and say there’s nothing we can do when the greatest thing that we can do is come before Your throne on behalf of Your church, our nation and the world around us.

Lord, I submit to You.  I submit to You spirit, soul and body to be the person that You created me to be.  Father God, I am willing to be transformed.  I renew my mind by Your Word and I am willing to be transformed into the person that you created me to be and if there’s anything in my life that doesn’t represent that person, Father God, I put it off right now in the name of Jesus.  I put off timidity.  I put off anxiety.  I put off fear.  Lord, I put off worthlessness and I take up that person that You have created me to be as Your daughter and I walk boldly in who I am in You.  I cast down thoughts and imaginations that the enemy may put into my head that I’m anything less.  Lord, I receive right now and I walk in what You’ve created me to be.

I ask, Father God, that Your church, Your body, would be unified; that we would be unified in standing and coming before Your throne and seeking Your face not as powerless people, but as a people that have power through the blood of Jesus.  Lord, I pray that we would walk in the fullness of what You’ve provided for us, that we would get into Your Word and find out exactly what that is and that we would walk boldly in it.  I pray that we would be the church that You’ve created us to be, and that we would be that member of the body that You’ve created us to be.  Lord, I pray that Your love would so abound in us that it would show through our countenance wherever we go.

Lord, I pray that everywhere we step our foot we would know that You are with us as we dwell in that secret place of the Most High.  I thank You, Father, for the angels that You have given charge over us.  You are our refuge and our fortress, and we lean and rely on You.

Father God, I thank You for Your Holy Spirit that You have imparted to us, that part of You that lives within us, and I pray that He would divinely guide us.  Guide our words, Lord; guide our actions so that we bring glory and honor to You.  I praise You, Father God, for all that You’ve given us; for all of Your grace; Your ability on top of our own ability.  Lord, we can do nothing on our own accord but through You we can do all things through Christ who strengthens us.  Lord, You have provided us with the means to do whatever You have called us to do.  Lord, I ask that You would continually remind us of that.  I thank You for that, Lord.  I ask for Your continued grace and mercy, and for Your continued guidance, Lord.  You are a mighty God, and it’s in the mighty name of Jesus I pray, Amen.

A Prayer to the Mender

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Lord, I know that You love me more than I’ll ever now.  You love me in the deepest way possible and only You can fill the void.  So here are all the broken pieces of my heart.  Take them ever so gently in Your hands and restore my heart back to wholeness.  Take the hurt and gently caress it, bring it close to Your own heart and send life flowing back into my innermost being.  Take the pieces that have been crushed and put them in the palms of Your hands, and bringing them ever so close to Your lips, speak words of tenderness and love so that they melt and join together to form a heart that begins to take on a resemblances of Your own.  I love you, Lord, and I trust you, and I know you’ll never leave more nor forsake me.  I know I don’t have to prove myself to you anymore, and that You accept me as I am.  I do want to be more like You and be the complete person You created me to be.  I embrace the plans You have for my life and I trust You as we begin this new journey.  Father, I ask this in the precious name of Jesus, Your Son, who valued me enough to spill His own precious blood.  Amen and Amen!