Helmet of Salvation

“And take the helmet of salvation. ..” Ephesians 6:17

As women we wear many hats. For me, I have a wife hat, a mom hat, my pastor wife hat, my nurse hat. Somewhere under all those hats is who I am. We are reminded that we are to first put on the helmet of salvation.  It is so easy to get up and immediately be drawn to another hat. The children are crying to be fed. Your husband is wanting to spend the last few minutes before facing the world in loving arms. Your to do list is scrolling through your head like a ticker tape.

As a Christian, under all our hats, we are first and foremost a child of God.

Female soldier

The word salvation used in Ephesians, “soterios“, describes salvation that can only come from Jesus Christ. We cannot save ourselves. We cannot live in righteousness with out “the grace of God which brings salvation” (Titus 2:11). All our hats must be filtered through our relationship with Jesus Christ. It is through this relationship that our mind is renewed. We are not to reject or steal salvation, but instead take ownership of the salvation that Jesus freely offers us. The battle begins in the mind with thoughts that lead to action.

It is time to stop and renew your mind.

Thank you Lord for your saving grace. Thank you Lord that the very love I have for my children and husband is love that You have placed in my heart. Draw me to that strong helmet of salvation that protects my mind and thoughts. Align my thoughts with the word of God. Filter my to do list through your saving grace.” Amen

What hat are you wearing?                                                                                                             

Shield of Faith

In addition to all, taking up the shield of faith with which you will be able to extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one.”Ephesians 6:16

Did your mom ever tell you, “Where do you think you live? In a barn? Close the door.” Maybe it is a southern thing. With boys, we are always telling them to close the door as they go dashing from entrance and out the next. Ok, I admit I have been known to open the backdoor to let the wonderful  breeze in and the air conditioning may be on! Doors are made to keep things out like bugs, cold air, bad guys. They also keep things in, like children and air conditioning. Some of you may want to keep your children out! What mother hasn’t cherished the few minutes you had of peace and quiet before they were banging on the bathroom door!

Our shield of faith is like a door, it keeps bad things out and protects the good things, like our entire self.

This scripture is the only time this word for shield is used, ‘thyreos’. Paul wanted us to know that the shield of faith was a specific type of shield. It is no wimpy shield. It is square and oblong, door shaped covering our entire self. It is the conviction that Jesus is the Messiah, the son of God. It involves trust. Soldiers trusted that the shield would keep out the fiery missiles thrown at them. As we put our faith and trust in Jesus Christ and His word, we can trust that the evil, malicious, and wicked fiery darts will be extinguished. No weapon formed against us will prosper.(Isaiah 54:17)

Gazebo Gallery
Gazebo Gallery

Gazebo Gallery:

Are you opening your door to maliciousness and evil that causes pain and trouble?

The Perfect Shoe

And your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace.” Ephesians 6:15

Every girl loves a good pair of shoes. It is more than the shoe, it is how we feel when we put them on. The glass slipper and you become the princess, the sandal and you feel carefree, the running shoe and you become determined to win. These are concepts men will never understand. This is why we will go to several stores trying on every shoe until we find the right one. How do we know we have found it? Because it feels right. Not just putting it on feels right, but walking and standing feels right, from every angle. When you find the right shoe, you know that this shoe will carry you through whatever the day or night has planned. It will not let you down. It will sustain you whether sitting, standing, dancing, walking or running. Whatever happens, you are ready!

What shoes are you wearing today?

When we put on our own shoes, they may look good for a while, but at the end of a long day of running around with the cares of this world, they are pinching our toes and we can barely walk! We cannot make peace in our heart, situations, or relationships using our own theology. True peace comes from the assurance of your salvation through Jesus Christ. It is the tranquility, contentment, security, of knowing Jesus Christ, the son of God, and the salvation that comes from His shed blood on the cross, that enables us to handle any terrain. When we put His shoes of peace that comes from salvation, Jesus becomes able to guide our feet. We don’t have to worry about tomorrow; where to go, what to do. Whatever happens you are ready. The gospel of peace will protect and carry you through whatever the day or night has planned.

Gazebo Gallery
Gazebo Gallery

Gazebo Gallery:

Are you putting on the shoes of the gospel of peace or are you still shopping around?

(photo by http://www.christianphotos.net and http://www.freepik.com)

Stand therefore…

Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness;” Ephesians 6:14

Ever watch a tennis match? My son plays tennis. We enrolled both our boys in tennis lessons when they were little tikes and could barely hold a racket. Every coach they ever had talks about the importance of the stance. What is the stance? It is how you hold the racket and how you stand when you are waiting for the ball. The player stands with feet apart, both hands on the racquet (so can hit forehand or backhand as needed), and eyes on the opponent. In other words, your head is in the game. Why is this important? Because the milliseconds it takes for you to get into position to hit the ball square with the racquet could mean you slicing the ball, missing the ball completely, or even being hit by the ball. Ouch!!

Just like a tennis match, we are to ‘stand’. The word stand, ‘histemi‘, is a verb meaning to stand ready or prepared, stand with a steadfast mind, stand as one who does not hesitate, stand as one who does not waiver.

What does your stance look like?

Are you girded about with the truth of God’s word? Do you have on the breastplate of righteousness? To a soldier, a breastplate protects your vital organs, the heart and lungs and major arteries. Without the breastplate a blow can be fatal.

Righteousness means to be in right standing with God. It is the state in which we ought to be. It involves integrity, purity of life, virtue, correctness of thinking, feeling and acting. Notice how much of this definition involves the heart.

For our sake He made Christ [virtually] to be sin Who knew no sin, so that in and through Him we might become [endued with, viewed as being in, and examples of] the righteousness of God [what we ought to be, approved and acceptable and in right relationship with Him, by His goodness]”. 2 Corinthians 5:21

Gazebo Gallery
Gazebo Gallery

Gazebo Gallery:

What does your breastplate look like? Is it the breastplate of righteousness?

(photo selected: by FreePik/Dan Mirica <a href=”http://www.freepik.com”>Selected by freepik</a>)

Know Truth

Stand firm, therefore, having girded your loins with truth.” Ephesians 6:14

” Mom, Ellen keeps saying my name is Nathaniel and I keep telling her that it isn’t!  I AM NATHAN!” Oh the woes of us parents who shorten our children’s names and forget to tell them. Nathan only saw the partial truth. He is Nathan, but he is also Nathaniel. Are we like Nathan, knowing only a portion of who we are? Do we really know what our full name is? Or are we walking around with only half of ourselves, fighting a battle without knowing the full truth of ourselves?

Truth is part of the Full Armor of God. It is to protect our ‘loins’. Loins is the area around our hips. It is where the reproductive organs of our bodies are. Are you reproducing the truth of Jesus in your life?

“And you will know the Truth and the Truth will make you free.” John 8:32

Freedom
Freedom

The word ‘make’ comes from the verb “eleutheroo’. It means to set free from the chains of sin. That word is only used 12 times in 7 verses of the New Testament and every time it is in relation to setting free from the chains of sin and death.

God’s truth of the gospel brings freedom from sin that entangles our everyday lives; freedom from bitterness that grips our hearts and souls; freedom from hate that blinds us to love others; freedom from depression that says that we are worthless; freedom from sorrow that invades our very core; freedom from shame that binds our thinking; freedom from false view of ourselves as we start to see ourselves as God sees us— full of joy, full of peace, full of hope, whole, forgiven, strong in Jesus Christ.( I John 3:2)

Are you standing firm on the truth of who you are as a child of God, bought with the blood of Jesus Christ? Are you ‘Nathan’ or ‘Nathaniel’ (God’s gift)? Or are you trying to stand on half truths of who you really are?

“It is for freedom that Christ set (made) us free; therefore keep standing firm and do not be subject again to a yoke of slavery.” Galatians 5:1

Gazebo Gallery
Gazebo Gallery

Gazebo Gallery:

Challenge– Take God’s word and let that be your prayer, your truth. Then stand back and see what is reproduced in the situation.

( photo by http://www.christianphotos.net and http://www.freepik.com)

A time to Break Down…..A time to Build Up

A time to kill and a time to heal…..A time to break down and a time to build up. Ecclesiastes 3:3

If  you have kids or a dog you can relate to this picture!

Dog and pillow

This dog is dealing with ‘fall out‘!

Fall out occurs when something explodes and debris scatters everywhere. It is the lingering effect of something radioactive or result of consequences. Something that looks strong and all put together is suddenly broken apart. Pieces fly in all directions.

Past hurts, rejection, disappoints leave ‘fall out’ in our life. When these occur we usually pick one of the following options. 1) We can run in all directions trying to put the pieces back together without success. Like this dog we want the soft, cozy, safe bed back in one piece, but how?? 2) We wish we could have a “do over”. We wish we could tear things down and rebuild from scratch pretending it never happened. 3) Or, maybe, we try to rebuild it ourselves with our own plan and tools, only to have a storm suddenly wash it away like castles in the sand.

Unless the Lord builds the house, its builders labor in vain. Psalm 127:1

God always has a plan.When He created the earth, He had a plan. When He told Noah to build the ark, He had a plan. When He told the Moses to build the tabernacle, He had a plan. Jesus had a plan. He wants us healed physically, emotionally, mentally. He wants us strong and whole. 3 John says “I wish above all things that you prosper and be in good health even as your soul prospers.” God is the ultimate creator, builder, architect. “In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth….” Gen 1:1. God always has a plan.

For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved.” John 3:17.

Learn to enjoy the process. With building and restoration comes healing and renewal. Sometimes the healing and restoration  process makes a mess. When you redo a room,  there is sawdust everywhere from sanding out the rough areas and patching holes. It doesn’t look like much, but a good builder always keeps the blue prints with a vision for the finished product. Jesus, the master builder, has a plan for your life. Jesus did not cause the bad things in our life to happen, but Jesus will take our ‘fall out’ and turn it into a work of art. 

Being confident of this very thing, that he which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ” Philippians 1:6

Enjoy this song by Jason Gray as you allow God to make your life new:

Jason Gray– I am New

“For no one can lay any foundation other than the one already laid, which is Jesus Christ.” 1 Corinthians 3:11.

photo from www.freepik.com
photo from http://www.freepik.com

Gazebo Gallery:

Have you had anything to ‘explode’ or ‘something’ in your life?

25 Reasons to Praise Jesus in the Midst of a Battle

25 Reasons to Praise Jesus

In the midst of a struggle or difficulty, we discover not only who we are, but who Jesus is. It is in these times; times of not just praying, but praying through, that I have discovered that victories are not a result of myself or what I did. Victories are a result of who Jesus is and what He has done.

It was during one of these times that I put together a list of scriptures that reminded me of the promises of Jesus.  I took these scriptures and took ownership of them. How does one do that, take ownership? By inserting your name, your husband’s name, your child’s name into them and making the scripture your prayer. For example 2 Thessalonians 3: 3 became:  “The Lord is faithful , He will establish (insert name) and guard you (insert name)from the evil one.”

God spoke to my heart that I needed to start praising Jesus in the midst of the battle.

The battle is not against flesh and blood but against principalities. We have no weapons except those given to us by God which are—the blood of Jesus Christ, the Word of God, the Holy Spirit and the angles of the Lord. Not only is the battle the Lord’s but the weapons are the Lord’s also.

As we put on the full armor of God, personalize the word of God .

Praise Jesus Because:

  1. PRAISE JESUS BECAUSE—From the lips of children and infants you have ordained praise, because of your enemies, to silence the foe and the avenger. (Praise is used for warfare—silences our foes)
    Psalm 8
  2. PRAISE JESUS BECAUSE —Every word of God is pure; He is a shield to those who put their trust in him. Proverbs 30:5
  3. PRAISE JESUS BECAUSE–God is our refuge and strength; a very present help in trouble Psalm 46:1
  4. PRAISE JESUS BECAUSE – as we Trust in the Lord with all our heart and lean not on your own understanding and in all our ways acknowledge Him and He shall direct our paths. Proverbs 3:5-6a
  5. PRAISE JESUS BECAUSE— The steps of a good man are ordered by the Lord and He delights in his way. Though he fall he shall not utterly be cast down; for the Lord upholds him with his right hand. Psalm 37:23-24
  6. PRAISE JESUS BECAUSE —As for God His way is perfect; the word of the Lord is proven; He is a shield to all who trust in Him. Psalm 18:30.
  7. PRAISE JESUS BECAUSE— The eternal God is OUR refuge, and underneath are the everlasting arms. He will thrust out the enemy from before you and will say, “Destroy!” Deuteronomy 33:27
  8. PRAISE JESUS BECAUSE— those who wait on the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles, they shall run and not be weary, they shall walk and not faint. Isaiah 40:31
  9. PRAISE JESUS BECAUSE— As we come boldly to the throne of grace; that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need. Hebrews 4:16
  10. PRAISE JESUS BECAUSE— sin shall not have dominion over us, for we are not under law but under grace. Romans 6:14
  11. PRAISE JESUS BECAUSE–(He) forgives all your iniquities, who heals all your diseases, who redeems your life from destruction, who crowns you with loving kindness and tender mercies. Psalm 103:1-4
  12. PRAISE JESUS BECAUSE— The angel of the Lord encamps all around those who fear Him and delivers them. Psalm 34:7
  13. PRAISE JESUS BECAUSE— the Lord is faithful , who  will establish and guard you from the evil one. 2 Thessalonians 3:3
  14. PRAISE JESUS BECAUSE—(as we) Therefore submit to God, resist the devil and he will flee from you.  James 4:7
  15. PRAISE JESUS BECAUSE–He gives power to the weak and to those who have no might He increases strength. Even the youths shall faint and be weary, and the young men shall utterly fall. But those who wait on the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles, they shall run and not be weary, they shall walk and not faint.  Isaiah 40:29-31
  16. PRAISE JESUS BECAUSE— God has not given us a spirit of fear but of power and of love and of a sound mind. 2 Timothy 1:7
  17. PRAISE JESUS BECAUSE –In all your ways acknowledge Him and He shall direct your paths. Proverbs 3:6
  18. PRAISE JESUS BECAUSE  — (we can) Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus. Philippines 4:6-7
  19. PRAISE JESUS BECAUSE–He will keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on You  because he trusts in You. Isaiah 26:3
  20. PRAISE JESUS BECAUSE—  He will give you a mouth and wisdom, which all your adversaries will not be able to contradict or resist. Luke 21:15
  21. PRAISE JESUS BECAUSE—We are confident of this very thing, that He who has begun an good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ. Philippines 1:6
  22. PRAISE JESUS BECAUSE— He who calls you is faithful, who also will do it. 1 Thessalonians 5:23-24
  23. PRAISE JESUS BECAUSE—He will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will guide you with My eye. Psalm 32:8
  24. PRAISE JESUS BECAUSE–sin shall not have dominion over you, for you are not under law but under grace.  Romans 6:14
  25. PRAISE JESUS BECAUSE— If we confess our sins He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.  1 John 1:9

So what are some of your favorite reasons to praise Jesus in the midst of a battle? Battle Won!

Radio man

“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.” Ephesians 6:13

With a house full of testosterone, I have learned to appreciate a good war movie every now and then. They remind me that you can have courage under fire and strength when you need it.  (FYI…..Although my husband tries to convince me that Braveheart is a love story, I am still not convinced). Recently, I was watching this movie where the combat team is highly specialized and they are on a secret covert mission during WWII. The introduction goes through each man and gives their name, rank, expertise i.e. John, Lt, sniper; Frank, Col, leader; Bill,Lt, knife expert; Joe, night vision; Sam,demolitions, etc. All have been on multiple missions and all have been highly decorated for success and bravery under fire.

Then we get to the last one, Bill, RADIO MAN.

Experience— none.

Military— only 6 mos.

Reason for being chosen— other guy got sick.

Location when picked— in chair at the radio on the plane.

Reason chosen— no time to pick someone else.

Do you ever feel like ‘RADIO MAN’ or woman ?

I ask God some times, “Why am I here, Now. Not exactly what I had planned, God.” I think that maybe Radio Man thought, ” yeah, in the military talking on the phone, should be easy.” He asked the lead commander what the mission was and was told “need to know” (standard military response for –just obey orders peon).Ok, now Radio Man is on a mission he wasn’t trained for or briefed on and he is getting shot at. Radio man just about gets sick right there. But the good news is, he is THE RADIO man. Which means maximum protection!

Be strong and of good courage, do not fear nor be afraid of them; for the Lord your God, He is the One who goes with you. He will not leave you nor forsake you. Deut. 21:6

063In God’s army, we are like THE RADIO man. We have maximum protection. We may be in a battle and not know why or how, but God always has His plan and reason. The battle will bring out fruit in our lives that can only come out under fire. This is the time where our relationship with God flourishes. It is the time where Jesus shines forth in all His glory. The battle is not ours, but His. The victory is in His hands.

We don’t need to know the mission, it will be revealed to us when the time is right. In the mean time, press into the relationship with Jesus, learn to hear His voice and His voice alone. Allow Jesus to do His perfect work in our hearts.This is a time for prayer coupled with action. Let your heart stay soft and sensitive to the voice of God. Look for the miracles amongst the battle.

Praise Jesus and ‘thanks to God who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.’  1 Cor 15:57.

In case you are wondering, What happened to Radio Man? Well, the original mission failed and had to be changed in mid battle. As it turned out, they had to sabotage a submarine minefield that was controlled by radio signals. Guess what, only Radio Man knew that equipment. The original man chosen would not have been able to do it. As a result, the American fleet made it through. When the battle is over we will be able to look back and see that it is no mistake that we were where we were. Jesus sees the big picture when we don’t.

(FYI– the movie is Ambush Bay by United Artists, 1966)

Gazebo Gallery
Gazebo Gallery

Gazebo Gallery:

When did you feel like ‘Radio man’ or ‘Radio woman’ and how did you receive ‘maximum protection from God’?

Be Strong in the Lord

 

11924284_10154222851043747_407219350487653199_n
Be Strong in the Lord

Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of His might.” Ephesians 6:10

Have you ever played paintball? With teenage boys, it is inevitable. My son had a paintball birthday party. The place advertised, “Mom’s Play Free”, which translates “Mom’s put a target on your chest, You are Going Down!”  Moms watch out, the kids will form ‘unholy alliances’ against the mom. Why? Because  boys know what you might not know. Paintball is as much about the relationships, or alliances, as about the battle.

What kind of alliances do you have?

Relationships and spiritual battles are connected.  Have you ever noticed that the scriptures in Ephesians 6 which talk about the Armor of God and waging battle follow instructions regarding relationships? (Ephesians 6:1-9) . Relationships cause friction but our battle is not with the person.

Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of His might. Ephesians 6:10

“Strong” in Ephesians 6:10 is used three times:

  • Strong-v. “endynamoo” which means to be enabled, to receive strength It means that our strength is not from us, but from the God who made the heavens and the earth. The God who made us, who knows us better than anyone will empower, strengthen, enable us for the battle. He is the Commander in Chief of the battle and not us. Praise God!
  • Strength– n. “kratos” which means ‘mighty deed’, and ‘a work of power’. The word comes from vigor. Not only is God giving us the strength and invigorating us for the battle, but His deeds are powerful to accomplish all that He wants us to.
  • Might-n. “ischys” which means ‘ability’, ‘force’, ‘strength’. We may not have the ability, but God does.

The word ‘in’ can also be translated ‘with’. It is a preposition. Remember your grammar, a preposition links two things together.  We are to be linked or interwoven with God’s power, strength, mighty deeds, ability, force to have the healthy relationships that God intended. When we are in an alliance with God then we can  withstand and overcome the battles.

Gazebo Gallery
Gazebo Gallery

Gazebo Gallery:

Was there a time when God gave you the ability to see the true battle in a relationship? With God’s wisdom, and power, how was the situation turned around?

Rejoice in the Battle…… (Psalm 5:11)

“But let all those who take refuge and put their trust in You rejoice; let them ever sing and shout for joy, because You make a covering over them and defend them; let those also who love Your name be joyful in You and be in high spirits.” Psalm 5:11

I love the fall. Sitting on the back porch I see the many blessings of fall. The leaves are bright and colorful. The sky is crisp and blue. Kids go running through the yard, jumping into every pile of leaves that stand in their way. Giant sticks walking around. Boys carrying limbs 3x their size.

Wait! Large giant sticks, what are they doing!

“Necessary to reinforce the leaf pile bases during the acorn battles”, kids yells out. Oohh, I never knew that.  Capture the flag, air-soft battles, and acorn battles are a mainstay at my house. It is times like this that I am glad that God has a covering and shield over my boys. Welcome to my world of boys.

Oh to be like boys who run and jump and rejoice as the battle rages on!

Psalm 5:11 mentions joy and battle in the same voice.. Oxymoron?.. Or spiritual truth to be embraced?

Joy is mentioned three times in Psalm 5:11. Each is derived from different Hebrew verbs and have different meanings.

  • The first is ‘samach‘ which means ‘to be glad’, ‘make merry’, cause to make ‘joy’.  In other words, the joy comes from Jesus and not us. God will make us joyful as we put our trust in Him.  What a promise!
  • The second is ‘ranan‘  which means to sing, shout, cry out in triumph. This is not everyday singing and shouting. This comes from the deep inside part of us. It is like the joyful cries and shouts of a woman in labor as she joyfully and triumphantly and yes painfully delivers her child.
  • The third is ‘alats‘ which has the connotation of jumping for joy, being exalted. God will exalt us in the midst of battle.

Jesus I pray that as I take refuge in You and put my trust in You, Jesus, that You will make me joyful in the midst of battle, that Your joy will go deep into my innermost being to strengthen me for the battle. As I love You, Jesus, that You will exalt me over the battle, that you will make a covering over me that protects and defends me. Thank you that you reinforce my leaf pile to withstand the battle.  Amen

Gazebo Gallery
Gazebo Gallery

Gazebo Gallery:

Describe a time that as you loved and trusted God, He gave you the joy necessary for the battle?