How to protect your heart.

Today’s challenge – The breastplate of Righteousness

Facing the hordes of satan, you brace yourself and pray.  The hosts of your enemy share a collective malicious grin, waiting for the command to do their worst.  The battle cry sounds.  They begin their charge; you tighten your grip on your sword (the Word of God) and raise your shield (the shield of Faith).  Weapons begin swinging with unrivaled fury; you do your best to parry the onslaught, but there are too many weapons to block.  Eventually, you watch as one of your opponent’s swords begins making a clean arc that continues right past your shield and toward your chest.

You brace yourself, preparing for the worst and expecting your quick demise, watching the weapon move ever closer to you as time slows to a maddening crawl – waiting, waiting, when CLANG!  The reverberating noise of the sword striking your breastplate pierces the air.  Shaking your head in disbelief, you look down to find that the breastplate of righteousness stopped the deadly blow in its tracks.  Delivered by righteousness and with renewed vigor, you plunge back into the fight!  (Bible Study Guides)

At salvation, a “breastplate” is issued to each repentant sinner.  It is especially designed by God to protect our hearts and souls from evil and deception.  Our righteous acts are no match for satan’s attacks (Isaiah 64:6).  The breastplate of righteousness has Christ’s name stamped on it, as though he said “Your righteousness isn’t sufficient to protect you.  Wear mine.”

How do we put on this breastplate?  By Faith!  Abraham’s Faith was credited to him as righteousness.  (Romans 4:3)  When we choose to see, and hear, and sense the world through our “eyes of Faith“, acknowledging that it’s the righteousness of Christ, our hearts and souls are protected.  We’re able to offer grace and love, we’re able to follow Him into battle, we’re able to stand knowing satan cannot break our hearts.

Ephesians 6:13  “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.

 

 

 

The belt of truth.

Today’s challenge – The belt of truth!

Continuing from yesterday’s challenge of Engaging the battle, Ephesians 6:13-17 gives us a visual of the armor we will need to fight these spiritual forces of evil.  Today we’re going to put on the first piece; the belt of truth.  The belt was used to hold the scabbard (the sheath for the blade of the sword), without which there would be no place to put the sword.  In addition, from the belt hung strips of leather to protect the lower body.  The belt “girds on” or secures all the other pieces of our armor.  Truth should cleave to us as a belt cleaves to our body.

In 1 Peter 1:13, Peter compared the girding of a belt to spiritual preparedness:  Therefore gird up the loins of your mind, be sober, and hope to the end for the grace that is to be brought unto you at the revelation of Jesus Christ.  (KJV)  For those of us who are “Pink Hippo Challenge Sisters”, we gird ourselves daily with the disciplines of the challenge.  If you’ve yet to take the challenge, follow this link “Pink Hippo Challenge” for more information.

I’m listening to an audiobook “Fervent” by Priscilla Schirer where she talks about much of the same disciplines as in our Pink Hippo Challenge.  She has an acronym she uses as she writes her prayers…I thought I’d give it a try and I love it!  It’s P-R-A-Y; P for praise, R for repentance, A for ask, and Y for Yes.  Here’s my prayer this morning for my daughter…don’t just skip over this, IT’S POWERFUL!

P (Praise) – Father, I do thank you for all the blessings you’ve granted.  I praise you for my heart that is bent towards you, I thank you for the gift of Faith and the knowledge of you.  I thank you for my beautiful children and grandchildren, for my sisters, and all those you have placed in my life.  I thank you for reconciled relationships, for the truth you’ve revealed in those relationships, and for the truth you will continue to reveal.

R (Repentance) – Father, forgive me for the hurt I’ve caused in my daughter’s life.  Forgive me for the unforgiveness and woundedness towards her that is at times still the window through which I see her heart.  Forgive me for the things I’ve said against her, forgive me for not using the precious gift of Faith as the window to her heart.

A (Ask) – Father, I’m asking you to reconcile our relationship.  Your word says that you have given us the ministry of reconciliation, I’m asking you to impart to me the power of that ministry.  Father, as you reconcile me to yourself, reconcile my daughter’s heart to you.  Grand her the ability to see through eyes of Faith and to see the truth that is only from You.  Father, I ask that you would give us both wisdom as your word says “Do not forsake wisdom, and she will protect you; love her and she will watch over you.”  Proverbs 4:6  Father, protect her from the attack of satan, protect her mind from his lies, protect her heart from his arrows of accusation, protect that precious ember of tenderness from our enemy.

Y (Yes) – Father, thank you for this victory!  Thank you for the reconciliation I know you’re working now in this moment and in each moment to come.  Your word says in 1 Samuel 17:45-46 “Then David said to the Philistine (And now I say to you satan) You come to me with a sword, a spear, and a javelin, BUT I COME TO YOU IN THE NAME OF THE LORD, the God of the armies of Israel whom you have taunted.  THIS DAY THE LORD WILL DELIVER YOU UP INTO MY HANDS, AND I WILL STRIKE YOU DOWN AND REMOVE YOUR HEAD FROM YOU!

TODAY I CLAIM VICTORY FOR MY DAUGHTER!  Amen.

Engaging the battle.

Today’s challenge – Engaging the battle.

Continuing from yesterday’s challenge of Irrelevance, I sensed the Holy Spirit calling me to look once again at the struggle with my daughter.  As I focus my mind and heart … through eyes of Faith I see a battlefield.  This battle is not of 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. (Ephesians 6:12).

At first it appears chaotic, just blurs and whispers.  But as I yield to the Spirit, I begin to hone in and “see” what’s happening.  There…over there…I see the evil forces swirling around, in between, over and under; attacking the minds of people.  There…see over there…my precious daughter almost covered by the darkness.  If you can yield your heart and mind to the Holy Spirit, seeing through eyes of Faith,  you will see your loved ones struggling too.  Then focus and look at our nation…I can only get a glimpse of our countrymen as they are falling to their knees under the weight of the darkness smothering them.

Sisters, it’s time to engage in the battle!  Ephesians 6:13-14 calls us to prepare to engage:

Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand.  Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist…

Come fight with me, tomorrow we will put on the belt of truth!

 

 

 

Today’s Challenge – Irrelevance.

Today’s Challenge – Irrelevance

Continuing from yesterday’s challenge of Mother’s and Daughters, I spent my emotional energy  struggling to objectively evaluate my feelings and fears.  I finally dug down deep enough to see that I was stuck in the “all about me” cycle.  I wanted to prove that I was better than my own mother, I wanted to have that perfect relationship with my children, I wanted to feel good about myself.

After giving those feelings to my Heavenly Father, the fear set in…”I’m afraid of being rejected by my daughter, I’m afraid of getting older and having no one to love me, I’m afraid that I’m irrelevant.  There, that’s the fear, that’s the lie; I am irrelevant.

But through eyes of Faith…For God so loved ME, that He gave His only son, that I should not perish but have eternal life!  Through eyes of Faith I see that I am loved, I am cherished and because of that love I can let go of my fear and love my daughter.   I can love her just for who she is AND where she is!

John 3:16 – For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.

 

Helpless?

I recently went to the memorial service and burial of my Dad’s ashes.  I’m experiencing a struggle in my relationship with my daughter.  Trump or Clinton?  Together these situations paralyze me, leaving me feeling helpless.

I found it interesting the definition of helplessness:  behavior typical of an organism (human or animal) that has endured repeated painful or otherwise stimuli which it was unable to escape or avoid.  After such experience, the organism often fails to learn escape or avoidance in new situations where such behavior would be effective.  (Wikipedia) 

Lord, please let me see a way out of this helpless state!

Psalm 37:7 – Be still before the Lord and wait patiently for Him.

If I can still my mind and wait for my vision to clear…if I can focus and see through “eyes of Faith”…my Dad is whole and healthy, worshiping his heavenly Father…my daughter and I will grow through this struggle; each trusting our heavenly Father for healing and wisdom…after I have placed my vote, the result of the coming election is in God’s hands.

 

 

A time of mourning.

Three brutal days in July…where do we go from here?  It sort of feels like a marriage that’s bound by the cycles of domestic violence.  The cycle of built up anxiety and aggression, the explosion, the healing…then the cycle starts again.  In this relationship divorce is not an option.  As Americans we have to face the ugliness of our pain, we have let go of our demand for equality and offer equality, we have to forgive each other and ourselves, and we have to move forward – outside of the destructive cycle.

But before we leave this place of pain and death let’s take some time to mourn the loss of our brothers and feel the depth of our pain.  It’s in this pain and mourning that we find commonality, it’s in this pain and mourning we realize how powerless we are,  it’s in this pain and mourning we recognize our need for a Savior.  Before we leave this place of mourning, let us call upon the name of the Lord.

Psalm 18:6 & 16 – In my distress I called to the Lord; I cried to my God for help.  From his temple he heard my voice; my cry came before him, into his ears.  He reached down from on high and took hold of me; he drew me out of deep waters. 

 

 

A woman at war!

The photograph for today’s post was taken at a protest in Baton Rouge, Louisiana by Johnathan Bachman.  It’s being called iconic and is labeled as the symbolism of a single person’s nonviolent resistance.  Through eyes of Faith this photograph is a powerful visual of a woman whose sight is not of her physical surroundings, but whose sight is focused on the spiritual realm.  Seeing this photo as it is in the physical realm, she is standing alone in front of opposition strong enough to destroy her.  Looking this photo through eyes of Faith, I see an angelic army of warring angels behind her, ready to fight.

To me this photo symbolizes the strength given to those of us who have accepted Jesus Christ as our personal Savior. Her calm, poised stance says she knows she’s not alone.  Her calm, poised stance shows a strength and peace that is more powerful than the weapons of her opponents.  Her calm, poised stance shows the effectiveness of her spiritual armor.

Yes, I agree this is a powerful photo!

2 Corinthians 10:3-4 – For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war according to the flesh, for the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh, but divinely powerful for the destruction of fortresses.

Please stop – listen to a different voice!

Today I join my country in mourning those lost to unimaginable violence.  I’m finding it difficult to maintain focus through eyes of Faith, I find my focus blurring as fear and anger threaten to overtake my view.  Through eyes of Faith I see that satan doesn’t discriminate between the lives he destroys, there is no reason or cause, there is only pain turned to anger, anger turned to rage, and rage turned to blind violence.

Satan entices pain and anger with whispers of injustice, whispers of discrimination, whispers of inequality, whispers of entitlement.  The father of lies uses our pain to distort reality.  After a while we’re so full of anger and rage we can no longer see the pain in our brother’s eyes.  After a while our hearts are no longer capable of empathy and we seek to find those to join us in our rage.  After a while our combined rage has contributed to creating the environment we fear.

The answer is to listen to the whisper of a different voice:

James 1:19:  Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry, because human anger does not produce the righteousness that God desires.  Therefore, get rid of all moral filth and the evil that is so prevalent and humbly accept the Word planted in you, which can save you.

Please…stop and listen to the gentle voice of God!

 

What is your heart ready to accept, Love or Violence?

The headline today on CNN is Facebook’s streaming video of the fatal shooting in Minnesota.  The emotional impact of this tragedy is anger and fear; anger that as Americans we can be driving our vehicles, be stopped by law enforcement, and be shot to death.  Anger from the fact that law enforcement officers live in the fear of being shot to death while doing their job.

Allowing the Holy Spirit to show me this tragedy through eyes of Faith, I see the tactic satan is using to exponentially instill fear into our hearts.  The technology breakthroughs of recent years has give us amazing abilities; I live three thousand miles away from my grandchildren but yet I Facetime with them every morning.  Unfortunately, the same technology in satan’s hands is being used to spread fear into the hearts of millions of people based on a limited information.  Although the Facetime streaming video graphically shows the horror of death, it does not give all the facts.  Nevertheless, it has validated our fear and spurred us onto anger and violence, delivering to satan hearts ready for his lies and deception.

Philippians 4:4-7:  Rejoice in the Lord always.  I will say it again:  Rejoice!  Let your gentleness be evident to all.  The Lord is near.  Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.  And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.

 

 

The land of the free and the home of the brave!

Day 10 – Through eyes of Faith.

There is an episode of an old TV drama called “West Wing” that deals with the internal conflict of the President when his daughter is kidnapped.  In this episode he decides to temporarily step down as President until his daughter’s situation is resolved.  He felt he could not separate his role as a father with his role as the President of the United States.

I’ve been thinking quite a bit lately about the office of the President of the United States, since we are in an election year that’s what’s on the mind of most of America.  We, the people of the United States, are angry and disappointed because we’re looking to a person to put our needs before their own.  We’re looking for a person to choose what’s best for us when we all don’t want the same thing.  We’re looking for someone to make life fair for everyone, we’re looking for someone who has a plan that will give us security and prosperity. We’re looking for that TV character who will do the right thing without regard for personal gain.

If each one of us, the people of the United States, would work towards being the person we’re looking for, if we could work towards putting the needs of our neighbor before our own.  If we could work towards allowing our neighbors the freedom to choose how they live – as we exercise that freedom in our own lives.  If we could work towards security and prosperity in our own lives and extend a hand to those who need help securing prosperity in their lives,  if we could … this would truly be the land of the free and the home of the brave.

Each one of you must put off falsehood and speak truthfully to your neighbor, for we are all members of one body.  In your anger do not sin:  Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry, and do not give the devil a foothold.  Anyone who has been stealing must steal no longer, but must work, doing something useful with their own hands, that they may have something to share with those in need.  

Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouth, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.  And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, with whom you were sealed for the day of redemption.  Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice.  Be kind and compassionate to one anther, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.  Ephesians 4:26-32