Naked Without The Armor

The Bible offers everything we need to be active Christian Warriors. It gives us spiritual authority and is our manual for living a Godly life. While in prayer this morning, something came to light. Many of us may read parts of the Bible from time to time, but we do not study what we have read. We understand what we read intellectually, but there is so much more. To understand the spiritual intent, we have to study what was read. When reading Ephesians 6:10-18, we understand we should clothe ourselves in the armor, but do not necessarily understand why we should do so, or what each piece represents. This Post will explain the what and the why. The most important point is that we are naked and vulnerable without the armor. As the adage says, ‘don’t leave home without it.’

In reading the Book of Ephesians, particularly chapter 6, we see Paul wrote to Ephesus alerting them that the enemy is always near and ready to attack. In Ephesians 6: 12, 13 NASB, he warned:

“our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places. Therefore, take up the full armor of God, so that you will be able to resist in the evil day, and having done everything, to stand firm.” 

There is no question that our struggle continues to be a war against the rulers of darkness. We can see it in our daily lives, on the news, and social media. The evil forces are in play, we see violence and hate in every aspect of life. We are in the midst of an invisible war, one that works through people. We struggle with uncertainty, fears, and doubts. Scripture makes it clear that much of our self-doubt, our difficulty in keeping healthy relationships, and many of our fears are rooted in the efforts of those same ‘spiritual forces of evil’ that plagued the Ephesians. Paul warned that we cannot be passive Christians. We cannot use the term ‘Christians’ without acting Christ-like. Christians have to exude Christ-like behavior through our actions. We must actively change our position and become Christian Warriors because we live in a time of full engagement against the evil forces of darkness. The evil one is present and works through people, he will not back down and neither can we. We are in the war, like it or not, there are no deferments. God calls for peace, and the evil one calls for chaos in all that we do. We cannot go quietly in the night, we have to rage against the evil forces that try to debilitate, paralyze and destroy us.

‘The evil one continually tries to infect us through our wounds inflicted by sinful words and actions that warp and twist our self-image’. He tells us we are unlovable, useless, hopeless, frail, weak, not good enough, and failures. He intentionally places difficulties, trouble, and chaos in our paths. He tries to destroy our inner peace and distort our harmony that should exist in our relationships with others and our surroundings.

Always be alert. It is important to recognize that we are prey to the evil forces of darkness and as in other parts of our daily living, must protect ourselves, and put on the Amor of God. The Armor of God is our invisible clothing Each morning when dressing for the day, putting on our visible clothing, is the perfect time to also put on our invisible clothing. In fact, we should begin the day with prayer and put on the Armor before getting out of bed.

The Armor

The Helmet of Salvation covers your head, mind, and eyes.

The helmet is our invisible filter and keeps evil out of our mind. It helps our focus on the Lords will and not on sin. It helps ward off and reject harmful words and actions directed at us by others. It protects us from evil. It deflects hurtful things people say and do to us. It protects us while we live out our ‘true identity in Christ’.

The Breastplate of Righteousness protects your heart.

Righteousness is the quiet voice of the Holy Spirit that lives in us; it is a gift from God, and cannot be earned. Righteousness is much like a filter that strains out unGodly things and reinforces our desire to be honest, trustworthy, kind, good-hearted, loving, and joyful. (Fruit of the Spirit – Galatians 5:22-23). It guards our mind and emotions.

The Belt of Truth holds us together.

 

It keeps all the armor in place. It is like a belt or a girdle-like support strap. It supports our core. It helps keep our heart and mind focused on Christ. Without the belt of truth, we are not prepared to stand and fight. The belt represents living a life of honesty and integrity. It supports our total commitment and devotion to God Almighty.

The Sandals of the Gospel of Peace (the Good News) weaponry covers our feet.

Everywhere we walk, we walk in peace. Our footwear keeps us from hurting our feet. The gospel of peace is the Word of God that we share with others as we walk in His Word. Without the Gospel of Peace, we are barefoot and cannot walk without fear. The footwear brings ‘inner and interpersonal peace when we commit to living by God’s Word, which means forgiving those who may have harmed us.

The Shield of Faith protects us from the weaponry of the enemy.

God gave is faith to protect ourselves from the things we cannot see and may not understand. It enables us to advance, despite adverse circumstance.

The Sword of the Spirit is the Word of God.

Gives us boldness to reject and attack misinformation. We can use it to defend ourselves from things we may or may not know are wrong. The sword cuts through everything the enemy can send our way. It is the only defensive weapon we have. Everything else wards off the offensives of the evil one. The sword is the way, the truth, and the light. It is the Word of God. This sword is able to cut through every defense our enemy can raise. When wielded by us, nothing can withstand its ability to cut straight to the core and uncover the truth.

We are naked when we do not wear the Armor of God. Never go out without it. We put on a coat to protect us from the cold and our armor to protect us from the evil one.

Faith, Hope, Love, Dependency, and Obedience Synopsis

Finally, our March theme is affirmed by this Post. To be Christian Warriors we must have faith, hope, and love. When we are in a relationship with a loved one, we have faith in them, love them, are in a dependent relationship with them and are obedient to the values and intent of the relationship. Putting on the Armor of God is a faith move by which we are dependent upon the fact that it works to protect us. We are obedient in that we put the Armor on every day. We have hope that our armor will hold up and invite others to live as Christian Warriors, and for non-Christians, to receive the Lord’s salvation and join our family. Love, the most important of these, operates in faith and dependence upon the Word of God and his relationship with us.

Sources

Books:
The Full Armor of God, Larry Richards
Waging Prophetic War, Jennifer Claire

Websites:
The Belt of Truth and the Breastplate of Righteousness. Bible.org, Mar. 3, 2018
The Sword of the Spirit, the Word of God. Freebiblestudyguides.org, Mar. 3, 2018
Helping Children Put On Their Armor Through Prayer, Lisa Blair, Youngchristianwarriors.com

Images – Google Images
Scripture-Biblegateway.com

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The Power of Thanksgiving and Prayer

The last post focused on Prayer, Praise, and Worship. We learned that giving thanks is part of prayer. This Post is an elaboration on the Power of Prayer and Thanksgiving.

Paul wrote Philippians 4:6 to let us know that our requests are made known to God. “do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.”

Paul also shared

If praying was easy, everyone would be doing it. It is important to understand that the war between God and the evil one often takes place in our minds. When I was younger, I thought the battle was in the physical realm, and often it is, but the center of anything that happens in this world originates in the mind of world leaders, governmental officials, family members, friends, associates, bosses, villains, and you. We find ourselves at war in our minds. As believer’s we initially stand fast in pray, unwavering in the Word when our lives are going well, and at odds with ourselves when the prayer is not answered as quickly as we wanted. We begin to question God, we entered the war where the voice of doubt speaks out. This doubt, this darkness, is the stronghold of the evil one. His weapons are the attitudes of wrong thinking, of pride, and carnal thinking in general. They are designed to strip us of our blessings and throw us into sin.

So, what does this have to do with Thanksgiving? Everything! When we pray in faith, we stay in faith. God sends down blessings when we pray. If we pray and doubt, they cancel each other out.  Have you ever prayed and believed, and saw your blessing only to see it deferred? Think back, when did you begin doubting that God has control and started questioning yourself saying (self-talk) maybe God is not going to answer, maybe He did not give me direction, maybe it was just me. It was not you, it was the evil one that is speaking doubt to rob you of your blessings. The key is distinguishing between the Lord’s voice and that of the evil one. One of my favorite scriptures reads –

My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me. John 10:27. We must learn His voice, and His voice is the Word which is the sword of the Spirit and part of the Armor of God to protect us against the evil one.

Yesterday we learned that praising the Lord as a way of thanking Him for all He has and will do for us. It is how we petition in praise and acknowledge that He is our Father and will answer us. Giving praise or thanks is how we express acknowledgment and appreciation of Him, His grace, blessings and sovereign work in our lives, and the world. But it is not easy, in fact, it is a battle. 

Most of us have experienced difficulty when praying and giving thanks, especially in times of anxiety. But, as we pray through, we become less anxious because we are letting our requests be made known to God so that He is glorified when answering them.  After our blessing, we should give Him more praise and thanksgiving for answering our prayer.

Now back to our children. We often read Bible Stories with young children and share the Word with older ones, but how often do we dissect the scripture to explain how to apply it in their lives? Young people are smart. If we explain to our youth that praise and thanksgiving are a way to acknowledge our Lord, and through praise and thanksgiving a relationship and bond is established between the Lord and them, most would become avid practitioners of praise and thanksgiving. They would begin to understand the formula we have been given to pray and receive God’s blessings. 

In general, people do not understand their relationship with God in real-time. They feel that the Bible was about people during its time of writing and does not pertain to us today. How wrong can we be? Our children deserve training to become Young Christian Warriors. His Words are our sword, part of the Armor of God.  Praying back His Word to Him and thanking Him for all He has done provides a sense of calm, diminishes anxiety, and protects from the world.

_______________________

I just listened to John Hagee, Scriptures on Healing at https://youtu.be/9qxfyyYDF58.

Take a listen, he is one of the worlds most dynamic healers. John is the founder and Senior Pastor of Cornerstone Church, San Antonio, Texas. Website – www.jhm.org

Protection, Freedom, The Word

                              Protection

Our children need protection and freedom through the Word. 2017 is now behind us, and we are entering 2018 with plans for the year. Our children are continuing to grow, interact with others and explore the world around them. Children, tweens, and young adults are trying to figure out their lives and will do so with or without our help. Last September I began to Blog to help parents help their children through the Word of God. This year, I have reformatted the Blog to help parents become more familiar with the Word as a daily tool for living. Our children, of all ages, look to us for guidance and as role models. It is difficult for children to follow us if we are not practicing the Word. Practicing the Word and the phrase Practicing Christians can have two different meanings. We can be Practicing Christians meaning we can recite the Word, discuss the Word, and explain the Word to others. Practicing the Word means we live the Word in our daily lives. The best way to live the Word is to ask ourselves: ‘is this how Jesus would act, am I mirroring Him, am I obedient?’ If our children us practicing the Word, they will begin to follow suit. Our duty to our children is to demonstrate how to use the tools of protection,  teaching them to use the Word as their blanket of protection.

Last September I posted lessons on the Whole Armor of God, Ephesians 6:10-18, and how it is important to put on the armor every day. The armor provides a layer of our children with a blanket of protection. So too does the 91st Psalms.

My current task is to write a lesson about Psalm 91 and the importance for our children and youth to become ensconced in the 91st  Psalms. The Whole Armor of God, Ephesians 6, and Psalms 91 cover our children and youth with a (spiritual) fireproof blanket.

Why is the blanket important you may ask? A blanket protects against the elements. This blanket protects against the elements of the evil one and is fire-retardant. It will keep the arrows and flames of the evil one from destroying our children and youth.

The 91st Psalms is one of my favorite books and chapters in the Bible. It has been my blanket of protection for many years and has covered me during a variety of trials and challenges. Chapter 91 was written to remind us that God is always faithful and covers us throughout our lives, regardless of circumstances, situations or conditions we may have experienced or will experience.

Psalms 91 is essential to learn because like the Whole Armor of God it protects our children from all onslaughts. If our children have a clear understanding of how God protects us and  they rely on his faithfulness, then life’s challenges are perceived differently and they will respond to life’s situations differently. Children live knowing their parents are close, will protect them, love them, teach them and correct them. It seems for many, God is much more distant than their parents. The bond between God and his children grows over time for many, and often it is not until adulthood that we enter into a close relationship with him. Just think how powerful our children will be in the Word and how intense the relationship they will have with God once they understand the scriptures and know how they apply to their daily living.  (Related Post – Children Model After Christ, October 26, 2017.)

Clip Art, Children holding hands

 

So, what should our children know about the 91st Psalm? First and foremost, the 91st Psalm is about faith and security.

For Parents: 

The 91st Psalm’s key lesson, according to Jack Hayford’s Bible Handbook, is “faith is a forward focus on God, His Word, and His promises. But faith also looks back at the blessings of God to gain strength, (Related Post – Learn To Thank God as Part of Prayer, November 13, 2017.) Faith allows us to flee confidently to God when in trouble and to abide in Him for protection.”

According to Warren Wiebsbe’s, Nelson’s Quick Reference, “God preserves those who abide in Him and love Him. These promises are not for people who run to the Lord only in times of danger but for those who dwell in His presence.” “ The abiding life produces the assuring life, the life without fear; which leads to the abounding life, the life of victory and peace. The safest place in the world is under the shadow of the Almighty.”

           Abiding Life ->Assuring Life ->Life without Fear ->     Abundant Life-> Life of Victory and Peace

For Children and Youth:            Diverse Children

  • God is our refuge and fortress, not susceptible to outside influence or disturbance
  • He is reliable and trustworthy
  • He keeps us safe
  • He protects us
  • He is faithful and loyal
  • He shields us from harm and danger

Meaning:

  • No sudden event, accident or disaster that causes damage or unfortunate consequences can destroy you.
  • His angels will safeguard you from undesirable events.
  • He will rescue you from harm’s way.
  • He keeps you from being lost or abandoned.
  • He comes when called.
  • He is steadfast and will be with you in time of need.
  • He will deliver you.
  • He offers unexpected ways of escape.
  • He rescues, saves, and sets us free.

Learning how to implement the 91st Psalms and Ephesians 6 assigns freedom to those who have the faith to believe in the Word of God.  

And we also thank god continually because, when you received the word of God, you accepted it not as a human word, but as it actually is, the word of God, which is indeed at work in you who believe. 1 Thessalonians 2:13

FREEDOM

 

Children Navigate Difficult Times

Looking back on your childhood did you ever wish your parents shared how God’s word helps navigate through life’s difficulties as a child, a tween, a teen, a young adult and today?

Deuteronomy 6:7 ESV says, You shall teach them (commandments) to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise.

Did your parents share the commandments as practical steps to govern your life? The Bible is a overcomes guide. It teaches how to overcome difficulties, obstacles, hurt, bitterness and strife. We begin to encounter challenges during our childhood, and the way we respond to them begins to take form in our early years. If you teach your children the word, it will live in their heart.

Psalm 119:11 says – I have hidden your word in my heart.

Think, if Gods word is hidden in our hearts, how did it get there? We received them through study and application. When should we begin studying and applying the word as part of daily living? If we do not help our children hold the word in their hearts, when they are tested they will often find that they have no resources to navigate through the dangers of life. 

Continue reading “Children Navigate Difficult Times”

Children – How Do You Define A Friend?

As a Principal, I have observed how quickly children turn against one another. As a grandmother of a tween granddaughter, I have experienced her attempting to navigate this concept of ‘friendship.’

                                              

In cyberspace, our children find ‘friends.’ People they do not know. People that prey on our children’s good nature. People who will lift them one minute and tear them down the next moment, unfortunately, cyberbullying has become a way of life. Our children are blind to what and who a friend is and is not. They cannot readily discern who is or is not a fake friend. It is important to teach our children how to discern who is their friend and who is not. This lesson is on ‘friendship.’

I Corinthians 15:33 says, “Do not be misled: Bad company corrupts good character.”

Our children are misled because they do not know how to discern if their friends are of good character. According to Matthew Poole, theologian, a friend is sincere and loves you at all times. It is during difficult times that a friend reveals him or herself as something more. It is during the difficult times that a false friend forsakes you. Therefore, if your children tell you they made a new friend, but that friend began talking to their other friends about your child, that person revealed they are a fake friend. But does your child know that person is not their friend? Generally not.

Freedictionary.com defines ‘friend’ as a person whom one knows, likes, and trusts. Of all the definitions I have read,  I believe this is the closest to the one God is conveying in the Bible. A friend is someone of good character. Someone you like, someone you can trust and someone who likes you for who you are.

“There are friends who pretend to be friends, but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother.” Proverbs 18:24

Cyberspace is not the only place our children learn to define friendship. They also learn the definition of the word ‘friend’ at school through the various relationships they have with other children, or by observing other children’s actions. I have found that these friendships are fluid. One minute a friend will be loyal, trustworthy, and honest and the next minute they are telling lies about their friend, tearing them down and turning people against them. One of the main reasons children are sent to the office is because a friend’ mistreated them. The first thing most crying, hurt, children reported to me was, “but I thought she/he was my friend.” The concept of what is a friend is difficult for young children, tweens and teens to understand.

The lesson for parents is to reinforce the scriptures that define the term friend. Ask your children when they speak about their friends, do your friends meet the scriptural definitions of friends and friendship? It is important that they can determine whether their friend is truly a friend.

A friend is always loyal. Proverbs 17:17</blockquot

Regarding Social Media, it is important to check and block sites where children and tweens have access. A ‘Social Media or Internet friend’ that you have not met and approved as a friend is not a site your children should be allowed to visit. Invisible friends can be dangerous and often predatory. There are two types of cyberbullying. One that cannot be linked through the direct relationship with the child and secondly, the cyberbullying that is initiated by another young person or group of people that know the child being bullied. Now, more so than ever before, our children must be grounded in the Word.

When our children begin to understand their relationship with our Lord, daily put on the Armor of God and practice the Fruit of the Spirit/the characteristics of Christ in their daily lives, they will become empowered and no longer be identified as weak prey to (online) cyberbullying. Further, they will be expressing themselves as God’s children and stand apart from the crowd.

As Christians, we have to take the following scriptures seriously.

The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. (John 10:10, NKJV)

According to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit who now works in the sons of disobedience (Ephesians 2:2, NKJV)

The thief is here to steal our children, kill our children, and destroy our children. He is devious and uses whatever tools our children are prone to engage in to accomplish his goals. While Ephesians 2:2 does not explicitly say that the power of the air is the Internet, Satan, the thief, certainly uses Social Media as an instrument of destruction when it comes to cyberbullying and online harassing.

Our children must be taught to be strong in the Lord. Teaching them how to use Bible principles when they are young empowers them to be strong Christian Warriors throughout their lives.

Helping Children Put On Their Armor Through Prayer

Putting on your children’s armor is a process.

When you begin the lesson, it will take time to thoroughly train your children in understanding how and what they are doing.

When my Granddaughter and I began praying the Whole Armor of God, I would repeat the prayer after me. I began teaching the prayer to my Granddaughter when she was five. She is turning nine and no longer needs my help.

I always asked her what I said, quizzing her to decide if she understood the power of the prayer over her life. I would explain that putting on the Armor is like getting dressed every morning. You put on one piece at a time.

Over time your children will grow in their understanding and the prayer may take 4-5 minutes unless the Holy Spirit inclines them, or you, to speak to what is occurring in their lives. Today my granddaughter leads the prayer. She explains what each piece of armor does and what she specifically wants to include in the prayer. For example, my granddaughter was being bullied at school by one of her classmates, so she included protecting her mind when praying about the Helmet and what it covers, she prayed – “I reject Janet’s mean words about me, they have no power over me.”

A recommendation, ask your children visualize putting on the armor as you pray out loud explaining how each part of the armor will protect them.

At the close of the day I always ask her how her day went and did the armor protect her today, she would tell me ‘yes’ or ‘no’ and if she visualized the part of her armor when the enemy came against her. If she did, she would tell me how it protected her and kept her at peace and, how she applied Jesus’ example in her actions. Often she will report whatever was causing her a problem stopped. We praise the Lord for the Armor.

Prayer

Today Lord, we are putting on the Whole Armor of God.

The Helmet of Salvation covers my head, my mind, and my eyes.
My helmet is my invisible sensor, and it keeps evil out of my mind. It helps me focus on the Lords will and not on sin. It helps me to ward off and reject harmful words and actions directed at me by others. It protects me from evil. It deflects hurtful things people say to me.

The Breastplate of Righteousness protects my heart.
Righteousness is the quiet voice of the Holy Spirit; it is a gift from God, I cannot earn it. Righteousness is much like a filter that strains out unGodly and reinforces our wish, to be honest, trustworthy, kind, good-hearted, loving, and joyful. (Fruit of the Spirit – Galatians 5:22-23).

The Belt of Truth holds us together.
It keeps all the armor in place, like a belt holding up pants, blouse tucked in, secure in Jesus and the Word of God. It keeps our heart and mind focused on Christ.

The Sandals of the Gospel of Peace covers my feet.
Everywhere I walk I walk in and bring peace. My sandals, shoes or sneakers keep me from hurting my feet. The gospel of peace is the Word of God that we share with others as we walk in His Word. Without the Gospel of Peace, I am barefoot and cannot walk without fear.

The Shield of Faith protects me from the darts of the enemy.
It helps me when I do not understand. My faith is the thing God gave me to protect me from the things I cannot see.

The Sword of the Spirit is the Word of God. It gives me boldness to reject and attack misinformation. I use it to defend myself from things I know and don’t know are wrong. The sword cuts through everything the enemy can send my way. The sword is the way, the truth, and the light.

Father, thank you for my armor. I go out today able to protect myself from evil, by acknowledging the power and strength you gave me though sacrificing your son, Jesus, to give me life.

I hope you found this short series about how to teach your children to cover themselves begins to visibly change their sense of who they are as Young Christian Warriors.

Next Post: Recipe for Success – Teaching Children How to Embody the Fruit of the Spirit