Be Wonder Woman

No, I’m not talking about the woman most Christian ladies are thinking of. The Proverbs 31 woman (though that’s not a bad idea ;)). But before we talk about Wonder Woman…Happy Thanksgiving, y’all! Whether you’re surrounded by family and friends or alone–God always deserves our thanks. My daughter will home for a long weekend and that makes me happy. So I won’t be doing a Forward Friday post, however, yesterday we went to see Justice League. Yeah, Superman’s lip was weird thanks to a little CGI removing a mustache he couldn’t shave b/c he has a contract with Paramount for Mission Impossible. Yeah, there might have been some editing issues (I didn’t really notice them but I did read about them).

What stood out to me, with no spoilers here, is Wonder Woman. Once again. I loved her movie. But in the beginning of Justice League, of course she is saving people. Seriously, that’s not spoiler alert. It’s what they do!

The bad guy is firing bullets, about to take down a whole row of hostages and she sprints through, with her forearm cuffs (what are those called?) and she bats away each and every bullet. It’s all slow-mo and fun.

The bad guy runs out of bullets and asks, “Who are you?”

And she says, “I’m a believer.”

It struck me so hard, I teared up.

Because isn’t that what believers should be doing? Quenching all the fiery darts of the enemy. 

“Be prepared. You’re up against far more than you can handle on your own. Take all the help you can get, every weapon God has issued, so that when it’s all over but the shouting you’ll still be on your feet. Truth, righteousness, peace, faith, and salvation are more than words. Learn how to apply them. You’ll need them throughout your life. God’s Word is an indispensable weapon. In the same way, prayer is essential in this ongoing warfare. Pray hard and long. Pray for your brothers and sisters. Keep your eyes open. Keep each other’s spirits up so that no one falls behind or drops out.” Ephesians 6:16-18 MSG

Those forearms thingys she wears are like shields (she also carries a shield). She used them expertly, knocking away every bullet (fiery dart). She stunned the enemy.

Who are you?

A believer.

Not only do we use our shield of faith for ourselves, but she was protecting others! As a believer, we should be too. Through intercession. “Pray hard and long. Pray for your brothers and sisters.” 

Some people say the outfit makes Wonder Woman who she is. I partly agree. Our outfit makes us too. We wear the armor of God. She wears a crown (again we have crown awaiting us). We wear the helmet of salvation. She has a lasso that makes people tell the truth. We wear the belt of truth. She has a shield. We have a shield of faith. She wears shoes that get her to places to bring peace. We also wear shoes of the gospel of peace.  We too wear a breastplate– of righteousness. And like Diana, we have a sword that is mighty in battle. The sword of the Spirit–the Word of God.

We fight with it all. We intercede for those who may be weary, unsaved, broken, afraid, unsure, fill in the blank. And when the enemy has exhausted all his bullets, we stand firm in our faith.

Who are you?

I am a believer.

That’s a Wonder Woman.


“And that about wraps it up. God is strong, and he wants you strong. So take everything the Master has set out for you, well-made weapons of the best materials. And put them to use so you will be able to stand up to everything the Devil throws your way. This is no afternoon athletic contest that we’ll walk away from and forget about in a couple of hours. This is for keeps, a life-or-death fight to the finish against the Devil and all his angels.” Ephesians 6:10-12 MSG

Have you seen Wonder Woman or Justice League yet? Do you ever consider yourself to be Wonder Woman?


No Sleep for the Saints

Photo Credit: graur razvan ionut 

It makes me sad to say I finished Donna Pyles’ Your Strong Suit Bible study this past week. It was truly a wonderful study. If you haven’t done it, I encourage you to!
“Stand therefore, having girded your waist with truth, having put on the breastplate of righteousness, and having shod your feet with the preparation of the gospel of peace; above all, taking the shield of faith with which you will be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked one. And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God; praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, being watchful to this end with all perseverance and supplication for all the saints— ” Ephesians 6:14-18
We’re down to the last part of the passage.
When I think about “praying always…being watchful…with all perseverance and supplication…” I think about a man who spent the night in a beautiful garden with his Master.
Exhaustion from traveling, rising early, going to bed late, fishing, not to mention emotional exhaustion pulled at his eyelids, his limbs. I bet he couldn’t even think straight, yet his Master begged him to stay awake.
Something was about to happen, about to change the world in a epic way and the turmoil raging inside the Master was overwhelming. He needed this man, not as a student but as His friend. He needed Peter.
“My soul is exceedingly sorrowful, even to death. Stay here and watch with Me.”  Matthew 26:38
I think Peter tried. He’d finished telling Jesus earlier that he’d go to the grave for Him, surely staying awake would be easier.
But he couldn’t.
What was going to happen in several hours overwhelmed Peter’s Master.
“He went a little farther and fell on His face, and prayed, saying, “O My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from Me; nevertheless, not as I will, but as You will.” Matthew 26:39
Photo Credit: Danilo Rizzuti /

When He raised up, He found them–His friends–asleep for the second time. “What! Could you not watch with Me one hour? Watch and pray, lest you enter into temptation. The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.” Matthew 26: 40 (emphasis, mine)

Peter didn’t understand. What temptation? An hour? An hour seemed like days this late. And he fell asleep again.
Jesus asked His Father to take the cup that was about to be poured on Him away, but then He asked for the Father’s will to be done. Again, He came back. Yet, He said nothing. In that moment what do you think Jesus thought? After going back to pray, He awoke them a third time.
The hour had come.
We know after that, Jesus was arrested. Peter denied Christ as many times as he had fallen asleep. Three. I wonder, had he stayed awake, watched, and prayed what would have happened.
Peter swore he’d die with Christ. His spirit was willing. But he failed to gear up through prayer, and his flesh was weak.
We scoff at Peter, shake our heads and think, “How could he spend three years with Jesus and leave Him at the worst hour of His life?”
But I’ve known Jesus more than three years, and I’ve turned my back on Him as well. I can relate to Peter.
When you feel tired, lazy, indifferent that’s when you’re at your most vulnerable. When you don’t pray,  you open wide the door to attacks.
Pray in the Spirit. Let the Spirit who lives inside you, guide and direct your prayers. Let Him take over dreams that hold glory for yourself and shape them into dreams that glorify the One Who prayed alone in the garden, to gear up for becoming your sin, and mine. The One Who stayed awake. Not only in the garden, but on the cross. When He refused the gall. When He chose to feel the pain, the sin–to keep a clear mind.
I need to work on staying awake.
 How about you? 
photo credit: bela_kiefer /

This is Holy Week. A time to remember what our Savior did for us. To remember how beautiful the Passion was–is. Still, Jesus intercedes for us. He knows the mind of the Spirit (His spirit) that lives within us and prays God’s will for our lives. Just like He did for Peter. He has confidence in us. Shocking isn’t it? 

 “And the Lord said,“Simon, Simon! Indeed, Satan has asked for you, that he may sift you as wheat.  But I have prayed for you, that your faith should not fail; and when you have returned to Me, strengthen your brethren.” Luke: 22:30-32

Just like He had confidence in Peter, knowing the mistakes he would make before returning. That’s a God I wan to worship. That’s a God that inspires and motivates me to pray.
So what about you? Could you stand to stay awake more? Ever found when you didn’t pray over something the outcome was a failure?

**What’s the Point of Passover? I talk about it, HERE

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Take a Stab but Wear a Helmet

The world did what it thought was right in its own eyes. Brothers fought brothers, innocent lives were slaughtered and given to demons. Orphans’ bellies swelled with hunger, but blind eyes were turned. Widows starved in their homes while young women took men who did not belong to them to their bed.
Greed, lust, hunger for power dripped like honey from the lips of men. Lies and deceit fueled the people. Dead men living in desolate places, groping as if they had no eyes to see light–only walking in darkness.
Those who attempted to depart from the great evil became prey.
Truth failed.
Justice and righteousness disappeared like vapor.
No one to help the people, to intercede for them. And it displeased the Lord. Jealousy for His beloved moved Him to action.
He would bring salvation by His own arm.
His put on righteousness as a breastplate, and a helmet of salvation on His head; He put on the garments of vengeance for clothing, and was clad with zeal as a cloak.
Bringing fury to His enemies. To redeem. To send the enemy to flight when he comes in like a flood.
To make a covenant. (prophesy from Isaiah 59)
He came and was rejected by His own people, who mocked His helmet of salvation by crowning Him with thorns, ignoring His cloak of vengeance that He wanted to use to avenge them and covering him with cloak of purple to demean Him. They stripped His torso naked; they did not care He came in righteousness.
Yet compassion and joy pressed Him on and He allowed them to take His life. When His blood and water flowed, they were freed. All were freed.
Truth would not fail again. Law was banished.
Under a new covenant. In blood. At a cross.
It’s no secret that when Paul watched the soldiers guarding him, he remembered the prophecy in Isaiah. He would know the scriptures well. He may have sat against the cold, dirty walls of the prison and studied those men as the Spirit of God showed Him a picture to use in teaching us. Today.
Put on the whole armor of God. Except there is no cloak in the armor of God. Because vengeance belongs to the Lord.
“And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the spirit…” Ephesians 6:17
He wore them first. He’s giving them to us. A gift to help us. The world hasn’t changed. It’s still a place where man does right in his own eyes, where greed and lust propel men to do evil.
But we are not under the law. We have the Spirit of God in us to guide us. We have nothing to fear. And the enemy knows this. He’s still coughing up dust from having his face shoved in the ground when Jesus won the battle.
The mind is an amazing creation. What it can do is a miracle. That’s why it’s so important to guard it. The enemy loves to mess with it. One stray thought can become a fixation, messing with our emotions–our innermost parts.
Thoughts become actions.
That’s why Paul says whatever is just, pure, lovely, of good report, anything praiseworthy or of virtue–think on these things. Philippians 4:6-8
Paul not only tells us to take the helmet of salvation, a free gift giving you liberty, but to also take the sword of the spirit.
The Bible–the Word.  When the enemy comes in like a flood (from the prophecy in Isaiah) the Spirit of God sets Him to flight (raises a standard–that’s what the word standard means). Resist the devil and he will flee.
When he says, “You’re alone.” The sword slashes at the enemy with “My God never forsakes me, lo He is with me until the ends of the earth.” Matthew 28:20
“You’re weak.” Raise the sword and cut his throat. “His grace is sufficient for me.” 2 Corinthians 12:9
“Your dreams are ridiculous. Unattainable.” Cut his tongue out with, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” Philippians 4:13
When the enemy tempted Jesus in the desert for 40 days, Jesus fought with the Word. With the sword.
I have a hard time with numbers. Phone numbers, SS#, dates. It’s ridiculous and as I was trying to memorize scripture, I became frustrated because I couldn’t remember the references.
I sat outside on my patio morning in tears and said something like, “How can I fight when I can’t even learn!” I will never forget what happened next.
The wind picked up, the leaves rustled and the Lord said to me (not audible but they might as well have been), “When I fought, I never once used a reference. I said, ‘It is written…’ You know the words.”
My heart sped up, my eyes swam with tears as Jesus unlocked my fears and doubt and encouraged me.
This wasn’t license not to work hard and learn the references. We should and I have. We may need to give them to another person at some point.
Sometimes, I forget, but I know when the enemy attacks my mind, the Spirit brings the Word to my mind. God says….
You see, I scared him. I was learning how to fight. Memorizing scripture and meditating on it. Letting it become real in my life, not just rehearsed words to a play.
The only way to stop me was to make me believe if I didn’t know the numbers/references, it wasn’t valid. A forfeit in the fight.
Protect the mind. We’re saved–by grace. Under the blood. The past is drenched in it. Our future swims in it. We have the promise of forever with the Lover of our soul.
Pick up the sword and use it. Remember to practice with it. Take it out daily and use it. Get the feel of it in your hands. Improve your craft of wielding it. When war comes, you want to know how to use your only weapon. It’s the only thing that will wound the enemy. Everything else is for protecting you.
The sword puts the enemy to flight.
How are you at memorizing scripture? Do you work on learning new passages daily or could you stand to take out the sword and practice with it?
Practice makes progress!
I’m over at LivingBy Grace today, on facebook! Come by and share with over 200 women your favorite scripture! 

Raising Faith

“In all circumstances take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming darts of the evil one.” Ephesians 6:16 ESV
I’m nearing the end of Donna Pyle’s Your Strong Suit Bible study. I’ve moved slowly, as I’ve pinged off her notes, scriptures and quotes.
We’re talking strength on Wednesdays. So far, in the armor of God series, we’ve learned about truth, righteousness, and peace.
Today is all about an item that doesn’t clothe us, but surrounds us. An item we have to pick up and carry with us into battle.
The shield of faith. 
“Faith makes us sure of what we hope for and gives us proof of what we cannot see. It was their faith that made our ancestors pleasing to God.
Because of our faith, we know that the world was made at God’s command. We also know that what can be seen was made out of what cannot be seen.” Hebrews 11:1-3 CEV
“For we walk by faith, not by sight.” 2 Corinthians 5:7
“But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.” Hebrews 11:6 
It’s hard to believe in something you can’t see. Promises that have been spoken to the heart, but can’t be tangibly touched…yet.
But when you experience Jesus…a taste even, a thousand eyes aren’t necessary to believe He is real. That is His power is mighty, His love overwhelming.
That’s why the shield of faith is so important to carry. To remember to take up.
The enemy lurks, waiting for our arms to get tired or for us to forget all together to raise the shield. A single arrow, tipped in fire can burn away at our faith, our trust in God and His goodness, His mercy, compassion.
Shields used by Roman soldiers, as Donna Pyle teaches, “were about four feet tall and approximately two feet wide…door-sized…”
The outside of the shields were covered in leather and then soaked in water. The point? To quench fiery darts.
We need to take up our shields, and daily soak them in the water of the Word.
“So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.” Romans 10:17
The fight is daily. The enemy does not tire. He’s prepared, in position, and ready to pounce.
But we get tired don’t we?
When God nudged me to write and began giving me promises, at first I believed! It was exciting as I wrote one story after another. Thirteen full manuscripts of hope.
And as time wore on, I questioned God’s promises. I couldn’t see anything happening.
“This is your dream, not God’s dream for you. You know there’s a difference. You’re not a bad writer, but you’re not good enough. You’re a nobody, you know that, right? You will fail. And you’ll be a laughing-stock. Your church won’t back you. They don’t care what you’re doing.”
Those are just a few of the burning arrows the enemy directed towards my innermost parts.
During those times, God used His Word to confirm and encourage, helping me raise my shield of faith to fight off and extinguish the fiery darts of doubt and fear…the bright burning darts full of fiery lies.
But I had to soak the shield. I had to prepare for the attacks.  I had to do my part.
It was in the long periods of waiting that God used the same words He’d spoken to Abram (Abraham) to remind me no matter what happens in this temporary world. No matter what my eyes could see. This was true:
“Do not be afraid, Abram. I am your shield, your exceedingly great reward.” Genesis 15:1
Raising faith is raising up Jesus Christ to the enemy. Who can be against us, when Jesus is for us. When He covers us as a shield and deflects the darts.
“But the Lord is faithful, who will establish you and guard you from the evil one.” 2 Thessalonians 3:3
The Great I AM says, “Don’t lie to her.” And he covers us with His might. A shield of glory and beauty.
“If you want her, you’re going to have to go through Me to get her. And you and I both know how that turned out last time.”
It ended with Jesus publicly humiliating the enemy as He drug him around the streets in the dirt and ended with a Holy boot to his sick, sad, little neck.
For you. For me.
 “…looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.” Hebrews 12:1-2
We were the joy. We are the joy.
Sometimes the weariness of walking out this thing called faith can be overwhelming. The enemy even uses that to hurt us. “No faith? Tired? You don’t really believe. What a disappointment you are to God. All He’s done for you and you can’t even stand. Pathetic.”
I remember a man who said to Jesus, “I believe! Help my unbelief.” (Mark 9:24)Did Jesus turn, disgusted? If I remember right, Jesus healed that man’s child. He’s compassionate. He understands we’re but flesh. We get tired. That’s why  He insists we love those in His church. He begs unity.
“Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all, especially to those who are of the household of faith.” Galatians 6:10
In the movie, Troy, a fight scene took place on the beach. Achilles’ army came together and locked their shields creating a huge force field protecting the soldiers.
The shields were designed that way. Together, their shields could prevent injury more than one soldier and one shield.
When our brothers and sisters in Christ feel shaky in their faith, that’s not the time for us to abandon them or judge them, using scripture to condemn rather to uplift.
It’s time to lock our shield of faith into theirs and stand beside them. In unity. To help them fight. To believe with them and for them. 
 “…that you stand fast in one spirit, with one mind striving together for the faith of the gospel…” Philippians 1:27
Even Moses needed strength in battle, and his friends held his arms high.
And they won.
So will we.
Have you ever had a friend help you in your faith battle? Ever helped out a friend?
I’m hosting at Living By Grace today, over at Facebook! Come by and join in the discussion on faith.

The Devil Wears Prada; We Wear Peace


These Prada shoes cost $790.00 I know because I own them. Sort of. Okay, one of my characters in a novel does, but that’s kind of the same thing, right?

I’m going to admit something. These shoes look so much prettier on than a  pair of Roman Soldier cleat-like shoes. At first glance, and probably tenth, I’d choose these suede, sling-backs.  

There’s a phrase that shoes make the man. I believe this to be true.
Shoes for day. Shoes for night.
Special shoes for runners, baseball players, soccer players, going to the beach, scuba diving, etc…
And shoes for Christians
A couple years ago, I was walking “Jane” out to her car after a day of hanging out. I was barefoot. I’m not a barefoot kind of girl. Never have been. My sister could run on gravel, but I barely grazed a pebble and thought I might die.
I stepped off the concrete and the Lord spoke as clearly as He could without being audible. “You’re about to step on a bee.”
I should have stepped back. Instead, I took one more step and the pain that entered my foot and shot up my leg was insane. I hollered out and “Jane” helped me back inside. I made a baking soda paste like I remembered my mom had done when I was a kid and attempted to play in the sprinkler.
The lesson I learned then was listen and obey when God spoke. I’d been going through a “Hear My Voice clearly” time in my life. Second stage: Obey. I’d failed and got stung. Lesson learned.
But I remembered that incident while studying Donna Pyle’s Your Strong Suit Bible study. (click the red link to purchase!) She says, “In our spiritual battles, stability and balance prove essential in remaining upright….Wearing these shoes endues us with God’s strength.”
She’s referring to the way Roman soldiers’ shoes were made. With spikes along the bottom, similar to a cleat. To dig into the ground, to balance.
Special shoes even for war.  Combat boots.
Now, I’ll admit, the Prada shoes look prettier. I’m a fan of pink. But they wouldn’t hold up in war. In fact, most things the enemy entices us with are beautiful but in the end leave blisters on our flesh and aches and pains and cost more than we can afford.
Ephesians 6:14 says to “shod your feet with the preparation of the gospel of peace.” Shod in the Greek is “hypodeo” and it means “to bind under one’s self.”
The gospel of peace goes under our feet. It’s our foundation.
What is the gospel of peace? It’s the glad tidings of the salvation through Christ. It is good news!
Preparation in the Greek is “hetoimasia” and it means: “the act of preparing; the condition of a person or thing so far forth as prepared, preparedness, readiness” When we’re about to head out, the last thing we do is put on our shoes. It signifies readiness. It shows we’re about to leave.
I’ve said it a million times, “You have your shoes on? I’m ready to go.” It’s how I know if my kids are ready to walk out the door or are still lollygagging.
We have to be ready with our spiritual shoes. The gospel of peace. Wherever we go, we’re walking on the foundation of Jesus Christ–His death, resurrection and the hope and peace of eternal life, that we can never be separated from His love, He never leaves or forsakes us. Peace that passes all understanding.
It’s what defines us from everyone else who’s walking around barefoot.
The world is a dangerous place. We have no choice but to walk it’s evil streets. But if we’re prepared and ready. If we’re wearing the right shoewear, we can walk with ease.
It reminds me of the movie Die Hard. Bruce Willis is cleaning up in his wife’s office–wife-beater tank, a pair of pants and that’s it. At that moment, hell breaks loose in the business tower and he has to move quickly. Unprepared.
The enemy looks down at the floor in one point. A shooting match had just taken place, and he notices blood on the floor. He realizes, Bruce is barefoot. He grins and shoots out the glass windows leaving Bruce no choice but to walk on broken glass.
Bruce makes it to a bathroom where he picks shards out of his feet, the pain excruciating. He binds them with cloth, but that’s not enough.
He wasn’t ready for the havoc that had been unleashed. But to survive, he had to fight unprepared. It came at a cost. It came with insurmountable pain. It came without sureness and peace.
A scene or two later, he takes a pair of shoes from a dead guy and gets his hero on. Taking out the bad guys and winning.
The point?
“Preach the word! Be ready in season and out of season. Convince, rebuke, exhort, with all longsuffering and teaching.” 1 Timothy 4:2
This doesn’t mean hand out tracts to homeless people, but let their stomachs continue to be empty. Nor does it mean stand on a corner and wave your Bible at prostitutes and remind them they’re going to hell. They’re already living in hell. In their minds, it can’t get much worse. It doesn’t mean shout at the drug-addicted that God can set them free, then shake the dust from your feet when they aren’t instantly delivered.
Patience with people.
In love.
When their lives are turned upside down, when your life is upside down– the shoes you wear convince them something about you is different.
That can’t be explained.
Yet…it can.
The Gospel of Peace.
Jesus Christ.
Your foundation.
Bound to the soles of your feet.
You walk down littered streets, scorching beaches, bee-infested grass, boiling pavements, glassy alleyways, gravely roads…
 with ease.
Light in your eyes.
Rain or shine. Snow and sleet.  Tornadoes and hurricanes raging. War and threats of war. In deceiving times. Through the wild jungles where the lion hunts his prey.
You walk.
How beautiful upon the mountains Are the feet of him who brings good news, Who proclaims peace, Who brings glad tidings of good things, Who proclaims salvation, Who says to Zion, “Your God reigns!” 
Isaiah 52:7
Tell me, ladies, are you more of a pretty shoe or all about comfort? Guys, do you even care about what you put on your feet?

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Why You Shouldn’t Listen to Your Heart

“He has said in his heart, “I shall not be moved; I shall never be in adversity.”  Psalm 10:6
“But I have trusted in Your mercy; My heart shall rejoice in Your salvation.” Psalm 13:5
“The troubles of my heart have enlarged; Bring me out of my distresses!” Psalm 25:17
“The LORD is near to those who have a broken heart…”Psalm 34:18
“When my heart is overwhelmed; Lead me to the rock that is higher than I.” Psalm 61:2
“So I gave them over to their own stubborn heart, To walk in their own counsels.” Psalm 81:12
“For I am poor and needy, And my heart is wounded within me.” Psalm 109:22
 “Perversity is in his heart, He devises evil continually, He sows discord.” Proverbs 6:14
“Anxiety in the heart of man causes depression, But a good word makes it glad. ” Proverbs 12:25
“Say to those who are fearful-hearted, “Be strong, do not fear!” Isaiah 35:4
Last week, I said we were going to pick apart the innermost parts to help us prepare for attacks from the enemy. You can read about it HERE.
Notice how many emotions come from our heart? These are just a few. Now, technically, in ancient times, people believed the seat of emotions were…wait for it…the kidneys. I have another lesson about that for another time.
But in today’s world, the seat of emotions lie deep within our hearts. Look at how much we feel within our hearts? Ever heard any of these lines?
“Follow your heart.” “Wear your heart on your sleeve.” “Trust your heart.”
Truth is, we can’t afford to do any of these. Not without the Breastplate of Righteousness to protect our hearts. Without it, we’re at risk. Roxette got it wrong with Listen to Your Heart. (I do like that song, though.)
 Our hearts take us places we don’t belong. Our hearts are shaky. And wearing our emotions for everyone to see is ridiculous and a fast way to become like lepers. (There’s a difference between wearing your heart on your sleeve and being transparent. Yes, yes there is.)
What we feel is fickle. And the enemy knows it. That’s why he consistently attacks our emotions. He’s got it down to an art.
God made us to feel…to feel deeply, passionately, tenderly, generously. He made us sensitive. To Him. To His glory.
The enemy twists the emotions of the heart to veer us away from God and His will. Some of the above scriptures are ways he messes with our hearts. For today, I’m picking the top 2 ways he strikes our hearts. In my opinion, of course.
Fear keeps us from moving forward. Paralyzes us into the mundane. Or even worse–into doing nothing. Jeremiah didn’t want to prophesy because he was afraid he was too young. Moses was afraid to speak. God’s people were afraid to cross into a glorious promise. Peter was afraid to stand up for Jesus at a crucial time.
And God told each one of them, I AM with you. That’s enough. You can’t. I can. God is always moving us forward. He has an agenda and it includes me. It includes you.
What do you fear? Failure? Success? Uncertainty? The unknown? A person, place, thing…a circumstance that could occur? Maybe it will. But, maybe it won’t. Here’s one: God? Growing closer to Him? Ever taken strides toward Him and everything seems to go to pot.
Do you fear the enemy more than you trust God?
“For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.” 2 Timothy 1:7
“And those who know Your name will put their trust in You; For You, LORD, have not forsaken those who seek You.” Psalm 9:10
I did a series on Doubt using an acrostic. If you’re plagued with it, you can read Part 1, HERE and Part 2 HERE.
Doubt is really a lack of trust in God. I think everything that keeps us from moving forward can be peeled back layer by layer to one thing. Lack of trust. Don’t believe me? What are you doubting, what are you afraid of? Peel it back asking why. Too afraid? Don’t believe it? Our hearts can deceive us. That’s why God tests them. Not for His sake. For ours.
The enemy throws fiery darts of doubt straight to our hearts. He wants us to doubt our identity in Christ, His love for us, doubt what God is asking us to do. He likes to use a double-headed arrow with this one: Fear/doubt.
Nothing puts you into cardiac arrest like an injection of fear or doubt.
If he can get us to doubt, he can put us at a standstill. Drop us like a fly. And chuckle while he does it. It’s not even his most fiery dart. It doesn’t take but a spark.
“And He (Jesus) said to them, “Why are you troubled? And why do doubts arise in your hearts?” Luke 24:38 Parentheses mine.
“Jesus said to him, “If you can believe, all things are possible to him who believes.”” Mark 9:23
“God means what he says. What he says goes. His powerful Word is sharp as a surgeon’s scalpel, cutting through everything, whether doubt or defense, laying us open to listen and obey.” Hebrews 4:12-13 MSG 
When you can’t trust your emotions (heart) and your faith is shaky at best, you have to go with the facts. You can’t argue with truth. And you can’t afford to go a day without the Breastplate of Righteousness to protect your heart. 
God is God alone and there is no one besides Him. Psalm 86:10 Isaiah 45:5
He cares for you. 1 Peter 5:7
He has great plans for you. Jeremiah 29:11
You have nothing to fear. Nothing to doubt. Luke 24:38
He is doubtless about His ability. Isaiah 50:2
What are other ways the enemy attacks the heart? 

I’m hosting at Living By Grace, an online devotional community for women. Come by and chat or encourage someone who needs it! 

**Next Wednesday, we’ll talk about the lungs: the seat of praise

Protect Yourself

DH playing in the sand
with DD 10 years ago
…notice how she copies
his stance and moves?

“Therefore be imitators of God as dear children…” Ephesians 5:1

If you have children, you’ve noticed them imitating you. This is where half of you smile and half of you groan. Jaws is one of my favorite movies. I love the scene where the little boy copies Brody (his father and really…do I need these () because everyone should know who Brody is b/c surely everyone has seen Jaws. Tell me you have. Please. For the love!) It’s a precious scene. Child mimicking father.
So what does this have to do with the Breastplate of Righteousness? I’m glad you asked.
“God looked and saw evil looming on the horizon—so much evil and no sign of Justice.
He couldn’t believe what he saw: not a soul around to correct this awful situation.
So he did it himself, took on the work of Salvation, fueled by his own Righteousness.
He dressed in Righteousness, put it on like a suit of armor…” Isaiah 59:15-19 MSG 
If God Himself dressed in righteousness, like armor, and then in Ephesians 6:14, tells us through Paul, to put on the Breastplate of Righteousness, and we know from Ephesians 5:1 to imitate…then I think it would be wise to figure out what it means and do it. It’s part of our Strong Suit.
I’m still working through Donna Pyle’s, Your Strong Suit, Bible study. This past week she talked about the Breastplate of Righteousness. She says, “Righteousness (Greek, dikaiosune) refers to the character or quality of being right or just..with Christ giving us His righteousness, our actions (as seen through our values of integrity, virtue, and uprightness) reflect God’s righteousness dwelling in us.”
“not a soul around to correct this awful situation.” “So He did it Himself.” 
The breastplate is a piece of armor that, as Donna says, “protects neck to navel”.
I read about several different kinds of Roman armor, all of which could have been worn during the time Paul was in prison–when he wrote to the Ephesians, using the armor of a Roman soldier as an example. I sure love analogies!
Listen to this:
The Lorica Squamata, which translates into “scale armor” was worn early on by important Roman soldiers. It was worn with a belt to help take off the heaviness of the metal breastplate.
Isn’t that what the belt of truth does for us? When we feel we have to be righteous on our own. Can we do enough good things? Act right all the time to earn God’s graces…the belt of truth takes that heaviness from our shoulders, revealing it is Christ in us that makes us righteous. There is nothing we can do on our own. That’s why the belt and the breastplate go hand in hand.
The belt of truth lifts the heaviness of self-righteousness. We wear Christ’s righteousness to protect our innermost parts.  So what are those innermost parts that need protecting from the fiery darts of the enemy?
The Heart
The Lungs
The Stomach
What do they represent spiritually?
The Seat of emotions
The Seat of praise
The seat of appetites
Next Wednesday we’ll begin picking apart each innermost part and talking about ways the unseen enemy tries to take us out by destroying them. If we are aware of his tactics, we can see him coming. We can plan for attacks. We can defend ourselves. With the Breastplate of Righteousness. Join me next week when we talk about the Heart–the seat of emotions.
Today I’m hosting at Living By Grace and I’d love for you to stop by and “like” the page and share some encouragement or join in the discussion with a community of believers who have the same goal as you do. To live a life pleasing to  God. 

Name one person in the Bible you would like to do an in-depth study on. If you use Jesus/God, be specific. Jesus and His compassion, as Teacher…God as the Father/Healer/Judge…etc.