Putting On My Armor

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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. – Ephesians 6:13 (NIV)

Have you ever felt beaten up?

I sure have. It’s been a pretty rough year, with challenge after challenge slipping in, slamming us, shaking our lives and spirits.

Lately I’ve found myself sitting on the side of the bed in the morning when I awake, putting on my armor. Using my arms, I visualize myself donning each piece of the armor of God.

First I slip on my helmet. I need this to guard my mind because my thoughts can create either havoc or harmony. It’s my choice. So I choose to chase away the bad thoughts and focus on whatever is true, noble, right, pure, lovely, admirable, excellent, and praiseworthy (Philippians 4:8). I want to be transformed by the renewing of my mind (Romans 12:2).

Next I put in place my breastplate of righteousness. I need this to protect my heart – the home of my emotions – against the feelings that can cause damage to my spirit, to my relationships, to others, especially to those I love. I can’t let anger or envy sneak in, or self-pity or hate. These emotions only destroy. Instead I choose love and joy.

The belt of truth is next. I pray the words of the psalmist: “Set a guard over my mouth, O LORD; keep watch over the door of my lips (Psalm 141:3). Keep my tongue from evil and my lips from speaking lies (Psalm 34:13).” I pray that I will always speak the truth in love. And, since I tend to be gullible, I also pray for wisdom to discern truth from falsehood.

Next I slip on the shoes “of the gospel of peace.” I pray that I’ll always be ready to explain to another the hope I have in Christ (1 Peter 3:15). I pray that my eyes will be open to the opportunities I have each day to share God’s love with another.

Next is the shield of faith. Now, for some reason, I imagine my shield as heavy, hard to lift, dented, and very used. It has extinguished many flaming arrows shot directly at me by the enemy of my soul. But I must remember to use the shield. It’s really not as heavy as I imagine it. But it sure is beat up.

And finally, I take up the sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God. I must read, meditate on, and memorize Scripture daily, because it sends the enemy fleeing. I do admit, though, that I need to spend more time in the Word. All good soldiers should fortify their defense and strengthen their offense.

What about you – have you donned your armor today?

Dear God, remind me that even though the battle is fierce, victory is already mine, for greater is He who is in me than he who is in the world. (1 John 4:4). Amen.

Extra tea: Read and meditate on Ephesians 6:10–17

I love the way The Message phrases Ephesians 6:10-17

A Fight to the Finish

10-12 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.

13-18 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.

Christmas Joy

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Dear Lord, I’m feeling down today – the bills are stacked up high.

With Christmas just two weeks away, our bank account’s run dry.

The kids have all presented lists of things they want to see;

I hope and pray there’s nothing missed beneath our Christmas tree.

But I don’t have the money for expensive clothes and toys;

Our credit card can’t take much more – Lord, where’s my Christmas joy?

Perhaps it’s wrapped up in that hug my daughter gave this morn;

Or stacked with wood my son did lug to keep us nice and warm.

Perhaps it’s in my oldest’s eyes when he comes home on break

And sees I’ve baked those pumpkin pies he wanted me to make.

Perhaps it’s in the tired lines around my husband’s eyes;

Perhaps in love that’s grown with time I’ve found the greater prize.

A friend who gives a hearty smile and cupboards that aren’t bare;

And, even if they aren’t in style, I’ve got some clothes to wear;

A family who believes in me in all things great and small –

Dear God, I think I finally see – I am not poor at all!

For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also. – Matthew 6:21

I write this poem in the mid 1990s, when my kids were all still at home. I still need to remind myself to open my eyes to the treasures that surround me every day. May Christmas joy fill your heart, mind, spirit, and home.

Michele