The Full Armor of God

Armor of God
Ready for Battle

Your life is good. Everything seems to be going your way. God is answering all your prayers: a good job, healthy family, lots of friends. Until….now you want to question everyone and everything including God for what’s happening in your life. After all, God promised to take care of all your needs (Philippians 4:19) and answer all your prayers (Matthew 7:7). Now all you can think of is “where is God” during your hour of need?

In times such as these, we need to continue to focus on I Timothy 1:7: “God has not given us the power of fear but of a sound mind…” Ephesians 6:12 says, “For our struggle is not against 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.” (NIV) It is at this time that we need to “ready ourselves for battle” against fear and self-doubt.

Ephesians 6:10-18 tells us to put on the full armor of God:

  • Belt of truth–buckled around your waist;
  • Breastplate of righteousness in place (protect the heart);
  • Sandals of peace–feet fitted with readiness;
  • Shield of Faith–extinguishes arrows of the evil one;
  • Helmet of Salvation–trust in Jesus’ death and resurrection; and
  • The Word of the Spirit–Word of God

THEN we must secure all of these with the Power of Prayer.

The enemy will use fear and self-doubt in trusting God’s Word when we are faced with unforeseen circumstances. We must BE ALERT and continue to trust in the Word of Truth and the leading of the Holy Spirit by putting on the full armor of God when we go into battle against the “powers of this dark world and spiritual forces of evil” which try to turn our eyes off Jesus and His love.

Trust your heart. Believe in the One who can comfort you, strengthen you, and guide you into all truth. Don’t believe in the lies and whispers. Put on the full armor of God and He will protect you from the enemy. God is the power we need to trust in and continue to believe in for everything that happens in our lives–both good and bad.

If you believe that Jesus died and rose again and that He is the source for you to rely on, then go to Him now and lay all your burdens at His feet. He will carry you just like the poem says in “Footprints in the Sand”.

May the Lord continue to help us as we ready ourselves for battle against the enemy today.

Blessings,

Yvonne

God’s Promises

God's promises
…every perfect gift is from above.

When I visit with my grandchildren throughout the week, invariably I hear the middle grandson saying “Nana, I pinky swear” after he asks for me to give him his last piggy back ride. We intertwine our small fingers and say “pinky swear” that this is the last piggy ride. Does this always work? Absolutely not–but it brings on the giggles–and then we talk about this gesture as a promise and what it means to promise another person something. Lesson learned perhaps for a brief moment but hopefully he will remember this as he gets older.

What is a promise? According to Merriam-Webster Dictionary, a promise is:

  • A statement telling someone that you will definitely do something or that something will definitely happen in the future;
  • An indication of future success or improvement (someone who shows promise);
  • Something will happen in the future.

We make promises to others throughout our lives whether it is to our children, spouses, teachers, bosses, and even to God. We agree to do “something for someone or that something will happen in the future” and give our word. When we make a promise, we need to also follow through on what we have promised. That, I believe, is the hardest part. Many of us have broken our promises to someone and in the end the broken promise has caused hurt feelings.

So what does God’s Word have to say about promises, and what does God’s promises mean for us?

Jeremiah 29:11: “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” (NIV) God promises to be with us now and in the future as we walk with Him.

Ephesians 3:14-16: “For this reason I kneel before the Father, from whom his whole family in heaven and on earth derives its name. I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being,,,,: *(NIV) God promises to strengthen us through the Holy Spirit in our lives.

Matthew 7:7: “Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you.” (NIV) God promises to answer our prayers if we ask, seek, and knock.

Psalm 91:2: “I will say of the Lord, “He is my refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust.” (NIV) God promises to protect us–He is our shield and our fortress.

Matthew 11:28: “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.” (NIV) God promises to give us rest from our weariness and our burdens.

Philippians 4:19: “And my God will meet all your needs according to His glorious riches in Christ Jesus.” (NIV) God promises to take care of all our needs.

The Word of God is filled with many promises which declare God’s love for us. Hebrews 13:8 says, “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.” (NIV) He promises to never change and to never withhold “that good and perfect gift from above.”

May the Lord help each of us to call upon and rely upon God’s promises as we continue to walk on our journey with Him.

Blessings,

Yvonne

2021 Book Review: “FOCUS”

"Focus" Book Review
“…..but be transformed by the renewing of your mind….” Romans 12:22

To say I have been blessed by reading Cleere Cherry Reaves’ book, “FOCUS”, would be an understatement. This 52-week devotional book, which specifically focuses on one-word weekly, has not only blessed my heart, but hopefully–I am a work in progress–it has changed and transformed my way of thinking about “words” used in the scriptures in a number of ways.

Each week the author would specify the word that you were to concentrate on for an entire seven days. At the beginning of each segment, she wrote a short introductory explanation of that word, along with scripture references for you to look up and focus on for that week.

After four weeks, she included thought-provoking questions to ask yourself about what insights you learned and could apply to your life when you focused on each of those four words.

Since each devotional is “not” dated, I decided to call this a “perpetual word devotional” which you could begin to re-read at the beginning of the new year. So beginning the first week in January 2022, I will begin “anew” to read about the words and scriptures to continue to transform my life in the knowledge of Jesus Christ.

Romans 12:2 says, “Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is–his good, pleasing, and perfect will.”

Allow one word a week to begin to transform your life forever. I know I have and will continue to find something that perhaps I missed the first time when I begin re-reading “FOCUS” once again in January, 2022.

May the Lord continue to transform our hearts and minds as we “focus” on His words and apply them to our everyday lives.

Blessings,

Yvonne

Advent 2021

Advent
Four weeks of lighting the Advent wreath candles

Yesterday during church service, we began the celebratory event of lighting the first Advent candle representing hope. Advent is celebrated during a four-week period leading up to December 25. Each Sunday a candle is lit and an Advent reading representing each week’s theme is read.

The First Sunday of Advent Reading is based on HOPE, with a scripture reading found in Isaiah 9:2: “The people walking in darkness have a seen a great light; on those living in the land of deep darkness a light has dawned.” Hope signifies a promise which God made to the people of Israel that a child would be born who would be called “Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.”

The Second Sunday of Advent Reading is based on PREPARATION, with a scripture reading found in Isaiah 40:3-5: “A voice of one calling ‘In the wilderness prepare the way for the Lord; make straight in the desert a highway for our God. Every valley shall be raised up, every mountain and hill made low; the rough ground shall become level, the rugged places a plain. And the glory of the Lord will be revealed, and all people will see it together. For the mouth of the Lord has spoken.” This time of preparation is a waiting time for the prophecy to be fulfilled.

The Third Sunday of Advent Reading is based on JOY, with a scripture reading found in Mathew 2:11: “When they saw the star, they were overjoyed. On coming to the house, they saw the child with his mother Mary, and they bowed down and worshiped him. Then they opened their treasures and presented him with gifts of frankincense and myrrh.” Joy signifies peace.

The Fourth Sunday of Advent Reading is based on LOVE, with a scripture reading found in John 3:16-19: “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because they have not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son. This is the verdict: Light has come into the world, but people loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil.” LOVE is represented by adoration for the one whom God sent to redeem the world.

The Fifth Sunday (or Christmas Eve service) of Advent Reading is John 1:14: “The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us.” The Word represents Jesus Christ who was God’s one and only Son–the Savior of the world.

The lighting of the candles each week, along with the significant readings and scriptures, allows Christians all around the world to “quiet their hearts during a very hectic holiday season and worship Jesus.” This is what the holiday season is about: Jesus is the reason for the season. May we impart this significant event on our children and their children as we worship our Lord and Savior together and meditate on the hope, preparation (faith), joy (peace), and love (adoration) during this blessed time.

May the Lord bless you and yours.

Blessings,

Yvonne

NOTE: For additional information on Advent, go to Crosswalk.com; and for additional Advent devotions, read the Advent devotional book, “Unwrapping the Names of Jesus” by Asheritah Ciuciu this Advent season.

Food For Thought

Food for thought–words of wisdom.

I don’t know about you, but I love to eat–especially the foods that don’t have as much nutrition but taste ever so good! We have often heard that “you are what you eat”–if we eat the right foods that our body needs, then we will feel healthy and strong. But if we eat the wrong foods, then we become unhealthy. But what about our thoughts? Do we fill our minds with thoughts that are encouraging and uplifting or do we fill our minds with thoughts that are defeating and uninspiring?

Recently, I came across a site that talks about “The Other Serenity Prayer”–cPTSD and Me–which I would like to share with all of you:

The Other Serenity Prayer

Please grant me the serenity to stop beating myself up for not doing things perfectly,

The courage to forgive myself because I always try my best,

And the wisdom to know that I am a good person with a kind heart.

So many times we think unpleasant thoughts that cause us to react in negative ways–someone says something that hurts our feelings, etc. Instead of reacting negatively, think positively. Don’t beat yourself up over it; we are only human–we make mistakes–and we are not perfect. Always forgive yourself when you have done your best and feed yourself positive thoughts. We need to be kind to ourselves so that we will be kind to others.

Another food for thought that I found was on “Truthseekers” and it says:

Judas Had

…the best pastor

…the best leader

…the best adviser

…the best counselor

YET he failed.

The problem is not the leadership or the church you go to. If your attitude or character doesn’t change or your heart doesn’t transform, you will always be the same. Apparently, even though Judas knew Jesus, he really didn’t know Him. His heart was not transformed “by the renewing of his mind” and getting to know Him in a real life-changing way. Judas needed to open his mind and heart to Jesus but he allowed sin to take over instead.

The next “food for thought” is taken from a site entitled “WOW I love Christian music.”

10 Ways To Love

  • Listen without interrupting (Proverbs 18)
  • Speak without accusing (James 1:19)
  • Give without sparing (Proverbs 21:26)
  • Pray without ceasing (Colossians 1:9)
  • Answer without arguing (Proverbs 17:1)
  • Share without pretending (Ephesians 4:15)
  • Enjoy without complaint (Philippians 2:14)
  • Trust without wavering (I Corinthians 13:7)
  • Forgive without punishing (Colossians 3:13)
  • Promise without forgetting (Proverbs 13:12)

How do we do this? Through prayer and seeking the change necessary. By asking God to help us be used as “an instrument of His peace.” Colossians 1:9 says we are to “pray without ceasing”–not only for ourselves but for others. God can change our attitudes and hearts by trusting in His Word and believing that “all things work together for our good.”

We praise the One who is our Good Shepherd, helper, and friend who is loving and compassionate and gives us the desires of our hearts when we follow Him and listen to and follow His commands.

May the Lord bless you and help all of us to continue to read His Word–our guide, our strength, comfort, and shield–as we follow Him daily.

Blessings,

Yvonne