The Sword of the Spirit: The Word of God

In this blog post, I have very little to say with my own words. I want to let the Word of God speak to you instead. In Ephesians, Paul exhorts Christians to take up the full armor of God. In Paul’s description of our armor, only one of the pieces of armor is a weapon; Paul says to take up the “sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.” The word of God is alive and powerful (Hebrews 4:12), and it is the most potent weapon you have against an enemy who seeks to steal kill and destroy (John 10:10).

About a month ago, I searched the Bible and asked friends to share their favorite warfare verses, and I have compiled a list of helpful and powerful scriptures below. Print out these verses. Keep them with you: at your desk, in your car, in your purse, in your prayer room. Declare the promises of God over your situation and to your enemy, who is under your feet (Romans 16:20). Also, please leave a comment with your favorite spiritual warfare scripture! I would love to add them to my battle list.

In Christ,

Lacey

 

Submit yourselves to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. (James 4:7)

You are from God, little children, and have overcome them; because greater is He who is in you than he who is in the world. (1 John 4:4)

No weapon that is formed against you will prosper; and every tongue that accuses you in judgment you will condemn. This is the heritage of the servants of the Lord, and their vindication is from Me declares the Lord.” (Isaiah 54:17)

For though we walk in the flesh, we are not waging war according to the flesh. For the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh but have divine power to destroy strongholds. We destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ (2 Corinthians 10:3-5)

Behold, I have given you authority to tread on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy, and nothing shall hurt you. (Luke 10:19)

The God of peace will soon crush Satan under your feet (Romans 16:20)

In all these things, we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us. (Romans 8:37)

But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. (1 Cor. 15:57)

Not by might nor by power, but by My Spirit,’ says the Lord of hosts. (Zechariah 4:6)

But the Lord is faithful, and he will strengthen you and protect you from the evil one.” (2 Thessalonians 3:3)

Truly I tell you, whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven. Again, truly I tell you that if two of you on earth agree about anything they ask for, it will be done for them by my Father in heaven. (Matthew 18:18-19)

The Lord will cause your enemies who rise against you to be defeated before you. They shall come out against you one way and flee before you seven ways. (Deuteronomy 28:7)

What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who is against us? (Romans 8:31)

This is what the Lord says to you: ‘Do not be afraid or discouraged because of this vast army. For the battle is not yours, but God’s. (2 Chronicles 20:15)

Therefore God also has highly exalted Him and given Him the name which is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those in heaven, and of those on earth, and of those under the earth,  and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. (Philippians 2:9-11)

And when the thousand years are ended, Satan will be released from his prisonand will come out to deceive the nations that are at the four corners of the earth, Gog and Magog, to gather them for battle; their number is like the sand of the sea. And they marched up over the broad plain of the earth and surrounded the camp of the saints and the beloved city, but fire came down from heaven[b]and consumed them, and the devil who had deceived them was thrown into the lake of fire and sulfur where the beast and the false prophet were, and they will be tormented day and night forever and ever. (Revelation 20:7-10)

Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might. 11 Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil. For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places. Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand firm. Stand therefore, having fastened on the belt of truth, and having put on the breastplate of righteousness, and, as shoes for your feet, having put on the readiness given by the gospel of peace. In all circumstances take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming darts of the evil one; and take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God, praying at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication. To that end keep alert with all perseverance, making supplication for all the saints, and also for me, that words may be given to me in opening my mouth boldly to proclaim the mystery of the gospel, for which I am an ambassador in chains, that I may declare it boldly, as I ought to speak. (Ephesians 6:10-20)

Psalm 91

 Those who live in the shelter of the Most High
will find rest in the shadow of the Almighty.
This I declare about the Lord:
He alone is my refuge, my place of safety;
he is my God, and I trust him.
For he will rescue you from every trap
and protect you from deadly disease.
He will cover you with his feathers.
He will shelter you with his wings.
His faithful promises are your armor and protection.
Do not be afraid of the terrors of the night,
nor the arrow that flies in the day.
Do not dread the disease that stalks in darkness,
nor the disaster that strikes at midday.
Though a thousand fall at your side,
though ten thousand are dying around you,
these evils will not touch you.
Just open your eyes,
and see how the wicked are punished.
If you make the Lord your refuge,
if you make the Most High your shelter,
no evil will conquer you;
no plague will come near your home.
For he will order his angels
to protect you wherever you go.
They will hold you up with their hands
so you won’t even hurt your foot on a stone.
You will trample upon lions and cobras;
you will crush fierce lions and serpents under your feet!
The Lord says, “I will rescue those who love me.
I will protect those who trust in my name.
When they call on me, I will answer;
I will be with them in trouble.
I will rescue and honor them.
I will reward them with a long life
and give them my salvation.”

Dear Older Me: There is Hope in the Future

I absolutely love the song Dear Younger Me by Mercy Me!  In case you are not familiar with it, click here to listen/watch! (Full lyrics at the bottom of this page.)

Every time I hear it, I ponder the idea of what would I tell my younger self, if I could, to save myself from today’s heartaches.  It’s a novel idea, alas, not possible.   And would I really want to anyways?  I mean I wouldn’t be who I am today had I not suffered the hardships.  You can probably guess where I’m going next…BUT, I can influence my future based on what I have learned to date and what God has carried me, brought me, and drug me, kicking and screaming I might add, through thus far.

Dear Older Me,

Please remember you do not have to be perfect at anything.  If fact, as hard as you have tried your whole life, hopefully you have learned that it is impossible!  Who cares what anyone on the outside sees or thinks.  Be proud of not being perfect. In fact, boast about it and stop feeling lonely.  Let others in on your issues with anxiety, and guess what, they will probably join that band wagon!

“…My grace is all you need.  My power works best in weakness.  So now I am glad to boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ can work through me.  That’s why I take pleasure in my weaknesses…and the troubles I suffer for Christ.  For when I am weak, then I am strong.” 2 Corinthians 12:9-10

                Please be good to yourself, do less, take time for yourself.  It’s how you will truly recharge the batteries and actually be a better mom, wife, worker, friend etc. for those around you.  And don’t feel guilty about it either!  Remember Satan knows when to attack as much as how to attack.  He knows when you are tired, sick or weak and that lion pounces!  Thank goodness the one in me is greater than the one in the world!!!

“Be still and know that I am God!” Psalm 46:10

 Try, try, try to be patient in the struggles.  God never wastes a hurt, a pain, or a tear.  He sees them all and knows them all.  He was there the entire time, and He is using them for a greater purpose.  He’s working something out inside of you in the process.  No matter what it is you are going through, continue to pray for His will, not yours!  All that you are is because of Him…so be patient with what he is doing in you!

“Rejoice in our confident hope.  Be patient in trouble, and keep on praying.” Romans 12:12

 Stay here! Period.  God is the great I AM!  Not I was, or I will be, but I AM!  He gives us today’s bread or manna for today only.  If it’s Friday, be thankful for that and the bread He gave you to get through the day and stop worrying about having to go to work on Monday.  Listen to me self…I know what I’m talking about here!

“So do not worry for tomorrow, for tomorrow will bring worries of its own.  Today’s trouble is enough for today.” Matthew 6:34

 A relationship with God isn’t based on rules; it’s based on love.  The love he has for you is perfect and unfaltering.  It’s so strong that while you were a sinner He sent His son to DIE an undeserved and horribly brutal death for YOU!  You are already forgiven for your sins…and loved so dearly.  There are no rules to have a relationship with God.  Maybe Phil Robertson is on to something “Love God, love your neighbor”…that’s it.

“For God loved the world so much that He gave His one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in Him will not perish but have eternal life.  God sent His only Son into the world not to judge the world, but to save the world through Him.” John 3:16-17

 Remember God is love and God is in you, so share that with others.  I know it’s tough, but be kind when it’s undeserved, patient when it takes every fiber of your being, allow grace for others for it has been given to you, forgive even when it has not been asked for, turn and give them the other cheek when you’ve been hurt or wronged…after all, Jesus did all of this for you!

“Love is patient and kind.  Love is not jealous or boastful or proud or rude.  It does not demand it’s own way.  It is not irritable, and it keeps no record of being wronged.  It does not rejoice about injustice but rejoices whenever truth wins out.  Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance.” 1 Corinthians 13:4-7

                 Most importantly, TRUST in Him!  I know it’s tough.  But take a moment to reflect on all He has brought you through…hasn’t He proved Himself to be trustworthy!!! And He will continue to!  Just trust Him.

“But those who trust in the Lord will find new strength.  They will soar high on wings like eagles.  They will run and not grow weary.  They will walk and not faint.” Isaiah 41:31

Love,

 Olivia

Question: What would your letter to yourself look like? Let us know in the comments!

Dear Younger Me

Dear younger me
Where do I start
If I could tell you everything that I have learned so far
Then you could be
One step ahead
Of all the painful memories still running thru my head
I wonder how much different things would be
Dear younger me,

Dear younger me
I cannot decide
Do I give some speech about how to get the most out of your life
Or do I go deep
And try to change
The choices that you’ll make cuz they’re choices that made me
Even though I love this crazy life
Sometimes I wish it was a smoother ride
Dear younger me, dear younger me

If I knew then what I know now
Condemnation would’ve had no power
My joy my pain would’ve never been my worth
If I knew then what I know now
Would’ve not been hard to figure out
What I would’ve changed if I had heard

Dear younger me
It’s not your fault
You were never meant to carry this beyond the cross
Dear younger me

You are holy
You are righteous
You are one of the redeemed
Set apart a brand new heart
You are free indeed

Every mountain every valley
Thru each heartache you will see
Every moment brings you closer
To who you were meant to be
Dear younger me, dear younger me

You are holy
You are righteous
You are one of the redeemed
Set apart a brand new heart
You are free indeed

Compassion Conviction: When You Need to Set the Standard

Ephesians 4:32: Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.

It was the night before school started and I was tucking my oldest son into bed.  Our normal routine consists of prayers and sweet discussions about the day and about what the next day may bring. The nerves were high and he was full of questions in anticipation of what this school year was going to be like.  We had prayed all summer for his teacher and his classmates.  I was answering his questions and we were talking about God’s love and how we are all made different. I had just read a blog on compassion the day before.  I thought what better way to start the school year than a lesson on compassion tied in with all his many questions.

I told him that his teacher and the students in his class were all gifts from God—that as the school year unfolds the gifts of each child will unfold.  “Mom,” he asked, “what is compassion?”  I told him to the level he would understand that compassion is the way we treat people.  We treat people the way we want to be treated—that we all come from different backgrounds but Jesus loves us the same.  I challenged him to reach out to a student that maybe nobody is playing with at recess and be a friend. I want him to remember to think about how others may feel in every situation.

As I started to think about the conversation I had with him and I felt convicted.  Am I showing the compassion I need to be showing towards others? Am I being a good example to my children in order to teach them how to be compassionate?  What standard am I holding my children to? There are days I just go through the motions of our daily schedules and not pause or have a good conversation with anyone.   How can I be compassionate if I don’t even really interact with others? So, just to get started in a simple daily activity, I decided to make a point each morning to come into work and say good morning to all my co-workers. I’m finding that it is helping me to look for the good in people and even pray for those that seem negative or unwilling to say “good morning” back to me. You just never know what other people are going through, and instead of thinking they are mean or rude, I can pray that God will give them peace and comfort.

A few key verses that stuck out to me as I was reflecting on compassion:

Galatians 5:22-23:  But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.

Colossians 3:12:  Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hears, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience.

John 7:24: Do not judge by appearances, but judge with right judgment.

Luke 1: 30-35:  Jesus replied, “A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and he fell among robbers, who stripped him and beat him and departed, leaving him half dead. Now by chance a priest was going down that road, and when he saw him he passed by on the other side. So likewise a Levite, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side. But a Samaritan, as he journeyed, came to where he was, and when he saw him, he had compassion. He went to him and bound up his wounds, pouring on oil and wine. Then he set him on his own animal and brought him to an inn and took care of him.

Remember as Christians we are the living example! How can you practice compassion in your everyday schedule?

~Leah

Freedom in Surrender: How to Give God Control

I’ve always been super competitive. I like to win.  (My friends from college even called me Monica because of the character from “Friends” who was known for her competitiveness and obsessive-compulsiveness.) People have certainly referred to me as stubborn and hard-headed, even opinionated. I’ve always loved a good argument, especially if I get to prove my point…and win!  I practiced the mantra, “Never give up—fight until you win!” But I never thought that those characteristics would ever keep me from a relationship with God. I thought it was how He made me. “It’s just how I am…so get over it.” I used to think that my attitude wasn’t my problem—if you didn’t like it, then it was your problem!

Unfortunately, I recently realized that this issue was not only affecting my relationships with other people, but also with God.  Sure, I read scriptures and learned about God’s divine plans in church for most of my life, but I never allowed myself to truly “let go and let God.”  In fact, I never once considered my desire to “do my best” could actually manifest into a deep desire to control every aspect of my life, including the people I cared about the most. After my melt down in the kitchen floor last August, I felt convicted about all my planning and scheming to do things my own way. I prayed for God to show me how to come closer to Him and give up control.  Over those next few months, I learned that God, in fact, did not create me to fight Him. I created my own monster there.  He never intended for me to take on all of these struggles on my own. Pride can be so sneaky. I was so prideful that I would have never even recognized that I had a pride issue. Hmmm…

There are a few definitions for pride.  One is not that bad.  It’s the one where you take pride in something when you work hard for it. There’s certainly nothing wrong with that. Feeling good about something you work hard for is not a sin!  But, when you forget to praise God first for the gifts that allowed you to succeed, that’s when it can get ugly. Taking credit for what God is doing in your life might lead you down the path of sinful pride. The “bad” kind of pride is when you start to feel really important and maybe even superior to others…and maybe even to God.  Did you know that trying to control outcomes and do things on your own, without God’s help, is a form of pride? How could I have actually thought that I could do anything on my own? No wonder I was always so stressed out; that is a lot of pressure!

Pride can take hold with just a tiny root. Over years of “winning” and fighting hard to prove that I was successful, organized, and worthy of promotions and praises, that tiny root developed into a strong-hold.  I knew what I wanted and I went after it—I became successful, organized (or appeared to be), and got promotions! I was working so hard to make all my (worldly) dreams come true. But on the inside, I continued to unravel—all those hopes and dreams were not from God, they were merely molded from what I thought society expected of me.  I didn’t even realize how detrimental that could be until I collapsed from the exhaustion and pressure to perform. Pride will destroy you from the inside out.

So how do we overcome pride?

Surrender. I know it’s not that easy. It’s so much harder that just raising a white flag.  It’s a lifestyle change. A mindset alteration. A complete makeover.  But it’s possible. And freedom will follow.

First, ask God to search you and convict you of anything that is holding you back from surrendering:

Search me, O God, and know my heart;
test me and know my anxious thoughts.
 Point out anything in me that offends you,
and lead me along the path of everlasting life. (Psalm 139: 23-24)

Next, tell God daily (possibly multiple times a day) that you are surrendering. Surrender your life, your thoughts, decisions, plans, future, fears—everything.  Say it out loud: “God, I surrender this day to you. I am leaving all my plans and fears at the foot of the cross today.  Please take over my thoughts and actions, my fears, and even my desires. I need more of you, God, and less of me!”  If you aren’t convinced…just keep repeating it as many times as you need.

Then remind yourself of God’s promises throughout the day: This is the day the Lord has made! (Psalm 118:24) Hand over the control to Him because He truly is the provider of all things good and will guide you (Psalm 23). Commit every plan and detail to Him and He will establish your plans for you (Proverbs 16:3). His plans are better than yours and He will prosper you and give you hope and a future (Jeremiah 29:11). His purpose will prevail (Proverbs 19:21). Put your faith in Him, trust Him, and acknowledge Him and He will direct your steps (Proverbs 3:5-6). He will work all things together for your good (Romans 8:28).  If that isn’t enough, go find more. The Bible is full of promises that God will take complete care of you—if you will just allow Him to do it!

Start now! It’s not easy. And I’m still working on it. I still have to surrender daily! But I’m more aware now. When I start to feel like things are falling apart, I remind myself that my God’s got this. My expectations may need to be adjusted…and I need to TRUST HIM because He has promised to take care of me. No fear—just faith!

What promises from God are you holding tightly to today? Please share them with us in the comment section below!

Love,

Jamie