Thursday, April 22, 2021

Have You Polished Your Armor Lately?




I know that I am taking a departure from the "Love Letters" that I have been writing, but this week, as I have been reading the Word, I was reminded that God has given us every tool we need to fight against the "powers of darkness in the heavenly places (Ephesians 6)." 

Take Gideon (Judges 6-7), God called him a mighty man of valor and told him that he would defeat the Midianites and the other nations round about them that had been besieging them for years. Gideon called for men fron the tribes of Manasseh, Asher, Zebulon, and Naphtali to come stand with him to fight their invaders. Thirty-two thousand men came.  But God said there were too many for them to know that He had given them the victory. So Gideon told all who were fearful, or anxious to go home. Twenty-two thousand left, but God Still said there were too many. So He had them all go to the stream that they were camped near and told Gideon to watch how they drank from the stream. If they brought their hands to their mouths, being watchful of their surroundings,  they were His chosen warriors.

 There were 300 who drank as God had chosen, so He told Gideon to send the rest home; and he did. But then he thought maybe God had it wrong ... that he didn't have enough men, or experience,  or the right tools. Whatever his doubts were, he had them in spades.

But God had instilled fear in the hearts of the Midianite army and He wanted Gideon to know it. So He sent Gideon down to the edge of the opposing army to listen as they spoke of their dreams.  God showed Gideon their fear and told him how his army of 300 men would win the battle in His power and might. Now Israel knows that God had fought for them. 

Let's take look at Moses (Exodus 4), he doubted that he was the man God needed to send to lead Israel out of Egypt. But God told him to look at what he held in his hand. God transformed the staff of an ordinary shepherd into a tool of wonderous, heavenly signs. 

God gave each of these men, and every other man of God throughout the Bible, exactly the tools and encouragement they needed to accomplish what He had called them to do ... and He does the same for us, too.

For us, God has gifted us His armor as our protective, offensive and defensive,  weapons (Ephesians 6:10-20).  Let's read this passage in the Complete Jewish Bible;

"Finally, grow powerful in union with the Lord, in union with His mighty strength! Use all the armor and weaponry that God provides, so that you will be able to stand against the deceptive tactics of the Adversary.  For we are not struggling against human beings, but against the rulers, authorities, and cosmic powers governing this darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realm. So take up every piece of war equipment God provides; so that when the evil day comes, you will be able to resist; and when the battle is won, you will still be standing.
"Therefore, stand! Having the belt of truth buckled around your waist, put righteousness for a breastplate, and wear on your feet the readiness that comes from. The Good News of shalom. Always carry the shield of trust, with which you will be able to extinguish all the flaming arrows of the Evil One. And take the helmet of deliverance; along with the sword given by the Spirit, that is the (spoken) Word of God; as you pray at all times, with all kinds of prayers and requests, in the Spirit, vigilantly and persistently,  for all of God's people.

"And pray for me, too, that whenever I open my mouth, the words will be given to me to be bold in making known the secret of the God's News, for which I am an ambassador in chains. Pray that I may speak boldly, the way I should.

The apostle Paul told us that God has given us every weapon that we would need to stand against the devil and take from him what he has stolen from us ... our Heavenly Armor. When we are instructed to do so, we put our armor on. And we are never told to take it off. But have you polished your armor lately???

When we look at armies down through the ages, we see that every soldier keeps his weapons and protective gear in good repair. And yet, I don't think I have ever thought, even once, that I should be keeping my Heavenly Armor clean, polished and in good working order. God showed me this when He asked me this morning, "Have you polished your armor lately?" I had to truthfully answer, "no."

So, how do we polish our Heavenly Armor ... how do we keep it in good repair? 

What came to my mind are the following ways to "polish" our armor:


    Belt of truth -Look at the picture of the belt that Roman soldiers wore. See how they added the protective covering to their private parts? In most ancient cultures children were not just the outcome of a marital union, they were a sign that their gods had blessed them, so they protected that which was important to their survival. God wants us to surround ourselves with His truth, like a belt around our waist. He desires that there be no deception in or around us. When we practice being truthful in all things and avoiding deception in all we do and say, we are polishing our Belt of Truth. Not only that, but we, as is children, are His most important heritage, just as children were in ancient times.


    Breastplate of Righteousness - Righteousness is being in right standing or relationship with God. Having His righteousness as our breastplate, covering and protecting our heart, means that we are totally focused on living our lives sold out for Jesus and dwelling under the shadow of His wings, as Psalm 91 states;
"When you abide under the shadow of El Shaddai, you are hidden in the strength of God Most High. He's the hope that holds me and the stronghold to shelter me, the only God for me, and my great confidence. He will rescue you from every hidden trap of the enemy, and He will protect you from every false accusation and deadly curse. His massive arms are wrapped around you,, protecting you. You can run under His covering of majesty and hide. His arms of faithfulness are a shield keeping you from harm. Psalm 91:1-4. So living IS keeping His righteousness clean and polished.


    Readiness of the Gospel of His Shalom - although the KJV says peace, but the Hebrew word Shalom has more depth to it than what we give to the word peace.  Shalom means nothing missing, to that is added the authority that abolishes all chaos ... all destruction. So having our feet covered in His perfect Shalom prepares us to walk out prepared for the work He has called us to do. That said, keeping our shoes of His Shalom polished and in good repair is to keep His instruction and walk in His ways. Leviticus 26:3-6 Amplified Bible, says, 
"If you walk in My statutes and keep My commandments and (obediently) do them, then I will give you rain in its season, and the land will yield her produce and the trees of the field will bear their fruit. And your threshing season will last until the grape gathering and the grape gathering (time) will last u til planting, and you will eat your bread and be filled and live securely in your land. I will also grant peace (Shalom) in the land, and no sword will pass through your land."


    Shield of trust (faith) - Ultimately, faith in God is Trusting Him with our lives. If we trusted Jesus enough to ask for His salvation,  shouldn't we trust Him to shield us from all of the enemy's attacks? To keep us safe and alive? So how do we keep our trust in Him "bullet proof?" Romans 10:17, Amplified Bible, says;
"So faith (trust) comes by hearing [what is told], and what is hears comes by the [preaching of the] message concerning Christ."
The more we hear spoken of Jesus, the more our faith - our trust in Him - grows. So keeping our trust strong requires that we sit at the feet of a teacher who speaks God's Word  ... who preaches accurately of Jesus our Savior and all that He did and said. 
Helmet of Salvation - I love this imagery, our salvation covers our head - our ears, minds,  eyes, etc.- this tells me that God wants to guard our thoughts, what we see and what we hear with His love care for us, sealed with the blood of His salvation. So how do we shine up our helmets? How do we knock out the dents from Satan's attacks We? We give Him thanks and praise for what He accomplished on the cross with His shed blood ... continuously. Our praise, adoration and thanksgiving let the Lord know what we think of Him and strengthen our helmets.



    The Sword of the Spirit - This is the Rehma, the spoken Word of God. Remember when we looked at the Shield of Trust (Faith)? We learned that trust is built by hearing God's Word.  So of we speak His Word into situations, then we are also hearing His Word. Thus building up our trust and also shining up our swords. 


    All Prayer for God's people  - Prayer is the tie that binds all of our armor in place and together. Praying constantly covers us with His grace and protection, giving us Holy Boldness. Continuously praying is how we keep this weapon sharp and in good repair. 

So, now that we have looked at proper care for our God given armor, if we do these things we will be better prepared to stand our ground - and take back ground from - the forces of evil who are working to destroy this world.

Did you notice that there is no piece of armor that covers your back? This is because He has designed it so that another brother or sister stands back to back with you in the fight.  Literally having your back!

Did you also notice that most of our armor is defensive in nature? Only His spoken Word and Prayer are offensive weapons. And prayer works both offensively and defensively.  


So polish up your armor and stand strong ... fighting in the power of His Might!

Until next time, 
Leigh

Saturday, March 27, 2021

Love Letters - Letter 5




Dear Lord, 

I give You praise and thanks for all that You teach me. Just this morning You showed me new things, things I had never seen and known before, in Your Word.

In 2 Corinthians 12 Paul is telling them that their (our) boasting is fruitless, it accomplishes nothing. 
On this same subject, the prophet Jeremiah said, 

  "... instead,  let the boaster boast about this: that he understands and knows Me - that I am Adonai,   practicing grace, justice and righteousness in the land; for in these things I take pleasure, " says   Adonai. " Jeremiah 9:24 CJB.


I like the way the Message Bible puts it, but let's start at verse 23. "God's message: 'Don't let the wise brag of their wisdom. Don't let heroes brag of their exploits. Don't let the rich brag of their riches. If you brag, brag of this and this only: That you know Me. I'm God, and I act in loyal love. I do what's right and set things right and fair, and I delight in those who do the same things. 
These are My trademarks.' God's Decree."

This was an eye-opener,  Lord. But another eye opening thing of note is that too many of us are trying to walk out in Your strength using someone else's giftings ... wearing someone else's armor. But You have made us each uniquely and given us equally unique gifts all of our own. Why would we want to try using what You have clearly given to someone else? Maybe it is because we are weak in the area that You would choose to use and gift us in. 

David understood that he could not fight Your battle wearing Saul's armor. It didn't fit him as it wasn't made for him. Not only didn't it fit, but he wasn't used to wearing armor ... he was used to walking out to fight his enemies with You to protect him.  He knew You were a better covering than any man made armor. David also understood what Paul taught the Corinthians,


 " ... but He told me, 'My grace is enough for you, for My power is brought to perfection in weakness.' Therefore, I am very happy to boast about my weaknesses, in order that Messiah's power will rest upon me." 2 Corinthians 12:9 CJB

HOW AWESOME, to know that we can trust that Your power will rest upon us when we acknowledge our weaknesses and trust in You for our protection.
I love that You do this for us!

Your Loving Daughter, 


Leigh




Friday, March 12, 2021

Love Letters to the Lord - Letter 4

 





Dear Lord,

I love it when You teach me new thing in scripture passages that are familiar to me. This morning, You took me to Matthew chapter 5, the Sermon on the Mount. 

I always thought that when You spoke about the many different "blessed areas" that they were many different types of people and the things that made them blessed in Your sight. But, this morning, I saw a different way - probably the very way - that You intended us to view these blessed people. This passage is Your portrait of how You view ALL of your children ... how You want us to view ourselves. They aren't many different people, but different aspects - different facets - You intend each of us to exhibit. So Lord, I want to quote back to You showed me that I could and should be.


Matthew 5:1-13 - as I read it;

 When Y'shua saw that His teachings were drawing large crowds, He and His disciples climbed up a hillside. When He reached a natural amphitheater dotted with trees, He sat down and taught all that had followed Him there. This is what He taught:

 When you have reached a spiritual drought, remember that you can be joyful, filled with the Joy of the Lord; because when you have run out of options, God will show you His Kingdom plan for that moment.

 When you are mourning the loss of a loved one, remember that, even now, you can be full of My Joy; because you will always have The One you love most there to wrap His arms around you and your arms around HIm in your sorrow.

 When you have found your contentment in Me, you are filled with My Joy; for you have found your balance point for a Spirit-filled life ... a life filled with My plans, My purposes and the Fruit of My Spirit flowing out from your daily walk.

 When you are continuously hungry for more of My Righteousness ... more of Me, when you thirst for deeper wells of My peace - for the New Wine of My Spirit, you are filled with My joy; for only I can satisfy your desires for more. And satisfy you, I will!

 When you express My tender mercy and loving kindness, you are filled with My Joy; for you know that I have showered My loving kindness and mercy on you, and I will continue to do so and you do likewise.

 When you teach others to walk in My perfect Shalom (a life without chaos, that lacks nothing), you are filled with My Joy; for those around you will see that you are truly a child of The King - My child.

 When you are persecuted for doing what is Right, remember that you can be filled with My Joy; for you are living in My Kingdom here and now on this earth. Your commitment to My Ways through the hard times drives you long for more closeness to Me and My Kingdom.

 Be filled with My Joy whenever you are put down, when others - who are outside the Family - throw you out, slander your character speaking all kinds of evil about you because of your love for Me. Jump for Joy, because I will reward you greatly for all of your faithfulness. Remember that al of the prophets were also treated like this, so you are in fine company.

 You, My children, are the salt that seasons the lives around you, that bring them robust flavor. When you lose sight of all the ways that you can find My Joy, you actually become tasteless; how can that flavor be returned to your life? Life without the flavor you can bring to it is worthless; it will cause you be thrown out into the street for those around you to trampled upon. So find your TRUE Joy in Me and keep your focus - keep your eyes centered on ME!


Lord, thank You for showing me how I should be looking at life to find Your Joy. Help me to live in it as I walk through my daily life ... today, tomorrow and Always.

Your loving daughter,

Leigh

Thursday, February 25, 2021

Love Letters to the Lord - Letter 3



Dear Lord,

In the Garden of Eden, when You created mankind, You made us keepers of the Garden. That word keeper is the same Hebrew word translated as protector and watchman. This position of "keeper" was to cover the whole of Your creation, as You gave us dominion over them when You asked Adam to name them. This dominion was Your Kingdom authority to watch over the earth and all of it's inhabitants. It must have grieved You greatly when he gave it all away in that moment that he sinned their in that Garden of Your creation.

I am so glad that You made a Way for us to regain that position of authority when You gave us Jesus. When He died upon the cross and rose from the dead, He took back from Satan the keys of authority that You had given to Adam in the Garden. 

Jesus, when He taught His disciples to pray in what we call the Lord's Prayer, taught them to call forth Your Kingdom to be here on earth. Then on the day of Pentecost, You gave them the power they needed to wield Your authority once more here on earth. But we, the church in this day, are so lacking in Your authority.  We need to learn these lessons that the first disciples learned.

Lord, teach us to pray with Your authority.  Fill us to overflowing with Your Holy Spirit, so that we can take our place of dominion over Your creation.


I thank You that I have recently learned that the word translated in th Bible as "church" is the Greek word ekklesia. It does not mean what so long I have thought it meant ... it really means a seat- or place - of government. You meant for us - Your body -  to govern, or take dominion over, Your creation. And this we do with our prayers. We are the watchmen on the wall that the prophet Ezekiel called for in Isreal so long ago. A modern day prophet like Ezekiel, Dutch Sheets, has lifted up this "call to arms" to the church in this hour. And we are here, as Esther of old, "for such a time as this." Let us pray with her, "if I perish, I perish." But let us stand in the gap for this nation, America, and ALL of Your creation.

Lord, You gave a word in service last Sunday that I know You meant for a wider audience than just our congregation,  so I will share it here,

As we were singing I could hear the Lord saying, you want to see my kingdom come. You want to see the walls break down. But you are my kingdom. You are my presence here on Earth, and you're holding on to the walls you stay within them like they protect you, but I protect you. You have to break out of this place, you have to walk forth, and share my kingdom in this world. You are my presence and my kingdom cannot go out unless you go out, you go out, take my glory with you everywhere you go, present my word to others. Everywhere you go and heaven will come down, but it will not come unless you break out and walk out in faith.


Lord, thank You for this calling You have placed on Your body. May we be faithful to walk out in it!

Your daughter,

Leigh

Thursday, February 18, 2021

Love Lerrers to the Lord - Letter 2




Dear Lord, 

As You know, this morning,  as a part of my time spent with You, I was reading Psalms 23. This is among my favorites, as it teaches us our position in You and where Satan sits ... just beyond and below us, but still within sight of Your bountiful table. It is beautiful and I love the imagery.  

But I felt that there was something more You wanted me to see within its lines. So I reread it in a different translation  - the Passion Translation  [TPT]. I found it so rich that I wanted to quote it back to You here.


1. The Lord is my Best Friend and Shepherd.  I always have more than enough.
2. He offers a resting place for me in His luxurious love.
His tracks take me to an oasis of peace, the quiet brook of bliss.


3. That's where He restores and revives my life. He opens before me pathways to God's pleasure and leads me along in His footsteps of righteousness so that I can bring honor to His name.
4. Lord, even when Your path takes me through the valley of deepest darkness,  fear will never conquer me, for You lead me through it all the way.
Your authority is my strength and my peace (shalom). The comfort of Your love takes away my fear. I'll never be lonely, for You are near.
5. You become my delicious feast even when my enemies dare to fight. You anoint me with the fragrance of Your Holy Spirit; You give me all I can drink of You until my heart overflows. 
6. So why should I fear the future? For Your goodness and love pursue me all the days of my life. 
Then afterward,  when my life is through, I'll return to Your glorious presence to be forever with You.

How awesome is this picture, Lord. I found it really bringing depth to my understanding of this Psalm I have always loved.
In verse 4, I  added shalom in parentheses as it means so much more than we think of when we say peace. It means total order and absence of chaos. So often I have forgotten that You remove chaos from our lives that I just wallow in it. But You are my peace which passes ALL understanding. 

Thank You, Lord!

Your daughter, 

Leigh 

Tuesday, February 16, 2021

Love Letters to The Lord * Love Letter No. 1


 


Dear Lord,

I thank you for your amazing love and grace.


As I read in Matthew 14:22 - 23 and in Luke 5: 12 - 16, I see where you went away by yourself - even leaving your disciples behind  - to spend time with the Father. So Lord, as I long to be as close to You as You were to Your Father, I choose to spend time alone with You as often as I can. Continue to hide me under the shadow of Your wings ... in Your most secret of hiding places, yet never afraid to venture forth to bring others alongside as I journey to the High Places of Your Kingdom.


Let us be ever vigilant to bring Your Kingdom to this earth so that others may see what we have and long to join us.


I  sing of Your wonderous love and mercy as I read through Psalms 91, longing to dwell in Your secret places.


From under the shelter of Your wings,

Your daughter,


Leigh






New for this Season ... this New Year we have barely begun

 OK if you are on of my Facebook friends, then you may have read that I feel lead of the Lord to share with you some of the Love Letters to the Lord that I write during my daily devotions. This Sharing starts today. Will this go through the whole year? Will there be a new "Letter" everyday? I don't know, only our Father knows the plans He has for this. So I will follow His leading and we will learn together just where all of this will go.

For the remainder of February I am participating with a group of Christian women in a study on Discernment. Today's reading was from 1 Kings 3:3-14, where God comes to Solomon in a dream and asks what he wants from God's hand. I loved the answer he gave God as it is written in The Message Bible in verse 9 of this passage. It reads,

“Here’s what I want: Give me a God-listening heart so I can lead your people well, discerning the difference between good and evil. For who on their own is capable of leading your glorious people?”

This is my prayer for myself and for each of my followers. Let us all seek a "God-listening heart."

Walk with me and read the letters that I write to the Lord, seeking to learn more of Him as we journey together.