Armor Up!

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Ephesians 6:

10Finally, my brethren, be strong in the LORD, and in the power of his might.

11Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.

12For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.

13Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.

14Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness;

15And your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace;

16Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked.

17And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God:

18Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints;

As I was reading these verses in Ephesians about the armor of God last night, they triggered a lot of thoughts for me. I love the imagery of the Armor of God. I designed the felt set above in 2013 after I was in charge of girls’ camp for the youth in our church. We decided to go with the theme Stand Wearing the Armor of God. It was such an incredible experience to study and prepare with the youth leaders who were helping me. Each part of this armor can do so much to protect us in our spiritual battles. And each piece must be intentionally added.

I want to share with you some of the analogies I have thought of as I have studied these verses. There may be other interpretations, this is just one what I have come up with.

Helmet of Salvation: God can help protect us from the enemy as we choose to particular about what information and images we choose to allow into our minds.  When we watch, read and listen to only uplifting things, we are putting on the helmet of salvation.

The Breastplate of Righteousness: This piece of armor protects our hearts. As we follow God’s commandments and stay strong to the standards He has helped us create for ourselves, we have the ability to determine what we will allow to control our hearts. We can choose to steer clear of distractions and temptations that would destroy our peace and happiness, when we put on the breastplate of righteousness.

Shoes of the Gospel of Peace: We put on these shoes as we study about the life of Christ and truly learn about our Savior, who He is, what He stands for, and how deeply He loves us. As this knowledge becomes a part of us, we will have a desire to follow in His path. We will be able to make better choices for our lives that bring us peace and joy. And we will have a desire to share these truths with others.

The Belt of Truth: In this day and age where morality is questioned at every turn, it is even more important for us to make a stand with God on what is right and what is wrong. He has given us the sacred power of procreation, the power to create life and many people in the world do not value this as the gift that it is, they use and abuse it for their own pleasure with no thought of the consequences and hurt they are causing. As we girt our loins with the belt of truth we are showing that we truly value virtue and will protect it at all costs.

Shield of Faith: We take up this sword as we search, ponder, and study the word of God. The more immersed we become in the Gospel and the teachings of Christ the more faith we develop in the knowledge that God lives and that He loves us. We will understand better the sacrifice made by our Savior Jesus Christ, that He truly loves us and chose to die for us, that we might live again – both physically and spiritually. As we intentionally seek to grow in faith, we fill find special ways unique to us that will give more power to our shield at the times when we need it most.

Sword of the Spirit (the word of God): God speaks to us in many ways through songs, scriptures, and whispers to our hearts. Learning to hear and act upon this takes practice. As the only defensive piece of armor, it is especially important that we take up and use this sword. We become more adept at using it as we seek to understand how the Spirit speaks to us personally. As we practice by following promptings and inspirations as they come, we will get better and better and hearing and receiving from the Spirit.

The armor is not always convenient or comfortable, it is not meant to be… it is created for our protection. A soldier during the time of Paul would not have gone even one day leaving his armor behind, because he knew that one day without it could be his last. And anytime we choose to go about without putting it on, we are in danger of spiritual harm. I have learned in my own life how important it is to daily, intentionally put on each piece of this armor. And then… pray. This final and pivotal act is vital to our spiritual strength and protection. I love a line in a book by Francine Rivers… the elderly woman in the book is advising her husband to pray because “you can’t face the enemy in your spiritual underwear.” As much as getting dressed is a daily habit for us, so should be taking the time to arm ourselves with the protective gear the Lord has provided for us. Armor up!!

Soul Searching Question: What have you done to armor up today?

Song: Spiritual Warfare – The Battle Belongs to the Lord

Armor

21 Day Walk with Christ Final Steps

Thank you so much for joining me on this walk with Christ as we prepared for this beautiful Easter day. I am so grateful for the many stories of Christ that we have in the Holy scriptures thanks to those who were faithful to record these experiences. I am so grateful for the power these stories add to my life as I take time to read and ponder on them. I am so grateful for the tools that we have been given to draw closer to our Savior, to build a personal relationship with Him. I am so blessed by an increased understanding of who Jesus is and of His nature, which grows each time I read the stories in the Gospels. I am most humbled by the knowledge that Jesus Christ loves me personally and yearns for a relationship with me. He has that same desire for each of us. He will gather us in His arms if we will allow it!

Song:

Come Unto Christ

Talk:

According To the Desire of our Hearts

http://www.lds.org/general-conference/1996/10/according-to-the-desire-of-our-hearts?lang=eng

Soul Searching Question:

What will you do to continue your personal walk with Christ?

Note: A Special thank you to the many talented and inspired artists whose incredible works of art, music, or words added so much depth and beauty to this walk. No infringement of copyright was intended and I hope they will know how much the sharing of their gifts and talents contributed to our last 21 days.

Choose to Walk with Christ – Day 14 on a 14 Day Walk with Christ

Over time I’ve found that the most important thing we can do to stay close to our Savior Jesus Christ is to intentionally choose to walk with Him.

We must make an effort each day to connect with Him. We must regularly study His life and His teachings. We must use the sacred powerful gift of prayer to commune with Him. We must choose to remember and honor the covenants we have made with Him. And we have to choose to do these things again and again, day after day. If we do not, we slowly drift away from Him and become lost in the worries of the world.

But if we will choose to do these things we can collect on the promise made in Isaiah 40:

31 But they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint.

Song: Unto Us by Aaron Shust

Song: Emanuel God With Us by Point of Grace

Christmas and studying the Nativity are such a great annual reminder for me to check my bearings, assess my priorities, and to determine where adjustments need to be made. Then I take the week between Christmas and New Year’s and decide on a focus word I want to use during the upcoming year.

Challenge: What will your focus word be for 2019 to help you more steadily walk with Christ?

My Heart Delights in the Scriptures

Though I have always appreciated the scriptures, I never really came to love them until my life was in such a chaos that I desperately needed a lifeline to heaven. Then they became a collection of love letters, a roadmap, and a place of refuge for me. Now I wonder how I used to go days or weeks without feasting from their pages. I need their daily nourishment. I need the constant connection with my Father that they bring. I love the peaceful feeling that comes over me as I read them. I learn so much from the stories and wonderful heroes that are in them. I especially love to make application between their situation and mine. I also learn from them as I better understand the principles that the stories are teaching and try to use those principles to improve and add positive character traits to myself. Another way that I have learned that the scriptures profit me is that simply by reading them my mind and heart are more open to spiritual things making it easier for the Lord to communicate with me throughout the day with inspiration and revelation about my life.

They are a previous gift from a loving God prepared to be used for guidance and direction. They are small and simple things easily taken for granted. They are activated by faith. And I have found that I progress best in my journey by using this divine tool. When neglected our journeys more easily go off course and we tend to bring hardships on ourselves as we wander. We can find our own promised land full of peace and happiness by using the scriptures to direct our path.

The scriptures come with a warning to be vigilant (not slothful) in using the tools which have been prepared for us. If we use them well we will be on a path full of peace and joy, even though there will be storms along the way. If we take the scriptures for granted and neglect them because they seem insignificant we will stumble more easily and lose that peace.

Without the scriptures, we cannot understand the mysteries of God. Without the scriptures, (and our journals) we can’t possibly remember all the mercies of God.
Without the scriptures, we wouldn’t know the commandments of God and we would dwindle in unbelief.

Because of the scriptures, we know the commandments and are blessed by obeying them. Because of the scriptures, we know God lives and that He loves us and seeks our happiness. Because of the scriptures, we know Jesus is the son of God and is our Redeemer and the Savior of the world.

We are so blessed to have all the scripture that we do. It is so important for us to study them regularly to show our appreciation for them, to know and live the commandments, to better understand who our Father is and what He desires of us, and to enable Him to communicate with us, not only through their pages, but also through the spirit after we have opened the conduit to heaven by opening their pages.