Pray on the Armor of God.

“Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power.” Ephesians 6:10 NIV

The smell of a loaded morning diaper overpowered my coffee as I walked upstairs to wake up my kids. We’re eight years post diaper, but the oder suggested otherwise. It cut through the freshly cleaned bathroom my daughters share. Apparently chewable vitamins, when tossed into the trash alongside damp make up wipes and whatever else …smell like a loaded morning diaper. 

The daily ritual of taking vitamins had suddenly become so painfully disgusting, my daughters resorted to hiding them in the oddest places. Why rebel against something that will make them stronger? Healthier? Protect them from sickness and injury?

More important than daily vitamins to protect our physical bodies are the pieces of God’s armor we can pray over our lives. “Pray always,” Paul writes, “Pray in the Spirit. Pray about everything in every way you know how!” (Ephesians 6:18 VOICE)

Real, enduring strength is found in God’s promise for the longevity of our souls. Paul said, “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.” (Ephesians 6:12 NIV) The enemy is out to injure our souls. “Put on the full armor of God,” Paul wrote in Ephesians 6:10-18, “so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes.”

Today, let’s pray the armor of God, found in Ephesians 6:10-19. Armed with the truth and mighty power of God, we will stand tall and strong, ready to bring honor and glory to Him in every area of our lives. 

Father, 

Protect us from the spiritual war we cannot see. Empower us to put on Your armor and stand firm. Jesus, You understand our pain. Crucified with You on the cross, we are no longer slaves to sin, or the evil forces at work in this world.

Protect our minds from distorted thoughts and untruths with the helmet of salvation. Slice through lies and accusations, hopelessness and doubt with the sharp double edged sword of Your Word. Knowing we will face trouble in this world, ready us for battle, Father. Protect us on all sides with Your breastplate of righteousness.

Father, set our feet on the solid foundation of the Gospel to remove any worry of stumbling into battle. In all circumstances, may we take up the shield of faith, to deflect every calculated shot of our enemy. Enable us to help others put on their armor, and accept help from those You have placed to help secure ours. 

Alert us to the enemy’s schemes to kill, steal and destroy. Protect us, tighten and tweak our armor when it loosens and becomes dented. Teach us to wear and use each piece efficiently. Keep us alert and help us to persevere.

Father, give us courage and bravery to pursue You and Your purpose for our lives like Paul did. To place our confidence in each piece of the armor we have prayed over our lives today, and feel the strength of Your mighty power working in and through our lives. 

In Jesus’ Name,

Amen.

“The Long Walk Home. Discovering the Fullness of Life in the Love of the Father,” by Matt Carter

Is following Jesus worth it? A main theme of this book, readers will be challenged to analyze their understanding of God’s love. “Yes, people are literally dying of despair,” Carter writes, “Why? Because they are looking for happiness in people, places, and things that simply can’t produce it.” Carter takes great care in defining and clarifying God’s love. Biblically grounded in Scripture and blended with life experience, this book is extremely relatable and encouraging. 

There’s no questioning the raising state of despair, anxiety and depression in our modern culture. Readers who remain open to the truth presented in the pages of this book will be able to take a step forward, or help someone in their life to cross into, peace and hope. The goal is to know we are all loved as we are …right now.  “The promises of God are crystal clear; your sin is not more powerful than the love He has for you as His child,” Carter illuminates, “He’ll never give up on you. No matter what.” 

The cost of following Christ isn’t easy …but it is worth it. That is what “The Long Walk Home” illuminates. It’s worth it. Christ is worth it. There is nothing greater or more soul filling and life fulfilling than God’s love. “The story of my life is the story of His love,” Carter reflects, “And as often as I forget, He is always faithful to remind me.” 

I highly recommend this book. In eight quick chapters, readers who are new to Christianity, as well as those who are well-seasoned, will walk away better equipped and pleasantly encouraged. 

I received a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.

CLICK HERE TO PURCHASE A COPY OF “A LONG WALK HOME.”

10 Surprising Things I Learned after Quitting Social Media

It got to me, too. The constant inundation of advertising and unattainable comparisons drove me into a season of distraction and discontent. My failure to fully engage in a conversation was frightening, and the time that I spent scrolling through feeds and updated statuses was embarrassing, at best. This girl, that wants to be friends with everyone, got a little lost where new friends seem to be never-ending.

So I left social media for a while. My complete evacuation stemmed from some bad advice, which I digested amidst the sea of swirling opinions that I subjected myself to all day, every day. After abstaining for a month or so, I slowly began process some important lessons I learned in the quiet season of my smartphone. Like anything in life, social media is something for which we have to construct healthy boundaries. It’s not going away, and it’s fun! But there are some important pros and cons that I concluded after my brief step away from it. I’m no expert on mental or spiritual health, but here’s what I took away from my digital vacation.

Click here to continue reading …

7 Scripture Verses about Modesty Your Daughter Needs to Hear

“But everyone else-” my daughter trailed.

“But you’re not,” I interrupted.

Modesty isn’t only about wearing a sports bra that covers what it’s intended to in it’s entirety, but also behavior and self-perception. A lack of it leaves the door wide open for comparative worry and anxiety, threatening to steal a lot more than innocence. Here are the verses about modesty that your daughter needs to know.

1. “We are God’s handiwork.” (Ephesians 2:10a NIV)

The Greek word “handiwork” translated is “work of art.” My children bring home a lot of messes that they deem “art.” Papers and projects adorn my fridge and paintings and drawings are framed in my bookcase. I frame their messes! God has framed our “mess” with the sacrifice of His son. Jesus chose to die for the imperfect version of all of us. The messes… God’s works of art.

2. “Do not allow this world to mold you into its own image.” (Romans 12:2a The Voice)

Raising a secure daughter in a society full of comparison requires the development of humility, discretion, and constraint. God made us, and Jesus paid our ransom on the cross. A strong sense of who they are and whose they are allows them the ability to look up for assurance instead of around for answers.

3. “For physical training is of some value, but godliness (spiritual training) is of value in everything.” (1 Timothy 4:8)

Click here to continue reading …

Make a Radical Move.

Do this and you will live!” Luke 10:28b NLT

How often do we sacrifice our comfortable daily routine to help someone?

Sometimes we need counselors and other resources to fight the battle of our mental health. That’s not what I’m addressing here today. There are everyday moments we avoid to help people who are being isolated, picked on, and left out. Wearing an inspiring t-shirt is a wonderful reminder, but are we brave enough to leave our comfort zones in pivotal moments? We can’t help a hurting soul if we don’t make a radical move.

The parable of The Good Samaritan (Luke 10:25-37) tells of a priest and a levite, the religious people of Jesus’ day, passing by a man who had been robbed and badly beaten. The priests would become ceremonially unclean if they touched a dead person, so that excused them from walking clear around the injured man to avoid him, right? Jesus clearly taught that it was not. The Samaritan man stopped, and with what he had on him, helped the man. He inconvenienced himself, and accepted the risk of possibly being robbed and attacked, to do the right thing. 

“Which of these three would you say was a neighbor to the man who was attacked by bandits? Jesus asked.” (Luke 10:36 NLT)

An “expert in religious law” who’s questioning led to Jesus’ telling of the parable, knew how to answer questions correctly. But Jesus applied God’s truth to a realistic situation in which the expert could apply to everyday life.“The one who showed mercy.” the expert replied, “Then Jesus said, ‘Yes, now go and do the same.’” (Luke 10:37 NLT) 

“Go …

do …”

Comfortable Christianity isn’t living life to the full as Christ calls us to. Everything in this world will pass away. When Jesus returns, our safety nets will exposed, but so will all of the suffering we took on in His honor. Jesus knew we couldn’t shake the power of sin, so He crushed it’s chains for us. He healed, loved, and taught in parables so we could understand. 

The man knew the law before Jesus told the parable: “’You must love the LORD your God with all your heart, all your soul, all your strength, and all your mind.’ And, ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’” (Luke 10:27 NLT) But Jesus clarified whom it applies to.

“‘Right!’ Jesus told him. ‘Do this and you will live!’” Luke 10:28 NLT

When we ignore those in need, we are no better than the priest who walked all the way around the injured man. Everything we do on this earth is meant to honor Christ. Sitting silent when someone is hurting doesn’t. Being kind like Christ takes boldness and courage, because it isn’t always going to be an acceptable move by society’s standards. 

We live in a world hyper-focused on what people can do for us …but it’s backwards. We sing, “all we need is love,” but we’re not a loving society. Love isn’t everyone getting what they want or deserve. It’s literally engaged in looking for those who need us to DO something for them. The reciprocity of love isn’t self-focused, it’s them-focused. 

“Do this.” (Luke 10:28 NLT) 

Don’t just sit there. 

“Go and do the same.” (Luke 10:37b) 

Make a radical move.