The Spiritual Battle is Upon Us

So I started a devotional with my Bible Study called, The Armor of God by Priscilla Shirer. I highly recommend it.

I’ve been doing the workbook for one week, and already my prayer life has drastically changed. Not only that, but I’ve seen a marked improvement in living a victorious life. The book is about being aware of the spiritual battle waging around us. We need to be prepared for it by putting on the armor of God—the belt of truth, the breastplate of righteousness, the helmet of salvation, the gospel shoes, the shield of faith, and the sword of the Spirit. But the author starts the study by discussing what she considers to be the lesser-known, underutilized, 7th piece of God’s armor: prayer.

She starts by explaining that we are all in a spiritual battle that manifests itself in the trouble we have in our lives: those broken relationships, those people that get on your last nerve, your financial troubles, the circumstances that get you down . . . all those things. But here’s the thing: those people and circumstances aren’t your real problem. They’re the symptoms of the real issue.

So we have to pray and fight against him and his forces using weapons that work–the Armor of God. Plus, we have to stay strengthened in the Lord and activate the armor with prayer.

The book is teaching us not to give Satan too much credit–God has already given us the victory–but to be aware of him because he’s prowling around looking for someone to devour. I no longer want to give him the opportunity to devour me or the ones I love.

Satan does not like my new resolve. Since I began praying specifically against Satan’s attacks in my life and my writing and the lives of my friends and family, he’s attacked me more and more–from my emotions to my family to my health.

Yeah, I think he realizes I’m not taking it anymore. I haven’t won all the battles, but I am winning more than usual. I’m aware of his attacks, so he’s not going to make me into an easy mark anymore.

And I have God on my side too, so . . . his days are numbered.

Next week we start on the Belt of Truth.

Oh, and one more thing: Really, Atlanta Falcons? Really?! I don’t even want to talk about that!

-:heart: M.R. Anglin.

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Your Beauty/Handsomness Made Complete

One of the great things about reading my Bible is that I get to learn new things, even in verses I’ve read several times before. Ezekiel 16 is one of my favorite chapters in the Bible. It is an allegory–a story that represents something in reality–of God and Israel, but it can also apply to us today. In this allegory, the story is told of an abandoned girl who no one loves. God came through, cleaned her up, dressed her in pretty clothes, put jewelry on her, and gave her good food to eat. She became the most beautiful woman in the world.

Now catch this,

And your fame spread among the nations because of the splendor I had given you made your beauty perfect, declares the Sovereign LORD.” Ezekiel 16:14

This time when I went over that verse, I caught something. He said that the splendor I had given you made your beauty perfect (“perfect” here can mean “complete”). It wasn’t the stuff that made her beautiful–it only completed her beauty. In other words, the clothes and things enhanced her beauty. Though nobody thought she was worth anything . . . nobody cared about her . . . God saw her beauty, and His enhancements made everyone else recognize it.

So what does this mean for you? It doesn’t matter if your tall or short, big or small. It doesn’t matter if you have crooked teeth or a big nose. God sees your beauty/handsomeness and will give you love, mercy, peace, etc. so that others will see your beauty too.

But there’s another level to it. All the make-up, expensive sports shoes, clothes, glasses, braces, jewelry, haircuts, diets, and anything else you do or get to fit in aren’t what makes you handsome or beautiful, nor do they make you ugly. There is nothing wrong with those things (sometimes they are even necessary for your health), but they can only enhance who you are. Don’t trust in them because they don’t last.

And know that you are fine all on your own.

What God Wants

Some people may think that God wants people who do nothing but lock themselves in a room all day and pray. Or maybe He wants people who are always at church.

While there’s nothing wrong with praying or going to church . . . those things are great . . . they, in themselves, aren’t what God wants. How do I know?

Micah 6:8b NIV

What does the LORD require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.

What God wants is a relationship with you. He wants you to walk humbly with Him. He wants to help you in all your troubles. And when you have that relationship with Him, it is easier to act justly and to love mercy.

So what does God want? Ultimately it comes down to a relationship with you. That’s the thing that He wants you to give to Him.

The World Declares God’s Glory

“For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities–his eternal power and divine nature–have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that men are without excuse.” Romans 1:20 NIV

I am a firm believer that much of the things we see on earth are just a reflection of what things are like in Heaven. In other words, the things we like . . . beautiful colors, the awesome strength of lightning, the wonders of the universe . . . we like them because they tell our spirits of Heaven. At least, that’s what I think.

But the fact remains that the world is telling us about God. When you look around and see the world, you are seeing God’s fingerprints all over it. Mountains are huge, strong, and beautiful. The sea is both inspiring and powerful.

Now there are those people who believe that the world was created by evolution . . . that all the wonderful works we see are by accident. But when you really look at the world, when you see how intertwined and delicate it all is, and when you really look at evolution’s arguments (not what they say, but at the science behind it), it falls apart.

I offer this as an example: http://www.inspiks.com/creation-tidbits-the-hoatzin-bird/

There is a song by Rebecca St. James that illustrates this concept perfectly.

        The heavens declare You are God
           And the mountains rejoice.
        The oceans cry “Alleluia”
           As we worship You, Lord.
        For this is our song of love.

Here the song and see the video here: Song o Love by Rebecca St. James

(It’s RSJ’s youtube channel. I don’t like to watch videos that aren’t following copyright rules.)

Waiting . . .

Wait for the LORD; be strong and take heart and wait for the LORD.
Psalms 27:14 NIV

I hate waiting. Especially if I’m waiting for something God promised me and that I’m looking forward to. Waiting really sucks.

But it’s also something that God has told us to do. I know waiting isn’t easy, and I find it interesting that God says to “be strong and take heart and wait.” Waiting for something you really want can sap your strength. You can start to doubt if it’s ever going to happen or start thinking that you made a mistake or you’re not good enough. I know that’s what happened in my life.

Satan can use your waiting to beat you down. But that is when you have to take heart and be strong.

I’ve learned that I’m going to wait one way or another: either I’ll be impatient and cause a fuss and/or get depressed . . . or I’ll wait properly and patiently and let God do His thing.

Waiting properly makes life so much easier. Just let God do His thing, and you do yours. He is more than powerful enough to make it happen in His own timing.

Finding Wisdom

James 1:5 NIV “If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him.”

It’s amazing how much prayer can clarify things for you. Recently, I was trying to figure out something in my life. I tried and tried and tried, and no matter how I turned it around or asked advice, it didn’t get any clearer. And then in church, the pastor talked about seeking God’s face. I realized, “Gee. I haven’t really spoken to God about this.”

Now, I’ve prayed about it, but that’s not the same as seeking Him. Seeking Him is more focused and more intense than just saying a casual prayer. It’s being serious about asking and waiting (and expecting) an answer. And this time, I also planned to fast about it.

Thank God that He is a gracious, loving God because even though I was determined to seek His face and fast, I completely forgot about fasting and ate my fill that morning. But He still gave me the answer I was looking for–partly (mostly) because He is so kind, and partly (I think) because I was serious about seeking Him for the answer.

Is there a problem you have in your life? Seek God. Really seek Him. If you seek Him, you will find Him when you seek Him with all your heart (Jeremiah 29:13).