Grace and peace to you all this morning!
Do you ever wake up feeling "heavy?" All the burdens of the day upon you, and you haven't even brushed your teeth yet? That's where I was this morning. Thinking (OK, worrying) about all those things that need to be done- kitchen cleaned, floors scrubbed, bathrooms cleaned (didn't I just do that on Wed?!), the laundry room cleaned and ready for winter, my closet cleaned, all of the laundry put away...
I was feeling that overwhelming feeling of "how am I going to accomplish all of this?!" Even on my morning walk, the time when I meet with God, praying and praising, I felt very distracted and my mind had a hard time staying in one place! He spoke to me, "Tracy, of all days- put on your armor!" So, I thought I would put it on with each one of you, so that we may together "stand firm and be alert," ready for whatever comes our way.
Let's praise Him before anything else!
from Psalm 57:
"I am in the midst of lions; I lie among ravenous beasts- men whose teeth are spears and arrows, whose tongues are sharp words (OK, David was being chased down by Saul, in fear for his life. But- that laundry room is a ravenous beast to me! Thinking about it is devouring my energy and my joy!)
BE EXALTED, O GOD, ABOVE THE HEAVENS; LET YOUR GLORY BE OVER ALL THE EARTH.
My heart is steadfast, O God, my heart is steadfast; I will sing and make music. Awake, my soul! Awake, harp and lyre! I will awaken the dawn.
I will praise You, O Lord, among the nations; I will sing of you among the peoples.
FOR GREAT IS YOUR LOVE, REACHING TO THE HEAVENS; YOUR FAITHFULNESS REACHES TO THE SKIES.
BE EXALTED, O GOD, ABOVE THE HEAVENS; LET YOUR GLORY BE OVER ALL THE EARTH.
the armor from Ephesians 6:
"Finally, be strong in the Lord and IN HIS MIGHTY POWER (Lord,
I want to rely on YOUR power- not my own. Help me to be strong in YOU!).
Put on the full armor of God so that you can stake stand against ALL
the devil's schemes (whether he is trying to steal your joy, distract
you or replace the Truth with lies).
...stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand (sometimes, that is all we have left- we are just standing and saying, "I will not give up!").
Stand FIRM then, with the belt of TRUTH buckled around your waist..."
Lord, we do put on your Truth. Jesus said, I AM THE TRUTH. We buckle the Lord Jesus Christ around our waist.
And just like any weight lifter would never lift a heavy weight without first buckling that leather belt around his waist, we would not dare lift any weight of the world without first buckling the Truth around our waist.
The center of your body is the "powerhouse." If it is out of shape, it can cause all sorts of problems. We need Jesus and the written word- Truth centering us, making us strong, giving us the support we need. Lord, I believe Your Word is Truth, it is power. I choose to believe it. No matter what I am "feeling," I choose to put on the Truth and the promises of Your Word. I am a Child of the Most High God. You love me. If You are for me, who dare be against me? I am more than a conqueror in the Lord Jesus Christ. I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. I am precious and honored in Your sight. You are working ALL things together for my good (all things aren't "good," but Your are working everything together FOR MY GOOD!). Jesus said, "Then you will know the Truth, and the Truth will set you free." I choose to BELIEVE AND LIVE OUT THE TRUTH- IT WILL BRING FREEDOM IN EVERY AREA OF MY LIFE.
We put on the breastplate of righteousness. And, again, where does our righteousness come from? It comes from Jesus! What does a breastplate cover? Our hearts! The Bible says, "Above all else- guard your hearts, for it is the wellspring of life." We place Jesus over our hearts. Above everything else, we ask You God, to come in and make our hearts pure!
Make my heart like yours! Give me a new heart. Work my heart so that it soft and pliable and ready to listen to You. Purify my heart. "Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me." Lord, help me to set my heart on things above, not on earthly things. Show me things in my heart that You want to change. Help me to surrender ALL of my heart to You and to Your good and healing hands. I know Philippians tells me that when I pray (and am NOT anxious about anything), the peace that passes all understanding will keep and guard my heart (and mind) in Christ Jesus. I give You my heart, God and I place the righteousness of Jesus over it.
We fit our feet with the readiness (to be fully prepared) that comes from the gospel of peace. Lord, our feet take us everywhere we go. We put on Jesus on our feet- the gospel of peace. Jesus is the only way we have peace with God. Help us to take Him everywhere we go, being a Light for Him, shining His light. Help us to spread the good news of our faith. In every word, to friends to strangers, to our husbands and to our children, let us exude Jesus. Help us to "walk the walk" with Jesus fitted to our feet. When I read this part of the armor, I am always reminded that after Jesus healed so many, He would say, "Go in peace- your faith has healed (saved) you." Lord it is our faith that brings peace- peace with God, peace with others, peace within ourselves. Lord, strengthen our faith!
In addition to all of this, take up the shield of FAITH! Yes! It is not faith in ourselves, our abilities, the world.... But, faith in You, the Lord Jesus Christ! I can do all things through Christ! I believe "You are who You say You are, God! I believe You can do the things You say You can do! I believe I AM WHO YOU SAY I AM- blessed, chosen, adopted, accepted in the Beloved, included in Christ, FORGIVEN, redeemed, a child of the Most High God! I believe Your Word is alive and active in me!"(Beth Moore) Lord, there is no better shield than our faith!
Have you seen movies like "Gladiator?" The shields were huge, covering the soldiers' whole body. And, when a group of soldiers were together, they went down together, as a whole (like the Body of Christ), bringing their shields together as one. With this shield, "we extinguish ALL the flaming arrows of the enemy." We put out every lie and scheme of the evil one by holding up our faith in the One who already has defeated him! Satan is a defeated foe! "He that is in me is GREATER than he that is in the world- Satan." We pick up our shields and stand firm against the enemy, choosing to believe God and all of His promises.
"Take up the helmet of salvation." Wow! Ladies, so often the battle begins in our minds! It starts as a sliver of doubt. A lie planted by the enemy. Our own fleshly desires and sin. It can be a lack of trust in God. But, put on the helmet around your mind! And, where does my salvation come from? It comes from Jesus! I am putting Jesus around my mind, my thoughts. I am "taking EVERY thought captive in obedience to Jesus Christ."
No matter how I can explain it, how reasonable it looks, how much I desire to think it, I am giving it over to Jesus! The Word says I have the mind of Christ! I want to think like You, Lord! I want to put down every lofty thought and vain imagination that comes against You. I want to trust You and what Your Word says! Lord, clean up my mind! I surrender it to You! I don't want to think things that are NOT of You! Take every thought, every idea, and make it Your own. Your Word says I do NOT have a spirit of fear, but a spirit of power, love, self-control and SOUND MIND. Again, Your Word says DO NOT BE ANXIOUS OR WORRY about anything (ANYTHING!!!!!!!), BUT IN EVERYTHING, TO PRAY ABOUT IT WITH THANKSGIVING, AND THEN THE PEACE THAT PASSES ALL UNDERSTANDING WILL KEEP AND GUARD YOUR HEARTS AND MINDS IN CHRIST JESUS. Lord, renew my mind in You.
And, finally, we are to take up the sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God. Again, Jesus, You say You are the Word. I pick up the Living Word and the Written Word, my sword, and I fight against anything that would come against me. I cut through any lie of the enemy. I cut through any misconception, any confusion.
Your Word is LIFE and TRUTH. Lord, Your Word is a light for my path (in the world's darkness, Your Truth will shine Your way). I want to hide Your Word in my heart so that I may not sin against You. Your Word shows me the way I should go. Grow in me Your Word, O Lord. Give me a spirit of wisdom and revelation while reading it so that I may know You better! Fill me with Your Word and Your Truth.
Now we are ready for our day! May grace and mercy and peace be yours in abundance today!