Boots on the Ground

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Today is the final post in the Armor of God series. This step in the process of donning the armor includes all the steps before it. Let’s dive right in.

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~Preparation of the Gospel of Peace~

 Typically, when we dress for the day, our shoes are the last items we put on. The assumption is, when we put on our shoes, we’re ready to go. What shoes we wear depends on our planned activity.

It’s the same for soldiers. Strapping on combat boots means they expect to be in the thick of it. They expect action, maybe rough terrain, and need their feet protected.

It’s no different with our spiritual armor.

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Gospel of Peace

These spiritual boots are made of the Gospel. The message of peace and grace that we are to share with the world. The soles, our foundation, are the Word of God and His truth. They are held to our feet by His sacrifice and love, and moved forward by God’s guidance. Once we have them on, we must be in a constant state of readiness to act when we receive our orders.

We have standing orders to spread the Gospel to the world, to take His love out into the streets, and to do battle with the enemy when we are attacked. Sometimes, though, we remain in a holding pattern. There may not be an immediate attack taking place. We may be in a position where we have exhausted our current resources and a new opportunity or strategy is needed. Or, we may have just been through a monstrous, bloody battle that obliterated our plans completely and we are awaiting new orders.

Whatever the case may be, there are other things we must be doing that keep us ready to move. Whether we are awaiting orders or simply having a rare bit of downtime between battles, there are things we must do to maintain our readiness. Hence, the preparation part of having our feet shod. It is a continual process we must participate in if we hope to be ready for the next fight. Because that next fight will come. But we have a mighty Power behind us and inside of us that will keep us focused and strengthened, when we prepare ourselves properly.

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Actively Waiting

In these periods of rest or recovery, we cannot slack off. There is always much to do.

We should be in prayer, listening intently not only for orders, but for the encouragement and peace that only comes from Him. Just as with any relationship, communication is key. If we aren’t constantly connected and on the same page, disaster can ensue.

We must maintain the rest of our armor, so that it is ready and at our disposal when needed:

Our sword must be a part of us and we have to stay practiced in its use. This means spending time in the Word, so that it is entwined with the very fabric of our being.

Our belt must be checked, that we are staying within His truth and not letting our own creep in and weaken it.

Our shield must hold, our faith remaining solid. Any dings or holes should be repaired.

Our helmet has to remain intact. We always have to be on our guard for the mind games the enemy plays, even when the battlefield seems quiet.

Our breastplate must be polished and secure. We should continually strive to pattern our lives after His example and steer clear of anything that would tarnish our armor.

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Preparation

Part of our preparation is keeping our strategy honed and in line with His commands. We may have to adjust mid battle, if things start to go downhill or if we are caught in an ambush. Situations change in the blink of an eye. What worked yesterday might fall flat today. But we can be prepared for these changes and adapt.

The key to successful strategy is knowing your enemy. His plan is to destroy you, by whatever means necessary, at whatever the cost. He may throw things at you that caused you to stumble or wounded you in the past, just to see if you’ve truly become new, truly put them behind you. He will invent new forms of torture to get you to break. Nothing is off limits for our enemy and he will use everything in his power to take you out. And when it looks like you’re making headway, taking the high ground, he’ll come at you even harder. After all, why bother attacking a soldier that’s down and no longer a threat?

When you know his tricks and you are fully prepped against them, you ensure victory.

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 Ready, Aim, Fire!

The power of the God inside of you is so much greater than that of your enemy and our God will provide everything we need for battle. He has given you every piece of armor and every weapon necessary to fight the good fight. If you maintain and use each one properly, the enemy cannot defeat you.

Make no mistake, my fellow soldiers, we are at war. Every day the enemy rages around us, growing bolder and stronger. But the army we belong to is mightier than any that has ever walked the earth. And the reward for our victory is beyond compare.

Are you ready, willing and able? Will you make the sacrifices that are required in war?

God has already won the victory. All we have to do is be willing to claim it.

Isn’t it time you claimed yours? At the end of this battle, may we all be able to say:

~1 Timothy 4:7~

I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.

~Deuteronomy 20:4~

For the Lord your God is He who goes with you, to fight for you against your enemies, to save you.

With My Shield or On It

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Continuing with our series, The Armor of God, next is the shield of faith.

And today’s post is gonna be a little different.

~Ephesians 6:16: Above all, taking the shield of faith, with which you will be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked one.~

Today, I’m not going to throw gems of truth at you that I’ve dug up.

 I won’t be setting goals to strive for.

You won’t get some rousing speech to get you all pumped up for battle.

Today, you get my guts on this page, even more so than usual.

With My Shield or On It

Faith is a tricky thing.

You can have a little, or a lot.

It can waver or it can stand strong.

It can ebb and flow, just like the tide.

You have to trust what you cannot see. Reach for what you cannot feel. Listen for what you cannot hear.

~Hebrews 11:1 – Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.~

Faith works much like a physical shield. It can be offensive or defensive. With it, you’re protected from various projectiles. You can use it as a weapon, smashing the enemy over the head or using it as a battering ram of sorts. It can protect you from the elements. It can also help protect your fellow warriors.

It is said that Spartan mothers would hand their sons a shield before battle, and tell them to come back with it or on it. Either dead or alive, they returned a hero. If they returned without their shield, they were branded cowards who had dropped the defenses and run.

Right now, my faith is pretty dinged up. There’s a hole here, a gouge over there, and most days I can’t even seem to get the thing up off the ground, let alone carry it in front of me.

I can believe for the small things, sure. No problem. That’s easy.

I can even have faith for others. Every other person that I pray for, I have no problem envisioning in my mind what God’s gonna do for them as I pray.

But when it comes to myself and something I need? Yeah. That’s where things get jacked sideways.

Case in point: I have a degenerative spine condition. Slowly, painfully, the things I love to do are slipping off my approved activities list. As bad as I would love to be healed, to have that pain go away, most days, it’s hard to believe it’s ever going to happen.

I’ve seen miracles. I’ve experienced miracles. I’ve watched things happen that left no doubt there is a God above and He hears us. He answers us. So why do I have such a hard time having faith for my own healing?

I have no idea.

Maybe it’s because I’ve had this condition for years now. Maybe it’s because I’m in my own way, blocking my healing or rejecting it in some manner that I haven’t figured out yet.

I know my God is bigger. I know God can do anything. I guess if I’m honest, I struggle with, “Why would He do this for me?” And those old thoughts of punishment, retribution, and getting what I deserve come crashing back into my head with shattering glass and twisted metal. Even though I know that’s not how God works.

Now, why would I be telling you all of this? Aren’t I supposed to give some great revelation about faith, how to get it, how to use it? Shouldn’t I be amping you guys up for a fight and sending you out to take the enemy out at the knees?

That’s exactly what I’m doing.

The battle’s not just about you

If you’ve ever seen the show Firefly, you’ll know this quote:

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It’s not just about you.  And it’s not just about me. Soldiers don’t go out on the battlefield alone, they storm the gates with their fellow warriors. Somebody’s got their six.

You’ve got someone to depend on, who will carry you back home if they have to.

Just like it’s easier for me to have faith for others, sometimes it’s easier for them to have faith for me. This doesn’t mean that I give up. Or that I never try to grow my faith or work on whatever it is that’s holding me back. What it does mean is that I have people surrounding me that have faith for me until I do. I have friends and family that will carry me when I can’t even crawl. Until I can run again.

We all must seek out and surround ourselves with people who not only bolster our own faith, but have faith when we don’t. Those we can trust who have our back, no matter what. We build a circle of faith. That friends, is the strongest shield you will ever find.

Have you ever lost faith, or had difficulty believing for something in your own life that you’d like to share? Or, tell us about your band of soldiers that strengthen one another.

Do you lack a strong squad around you to lift you up and carry you when you need it? Contact me here, at Facebook.com/AmyBrockMcNewauthor, or at AmyMMcNew@att.net.

Cut to the Bone

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Armor of God

Sword of the Spirit

It’s Monday! (Don’t all groan at once.) At Guts on the Page, we actually like Mondays.

Mainly, because this month it means a new post on another piece of the Armor of God.

This week: The Sword of the Spirit.

If you know me at all, you know I love and own weapons of all kinds. And, I actually know how to use most of them. (We’re still working on the throwing knives.)

I have to say, though, blades are my favorite. There’s a certain elegant beauty to a well-made sword that is unmatched in any other weapon. Here’s a couple from our collection.

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Cutting Edge

Throughout history, blades have been a primary weapon for soldiers from all armies, in all corners of the world.

Here are some beauties from the past.

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Even today, though the blade is not generally the primary weapon, most every soldier carries one of some sort.

Modern combat knife. (Ka-bar)

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Blades are precise, close combat weapons. They require you to be in extreme proximity to your enemy. Even throwing blades are short range, and necessitate perfect aim. A warrior with a blade as his weapon of choice must close in on their opponent and strike strong and true. Which means they must be highly proficient in wielding said weapon. There is little room for error in face to face combat. Especially if your enemy is swinging a sword with fluid, effective maneuvers guaranteed to result in a kill.

Sword of the Spirit

The Ultimate Weapon

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~Ephesians 6:17:  …and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.

As seen above, Hebrews tells us that the Word is living, it’s active, it’s sharper than any two-edged sword. It slices right to the heart of the matter, flaying it open and revealing the truth.

Walking into battle without a weapon is flat out stupid. No earthly warrior is going to charge against the enemy with nothing in his hands unless he has no other option. If one is forced into this situation, a smart fighter will survey the area, and find something to use. Of course, this makeshift weapon rarely, if ever, proves as useful as the real thing. So either way, the fighter without a proper means of defense and offense is left at a severe disadvantage.

The same holds true in spiritual battles. A weapon is necessary. Period. You go up against the enemy with empty hands and you will be annihilated.

The good news is, we have been given the ultimate weapon. The Word of God. It holds all truth, all power. Nothing and no one can stand against it.

Our enemy is not going to hold back. Satan’s battle plan is nothing but no holds barred, all out slaughter. No exceptions. We must be just as ruthless in the fight. Only in a different way.

So how do we wield this Sword?

That’s easy.  You tuck it in your heart. You not only know the words, but feel them down to your bones. Let them become a part of you, just as a good sword master will instruct his students to do with their physical blades.

This can only happen if you spend time IN the Word. Even when you don’t think you have time, make the time. Don’t just read, dig into it. Like with an actual blade, the more you study, the more you practice, the more comfortable you will be in using it. Only then can you wield it properly.

I’ve often laid my weapon down and let the dust gather on it. Other things seemed more important at the time than reading a book. But this isn’t just any book. When I didn’t spend with it, I found myself weak and defenseless. I had nothing readily available to counter the enemy’s attacks. When I make it a point to spend time in the Word, though, I find I am stronger. As attacks blast me, raining down fire and shrapnel, I’m able to fire back and stand my ground because I have a firm foundation.

Make it a priority to keep your sword handy and to be familiar with it. Make it a part of you and use it with precision. Face down the enemy with confidence, no matter how close he gets. You can make your stand with the ultimate Weapon.

It’s do or die and you’ve got Word of Life in your hands. Cut the enemy to the bone and claim your victory.

Ground Truth

The Armor of God

Belt of Truth

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Continuing our series on the Armor of God, today we are discussing the belt of truth.

~Ephesians 6:14: Stand therefore, having girded your waist with truth.

History

The belt is a small, yet crucial part of a soldier’s armor. Most other pieces of weaponry and protection depend upon the belt being in its proper place. Many times, it is the first piece of gear a warrior dons.

Historically, the shield was connected to the belt, which kept it in place. Other purposes were to keep the tunic tight, or obviously, to keep the pants secure, and keeping clothing tight to the body to prevent accidents or the soldier being slowed. This allows the warrior to move freely and confidently. This piece also held the scabbard, knives, and sometimes rope, among other things.

In Roman armor, and others, the belt often included strips of leather or sometimes metal and chain mail, which hung down the thighs, protecting the femoral arteries.

Even in modern military gear, the belt is vital. Communications equipment, rations, weapons, ammo, and various necessary objects are carried in pouches on the belt. This frees the soldier’s hands and keeps all their tools within easy reach.

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Encircled by Truth

The belt of truth mentioned in Ephesians 6 performs these same functions, in a different context.

A belt encircles the body. It forms a complete. never ending loop. So it must be with truth. It must be complete and strong, holding all we need for our battle and keeping all other armor in place. Our principles and beliefs have to be rooted in this truth, otherwise they are not useful. We will find ourselves unarmed and the rest of our armor sliding from its place, leaving us unprotected and vulnerable to the enemy.

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What is truth?

Though there are different kinds of truth, they all flow from the same source.

~Psalm 33:4- For the Word of the Lord is right, and all His work is done in truth.

~Absolute truth

     Absolute truth is defined as: Inflexible reality; fixed, invariable, unalterable facts.

Lately, absolute truth has fallen out of fashion. Not many seem to want to accept absolute truth, choosing instead to follow the idea of moral relativism; that truth is different for everyone and according to every situation.

This is not a good guidance system. If there is no absolute truth, then there are no moral absolutes, and therefore, everything is permissible. If we do not have a compass showing us true North and helping guide our way, then what are we to align with? What direction are we to go? Do we simply wander aimlessly, flitting from one place to the next, never having guiding truths shining like a beacon and pointing us the right way?

No. There is one truth from which all other truth springs. A foundation that keeps us secure. A belt to hold our weapons and armor in place.

~John 14:6- Jesus said to him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life.”

He is our foundation. Our starting point for all truth. Everything we need can be found in Him. His words are absolute truth.

~Ground Truth

Ground truth is a military slang term that describes the reality of a tactical situation. This may differ from the original mission plan. Now this is where we get down to brass tacks. This is the place where we apply those absolute truths.

Ground truth does not mean that the guiding principles have changed. It does not mean that the end goal has changed. What it does mean is that the plan must adapt. That the objective must still be achieved, using the foundational principles that are our absolute truth, but methods must be improvised.

In battle, unforeseen circumstances arise. You may encounter an ambush. You may sustain wounds that make your former plan useless. You may have followed wrong directions and ended up several clicks South of your target.  The enemy may be stronger in number than intel stated.

When things go awry and your original plan goes out the window, you have your guiding principles, your primary objective, and your training to guide you. You must adapt. Change tactics.

You can only do this if you are able to fully utilize the tools at your disposal.

It’s the same with spiritual warfare and our daily lives.

Let’s face it, life is a battle. We are constantly bombarded by the enemy. Often, things don’t go as planned and we are left wondering what we do next, where we should go, how we’re ever going to get out of this mess of a surprise that’s been tossed in our lap.

That is when our absolute truth, THE Truth, can shine the brightest. This is when our belt of truth really does its job, providing necessary support. Everything we need for any situation will be instantly at our disposal.  But, it can only function properly if we maintain it.

How do we do that?

His Word is absolute truth, given to us in detail and there for us to consume. If we constantly devour His word, and then apply it to our lives, our armor is kept intact and in top working order. Our hearts are strengthened, our minds sharpened. We keep the word, His truth, at the forefront of all we do, and it is there and ready for action when we need it most. So study the battle plans, implement them in your own life, and maintain constant communication with Him. Hold to His truth. That’s the only way you can ever hope to win the coming battles.

I must admit, there are times when I fail to maintain my own armor. I let my devotional time in the word slide down the list. And, boy, can I feel the repercussions. Situations arise that throw me for a loop and it takes me longer to get back on track because I don’t have everything I need to battle at the forefront.

Does this happen to you? Have there been times when you have been tempted to forgo what you know is absolute in favor of the relative truth offered by the world? How do you get back on track? Share with us below.