Have you got your PPE?

If I asked you at the beginning of the year – Have you got your PPE? You may have probably scratched your head and gave a puzzled look as you were unfamiliar with the term. But I am sure you are now well acquainted with those three letters which stand for Personal Protective Equipment. PPE is equipment that will protect the user against health and safety risks at work. Some examples include gloves, face masks, aprons and glasses. Healthcare workers working on the front lines continue to risk their safety and life; without adequate protection, they are at exposed to the invisible enemy (Corona) that is roaming and seeking whom to devour. And now as the wider community attempt to resume a “normal” way of living people are required to wear PPE specifically a face mask. I have made a few observations of people you may meet in pubic:

  1. Those who don’t have a face mask
  2. Those who use clothing such as scarves or hoodies as a face mask
  3. Those who incorrectly wearing their face masks (i.e their nose is visible or it has become a chin mask or even something to keep their neck warm)
  4. Those who are correctly wearing their face masks

It’s quite funny to see the variety. Which group do you belong to?

I am not here to scold or instruct you on how to wear your physical PPE against COVID-19 but I do want to talk about another type of PPE we should all be aware of. I recently came across this triggering quote on Instagram:

“Spiritually speaking, you and I are on the front lines and without having Personal Protective Equipment, we can be infected with the virus of sin.”

Mark Finley

It should come as no surprise that there is an ongoing war between good and evil. Although the physical realm appears harmless (when there isn’t a pandemic) we are still on a battleground: the spiritual realm is where the majority of the action takes place. Paul says in Ephesians 6:12: For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places. In the remaining of that passage, Paul gives an analogy of the Spiritual Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) that should be used. I will give a breakdown of these items below;

Spiritual PPE

  1. The Belt of truth
    • This belt was used by Roman soldiers to hold up their trousers and put their undergarments together. Without this, the soldier will be in discomfort under the rest of the armour.
    • It is vital to know the truth, this foundation aids our success in battles.
    • Jesus said “I am the way, the truth and the life” (John 14:6) and John 8:32 adds that: ye shall know the truth and the truth shall make you free
    • Truth is part of God’s character, it is who He is and his Son Jesus represents Truth therefore the Truth is always God’s view on any subject. We need to know our biblical beliefs as Christians because only the biblical truth can set us free from the power of darkness.
    • On the opponents’ side, you have Satan – the father of lies, who attempts to use deception to win. Thus, it is essential to get acquainted with the truth, respect the truth and live by the truth. A popular saying goes – If you don’t stand for something you fall for anything; hence why we must always be ready to give a response for the faith and hope we have.
    • During spiritual warfare resist the urge to consult everyone else’s view on the matter before considering God’s view.
  2. Breastplate of Righteousness
    • This breastplate was used to protect vital internal organs such as the heart and lungs thereby protecting the soldier from attacks in close combat.
    • Righteousness is the quality of being morally right or justifiable. This righteousness is not through our works, we receive it by faith in Jesus and His death on the cross thus making it possible for us to have eternal life.
    • Satan’s strategy is to attack our heart by manipulating our emotions; he manipulates us into thinking that our works make us right before God. He aims to accuse and condemn us when we sin thereby forgetting that it’s Jesus’ work that makes us righteous.
    • The truth is: we are not saved by our feelings because they can be deceptive; you can feel like a horrible and worthless person but that doesn’t mean you are not saved and vice versa.
    • We are called righteous because of our faith and trust in God not by how we feel about ourselves; don’t let Satan make you believe otherwise.
  3. Gospel of Peace (Sandals)
    • In ancient battle, sharpened sticks were often buried in the ground and if this was stepped on whilst bare-footed that soldier would be disabled.
    • Adequate footwear is essential in navigating and successfully fighting as it provides a firm foundation. Likewise, we need solid footing. The Gospel is the foundation for all we do and say, so it’s vital to know what it says.
    • You cannot afford to be wishy-washy about where you stand when it comes to sin; as I mentioned earlier if you don’t stand for something you fall for anything.
    • Don’t allow Satan to deceive and sway you into believing a counterfeit Gospel, we ought to test everything we hear and see against God’s Word. When we remove Jesus from the equation of the Gospel everything falls apart.
  4. Shield of Faith
    • Faith represents a shield, you are probably aware of the text in Hebrews 11:6 without faith it is impossible to please Him [God], for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.” Essentially we win in spiritual warfare when we have faith.
    • Satan’s strategy is to make us doubt God’s word, we see this in the account with Eve in the Garden of Eden: whilst the serpent is tempting Eve to eat the fruit he asks “Has God said?” “is that really what he said?”. When doubt seeps into our mind it is even more vital to understand God’s truth and stand by it.
    • We win in spiritual warfare when we make up our mind to understand God’s word, have faith in His Word and His promises.
    • Faith is trusting who and what God says even when our situation appears otherwise. It involves depending on God and not our ability. As God tells Abraham in Genesis 15:1 – [He] is our shield. God is our shield of faith that sends Satan’s darts back at him.
    • Faith allows us to fight temptations, doubts, guilt, fear, unbelief, anxiety. Faith says to Satan – “I trust God so I am sticking with Him.
  5. Helmet of Salvation
    • The soldier’s helmet protects his head i.e. our minds.
    • Satan’s strategy is to attack our mind by playing mischievous mind games. If we don’t have a foolproof strategy to guard and filter what we process we open ourselves to being defiled.
    • To prevent spiritual concussions our thoughts must be aligned with the Truth; a great formula for this is in Philippians 4:8-9 [description of things we should focus on]
    • The helmet is described as the hope of salvation in other bible texts [1 These 5:8]; having the hope of salvation helps in spiritual warfare when Satan attempts to discourage us. Satan plays mind games with us and leads us to think that being a Christian and living a godly life in today’s society is impossible so we should give up. However the hope of salvation protects us against giving up – we have hope and assurance that God will triumph; we are on the winning side.
    • A bible commentary explained that Salvation has 3 tenses
      • We have been saved from the penalty of our sin –Justification
      • We are being saved from the power of sin – Sanctification
      • We shall be saved from the presence of sin – Glorification
    • Don’t lose sight of eternity whilst fighting in spiritual warfare, there is hope that sin will one day no longer have the rule over us.
  6. Sword of the Spirit
    • A soldier has a sword that is used for attack and defence; we have the Word Of God as our attack and defence strategy against sin and temptation.
    • For the sword to be effectively used in battle, the soldier has to train with it beforehand likewise for us to effectively use the Word we must read and practise what it says.
    • The temptation of Jesus in the Wilderness which is documented in Matthew 4:1-11 explains how Jesus successfully fought the devil’s temptations with scriptural comebacks.
    • The psalmist says Your word I have hidden in my heart that I may not sin against you – Psalm 119:11. David understood that familiarity with God’s Word helps in the battle against sin because it keeps us from sinning and the devil can’t twist and use it against us.
    • Doug Batchelor once said: It’s either the bible keeps you from sinning or sin keeps you away from the bible. The choice is ours; what will it be?
    • Success in spiritual warfare is highly dependent on how well we know and implement biblical truths into our life.
  7. Last but certainly not least – Prayer
    • Prayer should always be our first resort as a lack of prayer is essentially telling God – I can do this on my own.
    • Jesus warns the disciples in Mark 14:38: “Watch and pray, lest you enter into temptation. The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.” – we are also warned to “Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour.” I Peter 5:8 
      • Satan wants to surprise and knock us down before we realise what’s happening, therefore, we must stay PRAYED UP at all times.
    • I am not going to labour the point but Prayer is our best weapon in pulling down strongholds in the spiritual realm. Being in communication with the father also gives you that much-needed encouragement and sustenance during the waging war.

Summarising with this Message translation of Ephesians 6:10-18

“And that about wraps it up. God is strong, and he wants you strong. So take everything the Master has set out for you, well-made weapons of the best materials. And put them to use so you will be able to stand up to everything the Devil throws your way. This is no afternoon athletic contest that we’ll walk away from and forget about in a couple of hours. This is for keeps, a life-or-death fight to the finish against the Devil and all his angels. Be prepared. You’re up against far more than you can handle on your own. Take all the help you can get, every weapon God has issued, so that when it’s all over but the shouting you’ll still be on your feet. Truth, righteousness, peace, faith, and salvation are more than words. Learn how to apply them. You’ll need them throughout your life. God’s Word is an indispensable weapon. In the same way, prayer is essential in this ongoing warfare. Pray hard and long. Pray for your brothers and sisters. Keep your eyes open. Keep each other’s spirits up so that no one falls behind or drops out.”

Ephesians 6:10-18

The Undiluted Word Points:

  1. Know the Truth and what you stand for
  2. Remember that God has called you righteous 
  3. Have Faith in God and His Promises
  4. Have the Hope of Salvation
  5. Attack the enemy with scripture
  6. Prayer must be the first resort 

God gives every believer a full set of PPE and sends us out into battle with everything we need at hand. If you were paying attention you may have realised there is no armour to protect your back – why is that you may ask? God does not expect us to run away from battle therefore exposing our backside – we are told to take up the whole armour and STAND – Stand for and with CHRIST. Now I ask you again Have you got your PPE and secondly are you wearing it properly?

May God continue to be with us all as we face the forces of the spiritual realm. May we stand strong as Soldiers in the Lord’s army ready to fight and win in the battle against sin with God on our side.

Stay blessed & Please continue to stay safe,

Dara xx

GODFIDENCE †

As you may be aware it’s that special time of the year again. One of the few days (apart from my birthday in July)  in the year I get very very excited for. On this day 4 years ago, there was a celebration in Heaven as another soul decided to join the winning side.  If you haven’t guessed by now it’s my Baptism Birthday (as I like to call it). I enjoy using this landmark to reflect on my relationship with God and share some encouragement with others.

To begin I want to shed some light on the title – GODFIDENCE.

God•fi•dence

Definition:

A: a feeling or consciousness of Gods powers or of reliance on God’s promises. < I had perfect Godfidence in His ability to HEAL>

B: faith or belief that God will act in a right, proper, or effective way <I have Godfidence in the heavenly Father!>

Synononyms:

Faith

#HolySlang

Do you have GODFIDENCE? 

I believe that this past year has really strengthened my GODFIDENCE. There have been many doubts along the way; I doubted that God will make a way for me to get into Uni, I doubted that God will enable me to pass my exams with all the obstacles and even for a hot sec I doubted that my plane will land safetly despite all the turbulences, you get where I am coming from? I am sure some (if not all) of you are able to relate to those small moments when your mind wanders and you start to lose confidence in God & forget about His wonder working power. Having said all of that, I believe that doubts are a part of a Christian’s journey. Doubts strengthen us in ways we may not be able to understand straightaway.

“A faith without some doubts is like a human body without any antibodies in it”– Timonthy Keller

I have realised that when you decide to follow Christ and make a decision to no longer stay on Satan’s side, his attacks on you become greater. When we decide to turn our backs on the ways and customs of this world we become the number 1 target for Satan. One of the ways he attacks us is by depositing doubts in our minds. He makes us doubt God’s ability and promises. When Satan begins to fire fiery darts of doubts at us, what are we supposed to do? As Ephesians 6:16 states “above all, take the shield of faith with which you will be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked one.”

taking up this shield of faith

Taking up the shield of faith means that we decide to see things from God’s perspective, we decide to see beyond our current circumstances and know that ultimate victory is ours. It means that whenever Satan wants you to believe that you made a wrong decision by choosing to be on God’s side you, you remind yourself  that God is not a man, that He should lie, Nor a son of man, that He should repent; Has He said, and will He not do it? Or has He spoken, and will He not make it good? Numbers 23:19. God will do what He said He will do, He will stand by His word and come through for you. Doubts pierce our trust in God, but when we take up the shield of faith we are protected.

Abraham’s faith is detailed in Romans chapter 4. Verse 21 says: [Abraham was] fully convinced that God was able to do what he had promised. Unlike yourself and myself Abraham never doubted that God will fulfil his promises, eventhough Satan fired arrows to give him reasons to doubt. God promised to give him a land but satan fired the arrow of famine. God promised to make him father of many nations but satan fired the arrow of old age. Yes Abraham made mistakes, committed sins and experienced failures but he consistently trusted in God. Abraham had GODFIDENCE. The obstacles Abraham faced strengthened his faith. Abraham’s life demonstrates Faith in Action. We should all take a leaf out of Abraham’s book and obey God and wait for Him to fufil his word. As I said in my post A Shout Out to GodNever think that God is punishing you, he is taking you on a journey to strengthen your faith and relationship with Him. AND most of all he is showing that he will remain FAITHFUL to the end. 

How do you feel when your birthday is approaching? I don’t know about you but I am always excited, and sometimes slighlty anxious. I am usually excited to recieve the presents I have been looking forward to. But then I would be anxious about the ones I am not aware of -the surprises. Assurance and anticipation are words that accompany birthdays and surprinsingly or unsurpsingly those words also describe what faith is like. Faith ” is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see” (Hebrews 11:1). Faith is the confidence based on our past experiences that God’s new and fresh surprises will surely be ours. Like I mentioned in If He dId it before. He can do it Again: Believe that the same God that helped you to succeed in the past is going to  help you again. He is the same God yesterday, today and tomorrow.

Confidence & Certainty are words that should describe our GODFIDENCE. These qualities have a begining and ending point.

  1. Begining point: Believe in God’s character – He is who he says he is.
  2. End point: Believe in God’s promises – He will do what he says.

When we believe that God will fulfil his promises even though we don’t see those promises happening  we should still demonstrate true faith. Consciously remind yourself of God’s power and rely on His promises. 

Doubts are not a bad thing, as I quoted earlier “A faith without some doubts is like a human body without any antibodies in it”. Antibodies help us build our immunity so that we are able to fight infections when they rise up again. In the same way doubts are fired at us so that we learn to pick up our shield of faith and strengthen it. In John 20:24-31, Jesus doesn’t have a go at Thomas for his doubts. Despite Thomas’s skepticism, he was still loyal to Jesus. Just like Thomas some of us need to doubt before we believe. Doubting leads to questions, then questions lead to answers and then the answers are accepted, in the end the doubts were helpful. It is when our doubt becomes stubbornness and stubborness becomes a prideful lifestlye that doubt harms our faith. When next you find yourself doubting, don’t stop there! Let your doubt deepen your faith as you continue to search for answers or wait for explanations or miracles from God. 

Doubts pierce our trust in God, but our faith protects us.

Stay Blessed,

Dara x

P.S- Please have  a read of the posts I have mentioned in the post, they reinforce the points I have made in this post. If you have any prayer requests please feel free to send them through this link. I am always happy & eager to pray for others 😊