Friday, May 26, 2017

Building An Arsenal of Scripture

"Fight the good fight of faith, lay hold on eternal life, whereunto thou art also called, and hast professed a good profession before many witnesses."
I Timothy 6:12
(KJV)

On Easter Sunday, I published this post, and in it, I mentioned this,

"God has given me an exacting assignment that is requiring every bit of my creative time and energy.
It is requiring me to press hard into prayer and moments with Jesus for much needed inspiration and help.  I have never felt more dependent upon Him or more in need of His Divine in-pouring into this very incapable vessel of clay."

I have been, and still am, very much involved in the exacting assignment God is asking of me,
and I tell you that ever since it began, I have been going through a season of severe, and I do mean severe, testing.

I will not lie and tell you that I feel victorious in this testing.
Let me just be transparent and brutally honest.
There is no sense in sugar-coating it or trying to falsify the truth for the sake of "appearances".
It is what it is.

I have not been and am not happy about these trials.
I have felt downright angry and abandoned and disillusioned more times than I'd like to admit.
Dear Lord, forgive me, but I have railed out questions to Him, like,

"WHY?"
and 
"Where are YOU?"
and 
"What did I do to reap such punishment?"
and
"Why are You against me?"
and
"Lord, I am doing everything You are asking me to do, so why are You allowing this?"
and
"Do You not see what is going on?"
and
"Do You even care?"

I think I have totally failed the test.
Shamefully, I have not gone, nor am I going through this trial very well....at all.
I have not "counted it all joy", even though, our precious son, Zach, often reminds me of James 1:2.
"My brethren, count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations..."
As Zach gently reminds me of this verse, he also goes on to include the next verse that reads, 
"Knowing this, that the trying of your faith worketh patience."
Zach tells me that it is not that we feel JOY because we are undergoing such tests and trials,
but what we "count JOY" is the result of the trials.
We count are supposed to count JOY the good that is being wrought in us through our testing.

Dear Zach!
I have lost count of the times that he and Kevin have stopped what they were doing to pray with and for me.
God bless my dear, patient, loving husband and son.

It is no secret that I often have a hard time "feeling" God when I am going through such difficulties.
If you are a person who can feel Him in those places, I applaud you, my friend.
More often than not, such is not the case with me.
And, because of that, I struggle.
You can read more about my struggles HERE and HERE.

The other night, out of the blue, the dear Comforter came to me with three words.
"Arm yourselves likewise."
That was it.
I had heard the verse many times throughout life, but, for the life of me, in that moment,
I could not remember where it was located in the Bible or exactly whom it was referring to.
I kept wondering, "Arm yourselves like who?"
I couldn't wait to finish what I was doing so I could look it up and see the surrounding context and find out who we are to "arm ourselves" like.
Was it referring to Paul?
Peter?
Who?

"Forasmuch then as Christ hath suffered for us in the flesh, arm yourselves likewise with the same mind: for he that hath suffered in the flesh hath ceased from sin; That he no longer should live the rest of his time in the flesh to the lusts of men, but to the will of God."
I Peter 4:1

Christ, our loving Lord!
Of course, it is He we are to arm ourselves like!

The precious Holy Spirit continued to speak to me,
"Child, you are not using your armor.
You are not picking up your Sword to fight."

I could not deny His truth.
The constant battering and bruising and attacks by the enemy had rendered me exhausted,
discouraged, and near-lifeless.
I had NO strength left to fight.
No energy to pick up the Sword that lay, shamefully unused, by my side.

Whether you and I like it or want to admit it, 
we are engaged in spiritual warfare that is very real.
We can pretend it isn't happening.
We can bury our heads in the sand and hope satan doesn't discover our hiding place.
We can try to run away from the battlefield.
The truth is that when we sell out to God and determine with all our heart and mind to follow Jesus, 
regardless what it costs, we step into a raging, hostile, merciless war zone with a target on our back.
This is reality.
This is what is going on.
The more we sink into God, the more we strive to be like Jesus, the more satan perceives us as a threat.
What he perceives to be a threat to darkness, he will oppose.
The harder we try to work for God and pursue the building of His kingdom, 
the more determined satan will be to oppose and extinguish what God is doing in and through us.

"And he shewed me Joshua the high priest standing before the angel of the LORD, and Satan standing at his right hand to resist him."
Zechariah 3:1

"Lest Satan should get an advantage of us: for we are not ignorant of his devices."
2 Corinthians 2:11

"For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places."
Ephesians 6:12

This is real, folks.
No doubt about it.

If you continue reading the above passage in Ephesians 6, you will find that God has provided a six piece suit of armor for us to "arm ourselves like" Jesus, so that we can triumph in this spiritual war.
 1.  Belt of truth
2.  Breastplate of righteousness
3.  Shoes of the Gospel of peace
4.  Shield of faith
5.  Helmet of salvation
6.  Sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God

I find it interesting that of the six pieces of armor, five are defensive, but only one is offensive.

As the precious Holy Spirit dealt with my heart the other night,
my thoughts immediately went to the time Jesus was so sorely tested in the wilderness,
right before He began His earthly ministry, and how each time satan came to Him with such audacious temptations, Jesus overcame by wielding the Sword of the Spirit and verbally speaking the Word of God.

"And take...the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God..."
Ephesians 6:17

If Jesus conquered satan by quoting the Word of God, how can we hope to be victorious in any other way?
And, how can we quote His Word if we have not hid it in our hearts?

Psalm 119:11 says,
"Thy word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against Thee."

How can it readily be drawn forth in the heat of the battle, if we have not saturated ourselves with it ahead of time?
Just as a U.S. Marine would never enter hostile territory without a rifle or other offensive weapon,
a soldier of the cross should never walk into hand-to-hand satanic combat without the Sword of the Spirit.

Before walking into my current battles, I knew this.
A near-lifetime of Scripture memorization has equipped me.
The Word of God is there, settled deep into my composition.
But, what good is it doing if I am not actively picking up the Sword and using it?

When the Lord whispered, "Arm yourselves likewise", I finally got the message.
The reason I was feeling so defeated, whipped, and overcome was because I was not arming myself.
I was not wielding my Sword.
The armor was there, available, but I was not taking advantage of it.

I don't know what you may be going through, but I know of a certainty that you are going through something.
We all are.
If Jesus Christ was not exempt from severe testing, what would ever make us think that we are?
So, the thing for each of us to do is to build what I call an M.S.A., 
aka as a Massive Scriptural Arsenal.

Arsenal - a collection of weapons and military equipment stored by a country, person, or group; 
an array of resources available for a certain purpose.

Don the pieces of armor...every, single day, and read the Bible.
Immerse yourself in the Word of God.
Search the Scriptures.
Absorb them.
Infuse them into every possible waking thought.
Soak your soul in them.
And, here is the most important thing...
memorize them.
This is what it means to hide them in the heart.
Deposit them into your Massive Scriptural Arsenal.
This way, the Word will be there, a sword ready to be drawn in the heat of the moment when you are face to face with the enemy.

"For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart."
Hebrews 4:12

In closing, I would like to share some of the stock in
  my personal Massive Scriptural Arsenal.
I hope you will adopt them and use them to start building your own M.S.A.
Trust me, my friend, and I know you already know this,
but, you will need it.
God bless you as you press forward, in Jesus' name, ever fighting the good fight of faith.

"Behold, I give unto you power to tread on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy: and nothing shall by any means hurt you."
Luke 10:19
(A dear friend emailed me this one the other day.  I had forgotten about this verse!  Oh, it has blessed me and fortified my courage!  Our dear Lord spoke this verse from His very own lips.  I have added it to my M.S.A., and it will stay there from now on, ready to be wielded, as needed.  Thank you, dear Kathleen for this reminder!)

"Resist the devil, and he will flee from you."
James 4:7

"Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him that loved us."
Romans 8:37

"No weapon that is formed against thee shall prosper; and every tongue that shall rise against thee in judgment thou shalt condemn. This is the heritage of the servants of the LORD, and their righteousness is of Me, saith the LORD."
Isaiah 54:17

"For Thou hast girded me with strength unto the battle: Thou hast subdued under me those that rose up against me."
Psalm 18:39

"If God be for us, who can be against us?"
Romans 8:31

"Not by might, nor by power, but by My spirit, saith the LORD of hosts."
Zech. 4:6

"But the Lord is faithful, and He will strengthen and protect you from the evil one."
2 Thessalonians 3:3

"I shall not die, but live, and declare the works of the LORD."
Psalm 118:17

"The LORD shall cause thine enemies that rise up against thee to be smitten before thy face: they shall come out against thee one way, and flee before thee seven ways."
Deuteronomy 28:7

"Ye are of God, little children, and have overcome them: because greater is He that is in you, than he that is in the world."
I John 4:4

"One man of you shall chase a thousand: for the LORD your God, He it is that fighteth for you, as He hath promised you."
Joshua 23:10

"Through Thee will we push down our enemies: through Thy name will we tread them under that rise up against us."
Psalm 44:5

"But as for you, ye thought evil against me; but God meant it unto good..."
Genesis 50:20

"For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds..."
2 Corinthians 10:4

"Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil."
Ephesians 6:11

"Thus saith the LORD unto you, Be not afraid nor dismayed by reason of this great multitude; for the battle is not yours, but God's.  Ye shall not need to fight in this battle: set yourselves, stand ye still, and see the salvation of the LORD with you, O Judah and Jerusalem: fear not, nor be dismayed; to morrow go out against them: for the LORD will be with you."
2 Chronicles 20:15,17

"If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness."
I John 1:9

"Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour:  Whom resist stedfast in the faith, knowing that the same afflictions are accomplished in your brethren that are in the world."
I Peter 5:8,9

"But thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ."
I Corinthians 15:57

"The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly."
John 10:10

"Verily I say unto you, Whatsoever ye shall bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever ye shall loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.  Again I say unto you, That if two of you shall agree on earth as touching any thing that they shall ask, it shall be done for them of My Father which is in heaven."
Matthew 18:18,19

"These things I have spoken unto you, that in Me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world."
John 16:33

"There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it."
I Corinthians 10:13

"Ye shall not fear them: for the LORD your God He shall fight for you."
Deuteronomy 3:22

"Be not overcome of evil, but overcome evil with good."
Romans 12:21

"Have not I commanded thee? Be strong and of a good courage; be not afraid, neither be thou dismayed: for the LORD thy God is with thee whithersoever thou goest."
Joshua 1:9

"He that dwelleth in the secret place of the most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty.  I will say of the LORD, He is my refuge and my fortress: my God; in him will I trust.  Surely He shall deliver thee from the snare of the fowler, and from the noisome pestilence.  He shall cover thee with His feathers, and under His wings shalt thou trust: His truth shall be thy shield and buckler."
  Psalm 91:1-4

"And this is the confidence that we have in Him, that, if we ask any thing according to His will, He heareth us:  And if we know that He hear us, whatsoever we ask, we know that we have the petitions that we desired of Him."
I John 5:14,15

"If ye shall ask any thing in My name, I will do it."
John 14:14


I would love it if you would share one (or however many you would like) Scripture(s) from your own personal Massive Scriptural Arsenal in the comments below!