Using the Sword of the Spirit

Using the Sword of the Spirit

If you knew of an effective, spiritual weapon that would flawlessly protect you from the schemes of the enemy, would you use it?

Jesus did. He was adept at using the Sword of the Spirit.

 

In the wilderness, He was hungry, hadn’t likely slept well for weeks, and was far from what might have felt comfortable. 40 days of fasting in the wilderness will do that. During this time of weakness, Jesus faced the temptation of Satan (see Luke 4:1-13), fought a spiritual battle with spiritual weapons, and walked away victorious. This provides the ultimate example of using the Sword of the Spirit, which the Bible teaches is the Word of God.

The Temptation of Jesus and What it Teaches About our Enemy

The Lord’s interaction with the enemy exposes the schemes of the evil one. It’s good to know our enemy and through this event, and we learn much about his destructive tactics:

  • Satan comes after us in times of weakness. While we hope that he may leave us alone during difficult periods, the opposite is true. He knows the perfect times to move in and attack – and it’s not while we’re strong.
  • The enemy knows exactly how to pull each of us off track. He may come after me with lies about my identity in Christ while assaulting you with temptation toward laziness. There’s no question he knows just where and how to strike and he executes with precision.
  • The efforts of the enemy are relentless. Satan knows we may withstand one wave of temptation, so he’s prepared to move in with additional assaults if necessary.
  • Tactics of the enemy are to accuse, tempt, and deceive. Watch the progression:
    1. Accusation: Luke 4:3 – “If you are the Son of God…” Can’t you just hear that hiss? The whisper to our Savior saying, you’re not really the son of God.
    2. Temptation: Luke 4:6-7 – “I will give you all this domain and its glory… if You worship before me.” He tried to tempt Jesus with kingdoms of this world.
    3. Deception: Luke 4:9-11 – Our enemy knows God’s Word and twists it with the intent to deceive: Just jump, he dared. God will send His angels to protect you.

Jesus battled each tactic with one weapon: the Sword of the Spirit which is the Word of God. Scripture worked against each of the enemy’s schemes. Talk about powerful and effective!

Using the Sword of the Spirit—Praying Scripture

What does it mean to use the Sword of the Spirit? It’s simply praying the Word of God.

Satan tried to control Jesus through temptation, accusation, and deception. Our own vulnerabilities look different, but for each of us, the enemy attempts to open a dangerous pit of control and mastery that we must fight hard to avoid. The Sword is a powerful weapon.

Beth Moore authored a tremendous book titled Praying God’s Word. It seemed as if I highlighted nearly every word I read. In this book, she refers to the practice of praying God’s Word as: “… one of the most effective approaches to the liberated life in Christ that God has ever taught me.”[1] When we use God’s Word relentlessly in prayer it’s part of putting on the full Armor of God. By wielding the Sword of the Spirit:

  • We know we are praying His will, and using His perfect words to intercede.
  • We’re using the most powerful tool in our arsenal.
  • Truth begins to fill our minds so that we can ward off the lies of the enemy.
  • Eventually, we’ll learn the verses by heart so that the Holy Spirit can call them to mind when we need them most.

Victory in Jesus

It’s imperative to recognize that you and I have all the same weapons that Jesus had to fight the spiritual battle.

  • The Word of God is at our disposal. If we find we’re too busy to read and meditate on the Bible, we forfeit the most potent tool in our toolbox. You’ll notice that Jesus first response was Scripture. He didn’t need to stop and look up a verse – He knew the Word of God.
  • Our loving, heavenly Father remains in full authority over Satan. God never tempts us. He does not allow us to undergo temptation without reason – for our strengthening and betterment. “Temptation is Satan’s weapon to defeat us, but it can become God’s tool to build us.”[2]
  • We have God-given power and authority over the enemy. Do you find yourself questioning this? Look at these Scriptures and embrace them as God’s truth: Luke 10:19, Colossians 2:10, 1 John 4:4.
  • The Holy Spirit intercedes for us. I’ve had moments – and I bet you have too – where I feel I’m walking into a battle without prayer support. Sometimes battles come upon us in a surprising fashion, without time to ask for prayer from our sisters and support teams. But here’s a truth to cling to: “In the same way the Spirit also joins to help in our weakness… the Spirit Himself intercedes for us with unspoken groanings. … He intercedes for the saints according to the will of God. (Romans 8:26-27 HCSB).

 

 

 

It’s time to wield the Sword of the Spirit

It’s time to let the Word of God penetrate our minds, hearts, and spirits so that we can use it as the powerful and effective weapon that it’s intended to be. Here are a few challenges to help us get started:

  • Choose one verse to learn by heart. Read it, write it on an index card, say it, sing it, and by all means, use it to battle our enemy. Pick a verse that specifically speaks to your biggest weakness, your area of vulnerability. (Use openbible.info for help).
  • Pray the Scriptures over your family. As you read through daily devotions you’re sure to read Bible verses that make you shout, “I wish my ___ knew that!” Well, pray it for them! Insert their name into it. Ask God to fill them with it. Refer to pages 86-91 of Fervent by Priscilla Shirer for additional help. As you start to pray the Scriptures, pay attention to how God moves. Prepare to be astonished, then be sure to thank the Lord!
  • Read a Psalm – just one – each day for an entire week. Read it silently and out loud. Paste it into the notes section of your phone so you can read it at the doctor’s office or in the drive-through. The more you read, the more familiar it becomes and the more it starts to sink into the portion of your brain that memorizes. It becomes like that product jingle that you can’t get out of your head – only you want this one!

With Practice Comes Progression

As with any tool or weapon, wielding the Sword of the Spirit requires practice. We don’t seek perfection, but we are looking to move forward, to equip ourselves for battle, to prepare our hearts and minds to honor God above all else. We have the power – and the authority – to say “No, Satan. Not today. I will not believe your lies because I know the truth and here it is!” And then, we walk away from the battle in freedom and victory. How fun is that? Have a blessed day in the Lord, my friend.

 

   Praying God's Word

  [1] Moore, Beth. Praying God’s Word: Breaking Free from Spiritual Strongholds (p. 2). B&H Publishing Group. Kindle Edition. [2] Wiersbe, W. W. (1996). The Bible exposition commentary (Vol. 1, p. 182). Wheaton, IL: Victor Books.

War Room Prayers for Marriage

War Room Prayers for Marriage

Marriages are facing trials and challenges like never before. The enemy of our souls continues to rise up and attack our homes and families. Some wonder if war room prayers for marriage—lifting your relationship before God in the most vulnerable and intimate way—can help a marriage survive.     The answer to that question is a resounding yes. Marriages can survive. What’s more, they can thrive and flourish. Prayer is a key that unlocks doors of hope and possibility.  

When troubled and in crisis, prayer for marriage—specifically Scriptural prayer—can break through barriers that you never dreamed. We don’t always know what to pray when we feel broken and healing looks impossible.

How can I pray for my marriage?

To celebrate over 3 decades of marriage, I wrote 31 Specific Prayers for Your Marriage.  It’s a prayer devotional specifically for marriage and it will help you pray. The tools and insights add power to your prayers by relying on the Word of God. When a marriage feels broken, we often don’t know how to form the words to pray. This devotional will fuel your prayers and give you tools to pray fervently and effectively for your relationship.

The eBook is available to download now!

 

Our Miraculous Victory —through Prayers for Marriage

You might wonder if a marriage can survive infidelity. Or if any marriage can withstand the loss of a child. Such tragedies feel nearly impossible to navigate.

During a season when my own marriage nearly crumbled, the Lord prompted both my husband and me—independently—to pray. We were separated, lying in beds literally miles apart from one another. That’s when the Holy Spirit prompted each of us to pray. Sure, we’d asked God for a few things here and there, but we had no idea how to begin praying fervently, baring our souls before God. But He led us through and the more we prayed, the more comfortable it became.

The results of those prayers were nothing short of miraculous. We’ve now had more than 30 years together, and I am both humbled and grateful that our marriage did more than survive. It thrived. All glory goes to God for the victory and I believe He used fervent prayer as a weapon of warfare.

Inside the eBook, each of the 31 daily marriage devotions provides a Bible passage or two to focus on God’s truth, a specific prayer based on the Scriptures, and a simple step of faith to encourage tangible action in your journey of prayer. By engaging with this prayer devotional, your marriage and relationships will see blessings. We know from experience these prayers will strengthen your marriage through:

  • a refreshed closeness to the Lord
  • developing a strong practice of prayer
  • softening your heart toward your spouse

Use it as a daily devotional, shared prayer time for couples, or take your time and savor the experience by pouring yourself into the prayer and suggested steps of faith. 31 Specific Prayers for Your Marriage is available now with immediate download.

Prayer Devotional for Marriage

 

 

God’s Promise of Restoration

God’s Promise of Restoration

The heaviness in my heart was palpable, dampening my spirit, and darkening my mood. In a word, I felt defeated, reflecting on the loss of relationships, time, and even hope. Why? I wondered why I continued to pour myself into things that offered little freedom, healing, or benefit. I needed help and I turned to the promise of God’s restoration.

Settling in to listen to the Sunday message at church, weariness blanketed me like a fog. My sacrifices over the past months weighed heavy on my heart and mind. I wondered if they’d bear any tangible fruit.

My heart wailed, “What’s it all for? Why, Lord, am I going through this?” A full-blown self-pity party threatened to overtake me and I wondered if the Lord had any encouragement to offer.

He did.

Divine Restoration in the Bible

A visiting missionary delivered the sermon that morning—it was a captivating message of God’s love and provision. He pointed to divine restoration in the Bible and shared personal stories of God’s care and generosity. His message proclaimed the love and care of our Heavenly Father who poured out compassion in the most distressing, hopeless situations.

I felt I was in a distressing, hopeless situation too. Would the Lord show me His mercy?

The missionary shared countless Bible verses but one delivered a spark of hope to my hurting heart:

“And everyone who has left houses, brothers or sisters, father or mother, children or friends because of My name will receive 100 times more and will inherit eternal life” (Matthew 19:29 HCSB).

God’s Promise of Restoration

The Lord sees our sacrifice. He is keenly aware of what we give up for Him and will replenish our dry cisterns. God allows hardships but promises restoration.

He promises it.

What does it mean to be restored by God?

My mind traveled to Job of the Bible who lost his servants, children, livestock, livelihood, and his health. In the early chapters of this book, we’re given a glimpse of Job’s estate. It included 7,000 sheep 3,000 camels, 500 oxen, 500 female donkeys, and a very large number of servants (see Job 1:2).

After all the tragedy and loss Job endured, we see God’s restoration and learn that He doubled Job’s prior possessions. “The LORD blessed the last part of Job’s life more than the first. He owned 14,000 sheep, 6,000 camels, 1,000 yoke of oxen, and 1,000 female donkeys. He also had seven sons and three daughters” (Job 42:12-13, HCSB).

The Meaning of Restoration in the Bible

Unquestionably, the new possessions did not erase the horrific pain of prior loss, but God generously restored even more than Job’s sacrifice, and through the journey restored his hope and peace. The Lord counted Job’s cost. He measured it, and He restored it in double portion. To restore, in a Biblical sense, means to complete, to make amends, and to prosper. Just as we see in Job’s example. Or through the promise of Joel 2:25 (shared below). And we also see it in personal examples of our daily lives.

As I listened and reflected on the missionary’s testimony, I realized the question is not if God will reveal blessing, but when. I felt the Holy Spirit providing assurance that the offering I considered sacrificial would bear Kingdom-sized fruit in God’s perfect timing— and lasting fruit at that.

My heart found refreshing rest in the promises of Gods Word. I received and embraced the encouragement I believe He meant for me.

God’s Word says that when we walk in obedience, He will “restore your fortunes, have compassion on you, and gather you again…” (Deuteronomy 30:3, HCSB)).

The promise of Joel 2:25a (ESV) says,
“I will restore  to you the years
    that the swarming locust has eaten, 

Personal Examples of God’s Restoration

I began to recall personal examples of times God has proved this to me in the past:

God’s Restoration of Time

It’s not uncommon for me to wake in the morning and think, “I have too much going on today, there’s no time for Bible devotions.” On days when I listen to that logic and forgo my time in the Word, my day is nearly always in disarray with one appointment crashing into the next. I run late, experience conflict, and I’m not on my best game. But when I get on my knees before the Lord—even when I feel I don’t have time— I see a level of efficiency and grace throughout my day that I recognize as God’s blessing. It’s no coincidence. God restores the sacrifice of time.

God’s Restoration of Finances

There are times when the Lord prompts us to financially give beyond what we feel we can afford. When we allow human logic and a glance at our bank account to lead us to a decision, we struggle to make ends meet. But when we obey the Lord’s direction, our needs are met in every instance. It’s no coincidence. God restores the sacrifice of financial giving.

God’s Restoration of Sacrifice

When we’re asked to give our time serving others, I’ll admit I’ve grumbled on occasion. After all, my own yard needs a tremendous level of attention, yet God asked that I help someone else with theirs. It’s humbling in such times to see God’s hand of returned blessing when a neighbor plows the snow from our very long driveway. It’s no coincidence. God restores the sacrifice of obedience.

God loves us with an everlasting love. He gives us all that we need at the precise moment that it’s needed. It blesses Him to restore our sacrifice with a lavished bounty. That’s a bit hard to grasp, but we see it played out.

 

Hope for Today

If you are struggling as we all do sometimes, wondering when the Lord will restore what you have sacrificed, I encourage you to abide in the Lord and trust. God sees everything that you are doing. He knows your heart, your motivation, your level of weariness, and your breaking point. He’s right beside you, providing strength and perseverance to go the distance. Hang in there and wait with expectation. In the fullness of time, He will reveal His plan and show you the fruit of your faithfulness.

Maybe you’ve walked a similar journey and have seen the Lord’s generosity. Your story is sure to encourage others. Please share it with us!

 

 


Uplifting Quotes to Overcome Disappointment and Discouragement

Uplifting Quotes to Overcome Disappointment and Discouragement

Everyone faces disappointment from time to time. We can feel disappointed about other people, ourselves, circumstances, our work, our families, or the world around us. The trick is to avoid letting that disappointment escalate to discouragement. We might wonder what to say to ourselves to overcome disappointment, or what to say to someone else who is discouraged. This short post offers several uplifting quotes about discouragement to help inspire a positive outlook and focus on God.

This post may contain affiliate links. Please see our disclosure statement.

Quotes About Discouragement and Hope

 

Oswald Chambers

If you are going through a time of discouragement, there is a time or great personal growth ahead.”


Thomas Edison

I am not discouraged, because every wrong attempt discarded is another step forward.


 Billy Graham 

“I have my moments of deep discouragement. I have to go to God in prayer with tears in my eyes, and say, ‘O God, forgive me,’ or ‘Help me.'”


Beth Moore

“I think that what women need to hear is that there is life after failure.” 


 

The Printable “Give it to God” Prayer Journal Bundle is Available Now! 

 

Encouraging Words for the Disappointed

 

Charles Stanley

“Nobody else can make us discouraged; it is a choice that we alone make when facing disappointments.”     


Warren Wiersbe

“The remedy for discouragement is the Word of God. When you feed your heart and mind with its truth, you regain your perspective and find renewed strength.”    


Dale Carnegie

“Develop success from failures. Discouragement and failure are two of the surest stepping stones to success.”


Disappointment Quotes from the Bible

There is no better hope for discouragement than the Word of God, which can sustain our hearts in every disappointment of life. Some of my favorite Bible Verses that help me through seasons of disappointment:

Proverbs 16:9 (CSB)

In their hearts humans plan their course, but the Lord establishes their steps.


Proverbs 3:5-6 (NASB)

Trust in the Lord with all your heart And do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, And He will make your paths straight.


Habakkuk 2:2-3 (ESV)

And the Lord answered me: “Write the vision; make it plain on tablets, so he may run who reads it. For still the vision awaits its appointed time; it hastens to the end—it will not lie. If it seems slow, wait for it; it will surely come; it will not delay. (ESV)


Romans 8:28 (NIV)

And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.


The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines discourage as dishearten; to deprive of courage or confidence; to dissuade from doing something. But Jesus is our Comforter and the lifter of our heads. In Christ we have unimaginable hope, even through difficult situations and circumstances. When we place our focus on Him, we can walk through disappointment with peace and surety. He stands with us no matter what we face. God is for us. He is our ally and no highs or lows or any created thing can separate us from His love (see Romans 8:39). What a tremendous help to overcome discouragement!  

15 Bible Verses to Help Overcome Discouragement

15 Bible Verses to Help Overcome Discouragement

It’s safe to say we’ve all faced a large measure of discouragement over the past year. The definition of discouragement is a loss of confidence or enthusiasm (New Oxford American Dictionary). Many people have lost confidence in things that once provided security, such as employers, experts, leaders, and the like. As Christians, we’re taught through God’s Word to put our confidence in God alone. Accordingly, there are many Bible verses about discouragement that provide hope, even when life situations become challenging.

This post may contain affiliate links. Please see our disclosure statement. 

What Can Cause Discouragement?

 

Before we look at the Scriptures, it’s helpful to understand some of what may cause feelings of discouragement. There are several factors involved, some of which are weariness, fear, and setbacks.

 

Weariness that leads to dismay

 

Weariness is one of the most prominent causes of discouragement. We can experience weariness physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually. In short, when we encounter difficult circumstances it becomes exhausting. We don’t sleep well, so we’re physically tired. We concentrate too hard, weighing multiple options about our situation and become mentally fatigued. Emotions become hard to navigate and the spiritual burden becomes hard to bear. Weariness fuels discouragement and causes us to lose confidence in ourselves, others, and our circumstance.

 

Fear that steals peace

 

When facing uncertainty, fear becomes a readily available tool of the enemy. He uses it against us as fiery darts, stealing our peace and causing us to feel disheartened and hopeless. In seasons where we experience fear, it feels so very hard to raise our shield of faith and combat it. Fear holds us in bondage and contributes to further discouragement.

 

Setbacks that cause disappointment

 

Another factor that adds to discouragement is setbacks. We strive and work to achieve certain outcomes, for example: working for years to accumulate retirement income; putting in countless hours to build a successful side hustle; pouring prayer and effort into parenting children who follow God. When our efforts are disrupted or when we encounter setbacks beyond our control, we often feel discouraged.

 

During the past many months of global pandemic, we’ve experienced all three of the primary factors of discouragement. In some manner, our world-wide population has encountered weariness, fear, and setbacks that have brought disappointment and discouragement.

How to Handle Discouragement

 

Thankfully, God’s Word gives us careful instruction and encouragement on how to handle discouragement. The Scriptures show us how to overcome disappointment and deal with discouragement to walk in victory.

There are many examples of discouragement in the Bible, along with stories of hope and healing for those afflicted. Staying focused on God’s Word brings peace we can never muster in our own strength. It’s helpful to place note cards with Bible verses in a place where you’ll see them often. They will remind you of God’s truth in your situation. For example, if you’re feeling hopeless, write out Romans 15:13 on a card and place it where you’ll see it and read it often. Allow its truth to penetrate your heart and mind.

To do find the most help with discouragement will require:

  • naming each “category” of discouragement that you are experiencing by asking the Lord to help you identify those areas
  • finding a Bible passage that dispels the lies of the enemy and points to God’s truth. Again, ask the Lord to help you identify the verses then find them. (Google is also a good tool. Type in “what does the Bible say about discouragement”)
  • taking the time to write out the verses
  • memorizing the verses so that when you’re not near your notecards you can still resist the enemy with the power of God’s truth

I’ve recently compiled a collection of Bible verses to help uplift anyone facing a difficult season of discouragement. Here they are:

15 Bible Verses About Discouragement

 

Isaiah 41:10 Do not fear, for I am with you; do not be afraid, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will hold on to you with my righteous right hand.

Romans 15:13 Now may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you believe so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.

Lamentations 3:22-24 Because of the LORD’s faithful love we do not perish, for his mercies never end. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness! I say, “The LORD is my portion, therefore I will put my hope in him.”

Hebrews 10:23 Let us hold on to the confession of our hope without wavering since he who promised is faithful.

Psalm 33:22 May your faithful love rest on us, LORD, for we put our hope in you.

Romans 8:31  What then are we to say about these things? If God is for us, who is against us?

2 Chronicles 20:15  This is what the Lord says, “Do not be afraid or discouraged . . . for the battle is not yours, but God’s.”

To bring us to 15 Bible verses about discouragement, I’ve collected eight additional verses and designed them into printable notecards that you can carry with you or post in a prominent location.

 

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The Power of Worship to Find Encouragement

Worship is another powerful weapon to help overcome discouragement. Fill your home, your car, your mind, and your workplace (to the extent possible) with worship music. Praise Him continually. The Lord inhabits the praise of His people and where His light is, darkness flees. Whether we’re singing along with the music or listening to it in the background, it will begin to feel like a companion that helps keep thoughts positive and focused on God.

 

** By the way, all of the verses listed above are from the HCSB.

 

Please know that the Lord never leaves nor forsakes His children. Whatever you face today, you do not face it alone. He is with you. I encourage you to keep your mind fixed on Him. That is the surest way to embrace the gift of joy He has waiting for you.

 

Also, if you’re struggling with discouragement today, will you reach out and let me know so I can lift you in prayer? It’s my honor to stand with you during this difficult season.

Blessings,

joy of God's Word

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 Overcome Discouragement

 

 

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