“God-He clothes with me with strength and makes my way perfect. You have clothed me with strength for battle”. Psalm 18:32, 39
Howdy friends and welcome to the front porch, where we don’t do fancy but we do do friendly! Have a seat, grab a fresh blueberry muffin, take a deep breath, smell the wildflowers (or coffee is my fragrance of choice) and give God thanks for something today out loud! Shout it out and bless Him with some praise! Lord, thank you for a cool, cloudy day and the sound of rain!
Did you all notice the new Aprons to Iron logo picture reveal!? It was a hard decision but many of you helped me narrow it down, thank you(#overthinker)! I decided to go with the color picture because you can see the different style, beauty and detail of each apron. It reminds us that the Aprons to Iron front porch is a special gathering place where we each uniquely reflect the image of our Creator and Heavenly Father. Then I had a wonderful friend comment, in regards to the angle of this particular picture, “I like how your focus goes to the sky above, as if looking to God instead of comparing our aprons.” I thought that was a very cool perspective! Because here, we choose the beauty of community over comparison. I want to say a big “thank you” to my sweet sister friends who let me borrow their own personal aprons to help with the graphics for my blog. I am incredibly honored they allowed me to use them. May the new logo picture serve as a reminder of how God has you covered! That He is your endless supply of strength, that your own unique story and purpose matter because He is for you beautiful friend, and that we all have something good we can pass along to help build another up!
I am so glad to be taking a rest with you here on the front porch today. Maybe you can only sit awhile…I hope the time you spend here refreshes you for the rest of what is ahead of you, because life sometimes feels like a “battle” with little rest! God has been speaking to me a lot about battles recently. In fact, right now as I am writing this, my living room has been turned into a battle field for an epic Nerf gun war between Twin #1 and Twin #2(Is it time for school to start yet lol). Dodging Nerf gun bullets as I write is not my idea of multi-tasking!
When I started this whole blogging journey my mind endured a battle with an onslaught of defeating lies like, “No one cares what you have to say…Who do you think you are…You are just trying to be like so and so…You think this blogging is going to be easy…You do not have time for a blog, this is selfish…You just want to be noticed…Your motives are not right…You will start and fail at this like you have so many times…You do not have what it takes…!” And on and on the Enemy taunted and accused me…sometimes I listened, I entertained his lies as truth, and I believed him! Just getting this blog posted on “battles” has been a battle this week! Let me let you in on a little secret the devil does not want you to know: simply believing in God is not a problem for Satan, but believing Him is! Because when we choose faith, when we actively, purposefully and diligently demonstrate complete trust in our Heavenly Father it is a threat to him. When by faith we take God at His Word in obedience and know without a doubt that “He who is faithful will do it!” in us, through us and for us…Well sister friend, that rattles the enemy’s already defeated bones and threatens him like nothing else! He does not want us to have faith; he wants us faithless and paralyzed, ineffective in our place and purpose in the advancement of the kingdom of Christ!
I think God has me in some battle training because my husband and I are taking some major steps of faith, saying, “Yes God!” in obedience to some big things and boy the devil is working hard against us. I once had a pastor that would often say, “Where there is divine operation, there will be satanic opposition”. Ain’t that the truth! Faith works, but rarely is it a smooth and easy path; we will meet strong resistance through the world, our flesh and Satan. That is why I love the reminder in these verses: “…who through faith conquered kingdoms, worked righteousness, obtained promises, stopped the mouths of lions, quenched the raging fire, escaped the edge of the sword, out of weakness were made strong, became mighty in battle, and put foreign armies to flight.” (Hebrews 11:33-34, emphasis mine) God always uses the “battles” of life to make us stronger!
While we take a rest here on the porch, I would like to share a few things I am learning about fighting “battles” in hopes when we go back out we can brave our battles better. (I have shared a list of Scripture at the end that I have been reading to encourage and strengthen me with truth for my “battles”). In my battle training God is teaching me three applications through His Word: to prepare myself, position myself and praise Him! First, it is normal to be afraid when facing a “battle”. It means we recognize we cannot go at it alone; this helps us see our need to depend on God. Fear does not always mean there is an absence of faith. In 2 Chronicles 20, after King Jehoshaphat received a report about the size of the enemy armies that were coming for him, verse 3 says,
“Jehoshaphat was afraid and he resolved to seek the Lord.” (He went straight to God with his fear. ) And later on in verse 12 he says, “For we are powerless before this vast number that comes to fight against us. We do not know what to do, but we look to You (emphasis mine).”
That is faith! When we are preparing for our “battles” our first step of faith is to run to God and cry out to Him for help. We need to humble ourselves and confess our fears, our weaknesses and powerlessness, sins we are struggling with(sometimes that is the battle), anything that will hinder our fight of faith and cry out to Him for forgiveness, strength, wisdom and courage, and not just once but every time fear rises in our hearts. “Battles” come in all different shapes and sizes, but there is not one I have or will ever be able to win on my own! And you won’t win any on your own. Your battle may look different than mine but the need for His help and the promise of God’s faithfulness is the same. Battles are going to come; God has taught me I need to be prepared for battle through constant prayer, His Word and keeping my eyes on Him by faith. Since we know battles are going to come we need to learn how to take our battle position. Again, in 2 Chronicles 20, after seeking the Lord, Jehoshaphat and the people received instruction from God through Jahaziel on how to face their enemies, how to take their position, because the only way to defeat the enemy is to meet him head on! Look what he says in verses 15-17,
“Do not be afraid or discouraged…for the battle is not yours, but God’s. Tomorrow, go down against them…You do not have to fight this battle [meaning physically]. Position yourselves, stand still, and see the salvation of the Lord. He is with you (emphasis mine).”
Your “battle” may require certain things from you. God may be allowing your battle to get you to a place of submission and surrender, not to the enemy but to Him! And until you do, victory will not come. There may be decisions and changes you need to make, conversations you need to have, forgiveness you need to seek and give, boundaries you need to set, some things you need to let go of, you may need to just be still and patiently wait on God. Often, my battle position requires me to let go of control, wait on and trust God! Our battles are not necessarily actual physical fights, like we read about in the OT, but they are always spiritual and require supernatural spiritual weapons (See Ephesians 6:10-20, 2 Corinthians 10:4-6). The application is to position ourselves in submission and surrender to God’s battle plan and not our own. This requires prayer for discernment, direction and obedience. The plan and provision for and the outcome of the battle belongs to the Lord; the victory is for our good and His glory.
And finally, after we prepare and position ourselves we go forward with praise to Him for Who He is, His faithfulness and who we are in Christ.
Psalm 18: 3 says, “I call upon the Lord, who is worthy to be praised and I am saved from my enemies (emphasis mine).”
The enemy’s main weapon against us are his lies and he knows exactly where to aim them, at our greatest weaknesses. Lies to discourage and disappoint, to create doubt in God and to draw us away from Him to defeat. Yep, that is what he relentlessly lives to do and he is good at it, but He is no match for our Almighty God. Ladies, we need to get better at declaring God’s praise than Satan is at spewing lies! That is why praise is so important in the battle because praise is a powerful weapon! Praise silences the enemy! Praise is how we declare God’s truth to render Satan’s lies powerless. Return one last time to 2 Chronicles 20. Verse 12 says,
“Then he (Jehoshaphat)…appointed some to sing for the Lord and some to praise the splendor of His holiness. When they went out in front of the armed forces, they kept singing: Give thanks to the Lord, for His faithful love endures forever (emphasis mine).”
We are reminded over and over again of the importance and power of praise and thanksgiving throughout the Bible. 1 Thessalonians 5: 16-18 reminds us that praise and thanksgiving are God’s will for us in Christ Jesus. Because of Christ, because of what He has already accomplished for us, because He has already crushed Satan under his feet, we are never without something to give God thanks for. When we focus on who He is and who we are in Christ through praise, Satan’s lies are silenced-our focus is on God and not the size of our enemy, our perspective changes and we can always expect victory to come to us through Him. “But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ!” (1 Corinthians 15:57)
This side of heaven we are going to have to do battle, but the battles belong to the Lord and He is for us, He will give us the strength we need to overcome! Y’all there are many battle worn and weary women out there, you may be one of them, I sure have been from time to time, like this week! There are others who need to see our faithfulness in and hear our praise out from the battle, they need encouragement, help believing and hoping that the same God who is getting you through will get them through too. They need to see by our example we believe HE IS ABLE! Now excuse me as I strike my “warrior pose”.
You are my hiding place; You, Lord, protect me from trouble; You surround me with songs and shouts of deliverance. Selah. Psalm 32:7
(Apron “Armor” Scriptures for “battle” encouragement: Joshua 1-6, 14:9-11, 2 Kings 19,2 Chronicles 20:1-30, Psalm 18, 27, 34 ,56,91, Isaiah 41:10,13, Isaiah 54:17, John 4:1-13, 1 Corinthians 15:57-58, 2 Corinthians 10:4-6, Ephesians 6:10-20, James 1:2-4, 1 Peter 1:6-7, Revelation 12:10-11)
Maybe you are in warrior pose today, or maybe you are worn out and battle wearied, either way I am glad you are here on the porch because we are #bettertogether. I want you to know you are perfectly loved and sufficiently covered by an amazing God. I am glad we always have a resting place in the refuge of our Lord and Savior, He is always with us and that is something to shout about! Please feel free to share any encouraging comments or feedback, not just for me, but because someone else may need to hear what is on your heart. I love hearing from you! Make sure you subscribe by e-mail and if you feel led to do so, please share with a friend. One way you can do that is with a simple click on the “Facebook” button. Thanks for stopping by today, I hope you will come back anytime!
Always welcomed and loved on the porch, from my apron to yours,
Copyright 2018 Rhonda Loftis. All rights reserved. No part of this blog may be reproduced without the written permission of the author.