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"Seek the LORD, and his strength: seek his face evermore." Psalm 105:4

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Thought: The Shield of Faith

"Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked." Ephesians 6:16 (KJV)

God hasn't given us a weapon wherewith we can extinguish some of the enemy's darts--or even a majority of them. He gave us a shield that can extinguish all of them. He's given us the shield of faith.

And what is faith? According to The American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language, faith is "A confident belief in the truth, value, or trustworthiness of a person, idea, or thing."

Faith in the biblical sense is a confident belief in the trustworthiness of God and His Word. Far from a mere feeling we have to somehow muster up, it's a willful, deliberate choice to believe God and entrust each detail of our lives to Him. Note that faith is based on God and His Word--it's not a blind belief that whatever we want will happen, but rather a trust that He will lead, guide, and do all He says no matter what comes.

This month, as the darts of the wicked come at you, extinguish them with your shield of faith. No matter what form the attack takes, stop and entrust the situation to God, clinging to His Word and remembering that He is in charge. Let confidence in Him block the fear, anger, worry, and other darts thrown at you.


Story: Forgotten Armor

"What is happening?" Joseph muttered to himself as he reined his horse on top of the overlook and looked down on what was supposed to be a battlefield. The field before him looked more like a circus than a battlefield! It was as if the soldiers had completely forgotten they were in a battle at all.

Armor lay forgotten, while the soldiers, instead of fighting, seemed intent on their own purposes. Some busied themselves in building little huts, while others enjoyed fun games together. The few soldiers who seemed to have remembered there was a battle going on were fighting in a strange fashion and with a strange armor Joseph had never seen before. Some of them seemed to be fighting more for their own honor than for their commander--and all seemed to be fighting using their own battle plan.

Never one for inaction, Joseph didn't wait long up on the hill before he headed down into the field. He must find out what was going on!

It took him some time to find someone who could answer his questions. Most of the soldiers kept insisting they were fighting a battle. But Joseph finally found one old, faithful soldier who was more than eager to explain the disturbing scene.

"Each one of these soldiers, like you, was given a glimmering set of armor by our King. Each one has an assignment, and the King's battle guide to lead him each step of the way.

"But our enemy is crafty. He knows he's no match for the King, and that if soldiers but stand firm in the King's truth and way, they'll be victorious. So he set out to malign the King's Word and get the soldiers to adopt his strategies and thinking. He used deceptive arrows, and they pierced his targets and convinced them to lay down their shields and armor.

"And they have! As you looked around, no doubt you've seen the soldiers just busy about their own projects, oblivious to the battle. Others are off fighting their own battles. And those who are trying to fight the King's battle are mainly using the enemy's strategies and fake armor--armor bearing the same name as the King's armor, but completely man-made and worthless! They don't realize that by adopting the enemy's strategies, they've lost the battle! To them, the battle is all about what they can see--they don't realize there's an unseen battle between the King's truth and the enemy's lies.

"Son, don't join them! Stand strong in the King's truth. Use your shield. Trust Him. We must stand...time is running out-" the old soldier broke in a sob. He knew that soon--very soon--the King would return to the battlefield. The soldiers would look back on their hollow lives then and give anything to have time to stand and fulfill the King's commission--but it would be too late. The King had given them the privilege of laboring with Him--of watching Him win battles--but they had missed it. They would have no crown to lay at their Commander's feet.

Joseph understood the old man's caution. "Don't worry, I'll stand," Joseph replied confidently. But after several weeks on the battlefield, he too had laid down his shield and forgotten about the battle. The cares and concerns of daily life had settled on his shoulders and the thinking that surrounded him had seeped into his heart. He'd let the enemy's darts pierce him and slowly lock him up in fear and self-centeredness.

Yet the King had not forgotten Joseph--or any of His soldiers. Every day, He sounded forth His trumpet, calling out to them to follow Him--to open His battle guide and follow it, to put their armor on, and to stand firm on His truth instead of buying into the enemy's lies. And every day each soldier had the choice to head or to ignore the call and continue missing out on all that could be theirs.

"See then that ye walk circumspectly, not as fools, but as wise, Redeeming the time, because the days are evil." Ephesians 5:15, 16 (KJV)

"Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might. Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. 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 6:10-12 (KJV)


Homeschool Tip: Grounding Our Children in the Truth

- Cris Loop

We have just returned from a wonderful week at Creation College put on by Answers in Genesis (www.answersingenesis.org). We heard a lot on how God's Word is being attacked all around us, so I wanted to encourage you this month to make grounding your children in God's Word your number one priority! You only have a short season where you have the time and opportunities you have right now.

So how do you go about teaching your children the truth of God's Word? The answer to that question could fill a whole book, but I want to encourage you with just one small thought. Begin by adopting a biblical worldview yourself. There are so many things and so many ways we think contrary to the Word of God that we're not even aware of. Even our justifications sometimes to do good things can be filled with worldly thinking. God's thoughts and ways are much higher than ours (Isaiah 55:9). Seek them! Begin by questioning your thoughts and actions before the Lord.

"I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God." Romans 12:1-2 (KJV)


Hymn/Poem: Living by Faith

- By James Wells (1918). Verse four by Robert E. Winsett (1918). Available to view and listen to at http://library.timelesstruths.org/music/Living_by_Faith.

I care not today what the morrow may bring,
If shadow or sunshine or rain,
The Lord I know ruleth o'er everything,
And all of my worries are vain.

Refrain:
Living by faith in Jesus above,
Trusting, confiding in His great love;
From all harm safe in His sheltering arm,
I'm living by faith and feel no alarm.

Though tempests may blow and the storm clouds arise,
Obscuring the brightness of life,
I'm never alarmed at the overcast skies--
The Master looks on at the strife.

I know that He safely will carry me through,
No matter what evils betide;
Why should I then care though the tempest may blow,
If Jesus walks close to my side.

Our Lord will return for His loved ones some day,
Our troubles will then all be o'er;
The Master so gently will lead us away,
Beyond that blest heavenly shore.


Unless otherwise indicated, articles are written by Katherine Loop, 2009. Where marked Cris Loop, articles written by Christina Loop, 2009. Feel free to forward these e-mails in their entirety and to reprint/share articles by Katherine or Cris Loop within these e-mails (please include a link to our website when you do). Please contact us for information about reprinting articles written by people other than Katherine or Cris Loop so we can put you in contact with the appropriate person to ask for permission.

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Unless otherwise indicated and where marked KJV, scripture is taken from the King James Version.