The Shield of Faith

shield-of-faithI need my shield, don’t you?  How often have we walked out of our front doors without it and wondered why the stinging arrows hurt so much?  With my faith shield leaning against the wall by my front door, Satan had a clear target, and I made it very easy for him without even knowing it.

What are some of the reasons we leave without our faith shield?  I know for me I leave because God is taking too long, He has no idea what I am going through and only I know how to fix it, my problems are too great and God doesn’t seem to really understand, or is God even here to see this?  I step over the one thing that will extinguish the flaming arrows of my enemy and invite into my life the one thing I am trying to avoid: Chaos.

Putting our shield in front of us takes practice.  Our arms may get tired, and we may feel like it is unnecessary during the times in our life the arrows don’t seem to be flying—but it is always needed no matter what our enemy tries to make us believe.  The second I lower it, he is waiting and smiling because he is always waiting.

I recently learned what my faith shield can do for me.  I am still learning how to use it, and my arm gets stronger holding it up every time I see how much God has protected me, guided me, and helped me advance forward when all I saw around me was a desert. In His perfect timing, He showed me the oasis I was walking towards and the destruction I was walking away from.

Writing this book was hard.  Satan constantly whispered in my ear that no one would read it, and I was wasting my time.  At one time, I distinctly heard him tell me that I was writing a coloring book because that is the level of value it will hold.  It’s funny though, Satan’s voice often sounds like my own voice of self-doubt because he doesn’t want credit for these negative whispers.  He wants us to believe they are solely ours.

I would pray every time I heard the whispers, and I just kept on typing even though a part of me believed what he was saying.  I confessed to friends, and they would pray over me and my book.  We need our community to fight with us and for us.  I wrote on faith and had absolutely no idea how I would pay for it.  I am a self-published author and the package I was choosing was not in the budget.  Actually, a new pair of shoes wasn’t in the budget, so this seemed almost impossible.

I kept praying for God to make a way to pay for this book to be published if it was His will.  He didn’t say much, so I kept on writing.  Halfway through the manuscript, I prayed again and still no answer, so I kept on writing.  When I was almost finished with the book, I prayed again and asked Him to make a way to pay for it, but this time, I told God that I knew He would and the answer would be something I never could have imagined on my own.

I work in a school system in Illinois and a  week after I gave it to Him to take care of, I received news that the state of Illinois was eliminating the early retirement option, and we would be refunded the money that we put into this program for the last eleven years!  And do you know what?  It was almost exactly the amount that I needed to publish this book.  Not only that, the month I decided to publish the packages for publication were on sale, and I was able to sign up for the next level, and it cost less than the original package I wanted!  This happened in September of 2016, and I told the publishing company I would like to see the book out by Christmas.  The man at the other end laughed because they were so busy he said I probably wouldn’t see it come out until January or February at the earliest.  I continued to hold up my faith shield even though I was disappointed and chose to believe in God’s perfect timing—not mine.

God wasn’t done.  My book was published on December 19, 2016, and it was fully operational for purchase on Amazon on Christmas Day.  I think holding up my shield just got a little easier.  The moment you want to put yours down because God seems elusive and out of touch, decide who is telling you this false lie.  Don’t go based on your feelings but on your knowledge of the truth.  Hold up your shield and see all that God can do for you by putting out the arrows that are meant to take you down.  Your faith in the One who created the world, defeated death, and rose again has much power.  Stand behind it and feel its protection.  Pick it up before you leave each day and watch Satan frown.  You have so much forward advancement to do with your faith shield in front of you, and God can’t wait to show you where you will go.

In Christ,

Crista

 

Shoes of Peace

shoes-of-peace“And with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace” (Eph 6:15 New International Version).

Dear Lord, thank you for your Shoes of Peace.  I’ve needed them these last few days.  I sent my daughter off halfway across the country with her high school band to perform in the Orange Bowl and just learned that my mom is going to die.  These ups and downs of life are enough to make our stomach do flip flops and at times, it can feel like there isn’t a seat belt that is holding us inside of the ride.

My mom has been sick with a lung disease with unknown causes for the last few years.  She recently ended up in the hospital for a 65 day, unwanted stay that we weren’t sure she would come home from.  She did come home, and now the news of her not staying on her Earthly home much longer saddens me.  We may have her for a year—maybe less.

It’s amazing to me, though, that with every whip-lash turn we experience, we do have a constant in our lives that never dips or turns no matter how fast our ride is going.  God is always the same, and He isn’t made seasick by our experiences even though He is right there next to us.  How often in our lives do we choose to buy another ticket for this Herculean-sized roller coaster instead of taking the hand of the One who can help us step out of the seat?  A few years ago, I am sure that I would have handed my money over to the one who would have loved for me to ride this ride again, but I won’t give my enemy the satisfaction.  My hand is reaching for God and His precious Son who won these Shoes of Peace for me and for you to wear.

The Gospel lets me know this world is defeated, that ride is temporary, and Satan will lose his job as ticket agent very soon.  He can’t force us to step onto the ride; we have to be willing participants in the fear and worry that he loves to create.  I know my Savior defeated death, disease, and worry when He went to the cross, and I am choosing to leave it there.  Do you have a ticket in your hand or will you walk with me to the cross so together we can leave our Earthy pain and fear with Jesus?  It’s time that we shut down Satan’s ride.

Much Love,

Crista

The War is Won

the-war-is-wonThank you to our children for drawing each piece of armor for the book.  My daughter Mallory drew this for the last chapter: The War is Won.

How do we win a war?  It can sometimes feel like we are warring every day of our lives.  We battle through traffic, we battle within our company, we fight within our families, and we attempt to strike through our fears and losses.  If tally marks were made, how many marks at the end of the day would be on the win side, and how many would be on the lose side? I’m not the most patient driver and willfully allow my peace to be trampled over.  In this area, I would be on the loser’s side almost every day.

I’m not the most patient driver and willfully allow my peace to be trampled over.  In this area, I would be on the loser’s side almost every single day.

We have a beautiful truth that never seems to be at the forefront of our thoughts the second we open up our eyes in the morning.  We visualize all that we have to tackle for the day and completely forget this War was won over two thousand years ago.No matter what we face each day, it can’t touch us.  That harried late morning rush to school and work was defeated.  The tremendous loss of the

No matter what we face each day, it can’t touch us.  That harried late morning rush to school and work was defeated.  The tremendous grief of losing our loved ones is overcome when Christ rose again and eliminated death from our eternal DNA.  The chains of fear from losing a job or marriage are broken because Jesus took the fear of our eternal suffering from us and for us.  We will continue to do battle on this side of Heaven as long as our enemy is allowed to roam free, but even he knows the clock is ticking.

We are not meant to be blown in the wind by the world we live in because it is not our forever home.  We need God’s armor to help us feel and taste the freedom that Christ won for us.  Without it, we taste the salt and sweat that comes from the fear and worry that we were never meant to carry. Your War is won.  How you end up at the end of

Your War is won.  How you end up at the end of battle depends upon if you decided to fight with or without God’s protection.  Your peace is precious to God, and He’s been waiting a long time for you to step into His stronghold.