The Armor of God [week 3]

Righteousness is right living.  

That sentence makes me squirm a little. I think because I know just how much I get wrong on any given day. And sometimes my  heart wants to make decisions based on how strongly I feel about something... This is when guarding our heart must be priority.  

"walk in a manner worthy of the calling with which you have been called,  with all humility and gentleness, with patience, showing tolerance for one another in love" ~Ephesians 4:1-2

Right living is good, right?  Why is it so hard?  

Maybe because we miss the goal of having our hearts changed instead of just our behaviors.

In this week's study of the Breastplate of Righteousness, Priscilla expands on the topic of Righteousness and how to navigate right living.

She explains that there are four types of righteousness

1)  Perfect Righteousness - 
     Perfect Righteousness discourages you.

2)  Comparative Righteousness-
     Comparative Righteousness deceives you.

3)  Imputed Righteousness- 
     Imputed Righteousness defines you and declares you    
     innocent before all accusers.

4)  Practical Righteousness
     The practice of putting off old ways of living and putting on 
      new ways of living as we understand the Word of God in 
      our lives.

Whew... I don't know about you, but this frees me up when it comes to living under grace and seeking to live a life worthy of the calling Jesus Christ gives.  I don't have to compare to others or try to be perfect like God... I just simply need to do what God's Word says... put off the old and put on the new.

"I know it doesn't often feel this way, but your new self is the righteous nature and very holiness of God (imputed righteousness).  That 's the real you.  At your core, you are pulsing with new life of Christ.  And guess what?  "The fruit of the light results in all goodness, righteousness and truth (Eph 5:9 HCSB)"

Jesus Christ is my Righteousness. Out of love for Him, I will do what He tells me.

God is not out for behavior modification.  Anyone can start new habits.  What He is after is a Heart that is Transformed by His Word of Truth.

Again, I am reminded that there is a three step process to this kind of transformation.  

Armor of God [week1]

My __________ is not my real enemy.

You can fill in the blank with your own relational difficulty and find truth in that you only have one real enemy and that is the Devil himself.

For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places. ~Ephesians 6:12

Our real enemy is the one who deceives, masquerades as light, manipulates and gets us off track emotionally, mentally, physically in order to derail us spiritually.  

The Devil is a Liar. Always has been.  Always will be.

According to Genesis 3, there is one basic lie that the enemy tells us over and over again.

"Did God really say?"

If you think about it, everything goes back to that one lie with the intent of causing us to question God's intent for us, who He is and who He has created us to be... sons and daughter in His image.  

I had a real live encounter earlier this year that reminded me of this very idea.  I was seeking to restore a relationship that had been disrupted with misunderstanding, imagined intentions and insecurity... The brokenness of the relationship had gone on for a solid month before I knew there was a rift-make that a chasm- between myself and the person that I love. 

I went to this person with love and humility and sought forgiveness.  I also wanted to understand what I had done to upset them so much so that they would not speak to me or tell me how I had offended them.  

Prior to the conversation, I had been clueless.  However during the course of that one month, the offense had been so inflated in the other persons mind and heart, anger giving way to resentment, bitterness and malice. While I was unaffected by all of this until I became aware of my injury toward them, they had allowed the enemy to consume their every waking and sleeping moment to the degree that their physical health was at risk.  

Bitterness Blames.

The words, "I am sorry that I offended you, it was not my intention and I had no idea that you were upset with me." were barely out of my mouth when the verbal attack from my loved one came.  When I tell you that I have never experience an encounter like this, I mean to tell you that it was as if I were hearing and seeing something other than my loved one. 

The moment was vile, venomous and visual.  Distorted was this loved one's countenance.  While I was looking at flesh and blood, that is not what I was encountering. This was an onslaught of Spiritual Warfare.  The difficulty lying in the fact that this was, indeed, my flesh and blood, but my struggle was not with them in the natural.  The wrestling match in the heavenly places had manifested in the natural world and this was not a pretty moment. 

Standing on the Word of God to love, seek restoration and right relationship was not mutual that day.  To this day, my loved one has not said another word about the encounter.  It seems to be that while I had offended them and was expected to humble myself and apologize, they are unwilling to do the same.  The implied rational is no wrong was done on their part, only mine... another deception they choose to believe.

I came away from the encounter knowing that I had just done battle in the heavenly places. While I felt God was honored by my intention toward humility, love and restoration of relationship, I was also completely undone, heartbroken and devastated.  Had my loved one ever truly loved me? Have I always been a distraction, a disappointment, a hinderance? 

In this heartbroken state of torrential emotion that was not easily abated for days, my biggest FEAR, rooted from my childhood, became clear...

Am I Loved? Cared for? Wanted?

I also realized that bitterness runs deep and long and wide in my family tree and now I am faced with a daily pursuit to not allow this destructiveness to continue in my own family.

Warfare.  The Battle is Real.

If you are a Christ Follower, you have, will or maybe are facing it right now.  Remember who the real enemy is.  Your real enemy seeks to steal, kill and destroy relationships... if one of your flesh and blood relationships is not right, you can bet the Devil is at work...get in the word. Fight like a warrior of the King.  

The Word. Worship. Prayer.  

These are my Roots.

Baseball and Plaid {Favorite Things Friday}

On my Pintrest feed, I keep seeing this cute outfit Pinned and Re-Pinned. I like it a lot too!! So I thought I would share it here too! 

Found on Pintrest

If you follow the link to this outfit you will meet a gifted blogger named Lindsey over at and she seems pretty amazing, although I have not yet met her!  One day!  

I have been "shopping my closet" lately since I should have stuck to a budget a while back, but unfortunately let myself get slightly out of control... (another story for another day).

I have enjoyed putting together outfits that are at least a little current from items I already own.  

So I will be putting together an outfit from pieces I already have to reflect the look of the baseball-t and plaid...except I don't have anything plaid...wait! 

I think one of the boys left a plaid scarf they didn't like here at the house... oh, yes... it pays to clean out closets and drawers!! Thanks Boys!

The Armor of God [week2]

The Armor of God Bible Study
Week 2

Théoden:  "I will not risk open war."
Aragorn:   "Open war is upon you, whether you would risk it or not!"

 From J.R.R. Tolkien, Lord of the Rings

I wonder if Priscilla Shirer enjoyed study time on the Belt of Truth for the Spiritual Armor?  I wonder this because I participated in her study Breathe with a group of ladies last spring.  During one of the teaching videos, she used her own belt organizer as an illustration of having too much stuff and how simplifying our stuff brings rest.

The Belt of Truth can do the same for us.  There are many ideas and opinions on who God is, how, who, when does He love/judge/hate people.  Do Christians sin? Does God as a loving parent discipline us?  Can heaven be earned? Is there more than one way to God’s favor? 

All of the arguments and discussions, while seemingly intellectual and convincing many times, are just that :  arguments and discussions.  

Truth is found in God alone and His Word reminds us that Jesus is the Word made Flesh so, I submit that if we do not love God’s Word, then we do not love God, since God loves His Word. 

As those who profess the name of Christ as savior, then we must know the word of God and how to put it into practice in our lives, or we will be left weak, powerless, and defenseless in a world gone crazy with intellectualism.

Priscilla gets all up in my business about having the Truth at work in my life when she uses the illustration of going to the gym to strengthen her core.  Ones’ core (abdominal muscles) are imperative for our over all health.  Who knew?  I just thought yoga and Pilates were a fitness craze much like high impact aerobics were in the 80s.  While I sweated to the oldies in my colorful leotard and tights, I quickly lost interest once I got the “shape” I wanted.  And besides, when I sweated, my hair just got bigger and bigger with all of the curls I naturally premed because that was what one also did in the 80’s. 

Per her doctor, Priscilla describes how if we do not strengthen our core and keep it strong, we will eventually stoop and sag.  Our core helps us with balance so if are not strong in our core muscles, then we will be more prone to injury.  The core is the centralized muscle group that connects our upper body to our lower body and from the extension of these muscles to other muscle groups, our arms and legs keep us moving, balanced and useful. 

Hmmm... I see where she is going here, and I want to think about this further, after I get back from the YMCA. 

Just like my physical self needs health and wellness, my spiritual self also needs health and wellness from the inside out, thus the Belt of Truth. 

How do we grow stronger in our core with the Belt of Truth? How do we get this in place and not grow 
weak and weary in our faith walk? 

     The Word. Worship.  Prayer.
These are our ROOTS.

The Armor of God [Introduction]

Well, there is a lot going on about a little movie called 
WAR ROOM by the Kendrick Brothers This film has (unexpectedly) gained momentum and box office sales/attendance that the culture is having to stop and take notice. 

War Room features one of my favorite Bible Study teachers, Priscilla Shirer...

And I am so excited for her!! I have been under her teaching via live audience and she is electric, real, and on an honest pursuit of God to live in the center of her everyday ordinary life.

This fall the ladies in my community and around the country-world even- are meeting together to study the companion Bible Study by Priscilla The Armor of God.

I have read from other authors, memorized the Armor of God, worked through other Bible studies on The Armor of God, but this one is THE BEST ONE YET!!!

Priscilla is a wife, mother and woman who is just trying to figure out how to keep ahead of the laundry while keeping food in the pantry other very active family-much like many of the rest of us! She has a large extended family, community and church activities... her life is busy and full!!!

What Priscilla does, though, is views her life trough the lens of God's Word and applies His Truth to her Reality.  Priscilla draws life application of the Word of God from this process of just doing life and watching how God works in her everyday.

Many of us have our lives...busy that they are!!..
and then we have our Devoted Life.  

You know, church, small group, a verse a day to keep the Devil away... but then we go through life and never fully connect how the Word of God can also be our Reality.

We must allow the God of our Theology to be the God of our Reality.  The time is now and we must STAND firmly in the Word of God. 

Feel free to join in the study!! I will be posting here, there are many many resources online.  There are also small groups meeting literally everywhere!!! If you live in my area, you are more than welcome to join us as we meet weekly. 


Our small group meets at 
The Core of South Greenville 
8649 August Road Pelzer SC 29669 
beginning September 15 @ 6:30

Welcome to Life Under the Oak Tree

The Word Worship Prayer
These are my Roots
Life Under the Oak Tree was born sometime in 2010 or so after falling in love with a rather large oak tree in our side yard.  It’s branches reach high, it’s leaves shade and provide shelter for birds, squirrels and who knows what other critters! 

Our tree seemed to have a “room” under it’s branches and so we created a sitting area there with some antique furniture and a fire pit.  It’s a peaceful, tranquil place. 

While studying this tree one bitter winter after an ice storm left my favorite tree’s branches all broken, jagged and many fallen… I feared it would not spring alive the next season…that it would not survive the cold wintery season.

Our Broken Oak looked like me… 
how I felt I felt on the inside. 

Broken.  Rough.  Ugly.  Barren.  Cold.   Lonely.

Would the Spring Rains come to water the earth and replenish my tree?  Would it be beautiful again??? 
Would I ever feel life pulsing through my soul?? 
Could God ever use me?
Could I trust God?

I came to the realization that while I can see the life of my tree from the ground up and appreciate the beauty and majesty that this oak of age reveals during the summer season, the real life of a tree is found in it’s roots.  
And I was forced to ask myself the question:

What are my Roots?

And the breath of God blew over my soul and 
whispered gently...

The Word.  Worship. Prayer.
 These are your Roots. 

This is why I write.  
This is why I share what I share.  
This is why I do what I do. 

I believe that what God teaches me in the secret place is not only for me to learn and to learn well, but also to branch out and to bare fruit and to multiply what he gives. He does not give us gifts to hide and store away for ourselves, we are to attend the Bride with our lives poured out for others.

It has been in the last year that I have become more serious about blogging and writing.  It is the right season, it seems, since within the last year all three of our boys have "left the nest" and I really need something else to do...

(besides the 100 other things!!!)  

I am beginning to glean from those who are more learned, more experienced in the tech stuff... from beautiful friends I have not yet met face to face, but have reached out to encourage and gently nudge me along on this part of my journey.  

While I do not consider myself to be a "real writer", I do know I am a Daughter of the King and a Woman Chosen by God to do battle in the heaven places.  I am learning.  I am growing in grace, and I want nothing more than to encourage, inspire and cheer for other women who are on the journey of Faith as well.   
Welcome to Life Under the Oak Tree!!

Today I am joining some friends over at THE LOFT... 

won't you stop by and say hello?

Interrupted_A Book Review

I love Jen Hatmaker.  
She is my new best friend and I love her. 

We have never personally met, or had a conversation or even looked at each other in the eye as we passed in the isle of the Target or Marshall’s store.  But I would like to sit down and have a cup of coffee with her because she speaks deeply in to my soul about kids, family, faith, coffee, and what really living out the gospel looks like in the everyday ordinary living of life.  

I want to know more about her practical approach to doing life as a ministry family. And she doesn’t intimidate me like some other authors and speakers do… I like her a lot.

Recently I read Jen’s book 7: An Experimental Mutiny Against Excess (finally…I had some serious reservations and didn’t want her to get in my business) I was immediately invited into her life and her real messed-up way of looking at life as a woman who seeks to honor the Lord, but gets confused about what that is supposed to look like compared to the American Dream paraded in front of us while we sip OJ and eat our morning cereal everyday.  

Because she included the “messy” of her experiment and not a sanitized 10 Steps to Overcome style or approach, I decided she is my kind of friend.  One who will say to you, “This is how the Bible teaches us to do/say/speak/act…, but let’s be real… it’s hard and we all get it wrong, but that’s why Grace is amazing.”  

Yes… I like Jen for this reason. And because she likes coffee! 

You will want to read Interrupted if you have, as I have been, asking questions like:  

How to reconcile world poverty and the lavish lifestyles of the not so rich and famous, the everyday ordinary living out the gospel when we seem to have excess and the majority of the world has nothing but Jesus.  

They will have nothing  if we don’t tell them, show them, give them Jesus. What do you do? Can we go to them? Do we go to them?

And since going and doing the gospel around the world is not an option for most of us, how do we participate and be involved from right where we live?  What does that look like?

Jen teaches by example in her book what she and her family have discovered about the ministry.  The Gospel begins right in your own neighborhood, backyard, street, city, area where you live.  Taking the gospel to the world sometimes means making your purchases for our household differently and thinking about who made our items and at what cost to the lives of others? 

“Jesus didn’t have much patience with believers who attempted to limit the scop of “who my neighbor is” to the fewest possible people (see Lune 10:25-37)” ~Jen Hatmaker, Interrupted, p 107

Together Jen and her husband Brandon learn what they thought belonged to them was really God’s and if He said to give something away, then they could trust Him to provide what they needed.  

The planting of a church in a neighborhood with a people group that is different than the one you’re used to will become a HUGE Interruption in your life!!! My husband, Mike and I, understand this completely having planted a church in own area with a  people group that was hungry to be reached with clear, simple teaching of the Word of God and to see that Loving God means Loving People.  The end.

On several occasions, God said to Jen and Brandon “Leave your shoes, give them away.” So they did. They went home barefooted; believed God had a higher purpose than for them to wear their favorite well worn boots they had enjoyed earlier in the day.  Guess what?  God did prove faithful to them, they are not shoeless and they are happier and blessed knowing that they serve the God of the Universe who takes care of everything so we don’t have to pretend that we do!!!

We have become church people who go to church thinking it is our right and opportunity to attend in order to be “filled” week after week, entertained if possible.  Jen and Brandon bring light to that attitude and teach that we are to BE THE CHURCH by simply loving people right where they are and telling them about Jesus.

Please.  If you have been a church attender all your life… you really NEED to read Interrupted.  Just like I needed to rethink my own love for God and people, you probably do too.  Just sayin’.  We tend to get too comfortable in our idea and approach to the Gospel lived out and need a sight adjustment from time to time.