Study with Sara-Be Courageous

And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God.
Ephesian 6:17

One of my sons wanted to take classes in fencing. My first thought was, WHY?
I quickly learned a little about fencing, and that being, a very little about this sport. I comprehended even less. I did understand somewhat that in the broadest possible sense, fencing is the art of armed combat involving certain weapons directly manipulated by hand, rather than shot, or thrown. A number of weapons are used including the sword. I also learned that it is an Olympic sport.
The ‘sword’ of course interest me because of my study of God’s Word. For the Word instructs God’s people to use the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. Ephesian 6 opened to me in a very picturesque way as I watched with fear my son participate in this sport.


Why, yes, Paul is teaching us about hand-to-hand combat. We are to stand against the opponent face to face. A man of God, Wallace Heflin, once told me as a young timid mother you must stand eyeball to eyeball and toe to toe against the enemy of your soul, your opponents.
I began to think, did God ask the fainthearted to go to war? But, did He not instruct, ‘I will give My people brave and courageous spirits. They shall not be timid. The Word says, I will remove from the ranks those who are timid and those who desire comfort and security in their flesh.
I began to sing this hymn from my youth and wonder why it had not really taken effect, I was very timid and wanted peace in my own way at all cost! Romans 15:3 says “Even Christ did not please Himself”

“Stand Up!–Stand Up for Jesus”
by George Duffield, 1818-1888

1. Stand up!–stand up for Jesus,
Ye soldiers of the Cross!
Lift high His royal banner,
It must not suffer loss.
From vict’ry unto vict’ry
His army shall He lead
Till ev’ry foe is vanquished
And Christ is Lord indeed.

2. Stand up!–stand up for Jesus!
The trumpet-call obey;
Forth to the mighty conflict
In this His glorious day!
Ye that are men, now serve Him
Against unnumbered foes;
Let courage rise with danger
And strength to strength oppose.

3. Stand up!–stand up for Jesus!
Stand in His strength alone;
The arm of flesh will fail you,
Ye dare not trust your own.
Put on the Gospel armor,
Each piece put on with prayer;
Where duty calls or danger,
Be never wanting there.

4. Stand up!–stand up for Jesus!
The strife will not be long;
This day the noise of battle,
The next, the victor’s song.
To him that overcometh
A crown of life shall be;
He with the King of Glory
Shall reign eternally.

Are you like the apostle Paul today, maybe facing adversities, distresses, , even shipwreck, maybe in your career, family or life in someway? What is your perspective on shipwreck? Paul rejoiced in God.

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13 thoughts on “Study with Sara-Be Courageous

  1. Over in 1Samuel 17: 45-47, we read about David’s courage. Read with me: “David said to the Philistine, ‘You come against me with sword and spear and javelin, but I come against you in the name of the Lord Almighty, the God of the armies of Israel, whom you have defied. This day the Lord will hand you over to me, and I’ll strike you down and cut off your head. Today I will give the carcasses of the Philistine army to the birds of the air and the beasts of the earth, and the whole world will know that there is a God in Israel. All those gathered here will know that it is not by sword or spear that the Lord saves, for the battle is the Lord’s, and he will give all of you into our hands.” I don’t know about you, but I sure want to have courage like this! Sara has asked, “what is your perspective on shipwreck?” To me, shipwreck means….”I’m in trouble”….David sure looked like he was “shipwrecked”, with just a sling and stones to fight that giant, but David knew the battle was not his.
    I’d like to quote the footnotes from my Life Application Bible, here, from Isaiah 30:20..”The Lord gave his people adversity for food and suffering for drink, but he promised to be with them, teach them, and guide them during hard times. God expects a lot from us, and many times following him can be painful; but he always acts out of his love for us. Next time you go through a difficult time, try to appreciate the experience and grow from it, learning what God wants to teach you. God may be showing you his love by patiently walking with you through adversity.” If we think we are going to “breeze through” life without adversities, we are only deceiving ourselves. Lord, help us to be like David, and remember that the battle is yours. Help us to see your love for us, in our adversities, so that we may “stand eyeball to eyeball and toe to toe, with the enemy of our souls.”

    In the book of Proverbs 28:1 we read, “… the righteous are as BOLD as a lion.” We have just read here in Sara’s blog that God has given his people “Brave and courageous spirits”.

  2. what more can I say except amen to what Needles has had us to read…she sure has “sewn” together with Sara a very clear picture so that we can see welding the sword of the Spirit takes trust in the one who will never leave nor forsake us and that is Jesus…..and He knows every move the enemy is even thinking to make and so we as Needles pointed out must remember…God is with us just be bold and courageous and go on through and having done all Stand!….. dj

  3. Thanks Needles and Dorothy for encouragement. I wanted to test myself in the skill of using my sword. I found this online magazine (link below) ‘Living Bulwark’ with a mission that I used for testing. Why don’t you try it and see how you score in the fencing class?

    The Sword of the Spirit seeks to:

    √ proclaim the good news of Christ through direct evangelization
    √ bring together Christians from different traditions and cultures for common mission
    √ support parents in raising children with character and a clear sense of identity
    √ envision and train the upcoming generation to take on roles of responsibility
    √ help bridge the gaps of race, class, and culture
    √ work in cooperation with the churches to foster Christian renewal and promote unity
    √ give hope and vision to those seeing their countries destroyed by war and violence

    http://www.swordofthespirit.net/bulwark/index.html

  4. In going through the “fencing test bullets” I seem to have come up somewhat short. These are things I know the Lord desires in all His people who have a propensity to do the will of the Father. These are things that I long to be able to do. And though, as Needles points out, “the battle belongs to the Lord” still Paul told us to “wield the sword”, to lop off the heads of the spiritual giants of oppression and depression and therein, I know,I miss the the goal. I cannot say “touche'”. I have not pierced the “heart” of the matter.
    We spoke in an earlier blog that we must work out our salvation with fear and trembling, but we MUST work it; that is
    Praying, wielding the sword of the Spirit.
    “Fencing” has other meanings besides swordplay. It can mean “evasion” equivocation, weaseling out of a position or rationalizing or misapplying. Maybe that’s why some of us might receive a low score on the FENCING test. Maybe we have been “fencing” & hedging too long and not wielding enough!!

  5. The comments and info above give a reality check to see if we are just looking at and thinking about the Sword or using it by doing. Fencing looks to be an action sport…no sitting back, passively hesitating. To me shipwreck looks like a loss or failed opportunity that one cannot get back. Lack of courage may hinder one from perceiving and/or stepping up to the opportunities of direct evangelism, etc that the Lord want us to take advantage of in order to enlarge His kingdom. This lack may lead to a shipwreck for others and ourselves.

  6. Amen Needles and Sara.

    Shipwrecks certainly aren’t pleasant to go through nor are they easy. It seems when we have gone through one that God places people in our lives who will or are going to face similar shipwrecks in their lives. Having Jesus strengthen us in character through one of these shipwrecks enables us to reach out a helping hand and lead someone else to Jesus, so they too may be strengthed by Him. This hand reaching reminds me of Peter reaching his hand to Jesus when he went to walk on the water and was sinking with the thought he was about to drown. We feel the shipwreck will do the same to us, thank goodness we can count on Jesus who is and always will be there to pull us through.

  7. MG, I agree with you, the test is hard but not impossible.

    We may be late but not to late, for Our Lord is always on time when we get out of the way and give Him a chance to arrive.

    Let us join together in prayer and desire to met these goals. Let us seek the Holy Spirit for opportunity of doors to be opened to us. (Even the apostle Paul asked for prayer for doors of opportunity to be opened to him).

    Let us seek ways in prayer to create with our spiritual gifts to be motivated to use them (our gifts for Him).
    Tips on the sport of fencing:
    Written by Beth Athanas, M.S.
    Tuesday, 11 September 2007
    “All too often while fencing, a bad situation occur and the athlete responds and reacts based on how they initially feel about the situation. This reaction is the basis for how the fencer handles it. Sometimes, an athlete’s emotions can get the better of them, and can even affect other parts of their game. Sometimes fencers forget that they are independent thinking individuals that possess free will, and get caught up with what is happening to them, rather than what they can do about it.

    One of the biggest mental errors in fencing is trying to control what you can’t and not controlling what you can. Lots of fencers get caught up in trying to fix things that they have absolutely no control over. What they don’t realize is that they can channel their energy towards solving their problem by focusing on what they can control.”

    I think we would all find excellent tips and tools for our spiritual work with our sword if we took the time to study the ART before we join the fight!

    Let us get up and do as God’s Word, the sword (fencing) Manuel instructs. Fight the good fight!

  8. Wow! These fencing tips are excellent indeed and so spiritually applicable. The part about trying to control what we cannot and neglecting areas where we CAN control reminds me of the principles Sara taught in her book, THROWING YOUR LIGHT FORWARD concerning relationships friendships and fellowships; to resist involving ourselves in those relationships which are not conducive to spiritual growth and to “channel our energy” (to quote Sara above) into the things that make for the building of the Kingdom of God.

  9. I am still trying to “live in the light” of the many excellent skills some of us (ones of us that attended the summer retreat) learned from one another at our summer retreat.

    I keep going back to our blog “Moments of Introspection” and my workbook on “Throwing Your Light Forward” to glean insight to go from day to day and live in the light I have been so graciously given.

    It takes much training and discipling to continue to walk circumspectly, not as fools but as wise, before the Lord at ALL times. Ephesians 5:15

    Sometimes we think this is for God’s good but it is for our good, our well being. In this gem of wisdom (vs. 19)we are also instructed to encourage one another with speaking to one another with psalms, hymns and spiritual songs. I have tried to do a little of that by inviting you to sing with me “Stand Up, “Stand Up for Jesus” above in our blog. Keep our minds and hearts on the focus, the ‘GOLD OF THE GOAL!’

    Our man made gaols are just that, and they will fade away very quickly. Probably bring little hope to others, just ourselves, selfish life style. But, we place our eyes upon the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 3:14

    May Peace, Joy, Love, and Hope be YOURS today! This is my prayer for ALL.

  10. I don’t know why we (I ) think that we can receive a revelation of a truth in God’s Word that the LORD has allowed us to have our eyes opened to, that we had not seen before and then DO NOTHING WITH IT or ABOUT IT, AFTER THE INITIAL “WOW! I see this all the time. And I am a prime suspect. Oh, Lord, I want to walk in all the light You have allowed me to receive, every waking moment. And I do for about 12 to 24 hours. And then the flesh says, “ok, enough of that! Now you need to tend to me! What about me? What about me?” (I think Joyce Meyer preached on that, once) Ah, yes. Poor neglected, emaciated, unattended-to-MY-FLESH! Something comes up and I find myself reacting in the same old way, with the same ugly countenance with the same spiritual demons rearing their ugly heads. When I get to see it on others, I shrink in revulsion at its unsightly manifestation. But Paul says in Romans 7:19-25, (paraphrased),’ I know nothing good dwells within my flesh. I want to do right and have the intention of doing it but where is the power to carry it out?’ Jesus said that the spirit of man is “willing but the flesh is weak”. Paul goes on to say….and this sounds a lot like me and some others I have spoken to about this very thing….”I delight and endorse and teach the Law, the Word of God by my born-again spirit within me. But in my fleshly members, there’s another force hammering away at me, either telling me that I am NOT healed, although the WORD says I AM by Christ’s stripes; or that I need one more donut although I have had sufficient for that day (or two); or that someone has wronged me and now I am rejected of all mankind and might take a week to recoup; or that I waste my time pursuing a go-nowhere relationship; or that I need to take a shortcut in a project I am doing instead of fulfilling all aspects of it, properly. Etc Etc Etc. Same old routine. I just don’t seem to get it! One more night with the frogs!! What happened to the glorious revelation that The Lord Gave me? Paul bewails in the same fashion. He cries out” O unhappy and pitiable man that I am, Who will deliver me from this body of death? Thank GOD! The Lord Jesus Christ, the anointed ONE. So indeed I am serving the flesh or always fighting it…and it is a fight!!!! but with my heart, I so want to serve and continue to grow in the Lord Jesus Christ and to walk in the revelations that He has been so gracious to give me and those with whom I have to do.
    So Sara says to pursue the goal of the prize of the high calling. That means I will have to deny the paltry low-class prizes of fleshly rewards, short-lived, decaying, even as we speak, withering, fading, failing, dying, cheap, tarnished. Who needs THEM? We want the rewards of the Kingdom where mold and moth are banished.
    But I must work it out. Yes, Christ the anointed ONE, God, Savior and King will come to our aid and assistance by His Spirit while He intercedes for me. But I have GOT TO DO IT.
    Sara , in your prayer you prayed for us HOPE. That’s my hope. That I will be able to walk in the Land of the LIVING AND IN THE LIGHT OF THE REVELATION of JESUS CHRIST.

  11. MG, your Hope will be ‘Reality’ at it’s best. Because when we walk in the Light with The Light, there can be no darkness and we will be living in the land of the living.

    Don’t you think it’s lots of fun speaking encouraging, positive words and then boom, bang goes the fireworks of ‘Reality of Truth’, Light, Joy, Peace, Hope and the fireworks spread throughout our skies and gives lots of beautiful rays of light.

  12. Psalms 18:30 “God’s way is perfect. All the Lord’s promises prove true. He is a SHIELD for all who look for him FOR PROTECTION.”
    A shield for protection. There is no better shield than God. Nothing can protect you any better. No man or machine is a safer protection. As I read this, I asked myself why should we fear anything. We know that God is perfect and that he is a shield of protection. All we have to do is to be his child and to love him and he will take care of us. He will keep us safe and protect us. We have a job to do. We have to work hard for our Father. We need to be BOLD AND COURAGEOUS and let nothing stand in the way of our job. I think about our soliders and how they have dedicated their lives to protecting our country. They have a mission to protect and to fight the enemy. To keep their country safe. To stand face to face, eye to eye and boldly fight the enemy. Even if it cost the solider’s physical life. I think about how those soliders felt when 9-11 happened. How their hearts were racing and their adrenaline was pumping as they watched each plane crash into the towers. They were probably thinking, on no the enemy has snuck in and attacked our beatuiful country. Killing beatuiful people who didn’t expect to die that day. I know our soliders were ready to go take care of this enemy. What ever it took, they were ready to stand eye to eye boldly with the enemy and fight without fear. Even if it cost them, their lives. Their mission is to serve and protect their country. We may face many trials, but most of us don’t understand what it’s like to have bombs blasting around us and guns shooting at us. Most of us don’t know what it’s like to sleep with one eye open. Our solider’s are protecting us so we won’t have to know this. We are also soliders of God and we must fight with the same boldness and courage. We must stand up for what is right. We must stand face to face, eye to eye with our enemy without fear. Using God as our shield, we must be bold and fight the great war for his Kingdom. We must be ready for any sneak attacks from the enemy, even if we have to sleep with one eye open. We must fight the fight even if it cost us our physical lives. WE ARE GOD’S SOLIDERS. WE MUST BE BOLD. WE MUST BE COURAGEOUS. WE MUST BE ARMED AT ALL TIMES. WE MUST BE READY. HE’S COUNTING ON US!!!! WE CAN’T LET HIM DOWN. THIS IS OUR MISSION!!!

  13. Chickenfarmer, thanks, you have given us a very thoughtful and soulful way of looking at being a soldier and standing up for Jesus.

    I like the way the song ends with a blast of encouragement:

    “To him that overcometh
    A crown of life shall be;
    He with the King of Glory
    Shall reign eternally.”

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