Displaying items by tag: take heart

God’s Army: Our Battle Plan for Spiritual War

by Rachel DeffenbaughGod's Army

Each year in the U.S., we commemorate the men and women who have served in our armed forces on “Veterans Day,” November 11. Their unwavering commitment to serve and sacrifice extends beyond the signature line on their enlistment form and even beyond ‘Hell Week’ of boot camp. It is in every drill, exercise, salute, flawlessly made bed, pre-deployment training, deployment/tour, and goodbye to loved ones. Despite the uncertainties, their call to duty to serve a purpose greater than themselves abounds. As Christians, we know the importance of such a calling, and we are grateful for the sacrifices (big and small, spoken and unspoken) our veterans have made.

Is this the blueprint for God's army?

Jesus preached about laying down one’s life for his friends and God's word teaches us to put others before ourselves. Similar to the sacrifices our military makes to protect our 'life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness,’ Jesus came so that we may have life and have it more abundantly; not to condemn the world but to save it. In contrast to the military, His mission was not to kill His enemies but to die for them. He is our example not only as a Christian but as a soldier of a larger body of believers—the Church, also known as God's army.

Weapons of Warfare

As with everything else, the Lord has identified our spiritual weapons in scripture. Our weapons are vastly different from what our soldiers use to protect our country. Jesus’ weapons involved a different arsenal of spiritual warfare. After all, "we do not wage 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."

Therefore, as the Church, we fight a spiritual war—not with physical weapons, but with spiritual ones. Our spiritual weapons are offensive and defensive as outlined in Ephesians 6:10-13. Interestingly, the only offensive weapon listed here is the sword. The Sword of the Spirit is the word of God. The other “gear” listed are defensive weapons: the shield of faith, breastplate of righteousness, feet of peace, belt of truth, and helmet of salvation.

Additionally, we have been equipped with “weapons of righteousness.” In 2 Corinthians 6, these weapons are described as our gifts from God. Another "weapon of righteousness” is prayer, especially when “forged” in the word of God.

We would be remiss if we did not mention another “weapon of righteousness,” God’s love. Indeed, love deployed as a weapon is explained in Romans 12:19-21 and emphasized as our most valuable gift in 1 Corinthians 13:2.

You may be tempted to march in God’s army with only your offensive weapon, the sword. However, Paul urges us to put on every piece of armor (our spiritual weapons). Missing a single “weapon” can expose us to vulnerabilities; similar to how our military wear their kevlar and flak jackets. They would never undergo a mission with just their rifle in tow. The same principle applies to those of us in God's army.

Our Enemy

As our beloved veterans understand, we must identify our enemy. Our enemy is “the father of lies” who has been a “murderer from the beginning.” It is fitting for him to continue doing exactly what he has been doing since the beginning of time.

In pregnancy help, we see the same lies targeting women, men, families, marriages, and children alike. These lies perpetuate the agenda of our enemy, who seeks to not only murder our unborn children but to sever families, marriages, and livelihoods. His lies mirror the same propaganda we see today; using the same tactics he has used for centuries, just packaged with different labels through the years.

Identifying our enemy means we can prepare for attacks and are not surprised when they come. This preparation begins with you and the call for peace among all Christians worldwide.

Call to Peace

How is peace attainable in such a divisive world? Let’s learn what the Prince of Peace can teach us.

  • Peace means “unity.” The Greek word for “peace,” eirēnē, means “ unity and accord.”1We can have peace by being in unity with the body of Christ, God's army. How can a military unit fulfill any mission with dissension, divisive strategies, and discord among them?
  • Peace means “restoration.” The definition is also described as “the spiritual harmony brought about by an individual’s restoration with God.”1 Inner peace comes when we are fully reconciled with God. Forgiveness (repentance and forgiving others) is the first place to start for inner peace.
  • Peace means trust.Lean[ing] not on your own understanding” involves knowing your limits. We are limited by our knowledge of our circumstances (the seen and especially unseen). We are limited by our knowledge of the future. We are limited by our capacity to understand the collective truths of reality and God's purposes through them.

While we have cognitive limitations, our trust in God as Commander and Chief of His army is crucial. Soldiers follow their superiors' orders, without question or hesitation. How much more should we, in communion with God, trust He knows best, trust His perfect timing, and trust in His promises?

We are grateful to our nation's veterans. Through their unwavering commitment, they've secured the freedoms we cherish today. As Christians, our battlefield and our weapons are completely different but they share similarities to preserve 'life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.' We know that in this spiritual war, armed with our spiritual weapons, we are fully equipped for the calling to peace and to protect life.



  1. https://www.sermonindex.net/modules/articles/index.php?view=article&aid=34587
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Some Things Take Time

by Jor-El Godsey, President of Heartbeat InternationalThings Take Time

“Time ripens all things; no man is born wise.” – Miguel de Cervantes, author (Don Quixote)

To understand how “time ripens” we need to look no further than our own lives. In fact, one of the most profound perspectives comes from interacting with small children as they grow and mature. One moment they don’t understand something, the next they do. They simply need time to develop, aided by the proper conditions, input, protection, and cultivation.

Cabernets and cathedrals are similar. Most wines ripen with age as the molecular structure actually changes into something richer, fuller, and, as the sommelier will tell you, better. Most red wines take between five and twenty years to age properly, allowing tannins to mellow and aromatics to blend together. Unfortunately, I’ve been known to stand impatiently, complete with arms folded and toes tapping, in front of a microwave cooking (or heating) my dinner in just a matter of moments. I've also marveled when visiting other countries that have invested a significant amount of years curating phenomenal vintage wine. As someone from the modern world, my inherent expectation of instant gratification would mean missing out on the wonder of an aged wine. (If you don’t drink wine, think about cheeses aged for decades. But not American cheese, which is probably not even real cheese.)

Cathedrals also take time, but the time is more active with artisans in stone, wood, and glass working for decades if not centuries. The Gothic Cologne Cathedral in Germany took more than 600 years to complete. The vision to complete this wondrous celebration of God’s power spanned generations of architects and artisans, bishops and barons, as well as patrons and parishioners. The cathedral was completed before the U.S.A.’s Brooklyn Bridge (NY) and Washington Monument (DC). Today, you can visit this testament to tenacity in Cologne, Germany. (I’ve not been there, but I bet the city smells nice, too.)

In our modern world, we often only pursue the quick fix. This is certainly necessary for us when we’re helping a woman navigate the obstacles preventing her—at the moment—from choosing life. Yet, when we are looking at the systemic impact of abortion on our land, laws, and lives, the quick fix has been exceptionally elusive. Too many are spending too much on finding that quick fix—the “silver bullet”—that will establish life as being cherished and chosen everywhere as soon as possible. Of course, we all want that to happen, but the quest for a quick fix can get in the way of playing the long game.

That’s the nature and heart of pregnancy help. Her “quick fix” is abortion. We need her to look beyond the moment and circumstances to see the path ahead, which is led by God.

Similarly, we build one another up in this work, knowing that the pregnancy help part of the pro-life movement has never been about the quick fix or silver bullet. We know that what makes for exceptional pregnancy help is building for the long haul: to be a known and trusted community partner who will work diligently to provide alternatives to abortion regardless of which laws are currently on the books.

For more than five decades, Heartbeat International has had the privilege of journeying with pregnancy help organizations. We were there with the startups in the early 70s. We have helped inspire and nurture networks in other nations. We’ve walked with leaders throughout their lengthy tenure and then had a hand in training their successors to carry the mission forward.

Together, the pregnancy help movement has continued to uphold and advance the sanctity of life, one woman at a time.

The heart of this mission is building relationships with those God has called into the mission field created by abortion. Just as we know our number one tool in interacting with at-risk moms is the relationship, the same is true in building relationships among our own, fellow leaders and missionaries in this work. We come from different places, walk in different environments, and work with varying methods, yet we are all called into the pregnancy help community.

Time does help "ripen" our relationships with trust, experience, and wisdom. “Blessed are those who find wisdom, those who gain understanding…” (Proverbs 3:13). So take heart, as we grow and mature (tannins or otherwise) and blend together in championing life!

The Significance of Life: A Reflection on Respect Life Month

by Rachel DeffenbaughRespect Life Month

In honor of Respect Life Month, our attention turns toward the significance of the lives of unborn children and the pregnancy help mission to support women and their families.

The term "pro-life" is often used with varying interpretations, and frequently debated on social media. At the core of these discussions lies a fundamental question: what makes life significant? Historically, even what constitutes as alive has been central to pro-abortion arguments, with phrases like "blob of tissue" and "no proof of life" used to describe unborn children. However, advances in science have debunked these claims, confirming that “human life begins at conception—fertilization.” Today, the primary contention is not whether an unborn baby is alive but rather whether their life holds equal significance as that of the mother.

As we observe these discussions on social media, it becomes evident that the concept of significance is subjective and varies from one person to another. Pro-abortion activists do not attribute the same significance to all lives. Their stance is measured subjectively, encasing the entire movement in fluid ambiguity. It’s not enough to uphold a viewpoint dependent on emotion (like anger or fear) or personal experience.

In contrast, those of us in pregnancy help assign meaning and purpose to unborn babies based on the belief that all people are made in God's image and that children are a blessing. Furthermore, those of us in pregnancy help assign the lives of women with meaning and purpose, refraining from judging their past or present circumstances, guided by the same values. The pro-life stance is measured by scientific consistency and biblical truth.

Shifting the Narrative

While pro-abortion activists increasingly target pregnancy centers to undermine the valuable work done for women, pregnancy help continues to emphasize the significance of life.

In addition to the biblical truth that assigns human life with meaning and purpose, another component that demonstrates the significance of life is reflected in the lives touched and transformed at every pregnancy help organization around the globe. Their mounting impact shows that life—when provided with support and care—has the potential to create a positive impact on our global community. This is why (together) we promote the significance of life because we have witnessed firsthand the power that love and unity can yield.

Instead of the pro-abortion narrative that says women are incapable, the pregnancy help movement communicates the significance of life by coming alongside each woman to emphasize both the profound significance of her unborn child's life and her own.

Constructing a Foundation of Truth—Together

Those of us in the pregnancy help movement play a pivotal role in building a bridge to the redemptive and healing power of Jesus Christ. Each action we take—whether a phone call, a pregnancy test and consultation, a gospel-centered conversation, or a warm smile—contributes to this bridge. Pregnancy help is the bedrock of her support, offering compassion, care, and assistance symbolized by each piece of the bridge.

In the face of attacks from Big Abortion and its supporters, unity within pregnancy help is more critical than ever. The centers that tirelessly support and educate women and families understand the profound significance of life, and their entire existence revolves around upholding its value. Together, we are the builders of this vital movement.

As we recognize Respect Life Month, let us carry the torch of compassion, understanding, and unwavering commitment to the significance of every life. In a world filled with debates and differing perspectives, one truth remains constant: the value of each unborn child and the vital importance of supporting women and their families. We are the defenders of this cause, advocates of hope, and builders of bridges that lead to Jesus Christ. Our mission extends far beyond this month; it's a lifelong dedication to ensuring that every life is treated as significant.


For more articles relating to the significance of life or personhood, please visit our news website here.

 For Such a Time as This

by Melissa Heiland, Founder, Beautiful Feet InternationalTake Heart - For Such a Time as This

The story of Esther is a story of faithfulness and betrayal, of honor and disgrace. It is a real-life Cinderella story, and it speaks loudly to us as pro-life servants. It is a story of a battle of good vs. evil, not unlike the battle we are fighting of life vs. death. There are many virtues in the story of Esther that we must pursue as we fight for life.

Esther experienced deep sorrow early in life. The Word says that she had “neither a father nor a mother.” (Esther 2:7) This serves as an encouragement to those of us who have experienced devasting loss and great sorrow. It reminds us that God’s hand is still upon us and He can and will still use us for great things in His Kingdom.

Esther is a woman who treats others with respect. Throughout the story, we see her treating her adopted father, Mordecai, with great respect. Even when she is queen, she still submits to his will. She shows respect to Hegai, the eunuch, by following his suggestions. She shows great respect for the king. As God’s children, we are to treat others with the respect they deserve as image-bearers. It is one of the ways we honor life.

Esther is humble. When Mordecai uncovers the plot to kill the king, she tells the king and gives credit to her adopted father, not herself. As she continues to obey Mordecai as an adult, she shows humility.

As pro-life leaders, our lives should be characterized by humility.

Esther is a woman of prayer. When faced with a seemingly impossible situation, she fasted and prayed and asked others to do the same. This is an example we need to follow in our personal lives, as well as in ministry.

Esther is brave. She knows she might lose her life as she stands up for what is right, and she is willing to risk her life. Fighting for life is not a job for the faint of heart. The Lord has called us to speak without fear.

Esther is patient. When she goes before the king, she does not rush to make her requests known. She prays and waits for the right time to ask for her people’s lives to be spared. As pro-life leaders, we must be patient, knowing that God will work on our behalf and on behalf of the unborn at just the right time.

Esther is passionate. She begs the king to spare the Jews. She pleads for their lives. We, too, are passionate as we speak for those who cannot speak for themselves. The story of Esther is a story of faithfulness: Esther’s faithfulness and God’s faithfulness. It serves as a reminder and encouragement to us that we must be faithful to God’s call on our lives, and He will be faithful to spare His people – the ones we are advocating for. Just as God spared the Jews because of Esther’s faithfulness, God is sparing the lives of countless unborn children because of the courage and faithfulness of pro-life servants around the world. Esther took great risks to protect the lives of others and we know that our work is not without risk. But, like Esther, we trust our lives to a faithful God, who lovingly guides us.

Esther means “star.” God has called us to shine like stars holding forth the Word of life.

“Do everything without grumbling or arguing, so that you may become blameless and pure, '“children of God without fault in a warped and crooked generation.” Then you will shine among them like stars in the sky as you hold firmly to the word of life. And then I will be able to boast on the day of Christ that I did not run or labor in vain.”' Philippians 2:14-16

He has called each of us for such a time as this. What an exciting time to be serving in pro-life ministry!