“Therefore, put on the full ARMOR of GOD
so you will be able to resist the enemy in the time of evil. 

Then after the BATTLE you will still be standing firm.
Stand your ground, 

By putting on the belt of TRUTH and
the body ARMOR of God’s righteousness. 

For shoes, put on the PEACE that comes from
the Good News so that you will be fully prepared. 

to stop the fiery arrows of the devil. 

Put on salvation as your HELMET,
and take the SWORD of the Spirit,
which is the Word of God.” 

Chapter 1
Closer than a Brother
FBF “Forever Best Friend”

Like most blessings, Erin discovered her Forever Best Friend in the midst of a crisis. When Erin was just 6, she and her older brother went to a private school on the other side of the Hollywood Hills from where her family lived. Because Erin’s brother was four years older, it was his responsibility to take her home. Early each morning, they were dropped off at school by their dad, who was a cameraman and worked on television shows and in movies. But it was Erin’s older brother, Adrian, who took her home from school each day on the public bus. But on this fateful day, Adrian bribed Erin with enough money to buy a mile-high ice cream cone if she would go home on the bus by herself. 

Adrian quizzed Erin over and over to make sure she knew the name and number of both public buses she needed to take. He asked her how much money was for each bus, to be sure to remember to ask for a transfer on the first bus, and where to get off to change buses. Erin, who was just six and in first grade, was much too young to understand the danger, so she smiled happily, agreeing excitedly, patting all the coins in her small blue uniform pocket for the bus fare and her ice cream as she crossed the street to wait for the bus. 

While waiting on the corner across from their school, Erin started to get scared because she was confused as she waited for her first bus. So many buses stopped and opened their doors before she read the right name and the correct number. But as soon as the right bus came and she got on, putting her coins into the farebox and got her transfer, which she folded tightly, stuffing it into her small pocket, she smiled in relief and took a seat. All she could think about was ordering her strawberry mile-high ice cream cone!

Just as the bus passed the famous Chinese Theater where everyone was taking pictures, standing in the movie star’s footprints and on their knees with their hands in their handprints, she jumped up and excitedly pulled the cord to let the bus driver know she wanted to get off at the next stop. Erin knew she didn’t need to pull the cord, Adrian always told her this was the busiest corner in all of Hollywood (maybe the whole world!), and it's why he always held her hand after they got off. 

That day no one held Erin’s hand. She stood at the exit before the bus stopped and was the first one off the bus. At the corner, she waited for a green light and crossed the street, heading for the corner soda fountain. She handed the man her money and ordered a strawberry mile-high ice cream cone. Delighted, she sat down to read the comic books, forgetting she needed to watch the time. All of a sudden, she remembered, and her heart started pounding. As Erin rushed outside, she looked up to see the digital clock on the bank, and the time was exactly when the bus would leave! Then to her horror, she saw where she should have been waiting, and there was her bus—slowly pulling away!

This happened once before when Adrian was joking around with his friends. So Erin knew the next bus going into the Valley, over the Hollywood Hills, wouldn’t come for another hour. So she crossed the street heading to the bus stop, then went into the bank. Erin and Adrian loved to play in the bank when their mom went down into the basement to the giant vault to put important papers in or take important papers out. They’d ride the elevator up and down. They’d go to the top of the stairs, then sit down and slide on the curved marble stairs taking them to the lobby. 

Unfortunately, playing inside the bank was another mistake—it caused Erin to miss the next bus and the bus after that. 

By the time Erin got on her bus to get home 4 hours later, it was dark. Being on a bus when it was light inside but dark outside terrified Erin. She was so sure she’d miss her stop and end up miles from home. So even though there were dozens of stops before they’d reach her street, Erin began cupping her hands to peer out the window, watching for her stop. 

Almost an hour later, after she passed the Party Shop, where she stole a small trophy and got caught, Erin was relieved to get off and cross the street to head up the hill to her house. But this is when she was the most frightened! There were still no streetlights on her block, so Erin began by walking up the dark street but soon she started to run to get home where she would feel safe again!! 

By the time she got home, she was crying, very sure that her brother would be in a lot of trouble for not taking her home. As she walked into the kitchen, she heard her mother call out, “Hurry and take off your uniform, Erin; dinner is almost ready.” Sobbing, she told her mother that Adrian had made her come home on the bus alone!! Erin’s mom, still stirring the spaghetti sauce, turned and smiled at her, “But look how grown-up you are, Erin; you made it home by yourself, and you’re just fine.” 

Erin didn’t realize that she wasn’t alone on the bus. She wasn't alone while walking up the street in the dark—her FBF was there, but she wasn’t able to feel Him without faith, faith that God would soon give her His eternal gift. The day when she would meet her Savior, the King of all kings and Lord of all lords. Later too, she learned that being brave means that despite being full of fear, the brave advance rather than retreat, knowing it is the Lord who promises to fight for us and, most often, will simply ask us to stand by and watch Him fight on our behalf. Sometimes, too, we watch as God causes our enemies to become confused, and they turn and destroy each other!

Another lesson a mighty warrior must learn is that God said, "Children are a gift from God... a reward"? It’s true, and real men, like Anthony, who not only loves and looks forward to having children of his own, and Edward, who has a daughter—but like all real men, true warriors, Anthony wants a quiver full of children. Everybody was sure that Edward would have a full quiver when he married because he loved children so much. And yet, God also says, “My thoughts are nothing like your thoughts,” says the Lord. “And my ways are far beyond anything you could imagine. For just as the heavens are higher than the earth, so my ways are higher than your ways and My thoughts higher than your thoughts."

The reason real men, men of God, want a quiver full is to be ready for battle. God said children are “Like arrows in the hand of a mighty warrior, so are the children of one’s youth. Blessed is the man who has filled his quiver with them. The more you have, the better off you will be because they will protect you when your enemies attack you.” So as a true warrior, you can dream, as Anthony has, as Edward has, of having a quiver full of children—young warriors who will join you in the battle for good and against evil. 

Now, stop to relax, grab your coffee or cold beverage, and talk to the Lord, your Maker, and ask Him questions. Listen to what He's telling you in your heart. Then when He leads you—pour your heart into your journal, writing down what you've learned

Post your Praise 🥳

From GOD, Your Father!!



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