“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.
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.
All Things for Good
Why would God let this happen to Erin, not just having to face getting home on her own the first time, missing her bus several times until it was dark, but also having to do it each time Adrian wanted to send her home alone? Erin knew God loved her, so why did He let this happen? Why do bad things happen?
Would you believe that what happened was all God’s plan? It’s true. God used this and every difficulty in Erin’s life for GOOD. God allowed this crisis to happen in order to prepare Erin for her future and even her children’s future. It’s the same with you!!
That night, as she lay in bed, Erin realized no one could be with her all the time. There was no one to guide or protect her or make her feel safe all the time. Erin knew her mother loved her, but her mother hadn’t understood her fear, and she couldn’t always be with her.
Erin had lots of older siblings, but none could hold her hand to make her feel safe and not miss another bus. That night Erin longed for a brother, a mother, a father, a friend—Someone who would be with her all the time. Someone who would never forsake or abandon, or desert her. Someone who understood. Does this sound like Someone you would want to meet, Someone you would want to know?
Lord of Hosts
Erin ended up riding the bus alone a couple more times that year before summer vacation. And even though she’d learned her lesson to not spend time anywhere else but at the bus stop, the fear of being alone still gripped and frightened her.
Then, at God’s appointed time Erin became His Princess, never to be alone again, something life-changing that happened at the beginning of the following year.
Erin’s favorite nun was who God sent to prepare her and her classmates for their First Holy Communion. Even more important was preparing Erin for her first confession. The nun who God chose was raised a Baptist and Erin didn't know that she was about to meet her Prince! The Prince of Peace. The Best Friend she wanted and needed Who would be with her always. The Son of God who Erin fell in love with.
All her life, Erin would have Someone who would guide her “He leads me” and protect her and make her feel safe no matter where in the world—all around the world is where He planned to take her someday. The truth is, God causes everything to happen for good. The first and most important good that came from this, was to meet that Someone who would never forsake, abandon, or desert Erin. Someone who understood. A Mighty Warrior who would fight her battles—the Lord of Hosts— the Lord of Armies who led all the warring angels.
It happened when the nun explained that even though there was a priest in the confessional, to imagine that they were speaking to God Himself, confessing everything to Him. Confess everything they'd ever done wrong right there in the church pew. So while kneeling quietly in the dark church, Erin confessed everything to God beginning with how she wanted her brother punished for making her go home alone. Erin confessed to stealing the trophy in the Party Shop and Erin confessed for each time she talked in class when it was forbidden.
After Erin finished she immediately felt wonderfully different!! Tears of joy began running down her cheeks. The nun saw her and gave her a hug. But the hug she felt was inside and she knew it was from Him. Erin was happier than she ever felt in her life. Erin felt lighter, happier, safer, and peaceful.
Erin’s name actually means peace, but she never felt peaceful. Not like this peace. It was like it surpassed, exceeded, all her understanding.
After a few minutes, while everyone visited the priest (the part Erin didn’t like and learned later was unnecessary), the nun passed around “unconsecrated” hosts said to be the body of Christ. Then in a very quiet voice, she said, "Now it's time to ask the Lord into your heart because your hearts are now clean." She said, "Ask Him to come in and live there, in your heart, giving your life and your future to Him." Bowing her head again, Erin asked Him to live in her heart and at that moment she changed instantly and radically.
Erin didn’t need any more religion, nor do you. We want and need a relationship with our Creator. Religion isn’t bad or wrong as long as it doesn’t get in the way of a relationship that isn’t earned but given freely.
The change in Erin was so profound that her parents believed it was the Catholic school she went to. They said this to everyone who asked, “What’s gotten into Erin? She’s not that rambunctious, naughty little girl that used to give you so much trouble.” Everyone believed it was the strict Catholic school and the nuns who had changed her. In a way they were right, it was a nun who introduced Erin to find forgiveness and ask the Lord to live in her heart. But what changed Erin was something you can also have.
From that day on, Erin was never the same. That year the Lord became Erin’s FBF Forever Best Friend. Due to the way God orchestrated Erin’s life, just like many people in the Bible, and maybe just like YOUR life too—Erin’s life was separated and she was set apart—separate and set apart from just about everyone.
Set Apart for His Good Use
All three of Erin’s brothers were much older, and because she was a tomboy, Erin’s sisters wanted nothing to do with her.
Erin had no school friends either. Living in the Valley, but attending school in Hollywood and as you just read, which took over an hour to get home on the public bus, Erin couldn’t play after school and make friends with the other children like everyone else. And because it was a very strict Catholic school, there was almost no interaction during school. Even while having lunch Erin had to sit at her desk and was forbidden to talk, which is why she had to confess this to the Lord.
Much of Erin’s aloneness had to do with being a tomboy, as was mentioned earlier. It meant she never had any close girlfriends. On top of that, talking on the phone to classmates was not possible because back then— it was called a "long-distance" call and it was very expensive.
In Erin’s neighborhood, all the other children were much younger, and during any other activities, like the ballet she took, and later as a swimmer, Erin was set apart from all of her friends due to living in cities far from where she lived. SO, this meant that for most of her childhood Erin had only ONE faithful close friend, her Forever Best Friend who went with her everywhere! Someone she could talk to. Someone who listened. Someone who understood. So even though she was alone—Erin was never again lonely.
What About You?
Do you ever feel alone? Has God set you apart for something special? For such a time as this?
Sometimes the people we trust let us down like Erin’s brother, Adrian. Sometimes it’s a parent who believes you’re more grown-up and responsible than you feel, like Erin’s mom. Sometimes the person we care about the most is taken from us like Erin’s mother, Grammy, experienced when her parents got divorced and Grammy’s father moved away after she and her brother misbehaved and he sadly drowned.
This means just one thing. No! No! Not that you must rely on yourself and put up a wall to keep yourself safe!! How foolish! A wall means you’ve locked yourself in a prison. And getting tougher is foolish because there’s always someone stronger or tougher. The answer Erin discovered was finding the One who is “closer than a brother” and loves us more than a mother”!!!
So let me ask you again…
Do YOU ever feel alone?
Are YOU ever afraid?
Do YOU ever feel like no one understands?
Well then...Guess what? It’s the appointed time. You’ve been reading and/or listening to this story because this is your Divine Appointment. There’s Someone who's been waiting for you. Someone Who is about to use everything that’s made no sense or what’s hurt you for GOOD.
All you need to do is talk to Him. That’s what prayer is—it’s simply talking to God! You can talk privately anywhere at any time because you’re talking to Him in your head and in your heart. Begin like Erin did, by confessing everything you’ve ever done wrong right here, right now. Then once you feel clean and free, ask the Lord to come and live in your heart!!
What Happened Later
For seven years, Erin often took the bus home by herself, but she was never ever alone. God was preparing her to become very comfortable being set apart so that she would be ready to travel around the world “listening to a word behind her” so she knew when to go “right or left.” "He led” Erin to meet people all around the world who longed for a Mighty Warrior Who would never leave or forsake them, Someone to battle for them. Someone Who would always be closer than a brother and Who loved them more than a mother. A Heavenly Father Who would comfort them when their parents divorced.
And because His blessings are passed to many generations, Kate did the same—traveling and meeting people around the world. Little girls and boys and moms who spoke many languages but welcomed His love.
“Mighty Warrior Prince of Peace”
Did you know you have been called into the family of God as His Prince? You have, and this means that the enemy will oppose you with lies. This is why you must be wiser than your enemy and put on the helmet of salvation to be saved from the lies that will rob you of your reward! You must be wise as serpents and harmless as doves.
And as His Prince, His Mighty Warrior, you are required to “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, TRUST GOD, to give you a quiver full of children, by putting on the belt of TRUTH and the body ARMOR of God’s righteousness.”
Remember Kate and Edward, who you read about in Horses Hoped For? Well, when Kate married her husband Anthony, both men, Anthony and Edward, agreed that putting on your armor every day is invaluable—especially the shoes you wear. To be fully prepared, they know that the shoes must be the shoes of PEACE, like your Brother, the Prince of Peace.
Throughout your life, your Brother, the Prince of Peace, Who walked on earth before taking His throne, who is now seated next to your Father in heaven, also wore and put on the same shoes—the shoes of PEACE.
Your battle is unlike the battles you may enjoy watching, playing, or reading about. That’s because "we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places."
This is why it’s important to be sure to always hold up the SHIELD OF FAITH to stop the fiery arrows of the devil. And the only way to do this successfully is to put on salvation as your HELMET.
Being prepared to go into battle means you must always be careful to both feed and cleanse your mind and soul with God’s Word, which has been given to you—in order that you may readily and quickly take up the SWORD of the Spirit, which IS the Word of God.”
Not only is the Prince of Peace, your Brother, but He is waiting and hoping to become your Forever Best Friend. The brother who will be there to go into every battle you face the moment you call out or even cry out to the HIM in your trouble; because He promises to save you from every one of your distresses. He has sent His Word, which will heal you from all your fears and save you from every destruction.
Did you know that every mighty warrior has learned to profit from fear? It is not that you need to become fearless; it's just the opposite. As a mighty warrior, you will soon understand just how to use fear for good to remind you never to attempt to battle the enemy on your own. You will also come to understand that to feel embarrassed or ashamed when you feel weak because it means you are His true warrior. Listen to one of the greatest warriors of God, Paul, who once said to his fellow warriors, “‘God’s grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness.’ Most gladly, therefore, I will rather boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of the Most High God may dwell in me. Therefore, I am well content with weaknesses, with insults, with distresses, with persecutions, with difficulties, that the power of the Messiah, God’s promised Deliverer of all evil may rest upon you and me.
Paul also said, “It is for His sake” that he entered into all battles, “for when I am weak, then I am strong.” This is why his predecessor, a mighty warrior who fought before him, Peter, proclaimed to men of God like you, “In this greatly rejoice, even though for a little while, if necessary, you have been distressed by various trials, that the proof of your faith, being more precious than gold (which is perishable) even though tested by fire, may be found to result in praise, glory and honor.”
If this story has helped you feel better, please share your story with us. It’s your testimony, and it’s what will help other boys overcome difficulties in their lives! And if you shared our story with a friend or someone else, we’d love to hear just how it happened.
It's time to JOURNAL
Begin Journaling, just writing your thoughts down. Think of it as writing a letter to your father—but instead, write it to your Heavenly Father. Write down everything that is on your heart and how this story has helped you.
Because we like to select and share parts of journals with other boys around the world to encourage them (if you give us your permission) we will choose a pen name, what we call a BNN "Brand New Name" so no one but God knows it's you.
Read PRAISE 🙌🏼 that Encouraging Women, mostly moms, post on our Encourager about having a Heavenly Father #HF.
If you ASK Him, He will show you what to say.
If this is your FIRST journal, go now to get Your BNN "Brand New Name."
I am sure you are very excited to start and we are very excited to hear from you, so read each question carefully and if you are not sure about something, you can click on the question and a grey block will appear on the side to show you the instructions.
Thank you for Sharing and Caring!
⚔️ BONUS ⚔️
“Children are a gift from God... a reward!” “Behold, children are a gift of the Lord, the fruit of the womb is a reward.” “Children are God’s love gift; they are heaven’s generous reward.” Psalm 127:3 TPT
"filled his quiver with them" “Oh, how blessed are you parents, with your quivers full of children.” Psalm 127:5
“God’s plan” “‘For My thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways My ways,’ declares the Lord. ‘For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways, and My thoughts than your thoughts.’” Isaiah 55:8–9
“for GOOD” “And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.” Romans 8:28
“never forsake or abandon” “for He Himself has said, ‘I will never desert you, nor will I ever abandon you,’” “I’ll never let you down, never walk off and leave you,” MSG “I will never leave you alone, never! And I will not loosen my grip[a] on your life!” TPT “I will never fail you. I will never abandon you.” NLT Hebrews 13:5
“appointed time” “Then the LORD answered me and said, ‘Record the vision and inscribe it on tablets, that he one who reads it may run. For the vision is yet for the appointed time; it hastens toward the goal and it will not fail. Though it tarries, WAIT for it; for it will certainly come, it will not delay.’” Habakkuk 2:2-3
“Prince of Peace” “And His name will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Eternal Father, Prince of Peace.” Isaiah 9:6
“confessed everything to God” “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” 1 John 1:9
“wanted her brother punished” “But I tell you to love your enemies and pray for anyone who mistreats you.” Matthew 5:44
“lighter” “For My yoke is easy, and My burden is light.” Matthew 11:30
“surpassed all understanding” “Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.” 1 Peter 1:8
"changed instantly and radically” “Do not marvel that I said to you, ‘You must be born again.’” John 3:7
“set apart” “Therefore, if anyone cleanses himself from what is dishonorable, he will be a vessel for honorable use, set apart as holy, useful to the master of the house, ready for every good work.” 2 Timothy 2:21 ESV
“For such a time as this?” “And who knows whether you have not attained royalty for such a time as this?” Esther 4:14
“let you down” “This is what the Lord says: ‘Cursed are those who put their trust in mere humans, who rely on human strength”...“But blessed are those who trust in the Lord and have made the Lord their hope and confidence.” Jeremiah 17:5, 7
“misbehaved” “Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. Honor your father and mother (which is the first commandment with a promise), so that it may be well with you, and that you may live long on the earth.” Ephesians 6:1-3
“closer than a brother” “A man of many companions may come to ruin, but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother.” Proverbs 18:24
“loves us more than a mother” “But how could a loving mother forget her nursing child and not deeply love the one she bore? Even if there is a mother who forgets her child, I could never, no never, forget you.” Isaiah 49:15 TPT
“listening to a word behind her” “right or left.” "Your ears will hear a word behind you, saying, “This is the way, walk in it,” whenever you turn to the right or to the left." Isaiah 30:21
“He leads” “The Lord is my Shepherd, I shall not want. He makes me lie down in green pastures; HE LEADS ME beside quiet waters. He restores my soul.” Psalm 23: 1-3
"Lord of Hosts" "Who is this King of glory? The Lord of Hosts, He is the King of glory!" Psalm 24:10 ESV Also known as "Lord of Armies" all the warring angels.
“comfort them” “‘Comfort, O comfort My people,’ says your God.” Isaiah 40:1 “who comforts us in all our affliction so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God.” 2 Corinthians 1:4.
“passed to many generations” “Understand, therefore, that the Lord your God is indeed God. He is the faithful God who keeps His covenant for a thousand generations and lavishes His unfailing love on those who love His and obey His commands.” Deuteronomy 7:9 NLT
“many languages” "After these things I looked, and here was an enormous crowd that no one could count, made up of persons from every nation, tribe, people, and language..." Revelation 7:9 NET Bible
“testimony” "And they overcame him because of the blood of the Lamb and because of the word of their testimony, and they did not love their life even when faced with death." Revelation 12:11