Arm Yourself for Battle: Breastplate - Righteousness -- A Guest Post by Barbara Ann Derksen

The devil often attacks our heart, the seat of our emotions, self-worth, and trust. God's righteousness is the breastplate that protects our heart and ensures His approval. He approves of us because He loves us and sent His Son to die for us.
Righteousness (acting in a morally correct manner, correct by divine declaration - set right with God)
 Genesis 15:6 - And he [Abram] believed in the Lord; and he counted it to him for righteousness.
Abram believed what God promised him and because his faith was in God, not the promise, he was set right with God or declared by God to be righteous. Our faith, even as little as a mustard seed, needs to have its foundation in Jesus Christ, in His person and His work.
Glade walked into the clubhouse. He smiled his usual greeting to the man heading in his direction. Buzz pushed by him as he stocked toward the door. “What’er you so happy about? Life stinks,” he grumbled. The clubhouse door slammed as Buzz disappeared through it, leaving Glade standing, staring after the unhappy man.
“Hey, Deeter. What’s with him?” He hollered to the one other person in the room.
Deeter looked up from the newspaper he’d been reading. “Don’t know. Don’t care.” Deeter’s gaze returned to the article in front of him.
Glade shrugged but the image of unhappiness that permeated the place reached out and grabbed like a tangible hand. He shivered. What was it about the club that made him feel so unloved and unwanted these days? Then he remembered the sermon his pastor had preached in church the day before. He’d talked about a Christian’s need to guard their heart, to protect their inner most being from the attacks of the enemy.
Was it possible? He scoffed. Of course it was. This place was ripe with Satan’s markings. Everywhere he looked he saw, with eyes that seemed to be clear for the first time, evidence of how the enemy controlled the lives of all who entered the doors of the club. The heaviness weighed them down. He could feel it. I need to leave. Glade marched toward the door he’d just come through.
The pastor was right. He needed to protect his heart by immersing himself in the word, and traveling with people who also loved God. Especially now when he’d given his life to Christ. There was nothing he could do for his fellow bikers until he became stronger in his faith. Maybe one day God would lead him back here but for now he needed to put the club and its members behind him.
Glade was right to take what his pastor preached seriously. If we don’t wear our righteousness, the set-right-with-God shield, openly, we are more likely to step back into old habits. We need to wear it like a badge of honor whenever we step into the world and all that entails, understanding that while we love the people we work with, the people God places in front of us, we also need to be aware of Christ, His person and His work at all times.
Fill your heart and mind with God’s love for the people you come in contact with but never forget it’s God’s love and not your own. Don’t ever take Christ for granted. Be aware of His power to reach out to the lost, the sick, and the weak, as you move through your day.
Father, regard me as righteous. Fill me with Your presence today, so I may reflect You to the people You bring into my path. Keep me sharply aware that it is all about You, not me at all. I can do nothing without You in my life, walking before me, guiding my steps. Thank You Father. Amen.
Look around. Do You see God at work in and through You? Have you taken the necessary precautions to protect your heart, your inner most being from the enemy or do you let unholy thoughts fester and grow like a cancer? 

About the Author 

Watching the expressions on the faces of her readers, as well as answering questions about her characters, is what drives author and speaker, Barbara Ann Derksen to write yet another book and another. Her favorite genre is murder mystery but each book brings forth characters who rely on God as they solve the puzzle in their life.

Barbara’s devotionals are sought after each year when she publishes a new one that reflects what God has placed on her heart. From Straight Pipes, her first, to More Than Bells, Preparation for Prayer, the latest, Barbara’s devotions take people to the place where God can touch their heart and leave a lasting impression. When people stop by her table for the latest, they talk to her about using the devotions in their chapter meetings, or their personal devotions. Some men return at their pastor’s request because the books are used as launch pads for men’s bible study. Many copies have been passed on to new believers as discipling tools.

Born in Canada, Barbara lived in the US for 12 years. There her writing surfaced as she worked under contract as a journalist for six years with over 2500 articles published in newspapers and magazines during that time. Meeting and interviewing people, digging for the hidden gems in their lives, made those years informative as well as instructive. She began attending Colorado Christian Writer’s Conferences and each year, under the tutelage of great Christian writer’s like James Scott Bell, Angela Hunt, and others, she honed her skills.

Barbara has developed a speaking platform and has spoken across the US and in Manitoba, Canada for women’s groups and in church services on topics such as The Writing Experience, working in the ministry of Christian Motorcyclists Association, Love, Parenting, Time Management, and a host of others.

With 17 books to her credit, one currently inactive and awaiting revision, each one surpasses the last, according to her readers. They look forward to discovering the new characters in a new series Finders Keepers. Book One – Shadow Stalker – will be released mid-May, 2013

Writing, however is simply a tool to be used in the ministry she shares with her husband. With his gift of music (he sings country gospel), Barbara and her husband operate CatchFire Ministries, a ministry to bikers through Christian Motorcyclists Association. They travel for four to five months every summer in the US and the rest of the time in Canada where they seek to inspire, encourage and invite people into a deeper ministry with Jesus Christ. They also minister at Veterans Homes and churches along the way and are about to begin a ministry to Juvenile offenders incarcerated at Manitoba Youth Center. The mysteries include a gospel message that opens her readers to the possibility of reading books written from a Christian World view and supply funds for CatchFire.

About Her Latest Book

Evil pursues Christine, in this the second book of the Finders Keepers Mystery Series. Retreat is not an option but her move forward makes her vulnerable to the very evil that took her parents' lives. Faced with yet another missing child, she embarks on a search that takes her out of her comfort zone to question her chosen career, her abilities, and her belief system as she helps stricken parents find closure. Christine finds herself confused about her growing interest in Jeremy but she is distracted by the essence of evil that surrounds her.