September 2023 Devotional: Putting on the Belt of Truth

By Major Beth Desplancke

I am a Wonder Woman fan and have been since I was a little girl. And although I am thrilled that Wonder Woman has finally been brought to the big screen, portrayed beautifully by Gal Gadot, I am partial to the TV show that aired in the late 70’s and early 80’s (when reruns were a thing) with Lynda Carter portraying her.

In the pilot episode of the TV show, we are introduced to who will become Wonder Woman. It is during WWII and the Nazi regime is set on conquering the world. An American solider, Steve Trevor, lands on Paradise Island, an island of only amazon women. These Amazons learn of the evil that is destabilizing the outside world. The queen realizes that the Americans need their help, so a contest is held to see which woman will go back to America. Princess Diana disguises herself to compete in the competition and wins.
The Queen gives Diana a golden belt and tells her, “As long as you wear it, you will maintain your cunning and strength from Paradise Island.” Diana is also given a golden lasso, “which will compel people to tell the truth.” Throughout the TV show, we see Wonder Woman using the lasso on the bad guys, forcing them to tell the truth.

I thought it was interesting that the creator of Wonder Woman, was William Moulton Marston, who was a lawyer, a psychologist, and the inventor of an early version of the lie detector machine. Perhaps that is where his idea for the lasso of truth stemmed from.

As believers, we are in a spiritual battle. We have an enemy of our souls, the devil, who is cunning and deceptive. He tells lies; in fact, his native language is lies (John 8:44). Our world is full of lies, and the lie the enemy has been using since the beginning is that truth is relative; we can make our own truth. Gustave Flaubert, a French writer in the 1800s wrote, “There is no truth. There is only perception.”

When there is no basis for truth, there is no basis for moral right and wrong. That’s why our society is saying we can define our own truth – because then there is no right, no wrong, and no consequences. But sadly, denying the truth doesn’t remove the consequences. Truth is still truth, even if no one believes it.
How do we combat lies? With the truth. In Ephesians 6:10-20, Paul writes about a spiritual armor that God provides for us believers so we can stand strong in face of the enemy. Verses 13 and 14 say, “Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist with the breastplate of righteousness in place. We don’t have a lasso of truth like Wonder Woman, but we have something even better; we have the belt of truth!

How do we put on this belt of truth to combat the lies of the enemies? First, we need to know who the truth is. Jesus said in John 14:6a, “I am the way, and the truth and the life…” Jesus is the Truth. God’s Word is truth. In John 17:17 Jesus prayed, “Sanctify them by the truth; your word is truth.” The only truth is found in Jesus and His Word.

Second, we need to be in the truth of His Word. The more we know God’s Word, the better we can stand up against the lies the devil spews. We need to read and study the Word. We need to memorize His Word, and allow it to fill our minds. I have hidden your word in my heart that I might not sin against you (Psalm 119:11). When the enemy comes at us with his lies, we need to know the truth of God’s Word so we can speak the truth to the devil.

Finally, we need to not just know the Word, but we need to obey and live the Word. Just having head knowledge and being able to quote verses is not enough. We need to live the Truth, and not compromise the Truth. James 1:22 says, Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says.

The only way to recognize a lie is to know the truth. Evangelist D.L. Moody once said, “The best way to show that a stick is crooked is not to argue about it or spend time denouncing it, but to lay a straight stick alongside it.” God’s Word is our straight stick, the Truth, to combat all the lies of this world.

In closing, pray this prayer, speaking the truth of God’s Word (all verses are taken from Psalm 119 NIV). As you pray these words, visualize His TRUTH encircling you.

Trustworthy and true is Your Word, O Lord.
All your words are true; all your righteous laws are eternal (160). The statutes that you have laid down are righteous; they are fully trustworthy (138). Never take your word of truth from my mouth, for I have put my hope in your laws (43).

Righteous, O Lord you are, and Your words are right.
You are righteous Lord, and your laws are right (137). Your righteousness is everlasting and your law is true (142). Your statutes are always righteous; give me understanding that I may live (144). I have taken an oath and confirmed it, that I will follow your righteous laws (106). And because I consider all your precepts right, I hate every wrong path (128).

Understanding is what I need.
Cause me to understand the way of your precepts, that I may meditate on your wonderful deeds (27). Give me understanding, so that I may keep your law and obey it with all my heart (34). I am your servant; give me discernment that I may understand your statutes (125). May my cry come before you, Lord; give me understanding according to your word (169).

Teach me Your truth.
You are good, and what you do is good; teach me your decrees (68). Keep me from deceitful ways; be gracious to me and teach me your law (29). Teach me, Lord, the way of your decrees, that I may follow it to the end (33). Teach me knowledge and good judgment, for I trust your commands (66). Accept, Lord, the willing praise of my mouth, and teach me your laws (108).

Help me to live and obey Your truth.
I have kept my feet from every evil path so that I might obey your word (101). I have not departed from your laws, for you yourself have taught me (102). My heart is set on keeping your decrees to the very end (112). Direct my footsteps according to your word; let no sin rule over me (133). May your hand be ready to help me, for I have chosen your precepts (173). Oh, that my ways were steadfast in obeying your decrees (v. 5). I seek you with all my heart; do not let me stray from your commands (10).

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September 2023 Flourish Newsletter

Every Christian faces times of spiritual battle and struggle. We have an enemy of our souls, the devil, who wants to steal, kill and destroy (John 10:10). However, we have victory through Christ, and we don’t have to let the enemy win in our lives. That’s what this month’s newsletter is all about – flourishing in and through the times of battle.

This month’s verse promises us triumph – because of the shed blood of Jesus and by speaking our testimony of what the Lord has done for us!

They triumphed over him [the devil] by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony. Revelation 12:11a

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September 2023 Craft: Lamp Shade

By Major Gaylene Yardley
Divisional Women’s Ministries Secretary – Southwest Division

This month’s craft is a little different. No written directions, but Major Gaylene has created a video of how you can make a lamp shade from old slides.

This month as we focus on flourishing in the battle season, we need to never forget that the light defeats the darkness.

The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it. John 1:5









September 2023 Bible Study: The Battlefield of our Mind

By Major Beth Desplancke

A Bible Study on the Helmet of Salvation (Ephesians 6:17)


  1. We have lots of funny sayings related to our head. What do these common head sayings mean?

⦁ I always keep my head (Meaning: I never lose control of my emotions)
⦁ It never entered my head (Meaning: I never even thought about it)
⦁ I brought matters to a head. (Meaning: I made sure something had to be decided)
⦁ My head is in the clouds (Meaning: I’m not a practically minded person).
⦁ I can’t make head nor tails of this (Meaning: I don’t understand it at all).
⦁ I’m in way over my head (Meaning: I’m involved so far that it’s out of my control)
⦁ I could do it standing on my head (Meaning: I find it really easy).
⦁ The fame has completely gone to my head (Meaning: I’ve let my feelings get out of control).
⦁ She likes to keep her head down (Meaning: She avoids attracting attention)
⦁ They’re still scratching their heads (Meaning: They’re finding it hard to understand the results).
⦁ That joke just went over my head (Meaning: I didn’t understand the joke).

  1. What other head sayings or idioms can you think of? (examples: airhead, head start, to bang one’s head against the wall, head over heels, keep a cool head, like a chicken with its head cut off).

Although they are funny sayings, we know that protecting the head is very important to our health and well-being. A head injury can be dangerous and life threatening. That is why there are certain sports and activities where wearing a helmet is vitally important, such as playing football or riding a bicycle.

Getting into the Word:

In Ephesians 6, Paul writes about the fact we are in a spiritual battle, …not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms (Ephesians 6:12). He then goes on to list a spiritual armor that Christians should be figuratively wearing so that we can stand up against the devil’s schemes (v. 11).

Read Ephesians 6:10-20.

Although Paul doesn’t start with the helmet first, we are going to start there, because we think a lot of thoughts all day long. According to a study from psychologists at Queen’s University in Kingston, Ontario, the average human has 6,200 thoughts per day ( For Christians, the biggest battlefield is our minds. When the enemy attacks, he usually attacks our minds because he knows if he can influence the way we think, he will influence the way we act.

A Roman soldier’s helmet, called a galea, was basically a skullcap made of iron, typically covered with bronze. Its primary function was to protect the solder’s skull and brain from the swing of the “broadsword”- a 3-to 4-foot-long sword with a massive handle that needed to be cradled by two hands to hit its target. One strategically aimed blow could completely crush the soldier’s skull, incapacitating him in a split second.

Over time, the soldier’s helmet was redesigned to be even more comprehensive in its coverage. Pieces were added, including a flared neck guard and hinged cheek guards. It protected not only the head but also the neck and shoulders. When the helmet was strapped in place, it exposed little besides the eyes, nose and mouth.

  1. How does Paul describe the helmet? Read also Isaiah 59:17 and 1 Thessalonians 5:8.
  2. Why do you think he used that word connected to the helmet?
  3. What does salvation mean?

According to Easton’s Bible Diction, salvation is the word used for “the deliverance of the Israelites from the Egyptians (Exodus 14:13), and of deliverance generally from evil or danger. In the New Testament it is specially used with reference to the great deliverance from the guilt and the pollution of sin wrought out by Jesus Christ, “the great salvation” (Hebrews 2:3).”

The salvation experience is often reduced to something that only affects a person’s eternal destiny – heaven or hell. For some, salvation is just a “get out of hell free card.” And to be clear, the fact that it does affect the outcome of eternity gives us incredible hope. In fact, part of what it means to wear the helmet of salvation is to live every day in light of eternity, and the promised future that we have. Doing so will, without a doubt, change the way we live in the present.

While the future implications of our salvation are critical and give us astounding hope, this is not the totality of what it offers. If salvation was only meant to give us a ticket to eternity, what good would it do us now while we’re still on earth? Do we just sit around waiting, living out our days until some future moment when the Lord returns or when we go to heaven, whichever comes first?

No, salvation – yours and mine – was meant to come with more than future benefits. It was also supposed to exert a startlingly clear impact on our present, daily life. But this impact will only be experienced to the extent that we apply the benefits of salvation to our everyday lives.

Receiving salvation is not the same as applying salvation. The first redeems us; the second restores, protects and shields us daily from the attacks of the enemy.

  1. Read Romans 5:9-10. What does justification mean?

Justification is a legal term signifying acquittal. It means we’re released from having to pay the debt we owe for our sin. But our salvation doesn’t stop at the foot of the cross. If you’re amazed at what His death accomplished, imagine how much more is accomplished through “His life.” The fact that He lives means our salvation flows into the everyday experiences where we live.

“I’m saved” isn’t just past tense; it also has past and future implications. As we live underneath its blessing, we enjoy a vibrant, living, daily reality in the present (sanctification). And this is not just a one-time occurrence. Sanctification is a process by which we are continually delivered from the wrath of God on earth, fortified against the enemy’s attacks, and molded into the image of Christ as our minds are renewed. And Salvation includes glorification – 0ne day we will be saved from the presence of sin – that’s our eternity in heaven.

  1. The enemy is a liar (John 8:44) and he wants us to doubt our salvation. What is the best way to combat the lies of the enemy (see Romans 12:2)?

Getting Practical:

Paul writes in Ephesians 6 that we are to put on or take up the helmet of salvation. How do we do this practically? How do we live out this passage, since it isn’t a literal helmet that we are putting on?

Using the word “hat” as an acrostic, we can remember how to take up the helmet of salvation.

H – Halt errant thoughts.

  1. Read 2 Corinthians 10:5 What do you think taking our thoughts captive means?

When the enemy sends his lies to our mind, we need to immediately stop thinking about those lies. Just because the enemy puts a thought in our head, doesn’t mean we have to think about it. We need to halt the errant thought, take every thought captive, and make it obedient to Christ. Remember, it is the helmet of salvation; the enemy is going to attack our position in Christ. He will get us to question whether we are saved or not, or doubt that the last sin we committed is the one that God won’t forgive, or he will try to get us to think that we are too bad for God to love or forgive us, or that we have failed God one too many times. Whenever those thoughts come to our mind, we need to halt thinking about them.

As the saying goes, “You can’t keep birds from flying over your head, but you can sure keep them from building a nest in your hair!” Taking thoughts captive means controlling them instead of allowing them to control you. It means actively replacing the enemy’s thinking with God’s thinking at every opportunity.

A – Adjust your thoughts and accept your identity in Christ.

This means, instead of thinking about the garbagy thoughts the enemy puts in your mind, think about who Christ says you are in Him. Focus on your identity in Christ.

  1. Read 1 Corinthians 2:16. What does having the mind of Christ mean?

Since we have the mind of Christ, we need to think Christ-like thoughts.

Besides offering protection, soldiers wore helmets as a means of identification. Often the name of the soldier who wore the helmet was inscribed inside of it. Our salvation identifies us with Christ. The enemy loves to get us to doubt our salvation, as well as our identity. He tries to get us to focus on the things we do (or don’t do) rather than who we are.

  1. Read Ephesians 1:3-14 and 2:1-10. What do these verses say about our identity in Christ? (We are chosen, loved, adopted, redeemed, forgiven, included, marked in Him and sealed by His Spirit, we have been made alive in Christ, and we are His handiwork). What identity speaks most to you today?

T – Think the right thoughts.

  1. Read Philippians 4:8. What kind of thoughts are we to be thinking? What do all those words mean?

If a thought doesn’t fit into one of these categories, we need to stop thinking it immediately. The lies of the enemy and the garbage he spews at you has no place in your life. Choose what fills your mind – if it fits with Paul’s grid then it is worth thinking about. Fill your mind with God’s Word and you will have no room for Satan’s lies.

Having a helmet is a confidence builder. It provides the security of protection amid the battle. The good news for us is that we never have a reason to be without it. The price for our helmet has been paid in full by our Savior. Re-read Ephesians 2:8-9.

What a shame if we ever go into battle again without taking full advantage of it – and the full benefit package that comes with it. Your identity is your weaponry. Taking up and putting on the helmet of your salvation is akin to knowing who you are in Christ, fortifying your thinking with it, and living in a way that is congruent with it. When you do this, you break the enemy’s stronghold and tap into the power to deflect future attacks.

Personal Reflection to H.A.T.: (these questions are for personal thought and meditation)

  • What recurring thoughts do I need to take captive?
  • What lie about my identity does the enemy like to whisper in my head?
  • What verse can I use to combat the specific lie of the enemy?

Closing Prayer:

In closing, read this prayer together as your commitment to put on the helmet of salvation.

Lord of my life, I dedicate myself to You this day.
Today I will read the Word of God.
Today I will pursue godly thinking.

Thinking godly thoughts protects me from sin.
Thinking godly thoughts build strength of character in me.
Thinking godly thoughts grows my integrity.
Thinking godly thoughts increases my love for others.

I realize that…
Thinking godly thoughts, reading the Word of God, putting on Your Armor,
And choosing godly actions and attitudes will make me a strong, victorious Christian.

I dedicate my mind to you today.
I will meditate on godly things.
And reject ungodly thoughts this day. Amen.

By Beth McLendon of

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Flourishing Story: Flourishing through the Battle

By Lisa Garcia
Director of Loss Control and Compliance
Risk Management Department – Territorial Headquarters

When I think of an example of flourishing, my first thought is something that is showing evidence of success. Maybe a plant that is growing tall and healthy with beautiful blooms or someone who has it all together and never seems to be struggling. By that definition, I was always resentful of those who were flourishing. Those who had it all together, did everything expected of them with minimal effort or was just thriving. I was never thriving – I was always in crisis or surrounded by drama and most of that was my own making. I was living by the seat of my pants and attempting to manipulate everything to be on my terms. So many times, that translated into not caring what happened to anyone, especially myself. I fumbled on that way until May of 2005, when I begrudgingly walked into The Salvation Army, Adult Rehabilitation Center in Pasadena and decided to try something different. I was going to, the first time in my life, try and not be an alcoholic and drug addict in active addiction.

Once I had some sobriety under my belt, I realized that I am a very proud alcoholic and drug addict.  You may be thinking that proud is a very strange way to describe an addict or addiction, but to understand why I am so proud, you would have to know where I came from and more importantly, where God has led me since then. 

I was raised mainly by my grandparents because of my parent’s addiction problems.  I always swore that I would never end up like my parents and I ended up worse. I started drinking socially in high school and loved how it made me feel. I was smarter, prettier, more personable. I went on to start college at USC and that’s where my drinking and using career really took off and I eventually had to drop out without one credit. My life with drugs and alcohol were not without brief periods of employment, stability and some happiness that came with the birth of my children, but they were always followed by lower lows.  I had brief periods of being clean from one substance or alcohol but was never completely abstinent from everything. Not exactly sure when it happened, but things progressed in a way that I could not get ahead of my addiction and started to spiral.  My spiral lasted several years and during that time, my life consisted of getting and losing jobs; being arrested and eventually, serving jail time; having utilities disconnected and being evicted; and the worst was my kids being removed from my care, more than once, due to my drug use.  I would do what I needed to do to get them back and then use again.  It was such a vicious cycle that I couldn’t see my demise or the damage that I was doing to those around me.  I never thought about making a change to improve my life, I just kept living a lie and telling myself that I was ok and everyone else was wrong.    I could go on and on about how low I had sunk but that is less important to what I choose to focus on today.

Thanks to my friend Jill who called a family friend who was a judge, and he recommended The Salvation Army Adult Rehabilitation Center in Pasadena. Jill arranged to pick me up at 7 am and all I had to do was stay sober. At 6 am, before she picked me up, I drank 2 beers. For the first time in a very long time, I was honest when they asked me when the last time that I drank was and sure enough, they turned me away. They turned me away but promised that if I stayed sober for the next two days, they would hold my bed. I didn’t know how I was going to do it, but God did. Under Jill’s watchful eye of Jill, I did manage to stay sober, entered the program and have stayed sober since 5/25/2005.

While in the ARC, I was presented with a crash course in God, but I was ready to learn how to live again, or even more importantly, to find out how to live like God would want me to. I didn’t know about the faith-based aspect of The Salvation Army when I agreed to go and it is probably a good thing because I may have chosen not to go because I had no connection with God other than to pray to get me out of my messes that I got myself into…like being arrested, DCFS hearings, failing drug tests and so on. Based on my past, a relationship with God scared me, like maybe I wasn’t worthy of his goodness, because after all, I had done some horrible things while in my addiction and God’s grace wasn’t for people like me. Boy, was I wrong – I am exactly who God’s grace is for. When I kneeled for the first time to pray and accept Jesus into my life, I knew, from that moment, that my life would be infinitely better from now on, I didn’t know how, I just knew that it would be. I felt a love in my heart that I had only heard about and been skeptical of.

My relationship with God is something that I never take for granted. I am far from perfect, as my family and co-workers will attest to, but with God on my side, I was able to begin to forgive myself for the things that I had done and when I was able to begin to forgive myself, I was able to love myself and that is what has truly helped to heal me and allowed me to love others and accept their love for me. I share often about the feelings of love that my ARC Administrators Majors Dave & Gaylene Yardley instilled in me. The love that they showed me was the first real love, with no strings attached, that I had accepted in so long. Sometimes that was tough love, but they made sure that I knew the difference. To be told that I am a trophy of grace and God loves me, no matter what, was powerful. God opened my heart and allowed me to believe them. In turn, I gave myself a little chance and started to love myself. I learned that my calling is to love on those until they can love themselves. I don’t have to love their actions, but to love that they are a child of God and deserve a second chance is what I do to give back. My most important life lesson thus far has been that God loves me and there is nothing I can do about it.

Majors Gaylene & David Yardley (Southwest DHQ), Leslie Zimmerman (Veterans Family Center, Cascade Division) and Lisa

Is the person who has struggles but keeps on going thought of as flourishing? Do we think of the ugly weed growing up in the sidewalk as flourishing? Maybe not by some standards, but the Bible tells me differently. Job 8:7 “Your beginning will seem so small, since your future will flourish,” is my constant reminder to keep on thriving and encouraging others to do the same.

I was able to return to the school that I failed out of nearly 30 years ago, University of Southern California and get my Master of Public Administration with a Nonprofit focus in 2019 and did that while getting treatment for breast cancer. I mention that to say that even while life is showing up on life’s terms, I will remain faithful and flourish during every season. I am thankful to God for all that he has done for me, but more importantly, that I can share with others about how great my God is.