If you read my devotionals regularly, you may remember I recently wrote about depopulating my entire chicken flock in order to eradicate from my farm a common respiratory disease in backyard chickens. This was a stressful and painful experience, but looking back, I learned so much and am a better producer having gone through it and having made the necessary changes in my management practices to protect my flock in the future. You can rest assured, if there is anything I can do to prevent it, I will not have to go through or put others through that experience a second time!
After disinfecting all our facilities and equipment and staying ‘chicken free’ for 30 days, I was referred to a breeder in Alabama who raises ‘certified’ disease free breeding stock. I purchased all of my new stock from this breeder. I still had to verify that my premises was indeed disease free, so sixteen weeks after I purchased the new birds, Mrs. Peggy Vardaro from the State Veterinary Office came and bled and swabbed my entire flock, testing for disease. I can now rest assured that my flock and my premises are disease free. If I am diligent to take all the preventative measures to protect my birds and my premises, I should not ever experience this problem again.
I recently added another 55 started pullets to my flock. This time however, I called Mrs. Peggy beforehand to find out exactly what I needed to do to make sure I did not jeopardize what we had all worked so hard to accomplish. She told me to quarantine the new flock for at least 21 days on another farm and then she would come and bleed and swab the new pullets to make sure they too were disease free before we put them with the existing flock. The testing went well and the pullets were all clean, but that is not all there was to the process.
Every morning and every evening when I went to the other farm to take care of the new pullets, I meticulously went through the process of undressing in a designated area and then redressing into another set of coveralls and boots that could be worn only on that farm. When I got finished, I went through the same scenario of meticulously taking off those “possibly contaminated” clothes and boots, putting my other clothes back on, and disinfecting any exposed skin. All this had to be done to eliminate the possibility of bringing disease from the untested new flock back to my tested clean flock. That was quiet an ordeal twice a day, every day, for 21 days, but it reminded me of a spiritual truth taught in Scripture.
“Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil's schemes. For our struggle is 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. 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, and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the saints.” (Eph. 6:10-16).
This scripture reminds us that we are indeed in the midst of a spiritual battle in which not only our lives, but our very souls are at stake (as are those of everyone we love)! God’s greatest desire is to save us, to bless us, to prosper us, and to give us hope and a future. Satan, our enemy, desires nothing more than to destroy us—to steal, kill and destroy all that God wants to do in and for us.
Because the battle and the enemy are spiritual, we cannot fight and expect to win in our own understanding or strength. Therefore, God has instructed us to intentionally and methodically put on His armor that will protect us from the enemy’s attacks and to take up the Sword (the Word of God) as we stand boldly and confidently to face the enemy and his schemes to destroy us. Just like the virus that affected my hens, Satan’s tactics are not always recognizable until they have taken root and done their harm. God’s armor will protect us if we will be careful and faithful to put each piece on.
I recently rediscovered this prayer on a card in my Bible. I pray it will help as you face your battles:
“Heavenly Father, Your warrior prepares for battle. Today I claim victory over Satan by putting on the whole armor of God!
I put on the Girdle of Truth! May I stand firm in the truth of Your Word so I will not be a victim of Satan’s lies.
I put on the Breastplate of Righteousness! May it guard my heart from evil so I will remain pure and holy, protected under the blood of Jesus Christ.
I put on the Shoes of Peace! May I stand firm in the Good News of the Gospel so Your peace will shine through me and be a light to all I encounter.
I take the Shield of Faith! May I be ready for Satan’s fiery darts of doubt, denial and deceit so I will not be vulnerable to spiritual defeat.
I put on the Helmet of Salvation! May I keep my mind focused on You so Satan will not have a stronghold on my thoughts.
I take the Sword of the Spirit! May the two-edged sword of Your Word be ready in my hands so I can expose the tempting words of Satan.
By faith your warrior has put on the whole armor of God! I am prepared to live this day in spiritual victory! Amen.