Why You Need to be Prepared for Spiritual Warfare

Mentor Mama:

Today we are going to be talking about how to live in the victory of Jesus. You know, it can be so easy for all of us to get caught up in battling the same fears, the same insecurities, the same lies, and the same doubts, over and over and over again. But when we fully realize the power of Jesus and how to stand in the unshakeable victory that he has already won for us, we can be empowered to overcome those battles in our position of authority, through Jesus Christ. So here to help us do that is our guest today, Judy Dunagan, author of the new book, “The Loudest Roar: Living in the Unshakeable Victory of Christ. She will be sharing with us about spiritual warfare, defeating the lies of the enemy, and so much more. But first a word from our sponsor.

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Mentor Mama:

Judy Dunagan is an acquisitions editor for the women’s Bible studies and books at Moody Publishers. A wonder seeker of God and His Word, Judy is passionate about discipleship and making God’s Word and prayer come alive in everyday life. She is a speaker and Bible teacher and serves on the Board of Deeper Walk International, the ministry her father Mark I. Bubeck founded. Judy and her husband Rick live in Colorado. Please welcome Judy.

Judy Dunagan:

Thank you so much. It’s so much fun to be here with you, Ellen. Thank you for inviting me.

Mentor Mama:

It’s such a joy to see you again. I think the last time was in person, but it’s so great to see you even over Zoom and just talk about your new book that has, I know, been long in the making. And I just want to say that after reading through this and talking with you in the past, your father would be so proud of you for continuing his legacy of interest in this topic and defeating the lies of the enemy. So, I just wanted you to know that.

Judy Dunagan:

Thank you so much. That means a lot. We’re coming up on the fifth anniversary of his homegoing. It’s in a few weeks, so it’s a tender time for me.

Mentor Mama:

Yes. Well, Judy, let’s start by talking about how you came up with this title, “The Loudest Roar.” Share with us the story.

Judy Dunagan:

Oh, I’d love to share that story. I was on staff at a church for many years, heading up women’s ministries and there was a woman I counseled one day, or who just wanted to meet with me for some biblical encouragement and prayer. And I have to tell you, Ellen, it was one of the hardest stories I’ve ever heard. The enemy was coming at her on many fronts and she was really questioning her faith and whether God even cared for her. And hopefully, I was able to encourage her. I shared some Scriptures with her. I prayed with her and had some resources to give her. And I remember after saying goodbye to her, I went back to my office and my head was almost down in defeat. And I remember just crying out to the Lord and saying, “your Word tells us that the enemy is like a roaring lion seeking someone to devour.” I said, “why does he have so much power? Why is his roar over us so loud?” And I’ll never forget it, it was as if the Lord whispered over my heart, “yes, Judy, but I’m the bigger lion, the loudest roar. I’m the Lion of Judah. I’m seated on the throne and Satan is a defeated foe.” And I remember my heart just being filled with joy because I knew those truths ever since I was a little girl, but I had forgotten them, and I think so many people, so many followers of Christ, are starting to question is God truly powerful and mighty in terms of defeating the enemy and even our own temptations to sin.

Mentor Mama:

Yes, and I mean, that’s very easy to do when you look at the news or the world around us. Well, your father, Mark Bubeck, was a best-selling author of books focusing on warfare, the Armor of God, and prayer. How has his legacy impacted your own life and even the writing of your book?

Judy Dunagan:

Well, you know, when I was in middle school, my dad was really led by the Lord to write a book about our victory in Christ. This would’ve been back in 1975 and there were not many books out that were Biblically sound about our victory in Christ and our armor and how the enemy comes at us. And so, really out of obedience, he decided to research. He met with mentors and started to write the book, “The Adversary,” which has been a best seller. And in that book, he even shares a little bit of my story at that young age. You know, I was very naïve because I went to a couple of slumber parties and under peer pressure, I was part of a séance and I played with the Ouija board and, you know, Ellen, I should have known better. And yet, I really believe I was blinded and that really opened a foothold for the enemy to come at me and I started having debilitating nightmares and my father would just pray over me when I tried to fall asleep. I’ll never forget his prayers over me and he would pray the armor on me that we see in Ephesians 6. He would just cover me with his prayers, almost like, a roaring lion as a father over his little Cub, you know? And, from that, I learned the power of praying Scripture and how to stand in our victory at a very young age. And then boy, as I said, that was many decades ago. Now I’m in my early sixties and I still apply all of those truths and those principles over my own children, over our marriage, and over our grandchildren now, and I’m so grateful.

Mentor Mama:

Yes. That’s just so encouraging and really for anyone reading this today, if you’re feeling defeated, prayer is, and I know you’re going to go into this later, is just so incredibly impactful. So, your father, he knew that you had gone to that and experienced the Ouija board and all of that, and so he kind of knew that there was a foothold, do you think?

Judy Dunagan:

Yeah, actually I was in middle school, and I didn’t even tell him, and I’m not even sure how he connected the two, which is so interesting. Because I love Jesus deeply and I was a compliant child, but I think it was peer pressure. And honestly, I didn’t even realize the danger of that, but I always like to say, even if you haven’t dabbled with anything of the occult like that, we are a target of the enemy just because we are followers of Jesus Christ. He hates us. We’re told in God’s Word that he is the father of lies, that he’s the accuser of us, and we are in a battle just because we walk this groaning earth as followers of Jesus. But thankfully, that battle has been won by our Lord Jesus with his death and his Resurrection and his Ascension, and that is really what my book’s about, is how to live in that victory and stand in it and live out as the victory that we have, that Jesus is already won for us. My dad has a quote in his book called, “Warfare Praying,” and he says, “Satan roars to make us afraid and thus more vulnerable, but our purchased right is the courage to resist him.” And again, that’s what my book’s about, that courage that he purchased for us to stand firm against the enemy and also against temptation and sin that comes at us every day.

Mentor Mama:

Yes. Amen to that. Some people blame the enemy for everything bad in their lives. What’s your point of view on that?

Judy Dunagan:

You know, Ellen, I think balance is the key. We need to be balanced and Biblical and bold when it comes to facing the enemy. And so, I see really two extremes: there are people who blame the enemy for everything. Like if they can’t find a parking place or for illness and all of that, and we don’t see that in God’s Word. Or they’re on the other side, where either they don’t think the enemy is real, that he’s just a fictional horror movie character, or that he’s real and they fear him. I had a pastor tell me once, you know, Judy, I don’t even want to know about how to stand firm against the enemy, because I’m afraid if I start trying to stand firm, he’s going to come at me and my family more. And so, that is dangerous thinking as well. So, balance is the key, and God’s Word from Genesis when Satan came at Adam and Eve in the Garden, all the way into Revelation, you see that he is a formidable foe, but he has also been defeated and that is what we need to live in.

Mentor Mama:

Yes, absolutely. Well, in God’s Word, we’re told that the enemy is like a roaring lion seeking someone to devour. Does that apply to believers as well? And, if so, how can we fight the enemy?

Judy Dunagan:

Yes. Like I said earlier, I believe we are a target of the enemy and he wants to defeat us now. I don’t believe he can kill us; I don’t believe he can possess us as followers of Christ, but he definitely has a strategy against us, and that may come in different ways for different people. For me, one of the ways was, that I am really wired for anxiety. I like to joke that it goes so far back that when I was born, I was worried if I did that right. So, even as a little girl, I struggled with a lot of fears and that really moved into my young adult years, especially when I had young children. When our two daughters were little and toddlers and babies, we lived overseas, and so, I was dealing with new experiences as a mom and childhood illnesses for them and trying to tell the doctor, we were in Brazil, in Portuguese, what was going on with my baby. And then we were in Beijing, China, and especially when we were in China for three years, I was overcome with anxiety and fear for my daughter so much so that I knew the enemy was afoot. Even though it was my tendency, I was escalating to the point where I thought I could lose my mind to worrying. And, I talk more about that story in the book, so I won’t give it away here, but it was during that time that I knew I had to step up using the Sword of the Spirit. God’s Word, we’re told is an offensive weapon as part of the armor in Ephesians 6, and so, I began to really study and read Psalm 91, and I would encourage your readers, if they’re feeling the enemy coming at them, to just dwell in Psalm 91, it’s such a powerful Psalm. My husband and I read it so much during that season of fear that we ended up memorizing it just because we read it so much, and, it’s to this day, one of my favorite Psalms that I continue to pray over our family.

Mentor Mama:

That’s so beautiful and I really appreciate your authenticity because I’ve battled anxiety as well, and it can be crippling at times and to be able to turn it over and put it into God’s hands, and like you say, kind of flip the script and focus on God’s Word can be so incredibly helpful. Well, in what areas do you think the enemy attacks us the most?

Judy Dunagan:

In my book, I look at three main ways that I think the enemy comes at us. I have a chapter called, When I Am Afraid, and while not everyone deals with fear and anxiety, I think I honed in on that because I know that’s one area where the enemy comes at us. I also mentioned that whatever area you’re most vulnerable in, that’s where he’s going to try to attack you. And then the next chapter is When I Am Tempted, and you know, the enemy loves to tempt us and wants us to fall into sin and his tactics, when he tempts us, it’s almost as if he’s saying, you know, this isn’t that bad, or God didn’t really mean not to do these things. It’s kind of what he pulled with Eve in the Garden, and then after we sin, he comes at us with condemnation and shame and tries to convince you, well, why even confess or turn from that sin, you’re hopeless. And so, in that chapter, I have a lot of teaching on our victory over sin because Jesus took all of our sins on him when he died for us. And so, I have practical ways to really fight the good fight against those temptations. And then there’s a chapter, When I Believe Lies, and honestly, I think this is the main way that he comes at us, whether it’s lies about who our God is, whether we can trust our God, whether he’s faithful and even some people as you know, are leaving their faith after knowing Jesus for many years because they don’t think he’s trustworthy. And so, I also look at lies that Satan throws at us about who we are in Christ, about our value, about how Christ sees us, so again, I have really practical ways to fight those lies and to stand firm against them. So, I would say, that is to me, the main ways that the enemy comes at us.

Mentor Mama:

Yes, absolutely and I love how you focused on those three areas because I think people can relate for sure, if not to one, but all three, definitely.

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Mentor Mama:

Well, Judy, I think like one of the most touching parts of your book was that you share some about your own marriage story where there was a season that you and your husband weren’t sure you were even going to make it. How did your understanding of warfare get you through that crisis?

Judy Dunagan:

Oh, I love that question. Actually, before I wrote the book, I asked my beloved husband, I said to Rick, “do you think we would’ve made it if we didn’t understand how to fight the enemy and his attacks on our marriage and how to run to his Word and what his armor does for us?” And he said, “no, Judy, I don’t think we would’ve.” We have a beautiful redemption story. We’re coming up on 20 years of our new marriage after Rick shared some hidden sin in his life and God just met us in such profound ways. We ran to him, we ran to his word, we got incredible counseling, we had a group of people going to war for us in prayer, and now we are able to share our story of victory and hope with other couples. We just met with a couple this weekend that we had shared with about three years ago and they went to an incredible counselor and they were coming back to Colorado to celebrate, and so, it was just a sweet day to just be together and celebrate what God’s done in their marriage. You know, I believe the enemy is coming at Christian marriages more than he ever has, and there is such hope in Jesus. You know, I have some friends who don’t have a story like mine because their spouse chose to not fight the good fight and I want to be sensitive to them. I have beloved friends who are now single and navigating that as single moms or dads, but if you both want to fight the good fight, you have the tools that are provided in God’s Word and through great Christian counseling.

Mentor Mama:

Absolutely, and for anyone who is reading this, if you’re struggling in this area with your marriage, I would just want to encourage you as well, that if, as Judy said, both parties are willing, God can see you through. I know just even in our extended family; we experienced a similar situation and it has been amazing to see how God redeemed their story as well.

Judy Dunagan:

You know, we are in the most beautiful season, we’re empty nesters, both of our daughters have littles, we’ve got four grandsons and a little granddaughter in the middle. Our oldest grandson just started Kindergarten today and what’s been so beautiful about our story is my husband walked our daughters down the aisle at their weddings. They got married four months apart and after he walked them down, he sat with me, and we’ve been together to see our grandchildren on the days that they’ve been born each time. And we are so grateful and humbled by God’s goodness and mercy to us. I think one of the keys in the book is I talk about the Armor as outlined in Ephesians 6, and as a passage, many are familiar with, it’s verses 10 through 18 that outline the Armor. You know, Paul wrote to the Ephesian church, I think he was burdened for them because Ephesus was really known as a spiritistic city, and I’m sure there was a lot of oppression, and when you read those verses, it’s like a victory cry because it talks about each of the pieces of the Armor. And in my book, I talk about how I believe the Armor refers to who Jesus is. He’s our armor, he’s the one covering us with his righteousness like a breastplate, with his helmet that covers of salvation which covers our mind with his truth, that’s like a belt buckling on that armor, and then we can walk in his peace every day. And then I love that the shield, I believe it’s his faithfulness as we see in Psalm 91, even though yes, you have a handle and that shield of faith, you have to have faith that he can shield you, but I love how Psalm 91, in the first two verses talks about how he’s the shield of faithfulness. And I just love thinking about his faithfulness, covering us from the top of our heads to the tip of our toes, all the sides, and through his Holy Spirit indwells us. And so, even for those listeners who have a spouse who hasn’t been faithful and has maybe walked away from their marriage, your God, your Lord, Jesus is your shield of faithfulness and he covers you and hems you in from all sides. And then I mentioned that God’s Word is the Sword of the Spirit, that we can wield against the lies and temptations of the enemy. And then I think the ultimate part of the Armor is in verse 18. Many think the Armor ends at verse 17 with the sword, but if you look at verse 18, it’s all about prayer and prayer is such a key to applying these principles. And, so in my book, I provide a lot of ways to awaken and revive your prayer life, because I don’t know about you, but prayer can be so elusive. Bible teachers write about the importance of prayer and not really praying and so, I wanted to provide practical and hopefully, creative ways to awaken your prayer life for the readers.

Mentor Mama:

Judy, even your prayers that you write at the end of each chapter, I think are such a good model if you don’t know how to pray, you give really good examples of prayer in there, and something else that I loved about your book, is that also at the end of each chapter, you provided a song, at least one song, that resonated with you. But, you know, as I was listening to it, I also put on those songs at the end of each chapter and it just helped with what you were trying to teach in that chapter just really sink in. And I think sometimes music is a beautiful way of doing that, so I think it’s really creative how you supplied those songs and prayers as well. Do you have maybe one specific tip that you could share with our readers on a creative way to awaken or revive their own prayer life?

Judy Dunagan:

I’d love to do that. I think for me, I mentioned in the book that I had a prayer partner who was probably about 15 years older than me, and before she and I used to get together, I would always just jump into prayer with my request, which is fine, there’s no legalism here. But Joanie taught me, she’d almost force it, when we get together, we would have to start in worship and often we’d use the different names or attributes of God and we’d just go back and forth and just worship him. And I can’t tell you how much that would calm an anxious heart or you’re distracted mind. I give an idea in the book, I call it alphabet praise, where you go through the alphabet with a different name or attribute of God. And, we used to do that with our girls when they were little and we were driving in the car, and I still do it if I can’t fall back to sleep, I’ll just start praying, Father, God, you are almighty, you are the bread of life, you are compassionate, you’re my deliverer, you’re everlasting, you’re my Father, you’re good, you’re holy, holy, holy, you’re infinite, you’re just, and you’re the King of kings and Lord of lords. You get the idea. That’s kind of how that goes, but that is such a key because the enemy, it’s almost like he has to flee when we’re worshiping our God. And so, I give different ideas on how to do that. Sometimes if you can’t pray, open your Bible to one of the most worshipful Psalms, 1:45, and you just pray through that or just speak it out loud, pray it out loud to keep your thoughts kept to those truths, and you’re entering into the throne room of our God and he’s so accessible. We’re told in Hebrews that it’s the throne of grace where we will find mercy. And so, that’s just one example, one idea, is to try starting your time in prayer, in worship. Like if you go for a walk, just worship him and you can listen to praise music as well and make that your prayer as you listen to those lyrics.

Mentor Mama:

Oh, I love those suggestions. It really does ground us and make us see and be reminded especially in the Psalms, of the tremendous grandeur of how God is so much bigger than anything that we could possibly face. That’s not to minimize what we’re facing, it can sometimes be very, very hard, but at the same time, we know that we have God with us. Judy, can you tell our readers how people can find out more information about you and your new book?

Judy Dunagan:

Yes. I’d love to invite them to go to my website, it’s just my name, judydunagan.com and there they’ll find a lot more information about my book. I also have a free resource that they can download when they subscribe and it’s called, The Power of Praying Scripture, and I wrote different prayers based on Scripture, along with the themes of the book. There’s one about when I am afraid, and there’s a passage of Scripture to pray where you can insert your child or loved one’s name. There’s one on lamenting. I think that’s such an important way to pray that we don’t often teach about. So, I have a lamenting Psalm that, kind of, teaches you how to pray. There’s one on worship and, a lot of different ideas. I think there are five prayers in that resource and you can also order my book at Amazon or online at moodypublishers.com. And again, the title is, “The Loudest Roar,” but I’d love to hear from your readers if they want to reach out to me through my website at judydunagan.com.

Mentor Mama:

Oh, absolutely, please. I think you will be amazingly, overwhelmingly, encouraged when you pick up Judy’s book, so I would encourage our listeners to do that. Judy, before we go, I want to ask you a few of our favorite Bible study tools questions. What is your go-to Bible that you use and what translation is it?

Judy Dunagan:

So interesting that you ask that because now it’s the ESV—English Standard Version, but I memorized several passages when I was a young mom and wife in the old NIV. I don’t remember what year it was published. And so, if I’m quoting Scripture, sometimes when I teach, I love to go through Psalm 91, I’ll run to that older version of NIV, but I use the ESV usually the most, even our pastor, that’s what he uses. But what’s wonderful is there are so many great options. I love biblegateway.com, where you can just pick which translation and see the different ways the verse was written, and because I work in publishing, I always encourage our authors when they write their manuscripts to go there and copy and paste the verses into their manuscript. So, I’m so grateful because I lived in a closed country, twice, where it was closed for Christians due to communism, and so, I saw up close what it’s like for those believers not to have access to God’s Word and how precious it was for them. And I know there are parts of the world now that our beloved brothers and sisters in Christ are being imprisoned, if not killed, just because they have a Bible in their home. And again, we can take God’s Word for granted and I’m so grateful, I don’t know what I would do without his Word.

Mentor Mama:

Yes, and that’s another good reason to memorize Scripture. I love your suggestion too, of memorizing Psalm 91. Do you have any favorite journaling supplies or anything that you like to use to enhance your Bible study experience?

Judy Dunagan:

I love journals, and I’m very tactical. I like ones that feel nice and that can be flat so I can actually write in them. And during that hard season in our marriage, and also, some other storms in my life, I began to write out Scriptures like a whole passage that would minister to me, like different Psalms. And I loved that because it would help keep my thoughts captive to the truth. And then in that same journal, I would often turn to a sacrifice of Thanksgiving, you know, the Psalms talks about that, and when you’re going through the storms of life, it can seem hard to thank him, actually, I felt like the Holy Spirit whispered to me once, Judy, can you thank me even in the storm? And I didn’t understand it at the time, it was almost incredulous, like really, but I was obedient, so I would just write, Sacrifice of Praise, at the top of the page and then I would list different things to be thankful for, and God knew that was going to really minister to my heart, and so, that is another way that I study his Word. And then I love the resources, I don’t know if you’ve seen them or not, I think at the publisher’s, Crossway, where you can get little booklets of a whole book of the Bible. It will be, let’s just say, the book of Hebrews, and there’s the passage on the left and a journal page on the right, and I love those because you can mark up the passage, you can write the passage out on the blank page or journal about what you’ve studied. That has also really helped me in dwelling in just a certain book of the Bible, I love that. I know you and your amazing daughters have such great ideas. I’ve followed you for many years and seen all the tools. Oh, another thing, I love the markers that don’t bleed through the page and that are fine tip and different colors that you can mark up in the thin pages of your Bible and won’t bleed through the page and don’t smear!

Mentor Mama:

Yes, they’re amazing now. Well, I know you mentioned Bible Gateway, but do you have any other favorite apps or websites that you use for Bible study tools that you’d like to share?

Judy Dunagan:

I’ll often just Google a question and then I go to the sources that I trust and I’ll be able to see my answer. I hear great things about Logos. I don’t know if you use that. Whenever I’m at a writer’s conference, they are always there, and it’s fascinating what they provide. I need to get signed up. This isn’t a paid ad for them, but every time I’m at the conference, they have a big discount, and I’m like, I’m going to sign up today, and then I don’t, but it’s phenomenal the resources that they have.

Mentor Mama:

It’s absolutely mind-boggling. I need to spend more time learning how to use it, but it’s a tremendous resource. Well, Judy, thank you so much for being here today to share about your new book and how we can stand firm in the mighty strength of Jesus and take authority over the battles that we face. It’s been such a joy to have you.

Judy Dunagan:

Thank you so much for having me. I love your mentor mama heart, and all that you’re doing. I’ve listened to your podcast, and as you know, I met you and your darling daughters before they were in college. You guys were in Chicago. What fun to watch them grow and the platform you have is just amazing all that God is doing. So, thanks to all three of you.

Mentor Mama:

Yes. All glory to God. It’s proof that he uses the least equipped, which is certainly what it feels like at times! For our readers pick up a copy of Judy’s book, “The Loudest Roar.” You can find the link here. Also, while you’re here, please be sure to share your comments with us on this blog post. Lastly, head over to the Coffee and Bible Time website for our prayer journals that will help guide and document your prayer life at coffeeandbibletime.com. We also have two courses available on how to pray using our prayer journal and prayer binder. Thank you so much for joining us on our blog today. We love you all. Have a blessed day.

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