If there was no God, we would be “accidents”, the result of astronomical random chance in the universe. There would be no purpose or meaning or significance. There would be no right or wrong, and no hope beyond you brief years here on earth. Some might say so live it up! However, we know deep down there is more and our life here on earth has eternal meaning.
Right now, this place is the book cover, the title page created by God for our earthly life. I am going to personalize the words C.S. Lewis writes at end of the Chronicles of Narina, “For this is the end of my story…But for me it is only the beginning of the real story. All my life in this world…has only been the cover and title page: now at last I am to the beginning of Chapter One of the Greatest Story, God’s Story of who I am, which no one on earth has read, which goes on forever and in which every chapter is better than the one before.” Yes, Jesus I embrace this glimpse of my forever story.
God made you for a reason, and your life has profound meaning! You discover that meaning and purpose only when you make God the reference point, the center of your life. The Message Bible Translation paraphrases Romans 12:3 “The only accurate way to understand ourselves is by what God is and by what He does for us.”
This poem by Russell Kelfer sums it up:
You are who you are for a reason.
You are part of an intricate plan.
You are a precious and perfect unique design.
Called God’s special woman or man.
You look like you look for a reason.
Our God made no mistake.
He knit you together within the womb,
You are JUST what He wanted to make.
The parents you had were the ones He chose,
And no matter how you may feel,
They were custom-designed with God’s plan in mind,
And they bear the Master’s Seal.
No, that trauma you faced was no easy.
<p value="<amp-fit-text layout="fixed-height" min-font-size="6" max-font-size="72" height="80">And God wept that it hurt you so;And God wept that it hurt you so;
But it was allowed to shape your heart
So that into His likeness you would grow.
You are who you are for a reason,
You have been formed by the Master’s hand and rod.
You are who you are, beloved,
Because this is a God!!
Remember, you are His Child, His Son or Daughter of the Most High King! Let your voice sing Praises to your King!
Blessing, Sister Laurie
These thoughts were inspired by God’s Holy Word and the book “Purpose Driven Life” by Pastor Rick Warren.
“We must each fully embrace how much more the blood of Christ cleans up our whole lives, inside and out. Through the Spirit, Christ offered himself as an unblemished sacrifice, freeing us from all those dead-end efforts to make ourselves respectable, so that we can live all out for God.” Hebrews 9:14-15 MSG personalized
Strap yourselves in, this is going to get real, the kind of real that you may have brushed to the side, swept under the rug, voiced an opinion, or harbored strong emotions. Right here I want to say that there will be those of you who stop reading at this point or maybe in one of the next paragraphs, it may get to tough or real however, I encourage you to take this journey of truth with me.
I need to get some statistics out of the way so that we can really see how abortion in the United States is destroying all of us. I was sick to my stomach as I was gathering these numbers from reliable sources. So here we go…
Reported Abortions from 1970-1979 were 7,977,611, the female population ages 15-44 in 1979 was 41,857,686 or 19.06% of the women had abortions during the 70’s.
Reported Abortions from 1980-1989 were 13,283,150, the female population ages 15-44 in 1989 was 58,512,473 or 22.7% of the women had abortions during the 80’s.
Reported Abortions from 1990-1999 were 16,633,105, the female population ages 15-44 in 1999 was 49,554,764 or 33.57% of the women had abortions during the 90’s.
My findings were supplied by the Abortion Surveillance Organization and the National Center for Health Statistics, CDC as well as the population numbers through PopulationPyrimad.net and USGOV.org. Note: A small percentage were women who had multiple abortions or were out of the age range however the numbers do give us a picture.
A further break down of these numbers reveal a greater number of people who have been affected by abortion in the United State during 1970 through 1999. Let me be clear why I choose these years and age groups. These women are you and I today, you and I fall into one of three categories we are the daughters, mothers, or grandmothers. We are the ones who have suffered in silence. But this number is much larger let me explain. For every abortion there are at least five people who are involved not including the pregnant woman or her unborn child. There is the father to consider, the confidant, other family members, the doctor, the nurse, even other staff members. Abortion touches way beyond the woman and the unborn child, it is like a pebble thrown into a pool having numerous ripples carrying a horrible secret and shame. All of that being said can we agree to multiply the number of abortions by six and see how many people have really been affected. Let that sink in…
The Secret…as you shop in the grocery store, sit in your favorite spot at church, attend a movie or sporting event; look around…there is a very strong likelihood that you are very near at that moment to someone who has had an abortion and it’s a secret shrouded in shame. This is an all-consuming situation that is affecting everyone lives.
The woman who had the abortion is the victim (yup! I said “victim” every single one of them), you see behind every abortion is a woman who had to make that decision. Every story and circumstance are unique, yet the bottom line is the woman carries the secret and the shame. The procedure is a violation of her body and the killing of an innocent child, both are a complete defilement of God’s design.
Here are some scriptures to support how every child is by God’s Design…valued, loved, not a mistake and created to live with purpose.
The Old and New Testament confirm why God created the world and us.
Isaiah 45:18 God’s Word Translation (GWT) says “The Lord created the heavens. God formed the earth and made it. He set it up. He did not create it to be empty but formed it to be inhabited.”
Ephesians 1:4 (MSG) explains how the earth was created for us “Long before He laid down earth’s foundations, He had us in mind, had settled on us as the focus of His love, to be made whole and holy by His love.”
There are many passages that speak of how God is our Creator and Father, each one of us He set in motion from the very beginning, here are two of my favorites.
Psalm 139:15 in the Message (MSG) translation says “You, God know me inside and out, You know every bone in my body; You know exactly how I was made, bit by bit, how I was sculpted from nothing into something.”
Psalm 139:16 in the Living Bible (LB) Translation says “You saw me before I was born and scheduled each day of my life before I began to breathe. Every day was recorded in your book!”
Other verses speak of how “He knew the sound of your voice before you were born” and “He (God) breathed life into you.”
No matter where an individual is in their relationship with God, every person knows that we belong to something greater, we embrace the knowledge that every human life matters, every unborn child is more than important, that baby is precious and a gift NO MATTER THE CIRCUMSTANCES. This is why, abortion operates in darkness shrouded in secrets and shame.
The secret causes the victims to display many of the symptoms associated with PTSD. Abortion and PTSD share this description “A soul injury, an overlooked, unassessed wound that separates one from their own sense of self.”
The word secret is defined as “not known or seen or not meant to be known or seen by others; something that is kept or meant to be kept unknown or unseen by others. The skeleton in the closet; a discreditable or embarrassing fact that someone wishes to keep unknown.”
I cannot express to you more clearly how much I am 100% against abortion (the killing of innocent life). It has to STOP! As women we need to create a better, safe place where a woman can come and be encouraged, helped financially, physically, spiritually, and emotionally when they find themselves carrying a beautiful new life unexpectedly.
Now take it back a little farther to the root of the situation…intimacy belongs in the marriage bed between one man and one woman, not before! God has a design for us, a plan and every detail of His plan is found in the Bible. We destroyed His plan when man decided to call it sexual intercourse as if it was a function, sport or game instead of a precious gift to be shared, the “knowing” of someone is one way it is expressed in the Bible, for “two to become one” another. The price of intimacy outside of marriage and the painful results are well documented by God in the Bible. God knew how man would twist this precious gift and that is why He clearly explains His plan to keep intimacy a sacred gift within a covenant created by God.
Right now, I would like to address any unmarried woman as clearly as possible…First, a man who wants intimacy before marriage does not respect you and will never be the man you are looking for. Second, you do not have the “sexual desires” of a man that is a lie made up by men to fulfill their sinful desires. God also explains this plainly in His Word, just read the Song of Solomon.
I know you are probably thinking…who does this person think she is, she does not understand. BUT I do and I will say this…I know on a very personal level every sentence, action, emotion along with the price paid, the life lost to man’s wickedness the idea that it’s permissible for man to murder innocent unborn life. Please stay with me…keep reading.
The shame…let us talk about the symptoms associated with shame and abortion.
I found this statement from the National Library of Medicine. “Many women experience long-term emotional, spiritual, psychological, and interpersonal difficulties following abortion, including complicated grief, depression, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and relationship disturbances. Guilt and shame play important roles in generating and concealing post-abortion symptoms.”
There is a great brokenness physically, spiritually and emotionally when a woman finds herself contemplating abortion, that’s when the secret and shame begin. She does not set the appointment or enter the “clinic” smiling and confident…NO…she is broken, lost, bitter and disappointed in herself that this is where that day is heading. Little girls play with baby dolls for a reason…God wired us to be the one to carry His gift of new life and to raise, nurture those children.
I cried for days after finding out I was carrying a child, unmarried, my mother said these words of encouragement to help “it’s just blood, cells, tissue”, “you are not capable of being a mother”, “this baby is better off not being born”. The shame and guilt overwhelming…my decision…how did I cope, I shoved every emotion, every dream down deep inside…like blowing out a bright candle cutting the wick so short it can never be lit again, my life changed forever…the path was one of self-destruction.
Pro-Choice would say “it’s your body so it’s your choice” that right there puts all the shame and guilt right on the woman. Abortion should never be a choice; should never enter a woman’s mind. Pro-Choice is man’s way of trying to justify their sexual habits and the killing of unborn children.
Those who suffer from post-abortion PTSD experience a disconnection with life. The shame will manifest itself into one or more behaviors, there is NO maybe…we find ourselves self-destructive, suicidal, victims of substance abuse or eating disorders, depression, extreme anxiety, suffering complicated grief, self-loathing, destructive relationships, even anger and violent behavior.
This is true for the Christian and non-Christian alike, each woman must come to grips with her decision, the death of her child at her own hands. There is a natural emotion to grieve the loss of life however in abortion those emotions are suppressed. Women feel they have no right to grieve because they were the ones who made the decision.
The non-Christian woman might be able to bury her decision and death of her child for a period of time. However, the truth is her conscience is built on God’s truth. She will still suffer, there is grief to be dealt with along with shame. She might find temporary excuses, distractions, however, her life will take a different course, who she is, her self-image, self-esteem will be built upon her decision and the death of her child. Anger, resentment, empty self-righteousness, over-achievement, stress, and anxiety, numbness take over, her life will spin out of control. Society will not see it, blame will be laid at her daily commute, finances, disappoint in her career, relationship issues to name a few. She will eventually seek help to cope with life based on man’s acceptable fixes which may or may not address the true root of her physical and emotional state. Self-help books or counseling lead to even a bigger sense of social separation and she reaches to medication eventually substance abuse.
The Christian woman will experience all the above and even more than the woman who does not know Christ. She has the Christian community who unknowing continue to condemn her. She seeks absolution outside of her church family, if she even has the strength to seek. You see, she knows that forgiveness is found in the blood of Jesus but not this…Christians are really good at ranking sin (wrong doing) from one to hundred. Scripture tells us that all sin is equal. She has listened to the lie whispered to her by Satan, possibly for many years, about how her decision and abortion has no forgiveness available. She gathers enough courage to seek out help within her church, unfortunately she witnesses the look of horror and condemnation on the well-meaning Christian she has finally reached out to. This is the hard truth in today’s church.
For me it took over 30 years to gain the courage needed, I had sought forgiveness at the cross after I became a Christian, but the damage done, the shame and guilt remained. The devil had done a work and I had punished myself experiencing most of post-abortion PTSD. So many years lost to self-loathing…
Through the love of some amazing women, I began to embrace God’s truth about forgiveness and sin. I know that God sent them to me when I was ready to forgive myself and accept His forgiveness. It is not an easy journey and I had to stand my ground as Satan tried over and over to destroy. Scripture was so key. My life verses of 2 Corinthians 10:5, Philippians 4:8, Hebrews 4:12 were my go-to every time the devil whisper lies. I had to allow God to cut the damaged flesh thinking vulnerable to Satan’s voice from my inner man, my God given spirit.
Today, I stand with confidence given through God and His forgiveness. I walk in His righteousness, His daughter, restored and free. There is still the pains of guilt a consequence of sin BUT more importantly there is hope that in my forever home my child is waiting. In fact, my story is now His story and He has given me to courage to speak His truth about secrets, shame and abortion from personal experience.
In closing, while researching for this blog, I stumbled onto an article written about women suffering under the weight abortion and how we as a church can help. The article called, ”Post-abortion Counseling” by Julie Ganschow, link can be found below. Here I have included some profound truth which I could not have said better…
Her article written in 2017 opens with this staggering truth…It is estimate that 43 percent of women under the age of forty-five have had an abortion. One is six women in the evangelical church.
Her article ends with these words of hope and our responsibility…
Bringing Gospel Hope. Along with watching the negative things that we say, we also have to actively bring gospel hope to her. Romans 8:1 is very clear that there is no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. So we have to point her to Christ, to the freedom that comes in His forgiveness and His work on the Cross.
We can also turn to passages in the Psalms, particularly ones like Psalm 32:3–5, David’s response to his adultery with Bathsheba and the murder of her husband. David says, “My body wasted away through my groaning all day long. For day and night Your hand was heavy upon me” (NASB). What a beautiful illustration of how a post-abortive woman feels. This guilt is weighing on me constantly. He continues, “My vitality was drained away as with the fever heat of summer.” Many of these post-abortive women express this idea that they are so burdened by this that it destroys their strength. It consumes them.
But then David says, “I acknowledged my sin to You, and my iniquity I did not hide; I said, ‘I will confess my transgressions to the LORD.’” And then, here’s the hope: “You forgave the guilt of my sin.” Even with murder and adultery, sexual sin and taking the life of another, his sins were forgiven. God provides restoration, and He provides freedom in Christ. We have to communicate these truths to hurting post-abortive women.
Ultimately, we desire healing through Christ for each post-abortive woman. In our awareness of the very real effects of abortion, as well as the impact of our words on these women, we have the opportunity to love them and point them toward Christ. As pastors and caregivers, we can point them to the One who brings true hope and true healing, but we must do it with grace and compassion rather than judgment or condemnation.
“He Leadeth Me Beside the Still Waters” Psalm 23:2 We get so caught up in the world, our circumstances that we become distracted from the one place we can find the refreshment we are all desperately looking for. David understood that only by the Good Shepherds leading can our emptiness, yearning and spiritual appetite be nourished. The Passion Translation puts it like this…”The Lord is my best friend and my shepherd. I always have more than enough. He offers a resting place for me in his luxurious love. His tracks take me to an oasis of peace, the quiet brook of bliss.” Verses 1-2 That “quiet brook of bliss” is found only in God, no amount of money, career recognition, accolades of physical or mental achievement, will satisfy the void, the empty place in our soul. Instead of going to the source we try drinking from the manmade watering holes of the world only to leave us unsatisfied. You see, the world is full of seemingly delicious delights however they are only a fleeting empty attempt to fill our supernatural spiritual soul.
As look back on my life…I have traveled, shopped, tasted the finest food and drink. These were all wonderful experiences, walking along the Seine in Paris, along many other adventures. Countless hours in the gym, dieting, spending money on my physical appearance believing that would help me surround myself and be regarded by the beautiful people, maybe even accepted and loved. Yet, I still found myself facing the same hollow, empty and unfilled thirst within. Even being a mother…left me aching for something more, oh please believe me I love all my children and my grandchildren however you see when your child reaches an age of spiritual thirst and you are lost to it as well, your ability to guide, love, meet their needs become lost, those once special moments of joy turn to frustration, disappointment, many times dissolution. But I digress from where this blog is leading…
Jeremiah wrote of the result “For My people have committed two evils: They have abandoned Me, the Fountain of Living Waters, to carve out for themselves cisterns, broken cisterns…that do not hold water.” Verse 2:13 In my mind a picture is forming of broken lives, shattered hopes, lost dreams…withered souls…full of empty despair. And so, this hunger becomes broken families, relationships, sordid excesses. Our need to quench this spiritual thirst becomes an entrance for Satan to destroy what only the Good Shepherd can satisfy.
The Good Shepherd is where that thirst can be quenched, where contentment is found. Throughout the Bible God and Jesus are called the Shepherd and for good reason. We are so much like sheep. Let me explain, did you know that if sheep are thirsty and clean, refreshing water is not available they will drink of dirty, parasite infested puddles. You see, a thirst like ours needs the constant guidance of the loving shepherd who goes to great lengths to protect and provide the life giving water for his sheep. Our Good Shepard…leads us through His Word to the living water. This is the ultimate provision…Jesus made it clear that our thirsty souls can only be satisfied, content by drawing on Himself.
Matthew 5:6 AMP says “Blessed [joyful, nourished by God’s goodness] are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness [those who actively seek right standing with God], for they will be [completely] satisfied.” Jesus spoke boldly to those in attendance that last night with His disciples “In the last day, that great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried, saying, If any man thirst, let him come unto me, and drink.” John 7:37 KJV Jesus knew what we would face, the wanting to satisfy our spiritual soul…He tells us “drink”, “take in”, “to accept” and yes there it is “to believe”. This belief moves from an idea of truth, to confidence in truth to a growing “knowing faith” in who Jesus is and who we are in Him. This restless thirst is sated only in Christ and a personal growing relationship with Him. Our earthly bodies, possessions and relationships are a fleeting part of who we really are, we are spiritual beings, God’s children, chosen, loved and cherish by the One True God, who cared so much for His creation…He sent Jesus, His Son, to lead us to the living water.
Drink Today! Let the Good Shepherd lead you to the “Brook of Bliss”, Worship and be Refreshed…
Further study of Psalm 23
This most powerful Psalm is used so many times at the end of one’s earthly existence, yet I find that it is life giving in so many ways. I have written it out for you here to explore on your own. Please explore for yourself the goodness of God found in these six verses recorded by King David a man by God’s own words who had “God’s Heart”.
1 The Lord is my shepherd, I will not be in need.
Meaning: My identity is found with Him, I belong to Him, I declare that my Shepherd, God Himself supplies me with all I need.
2 He lets me lie down in green pastures; He leads me beside quiet waters.
Meaning: He is the place of rest for my body and spirit, He refreshes and renews my spirit. I have drank of His Living Water so I live without fear.
3 He restores my soul; He guides me in the paths of righteousness For the sake of His name.
Meaning: He brings the spiritual healing needed daily to my inner person. Through His guidance I am made righteous in His sight to live for His purpose and pleasure alone.
4 Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I fear no evil, for You are with me; Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me.
Meaning: This life on earth is not easy but my Father, my Shepherd is with me always, His continual protection I receive, and I listen for His instruction making my flesh and mind obedient to His Truth. I am quick to repent and seek forgiveness.
5 You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies; You have anointed my head with oil; My cup overflows.
Meaning: He is my Hope in every situation, my Provision for my hunger, He fills all emptiness and fights for me, I am His Creation, In His image, and I am sanctified that is set apart, loved, and marked by You God as Your Child. Because of this my joy overflows and my heart is full of Your Love and Mercy.
6 Certainly goodness and faithfulness will follow me all the days of my life, And my dwelling will be in the house of the Lord forever.
Meaning: All this pouring out completes my life, gives me purpose, directs my life, I know Your Love Father, my Good Shepherd and I surrender to live in Your Will FOREVER! AMEN!
There are many ways to explore and soak in these beautiful words, one way might be to find confirming scripture to each verse. Pray these scriptures over yourself and add your name wherever possible. Our God and His Son Jesus our are Good Shepherds together with the Holy Spirit we can live out our lives with wonder and expectation…
The book of Hebrews is dear to my heart. Many of the scriptures found there are ones I frequently find God leading me to. The writer or I should say the person who moved by the Holy Spirit to record all that God spoke in Hebrews is unknown. Yet in here we find such clarity of who Jesus is and how He is truly the way if we are to enter God’s Rest. What I am saying is our relationship and pursuit of Jesus will lead us to a place of rest. Jesus is the caregiver of this amazing place of rest. This place of rest is for NOW to be experienced HERE while we live out our earthly lives.
The first 3 chapters of Hebrews give us a complete revelation of Jesus Christ and why He is “better than”. I love God’s description of His son in The Passion Translation verse 1:3 “The Son is the dazzling radiance of God’s splendor, the exact expression of God’s true nature—His mirror image! He holds the universe together and expands it by the mighty power of His spoken Word. He accomplished for us the complete cleansing of sins, and then took His seat on the highest throne at the right hand of the majestic One.” The “better than” speaks of His supernatural abilities, the power of Jesus, the undeniable Son of God, over the prophets and God’s men of old. Jesus is the language of God. The Bible says that through history we received only small glimpses, as God “builds one Truth upon another.”
Now we have a fuller picture, almost complete or maybe I should say one we can grasp at this time. I notice that as we move closer to God’s destiny, the revelation grows, our ability to understand our position and God’s Kingdom becomes clearer. Within this richer understanding our responsibility grows in being the Truth to the world through our 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 It is the faithful testimony of Jesus that has the power to destroy the works of the devil as demonstrated in your and my transformed life.
Let us now move back to the place of God’s Rest, this inheritance was unavailable to Israelites when they left Egypt because their unbelief held them captive to sin, sadly until they died in the desert. Now God is calling each one of us to His perfect place of rest. It is through our faith that we enter TODAY! “Today, if you hear His voice, do not harden (doubt, fear, have unbelief) in your heart.” verse 4:7
God says “Let us make every effort” in verse 4:11 then He gives us the opportunity to remove any hindrance in verse 12 “For we have the living Word of God, which is full of energy, and it pierces more sharply than a two-edged sword. It will even penetrate to the very core of our being where soul and spirit, bone, and marrow meet! It interprets and reveals the true thoughts and secret motives of our hearts.”
What is key is that first God already sees it all and then second you MUST allow God to do His work. I know I have spoken this before that God is a gentleman and will not force you to have faith. God is the great physician, a skilled surgeon, He will expose what need to be removed and will help you remove what must go. It is my prayer that you continually allow God to remove and expose so that you may enter and receive the nourishment you seek, there is nothing more satisfying than Jesus and His Truth, it brings the rest and comfort to journey forward. His love covers us fully verse 16 says “So now we come freely and boldly to where love is enthroned, to receive mercy’s kiss and discover the grace we urgently need to strengthen us in our time of weakness.” This weakness is all around us, God’s children suffer under the weight of devil’s destructive way.
This rest you seek comes from not being milk fed but having maturity in Christ to be nourished by all the Truth (cuisine) found in God’s Word verse 6:1. This is where we receive the promised rest.
Hebrews is a book of “Let Us” you see my dear sisters in Jesus Christ, we are the “us” united in this great love. In my spirit I feel that you today need to embrace one or more of the “Let us” found in Hebrews, this is how you will enter God’s Rest.
“Let us come closer to God and approach Him with an open heart, fully convinced by faith that nothing will keep us at a distance from Him.” Verse 10:22
“Let us cling tightly to the hope that lives within us, knowing that God always keeps His promises!” Verse 10:23
“Let us discover creative ways to encourage others and to motivate them toward acts of compassion, doing beautiful works as expressions of love.” 10:24
“Let us not pull away and neglect meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, because we need each other! In fact, we should come together even more frequently, eager to encourage and urge each other onward.” 10:25
“Let us rid ourselves of every wound that has pierced us and the sin we so easily fall into. Then we will be able to run life’s marathon race with passion and determination, for the path has been already marked out before us.” 12:1
“Let us fasten our gaze onto Jesus who birthed faith within us and who leads us forward into faith’s perfection. His example is this: Because His heart was focused on the joy of knowing that you would be His, He endured the agony of the cross and conquered its humiliation, and now sits exalted at the right hand of the throne of God!.” 12:2
“Let us be thankful and offer God the purest worship that delights His heart as we lay down our lives in absolute surrender, filled with awe.” 12:28
“Let us, then arise and join Him outside the religious “walls” and bear His disgrace.” 13:13 “Let us know Him and the power of His resurrection and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death.” Philippians 3:10
“Let us continually offer up to God a steady stream of praise sacrifices—these are “the lambs” we offer from our lips that celebrate His name!.” 13:15
Blessing, Sister Laurie
Please find these scriptures have been personalized and taken from both the NASB and TPT translation. Other thoughts have been provided in part through my current studies, “New Testament Survey”, Global University, Springfield, Ohio.
It seems like so many times we talk about being patient, waiting on God. If I am honest I was not really waiting, I had just thought, “Well this is how it is and probably this is the best it will ever be” when it came to my relationship with my brother. God had other plans; they were far beyond what I could ever hope for. Today, I want to share how God’s plan and His goodness collides to restore a family.
What does God say about His promises to restore us? To heal and restore broken relationships and families?
The prophet Joel describes a plague of locusts that have devoured the land, consuming all the crops that the people and their animals depended on. They are in agony because they turned from the Lord.
Joel 2:18 (ESV) says, Then the LORD became jealous for his land and had pity on his people. God responded to their repentance with mercy, something we are used to seeing throughout the Bible. He is a very loving and merciful God. But then God told them something that can often get overlooked.
I (God) will restore to you the years that the swarming locust has eaten… (Joel 2:25, ESV)
God promised to not only deliver the people from this plague and famine, but to give to them all that they would have had during that time—because they chose to come back to the Lord.
My brother Frank and I we grew up in a locust infested home one of dysfunction and abuse. Our parents claimed atheism, well in all honestly, our mother set the tone in all things spiritual and our father either went along or paid a severe price. Looking back, it is clear that our mother had a Jezebel spirit.(See 1 Kings 18) This spirit seeks to control, her insatiable need for power, prestige and wealth lead her to use both mental and physical abuse to control everyone around her. Her jealousy and need to be the center of attention destroyed our family and inhibited us from having healthy relationships as children and adults.
We are called to have patience and never lose faith that God is working. Jesus is moving to bring His kingdom together, that includes the family. God gave His Son for the restoration of the family. An outpouring of the Holy Spirit is building, evidence is seen in relationships restored daily. For my brother and I that restoration has come, we praise God for His outpouring of love on both of us and for the discernment given to heal us.
We must apply the fruit of the spirit in our lives when it comes to family members. It is not always easy, but through God all things are possible. Galatians 5 clearly tells us to treat one another with “love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control” later in verse 26 we are told “Let us not become boastful, challenging one another, envying one another.” How clearly this speaks to relationships in our families. God has a plan for families, members are meant to take care of one another, and sacrifice for “us” Galatians 6:2 says “bear one another’s burdens and thereby fulfill the law of Christ.” God calls us to “fight for” our families. I believe it is through the structure of the family God is revealed and when that family is broken many are lost to the truth of God “the Father”, Jesus “the Son” and the Holy Spirit.
One of the weapons we have in fighting for our family is prayer, you can use prayer for strength, unity, forgiving hearts, harmony, and steadfast love. These prayers are powerful because they speak of all the attributes God desires for our families.
Personalize these prayers from scripture for your family, call upon the power and authority given you through Jesus and the Holy Spirit over the darkness. Remember you are the head and not the tail and no evil will prevail against those who belong to God…
For family members…
Heavenly Father…I ask you to help each member of my family (personalize) to be completely humble and gentle in their interactions with each other; and to be patient, bearing with one another’s faults in love…even when we are tried, frustrated, angry, or hurt. Help us Father, to make every effort to remain united by Jesus sacrifice for us individually and as a family. Let the Holy Spirit unite us. Jesus bind us together in peace and love. In Jesus Name AMEN. Ephesians 4:2-3
Father God…help us (personalize) to love each other fervently. Grow our love so that it is able and willing to overcome and forgive a multitude of sins. Give us a spirit of hospitality, warmth and compassion enabling us to share our home with a cheerful heart those who need a meal or a place to stay. God I acknowledge that you have given each of us distinct spiritual gifts. Help us to put those gifts to work for Your Kingdom to serve others. We rely on the strength and energy only You, God, can supply. I pray that everything we do individually and as a family brings You glory. We submit to Your will and timing…thank you God for each member of our family. In Jesus Name AMEN. 1 Peter 4:8-11
Father…you are the One who gives us perseverance and encouragement. In You, we have hope. Heal the broken hearts of our father, mother and siblings…Help our family (personalize) live in complete harmony with each other, as believers in Jesus Christ. Bearing with one another in love, confident that restoration is coming through Jesus Christ. In Jesus Name AMEN. Romans 15:5
For our children…
Jesus have mercy on (name), and bring them to a saving knowledge of Yourself, Jesus. (Name) needs the gospel of your grace. Reveal the truth of who you are in a personal way. Show them how much they need You and show them how much You love them. Keep them restless until they rest in Your complete forgiveness and perfect righteousness. This is our desire for (name) that more than any worldly success we want them to know You. In Jesus Name AMEN Romans 10:1
Jesus, some of us grieve the ways we have made the gospel less than beautiful and believable to our children (name). Forgive us and show Yourself to be the God who’s limited by nothing, including parental self-righteousness. I am confidence that You God are able to transcend the ways we have “blown it.” Give us humility and grace to repent… first before You and then to them. Free us to give our children the gift of our repentance…In Jesus Name AMEN Psalm 32:1
God, I cry out to You! Restore to them(name) the joy of Your salvation. Our confidence is in Your promise, God to bring to completion the good work You have begun in each of us, but Jesus, we cannot afford to be either presumptuous or passive. Work powerfully. Work presently. Work persistently, Jesus! Give us patience with their doubts. Give us forbearance in their struggles. Give us grace to welcome prodigals home. Let us see them through your eyes Jesus. In Jesus Name AMEN Luke 15
For our marriages…
God…I surrender my marriage to you, help my spouse (name) and I to honor our marriage and clearly see how valuable and precious this union really is. As we honor our marriage to one another, and our covenant with You, we cast out any spirits that would cause disharmony and strife between us as you have given us the authority spoken in Matthew 10:1. Holy Spirit fill us with patience towards one another, understanding and a desire to honor God in our relationship with one another as spoken of in Ephesians 5:22-33;
Wife… “My eyes will only be for my husband (name), supportive and tenderly devoted as I am to the Lord, I will look to my husband (name) to provide leadership for our marriage and family, just as Christ does for His church, as the Savior and Reviver of the body. I will live everyday devoted to Jesus Christ and my husband in everything. Jesus, I pray for my husband faith to be accelerated and built upon Your ways, growing in spiritual strength daily. Let my respect and devotion speak to everyone around us as an example of Jesus Christ as the center of our marriage.
Husband… “God help me to demonstrate my love for my wife (name) through adoration and tender devotion just as Christ has demonstrated to us, His bride. For He died for us, sacrificing Himself to make us holy and pure, He has left us His living Word that we maybe washed clean through it. I commit to the washing of my wife (name) as I now read and pray for her in the reading and praying of God’s Holy Word over her, washing her in the Word. So that we as a couple may become a source of praise to Him our Father in Heaven. I fulfill my obligation of loving and caring for my wife (name) in the same way that I love and care for my own body, pampering her, serving and satisfying her needs above my own, just a Christ did for His church. It is for this reason I have left my parents and lovingly hold to my wife (name), as we have become one flesh. Jesus help me to be gracious, courteous, and kind to her daily just as you are with me.
Both… Our marriage is a beautiful design by God, we stand together to make a vivid example of Jesus Christ and the church, which will lead others to the truth of Jesus Christ. Jesus pour out your favor over our marriage and family. I ask all this in Jesus Name. AMEN
I know many of you, my sweet sisters in Jesus Christ are victims of the devils attempts to destroy the family, this brokenness extends to our mothers, fathers, siblings, husbands and our children. Have faith, grow your faith…the time is coming when we will be fully restored and all the damage the locust has caused will be restored by a loving Father.
“So faith comes from hearing, and hearing by the Word of Christ.” Romans 10:17 NASB
This faith happens as we study the Word of God, “This book of the law (God’s Holy Word) shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do according to all that is written in it; for then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have success.” Joshua 1:8 NASB
It is written… “My son, give attention to my words; Incline your ear to my sayings. Do not let them depart from your sight; Keep them in the midst of your heart. For they are life to those who find them and health to all their body.” Proverbs :20-22 NASB
Today, God has restored all the locust destroyed, my brother and I both found Jesus as adults. Through God we have been able to heal our hearts and speak the truth of the abuse and how God desires all families to be restored through His truth. I thank God for my loving Husband, Doug, and his family as they have stood as witnesses to God’s love and desire for the family.