Friendship

Friendship is a precious part of life. Real joy comes from friendships established with Jesus Christ at the center.  Much like marriage God has a plan for true friendship.  God put it on Pau’s heart to l write to us in Philippians about the significance of God centered relationships. Our friendships should be a reflection of our relationship with Christ.

Today, social media has changed the face of relationships, instead of personal interaction…sharing a coffee or meal, watching a movie, taking a walk or just quietly sitting together enjoying someone company our relationships have been reduced to how many likes our post, tweet, photo receive.  Social media is a platform to create a fantasy, a false you.  How many of you have observed someone creating an untrue image, an exaggerated condition, even a totally made-up situation to gain attention. People are using social media to hide what’s really happening, they filter their photos so that people can’t see their true self.  Suicide has risen because people have become isolated using social media to express some of what they are feeling yet those responding somehow are unable to decipher their true desperation, their feelings of hopelessness. We answer with an “I Care” emoji, or even “I’m praying for you” these empty responses are so swallow without any true cost.  Texting is causing indifference and further isolation.  There is a price in godly relationships…time, comfort, even financial at times. What if when that distressing tweet, post, text came to your attention you got in your car and showed up?  It is in our nature to gather, have physical contact, true affection, pray together, share our sorrow…this is friendship.

Before we take a look at Paul’s opening words in his letter to the Philippians let me share a little background about this intimate letter of love and friendship.  Paul wrote this letter to the Philippians while he was in prison, he had visited and established a church in Philippi among the gentiles which within itself is one of God’s miracles, Paul was a Pharisee before coming to Christ and the people in Philippi were gentiles so a relationship between these two was very unlikely in fact gentiles where seen as unclean. Yet God’s love and truth broke the social barrier creating a deep love for these people in Paul.  True friendship and love between believers cannot been attached to a worldly perspective.

1-2 Paul and Timothy, both of us committed servants of Christ Jesus, write this letter to all the followers of Jesus in Philippi, pastors and ministers included. We greet you with the grace and peace that comes from God our Father and our Master, Jesus Christ.

3-6 Every time you cross my mind, I break out in exclamations of thanks to God. Each exclamation is a trigger to prayer. I find myself praying for you with a glad heart. I am so pleased that you have continued on in this with us, believing and proclaiming God’s Message, from the day you heard it right up to the present. There has never been the slightest doubt in my mind that the God who started this great work in you would keep at it and bring it to a flourishing finish on the very day Christ Jesus appears.

7-8 It’s not at all fanciful for me to think this way about you. My prayers and hopes have deep roots in reality. You have, after all, stuck with me all the way from the time I was thrown in jail, put on trial, and came out of it in one piece. All along you have experienced with me the most generous help from God. He knows how much I love and miss you these days. Sometimes I think I feel as strongly about you as Christ does! Philippians 1:1-8MSG

Paul understands the value of friendship, he recognizes how the relationship he has with God and the tangible friendships…better said love and affection he shares for those dear friends in Philippi have sustained him during his imprisonment and trial.  Our love for Jesus should be reflected in our friendships.  This is why, it is so important to gather and fellowship with other believers only they can fill the need for friendship as God designed.  When we have a friendship with someone which is like minded in their belief in Jesus, it deepens our relationship with God and allows our true beauty and purpose to emerge.

It saddens me greatly when I see bitterness and misunderstanding between believers, how can we possible say we love God and yet hold grudges, offense and jealousy in our hearts.  The answer is we cannot.  I urge you my sister to seek out broken friendships and mend them.  Start praying that God might lead you and if a softening is needed that the Holy Spirit would work in both of you.

Sometimes guilt or shame is holding you back from forgiveness.  These are two very different feelings; guilt is focused on something we have done, while shame focuses on the person…self.  Shame says something is wrong with me.  As women shame is fed by a misconception or confusion tied to our identity.  It is a constant feeling that we are not good enough.  This is bound to a worldly perspective, a lie of the enemy, an experience.  Shame is an epidemic effecting everyone…it is everywhere, every nation, every culture it is related to addiction, depression, violence, homosexuality, bullying, aggression, eating disorders, suicide and more.

The righteousness we find through Jesus Christ is the antidote for shame.  Shame is the opposite of righteousness. Look at what shame did for Adam and Eve, filled with shame they, hide from God, covered their bodies, they felt they had to protect themselves from God.  This is Satan’s trap, a weapon shrewdly used.  Shame has destroyed the beauty God intended for friendship, fellowship, intimacy with God and people. BUT God has given us the fruit of righteousness that is to be “right with God”.  Isaiah 32:17-18 says “And the effect of righteousness will be peace, and the result of righteousness will be quietness and confident trust forever.  Then my people will live in a peaceful surrounding, and in secure dwellings and in undisturbed resting places.”  This kind of life and friendship is available to us right now.

Now think of your relationship with God…If your relationship with Him is fractured how can you fully embrace and receive what He did for you on the cross? How can He help you mend and restore broken relationships?  How can you love and sustain godly friendships? Right now, go before your Heavenly Father and ask Him to forgive you and reveal hidden shame that is affect your ability to love as He loves you.  Speak with confidence and proclaim who you are in Jesus, immerse yourself in godly music, fellowship, study, and prayer.  Give the enemy no room to corrupt who God says you are.

Dear Sisters…Paul prayed this prayer for his friends, his brothers and sisters in Christ Jesus and now I pray it for you my dear sisters in Christ Jesus…”So this is my prayer: that your love will flourish and that you will not only love much but well. Learn to love appropriately. You need to use your head and test your feelings so that your love is sincere and intelligent, not sentimental gush. Live a lover’s life, circumspect and exemplary, a life Jesus will be proud of: bountiful in fruits from the soul, making Jesus Christ attractive to all, getting everyone involved in the glory and praise of God.” Philippians 1:9-11MSG

Blessings, Sister Laurie

This writing came to me after watching a teaching on Real Friendship by Pastor Akshay Rajkumar the lead Pastor of Redeemer Church in New Delphi, India.  It is available on RightNow Media.com

You Were Made for a Reason

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.

Secrets, Shame and Abortion

Secrets, Shame and Abortion

 “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.

Find the whole article at https://www.careleader.org/post-abortion-counseling/

Blessing, Sister Laurie

The Hope Killer – John 10:10

Without hope we become sick. Heartsick…Sick physically, mentally, and spiritually. This sickness leads to depression and in this fallen world we live many times leads to suicide.  Satan is the hope killer.  He is out to steal, kill and destroy God’s most precious creation US.  This is a tough blog to write because recently a young, beautiful mother of three that I had prayed with and shared Christ with took her own life. Satan stole this young woman’s life…the lies he had been telling her finally took her life. 

My heart is broken that those around her, me included did not see the signs.  Did not see the urgency that for her tomorrow will never come here on earth.  I can only speak from a peripheral view, I know that the system failed her, the church failed her and yes friends, family, and those of us who said “I’m here for you” failed her. Ouch! Yep! That is right….we all blew it!  We are in a battle, a spiritual one and until Jesus returns, we must arm ourselves and have a battle plan to help those lost and even ourselves.

Her death by suicide left me crying out to God for help.  Why? How? What are the signs? When does someone reach that point of isolation that they no longer have the will to live?  Here is what God has spoken to me. I know this is just the beginning of understanding and there will be a lot more revelation.   I wanted to share this with you…please reach out! Please be watching those in your circle of influence…God loves ALL His children equally, believer, non-believer we all belong to Him.

I want to talk about what Satan did…maybe it will help us the next time. Did you know that in the Bible there are seven instances of suicide?  I have always said that every life circumstance is in God’s Word and the way out is there too.

King Saul (1 Samuel 31:3-5)

Saul’s Armor-bearer (1 Samuel 31:5)

Samson (Judges 16:25-30)

Abimelech (Judges 9:50-55)

Ahithophel (2 Samuel 17:23)

Zimri (1 Kings 16:15-20)

Judas (Matthew 27:3-5)

“Nowhere in these seven instances, or anywhere else in the Bible, does it indicate that the act of suicide is an unforgivable or unpardonable sin.”

The most well-known Biblical suicide was Judas. After he betrayed Jesus the Bible says in different versions of Matthew 27:3-5, he repented himself (KJV), he was seized with remorse (NIV), he felt remorse (NASB) and he was gripped with remorse (AMP) one might say he (Judas) was full of despair and so he chose to end his own life.

“Despair” is a complete loss of hope. It is defined as “the complete loss or absence of hope, or desperation; a state of despair, typically one which results in rash or extreme behavior, or anguish; severe mental or physical pain or suffering, or desolation; a state of complete emptiness or destruction.”  When we breakdown “despair” we find “emptiness”, “isolation” or “destruction.”

It is in that emptiness; the devil has isolated us from hope and from God’s Truth.  The devil’s lie become our truth.  This is how Satan operates and when possible he pushes us to self-destruction.

“Isolation” is separation, loneliness, sadness because one has no friends or company. Feelings of depression, despondency, a state of low spirits caused by loss of hope or courage, unpopular, forsakenness, rejected, abandoned, or deserted. This isolation causes us to stop seeking friendship, to stop reaching out, cut the ties of accountability.

While Satan is busy building his lie within us, he spreads out and starts to build walls, systems, wrong attitudes, and approaches in those who are supposed to help.  This young woman I am speaking of life was filling up with rejection, programs that did not work, expectations and conditions, like a circus animal jumping through never ending hoops for a “well then maybe”.

I must say right here that I do not have the answers, know how to fix the broken legal systems, social services, and all the other agencies that are supposed to work at helping. 

Where is the church in all this?  Biblically we are called to help those who are lost…help without condemnation. I do know we fail here.  Why is it that the drug addict does not feel comfortable in every church? Why does not every church host meetings and Bible studies which focus on breaking substance addiction, fighting depression and anxiety as well as teaching life skills.   Statics tell us that the best recovery and sobriety successes are happening in meetings and programs that are Christ centered.

Sorry for the soap box preaching right there…let us get back to ways we can fight the hope killer, Satan.

Scripture has quite a bit to say about Satan, yet most Christians are ignorant about him. God has given us warnings about our enemy, and we need to have an understanding of Satan’s plan. Christians as well as unbelievers are under constant attack by him but have no idea of the battle they are in. They think their lack of joy, broken relationships, and failures in life originate with them, “It’s my fault, I deserve this” when in reality their troubles are because they are following the voice of the enemy, they have listened and believed his lies for so long they have become their truth.

“The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly.” John 10:10 NASB

The thief here is Satan; 1 Peter 5:8  tells us that we must “Be of sober spirit (watch carefully, diligently) , be on the alert. Your adversary, the devil, prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.”

The devil is jealous of us, his only desire is to destroy God’s most valuable, cherished and loved creation us, His children. Here in John 10:10 God reveals how the devil operates.

Steal: in the Greek “klepto” meaning without permission, sneak, surreptitiously, secretively; the devil takes our hope, steals the gift, the process of destruction begins here.  He speaks lies, tearing down little by little in a very subtle way. At first this “klepto” is undetectable. This stealing extends to how we see, it inhibits us from reaching out either in our own despair or when we see others suffering.

Remember who the devil  is, he was cast out of heaven and is driven to destroy all God has created, he is a “kleptomaniac” because he is driven in his actions and cannot stop. His actions are uncontrollable, his intention is to cause emotional pain, and he uses our need for love, acceptance, and attention (pride) to start this process of death. He is the hope thief.

Kill: in the Greek “thuo” to rush, breathe hard (deny air), to rush, attack, without warning, rapid, aggressive, violent, you are unable to cope, brutal, he attacks indiscriminately anyone one who is vulnerable, susceptible, spiritually weak, they are easy prey, exposed.  Satan’s movements are quick, once he has you believing there is no hope he is quick to cut off your air supply “God’s truth”.  The devil is an assassin, a killer who has a well thought out plan, he is set on a course of action.

Remember who Satan is and how he works.  He suffocates us with his lies. Pushing you to a place where hope dies.  He is the hope killer.

Destroy: in the Greek “apollumi” to put an end to the existence, perish, destroy completely, complete separation, rejection, broken covenant, suffering, punish, death, the devil set out and succeeds at attacking you emotionally and spiritually, he obliterates with darkness the goodness of God, moving you to a place discarded and broken…this is where the devil takes your life. Violently separating you from God’s truth to the point of death. Hopeless, desperate, reckless, uncontrolled decision and actions live here.  Our thoughts move into darkness where madness, irresponsibility, recklessness, and perversity dwell, yes, death is here, suicide, murder, homicide, assassination.  

Remember who the devil is and how he is intent on destruction. His lies and this fallen world pushes us to the point of death physically and spiritually. He is the hope destroyer.

Satan is a liar and murderer. This part of him comes from his true nature, which, according to the Bible, consists of arrogance, vanity, envy, and selfish ambition. When we act in such a manner, we align ourselves with Satan as enemies of God. This is why the mark of a child of God is humility and absolute surrender to our Lord.

We have to know our enemy in order to destroy him, God has given us a directive, a plan and the authority to bind and cast out every ploy the devil may try, God’s Word has every answer, every weapon we need to fight and win the battle. This truth is found in the second half of the verse it says “ I (Jesus) came that they may have life and have it abundantly.”

Abundant life is ours when we put on the armor of God and heed God’s warnings about this world and the work of Satan.  Ephesians 6: 10-18 says “Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of His might. Put on the full armor of God, so that you will be able to stand firm against the schemes of the devil.  For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places. Therefore, take up the full armor of God, so that you will be able to resist in the evil day, and having done everything, to stand firm. Stand firm therefore, having girded your loins with truth, and having put on the breastplate of righteousness, and having shod your feet with the preparation of the gospel of peace; in addition to all, taking up the shield of faith with which you will be able to extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.  With all prayer and petition pray at all times in the Spirit, and with this in view, be on the alert with all perseverance and petition for all the saints.”

The apostle Paul had plenty of opportunities to feel despair, yet he did not. He says in 2 Corinthians 4:8, “We are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not despairing.” NASB  What was Paul’s secret? His hope was not based on his earthly circumstances. He held firmly onto the knowledge that God is in control and that his afflictions had meaning for all eternity (2 Corinthians 4:17).

Romans 12:1-2 says “Therefore I urge you, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship. And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect.”

God also gives us clear instructions that we cannot live without the help of fellow believers…

Matthew 18:20 “ For where two of three have gathered together in My name, I am there is their midst.”  The devil lurks in darkness and in the places you feel isolated.  We must reach out for help from our fellow believers. If the devil can get you isolated he can take you down, he will keep you thinking; I can’t share, no one will understand, it’s embarrassing, awkward, humiliating (you see God tells us to live in humility, but the devil tells us that humility make us look weak, vulnerable and uncomfortable) God loves weakness because it is in your weakness Jesus can come in and arm you with His righteousness to fight.  God wants to be your defender, that lie we believe that we do not need help is one of the biggest lies satan tells.

James 5:14-16 clearly tells us to reach out for help and the sickness spoke of here is not just physical but mentally and spiritually, “Is anyone among you sick? Then he must call for the elders of the church and they are to pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord; and the prayer offered in faith will restore the one who is sick, and the Lord will raise him up, and if he has committed sins, they will be forgiven him. Therefore, confess your sins to one another, and pray for one another so that you may be healed. The effective prayer of a righteous man can accomplish much.”

Finally, if we look at verse John 10:9, yes the one just before God’s warning concerning the devil we see…” I am the door; if anyone enters through Me, he will be saved, and will go in and out and find pasture.” Jesus is promising to keep us safe, the word pasture here means “the provision of truth or spiritual food for us to grow in knowledge of God and become disciples who have been given authority as spoken in Matthew 10:1 “Jesus summoned His twelve disciples and gave them authority over unclean spirits, to cast them out, and to heal every kind of disease and every kind of sickness.” We are an extension of those twelve and we must walk in the fullness of that truth while we live here on earth. 

I am here, please reach out if you find yourself going down that dark alley of despair and isolation.  You can contact me on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/JesusTruthForever or at Jesustruthbeliever@gmail.com.

Be Blessed,

Laurie