Potential Harm By Christian Division

These days our nation is divided and at times in turmoil.  Yes, I may be considered a lefty snowflake, but my most important title is Child of God. Most days I need to remind myself of that particularly on social media.  I’ll admit that at times I fail miserably.  I hesitate to call this blog a “christian” one as even the word christian can evoke negative emotions for some people.  For a lot of non-believers being christian is associated with judging, condemnation and elitists attitudes.  Non-believers don’t want any part of this and frankly, I don’t blame them.  With the present political division I’ve noticed a trend of increased christian division.  Recently, I had a social media conflict with a sister in Christ in which I overlooked that at the end of the day we both loved the Lord. It then occurred to me that my lack of humility and a sense of pride, because I KNEW I was right, was not how Christ taught. I apologize to anyone I may have offended in my pride filled comments. It is my firm belief that some of the words that we speak are divisive and certainly are not comforting to those who are hurting and seeking rest for their souls.

I believe that my thoughts on christian values are biblically sound and are directly taken from what Jesus demonstrated in His life.  My prayer is that all people find comfort and peace and a feeling of belonging through Christ’s words.

The Old Testament is a wonderful group of books and prophecies that exhibit the love God had for His people.  People will frequently cite O.T. scripture that support their personal beliefs, but it is important to know that when Christ came He had a new agenda.  His ministry was one of love.  Jesus said, “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.  Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.  For my yoke is easy and my burden is light” (Matt. 11:28-30).  At one time in my life I was weary and I so needed rest for my soul.  I was fortunate that I took in Christ’s words and not those of condemnation and judgment.  I had felt worthless related to bad choices in my life which just led to more bad choices.  In the following words of Jesus, I realized I had worth and value.  Listen with your heart.  “Suppose one of you has a hundred sheep and loses one of them.  Does he not leave the ninety-nine in the open country and go after the lost sheep until he finds it?  And when he finds it, he joyfully puts it on his shoulder and goes home.  Then he calls his friends and neighbors together and says, ‘Rejoice with me; I have found my lost sheep’.  I tell you in the same way there will be more rejoicing in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who do not need to repent”  (Luke 15:4-7).  It was easy for this lost sheep to repent because of the shame and remorse over the bad choices I had made.  I remember thinking, “He’s looking specifically for me!”  You may wonder who are His sheep?  His sheep are those who love money above all else, those that hurt with their words or actions, the woman who has had abortions, the man or woman who lie with other of the same sex, the murderer, the thief, the pedophile, the drug addict, the prostitute and so on.  No matter what others may think, no sin is greater than another.  Christ states clearly in Mark 3:28:  “I tell you the truth, all the sins and blasphemies of men will be forgiven them”.

Do I still sin or say words that may hurt others?  Absolutely.  I am very imperfect as is all mankind.  Paul says in Romans 3:23-24, “for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Jesus Christ”.

Although I sometimes forget my principles before speaking or replying on a social media post, I try hardest to remember Christ’s repeated instructions to love one another.  When asked what was the greatest commandment, “Jesus replied: ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all of your soul and with all of your mind.  This is the first and greatest commandment.  And the second is like it:  Love your neighbor as yourself'” (Matt. 22:37-39).  See also, John 15:12-13.

In spite of my best attempts to separate church and state, the most recent divide regarding stewardship over God’s creation and loving our neighbors, hurt me.  So in light o Christ’s Great Commission (Matt. 28:16-20, I will try harder and I respectfully request that we all pray to guard our words and that we be kind to one another.  This way if even one person is seeking rest for their soul, they might conclude by our words and, hopefully subsequent investigation, that Jesus was a pretty cool dude.  Thank  you for your time.

Advertisements

Chapter 1 – Your Source of Courage, Saveone Post-Abortion Bible Study

This blog is an accompaniment to the Saveone A Guide To Emotional Healing After Abortion by Sheila Harper bible study.  Hopefully those interested have purchased the study and reviewed Chapter One.

Psalm 34:18:  “The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in        spirit”.

1 Timothy 1:12-14:  “I thank Christ Jesus our Lord, who has given me strength, that he considered me faithful, appointing me to his service.  Even though I was once a blasphemer and a persecutor and a violent man, I was shown mercy because I acted in ignorance and unbelief.  The grace of our Lord was poured out on me abundantly, along with the faith and love that are in Christ Jesus.”

The very first question asked in Chapter One was to describe how you picture God.  Having been raised Roman Catholic in the 60’s, I had visions of God with and angry face, flames about Him and a staff, much like the old paintings from masters depicted in the books we reviewed in school.  I was an adult when I learned that God’s very essence is LOVE.  And how He loves us no matter what!

Paul was a persecutor of christians and admits his sins freely.  Paul had known who Jesus was, what his followers had claimed regarding Jesus’ resurrection and about Jesus’ works while here on earth.  Paul was ignorant and was unbelieving, but God was merciful and sent the Lord to Damascus and Paul believed.  Maybe, like me, you grew up believing, but felt unworthy and doomed to hell.  Maybe you just partially believed, but were ignorant to who Jesus was.  Or, maybe your just like Paul.  The bottom line, though, is – it doesn’t matter.  The moment you chose to believe and wanted a relationship with Christ, God bestowed mercy and His grace flowed.  It just happened.  The goodness of our God is amazing!

Meditate on this significance of this scripture, please.  Romans 8:1:  “Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit of life set me free from the law of sin and death”.

 

 

 

FOR WOMEN ONLY: POST-ABORTION, PROLOGUE

The following statistics and information and the inability for women to openly come forward prompted me to present the “Saveone” bible study by Sheila Harper, along with God’s Word and His guidance, in a confidential and anonymous way.  Please read this prologue before determining whether this study is for you or maybe someone you know who is in pain, depressed or have any of the below symptoms of Post-Abortion Syndrome.  This study will bring healing to you, like myself, who may carry guilt, shame and feelings of worthlessness.

Rather than asking questions or wanting to review any information directly on this blog, please email me at suzannemarie1223@verizon.net and reference “study”.  Thank you.

PAS, Post-Abortion Syndrome, symptoms:  guilt, anxiety, depression, suicidal ideation, anniversary syndrome, fear of infertility, irrational fears of losing future children, eating disorders, alcohol abuse.  (from:  ramahinternational.org)

Facts:  women with post-abortion are 3X more likely than other women of child-bearing age in the general population to commit suicide;  81% have at least one mental health issue;  1.5% seek help for mental health issue;  80% suffer from PTSD;  a California Medicaid patient study found a 154% increased risk of suicide;  and, 110%  of women have an increased risk of alcohol abuse.  (from: healthresearchfunding.org dated 3/19/15)

Statistics:  Per a Guttmacher Institute report of 2008, 72.5% of women with past abortion identify as christians;  200,000 christian women abort per year.  Per Lifeway Christian Research Group, 70% of women with past abortion identify as christian. (from:  christianitytoday.com/women/2015/february/secret-shame-of-abortion-in-church)

My Story:  For many women the pain of past abortion is overwhelming.  They live with guilt and shame.  As one of these women I was struggling, particularly in my christian walk and I just couldn’t get close to God.  I joined a community group, did Bible Studies, read the Bible, but I always felt like an outsider looking in.  You see because of my past sin and my guilt I felt unworthy and exempt from God’s grace.  I truly believed that eternal salvation was not in my future.  This also affected my relationships with other christians and again, I felt like an outsider.  I was sure I was the only christian woman who had sinned this way.  I went on feeling far from God, feeling guilt and despair.  Well, God started working on me through meditating, thinking on His Word and through my wonderful community group.  God said to me, “Susie, you are still my child and I can bear your misery no longer”.  Much like God told the Israelites in Judges 10:18.  I started to internalize and recognize in my heart that God did love me, that I was redeemable and that it grieved Him to continue carrying around all that guilt and shame.  Guilt, shame, feeling of unworthiness are not of God.  Of course, the evil one loves it because it keeps us from growing closer to God.  I finally understood what my community group leader tried to explain to me a few years ago…from 1 John 1:9, “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness”.  How healing and freeing God’s Word became to me.  I was forgiven and now I look forward to eternal salvation and a new heaven and a new earth.

With this Bible Study called “Saveone” by Sheila Harper, God’s Word and His guidance, I pray a healing and redemptive restoration to the heart of any woman who hurts and feels unforgiven from past abortion.  Like myself, you can walk freely and joyfully into the merciful and grace-filled arms of God.

My next blog will be on Chapter One: Your Source of Courage, and blogged on May 28th, 2016, hopefully giving you time to order, receive and read the Forward and Intro.  Please do not read ahead to the chapters.

The book can be ordered on Amazon.com, titled “Saveone” by Sheila Harper, 2008 and is available new or used.