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”.

 

 

 

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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.

 

 

 

 

 

 

LOVE

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Please look at this picture closely. Notice a hospital bed, a living area, the looks of fatigue and contentment on both faces. This is a picture of my nephew, Tim, and his partner of many years and devoted caregiver, Rick.  Regardless of anything else, Rick loves and Timmy loves and this pic is a true illustration if that. Throughout my life of searching for understanding of my trials, the only meaningful and rational answers come from Christ’ mouth. “A new command I give you: Love one another.” (Jn 13:34); “Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends.”(Jn 15:13); “This is my command: Love each other.”(Jn 15:17) and last, not least, from 1 Peter 4:8: “Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins”.

I know what sins are in the Bible and let me tell you that every man, even you believers, sin every day. Only one person is sin free!  And He said, “If any of you is without sin, let him be the first to throw a stone at her”. (Jn 8:7b). So I respectfully say to “Those Christians”, and you know who you are, SHUT YOUR CONDEMNING AND JUDGMENTAL MOUTH! Yes, I’m a bit angry, but more than anything, I am sad. Christ said to the Pharisees (the professed believers of the Law, sound familiar?), “But I tell you that men will have to give an account on the day of judgment for every careless word spoken. For by your words you will be acquitted, and by your words you will be condemned”. (Matt 12:36-37)

I am so very grateful to God that when I was hurting and lost, I was met with words of love and acceptance from lovers of the Lord. Where I was fortunate, so many were not.  I am also so grateful for the love demonstrated by Timmy and Rick.

One last thought. So many believe that we live in an immoral society. I think of what Paul said in Romans 7:b-8a), “For I would not have known what coveting really was if the Law had not said, ‘Do not covet’.  But sin seizing the opportunity afforded by the commandment, produced in me every kind of covetous desire”. I interpret this to mean, the law is good, but in pointing it out, our nature immediately may violate that law. Christ’ mercy and love saves us. So stop naming, pointing out repeatedly others breaking the “law” and keep on task to what Christ commissioned us to do:  love others, serve others stressing that He Loves us, no matter what. We are so very concerned about others’ sexuality. Tell me, please, when did we become more concerned over sex than love? When did we care so about what others do, and in doing so, spew hate and self-righteousness from their mouths, literally erasing another’s value, rather than modeling Christ’ love as He taught us to do? Do you realize that this behavior is mirrored by our children who then mirror this hate to their peers?  Have you not read the suicides in our bullied to death children?  Do those who point fingers or “carry stones” really think they are spreading Christ’ message of love for others?

Now please, look at this picture again. I can tell you that what I see are two men, who I love beyond words, providing comfort and exhibiting love to one another. I do NOT see what some finger-pointers see and can’t wait to condemn. I truly believe it’s time you “pharisees” turn that finger inward, to yourself.

Thank you for your time and thoughtfulness on this matter.

An Un-Scientific Perspective on End Times

I am NOT a biblical scholar, nor a theologian and God did NOT give me the power to see the future, lol.  I do believe that I am one of the biggest sinners that ever walked this earth, that I am VERY far from perfect, and I continue to sin everyday, but also, that Christ forgives me and loves me and I love Him in return.  I believe that God communicates with us through His Word, His “revealed” Word (what I call an Ah-Ha moment), in dreams, our pastor and/or church family, and through others around us.  I believe that God gifts each of His children in a way to enable us to serve others, to comfort, to bring hope and to love.  I believe that as His children we are tasked to share our God-given, life changing, experiences.  For me, God will place something on my heart, or nudge, an idea that I MUST share.  He is relentless in His nudges until I do so.  I can tell you that He “nudged” me this morning and His prompts will not lessen until my thoughts are written and shared.  I often thought, why me?, but as I learned about the characters in the Bible, I thought, why not me.  Every character in the Bible were sinners, some as big as mine.

I am NOT a “doomsday theorist” nor crazy, although the crazy part could be loosely interpreted, lol.  But I am a believer of the Holy Trinity and God’s Word.  How can I not be a believer given all the evidence of It’s Truth!?!  The Bible is a written account that contains 66 books, written by approximately 40 different writers, over 1600 years, on 3 different continents, in 3 different languages, on many different subjects, yet with one central theme, God’s redemption of man from sin for all by the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. I think it takes more faith to DISMISS the Bible, than to believe in it’s truth!

I watched a video on bizarre sounds heard throughout the world, I couldn’t help, but be reminded of Christ’s words regarding Signs of the End of the Age, “All those are the beginning of birth pains.”  (Matt 24:8)  These bizarre sounds, in my mind, are the Earth’s birth pains.  Here is one of the videos concerning those sounds,

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/travel/travel_news/article-3084260/What-strange-sound-sky-Noise-heard-globe-nearly-DECADE-explanation.html

I thought on this video this morning and these are some of thoughts that went through my head.

As I learn of increased severe weather events; oceans rising; the rise in diseases, i.e., Middle East Respiratory Syndrome, MERSA, plagues (most recently at Yosemite Nat’l Park); antibiotic resistant bacteria and STDs; increase in racial disparity and relations; increased nuclear concerns regarding the Middle East and those same relations with Israel.   I’m sure there are more prophesied indications that I cannot name as I’m writing this note.

Many have belief in a “higher power”.   Believers in God can read Daniel’s prophecy in the Old Testament;  Daniel, Chapters 7, 8, and 9 as well as the prophets Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel and others.   Native Americans believe in The Creator and have several prophesies that give the same message.  Below is the video that resonated with me, but there are many others on YouTube, under the search, “Native American Prophecy 2015” worth viewing.

I believe strongly in Christ and The Creator, and as such, I interpreted Genesis 1:28b:  “…Rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air and over every living creature that moves on the ground.”  to mean the same as the NIV Study Bible’s interpretation, “As God’s representatives in the creaturely realm, they are stewards of God’s creatures.  They are not to exploit, waste or despoil them, but to care for them and to use them in the service of God and humankind.”  There are many more similarities between Native American beliefs and Christ’s teachings.  Christ speaks of signs of the end of age and correlates directly with prophecies from the Old Testament.

Many believe in the literal seven day creation as told in Genesis.  There is scripture that supports the non-literal belief that has helped me to understand so much more of scripture and particularly Christ’s Word.  In 2 Peter 3:8, Peter wrote, “But do not forget this one thing, dear friends:  With the Lord a day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years are like a day.”  With this scripture in mind, when Christ said in Mark 13:30, “I tell you the truth, this generation will certainly not pass away until all these things have happened.”  I can’t help but think that Christ was NOT talking about “generation” as we currently understand it to be;  but as a world that can no longer sustain itself, an era or age;  thus this generation.

Christ, Himself, has much to say about the end of times that are very relevant to today and current events.  Coupled with man’s “stewardship” over the earth and it’s creatures, I can’t help but pay attention to His Words.  For example, many theorists and theologians believe that “the abomination that causes desolation” (a term that is referenced frequently in the Bible) is in actuality a nuclear event.  Please believe that I am NOT an alarmist, but with this in my mind, I can understand God’s Word from a contemporary perspective.  In the book of Daniel, (the OT) the mention of abomination came from Gabriel to Daniel in Daniel 9:27,  “…and on the wing of abominations will come one who makes desolate, even until until a complete destruction….”   Christ says in Mark 13:14:  “When you see the abomination that causes desolation standing where it does not belong – let the reader understand – then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains.”  With the current nuclear agreement with Iran, well, it makes one wonder.

Christ says, “Then he said to them:  Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom.  There will be great earthquakes, famines and pestilence in various places, and fearful events and great signs from Heaven.”  Luke 21:10.  Then Christ says in verses 20 and 21:  “When you see Jerusalem being surrounded by armies, you will know that its desolation is near.  Then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains, let those in the city get out, and let those in the country not enter the city.”  There is more that Christ has to say about end times and it is important to know, “”No one knows about that day or hour, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father.  Be on guard!  Be alert!  You do not know when that time will come.”  Mark 13:32-33.

It is now past the dinner hour and I have finished writing, but until I push Post, I am still being “nudged”.   I am NOT fearful, afraid or stockpiling food and toilet paper…well, maybe toilet paper and and a little wine.   Christ assures me, in His Word, “For I will give you words and wisdom that none of your adversaries will be able to resist or contradict.” and “But not a hair of your head will perish.  By standing firm you will gain life.”  Luke 21:15 and 18-19.

I welcome any thoughts, please,  and any “Ah-Ha” moments you may have experienced.  Thanks for your time.  Love to all.