By Susan Stedman
Who are you?
Just think of five words or phrases that you would use to describe yourself. I don’t mean like on a job application or to someone you want to impress. I mean, think of five ways that you use to internally label yourself.
I will go first. I am lazy, fat, worthless, a noose around a neck, terrified.
Those are ways that my mother described me while I was growing up. They are the things that I held onto for the past fifty-eight years to describe myself. They are the ideals to which I subscribed because I thought since my mother said they were true, I had to live my life to make them true because she couldn’t possibly be wrong, or be lying.
Throughout my life, I had glimpses of times when I thought maybe she was mistaken. I kept my life neat and tidy and raised a daughter, often on my own because my husband traveled for work during most of our marriage. Instead of being a noose around her neck, she called me daily sometimes to help her take care of her life, to give her money to eat on, to take her places. Evidently, I had some worth to her. Had she been wrong?
There came a time when I couldn’t deal with her anymore because she had not changed. I stood up and walked away, on my own two feet, head held high. I stopped letting her pull me down so that she no longer had access to me. My eyes were opened to her words. I thought I had finally shaken off those grave clothes.
I was wrong, but not so much in the way you might think. She still found fault with everything, but she couldn’t make it stick when she threw those acid balls anymore. However, there was someone else working against me in a way that I had never considered. I can see now how I would have been blinded because that is what our main enemy does. He blinds us, he uses smoke screens to make us think one thing is another so we will go after what we think is hurting us and never even see the little man behind the curtain.
Recently, my counselor asked me why I still held onto ugly labels that my mother had given me as a child. I was telling her about the previous weekend I had endured that was full of terror and anguish because of my own negative thoughts. Though I believed I had conquered that, during a time of extreme stressors, I found myself lying awake at night with a voice in my head yelling at me that I couldn’t make it, that we were about to lose everything, that this chest pain was a heart attack and since I didn’t have medical insurance, I couldn’t see a doctor and would surely die. It was like a swarm of bees swirling inside my brain at all the ugly hate that was assailing me.
The counselor asked me whose voice that was. At first, I assumed it was me, basing my fears on all that my mother had programmed into to believe that all that was wrong with my life was certainly my fault because I was so horrible. After I claimed it was me, then she asked where it came from. There was only one other person who had ever spoken to me that way, so I said, “My mother”. I was completely blindsided when she said, “No, who else?”
After a few minutes of thought, it was as if a blazing light bulb on a neon sign flashed before me that said, “Satan?” She smiled to let me know that now I was correct. It was such a realization and it made so much sense that I was appalled at myself for having never seen this answer. God had even hinted at it because for months, I kept seeing people in the news who were acting against sanity and good sense and I could only attribute that to being blinded by our enemy.
All that afternoon and night and even to the next day, I looked at this answer from every angle and saw how very true this revelation was. There is an enemy who engages in this kind of spiritual warfare, and the most horribly effective tactic he uses is to blind us to the truth. It freed up a huge part of me that still blamed and held unforgiveness against my mother. I could now put the blame on the true enemy.
Ephesians 6:12 NIV, “For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.” Satan is called “The Father of Lies”. There are many scriptures that describe how he and his demons exist to steal, kill, and destroy.
2 Corinthians 5:17 ESV, “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.” This is a promise, not a suggestion, not a sweet platitude. God promised us that the NEW HAS COME. It is solely up to us to accept, believe, and latch on to this like a bulldog. Satan works against this in any way that he can. In fact, if every new Christian – even every old Christian who was still mired in their past – would grasp this, Satan would be put out of business.
(To be continued in part 2)
by Donna Butler
Amazing grace is the sweet sound that saved me from my sins.
Understanding that the blood of Christ cleanses me from within.
Through many trials and challenges, I have already come.
Undeniably, the only way is through the Father, Spirit, and Son.
Many seasons come and go, that’s just the way life can be.
Never forget that within each death is the planting of a seed.
Excerpt from the book On the Wave of a New Beginning by K. C. Leigh
The Leap of Faith dance troupe entered the atrium of the Seaside Community Church. The uplifting music of the worship team could be heard throughout the building. The community’s annual Friend Day extravaganza was about to begin, and the sanctuary was packed beyond capacity.
Caroline ushered her dancers down the hall toward the church sanctuary. Reaching the side entrance, they stood in the empty vestibule, waiting for the pastor to announce their performance. Caroline closed her eyes, letting the soothing sounds of Amazing Grace calm her soul.
As the final chords resounded, Caroline opened the sanctuary door a crack and peeked in. The pastor motioned them inside. The dancers entered wearing purple chiffon skirts over glistening white unitards. Long strands of purple and white ribbon had been woven into perfectly shaped top-knot buns.
Splitting it into two groups, the girls circled the back of the sanctuary and placed themselves on the two aisles that divided the three groups of pews. Caroline took a seat on a front pew. The pastor announced the troupe, then cued the music.
As the soft sounds of I Can Only Imagine began to fill the room, the performers danced down the aisles toward the stage. Their tea-length skirts flowed with every movement. They ascended the stage steps and positioned themselves in the form of a cross. One by one, they fanned out, creating a circular formation. The dancers spun, leaped, and twirled in perfect synchronization, honoring their creator with every graceful movement.
As the song neared its end, the dancers made their way to the rear of the stage. They formed a semi-circle around the baptistry. Above their heads, a massive stained-glass window in the shape of a cross hung over the water. Sunbeams shone through the multi-colored window and illuminated the dancers as they fell to their knees, raising their hands toward Heaven.
The music stopped and a chorus of “Amen” and “Praise the Lord” echoed throughout the sanctuary. The girls stood up, and with faces glowing, exited the stage. Caroline closed her eyes and prayed that the dancer’s performance would be a blessing in someone’s life. She opened her eyes and gazed upon the sparkling cross in front of her. As she reflected on the significance of Christ’s sacrifice, the sound of rippling water arose from the baptistry.
The pastor descended into the pool and held out his hand. A young girl with honey-colored hair grasped onto his outstretched palm and inched down into the water. Caroline recognized the face. Her sweet Olivia was getting baptized!
Happy tears ran down Caroline’s face as the pastor introduced Olivia and announced, “I baptize you in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.” Olivia held onto the pastor’s strong arm as he immersed her into the water. Her head popped back up, and the room erupted into thunderous applause. The pastor led Olivia from the baptistry as the worship band played There is a Pure and Tranquil Wave. Caroline thanked God for His awesome faithfulness and prayed blessings over her friend’s new beginning.
by Brenda Johnson
Over the years, I have been under physical attack in my body for several medical issues.
A "Gist" for this and a "Gist" for that. The "Gist" of things is this; our healing does not come from these "Practitioners." We may look to a "special-gist" for whatever ails us BUT there is only one healer - The Lord God Almighty!
Call on Him. Tell Him all about your pain, sickness and illnesses. Psalm 6:2 says, “Have mercy on me, Lord, for I am faint. Heal me, Lord, for my bones are in agony." He may answer by guiding you to seek a practicing "special-gist" for comfort and management. However, put your faith in Him for your healing. Psalm 41:3 says, "The Lord sustains them on their sickbed and restores them from their bed of illness.” His Word promises us that we shall be sustained and restored. That means comforted throughout our illnesses and restored from our sickbeds.
Though we may not know the manner or length of time of the comfort we'll enjoy, we can trust and believe that He is faithful to His Word. Our restoration from our sickbeds may not look like what we imagine. Be rest assured that it will come. We will be restored, and I truly believe it will manifest just as soon as we clearly understand the "Gist of Things." GOD is our healer, not the "special-gist"!
“It wasn’t any herb or ointment that healed them but your word alone, Lord, which heals everything.” The Wisdom of Solomon 16:12
About Rays of Light:
Whereas most blogs are from one writer, these posts are from a variety of authors and styles. These scribes all attend our Kingdom Writers group. We pray our passion to share God's love through writing will encourage you today!
Our writers group meets every 4th Tuesday Night at 7PM in person and/or via zoom. Let us know if you would like to join us.