Everyone Thinks it Won’t Happen to Them – Until it Does

http://www.utexas.edu/opa/blogs/research/files/5/lion1.jpg

Stay alert! Watch out for your great enemy, the devil. He prowls around like a roaring lion, looking for someone to devour. 1 Peter 5:8 NLT

It’s amazing how the enemy works.  He seeks out people to destroy.  It’s his purpose.  It’s actually his one and only purpose, and no one is excluded from his destruction.  I remember my old way of thinking on this subject.  I thought as a Christian I couldn’t be destroyed by the enemy.  In my mind, he was out for the “bad ones.”

That was back when my thinking was more religious and less relational.  Now I know better.  Not only do I look back and realize I was wrong, but it’s almost as if my way of thinking was completely opposite of the truth.  Those “bad ones” (which doesn’t exist, by the way. We are one and the same) are already far from God, so the enemy doesn’t care.  It’s those of us spreading truth to others; we are the ones Satan wants to destroy.

I strongly believe those who walk closely with God are the ones he aims to destroy the most.  When we walk closely with God, we sometimes feel “above the attack” because our walk is so strong.  We are so enthralled in the connection and closeness we have with our Creator that we sometimes let our guards down.  You know what I mean?

The enemy is aware our guards are down, and he takes the first opportunity he sees to pounce.  Even worse is too many times we don’t even realize we’re in the midst of destruction until it’s too late.

 It’s vital we always be on alert in everything we do.  When our stride begins to mirror God’s, we must still be alert in all areas because the enemy is waiting for the perfect moment to strike.

Swiper No Swiping

Yes, it sounds silly I know.  However, as I write this I’m reminded of Dora and Boots, and more than likely if you’re reading this, you are somewhat familiar with the cartoon.  Dora always has a mission.  She needs to get somewhere, and she usually is taking something valuable with her.  On their journey, it’s inevitable they will meet Swiper the Fox at some point.  He’s always lurking behind bushes or trees waiting for an opportune moment to wreak havoc.

Now, sometimes Dora is alert and on the lookout for Swiper, and she knows exactly what to do to make sure he doesn’t take her things from her.  If she’s alert she can say, “Swiper no swiping,” to which he responds with, “Oh man.”  He’s unable to steal her things if she’s done exactly what she knows to do to defend herself.

Every so often, though, Dora and Boots and whichever friends may be with them are focused on their destination or the fun they’re having together, and they let their guards down.  Swiper shows up, but they aren’t alert and prepared, so he’s able to take their things before they get a chance to fight back.

This is very much like our walk with God.  We’re on a journey, and we enjoy the conversations we have with God.  We sometimes get caught up in the destination focusing on where we’re going rather than the actual journey we’re taking to get there.  When that happens, the enemy appears and causes chaos and confusion for us before we even know it—before we even have a chance to defend ourselves.

If we’re alert during the journey, we can be prepared when Satan attempts to take something from us, and we can use what God has equipped us with to fight back and defeat him before he can even try to attack us.

Be Alert

If you are walking closely with God, he will warn you ahead of time that an attack is coming.   It’s up to you to be alert and listen to those warnings preparing yourself for a possible battle.

I say this because I recently found myself battling because I wasn’t alert and prepared.  Don’t get me wrong; God fully equipped me for the battle and even gave me enough warning to help stop the battle before it began.

I wasn’t alert, though.  I wasn’t on the lookout for an attack of any kind.  Even though my walk was so close to God, I failed to catch his warning to me.  I was so caught up in my destination to help others and speak to others that I thought his warning was for someone I was helping rather than myself.

Just like Dora focusing on how to get to her final destination, I was doing the same thing.  And just how Swiper comes in and takes her valuables from her before she realizes what happened, the enemy did that very thing to me.

We All Mess Up

As a leader and mentor to girls all over the world (wow that’s crazy to even think about), I know I’m viewed in a different light.  I’m looked at as a model to some, and I’m aware of that.  I strive to be a good model.  However, I am no better than anyone else, and I mess up just as anyone else does.

I messed up and the enemy almost won the battle to destroy me.  He found an opening when I wasn’t looking, and he made himself right at home.  I discovered so much about myself through the battle I fought, and God opened my eyes to things I had never considered.

The battle is over, and I came out the victor, Praise God!  It was a very difficult one to face, and I hope to never face anything like it again.  I am still dealing with repercussions of the damage he was able to cause, but I have won the battle, and I’m thankful to God for standing by me when I found myself far away from him.

What I know is if we keep our mistakes hidden from others, the enemy has a stronger grasp on us.  It’s important to bring everything to the surface.  Shed light on it all because where light is, dark is not. 

I want to bring my mistakes to light to all who read my words.  We all are called to share God’s word, and I feel incredibly blessed to be living out my calling.  What I’ve found is the more people I reach, the more the enemy throws at me, and I must have my fans, readers, friends, pastors, and mentors hold me accountable for my actions and help me stay alert to the enemy who is seeking to destroy anyone spreading truth.

As someone speaking truth into your life, I’m asking for forgiveness for allowing the enemy to come in and cause a certain amount of damage (not destruction—I am not destroyed).  Thank you for understanding that I am only a person, and I make mistakes just like anyone else.  Praise God for redemption and mercy! 

I will continue to grow spiritually and speak truth to all who listen (or read in my case).

For You

If you feel like the enemy has a grasp on some area of your life right now, please know God is fully of mercy, and he wants you to be released from that grasp.  More than likely you’ll even find that he’s been showing you ways out, but maybe your focus was somewhere else, and you didn’t even see it. 

Go to him today and ask for help to win the battle, and no matter how difficult you feel it may be, FIND SOMEONE and tell them what’s going on!!!  I’m so grateful for the people around me who I did not want to talk to but still helped me fight the battle (some who don’t even realize they helped).

Talk about it because the more you talk about it the less the enemy can control your actions.  It’s when they remain hidden you find yourself in a dangerous situation.  God loves you regardless of where you are right now.  You Are Loved

Be Ready for Battle at Any Time

A final word: Be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power.  Put on all of God’s armor so that you will be able to stand firm against all strategies of the devil.  For we are not fighting against flesh-and-blood enemies, but against evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world, against mighty powers in this dark world, and against evil spirits in the heavenly places.

Therefore, put on every piece of God’s armor so you will be able to resist the enemy in the time of evil. Then after the battle you will still be standing firm.  Stand your ground, putting on the belt of truth and the body armor of God’s righteousness. For shoes, put on the peace that comes from the Good News so that you will be fully prepared. In addition to all of these, hold up the shield of faith to stop the fiery arrows of the devil.  Put on salvation as your helmet, and take the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. Ephesians 6:10-17 NLT

I Will Not Look Away


I wanted to share this post I wrote almost a year ago.  This Wednesday Elevate Youth Ministries will be premiering the documentary of the trip to India.  Lives were forever changed. . . IWNLA

You’ve seen her; the girl that sits in the corner of the room alone.  Every once in a while you might see her talking with someone else, but for the most part she’s by herself.  You’ve seen other girls tease her and call her names.  Remember that time you walked in the bathroom, and you heard someone crying in the stall next to you?  It was her.

Did you look away?

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I just spent the most amazing weekend at our youth retreat for church.  The theme for the weekend was I Will Not Look Away.  You see, we have spent the last two months as a student ministry raising money to build an orphanage for 50 kids in India partnering with Dominic Russo’s The Angel House.

Our youth group got up and did something.  What we did was raise money not for 1 orphanage but for 2!  The thought of so many kids without homes, food, education, love . . . How could we look away?

I realize you may not be in a place to help build an orphanage, but there are so many times in a day that you are faced with a choice.  Do you look away, or do you get up and do something?

Take a look at the girl from the beginning of this post.  I know you’ve seen this very scenario or something similar.  These kinds of things are happening all around you regardless of where you live.  So often, people turn their heads and pretend they don’t see what’s going on.  They rationalize by saying it’s okay because they aren’t the ones being mean.

Is that you?  Do you turn your head with a rationalization in your mind?  Or are you the girl sitting alone and crying in the bathroom?

I was the girl crying in the bathroom.  Oddly enough, I was also the girl who looked away and sometimes even joined in with teasing the lonely girl.  Isn’t it strange that one can be a participant in both parts?

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I do know someone who didn’t look away, and it quite possibly saved the life of another person.  This is a true story.

You see, there was a teacher who didn’t want to be in the school she was in.  It wasn’t that she didn’t like it.  She actually loved the school and her colleagues, but she desperately yearned to be with her own children.  She knew she was supposed to be in this particular school, though, and now she knows why.

At the beginning of the year, a new student came to her class.  She immediately thought this student was going to be trouble but found over the next couple of weeks that he was just a quiet boy who didn’t seem to hang out with any of the other students.  The teacher would try to talk to him because she has a genuinely loving heart for all of the students who pass through her doors.  She wanted to know more about him and found herself becoming concerned because he stayed closed off.

He started hanging out with a girl at school, and they became very close very quickly, which caused even more of a concern for this teacher.  What she saw was a toxic combination on so many levels.

The teacher was at a church service one evening and couldn’t get it out of her head that she needed to ask this boy to come to a youth service.  This, of course, is a very big “no no” for a teacher in a public school, but she couldn’t shake it.

The next day she asked this student to church, and of course, he thought it was weird.  He said he would think about it, but it was easy to see he felt awkward that his teacher asked this.  Neither said anything else about it again.

The following week, the girl broke up with the boy, and he struggled with processing it.  His feelings and emotions took over, and he didn’t know what to do, so he found himself making some detrimental choices.

The grandmother emailed this teacher asking if she would, once again, ask this boy to come to church that night because he was struggling with some things.  Unfortunately, this student was escorted out of the school before the teacher got a chance, and he could not return to the campus.

The teacher questioned God asking Him why she felt such an urgency to reach out to this boy when he was just going to be taken away from her so quickly.  It wasn’t until the following week that she realized that wasn’t how it happened at all.

You must remember that God always – let me say that again – ALWAYS knows what’s ahead and plans perfectly for it.

The week following the incident with this student, the teacher received word that he was planning on coming to youth service that very night!  He did go to service, and everyone was witness to God moving in this boy in a big way – especially the teacher.

He decided to go to a retreat the following weekend.  At the retreat he decided to accept Christ into his life.  He smiles now.  He seems excited about life!  He’s finding his purpose.

You may have already figured out that the teacher was myself, and I am amazed at how God used me to reach out to this boy.  Before, he wasn’t sure he still wanted to live life.  God is amazing, and it wasn’t that he had me reach out to this student and then took him away.  It was that God knew the desperation that was about to happen within him and urged me to be his lifeline before it happened.

I think about what could have happened had I looked away.  Would this student have done something drastic with his life because he felt alone?  Praise God, we will never know the answer to that question!

I’m not telling you this story to pat myself on the back.  I’m telling it to let you know God wants to use you.  One thing I learned this weekend is that, if you make yourself available, God will make you capable.  You can make a difference if you don’t look away.  I took a risk by doing what I knew without a doubt God asked me to do all while being fully aware that my job was at stake.  God totally protected me during that moment.

Just by me stepping up and reaching out to this student, I have already touched the lives of at least 3 people.  His family has been touched without me even meeting them.  Just by our student ministry stepping up and raising money to build 1 orphanage, God supplied us with an abundance of funds making it possible to build 2 (as well as 2 water wells and a church!),  and Dominic Russo is taking our concept and presenting it all over the country.  We intended to save the lives of 50 kids, and it turned into thousands.  When you don’t look away — when you get up and do something — you’ll touch more lives than you’ll ever know.

I’m urging you, friend, to not look away.  Will you make a commitment to yourself and God that you will never look away?  When it presents itself to you tomorrow, are you going to get up and do something?

Related Links:

www.15for50.com
www.ourelevate.com
http://www.dominicrusso.org/splash.html