A good friend shared something with me recently that really helped to open my eyes to my sin.
I have this friend that has grown up a missionary in third world countries. His childhood was centered in missions and his marriage has been spent in missions also. He and his wife just returned to the states after 20 years in Bolivia. They are amazing wonderful people and I love them. They have devoted their lives to the Lord and building a great relationship with him. As well as teaching others about him.
They have shared these crazy (I feel they are crazy scary) stories with me of how Satan shows himself in these places. They say it is very different here than it is there. There it is very obvious, possessions, men being able to do things that aren't humanly possible like jump from 3rd floor roof tops, things of this nature. Very scary stuff. He tells me how unfortunately he has developed the ability to feel Satan's presence when he is in it. Like in these obvious situations and sometime in less obvious situations when his presence is strong. Anyway, he tells me about how they feel Satan's presence shows itself in less obvious ways here. Like; TV, music, child abuse, mental illness and such.
I think this is really interesting. If you can detach yourself from your personal likes and dislikes on the subject of music and such you can totally see how having an influence over this industry could help Satan to win over more and more people. When you surround yourself with something good or bad you will feel the effects of it, good or bad.
I have read of several stories lately that have really haunted me. Many of them are surrounding China. Apparently several different men are going around to local schools there and killing kindergartners in the most vial manners imaginable. A woman was having an argument in the middle of the street and for some reason just through her infant on the ground and began stomping it. Praise God the baby is alive and unharmed but the women I'm sure will never recover from her mistake once she realizes what she has done. Stories of a large group of woman in Delhi that are born into prostitution, no choice, just born into it. And the fathers are their pimps! Seriously disturbing things. And these are only a few that I've read recently!
So, all this said, maybe just maybe Satan was having a serious influence over this culture all together, and the reason that baby actually came out unharmed is because of God. Satan influenced the woman's mind and God protected the baby's body. We have free will and God can not make us do things, as Satan can't. They can only influence us. And if we are weak, from being surrounded by the 'bad' then we are easily influenced by the 'bad'. But the baby who really has no influence as of yet, God was able to protect. Now this doesn't really work so well on the kindergartners, however maybe God decided they would be better in his arms then continuing on earth having gone through this horrible ordeal and not having a 'good' influence to surround them and help them heal. As for the prostitutes, I read their story on a missionary's site. There are people God has put in place to help them. I only pray the culture can change and realize how detrimental this is and do away with this being an OK way of life. I mean I don't even think it's illegal! Not sure on that one however.
It gives me peace and makes me want to spread God's love even more. And really makes me appreciate the ones of us that can devote our lives to going to places like this as well as places here and helping to surround others in the 'good', Gods word.
After finding this peace God so graciously and undeserving hands out to us I found myself realizing that this influence of Satan is very much in my world too. Not just these third world countries where he is obvious, but here in my own heart.
The last week or so I have found myself down, just really sad feeling and kind of lost. For me this made no sense. I am Not lost, I have God and he leads me! Right!?
Well. No, I wasn't allowing him to lead me. Every time I found myself feeling sad, I found myself not wanting to read my bible. I was praying, yes, but no real bible/devotional time. I thought, "My prayers should be heard, reading is only going to make me more tired, besides I don't really have the time right now." I'm sure I'm not the only person who says this in their head. When faced with what can seem like a 'task', when Satan is leading your heart, finding quiet time and sitting and being with God.
"Brothers, if someone is caught in a sin you who are spiritual should restore them gently. But watch yourself, or you also may be tempted."
It took me sitting and thinking about what my friend said about Satan's influence on us here in the US and in other countries to really get it. Satan is here in us all the time. And when we feel really close to God and Jesus and when we don't, he will step up his presence and influence us with the 'bad'. Those of us who think we are at peace and are really feeling Gods love, be weary of the other presence that is just waiting around the corner. He is there and so eager to throw you off coarse!
In this realization I closed my eyes and wept, praying, no begging God to forgive me for allowing Satan in and begging that he fill me up with his goodness. Surrendering my imperfections.
Coming to these realizations is like sitting in a warm jacuzzi, you just want to sit there and relax in it allowing it to surround you with peace and joy. At some point however you have to get out so you don't turn into a purn! Live your life and learn something new so you can get back in! I pray you are all coming to these amazing realizations in your daily walk with him and I hope to get a chance to hear of them!
In thinking of this topic I can't help but think of the song "How he loves us" by Kim Walker. It is truly amazing to think of how much he really does love us!