Anger, consecrate, Faith, Hope, Spiritual Growth

Stop! Thief!

Years ago as a newlywed couple, we lived in a large apartment complex in San Antonio, Texas.

One night, in the early morning hours, we were awakened by a loud banging on our door. The repeated thuds reverberated through our small apartment, jolting us awake. It sounded as if someone was trying to break the door down.

I grabbed the phone and dialed 911. The voice on the other end of the line calmly asked what kind of emergency we were experiencing.

“There’s someone beating on our door!” I exclaimed.

My heart was pounding, and fear was oozing from every inch of my body.

“Ma’am,” the voice calmly replied, “please go answer the door. It’s the police. Your truck has been stolen.”

As we stumbled out of bed and into the other room, a San Antonio police officer greeted us at the door. He explained that a lady in another apartment heard a commotion outside her window. She looked out to see a man breaking into our Chevrolet S-10. She called the police, and watched for thirty minutes as the man cut through the anti-theft device we had on our steering wheel and hot-wired our truck. She even took pictures of the suspect!

But the police arrived at the scene too late. The truck was gone.

It was such a strange feeling to know someone had violated us. Our sense of security was gone, and we wondered how to move forward. It was the only time I have ever had anything stolen.

But as I look at my life now, I realize I am robbed regularly.

My joy is stolen. My peace ripped away. My sense of security shattered.

You see, I find myself allowing others to step in and steal from me. I allow their words, their actions, to destroy my attitude. I spiral into depression, bitterness, anger at the mere mention of certain names or situations.

And I am robbed of the abundant life Christ promised me.

The thief’s purpose is to steal and kill and destroy. My purpose is to give them a rich and satisfying life. John 10:10

I don’t know what is stealing your joy and peace, but I know what it is for me. For years, I battled my ex-husband. Every negative, critical email ripped at my soul and sent me spiraling downward for days. It wasn’t until I consciously and consistently prayed for forgiveness, prayed for freedom, that I was able to overcome the attacks without being dragged down. It was truly God who set me free, restored His perfect peace and joy.

But today, I battle a new enemy. New people coming against me, spreading lies. I beg God night and day to be my defender, to bring truth to light. I cry out for my righteousness to shine like the dawn and the justice of my cause like the noonday sun (Psalm 37:6).

I slip into a downward spiral, only to catch myself and begin to claw my way back up. Some days I am able to regain what the enemy steals; other days, I’m not as successful, allowing myself to be violated over and over.

But God…

God is faithful. I know as long as He is the anchor of my soul, I will return to the abundant life, the place I want to camp and live. I don’t want anyone, any circumstance, to rob me of the gifts God has planned for me in this life. I want to fight for the abundant life!

But how do we fight the enemy who comes to steal, kill, and destroy?

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. Ephesians 6:13

We must be prepared for the battle. We must determine in our hearts to stand firm, to never be shaken. We must be ready and willing to resist the enemy at all costs.

Stand your ground, putting on the belt of truth and the body armor of God’s righteousness. Ephesians 6:14

The belt of truth is essential. John 8:31-32 reminds us that true disciples cling to Christ’s teachings and walk in complete obedience. These disciples will know the truth and live in complete freedom.

But what is truth? Jesus said He is the way, the Truth, and the life. Truth is knowing our Savior, personally and intimately. It’s watching to see where He is working and joining Him in His work. It’s learning to walk with Him, every moment of every day. And then, we know Truth and we walk in freedom.

For shoes, put on the peace that comes from the Good News so that you will be fully prepared. Ephesians 6:15

Peace. We all seek it. We know it when we experience it. But how do we live in it? Isaiah 26:3 reassures us of His perfect peace when our minds are steadfast and focused on Him and His word. And Philippians 4 reminds us that His peace which surpasses all understanding will guard our hearts and minds when we stop worrying and instead pray, when we think on the good things of Christ.

Putting it all together, we find peace when our minds are focused on the things of God, when we have a constant diet of God’s word, when we stop worrying and start praying. And this is the good news!

In addition to all of these, hold up the shield of faith to stop the fiery arrows of the devil. Ephesians 6:16

Faith grows when it is put through the fiery test of trials and tribulations. As we walk through the troubles of this life, we see God’s faithfulness, we see Him carry us through. Our faith grows as we experience His tender loving care in the difficult times of our lives.

And then. When the enemy throws the fiery darts of doubt and fear, we are able to reflect on the many ways God has been faithful in the past. We see His goodness and His grace, the ways He turns our brokenness into beauty. And it gives us confidence to know He has fought these battles for us in the past, and He won’t fail us now.

Put on salvation as your helmet, and take the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. Ephesians 6:17

The helmet of salvation is essential to protecting our mind. Scripture speaks repeatedly about being transformed by renewing our minds (Romans 12:2), about focusing our thoughts on things that bring glory to God (Philippians 4:8). We are told to forget those things that are behind and focus on the prize for which Christ called us (Philippians 3:13-14).

We protect our minds by taking up the sword of the Spirit, by constantly bathing our minds with the Word of God. We read it. We think about it. We memorize it. We meditate on it. Our minds must be saturated with the word to adequately protect it.

Pray in the Spirit at all times and on every occasion. Stay alert and be persistent in your prayers for all believers everywhere. Ephesians 6:18

There is no substitute for prayer. Our minds cannot conceive what God brings about in response to the prayers of His people. When you find yourself worrying, turn it into a prayer. Pray for God’s peace. Pray His word. Pray for our enemies. Pray for those who persecute us. Pray for those we love. Pray for God to do an amazing work in us so He can do an amazing work through us.

Lord Jesus, I don’t want to let the enemy steal the abundance you have promised me. Help me use the tools you have given me to fight off the attacks. Build my faith so I might be able to trust and believe that you are in control, that you will fight this battle for me. Help me to walk so closely with you that I know you, the Truth, and you set me free from the battles this life throws at me. Teach me to walk your way, knowing your way protects me from the enemy.

 

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15 thoughts on “Stop! Thief!”

  1. Dear Dena,
    Thank you so much for allowing God to use you to be an encouragement to hurting people. God is so good and kind to give me your devotional today. I face a very difficult meeting regarding the end of my own marriage later this week and it has all but consumed me. Yet, I can be hauled out of the pit by God’s guidance to your complete and biblically saturated thoughts. Thank you for turning your ashes into beauty and sharing them so we can find hope again.

    1. I’m so very sorry for your pain, but I know God is faithful. He will bind you up and carry you through. Hold tightly to Him, and let Him make something beautiful out of your pain and devastation.

  2. In my life, I had to come to the point of realizing that my value was not and is not determined by someone else’s inability to understand the love of God and to serve Him. Perfect love casts out fear……but until I learned the Love of my Father, as to an audience of ONE, I wrestled with rejection and pain which was produced out of fear. Through the pain and grief, as I sought for truth and love, God has been faithful; He has overtaken me with His Blessings. After a year, I am still working through the process of moving on through Divine revelation and guidance of the Holy Spirit. I am whole-heartedly agreeing with HIS plan even though I can only see a glimpse now.

    Thank you Dena for being real and for allowing God to use you!

    1. You are absolutely correct! I used those very words today, explaining that’s how I deal with criticism. My life is created to serve Him and Him alone. Thank you for your ongoing encouragement!

  3. Dear Dena!
    Thank you to be a blessing to others. Thank you to share and teach us how to connect with our father in heaven at all times.You are a blessing to many lives. That’s my prayers to become a blessing to others. Let’s have faith in our lives that our father in heaven has away in every situation. Amen.

  4. Dena, I want you to know I’m praying for you. For God to give you victory over the attacks Satan is waging. God is mightier and He will fight for you. No He IS fighting for you! Anyone Satan is using to attack you is only to distract you from the real fight. Satan is scared because God is using you and is about to unfold part of His beautiful plan for you. I pray for strength for you. Gods strength. I pray for peace and joy that God so freely gives when we keep our focus on Him. He has been working tremendously in my heart and restoring my life one difficult step at a time. And your ministry and your heart being willing to be so transparent and seeking God has played a huge part in my victories. So in return the very less I can do is pray and petition heaven for you. For God to send reinforcements and for the truth to be brought forth. For God to show you confirmation that He is there fighting for you and this is just all part of a plan that is bigger than you can see. The God we serve is forever loving us, forever with us and forever working in ways we can’t see but we can trust that His plan is for our good and His glory! He is a faithful God and He will NEVER leave us! Praying for you to feel His arms around you carrying you through this season, this battle. Victory and joy are coming!

    Sent from my iPhone

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  5. Dena when I went through the murder of my ex-husband, his mother tried to smear me to everyone, including the state police (my ex was an officer killed in the line of duty). I felt sorry for her in her pain as I cannot imagine loosing a child and prayed for her. My attention was on my children and their well being not her wrong doing. And after a while, from her actions, those who thought I was the worst person saw who I really was. Time will show all who you really are so please don’t let others words and actions bother you. God will show everyone the wonderful person you really are and squash anything bad that is being said about you and discredit all those who speak wrongly of you. Focus on God, you, your children and God will take care of all the wrong that people are trying to bring against you. Let him take care of it in his way.

    Romans 12:19 Do not take revenge, my dear friends, but leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written: “It is mine to avenge; I will repay,” says the Lord.

    1. And that’s my prayer… May my righteousness shine like the dawn and the justice of my cause like the noonday sun. May His light and love shine through me and point the world back to Him.

  6. I have been reading your posts desperately hoping to hear God speak to me. I posted several months ago about my divorce and the slander and betrayal that had happened through the divorce. At the time I first posted I hadn’t heard from my daughter in over 6 months. So after the dust settled, I tried to get in touch with her and found that she’d moved. She just turned 20 and was going to a good Christian college. Now 11 months after my daughter moved out of the house, I just learned tonight she has turned her back completely on everything we brought her up to believe. I found her twitter account and it was filled with anti-church, pro-abortion, pro-gay rights, etc. posts. It didn’t even sound like the same person I knew, but one filled with hate, anger, and resentment.

    My ex-wife last year said we would still be co-parents and still talk about our daughter’s life and well-being. But, now my ex-wife has become even more angry, hostile and slanderous toward me. She has even lied under oath at court and committed tax fraud and forgery. I’ve called the police on her numerous times for bullying and intimidating me. I gave her lots of the stuff we were to divide yet, because I was litterally afraid of her and her friends. One day she showed up at our house unannounced, with 14 guys from her office who bullied and harrased me the whole time. They even started to take some of my things and taunt me. Now I have to go back to the police for identity theft, tax fraud, and forgery. All this from a Christian woman who is a Sunday School teacher and that I was in love with and married to for 25 years.

    I thought it couldn’t get worse until I saw my daughter’s twitter account today. I asked my daughter a couple weeks ago about having dinner with me and my parents to celebrate my dad’s birthday, but haven’t heard from her in two weeks. I have been absolutely broken and have pleaded before God wanting peace from all the strife with my ex-wife. I am now greatly concerned for my daughter health, safety, and spiritual well-being. The enemy has certainly stolen my joy and peace and I just blame myself. That somehow the absence of peace around me, must be the result of my lack of faith and/or obedience.

    I know this isn’t God’s will for my ex-wife, daughter or me. Why isn’t He doing something and why is He letting things get so far away from Him? I am concerned that my daughter will find her way back before it is too late. I constantly pray for forgiveness of everything I can think of I did wrong every day. I also pray that I don’t hold onto unforgiveness toward anyone else, just hoping God will open even a small window for me. My days consist of taking care of my parents, looking for a job, looking for a place to live, battling with my ex-wife, and praying my daughter will contact me. I miss her terribly and just hope she is okay and safe.

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