NOTE: Following is not what I sat down to write.  Writing this post was one of those times that my fingers had a life of their own as I typed, and Someone else’s message emerged instead.  This turned out to be a longer post than usual, but it’s all what God put on my heart to say.  I hope you’ll take a few minutes to read His message he wanted me to type for you and me.  God bless you!  Renee

Who likes a bully?  No one.  Bullies give us a hard time and try to make themselves feel better by making others feel bad.  They sometimes like to figure out our weaknesses and exploit them.  Other times bullies are jealous so they try to make others look bad or undermine their efforts.  They try to hold others back from successes, taint their good experiences, and sometimes present threatening behavior.  I know.  I had to deal with a group of girls like this throughout my high school years.  They did everything they could to make life miserable for me…all for sport, for their pleasure and enjoyment. 

I’d been friends with some of these girls since elementary!  The betrayal of our friendships hurt worse than their behaviors – especially by those who still acted like they were my friends while being a part of that group.  How could they be my friend, yet side with those who treated me like they did? 

Bullies aren’t just in our childhoods.  The world is full of bullies at all ages and stages in our lives.  The worst is one known as Satan, aka the Destroyer, Accuser, and Enemy.  As Christians we need to be on guard for him because the Bible says he’s clever, crafty, and shrewd.  He’s also cowardly.  He doesn’t boldly attack us.  Instead, he finds our weaknesses and attacks us there. 

Satan does all the things the bullies do.  He wants to undermine our efforts, especially as we grow in Christ; and he loves to get inside our heads and tell us lies.  He tells us we’re not worthy, makes us feel ashamed, places seeds of doubt so that we question ourselves and sometimes become our own worst enemy.  In short, he tries to undo all the good that God does and tries to hold us back from experiencing the love and joy God wants to give us.  Worst of all, Satan tries to hold us back from receiving the gifts we have in Jesus – the gifts of forgiveness, accceptance, and salvation. 

As despicalble and dangerous as Satan sounds, he’s actually quite defeatable.  You see, he’s already been defeated by Christ.  I don’t want to spoil the ending of the Bible story for you, but just so you know, in the end Satan wages a terrible battle, but Christ is victorious!  When we have Christ on our side, Satan has no hold on us UNLESS WE ALLOW HIM TO!    That’s right.  We can denounce any attacks Satan tries to make by claiming our victory in Christ.  In fact, it’s at the very beginning of the Bible that God curses the serpent (Satan) to grovel on the ground, only being able to bite man’s heel, and He tells Man (Christ) that he will crush Satan’s head.  (Genesis 3:14-16) That’s graphic, I know, but it tells us at the very beginning of the Bible story that Satan can’t cast a crushing blow to us!  All he can do is nip at our heels!  His blow can only be fatal if we allow it to be!  When we claim the superceding powers of Jesus Christ, we take all authority and power away from Satan. 

I mentioned above that I felt betrayed by friends who sided with my enemies.  Jesus feels the same way when side with our Enemy.  So when do we side with the Enemy?  We side with the Enemy when we let him in – when we let him discourage us, doubt our capabilities, and believe his lies that we’re not worthy.  When we give in to those thougths, we’re giving in to Satan.  God doesn’t speak to us that way.  God speaks to us with love and encouragement.  If He convicts us it’s done with love to help make us better.  God doesn’t put something before us just to tell us we can’t do it.  God is trying to say, “Stick with me and you can!  Don’t give in to Satan’s lies!”  Can you imagine how hurt and betrayed GOD must feel when we choose to listen to Satan’s voice instead of His?  And why do we do that?  Wouldn’t we rather hear from a voice of love and encouragement?  I know I would.

If you’re giving in to negative and discouraging thoughts, then you’re giving in to Satan.  Don’t let him do that to you!  Chase those thoughts right out of your head and claim your stakes in Jesus’ Holy name! 

Did you know that God created you in His own image? (Genesis 1:27)  That alone makes you good, amazing, and wonderful!  He knitted you in your mother’s womb (Psalm 139) and gifted you making you uniquely you!  He created you with plans and purposes (Jeremiah 29:11) that are just for you!  Then He sent His Son to live a blameless life, only to be broken and crucified as the perfect sacrifice for the sinful ways of all His children.  What more do we need to prove to us that we’re good stuff and that God loves us so much that He paid the ultimate sacrifice so we could be forgiven and released from sin, shame, guilt, and self-doubt, so that we could be free to live in His love?!  Wow! That’s amazing to me.  I don’t want to trade all of those wonderful and amazing things for the bullying ways of Satan.  I don’t want you to do it either! 

Please think carefully about how Satan bullies you.  What can you do to be on guard?  Pray, in the name of Chrsit, for God to help you avoid Satans’ tricks, and for God to protect you.  Then arm yourself with God’s truth and love.  Remind yourself of the verses below:

Genesis 1:27 – 28  So God created people in his own image, God patterned them after himself; male and female He created them.  God blessed them…

Psalm 139:14-15 Thank you for making me so wonderfully complex! Your workmanship is marvelous – and how well I know it.  You watched me as I was being formed in utter seclusion, as I was woven together in the dark of the womb.

Jeremiah 29:11 For I know the plans I have for you..not to harm you but to prosper you, to give you hope and a future. 

Genesis 3:14 – 15 Because you have done this, you will be punished (cleverly temted Eve to eat the forbidden fruit.  Genesis 3:1-5.)…He will crush your head, and you will strike his heel.

Romans 5:16-17 …we have the free gift of being  accepted by God, even though we are guilty of many sins…all who receive God’s wonderful, gracious gift of righteousness will live in triumph over sin and death through this one man, Jesus Christ. 

Hebrews 10:14 For by that one offering he (Christ) perfected forever all those whom he (Christ) is making holy. 

Hebrews 10:17 Then he adds: I will never again remember their sins and lawless deeds. 

Isn’t that amazing?  God made us in His own image to be wonderful and marvelous! He created us with plans for prosperity.  He has given us authority and victory over Satan and his lies through the gifts of sacrifice of Jesus Christ, promises His acceptance of us, and will even perfect forever those whom Christ is making holy (we must offer ourselves to Christ and allow Him to do this), and then adds that He will never again remember our sins!  When we surrender to Christ’s forgiveness and repent of our sins, God wipes them from His memory forever!!!  HE DOESN’T HOLD OUR PAST AGAINS US, SO WHY SHOULD WE? 

My dear friends, all these things are true for us, but we have to make the choices to claim them.  Let’s do so by praying now. 

Dear Heavenly Father, Please forgive me for the times I’ve entertained Satan by listening to his voice over Yours, for allowing his trickery to deceive me and distract me from you, and for allowing him to make me doubt myself and the possibilities of all I can do or become with You by my side.  Please help me to be mindful of his attacks and to keep myself on guard, to denounce Him by claiming victory in Christ.  Lord, I want those wonderful things you promise.  Please forgive my sins and let me feel your acceptance.  Help me to be free in You knowing You will erase my sins forever from Your memory, and help me to do the same, looking forward not back, and finding joy in Your love, mercy and grace.  And, LORD, I pray these things for anyone reading this who needs to receive these things from you, who needs to forgive or be forgiven; who needs to feel Your love and acceptance.  To You my Heavenly Father I pray, with Jesus as my Lord and Savior, and in the love of the Holy Spirit.  Amen.