The Captor

Recently a 5 year old little boy was kidnapped from his school bus in Midland City Alabama. An armed man walked onto the bus and demanded two children. When the bus driver attempted to step between the man and the children he was shot 4 times and later died. The armed man took 1 child to a bunker he had made behind his residence. This bunker is 4 feet under the ground. The FBI and other police officials have been able to communicate with the captor by a PVC pipe that extends up from the bunker. The child is still held captive today. There hasn’t been much information given to the public, we aren’t certain why he did this. To our knowledge the captor hasn’t attempted to negotiate the release of the child. The only truth we know was troubled. Neighbors called him ‘the mean man’, and the day after he kidnapped the child he was set to appear before a judge on menacing charges. Aside from these small details, not much more is known.

My heart breaks over this situation, it’s unsettling and troubling. Police officials haven’t been able to offer much help because the man has set this situation on his playing field; he is in control in this bunker.

I’ve prayed concerning this matter several times. I’m not trained to even begin to offer a solution on how to bring this child to safety, but like most individuals I say… ‘Do something! Why aren’t they doing something?’ I don’t know how to make this a good resolution, but my heart cries nonetheless. I found myself sitting in church and praying again concerning this child and suddenly my heart began turning toward similar situations all around us. The Spirit began revealing these truths as I prayed.

“Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour.” 1Peter 5:8

Many hearts and souls have been deceived. Some of those have been deceived by their own devices, and some have fallen prey to the devil’s tactics. Even still, they are captive; they are bound and unable to be freed by man’s advances. Their minds have been clouded. Their reasoning skills are impaired and they are seemingly unable to be freed. Strongholds have been formed. Some strongholds are easily noticed by others while some can only be known within a man’s heart.

I’ve counseled those whose only way of escape was found in a pill, or a liquor bottle. You may say their stronghold and captor is the bottle, but typically it goes much deeper. Initially, the substance was used for simple reasons…’I was depressed’…’I wanted to have a good time’….’I was hurting’…some said…’I wanted to escape reality, just for a little while’…and so they poured a glass or swallowed another pill. They found the numbness pleasurable to the pain they had grown accustom to in this life. Some found they like the man under the influence of the substance better than the man that they actually were. The real man was so plagued by insecurities and fear that they couldn’t enjoy experiencing life. It was easier to be ‘them’ with the help of the liquor or pills, and this is where the stronghold is formed…this is how it draws its strengths. Once the addiction is established an individual looses themselves. They don’t know how to be happy or confident on their own. They don’t know how to feel the pain of life without the numbness. The stronghold says… ‘You need the bottle, you need the pill to be a better version of yourself.’ So rational judgment leaves and selfish desires take over. When the stronghold isn’t being satisfied it screams out… ‘Do something!’ The individual will typically go to any means necessary to get what it wants, often times resulting in hurting the ones closest to them and breaking the laws set to govern us as a people. They are held captive in their mind.

Christians also become bound within their minds. Satan will so separate and individual from others when they are hurt or struggling that their feelings begin saying… ‘No one understands me’…’No one has ever had to go through all of this’… ‘Others have it easy and are so much more blessed’. When they feel they aren’t living up to the standards we as Christians hold, they begin to separate themselves from the church; the seemingly source of their guilt. In doing so, they become numb to the pulling of the Spirit. They feel more accepted in the world where they aren’t judged for their shortcomings, and there the stronghold begins to ground itself. Within the individual’s heart it says… ‘Why keep trying when all you do is fail?’ The battleground is set, an individual who keeps striving to live up to a standard instead of learning to make decisions regardless of their feelings.

And then there is a lost world looking toward the church and assuming the answers can be found within a faulted people. They see the struggle of the Christian whose flesh desires the world but whose spirit keeps drawing the back to God. They call those individuals hypocrites and make them examples of reasons to stay out of the church. Logic keeps them from believing in something they can’t see or touch, so they learn to trust their own selves and become prideful of their accomplishments.

So many strongholds, so many deceptions meant to bring people down and keep them from achieving what God desires for their lives. Satan draws them into his playing field where only the world can attract a cold heart. ‘Do what makes you happy.’… There the stronghold is formed and we begin following after feelings instead of truth. We are held captive, bound by the deceptions that Satan has told.

How many individuals do you know that are bound within their own minds? How many people do we encounter every day who hasn’t been told that there is a God that can free them? How many of us pray for revival within our church or community, but cant recall the last individual they shared the love of Jesus with?

We are called by Jesus Christ to love our neighbor. The Word teaches us that as followers of Christ we should be known by the love we show toward each other. The greatest love we can ever share is that of Jesus. It’s His love that can radically change a hardened heart. That love can break the stronghold that holds us captive. That love spoke through the ages of time and revealed itself to a young girl named Mary. She gave birth to the Son of God, Jesus Christ, and He would save the likes of you and I all because of love.

I’m praying for that little boy held captive tonight. My heart hurts for him. But tonight I’m also praying for the wisdom to reveal the love of God to a soul who needs to hear about Jesus Christ and the love that can save them. There is one who walks among us and seeks out whom he may devour, such as a lion seeks out his prey. But there is also One whose power can loose the devourer’s hold on lives. His name is Jesus.

Author: Britney Wilkes
Copyright © 2010-2013 Devotions Of Grace Blog – All Rights Reserved

UPDATE to say the boy being held captive has since been rescued.
http://www.cnn.com/2013/02/06/us/alabama-hostage-aftermath/index.html?hpt=hp_bn1

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Published in: on February 6, 2013 at 7:05 pm  Leave a Comment  

2 Little Girls and Jesus

“Train up a child in the way he should go, And when he is old he will not depart from it.” Proverbs 22:6

My little girls are 4 and 3. I’ve only just began this thing we call ‘raising kids’. There haven’t been many circumstances I’ve had to put much wisdom in to making decisions regarding their care. My doctor told me on the day I was released from the hospital with my oldest daughter..’She will raise you.’..and she was right. I’ve never known a greater fear than on the day I was riding home from the hospital with that 6lb little girl. The reality that I had absolutely no control in this life began to sink in. On that car ride I suddenly became aware of all the things I couldn’t protect her from. I sang ‘Learning to Lean’ to her that day. It became my prayer. “Father, teach me to lean on you. I don’t control this world and what circumstances it sometimes offers us, but you do. Help me to trust you.” I’ve prayed for wisdom every day since to be the best mother I can be for those little girls. I’ve made a few mistakes and will make a few more in the future, but I’m learning.

This past weekend I had an opportunity to speak with a friend about education and schooling preferences. He prefers his children to be homeschooled when that time comes. I don’t. I prefer the public school system. This concept seemed to trouble him. He even stated, respectfully, “If public schooling is the best you can do for your children, ok, but if there are better options available I don’t understand why you would choose a public school.” I didn’t have the opportunity at the time to go into my reasons, but my preference for public schools isn’t something I just casually decided. I began praying and thinking about such things before my children were ever born. After that question was posed to me I prayed again, and I am still confident in my decision.

I don’t feel one certain system of education is completely wrong anymore than I feel one is completely right. My best friend was homeschooled and she’s an amazing person today. My niece attends a private Christian school, and this month she was her county’s student of the month. She’s a smart, well rounded little girl and I’m proud of her. I don’t recommend one over the other, but for my children, I choose the public school system. I feel there are positives and negatives with any decision. Those attending a school in a setting with other children may have better opportunities for socialization, and therefore, may fair better in society as a whole. But, then again, our public schools have been consistently reprimanded for allowing any form of Jesus in their classrooms. Prayer is no longer welcomed. Our nation has recently suffered horrible tragedies with our public school classrooms as its center stage. And whereas Christian schools allow Jesus to be confessed, there is no more assurance that these tragedies won’t occur there than in a public school setting. I’ve witnessed children go to privatized Christian schools and make awesome Christians as adults, but the same can be said for children who were raised in public schools. I’ve also witnessed others in both school systems turn their back completely on Jesus.

Even still the question was asked… “Why do you choose public schools?” So, for me personally, these are my reasons.

I want my little girls to choose Jesus. I want them to be raised in a society that gives them the opportunity to question who and why they believe the way they do. I want them to understand that there are other religions with people, much more zealous than most Christians, over a different god. I want them to come into contact with friends that don’t know about Jesus, and then question why they don’t talk the way others do. I want them to be associated with the ‘world’. Now in saying this, please don’t feel I’m leaving my girls to find their own way in life. Not at all. I take my children to church and we read bedtime devotions at night. I’m teaching them how to pray, and they pray every night that they are with me. Not so long ago my oldest daughter prayed and asked Jesus into her heart. We talk about Him and my girls tell me they love Him.

But I also believe that one day, not in the terribly far away future, my girls will have to make a decision about what they believe, and they will begin to be held accountable for their decision. My heart’s prayer is that they choose Jesus, but I want that decision to be theirs. I want them to know who they believe. I want them to choose Jesus because they have had a personal encounter with Him, not because Mama kept them in a bubble and they chose Jesus because they were supposed to. I truly believe that God can reveal Himself to my children; I believe He will make Himself real to my girls. I’m going to do my absolute best to train them the way they are supposed to go, and trust that when they are older they won’t depart from it.

I went to public school. I don’t think my parents necessarily chose it over other alternatives, mainly because there weren’t any. I was faced with many different things but grace found me and at 13 I was radically saved. I encountered Jesus. I had the opportunity to drink, to do drugs, to have sex, but I chose Jesus. I went to college and I elected to study world religions, and today I am still interested in other belief systems. In college I became friends with Mormons, atheist, and other individuals who were just pure heathens. I asked hard questions as to why we as Christians choose to follow Jesus. But I always chose Jesus because I have a relationship with my Savior. I pray my girls a measure of grace so that maybe life will be kind to them, but there is a very real possibility that life may be cruel. They may make all the right decisions only to have their world crumble around them. And if that should happen, I want their relationship that they have built with Jesus Christ to be enough to sustain them. I want them to choose Jesus. Because, if they only follow after Him because of what they have seen, they could fall away…but let them truly encounter Him, learn of Him, question why concerning Him, let them know Him…and God will keep them.

“For that which cause I also suffer these things: nevertheless I am not ashamed: for I know whom I have believed, and am persuaded that he is able to keep that which I have committed unto him against that day.” 2Timothy 1:12

I have committed my little girls into the precious hand of Jesus Christ, and I believe that He is able to keep them.

Author: Britney Wilkes
Copyright © 2010-2013 Devotions Of Grace Blog – All Rights Reserved

Published in: on February 4, 2013 at 10:02 pm  Leave a Comment