“A thief comes only steal and to kill and to destroy. I have come so that they may have life and have it in abundance.”
My three-year-old son is currently obsessed with the movie Cars 3, which is a cartoon movie about race cars. One morning, he was watching one of his favorite parts from the movie. There is an “underdog” car, named Cruz, and she is racing her final laps of the big race. The car that is in the lead, named Jackson Storm, starts ridiculing Cruz and tells her she doesn’t deserve to be in the race. She gets discouraged, which causes her to slow down. From the sidelines, her trainer asks her, “Do you see what just happened?...You got into his head. He sees something in you that you don’t even see in yourself.” You see, because Jackson Storm was concerned that Cruz actually might beat him, he knew he had to try to taunt her, so she wouldn’t see what she was capable of: winning.
As I was eating breakfast at the kitchen table, watching this scene unfold, I thought to myself how this is what we can be like with Satan. We can become discouraged by all of his tactics that attempt to “steal, kill and destroy us” (John 10:10). We fail to see, however, that he attacks us because he’s threatened by us. He knows that, as believers, we have the power of Christ at work in us and he wants us to doubt God and His promises, rendering us ineffective for the Gospel. The second half of John 10:10 says, “I have come so that they may have life and have it in abundance.” Satan knows that God has “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” (Jeremiah 29:11). He wants to keep us distracted and focused on evil and temporal things, like worry about the future, shame from the past, and discouragement for today. If he can keep us from seeing what amazing power we have at work within us, through Jesus Christ, then he can paralyze us and keep us from living the abundant life God has given us! In the book Fervent by Priscilla Shirer, she says “Aren’t you at least a little bit curious what he’s trying to keep you from experiencing?”
Today, I encourage you, instead of being discouraged by the difficult circumstances around you and the spiritual warfare you are facing, change your perspective to see that Satan is attacking you because he knows that God has good in store for you. He wants to keep you from it. So don’t let him. “His divine power has given us everything required for life and godliness through the knowledge of Him who called us by His glory and goodness.” (2 Peter 1:3)
My precious husband, Bill, and I have been planted in Fort Myers, Florida for almost 35 years. As a newly married couple, God most graciously had placed people in both of our jobs to share Christ with us. Its hard to believe it has been almost 34 years since we asked Jesus into our hearts! Bill and I have been blessed with four children, 3 daughters, then a son. These blessings came quickly, all within 6 years!! During these years I'm so thankful I was able to be part of women's ministry classes at our church, helping me to grow in my walk with Him. Then came the day when I was asked that question that stretched me way outside of my comfort zone...will you teach a class? Its hard to believe that I have now been teaching more than 20 years. Bill and I love to travel, most of the time going to visit our 9 grandchildren, oh ya, and their parents! I also love reading, walking and hanging out with some very special young moms in Beloved that bless my socks off!
Julie is a Kansas girl who resides in sunny Southwest Florida. She's been married to her husband Sean for 23 years and they share two boys ages 21 & 17. She enjoys baking and biking, but her absolute favorite thing is snow skiing which is a little difficult to do in a sandy 80 degree land.
She became a follower of Christ at age 10. She loves studying and teaching God's Word. She has a passion for encouraging moms to love and follow Jesus.
Beth grew up in a loving home; however, in her early 20s she faced a very lonely time. During that time, she cried out to God and asked “If You are real, please show yourself to me!” God met her where she was and she trusted in the Lord Jesus at that time. Her life verse and desire is “no matter what happens, to conduct herself in a manner worthy of the gospel.” Philippians 1:27
Beth now resides in Tampa, Florida with her husband Larry. The Lord has blessed them by blending their family of five children. They currently have eight grandchildren and are hoping that there will be more grandchildren in the future.
Donna accepted Jesus as her Savior at the age of nine and has been amazed at God’s goodness and faithfulness throughout her life. She has been blessed to have had many mentors through each season of life, who have shown her what trusting God looks like. Donna and her husband, Bryan, have five children, one son-in-law, one soon to be daughter-in-law, and one wonderful grandson. Donna and Bryan have recently moved back to their home state of Arkansas after livingin southeast Alabama the past 23 years. Donna enjoys spending time with her family, laughing with friends (usually over coffee), going for long walks with her husband, and reading a good book (which may also be accompanied by a cup of coffee).
Sarah is a true Florida Cracker. She was born and raised in Southwest Florida. At the age of 6, Sarah accepted Jesus as her Lord and Savior, and she hasn't looked back since. Hebrews 13:8 is one of her favorite verses, "Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever." Eating delicious desserts, spending time with her family and friends, and teaching people about Jesus are a few of the things she enjoys to do in her spare time.
Sarah has been married to her best friend and husband, Brandon, for 7 years. They have been blessed with one beautiful, determined son, Asher, who keeps them on their toes. Sarah and her family live in the Tampa area. They love exploring their community together, family hugs, and eating pizza whenever possible.
Katie Flint just recently moved back home to Fort Myers, Florida with her husband, Ryan and two children, Collins and Madden. At the age of 5, Katie accepted Jesus Christ to be the Lord and Savior of her life, after attending Vacation Bible School. Through each phase of her life, God has shown her that He alone is trustworthy. The verse that has been her life source is Psalm 46:10- “Be still and know that I am God.”
She is a stay-at-home mom and enjoys exercising and baking. She has been married to her husband Ryan for almost 9 years, who is her high school sweetheart. They enjoy trying new restaurants, family trips to the beach, and relaxing at home.
Marsha grew up in a small rural town in upstate New York. In 2006, after finishing college, she moved to sunny SW Florida where she met her, now husband, Shawn. Together they enjoy spending family time with their two fun-loving toddler boys Zachariah and Kairos.
Marsha enjoys living an active lifestyle, which is helpful, considering that her favorite hobby is baking.
Though she attended church as a child, Marsha was not saved until adulthood when her eyes were finally opened to the love and mercy of Jesus Christ.
Since being saved, God has placed a loving burden on her heart to share the truth about God’s healing grace with those who may feel like forgiveness is not possible for them.