The following was shared by Leslie Thomas, who along with his family, was called by God to leave the work of Fellowship of the King in Spain and relocate to Belfast in Northern Ireland, where they are now serving the Lord:
In the last few weeks there has been a call to prayer about the incidence of suicide in Belfast; in one 10-day period recently there were 15 suicides. One of our ladies lost her (straight-A student) son that way 18 months ago and she has been brave enough to share about it on local TV; it was apparently the easy availability of prescription medication (following a sports injury) that started his slide down into drug dependency and subsequent hopelessness, but she a/so told of an alarming characteristic of many young suicides. Apparently many youngsters have so little expectation of amounting to anything in life that they fantasise about having an incredible funeral; some prep/an all the detail as though it were a wedding saying it will be the only time that a big event would be just about them. Satan truly is a murderer.
What a truly shocking situation, and one that is, of course, not confined just to Northern Ireland. And yet, this is all part of the spiritual battle that we find ourselves in the middle of – the spiritual battle that has been raging for centuries and that was described by St Paul as:
“Satan, who is the god of this world, has blinded the minds of those who don’t believe. They are unable to see the glorious light of the Good News. They don’t understand this message about the glory of Christ, who is the exact likeness of God.” (2 Corinthians 4:4, NLT)
He blinds their minds with hopelessness, loneliness, rejection, abuse and destructive decisions. If we are truly to reach this generation with the love of Christ, the battle must be fought on several fronts.
Healing community where the basic lack of nurture, safety and care can be addressed. Such a community is not an ‘us and them’ environment, but a community of fellow travellers, all of whom are acknowledging that they are broken in some way, who are finding the hope and healing of Christ together.
A recognition of the spiritual dimension and the weapons that are needed. A healing environment is crucial, but not sufficient. It is the god of this world who has blinded their minds – those captives need to be set free from the prison of addiction, the lie that they are hopeless, helpless and that they have nothing better to look forward to. Without this acknowledgment of the realities of the spiritual battle, people will never experience true freedom.
A credible environment where genuine change can begin to take place. This is about long-term, consistent, committed support and encouragement, providing a stable environment where those whose lives are chaotic and lacking the most basic aspects of nurture and care can gain practical help and skills to move ahead with the healing they are receiving.
A letting go of the desire for a ‘quick fix’. People who struggle with mental ill health, with deep-seated addictions and with suicidal thoughts have most likely already been damaged by short term ‘quick fixes’ and by one-off prayers from often well-meaning Christians. Indeed, ‘spiritual warfare prayers’ can be very damaging for people who are vulnerable and susceptible to the suggestion that they are ‘demonised’. Prayer is an absolute core, essential weapon in this spiritual battle, but it needs to be used discreetly and appropriately. A quick, one-off prayer, no matter how much it is commanded ‘in Jesus’ Name’ is often neither helpful nor effective and can, in fact, be counterproductive.
An unshakeable belief in the value of every individual, not as they could be, but in how they are right now. Healing is not someone ‘becoming like us’, because we are fellow broken travellers on our own journey of healing. Healing is the freedom to find and pursue the amazing plans that God has for your life, not held back by or limited by the struggles you encounter in this life. Healing is about understanding your identity in Christ that you are a trophy of His grace, fearfully and wonderfully made, worth dying for, empowered to achieve all that He has purposed for you. True healing of the individual is experienced in healing community and it impacts the whole person, body, soul and spirit. Will we ever be fully healed? Yes – in Heaven, where “He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death’ or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.” (Revelation 21:4, NIV)
Embrace the pause:
Join us on October 19th, 2019 as we are equipped together:
• What is the ‘spiritual battle’ and what does it mean to be ‘set free’?
• What is mental ill-health, how does it differ from and relate to Learning Disability?
• Building a healing community
• Leading the church into enemy territory
The venue: Kingfisher church, Tredworth, Moor Street, Gloucester GL 1 4NJ.
All sessions will be videoed and will be available on Kingfisher’s Youtube channel and on our International Website, kingfisherfamily.org