A New Heart Brings New Blessings!

The Prophet Ezekiel delivered a powerful Word of Prophecy from the Lord, our God, to the people of Israel. In Ezekiel 36:26-27(NLT), God told them, “And I will give you a new heart, and I will put a new spirit in you. I will take out your stony, stubborn heart and give you a tender, responsive heart. And I will put my Spirit in you so that you will follow my decrees and be careful to obey my regulations.” It is important for us to know that the people of God living during this time had gotten themselves in quite the pickle, and it was because of their disobedience. They made a conscious choice to turn away from God’s regulations and do their own thing. This was a terrible mistake, and they found out the hard way. In this regard, they were like many of us living today who get weary of waiting to see a change in our circumstances. Like them, some of us think about taking matters into our own hands. Our God cautions us against such actions, because He has a much better solution.

When God looked at His people living during Old Testament times, He saw the future. Back then, they were really doing the most with all that idolatry and evil darkness they were dabbling in. But despite their non-sense, despite their disobedience, God blessed and delivered them. When they saw what a mess they’d made and cried out to Him for help, He came to their rescue. The record of mercy and grace He bestowed on them is a testimony to those of us living today. It builds a foundation of truth regarding God’s love that anchors our relationship with Him even more.

Their hearts were hardened against God and they consistently ignored His commandments. The same spirit of rebellion that gets into some of us was rampant in them. Instead of bringing glory to God’s name, they brought shame to it and glorified the devil. Talk about needing a new heart, they certainly did. Great hygiene and a good bath couldn’t clean the filth they harbored in their hearts. A work had to be done internally, and only God could do it.

The thing that you and I must keep in mind is that God’s people living in Old Testament times were servants, they were not children. They could not have His seed in them because Jesus Christ had not yet come and made the infilling of the Holy Spirit available. For believers today, it is an incomparable treasure to know that God will restore us utterly and completely. If He would do it for His servants, He most certainly will do it for His kids.

There isn’t anything that our God can’t and won’t do for His people. His promise of a new life brings hope when we’re struggling with pain, shame and disappointment. Relying on His power, and His love instead of our own is the only way to usher in the newness we need. Heavenly Father assured the Israelites that He would give them a new heart, that He would remove from them a heart of stone and give them a heart of flesh. This is the heart that believers can have through the Holy Spirit, a heart that delights in pleasing God.

Our desires to partner in marriage, to have loving families and relationships, are desires that God has placed in our hearts. For many of us, this wonderful dream represents the newness we desire, but it must be matched by newness in our commitment to obey and trust God’s Word in a greater way. The prophecy that He gave Ezekiel was a foretelling of the redemption He planned for His children through the sacrifice of the Lord Jesus Christ. Through Christ we have a new covenant with God, and Hebrews 10:16 tells us that God has placed His laws and regulations in our hearts and written them on our minds.

We can have every confidence that God wants us to fulfill His purpose, but He also teaches us through the prophecy given to Ezekiel that a stubborn, stony heart doesn’t please Him. We must respond to Heavenly Father by doing the things that honor His name and doesn’t bring shame to it. Through Jesus Christ, God has given us a clean heart. He’s given us a new and right spirit, and we must do our very best to stay faithful to Him so we’ll be prepared for the new blessings He brings into our lives.■

Scripture quotations marked (NLT) are taken from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright © 1996. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Wheaton, Illinois 60189. All rights reserved.

“A New Heart Brings New Blessings!”,written for DomesticAbuseAwareness.Org ©2023. All rights reserved. All done to the glory of God through Jesus Christ, our Lord!

When Answers Don’t Come Easy

The psalmist said in Psalm 23:3 (NKJV), “He restores my soul; He leads me in the paths of righteousness for His name’s sake.” This is what God will do for us. He will restore our souls, and then lead us in the path of His righteousness. The question we need to ask ourselves is are we willing to be led. For those that have been praying to cross paths with the person they will marry, it is important for them to know that our Heavenly Father hears their prayers. He’s designed the universe in such a way that the moment we begin to pray, something shifts. Things begin to come together to bless us, and a momentum starts to build. Our faith is the force that continues to move this momentum forward, but there will most definitely be some blockers along the way. Immediately upon noticing them, we must look for something in our souls to be restored. We must make sure we’re hearing what God is saying, so we know exactly what needs to be healed and continue to follow the path of His righteousness.

In Deuteronomy 1, Moses was handling some final business with the Children of Israel, because he knew he would not enter the Promise Land. In an address to them, he reviewed the journey they had been on together. It took the Children of Israel 38 years to cover a territory that should have taken them 11 days. Why? Because of their unbelief. God had promised to give them a land of milk and honey, a land that was beautiful, with good soil upon which to grow crops and increase livestock. Yet, they wouldn’t bring themselves to trust the Word of the Lord.

Exodus 6:7-8 (NLT) gives us the record of what God told Moses to tell His people. He said, “7 I will claim you as my own people, and I will be your God. Then you will know that I am the Lord your God who has freed you from your oppression in Egypt. 8 I will bring you into the land I swore to give to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. I will give it to you as your very own possession. I am the Lord!’”  In verse 9, we have the record of the people’s response to what God said. It tells us, “So Moses told the people of Israel what the Lord had said, but they refused to listen anymore. They had become too discouraged by the brutality of their slavery.” They doubted God’s promise. Even though they were physically free, the harsh labor under the Egyptian pharaoh had put them in mental and emotional bondage. So, they wouldn’t listen to Moses and went around in circles because doubt took root in their hearts.

God’s people were slow to have faith in Him, and this is why instead of marching to victory they wandered in the wilderness almost 40 years. This wandering, not seeking God and not having faith in Him, happens to many of us living today. We lose sight of God’s goodness, and this cripples our hopes and dreams. Jesus Christ teaches us in Mark 11:23(NLT), “I tell you the truth, you can say to this mountain, ‘May you be lifted up and thrown into the sea,’ and it will happen. But you must really believe it will happen and have no doubt in your heart.” We must have faith in God’s love and in His willingness and ability to bless us, and we must trust that He always keeps His promises. It’s very important to God that we have a faith mind-and-heart-set towards Him.

Healthy communication is crucial to any successful relationship. Not only must we speak the truth, but we must be in a position to hear it. Our relationship with God is the most precious gift we will ever have. We need to hear what the Father is saying to us, because we need His instruction to carry out His Will. We also need to hear from Him about those places in our souls where we’re not allowing His love to rule. Very often, not hearing or perceiving God’s message is a blocker that slows our faith momentum. The Spirit of the Lord resides inside of the believer. God wants us to know that no one can be closer to us than Him. This closeness and intimacy in our relationship with Him was His plan, not ours, and it demonstrates His overwhelming love for each of us.

The gift that we can readily give ourselves is to be persistent in pursuing a revelation from the Lord. When answers don’t come easy, and we’re faced with dilemmas in life, God is always present. Some believers have complained that God is not speaking to them, but He never stops communicating with us. We must learn to listen. We have a hard time hearing His voice because we’re so focused on other things. Jesus Christ told us in Matthew 6:33 that we must seek our Heavenly Father first, and this must be a continuous habit pattern in our lives. We are spiritual beings and the more we quiet ourselves and get still before God, the more our spiritual hearing will increase. When it comes to the revelation that we desperately need to hear, it isn’t enough to receive a word from someone else’s lips. We need to be confident that God will speak to us and that we can hear Him. Pray on this. Increase your faith in the reality that God desires and is willing to speak to you. Read and study His Word, then you will hear Him speak, and wander no more.■

Scripture quotations marked (NLT) are taken from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright © 1996. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Wheaton, Illinois 60189. All rights reserved.

“When Answers Don’t Come Easy”, written for DomesticAbuseAwareness.Org ©2023. All rights reserved. All done to the glory of God through Jesus Christ, our Lord!

Making Right Decisions

If we are honest, we all have to admit that sometimes we get a little ahead of ourselves. God blesses us to achieve success, and when it comes to important decisions, we might begin to think that we do not have to lean on His intervention and guidance as heavily as we once did. This is an area where we have to be extremely attentive, and not slip back into old habit patterns. We have to remember the many sticky situations that God has delivered us from in the past, because the truth is that life is becoming more complex. More is at stake now than ever before, and even small decisions and choices can change the course of your life. So trusting God in the area of decision making is extremely important for us.

Most of us get it. We know that we need to hear from God before we make important decisions, but sometimes we lose sight of our spiritual status; more to the point, we fail to remember that God is a Spirit (John 4:24). He communicates with us in spiritual ways. This puts the responsibility on us to make sure that we are spiritually able to hear Him speak as He tells us which path to choose and what decisions to make. There are some practices that we can put in place that will help us to do this.

Ponder your past
Sometimes we forget how costly our past mistakes were, especially the decisions we made when we were maybe too impatient to wait upon the Lord. I know a very talented lady that prayed about whether or not to start her own business, or to continue working for a large corporation. She and her husband had saved a nice retirement nest egg. They were hard working, Christian people with a passion. Her husband loved her dearly and supported her in the decision to leave her job. She felt she received a definitive ‘yes’ from the Lord, simply because she had not received a definitive ‘no’.  As it turned out, this was not the best decision for her or her family. They forced the timing, lost much of their nest egg, and it ultimately broke up their marriage.

Really the only times that God wants us to focus on our pasts are those times when we seriously need a reality check. It’s true what they say; sometimes we need to remember where we’ve come from in order to help us get to where we’re going. Proverbs 4:26 (NKJV) tells us, “Ponder the path of your feet, And let all your ways be established.” We should do this not just for the path we are about to take, but in some cases, we should also think about those we’ve taken in years gone by.

It’s true for all of us that some of the paths we’ve chosen in the past have landed us in a lot of hot water. Maybe we chose to continue in a toxic relationship or maybe we left it too early. Some of us have taken jobs that were not optimum for our personal growth, and some of us have stayed at the jobs we are currently in far too long. Mistakes that were made in the past have long-lasting repercussions, and some of us are where we are because we didn’t use the wisdom of God’s Word. Heavenly Father blesses us of course, but it is always good practice to ponder the instances of our poor choices, so that we become more established in patience, faith, and better judgment.

Trust that God Will Guide You
If we will look back over the times when we’ve walked according to God’s Will, we’ll have a good basis to recognize that it is indeed His Word and His way that establishes us. It gives us a solid foundation that we can depend on, especially during the times we are unsure.

Psalm 25:12 tells us, “Who are those who fear the LORD? He will show them the path they should choose.”  Talk about the Lord’s willingness to guide His people, you don’t get any better than this!!! The word ‘fear’ in this verse doesn’t mean that we are to be afraid of God. It means to honor and reverence Him. He promises to guide those that reverence Him, and show them the right path. So we can’t ever say at any point that we trusted Heavenly Father to guide us in our decisions, and He did not do so. When we are honoring Him the way that we should, He will steer us in the right direction every time.

Make sure you have the right motives
Things like selfishness, pride, and arrogance can block our way. Sometimes when we go to God, we consider only the outcome we desire for ourselves without any compassion and thoughtfulness for others that may be affected by our decisions. I have prayed for blessings that I thought initially would benefit my entire family, but these were things that had been my life long dreams, and not theirs. In these instances, I prayed for God to help me make the right decisions as to whether or not I should proceed, but I didn’t feel as though I received a definitive answer. I wondered why, and began to get upset. I thought that I was deserving. This is a harmful mindset of entitlement that many of us have without realizing it.

Upon deeper reflection I discovered that the things I wanted and prayed to receive would have made things more challenging than helpful for my family. I had to repent for being selfish and prideful. We have a responsibility to clear our hearts of any such heavies prior to going before the Lord.

Be willing to yield your preferences for His
God has a plan for our lives. Ephesians 1:4(NLT) tells us “Even before he made the world, God loved us and chose us in Christ to be holy and without fault in his eyes.” God handpicked us long before we were born. This doesn’t mean that our whole lives are prearranged. It means that God has already laid a path and made a plan for us that is based on His Word. It’s up to us whether or not we will follow it.

In Jeremiah 29:11 (NLT), He tells us, ““For I know the plans I have for you,” says the LORD. “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.”” The path for our lives has already been chosen. It is a narrow path, and it is a good one. God would not have us to be confused, not knowing the difference between left or right—right or wrong. He is an on-purpose God, and everything He does is purposeful. You and I should be extremely interested in knowing what God has planned for us, and we should be very committed to following it.

The fantastic news is that Heavenly Father knows what is best for us always, and if we’ll lean on Him and trust in His guidance, He’ll show us the way to go. Proverbs 3:5-6(KJV) tells us, “5 Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding.6 In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.” Often we have different motivations for wanting to make one decision over another, but we do not know the future, God does. We must acknowledge the sovereignty and omniscience of God. He knows the plans He has for us.

Sometimes He speaks to us inwardly, through the indwelling Holy Spirit. Other times He speaks to us through His Word, other people, and even our circumstances. The important thing to know is that we don’t have to look to the left, nor to the right when it comes to making decisions that please God and are the best for us and our circumstances. If we’ll just be willing to offer up our own our preferences and opinions, have patience, and continue to be prayerful, He will continually direct us to make the right decisions for our lives.■


Scripture quotations marked (NLT) are taken from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright © 1996. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Wheaton, Illinois 60189. All rights reserved.

Scripture taken from the New King James Version. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

“Making Right Decisions”, written for DomesticAbuseAwareness.Org ©2022. All rights reserved. All done to the glory of God through Jesus Christ, our Lord!

Knock Down Walls and Bypass Opposition

Do you feel in your heart of hearts that you are destined for much greater things, but you have no idea how to start? Does it feel to you that you’re boxed in because you lack the resources to get your vision off the ground? If you’ve answered ‘yes’ to either of these questions, then you’re probably also asking yourself another pivotal question as well. If God has placed a dream in your heart, and you’re confident that there’s more to life than what you are experiencing, why hasn’t Heavenly Father opened the door for you to seize the prize?

To answer this question, I’d like to begin with something that I witnessed not long ago. I watched a series of teachings by a well-known Christian prophet, that is also an author and teacher of God’s Word. His teaching style is not charismatic or theatrical, and it may not be considered captivating in some circles, but he’s a person that has studied and continues to study the Bible extensively; with access to Greek manuscripts that many of us will never see. He has been privileged to lay his eyes upon books that were written hundreds of years ago, and he sheds light on some of the mysteries that have boggled the minds of biblical scholars for years. So indeed, this man is a treasure.

Although he teaches without a certain theatrical quality that many of us have grown accustomed to hearing from some preachers, the love of God oozes from his very being. He’s a lovely, soft-spoken man, and his love for Jesus Christ is palpable. He brings to the table an understanding of scripture that millions of people have died without ever getting remotely close to. He has been appointed to open the eyes of our generation to what God is doing in this day and time, there is no question about it.

During one part of the series, the camera panned the room and allowed the viewers to see more of the setting where this particular session was being filmed. He was in fact visiting a smaller venue than what I had seen in his other videos, and it was apparent that the congregation was not at all accustomed to his style of teaching. I watched as many of them missed this opportunity to gain a greater understanding of God’s Word. They were looking about the room, appearing bored, sleepy, and a few were shown passing notes. It was evident that some of these folks were not truly interested in seeking to partake of the feast laid before them.

You hear so many people crying out to God that they want more of Him, and they sound so sincere, and dare I say, so religious; but these same individuals will not seek God for more. They WANT more, but will not make the efforts to SEEK more. They will not seek to understand God on a higher level, and seek to know His Will and Plan for their own individual lives.

The end result of this lack of positioning is a feeling and sense of being boxed in, without the resources to expand beyond barriers that hold a person back. Jesus Christ said in Matthew 22:14 (KJV), “For many are called, but few are chosen.” God Almighty, the Great El Shaddai, calls us to the feast He has prepared. He calls us not because we are so worthy, but because He has chosen us upon which to lavish His best.

Romans 2:11 tells us that God has no respect of persons. He doesn’t favor one over the other. So in Matthew 22:14, Jesus Christ isn’t leading us to believe that some are chosen because God favors them more. We are God’s elect and chosen ones because we have an intention to fulfill the call.

Just as a new life needs food and milk to live and thrive, our minds and hearts need the truth of God’s Word in order that our lives on earth can be prosperous and impactful. When it comes to fulfilling your purpose and living the life you’ve always dreamed of living, there’s information from the truth of God’s Word that you simply must have in your arsenal. We can’t do all of the things that we normally do, taking in little bits and pieces of God’s Word here and there, and think this will position us to stand strong amidst opposition. It will not; it’s not enough. We must position ourselves for greatness so that we can receive the treasure God has for us. This is not a new message, but it is one you must continue to hear to stay motivated and encouraged to fight the good fight of faith.

This feeling of being boxed-in is unfulfilled potential. That’s what it all boils down to. I knew an extremely sweet woman years ago, who became ill in her seventies. She expressed to me her regrets about not having lived the life of which she believed she was capable. She said that she always felt that something was holding her back, but she could never put her finger on what it was. She passed away regrettably, and I was deeply saddened that she died feeling that she had lived far beneath her privilege, and had not fulfilled her potential.

The thing that held her back is the same thing that holds many of us back today, and it is the refusal to expand our knowledge of who God is, what He will do for us, and what He has called us to do through His precious and powerful Son, Jesus Christ. This is something that we’re not going to be able to bypass. Ignorance pertaining to the purpose for which God placed you on this earth creates a barrier around your life. The only thing potent enough to penetrate it is the revelation of your purpose and your intention to carry it through.

A person can feel it internally when they are aligned with the plan of God. Something is filled up within your soul when you fall in step with His Call. You burst out of oppression, knock down walls of no’s, and bypass opposition, because you are legally in a place where the enemy cannot buffet you. Only seeking God through a commitment to know Him greater can give you this.

Sometimes, we see ourselves as someone that is not able to do much in the way of impacting and affecting the lives of others positively and significantly. The truth is that we carry in us the power to change towns, cities, and for some of us, nations. But because we will not stretch to increase spiritually, we are not legally prepared to take ownership of what is stored up for us.

It’s common knowledge that a healthy individual must pass from childhood to adulthood, this is true in the spiritual realm as well. At some point in our walk we will have to get beyond the need to be enticed by anything other than a deep and burning desire to grow mentally and spiritually through God’s Word. We need to come to God with a heart and mind that is eagerly seeking to know the very information that is going to position us to do more for His Kingdom. When we hold this key in our hands, we will find that it will unlock any door we want to open. ■


Scripture quotations marked (NLT) are taken from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright © 1996. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Wheaton, Illinois 60189. All rights reserved.

Scripture taken from the New King James Version. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

“Knock Down Walls and Bypass Opposition”, written for DomesticAbuseAwareness.Org ©2022. All rights reserved. All done to the glory of God through Jesus Christ, our Lord!

Seven Things You Should Never Tolerate in Your Life

 

There is one thing that you can know for sure, and it is the fact that God has empowered you to shape and mold the quality of your existence. This power is extended to us through Jesus Christ, our powerful Lord and Savior. He made it possible for us to be the master builders that the Apostle Paul referred to in 1Corinthians 3:10. God never intended this vehicle called life to be one big, out-of-control mess. He is a God of supreme order, and through His Word and the example of Jesus Christ, we can take authority and begin to fashion our existences through the help of the Holy Spirit that indwells us. Part of doing this is drawing a line in the sand and being firm about the things we will not tolerate and give place in our lives.

#1 Draining Relationships
Jesus Christ taught us the importance of unity and respect in our relationships. He modeled this for us in the way that he interacted with the disciples. Ephesians 2:21(NLT) tells us, “We are carefully joined together in him, becoming a holy temple for the Lord.” As the body of Christ, we can see how dependent we should be on one another, but not everyone will see it this way. Rather than adding to our walk in Christ and blessing us to go higher in our walk with him, we may find that some people are very draining. They limit our enjoyment of life, and it doesn’t feel good to be in their presence. If you find that this person’s negativity is bleeding into important aspects of your life and keeping you from living a joyful existence, you are well within your rights to put some distance between you and them.

#2 Negative Conversations
One of the things that we will often dismiss is our responsibility to govern what we listen to and hear. God tells us in Colossians 3:8 to not let filthy communication come out of our mouths, and this should also remind us to steer clear of it all together. Proverbs 17:4 (NLT) tells us, “Wrongdoers eagerly listen to gossip; liars pay close attention to slander.” This is not the person that God wants us to be. It is important for us to remember that participating in negative conversations or listening to them can have a long lasting and negative effect on our lives, because there is most assuredly a price to pay for indulging them.

#3 Defeating Self-talk
We’ve heard it said a number of times, but it really is the truth; we are often our own worst enemies. Never is this more true than in the case of beating ourselves up with thoughts of inadequacy, and feelings of self-doubt and insecurity. David said in Psalm 139:14 (KJV), “I will praise thee; for I am fearfully and wonderfully made: marvellous are thy works; and that my soul knoweth right well.” David knew that he wasn’t a perfect man. He had made some mistakes, but he also knew enough to understand the omnipotence, sovereignty, and omniscience of God. Heavenly Father has predestined each of us according to His divine Will and plan. Having a healthy respect for our individual uniqueness will aid our Godly endeavors. So we can never dismiss or diminish that we are masterful creations in Christ. We don’t have time for defeating or negative self-talk. Instead, we should busy ourselves by honoring our standing in Christ and having confidence in our ability through the Holy Spirit, because this is praise to the Almighty.

#4 Ingratitude
Gratitude is a strong sense of being truly thankful for what has been done for you or on your behalf.  Colossians 3:17 (NLT) tells us, “And whatever you do or say, do it as a representative of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks through him to God the Father.” Gratitude is a dominant attribute in the culture of heaven, and it is a legal requirement of operating by faith. Tolerating ingratitude in our Christian walks is not only harmful to our relationships with God, but also to our ability to remain in a state of well-being. Psalm 97:12 (NKJV) tells us to “Rejoice in the Lord, you righteous, and give thanks at the remembrance of His holy name.” Our hearts should be so filled with gratitude that merely thinking about the goodness of God, and all that He has done for us should ignite within us feelings and thoughts of pure thankfulness. So we would do well to put off feelings of entitlement and arrogance, and to make thankfulness a continual and firmly engrained habit pattern for the duration of our lives.

#5 Living without Fun
None of us deserve all of the blessings that we have received, but the truth is that God chose us on which to lavish the fullness of His love, mercy, and grace. Not only that, He has made us worthy to receive these wonderful blessings through our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. In John 10:10, Our precious Lord told us that he came to this earth to make a more than abundant life available to each of us. It’s true that some of us are living beneath our privilege, but this is something we can change. We can start by having confidence that Heavenly Father wants us to have fun and enjoy life. This is a very meaningful aspect of living an abundant life.

We see so many unhappy Christians, and we should be the happiest of all people because we have the knowledge of what Christ has accomplished for us. Not only is it possible to be happy and have fun as a Christian, but the Spirit will help us to make the most out of every moment. He will help us discover new interests and to develop new talents. We just need to have faith in God’s desire to see us happy, and then make a conscious decision to enjoy our lives.

#6 Ignorance Regarding Your Purpose
Sooner or later, we will all come to a place where we’ll realize that journeying forward will be extremely difficult without knowing ourselves on a deeper level. You were handpicked by Heavenly Father to be His very own, and everything He does is purposeful. When we recognize this, we can then begin to reflect upon our lives more constructively.

So few people know why they are here, and most often it is because their eyes are closed to it. They take life as it comes without using the tools that God has given through His Word, the example of Christ, and the indwelling Holy Spirit to find out the purpose for their existence. God demands that we seek His Will and place it above all else, and we shouldn’t ever tolerate living a life without knowing our purpose and committing ourselves to walk in it.

#7 Living Outside of Your Integrity
Integrity is a deeply embedded allegiance to uphold qualities like being honest and having a strong sense of do-rightness. It is also a state of being whole, complete, and undivided. All of us have a register of integrity that is based upon things that we absolutely will not accept in ourselves and others. It’s a threshold that we understand and compute as a level that is too low to go. As we grow in Christ, our level of integrity should rise; not go lower.

God has created us with a trigger within our souls that automatically goes off when we are about to make choices and decisions that undermine the core of who we’ve been called to be. Some of us have become so accustomed to ignoring this trigger in certain areas of our lives that we don’t even recognize it any more. One of the greatest gifts that we can give ourselves is to pause, listen to that inner voice, and examine whether something is well with our souls. In these cases, we need to wait for the ‘all clear’ from the indwelling Holy Spirit. He’ll give us warnings before we head in a direction that violates the integrity of our very beings.

As Christians, the way we move throughout our existences daily should be built upon the mind and heart of Christ. Each of us has the capacity to build up ourselves to extent that we flat-out refuse to accept things that move us away his example. The bottom line is that when we take a stand on the integrity and authority of Christ, we will find that everything in our worlds will follow suit. ■


Scripture quotations marked (NLT) are taken from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright © 1996. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Wheaton, Illinois 60189. All rights reserved.

Scripture taken from the New King James Version. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

“Seven Things You Should Never Tolerate in Your Life” written for DomesticAbuseAwareness.Org ©2022. All rights reserved. All done to the glory of God through Jesus Christ, our Lord!

For Best Results, Do It God’s Way

The other day, I watched some kids practicing soccer in the park. During the practice, I heard the coach instructing them to pace their breathing, so that they wouldn’t become too exhausted while running in the game. “If you want to play long and strong, breathe slowly and steadily, rather than quickly, so you don’t overwhelm your body.” He said. I thought to myself, “Wow! I’ve never thought about the importance of breathing techniques, and how they impact the body’s performance.” I figured the body would do what it does automatically, but the coach was teaching the kids to take command of their physical beings in order to sustain peak performance. That’s what a good coach does, and this is what God’s Word does for our lives as well.

There are times when we become so used to doing things the same way that we’ve always done them, that we don’t think to slow down and ask God if we’re doing them His way.  Many times it’s not because we don’t care, but more so out of not being aware or not having proper instruction. We’ve heard this saying time after time, “you can’t get different results from doing the same things.” If we want different results, and that’s exactly what many of us are praying to receive, we’ve got to do things differently in certain areas of our lives.

We are incredibly blessed to have God’s perfect instruction manual on how to get our lives right. 2Peter 1:3(NLT) tells us, “By his divine power, God has given us everything we need for living a godly life. We have received all of this by coming to know him, the one who called us to himself by means of his marvelous glory.” We get to know the nature of God through His Word. It is through this knowledge of God that we can actually begin to put this Word on in our minds and hearts, so that we embody the example of Christ.

Psalms 91:2 (NLT) tells us, “This I declare about the LORD: He alone is my refuge, my place of safety; he is my God, and I trust him.” There is no way we can lose out if we put all our trust in God. If you are a person of good intention, you will want to make the most out of where you are in life. Whether it’s in your family, in a new relationship, or on your job, you want to make a positive contribution and have a positive impact; but there are so many things going on from one moment to the next, we can’t possibly handle this on our own. We need God’s help. He sees all the details. He knows all the ins and outs, and He also knows exactly how, where, and when we can be the most effective. This is one of the many reasons why we should totally depend on Him, and learn to love and live His way through His Word. It’s the best way, and it will cause us to thrive and prosper under His continual covering and care.♦

Scripture quotations marked (NLT) are taken from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright © 1996. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Wheaton, Illinois 60189. All rights reserved.

“For Best Results, Do It God’s Way”, written for DomesticAbuseAwareness.Org ©2022. All rights reserved. All done to the glory of God through Jesus Christ, our Lord!

The Place God Has Prepared for Us

Exodus 23:20-22(NLT)
“20 See, I am sending an angel before you to protect you on your journey and lead you safely to the place I have prepared for you. 21 Pay close attention to him and obey his instructions. Do not rebel against him, for he is my representative, and he will not forgive your rebellion. 22 But if you are careful to obey him, following all my instructions, then I will be an enemy to your enemies, and I will oppose those who oppose you.”

“Sometimes I just want to give up! Nothing in my life is easy! Every time I turn around, there’s another hurdle to jump through.”


Can you sense the frustration and disappointment in the statement above? Sometimes, the Christian journey isn’t easy. There can be jubilant highs and gut-wrenching lows. There are hurdles to jump through, and many trials and tribulations to overcome. These are all a part of life’s journey. But somehow, many individuals think that believers in the Lord Jesus Christ are exempt from challenges and adversities. We are not. The difference between those that have made Jesus Christ their personal Lord and Savior and those that have not is the victory that he offers us through our faith! 1John 5:4(NLT) declares this! It states, “For every child of God defeats this evil world, and we achieve this victory through our faith.”

You may feel as though you’re on the losing side, but this is where faith comes in. We must trust that God set up our journeys in Christ to be victorious and triumphant, not downtrodden and powerless. When we’re struggling to believe this, God commands us to renew our minds so that feelings of defeat and sadness are not our go-to emotions. He wants us to replace these with faith and confidence in Him.

Our struggle begins when we believe that we must strive to be good enough and that we must force ourselves to have confidence. Jesus Christ tells us in John 6:63(NLT), “The Spirit alone gives eternal life. Human effort accomplishes nothing. And the very words I have spoken to you are spirit and life.” He’s teaching us the difference between the realm of the flesh and the realm of the Spirit. You and I didn’t save ourselves from the bondage of death and darkness, there was no way we could have possibly done this. Jesus Christ is our Savior and Redeemer. Through the finished work of his sacrifice and resurrection, God has set us free through His beloved and powerful Son.

He tells us Galatians 5:1(NIV), “It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery.” This means that we’re to abandon the mindset of trying to make ourselves right and lay hold of the mindset of accepting God’s way of making us right through Jesus Christ. We are spiritual beings, and our new way of responding to God and life is through His Spirit.

God teaches us many spiritual lessons about His provision, protection, and power through the Children of Israel in the Old Testament. We see His faithfulness and His desire for a family. And we also see how God expects us to behave as members of His family. He is our Heavenly Father, and He commands us to lean totally and completely on Him for everything. In Proverbs 3:5-6(NLT), He instructs, “Trust in the LORD with all your heart; do not depend on your own understanding. 6 Seek his will in all you do, and he will show you which path to take.” So, even in our emotions and feelings, Heavenly Father expects us to make them submissive to our faith in Him.

We can learn a lot in the Old Testament from the mistakes His people made when they didn’t trust Him. They witnessed God part the Red Sea to rescue them from slavery under the Egyptians. He rained manna from heaven to feed them, and when they complained about the manna, He caused a wind to bring quails to them from the sea. In the wilderness, He split open rocks and caused water to burst forth like a spring. The miracles God showed them were too numerous to count, but even with all His miraculous works, they still did not remain faithful. With everything that Heavenly Father did for them, they were not totally convinced of His love and power.

You and I can be assured that witnessing God’s miracles doesn’t necessarily cause our minds and hearts to change towards Him. This is a tremendous lesson for us to learn. Jesus Christ commands us in Mark 12:30 to love God with all our hearts, souls, minds, and strength. This means that we are to love our Heavenly Father with all that we are. This kind of love comes from Jesus Christ, and it is not dependent on the wonderful things that God does; it is dependent on the reality of who God is. We must love Him because He is the ‘Great I Am!’ He’s holy beyond holiness, brilliance beyond brilliant, perfect beyond perfection, and majestic beyond majesty. He is worthy to be praised because He is who He is. This is the truth on which our faith must be anchored.

This race that you and I are running in life is the race that God has set before us. We didn’t set it, He did. Our lives belong to Him. He knows every detail, experience, and encounter in our lives before these things occur. In Exodus 23:20, God shows us that He will even send His angels ahead of us to protect us, and He will keep our feet from falling while we’re running this race of life, but we must trust Him and He will not force us to do so. Everything we do, think, feel, and say is completely up to us. We are the ones to determine whether we will walk in the victory of Christ based on the choices and decisions we make. God desires that we choose Him and His Word every time. He desires us to walk in the victory of Christ so that we will not be defeated by the tricks of the enemy. He wants us to know that we will outsmart the devil by thinking, speaking, and behaving like Christ, and having the kind of faith that Christ has.

Notice also in Exodus 23:20 that God tells His people that He had prepared a place for them. When He told them this thousands of years ago, He was referring to the Promised Land. But because of what God accomplished for us in Christ, we can walk in the Promised Land every day because God has set us free!  We need to focus on the reality of who God is more than we focus on our emotions and feelings. We should never want it said about us that we value our emotions and feelings more than we value the truth of God’s Word.

It’s a mistake to think that God can’t relate to the troubling times we face on earth as His Children. He absolutely does, and He tells us in Romans 8:37 that He’s made us more than conquerors over those things through Christ Jesus, our Lord. Many of us have a pattern of relying on how we feel, and we allow this to govern us, but feeling low, sad, and defeated is not the place God has prepared for us. He wants us to put all our trust on the reality of who He is. He is faithful and has all power in His hands. When we trust in the totality of His goodness, grace, and mercy, He will go before us and lead us every step of the way. He will handle those that talk about us and try to cause us trouble, as we have confidence that victory in Christ will always be our destination when we continue to place all our trust in God.■

Scripture quotations marked (NLT) are taken from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright © 1996. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Wheaton, Illinois 60189. All rights reserved.

“The Place God Has Prepared for Us”, written for DomesticAbuseAwareness.Org ©2022. All rights reserved. All done to the glory of God through Jesus Christ, our Lord!

Kick Pain to the Curb!

Release the pain and anger of past heartaches and embrace the
victory God gives us through Jesus Christ!

The Apostle Paul said in Philippians 3:13-14(NLT), “No, dear brothers and sisters, I have not achieved it, but I focus on this one thing: Forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead, I press on to reach the end of the race and receive the heavenly prize for which God, through Christ Jesus, is calling us.” In order to get the full impact of what God is teaching us through Paul in Philippians 3:13-14, we need to know a little bit about Paul’s background. At one time, his mind was so blinded by satan that he actually authorized the persecution, murders, and imprisonment of believers in the Lord Jesus Christ. The things he had been taught were wrong, and because of this, he was going backward instead of forward. He fed his mind and heart lies and misinformation. He became full of arrogance and surprisingly, he thought he knew what God wanted.

Before Paul was converted and gave his life to Jesus Christ on the road to Damascus, he made humongous mistakes. Again, in his past, he was notorious for persecuting the very people that God commanded him to preach to after his conversion. So, when he started ministering the Gospel, as we can well imagine, it was an uphill journey. He understood that this was his purpose and destiny in Christ, but people had reservations because of Paul’s murderous history. They knew the things he had done, and it was hard for them to accept that he had been transformed by the Holy Spirit.

Paul became such a devoted and masterful teacher of the Gospel that the people could not deny that God was working through him. This is such a poignant example for us because Paul counted the things that he gained in Christ to be far superior to anything he had possessed or done wrong in his past. In Philippians 3:8(NLT), he proclaimed, “Yes, everything else is worthless when compared with the infinite value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have discarded everything else, counting it all as garbage, so that I could gain Christ.”

This is the posture, mindset, and attitude that God expects from us. We have made many mistakes in our past. We didn’t know the Lord as we do today, and we may not have had the desire to please Him as we do today. Some of us have gone through painful divorces. We’ve injured others and we’ve been injured ourselves from broken relationships. The emotional heartache and hurt of this pain can be very challenging to get over, but like the Apostle Paul, none of us can afford to allow our pasts to define our present or our futures.

This is a choice! Each of us must choose to let the past remain in the past. We must do this for our own sake and for the sake of God’s Will and plan for our lives. God tells us in Ephesians 4:31-32(NLT), “31 Get rid of all bitterness, rage, anger, harsh words, and slander, as well as all types of evil behavior. 32 Instead, be kind to each other, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, just as God through Christ has forgiven you.” I recently had a conversation with a woman that is still enraged over the infidelity of her ex-husband. She refuses to get over how he treated her and their marriage. He’s moved on and is now in another relationship, but she is stuck in her past. This isn’t what God wants for any of us. He doesn’t want us to be blocked in our hearts and minds by something that occurred a long time ago. And if we’re keeping it real, none of us can change what has already occurred.  

We can’t have a redo when it comes to our past. When those situations occurred, they may have impacted us in a very painful way, but instead of allowing them to trap us like quicksand, we should learn from them. We must understand that we can kick pain to the curb and keep it moving by attending to the things of God. We were born with God’s purpose in our DNA, and we will not be satisfied until we begin to walk in the destiny that He has placed us on this earth to achieve. We have victory in Christ! This is the truth! Paul recognized that everything outside of Christ is a lie, and everything in Christ is love, light, liberty, and life!

Everything in Christ is the truth! Our emotions may remind us of the past, but our emotions were never intended by God to govern our lives. Jesus Christ is Lord! He governs our lives, and nothing should ever come before him. We can be very emotional creatures, and as women, a lot of us base our emotional well-being on how the men in our lives respond to us. Instead, we should base our emotional well-being on how WE respond to GOD. It’s not that God doesn’t want us to be committed to our spouses, but He requires us to make Him the center of our universe. This is a space and place that cannot be shared with anyone or anything, because God is love and we can only truly love others because His love fills our hearts to overflowing.

1John 4:11-12(NLT) teaches us, “11 Dear friends, since God loved us that much, we surely ought to love each other. 12 No one has ever seen God. But if we love each other, God lives in us, and his love is brought to full expression in us.”  This is the goal, to love better through Christ. Don’t hold grudges and resentment and be angry for a lifetime; don’t allow yourself to go there. It’s so destructive to our entire being. Don’t make room for emotions and attitudes that don’t serve you well. Instead, be committed to let God’s love fill you to overflowing. Believe the promises of His Word and repeat them to yourself continually. Pray and ask God to give you a new heart and be confident in His healing and His desire to give you victory in your life.■

Scripture quotations marked (NLT) are taken from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright © 1996. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Wheaton, Illinois 60189. All rights reserved.

“Kick Pain to the Curb!”, written for DomesticAbuseAwareness.Org ©2022. All rights reserved. All done to the glory of God through Jesus Christ, our Lord!

My Heart Rejoices in the Lord

God has placed the record of Hannah’s faith in the Old Testament Book of First Samuel. During the biblical time in which she and her husband lived, much of a woman’s worth was predicated on her ability to bear children. If she was barren, she would most likely face public ridicule, as well as the disappointment of her husband. Hannah had been childless for a long time, and she grew very distraught about this. Peninnah, her husband’s other wife, had children and made Hannah’s life miserable by taunting her about being barren. 1Samuel 1:7(NLT) tells us, “Year after year it was the same—Peninnah would taunt Hannah as they went to the Tabernacle. Each time, Hannah would be reduced to tears and would not even eat.”

Elkanah, Hannah’s husband, did not seek to divorce her because she couldn’t have children. 1Samuel 1:8(NLT) says that when he’d see her crying, he’d say, “Why aren’t you eating? Why be downhearted just because you have no children? You have me—isn’t that better than having ten sons?” However heartfelt Elkanah’s sentiments were, they didn’t silence Hannah’s anguished cries about the inability to conceive.  

Barrenness in the Bible wasn’t viewed the way it is in modern society. The advancement of science and medicine has made it possible to recognize infertility as very often a treatable medical condition, but this was not the case thousands of years ago. Fertility is a gift from God, and in biblical times it was believed that pregnancies occurred when the Lord “remembers” the woman and then opens her womb. When this didn’t happen, most believed that either God was withholding the blessing of pregnancy or the woman was cursed. Under these circumstances, it is easy to understand Hannah’s grief and agony.

God doesn’t withhold blessings. Psalm 84:11(NLT) says, “For the Lord God is our sun and our shield. He gives us grace and glory. The Lord will withhold no good thing from those who do what is right.” This is the promise of God on which you and I must build our faith. Our Heavenly Father isn’t angry with us, and He doesn’t want to see us unhappy. God is good all the time and He wants us to place our trust in His goodness and rely upon it continually.

After the sacrificial meal, 1Samuel 1:9 tells us that Hannah got up one morning and went to pray. In deep anguish over her condition, she cried out to God and 1Samuel 1:11(NLT) says she made this vow, O Lord of Heaven’s Armies, if you will look upon my sorrow and answer my prayer and give me a son, then I will give him back to you. He will be yours for his entire lifetime, and as a sign that he has been dedicated to the Lord, his hair will never be cut.” This vow was Hannah’s promise to God to not only commit herself to Him, but to make sure her son would be committed to Him as well. In other words, Hannah promised to return God’s gift back to Him. This was a tremendous act of faith on her part. Hannah understood that whenever we give God our best, God will multiply it back to us, and this is the continuous cycle of giving and blessings that He has established towards His people.  

Just as Elkanah might not have understood the depth of Hannah’s desire for a child, some husbands today may not understand the pain and frustration that many wives are experiencing. These are not necessarily related to infertility but could be other emotional issues that sometimes weigh us down. The reality is that our husbands don’t always understand us, but we can be confident that our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, understands us and everything we go through. Hebrew 4:15(NLT) teaches, “This High Priest of ours understands our weaknesses, for he faced all of the same testings we do, yet he did not sin.” Jesus Christ knows our pain, and he offers us a solution. We are to surrender our pain and all that we are to him.

Another human being should never be our everything. Therefore, we should not look to our spouses to fill up our empty spaces. Only the Lord Jesus can do this for us. Placing this expectation on another person is unfair, because it is beyond their capability. We were created to worship and have fellowship with our Creator. In marriage, both spouses are to join together with an understanding of their purpose to be unified in Christ, always putting God first, and always seeking Him first.

Hannah went to the Source of all blessings for the desire of her heart, and this must be our practice as well. After conceiving and having a son, she declared in 1Samuel 2:1(NLT), “My heart rejoices in the Lord!” Hannah knew from whence her deliverance came. It did not come from her husband; it came from trusting and believing God! This is the way all our problems and issues are resolved, by taking it to the Lord in prayer and believing in His promises with all that we are. He hears our cries, He knows our hearts, and He will bless and deliver us when we place our trust firmly in Him. ■

Scripture quotations marked (NLT) are taken from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright © 1996. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Wheaton, Illinois 60189. All rights reserved.

 “My Heart Rejoices in the Lord”, written for DomesticAbuseAwareness.Org ©2022. All rights reserved. All done to the glory of God through Jesus Christ, our Lord!

Leaving the Past Behind

Ecclesiastes 7:9-12(NLT)
“9
Control your temper, for anger labels you a fool. 10 Don’t long for “the good old days.” This is not wise. 11 Wisdom is even better when you have money. Both are a benefit as you go through life. 12 Wisdom and money can get you almost anything, but only wisdom can save your life.”

Angela was mandated by the courts to enter an anger management program. She physically assaulted her husband in a domestic dispute, and the incident resulted in her being taken away in handcuffs by the authorities. She received a restraining order with no contact with her husband. At the time, she thought this was one of his sneakiest and most damaging manipulations. He would never entertain physical violence, although had he chosen, he might have easily overpowered her physically. A very intelligent man, Angela’s husband was masterful with mental and emotional manipulation. He held a grudge and wanted to put Angela in her place. When she slapped him because of his affair, he called the police.

It was one of the lowest points in Angela’s life. She knew better and was embarrassed and ashamed. She also thought that he should have been the one in anger management, but she discovered a lot about herself in these mandated classes. Self-discipline and patience are required for Godly living and learning to control outbursts of anger can go a long way towards our own personal healing and spiritual growth. Angela learned to let go of old negative patterns, and to stop looking back to the past and allowing it to define her present and future reality.

Many people look back at their lives and think about the good old days, before they faced adversity and before they made catastrophic mistakes. We don’t think about the reality that God covered us in a tremendous amount of grace, because even in the good old days, we had behaviors and attitudes that might have created the environment for the adversities and mistakes we later encountered.

We want to go back to those good old days, but the truth is that we can’t bring anything from our past into the present and future, and if we try, we’ll be stuck, and this isn’t what God wants. Ecclesiastes 7:10(NLT) tells us, “Don’t long for “the good old days.” This is not wise.” With this wisdom, our Heavenly Father is warning us about our attitude towards His goodness and grace. When we put God first in all we do, and we seek Him first before any other person or thing, He will reward us. There isn’t anything better than living in Christ. With him, life gets better and better, from faith to greater faith. Our attitude of gratitude must indicate we understand this.

The reality of where He has brought us and what He has brought us through is greater than anything in our pasts. The events and situations of the past will never be again. This is a very challenging truth for humans to accept but accept it we must if fulfillment and joy in life are our goals. We must stop ourselves from focusing on the past, because it slows us down, and it can keep us from moving forward.

In the Book of Genesis, we learn about the record of Lot, Abraham’s nephew. He and his family moved to Sodom and Gomorrah, and this was a dastardly wicked place. So much so, that the Lord destroyed it, but God spared Lot, because this was Abraham’s request. An angel of the Lord had given Lot and his family firm instructions and told them that as they escaped, they were not to look back. Lot’s wife didn’t follow this instruction. Genesis 19:26(ESV) states, “But Lot’s wife, behind him, looked back, and she became a pillar of salt.”

Some say she met with such a tragic end because of her disobedience, but we can’t stop there. The directive from the angel was purposeful. Looking back is often a signal that we’re not prepared to embrace the newness ahead. Looking back demonstrates that our hearts are clinging to what has passed. It means we’re stuck, and sometimes tragically so, like a pillar of salt.

The Apostle Paul said in Philippians 3:13(NLT), “No, dear brothers and sisters, I have not achieved it, but I focus on this one thing: Forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead.” This is the mentality and attitude we must have as believers in the Lord Jesus Christ. God doesn’t want the problems, regrets, and situations of the past to keep us stuck in things like anger, shame, and resentment. When we are stuck and haven’t healed to the point where the past no longer impedes us, we might bring bad habits and behaviors of the past into the new life that Christ has made available to us. This is what Angela did.

She was emotionally and mentally exhausted. She was spiritually malnourished, and her faith in God was not where it is today. Angela was shocked at her actions, but when there’s deep and unresolved anger, the only solution is to allow the love of God in those deep places. There was no excuse for Angela’s use of physical violence. She knows now that her husband’s infidelity and disregard triggered a level of anger that she had seen playout in her own parent’s marriage. She needed to break this cycle through the love of God in Christ.

We might fantasize about what it would have been like to not have the pain and heartache we’ve experienced, but this doesn’t alter the reality of our past. We can’t change our pasts. They are gone forever. We can only change our right now so that our futures look brighter and clearer with the help of the love of Christ.

When we know better, we have the tools to do and live better. We need to know that it’s not only possible to leave the past behind, God requires it. He has given us a new life in Jesus Christ, and this means we have a new nature of love within. God will not force us to choose His love. He will not force us to leave rage, anger, resentment, and hurt in the past, and embrace the love of Christ which makes us stronger. But He wants us to know that He created us out of His love to live in His love. He created us to walk in the light and liberty of Christ. If we will humble ourselves before Him and trust in His love, He will help us to transform from the inside out. We’ll get to a place where the mistakes of the past will pale in comparison to the person we’ve become through His love. ■

Scripture quotations marked (NLT) are taken from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright © 1996. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Wheaton, Illinois 60189. All rights reserved.

English Standard Version (ESV)
The Holy Bible, English Standard Version. ESV® Text Edition: 2016. Copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers.

“Leaving the Past Behind” written for DomesticAbuseAwareness.Org ©2022. All rights reserved. All done to the glory of God through Jesus Christ, our Lord!