A Happy and Successful Life

Joshua 1:8(NLT)
“Study this Book of Instruction continually. Meditate on it day and night so you will be sure to obey everything written in it.  Only then will you prosper and succeed in all you do.”

In the Old Testament, after Moses died, Joshua took his place as the leader of God’s people. In Joshua 1:8, God commanded Joshua to tell His people about His requirement. There could be no substitutes, addendums, alterations, or adjustments to God’s instruction. It was to the point, and very clear. He commanded the people to study His Word. The practice of studying means to devote time and focused attention upon a subject. This is how we must all approach God’s Word. It’s not meant to be a once-in-a-while practice. God commanded those living in Old Testament times to study His Word continually, and the same goes for us. God rewards those who study and mediate on His Word. He delights in this, and we should as well.

Not only is our focused attention on His Word required, but He has told us to meditate on it day and night, and He has commanded us to obey all His statues and commandments. Again, we can have confidence that the practice of studying and meditating on God’s Word is something that Heavenly Father rewards. He promises to reward our diligence by causing us to prosper and succeed in everything we do. God spoke this to His people living thousands of years ago, and He is speaking it to those of us living today.

In the New Testament, He tells us in Hebrews 4:12(ESV), “For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart.” And in 2Timothy3:16-17(ESV), He tells us, “16 All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, 17 that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work.” God’s Word is our bread of life! When Jesus Christ was tempted and tested by the devil in the wilderness, he responded to every temptation with “IT IS WRITTEN…” The Word of God equips us for every good work. It equips us for victory!

God’s Word is the Spirit’s sword, and God commands us to use it so that we are spiritually prepared to carry forth His purpose, and so that we can abide continually in His blessings. To meditate on God’s Word is to fix our minds on a verse or passage and allow it to marinate in our minds. It’s to examine the verse or passage from all angles and to do this in a very peaceful and calm state. The psalmist tells us a lot about what we should be meditating on in order to please God and draw closer to Him. In Psalm 48:9(NLT), he wrote, O God, we meditate on your unfailing love as we worship in your Temple.” In Psalm 119:27, the psalmist tells us that he meditates on God’s wonderful deeds, and Psalm 119:117 tells us he meditated on God’s decrees.

The words of the Psalms give us all the inspiration we need. It tells us the aspects of God’s nature and being, and these are the excellent and holy qualities, promises, and decrees of God that should capture our attention continually.

Our Heavenly Father wants us to keep our minds focused on His Word, so that we can respond to any situation or crisis and do so with His strength and wisdom. For this to happen, His promises, guidance, and direction must sink deep within and be cemented in our minds and hearts. It’s not a verse or two every month or so. It’s an imbedded habit pattern of staying our minds on what God has said.  Many living in our current times are not responding to God and to life with His Word. In fact, many have turned their backs on His wisdom. They have labeled God’s Word as ‘outdated’ or ‘antiquated’. “People can’t live that way now…” Many have said, and they have used this as an excuse not to obey what God says. This is a very costly mistake.

Our Heavenly Father is brilliant beyond brilliance. He has empowered us to live holy and righteous, and He has purposed every aspect of our existence to model after our Big Brother, Jesus Christ. God tells us in 2Timothy 2:15(ESV) to “Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who has no need to be ashamed, rightly handling the word of truth.” It’s our privilege and responsibility to be a worker of God’s Word. It’s the way we stand approved before Him. If we are committed to study God’s Word and live by the example of Christ, we will become wiser and spiritually stronger, and because of our commitment to obey Him, God promises that we will have a happy and successful 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.

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.

“A Happy and Successful Life”, written for DomesticAbuseAwareness.Org ©2023. All rights reserved. All done to the glory of God through Jesus Christ, our Lord!

Walking in Your Purpose

Marthea Duncan received the promotion she had been vying for since the day she started working for a prominent nonprofit. Her former boss was terminated for consistently missing the company’s fundraising goals. Marthea believed she could do a much better job, but already she had rubbed some of the other employees the wrong way. Like her predecessor, she went in thinking she could do everything better, and rather than creating a teamwork environment, she began micromanaging. Marthea’s expertise is fundraising, that’s what she’s done her entire working life. She’s good at it, but she’s not good at tracking the numbers. Instead of working with a well-seasoned accounting person who has been at the organization for ten years, Marthea tried to belittle her and now the accountant is about to quit. When Marthea’s boss heard about this, she arranged to speak with Marthea immediately.

As my grandmother would say, “You can catch a lot more bees with honey than you can with vinegar.” This saying means that you can get further by being polite than you can by being mean or unkind. Marthea had a little trouble with this lesson. If she had shown gratitude for the efforts and skills of the other staff, they all could have enjoyed the benefits of surpassing goals, but Marthea was more interested in her own success. Her goal was to prove to everyone that she could do it all and she could do it best.

Some might say that Marthea knows how to bring in the big bucks, but she doesn’t know how to stay in her lane. She could have been greatly helped by the other staff if she understood more about staying true to your purpose. Recognizing and being committed to God’s purpose for putting us on this earth will squash arrogance, keep us humble before Him, and reroute our motives to follow the direction of His Will.

In the Old Testament, God tells us in Jeremiah 29:11 that He knows the plans He has for us. This piece of knowledge should be very organic to our thinking, but it isn’t. God reassured His people living during Old Testament times that He is the One with the plan, not them and not us. God knows His own mind. He knows His own perfection, brilliance, and majesty. He’s sovereign, and He alone deserves all praise and glory. He knows…and that’s all that is necessary for our full confidence in the future. He knows; therefore, we can be confident in His plan and purpose for our lives.

We are driven by a desire for success in various areas and at various stages of our lives. This is very natural, but at some point, we must make a shift. Every individual with a sound mind reaches a pivotal point in their lives. It’s a place where nothing turns out the way we expect, and nothing we do seems to help. We’ll have to decide whether our aims are based on superficial motives and gains, or if there is more to life than chasing something that isn’t real.

When we get to this point in life, deep inside we know that our search is about a sense of personal fulfillment and purpose. All of us have this, but we must stop wasting our time and energies on pursuits that have nothing to do with our purpose for being on this planet. The thing that is missing in our lives is a lack of knowledge about the purpose God has for us. Colossians 1:16(ESV) states, “For by him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things were created through him and for him.” No matter how old we are, all of us are children. Children of God is what we were created to be. We do not belong to ourselves, we belong to God, and He sets the boundaries of our existences. He created all things, and all things were created for Him. This is the most prominent aspect of our purpose. Our purpose belongs to God, and He has strategically positioned us right where we are to carry it out.

2Timothy 1:9(AMP) states, “for He delivered us and saved us and called us with a holy calling [a calling that leads to a consecrated life—a life set apart—a life of purpose], not because of our works [or because of any personal merit—we could do nothing to earn this], but because of His own purpose and grace [His amazing, undeserved favor] which was granted to us in Christ Jesus before the world began [eternal ages ago],” We are purposed to keep and follow the example of Jesus Christ, and we are called to carry forth the work that he began. So, our purpose is about walking with God, hearing His instruction and carrying it through. Our purpose is to do whatever the Lord tells us to do; it is to do His Will.

It’s specific in that no one can do what you do the way that you do it. God has woven within your DNA all that is necessary for the purpose He has set for your life. You already have the skill, gift, and abilities, to do all that He requires. You simply must have faith, and this requires you to humble yourself before God in obedience so that you can hear and recognize His voice.

We should be ever so thankful to God that He called us and chose us through Jesus Christ. We are to live, give, and love just the way Jesus did when he walked upon this earth. He totally submitted himself to the Father’s Will and Word, and we must do the same.

Walking in God’s purpose is never about the “ME” and always about the “WE”. His purpose considers what is best for everyone involved. We must remain compassionate, loving, and kind so that we invite His presence and strength into every situation. Walking in God’s purpose makes us a blessing in the lives of others. Pursuing it demonstrates our desire and commitment to please Him with our whole lives. When this is our focus, we can’t help but to grow closer to our Heavenly Father. There’s nothing in life that compares to the intimacy we share with Him, and nothing makes life sweeter than the validation we receive when we remain on the path of His purpose. ■

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.

“Walking in Your Purpose”, written for DomesticAbuseAwareness.Org ©2023. All rights reserved. All done to the glory of God through Jesus Christ, our Lord!

Iron Sharpens Iron

Life is all about relationships. God has set up all relationships as an instrument to strengthen our relationship with Him, and as we are strengthened, comforted, and encouraged by Him, we can then bless others through Jesus Christ. We are to become established and saturated in His love for us and our love for Him. Then all our other relationships will be birthed from the overflow of our fellowship and communion with God. He tells us in Proverbs 27:17(NLT), “As iron sharpens iron, so a friend sharpens a friend.” In this verse, God is letting us know the benefits and requirements of a quality friendship. Friends are supposed to help each other remain spiritually sharp so that they are prepared and seasoned for the work of God’s Kingdom.

Rubble strips are a road safety feature. They help to alert drivers when they’re inattentive to potential dangers. These strips in the road cause the vehicle to vibrate, and this makes an audible noise that is intended to wake up an individual if they fall asleep at the wheel. Well, when it comes to the life that God has called us to live in Christ, we sometimes fall asleep at the wheel as well. In other words, we allow ourselves to lose focus when it comes to our relationship with God, and this puts us in a vulnerable position. It’s just the opportunity that the devil waits for.

1Thessalonians 5:6(NLT) states, “So be on your guard, not asleep like the others. Stay alert and be clearheaded.” Our relationship with our Heavenly Father is the glue that holds our lives together. When we allow our attentiveness to slip, our minds can revert to old and negative ways of thinking, and not only this, we don’t guard our hearts as effectively as we should. A good friend will speak the truth of God’s wisdom and shake us out of this apathy and wrong thinking. They will remind us of God’s goodness and encourage us in the faith so we can wake up and snap out of unproductiveness.

The corrective wisdom and encouragement that a friend provides is not always easy to hear. Sometimes it’s strong medicine and we desperately need it. Most of us want to hear flowery words that compliment us even when we’ve not presented our best efforts, but this kind of flowery talk is seldom helpful. A true friend will speak the truth to us, and they will not heap unwarranted praise on their friends. When a friend has a habit of giving constructive criticism and genuine praise, you trust their honesty and count on it. Again, they tell the truth, and this helps to deepen trust in one another.

The psalmist prayed in Psalm 119:133(NLT), “Guide my steps by your word, so I will not be overcome by evil.” This should be the prayer of every believer in the Lord Jesus Christ. God’s Word orders our steps according to His Will for our lives. Friends can help us stay on that narrow path, and it’s not necessary for them to be contentious or harsh in any way. As good friends to one another, it’s our privilege and responsibility to speak the truth in love. God commands us in Ephesians 4:22(NLT) to be kind to each other, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, just as God through Christ has forgiven you.” This is the Will of the Father, and we must love others this way in all our relationships. If we do, we will be a treasured friend that is spiritually sharp and eager to always please 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.

“Iron Sharpens Iron”, written for DomesticAbuseAwareness.Org ©2023. All rights reserved. All done to the glory of God through Jesus Christ, our Lord!

Let God Help You

During the last couple of weeks, my daughter’s school has dedicated a lot of focus on writing skills. She’s been sent home with writing packets every day. Included is a little sticky note from the teachers, urging parents to help the child if they have difficulty by making the writing assignments fun. I kept a close eye on my daughter as she began her homework. I waited to see if she would ask for my help, but she never did. Trying to give her space to form her thoughts, I watched quietly nearby, making sure I was available to jump right in if she needed. I noticed she started to struggle a bit, so I spoke up. I offered suggestions of a few fun topics she could write about. She listened for a couple of minutes as I rolled on, but then she said, “Mom, I got it, I want to do it on my own.”

At first, I was happy that she felt confident enough to handle it on her own, but I knew that her homework assignment was more advanced than she thought, and she would not complete it as well as possible without my help. As I thought about this experience with my daughter, it made me think about our attitude sometimes when it pertains to the tests, trials, and tribulations that come our way. Life is designed to test our strengths and weaknesses, but this is nothing we should be overly concerned about, because our strength lies in the Father. As God’s children, we’ve been given authority to overcome any adversity and obstacle through our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.

Romans 8:37 tells us that we are not just conquerors, but MORE than conquerors through Christ! This foundation building truth is especially crucial for the single Christians that struggle with relationship issues. We’re in a season where couples are under so much pressure from outside influences, and they are trying to handle it and everything else on their own. Jesus Christ tells us very clearly in John 15:5 that we can’t do anything on our own. From the smallest to the greatest detail, we need God’s help.

One of my friends shared the other day that she was having a tough time deciding what to get for the significant man in her life. She found out that he purchased a very big Christmas gift for her. Now she feels obligated to do the same for him. I told her to pray about it first and let the Lord lead her. She said, “Ugh, praying is not always the answer. I’ll figure it out.” As believers of the Lord Jesus Christ, we are often taken aback to hear this kind of sentiment expressed, and it is because we recognize the importance of seeking God first in every aspect of our existence.

In Isaiah 41:13(NLT), God told His people, “For I hold you by your right hand – I, the Lord your God. And I say to you, ‘don’t be afraid. I am here to help you.’” You are never the lesser for allowing God to hold you by the hand and help you out in even the smallest of life’s obstacles.  One truth that I learned early in my Christian walk was that you cannot rise above that which you don’t know or haven’t been taught. Sometimes we think asking for help admits that we’re not capable or it shows a sign of weakness. I can admit that I’m very hard on myself and coming from a home where we were taught how to be self-sufficient, asking God for guidance and help wasn’t always my first response. I’m so thankful that I learned the truth about our Provider, for He is our Sufficiency and is always willing to help us. We think, “I should be able to handle this on my own.” But the truth is that God created us so that we would lean and depend on Him for everything.

2 Corinthians 3:4-5(NLT), “4 We are confident of all this because of our great trust in God through Christ. 5 It is not that we think we are qualified to do anything on our own. Our qualification comes from God.” Every good thing comes from God. We must have a great trust in our Heavenly Father, because He will not ever fail or forsake us. We don’t have to beg, and we cannot control the masterful way in which He solves our problems and meets our needs. He knows exactly what to do. It is His good pleasure to provide for His children, and to express gratitude for His overwhelming and matchless kindness, you must have faith and let Him help you. ■

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.

“Let God Help You”, written for DomesticAbuseAwareness.Org ©2023. All rights reserved. All done to the glory of God through Jesus Christ, our Lord!

God’s Love Makes It All Possible

Ephesians 4:22-24(NLT)
“22 throw off your old sinful nature and your former way of life, which is corrupted by lust and deception.23 Instead, let the Spirit renew your thoughts and attitudes. 24 Put on your new nature, created to be like God—truly righteous and holy.”

My friend Brian met his new girlfriend four months ago. He met her through a mutual friend, and they have been inseparable since their first date. His first marriage ended fifteen years ago, and after a series of failed relationships, he said he believes he’s finally met the woman that reciprocates the kind of love he gives.

As I listened to my friend, I was reminded of the happiness a person experiences from a relationship that is new and appears to be heading in the right direction. I couldn’t help but identify with those feelings, and it makes me excited about the possibilities the future holds. It also reminded me of the choice that we are forced to make about how we view being single in this season. We can be continually stoked about what God is doing, even though we don’t yet see the details of His handiwork; or, we can be disappointed and sad because everything isn’t happening on our own timetables.

Most of us have been on the downside before. We’ve been in relationships we hoped would work out, but the person doesn’t honor and return the kind of love we’re giving. We shouldn’t allow this disappointment to soil the hopefulness and faith that is required to see our dreams manifest. Instead, we must be even more tenacious when it comes to confessing and believing the promises of God. And we must also be committed to learn the lessons of God’s love that all disappointments will teach us.

In many cases, instead of learning to walk in spiritual maturity in a greater way, and moving forward and upward, many of us, both men and women, will try to hold on to a relationship that’s not working for us.  Even though it’s the wrong person, we don’t want to experience the pain of yet another disappointment, so we cling to what we’ve got because we have a fear of letting another relationship fall out of our hands. The danger in clinging to something that isn’t working for us is that it sends the wrong message about our faith. To give any relationship a fighting chance, it can’t be built on a rocky foundation. It can’t be built on fear, doubt, or desperation. So, as singles determined to receive what God has for us, we’ve got to be patient so that we can present a love that is wrapped in faith, and we can then receive this same kind of love in return.

Your love is being groomed. You are being prepared in a way that helps you fully surrender to the Spirit. Then he can flood your life with renewal continually. Ephesians 4:22-24 tells us to throw off the former way of life. We are to let go of our doubtful thoughts and attitudes and put on our new nature. This new nature carves out the highest level of love of which you and I are capable—it’s a Christ-kind of love, and it draws blessings and people across our paths. God tells us in Isaiah 55:11(NLT), “It is the same with my word. I send it out, and it always produces fruit. It will accomplish all I want it to, and it will prosper everywhere I send it.” Well, God’s love is just like His Word. When it goes forth in purity and conviction, it accomplishes what God wants it to accomplish. God’s love always hits its target.

God’s love is what makes everything we desire possible, and this is why He is working in us this very moment. He is helping us to change our motivation so that it isn’t about having a person in our lives at all cost. Our motivation must be to please God and to operate as purely and authentically as possible through His love. 1Corinthians 4:5(NLT) tells us, “So don’t make judgments about anyone ahead of time—before the Lord returns. For he will bring our darkest secrets to light and will reveal our private motives. Then God will give to each one whatever praise is due.” Heavenly Father examines our motives, and He blesses us according to whether our hearts are truly anchored in pleasing Him.

There is a special kind of person that matches you to the tee. They may not be perfect, which none of us are, but they will equal your capacity to love. You and I can never know the heart of an individual. They may seem to be one thing and turn out to be completely different. Only God knows a person’s heart. He is always and forever in control, and He knows who and what is best for our lives. Our happiness is very important to God, and He knows how to reward us and supply our needs. Let’s trust in Him with all our hearts and have confidence that He is doing a work in us that is very necessary, because it is preparing us for His purpose. He’s making sure that when we’re ready, the love we find will match the love we seek. ■

“God’s Love Makes It All Possible”, written for DomesticAbuseAwareness.Org ©2023. All rights reserved. All done to the glory of God through Jesus Christ, our Lord!

The Truth Is the Same Every Time

There’s a famous quote that says, “If you tell the truth, you don’t have to worry about keeping a lie straight.” There’s also another golden gem that most all of us have heard, “Honesty is the best policy.” Unequivocally, honesty is always the best policy, practice, and pursuit; but sometimes in life, we are faced with a situation when the truth, if spoken, will be devastating for someone to hear. In this case, what do you do? Well, like everything else in life, this is one of those situations where we must have faith in God’s Word. Jesus Christ is the truth, and he tells us that it will make us free. So, if we want to honor our relationships, then the truth is always the way to go, but as with much in the Christian life, it is how we deliver it that makes all the difference.

I had a conversation with a woman who shared her true feelings with the man she loves. They’ve been on and off a few years, and she didn’t feel as if either of them had been upfront about their feelings and intentions. She’s ready for a marriage commitment, and thought it was time for her to put all her cards on the table. In a relationship, I’m all for being as authentic in communicating your desires and needs as possible, but a person must be as honest about the situation they are dealing with as they are about what they want. Somewhere deep inside her heart, I believe this woman knew the man didn’t share her desire to take the relationship any further, but she had refused to face it.

After she shared her feelings, he went out of his way to avoid her. This man knew the truth, that he didn’t want to marry her, but he didn’t know how to deliver it. The whole situation turned out completely different than she had hoped, and she was devastated. Being ready to hear the truth is something most of us claim to be; being prepared to hear ‘no’ is a whole other ball game. This man didn’t want to hurt her, and instead of having an honest, compassionate, and mature conversation, he hid. He mirrored her own refusal to face the reality that he didn’t want to marry her.

The truth doesn’t change. It’s consistent, and it will not fail us. The beloved sister who allowed herself to fall in love with someone who didn’t love her back, did so out of a belief that she didn’t deserve more. This man ducked and dived to avoid seeing her. Is this really an individual that can handle the challenges of marriage? Doesn’t seem like it. So, to grieve for something that isn’t the best for you would not be the best use of your time. A better solution is to do what Philippians 4:8 says and fix our thoughts on what is true, honorable, right, pure, lovely, and excellent. Those yummies describe the kind of man who will not run from commitment. That’s what God has in store for us, and we should be preparing to receive it.■

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 Truth is the Same Every Time”, written for DomesticAbuseAwareness.Org ©2023. All rights reserved. All done to the glory of God through Jesus Christ, our Lord!

Love Knows How to Wait

I received a phone call recently from a Christian woman who’s been single for a little while.  Like many of our sisters out there patiently waiting, she’s attractive, savvy, stable and witty.  She’s at a point in her life where she’s expecting God to bless her with a good man any day now.  The only drawback is that she finds herself being the pursuer instead of being the one pursued. Not long ago, she was introduced to someone by a friend and they decided to meet up for a bite to eat. They both agreed, “No pressure, just a casual meeting.” She was surprised by how literal he took this.

Come on now, you know how we do. Even though it was casual, sister-girl still had, “First date” on the brain. She got a little dolled up because we all want to leave the best first impression we can. Well, that wasn’t quite the approach he took. As a matter of fact, it didn’t appear as though he had put much effort into making his best impression at all. His appearance left something to be desired and his demeanor was lackluster, but after dinner she still sent him a ‘thank you—nice to meet you’ text later that evening. Days later, nothing—zilch—nada—crickets.  No call, no text, not even to say hello.

She called me and asked if she should be the one to call him. My response to her, “Absolutely NOT!” It’s not about playing cat and mouse games. It’s a matter of how we truly see and value ourselves as women. There are people in your life that appreciate you, and you know this because they make you feel appreciated. Just as game recognizes game, light recognizes light. Heavenly Father wouldn’t make a presentation of a marital partner who can’t see our light and appreciate it. He tells us as much in 2Corinthians 6:14 when He says that light and darkness can’t have communion with each other.

We hear a lot of negative talk out there about how challenging it is to find a good man. Is that the truth or is it that we’ve listened to it for so long that it has blinded us to the truth? We don’t often hear about men who understand the treasure of a good woman and express it, but they are out there. And we don’t have to chase them down. That would not be a response of faith, but fear. Relationship drama is notoriously broadcasted on every form of media we can think us. We see the ugly live and in technicolor, and it has really done a number on many of us. The arrogance, meanness, and pettiness has made us so afraid of trusting one another, that we’ve convinced ourselves it’s not possible to find a man that’s a match for our level of decency and moral character. Understand that God is brilliant beyond brilliance, and intelligent beyond intelligence. If you’re alive and breathing, you can trust that another like you is near, and God has taken care of all the details of your meeting one another, but your trust in God is a must.

Amos 3:3(KJV) poses an interesting question that cuts right down to the meat of the matter. Amos was a prophet who learned what many of us have found challenging to learn in life. He asked in this verse, “Can two walk together, except they be agreed?” There must be agreement for us to walk with God, and there must be agreement for two individuals to walk together as partners, but most importantly, you must have agreement with yourself. Agreement is consistency, compatibility, conformity, and harmony that is based on God’s truth. Your truth is that you are God’s daughter! You carry His Holy Spirit within you, and you are loved by God to such an overwhelming degree that it will take you an eternity to explore its depths. God’s got you! He wants you to have the best way more than you could ever want it for yourself. He said in Jeremiah 29:11(ESV), “For I know the plans I have for you, declares the LORD, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.” You must trust that every detail of your life’s fulfillment has been taken care of by Him.

Romans 8:32(NLT) declares, “Since he did not spare even his own Son but gave him up for us all, won’t he also give us everything else?” God is a God who blesses His people, but we can’t forget that as His people, we have a responsibility as well. Jesus Christ said in John 14:15 that if we love him, we will keep his commandments. Don’t get ahead of God. Instead, pray without ceasing. You don’t have to rush love, because love knows how to wait on God’s perfect timing, and you should too.

Real love is God’s love, and it doesn’t push, shove or force. Love is kind and gentle, and it comes to us as effortlessly as we give it out. We can’t make someone love us, but we can make a commitment to love God with all our hearts and live by the example of Christ. We must be as patient with ourselves as we would want our partners to be. We are learning that our love must be expressed through our faith in God, and our destiny will beautifully unfold once this practice is firmly in our grasp.■

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.

“Love Knows How to Wait”, written for DomesticAbuseAwareness.Org ©2023. All rights reserved. All done to the glory of God through Jesus Christ, our Lord!

The Strength of God Within You

Isaiah 40:29(ESV)
“He gives power to the faint, and to him who has no might he increases strength.”

Because of his ministry and commitment to spread the Gospel of Jesus Christ, God’s Word reveals that the Apostle Paul faced many hardships, including the threat of imprisonment and death. 2Corinthians 12:7 tells us that he was assaulted and tormented by a messenger of satan, which he referred to as a ‘thorn in the flesh’. Paul’s responsibility to the faith was huge, and as he progressed in ministry and notoriety, he had more than his fair share of enemies, but Paul didn’t allow any of this to keep him from carrying forth God’s work. He could have thrown in the towel and given up, but he had faith in God. He was confident that through the Holy Spirit, God’s strength was the foundation of his life, and it should be the foundation of our lives as well.

This is an especially important truth for those enduring the abuse of domestic violence. There are so many emotions involved in this struggle. We can be deeply devoted to the abuser, but terrified and angry at the same time. We desperately want to break free, but there’s a part of us that ultimately always gives in to what the abuser wants. These are controlling behaviors, and for many individuals in situations of domestic violence, this is their “thorn in the flesh.”

Whether this person is intimidating you by body blocking, sulking until you give in to what they want, or being menacing, mocking, and aggressive through their behavior and speech, it’s all an attempt to have dominance over you. To fall victim to this kind of treatment is not God’s Will for any individual, man or woman. Domestic violence and abuse is all about someone trying to have power over you. When you’re being controlled this way, despite your desire not to be, it is a sure indication that your mind and heart need to be nourished by the bread of God’s Word.  

We can’t walk and live in a truth we don’t know, but when we know better, we have the potential to be and do better. When someone we love isn’t treating us the way all God’s children should be treated, we need a change of heart and mind. Our faith in God needs to be increased, and Romans 10:17 tells us that faith comes by hearing the Word of God.

Many of us don’t believe that if we get out of an abusive relationship, that we’ll be okay. The person that is being abused may not have a support system or financial backing in place, and this can make leaving seem more riskier than staying in the situation. This line of thinking seems rational to someone that is used to being robbed of their strength and power on a continuous basis. The mind of a victim remains blinded to possibility and confidence when it is not stimulated by faith in God.

Reading His promises and gaining knowledge of His love is transformative. 2Peter 1:3 (NLT) states, “3 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 and excellence.”  According to the brilliance and perfection of His intellect, love, and power, God has gifted us everything that is required to live to the fullest. Right now, at this very moment, you are packed to overflowing with His gifts. His strength is inside you. Coming to know God through Jesus Christ is the thing that reacquaints us with the wonder of who He created us to be. We become better acquainted with our truest and highest self by learning about Jesus Christ and by following his example. Then what’s on the inside begins to impact and change our outside reality.

Ephesians 2:8(NLT) states, “God saved you by his grace when you believed. And you can’t take credit for this; it is a gift from God.” All God’s promises points to the magnificence of His plan to have us participating with Him in the way He purposed. What exactly is the way God has purposed? It’s to fully walk in His power and strength, and to be fully confident in the depth, width, and breadth of His perfect love. Paul said in Romans 1:16 (NLT), “For I am not ashamed of this Good News about Christ. It is the power of God at work, saving everyone who believes.” Through Jesus Christ, God has succeeded in putting humanity right with Himself. He’s done it all for us, and He has made it our responsibility to believe, trust, and make ourselves comfortable in all that He has accomplished through His beloved Son, Jesus Christ.

God desires us to exercise His power and strength in our lives so that we will no longer be blinded by fear and paralyzed by darkness and terror. His desire is that we walk in the liberty that Jesus Christ won for us. God’s grace and love is the winning strategy in life. So, it just makes sense that we should make it our life’s ambition to know Him more, because this is the way to put on more of His strength and wear it like a second skin.

He tells us in Isaiah 41:10(ESV), “Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.” If we lose sight of the greatness of God’s love and being, we will lose sight of all He has created us to be. We were not put on this earth to be blind-sighted, misled, and mistreated by a thorn in the flesh. We’re here to live in Christ through God’s love. To do this we must embrace God’s vision of who we are and get into His Word, because this is key to growing in faith and allowing the strength of God within to transform your life inside out.

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.

“The Strength of God Within You”, written for DomesticAbuseAwareness.Org ©2023. All rights reserved. All done to the glory of God through Jesus Christ, our Lord!

Heavenly Father Comes to Your Rescue

2Peter 2:7-10(NLT)
“7 But God also rescued Lot out of Sodom because he was a righteous man who was sick of the shameful immorality of the wicked people around him. 8 Yes, Lot was a righteous man who was tormented in his soul by the wickedness he saw and heard day after day. 9 So you see, the Lord knows how to rescue godly people from their trials, even while keeping the wicked under punishment until the day of final judgment. 10 He is especially hard on those who follow their own twisted sexual desire, and who despise authority.”

Many of us wake up every morning and go about our daily business without giving thought to how God keeps our lives thriving. He protects us from hurt, harm, and danger, and He allows us to see another day. Ephesians 2:8(NLT) teaches us, “God saved you by his grace when you believed. And you can’t take credit for this; it is a gift from God.” We can’t take any credit for the salvation God offers us through Jesus Christ, and we can’t take credit for the many marvelous ways in which He blesses us each day. Many individuals go through life feeling as though they’re trying to juggle too many balls, but make no mistake, God is the One keeping them in the air. He’s the glue that holds our lives together. We must not ever forget this, and every day is an opportunity to demonstrate our gratitude to Him.

God has done great things for us! Those of us that have children send our kids off to school, and we hope and pray they will be safe and sound. God has protected them, and we should never take this for granted. For years, we’ve gone about our routines of getting ourselves from one place to the next, driving to and from work, going shopping, taking care of our responsibilities and ourselves. We do all of this and more. Do you think it’s all you that’s keeping you and your loved ones safe and secure? Uh huh! It’s all because God has rescued us through Jesus Christ, and because of His grace, we can have access to a more than abundant life.

Look at what is happening in our world today. There isn’t a day that goes by that we don’t hear or read about some outrageous nonsense or worse, a needless violent or preventable tragedy. We should all say, “There but for the grace of God, I was spared.” We must be thankful to God for how He preserves us, and those we love and hold so dear.

2Peter 2:7-10 tells us about the Old Testament record of Lot, Abraham’s nephew. Lot was vexed in his soul after witnessing wickedness daily. It was all around him, and no one was honoring God and giving thanks to Heavenly Father except Lot. It may feel to some of us that the wicked ways of many people haven’t changed much since then, and in fact, may have gotten worse. The truth that we must all comprehend is that God has not changed. He is good all the time. Just as He made sure His hand of protection was with those living in Old Testament times that trusted Him, God will do the same for those of us who love and trust Him today.

In the Old Testament, people who served God were His servants. Because of what God accomplished through the sacrifice and resurrection of His beloved Son, Jesus Christ, not only do we have the responsibility and privilege to serve God’s Kingdom, but we are God’s children! We have His seed, the Holy Spirit, abiding within us through the new birth experience. If you and I will allow him, the person of the Holy Spirit will lead, guide, and direct us to the truth. Jesus Christ teaches in John 16:13(NLT), “When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all truth. He will not speak on his own but will tell you what he has heard. He will tell you about the future.”

Heavenly Father doesn’t leave anything to chance. When we are committed to remaining close to Him, He corrects us through His Word. He helps us go deeper into scripture to receive tremendous revelation and understanding so that we live victoriously in Christ! He doesn’t want His kids to suffer or to be lonely, sad, and without love. 1John 4:8 tells us that God IS LOVE! He wants us to let His love swell to overflowing in our hearts so that we learn to love through Jesus Christ. He commands us in Colossians 2:7 to let our roots grow down into Christ, to learn so much about our wonderful Savior that our lives are built on him. This is how we grow strong in faith and overflow with thankfulness.

God commands us in Philippians 1:27(NLT), “Above all, you must live as citizens of heaven, conducting yourselves in a manner worthy of the Good News about Christ.” We must be more vigilant about living by the example of Jesus Christ, and no one should confuse us with those who are of this world. God has called us to be set apart. Our responsibility is to pray without ceasing for everyone, this includes those who believe in God and trust His Word as well as those who do not. Through His unending and amazing grace, God will always come to our rescue because we are His children. This is the message we must give to others and that we must trust wholeheartedly ourselves.

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.

“Heavenly Father Comes to Your Rescue”, written for DomesticAbuseAwareness.Org ©2023. All rights reserved. All done to the glory of God through Jesus Christ, our Lord!

Your Strength Renewed

2Corinthians 4:16(NLT)
“That is why we never give up. Though our bodies are dying, our spirits are being renewed every day.”

Why did I turn on the radio? Of all the songs, it had to be playing one of my ex’s favorites. He said it reminded him to never give up on us. When I heard it, I immediately began to cry, and the tears just kept coming. I couldn’t stop thinking about the many years we’d been together. Now, six months after the breakup, I’m wondering how we got to this place. How did I end up where I never wanted to be, feeling alone, depressed, and hopeless?

When you’re in a relationship that you so badly want to last, you’ll keep trying to find ways to make it work. But when it is apparent that there is more harm and very little good, we must accept the reality that we’re not with the person that is meant to journey forward with us. Christians are not exempt from trials and tribulations. We make mistakes and have our fair share of battling heartbreak and sadness. Sometimes we choose to be in relationships with individuals that exhaust us mentally and emotionally. We put ourselves through the ringer for this person, because we want so much to have a significant relationship, but at what cost?

For many of us marriage is the goal, but sometimes we focus too much energy on the other person and not enough energy on our relationship with God. We need to settle our minds on the reality that every good thing in life is birthed out of the energy and love we put towards honoring Heavenly Father. The psalmist said in Psalm 18:2(ESV), “The Lord is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer, my God, my rock, in whom I take refuge, my shield, and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold.” The Creator of the universe is perfect and magnificent in every way. He never has to do a do-over or a take-back, because He does everything perfectly from the very beginning. He is extremely intentional and on purpose, and all power is in His hands. God is worthy of all our praise, glory, and honor. He alone is God, and nothing ever slips by Him.

When we know this about God, it must be reflected in our faith. It must be expressed in how we think and feel about Him. He will not fail us, and we owe Him reverence and respect. It is also important for us to know that He cares about us, and He wants the best for our lives. John 3:16(ESV) declares, “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.” God’s only begotten Son, Jesus Christ, is extremely precious to Him, yet God did not spare him to save us. Romans 5:8(ESV) says, “But God proves His love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” This is how much God loves and desires to bless us.

As women, some of us find ourselves hungering to have a man love us, but we are not hungering to live more in God’s love through the example of Jesus Christ. We feel so sad once a relationship ends, and most of don’t see it for the new beginning it represents. When a relationship is over, sometimes we feel barren, numb, and don’t know what to do to ease the pain. There’s an empty place in our hearts, and God wants His love to occupy that space. Only His love can give us the spiritual strength that helps us to overcome any obstacle. We desperately need to become more acquainted with the person of Jesus Christ.

The pain eases as we let the love of God in. How do you let His love in? You surrender to it! You surrender your way and let God direct your steps each day. When you’re recovering from heartbreak, you might experience exhaustion on many levels. Nothing feels good, and it seems that all the excitement has left your life. God will replenish you if you trust Him with your whole heart. Isaiah 40:31(NLT) says, “But those who trust in the lord will find new strength.  They will soar high on wings like eagles. They will run and not grow weary. They will walk and not faint.”

As you take your hands off, you have no other choice but to let the Lord do the steering. Don’t be afraid that you will not love again, become “LOVE” yourself by allowing Christ to fill your heart. Let God take over and take your eyes off the man, because another human being can never be the answer that solves our life’s puzzle; only Christ can do this. Study God’s Word so that you learn to make wise decisions and choices, and don’t allow your feelings and emotions to make decisions for you.

You must feed your mind, soul, and spirit the truth and power of God’s Word. Don’t let despair win. You are the champion that God says you are. He says in Romans 8:37 that you are more than a conqueror through Jesus Christ, so fight the good fight of faith. Heavenly Father only wants what is best for you. Put as much or more energy into letting God renew your strength as you put in allowing heartbreak to take it from you. Have faith in His love, and you will be amazed by how He transforms 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.

“Your Strength Renewed”, written for DomesticAbuseAwareness.Org ©2023. All rights reserved. All done to the glory of God through Jesus Christ, our Lord!