The Bridegroom and His Bride

The Bible tells us that Jesus Christ is the Bridegroom and the church is his bride. In John 3:29-30(NIV), John the Baptist taught, “29 The bride belongs to the bridegroom. The friend who attends the bridegroom waits and listens for him, and is full of joy when he hears the bridegroom’s voice. That joy is mine, and it is now complete. 30 He must become greater; I must become less.” We should not think of this reference to the Bridegroom and the bride in the way in which wedding ceremonies are done in our time. The imagery for John the Baptist’s teaching is rooted in the Biblical custom of Hebrew weddings. As we learn a little bit more about this, it will increase our understanding about the coming of Jesus Christ and prayerfully, we will prepare for it with greater encouragement and commitment.

The coming together of the bridegroom and the bride in the Hebrew tradition was in three phases. The first phase involved the legal consummation of the marriage which was done by the parents of both the bridegroom and the bride. This was a negotiated match, and in those days, a Hebrew father would be more concerned about the marriage of his son than he would about the marriage of a daughter. He was obligated to pay a price or dowry to the father of his son’s future wife but would not have to do this if he were giving his daughter to be married. These marriages were often negotiated early in the son’s or daughter’s youth, and this usually occurred within the inner circle of family and community. It was commonly frowned on to marry outside of one’s immediate circle because this might introduce foreign beliefs and practices outside their faith.

Just as the Hebrew father paid a purchase price for his son to establish the covenant agreement of marriage with his bride, God sent Jesus Christ to pay the purchase price for us, the church—his bride. He paid the price of our sins when he gave his life on the Cross of Calvary, and we must demonstrate our gratitude by presenting our entire lives to God through Christ. He has set us apart as His Son’s bride, and as such, we must be holy, blameless, and totally committed to Christ. This applies to every believer, not just for a designated group. We all make up the bride of Christ, and his requirements must be met by every individual that has accepted him as their Lord and Savior.

The second phase of the Hebrew wedding is when the bridegroom comes to claim his bride. This is what the church has been patiently anticipating in the return of our Bridegroom, the Lord Jesus Christ. He tells us in John 14:1-3(NIV), “Do not let your hearts be troubled. You believe in God; believe also in me. 2 My Father’s house has many rooms; if that were not so, would I have told you that I am going there to prepare a place for you? 3 And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am.” Our Master Jesus is in heaven preparing a place for us, and we will live in our Father’s house, and be with them an eternity.

The marriage supper is the third phase of the Biblical Hebrew wedding tradition. It is believed by many Biblical scholars that the interim period that is between the second coming and the beginning of the millennial kingdom is symbolic of this third phase. The thousand-year reign of Christ is also commonly referred to as the Golden Age or Paradise that will occur on earth after his second coming. Revelation 20:1-6 mentions this, and there are many teachings on the subject, and of course, there are varied beliefs. Our aim must be encouragement in Jesus Christ, and to know that we will be with him an eternity, and this is what our Heavenly Father desires.

The rapture is imminent. Jesus Christ will gather his bride in the air when he appears, and this could happen at any time. It is not dependent on the fulfillment of prophecy regarding a set chain of events. We should be joyously awaiting our Savior’s return, when we will be translated into our resurrected bodies within the blink of an eye. Philippians 3:21(NLT) states, “He will take our weak mortal bodies and change them into glorious bodies like his own, using the same power with which he will bring everything under his control.”

As believers whose names are written in God’s Book of Life, many of us are still asleep. Even with the events that are happening in our world today, we are still behaving like the five bridesmaids in Matthew 25 that were not prepared with oil for their lamps. They thought they had more time, and when the Bridegroom appeared, they were too late. This can be said of many believers in our time. They have lost their deep and abiding love for Christ and have not continually put the Word of God in their hearts. Their loyalty is divided because they are trying to be committed both to Christ and to the world.

Romans 13:11-12(NLT) warns, “11 This is all the more urgent, for you know how late it is; time is running out. Wake up, for our salvation is nearer now than when we first believed. 12 The night is almost gone; the day of salvation will soon be here. So remove your dark deeds like dirty clothes, and put on the shining armor of right living.” We must wake up and recognize that our houses must be in order. We must stop participating in darkness and clothe ourselves in the example of love and light that Jesus Christ left us. Don’t assume you are ready, know that you are by seeking God with your whole heart. Let Him confirm it with His Spirit and do all that you can to live according to His Word.■

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.

Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide

“The Bridegroom and His Bride”, written for DomesticAbuseAwareness.Org ©2022. All rights reserved. All done to the glory of God through Jesus Christ, our Lord!

Praying for the Right Person to Talk to

Proverbs 27:17 NLT
As iron sharpens iron, so a friend sharpens a friend.”

My good friend, Nina, has gone through some troubled waters. Like most of us, she’s had her fair share of the ‘not so good side’ of life. As a child, initially she grew up with both parents in the home, but not long after their divorce, she decided that her mother was too strict and overprotective. Her father, on the other hand, was laid back and allowed her the freedom she wanted. When she was 14, she decided to live with him, and that’s when the first hard lesson about choices and consequences opened her eyes.

After a year of living with her dad, Nina became pregnant. In the words of her father, at 15 she went from being “daddy’s little girl” to “a daughter that made him a grandfather”, and he wasn’t happy. His treatment of her broke her heart. He had been abusive to her mother, and for the first time she understood why her mother had been so protective of her. She didn’t want Nina to deal with what she had gone through.

The father of Nina’s baby provided no support, meanwhile her own father’s behavior became even more hurtful, and she was ashamed to tell her mother any of this. She felt like she was in prison, with no one to help her through a hopeless situation. All she could do was bottle her feelings, and this eventually turned to deep resentment towards her father and insecurity in her own decision making.

Emotionally drained and afraid of what might happen to her and her child, one night she turned to God for help. She prayed that He would send her a friend that would be a confidant, someone that would give her a “safe place” to open up and GET IT OUT!

I have been this friend to Nina, and to others as well. We can all be a compassionate listener that will not be judgmental, but kind and caring. Everyone needs someone that will sit down and listen, and most importantly someone that will pray for those that are dealing with emotional pain. Our Heavenly Father tells us in Proverbs 27:17 that friends can sharpen one another. Again, we do this by giving the encouragement of God’s Word, by lending a discreet and compassionate ear, and by praying for those we know are in need.

Tell God what you need

Philippians 4:6(NLT) says, “Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done.” No matter what we’re going through or attempting to do, telling God what we need and what is on our hearts should always be our first step. He has all power in His hands, and He is both willing and able to bless us. He will direct our paths and take care of our needs, and we must trust Him with our whole hearts.

Pray for the right person

Jesus Christ commands us in Matthew 6:33 to,Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and he will give you everything you need.” This wisdom is crucial when we are dealing with a challenging situation and we don’t know what to do. Before we seek the advice of any other person, we must seek God first. We need to hear His truth, and He is the only One that knows the words that will help us move in the direction that He desires for us. We must pray that He will send someone who knows the truth. The right person will deliver a Word from the Lord that will make all the difference in our situations. It will put us on the path to be healed and to grow in Christ.

Pass it on

James 2:14(NLT) tells us, “What good is it, dear brothers and sisters, if you say you have faith but don’t show it by your actions? Can that kind of faith save anyone? 15 Suppose you see a brother or sister who has no food or clothing, 16 and you say, “Good-bye and have a good day; stay warm and eat well”—but then you don’t give that person any food or clothing. What good does that do? 17 So you see, faith by itself isn’t enough. Unless it produces good deeds, it is dead and useless.”

Being a blessing positions us to receive a blessing. We should always be willing to do for others what we hope someone would do for us when we are in need. 1John 4:19 reminds us that we love because the Lord first loved us. We are ambassadors for Jesus Christ, and he has commanded us to let our lights shine in this dark world so that others may see his love in us. When you pray and ask the Father to help you and to send you a compassionate listener and Godly friend, also pray that He will help you to become one yourself. Pray that you can one day help someone to get it out and let go of their pain. None of us are perfect, but we are being perfected in Christ. All we ever need to do is to make ourselves available to God to be a blessing, He will do the rest! ■

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.

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

Our Lives Mean the Most to God

I know people that have been angry with God for a long time. Things seem to always go wrong in their lives, and they are tired of it. They blame our Heavenly Father for their sadness and disappointment, and they’ve built a wall around their hearts that keeps Him out. With these individuals, you do your best to encourage them in the Word and to help them see that God is for them in every way, but something in their minds and hearts will not receive this. They refuse to wholeheartedly believe that God loves them far more than they could ever imagine. They won’t accept that our lives mean the most to Him, and He will never leave or forsake us.

In Romans 8:38(NLT), God gives us a perfect portrait of His limitless, unconditional, and everlasting love for us all. This verse tells us, “And I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from God’s love. Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither our fears for today nor our worries about tomorrow—not even the powers of hell can separate us from God’s love.” God treasures us, and He reassures us of His love because we need to be continually and constantly reminded of it, especially in our day and time. It’s no secret that the devil is bombarding us with the wrong information, and many believers are captivated by it. We’re on our cell phones so much that they seem to be an artificial extension of our hands. From distorted information and insulting humor to entertaining animal tricks and outright lies, we are soaking it all in. We’re no longer protecting our ears and eyes, but instead, we’re letting all this stuff into our souls.

Because we are not protecting our minds and hearts, it’s not surprising that so many are suffering from extreme bouts of sadness and anxiety. They have not flooded their understanding with the truth and have disconnected themselves from the practice of meditating on God’s goodness. What’s the reason for this? Why is it that we don’t spend time training our thoughts to think like Christ? In many cases, we don’t do it because we lack faith. We won’t believe in the possibility of being caught up in the wonder of who God is and captivated by how much He loves us. So, we spend our time thinking, focusing, and obsessing about things in this world, and this is a sure recipe for despair and disappointment.

Galatians 3:27(NLT) says, “And all who have been united with Christ in baptism have put on Christ, like putting on new clothes.” When you and I get up in the mornings, we understand that we must put on a change of clothing for the day. It would not occur to us that we could just stand in one place and have God change our clothes for us. He has given us bodies that move, a mind that works, and the gift of free-will. He’s given us all these wonderful gifts and more! So, we all understand that we must put on our own clothes, and not only this, we get to choose which garments we’d like to wear. Well, all of this gives us a good example of what God is requiring us to do in Galatians 3:27.

God has made it possible through Christ for us to put on what is good and pleasing to Him, and to take off what no longer fits. Because of Christ, we have a new nature that is holy and perfect. God commands us in Ephesians 4:24(NLT), “Put on your new nature, created to be like God—truly righteous and holy.” God loves us so much that He created us in His image. He wants us to be like Him, because becoming like Him demonstrates the impeccable quality of His love. His love creates, motivates, and changes everything for the better. This is what He desires to see in our lives; as any good father would. Because of what God has accomplished through the sacrifice and resurrection of His Son, Jesus Christ, we are united with Christ. When we make him Lord of our lives, we receive a new nature, and like new clothes, we must put it on.

In Colossians 3:10(NLT), we learn even more about God’s expectation. He tells us, “Put on your new nature, and be renewed as you learn to know your Creator and become like him.” The way that we put on our new nature is to train our minds to think like Christ and our hearts to love like him. This is the way we are renewed. But this is our choice. We mean so much to God that He doesn’t force us to change, He motivates us to change through His love. Many of us are holding on to things we should have released years ago. God has commanded us to strip them off, and to put on Christ. He wouldn’t tell us to do this if we lacked the capacity to get it done. Our lives matter to our Heavenly Father, and He wants us to know that through Jesus Christ, we have strength, power, and authority. God has made all this available to us because we are His children, and He has unfailing love for us all. ■

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.

“Our Lives Mean the Most to God”, written by Kyada for DomesticAbuseAwareness.Org ©2022. All rights reserved. All done to the glory of God through Jesus Christ, our Lord!

God Makes the Pieces Fit Together

But as for you, be strong and courageous, for your work will be rewarded.”

2Chronicles 15:(NLT)

Glenda was surrounded by devout Christian women in her family, and they had a huge influence on her life. She was trying very hard to live up to their example, but something in her own life just didn’t seem to fit. She felt like a piece of the puzzle was out of place, but sometimes, not only was she unsure about the piece, she was unsure about the puzzle. She was at that awkward stage of wanting to enjoy more of her single life, but also wanting to be in a serious relationship. A serious relationship was definitely winning out, but her hopes had been dashed so many times, that she wondered what God really wanted for her life. With everything in her being she was trying to be patient, but she wanted more information from God, and she wanted more out of life. Not knowing how to turn the dial to ‘next’ kept her mind busy at night with unanswered questions. She just wanted this season in her life to be over.

Many of us are asking Heavenly Father the same question, “When will this season of my life be over?” We all go about our routines every day, but underneath it all, it feels like we’re missing something. We have wonderful people in our lives that we love and who love us, but it doesn’t seem to be enough to fill the void. However, whenever we’re feeling a bit out of balance, it means that our souls need to be drenched and replenished with the truth of God’s Word. Colossians 2:10(NLT) tells us, “So you also are complete through your union with Christ, who is the head over every ruler and authority.” God wants us to know that even though it seems we don’t have all the answers, we know the One that IS the answer, Jesus Christ. He completes us, and through Christ, God has given us everything we need to be all He created us to be.

Even though it may feel like it sometimes, the truth is that there are no gaping holes in the lives of those that God has called. We may feel out of place, but this is often because we haven’t understood 2Chronicles 15:7. In this verse, God tells His people living in Old Testament times to be strong and courageous. He didn’t say “FEEL strong and courageous, but BE strong and courageous.” When God tells us to “BE” something, He means for us to get it done. It’s not dependent on how we feel, it is dependent upon our obedience to hear His command and obey it.

God informs us in Malachi 3:6 that He doesn’t change. He is the same yesterday, today, and forever. This “trust-and-obey” response that God expects from us is not something you and I can neglect. It is demanded of every born-again believer. We get so busy with our lives, that we begin to run them as though they were our own, but God tells us in 1Corinthians 6:19-20(NLT), “19 Don’t you realize that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit, who lives in you and was given to you by God? You do not belong to yourself, 20 for God bought you with a high price. So you must honor God with your body.”

We don’t belong to ourselves. Although we think we know ourselves so well, and we may feel some type of way at times, God is in control. He tells us in Jeremiah 29:11 that He knows the plan He has for us, and it’s a good one. Our pleasure, privilege, and responsibility are to walk with God every moment of each day. It’s to stay in His Word, to pray often, and to seek His guidance and direction in all that we do.

He told His people that their work would be rewarded. Many of us go to our jobs every day, and we expect our employers to compensate us for the work that we do. It would never occur to us that they would refuse to pay us for our labor. Well, God is THE REWARDER! He is faithful to His Word, and He never breaks a promise. He tells us in Hebrews 11:6(NLT), “And it is impossible to please God without faith. Anyone who wants to come to him must believe that God exists and that he rewards those who sincerely seek him.” God rewards those who love and trust Him, and this is where our faith must be.

Life’s solutions are always found by looking at the example of Jesus Christ and keeping our eyes focused on him. The challenge for many of us is keeping our eyes on the prize as we patiently endure the disappointments, heartaches, tribulations and sometimes boredom that comes with life. The reality is that “trust and obey” must be anchored in us and God is the only One who knows when it is. Our level of faith in Him must outweigh any other thing in our lives, and His love must completely fill our hearts. The work that we are called to do is to build our faith in the reality of who God is, not in what He can do for us. When knowing God is our sole motivation, He guarantees that all the pieces of our puzzle will fit together perfectly.■

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.

“God Makes the Pieces Fit Together”, written by KLizzie for DomesticAbuseAwareness.Org ©2022. All rights reserved. All done to the glory of God through Jesus Christ, our Lord!

LOVE is a Decision

1John 4:7-11(NLT)
“7 Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God.  Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God.  8 Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love.  9 This is how God showed his love among us:  He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him. 10 This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. 11 Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another.”

Do you believe God loves you? Do you feel His love for you in your heart, or are you not too sure about this? There are lots of people in our lives, and most of us interact with them almost every day. Whether its family, friends, coworkers, colleagues, or pets, many of us allow ourselves to care for others and this feels very natural to us, sometimes we do it without giving it much thought. The truth is that the only reason any of us can love others is because God has made it possible through His love for us. 1John 4:8 tells us that God is LOVE!

We are able to feel the emotions of love and put it into practice through our feelings, sharing, and kindness because God created us this way. He wove His love into us, and if we choose to, we can love everyone. But here is the truth that we all must accept; love is a choice. It is a decision that we each must make. As it relates to romantic relationships, there’s a saying that people can’t help who they love. This saying or sentiment sounds very dreamy, and many of us buy into it. We long to be swept off our feet by someone that pulls these emotions from us. Although this attraction can come with very strong urges for both people, these feelings are not uncontrollable. We very definitely can and should control them.

How do we know that we can and should control these emotions? We know it because 2Timothy 1:7(NLT) tells us, For God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love, and self-discipline.” Self-discipline is required for a successful life in Christ, especially when it comes to our emotions. Romantic love is a beautiful aspect of God’s love, but we must never forget that it is birthed out of our relationship with Him. It comes from HIS love. His desire is that we love like Him. Loving through Christ should be our primary concern, and it is always and forever the goal.

Romantic love is composed of affections that are carved out of physical attraction. Our flesh is very much engaged, and we place all kinds of limitations and restrictions on this kind of love. We don’t just love anyone or everyone romantically. There are all kinds of conditions that we set ourselves. Most of these have nothing to do with the way God loves us, they are based on our five senses. The person has to look or act a certain way, have a certain amount of money, or have a certain profession or job. We allow ourselves to love someone romantically based on criteria like these, and whether or not our senses are heightened or stimulated.

God’s love isn’t concerned with those conditions. He loves without discrimination. 1John 4:9-10(NLT) declares, “He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him. 10 This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins.” God sent His Son, Jesus Christ, to be a sin offering for the entire world. He did this when we were at our absolute worst. By this, we clearly know that God’s love is unconditional and without limits. He loves us through and through, and He is fully committed to love us continually. He goes on to tell us that since He’s demonstrated His overwhelming love for us through Christ, we must then love one another with this same unconditional, limitless love.

Because of God’s love, we can love others. We didn’t come up with love, and we don’t define what love is or how it operates. God has done this. We are to love through Him. Emotions and feelings are only a small part of it. Love is so much more than emotions. It’s a commitment and it’s also a decision. And God’s love will take us beyond our comfort zones. It will stretch us to express love through faith and not through any conditions or circumstances that we might bring to the table.

The confidence to love through the love of Jesus Christ takes fear out of the equation. 1John 4:18(NKJV) says, “There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear, because fear involves torment. But he who fears has not been made perfect in love.” Making the decision to love includes the little things that we do for one another, even when we don’t feel especially loving. It is more about your choice to demonstrate love than about having a motivation to receive love. God takes care of our needs, so He will always have our backs when it comes to what we do or don’t deserve. Our responsibility as His children is to not get entangled with how a person looks, how they dress, or how much they love us back. We are to do as 1Peter 3:8-9(NLT) instructs, “8 Finally, all of you should be of one mind. Sympathize with each other. Love each other as brothers and sisters. Be tenderhearted, and keep a humble attitude. 9 Don’t repay evil for evil. Don’t retaliate with insults when people insult you. Instead, pay them back with a blessing. That is what God has called you to do, and he will bless you for it.”

God is looking for our commitment to love through the love of Christ. This is what He wants to see in our hearts, because learning to love through the example of Jesus Christ is the only way to be prepared for marriage or to be prepared for anything else in life. We love God by being obedient to His Word. Our Heavenly Father has given us this capacity, and it begins when we accept Jesus Christ as our personal Lord and Savior. Colossians 2:10 tells us that it is because of our union with Jesus Christ that we are complete. If we are committed to him and his example in the way God requires, we will have all that we need to walk in God’s love and love others the way He has commanded us to.■

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.

“LOVE Is A Decision”, written by Kyada for DomesticAbuseAwareness.Org ©2022. All rights reserved. All done to the glory of God through Jesus Christ, our Lord!

Change Your Ways

2Corinthians 7:9(NLT)
"Now I am glad I sent it, not because it hurt you, but because the pain caused you to repent and change your ways. It was the kind of sorrow God wants his people to have, so you were not harmed by us in any way."

No matter how many times you seem to move forward in your life, all it takes is one word of bad news and the pain, fear, and nervousness rear their ugly heads and set you back. They make you think they’re running the show, and it makes us feel so down. When I read the verse in 2Corinthians 7:9, I was reminded that pain can be purposeful because it can cause us to change in ways that we never thought possible. 

You might ask, “Why do we need to go through pain in order to change our ways?” I also asked myself this question, but what quickly came to me is the freedom that God extends to us by allowing us to choose. We have free-will choice, and we get to choose how we’re going to respond to situations. God is the complete opposite of the hurtful feelings we experience. He represents love and liberty for us, and He doesn’t ever want us to feel pain. But if we are going about our daily routines of life, walking around asleep to God’s Word and what He’s called us to do, pain and sorrow will inevitably find their way to us. Our hiccups and missteps can almost always be tied back to something we could have changed or could have let go but didn’t. 

God is a loving Father. He is full of joy and love, and He wants us to be full of joy and love as well. Jesus Christ said in John 10:10 that he came to the earth in order to make a more than abundant life available to us. So, we should be confident that Heavenly Father wants us to have a successful life. And in order for us to have the life that Christ made available, God commands us to live like Jesus Christ; we are to live through him. This means we must pattern our lives after the example Jesus left for us. 

We experience discomfort when everything around us is conspiring to help us recognize that change is in our midst, and we need to make some adjustments before life no longer cooperates with our refusal to do so. Emotional stress is often a blinking indicator that something is going on internally that requires our attention. Sometimes it relates to an area in our lives that we have not yet given God access to, like our significant relationships, for instance. 

Many women have difficulty prioritizing when it comes to the love they feel for a man and the love they should have for God. We must understand that our love for God should be exponentially higher, more intimate, and more fulfilling than the love we have for anyone else. Jesus Christ commands us in Mark 12:30(NLT), “And you must love the LORD your God with all your heart, all your soul, all your mind, and all your strength.”  We must love God with all that we are, and this is not up for negotiation. As we think about what we need to change, alter, or increase about ourselves and our faith, this is the first place to start. 

We need to ask ourselves if we are loving God the way Jesus Christ has commanded. Some of us never ask this question of ourselves, and this is sometimes what our sorrows will reveal. Going back to 2Corinthians 7:9, Heavenly Father reminds us that the positive change that our sorrows spark is the greater gain. In His Word, He tells us His expectations regarding how we should change. He spells out exactly what we should remove from our lives, and exactly the kind of love that should saturate our hearts, and not only this, it is the kind of love we should be receiving from others. In Ephesians 4:30-32(NLT), Heavenly Father tells us, “30 And do not bring sorrow to God’s Holy Spirit by the way you live. Remember, he has identified you as his own, guaranteeing that you will be saved on the day of redemption. 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.”

As God’s children, we are created to house His Spirit and to be conduits of His divine love. We aren’t built to hold on to bitterness, rage, anger, and evil behavior. Not only can these heavies break us down physically, but they take a toll on us spiritually. We can’t be who God has called us to be when our hearts are not flooded with His love and goodness. Change can be very challenging, but we cannot grow without it, and growing in Christ is our reason for being on this earth. We must always remember that we are never alone. The Lord is with us always, and He will never forsake us. We can be comforted in the reality that He is helping us to develop spiritual character, and when we have reached the level of spiritual maturity that He desires, He will be pleased, and we will be rewarded. ■

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.

“Change Your Ways”,  written by Kyada for DomesticAbuseAwareness.Org ©2022. All rights reserved. All done to the glory of God through Jesus Christ, our Lord!

Don’t Let the Pain Turn You Away from God

John 14:1(NLT)
“Don’t let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God, and trust also in me.”

Monica handles pressure well, she has to. She’s a single parent with two children, and one has autism. Four months ago, she moved two hours away from her family and friends to get away from an abusive relationship. Brady was so loving and tender with her and the kids in the beginning. He was especially good with Jason. His younger brother has autism, so having Brady’s help had made a big difference in their lives. After a few months though, she noticed that his drinking was much more than casual. He’d get drunk on the weekends, and at first, it was just the verbal abuse, but then turned physical when she’d confront him about the drinking. 

When she and the boys moved, she found it more challenging than she had expected. She missed Brady and hated what alcohol had done to him and to their relationship, but she couldn’t allow him to come back into their lives. It was too painful. They needed this fresh start, and she was back to juggling a million things on her own, but she felt different. This time she was really struggling to hold it together, and she wondered if she was finally at her breaking point. 

In Matthew 11:28-30(NLT), Jesus Christ instructs us to, “Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you. Let me teach you, because I am humble and gentle at heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy to bear, and the burden I give you is light.” Most of us know that he wants us to come to him with all our troubles and pray for his help and guidance, but sometimes we see our problems bigger than we see his willingness and ability to help us. 

Monica was angry with herself for getting involved with Brady and allowing him to be such a big part of her kid’s life. She felt she should have been more careful. On the other hand, the first few months of their relationship was one of the best times of her life. He was everything she wanted a man to be. Still shocked at how quickly things went downhill, she wondered if she’d ever be able to trust anyone again. She decided to put all her feelings and emotions on the backburner and just plow ahead, taking care of her kids and doing what she had to in order to make their lives work. The problem is that bouts of sadness were more frequent, and harder to ignore. 

In 1Thessalonians 5:17(NLT), God commands us to “Pray without ceasing.” He knows we have responsibilities at home and at work. He knows we have obligations that must be tended to, so He doesn’t mean that we should be praying repeatedly and continually, 24/7. He means that a large part of our spare time should be spent in prayer to Him in the name of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. Philippians 2:10-11(NLT) tells us, “10 that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, 11 and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.” And Jesus Christ tells us in John 14:13-14(NLT), “13 You can ask for anything in my name, and I will do it, so that the Son can bring glory to the Father. 14 Yes, ask me for anything in my name, and I will do it!”

We make mistakes and errors in judgment, and we sometimes end up in a lot of emotional pain, but we must not allow it to turn us away from God. He is faithful to help us. He tells us to trust in Him, and when we trust in Him, we can rest in Him. This means that we will need to give ourselves the pleasure and privilege of getting to know God on a greater level. Romans 10:17(NKJV) tells us, “So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.” Our faith is increased when we hear and learn more about God through His Word. Proverbs 4:23 tells us to keep guard over our hearts because the heart is the place where all the issues of life are determined. If we study and read God’s Word, it will shield our minds and hearts from chaos and confusion and give us God’s peace.

God is the answer to all our problems, no matter how hurtful or complex they may be. He wants a close relationship with us, and He wants to be a part of every aspect of our existences, but we have to do the things He has told us to do. We must invite Him into our situations and circumstances by praying often, reading and studying His Word, and by having faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. The source of our strength, peace, joy, and power is in God. When we turn away from our pain and run into His arms with all that we are, He will not disappoint us. The Lord will comfort us with His love and heal our hearts as we seek to grow closer to 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.

“Don't Let the Pain Turn You Away from God”,  written by Kyada for DomesticAbuseAwareness.Org ©2022. All rights reserved. All done to the glory of God through Jesus Christ, our Lord!

A New Creation in Jesus Christ!

2Corinthians 5:17(NIV) tells us, “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!” This verse is speaking to and about anyone that has given their lives to God through Jesus Christ and has made Christ the Lord of their lives. We receive salvation from God through Christ by asking God’s forgiveness of our sins, believing in our hearts that God raised Jesus Christ from the dead, and confessing with our mouths that Jesus Christ is Lord. Many of us have done this and received the salvation that God offers, but we have not fully believed in the powerful reality of being a new creation. Because of what Jesus Christ accomplished for us, there should be several exclamation marks after this verse in 2Corinthians 5:17. This is because our new creation is the most exciting event of any in the history of humanity. It is triumphantly powerful and life changing! It decimates evil and darkness, and that’s why the devil is trying to blind the minds and hearts of many people, so they will not know or walk in their true identity as a new creation in Christ.

There is only one reality in life, and it is God’s truth. Everything else is a false representation—a counterfeit, and this counterfeit comes from the devil; he is God’s archenemy and the face of evil.  In John 8:44(NIV), Jesus Christ rebuked the religious leaders that were plotting against him. They had not chosen the truth and had not chosen God as their Father. Jesus Christ told them, “You belong to your father, the devil, and you want to carry out your father’s desires. He was a murderer from the beginning, not holding to the truth, for there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks his native language, for he is a liar and the father of lies.” We see very clearly the distinction that our Lord and Savior has made between two kinds of people, those who have chosen the One True God as their Father, and those that are children of satan. So, we can see from the wisdom of Jesus Christ that everyone who says they are of God is not. There are some that are so blinded by the devil that they have given themselves totally over to darkness, and they will not ever see the light of Christ.

It is important for every believer to know this truth, because knowing it allows us to develop a deep well of gratitude for what Christ has accomplished for everyone. Because of the price he paid, those that have accepted his love in their hearts will never see the eternal damnation of hell. There can never be a repayment for this gift, because its eternal value multiplies exponentially with every breath we take.

Because of Christ, we have eternal life, and the extraordinary thing about this is that God doesn’t want us to pay Him back or to even try. Ephesians 2:8-9(NLT) says, “8 God saved you by his grace when you believed. And you can’t take credit for this; it is a gift from God. 9 Salvation is not a reward for the good things we have done, so none of us can boast about it.” Salvation is entirely and completely God’s Work. Adam’s and Eve’s disobedience to God’s Word plunged humanity into a vicious negative cycle that continuously spirals downward. God’s original intention was to partner with His sons and daughters through an intimate relationship where we would remain connected to Him. Jesus Christ restored this connection to God that Adam and Eve lost, and God Himself is the author of this immense and marvelous work through Jesus Christ.

What is the great design and aim of God in doing all of this for us? The answer is in Ephesians 2:7(NLT). It says, “So God can point to us in all future ages as examples of the incredible wealth of his grace and kindness toward us, as shown in all he has done for us who are united with Christ Jesus.” From where we stand today, we have a very limited view. We forget that eternity is a very, very, very long time. In our present age, we are continually inspired and motivated by the example of our Lord and Savior. And we are also encouraged by the faith of ordinary humans that are written about in God’s Word. Heavenly Father refers to them as the Great Cloud of Witnesses. They were fully persuaded that what God had promised, He was also willing and able to fulfill. These men and women trusted God wholeheartedly. God’s Word never fails, and it will never end. Numerous generations will live in the future and they will also study and learn God’s Word. They are a part of the future ages, and like ours, their hearts will burn with enthusiasm to see the grace God has poured out upon us all.

Ephesians 2:10(NLT) truly is the icing on the cake. It tells us, For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago.” God tells us that we are His crowning achievement. And not only this, He tells us His purpose for making us new creations in Jesus Christ. His purpose is that we, you and I, will do all the good things He predestined for us long before we entered our mother’s womb. Making us new creations was always God’s plan. He knew we would need a Redeemer before He created us. He also knew that in order for us to do all the good things He planned; we would need to have His seed living inside us, which is the gift of His Holy Spirit.

It is recorded for all generations that the devil tried everything he could to keep humanity enslaved in darkness and evil, but nothing can hinder God’s Will and Plan. Nothing will stop God’s purpose from going forward. It would be very easy to blame Adam and Eve for the terrible predicament that they put us all in, but we shouldn’t focus on that. Had we been in their places, we would have done exactly as they did. What we should focus on instead is the overwhelming love God has for us, and the lengths He went to in order to save us.

Your soul has been liberated from the captivity of darkness by Jesus Christ. God has given you a life in the Spirit through His Son. Galatians 5:1(MSG) declares, “Christ has set us free to live a free life. So take your stand! Never again let anyone put a harness of slavery on you.”  It is in Christ Jesus that we find our freedom, because we were reborn through him to have a life that is totally free. God commands that we no longer look to the world for anything of value, nor can we be conformed to it. That would nullify for us the work of Christ to set us free. Instead, we are to take possession of the transformation that God desires to do in us.

What do we do with this free life? We must understand that this free life as a new creation in Christ is God’s calling; we were called by Him to live free! He tells us in Galatians 5:13-16 (MSG) exactly how we are to walk in this freedom. This passage states, “It is absolutely clear that God has called you to a free life. Just make sure that you don’t use this freedom as an excuse to do whatever you want to do and destroy your freedom. Rather, use your freedom to serve one another in love; that’s how freedom grows. For everything we know about God’s Word is summed up in a single sentence: Love others as you love yourself. That’s an act of true freedom.” To enjoy the freedom of this new life, we must love others through God’s love. This is how we live abundantly and remain connected to the Source of all good things. ■

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 Message. Copyright © 1993, 1994, 1995, 1996, 2000, 2001, 2002. Used by permission of NavPress Publishing Group.

“A New Creation in Jesus Christ!”, written by Fran for DomesticAbuseAwareness.Org ©2022. All rights reserved. All done to the glory of God through Jesus Christ, our Lord!

He Had Two Families and She Didn’t Know It

How does a woman with four children, all under the age of 12, find herself abandoned after 13 years of marriage by a man that has another family, and she knew nothing about it? Were there signs that she missed? Was she so busy with everyday life and the kids that she ignored what was happening in her marriage? Or could it be that she was so consumed with taking care of everyone else that it never dawned on her to take care of her own needs? Did she nurture her connection to God through the Lord Jesus Christ, or did she prioritize everything else ahead of it? It can be very challenging to hear and face, but there is always a reason behind every event, experience, and encounter in life. We don’t always know the reason, but God knows. If we are willing and ready, He’ll help to open our eyes, and we can begin to heal and restore our lives using these three very important guideposts.

God’s Kingdom and Righteousness
Jesus Christ tells us in Matthew 6:33(NKJV), “But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you.” This is a piece of truth that is meant to ground us completely and thoroughly. It tells us definitively what we should place in the number one spot of every aspect and experience of our lives. God and the things of His Kingdom can never be number two. As a matter of course, every living and thinking being prioritizes. It’s something we humans do, and we prioritize beginning with what is most important to us. If at any time, we allow God and the things of His Kingdom to slip below first place, and we make other things more important to us than our relationship with Him, we will be in big trouble. We will see the opposite of what Jesus Christ has stated in Matthew 6:33. This means that instead of ‘all these things’ being added to us, they will be subtracted from us.

Our marriages and significant relationships are often attacked by the enemy, because he hates God’s institutions, and the devil vehemently comes against unity. 1Corinthians 14:33 lets us know straightforwardly that God isn’t the author of confusion. Confusion and chaos belong to the devil, so when we are severely attacked and emotionally distraught, we know who to blame, but we cannot stop there. If we do, we might miss the elevation and promotion God has for us. We must have the courage to look under the hood, so we more confidently put on the weapons of spiritual warfare and therefore will not continue to be outsmarted by the devil.

Forgiveness, not condemnation
None of us are perfect. We make mistakes, and some of those mistakes are doozies. We make these mistakes sometimes because we’ve been lured into a trap. God warns us in 1Peter 5:8(NLT), “Stay alert! Watch out for your great enemy, the devil. He prowls around like a roaring lion, looking for someone to devour.” Just as angels see what we’re doing, demonic spirits do as well. Angels protect us according to our faith, and demons are dispatched by the enemy to identify our sin and weaknesses; they are looking for a legal way to cause chaos and confusion in our lives, because they cannot do it illegally. Our mis-prioritization of not seeking God’s Kingdom and Righteousness first, as well as any other sin we commit, gives the devil and his cohorts the legal opportunity to interrupt God’s agenda for our lives.

We are the ones to open the door. Sometimes we do it unconsciously or out of ignorance, but our failure to seek God and His Will preeminently is just the opening the devil is looking for. Heavenly Father does not want us wallowing in self-condemnation, blaming ourselves, and putting ourselves down for being blind. Romans 8:1 tells us that Jesus Christ has done away with that condemning business for those who walk after the Spirit. Through his sacrifice on the cross, he cancelled out all the charges the devil could bring against the believer. So, we shouldn’t want to minimize in any way the work of the cross. Condemnation is a tactic of the devil to keep the believer down. TRUTH will always lift us up and open our eyes to the light of Christ.

Causing emotional distress is an evil plot to keep us licking our wounds so we will not know and seek the deliverance God offers. In the case of our significant relationships, many of us get caught up in bitterness and resentment, blaming the other person for the tremendous hurt they’ve caused. We get angry and sometimes this anger turns to rage. The bitterness, resentment, anger, and rage we feel didn’t just suddenly show up on the scene. Even before the husband’s infidelity was exposed, those feelings were in us. But because the infidelity is out in the open, we can see our patterns of behavior. We can now lay bare before Heavenly Father, which is what He requires. We must seek His forgiveness for any sin we’ve committed and place our focus on our relationship with Him.

Jesus Christ is your hope
When there’s an issue in our families that critically impacts us and our children, we might feel helpless and hopeless. But we must remember that feelings and emotions cannot hold a place of governing authority in our lives. Only Jesus Christ can hold this position. He opened the door to the throne of God’s unyielding grace, love, and mercy. Our responsibility is to walk through that door, so that we might obtain God’s favor and mercy, especially in the time when we need it most. Our emotions and feelings will tell us to come apart at the seams, but Jesus Christ tells us to put our trust in God, and do not lean on our own understanding.

1Peter 1:3-4(NIV) tells us, “Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade. This inheritance is kept in heaven for you…” Praise opens the door to deliverance! We should praise God with all that is within us for what He accomplished for us through Jesus Christ! Most of us haven’t understood the resurrection and all that was done through it. Because of what our Redeemer has done, God reconnected us to the brilliance of His purpose. This purpose is that we have His Spirit actually living inside of us. You cannot engage your victory in all the fullness of what God meant your life to be, unless you come out of emotional enslavement and begin to walk in the liberty of Christ. Your origin is not earth, it’s heaven, and in order to access its resources, you must grasp your completeness through Christ. He is the way! He is your hope, and he cannot fail.

If someone fails to honor who you are, never allow it to define your identity. That man may have another family and you didn’t know it, but now that you do, refuse to be defined by the trick the enemy has played. Open your eyes, pray often, and let the Lord lead you to the victory and treasures that He desires to give 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.

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

 “He Had Two Families and She Didn’t Know It”, written by Fran for DomesticAbuseAwareness.Org ©2022. All rights reserved. All done to the glory of God through Jesus Christ, our Lord!

Less Talking and More Praying

The hope of every believer is that things will get better. This is always our hope, but we cannot be ignorant of the truth, and we certainly cannot ignore Biblical prophecy. People have been wicked a very long time, and even now, as unprecedented challenges are upon the entire world, arrogance and a desire for more power still consume the hearts of many people. As soon as one fire smolders, another begins to burn with unyielding fury. You wonder what’s next, and how bad can it get. Some of us are experiencing a heighten level of anxiety about all this, but God has not changed and neither has His Word. He tells us in Philippians 4:6(NLT), “Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done.” God has told us to pray instead of worrying. It is our responsibility as believers to get very clear about what God is demanding of us in this hour and figure out a way to make sure it happens.

As we look at the trouble in the world, we know that it is the devil’s handywork, and that it is designed to steal our attention away from our relationship with God. 2Corinthians 4:4(NLT) tells us, Satan, who is the god of this world, has blinded the minds of those who don’t believe. They are unable to see the glorious light of the Good News. They don’t understand this message about the glory of Christ, who is the exact likeness of God.” Our Heavenly Father did not want us to be ignorant concerning His number one enemy. He has told us straightforwardly that the devil is the god of this world. One of the methods the devil uses to add to his kingdom of darkness is to blind people, so they don’t understand the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Their minds are so consumed with this world that they can’t see the truth. They are walking around asleep and they don’t even know it.

God tells us in 1Thessalonians 5:5(NLT), “For you are all children of the light and of the day; we don’t belong to darkness and night.” Children of the light are those that have come to God, asked Him to forgive their sins, and accepted the Lord Jesus Christ as their personal Savior by believing in his resurrection. John 1:12(NLT) tells us, “But to all who believed him and accepted him, he gave the right to become children of God.”

Don’t add to darkness

It cannot be lost on us that there are way more people that have not accepted Jesus Christ as Lord than those of us that have. Now, more than ever, we must prove who we are. If we say that we represent Christ, there should be fruit that backs this up, and one of them is our refusal to add to darkness and our commitment to add to light.

Now is not a time for dwelling on the darkness of what we see around us. It is a time for less talking and more praying. God did not cause the tribulation and disappointments we’ve endured, but through them He has prepared us for such a time as this. James 5:16 tells us that the earnest prayers of the righteous has great power and produces great results. Our hearts have been seasoned through every tear we’ve shed, and today we are better able to pray for others with the authority and power of Christ. This is our responsibility as his followers. We must not allow ourselves to be diverted from this task.

Some of us have wondered what to do, because we’re feeling like we’re surrounded by limitation. This must not keep us from pursuing God’s Will. We hear so much about fulfilling our purpose, and prayer is the way to approach it. God tells us in 1Thessalonians 5:17 to pray without ceasing. This doesn’t mean that we can’t take care of our other responsibilities, but we should be praying much more often than we do. And we should be asking Heavenly Father to help us grow in our relationship with Him so that we reach higher levels of intimacy in our prayer lives.

There are places that we can go supernaturally in prayer that will close the wrong doors and open the right ones. Whole communities, even cities, can be released from darkness because of our prayers, but we won’t get there if we can’t control our tongues. 1Corinthians 6:19-20(NLT) tells us, “Don’t you realize that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit, who lives in you and was given to you by God? You do not belong to yourself, for ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God’s.” Your body is God’s temple. His Spirit lives inside you and prayer time should be one of communing with God through the Holy Spirit. We can have a wonderful encounter with Heavenly Father through His Spirit, and prayer, praise, and thankfulness opens the gate.

We can’t commune with darkness all day long, let it inside our eye-gate and ear-gate continually, and then expect it to be easy to let the peace of God rule our minds and hearts when it’s time to pray. No. We must guard our hearts in such a way that we can enter into that blessed place every time the Spirit beckons us there, but some of us are so consumed with what is happening in the world that we can’t even hear the Spirit calling us. Let’s change this. With all due haste, it’s time to get on our knees for our families, loved ones, and communities. So many people are in trouble, so many are desperate for help. We may not be able to provide financial resources, but we can pray for them in faith, and ask the Father to deploy heaven’s armies to help us all. Prayer in the name of Jesus Christ is the very best help we can offer, and we must be diligent to it because God has called us to get it done.■

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.

 “Less Talking and More Praying”, written by Fran for DomesticAbuseAwareness.Org ©2022. All rights reserved. All done to the glory of God through Jesus Christ, our Lord!