Making Right Decisions

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

Seven Things You Should Never Tolerate in Your Life

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

Kick Pain to the Curb!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Leaving the Past Behind

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

When We Lose Our Balance

1Corinthians 4:20; For the Kingdom of God is not just a lot of talk; it is living by God’s power. 21; Which do you choose?

“Ok God, you have my attention now, what in the world did I do wrong?”

A few years ago, I fell and broke my elbow. At that time, I had enough spiritual knowledge to recognize that my fall was not an ordinary oops but a severe wake-up call. Although falls are common, we have to always go back to God’s natural order. As God’s children, we’re covered by the blood of Jesus Christ. God doesn’t want us to be hurt in any way, for any reason. Life happens, but we are called by God to pay attention to the consequences of all missteps, mishaps, and mistakes, because we can learn from them.

Psalms 37:23-24 (NLT) tells us, “The Lord directs the steps of the godly. He delights in every detail of their lives. 24 Though they stumble, they will never fall, for the Lord holds them by the hand.”  Both literally and figuratively, a fall symbolizes that balance has been lost. Something is out of alignment and it’s our responsibility as spiritually mature individuals to examine what has caused us to become out of balance and why.

Falling can sometimes be a signal that we’re getting close to going off the path of God’s righteousness in some way. It can also be a wake-up call to the reality that we are veering too far away from the purpose God has for our lives. We’re not paying attention to the things that matter most to Him, and we need to slow down, take a pause, and think about what we’re doing.

John 4:24(NLT) tells us, “God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth.” Our Heavenly Father is a Spirit, and everything He has created is spiritual. Genesis 1:26 tells us that He has created us, human beings, in His own image. He has created this extraordinary universe, and He’s created this planet, earth, for our habitation. We are like Him! He created us in His own image so He can relate to us. We are human spirit and human soul housed in a human body. Everything about us was perfectly designed by our Heavenly Father to love Him, have a relationship with Him, and relate to others through Him.

Romans 8:29-30 informs us that God has predestined us to be conformed to the image of Jesus Christ, His one and only begotten Son. This passage also tells us that He called, justified, and qualified us to snuggly fit into the purpose for which we were called. Our lives are not random. They are ordered by God. Jeremiah 29:11 affirms that God has a good plan for our lives, a plan to give us a future and a hope. There’s no falling or hiccups in His plan for us. He’s a God of peace and everything God does is in order. So, when we fall in any way, it’s a spiritual occurrence of which we can derive spiritual information regarding where we are in the things of God.

Again, everything, and I do mean E V E R Y T H I N G, is spiritual. There will never be a way to extract ourselves from this truth. Those with a prideful mindset may have difficulty with it because they want to live according to the flesh, but that’s not the way children of God live. We walk by faith and not by sight. When we depend solely on our physical eyes and not on our spiritual eyes, we’re not actually seeing what’s in front of us. In this state, a person can fall several times before he or she recognizes they need to pay attention to our Almighty God.

A fall may show up in the form of a failed relationship, a lost job or losing your home. Loss can very often symbolize imbalance, and this isn’t God punishing us. He doesn’t want us to feel bad about ourselves or to be tripped up in life. He wants us to wake up and draw closer to Him so He can help us. The Apostle Paul said in 1Corinthians 13:11(NLT), “When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child.  When I became a man, I put the ways of childhood behind me.” Immature or childlike behavior as an adult will always lead to situations that provide an opportunity to mature in the Lord.

Whenever or however we fall, we can rest assured that our ground can never be too shaky for God to make our crooked paths straight. He is always here for us if we would just humble ourselves and ask for His help. As adults, we will often try and take matters into our own hands. We get ahead of God and this is never a workable strategy. We must take heed to God’s signal, correct our courses, and begin to allow Him to lead, guide, and direct us. He knows where we should be, when we should be there, and He knows how to get us there.

Humility is where it’s at! Humility expresses our love for God, and it activates us in His purpose. It’s necessary to surrender to God through humility because this is what aligns our actions and behaviors with the move of God’s Spirit.

We were never meant to do this thing called life alone. Galatians 5:1 tells us that now that we have been freed from the bondage of slavery by Jesus Christ, we must never again allow anyone or anything to saddle us with bondage again. We can’t have a double standard where we yield to God in certain areas but not at all in others. He commands us Galatians 5:25 to live in His Spirit and to walk by His Spirit. Then, instead of falling because of the circumstances of life, we will fall more in love with God through the Lord Jesus Christ and allow His Word, plan, and purpose to always keep us standing stable and strong. ■

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

“When We Lose Our Balance”, written for DomesticAbuseAwareness.Org ©2022. All rights reserved. All done to the glory of God through Jesus Christ, our Lord!

A New Way Has Opened!

Isaiah 43:16-19(NLT)

16 I am the LORD, who opened a way through the waters, making a dry path through the sea. 17 I called forth the mighty army of Egypt with all its chariots and horses. I drew them beneath the waves, and they drowned, their lives snuffed out like a smoldering candlewick. 18 “But forget all that—it is nothing compared to what I am going to do. See, I have already begun! Do you not see it?

“I want a new apartment, a new job, a new car… right down to the clothes on my back. I want everything brand-new in my life.”

Many of God’s children are looking for a drastic change in their personal lives. God’s Word tells us in Lamentations 3:22-23(ESV), “The steadfast love of the LORD never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; 23 they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.” Heavenly Father has separated night from day, and each morning, we receive new mercies from Him, which means we have the opportunity to start fresh. God never changes, but as we can see from His Word, He loves newness! 2Corinthians 5:17(ESV) declares, “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.” Through the new birth experience that Jesus Christ made available to each of us, we become united with Christ, and God makes us new creations. Because of what God accomplished through the sacrifice of His only begotten Son, if we accept Christ into our hearts, our sins can be forgiven. When this happens, we can receive the gift of His Holy Spirit, which is God’s seed. His Spirit empowers us with God’s strength, and we have victory in life because of our union with Jesus Christ! This is incredibly good news!

From these wonderful verses in Lamentations 3:22-23 and 2Corinthians 5:17, we can be confident that our Heavenly Father celebrates newness, and we should as well. Every day presents a new opportunity to bask in the Father’s blessings, and this should excite us to no end. We don’t always see what our Heavenly Father is up to, and we don’t realize how many times He has kept us from being destroyed by the tricks of the enemy. Often, He works behind the scenes, and many of His wonderful blessings are taken for granted. However, we must realize that if we’re above ground this very moment, we are blessed beyond measure. Philippians 4:4 tells us that our responsibility as God’s sons and daughters is to rejoice in the Lord! He is worthy of all praise, glory, and honor! Ephesians 1:3 declares that He has blessed us with all spiritual blessings in the heavenly realms because of our union with Jesus Christ, and we must be careful to keep our eyes open and focused on this extraordinary reality. 

The end of a year marks an end to the “old” for many people, and it provides an opportunity to embrace newness with a mind-set that is poised to go higher. We should seize this chance to elevate every aspect of our lives, to be better and do better than we did the year before. This is especially the case when it comes to our spiritual growth and maturity in Jesus Christ. Far too many of us are suffering in silence because we think that’s our only option. Someone very sad about his life said to me, “I want a new apartment, a new job, a new car… right down to the clothes on my back. I want everything brand-new in my life.” Many of us are feeling this way.

Sadness will always point to our need to surrender to God through Jesus Christ. Sadness and heartache should prompt us to release our burdens over to the Lord. We have made a habit pattern of thinking the way we do, and we have made a habit of handling issues and situations the way we always have. Increasing our faith in God demands that we break some of these patterns, because they are not serving us well.

God told His people in Jeremiah 29:11(NKJV), “For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the LORD, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope.” God didn’t need our help to come up with His plan. He has a good plan for each of us, and we must ask Him what it is, and have the humility to follow where He leads. He is God all by Himself. He is the Leader, and we are the followers, so we shouldn’t try to take the lead, only the Father can lead us to higher heights and greater blessings. We must decrease and allow the Christ in us to increase through our faith in God.

Our Heavenly Father is Alpha and Omega, He’s the Beginning and the End. He knows the end at the beginning, and He knows the beginning at the end. He has all power in His hand, and everything He does, from the smallest to the greatest detail, has a purpose. He isn’t redundant in any way, and He knows exactly what He’s doing. There’s no wavering with God. He never has to do a do-over, backtrack, or a take back. He does things perfectly from the very beginning. God is sovereign, and when we make a commitment to give Him our lives through Jesus Christ, giving him all that we are is what He expects. He tells us in Romans 12:1(The Message), “So here’s what I want you to do, God helping you: Take your everyday, ordinary life—your sleeping, eating, going-to-work, and walking-around life—and place it before God as an offering. Embracing what God does for you is the best thing you can do for him.that’s what He expects we will do.”

Through accepting Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior, we relinquish lordship of our existences to God through Christ. Heavenly Father commands us in Romans 12:1 to present our whole lives to Him, and to let them be a living sacrifice—not a dead sacrifice, but a living one—that is holy and pleasing to God. We’re to do this because it is the very least we can do for all He has done for us. This means that we’re presenting God with all that we are and allowing Him to transform us into the men and women He predestined us to be. We should allow Him to lead, guide, and direct us every step of the way.

Through Jesus Christ, God has opened the door to a new way of living life, and it is glorious! It is doing as God instructs us in Proverbs 3:5-6(NLT), “5 Trust in the LORD with all your heart; do not depend on your own understanding. 6 Seek his will in all you do, and he will show you which path to take.” For most of us, this is a new way of operating, and although it takes time to learn, trusting God with every aspect of our existences will build the intimacy in our relationship with Him. It will guarantee that the newness Christ offers us will open the door to infinite blessings and possibilities. ■

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.

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

 “A New Way Has Opened”, written by Kyada 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!

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!

How to Be Content in Life

John 10:10 is probably on every believer’s list of scripture favorites. It’s the words of our Master Jesus, and he teaches us, The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly.” In this verse, Jesus Christ tells us exactly why he came to the earth. He came to rescue us and to give us a more than abundant life. Most of us would be fine with just an abundant life, but our Heavenly Father deals in the exceedingly abundantly above anything we can ask or think. So, there you have it. More abundant it is! And this is good news indeed! Our problem is that our world has become bombarded with hate, disappointment, mistrust, lies, cruelty, and cynicism. Sadly, it’s rubbed off on many of us, and we no longer believe or stand on the Words of our beloved Savior. We have to change this and turn it around as quickly as we possibly can.

Very simply put, a worldly mindset is one that is shaped and molded by the world. By this, we know that when the Bible refers to the ‘world’, it is defining an anti-Christ consciousness that refuses to honor God. When a mind is blinded in this way, faith eludes it. A worldly mindset can only accept and believe what it perceives through sight and other senses, so it only believes what the systems of the world feed it. This kind of mind is dangerous for the believer, because it is a mind that is disobedient to God’s commandment to walk by faith and not by sight.

The Struggle

As believers, many of us are struggling with John 10:10 because we won’t come to grips with the degree to which we have allowed the world to influence us. We’re not following God’s blueprint, and we want everything on the double. We have refused to put on the Spirit’s fruit of patience, which is God’s requirement. We’re discontent with life because our Heavenly Father doesn’t coddle our refusal to get our heads in the game. He’s committed to our spiritual maturity in Christ, and our excuses will not work.

The discontentment really sets in, and in some cases turns to extreme sadness, when we simply won’t take the initiative to turn things around through our faith in God. In 1Corinthians 3:10(NKJV), the Apostle Paul said, According to the grace of God which was given to me, as a wise master builder I have laid the foundation, and another builds on it. But let each one take heed how he builds on it.” In this verse, God is teaching us through Paul about His amazing grace. He’s teaching us what we are able to accomplish through His grace and love. Just like Paul, we are master builders who are empowered by God to build on the foundation that our Master Jesus laid for us. We accomplish this by using our entire lives. In other words, our very lives should be the strong, solid layers that we are laying on the foundation of Christ. Jesus laid the initial foundation with his finished work, and our lives should be built on it by following God’s Word.

This is a construction phase that will continue until he returns. Our lives are our building material, and we offer them up to God so He can make them what He desires them to be. We know this because God tells us in Romans 12:1 that our whole lives must be presented to Him as a living sacrifice. Our lives are to be holy and blameless before God, and He is the One that will work within us to achieve all this.

Build a life

A foundation is the load-bearing part of a structure or building. This means that it can withstand pressure, and it can support the weight of other hefty material, structures, fixtures or furniture that may be placed on it. A foundation will not collapse when storms come, and strong winds blow. It will continue standing because it is made well. Our lives must be this kind of foundation or else we will not be able to steward God’s blessings in the way He expects, and most importantly, our house will not be in order when our Lord and Savior returns.

We cannot receive spiritual strength from the world. It’s impossible. We must build our lives from God’s Word, and this requires us to use the building material of the present. We can’t try to build a life from our pasts or from the future. Jesus Christ teaches us in Matthew 6:25-27(NLT), “25That is why I tell you not to worry about everyday life—whether you have enough food and drink, or enough clothes to wear. Isn’t life more than food, and your body more than clothing? 26 Look at the birds. They don’t plant or harvest or store food in barns, for your heavenly Father feeds them. And aren’t you far more valuable to him than they are? 27 Can all your worries add a single moment to your life?”

We cannot be so dependent on the world’s customs that we’re lost when it comes to living by the light of Christ. But the truth is that some of us don’t have a clue how to build a life. We can change this by doing as Jesus Christ instructs in Matthew 6:31-33(NLT), “So don’t worry about these things, saying, ‘What will we eat? What will we drink? What will we wear?’ 32 These things dominate the thoughts of unbelievers, but your heavenly Father already knows all your needs. 33 Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and he will give you everything you need.” To lay a foundation of contentment in life, our faith must grow and continually increase in our Heavenly Father. This must come before any other person or thing.

Work with what you have

All we have is right now. If gratitude and thankfulness for this very present moment escapes us, we are in trouble. Sadness, disappointment, insecurity, doubt, and all the other defeating emotions, have their root in fear. They increase because we are not living in the moment as Christ instructs us to do in Matthew 6:31-33. Instead, we’re worried about what happened in the past or in many cases, we’re worried about not having a need fulfilled in the future. We must wake up and recognize that the worry, angst, fear, and doubt that we indulge in this moment is laying the kind of foundation we don’t want for the future. It’s a shaky foundation, and it is not sturdy enough to hold all that God has in store.

Contentment is the choice to clothe ourselves in gratitude to God for the blessings we have right now. He is a faithful God, and He deserves every good thing from us. Paul said in Philippians 4:11(NLT), “Not that I was ever in need, for I have learned how to be content with whatever I have.” We must be committed to learn this golden lesson as well. He said in 1Timothy 6:8(NLT), “So if we have enough food and clothing, let us be content.” Heavenly Father doesn’t mean that we should stop wanting greater blessings. He expects us to understand that this moment is all we have, and we should make the most of it with gratitude and contentment before Him; He deserves this. He’s blessed us wonderfully through Christ, and if we’re not as thankful as we should be, we need to pray that He will open our eyes to His goodness. Contentment isn’t having everything we want, it’s the confidence that we have all we need in Christ, and when we need more, we’ll have that too. ■

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.

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