Don’t Be Afraid, God is in Control

Psalm 23:4-5(NLT)
4 Even when I walk through the darkest valley, I will not be afraid, for you are close beside me. Your rod and your staff protect and comfort me. 5 You prepare a feast for me in the presence of my enemies. You honor me by anointing my head with oil. My cup overflows with blessings.

As Children of God, we don’t have to be afraid of what’s to come, nor do we have to fear the unknown. Our only requirement is to trust God as He instructs us in this passage in Psalm 23.  Heavenly Father wants us to know that He is with us always. He will never leave us nor forsake us, in good times and in the bad times.  When we need comfort, Philippians 4:7 tells us that He will give us a peace that passes all understanding. When we need protection, Psalm 110:5 declares that He will stand at our right hand to protect us. He is a mighty and all-powerful God who loves His children, and we can depend on this with our whole hearts.

If these last few years, particularly the last few weeks, have shown us nothing else, it’s revealed that the world will constantly sink low and bring about the unexpected. But our God is faithful to those who love Him. We don’t have to walk around shaking in our boots. Ephesians 1:3 says that God has blessed us with all spiritual blessings because of our union with Jesus Christ, and through our blessed Redeemer, we are complete!

Passages like Psalm 23 are extremely comforting, especially during the lows in life, because tough times can make us feel lost. They can cause our thoughts to head south of what God has made us in Christ. It’s no secret that our darkest valleys can be found in the unpredictable and unexpected events that life sends our way. Not long ago, one of my dear friends witnessed how quickly things can change when he got a phone call from one of his older sons. He’d been in a car accident and was arrested for drinking and driving. At the time, his son had just graduated from college with a degree in criminal justice and had wanted to be a police officer since childhood. He applied to the police academy in hopes of finally making his dream a reality, but those dreams were shattered. My friend’s son faced mounting court fines and a lawsuit. He withdrew his application from the academy, and watched his dream slip away, all because of one bad decision. 

The unexpected can shift our circumstances quickly. It can take your breath away, because you didn’t see it coming. Although life is constantly proving that in the blink of an eye, things can change, we must never forget that God is always and forever in control. 1Corinthians 10:13(NLT) states, “The temptations in your life are no different from what others experience. And God is faithful. He will not allow the temptation to be more than you can stand. When you are tempted, he will show you a way out so that you can endure.” This verse lets us see how important it is for us to have faith in God. No matter how volatile and out of control life seems, Romans 8:28(NLT) affirms, “And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them.”

God has given us His Word to strengthen us during uncertainty and change. Isaiah 40:29(NLT) tells us, “He gives power to the weak and strength to the powerless.” We are His children, and He has equipped us to stand strong through our faith in Him. But if the Word of God is not rooted in our hearts and minds, we can become easy prey to believe or think we’re powerless. We can be tricked into thinking that God isn’t going to protect and take care of us, and once we allow this train of thought to spread, fear and doubt make themselves cozy in our minds and hearts. We can’t let this happen. God tells us in Hebrews 11:6 that it is impossible to please Him without faith. We must believe that He exists and that He rewards us.

God is a Rewarder! He loves us, and He gave His only begotten Son, Jesus Christ, to save us. He did this when we were at our worst. Romans 8:33(NLT) tells us, “Since he did not spare even his own Son but gave him up for us all, won’t he also give us everything else?” And in Romans 8:38, He puts the icing on the cake by telling us that nothing, absolutely nothing, can separate us from His unconditional, limitless love. None of us have any power of our own, but our merciful God has all power in His hands, and He promises in His Word to use His power to protect and care for us when our faith is in Him. We have the distinct privilege and responsibility to increase our faith in Heavenly Father and here are spiritual practices that can help us to do so:

1-Pray More

Philippians 4:6(NLT) tells us, Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done.” As believers, we are required to pray to God often, and to do so in the powerful name of Jesus Christ. This strengthens our relationship with God and adds to the intimacy we share with Him. Too often, we give the world a higher percentage of our time and energy and not enough to God, and this must change. Proverbs 15:29(NLT) tells us, “The LORD is far from the wicked, but he hears the prayers of the righteous.” Not only must we pray for ourselves, but we must pray for others. God is pleased to hear from us our James 5:16 assures us that the prayers of the righteous have wonderful results.

2-Read God’s Word

God’s Word is life to us. His Word is alive, and everything that we need for life and living is contained in it. When times get tough, it is extremely helpful to know scriptures that bring comfort and confidence in God. We need to renew our minds to those scriptures. This means that we should commit them to memory, so God’s Word becomes a part of us. It’s good practice to have a list of your scripture favorites, as well as a hard-copy of God’s Word, near your reach. This way you’re able to grab them for quick reference when you need it most.

3-Keep close to those that encourage you

Proverbs 18:21 warns us that life and death are in the power of the tongue. This demonstrates the potency of the words we speak. It cautions us against speaking negatively about ourselves, and it confirms that friends or associates that are not confident in the Lord may do more harm than good, especially during times of trouble and crisis. We need people in our corners that encourage us to keep our faith firmly planted in God no matter the situation or circumstances. This kind of mindset and attitude pleases God and will help us to stay calm and focused on His goodness and love during the most challenging times of 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.

“Don’t Be Afraid, God is in Control”, written for DomesticAbuseAwareness.Org ©2022. All rights reserved. All done to the glory of God through Jesus Christ, our Lord!

Save Your Relationship with God First

“Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and he will give you everything you need.”

Matthew 6:33(NLT)

“I’m desperately trying to save our relationship, but he acts like he doesn’t love me anymore.”

When we’re facing a crisis, such as being abandoned by the person we love most, our tendency may be to try to hold on to them for dear life. The emotional pain of losing that person is more than we think we can bear, and we become desperate. Many of us will do just about anything to save the relationship. We’ll do things we never thought we would, because losing this person’s love is more than rejection; it feels like we’re losing a piece of ourselves.

Betrayal is an ugly monster. And do you know what takes the hardest hit? Your self-esteem. To realize that the person you love no longer loves you or wants to be with you anymore, it cuts deep. There aren’t too many things in life that are more disappointing and hurtful, but as hurtful as these feelings are, when we can’t seem to shake them loose, they are revealing some key information that is vital to our healing. The first thing our pain reveals is how much we loved the person that hurt us.

1John 4:16(NLT) says, “We know how much God loves us, and we have put our trust in his love. God is love, and all who live in love live in God, and God lives in them.” Love is God and God is love. He is our Creator, and Genesis 1:27 tells us that He made us in His image. We are made from God’s love, and it is a very wonderful thing to know that we can love others deeply. Our pain tells us that we made a lot of space in our hearts for another person. We cared about them, and even though they decided not to appreciate our love in the way we wanted, our hearts were open to give love, and not everyone can say this.

The second thing our heartache reveals is how much we love ourselves. Heartache is supposed to hurt, but this hurt shouldn’t consume us or keep us from bouncing back with greater faith and wisdom. If we are pining away for weeks on end, it reveals that more strength and love at the foundation of who we are is needed. In order for us to become better and wiser, the strength that we need at our cores must come from our love of Jesus Christ. His love builds us up in our weak places, so that we love ourselves and others in a way that is in line with God’s Will and purpose for our lives.

Philippians 4:13(NLT) informs us, “For I can do everything through Christ, who gives me strength.” This is not a myth. It is the truth, and it should be our reality. We are empowered by God through the Spirit of Christ that lives within us. Our responsibility is to grow in this strength. When it becomes apparent to us that a situation exceeds our ability to weather storms and bounce back with resiliency, we must take action. We need the strength, wisdom, and healing that can only come from our Lord and Savior.

When we are injured emotionally, we must not sink into an abyss of pain. Instead, we must increase our time with God through prayer, fasting, and studying His Word. This is how we prepare for greater blessings, and it signals the heavens and everything beneath them that we will not make the same mistakes twice. So, the bottom line is that our commitment to keep ourselves thriving spiritually through Christ is the true measure of the love we have for ourselves and others.

The third and most important piece of information that devastating pain can reveal is the degree to which we’ve prioritized a relationship with a person over our relationship with God. 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.” Loving God with all that we are is God’s requirement. It isn’t negotiable. Jesus Christ also commands us in Matthew 6:33 to seek God and His righteousness above all else. So, the standard is very clear. God must forever and always be our priority. When He is, we can be confident that no matter what we face, we will always have victory in Christ.

Ephesians 3:19(NLT) expresses God’s desire for all of us. It states, “May you experience the love of Christ, though it is too great to understand fully. Then you will be made complete with all the fullness of life and power that comes from God.” Our Heavenly Father wants us to walk powerfully in Christ every moment of each day, and He has made this possible through Jesus Christ. Trying to save a relationship that isn’t in God’s destiny for us conveys to heaven and everything beneath it that we don’t believe in the power of our Father’s love. Let’s not do that. Instead, our first concern should be to do everything we possibly can to save our relationship with God. We should show Him that we believe in His promises and that we trust the wonderful future He has in store 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.

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

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!

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!

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!

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!

What the Times Are Revealing

We are living in perilous times, and never has there been the level of confusion, dysfunction, corruption, and disunity that we are witnessing today. Some people are paralyzed with fear and anxiety, while others are falling away from the faith in droves. Increasingly, we’re hearing talk of the end of the world, and although this talk isn’t new, the times are pressing, and the environment is boiling. We don’t know what the eruption will bring, but at times it feels very ominous. We know something is on its way and a return to what many consider to be normal is not likely. To ignore the reality of what is taking place is dangerous, but to prepare for it spiritually is not only wise, it will determine where we will spend eternity.

We have had many, many years to indulge a lukewarm faith and commitment towards the things of God, and He has been exceedingly patient and merciful towards us, but even patience has a limit. Jesus Christ explained in Matthew 24 that we know a season by the events that signal its coming. In Matthew 24:6-8(NLT), he taught, “6 And you will hear of wars and threats of wars, but don’t panic. Yes, these things must take place, but the end won’t follow immediately. 7 Nation will go to war against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There will be famines and earthquakes in many parts of the world. 8 But all this is only the first of the birth pains, with more to come.” There is no doubt that we are witnessing these things now, and as astounding as it may sound, even with everything that is happening, most people are still asleep.

Some Christian prophets, theologians, and well-known teachers say that these things do not signal the end, but others are sounding the alarm. We don’t have the luxury of indulging speculation. Impending peril should not be the motivator, our love for God should be. Psalm 91:1(NLT) declares, Those who live in the shelter of the Most High will find rest in the shadow of the Almighty.” Our Heavenly Father has promised to keep us under His arc of safety, no matter what is on the horizon, but we have a part to play in this as well.

Romans 4:19-21(NLT) teaches us about Abraham’s faith. It says “19 And Abraham’s faith did not weaken, even though, at about 100 years of age, he figured his body was as good as dead—and so was Sarah’s womb. 20 Abraham never wavered in believing God’s promise. In fact, his faith grew stronger, and in this he brought glory to God. 21 He was fully convinced that God is able to do whatever he promises.” Abraham had nothing like our modern conveniences to rely upon, and more to the point, Jesus Christ had not yet come to the earth, so Abraham didn’t have the indwelling Holy Spirit. He didn’t have the inward spiritual helper, teacher, comforter, and guide that born-again believers have today. Even so, Abraham walked with God to such a degree that Romans 4:21 tells us he was fully persuaded in God’s promises.

Abraham was sold out in his faith towards our Heavenly Father, and he was committed to do the Father’s will. God holds us totally responsible for having this kind of faith. Because of the world’s culture and systems, we have tried to get away with comingling worldiness and holiness. When you’re young in the Word, and haven’t yet acquired spiritual seasoning, God’s grace covers some of this, but for those of us that have been on this journey in Christ for a while, things are getting tight. God’s tolerance for some of the sinful things we are indulging is dissipating. He’s calling us to get closer to Him so that we increase in Christ and decrease in the flesh.

And this isn’t just about excessive drinking, inhaling and taking addictive substances, wild partying, fornication, pornography, and other worldly things that are of the flesh and we know the Father doesn’t like. Some Christians are doing these things, but some are also dabbling in new agism, with crystals, burning sage, and other new age practices. Many of us have a bad attitude. We’re impatient, negative, gossipy, and manipulative. All these things will interfere with our relationship with God, especially if we are trying to fill the void in our lives with them. That’s the wrong path. We must realize that God is our everything, and only He can fill up our empty places.

1Peter 4:3-5 The Message(MSG) tells us, You’ve already put in your time in that God-ignorant way of life, partying night after night, a drunken and profligate life. Now it’s time to be done with it for good. Of course, your old friends don’t understand why you don’t join in with the old gang anymore. But you don’t have to give an account to them. They’re the ones who will be called on the carpet—and before God himself.” The times are revealing that time’s up for trying to pretend to be a believer in the Lord Jesus Christ. Those that are not sold out will be weeded out, and this is happening right now. As God’s children of light, He has set us apart for holiness. We’re marked out by Him as His own, and our purpose is to grow up to the full stature of Christ. This is what our earth experience is all about.

The one thing we don’t want to have happen is to get caught in the middle of this season of peril without the shelter of the Almighty. We must understand that we can’t have it both ways. We can’t have one foot in the door and the other out. That doesn’t work. We must be fully persuaded in our commitment to God, because this is what He deserves. We’re not perfect, but God holds us totally responsible for allowing Christ to perfect us every moment of the day. To do this, we must yield to him and learn about him so we can follow his example. We don’t know when our Savior will return and appear in the clouds, but things are getting rough in the world, and will get rougher still. It’s time to be done with anything that doesn’t please our Heavenly Father and focus more of our time, resources, and energy on our relationship with 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.

“What the Times Are Revealing”, written by Fran for DomesticAbuseAwareness.Org ©2022. All rights reserved. All done to the glory of God through Jesus Christ, our Lord!