God Cannot Fail

A person said to me that she couldn’t understand why salvation through Jesus Christ is necessary. She finds the bible confusing and very troubling in some areas, and one of her greatest areas of confusion is consequences and why we must face them if God’s forgiveness is granted. She has heard teachers and preachers say that the world is being punished by God with the pandemic. She is alarmed by what she sees and said, “How can a loving God do this to people?” I’ve been on the Christian journey a long time, and I’m no stranger to questions like these. We live in a world where people see the most horrible things imaginable. They blame these dark deeds on God, even refer to them as “acts of God”, and they attribute the wonderful blessings of life to themselves or the devil. 1John 1:5 declares that God is light, and there’s no darkness in Him at all. This is the truth! We’d give ourselves the greatest gift of eternity if we’d accept that God’s Word is true, that He cannot fail, and if we trust Him, He will prove His Word to us in an undeniable way.    

From the very beginning of His Word, in Genesis 1, God shows us a little bit about His process of creation. This is an oversimplification of course, but in a nutshell, 1) He spoke; 2) everything cooperated, converged, and complied; then 3) everything came into being in response to His sovereign authority, glory, power and majesty. It couldn’t happen any other way. When God speaks, we have the definitive and final authority on any subject. God also spoke us into being. He created humans to be like Him and gave us free-will agency to make our own choices. Like Him, we are self-governing when it comes to how we want to live our lives. We can live them according to the example of Jesus Christ, which was always God’s plan, or we can try to come up with our own code of standards, and live as we please. Some who do this are very sincere, but sincerity is no guarantee for truth.  

In Genesis, we see that God is very specific and leaves nothing to chance. That’s just the way He gets down. For instance, He didn’t create frogs to have baby elephants, or bears to have baby giraffes. Everything produces after its own kind. That’s order! Another important pattern is the order in which He went about creating. It was very systematic and intelligent. He didn’t create Adam first and then create everything around the first man. No. He created everything humans would need for habitation, and then He created Adam. The understanding that God wanted us to enter into His rest and provision could not be compromised in any way. He is a God of order, and wherever there is order, there are laws. Therefore, there will always be a price for violating the law.

God told Adam and Eve not to eat of the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil. This was His Word. It was law. He said, “Don’t do it!” and that’s exactly what He meant. Then comes the slick and dastardly evil one, who wanted to steal the dominion and authority that God had given to Adam and Eve. Jesus Christ told us in John 10:10 that the devil is in the earth to steal, kill, and destroy. It’s amazing how people will believe in many of the other truths in God’s Word, but they have a problem dealing with what Jesus said in John 10:10. All we need to do is look around at the chaos and confusion in the world today. It is the devil’s handiwork, and he has blinded people so much that they try to label what God says is wrong as right, and what God says is right as wrong.

We have crafted many of the judicial systems on earth following the pattern of God’s laws. In most of them, if you violate the law, you lose all the privileges that come with being a free citizen. That’s what happened to Brother Adam and Sister Eve. They were in paradise spiritually, because they were holy and had spiritual perfection in their relationship and fellowship with God. This allowed them to be in a physical paradise in the Garden of Eden as well. They were in bliss, but they gave it up because they chose to be separated from the sovereignty of God.

They were tricked by the devil into disobeying God’s commandment which forbid them from eating of the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil. They disobeyed God’s law and lost all the privileges of being a free citizen in the beautiful paradise God created for them both spiritually and physically—on this earth. Notice that God didn’t come down and slap that apple out of Eve’s hand. Heavenly Father didn’t prevent her and Adam from making a bad choice any more than He will prevent us from making them. We are free to choose who we are going to be. The problem is that humans didn’t stop making bad choices after the first couple messed up but continued to sin and do things that were outside of who God has created us to be.

People have thought throughout history that creating more laws was the way the go, that the more laws we had, the better we would become. Instead, the exact opposite was true. The more laws we had, the more we used them to sin even more. We needed to be saved from ourselves and rescued from darkness. So, God sent His Son, Jesus Christ, to accomplish the work that we could not do for ourselves. Through Jesus Christ, God orchestrated redemption’s plan. He redeemed us from the dreadful curse of the law.

God is a Righteous Judge, more righteous than any of us can fathom. He is not flexible to our whims. He said in Jeremiah 17:10(NLT), “But I, the LORD, search all hearts and examine secret motives. I give all people their due rewards, according to what their actions deserve.” Many people have lost faith in the judicial systems in governments and countries. They are ruled in some cases by people that have tremendous power but are corrupt. Because of their corruption, they administer a kind of justice that serves their political, personal, and financial gain. God can never fail. He is perfect in every way, and therefore, He can never be accused of administering justice that isn’t perfect, righteous, and fair. Everyday the sun shines on every living person. Every day, whether we are motivated by good or evil, we breathe air and enjoy a beauty that isn’t possible for us to create or reproduce. God sends the rain to water crops, and the rain doesn’t distinguish which crops enjoy its nourishment. This shows us the goodness of God.

God’s Word tells us in 1John 4:18(NLT), “Such love has no fear, because perfect love expels all fear. If we are afraid, it is for fear of punishment, and this shows that we have not fully experienced his perfect love.” God is not punishing us. We are punishing ourselves, and many are too arrogant to see this. Fear is the opposite of faith. Jesus Christ said in Matthew 6:24 that we can’t serve two masters. We can’t have fear and faith at the same time. There are some very evil people that are possessed by satan to do some very evil things, and unfortunately, there are more of them than there are of those that love God and desire to please Him through Christ. Many of those counted on by millions to make sound judgments and good decisions do not, but God will never abandon those that love Him and are called according to His purpose. Psalm 34:10(NLT) says, “Even strong young lions sometimes go hungry, but those who trust in the LORD will lack no good thing.”  God will not fail us, but we must trust in His Word!

Galatians 6:7 tells us that God is not deceived when we pretend to be something we’re not. He’s not fooled when we say we love Him but refuse to obey His Word. He tells us that the harvest will always reveal the true motive and identity of the seed. In other words, the consequence will reveal the true motive and identity of the action. That’s a big chunk of meat to swallow but swallow it we must if we want to live by God’s truth. For every action, there is a re-action. Every choice we make has a consequence. God forgives our sin, but just as a good parent desires their child to make good choices, God desires the same for us. When we don’t, we shouldn’t blame Him, but humble ourselves to seek His forgiveness and ask Him to help us right our wrongs. If everyone did this, the world would be a much different place.■

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 Cannot Fail”, written by Fran, edited by PMB for DomesticAbuseAwareness.Org ©2020. All rights reserved. All done to the glory of God through Jesus Christ, our Lord!

God Will Put the ‘Super’ in Your Life!

Who doesn’t love a superhero, right? My husband inherited a boatload of comics. Trying to get them cataloged, I’ve gone through so many of them, that I can’t help it, I’ve got superhero on the brain; they come in with their superpowers and super strength and save the day! When I was a child, like everyone else I suppose, I wanted to be one. The mere thought of jumping from building to building, defying gravity, and seeing through walls took our imaginations beyond the limits of casual childhood play. Superheroes helped to teach us to dream bigger than our perceived capabilities. As much as they were entertaining back then, there are some insights these pretend power-packed champions can give us as adults, even today. I believe they will shed some light on why we get stuck and feel as though life has not dealt us a fair hand.

If you think about it a little more, you might agree that imagining for a second that a person can step outside the norm and be super means that we are willing to accept certain realities. One of them is that laws govern the world we live in, and it would take someone with super abilities and higher intellect to manipulate those laws or override them if such a thing were possible. Another notion we’d have to accept is that there are some individuals that don’t have superpowers but are so despicable and abusive that those of us without super abilities often need rescue. We get ourselves in such a fix that we need this rescue on a super scale. The third thing most of us buy into when it comes to superheroes is that ‘super’ doesn’t necessarily mean ‘good’. It could mean dastardly evil, in which case the buy-in that good always and ultimately wins would also need to be present. ‘Good always winning’ is primarily the thing that keeps us good-loving folks coming back for more and more of the story.

I have no doubt in my mind that the people that came up with comics, as well-meaning as they might have been, didn’t really understand much about how faith works. They did, however, understand the limitations of human beings and our need to believe in someone greater than ourselves. They also understood that we need to be rescued on a scale that exceeds our propensity to do great harm. In a way, I guess one could say that comics have successfully branded the word ‘super’ so that most of us associate it with a hero. Our mistake is that we relegate almost everything to do with the word to the ‘make believe’ category. It has prompted some folks to dismiss the reality that with God, ‘super’ exists on an unimaginable scale.   

Not trusting a reality higher than our physical sight can see will hit the pause button on life; it will cause us to be stuck for sure. That’s not what Heavenly Father had in mind. He created us with wonderful imaginations so that we will dream big and aim high; so we won’t acquiesce to the baser things. Instead, we’ll change the way we think to recognize and believe the miraculous truth that Jesus Christ spoke in Matthew 19:26, that with God all things are possible. To be WITH GOD is to accept His help, trust His wisdom and ability, and move in partnership with all that He is. And the extraordinary thing about this is that God moves through, in, with, and by us! His Spirit lives inside the sanctum of our inner beings. 2Corinthians 5:17 tells us that when we accept Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior, we become a new creation. 1Corinthians 3:16 affirms that our bodies become God’s temple, and His Spirit dwells within us.

Heavenly Father didn’t create us to be superheroes able to leap tall buildings in a single bound because we didn’t need to be. He created us to partner with Him in amazing ways. And one of the endless reasons that this is so amazing is that God created the law! He created laws that keep us grounded and continually growing in our relationship with Him. He spoke them into being, and although He is all-powerful, all-knowing, and everywhere present, He never violates His laws. He can do anything He wants to do, but He chooses to do everything perfectly through His unconditional and overwhelming love.

Jesus Christ demonstrated this love-power with his entire life. One of the most poignant examples is in John 6. It was around the time of Passover, and John 6:5(NLT) tells us that while sitting on a hill with his disciples, they saw a huge crowd coming towards Jesus. This was not an unusual occurrence of course, because his power, love, compassion and charisma always drew crowds. Jesus turned to Philip and asked a question, “Where can we buy bread to feed all these people?” Understand that Jesus was not looking to Philip for a resolution, because he knew Philip had doubt in his heart. Doubt is the very thing that keeps the power of God from flowing through us. Doubt traps us in very troubling and oppressive circumstances.

In John 6:7(NLT), Philip responded to Jesus by saying, “Even if we worked for months, we wouldn’t have enough money to feed them!” There were about five thousand men, and this count did not include the women and children that were there as well. Philip saw this situation as outside the limits of what they could handle, and even having the Son of the Living God with them didn’t change Philip’s mind. The revelation of the enormous power and authority of Jesus Christ slipped by Philip even though he had witnessed the many miracles Jesus had performed, but Jesus wasn’t deterred in the slightest. A young boy, no doubt strategically positioned by Heavenly Father, was nearby and he had five loaves of bread and two fish. Five loaves of bread and two fish was incredibly disproportionate to the huge crowd of over five thousand. This should fuel our understanding of 1) God’s enormous power, 2) the compassion and love of Christ, and 3) the great need of those he served. It allows us to appreciate ‘super’ in the form of a miracle when the combination of love, power, and need converge.

So many people are feeling stuck and sad, and they may not feel as though there’s anything super in their lives. God invites us to put Him to the test. If we’ll move from fear and doubt to faith, through the Lord Jesus Christ, God will save the day. That’s what He does. He has rescued us through Jesus Christ, and there’s nothing pretend about that. We must begin to believe in the power of God’s love more than we believe in the evil around us. Only villains believe in evil more than love. In 2Corinthians 12, the Apostle Paul was vexed by one of satan’s angels, and Paul said, “he tried his best to get me down. What he in fact did was push me to my knees. Paul begged God to remove this obstacle, but God told him in 2Corinthians 12:9(NKJV), “My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.” God’s strength shows up and shows out as we humble ourselves before Him in faith. We may not be superheroes by comic book standards, but we serve a God who has all power, and He wants to show us that we can do infinitely more through His love than we could ever do without it. ■

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

“God Will Put the ‘Super’ in Your Life”,  written by Fran, edited by PMB for DomesticAbuseAwareness.Org ©2020. All rights reserved. All done to the glory of God through Jesus Christ, our Lord!

God Is Validating the REAL You!

Do you feel honored, valued, appreciated, and loved by others? Do you feel as though people know the real you—the ‘you’ that you believe yourself to be at the deepest level? We all want validation from those we care about, but the truth is that it doesn’t come that often. I will venture to say that there are more people that feel undervalued and unappreciated than those that feel valued and appreciated. This doesn’t paint a very pretty picture I know, but so many of us feel as though we’re doing all the right things, yet it doesn’t appear we’re being rewarded. Well, God has something to say about this, and if we’ll open our hearts to receive it, I believe that it will make all the difference in the world.

I’m reminded of a conversation I had with a young woman that is very disillusioned with life. She was raised with parents that love the Lord, and she doesn’t remember a time when their lives didn’t revolve around their faith. She told me she does all the things that she believes a Christian should do—reading God’s Word and praying often, but something doesn’t feel the same she said. She’s reached a point in her spiritual walk where she feels depleted—like no person or thing can fill up her empty spaces. She has feelings of hopelessness and is emotionally exhausted.

Back in the day, and in many churches today as well, the diagnosis would be one of judgment and perhaps not one of compassion and spiritual maturity. We can’t get it twisted, we live in complicated times and the enemy is busier than ever. There are a multitude of darts aimed at our direction, and they are aimed at various and important areas of our existences. Sometimes we are attacked on all fronts. Someone or something at the job is weighing heavy on our minds; boyfriend or girlfriend ain’t acting right, and maybe a family member or friend is not providing the support and care you expect. When you add financial instability, environmental craziness, and the state of the world today in this mix, becoming weighted down emotionally is a very real possibility.

Jesus Christ has told us to cast our every care upon him, and most Christians know this passage in the bible. It’s Matthew 11:28-30 (NLT): 28 Then Jesus said, “Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. 29 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. 30 For my yoke is easy to bear, and the burden I give you is light.” Many of us do this. We give our burdens to Jesus Christ because we know the awesomeness of his power, and initially we trust him, but many of us take our burdens back. There are a couple of reasons why we do a take-back and why our commitment to surrender, release, and let it go doesn’t stick. I’d like to put a few out there for your consideration.

Lack of Prep for the Next Phase
Like the young lady I mentioned, many of us have been on this journey a while, and we know that God requires a commitment to His Word. In our minds we might be doing all the right things, but this doesn’t always mean that we’re growing spiritually. A routine can turn into inflexibility in a hot minute. It can lock us into habit patterns that work for a season, but what about God’s plans to take us higher now and in the future? Heavenly Father created life to be dynamic when it comes to spiritual growth. In this arena, stagnation is a minus and not a plus. When our spirit has received the message it’s time to go higher, but our soul is not in a listening mood, the disharmony gets translated to our hearts and minds as feeling bad. Surrendering to the reality that God wants us to cling more tightly to Him and that it’s time to move up, this will prepare us for the next phase of our spiritual journey. Praying for guidance through His preparation process will aid us tremendously.

A Misleading Need for Emotional Validation
Heighten emotions of praise and thankfulness are such a big part of the way we worship and experience God. But some us have developed a kind of dependency on emotions, and we start to trust our emotions more than we trust what God says. We have to switch that around. Our emotions should follow what God says. In other words, when we turn our dials all the way up to believing and trusting God, we might not feel like skipping through fields of daisies, but we have to trust Him anyway. The skipping will follow.

Looking to the Wrong Source
Validation is part of the soul’s appetite. All of us will seek it because it’s part of being human, but the source of our validation is monumentally important. Many of us sense this big hole inside, and it just feels awful sometimes. So, what do we do? We try to fill it. We seek to feed our souls validation from those we love, admire, and support. The trouble with this is that their food is not eternal, and it can’t affirm the truth of who we are and who we’re meant to be. So, if we’re looking to feast on any other source than Heavenly Father, we will be in a constant state of soul-starvation. This is where many of us are right now.

The soul can only be as fulfilled and whole as its most hearty and healthiest meal. When we understand this, the words of Jesus Christ in Matthew 4:4(NKJV) magnify exponentially. After fasting forty days and nights, he was tempted by the devil to turn stones into bread. He responded to the devil’s temptation with “Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God. ” The eternal wisdom, counsel, and promises of God’s Word is the food our souls were meant to eat. The psalmist lays out God’s spiritual menu in Psalm 34:8(NLT). He tells us, “Taste and see that the LORD is good. Oh, the joys of those who take refuge in him!”

God knows us intimately. He knows the REAL you better that you can ever know yourself. When we’re depleted in our inner beings because our souls are starving spiritually, God can give us what we need. He has the very best medicine, and He knows exactly where to administer it. We are spiritual beings, created to thrive from spiritual nourishment. When we’re feeling depleted, devalued, and low, we need not cling to what worked in the past. God’s resources are infinite, and He loves to help us tap into His treasures. Let’s be good to ourselves and surrender totally to Him. Let’s be willing to release the things that hold us back so we can make room for the things that propel us forward. Then, we will be prepared for the next level of spiritual growth. As we feast on His Word, we’ll learn to trust the Lord in a greater way, and He will validate our souls and keep us continually satisfied.■

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.

“God Is Validating the REAL You!” written by Fran, edited by PMB for DomesticAbuseAwareness.Org ©2020. All rights reserved. All done to the glory of God through Jesus Christ, our Lord!

Only With the Help of God

1 Corinthians 13:7-8(NLT)
“7 Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance. 8 Prophecy and speaking in unknown languages and special knowledge will become useless. But love will last forever!”

I was driving home one day after work to meet my husband. Within the span of 30 minutes, he had called at least ten times to check up on me. He knew I left at 4pm every day, and if I wasn’t pulling up in the driveway by 4:30pm, I was sure to hear his mouth. I naively thought this was his way of showing his love. The real truth is that he was so insecure within himself that it blocked his ability to truly trust me.

At that time in my life, I believed I had a good relationship with God, but for the life of me I couldn’t understand why He had allowed me to be married to such an insecure man. The mental and emotional pressure of having someone on my back every day about my whereabouts was way too taxing on me…I felt like I couldn’t breathe. I found myself dreading to come home.

If my husband was home when I arrived, he’d drill me about my day for the first ten minutes. It became a very tense thing for me because I had to be so careful not to say anything that would lead to more questions and accusations. I was always on pins and needles, never knowing if the simplest statement I’d make would anger him to the point of physically attacking me. Pain, fear, and insecurity became my companions for the duration of our marriage.

I remember reading the passage in 1Corinthians 13:7-8 which teaches us about how love behaves. At first, it made me very sad to read this passage, because I didn’t have this kind of love in my marriage. As I thought about it more, I became so angry with myself for having married this man. Just as God didn’t stop Adam and Eve from making a catastrophic bad choice, He didn’t stop me from doing the same thing. We get to choose the path we will take and decide if we’ll claim our destiny in Christ or walk the path of our own making. I had chosen my own path, and it wasn’t the right choice for my life, but I refused to give up hope. Heavenly Father has given us life through His Word. We can change our course in life, begin to walk in His wisdom, and learn to make better choices.

It took a while, but I began reading more and more of God’s Word, and did so whenever I found myself in despair. His love kept me going. My appeal to anyone going through what I described is that you never give up hope in God through the Lord Jesus Christ. It was only with the help of God that I made it through an abusive marriage. Know that He will do the same for you. Continue to pray, and He will give you the strength you need. Never stop believing in the dream of a life of peace and wholeness.■

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.

“Only with the Help of God”, written by Kim, edited by PMB for DomesticAbuseAwareness.Org ©2020. All rights reserved. All done to the glory of God through Jesus Christ, our Lord!

What Happens When We Reject the Truth?

In John 8:32(NLT), Jesus Christ taught a deeply foundational reality. He said, “And you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” On the surface, without thinking about the depth of this verse too much, many of us view it as a wonderful piece of information. Although it holds the potential to totally transform our lives, most of us remain detached from it. We don’t clothe it in the dynamic power of its revelation. Instead, we put it in the “that’s really nice” container of our minds. There it sits, occupying space. It becomes imprisoned by our unbelief, because we have refused to mix the mountain-moving reality of our potential in Christ with faith.

The infallible, unchangeable nature of truth has an impact. Our Great Redeemer clarifies very straightforwardly that truth is effectual, and one of its most important effects is to set us free. We know it to be most important because Christ made a point to teach us this. He is the truth! Jesus Christ is the living Word of God, and he was resurrected from the dead by the Spirit of God. He is alive, and he is our example and Big Brother. When we believe this, the outcome is freedom! But in this foundational verse of John 8:32, Jesus also says something else that is crucial to our understanding. It’s the piece that causes many people to deny the treasure and completely walk away from it. Jesus said, “and you will know the truth.” The ‘knowing’ is the part in the machinery of life that transfers us out of bondage and keeps us continually parked in freedom’s space.

The thing about most of us humans is that we know what we know, we like what we know, and we don’t want to know anything different. This is a habit we won’t even think about changing unless we are forced to. Believe it or not, it’s the reason for many of the challenges and difficulties we face in life. We dismiss the reality that lessons are baked in. They are standard with life’s packaging. When we hold so tightly to negative or wrong thought patterns, our hearts are not as fertile with humility as they should be. Ignorance can then keep us bound.

Adam, the first human, became a living soul when God breathed the breath of life into his body. 1Corinthians 15:45(NLT) says, “But the last Adam—that is, Christ—is a life-giving Spirit.” Most people look for life outside the life-giving Spirit of Christ. This is ignorance. They look for it in man-made structures, images, and things. They look for it in people, relationships, substances, and money. They seek to worship the creation and not the Creator, big mistake.

In John 14:6(NLT), Jesus Christ said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one can come to the Father except through me.” Jesus Christ is everything! And he lives inside us. This means that through us, the Spirit of life seeks full expression, and its fullest expression is truth. Going against this will give us plenty of hiccups. In John 16:13, Jesus Christ said the Spirit’s chief occupation is to guide us into ALL truth. It is critical that we allow the enormity of what this means to our existences to sink in our hearts. Life belongs to the Spirit of the Living God. Through His Son, Jesus Christ, He has made life and all it’s abundance available to us, but we cannot control it, manipulate it, or make it something that it wasn’t created by God to be. Life moves according to the order of the Divine. And the Divine has made it a prerequisite that knowing the truth of life is necessary for freedom.

Outside of truth, there is bondage, there is darkness; there is ignorance and neglect. God said in Hosea 4:6(NKJV), “My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge. Because you have rejected knowledge, I also will reject you from being priest for Me; Because you have forgotten the law of your God, I also will forget your children.” There is a curse that comes with a refusal to know the truth. We will find that ultimately, very little will partner in kind with us when we reject the truth, because it is a rejection of our own identity—the purpose for which we were created.

God designed everything in the universe to cooperate beautifully with His purpose. When you and I are operating outside of this purpose, He doesn’t squash us, He teaches us. His teaching method often feels like tough love and discipline, but we should expect no less from a loving and powerful Father. It is tough in our way of thinking because many of us have been blinded by satan, and he has caused us to think God doesn’t love us. Heavenly Father loves us way more than we can ever love ourselves. And that’s why He wants so very much to set us free. He doesn’t want us to be in the dark, and that’s what domestic violence and abuse is all about, it’s an attempt to keep us in darkness.

And it’s not just domestic violence and abuse, but all the troubles and confusion in life, they can make us feel trapped and alone, but this isn’t the truth. We are never alone, and the Father is always with us. He wants to rescue us, so we’ll know the truth of His love, liberty, and light. When we accept chaos and tribulations as the reality we are meant to live, we are accepting a lie. Let’s reject the lie and embrace the truth. We were meant to walk in the liberty Jesus Christ has made available to us. Colossians 3:3 tells us that our real life is hidden with Christ in God; for this is the place where truth abides. Darkness and trouble exist where God’s Word is not believed or known, but we can change this, and we should. All we need to do is to ask Him to guide our lives. He will do it because He loves us, and He created us to be guided by His truth. ■

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 Happens When We Reject the Truth?”, written by Fran, edited by PMB for DomesticAbuseAwareness.Org ©2020. All rights reserved. All done to the glory of God through Jesus Christ, our Lord!

Learning to Walk on Water

For those suffering domestic violence and abuse, or who have endured it in the past, this time of such global unrest may be causing even more anxiety and fear. The sheer magnitude of all this confusion and chaos coupled with that in one’s own home can be the impetus for total break-down, but this break-down can be avoided. It should be all our prayers, that those who are continually in harm’s way will allow the strong tower of God’s love to blanket their minds and hearts. His love will give them the strength and power of Jesus Christ. Acts 17:28 tells us that it is in Christ that we live, and move, and have our being. And we see very clearly that the enemy is strategizing fiercely to divert our attention away from our Christ reality. Therefore, we must be equally fierce when it comes to the game the enemy is playing, so that we choose faith rather than fear.

Faith is the substance God used to create the entire universe, so we know it to be potent stuff. It is activated through thought, intention, and will. It meets us at a place that is higher than the conditional circumstances that surround our everyday lives. This is why God instructs us in 2Corinthian 5:7 to walk by faith, and not by sight. We can’t rely on what we see day to day, because what we see day to day represents the natural realm. The problem with relying on the natural realm is in 1Corinthians 2:14(NLT). It tells us, “But the natural man does not receive the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; nor can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.”

Earth is the natural realm. It is an expansion of God’s territory, but He hasn’t taken it by force. He’s taking it by love. We are ones to introduce His love into this territory by completing the work that Jesus Christ began. God’s goal is that we live and move on earth by receiving from Him through the Spirit of Christ. 1Corinithans 2:10-12(NIV) says, “10 these are the things God has revealed to us by his Spirit. The Spirit searches all things, even the deep things of God. 11 For who knows a person’s thoughts except their own spirit within them? In the same way no one knows the thoughts of God except the Spirit of God. 12 What we have received is not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, so that we may understand what God has freely given us.”

If you and I were to rely only on information from what we see in the natural realm, we would be paralyzed in every way, because the things we see can be very scary. We might even think that God isn’t making all things to work together for good as He says in Romans 8:28. Be confident that God is extremely busy in the supernatural realm, and this is a realm we cannot see with natural or physical eyes. We experience it through our spirits. The truth is that the supernatural realm is more real than the natural realm. A follower of Christ must condition their minds and hearts to walk in this truth, because this natural realm of earth dwelling is a very temporary occupancy for us.

In Matthew 14, we can see a vivid example of what’s possible when we receive from the supernatural and rely on God’s power. This chapter in the Gospel of Matthew gives us the record of our beloved Savior walking on water. When his disciple, Peter, saw this, he said in Matthew 14:22(NLT), “Lord, if it’s you…tell me to come to you on the water.” Jesus replied, “Come.” And briefly, Peter walked on the water! He did what he saw his Master doing, but in an instant this changed. For a few moments, he was saturated by the faith of Jesus Christ, and when he heard the word “Come”, he didn’t think, but simply obeyed, and moved by the Word of the Lord; the results were miraculous. But then, Matthew 14:30 tells us that Peter allowed what he saw in the natural to override the truth of the supernatural. This is always a detrimental step backwards. Peter saw the wind and became afraid, then he began to sink. He cried out to Jesus for help.

Oh, how I have wished over the years that Peter’s mind and heart had stayed free, that he had remained caught up in the faith of Christ he visited for that brief little while. Where would we be today if he had learned the secret of remaining in a mountain-moving faith, and then taught others? Even still, Peter did what no human has done since, and showed us through Jesus Christ what is possible when we refuse to be bound by the limitations of the natural realm and live through the faith and power of Jesus Christ.

Most of us will never encounter a situation that will make it necessary to walk on water, but we should learn more about Christ and seek to grow in the faith that would make it possible. We were birthed from that supernatural place, and we must learn to put the truth of our reality in Christ above what our emotions and feelings sometimes tell us. They might tell us to breakdown, but our spirit is reminding us it’s possible to walk on water. We must strive to increase our faith by trusting God through Christ, so that we are not rocked by our circumstances; we are not moved to emotional hysteria and breakdown by what we see. Instead we can know with every fiber of our being that God will protect and shield us. He will put a hedge around us and our loved ones if we are diligent to trust Him first, and let our emotions and feelings follow. ■

THE HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®, NIV® Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

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.

“Learning to Walk on Water”, written by Fran, edited by PMB for DomesticAbuseAwareness.Org ©2020. All rights reserved. All done to the glory of God through Jesus Christ, our Lord!

Keepers of the Secret

Melissa was one of the few people I felt comfortable around, and it is only now, after looking back at our lives, that I know why. She was a few years older than me, and before I moved to another state, she married David, the only man who she felt ever paid her any attention. In my eyes, Melissa was an extraordinary person. She did even the small things with the greatest amount of care, and as long as everyone else was having fun, she seemed content to be in the background and remain unnoticeable. For as long as I can remember, she talked about becoming a teacher for children with special needs, but she always let things get in the way of pursuing her dream. And when she married David, she gave up on this dream altogether. She let him convince her that college was an unachievable goal. After he manipulated her self-esteem, he took control and had the final say on all her friendships and just about every other aspect of her life. She accepted and excused his emotional abuse.

An abusive environment is breeding ground for insecurity and low self-esteem. Often children learn to be keepers of the secret, and they sometimes gravitate towards one another, never speaking their truth verbally, but knowing it spiritually. Melissa and I shared this unspoken truth, and the moment I witnessed the interaction between she and David, I knew exactly what had happened. Like a magnet, her insecurity had attracted that familiar cursed and deceptive cyclone we both knew so well. Its rotations are both oppressive and comfortable, pushing its victim further in the shadows. It was what she knew, but she would not acknowledge abuse for the web of dysfunction and evil that it is. Instead, she would cling to it as if it was all she deserved, like it was her last and only hope to be loved.

The Creator of the universe loves us. The enormity of this reality should fuel our every move. When it does, we hear the voice of confidence resonating in our hearts, because Romans 8:16 tells us that the Spirit will testify within that we are children of God. If we allow it, the confidence of truly knowing God loves us will bring us out of the shadows and into the light as we begin to walk through God’s process of Fathering us. He pours His love into the gaps that we have tried to fill with other things.

There is no question that if those we love most have harmed or caused harm to come to us, the ground that would normally secure the foundation of our minds and hearts will break; and it is a sizable crack. The tremors from this crack vibrate brokenness, and it is so uncomfortable and hurtful, that some of us will let those with parasitical tendencies latch on. Everything that an abused person in this cycle of insecurity and denial is fed just goes right through those cracks and adds to their brokenness. We can never get full this way, but many who have been abused will continue to chase the thing that keeps them empty.

We must see ourselves as worthy, not just a little bit, but a lot. Galatians 5:1 declares that Jesus Christ has set us free, and we should never again let anyone put a harness of slavery around us. This freedom that Christ offers is our birthright. He is our Brother, and we are his siblings because of his sacrifice. He gave his life for the remission of our sins and rescued us from the kingdom of darkness. He delivered us from the bondage of low self-esteem, insecurity, and feelings of worthlessness. All this self-loathing negativity comes from satan’s kingdom, and he wants to continue to rob us of life’s vital juices so that we will walk the earth completely depleted of joy, and dependent on his kingdom of fear, sadness, and shame. We can resist this plot of deception and destruction, and we should.

Jesus Christ said in John 3:19(NLT), “And the judgment is based on this fact: God’s light came into the world, but people loved the darkness more than the light, for their actions were evil.” To love light is a choice, and there is no gray area. We will either love it or love darkness, and loving darkness is not a good choice. It’s the worse one of all. God hopes we will not make that choice. The thing is, sometimes we’re not aware of what we’re doing. We’re accepting whatever comes our way, not discerning what’s from heaven and what’s from hell. We must know that we have a choice, and we can rely on God’s help. We have to wake up and realize that the packages from hell we can and should refuse. We owe it to ourselves to receive freedom from the secret, so we can be released from the pain. When we take even the tiniest step to love ourselves this way, God will begin to fill the cracks and teach us what it means to be free.■

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.

“Keepers of the Secret”, written by Fran, edited by PMB for DomesticAbuseAwareness.Org ©2020. All rights reserved. All done to the glory of God through Jesus Christ, our Lord!

God Loves Us!

Do you know that the opposite of faith is fear and that the two cannot exist in the same place? We will either believe one or the other, but we cannot believe both. We can’t have faith and fear at the same time. This tells us a little bit about the power of these two heavyweights. Faith and fear will change the trajectory of a person’s life. Fear will paralyze our efforts and bring our lives to a dead halt. On the polar opposite, faith in God will unleash the power of Christ on our behalves and send us catapulting to new heights. Romans 10:17 tells us that faith comes wherever the Word of God is heard and believed. By the same token, fear is present wherever the Word of God isn’t heard and believed. Fear is the root cause of the evil and terrible things happening in our world; it is because people have refused to believe the truth.

Some will say this is too hoaxy or simple minded, that it’s an ‘out there’ premise with no merit. The intellectually inclined might find that it defies the philosophies and prowess of great minds. They might say it puts a spiritual bent on complexities that couldn’t possibly be explained by the truth of God’s spiritual doctrine. Yet, the condition of the world before us speaks extremely loud about the extent of humanity’s capabilities and limitations when we refuse to invite God’s love to reign. It shouts from the roof tops about our aptitude for great wisdom and even greater foolishness, for our great compassion and love, and even greater selfishness and desire for power at all costs. Far too many of us have abandoned God’s truth and latched on to pride and arrogance. But despite it all, God loves us, and if we will honor His truth, it will be the glue that holds our lives together.  

Genesis 1:26 tells us that God gave us humans dominion in the earth. From Him we have received the gift, permission, and authority to reign over our own lives. Romans 11:29 says that His gifts and His calling are without repentance. This means that God never has to do a do-over or a take-back. He never violates His Word. He will not overstep our free-will choices, not ever. He watched as human beings, the very ones He sent His only begotten Son to rescue, nailed Jesus to the cross and crucified him. In this unparalleled sacrifice, God showed us both the condition of the human heart and the unconditional, unlimited overflow of His matchless love.

He allowed the sacrifice of Christ because He will not overstep His Word, and His Word never fails. This is the truth! Truth’s nature is not to bring condemnation to the person that believes it, but to liberate them. Romans 8:1 declares there’s no condemnation to those who belong to Christ. God is our Creator! He knows the condition of the human heart, so our knowledge of our capacity for both good and evil is not to bring shame to us but to present us with the choice of repentance, correction, and elevation. These are truth’s staples. The Lord Jesus Christ declared in John 8:32 that we will know the truth, and the truth will make us free. We cannot be free by believing a lie. Only the truth will allow us to walk in liberty.

God still blesses us despite our shortcomings. He loves us! He has proved to us through Christ that His goodness isn’t based on who we are, it is based on who He is. Through the Lord Jesus Christ, God has shown us that no matter what we do or how smart we believe ourselves to be, He’s the One with the plan. His Will goes forth no matter what. Romans 8:28(NLT) gives us insight into the perfection of His Will and plan. It says, “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.” This is a powerful truth. The blame game is a useless exercise. We need to allow space in our minds and hearts for the reality that God has a plan that works brilliantly. Each of us has a part to play in His plan, and if we’ll recognize this and study His Word, we will come into consciousness about the unique purpose that Heavenly Father has woven in the inner sanctum of our being.

The world can be all types of crazy, but God’s purpose will prevail. When we step into His plan, our lives begin to make sense because we’re aligning with our destinies. We’re aligning with the unique spiritual DNA that is deep within. It has been waiting to be activated, and when it is, we come alive in a way that doesn’t make sense to much of the world. It will make perfect sense to us though, because God’s Spirit will testify with our spirit that we are indeed His children.

1John 5:4(NLT) tells us, “For every child of God defeats this evil world, and we achieve this victory through our faith.” Our faith in God and in what He has accomplished on the cross through Jesus Christ is what makes us an overcomer. We don’t have any power of our own. Our sufficiency comes from God. He’s our Source. He’s the glue that holds our lives together, not another person, system, agency or relationship. Don’t get it twisted. It’s not about our brilliance. It’s not about our intelligence, talent or anything else. God gives us what we need to overcome any obstacle through our faith in Him. So, we need to step out of the world, and through faith leap into the arms of our Heavenly Father. He loves us so much. For many of you, He’s been knocking at the door of your heart for a long time, and there’s not a better time than now to let Him in through His Son, Jesus Christ.■

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 Loves Us!”,  written by Fran, edited by PMB for DomesticAbuseAwareness.Org ©2020. All rights reserved. All done to the glory of God through Jesus Christ, our Lord!

The Lord is Close

Again, I ask and encourage everyone to include in your prayers those who are in abusive situations and are also facing greater risk because of pandemic restrictions. If you are anything like me, you are saddened by the suffering and loss people are experiencing, but your heart is also swelling with gratitude for the roof over your head, the food on your table, and the health that allows you to live and breathe each day. These are things many of us have taken for granted, but one of the most precious blessings we have taken for granted is the closeness of our Heavenly Father. Many of us have overlooked how easy it is to reach out to Him, and to do so in a time when we need His strength, love, and power most.

Psalm 145:18(NLT) says, “The Lord is close to all who call on him, yes, to all who call on him in truth.” What does it mean to call on the Lord in truth? The answer to this question will require us to know a little bit about a person’s motivation for calling on the Lord. Psalm 46:1 tells us that God is our refuge and strength, that He is our ever-present help in the time of trouble. It is important to know this because we desperately need God, and many are getting woke to this reality now. But coming alive to the reality of God’s blessing and provision is more than just calling His name—plenty of folks do that in vain, and sometimes in the most offensive way. To call on Him in truth is to know who it is you’re calling.

A lot of things that we think God is interested in, He’s really not so much. He doesn’t care about designer brands or whether something is in or out of style. He is not nearly as concerned about what is on the outside as He is about what is on the inside. He wants our hearts to have a place where His truth can land and take root. In other words, we should desire to meet God with something He can latch on to. He’s an eternal God dealing with a people that He desires to give eternal life. 1John 4:8 tells us that God is love. Love is not only what He does, Love is who He is. And the thing we ought to know about this is that Love has a nature, and it’s to give richly and continually.

Some biological parents make the choice to give their kids gifts without contemplating whether their kids are ready or mature enough to receive them. Our willingness to be accountable and our ability to demonstrate gratitude are the standards that indicate the quality and potential of our stewardship. We don’t have to be perfect at it, we just have to be on the track that leads us on the path to become better as life progresses. An excellent giver is someone who contemplates the recipient’s ability to steward the gift. Personally, I wouldn’t give a Rolls Royce to a 30-year-old adult without a license, nor would I give a military grade weapon to a 5-year-old. This is based on the understanding of my tiny brain, so imagine the prowess of a God that has all power and knows everything. He is THE Excellent Giver! He knows what we need, what we’re prepared to receive, and whether we’ll be truly thankful to the point of using what He gives in the right way.

Unfortunately, this very fast-paced, instant gratification environment we live in has groomed many of us to always go for the quick-fix, or to be driven by impatience and only shoot for the just enough to get by. The reality is that these approaches don’t speak the language of love and honor, and God overwhelmingly deserves both. The truth is that when humanity was at its worse, John 3:16 tells us that God so loved the world that He gave us Son, Jesus Christ, as a sacrifice. He did this so that everyone who believes in this extreme love offering will not perish but have the gift of eternal life. Nothing or no one can do what God has done for us through Jesus Christ. And we can be assured that Heavenly Father is looking at how each of us receives this amazing gift and how we demonstrate our gratitude for it.  

Jesus Christ is the Father’s only begotten Son, and He allowed him to be sacrificed to save all of us. This is love! This is truth! So, when we come to God, we don’t have to put on airs or pretense, but we DO have to recognize the unfathomable reality of His love and power. Heavenly Father loves us in all our sin, all our fear, and all our pain. This won’t mean much to us if we can’t relate to the truth of who He is, and who we can be if we allow ourselves to accept His love and get close to Him. It may get worse before it get’s better. We need the Lord, and He desires to help us. He is close, and when we call Him recognizing the truth of His love and power, He will help us. ■

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

“The Lord is Close”,  written by Fran, edited by PMB for DomesticAbuseAwareness.Org ©2020. All rights reserved. All done to the glory of God through Jesus Christ, our Lord!

Why It’s Important to Love Right

Most of us are pretty confident that love makes the world go ‘round. Love causes movement. It changes things. It creates! It makes things infinitely better than they could ever be without it. Love is easy, but our specialty as human beings is to make things far more complicated than they need to be, and so it is with love. We’ve tried to make different forms and types of it, compartmentalized it, and we’ve even tried to lock it away in our hearts for safe keeping, but as much as people have tried, love is a treasure that can’t be corrupted or made to be something that it isn’t. It comes from our Creator. He’s the Originator of love, and it isn’t just what He does, it’s who He is.

1John 4:8(NLT) tells us, “But anyone who does not love does not know God, for God is love.” The number of folks that have put their own spin on this verse are too numerous to count. This verse doesn’t mean just because a person has the capacity to love someone, that they know God. In the context of this verse, love has a higher definition than most of us are willing to acknowledge; this little thing called ‘arrogance’ keeps getting in our way. Love involves sacrifice. We learn this lesson from our Master Jesus, who when asked by Heavenly Father for volunteers to rescue humanity, he said, “I’ll go, Father! Send me!”

Love for the Father, and love for us led to the unselfish sacrifice that Jesus Christ made, and it is this love that sets the standard. It is the love of which 1John 4:8 refers. Through the Spirit of Christ, this same love is in us. It’s not the ooey gooey, butterfly churning, goosebumps popping sensation we get from being in the company of a Boo. That adds a sweet savor to life, but its’ aroma often fades quickly. The love of God in Christ is a transformative power that is at the core of our being through God’s Spirit. The discipline of self-sacrifice unleashes it. So, when you and I attempt to love without a willingness or understanding that we will most likely have to give up the thing we believe we deserve, our aim misses the mark of the love of God. He will not punish us for our motivations, however askew they may be. Instead, He will aid us.

Jesus Christ said in Revelation 3;20(NLT), “Look! I stand at the door and knock. If you hear my voice and open the door, I will come in, and we will share a meal together as friends.” This is the heart of the Father. He’s knocking at the door of our hearts, wanting us to invite Him in through the Lord Jesus Christ, but there are more of us who refuse to let Him in than those who do. We don’t allow God to help us develop well-formed love. Because of this, we become confused by our own stubbornness and refusal to be in alignment with the love of God. Love, then becomes for us a kind, mushy, but selfish desire that is wrapped in affection, tied to conditions, and completely motivated out of the flesh. Operating this way runs counter to the very reason we were born.

God tells us in Proverbs 3:5-6(NKJV), “Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths.” Heavenly Father is the One that does the directing, not us. He has set us apart for His divine purposes, and if we don’t allow Him to direct us, things like jealousy, obsession, desperation, and other remnants of fear can cause us to betray our identity.

Anytime that we make the practice and commitment of love more about what we can get instead of what we can give, we draw to us like a magnet individuals who will feast on our wrong desires. Love is and will forever be the barometer that measures how closely we align ourselves to the purpose for which God has created us. He sets the path that is laid before us all, and love keeps us on it. When we begin to love ourselves enough to make fulfilling our destiny in Christ our number one objective, God’s love is operating within and we’re loving the right way. We can then begin to build a momentum where God’s love propels us, and it will bring all the right resources and relationships across our path.■

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

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.

“Why It’s Important to Love Right” written by Fran, edited by PMB for DomesticAbuseAwareness.Org ©2020. All rights reserved. All done to the glory of God through Jesus Christ, our Lord!