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!

Without the Light

1John 4:12(NKJV) tells us, “No one has seen God at any time. If we love one another, God abides in us, and His love has been perfected in us.” The first part of this verse tells us that no person has ever seen our Heavenly Father at ANY time. Some that have studied the bible may say, “Hey, what about Moses?” The Old Testament tells us that Moses honored and loved God, and he wanted to see God’s face, but he was only permitted to see God’s afterglow. Heavenly Father told him, “Moses, you can’t see me and live. My Holiness is too much for you or any other human being to behold because of your sinful state, but here’s what I’ll do, I’ll pass by. And when I pass by, Moses, you can look out and see the afterglow.” This was such a loving thing for our Heavenly Father to do. He gave Moses this extraordinary gift. Through it, Moses received an undeniable testimony of the splendor that even just a trace of the Father’s glory will leave. His afterglow radiated Moses to such an extent, that he had to cover his face with a veil.

Moses’ countenance was lit up by the Father’s glory, and those who tried to look at him could not take the brightness of it. Moses hungered for God and wanted to draw as close to Him as humanly possible. Many of us have this same longing. And although no one has seen God at any time, there’s a way for us to be closer to Him than even Moses. 1John 4:12 says, “IF we love one another…” This is the key that opens the door that many people refuse to go in search of. God says that if we love one another with the love of Christ, then His love is perfected in us.

We are not perfect, but the love of God that Jesus Christ made available for us to have in our hearts—this love is perfect, and it can have its fullest expression in us. You and I are not yet where God’s wants us to be, but we are on our way. Making sure we get there, and perfecting us through God’s love, is the work of the Holy Spirit. 1John 4:13(NKJV) says, “By this we know that we abide in Him, and He in us, because He has given us of His Spirit.” So often we try to do this ‘perfecting’ work ourselves. We run to whatever is trending, thinking it will be the missing piece of the puzzle, the solution to all our problems. We seek externally what can only be found internally through the Spirit of the Living God who abides within.

Dwelling on the inside of us, we have all we need to be whole, for Colossians 2:10 declares that we are completely complete in Christ Jesus! This is good news indeed! It’s good news for us all, but especially so for the person who looks to another human being to be their all-in-all. Some of us link ourselves up with the most toxic and broken individuals. We develop soul ties with them, and even though they seek to do us harm continually, we match our malnourished souls to theirs. We let ourselves be fed with the most corruptible and contemptible toxins, and our souls drink it up like those ensnared and intoxicated by addiction.

It is a peculiar thing that we would look to a person, flawed in so many ways, and place more faith in what they dole out than in the splendor of God’s love and in His unfailing provision. How can we take the attention and adoration that God so overwhelmingly deserves and give it to someone who hasn’t a clue how to express God’s love? This is why remaining in situations of domestic violence and abuse is so harmful to our souls. It robs a willing vessel of the vision of Christ they desperately need to see. A person that is sent by satan to steal our joy and vitality will block our view and skew our vision, so that we cannot see the glorious light of Christ. We can and must change this.

Jesus Christ said in John 8:12(NLT), “I am the light of the world. If you follow me, you won’t have to walk in darkness, because you will have the light that leads to life.”  Know that this light—the light of Christ—is EVERYTHING!  Without the light, you and I can’t see the glory of who God created us to be. But through the light of Christ, our deepest longing will be satisfied as we begin the glorious journey in him. Let’s be courageous and trust God completely. Everything that we could ever want or need, our Heavenly Father has it. He will happily supply it, because He is our Sufficiency, but He wants us to be as eager to be in His presence as Moses was. And because Christ has removed the veil for us, we can boldly approach God with open eyes and see the reflection of our highest, most noble self staring back at 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.

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

“Without the Light” written by Fran, edited by PMB for DomesticAbuseAwareness.Org ©2019. All rights reserved. All done to the glory of God through Jesus Christ, our Lord!

How to Help with A Domestic Violence Situation?

A wonderful lady became very emotional while sharing her concerns for her older sister. They were very close at one time, but her sister has been in an abusive relationship for years, and it has caused a rift between them. Her whole family has begged her sister to leave her marriage, and a few times it looked promising. Things were so bad that they just knew she wouldn’t let herself be in that relationship another minute. They were in a huge fight and this couple’s seven-year-old son jumped in and tried to defend his mother. Surely this was the last straw, the family thought; but it wasn’t. Even after its clear that her child is suffering, having to defend one parent against the other, her sister still will not leave this abusive marriage. In the concerned woman’s words, “We are all so devastated, and we don’t know what to do anymore. She refuses to leave him, even though it’s tearing everybody apart.”

It is true what they say; no matter how much you want a person to change, they have to want to change for themselves. We can’t make a person change, and we can’t make them want to change. God doesn’t allow human beings to get inside each other’s heads and hearts. We have enough on our plates to keep our own temples in check, and we simply can’t do this for another person. It’s very plain to see that when it comes to the wounds and pain in someone’s life, only God can heal and help them change. He knows what to do and how to do it. His ability is leaps and bounds beyond our own. So we must understand that in these instances, often prayer becomes the only, most loving and effective gift we can offer.

When we pray for someone that perhaps isn’t praying for themselves or doesn’t know how, we’re standing in the gap, asking the Lord Jesus Christ to intervene with his unlimited resources and power. Our faith is integral in this. We must not ever view prayer as a small role in situations like these; it is truly the greatest thing we can offer. It takes our responsibility to a whole other level because we are in partnership with Christ. 2Corinithians 5:20(NLT) tells us, “So we are Christ’s ambassadors; God is making his appeal through us. We speak for Christ when we plead, “Come back to God!”” We can be of tremendous help through prayer and be effective in ways that go far beyond our physical and mental limitations.

How else do we help with a domestic violence and abuse situation like this, especially where children and family members are involved? It can make us feel very inadequate, overwhelmed, and anxious, but God tells us 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.” Spiritual warfare will always require believers to kick it in high gear through our faith. The first thing we must do is shift out of the natural plain and breach the walls of the supernatural, where resources are infinite and powerful.

There are so many dynamics involved with domestic violence and abuse, and sometimes what lurks beneath the surface is not apparent, and it is beyond our ability to understand it. The greatest thing we can do is be a vessel for the Lord to work through in any way HE deems fit. This means that we don’t interject our own emotional stuff into the situation, and we do our best to remain calm. We have to be attentive to the Spirit’s leading, as he tells us what to do and how to do it. Philippians 2:13(NKJV) tells us, “for it is God who works in you both to will and to do for His good pleasure.” And sometimes, His Will is that we stay on the wall in prayer, and He will take care of the rest. In any case, our faith in God and His ability is crucial.

Witnessing the impact and effect of domestic violence is a very difficult thing. There’s no doubt that we must do what we can to be supportive and compassionate, but it is very important not to make an already troubling situation worse. Those that are being affected need us to be spiritually strong and very patient. They need to know we’ll give them a safe and discreet space and place to talk openly, without judgment. If we are led by the Spirit to do so, we can help with finding legal support and other resources, but again, God is the Healer and Provider. We’re not to try and takeover or control the situation. More than anything, a person that is suffering the abuse of domestic violence needs to feel and be empowered. This begins internally first, and only God can do this work within the people who need it most, and we must partner with Him through prayer. ■

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.

“How to Help with A Domestic Violence Situation?” written by Fran, edited by PMB for DomesticAbuseAwareness.Org ©2019. All rights reserved. All done to the glory of God through Jesus Christ, our Lord!

Trust in the Process

A friend suffered through domestic violence and abuse during her entire childhood. Her mother took the brunt of physical abuse as she watched in horror. In shock from the trauma of witnessing these attacks, she remembers being paralyzed by the fear, of literally not being able to physically move. Today, the trauma of what she endured as a child has had tremendous impact on her adult life. She feels as if she’s constantly in fight or flight, fearing that something dreadful could happen at any moment. Her anxiety and stress levels are through the roof, and although she is taking medication, her sadness is still very heavy and the impulse to flee danger seems to be constant.

Patterns of fear can develop as a result of the childhood trauma we’ve experienced. These patterns can become firmly entrenched. They can be locked so deep in our consciousness that we don’t even recognize them. We’re constantly reacting and responding to life by the behaviors, feelings, and attitudes the patterns dictate. In a sense, the patterns of fear take the position of authority in our lives. It should come as no surprise to us that this interferes with our relationship with God. He tells us in 1John 4:18 that His love has no fear, not even a hint of it. His love is perfect, and it dispels fear—totally wipes it out! He tells us that a person that lives from a place of fear hasn’t been made complete through His love.

You and I can know from this verse in 1John 4:18 that one of the defining characteristics of God’s love is its power to make a person whole and complete. Everyone that says they believe this hasn’t manifested it. In truth, it takes a very long time for some of us to process this truth. We can’t pretend to know it, and simply saying the words “I trust in God’s love” doesn’t mean that a person really does. The reality is that this trust we have in God must be anchored in the deepest part of who we are. When it is, it will ooze from our pores. It will be infused in everything we do, and every person we influence will be affected by it. This is God’s goal for us.  

God articulates this goal through the Apostle Paul in Ephesians 3:16-17(NLT). Paul said, “I pray that from his glorious, unlimited resources he will empower you with inner strength through his Spirit. Then Christ will make his home in your hearts as you trust in him. Your roots will grow down into God’s love and keep you strong.” This truly is phenomenal, because God allows us access to knowledge regarding the way that He empowers us. He tells us that He administers strength to our cores through the person of the Holy Spirit.

Fear is a dream killer, and most of us underestimate the degree to which it robs us of vitality, enthusiasm, and the splendor of life that God intended us to have. Fear is an enemy of God, and faith in Him brings Him great joy. Our faith in God is an expression of our appreciation for who He is. It is an acknowledgement of not only His love, but our faith in Him is an acceptance of His love. And just as we can’t physically, visibly see love; we can’t see faith.  Like love, faith becomes visible through our commitment, attitude, and deeds. This is why James 2:26(NIV) states, “As the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without deeds is dead.” We must back our faith with actions that demonstrate a willingness to release fear.

As we do this, it is so important for us to trust God’s process. You and I are not able to reach the places within us where fear is hiding out. We’re not able to get to the root of it so that it can be kicked to the curb. We can’t do this, but God most certainly can, and He will if we trust Him. It may not feel like the Holy Spirit is doing a work on the inside, but truly He is. Philippians 1:6(NLT) tells us, “And I am certain that God, who began the good work within you, will continue his work until it is finally finished on the day when Christ Jesus returns.” Jesus Christ has a front row seat to our pain. He’s not going to crack us open like an egg. Lovingly, he’s guiding us. Take hold of his hand and follow his lead. It may not happen overnight, but he is helping you release the fear, so that your grasp on a relationship with God is firm and built solidly on trust.

Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright © 1996, 2004, 2015 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.

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

“Trust in the Process” written by Fran, edited by PMB for DomesticAbuseAwareness.Org ©2019. All rights reserved. All done to the glory of God through Jesus Christ, our Lord! s

Flashing Red Lights

A few years ago, I met Amy in the courthouse lobby downtown. She had a familiar brand of nervousness and angst. It was a state of being I know quite a bit about, and it pulled my attention straight away. Growing up, my neighborhood was full of abused women, and some of their abusers did things that were more ruthless than I would dare write about here. But these women stayed. Their children were raised seeing their mothers abused, and seeing their fathers pay no price for it. Amy didn’t have any children, but she had witnessed her mother taking verbal and emotional abuse from her father for many years. Her mother rarely defended herself, became lost in many ways, and stayed in the marriage.

Amy was just out of college. She spent her last year as a senior with an obsessive boyfriend who would threaten to do her harm if she ever ended the relationship. He was local to the area where they both attended college, and she landed a really good paying job there after graduating. She tried breaking things off with him several times, and after she moved into her own apartment, she felt she’d have some peace. And it was for a while—it was peaceful, but after a few weeks, the phone calls were non-stop. There were times that he seemed unbelievably sweet and caring, and she found herself forgiving him and allowing him back into her life. For months she tried the ‘let’s be friends’ approach, but he wasn’t having it. And the final straw was when he started showing up at her job; waiting for her after work.

She didn’t want folks at her job in her business, but she had to get security involved. It was then that one of the officers advised her to file a restraining order. It had never occurred to her to take that step, and she was terrified of what might happen when she did. Abusive situations like these are tormenting, and we must know that God doesn’t want this to happen to anyone. He will give us the kind of wisdom and spiritual guidance that will lead us away from danger. He tells us in Proverbs 1:7 that respecting His counsel will build a lasting foundation of true knowledge, but He also warns in this same verse that there will be some people who despise wisdom and discipline, and they have problems because they won’t listen to Him. This is an avoidable mistake.

In His Word, God provides wisdom, and if we will allow ourselves to be guided by His wisdom, we can make good relationship decisions. Through the Lord Jesus Christ, we can love smart. The very first step to loving smart is to make prayer a continual habit pattern. God never gets tired of hearing from us. He loves it! Jesus Christ said in Luke 18:1 that we should always pray. Think about a loving couple that have been together a long time. They know each other so well that they can finish each other’s sentences. They share a communication that is deeper than words. This is because they’ve spent time with one another. They are interested in what the other has to say, so they listen to one another.

Establishing our relationship with Heavenly Father is like this in some ways. The relationship each of us has with God through Christ is a very personal thing. The more we talk to Him, the more intimate our communication and communion with Him becomes. Heavenly Father is a loving God, and He sees things that we simply can’t see or know. Psalm 121:3 says that He’ll keep our feet from falling; He will not let us slip. This is what God will do for us, but if we desire His protection, we can’t exclude Him from our decision making. He’ll warn us, but we must talk with Him often, so we can recognize those flashing red lights of danger that He provides.

It was a very turbulent ordeal for Amy to get away from her abuser, but the restraining order seems to be helping. She is still nervous at times, and constantly looking over her shoulder. We need to know that God offers us His peace and protection. During the toughest times of our lives, He is with us and willing to help. He tells us in 2Corinthians 12:9 that His grace is all we need, and His power works best in weakness. If we trust Him, Heavenly Father will always get us through abusive situations, but He also desires that we’re committed to pray and talk with Him more. When we do this, our spiritual senses will be sharpened, then we’ll be able to recognize His warnings and have the wisdom to heed them. ■

“Flashing Red Lights” written by Fran, edited by PMB for DomesticAbuseAwareness.Org ©2019. All rights reserved. All done to the glory of God through Jesus Christ, our Lord!

The Truth of Liberty

Jesus Christ said in John 8:32 that the truth will make us free. This is razor-sharp clarity for any person seeking to live a successful life. If you’ve never struggled with overwhelming sadness, don’t know what it feels like to be all alone, and haven’t had to battle internal thoughts of insecurity and self-doubt, then you might not be able to appreciate the words of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. But if you have indeed had to confront some of these things, then you know what it is to be in mental and emotional bondage. These things can enslave us and make getting up every day feel like a chore instead of a privilege. Jesus Christ offers us a strategy for breaking loose. He tells us that the truth will make us free, because he wants us to know that the quest for our truth is the greatest journey any living person can take.

We waste a lot of valuable time searching for, and often not finding, the thing that is going to bring us the most fulfilment and satisfaction in life. Before I sought the wisdom of God regarding this search for truth and personal fulfilment, I often wondered why this information didn’t come standard with our programming. Seeking the truth, seeking fulfillment, and most importantly seeking a closer relationship with God; why is it necessary to seek what often seems so elusive? In answering this, I’m reminded that with God, we always have to keep it 100; and for those unfamiliar with the vernacular, know that God requires transparency in our approach. None of us can live free by believing a lie. So, when we come before God, we must do so with the intention of laying it all out on the table and surrendering everything to Him. It’s the only way forward.

Jesus Christ tells us in Matthew 6:33 that seeking the Kingdom of God and His righteousness must be priority #1. This allows us to know concretely that there’s something in this ‘seeking’ business that’s very important to God. It’s not complicated. Heavenly Father requires us to engage the process of seeking Him, because our effort to do so demonstrates the importance we place on finding Him. No person diligently seeks or searches for anything unless they value it.  

One of the truths that brought liberty to me in life is understanding that the intensity of our desires to obtain and retain the things we value will be tested, and sometimes severely so. How badly we want the thing and exactly why we want it will be brought to bear. Comprehending this further demonstrates the significance of why God requires us to seek Him, because only He can give us what we need. Jesus Christ said in Luke 8:17 that the secret thing will eventually be brought to the open, and what we do in the dark will be brought to the light. Transparency in our motives, desires, and identity is not negotiable. God has designed the universe in such a way that the truth is its fuel. This means that not only our desires, but again, our ability to steward and hold-on to the things we value most will be put to the test.

The motivation for our desires speaks volumes about who we are. It tells the truth about what is important to us. Jesus Christ said in Matthew 6:21 that wherever the thing we value most is, that’s where we can find our hearts. We are free to seek whatever we desire, but we must recognize that seeking anything outside of love will enslave us. The truth of liberty is that it comes only from seeking love, and 1John 4:8 declares that the God of Heaven above is love. He is the only Source of it.

When we’re frustrated by our circumstances and it seems as if nothing is going right, the truth will bring the liberty that Jesus Christ offers IF we seek it. God is not withholding His blessings. He’s shedding His light where darkness is hiding out. He’s illuminating our path so we can see what He sees. He’s correcting our motivation for desiring certain things so that love becomes the foundation that anchors them. If we’ll humble ourselves, pay attention, and seek His Kingdom first, the things we desire will manifest. They will continue to be a blessing to us and to others as well. ■

Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright © 1996, 2004, 2015 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.

“The Truth of Liberty”
written by Fran, edited by PMB for DomesticAbuseAwareness.Org ©2018. All rights reserved. All done to the glory of God through Jesus Christ, our Lord!