Less Talking and More Praying

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

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

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

Don’t add to darkness

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

What the Times Are Revealing

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

God Will Fill Our Voids

Heavenly Father chose us to be His sons and daughters, and this is the highest honor of all eternity. He is a great big, wonderful God, and the expanse of His creation is incomprehensible to the human mind. In our current times, space travel has permitted some to go far enough outside earth’s parameters to see how very small it is. Earth is but a tiny dot in God’s universe, and He created this tiny dot as a beautiful place for our habitation. We haven’t been the best stewards of it, and we were headed for destruction because most of us chose hate instead of love. God rescued us from ourselves. He saved us through His only begotten Son, Jesus Christ, and He has called us to live holy as His set apart people.

2Timothy 1:9(NLT) tells us, “For God saved us and called us to live a holy life. He did this, not because we deserved it, but because that was his plan from before the beginning of time—to show us his grace through Christ Jesus.” Holiness isn’t like any other characteristic or quality. Holy is what God is, and because we were made in His image, He has commanded us to be and live holy as well. He tells us in Ephesians 5:1 to be imitators of Him as His dear children. This means that we live in love the same way that Jesus Christ did when he walked the earth as a human being.

Holiness is set-apart-ness for God’s special purpose. The psalmist said in Psalm 4:3(NLT), “You can be sure of this: The LORD set apart the godly for himself. The LORD will answer when I call to him.” This verse demonstrates that holiness is an aspect of our relationship with God that brings us closer to Him, and our commitment to holiness causes our relationship with Him to grow. Therefore, it causes us to increase in spiritual strength.

Many people have often thought of holiness as an attribute that is only sought and achieved by a few religious people. It is also a commonly held notion that some that call or consider themselves holy must do uncommon or challenging things to prove their holiness. 1John 4:18 tells us that there is no fear in the love of God in Christ. In truth, love and fear are polar opposites, and they cannot exist in the same space. We don’t have to be afraid of any attribute or aspect of Godliness or holiness, and we should not walk in fear of what others will think, say, or do because they see us living and behaving as God’s set-apart people. We are to walk in the liberty of Christ. He has set us free from being beholden to society’s opinions and judgments.

Holiness and Godliness should be the nature that every believer in Christ strives to achieve. But sometimes we don’t quite hit the mark. Either because of the challenges of life or because of other situations and experiences we had in the past, we feel empty inside. We feel a void, and many of us attribute this feeling to not having something or someone to fill up this void. It is common for individuals that have lost someone very special to experience feelings of emptiness. We feel it when a relationship that was very precious to us has been severed. Single people are very in touch with feeling this gap or void also, it is why they want to be married. They see having a significant person in their lives as filling the void they have felt for a long time.

The gap, void, or emptiness we experience is the place where God would like to be. He fills the voids with His matchless love. Genesis 1:2(NLT) tells us, “The earth was without form, and void; and darkness was on the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters.” The earth was dark and void, but God filled the void with His light. Genesis 1:3(NLT) declares, “Then God said, “Let there be light”; and there was light.” This is what He will do for us as well when we trust Him.

God’s holiness fills our empty places. He commands us in Ephesians 4:22-24(NKJV), “22 You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; 23 to be made new in the attitude of your minds; 24 and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness.” Our old self believes that people and things can fill up our empty spaces and make us feel whole, but if you try to build the foundation of your life on people and things, you’ll have a shaky foundation at best. 2Samuel 22:32(NLT) boldly affirms, “For who is God except the LORD? Who but our God is a solid rock?” The Lord invites us to fill our voids and gaps with Him. He fills our cups. He tells us in Romans 15:13 that He is the Source of our hope! If we will cling to Him in faith, He will completely fill us with joy and peace, so that we overflow with confident hope through the power of the Holy Spirit. ■

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 Fill Our Voids”, written by Fran, edited by PMB for DomesticAbuseAwareness.Org ©2022. All rights reserved. All done to the glory of God through Jesus Christ, our Lord!

Pain Is A Calling Card for Change

Proverbs 18:21 tells us that death and life are in the power of the tongue. If we have a pessimistic mindset, we may not be as excited about this verse as we should. In truth, we should be over the moon about it, because our Heavenly Father is teaching us the potential of something that we all have, our mouths. What we speak and how we speak have tremendous impact, because it is a determining factor as to whether we are walking in the newness of Christ or still stuck in old patterns that do not serve us well. Romans 10:10 makes it clear and plain that confessing the truth regarding the accomplishment of Christ through his sacrifice and resurrection transfers us from eternal death to eternal life. Our confession ushers us into new life! This is huge! It demonstrates how powerful our words are. It also demonstrates that heaven, and everything beneath it, pay attention to the words we speak.

And when it comes to the words we speak, there isn’t one in the English language that can express the enormity of speaking life into your own existence. Whether you believe it or not, your own voice carries more weight with you than any other person’s voice. Your conscious mind will believe your own confessions over the confessions of another person. So, when you make a habit of telling yourself the truth, your heart will believe it and your mind will accept it. And ultimately your life will manifest the truth of your confessions, because this is the authority and power of Christ that God has placed in your hands. By the same token, if you confess a lie, it will diminish the value you place on your own life. If you speak words that underestimate your worth to God and convey that you doubt His love and empowerment, your life will manifest circumstances that match the lie you have confessed.

Pain, heartache, and hurt are often the byproducts of false confessions. These false confessions are echoed from wrong beliefs. Pain is a calling card that signals its time to change your confessions and beliefs. We must believe ourselves worthy of investing in our own minds and hearts to this degree. Patterns are entrenched and they have a voice. They bring up all kinds of excuses to keep us stuck in our comfort zones, but we must break out of them and the Holy Spirit will help us. He abides in us, and He is our Comforter, Teacher, Friend, and Guide.

Jesus Christ said of him in John 16:13(NLT), “When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all truth. He will not speak on his own but will tell you what he has heard. He will tell you about the future.” The Holy Spirit lives within the born-again believer, and he will guide us to God’s truth, but we have a responsibility to allow ourselves to be led. We must partner with God through His Holy Spirit and begin to speak the words of truth that Jesus Christ taught us in God’s Word. Negative people are negative because they speak negatively, and they think negative thoughts. This should not be said about a born-again believer. We’ve been redeemed by the blood of the lamb, and we must rise up in our thoughts and confessions to the level of what we have received.

You’re not in control of anyone else but you. When you begin to speak and think like Christ, people, situations, and circumstances must line up with the truth of your confessions and thoughts. Failing to do this causes life to feel like we’re going around in circles. This is not what God intended for us. He commands us to depend on Him alone, because He is our Source and Sufficiency. The psalmist wrote in Psalm 139:5-6 The Message (MSG) “I look behind me and you’re there, then up ahead and you’re there, too—your reassuring presence, coming and going. This is too much, too wonderful—I can’t take it all in!” This verse communicates the wonder of God’s unspeakable, never-ending grace and overwhelming love for us. His love is a consuming fire as it says Hebrews 12:29. This is the path of love and goodness that God wants us to remain on continually, and to do this we must wake up and come into consciousness about our words and thoughts.

Some may think that their plate is too full to be bothered with the process of change, and others may not value the importance of the transformation God requires, but He is the orchestrator of our original design. He knows everything there is to know about us, and He has set the path that we should walk. He knows where we need to be, when we need to be there, and He knows how to get us to the place that He has destined us to be. In heaven, there’s a complete book written about your life on earth, and it was written long before you entered your mother’s womb. Our Heavenly Father has included all the good things He planned for you, but He will not force you to walk the path that He’s laid for your life. He will not force us to be transformed by the renewing of our minds to His Word if we do not want to be committed to Him the way He requires. This is our choice. We must wake up and recognize that the continuation of wrong beliefs and confessions keep us from the plan God has for our lives.

Your voice has a vibration. When you use it to speak #1 what God says about you, #2 what God says you can do, and #3 what God says you can have in Christ, you come into agreement with His goodness and truth. Whenever we do this, His Word accomplishes that for which He purposed it. Use the conviction of your faith and the sound of your voice to align your life with the newness Christ has made available to you. Speak life into your existence and refuse to allow doubt and darkness any place in your mind and heart. When you take your rightful place of power and authority by being responsible and aligning what you do, think, feel, and say with the example of Christ, God will transform your life.

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.

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

“Pain Is A Calling Card for Change” written by Fran, edited by PMB for DomesticAbuseAwareness.Org ©2022. All rights reserved. All done to the glory of God through Jesus Christ, our Lord!

Why Did It Have to Be So Bad?

Years ago, when my childhood friend confronted her mother about the abuse that they both had endured from her father, it was like I left my body. Having just graduated from college, I was looking forward to spending time with them and enjoying their company and conversation. It had not occurred to me that my presence would be the source of my friend’s strength to speak what she had left unsaid for many years. Calm turned to anger, and then rage as she blamed her mother for not protecting her all those years. At that time, I lacked the ability to process the pieces of the tragedy that had just shattered a relationship. There the pieces lay, all over the ground. None of us able to say anything in that moment that would comfort or help heal my friend’s soul. I would love to say she recovered, but her life was one of tremendous heartaches and devastation.

Periodically I’d hear news of my friend’s difficulty handling the care of her autistic child and ultimately the heartache of a failed marriage. She retreated inwardly, and this began a decline that none of us could have imagined for her. It’s important we understand that demons who cause molestation and domestic violence have a mission to snatch destinies, and they do it by demolishing the soul in such dark and devastating ways.

Ephesians 6:12(NLT) tells us, “For we are not fighting against flesh-and-blood enemies, but against evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world, against mighty powers in this dark world, and against evil spirits in the heavenly places.” Because many people are not aware of who our real enemy is, they can expend incredible amounts of emotional, mental, and physical energy trying to fight with and against other people. This is an exercise in futility. Without the knowledge of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, some victims of abuse succumb to living a life of fear and rage. Doing this, succumbing to fear and rage, is very common in those who have suffered childhood trauma like my friend.

Whether it’s sexual or physical abuse, the mental and emotional toll causes some to struggle with always being in fight or flight as adults. The anxiety they experience can be constant. It either prevents them from sleeping or causes a depression that makes them want to sleep all the time.

Abused individuals are often insecure about their decision making, especially when it comes to choosing a significant person in their lives. It is not uncommon for individuals that have been abused as children to choose partners that have abusive tendencies. This repeats the cycle, and when you’ve experienced the viciousness of the repetition, the pressures can be overwhelming. You never quite get the swing of showing up in a relationship as your authentic self, because you don’t really know who that is.

However unpleasant or catastrophic a situation might be, human beings look to impose blame, and often as children, we blame ourselves, even though it’s not our fault. We self-punish and self-sabotage in many ways because the program of shame and guilt is still running internally in the background. The unspoken is that we need answers to questions we have not dared to ask. Questions like why our parents were neglectful and why they didn’t do a better job of protecting us. If we’re brave, we might pull back another layer and ask why God allowed such terrible things to happen to us, as children and as adults.

These are unspoken questions for many individuals, but it is imperative that we go to God for the answers. Our first birth is a physical one, and we are born into a sinful world. This is a brutal truth that happened as a result of the arrogance and disobedience of the human race. Most of us try to run as far away from this truth as we possibly can, but God has allowed us to see what happens when people do not repent from their sin, but instead pass it down from generation to generation.

People might think it isn’t fair that God would create us and then allow us to be born into such a dark place, where parents can do such horrible things to their children, and people can be so cruel to one another. The reality is that if we do not pass through this sinful and dark world, we cannot become God’s children. We cannot be reborn spiritually if we are not first born physically. There was no other entry point for your existence other than the one that fostered the life you now have. We could not have come from different parents or have been born at a different time and still be the people we are today. Situations, conditions, and circumstances, as horrible as some of them might have been, have all converged in a way that they present us with a pivotal choice. Despite all you’ve been through, it is the choice to either remain conformed to this sinful world or to surrender totally and completely to God through the Lord Jesus Christ. Only He can heal and deliver us from the emotional and mental torment we’ve been through. All we need to do is trust Him.

There is much suffering here, and Jesus Christ did not keep this a secret. In John 16:33(NLT), he taught the disciples, “I have told you all this so that you may have peace in me. Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows. But take heart, because I have overcome the world.” Our Lord and Master endured more pain and suffering than any of us. We could not have taken the constant backbiting, lies, slander, and the brutality he endured on the cross. He overcame it all and showed us the way to do the same. He set us free, and by walking in his example and having faith in him, our relationship with God will become tighter and tighter. So, as God’s sons and daughters, even though we know the world is a dark place, we must believe in the victory that Jesus Christ won for us. We came to earth to make this choice.

After all the hardships many of us have endured, we might ask ourselves, “Why did it have to be so bad?” If those before us had lived according to God’s Word and had been obedient to the example of Christ, things would be very different today for all of us. But the truth is that they could have made different choices but didn’t, and the same can be said of us. It’s because of God’s grace that we are living another day to give Him praise, and no matter what we’ve been through, the fact that we have another opportunity to praise Him and give Him glory is all that matters.■

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 Did It Have to Be So Bad?” written for DomesticAbuseAwareness.Org ©2022. All rights reserved. All done to the glory of God through Jesus Christ, our Lord!

Your Safe Place Is in God

“1 Those who live in the shelter of the Most High will find rest in the shadow of the Almighty. 2 This I declare about the LORD: He alone is my refuge, my place of safety; he is my God, and I trust him. 3 For he will rescue you from every trap and protect you from deadly disease.” 

Psalm 91:1-3 (NLT)

Falling in love with my man was the easy part. I loved how he pursued me. There were constant phone calls, checking in every morning before he went to work and making sure I had what I needed. He seemed to be genuinely concerned about me, and I believed he had my back. Coming from a traumatic childhood of domestic violence and abuse, my boyfriend’s persistent checkups endeared him to me, and it made me feel safe. The persistent and attentive behavior that had me swooning while we were dating intensified to horrific levels when we got married. I couldn’t go to work in peace without him constantly checking up on me, making sure I was in fact where I said I was going to be. I thought it was as simple as him loving my company and enjoying our time together, but it later became stalking and antagonizing behavior as the relationship continued. I was young and naïve, and I just didn’t recognize the signs. 

It isn’t uncommon for a person that has endured and witnessed domestic violence and abuse as a child to carry the trauma into adulthood. Some of those harmful patterns become entrenched in our psyches and because of this, the drama and trauma we experienced will need to be resolved so that the patterns they caused aren’t on repeat.

The fight or flight response is one that is triggered when we’re in danger, and like it or not, once domestic violence is experienced or witnessed, this response comes into play. The dangerous incident is indented on our brain cells; all traumatic experiences are. From that point, instead of seeing people as loving beings, it’s possible that we will see them only as predators, abusers, and aggressors. This is all playing out in the background, and consciously, we may not realize it. When women are abused or have witnessed abuse as children, it is very challenging for some of them to ever see men the same way. Even though their relationships may start out loving, the man may do something that she perceives as aggressive, and things can spiral out of control from there.

For some of us, the question of why Heavenly Father allowed us to witness or go through domestic violence and abuse in the first place isn’t resolved in our minds and hearts. We can’t reconcile the ‘why’, and it all feels so unfair. And because we can’t reconcile the ‘why’, we’re in perpetual fear. And this fear creates within us an insatiable desire to be safe—to get it right, so to speak. Our conscious mind tells us that if an individual can make us FEEL safe, we’ll BE safe. We buy into this person quickly, lock, stock, and barrel. We behave impetuously, without thinking through our actions, because we’ll do just about anything not to be locked into the torture of continual fight or flight. So, the fear we’re trying to escape is the thing that keeps us in bondage. This is the insidious nature of fear. It’s a vicious cycle that continues until we increase our faith and courage to stop it.

In Hosea 4:6, God tells us that His people are destroyed because they lack knowledge. Many of us greatly underestimate the heft of what our Heavenly Father is revealing. We can be severely harmed because of the knowledge that isn’t currently in our arsenals, and this is happening to many of us today. We blame God when we should blame satan, the ruler of darkness. We are born into this world, and it is a place where very bad things can happen because most people have refused to honor God and His Word. A lot of us grow up in negative and corrosive environments. But when we learn God’s Word, and we learn what He has accomplished for us through Jesus Christ, we must come into the light.

Ephesians 3:18-19(NLT) tells us, “And may you have the power to understand, as all God’s people should, how wide, how long, how high, and how deep his love is. May you experience the love of Christ, though it is too great to understand fully. Then you will be made complete with all the fullness of life and power that comes from God.” You and I owe it to God and to ourselves to stretch as far and wide in our own understanding as we possibly can in order to fully digest every morsel of this passage. Heavenly Father wants us to comprehend the immeasurability of His love. If we started flying up towards heaven today and flew continually for the next ten million years, we still would not reach the top of the Father’s love. It knows no bounds.

It is incumbent upon each of us to understand that even though there will never be a tool that can measure God’s love, it’s immeasurability must be impressed upon our consciousness. One of the ways that we comprehend its infinite scope is by also understanding other truths that the Father has permitted us to know. For instance, God created the universe in such a way that everything has an opposite. There is truth and a lie. There’s love and hate, right and wrong, faith and fear, holiness and sin, humility and arrogance, liberty and bondage, life and death, and light and darkness. Fully comprehending the origin of these is so integral to our lives that not knowing the Source of all love, righteousness, faith, holiness, humility, liberty, life, and light will lead us to destruction.

We can’t co-mingle light and darkness. Darkness produces abuse, and without the knowledge of God’s Word, darkness prevails. This is why God said in Hosea 4:6 that we can be destroyed by what we don’t know. Ignorance belongs to satan, and he seeks to keep us blinded from the truth, but God is our Rescue. We desperately needed to be rescued from darkness, and God accomplished this for us through Jesus Christ. Ephesians 5:8(NLT) tells us, “For once you were full of darkness, but now you have light from the Lord. So live as people of light!”

Romans 10:17 declares that faith comes by hearing and perceiving the Word of God. We need to know that our safe place is in God, and then we need to actually make the choice of accepting what Heavenly Father offers or else we’ll remain in the punishment the devil doles out. We’re in the earth for this very reason, to make the choice between the light of Christ and the darkness of satan. It’s true that humanity has made the world a very dark place, but God has called us to be His children of light. This means we can expose darkness for what it is, because God has given us the faith of Jesus Christ, and there is no greater power in the earth. Jesus Christ declared in John 16:33(NLT), “I have told you all this so that you may have peace in me. Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows. But take heart, because I have overcome the world.”

It is impossible to comprehend the unlimited depth, width, and breadth of God’s love without also comprehending the magnitude of consuming darkness and hate that the devil has for God’s people. Part of our work is coming into consciousness about this so that we can make a different choice than those before us. We can embrace the light and come out of darkness and find rest in the shelter of the Almighty. Psalm 91:4(NLT) says, “He will cover you with his feathers. He will shelter you with his wings. His faithful promises are your armor and protection.” You will do yourself the greatest favor if you trust this truth with all your heart and have faith that God is your safe place and protection, and He is all you need. ■

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.

“Your Safe Place Is in God”, written by Kyada, edited by PMB for DomesticAbuseAwareness.Org ©2022. All rights reserved. All done to the glory of God through Jesus Christ, our Lord!

Change Your Ways

“Now I am glad I sent it, not because it hurt you, but because the pain caused you to repent and change your ways. It was the kind of sorrow God wants his people to have, so you were not harmed by us in any way.”

2Corinthians 7:9(NLT)

No matter how many times you seem to move forward in our lives, all it takes is one traumatic event or a word of bad news to set us back. The pain and hurtful emotions we experience, not to mention the fear and nervousness; they all seem to rear their ugly heads without invitation. These emotions can make us think that they’re running the show, and we feel so defeated, powerless, and down because of it. When I read the verse in 2Corinthians 7:9, I was reminded that pain can be purposeful because it can cause us to change in ways that we never thought possible. 

You might ask, “Why do we need to go through pain in order to change our ways?” I also asked myself this question, but what quickly came to me is the freedom that God extends to us by allowing us to choose. We have free-will choice, and we get to choose how we’re going to respond to situations. God is the complete opposite of the hurtful feelings we experience. He represents love and liberty for us, and He doesn’t ever want us to feel pain. But if we are going about our daily routines of life, walking around asleep to God’s Word and what He’s called us to do, pain and sorrow will inevitably find their way to us. They often do so at a time when we are not spiritually strong and mature enough to handle them.

This is the devil’s handywork for sure. Like the Old Testament Book of Job demonstrates, the evil one studies us for vulnerabilities, and pounces when we least expect it. As hard as it is for many of us to consider, the first thing that you and I must come to grips with is that our hiccups and missteps can almost always be tied back to something we could have changed or should have let go but didn’t. 

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

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

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

We need to ask ourselves if we are loving God the way Jesus Christ has commanded. Some of us never ask this question of ourselves, and this is sometimes what our sorrows will reveal. Going back to 2Corinthians 7:9, Heavenly Father reminds us that the positive change that our sorrows spark is the greater gain. In His Word, He tells us His expectations regarding how we should change. He spells out exactly what we should remove from our lives, and exactly the kind of love that should saturate our hearts, and not only this, it is the kind of love we should be receiving from others. In Ephesians 4:30-32(NLT), Heavenly Father tells us, “30 And do not bring sorrow to God’s Holy Spirit by the way you live. Remember, he has identified you as his own, guaranteeing that you will be saved on the day of redemption. 31 Get rid of all bitterness, rage, anger, harsh words, and slander, as well as all types of evil behavior. 32 Instead, be kind to each other, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, just as God through Christ has forgiven you.”

As God’s children, we are created to house His Spirit within and to be conduits of His divine love. We aren’t built to hold on to bitterness, rage, anger, and evil behavior. Not only can these heavies break us down physically, mentally, and emotionally, but they take a toll on us spiritually. We can’t be who God has called us to be when our hearts are not flooded with His love and goodness.

Change can be very challenging, but we cannot grow without it, and growing in Christ is our reason for being on this earth. We must always remember that we are never alone. The Lord is with us always, and He will never forsake us. We can be comforted in the reality that He is helping us to develop spiritual character, and when we have reached the level of spiritual maturity that He desires, He will be pleased, and we will be rewarded. ■

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

“Change Your Ways”, written by Fran, edited by PMB for DomesticAbuseAwareness.Org ©2021. All rights reserved. All done to the glory of God through Jesus Christ, our Lord!

Don’t Let Him Pick You Apart!

I bet just about every woman knows the verse in Philippians 4:6(NLT). It tells us, Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done.” Look at how simple Heavenly Father has made this for us. First, He tells us what not to do, then He tells us exactly what to do in order to restore His peace in our lives. We shouldn’t worry about anything because worry isn’t the nature of a believer. Faith and gratitude are our nature, and anything outside of those two doesn’t tell the truth about the goodness of God. Many of us know this, but we let worry and doubt get the best of us anyway. We’ve got to stop giving over our power and authority in Christ this way. We can’t allow the devil to pick us apart, especially now.

I’ve heard many women that are believers speak about the incredible circumstances and situations that God has brought them through. From marital abandonment and financial ruin to domestic violence and abuse, they’ve dealt with it all and some of them did so with darts flying from all angles. As soon as they felt some degree of ease about one thing, two or three other situations came out of nowhere. They felt like throwing in the towel, but they didn’t. One of the common threads in their testimonies of overcoming incredibly painful situations is the lesson they learned about anxiety and doubt. They wasted a lot of time worrying about whether God would come through or if He’d allow them to fall through the cracks. He always delivers on His promises and in the end, He rescued them from darkness and despair.

We all know the grips of that sinking feeling. It brings you so low that you can’t even define the depth. Every part of you feels upset and bothered, and nothing—no thought or feeling, seems to bring comfort. In our darkest moments, we know God’s healing power, and we also know that He’s commanded us not to worry, but we make ourselves sick with worry any way. No matter how many times our friends, loved ones, and spiritual mentors tell us to give it to Jesus, we vacillate back and forth, giving our burdens to him one minute and taking them back the next.

As God’s children, we can learn a lot about having a constancy of faith by the pattern of good parenting that many of us have demonstrated to our own biological children. We love our children and will do anything for them. We must remember that God is the One who has given us the heart and mind for parenting. We didn’t come up with it on our own. We love our kids because He first loved us. Not only has He shown us real and genuine love through Jesus Christ by giving him as a sacrifice for the sins of all people, but God created us with the capacity to respond to each other with His love. We are made in His image, and we understand that His love is the force that propels us forward.

As good parents, we would never harm our kids, but will do everything in our power to protect them. To make sure their well-being is preserved, we would move heaven and earth if we could. God’s love is infinitely higher than the love that any of us can give. In Isaiah 55:9(NLT), He said of Himself, “For just as the heavens are higher than the earth, so my ways are higher than your ways and my thoughts higher than your thoughts.” God loves us more than we can ever imagine. Our thoughts can’t think that high. It’s a deep, unconditional and abiding love, and nothing can separate us from it. No one can love like He loves. To get a glimpse of how He views our worry and doubt, consider the thought of your biological child sitting somewhere, feeling scared, and worrying that you have refused to take care of them or that you won’t do it for some reason. This would hurt you to the core. Imagine how God feels when we don’t trust Him to take care of us.

All good relationships are built on individuals responding honestly, compassionately, thoughtfully, and lovingly to one another. God set relationships up to operate this way. These responses build faith and trust, and without faith and trust, a relationship will collapse or be injured. You and I are here on this earth to build an intimate relationship with God through Jesus Christ. This is the purpose of life! Jesus Christ tells us that he is the door to the Father. We must have the faith of Jesus Christ to please God. Faith and believing in Him is how we respond to His overwhelming love.

Fear is a cloak of deception that the devil tries to pull off as being real. It is a false evidence of reality, and worry is a sign that we have bought into the lie. We can’t let the devil continue to pick us apart with his tactics and tricks. Let’s resist his plots by doing as Philippians 4:6 says and get really specific in our prayers. We have the authority of Jesus Christ to plead his blood over situations and circumstances. Colossians 1:13 tells us that his blood cleansed our sins, and through the blood of Jesus Christ, God has delivered us from the power of satan’s darkness and transferred us to his Kingdom. We don’t belong to worry and doubt, and we should never claim them.

Yes, it takes time to develop the habit pattern of choosing faith and not fear, but God tells us how to strengthen the muscle. He said, “Thank him for all he has done.” This is a strategy for Godly living. A person can’t be thankful and fearful at the same time. To keep fear from rising up and overtaking our hearts, Heavenly Father commands us to think of His goodness, and do it continually. This is how we constantly hit the “ON” button of faith. Philippians 4:6(NLT) tells us that as we practice thankfulness and gratitude to God, “Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.”

God doesn’t leave our relationship with Him to chance. He tells us exactly how to respond to Him, and to do it in a way that causes Him delight. Our obedience and commitment to respond to God with faith and gratitude will invite the indwelling Holy Spirit to saturate us with God’s peace. This peace guards our hearts and minds, but we must live in Christ. This means we must do our part, and Philippians 4:8(NLT) tells us exactly what that part is. It says, “Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise.” We can change the way we handle obstacles and adversity by resisting the urge to respond to what the devil is trying to do, instead, we can respond to the goodness of God, be thankful and abide in His perfect peace. ■

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

“Don’t Let Him Pick You Apart!” written by Fran, edited by PMB for DomesticAbuseAwareness.Org ©2021. All rights reserved. All done to the glory of God through Jesus Christ, our Lord!

The Spirit’s Fruit Producing Business

Ephesians 1:4-6 declares that long before God laid down the foundations of earth, He knew us and predestinated us according to His purposes. He made us the focus of His love and even before we entered our mother’s wombs, He adopted us into His family. He sent His only begotten Son, Jesus Christ, to accomplish this mission. Jesus Christ initiated God’s plan by which you and I would become transformed into the very image of Christ. And it is through Jesus Christ that we find out who we are and the purpose for which we are created.

If you and I could transform ourselves, we would have done it long ago. The truth is that we can’t do it ourselves, and because of what Jesus Christ accomplished through his sacrifice and resurrection, we don’t have to. Christ restored the connection to God that Adam lost. He made it possible for us to receive God’s seed, the gift of Holy Spirit, in the inner sanctum of our being. Our Creator set the precedent. His pattern of reproduction is such that a child must have its father’s seed to be that father’s offspring. When we accept Jesus Christ as our Lord and Big Brother, by the consummation of our faith, we receive the same seed that Jesus Christ has.

God is our Father, and we carry His seed, the Holy Spirit. We are spiritual beings having a human experience, not the other way around. If we miss this, we’ll miss a whole lot. Every moment on this earth affords us the opportunity to affirm our identity in God’s truth. The gift of this opportunity is monumental because once this life is over, there’s no chance for back-tracks or do overs. This is it! We will either accept our call and walk in God’s purpose, or we won’t. Choosing not to accept His call is catastrophic, but it is indeed our choice to make. However, if we accept our call, we will become rooted and grounded in God’s love through our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.

With Christ at the helm, there is no regression or going backwards to our old state of darkness and dysfunction. God’s trajectory is forward and upward, never backward. His call is that we abound in Christ, to increase in him in every way, because Christ is God’s blueprint for humanity. Becoming like him is the highest, most excellent existence available to any living thing. And to increase in Christ, we’re going to have to leave our comfort zones. That’s an absolute.

A comfort zone is the place where we hang out emotionally, mentally, and physically. It’s the familiar. Anything outside our comfort zone will press us to change, and change is what many of us resist. We know what we know, we like what we know, and we don’t want to know anything different. That’s a recipe for being stuck, and our destiny in Christ will not support that stance. Rather than being stuck and afraid, we will need to make room in our lives for this hugely supernatural word called ‘surrender’. We must surrender our fears to Christ, take his hand, and allow him to lead us through his Spirit.

Jesus Christ tells us in John 16:13-14(NLT), “13 When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all truth. He will not speak on his own but will tell you what he has heard. He will tell you about the future. 14 He will bring me glory by telling you whatever he receives from me.” The Holy Spirit is our Comforter, Friend, Teacher, and Guide. He guides us through life according to the purpose and plan God has set for us, and walking by, with, and in God’s Spirit is no ordinary life. We must completely take our hands off the wheel, and let the Spirit do what only he can do for us.

Walking in the Spirit requires us to make a switch. We can no longer allow our flesh to be our guide. That occupation belongs only to the Spirit. We must surrender to him, and when we do, it’s a total faith walk! We can’t lean on the flesh and please God at the same time. He 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.” The flesh doesn’t want us to surrender, it wants quick pleasure and to keep us marching to the tune of rebellion. It leads us to think that we can direct our own paths, be self-reliant, and become grounded in self-security. Life will teach us how wrong this line of thinking really is.

Everything is spiritual, from the smallest to the greatest detail of life. God isn’t keeping anything hidden from us. He is one hundred and fifty million percent transparent, and then some. Our responsibility as God’s sons and daughters is to bear fruit through the Spirit for God’s Kingdom. The Spirit’s power is unlimited, and he gets busy. IF we will allow him, he will work through us to produce good works. If we doubt this to any degree, all we need to do is ask God about it. He’s not shy. If you earnestly want to know the truth about why you are here and what you’re supposed to be doing with your life, ask the Spirit. But you can’t ask just for the sake of asking. When you come to God, you must recognize and honor who He is, and you must be ready to surrender and to let the Spirit lead, guide, and direct you in his fruit producing business. ■

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 Spirit’s Fruit Producing Business”, written by Fran, edited by PMB for DomesticAbuseAwareness.Org ©2021. All rights reserved. All done to the glory of God through Jesus Christ, our Lord!

Your Alabaster Box

I was seven years old when I began spending my summers in Chicago with my aunt and cousin. To my cousin’s friends and neighborhood playmates, I was the country cousin who spoke funny. My words were often met with odd looks and “I don’t understand what you’re saying.” I entertained these youngsters simply by being me, and sometimes this was more hurtful than it was amusing. Now that I’m much older, I remember my aunt’s friends more distinctly than I do the children my cousin and I played with for hours. Her friends were colorful with big personalities that took up all the space in a room, and there was one in particular that I will never forget.

I was nine or ten, and she was wearing all black when I first met her. So lean and stylish, she looked as if she had been a model in her younger years. It was a Sunday afternoon after church, and she had stopped over for a plate of my aunt’s Sunday dinner. My aunt was southern bred and could burn in the kitchen almost as well as my grandmother. Somewhere during her friend’s visit, it dawned on me that she had been the woman that ran to the altar for altar-call at church and fell to her knees, whaling with moans and tears. Her big hat had kept her face hidden from me during service, but when my eyes were supposed to be closed for prayer, they had been locked on her the entire time. I wondered why no one else seemed as mesmerized by her distinct and gushing cries as I had been.  

Luke 7 contains the record of a woman with a beautiful alabaster box. She came to Simon’s house where Jesus Christ had been invited for dinner. Simon was a Pharisee, and they notoriously hated Jesus, but masked it at times for the sake of tricking him or finding something they could use to discredit him. This woman heard that Jesus would be in Simon’s home and came weeping at his feet. Luke 7:38(NLT) tells us, “Her tears fell on his feet, and she wiped them off with her hair. Then she kept kissing his feet and putting perfume on them.” She took the contents of her alabaster box and anointed the feet of Jesus with rare perfume.

It was customary in those times to anoint the heads of guest with olive oil as a sign of hospitality, and even though Christ was more worthy of anyone to receive this courtesy, Simon had not given it to him.  Jesus Christ said of this woman in Luke 7:47-48(NIV), “47 Therefore, I tell you, her many sins have been forgiven—as her great love has shown. But whoever has been forgiven little loves little.” 48 Then Jesus said to her, “Your sins are forgiven.”” The humility of the woman with the alabaster box in Luke 7 is palpable, and my aunt’s friend, the thin, stylish woman in black, is in my mind a symbol of her. She was drenched in gratitude, and humility oozed from her being like a river of anointed oil.

When I was older, my aunt explained that this woman, her dear friend, had endured many years of domestic violence and abuse at the hands of her husband. He had been at times ruthless, and she endured it for the sake of their children. Not long after she turned to Christ and gave her life to him, her husband’s health began to decline. My aunt told us she had committed herself to his care, as he no longer had the strength or the heart to do her any harm. Her praise to God was unabashed and in total awe of how our Heavenly Father took a life as pitiful as hers and made peace where there was total desperation.

1Corinthians 4:20(NLT) tells us, “For the Kingdom of God is not just a lot of talk; it is living by God’s power.” Life is not stripped of all adversities, obstacles, and troubles so that we can walk a path devoid of those things. God has designed life to teach us to walk in His power despite the hurdles that come with living on earth. Faith would not be faith if there were no challenges that reveal the magnitude of its brilliance. God’s deliverance and power manifests in our lives in many ways. There is no limit to what He can do, and we must remind ourselves of this continually.

All of us have a beautiful alabaster box. The woman who anointed the feet of Jesus Christ with rare perfume showed us that it isn’t the beauty of the outside but what we do with the contents of the container that makes all the difference. Whether our troubles are prolonged or swiftly moved out of the way, Christ will forever be the reason for our joy. Our hope in him does not disappoint, and in him our every expectation for fulfilling God’s glory is complete. We don’t have any excuses to feel distant from God, He’s brought us close to Him through Christ. And now that we have the great privilege to give back to Heavenly Father the treasure He’s placed within us, we should let the sweet perfume of our faith in Him anoint everything that we do.■

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

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

“Your Alabaster Box”, written by Fran, edited by PMB for DomesticAbuseAwareness.Org ©2021. All rights reserved. All done to the glory of God through Jesus Christ, our Lord!