Becoming the ‘YOU’ God Sees

In Romans 8:29(NLT), God tells us that He knew us in advance, and He chose us to be like His Son, Jesus Christ. This is why it is so monumentally important to know Christ and to know what he accomplished for us. John 1:1 says that Jesus Christ was with God from the very beginning. He sat on the throne with our Heavenly Father, but he left his position of supreme majesty and authority to come to earth. In Romans 10:10, he tells us why he did this. He left the throne of God in heaven and came to earth to give us access to a more than abundant life. Therefore, you and I can reason that before he came, our access to a more than abundant life was denied. This is both mind-blowing and integral to the missing piece of the puzzle that so many of us are searching for.

God knew us in advance. The question that you and I ought to ask ourselves is “in advance of what?” The answer to this question is one that we could never quantify or enumerate, because it would be impossible for us to count that far back. Revelation 1:8, tells us, “I am the Alpha and the Omega—the beginning and the end,” says the Lord God.” So, you and I can’t pinpoint a date and time that would adequately define the ‘knowing in advance’ God refers to in Romans 8:29, but we can surmise with a great degree of confidence that it’s a really, really, really long time ago. He knew us, and by this we must understand that He knew every inch of us, from the top to the bottom. He knew us, and He chose us for a very specific purpose, and it is to become like His Son, Jesus Christ.

What is Jesus Christ like? In John 21:25, the apostle tells us that Jesus Christ did so many extraordinarily good things during his time on earth that if they were all written down, the world could not contain the books that would be written. The goodness of Jesus Christ is boundless, and his love is pure and selfless; so much so that he endured what none of us could endure and sacrificed his life to cover our sins. If you didn’t believe or accept that such a tremendous act of love was accomplished for your sake, your strength would be greatly diminished, and your growth cut down. This is because you would not know the extent to which God’s love has rescued you, and you would always underestimate the magnitude of His saving grace. We would be relegated to a prison of doubt and fear with such limited thought. Our God didn’t want this and has given us a hope in Christ that exceeds such a pitiful state.

Through Christ we are empowered with inner strength. Ephesians 3:16-19 (NLT) tells us this. It says, “16 I pray that from his glorious, unlimited resources he will empower you with inner strength through his Spirit. 17 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. 18 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. 19 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.”

If we cannot trust the reality of our amazing, precious, and powerful Redeemer, Jesus Christ, we cannot truly know ourselves, for Romans 8:29 also tells us that Jesus Christ is the firstborn of many brothers and sisters. Ephesians 1:5 (NLT) says, “God decided in advance to adopt us into his own family by bringing us to himself through Jesus Christ. This is what he wanted to do, and it gave him great pleasure.” God knew us long before we were conceived in our mother’s womb. God knew us because spiritually we could be known. The person He sees when He looks at us is the person He has predestined us to become. This is why we shouldn’t be consumed with the external things that don’t matter and have nothing to do with our destinies. If you haven’t already, ask the Lord to introduce you to your glorified self. It’s the person He sees in us. Our identity is a replica of Christ, our Big Brother. His Spirit lives inside us and like any great big brother would, he will help the ‘YOU’ you know become the ‘YOU’ God sees.■

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.

“Becoming the ‘YOU’ God Seeswritten by Fran, edited by PMB for DomesticAbuseAwareness.Org ©2018. All rights reserved. All done to the glory of God through Jesus Christ, our Lord!

The Basics of Life-101

Ephesians 2:10(NLT) is one of my all-time favorite verses in the bible. It says, “For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago.” For individuals with pretty good self-esteem, this verse might not resonate as deeply for them as it does for me. Don’t get me wrong, growing up I had a lot of love in my life, I just didn’t learn to channel it into loving myself. Instead, I felt like one big mistake waiting to happen, and disappointment seemed to be my constant companion. I never believed that anything wonderful would happen for me, and I spent a good deal of time expecting the worse. To say that viewing myself as a masterpiece was a stretch is putting it mildly.

One day, someone told me that I needed to see myself the way that God sees me. I’d like to say that this statement was the epiphany of all epiphanies, and that a lightbulb lit up in my head, but I wouldn’t be telling the truth. I heard the words. They lightly landed on my consciousness; then I dismissed them and moved on in my usual camouflaged, yet predictable gloominess. But you see, that’s the thing about the Word of God. Its truth is so massive, that sometimes we can only take the impact in small doses.

In Isaiah 55:11 (NLT), God tells us, “It is the same with my word. I send it out, and it always produces fruit. It will accomplish all I want it to, and it will prosper everywhere I send it.” So while I was struggling, trying to find my way, the Word of God that I had heard was working on my heart bit by bit. Heavenly Father had a plan for my life, just as He has one for yours. The Holy Spirit helped me to create a space in my mind and heart to begin to believe that God would work through me to accomplish His purpose.

God’s plan is the foundation of all things. We don’t see this when we’re licking our wounds, and trying to figure out how to press our own agendas forward. You want things to work out, but you look at everything in your world, and sometimes it seems like mush; nothing is as it should be. The wisdom of Proverbs 19:21 (NLT) teaches us, “You can make many plans, but the Lord’s purpose will prevail.” Nothing is more important than God’s plan; this is ‘The Basics of LIFE-101.’ It is an unyielding and inflexible reality, and if we try to go against it, we’re going to come out with the short end of the stick. This is why Jesus Christ tells us in Matthew 6:33 to seek God first, because seeking Him first guarantees a blessed outcome.

Some people have a vision of God sitting in heaven, waiting to put the hammer down when anyone violates His laws. God’s Word is the preeminent authority. John 1:1(NLT) tells us, “In the beginning the Word already existed. The Word was with God, and the Word was God.”  Through the Lord Jesus Christ, Heavenly Father set things in motion through His Word a very long time ago. He spoke, and the universe obeyed. He created it, put it in perfect working order, and then rested. There’s nothing more to be done. His Word works with a mathematical precision. He has orchestrated the universe in such a way that it works with us when we work with it. When we obey and honor God’s Word, harmony is achieved. He set up the system to respond beautifully to our obedience.

And He doesn’t hit us over the head with it. Life does this on ‘automatic.’ After a pat, a thump, and then finally a knock upside the head from the situations of life; most of us realize that God is working through our circumstances to tell us something. That’s what happened to me. I knew deep in my gut that I was out of place. Every day felt like an out-of-body experience, like someone was living my life, because it wasn’t the life I was supposed to live. It’s not the way destiny feels.

Life’s lessons are on repeat. If we don’t learn them, they continue cycling back around until we do. One of the most obvious and consequential of those lessons is how important we are to God, and how important it is that we get into position and begin to play our parts in His plan. He tells us in Romans 8:28 (NLT), “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.” Nothing about us is random. We’re uniquely created by Him, and we have a purpose—a calling to fulfill. It is so rewarding to watch our lives come together when we finally get a clue that God is waking us up to get on board with His agenda.■

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 Basics of Life-101” written by Fran for DomesticAbuseAwareness.Org ©2017. All rights reserved. All done to the glory of God through Jesus Christ, our Lord!

 

Denying the Truth

Much of domestic violence and abuse is about manipulation. The definition of manipulation is trying to control someone in an unscrupulous or unfair way, and those who practice it will often deny that they’re doing it. There’s hardly anything more exasperating than to believe in your own innocence only to have it turned completely in the wrong direction by someone. It is especially hurtful when that person knows full well that your intentions were in the right place, but makes a sport of trying to make you out to be the bad guy. If you’re dealing with someone that, no matter what you do, you’re always wrong in their eyes, it can be an exhausting way to live.

The truth and a lie do not hold the same authority, no matter how much people try to make it appear as though they do. Someone once said that there are two types of people, those who seek the truth, and those who seek to cover it up. Personally speaking, I think that most folks can only take the truth in small doses, and when overload threatens them, sometimes they completely lose it. They might even try to harm the person that forces them to look truth in the face.

A strange phenomenon can happen when your strength speaks to a person’s weakness. It can be like holding a mirror up for them, and this mirror reflects what they fear the most. Instead of dealing with themselves honestly, they might choose to blame or belittle you for simply standing in your own strength. If no one has told you how strong you are, you might assume that you’re the one that is weak, and the person who manipulates the truth is the strong one. This is the wickedness of abuse, because at its root is the plot to swap truth for terror.

In John 14:1(NLT), Jesus Christ said, “Don’t let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God, and trust also in me.” This is a verse of tremendous comfort. The key to keeping our hearts from being troubled is to trust in God and trust in our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. Those of us that have experienced domestic violence and abuse know that a civil conversation can turn into a heated argument very quickly. The back and forth can be endless. This is why it is important for us to trust in the truth that is in Christ.

Some of us desperately want to be loved, and we will exhaust an enormous amount of energy trying to change a person’s perception of us. This is a battle already fought and won. In John 14:6, Jesus Christ tells us, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one can come to the Father except through me.”  If a person doesn’t understand how incredibly loving, powerful, and strong Jesus Christ is, then they may not comprehend the heft of John 14:6, but if you truly believe in Christ, then you’ll understand that the way has already been made, and through him, we can know the truth. In John 8:32, he tells us that this is what makes us free, it’s knowing the truth of who Christ is. When we know who he is, we then know who we are.

If the color blue is staring a person in the face, and they refuse to call it any other thing but red, convincing them they’re seeing the color blue can be a very difficult and unproductive challenge. Having someone hurt you so deeply and then deny your pain or that they caused it can drive you crazy, and make you question your worth. This is the devil’s trick to undermine your relationship with God. It is to shut you down, so that you do not become anchored and embedded in who you are in Christ.

God warns us through the Apostle John in 1 John 2:26-27The Message (MSG), “I’ve written to warn you about those who are trying to deceive you. But they’re no match for what is embedded deeply within you—Christ’s anointing, no less! You don’t need any of their so-called teaching. Christ’s anointing teaches you the truth on everything you need to know about yourself and him, uncontaminated by a single lie. Live deeply in what you were taught.”  Through Christ, the truth lives in you. Live deeply in it! Seek to grow in the strength he provides, and the truth that you are a child of God, baptized in His love, and poised for His purpose will not be denied. ■

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

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.

“Denying the Truth” written by Fran for DomesticAbuseAwareness.Org ©2017. All rights reserved. All done to the glory of God through Jesus Christ, our Lord!

What Happened to That Person?

For as long as I could remember, I had been in love with Damon Kent. My family moved away for a few years from the town where I grew up.  During that time, I changed of course and matured into a sixteen-year-old girl who could pass for a twenty-year old young woman with no problem. My foray into big city life had afforded me a new-found confidence, so the summer I returned to my hometown, I called Damon. It was a wildly bold move for me, but my time away had not been the most positive experience. I was hoping Damon would turn into my prince, that he would rescue me from the disappointments that came with maturing way ahead of most of my peers.

Damon and I talked the entire summer vacation. We had long conversations on the phone and my crush intensified. After returning from a place where I had no friends, was ridiculed constantly for my accent, and had to wear my mother’s clothes because nothing in the teen section would fit, I needed the ray of hope he offered. There was only one problem, my imagination was larger than life. I was never satisfied with just a little; I always had to take it to the nth level, and nothing short of this would quench my hunger for the grandiose and extreme.

I imagined Damon and I walking to classes holding hands, stealing a kiss after study hall, and getting engaged in college. Oh yeah, I took it there and beyond, even though we hadn’t seen each other in four years. Finally, the day arrived. I, not having my license yet, would be taxied to high school to register for classes. Damon was attending band camp at school, and we planned to meet up. Butterflies couldn’t touch the huge pigeons flying around in my gut. I remember it as if it were yesterday. I tried to look my best, and felt confident that I did, but it was no match for the fact that I had grown over a foot taller than Damon. When he and his friends spotted me, they behaved like ten-year-old boys. I pretended not to see them, and soldiered on as I had always done.

He had been so incredibly kind and tender over the summer. “What happened to that person?” I thought. This is a question that seemed to plague many of my relationships, and countless others have asked it regarding those that have hurt and betrayed them.

I love the saying “go big or go home!” And one of my scripture favs is Ephesians 3:20 (NKJV), “Now to Him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us,” The wonderful truth that God ‘goes big’ when it comes to blessing us floods my heart with joy. Even at some of the worse times of my life, I’ve always known that God wanted the best for me and that more out of life was available, but oddly enough, I looked to others to fill my cup instead of Him.

As the desire to partner took center-stage in my life, my big imagination gobbled up the individuals I dated. It was no way that they could meet those expectations, but I had a huge hole in my soul. I imagined that my love would be reciprocated from the object of my affection in such enormous proportions that it would fill me up and then some.

I needed to be loved, but I had not seen another person give the kind of love that I craved. I couldn’t even figure out how to love me, with all my awkwardness and quirks. How was it that I expected someone to do for me what I couldn’t do for myself? It was a tough question, and 2Peter 2:9 has the answer. It tells us that the Lord knows how to rescue us from our trials. It finally dawned on me that I had been looking for love in all the wrong places. I needed to grow in the love of Christ, and at first it wasn’t so much about how I loved other people. It was about me allowing the roots of his love to grow down in my empty places. I had to trust that he loved me more than I could ever know. I encountered God’s love, strength and power in a way that anchored me as I had never been in my life.

God’s perfect love is the greatest reality of all eternity. Heavenly Father loved me to deliverance, and then healed my broken heart. My work continues to be one of surrendering my need to control how I’m loved by others, and I find that the more I release it, the more my heart swells with gratitude and love for Christ. People will sometimes turn on us, for seemingly no apparent reason. When this happens, we have to remember that our identities are not shaped by what they give us, but by how we love them and ourselves through Christ. In John 15:9-13 The Message (MSG), He tells us, “9-10 I’ve loved you the way my Father has loved me. Make yourselves at home in my love. If you keep my commands, you’ll remain intimately at home in my love. That’s what I’ve done—kept my Father’s commands and made myself at home in his love. 11-13 “I’ve told you these things for a purpose: that my joy might be your joy, and your joy wholly mature. This is my command: Love one another the way I loved you. This is the very best way to love.”

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

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

 “What Happened to That Person?” written by Fran for DomesticAbuseAwareness.Org ©2017. All rights reserved. All done to the glory of God through Jesus Christ, our Lord!