Be Curious About the Treasure You Carry

For people that are not familiar with the term ‘spirit-being’, after hearing it, more than likely it will cause one of three reactions; fear, apathy, or curiosity. Some people fear the term ‘spirit-being’ because of the errors they’ve learned or because of a lack of knowledge about their own identity. If you’re a member of the human race, you’re a spirit-being with a soul, housed in a body. God tells us in 1Thessalonians 5:23 to keep all three parts of us; spirit, soul, and body, blameless before Him. This means we are to keep all parts in harmony with the honor and integrity for which they were created.

God’s command in 1Thessalonians 5:23 allows us to know that it is very possible to not keep all three parts of us in the harmony, honor, and integrity He expects. We can neglect our spirits, and therefore, neglect the highest part of who we are. Upon a closer and more honest look at our lives, many of us can see that there’s a heavy cost associated with this neglect.  The cost of not appropriately valuing ourselves can be summed up in one word; it is indeed, fear. Ignorance is one of the things that creates a cozy, comfortable home for fear. It is manifested in our circumstances as the result of not knowing who we are, whose we are, and why we are here on this planet.     

Fear causes us to run from the truth of who we are, and this is why the devil uses it so vehemently against us. It is his number one weapon. We know absolutely that fear does not come from our Heavenly Father, for He tells us in 1John 4:18(NLT), “There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear, because fear involves torment. But he who fears has not been made perfect in love.” To be perfect in love is to be complete in love. It is to own and revel in the space and place you occupy in the right now of this moment. It takes a certain confidence to do this, and therein lies the plot of evil in domestic violence and abuse.

Some are apathetic about their highest spiritual self. They’re not interested in the least, and it is usually because they are consumed with the issues of the body and soul. Pleasuring the flesh is their ‘get down’, and little else holds weight. So, if they’re clueless about their spiritual identity, imagine how they’d respond to the notion of spiritual warfare. They think by taking the posture of neutrality they will be safe. You might say that you don’t want to fight the devil, but it is very foolish and unwise to think for one second that he doesn’t want to fight you.

Jesus Christ said in John 10:10 that the devil is in the earth to do three things, to kill, steal, and destroy. Jesus also said in this verse that his very own purpose for coming to the earth is to fulfill the Will of the Father and give us a rich and satisfying life—a life that is more than abundant. It is a life we can most certainly have, for it is our right through Christ, but in order to have it, putting on God’s spiritual armor is a must! You must understand your spirit has an appetite, and only knowledge of God through Christ can feed it.

When it comes to the devil’s shenanigans, the question we should ask is why? Why does the enemy want to kill, steal, and destroy us? Well, it’s not so much your body that he’s after, it’s your soul; its what you carry that the enemy wants to destroy. For you to find out who you really are is his greatest nightmare. Keeping a person fearful and apathetic is his motive, and ignorance is one of the tools he uses to do it. This is why God tells us in Hosea 4:6 that His people are destroyed because they lack knowledge, indeed they reject knowledge about who God is.

Romans 8:29(NLT) tells us, “For God knew his people in advance, and he chose them to become like his Son, so that his Son would be the firstborn among many brothers and sisters.” God has placed something precious in us through Jesus Christ. As our relationship with Him deepens, this treasure beautifully unfolds. So, the very best thing you can do for your life is to become curious about the treasure you carry. It is a treasure so valuable that the enemy will seek to destroy us through an abusive person, so we’ll never discover it. It is the destiny in your soul that the devil is after, and he desires to steal the enthusiasm and inner joy of your journey. Once this has been robbed, the world, too, will be robbed of the goodness you were destined to deposit in it. Pray, be courageous, and have faith! You have a destiny in Christ, and through the Holy Spirit, God will lead you to liberty, so that your spirit, soul, and body, will be free.■

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

“Be Curious About the Treasure You Carry” 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!

Your Life Matters to God

A parable is a simple story that is used to illustrate a moral or spiritual lesson, and the Lord Jesus Christ used them often. The greatest teacher that has ever lived, he understood that there would be some folks that needed to have spiritual lessons broken down in small chewable bites. They weren’t quite ready for the meat and had to have milk instead. The extremely impressive thing is that for those that were ready for the meat, the very same lessons fed them in an undeniable way as well. Take for instance the parable about a lost coin beginning in Luke 15:8. It’s about a woman who losses something very precious to her, and if you’ve ever lost something that means a great deal to you, you’ll know just how she felt.

During the periods that were written about in God’s Word, women were not treated as a man’s equal. Genesis 3:16 gives us some insight about how this came to be. In this verse, God told Eve that the devil would curse her with pain during childbirth, and there would also be a curse of inequality in the marital relationship. This happened because of the influence of darkness and Adam’s and Eve’s decision to succumb to it. As we look around today, the devil is still up to his old tricks. It should come as no surprise to anyone that there’s still a spiritual war going on between good and evil.

Our souls are at stake, because that is what the devil is after—he is after our souls, but he is required to do his evil shenanigans in a legal way. This is an important truth that you and I must know. You see the devil cannot violate God’s laws. In order to harm anyone, he has to do it on legal grounds. Think about it, the devil couldn’t just take all the good stuff God had given to Adam and Eve. If that were the case, he would never have had to trick them into disobeying God. So, the truth is that the devil is always on the prowl, looking for something he can use against God’s people legally.

In the Book of Job in the Old Testament, Job 1:7(NLT) tells us, “Where have you come from?” the LORD asked Satan. Satan answered the LORD, “I have been patrolling the earth, watching everything that’s going on.” The Bible refers to the enemy as the ‘accuser’ because accusing is what the devil does. Looking to find dirt on us, he patrols the earth for something he can use to levy a case and land a curse against us. Its why God warned us in 1Peter 5:8(NLT), “Stay alert! Watch out for your great enemy, the devil. He prowls around like a roaring lion, looking for someone to devour.”

As a consequence for Eve’s sin against God, the enemy was able to land a curse that caused disharmony and inequality in the relationship with her husband. This persisted in relationships between men and women for thousands of years, then Jesus Christ came to the earth at the time God appointed and rescued us all from the darkness and fear that the enemy caused.

The knowledge of this curse, and understanding the backdrop of what women endured, will allow us to see how distraught the woman was in the parable Jesus taught in Luke 15:8 (NKJV). He said, “Or what woman, having ten silver coins, if she loses one coin, does not light a lamp, sweep the house, and search carefully until she finds it?” This woman lost a silver coin, and at a time when women had no rights and couldn’t work, a wedding dowry of coins might have been the only thing she could truly call her own.

It was hers. If anything happened to her husband or if he no longer wanted to be married to her, she would at least have her coins. So, when Jesus Christ said that she lights a lamp, sweeps the entire house, and searches carefully until she finds it, her diligence is very understandable. Luke 15:9 tells us that when she finds the coin, she will call in her friends and neighbors to rejoice with her. Luke 15:10 tells us that in this same way, God’s angels rejoice when one sinner repents and comes to Jesus.

Jesus wants us to understand how heaven rejoices when God’s family is expanded on the earth. Can you imagine? This is beyond wonderful!!! All of this rejoicing is done over each of us, and it demonstrates how much our individual lives and what we do with them matters to God. He doesn’t want you to be mistreated or feel insecure or bad about yourself. God gave His only begotten Son so that you would have the chance to be happy and blessed down here. He desires this so much for you, and the very least you can do is desire it for yourself. ■

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.

“Your Life Matters to God”
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!

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!