When Your Eyes Are Open

2Corinithians 4:4(NLT)
“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.”

“Please, help me Lord!”

My ex-husband seemed to enjoy making me feel unworthy. He’d have flirtatious conversations with other women with me in the room, and then try to absolve himself of responsibility by repeatedly telling me that it’s just how successful people do business. It never seemed to let up. It got to a point where I didn’t have a moment’s peace because I was always worried about how he’d hurt me next. One evening, as I pulled into the driveway of the home we shared, I couldn’t take it anymore. I felt so abandoned and attacked, and I gripped the steering wheel of my car in utter disgust as I watched him on his cell, flirting and laughing yet again. I couldn’t take the lies and manipulation another moment. I put the car in reverse and drove away. I knew in that moment that the marriage was over.

I couldn’t bring myself to get out of the car that day. The only place I wanted to be was anywhere he wasn’t. He had become my tormentor, my worst nightmare come true, and I knew I couldn’t live that way any longer. I wasn’t in a good place and all I could say was, “Lord, please help me!” It feels like an almost impossible position, because you have no idea what you’re going to do. So much of my life was dependent on the survival of my marriage, but there I was, taking this huge leap into the unknown. All I could do was trust God, and He did not disappoint me.

1Peter 5:8(NLT) warns, “Stay alert! Watch out for your great enemy, the devil. He prowls around like a roaring lion, looking for someone to devour.”Heavenly Father wants His kids to know that we have an enemy, and he is the devil. God wants our eyes to be open to the tricks of the enemy because terrible things can happen if we’re blind to the truth. This is crippling many of God’s children. They are struggling with financial hardships, deep sadness, abandonment, isolation, and other kinds of mental and emotional torment. God doesn’t want any person to struggle through life with disappointment, defeat, and despair. John 3:17(NIV) tells us, “For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.” Heavenly Father sent His only begotten Son to the world to rescue us from darkness, and we can place all our hope and trust in Jesus Christ, because he is willing and able to help us.

Our Heavenly Father wants us to see the glorious light of the Good News of Jesus Christ, and this Good News is that Jesus Christ saves us! We can’t see anything clearly when life is beating down on us, and God knows this. That’s why it’s important that as God’s children we don’t forget who we belong to and why our Lord and Savior came to the earth. He tells us in John 10:10 that he came to make our lives here on earth more than abundant, but we must want this for ourselves too.

Very often I’ve witnessed Christians succumb to the pressures that life brings. They may think that the issue can be resolved by having the right job, the right amount of money in the bank, or the right person or connection. Many of us believe that these things can bring us happiness and joy. These are temporary and can only make you feel good in the moment. These things have a light that dims very quickly, leaving people no choice but to go back to being and feeling defeated and disappointed in life. Nehemiah 8:10 affirms that the joy of the Lord is our strength. Delighting in Him makes us strong and keeps the light of Christ burning in our hearts. Only the Love of God can give us what we’re missing.

It’s the truth that sheds light and illuminates the path of victory that God has laid before us. Time is up. We can’t walk around blind anymore, and we should be determined not to be blinded to the victory that Christ has won for us all. Whether it’s a spouse or significant person who doesn’t treat us well, or a person who is trying to prevent us from being our best for God, these individuals are trying to keep the wool pulled over our eyes. We must wake up and see this for what it is.

Know that every decision you make to walk in your truest, highest self in Christ is a move towards the light. We were created by God to be free and to walk in the liberty He’s given us through Christ. Galatians 5:1(MSG) tells us, “Christ has set us free to live a free life. So take your stand! Never again let anyone put a harness of slavery on you.” Many of us have been mistreated and abused a long time. We must love God and ourselves enough to come out of the darkness and walk in the light. We won’t have to do it alone. God will do the heavy lifting. We must trust His love for us with our whole hearts and have the courage and faith to remove the blindfold and keep it off. ■

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

Scripture quotations marked (MSG) are taken from The Message. Copyright ©1993, 1994, 1995, 1996, 2000, 2001, 2002. Used by permission of NavPress Publishing Group.

“When Your Eyes Are Open”, written for DomesticAbuseAwareness.Org ©2022. All rights reserved. All done to the glory of God through Jesus Christ, our Lord!

God is Our Protector, Our Refuge, Our Everything

“Fight the good fight of the faith. Take hold of the eternal life to which you were called when you made your good confession in the presence of many witnesses.”

1Timothy 6:12(NIV)

When life don’t come easy and its’ challenges seem to get heavier and heavier – do you sit on your hands or do you fight for faith like never before?

I was raised in a Christian household and family with strong women of God.  They demonstrated daily a relentless faith in God through our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, and life didn’t always come easy. They dealt with some heavy-duty challenges. At a time when child-support wasn’t enforced and in some places wasn’t even thought about, some of them raised their children alone. Their example of strength left an indelible mark on my life, because these women didn’t ever appear to me to be deterred or discouraged. They kept it moving and created for all of us a safe and loving haven. They couldn’t have done this had they not known that God’s love is real, and we can depend on it come what may.  

In 2Corinthians 5:7(NIV), God tells us, “For we live by faith, not by sight.” This verse doesn’t mean that we walk around with our physical eyes covered, but God is telling us that we can’t limit His power and blessing based on what our eyes see. The conditions and circumstances may look bleak to our eyes, but God sees what the situation will become through our faith and prayers. Hebrews 11:1 tells us that our faith is evidence of what we can’t yet see. Even though our prayer request has not yet manifested in our physical world, it is a done deal in the spiritual world. In this way, faith is the title deed to what we’ve prayed to receive. In the realm of God, He’s already released the blessing, and it’s our responsibility to continue believing, trusting, and doing what we’ve been called to do until it manifests.

When it comes to dealing with adversity, sometimes we interpret having strength as maintaining a certain amount of control over things. We think we have to know all the facts or know what’s going to happen before we can trust. Well, God tells us to trust first! He wants us to depend on Him to lead, guide, and direct our steps.

Ephesians 3:20(NLT) tells us, “Now all glory to God, who is able, through his mighty power at work within us, to accomplish infinitely more than we might ask or think.” How many times have people told us that we couldn’t do this, or couldn’t accomplish that? How often have people tried to put us down, or to influence us to quit pushing when the odds were stacked against us? We serve a God who has no barriers! His power is limitless! Our Heavenly Father is in the business of blessing His people beyond anything we could ever ask or think. He far exceeds our expectations, but you and I are not left out of the equation when it comes to this verse. God tells us that His mighty power is working on the inside of us. He wants us to know that some important spiritual work is happening deep in our souls through His Holy Spirit who dwells within. Even though we may not sense it, we are commanded to trust God’s perfect work. Our responsibility is to bring what He’s placed on the inside of us out in the open, by trusting His love and walking in it.  

We serve such a loving Father. He grants us grace and mercy, and He forgives us for our sins, stubbornness, and unwillingness to abandon our worries and trust faithfully in Him. Many single parents face tremendous challenges, and it can seem at times that they come from every direction. You can feel like all hope is lost when you have mouths to feed and not enough finances to take care of your obligations. The enemy wants to use these trials to zap your strength by convincing you that God’s not going to handle the situation, but this is not the truth. God is working in you! To see His power flourish in us, we need to turn our thoughts and feelings to what Christ is doing, not on what the devil is doing.  

Hebrews 11:27(NLT) tells us,“It was by faith that Moses left the land of Egypt, not fearing the king’s anger. He kept right on going because he kept his eyes on the one who is invisible.” This is precisely what you and I must do! We can never make the mistake of drifting away from God’s truth, not when the struggle is heavy, not when the blessing is on the way, and not when we receive the victory we’ve been waiting on. Our eyes must continually be on God and our faith must be rooted in His promises. 

Psalm 95:7(NLT) assures us, “for he is our God. We are the people he watches over, the flock under his care. If only you would listen to his voice today!” Don’t just seek God when your life starts to unravel, or when tragedy knocks at your door, and don’t just seek Him for His blessings. Seek Him because you understand who God is. He is our Protector, our Refuge…our Everything! This is the way we must see Him all the time. He tells us to listen to His voice and never take our eyes off of Him, and we can be assured that He never takes His eyes off of us. He watches over us, and He will reward us as we place our trust in 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.

“God is Our Protector, Our Refuge, Our Everything”, written by KYada, edited by PMB for DomesticAbuseAwareness.Org ©2021. All rights reserved. All done to the glory of God through Jesus Christ, our Lord!

God Is Validating the REAL You!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Impossible Mr. Flynn

As a kid growing up, there’s always a person that stands out in your memory as particularly odd; for me, that person was Mr. Flynn. He walked with a limp and could barely move his left side, but even at a time when accessibility for those with physical challenges was limited, he never seemed to let it slow him down. Mr. Flynn owned a small grocery store, and if you caught him during one of his generous moods, you were sure to get a free candy bar or two. Like most kids, I loved candy, but I made it a point to try and stay as far from Mr. Flynn as possible. He amused himself with the sport of giving all the neighborhood kids nicknames, and sure enough, he had given me one too, but I didn’t like it. I didn’t like it not one bit.

The first time I heard it, I was in his store with my friends, and they never let me live it down. No matter what I did, or how far I thought I’d distanced myself from Mr. Flynn and his store, this nickname haunted me for years. I couldn’t hide my disdain for Mr. Flynn, and my classmates thought I should be ashamed for disliking someone with his condition, but my face turned sour even hearing his name. It was harmless teasing by any adult’s account, but for a chubby pre-teen with chubby cheeks, it was a nightmare.

When I think back, I don’t know why the nickname bothered me as much as it did, but I can still remember the angst I felt at the thought of having to go into Mr. Flynn’s store at my parent’s request. He was an impossible nemesis I thought. Even after asking politely that he please call me by my given name, he chuckled and refused. As I think of it now, it wasn’t so much about the name itself, but I think it was the idea that someone would say something that conjured up the most hurtful feelings within me, and I couldn’t make him stop.

His words caused my friends to look at me or think of me in a way that wasn’t how I wanted to be viewed. He didn’t cause my shame, but exposed it, and the exposure nurtured this sense in me that I would always need to hide—to cover up my vulnerabilities, and shield myself from anyone I thought would potentially hurt my feelings.

In John Chapter 8, Jesus Christ tells us about the light, love, liberty, and life that he has made available to us. In verse 12, he said, “I am the light of the world. If you follow me, you won’t have to walk in darkness, because you will have the light that leads to life.” Many of us don’t realize that we’re walking in the darkness of pain and shame until one day something wakes us up. All of a sudden, we realize that there’s been a gloomy cloud over our heads and we don’t know why.

Mr. Flynn didn’t intend to cause me harm, but still I felt powerless when it came to his ability to shame me. Even till this day, the thought that someone might render me powerless rouses very intense emotions within, but now I handle the situation a bit differently. I recognized that by hiding in a consciousness of shame or internalizing the anger, I was punishing myself. We don’t always understand the pain we’re inflicting on ourselves subconsciously, and its why Jesus Christ is so precious, because he knows our pain, and he tells us to turn to him.

In Matthew 11:28-30(NLT), he said, “Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. 29 Take my yoke upon you. Let me teach you, because I am humble and gentle at heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30 For my yoke is easy to bear, and the burden I give you is light.”  The Spirit of Christ abides within us, and he sees every aspect of our wounded hearts, even those wounds that occurred when we were young. He knows how they can affect us when we’re adults, and this is why God’s healing is so wonderful. He will heal us from the inside out. He has a loving way of revealing the thorns that continue to prick us, so that we can confront and surrender them.

One of my scripture favs is Galatians 5:1 The Message (MSG). It says, “Christ has set us free to live a free life. So take your stand! Never again let anyone put a harness of slavery on you.” Our job is to have faith and extend Jesus Christ an invitation. He will teach us to live free if we’re willing to learn, so that we can walk in the liberty he’s made available. We can ask him to heal our hearts in our most vulnerable places, and he will, because he loves us. In my youth, I saw Mr. Flynn as pretty impossible. He never knew how intolerable I found him to be back then, but today I see him as man who dealt with his own pain day by day, and managed to give a few kids a little sweetness along the way. For me, that’s proof positive that God has healed my heart in many ways. If you’ll ask, He’ll do the same for you. ■

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.

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