Change Your Ways

2Corinthians 7:9(NLT)
"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."

No matter how many times you seem to move forward in your life, all it takes is one word of bad news and the pain, fear, and nervousness rear their ugly heads and set you back. They make you think they’re running the show, and it makes us feel so down. 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. Our hiccups and missteps can almost always be tied back to something we could have changed or could 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 women have difficulty prioritizing when it comes to the love they feel for a man and the love they should have for God. 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 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, 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 Kyada for DomesticAbuseAwareness.Org ©2022. All rights reserved. All done to the glory of God through Jesus Christ, our Lord!

Don’t Let the Pain Turn You Away from God

John 14:1(NLT)
“Don’t let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God, and trust also in me.”

Monica handles pressure well, she has to. She’s a single parent with two children, and one has autism. Four months ago, she moved two hours away from her family and friends to get away from an abusive relationship. Brady was so loving and tender with her and the kids in the beginning. He was especially good with Jason. His younger brother has autism, so having Brady’s help had made a big difference in their lives. After a few months though, she noticed that his drinking was much more than casual. He’d get drunk on the weekends, and at first, it was just the verbal abuse, but then turned physical when she’d confront him about the drinking. 

When she and the boys moved, she found it more challenging than she had expected. She missed Brady and hated what alcohol had done to him and to their relationship, but she couldn’t allow him to come back into their lives. It was too painful. They needed this fresh start, and she was back to juggling a million things on her own, but she felt different. This time she was really struggling to hold it together, and she wondered if she was finally at her breaking point. 

In Matthew 11:28-30(NLT), Jesus Christ instructs us to, “Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. 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. For my yoke is easy to bear, and the burden I give you is light.” Most of us know that he wants us to come to him with all our troubles and pray for his help and guidance, but sometimes we see our problems bigger than we see his willingness and ability to help us. 

Monica was angry with herself for getting involved with Brady and allowing him to be such a big part of her kid’s life. She felt she should have been more careful. On the other hand, the first few months of their relationship was one of the best times of her life. He was everything she wanted a man to be. Still shocked at how quickly things went downhill, she wondered if she’d ever be able to trust anyone again. She decided to put all her feelings and emotions on the backburner and just plow ahead, taking care of her kids and doing what she had to in order to make their lives work. The problem is that bouts of sadness were more frequent, and harder to ignore. 

In 1Thessalonians 5:17(NLT), God commands us to “Pray without ceasing.” He knows we have responsibilities at home and at work. He knows we have obligations that must be tended to, so He doesn’t mean that we should be praying repeatedly and continually, 24/7. He means that a large part of our spare time should be spent in prayer to Him in the name of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. Philippians 2:10-11(NLT) tells us, “10 that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, 11 and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.” And Jesus Christ tells us in John 14:13-14(NLT), “13 You can ask for anything in my name, and I will do it, so that the Son can bring glory to the Father. 14 Yes, ask me for anything in my name, and I will do it!”

We make mistakes and errors in judgment, and we sometimes end up in a lot of emotional pain, but we must not allow it to turn us away from God. He is faithful to help us. He tells us to trust in Him, and when we trust in Him, we can rest in Him. This means that we will need to give ourselves the pleasure and privilege of getting to know God on a greater level. Romans 10:17(NKJV) tells us, “So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.” Our faith is increased when we hear and learn more about God through His Word. Proverbs 4:23 tells us to keep guard over our hearts because the heart is the place where all the issues of life are determined. If we study and read God’s Word, it will shield our minds and hearts from chaos and confusion and give us God’s peace.

God is the answer to all our problems, no matter how hurtful or complex they may be. He wants a close relationship with us, and He wants to be a part of every aspect of our existences, but we have to do the things He has told us to do. We must invite Him into our situations and circumstances by praying often, reading and studying His Word, and by having faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. The source of our strength, peace, joy, and power is in God. When we turn away from our pain and run into His arms with all that we are, He will not disappoint us. The Lord will comfort us with His love and heal our hearts as we seek to grow closer to 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.

“Don't Let the Pain Turn You Away from God”,  written by Kyada for DomesticAbuseAwareness.Org ©2022. All rights reserved. All done to the glory of God through Jesus Christ, our Lord!

He Had Two Families and She Didn’t Know It

How does a woman with four children, all under the age of 12, find herself abandoned after 13 years of marriage by a man that has another family, and she knew nothing about it? Were there signs that she missed? Was she so busy with everyday life and the kids that she ignored what was happening in her marriage? Or could it be that she was so consumed with taking care of everyone else that it never dawned on her to take care of her own needs? Did she nurture her connection to God through the Lord Jesus Christ, or did she prioritize everything else ahead of it? It can be very challenging to hear and face, but there is always a reason behind every event, experience, and encounter in life. We don’t always know the reason, but God knows. If we are willing and ready, He’ll help to open our eyes, and we can begin to heal and restore our lives using these three very important guideposts.

God’s Kingdom and Righteousness
Jesus Christ tells us in Matthew 6:33(NKJV), “But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you.” This is a piece of truth that is meant to ground us completely and thoroughly. It tells us definitively what we should place in the number one spot of every aspect and experience of our lives. God and the things of His Kingdom can never be number two. As a matter of course, every living and thinking being prioritizes. It’s something we humans do, and we prioritize beginning with what is most important to us. If at any time, we allow God and the things of His Kingdom to slip below first place, and we make other things more important to us than our relationship with Him, we will be in big trouble. We will see the opposite of what Jesus Christ has stated in Matthew 6:33. This means that instead of ‘all these things’ being added to us, they will be subtracted from us.

Our marriages and significant relationships are often attacked by the enemy, because he hates God’s institutions, and the devil vehemently comes against unity. 1Corinthians 14:33 lets us know straightforwardly that God isn’t the author of confusion. Confusion and chaos belong to the devil, so when we are severely attacked and emotionally distraught, we know who to blame, but we cannot stop there. If we do, we might miss the elevation and promotion God has for us. We must have the courage to look under the hood, so we more confidently put on the weapons of spiritual warfare and therefore will not continue to be outsmarted by the devil.

Forgiveness, not condemnation
None of us are perfect. We make mistakes, and some of those mistakes are doozies. We make these mistakes sometimes because we’ve been lured into a trap. God warns 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.” Just as angels see what we’re doing, demonic spirits do as well. Angels protect us according to our faith, and demons are dispatched by the enemy to identify our sin and weaknesses; they are looking for a legal way to cause chaos and confusion in our lives, because they cannot do it illegally. Our mis-prioritization of not seeking God’s Kingdom and Righteousness first, as well as any other sin we commit, gives the devil and his cohorts the legal opportunity to interrupt God’s agenda for our lives.

We are the ones to open the door. Sometimes we do it unconsciously or out of ignorance, but our failure to seek God and His Will preeminently is just the opening the devil is looking for. Heavenly Father does not want us wallowing in self-condemnation, blaming ourselves, and putting ourselves down for being blind. Romans 8:1 tells us that Jesus Christ has done away with that condemning business for those who walk after the Spirit. Through his sacrifice on the cross, he cancelled out all the charges the devil could bring against the believer. So, we shouldn’t want to minimize in any way the work of the cross. Condemnation is a tactic of the devil to keep the believer down. TRUTH will always lift us up and open our eyes to the light of Christ.

Causing emotional distress is an evil plot to keep us licking our wounds so we will not know and seek the deliverance God offers. In the case of our significant relationships, many of us get caught up in bitterness and resentment, blaming the other person for the tremendous hurt they’ve caused. We get angry and sometimes this anger turns to rage. The bitterness, resentment, anger, and rage we feel didn’t just suddenly show up on the scene. Even before the husband’s infidelity was exposed, those feelings were in us. But because the infidelity is out in the open, we can see our patterns of behavior. We can now lay bare before Heavenly Father, which is what He requires. We must seek His forgiveness for any sin we’ve committed and place our focus on our relationship with Him.

Jesus Christ is your hope
When there’s an issue in our families that critically impacts us and our children, we might feel helpless and hopeless. But we must remember that feelings and emotions cannot hold a place of governing authority in our lives. Only Jesus Christ can hold this position. He opened the door to the throne of God’s unyielding grace, love, and mercy. Our responsibility is to walk through that door, so that we might obtain God’s favor and mercy, especially in the time when we need it most. Our emotions and feelings will tell us to come apart at the seams, but Jesus Christ tells us to put our trust in God, and do not lean on our own understanding.

1Peter 1:3-4(NIV) tells us, “Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade. This inheritance is kept in heaven for you…” Praise opens the door to deliverance! We should praise God with all that is within us for what He accomplished for us through Jesus Christ! Most of us haven’t understood the resurrection and all that was done through it. Because of what our Redeemer has done, God reconnected us to the brilliance of His purpose. This purpose is that we have His Spirit actually living inside of us. You cannot engage your victory in all the fullness of what God meant your life to be, unless you come out of emotional enslavement and begin to walk in the liberty of Christ. Your origin is not earth, it’s heaven, and in order to access its resources, you must grasp your completeness through Christ. He is the way! He is your hope, and he cannot fail.

If someone fails to honor who you are, never allow it to define your identity. That man may have another family and you didn’t know it, but now that you do, refuse to be defined by the trick the enemy has played. Open your eyes, pray often, and let the Lord lead you to the victory and treasures that He desires to give you.■

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.

 “He Had Two Families and She Didn’t Know It”, written by Fran for DomesticAbuseAwareness.Org ©2022. All rights reserved. All done to the glory of God through Jesus Christ, our Lord!

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!

The Rebuilding Phase

Lexi was waiting at the red light, both hands clutching the steering wheel as drivers behind her furiously blew their horns. Two male sympathetic pedestrians trying to get her attention in the kindest way they could, yelled. “Sweetheart, don’t cry! It will be all right!” Tears bolting down her face uncontrollably, the kind words of the pedestrian strangers delivered just enough of an intervention. She looked at them pitifully, noticed the greenlight, and drove through. Utterly distraught, she had no awareness of driving home. Automatic recall had taken over her usual routines and for weeks, all she did was go through the motions. Her heart was so broken that she became both emotionally and physically ill.

She was defying the wisdom of her grandmother by allowing her world to be totally shook by a breakup with a man. And to be honest, she never thought this would happen. Jayden, her boyfriend for the last two years had honestly believed that if he ever got married (and it was a big ‘if’) that Lexi would be the one, but when the ultimatum she’d given him was nearing its expiration date, things fell apart. Undeniably they made a beautiful couple, and Jayden had always tried to be very careful with her feelings. He remembered her birthdays with special gifts and sometimes flowers. He made space for her in his life, and was very attentive when they spent time together, but he wouldn’t commit to a wedding date, and made no assurances that they’d actually get married.

Lexi loved him so much, and she wouldn’t accept that rather than give her a date, Jayden opted to end the relationship. Lexi’s love was a heavy glob of affection and fear, and although Jayden didn’t articulate this to her, he was repelled by the weight of her insecurities. When she saw him with someone else days after their breakup, the pain was beyond anything she had ever experienced. She felt as if the bottom had fallen out from beneath her.

It’s true that you and I don’t know what rests at the core of our beings until an event brings those emotions and feelings to the surface. We often think that the hurt and heartache are new feelings that we’ve never had before, but this is a misconception. These emotions and feelings are already in us. As hurtful as they are, they are showing us the places within that have been hidden in darkness. They were beneath our consciousness, meaning we didn’t know they were there and had been operating in our lives as if they didn’t exist. Even those parts of us must be exposed to the love of God. His love must go down deep, and most of us will only go deep when we’ve clung to someone or something very tightly, and the enemy has caused the loss of that someone or some-thing.

Life comes with challenges, and some of those can be painful. We all know this, but the severity of the impact may reveal the degree to which we may have prioritized the someone or the some-thing over and above our relationship with God. We must understand that placing anyone or anything in life ahead of our relationship with God will cause devastation, because it means we are disobeying the commandment of Jesus Christ in Matthew 6:33. This commandment tells us to seek God first, it is to lean totally on Him as our Provider and Source of all things. When we’re doing this in the way Christ commands, we will not behave as if someone or some-thing else is our source. We will not be paralyzed, the way Lexi was, when we find we must go on without them or it.

Jesus Christ also teaches us in Mark 12:30(NLT) about the greatest commandment. He said, “And you must love the LORD your God with all your heart, all your soul, all your mind, and all your strength.” In other words, we are to love God with all that we are. He would not tell us to do something that we’re incapable of getting done. As God’s children, He made sure to give us the ability to love Him this way, and we are to do it by modeling the example of Jesus Christ. We are to love God the way the Son loves God.

When we come into consciousness about what we’re treasuring in our hearts, and we find out that we might be treasuring someone else’s love more than God’s love, some reconstruction is necessary. We need to enter a rebuilding phase of fortifying our believing and knowledge of Jesus Christ as we allow his love to saturate our beings.

1Peter 5:8(NLT) tells us, “Stay alert! Watch out for your great enemy, the devil. He prowls around like a roaring lion, looking for someone to devour.” We see this a lot in relationships. We fall so deeply in love with a person and we place all our eggs in that person’s basket. This gives the devil just the opportunity he is looking for to wreak havoc on our lives. When this happens, as hard as it may be, it gives us an opportunity to come face to face with our vulnerabilities. It’s an opportunity to rise up in the authority of Jesus Christ and regain the power the enemy tried to steal.

To rise up in the authority of Jesus Christ, we must know more about him than what we do at the time of our encounter with heartache. The rebuilding phase signals it’s time to grow spiritually, and we don’t do it alone. The Holy Spirit helps us. Jesus Christ tells us in John 14:16 that the Holy Spirit is our Comforter, and he will reside with us forever. Our responsibility as God’s children is to partner with the Holy Spirit’s work within. We must pray often, fast, and increase our understanding of God’s Word through careful study. Most importantly, we must spend a whole lot more time with God. This requires us to spend quality time in quiet meditation, just keeping our minds and hearts light, free of worldly distractions, and focused on God’s goodness.

If your heart is broken, give God time to work within you and commit yourself to Him. Meditate on His promises and allow Him to help you rebuild your core through quiet meditation and prayer. He will give you a peace that passes all understanding, and you will be strengthened and healed through His love. ■

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 Rebuilding Phase”, 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!

He’s Not Who You Thought

“The LORD is close to the brokenhearted;
he rescues those whose spirits are crushed.”

Psalm 34:18(NLT)

Marriage is one of our most rewarding relationships. Outside of our relationship with God through the Lord Jesus Christ, marriage is the second most significant relationship of our lives. This is exactly how our Heavenly Father planned it. When it comes to human-to-human interaction, marriage is the relationship God established first; it is the foundation upon which families are produced and expanded. God intended marriage to be sacred and uncomplicated. It should be stamped with His brand of love, unity, and peace, because that is the way He created and desires everything to work. The problems and complexities of the world have increased, and one of the downsides is that many of these issues have spilled over into our relationships with one another, particularly marriage.

Because marriage is so important to Heavenly Father’s agenda, it is no secret that the adversary tries to vehemently attack it. As a result of the adversary’s lies and attacks, many of us do not view marriage in the light that God intended for this beautiful blessing. Most individuals see it as a very difficult relationship to maintain, but in truth, marriage is not difficult, people are. Of course, marriage comes with its challenges, but this is the case with anything worth having. Marriage will stretch us to love beyond the threshold of our perceived capabilities. People have free-will. They have choices, and they can change very suddenly. This can be mild, or it can be extreme. But either way, one of the most challenging aspects of marriage is when you think everything is going fine, and out of nowhere, you see a side to your husband you never saw before. It’s one of those instances that stretches our faith, but not to the point of being physically or mentally harmed.

Ephesians 4:31-32(NLT) tells us, “Get rid of all bitterness, rage, anger, harsh words, and slander, as well as all types of evil behavior. Instead, be kind to each other, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, just as God through Christ has forgiven you.” This is God’s instruction to us all. He wouldn’t have told us to conduct ourselves this way if we lacked the ability to get it done. Heavenly Father doesn’t want anyone disrespecting another person. And by the same token, He doesn’t want any of us being disrespected by someone, especially in a marriage. The love of Christ should be in our hearts, and his love should surround our respect and adoration for our spouses. But sometimes our spouses surprise us with their lack of understanding about honor and respect. We see things we couldn’t have imagined or expected to see, and the person we fell in love with is not the person we thought we knew. For some of this, we can apply the powerful combination of prayer and the love of God in Christ, and our spouses are transformed. But we must know that when it comes to violence and abuse, God doesn’t want us in that situation, not even a little bit.

Violence and abuse is more than disrespect, it’s an abuser’s attempt to control, manipulate, harm, and devalue. No one deserves to be treated this way. In most instances, violence and abuse in a relationship doesn’t just go away, as most abused partners will attest. It requires serious spiritual, mental, and emotional intervention, and in all cases of healing and restoration, the abuser must be willing from the depths of their hearts to change.

While dating, many of us fail to discern if the person has a relationship with God through Jesus Christ, or if they hold themselves accountable to Heavenly Father’s moral and spiritual standards. When a person refuses to be accountable to God for their conduct, it is a gigantic red flag. We really don’t have anything to work with when this is the case. It is one of the reasons that God wants us to grow in Christ to the point that we use good judgment and wisdom in our decision-making. When we listen to God, we don’t rush into things. Instead, we wait patiently, walk with Him, and move only as He guides.

The bottom line is that many spouses discover that they weren’t as prepared for marriage as they thought. The spiritual lesson from choices gone wrong is to begin to live our lives in such a way that we depend totally and completely on God in everything we do. He tells us in Proverbs 3:5-6(NLT), “5 Trust in the LORD with all your heart; do not depend on your own understanding. 6 Seek his will in all you do, and he will show you which path to take.” It doesn’t matter how old we are, we are still children to God, and no matter how many mistakes we make, He never holds them against us. He wants to help us, because He loves us. He’s our Heavenly Father, and we will never be too old to totally trust Him with all that we are, especially when it comes to marriage.■

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.

“He’s Not Who You Thought”, 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!

Rest in the Power of God’s Love

“1 Bend down, O Lord, and hear my prayer; answer me, for I need your help. 2 Protect me, for I am devoted to you. Save me, for I serve you and trust you. You are my God. 3 Be merciful to me, O Lord, for I am calling on you constantly. 4 Give me happiness, O Lord, for I give myself to you. 5 O Lord, you are so good, so ready to forgive, so full of unfailing love for all who ask for your help. 6 Listen closely to my prayer, O Lord; hear my urgent cry. 7 I will call to you whenever I’m in trouble, and you will answer me.”

Psalm 86:1-7 (NLT)

“God didn’t keep me from meeting my abuser, so why would He save me now?”

When you are in need of help and protection, all you can think about is wanting it as quickly as possible. It’s devastating that the person you love is causing you physical and emotional pain. It feels overwhelming, and you desperately want relief, but you’re not sure how it will look. So much seems to depend on the willingness of the person that is abusing you to change, so the abuse will end. But you’ve been down that road before, and the promises that your abuser has made to stop the abusive behavior have never been kept. You hate what this person is doing to you and the relationship, but you don’t know how to let them go.

Life is very challenging sometimes, and at the toughest moments, we wonder why God has not kept abusive people away from us. In hindsight, we know we would have been so much happier if we hadn’t met the person or started a relationship with them. Some of us are angry with God for letting us go through the situation, but in truth, we are really angry with ourselves. Companionship was created by God to be a very lovely thing, and He established it with Adam and Eve from the very beginning. He wants us to walk together with a person who equals our capacity to love, but God also desires that we allow Him to help build this capacity within us first. Then we can rest in the power of His love and learn to love His way.

We all think we’re on point, and that we are healed and built up in all the places that count. Our choices for companionship show us that this isn’t exactly accurate. We sometimes choose individuals that mirror our weak places. And since we don’t acknowledge our weak places, but hide them, we sometimes choose people who do the same thing. If we don’t want to see something within our own selves, we’re not likely to readily identify it in anyone else.

We make choices out of our brokenness mostly because we don’t realize the extent to which we’re broken. We may not know it, but our hearts are torn into pieces way before abusive relationships begin. Often, we don’t recognize it until something makes us question our choices and decisions. It’s in this condition of seeing our need to become stronger and wiser that surrendering to God is the very best thing we can do. He will make us strong if we are humble and obedient to His Word.

James 4:7-8(NLT) instructs, “So humble yourselves before God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Come close to God, and God will come close to you. Wash your hands, you sinners; purify your hearts, for your loyalty is divided between God and the world.” What does it mean to humble ourselves before God? Well, God is all-powerful, all-knowing, and everywhere present. There isn’t anything He doesn’t know, and there isn’t anything He can’t do.1John 4:8 tells us that God is love. His majesty is beyond anything you and I can imagine. His sovereignty is absolute, and He is a God with no equal. There isn’t anything in all the universe that compares to Him. He’s God all by Himself, and He is glorious beyond glorious.

This is not just a lot of talk. God’s Kingdom is POWER! He’s all that and infinitely more. This is the truth! To humble ourselves before God is to recognize the truth! It is to know with every fiber of our being that God IS exactly who He tells us He is in His Word. We all think we know ourselves so well, but our Heavenly Father knows everything there is to know about us. He knows us through and through. He knows our level of spiritual maturity, intellect, and ability. He knows whether we are really in a place to be patient and to listen to Him, or whether we’re caught up in the emotion of needing to be taken care of by a man. The truth is that most of us make our own decisions and choices about relationships, and then ask God to bless them afterwards. We don’t wait for His clarity and would not listen to Him anymore than Adam and Eve did before they sinned.  

 We can never second guess the wisdom of God. Doing so runs the risk of us thinking that we know better than He does. God doesn’t let us down, not ever. Quite the contrary, He helps to lift us up! The psalmist cried out to God for help in Psalm 86:1-7 and like many of us, he did so after facing many hardships. He was not perfect, and neither are we. That’s why thousands of years later, his prayer is just as relevant today for all of us as it was when he first prayed it. God does not cause trials and tribulations to happen in our lives. They originate from the kingdom of darkness. Trials and tribulations come from the devil to attack us in our most vulnerable places, and the devil does this to cancel out our trust in God. We must not allow this to happen.

Heavenly Father knows that we want to be loved because this is the way He wired us. Loving someone and being loved by a quality person is one of life’s most fulfilling rewards. God wants this for us, but we have an enemy that does not want to see anything good happen in our lives, and we cannot be ignorant of this. The other thing that we must never be ignorant about is that we are more than conquerors through Jesus Christ. When we stand in faith, we are not defeated and cannot be defeated as long as our trust is firmly planted in the Lord.

As believers, we know what the enemy means for bad, God can use it for our good if we are faithful to trust Him with all our Hearts. He tells us in Romans 8:28 that He will cause all things to work together for the good of those that are called according to His purpose. We must not think that God has withheld His help. Our situations show us how much we need Him. They teach us to surrender to Him totally so that He can free us from abuse, and free our minds and hearts from the thoughts and feelings that kept us in it. ■

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.

 “Rest in the Power of God’s Love” 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!