How to Be Content in Life

John 10:10 is probably on every believer’s list of scripture favorites. It’s the words of our Master Jesus, and he teaches us, The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly.” In this verse, Jesus Christ tells us exactly why he came to the earth. He came to rescue us and to give us a more than abundant life. Most of us would be fine with just an abundant life, but our Heavenly Father deals in the exceedingly abundantly above anything we can ask or think. So, there you have it. More abundant it is! And this is good news indeed! Our problem is that our world has become bombarded with hate, disappointment, mistrust, lies, cruelty, and cynicism. Sadly, it’s rubbed off on many of us, and we no longer believe or stand on the Words of our beloved Savior. We have to change this and turn it around as quickly as we possibly can.

Very simply put, a worldly mindset is one that is shaped and molded by the world. By this, we know that when the Bible refers to the ‘world’, it is defining an anti-Christ consciousness that refuses to honor God. When a mind is blinded in this way, faith eludes it. A worldly mindset can only accept and believe what it perceives through sight and other senses, so it only believes what the systems of the world feed it. This kind of mind is dangerous for the believer, because it is a mind that is disobedient to God’s commandment to walk by faith and not by sight.

The Struggle

As believers, many of us are struggling with John 10:10 because we won’t come to grips with the degree to which we have allowed the world to influence us. We’re not following God’s blueprint, and we want everything on the double. We have refused to put on the Spirit’s fruit of patience, which is God’s requirement. We’re discontent with life because our Heavenly Father doesn’t coddle our refusal to get our heads in the game. He’s committed to our spiritual maturity in Christ, and our excuses will not work.

The discontentment really sets in, and in some cases turns to extreme sadness, when we simply won’t take the initiative to turn things around through our faith in God. In 1Corinthians 3:10(NKJV), the Apostle Paul said, According to the grace of God which was given to me, as a wise master builder I have laid the foundation, and another builds on it. But let each one take heed how he builds on it.” In this verse, God is teaching us through Paul about His amazing grace. He’s teaching us what we are able to accomplish through His grace and love. Just like Paul, we are master builders who are empowered by God to build on the foundation that our Master Jesus laid for us. We accomplish this by using our entire lives. In other words, our very lives should be the strong, solid layers that we are laying on the foundation of Christ. Jesus laid the initial foundation with his finished work, and our lives should be built on it by following God’s Word.

This is a construction phase that will continue until he returns. Our lives are our building material, and we offer them up to God so He can make them what He desires them to be. We know this because God tells us in Romans 12:1 that our whole lives must be presented to Him as a living sacrifice. Our lives are to be holy and blameless before God, and He is the One that will work within us to achieve all this.

Build a life

A foundation is the load-bearing part of a structure or building. This means that it can withstand pressure, and it can support the weight of other hefty material, structures, fixtures or furniture that may be placed on it. A foundation will not collapse when storms come, and strong winds blow. It will continue standing because it is made well. Our lives must be this kind of foundation or else we will not be able to steward God’s blessings in the way He expects, and most importantly, our house will not be in order when our Lord and Savior returns.

We cannot receive spiritual strength from the world. It’s impossible. We must build our lives from God’s Word, and this requires us to use the building material of the present. We can’t try to build a life from our pasts or from the future. Jesus Christ teaches us in Matthew 6:25-27(NLT), “25That is why I tell you not to worry about everyday life—whether you have enough food and drink, or enough clothes to wear. Isn’t life more than food, and your body more than clothing? 26 Look at the birds. They don’t plant or harvest or store food in barns, for your heavenly Father feeds them. And aren’t you far more valuable to him than they are? 27 Can all your worries add a single moment to your life?”

We cannot be so dependent on the world’s customs that we’re lost when it comes to living by the light of Christ. But the truth is that some of us don’t have a clue how to build a life. We can change this by doing as Jesus Christ instructs in Matthew 6:31-33(NLT), “So don’t worry about these things, saying, ‘What will we eat? What will we drink? What will we wear?’ 32 These things dominate the thoughts of unbelievers, but your heavenly Father already knows all your needs. 33 Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and he will give you everything you need.” To lay a foundation of contentment in life, our faith must grow and continually increase in our Heavenly Father. This must come before any other person or thing.

Work with what you have

All we have is right now. If gratitude and thankfulness for this very present moment escapes us, we are in trouble. Sadness, disappointment, insecurity, doubt, and all the other defeating emotions, have their root in fear. They increase because we are not living in the moment as Christ instructs us to do in Matthew 6:31-33. Instead, we’re worried about what happened in the past or in many cases, we’re worried about not having a need fulfilled in the future. We must wake up and recognize that the worry, angst, fear, and doubt that we indulge in this moment is laying the kind of foundation we don’t want for the future. It’s a shaky foundation, and it is not sturdy enough to hold all that God has in store.

Contentment is the choice to clothe ourselves in gratitude to God for the blessings we have right now. He is a faithful God, and He deserves every good thing from us. Paul said in Philippians 4:11(NLT), “Not that I was ever in need, for I have learned how to be content with whatever I have.” We must be committed to learn this golden lesson as well. He said in 1Timothy 6:8(NLT), “So if we have enough food and clothing, let us be content.” Heavenly Father doesn’t mean that we should stop wanting greater blessings. He expects us to understand that this moment is all we have, and we should make the most of it with gratitude and contentment before Him; He deserves this. He’s blessed us wonderfully through Christ, and if we’re not as thankful as we should be, we need to pray that He will open our eyes to His goodness. Contentment isn’t having everything we want, it’s the confidence that we have all we need in Christ, and when we need more, we’ll have that too. ■

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.

“How to Be Content in Life”, 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!

What the Times Are Revealing

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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!

Pray Honestly, Openly, and Frequently to the Lord

“Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done.”
Philippians 4:6(NLT)

“How can you tell me not to worry – that’s all I know how to do!”

Worrying is what many of God’s people do best these days. Not because we want to, but because it’s so much happening all around us that worrying is the first response many of us run to. None of us could have predicted that we’d face times like these. They are dangerous times, and things have been this way for a long time. People are struggling to keep their lives together. Many women are facing evictions and abandonment right now and they don’t know where to turn. As with any challenge, this season is a reminder of how delicate and fragile life is. Circumstances and situations reveal that we are definitely not in control, and if there’s anyone that thought they could live without God’s grace and mercy, they are experiencing a wake-up call like no other.

Whenever and whatever the crisis, God tells us in His Word how to approach it. He tells us to go instantly into prayer about it. 1John 5:14(ESV) tells us, “And this is the confidence that we have toward him, that if we ask anything according to his will he hears us.” Nothing slips by our Heavenly Father. He is fully aware of everything we’re going through. As a matter of truth, He knew we’d face it long before we ever thought about it. He knows every detail of every-and-any-thing that has ever happened, in your life and in the lives of everyone else. Regardless of the situation, or how conditions appear, He tells us to pray.

The Apostle Paul, tells us in 1Timothy 2:1-2(NLT), “1 I urge you, first of all, to pray for all people. Ask God to help them; intercede on their behalf, and give thanks for them. 2 Pray this way for kings and all who are in authority so that we can live peaceful and quiet lives marked by godliness and dignity.” As God’s children, we are to take on His nature and begin to move in what He has called us to do. We are to pray for others as well as ourselves. We’re to pray for those in governmental authority, whether we agree with them or not. God’s Will is that believers have a life of peace, and in order to live in peace, we are to align our thoughts, words, and deeds with the example of Jesus Christ. This means that we don’t just sit on our hands and complain about our situations; we get busy trusting God and praying in faith. 

2Timothy 1:9(NLT) says, “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.” Even in the midst of our pain and turmoil, we must have confidence that God saved us and called us. We couldn’t do anything to earn the blessings He’s given us through Christ. It’s because of God’s grace that we have received His tremendous provision, protection, and care. We must pray to invite the power of God into our situations and to demonstrate that we honor the reality and magnitude of who our God is. He’s truly awesome and amazing. He’s loving towards us, and He delights in helping us. We should go to Him with everything, from the least to the greatest details of our lives. James 5:16 tells us that the prayers of a righteous person has great power and produces wonderful results. We have been given the authority of Jesus Christ in the earth, and this authority allows us to partner with God to set a path of change in our lives.

If you want to see results, pray. Even though you don’t know what tomorrow may bring or how your circumstances will change, pray honestly, openly, and frequently.  Our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, knows exactly what to do, and he knows exactly how to help. He wants you to trust his love enough to pray and believe that he will not and cannot fail you. No matter what we’re going through, we must pray in faith. God helped those before us, and they faced greater peril and desperation than we can imagine. Just like them, He didn’t bring us this far to leave us. Remain diligent in prayer and believing. Do not doubt God’s power, and be confident that He will never leave or forsake you when your trust is firmly planted 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.

The Holy Bible, English Standard Version (ESV) is adapted from the Revised Standard Version of the Bible, copyright Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the U.S.A. All rights reserved.

“Pray Honestly, Openly, and Frequently to the Lord”, 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!

Now is Not the Time to Look Back

The past is gone, and the reality is that you will never see those days again. It is as true as truth can be that all you really have is right now. And what you do in the ‘right now’ of this moment will shape your tomorrow and future ahead. No matter how tempting it may be, now is not the time to look back. You’ve come this far, and God has some place for you to be. In Jeremiah 29:11(NLT), He told His people living in Old Testament times, “For I know the plans I have for you,” says the LORD. “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.” God wanted them to know that they were not forgotten. It was true thousands of years ago, and it is true today. Heavenly Father has a plan for our individual lives. It is a good plan, and it requires us to always look up and look ahead.

Jeremiah, God’s prophet to His people, reminded those in captivity in Babylon not to listen to false prophets and allow their hope to be diminished. He assured them that they were on the mind of God, and that God had not forgotten them. We can relate to this, right?! When we’re in the thick of it, and problems are popping up all other the place, it can feel very much like we are without the anchor God gives. We might be tempted to believe that He has forgotten all about us and left us to fend for ourselves. This isn’t the truth, but in our weakened state of anxiety and fear, some of us convince ourselves that it is.

2Corinithians 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.” Blinding someone’s mind is an extremely dastardly trick. It requires manipulation, and it also requires a willing participant. You might think, “Well that’s just crazy! No one would willingly participate in the devil’s scheme to blind them.” Well, the practice of always looking back and losing hope and trust in God’s plan is a sort of blindfold, because you can’t look back and look ahead at the same time.

God wants our eyes open to the tricks of the enemy because if you’re blinded then you can’t see the truth. Many of God’s children are suffering through the struggles of financial hardship, depression, sadness, isolation, spousal abandonment, and many other debilitating issues of abuse. Our Heavenly Father wants us to see the glorious light of the Good News of Jesus Christ. This light of Christ will bring healing and solutions to the darkness of the circumstances many of us face.

It isn’t uncommon for individuals to define themselves, and indeed their whole lives, by the hurt and pain they’ve experienced. Their disappointments and failings, and not their triumphs, become the narrative of how they describe themselves. These things become branded on our hearts and souls. They become the mark in the sand. We have to realize sooner or later that although our struggles, disappointments, and loss may represent the mark in the sand, our mission as more than conquerors in Christ is to move beyond the mark. We can do this not because we’re so strong, but because God is greater than our pain, and He heals all wounds.

It’s time to remove the blinders and see the truth of who God has made us. Whether it is the spouse or significant person who doesn’t treat us well, or it may be a person who doesn’t want the best for us, sadly these are folks the enemy uses to pull the wool over our eyes. We must wake up, see it for what it is, and then begin to structure our prayer lives around God’s strength and the deliverance He freely offers us through Christ.

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. 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.” Taking a stand means to boldly believe in the power, love, and strength of God and that He will use His unlimited resources to rescue you from all hurt, harm, and danger. It’s not about what’s happened in the past. The past is the past. It’s about what God is doing in your life today, and what He will do every day as you make the decision to surrender to Him. Take His hand and allow Him to guide and teach you. The blinders will be removed, and your life will never be the same.■

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.

“Now is Not the Time to Look Back”, 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!

Don’t Let Him Pick You Apart!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Spirit’s Fruit Producing Business

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

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

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

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

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

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

Walking in the Spirit requires us to make a switch. We can no longer allow our flesh to be our guide. That occupation belongs only to the Spirit. We must surrender to him, and when we do, it’s a total faith walk! We can’t lean on the flesh and please God at the same time. He tells us in Proverbs 3:5-6(NKJV), “Trust in the LORD with all your heart, And lean not on your own understanding; In all your ways acknowledge Him, And He shall direct your paths.” The flesh doesn’t want us to surrender, it wants quick pleasure and to keep us marching to the tune of rebellion. It leads us to think that we can direct our own paths, be self-reliant, and become grounded in self-security. Life will teach us how wrong this line of thinking really is.

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

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

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

Your Alabaster Box

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Dissolving the Dark Cloud of Sadness

One of the residuals of surviving domestic violence and abuse is the feeling that everything is stacked against your happiness. Not only is it an alarming place to be, it is emotionally exhausting. Once you’ve placed your trust in someone you believed to be worthy of it, and they end up betraying this trust, something is lost. You no longer believe the world to be a safe place or that you can carve out a small piece of safe harbor for yourself. Living daily with this can make you feel like there’s a dark cloud looming over your head, and it follows you everywhere you go. For many of us, it is a sadness we can’t seem to shake.

Some abusers cloak their manipulative tactics with a very charismatic personality. They seem exciting and have a lot of fun, and this can be a very attractive and magnetic draw, especially for a person that is starving for attention and isn’t secure in themselves. Many victims fall for the abuser and latch on to them very tightly because of this. It’s the beginning of such internal conflict. One part of you, a very important part, is being fed in a way that is deeply satisfying. The other part of you is being zapped of all its vitality and strength by someone who wants you to believe they love you. To say that you are torn is an understatement.

Likewise, to say that a person in this situation needs rescuing is also an understatement. The first truth that we must accept is that we’re unable to rescue ourselves. God is our Rescue. 2King 17:39(NLT) states, “You must worship only the LORD your God. He is the one who will rescue you from all your enemies.” Without God, we wouldn’t be able to do anything. Nothing in the universe happens without Him allowing it to occur. We are given this earth experience to grow in our relationship with Heavenly Father and to also increase our knowledge and understanding about Him, so that we can make wise decisions and choices. The goal in life is to trust Him more and more with each passing day, our trust in Him transforms us into all that He desires us to be. 

Believing God to this degree is a foreign concept for most. Some might believe in Him, but they don’t think leaning on Him for everything equates to the level of maturity an adult should have in life. They think it’s fine for children, but they equate a fully persuaded faith in God to believing in fairytales. Not understanding the accomplishment of Jesus Christ through his ministry, sacrifice, and resurrection, some people believe life is to be lived on their own terms and that’s that.

Faith in God is nowhere near a fairytale. Faith in Him through Jesus Christ is believing in reality, everything else is temporary and fading away minute by minute. 1John 2:17(NKJV) declares, “And the world is passing away, and the lust of it; but he who does the will of God abides forever.” Society teaches us to place all our trust in people, governments, institutions, relationships, and material things. We start to believe that we can use all those things as a foundation for building ourselves and to undergird the kind of life we desire. The world is corrupting, so why would we use it to build anything we want to last? 1Colossians 3:11(NLT) teaches us, “For no other foundation can anyone lay than that which is laid, which is Jesus Christ.” He is the Rock of our Salvation, and because of him we have received the gift of eternal life.

The dark cloud of sadness that hovers over many individuals does so because they refuse to have faith in God. Many of them are stuck in disappointment because they gave another human being a place in their lives that only God should have been given. They put all their eggs in this person’s basket, and the eggs were crushed because this is a responsibility no human being can handle successfully. God didn’t give any human the ability to see into the heart of another, nor did He give us the capacity to keep someone else’s heart. He lets us know in His Word that we are responsible for our own hearts. He commands us in Proverbs 4:23 to guard them above all else.

Dissolving the dark cloud requires our diligence to grow in faith. The fantasy was believing that another person could give us something that God could or would not. The fairytale is thinking life will cooperate with us when we don’t trust God with all our hearts, minds, and strength. He is our Rescue. He’s our strength from day to day, and He tells us in His Word to delight in Him. There is none that compares to our Heavenly Father, and He is all we need. We don’t have to live a life dominated by fear. We’re not built for that. Our hope is in Christ, and Romans 5:5 affirms that this hope does not disappoint! We were created from God’s love, and through Christ, we can live love every moment of every day. This is what God wants for us, and one of the greatest things any of us can do is to want it for ourselves. ■

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.

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