God Cannot Fail

A person said to me that she couldn’t understand why salvation through Jesus Christ is necessary. She finds the bible confusing and very troubling in some areas, and one of her greatest areas of confusion is consequences and why we must face them if God’s forgiveness is granted. She has heard teachers and preachers say that the world is being punished by God with the pandemic. She is alarmed by what she sees and said, “How can a loving God do this to people?” I’ve been on the Christian journey a long time, and I’m no stranger to questions like these. We live in a world where people see the most horrible things imaginable. They blame these dark deeds on God, even refer to them as “acts of God”, and they attribute the wonderful blessings of life to themselves or the devil. 1John 1:5 declares that God is light, and there’s no darkness in Him at all. This is the truth! We’d give ourselves the greatest gift of eternity if we’d accept that God’s Word is true, that He cannot fail, and if we trust Him, He will prove His Word to us in an undeniable way.    

From the very beginning of His Word, in Genesis 1, God shows us a little bit about His process of creation. This is an oversimplification of course, but in a nutshell, 1) He spoke; 2) everything cooperated, converged, and complied; then 3) everything came into being in response to His sovereign authority, glory, power and majesty. It couldn’t happen any other way. When God speaks, we have the definitive and final authority on any subject. God also spoke us into being. He created humans to be like Him and gave us free-will agency to make our own choices. Like Him, we are self-governing when it comes to how we want to live our lives. We can live them according to the example of Jesus Christ, which was always God’s plan, or we can try to come up with our own code of standards, and live as we please. Some who do this are very sincere, but sincerity is no guarantee for truth.  

In Genesis, we see that God is very specific and leaves nothing to chance. That’s just the way He gets down. For instance, He didn’t create frogs to have baby elephants, or bears to have baby giraffes. Everything produces after its own kind. That’s order! Another important pattern is the order in which He went about creating. It was very systematic and intelligent. He didn’t create Adam first and then create everything around the first man. No. He created everything humans would need for habitation, and then He created Adam. The understanding that God wanted us to enter into His rest and provision could not be compromised in any way. He is a God of order, and wherever there is order, there are laws. Therefore, there will always be a price for violating the law.

God told Adam and Eve not to eat of the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil. This was His Word. It was law. He said, “Don’t do it!” and that’s exactly what He meant. Then comes the slick and dastardly evil one, who wanted to steal the dominion and authority that God had given to Adam and Eve. Jesus Christ told us in John 10:10 that the devil is in the earth to steal, kill, and destroy. It’s amazing how people will believe in many of the other truths in God’s Word, but they have a problem dealing with what Jesus said in John 10:10. All we need to do is look around at the chaos and confusion in the world today. It is the devil’s handiwork, and he has blinded people so much that they try to label what God says is wrong as right, and what God says is right as wrong.

We have crafted many of the judicial systems on earth following the pattern of God’s laws. In most of them, if you violate the law, you lose all the privileges that come with being a free citizen. That’s what happened to Brother Adam and Sister Eve. They were in paradise spiritually, because they were holy and had spiritual perfection in their relationship and fellowship with God. This allowed them to be in a physical paradise in the Garden of Eden as well. They were in bliss, but they gave it up because they chose to be separated from the sovereignty of God.

They were tricked by the devil into disobeying God’s commandment which forbid them from eating of the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil. They disobeyed God’s law and lost all the privileges of being a free citizen in the beautiful paradise God created for them both spiritually and physically—on this earth. Notice that God didn’t come down and slap that apple out of Eve’s hand. Heavenly Father didn’t prevent her and Adam from making a bad choice any more than He will prevent us from making them. We are free to choose who we are going to be. The problem is that humans didn’t stop making bad choices after the first couple messed up but continued to sin and do things that were outside of who God has created us to be.

People have thought throughout history that creating more laws was the way the go, that the more laws we had, the better we would become. Instead, the exact opposite was true. The more laws we had, the more we used them to sin even more. We needed to be saved from ourselves and rescued from darkness. So, God sent His Son, Jesus Christ, to accomplish the work that we could not do for ourselves. Through Jesus Christ, God orchestrated redemption’s plan. He redeemed us from the dreadful curse of the law.

God is a Righteous Judge, more righteous than any of us can fathom. He is not flexible to our whims. He said in Jeremiah 17:10(NLT), “But I, the LORD, search all hearts and examine secret motives. I give all people their due rewards, according to what their actions deserve.” Many people have lost faith in the judicial systems in governments and countries. They are ruled in some cases by people that have tremendous power but are corrupt. Because of their corruption, they administer a kind of justice that serves their political, personal, and financial gain. God can never fail. He is perfect in every way, and therefore, He can never be accused of administering justice that isn’t perfect, righteous, and fair. Everyday the sun shines on every living person. Every day, whether we are motivated by good or evil, we breathe air and enjoy a beauty that isn’t possible for us to create or reproduce. God sends the rain to water crops, and the rain doesn’t distinguish which crops enjoy its nourishment. This shows us the goodness of God.

God’s Word tells us in 1John 4:18(NLT), “Such love has no fear, because perfect love expels all fear. If we are afraid, it is for fear of punishment, and this shows that we have not fully experienced his perfect love.” God is not punishing us. We are punishing ourselves, and many are too arrogant to see this. Fear is the opposite of faith. Jesus Christ said in Matthew 6:24 that we can’t serve two masters. We can’t have fear and faith at the same time. There are some very evil people that are possessed by satan to do some very evil things, and unfortunately, there are more of them than there are of those that love God and desire to please Him through Christ. Many of those counted on by millions to make sound judgments and good decisions do not, but God will never abandon those that love Him and are called according to His purpose. Psalm 34:10(NLT) says, “Even strong young lions sometimes go hungry, but those who trust in the LORD will lack no good thing.”  God will not fail us, but we must trust in His Word!

Galatians 6:7 tells us that God is not deceived when we pretend to be something we’re not. He’s not fooled when we say we love Him but refuse to obey His Word. He tells us that the harvest will always reveal the true motive and identity of the seed. In other words, the consequence will reveal the true motive and identity of the action. That’s a big chunk of meat to swallow but swallow it we must if we want to live by God’s truth. For every action, there is a re-action. Every choice we make has a consequence. God forgives our sin, but just as a good parent desires their child to make good choices, God desires the same for us. When we don’t, we shouldn’t blame Him, but humble ourselves to seek His forgiveness and ask Him to help us right our wrongs. If everyone did this, the world would be a much different place.■

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 Cannot Fail”, written by Fran, edited by PMB for DomesticAbuseAwareness.Org ©2020. All rights reserved. All done to the glory of God through Jesus Christ, our Lord!

How to say “NO” Without Getting Physically Hurt

One of the worse noises in life is the sound of a human body being repeatedly thrown against a hard surface. Words can’t describe how disturbing this noise is, and when you grow up hearing it frequently, it becomes an expected and terrifying alarm. Nighttime is not sweet dreams, bedtime stories, and lullabies. Instead, you’re constantly on alert, never sleeping soundly and always primed for the abuse of verbal attacks. Some sense of relief came if it were just the verbal abuse, but even then, I had to be ready to step in the middle of a physical battle at a moment’s notice. Now far removed from the threatening circumstances of that abusive reality, the remnants of the trauma are still with me. They are ongoing reminders to guard my heart and renew my mind to God’s peace. Through the Lord’s grace, I do all that I can to protect the serenity and calmness He has taught me, but honestly, it has taken me a very long time to give “no” it’s rightful place in my life.

“NO!” can save a life or help to preserve one. It’s serious business, and this is by no means a lesson on the right time to say it. That is solely left to an individual to decide for themselves and use their judgment about what is or isn’t an eminent threat of danger. What this is, however, is my account and what I believe to be the scriptural and spiritual foundation that anchors my courage and confidence to say “no” even today. Many people that have lived in abusive homes grow up believing they have no right or authority to say “no” to abuse and expect it to stick. They accept whatever comes their way, and their judgment has not been vetted through the scrutiny of self-worth. That was certainly my experience.   

Ephesians 6:12(NLT) says, “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.” When I learned about this verse in my teen years, it was literally a game changer for me. In general, I’m motivated in life by the truth of spiritual knowledge. It is my greatest hunger, and I subscribe wholeheartedly to the reality that the right knowledge will position any person to exercise power.

As a teen, I didn’t understand why the person that had caused so much pain didn’t regard me as someone they were forbidden to hurt? Why was my childhood prematurely chiseled away? The answer to these questions lies in the spiritual realm, not in the natural realm. Everything that we see with our physical eyes is temporary, and everything we see was made of things we can’t see. Hebrews 11:3(NLT) tells us, “Through faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God, so that things which are seen were not made of things which do appear.” I had battled a physical enemy for many years, and even though I grew in physical strength as I aged, my physical strength was no match for his. But spiritually, this was not the case.

As I gained spiritual knowledge, I also gained spiritual strength. Boy did this make the devil mad, because I had exposed the lie that he wanted me to believe—the lie that I was powerless and had to continue being his punching bag. My faith in Christ unleashed God’s power in my life, and he began to do some amazing things. I had always been terrified to talk back, but the Spirit of Christ within me gave me a boldness I had never known. The truth had given me understanding, and my spiritual eyes were open. I realized that I was not fighting against a flesh and blood enemy, but the evil at work within him.

We are often tempted to take full credit for miraculous demonstrations of courage, but I am not tempted at all by that notion. On the day that I said “NO!” I was as desperate for answers and rescue as I had always been. It could have gone in a completely different direction were it not for my faith in the power of Jesus Christ. I witnessed it with my own two eyes, the person that had been my oppressor for years was muzzled and bound by a chain and restraint invisible to human eyes. He could not move against me, and although I couldn’t see the force that held him, I felt it in every way.

It amazes me even till this day, but I am under no illusions about what happened. A person cannot rise above what they don’t know or haven’t been taught. I sought the Lord, spent hours in prayer, and made Him the center of my existence. I believed 2Corinthians 3:17, “Now the Lord is that Spirit: and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty.” I accepted His liberty with all that was in me, and He backed my “NO!” I believe He will do this for anyone that dares to trust wholeheartedly in His awesome love and power.■

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 say “NO” Without Getting Physically Hurt”, written by Fran, edited by PMB for DomesticAbuseAwareness.Org ©2020. All rights reserved. All done to the glory of God through Jesus Christ, our Lord!

God Will Put the ‘Super’ in Your Life!

Who doesn’t love a superhero, right? My husband inherited a boatload of comics. Trying to get them cataloged, I’ve gone through so many of them, that I can’t help it, I’ve got superhero on the brain; they come in with their superpowers and super strength and save the day! When I was a child, like everyone else I suppose, I wanted to be one. The mere thought of jumping from building to building, defying gravity, and seeing through walls took our imaginations beyond the limits of casual childhood play. Superheroes helped to teach us to dream bigger than our perceived capabilities. As much as they were entertaining back then, there are some insights these pretend power-packed champions can give us as adults, even today. I believe they will shed some light on why we get stuck and feel as though life has not dealt us a fair hand.

If you think about it a little more, you might agree that imagining for a second that a person can step outside the norm and be super means that we are willing to accept certain realities. One of them is that laws govern the world we live in, and it would take someone with super abilities and higher intellect to manipulate those laws or override them if such a thing were possible. Another notion we’d have to accept is that there are some individuals that don’t have superpowers but are so despicable and abusive that those of us without super abilities often need rescue. We get ourselves in such a fix that we need this rescue on a super scale. The third thing most of us buy into when it comes to superheroes is that ‘super’ doesn’t necessarily mean ‘good’. It could mean dastardly evil, in which case the buy-in that good always and ultimately wins would also need to be present. ‘Good always winning’ is primarily the thing that keeps us good-loving folks coming back for more and more of the story.

I have no doubt in my mind that the people that came up with comics, as well-meaning as they might have been, didn’t really understand much about how faith works. They did, however, understand the limitations of human beings and our need to believe in someone greater than ourselves. They also understood that we need to be rescued on a scale that exceeds our propensity to do great harm. In a way, I guess one could say that comics have successfully branded the word ‘super’ so that most of us associate it with a hero. Our mistake is that we relegate almost everything to do with the word to the ‘make believe’ category. It has prompted some folks to dismiss the reality that with God, ‘super’ exists on an unimaginable scale.   

Not trusting a reality higher than our physical sight can see will hit the pause button on life; it will cause us to be stuck for sure. That’s not what Heavenly Father had in mind. He created us with wonderful imaginations so that we will dream big and aim high; so we won’t acquiesce to the baser things. Instead, we’ll change the way we think to recognize and believe the miraculous truth that Jesus Christ spoke in Matthew 19:26, that with God all things are possible. To be WITH GOD is to accept His help, trust His wisdom and ability, and move in partnership with all that He is. And the extraordinary thing about this is that God moves through, in, with, and by us! His Spirit lives inside the sanctum of our inner beings. 2Corinthians 5:17 tells us that when we accept Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior, we become a new creation. 1Corinthians 3:16 affirms that our bodies become God’s temple, and His Spirit dwells within us.

Heavenly Father didn’t create us to be superheroes able to leap tall buildings in a single bound because we didn’t need to be. He created us to partner with Him in amazing ways. And one of the endless reasons that this is so amazing is that God created the law! He created laws that keep us grounded and continually growing in our relationship with Him. He spoke them into being, and although He is all-powerful, all-knowing, and everywhere present, He never violates His laws. He can do anything He wants to do, but He chooses to do everything perfectly through His unconditional and overwhelming love.

Jesus Christ demonstrated this love-power with his entire life. One of the most poignant examples is in John 6. It was around the time of Passover, and John 6:5(NLT) tells us that while sitting on a hill with his disciples, they saw a huge crowd coming towards Jesus. This was not an unusual occurrence of course, because his power, love, compassion and charisma always drew crowds. Jesus turned to Philip and asked a question, “Where can we buy bread to feed all these people?” Understand that Jesus was not looking to Philip for a resolution, because he knew Philip had doubt in his heart. Doubt is the very thing that keeps the power of God from flowing through us. Doubt traps us in very troubling and oppressive circumstances.

In John 6:7(NLT), Philip responded to Jesus by saying, “Even if we worked for months, we wouldn’t have enough money to feed them!” There were about five thousand men, and this count did not include the women and children that were there as well. Philip saw this situation as outside the limits of what they could handle, and even having the Son of the Living God with them didn’t change Philip’s mind. The revelation of the enormous power and authority of Jesus Christ slipped by Philip even though he had witnessed the many miracles Jesus had performed, but Jesus wasn’t deterred in the slightest. A young boy, no doubt strategically positioned by Heavenly Father, was nearby and he had five loaves of bread and two fish. Five loaves of bread and two fish was incredibly disproportionate to the huge crowd of over five thousand. This should fuel our understanding of 1) God’s enormous power, 2) the compassion and love of Christ, and 3) the great need of those he served. It allows us to appreciate ‘super’ in the form of a miracle when the combination of love, power, and need converge.

So many people are feeling stuck and sad, and they may not feel as though there’s anything super in their lives. God invites us to put Him to the test. If we’ll move from fear and doubt to faith, through the Lord Jesus Christ, God will save the day. That’s what He does. He has rescued us through Jesus Christ, and there’s nothing pretend about that. We must begin to believe in the power of God’s love more than we believe in the evil around us. Only villains believe in evil more than love. In 2Corinthians 12, the Apostle Paul was vexed by one of satan’s angels, and Paul said, “he tried his best to get me down. What he in fact did was push me to my knees. Paul begged God to remove this obstacle, but God told him in 2Corinthians 12:9(NKJV), “My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.” God’s strength shows up and shows out as we humble ourselves before Him in faith. We may not be superheroes by comic book standards, but we serve a God who has all power, and He wants to show us that we can do infinitely more through His love than we could ever do without 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.

“God Will Put the ‘Super’ in Your Life”,  written by Fran, edited by PMB for DomesticAbuseAwareness.Org ©2020. All rights reserved. All done to the glory of God through Jesus Christ, our Lord!

God Is Validating the REAL You!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Better and Not Bitter

I got out of a relationship with someone that I thought was a really good guy. He loved the Lord, preached on Sunday at times and was a really good father to his children. We loved each other but after about a year together, the relationship took a turn. His love became painful. If he called and couldn’t reach me, his insecurity would rear its ugly head. It wasn’t apparent at first, but as the relationship progressed, I saw that he handled his own pain through manipulation and playing mind games. I was just not willing to remain in a place where hurt and pain became the constant, and love took a backseat.

I left this man, and it was indeed a difficult break-up. I was truly committed to him and the relationship. It took months before I could even think about him without shedding a tear, but I endured the pain, because I’ve lived long enough to know that trouble doesn’t last always. When we face heartache and trouble, God tells us exactly how to handle it. In Romans 12:12(NLT), His Word says, “Rejoice in our confident hope. Be patient in trouble, and keep on praying.” Instead of letting myself become bitter, I followed the Lord’s commandment.

As I busied myself, going on with my life, I happened to see this man in passing one day, and before I knew it, I had given him a smile. It was not forced or fake but came from a place that the love of God had created in me. He emailed me and said he was so happy to see me, but he said he was even more happy to see the smile I had given him. He thought I hated him.

James 1:2-4(NLT) tells us, “2 Dear brothers and sisters, when troubles of any kind come your way, consider it an opportunity for great joy. 3 For you know that when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow. 4 So let it grow, for when your endurance is fully developed, you will be perfect and complete, needing nothing.” God wants us to get to a place where we are not dependent on a person to do for us what only God can do. Heavenly Father is the Source of our joy, not a person.

If a relationship is harming us, it’s harming our relationship with God. He will give us the strength to let it go. One thing I know to be true, time causes us to forget some wounds, but only the love of God can truly heal them. Just as 1John 4:11 tells us, because of God’s love for us, we should be able to love one another. Even if we want to hold a grudge or be angry for a lifetime, our growth in the Spirit of Christ will not allow us to do this. We can let go and be better and not bitter, and we’ll be so much stronger for it.

Pray and ask God to give you a new heart, and let His love blanket all your pain, as only He can.

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.

“Better and Not Bitter” written by KYada, edited by PMB for DomesticAbuseAwareness.Org ©2020. All rights reserved. All done to the glory of God through Jesus Christ, our Lord!

A Hero’s Blindspot

The women I grew up around were warriors in my eyes. They were not champions of academia, didn’t have loads of money by any stretch of the imagination, and not all of them would measure up to what we consider to be spiritual veterans of today. They were the ‘least of these’, women that were incredibly humble, fiercely determined, and in many cases, fantastically resourceful; they had to be. Survival depended on their ability to take what most consider to be nothing and turn it into something that added beauty, comfort, and sustenance not just to their lives, but the lives of their families. I will always consider them heroes, but like most heroes, they had a blindspot. It was the very thing that ultimately broke their spirits and left their souls depleted of all life’s joy.

Love is our life’s work. A person can run a billion-dollar company, go to the moon and back, or entertain millions with their talent and abilities, but if love has not been their motivation, their accomplishments will have been in vain. 1Corinithians 13:2-3(NIV) tells us, “If I had the gift of prophecy, and if I understood all of God’s secret plans and possessed all knowledge, and if I had such faith that I could move mountains, but didn’t love others, I would be nothing. If I gave everything I have to the poor and even sacrificed my body, I could boast about it; but if I didn’t love others, I would have gained nothing.” This is profound wisdom. It is the machinery of life, and it is a truth that can never be refuted no matter how much we might try. Everything that we do will be judged on whether love was purely and solely our motivation.

Talking about love immediately summons imagery of ooey gooey feelings, but this isn’t the love 1Corinithians 13:2-3 is referring to. Most of us associate love with feelings, but if love’s work was dependent only on how we felt, very little could be accomplished. God is our Father. John 3:16 tells us God so loved everyone in the world that He gave them the most precious gift He owned, which is His only begotten Son. He paid the highest price that could be paid. Why? John 3:16 tells us why. He did so that everyone that believes in His Son will not perish but will have eternal life. His love for everyone knows no boundaries, and He didn’t just talk the talk so to speak, He walked the walk. He demonstrated His unfailing love for us all.

Jesus Christ said in John 15:13(KJV), “Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.” We are the friends he’s referring to. If you don’t believe in the value of the life of Christ, you will not have the heart depth to be grateful for his sacrifice. In truth, there is nothing that exists in all of eternity with the capacity to measure what Christ gave up, and what he accomplished on the cross. Nothing can compare with the suffering he endured. Philippians 2:8(NLT) says, “he humbled himself in obedience to God and died a criminal’s death on a cross.” The suffering he took on was the suffering humanity deserved for its rebellion against God, and although Christ died over two thousand years ago, humanity is still rebelling.

The value of a treasure is recognized by the price that is paid to acquire it. The highest price was paid for our souls, and by this we can know a little bit about the value God has assigned to them. He treasures us. When we live in such a way that we honor God with the gift of life that He has given us, and we demonstrate our gratitude by celebrating it the way that He does, we are no longer blind. It is through this lens of God’s love that love’s work begins.  

My beloved heroes loved the Lord, but they didn’t realize the beauty of the destiny He had for them. They allowed the men that were used by satan to keep them blinded to their worth. Through the domestic violence and abuse that was afflicted on them, their voices were silenced, their opinions were belittled, and any attempt to be strengthened in confidence and faith was brutally attacked. It is impossible to rise above that which we do not know or haven’t been taught. We can only rise to the level of which we are willing to believe in our worth.

Heavenly Father is our Creator. He is the only One that can assign our value. No other human being has that right. Jesus Christ lives within us, and God tells us that we are the hope of his glory. The suffering of domestic violence and abuse can make a hero a victim, but it doesn’t have to stay that way. You don’t have to settle for scarcely getting by. You don’t have to stand by as someone maliciously tries to dismantle the hope that is in your soul. You can begin to change the way you think about yourself. You can recognize that you’ve underestimated your ability to capture your destiny and carry it out through the Father’s love. Trust God wholeheartedly through Jesus Christ. It’s how you demonstrate that your eyes are open to the glory of all He’s created you to be. God will continue to light the way as you honor the worth of the life that He’s given you, and only make room for those who do 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.

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

“A Hero’s Blindspot”,  written by Fran, edited by PMB for DomesticAbuseAwareness.Org ©2020. All rights reserved. All done to the glory of God through Jesus Christ, our Lord!

Only With the Help of God

1 Corinthians 13:7-8(NLT)
“7 Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance. 8 Prophecy and speaking in unknown languages and special knowledge will become useless. But love will last forever!”

I was driving home one day after work to meet my husband. Within the span of 30 minutes, he had called at least ten times to check up on me. He knew I left at 4pm every day, and if I wasn’t pulling up in the driveway by 4:30pm, I was sure to hear his mouth. I naively thought this was his way of showing his love. The real truth is that he was so insecure within himself that it blocked his ability to truly trust me.

At that time in my life, I believed I had a good relationship with God, but for the life of me I couldn’t understand why He had allowed me to be married to such an insecure man. The mental and emotional pressure of having someone on my back every day about my whereabouts was way too taxing on me…I felt like I couldn’t breathe. I found myself dreading to come home.

If my husband was home when I arrived, he’d drill me about my day for the first ten minutes. It became a very tense thing for me because I had to be so careful not to say anything that would lead to more questions and accusations. I was always on pins and needles, never knowing if the simplest statement I’d make would anger him to the point of physically attacking me. Pain, fear, and insecurity became my companions for the duration of our marriage.

I remember reading the passage in 1Corinthians 13:7-8 which teaches us about how love behaves. At first, it made me very sad to read this passage, because I didn’t have this kind of love in my marriage. As I thought about it more, I became so angry with myself for having married this man. Just as God didn’t stop Adam and Eve from making a catastrophic bad choice, He didn’t stop me from doing the same thing. We get to choose the path we will take and decide if we’ll claim our destiny in Christ or walk the path of our own making. I had chosen my own path, and it wasn’t the right choice for my life, but I refused to give up hope. Heavenly Father has given us life through His Word. We can change our course in life, begin to walk in His wisdom, and learn to make better choices.

It took a while, but I began reading more and more of God’s Word, and did so whenever I found myself in despair. His love kept me going. My appeal to anyone going through what I described is that you never give up hope in God through the Lord Jesus Christ. It was only with the help of God that I made it through an abusive marriage. Know that He will do the same for you. Continue to pray, and He will give you the strength you need. Never stop believing in the dream of a life of peace and wholeness.■

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.

“Only with the Help of God”, written by Kim, edited by PMB for DomesticAbuseAwareness.Org ©2020. All rights reserved. All done to the glory of God through Jesus Christ, our Lord!

Transforming Mistakes to Lessons Well-learned

How do you move beyond the fear of poor decision-making? The answer to this question is one that many people will not seek, because it will require them to get closer to God through the Lord Jesus Christ. Some of them fear the possibility of intimacy with Him more than they do the vicious cycle of making mistakes repeatedly. The one reality that every living person must accept is that life doesn’t discard the lessons we need to learn simply because we ignore them. In John 6:63, Jesus Christ tells us that it is the Spirit who gives life. Life belongs to God, and He has designed it in such a way that spiritual lessons must be learned. When we do learn them, the fear of poor decision-making is put to rest, because if we are humble and willing to be led, God will lead us to the right choices for our individual lives.

Hebrews 11:3(NKJV) tells us, “By faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God, so that the things which are seen were not made of things which are visible.” Human beings have a propensity to become incredibly arrogant, so much so that we value the creation more than we do the Creator. We ignore the reality that everything we see was created by God from the things we can’t see; that there’s nothing humans can manufacture, produce, or build that isn’t made from the invisible realm of God. Most of us focus our attention on all the wonderful things humans can do. We don’t marvel in gratitude to God for His gifts, instead, we become puffed up on our own abilities. We depend solely on our own intelligence, and in this respect, we trust human beings more than we do the Creator who made them.

We now have an environment where ignoring our spirits and refusing to nurture our connection to God is very commonplace. Continuing down this dark path will be inevitable if we don’t wake up. Life isn’t a color-by-number situation. We’re not puppets, and God doesn’t pull our strings to make us move the way He wants. He’s given us free-will choice, and we can make any decision we’d like. However, God has a way that is always and forever going to be best. He invites us to follow this way through the Lord Jesus Christ. If we take Him up on His offer, we must begin to wake-up to the treasure of what lies within.

God’s Spirit is inside us, and John 16:13 tells us that the Holy Spirit that indwells us will guide us to all truth. He will speak to us in marvelous ways, and he will show us dreams and visions that will help to steer us to the blessings that have our names on them. All of this is available to the believer, but we must slow our rolls and begin to press into God. We must pray and talk with Him often.

In Matthew 6:8(NKJV), Jesus Christ tells us, “For your Father knows the things you have need of before you ask Him.” God knows everything, and one of our greatest mistakes is to behave as if we don’t know this. The greatest decision we can make is to wake-up to the reality of His omniscience, and to also wake up to His desire to keep us safe and moving on a forward and upward trajectory. The psalmist said in Psalm 116:8(NIV), “For you, LORD, have delivered me from death, my eyes from tears, my feet from stumbling,” Heavenly Father will do this for us, but we must develop a habit pattern of paying attention to the Spirit within. 1John 4:4(NLT) tells us, “But you belong to God, my dear children. You have already won a victory over those people, because the Spirit who lives in you is greater than the spirit who lives in the world.”

Many of us have wondered why we can’t catch a break, and why, although the people are different, the situations and behaviors they bring mirror conditions and problems that continue to cycle back around. Through the Spirit of Christ, indeed greatness lives in all of us. We can get off the vicious cycle of mistake after mistake and reclaim the life we are destined to live. Wake up to the lesson of love God desires to teach you. James 1:5 tells us that if any of us lacks wisdom, we must ask God, because He gives His wisdom liberally to anyone who asks, and He won’t be upset with us for asking. Now is the time to recognize that we are spirit beings having an earth experience. We’re here to learn to walk in love like Christ. When we wake up to this and pay attention to the Lord, we’ll transform our mistakes into the victory that comes when lessons are well learned.■

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

THE HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®, NIV® Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

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.

“Transforming Mistakes to Lessons Well-Learnedwritten by Fran, edited by PMB for DomesticAbuseAwareness.Org ©2020. All rights reserved. All done to the glory of God through Jesus Christ, our Lord!

Take Your Power Back!

A friend of mine told me about a woman she works with because she’s concerned about her. For anonymity’s sake, we’ll call her Katie. My friend has worked with Katie over five years. They are very friendly, and about five months ago, Katie invited her to a dinner party for fans of the Downton Abbey series. Katie’s home was as beautiful as the exclusive neighborhood she lives in, and it was clear that her husband is very successful. They were having so much fun that evening, and Katie was the life of the party, but when her husband arrived towards the end, there was an immediate change in Katie’s mood. Everyone noticed and took it as their queue to politely say their goodbyes.

My friend said that initially no one else at work spoke of the awkwardness, but because she grew up with an abusive alcoholic father, the shift in the energy in the room that night was for her a very familiar thing. A few months later, Katie spent a couple of days in the hospital. A brand-new luxury vehicle was waiting on her when she was discharged. It was rumored to be a ‘makeup’ gift from her husband. If you have any familiarity with domestic violence and abuse, you know the rollercoaster ride of fear and emotions that come with it. Constantly walking on eggshells is a given, and you hide behind a mask that you put on every day, because you don’t want anyone to know what’s really going on in your life.

If asked, the person that remains in an abusive marriage or relationship will have a thousand and one different reasons for staying. Often those reasons involve children. I’m intimately acquainted with instances of women in my own family leaving their abusers several times, and each time going back to more abuse. They tried to make it on their own and support their children but found it incredibly difficult. So, leaving an abusive situation for some can be very challenging, and the reasons are sometimes more complex than we might know.

Being on the other end of abuse is often about the abuser’s need to feel powerful and to syphon this power from the person they claim to love. This power isn’t a tangible reality that we can touch or handle. It’s a spiritual reality, and we need the spiritual strength of Christ to take it back, because it is in Christ that the victory over satan has already been won. Romans 8:37 cements the reality that overwhelming victory is ours through Jesus Christ.

Throughout God’s Word, we find His encouragement and commandment to all of us to be strong and courageous. In the Old Testament, in Deuteronomy 31:6(NLT), He told His people, “So be strong and courageous! Do not be afraid and do not panic before them. For the Lord your God will personally go ahead of you. He will neither fail you nor abandon you.” In the New Testament we see many instances where our strength in Him is affirmed as well. 2Timothy 1:7 tells us that God hasn’t given us a spirit of fear but of power, love, and self-control. Ephesians 6:10 tells us to be strong in the Lord and in the power and strength of His might.

In all these scriptures, it should be clear to us that our strength comes from God. We are to meet Him in that place of faith, with a willingness to be totally dependent on Him. He tells us in Proverbs 3:5 to trust in Him with all our hearts, and don’t lean on our own understanding, but acknowledge Him in all our ways, and He’ll direct our paths. Putting on a little piece of God’s armor here and there isn’t going to equip us to take our power back. We need spiritual intelligence to outsmart the devil, and this requires the whole accoutrement of God’s armor.

Heavenly Father tells us in Ephesians 6:12(NLT) 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.” The devil works through people to interrupt our destinies and steal our power. People are not our enemies, but the spirit that works through them is, and we must open our eyes to see this spiritual reality. Galatians 5:13 tells us that we have been called to freedom, and Jesus Christ tells us in John 8:36(NLT), “So if the Son sets you free, you are truly free.” No gift that any person can give us is worth the price of our God-given power. Pray, study God’s Word, submit to the leadership of His Spirit, and be patient as He teaches you how to take back your power.■

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.

“Take Back Your Power!written by Fran, edited by PMB for DomesticAbuseAwareness.Org ©2020. All rights reserved. All done to the glory of God through Jesus Christ, our Lord!

Why It’s Important to Love Right

Most of us are pretty confident that love makes the world go ‘round. Love causes movement. It changes things. It creates! It makes things infinitely better than they could ever be without it. Love is easy, but our specialty as human beings is to make things far more complicated than they need to be, and so it is with love. We’ve tried to make different forms and types of it, compartmentalized it, and we’ve even tried to lock it away in our hearts for safe keeping, but as much as people have tried, love is a treasure that can’t be corrupted or made to be something that it isn’t. It comes from our Creator. He’s the Originator of love, and it isn’t just what He does, it’s who He is.

1John 4:8(NLT) tells us, “But anyone who does not love does not know God, for God is love.” The number of folks that have put their own spin on this verse are too numerous to count. This verse doesn’t mean just because a person has the capacity to love someone, that they know God. In the context of this verse, love has a higher definition than most of us are willing to acknowledge; this little thing called ‘arrogance’ keeps getting in our way. Love involves sacrifice. We learn this lesson from our Master Jesus, who when asked by Heavenly Father for volunteers to rescue humanity, he said, “I’ll go, Father! Send me!”

Love for the Father, and love for us led to the unselfish sacrifice that Jesus Christ made, and it is this love that sets the standard. It is the love of which 1John 4:8 refers. Through the Spirit of Christ, this same love is in us. It’s not the ooey gooey, butterfly churning, goosebumps popping sensation we get from being in the company of a Boo. That adds a sweet savor to life, but its’ aroma often fades quickly. The love of God in Christ is a transformative power that is at the core of our being through God’s Spirit. The discipline of self-sacrifice unleashes it. So, when you and I attempt to love without a willingness or understanding that we will most likely have to give up the thing we believe we deserve, our aim misses the mark of the love of God. He will not punish us for our motivations, however askew they may be. Instead, He will aid us.

Jesus Christ said in Revelation 3;20(NLT), “Look! I stand at the door and knock. If you hear my voice and open the door, I will come in, and we will share a meal together as friends.” This is the heart of the Father. He’s knocking at the door of our hearts, wanting us to invite Him in through the Lord Jesus Christ, but there are more of us who refuse to let Him in than those who do. We don’t allow God to help us develop well-formed love. Because of this, we become confused by our own stubbornness and refusal to be in alignment with the love of God. Love, then becomes for us a kind, mushy, but selfish desire that is wrapped in affection, tied to conditions, and completely motivated out of the flesh. Operating this way runs counter to the very reason we were born.

God 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.” Heavenly Father is the One that does the directing, not us. He has set us apart for His divine purposes, and if we don’t allow Him to direct us, things like jealousy, obsession, desperation, and other remnants of fear can cause us to betray our identity.

Anytime that we make the practice and commitment of love more about what we can get instead of what we can give, we draw to us like a magnet individuals who will feast on our wrong desires. Love is and will forever be the barometer that measures how closely we align ourselves to the purpose for which God has created us. He sets the path that is laid before us all, and love keeps us on it. When we begin to love ourselves enough to make fulfilling our destiny in Christ our number one objective, God’s love is operating within and we’re loving the right way. We can then begin to build a momentum where God’s love propels us, and it will bring all the right resources and relationships across our path.■

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

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 It’s Important to Love Right” written by Fran, edited by PMB for DomesticAbuseAwareness.Org ©2020. All rights reserved. All done to the glory of God through Jesus Christ, our Lord!