Your Strength Renewed

2Corinthians 4:16(NLT)
“That is why we never give up. Though our bodies are dying, our spirits are being renewed every day.”

Why did I turn on the radio? Of all the songs, it had to be playing one of my ex’s favorites. He said it reminded him to never give up on us. When I heard it, I immediately began to cry, and the tears just kept coming. I couldn’t stop thinking about the many years we’d been together. Now, six months after the breakup, I’m wondering how we got to this place. How did I end up where I never wanted to be, feeling alone, depressed, and hopeless?

When you’re in a relationship that you so badly want to last, you’ll keep trying to find ways to make it work. But when it is apparent that there is more harm and very little good, we must accept the reality that we’re not with the person that is meant to journey forward with us. Christians are not exempt from trials and tribulations. We make mistakes and have our fair share of battling heartbreak and sadness. Sometimes we choose to be in relationships with individuals that exhaust us mentally and emotionally. We put ourselves through the ringer for this person, because we want so much to have a significant relationship, but at what cost?

For many of us marriage is the goal, but sometimes we focus too much energy on the other person and not enough energy on our relationship with God. We need to settle our minds on the reality that every good thing in life is birthed out of the energy and love we put towards honoring Heavenly Father. The psalmist said in Psalm 18:2(ESV), “The Lord is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer, my God, my rock, in whom I take refuge, my shield, and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold.” The Creator of the universe is perfect and magnificent in every way. He never has to do a do-over or a take-back, because He does everything perfectly from the very beginning. He is extremely intentional and on purpose, and all power is in His hands. God is worthy of all our praise, glory, and honor. He alone is God, and nothing ever slips by Him.

When we know this about God, it must be reflected in our faith. It must be expressed in how we think and feel about Him. He will not fail us, and we owe Him reverence and respect. It is also important for us to know that He cares about us, and He wants the best for our lives. John 3:16(ESV) declares, “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.” God’s only begotten Son, Jesus Christ, is extremely precious to Him, yet God did not spare him to save us. Romans 5:8(ESV) says, “But God proves His love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” This is how much God loves and desires to bless us.

As women, some of us find ourselves hungering to have a man love us, but we are not hungering to live more in God’s love through the example of Jesus Christ. We feel so sad once a relationship ends, and most of don’t see it for the new beginning it represents. When a relationship is over, sometimes we feel barren, numb, and don’t know what to do to ease the pain. There’s an empty place in our hearts, and God wants His love to occupy that space. Only His love can give us the spiritual strength that helps us to overcome any obstacle. We desperately need to become more acquainted with the person of Jesus Christ.

The pain eases as we let the love of God in. How do you let His love in? You surrender to it! You surrender your way and let God direct your steps each day. When you’re recovering from heartbreak, you might experience exhaustion on many levels. Nothing feels good, and it seems that all the excitement has left your life. God will replenish you if you trust Him with your whole heart. Isaiah 40:31(NLT) says, “But those who trust in the lord will find new strength.  They will soar high on wings like eagles. They will run and not grow weary. They will walk and not faint.”

As you take your hands off, you have no other choice but to let the Lord do the steering. Don’t be afraid that you will not love again, become “LOVE” yourself by allowing Christ to fill your heart. Let God take over and take your eyes off the man, because another human being can never be the answer that solves our life’s puzzle; only Christ can do this. Study God’s Word so that you learn to make wise decisions and choices, and don’t allow your feelings and emotions to make decisions for you.

You must feed your mind, soul, and spirit the truth and power of God’s Word. Don’t let despair win. You are the champion that God says you are. He says in Romans 8:37 that you are more than a conqueror through Jesus Christ, so fight the good fight of faith. Heavenly Father only wants what is best for you. Put as much or more energy into letting God renew your strength as you put in allowing heartbreak to take it from you. Have faith in His love, and you will be amazed by how He transforms your life.■

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.

“Your Strength Renewed”, written for DomesticAbuseAwareness.Org ©2023. All rights reserved. All done to the glory of God through Jesus Christ, our Lord!

God Loves Justice

Miller Jamison attended a family gathering at his mom’s. She was making her famous macaroni and cheese, and nothing could keep him away from his mother’s macaroni and cheese. His grandmother was visiting, and the house was packed with friends and family. When Miller walked through the door, his grandmother was ecstatic to see her grandson. Beaming with excitement, she jumped up from her chair, grabbed him close and gave him a big ol’ hug. Miller was happy to see her too, but her presence reminded him that his grandfather wasn’t there. It conjured up hurtful feelings that have been the most painful of any Miller has ever experienced in his life. 

He had intended to focus only on how great it would be to eat good food and to see his grandmother and everyone else. He thought he had managed to put the anger about the death of his grandfather far away from his mind, at least enough to enjoy a good meal with his grandmother, who he hadn’t seen in months. It was not to be. The man that had caused his grandfather’s death was never prosecuted. His mother told Miller repeatedly to leave it in the Lord’s hands, but he had turned his back on faith, and continues to carry both rage and grief over his grandfather’s death. He’s not sleeping through the night, and at times he’s short tempered and easily agitated. His grandfather was a gentle soul, and for many people, he was a bedrock of strength and wisdom. Miller didn’t understand God’s justice, and he blamed God for not preventing the death of the best person he had ever known.  

In the Old Testament, God said in Jeremiah 9:23-24(NLT), “23 Don’t let the wise boast in their wisdom, or the powerful boast in their power, or the rich boast in their riches. 24 But those who wish to boast should boast in this alone: that they truly know me and understand that I am the LORD who demonstrates unfailing love and who brings justice and righteousness to the earth, and that I delight in these things. I, the LORD, have spoken!” 

In verse 23, God checks those who were walking around feeling superior over their own wisdom, power, and wealth. We probably see far more of this today than those that were living during biblical days. Humanity has advanced to a degree that probably far exceeds the imagination and expectation of most. There’s no doubt that there are very smart people in our world and they’re doing remarkable things, but God tells us that this is no reason to boast. There’s only one thing that anyone should brag and boast about, and it is that they know our almighty and powerful God. 

He wants us to know Him. He tells us in verse 24 of this passage that He wants us to understand who He is and what He loves. He is our Heavenly Father, and He demonstrates unfailing love, the kind of love that never wavers. He brings justice and righteousness to the earth, and this is a truth that needs to marinate in our brain cells. Without God bringing justice and righteousness, there would be none. History has proven what happens when people turn their backs on God’s Word and refuse to abide in His righteousness. They do unthinkably evil things, and we’ve witnessed incredible tragedies by the hands of people that crave power and wealth and will stop at nothing to have those things. We might think God turns a blind eye to this, but that is never the case.

In Isaiah 55:9(NLT), God said, “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’s thoughts are so much higher than ours that we can’t define or calculate the difference.Without God’s intervention, and left to our own devices, we would see things from an extremely narrow perspective. Our vision is exponentially limited, but God sees the entire picture. We must trust Him and His justice, because God knows the past, present, and future. Miller wanted vengeance for his grandfather’s death, but he knew his grandfather would never have wanted that. He didn’t want to cause his grandmother and mother any more pain, but Miller felt trapped by his emotions and circumstances, and it was eating him up inside. 

Quite often, deep pain and anger are rooted in a person’s refusal to accept that life is out of their control. This is what vengeance is about. It’s an extreme need to punish for a wrong in a way that makes us feel in control. Vengeance never achieves its intended purpose. Romans 12:19(ESV), “Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave it to the wrath of God, for it is written, “Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord.” God’s justice is righteous, and vengeance belongs to Him alone. We must have faith that He will take care of those who do wrong. 

There are only two choices we can make in life. We can trust God and have faith in His Word, or we can choose to live and operate outside of faith in God. Choosing against faith is the equivalent of fear. It’s trusting our own devices rather than trusting God, and this is never a winning strategy. The choice regarding faith or fear is completely and utterly left to us. God will not force us to choose His love, just as He will not stop people when they make the choice to do things that He doesn’t like. We get to choose who we are going to be. We can live a life without loving God, or we can choose to love Him. If we choose to love God, we must have faith in Him, because Hebrews 11:6 tells us that we can’t please God without faith. 

Faith is always the answer for any heaviness we endure in life. We are not in control, and this is a reality that faith demands we accept. God is the One with the master plan, and nothing is too big for Him to solve. He told His people in Exodus 15:26 (NLT), “If you will listen carefully to the voice of the LORD your God and do what is right in his sight, obeying his commands and keeping all his decrees, then I will not make you suffer any of the diseases I sent on the Egyptians; for I am the LORD who heals you.”

God takes care of everything. We should trust this even when we do not understand how He moves. We couldn’t possibly know all that God is doing, but He commands that we focus our hearts and minds on His goodness. We can’t do this if we are consumed with anger and rage. Psalm 7:11(ESV) says, “God is a righteous judge, and a God who feels indignation every day.” God is angry with the wicked every day, but He is also an extremely patient God. He’s patient with us, and He is patient with those who do not follow Him. He wants us to know this so that we are confident in His goodness. 

God requires us to be imitators of Him. We are to be patient and have faith in His judgment, because His judgment is never wrong. Through God’s righteous judgment, He demonstrates that His timing is divine and perfect. No one gets away with anything, and on this we can depend. We will all reap what we sow. Our God is just and righteous, and both belong to Him. He delights in them. So, we must reject fear and the desire for vengeance and place our faith in the perfection of God’s sovereignty and rule. When we surrender totally to Him in this way, He will comfort our hearts through His Spirit, and replace our anger with His 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. 

“God Loves Justice”, written for DomesticAbuseAwareness.Org ©2023. All rights reserved. All done to the glory of God through Jesus Christ, our Lord!

Overcoming the Discomfort of Dissatisfaction

Discomfort is often a calling card for change. This is a truism that we need to be reminded of constantly. We’re creatures of habit, and we like being able to count on the familiar. Even individuals we consider to be spontaneous and impulsive have made a habit of not adhering to plans and schedules. Inevitably, we will all come to a place in life where the status quo will no longer work for us. It’s a place where we begin to feel a strong sense of dissatisfaction with the way things are, and we know that something in our lives has to change. For some of us, going into the same building, seeing the same people at work, and doing the same job day in and day out has become very dissatisfying. For others, the dissatisfaction is closer to home, because they’re unhappy and unfulfilled in their relationships. Most of us can put up with agitation on certain fronts, but when we’re totally dissatisfied to the point of feeling feel down about ourselves, something must change, and it must start with our prayer lives.  

Prayer should always be our first step
1 Thessalonians 5:17 tells us to pray without ceasing. Our Heavenly Father is not telling us to pray twenty-four hours a day. He wants us to rest and take care of our obligations and responsibilities. He also knows that we have occasions during the day when we can and should devote quality time to Him. This verse in 1 Thessalonians 5:17 instructs us to be very careful that we don’t neglect these opportunities. We are to use them to pray with discipline and diligence. God wants us to make prayer a habit pattern because prayer is one of the most powerful instruments of change that Heavenly Father has given us. Quite naturally, when we begin to notice that our lives are losing vitality and fulfillment, praying to God in the name of Jesus Christ should be our first step. Ephesians 6:18(NLT) tells us to “Pray in the Spirit at all times and on every occasion. Stay alert and be persistent in your prayers for all believers everywhere.”  

Prayer creates and maintains an open line of communication with Heavenly Father through the Lord Jesus Christ. We talk to Him with an earnest and humble heart, and He speaks to us as well. Often, it’s not hearing the counsel of the Lord that develops a dissatisfaction with life. Heavenly Father doesn’t want us in this state because it opens the door to temptation. We saw this with Adam and Eve. God blessed them beyond measure and provided everything they could ever need. They were tempted by a plan of the devil to manipulate them. They allowed themselves to believe his lies over the truth of God’s Word. Once doubt entered their minds, the devil then landed a one-two punch with temptation, and they fell for it.  

Getting to the Root
When the sadness of dissatisfaction with life persists, it can cause even the most mature Christian to abandon good judgment and opt for what they believe is an immediate fix. We can start to view money as the solution, and get ourselves into a debt situation. People have been known to pick up gambling and over-indulgence to put a band-aid on their pain. In marriage, a sense of dissatisfaction with our spouses may give the devil an opening to tempt us to step outside the marriage–to think that the grass is greener on the other side, when in actuality our souls are withering, and our partners are reflecting this decline back to us.  

Spiritual maturity will always press us to recognize that dissatisfaction with external situations is a calling card to look within. Often, when Jesus Christ healed an individual, he pointed out to them that a mental and emotional adjustment had to occur first. In Mark 9, when a father sought him for the healing of his son, Jesus Christ clearly pointed out that the father had a responsibility to believe, because the son wasn’t in a condition to believe for himself. In Mark 9:22, the father begged Jesus, “Please have mercy on us and help us, if you can.” This word ‘IF’ nullifies faith. Jesus wanted to help them, but the father of the boy created an atmosphere where faith would not move.  

Responding to Christ
1Timothy 2:5-6(NLT) are such powerful verses regarding our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. This passage tells us, “5 For there is only one God and one Mediator who can reconcile God and humanity—the man Christ Jesus.6 He gave his life to purchase freedom for everyone. This is the message God gave to the world at just the right time.” We have a Mediator in the person of Jesus Christ. To mediate is to intervene for the purpose of bringing about a result, reconcilement, and/or agreement. Mediation is what Jesus did for the father of the son that needed deliverance. Jesus Christ knew both the problem and solution. He told the father in Mark 9:23(NLT), “What do you mean, ‘If I can’?” Jesus asked. “Anything is possible if a person believes.” 

Jesus Christ delivered a straightening rod in the form of a question and an answer. You can be guaranteed beyond certainty that Jesus Christ will respond to you, because this is what Mediators do; they respond, or else how can they mediate? In the world system, a person typically will trust a mediator implicitly. How much do you trust Christ? In the world system, a person would understand that the mediator only wants what is in their best interest; therefore, they would tell the mediator the absolute truth. Have you told Jesus Christ the absolute truth? Have you come to him with every detail of your pain? Are you using a person, situation, or thing to camouflage your doubt in God’s Word?  

We should be praying to God in the name of Jesus Christ, asking Him to help our unbelief. Like he did with the father whose son needed deliverance and healing, Jesus Christ will respond to our prayers, and will do so in a way that brings out the thing that is blocking our faith. He will direct the Holy Spirit that indwells us to point out any “IFs” in our mind-and-heart-set. It’s an internal thing, we can be most assured of this. We should then respond to Christ with full surrender, allowing him to guide us through as we leave doubt and dissatisfaction behind us.  

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. 

“Overcoming the Sadness of Dissatisfaction” written for DomesticAbuseAwareness.Org ©2023. All rights reserved. All done to the glory of God through Jesus Christ, our Lord!

The Right Instructions for the Right Results

In the Gospel of John, Chapter 5, Jesus Christ had gone to Jerusalem for the Passover. He came to a pool called Bethesda, and it had five porches. On certain seasons, an angel would trouble the water, and whoever went in the pool first after the troubling of the water would be healed of their affliction. Large multitudes of those who were sick, diseased, blind or afflicted would wait on the porches for the opportunity to be healed. John 5:5-6 tells us that Jesus saw a man lying there near the pool. This man had been sick for 38 years, and Jesus, knowing he had been sick a long time, asked him, “Would you like to get well?”

The question Jesus Christ asked the disabled man may have seemed like a foregone conclusion to some of us. He was there at the pool, where many sick people gathered, and he had suffered with his condition many years. Imagine what the man must’ve thought after hearing our Lord and Savior ask him this question. In our minds, we might think he’d say, “I’ve been struggling to get to this pool and waiting by it every day for as long as I can remember, of course I want to get well.” The truth of the matter is that Jesus Christ not only knew the man’s situation, he knew the man’s heart. The sick man was looking for healing to come from a change in conditions, and not from power.

There is tremendous power in the faith of Jesus Christ. He said in Mark 9:23 that all things are possible to the person that believes. Faith can activate a work of God on our behalf, but often the point of connecting to the element that energizes our believing is missing. For the people at the pool, the thing that energized their believing was the troubling of the water. Based on prior history of God’s healing power, they conditioned their minds to believe that they would be healed if the waters were troubled, and if they entered the pool first. On the unfortunate flip side of this, they also believed that healing would NOT come unless the waters were troubled. Because of this, they limited their faith.

Some have said that the man lacked faith entirely, but this can’t be true. Romans 12:3 tells us God has given every person a measure of faith. At the end of the day, the sick man’s faith placed him in the right place at the right time—the time when he would make a point of contact with the Master Jesus. You might ask, “Why did it take so long?” Well, you and I must know as mature believers that how bad we really want something is going to be tested. The sick man wanted to be healed, but his answer to the question Jesus asked him tells us about his state of mind; and he had held this mindset for a mighty long time. He had not quite made the leap between wanting something and believing that he could actually have it.

In John 5:7(NLT), the sick man answered Jesus by saying, “I can’t, sir…for I have no one to put me into the pool when the water bubbles up. Someone else always gets there ahead of me.” This was his answer to “Would you like to be healed?” It was not an emphatic “YES!” as most would expect, but an explanation for why it hadn’t or couldn’t happen. He was waiting on the conditions to change instead of connecting to the One who changes conditions. This is what many of us are doing today.

Jesus told him, “Stand up, pick up our mat, and walk!” A revelation regarding the authority of Jesus Christ is the point of contact all of us need, and it was evident when the man heard these words of authority come from Jesus’s mouth. He was healed instantly, rolled up his mat and began to walk.

It can’t be lost on us that the man’s faith was activated when he received the right instructions. He took the right action at the right time because he responded to the authority of Christ, and then he received the right results. Everything flowed according to God’s purpose because this man obeyed the instructions he heard from Jesus Christ. Heavenly Father knows exactly what it will take to bridge the distance between our desires and the faith to bring them into fruition. I believe one of the most important things we can do today is spend time learning how to respond to and live by the authority of Jesus Christ. A habit pattern of hearing and obeying must be firmly in place. Then, when it’s time for Jesus to give us the right instructions for our desires, they will connect with our faith and achieve results that honor and please God.■

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 Right Instructions for the Right Results”,written for DomesticAbuseAwareness.Org ©2023. All rights reserved. All done to the glory of God through Jesus Christ, our Lord!

A New Heart Brings New Blessings!

The Prophet Ezekiel delivered a powerful Word of Prophecy from the Lord, our God, to the people of Israel. In Ezekiel 36:26-27(NLT), God told them, “And I will give you a new heart, and I will put a new spirit in you. I will take out your stony, stubborn heart and give you a tender, responsive heart. And I will put my Spirit in you so that you will follow my decrees and be careful to obey my regulations.” It is important for us to know that the people of God living during this time had gotten themselves in quite the pickle, and it was because of their disobedience. They made a conscious choice to turn away from God’s regulations and do their own thing. This was a terrible mistake, and they found out the hard way. In this regard, they were like many of us living today who get weary of waiting to see a change in our circumstances. Like them, some of us think about taking matters into our own hands. Our God cautions us against such actions, because He has a much better solution.

When God looked at His people living during Old Testament times, He saw the future. Back then, they were really doing the most with all that idolatry and evil darkness they were dabbling in. But despite their non-sense, despite their disobedience, God blessed and delivered them. When they saw what a mess they’d made and cried out to Him for help, He came to their rescue. The record of mercy and grace He bestowed on them is a testimony to those of us living today. It builds a foundation of truth regarding God’s love that anchors our relationship with Him even more.

Their hearts were hardened against God and they consistently ignored His commandments. The same spirit of rebellion that gets into some of us was rampant in them. Instead of bringing glory to God’s name, they brought shame to it and glorified the devil. Talk about needing a new heart, they certainly did. Great hygiene and a good bath couldn’t clean the filth they harbored in their hearts. A work had to be done internally, and only God could do it.

The thing that you and I must keep in mind is that God’s people living in Old Testament times were servants, they were not children. They could not have His seed in them because Jesus Christ had not yet come and made the infilling of the Holy Spirit available. For believers today, it is an incomparable treasure to know that God will restore us utterly and completely. If He would do it for His servants, He most certainly will do it for His kids.

There isn’t anything that our God can’t and won’t do for His people. His promise of a new life brings hope when we’re struggling with pain, shame and disappointment. Relying on His power, and His love instead of our own is the only way to usher in the newness we need. Heavenly Father assured the Israelites that He would give them a new heart, that He would remove from them a heart of stone and give them a heart of flesh. This is the heart that believers can have through the Holy Spirit, a heart that delights in pleasing God.

Our desires to partner in marriage, to have loving families and relationships, are desires that God has placed in our hearts. For many of us, this wonderful dream represents the newness we desire, but it must be matched by newness in our commitment to obey and trust God’s Word in a greater way. The prophecy that He gave Ezekiel was a foretelling of the redemption He planned for His children through the sacrifice of the Lord Jesus Christ. Through Christ we have a new covenant with God, and Hebrews 10:16 tells us that God has placed His laws and regulations in our hearts and written them on our minds.

We can have every confidence that God wants us to fulfill His purpose, but He also teaches us through the prophecy given to Ezekiel that a stubborn, stony heart doesn’t please Him. We must respond to Heavenly Father by doing the things that honor His name and doesn’t bring shame to it. Through Jesus Christ, God has given us a clean heart. He’s given us a new and right spirit, and we must do our very best to stay faithful to Him so we’ll be prepared for the new blessings He brings into our lives.■

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.

“A New Heart Brings New Blessings!”,written for DomesticAbuseAwareness.Org ©2023. All rights reserved. All done to the glory of God through Jesus Christ, our Lord!

You Are Not Alone

1Peter 5:9(NLT)
“Stand firm against him and be strong in your faith.  Remember that your family of believers all over the world is going through the same kind of suffering you are.”

Whenever I’m going through a tough season in my life, I always remember my mother’s words. She’d tell us, “Life will beat you down if you let it.” It must have been over twenty-five years ago that she first said this, but she spoke it with such conviction that I have never forgotten it. Hitting it home even more is the reality that over the years I’ve come to know a little bit about life’s challenges; I’ve had more than a few myself. Admittedly, my mother had been through a lot, including domestic violence. She’s survived things that most couldn’t imagine pulling through, but her faith remained strong in the Lord. This has been such a profound example for me, because through my own struggles, more than any other thing, faith in the goodness of God has pulled me through as well.

1Peter 5:9 makes it clear that we have a spiritual adversary, the devil, but rest assured, God has not left us defenseless. Our Heavenly Father tells us in Ephesians 6:11(NLT) to put on all of His armor “so that you will be able to stand firm against all strategies of the devil.” He goes on to tell us that we are not fighting against a flesh and blood enemy. This is the mistake in our thinking that many of us make. People can be mean, vindictive, manipulative, and very unkind. Many of us encounter folks like this every day. When they behave badly towards us, our first inclination is to want to give them exactly what they have given us, but this isn’t the right strategy.

God makes it 100% crystal clear that our issue isn’t with the individual, but the demonic influence that works through them. These individuals haven’t understood the truth about Jesus Christ, and because of this, they can be used by the devil to come against us. If we neglect the truth of what God is telling us in Ephesians 6:11, we will continue to be blinded and attacked by satan and his demonic cohorts. We must open our eyes and become aware of our real enemy, because it isn’t a person, it’s the devil.

In Ephesians 6:13, Heavenly Father instructs us that every piece of His armor is necessary to resist the enemy. First, God tells us to put on the body armor of His righteousness. You and I don’t have any righteousness to call our own. We receive God’s righteousness when we accept Jesus Christ as our personal Lord and Savior, and we are to wear it like a second skin. We must also hold up the shield of faith to stop the fiery arrows of the devil, and we must put on the shoes of God’s peace. We’re to wear the salvation that Jesus Christ offers us as a helmet, because following the example of Christ protects our minds, hearts, and souls. When we think, speak, and act like Christ, we leave no room for the enemy to steal the authority that Christ has given us. Living through the example of Jesus Christ means that we can stand firm with soundness of mind and in the strength of God’s love and power.

Lastly, we’re to take the Holy Spirit’s sword, which is the truth of God’s Word. A sword is a mighty weapon. Many of us have been outsmarted by the devil because we haven’t adequately protected our minds and hearts with God’s Word. At times we made the mistake of behaving as though our enemies were flesh and blood. We tried using physical or human-made weapons on a spiritual enemy, and this will always be futile. 2Corinthians 10:4(NLT) declares, “We use God’s mighty weapons, not worldly weapons, to knock down the strongholds of human reasoning and to destroy false arguments.” In other words, we must recognize that God has equipped us with every spiritual weapon we need to stand strong. When we put on the mighty weapons that God has given us, we will not be tricked by wrong teachings, false arguments, philosophies or any other plot of the devil. Instead, our faith will remain strong in the Lord as we dedicate ourselves to living for Him.

There’s no question that life is challenging. We might get knocked down, but God wants us to know that we don’t have to stay down. That’s not His Will. He wants us to be strong, and to stand tall, because Psalm 3:3 declares that He is the Lifter of our heads. He loves us and only wants what is best for our lives. Romans 3:23-24 says that we all have sinned and fallen short of God’s standard. We are going to make mistakes, and some will cause us great pain, but God is always with us and will never leave or forsake us. He has proven through Christ that His grace, mercy, and love have no limit, and we can be assured that He will always come to our aid.■

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.

“You are Not Alone”, written by Kyada for DomesticAbuseAwareness.Org ©2022. All rights reserved. All done to the glory of God through Jesus Christ, our Lord!

Have Hope in God

Ecclesiastes 7: 9-12(NLT)
“Control your temper, for anger labels you a fool. 10 Don’t long for the good old days. This is not wise. 11 Wisdom is even better when you have money. Both are a benefit as you go through life. 12 Wisdom and money can get you almost anything, but only wisdom can save your life.”

“Where did I go wrong in my life?”

I was talking to Louisa the other day. She’s a middle-aged Christian woman that I’ve known a while, and she expressed her desire to have a do-over with her life. Louisa has lots of regrets. She wished that she had never moved away from her hometown in the South and that she would have married her high school sweetheart. “At least with him, I knew what to expect.” she remarked. What did she get instead? A man that cheated on her most of their 25 years of marriage. She met Larry two years after she moved to Ohio. They dated for a couple of years, got married and had three children. She found out about his affairs after they had their second child, but because her oldest child had medical issues, she remained in the marriage. Raising two boys alone would’ve been more than she could handle, she thought, and after her daughter was born, she settled into what she refers to as a life of disappointment.

Most of us wake up every morning, go to work, raise our children, and do what is necessary to live a peaceable life. It isn’t a fairy tale, because life isn’t meant to be. It’s meant to be a walk of faith with God through the Lord Jesus Christ. Most of us are fully aware of this. Things in life don’t always go the way we plan. Many of us are caught off guard by this and catch ourselves wishing that we could have a do-over, especially when it comes to some of our mishaps and mistakes. But life just keeps rolling, and we must have faith in God to keep up.

When our reality is far from what we’ve dreamed, we think we’ve missed something or left something behind that would have made us better and therefore made our lives better. We figure it’s almost impossible to recoup now that we have so many responsibilities. Others are depending on us to hold things together, and it isn’t always easy to be strong. Our hopes are injured because it feels that any chance of living the dream is greatly diminished. We’re left wondering how we ventured so far off track.

Romans 8:29-30(NKJV) declares, “29 For whom He foreknew, He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the firstborn among many brethren. 30 Moreover whom He predestined, these He also called; whom He called, these He also justified; and whom He justified, these He also glorified.” Verse 29 tells us that God knew us even before we were in our mother’s wombs. He has given us a destiny, and this destiny is shaped and modeled in the example that Jesus Christ left for us. We are children of God, and God is the One who predestines our lives. It’s not our plan, it’s His plan! Our great pleasure, privilege, and responsibility is to pray, to seek what He has in store for us, and to follow His plan and purpose with all our hearts.

Our plans and dreams are limited to only what we can see and imagine. We don’t consider all the pitfalls and missteps because we couldn’t possibly know them all. We think about what is good for us, but don’t always know what is good for everyone, or how our dreams and desires might impact the lives of others. Our God is interested in what is good for everyone, and the benefit of all is masterfully woven into His plans. Our Heavenly Father knows everything. Jesus Christ tells us in Matthew 6:8 that God knows we need before we ask Him. There isn’t any detail about our lives or the lives of others that God does not know. Acts 17:27 tells us that He alone set the boundaries of our births, and He left nothing to chance.

Galatians 3:13(NLT) declares, But Christ has rescued us from the curse pronounced by the law. When he was hung on the cross, he took upon himself the curse for our wrongdoing. For it is written in the Scriptures, “Cursed is everyone who is hung on a tree.”” The past is gone forever and will never come again. It cannot be relived, and none of us can have do-overs, but we must never, ever forget the reality that our Heavenly Father is a Redeeming God. He redeemed us from the curse of sin, sickness, and death. Adam disobeyed God and sold us all into the slavery of sin, sickness, and death, but God always had a plan for our redemption through Christ. Romans 5:12 affirms that Adam sinned, and sin spread because we all sinned too, but through his sacrificial offering for our sin, Jesus Christ redeemed and saved us from this curse. Now, we are free and have received the gift of eternal life because of what God accomplished through the death and resurrection of our precious Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.

God redeems! He delivers and restores! When we try to make our plans work, they don’t always come out the way we envision, and this is what causes disappointment, but God’s plan always works to His glory and to our benefit and glory as well. In Proverbs 3:5-6, He instructs us not to lean on our own understanding. He tells us to place all our trust in Him, and all means “ALL”. He directs our paths, and on this we can depend.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.”

Romans 8:28(NLT) affirms, “And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them.” We make mistakes, but they teach us that God is the One that is in control! We don’t have any power to call our own. All power belongs to Him! Although there are disappointments in life, He can redeem them to such a degree that the sting of disappointment no longer affects us. Through Jesus Christ, God has given us a sure hope, and Romans 5:5 declares that this hope in Christ does not disappoint us because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through His Holy Spirit!  So, let’s not waste time on wouldas-couldas-shouldas. Let’s be secure in the knowledge that we can bloom wherever we are planted as long as we trust God and depend on Him to lead us on the path He’s set for our lives.■

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.

“Have Hope in God”, written by Kyada for DomesticAbuseAwareness.Org ©2022. All rights reserved. All done to the glory of God through Jesus Christ, our Lord!

Don’t Be Afraid, God is in Control

Psalm 23:4-5(NLT)
4 Even when I walk through the darkest valley, I will not be afraid, for you are close beside me. Your rod and your staff protect and comfort me. 5 You prepare a feast for me in the presence of my enemies. You honor me by anointing my head with oil. My cup overflows with blessings.

As Children of God, we don’t have to be afraid of what’s to come, nor do we have to fear the unknown. Our only requirement is to trust God as He instructs us in this passage in Psalm 23.  Heavenly Father wants us to know that He is with us always. He will never leave us nor forsake us, in good times and in the bad times.  When we need comfort, Philippians 4:7 tells us that He will give us a peace that passes all understanding. When we need protection, Psalm 110:5 declares that He will stand at our right hand to protect us. He is a mighty and all-powerful God who loves His children, and we can depend on this with our whole hearts.

If these last few years, particularly the last few weeks, have shown us nothing else, it’s revealed that the world will constantly sink low and bring about the unexpected. But our God is faithful to those who love Him. We don’t have to walk around shaking in our boots. Ephesians 1:3 says that God has blessed us with all spiritual blessings because of our union with Jesus Christ, and through our blessed Redeemer, we are complete!

Passages like Psalm 23 are extremely comforting, especially during the lows in life, because tough times can make us feel lost. They can cause our thoughts to head south of what God has made us in Christ. It’s no secret that our darkest valleys can be found in the unpredictable and unexpected events that life sends our way. Not long ago, one of my dear friends witnessed how quickly things can change when he got a phone call from one of his older sons. He’d been in a car accident and was arrested for drinking and driving. At the time, his son had just graduated from college with a degree in criminal justice and had wanted to be a police officer since childhood. He applied to the police academy in hopes of finally making his dream a reality, but those dreams were shattered. My friend’s son faced mounting court fines and a lawsuit. He withdrew his application from the academy, and watched his dream slip away, all because of one bad decision. 

The unexpected can shift our circumstances quickly. It can take your breath away, because you didn’t see it coming. Although life is constantly proving that in the blink of an eye, things can change, we must never forget that God is always and forever in control. 1Corinthians 10:13(NLT) states, “The temptations in your life are no different from what others experience. And God is faithful. He will not allow the temptation to be more than you can stand. When you are tempted, he will show you a way out so that you can endure.” This verse lets us see how important it is for us to have faith in God. No matter how volatile and out of control life seems, Romans 8:28(NLT) affirms, “And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them.”

God has given us His Word to strengthen us during uncertainty and change. Isaiah 40:29(NLT) tells us, “He gives power to the weak and strength to the powerless.” We are His children, and He has equipped us to stand strong through our faith in Him. But if the Word of God is not rooted in our hearts and minds, we can become easy prey to believe or think we’re powerless. We can be tricked into thinking that God isn’t going to protect and take care of us, and once we allow this train of thought to spread, fear and doubt make themselves cozy in our minds and hearts. We can’t let this happen. God tells us in Hebrews 11:6 that it is impossible to please Him without faith. We must believe that He exists and that He rewards us.

God is a Rewarder! He loves us, and He gave His only begotten Son, Jesus Christ, to save us. He did this when we were at our worst. Romans 8:33(NLT) tells us, “Since he did not spare even his own Son but gave him up for us all, won’t he also give us everything else?” And in Romans 8:38, He puts the icing on the cake by telling us that nothing, absolutely nothing, can separate us from His unconditional, limitless love. None of us have any power of our own, but our merciful God has all power in His hands, and He promises in His Word to use His power to protect and care for us when our faith is in Him. We have the distinct privilege and responsibility to increase our faith in Heavenly Father and here are spiritual practices that can help us to do so:

1-Pray More

Philippians 4:6(NLT) tells us, Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done.” As believers, we are required to pray to God often, and to do so in the powerful name of Jesus Christ. This strengthens our relationship with God and adds to the intimacy we share with Him. Too often, we give the world a higher percentage of our time and energy and not enough to God, and this must change. Proverbs 15:29(NLT) tells us, “The LORD is far from the wicked, but he hears the prayers of the righteous.” Not only must we pray for ourselves, but we must pray for others. God is pleased to hear from us our James 5:16 assures us that the prayers of the righteous have wonderful results.

2-Read God’s Word

God’s Word is life to us. His Word is alive, and everything that we need for life and living is contained in it. When times get tough, it is extremely helpful to know scriptures that bring comfort and confidence in God. We need to renew our minds to those scriptures. This means that we should commit them to memory, so God’s Word becomes a part of us. It’s good practice to have a list of your scripture favorites, as well as a hard-copy of God’s Word, near your reach. This way you’re able to grab them for quick reference when you need it most.

3-Keep close to those that encourage you

Proverbs 18:21 warns us that life and death are in the power of the tongue. This demonstrates the potency of the words we speak. It cautions us against speaking negatively about ourselves, and it confirms that friends or associates that are not confident in the Lord may do more harm than good, especially during times of trouble and crisis. We need people in our corners that encourage us to keep our faith firmly planted in God no matter the situation or circumstances. This kind of mindset and attitude pleases God and will help us to stay calm and focused on His goodness and love during the most challenging times of our lives. ■

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 Be Afraid, God is in Control”, written for DomesticAbuseAwareness.Org ©2022. All rights reserved. All done to the glory of God through Jesus Christ, our Lord!

Save Your Relationship with God First

“Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and he will give you everything you need.”

Matthew 6:33(NLT)

“I’m desperately trying to save our relationship, but he acts like he doesn’t love me anymore.”

When we’re facing a crisis, such as being abandoned by the person we love most, our tendency may be to try to hold on to them for dear life. The emotional pain of losing that person is more than we think we can bear, and we become desperate. Many of us will do just about anything to save the relationship. We’ll do things we never thought we would, because losing this person’s love is more than rejection; it feels like we’re losing a piece of ourselves.

Betrayal is an ugly monster. And do you know what takes the hardest hit? Your self-esteem. To realize that the person you love no longer loves you or wants to be with you anymore, it cuts deep. There aren’t too many things in life that are more disappointing and hurtful, but as hurtful as these feelings are, when we can’t seem to shake them loose, they are revealing some key information that is vital to our healing. The first thing our pain reveals is how much we loved the person that hurt us.

1John 4:16(NLT) says, “We know how much God loves us, and we have put our trust in his love. God is love, and all who live in love live in God, and God lives in them.” Love is God and God is love. He is our Creator, and Genesis 1:27 tells us that He made us in His image. We are made from God’s love, and it is a very wonderful thing to know that we can love others deeply. Our pain tells us that we made a lot of space in our hearts for another person. We cared about them, and even though they decided not to appreciate our love in the way we wanted, our hearts were open to give love, and not everyone can say this.

The second thing our heartache reveals is how much we love ourselves. Heartache is supposed to hurt, but this hurt shouldn’t consume us or keep us from bouncing back with greater faith and wisdom. If we are pining away for weeks on end, it reveals that more strength and love at the foundation of who we are is needed. In order for us to become better and wiser, the strength that we need at our cores must come from our love of Jesus Christ. His love builds us up in our weak places, so that we love ourselves and others in a way that is in line with God’s Will and purpose for our lives.

Philippians 4:13(NLT) informs us, “For I can do everything through Christ, who gives me strength.” This is not a myth. It is the truth, and it should be our reality. We are empowered by God through the Spirit of Christ that lives within us. Our responsibility is to grow in this strength. When it becomes apparent to us that a situation exceeds our ability to weather storms and bounce back with resiliency, we must take action. We need the strength, wisdom, and healing that can only come from our Lord and Savior.

When we are injured emotionally, we must not sink into an abyss of pain. Instead, we must increase our time with God through prayer, fasting, and studying His Word. This is how we prepare for greater blessings, and it signals the heavens and everything beneath them that we will not make the same mistakes twice. So, the bottom line is that our commitment to keep ourselves thriving spiritually through Christ is the true measure of the love we have for ourselves and others.

The third and most important piece of information that devastating pain can reveal is the degree to which we’ve prioritized a relationship with a person over our relationship with God. Jesus Christ commands us in Mark 12:30(NLT), “And you must love the LORD your God with all your heart, all your soul, all your mind, and all your strength.” Loving God with all that we are is God’s requirement. It isn’t negotiable. Jesus Christ also commands us in Matthew 6:33 to seek God and His righteousness above all else. So, the standard is very clear. God must forever and always be our priority. When He is, we can be confident that no matter what we face, we will always have victory in Christ.

Ephesians 3:19(NLT) expresses God’s desire for all of us. It states, “May you experience the love of Christ, though it is too great to understand fully. Then you will be made complete with all the fullness of life and power that comes from God.” Our Heavenly Father wants us to walk powerfully in Christ every moment of each day, and He has made this possible through Jesus Christ. Trying to save a relationship that isn’t in God’s destiny for us conveys to heaven and everything beneath it that we don’t believe in the power of our Father’s love. Let’s not do that. Instead, our first concern should be to do everything we possibly can to save our relationship with God. We should show Him that we believe in His promises and that we trust the wonderful future He has in store for our lives. ■

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.

“Save Your Relationship with God First”, written by Kyada for DomesticAbuseAwareness.Org ©2022. All rights reserved. All done to the glory of God through Jesus Christ, our Lord!

When Your Eyes Are Open

2Corinithians 4:4(NLT)
“Satan, who is the god of this world, has blinded the minds of those who don’t believe. They are unable to see the glorious light of the Good News. They don’t understand this message about the glory of Christ, who is the exact likeness of God.”

“Please, help me Lord!”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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