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!

Knock Down Walls and Bypass Opposition

Do you feel in your heart of hearts that you are destined for much greater things, but you have no idea how to start? Does it feel to you that you’re boxed in because you lack the resources to get your vision off the ground? If you’ve answered ‘yes’ to either of these questions, then you’re probably also asking yourself another pivotal question as well. If God has placed a dream in your heart, and you’re confident that there’s more to life than what you are experiencing, why hasn’t Heavenly Father opened the door for you to seize the prize?

To answer this question, I’d like to begin with something that I witnessed not long ago. I watched a series of teachings by a well-known Christian prophet, that is also an author and teacher of God’s Word. His teaching style is not charismatic or theatrical, and it may not be considered captivating in some circles, but he’s a person that has studied and continues to study the Bible extensively; with access to Greek manuscripts that many of us will never see. He has been privileged to lay his eyes upon books that were written hundreds of years ago, and he sheds light on some of the mysteries that have boggled the minds of biblical scholars for years. So indeed, this man is a treasure.

Although he teaches without a certain theatrical quality that many of us have grown accustomed to hearing from some preachers, the love of God oozes from his very being. He’s a lovely, soft-spoken man, and his love for Jesus Christ is palpable. He brings to the table an understanding of scripture that millions of people have died without ever getting remotely close to. He has been appointed to open the eyes of our generation to what God is doing in this day and time, there is no question about it.

During one part of the series, the camera panned the room and allowed the viewers to see more of the setting where this particular session was being filmed. He was in fact visiting a smaller venue than what I had seen in his other videos, and it was apparent that the congregation was not at all accustomed to his style of teaching. I watched as many of them missed this opportunity to gain a greater understanding of God’s Word. They were looking about the room, appearing bored, sleepy, and a few were shown passing notes. It was evident that some of these folks were not truly interested in seeking to partake of the feast laid before them.

You hear so many people crying out to God that they want more of Him, and they sound so sincere, and dare I say, so religious; but these same individuals will not seek God for more. They WANT more, but will not make the efforts to SEEK more. They will not seek to understand God on a higher level, and seek to know His Will and Plan for their own individual lives.

The end result of this lack of positioning is a feeling and sense of being boxed in, without the resources to expand beyond barriers that hold a person back. Jesus Christ said in Matthew 22:14 (KJV), “For many are called, but few are chosen.” God Almighty, the Great El Shaddai, calls us to the feast He has prepared. He calls us not because we are so worthy, but because He has chosen us upon which to lavish His best.

Romans 2:11 tells us that God has no respect of persons. He doesn’t favor one over the other. So in Matthew 22:14, Jesus Christ isn’t leading us to believe that some are chosen because God favors them more. We are God’s elect and chosen ones because we have an intention to fulfill the call.

Just as a new life needs food and milk to live and thrive, our minds and hearts need the truth of God’s Word in order that our lives on earth can be prosperous and impactful. When it comes to fulfilling your purpose and living the life you’ve always dreamed of living, there’s information from the truth of God’s Word that you simply must have in your arsenal. We can’t do all of the things that we normally do, taking in little bits and pieces of God’s Word here and there, and think this will position us to stand strong amidst opposition. It will not; it’s not enough. We must position ourselves for greatness so that we can receive the treasure God has for us. This is not a new message, but it is one you must continue to hear to stay motivated and encouraged to fight the good fight of faith.

This feeling of being boxed-in is unfulfilled potential. That’s what it all boils down to. I knew an extremely sweet woman years ago, who became ill in her seventies. She expressed to me her regrets about not having lived the life of which she believed she was capable. She said that she always felt that something was holding her back, but she could never put her finger on what it was. She passed away regrettably, and I was deeply saddened that she died feeling that she had lived far beneath her privilege, and had not fulfilled her potential.

The thing that held her back is the same thing that holds many of us back today, and it is the refusal to expand our knowledge of who God is, what He will do for us, and what He has called us to do through His precious and powerful Son, Jesus Christ. This is something that we’re not going to be able to bypass. Ignorance pertaining to the purpose for which God placed you on this earth creates a barrier around your life. The only thing potent enough to penetrate it is the revelation of your purpose and your intention to carry it through.

A person can feel it internally when they are aligned with the plan of God. Something is filled up within your soul when you fall in step with His Call. You burst out of oppression, knock down walls of no’s, and bypass opposition, because you are legally in a place where the enemy cannot buffet you. Only seeking God through a commitment to know Him greater can give you this.

Sometimes, we see ourselves as someone that is not able to do much in the way of impacting and affecting the lives of others positively and significantly. The truth is that we carry in us the power to change towns, cities, and for some of us, nations. But because we will not stretch to increase spiritually, we are not legally prepared to take ownership of what is stored up for us.

It’s common knowledge that a healthy individual must pass from childhood to adulthood, this is true in the spiritual realm as well. At some point in our walk we will have to get beyond the need to be enticed by anything other than a deep and burning desire to grow mentally and spiritually through God’s Word. We need to come to God with a heart and mind that is eagerly seeking to know the very information that is going to position us to do more for His Kingdom. When we hold this key in our hands, we will find that it will unlock any door we want to open. ■


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.

“Knock Down Walls and Bypass Opposition”, written for DomesticAbuseAwareness.Org ©2022. All rights reserved. All done to the glory of God through Jesus Christ, our Lord!

Seven Things You Should Never Tolerate in Your Life

 

There is one thing that you can know for sure, and it is the fact that God has empowered you to shape and mold the quality of your existence. This power is extended to us through Jesus Christ, our powerful Lord and Savior. He made it possible for us to be the master builders that the Apostle Paul referred to in 1Corinthians 3:10. God never intended this vehicle called life to be one big, out-of-control mess. He is a God of supreme order, and through His Word and the example of Jesus Christ, we can take authority and begin to fashion our existences through the help of the Holy Spirit that indwells us. Part of doing this is drawing a line in the sand and being firm about the things we will not tolerate and give place in our lives.

#1 Draining Relationships
Jesus Christ taught us the importance of unity and respect in our relationships. He modeled this for us in the way that he interacted with the disciples. Ephesians 2:21(NLT) tells us, “We are carefully joined together in him, becoming a holy temple for the Lord.” As the body of Christ, we can see how dependent we should be on one another, but not everyone will see it this way. Rather than adding to our walk in Christ and blessing us to go higher in our walk with him, we may find that some people are very draining. They limit our enjoyment of life, and it doesn’t feel good to be in their presence. If you find that this person’s negativity is bleeding into important aspects of your life and keeping you from living a joyful existence, you are well within your rights to put some distance between you and them.

#2 Negative Conversations
One of the things that we will often dismiss is our responsibility to govern what we listen to and hear. God tells us in Colossians 3:8 to not let filthy communication come out of our mouths, and this should also remind us to steer clear of it all together. Proverbs 17:4 (NLT) tells us, “Wrongdoers eagerly listen to gossip; liars pay close attention to slander.” This is not the person that God wants us to be. It is important for us to remember that participating in negative conversations or listening to them can have a long lasting and negative effect on our lives, because there is most assuredly a price to pay for indulging them.

#3 Defeating Self-talk
We’ve heard it said a number of times, but it really is the truth; we are often our own worst enemies. Never is this more true than in the case of beating ourselves up with thoughts of inadequacy, and feelings of self-doubt and insecurity. David said in Psalm 139:14 (KJV), “I will praise thee; for I am fearfully and wonderfully made: marvellous are thy works; and that my soul knoweth right well.” David knew that he wasn’t a perfect man. He had made some mistakes, but he also knew enough to understand the omnipotence, sovereignty, and omniscience of God. Heavenly Father has predestined each of us according to His divine Will and plan. Having a healthy respect for our individual uniqueness will aid our Godly endeavors. So we can never dismiss or diminish that we are masterful creations in Christ. We don’t have time for defeating or negative self-talk. Instead, we should busy ourselves by honoring our standing in Christ and having confidence in our ability through the Holy Spirit, because this is praise to the Almighty.

#4 Ingratitude
Gratitude is a strong sense of being truly thankful for what has been done for you or on your behalf.  Colossians 3:17 (NLT) tells us, “And whatever you do or say, do it as a representative of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks through him to God the Father.” Gratitude is a dominant attribute in the culture of heaven, and it is a legal requirement of operating by faith. Tolerating ingratitude in our Christian walks is not only harmful to our relationships with God, but also to our ability to remain in a state of well-being. Psalm 97:12 (NKJV) tells us to “Rejoice in the Lord, you righteous, and give thanks at the remembrance of His holy name.” Our hearts should be so filled with gratitude that merely thinking about the goodness of God, and all that He has done for us should ignite within us feelings and thoughts of pure thankfulness. So we would do well to put off feelings of entitlement and arrogance, and to make thankfulness a continual and firmly engrained habit pattern for the duration of our lives.

#5 Living without Fun
None of us deserve all of the blessings that we have received, but the truth is that God chose us on which to lavish the fullness of His love, mercy, and grace. Not only that, He has made us worthy to receive these wonderful blessings through our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. In John 10:10, Our precious Lord told us that he came to this earth to make a more than abundant life available to each of us. It’s true that some of us are living beneath our privilege, but this is something we can change. We can start by having confidence that Heavenly Father wants us to have fun and enjoy life. This is a very meaningful aspect of living an abundant life.

We see so many unhappy Christians, and we should be the happiest of all people because we have the knowledge of what Christ has accomplished for us. Not only is it possible to be happy and have fun as a Christian, but the Spirit will help us to make the most out of every moment. He will help us discover new interests and to develop new talents. We just need to have faith in God’s desire to see us happy, and then make a conscious decision to enjoy our lives.

#6 Ignorance Regarding Your Purpose
Sooner or later, we will all come to a place where we’ll realize that journeying forward will be extremely difficult without knowing ourselves on a deeper level. You were handpicked by Heavenly Father to be His very own, and everything He does is purposeful. When we recognize this, we can then begin to reflect upon our lives more constructively.

So few people know why they are here, and most often it is because their eyes are closed to it. They take life as it comes without using the tools that God has given through His Word, the example of Christ, and the indwelling Holy Spirit to find out the purpose for their existence. God demands that we seek His Will and place it above all else, and we shouldn’t ever tolerate living a life without knowing our purpose and committing ourselves to walk in it.

#7 Living Outside of Your Integrity
Integrity is a deeply embedded allegiance to uphold qualities like being honest and having a strong sense of do-rightness. It is also a state of being whole, complete, and undivided. All of us have a register of integrity that is based upon things that we absolutely will not accept in ourselves and others. It’s a threshold that we understand and compute as a level that is too low to go. As we grow in Christ, our level of integrity should rise; not go lower.

God has created us with a trigger within our souls that automatically goes off when we are about to make choices and decisions that undermine the core of who we’ve been called to be. Some of us have become so accustomed to ignoring this trigger in certain areas of our lives that we don’t even recognize it any more. One of the greatest gifts that we can give ourselves is to pause, listen to that inner voice, and examine whether something is well with our souls. In these cases, we need to wait for the ‘all clear’ from the indwelling Holy Spirit. He’ll give us warnings before we head in a direction that violates the integrity of our very beings.

As Christians, the way we move throughout our existences daily should be built upon the mind and heart of Christ. Each of us has the capacity to build up ourselves to extent that we flat-out refuse to accept things that move us away his example. The bottom line is that when we take a stand on the integrity and authority of Christ, we will find that everything in our worlds will follow suit. ■


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.

“Seven Things You Should Never Tolerate in Your Life” written for DomesticAbuseAwareness.Org ©2022. All rights reserved. All done to the glory of God through Jesus Christ, our Lord!

For Best Results, Do It God’s Way

The other day, I watched some kids practicing soccer in the park. During the practice, I heard the coach instructing them to pace their breathing, so that they wouldn’t become too exhausted while running in the game. “If you want to play long and strong, breathe slowly and steadily, rather than quickly, so you don’t overwhelm your body.” He said. I thought to myself, “Wow! I’ve never thought about the importance of breathing techniques, and how they impact the body’s performance.” I figured the body would do what it does automatically, but the coach was teaching the kids to take command of their physical beings in order to sustain peak performance. That’s what a good coach does, and this is what God’s Word does for our lives as well.

There are times when we become so used to doing things the same way that we’ve always done them, that we don’t think to slow down and ask God if we’re doing them His way.  Many times it’s not because we don’t care, but more so out of not being aware or not having proper instruction. We’ve heard this saying time after time, “you can’t get different results from doing the same things.” If we want different results, and that’s exactly what many of us are praying to receive, we’ve got to do things differently in certain areas of our lives.

We are incredibly blessed to have God’s perfect instruction manual on how to get our lives right. 2Peter 1:3(NLT) tells us, “By his divine power, God has given us everything we need for living a godly life. We have received all of this by coming to know him, the one who called us to himself by means of his marvelous glory.” We get to know the nature of God through His Word. It is through this knowledge of God that we can actually begin to put this Word on in our minds and hearts, so that we embody the example of Christ.

Psalms 91:2 (NLT) tells us, “This I declare about the LORD: He alone is my refuge, my place of safety; he is my God, and I trust him.” There is no way we can lose out if we put all our trust in God. If you are a person of good intention, you will want to make the most out of where you are in life. Whether it’s in your family, in a new relationship, or on your job, you want to make a positive contribution and have a positive impact; but there are so many things going on from one moment to the next, we can’t possibly handle this on our own. We need God’s help. He sees all the details. He knows all the ins and outs, and He also knows exactly how, where, and when we can be the most effective. This is one of the many reasons why we should totally depend on Him, and learn to love and live His way through His Word. It’s the best way, and it will cause us to thrive and prosper under His continual covering and care.♦

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.

“For Best Results, Do It God’s Way”, written for DomesticAbuseAwareness.Org ©2022. All rights reserved. All done to the glory of God through Jesus Christ, our Lord!

When We Lose Our Balance

1Corinthians 4:20; For the Kingdom of God is not just a lot of talk; it is living by God’s power. 21; Which do you choose?

“Ok God, you have my attention now, what in the world did I do wrong?”

A few years ago, I fell and broke my elbow. At that time, I had enough spiritual knowledge to recognize that my fall was not an ordinary oops but a severe wake-up call. Although falls are common, we have to always go back to God’s natural order. As God’s children, we’re covered by the blood of Jesus Christ. God doesn’t want us to be hurt in any way, for any reason. Life happens, but we are called by God to pay attention to the consequences of all missteps, mishaps, and mistakes, because we can learn from them.

Psalms 37:23-24 (NLT) tells us, “The Lord directs the steps of the godly. He delights in every detail of their lives. 24 Though they stumble, they will never fall, for the Lord holds them by the hand.”  Both literally and figuratively, a fall symbolizes that balance has been lost. Something is out of alignment and it’s our responsibility as spiritually mature individuals to examine what has caused us to become out of balance and why.

Falling can sometimes be a signal that we’re getting close to going off the path of God’s righteousness in some way. It can also be a wake-up call to the reality that we are veering too far away from the purpose God has for our lives. We’re not paying attention to the things that matter most to Him, and we need to slow down, take a pause, and think about what we’re doing.

John 4:24(NLT) tells us, “God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth.” Our Heavenly Father is a Spirit, and everything He has created is spiritual. Genesis 1:26 tells us that He has created us, human beings, in His own image. He has created this extraordinary universe, and He’s created this planet, earth, for our habitation. We are like Him! He created us in His own image so He can relate to us. We are human spirit and human soul housed in a human body. Everything about us was perfectly designed by our Heavenly Father to love Him, have a relationship with Him, and relate to others through Him.

Romans 8:29-30 informs us that God has predestined us to be conformed to the image of Jesus Christ, His one and only begotten Son. This passage also tells us that He called, justified, and qualified us to snuggly fit into the purpose for which we were called. Our lives are not random. They are ordered by God. Jeremiah 29:11 affirms that God has a good plan for our lives, a plan to give us a future and a hope. There’s no falling or hiccups in His plan for us. He’s a God of peace and everything God does is in order. So, when we fall in any way, it’s a spiritual occurrence of which we can derive spiritual information regarding where we are in the things of God.

Again, everything, and I do mean E V E R Y T H I N G, is spiritual. There will never be a way to extract ourselves from this truth. Those with a prideful mindset may have difficulty with it because they want to live according to the flesh, but that’s not the way children of God live. We walk by faith and not by sight. When we depend solely on our physical eyes and not on our spiritual eyes, we’re not actually seeing what’s in front of us. In this state, a person can fall several times before he or she recognizes they need to pay attention to our Almighty God.

A fall may show up in the form of a failed relationship, a lost job or losing your home. Loss can very often symbolize imbalance, and this isn’t God punishing us. He doesn’t want us to feel bad about ourselves or to be tripped up in life. He wants us to wake up and draw closer to Him so He can help us. The Apostle Paul said in 1Corinthians 13:11(NLT), “When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child.  When I became a man, I put the ways of childhood behind me.” Immature or childlike behavior as an adult will always lead to situations that provide an opportunity to mature in the Lord.

Whenever or however we fall, we can rest assured that our ground can never be too shaky for God to make our crooked paths straight. He is always here for us if we would just humble ourselves and ask for His help. As adults, we will often try and take matters into our own hands. We get ahead of God and this is never a workable strategy. We must take heed to God’s signal, correct our courses, and begin to allow Him to lead, guide, and direct us. He knows where we should be, when we should be there, and He knows how to get us there.

Humility is where it’s at! Humility expresses our love for God, and it activates us in His purpose. It’s necessary to surrender to God through humility because this is what aligns our actions and behaviors with the move of God’s Spirit.

We were never meant to do this thing called life alone. Galatians 5:1 tells us that now that we have been freed from the bondage of slavery by Jesus Christ, we must never again allow anyone or anything to saddle us with bondage again. We can’t have a double standard where we yield to God in certain areas but not at all in others. He commands us Galatians 5:25 to live in His Spirit and to walk by His Spirit. Then, instead of falling because of the circumstances of life, we will fall more in love with God through the Lord Jesus Christ and allow His Word, plan, and purpose to always keep us standing stable and strong. ■

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.

“When We Lose Our Balance”, written for DomesticAbuseAwareness.Org ©2022. All rights reserved. All done to the glory of God through Jesus Christ, our Lord!

Your Victory Status

Deuteronomy 28:12(NLT)
“12 The Lord will send rain at the proper time from his rich treasury in the heavens and will bless all the work you do.  You will lend to many nations, but you will never need to borrow from them.  13; If you listen to these commands of the Lord your God that I am giving you today, and if you carefully obey them, the Lord will make you the head and not the tail, and you will always be on top and never at the bottom.”

The other night, I watched an interview of a woman that had much success in her life, but she’d also experienced many pitfalls as well. A successful entrepreneur with a thriving business, she was asked by the interviewer, “What keeps you humble?” She replied, “The shoe is going to drop one day. I know it is, so I work hard to prepare for the hard times, and I never let my head get too big.” I thought her response spoke to what it means to have a level head and a good  work ethic, but the reality is that the shoe dropped for all of humanity when Adam sinned against God. Adam fell and took all of us with him and Eve, but God had a plan. Through Christ, He laid the path for our victory, and all we need to do is walk in it.

In Luke 14, a large crowd was following Jesus Christ. They had no doubt seen and heard of the miracles he performed, how he healed the sick, restored sight to the blind, and caused the deaf to hear. They wanted to be where the action was. Some wanted to be entertained and others were only interested in what they could get from him. But there were a few who genuinely wanted to be a part of God’s Kingdom and to learn more about it. Our Master Jesus is the Great Discerner and Separator. Luke 3:17(NLT) says of him, He is ready to separate the chaff from the wheat with his winnowing fork. Then he will clean up the threshing area, gathering the wheat into his barn but burning the chaff with never-ending fire.” Our Redeemer separates what is real from what is fake. That is what he did with this crowd, and this is what he will do when he returns to the earth.

In Luke 14:26-29(NLT), Jesus Christ turned around and said to the large crowd, “26 If you want to be my disciple, you must hate everyone else by comparison—your father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters—yes, even your own life. Otherwise, you cannot be my disciple. 27 And if you do not carry your own cross and follow me, you cannot be my disciple. 28 “But don’t begin until you count the cost.” Our Lord and Savior is fully transparent. He doesn’t keep anything hidden from us. He wants us to know that there’s a cost to discipleship. There’s a cost to following him.

When we give our lives to Christ, we make him LORD! He is the head of everything in our existences, from the smallest to the greatest detail. Our lives belong to him totally and completely. 1John 4:4(NLT) declares, “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.” We belong to God! And Jesus Christ is Lord over our emotions, over our thoughts, over our conversations, our relationships, our going in and our going out. He is Lord over us, and we must honor him as the head. This is what it means to give our lives to Christ. In Luke 14:26-29, he makes it fully transparent that this is required, and if we’re not up for it, he tells us to consider carefully whether we should begin this journey.

In Luke 14:28, he tells us to count the cost. This means we should think about the price or cost of following Christ before we begin the journey. As born-again believers, our lives may be targeted for adversity and tribulation. This Christian walk is not always easy, and Jesus Christ asks us to pick up this cross and follow him. We do it because we made the choice to follow righteousness and turn our backs on darkness. God rewards this choice in a big way. 1Corinthians 2:9(NLT) declares, “No eye has seen, no ear has heard, and no mind has imagined what God has prepared for those who love him.”

When we are going through the battles of life, it can get so bad sometimes that you can’t find the Words that God has imprinted on your heart. You want to declare that you are more than a conqueror in every situation, but your tribulations seem insurmountable.  This is the time when you must trust God and do everything in your power to stand on His Word. It’s not about how we feel. It’s not about how a situation looks. It’s about believing that God does not lie, and that His Word is true! He has all power in His hands, He is faithful to deliver us, and He will set our feet on higher ground. This is what we must trust.

Never doubt your victory status. It was purchased with an exceedingly high price. God wants us to obey His Word because this is how we walk in the victory of Jesus Christ. Life will throw many things at us, because the devil is busy, but we must remember what God tells us in 1John 4:4, “the Spirit who lives in you is greater than the spirit who lives in the world.”  Our Heavenly Father has put us in this race. It’s a race that started when you accepted Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior, and God has made sure we are all equipped to win it. He tells us in 1John 5:4(NLT), “For every child of God defeats this evil world, and we achieve this victory through our faith.” We are destined for victory in Jesus Christ, and we are not defeated. We must keep the faith, continue to read and study God’s Word, and be willing to carry our crosses no matter what comes our way. ■

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 Victory Status”, written for DomesticAbuseAwareness.Org ©2022. All rights reserved. All done to the glory of God through Jesus Christ, our Lord!

You’re Never on Your Own

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.”

A good friend and I were having a conversation the other day, and she told me how tired she had been lately. In her words, “Life seems to be getting tougher, and I’m tired of having to juggle everything by myself.”  She’s 58 years old, and even though she’s always wanted to be married, it has never happened. Feelings of depression and loneliness creep up every time she thinks about all the heartaches and obstacles she’s had to face on her own. Even though my friend is over fifty, the feelings she’s having are not unique to a certain age group. The loneliness of being single far longer than you’d like doesn’t discriminate.

My conversation with my friend made me remember when I felt much the same way she does. I’d go to bed at night feeling depleted and sad, thinking that I’d feel better in the morning. The funny thing is, I’d awaken the next morning just as tired as I was the day before. It dawned on me that I needed more than a good night’s sleep. Like all of us, I needed, and will always need, the deep spiritual rest that only the Lord Jesus Christ can give.

In Matthew 11:28-30, Jesus Christ extends an invitation to all of us that are feeling exhausted and burdened down by life. He knows that the world can wear a person down, and he tells us to bring our tired and worn-down selves to him. He will give us rest. The rest that he gives is supernatural. We can’t use human reasoning to explain it because it exceeds our understanding. His rest is administered to the deepest part of us, and there, it restores and replenishes our souls. It’s a rest that belongs to us because our Master Jesus paid for it with his life when he died on the cross for our sins.  

You and I must take this rest by faith. Taking it by faith is the only way. Jesus Christ laid this out for us in Matthew 11:28-29. He said, “I GIVE, YOU TAKE!” That’s the order! He gives, and then you and I have the great privilege and honor to respond to what he has done. We are to take what he offers. Well, what are we taking? In this passage, he also answers this question for us as well. We are taking his yoke—his guidance, direction, truth, example, power, and love. He tells us to learn about him, because in John 14:6, he teaches us that he is the way, the truth, and the life.

His truth is food for our souls, and after we feast on him, our souls will be at rest. In John 6:35(NLT), he said “I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never be hungry again. Whoever believes in me will never be thirsty.” Jesus Christ is life to us! Again, learning about him feeds us in a way that nothing else can. This is the part where so many of us go south and miss the greatest blessing of our lives. For some reason, we will not place ourselves in a posture of studying and reading to learn more about God and His Word. We will not avail ourselves to Christ and will not connect the reality of our soul’s starvation to our refusal to know more about Jesus Christ than we know right now.

Our Master and Savior is humble. He left the throne of God to come to earth to save us. Philippians 2:6-8(NLT) declares, “Though he was God, he did not think of equality with God as something to cling to. 7 Instead, he gave up his divine privileges; he took the humble position of a slave and was born as a human being. When he appeared in human form, 8 he humbled himself in obedience to God and died a criminal’s death on a cross.” Jesus Christ was not forced to die for our sins, he chose to die a humiliating, agonizing death on the cross in order to redeem us from the slavery of sin and death.

We’re never on our own. God is always with us and knowing His great love through Jesus Christ will transform us! He freely offers us this love, and the greatest thing we can do for ourselves is to take it. Spending year and year feeling sad and depleted is not God’s desire for any of His children. He wants us to be happy and blessed every moment of every day, but the joy that He gives is no ordinary joy. The world cannot give it, and the world cannot take it away. It is a joy that isn’t dependent on what we have or don’t have. It isn’t dependent on a relationship with anyone else other than our Master Jesus.

The yoke of Christ will demand that every drop of our tendency to look to someone else for our joy and happiness is completely abandoned. Jesus Christ is LORD! There can be no other who occupies that place in our hearts but him. We don’t get to tell the Lord that our heart belongs only to him, because none of us know our hearts that well, but God knows them. He tells us 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.” Every good relationship that any of us will ever have is birthed from our love, devotion, and loyalty to God through Jesus Christ. When this spiritual lesson is firmly in our minds and hearts, we will enjoy God’s rest and all the blessings that come with 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.

“You’re Never on Your Own”, written for DomesticAbuseAwareness.Org ©2022. All rights reserved. All done to the glory of God through Jesus Christ, our Lord!

Be Aware of the Consequences

Galatians 6:7(NLT)
“Don’t be misled – you cannot mock the justice of God.  You will always harvest what you plant.”

“I know actions have consequences, but I didn’t know it would be like this.”

It’s not an easy pill to swallow when we finally understand how the circumstances and conditions of our lives fit into the Law of Cause and Effect. In simple terms, this law means that for every action there is a re-action or response. This is the way our Heavenly Father designed the universe to operate. Whatever we put out there is going to boomerang back to us. In other words, whether it is good or bad, there’s a consequence for every action. We’re going to reap what we sow.  

Jesus Christ teaches us in Matthew 12:35(NLT), “A good person produces good things from the treasury of a good heart, and an evil person produces evil things from the treasury of an evil heart.” Our Master Jesus defines a good person as one who has a heart that wants to please God and to bless others. When this is our motivation, we will see positive consequences and blessings reflected in our lives. But there’s a flip side to this, and that’s the side we should try our very best to always avoid.

When there’s ugliness in our hearts like bitterness, anger, arrogance, jealousy, selfishness, and resentment, it’s going to come out of us and be expressed through our words and actions. The boomerang of our negative actions and words will often surprise us, because the consequences are far worse than our initial poor behavior. God doesn’t want these remnants of darkness in our hearts because they injure our relationship with Him and keep us from being who He wants us to be. He tells us in Ephesians 4:22 to “throw off your old sinful nature and your former way of life, which is corrupted by lust and deception.” He has commanded us to rid ourselves of those thoughts, attitudes, feelings, and words that do not represent His Kingdom. We are children of His light, and we have the privilege and responsibility to represent His goodness in the earth.

2Timothy 1:7(ESV) states, “for God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control.” God has empowered us through the Spirit of Christ to have self-control. This means that we don’t let people and situations determine who we are going to be and how we are going to act. We should know that our identity is in Christ, and we can and should walk in his love continually. If we don’t do this, we are setting ourselves up for consequences that we will not like.

The truth is that no one escapes the consequences of their actions. We sometimes think this, but it isn’t true. God said in Revelation 2:23(NLT), “I will strike her children dead. Then all the churches will know that I am the one who searches out the thoughts and intentions of every person. And I will give to each of you whatever you deserve.” God is telling us this because He wants us to understand His laws and how they work. He is a God of order, not confusion. Everything He does has order, and as His children, He wants us to follow His Word because He blesses His Word.

He has given us free-will to live our lives the way we choose. His love doesn’t shove or push. He doesn’t force us to love Him but hopes that we will. When we turn away from God’s love through our actions, our lives begin to deteriorate, and unless we recognize this, our lives will continue to spiral downward. We can change this, and we should.    

You might ask, “Why does God want people to suffer?” John 3:16(NLT) tells us, “For God loved the world so much that he gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life.” Our Heavenly Father has shown us how much He loves us by giving His one and only Son, Jesus Christ, as a sacrifice for our sins. He did this when we were at our worst. We were lost and without hope, but God rescued us through Jesus Christ and redeemed us from the curse of sin and death. Now, we can walk in the victory of Christ every moment of our lives, but this is a choice we all must make.

Consequences can be devastating, but God doesn’t cause pain and suffering. However, He will allow them whenever and wherever there is disobedience and sin. He’s equipped and empowered us in Christ to live in love. This means we have the privilege and honor to line up all that we do, think, and say with the reality of who God has made us through Christ. The time is out for excuses. Now is the time to come to God with humbled hearts and made up minds to serve and honor Him. He will forgive our sins and transform our lives to such a degree that we will produce good things from the treasury of a good heart. When we put on our new nature in Christ the way God commands, we will love others through Him, and our lives will overflow with His goodness.■

English Standard Version (ESV), The Holy Bible, English Standard Version. ESV® Text Edition: 2016. Copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers.

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.

“Be Aware of the Consequences” written by Kyada for DomesticAbuseAwareness.Org ©2022. 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!