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!

Keep the Courage

Deuteronomy 28:13(NLT)
“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.”

Trust the truth within, don’t look back – keep going forward.

Abusive relationships are about someone trying to steal your power. This can do a number on your mental and emotional well-being. Once you make the decision to leave an abusive relationship, it’s common to frequently travel down the path of second thoughts. You’ve made a good decision by leaving the biggest mistake of your life in the rear-view mirror, but repeatedly, you question your decision. We do this because our head is convinced, but our hearts aren’t yet on board. That’s because they haven’t fully healed. You feel as though you’ve got just enough courage to make it one day at a time, but it’s tough being alone. Loneliness makes us second guess our decisions probably more than anything else. It makes us listen to the advice of people that don’t have the best track record of common sense and sound judgment. They don’t understand the courage it took for you to leave.

Whatever it is you’re facing today, at this very moment, remind yourself to keep up the courage and stay true to your faith in God. Remain strong and never forget what it took for you to get this far. Don’t look back. Understand that this is what many of us do. Many women who have been in toxic or abusive relationships allow their gut instincts to take a back seat. They make decisions with their hearts and deny what their heads are telling them. Jeremiah 17:9(NLT) offers God’s sound wisdom on this subject. It tells us,“The human heart is the most deceitful of all things, and desperately wicked. Who really knows how bad it is?” God wants us to know that if we haven’t trained our hearts with the wisdom of His Word, then we can’t make our hearts the governing authority over our lives. 

We can’t always do what our hearts tell us. Society has a completely opposite notion. It tells us that we can’t help what our hearts feel, and we can’t help who our hearts love. If that were true, then surely every person that has ever lived would fall madly in love with God. John 3:16 tells us that He loved us so much that He offered the life of His only begotten Son, Jesus Christ, as a sacrifice for our sins. If we have no control over who we choose to love, then surely God would have preprogrammed us to love Him automatically and unconditionally, the way we should; because He is good, holy, and magnificent beyond words. But this isn’t the case. God gave us free-will agency. We choose who we will love. It’s our choice, and if we can fall in love, we can choose to fall out of love, especially if the person is hurting us.

Love is a commitment. It’s a commitment to honor and respect someone to such a degree that you place their welfare over your own. This is the way God wants us all to love and honor the significant person in our lives. 1Corinthians 13:5 tells us that love doesn’t push, shove, or demand its own way. Love only wants what is best for the other person. God has emphasized this truth countless times in His Word. This is what He means in Deuteronomy 28:13. He doesn’t want us to be egotistical or arrogant, but He wants us to know that we are His treasures. We are valuable to Him, and therefore, we must be valuable to ourselves. 

We’re the head and not the tail. We’re above and not beneath. This tells us that we are favored by God through Jesus Christ, and this is how we should be treated. Philippians 4:13 tells us that we are more than conquerors through Jesus Christ. What do conquerors do? They conquer! They overcome! This is your destiny! Even if it is in the smallest way, once you’ve gotten to a place where you have enough strength and confidence to believe this, make sure you keep confessing and telling yourself that you are more than a conqueror in Christ! Remind yourself continually that your future is much better and brighter than your past. Keep looking ahead and be thankful to God for what He has already done for your life. We are God’s masterpieces! It is not His Will for you to be hurt, mistreated, depressed, suicidal, or hopeless. He wants everyone to be happy and blessed, and when you begin to trust this, you’ll see your path to peace and happiness so much clearer. 

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.

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

A New Way Has Opened!

Isaiah 43:16-19(NLT)

16 I am the LORD, who opened a way through the waters, making a dry path through the sea. 17 I called forth the mighty army of Egypt with all its chariots and horses. I drew them beneath the waves, and they drowned, their lives snuffed out like a smoldering candlewick. 18 “But forget all that—it is nothing compared to what I am going to do. See, I have already begun! Do you not see it?

“I want a new apartment, a new job, a new car… right down to the clothes on my back. I want everything brand-new in my life.”

Many of God’s children are looking for a drastic change in their personal lives. God’s Word tells us in Lamentations 3:22-23(ESV), “The steadfast love of the LORD never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; 23 they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.” Heavenly Father has separated night from day, and each morning, we receive new mercies from Him, which means we have the opportunity to start fresh. God never changes, but as we can see from His Word, He loves newness! 2Corinthians 5:17(ESV) declares, “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.” Through the new birth experience that Jesus Christ made available to each of us, we become united with Christ, and God makes us new creations. Because of what God accomplished through the sacrifice of His only begotten Son, if we accept Christ into our hearts, our sins can be forgiven. When this happens, we can receive the gift of His Holy Spirit, which is God’s seed. His Spirit empowers us with God’s strength, and we have victory in life because of our union with Jesus Christ! This is incredibly good news!

From these wonderful verses in Lamentations 3:22-23 and 2Corinthians 5:17, we can be confident that our Heavenly Father celebrates newness, and we should as well. Every day presents a new opportunity to bask in the Father’s blessings, and this should excite us to no end. We don’t always see what our Heavenly Father is up to, and we don’t realize how many times He has kept us from being destroyed by the tricks of the enemy. Often, He works behind the scenes, and many of His wonderful blessings are taken for granted. However, we must realize that if we’re above ground this very moment, we are blessed beyond measure. Philippians 4:4 tells us that our responsibility as God’s sons and daughters is to rejoice in the Lord! He is worthy of all praise, glory, and honor! Ephesians 1:3 declares that He has blessed us with all spiritual blessings in the heavenly realms because of our union with Jesus Christ, and we must be careful to keep our eyes open and focused on this extraordinary reality. 

The end of a year marks an end to the “old” for many people, and it provides an opportunity to embrace newness with a mind-set that is poised to go higher. We should seize this chance to elevate every aspect of our lives, to be better and do better than we did the year before. This is especially the case when it comes to our spiritual growth and maturity in Jesus Christ. Far too many of us are suffering in silence because we think that’s our only option. Someone very sad about his life said to me, “I want a new apartment, a new job, a new car… right down to the clothes on my back. I want everything brand-new in my life.” Many of us are feeling this way.

Sadness will always point to our need to surrender to God through Jesus Christ. Sadness and heartache should prompt us to release our burdens over to the Lord. We have made a habit pattern of thinking the way we do, and we have made a habit of handling issues and situations the way we always have. Increasing our faith in God demands that we break some of these patterns, because they are not serving us well.

God told His people in Jeremiah 29:11(NKJV), “For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the LORD, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope.” God didn’t need our help to come up with His plan. He has a good plan for each of us, and we must ask Him what it is, and have the humility to follow where He leads. He is God all by Himself. He is the Leader, and we are the followers, so we shouldn’t try to take the lead, only the Father can lead us to higher heights and greater blessings. We must decrease and allow the Christ in us to increase through our faith in God.

Our Heavenly Father is Alpha and Omega, He’s the Beginning and the End. He knows the end at the beginning, and He knows the beginning at the end. He has all power in His hand, and everything He does, from the smallest to the greatest detail, has a purpose. He isn’t redundant in any way, and He knows exactly what He’s doing. There’s no wavering with God. He never has to do a do-over, backtrack, or a take back. He does things perfectly from the very beginning. God is sovereign, and when we make a commitment to give Him our lives through Jesus Christ, giving him all that we are is what He expects. He tells us in Romans 12:1(The Message), “So here’s what I want you to do, God helping you: Take your everyday, ordinary life—your sleeping, eating, going-to-work, and walking-around life—and place it before God as an offering. Embracing what God does for you is the best thing you can do for him.that’s what He expects we will do.”

Through accepting Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior, we relinquish lordship of our existences to God through Christ. Heavenly Father commands us in Romans 12:1 to present our whole lives to Him, and to let them be a living sacrifice—not a dead sacrifice, but a living one—that is holy and pleasing to God. We’re to do this because it is the very least we can do for all He has done for us. This means that we’re presenting God with all that we are and allowing Him to transform us into the men and women He predestined us to be. We should allow Him to lead, guide, and direct us every step of the way.

Through Jesus Christ, God has opened the door to a new way of living life, and it is glorious! It is doing as God instructs us in Proverbs 3:5-6(NLT), “5 Trust in the LORD with all your heart; do not depend on your own understanding. 6 Seek his will in all you do, and he will show you which path to take.” For most of us, this is a new way of operating, and although it takes time to learn, trusting God with every aspect of our existences will build the intimacy in our relationship with Him. It will guarantee that the newness Christ offers us will open the door to infinite blessings and possibilities. ■

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.

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 taken from The Message. Copyright © 1993, 1994, 1995, 1996, 2000, 2001, 2002. Used by permission of NavPress Publishing Group.

 “A New Way Has Opened”, written by Kyada for DomesticAbuseAwareness.Org ©2022. All rights reserved. All done to the glory of God through Jesus Christ, our Lord!

Jesus Christ Is Our Peace

John 16:33 (NLT)
“I have told you all this so that you may have peace in me.  Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows.  But take heart, because I have overcome the world.”

 “If she curses me out one more time, I don’t know if I can move forward. 
Her words are so hurtful!”

Humans are not perfect. We make a ton of mistakes and some of them are real doozies. This is never more true than in the love department. In our significant relationships, we’re not going to get everything right, and we’re not always going to end up on the winning side. Some of us will experience the most hurtful disappointment we’ve ever endured. The targets of our affection don’t always appreciate the love we’re giving, and when it’s apparent that this person isn’t capable of reciprocating quality love, but instead they are causing us more pain, we need to open our eyes to what is being revealed. This person wasn’t sent by God and they’re not going to be the blessing we desire for our lives.

I ran into an old acquaintance, and we talked for a while. He began telling me about the difficulty he’s now having with his fiancé.  They’d gotten engaged a year-ago and have called off the wedding twice in six-months. He loves her very much, but he said, “If she curses me out one more time, I don’t know if I can move forward. Her words are so hurtful!” This isn’t the way anyone should be treated. God isn’t pleased with this kind of behavior. He commands us in Ephesians 4:32(NLT), “Instead, be kind to each other, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, just as God through Christ has forgiven you.” Heavenly Father commands us to be kind to one another because this is the way He is with us. His mercy and grace endure forever, and He has shown us how much He loves us by giving His only begotten Son as a offering for our sins. God’s kindness towards us is our example, and He expects us to treat everyone this way, but we are to be especially kind to the person that will walk with us through life.

The world we live in can be extremely harsh, mean, and cold. The person we love should be creating a space that is a warm place for us to land. We should feel safe in their company and not have to keep our guard up the way we do in the world. Most people understand this, and when they can’t bring themselves to model God’s tenderness and love, we need to beware. There could be a darkness internally that they are refusing to acknowledge or confront. If the love you’ve given them hasn’t yet motivated them to change their behavior, it’s time to have a serious conversation with God about your life and the decisions you need to make.

Many times, growing up, I’d hear my elders say, “When you’ve done all you can do, trust in the Lord, and He will carry you through.” This is now deeply imbedded in me, and it’s how I’ve learned to address problematic situations. For years I tried to carry the weight of troublesome issues on my back. In relationships, I took it upon myself to solder the inner turmoil of the men I loved. I offered myself up for the brunt of their self-punishing behavior, but this was not God’s Will for my life. He gave His Son to die so that we can all be free. Galatians 5:1 (The Message) declares, “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.”

Jesus Christ tells us in 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.” Our Lord and Savior instructs us to give our burdens to him and let him bear the heaviness of them. When we do this, we shouldn’t take them back. We are incapable of carrying our burdens, they are too heavy. Giving them to Jesus is all we can do, and once we’ve given him our burdens, we must have faith that he will take care of the rest.

He also tells us to take his yoke upon us. This means that we should be focusing on learning more about Jesus Christ so that we can put on more of his example. It means that we should never try to wear his yoke and someone else’s too. Jesus Christ is humble and gentle; he is our everything, and he is medicine for whatever ails us. He is our peace, and we need to let him heal our hearts, so that we love from the place of his strength and reject anything and anyone that doesn’t love us from that place as well.■

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.

“Jesus Christ Is Our Peace”, written by Fran for DomesticAbuseAwareness.Org ©2022. All rights reserved. All done to the glory of God through Jesus Christ, our Lord!

All Things Working Together for Your Good

Romans 8:28(NKJV) is a verse of scripture that is even well-known among those that haven’t made Jesus Christ the Lord and Savior of their lives. This truth is a source of comfort and encouragement for all who follow Christ. In it, God declares, “And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose.” This is the shining pinnacle of the eighth chapter of the Book of Romans. As God’s people, we are “the called!” We have a destiny in Christ, and whether we know it or not, it far exceeds our greatest and grandest expectations and imaginations.

This verse in Romans 8:28 conveys the perfection of God and the perfection of His Will. It assures us that no matter our mistakes or shortcomings, God loves us, and for those of us that love Him, He will put the greatness of His power on full display in our lives. He will take details, no matter how small or large they appear to be to us, and He will cause every one of them—every circumstance and condition—to cooperate. When He’s done, we can be assured that the outcome will always be for our good. This is very good news indeed!

God works through people and situations to bless and help us. We must never underestimate the truth of this. Hebrews 13:2(NLT) says, “Don’t forget to show hospitality to strangers, for some who have done this have entertained angels without realizing it!” This verse holds a very important truth when it comes to one of the ways in which our Heavenly Father helps us. Angels can come to our aid, and sometimes they appear as people that come into our lives as helpers, and then they leave as quickly as they came.

Some worship angels, and we are never to do this. The instruction of the Father in Hebrews 13:2 is not so we will become focused on whether we have entertained angels. It is to open our eyes to His expectation regarding our treatment of others. He doesn’t want us to forget that we are to show strangers and everyone else the love of Christ. We are to treat them with the kindness that we ourselves want to receive. Many of us haven’t done this in the past and we’re not doing it now. Because we have overlooked the direction of the Father in this way, we may have repelled a blessing rather than brought it closer within our reach. We may have turned away an angel through meanness and arrogance, when they were the link to the very deliverance of God that we have prayed to receive.

Heavenly Father tells us in 2Corinthians 13:5(NLT) to “Examine yourselves to see if your faith is genuine. Test yourselves.” This must be a continual practice. We must look in the mirror and examine how we are treating other people, even those that do not like us. God isn’t punishing us for our ill-treatment of others and our bad manners. He is waiting for us to wake up and open our eyes. We erroneously think that we’re wide awake already. We haven’t realized the extent to which negativity in our hearts, in our behaviors, feelings, and conversations, have caused us to miss out.

God tells us in Jeremiah 29:11(ESV), “For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.” In some respects, we see ourselves as very small, so small in fact that underneath it all is the thought that God can’t be bothered with the minutia of our everyday lives. This simply isn’t true. God is the One with the plan for our lives. He wants us to bring everything, from the smallest to the greatest detail, before Him. Ephesians 1:11 affirms that He predestined every individual that He has called, and He has done so according to the workings of His perfect Will. He’s left nothing to chance when it comes to our sonship inheritance in Christ. On this we can depend.

God has given each of us a destiny, but it is our choice to follow it. If we do, we will live in Christ and spend every moment being perfected in him. The longing we have in our souls is often misunderstood and mistaken to be that of humans yearning for other humans. It is in truth our longing to know God, and to know Him so fully that our cups run over. His love is just that good, His countenance is just that loving, His grace is that unyielding, and His power is that all-consuming fire. He alone is our passion, and every detail, encounter, and experience are pointing us in the direction of His rich and holy presence.

We ought to burn to take Him all in, not halfway, but all the way. And we must also come to the realization that taking God fully into our hearts means that anything in us that isn’t of His love and light must die. We might think it’s too difficult to change, but to the extent that we want to please God and grow in Christ, the blinders must come off. God is causing all things to work together to bring us closer to Him. He is doing this for our great benefit, so we can know Him and then be committed to carry forth the purpose of which we were called.

All things working together is a premise we understand. We understand it because we have lived all things working against us and all things falling apart. We know brokenness. We know confusion and chaos. We know when the pieces of our lives are shattered and scattered all over the ground. The war between the flesh and the Spirit is this consuming urge we have to pick up those broken pieces ourselves, and then to try and put them back together again. We cannot. Only God knows how to restore. Only He knows which pieces are useful to our journey forward and upward, and which are not. He alone causes things to coagulate and merge to such a degree that we are lifted far above the conditions that once held us back.

God’s Will and purpose are the force behind life. His Holy Spirit is the worker behind Romans 8:28. God is, as Philippians 2:13 tells us, working in us through His Spirit, giving us the desire AND the power to do the things that please Him. Do you know the things that please Him? This is the question, and the pursuit of the answer should motivate us each day. If we seek God earnestly, the thing which we seek will be unveiled. This He promises.

We are called according to God’s purpose, and whether we know it or not, this calling is everything to us. It will cause us to live the more than abundant life that Jesus Christ made available. But we must realize that progressing to the place that God has destined for us means that some things in our lives today must be left behind. The soul-tie must be clipped and removed. They are weights, impeding our progress and bogging down our lives. If higher is our destination, those things simply can’t journey with us.

God has fully saved us through our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. He will not stop until we walk fully in His light, fully in His love, fully immersed in His Word, and fully living in Christ. Our eyes will be no longer blinded when we know this for ourselves, and we will see with new enlightenment and awe, that causing all things to work together for our good has been God’s handiwork since the very day we were born.■

English Standard Version (ESV)
The Holy Bible, English Standard Version 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.

“All Things Working Together for Your Good”, written for DomesticAbuseAwareness.Org ©2022. All rights reserved. All done to the glory of God through Jesus Christ, our Lord!

The Bridegroom and His Bride

The Bible tells us that Jesus Christ is the Bridegroom and the church is his bride. In John 3:29-30(NIV), John the Baptist taught, “29 The bride belongs to the bridegroom. The friend who attends the bridegroom waits and listens for him, and is full of joy when he hears the bridegroom’s voice. That joy is mine, and it is now complete. 30 He must become greater; I must become less.” We should not think of this reference to the Bridegroom and the bride in the way in which wedding ceremonies are done in our time. The imagery for John the Baptist’s teaching is rooted in the Biblical custom of Hebrew weddings. As we learn a little bit more about this, it will increase our understanding about the coming of Jesus Christ and prayerfully, we will prepare for it with greater encouragement and commitment.

The coming together of the bridegroom and the bride in the Hebrew tradition was in three phases. The first phase involved the legal consummation of the marriage which was done by the parents of both the bridegroom and the bride. This was a negotiated match, and in those days, a Hebrew father would be more concerned about the marriage of his son than he would about the marriage of a daughter. He was obligated to pay a price or dowry to the father of his son’s future wife but would not have to do this if he were giving his daughter to be married. These marriages were often negotiated early in the son’s or daughter’s youth, and this usually occurred within the inner circle of family and community. It was commonly frowned on to marry outside of one’s immediate circle because this might introduce foreign beliefs and practices outside their faith.

Just as the Hebrew father paid a purchase price for his son to establish the covenant agreement of marriage with his bride, God sent Jesus Christ to pay the purchase price for us, the church—his bride. He paid the price of our sins when he gave his life on the Cross of Calvary, and we must demonstrate our gratitude by presenting our entire lives to God through Christ. He has set us apart as His Son’s bride, and as such, we must be holy, blameless, and totally committed to Christ. This applies to every believer, not just for a designated group. We all make up the bride of Christ, and his requirements must be met by every individual that has accepted him as their Lord and Savior.

The second phase of the Hebrew wedding is when the bridegroom comes to claim his bride. This is what the church has been patiently anticipating in the return of our Bridegroom, the Lord Jesus Christ. He tells us in John 14:1-3(NIV), “Do not let your hearts be troubled. You believe in God; believe also in me. 2 My Father’s house has many rooms; if that were not so, would I have told you that I am going there to prepare a place for you? 3 And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am.” Our Master Jesus is in heaven preparing a place for us, and we will live in our Father’s house, and be with them an eternity.

The marriage supper is the third phase of the Biblical Hebrew wedding tradition. It is believed by many Biblical scholars that the interim period that is between the second coming and the beginning of the millennial kingdom is symbolic of this third phase. The thousand-year reign of Christ is also commonly referred to as the Golden Age or Paradise that will occur on earth after his second coming. Revelation 20:1-6 mentions this, and there are many teachings on the subject, and of course, there are varied beliefs. Our aim must be encouragement in Jesus Christ, and to know that we will be with him an eternity, and this is what our Heavenly Father desires.

The rapture is imminent. Jesus Christ will gather his bride in the air when he appears, and this could happen at any time. It is not dependent on the fulfillment of prophecy regarding a set chain of events. We should be joyously awaiting our Savior’s return, when we will be translated into our resurrected bodies within the blink of an eye. Philippians 3:21(NLT) states, “He will take our weak mortal bodies and change them into glorious bodies like his own, using the same power with which he will bring everything under his control.”

As believers whose names are written in God’s Book of Life, many of us are still asleep. Even with the events that are happening in our world today, we are still behaving like the five bridesmaids in Matthew 25 that were not prepared with oil for their lamps. They thought they had more time, and when the Bridegroom appeared, they were too late. This can be said of many believers in our time. They have lost their deep and abiding love for Christ and have not continually put the Word of God in their hearts. Their loyalty is divided because they are trying to be committed both to Christ and to the world.

Romans 13:11-12(NLT) warns, “11 This is all the more urgent, for you know how late it is; time is running out. Wake up, for our salvation is nearer now than when we first believed. 12 The night is almost gone; the day of salvation will soon be here. So remove your dark deeds like dirty clothes, and put on the shining armor of right living.” We must wake up and recognize that our houses must be in order. We must stop participating in darkness and clothe ourselves in the example of love and light that Jesus Christ left us. Don’t assume you are ready, know that you are by seeking God with your whole heart. Let Him confirm it with His Spirit and do all that you can to live according to His Word.■

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

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

“The Bridegroom and His Bride”, written for DomesticAbuseAwareness.Org ©2022. All rights reserved. All done to the glory of God through Jesus Christ, our Lord!

Praying for the Right Person to Talk to

Proverbs 27:17 NLT
As iron sharpens iron, so a friend sharpens a friend.”

My good friend, Nina, has gone through some troubled waters. Like most of us, she’s had her fair share of the ‘not so good side’ of life. As a child, initially she grew up with both parents in the home, but not long after their divorce, she decided that her mother was too strict and overprotective. Her father, on the other hand, was laid back and allowed her the freedom she wanted. When she was 14, she decided to live with him, and that’s when the first hard lesson about choices and consequences opened her eyes.

After a year of living with her dad, Nina became pregnant. In the words of her father, at 15 she went from being “daddy’s little girl” to “a daughter that made him a grandfather”, and he wasn’t happy. His treatment of her broke her heart. He had been abusive to her mother, and for the first time she understood why her mother had been so protective of her. She didn’t want Nina to deal with what she had gone through.

The father of Nina’s baby provided no support, meanwhile her own father’s behavior became even more hurtful, and she was ashamed to tell her mother any of this. She felt like she was in prison, with no one to help her through a hopeless situation. All she could do was bottle her feelings, and this eventually turned to deep resentment towards her father and insecurity in her own decision making.

Emotionally drained and afraid of what might happen to her and her child, one night she turned to God for help. She prayed that He would send her a friend that would be a confidant, someone that would give her a “safe place” to open up and GET IT OUT!

I have been this friend to Nina, and to others as well. We can all be a compassionate listener that will not be judgmental, but kind and caring. Everyone needs someone that will sit down and listen, and most importantly someone that will pray for those that are dealing with emotional pain. Our Heavenly Father tells us in Proverbs 27:17 that friends can sharpen one another. Again, we do this by giving the encouragement of God’s Word, by lending a discreet and compassionate ear, and by praying for those we know are in need.

Tell God what you need

Philippians 4:6(NLT) says, “Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done.” No matter what we’re going through or attempting to do, telling God what we need and what is on our hearts should always be our first step. He has all power in His hands, and He is both willing and able to bless us. He will direct our paths and take care of our needs, and we must trust Him with our whole hearts.

Pray for the right person

Jesus Christ commands us in Matthew 6:33 to,Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and he will give you everything you need.” This wisdom is crucial when we are dealing with a challenging situation and we don’t know what to do. Before we seek the advice of any other person, we must seek God first. We need to hear His truth, and He is the only One that knows the words that will help us move in the direction that He desires for us. We must pray that He will send someone who knows the truth. The right person will deliver a Word from the Lord that will make all the difference in our situations. It will put us on the path to be healed and to grow in Christ.

Pass it on

James 2:14(NLT) tells us, “What good is it, dear brothers and sisters, if you say you have faith but don’t show it by your actions? Can that kind of faith save anyone? 15 Suppose you see a brother or sister who has no food or clothing, 16 and you say, “Good-bye and have a good day; stay warm and eat well”—but then you don’t give that person any food or clothing. What good does that do? 17 So you see, faith by itself isn’t enough. Unless it produces good deeds, it is dead and useless.”

Being a blessing positions us to receive a blessing. We should always be willing to do for others what we hope someone would do for us when we are in need. 1John 4:19 reminds us that we love because the Lord first loved us. We are ambassadors for Jesus Christ, and he has commanded us to let our lights shine in this dark world so that others may see his love in us. When you pray and ask the Father to help you and to send you a compassionate listener and Godly friend, also pray that He will help you to become one yourself. Pray that you can one day help someone to get it out and let go of their pain. None of us are perfect, but we are being perfected in Christ. All we ever need to do is to make ourselves available to God to be a blessing, He will do the rest! ■

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.

“Praying for the Right Person to Talk to”, written for DomesticAbuseAwareness.Org ©2022. All rights reserved. All done to the glory of God through Jesus Christ, our Lord!

Our Lives Mean the Most to God

I know people that have been angry with God for a long time. Things seem to always go wrong in their lives, and they are tired of it. They blame our Heavenly Father for their sadness and disappointment, and they’ve built a wall around their hearts that keeps Him out. With these individuals, you do your best to encourage them in the Word and to help them see that God is for them in every way, but something in their minds and hearts will not receive this. They refuse to wholeheartedly believe that God loves them far more than they could ever imagine. They won’t accept that our lives mean the most to Him, and He will never leave or forsake us.

In Romans 8:38(NLT), God gives us a perfect portrait of His limitless, unconditional, and everlasting love for us all. This verse tells us, “And I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from God’s love. Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither our fears for today nor our worries about tomorrow—not even the powers of hell can separate us from God’s love.” God treasures us, and He reassures us of His love because we need to be continually and constantly reminded of it, especially in our day and time. It’s no secret that the devil is bombarding us with the wrong information, and many believers are captivated by it. We’re on our cell phones so much that they seem to be an artificial extension of our hands. From distorted information and insulting humor to entertaining animal tricks and outright lies, we are soaking it all in. We’re no longer protecting our ears and eyes, but instead, we’re letting all this stuff into our souls.

Because we are not protecting our minds and hearts, it’s not surprising that so many are suffering from extreme bouts of sadness and anxiety. They have not flooded their understanding with the truth and have disconnected themselves from the practice of meditating on God’s goodness. What’s the reason for this? Why is it that we don’t spend time training our thoughts to think like Christ? In many cases, we don’t do it because we lack faith. We won’t believe in the possibility of being caught up in the wonder of who God is and captivated by how much He loves us. So, we spend our time thinking, focusing, and obsessing about things in this world, and this is a sure recipe for despair and disappointment.

Galatians 3:27(NLT) says, “And all who have been united with Christ in baptism have put on Christ, like putting on new clothes.” When you and I get up in the mornings, we understand that we must put on a change of clothing for the day. It would not occur to us that we could just stand in one place and have God change our clothes for us. He has given us bodies that move, a mind that works, and the gift of free-will. He’s given us all these wonderful gifts and more! So, we all understand that we must put on our own clothes, and not only this, we get to choose which garments we’d like to wear. Well, all of this gives us a good example of what God is requiring us to do in Galatians 3:27.

God has made it possible through Christ for us to put on what is good and pleasing to Him, and to take off what no longer fits. Because of Christ, we have a new nature that is holy and perfect. God commands us in Ephesians 4:24(NLT), “Put on your new nature, created to be like God—truly righteous and holy.” God loves us so much that He created us in His image. He wants us to be like Him, because becoming like Him demonstrates the impeccable quality of His love. His love creates, motivates, and changes everything for the better. This is what He desires to see in our lives; as any good father would. Because of what God has accomplished through the sacrifice and resurrection of His Son, Jesus Christ, we are united with Christ. When we make him Lord of our lives, we receive a new nature, and like new clothes, we must put it on.

In Colossians 3:10(NLT), we learn even more about God’s expectation. He tells us, “Put on your new nature, and be renewed as you learn to know your Creator and become like him.” The way that we put on our new nature is to train our minds to think like Christ and our hearts to love like him. This is the way we are renewed. But this is our choice. We mean so much to God that He doesn’t force us to change, He motivates us to change through His love. Many of us are holding on to things we should have released years ago. God has commanded us to strip them off, and to put on Christ. He wouldn’t tell us to do this if we lacked the capacity to get it done. Our lives matter to our Heavenly Father, and He wants us to know that through Jesus Christ, we have strength, power, and authority. God has made all this available to us because we are His children, and He has unfailing love for us all. ■

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.

“Our Lives Mean the Most to God”, written by Kyada for DomesticAbuseAwareness.Org ©2022. All rights reserved. All done to the glory of God through Jesus Christ, our Lord!