Your Strength Renewed

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

God Loves Justice

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Don’t Let the Pain Turn You Away from God

John 14:1(NLT)
“Don’t let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God, and trust also in me.”

Monica handles pressure well, she has to. She’s a single parent with two children, and one has autism. Four months ago, she moved two hours away from her family and friends to get away from an abusive relationship. Brady was so loving and tender with her and the kids in the beginning. He was especially good with Jason. His younger brother has autism, so having Brady’s help had made a big difference in their lives. After a few months though, she noticed that his drinking was much more than casual. He’d get drunk on the weekends, and at first, it was just the verbal abuse, but then turned physical when she’d confront him about the drinking.

When she and the boys moved, she found it more challenging than she had expected. She missed Brady and hated what alcohol had done to him and to their relationship, but she couldn’t allow him to come back into their lives. It was too painful. They needed this fresh start, and she was back to juggling a million things on her own, but she felt different. This time she was really struggling to hold it together, and she wondered if she was finally at her breaking point.

In Matthew 11:28-30(NLT), Jesus Christ instructs us to, “Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. 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. For my yoke is easy to bear, and the burden I give you is light.” Most of us know that he wants us to come to him with all our troubles and pray for his help and guidance, but sometimes we see our problems bigger than we see his willingness and ability to help us.

Monica was angry with herself for getting involved with Brady and allowing him to be such a big part of her kid’s life. She felt she should have been more careful. On the other hand, the first few months of their relationship was one of the best times of her life. He was everything she wanted a man to be. Still shocked at how quickly things went downhill, she wondered if she’d ever be able to trust anyone again. She decided to put all her feelings and emotions on the backburner and just plow ahead, taking care of her kids and doing what she had to in order to make their lives work. The problem is that bouts of sadness were more frequent, and harder to ignore.

In 1Thessalonians 5:17(NLT), God commands us to “Pray without ceasing.” He knows we have responsibilities at home and at work. He knows we have obligations that must be tended to, so He doesn’t mean that we should be praying repeatedly and continually, 24/7. He means that a large part of our spare time should be spent in prayer to Him in the name of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. Philippians 2:10-11(NLT) tells us, “10 that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, 11 and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.” And Jesus Christ tells us in John 14:13-14(NLT), “13 You can ask for anything in my name, and I will do it, so that the Son can bring glory to the Father. 14 Yes, ask me for anything in my name, and I will do it!”

We make mistakes and errors in judgment, and we sometimes end up in a lot of emotional pain, but we must not allow it to turn us away from God. He is faithful to help us. He tells us to trust in Him, and when we trust in Him, we can rest in Him. This means that we will need to give ourselves the pleasure and privilege of getting to know God on a greater level. Romans 10:17(NKJV) tells us, “So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.” Our faith is increased when we hear and learn more about God through His Word. Proverbs 4:23 tells us to keep guard over our hearts because the heart is the place where all the issues of life are determined. If we study and read God’s Word, it will shield our minds and hearts from chaos and confusion and give us God’s peace.

God is the answer to all our problems, no matter how hurtful or complex they may be. He wants a close relationship with us, and He wants to be a part of every aspect of our existences, but we have to do the things He has told us to do. We must invite Him into our situations and circumstances by praying often, reading and studying His Word, and by having faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. The source of our strength, peace, joy, and power is in God. When we turn away from our pain and run into His arms with all that we are, He will not disappoint us. The Lord will comfort us with His love and heal our hearts as we seek to grow closer to Him. ■

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

“Don’t Let the Pain Turn You Away from God”, written by Kim for© 2021. All rights reserved. All praise and honor to God through Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior.

Being Your Truest, Highest Self

Proverbs 4:7(KJV) says, “Wisdom is the principal thing; therefore get wisdom: and with all thy getting get understanding.” Wisdom is defined as truthful, right knowledge that aids correct and right believing, and God’s Word is the source of it. He tells us that wisdom is the principal thing, and we need to take a minute and digest this, because the world would have us to believe other things are principal, things like money, fame, or success. These are very nice, but they are byproducts received from believing and trusting God’s Word. They are not the principal things, so our decks must be restacked so that seeking wisdom becomes the major objective for us. And not only are we to seek it preeminently, we are to make sure we get an understanding of the wisdom we seek. This is the part, that if missed, will cause us to approach faith sideways; without the benefit of hitting the target we hope to achieve.

Some of us are about ready to implode, to burst open at the seams because we’ve acquired a tremendous amount of biblical knowledge, but we’ve lost the connection between understanding and the knowledge we’ve gleaned. Another way of looking at this is that we’ve got a lot of knowledge in our heads, but it hasn’t yet trickled down into our hearts in a way that truly makes the knowledge a part of us. We keep acquiring and acquiring—getting and getting, but we’re not applying what we’re learning. More knowledge may make us smart, but it doesn’t increase us spiritually until a spiritual connection is made.

Understanding is the spark that makes wisdom the revelation it needs to be. It is very often the missing link to the blessing we’ve yet to acquire. This is important because our lives will mirror a lack of understanding. Our lives will reflect that something we need is missing. A lot of us are so busy and tapped to the max with everyday life that we can’t even think deeply about what we’re doing. We’re just moving from one thing to the next, and it all just seems like one big glob of transactions and activities. We can’t make sense of what we’re doing or why. Well, your life is supposed to make sense. You may not understand all the moving parts, but at the end of your day, you should have a sense of purpose and pleasing God. This comes from understanding who you are, what you’re doing, and why you’re doing it.

Who are you?
Jesus Christ said in John 1:12 that he has given everyone who has accepted him the right to become children of God. Through him, this is who we are. Because of Christ, we’ve received eternal life, and our faith in him made this possible. Our faith began our eternal journey. Our faith made it possible for us to receive God’s Spirit, and only the increase of our faith will allow us to continue to grow in Christ. From where you stand today, you do not know the end result of what you will become, but God knows. And although mentally you don’t know the ‘you’ that you are becoming, everything you need to transform into this person is in you already. Please don’t let this piece of yumminess slip by you. All that you are destined to become in Christ is already in you!

When we became born again in Christ, the old life we had died. Colossians 3:3(NLT) tells us, “For you died to this life, and your real life is hidden with Christ in God.” Before we accepted Christ, our human-spirit was dead. This was because of Adam’s fall. When he sinned in the Garden of Eden, he died a spiritual death, and every person born after him is born in sin, and therefore, is born with a spirit that is disconnected from God. A human-spirit that is disconnected from God is not alive to Him; it has no light and no life.

Our human-spirits are recreated in Christ through the new birth experience. The totality of who we are becoming is hidden in him, Colossians 3:3 tells us this. Our real spiritual self is in Christ, but our soulish self is the thing that is visible to everyone; interacting and reacting to the environment around us. It’s the part you and I have to work on while we’re on this earth. 1John 3:2(NIV) encourages us to accomplish this work by setting our minds and hearts on our Christ reality, because this is the person God has destined us to become. This verse tells us, “Dear friends, now we are children of God, and what we will be has not yet been made known. But we know that when Christ appears, we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is.”

You and I can’t alter our real lives one bit. They are hidden in Christ for safe keeping. The only thing left for you and me to do is to reveal our gratitude for what is hidden in Christ, by demonstrating outwardly what is hidden inwardly. We are commanded by God to be Christ-like by living, loving, sharing, and being like him more and more each day. This is our destiny! This is how we affirm our truest, highest selves—by making sure our everyday walking-around, soulish-self is mirroring our eternal self that is hidden in Christ! It’s walking in his love! Walking in his love is walking in the truth, for he tells us in John 14:6 that he is the way, the truth, and the life.

You are being your true self as you make choices and decisions that line up with your Christ reality and identity. If you make choices and decisions that do not line up with your truest self, you will betray the core of who you really are. When this happens, your life will then mirror this betrayal. You will have given the enemy, the author of confusion and chaos, an opening. We don’t want to do this.

What should you be doing?
Understand that God designed the universe to respond positively to our highest self in Christ, because our highest self in Christ is the truth. In 2Peter 1:5-7(NLT), He tells us, “5 In view of all this, make every effort to respond to God’s promises. Supplement your faith with a generous provision of moral excellence, and moral excellence with knowledge, 6 and knowledge with self-control, and self-control with patient endurance, and patient endurance with godliness, 7 and godliness with brotherly affection, and brotherly affection with love for everyone.” This is our call to action—the kind of action that backs our faith. We are to respond to God’s goodness with actions that are morally excellent, intelligent, disciplined, patient and persistent, and most importantly, Godly.

Why are you doing it?
The reason we should be responding to God with actions that are morally excellent, intelligent, disciplined, patient and persistent, and Godly, is because these are actions that keep us in fellowship with Heavenly Father. These actions represent the truth of who we are, and who He has made us to be. They speak to our Christ reality, and place us squarely on the path to our destinies. The one thing of which you and I must be absolutely sure is that God has a good plan for our lives. Our destinies are far greater than any of us can imagine, and the purpose to which you have been called fits perfectly in His plan. Everything that God created was designed to be successful. We were created to be successful and blessed, and when we align our wills with God’s Will, His plan for us will beautifully unfold.

We come to earth with deficits, but God’s plan is to help us make sense of our lives, to give us direction, and to do a work in us through the Holy Spirit. We are not perfect, we are being perfected in Christ moment by moment. Hebrews 12:2 (NLT) tells us, “We do this by keeping our eyes on Jesus, the champion who initiates and perfects our faith. Because of the joy awaiting him, he endured the cross, disregarding its shame. Now he is seated in the place of honor beside God’s throne.” We must walk in the purpose for which we’re called, because it is our destiny to have all that God desires us to have and to be all that He has called us to be. Get wisdom, and get understanding, so you can order your steps in His Word, and walk according your destiny.■

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

“Being Your Truest, Highest Self“, written for DomesticAbuseAwareness.Org ©2023. All rights reserved. All done to the glory of God through Jesus Christ, our Lord!

Overcoming the Discomfort of Dissatisfaction

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Is a Flaw Keeping Your Blessing Hostage?

Aisha grew up in New Jersey, with three brothers.  Even though she’s the oldest, her younger brothers were always very protective, and they still are today. She’s 43, has never been married, and has been in and out of relationships most of her adult life. She wants a man that makes her feel as protected as she’s always felt with her brothers, but inevitably, she ends up being disappointed. In her view, the men she’s dated haven’t been able to live up to this standard. She swore off dating for a while but is now open to it again. I had a conversation with her a little while ago. She had met someone new at her job and they went out on a date. She told me she experienced a really awkward moment on the date when he asked her a question. She really struggled to answer it and was embarrassed about it. He wanted to know, “What is a beautiful woman like yourself still doing single?”

Driving home that night, all Aisha could think about was why she had such difficulty answering this question. In her conversations with girlfriends, she had been accustomed to blaming character flaws in the men for her past failed relationships, but there was something about the manner in which this man asked the question that left no room for blame. She would have to look within for answers, and this was something she hadn’t done to any great degree before.

Aisha is undeniably a beautiful woman, but her manner at times can be likened to putting a bull in a china cabinet. She has a negative filter when it comes to a lot of things, and she views many people and situations through a very critical lens. Things that would be better left unsaid, she says them; and her criticisms are almost never tempered with love. The thing is, she doesn’t put herself through this same scrutiny.

All of us have flaws, but we can’t afford to use this as an excuse. There are certain flaws that impede our destinies, cause us to walk outside our purpose, and they cause us to miss out on the blessings God has stored up for us. Ultimately, these particular flaws take us so far outside the Will of God that they harm our relationship with Him severely. These are the flaws and weaknesses that we’re in the earth to address. They spawn the lessons that continue to cycle back until we either learn them or die. Arrogance will always keep us blind to this, but through humility, God will give us the grace to see it.

Romans 10:9-10 (NLT) tells us, “9 If you openly declare that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. 10 For it is by believing in your heart that you are made right with God, and it is by openly declaring your faith that you are saved.”  Believing in our hearts and confessing with our mouths are required for the new birth reality. It is the only way to receive salvation. God makes it clear that it is the heart that makes the difference, for this is where love abides. We must swap out the heart that causes harsh judgement and undue criticism against others and exchange it for a heart that welcomes kindness and compassion.

Ephesians 5:25 tells us that God’s standard is that a man loves his wife just as Christ loves the church. Christ loved the church so much that he offered up his life for her. This allows us to know beyond a shadow of doubt that truly a man can love a woman this way, because God has told us it is so. The question for the woman is whether her heart draws this level of love. It will be challenging to do so if her heart is filled with remnants of fear and darkness.

Demonstrating the love of God must be at the top of our agenda in life and in relationships. Once we are anchored in it, this love then becomes actively engaged as we give it out, but you can’t give something you haven’t practiced within yourself. When Aisha was asked why she’s still single, she came up with, I’ve been patiently waiting for the right fit.” It sounds good, but it didn’t feel authentic to her soul, and she couldn’t hide it. She very much wants things to work out with the man who asked the question. So, she has begun to confront some things that she has hidden behind for many years.

God doesn’t want us running away from the truth ever. And the truth is that, to the extent a flaw keeps our blessing hostage, we must confront it and do the work to get it handled. It can be very uncomfortable, there’s no mistake about this. Aisha must learn to lean on God for her protection, and not look to a man to be something more than what he is. God will often work through the man, but all protection comes from Heavenly Father, and we should never think anyone can do it better than Him. There must be room in our hearts to accept that the right fit for us may not be strong in all the areas we expect, but they will help to build us up as we seek to fulfill the purpose to which we are called.

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.

“Is a Flaw Keeping Your Blessing Hostage?”, written for DomesticAbuseAwareness.Org ©2023. All rights reserved. All done to the glory of God through Jesus Christ, our Lord!

The Right Instructions for the Right Results

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

A New Heart Brings New Blessings!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

When Answers Don’t Come Easy

The psalmist said in Psalm 23:3 (NKJV), “He restores my soul; He leads me in the paths of righteousness for His name’s sake.” This is what God will do for us. He will restore our souls, and then lead us in the path of His righteousness. The question we need to ask ourselves is are we willing to be led. For those that have been praying to cross paths with the person they will marry, it is important for them to know that our Heavenly Father hears their prayers. He’s designed the universe in such a way that the moment we begin to pray, something shifts. Things begin to come together to bless us, and a momentum starts to build. Our faith is the force that continues to move this momentum forward, but there will most definitely be some blockers along the way. Immediately upon noticing them, we must look for something in our souls to be restored. We must make sure we’re hearing what God is saying, so we know exactly what needs to be healed and continue to follow the path of His righteousness.

In Deuteronomy 1, Moses was handling some final business with the Children of Israel, because he knew he would not enter the Promise Land. In an address to them, he reviewed the journey they had been on together. It took the Children of Israel 38 years to cover a territory that should have taken them 11 days. Why? Because of their unbelief. God had promised to give them a land of milk and honey, a land that was beautiful, with good soil upon which to grow crops and increase livestock. Yet, they wouldn’t bring themselves to trust the Word of the Lord.

Exodus 6:7-8 (NLT) gives us the record of what God told Moses to tell His people. He said, “7 I will claim you as my own people, and I will be your God. Then you will know that I am the Lord your God who has freed you from your oppression in Egypt. 8 I will bring you into the land I swore to give to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. I will give it to you as your very own possession. I am the Lord!’”  In verse 9, we have the record of the people’s response to what God said. It tells us, “So Moses told the people of Israel what the Lord had said, but they refused to listen anymore. They had become too discouraged by the brutality of their slavery.” They doubted God’s promise. Even though they were physically free, the harsh labor under the Egyptian pharaoh had put them in mental and emotional bondage. So, they wouldn’t listen to Moses and went around in circles because doubt took root in their hearts.

God’s people were slow to have faith in Him, and this is why instead of marching to victory they wandered in the wilderness almost 40 years. This wandering, not seeking God and not having faith in Him, happens to many of us living today. We lose sight of God’s goodness, and this cripples our hopes and dreams. Jesus Christ teaches us in Mark 11:23(NLT), “I tell you the truth, you can say to this mountain, ‘May you be lifted up and thrown into the sea,’ and it will happen. But you must really believe it will happen and have no doubt in your heart.” We must have faith in God’s love and in His willingness and ability to bless us, and we must trust that He always keeps His promises. It’s very important to God that we have a faith mind-and-heart-set towards Him.

Healthy communication is crucial to any successful relationship. Not only must we speak the truth, but we must be in a position to hear it. Our relationship with God is the most precious gift we will ever have. We need to hear what the Father is saying to us, because we need His instruction to carry out His Will. We also need to hear from Him about those places in our souls where we’re not allowing His love to rule. Very often, not hearing or perceiving God’s message is a blocker that slows our faith momentum. The Spirit of the Lord resides inside of the believer. God wants us to know that no one can be closer to us than Him. This closeness and intimacy in our relationship with Him was His plan, not ours, and it demonstrates His overwhelming love for each of us.

The gift that we can readily give ourselves is to be persistent in pursuing a revelation from the Lord. When answers don’t come easy, and we’re faced with dilemmas in life, God is always present. Some believers have complained that God is not speaking to them, but He never stops communicating with us. We must learn to listen. We have a hard time hearing His voice because we’re so focused on other things. Jesus Christ told us in Matthew 6:33 that we must seek our Heavenly Father first, and this must be a continuous habit pattern in our lives. We are spiritual beings and the more we quiet ourselves and get still before God, the more our spiritual hearing will increase. When it comes to the revelation that we desperately need to hear, it isn’t enough to receive a word from someone else’s lips. We need to be confident that God will speak to us and that we can hear Him. Pray on this. Increase your faith in the reality that God desires and is willing to speak to you. Read and study His Word, then you will hear Him speak, and wander no more.■

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 Answers Don’t Come Easy”, written for DomesticAbuseAwareness.Org ©2023. All rights reserved. All done to the glory of God through Jesus Christ, our Lord!

Making Right Decisions

If we are honest, we all have to admit that sometimes we get a little ahead of ourselves. God blesses us to achieve success, and when it comes to important decisions, we might begin to think that we do not have to lean on His intervention and guidance as heavily as we once did. This is an area where we have to be extremely attentive, and not slip back into old habit patterns. We have to remember the many sticky situations that God has delivered us from in the past, because the truth is that life is becoming more complex. More is at stake now than ever before, and even small decisions and choices can change the course of your life. So trusting God in the area of decision making is extremely important for us.

Most of us get it. We know that we need to hear from God before we make important decisions, but sometimes we lose sight of our spiritual status; more to the point, we fail to remember that God is a Spirit (John 4:24). He communicates with us in spiritual ways. This puts the responsibility on us to make sure that we are spiritually able to hear Him speak as He tells us which path to choose and what decisions to make. There are some practices that we can put in place that will help us to do this.

Ponder your past
Sometimes we forget how costly our past mistakes were, especially the decisions we made when we were maybe too impatient to wait upon the Lord. I know a very talented lady that prayed about whether or not to start her own business, or to continue working for a large corporation. She and her husband had saved a nice retirement nest egg. They were hard working, Christian people with a passion. Her husband loved her dearly and supported her in the decision to leave her job. She felt she received a definitive ‘yes’ from the Lord, simply because she had not received a definitive ‘no’.  As it turned out, this was not the best decision for her or her family. They forced the timing, lost much of their nest egg, and it ultimately broke up their marriage.

Really the only times that God wants us to focus on our pasts are those times when we seriously need a reality check. It’s true what they say; sometimes we need to remember where we’ve come from in order to help us get to where we’re going. Proverbs 4:26 (NKJV) tells us, “Ponder the path of your feet, And let all your ways be established.” We should do this not just for the path we are about to take, but in some cases, we should also think about those we’ve taken in years gone by.

It’s true for all of us that some of the paths we’ve chosen in the past have landed us in a lot of hot water. Maybe we chose to continue in a toxic relationship or maybe we left it too early. Some of us have taken jobs that were not optimum for our personal growth, and some of us have stayed at the jobs we are currently in far too long. Mistakes that were made in the past have long-lasting repercussions, and some of us are where we are because we didn’t use the wisdom of God’s Word. Heavenly Father blesses us of course, but it is always good practice to ponder the instances of our poor choices, so that we become more established in patience, faith, and better judgment.

Trust that God Will Guide You
If we will look back over the times when we’ve walked according to God’s Will, we’ll have a good basis to recognize that it is indeed His Word and His way that establishes us. It gives us a solid foundation that we can depend on, especially during the times we are unsure.

Psalm 25:12 tells us, “Who are those who fear the LORD? He will show them the path they should choose.”  Talk about the Lord’s willingness to guide His people, you don’t get any better than this!!! The word ‘fear’ in this verse doesn’t mean that we are to be afraid of God. It means to honor and reverence Him. He promises to guide those that reverence Him, and show them the right path. So we can’t ever say at any point that we trusted Heavenly Father to guide us in our decisions, and He did not do so. When we are honoring Him the way that we should, He will steer us in the right direction every time.

Make sure you have the right motives
Things like selfishness, pride, and arrogance can block our way. Sometimes when we go to God, we consider only the outcome we desire for ourselves without any compassion and thoughtfulness for others that may be affected by our decisions. I have prayed for blessings that I thought initially would benefit my entire family, but these were things that had been my life long dreams, and not theirs. In these instances, I prayed for God to help me make the right decisions as to whether or not I should proceed, but I didn’t feel as though I received a definitive answer. I wondered why, and began to get upset. I thought that I was deserving. This is a harmful mindset of entitlement that many of us have without realizing it.

Upon deeper reflection I discovered that the things I wanted and prayed to receive would have made things more challenging than helpful for my family. I had to repent for being selfish and prideful. We have a responsibility to clear our hearts of any such heavies prior to going before the Lord.

Be willing to yield your preferences for His
God has a plan for our lives. Ephesians 1:4(NLT) tells us “Even before he made the world, God loved us and chose us in Christ to be holy and without fault in his eyes.” God handpicked us long before we were born. This doesn’t mean that our whole lives are prearranged. It means that God has already laid a path and made a plan for us that is based on His Word. It’s up to us whether or not we will follow it.

In Jeremiah 29:11 (NLT), He tells us, ““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.”” The path for our lives has already been chosen. It is a narrow path, and it is a good one. God would not have us to be confused, not knowing the difference between left or right—right or wrong. He is an on-purpose God, and everything He does is purposeful. You and I should be extremely interested in knowing what God has planned for us, and we should be very committed to following it.

The fantastic news is that Heavenly Father knows what is best for us always, and if we’ll lean on Him and trust in His guidance, He’ll show us the way to go. Proverbs 3:5-6(KJV) tells us, “5 Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding.6 In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.” Often we have different motivations for wanting to make one decision over another, but we do not know the future, God does. We must acknowledge the sovereignty and omniscience of God. He knows the plans He has for us.

Sometimes He speaks to us inwardly, through the indwelling Holy Spirit. Other times He speaks to us through His Word, other people, and even our circumstances. The important thing to know is that we don’t have to look to the left, nor to the right when it comes to making decisions that please God and are the best for us and our circumstances. If we’ll just be willing to offer up our own our preferences and opinions, have patience, and continue to be prayerful, He will continually direct us to make the right decisions 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.

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