Now is Not the Time to Look Back

The past is gone, and the reality is that you will never see those days again. It is as true as truth can be that all you really have is right now. And what you do in the ‘right now’ of this moment will shape your tomorrow and future ahead. No matter how tempting it may be, now is not the time to look back. You’ve come this far, and God has some place for you to be. In Jeremiah 29:11(NLT), He told His people living in Old Testament times, “For I know the plans I have for you,” says the LORD. “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.” God wanted them to know that they were not forgotten. It was true thousands of years ago, and it is true today. Heavenly Father has a plan for our individual lives. It is a good plan, and it requires us to always look up and look ahead.

Jeremiah, God’s prophet to His people, reminded those in captivity in Babylon not to listen to false prophets and allow their hope to be diminished. He assured them that they were on the mind of God, and that God had not forgotten them. We can relate to this, right?! When we’re in the thick of it, and problems are popping up all other the place, it can feel very much like we are without the anchor God gives. We might be tempted to believe that He has forgotten all about us and left us to fend for ourselves. This isn’t the truth, but in our weakened state of anxiety and fear, some of us convince ourselves that it is.

2Corinithians 4:4(NLT) tells us, “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.” Blinding someone’s mind is an extremely dastardly trick. It requires manipulation, and it also requires a willing participant. You might think, “Well that’s just crazy! No one would willingly participate in the devil’s scheme to blind them.” Well, the practice of always looking back and losing hope and trust in God’s plan is a sort of blindfold, because you can’t look back and look ahead at the same time.

God wants our eyes open to the tricks of the enemy because if you’re blinded then you can’t see the truth. Many of God’s children are suffering through the struggles of financial hardship, depression, sadness, isolation, spousal abandonment, and many other debilitating issues of abuse. Our Heavenly Father wants us to see the glorious light of the Good News of Jesus Christ. This light of Christ will bring healing and solutions to the darkness of the circumstances many of us face.

It isn’t uncommon for individuals to define themselves, and indeed their whole lives, by the hurt and pain they’ve experienced. Their disappointments and failings, and not their triumphs, become the narrative of how they describe themselves. These things become branded on our hearts and souls. They become the mark in the sand. We have to realize sooner or later that although our struggles, disappointments, and loss may represent the mark in the sand, our mission as more than conquerors in Christ is to move beyond the mark. We can do this not because we’re so strong, but because God is greater than our pain, and He heals all wounds.

It’s time to remove the blinders and see the truth of who God has made us. Whether it is the spouse or significant person who doesn’t treat us well, or it may be a person who doesn’t want the best for us, sadly these are folks the enemy uses to pull the wool over our eyes. We must wake up, see it for what it is, and then begin to structure our prayer lives around God’s strength and the deliverance He freely offers us through Christ.

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. 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.” Taking a stand means to boldly believe in the power, love, and strength of God and that He will use His unlimited resources to rescue you from all hurt, harm, and danger. It’s not about what’s happened in the past. The past is the past. It’s about what God is doing in your life today, and what He will do every day as you make the decision to surrender to Him. Take His hand and allow Him to guide and teach you. The blinders will be removed, and your life will never be the same.■

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

“Now is Not the Time to Look Back”, written by KYada, edited by PMB for DomesticAbuseAwareness.Org ©2021. All rights reserved. All done to the glory of God through Jesus Christ, our Lord!

Don’t Let Him Pick You Apart!

I bet just about every woman knows the verse in Philippians 4:6(NLT). It tells us, Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done.” Look at how simple Heavenly Father has made this for us. First, He tells us what not to do, then He tells us exactly what to do in order to restore His peace in our lives. We shouldn’t worry about anything because worry isn’t the nature of a believer. Faith and gratitude are our nature, and anything outside of those two doesn’t tell the truth about the goodness of God. Many of us know this, but we let worry and doubt get the best of us anyway. We’ve got to stop giving over our power and authority in Christ this way. We can’t allow the devil to pick us apart, especially now.

I’ve heard many women that are believers speak about the incredible circumstances and situations that God has brought them through. From marital abandonment and financial ruin to domestic violence and abuse, they’ve dealt with it all and some of them did so with darts flying from all angles. As soon as they felt some degree of ease about one thing, two or three other situations came out of nowhere. They felt like throwing in the towel, but they didn’t. One of the common threads in their testimonies of overcoming incredibly painful situations is the lesson they learned about anxiety and doubt. They wasted a lot of time worrying about whether God would come through or if He’d allow them to fall through the cracks. He always delivers on His promises and in the end, He rescued them from darkness and despair.

We all know the grips of that sinking feeling. It brings you so low that you can’t even define the depth. Every part of you feels upset and bothered, and nothing—no thought or feeling, seems to bring comfort. In our darkest moments, we know God’s healing power, and we also know that He’s commanded us not to worry, but we make ourselves sick with worry any way. No matter how many times our friends, loved ones, and spiritual mentors tell us to give it to Jesus, we vacillate back and forth, giving our burdens to him one minute and taking them back the next.

As God’s children, we can learn a lot about having a constancy of faith by the pattern of good parenting that many of us have demonstrated to our own biological children. We love our children and will do anything for them. We must remember that God is the One who has given us the heart and mind for parenting. We didn’t come up with it on our own. We love our kids because He first loved us. Not only has He shown us real and genuine love through Jesus Christ by giving him as a sacrifice for the sins of all people, but God created us with the capacity to respond to each other with His love. We are made in His image, and we understand that His love is the force that propels us forward.

As good parents, we would never harm our kids, but will do everything in our power to protect them. To make sure their well-being is preserved, we would move heaven and earth if we could. God’s love is infinitely higher than the love that any of us can give. In Isaiah 55:9(NLT), He said of Himself, “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 loves us more than we can ever imagine. Our thoughts can’t think that high. It’s a deep, unconditional and abiding love, and nothing can separate us from it. No one can love like He loves. To get a glimpse of how He views our worry and doubt, consider the thought of your biological child sitting somewhere, feeling scared, and worrying that you have refused to take care of them or that you won’t do it for some reason. This would hurt you to the core. Imagine how God feels when we don’t trust Him to take care of us.

All good relationships are built on individuals responding honestly, compassionately, thoughtfully, and lovingly to one another. God set relationships up to operate this way. These responses build faith and trust, and without faith and trust, a relationship will collapse or be injured. You and I are here on this earth to build an intimate relationship with God through Jesus Christ. This is the purpose of life! Jesus Christ tells us that he is the door to the Father. We must have the faith of Jesus Christ to please God. Faith and believing in Him is how we respond to His overwhelming love.

Fear is a cloak of deception that the devil tries to pull off as being real. It is a false evidence of reality, and worry is a sign that we have bought into the lie. We can’t let the devil continue to pick us apart with his tactics and tricks. Let’s resist his plots by doing as Philippians 4:6 says and get really specific in our prayers. We have the authority of Jesus Christ to plead his blood over situations and circumstances. Colossians 1:13 tells us that his blood cleansed our sins, and through the blood of Jesus Christ, God has delivered us from the power of satan’s darkness and transferred us to his Kingdom. We don’t belong to worry and doubt, and we should never claim them.

Yes, it takes time to develop the habit pattern of choosing faith and not fear, but God tells us how to strengthen the muscle. He said, “Thank him for all he has done.” This is a strategy for Godly living. A person can’t be thankful and fearful at the same time. To keep fear from rising up and overtaking our hearts, Heavenly Father commands us to think of His goodness, and do it continually. This is how we constantly hit the “ON” button of faith. Philippians 4:6(NLT) tells us that as we practice thankfulness and gratitude to God, “Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.”

God doesn’t leave our relationship with Him to chance. He tells us exactly how to respond to Him, and to do it in a way that causes Him delight. Our obedience and commitment to respond to God with faith and gratitude will invite the indwelling Holy Spirit to saturate us with God’s peace. This peace guards our hearts and minds, but we must live in Christ. This means we must do our part, and Philippians 4:8(NLT) tells us exactly what that part is. It says, “Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise.” We can change the way we handle obstacles and adversity by resisting the urge to respond to what the devil is trying to do, instead, we can respond to the goodness of God, be thankful and abide in His perfect 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.

“Don’t Let Him Pick You Apart!” written by Fran, edited by PMB for DomesticAbuseAwareness.Org ©2021. All rights reserved. All done to the glory of God through Jesus Christ, our Lord!

Flip the Script and Increase Your Faith!

Mark 9 chronicles the record of a father who had a son that was possessed with a demon. We live in a time where many folks don’t like to believe there is such an entity as a demon, and they certainly don’t want to think about the possibility that humans can be possessed by them. But God’s Word is true, and our opinions and speculations are meaningless when it comes to the truth. As my grandmother would say, there’s a whole lot of folks on this planet, and many of them are full of the devil; they’re just very clever at disguising it. In the days that Jesus Christ walked the earth, people understood that everything is spiritual, so when the father approached our Master Jesus, this father with a young son understood that he needed a spiritual solution.

The boy and his father had made quite the spectacle that day, and Jesus Christ was very used to there being huge crowds wherever he went. He is charismatic, energetic, kind, gentle, compassionate, intelligent, and more powerful that we can fathom. When he walked the earth, people flocked to him like a magnet. They had great need, and if they had faith in him, their needs were met in a miraculous way. News of Jesus Christ spread quickly and wherever he went, the crowds expected great teaching, healing, and miracles.

Jesus Christ approached the crowd and inquired about all the ruckus. Mark 9:17-18(NLT) tells us, “17 One of the men in the crowd spoke up and said, “Teacher, I brought my son so you could heal him. He is possessed by an evil spirit that won’t let him talk. 18 And whenever this spirit seizes him, it throws him violently to the ground. Then he foams at the mouth and grinds his teeth and becomes rigid. So I asked your disciples to cast out the evil spirit, but they couldn’t do it.” The father wanted to save his son and was desperate for help. He told Jesus Christ in Mark 9:22(NLT), “The spirit often throws him into the fire or into water, trying to kill him. Have mercy on us and help us, if you can.”

It is extremely important for us to pay attention to the details of this account. As a parent, we can relate to the agony of seeing our children in pain, and we can imagine how badly the father wanted his son to be healed, but when he said to Jesus Christ, “IF you can…”, the father revealed that doubt was still calling the shots, and doubt is the enemy of all the blessings of God. So often, we trust the pain and misery the devil sends more than we trust the goodness, power, and willingness of God to bless us. Whether two thousand years ago or today, when doubt dominates our mindsets, the script must be flipped in order for God’s blessing to manifest. Romans 10:17 tells us that faith comes from hearing the truth about Jesus Christ. If the truth isn’t present, faith does not come.

Hebrews 11:6(NLT) tells us, “And it is impossible to please God without faith. Anyone who wants to come to him must believe that God exists and that he rewards those who sincerely seek him.” God’s grace and mercy are never ending, but He is a Righteous Judge who never violates His law. In the systems of laws and governments that humans have produced, we hear all the time about judges and officials that are corrupt and manipulate the system of justice to serve their own interest of power and greed. Our God would never do this. His Word is His law, and it is incorruptible. Our Heavenly Father is beyond faithful to uphold the standards of justice He has set. So, when He tells us that it is impossible to please Him without faith, we have no other choice but to understand that faith in God is a requirement. It is the basis of our relationship with Him. Without it, it is impossible to please our God.

Jesus Christ showed us this in his response to this boy’s father in Mark 9:23-24(NLT). He said, “23 What do you mean, ‘If I can’?” Jesus asked. “Anything is possible if a person believes.” 24 The father instantly cried out, “I do believe, but help me overcome my unbelief!” So often we become desponded, disillusioned, and defeated in our minds because we’re up against incredible circumstances, but our believing is going in the opposite direction of faith. The boy’s father asked the Lord Jesus Christ to help him overcome his unbelief. This is the humility that unlocked the door for God to come into the situation and bring the miraculous.

Many of us assume we’re doing this faith walk the right way. When things don’t work out to our satisfaction, we immediately think that God isn’t cooperating with us, when the reality is that we’re not cooperating with God. We’re not getting in His Word daily, learning about Jesus Christ, and praying often. We’re not thinking and speaking what God thinks and speaks, and we’re not believing that God will do what He says in His Word. He keeps His promises. We have to change this, so that we flip the script, increase our faith, and renew our minds by changing the way we think. There doesn’t exist in all of time a substitute for having faith in God, and we don’t get to play at it. Faith in God through the Lord Jesus Christ is necessary to develop our relationship with Him. It allows us to respond to Heavenly Father with the gratitude, reverence, and love that He deserves. Faith is how we come near to God, and when we do, we demonstrate we believe that He exists, and this is something He promises to reward. ■

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.

“Flip the Script and Increase Your Faith!”, written by Fran, edited by PMB for DomesticAbuseAwareness.Org ©2021. All rights reserved. All done to the glory of God through Jesus Christ, our Lord!

Never Give Up!

Prior to the pandemic, a woman I had known for several years passed away. I didn’t consider her a friend, but she was certainly an acquaintance for whom our meeting was very purposeful. Indirectly, she taught me many lessons that have been important to my spiritual journey in Christ. I learned them from observing her actions and from those she depended on for help. Towards the end of her life, she was very miserable and depressed. She seemed to give up even before her condition worsened, and because she did, people around her, including those responsible for her care, seemed to give up too. This was the last lesson I would learn from her, and I made sure to learn it well. Never give up. Even when others abandon hope, fight the good fight of faith.

The Apostle Paul tells us in 1Timothy 6:12 that faith is indeed a good fight! It begins in our hearts, gets its momentum in our minds, and soars with the actions we take to back it. The thing is, many of us think we have it when we really don’t understand what it is. We don’t understand why we’ve been given this potent spiritual substance, and more importantly, many of us haven’t studied God’s Word to know exactly how we should apply it. As a young adult believer, just learning some of the deep truths of God’s Word, initially I thought faith was the way to get God’s goodies. I had been badgered severely by the evil one and his cohorts, and I thought my whole life would be one big struggle. When I learned about having faith in God through the Lord Jesus Christ, I just about jumped right out of my skin! It literally blew my socks off, and I was changed forever.

I had lost my job, had my car repossessed, and was down to ketchup sandwiches—that’s all I had in the frig. Things were really bad, and I couldn’t see a way out. I had no clue that human beings could live with God’s power. The notion had never occurred to me. I felt helpless and hopeless. It popped into my head on more than one occasion that I was being punished, but I couldn’t quite figure out what for. I knew that I wasn’t perfect, but I was being dragged through the mud and my circumstances seemed to be getting worse by the day. God opened my eyes to His Word through wonderful individuals that were willing and relentless to teach me to walk by faith.

John 10:10(NKJV) was a pivotal verse for me. In it, Jesus Christ said, “The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly.” I felt that my life was far from abundant, but as I started to believe that God’s Will was for me to have a more than abundant existence, I could sense a shift internally. As I began to build my relationship with God, my faith in Him increased and soon the internal shift in my thoughts and feelings made its way into my external circumstances.

Hebrew 11:1 tells us that faith is the title deed to what we hope for, and it is the evidence that we have the thing we’ve prayed to receive even before it shows up. We must believe in what we can’t see. 2Corinthians 5:7 tells us that we must walk by faith and not by sight. We also must learn that our faith must be expressed through the love of Christ. Spiritual maturity beckons us to leave the ‘kid in a candy store’ mentality behind, because it’s an attitude where our focus is mainly consumed with what we want. Intimacy in our relationship with God demands that our focus is on His purpose and fulfilling His plan for our individual lives.

This means that as our faith and spiritual maturity increase, some of the things we’ve held on to so tightly will need to be released. The woman that passed away hit this lesson home for me. I don’t know this for a fact, but it seemed to me that she had spent a great deal of her life being bitter. She complained a lot and had an opinion about everything, and when she didn’t like something, her words could be harsh and biting. I believed this had been her pattern of behavior for a very long time. Whether by receiving a revelation from the Spirit or by an encounter with a believer that had called her out on her stuff, this woman tried in her later years to change her behavior a bit and release some of those negative patterns. She had an epiphany of sorts and must have saw a reflection of who she had groomed herself to be, and she didn’t like what she saw.

She showed me an up-close and personal portrait of what it looks like to spend a lifetime knowing about God, but not spend a lifetime getting to know who He is through Christ. She hadn’t made that intimate connection with Heavenly Father through His Son, and therefore, she hadn’t learned to walk by faith. She didn’t know that a person can believe God to live a good life and actually have one. She hadn’t believed in the miraculous, didn’t think it showed up in people’s lives like it did in mine. And when the circumstances of her life called for her to trust Him to show up in an amazing way, her mind and heart couldn’t make the leap of faith required.

If you and I are not tenaciously, confidently, and exuberantly overwhelmed with joy about the faith that Jesus Christ has given us, then we haven’t truly discovered what faith is. It is potent beyond what you and I can imagine, and in the words of our Master Jesus in Mark 11:23, if we truly believe, through faith in God, mountains can be moved.

We must believe that #1, God is all powerful, #2, that He is a Rewarder who rewards His children, and #3 that He is WILLING and delighted to use His power to help and bless us through the Lord Jesus Christ! Faith is unleased in a powerful way when our attitude and belief is in line with all three truths. You can’t be lackluster in mind and heart about the faith of Jesus Christ, because if you are, you will not be fully transformed into his likeness. The faith of Jesus Christ is more dynamic, transformative, and powerful than anything we could ever hope to acquire. It is the instrument of change for those belonging to the higher consciousness of his love and light. Romans 10:17 tells us faith comes by hearing the Word of God, and it will perform in direct proportion to our level of enthusiasm, reverence, confidence, and belief in God through Christ.

If we are not thrilled beyond excitement about faith, we are not a match for its potency. If we don’t understand that God has given us the same faith that Jesus Christ had, so we can get some good things done in the earth just like him, then we need more knowledge about Christ. The tenacity, endurance, and hopefulness of which we pursue the faith of Jesus Christ will determine its outcome. If you’re anything like me, you want all that God has in store for you. Let’s not be like the poor lady who thought faith was something you take off the shelf for one day a week for an hour or so. Let’s get real about why we’re here and what we’re supposed to be doing. We were created in the image of God and in the likeness of Christ. Faith defines us, and we must fight to bring our minds and hearts equal to its power.■

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

“Never Give Up!”, written by Fran, edited by PMB for DomesticAbuseAwareness.Org ©2021. All rights reserved. All done to the glory of God through Jesus Christ, our Lord!

Bound or Loosed

Matthew 16:19(NLT)
“And I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven.”

I went to a wedding of a dear friend last summer. As I watched this couple declare their devotion for the rest of their lives, I prayed that they would be able to stand strong through whatever would come their way. Over the holidays I spoke to my friend’s brother, and he said that the two of them were having a lot of problems. In his words, “All hell was breaking lose in their marriage.”  He believes it is because his brother is very egotistical and has anger issues. On the other hand, he said, “His wife is very needy and can’t seem to do anything without my brother’s permission.”

God created marriage to be the most rewarding and beautiful gift, but if we’re not spiritually mature, it can also be very challenging. Just about everyone that takes that walk down the aisle underestimates this. One of the most challenging aspects of marriage is dealing with the emotions of another person. At no time should one spouse ever disrespect the other, but situations will arise that can test our limits and stretch us beyond the point we ever thought possible. Most people that are married will attest to the reality that you see all sides to a person as you grow and become one. Sometimes you see things you couldn’t have imagined, even after knowing and dating your current spouse a while before you married.

God has given us the person of the Holy Spirit to dwell within our body temples. Jesus Christ told us in John 16:13 that the Spirit’s occupation is to comfort, teach, lead, and guide us according to the instruction he receives from Christ. Through His Spirit that indwells us, God will prepare us for marital partnership if we allow Him.

Ephesians 1:11 tells us that God predestined our existence even before the foundation of the world. Acts 17:26 tells us that He appointed the times of our births and the family that we would be born into. There isn’t anything about our lives God doesn’t know. He knows the person that is best suited to walk with us through life. The truth is that many of us don’t choose this person. Some of us fall in love with a person that hasn’t learned to love through Christ and has no intention of ever loving us in the way we deserve. To our disappointment and detriment, and because they haven’t learned a Christ kind of love and compassion, some of these individuals are abusive.

Heavenly Father does not want us in this kind of situation. He knows we’re not perfect and that we will get ourselves into trouble. This is why He tells 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.”  This passage is one that every individual must have as their foundation.

Sometimes people cross the line and go way past the issue of carrying baggage. They resort to hurting those who love them most. This is evil, and when we’re in a situation that leads to this kind of bondage, many of us feel overwhelmed. We don’t know what to do, but God tells us exactly what to do and exactly what not to do in Proverbs 3:5-6. We don’t lean on our own understanding, but instead, we seek His Word to find out His Will, and we lean on Him to direct our paths.

In Matthew 16:19, Jesus Christ tells us that he’s given us the keys to the Kingdom of Heaven. We have the keys to unlock doors that lead to all the abundance the Kingdom of God extends. These keys are in your possession. When you settle your mind and heart to use them, don’t attempt to walk down corridors that lead to where and who you used to be. You can never be that person again, but you can and should be the person God has destined you to become! You can be stronger and better through the love of God in Christ, and this is where you must place your confidence.

Don’t stay locked in a situation that undermines your right to walk in the liberty of Christ. Trust God with all your heart and seek His Will in all you do. When you use the keys according to His Word, you will loosen those things that keep you bound, and God will show you a way out. ■

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.

“Bound or Loosed”, written by KYada for DomesticAbuseAwareness.Org ©2021. All rights reserved. All done to the glory of God through Jesus Christ, our Lord!

The Lord Jesus Christ Has the Key

Revelations 3:7-8(NLT)
“7 This is the message from the one who is holy and true, the one who has the key of David. What he opens, no one can close; and what he closes, no one can open. 8 “I know all the things you do, and I have opened a door for you that no one can close.”

I spoke to an old friend this week and she was going through some pretty rough times with her family.  She said to me, “I can’t trust anyone around me. I don’t have nobody!” For many born-again believers today, their world seems shaky and unstable. They are feeling insecure because there’s so much uncertainty all around us. Some folks that have declared their love for the Lord for years are now starting to doubt His love all together. The institutions we have relied on for support are breaking down, and their corruption is on blast for everyone to see. Pandemic notwithstanding, everything seems out of place, and many Christians are losing focus and faith. We must not be deceived by what the devil is trying to do. Instead, we must remember and forever stand on the reality that our hope is in Christ, not in human beings.

This period has been especially taxing for some that haven’t been around their loved ones and are feeling lonely and secluded. The emotional toll on their relationships has been devastating in many ways, and some relationships have been irreparably damaged. God knows all that’s happening to us. In the passage of Revelations 3:7-8(NLT), He declared that only He holds our tomorrows, and only He has the power to open and close the doors that are important to our lives.

Many people do not believe this. Challenging times often reveal whether we truly trust God and will choose to follow Him no matter how things look, or if we will abandon our faith as soon as things get tough. We have leaned far too heavily on worldly systems. This has caused many people’s faith muscle to become saggy and flaccid. God created us in such a way that the core of our being is strengthened by faith, and when our faith is small, the circumstances of our lives begin to mirror our refusal to walk in Christ with authority and boldness.

There can be no doubt that we are witnessing spiritual warfare in an unprecedented fashion. And it is affecting many aspects of our lives, but God didn’t hide this from us. In His Word, He has told us exactly what we’d encounter in the world, and He also told us exactly who our real enemy is. He teaches us in Ephesians 6:12(NLT),  “For we are not fighting against flesh-and-blood enemies, but against evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world, against mighty powers in this dark world, and against evil spirits in the heavenly places.”

In order to stand firm against spiritual warfare in the earth, God tells us to put on every spiritual weapon He has provided. His spiritual weapons are fail-proof, and through them we can continue to walk in the victory of Jesus Christ, even when there’s chaos and confusion all around us. 1John 4:4(NLT) declares, “But you belong to God, my dear children. You have already won a victory over those people, because the Spirit who lives in you is greater than the spirit who lives in the world.”

We cannot have faith and fear at the same time. We must make a choice. James 1:6(NLT) warns that when we ask God for His blessings, we must “be sure that your faith is in God alone. Do not waver, for a person with divided loyalty is as unsettled as a wave of the sea that is blown and tossed by the wind.” Don’t let satan convince you that the world has something to give you. In the world, there is only heartache and misery, but in Christ there is joy everlasting. He is the door, and he has given us the key to it. Don’t look for the key anywhere else, not in the world, not in a man, or any other person. Anchor your faith in Christ, so that the core of your being is fortified in him. Then, you will be confident in your ability to withstand any challenge through his strength and power.  ■

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

“The Lord Jesus Christ Has the Key”, written by KYada for DomesticAbuseAwareness.Org ©2021. All rights reserved. All done to the glory of God through Jesus Christ, our Lord!

Those Who Refresh Others Will be Refreshed

Proverbs 11:25(NLT)
“The generous will prosper; those who refresh others will themselves be refreshed.”

Years ago, I suffered from some very low points. These were some of the darkest moments of my life.  I felt weighted down by all my wrong decisions and bad choices. Self-condemnation was my middle name and many of my nights were sleepless. I always wished that the progression of time would speed up so I could bypass nighttime hours. I dreaded the thought of going to bed because I’d just lay there, with regretful thoughts of my past, and they made me feel so bad.

Reflecting on those times now, I’m very thankful for my family. I tried to focus on them as much as possible, because it made me feel better about things. With concern, I’ve wondered about people that feel worse than I did at that time in my life. I pray they also have family or friends to bring comfort that will help them feel better. But I also pray that they will heed the invitation of Jesus Christ. He invites them to bring their burdens to him. He offers to give us rest for our souls in a way that only he can.

Jesus Christ said in John 15:8(NLT), “When you produce much fruit, you are my true disciples. This brings great glory to my Father.” To produce fruit is to share the Good News of the Gospel with someone that doesn’t yet know the person of Jesus Christ. When we tell people about Jesus Christ and the salvation that he offers because of what he accomplished for us on the cross, we secure the opening that allows the love of God to be introduced into the person’s life. We can’t cause a person to be saved; that’s not our call. God tells us in Ephesians 1:4 that He chose us to be in Christ even before the foundation of the World. He chose us first, not the other way around. So, when we share the Good News about Jesus Christ, we are planting a seed. God is the One that does the watering. He causes the sun to shine upon those who need His light. As His children, He commands us to be ambassadors of Christ. He expects that we will open our mouths when He tells us too, and that we will speak a life changing Word into the lives of those that He has chosen.

During the times that I lacked confidence; I didn’t believe I had anything to give towards the ministry of Jesus Christ. I felt too bad about myself and about everything around me, but God showed me through His Word that I don’t belong to myself, I belong to Him; we all do. We were created for His purpose, not our own. He knows the path we should be on so that we can have a wonderful relationship with Him through Christ, and so that we can have a life that isn’t filled with darkness but filled with the light of Christ. We need to allow God to lead and guide us, and we need to be willing to patiently and humbly follow Him.

God doesn’t see us the way we see ourselves. Ephesians 2:10 tells us that we are God’s masterpiece. He made us new creations in Christ Jesus, and He did this so that you and I could do all the good things that He planned for us. I prayed fervently that God would hear my cries and let His love come into my darkest places. It didn’t happen overnight, but it did happen. I placed my hand in His hand and surrendered myself to be led by Him. He did not disappoint, for it is impossible for God to fail.

I asked the Father to show me opportunities that would help me feel better about my life and the gift I knew He had given me. Little did I know that He would answer this prayer by leading me to be a blessing to someone. The company where I work had just hired someone new. She is a bright young woman and is full of energy, but of course she was nervous about beginning a new position. Well, her new boss was very demanding, and had given her a task that she considered to be completely outside her level of skill. On that day, I was in our break room heating a cup of tea, and we struck up a conversation. She began to share how happy she was to have landed a good job but wasn’t sure how to handle the new pressures of her position. I offered her a few tips, and said, “Don’t worry about what you can’t control. Do your very best, pray that it’s good enough, and allow God to do the rest.”

I didn’t know this woman’s background or whether she knew the Lord, but I truly felt in my soul that I had been in the right place at the right time, and that I had made a difference for her that day. I didn’t have to leap a tall building, or even stand before lots of people and teach the bible, I just had to use what God has given me very plainly and in my day to day life.

After bumping into each other a few days later, she said to me, “You don’t know how much your kindness has meant to me.” She had been refreshed because I encouraged her in the Lord, and I had been refreshed in an amazing way myself. I thought, “What if I had chosen to let self-doubt rule the day; I might not have spoken a word to this young woman, but I’m so glad that God allowed me to be a blessing to her.” Things that we consider to be so small and insignificant can make all the difference in someone’s life. We have to remember who we are, whose we are, and what we mean to God. He has called us to be lights in this dark world, and He had given us everything we need to do it. All we need to do is listen to His voice, and open our mouths to speak about the goodness of God and the salvation our Lord Jesus Christ offers.■

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.

“Those Who Refresh Others Will be Refreshed”, written by KRenee, edited by PMB for DomesticAbuseAwareness.Org ©2021. All rights reserved. All done to the glory of God through Jesus Christ, our Lord!

Can You Turn Your Life Around?

Jesus Christ said in Matthew 19:26 that with God, all things are possible. This is extraordinarily good news! The words of Jesus Christ should break through the haze of doubt and sadness that many people have been walking around with for years, but they feel hopeless, as if nothing and no one can lift them up. When the hiccups and mishaps of life just keep coming, one after another, our enthusiasm for the possibilities that life holds can get buried under layers of emotional stuff, so much so that we don’t know or can’t find the path to joy anymore. Instead, sadness and numbness become the way we move through our days. Some of us are so used to not feeling anything other than sadness and numbness that we think it’s just a part of our personality now, when in truth, it’s a wall. We put it up to try to protect ourselves from getting hurt and to shield ourselves from the pain of experiencing yet another disappointment.

Nehemiah 8:10(NLT) says, “Don’t be dejected and sad, for the joy of the LORD is your strength!” Many people have heard this verse but don’t understand it. Is it that we’re to be joyful because God is our Creator? Should we have joy because of what He did for us through His Son, Jesus Christ, on the cross? Does God have joyfulness, and does it make us strong? The answer to all these questions is a resounding ‘yes!’. But it isn’t enough to agree with the answer, Heavenly Father wants us to live the answer, and He is ever willing to help us do so.

Jesus Christ said in John 10:10(NLT), “The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly.” Jesus Christ came to the earth to give us life, and not just life, but life more abundantly. He is letting us know that life on earth isn’t always peachy, because we’ve got a spiritual enemy that will go for the jugular. Our Master Jesus doesn’t sugarcoat the truth but tells us straightforwardly that the devil’s mission is to steal, kill, and destroy; and he’s not messing around. But Jesus Christ also tells us that we shouldn’t lay down and become the enemy’s doormat. We weren’t created to be continually tricked, manipulated, and influenced by darkness. And in this, we can have joy! We were created to be victorious in every way so that we receive all that God has in store for us.

There’s a better way! Knowing this doesn’t take all our sadness and numbness away. We may not feel like skipping through fields of daisies, but the truth of God’s goodness is a seed that must be planted in our consciousness in order that we might have hope. 2Thessalonians 2:16-17(NLT) says, “16 Now may our Lord Jesus Christ himself and God our Father, who loved us and by his grace gave us eternal comfort and a wonderful hope, 17 comfort you and strengthen you in every good thing you do and say.” We need to be confident that our Father God and the Lord Jesus Christ love us, and with their love there’s hope, because they are committed to help us through anything that we might be facing.

As Christians, we’re called to be realist, and truth is reality. God has all power in His hands, and all things are possible with Him. This is the truth! You and I are called to have faith, hope, and love. Through the Apostle Paul, God tells us in 1Timothy 6:12(NLT), “Fight the good fight for the true faith.” This means we must be fully invested in the practice of totally leaning on God for everything. This is what faith is, it’s totally leaning on Heavenly Father to take care of all our needs; this is the kind of relationship He desires with us, and He tells us in Hebrews 11:6 that this total dependence on Him is what pleases Him.

It’s not that God isn’t seeing the challenges and difficulties we face in life. He does. We need Him to move in our situations, but He needs us to have faith in Him. And sometimes, when we trust Him, things don’t get better right away. This is where hope makes its grand entrance and the faith muscle gets a workout. You and I might not be able to see the future, but we can hope for a good future because that’s what God promises. So, we have to trust in what we can’t see. Even though at times we might feel like the bottom of someone’s shoe, we have to take authority in Jesus Christ, and let God’s Word have the final say and not our emotions. It doesn’t mean that we don’t feel some type of way, but we must turn to God, continue to trust Him, and our emotions will begin to follow.

God is indeed a joyful God. He delights in blessing us, and He commands us to delight in Him. Delighting in God is our strength because it means we are coming in agreement with the truth of His sovereignty and divinity. We have no strength to call our own. 2Corinthians 3:5 teaches us that our sufficiency comes from God. So, as much as we think we are, you and I are not in control. Life proves this to us every day. Psalm 24:1(NLT) declares, “The earth is the LORD’s, and everything in it. The world and all its people belong to him.” Heavenly Father wants you to succeed in life, and you can turn your life around if you are willing to place all your trust in 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.

“Can You Turn Your Life Around?”, written by Fran, edited by PMB for DomesticAbuseAwareness.Org ©2021. All rights reserved. All done to the glory of God through Jesus Christ, our Lord!

Making A Faith Move When It’s Dangerous

We had been staying at my grandmother’s house for a few weeks, and I was both relieved and terrified. My father thought it was just a temporary thing. We had done this lots of times before, when my mother was too weak and emotionally exhausted from his abuse. She’d threaten to leave him, and we’d retreat to my grandmother’s. She’d rest physically and emotionally, and we always went back. I was familiar with the drill, but this time was different. We had stayed longer than any other time before, and my father was becoming agitated.

Determined to make a new start for us all, my mother had planned to move us to another state to get away from her abuser. Her cousin, notorious for partying and drinking on the weekends, got drunk and told someone of my mother’s plan to leave my father for good. Being a small town where everyone talks, it wasn’t long before my father got wind of it.

The plan was that my mother would leave first to secure a place for us to stay and then send for my siblings and me. Her ticket was purchased, but my father started digging and found out the details of her late-night flight. That evening, my aunts and grandmother gathered, and I remember them being unusually quiet. My aunt would go to the front door and peek through its small window to check periodically. My sweet respite in times of trouble was now a battlefield, and the soldiers were preparing for war. The energy was extremely tense, and my heart was in my stomach. I was accustomed to stress and worry, but I was more concerned for my mom’s safety than I had ever been before. My father had a gun, and I did not doubt that he would use it.

My mom’s cousins had been on the lookout for my dad’s movement, and when one of them met my aunt at the door, I could tell something was going down. I then heard a couple of cars parking inconspicuously as my aunts moved into position. My mother had been told to remain in the backroom with the ‘youngins’ while my aunts handled everything, and she knew they would. They were not strangers to abusers and were prepared to do whatever it took to make sure we would be okay and that my mom got on that plane.

I heard my father’s car as it raced around the sharp curve in the road nearby and stopped mid street, in front of my grandmother’s house. In those days, children were not allowed to witness or speak about the things happening before my eyes, but for whatever reason, maybe because I was the eldest of my mother’s children, I had been allowed to be a silent and shocked observer. When I heard the tussling at the door, it felt as if I had left my body. My mind couldn’t absorb what was happening. There was horrible profanity and threats, and I put my hands over my ears.

My father had encountered a force he had not anticipated. He began to whine, and I felt faint. I knew that if my mother heard his diminished rage, she’d acquiesce. Oh, how I didn’t want that. The instincts that only couples intertwined can share must have kicked in. My mother abandoned her post, and the next thing I knew, she was standing at the door, in front of my father. This time, she did not yield, but held tightly to what strength she had. Outnumbered, my father tore off in his monte carlo, and my aunts and cousins stood watch until my mom departed for the airport.

It took a village to give us a start to a new life, and they put themselves in harm’s way to do it. I was forever changed by this event, and I learned a lot about faith and courage. We all fight in different ways and at different times, but the truth is that we must do exactly that, fight! Our lives are worth fighting for, but we must be smart and strategic about how we do it, and we cannot do it well without faith and trust in God. We must lean on His wisdom and guidance.

Jesus Christ commands us in Mark 11:22, “Have faith in God.” This isn’t a suggestion. It is a requirement for living life. Faith in God is the foundation that gives us the courage to move when it’s time to do so. Our Lord and Savior also tells us in Matthew 19:26 that with God all things are possible. The mind-and-heart-set of any person being abused must be strengthened in the reality that freedom from the bondage of abuse is God’s Will for them. And not only this, but God will make freedom from the clutches of an abuser possible if you place your trust in Him through Jesus Christ.

God tells us in Romans 8:28 that He causes all things to work together for the good of those who love Him and are called according to His purpose. Living in an environment where there’s domestic violence and abuse is dangerous. There can be no doubt about it, but a commitment to the practice of prayer and to lean on the Lord Jesus Christ will turn what seemed impossible into the miracle we need.

There’s a saying that “God will keep you if you want to be kept.” Some individuals that are being abused do not want to be kept by God’s love, strength, and power. It’s possible they’ve not come to a place of believing that through Jesus Christ, they can fight for their lives and win. Please know, that if you are being abused, God desires to keep, preserve, and protect your life. Never doubt His ability to help you make a faith move to be released from an abusive situation. He has unlimited resources, those that we can’t even imagine. Let the Lord help and guide you, so that when it’s time for you to make a faith move in a dangerous situation, you have the courage and strength to see it through. ■

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.

“Making A Faith Move When It’s Dangerous”, written by Fran, edited by PMB for DomesticAbuseAwareness.Org ©2021. All rights reserved. All done to the glory of God through Jesus Christ, our Lord!

Should I Stay When He Cheats?

Would you stay in a relationship if you found out your spouse or significant other had cheated? Don’t answer too quickly. If you’ve never gone through it then your answer could possibly surprise you. 

Out of the blue, a close friend asked me that if by chance I found out my spouse was cheating, would I continue to stay in the relationship. I didn’t hesitate to answer with a resounding “NO!” He quickly said to me, “You say ‘no’ because you’re not in the situation right now, but when you’re married with children, the answer doesn’t come that easy.” After giving this some thought, I realized that my immediacy in answering this question speaks to my inability to consider that there are always two sides. Spiritual maturity begs us to seek God before we rush to judgment. It also demands that we have a humble and forgiving heart. So regardless of our pain and anger, we must seek God for the best course of action.

Many women are hurting today, at this very moment, and the reason they’re in so much pain is because their hearts have been broken by someone they love. A few years ago, my pastor taught about deliverance from a broken heart.  What resonated so deeply was understanding that when our hearts are broken, the ultimate take-away is always going to be the lesson our hurt teaches us about ourselves and about our relationship with God.   

This truth stuck with me because there have been times when hurt has come my way, and if I’m honest, I was baffled as to why Heavenly Father didn’t prevent it. I was utterly devastated, and I didn’t understand why God had allowed me to experience such despair, especially by the person who claimed to care about me. It wasn’t that I had mastered the art of relationships and thought I was untouchable, but I thought at least I knew enough to dodge a bullet when it came to getting my heart broken again. I was wrong. 

Sometimes, the significant people we love are not meant to journey with us any further. They are not the person we should marry and spend the rest of our lives with. We try to cling to them, but their destiny is on another path. We should allow ourselves a little time to grieve, and then get ready to proceed onward and upward in Christ. The only way to really do this is to learn the lesson about the love of Christ that this person has revealed to us. A big part of this lesson is to look before we leap—to seek God before making huge emotional investments.

And if we don’t do this, and it becomes apparent we’ve make a wrong choice, we should repent, release the thing that isn’t working for us, and reprioritize our relationship with God, so that He is in the number one spot. Jesus Christ teaches us in Matthew 6:33 that we must put God first in all things and love Him with all that we are. Our Lord and Master affirms that blessings will chase us down when loving God is our prime motivation in life.

When a spouse has betrayed the marriage vow, it is a very different situation than when someone that isn’t a spouse cheats and goes outside the relationship. Because marriage is God’s institution, if the spouse that has cheated desires forgiveness, and the Lord says so, anyone can be healed, and any relationship can be restored. But boy do we have to walk in wisdom and hear from God with this one. You don’t want to set yourself up to be repeatedly lied to and cheated on, but by the same token, you can’t play the victim and shift all the blame on the cheating spouse. We must at all times remember that God holds us accountable for our actions, and sometimes we’ve done things that caused our spouses to feel hurt and isolated as well.

Relationships are challenging and there are complicated issues to deal with. Even before we go into marriage, God expects that we will have saturated our hearts and minds with His Word, so that we have the endurance and spiritual strength to weather storms. Many of us have not put on His whole armor, and we take that walk down the aisle without it. Then, when something happens and knocks the wind out of us, we are faced with a situation that requires more spiritual maturity and strength than what we’ve acquired.

Ephesians 5:25(NLT) says, “For husbands, this means love your wives, just as Christ loved the church. He gave up his life for her.” This is not some abstract concept. It’s God’s standard for the way a man should love and treat his wife. Jesus Christ said in Luke 12:48 that to whom much is given much is required. So, if a man loves his wife the way Christ loves the church, she has a responsibility to make sure she reciprocates it; her actions must be deserving of this kind of love. Considering this, the very best course of action when cheating rears its ugly head is to come to an agreement together to seek the Lord. Both spouses must have humility and be willing to rededicate themselves towards making Jesus Christ the center of their marriage. Then, every step they take together can be guided by his Spirit. ■

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.

“Should I Stay When He Cheats?”, written by Kyrene, edited by PMB for DomesticAbuseAwareness.Org ©2021. All rights reserved. All done to the glory of God through Jesus Christ, our Lord!