Your Alabaster Box

I was seven years old when I began spending my summers in Chicago with my aunt and cousin. To my cousin’s friends and neighborhood playmates, I was the country cousin who spoke funny. My words were often met with odd looks and “I don’t understand what you’re saying.” I entertained these youngsters simply by being me, and sometimes this was more hurtful than it was amusing. Now that I’m much older, I remember my aunt’s friends more distinctly than I do the children my cousin and I played with for hours. Her friends were colorful with big personalities that took up all the space in a room, and there was one in particular that I will never forget.

I was nine or ten, and she was wearing all black when I first met her. So lean and stylish, she looked as if she had been a model in her younger years. It was a Sunday afternoon after church, and she had stopped over for a plate of my aunt’s Sunday dinner. My aunt was southern bred and could burn in the kitchen almost as well as my grandmother. Somewhere during her friend’s visit, it dawned on me that she had been the woman that ran to the altar for altar-call at church and fell to her knees, whaling with moans and tears. Her big hat had kept her face hidden from me during service, but when my eyes were supposed to be closed for prayer, they had been locked on her the entire time. I wondered why no one else seemed as mesmerized by her distinct and gushing cries as I had been.  

Luke 7 contains the record of a woman with a beautiful alabaster box. She came to Simon’s house where Jesus Christ had been invited for dinner. Simon was a Pharisee, and they notoriously hated Jesus, but masked it at times for the sake of tricking him or finding something they could use to discredit him. This woman heard that Jesus would be in Simon’s home and came weeping at his feet. Luke 7:38(NLT) tells us, “Her tears fell on his feet, and she wiped them off with her hair. Then she kept kissing his feet and putting perfume on them.” She took the contents of her alabaster box and anointed the feet of Jesus with rare perfume.

It was customary in those times to anoint the heads of guest with olive oil as a sign of hospitality, and even though Christ was more worthy of anyone to receive this courtesy, Simon had not given it to him.  Jesus Christ said of this woman in Luke 7:47-48(NIV), “47 Therefore, I tell you, her many sins have been forgiven—as her great love has shown. But whoever has been forgiven little loves little.” 48 Then Jesus said to her, “Your sins are forgiven.”” The humility of the woman with the alabaster box in Luke 7 is palpable, and my aunt’s friend, the thin, stylish woman in black, is in my mind a symbol of her. She was drenched in gratitude, and humility oozed from her being like a river of anointed oil.

When I was older, my aunt explained that this woman, her dear friend, had endured many years of domestic violence and abuse at the hands of her husband. He had been at times ruthless, and she endured it for the sake of their children. Not long after she turned to Christ and gave her life to him, her husband’s health began to decline. My aunt told us she had committed herself to his care, as he no longer had the strength or the heart to do her any harm. Her praise to God was unabashed and in total awe of how our Heavenly Father took a life as pitiful as hers and made peace where there was total desperation.

1Corinthians 4:20(NLT) tells us, “For the Kingdom of God is not just a lot of talk; it is living by God’s power.” Life is not stripped of all adversities, obstacles, and troubles so that we can walk a path devoid of those things. God has designed life to teach us to walk in His power despite the hurdles that come with living on earth. Faith would not be faith if there were no challenges that reveal the magnitude of its brilliance. God’s deliverance and power manifests in our lives in many ways. There is no limit to what He can do, and we must remind ourselves of this continually.

All of us have a beautiful alabaster box. The woman who anointed the feet of Jesus Christ with rare perfume showed us that it isn’t the beauty of the outside but what we do with the contents of the container that makes all the difference. Whether our troubles are prolonged or swiftly moved out of the way, Christ will forever be the reason for our joy. Our hope in him does not disappoint, and in him our every expectation for fulfilling God’s glory is complete. We don’t have any excuses to feel distant from God, He’s brought us close to Him through Christ. And now that we have the great privilege to give back to Heavenly Father the treasure He’s placed within us, we should let the sweet perfume of our faith in Him anoint everything that we do.■

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

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

“Your Alabaster Box”, 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!

Dissolving the Dark Cloud of Sadness

One of the residuals of surviving domestic violence and abuse is the feeling that everything is stacked against your happiness. Not only is it an alarming place to be, it is emotionally exhausting. Once you’ve placed your trust in someone you believed to be worthy of it, and they end up betraying this trust, something is lost. You no longer believe the world to be a safe place or that you can carve out a small piece of safe harbor for yourself. Living daily with this can make you feel like there’s a dark cloud looming over your head, and it follows you everywhere you go. For many of us, it is a sadness we can’t seem to shake.

Some abusers cloak their manipulative tactics with a very charismatic personality. They seem exciting and have a lot of fun, and this can be a very attractive and magnetic draw, especially for a person that is starving for attention and isn’t secure in themselves. Many victims fall for the abuser and latch on to them very tightly because of this. It’s the beginning of such internal conflict. One part of you, a very important part, is being fed in a way that is deeply satisfying. The other part of you is being zapped of all its vitality and strength by someone who wants you to believe they love you. To say that you are torn is an understatement.

Likewise, to say that a person in this situation needs rescuing is also an understatement. The first truth that we must accept is that we’re unable to rescue ourselves. God is our Rescue. 2King 17:39(NLT) states, “You must worship only the LORD your God. He is the one who will rescue you from all your enemies.” Without God, we wouldn’t be able to do anything. Nothing in the universe happens without Him allowing it to occur. We are given this earth experience to grow in our relationship with Heavenly Father and to also increase our knowledge and understanding about Him, so that we can make wise decisions and choices. The goal in life is to trust Him more and more with each passing day, our trust in Him transforms us into all that He desires us to be. 

Believing God to this degree is a foreign concept for most. Some might believe in Him, but they don’t think leaning on Him for everything equates to the level of maturity an adult should have in life. They think it’s fine for children, but they equate a fully persuaded faith in God to believing in fairytales. Not understanding the accomplishment of Jesus Christ through his ministry, sacrifice, and resurrection, some people believe life is to be lived on their own terms and that’s that.

Faith in God is nowhere near a fairytale. Faith in Him through Jesus Christ is believing in reality, everything else is temporary and fading away minute by minute. 1John 2:17(NKJV) declares, “And the world is passing away, and the lust of it; but he who does the will of God abides forever.” Society teaches us to place all our trust in people, governments, institutions, relationships, and material things. We start to believe that we can use all those things as a foundation for building ourselves and to undergird the kind of life we desire. The world is corrupting, so why would we use it to build anything we want to last? 1Colossians 3:11(NLT) teaches us, “For no other foundation can anyone lay than that which is laid, which is Jesus Christ.” He is the Rock of our Salvation, and because of him we have received the gift of eternal life.

The dark cloud of sadness that hovers over many individuals does so because they refuse to have faith in God. Many of them are stuck in disappointment because they gave another human being a place in their lives that only God should have been given. They put all their eggs in this person’s basket, and the eggs were crushed because this is a responsibility no human being can handle successfully. God didn’t give any human the ability to see into the heart of another, nor did He give us the capacity to keep someone else’s heart. He lets us know in His Word that we are responsible for our own hearts. He commands us in Proverbs 4:23 to guard them above all else.

Dissolving the dark cloud requires our diligence to grow in faith. The fantasy was believing that another person could give us something that God could or would not. The fairytale is thinking life will cooperate with us when we don’t trust God with all our hearts, minds, and strength. He is our Rescue. He’s our strength from day to day, and He tells us in His Word to delight in Him. There is none that compares to our Heavenly Father, and He is all we need. We don’t have to live a life dominated by fear. We’re not built for that. Our hope is in Christ, and Romans 5:5 affirms that this hope does not disappoint! We were created from God’s love, and through Christ, we can live love every moment of every day. This is what God wants for us, and one of the greatest things any of us can do is to want it for ourselves. ■

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.

“Dissolving the Dark Cloud of Sadness”, 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!

Take Life in Small Chewable Bites

All of us are wired with that thing that drives us every day we’re on this earth. We can’t touch it and it isn’t audible, but our souls hear it loud and clear. Not only is it the thing that motivates us to get us up out of bed every day, it draws us to certain people and them to us. It makes us crave energies, environments, and experiences that would otherwise be completely foreign to us. We can’t give it a name and we don’t bother to define it. This thing rests beneath our consciousness and most of us never travel that far to face it. We will only skim the surface when the uncertainty of its desire causes us to make colossal mistakes. The blow-back from those painful missteps hurts so much and cuts so deep that we can scarcely walk straight.

Most of us find the courage to keep plunging ahead because the thing that drives us is inexhaustible. Even when we give up, it never does. It should come as no surprise that understanding it more so that we can harness and aim it in the right direction should be our goal. The first piece of information that will aid our understanding is pretty common sense. It is the reality that none of us created the thing, nor can we own or manipulate it. Locked so deep within us that we can’t determine its beginning or end, we must resign ourselves to the truth that destiny is the thing. It is in us, coded in our DNA, and it reaches further back than Adam, the first created human, for God tells us in Ephesians 1:4(NLT), “Even before he made the world, God loved us and chose us in Christ to be holy and without fault in his eyes.”

Proverbs 14:12 affirms that there is a path before each person that seems right, but it ends in destruction. The phenomenal wisdom that God gives here makes it a certainty that every person living or that has ever lived has more than one path in life they can choose. They can choose a path that seems right, or they can choose a path that is right. Sadly, most will choose a path that seems right and will end up in a horrible place spiritually. The path that seems right is not their destiny and choosing this path will leave us perplexed and unsettled with life.

The path to our true destiny in Christ doesn’t allow us to know all its ins and outs in one fell swoop. We must walk it out, hand in hand with the Master as he directs our path. Patience, goodness, kindness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control, joy, peace, and love are the Spirit’s fruit, and they are produced from the choices we make to walk with Christ every moment of each day. It is a process supported by the combination of time, life, and the Holy Spirit. We are being perfected through and by the Lord. It is in truth the transformation of our souls into the men and women Heavenly Father has destined us to be.

Destiny forces us to deal with our souls. Dealing with our souls requires Christian discipline. This means that it requires an incredible amount of humility and a maturity level that will acknowledge that the Spirit’s fruit is the target. To discipline the soul in this way is sometimes a challenging and jarring process, but the rewards are stellar. It involves sacrifice, so most individuals will opt out of this work of the soul for the quickest route to pleasure. We have our own ideas about what will fulfill our souls and make us happy. Unwisely and often impetuously, we try to open our mouths wide and take the biggest bite out of life that we possibly can. We’re not thinking about God’s eternal riches or longevity but want as much of what the world has to offer as we get right now. The truth is that people will take those big bites, and they will chew and chew and chew, but won’t ever get full. We’ll never be full that way.

Our destinies belong to God. He owns every nook and cranny of them. The destiny that God has placed in every individual is completely covered in Christ. Romans 8:29(NIV) tells us, “For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers and sisters.” The person of Jesus Christ is the blueprint for God’s original design for all human beings. Coded within each of us is all the mechanics to fulfill God’s purpose for our existence. We’re driven by it even if we don’t realize it. Destiny is designed by the Creator to be lived-out each day, and to do so in total submission to Him.

Jesus Christ commands us in Matthew 6:33 to seek the Kingdom of God first, above all else, and to live righteously before God, and He will give us everything we need. So, each day is given to us to seek the Will of the God and then move according to His agenda. So many people miss this entirely, and because they do, life is lived beneath their privilege.

Life has little tolerance for us trying to steer our own destinies. We can only see what is right in front of us, and none of us can predict the future. God is the One that holds our tomorrows. He has the master plan for our lives. Although our desire is to take that big gulp out of life, He knows that we can only handle small chewable bites. We must submit ourselves to God and have total faith in Him. We should open our mouths wide to swallow as much of His truth as we possibly can. Psalm 34:8-10(NIV) says,“8 Taste and see that the LORD is good; blessed is the one who takes refuge in him. 9 Fear the LORD, you his holy people, for those who fear him lack nothing. 10 The lions may grow weak and hungry, but those who seek the LORD lack no good thing.” Our souls may at times deny it, but the thing we desperately need is Christ. He is the only One that can steer us into the infinite possibilities our destinies hold.■

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.

“Take Life in Small Chewable Bites”, 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!

Taking Matters into Your Own Hands Isn’t A Good Idea

Learning to love through the Lord Jesus Christ is a spiritual lesson in wisdom, power, humility, and forgiveness. It’s all wrapped together in the most beautiful package, and we’re entrusted with it. Wisdom is the first place to start. Proverbs 4:7(KJV) tells us, “Wisdom is the principal thing; therefore get wisdom: and with all thy getting get understanding.” When something is a principal thing, it’s first in line in the order of importance. This gives us a clue about how we should value and view wisdom. God tells us to be sure we don’t skimp on it. As a matter of truth, He tells us it’s a necessary tool in our toolboxes, and if we don’t use it, we’ll be in big trouble. Some of us have learned this the hard way, especially when it comes to relationships.  

The Book of Genesis in the Old Testament takes us to school on creation and the very beginning. Our Heavenly Father is meticulously masterful, and thoughtful beyond anything we can fathom. Before He created Adam, the first man, He took six days to make a place for Adam’s habitation. Woven within this paradise called earth were the duties and work that would keep Adam occupied and instill within him the administrative and management skills necessary to reign. When God created the first human, He placed him in this paradise where all he would ever need was already provided. God wanted to make sure that you and I were tuned-in to the pattern He established when He created human beings. 2Corinthians 3:5 declares that “Our sufficiency is of God.” He’s our Source, and from the very beginning He established the reality that humans must rely upon His provision. This is a pattern that will never cease.

Heavenly Father took a rib from Adam and made Eve, Adam’s wife. This was the first couple, and this established another pattern and precedent for humanity. Genesis 2:18(NLT) makes it quite clear. It tells us, “And the LORD God said, It is not good that the man should be alone;” In today’s world, we’ve gotten so turned around that we label what God says is good as being bad, and what He says is bad, we label it good. What God says goes. He created us and He knows the best way for us to operate according to His love.

The Lord established the relationship between a man and a woman from the very beginning of their creation. This demonstrates for us that this significant relationship is fulfilling and meaningful to our existences, but most importantly, it is purposeful to God’s plan and agenda for creation, and for our individual lives. Our Heavenly Father doesn’t deal in ambiguity. He’s extremely precise, and everything He does has a purpose and reason. It is therefore perfectly aligned that we should seek Him for His wisdom, because it will allow us to walk the path He has purposed with confidence and specificity.

Isaiah 14:27(NLT) says, “The LORD of Heaven’s Armies has spoken— who can change his plans? When his hand is raised, who can stop him?” Anything outside of God’s purpose will not prevail. It won’t be good for us, and it will not yield success. This isn’t negative or punitive. It’s wisdom! If we begin our pursuit of a significant relationship with the wisdom of God’s purpose firmly in our grasp, we can be continually guided and directed by God’s Spirit to the right person for us. It’s a big mistake to assume we don’t require His divine leadership in this very important part of our lives.

Romans 8:32(NLT) tells us, “He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how shall He not with Him also freely give us all things?” Jesus Christ is God’s only begotten Son. He is God’s most precious treasure, and God gave him to the world to save us. God did this, so it is without question that He will not withhold any other good thing from us. He is more concern with protecting and preserving our lives than we are. He knows that the wrong person can cause you dreadful harm and the right person can cause you tremendous good.

Jeremiah 29:11 declares that God has a plan for our individual lives, and it is a good one. Understand that God will allow us to take matters into our own hands and make choices without His input, but this is never a good idea. It’s such a costly mistake, and it can be avoided. Life is not a random chain of unfortunate coincidences. It is the journey that God has ordained for His purpose and for our spiritual benefit. Pray before you leap into relationships. Walk in the Spirit so that you are in tune with God’s wisdom. Get His approval before you make emotional investments in folks that are not aligned with where He wants to take you. God has left no detail to chance, and we need to invite His leadership and guidance into our decision making, especially when it comes to the relationships we want to last. ■

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.

“Taking Matters into Your Own Hands Isn’t A Good Idea”, 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!

He Wants to Fit You in His Back Pocket

Shana said that she sometimes feels there’s a sign on her back that says, “I’m an easy target.” She no longer trusts her ability to chose someone that is right for her life because all her relationships in the past have been abusive. Emotionally exhausted and still in shock over her last boyfriend’s attack, she desperately wants to understand why this keeps happening to her. She’s a very attractive, savvy, and deeply compassionate person. She would never hurt a fly. Her friends and family adore her, and they are always on red alert whenever she dates someone new. Her mother is very concerned and even suggested, “Marriage isn’t for everyone. Maybe you should try being alone for a while.”   

The truth is that Shana loves being in love. Getting married and having a family of her own is her dream, and deep down, she believes it will come true. The thing that has troubled Shana greatly is the men she meets are completely different in the beginning than who they appear to be at the end. The difference is night and day. It’s as if they meet her and after a while, turn into someone she doesn’t recognize. If this had happened only once, she may not have questioned it, but it’s happened with all her adult relationships.

2Timothy 1:7(NLT) tells us, For God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love, and self-discipline.Taking it one step closer, Romans 11:29 gives us everything we need to be anchored in this truth and tells us that God’s gifts and His call cannot be withdrawn. Heavenly Father has given us the spirit of power, love, and self-discipline. He calls on us to stand upon His gifts, because they are good gifts. They are given to us to aid our lives, increase our faith, and most importantly, to help build our relationship with Him through the Lord Jesus Christ. The spiritual goodies that God did not give us are those that should be rejected. If it doesn’t come from Him, it comes from darkness, and therefore, we should mark it “Return to Sender.”

There is nothing random about our lives. Everything about us is created with a purpose specific to God’s Divine Will and Plan. He doesn’t make mistakes. Everything He does is perfect, and there is a reason for everything He does. Romans 8:28(NKJV) tells us, “And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose.” To our great disservice, most people underestimate their purpose in God’s plan. They think it’s an arbitrary thing and it doesn’t matter whether they pursue it or not. Because of this cavalier attitude, they also underestimate the unrelenting and evil attacks against them. They are blinded to them—never see them coming.

God’s call is everything. It is life itself! Fulfilling the thing for which we were born literally transforms every detail of our existences. We need to wake up to the reality that when we walk in our purpose, God will cause every detail of our lives to come together, cooperate, and work out for our good. Just the opposite will happen when His purpose is far from our view. And make no mistake, when God’s purpose is far from our view, the devil will try his best to keep it that way. Destiny snatching is the name of the devil’s game, and when we find ourselves stuck in the way that Shana is, the evil minions of darkness are whispering poison in the ears of those who can be used to harm us most.

Blocking your shine, trying to snuff out your light, attempting to squash the magnificence of your call is the abuser’s aim. On every hand he wants to minimize all that you are, so that he can fit you in his back pocket, where you are hidden, silenced, and can only move as he permits. 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.” The light of Christ is the truth, and when we can’t see the truth, we live beneath our privilege.

To keep us blind, to minimize our Christ authority and power, and to silence us so that we will not capture the blessings and power linked to our destiny is the objective the devil achieves through an abuser. When we’re blinded from the truth, we don’t recognize abusers. Our spiritual senses are dull, and we can’t smell the demonic activity of darkness when it’s in our midst. The solution is not to resort to fear, because God didn’t give us a spirit of fear; it doesn’t come from Him. The solution is to turn to Jesus Christ!

Don’t let anyone hide your light. Don’t let them put you in their back pocket and cancel your destiny. We must be as diligent to protect the treasure we carry in the inner sanctum of our beings as the enemy is to destroy it. 2Thessalonians 3:3(NLT) tells us, “But the Lord is faithful; he will strengthen you and guard you from the evil one.” God is faithful, but we have an obligation to trust Him. Our faith is not just lip service. We must be committed to walk with the Lord every moment of each day. When this is our heart, and we’re growing in His Word, we will grow in spiritual maturity and authority in Christ, and nothing in the earth is more powerful than that. ■

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

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.

“He Wants to Fit You in His Back Pocket”, 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!

Only With the Help of God

1 Corinthians 13:7-8(NLT)
“7 Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance. 8 Prophecy and speaking in unknown languages and special knowledge will become useless. But love will last forever!”

I was driving home one day after work to meet my husband. Within the span of 30 minutes, he had called at least ten times to check up on me. He knew I left at 4pm every day, and if I wasn’t pulling up in the driveway by 4:30pm, I was sure to hear his mouth. I naively thought this was his way of showing his love. The real truth is that he was so insecure within himself that it blocked his ability to truly trust me.

At that time in my life, I believed I had a good relationship with God, but for the life of me I couldn’t understand why He had allowed me to be married to such an insecure man. The mental and emotional pressure of having someone on my back every day about my whereabouts was way too taxing on me…I felt like I couldn’t breathe. I found myself dreading to come home.

If my husband was home when I arrived, he’d drill me about my day for the first ten minutes. It became a very tense thing for me because I had to be so careful not to say anything that would lead to more questions and accusations. I was always on pins and needles, never knowing if the simplest statement I’d make would anger him to the point of physically attacking me. Pain, fear, and insecurity became my companions for the duration of our marriage.

I remember reading the passage in 1Corinthians 13:7-8 which teaches us about how love behaves. At first, it made me very sad to read this passage, because I didn’t have this kind of love in my marriage. As I thought about it more, I became so angry with myself for having married this man. Just as God didn’t stop Adam and Eve from making a catastrophic bad choice, He didn’t stop me from doing the same thing. We get to choose the path we will take and decide if we’ll claim our destiny in Christ or walk the path of our own making. I had chosen my own path, and it wasn’t the right choice for my life, but I refused to give up hope. Heavenly Father has given us life through His Word. We can change our course in life, begin to walk in His wisdom, and learn to make better choices.

It took a while, but I began reading more and more of God’s Word, and did so whenever I found myself in despair. His love kept me going. My appeal to anyone going through what I described is that you never give up hope in God through the Lord Jesus Christ. It was only with the help of God that I made it through an abusive marriage. Know that He will do the same for you. Continue to pray, and He will give you the strength you need. Never stop believing in the dream of a life of peace and wholeness.■

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.

“Only with the Help of God”, written by Kim, edited by PMB for DomesticAbuseAwareness.Org ©2020. All rights reserved. All done to the glory of God through Jesus Christ, our Lord!

What Happens When We Reject the Truth?

In John 8:32(NLT), Jesus Christ taught a deeply foundational reality. He said, “And you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” On the surface, without thinking about the depth of this verse too much, many of us view it as a wonderful piece of information. Although it holds the potential to totally transform our lives, most of us remain detached from it. We don’t clothe it in the dynamic power of its revelation. Instead, we put it in the “that’s really nice” container of our minds. There it sits, occupying space. It becomes imprisoned by our unbelief, because we have refused to mix the mountain-moving reality of our potential in Christ with faith.

The infallible, unchangeable nature of truth has an impact. Our Great Redeemer clarifies very straightforwardly that truth is effectual, and one of its most important effects is to set us free. We know it to be most important because Christ made a point to teach us this. He is the truth! Jesus Christ is the living Word of God, and he was resurrected from the dead by the Spirit of God. He is alive, and he is our example and Big Brother. When we believe this, the outcome is freedom! But in this foundational verse of John 8:32, Jesus also says something else that is crucial to our understanding. It’s the piece that causes many people to deny the treasure and completely walk away from it. Jesus said, “and you will know the truth.” The ‘knowing’ is the part in the machinery of life that transfers us out of bondage and keeps us continually parked in freedom’s space.

The thing about most of us humans is that we know what we know, we like what we know, and we don’t want to know anything different. This is a habit we won’t even think about changing unless we are forced to. Believe it or not, it’s the reason for many of the challenges and difficulties we face in life. We dismiss the reality that lessons are baked in. They are standard with life’s packaging. When we hold so tightly to negative or wrong thought patterns, our hearts are not as fertile with humility as they should be. Ignorance can then keep us bound.

Adam, the first human, became a living soul when God breathed the breath of life into his body. 1Corinthians 15:45(NLT) says, “But the last Adam—that is, Christ—is a life-giving Spirit.” Most people look for life outside the life-giving Spirit of Christ. This is ignorance. They look for it in man-made structures, images, and things. They look for it in people, relationships, substances, and money. They seek to worship the creation and not the Creator, big mistake.

In John 14:6(NLT), Jesus Christ said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one can come to the Father except through me.” Jesus Christ is everything! And he lives inside us. This means that through us, the Spirit of life seeks full expression, and its fullest expression is truth. Going against this will give us plenty of hiccups. In John 16:13, Jesus Christ said the Spirit’s chief occupation is to guide us into ALL truth. It is critical that we allow the enormity of what this means to our existences to sink in our hearts. Life belongs to the Spirit of the Living God. Through His Son, Jesus Christ, He has made life and all it’s abundance available to us, but we cannot control it, manipulate it, or make it something that it wasn’t created by God to be. Life moves according to the order of the Divine. And the Divine has made it a prerequisite that knowing the truth of life is necessary for freedom.

Outside of truth, there is bondage, there is darkness; there is ignorance and neglect. God said in Hosea 4:6(NKJV), “My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge. Because you have rejected knowledge, I also will reject you from being priest for Me; Because you have forgotten the law of your God, I also will forget your children.” There is a curse that comes with a refusal to know the truth. We will find that ultimately, very little will partner in kind with us when we reject the truth, because it is a rejection of our own identity—the purpose for which we were created.

God designed everything in the universe to cooperate beautifully with His purpose. When you and I are operating outside of this purpose, He doesn’t squash us, He teaches us. His teaching method often feels like tough love and discipline, but we should expect no less from a loving and powerful Father. It is tough in our way of thinking because many of us have been blinded by satan, and he has caused us to think God doesn’t love us. Heavenly Father loves us way more than we can ever love ourselves. And that’s why He wants so very much to set us free. He doesn’t want us to be in the dark, and that’s what domestic violence and abuse is all about, it’s an attempt to keep us in darkness.

And it’s not just domestic violence and abuse, but all the troubles and confusion in life, they can make us feel trapped and alone, but this isn’t the truth. We are never alone, and the Father is always with us. He wants to rescue us, so we’ll know the truth of His love, liberty, and light. When we accept chaos and tribulations as the reality we are meant to live, we are accepting a lie. Let’s reject the lie and embrace the truth. We were meant to walk in the liberty Jesus Christ has made available to us. Colossians 3:3 tells us that our real life is hidden with Christ in God; for this is the place where truth abides. Darkness and trouble exist where God’s Word is not believed or known, but we can change this, and we should. All we need to do is to ask Him to guide our lives. He will do it because He loves us, and He created us to be guided by His truth. ■

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.

“What Happens When We Reject the Truth?”, written by Fran, edited by PMB for DomesticAbuseAwareness.Org ©2020. All rights reserved. All done to the glory of God through Jesus Christ, our Lord!

I Want to Make It Right!

It is a very challenging situation when you’re in a relationship that isn’t good for you, but you can’t seem to turn it loose. It’s taken you through all kinds of changes, and you know that your life is far from peaceful and content, yet you’ve made yourself okay with it. Why is that? Some would say that it is because of a soul-tie. It happens when our souls have a need that our heads are not aware of. We’ll sometimes draw someone that identifies or vibrates with this need, and in these cases, good judgement and sound decision making goes out of the window. It happens because the will of the soul can easily overwhelm the heart when the mind is not renewed.

Heavenly Father has given us the gift of free-will, and we can use it however we choose. We make our own decisions and choices, and this freedom is birthed from God’s love. 1John 4:16 tells us a whole lot about God’s identity. It tells us that God is love. Love is not only what He does, it is who He is. Because of this pattern the Father has demonstrated by giving us free-will, we can know definitively that love does not withhold the choices of right and wrong or good and evil. In the beginning, when God created Adam, He commanded that Adam should not eat of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, but God did not remove the tree of the knowledge of good and evil from the garden.

The access to do those things that would harm his relationship with God was not restricted. Heavenly Father wanted Adam to honor Him as his sovereign God and to continue treasuring their relationship, but this was Adam’s choice to make. Heavenly Father will not force us to love Him. He didn’t create us to be robots. He created us because He wanted a family. He made us in His image because He wanted children to love.

Many of us hang on to relationships and situations because we tell ourselves that we can make it right or make it better. The proverb Jesus spoke in Luke 4:23 comes to mind, ‘Physician, heal thyself.”  It is a delusion to think we can make anything truly better when we will not seek to make our own souls better. In Luke 6:41(NLT), Jesus Christ asked the poignant question, “And why worry about a speck in your friend’s eye when you have a log in your own?” Many of us trap ourselves in a vicious negative cycle because we’ve refused to deal with the log. We can become so invested in a relationship that we lose ourselves in it, and therefore can’t see things for what they really are.

Unknowingly, many of us will use the person in our significant relationships to feed something within us that shouldn’t grow. This isn’t always easily identified, and the notion of it is very often rejected. But if abuse has been in our backgrounds, it is possible that we’re carrying fear in our hearts, and we’re using the relationship as a Band-Aid. Unconsciously, we may be allowing this fear to call the shots. Jesus has the solution for this, and it requires us to be humble enough to ask him for it.

Jesus Christ said in Matthew 6:21 that wherever our treasure is, that’s where our hearts will be also. We don’t want to be treasuring fear or treasuring the person that keeps us in it. Our hearts belong to God, and He has given us His precious Holy Spirit to help us root out fear, so that no part of us is ruled by it. Fear cannot bring us anything but heartache and disruption, and this isn’t the way God wants us to live. Jesus Christ said in John 10:10 that he came to give us access to a more than abundant life, and if we choose to lean on his love, we’ll gain the spiritual strength to give fear its walking papers.■

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.

“I Want to Make It Right!”, written by Fran, edited by PMB for DomesticAbuseAwareness.Org ©2020. All rights reserved. All done to the glory of God through Jesus Christ, our Lord!

Hiccups of the Soul

Ashley was obsessed with Derek, and when he broke up with her, the world as she knew it came crashing down. She believed she couldn’t live without his love. And although she ultimately acknowledged her emotional instability after the breakup, she rationalized this instability as ‘When I truly love someone, I love really hard.” Like many people, her definition of what it means to love hard is a willingness to put everything you’ve got into a person or relationship. It’s to empty one’s self of everything they can give, all for the cause of what they perceive as the other person’s need. Jesus Christ was the only true Savior capable of giving to this degree. He sacrificed all that he was in order to save us from eternal damnation. To believe that we are to offer ourselves to another in this same manner is a misappropriation to say the least.

Love is not hard. 1Corinthians 13:4-5 tells us that it is patient and kind, that it’s not jealous, boastful, proud, or rude. Love doesn’t demand its own way and doesn’t get mileage out of someone else’s mistakes. Love doesn’t have to prove itself by supreme acts of devotion or self-sacrifice. That would be bondage, and it would not exemplify the liberty that Christ made available to us. God has freed us through Jesus Christ, and Heavenly Father warns us in Galatians 5:1 to never allow anyone or anything to put us in prison again.

Contrary to what others believe, love is predictable. It’s not erratic or obsessive, and it doesn’t behave out of step with God’s nature. God is love. Just as God doesn’t need anyone or anything to be what He is, love does not require us to subtract or add to it to be what God intended love to be. It doesn’t force, so wherever there exists a need to pressure or forcibly pull out of someone something they have not willingly and lovingly chosen to give, we have stepped out of love and into fear.

We know at the most basic level we all need love. This is wired in our DNA; it’s how God created us. 1John 4:8 affirms that God is love, and everything He has created was made from His tremendous love. 1John 4:16 says that all who live in love live in God, and God lives in them. It’s the God living in us that allows love to flow from our hearts to others. We must also recognize that this love emanating from our hearts is going to be tested. It will be tested by the devil to see if we truly love God with all our heart and soul, or if we have entered enemy territory by making a human being an idol.

We make idols of other people, substances, money, and material things because we think they will fill the void in our lives. There can be no mistake in owning the reality that humans were created with the aptitude to worship because worshiping is such an important part of our relationship with God. Worship increases intimacy with Him, but worship is meant for God alone. So, it stands to reason that we’d be in dangerous territory to take what God intended for Himself and give it to someone or something that pales in comparison to the magnitude of all that God is. But this is exactly what many of us do, and it causes hiccups of the soul.

The nurses in my family tell me that, in the physical sense, hiccups are involuntary bursts caused by the contraction of the diaphragm. This contraction causes a closure in the vocal cords, and it makes a ‘hic’ sound. It’s an interruption in the normal way we breathe and can be prompted by many conditions. Because of this interruption in normal breathing, we use this word ‘hiccups’ metaphorically to describe situations that cause interruptions to life as we define or know it. This is also a good way to describe what can happen to the soul. Our souls have a breath, and just as our bodies hiccup, so do our souls.

In Proverbs 4:23(NLT), God tells us, “Guard your heart above all else, for it determines the course of your life.” This verse makes it very clear that we live from the inside out, and not the outside in. It also reveals that God has placed the responsibility of guarding the heart, which is part of the soul, in our hands. We are the protectors of our souls, and we need help to do it right. Many people are not aware of this, and they are also not aware of what their soul needs. Like the physical body, the soul requires a proper diet in order to remain in a place of wholeness and to continue to be well nourished.

Anything that needs to be fed will also have a hunger. The soul hungers for the very thing from which it was created, love. When we meet someone that we believe has the capacity to feed us, the guardrails come down, and we will latch on to them in hopes that they will latch on to us. Just as Ashley did with Derek, we allow them a place in our souls. And even though they present conditions that cause hiccups, or they are no longer interested in feeding us, some of us will attempt to maintain that connection at all costs. Why? Why do we ignore the warning signs and continue to put our souls at risk? Most of us do it because the pain and suffering of detaching from a soul connection can be devastating.

Many of us indulge junk food from time to time. Even though we know it’s not the best or most nutritious food, we eat it because we crave the taste. After we’ve eaten it, we might feel just as full and satisfied as we would have if we had eaten a nutritious meal. We didn’t get the nutrients our bodies needed, but it tasted good and the damage isn’t immediate, so we don’t think about it too much. If we persist in this behavior, it’s only a matter of time before the hiccups begin. Sooner or later, they will turn into a much larger problem, because it is inevitable that a malnourished soul connection will end in heartbreak.

Few of us have ever realized just how deep our love for someone can go. Heartbreak bears this out. It also allows us to see the connection between our souls and our physical beings. The emotions and feelings of heartbreak can exhaust us; the soul feels almost breathless and this can translate to actual physical illness. The link between the soul and the body is one of the major indications that the care of the soul is monumental to a flourishing existence. When the soul breathes deeply from extreme jubilance, it is nourished in an indescribable way, but when heartbreak forces it to breathe deeply, the very core of our being can be ruptured. When this happens, it is very important to recognize that we’re not broken because the person failed to feed us what we needed. We’re heartbroken because we have come face to face with the possibility of life without connection.

Heartbreak forces us to experience a void, and a void can be the most painful thing in all of creation to experience. It is nothingness, the feeling of being in a perpetual state of falling, with never a bottom in sight. Fear is birthed from this place, because you are conscious of falling and you are panicking because of it. It is horrific, and it is why obsession can find its way to take root, because many of us will do just about anything to stop the pain of separation, chasing desperately after the person that once fed us junk food.

The thing with us is that we recognize that any ol’ connection won’t do. We want it with someone we’ve deemed compatible and to our liking. They have to make our heartstrings sing, and if they do, we let the guardrails down and give them a seat at the table. At some point, we will have to wake up to the reality that this is a very self-punishing exercise. What’s crucial is for us to decide if we’re going to believe the truth about the soul. The truth is that it wasn’t created to receive food from another human being. It was created to respond to God’s love. He nourishes the soul through His Spirit.

Genesis 1:2(NKJV) says “The earth was without form, and void; and darkness was on the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters.” During the time of this verse, the earth was not as we see it today. It didn’t have structure, and it was dark and void. The earth was in tremendous pain, because everything that is in darkness and void is in pain. Hope entered the picture when the Spirit of God hovered. The power of the Spirit of God takes nothingness and makes a masterpiece. This is what God wants to do to our lives through His Son, Jesus Christ.He tells us in Romans 12:1-2 to bring our everyday ordinary lives before Him as an offering, and then we must embrace Him. As we change the way we think, and begin to think like Christ, God will transform us from the inside out.

It is very true that sometimes we must experience the pain of heartbreak to appreciate the blessings in life. The break can make a crack just wide enough for God’s love to get in. Jesus Christ said in Revelations 3:20(NLT), “Look! I stand at the door and knock. If you hear my voice and open the door, I will come in, and we will share a meal together as friends.” He stands at the door knocking, but it is up to us to open our hearts and let him in: to let his love into that crack so it can be healed.

If we let the Lord Jesus Christ in, it will be the absolute best thing we could possibly do for ourselves. Jesus Christ rescued us from that perpetual state of falling and reconnected us to Heavenly Father, but heartbreak can reveal the degree to which we are still looking for a human being to do what only God can do. Heavenly Father wants us to love others, because this is His commandment, but we are not to offer ourselves as sacrifices to other humans, and we are not to depend on anything other than God’s love to nourish our souls. The very best thing we can do is surrender Lordship of our souls to Jesus Christ and then allow his Spirit to help us guard them. ■

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.

“Hiccups of the Soul”, written by Fran, edited by PMB for DomesticAbuseAwareness.Org ©2020. All rights reserved. All done to the glory of God through Jesus Christ, our Lord!

Learning to Walk on Water

For those suffering domestic violence and abuse, or who have endured it in the past, this time of such global unrest may be causing even more anxiety and fear. The sheer magnitude of all this confusion and chaos coupled with that in one’s own home can be the impetus for total break-down, but this break-down can be avoided. It should be all our prayers, that those who are continually in harm’s way will allow the strong tower of God’s love to blanket their minds and hearts. His love will give them the strength and power of Jesus Christ. Acts 17:28 tells us that it is in Christ that we live, and move, and have our being. And we see very clearly that the enemy is strategizing fiercely to divert our attention away from our Christ reality. Therefore, we must be equally fierce when it comes to the game the enemy is playing, so that we choose faith rather than fear.

Faith is the substance God used to create the entire universe, so we know it to be potent stuff. It is activated through thought, intention, and will. It meets us at a place that is higher than the conditional circumstances that surround our everyday lives. This is why God instructs us in 2Corinthian 5:7 to walk by faith, and not by sight. We can’t rely on what we see day to day, because what we see day to day represents the natural realm. The problem with relying on the natural realm is in 1Corinthians 2:14(NLT). It tells us, “But the natural man does not receive the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; nor can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.”

Earth is the natural realm. It is an expansion of God’s territory, but He hasn’t taken it by force. He’s taking it by love. We are ones to introduce His love into this territory by completing the work that Jesus Christ began. God’s goal is that we live and move on earth by receiving from Him through the Spirit of Christ. 1Corinithans 2:10-12(NIV) says, “10 these are the things God has revealed to us by his Spirit. The Spirit searches all things, even the deep things of God. 11 For who knows a person’s thoughts except their own spirit within them? In the same way no one knows the thoughts of God except the Spirit of God. 12 What we have received is not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, so that we may understand what God has freely given us.”

If you and I were to rely only on information from what we see in the natural realm, we would be paralyzed in every way, because the things we see can be very scary. We might even think that God isn’t making all things to work together for good as He says in Romans 8:28. Be confident that God is extremely busy in the supernatural realm, and this is a realm we cannot see with natural or physical eyes. We experience it through our spirits. The truth is that the supernatural realm is more real than the natural realm. A follower of Christ must condition their minds and hearts to walk in this truth, because this natural realm of earth dwelling is a very temporary occupancy for us.

In Matthew 14, we can see a vivid example of what’s possible when we receive from the supernatural and rely on God’s power. This chapter in the Gospel of Matthew gives us the record of our beloved Savior walking on water. When his disciple, Peter, saw this, he said in Matthew 14:22(NLT), “Lord, if it’s you…tell me to come to you on the water.” Jesus replied, “Come.” And briefly, Peter walked on the water! He did what he saw his Master doing, but in an instant this changed. For a few moments, he was saturated by the faith of Jesus Christ, and when he heard the word “Come”, he didn’t think, but simply obeyed, and moved by the Word of the Lord; the results were miraculous. But then, Matthew 14:30 tells us that Peter allowed what he saw in the natural to override the truth of the supernatural. This is always a detrimental step backwards. Peter saw the wind and became afraid, then he began to sink. He cried out to Jesus for help.

Oh, how I have wished over the years that Peter’s mind and heart had stayed free, that he had remained caught up in the faith of Christ he visited for that brief little while. Where would we be today if he had learned the secret of remaining in a mountain-moving faith, and then taught others? Even still, Peter did what no human has done since, and showed us through Jesus Christ what is possible when we refuse to be bound by the limitations of the natural realm and live through the faith and power of Jesus Christ.

Most of us will never encounter a situation that will make it necessary to walk on water, but we should learn more about Christ and seek to grow in the faith that would make it possible. We were birthed from that supernatural place, and we must learn to put the truth of our reality in Christ above what our emotions and feelings sometimes tell us. They might tell us to breakdown, but our spirit is reminding us it’s possible to walk on water. We must strive to increase our faith by trusting God through Christ, so that we are not rocked by our circumstances; we are not moved to emotional hysteria and breakdown by what we see. Instead we can know with every fiber of our being that God will protect and shield us. He will put a hedge around us and our loved ones if we are diligent to trust Him first, and let our emotions and feelings follow. ■

THE HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®, NIV® Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

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.

“Learning to Walk on Water”, written by Fran, edited by PMB for DomesticAbuseAwareness.Org ©2020. All rights reserved. All done to the glory of God through Jesus Christ, our Lord!