Learning to Trust

Trust is learned. And once one learns to withhold trust it’s hard to “unlearn.” If people aren’t trustworthy, our sense of security is shaken.

It may be a parent who mistreated or didn’t protect you, a spouse that you trusted who let you down, or a close friend who betrayed you.

God wants you to learn to trust in a healthy way, with boundaries. He knows the pain you’ve experienced and the fear you have of ever trust anyone again.  That’s no way to live, though. That’s like living in a prison even though you are not behind physical bars.

Trust the Lord today. He is faithful today. Your Jesus, your precious savior, the lover of your soul will heal the parts of you that have trouble trusting.

Lord God,

I say that I trust You, God, but deep down I hold on to the reins. I can’t quite surrender all the control over my life. I try to control what happens around me. I don’t trust others to come through for me.  I try to do everything myself, but it’s not working for me! Help me learn to trust so that I can depend on others and upon you, Lord.

In Jesus Name, Amen.

“I will trust and not be afraid.” Isaiah 12:2

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The Test of Forgiveness

How do you know if you have truly forgiven those who have hurt you? Do you feel they owe you? Are you expecting them to pay you back for the hurt and pain they caused? Do you feel bitter, angry and resentful towards them? Do you think they should suffer for what they did? Do you want revenge?

If you answer yes to any of these, then you have not forgiven in your heart. Holding on to unforgiveness will pollute your heart and allow their sin to continue to hurt you.

Choosing to forgive does not condone their sin. It doesn’t mean there should be no justice. There are consequences to sin, but only God is the righteous judge.

Release the offender to Him and refuse to harbor negative feelings towards those who have hurt you. If you don’t know how to forgive, seek Jesus. He is faithful to put people in our lives that will help us process the hurts so that we can grieve, accept and release them to the feet of the cross so we can forgive from the heart. That’s true freedom.

“Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.” Ephesians 4:23

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Love or Need Based Relationships?

Do you engage in love based or need based relationships? People in love engage in healthy mutually satisfying give and take relationships. They want the best for each other and bring out the best in each other. They know that love requires sacrifice from time to time and they know what it means to die to self. They don’t expect the other person to fulfill all their needs because they understand that no human being is even capable of doing that because only God can meet all our needs. Only His love truly satisfies. People in love are emotionally healthy individuals who find their value and worth in Christ alone not looking to others for self-worth and identity. True love brings forth life and grows deeper and stronger with time.

People in need operate out of a brokenness not wholeness. They attach themselves to unhealthy people who they think have the power to meet their desperate need for love, security, and significance. But because brokenness attracts brokenness they tend to draw emotionally unavailable people, who are often abusive, struggling with addictions or have an array of other issues, who do more taking than giving and are incapable of meeting even the basic of needs required for a healthy relationship. This causes a lot of pain and heartache and brings forth death and destruction resulting in extremely toxic and unhealthy relationships that only get worse with time. And yes! Even Christians can operate out of need instead of love. The church is full of hurting people involved in unhealthy relationships.

Are you in love or are you in need? If you are in the latter, understand that relationships will not work until you start operation out love. Sadly many Christians don’t truly understand what love is because they have never been modeled it, never have experienced it. They don’t know their value and worth as a precious child of God because their basic human need for love was not met growing up. So they take matters into their own hands and like the song says go searching for love in all the wrong places and settle for the counterfeit version that never satisfies.

Oswald Chambers wrote – “No love of the natural heart is safe unless the human heart has been satisfied by God first.” The love of God has the power to change us from the inside out. But there is a marked difference between knowing about the love of God and receiving it into our hearts. It is only when we truly encounter and accept the authentic, undefiled Agape love of our Savior that we are then able to “Love the Lord with all our hearts, soul, mind, and strength and love others as ourselves.” (Mark 12:30). This is the key to engaging in healthy mutually satisfying relationships. It’s the biblical formula that has the power to heal and transform and empower us to engage in love based not need-based relationships.

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Ingredient for Healthy Relationships

The greatest human need is for love. It’s a legitimate need placed in us by our creator. When this need is not met, it can create a void so deep we go through life trying to fill it. It causes us to crave the approval and acceptance of others and drives us to engage in imbalanced relationships where we attach to unhealthy, emotionally unavailable people who often abuse and mistreat us.

We will often compromise our morals, values, and beliefs for fear of losing them. This creates a vicious cycle of feeling used, devalued, unappreciated, victimized opening the door to bitterness, resentments, unforgiveness, and hopelessness.

The only way to stop the cycle is to get a healthy dose of real love – the love of Jesus. Love seeks the highest good for another. Our Savior demonstrated His perfect love for us at the cross. We will never be able to engage in healthy relationships unless we receive the fullness of God’s love. Only His love satisfies.

If you are desperately seeking the love and approval of those who continually hurt you it may be a sign that you have not encountered the Love of Jesus in your heart where you see yourself as He sees you – A precious child of the Living God.

When you remove barriers that hinder the ability to live in the fullness of His love for you, it will radically change the people you attract and allow close to your heart. You will desire to engage in relationships that honor God, bless you and seek the highest good for others.

“But above all these things put on love, which is the bond of perfection.” Colossians 3:14

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When We Lose The Love of Others

We were all created with three God given needs – for love, security, and acceptance. When people fail us it can cut at our self-worth because we look to them to meet the needs only God can fully meet.

Losing a relationship is always painful but can be devastating for some. God does bring people in our lives to reinforce our inherent needs but they are not meant to take His place as the only source of love that truly satisfies.

It we are dependent on people to meet our love needs what happens when they leave? If you are feeling lost and rejected over a relationship loss turn to Jesus. He offers you love and acceptance. He will never reject you. Ephesians 1:6 says you are accepted in the beloved.

If you are feeling lost and rejected over a relationship loss turn to Jesus. He offers you love and acceptance. He will never reject you. Ephesians 1:6 says you are accepted in the beloved.

The Lord wants to reaffirm your value and worth in Him. But it won’t be found in anyone or anything other than Him. True identity does not come from relationships but from a relationship with our precious Savior Jesus Christ.

True identity does not come from relationships but from a relationship with our precious Savior Jesus Christ.

God doesn’t take away your need for love, He satisfies it the right way. Psalm 107:9

 

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Enabling Helping or Hurting?

When someone is caught up in the throes of addiction, they are in bondage. They have lost the ability to stop using altogether. Family members of loved ones trapped in the cycle and the roller coaster of addiction do not comprehend the insanity of addiction. They honestly believe that if their loved one cared about their family, they would stop.  Since they don’t understand the dynamics of addiction they think they can shame, guilt, manipulate, threaten or bribe someone into quitting.  What they don’t understand is that you cannot rationalize addiction. People will go insane trying to get their loved ones to stop using often caring more about the addict’s life and responsibilities than they do, and become fixated on trying to fix, change, manage and control the addicted person’s behavior. And because they think they can love someone enough for them to stop using, they often enable the bad behavior by not allowing people to suffer the consequences of their poor choices that hurt them and those around them. Thus without realizing it, they reinforce the bad behavior and offer the person in bondage no incentive to change or seek help. This allows the addiction to continue and hinders “the bottom” necessary for getting to a sweet place of brokenness and surrender required for healing and breaking free from the bondage of addiction.

Doesn’t the Bible tell us to help the needy? Yes, but it also tells us to be wise. Often our helping is actually hurting. But how do we know the difference?   Helping is doing something for someone else that they are not capable of doing for themselves.  Enabling is doing things for someone else that they can and should be doing for themselves. Enabling encourages and helps the addict to stay in addiction.

On the surface, the “enabler’ may appear to be doing all the right things and doing good things to stop the user from destroying themselves, but often the enabler needs as much help as the addicted person. The only difference is that one behavior looks very good on the surface while the other not so good. The truth is they both need help.

Make no mistake about it! Allowing someone to continue in their addiction without making them accountable for their destructive behavior is enabling, it’s destructive, and must be addressed. Because it hurts everyone involved and cosigns with the enemy to destroy families, relationships and separates us from God. Both sides need to take responsibility and be accountable for their side of the fence. What, they both have in common is an inner woundedness. There is a deeper issue causing the addiction and the enabling. The difference is that it’s harder for the enabler to see their need for help because the rooted issues do not manifest in seemingly negative behaviors shunned by the Church and society but are instead applauded as selfless acts of mercy and love. Enabling allows the addict and enabler to stay in bondage, preventing them from seeing their need for help, and the destructive cycle will continue for a lifetime without intervention.

“Brothers and sisters, if someone is caught in a sin, you who live by the Spirit should restore that person gently. But watch yourselves, or you also may be tempted.” (Galatians 6:1)

“Take no part in the unfruitful works of darkness but rather expose them.” (Ephesians 5:11)

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Emotions & Spiritual Warfare

Have you ever stepped back and listened to your thoughts? Have you been surprised by them and wondered where they were coming from? In his book Wild at Heart, John Eldredge wrote, “We are being lied to all the time. Yet, we never stop to say, “Wait a minute…Who else is speaking here? Where are those ideas coming from? Where are those feelings coming from?”

The Apostle Peter warned us “ Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour.” (1 Peter 5:8) We have a real enemy, a cunning schemer, highly skilled in the art of combat whose chief goal is to destroy God’s children. But he is a crafty one, he knows if he were to show up as a dark, scary figure with a pitchfork we would immediately flee sensing danger. So instead, he is a master deceiver who uses our fears, hurts, and insecurities to influence our thought life. The enemy knows that if he can control our minds, he can control our emotions and behavior. His weapon is lies. When we believe Satan’s lies over God’s truth, it leads to faulty thinking and wrong behaviors that enslave our souls. Our defense is the truth of the inerrant word of God.

The Bible gives a detailed combat strategy for defeating the enemy. We are to pull down strongholds and bring every thought captive to the obedience of Christ (2 Corinthians 10:5). Simply put lies have become strongholds in our lives that speak death into our souls preventing us from walking in the fullness of Christ. Satan’s lies must be demolished and replaced with God truth. If your thoughts are telling you that you are not good enough, that you are unworthy, that you are ugly, that you will always live in fear, that you will never, heal, that you will always live in bondage, stop for one moment and ask yourself…”Whose voice am I hearing?” God’s word tells us that Jesus is the Good Shepherd and His sheep hear His voice and protects them from the thief who wants to destroy them. Our beloved Savior would never harm His sheep by speaking lies.

If you hearing that you will never amount to anything, that’s a lie from the enemy, choose instead to listen to your Shepherd, who says “For I know the thoughts I have towards you, thoughts of peace and not of evil to bring you a future and a hope.” Jeremiah 29:11. The enemy is a liar and cannot stand against God’s truth. Choose to walk in truth. When you do that it will render the enemy powerless and defeated.

If you are hear that you will never amount to anything, that’s a lie from the enemy, choose instead to listen to your Shepherd, who says “For I know the thoughts I have towards you, thoughts of peace and not of evil to bring you a future and a hope.” Jeremiah 29:11. The enemy is a liar and cannot stand against God’s truth. Choose to walk in truth. When you do that it will render the enemy powerless and defeated.

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Rejection And Trusting God’s Love

People who grew up in a home where the seed of rejection was planted have a difficult time trusting God.  They transfer the negative characteristics of their caregivers unto God believing that they will never measure up, are not worthy to be loved, and are convinced that God would never approve of them.

If their earthly father rejected them, or if their mother was untrustworthy, if people in authority who were supposed to love and protect them hurt them, then God will reject them and is untrustworthy. That is a lie. God wants to replace the lies that were planted and replant the word of truth into your soul.

Get to know God’s character and His immense love for you through His word. Claim God’s promises for your life. The heart of your Heavenly Father is for you to know the truth so that you will be set free.

 

“ I have loved you with an everlasting love.”

Jeremiah 31:3

 

“How great is the love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God.”

1 John 3:1

 

“Moreover, I will make My dwelling among you, and My soul will not reject you.”

Leviticus 26:11

In all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers,  neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Romans 8:37-39

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Physical Effects of Negative Emotions

Just like our bodies can get physically sick and impair our physical functions, our minds can also get sick and can alter our feelings such as anxiety, depression, etc. Sadly, we live in a culture that labels everything a physical disorder because then we can apply physical healing by medicating. So often the symptom is treated without getting to the root. Physical conditions are real but more often than not are an effect and not the cause of the underlining problem. Modern medicine fails to recognize that often physical symptoms can be linked to negative emotions. When a person becomes spiritually and emotionally healthy, these issues often go away.

Dr. Carolyn Lear author of “Who Switched Off My Brain” has found correlations between our thought life and physical and emotional illness. When you feel sad, afraid, angry or hopeful, your brain releases different types of chemicals. Depending on whether or not these emotions are toxic to your body, the chemicals will either help you or harm you. If they are harmful, they create conditions for a host of health problems that will manifest in both the body and the mind.

Emotions that regularly release a torrent of destructive chemicals that will be the most damaging over time – unforgiveness, anger, rage, resentment, depression, worry, anxiety, frustration, fear, excessive grief, and guilt.  Research shows that around 87% of illnesses can be attributed to our thought life, and approximately 13% of the diet, genetics, and environment. These toxic emotions can cause migraines, hypertension, strokes, cancer, skin problems, diabetes, infections, and allergies, just to name a few. Some Examples:

Joy

When you are at peace, chances are you are experiencing joy – your body produces endorphins, serotonin – these are the feel-good chemicals. These produce pleasure. This is conducive to an overall system of well-being, vitality, and health. This is positive.

Anxiety & Fear

These destructive emotions will cause the body to release harmful chemicals such as the stress hormone CRH and ACTH. These hormones race to the adrenal glands to produce cortisol and adrenaline which cause extreme physical symptoms, heart palpitations, and breathing difficulties. Serotonin and endorphin levels can deplete which cause severe depression

All these emotions primarily begin with a thought, which if not taken captive can lead to negative and toxic thinking resulting in the release of the negative chemicals which in turn can result in a host of physical ailments.  That’s why it is essential to rid ourselves of the contaminated belief systems that may have taken root throughout our life affecting our emotional life and relationships. Faulty belief systems are strongholds that have built up in our minds that must be demolished. How do we do that? We go to war against them. God’s word says….

”For though we live in the world, we do not wage war as the world does. The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds. We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.” 2 Corinthians 10:3-5

Every negative thought, belief system, and lie must be replaced with truth. Jesus said, “You will know the truth and truth will make you free.” (John 8:32)  We do not have to live in bondage to a hurtful past or negative emotional life.  No matter our past experiences we can live a life of abundance in Christ. Give your burdens to Jesus. He is faithful to heal you from the inside out and give you rest.

“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” (Mathew 11:28-30)

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Let Go of The Past

“But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and reaching forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.“ Phil 3:13

Many believers are able to let go of the past and live and thrive in the fullness of a new life in Christ. Sadly many cannot because they have been wounded and crippled emotionally in one way or another. So instead of running the race with endurance – they limp along the way.

There are two types of emotionally wounded believers – The first turn to unhealthy coping mechanisms,-negative behaviors – addictions, immorality, anger, etc.

The second try to pull themselves up by the boot straps choosing to bury and rise about their past through self-efforts and busy themselves with many things including work, ministry, volunteer work, charities, always doing –  often out of a need to be needed and valued rather than a healthy heart to serve. The problem is they have never deal with the pain and believe that they are living free but are still living in bondage because deep inside they still believe the lies behind the pain.

Both are hurting, and both are in denial. They may have different coping mechanisms but one thing in common….they have never fully accepted the Grace of God into the deeply wounded areas of their hearts.

Both are hindered from living the abundant life that Jesus spoke about in John 10:10

How do they move forward? The past must be dealt with in order to move forward. Burying it doesn’t work, stuffing doesn’t work, pretending it’s not there doesn’t work….sooner or later it unravels….the stuffing comes out in negative behaviors or even seemingly good behaviors, but at the root, there is something entirely different going on.

Give your hurts to Jesus. Stop running and hiding from the past. Let God heal your hurts and replace the lies with the truth of who you are in Jesus. Let go! Put the past behind, reach ahead and run the race with endurance and assurance of God’s calling on our life.

“Let us lay aside every weight and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith. “ Hebrews 12:1-2

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