Looking for Love

Every human being has an inward need and craving for love. As children our parents were meant to model and fill our need for love often failing because many can only pour out what was poured into them, either healthy love or unhealthy love. If our need for love is not met, we will go through life trying to get our need met through people, places and things apart from God. We will go seeking after the wrong bread and start to feed off that which never satisfies our hunger for love.

Psalm 27 says, “A satisfied man craves the honeycomb, but to a hungry man even the bitter thing seems sweet.” What does this mean in modern language? Bad love is better than no love at all. It’s easy to judge those who stay in abusive or dysfunctional relationships, or the young woman who cruises bars giving her body away freely. How about women, young and old, who dress provocatively and cheapen themselves because they do not know their value and worth? The sad reality is that they are looking for love and acceptance, but like the song says, they are looking for love in all the wrong places. This cheap imitation of love is better than no love at all. Chances are they have never had their need for love met, so they try to get it anyway they know how.

So we keep running to people, places and things hoping they will fill our deepest need for love, but we are left continually unsatisfied. It is not wrong to desire to be loved, God created us for love, but it is desperately wrong for us to think that we can get our deepest need for love in anything other than the love of Christ.

Psalm 107:9 declares, “God satisfies the longing soul. He fills the hungry soul with goodness.” In other words, He will not take away our craving for love; instead He satisfies it the right way. Oswald Chambers wrote, “No love of the natural heart is safe unless the human heart has been satisfied by God first.”

Some of us know these truths in our heads but not in our hearts. If you are having a difficult time letting this truth resonate deeply into your heart and soul, it may be that there are some wounded areas that need to be healed so that you can experience the fullness of His radical love for you.

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Do You Want To Be Made Well?

Jesus asked one question to the lame man at the pool of Bethesda in John 5:2 “Do you want to be made well?” This is the pivotal question for every person seeking healing for emotional wounds. The simple truth is that not everyone wants to be made well. They may start off eager with the best intentions, feeling emotionally that they cannot go on another day, but at the end of the day, do not want to be made well, and those who do not want to get well are not going to get well.

Why would I not want to walk in the freedom from the bondage that Christ set me free from? F-E-A-R! Fear of the unknown, fear of rejection, fear of what may be uprooted and exposed, fear of pain, fear that we may have to give up (someone or something); Or we may not be desperate enough yet.

Perhaps we have grown comfortable in our dysfunction and are comfortable in a victim role. We may not have reached a breaking point yet where we face losing someone we love, such as a spouse, or a relationship, maybe even a job, our freedom, and in our minds – we tell ourselves as bad as our current situation is – “it’s not as bad as so and so’s”, or at least we know how to respond, or how to continue to do life and even serve in ministry. However, we are putting on the painted smile while living in a prison in our own mind. But make no mistake…It is never God’s fault. If we do not want to embark on the journey and “be made well” – we won’t get well. Healing is a choice.

If you are in a place where you are desperate enough to get help and want to be made well then I pray that nothing will hinder you from getting the healing that you need and will encounter the Healer in a deep and intimate way.

“He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds.”
Psalm 147:3

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Healing The Roots of Rejection

Nothing wounds a heart more than rejection. The dictionary defines rejection as “an act of throwing away or discarding someone or something,” which implies a lack of value in the person or thing being thrown away.

Since every human being has three fundamental needs ….to be loved, valued and accepted, rejection results in wounding in the heart so painful that people cannot deal with it so they suppress it in their mind, stuff the pain away inside, pretend it’s not there and live in denial of their pain, but later it surfaces in various negative behaviors causing deeper pain, problems and conflict much like a layering effect.
 
Rejection can be rooted in our family of origin, peers, those in authority (teachers, pastors, etc.), resulting from verbal abuse, sexual abuse, emotional abuse, troubles in the home, adoption, divorce, abandonment, infidelity, and peer rejection.
 
Sadly rejection can breed more rejection if the roots are not dealt with. People with rejection issues often feel victimized and place themselves in situations where they are always the victim, whether real or imagined and it sets a pattern that becomes a way of life, Others turn to exhausting ways to feel accepted – people-pleasing, perfectionism, workaholic, etc. Others refuse to deal with it altogether and check out through drugs, alcohol, anger, immorality, and other negative behaviors. Unless the root is dealt with, the truth is accepted and replaced –the by-product or rejection will always be rejection.
 
Despite past rejection, our God can heal you. He can walk into the darkness of rejection and shed His marvelous light on the path of your healing journey. The one who created you and numbers the hairs on your head will never reject you. He wants to heal those painful roots of rejection so that you can live in His acceptance.
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Taking Negative Thoughts Captive

Many struggles in life often are fought on the battlefield of our minds. That’s why James writes “What causes fights and quarrels among you? Don’t they come from your desires that battle within you?” (James 4:1). That’s why we are exhorted in God’s Word to demolish any thought that goes against what God says is true about any given situation.

We are in a Spiritual battle and need to take every stray thought captive and repent, correct it and align it with the truth of God’s Word. If someone has hurt us or wronged us, and we are having hateful thoughts towards that person, we need to take that hateful thought captive immediately so that bitterness does not take root in our hearts and defiles us. (Hebrews 12:15)

We need to stop, realize what is truth in the situation, take responsibility for our wrong actions, ask for forgiveness, acknowledge when they are wrong, understand that we cannot change another person, offer forgiveness, release them to God and choose not to hate.

The victory in the battle is won when we discipline our thinking, so it focuses on thoughts that are true, honorable, right, pure, lovely, admirable, excellent, and are praiseworthy to God. (Philippians 4:8)

Negative emotions like anger, bitterness, hate, jealousy, fear, anxiety can kill us. They are joy stealers. They suck the life out of us and hinder us from living abundant lives in Christ.

The good news is that we are not powerless. God has given us a choice to meditate on life-giving thoughts or thoughts that bring death to our lives and render us defeated. Choose life! Choose victory! Make it a practice to capture every negative thought and choose to replace it with good ones that come from the truth of God’s life-giving Word.

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The Family Matters

The family is of monumental importance to God and extremely influential in shaping the hearts and minds of children.

When a home has genuine Godly characteristics, and the foundation is built on Jesus Christ, the byproduct is going to be love, grace, identity, security, and significance. However, when a family is built on anything other, it’s going to be unstable and unsafe and will produce shame, fear, guilt, neglect, and abuse: unmet needs that cripple children emotionally, into adulthood.
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What is poured into the soil of our hearts, then, determines the health of our roots; or, our beliefs; which affects how we view ourselves and the world around us.
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he nourishment we receive is going to have a huge impact on our tree of life. If we are nourished in God’s light, we will receive the breath of life and believe that we are precious, valued children of the living God; but, if all we receive is darkness, we are going to believe what darkness breathes -lies about ourselves and others.

Despite your background or the family heritage you received, you can be the one who applies faith in the Cross of Jesus Christ, and bring healing to the hurts that have plagued your family. Choose life!

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Insecurity & Relationships

Love is the answer to all our insecurity and relational issues. When we accept God’s love, we can recognize our tremendous value and worth in Him and in turn recognize others’ value. But because of our past wounds and experiences, we are often unable to accept God’s love, and it leaves us struggling with insecurities. Insecurity is a big culprit in how we get along with others.

 
When we are insecure, we easily become threatened by others and find it hard to honestly esteem others with the value and significance they deserve as God’s beloved children. Women especially suffer in record numbers with insecurities and low self-esteem. Even in the church, women silently suffer from feelings of being less than.
 
When you begin to grasp God’s great love for you, and that reality goes from your head to your heart, you will become convinced that you should honor others with that same amazing love.
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If you are struggling with insecure thoughts and feelings of worthless, spend time soaking in God’s love for you. Scripture tells us that we love God because He first loved us (1 John 4:19). Despite the lies the enemy has made you believe about your value and worth that is hindering your ability to love and be loved, when you go to the source of love, He will remove every barrier hindering your ability to receive His love. Then you will be able to fulfill our Christian calling to “Love God with all your soul, heart and mind, and love your neighbor as yourself. “(Mathew 22:37) We cannot give what we don’t have.
 
As God washes you with His word, He will fill you with His thoughts and truths and equip you for loving others because you will understand the very nature and depth of His love.
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Have I Forgiven?

How do you know if you have forgiven those who have hurt or betrayed 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.

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Don’t Settle for the Counterfeit

He lies, you cry. He’s not sorry but says he is. He promises not to do it again, he does. You complain. He doesn’t change. Yet you continue to allow him to hurt you. Often going back and forth from feeling hopeful to despair, living life contingent on what he is doing or not doing.

Your emotions are at the mercy of whatever is going on with him, and you’re always hoping that he changes and starts to love you how you need to be loved. You might even be convinced that if he would just change, then you would be okay. That could not be further from the truth. No human being should ever have that kind of power and control over you, especially an emotionally unhealthy one.

God’s word says, “A satisfied soul loathes the honeycomb, but to a hungry soul every bitter thing is sweet” Proverbs 27:7. Modern translation? Bad love is better than no love at all.

When we don’t know our value and worth in Christ, it is almost a certainty that we have not experienced the love of God that fills the void, fully satisfies the longing heart, and makes us feel accepted and complete in Him. So instead, we go looking for it in all the wrong places, in all the wrong people, and in all the wrong things.

You are God’s beloved. His precious jewel. Your precious Savior wants you to know your value and worth in Him, and experience the fullness of His love for you so you stop allowing others to hurt and mistreat His beloved child, and stop trying to get your need for love met elsewhere. Only God’s love satisfies. You are loved beyond measure. Stop settling for the counterfeit.
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Overcoming Trauma

We all go through struggles and hard times. Life is not fair. There are times of sadness, despair, and regret. The Psalmist paints a picture of someone trapped in an emotional downward spiral. Everything seems overwhelming and yet, in the end, they were able to say that there is encouragement in seeking God’s help. Why? Because God hears us.

There are two types of trauma that brings the kind of despair that we read in today’s passage. There is the trauma of “not getting what we need” , and then there is the trauma of “getting something that we should have never received.” The first is the result of neglect and abandonment, the second from abuse. But the good news is that God hears us in our despair and He can help us. Life brings each of us inescapable traumas that block maturity. God’s redemptive activity comes to us in two ways: He brings healing to our traumas, and adopts us into His family. Both ways boost us through our blocks to maturity, along the way to wholeness, With these boosts, we will be able to live from the hearts He gave us, our true identities will emerge, and our relationships with family and community will be characterized by joy.

Today, praise God for His healing. It is there for you as you bring your pain to Him. Also, praise God for His family. It is through the fellowship and love from each other that we are made whole and can experience the joy He has for us.

“Save me, O God, for the floodwaters are up to my neck. Deeper and deeper I sink into the mire; I can’t find a foothold. I am in deep water, and the floods overwhelm me. I am exhausted from crying for help; my throat is parched. My eyes are swollen with weeping, waiting for my God to help me.” – “Let all who seek God’s help be encouraged. For the LORD hears the cries of the needy.” Psalms 69: 1-3, 32-33 (NLT)

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Where Do Negative Behaviors Come From?

Who or what controls your emotions? Scripture exhorts God’s people to …“Above all else, guard your heart, for out of it flows the issues of life” (Proverbs 4:23).
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Behaviors that bind that hurt self and others start early in life. Many people, even in the best of homes, are living on “leftovers” – emotions and attitudes left over from the way they were raised.
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For instance, those who as children felt they could never measure up to expectations are likely to experience feelings of inadequacy, rejection, shame, and guilt as adults; they may also deal with resentment and hostility. And grown people who walk away from responsibility or commitments when they don’t get their way are frequently the ones whose parents caved into their every desire. This is why it’s so hurtful to give in to children’s temper tantrums and demands. They learn the world is their oyster and grow to be demanding, entitled, selfish, self-centered adults.
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Those who struggle with low self-worth or low self-esteem are often a byproduct of lack of childhood acceptance and affirmation. It’s important for children to learn they are of tremendous value to parents but most importantly their Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Their sense of security should come, not from possessions, whether they are “good” or “bad’ but from a personal relationship with Him that says they are valued and loved for who they are no matter what. Otherwise, as adults, they may operate out of shame instead of the precious gift of God’s never-ending grace.
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“Do not embitter your children, or they will become discouraged.”
Colossians 3:21

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