Forgiveness Is The Key

God cares about our relationships and wants us to be right with one another. Too often close relationships are torn apart due to hurts, misunderstandings, offenses, pride, unresolved issues, and emotions can run deep, cut at the heart filling us with bitterness, anger, and unforgiveness.

And usually, it’s the relationships we treasure the most that breakdown and cause the deepest pain. Rather than confront the issues, it may seem easier to avoid, blame others and feel justified holding on to our hurts and anger.

Yet God calls us higher. His word says that as much as depends on us to live at peace with all people (Romans 12:18). We need to forgive those who have wounded us and ask for forgiveness when we have wounded others. We will never be free unless we learn how to forgive and release our offenders at the foot of the cross.

We need only take ownership of our wrong doings and leave the rest at God’s feet endeavoring always to extend grace and leave the door open for reconciliation whenever possible.

Are you struggling with forgiveness? Sometimes all it takes is to go to Jesus with a sincere heart and ask Him to give you a willingness to forgive, make amends and pursue peace. There is nothing that He can’t do with a willing and surrendered heart.

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He Completes You

You don’t need someone to complete you. You only need someone to accept you completely. God’s word says that our precious Savior has made you accepted in the beloved. Ephesians 1:6

If you are looking to anyone or anything to fill and complete you other than Jesus, you will be let down, live in disappointment and blame others for your unhappiness.

How can anyone accept you completely if you can’t accept yourself? Complete acceptance of who we are only comes when we can see ourselves through the eyes of Jesus – Loved, accepted, chosen, adopted, forgiven, redeemed!

If you feel less than and think you don’t measure up get to the root! Live in the fullness of His love. Stop looking to others to meet your needs. Only the Son of the living God can meet your need for love and acceptance.

“And My God will supply all your needs according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus.”

Philippians 4:19

 

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From Despair to Hope

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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Breaking the Bondage of Shame

Satan likes to utilize our shame from past mistakes to fill us with a sense of indictment. The enemy gains a stronghold through our unhealed hearts; thus, intensifying and festering our anger, guilt, and regret. He uses our lingering, painful emotions to rob us of our joy and peace in the present.

Even more dangerous, the enemy can glamorize the past in a way that makes us long for pieces of our old self. This is a dangerous, slippery slope. Remember Lot’s wife! Our past is the biggest indicator of how desperately we need our precious Savior!

In contrast, God says we are a new creation and justified by the Blood of Christ. God says there is no condemnation for those who are in Christ. God is able to restore the years the locusts have taken away. He promises an abundant life full of hope. Through His grace, every mistake can be miraculously transformed into a beautiful testimony of His love, mercy, forgiveness, and splendor.

The past, along with the present and future, belongs to Abba God. Therefore, let us trust and honor God by surrendering it to Him, all for His ordained and anointed purpose. Let us partner with The Balm of Gilead in a heart healing; obey and trust Him to make all things new; praise Him for all He has done and will continue to do.

Let us give God all the glory for how He made a way for us through Jesus; believe and fully receive His Grace. Let us rejoice that we are reconciled by The Blood of The Lamb; sanctified, transformed and regenerated by The Holy Spirit.

Take heart, for there is no place in the present or our future for anything old. We are a new creation…kin with Christ…citizens of Heaven. If there is anything useful from our brokenness, God can certainly transform it into something beautiful, according to His Will and all for His Marvelous Glory…

Isaiah 43:19
Behold, I will do a new thing; now it shall spring forth; shall ye not know it? I will even make a way in the wilderness, and rivers in the desert.

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Authentic Love

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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Prayer to Replace Fear With Faith

Lord God,

I pray that today and every day You will teach me how to replace my fears with faith… That I will cast my anxieties, fears, doubts and uncertainties upon You and allow Your Perfect Love to drive out those feelings that are not born of The Holy Spirit….that I will surrender my troubles to You, my Holy Heavenly Father, who is ALWAYS GREATER than any rejection, failure, criticism, emotion or enemy I may face today or tomorrow.

I pray that I will grow an enormous and abundant faith in You, an all-knowing, ever-present, always-loving God and walk in the confidence and sound mind that comes from knowing who You Are…that my trust in You will produce in me a faith that will motivate me to just let go of the things that hold me back, give them to you and receive peace beyond measure in my heart and mind.

I pray that I will cling to Your Truth and Your Promises and find refuge in You when I encounter dark valleys in my days, seasons and lives…place my trust in You, my Tower of Strength, for You Are the same yesterday, today and tomorrow and You have repeatedly assured me that You are for me and will protect me.

Father, I thank You and praise You for Your Grace, Love, Mercy and Sovereign Protection in my life! I thank You for the atoning Sacrifice of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, so that I may be reconciled unto You…for my adoption and citizenship in Your Kingdom…for the security, peace, and comfort that You provide in my authentic identity in Christ!
In the name of my beloved Savior, Jesus Christ I pray, Amen.

“You will keep in perfect peace those whose minds are steadfast, because they trust in you.” Isaiah 26:3

 

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The Hardened Heart of Self-Protection

A deep wound, a broken heart, disappointments, bitterness, and unforgiveness can cause the heart to become hardened with time. It causes us to put up walls. Our defenses go up. We self-protect, and we don’t let anyone in including God.

Self-protection leaves us running on reserve and is the cause of intimacy issues and conflict in relationships. It seems that it’s easier to be hard than soft and vulnerable because we don’t want to get hurt. But you were not created to live that way. God made you to be tender and responsive.

It’s hard to shape stone.  As long as your heart remains hard, you will miss out on the abundant life Jesus came to give. So let the living God come into your heart, heal your wounds and tear down your self-protection and defenses.

The amplified version of Ezekiel 11:16 says “And I will give them one heart, a new heart, and I will put a new Spirit within them, and I will take the stony, unnatural hardened heart out and give them a heart of flesh, sensitive and responsive to the touch of their God.”

Give your hurts to the Lord. Let God shape you. When you do that…He will leave His fingerprints all over your heart.

 

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Emotions That Bind

Who or what controls your emotions? Is it you, someone or something that happen to you? The book of Proverbs warns, “Above all else, guard your heart, for out of it flows the issues of life” (Proverbs 4:23).

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.

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.

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.

“Do not embitter your children, or they will become discouraged.”

Colossians 3:21

 

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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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