Family God’s Design

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.

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.

The 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 breaths: 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 that brings healing to the hurts that have plagued your family. Choose life! Plant seeds that produce a legacy built on the redemptive love of Jesus.

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The Root of Negative Behavior

People even in the church can behave in very unloving and ungodly ways. They can act out in pride and holier than thou attitudes or lash out in anger, addictions, slander and malice towards others grieving the Holy Spirit in whom we were sealed. It’s easier to judge the sinful attitudes and behaviors on the surface without taking a step back and gain God’s perspective on the matter. But doesn’t Scripture tell us that God judges the heart and not the outward?

People don’t wake one morning with a hardened heart. What could have happened to an individual who acts out so negatively, rudely and hurts self and others? What kind of hurts are they carrying around inside? Please understand that whatever hurts are buried deep inside a hardened heart does not excuse the sinful behavior. God hates sin, and we are allowed to hate it too. Nevertheless, by peering into the heart of God and seeing things through His eyes, it will help us understand the reasons why people act out and will help us gain compassion and not personalize the sinful behaviors of others.

Painful wounds in our hearts can always be traced back to the effects of sin, whether our own or someone else’s. Disguising pain with either good or bad habits, or addictions create a vicious cycle of guilt and shame. Whatever the coping mechanism, until the root of the hurt is dealt with the wound will continue to fester allowing sinful negative behaviors to continue. God wants to heal your broken heart. No matter what you have been through, God is bigger than anything you have experienced or are experiencing now. No matter where you’ve been, what you have done or what has been done to you … the Master Healer, Jehovah Rapha, can transform your innermost hurts into conduits of His blessings. The same power that raised Jesus from the dead can heal and restore you. He only asks one thing…”Do you want to be made well?” Healing is a choice.

“And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, in whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. Get rid of all bitterness, rage, and anger, outcry and slander, along with every form of malice. Be kind and tender-hearted to one another, forgiving each other just as in Christ God forgave you.…”

Ephesians 4:30-32

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Healthy Love

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 only God can. 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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The Snare of Rejection

It’s been said that if you live for the acceptance of others, you will die from their rejection. If your sense of self-worth is based on the approval of others, your value is at the mercy of what others think about you. Your identity, who you are, how you see yourself is determined by how others see you and respond to you.

In our brokenness, we tend to give people a lot of power. People on the outside control my thoughts, feelings, and my will. They own me. I don’t know who I am, and I live in fear of failing to meet their approval and being rejected.

Only God is allowed to have control over our lives. We need to give our fear of rejection over to the Lord. He created us and established our worth. When we let His love pour into us, we learn to trust Him, and He will turn our fear into faith, and we will find full acceptance in the arms of our precious Savior.

If you believe that you may be living for the approval of others, evaluate the following statements and see if you identify with any of them.

”I am not good enough.”

“I have to try harder.”

“I have to earn love.’

“I flatter people so they will like me.”

“I have to be perfect.”

“I always feel less than.”

“I know what I think is not important.”

“I know that I am not likable.”

“I never feel like I belong.”

“I don’t measure up.”

If you can relate to any of the above chances are that there is a deep root of rejection driving your need for approval and acceptance from others. Please understand that just because you have been rejected in the past, you don’t have to walk in fear that you will be rejected again by others. We can be so crippled by the fear of being rejected that without realizing it we can push others away, or create situations where we will be rejected fulfilling a self-imposed prophecy which causes us to continue to believe lies about ourselves and feel alone and rejected.

 

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Do You Want To Be Made Well?

It’s easier to stuff pain inside, wear a painted smile and pretend that everything is okay, but masking issues of the heart only perpetuates our hurts.

Eventually, undealt issues spring up and defile all areas of our lives including relationships. Inwardly our souls are crying out to be healed. At some point, we may grudgingly seek help. However, it is essential to understand that in order to be healed we must be willing to be healed no matter how painful and difficult the journey.

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, emotionally feeling 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

DO YOU WANT TO BE MADE WELL?

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Christ Centered Counseling

There are a plethora of self-help books available offering various theories and approaches to dealing with the rooted issues of negative emotions and behaviors.

Modern day psychology is valuable in understanding the soul (mind, emotions, and will). This is the area that gets sick. The rooted systems in our life can make our souls extremely sick. A psychology approach can diagnose the problem and offer

A psychology approach can diagnose the problem and offer solution. However, since the solution offered is rooted in humanism and, therefore, manmade, there is no true long term healing that can occur. At best it can help change behavior, and give you tools for self-discipline, or positive thinking. That is not freedom.

There is no lasting victory because it does not deal with sin. It does not allow for the blood of Christ to cleanse us and change us. It merely puts a band-aid over symptoms. It may address anxiety, depression, outward manifestations and symptoms of deeper issues – but often the first solution offered is medication and never gets to the root. So people are not getting the true healing they are seeking.

As Christians, we know that only God has the power to heal us from the inside out and set us free. That is true victory. He doesn’t just change behaviors; He transforms, renews, restores, redeems and breaks the chains of bondage. Psalm 147:3 says “He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds.” Isaiah also tells us that God is the “Wonderful Counselor.” John 14:6 says “the Holy Spirit is the Counselor.” Therefore, true freedom is found only by applying biblical truths to the wounds of our heart. Jesus is the balm of Gilead. He is the ointment that heals the wounds of God’s hurting children.

 

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Anxiety

It’s amazing how one, simple verse, rings so true in many of our lives. Anxiety isn’t something that we’re meant to carry. If we’re burdened by it, it’s a red flag that there is a deeper issue going on in our hearts… an issue deeper than our situation.

We all have anxiety to some extent, and it’s nothing to be ashamed of, but the difference between each of us is how we have been taught to handle that anxiety.

Some of us act, and react, out of what our experiences have taught us to do, and the rest of us, out of what God tells us to do.
God is freedom. Jesus is freedom! He is THE designer of our hearts and he knows how to deliver each of them from anxiety. God’s way takes us higher, our way takes us lower.

If you’re feeling the burden of anxiety, or are even in depression from living with anxiety, there is hope. God is a “good word” and He can make you glad again… it’s just going to take your surrender.

Announce to God that this world hasn’t given you any relief, and that, you are ready to try it His way. Then, hold out your hands and allow him to take your fear and anxiousness upon Himself, exchanging your burdens, for His love.

God is “a good word.” Grab a Bible, and start to receive.

“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.”
— Matthew 11:28 (NIV)

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What Is True Intimacy?

Being intimate involves the mixing of our life with another, a mingling of souls, a sharing of hearts. This is something that we all long for because that is how God made us. We were designed to connect. It requires openness, honesty, and transparency – the ability to share our true selves and have security knowing that we are loved and accepted just the way we are despite our imperfections. This is true intimacy.
Sex can be the most intimate and beautiful expression of love within the boundaries of marriage, but we are lying to ourselves when we think that sex is proof of love. How many men do you know that demand sex as proof of love and how many women give in to sex in hopes of getting love?
Real intimacy does not come by merely coming together in sex. Many couples go to bed at night sharing their bodies but feel lonely because they don’t share their hearts. You see sex is not the source of love; it’s merely an expression of it. And no matter how hard you try, if real emotional and spiritual intimacy does not take place before sex, it probably won’t after.
True intimacy begins with your relationship with God first. This relationship is the foundation for all healthy relationships. When you let the living God be the ultimate source of intimacy and love in your life, you won’t fall for the pitfalls of settling for relationships devoid of emotional and spiritual intimacy that leave your heart longing and unsatisfied. When you are connected to the true source of intimacy, His love will fill the longing of your heart freeing you to engage in love based mutually satisfying relationships instead of need-based relationships where you demand others to fill a void only God can fill, satisfy and make whole.

 

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The Ripple Effects of Bitterness

“Bitterness is like a rock thrown into a placid pond; After its initial splash it sends out circular ripples that affect the whole pond. It starts with ourselves, expands to our spouse, then to our children, friends, and anyone we come in contact with.” (Pastor & Dr. Chuck Lynch)

People hurt, mistreat, abuse, abandon and betray us.

God sees and validates our pain. But he also tells us to pursue peace so that we do not fall short of His grace and let bitterness take root to defile us.

Bitterness comes when we hold on to hurt and refuse to forgive those who have hurt us. It affects everything around us and causes us to have a hardened heart. We can even take on a victim mentality where we feel constantly wronged by others. It will pollute our overall view of the world and affects how we treat people.

No matter what we are not entitled to our sinful responses to how others have hurt us. Doing so only causes separation between God, ourselves and others. We can’t change people or make them see the error of their ways but God can. But we can take our wounded hearts, bitterness, and unforgiveness to the one who has shown us how to love mercy instead of demanding justice.

Bitterness hinders repentance and forgiveness in relationships. The cure for bitterness starts with our hearts. It’s not something we do flippantly or dismissively without considering the cost of the sin committed against us, its effects and the wounds left behind.

Ask Jesus to help you process the hurts and choose to forgive. You will then have a beautiful gift to offer others – true forgiveness from the heart. A heart that says what you did to me hurt me deeply, but I choose to forgive you and release you from a debt you cannot repay just as my precious Jesus forgave me and released me from mine.

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Emotions & Spiritual Warfare

Our emotions are tied to our thought life. 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 these ideas coming from? Where are these feelings coming from?‛  Satan is at war with God’s children.  He is a crafty one and a deceiver; and, 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 uses our fears, hurts, and insecurities to influence us through our thought life.

The enemy knows that if he can control our minds, he can control our behavior; and, what is his most used weapon to do so? Lies! When we believe Satan’s lies, rather than God’s truth, it leads to faulty ways of thinking and wrong behaviors that enslave our souls. The only defense we have to protect our minds from being lost in the darkness of lies, is the truth: the inerrant Word of God.

God’s word gives a detailed combat strategy for defeating the enemy. We are to pull down strongholds (rooted lies) and bring every thought captive to the obedience of Christ (2 Corinthians 10:5). Simply put, we must replace Satan’s lies with God’s 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; or that you will always live in bondage, stop for one moment and ask yourself, ‛Whose voice am I hearing? Who is it that is telling me that?‛ God’s word tells us that Jesus is the Good Shepherd and His sheep hear His voice and His voice protects them from the thief who wants to destroy them. Our beloved Savior would never harm His sheep by speaking such lies. If you 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, and you will start to thrive in the name of Jesus.

If you are 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, and you will start to thrive in the name of Jesus.

 

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