Wednesday, February 8, 2017

Our Priorities ... As Women

God gave Solomon, and us by extension, an outline for godly women to strive toward. We find this outline in the book of Proverbs, chapter 31, and verses 10-31. So I will quote it here from the Amplified Bible, Classic Edition. But I will also add a modern point of reference for our understanding. Let’s get started!

Read more here.

Sunday, January 22, 2017

Though We Are Single … We Are Still Christ’s Bride

How do we go about building a close - spiritually intimate - relationship with Jesus?  As His Bride, this is the most important thing we can learn while we are on the journey to our last, greatest and most important life-long relationship – eternity with Him.

There are times in the lives of some men and women that we find ourselves alone, and perhaps we are not happy with our periods of aloneness. And yet God has said: “And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.” Romans 8:28 KJV. This solitary life, no matter the way it was instituted, can be a blessed time; and was given by God for your benefit, according to the verse we just read.

Nobody wants to live alone. God created us to be family units, joined to a spouse to raise our children and serve Him. He said in Genesis 1:18; And the Lord God said, “It is not good for man to be alone; I will make him a helper comparable to him.” (NKJV) And then God created Adam’s wife. But the marriage partnership is to be an example – a mirror image, as it were – of our personal relationship with God. Our daily walk with Him is to resemble the commitment and interactions of a human, Christian marriage.

But how are we to interact with the creator of the universe on such an intimate basis; like we would with a physical spouse? No, it is not physically possible to wrap your arms around someone who is everywhere at all times and yet not visible to the human eye. So, do you walk into your home at the close of the day, kick your shoes off and shout to the heavens, “Hi, Honey, I’m home.”???

While this thought makes us giggle at the visual we see, it isn’t really practical – or fulfilling – in any sense.

So, what is it like to be intimate with the Lord? This is what we will endeavor to uncover together. We will look at the ancient Jewish marriage practices and customs. We will also look at scriptures on relationships and word definitions from the Strong’s Concordance and Webster’s Dictionary to gain a fuller meaning of them. In this way, we will gain a better understanding of our relationship with Jesus and the intimacy we should share with Him.

By now many of us have spiritual mentors to walk with us on this journey, mature persons of like faith who are there for us in our struggles and triumphs. They will be most valuable while we are in our learning process. Another useful tool for us is a journal where we can record our thoughts and feelings during this time. This for future our reflection and to share with your mentor for help during times of trouble and celebration in times of triumph.

Shall we begin?

Ancient Jewish Marriage Customs & Practices Mirror Our Relationship with Jesus as Types and Shadows things that have happened and things which are to come.

Recreation of Ancient Temporary Bridal Camber

Ancient Jewish Marriage Customs and Traditions:

Now, most of us think of marriage as a relationship that begins after the wedding takes place; but this wasn’t so in ancient Israel. In the first century – and possibly for many generations before - marriage consisted of three parts or steps; with the wedding being the culminating event that began the final phase of a marriage and the beginning of a family. The first step was the Arrangement. This was followed by the Betrothal and culminated about a year later with the third part - the Wedding Ceremony.

It was expected that all children would grow to be married. From infancy, they learned of the sacredness and sanctity of the marriage covenant, its blessings and burdens; and of course, the seriousness of its responsibilities.

Likewise in Scripture, we see these same traditions being followed in our marriage to Jesus. Just as the marriage begins with the arrangement  and the selection of the bride; so, too, believers in Jesus have been chosen as our Messiah's Bride: He “GOD” chose us in Him before “the foundation of the world" (Ephesians 1:4); “You did not choose me, but I have chosen you” (John 15:16); “From the beginning God chose you” (2 Thessalonians 2:13); “But you are a chosen people” (1 Peter 2:19).

It is interesting to note that in the biblical example of Abraham, Isaac, and Eliezar, that the arrangements are initiated by the father, in the name of the son, through the means of the servant. It becomes even more interesting when we realize that the servant’s name, Eliezar, means "comforter" or "helper". And so, ultimately, it is the Holy Spirit who plays the part of the "matchmaker". He is the "Comforter" - the "Helper." It is He who calls us to enter into this union with our Bridegroom. It is He who remains to guide and protect us as we journey to meet our Beloved Bridegroom.

By the first century the custom had developed that, after the arrangements had been initiated, when he reached marriageable age, the young man would travel from his home to the home of the young woman and approach her father to discuss the arrangements prior to the betrothal. There he negotiated with her father concerning the Bride Price he would pay to make her his own. This Bride Price is far from being a modest token; it was often the equivalent of a year’s wages or more. It was intended to be costly to the young man, tangible evidence of his love and willingness to sacrifice on behalf of his chosen one.
They would also negotiate over the contents of the written marriage covenant; which stated among his promises to her father concerning his ability to care for and keep her. It also served the purpose of showing the father of the potential bride how much – or how little – the prospective groom understood about the responsibility of taking on a wife and building a family.

Once the young girl's father found the Bride Price and covenant acceptable, the prospective groom would be allowed to approach her with his proposal. This "proposal" was in the form of a cup of wine. The young man would pour this cup, take a sip, and then set it before the young woman. To accept the proposal, she would drink it "to the dregs" - taking the bitter with the sweet. In doing so, she was binding herself to him. At this point, the marriage covenant was established and the young man and woman were legally bound to one another in a state called "betrothal". Betrothal was so binding, in fact, that it could only be broken by a religious divorce, a "get", which was available only to the groom during the betrothal period, but only for reasons of her infidelity. From that moment the bride was declared "sanctified," or set apart exclusively for her bridegroom.

After the cup had been taken, the bridegroom would make an announcement to his bride that went something like this: "I'm going back to my father’s house to prepare a place for you, and when he says it is ready; I will return and take you there to be with me forever."
The bride, in the meanwhile, spent her time learning, from the women of her family and his, how to please her husband and preparing to live as a wife. She was presented with a dowry by her father as part of her inheritance, to equip her for her new life. During the time of separation, she also prepared her wedding dress, gathered her trousseau, and made herself ready for the return of her beloved.

In our relationship with Christ, just as the young man would travel to the home of his intended bride, Jesus came from His Father's house to the home of His bride, the earth.
Our Bridegroom has given us bridal gifts to show the value He places upon us and to help us remember Him during these long days of separation. Just as a bridegroom would have told his bride that he would go to prepare a place for her, Our Bridegroom has said: "In my Father's house are many rooms; if it were not so, I would have told you. I am going there to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am" (John 14:2-3).

The culminating step – the Wedding Ceremony – is known as "nisuin" a Hebrew word which literally means “taken.” This is based on the Hebrew verb "nasa", which means "to carry" or "to lift up". Nisuin is quite a graphic description, as we shall soon see.

As the bride was awaiting the return of her betrothed, the bridegroom was building and decorating with increasing anticipation. Then finally the chamber would be ready and his father would tell him, "It's time." The excited bridegroom would assemble his groomsmen to accompany him on the trip to claim his bride. They would set out at night, making every attempt to completely surprise the bride. For this reason, the returning groom was often referred to as “a thief in the night.” But, there were strict rules this“thief” had to follow.
When the wedding party reached their destination, the bride and groom would enter the bridal chamber that he had labored so long and lovingly to prepare for her. Once the door was shut, the couple would spend seven days together in a time of seclusion. No one else, with the exception of select servants, would enter the chamber during this time and the couple themselves did not leave until the Bridal Week was concluded. The groom's father, meanwhile, would have assembled the wedding guests, who would be gathered together with him, waiting to celebrate the new marriage. 

Now, as the guests outside enjoyed the festivities, the bride would present her dowry to her new husband and the young couple would share another cup of wine together, the “Cup of Completion.” Outside the chamber, the groom's father would hold a sort of "Open House" that lasted for seven full days, as we can read in Judges 14:10-12, for example.

Chuppa or Modern Jewish 'Bridal Chamber'
At this time, we who are a part of the family of God are all in the Betrothal - or preparation period – of our marriage relationship with Jesus, our Bridegroom. We should be spending our time learning to communicate with Him. Learning what things please Him and displease Him; and learning how best to serve Him in all areas of our life. We should be building up our dowry with the gifts of our Father and bringing more people into the kingdom as brothers and sisters and a part of Christ’s Bride. Titus 2:3-8 tells the older women of the church to teach the younger their proper roles; “…to love their husbands …” etc. If this example holds true for a natural marital relationship, it also holds true for the spiritual. More mature Christians are to teach, or disciple, the new members of Christ’s Bride in their proper roles in His body; how to love their new Husband and the rest of the family of GOD.

I heard a Preacher on the radio one morning saying that he looks for things that he is passionate about to use in drawing closer to Jesus. One of his passions was to drink a cup of hot coffee on a dark cold morning out on his front porch.  This was something he could use that would draw him into a more passionate relationship with Jesus. He would take his ‘coffee break’ and use it as a time of praise and worship unto Jesus while enjoying his morning cup. 

I play the flute and sax, at times I get so into the worship of this instrumental music it is like I am “praying” the instruments, not just playing them. I love to sing, so I may use my voice as an instrument of prayer and praise, too. I hope this is understandable because I don’t have any other way to describe this experience.

I also get very close to Jesus when He whispers His words in my ears for me to write – such as this and my books, articles, poetry, and stories of all kinds. I really get lost in another place between this world and the realm His Spirit lives in when I get into my writing and music. It is so different that I really have no words to explain it to you.

I know that God has given each of you talents, events or places that bring out the best in you, too. Things and places that you are very passionate about. You have to find in those places, in those talents and/or events, where you can be closest to Jesus. Go into that passionate place with HIM and spend time. Only then you will know what I am talking about. I encourage you to find those things that you are passionate about in your everyday life and use them as an outlet of intimate, personal worship with your – with our – Bridegroom, Jesus Christ! I believe that the ecstasy I encounter when I get into these intimate times with Jesus is very like – though in the spiritual realm, not the physical – the special times that are shared between a husband and wife. Because that is exactly what they are. There is no other way to describe the special intimacy I have with Jesus when I get into these places of worship.

When we learn to be intimate with Jesus, our Bridegroom, we will know how to relate better in our marital relationship with a mate of God’s choosing as our spouse – when/if He calls us into marriage. Because all of the principles we have taken from the ancient Jewish marriage practices are the natural types and the shadows for the spiritual marriage we have with Him.

I pray that each of you finds this special relationship with our Lord as I have found, and continue to find today. It is truly amazing! Discover who you really are in Him and grow in His grace in the process!

Because children were under the complete authority of their fathers, the arrangements would be made by the heads of the households; the father of the groom-to-be taking the initiative. Although the customs had changed somewhat by the first century, the story of Abraham, Isaac, and Eliezar is a classic example of the arrangement being initiated.

While it was the responsibility of the father to select a bride for his son, many times this wasn't practical or possible. So the father would delegate this responsibility to a representative. This representative eventually became known as the marriage broker or matchmaker. Often the matchmaker would remain with the young woman to protect and guide her on her journey to meet her groom.

Just before he left his intended, the bridegroom would present his "chosen one" with a bridal gift, a token of his love for her and his promises made on her behalf. Its purpose was to be a reminder to his bride during their separation of his love for her and of his promise to return to take her as his wife. Then the bridegroom would return to his father's house, where he occupied himself preparing a bridal chamber in anticipation of their wedding day.

Just before the expected day, she would immerse herself in a ritual bath to symbolize her "rebirth" into a new life. All through this waiting time, the bride wore a veil whenever she went out as a symbol of her consecration to her groom alone. As time went on, she would assemble her sisters and bridesmaids who would go with her and attend to her until the wedding ceremony began. Each would have to have their oil lamps ready and would wait at the bride’s house every night on the chance that the bridegroom would come along with his groomsmen and sweep them all away to a sudden and joyous wedding ceremony.

The Scriptures are our written covenant, where over and over again God declares His love for us and HIs promises to provide for all our needs: “For my God shall supply all your needs according to His glorious riches…” Philippians 4:19. And the Bride Price our Bridegroom has paid is the highest possible—He gave His life.

We can see the negotiations between the groom and the father of the bride paralleled in the events that occurred in the Garden of Gethsemane, but we have to realize that in the case of our Bridegroom the Father plays a dual role. He is not only the Father of the Groom but of the Bride, too. His will concerning the price is very clear—He places great value on us -  His Bride.

Just as the bridegroom would pour a cup of wine for the bride to drink to seal the marriage contract, we see Jesus pouring this cup for His Chosen in Matthew 26:27: "Then He took the cup, gave thanks and offered it to them, saying, "Drink from it, all of you. This is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins."

The Cup of Redemption symbolized the cup of His life, which was soon to be poured out. We, as the Bride, take on His life when we drink the cup of His Salvation.  And what did He say when He gave thanks? There is just one Jewish blessing over the wine and it has been said for thousands of years: "Blessed are You, O Lord our God, King of the Universe, Creator of the fruit of the vine."  These may have been the thoughts He had, if not the very words that He used. We are ultimately that "fruit." Our Bridegroom is praising the Father for bringing forth His Bride just prior to setting the cup before her in the proposal. At Christ's last Passover Celebration with His disciples’ -  just prior to the crucifixion - Jesus’ disciples drank of this cup. They accepted the offer of His life for themselves and for all generations of believers who would follow after them.

Just as the bride would undergo a ritual bath symbolizing her "rebirth," turning aside from former things & starting her new life with her beloved, we too undergo water baptism which symbolizes our "rebirth."

Just as the bride would be given a dowry by her father, we too are given gifts by God our Father as a portion of our inheritance, to help us prepare to live as the wife of the Lamb.

The rabbis were kind enough to insist that they give the bride a warning as the groom and his entourage approached her father’s house. One of the groomsmen would shout something like "Behold, the bridegroom comes!" This would be followed by the sound of a "shofar" (a ram's horn, or biblical trumpet) just in case their shout wasn't enough to rouse the bride and her attendants from their slumber.

When the bride heard the shout and sound of the shofar, she knew she only had time to grab her luggage and light her lamp, for the time of waiting was over. Her sisters and bridesmaids also had to have their lamps trimmed and ready. To say that the terrain in Israel is a bit rocky would be an understatement and it is seriously doubtful that anyone would try to navigate the dark roads of ancient Israel without a lamp to light their way.

The bridegroom would wait outside while his groomsmen rushed in to steal away the bride and her attendants. People in the village would, of course, be awakened by all the noise. They would see the lamps, hear the shouts and the laughter, and realize a wedding was underway. Many would come out and join in the procession as the wedding party made their way with singing, and dancing, back to the home of the father of the groom.

Do you remember that I mentioned the new couple wouldn't leave their chamber during this time? I personally think this next custom might have had something to do with that fact. You see, the marriage had to be actually consummated before the celebration could begin since Jewish Law said that the bride and groom become MUST become "one flesh" before their marriage was recognized.

While the couple was in seclusion, the "friend of the bridegroom," the forerunner of a modern groom’s Best Man, would stand near the door of the bridal chamber and wait to hear the bridegroom's voice. When the marriage had been consummated, the groom would tell his friend – handing him the blood-stained sheets as proof - who would then announce the good news to their assembled guests. Only then could the celebration start.

At the end of the week, the bride and groom would make their long awaited "Official Appearance" to the cheers of their guests. They would share a joyous meal, the Marriage Supper, to honor the new family unit. The bride would have discarded her veil by now as she a married woman, fully given to her husband. All could now see exactly who it was that the groom had chosen.

After the Marriage Supper, the bride and groom, now husband and wife, would travel back through the village, to the place of their permanent dwelling – most often the bridal chamber they had recently vacated – now freshly cleaned and decked out with the bride's belongings – to live out this last step of marriage and the first days of their family life.

Just as the ancient Israeli bridegroom could return for his bride only after his father approved their new dwelling and gave the word, our Bridegroom told us: "No one knows about that day or hour, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father. Be on guard! Be alert! You do not know when that time will come” (Mark 13:32-33).

We, as the Bride of Christ, are now consecrated, set apart and awaiting the return of our Bridegroom. We should not be distracted by others who would try to "woo" us with contracts of their own, such as false teachers; or the world and the things in it. We, too, wear a veil, the covering of the Spirit, showing our consecration to our Beloved. Our consecrated, set-apart, ways should speak to those around us of the promises we have made. (The apostle Paul spoke of the removing of our veil in I Corinthians 13:11-12; "When I was a child, I spake as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child: but when I became a man, I put away childish things. For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known.")

We should be spending time preparing ourselves for Jesus’ return and learning to live in a way that pleases our Beloved – Jesus Christ. And we should live in hopeful expectation and confidence of His return: "Looking for the blessed hope - the appearance of the glory of our great God and Savior. Jesus Christ." Titus 2:13. This return of Jesus for His Bride is made very clear in Scripture. It seems to me that the "nisuin" tradition of the early Jews must have been in Paul's mind when he wrote to those with questions about Christ’s return: "For the Lord himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. After that, we who are still alive and are left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will be with the Lord forever. Therefore encourage each other with these words." 1 Thessalonians 4:16-18.

I want to focus for a minute on the term, "caught up". One of the common objections made by those who don't believe in the “Rapture of the Church” is that the word "rapture" is not found in Scripture. I agree. This word is not found in English translations. However, the Scriptures have been translated into many languages, one of them being Latin. The word "rapture" is an anglicized version of the word "rapere" from the Latin Vulgate, which is translated "caught up" in the passage quoted above. When the Bible was translated into other languages, this Latin term continued to be used in many of then in its anglicized form. (I can see why this may have been done – sort of “poetic license”, as it were. The term “The Rapture” has a much better ring to it than “The Caught Up".)

While there are other arguments against this position, this particular one should be laid to rest. Incidentally, the Greek version of this word is "harpazo" and the Hebrew word is "nasa", from which we get the word "nisuin" - the word used to describe the last portion of the marriage customs (I have added the quotations, italics and underlining for emphasis and/or clarification).

This same preacher also took field trips into various cemeteries to walk among and read tombstones. He drew closer to the Lord as he read of the different people who had gone before. I am not quite sure how these cemetery trips draw his passions out and bring him closer to Jesus, but I was able to use his examples to look into my own life and draw upon my personal passions to list a couple that I use to bring myself into more intimate places in Jesus.

I am a very musically grounded person in that, if I am not hearing the praises of heaven, in heart and head, I know I have fallen short in some area. So I start searching out where I am lacking, that I may quickly repent and get back into that special place where His Voice reigns.

When I am in the best place in my relationship with our Bridegroom I can HEAR Him whisper his songs of praise in my ears and feel his VOICE reverberate throughout my entire being; thus putting me in a place where I MUST sing to Him what He is singing to me.


  • What things are you passionate about? List at least three.
  • How can you use these passions to draw closer to and become intimate with Jesus?
  • Ask Him to use those talents He has given you to be passionate for Him:­­

Dear Lord,
Show me where my passions lay and how to incorporate them into my personal times of worship ...

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

The Heart of a True Princess

At the center of every girl’s existence lies the heart of a true princess. We all grow up wishing that we were Cinderella or Jasmine or one of the many other Disney princesses we girls watched growing up. My daughter’s favorite, I think, was Ariel from the Disney movie The Little Mermaid. We all dream of the handsome prince finding us and rescuing us from the black knight or the wicked dragon who has stolen us away from our family and home to hide us in a dark cave or deep dungeon.

I have always had a desire to be Cinderella. To be heard by the “fairy godmother,” dressed in the most beautiful gown at the ball, and to be the most beautiful girl in the eyes of my “Prince Charming.” He would sweep me off my feet and carry me away in our coach to live happily ever after in a castle in the sky. I know I’m a romantic; but a hopeful one, not hopeless!

Even little boys long to be the hero, to rescue the Princess from the fierce dragon, the black knight, or maybe save her from the “Dread Pirate, Roberts.” Or they may want to be cowboys, taking cows to market and rescuing travelers on the trail to new destinations. Or maybe the mountain man, saving the village from the attack of wild animals. Men and boys all have the desire to be a savior and protector, of sorts, to the princess of their choosing.

And yet there those who always want to play the evil villain, dark knight, pirate, etc. who steals away the beautiful princess.

OK, so where is all this romanticizing going?

Let me explain. I feel the reason we girls have the desire – born within us – to be rescued by Prince Charming is more because of our desire to be reunited to the King of Kings, than our being caught up in the fairy tales that we grew up with. I know that most of us have heard the message we were each born with a God-shaped hole in our hearts that only HE can fill, and yet we are always trying to fill it with everything and everybody else.

It isn’t until we find Jesus that we can find this truth for ourselves. But instead of searching for Him, we run after the latest fad, be it the hippest rock star, movie idol or whatever your “flavor of the month” may be. Yet none of these things are truly meeting the needs of our hearts, we aren’t being fulfilled. So we turn to romance novels or the “Soaps” to live in a more “adult” fantasy than that of the fairytale princesses of our youth.

But God created us to be true princesses, to live in His kingdom forever. He put that heart of a princess into each and every one of us even before we were born. He also put the heart of a protector into each little boy. God built them to be the protectors of their families. To provide for the needs of their households; to give their very lives for them, just as Jesus gave up His life for His Bride – the church.

Jesus gave each of us the knowledge of Him and His kingdom in this simplistic way because He wanted each of us – men and women, boys and girls – to meet His Son, Jesus. To become a part of the “Bride of Christ.”

You see Jesus is THE Prince of Peace, King of Kings and Lord of Lords. And we, as children of Adam are separated from Him because of original sin and because of our own sins, as well. The longing we hold deep within us to become a princess should lead us straight into His arms. Should bring us to a place of repentance, seeking to be forgiven for all the sins of our past, so that we can live with Him forever in His Heavenly Kingdom. That kingdom began 2000+ years ago when He walked the earth among men and bought Salvation by giving His life for each and every one of us by shedding His blood on the cross.

I like the way John 3: 16-21 in the KJV says it; ‘For God so loved the world, that He sent His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth on Him should not perish, but have everlasting life. For God sent NOT His Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through Him might be saved. He that believeth on Him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the only begotten Son of God. And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil. For everyone that doeth evil hateth the light, neither cometh to the light, lest his deeds should be reproved. But he that doeth truth cometh to the light, that his deeds may be made manifest, that they are wrought in God.’

What a beautiful love story this truly is! The Prince came from the Eternal Kingdom to reconcile the outcast to the King and Kingdom life by giving up His life for them. He then came back to life and betrothed Himself to those He died to save. How utterly romantic.

The Appearance of a True Princess

While we are on the subject of Princesses and our Prince, we should take a look at how the Daughter of The King should behave.

While I was speaking to God one morning in my quiet time, He reminded me of what my physical and spiritual appearance should always be … a reflection of who I am in Jesus. He also said that I have been seeing myself as a defeated daughter and not a True Princess. He showed me that I saw myself without my royal crown, in a tattered dress and robe, hair falling out of its do and covered in a cloud of dust and dirt … How very UN-princess like.

Then He showed me a glimpse of what I should look like when I am in right standing, upholding my proper position, in Him and His Kingdom. So what SHOULD a True Princess look like?

We have all seen the fairytales that have beautiful princesses dressed in royal attire etc. We have also watched the British Royals in their various celebrations all dressed “to the nines.” As a daughter of The King, we must always be aware of our appearance, our outward AND our spiritual appearance, before God and mankind. We MUST represent Him in the right way. So how best to "dress for success" in God's Kingdom?"

First of all, we need to dress in clothes that do not hide our God-given gender … Women should dress and look like women. And men should dress and look like men. As a Princess, we always want to dress to fit our station in the Kingdom. We should always wear clean clothing that looks nice on us. Whether we prefer to wear jeans and T-shirts or ball gowns, the clothes should be neat and tidy, without holes and as free of stains as possible. In the US today, men and women can wear just about anything they choose; women wear pants as often as dresses, yet they can still dress to show they are feminine no matter their choices.

As regarding our spiritual appearance, 1 Peter 3:3, NIV says; Your beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as elaborate hairstyles and the wearing of gold jewelry or fine clothes. Peter wasn't telling us that we CAN'T wear jewelry, fancy hairdo's, makeup, etc. What he is saying that we should find our beauty inwardly and accentuate it outwardly and in modest attire.

Peter also implied that we need to protect our spiritual man by clothing it in the Holy Armor that Paul outlines in Ephesians 6:10-20: 

Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.
And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people. Pray also for me, that whenever I speak, words may be given me so that I will fearlessly make known the mystery of the gospel, for which I am an ambassador in chains. Pray that I may declare it fearlessly, as I should.

In other passages, Paul tells us to pray without ceasing. It is this continuous prayer that is a part of our spiritual defense system; a part of our Holy Armor. With it, we attack spiritual battlefields by enlisting the help of God and His angelic beings.

Take a look at the prayer requests that Paul has listed here for the Ephesians to pray for him. They are the same things we should be praying for all of our Christian Brothers and Sisters; strength, wisdom, guidance, discernment, boldness and words to share the gospel with others. Be sure to also include any special or specific needs of those brothers and sisters that you know personally. Our prayers are a part of their defenses too; just as are their prayers for us.

So clothe yourselves in Christ’s mind and protect yourself with His Holy Armor and ALWAYS look like the True Princess you are!

Now, we princesses can truly belong to Prince Charming, Jesus! And so can all those princes – heroes or otherwise – we knew as children. Though some days we couldn’t tell the dark knights from the good guys. Or which young ladies were princesses and which evil witches. He always knew which of us would give our lives over to His keeping and be a part of His Bride and His Kingdom forever.

Even if you have not lived a life worthy of His Bride, He still wants you to come, repent, and start anew in His Kingdom. In fact, a wise person once told me, as long as a person draws breath, there is a chance for them to be a part of the Kingdom of God.

Not sure if you belong to the Kingdom? Are you still breathing? Want to assure your place in the Kingdom, walking beside THE Prince????

We all have to start in the same place…. at the foot of His cross…. before we can walk the streets of gold in The Kingdom of God.


You can write your thoughts in your journal or in the comments section below.
·        Is Jesus your ‘Prince Charming?’

·        Why or why not?
Just ask Him right now to forgive you of your sin. Repent and determine to live your life to please Him, alone. Ask Him to come live in your heart forever!

·        What do you need to change to put Him in His proper place?

·        He is waiting for you to ask Him in.  You can do so now in prayer, you can write your prayers in your journal and/or place them in the comments section below:

Dear Lord:

Friday, November 4, 2016

Activities for Growth - Clearer Thinking

Distinguishing Between the Rational and Irrational

We all need to learn the difference between our rational and irrational thoughts and beliefs. We all have many thoughts throughout our day. Though we make no front brain decisions on our thoughts being rational or irrational, we automatically make that decision in the back of our mind every time a thought enters our mind. Our previous interpersonal interactions form the basis on which these decisions are made.

In this assignment, you will be listing 25 of your irrational beliefs, ideas that you have held for at least the last 10 years, and their corresponding truths or rational ideas. At least 10 of these MUST be about love, romance, and sexual intimacy. Placing this list in your journal is a great idea for you will be able to look back and see where you have come from when you begin making progress in this arena.

Take a page – or pages – in your journal, divide it into two columns; with the irrational thoughts in one column and their rational ideas in the other.


Irrational Thought: If we love each other, then we should be together.
Rational/Truthful Response: Being “In Love” isn’t enough for a healthy relationship. Much more is needed for relationship strength, growth … to build success.

Irrational Thought: I’m a loser. I’ll never amount to anything more.
Rational/Truthful Response: It is my choices that decide if / how I reach my goals. I may just be my own worst enemy.

Making Changes:

How does writing down my beliefs and their corresponding truths help me to make changes in my life?

By writing down these thoughts and the truth side by side, we are confronting the very ideals that have lead us to these behaviors we are now working to change within us. Thus we will begin forming new attitudes and behaviors, new ideas, which will help us to better conform to the image of Christ – the perfected individual – that we all long to become.

Time to Complete:

This project should be completed within a two week period. As you will need time for planning and critical thinking about your assumptions with regard to your sexual behavior and personal relationships. Take up to another week for writing down your thoughts out clearly and concisely. The maximum time for this assignment is three weeks. After you have written this chart in your journal take the time to discuss it with your mentor. They will be able to help you see things you might not think about in your healing process.

Thursday, November 3, 2016

P. E. A. R. L. s

On The Heavenly Highway to Purity

As I was preparing to write rules for dating for Christian Ladies’, I was reminded of the verse in Proverbs 31:10, which says: “Who can find a virtuous woman?  For her worth is far above rubies.”  Then I thought, many of us more resemble a pearl – or P. E. A. R. L.

A pearl starts its existence as a grain of sand that has gotten inside of an oyster, or another mollusk, and irritated its lining. This irritation causes the oyster to coat that sand with layer upon layer of nacre — also called ‘mother-of-pearl’, the mineral substance that fashions the oysters’ shells. This mineral compound makes a gem of great beauty and much monetary value from an inconsequential and irritating grain of sand.

 Ladies, we have caused many people to be irritated, just like that tiny bit of sand has the oyster.  But our irritations have more in common with the layers of an onion. As we grow in Christ, God is constantly peeling away our many smelly layers of sin and impurity.  So I came up with an acronym for all of us who are traveling this road toward purity.  We are to be true P.E.A.R.L.s:  Pure and Exciting, but Always a Real Lady.  As such we are traveling the Heavenly Highway to Purity in Jesus.

We P.E.A.R.L.s need to act very differently than women of the world would when we are seeking to meet and marry the man God has created us to be “an helpmeet” for.  So this chapter is an outline for us to follow as we search for that special someone … or not, depending on God’s call on your life.


As P.E.A.R.L.s we need to be modest in our language and actions, but most importantly in the way that we dress.  The reasons for this are very clear and spelled out for us in God’s word.  I Timothy 2:9-10, the Message Bible says: “I also want the women to dress modestly, with decency and propriety, adorning themselves, not with elaborate hairstyles or gold or pearls or expensive clothes, but with good deeds, appropriate for women who profess to worship God.”

God wasn’t telling ladies not to dress nicely.  No, this command is much more pointed; He is telling Godly ladies not to dress provocatively.  Not to wear their skirts and slacks so tight or short as to leave little or nothing to a man’s imagination.  Not to wear our blouses so low as to expose our cleavage for them to drool over.  This is with very good reason; it is because when we dress as women of the world dress we are inviting men, and more importantly our Christian brothers, to participate in the sin of adultery with their eyes.  But more than that, our invitation to men into this sin makes us a participant with them in that sin.

We can see this participation in Matthew 5:27-28, the New English Translation: “You have heard that it was said, ‘Do not commit adultery.’ But I say to you that whoever looks at a woman to desire her has already committed adultery with her in his heart.”  These are strong words, but very true. 

As Godly ladies, we are to treat every man – even single men, especially our Christian brothers – as though they are some else’s husband; for in essence they really are.  We don’t want women that work with our husbands to flaunt their bodies in front of him, so why would we do so to another woman’s husband?

A man may look after a woman who is dressed provocatively in lust for a moment.  He may even comment to his buddies that he “would like to have some of that,” as she walks by.  But she is not the one he would choose to “bring home to Mama!”  She is not the woman chosen as a lifetime helpmeet.  A lady who dresses modestly leaves men guessing as to what she is all about.  She is one of life’s great mysteries that he must discover the meaning of.  Let me give you an example we all can relate to ...

During the Christmas season, we have ample opportunity to watch children in the stores telling their parents I want this toy or that game.  When Christmas finally arrives, and the presents all are set out under the tree, there is great anticipation as they wait to unwrap them. I have seen my own children, during the days before Christmas, looking under the tree for their gifts.  There were a few times that a gift or two was too large or oddly shaped to be wrapped.  They would be just there under the tree, with the others, though unwrapped.  Every single time this happened my children were the most interested in the gifts they had to unwrap than in those which were “undressed,” so to speak.  There was no challenge, nothing to dream for, to long after when the gift was not wrapped in pretty paper and ribbons . . . It is the same with a woman who dresses provocatively, she has left nothing a mystery for men to wonder after.


As P.E.A.R.L.s we must exude a Godly air of confidence.  This confidence must pour forth from every inch of your being and must be highlighted in godly purity and holiness. 

The Bible says in 1 Peter 1:15-16 NIV; “As obedient children, let yourselves be pulled into a way of life shaped by God’s life, a life energetic and blazing with holiness. God said, ‘I am holy; you be holy.’”

  • This Godly Attitude will be in your smile, not just on you lip, but also in the smiling sparkle of your eyes. 
  • It will be in the way you give a slight pause between sentences during a conversation; never babbling on out of nervousness. 
  • It will be in the way you listen very attentively when someone speaks.
  • It will be in the very way you breathe; slow and sure of yourself.
  • It will be in your posture – you will stand straight and tall.
  • It will be in your every step, walking briskly with your head held high and your shoulders back, but with an air of purity and God’s Holy Spirit as your grounding force.

Our attitude should never be one of smugness or of a “holier than thou-ness” or feeling we better than others.  No we are to exude an air of His holiness, as if He was and is the very air that we breathe; the very life source of our being.  Our attitude is that we are servants … servants of God and of each other.  Following the very example of Jesus:

“Jesus knew that the Father had put him in complete charge of everything, that he came from God and was on his way back to God. So he got up from the supper table, set aside his robe, and put on an apron. Then he poured water into a basin and began to wash the feet of the disciples, drying them with his apron …

“. . . Jesus said, “If you’ve had a bath in the morning, you only need your feet washed now and you’re clean from head to toe. My concern, you understand, is holiness, not hygiene. So now you’re clean. But not every one of you.” (He knew who was betraying him. That’s why he said, “Not every one of you.”) After he had finished washing their feet, he took his robe, put it back on, and went back to his place at the table.

“Then he said, “Do you understand what I have done to you? You address me as ‘Teacher’ and ‘Master,’ and rightly so. That is what I am. So if I, the Master and Teacher, washed your feet, you must now wash each other’s feet. I’ve laid down a pattern for you. What I’ve done, you do. I’m only pointing out the obvious. A servant is not ranked above his master; an employee doesn’t give orders to the employer. If you understand what I’m telling you, act like it—and live a blessed life. John 13: 4, 5, 12-17 MSG.

 So as P.E.A.R.L.s we are to be:

·       Modest [in word, deed and apparel], confident, holy, servants of the living God, Jesus.
·       We are to be His examples in this world all of our days, ministering to the needs of those in our families, church bodies and communities in the various jobs and duties He has placed us in. 

God has placed a calling on each one of us; He has given us each a job to do within the body of Christ.  This job may be in the church as teachers, youth ministers, etc. It may be in our communities as civic leaders, teachers, typists, medical positions or whatever field you are currently working.  Every job – every position – is a ministry to Jesus; a calling to His service and you, and as P.E.A.R.L.s, should be His willing and obedient servants wherever He has called you to be.  Not every missionary is called to a foreign field, in fact most of us are called minister for Jesus right in the cities and towns where we live and work every day.  Just like the old saying, ‘bloom and grow where you are planted!’  This is exactly what Jesus has called us as P.E.A.R.L.s to do; line upon line, precept upon precept; as is stated in Isaiah 28:13

Your past relationships and other failures are insignificant, so leave them at home in your closet.  Remember, you are a P.E.A.R.L.!  Don’t beg or act desperate. Only date men who want to be with you. Trust God and His abundant goodness.  Don’t chase anyone and never settle.

*Check out the Activities for Growth - Clearer Thinking post*


  1. What does being a P.E.A.R.L. mean to you? 
  2. What do you need to change to be a P.E.A.R.L.?


You can’t make these changes alone.  Ask Him to make them in you and record your prayers in your journal.

Dear Lord:

Saturday, October 29, 2016

A Journey to the Heights

Now that we have an idea where we are on this path, we have a “jumping off point.”  When the pioneers came across the Oregon Trail they had a meeting spot where the wagon trains met together to prepare for their journey across the mostly uncharted wilderness to reach their western destination.  In like manner, we now have a place where we can meet Jesus and prepare for our journey to the high places of the Spirit.  Each person’s road will be specific to their needs, their maturity in Spirit and their personal “jumping off point” in Jesus.  I won’t presume to tell you where or how to begin, only Jesus can tell you this.  Spending concentrated time in prayer for your jumping off point would be a good idea as we begin our journey.  So record your thoughts and prayers in your journal, and below in the comments, as I start sharing with you the things I have studied in His Word that has led me along the pathway to the higher ground.

Let’s Get Started!

 Lord I, ___________________, ask that you show me a picture of the beginning of my journey to the heights.  What does my Jumping off point look like to you? 

I give this journey into Your keeping.  I know that together we will climb the mountain passes to the higher ground you are calling me to.  Thank You for the desire to follow You into the Heights.  Amen.

As we begin this trip, I am recalling a verse in Psalms 18:33 NIV:  
“He makes my feet like the feet of a deer; he enables me to stand on the heights.”

Jesus enables us to stand firmly on the higher ground by changing our “feet” to something better able to stand on the slopes and among the rocky crags we will encounter on the journey, i.e. “the feet of a deer.” As our Good Shepherd, Jesus jumps up and down the slopes constantly so His feet are accustomed to the heights, but ours are not.  Thus our need for Him to transform them as the Psalmist has stated that He does.

Our feet are our “sure foundation” in Jesus and His word.  II Tim 2:15 says: “Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.”  It is by our learning the word of God and hiding it in our hearts that we strengthen our foundation and have our feet changed into the “feet of a deer” and can mount the high places with Him with ease.

I know many of us do not have our “feet of a deer” yet, not to worry, as we begin our travel our “feet” will strengthen and become our sure foundation as we ascend to the heights with Jesus.

The start of our ascent should be to strive for Purity: a desiring for the Heights and for becoming P.E.A.R.L.S. All of the aspects and responsibilities of being P.E.A.R.L.S. will be discussed in great detail in our next section. But I would like for us to reflect on what we think Purity would look like to Jesus as well as what we think purity should look like in us.


·       What does purity look like to you?

·       What do you think purity looks like to Jesus?

·       Are you willing to allow Him to make you a woman of purity?

Now, let Jesus start this transformation in you.  Give it all to Him. I have started writing a prayer here that you should copy and complete in your journal.

Dear Lord:

I am Your daughter, a true Princess of Your Kingdom. Make me into the Lady You have created me to be. I give you my ...

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Are We Truly Forgiving?

A Story about Forgiveness

Matthew 18:21-35, the Message Bible:
At that point Peter got up the nerve to ask, “Master, how many times do I forgive a brother or sister who hurts me? Seven?”
Jesus replied, “Seven! Hardly. Try seventy times seven.
“The kingdom of God is like a king who decided to square accounts with his servants. As he got under way, one servant was brought before him who had run up a debt of a hundred thousand dollars. He couldn’t pay up, so the king ordered the man, along with his wife, children, and goods, to be auctioned off at the slave market.
“The poor wretch threw himself at the king’s feet and begged, ‘Give me a chance and I’ll pay it all back.’ Touched by his plea, the king let him off, erasing the debt.
“The servant was no sooner out of the room when he came upon one of his fellow servants who owed him ten dollars. He seized him by the throat and demanded, ‘Pay up. Now!’
“The poor wretch threw himself down and begged, ‘Give me a chance and I’ll pay it all back.’ But he wouldn’t do it. He had him arrested and put in jail until the debt was paid. When the other servants saw this going on, they were outraged and brought a detailed report to the king.
“The king summoned the man and said, ‘You evil servant! I forgave your entire debt when you begged me for mercy. Shouldn’t you be compelled to be merciful to your fellow servant who asked for mercy?’ The king was furious and put the screws to the man until he paid back his entire debt. And that’s exactly what my Father in heaven is going to do to each one of you who doesn’t forgive unconditionally anyone who asks for mercy.”

Are we truly forgiving? Do we treats others the way God would have us to, or is it just lip service? God has been dealing with me lately about true forgiveness.  So I am going to share with you what He has been showing me.

Now I know some of you, after building your life history, are saying, “What! Me…forgive him?  But, Leigh, you don’t know what I’ve been through.  Why, just yesterday he___________________.  How can I possibly forgive him for all of that!!!” 

And yet this is exactly what we need to do to be healed of the pain we have suffered and released from the bonds of slavery that have chained us in this valley of despair we have resided in for so long.  I long to break free!  Don’t you?  

Also, you need to know the truth of forgiving those who have abused and mistreated you. Forgiveness isn’t for the person, or persons, who have wronged us.  Oh, it is important that they know they are forgivable, by us and by God, but, it is for our spiritual growth that we must learn to forgive.  For we must be willing to drop our baggage at the side of the road before we can begin our journey into the heights.  So have faith in Him, cut your anchor chain and watch where He will lead you as you learn to trust Jesus and follow Him upon the mountains, up to the high places.

Jesus is our example of how we are to forgive.  While He was dying on the Cross He uttered this famous prayer; ‘…Father forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing…’ Luke 23:34 NIV

By this, He was forgiving the Jewish leaders, the Roman government, soldiers, and the people caught up in the crowd watching. By this, He brought salvation to all men, including those who murdered Him. By this, He also forgave us before we were even a thought in our parent's hearts.  We, too, are sinners guilty of putting Him to death.
If you were the only person created by the Master, He still would have chosen to die in your place on Calvary. To endure every pain He felt in His body and in His spirit as a result of your sin and separation from Him – and in His death, His separation from God.  And He still would have chosen to forgive you all your sins.
Forgiveness, like love, is a choice. It is an action and we have a part in that action. We must lay aside our hurt and pain to allow God to bring us through them.  It can be a very slow process and you won’t “feel” like forgiving at first.  But we have to start with a choice – our own personal choice – to forgive our offenders and abusers.

That all important choice needs to be followed quickly – very quickly – by our words; thought, spoken and written. Yes, ALL Three!

I remember when I was homeschooling my children, my son had the hardest time learning many things.  But we had a county appointed teacher who came to our house once a month to check our progress.  I shared with him the struggles we were having.  He told me something I have never forgotten.  “Learning,” he said, “is done differently by each person.  Some can read a process one time and can do it almost instantly.  Others need to involve more sections of their brain to truly grasp many concepts, even those deemed simple concepts by many educators.  So you should use as many of the five senses as possible to assist them in the learning process.”  As we are “learning” forgiveness we will need to see, speak, hear and feel – by writing – this process of learning to forgive.

While making the choice to forgive, mentally add names and faces to this choice to make it more real in your heart.  Speak your list – OUT LOUD – to Jesus.  Write the details of the hurts and pain you experienced, and that you have made a choice to be forgiving to everyone for ALL the things you have suffered.  And don’t forget to add your name to your list.  Yes, your name. Believe it or not, you are harboring guilt and unforgiveness against yourself for allowing others to hurt you.

Your choices may not make an immediate change within you.  You may have to repeat this task often; sometimes daily, other times moment-by-moment. 
Matt. 6:12-15 in the NIV says…Forgive us our debts, as we also forgive our debtors. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one. For if you forgive men when they sin against you, you’re heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive men their sins, your heavenly Father will not forgive your sins.

God gives us the choice to forgive. But, if we choose not to forgive, He, in turn, chooses not to forgive us. Our unforgiveness comes with a very heavy penalty. We can't scale the heights with Jesus, or enter into His Holiest of Holies – the very throne room of the fullness of God's presence – unless we learn forgiveness.  We would be stagnant in our spiritual lives; not filled with the springs of living water. Totally missing out on the ‘abundant’ life He has promised us.

Matt. 5:23-24 says: ‘Therefore if thou bring thy gift to the altar. And there rememberest that thy brother has aught against thee; leave thy gift before the altar, and go thy way; first be reconciled to thy brother, and then come and offer thy gift.’

The Message Bible says it this way: “This is how I want you to conduct yourself in these matters. If you enter your place of worship and, about to make an offering, you suddenly remember a grudge a friend has against you, abandon your offering, leave immediately, go to this friend and make things right. Then and only then, come back and work things out with God.

The Lord says if we think that our brother is holding something against us, we are to go to that brother and work things out before we offer our gift to God. Our gifts to God are our purity of heart and thoughts.

Matt 5:8 says; ‘Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.’

It is our worship and praise that draws us into the very presence of God.  I feel this place of praise and worship allows us to “see God” here on earth before we get to see Him face to face.  But, if we can’t give Him our gifts, how can He dwell fully in our beings ... in our very hearts? For God inhabits, He lives within, the praises of His people.

Forgiveness is the very basis of our salvation. Without God's forgiveness, we would also be outside of His Kingdom.  Zechariah prophesied of John the Baptist in Luke 1:76, 77. In the NIV it reads:  ‘And you, my child, will be called the prophet of the Most High; for you will go before the Lord to prepare the way for Him, to give His people the knowledge of salvation through the forgiveness of their sins.’

Zechariah was telling his family and friends that salvation would come through God's forgiveness and that John the Baptist would lead the way to Jesus, who would bring that forgiveness to us all. So if salvation is through forgiveness, and we are to follow Christ's example, how can we not forgive? It is a must!

Now that we have made the choice to forgive and used most of our senses to confirm our choice, it is time to put actions to our choice, and to our words.  Saying "I forgive you, '' isn't enough. We must follow through with the actions and attitudes of heart that agree with our words.  We must act toward that person – or persons – as if forgiveness is in full bloom in our hearts. Our feelings may be calling us “liar” or “hypocrite.”  But our feelings are wrong.  They are Satan’s tools to sabotage our choice to forgive, to keep us distracted and in bondage to our fear, hurts, and pain. Our actions will show that we are serious in our forgiveness, even if our "feelings'' aren't in agreement. If we trust God and walk out our acts of forgiveness, our feelings will follow. Then we will be in complete agreement – body, soul, and spirit - in our forgiveness.

This is a time of solidifying the forgiveness that started in our hearts as a choice.  Forgiveness and the subsequent reconciliation are designed to give us freedom to worship God in wholeness, causing us to grow in our faith toward Him.  And to be released from the baggage we have carried around with us for so long; cuddling, and hugging them because they were so familiar and “felt safe.”

Forgiveness doesn't mean everything that has been done to us is OK and can be done to us all over again. Nor are we to put ourselves back into bondage to the person or persons who have hurt us. We are called to reconciliation, not to a revolving door to the abuses of others.  It is time to lighten our load and allow us to leave our burdens at Jesus' feet.  That is where they belong, anyway. Picking up that hurt and pain day after day is not only choosing to hurt ourselves again and again; it is hindering our walk with God. We can't grow in our faith if we are all filled up with unforgiveness, hurt, and pain; for there is no room left in our hearts for more of the Holy Spirit.

I've been working on letting go of the unforgiveness, hurt, and pain in my life.  I’ve been praying for the people in my past who have been a part of causing it. Asking God to teach them the truth and the way of salvation, and praying for blessings on them and their families. This has released me from the bondage of carrying around all that hate and bitterness I had been storing up inside. Now, I actually feel a lot lighter of spirit, clearer of mind and not so tied up in knots throughout my body.

This isn’t easy and doesn’t happen overnight.  Satan will be standing right around the corner waiting to trip us up in this new choice we have made.  We will need landmarks, tangible mile markers as evidence to hold onto and be able to look back at, to remember the promises of God and the progress we have made.  Keeping a journal is one way to mark our progress.  Jotting down your thoughts and prayers, or a bit of poetry & verse given by God’s inspiration.  Or writing in the margins of your Bible beside verses He gives to encourage and lift you up.

Isa 53:5, 6 says; But, He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon Him; and by His stripes we are healed…and the Lord has laid on Him the iniquities of us all.

If He has done this for us, He has done the same for them, too.

At the onset of this chapter, I quoted a passage from Matt 18 where Peter asks our Lord how many times we are to forgive.  In verse 22 he answered, “…I say not unto thee, until seven times: but, until seventy times seven.”  Sometimes it will take seventy times seven.  But, if we can learn to forgive 70x7 – 490 times – then why not 491, or 492, or even 1000.  This is the whole point Jesus was making.

Satan will try to goad us into renouncing our new commitment to learning true forgiveness.  Be strong!  Stand by your choice to learn forgiveness.  Pray often calling upon the name of Jesus in the tough times.  Psalm 118:14 says; ‘The Lord is my strength and my song, and is become my salvation.’

Forgiveness is more than a feeling, it is a choice we must make before the feeling can start to form within us.  Jesus said in Matthew 6:14-15 “For if ye forgive men their trespasses, your Heavenly Father will also forgive you: but if ye forgive men not their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses. Since forgiveness starts with a choice, now is a good time - and your journal a great place - to record your choice to forgive and to receive the forgiveness of others; God's and your offenders/abusers. 

Father, I choose to forgive: 

Help me forgive myself for: 

Lord, if there be anything I can learn from these feelings of pain and suffering ... teach me now.